Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/165

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nothing more to be done! To think he would not take them at any price, I muttered. They are almost new buttons; I can't understand it.

Whilst I stood, lost in thought, a man passed by and entered the office. He had given me a little shove in his hurry. We both made excuses, and I turned round and looked after him.

"What! is that you?" he said, suddenly, when half-way up the steps. He came back, and I recognised him. "God bless me, man, what on earth do you look like? What were you doing in there?"

"Oh, I had business. You are going in too, I see."

"Yes; what were you in with?"

My knees trembled; I supported myself against the wall, and stretched out my hand with the buttons in it.

"What the deuce!" he cried. "No; this is really going too far."

"Good-night!" said I, and was about to go; I felt the tears choking my breast.

"No; wait a minute," he said.

What was I to wait for? Was he not himself on the road to my "Uncle," bringing, perhaps, his engagement ring—had been