Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/104

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coughed as he threw it away—he coughed as he threw it away." I added new words to these, gave them additional point, changed the whole sentence, and made it catching and piquant. He coughed once—Kheu heu!

I exhausted myself in weaving variations on these words, and the evening was far advanced before my mirth ceased. Then a drowsy quiet overcame me; a pleasant languor which I did not attempt to resist. The darkness had intensified, and a slight breeze furrowed the pearl-blue sea. The ships, the masts of which I could see outlined against the sky, looked with their black hulls like voiceless monsters that bristled and lay in wait for me. I had no pain—my hunger had taken the edge off it. In its stead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me, and glad not to be noticed by any one. I put my feet up on the seat and leant back. Thus I could best appreciate the well-being of perfect isolation. There was not a cloud on my mind, not a feeling of discomfort, and, so far as my thought reached, I had not a whim, not a desire unsatisfied. I lay with open eyes, in a state of utter absence of mind. I felt myself charmed away. Moreover, not a sound disturbed me.