Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/74

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was no pulling it out again. All the intelligent secretary could obtain was the destruction of the record of his ignominy, and he only obtained this by appealing to the general's compassion, and painting in vivid colours the touching plight of the delinquent's children, though Tchitchikov fortunately had none.

'Well!' said Tchitchikov to himself, 'I hooked a good thing, I was pulling it out when the line broke—don't keep on worrying. It's no good crying over spilt milk, I must set to work.' And so he made up his mind to begin his career once more, once more to arm himself with patience, once more to deny himself everything although he had so greatly enjoyed his slackness just before. He had to move to another town, there to make himself a position again. Nothing he attempted succeeded. He had to pass from one job to another and then to a third in a very short time. The jobs were humble and degrading. It must be understood that Tchitchikov was one of the most refined men that ever existed on this earth. Though he had at first to rub along in coarse society, he always maintained his inward refinement; he liked the table in the office to be of polished wood, and everything to be on a gentlemanly scale; he never permitted himself an unrefined word and was always offended if he saw a lack of proper respect for rank or position in the words of others. I believe it will please the reader to hear that he changed his linen every alternate day, and in the heat