From that moment the screaming began that continued for three days, and was s_errible that one could not hear it through two closed doors without horror.
At the moment he answered his wife he realized that he was lost, that ther_as no return, that the end had come, the very end, and his doubts were stil_nsolved and remained doubts.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" he cried in various intonations. He had begun by screaming "_on't!" and continued screaming on the letter "O".
For three whole days, during which time did not exist for him, he struggled i_hat black sack into which he was being thrust by an invisible, resistles_orce. He struggled as a man condemned to death struggles in the hands of th_xecutioner, knowing that he cannot save himself. And every moment he fel_hat despite all his efforts he was drawing nearer and nearer to wha_errified him. He felt that his agony was due to his being thrust into tha_lack hole and still more to his not being able to get right into it. He wa_indered from getting into it by his conviction that his life had been a goo_ne. That very justification of his life held him fast and prevented hi_oving forward, and it caused him most torment of all.
Suddenly some force struck him in the chest and side, making it still harde_o breathe, and he fell through the hole and there at the bottom was a light.
What had happened to him was like the sensation one sometimes experiences in _ailway carriage when one thinks one is going backwards while one is reall_oing forwards and suddenly becomes aware of the real direction.
"Yes, it was not the right thing," he said to himself, "but that's no matter.
It can be done. But what is the right thing? he asked himself, and suddenl_rew quiet.
This occurred at the end of the third day, two hours before his death. Jus_hen his schoolboy son had crept softly in and gone up to the bedside. Th_ying man was still screaming desperately and waving his arms. His hand fel_n the boy's head, and the boy caught it, pressed it to his lips, and began t_ry.
At that very moment Ivan Ilych fell through and caught sight of the light, an_t was revealed to him that though his life had not been what it should hav_een, this could still be rectified. He asked himself, "What is the righ_hing?" and grew still, listening. Then he felt that someone was kissing hi_and. He opened his eyes, looked at his son, and felt sorry for him. His wif_ame up to him and he glanced at her. She was gazing at him open-mouthed, wit_ndried tears on her nose and cheek and a despairing look on her face. He fel_orry for her too.
"Yes, I am making them wretched," he thought. "They are sorry, but it will b_etter for them when I die." He wished to say this but had not the strength t_tter it. "Besides, why speak? I must act," he thought. with a look at hi_ife he indicated his son and said: "Take him away… sorry for him… sorry fo_ou too… ." He tried to add, "Forgive me," but said "Forego" and waved hi_and, knowing that He whose understanding mattered would understand.
And suddenly it grew clear to him that what had been oppressing him and woul_ot leave him was all dropping away at once from two sides, from ten sides,
and from all sides. He was sorry for them, he must act so as not to hurt them:
release them and free himself from these sufferings. "How good and ho_imple!" he thought. "And the pain?" he asked himself. "What has become of it?
Where are you, pain?"
He turned his attention to it.
"Yes, here it is. Well, what of it? Let the pain be."
"And death… where is it?"
He sought his former accustomed fear of death and did not find it. "Where i_t? What death?" There was no fear because there was no death.
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 instan_id not change. For those present his agony continued for another two hours.
Something rattled in his throat, his emaciated body twitched, then the gaspin_nd rattle became less and less frequent.
"It is finished!" said someone near him. He heard these words and repeate_hem in his soul.
"Death is finished," he said to himself. "It is no more!"
He drew in a breath, stopped in the midst of a sigh, stretched out, and died.