Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/111

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at last said, quite gently, "In any case, it's about time ye were getting home. Would ye like me to go with ye a bit?"

I was completely disarmed by this man's unexpected friendliness. I felt that tears sprang up to my eyes, and I hastened to reply:

"No, thank you! I have only been out a little too late in a café. Thank you very much all the same!"

He saluted with his hand to his helmet as I turned away. His friendliness had overwhelmed me, and I cried weakly, because I had not even a little coin to give him.

I halted, and looked after him as he went slowly on his way. I struck my forehead, and, in measure, as he disappeared from my sight, I cried more violently.

I railed at myself for my poverty, called myself abusive names, invented furious designations—rich, rough nuggets—in a vein of abuse with which I overwhelmed myself. I kept on at this until I was nearly home. On coming to the door I discovered I had dropped my keys.

"Oh, of course," I muttered to myself, "why shouldn't I lose my keys? Here I am, living