In the city of T. on the shabby and dirty Rasteriaev street there live many poor people: petty officials, petty bourgeois, craftsmen. Among them – a young pistol master Prokhor Porfirych. He is “of the noble”: the illegitimate son of a master, a police official. But the origin did not make Prohor’s life easier. Glafira, Prokhor’s mother, was “relegated” to the cook as a cook, and the boy was sent to a drunkard master, where he had to endure both hunger and beating. Then Prokhor tried to conduct business together with his friend, but after a drunken quarrel broke off relations with him and began to work alone.
Prokhor Porfirych considers all the other artisans not to be even to himself, despising them for drunkenness and ignorance. Porfirych himself is restrained and prudent. He does not hurry to bring money to the healer. Prokhor Porfirych dreams of becoming rich by using the general “crazy” and “re-sabbath” for his own purposes.
The old master, Prokhor’s father, is dying. The son extracts from his death all the possible benefits: he builds something out of things and inherits more than he is supposed to. After that, he buys a house for himself from a foolish old woman for himself, deceiving his own mother, since he had to buy a house for her. Prokhor Porfirych acquires a cook and a drunk-apprentice named Krivonogov, who does most of the work for him. Porfirych in various ways is cashing in on the people around him. He buys products for a pittance from those masters who urgently need money to get drunk. He robs the good-natured and stupid shopkeeper Lubkov, he does not disdain Porfirych and pandering: he finds a “virgin” for Kapiton Ivanich, the owner of the shop of steel products, and for this he has the opportunity to sell his pistols at a good price.
In his spare time, Prokhor Porfirych visits his familiar officials, among them Yegor Matveyich Bogobortsev and State General Kalachov. Bogogortsev is indifferent to everything, except the breeding of chickens. And everyone, including Porfirych, considers a general Kalachov to be an extremely ferocious man, whereas this is just a misunderstanding. The general tries to bring to life at least some kind of order and meaning, which causes his family’s horror and rejection. He wants, for example, to cut down the cotswold, which destroys the surrounding garden trees – his wife thinks that her husband wants her to kill her favorite tree.
Another “remarkable personality” of Rasteriaevoy Street is the military clerk Khripushin, who is known in the city as a “medic”. Actually, he gives himself out for a “doctor” in order to visit many houses, everywhere to pass through a glass and conduct conversations. At home, Khripushin can not sit: a pugnacious schismatrix-wife expels him. He often visits Tomilinsky Lane and visits the family of the Pretorpians. Spouses Artamon Ilich and Avdotya Karpovna. The preterpeevs economically conduct their business, they are saving their dowries. They lived a soul in the soul, until the wife decided to give the eldest daughter of the Olympics to the boarding school. “Educated” girl began to strive for a secular life, three younger sisters imitate her in this. Parents indulged their daughters until their farming fell into decay. However, not only do they have to endure... poverty: young Prerupeevs became the object of slander and ridicule for all around them. With grief, the father of the family begins to drink, falls ill and soon dies.
The official Tolokonnikov, who lives on Rasteriaevaya Street, pays attention to the Preterpeevs. He becomes their benefactor: he sends food and presents. The Preterpeneans think that he wants to marry one of the young ladies. But this is not true: Tolokonnikov simply wants to be reverenced before him, so that he is afraid. He has little power over his cook – he wants the same power over the Pretorpians. To do this, he even decides to rent their homes. The PretPenevs do everything to please him, and his treatment with them becomes more and more unceremonious and despotic. He constantly arranges the unfortunate family of the scene, so that its life proceeds in constant fear of Tolokonnikov. Finally, the Preterpeevs begin to rebel: they invite another acquaintance to visit. Tolokonnikov rides away from them in a rage and takes all his gifts. The Pretorpeev family is again in poverty,
The inhabitants of Rasteriaevoy Street are cautious about books. They consider it instructive to consider the fate of an orphan named Alifan. He, learning with great zeal ABC, read the book “The Journey of Captain Cook.” The book made a great impression on him. Alifan peddles small things and tells everyone about Captain Cook. These stories make him a common joke. He’s crazy.
But all the same, not all education rasterayevtsy despise. So, they have great respect for Pelageya Petrovna Balkanova, or Balkanikh, who is very well versed in church matters. Balkanikha is a venerable and harsh woman. My husband feared her unusually. In the city there is a rumor that he died with fear, when his wife found him secretly eating jam. For a widowed Balkaniku beggar petty bourgeois Drykin, got rich in some kind of dark business. Discovering in the Balkaniye an extraordinary mind, Drykin got scared and married a young Nenile. After the wedding, Drykin immediately “pacified” the obstinate spouse.
She became completely submissive, but quietly began to hate her husband. When Drykin became blind, Nenila felt freedom. She does not deal with the economy, she spends money on attire and raises her husband. Balkanikha goes to visit Drykin’s spouses and quarrel them even more.
One of the residents of Balkanikha is a cabman Nikita. The hostess constantly instructs him on the true path. Nikita every time sincerely promises to improve and not to drink any more, but nothing good comes out of these good intentions.
Pelageya Petrovna’s adopted son Kuzka is growing up. He is “fed and put to sleep,” nothing interests his bored soul. At seventeen, Kuzka is unreasonable, like a child. One day Kuzka and Prokhor Porfirych go on a pilgrimage to a neighboring village in the 3rd. There, Kuzka drinks a quarter of the beer on the dispute and dies of unaccustomed to alcohol. And Prokhor Porfirych finds himself a bride on a pilgrimage – Raisa Karpovna. She is the custodian of Captain Burtsev; the captain leaves and promises to give one and a half thousand to those who marry Raisa Karpovna. Learning about this, Prokhor Porfirych decides to marry. He is very pleased with the bargain. The bride is happy and grateful to her fiance.