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189

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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wish it had never been, you have not really loved. Believe me,
it is so. No, Jenny, not for anything in the world would I
miss what I feel for you!

“And you must not cry about yourself. You will be happy.
I know it. Of all the men who will love you, one will lie at
your feet some day, as I do now, and say that to him it is life
itself to be there, and you will think so too. You will
understand that to sit thus with him is the only happiness to you,
even if it were a brief moment of rest after a day full of toil
and hardships, and in the poorest of cottages — a far greater
happiness than if you became the greatest artist that ever
existed and enjoyed the highest measure of fame and praise. Is
not that what you believe yourself?”

“Yes,” she whispered, exhausted with weeping.

“You must not despair of winning that happiness some day.
All the time you are striving to become a true artist and a good
and able woman, you are longing to meet some one who thinks
that all you have done to attain your aim is right and that he
loves you for it — is it not so, Jenny?”

She nodded, and Gram kissed her hands reverently.

“You have already reached the goal. You are everything
that is good and refined, proud and lovely. I say it, and one
day a younger, better, and stronger man will say the same —
and you will be happy to listen. Are you not a little pleased
to hear me say that you are the best and sweetest and most
wonderful little girl in the world? — look at me, Jenny. Can
I not give you a little pleasure by saying that I believe you will
have all possible happiness because you deserve it?”

She looked down into his face, trying to smile; then, bending
her head, she passed her hands over his hair:

“Oh, Gert, I could not help it — could I? I did not want to
do you any harm.”

“Do not grieve about it, little one! I love you because you
are what you want to be — what I once hoped to be. You must

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