Fruits of enlightenment
In St. Petersburg, in the rich house of Zvezdintsevs, in front of the mirror, a beautiful and depraved footman Grigori admires him for a long time, lazily responding to the repeated calls of Vasily Leonidich, the master’s son, flirting with Tanya, a cheerful and energetic maid.
In the customary morning bustle, servants scurry about, callers are continuously ringing at the door: artelessik from Bourdieu with a dress and a note for the lady, Sakhatov Sergey Ivanovich, a former ministerial friend, an elegant gentleman, free and interested in everything, a doctor who regularly observes the lady, Yakov Barty, always guilty, awkward and shy. Between the doctor and Sakhatov, a conversation about spiritualism ends and ends. All running around the valet Fyodor Ivanovich, “lover” of education and politics, a man of intelligence and kindness.
A new bell rings at the door. The doorman reports about the arrival of the peasants from the Kursk village, who are bustling about buying land. Among them – Mitry Chilikin, father of the barman Semyon, groom Tanya. While Fyodor Ivanovich is with the master, the peasants and guests are waiting under the stairs.
In the growing bustle between the “eternal” conversation with Sakhatov about spiritualism, the inquiries of the artel, the explanations of Fedor Ivanovich, the new guest of his son, Leonid Fedorovich Zvezdintsev, the retired lieutenant of the horse guard, the owner of twenty-four thousand dessiatines, a gentle, pleasant gentleman, after long explanations the peasants finally understand their request: to accept the amount collected by the whole world, to four thousand rubles in silver at once, and the remaining money in installments – as agreed last year. “It was last year, then I agreed, but now I can not”, – Leonid Fyodorovich denies. The peasants ask, they insist: “It’s encouraging, we straightened the paper…” Leonid Fedorovich promises to think and takes the paper to the office, leaving the peasants in despondency.
At this time Vasily Leonidovich, who, as always, desperately needs money for another venture, having learned the reason for the arrival of the peasants, unsuccessfully tries to convince his father and eventually receives the right amount from his mother. Guys, watching the young master, in perplexity talking each other. “For support, say, the parent is left…”; “This feed, what to say.”
Meanwhile, Betsy, the youngest daughter of Zvezdintsevs, flirting with Petrishchev, a friend of his brother, chatting with Marya Konstantinovna, a music teacher, finally lets go of Bordie, still waiting in the hall: her mother refused to pay the dress – Betsy’s fancy dress is indecent, too open. Betsy sulks: Brother Vova has just received three hundred rubles for the purchase of dogs. Young people are going to sing with Vasily Leonidych under the guitar. Guys, waiting for a decision, marvel at what is happening.
Semyon returns, fulfilling the lady’s usual errands. Tanya with anxiety watches the meeting of the father with his son, as they must agree on the wedding. Guys eagerly await Fyodor Ivanovich, from whom they learn that Leonid Fedorovich is “in session.” Soon Leonid Fyodorovich himself announced a decision: the spirits ordered to refuse and not to sign the paper.
The confused peasants are suddenly noticing the mistress, obsessed with cleanliness and fear of contracting germs. A cry is raised, the lady demands complete disinfection, returns the doctor, who was just released before the evening spiritualistic session began. The doctor advises to do “cheap and angry”: a bottle of water a tablespoon of salicylic acid, wash everything, and “these fellows, of course, out.” Lady, on the move inventing assignments to servants – the main thing is that your fifa, your favorite Fitch, does not catch cold, – she leaves. Petrishchev and Vasily Leonidovich, satisfied, count the money received from maman.
In the absence of the gentlemen, Tanya again quietly returns the peasants. They ask Fyodor Ivanovich once more to make arrangements for them. After a new setback, Tanya suddenly understands that if the paper “only needs to be signed,” she could help: she takes the “document”, sends the peasants to the street, and herself through Fedor Ivanovich summons the master “to say a word” in secret, face to face, and it is revealed to him that Semyon wants to marry her, but “spiritualism” follows him – sits at the table, and the spoon itself in his hands – jumps… Is it dangerous? Leonid Fedorovich calms down Tanya and, to her delight, exactly, according to her plan, gives orders to Fyodor Ivanovich, and ponders how to plant Semyon in the next session with a new medium. Finally, Tanya asks Fyodor Ivanovich “instead of his father’s native” to be her matchmaker, to talk with Father Semyon.
At the beginning of the second act, the peasants and Fyodor Ivanovich in the kitchen are discussing matters: matchmaking, the sale of land, urban and rural life, Tanino’s promise to help. Their conversation is interrupted by the efforts of the cook, the complaints of the driver – from Vasily Leonidich, three males were led – either to the dogs in the coachman’s or to the coachmen to live. ” After the departure of Fyodor Ivanovich, the cook explains to the peasants the charms of the lordly life and the danger of a “sweet life”: always white bread for tea, sugar, dishes are different, from classes – cards and pianoforte in the morning, balls and masquerades. Light work and... free food “mock” the common man. There are a lot of such weakened, dead creatures – the old drunk cook on the stove, the girl Natalia, who died in the hospital. In the kitchen – a lively place – now and then the crush, people change. Semyon, before sitting down with the gentlemen, peeps for a minute to throw a few words with his father – “if God will give, we will get acquainted with the earth, because I’ll take you home, Semka.” Tanya runs in, hurries the servants, treats the peasants, on the run telling them cases from the master’s life. “That’s it, it seems so, that life is good, and another time it’s disgusting for them to clean up all these filths”, and finally shows a paper from behind the apron: “I try, I try… If only one thing was a success… “
Vasily Leonidovich and Sakhatov appear in the kitchen. The same conversation with peasants about the sale of land is repeated. Sakhatov hides a spoon in a bag of one of them, they leave. The rest are laid at night, put out the light. Silence, sighs. Then the footsteps of footsteps, the noise of voices, the doors dissolve wide and swiftly tumble: Grosman blindfolded, holding Sakhatov’s hand, professor and doctor, fat lady and Leonid Fedorovich, Betsy and Petrishchev, Vasily Leonidovich and Marya Konstantinovna, lady and baroness, Fedor Ivanych and Tanya. Guys jump up. They go and look. Grossman stumbles over the bench. The mistress notices the peasants and again raises the tantrum: “diphtheritic infection” around. It does not pay attention to it, so everyone is busy searching for an item. Grosman after a spinning in the kitchen bends down to the purse of the third man and takes out a spoon. General delight. The same, without Betsy, Marya Konstantinovna, Petrishchev and Vasiliy Leonidych, under the supervision of a doctor, check the temperature, the pulse of Grossman, interrupting each other, discussing the nature of hypnosis. The lady still organizes a scandal to Leonid Fyodorovich: “You know only your stupidities, and the house is on me.” You will infect everyone. ” He drives the peasants away and leaves in tears. Tanya with a sigh escorts the peasants to the janitor’s.
In the evening of the same day, the former guests gathered in the drawing-room of Leonid Fedorovich to conduct “experiments.” We are impatiently waiting for Semyon, the new medium. Tanya hides in the room. She notices Betsy, and Tanya opens her plan to her. After Betsy’s departure she, along with Fedor Ivanych, cleans up the room: a table in the middle, chairs, guitar, harmony. They worry about Semyon – whether he is clean. In a suit, washed, Semyon appears. He is being instructed: “Do not think, but give yourself up to the mood: you want to sleep – sleep, you want to walk – go. You can rise to the air…” When Semyon remains alone, Tanya is beside him quietly. Semyon repeats her lessons: “… we need to wet the matches, waving – once with two teeth whipping – that’s the third one has forgotten…” – “And the third thing is most of all: how the paper falls on the table – I’ll ring the bell again, – so you immediately grab hold of your hands.
The theater represents the scenery of the first action. Two “foreign” exit servants. From above the princess and the princess descend. Betsy sees them off. The princess looks at the little book, reads the schedule of her visits, Grigory puts on her boots, then boots the young princess. At the farewell they remember the last session. Grigory argues with the lackeys about the difference between their “low” position and the master’s: “There is no difference.” Today I am a footman, and tomorrow, maybe, I will live no worse than they live. ” LEAVES smoking. Next to him: “Oh, do not like such vertums.” Petrishchev escapes from above, towards him Koko Klingen. They are thrown by charades, they punish, they are preparing for the rehearsal of the domestic play, for the masquerade. Betsy joins them, laughing, talking about yesterday’s spiritualistic “play” with his father. Their chirping alternates with the conversations of servants of lackeys, sluggish Jacob. Tanya joins them: she gave the paper to the peasants. It remains only to ask the owners to calculate – “you can not stay here.” She and Yakov again ask for the intercession of Feodor Ivanitch, each about his own.
During the wires of the old countess with false hair and teeth, in front of Fedor Ivanitch, mistresses and lackeys, the fight between Grigory and Semyon suddenly begins. In response to the lady’s anger, Fedor Ivanovich’s attempts to acquit Semyon Gregory reveals their conspiracy with Tanya and “cheating” in the session. “If it were not for her, the paper would not be signed and the land would not be sold to the peasants.” Scandal. And then the men are rushing to the door, giving the porter the money. The mistress upsets the case, shames Leonid Fyodorovich for all, makes an interrogation to Tanya, threatens to sue the magistrate because of her loss of several thousand. But thanks to Betsy’s intervention, the confession of complicity, the reports of the professor about the thirteenth congress of spiritualists in Chicago, the new fit of fury of the lady against Yakov (“Vaughn, now out!”) And the fear of the “sick”