Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/55

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45
BOOK ONE

At first he felt nothing at all, and simply kept looking back as though to make sure that he really had got out of the town; but when he saw that the town had long been out of sight, that neither smithy nor mill nor any of the objects usual on the outskirts of a town were visible, and that even the white spires of the white churches had long since melted into the landscape, his attention was absorbed by nothing but the road, he kept looking to right and left, and it seemed as though the town of N. had passed out of his memory, as though he had passed through it long ago in his childhood. At last the road too ceased to occupy his mind, and he began to half-close his eyes and lean his head on the pillow. The author confesses that he is glad of the opportunity of talking a little about his hero, for hitherto he has always been hindered from doing so either by Nozdryov or by balls or by ladies, or by the scandal of the town, in short, by the thousand and one trivialities which only seem trivialities when they are brought into a book, while in the world they pass for very important matters. But now we will lay aside everything else and go straight to the point.

It is very doubtful whether the reader will like the hero we have selected. That he will not please the ladies one may say with certainty, for ladies insist on a hero's being absolute perfection, and if he has some tiny spiritual or physical blemish then—there's trouble! However deeply the author gazes into his soul, and