believed that Tchitchikov was engaged in abstruse subjects and was fond of reading we must own we cannot tell, and still less could Tchitchikov). 'Ah, Tchitchikov, old man, if you had only seen … it really would have been a subject for your sarcastic wit' (why Tchitchikov was supposed to have a sarcastic wit is unknown also). 'Only fancy, old boy, we were having a game of cards at the merchant Lihatchev's, and didn't we have fun there too! Perependev who was with me, "If only Tchitchikov were here," said he, "it would be just the thing for him. …" (Tchitchikov had never known any one called Perependev in his life.) 'But you must own up, old boy, you did play me a nasty trick, do you remember, over that game of draughts? I won it, you know. … Yes, old man, you simply did me over that. But there I don't know how the devil it is but I can't be cross. The other day at the president's … Ah, yes, I ought to tell you every one in the town is turned against you. They imagine you forge notes. They kept pestering me about you, I stood up for you like a rock—I told them I had been to school with you and knew your father; and there, there's no denying I pitched them a fine tale.'
'I forge notes!' cried Tchitchikov, getting up from his seat.
'Why did you give them such a fright though?' Nozdryov went on. 'They are terrified out of their wits, the devil knows why: they take you for a brigand and a spy. And the prosecutor