At the end of the table, the secretary was reading the decision in some case, but in such a mournful and monotonous voice, that the condemned man himself would have fallen asleep while listening to it. The judge, no doubt, would have been the first of all to do so, had he not entered into an engrossing conversation while it was going on.

One must keep a store of common sense, said Tchitchikov, and consult one's common sense at every minute, have a friendly conversation with it.

What is stronger in us — passion or habit? Or are all the violent impulses, all the whirl of our desires and turbulent passions, only the consequence of our ardent age, and is it only through youth that they seem deep and shattering?

It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.

Whatever you may say, the body depends on the soul.

I am very fond of the theatre. If I have only a kopeck in my pocket, I always go there. Most of my fellow-officials are uneducated boors, and never enter a theatre unless one throws free tickets at their head.

Of this tailor I ought not, of course, to say much, but since it is now the rule that the character of every person in a novel must be completely drawn, well, there is no help for it, here is Petrovich too.

Our century is so shallow, its desires scattered so widely, our knowledge so encyclopedic, that we are absolutely unable to focus our designs on any single object and hence, willy-nilly, we fragment all our works into trivia and charming toys. We have the marvellous gift of making everything insignificant.

Atheists have not produced so much evil as hypocrites have produced, or even simply those who preached God without being prepared for Him, daring to pronounce His name with unsanctified lips.

I shall think soon that what people say is true: every woman is possessed by her own peculiar devil of curiosity.

Leave me alone! Why do you insult me?" and in those heart-rending words he heard others: "I am your brother.

But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.

They were terrified out of their wits, the devil knows why: they take you for a brigand and a spy. And the prosecutor has died of fright; the funeral is to-morrow. Won't you be there?

Business was successfully concluded. But—strange is man: he was deeply mortified at being in disfavour with the very people whom he did not respect, and whose vanity and love of dress he derided.

This world is full of the most outrageous nonsense. Sometimes things happen which you would hardly think possible.

For a man, the soul of a woman is a preserving talisman, guarding him from moral infections; it is a power holding him to the straight path, a guide leading him back from the crooked to the straight. On the other hand, the soul of a woman can be his evil and ruin him forever.

In one of our government departments . . . but perhaps I had better not say exactly which one. For no one's more touchy than people in government departments, regiments, chancelleries or, in short, any kind of official body. Nowadays every private citizen thinks the whole of society is insulted when he himself is.

People think that the human brain is in the head. Nothing of the sort; it is carried by the wind from the Caspian Sea.

Gradually, therefore, Tientietnikov grew more at home in the Service. Yet never did it become, for him, the main pursuit, the main object in life, which he had expected. No, it remained but one of a secondary kind. That is to say, it served merely to divide up his time, and enable him the more to value his hours of leisure.

It's the most righteous, which of course is not the same thing as the most profitable.

The human feelings, which had never been very deep in him, grew shallower every hour, and every day something more dropped away from the decrepit wreck.

And in a very civil fashion did Manilov did so, even going as far as to address the man in the second person plural.

But nothing is permanent in this world. Joy in the second moment of its arrival is already less keen than in the first, is still fainter in the third, and finishes by coalescing with our normal mental state, just as the circles which the fall of a pebble forms on the surface of water, gradually die away.

It seemed that both had lately had a touch of that pain under the waistband which comes of a sedentary life.

Do we ever get what we really want? Do we ever achieve what our powers have ostensibly equipped us for? No: everything works by contraries.

There are passions that it is not for man to choose.

I am who I am and that's who I am.

Even a stone has its uses, and man who is the most intelligent of all creatures must be of some use, hasn't he?

In the old man's face there was nothing very special - save that the chin was so greatly projected that whenever he spoke he was forced to wipe it with a handkerchief to avoid dribbling.

And for long years to come I am destined by some strange fate to walk hand in hand with my odd heroes, to gaze at life in its vast movement, to gaze upon it through laughter seen by the world and tears unseen and unknown by it!

Manilov was pleased by these final words, but he still couldn't make sense of the deal itself, and for want of an answer, he began sucking his clay pipe so hard that it started to wheeze like a bassoon. He seemed to be trying to extract from it an opinion about this unprecedented business; but the clay pipe only wheezed and said nothing.

I must confess that I do not understand why things are so arranged, that women seize us by the nose as deftly as they do the handle of a teapot: either their hands are so constructed, or else our noses are good for nothing else.

So here we are once more in the wilds, and once more we've come upon some out of the way corner. But what a wilderness, and what an out of the way corner!

Being disappeared who was protected by none, dear to none, interesting to none, and who never even attracted to himself the attention of those students of human nature who omit no opportunity of thrusting a pin through a common fly, and examining it under the microscope.

Ah,steeds,steeds,what is steeds! Has the whirlwind a home in your manes? Is there a sensitive ear, alert as a flame, in your every fiber? Hearing the familiar song from above, all in one accord you strain your bronze chests and, hooves barely touching the ground, turn into straight lines cleaving the air, and all inspired by God it rushes on!

They had an almost irresistible tendency to degenerate into a kind of lolloping amble.

There are occasions when a woman, no matter how weak and impotent in character she may be in comparison with a man, will yet suddenly become not only harder than any man, but even harder than anything and everything in the world.

His collar was very short and narrow, so that, although his neck was not particularly long, yet standing out of the collar, it looked as immensely long as those of the plaster kittens that wag their heads and are carried about on trays on the heads of dozens of foreigners living in Russia.

I really don't know, the old lady brought out hesitatingly, you see I've never sold the dead before.

But my very latest discovery made me feel better. I had found that every rooster has his own Spain and he has it under his feathers.

Every one to his taste, one man loves the priest and another the priest's wife, as the proverb says.

How dared you, I repeat, in disregard of all decency, call me a goose?

Consequently he himself perceived that a knowledge of mankind would have availed him more than all the legal refinements and philosophical maxims in the world could do.

For contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation...

Now it is all clear, and as plain as a pikestaff. Formerly—I don't know why—everything seemed veiled in a kind of mist. That is, I believe, because people think that the human brain is in the head. Nothing of the sort; it is carried by the wind from the Caspian Sea.

And at last he began prancing up and down and rubbing his hands, and humming and murmuring, and putting his fist to his mouth blew a march on it as on a trumpet, and even uttered aloud a few encouraging words and nicknames addressed to himself, such as bulldog and little cockerel.

Suddenly he stopped as if rooted outside the doors of one house; before his eyes an inexplicable phenomenon occurred: a carriage stopped at the entrance; the door opened; a gentleman in a uniform jumped out, hunching over, and ran up the stairs. What was Kovalev's horror as well as amazement when he recognized him as his own nose!

You see, wisdom does not come with grey hairs.

Let me warn you, if you start chasing after views, you'll be left without bread and without views.