Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"The Carriage." Nikolai Gogol.

A comedic vignette. A gentleman invites officers with whom he has been socializing to stop at his home the next day to see his carriage of which he is exceedingly proud. When you’re in the carriage, he tells the officers, it’s like being gently rocked in a baby carriage. But he drinks too much, comes home at 4 a.m., falls asleep and is not awake when the officers come calling on him. He tells the servants to tell the officers that he is not at home, runs to the carriage house in his night clothes and jumps into the carriage to hide himself from the officers. Disappointed that the gentleman is not at home, the officers decide at least to see this carriage of which the owner is so proud. They decide it’s a very ordinary carriage, disparage its appearance, check the inside and find the missing owner in his night clothes. That’s the story.

The story begins with a description of a shoddy, depressing town. And it is shoddy and depressing.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.

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