Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/51

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35
Hunger

In the meantime, he had laid his package on the seat, and I felt my curiosity quiver through my nerves. I noticed there were a few grease spots on the paper.

"Isn't he a sea-faring man, your landlord?" queried he, and there was not a trace of suppressed irony in his voice; "I seem to remember he was."

"Sea-faring man? Excuse me, it must be the brother you know; this man is namely J. A. Happolati, the agent."

I thought this would finish him; but he willingly fell in with everything I said. If I had found a name like Barrabas Rosebud it would not have roused his suspicions.

"He is an able man, I have heard?" he said, feeling his way.

"Oh, a clever fellow!" answered I; "a thorough business head; agent for every possible thing going. Cranberries from China; feathers and down from Russia; hides, pulp, writing-ink——"

"He, he! the devil he is?" interrupted the old chap, highly excited.

This began to get interesting. The situation ran away with me, and one lie after another engendered in my head. I sat down again,