25th October. I got up early, spent the morning with Almedingen and read six pages of proofs. Then I went to our village school, where one young, inexperienced teacher is in charge of 84 girls and boys. This evening our son Seryozha came; he played chess with his father, then played the piano. I read Almedingen the ‘Notes’ I wrote about my girlhood and marriage, and she seemed to like them.
Lev Nik. exchanged letters with Chertkov’s wife Galya today. I asked what they were about, and he made another excuse and pretended to have forgotten. I asked to see Galya’s letter, and he said he didn’t know where it was, which wasn’t true. Why not just say, “I don’t want to show it to you”? But recently it’s nothing but endless lies, excuses and evasions…How morally weak he has become! Where is his kindness, his clarity, his honesty?
An evil spirit rules our house and my husband’s heart.
I am coming to the end of this terrible diary, the history of my sad sufferings, and shall seal it up for a long, long time!
Curses on Chertkov, curses on the person who was the cause of it all!
Forgive me, Lord.
7th November. On 7th November, at 6 o’clock in the morning, Lev Nikol. died.
9th November. I have not recorded the events of October the 26th and 27th, but on the 28th, at 5 in the morning, he slipped out of the house with Doctor Makovitsky. His excuse for leaving was that I had been rummaging through his papers the previous night. I had gone into his study for a moment, but I didn’t touch one paper—there weren’t any papers on his desk. In his letter to me (written for the entire world) the pretext he gave for leaving was our luxurious life and his desire to be alone and live in a hut, like the peasants.* But then why did he have to write telling Sasha to come with her hanger-on, Varvara Mikhailovna?
When I learnt from Sasha and the letter about his flight, I jumped into the pond in despair. Sasha and Bulgakov pulled me out, alas! Then nothing passed my lips for the next five days, and on 31st October at 7.30 a.m. I received a telegram from the editors of Russian Word: “Lev Nikolaevich in Astapovo. Temperature 40°.” Andrei, Tanya and I travelled by special train from Tula to Astapovo. They didn’t let me in to see Lev Nik.* They held me by force, they locked the door, they tormented my heart. On 7th November, at 6 in the morning, Lev Nik. died. On 9th November he was buried at Yasnaya Polyana.
—Sofia Tolstoy, The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy, p. -1