“Pray do, you are very welcome; the brother of my late master—the heavenly kingdom be his!—Makar Alexyevitch has remained, but your honour is aware he is in feeble health,” said the old servant.

Makar Alexyevitch was, as Pierre knew, a brother of Osip Alexyevitch, a half-mad creature, besotted by drink.

“Yes, yes, I know. Let us go in,” said Pierre, and he went into the house. A tall, bald old man in a dressing- gown, with a red nose and goloshes on his bare feet, was standing in the vestibule; seeing Pierre, he muttered something angrily, and walked away into the corridor.

“He was a great intellect, but now, as your honour can see, he has grown feeble,” said Gerasim. “Will you like to go into the study?” Pierre nodded. “As it was sealed up, so it has remained. Sofya Danilovna gave orders that if you sent for the books they were to be handed over.”

Pierre went into the gloomy study, which he had entered with such trepidation in the lifetime of his benefactor. Now covered with dust, and untouched since the death of Osip Alexyevitch, the room was gloomier than ever.

Gerasim opened one blind, and went out of the room on tiptoe. Pierre walked round the study, went up to the bookcase, where the manuscripts were kept, and took one of the most important, at one time a sacred relic of the order. This consisted of the long Scottish acts of the order, with Bazdyev’s notes and commentaries. He sat down to the dusty writing-table and laid the manuscripts down before him, opened and closed them, and at last, pushing them away, sank into thought, with his elbow on the table and his head in his hand.

Several times Gerasim peeped cautiously into the study and saw that Pierre was sitting in the same attitude.

More than two hours passed by, Gerasim ventured to make a slight noise at the door to attract Pierre’s attention. Pierre did not hear him.

“Is the driver to be dismissed, your honour?”

“Oh yes,” said Pierre, waking up from his reverie, and hurriedly getting up. “Listen,” he said, taking Gerasim by the button of his coat and looking down at the old man with moist, shining, eager eyes. “Listen! You know that to-morrow there is to be a battle …”

“They have been saying so …” answered Gerasim.

“I beg you not to tell any one who I am. And do what I tell you..”

“Certainly, sir,” said Gerasim. “Would your honour like something to eat?”

“No, but I want something else. I want a peasant dress and a pistol,” said Pierre, suddenly flushing red.

“Certainly, sir,” said Gerasim, after a moment’s thought.

All the rest of that day Pierre spent alone in his benefactor’s study pacing restlessly from one corner to the other, as Gerasim could hear, and talking to himself; and he spent the night on a bed made up for him there.

Gerasim accepted Pierre’s taking up his abode there with the imperturbability of a servant, who had seen many queer things in his time, and he seemed, indeed, pleased at having some one to wait upon. Without even permitting himself to wonder with what object it was wanted, he obtained for Pierre that evening a coachman’s coat and cap, and promised next day to procure the pistol he required. Makar Alexyevitch twice that evening approached the door, shuffling in his goloshes, and stood there, gazing

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