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The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories

The Lady With The Dog
I
IT was said that a new person had appeared on the sea-front: a lady with a little dog.
Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, who had by then been a fortnight at Yalta, and so was fairly at
home there, had begun to take an interest in new arrivals. Sitting in Verney's pavilion, he
saw, walking on the sea-front, a fair-haired young lady of medium height, wearing a
béret; a white Pomeranian dog was running behind her.
And afterwards he met her in the public gardens and in the square several times a day.
She was walking alone, always wearing the same béret, and always with the same white
dog; no one knew who she was, and every one called her simply "the lady with the dog."
"If she is here alone without a husband or friends, it wouldn't be amiss to make her
acquaintance," Gurov reflected.
He was under forty, but he had a daughter already twelve years old, and two sons at
school. He had been married young, when he was a student in his second year, and by
now his wife seemed half as old again as he. She was a tall, erect woman with dark
eyebrows, staid and dignified, and, as she said of herself, intellectual. She read a great
deal, used phonetic spelling, called her husband, not Dmitri, but Dimitri, and he secretly
considered her unintelligent, narrow, inelegant, was afraid of her, and did not like to be at
home. He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago--had been unfaithful to her often,
and, probably on that account, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were
talked about in his presence, used to call them "the lower race."
It seemed to him that he had been so schooled by bitter experience that he might call
them what he liked, and yet he could not get on for two days together without "the lower
race." In the society of men he was bored and not himself, with them he was cold and
uncommunicative; but when he was in the company of women he felt free, and knew
what to say to them and how to behave; and he was at ease with them even when he was
silent. In his appearance, in his character, in his whole nature, there was something
attractive and elusive which allured women and disposed them in his favour; he knew
that, and some force seemed to draw him, too, to them.
Experience often repeated, truly bitter experience, had taught him long ago that with
decent people, especially Moscow people--always slow to move and irresolute--every
intimacy, which at first so agreeably diversifies life and appears a light and charming
adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy, and in the long
run the situation becomes unbearable. But at every fresh meeting with an interesting
woman this experience seemed to slip out of his memory, and he was eager for life, and
everything seemed simple and amusing.
 
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