Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/55

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39
Hunger

about that! I know absolutely nothing whatever about that! Let me inform you once for all that his name is Johann Arendt Happolati, if you go by his own initials."

"Johann Arendt Happolati!" repeated the man, a little astonished at my vehemence; and with that he grew silent.

"You should see his wife!" I said, beside myself. "A fatter creature . . . Eh? what? Perhaps you don't even believe she is really fat?"

Well, indeed he did not see his way to deny that such a man might perhaps have a rather stout wife. The old fellow answered quite gently and meekly to each of my assertions, and sought for words as if he feared to offend and perhaps make me furious.

"Hell and fire, man! Do you imagine that I am sitting here stuffing you chock-full of lies?" I roared furiously. "Perhaps you don't even believe that a man of the name of Happolati exists! I never saw your match for obstinacy and malice in any old man. What the devil ails you? Perhaps, too, into the bargain, you have been all this while thinking to yourself I am a poverty-stricken fellow, sitting here in my Sunday-best without