Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol1.djvu/177

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Long ago in the days of my youth, in the days of my childhood, now vanished for ever, I used to enjoy going for the first time to an unknown place; it made no difference to me whether it were a little village, a poor, wretched district town, a hamlet, or a suburb, my inquisitive childish eyes discovered much that was of interest in it. Every building, everything that was marked by some noticeable peculiarity arrested my attention and impressed me. Whether it were a brick government building of the usual architecture with half its windows mere blank spaces, sticking up, lonely and forlorn, in the midst of a group of one-storeyed workmen's cottages with walls of logs and shingled roofs; or a round cupola all covered with sheets of white metal, rising above the snowy, whitewashed new church, or a market, or a beau of the district who was in the town—nothing escaped my fresh, alert attention, and poking my nose out of my cart, I stared at the novel cut of some coat, and at the wooden chests of nails, of sulphur, yellow in the distance, of raisins and of soap, of which I caught glimpses through the door of a grocer's shop, together with jars of stale Moscow sweets. I stared too, at the infantry officer who had been cast by fate