The Blizzard

This story begins in the year 1812. Marya Gavrilovna was a beautiful and happy young girl. She was seventeen years old and in love with an army officer.

She wrote long letters to the officer, whose name was Vladimir. And young Vladimir wrote long re;lies which he gave to Marya’s maid.

The two lovers met in a wood near Marya’s house. But Marya Gavrilovna’s parent found out about these meetings. They told their daughter that she must never meet the young man again.

Marya was heartbroken. But Vladimir still sent letters to her secretly.

Marya had read many French novels. In these love storied, often the lovers were separated by unkind parents. When that happened, the lovers ran away and got married secretly. So Marya decided to run away with Vladimir.

Vladimir said that he would find a priest to marry them. They would go to a church secretly. After they were married, they would go away for a few months. When they returned, he was sure that Marya’s parents would forgive them.

Marya and her maid planned to leave the house at night by the back door. Vladimir would send a sleigh to meet them at the end of the garden. Then Vladimir’s driver would take the two young women to the next village. Vladimir would be waiting for Marya at the church. There they would be married.

Marya packed her clothes in bags and her jewellery in a box. Then she wrote a letter to her parents asking them to forgive her.

She went downstairs for supper. Her face was pale

‘What is the matter, Masha, my dearest?’ her mother asked.

‘Nothing, mother,’ Marya replied, trying to smile.

‘I’ve got a headache and I’m not very hungry. I think I’ll go to bed.’

She kissed her mother goodnight and went upstairs. In her bedroom, she thought about leaving her home and her parents. She started to cry.

*************

Meanwhile, earlier that day, Vladimir had been to the village of Zhadrino. The priest in the church at Zhadrino had agreed to marry Vladimir and Marya.

Vladimir had also found two witnesses. The village policeman and an old army officer agreed to be at Zhadrino church at half-past nine that evening.

At eight o’clock, Vladimir sent his driver to fetch Marya and her maid. Vladimir then set off in a small sleigh for Zhadrino.

************

Marya and her maid left the house quietly at nine o’clock. The wind was blowing loudly. A blizzard had started. The snow blew into their faces. They could not see the end of the garden. But they found the sleigh waiting for them.

Vladimir’s driver was walking up and down to keep warm. He helped the girl into the sleigh with their bags. Then he drove into the blizzard towards the village of Zhadrino.

*************

Vladimir drove through the thick snow. He could see nothing. The road had disappeared in the blizzard.

He drove on and on, but did not arrive at Zhadrino. He could not see Zhadrino. He could not see any houses at all. Vladimir was lost!

He reached a small wood. The tress gave him shelter from the wind. The snow was not so thick. Vladimir thought he knew where he was. But suddenly, the sleight hit the root of a tree and overturned.

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