Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/47

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37
BOOK ONE

down but took five and a half hours over the work instead of two. During this time it was his pleasant lot to experience those agreeable moments, familiar to every traveller, when everything is packed and nothing but bits of string and paper and such rubbish is left lying about the room, when a man is neither on the road nor settled in one spot, when he looks out of window at the people passing up and down and talking of their gains and losses, and with a sort of vacant curiosity raising their eyes to stare at him and then going on their way, which further aggravates the ill humour of the poor traveller who cannot get off. Everything about him, everything he sees: the little shops opposite his windows and the head of the old woman opposite, as she goes up to the window with the short curtains—it is all distasteful to him, and yet he does not move away from the window. He stands there sometimes lost in oblivion, sometimes again paying a sort of dull attention to everything moving and unmoving about him, and in his vexation crushes a fly which buzzes and beats against the window-pane under his finger.

But there is an end to everything and the longed-for moment arrived, everything was ready, the front part of the chaise had been properly repaired, the wheels had new tyres, the horses had been brought back from the drinking place, and the rascally blacksmiths departed, counting over their roubles and wishing him a good journey.