Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/191

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175
Hunger

somewhat dark where I was sitting, and I felt tolerably well concealed, and set myself to have a serious think. Every now and then the waitress glanced over at me inquiringly. My first downright dishonesty was accomplished—my first theft. Compared to this, all my earlier escapades were as nothing—my first great fall. . . . Well and good! There was no help for it. For that matter, it was open to me to settle it with the shopkeeper later on, on a more opportune occasion. It need not go any farther with me. Besides that, I had not taken upon myself to live more honourably than all the other folk; there was no contract that . . .

"Do you think that beef will soon be here?"

"Yes; immediately"; the waitress opens the trap-door, and looks down into the kitchen.

But suppose the affair did crop up some day? If the shop-boy were to get suspicious and begin to think over the transaction about the bread, and the florin of which the woman got the change? It was not impossible that he would discover it some day, perhaps the next time I went there. Well, then, Lord! . . . I shrugged my shoulders unobserved.

"If you please," says the waitress, kindly, placing the beef on the table, "wouldn't you