The Caucasus (Bunin)

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The Caucasus
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man and a woman, engaged in a secret affair, planned to escape to the Caucasus. After a blissful time together, the woman's husband committed suicide upon failing to find her.

A man arrived in Moscow and stayed in a hidden room near the Arbat.

The Narrator — narrator; deeply in love with a married woman; patient, romantic, and adventurous.

He was in love with a woman who visited him three times, each time expressing her fear that her husband suspected their affair.

The Woman — the narrator's lover; married to an officer; beautiful, anxious, and deeply in love.

The woman's husband was a proud officer who had threatened to defend his honor at any cost.

The Officer — the woman's husband; proud, possessive, and ultimately suicidal.

Despite her fear, the woman and the man planned to escape to the Caucasus coast for a few weeks.

The man arrived at the train station early to avoid running into the woman and her husband. He watched from his compartment as the woman arrived with her husband. Once the train started moving, the conductor brought the woman to the man's compartment.

I’m convinced he’ll come after me. I gave him two addresses, Gelendzhik and Gagry. Well, and in three or four days he’ll be in Gelendzhik… But who cares, better death than this torment…

The next morning, the train traveled through the steppe and they saw the first mountains on the horizon. The woman sent postcards to her husband from Gelendzhik and Gagry, but did not reveal their final destination. They continued south along the coast until they found a secluded spot surrounded by forests.

They spent their days swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the local market. In the evenings, they enjoyed the tranquility and beauty of the sea.

At sunset, amazing clouds often piled up beyond the sea; their glow was so magnificent that at times she would lie down on the ottoman, cover her face with a gauze scarf and cry: another two or three weeks – and Moscow again!

The woman often cried at the thought of returning to Moscow. At night, they listened to the sounds of the forest and watched the moonlight on the river.

One day, they learned that the woman's husband had been searching for her in Gelendzhik, Gagry, and Sochi. After failing to find her, he shot himself in his hotel room.