The Russian and English texts of “The Death of Ivan Ilich” Presented Side by Side

Chapter 1

Лев Толстой Смерть Ивана Ильича[1]

Lev Tolstoy THE DEATH OF IVAN IL’ICH[1]

В большом здании судебных учреждений во время перерыва заседания по делу Мельвинских[2] члены и прокурор[3] сошлись в кабинете Ивана Егоровича Шебек, и зашел разговор о знаменитом красовском деле. Федор Васильевич разгорячился, доказывая неподсудность,[4] Иван Егорович стоял на своем, Петр же Иванович, не вступив сначала в спор,[5] не принимал в нем участия и просматривал только что поданные “Ведомости”.[6]
During an interval in the Melvinski trial[2] in the large building of the Law Courts the members and public prosecutor[3] met in Ivan Egorovich Shebek’s private room, where the conversation turned on the celebrated Krasovski case. Fedor Vasilievich warmly maintained that it was not subject to their jurisdiction,[4] Ivan Egorovich maintained the contrary, while Peter Ivanovich, not having entered into the discussion at the start,[5] took no part in it but looked through the *Gazette*[6] which had just been handed in.
– Господа! – сказал он, – Иван Ильич-то умер.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “Ivan Ilych has died!”
– Неужели?
“You don’t say so!”
– Вот, читайте, – сказал он Федору Васильевичу, подавая ему свежий, пахучий еще номер.
“Here, read it yourself,” replied Peter Ivanovich, handing Fedor Vasilievich the paper still damp from the press.
В черном ободке[7] было напечатано: “Прасковья Федоровна Головина с душевным прискорбием извещает родных и знакомых о кончине возлюбленного супруга своего, члена Судебной палаты, Ивана Ильича Головина, последовавшей 4-го февраля сего 1882 года. Вынос тела в пятницу, в час пополудни”.[8]
Surrounded by a black border[7] were the words: “Praskovya Fedorovna Golovina, with profound sorrow, informs relatives and friends of the demise of her beloved husband Ivan Ilych Golovin, Member of the Court of Justice, which occurred on February the 4th of this year 1882. the funeral will take place on Friday at one o’clock in the afternoon.”[8]
Иван Ильич был сотоварищ собравшихся господ, и все любили его.[9] Он болел уже несколько недель; говорили, что болезнь его неизлечима.[10] Место оставалось за ним,[11] но было соображение о том, что в случае его смерти Алексеев может быть назначен на его место, на место же Алексеева – или Винников, или Штабель. Так что, услыхав о смерти Ивана Ильича, первая мысль каждого из господ, собравшихся в кабинете, была и о том, какое значение может иметь эта смерть на перемещения или повышения самих членов или их знакомых.
Ivan Ilych had been a colleague of the gentlemen present and was liked by them all.[9] He had been ill for some weeks with an illness said to be incurable.[10] His post had been kept open for him,[11] but there had been conjectures that in case of his death Alexeev might receive his appointment, and that either Vinnikov or Shtabel would succeed Alexeev. So on receiving the news of Ivan Ilych’s death the first thought of each of the gentlemen in that private room was of the changes and promotions it might occasion among themselves or their acquaintances.
“Теперь, наверно, получу место Штабеля или Винникова, – подумал Федор Васильевич. – Мне это и давно обещано, а это повышение составляет для меня восемьсот рублей прибавки, кроме канцелярии”.
“I shall be sure to get Shtabel’s place or Vinnikov’s,” thought Fedor Vasilievich. “I was promised that long ago, and the promotion means an extra eight hundred rubles a year for me besides the allowance.”
“Надо будет попросить теперь о переводе шурина из Калуги,[12] – подумал Петр Иванович. – Жена будет очень рада. Теперь уж нельзя будет говорить, что я никогда ничего не сделал для ее родных”.
“Now I must apply for my brother-in-law’s transfer from Kaluga,”[12] thought Peter Ivanovich. “My wife will be very glad, and then she won’t be able to say that I never do anything for her relations.”
– Я так и думал, что ему не подняться,[13] – вслух сказал Петр Иванович. – Жалко.
“I thought he would never leave his bed again,”[13] said Peter Ivanovich aloud. “It’s very sad.”
– Да что у него, собственно, было?
“But what really was the matter with him?”
– Доктора не могли определить.[14] То есть определяли, но различно.[15] Когда я видел его последний раз, мне казалось, что он поправится.[16]
“The doctors couldn’t say[14] — at least they could, but each of them said something different.[15] When last I saw him I thought he was getting better.”[16]
– А я так и не был у него с самых праздников. Все собирался.
“And I haven’t been to see him since the holidays. I always meant to go.”
– Что, у него было состояние?
“Had he any property?”
– Кажется, что-то очень небольшое у жены. Но что-то ничтожное.[17]
“I think his wife had a little — but something quiet trifling.”[17]
– Да, надо будет поехать. Ужасно далеко жили они.
“We shall have to go to see her, but they live so terribly far away.”
– То есть от вас далеко. От вас всё далеко.[18]
“Far away from you, you mean. Everything’s far away from your place.”[18]
– Вот, не может мне простить, что я живу за рекой, – улыбаясь на Шебека, сказал Петр Иванович. И заговорили о дальности городских расстояний, и пошли в заседание.[19]
“You see, he never can forgive my living on the other side of the river,” said Peter Ivanovich, smiling at Shebek. Then, still talking of the distances between different parts of the city, they returned to the Court.[19]
Кроме вызванных этой смертью в каждом соображении о перемещениях и возможных изменениях по службе, могущих последовать от этой смерти, самый факт смерти близкого знакомого вызвал во всех, узнавших про нее, как всегда, чувство радости о том, что умер он, а не я.[20]
Besides considerations as to the possible transfers and promotions likely to result from Ivan Ilych’s death, the mere fact of the death of a near acquaintance aroused, as usual, in all who heard of it the complacent feeling that, “it is he who is dead and not I.”[20]
“Каково, умер; а я вот нет”, – подумал или почувствовал каждый. Близкие же знакомые, так называемые друзья[21] Ивана Ильича, при этом подумали невольно и о том, что теперь им надобно исполнить очень скучные обязанности приличия и поехать на панихиду[22] и к вдове с визитом соболезнования.[23]
Each one thought or felt, “Well, he’s dead but I’m alive!” But the more intimate of Ivan Ilych’s acquaintances, his so-called friends,[21] could not help thinking also that they would now have to fulfil the very tiresome demands of propriety by attending the funeral service[22] and paying a visit of condolence[23] to the widow.
Ближе всех были Федор Васильевич и Петр Иванович.
Fedor Vasilievich and Peter Ivanovich had been his nearest acquaintances.
Петр Иванович был товарищем по училищу правоведения и считал себя обязанным Иваном Ильичом.
Peter Ivanovich had studied law with Ivan Ilych and had considered himself to be under obligations to him.
Передав за обедом жене известие о смерти Ивана Ильича и соображения о возможности перевода шурина в их округ, Петр Иванович, не ложась отдыхать, надел фрак и поехал к Ивану Ильичу.
Having told his wife at dinner-time of Ivan Ilych’s death, and of his conjecture that it might be possible to get her brother transferred to their circuit, Peter Ivanovich sacrificed his usual nap, put on his evening clothes and drove to Ivan Ilych’s house.
У подъезда квартиры Ивана Ильича стояла карета и два извозчика. Внизу, в передней у вешалки прислонена была к стене глазетовая крышка гроба с кисточками и начищенным порошком галуном. Две дамы в черном снимали шубки. Одна, сестра Ивана Ильича, знакомая, другая – незнакомая дама. Товарищ Петра Ивановича, Шварц, сходил сверху и, с верхней ступени увидав входившего, остановился и подмигнул ему, как бы говоря: “Глупо распорядился Иван Ильич: то ли дело мы с вами”.[24]
At the entrance stood a carriage and two cabs. Leaning against the wall in the hall downstairs near the cloakstand was a coffin-lid covered with cloth of gold, ornamented with gold cord and tassels, that had been polished up with metal powder. Two ladies in black were taking off their fur cloaks. Peter Ivanovich recognized one of them as Ivan Ilych’s sister, but the other was a stranger to him. His colleague Schwartz was just coming downstairs, but on seeing Peter Ivanovich enter he stopped and winked at him, as if to say: “Ivan Ilych has made a mess of things — not like you and me.”[24]
Лицо Шварца с английскими бакенбардами и вся худая фигура во фраке имела, как всегда, изящную торжественность, и эта торжественность, всегда противоречащая характеру игривости Шварца, здесь имела особенную соль. Так подумал Петр Иванович.
Schwartz’s face with his Piccadilly whiskers, and his slim figure in evening dress, had as usual an air of elegant solemnity which contrasted with the playfulness of his character and had a special piquancy here, or so it seemed to Peter Ivanovich.
Петр Иванович пропустил вперед себя дам и медленно пошел за ними на лестницу. Шварц не стал сходить, а остановился наверху. Петр Иванович понял зачем: он, очевидно хотел сговориться, где повинтить нынче.[25] Дамы прошли на лестницу к вдове, а Шварц, с серьезно сложенными, крепкими губами и игривым взглядом, движением бровей показал Петру Ивановичу направо, в комнату мертвеца.
Peter Ivanovich allowed the ladies to precede him and slowly followed them upstairs. Schwartz did not come down but remained where he was, and Peter Ivanovich understood that he wanted to arrange where they should play bridge that evening.[25] The ladies went upstairs to the widow’s room, and Schwartz with seriously compressed lips but a playful look in his eyes, indicated by a twist of his eyebrows the room to the right where the body lay.
Петр Иванович вошел, как всегда это бывает, с недоумением о том, что ему там надо будет делать. Одно он знал, что креститься в этих случаях никогда не мешает. Насчет того, что нужно ли при этом и кланяться, он не совсем был уверен и потому выбрал среднее: войдя в комнату, он стал креститься и немножко как будто кланяться. Насколько ему позволяли движения рук и головы, он вместе с тем оглядывал комнату. Два молодые человека, один гимназист, кажется, племянники, крестясь, выходили из комнаты. Старушка стояла неподвижно. И дама с странно поднятыми бровями что-то ей говорила шепотом. Дьячок в сюртуке, бодрый, решительный, читал что-то громко с выражением, исключающим всякое противоречие; буфетный мужик Герасим, пройдя перед Петром Ивановичем легкими шагами, что-то посыпал по полу.[26] Увидав это, Петр Иванович тотчас же почувствовал легкий запах разлагающегося трупа. В последнее свое посещение Ивана Ильича Петр Иванович видел этого мужика в кабинете; он исполнял должность сиделки, и Иван Ильич особенно любил его. Петр Иванович все крестился и слегка кланялся по серединному направлению между гробом, дьячком и образами на столе в углу. Потом, когда это движение крещения рукою показалось ему уже слишком продолжительно, он приостановился и стал разглядывать мертвеца.
Peter Ivanovich, like everyone else on such occasions, entered feeling uncertain what he would have to do. All he knew was that at such times it is always safe to cross oneself. But he was not quite sure whether one should make obseisances while doing so. He therefore adopted a middle course. On entering the room he began crossing himself and made a slight movement resembling a bow. At the same time, as far as the motion of his head and arm allowed, he surveyed the room. Two young men — apparently nephews, one of whom was a high-school pupil — were leaving the room, crossing themselves as they did so. An old woman was standing motionless, and a lady with strangely arched eyebrows was saying something to her in a whisper. A vigorous, resolute Church Reader, in a frock- coat, was reading something in a loud voice with an expression that precluded any contradiction. The butler’s assistant, Gerasim, stepping lightly in front of Peter Ivanovich, was strewing something on the floor.[26] Noticing this, Peter Ivanovich was immediately aware of a faint odour of a decomposing body. The last time he had called on Ivan Ilych, Peter Ivanovich had seen Gerasim in the study. Ivan Ilych had been particularly fond of him and he was performing the duty of a sick nurse. Peter Ivanovich continued to make the sign of the cross slightly inclining his head in an intermediate direction between the coffin, the Reader, and the icons on the table in a corner of the room. Afterwards, when it seemed to him that this movement of his arm in crossing himself had gone on too long, he stopped and began to look at the corpse.
Мертвец лежал, как всегда лежат мертвецы, особенно тяжело, по-мертвецки, утонувши окоченевшими членами в подстилке гроба, с навсегда согнувшеюся головой на подушке, и выставлял, как всегда выставляют мертвецы, свой желтый восковой лоб с взлизами на ввалившихся висках и торчащий нос, как бы надавивший на верхнюю губу. Он очень переменился, еще похудел с тех пор, как Петр Иванович не видал его, но, как у всех мертвецов, лицо его было красивее, главное – значительнее, чем оно было у живого. На лице было выражение того, что то, что нужно было сделать, сделано, и сделано правильно. Кроме того, в этом выражении был еще упрек или напоминание живым. Напоминание это показалось Петру Ивановичу неуместным или, по крайней мере, до него не касающимся. Что-то ему стало неприятно, и потому Петр Иванович еще раз поспешно перекрестился и, как ему показалось, слишком поспешно, несообразно с приличиями,[27] повернулся и пошел к двери. Шварц ждал его в проходной комнате, расставив широко ноги и играя обеими руками за спиной своим цилиндром. Один взгляд на игривую, чистоплотную и элегантную фигуру Шварца освежил Петра Ивановича.[28] Петр Иванович понял, что он, Шварц, стоит выше этого и не поддается удручающим впечатлениям. Один вид его говорил: инцидент панихиды Ивана Ильича никак не может служить достаточным поводом для признания порядка заседания нарушенным, то есть что ничто не может помешать нынче же вечером щелкануть, распечатывая ее, колодой карт, в то время как лакей будет расставлять четыре необожженные свечи; вообще нет основания предполагать, чтобы инцидент этот мог помешать нам провести приятно и сегодняшний вечер. Он и сказал это шепотом проходившему Петру Ивановичу, предлагая соединиться на партию у Федора Васильевича. Но, видно, Петру Ивановичу была не судьба винтить нынче вечером. Прасковья Федоровна, невысокая, жирная женщина, несмотря на все старания устроить противное, все-таки расширявшаяся от плеч книзу, вся в черном, с покрытой кружевом головой и с такими же странно поднятыми бровями, как и та дама, стоявшая против гроба, вышла из своих покоев с другими дамами и, проводив их в дверь мертвеца, сказала:
The dead man lay, as dead men always lie, in a specially heavy way, his rigid limbs sunk in the soft cushions of the coffin, with the head forever bowed on the pillow. His yellow waxen brow with bald patches over his sunken temples was thrust up in the way peculiar to the dead, the protruding nose seeming to press on the upper lip. He was much changed and grown even thinner since Peter Ivanovich had last seen him, but, as is always the case with the dead, his face was handsomer and above all more dignified than when he was alive. the expression on the face said that what was necessary had been accomplished, and accomplished rightly. Besides this there was in that expression a reproach and a warning to the living. This warning seemed to Peter Ivanovich out of place, or at least not applicable to him. He felt a certain discomfort and so he hurriedly crossed himself once more and turned and went out of the door — too hurriedly and too regardless of propriety, as he himself was aware.[27] Schwartz was waiting for him in the adjoining room with legs spread wide apart and both hands toying with his top-hat behind his back. The mere sight of that playful, well-groomed, and elegant figure refreshed Peter Ivanovich.[28] He felt that Schwartz was above all these happenings and would not surrender to any depressing influences. His very look said that this incident of a church service for Ivan Ilych could not be a sufficient reason for infringing the order of the session — in other words, that it would certainly not prevent his unwrapping a new pack of cards and shuffling them that evening while a footman placed fresh candles on the table: in fact, that there was no reason for supposing that this incident would hinder their spending the evening agreeably. Indeed he said this in a whisper as Peter Ivanovich passed him, proposing that they should meet for a game at Fedor Vasilievich’s. But apparently Peter Ivanovich was not destined to play bridge that evening. Praskovya Fedorovna (a short, fat woman who despite all efforts to the contrary had continued to broaden steadily from her shoulders downwards and who had the same extraordinarily arched eyebrows as the lady who had been standing by the coffin), dressed all in black, her head covered with lace, came out of her own room with some other ladies, conducted them to the room where the dead body lay, and said:
– Сейчас будет панихида; пройдите.
“The service will begin immediately. Please go in.”
Шварц, неопределенно поклонившись, остановился, очевидно, не принимая и не отклоняя этого предложения. Прасковья Федоровна, узнав Петра Ивановича, вздохнула, подошла к нему вплоть, взяла его за руку и сказала:
Schwartz, making an indefinite bow, stood still, evidently neither accepting nor declining this invitation. Praskovya Fedorovna recognizing Peter Ivanovich, sighed, went close up to him, took his hand, and said:
– Я знаю, что вы были истинным другом Ивана Ильича… – и посмотрела на него, ожидая от него соответствующие этим словам действия.
“I know you were a true friend to Ivan Ilych…” and looked at him awaiting some suitable response.
Петр Иванович знал, что как там надо было креститься, так здесь надо было пожать руку, вздохнуть и сказать: “Поверьте!”. И он так и сделал. И, сделав это, почувствовал, что результат получился желаемый: что он тронут и она тронута.
And Peter Ivanovich knew that, just as it had been the right thing to cross himself in that room, so what he had to do here was to press her hand, sigh, and say, “Believe me…” So he did all this and as he did it felt that the desired result had been achieved: that both he and she were touched.
– Пойдемте, пока там не началось; мне надо поговорить с вами, – сказала вдова. – Дайте мне руку.
“Come with me. I want to speak to you before it begins,” said the widow. “Give me your arm.”
Петр Иванович подал руку, и они направились во внутренние комнаты, мимо Шварца, который печально подмигнул Петру Ивановичу: “Вот те и винт! Уж не взыщите, другого партнера возьмем. Нешто впятером, когда отделаетесь”, – сказал его игривый взгляд.
Peter Ivanovich gave her his arm and they went to the inner rooms, passing Schwartz who winked at Peter Ivanovich compassionately.”That does for our bridge! Don’s object if we find another player. Perhaps you can cut in when you do escape,” said his playful look.
Петр Иванович вздохнул еще глубже и печальнее, и Прасковья Федоровна благодарно пожала ему руку. Войдя в ее обитую розовым кретоном гостиную с пасмурной лампой, они сели у стола: она на диван, а Петр Иванович на расстроившийся пружинами и неправильно подававшийся под его сиденьем низенький пуф.[29] Прасковья Федоровна хотела предупредить его, чтобы он сел на другой стул, но нашла это предупреждение не соответствующим своему положению и раздумала.[30] Садясь на этот пуф, Петр Иванович вспомнил, как Иван Ильич устраивал эту гостиную и советовался с ним об этом самом розовом с зелеными листьями кретоне. Садясь на диван и проходя мимо стола (вообще вся гостиная была полна вещиц и мебели), вдова зацепилась черным кружевом черной мантилий за резьбу стола. Петр Иванович приподнялся, чтобы отцепить, и освобожденный под ним пуф стал волноваться и подталкивать его. Вдова сама стала отцеплять свое кружево, и Петр Иванович опять сел, придавив бунтовавшийся под ним пуф. Но вдова не все отцепила, и Петр Иванович опять поднялся, и опять пуф забунтовал и даже щелкнул. Когда все это кончилось, она вынула чистый батистовый платок и стала плакать.[31] Петра же Ивановича охладил эпизод с кружевом и борьба с пуфом, и он сидел насупившись. Неловкое это положение перервал Соколов, буфетчик Ивана Ильича, с докладом о том, что место на кладбище то, которое назначила Прасковья Федоровна, будет стоить двести рублей. Она перестала плакать и, с видом жертвы взглянув на Петра Ивановича, сказала по-французски, что ей очень тяжело. Петр Иванович сделал молчаливый знак, выражавший несомненную уверенность в том, что это не может быть иначе.
Peter Ivanovich sighed still more deeply and despondently, and Praskovya Fedorovna pressed his arm gratefully. When they reached the drawing-room, upholstered in pink cretonne and lighted by a dim lamp, they sat down at the table — she on a sofa and Peter Ivanovich on a low pouffe, the springs of which yielded spasmodically under his weight.[29] Praskovya Fedorovna had been on the point of warning him to take another seat, but felt that such a warning was out of keeping with her present condition and so changed her mind.[30] As he sat down on the pouffe Peter Ivanovich recalled how Ivan Ilych had arranged this room and had consulted him regarding this pink cretonne with green leaves. The whole room was full of furniture and knick-knacks, and on her way to the sofa the lace of the widow’s black shawl caught on the edge of the table. Peter Ivanovich rose to detach it, and the springs of the pouffe, relieved of his weight, rose also and gave him a push. The widow began detaching her shawl herself, and Peter Ivanovich again sat down, suppressing the rebellious springs of the pouffe under him. But the widow had not quite freed herself and Peter Ivanovich got up again, and again the pouffe rebelled and even creaked. When this was all over she took out a clean cambric handkerchief and began to weep.[31] The episode with the shawl and the struggle with the pouffe had cooled Peter Ivanovich’s emotions and he sat there with a sullen look on his face. This awkward situation was interrupted by Sokolov, Ivan Ilych’s butler, who came to report that the plot in the cemetery that Praskovya Fedorovna had chosen would cost tow hundred rubles. She stopped weeping and, looking at Peter Ivanovich with the air of a victim, remarked in French that it was very hard for her. Peter Ivanovich made a silent gesture signifying his full conviction that it must indeed be so.
– Курите, пожалуйста, – сказала она великодушным и вместе убитым голосом и занялась с Соколовым вопросом о цене места.[32] Петр Иванович, закуривая, слышал, что она очень обстоятельно расспросила о разных ценах земли и определила ту, которую следует взять. Кроме того, окончив о месте, она распорядилась и о певчих. Соколов ушел.
“Please smoke,” she said in a magnanimous yet crushed voice, and turned to discuss with Sokolov the price of the plot for the grave.[32] Peter Ivanovich while lighting his cigarette heard her inquiring very circumstantially into the prices of different plots in the cemetery and finally decide which she would take. when that was done she gave instructions about engaging the choir. Sokolov then left the room.
– Я все сама делаю, – сказала она Петру Ивановичу, отодвигая к одной стороне альбомы, лежавшие на столе; и, заметив, что пепел угрожал столу, не мешкая подвинула Петру Ивановичу пепельницу[33] и проговорила: – Я нахожу притворством уверять, что я не могу от горя заниматься практическими делами. Меня, напротив, если может что не утешить… а развлечь, то это – заботы о нем же. – Она опять достала платок, как бы собираясь плакать, и вдруг, как бы пересиливая себя, встряхнулась и стала говорить спокойно:[34]
“I look after everything myself,” she told Peter Ivanovich, shifting the albums that lay on the table; and noticing that the table was endangered by his cigarette-ash, she immediately passed him an ash-tray,[33] saying as she did so: “I consider it an affectation to say that my grief prevents my attending to practical affairs. On the contrary, if anything can — I won’t say console me, but — distract me, it is seeing to everything concerning him.” She again took out her handkerchief as if preparing to cry, but suddenly, as if mastering her feeling, she shook herself and began to speak calmly.[34]
– Однако у меня дело есть к вам.
“But there is something I want to talk to you about.”
Петр Иванович поклонился, не давая расходиться пружинам пуфа, тотчас же зашевелившимся под ним.
Peter Ivanovich bowed, keeping control of the springs of the pouffe, which immediately began quivering under him.
– В последние дни он ужасно страдал.
“He suffered terribly the last few days.”
– Очень страдал? – спросил Петр Иванович.
“Did he?” said Peter Ivanovich.
– Ах, ужасно! Последние не минуты, а часы он не переставая кричал. Трое суток сряду он, не переводя голосу, кричал. Это было невыносимо. Я не могу понять, как я вынесла это; за тремя дверьми слышно было. Ах! что я вынесла![35]
“Oh, terribly! He screamed unceasingly, not for minutes but for hours. for the last three days he screamed incessantly. It was unendurable. I cannot understand how I bore it; you could hear him three rooms off. Oh, what I have suffered!”[35]
– И неужели он был в памяти? – спросил Петр Иванович.
“Is it possible that he was conscious all that time?” asked Peter Ivanovich.
– Да, – прошептала она, – до последней минуты. Он простился с Нами за четверть часа до смерти и еще просил увести Володю.
“Yes,” she whispered. “To the last moment. He took leave of us a quarter of an hour before he died, and asked us to take Volodya away.”
Мысль о страдании человека, которого он знал так близко, сначала веселым мальчиком, школьником, потом взрослым партнером, несмотря на неприятное сознание притворства своего и этой женщины, вдруг ужаснула Петра Ивановича. Он увидал опять этот лоб, нажимавший на губу нос, и ему стало страшно за себя.
The thought of the suffering of this man he had known so intimately, first as a merry little boy, then as a schoolmate, and later as a grown-up colleague, suddenly struck Peter Ivanovich with horror, despite an unpleasant consciousness of his own and this woman’s dissimulation. He again saw that brow, and that nose pressing down on the lip, and felt afraid for himself.
“Трое суток ужасных страданий и смерть. Ведь это сейчас, всякую минуту может наступить и для меня”, – подумал он, и ему стало на мгновение страшно. Но тотчас же, он сам не знал как, ему на помощь пришла обычная мысль, что это случилось с Иваном Ильичом, а не с ним и что с ним этого случиться не должно и не может; что, думая так, он поддается мрачному настроению, чего не следует делать, как это, очевидно было по лицу Шварца. И, сделав это рассуждение, Петр Иванович успокоился[36] и с интересом стал расспрашивать подробности о кончине Ивана Ильича, как будто смерть была такое приключение, которое свойственно только Ивану Ильичу, но совсем не свойственно ему.
“Three days of frightful suffering and the death! Why, that might suddenly, at any time, happen to me,” he thought, and for a moment felt terrified. But — he did not himself know how — the customary reflection at once occurred to him that this had happened to Ivan Ilych and not to him, and that it should not and could not happen to him, and that to think that it could would be yielding to depression which he ought not to do, as Schwartz’s expression plainly showed. After which reflection Peter Ivanovich felt reassured,[36] and began to ask with interest about the details of Ivan Ilych’s death, as though death was an accident natural to Ivan Ilych but certainly not to himself.
После разных разговоров о подробностях действительно, ужасных физических страданий, перенесенных Иваном Ильичом (подробности эти узнавал Петр Иванович только по тому, как мучения Ивана Ильича действовали на нервы Прасковьи Федоровны), вдова, очевидно, нашла нужным перейти к делу.
After many details of the really dreadful physical sufferings Ivan Ilych had endured (which details he learnt only from the effect those sufferings had produced on Praskovya Fedorovna’s nerves) the widow apparently found it necessary to get to business.
– Ах, Петр Иванович, как тяжело, как ужасно тяжело, как ужасно тяжело, – и она опять заплакала.
“Oh, Peter Ivanovich, how hard it is! How terribly, terribly hard!” and she again began to weep.
Петр Иванович вздыхал, и ждал, когда она высморкается.[37] Когда она высморкалась, он сказал:
Peter Ivanovich sighed and waited for her to finish blowing her nose.[37] When she had done so he said:
– Поверьте… – и опять она разговорилась и высказала то, что было, очевидно, ее главным делом к нему; дело это состояло в вопросах о том, как бы по случаю смерти мужа достать денег от казны. Она сделала вид, что спрашивает у Петра Ивановича совета о пенсионе: но он видел, что она уже знает до мельчайших подробностей и то, чего он не знал: все то, что можно вытянуть от казны по случаю этой смерти;[38] но что ей хотелось узнать, нельзя ли как-нибудь вытянуть еще побольше денег. Петр Иванович постарался выдумать такое средство, но, подумав несколько и из приличия побранив наше правительство за его скаредность, сказал, что, кажется, больше нельзя. Тогда она вздохнула и, очевидно, стала придумывать средство избавиться от своего посетителя. Он понял это, затушил папироску, встал, пожал руку и пошел в переднюю.
“Believe me…” and she again began talking and brought out 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.[38] She made it appear that she was asking Peter Ivanovich’s advice about her pension, but he soon saw that she already knew about that to the minutest detail, more even than he did himself. She knew how much could be got out of the government in consequence of her husband’s death, but wanted to find out whether she could not possibly extract something more. Peter Ivanovich tried to think of some means of doing so, but after reflecting for a while and, out of propriety, condemning the government for its niggardliness, he said he thought that nothing more could be got. Then she sighed and evidently began to devise means of getting rid of her visitor. Noticing this, he put out his cigarette, rose, pressed her hand, and went out into the anteroom.
В столовой с часами, которым Иван Ильич так рад был, что купил в брикабраке,*[на распродаже старинных вещей.] Петр Иванович встретил священника и еще несколько знакомых, приехавших на панихиду, и увидал знакомую ему красивую барышню, дочь Ивана Ильича. Она была вся в черном. Талия ее, очень тонкая, казалась еще тоньше. Она имела мрачный, решительный, почти гневный вид. Она поклонилась Петру Ивановичу, как будто он был в чем-то виноват. За дочерью стоял с таким же обиженным видом знакомый Петру Ивановичу богатый молодой человек, судебный следователь, ее жених, как он слышал. Он уныло поклонился им и хотел пройти в комнату мертвеца, когда из-под лестницы показалась фигурка гимназистика-сына, ужасно похожего на Ивана Ильича.[39] Это был маленький Иван Ильич, каким Петр Иванович помнил его в Правоведении. Глаза у него были и заплаканные и такие, какие бывают у нечистых мальчиков в тринадцать – четырнадцать лет. Мальчик, увидав Петра Ивановича, стал сурово и стыдливо морщиться. Петр Иванович кивнул ему головой и вошел в комнату мертвеца. Началась панихида – свечи, стоны, ладан, слезы, всхлипыванья. Петр Иванович стоял нахмурившись, глядя на ноги перед собой. Он не взглянул ни разу на мертвеца и до конца не поддался расслабляющим влияниям и один из первых вышел. В передней никого не было. Герасим, буфетный мужик, выскочил из комнаты покойника,[40] перешвырял своими сильными руками все шубы, чтобы найти шубу Петра Ивановича, и подал ее.
In the dining-room where the clock stood that Ivan Ilych had liked so much and had bought at an antique shop, Peter Ivanovich met a priest and a few acquaintances who had come to attend the service, and he recognized Ivan Ilych’s daughter, a handsome young woman. She was in black and her slim figure appeared slimmer than ever. She had a gloomy, determined, almost angry expression, and bowed to Peter Ivanovich as though he were in some way to blame. Behind her, with the same offended look, stood a wealthy young man, and examining magistrate, whom Peter Ivanovich also knew and who was her fiance, as he had heard. He bowed mournfully to them and was about to pass into the death-chamber, when from under the stairs appeared the figure of Ivan Ilych’s schoolboy son, who was extremely like his father.[39] He seemed a little Ivan Ilych, such as Peter Ivanovich remembered when they studied law together. His tear-stained eyes had in them the look that is seen in the eyes of boys of thirteen or fourteen who are not pure-minded. When he saw Peter Ivanovich he scowled morosely and shamefacedly. Peter Ivanovich nodded to him and entered the death-chamber. The service began: candles, groans, incense, tears, and sobs. Peter Ivanovich stood looking gloomily down at his feet. He did not look once at the dead man, did not yield to any depressing influence, and was one of the first to leave the room. There was no one in the anteroom, but Gerasim darted out of the dead man’s room,[40] rummaged with his strong hands among the fur coats to find Peter Ivanovich’s and helped him on with it.
– Что, брат Герасим? – сказал Петр Иванович, чтобы сказать что-нибудь. – Жалко?
“Well, friend Gerasim,” said Peter Ivanovich, so as to say something. “It’s a sad affair, isn’t it?”
– Божья воля. Все там же будем, – сказал Герасим, оскаливая свои белые, сплошные мужицкие зубы, и, как человек в разгаре усиленной работы, живо отворил дверь, кликнул кучера, подсадил Петра Ивановича и прыгнул назад к крыльцу, как будто придумывая, что бы ему еще сделать.
“It’s God will. We shall all come to it some day,” said Gerasim, displaying his teeth — the even white teeth of a healthy peasant — and, like a man in the thick of urgent work, he briskly opened the front door, called the coachman, helped Peter Ivanovich into the sledge, and sprang back to the porch as if in readiness for what he had to do next.
Петру Ивановичу особенно приятно было дохнуть чистым воздухом после запаха ладана, трупа и карболовой кислоты.
Peter Ivanovich found the fresh air particularly pleasant after the smell of incense, the dead body, and carbolic acid.
– Куда прикажете? – спросил кучер.
“Where to sir?” asked the coachman.
– Не поздно. Заеду еще к Федору Васильевичу. И Петр Иванович поехал. И действительно, застал их при конце первого роббера, так что ему удобно было вступить пятым.[41]
“It’s not too late even now….I’ll call round on Fedor Vasilievich.”
He accordingly drove there and found them just finishing the first rubber, so that it was quite convenient for him to cut in.[41]

  1. The Ivan Il'ich mentioned in the title is Ivan Il'ich Golovin, the novel's protagonist. Tolstoy modeled this character in part on a certain Ivan Il'ich Mechnikov, an acquaintance of his who served as prosecutor in the district court of Tula, the nearest sizable town to Tolstoy's country estate at Yasnaya Polyana. According to N. F. Golubov's commentary on The Death of Ivan Il'ich in volume 26 of Complete Collected Works of Lev Tolstoi in 90 Volumes the circumstances attending Mechnikov's illness and untimely death in 1881 closely resembled those described by Tolstoy in the story. Shortly after Mechnikov's demise in July, 1881, Tolstoy made his first recorded mention of the idea which he eventually developed into The Death of Ivan Il'ich. The novel was completed and published in 1886.
  2. The Melvinsky case was a celebrated court case of the 1880s, as was the Krasovsky case, mentioned a couple of lines later. Evidently Tolstoi is at pains to connect his narrative to the authentic realities of life in the period described.
  3. In the 1880s both civil and criminal cases were often heard by a panel of three judges before whom matters were argued by opposing counsel. The "members" of the court were these judges. Ivan Il'ich, whose death is about to come to the attention of these gentlemen, was such a judge.
  4. The motifs of judge, judgement, and jurisdiction (the right or responsibility of rendering judgement) emerge immediately, frequently, and forcefully in the story. It seems clear that the theme of judgement will be important; it may be that we as readers will ourselves be implicated in the responsibility of rendering judgement on the life and death of Ivan Il'ich.
  5. Petr Ivanovich takes no part in the discussion concerning jurisdiction (the judicial responsibility of hearing evidence and rendering judgement) here. He continues steadfast throughout chapter one (after which he more or less disappears from the novel) in his refusal to "get involved." He is concerned only to perform the superficial rituals required by the death of his colleague and then to leave the entire unpleasant situation behind him in order to spend the remainder of his evening playing cards. His indifference to the discussion of the question of jurisdiction in the first paragraph is a model of his general attitude toward the death of his colleague and mentor.
  6. Vedomosti (The Gazette) was the name shared by prominent daily newspapers in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Most commentators believe that Tolstoi had Moscow in mind as the setting of the novel.
  7. This is the first of many examples of images of enclosure and containment in the text of the novel. These images become a veritable leitmotiv of isolation and estrangement over the course of the story. This is also the first appearance of Ivan Il'ich himself. In a way, one might say that the main question of which the reader of the story must judge is: "How did Ivan Il'ich come to be enclosed in such a tiny frame?" Click here to see a typical example of such a funeral announcement as is described here. Note how prominent the "black border" of the announcement is.
  8. Note the familiar conventionality of the content of the announcement. It will emerge that this tidy summary of Ivan Il'ich as a "beloved spouse" (rather than a husband) whose "kindred and acquaintances" (rather than his relatives and friends) are "informed" (rather than told) of the "demise" (not death) of this "member of the Palace of Justice" (his function in life), in the midst of her "profound grief" (not so very apparent at the scene of the funeral which will shortly follow). Thus is Ivan Il'ich's life and death neatly encapsulated in a "single document, executed in perfect observance of all required formalities" (a description provided in chapter two of Ivan Il'ich's own particular skill as a judicial official).
  9. Ivan Il'ich is a good man who is liked by all of his co-workers. This motif is taken up again at the beginning of Chapter Two; his story is that of an ordinary man. Neither villain nor hero, Ivan Il'ich is just such a pleasant and likable fellow as we would all prefer to have around us.
  10. The irony, of course, is that what Ivan Il'ich suffered most from will be, in fact, incurable by medical means. His spiritual malaise will eventually be much more painful to him than his physical illness. The novel concludes, however, on the hopeful note that this spiritual illness can, after all, be alleviated.
  11. The Russian text says, literally, that "his place remained behind him." The conversation of his friends will soon make it clear that, pleasant fellow though he was, his vacant place in the official world is much more important than the person who has died. There is also the clear suggestion that a person's place or position is of considerably more importance than the person himself.
  12. Kaluga: a provincial city. Just as Ivan Il'ich's final promotion had brought him, at last, from the provinces to the capital, so here Peter Ivanovich can imagine no happier and more desirable fate for his brother-in-law.
  13. The Russian text says, literally, "he wouldn't raise himself up," a somewhat peculiar way to indicate that a sick person won't recover. It may, however, serve to suggest the notion of the raising of the dead by a miracle of the spirit. So, for example, in scripture Jesus "raised" Lazarus from the dead. That Ivan Il'ich in the end did succeed in "raising himself" seems to be suggested in the last chapter of the novel.
  14. Here we note the use of the word определить ('to define,' 'to determine') to characterize what the doctors were trying to do. The word is derived from the root предел ('limit,' 'boundary') and so plays into the motif of limitation which is marked throughout the story. Etymologically, the doctors are trying to "put a limit to" or "close in" Ivan's illness, but they are not able to do so.
  15. The first example of the novel's satirical attitude toward physicians. Doctors and other professionals (Ivan Il'ich's colleagues, Ivan himself) are all shown in the novel as concerned exclusively with forms or phenomena rather than with the individuals who appear before them. Of Ivan Il'ich it will be said that his great talent as an official is his ability to reduce even the most complex individual case into a properly executed one-page form.
  16. Here is another example of a revealing choice of words. The Russian for "would get better" is, literally, "would right himself, would correct himself." As in the remark about "raising himself" this colloquial and metaphorical expression seems to contain a hidden, literal meaning. In the end, Ivan Il'ich does seem to "right himself" before he dies. Given the eventual outcome of the novel, these examples suggest that Tolstoy is telling two stories here: one of them is about the physical illness and death of Ivan Il'ich; the other concerns the spiritual condition of the protagonist. These two stories are related in that the second is, so to say, told through the first. Phrases which superficially refer to the first narrative are often also very important for the second.
  17. "Trifling" translates the Russian word "ничтожное" (etymologically, "nothing at all"), suggesting that Ivan Il'ich, despite his hard work, had not managed to accumulate anything of significance. Thus, his life has come to nothing (Russian, ничто).
  18. The separation among people, including the emotional distance separating them, is a prominent motif in the development of the novel. In a sense, the story of Ivan Il'ich's life is a history of his increasing and self-imposed isolation from those close to him.
  19. The very serious topic of the death of a valued colleague is replaced by apparent trivialities. The colleagues of Ivan Il'ich and, Tolstoy seems to imply, "all the rest of us, too," are unwilling to deal with the fact of death. They deny it, avoid it, eventually flee from it. Note that this process is reflected in detail in the behavior of Peter Ivanovich as he goes to pay a call of condolence on Ivan Il'ich's widow. He wishes that he could avoid it, he seeks to minimize his connection with the body of his dead friend, and he leaves the proceedings with unseemly haste so as to be able to join a game of cards in progress.
  20. The thought "it's he who is dead and not I" is symptomatic of the belief in the separability of people from one another. We have already learned that the characters mentioned so far live far away from one another, and this passage is another example of the same idea: that other people, unpleasant occurrences, distressing situations can be kept at a distance, that each individual has a separate fate which can be controlled simply by avoidance of all perceived threats. We will see Ivan Il'ich again and again putting this distance between himself and various forms of unpleasantness. It will turn out, however, that this distancing carries with it the necessary consequence of closing the individual off from contact with others. Thus it is that two primary sets of images in the novel--pertaining to distance and enclosure--are causally related to one another.
  21. "So-called," of course because they seem to lack any concern at all for Ivan Il'ich as an individual person. Their interest in him is, one might say, functional; he is a co-worker, a husband, a father, a deceased acquaintance whose funeral must be attended.
  22. The Russian words for 'propriety' (приличие), 'appropriate, fitting' (прилично), and 'pleasant' (приятно) play a very important role in the novel's description of the life of Ivan Il'ich. They function as a sort of verbal leitmotiv of his life and the life of those around him. They suggest a life which is ruled by adherence to a known set of standards. One gets an image of the individual comfortably surrounded by well-marked boundaries of behavior within which the individual may be confident of a pleasant and well-regulated existence. In this way, the ideal life of propriety may be seen as an instance of the images of enclosure and distance. We already know that the end of such a life is the enclosure of the coffin and the distance which the living seek to put between themselves and the deceased.
  23. One of the central artistic techniques of The Death of Ivan Il'ich is the concealment of one conception, image, or verbal motif inside another. The word "sympathy" in this passage is an example of this. It is derived from a Greek root (path-) which may designates either "feeling" or "disease." Thus, in English, we have both "sympathy" and "pathology." The Russian word for "sympathy" is "соболезнование," which also derives from the Greek, but in a different manner than its English counterpart. The English word simply imports the original Greek word "sumpathēs" (as redered in the Latin alphabet). The Russian word is a "calque": that is, the word is made by following the structure of the original but translating the Greek roots into their Russian equivalents. Thus, the Greek "sun-" ('with') becomes the Russian со- ('with') while the Greek "path-" ('feeling' or illness') becomes the Russian болезнь ('illness'), producing 'soboleznovanie.' Russians use this word exclusively for the function of expressing sympathy, condolence, or fellow feeling with someone, but its form may suggest that the sympathizer is suffering from the same disease. In other words, it produces an effect like that we can see in English when someone says "I feel your pain." We know that the function of the phrase is to provide comfort, but its form suggests that the pain is real and physical. We might call this technique the realization of metaphor. A phrase or behavior which is commonly used metaphorically is seen to have also the significance of literal reality. It is as though the metaphorical function of the phrase is taken for the reality of life when in it is a self-defeating attempt to conceal the reality of life. "I feel your pain" is what I say to comfort you in your suffering, but I don't really feel your pain. But it may also suggest that I do, in fact, suffer the same pain that you do, but I'm not yet aware of it or ready to admit to it in my own case. This technique recurs again and again in the text, eventually creating a structure in which that which is on the surface is, in fact, superficial and inadequately real, and that which lies below that carefully constructed surface is the truth about reality. This is as much as to say that The Death of Ivan Il'ich is a deeply symbolic work, fulfilling the classical definition of symbolism: a realibus ad realiora--the use of "real" things to show the way to "more real" things.
  24. Peter Ivanovich's arrival at the home of Ivan Il'ich is marked by rather obvious reminders of the fact that Ivan Il'ich has died: the coffin lid leaning against the wall in the foyer, the black clothing worn by two ladies who have just arrived. Also present is a character with a prominent role in Chapter One, Schwartz, whose name (in German) signifies 'black'. Thus, from one point of view, Schwartz, who gives the impression of being impervious to death, is just one more memento mori among the several that are presented here. On the other hand, as in the next sentence, Schwartz is clearly presented as being somehow above and impervious to the death of Ivan Il'ich: he winks, he seems to say that Ivan Il'ich died because of his own foolishness, that Schwartz and Peter Ivanovich will not die, he has a playful character. At the same time, his clothing, like his name is all black and his manner is superficially solemn. In short, Schwartz is a puzzle. In what follows he will be directly and significantly compared with the dead Ivan Il'ich.
  25. Actually, Peter Ivanovich is interested in playing a card game of French origin called "vignt," which much resembles the modern game of bridge. Card playing will be a major motif in the novel. It functions throughout as a symbol of a life of propriety. We will find that as Ivan Il'ich grows older he values card-playing as an activity ever more. There is often an opposition, as here, between playing cards as an attractive, pleasant activity on one side and the harsh realities of life, the funeral, an illness, on the other.
  26. The first mention of this character, who will play an increasingly important role in the story later on. Gerasim often expresses ideas and sentiments which the other characters in the story would find unpalatable. At the end of Chapter One, for example, Gerasim reminds Peter Ivanovich that "we will all come to it one day" when asked about his feelings concerning the death of Ivan Il'ich. In Russian, Gerasim is identified as a "bufetnyj muzhik," thereby linking him closely to the Russian peasant (Russ. 'muzhik'), even though he is working in an urban, domestic situation.
  27. Here we see a distinct contrast between the solemnity and certainty manifested by the face of the dead Ivan Il'ich and the hesitation shown by Peter Ivanovich and the playfulness displayed by Schwartz. As if to point this contrast, the retreating Peter Ivanovich is, upon leaving the room wherein lies Ivan Il'ich, immediately presented with the restorative sight of Schwartz.
  28. Note that the refreshing effect that Schwartz has upon Peter Ivanovich is emphatically associated with "play" (Russian "игра") and words built from this root: he "plays" with his hat; his figure is "playful"; his attitude suggests that there is no reason why the funeral service should keep them from "playing" cards; later his "playful" look suggests that Peter Ivanovich can still join them for bridge after he extricates himself from Praskovya Fyodorovna and the funeral sevice. Note also that the playful Schwartz is closely associated with the card game that will also turn out to be Ivan Il'ich's favorite pastime. The association of the game of cards and a certain style of life is emphasized throughout the text.
  29. In the extended scene between Peter Ivanovich and Praskovya Fyodorovna (Ivan Il'ich's widow) we see many further indications of the artificiality of the relationships among these characters. Another interesting motif is the uncommonly important role played by material objects in the scene. The "faulty springs of the pouffe (an upholstered stool or ottoman)" are mentioned several times as disturbing the ritual of the visit of condolence. Later on, there will be further awkwardness when Praskovya Fyodorovna catches her shawl on the elaborately carved table edge. A direct connection is made between Ivan Il'ich and the objects in this room. Later on we discover that the illness which killed him seemed to have stemmed from a fall which he had while attempting to show the draper just exactly how he wanted the curtains to be hung. Much in the manner of the games which they play, the objects with which these characters surround themselves seem to have an unusual significance in their lives.
  30. Cf. Peter Ivanovich's uncertainty about what was the proper way to approach the coffin in an earlier scene. Clearly, image and appearance are much more important to these characters than the actual realities of the situations in which they find themselves. It is as though every situation has its rules, much like the rules of a game, which much be observed at all costs.
  31. The hankie being clean, the widow has evidently not previously had occasion to weep into it.
  32. The widow's evident clear-headedness in this discussion belies her claim that she is devastated by the death of her spouse. Note also that she "defined" (определила, lit. "put a limit to") "that which it was best (следует, lit. "it behooves (her)," "it is necessary") to take." Not only, then, is her grief insincere, but her approach to her responsibilities is associated with the setting of limits on the permissible, a notion that has been hinted at already and will become increasingly prominent as the story progresses. Finally, the grammar of the Russian leaves us in some doubt as to whether her main concern is the lot or the price of the lot.
  33. She is also not so distracted by grief that when noticing that the table was endangered by his cigarette-ash, she immediately passed him an ash-tray.
  34. Tolstoy's repetition here of the conjunction "as if" (Russ. как бы) plainly casts suspicion on the sincerity of the widow's grief. When she remarked above that she "thought it a pretense to give the impression that she was unable to see to practical matters because of her grief" she may have been telling more truth than she meant to; this passage suggests that it is her grief that is the pretense.
  35. The widow's description of her dead husband's final hours is given from her own point of view; her concern is with how much she suffered, what was the effect on her, of her spouse's passing away. That his cries could be heard "through three doors" is a common way of saying that something was really loud; taken literally, however, it suggests that she had closed three doors upon her husband and his suffering in order to get away from him and it. The metaphor of the closed door, of shutting oneself off from unpleasantness is one we have seen already in Peter Ivanovich's hasty departure from the room in which the dead man was lying, and we will see it again and again in the life of Ivan Il'ich himself.
  36. The word рассуждение contains the same root as the word for "judge," "court," or "legal process" and is a subtle reminder of the occupation of both Ivan Il'ich and Peter Ivanovich. To apply it to the manner in which Peter Ivanovich comforts himself in his sudden fright at the specter of death is to suggest that he has acted not truly as a judge--the arbiter of wisdom and truth--but rather so as to abandon his calling in order to "calm himself".
  37. Tolstoy's depiction of the widow's insincere grief and shallow behavior has been merciless without being explicit; he concludes his portrait by putting her on display as she blows her nose and then remarks that she has finished blowing her nose.
  38. This last clause represents a rather strange combination of the circuitous ("in accordance with the incidence of the death of her husband") and the rather coarsely direct ("get money from the government"); it confirms the image which has been created of Praskovya Fyodorovna.
  39. It's worth noting the ambiguity of the son's being "terribly" similar to his father. A characteristic feature of the style of this story is the use of colloquial or foreign expressions not in their everyday sense but rather in a literal sense--perhaps it really is terrible, dreadful that the son is so like the father.
  40. Note that with respect to the other characters the dead Ivan Il'ich is referred to as the мертвец ("the dead man," "the corpse"), but in connection with Gerasim Ivan Il'ich is here referred to as the покойник ("the late," "the departed," lit. "the one who is resting in peace"). In this way the difference (which will prove great) between Gerasim and the others is subtly signalled.
  41. Thus, Peter Ivanovich has resolved the conflicted state of his feelings by not looking at "the dead man once, (not yielding) to any depressing influence, and (being) one of the first to leave the room." In this way, Peter Ivanovich, a judge, seems to refuse to accept jurisdiction over the situation which has arisen following the death of Ivan Il'ich. He would rather make a hasty departure from the situation, observing the minimum required by propriety. His flight leaves us as readers, who have accompanied Peter Ivanovich so far, on our own in the midst of the story. Ivan Il'ich's dead face had held a message also for us, and it has become our task to continue on interpreting that message, even without the company of Peter Ivanovich.