- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
146

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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Of our little Pompadour, naturally.” — “At this answer,”
relates the clerk, “my heart stood still in my breast.
Little by little, it began to beat again; I thought that
we should not be left without a head.” — “Does your
Excellency know who has been named as his successor?”
— “A certain Udarin.” — “A general?” — “Yes, a
general.”[1] — “Of what kind, if I may ask?” — “A
mammal.” — “We were both thoughtful,” continues the clerk.
“Then I went out into the market, and told the news to
some muzhiks who stood there. ‘Do you know that his
Excellency Aufimof is no longer our governor?’ — ‘Bah,
what of it!’ The peasant had scarcely uttered these
words before my hand had given a sound whack on his
cheek. ‘But a new one is coming! a new one is
coming!’ bellowed the peasant. I continued to strike — I
heard it not. At last, it fell like dew upon my soul: ‘A
new one is coming.’ That was the consolation. I gave
the peasant ten kopeks.”

Another sketch describes how the clerk one fine morning,
when the newly installed governor gives a free rein
to his ideas and dreams about his coming administration,
allows himself the remark that the law sets certain
bounds to these fantasies; as, for instance, as to
whipping. There are cases where the law declares it to be
useful, and others in which it is forbidden. “You will
then have the goodness to inform me when, and when
not,” said the governor, ironically. — “Not I, your
Highness, but the law.” — “That is becoming interesting.”
The governor, it appears further, had long known that
there were laws, but he always conceived them as bound
books arranged in a case. It was for him the order, —
lawful order. When he, on the other hand, saw these


[1] In Russia, there are civil as well as military generals, and just as
many of them.

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