Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/90

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What induced me to thrust myself in this creature's way? She took me without further ado for a beggar.

I got cool and collected at once. I raised my hat, made a respectful bow, and, as if I had not caught her words, said, with the utmost politeness:

"I hope you will excuse me, madam, for ringing so hard, the bell was new to me. Is it not here that an invalid gentleman lives who has advertised for a man to wheel him about in a chair?"

She stood awhile and digested this mendacious invention, and seemed to be irresolute in her summing up of my person.

"No!" she said at length; "no, there is no invalid gentleman living here."

"Not really? An elderly gentleman—two hours a day—sixpence an hour?"


"Ah! in that case, I again ask pardon," said I. "It is perhaps on the first floor. I only wanted, in any case, to recommend a man I know, in whom I am interested; my name is Wedel-Jarlsberg[1] and I bowed again and drew back. The young lady blushed crimson,

  1. The last family bearing title of nobility in Norway.