Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/59

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49
BOOK ONE

wonder. Then the magpie lurched with the cart into a big hole at the entrance of a narrow lane which ran downhill and was thick with mud. There she was a long time struggling her utmost and working her legs, urged on by the hunchback and the master himself, and at last she dragged them into a little yard standing on the slope of the hill, with two apple-trees in flower in front of the little old house, and with a humble little garden behind it, consisting of nothing but mountain ashes and elder-trees with a wooden summer-house hidden in its recesses, covered with trellis and with a narrow opaque window. Here there lived a relation, a decrepit old woman who still went to market every morning, and dried her stockings on the samovar afterwards. She patted the boy on his cheeks and admired his plumpness. Here he was to remain and to go every day to the town school. After staying the night, his father set off again next morning. At the parting no tears fell from the father's eyes; half a rouble in copper was given the boy for pocket money and to buy sweets, and what was far more important, a judicious admonition: 'Mind now, Pavlushka: be diligent with your lessons, don't play the fool or get into mischief, and above all, satisfy your teachers and superiors. If you please your chief you'll get on and be ahead of all the rest, even if you don't do well in your lessons and God has given you no talent. Don't keep company with your schoolfellows, they'll teach you no good; but if you have to, keep