"All the things that he preaches for the happiness of humanity only complicate life to the point where it becomes harder and harder for me to live," wrote Sofia – who transcribed all of Tolstoy's manuscripts, including War and Peace, in longhand – at the start of 1895. "His vegetarian diet means the complication of preparing two dinners, which means twice the expense and twice the work. His sermons on love and goodness have made him indifferent to his family, and mean the intrusion of all kinds of riff-raff into our family life. And his (purely verbal) renunciation of worldly goods has made him endlessly critical and disapproving of others."
Later, in October 1899, she gives a snapshot of life at Yasnaya Polyana, when Tolstoy suffering from a bad cough and cold went out for a walk without telling Sofia where he was going. "A storm blew up, it rained and snowed, roofs and trees were smashed, the window-frames rattled, it grew dark – there was no moon yet – and still he didn't appear. I went out to the porch and stood on the terrace, waiting for him with a spasm in my throat and a sinking heart, as I used to when I was young and he went out hunting and I would wait hour after hour in an agony of suspense," she writes. Eventually he returns, and she starts to cry and rebuke him. "And to all my passionate and loving words his ironic reply was: 'So what if I went out? I'm not a little boy, I don't have to tell you.' ... I felt angry with him. I devote so much love and care to him, and his heart is so icy." . . .