Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/314

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I had annoyed her, she offered me some bread and butter. She offered it to me out of sheer good nature, because she knew I needed it, so I had no cause to complain. I began, even whilst I sat there on the step, to ask her pardon in my own mind for my behaviour. Particularly, I regretted bitterly that I had shown myself ungrateful to her at the last, and thrown half-a-sovereign in her face. . . .

Half-a-sovereign! I gave a whistle. The letter the messenger brought me, where did it come from? It was only this instant I thought clearly over this, and I divined at once how the whole thing hung together. I grew sick with pain and shame. I whispered "Ylajali" a few times, with hoarse voice, and flung back my head. Was it not I who, no later than yesterday, had decided to pass her proudly by if I met her, to treat her with the greatest indifference? Instead of that, I had only aroused her compassion, and coaxed an alms from her. No, no, no; there would never be an end to my degradation! Not even in her presence could I maintain a decent position. I sank, simply sank, on all sides—every way I turned; sank to my knees, sank to my waist, dived under in ignominy, never to rise again