NABOKV-L post 0021997, Tue, 13 Sep 2011 16:23:22 +0300

Барбошин. В двух словах: только пошляки ходят маятником, а я делаю так (ходит).
(Barboshin. In a word: only vulgar persons walk like a pendulum, and I do it this way (walks). "The Event," Act Three)

- Доктор, - сказал зоолог, - будьте добры, не ходите как маятник. У меня от вас мелькает в глазах.
Доктор остановился. Фон Корен стал прицеливаться в Лаевского.
("Doctor," said the zoologist, "be so good as not to move to and fro like a pendulum. You make me dizzy."
The doctor stood still. Von Koren began to take aim at Laevsky. Chekhov, "The Duel," chapter XIX).

Unfortunately, Andrey Babikov's article on VN's play, "Только пошляки ходят маятником: подпись В. Набокова на холсте "События"" ("Only Vulgar Persons Walk like a Pendulum: V. Nabokov's Signature on the Canvas of The Event"), is no longer available in Zembla.* I read it ten years ago and, as far as I remember, Babikov doesn't mention Dr Ustimovich (a character in Chekhov's story who moves to and fro like a pendulum).

Incidentally, this Dr Ustimovich has трость, a cane, in his hand: За ним шли его секунданты, два очень молодых офицера одинакового роста, Бойко и Говоровский, в белых кителях, и тощий, нелюдимый доктор Устимович, который в одной руке нес узел с чем-то, а другую заложил назад; по обыкновению, вдоль спины у него была вытянута трость. Положив узел на землю и ни с кем не здороваясь, он отправил и другую руку за спину и зашагал по поляне.
He [von Koren] was followed by his seconds, Boyko and Govorovsky, two very young officers of the same height, wearing white tunics, and Ustimovitch, the thin, unsociable doctor; in one hand he had a bag of some sort, and in the other hand, as usual, a cane which he held behind him. Laying the bag on the ground and greeting no one, he put the other hand, too, behind his back and began pacing up and down the glade. ("The Duel," chapter XIX)

Trost' (cane) and Troshcheykin (the main character in "The Event") both come from trostit' (obs., "to twist, wind, twin"). Troshcheykin insists that his name should be written with yat' (name of old Russian letter ? replaced by e in 1918). Lyubov' regrets having married Troshch?ikin and says that she had married letter yat':

Да, вот и выходит, что я вышла замуж за букву "ять" (Act One).

But Yat' (Ять) is the name of a guest (the telegraphist) in Chekhov's one-act play "Свадьба" ("The Wedding," 1890). The bridegroom's name in Chekhov's play is Aplombov. Mme Vagabundova, whose portrait Troshcheykin is anxious to finish, wonders if Barbashin has an aplomb to hurl a bomb:

Может быть, метнёт бомбу?
А, - хватит апломбу? (Act Two)**

*I shall be grateful, if somebody (the author?) kindly sends me the text of AB's article.
**see also in Topos my Russian article "Barboshin instead of Barbashin..."

Alexey Sklyarenko

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