- Project Runeberg -  Jenny /
28

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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one day by chance, when they went out to buy beads and finery,
and had perhaps taken their friends to see this new delight, of
which they had not dreamt for years. They had not read in
books about every stone and every place, until their eyes could not
see the beauty in anything, unless it exactly corresponded to
the picture already in mind. They could probably look at
some white pillars standing against the dark blue sky and enjoy
the sight without any pedantic curiosity as to what temple they
were part of and for what unknown god it had been built.

He had read and he had dreamed, and he understood now
that nothing in reality was what he had expected it to be. In
the clear daylight everything seemed grey and hard, the dream
had enveloped the pictures of his fancy in a soft chiaroscuro,
had given them a harmonious finish, and covered the ruins with
a delicate green. He would now only go round and make sure
that everything he had read about was really there, and then
he would be able to lecture on it to the young ladies at the
Academy, and say that he had seen it. Not a single thing
would he have to tell them that he had discovered for himself;
he would learn nothing that he did not already know. And
when he met living beings he conjured up in his mind the dead
forms of poetry that he knew, to see if one of them were
represented, for he knew nothing of the living, he who had never
lived. Heggen with the full, red mouth would hardly — he
supposed — dream of romantic adventure, like those one reads
of in the popular novelettes, if he fell in with a girl one evening
in the streets of Rome.

He began to feel conscious of having drunk wine.

“You will have a headache tomorrow if you go home now,”
said Miss Winge to him, when they stood outside in the street.
The other three walked ahead; he followed with her.

“I am sure you think me an awful bore to take out of an
evening.”

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