Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/61

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45
Hunger

the old chap I had put to flight. The mysterious newspaper parcel lay opened on the seat next him, filled with different sorts of victuals, of which he ate as he sat. I immediately wanted to go over and ask pardon for my conduct, but the sight of his food repelled me. The decrepit fingers looked like ten claws as they clutched loathsomely at the greasy bread and butter; I felt qualmish, and passed by without addressing him. He did not recognise me; his eyes stared at me, dry as horn, and his face did not move a muscle.

And so I went on my way.

As customary, I halted before every newspaper placard I came to, to read the announcements of situations vacant, and was lucky enough to find one that I might try for.

A grocer in Groenlandsleret wanted a man every week for a couple of hours' book-keeping; remuneration according to agreement. I noted my man's address, and prayed to God in silence for this place. I would demand less than any one else for my work; sixpence was ample, or perhaps fivepence. That would not matter in the least.

On going home, a slip of paper from my landlady lay on my table, in which she begged