Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/258

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vinced me immediately. As I said before, I had presentiments; and it was not altogether insanity that was at the root of it. . . .

"But, great heavens! do forgive me for that word! It slipped out of my mouth," she cried; but yet she stood quite quietly, and did not come over to me.

I was inflexible, and went on. I stood there and prattled, with the painful consciousness that I bored her, that not one of my words went home, and all the same I did not cease.

At bottom one might be a fairly sensitive nature, even if one were not insane, I ventured to say. There were natures that fed on trifles, and died just for one hard word's sake; and I implied that I had such a nature. The fact was, that my poverty had in that degree sharpened certain powers in me, so that they caused me unpleasantness. Yes, I assure you honestly, unpleasantness; worse luck! But this had also its advantages. It helped me in certain situations in life. The poor intelligent man is a far nicer observer than the rich intelligent man. The poor man looks about him at every step he takes, listens suspiciously to every word he hears from the people he