In the 60’s. XVIII century. Stepan Mikhailovich Bagrov, the grandfather of the narrator (it’s easy to guess that Aksakov talks about his own grandfather), “he began to live closely” in the different Simbirsk “step-father.”
Stepan Mikhailovich was not educated, but “his natural mind was healthy and bright”, he is certainly just and an excellent master: the peasants loved him.
In Ufa province (later – Orenburg province) many for a pittance, for a treat Bashkir elders, received the richest land; Bagrov did not want to use the simplicity of the Bashkirs and honestly bought five thousand acres of land in Buguruslan. At that time the Orenburg province, which was still “untouched”
Peasants Bagrova difficult to move from his father’s graves in the Busurman side; but an unheard-of crop harvested in a new place, soon consoled them. Immediately put the mill: the whole village did not sleep before that night, “on all faces there was something solemn,” dozens of people amicably, with an “unceasing scream” borrowed the zaimku…
The landlord and peasants loved the New Bagrovo. The old Troitskoe was waterless: people have already ruined the forest lakes and the river Maina. With the light hand of Bagrov, the resettlement multiplied, the neighbors appeared, for whom Bagrov became a “true benefactor,” helping bread during the famine years, resolving quarrels. And this kind man sometimes became a “wild beast” during outbursts of anger, caused, however, by serious reasons, for example, deceit: it was almost insane to find out when he brutally beat up Arin Vasilyevna’s wife, domestic and even daughters.
The whole chapter is devoted to the life of the house of the Crimson in one of the bright days of Stepan Mikhailovich: Aksakov admires the smallest details, describes the grandfather’s room and the arrangement of the old frame, the squeak of mosquitoes, which the author even loves, because they remind him of his childhood… The wife and daughters are happy that the owner woke up cheerful: their love for Bagrov is mixed with fear, they are servile before him and then deceive him not as relatives, but almost like servants. The owner spends the day on the field, at the mill and remains satisfied; in the evening on the porch looks at the long-deadly dawn and is baptized before going to sleep on the starry sky.
The second extract from the “Family Chronicle” – “Mikhail Maksimovich Kurolesov” – is dedicated to the dramatic story of Praskovia Ivanovna Bagrovoy, cousin Stepan Mikhailovich. For a rich fourteen-year-old orphan, Major Kurolesov took care of himself, “a goose, a striped goose,” as his subordinate people called him. Kurolesov is handsome, intelligent, amiable and fascinated both the girl and her family; Stepan Mikhailovich, the guardian of Parasha, from whom she lived, is alarmed by rumors about the major’s disrespect: “although he himself was hot to rabies, but unkind, evil and cruel without anger people – could not stand.” In the absence of Stepan Mihajlovic, Parasha is extradited to Kurolesov, which was helped by the wife and daughter of Bagrov; the anger of the returned Bagrov is such that “the older daughters were ill for a long time, and my grandmother did not have a braid and for a whole year she went with a plaster on her head”
In the marriage Praskovya Ivanovna is obviously happy, suddenly grew up and, incidentally, unexpectedly fervently fell in love with her cousin; Kurolesov became an exemplary landowner, it was only heard that “strictly.”
When Kurolesov finally arranged his farm and he had free time, his evil inclinations awakened in him: leaving his wife to Ufa villages, he drinks and corrupts; worst of all, his need is to torment people; many perished from his tortures. With the wife of Kurolesov quiet and polite, she does not suspect anything. Finally, a relative tells her the truth about her husband and about the serfs who are tortured by him, according to the law, they belong to Praskovie Ivanovna. A brave woman, taking only a maid with her, goes to her husband, sees everything and demands that he return her power of attorney to the estate and henceforth not look in any of her villages. A recent affectionate husband beats her and throws him into the basement, wanting to force him to sign the merchant’s fortress on the estate. Faithful servants with difficulty get to Bagrov; armed with peasants and domestic, Stepan Mikhailovich liberates his sister; Kurolesov does not even try to restrain prey. A few days later he dies poisoned by servants. To general astonishment, Praskovya Ivanovna is very sad about him; forever a widow, she led a life “original” and independent; His estate, however, promises to leave his brother’s children
The third excerpt from the “Family Chronicle” is “The Marriage of the Young Bagrov”. The mother of the narrator, Sofya Nikolaevna Zubina, was an extraordinary woman: she lost her mother in adolescence; her stepmother hated her stepdaughter, clever and beautiful, and “swore that the impudent thirteen-year-old girl, the idol of her father and the whole city, would live in a girl’s house, walk in a vest dress and bear the impurity of her children, a kind but weak father submitted to his wife; The stepmother died young, and the seventeen-year-old Sofya Nikolaevna became the mistress of the house, she had five brothers and sisters and a paralyzed father, Nikolai Fyodorovich did not leave the service-he was a deputy of the governor-and the daughter, in fact, carrying out. La the work of his father find a teacher for the brothers, Sofia Nikolaevna and she studied very diligently; Novikov himself sent her “all the wonderful works in Russian literature”; alive, charming and domineering, she was the soul of Ufa society.
The father of the narrator, Alexei, the son of Stepan Mikhailovich, received in the 1780s. to serve in the Ufa Upper Zemsky court, was the complete opposite of Sophia Nikolaevna – a shy, weak-willed and “perfect ignoramus”, although kind, honest and intelligent, passionately loved Sofia Nikolaevna at first sight and finally decided to ask her hands and went to Bagrovo to obtain the consent of the parents ; Meanwhile, Alexei’s sisters, who heard about Alexey’s love and did not want to see the new mistress in the house, managed to tune Stepan Mikhailovich against the possible marriage of Alexei with a fashionable urban woman, proud, poor and ignorant. Stepan Mikhailovich demanded that Alexei forget about Zubina; a meek son, submitting to the will of the priest, fell into a nervous fever and almost died; returning to Ufa, he sent a letter to his parents with the threat of suicide (as his son suggested, a letter at the same time quite sincere and taken from some novel); the old man was frightened.
In the city they did not believe that the brilliant Sofia Nikolaevna could become the wife of Bagrov. She was not in love with Alexei Stepanovich, but appreciated his kindness and love for her; anticipating the close death of her father, she was afraid of the future and needed support. All this she frankly told the young man before agreeing. The moral inequality between the bride and groom was found many times before the wedding, and Sofya Nikolaevna bitterly understood that she could not respect her husband; it was supported only by the usual female hope to re-educate him to his own taste.
A week after the wedding, the young people left for the husband’s parents. In the “too simple house of the village landowners,” the guests were anxiously awaited, fearing that the city’s daughter-in-law “would condemn, dare”. The father-in-law and the daughter-in-law at once liked each other: the old man loved intelligent and vigorous people, and Sophia Nikolaevna from Stepan Mikhailovich’s only family is the only one capable of assessing him quite: the daughter of a weak father, she had never met a man who always acted directly but always spoke the truth ; she even fell in love with her husband, seeing him as the son of Stepan Mikhailovich.
Meanwhile, the difference between the natures of Alexei Stepanovich and Sophia Nikolaevna was revealed: thus, the husband’s love of nature, his enthusiasm for hunting and fishing irritates his wife; passionate and lively, Sophia Nikolaevna often falls upon her husband with unjust reproaches and equally passionately then repents and caresses her husband; and soon her husband begins to be frightened by outbursts of anger and tears of remorse for his wife; finally, and jealousy, “even without a name, without an object,” begins to torment Sofya Nikolaevna. Stepan Mikhailovich notices this and tries to help advice to both.
Upon returning to Ufa, Sofya Nikolaevna realizes that she has become pregnant; this leads to the great joy of Stepan Mikhailovich, who dreams of the continuation of the ancient family of the Crimson. Pregnancy Sofia Nikolaevna suffers painfully. At the same time Kalmyk, who was walking behind her paralyzed father, decides to survive from the house of the mistress, in order to freely steal the sick old man; Kalmyk cold-bloodedly insults her, Sophia Nikolaevna demands from her father: “Choose who to expel: me or him”; and my father asks me to buy another house. The shocked woman loses consciousness. Here for the first time it turns out that the weak and simple Alexei Stepanovich, who at the usual time is not able to “satisfy the subtleties of the requirements” of his wife, can be a support in difficult moments.
A daughter is born. Sofya Nikolaevna in love for her comes to insanity; the fourth month the child dies from the father, from the grief the mother herself at death: in the summer in the Tatar village she is cured by kumys.
A year later, a long-awaited son, Sergey, the narrator of the Family Chronicle (himself Aksakov), is born easily in a well-to-do woman. Even the servants of the Crimson were “intoxicated with joy, and then with wine”; a German doctor says of him: “What a happy boy! How happy everyone is!” The grandfather counts the days and hours before the birth of the grandson, the messenger jumps to him in the variables. Having learned the news, the grandfather solemnly inscribes the name of Sergei into the bloodline of the Crimson.
The “Chronicle” ends with an explanation of the author’s creative principles; he refers to his characters: “You are not great heroes but you were people. You were the same actors of the great world spectacle, like all people, and so are memories.”