Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/281

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it was too cold in the ante-room where there was no stove. I slept, too, at night on the floor of the room.

The strange sailor continued to lodge in my room, and did not seem like moving very quickly. At noon, too, my landlady came in and related how he had paid her a month in advance, and, besides, he was going to take his first-mate's examination before leaving, that was why he was staying in town. I stood and listened to this, and understood that my room was lost to me for ever.

I went out to the ante-room, and sat down. If I were lucky enough to get anything written, it would have perforce to be here where it was quiet. It was no longer the allegory that occupied me; I had got a new idea, a perfectly splendid plot; I would compose a one-act drama—"The Sign of the Cross." Subject taken from the Middle Ages. I had especially thought out everything in connection with the principal characters: a magnificently fanatical harlot who had sinned in the temple, not from weakness or desire, but for hate against heaven; sinned right at the foot of the altar, with the altar-cloth under her head, just out of delicious contempt for heaven.