Leo Tolstoy, 1869
Nikolai and Sonya are getting ready to put on a pantomime of sorts at Christmas time, and are so delighted with their costumes that they decide to visit the Melyukovs who live some distance away. They set out into a night of stars, frost and silence. Nikolai breathes in an “elixir of eternal youth and joy” – and falls in love with Sonya. He’s in woman’s attire, with tousled hair. Sonya is dressed as a man. But this is no deterrent. The moment could not be more charming. He “kissed her on the lips which wore a moustache and smelt of burnt cork”.