When the sex went, and the friendship did not blossom, she grew desolate. Actually, they both did—Tolstoy, too, craved a unity of souls—and the desolation deranged them even further.

Here they are in their 60s and 70s, still pacing the floor at four in the morning, railing at each other (or at themselves), falling into exhaustion, then rising in a few hours to go at it again.

One can almost see their heads repeatedly clearing out, then almost instantly filling again with blood. There seemed never a way to release themselves from the shock of actuality except through operatic convulsions—and this they indulged in until the very last.