Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/277

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you can have a bed to yourself there too." And before she got my answer, she began, without further ceremony, to bundle my papers together on the table, and put the whole of them into a state of dire confusion.

My happy mood was blown to the winds; I stood up at once, in anger and despair. I let her tidy the table, and said nothing, never uttered a syllable. She thrust all the papers into my hand.

There was nothing else for me to do. I was forced to leave the room. And so this precious moment was spoilt also. I met the new traveller already on the stairs: a young man with great blue anchors tatooed on the backs of his hands. A quay porter followed him, bearing a sea-chest on his shoulders. He was evidently a sailor, a casual traveller for the night; he would therefore not occupy my room for any lengthened period. Perhaps, too, I might be lucky to-morrow when the man had left, and have one of my moments again; I only needed an inspiration for five minutes, and my essay on the conflagration would be completed. Well, I should have to submit to fate.

I had not been inside the family rooms