The middle of the XIX century. Privolny, rich in forests and crafts people – the upper Zavolzhie. They live here in labor and prosperity, confessing the old faith. There are quite a few peasants who have escaped to the merchants, that they are called thousandths.
One of such rich-thousand-captains Patap Maksimych Chapurin dwells behind the Volga in the village of Osipovka. His affairs Chapurin leads by conscience, and for that he from all respect and respect.
The Chapurin family is small. Aksinya Zakharovna’s wife and two daughters: the eldest, the eighteen-year-old Nastya, the father’s favorite, and Praskovia, the younger one. The daughters had just returned to their parents’ house from the Komarovo cloister, where the mother-in-law was Manefa, the sister of Patap Maksimych,
There is another god-given daughter of Chapurin, raised by him orphan Grunya, but she is already married to a rich merchant and lives in another village.
The winter student sometimes returns Chapurin from a successful business trip, rejoices at meeting with the domestic, gives them gifts.
Left after dinner alone with his wife, Patap Maksimych announces to her that dear guests will come one of these days-a rich merchant Snezhkov with his son, for whom Chapurin is ready to hand over Nastya. For him, this marriage is honorable and profitable.
Tryphon Shaggy has three sons and two girls. The most successful of the children is the eldest, handsome and the first skilful for turning, Alexey. He kept Trifon turning, and all would be well, but they piled on the peasant misfortune – first a fire, and then the unknown villains were robbed clean. Lokhmatom had to send two sons into the people to earn money. Alexei got to Chapurin.
Chapurin fell in love with a new worker for modesty, diligence and mastery. He is going to make him a clerk, who will dispose of all the rest, but he does not announce his intentions yet.
On behalf of Aksinya Zakharovna, mother Manefa comes with two young novices. One of them, quick-witted Flenushka, tries to find out the mystery of a friend – Nastya confesses her love for Alexei.
Discussing with the home, how best to arrange for the reception of guests, Patap Maksimych asks Nastya what she thinks about the marriage, he already has a groom for her.
Nastya first tearfully asks her father not to extradite her for the unloved, and after receiving a refusal, declares firmly that in that case she will accept monasticism.
Bitter and agile Flenushka brings Nastya and Alexei together. At the first meeting, Nastya “passionately looked into the eyes of the lovely and rushed to his chest…”.
To see the names of the parents and to congratulate Aksinya Zakharovna with the day of the angel comes Agrafena Petrovna.
There are new guests, among them Yakim Prokhorich Stukolov, a longtime acquaintance of Chapurin; He traveled for more than a quarter of a century somewhere in the world. Together with Stukolov, the merchant from the town of Dyukov also keeps.
Stukolov tells the audience about his wanderings, hinting that he is a messenger of the Belokrinitsky Old Believer bishop, but here he is busy with matters not ecclesiastical. He has information about deposits in the Volga forest of “earthen oil” and is looking for companions for mining it.
This conversation Alexei hears, and his eyes light up when he thinks about the possible fast enrichment.
The ensuing conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the father and son of the Snezhkovs. The elder Snezhkov is confident – he is richer and more famous here than everyone else – he boasts of the free mores of the Moscow merchant class. Chapurin and his guests this story plunges into embarrassment.
Nastya immediately guessed about her father’s intentions and whispers to Flenushka: “Do not be a matchmaker.”
Nearly midnight feasted guests, finally dispersed to the rooms, but not all fell asleep. Do not sleep and the mother Manefa, shocked by the meeting with a man whom she had long considered dead. She had a sin in her youth, she gave birth to a daughter from Stukolov. Skitnitsy hid the child, and in return they took from the sinner the promise “to receive the angelic image of monasticism”. And although his father eventually agreed to marry her with Stukolov, the girl did not dare to break the oath given to the Lord.
Over the years, she became famous for her worship and ability to manage all church affairs. The girl, who was brought up in the village, Manefa’s mother took herself as a novice, and no one knew that Flenshka was her own daughter.
Having refused Snezhkov, much offended by this unexpected turn of the matter, Patap Maksimych returns to talk with Stukolov about gold. The wanderer explains: although the local Vetluga mines are even richer than Siberian mines, but to extract gold, it will take at least fifty thousand. But then they will turn into five, if not ten million.
Chapurin is cautious, he does not like that half of the profits will be given to Bishop Sofronii, who owns a map of placers.
In the end, they nevertheless negotiate, deciding to keep the whole enterprise in secret. Chapurin decides to go himself to Vetluga, on the spot to figure out what’s what.
And Patap Maksimych takes possession of proud dreams about the future wealth, he thinks about his daughter, thinks about who could become her worthy husband. “And Alexei came to his mind. If Nastya knew and knew what had flashed through her father’s head, she would not cry at night…”
Chapurin left on two sledges with Stukolov and Dyukov. On the eve of the lion’s day, February 18, they lost their way.
Then they were lucky – they came across a team of loggers who brought them to the right direction. While they were driving, Chapurin asked the guides about the places here, whether there was any gold somewhere. The forester answered that he had heard of gold in Vetluga, but he did not know where exactly it lay. Pretending to sleep, Stukolov listens to the conversation, to him this rumor is on hand.
Chapurin decides to make inquiries from his good acquaintance, the mountain official Kolyshkin. Stukolov also suggests first to visit his father Mikhail, hegumen of the Krasnoyarsk monastery, who also participates in the search for gold, and he secretly notifies the hegumen about his arrival.
They met them in the monastery with such honor and cordiality that Patap Maksimych immediately became imbued with an arrangement to the hefty, father of Michael, from a stout oak tree.
Careful Chapurin for fidelity is still going to visit Kolyshkin. The dukes with Dukov have to substitute this false gold sand for real, so that the expert does not catch them in a fraud. A traveler is also being asked about the sale of counterfeit banknotes established in the monastery, and Father Mikhail complains that the case is dangerous and not so profitable.
The retired mining official Sergei Andreich Kolyshkin immediately explains to Chapurin that a venerable merchant is involved in a fraud. He also reports on their mutual acquaintance, who, after enjoying fabulous profits, contacted the sale of fakes and now sits in prison, and the money is rumored to have left the Krasnoyarsk monastery.
Again meeting with Stukolov and Dyukov, Chapurin does not pretend that he has figured out their plan, and gives them three thousand, in order to catch swindlers in the act. In the Komarovo Convent, Manefa’s mother delves into all household trivia, is interested in every inhabitant of the monastery. Particular attention she shows to Marya Gavrilovna Maslyanikova, a rich and still young widow who lives here of her own free will. She suffered a lot with the old man’s husband, but now she found a quiet heart-shaped wharf in Komarovo.
To Nastia during her stay in the hermitage Marya Gavrilovna was very attached, she was pleased with her daughter and father. Patap Maksimych once took Marya Gavrilovna twenty thousand, and in time he failed to return, so she agreed to wait for how much he would need.
A few days later, the trusted man of Chapurin comes to the monastery and shares his conjectures with the nuns: Stukolov and Dyukov, he believes, Chapurin is being beaten up to make counterfeit money. Upon hearing this, Manefa faints. For a long time, before Easter, she lay in bed. Flenushka urges Marya Gavrilovna to ask Chapurin to let his daughters go to visit the monastery. Marya Gavrilovna, and herself, who misses Nastya, eagerly writes a letter to Patap Maksimych.
And in the Chapurins’ house it’s sad. The hostess does not care. Her brother, who was not flirting in the absence of his master, again took a drink. Parasha is bored with sleeping. Nastia yearns for Alexei.
Alexei has his own thoughts. And he wants to marry Nastya, and he is afraid of Chapurin, and his head is foggy with gold. And already a black shadow ran between him and Nastya, something she sensed and threatened her lover: “If you get another one – do not live...with the breaker… And you will not be self-serving…”
Finally, on the sixth week of Lent, Chapurin returned home. After learning about Manefa’s disease, he gives permission to the daughters to visit the abbess. Alexei Patap Maksimych sends to the Krasnoyarsk monastery in order to warn Mikhail’s father about the dark Stukolov’s plans. At the same time, Chapurin hints at Alexei that he has high hopes for him.
Before leaving for Komarov Nastya, unable to endure the spiritual torment, confesses to her mother: “I lost myself! .. There is no honor to the maiden! .. I suffered, mama…”
And in Moscow comes Komarov Moscow nachetchik Vasily Borisych, a spruce walker on the female part. From him, Manefa accidentally learns that the righteous Stukolov, in addition to everything, is very greedy.
Arrived at Manefa with a letter from his brother Alex sees and with Marya Gavrilovna, and the mutual gravitation flashes between them. For the young widow, as if her first love had been resurrected, and Aleksey’s love for love is mixed with self-interest-Marya Gavrilovna has no money.
Flenushka notices that something is amiss with the guy, but thinks that he is grieved by Nastya’s pride.
And not to others now Flenushka. Manefa suggests that she seriously think about the future. When there is no Manefa, the nuns will pick her favorite. Is it not better to accept monasticism now? Then Manefa would make Flenshka his successor. Until the flax shirt flatly refuses.
Nastya, who, from the very day she confessed to her mother, is without any memory, finally comes to herself and asks her parents for forgiveness. The girl knows that she does not live long, and asks her father to forgive her “destroyer.” To the depths of the soul touched Patap Maksimych promises not to repair evil to Alexei.
So, repenting, and the servant of God Anastasia reposed.
Alexei returned from the trip at the very moment when the funeral procession with Nastya’s coffin left behind the village outskirts.
Patap Maksimych takes a vow of silence from Alexei. Alexei reports that he ran into Stukolov, Dyukov and Mikhail’s father on the way – they were chasing them in shackles.
Marya Gavrilovna, after meeting with Alexei as if blossoming, announces Manefa that she decided to leave the monastery in the city.
In spring, in the Transvolga, for young people, parties begin. In the hermitages of the same place there are no walks. Here at this time prayers and services are even more zealous.
And Manefa falls a new misfortune, more clean than before. From Peter secretly reported that there is a persecution of the hermitages: icons are sealed and selected, and the monastics are sent to the place of birth.
The abbess decides yet to keep this information in secret, in order to buy cheaper homes in the city for travelers, notifying about the upcoming events only the narrowest circle of trusted mothers. Organizing a congress in Komarovo takes Flenushka.
Before parting with Alexei, Chapurin informed him that Marya Gavrilovna was looking for a clerk, and he, Alexei Chapurin, recommended it to her.
Alexei goes to the provincial town and runs around there from idleness and uncertainty of his position, and from Maria Gavrilovna there is no news.
On the fortieth day of Nastina’s death to Patapa Maksimych many guests come to the wake. Among them is the omnipresent Vasily Borisych, who also has time to sing stichera, and sing out the splendor of Parasha Chapurina.
Embarrasses Chapurin of the Moscow lecturer with his frivolous speeches about the monastic mores.
Vasily Borisych struck those present, and Chapurin especially, with his outlook and fresh eyes on things. In the Trans-Volga region, he says, it is necessary to start various trades, and who will be the first to get there will receive untold profits.
And Chapurin starts to smuggle the calculator to his trading activities, he offers to help at first with advice and money. Whatever Vassily Borissych refuses, Chapurin stands on his own.
Finally, the stubborn merchant almost achieves his. Promises him Vasily Borisych, having executed in six weeks all the instructions given to him in Moscow, to go to Chapurin as clerks. “And he is on his mind:” Only to get out in a good way. “
Marya Gavrilovna became gloomy and silent, sleeps badly, the candle melts steadily on the fire. And then there is a new concern: she received a letter from her brother – he bought a steamer on her behalf and asked whom to send it to. And Alexei did not listen to the rumor… At last he showed up. Without words, they understood each other and parted only at dawn. Maria Gavrilovna leaves the monastery without the slightest regret.
And Alexey skillfully plays on Maria Gavrilovna’s feelings. She already wrote a steamer in his name, even though they are not yet married. Maria Gavrilovna decides only one thing: they will be married in the church of the same faith.
Alexei does not care. The main thing for him is to show off in public. He now dressed as a dandy, picked up all sorts of “sophisticated syllables,” and his pride is added every day.
Zateynitsa Flenushka, which bored the boldness of Vasily Borisych, brings him to Parasha Chapurina. It seems sweet to the kisser of a new love, but he is afraid of Chapurin’s anger, and Parasha herself will not say a word. .. He is glad that he went with the monastic nuns on a pilgrimage to the wonderful degree of Kitezh.
In the motley crowd of pilgrims Vassily Borisitch encounters with the venerable merchant Mark Danilich Smolokurov and his beautiful daughter Dunya.
The nuns invite generous donations to Smolokurov along with Dunya to stay in Komarovo. It joins them and Vasily Borisych, already envied the beauty of Dunin.
And another guest appears in Komarovo, a young merchant Pyotr Stepanovich Samokvasov. He came, it seems, and on business, but most of all he can not wait to meet with Flenushka, who has been driving his third year on a rope.
And she sets the condition for Peter Stepanych: before he gets married himself, let him help Vasily Borisych and Parasha first to surround him. Samokvazov agrees on everything, if only to cover his beloved.
It is time for the congress of mothers from all the hermitages. The whole day there was debate and debate in this cathedral. “He did not finish anything, they did not decide anything on a single article”. The hopes that were assigned to the Moscow draft of Vasily Borisych went to waste. Not church, but worldly, his thoughts are occupied.
Just in the midst of the cathedral a messenger came galloping with the news that in the next few days the ruin of the hermitages would begin. They began to travel to their mothers on their sketes, in order to hide icons, books, and what is more valuable from the hermit’s property from the “servants of Satan.”
Vasily Borisitch accepts the proposal of Chapurin, who, more than ever, wants to involve him in his affairs.
Women and girls who visited Komarovo gather with their company and begin jokingly interrogating unmarried people about how they are going to live with their husband. Flenushka, divorced, said that she would necessarily become her husband to pomrat, but it is unrealizable, she will not grieve mother, she will not leave the monastery. One Dunya Smolokurova stated that she would marry only for love and would share with her husband both joy and sorrow until the very end, but otherwise her Lord will teach…
Dyuni’s speech hears Pyotr Stepanich Samokvasov, who was under the window.
Flenushka, fulfilling the promise she gave Manefa, breaks with Samokvasov, but still demands that he fulfill his promise – helped “to surround the departure” of Vasily Borisych with Parasha. A young merchant, from his word, was not used to giving up. He negotiates with the priest and coachmen – everything is ready for the wedding.
Arrived on business in the provincial town and visiting Kolyshkin, Chapurin is surprised to learn that his former clerk was married to Marya Gavrilovna, became the owner of the house and the steamer and signed up for the first guild.
He does not like all this, but there is nothing to do, we must go to Marya Gavrilovna, ask for a postponement of the debt. Marya Gavrilovna greeted the guest courteously and affably, but said that she now knows all the affairs of her husband, and Alexei who soon appeared to refuse to refuse the debt flatly refuses.
Chapurin is being helped by the same Kolyshkin, who somehow got the necessary twenty thousand. Having received the money, Alexey examines every piece of paper to the light and declares that he will not charge interest on the bill on old bills. Hardly restrained Chapurin.
Pyotr Stepanovich fulfilled his promise: Vasily Borisych and Parasha were surrounded as; can not be better. Patap Maksimych forgave the young and ordered the wedding tables to cook. “The old thousand-year-old wandered out in all directions and in his old age he sinned – he went on dancing with joy.”