NABOKV-L post 0021822, Mon, 18 Jul 2011 14:32:54 +0300

nurse Bellabestia
...Dan explained with a last sigh to Dr Nikulin and to nurse Bellabestia ('Bess')...

Bellabestia means "beautiful beast." A character in Chekhov's story "В овраге" ("In the Ravine," 1900) is a serpent-like young woman Aksinya:

У Аксиньи были серые наивные глаза, которые редко мигали, и на лице постоянно играла наивная улыбка. И в этих немигающих глазах, и в маленькой голове на длинной шее, и в ее стройности было что-то змеиное; зелёная, с желтой грудью, с улыбкой, она глядела, как весной из молодой ржи глядит на прохожего гадюка, вытянувшись и подняв голову.

Aksinya had naive grey eyes which rarely blinked, and a nave smile played continually on her face. And in those unblinking eyes, and in that little head on the long neck, and in her slenderness there was something serpent-like; all in green but for the yellow on her bosom, she looked with a smile on her face as a viper looks out of the young rye in the spring at the passers-by, stretching itself and lifting its head. (chapter III)

Она не спала и тяжко вздыхала, разметавшись от жары, сбросив с себя почти всё - и при волшебном свете луны какое это было красивое, какое гордое животное!

She [Aksinya] did not sleep, but breathed heavily, tossing from side to side with the heat, having thrown off almost all her nightclothes. And in the magic moonlight what a beautiful, what a proud animal she was! (chapter V)

Alexey Sklyarenko

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