Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/171

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Hunger

slowly together, whilst he sat and considered. To make it easier for him to give me a refusal, I stretch out my hand a little, and say:

"Ah, well, of course, it is not of any use to you," and I smile to give him the impression that I take it easily.

"Everything has to be of such a popular nature to be of any use to us," he replies; "you know the kind of public we have. But can't you try and write something a little more commonplace, or hit upon something that people understand better?"

His forbearance astonishes me. I understand that my article is rejected, and yet I could not have received a prettier refusal. Not to take up his time any longer, I reply:

"Oh yes, I daresay I can."

I go towards the door. Hem—he must pray forgive me for having taken up his time with this . . . I bow, and turn the door handle.

"If you need it," he says, "you are welcome to draw a little in advance; you can write for it, you know."

Now, as he had just seen that I was not capable of writing, this offer humiliated me somewhat, and I answered:

"No, thanks; I can pull through yet a while,