Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/137

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121
Hunger

it would be a pleasure to me, and it would cost him nothing. . . .

But the man wanted absolutely to get rid of me, and he sheered off, in all haste, to the other side of the street.

I returned to the bench and sat down. I was fearfully disturbed, and the big street organ that had begun to grind a tune a little farther away made me still worse—a regular metallic music, a fragment of Weber, to which a little girl is singing a mournful strain. The flute-like sorrowfulness of the organ thrills through my blood; my nerves vibrate in responsive echo. A moment later, and I fall back on the seat, whimpering and crooning in time to it.

Oh, what strange freaks one's thoughts are guilty of when one is starving. I feel myself lifted up by these notes, dissolved in tones, and I float out, I feel so clearly. How I float out, soaring high above the mountains, dancing through zones of light!. . .

"A halfpenny," whines the little organ-girl, reaching forth her little tin plate; "only a halfpenny."

"Yes," I said, unthinkingly, and I sprang to my feet and ransacked all my pockets. But the child thinks I only want to make fun of