Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/223

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207
Hunger

punish myself for my miserable trick, and behaved like a lunatic. He had naturally been in the most deadly terror for the sake of his situation; he had not dared to make any fuss about the five shillings that were lost to the business, and I had taken advantage of his fear, had tortured him with my violent address, stabbed him with every loud word that I had roared out. And the master himself had perhaps been sitting inside the inner room, almost within an ace of feeling called upon to come out and inquire what was the row. No, there was no longer any limit to the low things I might be tempted to do.

Well, why hadn't I been locked up? then it would have come to an end. I would almost have stretched out my wrists for the handcuffs. I would not have offered the slightest resistance; on the contrary, I would have assisted them. Lord of Heaven and Earth! one day of my life for one happy second again! My whole life for a mess of lentils! Hear me only this once! . . .

I laid down in the wet clothes I had on, with a vague idea that I might die during the night. And I used my last strength to tidy up my bed a little, so that it might