Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/17

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7
BOOK ONE

'We know, my good sir, there is no telling where your fingers have been, and snuff's a thing that must be kept clean,'—'Captain Kopeykin,' he repeated as he took a pinch: 'why you know if I were to tell you, it would make a regular romance after a fashion, very interesting to any author.'

Every one present expressed a desire to hear this story, or as the postmaster expressed it, a regular romance after a fashion, very interesting to any author, and he began as follows:


'After the campaign of 1812, my good sir'—so the postmaster began his story, regardless of the fact that not one but six gentlemen were sitting in the room—'after the campaign of 1812, Captain Kopeykin was sent back with the wounded. A hot-headed fellow, as whimsical as the devil, he had been punished in various ways and been under arrest—there was nothing he had not had a taste of. Whether it was at Krasnoe or at Leipzig I can't say but, can you fancy, he had an arm and a leg blown off. Well, at that time, no arrangements had been made, you know, about the wounded; that—what do you call it?—pension fund for the wounded was only set going, can you fancy, long afterwards. Captain Kopeykin saw that he would have to work, but he only had one arm, you understand, the left. He went home to his father's. His father said, "I can't keep you, I can scarcely," only fancy, "get a crust of bread