Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/268

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Hunger

farther and farther down the reckoning as if I were steadily coming to a result. She sat and waited. At last I said:

"Well, now, I have gone through it from first to last, and there is really no mistake, as far as I can see."

"Isn't there?" replied the woman, "isn't there really?" But I saw well that she did not believe me, and she seemed all at once to throw a dash of contempt into her words, a slightly careless tone that I had never heard from her before. She remarked that perhaps I was not accustomed to reckon in sixteenths; she mentioned also that she must only apply to some one who had a knowledge of sixteenths, to get the account properly revised. She said all this, not in any hurtful way to make me feel ashamed, but thoughtfully and seriously. When she got as far as the door, she said, without looking at me:

"Excuse me for taking up your time then."

Off she went.

A moment after, the door opened again, and she re-entered. She could hardly have gone much farther than the stairs before she had turned back.

"That's true," said she; "you mustn't take