Rusya (Bunin)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man reminisces about a passionate summer romance with a young artist during a train journey, recalling their love and the abrupt, tragic end to their relationship.

A man and a woman were traveling on a train from Moscow to Sebastopol when it unexpectedly stopped at a small station. The man began reminiscing about a time he spent in the area as a tutor on a dacha estate.

The Narrator — middle-aged man; reflective, nostalgic; he was a tutor in his youth.

He described the mundane surroundings and the impoverished family he worked for. He also mentioned a young woman, Rusya, who lived there. She was an artist and had a unique beauty, with a long black plait, dark eyes, and a yellow cotton sarafan.

Rusya (Marusya) — young artist; tall, thin, with dark hair and eyes; passionate, bold.

The man and Rusya developed a romantic relationship, often going boating at night.

“Now we’re husband and wife. Mama says she won’t survive my getting married, but I don’t want to think about that for the moment…

One day, Rusya's mentally unstable mother discovered their relationship and, in a fit of rage, shot at the man with a pistol. The man was expelled from the house, and his relationship with Rusya ended abruptly.

Years later, while traveling with his wife, the man remembered Rusya and their time together. His wife noticed his melancholy and asked if he was still pining for his "dacha maiden". The man responded with a Latin phrase, implying that no other love could compare to the one he had for Rusya.