‘You look quite satanically fit, Dad. Especially with that fresh oeillet in your lapel eye. I suppose you have not been much in Manhattan lately — where did you get its last syllable?’
Homespun pun in the Veenish vein.
‘I offered myself en effet a trip to Akapulkovo,’ answered Demon, needlessly and unwillingly recollecting (with that special concussion of instant detail that also plagued his children) a violet-and-black-striped fish in a bowl, a similarly striped couch, the subtropical sun bringing out the veins of an onyx ashtray on the stone floor, a batch of old, orange-juice-stained Povesa (playboy) magazines, the jewels he had brought, the phonograph singing in a dreamy girl’s voice’ Petit nègre, au champ qui fleuronne,’ and the admirable abdomen of a very expensive, and very faithless and altogether adorable young Créole. (1.38)
Akapulkovo blends Acapulco, a seaport and resort in SW Mexico, on the Pacific, with Pulkovo, the site of the famous observatory and the airport near St. Petersburg. Pulkovo is mentioned in Chapter Three of The Gift:
а та звезда над Пулково висит
and yon star sheds on Pulkovo its beam.
Star brings to mind Stargorod (from staryi, "old," and gorod, "city"), Vorob'yaninov's home city in Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs."
Soon after buying an island in the Gavailles ("a small, perfectly round Pacific island"), Demon perishes in a mysterious airplane disaster above the Pacific. (3.7)
The Sandwich Islands (the former name of the Hawaiian Islands) are mentioned in The Golden Calf (chapter XVI, "Jahrbuch fuer Psychoanalytik"):
Всё было на месте: и Ньюфаундленд, и Суэцкий канал, и Мадагаскар, и Сандвичевы острова с главным городом Гонолулу, и даже вулкан Попокатепетль, а Берингов пролив отсутствовал. (Everything was on its place: the Newfoudland, the Suez Canal, the Sandwich Islands with the main city Honolulu, and even the volcano Popocatepetl, but the Bering Strait was absent.)
Onboard the Tobakoff crossing the Atlantic from Europe to America:
Van: ‘There’s that waiter coming. What shall we have — Honoloolers?’
Lucette: ‘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.’
V.: ‘Two teas, please.’
L.: ‘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)
"Miss Condor" is a play on con d'or. In The Golden Calf (chapter II, "Thirty Sons of Lieutenant Schmidt") Ostap Bender mentions a Charlseton said to be popular in Rio de Janeiro, the city of Ostap's dreams: "U moey devochki est' odna malen'kaya shtuchka" ("My Girl has One Little Thing").
In Ada (2.5) Lucette tells Van: I imitated all her [Ada's] shtuchki (little stunts).
shtuchka + ink = tushkanchik (shtuchka -little thing; tushkanchik - jerboa; see my post on Meksikansk in Ada)
In his poem V zverintse ("In a Zoo", 1922) VN shows his compassion for tushkanchik (jerboa):
Тут не звери, а боги живут!
Ослеплённый любуется люд
павлинами, львами...
А меня почему-то привлёк
ты, пушистый, ушастый зверёк
с большими глазами.
Отыскал тебя в дальних краях
путешественник в синих очках,
в кокосовой шапке
и, с добычей вернувшись назад,
написал по-латыни доклад
о складке на лапке...
Ходит, ходит, не видя людей,
жёлтый лев за решёткой своей,
как маятник медный;
рядом - белый сияет павлин...
Кто заметит тебя? Ты один,
тушканчик мой бедный!
И с тоскою великой любви
я в глаза углубляюсь твои,
большие, больные:
в них вся жалоба жизни моей,
в них предсмертная кротость детей,
страданья родные...
If I remember it correctly, it is the fine shot Major McNab, a character in Jules Verne's The Children of Captain Grant (known on Antiterra as Captain Grant's Microgalaxies, 1.35), who kills in the Andes the big condor that snatched and carried to its nestlings little Robert Grant.
Alexey Sklyarenko
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