Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/323

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Hunger

with emphasis. It was my custom to act in this manner, because I had such a belief in everyone's goodness. Always when anyone offered me an agreement, a receipt, I only shook my head and said: No, thank you! God knows I did.

But still the woman failed to comprehend it. I had recourse to other expedients—spoke sharply, and bade a truce to all nonsense. Had it never happened to her before that anyone had paid her in advance in this manner? I inquired—I meant, of course, people who could afford it—for example, any of the consuls? Never! Well, I could not be expected to suffer because it happened to be a strange mode of procedure to her. It was a common practice abroad. She had perhaps never been outside the boundaries of her own country? No? Just look at that now! In that case, she could of course have no opinion on the subject; . . . and I took several more cakes from the table.

She grumbled angrily, refused obstinately to give up any more of her stores from off the table, even snatched a piece of cake out of my hand and put it back into its place. I got enraged, banged the table, and threatened