Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/21

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11
BOOK ONE

sleeve is empty and pinned to his uniform. "Very good," he says, "come again in a day or two." My Kopeykin is highly delighted. "Come," he thinks, "the matter's settled." He hops along the pavement in such spirits as you can fancy, goes into the Palkinsky restaurant, drinks a glass of vodka, dines, my good sir, at the London restaurant, orders cutlets with caper sauce, a chicken with all sorts of trimmings, asks for a bottle of wine, and in the evening goes to the theatre—in fact he has a jolly good time, so to say. In the street he sees a graceful English girl, floating along like a swan, only fancy. My Kopeykin—his blood was a little heated, you understand—was just about to run after her on his wooden leg, tap, tap along the pavement. "But no," he thought, "to the devil with dangling after ladies for the time being! Better later on, when I get my pension. I have let myself go a little too much as it is." And meanwhile he had spent almost half his money in one day, I beg you to observe. Three or four days later he goes to the committee to see the director. "I have come," he said, "to hear what you have for me, owing to the illnesses and wounds I have sustained … I have in a sense shed my blood …" and that sort of thing, you understand, in the language suitable. "Well," said the director, "I must tell you first of all that we can do nothing in your case without instructions from the higher command. You see yourself the position. Military opera-