Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol1.djvu/167

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tages of education. Why, the goods you are selling are simply … ough! What are they worth? What use are they to any one?'

'But you see you are buying them, so they are of use.'

At this point Tchitchikov bit his lip and could not think of a suitable answer. He was beginning to say something about private family circumstances but Sobakevitch answered simply:

'I don't want to know your circumstances, I don't meddle in other people's private affairs, that's your business. You have need of the souls, I am selling them, and you will regret it if you don't buy them.'

'Two roubles,' said Tchitchikov.

'Ugh, really, "the magpie knows one name and calls all men the same," as the proverb has it: since you have pitched on two, you won't budge. Do give your real price!'

'Oh, deuce take him!' thought Tchitchikov, 'I'll give him another half rouble, the cur.'—'Well, if you like I'll say another half rouble.'

'Oh very well, and I'll give you my final word too: fifty roubles! It's really selling at a loss, you would never buy such fellows anywhere else!'

'What a close-fisted brute!' Tchitchikov said to himself; and then continued aloud with some vexation: 'Why really, upon my soul … as though it were something real! Why, I could get them for nothing elsewhere. What's more, any one else would be glad to let me have them simply to get rid of them. Only a fool would