Erast and Leonid studied at the same pension and became friends early. The first could be called handsome: the second attracted the attention of people with an exceptionally smart face. In the first, from infancy, a rare sensitivity was revealed: the second, it seemed, was born prudent. Erast surprised everyone by his perception, Leonid – by his diligence. It seemed that the first did not study, but only refreshed in memory the old-learned material; the second never forgot what he once knew. The first, from excessive reliability on itself, was putting off any business until the last minute, sometimes did not learn a lesson; the second always knew it well in advance, still kept repeating and did not believe in his memory. Erast sometimes played the rogue a little, quarreled with his comrades, and often deserved punishment but everyone loved him. Leonid was quiet, exemplary and did not offend anyone; but he was only praised. One was considered sincere, good-natured: he was such indeed. The other was suspected of cunning and even slyness: but he was only careful. Their mutual friendship seemed wonderful: they were so dissimilar in character! But this friendship was based on the very difference of properties. Erast had a need for prudence, Leonid – for liveliness of thoughts, which for his soul had the charm of wonder. The sensitivity of one required communication; the indifference and coldness of the other were looking for activities. When the heart and imagination burn in a person, he loves to speak; when the soul is without action, he listens with pleasure. Erast, as a child, was captivated by novels, poetry, and in history he most of all loved extremes, examples of heroism and generosity. Leonid did not understand how to deal with fables, that is, novels! The poem seemed to him a difficult and useless game of the mind, and the poets – people who want to quickly run in shackles. He read the history with great diligence, but only in order to know it, not for inner enjoyment, but as vocabulary or grammar. Is it any wonder that the opinions of friends about the heroes disagreed? Erast extolled the magnanimity and courage of Alexander the Great to heaven: Leonid called him a brave madman. The first said: “He defeated the universe!” The second replied: “Not knowing what for!” Erast adored Cato, the virtuous suicide: Leonid considered him a mad pride. Erast admired the turbulent times of Greek and Roman freedom: Leonid thought that freedom is evil when it does not allow people to live in peace. Erast believed everything extraordinary in history: Leonid doubted everything that did not agree with the ordinary order of things. One asked fervently his imagination and the other asked his phlegmatic character.