Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/80

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ing the offensive epithet back at him, and though the expression, 'so that's all about it!' may have been a strong one, he was not satisfied with that, he gave secret information against him. Though indeed they do say that they were at loggerheads already over some woman as fresh and firm as a juicy turnip, to use the expression of the customs officials, that men had even been bribed to waylay our hero some evening in a dark alley and beat him within an inch of his life, but that she made fools of both the officials and really bestowed her favours on a staff-captain, called Shamsharev. How it really was, God only knows; the reader who cares to may complete the story for himself. The chief point is that their secret relations with the smugglers were discovered. Though the civil councillor was himself ruined, he certainly brought his colleague to grief also. The officials were brought to justice, an inventory was made of everything they had and all was confiscated, and all this fell like a thunderbolt on their heads. They came to themselves as after delirium, and saw with horror what they had done. The civil councillor had not the fortitude to endure his fate and perished in obscurity, but the collegiate councillor faced his troubles bravely. He succeeded in concealing part of the money in spite of the keen scent of the officials who were tracking him; he brought into play all the subtle wiles of a brain of much experience and deep understanding of men; with one he tried his agree-