Six years have passed since the time of the upset wedding of Krechinsky. It would seem that the landowner Muromsky, his sister Atuyev and Lidochka’s daughter should live peacefully in the village, forgetting about the “libelous” history with a false diamond.
But why are they back in the capital, this time in St. Petersburg? Why live here last money, selling and mortgaging estates? Why is Lidochka sobbing and drying? ..
The disaster has shaken. And the name of this disaster is the Case. It has been under investigation for five years. Already passed all the judicial and appellate instances – from the Civil and Criminal Chamber to the Governing Senate. And there are so many papers in this business that they “from presence to presence on a scrap drive”!
But what’s the matter? Could it be that Krechinsky was caught on the judge’s hook? Oh no! The matter – oddly enough – is
called the Muromsky case. The investigation is against Lidochka. She’s suspected! And in what?! In fact, first, that she knew about Krechinsky’s intention to steal from Muromsky. Secondly, she helped him in this. And thirdly – she provided this criminal help to him because she was with him in an unlawful love affair.
But this is nonsense! .. Do Russian officials – “bosses”, “forces” and “subordinates”, as the author of the play classify them in the section “Actors”, do not see how far these suspicions from the essence of the matter are? Or are they complete idiots?! No, there are bright heads! And this is better than the others understood by the hardened, but in his own way noble player Krechinsky. “They want to take a bribe from you – give, the consequences of your refusal can be cruel,” he warns Muromsky in a letter sent at the beginning of the investigation. The opportunity to snatch a big bribe – that’s the whole point of the matter for the judges’ hooks.
It is for this purpose that they turn the investigation
against the daughter of Muromsky. With Krechinsky in fact nothing to take. However, the “take” from him tried: he was “made a proposal to make some evidence about the honor” Lidochki. But Krechinsky did not agree. However, Lidochka did not save it. “Relevant” testimonies were given by Rasplyuev and the cook of the Muromsky.
And now there come those “cruel consequences” about which Krechinsky warned. Lidochka has already been dragged into the business with her head – she really wants to give her face-to-face bets. ” And with whom! With the cook Petrushka, with the rascal Rasplyuev, and even for her adulterous connection with Krechinsky!
From all sides Muromsky is urged to bow to the “Baal idol” – the official, – to sacrifice him, to give him a bribe! Particularly insists on this is the manager of the estates of Murom, Ivan Sidorov Razuvaev, a man who is cordially committed to the family. In his experience, he knows that otherwise not break out of the clawed hands of the devil’s bureaucratic tribe.
A bribe can be hinted through a trusted person. And there is such a person. This is a collegiate adviser (from the category of “Forces”) Candid Kastorovich Tarelkin. He seems to be trying to help the Murom, visit their apartment, give advice. And most importantly, he serves under the head of the actual state councilor Maxim Kuzmich Varravin, in whose hands the case is located.
Reluctantly, Muromsky agrees to act through Tarelkin. Razuvaev with peasant agility makes it clear to Tarelkin that his master wants to meet with Varravin. And with the same agility gives Tarelkin a bribe – “grease wheels.” Tarelkin promises to arrange a reception for Muromsky at Varravin. Now the matter will be settled. Moreover, Tarelkin, as Muromsky Razuvaev assures us, did not accidentally reduce his acquaintance with the family: “this is a suppository,” says the sharp-witted peasant. And he’s right.
Tarelkin is not just a subordinate – he is “an approximate face to Varravin.” He immediately reports to the boss about the success of the enterprise, and at the same time about the material circumstances of the family-which estates are sold, what are pledged, that is, how much money can now be broken off from the petitioner. “There is no special mass!” – warns Tarelkin, although he himself is vitally interested in the “special mass”: firstly, he half arranged the matter, and so the boss must share with him, and secondly, Tarelkin’s disastrous situation is a decent post and rank, and for a soul or a penny When the “Force and Case” will be presented, Tarelkin himself will beat anyone “to exhaustion, naked!”. But now the case is not the same. The circumstances of the Murom are difficult. Varravin burns with a desire to grab a fortune – as much as 30 thousand! Oh no – “
And now Muromsky is already in Varavin’s office. There is a bargaining.
Muromsky, with his simple-heartedness, assures us that the goods, which the goddess of justice Themis in the person of Varravin trades on her scales, in essence, simple. The only thing “from the proceedings was so entangled.”
But Varravin shows Muromsky how thin and cunning, which means that goods are expensive. After all, the case is “swinging and double-edged” – it is such that “if you lead there, then everything will go there and if you go here, everything will go here.” Like this? And so: two witnesses – Rasplyuev and police officer Lapa – showed during interrogation that Lidochka, giving the real money to the moneylender, exclaimed: “it was my fault!”, Other witnesses – Muromsky and Atuyev themselves – say that she simply said: “it was a mistake.” That’s where the trick! If it’s just an “error,” Lidochka is not guilty of anything, and if she “used my” pronoun, it means that Lidochka is a direct participant in the crime, Krechinsky’s mistress, etc. This is what keeps the whole thing going, preserving ” the law allows Varravin to rely on the testimony of any of a pair of witnesses. So in his hands not only the scales of the Themis, but also its punishing sword. And where this sword will strike – depends, of course, on the amount of bribe. the law allows Varravin to rely on the testimony of any of a pair of witnesses. So in his hands not only the scales of the Themis, but also its punishing sword. And where this sword will strike – depends, of course, on the amount of bribe.
But with the amount Varravin just “had enough” – did not listen to Ta-reklin! Inspired by the perplexity of the petitioner, he demands not 20, but 24 thousand, and besides silver! And this is 84 thousand on the banknotes – the cost of the family estate of Murom! Well, sell it and go around the world?! So is not present!! He will not give the official Streshnevo – “the ashes of the fathers” and “grandfathers property”! He will now go not to the “Forces”, but to the “Superiors” – to the Important Person, the “secret counselor for the service” and the “Prince of Birth”, in whose management is the entire department. Already he will help his brother, a nobleman, and he does not need money-he is rich!
These thoughts of Muromsky, voiced in private, are overheard by Tarelkin. He immediately reports Varravin about the intention of the petitioner to seek the truth above. Catch swims out of your hands! The prince, in fact, can really knock such a fool into his head-descend to the grief of the landowner: he is a man of mood. The last circumstance as time takes into account Varravin, and therefore he is calm. He orders Tarelkin to arrange so that Muromsky gets to see his ladyship “into the most soda”, that is, in the morning, when the Prince, suffering from a stomach, receives soda water and is in the worst of spirits. And Tarelkin arranges it.
The petitioner at the reception. And everything is going fine. While the unfortunate Muromsky confused and confusedly explains that the case “out of nothing was made up, wound up on itself”, the Prince, tormented by stomach colic, puffs and rubs his stomach – no matter what, of course, he does not care! Varravin, who is present right away, already celebrates in the soul a victory. But what is this?! Where does the conversation roll? In the tartar! Enraged by the insulting indifference of the luminous official to the cause and to him, a nobleman and an old officer who fought with Bonaparte for the Tsar and Fatherland, Muromsky defies the Prince! Bears the laws! Courts!!! Scandal! Rebellion! To drag him to the police! .. Or to the yellow house! – he was wounded in the head near Mozhaisk… Muromsky is being thrown out.
And now the Prince is already dealing with the affairs of the Murom. He orders Varravin to select from the investigation documents those “essential facts” that suggest the criminal connection of the “girl” with the “brave” Krechinsky, and “the whole matter is to turn to a reexamination and to the strictest… strictest” – against the Muroms. Varravin is in despair. The prince “fooled” everything. The case loses “double-edged”. The bribe breaks down! After all, Muromsky is “dangerous.” If you take it, but do not do it, he will probably make a scandal. ” And to turn the matter “and so and so” is no longer possible – it has already been turned over by the “bosses.” What to do?!
Tarelkin tells him to take it! The prince was convinced that the petitioner was out of his mind – “he does not have faith,” let him scandalize… Excellent idea! Varravin pretends that he completely accepts it. Yes, he will take it. But Tarelkin does not suspect that the boss has another idea, much more subtle, full of sophisticated official treachery!
The family, finally killed by the circumstance that Lidochka is threatened with complete dishonor – a medical examination for her virginity (such a turn now took place at the behest of the “bosses” and the “Sil”), is ready to give any bribe. Warravin now asks for 30,000. Well! Money is collected in a fold – even Razuvaev contributes his share, family diamonds are sold. The amount is made and packed in a package.
Varravin is waiting for Muromsky with this package in his office. Preparing to take. However, the strange gives orders. For some reason he orders Tarelkin to call the executer Ivan Andreevich Zhivets and put him in the waiting room. The rest is even more amazing.
Is the petitioner. Varravin closes with him in the office. From the office, Muromsky leaves, inspired by hope: he handed the package of money to Varravin, who, thank God, promised to settle the matter! Muromsky leaves. Varravin immediately appears in the doorway of the office. In his hands he has a packet of money – the same one he received from Muromsky. He orders the Executor to remain in place. The courier calls and demands that he immediately catch up and return the petitioner. Muromsky leads. Varravin throws a packet of money with a painting gesture: Varvavin does not take bribes! you can not buy it!! Let Muromsky take the money and get out with his libelous business! Otherwise, Varravin will “submit” him “all the strictness of the laws” for giving a bribe to a government official – an exegete witness…
Complete nonsense! Varravin did not take it! He’s an idiot, is not he?! No, bright head! Money in the package is already far from 30 thousand. There only 1350 rubles! Varavin took it. But he took the fact that an important person and very important person – the fathers-heads who appeared on the noise, as well as other persons became witnesses of his incorruptibility. Varravin beat everyone, including Tarelkin, who did not receive anything, although he figured out the chief’s plan with delay. As for the old man of Murom, the department suffered a blow. He was taken home. There he gave his soul to God. Now he will not say anything at the investigation. However, before the demise, at the very moment when Muromsky was still in the department, in one of the highest attendance places the powers among the var-ravines, the zhivtsy and the plates, he already said everything that was able to say: “here… they are robbing!” .. I’m saying aloud – rob! “