Afanasy Ivanovich and Pulkheria Ivanovich are the old world landowners of the title living in the Russian countryside. The narrator describes their existence as he saw it when he was their guest. This is a wonderful story and provides the reader with an opportunity to experience Russian peasant life in the 1800s.
The book describes the servants and the cooks and the housemaids and the wealth of food that was always available due to the abundance of fruit and vegetables from their land. The landowners eating habits are incredible, the snacks both before and after main meals, the dumplings, the biscuits, the mushrooms, all consumed without fuss. I felt hungry after reading these paragraphs.
I also appreciated the dialogue between the old couple, a couple who’ve been together many years and can argue and disagree with the other without any lasting damage to their relationship.