Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027288, Sun, 29 Jan 2017 15:23:49 +0300

Mingo-Bingo vase of immortelles,
kitayskaya punochka & Dr Krolik in Ada; bird So-was,
April 1 & lizards in The Gift
In VN’s novel Ada (1969) Van mentions a Mingo-Bingo vase of immortelles in a display window:

They examined without much interest the objects of pleasure in a display window. Lucette sneered at a gold-threaded swimsuit. The presence of a riding crop and a pickax puzzled Van. Half a dozen glossy-jacketed copies of Salzman were impressively heaped between a picture of the handsome, thoughtful, now totally forgotten, author and a Mingo-Bingo vase of immortelles.

He clutched at a red rope and they entered the lounge;

‘Whom did she look like?’ asked Lucette. ‘En laid et en lard?’

‘I don’t know,’ he lied. ‘Whom?’

‘Skip it,’ she said. ‘You’re mine tonight. Mine, mine, mine!’

She was quoting Kipling — the same phrase that Ada used to address to Dack. He cast around for a straw of Procrustean procrastination. (3.5)

In his poem Rimlyane v Kitae (“Romans in China. 166 A. D.” 1916) Bryusov mentions “strange vases, more sumptuous that the vases of Etruria:”

Там – золото, перлы, алмазы;

Там – лики, страшнее, чем фурии;

И высятся странные вазы,

Роскошней, чем вазы Этрурии.

In Marina Tsvetaev’s memoir essay on Bryusov, Geroy truda (“The Hero of Toil,” 1925), Marina’s eight-year-old daughter Alya (Ariadna Efron) compares Bryusov to Shere Khan (the tiger in Kipling's Jungle Book) and Bryusov's mistress Adalis, to a young wolf from Shere Khan's retinue:

Москва, начало декабря 1920 г.

Несколько дней спустя, читая "Джунгли".

— Марина! Вы знаете — кто Шер-Хан? — Брюсов! — Тоже хромой и одинокий, и у него там тоже Адалис. (Приводит:) «А старый Шер-Хан ходил и открыто принимал лесть»… Я так в этом узнала Брюсова! А Адалис — приблуда, из молодых волков.

In the preceding stanza of “Romans in China” Bryusov mentions kol’chiki (ringlets):

По стенам – дракон над драконом,

Причудливо свитые в кольчики;

Смеются серебряным звоном

Из всех уголков колокольчики;

Along the walls are dragons over dragons,

fancifully twisted in ringlets…

In his Russian version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Anya v strane chudes (1923), VN translates “ringlets” (according to Alice/Anya, Ada’s hair goes in long ringlest) as kol’chiki:

- Я наверно знаю, что я не Ада, - рассуждала она. - У Ады волосы кончаются длинными кольчиками, а у меня кольчиков вовсе нет; я убеждена также, что я и не Ася, потому что я знаю всякую всячину, она же – ах, она так мало знает! Кроме того, она - она, а я - я. Боже мой, как это всё сложно! Попробую-ка, знаю ли я все те вещи, которые я знала раньше. Ну так вот: четырежды пять – двенадцать, а четырежды шесть – тринадцать, а четырежды семь – ах, я никогда не доберусь до двадцати! Впрочем, таблица умножения никакого значения не имеет. Попробую-ка географию. Лондон – столица Парижа, а Париж – столица Рима, а Рим... Нет, это всё неверно, я чувствую. Пожалуй, я действительно превратилась в Асю! Попробую ещё сказать стихотворение какое-нибудь. Как это было? "Не знает ни заботы, ни труда..." "Кто не знает?" - Аня подумала, сложила руки на коленях, словно урок отвечала, и стала читать наизусть, но голос её звучал хрипло и странно, и слова были совсем не те.

Крокодилушка не знает

Ни заботы, ни труда.

Золотит его чешуйки

Быстротечная вода.

Милых рыбок ждёт он в гости,

На брюшке средь камышей:

Лапки врозь, дугою хвостик,

И улыбка до ушей...

(Глава 2 «Продолжение»)

`I'm sure I'm not Ada,' she said, `for her hair goes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn't go in ringlets at all; and I'm sure I can't be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh! she knows such a very little! Besides, she's she, and I'm I, and--oh dear, how puzzling it all is! I'll try if I know all the things I used to know. Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is--oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate! However, the Multiplication Table doesn't signify: let's try Geography. London is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome--no, that's all wrong, I'm certain! I must have been changed for Mabel! I'll try and say "How doth the little--"' and she crossed her hands on her lap as if she were saying lessons, and began to repeat it, but her voice sounded hoarse and strange, and the words did not come the same as they used to do:--

`How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!

`How cheerfully he seems to grin,

How neatly spread his claws,

And welcome little fishes in

With gently smiling jaws!'

(Chapter II “The Pool of Tears”)

VN’s parody of the poem about the little crocodile is based on the famous lines in Pushkin’s Tsygany (“The Gypsies,” 1824):

Ptichka bozhiya ne znaet…

God’s bird doesn’t know…

A great authority on Lewis Carroll, Victor Fet pointed out to me that in VN’s Russian version of Alice’s Advetures in Wonderland there are two birds that are absent from the original:

Аня посмотрела на скамейку присяжников и увидела, что она впопыхах втиснула Яшу-Ящерицу вниз головой между двух Апрельских Уточек, и бедное маленькое существо только грустно поводило хвостиком, сознавая свою беспомощность. (глава 12 «Показание Ани»)

Alice looked at the jury-box, and saw that, in her haste, she had put the Lizard in head downwards, and the poor little thing was waving its tail about in a melancholy way, being quite unable to move. (Chapter 11 “Alice’s Evedence”)

Aprel’skie utochki (the April ducks) do not exist and bring to mind kitayskaya punochka, a fictitious bird mentioned by Ada when she and Van watch the photographs in Kim Beauharnais’ album:

‘I’m not interested. Now comes a little boy.’

‘Zdraste, Ivan Dementievich,’ said Van, greeting his fourteen-year-old self, shirtless, in shorts, aiming a conical missile at the marble fore-image of a Crimean girl doomed to offer an everlasting draught of marble water to a dying marine from her bullet-chipped jar.

Skip Lucette skipping rope.

Ah, the famous first finch.

‘No, that’s a kitayskaya punochka (Chinese Wall Bunting). It has settled on the threshold of a basement door. The door is ajar. There are garden tools and croquet mallets inside. You remember how many exotic, alpine and polar, animals mixed with ordinary ones in our region.’ (2.7)

The garden tools and croquet mallets bring to mind Van’s and Ada’s dialogue in “Ardis the First:”

She showed him next where the hammock — a whole set of hammocks, a canvas sack full of strong, soft nets — was stored: this was in the corner of a basement toolroom behind the lilacs, the key was concealed in this hole here which last year was stuffed by the nest of a bird — no need to identify it. A pointer of sunlight daubed with greener paint a long green box where croquet implements were kept; but the balls had been rolled down the hill by some rowdy children, the little Erminins, who were now Van’s age and had grown very nice and quiet.

‘As we all are at that age,’ said Van and stooped to pick up a curved tortoiseshell comb — the kind that girls use to hold up their hair behind; he had seen one, exactly like that, quite recently, but when, in whose hairdo?

‘One of the maids,’ said Ada. ‘That tattered chapbook must also belong to her, Les Amours du Docteur Mertvago, a mystical romance by a pastor.’

‘Playing croquet with you,’ said Van, ‘should be rather like using flamingoes and hedgehogs.’

‘Our reading lists do not match,’ replied Ada. ‘That Palace in Wonderland was to me the kind of book everybody so often promised me I would adore, that I developed an insurmountable prejudice toward it. Have you read any of Mlle Larivière’s stories? Well, you will. She thinks that in some former Hindooish state she was a boulevardier in Paris; and writes accordingly. We can squirm from here into the front hall by a secret passage, but I think we are supposed to go and look at the grand chêne which is really an elm.’ Did he like elms? Did he know Joyce’s poem about the two washerwomen? He did, indeed. Did he like it? He did. In fact he was beginning to like very much arbors and ardors and Adas. They rhymed. Should he mention it? (1.8)

Punochka (bunting) is a bird Emberiza nivalis. But ochka being a Russian diminutive suffix, punochka can also be read as “a little pun” (punlet). Onboard Admiral Tobakoff Lucette calls a tall mulatto girl (who resembles Ada en laid et en lard) “Miss Condor” and Van remarks that it is the best Franco-English pun he has ever heard:

'There's that waiter coming. What shall we have - Honoloolers?'

'You'll have them with Miss Condor' (nasalizing the first syllable) 'when I go to dress. For the moment I want only tea. Mustn't mix drugs and drinks. Have to take the famous Robinson pill sometime tonight. Sometime tonight.'

'Two teas, please.'

'And lots of sandwiches, George. Foie gras, ham, anything.'

'It's very bad manners,' remarked Van, 'to invent a name for a poor chap who can't answer: "Yes, Mademoiselle Condor." Best Franco-English pun I've ever heard, incidentally.' (3.5)

Kondor ("Condor," 1921) and My vse – Robinzony (“We All are the Robinsons,” 1921) are poems by Bryusov. In his poem Mechty o pomerkshem (“Dreams about Things that Faded Away,” 1893) Bryusov mentions immorteli (the immortelles):

Мечты о померкшем, мечты о былом,
К чему вы теперь? Неужели
С венком флёрдоранжа, с венчальным венком,
Сплели стебельки иммортели?

Мечты о померкшем, мечты о былом,
К чему вы на брачной постели
Повисли гирляндой во мраке ночном,
Гирляндой цветов иммортели?

Мечты о померкшем, мечты о былом,
К чему вы душой овладели,
К чему вы трепещете в сердце моём
На брачной весёлой постели?

The immortelles are also mentioned in the penultimate line of Bryusov’s poem Zapiska samoubiytsy (“A Suicide’s Note,” 1894):

Завтра, когда моё тело найдут,
Плач и рыданья поднимутся тут.

Станут жалеть о судьбе дарований,
Смерть назовут и случайной и ранней,

И, свои прежние речи забыв,
Станут мечтать, как я был бы счастлив.

Только одни стебельки иммортели
Тихо шепнут о достигнутой цели.

Before jumping to her death into the Atlantic, Lucette wants to write a suicide note but then “tears her blank life in two:”

Having cradled the nacred receiver she changed into black slacks and a lemon shirt (planned for tomorrow morning); looked in vain for a bit of plain notepaper without caravelle or crest; ripped out the flyleaf of Herb’s Journal, and tried to think up something amusing, harmless, and scintillating to say in a suicide note. But she had planned everything except that note, so she tore her blank life in two and disposed of the pieces in the W.C.; she poured herself a glass of dead water from a moored decanter, gulped down one by one four green pills, and, sucking the fifth, walked to the lift which took her one click up from her three-room suite straight to the red-carpeted promenade-deck bar. There, two sluglike young men were in the act of sliding off their red toadstools, and the older one said to the other as they turned to leave: ‘You may fool his lordship, my dear, but not me, oh, no.’ (3.5)

But after Lucette’s death Van receives a note that she had sent him from Paris:

Van hastened to join Ada in the attic. At that moment he felt quite proud of his stratagem. He was to recall it with a fatidic shiver seventeen years later when Lucette, in her last note to him, mailed from Paris to his Kingston address on June 2, 1901, ‘just in case,’ wrote:

‘I kept for years — it must be in my Ardis nursery — the anthology you once gave me; and the little poem you wanted me to learn by heart is still word-perfect in a safe place of my jumbled mind, with the packers trampling on my things, and upsetting crates, and voices calling, time to go, time to go. Find it in Brown and praise me again for my eight-year-old intelligence as you and happy Ada did that distant day, that day somewhere tinkling on its shelf like an empty little bottle. Now read on:

‘Here, said the guide, was the field,

There, he said, was the wood.

This is where Peter kneeled,

That’s where the Princess stood.

No, the visitor said,

You are the ghost, old guide.

Oats and oaks may be dead,

But she is by my side.’ (1.23)

On the flyleaf of Van’s anthology of English poetry that he gave Lucette there are several profiles of Van’s schoolmates at Riverlane:

Once, for example, when Lucette had made of herself a particular nuisance, her nose running, her hand clutching at Van’s all the time, her whimpering attachment to his company turning into a veritable obsession, Van mustered all his persuasive skill, charm, eloquence, and said with conspiratory undertones: ‘Look, my dear. This brown book is one of my most treasured possessions. I had a special pocket made for it in my school jacket. Numberless fights have been fought over it with wicked boys who wanted to steal it. What we have here’ (turning the pages reverently) ‘is no less than a collection of the most beautiful and famous short poems in the English language. This tiny one, for example, was composed in tears forty years ago by the Poet Laureate Robert Brown, the old gentleman whom my father once pointed out to me up in the air on a cliff under a cypress, looking down on the foaming turquoise surf near Nice, an unforgettable sight for all concerned. It is called "Peter and Margaret." Now you have, say’ (turning to Ada in solemn consultation), ‘forty minutes’ (‘Give her a full hour, she can’t even memorize Mironton, mirontaine’) — ‘all right, a full hour to learn these eight lines by heart. You and I’ (whispering) ‘are going to prove to your nasty arrogant sister that stupid little Lucette can do anything. If’ (lightly brushing her bobbed hair with his lips), ‘if, my sweet, you can recite it and confound Ada by not making one single slip — you must be careful about the "here-there" and the "this-that", and every other detail — if you can do it then I shall give you this valuable book for keeps.’ (‘Let her try the one about finding a feather and seeing Peacock plain,’ said Ada drily — ‘it’s a bit harder.’) ‘No, no, she and I have already chosen that little ballad. All right. Now go in here’ (opening a door) ‘and don’t come out until I call you. Otherwise, you’ll forfeit the reward, and will regret the loss all your life.’

‘Oh, Van, how lovely of you,’ said Lucette, slowly entering her room, with her bemused eyes scanning the fascinating flyleaf, his name on it, his bold flourish, and his own wonderful drawings in ink — a black aster (evolved from a blot), a doric column (disguising a more ribald design), a delicate leafless tree (as seen from a classroom window), and several profiles of boys (Cheshcat, Zogdog, Fancytart, and Ada-like Van himself). (ibid.)

“Cheshcat” (Cheshire) hints at the Cheshire Cat, a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (who becomes Maslyanichnyi Kot in Anya v strane chudes). Among the creatures whom Alice meets in Wonderland are the Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. On Antiterra (aka Demonia, Earth’s twin planet on which Ada is set) the inhabitants of Manhattan (also called Man on Antiterra) were once called “Madhatters:”

That was why she [Ada] admitted ‘Flavita.’ The name came from alfavit, an old Russian game of chance and skill, based on the scrambling and unscrambling of alphabetic letters. It was fashionable throughout Estoty and Canady around 1790, was revived by the ‘Madhatters’ (as the inhabitants of New Amsterdam were once called) in the beginning of the nineteenth century, made a great comeback, after a brief slump, around 1860, and now a century later seems to be again in vogue, so I am told, under the name of ‘Scrabble,’ invented by some genius quite independently from its original form or forms. (1.36)

Dr Krolik (a local entomologist, Ada’s beloved teacher of natural history) brings to mind Krolik (the Rabbit), a character in Nabokov’s Anya. In Kim’s album there is a photograph of Krolik’s brother (Ada’s first lover, as it transpires):

Well,’ said Van, when the mind took over again, ‘let’s go back to our defaced childhood. I’m anxious’ — (picking up the album from the bedside rug) — ‘to get rid of this burden. Ah, a new character, the inscription says: Dr Krolik.’

‘Wait a sec. It may be the best Vanishing Van but it’s terribly messy all the same. Okay. Yes, that’s my poor nature teacher.’

Knickerbockered, panama-hatted, lusting for his babochka (Russian for ‘lepidopteron’). A passion, a sickness. What could Diana know about that chase?

‘How curious — in the state Kim mounted him here, he looks much less furry and fat than I imagined. In fact, darling, he’s a big, strong, handsome old March Hare! Explain!’

‘There’s nothing to explain. I asked Kim one day to help me carry some boxes there and back, and here’s the visual proof. Besides, that’s not my Krolik but his brother, Karol, or Karapars, Krolik. A doctor of philosophy, born in Turkey.’

‘I love the way your eyes narrow when you tell a lie. The remote mirage in Effrontery Minor.’

‘I’m not lying!’ — (with lovely dignity): ‘He is a doctor of philosophy.’

‘Van ist auch one,’ murmured Van, sounding the last word as ‘wann.’ (2.7)

In German, wann means “when” and brings to mind the Wie reservation and the little bird So-was (I again must thank Viktor Fet!) mentioned in VN’s novel Dar (“The Gift,” 1937) by Fyodor’s uncle Oleg:

Когда гости ушли, он опустился в кресло, снял очки, провёл ладонью сверху вниз по лицу и сообщил ровным голосом, что дядя Олег опасно ранен осколком гранаты в живот (работая под огнём на перевязочном пункте) -- и сразу в душе Фёдора выделился, краями разрывая душу, один из тех бесчисленных нарочито-глупых диалогов, которые братья ещё так недавно вели за столом:

Дядя Олег (заигрывающим тоном)

А скажи-ка, Костя, не приходилось тебе видеть в урочище Ви птичку Зо-вас?

Отец (сухо)

Не приходилось.

Дядя Олег (воодушевляясь)

А не видывал ли ты, Костя, как муха Попова кусает лошадь Поповского?

Отец (ещё суше)

Не видывал.

Дядя Олег (в полном экстазе)

А не случалось тебе, например, наблюдать диагональное передвижение энтоптических стаек?

Отец (в упор глядя на него)


When the guests had departed he sank into an armchair, took off his glasses, passed his palm from top to bottom over his face and announced in an even voice that Uncle Oleg had been dangerously wounded in the stomach by a grenade fragment (while working at a first-aid post under fire)—and immediately there stood out in Fyodor’s soul, tearing it with its sharp edges, one of those numberless deliberately grotesque dialogues that the brothers had still so recently indulged in at table:

UNCLE OLEG (in a bantering tone) Well, tell me, Kostya, did you ever happen to see on the Wie reservation the little bird So-was?

FATHER (curtly) I’m afraid I did not.

UNCLE OLEG (warming up) And Kostya, did you never see Popovski’s horse stung by Popov’s fly?

FATHER (even more curtly) Never.

UNCLE OLEG (completely ecstatic) And have you never had occasion, for example, to observe the diagonal motion of entoptic swarms?

FATHER (looking him straight in the eye) I have. (Chapter Two)

In “The Gift” the action begins on April 1:

Облачным, но светлым днём, в исходе четвёртого часа, первого апреля 192… года (иностранный критик заметил как-то, что хотя многие романы, все немецкие например, начинаются с даты, только русские авторы – в силу оригинальной честности нашей литературы – не договаривают единиц), у дома номер семь по Танненбергской улице, в западной части Берлина, остановился мебельный фургон, очень длинный и очень жёлтый, запряжённый жёлтым же трактором с гипертрофией задних колёс и более чем откровенной анатомией.

ONE cloudy but luminous day, towards four in the afternoon on April the first, 192— (a foreign critic once remarked that while many novels, most German ones for example, begin with a date, it is only Russian authors who, in keeping with the honesty peculiar to our literature, omit the final digit) a moving van, very long and very yellow, hitched to a tractor that was also yellow, with hypertrophied rear wheels and a shamelessly exposed anatomy, pulled up in front of Number Seven Tannenberg Street, in the west part of Berlin. (Chapter One)

One of the novel’s characters, Alexander Yakovlevich Chernyshevski (who went mad after the suicide of his son Jasha), plays a joke on Fyodor (the narrator and main character in The Gift) by promising to show him a favorable review of his first collection of poetry:

Им отворила сама Александра Яковлевна, и, не успел он заметить неожиданное выражение её лица (точно она не одобряла чего-то или хотела быстро что-то предотвратить), как в переднюю, на коротких, жирных ножках, выскочил опрометью её муж, тряся на бегу газетой.
"Вот, -- крикнул он, бешено дёргая вниз углом рта (тик после смерти сына), -- вот, смотрите!"
"Я, -- заметила Чернышевская, -- ожидала от него более тонких шуток, когда за него выходила".
Фёдор Константинович с удивлением увидел, что газета немецкая, и неуверенно её взял.
"Дату! -- крикнул Александр Яковлевич. -- Смотрите же на дату, молодой человек!"
"Вижу, -- сказал Фёдор Константинович со вздохом, -- и почему-то газету сложил. -- Главное, я отлично помнил!"

They were admitted by Alexandra Yakovlevna herself. Fyodor had scarcely time to notice her unusual expression (as if she disapproved of something or wanted to avert something quickly), when her husband darted into the hallway on his short plump legs, waving a newspaper as he ran.

“Here it is,” he shouted, the corner of his mouth violently jerking downward (a tic acquired since the death of his son). “Look, here it is!”

“When I married him,” observed Mme. Chernyshevski, “I expected his humor to be more subtle.”

Fyodor saw with surprise that the paper he uncertainly took from his host was a German one.

“The date!” shouted Chernyshevski. “Go ahead, look at the date, young man!”

“April 1,” said Fyodor with a sigh, and unconsciously he folded up the paper. “Yes, of course, I should have remembered.” (ibid.)

In “The Gift” dve aprel’skie utochki (the two April ducks) mentioned in Anya v strane chudes are turned, as it were, into gazetnaya utka (Germ., die Zeitungsente, “a hog-wash”) and pervoaprel’skaya shutka (April Fools’ prank). Incidentally, in Anya v strane chudes the name of the Lizard (Bill the Lizard in the original) is Yasha. In Chapter Three of “The Gift” Fyodor shows us Gogol (the writer who was born on April 1) striking dead with his cane the lizards that crossed his path:

Через день было воскресенье, и около четырёх вдруг выяснилось, что она одна дома: он читал у себя, она была в столовой и изредка совершала короткие экспедиции к себе в комнату через переднюю, и при этом посвистывала, и в её лёгком топоте была топографическая тайна, -- ведь к ней прямо вела дверь из столовой. Но мы читаем и будем читать. "Долее, долее, как можно долее буду в чужой земле. И хотя мысли мои, мое имя, мои труды будут принадлежать России, но сам я, но бренный состав мой, будет удален от неё" (а вместе с тем, на прогулках в Швейцарии, так писавший, колотил перебегавших по тропе ящериц, -- "чертовскую нечисть", -- с брезгливостью хохла и злостью изувера).

The next day but one was Sunday, and around four it suddenly became clear that she was alone at home; he was reading in his room; she was in the dining room and kept making short expeditions from time to time into her own room across the hall, whistling as she went, and in her light crisp footfalls there was a topographical enigma since a door from the dining room led straight into her room. But we are reading and we will keep on reading. “Longer, longer, and for as long as possible, shall I be in a strange country. And although my thoughts, my name, my works will belong to Russia, I myself, my mortal organism, will be removed from it” (and at the same time, on his walks in Switzerland, the man who could write thus, used to strike dead with his cane the lizards running across his path—“the devil’s brood”—as he said with the squeamishness of a Ukrainian and the hatred of a fanatic).

In Anya v strane chudes Shlyapnik (the Hatter) mentions Martobr’ (“Marchober”), the month invented by Gogol in his story Zapiski sumasshedshego (“The Notes of a Madman,” 1835):

Первым свидетелем оказался Шляпник. Он явился с чашкой чая в одной руке, с куском хлеба в другой и робко заговорил:

- Прошу прощенья у вашего величества за то, что я принёс это сюда, но дело в том, что я ещё не кончил пить чай, когда меня позвали.

- Пора было кончить, - сказал Король. - Когда ты начал?

Тот посмотрел на Мартовского Зайца, который под руку с Соней тоже вошёл в зал.

- Четырнадцатого Мартобря, кажется, - ответил он.

- Четырнадцатого, - подтвердил Мартовский Заяц.

- Шестнадцатого, - пробормотал Соня.

- Отметьте, - обратился Король к присяжникам, и те с радостью записали все три ответа один под другим, потом сложили их и вышло: 44 копейки. (Глава 11 «Кто украл пирожки?»)

The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with a teacup in one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other. `I beg pardon, your Majesty,' he began, `for bringing these in: but I hadn't quite finished my tea when I was sent for.'

`You ought to have finished,' said the King. `When did you begin?'

The Hatter looked at the March Hare, who had followed him into the court, arm-in-arm with the Dormouse. `Fourteenth of March, I think it was,' he said.

`Fifteenth,' said the March Hare.

`Sixteenth,' added the Dormouse.

`Write that down,' the King said to the jury, and the jury eagerly wrote down all three dates on their slates, and then added them up, and reduced the answer to shillings and pence. (Chapter 11 “Who Stole the Tarts”)

According to Poprishchin (the main character in Gogol’s “Notes of a Madman” who imagines that he is Ferdinand VIII, the king of Spain), China and Spain are essentially the same land:

Я открыл, что Китай и Испания совершенно одна и та же земля, и только по невежеству считают их за разные государства. Я советую всем нарочно написать на бумаге Испания, то и выйдет Китай.

I discovered that China and Spain were essentially the same land and only through ignorance they are believed to be different countries. I recommend everybody to put down on paper Spain and it will come out China.

Before Lucette’s suicide Van and Lucette watch in the Tobakoff cinema hall Don Juan’s Last Fling, the movie in which Ada played the gitanilla. In a letter to Ada written after Lucette’s death Van calls that movie “Castles in Spain:”

I had sat with her through the greater part of a movie, Castles in Spain (or some title like that), and its liberal villain was being directed to the last of them, when I decided to abandon her to the auspices of the Robinsons, who had joined us in the ship's theater. (3.6)

Don Zhuan (“Don Juan,” 1900) is a sonnet by Bryusov.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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