Page:Dead Souls - A Poem by Nikolay Gogol - vol2.djvu/75

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65
BOOK ONE

of summer every day; the slightest offensive smell annoyed him, for this reason he always put cloves in his nose when Petrushka came to undress him and pull off his boots; and in many cases his nerves were as delicate as a girl's, and so it was hard to find himself again in those grades in which everything smelt of brandy and indecorum. However much he hardened his heart, he grew thin and even greenish in the face during this time of hardship. He had been beginning to grow plump and to develop those seemly rounded contours with which the reader found him when he met him last, and already when he looked in the looking-glass he had begun to meditate on many agreeable things—a wife and a nursery, and a smile followed such thoughts; but now when he glanced at some unlucky moment into the looking-glass he could not help crying out: 'Holy Mother! how disgusting I have grown!' And for a long while afterwards he would not look at himself. But our hero endured it all, endured it with fortitude, endured it with patience, and—at last succeeded in getting into the Customs Office. It must be said that this department had long been the secret subject of his reveries. He saw what stylish foreign articles the customs house officials possessed, what pieces of china and of fine cambric they sent to their lady friends, aunts and sisters. More than once he said with a sigh: 'That's what one ought to get into: the frontier is near and enlightened people and what fine linen shirts one can get hold of!'