Place: Russian village
Time: Circa 1840
Parasha is in love with her neighbour, Vassili, a young hussar, but they have difficulty in meeting. After they sing a duet, Vassili leaves, and then Parasha's mother enters. She is lamenting the difficulty of finding a new maid-servant after their prior maid-servant, Thecla, died. The mother orders her daughter to find a new maid-servant. Parasha comes up with a scheme to smuggle Vassili into her house disguised as Mavra, a female maid-servant. The ruse initially succeeds, and Parasha and Vassili are happy at being under the same roof. Parasha and her mother go out for a walk. At one moment, Vassili shaves. The ladies return, disconcerted to see their new maid-servant shaving. Vassili escapes out the window, her mother faints, the next door neighbour rushes in to try to help, and Parasha laments the loss of her young love.
Gelders Orkest olv. Nikolai Alexejev