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GOVERNOR. I had a sort of presentiment of it. Last night I kept dreaming of two rats–regular monsters! Upon my word, I never saw the likes of them–black and supernaturally big. They came in, sniffed, and then went away.– Here’s a letter I’ll read to you—from Andrey Ivanovich. You know him, Artemy Filippovich.
Listen to what he writes: “My dear friend, godfather and benefactor–[He mumbles, glancing rapidly down the page.]–and to let you know”– Ah, that’s it–”I hasten to let you know, among other things, that an official has arrived here with instructions to inspect the whole state, and your district especially…”
AMMOS. My opinion is, Anton Antonovich, that the cause is a deep one and rather political in character. It means this, that Russia–yes–that Russia intends to go to war, and the Government has secretly commissioned an official to find out if there is any treasonable activity anywhere.
–Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol’, ??????? act I, sc I (1836)(S.H. trans.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."