”She would not hear a word. She has made her plans for living abroad, as if she were well. But if I should tell her what her real condition is, it would kill her.”
A sick noblewoman and her maid are riding in a carriage that soon makes a brief stop at a posting-station. When the noblewoman’s husband and a doctor come around to check on her and realize that she is close to dying, the husband suggests they postpone their journey and go back home. But the noblewoman refuses. At home there is nothing for her to do but die.
Tolstoy himself called the noblewoman pathetic and disgusting. In this powerful short story he explores the inevitable death that awaits every living being, and how different social classes respond to it.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was a Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world’s greatest novelists. Tolstoy’s major works include ”War and Peace” (1865–69) and ”Anna Karenina” (1875–77), two of the greatest novels of all time and pinnacles of realist fiction. Beyond novels, he wrote many short stories and later in life also essays and plays.