The story consists of thirteen chapters. The author is called “St. Petersburg Poem”
Titular adviser Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin wakes up in his apartment on a gray autumn day. In the mirror, a “sleepy, blind and pretty stitched figure” is reflected, and its owner remains, apparently, pleased with it. Taking out his wallet, Mr. Golyadkin finds in it 750 rubles – “a noble sum”!
Yakov Petrovich goes to his doctor, Peasant Ivanovich Rutenspitz. Mr. Golyadkin speaks incoherently, confusedly, calls himself a humble person, unpretentious: “… I love peace, not secular noise. … They need… to know how to make parquets with boots… a compliment you must be able to make up a fuss-up. .. I did not learn all the tricks
Mr. Golyadkin goes to Olsufy Ivanovich Berendeyev, but he is not allowed. In honor of the birthday of his daughter, Clara Olsufyevna, the flat of the State Councilor holds lunch and a ball. At this time, Mr. Goliadkin is in the hallway of Berendeyev. Having decided, Yakov Petrovich secretly penetrates into the dance hall. Immediately all eyes are directed at him, “our hero” is hammered into a corner, feeling “a real bug”. Golyadkin is being thrown out into the street.
Mr. Golyadkin runs, “fleeing from enemies.” It is a terrible November night – “wet, foggy, rainy, snowy.” Mr. Goliadkin “not only wished to escape from himself, but even completely to be destroyed.” He stands on the embankment for a long time and looks unconscious into the murky black water. Dear Golyadkin meets a passer-by, shooting as much as he, along the sidewalk, a little with a little pritrusochkoy. Stranger meets Yakov Petrovich several times. Finally he finds it in his apartment on Shestilavochnaya Street: it was “none other than himself… another Mr. Golyadkin, … his double in all respects.”
In the morning Golyadkin comes to his office. Here appears a new man – yesterday’s counterpart of Yakov Petrovich, who has exactly the same surname. However, there is no surprise among the colleagues. After working hours, the double wants to explain himself to Yakov Petrovich, and “our hero” invites Golyadkin Jr. to talk to his home.
The guest’s name is the same: Yakov Petrovich. Mr. Goliadkin feeds the guest with lunch and pours a punch, feeling sympathy for him: “We, Jacob Petrovich, will live like a fish with water, like our own brothers, … we will be cunning, at the same time we’ll be cunning… at the peak of the intrigue to lead… “.
In the morning Yakov Petrovich does not find his guest. Now Golyadkin Sr. regrets the admission of a twin. He goes to the service and in the door collides with Golyadkin, the youngest, but he does not notice yesterday’s hospitable host. Now Golyadkin Jr. tries to curry favor with his superiors by dishonest means: he issues a well-composed paper of the true Golyadkin for his own. In front of other officials, Golyadkin Jr. exposes the twin to reproach: pinching everyone on the cheek and giving a click on the abdomen. Then, assuming a busy view, disappears. But he can not afford to offend the real Golyadkin in any way and decides to protest. After the service, he intends to explain himself to Golyadkin Jr., but he leaves him in a carriage.
“… he’s so playful, nasty, – he’s a scoundrel, … a lick-man, a lickspittle, Golyadkin, he’s such an ass!” Yakov Petrovich thinks about his enemy. Yakov Petrovich wrote him a letter demanding an explanation. He gives a letter to the servant Petrushka and punishes him to find out the address of Titular Counselor Golyadkin. Petrushka reports that Golyadkin lives on Shestilavachnaya Street, but this is the address of the real Golyadkin! Deciding that the idler is drunk, Yakov Petrovich leaves him.
Half-asleep Golyadkin sees that he is in a pleasant company, but every time there is one famous person and maligns Mr. Goliadkin. He wants to run where his eyes look, but around him a “abyss of completely similar” was formed.
Golyadkin wakes up at one o’clock in the afternoon. With horror he realizes that he was late for the service. He approaches his department and, through the clerk, sends a letter to Mr. Golyadkin, Jr..
Already at dusk, Yakov Petrovich enters his department. Co-workers look at him with some offensive curiosity. Among the officials there is Mr. Golyadkin, Jr., and extends his hand to the present Yakov Petrovich. He hotly and in a friendly way shakes her. “Suddenly, with unbearable impudence and rudeness,” the double pulls out his hand and shakes it off, as if he has messed it up, then wipes his fingers with a handkerchief. The insulted Golyadkin senior looks for sympathy from his colleague Anton Antonovich Setochkin, but he openly condemns his dishonorable act with regard to two noble persons.
Having caught up with Golyadkin, Jr., Jacob Petrovich suggests explaining himself in a coffee: “… I have never been your enemy.” Evil people unfairly described me… For my part I am ready… “The enemy repeats the morning joke with a handshake, repeatedly insulting namesake, and disappears. Suddenly Golyadkin Sr. discovers a letter in his hand, handed down by the clerk in the morning. In it, Klara Olsufievna asked to save her from death, from a person against her, and appoints Golyadkin a meeting at two o’clock in the morning. After reading the message in the tavern, Yakov Petrovich sees the sex next to himself. Deciding that he had not paid for lunch, he climbed into his pocket and found a glass of medicine prescribed by Krestyan Ivanovich four days ago. “The dark, reddish-repulsive liquid gleamed with an ominous reflection…” The bubble drops out of hands and breaks.
Yakov Petrovich, thinking about Klara Olsufievna, notes the spoiling of young romantic persons who have read French novels. He hires a carriage, goes to his Excellency and asks for protection from enemies. His Excellency promises to consider the matter, and Yakov Petrovich is being expelled to the front. Golyadkin rushes to Berendeyev to wait for Clara Olsufyevna’s signal. Soon, Yakov Petrovich noticed, and Golyadkin Jr. asks him to go. Golyadkin Sr. is sitting near Olsufiy Ivanovich, all eyes are on them. Finally, it rushes through the crowd “Coming, going!”. Krestyan Ivanovich appears in the room and takes Yakov Petrovich with him. Behind the carriage runs for a while a twin, but soon completely disappears. Here the hero with horror notices that this is not the former, but the other, the terrible Krestyan Petrovich: “Alas! He had already foreseen this for a long time!”