Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/157

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141
Hunger

stammered through an excuse, and set forth my errand. Compelled by need to apply to him . . . it should not be very long till I could pay it back . . . when I got paid for my newspaper article . . . He would confer such a great benefit on me. . . . Even as I was speaking he turned about to his desk, and resumed his work. When I had finished, he glanced sideways at me, shook his handsome head, and said, "No"; simply "no"—no explanation—not another word.

My knees trembled fearfully, and I supported myself against the little polished barrier. I must try once more. Why should just his name have occurred to me as I stood far away from there in Vaterland? Something in my left side jerked a couple of times, and I broke out into a sweat. I said I was really awfully run down, and rather ill, worse luck. It would certainly be no longer than a few days when I could repay it. If he would be so kind?

"My dear fellow, why do you come to me?" he queried;" you are a perfect stranger off the street to me; go to the paper where you are known."

"But only for this evening," said I; "the office is already shut up, and I am very hungry."