That night was an introduction for me to a passion I had never considered to exist. Like others of my age, I had been indoctrinated in a sexual, as well as a political, dogma. Moscow and Leningrad women, even in the highest circles in which I traveled, were hardly sensual creatures at all. Softness in a woman had become counter-revolutionary two decades before, and our poverty was dire. But the Atu-Hivans were poorer than we. Here beauty was not accident, but practice—as moderation might be, or political vigilance. Only once before had it occurred to me that a woman might have sexual feelings other than those attendant in the simple bartering of her soul. Now the romantico-socialist babblings we had practiced upon the objects of our desire became suddenly as inexplicable as some foolish and exhausted tradition. In reality, this was the case. In matters of love the ancien regime lived on, endlessly modified by the political truth of the day. In that Russia under Stalin, the Russia I had fled to arrive in a paradise of endless sensuality, only one woman had embodied for me the highest ideal of what a woman—as woman—might be, and I had met her only twice, both times at official functions. She was not the soft odalisque of Atu-Hiva, but she was real, and it disturbed me that it was she I thought of while I made love to and was made love to by At Peace. Her name was Nadezhda Alleluyeva, and she had had the bad fortune to have married the wrong man. She was Stalin’s wife.