The Inspector-General/Act II

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The Inspector-General by Nikolai Gogol

SCENE: A small room in the inn. Bed, table, portmanteau, empty bottle, books, clothes' brush, etc.

Scene I[edit]

OSIP (lying on his master's bed). Devil take it ! I'm so hungry; there's a noise in my inside like a whole troop of trumpeters. We shall never get home at this rate ! What are we to do, I'd like to know ? There's two months gone since we left "Peter"![1] He's chucked away all his cash on the journey, the gay young dog, so now he's got to stick here, with his tail between his legs ! We should have had plenty to pay for the fare, but no, he must needs cut a dash in every town in this style ! (Imitates him.) "Heah, Osip, go and engage me the best room they've got, and order the very best dinner they can cook ; I can't stand anything cheap and nasty; I must have the best ! " Anything reasonable wouldn't have mattered, but for an ordinary copyin'-clerk[2] to go on like that ! Then he goes and makes friends on the road ; plays cards, and gets rooked, of course ! Oh, I'm sick of this sort o' life ! Reelly, it's better in our village ; there's not so much going on, but there's less to worrit you ; you lie the whole while over the stove[3] and eat tartlets. . . . Still, there's nothing like life in " Peter," that's a fack, and there's no denyin' of it. All you want is money, and then you live like a lord—theayters, dancing dogs, everythink. And everybody talks so perlite—it's reelly almost like bein' at Court ; if you go to the Shchukin Bazaar,[4] the shop-keepers call you " my lord " ; you sit with the chinovniks in the ferry-boat ; if you want company, you can go into a shop, agent will tell you there what's going on in the army, and all about the stars in the sky, just as if you had 'em all in your 'and. Then an old officer's wife will try and flirt with you, or a pretty chambermaid will give you such a look. Aha, you dog ! (Smirks and wags his head.) What doosid fine manners they have too ; you never hear any disrespeckful langwidge ; they always say you[5] to you ! If you're tired of walking, why you take a droshky, and sit there like a nob ; and if you don't want to pay, why you needn't ; every house has got a door open, and you can pop in, and the devil himself couldn't catch you. There's one objection though : sometimes you get a fust-class feed, and sometimes you're starved as we are now. It's all his fault ! What's to be done with him ? The old man sends him money—enough to rub along with—and what for ? ... Why, he goes on the bust with it; hires droshkies, says every day "Go and get a theay ter-ticket ; " and then look at him in a week he has to pop his new tail-coat ! Another time he parts with everything to his last shirt, except p'raps an old coat or a worn-out cape, s'help me, it's the truth ! Selling such beautiful English cloth ! Every dress-suit costs him a hundred and fifty roubles, and he lets his uncle have it for twenty. I won't speak of his breeches ; they can't get a buyer. And what's it all for ? Why, because he's never at his business ; instead of attending to his dooties, he gallivants along the Proshpect,[6] and goes off card-playing. Ah, if the governor only knew it ! he wouldn't stop to think that you're a chinovnik, but he'd lift up your little shirt-tail, and whip you so that you would feel sore for a week.[7] If you have dooties, you ought to attend to 'em. Here's the landlord now, says he won't let you have anything to eat unless you pay beforehand, and if we don't pay ? (Sighs.) Oh, good Lord ! for a little shchi![8] I'll bet every one else has had a square meal. Hullo ! there's a knock ; he's coming ! (Gets off the bed hastily.)

Scene II[edit]


KHLESTAKOV. Here, take these. (Hands him his cap and walking-stick.) What, you've been rolling on the bed again ?

OSIP. Me rolling on the bed ! I haven't seen any bed !

KHLESTAKOV. That's a lie ; you have been. Look here, it's all tumbled about !

OSIP Why blame me for it? I don't know what a bed feels like. I've got legs, and I stand. What do I want with your bed ?

KHLESTAKOV (walks about the room). Just see if there's any tobacco left in the pouch there.

OSIP. Tobacco, indeed ! Why, you smoked the last of it four days ago.

KHLESTAKOV (paces up and down, biting his lips; then, loudly and peremptorily). Here, Osip, d'you hear ?

OSIP. What do you want ?

KHLESTAKOV (less firmly). Go down there.

OSIP. Where ?

KHLESTAKOV (in an almost supplicating tone). Downstairs to the buffet . . . and tell 'em there ... to give me something to eat.

OSIP. No indeed, that I will not !

KHLESTAKOV. What, you dare to refuse, you blockhead !

OSIP. Yes, it's all the same, if I do go—you won't get anything from there. The landlord said he'll let you have nothing more.

KHLESTAKOV. How does he dare to say so? Bosh, I say !

OSIP. He even says, though: "I'll go to the Governor—it's the third week your master has not paid his bill. You and your master," he says, " are a pair of sharpers, and your master's a scoundrel as well. We've had to do with rogues and hangers-on like you before," says he.

KHLESTAKOV. And you, you beast, repeat it all to me, and enjoy it.

OSIP. " Yes," says he ; " all that sort come here, and make theirselves at home, run up a bill, and then you can't get rid of them. I'm not joking," he said ; " I'll go straight and make a complaint, and have him taken to the police-office, and then clapped into gaol."

KHLESTAKOV. Now, now, stop it, you fool. Do go and speak to him ! The ill-mannered brute !

OSIP. I'd better call the landlord here himself.

KHLESTAKOV. What do I want him for? You go and talk to him yourself.

OSIP. But reelly, sir—

KHLESTAKOV. Well, go to the devil, and call the landlord here. (OSIP goes out.)

Scene III[edit]

KHLESTAKOV (alone). How infernally hungry I am! I took a little walk, thinking my appetite would go, —d —n it, not a bit of it ! I'm as ravenous as ever. Yes, if I hadn't had that spree in Penza,[9] I'd have had enough money to get home with. That infantry captain cheated me finely—the way the villain cut the cards was astounding. He wasn't at it more than a quarter of an hour, and he cleaned me out entirely. But, all the same, I'd give anything to have another turn with him, only I shan't have the chance ! . . . What a beastly little town ! They'll give you nothing on tick at the grocers' shops. It's simply disgusting! (Whistles an air from "Robert the Devil"; then "Nye shei ti mnye, mstushka" ;[10] then variations of his own.} . . . H'm, nobody seems likely to come.

Scene IV[edit]

(Enter OSIP and the WAITER.)

WAITER. The landlord wants to know what you want.

KHLESTAKOV. Ah, good day, my friend ! And how are you ?

WAITER. Pretty well, thank you.[11]

KHLESTAKOV. And how are you getting on in the inn ? Business going on nicely ?

WAITER. Yes—slava Bohu—very nicely.

KHLESTAKOV. Plenty of visitors ?

WAITER. Yes, we've got enough.

KHLESTAKOV. Look here, my friend, I haven't had my dinner brought up yet—just hurry up with it, please, as soon as possible. . . . You see, I've got something particular to do directly after dinner.

WAITER. But the landlord said they're not to send anything more. He was all but going to the Governor to-day to complain of you.

KHLESTAKOV. Complain of me! Why, consider for yourself, my good fellow—I must eat. If this goes on I shall become a skeleton. I really am very hungry, joking apart.

WAITER. Quite so, sir. He said, "I'll give him no dinner till he pays for what he's had already." That was his answer.

KHLESTAKOV. But you reason with him—talk him over !

WAITER. Yes, but what am I to say ?

KHLESTAKOV. You speak to him seriously, and say I must have something to eat. As for the money . . . why, he seems to think that, because a muzhik such as he is can go the whole day without food, any one else can also. What an idea ! (Exeunt OSIP and WAITER.)

Scene V[edit]

KHLESTAKOV (alone). It will be too disgusting, though, if he flatly refuses to let me have anything. I never felt so ravenous as I do now. . . . Shall I try to raise anything on my clothes ? Shall I pop my trousers ? . . . No, better starve than not go home in Petersburg dress ! . . . What a shame that Yokhim[12] wouldn't let me have a carriage on hire ; it would have been d—d fine to go home in a proper turn-out, and drive up in style under some squire or other's porch, with carriage-lamps alight, and Osip behind in livery. How they'd all flutter with excitement, I guess ! " Who's that ? What's that ? " Then my footman goes up in a gold livery (draws himself up and imitates him), and announces " Ivan Alexandrovich Khlestakov, of Petersburg ; are they receiving ? " Those bumpkins, though, don't know what that phrase means. If any boor of a farmer pays them a visit, he waddles in like a bear, straight into the drawing-room. . . . And then you walk up to a pretty girl, and say, " How charmed I am, Sudarinya[13] . . ." (Rubs his hands and makes a bow.) . . . Tfu ! (Spits.) I feel quite sick, I'm so hungry.

Scene VI[edit]

(Enter OSIP, and afterwards the WAITER.)

KHLESTAKOV. Well, what is it ?

OSIP. They're bringing dinner.

KHLESTAKOV (claps his hands, and jumps briskly to a chair). Aha ! Dinner ! dinner ! dinner![14]

WAITER (with plates and a napkin). This is the last time the landlord will send you dinner.

KHLESTAKOV. Well, the landlord ... the landlord is a ... I spit on your landlord ! What have you got there ?

WAITER. Soup and roast-beef.

KHLESTAKOV. What, only two dishes ?

WAITER. That's all, sir.

KHLESTAKOV. What nonsense ! I won't have it ! Ask him what he means by it ! ... That's too little !

WAITER. No, the landlord says it's a good deal too much !

KHLESTAKOV. But isn't there any sauce ?

WAITER. No, there isn't any.

KHLESTAKOV. Pray, why not? I saw 'em myself getting a lot ready, as I went past the kitchen. And at the ordinary this morning two undersized little men were eating salmon and all sorts of good things.

WAITER. Well, if you please, sir, there is some, and there isn't.


WAITER. There isn't any, then.

KHLESTAKOV. What, no salmon—no fish—no cutlets ?

WAITER. Only for the gentlemen as pays, sir!

KHLESTAKOV. What a fool you are !

WAITER. Yessir.

KHLESTAKOV. You beastly pig! ... Why are they eating, while I mayn't ? Why mayn't I too, confound it ? Ain't I a bona-fide traveller too, as good as they ?

WAITER. No, sir, not exactly, that's certain.

KHLESTAKOV. How's that, pray ?

WAITER. Well, the difference is pretty plain : they settles up !

KHLESTAKOV. Oh, I won't argue with you, you booby ! (Pours out the soup and tastes it.) What ! do you call that soup ? Why, you've simply poured hot water into a cup; it's got no taste, it only stinks ! None of that for me, thank you. Bring me some other soup !

WAITER. Very well, sir, I'll take it away. The governor said if you didn't like it, you could leave it.

KHLESTAKOV (holding on to his plate). Well, well . . . leave it alone, I say, you fool ! You may be very familiar with others, but I'm not that sort, my man ! I advise you not to try it on with me. . . . (Tastes it again.) My God ! what soup ! (Goes on eating it.) I should think no one in the world ever ate such soup. Here's some feathers floating about instead of butter ! (Comes across a piece of chicken.) Well, I declare! Ai, ai! what a fowl! . . . Give me the roast beef ! There's a little soup left, Osip ; take it yourself. (Cuts the meat.) What, is that what you call roast meat? That's not roast beef!

WAITER. What is it, then ?

KHLESTAKOV. Devil knows what it is only it's not roast beef. It's more like roast iron[15] than meat ! (Eats it.) Rogues and scoundrels ! The stuff they give one ! Why, my jaws ache with eating a single mouthful ! (Picks his teeth with his finger.) Villains ! it's as tough as the bark of a tree; I can't get it out, anyhow. Such messes are enough to ruin one's teeth, curse the blackguards ! (Wipes his mouth with the napkin.) Is there nothing more?


KHLESTAKOV. Scoundrels, blacklegs, that they are ! There might have been some pastry! Rascals ! It's only travellers that they fleece !

(WAITER removes and carries the dishes out, accompanied by OSIP.)

Scene VII[edit]

KHLESTAKOV (alone). I swear it's just as if I'd eaten nothing at all : it has only whetted my appetite. If I only had a trifle to send to the market and buy a bun with !

OSIP (re-entering]. The Town-Governor has come for some reason or other; he has announced himself, and is asking for you.

KHLESTAKOV (in great alarm). What do you say ? . . . There, that brute of an innkeeper has gone and reported me ! . . . Suppose he really hauls me off to gaol ! How would it be if I went in aristocratic style . . . no, no, I won't ! There are the officers and people strolling about the town, and I have regularly set the fashion, and ogled a merchant's daughter. . . . No, I can't . . . and pray, who is he, that he has the audacity ? Treating me as if I was actually a shop-keeper or a day-labourer ! (Puts on a courageous air and draws himself up.) I'll just say straight out to him : " How dare you to— " (The door-handle is turned; KHLESTAKOV turns pale and collapses.)

Scene VIII[edit]

(Enter the GOVERNOR and DOBCHINSKI. The former advances a few steps and halts. They stare at each other in great trepidation for some moments.)

GOVERNOR (plucking up courage a little, and saluting deferentially[16]). I hope you are well, sir !

KHLESTAKOV (bows). My respects to you, sir!

GOVERNOR. Excuse my intruding. . . .

KHLESTAKOV. Pray don't mention it. . . .

GOVERNOR. It is my duty, as chief magistrate of this town, to take all due measures to prevent travellers and persons of rank from suffering any inconvenience. . . .

KHLESTAKOV (hesitates a little at first, but towards the end adopts a loud and confident tone). We-ell, what was to be done? It's no-ot my fault. ... I really am ... going to pay . . . they'll send me money from home. (BOBCHINSKI peeps in at the door.) He's to blame most : he sends me up beef as hard as a board ; and the soup ! the devil only knows what he'd mixed up with it : I was obliged to pitch it out of the window. He starves me the whole day . . . and the tea's so peculiar it smells of fish and nothing else ! Why then should I ... A fine idea, indeed"!

GOVERNOR (nervously), I assure you, it's not my fault, really. I always get very good beef from the market. The Kholmogori[17] drovers bring it, and they are sober and well-principled people. I'm sure I don't know where he gets it from. But if anything's wrong . . . allow me to suggest that you come with me and get other quarters.

KHLESTAKOV. No, that I will not ! I know what " other quarters" means ; it's another word for gaol! And pray, what right have you—how dare you . . . ? Why, I ... I'm a Government official at Petersburg . . . (Defiantly.) Yes I ... I ... I ...

GOVERNOR (aside). Oh, my God ! how angry he is ! He knows all ! Those cursed merchants have told him all !

KHLESTAKOV (aggressively). That for you and your governorship together! I'll not go with you ! I'll go straight to the Minister. (Bangs his fist on the table.) Who are you, pray, who are you ?

GOVERNOR (starting and shaking all over). Have pity on me ! don't ruin me ! I have a wife and small children! Don't make me a miserable man !

KHLESTAKOV. No, I'll not go with you ! What's that got to do with me? why am I to go to gaol because you've got a wife and small children ? I like that—that's beautiful ! (BOBCHINSKI looks in through the door and disappears in terror.) No, much obliged to you, sir, but I'll not leave here !

GOVERNOR (quaking). It was only my inexperience, I swear, only my inexperience ! and insufficient means! Judge for yourself—the salary I get is not enough for tea and sugar. And if I have taken any bribes, they were very little ones—something for the table, or a coat or two. ... As for the sergeant's widow, who took to shop-keeping—whom they say I flogged[18] it's a slander, I swear, it's a slander. My enemies invented it—they're the kind of people who are ready to murder me in cold blood !

KHLESTAKOV. Yes, yes, but I've nothing to do with them. . . . (Reflects.) I don't see, though, why you should dilate about your enemies to me, or talk about sergeants' widows. ... A sergeant's wife would have been quite a different matter . . . Don't you try to flog me, though—your arm's not long enough for that ! . . . Enough ! Look you here ! . . , I'll pay, I'll pay the bill all right, but at present I'm out of cash. That's just why I stay here, because I haven't a kopek left.

GOVERNOR (aside, recovering). Oh, the cunning rascal ! That's a nice yarn ! a pretty piece of mystification! You may believe as much of that as you please! . . . One doesn't know how to begin with him. Still I've got to try—come of it what will, I must have a try somehow ! (Aloud.) H'm, if you really are in want of funds, or anything else, I am ready to oblige you at once. It is—ahem !—my duty to assist travellers.

KHLESTAKOV. Lend me then—lend me a trifle ! and then I'll settle up immediately with the landlord. I only want two hundred roubles, or even less.

GOVERNOR (getting out his pocket-book). There's exactly two hundred roubles—don't trouble to count them !

KHLESTAKOV. I'm very much obliged to you ! I'll return it you directly I get home . . . it was a sudden case of impecuniosity. ... I see you are a gentleman. Now the state of things is altered.

GOVERNOR (aside). Well, thank the Lord ! he's taken my money. Now I guess we shall hit it off. I shoved four hundred instead of two into his hand.

KHLESTAKOV. Hi, Osip! (OSIP enters) Call the waiter here ! (To the GOVERNOR and DOBCHINSKI.) But why are you standing all this while? Pray oblige me, take a seat! (To DOBCHINSKI.) Please take a seat, I beg of you!

GOVERNOR. Oh no ! We can very well stand.

KHLESTAKOV. But please, please, be seated ! I see now completely the generosity and sincerity of your character : at first I confess I thought you had come with the object of putting me in— (To DOBCHINSKI.) Do take a chair! (The GOVERNOR and DOBCHINSKI at last sit down. BOBCHINSKI looks in at the door and listens.)

GOVERNOR (aside). Now I must be a little bolder. He wants his incognito kept up. Good, we'll talk a little nonsense too—we'll pretend we don't know in the least what he really is. (Aloud.) I was going my rounds in the performance of my duty with Peter Ivanovich Dobchinski here—he's a landed proprietor of this place—and we came into the inn to ascertain whether travellers are being well entertained—because I am not like other governors, who never attend to their business ; no, out of pure Christian philanthropy, apart from my duty, I wish every mortal to be treated well—and lo! as a reward for my pains, the occasion has presented itself of making so agreeable an acquaintance.

KHLESTAKOV. I too am delighted. Without your kind assistance I confess I should have had to stay here for a pretty long while—I hadn't the least idea how to pay my bill.

GOVERNOR (aside). Oh yes, fib away. Didn't know how to pay his bill ! (Aloud.) May I venture to inquire into what locality you are pleased to be going ?

KHLESTAKOV. I am going to my own estate in the Saratov government.

GOVERNOR (aside, with an ironical expression on his face). To the Saratov government ! Oh indeed ! And he doesn't even blush ! One must keep a sharp look-out with this gentleman ! (Aloud.) You have deigned, indeed, to engage on a pleasant enterprise ! It is quite true that journeys are disagreeable, as they say, on account of the delays in posting; but, on the other hand, they furnish an agreeable diversion for the mind. You are travelling for your own amusement, I suppose ?

KHLESTAKOV. No, my father wants me. The old man's angry because up till now I've made no advance in the service in Petersburg. He thinks that the moment you get there they stick the Vladimir[19] in your button-hole. No, indeed, and I'd like to send him to knock about a chancellor's office for a while !

GOVERNOR (aside). Just observe, I ask you, how he romances ! and drags in his old father too ! (Aloud.) And, may I ask, are you going there for a long time ?

KHLESTAKOV. Really I don't know. You see, my father is stupid and obstinate, like a block of wood the old duffer! I shall tell him straight out : " Do as you please, but I can't live away from Petersburg." Why should I be condemned to rot away among rustics ? That's not my ideal—my soul craves for civilisation!

GOVERNOR (aside). Well, he is a fine hand at spinning yarns, and no mistake ! He lies, and lies, but doesn't trip anywhere ! Why, the ugly, insignificant little whipper-snapper, I could crush him with my finger-nail ! But stop, he'll soon betray himself under my management ! I'll let him fib a little longer! (To KHLESTAKOV.) You condescended to observe, quite rightly—what can one do in a dead-alive place ? Why, see what it's like here : you lie awake at night, you toil for your country's good, you spare no effort or exertion—and I should like to know how much reward you get for your pains ! . . . (He looks round the room.) Rather damp, this room, isn't it ?

KHLESTAKOV. Yes, it's a dirty hole, and the insects—well, I've never seen the like of 'em ; they bite like dogs !

GOVERNOR. You don't say so ! An illustrious visitor like you to be incommoded with—with disgusting insects, that have no business to exist! And I daresay it's dark in this room ?

KHLESTAKOV. Dark ? I should think so ! The landlord has started the custom of not allowing me any candles. Now and then I want to do something, to read a bit, or the fancy strikes me to compose a little—not a bit of it, it's as dark as pitch !

GOVERNOR. May I venture to ask you . . . but no, I am unworthy !

KHLESTAK6V. What do you mean ?

GOVERNOR. No, no ; I am unworthy, unworthy of the honour !

KHLESTAKOV. But what do you mean ?

GOVERNOR. If I might be so bold ... I have a charming little room for you at home, light and comfortable. . . . But no ! I feel it is too great an honour. . . . Don't be offended, yei Bohu ; I only meant well by the offer !

KHLESTAKOV. On the contrary, I accept it with pleasure. I should be much more comfortable in a private residence than in this pot-house.

GOVERNOR. I am only too delighted ! How glad my wife will be ! It's a little habit I have; I always was hospitable from childhood, especially when my guest is distinguished and enlightened. Don't think I say this by way of flattery; no, I have not that vice. I only speak from the fulness of my heart.

KHLESTAKOV. I am greatly obliged to you. I myself hate two-faced people. I'm very much struck with your open-heartedness and generosity; and, I assure you, I expect nothing more than that people should treat me with consideration and esteem, ahem ! esteem and consideration !

Scene IX[edit]

(Enter the WAITER, escorted by OSIP. BOBCHINSKI peeps in again.)

WAITER. You were pleased to require—?

KHLESTAKOV. Yes, bring me the bill.

WAITER. I gave you the second account not long ago.

KHLESTAKOV. Oh, I can't remember your stupid accounts ! Tell me what it comes to !

WAITER. You were pleased to order dinner the first day, and the second day you only took salmon, and after that everything was put down on credit—

KHLESTAKOV. Durak ![20] you've begun to add it all up again ! How much is it altogether ?

GOVERNOR. Please don't let it bother you ; he can very well wait. (To the WAITER.) Get out of this ; the money will be sent you.

KHLESTAKOV. Yes, of course ; that will be the best. (Pockets the notes. The WAITER goes out. BOBCHINSKI looks in again through the doorway.)

Scene X[edit]


GOVERNOR. Wouldn't you like now to inspect a few of the institutions in our town—say, the hospital and so on ?

KHLESTAKOV. But what is there to see ?

GOVERNOR. Well, you will see how we manage matters—what excellent order there is. . . .

KHLESTAKOV. Oh, with the greatest pleasure ; I am ready. (BOBCHINSKI puts his head in at the door.)

GOVERNOR. And then, if you wish, we can go on from there and inspect the district High School, and see the good discipline with which our instruction is administered.

KHLESTAKOV. Oh, by all means !

GOVERNOR. Afterwards, if you like to visit the prison and the town gaol, you will be able to notice how carefully our criminals are kept.

KHLESTAKOV. Yes, yes ; but why go to the gaol? We had very much better look at the hospital.

GOVERNOR. As you please. Do you propose to ride in your own carriage, or go with me in a droshky ?

KHLESTAKOV. Well, I prefer to go with you in a droshky.

GOVERNOR (to DOBCHINSKI). Now, Dobchinski, there will be no room for you.

DOBCHINSKI. Oh, it doesn't matter, I'll manage !

GOVERNOR (aside, to DOBCHINSKI). Listen : will you run, as fast as you can, and take a couple of notes—one to Zemlyanika at the hospital, the other to my wife. (To KHLESTAKOV.) May I take the liberty of asking you to permit me to write a line to my wife in your presence, to tell her to get ready to receive her honoured guest?

KHLESTAKOV. But why all this . . . ? However, there's the ink ... I don't know about paper, though . . . Would that bill do ?

GOVERNOR. Oh, yes ! I'll write on that ! (Writes, talking to himself at the same time.) We'll see how business goes after lunch[21], and a pot-bellied bottle or two ! We have some Russian " Madeira,"[22] not much to look at, but it will roll an elephant under the table. If I only knew what he really is, and how far I've got to be on my guard. ( Finishes writing, and gives the note to DOBCHINSKI, who is just going out, when the door suddenly flies off its hinges, and BOBCHINSKI, who was listening on the other side, tumbles forward with it on the floor. All utter exclamations of surprise. BOBCHINSKI gradually picks himself up.)

KHLESTAKOV. What, have you hurt yourself anywhere ?

BOBCHINSKI. Oh, nothing, nothing, sir, nothing to bother about, sir, only a little knock on the nose ! I'll run over to Doctor Hubner's—he has some splendid plaster—it'll soon get right.

GOVERNOR (making an angry gesture at BOBCHINSKI, to KHLESTAKOV). Oh, that doesn't matter, sir ! With your kind permission we will go ; but I'll tell your servant to take your portmanteau across. (Calls OSIP.) Here, my good fellow, take everything over to my house, the Governor's—any one will show it you. . . . By your leave, sir ! (Makes way for KHLESTAKOV, and follows him; then turns, and severely addresses BOBCHINSKI.) You again! Couldn't you find some other place to tumble in ! and sprawling there, like the devil knows what ! (Goes out; after him BOBCHINSKI. Curtain falls.)


  1. Slang for St. Petersburg. Gogol elsewhere uses the short form "Petersburg."
  2. Yelistratishka, corruption of (Kollezhki) Registrator, an official of the fourteenth and lowest rank in the Civil Service. (See Note II. at the end.)
  3. Na palatyakh, on the shelves which are placed over the large square oven or stove in Russian cottages, at a height of about six or seven feet from the ground.
  4. The Shchukin Dvor is a bazaar in the Bolshaya Sadovaya (Great Garden Street), behind the Gostinni Dvor or Great Bazaar of the Nevski Prospekt, St. Petersburg.
  5. Vui instead of the more familiar Tf, thou. The usage of these pronouns is the same as in other continental countries.
  6. The Nevski Prospekt in St. Petersburg.
  7. Literally, you would rub yourself for four days or so.
  8. Cabbage-soup.
  9. A town and government S. E. of Moscow, on the way to Saratov.
  10. A Russian popular song, generally known under the name Krasni Sarafan (the Red Gown). The first four lines commence thus : "Nye shei ti mnye, matushka, krasni sarafan ; Nye vkhodi rodimushka, po-pustu v izyan!" i.e., "Do not sew the red gown for me, mother ; spend not useless money, my own mother !" These words are supposed to be sung by a young girl, who does not wish to marry ; she is, however, persuaded by her mother. The air in question is a simple but tuneful one. (See Note III. at the end.)
  11. Slava Bohu—literally, "Glory to God," " Thank the Lord "—the usual reply to the question, "Kak vui pazhivayete?" (How are you?), the words "Ya zdarov" (I am well) being understood.
  12. Joachim, a celebrated horse and carriage dealer of St Petersburg.
  13. The term sudarinya (madam) is applied to married and unmarried ladies alike. It is a short form of gosudartnya.
  14. Nyesut—literally, they are bringing it.
  15. Tapor—literally, a hatchet.
  16. Rukiposhvam—literally, with arms down the seams (of one's uniform).
  17. Kholmogdri, a town on the estuary of the Northern Dvina, 70 versts (46 miles) from Archangel, celebrated for its fine breed of cattle. Lomonosov, the founder of modern Russian literature, was born near here.
  18. —For engaging in trade without a licence.
  19. The St. Vladimir of the Fourth Class (the sixth Russian order in point of seniority).
  20. Fool, booby.
  21. Fruhstuck. Khlestakov has already had an early Russian abyed, or dinner.
  22. Gubernskaya madyera, grown in the "government" or province.