Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/45

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
35
BOOK ONE

the chaise is very rickety, so that maybe it would hardly last beyond two posting stations.'

'You scoundrel!' cried Tchitchikov, flinging up his hands, and he went up to him so close that Selifan stepped back a little and ducked to one side, afraid he was going to get something from his master.

'Do you want to be the death of me, eh? Do you mean to bring me to my grave? Do you mean to murder me on the road, you ruffian, you damned pig's face, you sea monster, eh? Haven't you been doing nothing here for three weeks? If you had only dropped a hint, you senseless brute, but here you put it off till the last minute. When everything is almost ready for me to get in and set off, here you go and make a mess of it all, eh, eh? Didn't you know it before? You knew it, didn't you, didn't you? Answer. Did you know?'

'Yes, I did,' answered Selifan, looking down.

'Then why didn't you tell me, eh?'

To this question Selifan made no reply, but looking down seemed to be saying to himself: '’Pon my soul, it's a queer thing, I knew, but I didn't say anything.'

'Well, now go and get the blacksmiths, and have everything ready in two hours' time. Do you hear? In two hours' time without fail, and if it isn't, I'll … I'll twist you into a horn and tie you in a knot.'

Selifan was turning towards the door to retire and carry out these instructions, but he stopped