IN the great building of the Law Courts, during an interval in the hearing of the Melvinsky affair, the members of the Court and the public prosecutor gathered together in Ivan Yegorovich Shebek's private room, and the conversation turned on the celebrated Krasovsky case. Fiodr Vassilyevich maintained hotly that it was not subject to their jurisdiction, Ivan Yegorovich argued the contrary, while Piotr Ivanovich, not having entered into the discussion at the start, was taking no part in it but looking through the Gazette which had just been brought in.

'Gentlemen!' he exclaimed, 'Ivan Ilyich is dead I' 'No. Really?'

'Here, read for yourself: replied Piotr Ivanovich, handing Fiodr Vassilyevich the paper fresh from the press and still smelling of ink.

Surrounded by a black border were the words:

With profound sorrow Praskovya Fiodorovna Golovin informs relatives and friends of the demise of her beloved husband, Ivan Ilyich Golovin, member of the Supreme Court, who departed this life on the 4th of February of this year r882. The funeral will take place on Friday at one o'clock in the afternoon.

Ivan Ilyich had been a colleague of theirs, and they had all liked him. He had been ailing for several weeks with an illness said to be incurable. His post had been kept open but it was generally considered that in the case of his death Alexeyev might be appointed as his successor, with either Vinnikov or Shtabel to succeed Alexeyev. 50 that on hearing of Ivan Ilyich's death the first thought of each of those present was its possible effect in the way of transfer or promotion for themselves or their associates.

'I am sure to get Shtabel's place, or Vinnikov's, now: thought Fiodr Vassilyevich. 'I was promised that long ago, and the pro-


was reading something in a loud voice with an expression that forbade contradiction. The butler's assistant, Gerassim, stepping lightly in front of Piotr Ivanovich, was strewing something on the floor. Noticing this, Piotr Ivanovich was instantly aware of a faint odour of decomposing body. On his last visit to Ivan Ilyich, Piotr Ivanovich had seen Gerassim in the study, acting as sick-nurse, and Ivan Ilyich had been particularly fond of him.

Piotr Ivanovich continued crossing himself and inclining his head in an intermediate direction between the coffin, the reader and the ikons on the table in the corner. Presently, when this action of making the sign of the cross with his hand seemed to him to have gone on quite long enough, he stood still and began to look at the dead man.

The dead man lay, as dead men always do lie, in a peculiarly heavy, dead way, his stiffened limbs sunk in the padding of the coffin, with the head bent back forever on the pillow. His yellow waxen brow with bald patches over the sunken temples was thrust up, after the fashion of dead men, and the prominent nose appeared to press tight down on to the upper lip. He was much altered and had grown even thinner since Piotr Ivanovich had last seen him, but as always is the case with the dead the face was handsomer and, above all, more impressive than it had been when alive. The expression on the face signified that what required to be done had been done, and done rightly. There was reproach, too, in that expression, and a reminder to the living. This reminder seemed out of place to Piotr Ivanovich, or at least to have nothing to do with him. It gave him an unpleasant sort of feeling, and so he hastily crossed himself once more and, as it seemed to him, too hastily and incompatibly with decent observance, turned and went to the door. Schwartz was waiting for him on the landing, standing with legs wide apart and both hands toying with the top hat held behind his back. The mere sight of that sprightly, sleek, elegant figure restored Piotr Ivanovich. He felt that Schwartz was above all these happenings and would not surrender to any depressing influences. His very look said that the incident of a requiem service for Ivan Ilyich could not possibly constitute sufficient grounds for interrupting the recognized order of things - in other words, that nothing could interfere with the unwrapping


and cutting of a new pack of cards that very evening while a footman set out four fresh candles; in fact that there was no reason to suppose that this incident could hinder their spendi~g the evening as agreeably as any other evening. Indeed, he said this in a whisper as Piotr Ivanovich passed him, proposing that they should meet for a game at Fiodr Vassilyevich's. Bu~ apparently it was not Piotr Ivanovich's destiny to play whist tl:at evening. Praskovya Fiodorovna, a short, fat woman who, despite all efforts to the contrary had continued to broaden steadily from the shoulders downwards, all in black, with lace covering her head, and her eyebrows as queerly arched as those of the lady who had been standing beside the' coffin, came out of her own apartments with some other ladies, and condu.cting .them ~o ~he door of the dead man's room said: 'The service WIll begin Immediately: please go in.'

Schwartz, making a vague bow, remained where he was, obviously neither accepting nor declining this invitation. Praskovya Fiodorovna, recognizing Piotr Ivanovich, sighed, went close up to him, took his hand and said: 'I know. you w~r~ a true friend of Ivan Ilyich's .. .' and looked at him, awaiting some suitable response to her words. Piotr Ivanovich knew that just as it had been the right thing before, in t~at r~om, to cr~ss himself, now it was necessary to press the WIdow s hand, sigh and say: 'Yes, indeed!' And he did so. And as he did so he fe~t that the desired result had been achieved: that he was moved and she was moved.

'Come,' said the widow. 'They haven't begun yet: I want to have a talk with you. Give me your arm.'

Piotr Ivanovich offered her his arm and they moved towards an inner apartment, passing Schwartz who winked compassionately at Piotr Ivanovich.

'So much for our game I Don't complain if we find another partner. Perhaps you can cut in when you do get away,' said

his quizzical glance. ,

Piotr Ivanovich sighed still more deeply and despondently, and Praskovya Fiodorovna gratefully pressed his arm. When they reached her drawing-room, which was upholstered in pink cretonne and lighted by a dismal-looking lamp, they sat down at the table - she on a sofa and Piotr Ivanovich on a low pouffe


with broken springs which yielded spasmodically under his weight. Praskovya Fiodorovna had been on the point of warning him to take another seat but felt that such a remark would have been out of keeping with her situation, and thought better of it. As he sat down on the pouffe Piotr Ivanovich remembered, how Ivan Ilyich had arranged this drawing-room and had consulted him about this very pink cretonne with the green leaves. The whole room was full of knicknacks and furniture, and on her way to the sofa the widow caught the lace of her black fichu on the carved edge of the table. Piotr Ivanovich rose to detach it, and the pouffe, released from his weight, bobbed up and bumped him. The widow began detaching the lace herself, and Piotr Ivanovich sat down again, suppressing the mutinous springs of the pouffe under him. But the widow could not quite free herself and Piotr Ivanovich rose again, and again the pouffe rebelled and popped up with a positivesnap. When this was all over she took out a clean cambric handkerchief and began to weep. But the episode with the lace and the struggle with the pouffe had put Piotr Ivanovich off, and he sat looking sullen. This awkward situation was interrupted by Sikolov, Ivan Ilyich's butler, who came in to report that the plot in the cemetery which Praskovya Fiodorovna had selected would cost two hundred roubles. She left off weeping and, looking at Piotr Ivanovich with the air of a victim, remarked in French that it was very terrible for he~. Piotr Ivanovich made a silent gesture signifying his undoubted belief that it must indeed be so.

'Pray smoke: she said in a voice at once magnanimous and disconsolate, and began to discuss with the butler the question of the price of the plot for the grave.

Lighting a cigarette, Piotr Ivanovich heard her very circumstantially inquiring into the prices of different plots and finally decide which one to have. When that was done she gave instructions about engaging the choir. The butler departed.

'I see to everything myself: she said to Piotr Ivanovich, pushing to one side the albums that lay on the table; and noticing that the table was in danger from his cigarette ash she quickly passed him an ash-tray, saying as she did so: 'It would be hypocritical of me to pretend that my grief prevents me from attending to practical affairs. On the contrary, if anything


could - I won't say console me but - distract me, it is this seeing after everything to do with him.' She took out her handkerchief again as though preparing for tears but suddenly, as if struggling with her feelings, she shook herself and began to speak calmly: 'However, there is something I want to talk to you about.'

Piotr Ivanovich bowed, keeping control of the springs of the

pouffe, which had immediately begun quivering under him. 'The last few days his sufferings were dreadful.'

'He suffered very much?' asked Piotr Ivanovich.

'Oh, dreadfully! At the last he screamed, not for minutes, but for hours on end. During three days and nights he screamed incessantly. It was unendurable. I don't know how I bore it: you could hear him three rooms away. Oh, what I have gone through!'

'And was he really conscious all that time?' asked Piotr Ivanovich.

'Yes: she whispered, 'to the very end. He said good-bye to us a quarter of an hour before he died, and even asked us to take Volodya away.'

The thought of the sufferings of the man he had known so intimately, first as a light-hearted child, then a youngster at school, and later on, when they were grown up, as a partner at whist, suddenly struck Piotr Ivanovich with horror, in spit~ of the unpleasant consciousness of his own and this woman's hypocrisy. He again saw that brow, and the nose pressing down on the lip, and was overcome with a feeling of dread on his own account.

'Three days and nights of awful suffering and then death.

Why, it might happen to me, all of a sudden, at any moment: he thought, and for an instant he was terrified. But immediately, he could not have explained how, there came to his support the old reflection that this thing had befallen Ivan Ilyich and not him, and that it ought not and could not happen to him, and that to think that it could meant that he was falling into a melancholy frame of mind, which was a mistake, as the expression on Schwartz' face had made quite clear. After which reflection Piotr Ivanovich cheered up and began to ask with interest about the details of Ivan Ilyich's end, as though death


were some mischance to which only Ivan Ilyichwas liable, but he himself was not.

After describing at length the really dreadful physical suffering endured by Ivan Ilyich (the details of which Piotr Ivanovich learned only through the effect Ivan Ilyich's agonies had had on the nerves of Praskovya Fiodorovna) the widow apparently thought it time to get to business.

'Ah, Piotr Ivanovich, how distressing it is, how terribly, terribly distressing!' and she burst into tears again.

Piotr Ivanovich sighed and waited for her to finish blowing her nose. When she had done so he said, 'Believe me .. .', and again she began to talk, coming to what was evidently her chief concern with him - namely, to question him as to how she could obtain a grant of money from the government on the occasion of her husband's death. She made it appear that she was asking Piotr Ivanovich's advice about her pension, but he soon realized that she already knew all about it down to the smallest particular, knew more even than he did himself. She knew how much could be got from the government in consequence of her husband's death, but wanted to find out if it would be possible to extract a little more. Piotr Ivanovich tried to think of some way of doing so, but after pondering a while and, out of politeness, condemning the government for its niggardliness, he said it seemed to him nothing more could be got. Then she sighed and was unmistakably beginning to cast about for some means of release from her visitor. Noticing this, he put out his cigarette, rose, pressed her hand and went into the ante-room.

In the dining-room where the clock stood which Ivan Ilyich had liked so much that he bought it in an antique shop Piotr Ivanovich met the priest and a few acquaintances come to attend the service; also a handsome young woman who was Ivan Ilyich's daughter. She was all in black and her slim figure appeared slimmer than ever. She had a gloomy, determined, almost angry expression, and bowed to Piotr Ivanovich as though he were in some way at fault. Behind the daughter, with the same aggrieved look, stood a wealthy young man, whom Piotre Ivanovich also knew, an examining magistrate and her fiance, as he had heard. He bowed mournfully to them and was


about to pass on into the dead man's room, when from under the staircase appeared Ivan Ilyich's schoolboy son, who was extraordinarily like his father. It was Ivan Ilyich over again, as Piotr Ivanovich remembered him when they studied law together. His eyes were red with weeping and had the look seen in the eyes of nasty-minded boys of thirteen or fourteen. When he saw Piotr Ivanovich he scowled morosely and diffidently. Piotr Ivanovich nodded to him and entered the dead man's room. The service began: candles, sighing, incense, tears and sobs. Piotr Ivanovich stood frowning down at his feet. He did not once look at the body, right through to the very end refusing to give way to depressing influences, and was one of the first to leave. There was nobody in the ante-room, but Gerassim, the butler's assistant, carne darting out of the dead man's room, tossed over with his strong hands all the fur cloaks to find Piotr Ivanovich's and helped him on with it.

'Well, Gerassim, my friend: said Piotr Ivanovich, for the sake of saying something. 'A sad affair, isn't it?'

'It's God's will. We shall all corne to it some day,' said Cerassim, showing the even white teeth of a peasant - and like a man in the thick of urgent work he briskly opened the front door, hailed the coachman, saw Piotr Ivanovich into the carriage and sprang back to the porch as though occupied with the thought of what he had to do next.

Piotr Ivanovich found the fresh air particularly pleasant after the smell of incense, dead body and disinfectant.

'Where to, sir?' asked the coachman.

'It's not too late. I've still time to call round on Fiodr Vassilyevich.'

And Piotr Ivanovich drove there, and did, in fact, find them just finishing the first rubber, so that he arrived at a quite convenient moment to take a hand.


THE story of Ivan Ilyich's life was of the simplest, most ordinary and therefore most terrible.

He had been a member of the Court of Justice and died at


the age of forty-five. He was the son of an official whose career in Petersburg in various ministries and departments had been such as leads men to positions from which, by reason of their long service and the official rank they have attained, they cannot be discharged, although it is obvious that they are unfit to perform any useful duty, and for whom, therefore, posts are specially created, which though fictitious carry salaries of from six to ten thousand roubles that are not fictitious and on which they go on living to an advanced age.

Of such was the Privy Councillor, the superfluous member of various superfluous institutions, Ilya Yefimovich Golovin.

He had three sons, of whom Ivan Ilyich was the second. The eldest son was following in his father's footsteps, only in another ministry, and was already approaching that stage in the Service when inertia is rewarded by a sinecure. The third son was a failure. He had ruined his prospects in a number of positions and was now employed in the department of railways. His father and brothers, and still more their wives, not merely disliked meeting him but avoided remembering his existence unless compelled to do so. His sister had married Baron Greff, a Petersburg official of the same stamp as his father-in-law. Ivan Ilyich was Ie phenix de Ia famille, as people said. Neither so cold and formal as his elder brother nor as wild as the younger, he was the happy mean between them - an intelligent, polished, lively and agreeable man. He had been educated for the law, along with his younger brother, but the latter had not finished the course, being expelled when in the fifth class. Ivan Ilyich, however, had graduated well. As a student he was already just what he was to remain for the rest of his life: a capable, cheerful, good-natured and sociable fellow, though strict in the performance of what he considered to be his duty; and he considered as his duty whatever was so considered by those in authority over him. Neither as a boy nor as a man had he been one to curry favour, yet there was that about him that from his very earliest years he was attracted, as a fly to the light, by people of high station. He adopted their ways and views on life, and established friendly relations with them. All the enthusiasms of childhood and youth passed without leaving much mark on him; he succumbed to sensuality, and to vanity, and,


towards the end of his schooldays, to the idea of liberalism, but always within limits which his instinct unfailingly indicated to him.

As a law student he had done things which had before that seemed to him vile and at the time had made him feel disgusted with himself; but later on when he saw that such conduct was practised by people of high standing and not considered wrong by them, he came not exactly to regard those actions of his as all right but simply to forget them entirely or not be at all troubled by their recollection.

Having taken his degree and qualified for the tenth rank of the Civil Service, and receiving from his father a sum of money for his outfit, Ivan Ilyich ordered clothes for himself at Scharrner's, hung on his watch-chain a medallion inscribed Respice Iuiem, took leave of his professor and the prince who was patron of the school, had a farewell dinner with his comrades at Donon's, and with his new fashionable belongings - a trunk, linen, uniform, shaving and toilet requisites and a travelling rug - all ordered and purchased at the very best shops, he set off for one of the provinces to take up the post of confidential clerk and emissary to the governor which had been obtained for him by his father.

In the province Ivan Ilyich soon arranged as easy and agreeable a position for himself as he had enjoyed at the School of Law. He attended to his duties, advanced his career and at the same time led a life of well-bred social gaiety. Now and then he paid official visits to country districts, bearing himself with dignity alike with superiors and inferiors, and fulfilling every commission entrusted to him, which generally related to sectarians, with a scrupulous and incorruptible integrity of which he could only feel proud.

In official matters, despite his youth and taste for frivolous amusements, he was exceedingly reserved, business-like, even severe; but in society he was often amusing and witty, and always good-natured, gentlemanly and bon enfant, as the governor and his wife - to whom he was like one of the family - used to say of him.

In the province he had an affair with a lady who threw herself at the elegant young lawyer. There was also a little milliner,


and drinking bouts with visiting aides-de-camp, and after-supper excursions to a certain outlying street; and there were, too.some rather dubious efforts to ingratiate himself with his chief, and even his chief's wife; but all this was carried off with such an air of good breeding that no hard names could be applied to it. It all came under the heading of the French saying, 'll faut que la jeunesse se passe'," It was all done with clean hands, in clean linen, with French phrases and, what was of most importance, in the very highest society and consequently with the approval of persons of rank.

Such was Ivan Ilyich's career for five years, and then came a change in his official life. New judicial institutions were introduced, and new men were needed.

Ivan Ilyich became one of these new men.

Ivan Ilyich was offered the post of examining magistrate, and he accepted it in spite of the fact that. the post was in another province and he would have to give up the connexions he had formed, and make new ones. His friends who went to see him off had a group photograph taken, and presented him with a silver cigarette-case; and away he went to his new appointment.

As an examining magistrate Ivan Ilyich was just as camme il iaut, as decorous, as adroit in keeping official duties apart from private life, and as successful in inspiring' general respect as he had been as a confidential clerk and emissary. The duties of his new office were vastly more interesting and attractive than those of his previous appointment. In his old post it had been pleasant to stroll from Scharrner's in undress uniform through the crowd of petitioners and petty officials timorously awaiting an audience with the governor, and envying him as he marched with his easy swagger straight into the governor's private room, to sit down with him to tea and a cigarette. But there had been very few people who directly depended upon his good pleasureonly police officials and the sectarians when he went on special missions; and he liked to treat such dependent folk affably, almost as comrades. He liked to make them feel that here was he, who had the power to crush, treating them in this simple, friendly way. Such people were then few in number. But now that he was an examining magistrate Ivan IIyich felt

.. Youth must have its fling. [Translator's note]



that everyone - everyone without exception, even the most important and self-sufficient - was in his hands, and that he had only to write certain words on a sheet of paper with a printed heading, and this or that important, self-sufficient person would be brought before him in the capacity of defendant or witness, and if he did not choose to allow him to sit down would have to stand in his presence and respond to his interrogation. Ivan Ilyich never abused his authority: on the contrary, he tried to temper the expression of it. But the consciousness of this power and of the possibility of tempering its effect supplied the chief interest and attraction of his office. In the work itself - in his judicial investigations, that is - Ivan Ilyich very soon acquired the art of eliminating all considerations irrelevant to the legal aspect, and reducing even the most complicated case to a form in which the bare essentials could be presented on paper, with his own personal opinion completely excluded and, what was of paramount importance, observing all the prescribed formalities. The work was new and Ivan Ilyich was one of the first men to put into operation the Code of 1864.

On taking up the office of examining magistrate in a new town Ivan Ilyich made new acquaintances and connexions, established himself anew and adopted a somewhat different tone. He preserved a rather dignified aloofness towards the provincial authorities, while he singled out the top circle among the legal gentlemen and wealthy gentry living in the town with whom his attitude was one of easy-going criticism of the government, together with a moderate form of liberalism and enlightened citizenship. At this time, without making any change in the elegance of his toilet, Ivan Ilyich, in his new dignity, ceased shaving his chin and allowed his beard to grow as it pleased.

Ivan Ilyich settled down once more to a very pleasant existence in the new town. The society in which he moved, and which had a tendency to raise its voice against the governor, was amiable and upper class; his salary was larger, and he began to play whist, which he found added not a little to his enjoyment of life. A good-humoured player, able to think quickly and calculate with finesse, he almost invariably found himself on the winning side.


After a couple of years in the new town Ivan Ilyich met his future wife, Praskovya Fiodorovna MikheI, who was the most fascinating, clever and brilliant girl in the set in which he moved, and among other recreations and relaxations from his labours as examining magistrate Ivan Ilyich started a light, playful flirtation with Praskovya Fiodorovna.

When he had been a confidential clerk and emissary Ivan Ilyich had hardly missed a dance; now as examining magistrate he danced only as an exception - as if to show that though he served under the reformed order of things, and had reached the fifth official rank, yet when it came to dancing he could still do better than most people. So now and then at the end of the evening he danced with Praskovya Fiodorovna, and it was during these dances that he made his conquest. She fell in love with him. At first Ivan Ilyich had no clearly defined intention of marrying, but when the girl fell in love with him he said to himself: 'After all, why not marry?'

Praskovya Fiodorovna came of a good family, was not bad looking; and there was a little bit of property. Ivan Ilyich might have aspired to a more brilliant marriage, but even this was quite a worthy match. He had his salary, and her private income, he hoped, would come to as much. She was well connected, and was a sweet, pretty and perfectly comme if taut young woman. To say that Ivan Ilyich married because he fell in love with his betrothed and' found that she sympathized with his views of life would be as untrue as to say that he married because his social circle approved of the match. Ivan Ilyich was influenced by both these considerations :the marriage afforded him personal satisfaction and at the same time he was doing what persons of the loftiest standing looked upon as the correct thing.

So Ivan Ilyich got married.

The wedding ceremony itself and the start of married life with the conjugal caresses, the new furniture, new crockery, new linen, right up to the time his wife became pregnant, were all that could be desired, so that Ivan Ilyich had really begun to think that marriage so far from impairing his easy-going, agreeable, light-hearted and always respectable mode of existence, so approved of by society and regarded by himself as natural,


would even add to its charms. But at that point, with the first months of his wife's pregnancy, there appeared a new element, unexpected, unpleasant, tiresome and unseemly, which could never have been anticipated and from which there was no escape.

His wife, without any reason, or so it seemed to Ivan Ilyich, from galte de coeur, * as he expressed it to himself, began to disturb the enjoyable and decent current of his life. Without any sort of justification she began to be jealous,' demanded that he should devote his whole attention to her, found fault with everything and made disagreeable, ill-mannered scenes.

At first Ivan Ilyich hoped to escape from the unpleasantness of this state of affairs by taking the same light-hearted and correct line that had served him so well formerly: he tried to ignore his wife's bad-tempered moods, continued to live in his usual free and easy fashion, invited his friends to the house for a game of cards and tried going to the club and accepting invitations himself. But one day his wife abused him so coarsely and energetically, and so persistently continued thus to abuse him every time he failed to comply with her demands, evidently determined not to stop until he gave in, or in other words agreed to stay at home and be as bored as she was, that Ivan Ilyich's heart sank. He realized that matrimony - at any rate with Praskovya Fiodorovna - was not always conducive to the pleasures and amenities of life but, on the contrary, often infringed both comfort and propriety, and that he must therefore protect himself against such infringement. And Ivan Ilyich began to cast about for means of protection. His official position was the one part of his life which impressed Praskovya Fiodorovna, and Ivan Ilyich began to use his official position and the duties attached to it in this struggle with his wife for independence.

The birth of their child, the attempts to feed it and the various failures to do so, and the real and imaginary illnesses of infant and mother, in which Ivan Ilyich's sympathy was demanded but about which he understood nothing, all made it more and more urgent for Ivan Ilyich to fence off a world for himself outside his family life.

* Sheer wantonness. [Translator's note]



As his wife grew more irritable and exacting, so Ivan Ilyich transferred the centre of gravity of his existence from his home life to his work. He became increasingly fond of his official functions, and more ambitious than he had ever been before.

Very soon, within a year of his wedding, Ivan Ilyich had realized that marriage, while affording certain advantages, was in fact a very intricate and difficult business with regard to which, in order to perform one's duty, that is, to lead the decorous life approved by society, one must work out for oneself a definite attitude, just as he had done for his official existence.

And such an attitude Ivan Ilyich did work out for himself in regard to his married life. He required of it only those conveniences - a wife to manage his house, meals and a bed - which it could give him and, in particular, the keeping up of appearances as ordained by public opinion. For the rest he looked for cheerful amiability and if he found it was very grateful: but if he encountered antagonism and peevishness he promptly retreated into his other world of official duties, and there found satisfaction.

Ivan Ilyich was esteemed an excellent magistrate and after three years he was appointed assistant public prosecutor. His new functions, their importance, the possibility of indicting and imprisoning anyone he chose, the publicity his speeches received and the success which attended Ivan Ilyich in this field - all made his work the more attractive.

Children were born to him. His wife grew ever more querulous and ill-tempered, but the line Ivan Ilyich had mapped out for himself so far as his home life was concerned rendered him almost impervious to her grumbling.

After seven years of service in the same town he was transferred to another province with the post of public prosecutor. They moved, money was short and his wife did not like their changed surroundings. Though his salary was higher living was more expensive, besides which two of their children died, and thus family life became still more disagreeable to Ivan Ilyich.

Praskovya Fiodorovna blamed her husband for every reverse that befell them' in their new home. Most of the conversations between husband and wife, especially those concerning the



children's education, led to topics recalling previous disputes, so that quarrels were apt to flare up at any moment. There remained only those rare periods of amorousness which still came

. to them at times but which did not last. These were islets at which they put in for a while, only to embark again upon that ocean of concealed hostility that was made apparent in their estrangement from one another. This estrangement might have grieved Ivan Ilyich had he believed that it should not have existed but he had come to regard the situation, not only as normal, but as the goal he aimed at in his domestic life. He aspired to free himself more and more from all the unpleasantnesses and give them a semblance of being decently innocuous. And this he attained by spending less and less time with his family, and when obliged to be at home he tried to safeguard himself by the presence of outsiders. The great thing for Ivan Ilyich, however, was that he had his office. His whole interest now centred in the world of his duties and this interest absorbed him. The sense of his own power, the feeling of being able to ruin anybody he wished to ruin, even the external dignity of his position, when he made his entry into the court or met with his subordinates, the fact that he was successful in the eyes of superiors and subordinates, and, above all, his masterly handling of cases, of which he was conscious - in all these he rejoiced as he did in the chats with his colleagues, the dinners and whist which filled his time. So that, on the whole, Ivan Ilyich's life continued to flow as he considered it should - pleasantly and properly.

Thus things continued for another seven years. His eldest daughter was already sixteen, another child had died, and there remained only one son, a schoolboy and the object of their wrangling. Ivan I1yvich wanted the lad to study law but to spite him Praskovya Fiodorovna sent him to the high school. The daughter had been educated at home and had turned out well : the boy, too, was not doing badly with his studies.


SUCH was the course of Ivan Ilyich's life for seventeen years after his marriage. He was now a public prosecutor of long standing and had declined several offers of transfer in the hope of a still more desirable opening, when an unlooked-for and disagreeable incident quite destroyed the peaceful tenor of his existence. He was expecting to be appointed presiding judge in a university town but Hoppe somehow stole a march on him and secured the nomination. Ivan llyich was nettled, accused Hoppe and quarrelled both with him and with his immediate superiors. A coolness sprang up towards him and he was again passed over when the next appointment was made.

This was in 1880, the hardest year of Ivan Ilyich's life. In this year it became evident, on the one hand that his salary was insufficient and on the other that he had been forgotten by everybody, and that what seemed to him the most monstrous and cruellest injustice appeared to others as a perfectly usual occurrence. Even his father did not feel called upon to help him. Ivan Ilyich felt that everyone had deserted him, and that they all regarded his position with a salary of three thousand five hundred roubles as quite normal, even fortunate. He alone knew that, what with the injustices he had suffered, his wife's everlasting nagging, and the debts that were beginning to accumulate through living beyond his means - he alone knew that his position was far from being a normal one.

In order to ease his expenses that year he obtained leave of absence and went with his wife to spend the summer in the country at her brother's.

In the country, with no official duties to occupy him, Ivan Ilyich for the first time in his life experienced not merely ennui but intolerable depression, and decided that things could not go on like that, and that he absolutely must take immediate and energetic measures.

After a sleepless night passed pacing up and down the veranda he made up his mind to go to Petersburg and bestir himself, in


order to get transferred to another ministry and punish them, meaning the people who had not known how to appreciate him.

Next day, in spite of all the efforts of his wife and her brother to dissuade him, he departed for Petersburg.

He went with a single object in view: to obtain a post with a salary of five thousand roubles. He was not particular now about any special ministry, or about following any special bent or about the sort of work that would be required of him. All he wanted was an appointment to another post with a salary of five thousand, either in the administrative services, in the banking department, with the railways, in one of the Empress Maria's institutions, even in the Customs - so long as it carried with it a salary of five thousand roubles and took him away from the department where he had not been appreciated.

And behold, this excursion of Ivan Ilyich's was crowned with amazing, unlooked-for success. At Kursk an acquaintance of his, F. S. Ilyin, got into the same first-class carriage and told him of a telegram just received by the governor of Kursk announcing a change about to take place in the ministry - Piotr Ivanovich was to be superseded by Ivan Semeonovich.

The proposed change, apart from its significance for Russia, had a special significance for Ivan Ilyich inasmuch as by bringing to the front a new man, Piotr Petrovich, and no doubt with him his friend lahar Ivanovich, it was highly favourable f?r Ivan Ilyich, since lahar Ivanovich was a friend and colleague of his.

In Moscow the news was confirmed, and on reaching Petersburg Ivan Ilyich sought out lahar Ivanovich and received a definite promise of an appointment in his old department, the Ministry of Justice.

A week later he telegraphed to his wife: 'At iirst opportunity Zahar to appoint me Miller's place.'

Thanks to this change of personnel, Ivan Ilyich unexpectedly obtained in his old ministry an appointment which placed him two ranks above his former colleagues, besides providing him with an income of five thousand roubles plus three thousand five hundred for the expenses connected with his move. All his grievances against his former enemies and the whole department were forgotten, and Ivan Ilyich was completely happy.



He returned to the country in better spirits and more contented than he had been for a long time. Praskovya Fiodorovna cheered up too, and a truce was concluded between them. Ivan Ilyich had a lot to tell about the respect with which he had been treated in Petersburg, how all those who had been his enemies had been humbled and now fawned on him, how envious they all were of his appointment, and, in particular, how much everybody in Petersburg had liked him.

Praskovya Fiodorovna listened to all this and pretended to believe it, not contradicting him in anything but confining herself to making plans for their new life in the city to which they were going. And Ivan Ilyich perceived with delight that these plans were his plans, that he and his wife were in agreement and that his life after the disturbing hitch in its progress was about to regain its true and natural character of gaiety and decorum.

Ivan Ilyich had come back to the country for a short stay only: he had to enter upon his new duties on the loth of September. Moreover, he needed a little time to settle into the new place, move all his belongings from the province, and order a good many other things: in short, to establish himself in the fashion he had already decided on and which coincided with Praskovya Fiodorovna's ideas too.

And now that everything had happened so fortunately, and he and his wife were at one in their aims and, in addition, were so little together, they got on better than they had done since the first years of their marriage. Ivan Ilyich had thought of taking his family with him at once but his wife's brother and her sister-in-law, who had suddenly become extraordinarily cordial and friendly to them all, would not hear of it, so Ivan Ilyich had to go alone.

So Ivan Ilyich departed, and the happy frame of mind induced by his success and the harmony between him and his wife, the one intensifying the other, did not leave him. He found a charming set of apartments, the very thing husband and wife had dreamed of. Spacious, lofty reception-rooms in the old style, a comfortable, impressive-looking study, rooms for his wife and daughter, a schoolroom for his son - it might have been expressly designed for them. Ivan Ilyich himself super-


intended the arrangements, selected the wallpapers, bought more furniture (generally antiques which he considered particularly camme il faut) and supervised the upholstering; and it all progressed and progressed and approached the ideal he had set himself. Even when things were only half finished they exceeded his expectations. He saw what a refined character, elegant and free from vulgarity, it would all have when completed. As he fell asleep at night he would picture to himself how the reception-room would look. Surveying the as yet unfinished drawing-room he could see the hearth, the screen, the etagere and the little chairs dotted here and there, the dishes and plates on the walls, and the bronzes, as they would appear when everything was in place. He was delighted with the thought of how struck his wife and daughter would be, both of whom were also possessed of taste in these ma tters. They would never expect anything like this. He had been particularly successful in discovering and buying for a song old pieces of furniture which gave an exceptionally aristocratic air to the whole place. In his letters he purposely disparaged everything so as to give them a surprise. All this so absorbed him that his new duties, much as he liked his official work, interested him less than he had expected. Sometime he even had moments of inattention during the Sessions because he was pondering whether to have straight or curved cornices with his curtains. He was so taken up with it all that he often did things himself, rearranging the furniture or the hangings. Once when mounting a step-ladder to show a workman, who did not understand, how he wanted some material draped, he made a false step and slipped, but being a strong and agile person he clung on and only knocked his side against the knob of the window frame. The bruise was painful but it soon passed off. All this time, indeed, Ivan Ilyich felt particularly alert and well. 'I feel fifteen years younger,' he wrote. He thought to have everything finished and ready by September but it dragged on till mid-October. Still, the result was charming - it was not only his opinion but that of everyone who saw it.

In reality it was just what is commonly seen in the houses of people who are not exactly wealthy but who want to look like wealthy people, and so succeed only in looking like all the others of their kind: there were damasks, ebony, plants, rugs


and bronzes, everything sombre and highly polished - all the things people of a certain class have in order to resemble other people of that class. And in his case it was all so like that it made no impression at all; but to him it all seemed to be something special. When he met his family at the railway-station and brought them to the newly decorated apartments, all lighted up in readiness, and a footman in white tie opened the door into the hall which was arranged with flowers, and then they walked into the drawing-room and the study, uttering cries of delight, he was very happy, conducting them everywhere and drinking in their praises eagerly, beaming with pleasure. At tea that evening when Praskovya Fiodorovna among other things asked about his fall he laughed and showed them how he had gone flying and how he had frightened the upholsterer.

'It's a good thing I'm a bit of an athlete. Another man might have killed himself, whereas I got nothing worse than a knock here. It hurts if you touch it, but it's wearing off already - it's merely a bruise:

So life began in their new abode, and, as always happens, when they were thoroughly settled in they found they were just one room short; and with their increased' incomes _ although they found, as always happens, that another five hundred roubles would have made all the difference - everything was very nice. Things went particularly well at first, before everything was finally arranged, and there was still something to do to the place: this to buy and that to order, this piece of furniture to be moved and that adjusted. And although there were occasional disputes between husband and wife, both were so well satisfied, and there was so much to do, that it all went off without any serious quarrels. When, however, there was nothing left to decide it became rather dull and something seemed to be lacking, but by then they were making new acquaintances, getting into a routine, and their lives were full.

Ivan Ilyich, after spending the morning at the Law Courts, came home to dinner, and at first he was generally in a good humour, although this was apt to be upset a little, and precisely on account of the new house. (Every spot on the tablecloth or the upholstery, a frayed tassel on the window-blind, irritated him: he had taken such trouble to arrange it all that it hurt him


to have things spoiled.) But on the whole Ivan Ilyich's life ran its course as he believed life should: easily, agreeably and decorously. He got up at nine, drank his coffee, read the newspaper, then donned his undress uniform and went to the Law Courts. There he fell instantly into his well-worn harness and prepared to deal with petitions, inquiries in the office, the office itself, and the sessions - public and administrative. In all this the thing was to exclude everything with the sap of life in it, which always disturbs the regular round of official business, and not to admit any sort of relations with people except official relations, and then only on official grounds. For instance, a man might come anxious for certain information. Ivan Ilyich, not being the functionary in whose sphere the matter lay, would have nothing to do with him; but if the man had business that came within his official competence, something that could be committed to officially stamped paper, then within the limits of such official relations Ivan Ilyich would do everything he could, and in doing so would maintain the semblance of friendly human relations, that is, would observe the courtesies of social intercourse. But where official relations ended, so did every other form of human contact. This art of isolating the official part of his life from his real life, Ivan Ilyich possessed in the highest degree, and long practice combined with natural aptitude had developed it to such a pitch of perfection that at times in the manner of a virtuoso he would permit himself, in short, as it were, to intermingle his human and his official relations. He allowed himself to do this just because he felt that he could at any time he chose resume the purely official line and drop the human attitude. And Ivan Ilyich did it all not only smoothly, pleasantly and correctly but even artistically. In the intervals between sessions he smoked, drank tea, chatted a little about politics, a little about affairs in general, a little about cards, but most of all about appointments in the Service. And tired but feeling like some artist - one of the first violins in the orchestra - who has given a perfect performance, he would return home. At home mother and daughter had been out paying calls, or had a visitor, and his son had been to school, had been preparing his lessons with his tutor and was duly learning what it is they teach at high schools. Everything was as it should


be. After dinner, if there were no visitors, Ivan Ilyich sometimes read some book that was being talked about, and in the evening would settle down to work, that is, read official papers, consulted the statute books and examined witnesses' statements, noting down the paragraphs of the Code which applied to them. This he found neither tiresome nor entertaining. It was tiresome when he might have been playing whist but if no whist was available it was at any rate better than doing nothing or sitting with his wife. Ivan Ilyich's chief pleasure was giving the little dinners to which he invited ladies and gentlemen of good social position, and just as his drawing-room resembled all other drawing-rooms, so did his enjoyable little parties resemble all other such parties.

Once they even gave an evening party with dancing. Ivan Ilyich himself enjoyed it, and everything went well, except that it led to a violent quarrel with his wife over the refreshments. Praskovya Fiodorovna had her own ideas but Ivan Ilyich insisted on getting everything from an expensive confectioner and ordered too many cakes, and the quarrel arose because cakes were left over and the confectioner's bill came to forty-five roubles. It was a violent and disagreeable quarrel, inasmuch as Praskovya Fiodorovna called him 'a fool and an imbecile', and he clutched at his head and muttered angrily about a divorce. But the evening itself was enjoyable. The best people were there, and Ivan Ilyich danced with Princess Trufonov, a sister of the one so well known in connexion with the charitable institution 'Bear my Burden'. His pleasures where his work was concerned lay in the gratification of ambition; his social pleasures lay in the gratification of his vanity; but his real delight was playing whist. He was ready to confess that whatever disagreeable incident happened in his life, the joy which beamed bright as a flame over all the others came of sitting down to whist with good players, not noisy partners, and of course to four-handed whist (with five players it was annoying to have to stand out, though one pretended not to mind a bit), to play an intelligent, serious game (when the cards allowed), then supper and a glass of wine. And when he went to bed after whist, especially if he had won a little (to win a large sum is uncomfortable), Ivan Ilyich would lie down to sleep in a particularly happy frame of mind.


So they lived. They moved in the very best circles, and were visited by persons of consequence and by young people:

As regards the circle of their acquaintances husband, WIfe and daughter were quite agreed, and by tacit consent they shook off and rid themselves of various shabby friends and relatives who came fawning around them in their drawing-room with the Japanese plates on the walls. Very soon these down-at-heel persons ceased to flutter round them and only the very best people were seen at the Colovins'. Young men came courting Liza, and an examining magistrate, Petrishchev, Dmitri Ivanovich Petrishchev's son and sole heir, began to be so attentive to her that Ivan Ilyich started to consult his wife as to whether it would not be a good plan to arrange a sledge drive for them, ~r get up some private theatricals. So they lived. And everythmg continued in the same way, without a reverse, and it was all very pleasant.


THE whole family was in good health. Ivan Ilyich sometimes complained of a queer taste in his mouth and a sort of uncomfortable feeling on the left side of the stomach, but one could hardly call that illness.

But this uncomfortable feeling got worse and, though not exactly painful, grew into a sense of pressure in his side accompanied by low spirits and irritability. The irritability became worse and worse and began to mar the agreeable, easy, seemly existence the Golovins had settled down to. Husband and wife quarrelled more and more frequently, and before long all the easiness and amenity of life had fallen away and it was with difficulty that they managed to preserve appearances. As before, there were repeated scenes, until very few of those islets in the sea of contention remained on which husband and wife could meet without an explosion. And Praskovya Fiodorovna said, not without justification now, that her husband had a trying temper. With characteristic exaggeration she maintained that he had always had a dreadful temper, and that it had needed all her good nature to put up with it for twenty years. It was true that now he was the one to begin the quarrels. His gusts of temper



always broke out as they were sitting down to dinner, often just as he was beginning the soup. He would observe that a plate or dish had been chipped, or the food did not taste as it should, or his son put his elbow on the table, or his daughter's hair was not done properly. And whatever it was, he blamed Praskovya Fiodorovna. At first she had answered in kind, and said disagreeable things to him, but once or twice, just at the start of dinner, he had flown into such a frenzy that she realized it was due to some physical derangement brought on by eating, and so she restrained herself and did not reply but simply made haste to get the meal over. Praskovya Fiodorovna took great credit to herself for this exercise of self-control. Having come to the conclusion that her husband had a frightful temper and made her life wretched, she began to feel sorry for herself. And the more she pitied herself the more she detested her husband. She began to wish he would die, yet she did not want him dead because then there would be no salary. And this made her still more exasperated with him. She regarded herself as terribly unhappy precisely because not even his death could bring deliverance, and, though she concealed her irritation, that hidden bitterness of hers increased his irritability.

After one scene in which Ivan Ilyich had been particularly unfair, and after which he had said in explanation that he certainly was irritable but that it was due to his not being well, she had told him that if he were iII it should be attended to, and had insisted on his going to see a celebrated doctor.

He went. The whole procedure followed the lines he expected it would; everything was as it always is. There was the usual period in the waiting-room, and the important manner assumed by the doctor - he was familiar with that air of professional dignity: he adopted it himself in court - and the sounding and listening and questions that called for answers that were foregone conclusions and obviously unnecessary, and the weighty look which implied, You just leave it all to us, and we'll arrange matters - we know all about it and can see to it in exactly the same way as we would for any other man. The entire procedure was just the same as in the Law Courts. The airs that he put on in court for the benefit of the prisoner at the bar, the doctor now put on for him.


The doctor said that this and that symptom indicated this and that wrong with the patient's inside, but if this diagnosis were not confirmed by analysis of so-and-so, then we must assume such-and-such. If then we assume such-and-such, then ... and 50 on. To Ivan Ilyich only one question was important: was his case serious or not? But the doctor ignored this misplaced inquiry. From the doctor's point of view it was a side issue not under consideration: the real business was the assessing of probabilities to decide between a floating kidney, chronic catarrh or appendicitis. It was not a question of Ivan Ilyich's life or death but one between a floating kidney or appendicitis. And this question the doctor, in Ivan Ilyich's presence, settled most brilliantly in favour of the appendix, with the reservation that analysis of the urine might provide a new clue and then the case would have to be reconsidered. All this was to an iota precisely what Ivan Ilyich himself had done in equally brilliant fashion a thousand times over in dealing with persons on trial. The doctor summed up just as brilliantly, looking over his spectacles triumphantly, gaily even, at the accused. From the doctor's summing-up Ivan Ilyich concluded that things looked bad, but that for the doctor, and most likely for everybody else, it was a matter of indifference, though for him it was bad. And this conclusion struck him painfully, arousing in him a great feeling of pity for himself, and of bitterness towards the doctor who could be unconcerned about a matter of such importance. .

But he said nothing. He rose, placed the doctor's fee on the table and remarked with a sigh, 'We sick people no doubt often put inappropriate questions. But tell me, in general, is this complaint dangerous or not?'

The doctor regarded him sternly over his spectacles with one eye, as though to say, 'Prisoner at the bar, if you will not keep to the questions put to you, I shall be obliged to have you removed from the court.'

'I have already told you what I consider necessary and proper: said the doctor. The analysis may show something more.' And the doctor bowed.

Ivan I1yich went out slowly, seated himself dejectedly in his sledge and drove home. All the way home he kept going over what the doctor had said, trying to translate all those involved,



obscure, scientific phrases into plain language and find in them an answer to the question, 'Am I in a bad way - a very bad way - or is it nothing after all?' And it seemed to him that the upshot of all that the doctor had said was that he was in a very bad way. Everything in the streets appeared depressing to Ivan Ilyich. The sledge-drivers looked dismal, so did the houses, the passers-by and the shops. And this pain, this dull gnawing ache that never ceased for a second, seemed, when taken in conjunction with the doctor's enigmatical utterances, to have acquired a fresh and far more serious significance. With a new sense of misery Ivan Ilyich now paid constant heed to it.

He reached home and began to tell his wife about it. She listened but in the middle of his account his daughter came in with her hat on, ready to go out with her mother. Reluctantly she half sat down to listen to this tiresome story, but she could not be patient for long, and her mother did not hear him to the end.

'Well, I am very glad: she said. 'You must be careful now and take the medicine regularly. Give me the prescription: I will send Gerassim to the chemist's.' And she went away to dress.

He had hardly paused to take breath while she was in the room, and he heaved a deep sigh when she was gone.

'Well: he said to himself, 'perhaps it's nothing after alI .. .' He began taking the medicine and to carry out the doctor's instructions, which were altered after analysis of the urine. But it was just at this point that some confusion arose in connexion with the analysis and what ought to have followed from it. The doctor himself, of course, could not be blamed, but the fact was that things had not gone as the doctor had told him, and that he had either forgotten, or blundered, or was hiding something from him.

Nevertheless, Ivan Ilyich still continued to obey the doctor's orders, and at first found some comfort in so doing.

From the time of his visit to the doctor Ivan Ilyich's principal occupation became the exact observance of the doctor's prescriptions regarding hygiene and the taking of medicine, and watching the symptoms of his malady and the general functioning of his body. His chief interests came to be people's ailments


and peoples health. When sickness, deaths or recoveries were mentioned in his presence, especially when the illness resembled his own, he would listen, trying to conceal his agitation, ask questions and apply what he heard to his own case.

The pain did not grow less but Ivan Ilyich made great efforts to force himself to believe that he was better. And he was able to deceive himself so long as nothing happened to excite him. But the moment there was any unpleasantness with his wife, or he suffered any rebuff in court or held bad cards at bridge, he was at once acutely sensible of his illness. In former days he had borne with such mishaps, hoping soon to correct what was wrong, to master it and be successful, to make a grand slam. But now every reverse upset him and plunged him into despair. He would say to himself: 'There now, no sooner do I feel a little better, no sooner does the medicine begin to take effect, than I have this cursed piece of bad luck, this disappointment .. .' And he would break out against his bad luck or against the people who were causing him the disappointment and killing him, and he felt how these bursts of passion were killing him but he could not restrain himself. One would have thought it ought to have been quite obvious to him that this exasperation with circumstances and people could only aggravate his illness, and therefore he ought not to pay any attention to disagreeable incidents. But he came to exactly the opposite conclusion: he said to himself that he needed peace, and was on the watchfor everything that disturbed this peace, and flew into a rage at the slightest infringement of it. His condition was rendered worse by the fact that he read medical books and consulted doctors. The progress of his disease was so gradual that, comparing one day with another, he was able to deceive himself, so slight was the difference. But when he consulted the doctors it seemed to him that he was getting worse, and very rapidly worse. Yet despite this he was continually consulting doctors.

That month he went to see another medical celebrity. The second celebrity said pretty much the same as the first, only he propounded his questions differently; and the interview with this celebrity only redoubled Ivan Ilyich's doubts and fears. Then a friend of a friend of his, a very good doctor, diagnosed his malady quite otherwise, and, though he predicted recovery,


his q.uestions and hypotheses still further confused Ivan Ilyich and mcreased his scepticism. A homoeopath made a different diagnosis still, and gave him a medicine which Ivan Ilyich took sec_retly for a week; but at the end, not feeling any relief and losmg confidence both in his former drugs and this new treatmen:, he bec.ame more despondent than ever. One day a lady of hIS acquamtance mentioned a cure effected by means of wonder-working ikons. Ivan Ilyich caught himself listening intently and beginning to believe in the story as actual fact. This inci~ent alarmed him. 'Can my mind have degenerated to such a pomt?' he asked himself. 'It's all nonsense, rubbish! I mustn't give way to. nervous fears but choose a single doctor and keep strictly to hIS treatment. That's what I will do. Now it's settled. I will think no more about it but stick to the treatment until the summer, and then we shall see. From now on there must be no mor~ of this v:avering !' This was easy to say but impossible to put mto practice. The pain in his side harassed him and seemed to grow worse and more incessant, while the taste in his mouth grew more and more peculiar. It seemed to him that his breath sm~lled very nasty, and his appetite and strength continually dwmdled. ~he.re was no deceiving himself: something terrible, new and sIgm~can.t, ~ore significant than anything that had ever happened in hIS life, was taking place within him of which he alone was aware. Those about him did not understand, or refused to un~erstand, and believed that everything in the w~rld was gomg on as usual. This thought tormented Ivan Ilyich more than anything. He saw that his household especial.ly his ~f~ and daughter who were absorbed in a ~erfect whirl of VISIting, had no conception at all and were annoyed with him for being so depressed and exacting, as though he were to be blamed for that. Even though they tried to disguise it he could see ~hat ~e ,;as in their way; but that his wife had taken up a definite hne in regard to his illness and adhered to it no matte~ what he might say or do. Her attitude was this: 'You know, she would say to her friends, 'Ivan Ilyich can't do as other people do, and keep to the treatment prescribed for him One day he'll take his drops and keep carefully to his diet and ?O to b~d at the right time; but the next day, if I don't see to It, he WIll suddenly forget his medicine, eat sturgeon - which


is forbidden him - and sit up playing cards until one in the morning:

'Oh come, when did I do that?' Ivan Ilyich would ask in

vexation. 'Only once at Piotr Ivanovich's.' 'What about yesterday with Shebek?'

'It makes no difference, I couldn't have slept for pain .. .' 'Be that as it may, but you'll never get well like that, and

you make us wretched:

Praskovya Fiodorovna's attitude to Ivan Ilyich's illness, openly expressed to others and to himself, implied that the whole illness was Ivan Ilyich's own fault and just another of the annoyances he was causing his wife. Ivan Ilyich felt that this opinion escaped her involuntarily, but it was none the easier to bear for all that.

At the Law Courts, too, Ivan Ilyich noticed or fancied he noticed the same strange sort of attitude to himself. At one time it would seem to him that people were watching him inquisitively, as a man who would shortly have to give up his post. Then all at once his friends would begin to rally him in an amicable way about his nervous fears, as though that nightmare thing that was going on inside him, incessantly gnawing at him and irresistibly dragging him away, were the pleasantest subject in the world for raillery. Schwartz in particular irritated him with his high spirits, vitality and correctness, which reminded him of what he himself had been ten years before.

Friends would drop in for a game of cards. They sat down at the card-table; they dealt, bending the new cards to soften them, and he sorted the diamonds in his hand and found he had seven. His partner said, 'No trumps' and supported him with two diamonds. What could be better? It should have been jolly and lively - they would make a grand slam. And suddenly Ivan Ilyich is conscious of that gnawing ache, that taste in his mouth, and it strikes him as grotesque that in such circumstances he could take any pleasure in making a grand slam.

He would look at his partner Mihail Mihailovich tapping on the table with his confident hand, and instead of snatching up the tricks pushing the cards politely and condescendingly towards Ivan Ilyich that he might have the satisfaction of gathering them up without the trouble of stretching out his hand for


them. 'Does he suppose I'm so weak that I can't stretch my arm out?' thinks Ivan Ilyich, and he forgets the trumps, and trumps his partner's cards and misses the grand slam by three tricks. And the most awful thing of all is that he sees how upset Mihail Mihailovich is about it, whereas he does not care at all. And it is awful to think why he doesn't care.

. They all ~ee that he is in pain, and say to him: 'We can stop If you are tired, You go and lie down: Lie down? No, he's not in the least tired, and they finish the rubber. They are all gloomy and silent. Ivan Ilyich feels that it is he who has cast this gloom upon them, and he cannot disperse it. They have supper, and the party breaks up, and Ivan Ilyich is left alone with the consciousness that his life is poisoned for him and that he is poisoning the lives of others, and that this poison is not losing its force but is working its way deeper and deeper into his whole being.

And with the consciousness of this, and with the physical pain in addition, and the terror in addition to that, he must go to bed, often to lie awake with the pain for the greater part of the night. And in the morning he must needs get up again, dress, go to the Law Courts, speak, write, or, if he does not go out, s~ay at home for all the four-and-twenty hours of the day and night, each one of which is torture. And he had to live thus on the edge of the precipice alone, without a single soul to understand and feel for him.


So one month succeeded another. Just before the New Year his brother-in-law arrived in town and came to stay with them. Ivan Ilyich was at the Law Courts. Praskovya Fiodorovna had gone out shopping. Coming home and going into his study, Ivan Ilyich found his brother-in-law there, a healthy, florid man, unpacking .hi~ portmanteau himself. He raised his head on hearing Ivan IlYICh s footsteps and for a second stared up at him without a word. That look told Ivan Ilyich everything. His brotherin-law opened his mouth to utter an exclamation of dismay but checked himself. That movement confirmed everything


'Changed, have I?'

'Yes ... there is a change:

And after that, try as he would to get his brother-in-law to return to the subject of his looks, the latter maintained an obstinate silence. Praskovya Fiodorovna came back, and her brother went to her room. Ivan Ilyich locked the door and began to examine himself in the glass, first full f~ce, ~hen. in profile. He picked up a portrait of himself taken with hIS wU:e, and compared it with what he saw in the glass. The change III him was enormous. Then he bared his arms to the elbow, looked at them, pulled down his sleeves, sat down on the ottoman and felt blacker than night.

'No, no, this won't do !' he said to himself, sprang to his feet, went to the table, opened some official document and began to read, but could not go on with it. He unlocked the door and went into the drawing-room. The parlour door was shut. He approached it on tiptoe and listened.

'No, you are exaggerating: Praskovya Fiodorovna was saying. 'Exaggerating? Why, surely you can see for yourself - he's a dead man! Look at his eyes - there's no light in them. But what is it that is wrong with him?'

'Nobody knows. Nikolayev' (that was another doctor) 'said something, but I don't know what. Leshchetitsky' (this was the celebrated specialist) 'says the opposite: .

Ivan Ilyich walked away, went to his own room, lay down, and began to think: 'The kidney, a floating kidney: He rec.alled all that the doctors had told him of how it had detached Itself and was floating about. And by an effort of imagination he tried to catch that kidney and arrest and make it firm. So little was needed for this, it seemed to him. 'No, I must go and see Piotr Ivanovich again: (This was the friend who had a friend who was a: doctor.) He rang, ordered the carriage and got ready to go out.

'Where are you off to, Jean?' asked his wife, with a peculiarly melancholy and unusually gentle expression.

This unusual gentleness infuriated him. He looked at her grimly.

'I want to see Piotr Ivanovich.'

He drove off to the friend who had a friend who was a


doctor, and together they went to the doctor's. He was in, and Ivan Ilyich had a long conversation with him.

. Reviewing the anatomical and physiological details of what m the doctor's opinion was going on inside him he understood

it all. '

T~ere ,:as just one little thing - the least trifle - wrong in the I~testmal appendix. It might all come right. Stimulate one sluggish organ, check the activity of another - secretion ensues and everything would come right. He was a little late for dinner:

He ate ~nd t~lked cheerfully but it was a long time before he could brmg himself to go back and work in his own room. At last he went to his study and at once sat down to his official papers. He read his legal documents and laboured over them, b~t he was. conscious all the time that he had put something aside - an Important, private matter - which he would revert to when his work was done. When he had finished he remembered that this private matter was the thought of his intestinal appendix. But he did not give himself up to it: he went into the d~a:ring-roo:n for tea. Visitors had called, among them the exammmg magistrate who was a desirable match for his ~au?hter, and t~ey were conversing, playing the piano and smgmg. ~van. Ilyich, as Praskovya Fiodorovna remarked, spent the evenmg in better spirits than on other occasions, but he never forgot that there was that important matter of the intestinal appendix waiting to be considered. At eleven o'clock h~ ~aid g~od-ni~ht and went to bed. He had slept alone since hIS Illness in a little room adjoining his study. He undressed and to~k .up a nov.el by Zola, but instead of reading it he fell to thIll~Illg .. And III his imagination that desired improvement in th.e mtestmal appendix took place. Secretion, evacuation were stIm~lated: regular action re-established. 'Yes, that's it I' he said to himself. 'One only has to assist nature, that's all.' He remembered his m~dicine, sat up, swallowed it and lay down on his back, watc~m~ for the medicine to have its salutary effect and stop the pam. All I have to do is to take it regularly and avoid harmful influences. Why, I am better already, much better.' ~e began to feel his side: it was not painful to the touch. There, I. really don't feel it. It's much better already.' He put out the light and turned on his side ... 'The appendix is righting


itself, secretion is occurring: Suddenly he felt the old familiar, dull, gnawing pain, the same obstinate, steady, serious pain. In his mouth there was the same familiar loathsome taste. His heart sank, his brain felt dazed. '0 God, 0 God I' he whispered. 'Here it is again I And it will never cease.' And in a flash the trouble presented itself in quite a different guise. 'Intestinal appendix 1 The kidney I' he said to himself. 'It's not a question of appendix or kidney but of life and ... death. Yes, once there was life, and now it is drifting away, drifting away, and I can't stop it. Yes. Why deceive myself? Isn't it obvious to everyone but me that I am dying, and that it's only a matter of weeks, days ... it may happen this very moment. There was light but now there is darkness. I was here but now I am going. Where]' A cold chill came over him, his breathing ceased, and he heard only the throbbing of his heart.

'I shall be no more, then what will there be? There will be nothing. Then where shall I be when I am no more? Can this be dying? No, I will not have it I' He jumped up and tried to light the candle, fumbled about with trembling hands, dropped candle and candlestick on the floor and fell back upon the pillow. 'What's the use? It makes no difference: he said to himself, staring with wide-open eyes into the darkness. 'Death. Yes, death. And they none of them understand, or want to understand, and they feel no pity for me. They are enjoying themselves.' (He heard through the closed door the distant cadence of a song and its accompaniment.) 'They don't care, but they will die too. Fools 1 'Twill be a little sooner for me and a little later for them, that's all; their turn will come. But now they are making merry. The brutes I' Anger choked him. And he was agonizingly, intolerably wretched. 'It cannot be that all men always have been doomed to suffer this awful horror I' He raised himself.

'I ought not to go on like this: I must be calm, I must think it all over from the beginning.' And here he began to reflect. 'Yes, the beginning of my illness. I knocked my side but I was still all right that day and the next. It hurt a little, then it got worse, then I went to doctors, then there followed depression, misery and more doctors; and all the time I got nearer and nearer to the abyss. My strength began to fail. Nearer and


nearer' And now I have wasted away and there is no light in my eyes. Death is here, and I am thinking of an appendix! I am . thinking of how to get my bowels in order, while death knocks at the door. Can it really be death?' Terror seized him again and he gasped for breath. He leant down and began feeling for the matches, pressing with his elbow on the little pedestal table beside the bed. It was in his way and hurt him, he lost his temper with it, pressed upon it still harder in his anger and overturned it. Breathless and in despair, he fell back, expecting death that instant.

Meanwhile the visitors were departing. Praskovya Fiodorovna

was seeing them off. She heard something fall and came in. 'What is the matter?'

'Nothing. I accidentally knocked it over.'

She went out and returned with a candle. He lay there panting heavily, like a man who has run a mile, staring at her with fixed eyes.

'What is it, Jean?'

'No-othing. I up-set it.' ('Why speak of it? She won't understand: he thought.)

And, indeed, she did not understand. She picked up the candle and lit it for him, and hurried away to say good-night to another visitor.

When she came back he was lying in the same position on his

back, gazing at the ceiling.

'What is the matter? Are you feeling worse?' 'Yes.'

She shook her head and sat down.

'Do you know, Jean, I think we had better ask Leshchetitsky to come here.'

That meant, send for the celebrated specialist and not mind the expense. He smiled venomously and said 'No.' She sat a moment longer and then came up to him and kissed his forehead.

He hated her from the bottom of his soul while she was kissing him, and with difficulty refrained from pushing her away.

'Good-night. Please God you'll sleep.' 'Yes.'


Iv AN Ilyich saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair.

In the depths of his heart he knew he was dying but, so far from growing used to the idea, he simply did not and could not grasp it.

The example of a syllogism which he had learned in Kiezewetter's Logic: 'Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal,' had seemed to him all his life to be true as applied to Caius but certainly not as regards himself. That Caius - man in the abstract - was mortal, was perfectly correct; but he was not Caius, nor man in the abstract: he had always been a creature quite, quite different from all others. He had been little Vanya with a mamma and a papa, and Mita and Volodya, with playthings and the coachman and nurse; and afterwards with Katya and with all the joys and griefs and ecstasies of childhood, boyhood and youth. What did Caius know of the smell of that striped leather ball Vanya had been so fond of? Was it Caius who had kissed his mother's hand like that, and had Caius heard the silken rustle of her skirts? Was it Caius who had rioted like that over the cakes and pastry at the Law School? Had Caius been in love like that? Could Caius preside at sessions as he did?

And Caius was certainly mortal, and it was right for him to die; but for me, little Vanya, Ivan Ilyich, with all my thoughts and emotions - it's a different matter altogether. It cannot be that I ought to die. That would be too terrible.

That was the way he felt inside himself.

'If I had to die like Caius I should have known it was so, some inner voice would have told me. But there was nothing of the sort in me, and I and all my friends, we knew that it was quite different in our case. And now here it is!' he said to himself. 'It can't - it can't be, and yet it is! How has it happened? How am I to understand it?'

And he could not understand it, and tried to drive this false,


erroneous, morbid thought away and supplant it with other proper, wholesome thoughts. But the idea, and not the idea only but as it were the reality itself, kept coming back again and confronting him.

And he summoned in place of this thought other thoughts, one a.fter another, in the hope of finding succour and support. He tried to get back into former trains of thought which in the old days had screened him from the notion of death. But strangely enough all that used to cover up, obscure and obliterate the feeling of death no longer had the same effect. Ivan Ilyich now spent most of his time in these attempts to restore the former mental screen which had kept death out of sight. He would say to himself: 'I will take up my duties again - after all, I used to live for my work: And banishing all doubts he would go to the Law Courts, enter into conversation with his colleagues and take his seat with an absent-minded air as was his wont, scanning the crowd with a thoughtful look and resting his two emaciated hands on the arms of his oak chair just as he always did, and leaning over to a colleague and drawing his papers nearer, he would interchange whispers with him. and then suddenly raising his eyes and sitting erect he would pronounce the traditional words that opened the proceedings. But abruptly in the midst of it all the pain in his side, regardless of the s~age the proceedings had reached, would begin its own gn.awmg work. Ivan Ilyich, becoming aware of it, would try to drive the thought of it away, but it went on with its business. It would come and stand before him and look at him, and he would find himself rigid with fear and the light would die out of his eyes, and he would begin asking himself again whether It alone was true. And his colleagues and his subordinates would notice with surprise and distress that he. the brilliant, discriminating judge, was getting confused and making mistakes. He would shake himself. try to pull himself together, manage somehow to bring the sitting to a close, and return home with the sorrowful. consciousness that his judicial labours could not as of old hide from him what he wanted to be hidden, and that his official work could not deliver him from It. And, worst of all, It drew his attention to itself not in order to make him take some action but simply that he might


, I39

look at it, look at it straight in the face, and without doing anything suffer unspeakably.

And to save himself from this condition of mind Ivan Ilyich

. sought relief - new screens - and new screens were found and for a while seemed to save him, but very soon they would not so much fall to pieces as become transparent, as if It penetrated them and nothing could shut It out.

Sometimes of late he would go into the drawing-room he had furnished and decorated - that drawing-room where he had had the fall and for the sake of which (how bitterly ludicrous it seemed) he had sacrificed his life, for he knew that his illness had originated with that bruise. He would go in and see that something had scratched the polished table. He would look for the cause and find that it was the bronze ornamentation of an album which had been bent back at the corner. He would pick up the expensive album which he had arranged with such affection, and feel vexed with his daughter and her friends for their carelessness - here a page was torn, there some photographs were upside down. He would tidy it up and put it to rights, and bend the metal back into position.

Then it would occur to him to move all this etablissement of albums over into another corner of the room where the plants were. He would call the footman: either his daughter or his wife would come to his assistance; they did not agree with him, contradicted him, and he argued and got angry. But that was all right, since he did not think of It. It was not in sight.

But then his wife would say, when he was moving something himself: 'Do let the servants do it, you'll hurt yourself again: and immediately It peeped through the screen; he caught a glimpse of It. It just peeped through, and still he hoped it would disappear but involuntarily he would watch for the pain in his side - there it was, the same as before, aching, aching all the time, and now he can forget it no longer, and It is staring at him from behind the flowers. 'What's the use of it all?

'And it's a fact that I lost my life here over that curtain, just as I might have done storming a fort. Can it be possible? How terrible and how ridiculous I It cannot be! It cannot be, but it is.'


He would go to his study, lie down, and again be alone with It. Face to face with It. And nothing to be done with It. Only look and shudder.


How it happened it is impossible to say because it came about step by step, imperceptibly, but in the third month of Ivan Ilyich's illness his wife, his daughter, his son, the servants, his acquaintances, the doctors and above all he himself were aware that the whole interest he had for other people was concentrated solely in this one thing - how soon he would vacate his place and at last release the living from the constraint of his presence and himself be released from his sufferings .

. He slept less and less; they gave him opium and began injections of morphine, but this did not relieve him. The dull distress which he experienced in his half drowsy condition at first merely afforded the relief of change, but soon it became as distressing as the pain itself or even more so.

Special foods were prepared for him according to the doctors' directions; but these dishes struck him as being more and more tasteless, more and more nauseating.

Special arrangements, too, had to be made to assist his evacuations, and this was a continual misery to him: misery from the uncleanliness, the unseemliness and the smell, and from knowing that another person had to assist in it.

Yet this very unpleasant business brought some comfort to Ivan Ilyich. Gerassim, the peasant who waited at table, always came to clear up for him.

Gera_ssim was a clean, fresh young peasant lad, grown stout on the good fare in town and always cheerful and bright. At first the sight of him, in his clean Russian peasant costume, engaged on that disgusting task embarrassed Ivan Ilyich.

. Once when he got up from the commode too weak to pull up hIS trousers, he dropped into a soft low chair and surveyed with horror his bare, enfeebled thighs with the muscles so sharply marked on them.

Gerassim came in, with a firm light tread, diffusing a pleasant smell of tar from his boots and of fresh winter air. He was


wearing a clean hessian apron and clean cotton shirt, with his sleeves rolled up over his strong bare young arms. Without looking at Ivan Ilyich - out of consideration for the sick man's feelings - and restraining the joy of life that beamed from his face, he went up to the commode.

'Gerassim,' said Ivan Ilyich in a weak voice.

Cerassim started, evidently afraid that he had done something wrong and with a swift movement turned towards the invalid his fresh, good-natured, simple young face on which a beard was just beginning to sprout.

'Yes, sir?'

This must be very disagreeable for you. You must forgive me. I can't help it:

'Oh, why, sir,' and Gerassim's eyes shone and he showed his white young teeth in a smile. 'What's a little trouble? It's a case of illness with you, sir:

And his deft strong hands performed their usual office, and he went out of the room, stepping lightly. And five minutes later he as lightly returned.

Ivan Ilyich was still sitting in the same position in the armchair.

'Cerassim,' he said, when the latter had replaced the nightstool all washed and clean. 'Please come here and help me:

Gerassim went to him. 'Lift me up. It's difficult for me alone, and I have sent Dmitri away:

Gerassim went up to him; as lightly as he moved he put his strong arms round him, skilfully and gently lifted and supported him with one hand while with the other he pulled up his trousers and would have set him down again. But Ivan Ilyich asked to be helped to the sofa. Gerassim, without effort and without seeming to hold him tightly, led him, almost carrying him, to the sofa and settled him there.

Thank you. How neatly and well you ... do everything:

Gerassim smiled again and turned to leave the room. But Ivan Ilyich felt his presence such a comfort that he did not want to let him go.

'One more thing: move that chair near me, please. No, the other one - under my feet. I feel more comfortable when my legs are raised:


Gerassim brought the chair, put it down noiselessly in the right place and lifted Ivan Ilyich's legs on to it; It seemed to Ivan Ilyich that he felt easier while Gerassim was lifting his legs higher.

'It's better when my legs are up: he said. 'Put that cushion under me.'

Gerassim did so. Again he lifted his legs to put the cushion under them, and again Ivan Ilyich felt better while Gerassim held his legs. When he set them down Ivan Ilyich fancied he felt worse.

'Gerassirn,' he said, 'are you busy just now?'

'Not at all, sir: said Cerassim, who had learnt from the townbred servants how to speak to gentlefolk.

'What have you got to do still?'

'What have I still got to do? I've done everything, except chop the wood for tomorrow.'

Then hold my legs up a bit higher, can you?'

'Of course I can.' And Gerassim raised his master's legs higher and it seemed to Ivan Ilyich that in that position he did not feel any pain at all.

'But how about the wood?'

'Don't you trouble about that, sir. There's plenty of time.' Ivan Ilyich told Gerassim to sit down and hold his legs, and

began to talk to him. And, curiously to say, it seemed to him that he felt better while Gerassim had hold of his legs.

After that Ivan Ilyich would sometimes call Gerassim and get him to hold his legs on his shoulders, and he liked to talk with him. Gerassim did everything easily, willingly, simply, and with a good nature that touched Ivan Ilyich. Health, strength and vitality in other people were offensive to him, but Cerassim's strength and vitality did not fret but soothed him.

What tormented Ivan Ilyich most was the pretence, the lie, which for some reason they all kept up, that he was merely ill and not dying, and that he only need stay quiet and carry out the doctor's orders, and then some great change for the better would result. But he knew that whatever they might do nothing would come of it except still more agonizing suffering and death. And the pretence made him wretched: it tormented him


that they refused to admit what they knew and he knew to be a fact, but persisted in lying to him concerning his terrible condition, and wanted him and forced him to be a party to the lie. Deceit, this deceit enacted over him up to the very eve of his death: this lying which could only degrade the awful, solemn act of his death to the level of their visitings, their curtains, their sturgeon for dinner ... was horribly painful to Ivan Ilyich. And it was a strange thing - many a time when they were playing their farce for his benefit he was within a hair's breadth of shouting at them: 'Stop lying! You know, and I know, that I am dying. So do at least stop lying about it!' But he had never had the spirit to do it. The awful, terrible act of his dying was, he saw, reduced by those about him to the level of a fortuitous, disagreeable and rather indecent incident (much in the same way as people behave with someone who goes into a drawing-room smelling unpleasantly) - and this was being done in the name of the very decorum he had served all his life long. He saw that no one felt for him, because no one was willing even to appreciate his situation. Gerassim was the only person who recognized the position and was sorry for him. And that was why Ivan Ilyich was at ease only when Gerassim was with him. He felt comforted when Gerassim supported his legs - sometimes all night long - and refused to go off to bed, saying: 'Don't you worry, Ivan Ilyich. I'll get sleep enough later on: or suddenly dropped into the peasant thou instead of you, and added: 'If thee weren't sick 'twould be another matter but as things are 'twould be strange if I didn't wait on thee.' Gerassim alone told no lies; everything showed that he alone understood the facts of the case, and did not consider it necessary to disguise them, and simply felt sorry for the sick, expiring master. On one occasion when Ivan Ilyich was for sending him away to bed he even said straight out:

'We shall all of us die, so what's a little trouble?' meaning by this that he did not mind the extra work because he was doing it for a dying man and hoped someone would do the same for him when his time came.

Apart from this lying, or in consequence of it, the most wretched thing of all for Ivan Ilyich was that nobody pitied him as he yearned to be pitied. At certain moments, after a pro-


longed bout of suffering, he craved more than anything _ ashamed as he would have been to own it - for someone to feel sorry for him just asif he were a sick child. He longed to be petted, kissed and wept over, as children are petted and comforted. He knew he was an important functionary, that he had a beard turning grey, and that therefore what he longed for was impossible; but nevertheless he longed for it. And in Gerassim's attitude towards him there was something akin to what he yearned for, and so Gerassim was a comfort to him. Ivan Ilyich feels like weeping and having someone to pet him and cry over him, but in comes his colleague Shebek and instead of weeping and being petted Ivan Ilyich puts on a grave, stern, profound air, and by force of habit expresses his opinion on a decision of the Court of Appeal, and obstinately insists on it. This falsity around and within him did more than anything else to poison Ivan Ilyich's last days.


I T was morning. He knew it was morning because Gerassim had gone and Piotr the footman had come and put out the candles, drawn back one of the curtains and begun quietly tidying up the room. Whether it was morning or evening, Friday or Sunday, made no difference, it was all one and the same: gnawing, agonizing pain never ceasing for an instant, the consciousness of life inexorably ebbing away but not yet gone; the relentless approach of that ever dreaded and hateful death, which was the only reality, and all this lying going on at the same time. What were days, or weeks, or hours of the day to him?

'Wouldn't you like your tea, sir?'

'He wants things done properly, and that requires the gentry to take tea in the morning,' thought Ivan Ilyich, and only said 'No.'

'Wouldn't you care to move on to the sofa, sir?'

'He has to make the room tidy, and I'm in his way. I am dirt and disorder,' he thought to himself, and said merely: 'No, leave me alone.'


The man still moved busily about his work. Ivan Ilyich

stretched out his hand. Piotr came up, ready to do his bidding. 'What is it, sir?'

'My watch.'

Piotr picked up the watch, which lay just under his hand, and gave it to his master.

'Half-past-eight. Are they up yet?'

'No, sir, except for Vladimir Ivanovich' (Ivan Ilyich's son) 'who has gone off to school. Madam left orders to wake her if you asked for her. Shall I do so, sir?'

'No, no need.'

'Should I try some tea?' he wondered. 'Yes, ... bring me some tea.'

Piotr went to the door. The idea of being left alone filled Ivan Ilyich with dread. How should he keep the man a little longer? Oh yes, there was the medicine. 'Piotr, give me my medicine.' The medicine might help after all, there was no knowing. He took the spoon and swallowed a dose. No, it was no good. It was all rubbish and delusion, he decided as soon as he tasted the familiar, insipid, hopeless taste. No, I can't believe in it any longer. But the pain - why should I have this pain? If it would only stop just for a moment!' And he groaned. Piotr turned round. 'No, go along. Bring the tea.'

Piotr went out. Left alone, Ivan Ilyich groaned not so much from the pain, terrible though it was, as from mental anguish. Always and for ever the same, always these endless days and nights. If only it would come quicker. If only what would come quicker? Death, darkness. No, no! Anything rather than death !

When Piotr returned with the tea on a tray, Ivan Ilyich stared confusedly at 'him for a long time, not comprehending who he was and what he wanted. Piotr was disconcerted by this stare and his embarrassment brought Ivan Ilyich to himself again.

'Oh yes,' he said, 'tea ... good, put it down. Only help me to wash and put on a clean shirt.'

And Ivan Ilyich began to wash. With pauses for rest, he washed his hands and then his face, cleaned his teeth, brushed his hair and looked in the glass. His heart went cold at what he


saw, especially at the limp way in which his hair clung to his pallid forehead.

While his shirt was being changed he knew that he would be still more frightened at the sight of his body, so he avoided looking at it. But at last it was all done. He put on his dressinggown, wrapped himself round with a rug and sat down in the arm-chair to drink his tea. For a moment he felt refreshed, but no sooner had he begun to drink the tea, than back came that taste and the pain. He finished the tea with an effort, and then lay down, stretching out his legs. He lay down and let Piotr go.

It was always the same. At one moment a gleam of hope, the next a raging sea of despair, and always pain, always misery and pain, over and over again. All this lonely misery was terrible: he would have liked to call someone but he knew beforehand that with others in the room with him it would be still worse. 'If only I might have some more morphine, I might lose consciousness a little. I will tell him, tell the doctor, that he must think of something else. It's impossible to go on like this., quite impossible.'

An hour passes in this way, and then a second. But now there is a ring at the front door. Perhaps it's the doctor? It is the doctor, spruce and hearty, fat and cheerful, with that look on his face that seems to say: 'The patient a little bit nervous, eh? But we'll very soon set all that to rights.' The doctor is aware that this expression is not appropriate here but he has put it on once and for all and can't take it off - like a man who has got into his frock-coat in the morning to pay a round of calls.

The doctor rubs his hands ina brisk and reassuring manner. 'BIT, it's cold I There's a sharp frost. Just let me warm myself,' he says, as though it were only a matter of waiting a second or two till he was warm, and then he would straighten things out. 'Well now, how are we?'

Ivan Ilyich feels that the doctor would like to say, 'Well, how's the little trouble?' but even he feels that this would not do, and asks instead: 'What sort of a night did you have?' Ivan Ilyich looks at the doctor as much as to say: 'Will you

never be ashamed of prevaricating, I wonder?' But the doctor has no desire to understand, and Ivan Ilyich says: 'Just as awful


as ever. The pain never stops, never leaves me alone. If only you could give me something .. .'

'Ah, you sick folk are all the same ... There now, I do b~Iieve I've thawed out, and even Praskovya Fiodorovna, who IS so particular, could find no fault with my temperature. Well, now I can say good morning: and the doctor shakes hands

with his patient. . . .

And, dropping his former levity, he begms WIth .seno~s face to examine the patient, feeling his pulse and ta~mg hIS tem-

perature before beginning the tappings and soundmgs. .

Ivan Ilyich knows quite well and beyond doubt that all t.hIS is nonsense and empty deception, but when the doctor, ge.ttmg down on his knees, leans over him, applying his ear now higher up, now lower down, and with most sapie~t countena~ce performs various gymnastic evolutions over him, Ivan Ilyich submits to it all as he once submitted to the speeches of the lawyers in court, though he was perfectly well a;vare that they were lying all the time, and also why ~hey_ were lYI?g. .

The doctor, kneeling on the sofa, IS still soundmg him whe?

Praskovya Fiodorovna's silk skirt rustles at the door and she IS heard scolding Piotr for not having let her know of the doctor's arrival.

She comes in, kisses her husband, and immediately proceeds to explain that she has been up a long time and only thr~ugh a misunderstanding failed to be there when the doctor arrived,

Ivan Ilyich looks at her, scans her from head to foot and chalks up against her the whiteness and plumpness and cleanness of her arms and neck, her glossy hair and the lively sparkle in her eyes. With his whole soul he detests her. And when she touches him he is swept by a paroxysm of hate.

Her attitude towards him and his illness is still the same. Just as the doctor had adopted a certain line with his patient which he could not now drop, so she, too, had taken a line with him - that he was not doing something he ought to be doing, and was himself to blame, and she was lovingly reproaching him for

this -. and now she could not relinquish that attitu~e. ..

'You see he doesn't listen to me, and doesn't take hIS medicine at the proper time. And what's worse, he :vill lie. in a po.si:ion which must be very bad for him - with hIS legs In the air.


She described how he made Gerassim hold his legs up.

The doctor smiled with a bland condescension that said: 'What can we do? These sick people, you know, do sometimes

get such foolish fancies, but we must forgive them.' .

When the examination was over, the doctor looked at hIS watch, and then Praskovya Fiodorovna announced to Ivan Ilyich that it was, of course, as he pleased, but she had sent that day for a celebrated specialist who would examine him and have a consultation with Mihail Danilovich (their regular doctor).

'Now please don't raise any objections. I am doing it for my own sake,' she said ironically, letting it be understood that she was doing it all for his sake, and was only saying the opposite to leave him no right to refuse. He was silent, knitting his brows. He felt himself enveloped and caught in such a mesh of falsity that it was difficult to disentangle anything.

Everything she did for him was entirely for her own sake, and she told him she was doing for herself what in fact she was doing for herself, as if it were such an incredible thing that it could only mean the contrary.

And, indeed, at half-past-eleven the celebrated specialist arrived. Once more there were soundings, and earnest conversations in his presence and in another room about the kidney and the appendix, and questions and answers with such an air of importance that again, instead of the real question of life and death which now alone confronted him, the question that came uppermost concerned the kidney and the appendix which were not behaving as they should and would now be attacked by Mihail Danilovich and the specialist and forced to mend their ways.

The celebrated specialist took his leave with a serious but not a hopeless expression of countenance, and to the timid question that Ivan Ilyich, looking up at him with eyes glistening with fear and hope, put to him, Was there a chance of recovery? he answered that he could not vouch for it but there was a possibility. The look of hope with which Ivan Ilyich watched the doctor out was so pathetic that seeing it Praskovya Fiodorovna even burst into tears as she passed through the study door to hand the celebrated doctor his fee.



The gleam of hope kindled by the doctor's encouragement did not last long. The same room, the same pictures, curtains, wall-paper, medicine bottles were all there, and the same aching, suffering body. And Ivan Ilyich began to moan. They gave him a subcutaneous injection and he sank into oblivion.

It was dark when he came to. They brought him his dinner and he forced himself to swallow a little beef tea; and again everything was the same, with another night approaching.

After dinner, at seven o'clock, Praskovya Fiodorovna came into the room dressed for a party, her exuberant bosom pushed up by her stays, and with traces of powder on her face. She had reminded him in the morning that they were going to the theatre. Sarah Bernhardt was visiting the town and they had a box, which he had insisted on their taking. He had forgotten all about this now and her attire offended him. But he concealed his vexation when he remembered that he had himself insisted on their securing a box and going because it would be an aesthetic pleasure and good for the children's education.

Praskovya Fiodorovna came in well satisfied with herself but yet with a slightly guilty air. She sat down, asked how he was, as he saw, simply for the sake of asking and not in order to find out, knowing very well that there was nothing to find outand then went on to say what was incumbent upon her to say: that she would not have gone on any account but the ~ox had been taken, and Ellen and her daughter were going, as well as Petrishchev (the examining magistrate, their daughter'S suitor) and that it was out of the question to let them go alone. But she would have much preferred to sit with him for a while, and he must be sure to carry out the doctor's orders while she was away.

'Oh, and Fiodr Petrovich' (the suitor) 'would like to come in.

May he? And Liza.'

'All right, let them in.'

His daughter came in in full evening dress, her fair young flesh exposed, while his flesh made him suffer so. But she paraded it: she was strong, healthy, clearly in love and impatient with illness, suffering and death because they interfered with her happiness.

Fiodr Petrovich came in too, in evening dress, his hair CUrled


Q fa Capoul, his long sinewy neck encased in a white collar, with an enormous expanse of white shirt-front and narrow black trousers tightly stretched over strong thighs. One hand was smoothly gloved in white, and he carried an opera hat.

Behind him crept in unnoticed the little high school boy in his new uniform, poor little chap, wearing gloves and with that terrible blue circle under the eyes, the meaning of which Ivan Ilyich knew too well.

His son had always seemed pathetic to him, and now it was dreadful to see the boy's frightened look of pity. With the exception of Gerassim, it seemed to Ivan Ilyich that Vassya was the only one who understood and felt sorry for him.

They all sat down and again inquired how he was. A silence followed. Liza asked her mother if she had the opera-glasses, and there was an argument between mother and daughter as to who had had them and where they had been put. This occasioned some unpleasantness.

Fiodr Petrovich inquired of Ivan Ilyich whether he had ever seen Sarah Bernhardt. Ivan Ilyich did not at first catch the question but after a moment he said, 'No, have you seen her before?'

'Yes, in Adrienne Lecouvreur.'

Praskovya Fiodorovna mentioned some roles in which Sarah Bernhardt was particularly good. Her daughter disagreed. A discussion began about the grace and naturalness of her acting - the sort of conversation that springs up repeatedly and is always the same.

In the middle of the conversation Fiodr Petrovich glanced at Ivan Ilyich and relapsed into silence. The others looked at him and fell silent. Ivan Ilyich was staring with glittering eyes straight before him, obviously furious with them. Here was something to be rectified but there was no means whatever of doing so. The silence had somehow to be broken but nobody ventured to speak and panic seized them all that the conventional deception was suddenly about to be shattered and the truth become plain to all. Liza was the first to pluck up courage and break the silence, but by trying to cover up what they were all feeling she betrayed it.

'Well, if we are going it's time to start: she said, glancing


ather watch, a present from her father; and with a scarcely perceptible smile to the young man, referring to some secret between them, she got up with a rustle of her skirts.

They all rose, said good-night and went away.

When they had gone Ivan Ilyich fancied that he felt better: there was no more falsity - that had gone with them - but the pain remained. That continual pain, that continual terror, made nothing harder, nothing easier. Everything always grew worse.

Again minute after minute, hour after hour, dragged by, always the same and always interminable - and the inevitable end of it all becoming more and more terrible.

'Yes, send Gerassim to me: he replied to a question from Piotr.


LA TE at night his wife returned. She came in on tiptoe but he heard her, opened his eyes and made haste to close them again. She wanted to send Gerassim away and sit with him herself. He opened his eyes and said, 'No, go away.'

'Are you in great pain?' 'The same as usual.' 'Take some opium.'

He agreed and drank a dose. She went away.

Until about three in the morning he slumbered in a state of stupefied misery. It seemed to him that he and his pain were being thrust somewhere into a narrow, deep black sack, but though they kept forcing him farther and farther in they still could not push him to the bottom. And this horrible state of affairs was accompanied by agony. And he was frightened and yet wanted to fall into the sack, he struggled and at the same time co-operated. Then quite suddenly he burst out of the sack and fell, and regained consciousness. There was Gerassim still sitting at the foot of the bed, dozing peacefully and patiently, while he himself lay with his wasted, stockinged legs resting on Gerassim's shoulders. The same candle was there, with its shade, and the same unceasing pain.

'Go away, Cerassim,' he whispered.


'It's all right, sir. I'll stay a bit longer.'

'No, go away:

He removed his legs from Cerassim's shoulders, turned sideways on to his arm, and began to feel sorry for himself. He waited only until Gerassim had gone into the next room and then restrained himself no longer but wept like a child, He wept at his own helplessness, at his terrible loneliness, at the cruelty of man, the cruelty of God, at the absence of God.

'Why hast Thou done this? Why hast Thou brought me to this? Why, why dost Thou torture me so dreadfully?'

He did not expect any answer, and yet wept because there was no answer and could be none. The pain flared up more acutely again but he did not stir and did not call. He said to himself: 'Go on, smite me! But why? What have I done to Thee? What is it for?'

Then he was still and not only ceased weeping but even held his breath and became all attention: he listened, as it were, not to an audible voice but to the voice of his soul, to the tide of his thoughts that rose up within him.

'What is it you want?' was the first clear conception capable of expression in words that he heard. 'What is it you want? What is it you want?' he repeated to himself.

'What do I want? Not to suffer. To live,' he answered. And again he listened with such concentrated attention that

even his pain did not distract him.

'To live. Live how?' asked his inner voice. 'Why, to live as I used to - well and pleasantly.'

'As you used to live - well and pleasantly?' queried the voice.

And he began going over in his imagination the best moments of his pleasant life. But oddly enough none of those best moments of his pleasant life now seemed at all what they had seemed at the time - none of them except his earliest memories of childhood. There, in childhood, there had been something really pleasant with which it would be possible to live if it could return. But the person who had experienced that happiness was no more: it was like a memory of someone else.

As soon as the period began which had produced the present Ivan Ilyich everything that had seemed a joy at the time now


153 dwindled away before his eyes and was transformed into SOllle-

thing trivial and often disgusting.

And the farther he departed from childhood and the nearer he came to the present, the more worthless and doubtful were the joys. This began from the time he was a law student. There was still something then that had been genuinely good - gaiety, friendship, hopes. But in the upper classes these good moments were already becoming rarer. Later on, during the first years of his official career, when he was in the service of the Governor, there were again some good moments: they were the memories of love for a woman. Afterwards it all became mixed up, and less and less of it was good. And the farther he went the less good he found.

His marriage ... as gratuitous as the disenchantment that followed, and his wife's bad breath, and the sensuality, the hypocrisy! And that deadly official life and the preoccupation with money, a year of it, two years, ten, twenty, and always the same thing. And the longer it lasted the more deadly it became. 'As though I had been going steadily downhill while I imagined I was climbing up. And that is really how it was. In public opinion I was going up, and all the time my life was sliding away from under my feet ... And now it's all done and I must die.

'But what is it all about? Why is it like this? It can't. be _ it can't be that life is so senseless and loathsome. And 'if it really has been so loathsome and senseless, why must I die and die in agony? There is something wrong!

'Maybe I did not live as I should,' the thought suddenly occurred to him. 'But how could that be, when I have always done my duty,' he answered himself, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sale solution of all the enigma of life and death, as something quite impossible.

'Then what do you want now? To live? Live how? Live as you lived in court when the usher boomed out: "The Court sits f The Court sits!" ... The Court sits, the Court sits!' he repeated to himself. 'Here's my sentence. But I am not guilty f' he shrieked in fury. 'What is it for?' And he left off crying but, turning his face to the wall, fell to pondering one and the same question: Why, and wherefore, all this horror?


But however much he pondered he could find no answer. And when the thought occurred to him, as it often did, that it all carne of his not having lived as he ought to have lived, he at once recalled the orderliness of his life and dismissed so strange an idea.


ANOTHER fortnight passed. Ivan Ilyich now no longer left his sofa. He would not lie in bed but lay on the sofa. And facing the wall most of the time he lay and in solitude suffered all the inexplicable agonies, and in solitude pondered always the same insoluble question: 'What is it? Can it be true that it is death?' And the inner voice answered: 'Yes, it is true.' - 'Why these agonies?' And the voice answered, 'For no reason - they just are so.' Beyond and besides this there was nothing.

From the very beginning of his illness, ever since he had first gone to see the doctor, Ivan Ilyich's life had been divided between two contrary and alternating moods - now despair and the expectation of an unintelligible and terrible death; now hope and an intently interested observation of the functioning of his organs. At one moment he was merely confronted with a kidney or an intestine that temporarily evaded its duty; at the next death loomed before his eyes, incomprehensible and terrible, death from which there was no escaping.

These two states of mind had alternated from the very beginning of his illness; but the farther the malady progressed the more doubtful and fantastic became his conception of the kidney, and the more real the sense of impending dissolution.

He had but to call to mind what he had been three months before and what he was now, to reflect how steadily he was going downhill, for every possibility of hope to be shattered.

Of late, in the loneliness in which he found himself, lying with his face to the back of the sofa, a loneliness in the midst of a populous town and surrounded by numerous acquaintances and relations - loneliness more complete than could be found anywhere, be it at the bottom of the sea or in the bowels of the earth - of late in this fearful loneliness Ivan Ilyich had lived



only in memories of the past. One after another pictures of his past presentedthemselves to him. They always began with what was nearest in time and then went back to what was most remote - to his childhood - and rested there. If he thought of the stewed prunes that had been offered him for dinner that day, his mind went back to the raw, wrinkled French plums of his childhood, their peculiar flavour and the flow of saliva when he got down to the stones, and along with this recollection of the taste of a plum there arose a whole series of other memories of the same period - his nurse, his brother, his toys. 'But I mustn't think of all that ... it's too painful: and Ivan Ilyich brought himself back to the present - to the button on the back of the sofa and the creases in the morocco. 'Morocco is expensive and doesn't wear well. There had been a quarrel about it. But it was a different morocco and a different quarrel when we tore father's portfolio and were punished, and mamma brought us some tarts.' And again his thoughts dwelt on his childhood, and again it was painful and he tried to banish them and think of something else.

And now again, together with this chain of memories another series carne into his mind - of how his illness had developed and grown worse. This time, too, the farther he looked back the more life there had been. There had been more of what was good in life and more of life itself. And the two merged together. 'Just as the pain goes from worse to worse so my w,hole life has gone from worse to worse,' he reflected. 'There is one bright spot far back, right at the beginning of life, but after that it kept getting blacker and blacker and going faster and faster - in inverse ratio to the square of the distance from death,' thought Ivan Ilyich. And the comparison of a stone falling downwards with increasing velocity fastened upon his mind. Life, a series of increasing sufferings, speeds swifter and swifter to the end, and that end - the most terrible suffering. 'I am falling .. .' He shuddered, shifted himself and tried to resist but was already aware that resistance was impossible, and again, with eyes wearied of gazing but unable not to look at what was before him, he stared at the back of the sofa and waited, waited expecting the fearful fall, the jolt, and destruction. 'It's no good resisting,' he said to himself. 'Yet if only I could understand


what it is all for. Even that's impossible. It might be explained if it could be said that I have not lived as I ought to have lived. But that could not possibly be said: he told himself, thinking of all the law-abidingness, uprightness and respectability of his life. 'That at any rate can certainly not be admitted,' he said to himself, his lips smiling ironically as though someone could see that smile and be taken in by it. 'There is no explanation I Agony, death ... Why?'


ANOTHER two weeks went by after this manner, and during that fortnight an event occurred that Ivan Ilyich and his wife had desired: Petrishchev made a formal proposal. It happened in the evening. The next day Praskovya Fiodorovna came into her husband's room, cogitating how best to inform him of it, but that very night Ivan Ilyich's condition had taken a fresh turn for the worse. Praskovya Fiodorovna found him still on the sofa but in a different position. He lay on his back, groaning and gazing straight in front of him with a fixed stare.

She began to speak about his medicines. He turned his glance upon her. She did not finish what she was saying, such bitter animosity, to her in particular, did that look express.

'For Christ's sake let me die in peace!' he said.

She would have gone away but at that moment their daughter came in and went up to say good morning to him. He looked at his daughter as he had looked at his wife, and in reply to her inquiry about his health said coldly that he would very soon relieve them all of his presence. Both women were silent and after sitting for a little went out.

'Why are we to blame?' said Liza to her mother. 'It's as though it were our fault. I am sorry for papa, but why should he torment us?'

At his usual hour the doctor came. Ivan Iiyich replied 'Yes' and 'No', never taking his infuriated eyes from him, and towards the end said: 'You know very well you can do nothing for me, so leave me alone.'

'We can ease your suffering: said the doctor.


'Even that you can't do. Let me be.'

The doctor went into the drawing-room and told Praskovya Fiodorovna that the case was very serious and that the only resource left was opium to allay her husband's sufferings, which must be terrible.

It was true, as the doctor said, that Ivan Ilyich's physical sufferings were terrible, but worse than his physical sufferings were his mental sufferings, which were his chief torture.

His mental sufferings were due to the fact that in the night as he looked at Gerassim's sleepy, good-natured face with its prominent cheek-bones the thought had suddenly come into his head: 'What if in reality my whole life has been wrong?'

It occurred to him that what had appeared utterly impossible before - that he had not lived his life as he should have done - might after all be true. It struck him that those scarcely detected inclinations of his to fight against what the most highly placed people regarded as good, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing and all the rest false. And his professional duties, and his ordering of his life, and his family, and all his social and official interests might all have been false. He tried to defend it all to himself. And suddenly he realized the weakness of what he was defending. There was nothing to defend.

'But if that is so: he said to himself, 'and I am leaving this life with the consciousness that I have lost all that was given me and there's no putting it right - what then?' He lay flat on his back and began going over his whole life entirely anew. In the morning when he saw first the footman, then his wife, then his daughter, then the doctor, every movement they made, every word they uttered, confirmed for him the awful truth that had been revealed to him during the night. In them he saw himself - all that he had lived for - and saw plainly that it was all wrong, a horrible, monstrous lie concealing both life and death. This consciousness increased his physical suffering tenfold. He groaned and tossed about and threw off the clothes. It seemed to him that they were choking and stifling him. And he hated them on that account.


They gave him a large dose of opium and he lost consciousness; but at dinner-time the whole thing began all over again. He drove everybody away and tossed from side to side.

His wife came to him and said:

'Jean, my dear, do this for me.' (For her?) 'It can't do any harm and it often helps. It is really nothing, you know. People in good health often .. .'

He opened his eyes wide.

'What? Take the Sacrament? What for? It's not necessary.

However .. .'

She burst into tears.

'Yes, do, my dear. I'll send for our priest, he's such a nice man.'

'All right, very well: he said.

When the priest came and confessed him he felt quieter and knew a sort of relief from his doubts and consequently from his sufferings, and for a moment hope returned to him. He again began to think of the intestinal appendix and the possibility of curing it. He received the Sacrament with tears in his eyes.

When they laid him down again afterwards he felt easier for a moment, and the hope that he might live reappeared. He began to think of the operation which had been suggested to him. 'To live - I want to live!' he said to himself. His wife came in to felicitate him: she uttered the customary formula and added:

'You feel better, don't you?' Without looking at her he said, 'Yes.'

Her dress, her figure, the expression of her face, the tone of her voice - all told him the same thing. 'Wrong! All you have lived for and are living for is a lie and a deception, hiding life and death from you.'

And as soon as he admitted that thought his exasperation returned and with it the agonizing physical suffering and with the suffering a consciousness of the unavoidable, approaching end. To this was added a new sensation of grinding shooting pain and a feeling of suffocation.

The expression of his face when he uttered that 'Yes' was dreadful. Having pronounced it, he looked at her straight in


the eye, turned on his face with a rapidity extraordinary in his weak state and shouted:

'Go away, go away. Leave me alone!'


FROM that moment the screaming began that continued for three days and was so awful that one could not hear it through closed doors two rooms away without horror. At the moment when he answered his wife he realized that he was lost, that there was no return, that the end had come, the very end, while his doubts were still unsolved and remained doubts.

'Oh! Oh! Oh !' he cried in varying intonations. He had begun by screaming 'I won't!' and so had gone on screaming on the same vowel sound '0'.

For three whole days, during which time did not exist for him, he struggled in that black sack into which he was being forced by an unseen, invincible power. He fought as a man condemned to death fights in the hands of the executioner, knowing that he cannot save himself. And every moment he felt that, notwithstanding all his struggles, he was drawing nearer and nearer to what terrified him. He felt that his agony was due both to his being thrust into that black hole and, still more, to his not being able to get right into it. What hindered him from getting into it was his claim that his life had been good. That very justification of his life held him fast and prevented him from advancing. and caused him more agony than everything else.

Suddenly some force smote him in the chest and side, making it still harder to breathe; he sank through the hole and there at the bottom was a light. It had happened to him as it had sometimes happened to him in a railway-carriage, when he had thought he was going forwards whereas he was actually going backwards, and all of a sudden became aware of his real direction.

'No, it was all wrong,' he said to himself, 'but no matter.' He could, he could do the right thing. 'But what is the right thing?' he asked himself, and abruptly grew quiet.


This was at the end of the third day, an hour before his death.

At that very moment his schoolboy son had crept into the room and gone up to his father's bedside. The dying man was still shrieking desperately and waving his arms. His hand fell on the child's head. The boy seized it, pressed it to his lips and burst into tears.

It was at this very same moment that Ivan Ilyich had fallen through the hole and caught sight of the light, and it was revealed to him that his life had not been what it ought to have been but that it was still possible to put it right. He asked himself: 'But what is the right thing?' and grew still, listening. Then he felt that someone was kissing his hand. He opened his eyes and looked at his son. He felt sorry for him. His wife came up to him. He looked at her. She was gazing at him with open mouth, the tears wet on her nose and cheeks, and an expression of despair on her face. He felt sorry for her.

'Yes, I am a misery to them: he thought. 'They are sorry but it will be better for them when I die.' He wanted to say this but had not strength to speak. 'Besides, why speak, I must act: he thought. With a look he indicated his son to his wife and said:

'Take him away ... sorry for him ... sorry for you too .. .' He tried to add 'Forgive me' but said 'Forego' and, too weak to correct himself, waved his hand, knowing that whoever was concerned would understand.

And all at once it became clear to him that what had been oppressing him and would not go away was suddenly dropping away on one side, on two sides, on ten sides, on all sides. He felt full of pity for them, he must do something to make it less painful for them: release them and release himself from this suffering. 'How right and how simple: he thought. 'And the pain?' he asked himself. 'What has become of it? Where are you, pain?'

He began to watch for it.

'Yes, here it is. Well, what of it? Let the pain be. 'And death? Where is it?'

He searched for his former habitual fear of death and did not find it. 'Where is it? What death?' There was no fear because there was no death either.

In place of death there was light.


'So that's. what it is!' he suddenly exclaimed aloud. 'What joy!'

To him all this happened in a single instant, and the meaning of that instant suffered no change thereafter. For those present his agony lasted another two hours. There was a rattle in his throat, a twitching of his wasted body. Then the gasping and the rattle came at longer and longer intervals.

'It is all over!' said someone near him.

He caught the words and repeated them in his soul. 'Death is over,' he said to himself. 'It is no more.'

He drew in a breath, stopped in the midst of a sigh, stretched out and died.

[25 March 1886]

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