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Gogol describes the Inspector General’s Mission

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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.)

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