since their Excellencies kick you out of the door you must be a low rascal!'
'How inexplicable!' Tchitchikov thought to himself, and he set off at once to call upon the president of the court of justice, but the president was so overwhelmed with confusion on seeing him that he could not utter anything coherent, and talked such utter twaddle that they were both abashed. On leaving him Tchitchikov did his very utmost to understand what the president had meant and what his words could refer to, yet he could make nothing out of them. Then he went on to the others: to the police-master, to the deputy-governor, to the postmaster, but either they were not at home to him, or they received him so strangely, made such constrained and unaccountable observations, were so disconcerted, and the general effect of irrational incoherence was such that he began to have doubts of their sanity. He tried going on to some one else in the hope of finding out the reason anyway, but he could not get at the reason. Like a man half awake he wandered aimlessly about the town, unable to decide whether he had gone out of his mind or the officials had gone out of theirs, or whether it was all a dream or whether it was a reality more absurd than any dream. It was late, almost getting dusk when at last he went back to his hotel which he had left that morning in such a pleasant state of mind, and feeling dull, he ordered tea to be sent up. Musing and absent-