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22

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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shoulders — obviously to make her look less thin. She wore
a row of pink beads round her neck, which were reflected in
rosy spots on her skin.

Helge Gram sat down quietly at the end of the table and
listened to the others talking about a friend of theirs who had
been ill. An old Italian, with a dirty white apron covering his
broad waistcoat, came up to ask what they required.

“Red or white, sweet or dry, what do you like, Gram?” said
Heggen, turning to him.

“Mr. Gram must have half a litre of my claret,” said Jenny
Winge. “It is one of the best things you can have in Rome,
and that is no small praise, you know.”

The sculptor pushed his cigarette-case over to the ladies.
Miss Jahrman took one and lighted it.

“No, Cesca — don’t!” begged Miss Winge.

“Yes,” said Miss Jahrman. “I shan’t be any better if I
don’t smoke, and I am cross tonight.”

“Why are you cross?” asked Ahlin.

“Because I did not get those corals.”

“Were you going to wear them tonight?” asked Heggen.

“No, but I had made up my mind to have them.”

“I see,” said Heggen, laughing, “and tomorrow you will
decide to have the malachite necklace.”

“No, I won’t, but it is awfully annoying. Jenny and I
rushed down on purpose because of those wretched corals.”

“But you had the good luck to meet us, otherwise you would
have been obliged to go to Frascati, to which you seem to have
taken a sudden dislike.”

“I would not have gone to Frascati, you may be sure of
that, Gunnar, and it would have been much better for me,
because now that you have made me come I want to smoke and
drink and be out the whole night.”

“I was under the impression that you had suggested it
yourself.”

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