Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/201

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185
Hunger

smiling idiotically at nothing? Had I any reasonable cause, either, for letting myself be worried into a long walk by this dainty, silken-clad bird? Mayhap it did not cost me an effort? Did I not feel the ice of death go right into my heart at even the gentlest puff of wind that blew against us? Was not madness running riot in my brain, just for lack of food for many months at a stretch? Yet she hindered me from going home to get even a little milk into my parched mouth; a spoonful of sweet milk, that I might perhaps be able to keep down. Why didn't she turn her back on me, and let me go to the deuce? . . .

I became distracted; my despair reduced me to the last extremity. I said:

"Considering all things, you ought not to walk with me. I disgrace you right under everyone's eyes, if only with my clothes. Yes, it is positively true; I mean it."

She starts, looks up quickly at me, and is silent; then she exclaims suddenly:

"Indeed, though!" More she doesn't say.

"What do you mean by that?" I queried.

"Ugh, no; you make me feel ashamed. . . . We have not got very far now"; and she walked on a little faster.