page 21 of 752 of My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen

Right from the beginning we get a near first-hand account of being in Moscow when either Napoleon or Rostopchin burnt it down.

“He [the eldest brother] was one of those grotesquely odd creatures who are only possible in Russia, where life is so odd as to be grotesque.” And what a character, too. Lawsuits over a wall and a violin, tossing an ikon, terrifying the peasants. Mix of old rough among new culture.