Pushkin’s story “The Captain’s Daughter” tells about several months of military service of the hereditary nobleman Petr Andreevich Grinev in the Belogorsky fortress during the peasant riots of 1773 under the leadership of Emelian Pugachev.
The narrative is conducted from the first person, in the form of diary entries of Peter Grinev himself, the direct participant of the events described. We offer to familiarize with the description of the main characters of the novel and read online “The Captain’s Daughter” in a brief summary of the chapters.
Peter Grinev – 17-year-old boy, the son of an officer. The main character, on whose behalf the narrative of the times of the peasant uprising led by Pugachev is
Emelian Pugachev is an impostor and leader of the popular anti-war riot, which ended in the arrest and execution of the instigator.
Marya Mironova – the main female character of the story, the daughter of the commandant of the fortress, beloved Grinev.
Alexei Shvabrin – the antipode of Grinev, a nobleman who served in the fortress. The story is presented as an intelligent, but sneaky person.
Grinev’s parents are provincials from a poor noble family, whose only child was the protagonist Petrusha.
Ivan Kuzmich Mironov – captain of the fortress, which is captured by rebels, father of Masha Mironova.
Vasilisa Yegorovna Mironova is the wife of Ivan Kuzmich and Masha’s mother. A faithful and brave woman who preferred to die next to her husband.
Arkhip Savelich is a faithful servant and aspiring, attached by Grinev’s parents to their son from an early age.
An excursion into the past
Childhood of the main hero passed in a family estate in Simbirsk province. Peter was the only son of his parents: the retired Major Andrei Petrovich Grinev and Avdotya Vasilyevna, a hereditary noblewoman. The family, according to estimates of the time, was well-off: 300 peasants, a mansion, buildings, hectares
The boy grew up in the absence of brothers and sisters who died in infancy. The trustworthy servant of the Savelyich family took care of him. He cradled with the boy, as with his own son, taught him mind-reason on examples of epic heroes, pictures of the surrounding nature, took him on a hunt, fishing. The educator himself could read the text quite smoothly and write a letter, he knew many fairy tales, proverbs, sayings.
But this landlord Andrei Petrovich seemed not enough. The officer and nobleman wanted to give his son a more versatile education. And following the example of other aristocratic families, he invites a tutor from Moscow to work. True, in the past, Monsieur Bohpre was only a hairdresser, but this does not change matters. The main thing is that he is a native speaker of the French language, a connoisseur of manners.
Most of all this turn of events upset Savyelich. He constantly grumbled that it would not lead to good, he did not want to trust the boy with a stranger. He did not like the teacher at first sight. Savelich’s rightness was confirmed. Gouverner did not even think of doing business with Petrusha, but he did not skip a single skirt, drank and mooch. Having made sure of the failure of the organization of home schooling, Andrei Petrovich refused to take his place. And the dapper Bopri retired from his estate in a similar way, leaving a couple of illegitimate babies to himself.
To the service!
According to the established rules, the heirs of the noble family were even attributed to this or that regiment of the imperial army at a young age. Peter Grinev was no exception. The only thing that my father did was to replace him with the “registry office”: instead of guards, he chose a remote garrison, where they exiled the defrauded. At the same time Andrei Petrovich said: “What will he learn while serving in Petersburg?
At the insistence of the parent Peter is sent to serve in the Orenburg province. Of course, the young man is annoyed. Like any provincial, he is attracted by the capital. But nothing can be done. Since the offspring of the venerable family are still very few years old, the faithful Savelich is also detached with him. Peter’s mentor is entrusted with luggage with linen and tea set, gives all the money for storage, instructs in detail. Flattered by the trust and responsibility entrusted to him, the former stepladder sets out on his journey.
But the first stop in the tavern puts everything in its place. Peter coldly tells his guardian that he, Grinev, is in charge here, and the servant is free to obey. “Lord’s child” requires money to pay the debt, and Savelich fiercely refuses. Where did the debt originate? Inexperienced, Peter let himself be dragged into a billiard match, deciding that he had a good cue, and, of course, miscalculated. Lost in the nines.
A new friend, captain Zurin, demands a payout of 100 rubles. Savelich, with tears in his eyes, persuades the young master to refuse to compensate for the loss, refer to youth, windiness, appeal to the orders of the priest, but Grinev Jr. is adamant, he stands unshakably: “It’s a matter of honor.” Duty is to pay! “
Buran in the steppe
Shamed, after payment of the debt, Grinev gives the floor to Savelich no longer to get involved in any doubtful enterprises. But again he commits a blunder, this time, in view of his own carelessness. Despite the sure signs of an impending hurricane, he forces the driver and Savelich to move along the route.
Finally, the whole trio is stuck in the snow-covered steppe. Two adult men slightly blame the young master for his intractability, because it was time to turn back, and everything would have turned out… Now it’s too late. Peter himself is annoyed at his frivolity. Horses do not see the road, everything has skidded, they will have to spend the night on the road, and it is not known whether they will survive in this hell.
The situation is saved by an occasional passerby. He wanders one, wrapped in a flimsy armenak, but correctly indicates the direction from which “veins live.” “He was about forty years old, of medium height, lean and broad-shouldered, his black beard was showing a squint, his large large eyes were running, his face was rather pleasant, but picaresque.” After a while, the whole company safely travels to a warm hut. Wanting to thank the fellow traveler, Peter asks Savelich to give it “for vodka”, but the treasurer, remembering the recent fabulous loss “because of billiards”, categorically refuses, saving the remaining rubles. Then Peter Grinev gives the traveler a hare toe, so that “it was not so cold”. A new acquaintance is very grateful to him for this, and Savelich is upset.
In the Belogorsky Fortress
Young Grinev at an audience with an Orenburg general explains to what kind of such “iron gauntlets” the father used to say in his letter to him. This means, they say, “be more kind.” The general doubts the correctness of these words.
Finally, Grinev arrives at the service in a remote garrison, gets acquainted with the inhabitants of the town, and in fact the villages.
The fortress is located 40 versts from Orenburg, on the banks of the Yaik River. There is a priest here. Local residents are engaged in fishing, hunting, trade, truck farming. Servants are trained on the parade ground, occasionally firing from a single cannon.
The young military man is not very happy with the place where his fate threw it. “Where did it lead me? In a blind fortress on the border of Kirghiz-Kaisak steppes!” One joy is a friendly, friendly family of the commandant of the fortress. In the family there are three: Ivan Kuzmich himself, his wife Vasilisa Egorovna and daughter Mashenka. Petr Grinev marvel at the order in the family of Mironovs: mother dominates, and all household members obediently obey. “Vasilisa Yegorovna also looked at the affairs of the service as her master, and ruled the fortress as accurately as her home.” Grinev often remembers his quiet and uncomplaining mother, who every time burst into tears, meeting with a strict or unfair attitude towards the household by Andrei Petrovich. Vasilissa Egorovna Mironova was the complete opposite of Avdotya Vasilyevna, she was able to stand up for herself.
Petra was placed in an apartment with the Cossack Semen Kuzov. At the first meeting with the commandant Pyotr learns that it was Semyon who allowed the grass in her garden. It turns out, to take a tenant as a lodger meant at least somehow to compensate the damage to the family of Mironovs.
Insidiousness of Shvabrin
The days of service stretched, monotonous and faceless, and where to get to the events, if the daily routine is adjusted to the minute. The only thing that bothered Grinev was the undisguised dislike that his colleague Alexei Shvabrin constantly showed around him. Initially, Grinev could not detect the origins of this dislike to him personally, but soon they became obvious. Shvabrin “put an eye” on the captain’s daughter and quite naturally took Grinev as a dangerous rival. To begin with, he started defaming a poor girl. But the further communication with Masha led to the conclusions: all slander is groundless and simply deceitful. In fact, the commandant’s daughter is sensitive, deep, gentle, honest. True, besides the coward, as Vasilisa Egorovna recommended her.
Still parents very much experience because of absence of a dowry at the maiden on выдаье. What does she have? Only “a frequent crest, yes a broom, yes altyn money”, that is, nothing. In those days, the lackeyed girl could well have remained a virgin deva. Married to poor girls young people only for a great, unearthly love. Unable to cope with feelings, sometimes went against the parents. But for this they could be deprived of the fortune. “Perhaps, there is a kind man, let him take our daughterless woman in marriage,” the Mironovs said with hope.
Youth is painfully lonely, but Peter, except as with Shvabrin, and there was no one to communicate with. Of course, the newcomers were handed over by the newsmen: Aleksei Ivanovich was tried for “murder”, that’s why he was exiled to the deaf Orenburg corner. But Peter was not bothered by this. Pure in spirit, he forgave people for any sins. Grinev was dejected by the imminent end of any conversation with Shvabrin: stinging remarks about Masha and her family.
Duel and letter home
One day Peter wrote poems in which the female name was Maria, and for some reason showed them to Shvabrin. He upbraided the literary graphomaniac, assuming that he was in love with the daughter of the commandant. Yes, only poetry, in his understanding, the path to the heart of a beauty can not be laid. It is necessary to back up with material offerings. A pier, the captain’s daughter is avid. “If you want Masha Mironova to go to you at dusk, then instead of tender verses give her a pair of earrings.”
Grinev shocked to the depths of his soul with another slander, in anger he calls Shvabrin a liar, and this is a serious insult to the officer. The one in response causes the opponent to a duel. They agree to fight at swords for ricks at 7 o’clock in the morning.
Lieutenant Ivan Ignatievich, the second person in the fortress after the commandant, called in seconds, managed to upset “this killing”, but the opponents will meet again. Taking advantage of Grinev’s confusion, Shvabrin inflicts a penetrating injury to his opponent just below the shoulder. Peter Grinev falls and loses consciousness. He wakes up only after 5 days and first sees Masha near his bed.
Grinev feels that he loves this girl, loves selflessly. Still not recovering from the illness, he decides to write a letter to his parents asking for a blessing to marry. Masha agrees to become his wife, and this is happiness. But the girl warns: this will happen only if the parents of Peter take her into the family.
Magnanimous Grinev forgave Shvabrin and does not hold evil against him. Especially since he was imprisoned for his “murder”, as Ivan Kuzmich, indignant at the incident, said. Soon the answer comes from Andrei Petrovich Grinev. Alas, disappointing for his son. Having become agitated for the offspring, who nearly died in a duel, Grinyov, the elder, forbids him to think about marriage. Believing from the height of past years that Peter has not yet become an adult, once he is ready to lose his life because of a trifle, “because of the poem.”
The commotion in the city, the attack on the fortress
Rumors of unrest among the people reached the remote garrison before. Like, a runaway thief Emelka Pugachev hammered a gang and goes with her to the king himself. “He collected a villainous gang, made indignation in the villages of Yaitsk and already took and ruined several fortresses.”
Ivan Kuzmich arranges meetings secretly from everyone, which causes Vasilisa Yegorovna’s displeasure, which has become accustomed to running affairs in the fortress, both everyday and military. The commandant is preparing the garrison for defense and is going to “take appropriate measures to repel the aforementioned villain and impostor.” However, the defenders’ forces are too small, and it is not necessary to count on reinforcements. All the hope that the enemy will pass by.
However, the worst forecasts come true. Just in case, Ivan Kuzmich asks to take Masha away and says goodbye first with her, and then with her beloved wife. But the roads to Orenburg are cut, and the daughter can not leave anywhere. The rebellious peasants and Cossacks attack the Belogorsky fortress, it surrenders under the pressure of besiegers, especially since part of the local population, including the sergeant, is moving to the side of Pugachev.
Arrests, executions and looting begin. The gibbet is set on the parade ground. The invaders offer the commandant of the fortress Mironov and his officers to swear allegiance to the new Emperor – Emelian Pugachev. Those in turn, proudly raising their heads, refuse, declaring that they swore the empress and will not change their honest word. Ivan Kuzmich and Ivan Ignatich were executed. The queue for Peter Grinev. He is ready to die for the queen and the Fatherland. But he is unexpectedly rescued by Savelich, who falls at the feet of an impostor and asks to exchange his own useless life for the life of a young baryuk. Pugachev unexpectedly agrees to release Grinev without any conditions. Peter is at a loss why, and how it all happened. He is released home, and the rest are what? Only in the evening, Savelich reminded him of the meeting on the road, about the search for a snow-covered inn with the help of a guide. Surely he did not recognize in Pugachev the one whom he had bestowed with a rabbit’s sheepskin coat? Grinev is shocked by the denouement. But he is given a life, and this is important.
Vasilisa Egorovna runs out of the house. The Cossacks turned everything upside down in her house. A poor woman demands to take her to her husband, thinking that he is captivated. When suddenly he notices Ivan Kuzmich among the unfortunate hanged people. Now her life is not at all expensive. One of the Cossacks, swinging, mortally wounded his mother’s mother.
And Masha Mironova herself, in a feverish delirium, rushes on the bed in the house of the priest. In the same wards Pugachev and his retinue also settled down. He asks who is moaning there, behind the partition. The priest assures that his own niece got a little sick. You can not tell that this is the daughter of the commandant: a sure death.
And Savelych has grown bolder, he is not afraid to present to the accompanying accountant for the spoiled manorial good and includes there “sheepskin”. Pugachev is struck by the persistence of Savelyich and menacingly refuses him on all counts. But later he sends to Grinev a good horse, a fur coat and a half-ruble.
Departure to Orenburg
Peter unhindered release from the fortress, while Emelyan Pugachev punishes him to demand from the Orenburg general to surrender the city. On the eve they talk for a long time, Pugachev tells a Kalmyk fairy tale about an eagle and a crow, with a philosophical overtones. Here are just the conclusions from the tale, both make different. Grinev categorically rejects the proposal of the new “sovereign”: “I am a natural nobleman, I swore allegiance to the Empress Empress: I can not serve you.”
Peter leaves with a heavy heart, because the beloved remains. He is sent with a report about the atrocities of the rebels to the general and proposes, without postponing the attack on the Belogorsky fortress. There is a military council, to which city officials are invited. By counting the votes, it was decided not to make any military sorties, to keep the defense of the city. “All the officials spoke about the unreliability of the troops, about the unfaithfulness of luck, about caution and the like.” Still it is not known, than these sorties, they say, will end. Peter is shocked by their cowardice and confused. How to help Masha?
Pugachev’s detachments, which are becoming more numerous day by day, are trying to attack the fortified districts of Orenburg, but this time their military happiness is changing. The city managed to resist. The defense is impenetrable. Only occasionally detachments of cavalry leave Orenburg for reconnaissance, but only a short distance from the city walls.
On one of these trips, Grinev meets a sergeant who has taken the side of the insurgents. He sends him a message from Masha. Grinev, worried, opens the packet. It turns out that Shvabrin, appointed by the rebels as the new commandant of the fortress, gave her only three days of meditation. After that, he threatens to take Masha into a wife by force. A brief retelling of the thoughts and experiences of the captain’s daughter can be conveyed by a quote from her letter – “It is better to die than to be with Shvabrin.”
Worried, shocked, disdained danger, Peter goes to Belogorsky fortress alone, he is accompanied by the faithful Savelich. On the way, they have to go through a little mess while trying to pass the Cossack posts.
With great difficulty and with personal permission of Pugachev himself, the captain’s daughter is taken out of the fortress. Finally, Shvabrin makes the last attempt to keep Masha: he informs the impostor that the girl is the daughter of the executed commandant Mironov, and hence the daughter of the enemy. Despite this, after listening to the muddled and worried explanations of Grinev, Pugachev does not cancel the original decision. “To execute, so to execute, to complain, so to give: this is my custom.”
Trip to relatives and military investigation
The uprising choked, scattered detachments of the Pugachev forces retreated beyond the Urals. Peter Grinev sent the orphan Masha to his parents, and they accepted her as their own. Helped with the sending of the future daughter-in-law of the Grinevs to Simbirsk, the same captain, Zurov, who at one time received for his winnings in billiards 100 rubles.
But over the happy bridegroom the clouds thickened, although he unreasonably believed that all the worst was over. Petr Andreevich is summoned to the investigator, who reads the accusation: the officer Grinev entered into a relationship with the rebel, came to him for an audience and, probably, spied in favor of the impostor. This denunciation was written by none other than… Shvabrin, who was arrested earlier and imprisoned. Grinev tries to justify himself, but with horror understands that, without mentioning the name of Masha, he can not do this. And makes a firm decision to remain silent. The investigation finds Grinev guilty, he faces a hanging, which at the last moment was replaced by a life-long settlement in Siberia.
Broken terrible news of the betrayal of his son’s father, has fallen from grief mother. Did the nobleman Grinev break the word, betrayed the Empress, became a defector? The whole family suffers, and Masha as well. But she, unlike the old parents, understands that it’s all in her, in the complete reluctance of Peter Grinev to justify himself. Do not allow a noble man to tarnish her name with suspicions and interrogations. Better go to hard labor.
Masha decides to go to the audience to the Empress herself, she is soon going on the road. The old people decide that the bride of her son changed her mind about becoming the wife of a villainous traitor and releasing her with tears. However, Masha, after only a few days in Tsarskoe Selo, returns triumphantly. She brings the paper with an impression of the Empress herself on the innocence of Pyotr Andreevich Grinev. Soon he will be released with apologies and removal of all suspicions of treason and espionage.
What happened? Masha managed to prove that only from nobility Peter Grinev did not call on the investigation of her name that he met Emelian Pugachev solely because he tried to rescue her from captivity, that never a straightforward and honest officer did not betray the Fatherland, but, on the contrary, served the Empress by faith and the truth according to the oath.
Masha’s bridegroom suddenly becomes a rich bride, she was endowed with the savior of her fiancé. “This is only a small thing that I can do for the daughter of the valiant commandant of the fortress Ivan Mironov,” the Empress said goodbye.
Soon the wedding will be played, the young ones will settle in Simbirsk province.
And Emelyan Pugachev will be brought to Red Square and executed on the frontal place. Pyotr Grinyov will arrive in Moscow in order to look the last time in the eyes of the person to whom he is so much obliged. Their views will meet.
The proposed version of the “Captain’s Daughter” in the abbreviation is completed by a high school teacher and includes all the main events of Pushkin’s story.