Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov plans to buy the titles to “dead souls” and use them as collateral to obtain a large loan. He comes to a small provincial town and begins to proposition the local landowners. These landowners are revealed to be so petty and avaricious that not even Chichikov’s amazing offer can be worked to his advantage on them. Some stall, some refuse for no obvious reasons, some promise and then renege, and others want “in on the deal.” In the end, Chichikov, having concluded that the landowners are a hopeless lot, leaves for other regions.
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