Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/13

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When they met at the house of the police-master, already known to the reader as the father and benefactor of the town, the officials had the opportunity of observing of each other that they had actually grown thin through all these worries and anxieties. And, indeed, the appointment of a new governor-general, and the two documents of so serious a character, and these extraordinary rumours, had, all taken together, left a perceptible imprint on their faces, and the dresscoats of some of them had become noticeably looser. Everything was changed for the worse: the president was thinner, and the inspector of the medical board was thinner, and the prosecutor was thinner, and one Semyon Ivanovitch, who was never called by his surname, and wore on his first finger a ring which he used to show to ladies—even he was thinner. Of course there were some bold spirits, as there always are, who did not lose their presence of mind; but they were not many; in fact the postmaster was the only one. He alone was unchanged in his invariable composure, and always when such things happened was in the habit of saying: 'We know all about you governor-generals! You may be changed three or four times over,