When he succeeded in helping people, either by advice, or by his knowledge of reading and writing, or by settling some quarrel, he did not wait to see their gratitude but went away directly afterwards. And little by little God began to reveal Himself within him.
Once he was walking along with two old women and a soldier. They were stopped by a party consisting of a lady and gentleman in a gig and another lady and gentleman on horseback. The husband was on horseback with his daughter, while in the gig his wife was driving with a Frenchman, evidently a traveller.
The party stopped to let the Frenchman see the pilgrims who, in accord with a popular Russian superstition, tramped about from place to place instead of working.
They spoke French, thinking that the others would not understand them.
'Demandez-leur,' said the Frenchman, 's'ils sont bien sur de ce que leur pelerinage est agreable a Dieu.'
The question was asked, and one old woman replied:
'As God takes it. Our feet have reached the holy places, but our hearts may not have done so.'
They asked the soldier. He said that he was alone in the world and had nowhere else to go.