The story takes place in Switzerland, where the main character lives, the Englishman Alfred Jones, on whose behalf the narrative is conducted. Jones tells us about his acquaintance with Dr. Fischer and his daughter, Anne-Louise.
The meeting between Jones and Anne-Louise was absolutely random, because in fact they were separated by a whole world. Anna Louise, a lovely young lady who was not even 21 years old, and her millionaire father lived in a large white palace on the shore of a picturesque lake, in the environs of Geneva. Dr. Fischer earned a fortune on the invention of “Bouquet of Zubolyub” – a toothpaste supposedly protecting against caries (however, Fisher himself did not use his invention, and could not stand when he was reminded of the source of his income). Doctor Fisher, although he was a devil in the flesh, did not differ from any other people in appearance; it was a man of about fifty (or a little more), with red hair and hair, beginning to lose his fiery shine (a mustache, he probably tinted); bags hung under his eyes, and his eyelids were very heavy. He looked like he was suffering from insomnia.
Alfred Jones at the beginning of history was already over fifty; in 1940, during the bombing of London, he lost his left hand, at the same time his mother and father, a minor official in the diplomatic service, were killed. Jones’ first wife died during childbirth twenty years ago, taking her child with her. In Switzerland, Jones
There were strange and ominous rumors about Doctor Fischer and his dinners, talked about his arrogance, contempt for everything in the world, cruelty. The only people he tolerated were the so-called “friends”, whom Anna-Louise called “toads” (“greedy”). The toad was five: The movie actor Richard Dean is an alcoholic, an egoist, a womanizer and a complete lack of talent, scrolling copies of his old films every evening; he argued that “King Lear” – complete nonsense, because he knew that he could not play it even in a movie. Kruger is a very old and gray-haired division commander, whom only out of flattery was called a general who never fought and never showed prowess, nor on the battlefields, nor in ordinary life; Kruger was with his back straight, like a stick, and with one foot not bent against rheumatism, with the nose of a conquistador and a fierce mustache. Kips is an international lawyer, a skinny old man, with a spine illness almost doubled, resembling figure seven. Belmon is a tax advisor; owner of a dark suit, dark tie, dark hair, thin body, thin lips and an artificial smile; Income taxes taught him the dodge. Mrs. Montgomery is an American, a widow with bluish hair, decorated with rings and bracelets like a Christmas tree.
All the frogs settled in the environs of Geneva solely in order not to pay taxes in their own countries. Dr. Fisher was richer than all toads, he ruled them with a whip and a carrot. All the toads were very wealthy, but they were too attracted to carrots! Only because of them did they tolerate Dr. Fisher’s vile suppers, where the guests were first humiliated and then presented.