Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/84

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I had made myself deserving of this special persecution; and it suddenly entered my head that I might just as well turn rogue at once and go to my "Uncle's" with the blanket. I could pawn it for a shilling, and get three full meals, and so keep myself going until I thought of something else. 'Tis true I would have to swindle Hans Pauli. I was already on my way to the pawn-shop, but stopped outside the door, shook my head irresolutely, then turned back. The farther away I got the more gladsome, ay, delighted I became, that I had conquered this strong temptation. The consciousness that I was yet pure and honourable rose to my head, filled me with a splendid sense of having principle, character, of being a shining white beacon in a muddy, human sea amidst floating wreck.

Pawn another man's property for the sake of a meal, eat and drink one's self to perdition, brand one's soul with the first little sear, set the first black mark against one's honour, call one's self a blackguard to one's own face, and needs must cast one's eyes down before one's self? Never! never! It could never have been my serious intention—it had really never seriously taken hold of me; in fact, I could not be answerable for every