Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/163

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diary, in which I had written my first small poetical attempt, had been bought by an acquaintance, and my topcoat had found a haven with a photographer, to be used in the studio. So there was no cause to grumble about any of them. I held my buttons ready in my hand; "Uncle" is sitting at his desk, writing. "I am not in a hurry," I say, afraid of disturbing him, and making him impatient at my application. My voice sounded so curiously hollow I hardly recognised it again, and my heart beat like a sledge-hammer.

He came smilingly over to me, as was his wont, laid both his hands flat on the counter, and looked at my face without saying anything. Yes, I had brought something of which I would ask him if he could make any use; something which is only in my way at home, assure you of it—are quite an annoyance—some buttons. Well, what then? what was there about the buttons? and he thrusts his eyes down close to my hand. Couldn't he give me a couple of halfpence for them?—whatever he thought himself—quite according to his own judgment. "For the buttons?"—and "Uncle" stares astonishedly at me—"for these buttons?" Only for a cigar or whatever he liked him-