"Allow me a moment," said the President. Then he read the letter through. When he had finished he added: "Yes, I am quite ready to act as Plushkin's attorney. When do you wish the purchase deeds to be registered, Monsieur Chichikov--now or later?"
"Now, if you please," replied Chichikov. "Indeed, I beg that, if possible, the affair may be concluded to-day, since to-morrow I wish to leave the town. I have brought with me both the forms of indenture and my statement of application."
"Very well. Nevertheless we cannot let you depart so soon. The indentures shall be completed to-day, but you must continue your sojourn in our midst. I will issue the necessary orders at once."
So saying, he opened the door into the general office, where the clerks looked like a swarm of bees around a honeycomb (if I may liken affairs of Government to such an article?).
"Is Ivan Antonovitch here?" asked the President.
"Yes," replied a voice from within.
Upon that the pitcher-faced Ivan Antonovitch made his appearance in the doorway, and bowed.
"Take these indentures, Ivan Antonovitch," said the President, "and see that they--"