emancipation, and the increase of drunkenness since the abolition of the farming of the spirit-tax. . . . Through worse to better!'
Potugin passed his hand over his face. 'You asked me what was my opinion of Europe,' he began again: 'I admire her, and am devoted to her principles to the last degree, and don't in the least think it necessary to conceal the fact. I have long — no, not long — for some time ceased to be afraid to give full expression to my convictions — and I saw that you too had no hesitation in informing Mr. Gubaryov of your own way of thinking. Thank God I have given up paying attention to the ideas and points of view and habits of the man I am conversing with. Really, I know of nothing worse than that quite superfluous cowardice, that cringing desire to be agreeable, by virtue of which you may see an important dignitary among us trying to ingratiate himself with some little student who is quite insignificant in his eyes, positively playing down to him, with all sorts of tricks and devices. Even if we admit that the dignitary may do it out of desire for popularity, what induces us common folk to shuffle and degrade ourselves. Yes, yes, I am a Westerner, I am devoted to Europe: that 's to say, speaking more accurately, I am devoted to culture — the culture at which they make fun so