The plot concerns the relationships of an aristocrat young woman named Marya Gavrilovna and the unusual coincidences that accompany them. The following is copied from the program notes by Ledbetter (see sources):
In 1811, a seventeen-year-old girl, Marya Gavrilovna, falls in love with a young officer. Her parents disapprove of the relationship, which continues into the winter through correspondence. Finally they decide to elope, marry quickly, and then throw themselves at the feet of her parents to beg forgiveness (confident that a marriage entered into the Russian Orthodox Church would be regarded as eternal and unbreakable).
The plan was for Marya Gavrilovna to slip out in the middle of a winter's night and take a sleigh to a distant village church, where her love would meet her for the wedding. On the night in question, a blizzard was raging, but the girl managed to do all she had promised and to reach the church. Her lover, on the other hand, driving alone to the rendezvous, became lost in the dark and the storm, arriving at the church many hours late to find no one there.