Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/83

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67
Hunger

me downright in earnest. I was faint, and now and again I had to retch furtively. I swung round by the Dampkökken,[1] read the bill of fare, and shrugged my shoulders in a way to attract attention, as if corned beef or salt pork was not meet food for me. After that I went towards the railway station.

A singular sense of confusion suddenly darted through my head. I stumbled on, determined not to heed it; but I grew worse and worse, and was forced at last to sit down on a step. My whole being underwent a change, as if something had slid aside in my inner self, or as if a curtain or tissue of my brain was rent in two.

I was not unconscious; I felt that my ear was gathering a little, and, as an acquaintance passed by, I recognised him at once and got up and bowed.

What sort of fresh, painful perception was this that was being added to the rest? Was it a consequence of sleeping in the sodden fields, or did it arise from my not having had any breakfast yet? Looking the whole thing squarely in the face, there was no meaning in living on in this manner, by Christ's holy pains, there wasn't. I failed to see either how

  1. Steam cooking-kitchen and famous cheap eating-house.