Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/211

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195
Hunger

My empty pockets troubled me no longer; it was simply a delightful feeling to me to be cleaned out. When I weighed the whole matter thoroughly, this money had in reality cost me much secret anguish; I had really thought about it with dread and shuddering time upon time. I was no hardened soul; my honourable nature rebelled against such a low action. God be praised, I had raised myself in my own estimation again! "Do as I have done!" I said to myself, looking across the thronged market-place—"only just do as I have done!" I had gladdened a poor old cake vendor to such good purpose that she was perfectly dumfounded. To-night her children wouldn't go hungry to bed. . . . I buoyed myself up with these reflections and considered that I had behaved in a most exemplary manner. God be praised! The money was out of my hands now!

Tipsy and nervous, I wandered down the street, and swelled with satisfaction. The joy of being able to meet Ylajali cleanly and honourably, and of feeling I could look her in the face, ran away with me. I was not conscious of any pain. My head was clear and buoyant; it was as if it were a head of