The Arousing of Thought

“But it is marked here forty-five kopecks. Why do you ask sixty?” Thereupon the salesman, making as is said the “oleaginous” face proper to all salesmen, replied that the book indeed cost only forty-five kopecks, but had to be sold at sixty because fifteen kopecks were added for postage.

After this reply to our Russian merchant who was perplexed by these two quite contradictory but obviously clearly reconcilable facts, it was visible that something began to proceed in him, and gazing up at the ceiling, he again pondered, this time like an English professor who has invented a capsule for castor oil, and then suddenly turned to his friend and delivered himself for the first time on Earth of the verbal formulation which, expressing in its essence an indubitable objective truth, has since assumed the character of a saying.

And he then put it to his friend as follows:

“Never mind, old fellow, we’ll take the book. Anyway we’re on a spree today, and ‘if you go on a spree then go the whole hog including the postage.’ ”

As for me, unfortunately doomed, while still living, to experience the delights of “Hell,” as soon as I had cognized all this, something very strange, that I have never experienced before or since, immediately began, and for a rather long time continued to proceed in me; it was as if all kinds of, as contemporary “Hivintzes” say, “competitive races” began to proceed in me between all the various-sourced associations and experiences usually occurring in me.