Canteen. Morning. A set table with a snack. The action takes place in the estate of the leader of the local nobility. Nikolai Ivanovich Balagolayev invited one of his neighbors, a judge and a former leader in the morning, to resolve the dispute between Kaurova, the 45-year-old widow of the lieutenant and her brother, landowner Ferapont Bezpandin, a retired college registrar. The dispute lasts for three years. Both, Kaurova and Bespandin, a native aunt left her estate by will, and they, as the leader says: “Well, they can not share, even if you crack” …
Both are terribly stubborn and mercilessly traded; on the stubbornness of his sister – a kind of Gogol’s Box of Dead Souls, only more aggressive and impudent. Gogol himself attended the reading of the comedy; according to his contemporaries, he said about Kaurov: “A woman is good”!
“It came to the court before the trial, the higher authorities were asked to give petitions: have they long to trouble?” Says the leader. “So I finally decided to stop, so to speak, with a firm hand the root of evil, to stop, finally, today I have a date for a meeting, but this is the last time, and there I will take other measures… Let the court sort them out. “
At first the widow pretends to be obedient sheep: “I agree with everything, I am a gentle man… I will not contradict Nikolai Ivanovich, where am I, I’m a widow defenseless: I’m hoping for you… But Ferapont Ilyich wants me… Well, God with him, if only the kids did not kill the children.
Then the swara begins.
“Now, you see, the main difficulty is that Mr. Bespandin and their sister do not want to live in the same house, so the estate should be divided, and there is no way to split it,” the leader explains in the course of the disputes.
Finally, Bespandin is ready to give up the house, but hopes for a reward.
“Kaurova. Nikolay Ivanovich! It’s a trick. This is a trick on his part, Nikolai Ivanovich! He hopes to get the best land, hemp, and so on. What’s his home for? He has his own. But my aunt’s house is bad enough…
Bespandin. If he is so bad…
Kaurov. I will not give up the hemp. Have mercy! I’m a widow, I have children… What will I do without hemp, judge for yourself.
Bespandin. If it’s bad…
Kaurov. Your will…
If he is so bad, give it to me and let you be rewarded.
Kaurov. Yes! I know your rewards! .. some tiny badge, a stone on a rock, or, even worse, a marsh some where there is a reed, which even peasant cows do not eat!
Balagalayev. There is no such swamp in your estate at all…
Kaurov. Well, not a swamp, so something else like that. No, reward… I humbly thank you: I know what kind of reward it is! “
Finally, one of the present, the landowner Alupkin, who only recently settled in these places, can not stand it.
“What do all the women in this district have?”
“There are worse things,” the neighbor, the poor landowner Mirvolin, answers.
Kaurov Alupkina still later chastises, having seized the right moment: “Why are you doing this, my master, throwing everything at me?” Or do you have such a custom in Tambov? Whence suddenly appeared, no one knows, no one knows, and what kind of person, the Lord knows him, but look at how he mocks! “
And later, and then it will be: “You are crazy! He’s crazy. “
Even Bespandin at some point will take up arms against him:
” – Your Majesty! Let me find out from what right…
Alupkin. Do you intercede for your sister?
Bespandin. It’s not at all for my sister: my sister is my fuck! .. and I’m honoring the name. “
But the leader tried to solve the problem after all:
“- Gentlemen, gentlemen! Allow me, let me… I must ask you to keep silent for a while. I here that offer. We will now divide the whole dacha into two sections; in one there will be a house with a farmstead, and to another we will add a little extra land, and let them then choose.
Bespandin. I agree.
Kaurov. And I do not agree.
Balagalayev. Why do not you agree?
Kaurov. And who will have to choose the first?
Balagalayev. We cast lots.
Kaurov. Save, Lord, and have mercy! What are you saying! No way! What are we, non-Christians, like? “
Balagalayev orders the clerk to read through his notebook the original draft of the section. But there endless details… “The direction of the line from the point, A” … “Up to point B, at the corner of the dam…” “The owner of the first site is obliged to relocate two yards to his account in the second section; and used hemp farmers for two years… “.
Kaurov. I do not intend to relocate peasants, I do not intend to give in. “
These ridiculous, bazaar disputes last long.
And where is the nobility’s honor, education, nobility? Alas, anything can happen in any class.
After long disputes, ridiculous insults, the reader is ready to repeat after the leader: “The head seems to be coming around… Excuse me, gentlemen… I’m not able… I do not understand what you’re saying to me, I can not, I can not, I can not! “
“Well, let’s have a drink, Mirvolin, we’ll have a drink,” the judge of one of the present, the poor landowner, is calling. “There’s an amicable sharing for you!”
Life and customs of the landlord environment. The situation is heavy, unhappy. The struggle for their interests is fierce. And what about the wordless serf?