In anticipation of the young landowner Eletskaya, who married a St. Petersburg official, the whole estate is buzzing with preparations. Finally, the young people come. They were trained with bread and salt and musicians. Yeletsky immediately takes command, intending to conduct the affairs of the estate.
At dinner time, guests and “local people who lived on the bread” gathered around the ruined landlords. One of the freeloaders Kuzovkin, who still lived here under Eletskaya’s father and became a jester with him. Supporting the foundations of the estate, a neighbor Karpachev puts on a comic cap on tipsy Kuzovkin. Kuzovkin, humiliated and insulted before the new master, under the intoxication admits that he is the real father of Eletskaya.
The next act begins with a conversation between Kuzovkin and Eletskaya in which Kuzovkin tells the story of his life before the birth of Olga Petrovna. Olga requires proof of Kuzovkin’s paternity, but he can not provide them, only his word, yes, and he does not intend to prove anything. Olga Petrovna gives Kuzovkin money for the ransom of his estate.
The guests gather again and Kuzovkin is informed that he won a lawsuit in his estate.