We had scarcely finished our meal and settled ourselves in our apartments at the hotel, when the church bell tolled, and the muffled drum was beat with a tome that sounded mournfully amidst the stillness of a winter evening; it was for the purpose of announcing to the public the appearance of one of the greatest subjects of dread in these countries - a conflagration.
Our curiosity led us out of doors, where a strong bright flame issuing from a distant island, which we were told was Sveaborg, pointed out the source of alarm, and seemed to direct the steps of the crowd that was rapidly assembling from all quarters.
On arriving at this place, we found that a large house had taken fire from a wooden windmill, which (as is the custom) was affixed to its roof. The building was in short time consumed to ashes: little other mischief, however, ensued; although it would be impossible to compliment very highly the skill of those engaged in extinguishing the fire.
Though they were militia-men, and of course inured to some notions of the advantages of regularity and order, it was with great difficulty that we were able to induce them to form a line for the sake of passing the buckets in succession; they seemed highly delighted, however, when this was done, and grinned upon us, for gestures on our sides had supplied the palce of words, in token of their gratitude.
A sight of this nature is never devoid of certain features of grandeur and sublimity, and the peculiar circumstances of the place rendered it here wonderfully striking: the glare of its pale light reflected over the snow for many a dreary mile, added to the general confusion and hurry of the moment, presented a scene that amply repaid us for our trip of five versts, even during this weather, over the frozen sea, and was a sigt which no lapse of time will ever efface from my recollection.Siis Helsingistä käveltiin (tai ajettiin reellä?) jäätä pitkin Viaporiin auttamaan tulipalon sammutuksessa? Ja sotilaat olivat niin avuttomia, etteivät osanneet tehdä ämpäriketjua?
L. Sparren piirros Viaporista kirjasssa Suomen sota ja Suomen sotilaat vuosina 1808-1809
(Via British Library & Flickr Commons)