Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol1.djvu/166

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He had more strength in his huge great shoulders than a horse. I should like to know where else you would find a dream like that!' These last words he uttered, addressing the portraits of Bagration and Kolokotrones, as commonly happens with people who are talking, when one of them for some unexplained reason addresses himself not to the person whom his words concern but to some third person who happens to be present, even a total stranger from whom he knows that he will receive no answer, no opinion, no support, though he stares at him as intently as if appealing to him as an arbitrator; and, somewhat embarrassed, the stranger does not for the first minute know whether to answer him about the business of which he has heard nothing, or to stay as he is, maintaining perfect propriety of demeanour and afterwards to get up and walk away.

'No, I can't give more than two roubles,' said Tchitchikov.

'If you like, that you may not complain that I have asked you too much and will not show you any consideration, if you like—seventy-five roubles per soul—it's only because you are a friend really!'

'Does he take me for a fool or what?' Tchitchikov thought to himself, and then he added aloud: 'I am really puzzled: it seems to me as though we are taking part in some theatrical performance or farce: that's the only way I can explain it to myself … I believe you are a fairly intelligent man, you have all the advan-