Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/68

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out what church she went to on Sundays, and made a practice of standing just opposite her, neatly dressed, with a stiffly starched shirt-front. This strategy was crowned with success: the morose head clerk was shaken and invited him to tea! And before the clerks in the office had time to look round things had gone so far that Tchitchikov had moved into the old man's house, had become useful and indispensable to him, bought the flour and the sugar for the household, behaved to the daughter as though they were engaged, called the head clerk papa and kissed his hand. Every one in the office assumed that at the end of February, before Lent, there would be a wedding. The morose old head clerk even began trying to promote his interests with the higher powers, and in a short time Tchitchikov was himself appointed to a post as head clerk, which had just fallen vacant. This, it seemed, was the chief object of his connection with the old clerk, for the next day Tchitchikov secretly removed his trunk, and the following morning departed to another lodging. He left off calling the old head clerk papa, and never kissed his hand again, and the question of marriage dropped, as though it had never been thought of. Whenever he met the old man, however, he shook hands with him affably and invited him to tea, so that, in spite of the old clerk's invariable stoniness and gruff indifference, he always shook his head and muttered to himself: 'You took me in, you took me in, you limb of Satan!'