This charming 8-page story (links at bottom of images) hews closely to the artist's autobiography. Gwyn studied at an art school on the west coast while living with her grandparents and marking time against the onslaught of a fate that she ultimately dodged. Before returning to America, in her teens she bounced from one European convent school to another for several unhappy years. (In one she was taught by the inspiring Monica Baldwin, who later leapt over the convent wall and wrote a famous book about it; in another she had to wear a muslin shift while bathing.) Gwyn refers here to being kicked out of the convent in France for spreading heresies to her fellow pupils; she was particularly adamant that animals had souls.

    At Rogers Art School she met Sally, and "The Devil Laughs" documents a memorable night of mischief that began in a blind pig. We as children knew an expurgated version of this tale, and were fascinated with the jagged white scar on Mother's knee that came of it; yet it was only after her death that I discovered this lovely epic, composed in 1933. The typescript is a carbon copy; the illustrations are inked and colored by hand. I am sure she gave the original to Sally.

For another story of this period and flavor, go to the letter fragment below. And to learn the dramatic "ending" to Gwyn's halcyon days of art and roses, click on the Fishwrapper link.

Letter fragment "Stray Drunk"
Fishwrapper

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Cover: "The Devil Laughs"

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