Towards the end of the year 1811, an ever-memorable epoch for us, the kind-hearted Gavrilo Gavrílovitch R—— lived on his estate Nenarádovo. He was well known in the whole district for his hospitality and benevolence; neighbours from all quarters were continually dropping in upon him to partake of his good fare; some came, looking forward to a game of Boston at five kopeck stakes with his wife, Prascóvia Petróvna, others chiefly to get a glimpse of their daughter, Maria Gavrílovna, an elegant, pale-faced girl of seventeen, who, being considered a rich heiress, was destined by many of the men for themselves, whilst others would elect her for their sons.
The reading of French novels had perceptibly influenced Maria Gavrílovna's character, and consequently she was ever feeling that she must be in love. The chosen object of her affections was a poor ensign in the army, just then at home on leave of absence. It should be understood that the young man was inflamed with a like passion, and the parents of his beloved one, upon discovering these their mutual inclinations, forbade their daughter even to think of him, and the youth was re-