ABOUT thirty miles from our village there lived, many years ago, a distant cousin of my mother’s, a retired officer of the Guards, and rather wealthy landowner, Alexey Sergeitch Teliegin. He lived on his estate and birth-place, Suhodol, did not go out anywhere, and so did not visit us; but I used to be sent, twice a year, to pay him my respects—at first with my tutor, but later on alone. Alexey Sergeitch always gave me a very cordial reception, and I used to stay three or four days at a time with him. He was an old man even when I first made his acquaintance; I was twelve, I remember, on my first visit, and he was then over seventy. He was born in the days of the Empress Elisabeth—in the last year of her reign. He lived alone with his wife, Malania Pavlovna; she was ten years younger than he. They had two daughters; but their daughters had been long married, and rarely visited Suhodol; they were not on the best of terms with their parents, and Alexey Sergeitch hardly ever mentioned their names.