Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/222

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206
Hunger

"I gave it away to a poor old woman every farthing of it." He must understand that that was the sort of person I was; I didn't forget the poor so. . . .

He stands and thinks over this a while, becomes manifestly very dubious as to how far I am an honest man or not. At last he says:

"Oughtn't you rather to have brought it back again?"

"Now, listen here," I reply; "I didn't want to get you into trouble in any way; but that is the thanks one gets for being generous. Here I stand and explain the whole thing to you, and you simply, instead of being ashamed as a dog, make no effort to settle the dispute with me. Therefore I wash my hands of you, and as for the rest, I say, 'The devil take you!' Good-day."

I left, slamming the door behind me. But when I got home to my room, into the melancholy hole, wet through from the soft snow, trembling in my knees from the day's wanderings, I dismounted instantly from my high horse, and sank together once more.

I regretted my attack upon the poor shop-boy, wept, clutched myself by the throat to