Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/227

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Hunger

warning. I hear this cry—hear it quite well, and I start nervously to one side, stepping as quickly as my bad foot allows me to. A monster of a bread-van brushes past me, and the wheel grazes my coat; I might perhaps have been a little quicker if I had exerted myself. Well, there was no help for it; one foot pained me, a couple of toes were crunched. I felt that they, as it were, curled up in my shoes.

The driver reins in his horse with all his might. He turns round on the van and inquires in a fright how it fares with me. Oh! it might have been worse, far worse. . . . It was perhaps not so dangerous. . . . I didn't think any bones were broken. Oh, pray . . .

I rushed over as quickly as I could to a seat; all these people who stopped and stared at me abashed me. After all, it was no mortal blow; comparatively speaking, I had got off luckily enough, as misfortune was bound to come in my way. The worst thing was that my shoe was crushed to pieces; the sole was torn loose at the toe. I held up my foot, and saw blood inside the gap. Well, it wasn't intentional on either side; it was not the man's purpose to make things worse for me than