Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/73

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63
BOOK ONE

of its pleasantness, and conceived a mortal hatred for him. And the relentless chief was a terrible menace to every one. But as he was a military man and so did not understand all the subtleties of civilian strategy, within a short time another set of officials succeeded in worming themselves into his favour, thanks to an appearance of honesty and a capacity for pleasing, and the general soon found himself in the hands of still greater scoundrels, though he did not recognise them as such; he was even delighted that he had at last picked out the right men and even boasted of his keen powers of discriminating character. The officials instantly grasped his temper and character. Everything that was under his command was carried on by men who fiercely tracked down every delinquency; everywhere, in every case, they hunted it as a fisherman hunts some fat white salmon with a harpoon, and they hunted it with such success, that in a short time every one of them had saved up several thousands of roubles. Then many of the former officials returned to the paths of righteousness and were received into the service. But Tchitchikov could not worm his way in again anyhow, though the general's chief secretary, who completely led his chief by the nose, encouraged by Prince Hovansky's letters, espoused his cause and did his utmost, yet he could do nothing for him whatever. Though the general could be led by the nose (without being aware of it of course) yet if an idea once got into his head it was like an iron nail, there