Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/307

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Hunger

did not stand quiet a second. I could now and then hear his stifled laughter, and see how he shook. Outside in the street, too, something was taking place that disturbed me. A little lad sat and amused himself in the sun on the opposite side of the pavement. He was happy and in fear of no danger—just sat and knotted together a lot of paper streamers, and injured no one. Suddenly he jumps up and begins to curse; he goes backwards to the middle of the street and catches sight of a man, a grown-up man, with a red beard, who is leaning out of an open window in the second storey, and who spat down on his head. The little chap cried with rage, and swore impatiently up at the window; and the man laughed in his face. Perhaps five minutes passed in this way. I turned aside to avoid seeing the little lad's tears.

"Thus dictate I and my own conscience . . ." I found it impossible to get any farther. At last everything began to get confused; it seemed to me that even that which I had already written was unfit to use, ay, that the whole idea was contemptible rubbish. How could one possibly talk of conscience in the Middle Ages? Conscience was first invented