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so he had a factory built in China to handle it. Ive went

time:2023-12-06 02:55:43 source:Untouched network author:music read:598次

Presently the britchka turned into some less frequented streets, lines of wooden fencing of the kind which mark the outskirts of a town began to file by, the cobblestones came to an end, the macadam of the highroad succeeded to them, and once more there began on either side of the turnpike a procession of verst stones, road menders, and grey villages; inns with samovars and peasant women and landlords who came running out of yards with seivefuls of oats; pedestrians in worn shoes which, it might be, had covered eight hundred versts; little towns, bright with booths for the sale of flour in barrels, boots, small loaves, and other trifles; heaps of slag; much repaired bridges; expanses of field to right and to left; stout landowners; a mounted soldier bearing a green, iron-clamped box inscribed: "The --th Battery of Artillery"; long strips of freshly-tilled earth which gleamed green, yellow, and black on the face of the countryside. With it mingled long-drawn singing, glimpses of elm-tops amid mist, the far-off notes of bells, endless clouds of rocks, and the illimitable line of the horizon.

so he had a factory built in China to handle it. Ive went

Ah, Russia, Russia, from my beautiful home in a strange land I can still see you! In you everything is poor and disordered and unhomely; in you the eye is neither cheered nor dismayed by temerities of nature which a yet more temerarious art has conquered; in you one beholds no cities with lofty, many-windowed mansions, lofty as crags, no picturesque trees, no ivy-clad ruins, no waterfalls with their everlasting spray and roar, no beetling precipices which confuse the brain with their stony immensity, no vistas of vines and ivy and millions of wild roses and ageless lines of blue hills which look almost unreal against the clear, silvery background of the sky. In you everything is flat and open; your towns project like points or signals from smooth levels of plain, and nothing whatsoever enchants or deludes the eye. Yet what secret, what invincible force draws me to you? Why does there ceaselessly echo and re-echo in my ears the sad song which hovers throughout the length and the breadth of your borders? What is the burden of that song? Why does it wail and sob and catch at my heart? What say the notes which thus painfully caress and embrace my soul, and flit, uttering their lamentations, around me? What is it you seek of me, O Russia? What is the hidden bond which subsists between us? Why do you regard me as you do? Why does everything within you turn upon me eyes full of yearning? Even at this moment, as I stand dumbly, fixedly, perplexedly contemplating your vastness, a menacing cloud, charged with gathering rain, seems to overshadow my head. What is it that your boundless expanses presage? Do they not presage that one day there will arise in you ideas as boundless as yourself? Do they not presage that one day you too will know no limits? Do they not presage that one day, when again you shall have room for their exploits, there will spring to life the heroes of old? How the power of your immensity enfolds me, and reverberates through all my being with a wild, strange spell, and flashes in my eyes with an almost supernatural radiance! Yes, a strange, brilliant, unearthly vista indeed do you disclose, O Russia, country of mine!

so he had a factory built in China to handle it. Ive went

"Stop, stop, you fool!" shouted Chichikov to Selifan; and even as he spoke a troika, bound on Government business, came chattering by, and disappeared in a cloud of dust. To Chichikov's curses at Selifan for not having drawn out of the way with more alacrity a rural constable with moustaches of the length of an arshin added his quota.

so he had a factory built in China to handle it. Ive went

What a curious and attractive, yet also what an unreal, fascination the term "highway" connotes! And how interesting for its own sake is a highway! Should the day be a fine one (though chilly) in mellowing autumn, press closer your travelling cloak, and draw down your cap over your ears, and snuggle cosily, comfortably into a corner of the britchka before a last shiver shall course through your limbs, and the ensuing warmth shall put to flight the autumnal cold and damp. As the horses gallop on their way, how delightfully will drowsiness come stealing upon you, and make your eyelids droop! For a while, through your somnolence, you will continue to hear the hard breathing of the team and the rumbling of the wheels; but at length, sinking back into your corner, you will relapse into the stage of snoring. And when you awake--behold! you will find that five stages have slipped away, and that the moon is shining, and that you have reached a strange town of churches and old wooden cupolas and blackened spires and white, half-timbered houses! And as the moonlight glints hither and thither, almost you will believe that the walls and the streets and the pavements of the place are spread with sheets--sheets shot with coal-black shadows which make the wooden roofs look all the brighter under the slanting beams of the pale luminary. Nowhere is a soul to be seen, for every one is plunged in slumber. Yet no. In a solitary window a light is flickering where some good burgher is mending his boots, or a baker drawing a batch of dough. O night and powers of heaven, how perfect is the blackness of your infinite vault--how lofty, how remote its inaccessible depths where it lies spread in an intangible, yet audible, silence! Freshly does the lulling breath of night blow in your face, until once more you relapse into snoring oblivion, and your poor neighbour turns angrily in his corner as he begins to be conscious of your weight. Then again you awake, but this time to find yourself confronted with only fields and steppes. Everywhere in the ascendant is the desolation of space. But suddenly the ciphers on a verst stone leap to the eye! Morning is rising, and on the chill, gradually paling line of the horizon you can see gleaming a faint gold streak. The wind freshens and grows keener, and you snuggle closer in your cloak; yet how glorious is that freshness, and how marvellous the sleep in which once again you become enfolded! A jolt!--and for the last time you return to consciousness. By now the sun is high in the heavens, and you hear a voice cry "gently, gently!" as a farm waggon issues from a by-road. Below, enclosed within an ample dike, stretches a sheet of water which glistens like copper in the sunlight. Beyond, on the side of a slope, lie some scattered peasants' huts, a manor house, and, flanking the latter, a village church with its cross flashing like a star. There also comes wafted to your ear the sound of peasants' laughter, while in your inner man you are becoming conscious of an appetite which is not to be withstood.

Oh long-drawn highway, how excellent you are! How often have I in weariness and despondency set forth upon your length, and found in you salvation and rest! How often, as I followed your leading, have I been visited with wonderful thoughts and poetic dreams and curious, wild impressions!

At this moment our friend Chichikov also was experiencing visions of a not wholly prosaic nature. Let us peep into his soul and share them. At first he remained unconscious of anything whatsoever, for he was too much engaged in making sure that he was really clear of the town; but as soon as he saw that it had completely disappeared, with its mills and factories and other urban appurtenances, and that even the steeples of the white stone churches had sunk below the horizon, he turned his attention to the road, and the town of N. vanished from his thoughts as completely as though he had not seen it since childhood. Again, in its turn, the road ceased to interest him, and he began to close his eyes and to loll his head against the cushions. Of this let the author take advantage, in order to speak at length concerning his hero; since hitherto he (the author) has been prevented from so doing by Nozdrev and balls and ladies and local intrigues--by those thousand trifles which seem trifles only when they are introduced into a book, but which, in life, figure as affairs of importance. Let us lay them aside, and betake ourselves to business.

Whether the character whom I have selected for my hero has pleased my readers is, of course, exceedingly doubtful. At all events the ladies will have failed to approve him for the fair sex demands in a hero perfection, and, should there be the least mental or physical stain on him--well, woe betide! Yes, no matter how profoundly the author may probe that hero's soul, no matter how clearly he may portray his figure as in a mirror, he will be given no credit for the achievement. Indeed, Chichikov's very stoutness and plenitude of years may have militated against him, for never is a hero pardoned for the former, and the majority of ladies will, in such case, turn away, and mutter to themselves: "Phew! What a beast!" Yes, the author is well aware of this. Yet, though he could not, to save his life, take a person of virtue for his principal character, it may be that this story contains themes never before selected, and that in it there projects the whole boundless wealth of Russian psychology; that it portrays, as well as Chichikov, the peasant who is gifted with the virtues which God has sent him, and the marvellous maiden of Russia who has not her like in all the world for her beautiful feminine spirituality, the roots of which lie buried in noble aspirations and boundless self-denial. In fact, compared with these types, the virtuous of other races seem lifeless, as does an inanimate volume when compared with the living word. Yes, each time that there arises in Russia a movement of thought, it becomes clear that the movement sinks deep into the Slavonic nature where it would but have skimmed the surface of other nations.--But why am I talking like this? Whither am I tending? It is indeed shameful that an author who long ago reached man's estate, and was brought up to a course of severe introspection and sober, solitary self-enlightenment, should give way to such jejune wandering from the point. To everything its proper time and place and turn. As I was saying, it does not lie in me to take a virtuous character for my hero: and I will tell you why. It is because it is high time that a rest were given to the "poor, but virtuous" individual; it is because the phrase "a man of worth" has grown into a by-word; it is because the "man of worth" has become converted into a horse, and there is not a writer but rides him and flogs him, in and out of season; it is because the "man of worth" has been starved until he has not a shred of his virtue left, and all that remains of his body is but the ribs and the hide; it is because the "man of worth" is for ever being smuggled upon the scene; it is because the "man of worth" has at length forfeited every one's respect. For these reasons do I reaffirm that it is high time to yoke a rascal to the shafts. Let us yoke that rascal.

Our hero's beginnings were both modest and obscure. True, his parents were dvoriane, but he in no way resembled them. At all events, a short, squab female relative who was present at his birth exclaimed as she lifted up the baby: "He is altogether different from what I had expected him to be. He ought to have taken after his maternal grandmother, whereas he has been born, as the proverb has it, 'like not father nor mother, but like a chance passer-by.'" Thus from the first life regarded the little Chichikov with sour distaste, and as through a dim, frost-encrusted window. A tiny room with diminutive casements which were never opened, summer or winter; an invalid father in a dressing-gown lined with lambskin, and with an ailing foot swathed in bandages--a man who was continually drawing deep breaths, and walking up and down the room, and spitting into a sandbox; a period of perpetually sitting on a bench with pen in hand and ink on lips and fingers; a period of being eternally confronted with the copy-book maxim, "Never tell a lie, but obey your superiors, and cherish virtue in your heart;" an everlasting scraping and shuffling of slippers up and down the room; a period of continually hearing a well-known, strident voice exclaim: "So you have been playing the fool again!" at times when the child, weary of the mortal monotony of his task, had added a superfluous embellishment to his copy; a period of experiencing the ever-familiar, but ever-unpleasant, sensation which ensued upon those words as the boy's ear was painfully twisted between two long fingers bent backwards at the tips--such is the miserable picture of that youth of which, in later life, Chichikov preserved but the faintest of memories! But in this world everything is liable to swift and sudden change; and, one day in early spring, when the rivers had melted, the father set forth with his little son in a teliezshka[1] drawn by a sorrel steed of the kind known to horsy folk as a soroka, and having as coachman the diminutive hunchback who, father of the only serf family belonging to the elder Chichikov, served as general factotum in the Chichikov establishment. For a day and a half the soroka conveyed them on their way; during which time they spent the night at a roadside inn, crossed a river, dined off cold pie and roast mutton, and eventually arrived at the county town. To the lad the streets presented a spectacle of unwonted brilliancy, and he gaped with amazement. Turning into a side alley wherein the mire necessitated both the most strenuous exertions on the soroka's part and the most vigorous castigation on the part of the driver and the barin, the conveyance eventually reached the gates of a courtyard which, combined with a small fruit garden containing various bushes, a couple of apple-trees in blossom, and a mean, dirty little shed, constituted the premises attached to an antiquated-looking villa. Here there lived a relative of the Chichikovs, a wizened old lady who went to market in person and dried her stockings at the samovar. On seeing the boy, she patted his cheek and expressed satisfaction at his physique; whereupon the fact became disclosed that here he was to abide for a while, for the purpose of attending a local school. After a night's rest his father prepared to betake himself homeward again; but no tears marked the parting between him and his son, he merely gave the lad a copper or two and (a far more important thing) the following injunctions. "See here, my boy. Do your lessons well, do not idle or play the fool, and above all things, see that you please your teachers. So long as you observe these rules you will make progress, and surpass your fellows, even if God shall have denied you brains, and you should fail in your studies. Also, do not consort overmuch with your comrades, for they will do you no good; but, should you do so, then make friends with the richer of them, since one day they may be useful to you. Also, never entertain or treat any one, but see that every one entertains and treats YOU. Lastly, and above all else, keep and save your every kopeck. To save money is the most important thing in life. Always a friend or a comrade may fail you, and be the first to desert you in a time of adversity; but never will a KOPECK fail you, whatever may be your plight. Nothing in the world cannot be done, cannot be attained, with the aid of money." These injunctions given, the father embraced his son, and set forth on his return; and though the son never again beheld his parent, the latter's words and precepts sank deep into the little Chichikov's soul.


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