Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/78

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a small fortune from the confiscated goods and various articles which instead of being passed on to the Treasury, were retained to avoid unnecessary correspondence. Such zealous, disinterested service could not but be the subject of general admiration, and was bound in the end to attract the attention of the authorities. He was promoted, and immediately drew up a scheme for catching all smugglers, only asking for the means of carrying it out himself. He was immediately entrusted with the commission and unlimited authority to conduct searches. This was all that he wanted. Just at that time a regularly organised society of smugglers was formed. The audacious enterprise gave promise of a profit of millions. Tchitchikov had long been aware of its existence and refused the offers of an emissary sent to bribe him, saying drily: 'It's not time for that yet.' When he had received full control he sent word to the society saying: 'The time has come now.' His calculation was only too correct. Now he could gain in one year what he could not have made by twenty years of the most zealous service. He had not before been willing to enter into relations with them because he had been nothing but a humble pawn and so could not have got much; but now … now it was quite a different matter: he could make any terms he liked. That the thing might go through without hindrance he brought into it another man, a colleague of his, who could not resist temptation although his