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(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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Jenny bent over Gert Gram’s chrysanthemums: “I am
so glad you like my pictures.”

“Yes, I like them very much, especially the one of
the young girl with the corals — as I told you already.”

Jenny shook her head.

“I think the colouring is so lovely,” said Gram.

“It is not well finished. The scarf and the dress should
have been more thoroughly worked up, but when I was painting
it both Cesca and I were distracted by other things.”

After a while she asked:

“Do you hear from Helge? How is he?”

“He does not write much. He is working at the essay for
his doctor of science degree — you know he prepared himself
for it in Rome. He says he is all right. He does not write to
his mother at all, and she, of course, is very vexed about it.
She has not improved as a companion, I am sorry to say, but
she is not happy, poor thing, at present.”

Jenny moved the flowers to her writing-table and began to
arrange them:

“I am glad Helge is working again. He did not get much
done in the summer.”

“Neither did you, dear.”

“No, it is true, and the worst of it is that I have not been
able to start yet. But I don’t feel the least inclined to, and I
was going to begin etching this winter, but....

“Don’t you think it quite natural that a disappointment like
yours should take some time to get over? Your exhibition is
a success, and has been well spoken of in the papers. Don’t
you think that is enough to make you want to work again?
You have got a bid for the Aventine picture already — are you
going to accept it?”

She shrugged her shoulders:

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