Arshinski, the name of Barbashin's friend who buys a pistol at
Shchel's* gun store ("The Event," Act Two), comes from arshin
(Russian measure, equivalent to 28 inches; rule one arshin in length). This word
occurs in Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (Four: XXII: 4):
Кого ж любить? Кому же верить?
Кто не изменит
Кто все дела, все речи мерит
Услужливо на наш
Whom, then, to love? Whom to believe?
Who is the only one that won't betray us?
Who measures all deeds, all speeches
obligingly by our own foot rule?
The preceding stanza (Four: XXI) ends in the
Любовью шутит сатана.
With love jokes Satan.
Любовь being a female given name, this line can be read
"Satan plays a joke on Lyubov'." In "The Event" (Act Three), Lyubov' tells her mother that she will send Barbashin a French
billet doux with nurse. In Pushkin's novel in verse (Chapter
Three), Tatiana writes a love letter in French and asks nurse to
send her grandson with it to Onegin.
On the other hand, Barbashin (who is адски угрюм,
"diabolically gloom") sends a restaurant garçon with a note (that turned out to
be blank) inscribed "To Mr. Revshin, personal" (Act Two). Lyubov's lover,
Revshin complains that she doesn't love him anymore (to
which she replies that she never loved him; Act One).
*shchel' means "slit;" Shchel's gun store is situated
opposite the Cathedral