Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/140

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a lucky idea all the same; I could cut them off with my penknife and take them to the pawn-office. The hope of being able to sell these five buttons cheered me immediately, and I cried, "See, see; it will all come right!" My delight got the upper hand of me, and I at once set to to cut off the buttons one by one. Whilst thus occupied, I held the following hushed soliloquy:—

Yes, you see one has become a little impoverished; a momentary embarrassment . . . worn out, do you say? You must not make slips when you speak. I would like to see the person who wears out less buttons than I do, I can tell you? I always go with my coat open; it is a habit of mine, an idiosyncrasy. . . . No, no; of course, if you won't, well! But I must have a penny for them, at the least. . . . No indeed! who said you were obliged to do it? You can hold your tongue, and leave me in peace. . . . Yes, well, you can fetch a policeman, can't you? I'll wait here whilst you are out looking for him, and I won't steal anything from you. Well, good-day! Good-day! My name, by the way, is Tangen; have been out a little late. . . .

Some one comes up the stairs. I am