"I forget to tell you that we arrived in Petersburg at the most amazing time for a foreigner, the month of repose. The Russians have two such months: one at the start of the year and another in the middle. Everything stops during these and government institutions are closed. People don’t even visit each other. I like this custom a lot. It gives people time to work on improving their inner lives and domestic arrangements and they just leave all external matters on hold. At first it was feared that this idea would lead to a slowdown in business, but in fact it turned out the opposite. Because people know they will have time to work on their own private projects, they concentrate much better on serving society the rest of the time. And since there are fewer distractions, everything gets done twice as fast. The regulation on this had an especially beneficial effect in reducing the amount of litigation in the courts. People have time to think things over, and the fact that all the offices are closed prevents them from acting in the heat of passion. Only an extreme emergency, like the threat of the comet, can disrupt this excellent tradition – but even so, there haven’t been any meetings or soirees yet."
"The Year 4338: Petersburg Letters"