Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/127

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111
Hunger

The door was open; the stable-boy bade me good-morning as usual.

"Fine weather," said he.

"Yes," I replied. That was all I found to say. Could I ask for the loan of a shilling? He would be sure to lend it willingly if he could; besides that, I had written a letter for him once.

He stood and turned something over in his mind before he ventured on saying it.

"Fine weather! Ahem! I ought to pay my landlady to-day; you wouldn't be so kind as to lend me five shillings, would you? Only for a few days, sir. You did me a service once before, so you did."

"No; I really can't do it, Jens Olaj," I answered. "Not now perhaps later on, maybe in the afternooon," and I staggered up the stairs to my room.

I flung myself on my bed, and laughed. How confoundedly lucky it was that he had forestalled me; my self-respect was saved. Five shillings! God bless you, man, you might just as well have asked me for five shares in the Dampkökken, or an estate out in Aker.

And the thought of these five shillings made me laugh louder and louder. Wasn't I a