The love of their country is with them only a mode of flattering its master; as soon as they think that master can no longer hear, they speak of everything with a frankness which is the more startling because those who listen to it become responsible.
A multitude of little superfluous precautions engender here a population of deputies and sub-officials, each of whom acquits himself with an air of importance and a rigorous precision, which seemed to say, though everything is done with much silence, ''Make way, I am one of the members of the grand machine of state.''
"I came here to see a country, but what I find is a theater... The name are the same as everywhere else... In appearances everything happens as it does everywhere else. There is no difference except in the very foundation of things."
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Blacklisted by the Soviets, these journals have long been recognized for offering the most fascinating and revealing impression of the country by a foreigner. The Marquis' writings abound in observations on Russia's social, political, and religious states--leading Custine to dire forebodings. "he...records the...jokes, complains, anecdotes of innkeepers, princelings, engineers and customs officials...we accompany him on a journey of exploration in more ways than one, and he is always good company."--Roy Foster.… (more)