A young man of twenty-six is a petty official who has lived for eight years in Petersburg in the 1840s, in one of the lucrative houses along the Catherine Canal, in a room with cobwebs and smoky walls. After the service, his favorite pastime is walking around the city. He notices passers-by and at home, some of them become his “friends.” However, among people he has almost no friends. He is poor and alone. With sadness, he watches how the residents of St. Petersburg are going to the dacha. He has nowhere to go. Outside the city, he enjoys the northern spring nature, which is like a “stunted and sick” girl, for one instant becoming “wonderfully beautiful.”
Returning home at ten in the evening, the hero sees a female figure at the canal grille
In the second meeting they decide to listen to each other’s “stories”. The hero begins. It turns out that he is a “type”: in “strange corners of Petersburg” similar “middle-born creatures” like “dreamers” live, whose
Because of the rain, the third meeting of the heroes takes place only through the night. Nastenka is afraid that the bridegroom will not come again, and can not hide her excitement from her friend. She feverishly dreams about the future. The hero is sad, because he himself loves the girl. And yet the Dreamer gets selflessness to console and reassure Nastenka, who has fallen in spirit. Touched, the girl compares the groom to a new friend: “Why is it not you? .. He is worse than you, even though I love him more than you.” And he continues to dream: “Why do we all go wrong, brothers and brothers?” Why does the best person always seem to be hiding something from the other and keeping silent from him? <…> everyone looks as if he is more severe than he really is… “Gratefully accepting the sacrifice of the Dreamer, Nastenka also takes care of him:” you are recovering, “” you… love… ” “God give you happiness with her!” In addition, now with the hero forever and her friendship.
And then at last the fourth night. The girl finally felt thrown “inhumanly” and “cruelly”. The dreamer again offers help: go to the offender and make him “respect” the feelings of Nastenka. However, pride awakens in her: she no longer loves the deceiver and will try to forget him. The “barbaric” act of the tenant emphasizes the moral beauty of a friend sitting next to him: “would you not do this, would you not abandon the one who came to you herself, in the eyes of a shameless mockery of her weak, stupid heart?” The dreamer no longer has the right to hide the truth already guessed by the girl: “I love you, Nastenka!” He does not want to “torment” her with his “egoism” in a bitter moment, but suddenly his love will prove to be necessary? And indeed, in response, he says: “I do not like him, Nastenka escapes from the hands of the hero and rushes to meet him. Already, it would seem, the self-fulfilling hope for happiness, for a real life leaves the Dreamer. He silently looks after the lovers. Nastenka escapes from the hands of the hero and rushes to meet him. Already, it would seem, the self-fulfilling hope for happiness, for a real life leaves the Dreamer. He silently looks after the lovers.
The next morning the hero receives a letter from a happy girl asking for forgiveness for involuntary deception and with gratitude for his love, “cured” her “murdered heart.” The other day she is getting married. But her feelings are contradictory: “Oh God, if I could love you both at once!” And yet the Dreamer must remain “eternally friend, brother…”. Again he is alone in a suddenly “aged” room. But fifteen years later he recalls with tenderness his short love: “May you be blessed for the moment of bliss and happiness that you have given to another, a lonely, grateful heart!” … A whole minute of bliss! for the rest of human life? .. “