Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/266

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up these score of figures first once down, and found the total right; then once up again, and arrived at the same result. I looked at the woman sitting opposite me, waiting on my words. I noticed at the same time that she was pregnant; it did not escape my attention, and yet I did not stare in any way scrutinisingly at her.

"The total is right," said I.

"No; go over each figure now," she answered. "I am sure it can't be so much; I am positive of it."

And I commenced to check each line—2 loaves at 21/2d., 1 lamp chimney, 3d., soap, 4d., butter, 5d. . . . It did not require any particularly shrewd head to run up these rows of figures—this little huckster account in which nothing very complex occurred. I tried honestly to find the error that the woman spoke about, but couldn't succeed. After I had muddled about with these figures for some minutes I felt that, unfortunately, everything commenced to dance about in my head; I could no longer distinguish debit or credit; I mixed the whole thing up. Finally, I came to a dead stop at the following entry—"3. 5/16ths of a pound of cheese at 9d." My brain failed me