“Pyotr Kirillovitch.”

“Well, Pyotr Kirillovitch, come along, we’ll take you there.”

In the pitch dark the soldiers and Pierre walked to Mozhaisk.

The cocks were crowing when they reached Mozhaisk, and began ascending the steep hill into the town.

Pierre walked on with the soldiers, entirely forgetting that his inn was at the bottom of the hill and he had passed it. He would not have been aware of this—so preoccupied was he—if he had not chanced halfway up the hill to stumble across his groom, who had been to look for him in the town, and was on his way back to the inn. The groom recognised Pierre by his hat, which gleamed white in the dark.

“Your excellency!” he cried, “why, we had quite given you up. How is it you are on foot? And, mercy on us, where are you going?”

“Oh, to be sure…” said Pierre.

The soldiers halted.

“Well, found your own folks then?” said one of them.

“Well, good-bye to you—Pyotr Kirillovitch, wasn’t it?”

“Good-bye, Pyotr Kirillovitch!” said the other voices.

“Good-bye,” said Pierre, and with the groom he turned in the direction of the inn.

“I ought to give them something!” thought Pierre, feeling for his pocket. “No, better not,” some inner voice prompted him.

There was not a room at the inn: all were full. Pierre went out into the yard, and muffling his head up, lay down in his carriage.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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