Dmitry Dmitrievich Gurov, younger than forty, a Muscovite, a philologist by education but working in a bank, resting in Yalta. In Moscow there was an unloved wife, whom he often changes, a daughter of twelve years old, two sons of a schoolboy. In appearance and character there is “something attractive, elusive, which had women, appealed to them…”. He himself despises women, considers them to be “inferior race” and at the same time can not do without them and constantly seeks adventure, having great experience in this. On the waterfront, he meets a young lady. This is a “short blond woman in a beret, behind her ran a white spitz”. Vacationers call her “lady with a dog.” Gurov decides that it would be nice to start a romance with her, and get to know her during lunch in the city garden. Their conversation begins in the usual way: ” Time passes quickly, but meanwhile there is such boredom! she said, not looking at him. “”
It’s only customary to say that it’s boring here. The philistine lives in his own country somewhere in Belev or Zhizdra – and he is not bored, but will come here: “Oh, how boring! Ah, dust!” You think he came from Grenada! “She laughed…
Anna Sergeyevna was born in St. Petersburg, but she came from the city of S., where she lives for two years, being married to an official named von Diederitz. Her husband’s work does not interest her, she can not even remember the name of the place of his service. Apparently, she does not like her husband and is unhappy in her life. “Something in it is pathetic after all,” Gurov notes. Their novel begins a week after the acquaintance. She is experiencing a painful fall, believing that Gurov will not be the first to respect her. He does not know what to say. She fervently swears that she always wanted a clean and honest life, that her sin is a sin. Gurov tries to calm her down, cheer him up, portray a passion that he most likely does not feel. Their romance flows smoothly and as if nothing threatens both. Waiting for
her husband to come. But instead he asks the wife to return in a letter. Gurov accompanies her on horseback to the station; when they leave, she does not cry, but looks sad and sick. He is also “touched, sad,” experiencing “slight repentance.” After the departure of Anna Sergeyevna, he decides to return home.
Moscow life is captured by Gurov. He loves Moscow, its clubs, lunches in restaurants, where he alone “could eat a whole portion of the village fry in a frying pan.” It would seem that he forgets about the Yalta novel, but suddenly for an incomprehensible reason, the image of Anna Sergeyevna begins to worry him again: “He heard her breathing, the gentle rustling of her clothes.” On the street he followed the women’s eyes, looking for something like her. . “He wakes up love, the harder it is for him to bear it, that there is no one to share his feelings with. Finally, Gurov decides to go to the city of S. He takes a room in the hotel, finds out from the doorman where Von Diederitz lives, but because he can not directly pay a visit to them, he lies in wait for Anna Sergeyevna in the theater. There she sees her husband, in which there is “something lackey-modest” and which fully meets the provincial boredom and vulgarity of the city of S. Anna Sergeyevna is frightened of the meeting, begs Gurov to leave and promises to come to him herself. She lies to her husband that she goes to consult about a woman’s illness, and every two or three months she meets Gurov in Moscow at the Slavianski Bazaar.
At the end their meeting is described – not the first and, apparently, not the last. She’s crying. He orders tea and thinks: “Well, let him cry…” Then he comes to her and takes her by the shoulders. In the mirror he sees that his head begins to turn gray, that he has aged and grown fat in recent years. He realizes that he and she made some fatal mistake in life, he and she were not happy and only now, when old age is close, they truly know love. They are close to each other as husband and wife; their meeting is the most important thing in their life.
“And it seemed that a little more – and a solution will be found, and then a new, beautiful life will begin, and it was clear to both that the end is still far away and that the most difficult and difficult is just beginning.”