THE STEEL FLEA
placed therein the necessary food, and disappeared from the town. The only point about them which was remarked was, that they did not proceed towards the Moscow barrier, but in the opposite direction, towards Kieff; and it was supposed that they had betaken themselves to Kieff in order to do reverence to the departed Saints, or to take counsel there with some of the living holy men who are always present in Kieff, in vast abundance.
But this was only approximately true, not the truth itself. Neither the time nor the distance allowed of the Tula artisans making the three weeks' trip on foot to Kieff, and afterwards executing a piece of work which should put the English nation to shame. Better would it have been to go to Moscow, which is distant only "twice ninety versts," to pray, since departed Saints not a few repose there, also. But in the
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