The Last Meeting by Ivan Turgenev
We had once been close and warm friends.... But an unlucky moment came ...
and we parted as enemies.
Many years passed by.... And coming to the town where he lived, I learnt
that he was helplessly ill, and wished to see me.
I made my way to him, went into his room.... Our eyes met.
I hardly knew him. God! what sickness had done to him!
Yellow, wrinkled, completely bald, with a scanty grey beard, he sat
clothed in nothing but a shirt purposely slit open.... He could not bear
the weight of even the lightest clothes. Jerkily he stretched out to me
his fearfully thin hand that looked as if it were gnawed away, with an
effort muttered a few indistinct words—whether of welcome or
reproach, who can tell? His emaciated chest heaved, and over the dwindled
pupils of his kindling eyes rolled two hard-wrung tears of suffering.
My heart sank.... I sat down on a chair beside him, and involuntarily
dropping my eyes before the horror and hideousness of it, I too held out
But it seemed to me that it was not his hand that took hold of me.
It seemed to me that between us is sitting a tall, still, white woman. A
long robe shrouds her from head to foot. Her deep, pale eyes look into
vacancy; no sound is uttered by her pale, stern lips.
This woman has joined our hands.... She has reconciled us for ever.
Yes.... Death has reconciled us....