Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/197

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The thought of all the hidden beauty which I surmised lay sheltered under the cloak and veil bewildered me, making me idiotically happy without any reasonable grounds. I could not endure it any longer; I touched her with my hand, passed my fingers over her shoulder, and smiled imbecilely.

"How queer you are," said I.

"Am I, really; in what way?"

Well, in the first place, simply, she had a habit of standing outside a stable door, evening after evening, without any object whatever, just for a whim's sake. . . .

Oh, well, she might have her reason for doing so; besides, she liked staying up late at night; it was a thing she had always had a great fancy for. Did I care about going to bed before twelve?

I? If there was anything in the world I hated it was to go to bed before twelve o'clock at night.

Ah, there, you see! She, too, was just the same; she took this little tour in the evenings when she had nothing to lose by doing so. She lived up in St Olav's Place.

"Ylajali," I cried.

"I beg pardon?"