Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/249

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her during the time that I still looked like a respectable human being—in my old, well-off days when I had sufficient to make an appearance; and I felt fearfully downcast!

"There now, one can see!" she said, "now one can just see one can snub you with just the tiniest frown—make you look sheepish by just moving a little away from you" . . . she laughed, tantalisingly, roguishly, with tightly-closed eyes, as if she could not stand being looked at, either.

"Well, upon my soul!" I blurted out, "now you shall just see," and I flung my arms violently around her shoulder. I was mortified. Was the girl out of her senses? Did she think I was totally inexperienced! Ha! Then I would, by the living . . . No one should say of me that I was backward on that score. The creature was possessed by the devil himself! If it were only a matter of going at it, well . . .

She sat quite quietly, and still kept her eyes closed; neither of us spoke. I crushed her fiercely to me, pressed her body greedily against my breast, and she spoke never a word. I heard her heart's beat, both hers and mine; they sounded like hurrying hoof-beats.