- Project Runeberg -  Jenny /

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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“A nice love song,” laughed Miss Jahrman. “Don’t ask
me to translate it, but in Italian it sounds very pretty.”

“This one is not so bad,” said Jenny. She turned to Helge
with her sweet smile: “What do you think of this place?
Is it not a good wine?”

“Excellent, and a characteristic old place.”

But all his interest was gone. Miss Winge and Heggen
spoke to him now and again, but as he made no effort to keep
up a conversation, they began to talk art together. The
Swedish sculptor sat gazing at Miss Jahrman. The strange
melodies from the strings floated past him — he felt that others
understood. The room was typical, with a red stone floor, the
walls and the ceiling, which was arched and rested on a thick
pillar in the middle of the room, being distempered. The
tables were bare, the chairs had green rush bottoms, and the
air was heavy with the sourish smell of the wine barrels
behind the counter.

This was artist life in Rome. It was almost like looking
at a picture or reading a description in a book, but he was not
in it — on the contrary, he was hopelessly out of it. As long
as it was a question only of books and pictures, he could dream
that he was a part of it, but he was convinced that he would
never get in with these people.

Confound it — well, never mind. He was no good at
associating with people anyway, least of all with people like
these. Look at Jenny Winge now, how unconcernedly she
holds the smeared glass of dark red wine. It was a revelation
to him. His father had drawn his attention to the glass, which
the girl in Barstrand’s picture from Rome in the Copenhagen
museum holds in her hand. Miss Winge would probably think
it a poor picture. These young girls had probably never read
about Bramante’s courtyard in the Cancellaria — “this pearl
of renaissance architecture.” They might have discovered it

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