After going to Moscow after dinner with friends, the hero woke up only at the next post station – Sofia. Hardly awakening the caretaker, he demanded horses, but was refused because of the night time. I had to give the coachmen for vodka, they harnessed, and the journey continued.
In Tosna, the hero gets acquainted with a solicitor, who was busy compiling ancient pedigrees to young noblemen. On the way from Tosna to Luban, the traveler sees a peasant who plowed “with great care,” despite the fact that it was Sunday. Plowman said that six days a week his family is processing the land of the land and, in order not to die of hunger, he is forced to work on a holiday, although this is a sin. The hero reflects on the cruelty of the landowners and at the same time reproaches himself for having a servant over whom he has power.
In Chudov, the hero is driven by his friend Ch. And tells why he must hastily leave St. Petersburg. Ch., For fun’s sake, sailed on a twelve-year boat from Kronstadt to Sisterbeck. A storm broke out along the way, and with a raging wave the boat was squeezed between two stones. It filled with water, and it seemed that death was inevitable. But two brave oarsmen made an attempt on the rocks and swim to the shore, which was a mile and a half. One succeeded, and, having got to the shore, he ran into the house of the local chief, so that he urgently detached the boats to save the remaining ones. But the chief was pleased to rest,
On the way from Chudov to the Spasskoye Pole, a fellow traveler joins the hero and tells him his sad story. Having trusted his companion in matters of redemption, he was deceived, lost all his fortune and was put under criminal court. His wife, experiencing what happened, gave birth before the deadline and died three days later, and a premature baby died. Friends, seeing that they had come to take him into custody, put the unfortunate into a tent and told them to go “where their eyes are looking.” The hero was moved by the story of a fellow traveler, and he reflects on how to bring this case to the hearing of the supreme authority, “for it can only be impartial.” Realizing that he can not help the unfortunate, the hero imagines himself to be the supreme ruler, whose state seems to be flourishing, and everyone praises him. But the stranger Straight-eye removes the thorn from the eyes of the ruler, and he sees that his reign was unjust, that bounties were poured on rich, flatterers, traitors, people unworthy. He understands that power is the duty to observe the law and the law. But all this was just a dream.
At the Podberezje station, the hero meets a seminarian who complains about modern teaching. The hero reflects on the science and work of the writer, whose task is to see enlightenment and the praise of virtue.
Arriving in Novgorod, the hero remembers that this city in ancient times had a people’s rule, and calls into question the right of Ivan the Terrible to annex Novgorod. “But what’s right, when force acts?” he asks. Distracted from reflection, the hero goes to dinner with his friend Karp Dementievich, before the merchant, and now the eminent citizen. The conversation is about trade affairs, and the traveler understands that the introduced bill of exchange system does not guarantee honesty, but, on the contrary, contributes to easy enrichment and theft.
In Zaitsev in the courtyard, the hero meets a longtime friend of Mr. Krestyankin, who served in the criminal chamber. He retired, realizing that in this post he can not bring benefits to the fatherland. He saw only cruelty, bribery, injustice. Peasant woman told the story of a brutal landowner, whose son raped a young peasant woman. The girl’s bride, protecting the bride, broke the rapist’s head. Together with the groom there were a few more peasants, and all of them on the placement of the criminal chamber the narrator had to be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment. He tried to justify the peasants, but none of the local nobles supported him, and he was forced to resign.
In Kresttsy, the hero becomes a witness of the father’s separation from the children going to the service. The father reads to them the instruction about the life rules, calls to be virtuous, to obey the law, to restrain passions, and not to cringe to anyone. The hero shares his father’s thoughts that the power of parents over children is negligible, that the alliance between parents and children should be “based on tender feelings of the heart” and one can not see the father in the son of his slave.
In Yazhelbitsy, passing by the cemetery, the hero sees that there is a burial. At the grave the father of the deceased sobbing, saying that he is the murderer of his son, because he “poured poison at the beginning of it.” It seems to the hero that he hears his condemnation. He, in his youth indulging in lasciviousness, had a “stinking illness” and was afraid,
Will she transfer to his children. Reflecting on who is the cause of the spread of the “stinking illness”, the traveler accuses the state of this, which opens the way to vices, protects public women.
In Valday, the hero remembers the legend of a monk of the Iberian monastery, who fell in love with the daughter of a Valdai resident. As Leander crossed the Hellespont, this monk swam across the Valdai Lake to meet his beloved. But one day the wind rose, the waves raged, and in the morning the monk’s body was found on a remote shore.
In Yedrov the hero meets a young peasant girl Anyuta, talks to her about her family, the groom. He is surprised how much nobility in the minds of villagers. Wanting to help Anyuta get married, he offers her groom money for the establishment. But Ivan refuses to take them, saying: “I, the master, have two hands, I am their home and will lead.” The hero reflects on marriage, condemning existing customs, when an eighteen-year-old girl could be married with a 10-year-old child. Equality is the basis of family life, he believes.
On the way to Khotilovo, the hero is visited by thoughts about the injustice of serfdom. The fact that one person can enslave another, he calls “a brutal custom”: “enslavement is a crime,” he says. Only those who cultivate the land have rights to it. And the state can not, where two-thirds of citizens are deprived of civil status, “be called blessed.” The hero of Radishchev understands that work by coercion gives less fruit, and this prevents the “reproduction of the people.” Before the postal station, he lifts a paper in which the same thoughts are expressed, and learns from the postman that the last of the passing was one of his friends. He, apparently, forgot his compositions at the postal station, and the hero for some reward takes forgotten papers. They defined a whole program for the liberation of the peasants from serfdom,
In Torzhok, a person meets a hero who sends to St. Petersburg a petition for permission to start printing in the city, free from censorship. They talk about the harmfulness of censorship, which “like a nanny, leads the child on the potholes,” and this “child,” that is, the reader, will never learn to walk alone. Censorship should serve the society itself: it either recognizes the writer, or rejects it, as well as the theatrical performance is guaranteed by the public, and not by the director of the theater. Here the author, referring to the notebook received by the hero from the person he met, tells about the history of the emergence of censorship.
On the way to Mednoye, the traveler continues to read the papers of his acquaintance. It tells about the trades that occur if any landowner is ruined. And among other things, people are bidding. An old man of seventy-five, a young gentleman’s uncle, an old woman of eighty, his wife, a nurse, a widow of forty, a feline eighteen, her daughter and granddaughter of the old, her baby-they all do not know what fate awaits them in whose hands they fall.
The conversation about the Russian versification, which the hero leads with a friend at the restaurant table, brings them back to the topic of liberty. A friend reads excerpts from his ode with that name.
In the village of Gorodnya there is a recruitment set, which caused the sobbing of the crowd. Mother, wife, and bride cry. But not all recruits are unhappy with their fate. One “master man”, on the contrary, is glad to get rid of the power of his masters. He was brought up by a kind gentleman with his son, visited with him abroad. But the old master died, and the young married, and the new lady put the servant in her place.
In Peshka, the hero observes a peasant’s hut and is surprised by the poverty that reigns here. The landlady asks him for a piece of sugar for the child. The author, in a lyrical digression, turns to the landowner with a condemnatory speech: “Brutishly arrogant landlord, look at the children of peasants who are subject to you, they are almost naked.” He promises him God’s punishment, because he sees that there is no righteous judgment on the earth.
Ends with “Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow” “The word about Lomonosov.” The hero refers to the fact that these notes were given to him by the “Parnassus judge”, whom he had dined with in Tver. The author focuses on the role of Lomonosov in the development of Russian literature, calling it “the first in the path of Russian literature.”