Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/72

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ardent youth, when hardly any man is completely master of himself. Some superfluities made their appearance: he engaged a rather good cook, procured fine linen shirts. Already he had bought himself cloth such as no one in the province wore, and from that time forth took to wearing by preference clothes of a shot-brown or shot-reddish hue; already he had obtained a fine pair of horses and held one rein himself, making the trace-horse turn his head to one side; he had already adopted the habit of sponging himself over with water mixed with eau-de-Cologne; already he had bought a special very expensive soap to preserve his complexion, already …

But all at once a new chief, a stern military man, the enemy of bribe-takers and of everything that is called injustice, was sent to replace the easy-going old fogey who had been in command. The next day he frightened every one of them, he called for accounts, detected inaccuracies and sums of money missing at every step, instantly noticed the handsome private residences and a severe inquiry followed. Officials were dismissed from their posts. The handsome private residences passed to the Treasury and were transformed into almshouses and schools for the sons of soldiers—everything was scattered to the winds and Tchitchikov suffered more than the others. The new chief suddenly—God only knows why, sometimes indeed it happens for no reason—took a dislike to his face in spite