Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/311

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295
Hunger

A couple of steps outside the door he overtakes and stops me. He hands me an envelope. I tear it open, roughly and unwillingly. It contains half-a-sovereign—no note, not a word. I look at the man, and ask:

"What tomfoolery is this? Who is the letter from?"

"Oh, that I can't say!" he replies; "but it was a lady who gave it to me."

I stood still. The commissionaire left.

I put the coin into the envelope again, crumple it up, coin and envelope, wheel round and go straight towards the landlady, who is still keeping an eye on me from the doorway, and throw it in her face. I said nothing; I uttered no syllable—only noticed that she was examining the crumpled paper as I left her. . . . Ha! that is what one might call comporting oneself with dignity. Not to say a word, not to mention the contents, but crumple together, with perfect calmness, a large piece of money, and fling it straight in the face of one's persecutor! One might call that making one's exit with dignity. That was the way to treat such beasts! . . .

When I got to the corner of Tomtegaden and the railway place, the street commenced