Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/203

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187
Hunger

my hat and stood bareheaded. I wonder if she will give me her hand.

"Why don't you ask me to go back a little way with you?" she asks, in a low voice, looking down at the toe of her shoe.

"Great Heavens!" I reply, beside myself, "Great Heavens, if you only would!"

"Yes; but only a little way."

And we turned round.

I was fearfully confused. I absolutely did not know if I were on my head or my heels. This creature upset all my chain of reasoning; turned it topsy-turvy. I was bewitched and extraordinarily happy. It seemed to me as if I were being dragged enchantingly to destruction. She had expressly willed to go back; it wasn't my notion, it was her own desire. I walk on and look at her, and get more and more bold. She encourages me, draws me to her by each word she speaks. I forget for a moment my poverty, my humble position, my whole miserable condition. I feel my blood course madly through my whole body, as in the old days before I caved in, and resolved to feel my way by a little ruse.

"By-the-way, it wasn't you I followed that time," said I. "It was your sister."