Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/220

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Ah yes; times were better with me then than now; one night I had written a tale for ten shillings, now I couldn't write anything. My head grew light as soon as ever I attempted it. Yes, I would put an end to it now; and I went on and on.

As I got nearer and nearer to the provision shop, I had the half-conscious feeling of approaching a danger, but I determined to stick to my purpose; I would give myself up. I ran quickly up the steps. At the door I met a little girl who was carrying a cup in her hands, and I slipped past her and opened the door. The shop boy and I stand face to face alone for the second time.

"Well!" he exclaims; "fearfully bad weather now, isn't it?" What did this going round the bush signify? Why didn't he seize me at once? I got furious, and cried:

"Oh, I haven't come to prate about the weather."

This violent preliminary takes him aback; his little huckster brain fails him. It has never even occurred to him that I have cheated him of five shillings.

"Don't you know, then, that I have swindled you?" I query impatiently, and I breathe