"a Frenchman knows everything, even if he has learned nothing - but because, in the first place, he comes to our country in order to cast the most penetrating look at us, to pierce with his eagle eye all our secrets and then pronounce his final, categorical opinion of us; second, because he already knew in Paris what he was going to write about Russia; he may even write an account of his travels before he has even been to Russia and sell it to a publisher, and only then come to visit us ˜to show off, to captivate and to fly off.…"
Some of them arrive with serious, important intentions, staying for as long as 28 days, an immense period, the number of days showing the great conscientiousness of the explorer, for in such a time he could carry out and even describe a voyage round the world. After snatching his first impressions of Petersburg, in the description of which he is not entirely unsuccessful, and, incidentally, casting a critical eye over the English institutions as well, teaching, in passing, the Russian boyars (les bayards) table-rapping or blowing soap bubbles, which is very charming and a great improvement on the majestic and swaggering bore dom of our assemblies, he finally makes up his mind to make a thorough and detailed study of Russia, and leaves for Moscow. In Moscow he has a look at the Kremlin, gives a thought to Napoleon, praises the tea, praises the beauty and the health of the people, sheds a tear over their premature depravity, over the lamentable results of the attempts to inoculate them with European civilisation, over the disappearance of national customs, for which he will immediately find proof in the change of ten guitar- shaped hackney cabs for one that is wagonette-shaped, resembling a European cabriolet"
"The most stupid and dissolute of them, having spent some time in Russia, leave us absolutely convinced that they have made the Russians happy and to some extent changed Russia."