Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/229

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213
Hunger

I called up the archway leading to the stairs, and made a threatening backward gesture, as if I were talking to a dog up there, and boldly addressed the first butcher I met.

"Ah, will you be kind enough to give me a bone for my dog?" I said; "only a bone. There needn't be anything on it; it's just to give him something to carry in his mouth."

I got the bone, a capital little bone, on which there still remained a morsel of meat, and hid it under my coat. I thanked the man so heartily that he looked at me in amazement.

"Oh, no need of thanks," said he.

"Oh yes; don't say that," I mumbled; "it is kindly done of you," and I ascended the steps again.

My heart was throbbing violently in my breast. I sneaked into one of the passages, where the forges are, as far in as I could go, and stopped outside a dilapidated door leading to a back-yard. There was no light to be seen anywhere, only blessed darkness all around me; and I began to gnaw at the bone.

It had no taste; a rank smell of blood oozed from it, and I was forced to vomit almost immediately. I tried anew. If I could only keep it down, it would, in spite of all, have