In a cabinet reculé where Demon first possessed Marina "the broken trumpet and poodle hoops of a forgotten clown, besides many dusty pots of colored grease, happened to be stored." (1.2)
According to Ada (who admitted Flavita), "verbal circuses, 'performing words,' 'poodle-doodles,' and so forth, might be redeemable by the quality of the brain work required for the creation of a great logogriph or inspired pun and should not preclude the help of a dictionary, gruff or complacent." (1.36)
The Russian Scrabble, Flavita is played with the letters of Cyrillic alphabet and one Roman letter: "namely the letter J on the two joker blocks (as thrilling to get as a blank check signed by Jupiter or Jurojin)." (ibid.)
While Jupiter (Jove) is a supreme Roman deity, Jurojin is one of the seven lucky gods (Shichifukujin) of Japan. These seven gods include Benten (a sea goddess after whom the indigenous part of Yokohama is called*). Collecting "her seven luckies" at the beginning of a Flavita game, Ada mentions the Benten lamp:
Lots had been cast, Ada had won the right to begin, and was in the act of collecting one by one, mechanically and unthinkingly, her seven 'luckies' from the open case where the blocks lay face down, showing nothing but their anonymous black backs, each in its own cell of flavid velvet. She was speaking at the same time, saying casually: 'I would much prefer the Benten lamp here but it is out of kerosin. Pet (addressing Lucette), be a good scout, call her - Good Heavens!'
The seven letters she had taken, S,R,E,N,O,K,I, and was sorting out in her spektrik (the little trough of japanned wood each player had before him) now formed in quick and, as it were, self-impulsed rearrangement the key word of the chance sentence that had attended their random assemblage. (ibid.)
Demon's wife Aqua (Marina's twin sister) could not turn over the blank backs of 'Scrabble' counters sunny side up:
Jigsaw pieces of sky or wall came apart, no matter how delicately put together, but a careless jolt or a nurse's elbow can disturb so easily those lightweight fragments which became incomprehensible blancs of anonymous objects, or the blank backs of 'Scrabble' counters, which she could not turn over sunny side up, because her hands had been tied by a male nurse with Demon's black eyes. (1.3)
Poor mad Aqua's "disintegration went down a shaft of phases, every one more racking than the last; for the human brain can become the best torture house of all those it has invented, established and used in millions of years, in millions of lands, on millions of howling creatures." (ibid.)
Japan and Rome are paired elsewhere in Ada:
Upon being questioned in Demon's dungeon, Marina, laughing trillingly, wove a picturesque tissue of lies; then broke down, and confessed. She swore that all was over; that the Baron [d'Onsky], a physical wreck and a spiritual Samurai, had gone to Japan forever. From a more reliable source Demon learned that the Samurai's real destination was smart little Vatican, a Roman spa, whence he was to return to Aardvark, Massa, in a week or so. (1.2)
Without waiting for the end of the scene, he [Demon] hurried out of the theater into the crisp crystal night, the snowflakes star-spangling his top hat as he returned to his house in the next block to arrange a magnificent supper. By the time he went to fetch his new mistress in his jingling sleigh, the last-act ballet of Caucasian generals and metamorphosed Cinderellas had come to a sudden close, and Baron d'O., now in black tails and white gloves, was kneeling in the middle of an empty stage, holding the glass slipper that his fickle lady had left him when eluding his belated advances. The claqueurs were getting tired and looking at their watches when Marina in a black cloak slipped into Demon's arms and swan-sleigh. (ibid.)
In his memoir essay Belyi Koridor ("The White Corridor," 1937) Hodasevich mentions the clown and animal trainer Vladimir Durov who sometimes came to Kremlin in the sledge pulled by a camel:
Тут же порой стояли просторные розвальни, запряженные не более и не менее, как верблюдом. Это клоун и дрессировщик Владимир Дуров явился заседать тоже.
Иногда можно было видеть, как по Воздвиженке или по Моховой, взрывая снежные кучи, под свист мальчишек, выбрасывая из ноздрей струи белого пара, широченной и размашистой рысью мчался верблюд. Оторопелые старухи жались к сторонке и шептали:
- С нами крестная сила! (chapter I)
'Je ne peux rien faire,' wailed Lucette, 'mais rien - with my idiotic Buchstaben, REMNILK, LINKREM...'
'Look,' whispered Van, 'c'est tout simple, shift those two syllables and you get a fortress in ancient Muscovy.'
'Oh, no,' said Ada, wagging her finger at the height of her temple in a way she had. 'Oh, no. That pretty word does not exist in Russian. A Frenchman invented it. There is no second syllable.'
'Ruth for a little child?' interposed Van.
'Ruthless!' cried Ada.
'Well,' said Van, 'you can always make a little cream, KREM or KREME - or even better - there's KREMLI, which means Yukon prisons. Go through her ORHIDEYA.'
'Through her silly orchid,' said Lucette. (1.36)
Demon's daughter, Ada inherited her mannerism from her father (who also mentions Kremlin in a conversation with Van):
'Your dinner jacket is very nice - or, rather it's very nice recognizing one's old tailor in one's son's clothes - like catching oneself repeating an ancestral mannerism - for example, this (wagging his left forefinger three times at the height of his temple), which my mother did in casual, pacific denial; that gene missed you, but I've seen it in my hairdresser's looking-glass when refusing to have him put Crêmlin on my bald spot; and you know who had it too - my aunt Kitty, who married the Banker Bolenski after divorcing that dreadful old wencher Lyovka Tolstoy, the writer.' (1.38)
"Banker Bolenski" hints at two characters in Tolstoy's Anna Kareningrafinya Bol' ("Countess Pain") and Stiva Oblonski (Anna's brother, husband of Kitty Shcherbatski's elder sister Dolly). 
But presently panic and pain, like a pair of children in a boisterous game, emitted one last shriek of laughter and ran away to manipulate each other behind a bush as in Count Tolstoy's Anna Karenin, a novel, and again, for a while, a little while, all was quiet in the house, and their mother had the same first name as hers had. (1.3)
The twins Aqua and Marina are daughters of Daria (Dolly) Durmanov. The only child of Prince Peter Zemski and Mary O'Reilly (an Irish woman of fashion), Dolly was born in Bras. (1.1) In J. J. Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (pt. II, Letter XXVI) Saint-Preux finds himself "dans un cabinet reculé, entre les bras d'une de ses créatures." Bras is French for "arm." D'Onsky's son is a person with only one arm:
Ada to Van: 'Oh, I like you better with that nice overweight - there's more of you. It's the maternal gene, I suppose, because Demon grew leaner and leaner. He looked positively Quixotic when I saw him at Mother's funeral. It was all very strange. He wore blue mourning. D'Onsky's son, a person with only one arm, threw his remaining one around Demon and both wept comme des fontaines. (3.8)
*see the "Japanese" chapter of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (the novel alluded to in the first chapter of Ada)
Alexey Sklyarenko
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