Two years later, Pantelei Jeremyich Chertopkhanov was hit with all sorts of disasters. The first of them was the most sensitive for him: Masha left him. Chertopkhanov was convinced that the fault of the Machine of Infidelity was a young neighbor, the retired Uhlan captain Yaff, but the reason for everything was the vagrant gypsy blood that flowed in the veins of Masha. Chertopkhanov tried to stop Masha, threatened to shoot her, begged her to shoot him, but nothing helped. Masha went missing. Chertopkhanov drank, then came to himself, and here he was hit by a second disaster.
His crony friend Tikhon Ivanovich Nedopyuskin died. The last two years, he suffered from shortness of breath, fell asleep incessantly, and waking up, for a long time could not come to his senses. The county physician assured him that “shockers” had happened to him. Care Masha very much knocked down Tikhon. After the first frosts, he suffered a real blow. On the same day he died. Tikhon bequeathed his estate to his friend Chertopkhanov, but soon it was sold. For this money Chertopkhanov erected a statue on his grave, which he wrote from Moscow. The statue was supposed to represent a praying angel, but instead he was sent to the goddess Flora. It still stands over the grave of Nedopyuskin.
After the death of his friend Chertopkhanov’s affairs went badly, there was nothing to hunt. Driving one day on horseback in the neighboring village, Chertopkhanov saw that the peasants were beating the Jew. He dispersed the crowd with a whip and took the Jew with him. A few days later, in gratitude for saving the Jew, he brought him a wonderful horse. Out of pride, Chertopkhanov did not want to accept him as a gift and promised to pay 250 rubles in 6 months. He called the horse Malek-Adel.
From that day Malek-Adel became the main concern in the life of Chertopkhanov. He fell in love with the horse more than Masha, and became more attached to him than to Nedopyuskin. Thanks to Malek-Adel, Chertopkhanov had an undoubted, last superiority over his neighbors. Meanwhile, the payment deadline was approaching, and Chertopkhanov had no money. Two days before his term, he inherited from a distant aunt 2000...
A year later Chertopkhanov returned home with Malek-Adel. He told Perfishka how he found his horse at the fair in Romny, and how he had to buy it from the gypsy-baryshnik. At heart he was not entirely sure that the horse he had brought was really Malek-Adel, but drove those thoughts away. Most of all Chertopkhanov was embarrassed by the differences in the habits of that Malek-Adel and this.
Once Chertopkhanov drove through the backyard of the priest’s settlement surrounding the local church. The deacon who met him congratulated Chertopkhanov on the acquisition of a new horse. To the objection of Chertopkhanov that the horse is the same, the deacon protested that Malek-Adel was a gray suit in apples, and now he was the same, although he should have turned white – the gray suit is white in time. After this conversation, Chertopkhanov rushed home, locked himself in a key and began to drink.
After drinking half a bucket of vodka, Chertopkhanov took a pistol and led Malek-Adel to the neighboring forest to shoot the imposter. At the last moment he changed his mind, drove away the horse and went home. Suddenly something pushed him in the back – Malek-Adel returned. Chertopkhanov snatched the pistol, put the barrel to the forehead of the horse, fired and rushed away. Now he understood that this time he had done away with himself.
Six weeks later, the Cossack Perfishka stopped the passing manor of the bailiff and informed him that Chertopkhanov had fallen and apparently was dying. All this time he drank without drying out. Stanovoi ordered the Cossack woman to go to the priest’s house. That very night Panteley Yeremeych died. The coffin was escorted by two people: Perfishka da Moselle Leiba, who did not fail to pay his last debt to his benefactor.