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Ten years ago a little book on " Intellectual 
Life in the America of To-day " appeared in 
Norway. The intense individuality of its (it 
must be admitted often wrong-headed) point 
of view aroused interest and curiosity as to 
its author. It was followed shortly by his 
first novel "Suit" ("Hunger"). It made a 
great sensation ; was as the flash of some 
strange meteor, holding perhaps a menace to 
social life, across the firmament. It met with 
much adverse criticism ; indeed, it demanded 
some courage in those days to declare oneself 
an admirer of " that dreadful Hamsun ! " 

There was something mysterious, challenging 
something alike magnetic and repellent, in 
the man's personality, as in his work ; some- 
thing that invoked opposition. He was an 
unknown quantity in the society and literature 
of his country. " Hunger " was followed by 
a course of lectures, in which he beheaded 
the literary idols of the day (not a few were 

vi Prefatory Note 

amongst his audience), executed them with an 
audacious, genial impudence, an irritating self- 
assurance, that made his addresses the sensa- 
tion of the year. One book after the other 
appeared " Mysterier " (Mysteries), " Pan," 
"Redaktor Lynge," " Nyjord " (Fresh Soil), 
" Siesta " (short stories), and the critics 
scourged him alternately as poseur and blageur, 
poet and genius, creative artist and impudent 
imitator. Hamsun went his own way, with 
a genial laugh at his critics, as a schoolboy 
caught at some trick. This son of the people, 
this self-taught man, whose art was congenital 
a growth of his very innermost being, not a 
graft from outside had a superb contempt 
for everything that was not of aesthetic value 
in his own eyes. Of one thing he convinced 
them that, as stylist, he was second to none 
in his own country. Consciously or uncon- 
sciously, every young writer in Norway owes 
Hamsun a debt. He introduced an absolutely 
new note into his native language, established 
a new scale of word values, pointed to fresh 
uses for the older one. The effect was startling, 
as one of his critics aptly said : " Hamsun 
had brought something \ American ' into the 
language a lightning smartness, an audacious 

Prefatory Note vii 

trick of phrase, a troll-like humour hitherto 
unknown." In a word, he leavened the heavi- 
ness in some marvellous way ; it was as if 
the spirit of Mark Twain had suddenly obsessed 
the sober discourse of a meeting of serious 

Words were gold in his hands, to be tossed 
about rough as unwashed nuggets, or beaten 
into a delicate, fantastic filigree ; language 
became a plastic material, capable of express- 
ing the most elusive half-thoughts, the most 
unrecorded emotions. No translation can give 
any idea of the magic of his word -treatment ; 
it has to be sacrificed to a bald rendering of 
the spirit of the original. 

Each of his books was attention-compelling, 
baffling the critics to define his exact place as 
a writer. Perhaps Hamsun himself was only 
seeking ; as yet a sort of literary freebooter, 
fighting a place for his individual art through 
the ranks of conservative prejudice. There 
was trace of struggle in much of his work ; 
his method was peculiar, and his personality 
jumped up and down through all his books in 
many disguises. It tantalised whilst it com- 
pelled to laughter, whether as brilliant jester 
who held all things up to ridicule, or fantastic 

viii Prefatory Note 

juggler tossing up the old-world values as ii 
they were jingling balls of no particular worth ; 
who could pause suddenly, casting aside his 
motley, to scourge his listeners with a sermon 
on the " superstitions " of the day, with a truly 
sardonic humour. No one, no thing escaped 
him ; he pilloried Gladstone as gaily as Car] 
Marx ; " Novelist Maupassant " as " Missionary 
Tolstoy." Sometimes one had to shut the 
book, with flaming cheeks, as one was met by 
an episode so coarse, a jest so unseemly, a 
blasphemy so surprising as only a wanton 
irresponsible peasant lad could tell it ; bul 
one opened it again to discover an exquisite 
lyrical word-painting of some mood in nature 
or emotion in man, that made one's hearl 
warm and one's eyes wet. 

Hamsun has proved himself a master at 
probing into the unexplored crannies in the 
human soul, the mysterious territory of uncon- 
trollable, half-conscious impulses. He has nc 
consideration for the weak places in humanity : 
he is merciless in his exposure of dark places 
of all that borders on the abnormal, the insane 
It takes strong will and sound intellect, and 
an iron tenacity of purpose to psychologise 
in Hamsun's manner. Then he is not afraid. 

Prefatory Note ix 

and gives rein to every mood. To quote Herr 
Gerhard Gran "Knut Hamsun gives the im- 
pression of being a downright sportsman in 
this territory. He hunts through the soul with 
a kind of jocund eagerness ; and if he finds 
the 'spraint' of a troll, he sets after it with 
the halloo of a hunter. They are precious 
finds to him, these seemingly irresponsible 
divagations off the beaten track. And it 
must be conceded to Hamsun that he is an 
Indefatigable hunter. When he is in full cry 
he does not quit the scent." 

This year he has completed his fine Trilogy, 
composed of three distinct plays, dealing with 
the life and development of one man : " On the 
Eve of Fortune " (" Ved Rigets Port "), " The 
Game of Life" (" Livet's Spil") "Sunset," 
("Aftenrodet"); besides an exquisite love-story, 
in which his art is at its finest, called 
: ' Victoria." One lays these books down, and 
says : " Hamsun has served his apprenticeship ; 
he has come into his own ; and his own is a 
distinguished place in the estate of letters." 

It must be remembered that " Hunger" was 
his first book, and that the style of the original 
is necessarily sacrificed. None the less it 
remains a shriek of hunger in all its moods, 

x Prefatory Note 

a psycho-pathological study of the hunger of 
soul and body, the "art of hungering with 
beauty." Hamsun is above all genie -male, 
and for that one cannot be sufficiently grateful. 

George Egerton. 



It was during the time I wandered about and 
starved in Christiania : Christiania, this singular 
city, from which no man departs without carry- 
ing away the traces of his sojourn there. 

I was lying awake in my attic and I heard 
a clock below strike six. It was already broad 
daylight, and people had begun to go up and 
down the stairs. By the door where the wall 
of the room was papered with old numbers of 
the Morgenbladet, I could distinguish clearly a 
notice from the Director of Lighthouses, and 
a little to the left of that an inflated adver- 
tisement of Fabian Olsens' new-baked bread. 

The instant I opened my eyes I began, from 
sheer force of habit, to think if I had anything 
to rejoice over that day. I had been some- 
what hard -up lately, and one after the other 
of my belongings had been taken to my 
" Uncle." I had grown nervous and irritable. 
A few times I had kept my bed for the day 

2 Hunger 

with vertigo. Now and then, when luck had 
favoured me, I had managed to get five 
shillings for a feuilleton from some newspaper 
or other. 

It grew lighter and lighter, and I took to 
reading the advertisements near the door. I 
could even make out the grinning lean letters 
of " winding-sheets to be had at Miss Ander- 
sens" on the right of it. That occupied me for 
a long while. I heard the clock below strike 
eight as I got up and put on my clothes. 

I opened the window and looked out. From 
where I was standing I had a view of a clothes- 
line and an open field. Farther away lay the 
ruins of a burnt- out smithy, which some 
labourers were busy clearing away. I leant 
with my elbows resting on the window-frame 
and gazed into open space. It promised to 
be a clear day autumn, that tender, cool time 
of the year, when all things change their colour, 
and die, had come to us. The ever-increasing 
noise in the streets lured me out. The bare 
room, the floor of which rocked up and down 
with every step I took across it, seemed like a 
gaping sinister coffin. There was no proper 
fastening to the door, either, and no stove. I 
used to lie on my socks at night to dry them a 

Hunger 3 

little by the morning. The only thing I had to 
divert myself with was a little red rocking-chair, 
in which I used to sit in the evenings and doze 
and muse on all manner of things. When it 
blew hard, and the door below stood open, all 
kinds of eerie sounds moaned up through the 
floor and from out the walls, and the 
Morgenbladet near the door was rent in strips 
a span long. 

I stood up and searched through a bundle 
in the corner by the bed for a bite for breakfast, 
but finding nothing, went back to the window. 

God knows, thought I, if looking for employ- 
ment will ever again avail me aught. The 
frequent repulses, half-promises, and curt noes, 
the cherished, deluded hopes, and fresh endeav- 
ours that always resulted in nothing had done 
my courage to death. As a last resource, I had 
applied for a place as debt collector, but I was 
too late, and, besides, I could not have found 
the fifty shillings demanded as security. There 
was always something or another in my way. 
I had even offered to enlist in the Fire Brigade. 
There we stood and waited in the vestibule, 
some half- hundred men, thrusting our chests 
out to give an idea of strength and bravery, 
whilst an inspector walked up and down and 

4 Hunger 

scanned the applicants, felt their arms, and 
put one question or another to them. Me, he 
passed by, merely shaking his head, saying I 
was rejected on account of my sight. I applied 
again without my glasses, stood there with 
knitted brows, and made my eyes as sharp as 
needles, but the man passed me by again with a 
smile ; he had recognised me. And, worse than 
all, I could no longer apply for a situation in 
the garb of a respectable man. 

How regularly and steadily things had gone 
down-hill with me for a long time, till, in the 
end, I was so curiously bared of every con- 
ceivable thing. I had not even a comb left, 
not even a book to read, when things grew all 
too sad with me. All through the summer, up 
in the churchyards or parks, where I used to 
sit and write my articles for the newspapers, 
I had thought out column after column on the 
most miscellaneous subjects. Strange ideas, 
quaint fancies, conceits of my restless brain ; 
in despair I had often chosen the most remote 
themes, that cost me long hours of intense 
effort, and never were accepted. When one 
piece was finished I set to work at another. I 
was not often discouraged by the editors' " no." 
I used to tell myself constantly that some day 

Hunger 5 

I was bound to succeed ; and r lly occasionally 
when I was in luck's way, an< 1 lade a hit with 
something, I could get five n lillings for an 
afternoon's work. rt 

Once again I raised myse. V na the window, 
went over to the washing-stand, and sprinkled 
some water on the shiny knees of my trousers 
to dull them a little and make them look a trifle 
newer. Having done this, I pocketed paper 
and pencil as usual and went out. I stole very 
quietly down the stairs in order not to attract 
my landlady's attention (a few days had elapsed 
since my rent had fallen due, and I had no 
longer anything wherewith to raise it). 

It was nine o'clock. The roll of vehicles and 
hum of voices filled the air, a mighty morning- 
choir mingled with the footsteps of the 
pedestrians and the crack of the hack-drivers' 
whips. The clamorous traffic everywhere 
exhilarated me at once, and I began to 
feel more and more contented. Nothing 
was farther from my intention than to merely 
take a morning walk in the open air. What 
had the air to do with my lungs ? I was strong 
as a giant ; could stop a dray with my shoulders. 
A sweet, unwonted mood, a feeling of lightsome 
happy-go-luckiness took possession of me. I 

6 Hunger 

fell to observing the people I met and who 
passed me, ton reading the placards on the 
wall, noted eveli the impression of a glance 
thrown at me a passing tram-car, let each 
bagatelle, each trifling incident that crossed or 
vanished from my path impress me. 

If one only had just a little to eat on such 
a lightsome day ! The sense of the glad 
morning overwhelmed me ; my satisfaction 
became ill-regulated, and for no definite reason 
I began to hum joyfully. 

At a butcher's stall a woman stood speculat- 
ing on sausage for dinner. As I passed her 
she looked up at me. She had but one tooth 
in the front of her head. I had become so 
nervous and easily affected in the last few days 
that the woman's face made a loathsome im- 
pression upon me. The long yellow snag 
looked like a little finger pointing out of her 
gum, and her gaze was still full of sausage as 
she turned it upon me. I immediately lost all 
appetite, and a feeling of nausea came over 
me. When I reached the market-place I went 
to the fountain and drank a little. I looked 
up ; the dial marked ten on Our Saviour's 

I went on through the streets, listlessly, with- 

Hunger 7 

out troubling myself about anything at all, 
stopped aimlessly at a corner, turned off into 
a side street without having any errand there. 
I simply let myself go, wandered about in the 
pleasant morning, swinging myself care-free to 
and fro amongst other happy human beings. 
The air was clear and bright, and my mind 
too was without a shadow. 

For quite ten minutes I had had an old lame 
man ahead of me. He carried a bundle in 
one hand and exerted his whole body, using 
all his strength in his endeavours to get along 
speedily. I could hear how he panted from 
the exertion, and it occurred to me that I 
might offer to bear his bundle for him, but yet 
I made no effort to overtake him. Up in 
Graendsen I met Hans Pauli, who nodded and 
hurried past me. Why was he in such a 
hurry? I had not the slightest intention of 
asking him for a shilling, and, more than that, 
I intended at the very first opportunity to 
return him a blanket which I had borrowed 
from him some weeks before. 

Just wait until I could get my foot on the 
ladder, I would be beholden to no man, not 
even for a blanket. Perhaps even this very 
day I might commence an article on the 

8 Hunger 

" Crimes of Futurity," " Freedom of Will," or 
what not, at any rate, something worth reading, 
something for which I would at least get ten 
shillings . . . And at the thought of this 
article I felt myself fired with a desire to set 
to work immediately and to draw from the 
contents of my overflowing brain. I would 
find a suitable place to write in the park and 
not rest till I had completed my article. 

But the old cripple was still making the 
same sprawling movements ahead of me up 
the street. The sight of this infirm creature 
constantly in front of me, commenced to irri- 
tate me his journey seemed endless ; perhaps 
he had made up his mind to go to exactly the 
same place as I had, and I must needs have 
him before my eyes the whole way. In my 
irritation it seemed to me that he slackened 
his pace a little at every cross street, as if wait- 
ing to see which direction I intended to take, 
upon which he would again swing his bundle 
in the air and peg away with all his might to 
keep ahead of me. I follow and watch this 
tiresome creature and get more and more ex- 
asperated with him, I am conscious that he 
has, little by little, destroyed my happy mood 
and dragged the pure beautiful morning down 

Hunger 9 

to the level of his own ugliness. He looks 
like a great sprawling reptile striving with 
might and main to win a place in the world 
and reserve the footpath for himself. When 
we reached the top of the hill I determined to 
put up with it no longer. I turned to a shop 
window and stopped in order to give him an 
opportunity of getting ahead, but when, after 
a lapse of some minutes, I again walked on 
there was the man still in front of me he too 
had stood stock still, without stopping to 
reflect I made three or four furious onward 
strides, caught him up, and slapped him on 
the shoulder. 

He stopped directly, and we both stared at 
one another fixedly. " A halfpenny for milk ! " 
he whined, twisting his head askew. 

So that was how the wind blew. I felt in my 
pockets and said: "For milk, eh? Hum-m 
money's scarce these times, and I don't really 
know how much you are in need of it." 

" I haven't eaten a morsel since yesterday 
in Drammen ; I haven't got a farthing, nor 
have I got any work yet!" 

" Are you an artisan ? " 

"Yes; a binder." 

"A what?" 

io Hunger 

" A shoe-binder ; for that matter, I can make 
shoes too." 

" Ah, that alters the case," said I, " you wait 
here for some minutes and I shall go and get 
a little money for you ; just a few pence." 

I hurried as fast as I could down Pyle Street, 
where I knew of a pawnbroker on a second- 
floor (one, besides, to whom I had never been 
before). When I got inside the hall I hastily 
took off my waistcoat, rolled it up, and put it 
under my arm ; after which I went upstairs and 
knocked at the office door. I bowed on entering, 
and threw the waistcoat on the counter. 

" One-and-six," said the man. 

"Yes, yes, thanks," I replied. " If it weren't 
that it was beginning to be a little tight for 
me, of course I wouldn't part with it." 

I got the money and the ticket, and went 
back. Considering all things, pawning that 
waistcoat was a capital notion. I would have 
money enough over for a plentiful breakfast, 
and before evening my thesis on the "Crimes 
of Futurity " would be ready. I began to find 
existence more alluring ; and I hurried back 
to the man to get rid of him. 

" There it is," said I. "I am glad you 
applied to me first." 

Hunger 1 1 

The man took the money and scrutinised 
me closely. At what was he standing there 
staring? I had a feeling that he particularly 
examined the knees of my trousers, and his 
shameless effrontery bored me. Did the 
scoundrel imagine that I really was as poor as 
I looked? Had I not as good as begun to 
write an article for half-a-sovereign ? Besides, 
I had no fear whatever for the future. I had 
many irons in the fire. What on earth busi- 
ness was it of an utter stranger if I chose to 
stand him a drink on such a lovely day ? The 
man's look annoyed me, and I made up my 
mind to give him a good dressing-down before 
I left him. I threw back my shoulders, and 
said : 

" My good fellow, you have adopted a most 
unpleasant habit of staring at a man's knees 
when he gives you a shilling." 

He leant his head back against the wall and 
opened his mouth widely ; something was 
working in that empty pate of his, and he 
evidently came to the conclusion that I meant 
to best him in some way, for he handed me 
back the money. I stamped on the pavement, 
and, swearing at him, told him to keep it. 
Did he imagine I was going to all that trouble 

12 Hunger 

for nothing ? If all came to all, perhaps I 
owed him this shilling ; I had just recollected 
an old debt ; he was standing before an honest 
man, honourable to his finger-tips in short, 
the money was his. Oh, no thanks were 
needed ; it had been a pleasure to me. Good- 
bye ! 

I went on. At last I was freed from this 
work-ridden plague, and I could go my way 
in peace. I turned down Pyle Street again, 
and stopped before a grocer's shop. The 
whole window was filled with eatables, and I 
decided to go in and get something to take 
with me. 

"A piece of cheese and a French roll," I 
said, and threw my sixpence on to the counter. 

" Bread and cheese for the whole of it ? " 
asked the woman, ironically, without looking 
up at me. 

, " For the whole sixpence ? Yes," I answer, 

I took them up, bade the fat old woman 
good-morning, with the utmost politeness, and 
sped, full tilt, up Castle Hill to the park. 

I found a bench to myself, and began to 
bite greedily into my provender. It did me 
good ; it was a long time since I had had 

Hunger 1 3 

such a square meal, and, by degrees, I felt the 
same sated quiet steal over me that one feels 
after a good long cry. My courage rose 
mightily. I could no longer be satisfied with 
writing an article about anything so simple and 
straight-ahead as the " Crimes of Futurity," 
that any ass might arrive at, ay, simply 
deduct from history. I felt capable of a much 
greater effort than that ; I was in a fitting 
mood to overcome difficulties, and I decided 
on a treatise, in three sections, on "Philo- 
sophical Cognition." This would, naturally, 
give me an opportunity of crushing pitiably 
some of Kant's sophistries . . . but, on taking 
out my writing materials to commence work, I 
discovered that I no longer owned a pencil : 
I had forgotten it in the pawn-office. My 
pencil was lying in my waistcoat pocket. 

Good Lord ! how everything seems to take 
a delight in thwarting me to-day ! I swore a 
few times, rose from the seat, and took a 
couple of turns up and down the path. It was 
very quiet all around me ; down near the 
Queen's arbour two nursemaids were trundling 
their perambulators ; otherwise, there was not 
a creature anywhere in sight. I was in a thor- 
oughly embittered temper ; I paced up and 

14 Hunger 

down before my seat like a maniac. How 
strangely awry things seemed to go ! To think 
that an article in three sections should be 
downright stranded by the simple fact of my 
not having a pennyworth of pencil in my 
pocket. Supposing I were to return to Pyle 
Street and ask to get my pencil back ? There 
would be still time to get a good piece finished 
before the promenading public commenced to 
fill the parks. So much, too, depended on this 
treatise on "Philosophical Cognition" may- 
hap many human beings' welfare, no one could 
say ; and I told myself it might be of the 
greatest possible help to many young people. 
On second thoughts, I would not lay violent 
hands on Kant ; I might easily avoid doing 
that ; I would only need to make an almost 
imperceptible gliding over when I came to 
query Time and Space ; but I would not 
answer for Renan, old Parson Renan. . . . 

At all events, an article of so-and-so many 
columns has to be completed. For the unpaid 
rent, and the landlady's inquiring look in the 
morning when I met her on the stairs, tormented 
me the whole day ; it rose up and confronted 
me again and again, even in my pleasant hours, 
when I had otherwise not a gloomy thought. 

Hunger 1 5 

I must put an end to it, so I left the park 
hurriedly to fetch my pencil from the pawn- 

As I arrived at the foot of the hill I over- 
took two ladies, whom I passed. As I did 
so, I brushed one of them accidently on the 
arm. I looked up ; she had a full, rather 
pale, face. But she blushes, and becomes 
suddenly surprisingly lovely. I know not 
why she blushes ; maybe at some word she 
hears from a passer-by, maybe only at some 
lurking thought of her own. Or can it 
be because I touched her arm? Her high, 
full bosom heaves violently several times, and 
she closes her hand tightly about the handle 
of her parasol. What has come to her? 

I stopped, and let her pass ahead again. 
I could, for the moment, go no farther ; the 
whole thing struck me as being so singular. 
I was in a tantalising mood, annoyed with 
myself on account of the pencil incident, and 
in a high degree disturbed by all the food 
I had taken on a totally empty stomach. 
Suddenly my thoughts, as if whimsically in- 
spired, take a singular direction. I feel myself 
seized with an odd desire to make this lady 
afraid ; to follow her, and annoy her in some 

1 6 Hunger 

way. I overtake her again, pass her by, turn 
quickly round, and meet her face-to-face in 
order to be able to observe her well. I stand 
and gaze into her eyes, and hit, on the spur 
of the moment, on a name which I have 
never heard before a name with a gliding, 
nervous sound, Ylajali ! When she is quite 
close to me I draw myself up and say 
impressively : 

" You are losing your book, madam ! " I 
could hear my heart beat audibly as I said it. 

" My book ? " she asks her companion, and 
she walks on. 

My devilment waxed apace, and I followed 
them. At the same time, I was fully conscious 
that I was playing a mad prank without being 
able to stop myself. My disordered condi- 
tion ran away with me ; I was inspired with 
the craziest notions, which I followed blindly 
as they came to me. I couldn't help it, no 
matter how much I told myself that I was 
playing the fool. I made the most idiotic 
grimaces behind the lady's back, and coughed 
frantically as I passed her by. Walking on 
in this manner very slowly, and always a 
few steps in advance I felt her eyes on my 
back, and involuntarily put down my head 

Hunger 17 

with shame for having caused her annoyance. 
By degrees, a wonderful feeling stole over 
me of being far, far away in other places ; I 
had a half-undefined sense that it was not I 
who was going along over the gravel hanging 
my head. 

A few minutes later, they reached Pascha's 
book-shop. I had already stopped at the 
first window, and as they go by I step forward 
and repeat : 

" You are losing your book, madam ! " 

" No ; what book ? " she asks, affrightedly. 
"Can you make out what book it is he is 
talking about?" and she comes to a stop. 

I hug myself with delight at her confusion ; 
the irresolute perplexity in her eyes positively 
fascinates me. Her mind cannot grasp my 
short, passionate address. She has no book 
with her ; not a single page of a book, and 
yet she fumbles in her pockets, looks down 
repeatedly at her hands, turns her head and 
scrutinises the streets behind her, exerts her 
sensitive little brain to the utmost in trying 
to discover what book it is I am talking about. 
Her face changes colour, has now one, now 
another expression, and she is breathing quite 
audibly even the very buttons on her gown 

1 8 Hunger 

seem to stare at me, like a row of frightened 

" Don't bother about him ! " says her com- 
panion, taking her by the arm. " He is drunk ; 
can't you see that the man is drunk?" 

Strange as I was at this instant to myself, 
so absolutely a prey to peculiar invisible inner 
influences, nothing occurred around me with- 
out my observing it. A large, brown dog 
sprang right across the street towards the 
shrubbery, and then down towards the Tivoli ; 
he had on a very narrow collar of German 
silver. Farther up the street a window opened 
on the second floor, and a servant-maid leant 
out of it, with her sleeves turned up, and 
began to clean the panes on the outside. 
Nothing escaped my notice ; I was clear- 
headed and ready-witted. Everything rushed 
in upon me with a gleaming distinctness, as 
if I were suddenly surrounded by a strong 
light. The ladies before me had each a blue 
bird's wing in their hats, and a plaid silk 
ribbon round their necks. It struck me that 
they were sisters. 

They turned, stopped at Cisler's music-shop, 
and spoke together. I stopped also. There- 
upon they both came back, went the same 

Hunger 19 

road as they had come, passed me again, and 
turned the corner of University Street and 
up towards St Olav's Place. I was all the 
time as close at their heels as I dared to be. 
They turned round once, and sent me a half- 
fearful, half-questioning look, and I saw no 
resentment nor any trace of a frown in it. 

This forbearance with my annoyance shamed 
me thoroughly and made me lower my eyes. 
I would no longer be a trouble to them, out of 
sheer gratitude I would follow them with my 
gaze, not lose sight of them until they entered 
some place safely, and disappeared. 

Outside No. 2, a large four-storeyed house, 
they turned again before going in. I leant 
against a lamp-post near the fountain and 
listened for their footsteps on the stairs. They 
died away on the second floor. I advanced 
from the lamp-post and looked up at the 
house. Then something odd happened. The 
curtains above were stirred, and a second 
after a window opened, a head popped out, 
and two singular-looking eyes dwelt on me. 
"Ylajali!" I muttered, half-aloud, and I felt 
I grew red. 

Why does she not call for help, or push 
over one of those flower-pots and strike me 

20 Hunger 

on the head, or send someone down to drive 
me away? We stand and look into one an- 
other's eyes without moving ; it lasts a minute. 
Thoughts dart between the window and the 
street, and not a word is spoken. She turns 
round, I feel a wrench in me, a delicate 
shock through my senses ; I see a shoulder 
that turns, a back that disappears across the 
floor. That reluctant turning from the window, 
the accentuation in that movement of the 
shoulders, was like a nod to me. My blood 
was sensible of the delicate, dainty greeting, 
and I felt all at once rarely glad. Then I 
wheeled round and went down the street. 

I dared not look back, and knew not if 
she had returned to the window. The more 
I considered this question the more nervous 
and restless I became. Probably at this very 
moment she was standing watching closely 
all my movements. It is by no means com- 
fortable to know that you are being watched 
from behind your back. I pulled myself to- 
gether as well as I could and proceeded on 
my way ; my legs began to jerk under me, 
my gait became unsteady just because I pur- 
posely tried to make it look well. In order 
to appear at ease and indifferent, I flung my 

Hunger 21 

arms about, spat out, and threw my head 
well back all without avail, for I continually 
felt the pursuing eyes on my neck, and a cold 
shiver ran down my back. At length I 
escaped down a side street, from which I 
took the road to Pyle Street to get my 

I had no difficulty in recovering it ; the man 
brought me the waistcoat himself, and as he 
did so, begged me to search through all the 
pockets. I found also a couple of pawn-tickets 
which I pocketed as I thanked the obliging 
little man for his civility. I was more and 
more taken with him, and grew all of a sudden 
extremely anxious to make a favourable im- 
pression on this person. I took a turn towards 
the door and then back again to the counter 
as if I had forgotten something. It struck 
me that I owed him an explanation, that I 
ought to elucidate matters a little. I began 
to hum in order to attract his attention. 
Then, taking the pencil in my hand, I held it 
up and said : 

"It would never have entered my head to 
come such a long way for any and every bit 
of pencil, but with this one it was quite a 
different matter ; there was another reason, a 

22 Hunger 

special reason. Insignificant as it looked, this 
stump of pencil had simply made me what 
I was in the world, so to say, placed me in 
life." I said no more. The man had come 
right over to the counter. 

" Indeed ! " said he, and he looked inquir- 
ingly at me. 

" It was with this pencil," I continued, in cold 
blood, " that I wrote my dissertation on ' Philo- 
sophical Cognition/ in three volumes." Had he 
never heard mention of it? 

Well, he did seem to remember having 
heard the name, rather the title. 

" Yes," said I, " that was by me, so it was." 
So he must really not be astonished that I 
should be desirous of having the little bit of 
pencil back again. I valued it far too highly 
to lose it ; why, it was almost as much to me 
as a little human creature. For the rest I 
was honestly grateful to him for his civility, 
and I would bear him in mind for it. Yes, 
truly, I really would. A promise was a pro- 
mise ; that was the sort of man I was, and 
he really deserved it. " Good-bye ! " I walked 
to the door with the bearing of one who had 
it in his power to place a man in a high 
position, say, in the fire-office. The honest 

Hunger 23 

pawnbroker bowed twice profoundly to me 
as I withdrew. I turned again and repeated 
my good-bye. 

On the stairs I met a woman with a travel- 
ling-bag in her hand, who squeezed diffidently 
against the wall to make room for me, and I 
voluntarily thrust my hand in my pocket for 
something to give her, and looked foolish as 
I found nothing and passed on with my head 
down. I heard her knock at the office door ; 
there was an alarm over it, and I recognised 
the jingling sound it gave when any one rapped 
on the door with their knuckles. 

The sun stood in the south ; it was about 
twelve. The whole town began to get on its 
legs as it approached the fashionable hour 
for promenading. Bowing and laughing folk 
walked up and down Carl Johann Street. I 
stuck my elbows closely to my sides, tried to 
make myself look small, and slipped unper- 
ceived past some acquaintances who had taken 
up their stand at the corner of University Street 
to gaze at the passers-by. I wandered up 
Castle Hill and fell into a reverie. 

How gaily and lightly these people I met 
carried their radiant heads, and swung them- 
selves through life as through a ball-room. 

24 Hunger 

There was no sorrow in a single look I met, 
no burden on any shoulder, perhaps not even 
a clouded thought, not a little hidden pain 
in any of these happy souls. And I, walking 
in the very midst of these people, young and 
newly-fledged as I was, had already forgotten 
the very look of happiness. I hugged these 
thoughts to myself as I went on, and found 
that a great injustice had been done me. Why 
had the last months pressed so strangely hard 
on me? I failed to recognise my own happy 
temperament, and I met with the most singular 
annoyances from all quarters. I could not sit 
down on a bench by myself or set my foot 
any place without being assailed by insigni- 
ficant accidents, miserable details, that forced 
their way into my imagination and scattered 
my powers to all the four winds. A dog that 
dashed by me, a yellow rose in a man's button- 
hole, had the power to set my thoughts vibrat- 
ing and occupy me for a length of time. 

What was it that ailed me ? Was the hand 
of the Lord turned against me ? But why just 
against me? Why, for that matter, not just 
as well against a man in South America? 
When I considered the matter over, it grew 

Hunger 25 

more and more incomprehensible to me that 
I of all others should be selected as an experi- 
ment for a Creator's whims. It was, to say 
the least of it, a peculiar mode of procedure 
to pass over a whole world of other humans 
in order to reach me. Why not select just 
as well Bookseller Pascha, or Hennechen the 
steam agent ? 

As I went my way I sifted this thing, and 
could not get quit of it. I found the most 
weighty arguments against the Creator's ar- 
bitrariness in letting me pay for all the others' 
sins. Even after I had found a seat and sat 
down, the query persisted in occupying me, 
and prevented me from thinking of aught 
else. From the day in May when my ill-luck 
began I could so clearly notice my gradually 
increasing debility ; I had become, as it were, 
too languid to control or lead myself whither 
I would go. A swarm of tiny noxious animals 
had bored a way into my inner man and 
hollowed me out. 

Supposing God Almighty simply intended 
to annihilate me? I got up and paced back- 
wards and forwards before the seat. 

My whole being was at this moment in the 
highest degree of torture, I had pains in my 

26 Hunger 

arms, and could hardly bear to hold them in 
the usual way. I experienced also great dis- 
comfort from my last full meal ; I was over- 
sated, and walked backwards and forwards 
without looking up. The people who came 
and went around me glided past me like faint 
gleams. At last my seat was taken up by two 
men, who lit cigars and began to talk loudly 
together. I got angry and was on the point 
of addressing them, but turned on my heel 
and went right to the other end of the Park, 
and found another seat. I sat down. 

The thought of God began to occupy me. 
It seemed to me in the highest degree inde- 
fensible of Him to interfere every time I sought 
for a place, and to upset the whole thing, 
while all the time I was but imploring enough 
for a daily meal. 

I had remarked so plainly that, whenever 
I had been hungry for any length of time, 
it was just as if my brains ran quite gently 
out of my head and left me with a vacuum 
my head grew light and far off, I no longer 
felt its weight on my shoulders, and I had a 
consciousness that my eyes stared far too 
widely open when I looked at anything. 

Hunger 27 

I sat there on the seat and pondered over 
all this, and grew more and more bitter against 
God for His prolonged inflictions. If He 
meant to draw me nearer to Him, and make 
me better by exhausting me and placing 
obstacle after obstacle in my way, I could 
assure Him He made a slight mistake. And, 
almost crying with defiance, I looked up 
towards Heaven and told Him so mentally, 
once and for all. 

Fragments of the teachings of my childhood 
ran through my memory. The rhythmical 
sound of Biblical language sang in my ears, 
and I talked quite softly to myself, and held 
my head sneeringly askew. Wherefore should 
I sorrow for what I eat, for what I drink, or 
for what I may array this miserable food for 
worms called my earthly body? Hath not 
my Heavenly Father provided for me, even 
as for the sparrow on the house-top, and hath 
He not in His graciousness pointed towards 
His lowly servitor. The Lord stuck His 
finger in the net of my nerves gently yea, 
verily, in desultory fashion and brought 
slight disorder among the threads. And then 
the Lord withdrew His finger, and there were 
fibres and delicate root-like filaments adhering 

28 Hunger 

to the finger, and they were the nerve-threads 
of the filaments. And there was a gaping 
hole after the finger, which was God's finger, 
and a wound in my brain in the track of 
His finger. But when God had touched me 
with His finger, He let me be, and touched 
me no more, and let no evil befall me ; but 
let me depart in peace, and let me depart 
with the gaping hole. And no evil hath 
befallen me from the God who is the Lord 
God of all Eternity. 

The sound of music was borne up on the 
wind to me from the Students' A116e. It was 
therefore past two o'clock. I took out my 
writing materials to try to write something, 
and at the same time my book of shaving- 
tickets* fell out of my pocket. I opened it, 
and counted the tickets ; there were six. " The 
Lord be praised," I exclaimed involuntarily ; 
" I can still get shaved for a couple of weeks, 
and look a little decent " ; and I immediately 
fell into a better frame of mind on account 
of this little property which still remained to 
me. I smoothed the leaves out carefully, and 
put the book safely into my pocket. 

* Issued by the barbers at cheaper rates, as few men in 
Norway shave themselves. 

Hunger 29 

But write I could not. After a few lines 
nothing seemed to occur to me ; my thoughts 
ran in other directions, and I could not pull 
myself together enough for any special exertion. 

Everything influenced and distracted me ; 
everything I saw made a fresh impression on 
me. Flies and tiny mosquitoes stick fast to 
the paper and disturb me. I blow at them 
to get rid of them blow harder and harder ; 
to no purpose, the little pests throw them- 
selves on their backs, make themselves heavy, 
and fight against me until their slender legs 
bend. They are not to be moved from the 
spot ; they find something to hook on to, set 
their heels against a comma or an unevenness 
in the paper, or stand immovably still until 
they themselves think fit to go their way. 

These insects continued to busy me for a 
long time, and I crossed my legs to observe 
them at leisure. All at once a couple of high 
clarionet notes wavered up to me from the band- 
stand, and gave my thoughts a new impulse. 

Despondent at not being able to put my 
article together, I replaced the paper in my 
pocket, and leant back in the seat At this 
instant my head is so clear that I can follow 
the most delicate train of thought without 

30 Hunger 

tiring. As I lie in this position, and let my 
eyes glide down my breast and along my 
legs, I notice the jerking movement my foot 
makes each time my pulse beats. I half rise 
and look down at my feet, and I experience 
at this moment a fantastic and singular feel- 
ing that I have never felt before a delicate, 
wonderful shock through my nerves, as if 
sparks of cold light quivered through them 
it was as if in catching sight of my shoes I 
had met with a kind old acquaintance, or 
got back a part of myself that had been riven 
loose. A feeling of recognition trembles 
through my senses ; the tears well up in my 
eyes, and I have a feeling as if my shoes 
are a soft, murmuring strain rising towards 
me. " Weakness ! " I cried harshly to myself, 
and I clenched my fists and I repeated 
" Weakness ! " I laughed at myself, for this 
ridiculous feeling, made fun of myself, with 
a perfect consciousness of doing so, talked 
very severely and sensibly, and closed my 
eyes very tightly to get rid of the tears. 

As if I had never seen my shoes before, I 
set myself to study their looks, their char- 
acteristics, and, when I stir my foot, their 
shape and their worn uppers. I discover 

Hunger 3 1 

that their creases and white seams give them 
expression impart a physiognomy to them. 
Something of my own nature had gone over 
into these shoes ; they affected me, like a 
ghost of my other I a breathing portion of 
my very self. 

I sat and toyed with these fancies a long 
time, perhaps an entire hour. A little, old 
man came and took up the other end of the 
seat; as he seated himself he panted after 
his walk, and muttered : 

"Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, ay; 
very true ! " 

As soon as I heard his voice, I felt as if 
a wind had swept through my head. I let 
shoes be shoes, and it seemed to me that 
the distracted phase of mind I had just ex- 
perienced dated from a long-vanished period, 
maybe a year or two back, and was about 
to be quietly effaced from my memory. I 
began to observe the old fellow. 

Did this little man concern me in any way ? 
Not in the least, not in the very slightest 
degree ! Only that he held a newspaper in 
his hand, an old number (with the advertise- 
ment sheet on the outside), in which something 
or other seemed to be rolled up ; my curiosity 

32 Hunger 

was aroused, and I could not take my eyes 
away from this paper. The insane idea entered 
my head that it might be a quite peculiar 
newspaper unique of its kind. My curiosity 
increased, and I began to move backwards and 
forwards on the seat. It might contain deeds, 
dangerous documents stolen from some archives 
or other ; something floated before me about 
a secret treaty a conspiracy. 

The man sat quietly, and pondered. Why 
did he not carry his newspaper as every other 
person carries a paper, with its name out ? 
What species of cunning lurked under that? 
He did not seem either to like letting his 
package out of his hands, not for anything in 
the world ; perhaps he did not even dare trust 
it into his own pocket. I could stake my life 
there was something at the bottom of that 
package I considered a bit. Just the fact of 
finding it so impossible to penetrate this 
mysterious affair distracted me with curiosity. 
I searched my pockets for something to offer 
the man in order to enter into conversation 
with him, took hold of my shaving-book, but 
put it back again. Suddenly it entered my 
head to be utterly audacious ; I slapped my 
empty breast-pocket, and said : 

Hunger 33 

" May I offer you a cigarette ? " 

" Thank you ! " The man did not smoke ; 
he had to give it up to spare his eyes ; he was 
nearly blind. Thank you very much all the 
same. Was it long since his eyes got bad ? 
In that case, perhaps, he could not read either, 
not even a paper? 

No, not even the newspaper, more's the 
pity. The man looked at me ; his weak eyes 
were each covered with a film which gave them 
a glassy appearance ; his gaze grew bleary, and 
made a disgusting impression on me. 

" You are a stranger here ? " he said. 

" Yes." Could he not even read the name 
of the paper he held in his hand ? 

" Barely." For that matter, he could hear 
directly that I was a stranger. There was 
something in my accent which told him. It 
did not need much ; he could hear so well. 
At night, when everyone slept, he could hear 
people in the next room breathing. . . . 

" What I was going to say was, ' where do 
you live?'" 

On the spur of the moment a lie stood, 
ready-made, in my head. I lied involuntarily, 
without any object, without any arriere penste, 
and I answered 

34 Hunger 

"St Olav's Place, No. 2." 

" Really ? " He knew every stone in St 
Olav's Place. There was a fountain, some 
lamp-posts, a few trees ; he remembered all 
of it. " What number do you live in ? " 

Desirous to put an end to this, I got up. 
But my notion about the newspaper had driven 
me to my wits' end ; I resolved to clear the 
thing up, at no matter what cost. 

" When you cannot read the paper, 
why " 

" In No. 2, I think you said," continued the 
man, without noticing my disturbance. " There 
was a time I knew every person in No. 2 ; 
what is your landlord's name?" 

I quickly found a name to get rid of him ; 
invented one on the spur of the moment, and 
blurted it out to stop my tormentor. 

"Happolati!" said I. 

" Happolati, ay ! " nodded the man ; and he 
never missed a syllable in this difficult name. 

I looked at him with amazement ; there he 
sat, gravely, with a considering air. Before 
I had well given utterance to the stupid name 
which jumped into my head the man had 
accommodated himself to it, and pretended to 
have heard it before. 

Hunger 35 

In the meantime, he had laid his package on 
the seat, and I felt my curiosity quiver through 
my nerves. I noticed there were a few grease 
spots on the paper. 

" Isn't he a sea-faring man, your landlord ? " 
queried he, and there was not a trace of sup- 
pressed irony in his voice ; " I seem to re- 
member he was." 

" Sea-faring man ? Excuse me, it must be 
the brother you know ; this man is namely 
J. A. Happolati, the agent." 

I thought this would finish him ; but he 
willingly fell in with everything I said. If I 
had found a name like Barrabas Rosebud it 
would not have roused his suspicions. 

" He is an able man, I have heard ? " he said, 
feeling his way. 

" Oh, a clever fellow ! " answered I ; " a thor- 
ough business head ; agent for every possible 
thing going. Cranberries from China ; feathers 
and down from Russia ; hides, pulp, writing- 
ink " 

" He, he ! the devil he is ? " interrupted the 
old chap, highly excited. 

This began to get interesting. The situation 
ran away with me, and one lie after another 
engendered in my head. I sat down again, 

36 Hunger 

forgot the newspaper, and the remarkable 
documents, grew lively, and cut short the old 
fellow's talk. 

The little goblin's unsuspecting simplicity 
made me foolhardy ; I would stuff him reck- 
lessly full of lies ; rout him out o' field grandly, 
and stop his mouth from sheer amazement 

Had he heard of the electric psalm-book 
that Happolati had invented ? 

"What? Elec " 

"With electric letters that could give light 
in the dark ! a perfectly extraordinary enter- 
prise. A million crowns to be put in circula- 
tion ; foundries and printing-presses at work, 
and shoals of regular mechanics to be em- 
ployed ; I had heard as many as seven 
hundred men." 

"Ay, isn't it just what I say?" drawled 
out the man, calmly. 

He said no more, he believed every word 
I related, and for all that, he was not taken 
aback. This disappointed me a little ; I had 
expected to see him utterly bewildered by 
my inventions. 

I searched my brain for a couple of desperate 
lies, went the whole hog, hinted that Happolati 
had been Minister of State for nine years in 

Hunger 37 

Persia. " You perhaps have no conception 
of what it means to be Minister of State in 
Persia?" I asked. It was more than king 
here, or about the same as Sultan, if he knew 
what that meant, but Happolati had managed 
the whole thing, and was never at a loss. 
And I related about his daughter Ylajali, a 
fairy, a princess, who had three hundred slaves, 
and who reclined on a couch of yellow roses. 
She was the loveliest creature I had ever seen ; 
I had, may the Lord strike me, never seen 
her match for looks in my life! 

" So o ; was she so lovely ? " remarked the 
old fellow, with an absent air, as he gazed at 
the ground. 

"Lovely? She was beauteous, she was sin- 
fully fascinating. Eyes like raw silk, arms of 
amber! Just one glance from her was as 
seductive as a kiss ; and when she called me, 
her voice darted like a wine-ray right into my 
soul's phosphor. And why shouldn't she be 
so beautiful?" Did he imagine she was a 
messenger or something in the fire brigade? 
She was simply a Heaven's wonder, I could 
just inform him, a fairy tale. 

" Yes, to be sure ! " said he, not a little 
bewildered. His quiet bored me ; I was excited 

38 Hunger 

by the sound of my own voice and spoke in 
utter seriousness ; the stolen archives, treaties 
with some foreign power or other, no longer 
occupied my thoughts ; the little flat bundle 
of paper lay on the seat between us, and I 
had no longer the smallest desire to examine 
it or see what it contained. I was entirely 
absorbed in stories of my own which floated 
in singular visions across my mental eye. 
The blood flew to my head, and I roared with 

At this moment the little man seemed about 
to go. He stretched himself, and in order 
not to break off too abruptly, added : " He is 
said to own much property, this Happolati?" 

How dared this bleary-eyed, disgusting old 
man toss about the rare name I had invented 
as if it were a common name stuck up over 
every huckster-shop in the town? He never 
stumbled over a letter or forgot a syllable. 
The name had bitten fast in his brain and 
struck root on the instant. I got annoyed;- 
an inward exasperation surged up in me 
against this creature whom nothing had the 
power to disturb and nothing render suspi- 

I therefore replied shortly, " I know nothing 

Hunger 39 

about that ! I know absolutely nothing what- 
ever about that ! Let me inform you once 
for all that his name is Johann Arendt 
Happolati, if you go by his own initials." 

"Johann Arendt Happolati!" repeated the 
man, a little astonished at my vehemence ; and 
with that he grew silent. 

? You should see his wife ! " I said, beside 
myself. "A fatter creature . . . Eh? what? 
Perhaps you don't even believe she is really 

Well, indeed he did not see his way to deny 
that such a man might perhaps have a rather 
stout wife. The old fellow answered quite 
gently and meekly to each of my assertions, 
and sought for words as if he feared to offend 
and perhaps make me furious. 

" Hell and fire, man ! Do you imagine 
that I am sitting here stuffing you chock-full 
of lies ? " I roared furiously. " Perhaps you 
don't even believe that a man of the name 
of Happolati exists ! I never saw your match 
for obstinacy and malice in any old man. 
What the devil ails you? Perhaps, too, into 
the bargain, you have been all this while 
thinking to yourself I am a poverty-stricken 
fellow, sitting here in my Sunday-best without 

4-0 Hunger 

even a case full of cigarettes in my pocket. 
Let me tell you such treatment as yours is a 
thing I am not accustomed to, and I won't 
endure it, the Lord strike me dead if I will 
neither from you nor anyone else, do you 
know that?" 

The man had risen with his mouth agape ; 
he stood tongue-tied and listened to my out- 
break until the end. Then he snatched his 
parcel from off the seat and went, ay, nearly 
ran, down the path, with the short, tottering 
steps of an old man. 

I leant back and looked at the retreating 
figure that seemed to shrink at each step as 
it passed away. I do not know from where 
the impression came, but it appeared to me 
that I had never in my life seen a more vile 
back than this one, and I did not regret that 
I had abused the creature before he left me. 

The day began to decline, the sun sank, it 
commenced to rustle lightly in the trees around, 
and the nursemaids who sat in groups near 
the parallel bars made ready to wheel their 
perambulators home. I was calmed and in 
good spirits. The excitement I had just 
laboured under quieted down little by little, 
and I grew weaker, more languid, and began 

Hunger 41 

to feel drowsy. Neither did the quantity of 
bread I had eaten cause me any longer any 
particular distress. I leant against the back 
of the seat in the best of humours, closed my 
eyes, and got more and more sleepy. I dozed, 
and was just on the point of falling asleep, 
when a park-keeper put his hand on my 
shoulder and said : 

" You must not sit here and go to sleep ! " 
" No ? " I said, and sprang immediately up, my 
unfortunate position rising all at once vividly 
before my eyes. I must do something ; find 
some way or another out of it. To look for 
situations had been of no avail to me. Even 
the recommendations I showed had grown a 
little old, and were written by people all too 
little known to be of much use ; besides that, 
constant refusals all through the summer had 
somewhat disheartened me. At all events, 
my rent was due, and I must raise the wind 
for that ; the rest would have to wait a little. 
Quite involuntarily I had got paper and 
pencil into my hand again, and I sat and 
wrote mechanically the date, 1848, in each 
corner. If only now one single effervescing 
thought would grip me powerfully, and put 
words into my mouth. Why, I had known 

42 Hunger 

hours when I could write a long piece, without 
the least exertion, and turn it off capitally, 

I am sitting on the seat, and I write, scores 
of times, 1848. I write this date criss-cross, 
in all possible fashions, and wait until a work- 
able idea shall occur to me. A swarm of loose 
thoughts flutter about in my head. The feeling 
of declining day makes me downcast, senti- 
mental ; autumn is here, and has already 
begun to hush everything into sleep and torpor. 
The flies and insects have received their first 
warning. Up in the trees and down in the 
fields the sounds of struggling life can be 
heard rustling, murmuring, restless ; labouring 
not to perish. The down-trodden existence of 
the whole insect world is astir for yet a little 
while. They poke their yellow heads up from 
the turf, lift their legs, feel their way with 
long feelers and then collapse suddenly, roll 
over, and turn their bellies in the air. 

Every growing thing has received its peculiar 
impress : the delicately blown breath of the 
first cold. The stubbles straggle wanly sun- 
wards, and the falling leaves rustle to the earth, 
with a sound as of errant silkworms. 

It is the reign of Autumn, the height of the 

Hunger 43 

Carnival of Decay, the roses have got inflamma- 
tion in their blushes, an uncanny hectic tinge, 
through their soft damask. 

I felt myself like a creeping thing on the 
verge of destruction, gripped by ruin in the 
midst of a whole world ready for lethargic 
sleep. I rose, oppressed by weird terrors, and 
took some furious strides down the path. " No ! " 
I cried out, clutching both my hands ; " there 
must be an end to this," and I reseated myself, 
grasped the pencil, and set seriously to work 
at an article. 

There was no possible use in giving way, 
with the unpaid rent staring me straight in 
the face. 

Slowly, quite slowly, my thoughts collected. 
I paid attention to them, and wrote quietly and 
well ; wrote a couple of pages as an introduction. 
It would serve as a beginning to anything. A 
description of travel, a political leader, just 
as I thought fit it was a perfectly splendid 
commencement for something or anything. So 
I took to seeking for some particular subject 
to handle, a person or a thing, that I might 
grapple with, and I could find nothing. Along 
with this fruitless exertion, disorder began to 
hold its sway again in my thoughts. I felt 

44 Hunger 

how my brain positively snapped and my head 
emptied, until it sat at last, light, buoyant, and 
void on my shoulders. I was conscious of 
the gaping vacuum in my skull with every 
fibre of my being. I seemed to myself to be 
hollowed out from top and toe. 

In my pain I cried : " Lord, my God and 
Father ! " and repeated this cry many times 
at a stretch, without adding one word more. 

The wind soughed through the trees ; a storm 
was brewing. I sat a while longer, and gazed 
at my paper, lost in thought, then folded it up 
and put it slowly into my pocket. It got 
chilly ; and I no longer owned a waistcoat. 
I buttoned my coat right up to my throat and 
thrust my hands in my pockets ; thereupon 
I rose and went on. 

If I had only succeeded this time, just this 
once ! Twice my landlady had asked me with 
her eyes for payment, and I was obliged to 
hang my head and slink past her with a 
shamefaced air. I could not do it again : the 
very next time I met those eyes I would give 
warning and account for myself honestly. Well, 
any way, things could not last long at this 

On coming to the exit of the park I saw 

Hunger 45 

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 im- 
mediately 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 news- 
paper placard I came to, to read the announce- 
ments 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 

46 Hunger 

me to pay my rent in advance, or else move 
as soon as I could. I must not be offended, 
it was absolutely a necessary request. Friendlily 
Mrs Gundersen. 

I wrote an application to Christy the grocer, 
No. 13 Groenlandsleret, put it in an envelope, 
and took it to the pillar at the corner. Then 
I returned to my room and sat down in the 
rocking-chair to think, whilst the darkness grew 
closer and closer. Sitting up late began to be 
difficult now. 

I woke very early in the morning. It was 
still quite dark as I opened my eyes, and it 
was not till long after that I heard five strokes 
of the clock down-stairs. I turned round to 
doze again, but sleep had flown. I grew more 
and more wakeful, and lay and thought of a 
thousand things. 

Suddenly a few good sentences fitted for a 
sketch or story strike me, delicate linguistic 
hits of which I have never before found the 
equal. I lie and repeat these words over to 
myself, and find that they are capital. Little 
by little others come and fit themselves to the 
preceding ones. I grow keenly wakeful. I 
get up and snatch paper and pencil from the 
table behind my bed. It was as if a vein had 

Hunger 47 

burst in me ; one word follows another, and 
they fit themselves together harmoniously with 
telling effect. Scene piles on scene, actions 
and speeches bubble up in my brain, and a 
wonderful sense of pleasure empowers me. I 
write as one possessed, and fill page after page 
without a moment's pause. 

Thoughts come so swiftly to me and continue 
to flow so richly that I miss a number of telling 
bits, that I cannot set down quickly enough, 
although I work with all my might. They 
continue to invade me ; I am full of my sub- 
ject, and every word I write is inspired. 

This strange period lasts lasts such a 
blessedly long time before it comes to an end. 
I have fifteen twenty written pages lying on 
my knees before me, when at last I cease and 
lay my pencil aside. So sure as there is any 
worth in these pages, so sure am I saved. I 
jump out of bed and dress myself. It grows 
lighter. I can half distinguish the lighthouse 
director's announcement down near the door, 
and near the window it is already so light that 
I could, in case of necessity, see to write. I set 
to work immediately to make a fair copy of 
what I have written. 

An intense, peculiar exhalation of light and 

48 Hunger 

colour emanates from these fantasies of mine. 
I start with surprise as I note one good thing 
after another, and tell myself that this is the 
best thing I have ever read. My head swims 
with a sense of satisfaction ; delight inflates 
me ; I grow grandiose. 

I weigh my writing in my hand, and value 
it, at a loose guess, for five shillings on the 

It could never enter any one's head to chaffer 
about five shillings ; on the contrary, getting it 
for half-a-sovereign might be considered dirt- 
cheap, considering the quality of the thing. 

I had no intention of turning off such special 
work gratis. As far as I was aware, one did 
not pick up stories of that kind on the way- 
side, and I decided on half-a-sovereign. 

The room brightened and brightened. I 
threw a glance towards the door, and could 
distinguish without particular trouble the skele- 
ton-like letters of Miss Andersen's winding- 
sheet advertisement to the right of it. It was 
also a good while since the clock had struck 

I rose and came to a standstill in the middle 
of the floor. Everything well considered, Mrs 
Gundersen's warning came rather opportunely. 

Hunger 49 

This was, properly speaking, no fit room for 
me ; there were only common enough green 
curtains at the windows, and neither were 
there any pegs too many on the wall. The 
poor little rocking-chair over in the corner 
was in reality a mere attempt at a rocking- 
chair ; with the smallest sense of humour, one 
might easily split one's sides with laughter at 
it It was far too low for a grown man, and 
besides that, one needed, so to speak, the aid 
of a boot-jack to get out of it. To cut it 
short, the room was not adapted for the 
pursuit of things intellectual, and I did not 
intend to keep it any longer. On no account 
would I keep it. I had held my peace, and 
endured and lived far too long in such a den. 

Buoyed up by hope and satisfaction, con- 
stantly occupied with my remarkable sketch, 
which I drew forth every moment from my 
pocket and re-read, I determined to set 
seriously to work with my flitting. I took out 
my bundle, a red handkerchief that contained 
a few clean collars and some crumpled news- 
papers, in which I had occasionally carried 
home bread. I rolled my blanket up and 
pocketed my reserve of white writing-paper. 
Then I ransacked every corner to assure myself 
D ^ 

50 Hunger 

that I had left nothing behind, and as I could 
not find anything, went over to the window and 
looked out. 

The morning was gloomy and wet ; there 
was no one about at the burnt-out smithy, and 
the clothes-line down in the yard stretched 
tightly from wall to wall shrunken by the wet. 
It was all familiar to me, so I stepped back from 
the window, took the blanket under my arm, 
and made a low bow to the lighthouse director's 
announcement, bowed again to Miss Andersen's 
winding-sheet advertisement, and opened the 
door. Suddenly the thought of my landlady 
struck me ; she really ought to be informed 
of my leaving, so that she could see she had 
had an honest soul to deal with. 

I wanted also to thank her in writing for the 
few days' overtime in which I occupied the 
room. The certainty that I was now saved for 
some time to come increased so strongly in me 
that I even promised her five shillings. I 
would call in some day when passing by. 

Besides that, I wanted to prove to her what 
an upright sort of person her roof had sheltered. 

I left the note behind me on the table. 

Once again I stopped at the door and turned 
round, the buoyant feeling of having risen once 

Hunger 51 

again to the surface charmed me, and made me 
feel grateful towards God and all creation, and 
I knelt down at the bedside and thanked God 
aloud for His great goodness to me that 

I knew it ; ah ! I knew that the rapture of 
inspiration I had just felt and noted down was 
a miraculous heaven -brew in my spirit in 
answer to my yesterday's cry for aid. 

" It was God ! It was God ! " I cried to my- 
self, and I wept for enthusiasm over my own 
words ; now and then I had to stop and listen 
if any one was on the stairs. At last I rose 
up and prepared to go. I stole noiselessly 
down each flight and reached the door unseen. 

The streets were glistening from the rain 
which had fallen in the early morning. The 
sky hung damp and heavy over the town, 
and there was no glint of sunlight visible. I 
wondered what the day would bring forth ? 
I went as usual in the direction of the Town 
Hall, and saw that it was half-past eight. I 
had yet a few hours to walk about ; there was 
no use in going to the newspaper office before 
ten, perhaps eleven. I must lounge about so 
long, and think, in the meantime, over some 
expedient to raise breakfast. For that matter, 


52 Hunger 

I had no fear of going to bed hungry that day ; 
those times were over, God be praised ! That 
was a thing of the past, an evil dream. Hence- 
forth, Excelsior! 

But, in the meanwhile, the green blanket was 
a trouble to me. Neither could I well make 
myself conspicuous by carrying such a thing 
about right under people's eyes. What would 
anyone think of me ? And as I went on I tried 
to think of a place where I could have it kept 
till later on. It occurred to me that I might 
go into Semb's and get it wrapped up in paper ; 
not only would it look better, but I need no 
longer be ashamed of carrying it. 

I entered the shop, and stated my errand to 
one of the shop boys. 

He looked first at the blanket, then at me. 
It struck me that he shrugged his shoulders to 
himself a little contemptuously as he took it ; 
this annoyed me. 

" Young man," I cried, " do be a little careful ! 
There are two costly glass vases in that; the 
parcel has to go to Smyrna." 

This had a famous effect. The fellow apolo- 
gised with every movement he made for not 
having guessed that there was something out 
of the common in this blanket. When he had 

Hunger 53 

finished packing it up I thanked him with the 
air of a man who had sent precious goods to 
Smyrna before now. He held the door open 
for me, and bowed twice as I left. 

I began to wander about amongst the people 
in the market place, kept from choice near the 
woman who had potted plants for sale. The 
heavy crimson roses the leaves of which 
glowed blood -like and moist in the damp 
morning made me envious, and tempted me 
sinfully to snatch one, and I inquired the price 
of them merely as an excuse to approach as 
near to them as possible. 

If I had any money over I would buy one, no 
matter how things went ; indeed, I might well 
save a little now and then out of my way 
of living to balance things again. 

It was ten o'clock, and I went up to the 
newspaper office. " Scissors " is running 
through a lot of old papers. The editor has 
not come yet. On being asked my business, 
I deliver my weighty manuscript, lead him 
to suppose that it is something of more 
than uncommon importance, and impress 
upon his memory gravely that he is to give 
it into the editor's own hands as soon as he 

54 Hunger 

I would myself call later on in the day for 
an answer. 

" All right," replied " Scissors," and busied 
himself again with his papers. 

It seemed to me that he treated the matter 
somewhat too coolly ; but I said nothing, only 
nodded rather carelessly to him, and left. 

I had now time on hand ! If it would only 
clear up ! It was perfectly wretched weather, 
without either wind or freshness. Ladies 
carried their umbrellas, to be on the safe side, 
and the woollen caps of the men looked limp 
and depressing. 

I took another turn across the market and 
looked at the vegetables and roses. I feel a 
hand on my shoulder and turn round " Missy " 
bids me good-morning ! " Good-morning ! " I 
say in return, a little questioningly. I never 
cared particularly for " Missy." 

He looks inquisitively at the large bran-new 
parcel under my arm, and asks : 

"What have you got there?" 

" Oh, I have been down to Semb and got 
some cloth for a suit," I reply, in a careless 
tone. " I didn't think I could rub on any 
longer; there's such a thing as treating one- 
self too shabbily." 

Hunger 55 

He looks at me with an amazed start. 

"By the way, how are you getting on?" he 
asks it slowly. 

" Oh, beyond all expectation ! " 

" Then you have got something to do now ? " 

' Something to do ? " I answer and seem 
surprised. " Rather ! Why, I am book-keeper 
at Christensen's a wholesale house." 

" Oh, indeed ! " he remarks and draws back a 

" Well, God knows I am the first to be pleased 
at your success. If only you don't let people 
beg the money from you that you earn. Good- 
day ! " 

A second after he wheels round and comes 
back and, pointing with his cane to my parcel, 
says : 

" I would recommend my tailor to you for 
the suit of clothes. You won't find a better 
tailor than Isaksen just say I sent you, that's 
all ! " 

This was really rather more than I could 
swallow. What did he want to poke his nose 
in my affairs for? Was it any concern of his 
which tailor I employed? The sight of this 
empty-headed dandified "masher" embittered 
me, and I reminded him rather brutally of ten 

56 Hunger 

shillings he had borrowed from me. But before 
he could reply I regretted that I had asked for 
it. I got ashamed and avoided meeting his 
eyes, and, as a lady came by just then, I stepped 
hastily aside to let her pass, and seized the op- 
portunity to proceed on my way. 

What should I do with myself whilst I 
waited? I could not visit a cafe with empty 
pockets, and I knew of no acquaintance that I 
could call on at this time of day. I wended 
my way instinctively up town, killed a good 
deal of time between the market-place and 
Graendsen, read the Aftenpost, which was 
newly pasted up on the board outside the 
office, took a turn down Karl Johann, wheeled 
round and went straight on to Our Saviour's 
Cemetery, where I found a quiet seat on the 
slope near the Mortuary Chapel. 

I sat there in complete quietness, dozed in 
the damp air, mused, half-slept and shivered. 

And time passed. Now, was it certain that 
the story really was a little masterpiece of 
inspired art? God knows if it might not 
have its faults here and there. All things 
well weighed, it was not certain that it would 
be accepted ; no, simply not even accepted. It 
was perhaps mediocre enough in its way, 

Hunger 57 

perhaps downright worthless. What security 
had I that it was not already at this moment 
lying in the waste-paper basket ? . . . My con- 
fidence was shaken. I sprang up and stormed 
out of the graveyard. 

Down in Akersgaden I peeped into a shop 
window, and saw that it was only a little past 
noon. There was no use in looking up the 
editor before four. The fate of my story filled me 
with gloomy forebodings ; the more I thought 
about it the more absurd it seemed to me that 
I could have written anything useable with such 
suddenness, half-asleep, with my brain full of 
fever and dreams. Of course I had deceived 
myself and been happy all through the long 
morning for nothing ! ... Of course ! . . . I 
rushed with hurried strides up Ullavoldsveien, 
past St Han's Hill, until I came to the open 
fields ; on through the narrow quaint lanes in 
Sagene, past waste plots and small tilled fields, 
and found myself at last on a country road, 
the end of which I could not see. 

Here I halted and decided to turn. 

I was warm from the walk, and returned 
slowly and very downcast. I met two hay- 
carts. The drivers were lying flat upon the 
top of their loads, and sang. Both were bare- 

58 Hunger 

headed, and both had round, care-free faces. 
I passed them and thought to myself that 
they were sure to accost me, sure to fling some 
taunt or other at me, play me some trick ; and 
as I got near enough, one of them called out 
and asked what I had under my arm? 

"A blanket!" 

"What o'clock is it?" he asked then. 

" I don't know rightly ; about three, I think ! " 

Whereupon they both laughed and drove 
on. I felt at the same moment the lash of a 
whip curl round one of my ears, and my hat 
was jerked off. They couldn't let me pass 
without playing me a trick. I raised my hand 
to my head more or less confusedly, picked my 
hat out of the ditch, and continued my way. 
Down at St Han's Hill I met a man who told 
me it was past four. Past four! already past 
four ! I mended my pace, nearly ran down to 
the town, turned off towards the news office. 
Perhaps the editor had been there hours ago, 
and had left the office by now. I ran, jostled 
against folk, stumbled, knocked against cars, 
left everybody behind me, competed with the 
very horses, struggled like a madman to arrive 
there in time. I wrenched through the door, 
took the stairs in four bounds, and knocked. 

Hunger 59 

No answer. 

" He has left, he has left," I think. I try 
the door which is open, knock once again, 
and enter. The editor is sitting at his table, 
his face towards the window, pen in hand, 
about to write. When he hears my breath- 
less greeting he turns half round, steals a 
quick look at me, shakes his head, and says : 

" Oh, I haven't found time to read your 
sketch yet." 

I am so delighted, because in that case 
he has not rejected it, that I answer : 

" Oh, pray, sir, don't mention it. I quite 
understand there is no hurry ; in a few days, 
perhaps " 

" Yes, I shall see ; besides, I have your 

I forget to inform him that I no longer 
had an address, and the interview is over. I 
bow myself out, and leave. Hope flames up 
again in me ; as yet, nothing is lost on the 
contrary, I might, for that matter, yet win all. 
And my brain began to spin a romance about 
a great council in Heaven, in which it had 
just been resolved that I should win ay, 
triumphantly win ten shillings for a story. 

If I only had some place in which to take 

60 Hunger 

refuge for the night ! I consider where I 
can stow myself away, and am so absorbed 
in this query that I come to a standstill in 
the middle of the street. I forget where I 
am, and pose like a solitary beacon on a rock 
in mid-sea, whilst the tides rush and roar 
about it. 

A newspaper boy offers me The Viking. 

" It 's real good value, sir ! " 

I look up, and start ; I am outside Semb's 
shop again. I quickly turn to the right-about, 
holding the parcel in front of me, and hurry 
down Kirkegaden, ashamed and afraid that 
anyone might have seen me from the window. 
I pass by Ingebret's and the theatre, turn 
round by the box-office, and go towards the 
sea, near the fortress. I find a seat once more, 
and begin to consider afresh. 

Where in the world shall I find a shelter 
for the night? 

Was there a hole to be found where I 
could creep in and hide myself till morning. 
My pride forbade my returning to my lodging 
besides, it could never really occur to me to 
go back on my word ; I rejected this thought 
with great scorn, and I smiled superciliously 
as I thought of the little red rocking-chair. 

Hunger 61 

By some association of ideas, I find myself 
suddenly transported to a large, double room 
I once occupied in Haegdehaugen. I could 
see a tray on the table, filled with great 
slices of bread-and-butter. The vision changed ; 
it was transformed into beef a seductive piece 
of beef a snow-white napkin, bread in plenty, 
a silver fork. The door opened ; enter my 
landlady, offering me more tea. . . . 

Visions ; senseless dreams ! I tell myself 
that were I to get food now my head would 
become dizzy once more, fever would fill my 
brain, and I would have to fight again against 
many mad fancies. I could not stomach food, 
my inclination did not lie that way ; that was 
peculiar to me an idiosyncrasy of mine. 

Maybe as night drew on a way could be 
found to procure shelter. There was no hurry ; 
at the worst, I could seek a place out in the 
woods. I had the entire environs of the city 
at my disposal ; as yet, there was no degree 
of cold worth speaking of in the weather. 

And outside there the sea rocked in drowsy 
rest ; ships and clumsy, broad-nosed prams 
ploughed graves in its bluish surface, and 
scattered rays to the right and left, and glided 
on, whilst the smoke rolled up in downy masses 

62 Hunger 

from the chimney-stacks, and the stroke of the 
engine pistons pierced the clammy air with a 
dull sound. There was no sun and no wind ; 
the trees behind me were almost wet, and 
the seat upon which I sat was cold and damp. 

Time went. I settled down to doze, waxed 
tired, and a little shiver ran down my back. 
A while after I felt that my eyelids began to 
droop, and I let them droop. . . . 

When I awoke it was dark all around me. 
I started up, bewildered and freezing. I seized 
my parcel, and commenced to walk. I went 
faster and faster in order to get warm, slapped 
my arms, chafed my legs which by now I 
could hardly feel under me and thus reached 
the watch-house of the fire brigade. It was 
nine o'clock ; I had been asleep for several 

Whatever shall I do with myself? I must 
go to some place. I stand there and stare 
up at the watch-house, and query if it would 
not be possible to succeed in getting into one 
of the passages if I were to watch for a moment 
when the watchman's back was turned. I 
ascend the steps, and prepare to open a 
conversation with the man. He lifts his axe 
in salute, and waits for what I may have to 

Hunger 63 

say. The uplifted axe, with its edge turned 
against me, darts like a cold slash through 
my nerves. I stand dumb with terror before 
this armed man, and draw involuntarily back. 
I say nothing, only glide farther and farther 
away from him. To save appearances I draw 
my hand over my forehead, as if I had forgotten 
something or other, and slink away. When 
I reached the pavement again I felt as much 
saved as if I had just escaped a great peril, 
and I hurried away. 

Cold and famished, more and more miserable 
in spirit, I flew up Carl Johann. I began 
to swear out aloud, troubling myself not a 
whit as to whether anyone heard me or not. 
Arrived at Parliament House, just near the 
first trees, I suddenly, by some association of 
ideas, bethought myself of a young artist I 
knew, a stripling I had once saved from an 
assault in the Tivoli, and upon whom I had 
called later on. I snap my fingers gleefully, 
and wend my way to Tordenskjiolds Street, 
find the door, on which is fastened a card with 
C. Zacharias Bartel on it, and knock. 

He came out himself, and smelt so fearfully 
of ale and tobacco that it was horrible. 

"Good-evening!" I say. 

64 Hunger 

" Good-evening ! is that you ? Now, why 
the deuce do you come so late? It doesn't 
look at all its best by lamplight. I have added 
a hayrick to it since, and have made a few 
other alterations. You must see it by daylight ; 
there is no use our trying to see it now ! " 

" Let me have a look at it now, all the same," 
said I ; though, for that matter, I did not in 
the least remember what picture he was talking 

" Absolutely impossible," he replied ; " the 
whole thing will look yellow ; and, besides, 
there's another thing" and he came towards 
me, whispering : " I have a little girl inside 
this evening, so it's clearly impracticable." 

" Oh, in that case, of course there 's no ques- 
tion about it." 

I drew back, said good - night, and went 

So there was no way out of it but to seek 
some place out in the woods. If only the 
fields were not so damp. I patted my blanket, 
and felt more and more at home at the thought 
of sleeping out. I had worried myself so long 
trying to find a shelter in town that I was 
wearied and bored with the whole affair. It 
would be a positive pleasure to get to rest, 

Hunger 65 

to resign myself; so I loaf down the street 
without a thought in my head. At a place in 
Haegdehaugen I halted outside a provision 
shop where some food was displayed in the 
window. A cat lay there and slept beside a 
round French roll. There was a basin of lard 
and several basins of meal in the background. 
I stood a while and gazed at these eatables ; 
but as I had no money wherewith to buy, I 
turned quickly away and continued my tramp. 
I went very slowly, passed by Majorstuen, 
went on, always on it seemed to me for hours, 
and came at length to Bogstad's wood. 

I turned off the road here, and sat down 
to rest. Then I began to look about for a 
place to suit me, to gather together heather 
and juniper leaves, and make up a bed on a 
little declivity where it was a bit dry. I 
opened the parcel and took out the blanket ; 
I was tired and exhausted with the long walk, 
and lay down at once. I turned and twisted 
many times before I could get settled. My 
ear pained me a little it was slightly swollen 
from the whip-lash and I could not lie on it. 
I pulled off my shoes and put them under my 
head, with the paper from Semb on top. 

And the great spirit of darkness spread a 

66 Hunger 

shroud over me . . . everything was silent 
everything. But up in the heights soughed 
the everlasting song, the voice of the air, the 
distant, toneless humming which is never silent. 
I listened so long to this ceaseless faint 
murmur that it began to bewilder me ; it was 
surely a symphony from the rolling spheres 
above. Stars that intone a song. . . . 

" I am damned if it is, though," I exclaimed ; 
and I laughed aloud to collect my wits. 
" They 're night-owls hooting in Canaan ! " 

I rose again, pulled on my shoes, and 
wandered about in the gloom, only to lay 
down once more. I fought and wrestled with 
anger and fear until nearly dawn, then fell 
asleep at last. 

It was broad daylight when I opened my 
eyes, and I had a feeling that it was going on 
towards noon. 

I pulled on my shoes, packed up the blanket 
again, and set out for town. There was no 
sun to be seen to-day either ; I shivered like 
a dog, my feet were benumbed, and water 
commenced to run from my eyes, as if they 
could not bear the daylight. 

It was three o'clock. Hunger began to assail 


Hunger 67 

me downright in earnest. I was faint, and now 
and again I had to retch furtively. I swung 
round by the Dampkokken,* 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 some- 
thing 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 

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

68 Hunger 

I had made myself deserving of this special per- 
secution ; 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 prin- 
ciple, 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 perdi- 
tion, 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 

Hunger 69 

loose, fleeting, desultory thought, particularly 
with such a headache as I had, and nearly 
killed carrying a blanket, too, that belonged 
to another fellow. 

There would surely be some way or another 
of getting help when the right time came! 
Now, there was the grocer in Groenlandsleret. 
Had I importuned him every hour in the 
day since I sent in my application? Had I 
rung the bell early and late, and been turned 
away? Why, I had not even applied person- 
ally to him or sought an answer! It did not 
follow, surely, that it must needs be an ab- 
solutely vain attempt. 

Maybe I had luck with me this time. 
Luck often took such a devious course, and I 
started for Groenlandsleret. 

The last spasm that had darted through 
my head had exhausted me a little, and I 
walked very slowly and thought over what I 
would say to him. 

Perhaps he was a good soul ; if the whim 
seized him he might pay me for my work a 
shilling in advance, even without my asking 
for it. People of that sort had sometimes 
the most capital ideas. 

I stole into a doorway and blackened the 

yo Hunger 

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 

Hunger 71 

be the man's final say. He busied himself 
again with the bags. 

" Yes, it was a pity," I said ; " really an 
awful pity, but of course it would not occur 
again ; and, after all, surely this little error 
could not have rendered me quite unfit to 
keep books?" 

"No, I didn't say that," he answered, "but 
in the meantime it had so much weight with 
me that I decided at once upon another man." 

"So the place is filled?" 


"A h well, then there's nothing more to 
be said about it ! " 

"No! I'm sorry, but " 

"Good-evening!" said I. 

Fury welled up in me, blazing with brutal 
strength. I fetched my parcel from the 
entry, set my teeth together, jostled against 
the peaceful folk on the footpath, and never 
once asked their pardon. 

As one man stopped and set me to rights 
rather sharply for my behaviour, I turned 
round and screamed a single meaningless 
word in his ear, clenched my fist right under 
his nose, and stumbled on, hardened by a 
blind rage that I could not control. 

72 Hunger 

He called a policeman, and I desired 
nothing better than to have one between my 
hands just for one moment. I slackened my 
pace intentionally in order to give him an 
opportunity of overtaking me ; but he did 
not come. Was there now any reason what- 
ever that absolutely every one of one's most 
earnest and most persevering efforts should 
fail? Why, too, had I written 1848? In 
what way did that infernal date concern me? 
Here I was going about starving, so that my 
entrails wriggle together in me like worms, 
and it was, as far as I knew, not decreed in 
the book of fate that anything in the shape 
of food would turn up later on in the day. 

I was becoming mentally and physically 
more and more prostrate ; I was letting my- 
self down each day to less and less honest 
actions, so that I lied on each day without 
blushing, cheated poor people out of their 
rent, struggled with the meanest thoughts of 
making away with other men's blankets all 
without remorse or prick of conscience. 

Foul places began to gather in my inner 
being, black spores which spread more and 
more. And up in Heaven God Almighty sat 
and kept a watchful eye on me, and took 

Hunger 73 

heed that my destruction proceeded in accord- 
ance with all the rules of art, uniformly and 
gradually, without a break in the measure. 

But in the abysses of hell the angriest 
devils bristled with rage because it lasted 
such a long time until I committed a mortal 
sin, an unpardonable offence for which God 
in His justice must cast me down. . . . 

I quickened my pace, hurried faster and 
faster, turned suddenly to the left and found 
myself, excited and angry, in a light ornate 
doorway. I did not pause, not for one 
second, but the whole peculiar ornamentation 
of the entrance struck on my perception in a 
flash ; every detail of the decoration and the 
tiling of the floor stood clear on my mental 
vision as I sprang up the stairs. I rang 
violently on the second floor. Why should I 
stop exactly on the second floor? And why 
just seize hold of this bell which was some 
little way from the stairs? 

A young lady in a grey gown with black 
trimming came out and opened the door. 
She looked for a moment in astonishment at 
me, then shook her head and said : 

"No, we have not got anything to-day," 
and she made a feint to close the door. 

74 Hunger 

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 ut- 
most 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 men- 
dacious 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?" 

" No ! " 

" 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* and I bowed again and 
drew back. The young lady blushed crimson, 

* The last family bearing title of nobility in Norway. 

Hunger 75 

and in her embarrassment could not stir from 
the spot, but stood and stared after me as I 
descended the stairs. 

My calm had returned to me, and my head 
was clear. The lady's saying that she had 
nothing for me to-day had acted upon me like 
an icy shower. So it had gone so far with me 
that any one might point at me, and say to 
himself, " There goes a beggar one of those 
people who get their food handed out to them 
at folk's back-doors ! " 

I halted outside an eating-house in Moller 
Street, and sniffed the fresh smell of meat 
roasting inside ; my hand was already upon 
the door-handle, and I was on the point of 
entering, without any fixed purpose, when I 
bethought myself in time, and left the spot. 
On reaching the market, and seeking for a 
place to rest for a little, I found all the benches 
occupied, and I sought in vain all round outside 
the church for a quiet seat, where I could sit 

Naturally. I told myself, gloomily naturally, 
naturally ; and I commenced to walk again. I 
took a turn round the fountain at the corner of 
the bazaar, and swallowed a mouthful of water. 
On again, dragging one foot after the other ; 

j6 Hunger 

stopped for a long time before each shop 
window ; halted, and watched every vehicle that 
drove by. I felt a scorching heat in my head, 
and something pulsated strangely in my 
temples. The water I had drunk disagreed 
with me fearfully, and I retched, stopping here 
and there to escape being noticed in the open 
street. In this manner I came up to Our 
Saviour's Cemetery. 

I sat down here, with my elbows on my 
knees and my head in my hands. In this 
cramped position I was more at ease, and I no 
longer felt the little gnawing in my chest. 

A stone-cutter lay on his stomach on a large 
slab of granite, at the side of me, and cut in- 
scriptions. He had blue spectacles on, and re- 
minded me of an acquaintance of mine whom 
I had almost forgotten. 

If I could only knock all shame on the head 
and apply to him. Tell him the truth right 
out, that things were getting awfully tight with 
me now ; ay, that I found it hard enough to 
keep alive. I could give him my shaving- 

Zounds ! my shaving - tickets ; tickets for 
nearly a shilling. I search nervously for this 
precious treasure. As I do not find them 

Hunger 77 

quickly enough, I spring to my feet and search, 
in a sweat of fear. I discover them at last in 
the bottom of my breast-pocket, together with 
other papers some clean, some written on of 
no value. 

I count these six tickets over many times, 
backwards and forwards ; I had not much use 
for them ; it might pass for a whim a notion 
of mine that I no longer cared to get shaved. 

I was saved to the extent of sixpence a 
white sixpence, of Kongsberg silver. The bank 
closed at six ; I could watch for my man out- 
side the Opland Caf between seven and eight. 

I sat, and was for a long time pleased with 
this thought. Time went. The wind blew 
lustily through the chestnut trees around me, 
and the day declined. 

After all, was it not rather petty to come 
slinking up with six shaving-tickets to a young 
gentleman holding a good position in a bank ? 
Perhaps he had already a book, maybe two, 
quite full of spick and span tickets, a contrast 
to the crumpled ones I held. 

Who could tell ? I felt in all my pockets 
for anything else I could let go with them, but 
found nothing. If I could only offer him my 
tie? I could well do without it if I buttoned 

78 Hunger 

my coat tightly up, which, by the way, I was 
already obliged to do, as I had no waistcoat. 
I untied it it was a large overlapping bow 
which hid half my chest, brushed it carefully, 
and folded it up in a piece of clean white 
writing-paper, together with the tickets. Then 
I left the churchyard and took the road leading 
to the Opland. 

It was seven by the Town Hall clock. I 
walked up and down hard by the cafe, kept 
close to the iron railings, and kept a sharp 
watch on all who went in and came out of the 
door. At last, about eight o'clock, I saw the 
young fellow, fresh, elegantly dressed, coming 
up the hill and across to the cafe door. My 
heart fluttered like a little bird in my breast 
as I caught sight of him, and I blurted out, 
without even a greeting : 

" Sixpence, old friend ! " I said, putting on 
cheek ; " here is the worth of it," and I thrust 
the little packet into his hand. 

" Haven't got it," he exclaimed. " God 
knows if I have ! " and he turned his purse 
inside out right before my eyes. " I was out 
last night and got totally cleared out ! You 
must believe me, I literally haven't got it." 

" No, no, my dear fellow ; I suppose it is so," 

Hunger 79 

I answered, and I took his word for it. There 
was, indeed, no reason why he should lie about 
such a trifling matter. It struck me, too, that 
his blue eyes were moist whilst he ransacked 
his pockets and found nothing. I drew back. 
" Excuse me," I said ; " it was only just that 
I was a bit hard up." I was already a piece 
down the street, when he called after me about 
the little packet. "Keep it! keep it," I 
answered ; " you are welcome to it. There 
are only a few trifles in it a bagatelle ; about 
all I own in the world," and I became so 
touched at my own words, they sounded so 
pathetic in the twilight, and I fell a- 
weeping. . . . 

The wind freshened, the clouds chased madly 
across the heavens, and it grew cooler and 
cooler as it got darker. I walked, and cried 
as I walked, down the whole street ; felt more 
and more commiseration with myself, and re- 
peated, time after time, a few words, an ejacu- 
lation, which called forth fresh tears whenever 
they were on the point of ceasing : " Lord 
God, I feel so wretched ! Lord God, I feel so 
wretched ! " 

An hour passed ; passed with such strange 
slowness, such weariness. I spent a long time 

80 Hunger 

in Market Street ; sat on steps, stole into door- 
ways, and when any one approached, stood and 
stared absently into the shops where people 
bustled about with wares or money. At last 
I found myself a sheltered place, behind a 
deal hoarding, between the church and the 

No ; I couldn't go out into the wood again 
this evening. Things must take their course. 
I had not strength enough to go, and it was 
such an endless way there. I would kill 
the night as best I could, and remain where 
I was ; if it got all too cold, well, I could walk 
round the church. I would not in any case 
worry myself any more about that, and I leant 
back and dozed. 

The noise around me diminished ; the shops 
closed. The steps of the pedestrians sounded 
more and more rarely, and in all the windows 
about the lights went out. I opened my eyes, 
and became aware of a figure standing in front 
of me. The flash of shining buttons told me 
it was a policeman, though I could not see 
the man's face. 

" Good-night," he said. 

" Good-night," I answered, and got afraid. 

" Where do you live ? " he queried. 

Hunger 81 

I name, from habit and without thought, my 
old address, the little attic. 

He stood for a while. 

" Have I done anything wrong ? " I asked, 

" No, not at all ! " he replied ; " but you had 
perhaps better be getting home now ; it 's cold 
lying here." 

"Ay, that's true; I feel it is a little chilly." 
I said good-night, and instinctively took the 
road to my old abode. If I only set about 
it carefully, I might be able to get upstairs 
without being heard ; there were eight steps in 
all, and only the two top ones creaked under 
my tread. Down at the door I took off my 
shoes, and ascended. It was quiet everywhere. 
I could hear the slow tick-tack of a clock, 
and a child crying a little. After that I heard 
nothing. I found my door, lifted the latch 
as I was accustomed to do, entered the room, 
and shut the door noiselessly after me. 

Everything was as I had left it. The curtains 
were pulled aside from the windows, and the 
bed stood empty. I caught a glimpse of a 
note lying on the table ; perhaps it was my 
note to the landlady she might never have 
been up here since I went away. 

82 Hunger 

I fumbled with my hands over the white 
spot, and felt, to my astonishment, that it was 
a letter. I take it over to the window, examine 
as well as it is possible in the dark the badly- 
written letters of the address, and make out 
at least my own name. Ah, I thought, an 
answer from my landlady, forbidding me to 
enter the room again if I were for sneaking 

Slowly, quite slowly I left the room, carrying 
my shoes in one hand, the letter in the other, 
and the blanket under my arm. I draw 
myself up, set my teeth as I tread on the 
creaking steps, get happily down the stairs, 
and stand once more at the door. I put on 
my shoes, take my time with the laces, sit 
a while quietly after I 'm ready, and stare 
vacantly before me, holding the letter in my 
hand. Then I get up and go. 

The flickering ray of a gas lamp gleams up 
the street. I make straight for the light, lean 
my parcel against the lamp-post and open the 
letter. All this with the utmost deliberation. 
A stream of light, as it were, darts through 
my breast, and I hear that I give a little cry 
a meaningless sound of joy. The letter was 
from the editor. My story was accepted 

Hunger 83 

had been set in type immediately, straight off! 
A few slight alterations. ... A couple of 
errors in writing amended. . . . Worked out 
with talent ... be printed to-morrow . . . half- 

I laughed and cried, took to jumping and 
running down the street, stopped, slapped my 
thighs, swore loudly and solemnly into space 
at nothing in particular. And time went. 

All through the night until the bright dawn 
I " jodled " about the streets and repeated 
"Worked out with talent therefore a little 
masterpiece a stroke of genius and half-a- 


A FEW weeks later I was out one evening. 

Once more I had sat out in a churchyard 
and worked at an article for one of the news- 
papers. But whilst I was struggling with it 
eight o'clock struck, and darkness closed in, 
and time for shutting the gates. 

I was hungry very hungry. The ten 
shillings had, worse luck, lasted all too short. 
It was now two, ay, nearly three days since 
I had eaten anything, and I felt somewhat 
faint ; holding the pencil even had taxed me 
a little. I had half a penknife and a bunch 
of keys in my pocket, but not a farthing. 

When the churchyard gate shut I meant 
to have gone straight home, but, from an in- 
stinctive dread of my room a vacant tinker's 
workshop, where all was dark and barren, and 
which, in fact, I had got permission to occupy 
for the present I stumbled on, passed, not 
caring where I went, the Town Hall, right 
to the sea, and over to a seat near the rail- 
way bridge. 

8 4 

Hunger 85 

At this moment not a sad thought troubled 
me. I forgot my distress, and felt calmed 
by the view of the sea, which lay peaceful and 
lovely in the murkiness. For old habit's sake 
I would please myself by reading through 
the bit I had just written, and which seemed 
to my suffering head the best thing I had 
ever done. 

I took my manuscript out of my pocket 
to try and decipher it, held it close up to my 
eyes, and ran through it, one line after the 
other. At last I got tired, and put the papers 
back in my pocket. Everything was still. 
The sea stretched away in pearly blueness, 
and little birds flitted noiselessly by me from 
place to place. 

A policeman patrols in the distance ; other- 
wise there is not a soul visible, and the whole 
harbour is hushed in quiet. 

I count my belongings once more half a 
penknife, a bunch of keys, but not a farthing. 
Suddenly I dive into my pocket and take 
the papers out again. It was a mechanical 
movement, an unconscious nervous twitch. I 
selected a white unwritten page, and God 
knows where I got the notion from but I 
made a cornet, closed it carefully, so that it 

86 Hunger 

looked as if it were filled with something, and 
threw it far out on to the pavement. The 
breeze blew it onward a little, and then it 
lay still. 

By this time hunger had begun to assail 
me in earnest. I sat and looked at the white 
paper cornet, which seemed as if it might be 
bursting with shining silver pieces, and incited 
myself to believe that it really did contain 
something. I sat and coaxed myself quite 
audibly to guess the sum ; if I guessed aright, 
it was to be mine. 

I imagined the tiny, pretty penny bits at 
the bottom and the thick fluted shillings on 
top a whole paper cornet full of money! I 
sat and gazed at it with wide opened eyes, 
and urged myself to go and steal it. 

Then I hear the constable cough. What 
puts it into my head to do the same ? I rise 
up from the seat and repeat the cough three 
times so that he may hear it. Won't he 
jump at the cornet when he comes. I sat 
and laughed at this trick, rubbed my hands 
with glee, and swore with rollicking reckless- 
ness. What a disappointment he will get, 
the dog! Wouldn't this piece of villainy 
make him inclined to sink into hell's hottest 

Hunger 87 

pool of torment ! I was drunk with starva- 
tion ; my hunger had made me tipsy. 

A few minutes later the policeman comes 
by, clinking his iron heels on the pavement, 
peering on all sides. He takes his time ; he 
has the whole night before him ; he does not 
notice the paper bag not till he comes quite 
close to it. Then he stops and stares at it. 
It looks so white and so full as it lies there ; 
perhaps a little sum what? A little sum of 
silver money? . . . and he picks it up. Hum 
... it is light very light ; maybe an expensive 
feather ; some hat trimming. . . . He opened 
it carefully with his big hands, and looked in. 
I laughed, laughed, slapped my thighs, and 
laughed like a maniac. And not a sound 
issued from my throat ; my laughter was 
hushed and feverish to the intensity of tears. 

Clink, clink again over the paving-stones, 
and the policeman took a turn towards the 
landing-stage. I sat there, with tears in my 
eyes, and hiccoughed for breath, quite beside 
myself with feverish merriment. I commenced 
to talk aloud, related to myself all about the 
cornet, imitated the poor policeman's move- 
ments, peeped into my hollow hand, and 
repeated over and over again to myself, " He 

88 Hunger 

coughed as he threw it away he coughed as 
he threw it away." I added new words to 
these, gave them additional point, changed the 
whole sentence, and made it catching and 
piquant. He coughed once Kheu heu ! 

I exhausted myself in weaving variations on 
these words, and the evening was far advanced 
before my mirth ceased. Then a drowsy quiet 
overcame me ; a pleasant languor which I did 
not attempt to resist. The darkness had in- 
tensified, and a slight breeze furrowed the 
pearl-blue sea. The ships, the masts of which 
I could see outlined against the sky, looked 
with their black hulls like voiceless monsters 
that bristled and lay in wait for me. I had 
no pain my hunger had taken the edge off it. 
In its stead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched 
by everything around me, and glad not to 
be noticed by any one. I put my feet up on 
the seat and leant back. Thus I could best 
appreciate the well-being of perfect isolation. 
There was not a cloud on my mind, not a 
feeling of discomfort, and, so far as my thought 
reached, I had not a whim, not a desire un- 
satisfied. I lay with open eyes, in a state of 
utter absence of mind. I felt myself charmed 
away. Moreover, not a sound disturbed me. 

Hunger 89 

Soft darkness had hidden the whole world 
from my sight, and buried me in ideal rest. 
Only the lonely, crooning voice of silence 
strikes in monotones on my ear, and the 
dark monsters out there will draw me to 
them when night comes, and they will bear 
me far across the sea, through strange lands 
where no man dwells, and they will bear me 
to Princess Ylajali's palace, where an undreamt 
of grandeur awaits me, greater than that of 
any other man. And she herself will be sit- 
ting in a dazzling hall where all is of amethyst, 
on a throne of yellow roses, and will stretch 
out her hands to me when I alight ; will smile 
and call as I approach and kneel : " Welcome, 
welcome, knight, to me and my land ! I have 
waited twenty summers for you, and called 
for you on all bright nights. And when you 
sorrowed I have wept here, and when you 
slept I have breathed sweet dreams in you ! " 
. . . And the fair one clasps my hand and, 
holding it, leads me through long corridors 
where great crowds of people cry, " Hurrah ! " 
through bright gardens where three hundred 
tender maidens laugh and play ; and through 
another hall where all is of emerald ; and here 
the sun shines. 

90 Hunger 

In the corridors and galleries choirs of 
musicians march by, and rills of perfume are 
wafted towards me. 

I clasp her hand in mine ; I feel the wild 
witchery of enchantment shiver through my 
blood, and I fold my arms around her, and she 
whispers, " Not here ; come yet farther ! " and 
we enter a crimson room, where all is of ruby, 
a foaming glory, in which I faint. 

Then I feel her arms encircle me ; her 
breath fans my face with a whispered "Wel- 
come, loved one ! Kiss me . . . more . . . 
more. . . ." 

I see from my seat stars shooting before my 
eyes, and my thoughts are swept away in a 
hurricane of light. . . . 

I had fallen asleep where I lay, and was 
awakened by the policeman. There I sat, re- 
called mercilessly to life and misery. My first 
feeling was of stupid amazement at finding 
myself in the open air ; but this was quickly 
replaced by a bitter despondency. I was near 
crying with sorrow at being still alive. It had 
rained whilst I slept, and my clothes were 
soaked through and through, and I felt a 
damp cold in my limbs. 

The darkness was denser ; it was with 

Hunger 91 

difficulty that I could distinguish the police- 
man's face in front of me. 

" So, that 's right," he said ; " get up now." 

I got up at once ; if he had commanded 
me to lie down again I would have obeyed 
too. I was fearfully dejected, and utterly 
without strength ; added to that, I was almost 
instantly aware of the pangs of hunger again. 

" Hold on there! " the policeman shouted after 
me ; " why, you 're walking off without your 
hat, you Juggins ! So h there ; now, go on." 

" I indeed thought there was something 
something I had forgotten," I stammered, 
absently. " Thanks, good - night ! " and I 
stumbled away. 

If one only had a little bread to eat ; one 
of those delicious little brown loaves that one 
could bite into as one walked along the street ; 
and as I went on I thought over the particular 
sort of brown bread that would be so unspeak- 
ably good to munch. I was bitterly hungry ; 
wished myself dead and buried ; I got maudlin, 
and wept. 

There never was any end to my misery. 
Suddenly I stopped in the street, stamped on 
the pavement, and cursed loudly. What was 
it he called me ? A " Juggins " ? I would just 

92 Hunger 

show him what calling me a " Juggins " means. 
I turned round and ran back. I felt red-hot 
with anger. Down the street I stumbled, and 
fell, but I paid no heed to it, jumped up again, 
and ran on. But by the time I reached the 
railway station I had become so tired that I 
did not feel able to proceed all the way to the 
landing-stage ; besides, my anger had cooled 
down with the run. At length I pulled up and 
drew breath. Was it not, after all, a matter of 
perfect indifference to me what such a police- 
man said ? Yes ; but one couldn't stand every- 
thing. Right enough, I interrupted myself; 
but he knew no better. And I found this 
argument satisfactory. I repeated twice to 
myself, " He knew no better " ; and with that I 
returned again. 

" Good Lord ! " thought I, wrathfully, " what 
things you do take into your head : running 
about like a madman through the soaking wet 
streets on dark nights." My hunger was now 
tormenting me excruciatingly, and gave me no 
rest Again and again I swallowed saliva to 
try and satisfy myself a little ; I fancied it 

I had been pinched, too, for food for ever 
so many weeks before this last period set in, 

Hunger 93 

and my strength had diminished considerably 
of late. When I had been lucky enough to 
raise five shillings by some manoeuvre or 
another they only lasted any time with diffi- 
culty; not long enough for me to be restored 
to health before a new hunger period set in 
and reduced me again. My back and shoulders 
caused me the worst trouble. I could stop 
the little gnawing I had in my chest by 
coughing hard, or bending well forward as I 
walked, but I had no remedy for back and 
shoulders. Whatever was the reason that 
things would not brighten up for me ? Was I 
not just as much entitled to live as anyone 
else ? for example, as Bookseller Pascha or 
Steam Agent Hennechen ? Had I not two 
shoulders like a giant, and two strong hands 
to work with? and had I not, in sooth, even 
applied for a place as wood -chopper in 
Mollergaden in order to earn my daily 
bread? Was I lazy? Had I not applied 
for situations, attended lectures, written articles, 
and worked day and night like a man pos- 
sessed? Had I not lived like a miser, eaten 
bread and milk when I had plenty, bread alone 
when I had little, and starved when I had 
nothing? Did I live in an hotel? Had I a 

94 Hunger 

suite of rooms on the first floor ? Why, I am 
living in a loft over a tinker's workshop, a loft 
already forsaken by God and man last winter, 
because the snow blew in. So I could not under- 
stand the whole thing ; not a bit of it. 

I slouched on, and dwelt upon all this, and 
there was not as much as a spark of bitterness 
or malice or envy in my mind. 

I halted at a paint-shop and gazed into the 
window. I tried to read the labels on a 
couple of the tins, but it was too dark. Vexed 
with myself over this new whim, and excited 
almost angry at not being able to make out 
what these tins held, I rapped twice sharply 
on the window and went on. 

Up the street I saw a policeman. I 
quickened my pace, went close up to him, 
and said, without the slightest provocation, 
"It is ten o'clock." 

" No, it 's two," he answered, amazed. 

" No, it 's ten," I persisted ; " it is ten 
o'clock ! " and, groaning with anger, I stepped 
yet a pace or two nearer, clenched my fist, 
and said, " Listen, do you know what, it 's 
ten o'clock!" 

He stood and considered a while, summed 
up my appearance, stared aghast at me, and 

Hunger 95 

at last said, quite gently, " In any case, it 's 
about time ye were getting home. Would ye 
like me to go with ye a bit ? " 

I was completely disarmed by this man's 
unexpected friendliness. I felt that tears 
sprang up to my eyes, and I hastened to 
reply : 

" No, thank you ! I have only been out a 
little too late in a cafe\ Thank you very much 
all the same ! " 

He saluted with his hand to his helmet as 
I turned away. His friendliness had over- 
whelmed me, and I cried weakly, because I 
had not even a little coin to give him. 

I halted, and looked after him as he went 
slowly on his way. I struck my forehead, and, 
in measure, as he disappeared from my sight, 
I cried more violently. 

I railed at myself for my poverty, called 
myself abusive names, invented furious desig- 
nations rich, rough nuggets in a vein of 
abuse with which I overwhelmed myself. I 
kept on at this until I was nearly home. On 
coming to the door I discovered I had dropped 
my keys. 

" Oh, of course," I muttered to myself, " why 
shouldn't I lose my keys ? Here I am, living 

96 Hunger 

in a yard where there is a stable underneath 
and a tinker's workshop up above. The door 
is locked at night, and no one, no one can 
open it ; therefore, why should I not lose my 

" I am as wet as a dog a little hungry oh, 
just ever such a little hungry, and slightly, 
ay, absurdly tired about my knees ; therefore, 
why should I not lose them ? 

"Why, for that matter, had not the whole 
house flitted out to Aker by the time I came 
home and wished to enter it? "... and I laughed 
to myself, hardened by hunger and exhaustion. 

I could hear the horses stamp in the stables, 
and I could see my window above, but I could 
not open the door, and I could not get in. 

It had begun to rain again, and I felt the 
water soak through to my shoulders. At the 
Town Hall I was seized by a bright idea. I 
would ask the policeman to open the door. 
I applied at once to a constable, and earnestly 
begged him to accompany me and let me in, 
if he could. 

Yes, if he could, yes ! But he couldn't ; he 
had no key. The police keys were not there ; 
they were kept in the Detective Department. 

What was I to do then? 

Hunger 97 

Well, I could go to an hotel and get a bed ! 

But I really couldn't go to an hotel and 
get a bed ; I had no money, I had been out 
in a cafif ... he knew . . . 

We stood a while on the Town Hall steps. 
He considered and examined my personal ap- 
pearance. The rain fell in torrents outside. 

" Well then, you must go to the guard-house 
and report yourself as homeless ! " said he. 

Homeless ? I hadn't thought of that. Yes, 
by Jove, that was a capital idea ; and I thanked 
the constable on the spot for the suggestion. 
Could I simply go in and say I was homeless ? 

"Just that." . . . 

"Your name?" inquired the guard. 

" Tangen Andreas Tangen ! " 

I don't know why I lied ; my thoughts 
fluttered about disconnectedly and inspired 
me with many singular whims, more than I 
knew what to do with. I hit upon this out- 
of-the-way name on the spur of the moment, 
and blurted it out without any calculation. I 
lied without any occasion for doing so. 

" Occupation ? " 

This was driving me into a corner with a 
vengeance. Occupation ! what was my oc- 

98 Hunger 

cupation? I thought first of turning myself 
into a tinker but I dared not ; firstly, I had 
given myself a name that was not common 
to every and any tinker besides, I wore 
pince-nez. It suddenly entered my head to 
be foolhardy. I took a step forward and said 
firmly, almost solemnly : 

"A journalist." 

The guard gave a start before he wrote it 
down, whilst I stood as important as a home- 
less Cabinet Minister before the barrier. It 
roused no suspicions. The guard understood 
quite well why I hesitated a little before 
answering. What did it look like to see a 
journalist in the night guard-house without a 
roof over his head? 

" On what paper, Herr Tangen ? " 

" Morgenbladet J '" said I. "I have been 
out a little too late this evening, more's the 
shame ! " 

" Oh, we won't mention that," he interrupted, 
with a smile ; " when young people are out 
... we understand ! " 

Turning to a policeman, he said, as he rose 
and bowed politely to me, " Show this gentle- 
man up to the reserved section. Good-night ! " 

I felt ice run down my back at my own 

Hunger 99 

boldness, and I clenched my hands to steady 
myself a bit. If I only hadn't dragged in 
the Morgenbladet. I knew Friele could show 
his teeth when he liked, and I was reminded 
of that by the grinding of the key turning 
in the lock. 

"The gas will burn for ten minutes," re- 
marked the policeman at the door. 

"And then does it go out?" 

" Then it goes out ! " 

I sat on the bed and listened to the turn- 
ing of the key. The bright cell had a friendly 
air ; I felt comfortably and well sheltered ; and 
listened with pleasure to the rain outside I 
couldn't wish myself anything better than 
such a cosy cell. My contentment increased. 
Sitting on the bed, hat in hand, and with eyes 
fastened on the gas jet over in the wall, I gave 
myself up to thinking over the minutes of 
my first interview with the police. This was 
the first time, and how hadn't I fooled them ? 
" Journalist ! Tangen ! if you please ! and then 
Morgenbladet /" Didn't I appeal straight to 
his heart with Morgenbladet? "We won't 
mention that ! Eh ? Sat in state in the 
Stiftsgaarden till two o'clock ; forgot door-key 
and a pocket-book with a thousand kroner at 

ioo Hunger 

home. Show this gentleman up to the reserved 
section ! " . . . 

All at once out goes the gas with a strange 
suddenness, without diminishing or flickering. 

I sit in the deepest darkness ; I cannot see 
my hand, nor the white walls nothing. There 
was nothing for it but to go to bed, and I 

But I was not tired from want of sleep, and 
it would not come to me. I lay a while gazing 
into the darkness, this dense mass of gloom 
that had no bottom my thoughts could not 
fathom it. 

It seemed beyond all measure dense to me, 
and I felt its presence oppress me. I closed 
my eyes, commenced to sing half under my 
breath, and tossed to and fro, in order to dis- 
tract myself, but to no purpose. The dark- 
ness had taken possession of my thoughts and 
left me not a moment in peace. Supposing 
I were myself to be absorbed in darkness ; 
made one with it? 

I raise myself up in bed and fling out my 
arms. My nervous condition has got the upper 
hand of me, and nothing availed, no matter 
how much I tried to work against it. There 
I sat, a prey to the most singular fantasies, 

Hunger 101 

listening to myself crooning lullabies, sweat- 
ing with the exertion of striving to hush 
myself to rest I peered into the gloom, and 
I never in all the days of my life felt such 
darkness. There was no doubt that I found 
myself here, in face of a peculiar kind of dark- 
ness ; a desperate element to which no one 
had hitherto paid attention. The most ludi- 
crous thoughts busied me, and everything made 
me afraid. 

A little hole in the wall at the head of my 
bed occupies me greatly a nail hole. I find 
the marks in the wall I feel it, blow into 
it, and try to guess its depth. That was no 
innocent hole not at all. It was a down- 
right intricate and mysterious hole, which I 
must guard against ! Possessed by the thought 
of this hole, entirely beside myself with curi- 
osity and fear, I get out of bed and seize 
hold of my half penknife in order to gauge 
its depth, and convince myself that it does 
not reach right into the next wall. 

I lay down once more to try and fall asleep, 
but in reality to wrestle again with the dark- 
ness. The rain had ceased outside, and I 
could not hear a sound. I continued for a 
long time to listen for footsteps in the street, 

102 Hunger 

and got no peace until I heard a pedestrian 
go by to judge from the sound, a constable. 
Suddenly I snap my ringers many times and 
laugh : " That was the very deuce ! Ha 
ha ! " I imagined I had discovered a new 
word. I rise up in bed and say, " It is not in 
the language ; I have discovered it. ' Kuboa.' 
It has letters as a word has. By the benign 
God, man, you have discovered a word ! . . . 
Kuboa ' . . . a word of profound import." 

I sit with open eyes, amazed at my own 
find, and laugh for joy. Then I begin to 
whisper ; some one might spy on me, and I 
intended to keep my discovery secret. I 
entered into the joyous frenzy of hunger. I 
was empty and free from pain, and I gave 
free rein to my thoughts. 

In all calmness I revolve things in my 
mind. With the most singular jerks in my 
chain of ideas I seek to explain the meaning 
of my new word. There was no occasion 
for it to mean either God or the Tivoli ; * 
and who said that it was to signify cattle 
show? I clench my hands fiercely, and re- 
peat once again, " Who said that it was to sig- 
nify cattle show ? " No ; on second thoughts, 

* Theatre of Varieties, etc., and Garden in Christiania. 

Hunger 103 

it was not absolutely necessary that it should 
mean padlock, or sunrise. It was not difficult 
to find a meaning for such a word as this. 
I would wait and see. In the meantime I 
could sleep on it. 

I lie there on the stretcher-bed and laugh slily, 
but say nothing ; give vent to no opinion one 
way or the other. Some minutes pass over, 
and I wax nervous ; this new word torments 
me unceasingly, returns again and again, takes 
up my thoughts, and makes me serious. I had 
fully formed an opinion as to what it should 
not signify, but had come to no conclusion as 
to what it should signify. "That is quite a 
matter of detail," I said aloud to myself, and 
I clutched my arm and reiterated : " That is 
quite a matter of detail." The word was 
found, God be praised ! and that was the 
principal thing. But ideas worry me without 
end and hinder me from falling asleep. 
Nothing seemed good enough to me for this 
unusually rare word. At length I sit up in 
bed again, grasp my head in both hands, and 
say, " No ! it is just this, it is impossible to let 
it signify emigration or tobacco factory. If 
it could have meant anything like that I 
would have decided upon it long since and 

104 Hunger 

taken the consequences." No ; in reality the 
word is fitted to signify something psychical, 
a feeling, a state. Could I not apprehend it? 
and I reflect profoundly in order to find 
something psychical. Then it seems to me 
that someone is interposing, interrupting my 
confab. I answer angrily, " Beg pardon ! 
Your match in idiotcy is not to be found ; no, 
sir! Knitting cotton? Ah! go to hell!" 
Well, really I had to laugh. Might I ask 
why should I be forced to let it signify knit- 
ting cotton, when I had a special dislike to 
its signifying knitting cotton? I had dis- 
covered the word myself, so, for that matter, I 
was perfectly within my right in letting it 
signify whatsoever I pleased. As far as I 
was aware, I had not yet expressed an 
opinion as to . . . 

But my brain got more and more confused. 
At last I sprang out of bed to look for the 
water-tap. I was not thirsty, but my head 
was in a fever, and I felt an instinctive long- 
ing for water. When I had drunk some I 
got into bed again, and determined with all 
my might to settle to sleep. I closed my 
eyes and forced myself to keep quiet. I lay 
thus for some minutes without making a 

Hunger 105 

movement. I sweated and felt my blood jerk 
violently through my veins. No, it was really 
too delicious the way he thought to find 
money in the paper cornet ! He only coughed 
once, too ! I wonder if he is pacing up and 
down there yet ! Sitting on my bench ? the 
pearly blue sea . . . the ships . . . 

I opened my eyes ; how could I keep them 
shut when I could not sleep? The same 
darkness brooded over me ; the same un- 
fathomable black eternity which my thoughts 
strove against and could not understand. I 
made the most despairing efforts to find a 
word black enough to characterise this dark- 
ness ; a word so horribly black that it would 
darken my lips if I named it. Lord ! how dark 
it was ! and I am carried back in thought to 
the sea and the dark monsters that lay in wait 
for me. They would draw me to them, and 
clutch me tightly and bear me away by land 
and sea, through dark realms that no soul has 
seen. I feel myself on board, drawn through 
waters, hovering in clouds, sinking sinking. 

I give a hoarse cry of terror, clutch . the 
bed tightly I had made such a perilous 
journey, whizzing down through space like a 
bolt. Oh, did I not feel that I was saved as 

106 Hunger 

I struck my hands against the wooden frame ! 
" This is the way one dies ! " said I to myself. 
" Now you will die ! " and I lay for a while 
and thought over that I was to die. 

Then I start up in bed and ask severely, 
" If I found the word, am I not absolutely with- 
in my right to decide myself what it is to 
signify ? " . . I could hear myself that I was 
raving ; I could hear it now whilst I was 
talking. My madness was a delirium of 
weakness and prostration, but I was not out 
of my senses. All at once the thought 
darted through my brain that I was insane. 
Seized with terror, I spring out of bed again, I 
stagger to the door, which I try to open, fling 
myself against it a couple of times to burst 
it, strike my head against the wall, bewail 
loudly, bite my fingers, cry and curse . . . 

All was quiet ; only my own voice echoed 
from the walls. I had fallen to the floor, 
incapable of stumbling about the cell any 

Lying there I catch a glimpse, high up, 
straight before my eyes, of a greyish square 
in the wall, a suggestion of white, a pre- 
sage it must be of daylight. I felt it must 
be daylight, felt it through every pore in my 

Hunger 107 

body. Oh, did I not draw a breath of de- 
lighted relief! I flung myself flat on the 
floor and cried for very joy over this blessed 
glimpse of light, sobbed for very gratitude, 
blew a kiss to the window, and conducted 
myself like a maniac. And at this moment 
I was perfectly conscious of what I was 
doing. All my dejection had vanished ; all 
despair and pain had ceased, and I had at 
this moment, at least as far as my thought 
reached, not a wish unfulfilled. I sat up on 
the floor, folded my hands, and waited patiently 
for the dawn. 

What a night this had been ! 

That they had not heard any noise ! I 
thought with astonishment. But then I was 
in the reserved section, high above all the 
prisoners. A homeless Cabinet Minister, if I 
might say so. 

Still in the best of humours, with eyes turned 
towards the lighter, ever lighter square in the 
wall, I amused myself acting Cabinet Minister ; 
called myself Von Tangen, and clothed my 
speech in a dress of red-tape. My fancies had 
not ceased, but I was far less nervous. If I 
only had not been thoughtless enough to leave 
my pocket-book at home ! Might I not have 

108 Hunger 

the honour of assisting his Right Honourable 
the Prime Minister to bed ? And in all serious- 
ness, and with much ceremony I went over to 
the stretcher and lay down. 

By this it was so light that I could dis- 
tinguish in some degree the outlines of the 
cell and, little by little, the heavy handle of 
the door. This diverted me ; the monotonous 
darkness so irritating in its impenetrability 
that it prevented me from seeing myself was 
broken ; my blood flowed more quietly ; I soon 
felt my eyes close. 

I was aroused by a couple of knocks on 
my door. I jumped up in all haste, and clad 
myself hurriedly ; my clothes were still wet 
through from last night. 

"You'll report yourself downstairs to the 
officer on duty," said the constable. 

Were there more formalities to be gone 
through, then? I thought with fear. 

Below I entered a large room, where thirty 
or forty people sat, all homeless. They were 
called up one by one by the registering clerk, 
and one by one they received a ticket for 
breakfast. The officer on duty repeated 
constantly to the policeman at his side, 
" Did he get a ticket ? Don't forget to 

Hunger 109 

give them tickets ; they look as if they want 
a meal ! " 

And I stood and looked at these tickets, 
and wished I had one. 

" Andreas Tangen journalist." 

I advanced and bowed. 

"But, my dear fellow, how did you come 
here ? " 

I explained the whole state of the case, 
repeated the same story as last night, lied 
without winking, lied with frankness had been 
out rather late, worse luck . . . cafe . . . lost 
door-key . . . 

" Yes," he said, and he smiled ; " that 's the 
way ! Did you sleep well then ? " 

I answered, "Like a Cabinet Minister like 
a Cabinet Minister ! " 

" I am glad to hear it," he said, and he stood 
up. " Good-morning." 

And I went ! 

A ticket ! a ticket for me too ! I have not 
eaten for more than three long days and 
nights. A loaf! But no one offered me a 
ticket, and I dared not demand one. It would 
have roused suspicion at once. They would 
begin to poke their noses into my private 
affairs, and discover who I really was ; they 

iio Hunger 

might arrest me for false pretences ; and so, 
with elevated head, the carriage of a million- 
aire, and hands thrust under my coat-tails, 
I stride out of the guard-house. 

The sun shone warmly, early as it was. It 
was ten o'clock, and the traffic in Young's 
Market was in full swing. Which way should 
I take ? I slapped my pockets and felt for my 
manuscript. At eleven I would try and see 
the editor. I stand a 1 while on the balustrade, 
and watch the bustle under me. Meanwhile, 
my clothes commenced to steam. Hunger put 
in its appearance afresh, gnawed at my breast, 
clutched me, and gave small, sharp stabs that 
caused me pain. 

Had I not a friend an acquaintance whom 
I could apply to? I ransack my memory to 
find a man good for a penny piece, and fail 
to find him. 

Well, it was a lovely day, anyway ! Sunlight 
bright and warm surrounded me. The sky 
stretched away like a beautiful sea over the 
Lier mountains. 

Without knowing it, I was on my way home. 
I hungered sorely. I found a chip of wood 
in the street to chew that helped a bit. To 
think that I hadn't thought of that sooner ! 

Hunger 1 1 1 

The door was open ; the stable-boy bade me 
good-morning as usual. 

" Fine weather," said he. 

"Yes," I replied. That was all I found to 
say. Could I ask for the loan of a shilling? 
He would be sure to lend it willingly if he 
could ; besides that, I had written a letter for 
him once. 

He stood and turned something over in his 
mind before he ventured on saying it. 

" Fine weather ! Ahem ! I ought to pay 
my landlady to-day ; you wouldn't be so kind 
as to lend me five shillings, would you ? Only 
for a few days, sir. You did me a service 
once before, so you did." 

"No; I really can't do it, Jens Olaj," I 
answered. " Not now perhaps later on, maybe 
in the afternooon," and I staggered up the 
stairs to my room. 

I flung myself on my bed, and laughed. 
How confoundedly lucky it was that he had 
forestalled me ; my self-respect was saved. 
Five shillings! God bless you, man, you might 
just as well have asked me for five shares in 
the Dampkokken, or an estate out in Aker. 

And the thought of these five shillings made 
me laugh louder and louder. Wasn't I a 

112 Hunger 

devil of a fellow, eh ? Five shillings ! My 
mirth increased, and I gave way to it. Ugh ! 
what a shocking smell of cooking there was 
here a downright disgustingly strong smell 
of chops for dinner, phew ! and I flung open 
the window to let out this beastly smell. 
"Waiter, a plate of beef!" Turning to the 
table this miserable table that I was forced 
to support with my knees when I wrote I 
bowed profoundly, and said : 

" May I ask will you take a glass of wine ? 
No ? I am Tangen Tangen, the Cabinet 
Minister. I more 's the pity I was out a 
little late . . . the door-key." Once more 
my thoughts ran without rein in intricate 
paths. I was continually conscious that I 
talked at random, and yet I gave utterance 
to no word without hearing and understand- 
ing it. I said to myself, " Now you are 
talking at random again," and yet I could 
not help myself. It was as if one were 
lying awake, and yet talking in one's sleep. 

My head was light, without pain and with- 
out pressure, and my mood was unshadowed. 
It sailed away with me, and I made no 

" Come in ! Yes, only come right in ! As 

Hunger . 113 

you see, everything is of ruby Ylajali, Ylajali ! 
that swelling crimson silken divan ! Ah, how 
passionately she breathes. Kiss me loved 
one more more ! Your arms are like pale 
amber, your mouth blushes. . . . Waiter, 
I asked for a plate of beef ! " 

The sun gleamed in through the window, 
and I could hear the horses below chewing 
oats. I sat and mumbled over my chip gaily, 
glad at heart as a child. 

I kept all the time feeling for my manuscript. 
It wasn't really in my thoughts, but instinct 
told me it was there 'twas in my blood to 
remember it, and I took it out. 

It had got wet, and I spread it out in the 
sun to dry ; then I took to wandering up 
and down the room. How depressing every- 
thing looked ! Small scraps of tin shavings 
were trodden into the floor ; there was not 
a chair to sit upon, not even a nail in the 
bare walls. Everything had been brought to 
my " Uncle's," and consumed. A few sheets 
of paper lying on the table, covered with 
thick dust, were my sole possession ; the old 
green blanket on the bed was lent to me by 
Hans Pauli some months ago. . . . Hans 
Pauli ! I snap my fingers. Hans Pauli 

114 Hunger 

Pettersen shall help me ! He would certainly 
be very angry that I had not appealed to 
him at once. I put on my hat in haste, gather 
up the manuscript, thrust it into my pocket, 
and hurry downstairs. 

" Listen, Jens Olaj ! " I called into the stable, 
" I am nearly certain I can help you in the 

Arrived at the Town Hall I saw that it 
was past eleven, and I determined on going 
to the editor at once. I stopped outside the 
office door to see if my sheets were paged 
rightly, smoothed them carefully out, put them 
back in my pocket, and knocked. My heart 
beat audibly as I entered. 

"Scissors" is there as usual. I inquire 
timorously for the editor. No answer. The 
man sits and probes for minor items of news 
amongst the provincial papers. 

I repeat my question, and advance a little 

" The editor has not come yet ! " said 
" Scissors " at length, without looking up. 

How soon would he come? 

" Couldn't say couldn't say at all ! " 

How long would the office be open? 

To this I received no answer, so I was 

Hunger 115 

forced to leave. " Scissors " had not once looked 
up at me during all this scene ; he had heard 
my voice, and recognised me by it. You 
are in such bad odour here, thought I, that 
he doesn't even take the trouble to answer 
you. I wonder if that is an order of the 
editor's. I had, 'tis true enough, right from 
the day my celebrated story was accepted for 
ten shillings, overwhelmed him with work, 
rushed to his door nearly every day with un- 
suitable things that he was obliged to peruse 
only to return them to me. Perhaps he wished 
to put an end to this take stringent meas- 
ures. ... I took the road to Homandsbyen. 

Hans Pauli Pettersen was a peasant-farmer's 
son, a student, living in the attic of a five- 
storeyed house ; therefore, Hans Pauli Pettersen 
was a poor man. But if he had a shilling he 
wouldn't stint it. I would get it just as sure as 
if I already held it in my hand. And I rejoiced 
the whole time, as I went, over the shilling, 
and felt confident I would get it. 

When I got to the street door it was closed 
and I had to ring. 

" I want to see Student Pettersen," I said, 
and was about to step inside. " I know his 

n6 Hunger 

" Student Pettersen," repeats the girl. " Was 
it he who had the attic?" He had moved. 

Well, she didn't know the address ; but he 
had asked his letters to be sent to Hermansen 
in Tolbodgaden, and she mentioned the 

I go, full of trust and hope, all the way to 
Tolbodgaden to ask Hans Pauli's address ; 
being my last chance, I must turn it to account. 
On the way I came to a newly-built house, 
where a couple of joiners stood planing outside. 
I picked up a few satiny shavings from the 
heap, stuck one in my mouth, and the other 
in my pocket for by-and-by, and continued 
my journey. 

I groaned with hunger. I had seen a 
marvellously large penny loaf at a baker's 
the largest I could possibly get for the price. 

" I come to find out Student Pettersen's 
address ! " 

"Bernt Akers Street, No. 10, in the attic." 
Was I going out there? Well, would J 
perhaps be kind enough to take out a couple 
of letters that had come for him ? 

I trudge up town again, along the same 
road, pass by the joiners who are sitting 
with their cans between their knees, eating 

Hunger 117 

their good warm dinner from the Dampkokken 
pass the bakers, where the loaf is still in 
its place, and at length reach Bernt Akers 
Street, half dead with fatigue. The door is 
open, and I mount all the weary stairs to the 
attic. I take the letters out of my pocket in 
order to put Hans Pauli into a good humour 
on the moment of my entrance. 

He would be certain not to refuse to give 
me a helping hand when I explained how 
things were with me ; no, certainly not ; Hans 
Pauli had such a big heart I had always said 
that of him. ... I discovered his card fastened 
to the door " H. P. Pettersen, Theological 
Student, 'gone home.'" 

I sat down without more ado sat down on 
the bare floor, dulled with fatigue, fairly beaten 
with exhaustion. I mechanically mutter, a 
couple of times, " Gone home gone home ! " 
then I keep perfectly quiet. There was not a 
tear in my eyes ; I had not a thought, not a 
fueling of any kind. I sat and stared, with 
wide-open eyes, at the letters, without coming 
to any conclusion. Ten minutes went over 
perhaps twenty or more. I sat stolidly on the 
one spot, and did not move a finger. This 
numb feeling of drowsiness was almost like a 

1 1 8 Hunger 

brief slumber. I hear someone come up the 

" It was Student Pettersen, I ... I have two 
letters for him." 

" He has gone home," replies the woman ; 
" but he will return after the holidays. I could 
take the letters if you like ! " 

" Yes, thanks ! that was all right," said I. 
" He could get them then when he came back ; 
they might contain matters of importance. 

When I got outside, I came to a standstill 
and said loudly in the open street, as I 
clenched my hands : " I will tell you one thing, 
my good Lord God, you are a bungler ! " and 
I nod furiously, with set teeth, up to the 
clouds ; " I will be hanged if you are not a 

Then I took a few strides, and stopped 
again. Suddenly, changing my attitude, I fold 
my hands, hold my head on one side, and ask, 
with an unctuous, sanctimonious tone of voice : 
" Hast thou appealed also to him, my child ? " 
It did not sound right ! 

With a large H, I say, with an H as big 
as a cathedral ! once again, " Hast thou in- 
voked Him, my child ? " and I incline my head, 

Hunger 119 

and I make my voice whine, and answer, 

That didn't sound right either. 

You can't play the hypocrite, you idiot! 
Yes, you should say, I have invoked God my 
Father ! and you must set your words to the 
most piteous tune you have ever heard in your 
life. So o ! Once again ! Come, that was 
better ! But you must sigh like a horse down 
with the colic. So o ! that 's right. Thus I 
go, drilling myself in hypocrisy ; stamp im- 
patiently in the street when I fail to succeed ; 
rail at myself for being such a blockhead, 
whilst the astonished passers-by turn round 
and stare at me. 

I chewed uninterruptedly at my shaving, 
and proceeded, as steadily as I could, along 
the street. Before I realised it, I was at the 
railway square. The clock on Our Saviour's 
pointed to half-past one. I stood for a bit and 
considered. A faint sweat forced itself out 
on my face, and trickled down my eyelids. 
Accompany me down to the bridge, said I to 
myself that is to say, if you have spare time ! 
and I made a bow to myself, and turned 
towards the railway bridge near the wharf. 

The ships lay there, and the sea rocked in 

120 Hunger 

the sunshine. There was bustle and move- 
ment everywhere, shrieking steam - whistles, 
quay porters with cases on their shoulders, 
lively " shanties " coming from the prams. An 
old woman, a vendor of cakes, sits near me, 
and bends her brown nose down over her 
wares. The little table before her is sinfully 
full of nice things, and I turn away with dis- 
taste. She is filling the whole quay with her 
smell of cakes phew ! up with the windows ! 

I accosted a gentleman sitting at my side, 
and represented forcibly to him the nuisance of 
having cake-sellers here, cake-sellers there. . . . 
Eh ? Yes ; but he must really admit that. . . . 
But the good man smelt a rat, and did not 
give me time to finish speaking, for he got up 
and left. I rose, too, and followed him, firmly 
determined to convince him of his mistake. 

"If it was only out of consideration for 
sanitary conditions," said I ; and I slapped 
him on the shoulders. 

" Excuse me, I am a stranger here, and 
know nothing of the sanitary conditions," he 
replied, and stared at me with positive fear. 

Oh, that alters the case ! if he was a stranger. 
. . . Could I not render him a service in any 
way ? show him about ? Really not ? because 

Hunger 1 2 1 

it would be a pleasure to me, and it would 
cost him nothing. . . . 

But the man wanted absolutely to get rid 
of me, and he sheered off, in all haste, to the 
other side of the street. 

I returned to the bench and sat down. I was 
fearfully disturbed, and the big street organ 
that had begun to grind a tune a little farther 
away made me still worse a regular metallic 
music, a fragment of Weber, to which a little 
girl is singing a mournful strain. The flute- 
like sorrowfulness of the organ thrills through 
my blood ; my nerves vibrate in responsive 
echo. A moment later, and I fall back on the 
seat, whimpering and crooning in time to it. 

Oh, what strange freaks one's thoughts are 
guilty of when one is starving. I feel myself 
lifted up by these notes, dissolved in tones, and 
I float out, I feel so clearly. How I float out, 
soaring high above the mountains, dancing 
through zones of light ! . . . 

" A halfpenny," whines the little organ-girl, 
reaching forth her little tin plate ; " only a 

" Yes," I said, unthinkingly, and I sprang to 
my feet and ransacked all my pockets. But 
the child thinks I only want to make fun of 

122 Hunger 

her, and she goes away at once without saying 
a word. 

This dumb forbearance was too much for 
me. If she had abused me, it would have 
been more endurable. I was stung with pain, 
and recalled her. 

" I don't possess a farthing ; but I will re- 
member you later on, maybe to-morrow. What 
is your name ? Yes, that is a pretty name ; I 
won't forget it. Till to-morrow, then. . . ." 

But I understood quite well that she did not 
believe me, although she never said one word ; 
and I cried with despair because this little 
street wench would not believe in me. 

Once again I called her back, tore open my 
coat, and was about to give her my waistcoat. 
" I will make up to you for it," said I ; " wait 
only a moment "... and lo ! I had no waist- 

What in the world made me look for it ? 
Weeks had gone by since it was in my posses- 
sion. What was the matter with me, anyway ? 
The astonished child waited no longer, but 
withdrew fearsomely, and I was compelled to 
let her go. People throng round me and laugh 
aloud, and a policeman thrusts his way through 
to me, and wants to know what is the row. 

Hunger 123 

" Nothing ! " I reply, " nothing at all ; I only 
wanted to give the little girl over there my 
waistcoat ... for her father . . . you needn't 
stand there and laugh at that ... I have only 
to go home and put on another." 

" No disturbance in the street," says the 
constable ; " so, march," and he gives me a 
shove on. 

"Is them your papers ? " he calls after me. 

" Yes, by Jove ! my newspaper leader ; many 
important papers ? How ever could I be so 
careless?" I snatch up my manuscript, con- 
vince myself that it is lying in order, and go, 
without stopping a second or looking about me, 
towards the editor's office. 

It was now four by the clock of Our Saviour's 
Church. The office is shut. I steal noiselessly 
down the stairs, frightened as a thief, and stand 
irresolutely outside the door. What should I 
do now? I lean up against the wall, stare 
down at the stones, and consider. A pin is 
lying glistening at my feet ; I stoop and pick 
it up. Supposing I were to cut the buttons 
off my coat, how much could I get for them ? 
Perhaps it would be no use, though buttons 
are buttons ; but yet, I look and examine 
them, and find them as good as new that was 

124 Hunger 

a lucky idea all the same ; I could cut them off 
with my penknife and take them to the pawn- 
office. The hope of being able to sell these 
five buttons cheered me immediately, and I 
cried, " See, see ; it will all come right ! " My 
delight got the upper hand of me, and I at 
once set to to cut off the buttons one by one. 
Whilst thus occupied, I held the following 
hushed soliloquy : 

Yes, you see one has become a little im- 
poverished ; a momentary embarrassment . . . 
worn out, do you say ? You must not make 
slips when you speak. I would like to see the 
person who wears out less buttons than I do, I 
can tell you ? I always go with my coat open ; 
it is a habit of mine, an idiosyncrasy. . . . No, 
no ; of course, if you won^t, well ! But I must 
have a penny for them, at the least. ... No 
indeed ! who said you were obliged to do it ? 
You can hold your tongue, and leave me in 
peace. . . . Yes, well, you can fetch a police- 
man, can't you ? I '11 wait here whilst you are 
out looking for him, and I won't steal any- 
thing from you. Well, good-day ! Good-day ! 
My name, by the way, is Tangen ; have been 
out a little late. . . . 

Some one comes up the stairs. I am 

Hunger 125 

recalled at once to reality. I recognise 
" Scissors," and put the buttons carefully into 
my pocket. He attempts to pass ; doesn't 
even acknowledge my nod ; is suddenly in- 
tently busied with his nails. I stop him, and 
inquire for the editor. 

" Not in, do you hear." 

"You lie," I said, and, with a cheek that 
fairly amazed myself, I continued, " I must have 
a word with him ; it is a necessary errand 
communications from the Stiftsgaarden* 

" Well, can't you tell me what it is, then ? " 

" Tell you ? " and I looked " Scissors " up 
and down. This had the desired effect. He 
accompanied me at once, and opened the 
door. My heart was in my mouth now ; I set 
my teeth, to try and revive my courage, 
knocked, and entered the editor's private 

" Good-day ! Is it you ? " he asked, kindly ; 
"sit down." 

If he had shown me the door it would have 
been almost as acceptable. I felt as if I were 
on the point of crying, and said : 

" I beg you will excuse . . ." 

" Pray, sit down," he repeated. And I sat 
* Dwelling of the civil governor of a Stift or diocese. 

126 Hunger 

down, and explained that I again had an article 
which I was extremely anxious to get into his 
paper. I had taken such pains with it ; it had 
cost me much effort 

" I will read it," said he, and he took it. 
" Everything you write is certain to cost you 
effort, but you are far too impetuous ; if you 
could only be a little more sober. There 's too 
much fever. In the meantime, I will read it," 
and he turned to the table again. 

There I sat. Dared I ask for a shilling? 
explain to him why there was always fever ? 
He would be sure to aid me ; it was not the 
first time. 

I stood up. Hum ! But the last time I was 
with him he had complained about money, and 
had sent a messenger out to scrape some 
together for me. Maybe it might be the same 
case now. No ; it should not occur ! Could I 
not see then that he was sitting at work? 

Was there otherwise anything ? he in- 

" No," I answered, and I compelled my voice 
to sound steady. " About how soon shall I call 
in again ? " 

" Oh, any time you are passing in a couple 
of days or so." 

Hunger 127 

I could not get my request over my lips. 
This man's friendliness seemed to me beyond 
bounds, and I ought to know how to appreciate 
it. Rather die of hunger ! I went. Not even 
when I was outside the door, and felt once more 
the pangs of hunger, did I repent having left 
the office without having asked for that shilling. 
I took the other shaving out of my pocket and 
stuck it into my mouth. It helped. Why 
hadn't I done so before ? " You ought to be 
ashamed of yourself," I said aloud. " Could it 
really have entered your head to ask the man 
for a shilling and put him to inconvenience 
again ? " and I got downright angry with myself 
for the effrontery of which I had almost been 
guilty. " That is, by God ! the shabbiest thing I 
ever heard," said I, " to rush at a man and nearly 
tear the eyes out of his head just because you 
happen to need a shilling, you miserable dog ! 
So o, march! quicker ! quicker! you big thump- 
ing lout ; I '11 teach you." I commenced to run 
to punish myself, left one street after the other 
behind me at a bound, goaded myself on with 
suppressed cries, and shrieked dumbly and 
furiously at myself whenever I was about to 
halt. Thus I arrived a long way up Pyle Street, 
when at last I stood still, almost ready to cry 

128 Hunger 

with vexation at not being able to run any- 
farther. I was trembling over my whole body, 
and I flung myself down on a step. " No ; stop ! " 
I said, and, in order to torture myself rightly, I 
arose again, and forced myself to keep standing. 
I jeered at myself, and hugged myself with 
pleasure at the spectacle of my own exhaustion. 
At length, after the lapse of a few moments, 
I gave myself, with a nod, permission to be 
seated, though, even then, I chose the most 
uncomfortable place on the steps. 

Lord ! how delicious it was to rest ! I dried 
the sweat off my face, and drew great refresh- 
ing breaths. How had I not run ! But I 
was not sorry ; I had richly deserved it. Why 
did I want to ask for that shilling? Now I 
could see the consequences, and I began to 
talk mildly to myself, dealing out admonitions 
as a mother might have done. I grew more 
and more moved, and tired and weak as I 
was, I fell a-crying. A quiet, heart-felt cry ; 
an inner sobbing without a tear. 

I sat for the space of a quarter of an hour, 
or more, in the same place. People came and 
went, and no one molested me. Little children 
played about around me, and a small bird 
sang on a tree on the other side of the street. 

Hunger 129 

A policeman came towards me. "Why do 
you sit here ? " said he. 

"Why do I sit here?" I replied; "for 

" I have been watching you for the last half- 
hour. You Ve sat here now half-an-hour." 

" About that," I replied ; " anything more ? " 

I got up in a temper and walked on. Arrived 
at the market - place, I stopped and gazed 
down the street. For pleasure. Now, was 
that an answer to give? For weariness, you 
should have replied, and made your voice 
whining. You are a booby ; you will never 
learn to dissemble. From exhaustion, and you 
should have gasped like a horse. 

When I got to the fire look-out, I halted 
afresh, seized by a new idea. I snapped my 
fingers, burst into a loud laugh that confounded 
the passers-by, and said : " Now you shall just 
go to Levion the parson. You shall, as sure as 
death ay, just for a try. What have you got to 
lose by it ? and it is such glorious weather ! " 

I entered Pascha's book-shop, found Pastor 
Levion's address in the directory, and started 
for it. 

Now for it! said I. Play no pranks. Con- 
science, did you say? No rubbish, if you 

130 Hunger 

please. You are too poor to support a con- 
science. You are hungry ; you have come 
on important business the first thing needful. 
But you shall hold your head askew, and set 
your words to a sing-song. You won't ! What ? 
Well then, I won't go a step farther. Do you 
hear that ? Indeed, you are in a sorely tempted 
condition, fighting with the powers of darkness 
and great voiceless monsters at night, so that it 
is a horror to think of; you hunger and thirst 
for wine and milk, and don't get them. It has 
gone so far with you. Here you stand and 
haven't as much as a halfpenny to bless your- 
self with. But you believe in grace, the Lord 
be praised ; you haven't yet lost your faith ; 
and then you must clasp your hands together, 
and look a very Satan of a fellow for believing 
in grace. As far as Mammon was concerned, 
why, you hated Mammon with all its pomps 
in any form. Now it's quite another thing 
with a psalm-book a souvenir to the extent 
of a few shillings. ... I stopped at the pastor's 
door, and read, "Office hours, 12 to 4." 

Mind, no fudge, I said ; now we '11 go ahead 
in earnest! So hang your head a little more, 
and I rang at the private entrance. 

" I want to see the pastor," said I to the 

Hunger 1 3 1 

maid ; but it was not possible for me to get 
in God's name yet awhile. 

" He has gone out." 

Gone out, gone out! That destroyed my 
whole plan ; scattered all I had intended to 
say to the four winds. What had I gained 
then by the long walk ? There I stood. 

"Was it anything particular?" questioned 
the maid. 

" Not at all," I replied, " not at all." It was 
only just that it was such glorious God's 
weather that I thought I would come out 
and make a call. 

There I stood, and there she stood. I 
purposely thrust out my chest to attract her 
attention to the pin that held my coat to- 
gether. I implored her with a look to see 
what I had come for, but the poor creature 
didn't understand it at all. 

Lovely God's weather. Was not the mistress 
at home either? 

Yes ; but she had gout, and lay on a sofa 
without being able to move herself. . . . Per- 
haps I would leave a message or something? 

No, not at all ; I only just took walks like 
this now and again, just for exercise ; it was 
so wholesome after dinner. ... I set out on 

132 Hunger 

the road back what would gossiping longer 
lead to? Besides, I commenced to feel dizzy. 
There was no mistake about it ; I was about 
to break down in earnest. Office hours from 
12 to 4. I had knocked at the door an hour 
too late. The time of grace was over. I sat 
down on one of the benches near the church 
in the market. Lord ! how black things began 
to look for me now ! I did not cry ; I was 
too utterly tired, worn to the last degree. I 
sat there without trying to arrive at any 
conclusion, sad, motionless, and starving. My 
chest was much inflamed ; it smarted most 
strangely and sorely nor would chewing shav- 
ings help me much longer. My jaws were 
tired of that barren work, and I let them rest. 
I simply gave up. A brown orange-peel, too, 
I had found in the street, and which I had 
at once commenced to chew, had given me 
nausea. I was ill the veins swelled up bluely 
on my wrists. What was it I had really sought 
after? Run about the whole live-long day 
for a shilling, that would but keep life in me 
for a few hours longer. Considering all, was 
it not a matter of indifference if the inevitable 
took place one day earlier or one day later? 
If I had conducted myself like an ordinary 

Hunger 133 

being I should have gone home long ago, 
and laid myself down to rest, and given in. 
My mind was clear for a moment. Now I 
was to die. It was in the time of the fall, 
and all things were hushed to sleep. I had 
tried every means, exhausted every resource 
of which I knew. I fondled this thought senti- 
mentally, and each time I still hoped for a 
possible succour I whispered repudiatingly : 
"You fool, you have already begun to die." 

I ought to write a couple of letters, make 
all ready prepare myself. I would wash 
myself carefully, and tidy my bed nicely. I 
would lay my head upon the sheets of white 
paper, the cleanest things I had left, and the 
green blanket. I . . . The green blanket ! Like 
a shot I was wide awake. The blood mounted 
to my head, and I got violent palpitation of 
the heart. I arise from the seat, and start 
to walk. Life stirs again in all my fibres, and 
time after time I repeat disconnectedly, "The 
green blanket the green blanket." I go 
faster and faster, as if it is a case of fetching 
something, and stand after a little time in 
my tinker's workshop. Without pausing a 
moment, or wavering in my resolution, I go 
over to the bed, and roll up Hans Pauli's 

134 Hunger 

blanket. It was a strange thing if this bright 
idea of mine couldn't save me. I rose in- 
finitely superior to the stupid scruples which 
sprang up in me half inward cries about a 
certain stain on my honour. I bade good-bye 
to the whole of them. I was no hero no 
virtuous idiot. I had my senses left. 

So I took the blanket under my arm and 
went to No 5 Stener's Street. I knocked, 
and entered the big, strange room for the 
first time. The bell on the door above my 
head gave a lot of violent jerks. A man 
enters from a side room, chewing, his mouth is 
full of food, and stands behind the counter. 

"Eh, lend me sixpence on my eye-glasses?" 
said I. " I shall release them in a couple of 
days, without fail eh?" 

"No! they're steel, aren't they?" 


" No ; can't do it." 

"Ah, no, I suppose you can't. Well, it was 
really at best only a joke. Well, I have a 
blanket with me for which, properly speaking, 
I have no longer any use, and it struck me 
that you might take it off my hands." 

"I have more's the pity a whole store 
full of bed-clothes," he replied ; and when I 

Hunger 135 

had opened it he just cast one glance over 
it and said, " No, excuse me, but I haven't 
any use for that, either." 

" I wanted to show you the worst side 
first," said I ; "it 's much better on the other 

" Ay, ay ; it 's no good. I wouldn't own 
it; and you wouldn't raise a penny on it any- 

" No, it 's clear it isn't worth anything," I 
said ; " but I thought it might go with another 
old blanket at an auction." 

"Well, no; it's no use." 

"Three pence?" said I. 

" No ; I won't have it all, man ! I wouldn't 
have it in the house ! " I took it under my 
arm and went home. 

I acted as if nothing had passed, spread 
it over the bed again, smoothed it well out, 
as was my custom, and tried to wipe away 
every trace of my late action. I could not 
possibly have been in my right mind at the 
moment when I came to the conclusion to 
commit this rascally trick. The more I 
thought over it the more unreasonable it 
seemed to me. It must have been an attack 
of weakness ; some relaxation in my inner self 

136 Hunger 

that had surprised me when off my guard. 
Neither had I fallen straight into the trap. 
I had half felt that I was going the wrong 
road, and I expressly offered my glasses first, 
and I rejoiced greatly that I had not had 
the opportunity of carrying into effect this 
fault which would have sullied the last hours 
I had to live. 

I wandered out into the city again. I let 
myself sink upon one of the seats by Our 
Saviour's Church ; dozed with my head on 
my breast, apathetic after my last excitement, 
sick and famished with hunger. And time 
went by. 

I should have to sit out this hour, too. It 
was a little lighter outside than in the house, 
and it seemed to me that my chest did not 
pain quite so badly out in the open air. I 
should get home, too, soon enough and I 
dozed, and thought, and suffered fearfully. 

I had found a little pebble ; I wiped it 
clean on my coat sleeve and put it into my 
mouth so that I might have something to 
mumble. Otherwise I did not stir, and didn't 
even wink an eyelid. People came and went ; 
the noise of cars, the tramp of hoofs, and 
chatter of tongues filled the air. I might try 

Hunger 1 37 

with the buttons. Of course there would be 
no use in trying ; and besides, I was now in a 
rather bad way ; but when I came to consider 
the matter closely, I would be obliged, as it 
were, to pass in the direction of my " Uncle's " 
as I went home. At last I got up, dragging 
myself slowly to my feet, and reeled down 
the streets. It began to burn over my eye- 
brows fever was setting in, and I hurried as 
fast as I could. Once more I passed the 
baker's shop where the little loaf lay. " Well, 
we must stop here ! " I said, with affected 
decision. But supposing I were to go in and 
beg for a bit of bread? Surely that was a 
fleeting thought, a flash ; it could never really 
have occurred to me seriously. " Fie ! " I 
whispered to myself, and shook my head, and 
held on my way. In Rebslager a pair of 
lovers stood in a doorway and talked together 
softly ; a little farther up a girl popped her 
head out of a window. I walked so slowly and 
thoughtfully, that I looked as if I might be 
deep in meditation on nothing in particular, and 
the wench came out into the street. " How 
is the world treating you, old fellow ? Eh, what, 
are you ill ? Nay, the Lord preserve us, what 
a face ! " and she drew away frightened. I 

138 Hunger 

pulled up at once : What 's amiss with my 
face? Had I really begun to die? I felt 
over my cheeks with my hand ; thin 
naturally, I was thin my cheeks were like 
two hollowed bowls ; but Lord ... I reeled 
along again, but again came to a standstill ; 
I must be quite inconceivably thin. Who knows 
but that my eyes were sinking right into my 
head? How did I look in reality? It was 
the very deuce that one must let oneself turn 
into a living deformity for sheer hunger's sake. 
Once more I was seized by fury, a last flaring 
up, a final spasm. "Preserve me, what a 
face. Eh?" Here I was, with a head that 
couldn't be matched in the whole country, 
with a pair of fists that, by the Lord, could 
grind a navvy into finest dust, and yet I 
went and hungered myself into a deformity, 
right in the town of Christiania. Was there 
any rhyme or reason in that? I had sat in 
saddle, toiled day and night like a carrier's 

I had read my eyes out of their sockets, had 
starved the brains out of my head, and what the 
devil had I gained by it ? Even a street hussy 
prayed God to deliver her from the sight of me. 
Well, now, there should be a stop to it. Do 

Hunger 139 

you understand that? Stop it shall, or the 
devil take a worse hold of me. 

With steadily increasing fury, grinding my 
teeth under the consciousness of my impotence, 
with tears and oaths I raged on, without looking 
at the people who passed me by. I commenced 
once more to martyr myself, ran my forehead 
against lamp-posts on purpose, dug my nails 
deep into my palms, bit my tongue with frenzy 
when it didn't articulate clearly, and laughed 
insanely each time it hurt much. 

Yes ; but what shall I do ? I asked myself at 
last, and I stamped many times on the pave- 
ment and repeated, What shall I do ? A gentle- 
man just going by remarks, with a smile, " You 
ought to go and ask to be locked up." I 
looked after him. One of our well-known 
lady's doctors, nicknamed " The Duke." Not 
even he understood my real condition a man I 
knew; whose hand I had shaken. I grew quiet. 
Locked up ? Yes, I was mad ; he was right. 
I felt madness in my blood ; felt its darting pain 
through my brain. So that was to be the end 
of me ! Yes, yes ; and I resume my wearisome 
painful walk. There was the haven in which I 
was to find rest. 

Suddenly I stop again. But not locked up ! 

140 Hunger 

I say, not that ; and I grew almost hoarse with 
fear. I implored grace for myself; begged to 
the wind and weather not to be locked up. I 
should have to be brought to the guard-house 
again, imprisoned in a dark cell which had not 
a spark of light in it. Not that ! There must 
be other channels yet open that I had not tried, 
and I would try them. I would be so earnestly 
painstaking ; would take good time for it, and 
go indefatigably round from house to house. 
For example, there was Cisler the music-seller ; 
I hadn't been to him at all. Some remedy 
would turn up ! . . . Thus I stumbled on, 
and talked until I brought myself to weep with 
emotion. Cisler ! Was that perchance a hint 
from on high ? His name had struck me for no 
reason, and he lived so far away ; but I would 
look him up all the same, go slowly, and rest 
between times. I knew the place well ; I had 
been there often, when times were good had 
bought much music from him. Should I ask 
him for sixpence ? Perhaps that might make 
him feel uncomfortable. I would ask for a 
shilling. I went into the shop, and asked for 
the chief. They showed me into his office ; 
there he sat handsome, well-dressed in the 
latest style running down some accounts. I 

Hunger 141 

stammered through an excuse, and set forth my 
errand. Compelled by need to apply to him 
... it should not be very long till I could pay 
it back . . . when I got paid for my newspaper 
article . . . He would confer such a great 
benefit on me. . . . Even as I was speaking 
he turned about to his desk, and resumed his 
work. When I had finished, he glanced side- 
ways at me, shook his handsome head, and said, 
" No " ; simply " no " no explanation not 
another word. 

My knees trembled fearfully, and I supported 
myself against the little polished barrier. I 
must try once more. Why should just his 
name have occurred to me as I stood far away 
from there in Vaterland ? Something in my 
left side jerked a couple of times, and I broke 
out into a sweat. I said I was really awfully 
run down, and rather ill, worse luck. It would 
certainly be no longer than a few days when I 
could repay it. If he would be so kind ? 

" My dear fellow, why do you come to me ? " 
he queried ; " you are a perfect stranger off the 
street to me ; go to the paper where you are 

" But only for this evening," said I ; "the office 
is already shut up, and I am very hungry." 

142 Hunger 

He shook his head persistently ; kept on 
shaking it after I had seized the handle of the 
door. " Good-evening," I said. It was not any 
hint from on high, thought I, and I smiled 
bitterly. If it came to that, I could give as 
good a hint as that myself. I dragged on one 
block after the other ; now and then 1 rested on 
a step. If only I could escape being locked up. 
The terror of that cell pursued me all the time ; 
left me no peace. Whenever I caught sight of 
a policeman in my path I staggered into a side 
street to avoid meeting him. Now, then, we 
will count a hundred steps, and try our luck 
again ! There must be a remedy some- 
time. . . . 

It was a little yarn-shop a place in which 
I had never before set foot ; a solitary man 
behind the counter (there was an office beyond, 
with a china plate on the door) was arranging 
things on the shelves and counter. I waited till 
the last customer had left the shop a young 
lady with dimples. How happy she looked ! 
I was not backward in trying to make an im- 
pression with the pin holding my coat together. 
I turned, and my chest heaved. 

" Do you wish for anything ? " queried the 

Hunger 143 

" Is the chief in ? " I asked. 

" He is gone for a mountain tour in 
Jotunhejmen," he replied. Was it anything 
very particular, eh? 

" It concerns a couple of pence for food," 
I said, and I tried to smile. " I am hungry, 
and haven't a fraction." 

" Then you 're just about as rich as I am," 
he remarked, and began to tidy some packages 
of wool. 

" Ah, don't turn me away not now ! " I 
said on the moment, with a cold feeling over 
my whole body. " I am really nearly dead 
with hunger ; it is now many days since I 
have eaten anything." 

With perfect gravity, without saying a word, 
he began to turn his pockets inside out, one 
by one. Would I not believe him, upon his 
word? What? 

" Only a halfpenny," said I, " and you 
shall have a penny back in a couple of 

" My dear man, do you want me to steal 
out of the till ? " he queried, impatiently. 

" Yes," said I. " Yes ; take a halfpenny 
out of the till." 

" It won't be I that will do that," he observed ; 

144 Hunger 

adding, "and let me tell you, at the same 
time, I Ve had about enough of this." 

I tore myself out, sick with hunger, and 
boiling with shame. I had turned myself 
into a dog for the sake of a miserable bone, 
and I had not got it. Nay, now there must 
be an end of this ! It had really gone all 
too far with me. I had held myself up for 
many years, stood erect through so many 
hard hours, and now, all at once, I had sunk 
to the lowest form of begging. This one day 
had coarsened my whole mind, bespattered 
my soul with shamelessness. I had not been 
too abashed to stand and whine in the pettiest 
huckster's shop, and what had it availed me ? 

But was I not then without the veriest atom 
of bread to put inside my mouth ? I had suc- 
ceeded in rendering myself a thing loathsome 
to myself. Yes, yes ; but it must come to an 
end. Presently they would lock the outer 
door at home ? I must hurry unless I wished 
to lie in the guard-house again. 

This gave me strength. Lie in that cell 
again I would not. With body bent forward, 
and my hands pressed hard against my left 
ribs to deaden the stings a little, I struggled 
on, keeping my eyes fastened upon the paving- 

Hunger 145 

stones that I might not be forced to bow to 
possible acquaintances, and hastened to the 
fire look-out. God be praised ! it was only 
seven o'clock by the dial on Our Saviour's ; I 
had three hours yet before the door would 
be locked. What a fright I had been in ! 

Well, there was not a stone left unturned. 
I had done all I could. To think that I 
really could not succeed once in a whole day ! 
If I told it no one could believe it ; if I were 
to write it down they would say I had invented 
it. Not in a single place ! Well, well, there 
is no help for it. Before all, don't go and 
get pathetic again. Bah ! how disgusting ! 
I can assure you, it makes me have a loathing 
for you. If all hope is over, why, there is 
an end of it. Couldn't I, for that matter, 
steal a handful of oats in the stable. A streak 
of light a ray yet I knew the stable was 

I took my ease, and crept home at a slow, 
snail's pace. I felt thirsty, luckily for the 
first time through the whole day, and I went 
and sought about for a place where I could get 
a drink. I was a long distance away from the 
bazaar, and I would not ask at a private 
house. Perhaps, though, I could wait till I 

146 Hunger 

got home ; it would take a quarter of an hour. 
It was not at all so certain that I could keep 
down a draught of water, either ; my stomach 
no longer suffered in any way I even felt 
nausea at the spittle I swallowed. But the 
buttons ! I had not tried the buttons at all 
yet. There I stood, stock-still, and commenced 
to smile. Maybe there was a remedy, in spite 
of all! I wasn't totally doomed. I should 
certainly get a penny for them; to-morrow 
I might raise another some place or other, 
and Thursday I might be paid for my news- 
paper article. I should just see it would 
come out all right. To think that I could 
really go and forget the buttons. I took 
them out of my pocket, and inspected them 
as I walked on again. My eyes grew dazed 
with joy. I did not see the street ; I simply 
went on. Didn't I know exactly the big 
pawn-shop my refuge in the dark evenings, 
with my blood-sucking friend? One by one 
my possessions had vanished there my little 
things from home my last book. I liked to 
go there on auction days, to look on, and 
rejoice each time my books seemed likely to 
fall into good hands. Magelsen, the actor, had 
my watch ; I was almost proud of that. A 

Hunger 147 

diary, in which I had written my first small 
poetical attempt, had been bought by an 
acquaintance, and my topcoat had found a 
haven with a photographer, to be used in the 
studio. So there was no cause to grumble 
about any of them. I held my buttons ready 
in my hand ; " Uncle " is sitting at his desk, 
writing. " I am not in a hurry," I say, afraid 
of disturbing him, and making him impatient 
at my application. My voice sounded so 
curiously hollow I hardly recognised it again, 
and my heart beat like a sledge-hammer. 

He came smilingly over to me, as was his 
wont, laid both his hands flat on the counter, 
and looked at my face without saying anything. 
Yes, I had brought something of which I would 
ask him if he could make any use ; something 
which is only in my way at home, assure you 
of it are quite an annoyance some buttons. 
Well, what then? what was there about the 
buttons? and he thrusts his eyes down close 
to my hand. Couldn't he give me a couple of 
halfpence for them? whatever he thought 
himself quite according to his own judgment. 
"For the buttons?" and "Uncle" stares 
astonishedly at me " for these buttons ? " 
Only for a cigar or whatever he liked him- 

148 Hunger 

self; I was just passing, and thought I would 
look in. 

Upon this, the old pawnbroker burst out 
laughing, and returned to his desk without 
saying a word. There I stood ; I had not 
hoped for much, yet, all the same, I had 
thought of a possibility of being helped. This 
laughter was my death-warrant. It couldn't, I 
suppose, be of any use trying with my eye- 
glasses either? Of course, I would let my 
glasses go in with them ; that was a matter of 
course, said I, and I took them off. Only a 
penny, or, if he wished, a halfpenny. 

" You know quite well I can't lend you any- 
thing on your glasses," said " Uncle " ; "I told 
you that once before." 

"But I want a stamp," I said, dully. "I 
can't even send off the letters I have written ; 
a penny or a halfpenny stamp, just as you 

"Oh, God help you, go your way!" he 
replied, and motioned me off with his hands. 

Yes, yes ; well, it must be so, I said to 
myself. Mechanically I put on my glasses 
again, took the buttons in my hand, and, turn- 
ing away, bade him good-night, and closed the 
door after me as usual. Well, now, there was 

Hunger 149 

nothing more to be done ! To think he would 
not take them at any price, I muttered. They 
are almost new buttons ; I can't understand it. 

Whilst I stood, lost in thought, a man passed 
by and entered the office. He had given me 
a little shove in his hurry. We both made 
excuses, and I turned round and looked after 

" What ! is that you ? " he said, suddenly, 
when half-way up the steps. He came back, 
and I recognised him. " God bless me, man, 
what on earth do you look like? What were 
you doing in there?" 

" Oh, I had business. You are going in too, 
I see." 

" Yes ; what were you in with ? " 

My knees trembled ; I supported myself 
against the wall, and stretched out my hand 
with the buttons in it. 

"What the deuce!" he cried. "No; this 
is really going too far." 

" Good-night ! " said I, and was about to go ; 
I felt the tears choking my breast. 

" No ; wait a minute," he said. 

What was I to wait for ? Was he not him- 
self on the road to my " Uncle," bringing, 
perhaps, his engagement ring had been 

150 Hunger 

hungry, perhaps, for several days owed his 

" Yes," I replied ; " if you will be out 
soon. . . ." 

" Of course," he broke in, seizing hold of my 
arm ; " but I may as well tell you I don't 
believe you. You are such an idiot, that it's 
better you come in along with me." 

I understood what he meant, suddenly felt 
a little spark of pride, and answered : 

" I can't ; I promised to be in Bernt Akers 
Street at half-past seven, and . . ." 

" Half-past seven, quite so ; but it 's eight 
now. Here I am, standing with the watch in 
my hand that I 'm going to pawn. So, in with 
you, you hungry sinner ! I '11 get you five 
shillings, anyhow," and he pushed me in. 


A WEEK passed in glory and gladness. 

I had got over the worst this time, too. I 
had had food every day, and my courage rose, 
and I thrust one iron after the other into the 

I was working at three or four articles, that 
plundered my poor brain of every spark, every 
thought that rose in it ; and yet I fancied that 
I wrote with more facility than before. 

The last article with which I had raced about 
so much, and upon which I had built such 
hopes, had already been returned to me by 
the editor ; and, angry and wounded as I was, 
I had destroyed it immediately, without even 
re-reading it again. In future, I would try 
another paper in order to open up more fields 
for my work. 

Supposing that writing were to fail, and the 
worst were to come to the worst, I still had 
the ships to take to. The Nun lay alongside 
the wharf, ready to sail, and I might, perhaps, 
work my way out to Archangel, or wherever 

152 Hunger 

else she might be bound ; there was no lack 
of openings on many sides. The last crisis 
had dealt rather roughly with me. My hair 
fell out in masses, and I was much troubled 
with headaches, particularly in the morning, 
and my nervousness died a hard death. I sat 
and wrote during the day with my hands 
bound up in rags, simply because I could not 
endure the touch of my own breath upon them. 
If Jens Olaj banged the stable door under- 
neath me, or if a dog came into the yard and 
commenced to bark, it thrilled through my 
very marrow like icy stabs piercing me from 
every side. I was pretty well played out. 

Day after day I strove at my work, begrudg- 
ing myself the short time it took to swallow my 
food before I sat down again to write. At this 
time both the bed and the little rickety table 
were strewn over with notes and written pages, 
upon which I worked turn about, added any 
new ideas which might have occurred to me 
during the day, erased, or quickened here and 
there the dull points by a word full of colour 
fagged, and toiled at sentence after sentence, 
with the greatest pains. One afternoon, one 
of my articles being at length finished, I thrust 
it, contented and happy, into my pocket, and 

Hunger 153 

betook myself to the " commandor." It was 
high time I made some arrangement towards 
getting a little money again ; I had only a few 
pence left. 

The " commandor " requested me to sit down 
for a moment ; he would be disengaged imme- 
diately, and he continued writing. 

I looked about the little office busts, prints, 
cuttings, and an enormous paper-basket, that 
looked as if it might swallow a man, bones and 
all. I felt sad at heart at the sight of this 
monstrous chasm, this dragon's mouth, that 
always stood open, always ready to receive 
rejected work, newly crushed hopes. 

"What day of the month is it?" queried 
the "commandor" from the ta^le. 

"The 28th," I reply, pleased that I can be 
of service to him, " the 28th," and he continues 
writing. At last he encloses a couple of letters 
in their envelopes, tosses some papers into the 
basket, and lays down his pen. Then he 
swings round on his chair, and looks at me. 
Observing that I am still standing near the 
door, he makes a half- serious, half- playful 
motion with his hand, and points to a chair. 

I turn aside, so that he may not see that 
I have no waistcoat on, when I open my 

154 Hunger 

coat to take the manuscript out of my 

" It is only a little character sketch of 
Correggio," I say ; " but perhaps it is, worse 
luck, not written in such a way that . . ." 

He takes the papers out of my hand, and 
commences to go through them. His face 
is turned towards me. 

And so it is thus he looks at close quarters, 
this man, whose name I had already heard 
in my earliest youth, and whose paper had 
exercised the greatest influence upon me as 
the years advanced? His hair is curly, and 
his beautiful brown eyes are a little restless. 
He has a habit of tweaking his nose now 
and then. No Scotch minister could look 
milder than this truculent writer, whose pen 
always left bleeding scars wherever it attacked. 
A peculiar feeling of awe and admiration 
comes over me in the presence of this man. 
The tears are on the point of coming to my 
eyes, and I advanced a step to tell him how 
heartily I appreciated him, for all he had taught 
me, and to beg him not to hurt me ; I was 
only a poor bungling wretch, who had had a 
sorry enough time of it as it was. . . . 

He looked up, and placed my manuscript 

Hunger 155 

slowly together, whilst he sat and considered. 
To make it easier for him to give me a re- 
fusal, I stretch out my hand a little, and say : 

"Ah, well, of course, it is not of any use 
to you," and I smile to give him the impres- 
sion that I take it easily. 

"Everything has to be of such a popular 
nature to be of any use to us," he replies ; " you 
know the kind of public we have. But can't you 
try and write something a little more common- 
place, or hit upon something that people under- 
stand better?" 

His forbearance astonishes me. I understand 
that my article is rejected, and yet I could 
not have received a prettier refusal. Not to 
take up his time any longer, I reply : 

" Oh yes, I daresay I can." 

I go towards the door. Hem he must 
pray forgive me for having taken up his time 
with this ... I bow, and turn the door handle. 

" If you need it," he says, " you are welcome 
to draw a little in advance ; you can write for 
it, you know." 

Now, as he had just seen that I was not 
capable of writing, this offer humiliated me 
somewhat, and I answered : 

" No, thanks ; I can pull through yet a while, 

156 Hunger 

thanking you very much, all the same. Good- 
day ! 

" Good-day ! " replies the " commandor," 
turning at the same time to his desk again. 

He had none the less treated me with un- 
deserved kindness, and I was grateful to him 
for it and I would know how to appreciate 
it too. I made a resolution not to return 
to him until I could take something with me, 
that satisfied me perfectly ; something that 
would astonish the "commandor" a bit, and 
make him order me to be paid half-a-sovereign 
without a moment's hesitation. I went home, 
and tackled my writing once more. 

During the following evenings, as soon as 
it got near eight o'clock and the gas was lit, 
the following thing happened regularly to me. 

As I come out of my room to take a walk 
in the streets after the labour and troubles 
of the day, a lady, dressed in black, stands 
under the lamp-post exactly opposite my 

She turns her face towards me and follows 
me with her eyes when I pass her by I 
remark that she always has the same dress 
on, always the same thick veil that conceals 
her face and falls over her breast, and that 

Hunger 157 

she carries in her hand a small umbrella with 
an ivory ring in the handle. This was already 
the third evening I had seen her there, always 
in the same place. As soon as I have passed 
her by she turns slowly and goes down the 
street away from me. My nervous brain 
vibrated with curiosity, and I became at once 
possessed by the unreasonable feeling that I 
was the object of her visit. At last I was 
almost on the point of addressing her, of 
asking her if she was looking for anyone, 
if she needed my assistance in any way, or if 
I might accompany her home. Badly dressed, 
as I unfortunately was, I might protect her 
through the dark streets ; but I had an un- 
defined fear that it perhaps might cost me 
something ; a glass of wine, or a drive, and 
I had no money left at all. My distressingly 
empty pockets acted in a far too depressing 
way upon me, and I had not even the courage 
to scrutinise her sharply as I passed her by. 
Hunger had once more taken up its abode 
in my breast, and I had not tasted food since 
yesterday evening. This, 'tis true, was not a 
long period ; I had often been able to hold 
out for a couple of days at a time, but latterly 
I had commenced to fall off seriously ; I could 

158 Hunger 

not go hungry one quarter as well as I used 
to do. A single day made me feel dazed, 
and I suffered from perpetual retching the 
moment I tasted water. Added to this was 
the fact that I lay and shivered all night, lay 
fully dressed as I stood and walked in the 
daytime, lay blue with the cold, lay and froze 
every night with fits of icy shivering, and 
grew stiff during my sleep. The old blanket 
could not keep out the draughts, and I woke 
in the mornings with my nose stopped by the 
sharp outside frosty air which forced its way 
into the dilapidated room. 

I go down the street and think over what 
I am to do to keep myself alive until I get 
my next article finished. If I only had a 
candle I would try to fag on through the 
night ; it would only take a couple of hours 
if I once warmed to my work, and then to- 
morrow I could call on the "commandor." 

I go without further ado into the Opland 
Cafe and look for my young acquaintance in 
the bank, in order to procure a penny for a 
candle. I passed unhindered through all the 
rooms ; I passed a dozen tables at which men 
sat chatting, eating, and drinking ; I passed 
into the back of the cafe, ay, even into the 

Hunger 159 

red alcove, without succeeding in finding my 

Crestfallen and annoyed I dragged myself 
out again into the street and took the direction 
to the Palace. 

Wasn't it now the very hottest eternal devil 
existing to think that my hardships never 
would come to an end ! Taking long, furious 
strides, with the collar of my coat hunched 
savagely up round my ears, and my hands 
thrust in my breeches pockets, I strode along, 
cursing my unlucky stars the whole way. 
Not one real untroubled hour in seven or 
eight months, not the common food necessary 
to hold body and soul together for the space 
of one short week, before want stared me in 
the face again. Here I had, into the bargain 
gone and kept straight and honourable all 
through my misery Ha, ha! straight and 
honourable to the heart's core. God preserve 
me, what a fool I had been ! And I com- 
menced to tell myself how I had even gone 
about conscience-stricken because I had once 
brought Hans Pauli's blanket to the pawn- 
broker's. I laughed sarcastically at my 
delicate rectitude, spat contemptuously in the 
street, and could not find words half strong 

160 Hunger 

enough to mock myself for my stupidity. 
Let it only happen now! Were I to find at 
this moment a schoolgirl's savings or a poor 
widow's only penny, I would snatch it up and 
pocket it ; steal it deliberately, and sleep the 
whole night through like a top. I had not 
suffered so unspeakably much for nothing 
my patience was gone I was prepared to do 

I walked round the palace three, perhaps 
four, times, then came to the conclusion that 
I would go home, took yet one little turn in 
the park and went back down Carl Johann. 
It was now about eleven. The streets were 
fairly dark, and people roamed about in all 
directions, quiet pairs and noisy groups mixed 
with one another. The great hour had com- 
menced, the pairing time when the mystic 
traffic is in full swing and the hour of merry 
adventures sets in. Rustling petticoats, one 
or two still short, sensual laughter, heaving 
bosoms, passionate, panting breaths, and far 
down near the Grand Hotel a voice calling 
" Emma ! " The whole street was a swamp, 
from which hot vapours exuded. 

I feel involuntarily in my pockets for a few 
shillings. The passion that thrills through the 

Hunger 161 

movements of every one of the passers-by, the 
dim light of the gas lamps, the quiet pregnant 
night, all commence to affect me this air, 
that is laden with whispers, embraces, trembling 
admissions, concessions, half-uttered words and 
suppressed cries. A number of cats are declar- 
ing their love with loud yells in Blomquist's 
doorway. And I did not possess even a florin ! 
It was a misery, a wretchedness without parallel 
to be so impoverished. What humiliation, too ; 
what disgrace ! I began again to think about 
the poor widow's last mite, that I would have 
stolen a schoolboy's cap or handkerchief, or a 
beggar's wallet, that I would have brought to a 
rag-dealer without more ado, and caroused with 
the proceeds. 

In order to console myself to indemnify 
myself in some measure I take to picking 
all possible faults in the people who glide by. 
I shrug my shoulders contemptuously, and 
look slightingly at them according as they pass. 
These easily - pleased, confectionery - eating 
students, who fancy they are sowing their wild 
oats in truly Continental style if they tickle 
a sempstress under the ribs ! These young 
bucks, bank clerks, merchants, flaneurs who 
would not disdain a sailor's wife ; blowsy Molls, 

1 62 Hunger 

ready to fall down in the first doorway for 
a glass of beer ! What sirens ! The place 
at their side still warm from the last night's 
embrace of a watchman or a stable-boy ! The 
throne always vacant, always open to new- 
comers ! Pray, mount ! 

I spat far out over the pavement, without 
troubling if it hit anyone. I felt enraged ; 
filled with contempt for these people who 
scraped acquaintanceship with one another, 
and paired off right before my eyes. I lifted 
my head, and felt in myself the blessing of 
being able to keep my own sty clean. At 
Stortingsplads (Parliament Place) I met a girl 
who looked fixedly at me as I came close to her. 

" Good-night ! " said I. 

" Good-night ! " She stopped. 

Hum ! was she out walking so late ? Did 
not a young lady run rather a risk in being in 
Carl Johann at this time of night? Really 
not ? Yes ; but was she never spoken to, 
molested, I meant ; to speak plainly, asked to 
go along home with anyone ? 

She stared at me with astonishment, scanned 
my face closely, to see what I really meant by 
this, then thrust her hand suddenly under my 
arm, and said : 

Hunger 163 

" Yes, and we went too ! " 

I walked on with her. But when we had 
gone a few paces past the car-stand I came 
to a standstill, freed my arm, and said : 

" Listen, my dear, I don't own a farthing ! " 
and with that I went on. 

At first she would not believe me ; but after 
she had searched all my pockets, and found 
nothing, she got vexed, tossed her head, and 
called me a dry cod. 

" Good-night ! " said I. 

" Wait a minute," she called ; " are those eye- 
glasses that you 've got gold ? " 

" No." 

" Then go to blazes with you ! " and I went. 

A few seconds after she came running behind 
me, and called out to me : 

" You can come with me all the same ! " 

I felt humiliated by this offer from an unfor- 
tunate street wench, and I said " No." Besides, 
it was growing late at night, and I was due at a 
place. Neither could she afford to make sacri- 
fices of that kind. 

"Yes; but now I will have you come with me." 

" But I won't go with you in this way." 

" Oh, naturally ; you are going with some one 

164 Hunger 

" No," I answered. 

But I was conscious that I stood in a sorry 
plight in face of this unique street jade, and I 
made up my mind to save appearances at least. 

" What is your name ? " I inquired. " Mary, 
eh ? Well, listen to me now, Mary ! " and I 
set about explaining my behaviour. The girl 
grew more and more astonished in measure as I 
proceeded. Had she then believed that I, too, 
was one of those who went about the street at 
night and ran after little girls ? Did she really 
think so badly of me ? Had I perhaps said 
anything rude to her from the beginning ? Did 
one behave as I had done when one was 
actuated by any bad motive ? Briefly, in so 
many words, I had accosted her, and accom- 
panied her those few paces, to see how far she 
would go on with it. For the rest, my name 
was So-and-so Pastor So-and-so. "Good- 
night ; depart, and sin no more ! " With these 
words I left her. 

I rubbed my hands with delight over my 
happy notion, and soliloquised aloud, " What a 
joy there is in going about doing good actions." 
Perhaps I had given this fallen creature an 
upward impulse for her whole life ; saved her, 
once for all, from destruction, and she would 

Hunger 165 

appreciate it when she came to think over it ; 
remember me yet in her hour of death with 
thankful heart. Ah! in truth, it paid to be 
honourable, upright, and righteous ! 

My spirits were effervescing. I felt fresh and 
courageous enough to face anything that might 
turn up. If I only had a candle, I might 
perhaps complete my article. I walked on, 
jingling my new door -key in my hand; 
hummed, and whistled, and speculated as to 
means of procuring a candle. There was no 
other way out of it. I would have to take 
my writing materials with me into the street, 
under a lamp-post. I opened the door, and 
went up to get my papers. When I descended 
once more I locked the door from the outside, 
and planted myself under the light. All around 
was quiet ; I heard only the heavy clanking 
footstep of a constable down in Taergade, and 
far away in the direction of St Han's Hill a dog 
barked. There was nothing to disturb me. I 
pulled my coat collar up round my ears, and 
commenced to think with all my might. 

It would be such an extraordinary help to me 
if I were lucky enough to find a suitable wind- 
ing up for this little essay. I had stuck just at 
a rather difficult point in it, where there ought 

1 66 Hunger 

to be a quite imperceptible transition to some- 
thing fresh, then a subdued gliding finale, a 
prolonged murmur, ending at last in a climax 
as bold and as startling as a shot, or the sound 
of a mountain avalanche full stop. But the 
words would not come to me. I read over 
the whole piece from the commencement ; read 
every sentence aloud, and yet failed absolutely 
to crystallise my thoughts, in order to produce 
this scintillating climax. And into the bargain, 
whilst I was standing labouring away at this, 
the constable came and, planting himself a little 
distance away from me, spoilt my whole mood. 
Now, what concern was it of his if I stood and 
strove for a striking climax to an article for the 
Commandor? Lord, how utterly impossible it 
was for me to keep my head above water, 
no matter how much I tried ! I stayed there 
for the space of an hour. The constable went 
his way. The cold began to get too intense 
for me to keep still. Disheartened and 
despondent over this abortive effort, I opened 
the door again, and went up to my room. 

It was cold up there, and I could barely 
see my window for the intense darkness. I 
felt my way towards the bed, pulled off my 
shoes, and set about warming my feet between 

Hunger 167 

my hands. Then I lay down, as I had done 
for a long time now, with all my clothes on. 

The following morning I sat up in bed as 
soon as it got light, and set to work at the 
essay once more. I sat thus till noon ; I had 
succeeded by then in getting ten, perhaps 
twenty, lines down, and still I had not found 
an ending. 

I rose, put on my shoes, and began to walk 
up and down the floor to try and warm myself. 
I looked out ; there was rime on the window ; 
it was snowing. Down in the yard a thick 
layer of snow covered the paving-stones and 
the top of the pump. I bustled about the 
room, took aimless turns to and fro, scratched 
the wall with my nail, leant my head care- 
fully against the door for a while, tapped with 
my forefinger on the floor, and then listened 
attentively, all without any object, but quietly 
and pensively as if it were some matter of 
importance in which I was engaged ; and all 
the while I murmured aloud, time upon time, 
so that I could hear my own voice. 

But, great God, surely this is madness! and 
yet I kept on just as before. After a long 
time, perhaps a couple of hours, I pulled my- 
self sharply together, bit my lips, and manned 

1 68 Hunger 

myself as well as I could. There must be 
an end to this ! I found a splinter to chew, 
and set myself resolutely to write again. 

A couple of short sentences formed them- 
selves with much trouble, a score of poor 
words which I tortured forth with might and 
main to try and advance a little. Then I 
stopped, my head was barren ; I was incap- 
able of more. And, as I could positively not 
go on, I set myself to gaze with wide open 
eyes at these last words, this unfinished sheet 
of paper ; I stared at these strange, shaky 
letters that bristled up from the paper like 
small hairy creeping things, till at last I could 
neither make head nor tail of any of it. I 
thought on nothing. 

Time went ; I heard the traffic in the street, 
the rattle of cars and tramp of hoofs. Jens 
Olaj's voice ascended towards me from the 
stables as he chid the horses. I was per- 
fectly stunned. I sat and moistened my lips 
a little, but otherwise made no effort to do 
anything : my chest was in a pitiful state. 
The dusk closed in ; I sank more and more 
together, grew weary, and lay down on the 
bed again. In order to warm my fingers a 
little I stroked them through my hair back- 

Hunger 169 

wards and forwards and crosswise. Small loose 
tufts came away, flakes that got between my 
fingers, and scattered over the pillow. I did 
not think anything about it just then ; it was 
as if it did not concern me. I had hair enough 
left, anyway. I tried afresh to shake myself 
out of this strange daze that enveloped my 
whole being like a mist. I sat up, struck my 
knees with my flat hands, laughed as hard 
as my sore chest permitted me only to 
collapse again. Nought availed ; I was dying 
helplessly, with my eyes wide open staring 
straight up at the roof. At length I stuck 
my forefinger in my mouth, and took to suck- 
ing it. Something stirred in my brain, a 
thought that bored its way in there a stark- 
mad notion. 

Supposing I were to take a bite? And 
without a moment's reflection, I shut my eyes, 
and clenched my teeth on it. 

I sprang up. At last I was thoroughly 
awake. A little blood trickled from it, and 
I licked it as it came. It didn't hurt very 
much, neither was the wound large, but I was 
brought at one bound to my senses. I shook 
my head, went to the window, where I found 
a rag, and wound it round the sore place. 

170 Hunger 

As I stood and busied myself with this, my 
eyes filled with tears ; I cried softly to my- 
self. This poor thin finger looked so utterly 
pitiable. God in Heaven ! what a pass it 
had come to now with me ! The gloom grew 
closer. It was, maybe, not impossible that 
I might work up my finale through the course 
of the evening, if I only had a candle. My 
head was clear once more. Thoughts came 
and went as usual, and I did not suffer 
particularly ; I did not even feel hunger so 
badly as some hours previously. I could hold 
out well till the next day. Perhaps I might 
be able to get a candle on credit, if I applied 
to the provision shop and explained my situa- 
tion I was so well known in there ; in the 
good old days, when I had the means to do 
it, I used to buy many a loaf there. There 
was no doubt I could raise a candle on 
the strength of my honest name ; and for the 
first time for ages I took to brushing my 
clothes a little, got rid as well as the darkness 
allowed me of the loose hairs on my collar, 
and felt my way down the stairs. 

When I got outside in the street it occurred 
to me that I might perhaps rather ask for a 
loaf. I grew irresolute, and stopped to con- 

Hunger 171 

sider. "On no account," I replied to myself 
at last ; I was unfortunately not in a condition 
to bear food. It would only be a repetition 
of the same old story visions, and presenti- 
ments, and mad notions. My article would 
never get finished, and it was a question of 
going to the " Commandor " before he had 
time to forget me. On no account whatever! 
and I decided upon the candle. With that 
I entered the shop. 

A woman is standing at the counter making 
purchases ; several small parcels in different 
sorts of paper are lying in front of her. The 
shopman, who knows me, and knows what I 
usually buy, leaves the woman, and packs 
without much ado a loaf in a piece of paper 
and shoves it over to me. 

"No, thank you, it was really a candle I 
wanted this evening," I say. I say it very 
quietly and humbly, in order not to vex him 
and spoil my chance of getting what I + 

My answer confuses him ; he turns quite 
cross at my unexpected words ; it was the 
first time I had ever demanded anything but 
a loaf from him. 

" Well then, you must wait a while," he says 

172 Hunger 

at last, and busies himself with the woman's 
parcels again. 

She receives her wares and pays for them 
gives him a florin, out of which she gets the 
change, and goes out. Now the shop-boy and 
I are alone. He says : 

" So it was a candle you wanted, eh ! " He 
tears open a package, and takes one out for 
me. He looks at me, and I look at him ; I 
can't get my request over my lips. 

" Oh yes, that 's true ; you paid, though ! " 
he says suddenly. He simply asserts that I 
had paid. I heard every word, and he begins 
to count some silver out of the till, coin after 
coin, shining stout pieces. He gives me back 
change for a crown. 

" Much obliged," he says. 

Now I stand and look at these pieces of 
money for a second. I am conscious something 
is wrong somewhere. I do not reflect ; do not 
think about anything at all I am simply 
struck of a heap by all this wealth which is 
lying glittering before my eyes and I gather 
up the money mechanically. 

I stand outside the counter, stupid with 
amazement, dumb, paralysed. I take a stride 
towards the door, and stop again. I turn 

Hunger 173 

my eyes upon a certain spot in the wall, 
where a little bell is suspended to a leather 
collar, and underneath this a bundle of string, 
and I stand and stare at these things. 

The shop-boy is struck by the idea that 
I want to have a chat as I take my time so 
leisurely, and says, as he tidies a lot of 
wrapping-papers strewn over the counter : 

" It looks as if we were going to have 
winter now ! " 

" Humph ! Yes," I reply ; " it looks as if 
we were going to have winter in earnest now ; 
it looks like it," and a while after, I add : 
" Ah, well, it is none too soon." 

I could hear myself speak, but each word 
I uttered struck my ear as if it were coming 
from another person. I spoke absolutely 
unwittingly, involuntarily, without being con- 
scious of myself. 

" Oh, do you think so ? " says the boy. 

I thrust the hand with the money into my 
pocket, turned the door-handle, and left. I 
could hear that I said good-night, and that 
the shop-boy replied to me. 

I had gone a few paces away from the 
shop when the shop-door was torn open, and 
the boy called after me. I turned round 

174 Hunger 

without any astonishment, without a trace of 
fear ; I only collected the money into my 
hand, and prepared to give it back. 

" Beg pardon, you Ve forgotten your candle," 
says the boy. 

" Ah, thanks," I answer quietly. " Thanks, 
thanks " ; and I strolled on, down the street, 
bearing it in my hand. 

My first sensible thought referred to the 
money. I went over to a lamp-post, counted 
it, weighed it in my hand, and smiled. So, in 
spite of all, I was helped extraordinarily, 
grandly, incredibly helped helped for a long, 
long time ; and I thrust my hand with the 
money into my pocket, and walked on. 

Outside an eating-house in Grand Street 
I stopped, and turned over in my mind, 
calmly and quietly, if I should venture so 
soon to take a little refreshment. I could 
hear the rattle of knives and plates inside, 
and the sound of meat being pounded. The 
temptation was too strong for me I entered. 

" A helping of beef," I say. 

" One beef! " calls the waitress down through 
the door of the lift. 

I sat down by myself at a little table next 
to the door, and prepared to wait. It was 

Hunger 175 

somewhat dark where I was sitting, and I felt 
tolerably well concealed, and set myself to 
have a serious think. Every now and then the 
waitress glanced over at me inquiringly. My 
first downright dishonesty was accomplished 
my first theft. Compared to this, all my earlier 
escapades were as nothing my first great fall. 
. . . Well and good ! There was no help for it. 
For that matter, it was open to me to settle it 
with the shopkeeper later on, on a more oppor- 
tune occasion. It need not go any farther with 
me. Besides that, I had not taken upon myself 
to live more honourably than all the other 
folk ; there was no contract that . . . 

" Do you think that beef will soon be here ? " 

" Yes ; immediately " ; the waitress opens the 
trap-door, and looks down into the kitchen. 

But suppose the affair did crop up some 
day? If the shop-boy were to get suspicious 
and begin to think over the transaction about 
the bread, and the florin of which the woman 
got the change ? It was not impossible that 
he would discover it some day, perhaps the 
next time I went there. Well, then, Lord ! . . . 
I shrugged my shoulders unobserved. 

"If you please," says the waitress, kindly, 
placing the beef on the table, "wouldn't you 

176 Hunger 

rather go to another compartment, it 's so 
dark here?" 

" No, thanks ; just let me be here," I reply ; 
her kindliness touches me at once. I pay for 
the beef on the spot, put whatever change 
remains into her hand, close her fingers over 
it. She smiles, and I say in fun, with the 
tears near my ears, " There, you 're to have 
the balance to buy yourself a farm. . . . Ah, 
you 're very welcome to it." 

I commenced to eat, got more and more 
greedy as I did so, swallowed whole pieces 
without chewing them, enjoyed myself in an 
animal-like way at every mouthful, and tore 
at the meat like a cannibal. 

The waitress came over to me again. 

" Will you have anything to drink ? " she 
asks, bending down a little towards me. I 
looked at her. She spoke very low, almost 
shyly, and dropped her eyes. " I mean a glass 
of ale, or whatever you like best . . . from 
me . . . without . . . that is, if you will . . ." 

" No ; many thanks," I answer. " Not now ; 
I shall come back another time." 

She drew back, and sat down at the desk. 
I could only see her head. What a singular 
creature ! 

Hunger 177 

When finished, I made at once for the door. 
I felt nausea already. The waitress got up. 
I was afraid to go near the light afraid to 
show myself too plainly to the young girl, 
who never for a moment suspected the depth 
of my misery ; so I wished her a hasty good- 
night, bowed to her, and left. 

The food commenced to take effect. I 
suffered much from it, and could not keep 
it down for any length of time. I had to 
empty my mouth a little at every dark corner 
I came to. I struggled to master this nausea 
which threatened to hollow me out anew, 
clenched my hands, and tried to fight it 
down ; stamped on the pavement, and gulped 
down furiously whatever sought to come up. 
All in vain. I sprang at last into a doorway, 
doubled up, head foremost, blinded with the 
water which gushed from my eyes, and vomited 
once more. I was seized with bitterness, and 
wept as I went along the street. ... I cursed 
the cruel powers, whoever they might be, that 
persecuted me so, consigned them to hell's 
damnation and eternal torments for their petty 
persecution. There was but little chivalry in 
fate, really little enough chivalry ; one was 
forced to admit that. 


178 Hunger 

I went over to a man staring into a shop- 
window, and asked him in great haste what, 
according to his opinion, should one give a 
man who had been starving for a long time. 
It was a matter of life and death, I said ; he 
couldn't even keep beef down. 

" I have heard say that milk is a good thing 
hot milk," answered the man, astonished. 
" Who is it, by the way, you are asking for ? " 

"Thanks, thanks," I say; "that idea of hot 
milk might not be half a bad notion " ; and I go. 

I entered the first cafe I came to going 
along, and asked for some boiled milk. I 
got the milk, drank it down, hot as it was, 
swallowed it greedily, every drop, paid for it, 
and went out again. I took the road home. 

Now something singular happened. Out- 
side my door, leaning against the lamp-post, 
and right under the glare of it, stands a person 
of whom I get a glimpse from a long dis- 
tance it is the lady dressed in black again. 
The same black-clad lady of the other evenings. 
There could be no mistake about it ; she had 
turned up at the same spot for the fourth time. 
She is standing perfectly motionless. I find 
this so peculiar that I involuntarily slacken my 
pace. At this moment my thoughts are in 

Hunger 179 

good working order, but I am much excited ; 
my nerves are irritated by my last meal. I pass 
her by as usual ; am almost at the door and 
on the point of entering. There I stop. All 
of a sudden an inspiration seizes me. Without 
rendering myself any account of it, I turn 
round and go straight up to the lady, look her 
in the face, and bow. 

" Good-evening." 

" Good-evening," she answers. 

Excuse me, was she looking for anything? 
I had noticed her before ; could I be of 
assistance to her in any way ? begged pardon, 
by-the-way, so earnestly for inquiring. 

Yes ; she didn't quite know. . . . 

No one lived inside that door besides three 
or four horses and myself; it was, for that 
matter, only a stable and a tinker's workshop. 
. . . She was certainly on a wrong track if 
she was seeking anyone there. 

At this she turns her head away, and says : 
" I am not seeking for anybody. I am only 
standing here ; it was really only a whim. 
I " . . . she stops. 

Indeed, really, she only stood there, just 
stood there, evening after evening, just for a 
whim's sake ! 

180 Hunger 

That was a little odd. I stood and pondered 
over it, and it perplexed me more and more. 
I made up my mind to be daring ; I jingled 
my money in my pocket, and asked her, 
without further ado, to come and have a glass 
of wine some place or another ... in con- 
sideration that winter had come, ha, ha! ... it 
needn't take very long . . . but perhaps she 
would scarcely. . . . 

Ah, no, thanks ; she couldn't well do that. 
No ! she couldn't do that ; but would I be so 
kind as to accompany her a little way? She 
... it was rather dark to go home now, and 
she was rather nervous about going up Carl 
Johann after it got so late. 

We moved on ; she walked at my right side. 
A strange, beautiful feeling empowered me ; 
the certainty of being near a young girl. I 
looked at her the whole way along. The scent 
of her hair ; the warmth that irradiated from 
her body ; the perfume of woman that accom- 
panied her ; the sweet breath every time she 
turned her face towards me everything pene- 
trated in an ungovernable way through all my 
senses. So far, I just caught a glimpse of a 
full, rather pale, face behind the veil, and a 
high bosom that curved out against her cape. 

Hunger 1 8 1 

The thought of all the hidden beauty which 
I surmised lay sheltered under the cloak and 
veil bewildered me, making me idiotically 
happy without any reasonable grounds. I 
could not endure it any longer ; I touched her 
with my hand, passed my ringers over her 
shoulder, and smiled imbecilely. 

" How queer you are," said I. 

" Am I, really ; in what way ? " 

Well, in the first place, simply, she had a 
habit of standing outside a stable door, evening 
after evening, without any object whatever, just 
for a whim's sake. . . . 

Oh, well, she might have her reason for 
doing so ; besides, she liked staying up late 
at night ; it was a thing she had always had 
a great fancy for. Did I care about going to 
bed before twelve? 

I ? If there was anything in the world I 
hated it was to go to bed before twelve o'clock 
at night. 

Ah, there, you see! She, too, was just the 
same ; she took this little tour in the evenings 
when she had nothing to lose by doing so. 
She lived up in St Olav's Place. 

"Ylajali," I cried. 

"I beg pardon?" 

1 82 Hunger 

" I only said ' Ylajali ' . . . it 's all right. 
Continue . . ." 

She lived up in St Olav's Place, lonely 
enough, together with her mother, to whom 
one couldn't talk because she was so deaf. 
Was there anything odd in her liking to get 
out for a little? 

" No, not at all," I replied. 

" No ? well, what then ? " 

I could hear by her voice that she was 

Hadn't she a sister? 

Yes ; an older sister. But, by-the-way, 
how did I know that? She had gone to 

" Lately ? " 

" Yes ; five weeks ago." From where did I 
learn that she had a sister? 

I didn't learn it at all ; I only asked. 

We kept silence. A man passes us, with a 
pair of shoes under his arm ; otherwise, the 
street is empty as far as we can see. Over at 
the Tivoli a long row of coloured lamps are 
burning. It no longer snows ; the sky is clear. 

" Gracious ! don't you freeze without an 
overcoat ? " inquires the lady, suddenly looking 
at me. 

Hunger 183 

Should I tell her why I had no overcoat ; 
make my sorry condition known at once, and 
frighten her away ? As well first as last. Still, 
it was delightful to walk here at her side and 
keep her jn ignorance yet a while longer. So 
I lied. I answered : 

" No, not at all " ; and, in order to change 
the subject, I asked, " Have you seen the 
menagerie in the Tivoli ? " 

" No," she answered ; " is there really any- 
thing to see?" 

Suppose she were to take it into her head to 
wish to go there ? Into that blaze of light, with 
the crowd of people. Why, she would be filled 
with shame ; I would drive her out again, with 
my shabby clothes, and lean face ; perhaps 
she might even notice that I had no waistcoat 
on. . . . 

" Ah, no ; there is sure to be nothing worth 
seeing ! " 

And a lot of happy ideas occurred to me, 
of which I at once made use ; a few sparse 
words, fragments left in my dessicated brain. 
What could one expect from such a small 
menagerie ? On the whole, it did not interest 
me in the least to see animals in cages. These 
animals know that one is standing staring at 

184 Hunger 

them ; they feel hundreds of inquisitive looks 
upon them ; are conscious of them. No ; I 
would prefer to see animals that didn't know 
one observed them ; shy creatures that nestle 
in their lair, and lie with sluggish green eyes, 
and lick their claws, and muse, eh ? 

Yes ; I was certainly right in that. 

It was only animals in all their peculiar 
fearfulness and peculiar savagery that pos- 
sessed a charm. The soundless, stealthy tread 
in the total darkness of night ; the hidden 
monsters of the woods ; the shrieks of a bird 
flying past ; the wind, the smell of blood, 
the rumbling in space ; in short, the reigning 
spirit of the kingdom of savage creatures 
hovering over savagery . . . the unconscious 
poetry ! . . . But I was afraid this bored her. 
The consciousness of my great poverty seized 
me anew, and crushed me. If I had only been 
in any way well-enough dressed to have given 
her the pleasure of this little tour in the 
Tivoli! I could not make out this creature, 
who could find pleasure in letting herself be 
accompanied up the whole of Carl Johann 
Street by a half-naked beggar. What, in the 
name of God, was she thinking of? And why 
was I walking there, giving myself airs, and 

Hunger 185 

smiling idiotically at nothing? Had I any- 
reasonable cause, either, for letting myself be 
worried into a long walk by this dainty, silken- 
clad bird ? Mayhap it did not cost me an effort ? 
Did I not feel the ice of death go right into my 
heart at even the gentlest puff of wind that blew 
against us ? Was not madness running riot in 
my brain, just for lack of food for many months 
at a stretch ? Yet she hindered me from going 
home to get even a little milk into my parched 
mouth ; a spoonful of sweet milk, that I might 
perhaps be able to keep down. Why didn't she 
turn her back on me, and let me go to the 
deuce ? . . . 

I became distracted ; my despair reduced 
me to the last extremity. I said : 

"Considering all things, you ought not to 
walk with me. I disgrace you right under 
everyone's eyes, if only with my clothes. 
Yes, it is positively true ; I mean it." 

She starts, looks up quickly at me, and is 
silent ; then she exclaims suddenly : 

" Indeed, though ! " More she doesn't say. 

"What do you mean by that?" I queried. 

" Ugh, no ; you make me feel ashamed. . . . 
We have not got very far now " ; and she 
walked on a little faster. 

1 86 Hunger 

We turned up University Street, and could 
already see the lights in St Olav's Place. Then 
she commenced to walk slowly again. 

" I have no wish to be indiscreet," I say ; 
" but won't you tell me your name before we 
part? and won't you, just for one second, lift 
up your veil so that I can see you ? I would 
be really so grateful." 

A pause. I walked on in expectation. 

"You have seen me before," she replies. 

"Ylajali," I say again. 

" Beg pardon. You followed me once for 
half-a-day, almost right home. Were you 
tipsy that time?" 

I could hear again that she smiled. 

"Yes," I said. "Yes, worse luck, I was 
tipsy that time." 

" That was horrid of you ! " 

And I admitted contritely that it was horrid 
of me. 

We reached the fountains ; we stop and 
look up at the many lighted windows of 
No. 2. 

" Now, you mustn't come any farther with 
me," she says. "Thank you for coming so 

I bowed ; I daren't say anything ; I took off 

Hunger 187 

my hat and stood bareheaded. I wonder if 
she will give me her hand. 

" Why don't you ask me to go back a little 
way with you ? " she asks, in a low voice, 
looking down at the toe of her shoe. 

" Great Heavens ! " I reply, beside myself, 
" Great Heavens, if you only would ! " 

" Yes ; but only a little way." 

And we turned round. 

I was fearfully confused. I absolutely did 
not know if I were on my head or my heels. 
This creature upset all my chain of reasoning ; 
turned it topsy-turvy. I was bewitched and 
extraordinarily happy. It seemed to me as 
if I were being dragged enchantingly to de- 
struction. She had expressly willed to go 
back ; it wasn't my notion, it was her own 
desire. I walk on and look at her, and get 
more and more bold. She encourages me, 
draws me to her by each word she speaks. I 
forget for a moment my poverty, my humble 
position, my whole miserable condition. I feel 
my blood course madly through my whole 
body, as in the old days before I caved in, 
and resolved to feel my way by a little ruse. 

"By-the-way, it wasn't you I followed that 
time," said I. " It was your sister." 

1 88 Hunger 

" Was it my sister ? " she questions, in the 
highest degree amazed. She stands still, looks 
up at me, and positively waits for an answer. 
She puts the question in all sober earnest. 

" Yes," I replied. " Hum m, that is to say, 
it was the younger of the two ladies who 
went on in front of me." 

" The youngest, eh ? eh ? a-a-ha ! " she laughed 
out all at once, loudly, heartily, like a child. 
" Oh, how sly you are ; you only said that just 
to get me to raise my veil, didn't you? Ah, 
I thought so ; but you may just wait till you 
are blue first . . . just for punishment." 

We began to laugh and jest ; we talked 
incessantly all the time. I do not know what 
I said, I was so happy. She told me that 
she had seen me once before, a long time ago, 
in the theatre. I had then comrades with me, 
and I behaved like a madman; I must certainly 
have been tipsy that time too, more 's the shame. 

Why did she think that? 

Oh, I had laughed so. 

" Really, a-ah yes ; I used to laugh a lot in 
those days." 

"But now not any more?" 

" Oh yes ; now too. It is a splendid thing 
to exist sometimes." 

Hunger 189 

We reached Carl Johann. She said : " Now 
we won't go any farther," and we returned 
through University Street. When we arrived 
at the fountain once more I slackened my pace 
a little ; I knew that I could not go any farther 
with her. 

"Well, now you must turn back here," she 
said, and stopped. 

" Yes, I suppose I must." 

But a second after she thought I might as 
well go as far as the door with her. Gracious 
me, there couldn't be anything wrong in that, 
could there? 

"No," I replied. 

But when we were standing at the door all 
my misery confronted me clearly. How was 
one to keep up one's courage when one was so 
broken down? Here I stood before a young 
lady, dirty, ragged, torn, disfigured by hunger, 
unwashed, and only half-clad ; it was enough to 
make one sink into the earth. I shrank into 
myself, bent my head involuntarily, and said : 

" May I not meet you any more then ? " 

I had no hope of being permitted to see 
her again. I almost wished for a sharp No, 
that would pull me together a bit and render 
me callous. 

190 Hunger 

" Yes," she whispered softly, almost inaudibly. 


" I don't know." 

A pause. . . . 

"Won't you be so kind as to lift your veil, 
only just for a minute," I asked. " So that I 
can see whom I have been talking to. Just 
for one moment, for indeed I must see whom 
I have been talking to." 

Another pause. . . . 

" You can meet me outside here on Tuesday 
evening," she said. " Will you ? " 

" Yes, dear lady, if I have permission to." 

"At eight o'clock." 

"Very well." 

I stroked down her cloak with my hand, 
merely to have an excuse for touching her. 
It was a delight to me to be so near her. 

"And you mustn't think all too badly of 
me," she added ; she was smiling again. 

" No." 

Suddenly she made a resolute movement 
and drew her veil up over her forehead ; we 
stood and gazed at one another for a second. 

" Ylajali ! " I cried. She stretched herself 
up, flung her arms round my neck and kissed 
me right on the mouth only once, swiftly, 

Hunger 191 

bewilderingly swiftly, right on the mouth. I 
could feel how her bosom heaved ; she was 
breathing violently. She wrenched herself 
suddenly out of my clasp, called a good-night, 
breathlessly, whisperingly, and turned and ran 
up the stairs without a word more. . . . 
The hall door shut. 

It snowed still more the next day, a heavy 
snow mingled with rain ; great wet flakes that 
fell to earth and were turned to mud. 
The air was raw and icy. I woke somewhat 
late, with my head in a strange state of con- 
fusion, my heart intoxicated from the fore- 
gone evening by the agitation of that delightful 
meeting. In my rapture (I had lain a while 
awake and fancied Ylajali at my side) I spread 
out my arms and embraced myself and kissed 
the air. At length I dragged myself out of 
bed and procured a fresh cup of milk, and 
straight on top of that a plate of beef. I was 
no longer hungry, but my nerves were in a 
highly-strung condition. 

I went off to the clothes-shop in the bazaar. 
It occurred to me that I might pick up a 
second-hand waistcoat cheaply, something to 
put on under my coat; it didn't matter what. 

192 Hunger 

I went up the steps to the bazaar and took 
hold of one and began to examine it 

While I was thus engaged an acquaintance 
came by, he nodded and called up to me. I 
let the waistcoat hang and went down to him. 
He was a designer, and was on the way to 
his office. 

" Come with me and have a glass of beer," 
he said. " But hurry up, I haven't much 
time. . . . What lady was that you were walking 
with yesterday evening?" 

"Listen here now," said I, jealous of his bare 
thought. " Supposing it was my fiancee" 

" By Jove ! " he exclaimed. 

" Yes ; it was all settled yesterday evening." 

This nonplussed him completely. He be- 
lieved me implicitly. I lied in the most 
accomplished manner to get rid of him. We 
ordered the beer, drank it, and left. 

"Well, good-bye! Oh, listen," he said 
suddenly. " I owe you a few shillings. It is 
a shame, too, that I haven't paid you long 
ago, but now you shall have them during 
the next few days." 

" Yes, thanks," I replied ; but I knew that 
he would never pay me back the few shillings. 
The beer, I am sorry to say, went almost 

Hunger 193 

immediately to my head. The thought of the 
previous evening's adventure overwhelmed me 
made me delirious. Supposing she were not 
to meet me on Tuesday ! Supposing she were 
to begin to think things over, to get suspicious 
. . . get suspicious of what? . . . My thoughts 
gave a jerk and dwelt upon the money. 
I grew afraid ; deadly afraid of myself. The 
theft rushed in upon me in all its details. I 
saw the little shop, the counter, my lean hands 
as I seized the money, and I pictured to myself 
the line of action the police would adopt when 
they would come to arrest me. Irons on my 
hands and feet ; no, only on my hands ; perhaps 
only on one hand. The dock, the clerk taking 
down the evidence, the scratch of his pen 
perhaps he might take a new one for the occa- 
sion his look, his threatening look. There, 
Herr Tangen, to the cell, the eternally dark . . . 

Humph ! I clenched my hands tightly to try 
and summon courage, walked faster and faster, 
and came to the market-place. There I sat 

Now, no child's play. How in the wide 

world could anyone prove that I had stolen? 

Besides, the huckster's boy dare not give an 

alarm, even if it should occur to him some day 


194 Hunger 

how it had all happened. He valued his situa- 
tion far too dearly for that. No noise, no 
scenes, may I beg ! 

But all the same, this money weighed in my 
pocket sinfully, and gave me no peace. I 
began to question myself, and I became clearly 
convinced that I had been happier before, 
during the period in which I had suffered in 
all honour. And Ylajali ? Had I, too, not pol- 
luted her with the touch of my sinful hands? 
Lord, O Lord my God, Ylajali ! I felt as 
drunk as a bat, jumped up suddenly, and 
went straight over to the cake woman who 
was sitting near the chemist's under the sign 
of the elephant. I might even yet lift myself 
above dishonour ; it was far from being too 
late ; I would show the whole world that I 
was capable of doing so. 

On the way over I got the money in readi- 
ness, held every farthing of it in my hand, 
bent down over the old woman's table as if I 
wanted something, and clapped the money 
without further ado into her hands. I spoke 
not a word, turned on my heel, and went 
my way. 

What a wonderful savour there was in 
feeling oneself an honest man once more ! 

Hunger 195 

My empty pockets troubled me no longer ; 
it was simply a delightful feeling to me to be 
cleaned out. When I weighed the whole 
matter thoroughly, this money had in reality 
cost me much secret anguish ; I had really 
thought about it with dread and shuddering 
time upon time. I was no hardened soul ; my 
honourable nature rebelled against such a low 
action. God be praised, I had raised myself 
in my own estimation again ! " Do as I have 
done ! " I said to myself, looking across the 
thronged market-place "only just do as I 
have done ! " I had gladdened a poor old cake 
vendor to such good purpose that she was 
perfectly dumfounded. To-night her children 
wouldn't go hungry to bed. ... I buoyed my- 
self up with these reflections and considered 
that I had behaved in a most exemplary 
manner. God be praised ! The money was 
out of my hands now! 

Tipsy and nervous, I wandered down the 
street, and swelled with satisfaction. The joy 
of being able to meet Ylajali cleanly and 
honourably, and of feeling I could look her 
in the face, ran away with me. I was not 
conscious of any pain. My head was clear 
and buoyant ; it was as if it were a head of 

196 Hunger 

mere light that rested and gleamed on my 
shoulders. I felt inclined to play the wildest 
pranks, to do something astounding, to set 
the whole town in a ferment. All up through 
Graendsen I conducted myself like a madman. 
There was a buzzing in my ears, and intoxi- 
cation ran riot in my brains. The whim seized 
me to go and tell my age to a commissionaire, 
who, by-the-way, had not addressed a word to 
me; to take hold of his hands, and gaze im- 
pressively in his face, and leave him again, 
without any explanation. I distinguished every 
nuance in the voice and laughter of the passers- 
by, observed some little birds that hopped 
before me in the street, took to studying 
the expression of the paving-stones, and dis- 
covered all sorts of tokens and signs in them. 
Thus occupied, I arrive at length at Parliament 
Place. I stand all at once stock-still, and look 
at the droskes ; the drivers are wandering 
about, chatting and laughing. The horses hang 
their heads and cower in the bitter weather. 
" Go ahead ! " I say, giving myself a dig with 
my elbow. I went hurriedly over to the first 
vehicle, and got in. " Ullevoldsveien, No. 37," 
I called out, and we rolled off. 

On the way the driver looked round, stooped 

Hunger 197 

and peeped several times into the trap, where 
I sat, sheltered underneath the hood. Had 
he, too, grown suspicious ? There was no doubt 
of it ; my miserable attire had attracted his 

" I want to meet a man," I called to him, 
in order to be beforehand with him, and 
I explained gravely that I must really meet 
this man. We stop outside 37, and I jump 
out, spring up the stairs right to the third 
storey, seize a bell, and pull it. It gives six 
or seven fearful peals inside. 

A maid comes out and opens the door. I 
notice that she has round, gold drops in her 
ears, and black stuff buttons on her grey 
bodice. She looks at me with a frightened 

I inquire for Kierulf Joachim Kierulf, if I 
might add further a wool-dealer ; in short, not 
a man one could make a mistake about. . . . 

The girl shook her head. " No Kierulf lives 
here," said she. 

She stared at me, and held the door ready to 
close it. She made no effort to find the man 
for me. She really looked as if she knew 
the person I inquired for, if she would only 
take the trouble to reflect a bit. The lazy 

198 Hunger 

jade ! I got vexed, turned my back on her, 
and ran downstairs again. 

" He wasn't there," I called to the driver. 

"Wasn't he there?" 

"No. Drive to Tomtegaden, No. 11." I was 
in a state of the most violent excitement, and 
imparted something of the same feeling to 
the driver. He evidently thought it was a 
matter of life and death, and he drove on, 
without further ado. He whipped up the 
horse sharply. 

"What's the man's name?" he inquired, 
turning round on the box. 

" Kierulf, a dealer in wool Kierulf." 

And the driver, too, thought this was a man 
one would not be likely to make any mistake 

" Didn't he generally wear a light morning- 

" What ! " I cried ; " a light morning-coat ? 
Are you mad? Do you think it is a tea-cup 
I am inquiring about ? " This light morning- 
coat came most inopportunely ; it spoilt the 
whole man for me, such as I had fancied 

" What was it you said he was called ? 
Kierulf? " 

Hunger 199 

" Of course," I replied. " Is there anything 
wonderful in that ? The name doesn't disgrace 

"Hasn't he red hair?" 

Well, it was quite possible that he had red 
hair, and now that the driver mentioned the 
matter, I was suddenly convinced that he was 
right. I felt grateful to the poor driver, and 
hastened to inform him that he had hit the 
man off to a T he really was just as he 
described him, and I remarked, in addition, 
that it would be a phenomenon to see such 
a man without red hair. 

" It must be him I drove a couple of times," 
said the driver ; " he had a knobbed stick." 

This brought the man vividly before me, 
and I said, " Ha, ha ! I suppose no one has 
ever yet seen the man without a knobbed 
stick in his hand, of that you can be certain, 
quite certain." 

Yes, it was clear that it was the same man 
he had driven. He recognised him and he 
drove so that the horse's shoes struck sparks 
as they touched the stones. 

All through this phase of excitement I had 
not for one second lost my presence of mind. 
We pass a policeman, and I notice his number 

200 Hunger 

is 69. This number struck me with such 
vivid clearness that it penetrated like a splint 
into my brain 69 accurately 69. I wouldn't 
forget it. 

I leant back in the vehicle, a prey to the 
wildest fancies ; crouched under the hood so 
that no one could see me. I moved my lips 
and commenced to talk idiotically to myself. 
Madness rages through my brain, and I let 
it rage. I am fully conscious that I am 
succumbing to influences over which I have 
no control. I begin to laugh, silently, passion- 
ately, without a trace of cause, still merry and 
intoxicated from the couple of glasses of ale 
I have drunk. Little by little my excitement 
abates, my calm returns more and more 
to me. I feel the cold in my sore finger, 
and I stick it down inside my collar 
to warm it a little. At length we reach 
Tomtegaden. The driver pulls up. 

I alight, without any haste, absently, list- 
lessly, with my head heavy. I go through a 
gateway and come into a yard across which I 
pass. I come to a door which I open and pass 
through ; I find myself in a lobby, a sort of ante- 
room, with two windows. There are two boxes 
in it, one on top of the other, in one corner, 

Hunger 201 

and against the wall an old, painted sofa-bed 
over which a rug is spread. To the right, 
in the next room, I hear voices and the cry 
of a child, and above me, on the second floor, 
the sound of an iron plate being hammered. 
All this I notice the moment as I enter. 

I step quietly across the room to the 
opposite door, without any haste, without 
any thought of flight ; open it, too, and come 
out in Vognmansgaden. I look up at the 
house through which I have passed. " Re- 
freshment and lodgings for travellers." 

It is not my intention to escape, to steal 
away from the driver who is waiting for me. 
I go very coolly down Vognmansgaden, 
without fear, and without being conscious of 
doing any wrong. Kierulf, this dealer in 
wool, who has spooked in my brain so long 
this creature in whose existence I believed, 
and whom it was of vital importance that I 
should meet had vanished from my memory ; 
was wiped out with many other mad whims 
which came and went in turns. I recalled 
him no longer, except as a reminiscence a 

In measure, as I walked on, I became more 
and more sober ; felt languid and weary, and 

202 Hunger 

dragged my legs after me. The snow still 
fell in great moist flakes. At last I reached 
Gronland ; far out, near the church, I sat down 
to rest on a seat. All the passers-by looked 
at me with much astonishment. I fell a- 

Thou good God, what a miserable plight 
I have come to ! I was so heartily tired 
and weary of all my miserable life that I 
did not find it worth the trouble of fighting 
any longer to preserve it. Adversity had 
gained the upper hand ; it had been too strong 
for me. I had become so strangely poverty- 
stricken and broken, a mere shadow of what 
I once had been ; my shoulders were sunken 
right down on one side, and I had contracted 
a habit of stooping forward fearfully as I 
walked, in order to spare my chest what 
little I could. I had examined my body a few 
days ago, one noon up in my room, and I 
had stood and cried over it the whole time. 
I had worn the same shirt for many weeks, 
and it was quite stiff with stale sweat, and 
had chafed my skin. A little blood and 
water ran out of the sore place ; it did not 
hurt much, but it was very tiresome to have 
this tender place in the middle of my stomach. 

Hunger 203 

I had no remedy for it, and it wouldn't heal 
of its own accord. I washed it, dried it 
carefully, and put on the same shirt There 
was no help for it, it . . . 

I sit there on the bench and ponder over 
all this, and am sad enough. I loathe myself. 
My very hands seem distasteful to me ; the 
loose, almost coarse, expression of the backs 
of them pains me, disgusts me. I feel myself 
rudely affected by the sight of my lean 
fingers. I hate the whole of my gaunt, 
shrunken body, and shrink from bearing it, 
from feeling it envelop me. Lord, if the 
whole thing would come to an end now, I 
would heartily, gladly die! 

Completely worsted, soiled, defiled, and 
debased in my own estimation, I rose mechan- 
ically and commenced to turn my steps home- 
wards. On the way I passed a door, upon 
which the following was to be read on a 
plate "Winding-sheets to be had at Miss 
Andersen's, door to the right." Old memories ! 
I muttered, as my thoughts flew back to my 
former room in Hammersborg. The little 
rocking-chair, the newspapers near the door, 
the lighthouse director's announcement, and 
Fabian Olsen, the baker's new-baked bread. 

204 Hunger 

Ah yes ; times were better with me then than 
now ; one night I had written a tale for ten 
shillings, now I couldn't write anything. My 
head grew light as soon as ever I attempted 
it. Yes, I would put an end to it now ; and 
I went on and on. 

As I got nearer and nearer to the provision 
shop, I had the half - conscious feeling of 
approaching a danger, but I determined to 
stick to my purpose ; I would give myself 
up. I ran quickly up the steps. At the door 
I met a little girl who was carrying a cup 
in her hands, and I slipped past her and 
opened the door. The shop boy and I stand 
face to face alone for the second time. 

" Well ! " he exclaims ; " fearfully bad weather 
now, isn't it?" What did this going round 
the bush signify? Why didn't he seize me 
at once ? I got furious, and cried : 

"Oh, I haven't come to prate about the 

This violent preliminary takes him aback ; 
his little huckster brain fails him. It has never 
even occurred to him that I have cheated 
him of five shillings. 

" Don't you know, then, that I have swindled 
you?" I query impatiently, and I breathe 

Hunger 205 

quickly with the excitement ; I tremble and 
am ready to use force if he doesn't come to 
the point. 

But the poor man has no misgivings. 

Well, bless my soul, what stupid creatures 
one has to mix with in this world ! I abuse 
him, explain to him every detail as to how 
it had all happened, show him where the fact 
was accomplished, where the money had lain ; 
how I had gathered it up in my hand and 
closed my fingers over it and he takes it 
all in and does nothing. He shifts uneasily 
from one foot to the other, listens for foot- 
steps in the next room, make signs to hush 
me, to try and make me speak lower, and 
says at last : 

"It was a mean enough thing of you to 

" No ; hold on," I explained in my desire to 
contradict him to aggravate him. It wasn't 
quite so mean as he imagined it to be, in his 
huckster head. Naturally, I didn't keep the 
money ; that could never have entered my 
head. I, for my part, scorned to derive any 
benefit from it that was opposed to my 
thoroughly honest nature. 

"What did you do with it, then?" 

206 Hunger 

" I gave it away to a poor old woman every 
farthing of it." He must understand that that 
was the sort of person I was ; I didn't forget 
the poor so. . . . 

He stands and thinks over this a while, be- 
comes manifestly very dubious as to how far I 
am an honest man or not. At last he says : 

"Oughtn't you rather to have brought it 
back again?" 

"Now, listen here," I reply; "I didn't want 
to get you into trouble in any way ; but that 
is the thanks one gets for being generous. 
Here I stand and explain the whole thing 
to you, and you simply, instead of being 
ashamed as a dog, make no effort to settle 
the dispute with me. Therefore I wash my 
hands of you, and as for the rest, I say, ' The 
devil take you ! ' Good-day." 

I left, slamming the door behind me. But 
when I got home to my room, into the 
melancholy hole, wet through from the soft 
snow, trembling in my knees from the day's 
wanderings, I dismounted instantly from 
my high horse, and sank together once 

I regretted my attack upon the poor shop- 
boy, wept, clutched myself by the throat to 

Hunger 207 

punish myself for my miserable trick, and 
behaved like a lunatic. He had naturally 
been in the most deadly terror for the sake 
of his situation ; he had not dared to make 
any fuss about the five shillings that were lost 
to the business, and I had taken advantage 
of his fear, had tortured him with my violent 
address, stabbed him with every loud word 
that I had roared out. And the master him- 
self had perhaps been sitting inside the inner 
room, almost within an ace of feeling called 
upon to come out and inquire what was the 
row. No, there was no longer any limit to 
the low things I might be tempted to do. 

Well, why hadn't I been locked up ? then it 
would have come to an end. I would almost 
have stretched out my wrists for the hand- 
cuffs. I would not have offered the slightest 
resistance ; on the contrary, I would have 
assisted them. Lord of Heaven and Earth ! 
one day of my life for one happy second 
again ! My whole life for a mess of lentils ! 
Hear me only this once ! . . . 

I laid down in the wet clothes I had on, 
with a vague idea that I might die during 
the night. And I used my last strength to 
tidy up my bed a little, so that it might 

208 Hunger 

appear a little orderly about me in the 
morning. I folded my hands and chose my 

All at once I remember Ylajali. To think 
that I could have forgotten her the entire 
evening through ! And light forces its way 
ever so faintly into my spirit again a little ray 
of sunshine that makes me so blessedly warm ; 
and gradually more sun comes, a rare, silken, 
balmy light that caresses me with soothing 
loveliness. And the sun grows stronger and 
stronger, burns sharply in my temples, seethes 
fiercely and glowingly in my emaciated brain. 
And at last, a maddening pyre of rays flames 
up before my eyes ; a heaven and earth in 
conflagration, men and beasts of fire, mountains 
of fire, devils of fire, an abyss, a wilderness, 
a hurricane, a universe in brazen ignition, a 
smoking, smouldering day of doom ! 

And I saw and heard no more. . . . 

I woke in a sweat the next morning, moist 
all over, my whole body bathed in dampness. 
The fever had laid violent hands on me. At 
first I had no clear idea of what had happened 
to me ; I looked about me in amazement, felt 
a complete transformation of my being, ab- 

Hunger 209 

solutely failed to recognise myself again. I 
felt along my own arms and down my legs, 
was struck with astonishment that the window 
was where it was, and not in the opposite 
wall ; and I could hear the tramp of the 
horses' feet in the yard below as if it came 
from above me. I felt rather sick, too 

My hair clung wet and cold about my 
forehead. I raised myself on my elbow and 
looked at the pillow ; damp hair lay on it, 
too, in patches. My feet had swelled up in 
my shoes during the night, but they caused 
me no pain, only I could not move my toes 
much, they were too stiff. 

As the afternoon closed in, and it had 
already begun to grow a little dusk, I got 
up out of bed and commenced to move about 
the room a little. I felt my way with short, 
careful steps, taking care to keep my balance 
and spare my feet as much as possible. I 
did not suffer much, and I did not cry ; 
neither was I, taking all into consideration, 
sad. On the contrary, I was blissfully content. 
It did not strike me just then that anything 
could be otherwise than it was. 

Then I went out. 

2io Hunger 

The only thing that troubled me a little, 
in spite of the nausea that the thought of 
food inspired in me, was hunger. I commenced 
to be sensible of a shameless appetite again ; 
a ravenous lust of food, which grew steadily 
worse and worse. It gnawed unmercifully in 
my breast ; carrying on a silent, mysterious 
work in there. It was as if a score of diminu- 
tive gnome-like insects set their heads on one 
side and gnawed for a little, then laid their 
heads on the other side and gnawed a little 
more, then lay quite still for a moment's space, 
and then began afresh, boring noiselessly in, 
and without any haste, and left empty spaces 
everywhere after them as they went on. . . . 

I was not ill, but faint ; I broke into a 
sweat. I thought of going to the market- 
place to rest a while, but the way was 
long and wearisome ; at last I had almost 
reached it. I stood at the corner of the 
market and Market Street ; the sweat ran 
down into my eyes and blinded me, and I 
had just stopped in order to wipe it away 
a little. I did not notice the place I was 
standing in ; in fact, I did not think about it ; 
the noise around me was something frightful. 

Suddenly a call rings out, a cold, sharp 

Hunger 2 1 1 

warning. I hear this cry hear it quite well, 
and I start nervously to one side, stepping 
as quickly as my bad foot allows me to. 
A monster of a bread-van brushes past me, 
and the wheel grazes my coat ; I might perhaps 
have been a little quicker if I had exerted 
myself. Well, there was no help for it ; one 
foot pained me, a couple of toes were crunched. 
I felt that they, as it were, curled up in my 

The driver reins in his horse with all his 
might. He turns round on the van and in- 
quires in a fright how it fares with me. Oh ! 
it might have been worse, far worse. ... It 
was perhaps not so dangerous. ... I didn't 
think any bones were broken. Oh, pray . . . 
I rushed over as quickly as I could to a 
seat ; all these people who stopped and stared 
at me abashed me. After all, it was no mortal 
blow ; comparatively speaking, I had got off 
luckily enough, as misfortune was bound to 
come in my way. The worst thing was that 
my shoe was crushed to pieces ; the sole was 
torn loose at the toe. I held up my foot, and 
saw blood inside the gap. Well, it wasn't in- 
tentional on either side ; it was not the man's 
purpose to make things worse for me than 

212 Hunger 

they were ; he looked much concerned about 
it. It was quite certain that if I had begged 
him for a piece of bread out of his cart he 
would have given it to me. He would cer- 
tainly have given it to me gladly God bless 
him in return, wherever he is ! . . . 

I was terribly hungry, and I did not know 
what to do with myself and my shameless 
appetite. I writhed from side to side on the 
seat, and bowed my chest right down to my 
knees ; I was almost distracted. When it got 
dark I jogged along to the Town Hall God 
knows how I got there and sat on the edge 
of the balustrade. I tore a pocket out of my 
coat and took to chewing it ; not with any 
defined object, but with dour mien and un- 
seeing eyes, staring straight into space. I 
could hear a group of little children playing 
around near me, and perceive, in an instinc- 
tive sort of way, some pedestrian pass me by ; 
otherwise, I observed nothing. 

All at once, it enters my head to go to one 
of the meat bazaars underneath me, and beg 
a piece of raw meat. I go straight along the 
balustrade to the other side of the bazaar 
buildings, and descend the steps. When I had 
nearly reached the stalls on the lower floor, 

Hunger 2 1 3 

I called up the archway leading to the stairs, 
and made a threatening backward gesture, as 
if I were talking to a dog up there, and boldly 
addressed the first butcher I met. 

"Ah, will you be kind enough to giv$ me 
a bone for my dog ? " I said ; " only a bone. 
There needn't be anything on it ; it 's just to 
give him something to carry in his mouth." 

I got the bone, a capital little bone, on which 
there still remained a morsel of meat, and hid 
it under my coat. I thanked the man so 
heartily that he looked at me in amazement. 

" Oh, no need of thanks," said he. 

" Oh yes ; don't say that," I mumbled ; " it 
is kindly done of you," and I ascended the 
steps again. 

My heart was throbbing violently in my 
breast. I sneaked into one of the passages, 
where the forges are, as far in as I could go, 
and stopped outside a dilapidated door lead- 
ing to a back-yard. There was no light to 
be seen anywhere, only blessed darkness all 
around me ; and I began to gnaw at the bone. 

It had no taste ; a rank smell of blood oozed 
from it, and I was forced to vomit almost 
immediately. I tried anew. If I could only 
keep it down, it would, in spite of all, have 

214 Hunger 

some effect. It was simply a matter of forcing 
it to remain down there. But I vomited again. 
I grew wild, bit angrily into the meat, tore 
off a morsel, and gulped it down by sheer 
strength of will ; and yet it was of no use. 
Just as soon as the little fragments of meat 
became warm in my stomach up they came 
again, worse luck. I clenched my hands in 
frenzy, burst into tears from sheer helpless- 
ness, and gnawed away as one possessed. I 
cried, so that the bone got wet and dirty with 
my tears, vomited, cursed and groaned again, 
cried as if my heart would break, and vomited 
anew. I consigned all the powers that be to 
the lowermost torture in the loudest voice. 

Quiet not a soul about no light, no noise ; 
I am in a state of the most fearful excitement ; 
I breathe hardly and audibly, and I cry, with 
gnashing teeth, each time that the morsel of 
meat, which might satisfy me a little, comes 
up. As I find that, in spite of all my efforts, 
it avails me nought, I cast the bone at the 
door. I am filled with the most impotent 
hate ; shriek, and menace with my fists towards 
Heaven ; yell God's name hoarsely, and bend 
my fingers like claws, with ill - suppressed 
fury. . . . 

Hunger 215 

I tell you, you Heaven's Holy Baal, you 
don't exist ; but that, if you did, I would curse 
you so that your Heaven would quiver with 
the fire of hell ! I tell you, I have offered you 
my service, and you repulsed me ; and I turn 
my back on you for all eternity, because you 
did not know your time of visitation ! I tell 
you that I am about to die, and yet I mock 
you ! You Heaven God and Apis ! with death 
staring me in the face I tell you, I would 
rather be a bondsman in hell than a freedman 
in your mansions ! I tell you, I am filled with 
a blissful contempt for your divine paltriness ; 
and I choose the abyss of destruction for a 
perpetual resort, where the devils Judas and 
Pharaoh are cast down ! 

I tell you your Heaven is full of the kingdom 
of the earth's most crass-headed idiots and 
poverty-stricken in spirit ! I tell you, you have 
filled your Heaven with the grossest and most 
cherished harlots from here below, who have 
bent their knees piteously*before you at their 
hour of death ! I tell you, you have used force 
against me, and you know not, you omniscient 
nullity, that I never bend in opposition ! I 
tell you, all my life, every cell in my body, 
every power of my soul, gasps to mock you, 

216 Hunger 

you Gracious Monster on High. I tell you, I 
would, if I could, breathe it into every human 
soul, every flower, every leaf, every dewdrop 
in the garden ! I tell you, I would scoff you 
on the day of doom, and curse the teeth out 
of my mouth for the sake of your Deity's 
boundless miserableness ! I tell you, from this 
hour I renounce all thy works and all thy 
pomps ! I will execrate my thought if it dwell 
on you again, and tear out my lips if they 
even utter your name ! I tell you, if you 
exist, my last word in life or in death I bid 
you farewell, for all time and eternity I bid 
you farewell with heart and reins. I bid you 
the last irrevocable farewell, and I am silent, 
and turn my back on you and go my way. . . . 

I tremble with excitement and exhaustion, 
and stand on the same spot, still whispering 
oaths and abusive epithets, hiccoughing after 
the violent crying fit, broken down and apathetic 
after my frenzied outburst of rage. I stand 
there for maybe an hour, hiccough and whisper, 
and hold on to the door. Then I hear voices 
a conversation between two men who are 
coming down the passage. I slink away from 
the door, drag myself along the walls of the 

Hunger 217 

houses, and come out again into the light streets. 
As I jog along Young's Hill my brain begins 
to work in a most peculiar direction. It occurs 
to me that the wretched hovels down at the 
corner of the market-place, the stores for loose 
materials, the old booths for second-hand 
clothes, are really a disgrace to the place they 
spoilt the whole appearance of the market, 
and were a blot on the town. Fie ! away with 
the rubbish! And I turned over in my mind 
as I walked on what it would cost to remove 
the Geographical Survey down there that 
handsome building which had always attracted 
me so much each time I passed it It would 
perhaps not be possible to undertake a removal 
of that kind under two or three hundred pounds. 
A pretty sum three hundred pounds ! One 
must admit, a tidy enough little sum for 
pocket-money ! Ha, ha ! just to make a start 
with, eh? and I nodded my head, and con- 
ceded that it was a tidy enough bit of pocket- 
money to make a start with. I was still 
trembling over my whole body, and hiccoughed 
now and then violently after my cry. I had 
a feeling that there was not much life left in 
me that I was really singing my last verse. 
It was almost a matter of indifference to me ; 

218 Hunger 

it did not trouble me in the least. On the 
contrary, I wended my way down town, down 
to the wharf, farther and farther away from 
my room. I would, for that matter, have 
willingly laid myself down flat in the street 
to die. My sufferings were rendering me more 
and more callous. My sore foot throbbed 
violently ; I had a sensation as if the pain 
was creeping up through my whole leg. But 
not even that caused me any particular 
distress ; I had endured worse sensations. 

In this manner, I reached the railway wharf. 
There was no traffic, no noise only here and 
there a person to be seen, a labourer or sailor 
slinking round with their hands in their pockets. 
I took notice of a lame man, who looked 
sharply at me as we passed one another. I 
stopped him instinctively, touched my hat, 
and inquired if he knew if the Nun had sailed. 
Someway, I couldn't help snapping my fingers 
right under the man's nose, and saying, " Ay, 
by Jove, the Nun ; yes, the Nun ! " which I 
had totally forgotten. All the same, the 
thought of her had been smouldering in me. 
I had carried it about unconsciously. 

Yes, bless me, the Nun had sailed. 

He couldn't tell me where she had sailed to ? 

Hunger 219 

The man reflects, stands on his long leg, 
keeps the other up in the air ; it dangles a 

"No," he replies. "Do you know what 
cargo she was taking in here?" 

"No," I answer. But by this time I had 
already lost interest in the Nun, and I asked 
the man how far it might be to Holmestrand, 
reckoned in good old geographical miles. 

"To Holmestrand? I should think . . ." 

" Or to Vceblungsnaess ? " 

" What was I going to say ? I should think 
to Holmestrand . . ." 

" Oh, never mind ; I have just remembered 
it," I interrupted him again. "You wouldn't 
perhaps be so kind as to give me a small bit 
of tobacco only just a tiny scrap ? " 

I received the tobacco, thanked the man 
heartily, and went on. I made no use of the 
tobacco ; I put it into my pocket. He still 
kept his eye on me perhaps I had aroused his 
suspicions in some way or another. Whether 
I stood still or walked on, I felt his suspicious 
look following me. I had no mind to be 
persecuted by this creature. I turn round, 
and, dragging myself back to him, say : 

"Binder" only this one word, "Binder!" 

220 Hunger 

no more. I looked fixedly at him as I say 
it, indeed I was conscious of staring fearfully 
at him. It was as if I saw him with my 
entire body instead of only with my eyes. 
I stare for a little while after I give utterance 
to this word, and then I jog along again to 
the railway square. The man does not utter a 
syllable, he only keeps his gaze fixed upon me. 

" Binder!" I stood suddenly still. Yes, wasn't 
that just what I had a feeling of the moment 
I met the old chap ; a feeling that I had met 
him before ! One bright morning up in 
Graendsen, when I pawned my waistcoat. It 
seemed to me an eternity since that day. 

Whilst I stand and ponder over this, I lean 
and support myself against a house wall at 
the corner of the railway square and Harbour 
Street. Suddenly, I start quickly and make 
an effort to crawl away. As I do not succeed 
in it, I stare case-hardened ahead of me and 
fling all shame to the winds. There is no 
help for it. I am standing face to face with 
the " Commandor." I get devil-may-care 
brazen. I take yet a step farther from the 
wall in order to make him notice me. I do 
not do it to awake his compassion, but to 
mortify myself, place myself, as it were, on the 

Hunger 221 

pillory. I could have flung myself down in 
the street and begged him to walk over me, 
tread on my face. I don't even bid him good- 

Perhaps the "Commandor" guesses that some- 
thing is amiss with me. He slackens his pace 
a little, and I say, in order to stop him, " I 
would have called upon you long ago with 
something, but nothing has come yet!" 

" Indeed ? " he replies in an interrogative 
tone. "You haven't got it finished, then?" 

" No, it didn't get finished." 

My eyes by this time are filled with tears 
at his friendliness, and I cough with a bitter 
effort to regain my composure. The "Com- 
mandor" tweaks his nose and looks at me. 

" Have you anything to live on in the mean- 
time?" he questions. 

"No," I reply. "I haven't that either; I 
haven't eaten anything to-day, but . . ." 

" The Lord preserve you, man, it will never 
do for you to go and starve yourself to death," 
he exclaims, feeling in his pocket. 

This causes a feeling of shame to awake in 
me, and I stagger over to the wall and hold 
on to it. I see him finger in his purse, and 
he hands me half-a-sovereign. 

222 Hunger 

He makes no fuss about it, simply gives me 
half-a-sovereign, reiterating at the same time 
that it would never do to let me starve to 
death. I stammered an objection and did 
not take it all at once. It is shameful of me 
to ... it was really too much. . . . 

" Hurry up," he says, looking at his watch. 
" I have been waiting for the train ; I hear it 
coming now." 

I took the money; I was dumb with joy, 
and never said a word ; I didn't even thank 
him once. 

"It isn't worth while feeling put out about 
it," said the " Commandor " at last. " I know 
you can write for it." 

And so off he went. 

When he had gone a few steps, I remem- 
bered all at once that I had not thanked 
him for this great assistance. I tried to 
overtake him, but could not get on quickly 
enough ; my legs failed me, and I came near 
tumbling on my face. He went farther 
and farther away from me. I gave up 
the attempt ; thought of calling after him, 
but dared not ; and when after all I did 
muster up courage enough and called once 
or twice, he was already at too great a 

Hunger 223 

distance, and my voice had become too 

I was left standing on the pavement, gazing 
after him. I wept quietly and silently. " I 
never saw the like ! " I said to myself. " He 
gave me half-a-sovereign." I walked back and 
placed myself where he had stood, imitated all 
his movements, held the half-sovereign up to 
my moistened eyes, inspected it on both sides, 
and began to swear to swear at the top of 
my voice, that there was no manner of doubt 
that what I held in my hand was half-a- 
sovereign. An hour after, maybe a very 
long hour, for it had grown very silent all 
around me I stood, singularly enough, out- 
side No. 11, Tomtegaden. After I had stood 
and collected my wits for a moment and 
wondered thereat, I went through the door 
for the second time, right into the " Entertain- 
ment and lodgings for travellers." Here I 
asked for shelter, and was immediately sup- 
plied with a bed. 


Sunshine and quiet a strangely bright day. 
The snow had disappeared. There was life 
and joy, and glad faces, smiles, and laughter 

224 Hunger 

everywhere. The fountains threw up sprays 
of water in jets, golden-tinted from the sun- 
light, azure from the sky. . . . 

At noon I left my lodgings in Tomtegaden, 
where I still lived and found fairly comfortable, 
and set out for town. I was in the merriest 
humour, and lazied about the whole afternoon 
through the most frequented streets and looked 
at the people. Even before seven o'clock I 
took a turn up St Olav's Place and took a 
furtive look up at the window of No. 2. In 
an hour I would see her. I went about the 
whole time in a state of tremulous, delicious 
dread. What would happen? What should 
I say when she came down the stairs ? Good- 
evening? or only smile? I concluded to let 
it rest with the smile. Of course I would 
bow profoundly to her. 

I stole away, a little ashamed to be there 
so early, wandered up Carl Johann for a while, 
and kept my eyes on University Street. 
When the clocks struck eight I walked once 
more towards St Olav's Place. On the way 
it struck me that perhaps I might arrive a 
few minutes too late, and I quickened my 
pace as much as I could. My foot was very 
sore, otherwise nothing ailed me. 

Hunger 225 

I took up my place at the fountain and 
drew breath. I stood there a long while and 
gazed up at the window of No. 2, but she did 
not come. Well, I would wait ; I was in no 
hurry. She might be delayed, and I waited 
on. It couldn't well be that I had dreamt the 
whole thing! Had my first meeting with her 
only existed in imagination the night I lay 
in delirium? I began in perplexity to think 
over it, and wasn't at all sure. 

" Hem ! " came from behind me. I heard 
this, and I also heard light steps near me, but 
I did not turn round, I only stared up at the 
wide staircase before me. 

"Good-evening," came then. I forget to 
smile ; I don't even take off my hat at first, 
I am so taken aback to see her come this 

" Have you been waiting long ? " she asks. 
She is breathing a little quickly after her walk. 

" No, not at all ; I only came a little while 
ago," I reply. "And besides, would it matter 
if I had waited long? I expected, by-the-way, 
that you would come from another direction." 

" I accompanied mamma to some people. 
Mamma is spending the evening with them." 

"Oh, indeed," I say. 

226 Hunger 

We had begun to walk on involuntarily. A 
policeman is standing at the corner, looking 
at us. 

" But, after all, where are we going to ? " she 
asks, and stops. 

" Wherever you wish ; only where you wish." 

" Ugh, yes ! but it 's such a bore to have to 
decide oneself." 

A pause. 

Then I say, merely for the sake of saying 
something : 

" I see it 's dark up in your windows." 

"Yes, it is," she replies gaily; "the servant 
has an evening off, too, so I am all alone at 

We both stand and look up at the windows 
of No. 2 as if neither of us had seen them 

"Can't we go up to your place, then?" I 
say ; " I shall sit down at the door the whole 
time if you like." 

But then I trembled with emotion, and re- 
gretted greatly that I had perhaps been too 
forward. Supposing she were to get angry, 
and leave me. Suppose I were never to see 
her again. Ah, that miserable attire of mine ! 
I waited despairingly for her reply. 

Hunger 227 

"You shall certainly not sit down by the 
door," she says. She says it right down 
tenderly, and says accurately these words : 
"You shall certainly not sit down by the 

We went up. 

Out on the lobby, where it was dark, she 
took hold of my hand, and led me on. There 
was no necessity for my being so quiet, she 
said, I could very well talk. We entered. 
Whilst she lit the candle it was not a lamp 
she lit, but a candle whilst she lit the candle, 
she said, with a little laugh : 

" But now you mustn't look at me. Ugh ! 
I am so ashamed, but I will never do it 

"What will you never do again?" 

" I will never . . . ugh . . . no . . . good 
gracious ... I will never kiss you again ! " 

" Won't you ? " I said, and we both laughed. 
I stretched out my arms to her, and she glided 
away ; slipped round to the other side of the 
table. We stood a while and gazed at one 
another ; the candle stood right between us. 

" Try and catch me," she said ; and with 
much laughter I tried to seize hold of her. 
Whilst she sprang about, she loosened her 

228 Hunger 

veil, and took off her hat ; her sparkling eyes 
hung on mine, and watched my movements. 
I made a fresh sortie, and tripped on the carpet 
and fell, my sore foot refusing to bear me 
up any longer. I rose in extreme confusion. 

"Lord, how red you did get!" she said. 
"Well, it was awfully awkward of you." 

"Yes, it was," I agreed, and we began the 
chase afresh. 

" It seems to me you limp." 

" Yes ; perhaps I do just a little only just 
a little, for that matter." 

"Last time you had a sore ringer, now you 
have got a sore foot ; it is awful the number 
of afflictions you have." 

"Ah, yes. I was run over slightly, a few 
days ago." 

"Run over! Tipsy again? Why, good 
Heavens ! what a life you lead, young 
man ! " and she threatened me with her fore- 
finger, and tried to appear grave. "Well, let 
us sit down, then ; no, not down there by the 
door ; you are far too reserved ! Come here 
you there, and I here so, that's it . . . ugh, 
it 's such a bore with reticent people ! One 
has to say and do everything oneself; one 
gets no help to do anything. Now, for ex- 

Hunger 229 

ample, you might just as well put your arm 
over the back of my chair ; you could easily 
have thought of that much out of your own 
head, couldn't you? But if I say anything 
like that, you open your eyes as wide as if 
you couldn't believe what was being said. 
Yes, it is really true ; I have noticed it several 
times ; you are doing it now, too ; but you 
needn't try to persuade me that you are 
always so modest ; it is only when you don't 
dare to be otherwise than quiet. You were 
daring enough the day you were tipsy when 
you followed me straight home and worried 
me with your witticisms. 'You are losing 
your book, madam ; you are quite certainly 
losing your book, madam ! ' Ha, ha, ha ! it was 
really shameless of you." 

I sat dejectedly and looked at her ; my heart 
beat violently, my blood raced quickly through 
my veins, there was a singular sense of enjoy- 
ment in it! 

"Why don't you say something?" 
" What a darling you are," I cried. " I am 
simply sitting here getting thoroughly fascin- 
ated by you here this very moment thoroughly 
fascinated. . . . There is no help for it. . . . 
You are the most extraordinary creature that 

230 Hunger 

. . . sometimes your eyes gleam so, that I 
never saw their match ; they look like flowers 
. . . eh ? No, well no, perhaps not like flowers, 
either, but ... I am so desperately in love 
with you, and it is so preposterous . . . for, 
great Scott ! there is naturally not an atom of 
chance for me. . . . What is your name ? Now, 
you really must tell me what you are called." 

" No ; what is your name ? Gracious, I was 
nearly forgetting that again ! I thought about 
it all yesterday, that I meant to ask you 
yes, that is to say, not all yesterday, but " 

" Do you know what I named you ? I 
named you Ylajali. How do you like that? 
It has a gliding sound. ..." 


" Yes." 

"Is that a foreign language?" 

" Humph no, it isn't that either ! " 

"Well, it isn't ugly!" 

After a long discussion we told one another 
our names. She seated herself close to my 
side on the sofa, and shoved the chair away 
with her foot, and we began to chatter 

" You are shaved this evening, too," she said ; 
" look on the whole a little better than the last 

Hunger 231 

time that is to say, only just a scrap better. 
Don't imagine ... no ; the last time you were 
really shabby, and you had a dirty rag round 
your finger into the bargain ; and in that state 
you absolutely wanted me to go to some 
place, and take wine with you thanks, not 

" So it was, after all, because of my miser- 
able appearance that you would not go with 
me?" I said. 

" No," she replied and looked down. " No ; 
God knows it wasn't. I didn't even think 
about it." 

" Listen," said I ; " you are evidently sitting 
here labouring under the delusion that I can 
dress and live exactly as I choose, aren't you ? 
And that is just what I can't do ; I am very, 
very poor." 

She looked at me. " Are you ? " she queried. 

"Yes, worse luck, I am." 

After an interval. 

" Well, gracious, so am I, too," she said, with 
a cheerful movement of her head. 

Everyone of her words intoxicated me, fell 
on my heart like drops of wine. She enchanted 
me with the trick she had of putting her head 
a little on one side, and listening when I said 

232 Hunger 

anything, and I could feel her breath brush 
my face. 

" Do you know," I said, " that . . . but, now, 
you mustn't get angry when I went to bed 
last night I settled this arm for you ... so 
... as if you lay on it . . . and then I went 
to sleep." 

" Did you ? That was lovely ! " A pause. 
" But of course it could only be from a dis- 
tance that you would venture to do such a 
thing, for otherwise . . ." 

" Don't you believe I could do it otherwise ? " 

"No, I don't believe it." 

"Ah, from me you may expect everything," 
I said, and I put my arm around her waist. 

" Can I ? " was all she said. 

It annoyed me, almost wounded me, that 
she should look upon me as being so utterly 
inoffensive. I braced myself up, steeled my 
heart, and seized her hand ; but she with- 
drew it softly, and moved a little away from 
me. That just put an end to my courage 
again ; I felt ashamed, and looked out through 
the window. I was, in spite of all, in far too 
wretched a condition ; I must, above all, not 
try to imagine myself anyone in particular. It 
would have been another matter if I had met 

Hunger 233 

her during the time that I still looked like a 
respectable human being in my old, well-off 
days when I had sufficient to make an appear- 
ance ; and I felt fearfully downcast ! 

"There now, one can see!" she said, "now 
one can just see one can snub you with just 
the tiniest frown make you look sheepish by 
just moving a little away from you" . . . she 
laughed, tantalisingly, roguishly, with tightly- 
closed eyes, as if she could not stand being 
looked at, either. 

" Well, upon my soul ! " I blurted out, " now 
you shall just see," and I flung my arms 
violently around her shoulder. I was mortified. 
Was the girl out of her senses ? Did she think 
I was totally inexperienced ! Ha ! Then I 
would, by the living . . . No one should 
say of me that I was backward on that score. 
The creature was possessed by the devil him- 
self! If it were only a matter of going at it, 
well . . . 

She sat quite quietly, and still kept her eyes 
closed ; neither of us spoke. I crushed her 
fiercely to me, pressed her body greedily 
against my breast, and she spoke never a word. 
I heard her heart's beat, both hers and mine ; 
they sounded like hurrying hoof-beats. 

234 Hunger 

I kissed her. 

I no longer knew myself. I uttered some 
nonsense, that she laughed at, whispered pet 
names into her mouth, caressed her cheek, 
kissed her many times. I undid a couple of 
buttons in her bodice and I caught a glimpse 
of her breasts inside white rounded breasts, 
that peeped out like two sweet wonders behind 
her linen. 

" May I see ? " I say, and I try to undo 
more buttons to make the opening wider, but 
my movements are too rough, I make no way 
with the lower buttons; besides, the bodice 
tightened there. 

"May I just see a little ... a little?" 

She winds her arms about my neck, quite 
slowly, tenderly, the breath of her pink quiver- 
ing nostrils fans me right in the face ; with 
one hand she begins herself to undo the buttons 
one by one. She laughs embarrassedly, laughs 
shortly, and looks up at me several times, to 
see if I notice that she is afraid. She loosens 
strings, unclasps her stays, is fascinated and 
frightened and I finger with my clumsy hands 
at these buttons and strings. . . . 

To divert my attention from what she is 
doing, she strokes down my shoulders with her 

Hunger 235 

left hand, and says, " What a lot of loose hair 
there is." 

"Yes," I reply, and I try to penetrate into 
her breast with my mouth. She is lying at 
this moment with completely loosened clothes. 
Suddenly, as if she changes her mind, as if she 
thinks she has gone too far, she covers herself 
again and rises up a little, and, to hide her 
confusion at the state of her clothes, she begins 
to remark anew on the mass of loose hair that 
covers my shoulders. 

" What can be the reason that your hair falls 
out so?" 

"Don't know." 

" Ah, of course, because you drink too much, 
and perhaps ... fie, I won't say it. You 
ought to be ashamed. No, I wouldn't have 
believed that of you ! To think that you, who 
are so young, already should lose your hair! 
Now, do please just tell me what sort of way 
you really spend you life I am certain it is 
dreadful! But only the truth, do you hear; 
no evasions. Anyway, I shall see by you if 
you hide anything there, tell now!" 

"Yes; but let me kiss you on your breast 
first, then." 

"Are you mad? Well, begin now." 

236 Hunger 

" No, dear ; do give me leave, now, to do that 

" Humph, no ; not first ; . . . maybe after- 
wards. ... I want to hear what kind of a 
man you are. . . . Ah, I am sure it is 

It hurt me that she should believe the worst 
of me ; I was afraid of thrusting her away en- 
tirely, and I could not endure the misgivings 
she had as to my way of life. I would clear 
myself in her eyes, make myself worthy of 
her, show her that she was sitting at the side 
of a person almost angelically disposed. Why, 
bless me, I could count my falls up to date 
on my fingers. I related related all and I 
only related truth. I made out nothing any 
worse than it was ; it was not my intention to 
rouse her compassion. I told her also that 
I had stolen five shillings one evening. 

She sat and listened, with open mouth, pale, 
frightened, her shining eyes completely be- 
wildered. I desired to make it good again, 
to disperse the sad impression I had made, 
and I pulled myself up. 

" Well, it is all over now ! " I said ; " there 
can be no talk of such a thing happening 
again ; I am saved now. . . ." 

Hunger 237 

But she was much dispirited, " The Lord 
preserve me ! " was all she said, then kept 
silent. She repeated this at short intervals, 
and kept silent after each "the Lord pre- 
serve me." 

I began to jest, caught hold of her, tried to 
tickle her, lifted her up to my breast. She had 
buttoned up her frock again. This irritated 
me not a little indeed, downright hurt me. 
Why should she button up her frock again? 
Was I more unworthy in her eyes now, than 
if I had myself been instrumental in causing 
the falling out of my hair ? Would she have 
thought more of me if I had made myself 
out to be a roue} . . . No nonsense now ; . . . 
it was just a matter of going at it ; and if it 
was only just a matter of going at it, so, by 
the living ... I laid her down simply laid 
her down on the sofa. She struggled quite 
feebly, by-the-way, and looked astonished. 

" No ; . . . what do you want ? " she queried. 

"What do I want?" 

Ha ! she asked me what I wanted. Go at it 
was what I wanted go right at it. It was not 
only from a distance that I was able to go 
at it. That was not the sort and condition of 
man I was I would have to prove I was not 

238 Hunger 

the sort of fellow to be trifled with, and not 
to be snubbed by a frown. No, no, forsooth ; 
I had never yet gone forth from such an affair 
as this without having effected my purpose . . . 
and I went at it. 

" No ! ... no, but ... ? " 

" Yes, rather ; that was just my intention." 

" No ; do listen ! " she cried, and she added 
these hurtful words, " I can't be sure that you 
are not insane ! " 

I checked myself involuntarily, and I said : 
"You don't mean that!" 

" Indeed, God knows I do ! you look so 
strangely. And the forenoon you followed me 
after all, you weren't tipsy that time?" 

" No ; but I wasn't hungry then, either ; I 
had just eaten. ..." 

" Yes ; but that made it so much the worse." 

" Would you rather I had been tipsy? " 

" Yes . . . ugh ... I am afraid of you ! 
Lord, can't you let me be now ! " 

I considered a moment. No, I couldn't let 
her be. No damned nonsense late in the 
evening on a sofa. " Off with that petticoat ! " 
Ha, what odd excuses one could hit upon in 
such a moment, as if I didn't know it was 
just half-coyness, mock modesty all the time. 

Hunger 239 

I would indeed be green! "There, be quiet! 
No bosh ! Live king and country ! " 

She fought and struggled against me with 
unusual strength far too strongly to only do so 
from coyness. I happened, as if inadvertently, 
to knock over the light, so that it went out. 
She made a despairing struggle gave vent at 
last to a little whimper. 

"No, not that oh, not that! If you like, 
you may rather kiss me on my breast, oh, 
dear, kind ..." 

I stopped instantly. Her words sounded so 
terrified, so helpless, I was struck to the heart. 
She meant to offer me a compensation by 
giving me leave to kiss her breast! How 
charming, how charmingly na'fve. I could 
have fallen down and knelt before her. 

"But, dear pretty one," I said, completely 
bewildered, " I don't understand ... I really 
can't conceive what sort of a game this is ... " 

She rose, lit the candle again with trem- 
bling hands. I leant back on the sofa and did 
nothing. What would happen now? I was 
in reality very ill at ease. 

She cast a look over at the clock on the 
wall, and started. 

"Ugh, the girl will soon come now!" she 

240 Hunger 

said ; this was the first thing she said. I took 
the hint, and rose. She took up her jacket 
as if to put it on, bethought herself, and let 
it lie, and went over to the fireplace. So that 
it should not appear as if she had shown me 
the door, I said : 

" Was your father in the army ? " and at 
the same time I prepared to leave. 

" Yes ; he was an officer. How did you 
know ? " 

" I didn't know ; it just came into my head." 

"That was odd." 

" Ah, yes ; there were some places I came to 
where I got a kind of presentiment. Ha, ha ! 
a part of my insanity, eh ? " 

She looked quickly up, but didn't answer. 
I felt I worried her with my presence, and 
determined to make short work of it. I went 
towards the door. Would she not kiss me 
any more now? not even give me her hand? 
I stood and waited. 

" Are you going now, then ? " she said, and 
yet she remained quietly standing over near 
the fireplace. 

I did not reply. I stood humbly in con- 
fusion, and looked at her without saying 
anything. Why hadn't she left me in peace, 

Hunger 241 

when nothing was to come of it ? What was 
the matter with her now ? It didn't seem to 
put her out that I stood prepared to leave. 
She was all at once completely lost to me, 
and I searched for something to say to her in 
farewell a weighty, cutting word that would 
strike her, and perhaps impress her a little. 
And in the face of my first resolve, hurt as I 
was, instead of being proud and cold, disturbed 
and offended, I began right off to talk of 
trifles. The telling word would not come ; I 
conducted myself in an exceedingly aimless 
fashion. Why couldn't she just as well tell 
me plainly and straightly to go my way? I 
queried. Yes, indeed, why not ? There was no 
need of feeling embarrassed about it. Instead 
of reminding me that the girl would soon 
come home, she could have simply said as 
follows : " Now you must run, for I must go 
and fetch my mother, and I won't have your 
escort through the street." So it was not 
that she had been thinking about ? Ah, yes ; 
it was that all the same she had thought 
about ; I understood that at once. It did 
not require much to put me on the right 
track ; only, just the way she had taken up 
her jacket, and left it down again, had con- 

242 Hunger 

vinced me immediately. As I said before, I 
had presentiments ; and it was not altogether 
insanity that was at the root of it. . . . 

" But, great heavens ! do forgive me for that 
word ! It slipped out of my mouth," she 
cried ; but yet she stood quite quietly, and 
did not come over to me. 

I was inflexible, and went on. I stood 
there and prattled, with the painful conscious- 
ness that I bored her, that not one of my 
words went home, and all the same I did 
not cease. 

At bottom one might be a fairly sensitive 
nature, even if one were not insane, I ventured 
to say. There were natures that fed on trifles, 
and died just for one hard word's sake ; and 
I implied that I had such a nature. The fact 
was, that my poverty had in that degree 
sharpened certain powers in me, so that they 
caused me unpleasantness. Yes, I assure you 
honestly, unpleasantness ; worse luck ! But 
this had also its advantages. It helped me in 
certain situations in life. The poor intelligent 
man is a far nicer observer than the rich 
intelligent man. The poor man looks about 
him at every step he takes, listens suspiciously 
to every word he hears from the people he 

Hunger 243 

meets, every step he takes affords in this way 
a task for his thoughts and feelings an 
occupation. He is quick of hearing, and 
sensitive ; he is an experienced man, his soul 
bears the sears of the fire. . . . 

And I talked a long time over these sears 
my soul had. But the longer I talked, the 
more troubled she grew. At last she muttered, 
" My God ! " a couple of times in despair, and 
wrung her hands. I could see well that I 
tormented her, and I had no wish to torment 
her but did it, all the same. At last, being 
of the opinion that I had succeeded in telling 
her in rude enough terms the essentials of 
what I had to say, I was touched by her 
heart-stricken expression. I cried : 

" Now I am going, now I am going. Can't 
you see that I already have my hand on the 
handle of the door ? Good-bye, good-bye," 
I say. "You might answer me when I say 
good-bye twice, and stand on the point of 
going. I don't even ask to meet you again, 
for it would torment you. But tell me, why 
didn't you leave me in peace? What had I 
done to you ? I didn't get in your way, now, 
did I ? Why did you turn away from me 
all at once, as if you didn't know me any 

244 Hunger 

longer ? You have plucked me now so thor- 
oughly bare, made me even more wretched 
than I ever was at any time before ; but, indeed, 
I am not insane. You know well, if you think 
it over, that nothing is the matter with me 
now. Come over, then, and give me your 
hand or give me leave to go to you, will 
you ? I won't do you any harm ; I will only 
kneel before you, only for a minute kneel 
down on the floor before you, only for a 
minute, may I ? No, no ; there, I am not 
to do it then, I see. You are getting afraid. 
I will not, I will not do it ; do you hear ? 
Lord, why do you get so terrified? I am 
standing quite still ; I am not moving. I would 
have knelt down on the carpet for a moment 
just there, upon that patch of red, at your 
feet ; but you got frightened I could see it 
at once in your eyes that you got frightened, 
that was why I stood still. I didn't move a 
step when I asked you might I, did I ? I 
stood just as immovable as I stand now when 
I point out the place to you where I would 
have knelt before you, over there on the 
crimson rose in the carpet. I don't even 
point with my finger. I don't point at all ; 
I let it be, not to frighten you. I only nod 

Hunger 245 

and look over at it, like this ! and you know 
perfectly well which rose I mean, but you won't 
let me kneel there. You are afraid of me, 
and dare not come near to me. I cannot 
conceive how you could have the heart to call 
me insane. It isn't true ; you don't believe 
it, either, any longer? It was once in the 
summer, a long time ago, I was mad ; I worked 
too hard, and forgot to go to dine at the right 
hour, when I had too much to think about. That 
happened day after day. I ought to have 
remembered it ; but I went on forgetting it 
by God in Heaven, it is true! God keep me 
from ever coming alive from this spot if I lie. 
There, you can see, you do me an injustice. 
It was not out of need I did it ; I can get 
credit, much credit, at Ingebret's or Gravesen's. 
I often, too, had a good deal of money in my 
pocket, and did not buy food, all the same, 
because I forgot it. Do you hear? You don't 
say anything ; you don't answer ; you don't 
stir a bit from the fire ; you just stand and 
wait for me to go. . . ." 

She came hurriedly over to me, and stretched 
out her hand. I looked at her, full of mistrust. 
Did she do it with any true heartiness, or did 
she only do it to get rid of me ? She wound 

246 Hunger 

her arms round my neck ; she had tears in 
her eyes ; I only stood and looked at her. 
She offered her mouth ; I couldn't believe in 
her ; it was quite certain she was making a 
sacrifice as a means of putting an end to all 

She said something ; it sounded to me like, 
" I am fond of you, in spite of all." She said 
it very lowly and indistinctly ; maybe I did 
not hear aright. She may not have said just 
those words ; but she cast herself impetuously 
against my breast, clasped both her arms about 
my neck for a little while, stretched even up a 
bit on her toes to get a good hold, and stood so 
for perhaps a whole minute. I was afraid that 
she was forcing herself to show me this tender- 
ness, and I only said : 

" What a darling you are now ! " 
More I didn't say. I crushed her in my 
arms, stepped back, rushed to the door, and 
went out backwards. She remained in there, 
behind me. 


Winter had set in a raw, wet winter, almost 
without snow. A foggy, dark, and everlasting 
night, without a single blast of fresh wind the 
whole week through. The gas was lighted 
almost all the day in the streets, and yet 
people jostled one another in the fog. Every 
sound, the clang of the church bells, the jingling 
of the harness of the droske horses, the people's 
voices, the beat of the hoofs, everything, sounded 
choked and jangling through the close air, that 
penetrated and muffled everything. 

Week followed week, and the weather was, 
and remained, still the same. 

And I stayed steadily down in Vaterland. 
I grew more and more closely bound to this 
inn, this lodging-house for travellers, where I 
had found shelter, in spite of my starving 
condition. My money was exhausted long 
since ; and yet I continued to come and go 
in this place as if I had a right to it, and 
was at home there. The landlady had, as yet, 
said nothing ; but it worried me all the same 

248 Hunger 

that I could not pay her. In this way three 
weeks went by. I had already, many days 
ago, taken to writing again ; but I could 
not succeed in putting anything together 
that satisfied me. I had no longer any luck, 
although I was very painstaking, and strove 
early and late ; no matter what I attempted, 
it was useless. Good fortune had flown ; and 
I exerted myself in vain. 

It was in a room on the second floor, the 
best guest-room, that I sat and made these 
attempts. I had been undisturbed up there 
since the first evening when I had money and 
was able to settle for what I got. All the time 
I was buoyed up by the hope of at last suc- 
ceeding in getting together an article on some 
subject or another, so that I could pay for my 
room, and for whatever else I owed. That was 
the reason I worked on so persistently. I had, 
in particular, commenced a piece from which 
I expected great things an allegory about a 
fire a profound thought upon which I in- 
tended to expend all my energy, and bring 
it to the " Commandor " in payment. The 
" Commandor " should see that he had helped 
a talent this time. I had no doubt but that 
he would eventually see that ; it only was a 

Hunger 249 

matter of waiting till the spirit moved me ; 
and why shouldn't the spirit move me ? Why 
should it not come over me even now, at a 
very early date? There was no longer any- 
thing the matter with me. My landlady gave 
me a little food every day, some bread and 
butter, mornings and evenings, and my ner- 
vousness had almost flown. I no longer used 
cloths round my hands when I wrote ; and 
I could stare down into the street from my 
window on the second floor without getting 
giddy. I was much better in every way, 
and it was becoming a matter of astonish- 
ment to me that I had not already finished 
my allegory. I couldn't understand why it 
was. . . . 

But a day came when I was at last to get 
a clear idea of how weak I had really become ; 
with what incapacity my dull brain acted. 
Namely, on this day my landlady came up to 
me with a reckoning which she asked me to 
look over. There must be something wrong 
in this reckoning, she said ; it didn't agree 
with her own book ; but she had not been 
able to find out the mistake. 

I set to work to add up. My landlady sat 
right opposite and looked at me. I totted 

250 Hunger 

up these score of figures first once down, and 
found the total right ; then once up again, and 
arrived at the same result. I looked at the 
woman sitting opposite me, waiting on my 
words. I noticed at the same time that she 
was pregnant ; it did not escape my attention, 
and yet I did not stare in any way scrutinis- 
ingly at her. 

"The total is right," said I. 

" No ; go over each figure now," she answered. 
" I am sure it can't be so much ; I am positive 
of it." 

And I commenced to check each line 2 
loaves at 2^d., 1 lamp chimney, 3d., soap, 4d., 
butter, 5d. . . . It did not require any particu- 
larly shrewd head to run up these rows of 
figures this little huckster account in which 
nothing very complex occurred. I tried 
honestly to find the error that the woman 
spoke about, but couldn't succeed. After I 
had muddled about with these figures for some 
minutes I felt that, unfortunately, everything 
commenced to dance about in my head ; I 
could no longer distinguish debit or credit ; I 
mixed the whole thing up. Finally, I came to 
a dead stop at the following entry " 3. j^-ths of 
a pound of cheese at 9d." My brain failed me 

Hunger 251 

completely; I stared stupidly down at the 
cheese, and got no farther. 

" It is really too confoundedly crabbed 
writing," I exclaimed, in despair. " Why, God 
bless me, here is T \ths of a pound of cheese 
entered ha, ha! did anyone ever hear the 
like ? Yes, look here ; you can see for your- 

" Yes," she said ; " it is often put down like 
that ; it is a kind of Dutch cheese. Yes, that 
is all right five-sixteenths is in this case five 

" Yes, yes ; I understand that well enough," 
I interrupted, although in truth I understand 
nothing more whatever. 

I tried once more to get this little account 
right, that I could have totted up in a second 
some months ago. I sweated fearfully, and 
thought over these enigmatical figures with all 
my might, and I blinked my eyes reflectingly, 
as if I was studying this matter sharply, but 
I had to give it up. These five ounces of 
cheese finished me completely ; it was as if 
something snapped within my forehead. But 
yet, to give the impression that I still worked 
out my calculation, I moved my lips and 
muttered a number aloud, all the while sliding 

252 Hunger 

farther and farther down the reckoning as if 
I were steadily coming to a result. She sat 
and waited. At last I said : 

"Well, now, I have gone through it from 
first to last, and there is really no mistake, 
as far as I can see." 

" Isn't there ? " replied the woman, " isn't 
there really?" But I saw well that she did 
not believe me, and she seemed all at once 
to throw a dash of contempt into her words, a 
slightly careless tone that I had never heard 
from her before. She remarked that perhaps 
I was not accustomed to reckon in sixteenths ; 
she mentioned also that she must only apply 
to some one who had a knowledge of six- 
teenths, to get the account properly revised. 
She said all this, not in any hurtful way to 
make me feel ashamed, but thoughtfully and 
seriously. When she got as far as the door, 
she said, without looking at me : 

"Excuse me for taking up your time then." 

Off she went. 

A moment after, the door opened again, and 
she re-entered. She could hardly have gone 
much farther than the stairs before she had 
turned back. 

" That 's true," said she ; " you mustn't take 

Hunger 253 

it amiss ; but there is a little owing to me 
from you now, isn't there? Wasn't it three 
weeks yesterday since you came?" Yes, I 
thought it was. "It isn't so easy to keep 
things going with such a big family, so that 
I can't give lodging on credit, more 's the . . ." 

I stopped her. " I am working at an article 
that I think I told you about before," said I, 
"and as soon as ever that is finished, you 
shall have your money ; you can make your- 
self quite easy. . . ." 

" Yes ; but you '11 never get that article 
finished, though." 

" Do you think that ? Maybe the spirit 
will move me to-morrow, or perhaps already, 
to-night ; it isn't at all impossible but that 
it may move me some time to-night, and 
then my article will be completed in a quarter 
of an hour at the outside. You see, it isn't 
with my work as with other people's ; I can't 
sit down and get a certain amount finished 
in a day. I have just to wait for the right 
moment, and no one can tell the day or hour 
when the spirit may move one it must have 
its own time. . . ." 

My landlady went, but her confidence in me 
was evidently much shaken. 

254 Hunger 

As soon as I was left alone I jumped up 
and tore my hair in despair. No, in spite 
of all, there was really no salvation for me 
no salvation ! My brain was bankrupt ! Had 
I then really turned into a complete dolt 
since I could not even add up the price of 
a piece of Dutch cheese? But could it be 
possible I had lost my senses when I could 
stand and put such questions to myself? Had 
not I, into the bargain, right in the midst 
of my efforts with the reckoning, made the 
lucid observation that my landlady was in 
the family way? I had no reason for know- 
ing it, no one had told me anything about 
it, neither had it occurred to me gratuitously. 
I sat and saw it with my own eyes, and I 
understood it at once, right at a despairing 
moment where I sat and added up sixteenths. 
How could I explain this to myself? 

I went to the window and gazed out ; it 
looked out into Vognmandsgade. Some chil- 
dren were playing down on the pavement ; 
poorly dressed children in the middle of a 
poor street. They tossed an empty bottle 
between them and screamed shrilly. A load 
of furniture rolled slowly by ; it must be- 
long to some dislodged family, forced to 

Hunger 255 

change residence between "flitting time."* 
This struck me at once. Bed-clothes and 
furniture were heaped on the float, moth-eaten 
beds and chests of drawers, red-painted chairs 
with three legs, mats, old iron, and tin-ware. 
A little girl a mere child, a downright ugly 
youngster, with a running cold in her nose 
sat up on top of the load, and held fast 
with her poor little blue hands in order not 
to tumble off. She sat on a heap of fright- 
fully stained mattresses, that children must 
have lain on, and looked down at the urchins 
who were tossing the empty bottle to one 
another. . . . 

I stood gazing at all this ; I had no difficulty 
in apprehending everything that passed before 
me. Whilst I stood there at the window and 
observed this, I could hear my landlady's 
servant singing in the kitchen right alongside 
of my room. I knew the air she was singing, 
and I listened to hear if she would sing false, 
and I said to myself that an idiot could not 
have done all this. I was, God be praised, 
as right in my senses as any man. 

Suddenly, I saw two of the children down 
in the street fire up and begin to abuse one 

* In Norway, 14th of March and October. 

256 Hunger 

another. Two little boys ; I recognised one 
of them ; he was my landlady's son. I open 
the window to hear what they are saying to 
one another, and immediately a flock of chil- 
dren crowded together under my window, and 
looked wistfully up. What did they expect? 
That something would be thrown down ? 
Withered flowers, bones, cigar ends, or one 
thing or another, that they could amuse them- 
selves with? They looked up with their 
frost-pinched faces and unspeakably wistful 
eyes. In the meantime, the two small foes 
continued to revile one another. 

Words like great buzzing noxious insects 
swarm out of their childish mouths ; frightful 
nicknames, thieves' slang, sailors' oaths, that 
they perhaps had learnt down on the wharf; 
and they are both so engaged that they do 
not notice my landlady, who rushes out to 
see what is going on. 

"Yes," explains her son, "he catched me 
by the throat ; I couldn't breathe for ever so 
long," and turning upon the little man who 
is the cause of the quarrel, and who is stand- 
ing grinning maliciously at him, he gets 
perfectly furious, and yells, "Go to hell, 
Chaldean ass that you are! To think such 

Hunger 257 

vermin as you should catch folk by the 
throat I will, may the Lord . . ." 

And the mother, this pregnant woman, who 
dominates the whole street with her size, 
answers the ten-year-old child, as she seizes 
him by the arm and tries to drag him in: 

" Sh sh. Hold your jaw ! I just like to hear 
the way you swear, too, as if you had been in 
a brothel for years. Now, in with you." 

" No, I won't" 

"Yes, you will." 

" No, I won't" 

I stand up in the window and see that the 
mother's temper is rising; this disagreeable 
scene excites me frightfully. I can't endure 
it any longer. I call down to the boy to 
come up to me for a minute ; I call twice, 
just to distract them to change the scene. 
The last time I call very loudly, and the 
mother turns round flurriedly and looks up 
at me. She regains her self-possession at 
once, looks insolently at me, nay, downright 
maliciously, and enters the house with a chid- 
ing remark to her offspring. She talks loudly, 
so that I may hear it, and says to him, " Fie, 
you ought to be ashamed of yourself to let 
people see how naughty you are." 

258 Hunger 

Of all this that I stood there and observed 
not one thing, not even one little accessory 
detail, was lost on me ; my attention was 
acutely keen ; I absorbed carefully every little 
thing as I stood and thought out my own 
thought, about each thing according as it 
occurred. So it was impossible that there 
could be anything the matter with my brain. 
How could there, in this case, be anything the 
matter with it? 

Listen ; do you know what, said I all at 
once to myself, that you have been worrying 
yourself long enough about your brain, giving 
yourself no end of worry in this matter ? Now, 
there must be an end to this tomfoolery. Is 
it a sign of insanity to notice and apprehend 
everything as accurately as you do? You 
make me almost laugh at you, I reply. To 
my mind it is not without its humorous side, 
if I am any judge of such a case. Why, it 
happens to every man that he once in a way 
sticks fast, and that, too, just with the simplest 
question. It is of no significance, it is often 
a pure accident. As I have remarked before, I 
am on the point of having a good laugh at your 
expense. As far as that huckster account is 
concerned, that paltry five-sixteenths of beggar- 

Hunger 259 

man's cheese, I can happily dub it so. Ha, ha ! 
a cheese with cloves and pepper in it ; upon 
my word, a cheese in which, to put the matter 
plainly, one could breed maggots. As far as 
that ridiculous cheese is concerned, it might 
happen to the cleverest fellow in the world to 
be puzzled over it! Why, the smell of the 
cheese was enough to finish a man ; . . . and I 
made the greatest fun of this and all other 
Dutch cheeses. . . . No ; set me to reckon up 
something really eatable, said I set me, if you 
like, at five-sixteenths of good dairy butter. 
That is another matter. 

I laughed feverishly at my own whim, and 
found it peculiarly diverting. There was 
positively no longer anything the matter with 
me. I was in good form was, so to say, still in 
the best of form ; I had a level head, nothing 
was wanting there, God be praised and thanked ! 
My mirth rose in measure as I paced the floor 
and communed with myself. I laughed aloud, 
and felt amazingly glad. Besides, it really 
seemed, too, as if I only needed this little 
happy hour, this moment of airy rapture, 
without a care on any side, to get my head 
into working order once more. 

I seated myself at the table, and set to work 

260 Hunger 

at my allegory ; it progressed swimmingly, 
better than it had done for a long time ; not 
very fast, 'tis true, but it seemed to me that 
what I did was altogether first-rate. I worked, 
too, for the space of an hour without getting 

I am sitting working at a most crucial point 
in this Allegory of a Conflagration in a Book- 
shop. It appears to me so momentous a 
point, that all the rest I have written counted 
as nothing in comparison. I was, namely, just 
about to weave in, in a downright profound 
way, this thought. It was not books that 
were burning, it was brains, human brains ; 
and I intended to make a perfect Bartholomew's 
night of these burning brains. 

Suddenly my door was flung open with a 
jerk and in much haste ; my landlady came 
sailing in. She came straight over to the 
middle of the room, she did not even pause 
on the threshold. 

I gave a little hoarse cry ; it was just as if 
I had received a blow. 

"What?" said she, "I thought you said 
something. We have got a traveller, and we 
must have this room for him. You will have 
to sleep downstairs with us to - night. Yes ; 

Hunger 261 

you can have a bed to yourself there too." 
And before she got my answer, she began, 
without further ceremony, to bundle my papers 
together on the table, and put the whole of 
them into a state of dire confusion. 

My happy mood was blown to the winds ; 
I stood up at once, in anger and despair. I let 
her tidy the table, and said nothing, never 
uttered a syllable. She thrust all the papers 
into my hand. 

There was nothing else for me to do. I 
was forced to leave the room. And so this 
precious moment was spoilt also. I met the 
new traveller already on the stairs : a young 
man with great blue anchors tatooed on the 
backs of his hands. A quay porter followed 
him, bearing a sea-chest on his shoulders. 
He was evidently a sailor, a casual traveller 
for the night ; he would therefore not occupy 
my room for any lengthened period. Perhaps, 
too, I might be lucky to-morrow when the 
man had left, and have one of my moments 
again ; I only needed an inspiration for five 
minutes, and my essay on the conflagration 
would be completed. Well, I should have 
to submit to fate. 

I had not been inside the familv rooms 

262 Hunger 

before, this one common room in which they 
all lived, both day and night the husband, 
wife, wife's father, and four children. The 
servant lived in the kitchen, where she also 
slept at night. I approached the door with 
much repugnance, and knocked. No one 
answered, yet I heard voices inside. 

The husband did not speak as I stepped in, 
did not acknowledge my nod even, merely 
glanced at me carelessly, as if I were no 
concern of his. Besides, he was sitting 
playing cards with a person I had seen down 
on the quays, with the by-name of " Pane o' 
glass." An infant lay and prattled to itself 
over in the bed, and an old man, the land- 
lady's father, sat doubled together on a settle- 
bed, and bent his head down over his hands 
as if his chest or stomach pained him. His 
hair was almost white, and he looked in his 
crouching position like a poke -necked reptile 
that sat cocking its ears at something. 

" I come, worse luck, to beg for house - room 
down here to-night," I said to the man. 

" Did my wife say so ? " he inquired. 

" Yes ; a new lodger came to my room." 

To this the man made no reply, but 
proceeded to finger the cards. There this 

Hunger 263 

man sat, day after day, and played cards 
with anybody who happened to come in 
played for nothing, only just to kill time, 
and have something in hand. He never did 
anything else, only moved just as much as 
his lazy limbs felt inclined, whilst his wife 
bustled up and down stairs, was occupied on 
all sides, and took care to draw customers to 
the house. She had put herself in connection 
with quay -porters and dock -men, to whom 
she paid a certain sum for every new lodger 
they brought her, and she often gave them, 
in addition, a shelter for the night. This 
time it was " Pane o' glass " that had just 
brought along the new lodger. 

A couple of the children came in two 
little girls, with thin, freckled, gutter-snipe 
faces ; their clothes were positively wretched. 
A while after the landlady herself entered. 
I asked her where she intended to put me 
up for the night, and she replied that I could 
lie in here together with the others, or out 
in the ante-room on the sofa, as I thought 
fit. Whilst she answered me she fussed 
about the room and busied herself with 
different things that she set in order, and 
she never once looked at me. 

264 Hunger 

My spirits were crushed by her reply. 

I stood down near the door, and made 
myself small, tried to make it appear as if 
I were quite content all the same to change 
my room for another for one night's sake. I 
put on a friendly face on purpose not to 
irritate her and perhaps be hustled right out 
of the house. 

" Ah, yes," I said, " there is sure to be some 
way ! " and then held my tongue. 

She still bustled about the room. 

"For that matter, I may as well just tell 
you that I can't afford to give people credit 
for their board and lodging," said she, " and 
I told you that before, too." 

" Yes ; but, my dear woman, it is only for 
these few days, until I get my article finished," 
I answered, "and I will willingly give you 
an extra five shillings willingly." 

But she had evidently no faith in my article, 
I could see that ; and I could not afford to be 
proud, and leave the house, just for a slight 
mortification ; I knew what awaited me if I 
went out. 

A few days passed over. 

I still associated with the family below, for 

Hunger 265 

it was too cold in the ante-room where there 
was no stove. I slept, too, at night on the 
floor of the room. 

The strange sailor continued to lodge in 
my room, and did not seem like moving very 
quickly. At noon, too, my landlady came in 
and related how he had paid her a month 
in advance, and, besides, he was going to take 
his first -mate's examination before leaving, 
that was why he was staying in town. I 
stood and listened to this, and understood that 
my room was lost to me for ever. 

I went out to the ante-room, and sat down. 
If I were lucky enough to get anything 
written, it would have perforce to be here where 
it was quiet. It was no longer the allegory 
that occupied me ; I had got a new idea, a per- 
fectly splendid plot ; I would compose a one- 
act drama " The Sign of the Cross." Subject 
taken from the Middle Ages. I had especially 
thought out everything in connection with the 
principal characters : a magnificently fanatical 
harlot who had sinned in the temple, not from 
weakness or desire, but for hate against heaven ; 
sinned right at the foot of the altar, with the 
altar-cloth under her head, just out of delicious 
contempt for heaven. 

266 Hunger 

I grew more and more obsessed by this 
creation as the hours went on. She stood at 
last, palpably, vividly embodied before my 
eyes, and was exactly as I wished her to 
appear. Her body was to be deformed and 
repulsive, tall, very lean, and rather dark ; and, 
when she walked, her long limbs should gleam 
through her draperies at every stride she took. 
She was also to have large outstanding ears. 
Curtly, she was nothing for the eye to dwell 
upon, barely endurable to look at. What 
interested me in her was her wonderful shame- 
lessness, the desperately full measure of cal- 
culated sin which she had committed. She 
really occupied me too much, my brain was 
absolutely inflated by this singular monstrosity 
of a creature, and I worked for two hours, 
without a pause, at my drama. When I had 
finished half-a-score of pages, perhaps twelve, 
often with much effort, at times with long 
intervals, in which I wrote in vain and had to 
tear the page in two, I had become tired, quite 
stiff with cold and fatigue, and I arose and 
went out into the street. For the last half- 
hour, too, I had been disturbed by the crying 
of the children inside the family room, so that I 
could not, in any case, have written any more 

Hunger 267 

just then. So I took a long time up over 
Dram mens veien, and stayed away till the 
evening, pondering incessantly, as I walked 
along, as to how I would continue my drama. 
Before I came home in the evening of this 
day, the following happened : 

I stood outside a shoemaker's shop far down 
in Carl Johann Street, almost at the railway 
square. God knows why I stood just outside 
this shoemaker's shop. I looked into the 
window as I stood there, but did not, by the 
way, remember that I needed shoes then ; my 
thoughts were far away in other parts of the 
world. A swarm of people talking together 
passed behind my back, and I heard nothing 
of what was said. Then a voice greeted me 
loudly : 

" Good -evening." 

It was " Missy " who bade me good-evening ! 
I answered at random, I looked at him, too, 
for a while, before I recognised him. 

"Well, how are you getting along?" he 

" Oh, always well ... as usual." 

* By the way, tell me," said he, " are you, 
then, still with Christie?" 


268 Hunger 

" I thought you once said you were book- 
keeper at Christie's?" 

" Ah, yes. No ; that is done with. It was 
impossible to get along with that fellow ; that 
came to an end very quickly of its own 

" Why so ? " 

" Well, I happened to make a mis-entry one 
day, and so " 

"A false entry, eh?" 

False entry ! There stood " Missy," and asked 
me straight in the face if I had done this 
thing. He even asked eagerly, and evidently 
with much interest. I looked at him, felt 
deeply insulted, and made no reply. 

" Yes, well, Lord ! that might happen to the 
best fellow," he said, as if to console me. He 
still believed I had made a false entry de- 

" What is it that, ' Yes, well, Lord ! indeed 
might happen to the best fellow ' ? " I inquired. 
" To do that. Listen, my good man. Do you 
stand there and really believe that I could 
for a moment be guilty of such a mean trick 
as that? I!" 

" But, my dear fellow, I thought I heard you 
distinctly say that." 

Hunger 269 

" No ; I said that I had made a mis-entry 
once, a bagatelle ; if you want to know, a 
false date on a letter, a single stroke of the 
pen wrong that was my whole crime. No, 
God be praised, I can tell right from wrong 
yet a while. How would it fare with me if I 
were, into the bargain, to sully my honour? 
It is simply my sense of honour that keeps 
me afloat now. But it is strong enough too ; 
at least, it has kept me up to date." 

I threw back my head, turned away from 
"Missy," and looked down the street. My 
eyes rested on a red dress that came towards 
us ; on a woman at a man's side. If I had 
not had this conversation with " Missy," I 
would not have been hurt by his coarse 
suspicion, and I would not have given this 
toss of my head, as I turned away in offence ; 
and so perhaps this red dress would have 
passed me without my having noticed it. 
And at bottom what did it concern me? 
What was it to me if it were the dress of 
the Hon. Miss Nagel, the lady-in-waiting? 
" Missy " stood and talked, and tried to make 
good his mistake again. I did not listen to 
him at all ; I stood the whole time and stared 
at the red dress that was coming nearer up 

270 Hunger 

the street, and a stir thrilled through my 
breast, a gliding delicate dart, I whispered in 
thought without moving my lips : 

" Ylajali ! " 

Now " Missy " turned round also and noticed 
the two the lady and the man with her, 
raised his hat to them, and followed them 
with his eyes. I did not raise my hat, or 
perhaps I did unconsciously. The red dress 
glided up Carl Johann, and disappeared. 

" Who was it was with her ? " asked " Missy." 

"The Duke, didn't you see? The so-called 
1 Duke.' Did you know the lady ? " 

"Yes, in a sort of way. Didn't you know 

"No," I replied. 

" It appears to me you saluted profoundly 

"Did I?" 

" Ha, ha ! perhaps you didn't," said " Missy." 
" Well, that is odd. Why, it was only at you 
she looked, too, the whole time." 

"When did you get to know her?" I asked. 

He did not really know her. It dated from 
an evening in autumn. It was late ; they 
were three jovial souls together, they came 
out late from the Grand, and met this being 

Hunger 271 

going along alone past Cammermeyers, and 
they addressed her. At first she answered 
rebuffingly ; but one of the jovial spirits, a 
man who neither feared fire nor water, 
asked her right to her face if he might not 
have the civilised enjoyment of accompanying 
her home? He would, by the Lord, not hurt 
a hair on her head, as the saying goes only 
go with her to her door, reassure himself that 
she reached home in safety, otherwise he could 
not rest all night. He talked incessantly as 
they went along, hit upon one thing or another, 
dubbed himself Waldemar Atterdag, and re- 
presented himself as a photographer. At last 
she was obliged to laugh at this merry soul 
who refused to be rebuffed by her coldness, 
and it finally ended by his going with her. 

" Indeed, did it ? and what came of it ? " 
I inquired ; and I held my breath for his 

" Came of it ? Oh, stop there ; there is a 
lady in question." 

We both kept silent a moment, both " Missy " 
and I. 

"Well, I'm hanged, was that 'the Duke'? 
So that 's what he looks like," he added, reflec- 
tively. " Well, if she is in contact with that 

272 Hunger 

fellow ; well, then, I wouldn't like to answer 
for her." 

I still kept silent. Yes, of course "the 
Duke" would make the pace with her. Well, 
what odds ? How did it concern me ? I bade 
her good-day with all her wiles : a good-day 
I bade her ; and I tried to console myself by 
thinking the worst thoughts about her ; took 
a downright pleasure in dragging her through 
the mire. It only annoyed me to think that 
I had doffed my hat to the pair, if I really 
had done so. Why should I raise my hat to 
such people? I did not care for her any 
longer, certainly not ; she was no longer in 
the very slightest degree lovely to me; she 
had fallen off. Ah, the devil knows how soiled 
I found her! It might easily have been the 
case that it. was only me she looked at ; I was 
not in the least astounded at that ; it might 
be regret that began to stir in her. But that 
was no reason for me to go and lower myself 
and salute, like a fool, especially when she had 
become so seriously besmirched of late. " The 
Duke " was welcome to her ; I wish him joy ! 
The day might come when I would just take 
into my head to pass her haughtily by with- 
out glancing once towards her. Ay, it might 

Hunger 273 

happen that I would venture to do this, even 
if she were to gaze straight into my eyes, and 
have a blood-red gown on into the bargain. It 
might very easily happen ! Ha, ha ! that would 
be a triumph. If I knew myself aright, I was 
quite capable of completing my drama during 
the course of the night, and, before eight days 
had flown, I would have brought this young 
lady to her knees with all her charms, ha, ha ! 
with all her charms. . . . 

" Good - bye," I muttered, shortly ; but 
" Missy " held me back. He queried : 

" But what do you do all day now ? " 

" Do ? I write, naturally. What else should 
I do? Is it not that I live by? For the 
moment, I am working at a great drama, ' The 
Sign of the Cross.' Theme taken from the 
Middle Ages." 

" By Jove ! " exclaimed " Missy," seriously. 
" Well, if you succeed with that, why . . ." 

" I have no great anxiety on that score," 
I replied. " In eight days' time or so, I think 
you and all the other folks will have heard a 
little more of me." 

With that I left him. 

When I got home I applied at once to my 
landlady, and requested a lamp. It was of the 

274 Hunger 

utmost importance to me to get this lamp ; I 
would not go to bed to-night ; my drama was 
raging in my brain, and I hoped so surely to 
be able to write a good portion of it before 
morning. I put forward my request very 
humbly to her, as I had noticed that she made 
a dissatisfied face on my re-entering the sitting- 
room. I said that I had almost completed a 
remarkable drama, only a couple of scenes 
were wanting ; and I hinted that it might be 
produced in some theatre or another, in no 
time. If she would only just render me this 
great service now. . . . 

But madam had no lamp. She considered 
a bit, but could not call to mind that she 
had a lamp in any place. If I liked to wait 
until after twelve o'clock, I might perhaps get 
the kitchen lamp. Why didn't I buy myself 
a candle ? 

I held my tongue. I hadn't a farthing to 
buy a candle, and she knew that right well. 
Of course I was foiled again ! The servant-girl 
sat inside with us simply sat in the sitting- 
room, and was not in the kitchen at all ; so 
that the lamp up there was not even lit. And 
I stood and thought over this, but said no 
more. Suddenly the girl remarked to me : 

Hunger 275 

" I thought I saw you come out of the palace 
a while ago ; were you at a dinner party ? " and 
she laughed loudly at this jest. 

I sat down, took out my papers, and at- 
tempted to write something here, in the mean- 
time. I held the paper on my knees, and 
gazed persistently at the floor to avoid being 
distracted by anything ; but it helped not a 
whit ; nothing helped me ; I got no farther. 
The landlady's two little girls came in and 
made a row with a cat a queer, sick cat 
that had scarcely a hair on it ; they blew into 
its eyes until water sprang out of them and 
trickled down its nose. The landlord and a 
couple of others sat at a table and played 
cent et un. The wife alone was busy as 
ever, and sat and sewed at some garment. 
She saw well that I could not write anything 
in the midst of all this disturbance ; but she 
troubled herself no more about me ; she even 
smiled when the servant -girl asked me if I 
had been out to dine. The whole household 
had become hostile towards me. It was as 
if I had only needed the disgrace of being 
obliged to resign my room to a stranger to 
be treated as a man of no account. Even the 
servant, a little, brown-eyed street-wench, with 

276 Hunger 

a big fringe over her forehead, and a perfectly 
flat bosom, poked fun at me in the evening 
when I got my ration of bread and butter. 
She inquired perpetually where, then, was I 
in the habit of dining, as she had never seen 
me picking my teeth outside the Grand? It 
was clear that she was aware of my wretched 
circumstances, and took a pleasure in letting 
me know of it. 

I fall suddenly into thought over all this, 
and am not able to find a solitary speech for 
my drama. Time upon time I seek in vain ; 
a strange buzzing begins inside my head, and 
I give it up. I thrust the papers into my 
pocket, and look up. The girl is sitting straight 
opposite me. I look at her look at her narrow 
back and drooping shoulders, that are not yet 
fully developed. What business was it of hers 
to fly at me? Even supposing I did come 
out of the palace, what then? Did it harm 
her in any way ? She had laughed insolently 
in the past few days at me, when I was a 
bit awkward and stumbled on the stairs, or 
caught fast on a nail and tore my coat. It 
was no later than yesterday that she gathered 
up my rough copy, that I had thrown aside 
in the ante-room stolen these rejected frag- 

Hunger 277 

ments of my drama, and read them aloud in 
the room here ; made fun of them in everyone's 
hearing, just to amuse herself at my expense. 
I had never molested her in any way, and 
could not recall that I had ever asked her 
to do me a service. On the contrary, I made 
up my bed on the floor in the ante-room 
myself, in order not to give her any trouble 
with it. She made fun of me, too, because 
my hair fell out. Hair lay and floated about 
in the basin I washed in in the mornings, and 
she made merry over it. Then my shoes, too, 
had grown rather shabby of late, particularly 
the one that had been run over by the bread- 
van, and she found subject for jesting in 
them. " God bless you and your shoes ! " said 
she, looking at them ; " they are as wide 
as a dog's house." And she was right ; they 
were trodden out. But then I couldn't procure 
myself any others just at present. 

Whilst I sit and call all this to mind, 
and marvel over the evident malice of the 
servant, the little girls have begun to tease 
the old man over in the bed ; they are jump- 
ing around him, fully bent on this diversion. 
They both found a straw, which they poked 
into his ears. I looked on at this for a while, 

278 Hunger 

and refrained from interfering. The old fellow 
did not move a finger to defend himself; he 
only looked at his tormentors with furious 
eyes each time they prodded him, and jerked 
his head to escape when the straws were 
already in his ears. I got more and more 
irritated at this sight, and could not keep 
my eyes away from it. The father looked 
up from his cards, and laughed at the 
youngsters ; he also drew the attention of his 
comrades at play to what was going on. Why 
didn't the old fellow move ? Why didn't he 
fling the children aside with his arms ? I 
took a stride, and approached the bed. 

" Let them alone ! let them alone ! he is 
paralysed," called the landlord. 

And out of fear to be shown the door for 
the night, simply out of fear of rousing the 
man's displeasure by interfering with this scene, 
I stepped back silently to my old place and 
kept myself quiet. Why should I risk my 
lodging and my portion of bread and butter 
by poking my nose into the family squabbles ? 
No idiotic pranks for the sake of a half-dying 
old man, and I stood and felt as delightfully 
hard as a flint. 

The little urchins did not cease their 

Hunger 279 

plaguing ; it amused them that the old chap 
could not hold his head quiet, and they aimed 
at his eyes and nostrils. He stared at them 
with a ludicrous expression ; he said nothing, 
and could not stir his arms. Suddenly he raised 
the upper part of his body a little and spat 
in the face of one of the little girls, drew him- 
self up again and spat at the other, but did not 
reach her. I stood and looked on, saw that 
the landlord flung the cards on the table 
at which he sat, and sprang over towards 
the bed. His face was flushed, and he 
shouted : 

"Will you sit and spit right into people's 
eyes, you old boar ? " 

" But, good Lord, he got no peace from 
them ! " I cried, beside myself. 

But all the time I stood in fear of being 
turned out, and I certainly did not utter my 
protest with any particular force ; I only 
trembled over my whole body with irritation. 
He turned towards me, and said : 

"Eh, listen to him, then. What the devil 
is it to you? You just keep your tongue in 
your jaw, you just mark what I tell you, 
'twill serve you best." 

But now the wife's voice made itself heard, 

280 Hunger 

and the house was filled with scolding and 

" May God help me, but I think you are 
mad or possessed, the whole pack of you ! " 
she shrieked. " If you want to stay in here 
you '11 have to be quiet, both of you ! Humph ! 
it isn't enough that one is to keep open house 
and food for vermin, but one is to have spar- 
ring and rowing and the devil's own to-do in 
the sitting-room as well. But I won't have 
any more of it, not if I know it. Sh h ! 
Hold your tongues, you brats there, and wipe 
your noses, too ; if you don't, I '11 come and 
do it. I never saw the like of such people. 
Here they walk in out of the street, without 
even a penny to buy flea-powder, and begin 
to kick up rows in the middle of the night 
and quarrel with the people who own the 
house. I don't mean to have any more of it, 
do you understand that? and you can go 
your way, everyone who doesn't belong home 
here. I am going to have peace in my own 
quarters, I am." 

I said nothing, I never opened my mouth 
once. I sat down again next the door and 
listened to the noise. They all screamed 
together, even the children, and the girl who 

Hunger 281 

wanted to explain how the whole disturbance 
commenced. If I only kept quiet, it would 
all blow over sometime ; it would surely not 
come to the worst if I only did not utter a 
word ; and what word after all could I have 
to say? Was it not perhaps winter outside, 
and far advanced into the night, besides? 
Was that a time to strike a blow, and show 
one could hold one's own ? No folly now ! 
... So I sat still and made no attempt to 
leave the house ; I never even blushed at 
keeping silent, never felt ashamed, although I 
had almost been shown the door. I stared 
coolly, case-hardened, at the wall where Christ 
hung in an oleograph, and held my tongue 
obstinately during all the landlady's attack. 

"Well, if it is me you want to get quit of, 
ma'am, there will be nothing in the way as far 
as I am concerned," said one of the card- 
players as he stood up. The other card- 
players rose as well. 

" No, I didn't mean you nor you either," 
replied the landlady to them. "If there's any 
need to, I will show well enough who I mean, 
if there's the least need to, if I know myself 
rightly. Oh, it will be shown quick enough 
who it is. . . ." 

282 Hunger 

She talked with pauses, gave me these 
thrusts at short intervals, and spun it out to 
make it clearer and clearer that it was me 
she meant "Quiet," said I to myself; "only- 
keep quiet ! " She had not asked me to go not 
expressly, not in plain words. Just no put- 
ting on side on my part no untimely pride ! 
Brave it out ! . . . That was really most 
singular green hair on that Christ in the 
oleograph. It was not too unlike green 
grass, or expressed with exquisite exactitude 
thick meadow grass. Ha ! a perfectly correct 
remark unusually thick meadow grass. ... A 
train of fleeting ideas darts at this moment 
through my head. From green grass to the 
text, Each life is like unto grass that is 
kindled ; from that to the Day of Judgment, 
when all will be consumed ; then a little de- 
tour down to the earthquake in Lisbon, about 
which something floated before me in refer- 
ence to a brass Spanish spitoon and an ebony 
pen handle that I had seen down at Ylajali's. 
Ah, yes, all was transitory, just like grass 
that was kindled. It all ended in four planks 
and a winding-sheet. "Winding-sheets to be 
had from Miss Andersen's, on the right of 
the door." . . . And all this was tossed about 

Hunger 283 

in my head during the despairing moment 
when my landlady was about to thrust me 
from her door. 

" He doesn't hear," she yelled. " I tell you, 
you '11 quit this house. Now you know it ! 
I believe, God blast me, that the man is mad, 
I do! Now, out you go, on the blessed spot, 
and so no more chat about it." 

I looked towards the door, not in order to 
leave no, certainly not in order to leave. An 
audacious notion seized me if there had been 
a key in the door, I would have turned it and 
locked myself in along with the rest to escape 
going. I had a perfectly hysterical dread of 
going out into the streets again. 

But there was no key in the door. 

Then, suddenly my landlord's voice mingled 
with that of his wife, I stood still with amaze- 
ment. The same man who had threatened 
me a while ago took my part, strangely 
enough, now. He said : 

" No, it won't do to turn folk out at night ; do 
you know one can be punished for doing that ? " 

" I didn't know if there was a punishment 
for that ; I couldn't say, but perhaps it was so," 
and the wife bethought herself quickly, grew 
quiet, and spoke no more. 

284 Hunger 

She placed two pieces of bread and butter 
before me for supper, but I did not touch 
them, just out of gratitude to the man ; so I 
pretended that I had had a little food in town. 

When at length I took myself off to the 
ante-room to go to bed, she came out after 
me, stopped on the threshold, and said loudly, 
whilst her unsightly figure seemed to strut 
out towards me : 

"But this is the last night you sleep here, 
so now you know it." 

" Yes, yes," I replied. 

There would perhaps be some way of find- 
ing a shelter to-morrow, if I tried hard for it. 
I would surely be able to find some hiding- 
place. For the time being I would rejoice 
that I was not obliged to go out to-night. 

I slept till between five and six in the 
morning it was not yet light when I awoke 
but all the same I got up at once. I had 
lain in all my clothes on account of the cold, 
and had no dressing to do. When I had 
drunk a little cold water and opened the door 
quietly, I went out directly, for I was afraid 
to face my landlady again. 

A couple of policemen who had been on 
watch all night were the only living beings 

Hunger 285 

I saw in the street. A while after, some men 
began to extinguish the lamps. I wandered 
about without aim or end, reached Kirkegade 
and the road down towards the fortress. Cold 
and still sleepy, weak in the knees and back 
after my long walk, and very hungry, I sat 
down on a seat and dozed for a long time. 
For three weeks I had lived exclusively on the 
bread and butter that my landlady had given 
me morning and evening. Now it was twenty- 
four hours since I had had my last meal. 
Hunger began to gnaw badly at me again; I 
must seek a help for it right quickly. With this 
thought I fell asleep again upon the seat. . . . 
I was aroused by the sound of people speak- 
ing near me, and when I had collected myself 
a little, I saw that it was broad day, and that 
everyone was up and about. I got up and 
walked away. The sun burst over the heights, 
the sky was pale and tender, and in my de- 
light over the lovely morning, after the many 
dark gloomy weeks, I forgot all cares, and it 
seemed to me as if I had fared worse on 
other occasions. I clapped myself on the 
chest and sang a little snatch for myself. 
My voice sounded so wretched, downright 
exhausted it sounded, and I moved myself to 

286 Hunger 

tears with it. This magnificent day, the 
white heavens swimming in light, had far too 
mighty an effect upon me, and I burst into 
loud weeping. 

"What is the matter with you?" inquired 
a man. I did not answer, but hurried away, 
hiding my face from all men. I reached the 
bridge. A large barque with the Russian flag 
lay and discharged coal. I read her name, 
Copegoro, on her side. It distracted me for 
a time to watch what took place on board 
this foreign ship. She must be almost dis- 
charged ; she lay with IX foot visible on her 
side, in spite of all the ballast she had 
already taken in, and there was a hollow 
boom through the whole ship whenever the 
coal-heavers stamped on the deck with their 
heavy boots. 

The sun, the light, and the salt breath from 
the sea, all this busy, merry life pulled me 
together a bit, and caused my blood to run 
lustily. Suddenly it entered my head that 
I could work at a few scenes of my drama 
whilst I sat here, and I took my papers out 
of my pocket. 

I tried to place a speech into a monk's 
mouth a speech that ought to swell with 

Hunger 287 

pride and intolerance, but it was of no use ; 
so I skipped over the monk and tried to 
work out an oration the Deemster's oration 
to the violator of the Temple, and I wrote 
half- a -page of this oration, upon which I 
stopped. The right local colour would not 
tinge my words, the bustle about me, the 
shanties, the noise of the gangways, and the 
ceaseless rattle of the iron chains, fitted in 
so little with the atmosphere of the musty 
air of the dim Middle Ages, that was to 
envelop my drama as with a mist. 

I bundled my papers together and got up. 

All the same, I had got into a happy vein 
a grand vein, and I felt convinced that I 
could effect something if all went well. 

If I only had a place to go to. I thought 
over it stopped right there in the street and 
pondered, but I could not bring to mind a 
single quiet spot in the town where I could 
seat myself for an hour. There was no other 
way open ; I would have to go back to the 
lodging-house in Vaterland. I shrank at the 
thought of it, and I told myself all the while 
that it would not do. I went ahead all the 
same, and approached nearer and nearer to 
the forbidden spot. Of course it was wretched. 

288 Hunger 

I admitted to myself that it was degrading 
downright degrading, but there was no help 
for it. I was not in the least proud ; I dared 
make the assertion roundly, that I was one 
of the least arrogant beings up to date. I 
went ahead. 

I pulled up at the door and weighed it 
over once more. Yes, no matter what the 
result was, I would have to dare it. After all 
said and done, what a bagatelle to make such 
a fuss about. For the first, it was only a 
matter of a couple of hours ; for the second, 
the Lord forbid that I should ever seek refuge 
in such a house again. I entered the yard. 
Even whilst I was crossing the uneven stones 
I was irresolute, and almost turned round at 
the very door. I clenched my teeth. No ! 
no pride ! At the worst I could excuse myself 
by saying I had come to say good-bye, to 
make a proper adieu, and come to a clear 
understanding about my debt to the house. 

I opened the door of the long room. I entered 
and stood stock-still when I got inside. Right 
in front of me, only a few paces away, stood 
the landlord himself. He was without hat or 
coat, and was peeping through the keyhole 
into the family room. He made a sign, a warn- 

Hunger 289 

ing sign with his hand to me to keep quiet, 
and peeped again through the hole. 

"Come here," he whispered. I approached 
on tip-toe. 

"Look there," he said, and laughed with a 
quiet, eager laugh. " Peep in ! Hi, hi ! there 
they are ! Look at the old chap ! Can you 
see the old chap ? " 

In the bed under the Christ in oleograph I 
saw two figures, the landlady and the strange 
sailor: her legs gleamed whitely against the 
dark coverlid, and in bed against the wall 
sat her father, the paralysed old man, and 
looked on, bending over his hands, crouched 
together as always, without being able to move. 

I turned round towards my landlord. He 
had the greatest trouble to keep himself from 
laughing out loudly. 

" Did you see the old chap ? " he whispered. 
" Ah Lord ! did you see the old chap ? He 
is sitting looking on," and he placed himself 
once more before the keyhole. 

I went over to the window, and sat down. 
This sight had brought all my thoughts into 
merciless disorder, and put an end to my bright 
mood. Well, what concern was it of mine? 
When the husband himself agreed to it, ay, 

290 Hunger 

even found his greatest diversion in it, there 
was no reason why I should take it to heart. 
And as far as the old fellow was concerned, well, 
the old fellow was, once for all, an old fellow, 
and no more. Perhaps he didn't even notice it. 
Maybe that he just sat and dozed. God knows, 
he may have been dead ; it would not surprise 
me in the least if he were dead ; I would 
have no scruples of conscience on this score. 

I took forth my papers once more, and 
determined to thrust all irrelevant impressions 
aside. I had left off right in the middle of 
a sentence in the inquisitor's address "Thus 
dictate God and the law to me, thus dictates 
also the counsel of my wise men, thus dictate 
I and my own conscience ..." I looked out 
of the window to think over what his conscience 
should dictate to him. A little row reached 
me from the room inside. Well, it was no 
affair of mine, anyway. Besides, the old chap 
was surely dead died perhaps this morning 
about four ; it was therefore entirely and totally 
indifferent to me what noise arose. Why the 
devil should I sit thinking about it? Keep 
quiet now! "Thus dictate I and my own 
conscience ..." But everything conspired 
against me ; the man over at the keyhole 

Hunger 291 

did not stand quiet a second. I could now 
and then hear his stifled laughter, and see how- 
he shook. Outside in the street, too, some- 
thing was taking place that disturbed me. A 
little lad sat and amused himself in the sun 
on the opposite side of the pavement. He 
was happy and in fear of no danger just sat 
and knotted together a lot of paper streamers, 
and injured no one. Suddenly he jumps up 
and begins to curse ; he goes backwards to 
the middle of the street and catches sight of 
a man, a grown-up man, with a red beard, who 
is leaning out of an open window in the second 
storey, and who spat down on his head. The 
little chap cried with rage, and swore im- 
patiently up at the window; and the man 
laughed in his face. Perhaps five minutes 
passed in this way. I turned aside to avoid 
seeing the little lad's tears. 

"Thus dictate I and my own conscience 
..." I found it impossible to get any farther. 
At last everything began to get confused; it 
seemed to me that even that which I had 
already written was unfit to use, ay, that the 
whole idea was contemptible rubbish. How 
could one possibly talk of conscience in the 
Middle Ages? Conscience was first invented 

292 Hunger 

by Dancing-master Shakespeare, consequently 
my whole address was wrong. Was there, then, 
nothing of value in these pages ? I ran through 
them anew, and solved my doubt at once. I 
discovered grand pieces downright lengthy 
pieces of remarkable merit and once again 
the intoxicating desire to set to work again 
darted through my breast the desire to finish 
my drama. 

I got up and went to the door, without 
paying any attention to my landlord's furious 
signs to go out quietly ; I walked out of the 
room firmly, and with my mind made up. I 
went upstairs to the second floor, and entered 
my former room. The man was not there, 
and what was to hinder me from sitting here 
for a moment? I would not touch one of his 
things. I wouldn't even once use his table ; 
I would just seat myself on a chair near the 
door, and be happy. I spread the papers 
hurriedly out on my knees. Things went 
splendidly for a few minutes. Retort upon 
retort stood ready in my head, and I wrote 
uninterruptedly. I filled one page after the 
other, dashed ahead over stock and stone, 
chuckled softly in ecstacy over my happy 
vein, and was scarcely conscious of myself. 

Hunger 293 

The only sound I heard in this moment was 
my own merry chuckle. 

A singularly happy idea had just struck me 
about a church bell a church bell that was 
to peal out at a certain point in my drama. 
All was going ahead with overwhelming rapidity. 
Then I hear a step on the stairs. I tremble, 
and am almost beside myself; sit ready to bolt, 
timorous, watchful, full of fear at everything, 
and excited by hunger. I listen nervously, 
just hold the pencil still in my hand, and 
listen. I cannot write a word more. The 
door opens, and the pair from below enter. 

Even before I had time to make an excuse 
for what I had done, the landlady calls out, 
as if struck of a heap with amazement : 

"Well, God bless and save us, if he isn't 
sitting here again ! " 

" Excuse me," I said, and I would have 
added more, but got no farther; the landlady 
flung open the door, as far as it would go, 
and shrieked : 

"If you don't go out, now, may God blast 
me, but I'll fetch the police!" 

I got up. 

" I only wanted to say good-bye to you," 
I murmured ; " and I had to wait for you. I 

294 Hunger 

didn't touch anything ; I only just sat here 
on the chair. . . ." 

" Yes, yes ; there was no harm in that," 
said the man. " What the devil does it matter ? 
Let the man alone ; he " 

By this time I had reached the end of the 
stairs. All at once I got furious with this 
fat, swollen woman, who followed close to my 
heels to get rid of me quickly, and I stood 
quiet a moment with the worst abusive epithets 
on my tongue ready to sling at her. But I 
bethought myself in time, and held my peace, 
if only out of gratitude to the stranger man, 
who followed her, and would have to hear 
them. She trod close on my heels, railing 
incessantly, and my anger increased with every 
step I took. 

We reached the yard below. I walked very 
slowly, still debating whether I would not 
have it out with her. I was at this moment 
completely blinded with rage, and I searched 
for the worst word an expression that would 
strike her dead on the spot, like a kick in 
her stomach. A commissionaire passes me 
at the entrance. He touches his hat ; I take 
no notice ; he applies to her ; and I hear that 
he inquires for me, but I do not turn round. 

Hunger 295 

A couple of steps outside the door he overtakes 
and stops me. He hands me an envelope. I 
tear it open, roughly and unwillingly. It con- 
tains half-a-sovereign no note, not a word. I 
look at the man, and ask : 

" What tomfoolery is this ? Who is the 
letter from?" 

" Oh, that I can't say ! " he replies ; " but 
it was a lady who gave it to me." 

I stood still. The commissionaire left. 

I put the coin into the envelope again, 
crumple it up, coin and envelope, wheel round 
and go straight towards the landlady, who is 
still keeping an eye on me from the doorway, 
and throw it in her face. I said nothing ; 
I uttered no syllable only noticed that she 
was examining the crumpled paper as I left 
her. . . . Ha! that is what one might call 
comporting oneself with dignity. Not to say a 
word, not to mention the contents, but crumple 
together, with perfect calmness, a large piece 
of money, and fling it straight in the face of 
one's persecutor ! One might call that making 
one's exit with dignity. That was the way 
to treat such beasts ! . . . 

When I got to the corner of Tomtegaden 
and the railway place, the street commenced 

296 Hunger 

suddenly to swim round before my eyes ; it 
buzzed vacantly in my head, and I staggered 
up against the wall of a house. I could simply 
go no farther, couldn't even straighten myself 
from the cramped position I was in. As I 
fell up against it, so I remained standing, and 
I felt that I was beginning to lose my senses. 
My insane anger had augmented this attack 
of exhaustion. I lifted my foot, and stamped 
on the pavement. I also tried several other 
things to try and regain my strength : I 
clenched my teeth, wrinkled my brows, and 
rolled my eyes despairingly ; it helped a little. 
My thoughts grew more lucid. It was clear 
to me that I was about to succumb. I stretched 
out my hands, and pushed myself back from 
the wall. The street still danced wildly round 
me. I began to hiccough with rage, and I 
wrestled from my very inmost soul with my 
misery ; made a right gallant effort not to 
sink down. It was not my intention to collapse ; 
no, I would die standing. A dray rolls slowly 
by, and I notice there are potatoes in it ; but 
out of sheer fury and stubbornness, I take 
it into my head to assert that they are not 
potatoes, but cabbages, and I swore frightful 
oaths that they were cabbages. I heard quite 

Hunger 297 

well what I was saying, and I swore this lie 
wittingly ; repeating, time after time, just to 
have the vicious satisfaction of perjuring my- 
self. I got intoxicated with the thought of this 
matchless sin of mine. I raised three fingers 
in the air, and swore, with trembling lips, in 
the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
that they were cabbages. 

Time went. I let myself sink down on the 
steps near me, and dried the sweat from my 
brow and throat, drew a couple of long breaths, 
and forced myself into calmness. The sun slid 
down ; it declined towards the afternoon. I 
began once more to brood over my condition. 
My hunger was really something disgraceful, 
and, in a few hours more, night would be 
here again. The question was, to think of 
a remedy while there was yet time. My 
thoughts flew again to the lodging-house from 
which I had been hunted away. I could on 
no account return there ; but yet one could 
not help thinking about it. Properly speaking, 
the woman was acting quite within her rights 
in turning me out. How could I expect to 
get lodging with anyone when I could not pay 
for it? Besides, she had occasionally given 
me a little food ; even yesterday evening, after 

298 Hunger 

I had annoyed her, she offered me some bread 
and butter. She offered it to me out of sheer 
good nature, because she knew I needed it, so 
I had no cause to complain. I began, even 
whilst I sat there on the step, to ask her 
pardon in my own mind for my behaviour. 
Particularly, I regretted bitterly that I had 
shown myself ungrateful to her at the last, 
and thrown half-a-sovereign in her face. ... 

Half-a-sovereign ! I gave a whistle. The 
letter the messenger brought me, where did 
it come from? It was only this instant I 
thought clearly over this, and I divined at 
once how the whole thing hung together. I 
grew sick with pain and shame. I whispered 
"Ylajali" a few times, with hoarse voice, and 
flung back my head. Was it not I who, no 
later than yesterday, had decided to pass her 
proudly by if I met her, to treat her with the 
greatest indifference? Instead of that, I had 
only aroused her compassion, and coaxed an 
alms from her. No, no, no ; there would never 
be an end to my degradation ! Not even in her 
presence could I maintain a decent position. 
I sank, simply sank, on all sides every way 
I turned ; sank to my knees, sank to my waist, 
dived under in ignominy, never to rise again 

Hunger 299 

never ! This was the climax ! To accept 
half-a-sovereign in alms without being able 
to fling it back to the secret donor ; scramble 
for half- pence whenever the chance offered, 
and keep them, use them for lodging money, 
in spite of one's own intense inner aversion. . . . 

Could I not regain the half-sovereign in some 
way or another ? To go back to the landlady 
and try to get it from her would be of no 
use. There must be some way, if I were to 
consider if I were only to exert myself 
right well, and consider it over. It was not, in 
this case, great God, sufficient to consider in 
just an ordinary way ! I must consider so that 
it penetrated my whole sentient being ; con- 
sider and find some way to procure this half- 
sovereign. And I set to, to consider the answer 
to this problem. 

It might be about four o'clock ; in a few 
hours' time I could perhaps meet the manager 
of the theatre ; if only I had my drama 

I take out my MSS. there where I am sitting, 
and resolve, with might and main, to finish 
the last few scenes. I think until I sweat, 
and re-read from the beginning, but make no 
progress. No bosh ! I say no obstinacy, now ! 

300 Hunger 

and I write away at my drama write down 
everything that strikes me, just to get finished 
quickly and be able to go away. I tried to 
persuade myself that a new supreme moment 
had seized me ; I lied right royally to myself, 
deceived myself knowingly, and wrote on, as 
if I had no need to seek for words. 

That is capital ! That is really a find ! 
whispered I, interpolatingly ; only just write 
it down ! Halt ! they sound questionable ; 
they contrast rather strongly with the speeches 
in the first scenes ; not a trace of the Middle 
Ages shone through the monk's words. I 
break my pencil between my teeth, jump to 
my feet, tear my manuscript in two, tear each 
page in two, fling my hat down in the street 
and trample upon it. I am lost! I whisper 
to myself. Ladies and gentlemen, I am lost! 
I utter no more than these few words as long 
as I stand there, and tramp upon my hat. 

A policeman is standing a few steps away, 
watching me. He is standing in the middle 
of the street, and he only pays attention to 
me. As I lift my head, our eyes meet. 
Maybe he has been standing there for a long 
time watching me. I pick up my hat, put it 
on, and go over to him. 

Hunger 301 

"Do you know what o'clock it is?" I ask. 

He pauses a bit as he hauls out his watch, 
and never takes his eyes off me the whole 

" About four," he replies. 

" Accurately," I say, " about four, perfectly 
accurate. You know your business, and I '11 
bear you in mind." Thereupon I left him. 
He looked utterly amazed at me, stood and 
looked at me, with gaping mouth, still holding 
his watch in his hand. 

When I got in front of the Royal Hotel 
I turned round and looked back. He was 
still standing in the same position, following 
me with his eyes. 

Ha, ha! That is the way to treat the 
brutes ! With the most refined effrontery ! 
That impresses the brutes puts the fear of 
God into them. ... I was peculiarly satisfied 
with myself, and began to sing a little strain. 
Every nerve was tense with excitement. 
Without feeling any more pain, without even 
being conscious of discomfort of any kind, I 
walked, light as a feather, across the whole 
market, turned round at the stalls, and came 
to a halt sat down on a bench near Our 
Saviour's Church. Might it not just as well 

3<D2 Hunger 

be a matter of indifference whether I returned 
the half-sovereign or not? When once I 
received it, it was mine ; and there was evi- 
dently no want where it came from. Besides, 
I was obliged to take it when it was sent 
expressly to me ; there could be no object 
in letting the messenger keep it. It wouldn't 
do, either, to send it back a whole half- 
sovereign that had been sent to me. So 
there was positively no help for it. 

I tried to watch the bustle about me in the 
market, and distract myself with indifferent 
things, but I did not succeed ; the half- 
sovereign still busied my thoughts. At last 
I clenched my fists and got angry. It would 
hurt her if I were to send it back. Why, 
then, should I do so? Always ready to 
consider myself too good for everything to 
toss my head and say, No, thanks! I saw 
now what it led to. I was out in the street 
again. Even when I had the opportunity I 
couldn't keep my good warm lodging. No ; I 
must needs be proud, jump up at the first 
word, and show I wasn't the man to stand 
trifling, chuck half-sovereigns right and left, 
and go my way. ... I took myself sharply to 
task for having left my lodging and brought 

Hunger 303 

myself into the most distressful circum- 

As for the rest, I consigned the whole 
affair to the keeping of the yellowest of 
devils. I hadn't begged for the half-sover- 
eign, and I had barely had it in my hand, 
but gave it away at once paid it away to 
utterly strange people whom I would never see 
again. That was the sort of man I was; I 
always paid out to the last doit whatever I 
owed. If I knew Ylajali aright, neither did 
she regret that she had sent me the money, 
therefore why did I sit there working myself 
into a rage? To put it plainly, the least she 
could do was to send me half-a-sovereign 
now and then. The poor girl was indeed in 
love with me ha ! perhaps even fatally in 
love with me ; . . . and I sat and puffed myself 
up with this notion. There was no doubt 
that she was in love with me, the poor 

It struck five o'clock ! Again I sank under 
the weight of my prolonged nervous excite- 
ment. The hollow whirring in my head 
made itself felt anew. I stared straight 
ahead, kept my eyes fixed, and gazed at the 
chemist's under the sign of the elephant. 

304 Hunger 

Hunger was waging a fierce battle in me at 
this moment, and I was suffering greatly. 
Whilst I sit thus and look out into space, 
a figure becomes little by little clear to my 
fixed stare. At last I can distinguish it per- 
fectly plainly, and I recognise it. It is that of 
the cake-vendor who sits habitually near the 
chemist's under the sign of the elephant. I 
give a start, sit half-upright on the seat, and 
begin to consider. Yes, it was quite correct 
the same woman before the same table on 
the same spot! I whistle a few times and 
snap my fingers, rise from my seat, and make 
for the chemist's. No nonsense at all ! What 
the devil was it to me if it was the wages of 
sin, or well-earned Norwegian huckster pieces 
of silver from Kongsberg? I wasn't going to 
be abused ; one might die of too much 
pride. . . . 

I go on to the corner, take stock of the 
woman, and come to a standstill before her. 
I smile, nod as to an acquaintance, and shape 
my words as if it were a foregone conclusion 
that I would return sometime. 

" Good-day," say I ; " perhaps you don't 
recognise me again." 

" No," she replied slowly, and looks at me. 

Hunger 305 

I smile still more, as if this were only an 
excellent joke of hers, this pretending not to 
know me again, and say : 

"Don't you recollect that I gave you a lot 
of silver once? I did not say anything on 
the occasion in question ; as far as I can call 
to mind, I did not ; it is not my way to do so. 
When one has honest folk to deal with, it is 
unnecessary to make an agreement, so to say, 
draw up a contract for every trifle. Ha, ha ! 
Yes, it was I who gave you the money ! " 

" No, then, now ; was it you ? Yes, I re- 
member you, now that I come to think over 

I wanted to prevent her from thanking me 
for the money, so I say, therefore, hastily, 
whilst I cast my eye over the table in search 
of something to eat : 

" Yes ; I Ve come now to get the cakes." 

She did not seem to take this in. 

" The cakes," I reiterate ; " I 've come now 
to get them at any rate, the first instal- 
ment ; I don't need all of them to-day." 

"You've come to get them?" 

" Yes ; of course I 've come to get them," 
I reply, and I laugh boisterously, as if it ought 
to have been self-evident to her from the out- 

306 Hunger 

set that I came for that purpose. I take, too, 
a cake up from the table, a sort of white roll 
that I commenced to eat. 

When the woman sees this, she stirs un- 
easily inside her bundle of clothes, makes an 
involuntary movement as if to protect her 
wares, and gives me to understand that she 
had not expected me to return to rob her 
of them. 

"Really not?" I say, "indeed, really not?" 
She certainly was an extraordinary woman. 
Had she, then, at any time, had the experience 
that someone came and gave her a heap of 
shillings to take care of, without that person 
returning and demanding them again ? No ; 
just look at that now ! Did she perhaps run 
away with the idea that it was stolen money, 
since I slung it at her in that manner ? No ; 
she didn't think that either. Well, that at 
least was a good thing really a good thing. 
It was, if I might so say, kind of her, in spite 
of all, to still consider me an honest man. 
Ha, ha ! yes, indeed, she really was good ! 

But why did I give her the money, then? 
The woman was exasperated, and called out 
loudly about it. I explained why I had given 
her the money, explained it temperately and 

Hunger 307 

with emphasis. It was my custom to act in 
this manner, because I had such a belief in 
everyone's goodness. Always when anyone 
offered me an agreement, a receipt, I only 
shook my head and said : No, thank you ! God 
knows I did. 

But still the woman failed to comprehend 
it. I had recourse to other expedients spoke 
sharply, and bade a truce to all nonsense. 
Had it never happened to her before that 
anyone had paid her in advance in this 
manner ? I inquired I meant, of course, 
people who could afford it for example, 
any of the consuls ? Never ! Well, I could 
not be expected to suffer because it happened 
to be a strange mode of procedure to her. 
It was a common practice abroad. She had 
perhaps never been outside the boundaries of 
her own country? No? Just look at that 
now! In that case, she could of course have 
no opinion on the subject ; . . . and I took 
several more cakes from the table. 

She grumbled angrily, refused obstinately 
to give up any more of her stores from off 
the table, even snatched a piece of cake out 
of my hand and put it back into its place. 
I got enraged, banged the table, and threatened 

308 Hunger 

to call the police. I wished to be lenient 
with her, I said. Were I to take all that was 
lawfully mine, I would clear her whole stand, 
because it was a big sum of money that I 
had given to her. But I had no intention of 
taking so much, I wanted in reality only half 
the value of the money, and I would, into 
the bargain, never come back to trouble her 
again. Might God preserve me from it, seeing 
that that was the sort of creature she was. . . . 
At length she shoved some cakes towards me, 
four or five, at an exorbitant price, the highest 
possible price she could think of, and bade 
me take them and begone. I wrangled still 
with her, persisted that she had at least 
cheated me to the extent of a shilling, besides 
robbing me with her exorbitant prices. "Do 
you know there is a penalty for such rascally 
trickery," said I ; " God help you, you might 
get penal servitude for life, you old fool ! " 
She flung another cake to me, and, with almost 
gnashing teeth, begged me to go. 

And I left her. 

Ha ! a match for this dishonest cake-vendor 
was not to be found. The whole time, whilst 
I walked to and fro in the market-place and 
ate my cakes, I talked loudly about this 

Hunger 309 

creature and her shamelessness, repeated to 
myself what we both had said to one another, 
and it seemed to me that I had come out of 
this affair with flying colours, leaving her no- 
where. I ate my cakes in face of everybody, 
and talked this over to myself. 

The cakes disappeared one by one ; they 
seemed to go no way ; no matter how I ate 
I was still greedily hungry. Lord, to think 
they were of no help ! I was so ravenous 
that I was even about to devour the last 
little cake that I had decided to spare, right * 
from the beginning, to put it aside, in fact, 
for the little chap down in Vognmandsgade 
the little lad who played with the paper 
streamers. I thought of him continually 
couldn't forget his face as he jumped and 
swore. He had turned round towards the 
window when the man spat down on him, 
and he had just looked up to see if I was 
laughing at him. God knows if I should meet 
him now, even if I went down that way. 

I exerted myself greatly to try and reach 
Vognmandsgade, passed quickly by the spot 
where I had torn my drama into tatters, and 
where some scraps of paper still lay about ; 
avoided the policeman whom I had amazed by 

310 Hunger 

my behaviour, and reached the steps upon 
which the laddie had been sitting. 

He was not there. The street was almost 
deserted dusk was gathering in, and I could 
not see him anywhere. Perhaps he had gone 
in. I laid the cake down, stood it upright 
against the door, knocked hard, and hurried 
away directly. He is sure to find it, I said to 
myself; the first thing he will do when he 
comes out will be to find it. And my eyes 
grew moist with pleasure at the thought of 
the little chap finding the cake. 

I reached the terminus again. 

Now I no longer felt hungry, only the sweet 
stuff I had eaten began to cause me discomfort. 
The wildest thoughts, too, surged up anew in 
my head. 

Supposing I were in all secretness to cut the 
hawser mooring of one of those ships ? Sup- 
posing I were to suddenly yell out "Fire"? 
I walk farther down the wharf, find a packing- 
case and sit upon it, fold my hands, and am 
conscious that my head is growing more and 
more confused. I do not stir ; I simply make 
no effort whatever to keep up any longer. I 
just sit there and stare at the Coptfgoro, the 
barque flying the Russian flag. 

Hunger 3 1 1 

I catch a glimpse of a man at the rail ; the 
red lantern slung at the port shines down 
upon his head, and I get up and talk over 
to him. I had no object in talking, as I did 
not expect to get a reply, either. I said : 

"Do you sail to-night, Captain?" 

" Yes ; in a short time," answered the man. 
He spoke Swedish. 

" Hem, I suppose you wouldn't happen to 
need a man?" 

I was at this instant utterly indifferent as 
to whether I was met by a refusal or not; 
it was all the same to me what reply the 
man gave me, so I stood and waited for it. 

" Well, no," he replied ; " unless it chanced 
to be a young fellow." 

" A young fellow ! " I pulled myself to- 
gether, took off my glasses furtively and thrust 
them into my pocket, stepped up the gangway, 
and strode on deck. 

" I have no experience," said I ; " but I can 
do anything I am put to. Where are you 
bound for?" 

"We are in ballast for Leith, to fetch coal 
for Cadiz." 

" All right," said I, forcing myself upon the 
man ; " it 5 s all the same to me where I go ; I 
am prepared to do my work." 

312 Hunger 

"Have you never sailed before?" he asked. 

" No ; but as I tell you, put me to a task, 
and I '11 do it. I am used to a little of all 

He bethought himself again. 

I had already taken keenly into my head 
that I was to sail this voyage, and I began 
to dread being hounded on shore again. 

"What do you think about it, Captain?" I 
asked at last. " I can really do anything that 
turns up. What am I saying? I would be 
a poor sort of chap if I couldn't do a little 
more than just what I was put to. I can 
take two watches at a stretch, if it comes to 
that. It would only do me good, and I could 
hold out all the same." 

" All right, have a try at it. If it doesn't 
work, well, we can part in England." 

"Of course," I reply in my delight, and I 
repeated over again that we could part in 
England if it didn't work. 

And he set me to work. . . . 

Out in the fjord I dragged myself up once, 
wet with fever and exhaustion, and gazed land- 
wards, and bade farewell for the present to 
the town to Christiania, where the windows 
gleamed so brightly in all the homes. 

Spring 1899 

essrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 

List of Publications 

5 Old Bond Street London W 


List of Publications 

3en Ionson : His Volpone ; or, 

the Foxe. 

Edition de Luxe of Ben Jonson's most celebrated Comedy, 
printed in demy quarto size on art paper, and embellished with 
a Cover Design, a Frontispiece in Line, and five Initial Letters 
decorative and illustrative, reproduced in half-tone from Pencil 
Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, together with a Critical 
Essay on the Author of the play by Vincent O'Sullivan, and an 
Eulogy of the Artist by Robert Ross. Bound in blue cloth, with 
an elaborate Original Design in gold by Mr Beardsley. Price 
7s. 6d. net ; edition limited to iooo copies. 

One Hundred Copies only on Japanese Vellum, bound 
in pure English vellum, with gilt design. Price Two Guineas 
net. These copies contain a duplicate set of the plates, beauti- 
fully printed in photogravure in the same size as the Original Pencil 

Mademoiselle de Maupin. By Aubrey 

Beardsley. A water-colour portrait study of 
Gautier's famous character Mademoiselle De Maupin. 
Reproduced in Photogravure, and printed in colours 
by Boussod, Valadon & Co. 


5 Proofs on pure Vellum .... Price 5, 5s. each. 
o ,, ,, white Satin .... ,, 4, 4s. ,, 

5 ,, Japanese Vellum . . . ,, 3, 3s. 

o Lettered Prints on Plate Paper . . . ,, ji, is. 

4 Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
Six Drawings Illustrating Theophile 

Gautier's Romance " Mademoiselle de Maupin," 

by Aubrey Beardsley. 

Folio size, in a Portfolio of grey cloth and boards. Fifty copies 
only of this Series of Six Photogravures (being reproductions of 
an uncompleted set of Illustrations by the late Aubrey Beardsley 
to "Mademoiselle de Maupin") have been printed, at the price 
of Two Guineas net. Only Eight copies remain for sale. 

A Book of Fifty Drawings by 

Aubrey Beardsley. With an Iconography of 
the Artist's work by Aymer Vallance. 

Demy 4to, bound in scarlet cloth extra, with cover design by 
Mr Beardsley. Edition (500 copies) printed on imitation Japanese 1 
vellum, 10s. 6d. net, out of print ; 50 copies, printed on 
Imperial Japanese vellum, Two Guineas net, out of print. 

This Album of Drawings comprises, in addition to several hitherto unpublished 
designs, a selection by Mr Beardsley of his most important published work (" Morte 
Darthur," "Salome," '^Rape of the Lock," "Yellow Book," "Savoy," etc.)- The 
volume is of additional interest to the Artist's many admirers from the fact that the I 
plates are in most cases reproduced from the original drawings, with due regard to 
their size and technique, thus preserving many delicate features which have been, 
to a great extent, lost by the treatment the drawings received on their first publica- 
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A Second Book of Fifty Drawings! 

by Aubrey Beardsley. 

Demy quarto, bound in scarlet cloth extra, with cover design! 
by Mr Beardsley. Edition (1000 copies) printed on art paper, J 
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Two Guineas net. Large Paper Edition is out of print. 

This Album of Drawings contains Twenty-nine hitherto unpublished deigns, 
in addition to a selection of the artist's best published work. 

The Savoy. Edited by Arthur 


The complete set of " The Savoy," bound in three volumes, in 
artistic blue cloth cases, with original cover design by Mr Aubrey 
Beardsley, is offered for sale at ONE GUINEA net. 

Art Contents. Among the Art Contents are a notable series 
of Forty-two Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley ; three Lithographs 

List of Publications 5 

by Charles H. Shannon, and one by T. R. Way; Caricatures 
by Max Beerbohm ; Views in London by Joseph Pennell ; 
Unpublished Illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy, by William 
Blake ; and examples of the work of Botticelli, Whistler, D. G. 
Rossetti, Eisen, Charles Conder, Louis Oury, W. Rothenstein, 
F. Sandys, Jacques E. Blanche, J. Lemmen, W. T. Horton, 
Ph. Caresme, Albert Sterner, W. Sickert, Mrs P. Dearmer, Phil 
May, W. B. Macdougall, A. K. Womrath, Fred Hyland, etc. etc. 

Literary Contents. Among the contributors of Prose and 
Verse are W. B. Yeats, Edmund Gosse, George Moore, G. 
Bernard Shaw, John Gray, Frederick Wedmore, Paul Verlaine, 
Max Beerbohm, Fiona Macleod, Vincent O'Sullivan, Clara Savile 
Clarke, Bliss Carman, Emile Verhaeren, Edward Carpenter, 
Havelock Ellis, Selwyn Image, Humphrey James, Joseph Conrad, 
Theodore Wratislaw, Ernest Dowson, Rudolf Dircks, Mathilde 
Blind, Cesare Lombroso, Leila Macdonald, Hubert Crackan- 
thorpe, Edgar Prestage, George Morley, Ford Maddox Hueffer, 
Osman Edwards, Stephane Mallarme, Antonio Ferreira, R. 
M.-Wierzbinski, Joseph Pennell, Ernest Rhys, Edith M. Thomas, 
O. G. Destree, Sarojini Chattopadhyay, Lionel Johnson, Jean 
Moreas, Gabriel Gillett, O. Shakespear, Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur 
Symons, etc. etc. 

r These three volumes, profusely illustrated, and luxuriously printed, in crown 
Kto, on fine paper, at the Chiswick Press, present a most interesting record of the 
[vork done in 1896 by the " New School " of English writers and artists. 

The Rape of the Lock. By Alex- 
ander Pope. Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. 

Edition de Luxe of the above famous Poem, printed at the Chis- 
wick Press, in crown 4to size, on old-style paper, illustrated with 
nine elaborate drawings by Mr Aubrey Beardsley, and bound 
in specially designed cloth cover. Limited edition, price 10s. 6d. 
net. Twenty-five copies on Japanese vellum, at Two Guineas net. 

[Large Paper Edition out of print. 

The Rape of the Lock. Bijou Edition, 

consisting of 1000 copies on art paper and 50 copies on Japanese 
vellum, in demy i6mo. The publisher thinks that the reduction 
in size of the plates in this edition has in no way injured their 
attractiveness or brilliancy ; a new cover design was furnished 
by Mr Beardsley, and the cover design to the 1896 Edition 
is reproduced on the third page of this volume. The volume 
is bound in a specially designed scarlet cloth cover. Price 4s. 
net. Fifty copies printed on Japanese vellum, price One 
Guinea net. 

6 Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
The Pierrot of the Minute. 

Dramatic Phantasy by Ernest Dowson. Illui 
trated with Frontispiece, Initial Letter, Vignette 
and Cul-de-Lampe by Aubrey Beardsley. 

Three Hundred Copies, crown 4to, price 7s. 6d. net. Thirty] 
copies on Japanese vellum, One Guinea net. 

[Large Paper Edition out of print. 

Mr Beardsley's designs in this volume are amongst the most 
charming which have come from his pen. 

The Raven and The Pit and The 

Pendulum. By Edgar Allen Poe. Edition def 
Luxe, illustrated with Seven fine Chalk Drawings 
by W. T. Horton, reproduced in Photogravure by 
Lemercier & Co., of Paris. 

Demy quarto. Limited edition, printed at the Chiswick Press, 
and bound in cloth extra, 7s. 6d. net. 

Fourteen Drawings Illustrating 

Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the " Rubaiyat 
of Omar Khayyam," by Gilbert James. 

Demy quarto, bound in grey cloth extra, with cover design by 
the Artist. Limited edition, printed on art paper, 7s. 6d. net. 

Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen 

By Max Beerbohm. With an Introduction by L. 

Edition of 500 copies, printed on art paper, crown 4*0, bound 
in blue cloth extra, with special cover design by the Artist. Price 
1 os. 6d. net. 

Contents. The Prince of Wales, The Earl of Rosebery, 
Paderewski, Henry Labouchere, M.P., A. W. Pinero, Richard le 
Gallienne, A. J. Balfour, M.P., Frank Harris, Lord William 
Nevill, Rudyard Kipling, Sir W. Vernon Harcourt, M.P., Aubrey 

List of Publications 7 

Beardsley, Robert S. Hichens, Henry Chaplin, M.P., Henry 
Harland, George Alexander, The Marquis of Queensberry, The 
Warden of Merton, Joseph Chamberlain, M.P., George Bernard 
Shaw, Sir George Lewis, George Moore, The Marquis of Granby, 
Beerbohm Tree, The Duke of Cambridge. 

The Novels of Honore de Balzac. 

The First Issue consists of "SCENES OF 
PARISIAN LIFE." In Eleven Volumes. 

The Scenes of Parisian Life comprise " Splendours and 
Miseries," "Cousin Bette," "Cousin Pons," "History of the 
Thirteen," " Cesar Birotteau," "The Civil Service," "House of 
Nucingen," and " The Petty Bourgeois," and are now for the first 
time completely translated into English by competent hands, and 
illustrated with a series of eighty-eight etchings after drawings by 
celebrated Parisian book-illustrators viz. G. Bussiere, G. Cain, 
Dubouchet, L. E. Fournier, A. Lynch, A. Robaudi, and M. 
Vidal. The volumes are handsomely printed on deckle-edged 
paper, demy 8vo, and bound in cloth extra. Price ,4, 4s. per 
set of eleven volumes. 

There is a special Edition de Luxe, printed on Imperial Japanese 
vellum, with the etchings in two states Before and After Remarques. 
Price 8, 8s. per set. 

This first series will be followed at a brief interval by the remain- 
ing works of Balzac, and subscriptions may, if desired, be given 
for the entire " Comedie Humaine." 

" It is impossible to enter on a detailed criticism of Balzac's novels. In them 
he scales every height and sounds every depth of human character, from the purity 
of the mysterious Seraphitus-Seraphita, cold and strange, like the peaks of her 
northern Alps, to the loathsome sins of the Marneffes whose deeds should find no 
calendar but that of hell. In the great divisions of his Comedie, the scenes of private 
and of public life, of the provinces and of the city, in the philosophic studies, and in the 
Contes Drdlatiques, Balzac has built up a work of art which answers to a mediaeval 
cathedral. There are subterranean places, haunted by the Vautrins and ' Filles 
aux yeux d'or ' ; there are the seats of the money-changers, where the Nucingens sit 
at the receipt of custom ; there is the broad platform of every-day life, where the 
journalists intrigue, where love is sold for hire, where splendours and miseries 
abound, where the peasants cheat their lords, where women betray their husbands ; 
there are the shrines where pious ladies pass saintly days ; there are the_ dizzy 
heights of thought and rapture, whence falls a ray from the supernatural light of 
Swedenborg; there are the lustful and hideous grotesques of the Contes Dr61atiques. 
Through all swells, like the organ-tone, the ground-note and mingled murmur of 
Parisian life. The qualities of Balzac are his extraordinary range of knowledge, 
observation, sympathy, his steadfast determination to draw every line and shadow 
of his subject, his keen analysis of character and conduct. Balzac holds a more 
distinct and supreme place in French fiction than perhaps any English author does 
in the same field of art." Encyclopedia Britannica. 

8 Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
La Fille aux Yeux d'Or. Translated 

from the French of Honore de Balzac by Ernes' 
Dowson, and Illustrated with six designs b] 
Charles Conder. 

Five Hundred Copies, royal 8vo size, bound in blue clot 
extra, with gilt cover design. Price 12s. 6d. net. 

An attempt has been made to produce an edition worthy ol 
reputation of one of the most famous productions of Balzac 
Attention is directed to the method pursued in producing the 
illustrations viz. wood engraving, which, it is hoped, will be a 
welcome change from the cheap photographic processes now so" 
much in vogue. 

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous 

Entanglements) ; or, Letters collected in a Private 
Society, and published for the instruction of others. 
By Choderlos de Laclos. Translated by Ernest 
Dowson, and illustrated by Monnet, Fragonard 
Fils, and Gerard. 

To render this edition of " Les Liaisons Dangereuses " worthy 
of its fame as one of the chefs cFceuvre of Literature, it is illustrated 
with fine photogravure reproductions of the whole of the 15 
charming designs of Monnet, Fragonard Fils, and Gerard, which 
appeared in the much-coveted French Edition of 1796, and which 
are full of that inexpressible grace and beauty inseparable from the 
work of these masters of French Art of the eighteenth century. 

This translation of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses " is complete in 
two volumes, demy 8vo, containing upwards of 580 closely-printed 
pages, and the impression of the book is strictly limited to 1 
360 copies, each numbered. The book is choicely printed on 
good paper, and bound in blue cloth extra. Price, to subscribers 
only, Two Guineas net. 

Count Hamilton's Fairy Tale: The 

Four Facardins. Reprinted, with Corrections, from 
Bonn's Extra Series. With a Frontispiece and 
Cover Design in colours by Hugh Graham. 

680 copies, printed in demy 8vo, and bound in pictorial cover. 
Price One Guinea net. 

List of Publications 9 

,a Chartreuse de Parme. 

By Stendhal (Henri Beyle). Now first translated 
by E. P. Robins. 

Illustrated with thirty-two Etchings by G. Merrier, from designs 
by N. Foulquier, and Portrait of the Author. Now ready in three 
volumes, post 8vo, printed on Dickinson's antique paper, artistic 
binding, i, is. net. Special Edition, printed on Van Gelder's 
hand-made paper, 2, 2s. net ; and Edition de Luxe, printed on 
Imperial Japanese vellum, with Etchings in two states, one pulled 
on Japanese vellum, and one on pure vellum, $, 5s. net. 

The Publishers feel that the production of the first English translation of this 
mous novel, one of the masterpieces of French literature of the present century, 
:eds very little in the way of introduction or explanation. The Author, a con- 
mporary of Balzac who described him as "an immense genius," and pronounced 
La Chartreuse de Parme " his masterpiece though not generally recognised at 
s true value during his lifetime, could say with a confidence which has justified 
teelf : " I shall be understood in 1880 " ; for, as Bourget has justly observed : "We 
ow speak casually of Balzac and Stendhal as we speak of Hugo and Lamartine, 
ngres and Delacroix." 

fled and Black. (Le Rouge et le 

Noir.) By Stendhal. Now first translated by 
E. P. Robins. With Frontispieces by Dubouchet, 
etched by Gustave Mercier. Two volumes, post 
8vo. Price 7s. 6d. net. 


London Nights, 

Second Edition, revised, with a New Preface. Large post 8vo. 
Price 6s. net. (A few Large Paper copies of the First Edition 
remain. Price One Guinea net.) 


Second Edition, revised and enlarged. Large post 8vo. 
Price 5s. net. (A few Large Paper copies remain. Price One 
Guinea net.) 

io Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
Amoris Victima : A Poem. 

I. Amoris Victima. II. Amoris Exsul. III. Arm 
Triumphans. IV. Mundi Victima. Large post 8vo. 
Price 6s. net. Large Paper Edition, One Guine 

Studies in Two Literatures. 

Large post 8vo. Price 6s. net. 

A Book of Bargains. Stories of the 

Weird and Fantastic. With Frontispiece designed 
by Aubrey Beardsley. Crown 8vo. Price 4s. net. 

The Houses of Sin : A Book of 

Poems. Large post 8vo. Price 5s. net. 

The Green Window : A Book of 

Essays. Large post 8vo. Price 3 s. 6d. net. 

The Ballad of Reading Gaol. By 

C. 3. 3. [Oscar Wilde]. Seventh edition. Large 
post 8vo. Price 2 s. 6d. net. 

The Importance of being Earnest. 

A Play by the Author of " Lady Windermere's 
Fan." Pott quarto. Price 7s. 6d. net. 100 Large 
Paper copies, price One Guinea net. 

List of Publications 1 1 

^n Ideal Husband. A Play by 

the Author of " Lady Windermere's Fan." Pott 
quarto. Price 7s. 6d. net. One Hundred Large 
Paper copies, price one Guinea net. 

Verses. By Ernest Dowson 

Three Hundred Small Paper copies on hand-made paper, 
Imperial i6mo, bound in Japanese vellum, with cover design by 
Aubrey Beardsley, at 6s. net ; and 30 Large Paper copies, 
printed on Japanese vellum, at One Guinea net. Printed at the 
Chiswick Press. 

Orchids : Poems by Theodore 


Two Hundred and Fifty Small Paper copies on foolscap 8vo, 
deckle-edged paper, bound in cream-coloured art linen, at 5s. 
net ; and 10 copies, printed on Japanese vellum, at One Guinea 
net. Printed at the Chiswick Press. 

Nocturnes and Pastorals : Poems 

by A. Bernard Miall. Large post 8vo. Price 
5s. net. 

Magister Adest : A Manual of 

Catholic Devotion for the use of Convents and 
Schools. With about 150 Illustrations. Crown 8 vo. 
Price 5s. net. 

The Life and Times of Madame 

du Barry. By Robert B. Douglas. 

A limited edition in one volume, with a Portrait of Madame du 
Barry finely engraved upon wood, 394 pages, demy 8vo, bound in 
blue cloth, with armorial cover design by Aubrey Beardsley, 
at 1 6s. net. 


12 Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
Memoirs of Paul de Kock. Writte 

by Himself. Demy 8vo. Price 1 6s. 

The Reign of Terror. A Collection 

of Authentic Narratives of the horrors committed 
by the Revolutionary Government of France under 
Marat and Robespierre. Written by eye-witnesses 
of the scenes. Translated from the French. 
Interspersed with biographical notices of prominent 
characters, and curious anecdotes illustrative of a 
period without its parallel in history. In two 
volumes. "With two Frontispieces : being photo- 
gravure portraits of the Princesse de Lamballe and 
M. de Beaumarchais. 

" The Reign of Terror " is complete in two volumes, demy 
8vo, containing together 530 closely-printed pages. The volumes 
are illustrated with portrait frontispieces of the Princesse de 
Lamballe and M. de Beaumarchais, reproduced in photogravure 
from rare and well-executed contemporary engravings. The book 
is choicely printed on fine paper, and bound in blue cloth extra. 
Price 1 6s. net. 

The Souvenirs of Jean Leonard, 

Coiffeur to Queen Marie Antoinette. Written by 
himself. Now for the first time translated into 
English. With Historical and Explanatory Notes 
by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. 

This translation of " The Souvenirs of Leonard " is complete in 
two volumes, demy 8vo, containing together 702 closely-printed 
pages. The volumes are illustrated with portrait frontispieces of 
Louis XV. and Marie Antoinette, reproduced in photogravure from 
exceedingly rare and well-executed contemporary engravings, and 
the impression of the book is strictly limited to 250 copies, each 
numbered. The book is choicely printed on fine paper, and 
bound in blue cloth extra, with appropriate gilt cover design. 
Price, to subscribers only, Two Guineas net. 

List of Publications 13 

la Pucelle (the Maid of Orleans) : 

An Heroic-Comical Poem, in Twenty-One Cantos, 
by Arouet de Voltaire. A new and complete 
Translation into English Verse. Revised, Cor- 
rected, and Augmented from the earlier English 
Translation of W. H. Ireland, and the one 
attributed to Lady Charleville, with the Variants 
now for the first time Translated by Ernest 

In Two Volumes. Foolscap quarto. Price Two Guineas net. 

'he Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, 

a Roman Knight, in Prose and Verse, with the 
Fragments recover'd at Belgrade in the year 1698. 
Made English by Mr Wilson of the Middle 
Temple, and several others. With a Frontispiece 
in Photogravure depicting the Feast of Trimalchio. 

A verbatim Reprint of the original edition of 170S A.D. Demy 
8vo. Price One Guinea net. 

elf-Seekers. A Novel by Andre 

Raffalovich. Crown 8vo. Price 4s. net. 

^he Fool and his Heart ; being the 

plainly told story of Basil Thimm. A Novel by 
F. Norreys Connell. Crown 8vo. Price 4s. 6d. 

lidden Witchery. Stories by Nigel 

Tourneur. Illustrated by Will Mein. Crown 
8vo. Price 4s. net. 

14 Messrs Leonard Smithers & Co.'s 
Unparalleled Patty : A Tale oi 

Life in London. By Thomas Gray. Crown 8vo, 
Price 3 s. 6d. net. 

Aurora la Cujini. A Realistic Sketch 

in Seville. By R. B. Cunninghame Graham. With 
a Frontispiece. Imperial i6mo. Price 5s. net. 

Literary London. Sketches by W. P. 

Ryan. Large post 8vo. 

[Out of print. 

Alone. A Novel by <l>. 

Crown 8vo. Price 6s. net. 

[Out of Print. 

Last Links with Byron, Shelley, and 

Keats. By Wm. Graham. Large post 8vo. 
Price 6s. net. 

A Chaplet of Love Poems. By 

Ethel M. de Fonblanque (Mrs Arthur Harter). 
Large post 8vo. Price 5s. net. A few copies with 
Frontispiece Portrait of the Author, 7s. 6d. net. 

Verses at Sunset. By Mrs. E. F. 

Cunliffe. Large post 8vo. Price 5s. net. 

{Out of Print. 

London Fairy Tales. By A. D. 

Lewis. Illustrated by the Artist. Foolscap 
4to. Price 4s. net. 

List of Publications 15 

/rabesques. Impressions of Travel 

by Cyprian Cope. Demy 8vo. Price 14s. net. 

(dd Issues. Stories by S. S. 

Sprigge. Crown 8vo. Price 4s. net. 

lunger. A Novel translated from 

the Norwegian of Knut Hamsun by George 
Egerton. Crown 8vo. Price 3 s. 6d. net. 

In Preparation. 

liemoirs of Cardinal Dubois. In 

Two Volumes. 

vlemoirs of the Due de Richelieu. 

In Three Volumes. 

>laves of Chance. A Novel by 

Ferrier Langworthy. 

Circulars of any of the above Books will be sent on 
application to 



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