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31

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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— and God knows where she got the money from. It seemed
to her quite as natural for him to have been in Paris as in a
restaurant in Christiania. It was easy for people like her to
speak of self-reliance. An unhappy love affair in Paris, which
she forgot in Rome, was probably the greatest of her trials, and
made her feel so confident and brave and able to solve the
questions of life.

Her shape was almost scraggy, but the face was healthy and
the colouring beautiful.

He wished he could speak to Miss Jahrman, who was wide
awake now, but she was engaged by Ahlin and Heggen. Miss
Winge was eating a poached egg and bread and drinking hot
milk.

“The customers of this place look rather mysterious,” he
said, turning to her. “Perfect criminal types, it seems to
me.”

“Possibly — we have a little of everything here, but you
must remember that Rome is a modern metropolis and that
many people have night work. This is one of the few places
open this time of night. But aren’t you hungry? I am going
to have some black coffee.”

“Do you always stay out so late?” Helge looked at his
watch; it was four o’clock.

“Oh no,” she laughed. “Only now and then. We watch
the sun rise and then go and have breakfast. Miss Jahrman
does not want to go home tonight.”

Helge scarcely knew why he stayed on. They had some green
liqueur and he felt drowsy after it, but the others laughed and
chatted, mentioning people and places unfamiliar to him.

“Don’t talk to me about Douglas — with his preachings —
I have done with him. One day last June, when he and the
Finn — you remember him, Lindberg? — and I were alone in
the life class, the Finn and I went out to have some coffee.

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