Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/32

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was arranged that the wedding should take place was mentioned by name as Truhmatchevka, the priest, Father Sidor, was to be paid seventy-five roubles for the wedding, and he would not have agreed to do it even for that if Nozdryov had not scared him, threatening to inform the police that he had illegally married a corn-dealer called Mihail, to a girl who had stood godmother to a child of which the latter was the godfather; that he had offered the use of his carriage and had bespoken relays of horses at the posting stations. He went so far into details as even to mention the names of the drivers.

They tried dropping a hint about Napoleon, but regretted doing so afterwards, for Nozdryov went off into a rigmarole which not only had no semblance of truth, but had actually no semblance of anything whatever, so much so that the officials all walked away with a sigh; only the police-master went on listening to him, thinking that something might crop up later, but at last he too made a gesture of despair, saying: 'What the devil is one to make of it!' And all agreed that, 'do what you will with a bull you can never get milk out of him,' and the officials found themselves in a worse position than before, and the upshot of it was that they could not possibly find out who Tchitchikov was. And what followed showed distinctly what a strange sort of a creature man is: he is wise, clever, sensible in everything that concerns