They meet in summer on one of the steamers щт the Volga. He - the lieutenant, She - a pretty, little, tanned woman returning home from Anapa.
The boat approaches the pier, the lieutenant pleads her to get off. A minute later they were going to the hotel and take a big, but stuffy room. As soon as the waiter closes the door behind him, both merge in a kiss so frenetic, that many years later recall this moment: none of them had never experienced anything like it.
And in the morning the little nameless woman, jokingly calling herself a "beautiful stranger” leaves. Despite the almost sleepless night, she is fresh, a little embarrassed, still simple, fun, but reasonable: she asks the lieutenant to stay until the next steamer.
And Lieutenant agrees with her, delivers to the landing, helps her to sit down on the boat and kisses her on the deck.
Easily and carefree he comes back to the hotel, but the room seems different. It is still full of her - and empty. Lieutenant’s heart suddenly shrinks with such a tenderness that he cannot look at the unmade bed, and closes it with a screen. He thinks this "travel adventure" cannot be over, but he cannot come to the city, where her husband, her three-year girl live.
This thought struck him. He feels such pain and uselessness of all his further life without her, that horror and despair cover him. Lieutenant begins to believe that it is "sunstroke" and does not know how to live this endless day, with these memories and with this unsolvable flour.
The lieutenant goes to the market, the cathedral, and then turns on the long abandoned garden, but never finds solace and relief of this unwelcome feeling.
Returning to the hotel, the lieutenant orders a meal. Everything is well, but he knows that he would not hesitate to die tomorrow, if he could by some miracle return the "beautiful stranger" and prove her how painfully and enthusiastically loves her. He does not know why, but it is for him the necessities of life.
Realizing that to get rid of this unexpected love is impossible, Lieutenant goes to the post office with an already written telegram, but stops in horror - he does not know either her last name or her name! The lieutenant returns to the hotel completely broken, lies on the bed, he closes his eyes, feeling tears rolling down his cheeks, and finally falls asleep.
Lieutenant wakes up in the evening. Yesterday morning and present morning he recollects as a distant past. He gets up, washes, drinks tea with lemon, pays for the room and goes to the landing.
The ship sails away at night. The lieutenant sits under an awning on the deck, feeling grown old for ten years.