Mikhailo Ivanovich Moshkin, 50 years old. lively, busy, good-natured.
Pyotr Ilyich Vilitsky, 23 years old. indecisive, weak, self-interested man.
Rodion Karlovich von Funk, 29 years old. Cold, dry creature.
Philip Yegorovich Shpundik, landowner of 45 years. with claims of education.
Marya Vasilievna Belova, an orphan who lives near Moshkin, is 19 years old.
Ekaterina Savishna Pryazhkina, Maria Vasilyevna’s aunt, 48 years old. A naughty, tearful gossip.
The action takes place in St. Petersburg.
Mikhailo Ivanovich Moshkin, a 50-year-old official, collegiate assessor, invited his friends to dinner. In addition to Mikhailo Ivanovich himself and the 19-year-old orphan Masha who lives with him, there are Masha’s fiancé, 23-year-old college secretary Pyotr Ilitsch Vilitsky, Masha’s aunt, and the provincial, rather poor landowner Shpundik, whom Moshkin was familiar with about 20 years ago. The groom Masha for the company brought a friend, Rodion Karlovich Fonka, titular counselor, 29 years old. This creature is “cold”, limited, for which the main money, career, secular conventions.
Modest Moshkin’s apartment, an unskillful cook, and Moshkin himself, trusting, poor, sincere – all this makes a pity impression on Fonka. And the bride! Lack of secular education, shyness, trusting simplicity… And first of all – the lack of money, important links. No dowry. He
Then the groom in his “inner monologue” also said: “She is timid, wild… in the world she has never lived… Of course, from whom did she borrow… this… well, these manners, at last… not from Mikhail Ivanovich really… Besides, she is so kind, she loves me… Yes, and I love her… Do I say that I do not like her? .. Only now… I’m with I agree with the background: education is an important thing, a very important thing. “
And about the career of Fonck alone with Vilicki spoke frankly.
“Of course, you can continue your service by marrying – there is no argument, but that’s it, Pyotr Ilyich: you can reach the end with time, but who does not prefer the shortest path? Diligence, diligence, accuracy – all this does not remain without a reward, and brilliant abilities are also very useful in the bureaucrat: they pay him attention to their superiors, but the connections, Peter Ilyich, connections, good acquaintances, are extremely important in the light. “I already told you my rule about avoiding close relations with people of the lowest circle; this rule naturally follows another, namely: try to get to know the highest people as much as possible, and it’s not even too difficult. In society, Pyotr Ilyich, always ready to receive an active, modest, educated official, and once adopted in a good society, he can eventually conclude advantageous lot. “
In the first act, when he appeared in Moshkin’s house, Fonk, seizing the moment, asked the groom: “- Your fianc… because she… does not have a large fortune?
“- She does not have anything,” the fiance trustfully confesses.
Gradually, the soul of a lover is covered by doubts.
He at first is tormented, can not decide on anything.
“But listen, Rodion Karlych, … How do you want me now to give up on my word? … I now have to go to the end.” How do you want me to lose this responsibility? Yes, you will despise me first. ” . “.
And now almost came the gap. The groom does not appear for a long time. Moshkin, sincerely attached to the orphan Masha, the daughter of a deceased neighbor, the poor widow of a petty official, tells Shpundik his doubts.
“Well, let’s say, after that dinner, remember that something he did not like… I went to him, explained to him, well, brought him here, Masha cried, forgave him… well. it’s all right, is not it? .. The next day he arrives, and he brought the hotel again, turned around for a minute – look… he left… He said: “It’s done.” The next day was not at all… Then he came again, I have been silent for almost an hour, and, almost all the time, I was silent, I know about the wedding, they say, that is, how and when… it’s time, yes, yes – and only, but since then it has disappeared again. , n but the note does not answer.
Finally, a letter from Vilitsky comes. “After a long and long struggle with himself,” he came to a difficult decision: “I do not recognize myself capable of making Marya Vasilyevna happy and I beg her to take my promise back from me.”
Moshkin wants to immediately flee to the treacherous bridegroom.
“You two years go to our house, they accept you as your own, share with you the last penny, … the wedding is already appointed, and you… oh – oh – oh… This can not end so. .. No no…”.
Particularly outraged by his postscript at the end of the letter: “I’ll pay all my debts in full.”
“- Yes, I do not want from him!”
But the explanation of Moshkin and the bridegroom did not take place: the groom left the apartment and “did not tell where.”
And then Masha declares that she must “move out” from Moshkin:
“Everyone will say: he refused, well, what is it? She is a foster child, a adoptive child, she eats bread for nothing… And she does not want to work”? .. “
Moshkin in horror: “But where are you going?”
“First I’ll move to my aunt, and then I’ll look: maybe I’ll find a place somewhere.”
But her aunt, says Moshkin, herself lives in another closet behind the partition, along with various rubbish.
“Masha, I’m not afraid of poverty.”
And Moshkin is so lonely! “You judge: I’m only for you and I live… After all, your absence will kill me… Masha, take pity on the poor old man… What did I do to you? ..”
Moshkin wants to protect her: “either I’ll arrange everything as before, or I’ll challenge him to a duel…”
Masha. Listen, Mikhailo Ivanitch! I’m telling you: if you do not give up now, I, in God’s very eyes, … well, I do not know… I will deprive myself of my life. “
In the end, in order to save the orphan from wandering, searching for a piece of bread, from humiliation, Moshkin, a self-sacrificing man, is ready to fictitiously marry Masha: to legalize her position.
But she believes him so, he loves him so much that she decides to marry him not fictitiously, but for real. Everyone is happy.
So, the prudent greed of the Petersburg officials, and against her background – islets of kindness, sincerity. Everything in this case ends safely, as usual in Turgenev’s plays; but the possibility of tragedy is always somewhere nearby: this is the social structure of life.
Breakfast at the head
Canteen. Morning. A set table with a snack. The action takes place in the estate of the leader of the local nobility. Nikolai Ivanovich Balagolayev invited one of his neighbors, a judge and a former leader in the morning, to resolve the dispute between Kaurova, the 45-year-old widow of the lieutenant and her brother, landowner Ferapont Bezpandin, a retired college registrar. The dispute lasts for three years. Both, Kaurova and Bespandin, a native aunt left her estate by will, and they, as the leader says: “Well, they can not share, even if you crack” …
Both are terribly obstinate and mercilessly traded; on the stubbornness of his sister – a kind of Gogol’s Box of Dead Souls, only more aggressive and impudent. Gogol himself attended the reading of the comedy; according to his contemporaries, he said about Kaurov: “A woman is good”!
“It came to the court before the trial, the higher authorities were asked to give petitions: have they long to trouble?” Says the leader. “So I finally decided to stop, so to speak, with a firm hand the root of evil, to stop, finally, today I have a date for a meeting, but this is the last time, and there I will take other measures… Let the court sort them out. “
At first the widow pretends to be obedient sheep: “I agree with everything, I am a gentle man… I will not contradict Nikolai Ivanovich, where am I, I’m a widow defenseless: I’m hoping for you… But Ferapont Ilyich wants me… Well, God with him, if only the kids did not kill the children.
Then the swara begins.
“Now, you see, the main difficulty is that Mr. Bespandin and their sister do not want to live in the same house, so the estate should be divided, and there is no possibility of dividing it,” the leader explains in the course of the disputes.
Finally, Bespandin is ready to give up the house, but hopes for a reward.
“Kaurova. Nikolay Ivanovich! It’s a trick. This is a trick on his part, Nikolai Ivanovich! He hopes to get the best land, hemp, and so on. What’s his home for? He has his own. But my aunt’s house is bad enough…
Bespandin. If he is so bad…
Kaurov. I will not give up the hemp. Have mercy! I’m a widow, I have children… What will I do without hemp, judge for yourself.
Bespandin. If it’s bad…
Kaurov. Your will…
Bespandin. If he is so bad, give it to me and let you be rewarded.
Kaurov. Yes! I know your rewards! .. some tiny badge, a stone on a rock, or, even worse, a marsh some where there is a reed, which even peasant cows do not eat!
Balagalayev. There is no such swamp in your estate at all…
Kaurov. Well, not a swamp, so something else like that. No, reward… I humbly thank you: I know what kind of reward it is! “
Finally, one of the present, the landowner Alupkin, who only recently settled in these places, can not stand it.
“What do all the women in this district have?”
“There are worse things,” the neighbor, the poor landowner Mirvolin, answers.
Kaurov Alupkina still later chastises, having seized the right moment: “Why are you doing this, my master, throwing everything at me?” Or do you have such a custom in Tambov? Whence suddenly appeared, no one knows, no one knows, and what kind of person, the Lord knows him, but look at how he mocks! “
And later, and then it will be: “You are crazy! He’s crazy. “
Even Bespandin at some point will take up arms against him:
” – Your Majesty! Let me find out from what right…
Alupkin. Do you intercede for your sister?
Bespandin. It’s not at all for my sister: my sister is my fuck! .. and I’m honoring the name. “
But the leader tried to solve the problem after all:
“- Gentlemen, gentlemen! Allow me, let me… I must ask you to keep silent for a while. I here that offer. We will now divide the whole dacha into two sections; in one there will be a house with a farmstead, and to another we will add a little extra land, and let them then choose.
Bespandin. I agree.
Kaurov. And I do not agree.
Balagalayev. Why do not you agree?
Kaurov. And who will have to choose the first?
Balagalayev. We cast lots.
Kaurov. Save, Lord, and have mercy! What are you saying! No way! What are we, non-Christians, like? “
Balagalayev orders the clerk to read through his notebook the original draft of the section. But there endless details… “The direction of the line from the point, A” … “Up to point B, at the corner of the dam…” “The owner of the first site is obliged to relocate two yards to his account in the second section; and used hemp farmers for two years… “.
Kaurov. I do not intend to relocate peasants, I do not intend to give in. “
These ridiculous, bazaar disputes last long.
And where is the nobility’s honor, education, nobility? Alas, anything can happen in any class.
After long disputes, ridiculous insults, the reader is ready to repeat after the leader: “The head seems to be coming around… Excuse me, gentlemen… I’m not able… I do not understand what you’re saying to me, I can not, I can not, I can not! “
“Well, let’s have a drink, Mirvolin, we’ll have a drink,” the judge of one of the present, the poor landowner, is calling. “There’s an amicable sharing for you!”
Life and customs of the landlord environment. The situation is heavy, unhappy. The struggle for their interests is fierce. And what about the wordless serf?