Someone NN tells how in twenty-five years he went abroad to see the world. He did not have a definite plan of travel, he only wanted new impressions, acquaintances, communication. His heart was broken by a young widow, whom the narrator had met on the water. She preferred him to the Bavarian lieutenant, however, the heart wound was shallow.
The young man stops in a small German town of Z. There he meets with Gagin and his sister Asya.
NN gets an invitation to dinner with Gagin. Asya was at first embarrassed by an unfamiliar person, but then she got used to it. She turned out to be a very mobile, restless girl. NN, returning home, realizes that during the evening he never once remembered about the widow.
The next morning Gagin comes to NN and they find out that Asya alone
Upon returning home, NN thinks about Ace, more and more doubting that she is Sister Gagina. For two weeks NN visits the Gagins every day. Asya behaves with restraint and avoids N. N. He understands that Asya received some unusual upbringing, different from her brother’s upbringing. She reluctantly talked about her life in Russia. NN does not leave any suspicion that Gagin is not Brother Ace.
These suspicions were confirmed by one case. NN turned out to be an involuntary witness of the conversation in which Asya said that she did not want to love anyone except Gagin. NN no longer wants to see the Gagins. He went to the mountains, on his return found a note from Asin’s brother and went to him. A frank conversation took place between the young people. It turned out that Asya was really Gagina’s sister, but only by her father. Her mother is the former maid Tatiana. She refused to marry the master. After her death, her father took Asya to his house for upbringing. When his father died, Gagin was left alone
NN gradually understands the nature of the girl, and he begins to like him.
He suddenly asks himself: “Does she really love me?” The young man receives a note from Asya with a request to meet. Before the meeting, he went to Gagin and said that Asya loves him. Gagin asked whether NN intended to marry, but he left the answer, promising to explain himself to Asya.
When he met Asya NN, he reproached her for telling her brother everything, and accused him of haste, explaining that she did not let their feelings develop. Asya runs away, and NN can not find her. He understands that he loves her and wants to return her, never to part. The next morning he found a note from Asya. The Gagins left without telling where they were going next. NN was looking for them in Cologne, then in London, but traces of Asya and her brother were lost.
NN was very upset and never felt so deeply in his life. Now, in his declining years, he is comforted by the thought that fate has well disposed of and has not allowed to marry Ace: probably he would not be happy with her. However, NN, as a shrine, continues to keep her notes and the flower of the geranium, torn by Asya’s hand.