The out-of-court adviser Podkolesin, lying on the couch with a pipe and thinking that it would not hurt to still marry, calls on Stepan’s servant, who asks about whether the matchmaker did not go in, and about visiting a tailor, about the quality of the cloth worn and not asked the tailor why the gentleman had a coat of such a thin cloth and whether he wanted to marry. Going next to the wax and discussing it in as detailed a detail, Podkolesin laments that marriage is such a busy thing. The matchmaker Fekla Ivanovna appears and talks about the bride Agafya Tikhonovna, the merchant’s daughter, her appearance (“like a refiner!”), Her reluctance to marry a merchant, but only for a nobleman (“such a giant”). Satisfied Podkolesin tells the matchmaker to come the day after tomorrow (“I’ll lie down, and you’ll tell”), she reproaches him in laziness and says, that soon he would be bad for marriage. Kochkarev runs into his friend, scolds
Fekla for the fact that she married him, but, realizing that Podkolesin also thinks to marry, takes a most active part in this. Having asked the matchmaker where the bride lives, he escorts Fecla, intending to marry Podkolesin himself. He paints the delights of family life to a friend who is not sure yet, and was persuaded by him, but Podkolesin thinks again about the oddity of “everything was unmarried, and now suddenly married.” Kochkarev explains that now Podkolesin is just a log and does not matter, otherwise there will be “such little little pipes” around him, and everyone looks like him. UZH completely going to go, Podkolesin says that it’s better tomorrow. With abuse Kochkarev takes him away. Agafya Tikhonovna with her aunt, Arina Panteleimonovna, is guessing on the cards, she remembers the late father Agafia, his greatness and solidity, and thereby tries to persuade the niece to the trader “on the cloth line” Alexei Dmitrievich Starikov. But Agafia is obstinate: he is a merchant, and his beard grows, and the nobleman is always better. Fekla arrives, complains about the
troubles of her business: all the houses proceeded, she was taken to the chancery, but six men found the grooms. She describes the suitors, but a dissatisfied aunt will quarrel with Fekloy about who is better – a merchant or a nobleman. The doorbell rings. In a terrible confusion, all run up, Dunyasha runs to open. Entered Ivan Pavlovich Yaichnitsa, the executor, rereads the dowry list and compares it with what is available. Appears Nikanor Ivanovich Anuchkin, a slender and “great”, looking for the bride in the knowledge of the French language. Mutually hiding the true cause of their appearance, both grooms are expected further. Balthazar Baltazarovich Zhevakin, a retired lieutenant of the naval service, comes from the threshold of Sicily, which forms a general conversation. Anuchkin is interested in the education of Sicilians and is shocked by Zhevakin’s statement that everyone, including peasants, speaks French. Scrambled eggs are curious about the complexities of the men and their habits. Reasoning about the oddities of some of the names is interrupted by the appearance of Kochkarev and Podkolesin. A heap of roar, wishing to immediately evaluate the bride, falls into the keyhole, provoking the horror of Fecla. The bride is accompanied by her aunt, the grooms are introduced, Kochkarev is recommended by a relative of a somewhat vague property, and Podkolesin is almost the manager of the department. Appears and Starikov. A general conversation about the weather, shot down by the direct question of Fried eggs, in which service Agafya Tikhonovna wished to see her husband, is interrupted by the embarrassed flight of the bride. The grooms, believing to come in the evening “for a cup of tea” and discussing whether the bride has a big nose, diverge. Podkolesin, having decided that her nose is too big, and she hardly knows in French, tells her friend that he does not like the bride. Kochkarev easily convinces him of the incomparable dignity of the bride and, taking the word that Podkolesin will not back down, the other grooms are asked to spoil. Agafya Tikhonovna can not decide which of the suitors she should choose (“If Nikanor Ivanovich’s lips were to stick to Ivan Kuzmich’s nose.”), He wants to cast lots. Kochkarev appears, urging him to take Podkolesin, and only him is decisive, because he is a miracle man, and the rest are all rubbish. Having explained how to refuse the grooms (saying that they are not yet married, or simply: go out, fools), Kochkarev runs after Podkolesin. An Egg comes, demanding a direct answer: yes or no. Zhevakin and Anuchkin are the trail. Confused Agafya Tikhonovna blurts out “go out” and, frightened by the look of the scrambled eggs (“Uh, will beat.”), Runs away. Comes Kochkarev, who left Podkolesin in the hallway to correct the stirrup, explains to the frightened bridegrooms that the bride is a fool, there is almost no dowry behind her and in French she is neither belle. The grooms scold Fecla and leave, leaving Zhevakin, who did not hesitate to marry. Kochkarev sends him, promising his participation and undoubted success in matchmaking. Embarrassed as the bride Kochkarev attests Zhevakina a fool and a drunkard. Zhevakin overheard and was amazed at the strange behavior of his patron. Agafya Tikhonovna does not want to talk to him, multiplying his bewilderment: the seventeenth bride refuses, and why? Kochkarev leads Podkolesin and forces him to remain with the bride alone, open her heart. The conversation about the pleasures of skating in the boat, the desirability of a good summer and the proximity of Catherine’s festivities ends in nothing: Podkolesin bows off. However, he was returned to Kochkarev, who had already ordered dinner, agreed on a trip to the church in an hour and implored a friend to marry, without delay. But Podkolesin leaves. Having awarded his friend many unflattering nicknames, Kochkarev hurries to return it. Agafya Tikhonovna in meditation, which she did not spend with the girls in twenty-seven years, expects the groom. Pokolyosin, pushed into the room by a kick, can not get down to business, and finally Kochkarev himself asks for Agafya Tikhonovna’s hands for him. Everything is arranged, and the bride is in a hurry to get dressed. Podkolesin, already content and grateful, remains alone, because Kochkarev leaves to see if the table is ready (Podkolesin’s hat, however, he prudently tidies up), and reflects that he was still and understood the meaning of life. Podkolesin, however, he prudently tidies), and reflects that he was still and understood the meaning of life. He is surprised that a lot of people live in such blindness, and, having become a sovereign, he would order all to marry. The thought of the irreparability of what is now going to happen, somewhat embarrassing, and then terrifying him in earnest. He decides to run, even if through the window, if it is impossible at the door, even without a hat, if it does not exist – jumps out of the window and drives away on a cab. Agafya Tikhonovna, Fyokla, Arina Panteleymonovna and Kochkarev, appearing one after another in perplexity, something resolved by the called Dunyasha, who saw the whole passage.