'Sladko! (Sweet!)’ Pushkin used to exclaim in relation to a different species [of mosquitoes] in Yukon. (1.17)
Pushkin actually exclaimed "Sladko!" in May, 1828, when mosquitoes besieged him in Priyutino where the poet courted Annette Olenin.
Olenin = O + Lenin. After Lenin's death in 1924 Gorky (whose penname means "bitter") wrote a big obituary essay entitled "V. I. Lenin." Gorky died in 1936, one year before the centenary of Pushkin's death. In the second version of his memoir essay on Gorky, "Gorky <2>" (written in 1939, published posthumously in 1940 by The Contemporary Notes), Hodasevich mentions the All-Russian Commitee to Aid the Starving mockingly called "Prokukish" after the names of its principal members (Prokopovich, Kuskova, Kishkin):
Образовался Всероссийский Комитет Помощи Голодающим, виднейшими деятелями которого были Прокопович, Кускова и Кишкин. По начальным слогам этих фамилий Комитет тотчас получил дружески-комическую, но провиденциальную кличку: Прокукиш.
"Prokukish" hints at kukish, the so-called fig sign (a mildly obscene gesture most commonly used to refuse giving of aid or to disagree with the target of gesture). Interestingly, the name Kukshin, of the emancipated woman who dances all night at the governor's ball (in Turgenev's Fathers and Children), also seems to hint at kukish.
According to Chekhov, "the negative types of women where Turgenev is slightly caricaturing (Kukshin) or jesting (the descriptions of balls) are wonderfully drawn, and so successful, that, as the saying is, komar nosa ne podtochit [you can't pick a hole in it]."
Anagrams in French of "Anette Olénine" blossom here and there in the margins of our poet's manuscripts. One finds it written backward in the margins of the draft of Poltava (first half of October, 1828): ettenna eninelo; and the earnestness of his hopes is reflected in "Annette Pouchkine" jotted among the drafts of the first canto of Poltava, apparently on the very day that the repentant letter about the Gabriel poem was written to the tsar. (EO Commentary, vol. III, p. 206)
In 1840 Anna Olenin (1808-1888) married Fyodor Andro (Andrault, a Frenchman in the Russian service). Andro = narod (people). Pushkin's historical drama Boris Godunov (1825) ends in the remark Narod bezmolvstvuet ("The people are silent"). On the other hand, narod and small insects are mentioned by Nadezhda Fyodorovna (Laevski's mistress whose words the zoologist von Koren in mocking tones repeats to Samoylenko) in Chekhov's story The Duel (1891):
"Я не понимаю, как это можно серьёзно заниматься букашками и козявками, когда страдает народ."
"I don't understand how any one can seriously interest himself in small insects while the people are suffering."
Laevski shared her opinion. He was absolutely ignorant of natural science, and so could never reconcile himself to the authoritative tone and the learned and profound air of the people who devoted themselves to the whiskers of ants and the claws of beetles, and he always felt vexed that these people, relying on these whiskers, claws, and something they called protoplasm (he always imagined it in the form of an oyster), should undertake to decide questions involving the origin and life of man. But in Nadezhda Fyodorovna's words he heard a note of falsity, and simply to contradict her he said: "The point is not the small insects, but the deductions made from them." (chapter VII)
Ada's fingernails are badly bitten:
On her twelfth birthday, July 21, 1884, the child had stopped biting her fingernails (but not her toenails) in a grand act of will (as her quitting cigarettes was to be, twenty years later). True, one could list some compensations — such as a blessed lapse into delicious sin at Christmas, when Culex chateaubriandi Brown does not fly. A new and conclusive resolution was taken on New Year’s Eve after Mlle Larivière had threatened to smear poor Ada’s fingertips with French mustard and tie green, yellow, orange, red, pink riding hoods of wool around them (the yellow index was a trouvaille). (1.17)
Laevski, too, has a bad habit to bite his nails:
У Лаевского была привычка во время разговора внимательно осматривать свои розовые ладони, грызть ногти или мять пальцами манжеты. И теперь он делал то же самое.
It was Laevski's habit as he talked to gaze attentively at the pink palms of his hands, to bite his nails, or to pinch his cuffs. And he did so now. (The Duel, chapter 1)
Just before the duel von Koren mentions Turgenev and his Bazarov:
— Господа, кто помнит, как описано у Лермонтова? — спросил фон Корен смеясь. — У Тургенева также Базаров стрелялся с кем-то там...
"Gentlemen, who remembers the description [of a duel] in Lermontov?" asked von Koren, laughing. "In Turgenev, too, Bazarov had a pistol duel with some one..." (chapter 19)
In Chekhov's play The Three Sisters (known on Antiterra as Four Sisters) Solyony, the officer who kills in a pistol duel Tuzenbakh (Irina's fiancé), imagines that he resembles Lermontov. Solyonyi is Russian for "salt, salty."
Lermontov is the author of the prophetic Pedskazanie (Prediction, 1830):
Настанет год, России чёрный год,
когда царей корона упадёт...
The year will come, Russia's black year
when the tsars' crown will fall...

Arbenin + L = rab + Lenin (Arbenin - the main character in Lermontov's drama in verse Maskarad, The Masked Ball, 1836, who poisons his innocent wife; rab - Russ, slave)
Alexey Sklyarenko
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