The Godmother (Bunin)

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The Godmother
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man confessed his love to a married woman during a summer stay at her dacha. They had an affair, and planned to meet again at a later date.

In a luxurious dacha outside Moscow, a beautiful woman in her thirties was spending her summer days while her husband was away at work.

The Lady of the House — beautiful, thirty-year-old woman of the merchant class; radiant, content, and seemingly unbothered by her husband's absence.

One evening, a friend of her husband's, who was staying with them, confessed his love for her.

The Husband's Friend — elegant, wiry man with a small, trimmed moustache; a connoisseur and collector of ancient Russian icons; deeply in love with the lady of the house.

He revealed that he had been in love with her since the day they were godparents for a mutual friend's child. He described the day vividly, expressing how he was captivated by her beauty and charm.

“Godmother, may I kiss your hand? I can’t look at you in peace.”

The woman, however, responded with indifference and suggested that he should seek medical help for his "illness". She also informed him that her husband would be spending the night in Moscow due to a shareholders' meeting. At dinner, the man joked about joining her husband in Moscow, but she discouraged him, reminding him of their shared memories.

Later that night, the man sneaked out of her bedroom and returned to his own room, reflecting on his unexpected good fortune. The next morning, he decided to leave for Moscow and then travel to the Tyrol or Lake Garda. At lunch, the woman asked him to leave and tell her husband that he too wanted to go to Kislovodsk.

“Please leave today. Tell Dmitry Nikolayevich that you too felt a terrible urge to go to Kislovodsk. I’ll be there in a couple of weeks...”

She promised to join him there in a couple of weeks, after sending her husband to his parents' dacha in the Crimea. The man was overjoyed and thanked her, but also had a fleeting thought of possibly hating her in the future.