I could not argue the point with Savelitch. The money had remained as I had promised, in his sole charge. I felt vexed, however, at not being able to show my gratitude to a man, who, if he had not saved me from actual danger, had at least extricated me from a very unpleasant predicament.
"All right," said I, coolly; "if thou wilt not give him half a rouble, find something for him amongst my things. He is too thinly clad. Give him my touloup, of hareskin."
"For pity's sake, my little father, Piotr Andrevitch!" said Savelitch, "what does he want thy hareskin touloup for? The cur will barter it away at the first public-house."
"It need not trouble thee, my little man," said the vagabond, "whether I shall barter it or not. His honour does me the favour to give me the pelisse off his back; it is his honour's will, and thy business as a serf is not to discuss, but to obey."
"Thou dost not fear God, robber that thou art!" answered Savelitch in an angry tone. "Thou seest that the child has not come to years of discretion, and thou art glad to take advantage of his simplicity and rob him. What good is a gentleman's touloup to thee? thou canst not even get it over thy d——d shoulders."
"I beg of thee not to moralize," said I to my servant; "let him have the touloup, immediately."
"Good gracious!" moaned Savelitch. "The touloup is all but new! I would not mind it, but that a tattered drunkard gets it!"