And so Sergius became a hermit.
At Carnival time, in the sixth year of Sergius's life at the hermitage, a merry company of rich people, men and women from a neighbouring town, made up a troyka-party, after a meal of carnival-pancakes and wine. The company consisted of two lawyers, a wealthy landowner, an officer, and four ladies. One lady was the officer's wife, another the wife of the landowner, the third his sister--a young girl--and the fourth a divorcee, beautiful, rich, and eccentric, who amazed and shocked the town by her escapades.
The weather was excellent and the snow-covered road smooth as a floor. They drove some seven miles out of town, and then stopped and consulted as to whether they should turn back or drive farther.
'But where does this road lead to?' asked Makovkina, the beautiful divorcee.
'To Tambov, eight miles from here,' replied one of the lawyers, who was having a flirtation with her.
'Then on to L----, past the Monastery.'
'Where that Father Sergius lives?'
'Kasatsky, the handsome hermit?'