Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/176

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enough to mock myself for my stupidity. Let it only happen now! Were I to find at this moment a schoolgirl's savings or a poor widow's only penny, I would snatch it up and pocket it; steal it deliberately, and sleep the whole night through like a top. I had not suffered so unspeakably much for nothing—my patience was gone—I was prepared to do anything.

I walked round the palace three, perhaps four, times, then came to the conclusion that I would go home, took yet one little turn in the park and went back down Carl Johann. It was now about eleven. The streets were fairly dark, and people roamed about in all directions, quiet pairs and noisy groups mixed with one another. The great hour had commenced, the pairing time when the mystic traffic is in full swing—and the hour of merry adventures sets in. Rustling petticoats, one or two still short, sensual laughter, heaving bosoms, passionate, panting breaths, and far down near the Grand Hotel a voice calling "Emma!" The whole street was a swamp, from which hot vapours exuded.

I feel involuntarily in my pockets for a few shillings. The passion that thrills through the