Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/267

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251
Hunger

completely; I stared stupidly down at the cheese, and got no farther.

"It is really too confoundedly crabbed writing," I exclaimed, in despair. "Why, God bless me, here is 5/16ths of a pound of cheese entered—ha, ha! did anyone ever hear the like? Yes, look here; you can see for yourself."

"Yes," she said; "it is often put down like that; it is a kind of Dutch cheese. Yes, that is all right—five-sixteenths is in this case five ounces."

"Yes, yes; I understand that well enough," I interrupted, although in truth I understand nothing more whatever.

I tried once more to get this little account right, that I could have totted up in a second some months ago. I sweated fearfully, and thought over these enigmatical figures with all my might, and I blinked my eyes reflectingly, as if I was studying this matter sharply, but I had to give it up. These five ounces of cheese finished me completely; it was as if something snapped within my forehead. But yet, to give the impression that I still worked out my calculation, I moved my lips and muttered a number aloud, all the while sliding