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192

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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miss her most, but as she had nothing to give him he might
love her just as well dead. To love her was his happiness; he
had the capacity in him to be happy, but if she had not, it was
no good living. Work could not fill her life to such an extent
that she would not long for anything else besides. Why then
go on living because they said she had talent? Nobody had
more pleasure of her art than she had in exercising it, and the
pleasure was not great enough to satisfy her.

Gunnar was not right in what he had once said, rather
brutally, that she was a martyr to her own virtue. That could
easily be remedied, but she dared not, because she was always
afraid of meeting later what she had been longing for. And
the least satisfactory of all would be to live close to another
human being and yet in one’s inmost soul be just as lonely as
before. Oh no — no. She would not belong to a man and
submit to all the physical and mental intimacies as the
consequence of it, and then discover one day that she did not know
him, and that he had never known her — that the one had never
understood the language of the other.

She lived because she was waiting; she did not want a
lover, because she was expecting a master, and she did not wish
to die — not now while she was waiting.

No, she was not going to throw away her life either this way
or that; she could not die so poor that she had not a single
beloved thing to bid farewell to. She dared not, because she
wanted to believe that some day things would be different.

There was nothing else to do but to take up painting again,
although it would probably not be much good now, love-sick as
she was. She laughed. That was just what she was — love-sick.
The object did not exist at present, but the love was
there.

Jenny went to the window and looked out. In the gathering
darkness the sky looked almost violet, and the tiled roofs, the
chimney-pots, and the telephone wires all melted together into

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