2. CHAPTER II.
General Epanchin lived in his own house near the Litaynaya.
Besides this large residence--five-sixths of which was let in
flats and lodgings-the general was owner of another enormous
house in the Sadovaya bringing in even more rent than the first.
Besides these houses he had a delightful little estate just out
of town, and some sort of factory in another part of the city.
General Epanchin, as everyone knew, had a good deal to do with
certain government monopolies; he was also a voice, and an
important one, in many rich public companies of various
descriptions; in fact, he enjoyed the reputation of being a well-to-do
man of busy habits, many ties, and affluent means. He had
made himself indispensable in several quarters, amongst others in
his department of the government; and yet it was a known fact
that Fedor Ivanovitch Epanchin was a man of no education
whatever, and had absolutely risen from the ranks.
This last fact could, of course, reflect nothing but credit upon
the general; and yet, though unquestionably a sagacious man, he
had his own little weaknesses-very excusable ones,--one of which
was a dislike to any allusion to the above circumstance. He was
undoubtedly clever. For instance, he made a point of never
asserting himself when he would gain more by keeping in the
background; and in consequence many exalted personages valued him
principally for his humility and simplicity, and because "he knew
his place." And yet if these good people could only have had a
peep into the mind of this excellent fellow who "knew his place"
so well! The fact is that, in spite of his knowledge of the world
and his really remarkable abilities, he always liked to appear to
be carrying out other people's ideas rather than his own. And
also, his luck seldom failed him, even at cards, for which he had
a passion that he did not attempt to conceal. He played for high
stakes, and moved, altogether, in very varied society.