has died of fright; the funeral is to-morrow. Won't you be there? To tell the truth they are afraid of the new governor-general, in case there may be some trouble about you. But what I think about the governor-general is, that if he is stuck up and gives himself airs he certainly won't be able to do anything with the nobility. The nobility insist on hospitality, don't they? Of course he can shut himself up in his study if he likes and not give a single ball, but what's the use of that? There is no gaining anything by that. But you know, Tchitchikov, it is a risky business you are going in for.'
'What risky business?' Tchitchikov asked uneasily.
'Why, eloping with the governor's daughter. I must own I expected it, I did, upon my soul. The first time I saw you together at the ball I thought to myself: "I'll be bound Tchitchikov is up to something. …" But you have made a poor choice, I see nothing in her. Now there is one, a relation of Bikusov's, his sister's daughter—that is something like a girl! a wonderful little bit of goods!'
'What do you mean? what are you talking about? Elope with the governor's daughter? What do you mean?' said Tchitchikov, with his eyes starting out of his head.
'Oh, drop that, old boy, you are a close one. I'll own I came to you to tell you I am ready to help you. So be it: I'll hold the wedding crown over your head, I'll provide the carriage and