Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/253

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237
Hunger

But she was much dispirited, "The Lord preserve me!" was all she said, then kept silent. She repeated this at short intervals, and kept silent after each "the Lord preserve me."

I began to jest, caught hold of her, tried to tickle her, lifted her up to my breast. She had buttoned up her frock again. This irritated me not a little—indeed, downright hurt me. Why should she button up her frock again? Was I more unworthy in her eyes now, than if I had myself been instrumental in causing the falling out of my hair? Would she have thought more of me if I had made myself out to be a roué? . . . No nonsense now; . . . it was just a matter of going at it; and if it was only just a matter of going at it, so, by the living . . . I laid her down simply laid her down on the sofa. She struggled quite feebly, by-the-way, and looked astonished.

"No; . . . what do you want?" she queried.

"What do I want?"

Ha! she asked me what I wanted. Go at it was what I wanted—go right at it. It was not only from a distance that I was able to go at it. That was not the sort and condition of man I was—I would have to prove I was not