Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/86

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knees of my trousers with spittle to try and make them look a little respectable, left the parcel behind me in a dark corner at the back of a chest, and entered the little shop.

A man is standing pasting together bags made of old newspaper.

"I would like to see Mr Christie," I said.

"That's me!" replied the man.

"Indeed!" Well my name was so-and-so. I had taken the liberty of sending him an application. I did not know if it had been of any use.

He repeated my name a couple of times and commenced to laugh.

"Well now, you shall see," he said, taking my letter out of his breast-pocket, "if you will just be good enough to see how you deal with dates, sir. You dated your letter 1848," and the man roared with laughter.

"Yes, that was rather a mistake," I said abashed—a distraction, a want of thought; I admitted it.

"You see I must have a man who, as a matter of fact, makes no mistakes in figures," said he. "I regret it, your handwriting is clear, and I like your letter, too, but——"

I waited a while; this could not possibly