Carolyn: ..."Jekyll is more endangered by the
confrontation with the child's family (he might be exposed) and he, Jekyll, can
only escape by paying kinbote for Hyde's criminal act. Even though RLS
was trained to the law and may have known the word kinbote, his readers would
(1) I would interpret this story differently, though. I cannot forget
the Erlking theme and your words brought up a "kinbote payment" for a child
that had been trampled down or killed by a monstrous seducer. I don't
think it applies to Hazel, inspite of the countrapunctal theme
involving her frosty swamp suicide and the television programs the
Shades had been watching while waiting up for her, with the branches of a tree
rasping against the window.
In my opinion, VN might have extracted the
"kinbote" meaning from the familiar RLS's work ( cryptomnesically or
not) to add it to his novel where it would operate as a kind of
extension of Humbert Humbert's indebtness to Lolita.
(2) We might also imagine that, by inverting the
perspective, this "kinbote" becomes a statement concerning a
small boy's right to extract a payment from his seducer. I'm not
very familiar with what in English is "Jack Frost" but I found there
is a Russian folkstory about "King Frost" and a dead child. It has a
thematic similarity with Grimm's "Frau Holle" and where a compliant
child gets a princely reward while the reluctant one is punished
with shame or death by exposure.
(3) I found a curious sentence in VN's story " A Russian Beauty" that
reminded me of the fate of Pale Fire's waxwing: did he "live on"
because he "hit the target...of a reflected sky"?
Its last lines are: "That's all. Of course, there may be some sort of
sequel, but it is not known to me. In such cases, instead of getting bogged down
in guesswork, I repeat the words of the merry king in my favorite fairy tale:
Which arrow flies for ever? The arrow that has hit its