A Clump of Lilacs (Kuprin)

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A Clump of Lilacs
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young officer's exam work was rejected due to a mistake, so his wife devised a plan to plant lilac bushes to cover the error, saving his reputation and career.

Nikolai Yevgrafovitch Almazof, a young and poor army officer attending a course of lectures at the staff office academy, returned home one day with a frown on his face.

Nikolai Yevgrafovitch Almazof — young, poor army officer attending a course of lectures; determined, hardworking, easily frustrated.

His wife, Vera, knew something terrible had happened.

Vera (Verotchka) — Nikolai's wife; supportive, resourceful, and optimistic; beautiful and caring.

Well, Kolya, what about the work? Was it bad?

Nikolai had taken his last and most difficult practical work, a survey of the neighborhood, to the professor. Unfortunately, he had made a blot on the plan and tried to cover it up by drawing a clump of trees. The professor, knowing the area well, challenged Nikolai on the existence of the trees and demanded they go together to see them the next day.

Vera came up with a plan to plant trees at the spot to make her husband's lie true. They pawned their valuables to buy lilac bushes and planted them at the location.

But, don’t you see, if there aren’t any silly old trees there we’d better go and put some.

The next day, the professor examined the bushes and apologized to Nikolai for not remembering them, admitting he must be getting old. Nikolai felt guilty for deceiving the professor but was relieved that the plan had worked.

Nikolai and Vera returned home, holding hands and laughing, feeling a newfound love for lilac bushes. They agreed that lilacs would always be their favorite flower, as they symbolized their triumph over adversity and the strength of their love and partnership.