Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/39

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29
BOOK ONE

mindedly brooding over the strangeness of his position, he began to pour out his tea when suddenly the door of his room was opened and Nozdryov most unexpectedly stood before him.

'As the proverb has it, "to see a friend, five miles is not out of one's way,"' he said, taking off his cap. 'I was passing and saw the light in the window. "There," I thought, "I'll go in, no doubt he is still up." And it is first-rate that you have got tea on the table, I shall enjoy a cup: I ate all sorts of rubbish at dinner to-day, I feel as though there were a riot beginning in my stomach. Tell your man to fill me a pipe! Where is your pipe?'

'I don't smoke a pipe,' said Tchitchikov drily.

'Nonsense, as though I don't know you are a smoker. Hi, what's your fellow's name? Hi, Vahramey, I say.'

'Not Vahramey but Petrushka!'

'How is that? You did have a Vahramey?'

'I never had a man called Vahramey.'

'Oh yes, it is at Derebin's that there is a Vahramey. Only fancy, what luck for Derebin: his aunt has quarrelled with her son because he has married a serf girl, and now she has left him all her property. I thought to myself, if only one could have an aunt like that for the sake of the future! But how is it, old man, you have kept away from all of us and have not been near any one? Of course I know you are sometimes engaged in abstruse studies, you are fond of reading' (on what ground Nozdryov