Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/47

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31
Hunger

that their creases and white seams give them expression—impart a physiognomy to them. Something of my own nature had gone over into these shoes; they affected me, like a ghost of my other I—a breathing portion of my very self.

I sat and toyed with these fancies a long time, perhaps an entire hour. A little, old man came and took up the other end of the seat; as he seated himself he panted after his walk, and muttered:

"Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay; very true!"

As soon as I heard his voice, I felt as if a wind had swept through my head. I let shoes be shoes, and it seemed to me that the distracted phase of mind I had just experienced dated from a long-vanished period, maybe a year or two back, and was about to be quietly effaced from my memory. I began to observe the old fellow.

Did this little man concern me in any way? Not in the least, not in the very slightest degree! Only that he held a newspaper in his hand, an old number (with the advertisement sheet on the outside), in which something or other seemed to be rolled up; my curiosity