Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/82

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useless existence. But this did not happen. One must do justice to the invincible strength of his character. After misfortunes that were enough if not to kill, at least to cool and subdue a man for ever, his indomitable passion was not quenched. He was plunged in grief and vexation, he murmured against the whole world, was wroth with the injustice of destiny, indignant at the injustice of men, and yet he could not resign himself to abandoning all effort. In short, he displayed a patience compared with which the wooden patience of a German, due to the sluggish, languid circulation of his blood, is nothing. Tchitchikov's blood on the other hand circulated vigorously, and he needed a great deal of good sense and strong will to keep a tight rein on all the impulses that were longing to break bounds and enjoy themselves in freedom. He argued, and there was some justice in the argument, 'Why me? Why should misfortune have overtaken me? Who wastes his time in the service nowadays? They all make what they can. I have never brought trouble on any one: I haven't robbed the widow, I have reduced no one to beggary; I have made use of what was to spare; I took where any one would have taken; if I had not made use of it, others would have. Why are other people prosperous and why should I be crushed like a worm? And what am I now? What use am I? How can I look any respectable father of a family in the face? How can I help feeling stings of conscience when I know that I