Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol1.djvu/291

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BOOK ONE

279

it seems I am stupid'; in fact he perceives at once what is meant. And so in order to avoid all this I will call the lady to whom the visit was made, as she was almost unanimously called in the town of N., that is, a lady agreeable in every respect. She had gained this appellation quite legitimately, for she certainly spared no effort to be obliging in the extreme, although of course through that amiability there stole a glimpse of—oh! what a swift rush of femininity!—and even in her most agreeable phrase would be thrust—oh! what a sharp pin! And God forbid that she should be moved to fury against some one who had somehow poked herself in some way in front of her. But all this would be wrapped up in the most refined politeness such as is only found in provincial towns. Every movement she made was with good taste, she was even fond of poetry; and could hold her head pensively, and every one agreed that she really was a lady agreeable in every respect.

The other lady, that is, the visitor, had not a character so many-sided, and so we will call her the simply agreeable lady. The arrival of the visitor woke the dogs that were sleeping in the sun: shaggy Adèle, always entangled in her own coat, and thin-legged Potpourri. Both began describing circles with their tails in the hall where the visitor, divested of her cloak, appeared in a dress of fashionable design and colour with long streamers from her neck; a scent of jasmine was wafted all over the hall. As soon as the