Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/275

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259
Hunger

man's cheese, I can happily dub it so. Ha, ha!—a cheese with cloves and pepper in it; upon my word, a cheese in which, to put the matter plainly, one could breed maggots. As far as that ridiculous cheese is concerned, it might happen to the cleverest fellow in the world to be puzzled over it! Why, the smell of the cheese was enough to finish a man; . . . and I made the greatest fun of this and all other Dutch cheeses. . . . No; set me to reckon up something really eatable, said I—set me, if you like, at five-sixteenths of good dairy butter. That is another matter.

I laughed feverishly at my own whim, and found it peculiarly diverting. There was positively no longer anything the matter with me. I was in good form was, so to say, still in the best of form; I had a level head, nothing was wanting there, God be praised and thanked! My mirth rose in measure as I paced the floor and communed with myself. I laughed aloud, and felt amazingly glad. Besides, it really seemed, too, as if I only needed this little happy hour, this moment of airy rapture, without a care on any side, to get my head into working order once more.

I seated myself at the table, and set to work