Tales of Belkin

The Blizzard

This story was told to Belkin by Miss K.I.T., who herself is not involved in the story. The Blizzard, also translated as "The Snowstorm" (Russian Метель), concerns a young noblewoman, Marya Gavrilovna, and her young lover, a lieutenant named Vladimir. The reason for their relationship is not specifically given, but the story famously states "Marya Gavrilovna was raised on French novels and consequently was in love." Marya Gavrilovna's parents do not approve of the relationship due to the difference in social status between the two lovers, and Marya Gavrilovna and her attendant conspire with Vladimir to elope and marry in a secret midnight ceremony in a nearby village. At first, Marya Gavrilovna agrees to the plan, but as the ceremony approaches, she feels more and more anxious. On the night the ceremony is to take place, she almost doesn't go as in addition to her growing anxiety, a terrible snowstorm is occurring, but her attendant persuades her to.

Meanwhile, Vladimir sets out from his military encampment on his way to the church. However, he becomes lost in severe blizzard conditions and cannot find his way. He stops at a small hamlet to obtain directions from locals only to find that he has been going the wrong direction the entire night and is too far from the church to make it to the ceremony on time. The next morning, Marya Gavrilovna returns home and goes to sleep as if nothing has happened, but she soon grows gravely ill and becomes delirious with fever. During her semiconscious state, she mumbles many things, one of which is her plan to elope with Vladimir. Upon hearing this, Marya Gavrilovna's parents grant permission for her to marry Vladimir, but they attempt to contact him, they receive a letter from him stating that he is off with the army, and the narrator informs the reader that Vladimir is killed in the Battle of Borodino soon after.

After this, Marya Gavrilovna and her family move to a new estate, and after some time, suitors come to seek Marya Gavrilovna's hand in marriage. Marya Gavrilovna, apparently still in love with Vladimir, turns them all away except for a hussar named Bermin. Their relationship progresses, until one day, Marya Gavrilovna is reading by a lake, and knows that when Bermin comes to visit her that day, he will ask to marry her. He proceeds to tell her that though he loves her, he cannot marry her because one night, several years ago, he was traveling during a snowstorm when he became lost. Pulling into a small town, he is met by a priest, who tells him he is late for the wedding. He is brought into the hall where Marya Gavrilovna had been awaiting Vladimir. The ceremony is carried out, but as Bermin turns to kiss the bride, Marya Gavrilovna faints. Upon concluding this story, Bermin tells Marya Gavrilovna that he still feels faithful to his wife, even though he does not know who she is. Marya Gavrilovna asks him why he does not recognize her, and each realizing the other's identity, they collapse into one another's arms.

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