Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
9
BOOK ONE

from the King of France; well, he found a refuge in a tavern for a rouble a day; dinner—cabbage soup, a piece of beef-steak … he sees it won't do to stay there long. He makes inquiries where he is to apply? "Where are you to apply?" they say, "the higher authorities are not in Petersburg yet." They were all in Paris, you understand, the troops had not come back yet. "But there is a temporary committee," they tell him. "You had better try there, maybe they can do something." "I'll go to the committee," says Kopeykin. "I'll say that I have, in a manner of speaking, shed my blood, that in a sense I have sacrificed my life." So, sir, getting up early he combed his beard with his left hand, for to pay a barber would be in a certain sense to run up a bill, he pulled on his shabby uniform and stumped off, only fancy, on his wooden leg to the chief of the committee. He inquired where the chief lives. "Over yonder," they tell him, "a house on the embankment": a poor hovel, you understand, glass panes in the windows, only fancy, mirrors ten feet across, marbles, footmen, my good sir, in fact, enough to turn you giddy. A metal handle on the door—a luxury of the highest class so that one would have to run to the shop, you know, and buy a ha'porth of soap and scrub away at one's hands for a couple of hours in a manner of speaking, and then perhaps one might venture to take hold of the handle. A porter at the door, you understand, with a stick in his hand, a face like