Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/103

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Hunger

pool of torment! I was drunk with starvation; my hunger had made me tipsy.

A few minutes later the policeman comes by, clinking his iron heels on the pavement, peering on all sides. He takes his time; he has the whole night before him; he does not notice the paper bag—not till he comes quite close to it. Then he stops and stares at it. It looks so white and so full as it lies there; perhaps a little sum—what? A little sum of silver money? . . . and he picks it up. Hum . . . it is light—very light; maybe an expensive feather; some hat trimming. . . . He opened it carefully with his big hands, and looked in. I laughed, laughed, slapped my thighs, and laughed like a maniac. And not a sound issued from my throat; my laughter was hushed and feverish to the intensity of tears.

Clink, clink again over the paving-stones, and the policeman took a turn towards the landing-stage. I sat there, with tears in my eyes, and hiccoughed for breath, quite beside myself with feverish merriment. I commenced to talk aloud, related to myself all about the cornet, imitated the poor policeman's movements, peeped into my hollow hand, and repeated over and over again to myself, "He