Approaching the Neva, he stopped for a minute and cast a piercing glance along the river into the smoky, frozen, blurry distance, which had suddenly turned crimson with the last purple of the bloody sun as it smouldered in the hazy sky. Night came down on the city, and the vast clearing of the Neva, swollen with frozen snow, was completely covered with myriad sparks of needle-like hoar frost. The temperature had dropped to minus twenty. Clouds of frozen steam poured off the horses – ridden to death – and people as they ran. The tightly packed air trembled at the slightest sound. And, like giants, from all the roofs on both embankments, columns of smoke rose and rushed upwards into the cold sky, entwining with one another and then disentwining themselves along the way so that it seemed that new buildings took their places above the old ones and a new city was forming in the air... Finally, it seemed that this entire world, with all who lived in it, both weak and strong, and with all their dwellings – the refuges of the destitute or the gilded chambers that give pleasure to the strong of this world – resembled at this twilight hour a fantastic, magical daydream, a dream which would in its turn disappear and dissipate in steam into the dark-blue sky.
FM Dostoevsky, Faint Heart