'Of course, I quite understand that. What a fool the old man is! To think of such foolishness at eighty years old! What's he like to look at? is he strong and hearty? does he still keep on his legs?'
'He does get about but with difficulty.'
'What a fool! Has he got any teeth?'
'He has only two teeth, your Excellency.'
'What an ass! You mustn't be vexed at my saying so, you know, but he is an ass!'
'Quite so, your Excellency. Though he is a relation and it is painful to admit it, he certainly is an ass.' However, as the reader may surmise for himself, the admission was by no means painful to Tchitchikov, especially as it is doubtful whether he ever had an uncle. 'So that, if your Excellency would be so kind …'
'As to give you my dead souls? Why, for such an idea, I'd give you them land and all! You may take the whole cemetery. Ha, ha, ha, ha! To think of the old man! Ha, ha, ha, ha! What a fool! Ha, ha, ha, ha!' And the general's laugh went echoing through his apartments again.
(Here there is a gap in the manuscript.)