Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/119

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103
Hunger

it was not absolutely necessary that it should mean padlock, or sunrise. It was not difficult to find a meaning for such a word as this. I would wait and see. In the meantime I could sleep on it.

I lie there on the stretcher-bed and laugh slily, but say nothing; give vent to no opinion one way or the other. Some minutes pass over, and I wax nervous; this new word torments me unceasingly, returns again and again, takes up my thoughts, and makes me serious. I had fully formed an opinion as to what it should not signify, but had come to no conclusion as to what it should signify. "That is quite a matter of detail," I said aloud to myself, and I clutched my arm and reiterated: "That is quite a matter of detail." The word was found, God be praised! and that was the principal thing. But ideas worry me without end and hinder me from falling asleep. Nothing seemed good enough to me for this unusually rare word. At length I sit up in bed again, grasp my head in both hands, and say, "No! it is just this, it is impossible to let it signify emigration or tobacco factory. If it could have meant anything like that I would have decided upon it long since and