Elena Popova is very sad because her husband has died. Six months after his death, she still refuses to leave the house in honor of his memory.
Elena Popova, a rich widow “with dimples on her cheeks,” has vowed to her husband that she would honor his memory. Apparently this means never leaving the house, and never letting any neighbors in. Elena’s “aged footman” Luka pleads with her to live a little.
It isn't right, madam.... You're just destroying yourself. The maid and the cook have gone off fruit picking, every living being is rejoicing, even the cat understands how to enjoy herself …
Elena replies that her life is “already at an end” and there is no reason to go out. However, her plans are interrupted by a “middle-aged landowner” named Smirnov, who insists that her husband owed him money and he is not going to leave until he gets it. She tells him she doesn’t have any at the moment and he needs to wait. They argue, fight, get ready to duel, and then fall in love. After all, she has “dimples on her cheeks” doesn’t she!