Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/65

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55
BOOK ONE

saved, and for the time stingily denied to himself and to others. When a rich man dashed by him in a light elegant droshky drawn by richly-harnessed trotting horses, he would stand still as though rooted to the spot, and then as though waking from a long sleep, would say: 'Why, he was a counting-house clerk and wore his hair cut like a peasant's!' And everything suggestive of wealth and prosperity made an impression upon him that he could not himself explain. On leaving school he did not want to take a holiday, so strong was his desire to set to work at once and get into the service. In spite, however, of his high testimonials, it was with great difficulty that he succeeded in getting a berth in the Palace of Justice; even in the remotest corners powerful patronage is just as necessary! The job he obtained was a wretched one, the salary a miserable thirty or forty roubles a year. But he resolved to set to work zealously, to conquer and overcome all difficulties. And, indeed, he displayed incredible self-sacrifice, patience and self-denial. From early morning till late in the evening, without flagging spiritually or physically, he was up to the ears in official papers. He did not go home, but slept at the office on the tables, had dinner sometimes with the porters, and with all that, succeeded in preserving his neat exterior, in dressing decently, in retaining an agreeable expression on his face, and even something of dignity in his movements. It must be said that the officials of the Palace of Justice