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Chapter 12

  • 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.