The story opens in the town of B., where things used to be drab, depressing and boring until a cavalry regiment moved into the area. Once this occurs the area becomes lively and full of color, with local landowners coming into town frequently to meet up with officers and have various gatherings and parties. One of the landowners, Pythagoras Chertokutsky, is at a party at the general's house. He mentions he has a splendid coach that he paid around four-thousand rubles for, and the men wish to see it someday, so he invites them to dinner on the following day. During the party, he gets caught up in playing cards and forgets the time, getting home around four in the morning. Because of this, he forgets to tell his wife about the party and is roused from sleep when his wife sees some carriages approaching their house. He at once remembers the party, but has his servants tell everyone that he is gone for the day, hiding in the coach. The general and his friends are upset at his absence, but decide to see the coach anyway and go to the carriage house to see it. They aren’t impressed with the coach and look at it thoroughly, wondering if maybe there is something special hidden inside. They open the apron inside the coach and find Chertokutsky hiding therein. The general simply exclaims "Ah, you are here," slams the door and covers him up again with the apron.
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