In the summer, the narrator often goes hunting in the village of Glinnoe, which lies twenty versts from his village. Not far from Glynnogo is a manor consisting of an uninhabited manor house, a small outbuilding and a garden. In the wing lives a decrepit old man Lukyanich. From it the narrator learns that the manor belongs to the granddaughter of the old master Lukyanich, the widow. She lives with her younger sister in the city abroad, and they do not show up at home.
One late evening, returning from a hunt, the narrator notices that the windows of the house in the manor are lit, and he hears a woman’s voice. Both the song and the voice were familiar to him: he had already heard this performance two years ago in Italy, in Sorrento.
The narrator was returning home along the fence, over which was built a small pavilion. From it came a woman’s voice, performing a song that he did not know. “There was something invocatory in his sounds, he seemed to himself so penetrated by the passionate and joyful expectation expressed in the words of the song” that the narrator stopped, raised his head and saw a slender woman in a white dress. She held out her arms and asked in Italian: “Is that you?” The man was taken aback, but the stranger suddenly left the window. He felt that he would never forget her voice, her big dark eyes, her flexible frame and her half-blown black hair. While he, stunned, stood at the pavilion, a man entered.
Once, while hunting in the vicinity of Glynny, the narrator sees the rider on a black horse. It seems to him that this is a man who entered then into the pavilion in Sorrento. In the village of two peasants the narrator learns that the estate belongs to the widow-major Anne Feodorovna Shlykova. Her sister’s name is Pelageya Fedorovna, both of them are old and rich. To pass the time before visiting the manor, the narrator decides to hunt in the forest. Suddenly, on the road passing through the forest, he sees “his” beauty and a man who ride. She is very good, her companion is a handsome man with a non-Russian face.
Lukyanich informs the narrator that the lady and her sister left for Moscow. A month later, he himself leaves the village. For the next four years, the storyteller has never had to visit Glynn. The man moves to Petersburg. Once, at a masquerade in the Noble Assembly, he sees a woman in a black domino and recognizes her as a stranger in it. He tells her frankly about the meeting in Sorrento and Russia, about her vain attempts to find her. Having listened to the narrator, the stranger says that she is Russian, although she has been to Russia a little. In Anna Feodorovna, she lived under the name of her sister, to see her beloved in secret – he was not free. When these obstacles disappeared, her lover abandoned her.
After following her gaze, the narrator sees this man in a masquerade. He leads another woman by the arm. As they come up to them, the man suddenly lifts his head, recognizes her eyes, squints, and smiles defiantly. The stranger looks after the departing couple and rushes to the door. The narrator does not pursue her and comes home. Since then, he has not met this woman again. Knowing the name of her lover, the narrator can find out who she is, but does not want this: “This woman appeared to me like a dream – and how she passed the dream and disappeared forever.”