Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/254

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the sort of fellow to be trifled with, and not to be snubbed by a frown. No, no, forsooth; I had never yet gone forth from such an affair as this without having effected my purpose . . . and I went at it.

"No! . . . no, but . . . ?"

"Yes, rather; that was just my intention."

"No; do listen!" she cried, and she added these hurtful words, "I can't be sure that you are not insane!"

I checked myself involuntarily, and I said: "You don't mean that!"

"Indeed, God knows I do! you look so strangely. And the forenoon you followed me—after all, you weren't tipsy that time?"

"No; but I wasn't hungry then, either; I had just eaten. . . . "

"Yes; but that made it so much the worse."

"Would you rather I had been tipsy?"

"Yes . . . ugh . . . I am afraid of you! Lord, can't you let me be now!"

I considered a moment. No, I couldn't let her be. No damned nonsense late in the evening on a sofa. "Off with that petticoat!" Ha, what odd excuses one could hit upon in such a moment, as if I didn't know it was just half-coyness, mock modesty all the time.