Osip is the servant of Khlestakov, a selfish and spoiled young man.
Listen. Shhh! Listen. Can you hear it? Hear it now? That’s my stomach. Sorry, can’t do much about it. It’s a terrible thing, hunger. Haven’t had a crust in two days. God only knows how we’re going to get to his old man’s estate in Saratov. We don’t have a kopeck to our name. I mean, his dad’ll be good for a loan all right, but how do we get there without money? I’m bloody fed up, I can tell you.
Well, you should have seen it. Tragic. He meets an infantry captain on the way here, suggests a game of cards, and loses a pile. Even then we’d have had enough to get by on, only my master has to play the big shot, doesn’t he? ‘I say, do you have a quality room available? Something superior. And I’d like a decent supper. Absolutely the best you can provide, my good man.’ What bollocks, eh?
I mean, it’s not as if he’s anyone important. A Collegiate Registrar. Right at the bottom of the heap. The lowest rung on the ladder. Fourteen ranks available and what’s he? Yeah, you got it. Number fourteen. Any lower and you wouldn’t be in government service, you’d be a worm.
Ah, I miss St. Petersburg. I like it there. Oh yes, I know, the provinces aren’t all bad. There’s less to worry about. Get yourself a wife, and a man can spend his entire life lying by the stove eating hot pies. But still, there’s no getting away from it, you can’t beat Petersburg.
For full extended monologue, please refer to clips or the script edition cited here: Gogol, Nikolai. The Government Inspector, translated and adapted by Alistair Beaton. Oberon Books, 2005. Pp 34-36.
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