A Russian Gentleman_ seems a suitable title for this book, because the whole scene, in which a multitude of characters appear, is entirely dominated and permeated by the tremendous personality of Aksakoff's grandfather, Stepan Mihailovitch. Plain and rough in his appearance and habits, but proud of his long descent; hardly able to read or write, but full of natural intelligence; capable of furious anger and extreme violence in his anger, but equally capable of steadfast and even chivalrous affection; a born leader of men and the very incarnation of truth, honour, and honesty--Stepan Mihailovitch is more like a Homeric hero than a man of modern times.
his people became so satisfactory that none of them gave him any cause to lose his temper.
 Bagrovo is a pseudonym for Aksakovo.
After getting his estate into good order, my grandfather married; his bride was Arina Vassilyevna Nyeklyoodoff, a young lady of little fortune but, like himself, of ancient descent. This gives me an opportunity to explain that his pedigree was my grandfather's foible: he was moderately well-to-do, owning only 180 serfs, but his descent, which he traced back, by means of Heaven knows what documents, for six hundred years all the way to a Varyag prince called Shimon, he valued far more than any riches or office in the State. At one time he was much attracted by a rich and beautiful girl, but he would not marry her, merely because her great-grandfather was not a noble.
 The earliest Russian chronicles report that the Russian empire was founded in the 8th century by certain foreign princes called Varyags. The nationality of these princes has been