Two young girls, “poplar and birch”, Lizaveta Grigoryevna Bakhareva and Eugenia Petrovna Glovatskaya return from Moscow after graduation from the institute. Along the way, they enter the monastery to Aunt Bakhareva, Mother Superior of Agnia, where Lisa shows new views on the role of women in the family and life. There, the girls get acquainted with the ingenuous young nun Feoktistoy, who lost her husband and child and escaped to the monastery from her stern mother-in-law. In the village of Merevo, the girls are greeted by the leader Yegor Nikolayevich Bakharev with “childishly simple-hearted blue eyes,” restrained Pyotr Lukich Glovatsky, Lisa’s mother Olga Sergeevna and her sisters: Zinaida, who married the landowner Shatohin, but periodically runs away from her husband to her parents, and Sonia, young lady, what a lot. ” Here is the candidate of jurisprudence Justin Pomada, “very pretty,
Soon Glovatsky and his daughter leave for the district hail, where the father again performs the duties of the schoolmaster of the school, and Jenny is willing to take up a simple farm. Frequent guests of their house are two “respectable young people” Nikolai Stepanovich Vyazmitinov and Alexei Pavlovich Zarnitsyn, a doctor Rozanov and several other people who make up “a circle of very short and very friendly to a friend of not demanding people – a completely new phenomenon in the county’s life.” Zarnitsyn urges Glovatsky to the high calling of a citizen, Vyazmitinov is mostly silent, and the doctor is a hot fan of “modest virtues of Jenny”. Glovatskaya never misses and is not burdened by the quiet monotony of her life. Lisa remains in Mereva, but one day she comes to Glovatskaya and asks to take her from a family where everything is “fussy and dead” otherwise it will turn into a “demon” and “monster”. Jenny refuses to take Lisa to her place, Vyazmitinov supplies her with books, and Jenny goes off and makes sure of the girlfriend’s rightness. After talking with her sister, threatening to take Lisa away to her, if she is not allowed to exist “according to her nature,” Bakharev sends his eldest daughter to her husband by force, and Liza gives her the best room. After talking with her sister, threatening to take Lisa away to her, if she is not allowed to exist “according to her nature,” Bakharev sends his eldest daughter
to her husband by force, and Liza gives her the best room. At a farewell party before leaving for the winter in the provincial city, Jenny and Lisa are attracted to the young foreigner Rainer. In the Epiphany evening, after an unpleasant episode at the ball, when Lisa stood up for the honor of Jenny, she almost froze along the road, Returns to Merevo, where he decides to exist alone. The old man Bakharev sees that the daughter is not right, but she pities her and believes the words of Agnia about Bakharev’s disposition, the ideas of anxiety that must pass. Lisa comes to Glovatsky extremely rarely, only for Vyazmitinov’s books. She reads randomly, and all close people seem to her “monuments of past attachments,” living not in the world, but in the “world.” On one evening at Glovatsky there is a remarkable dispute in which Rozanov, in opposition to Zarnitsyn, asserts that “every nation has its own dramatic struggle”, which does not differ word-for-word. Brother Jenny, Hippolytus, imprisoned for student business, his fate is decided by the intercession and communications of the abbess Agnia. Zarnitsyn conceals and, portraying himself as a politician, puts proclamations in the pocket of the inspector of the school of the Greek Safya-nos. Vyazmitinov is more serious and has common business with Rainer. Soon Vyazmitinov admits Jenny in love. And on the Holy Week, Rosa’s sympathetic Rosa Lisa urges him to give up the life the doctor leads and leave. The doctor gives a promise and soon leaves for Moscow. The family of Bakharevs also goes there.
In Moscow, Rozanov settles down at his university friend, the investigating officer, Evgraf Fedorovich Nechai and his wife Dashi, gets acquainted with the regular visitors of their apartment – the hostess of the house by Captain Davydovskaya and the proofreader Ardalion Arapov, who introduces Rozanov to the Moscow circle of “his” people and Kazimierz’s house Ratsiborsky, who later turned out to be a Polish conspirator who decided to use “new people” for his own purposes. Arapov represents the doctor of the “strange” person – already familiar to Rozanov Frenchman Rainer, as well as Beloyartsev, Zavulonov and other “socialists.” Arapov represents a doctor of “someone else’s” man – already familiar to Rozanov Frenchman Paradise