“There were times worse, But there was no base”, – the author reads about the 70s. XIX century. In order to see this, it is enough to look into one of the expensive restaurants. In the hall number 1 dignitaries gathered: the jubilee of the administrator is celebrated. Among the main merits of the jubilee is that he did not bring the population of the province entrusted to him to ruin. The “devotee” did not steal state good, and for this they express their deep gratitude to him.
In hall number 2, the educator is honored. He is presented with a portrait of Magnitsky – the famous trustee of the Kazan Academic District, who became famous as a “quitter of sciences”, offering to close the Kazan University.
In Hall 3, Prince Ivan is honored. The grandfather of the jubilee was a clown of Queen Elizabeth, “he himself is absolutely nothing.” Prince Ivan is fascinated by vaudeville and operetta, his only joy is to stop at
In Hall 4 something is said about the Senate, but the main place belongs to the sturgeon. In Hall 5, “agronomic lunch” is combined with the meeting. The jubilee devoted his leisure to cattle breeding, thinking of being useful to the peasantry. But as a result of his many years of activity, he decided that the Russian people should be left to “his fate and God.” By the anniversary cattleman Kolenov was awarded the medal “For jealousy and striving”, the delivery of which is celebrated now in the restaurant.
In Hall 6, the inventor of armadillos and grenades is honored. The congregation knows perfectly well that the lethal weapons proved useless, and even speak of it directly in congratulatory speeches. But – what do they need in this? They celebrate the jubilee of the inventor…
In the hall number 7, bibliophiles gathered, and from there immediately “died.” The Lord of the Old Testament reads a passage from the recently found travel notes of the young Tyapushkin, who “arrived at Irbit, his uncle was nailed.” The participants
enthusiastically admire the masterpiece, examine the manuscript in a magnifying glass and reflect on the fact that a colon in i should be restored in Russia. Zosim the Old Testament admits that dead writers are dearer to him than the living ones. The celebration in this room is like a “feast of coffin concealers.”
From the hall no. 8 you can hear the kisses and cries of “hurray!”. In Hall No. 9, students are instructed in the independent life of students, admonishing them not to indulge in anarchistic dreams,
In Hall number 10, the ubiquitous prince Ivan raises a toast for “the king of the universe – the jackpot”. In Hall 11, the audience is touched by the activities of the philanthropist Marya Lvovna, whose vocation is “to serve the people.” But the most fascinating conversation goes in the hall number 12: there was a society of deli, here “the piglet is put points, arguing about the wine,” here you can safely give an opinion about the salad.
In all halls, an endless celebration and celebration continues, gaining an increasingly phantasmagoric character. Savva Antichristov gives a speech in honor of the manufacturer of the works of the joint-stock company Feodor Shkurin. In his youth, the “nugget-hare” pulled the stubble of pigs, subsequently bought back the land from the landowner “to the last lefsher” and, working hard, became a railway magnate. Honor Shkurin came “honorary persons” in ranks and with orders that have a share in commercial firms; “plebeians” who rose from the bottom and reached money and crosses; mired in debt nobles, ready to put their name on any paper; money-changers, “foreign-made aces” and “pillars-revolvers” nicknamed Zatsep and Sawa.
A new speaker – a changeling – expresses the idea of the need to establish a Central House of Tolerance and hopes to give this thought a grandiose development. The hook-pillar agrees with the thought of the speaker: “What is shameful today is considered, Will win tomorrow a crown…”
Soon the speeches become less coherent, and the celebration grows into an ordinary booze. Prince Ivan watches one of the “modern Mitrofans”, in which the spirit of time is seen: “He is cowardly for cowardice, For ignorance – shameless, And for stupidity – a scoundrel!”
The gathered condemn the press, lawyers, Austrians, the judicial investigation… A fussy businessman hotly persuades a Jewish interest-bearer that he has linked his literature with the brochure “On Interest” and now must send his talent to serve the capital. The middleman doubts his talent, he does not want to be called a “dummy in literature.” But the businessman is sure that “nowadays it is the realm of dummies” and “the capital rules capital”.
Prince Ivan ridicules Berka the Jew, who has become rich on a profitable contract. He is convinced that the “zhidovinene” does not care for the Christian souls when he achieves generality.
Among the “plutocrats”, renegade professors are especially noticeable. Their history is simple: until they were thirty years old they were honest workers of science, they were smashing the plutocracy, and it seemed that they could not be knocked out of the way by any money. Suddenly, they set off into stock speculation, using their oratorical abilities for this purpose – “machine eloquence.” Former scientists have become talking machines, “preferring scholarly fame to seductive metal”; they can speak, without being embarrassed by contradictions in their own phrases. These people brought the power of their knowledge to help scammers, they are ready to affirm “every plan is shaky at the core,” and humane ideas do not bother them for a long time.
Edward Ivanych Grosh, who can be found in any meeting with whom he does not need a telegraph or newspaper news, is also visible among those present. This person can go anywhere to squeeze a bribe and procure everything: a mortgage, a pug, a husband, a dacha, a house, a capital, even a Portuguese order.
In the midst of a merry feast the drunken Zatsepa – pillar suddenly begins to cry, calling himself a thief. But those who gathered his revelations evoke the same feeling that the weeping of the hetaera, who, on the slope of prodigal days, suffers from the loss of virtue. Prince Ivan is sure that “only those who have not stolen a million are missing.” He recalls the university professor Schwabs, who instilled in students contempt for interest, and capital, and then became director of the loan office. He also recalls the Count Tverdyshov, who always suffered from hungry peasants, but ended up building an unnecessary road through wastelands, burdening the peasants with new taxes.
The Jews, too, reassure Zatsep, convincing him that in the presence of money no harm and danger can not be. They are cut short by an orator-philosopher raising a toast for “Russian unshakable honor”, which, in his opinion, is to “whole world shave right away.”
A lot of sobbing and philosophizing, the heroes of time sit down at the card table.