As a Chose student Van performs in variety shows as Mascodagama (1.30). Van's stage name is a play on Vasco da Gama (c.1460-1524), the first European to sail to southern and eastern Africa and to India. Vasco da Gama is the hero of Camoens' epic The Lusiads (1572). Camoens invents in it a Greek god, Adamastor, as the Spirit of the Cape of Storms (now the Cape of Good Hope), whose domain is the Indian Ocean and who represents the natural dangers Vasco da Gama's fleet had to face rounding the Cape.
Adamastor = Ada + matros (sailor)
Matros is a poem by Voloshin from the cycle Lichiny ("The Masks"). Lichiny is plural of lichina ("mask, guise"). The poem's hero is a Red sailor from Sevastopol.
Lichina + k = lichinka (larva, grub; maggot)
One is reminded of Ada's larvarium next to her room in Ardis Hall (1.8) and of Demon's words to Ada at Marina's cremation: "I will not cheat the poor grubs!" (3.8) A couple of years later Demon breaks his promise perishing in a mysterious airplane disaster above the Pacific (3.7).
Mascodagama dances on his hands, while his partner Rita, a pretty red-haired Karaite from Chufut Kale (in the Crimea), sings the tango tune Pod znoynym nebom Argentiny, Pod strastnyi govor mandoliny ('Neath sultry sky of Argentina, To the hot hum of mandolina, 1.30). It is the tango that in Ilf and Petrov's The Golden Calf Ostap Bender dances solo. Ostap has a tattoo on his breast: Napoleon in a cocked hat holding a beer mug (chapter XVIII "Na sushe i na more"). Napoleon's face becomes red when Ostap wrestles with Koreyko (a secret Soviet millionaire whom Ostap blackmails).
In Mémoires d'outre-tombe (Book Twenty Four, chapter 14) Chateaubriand calls Napoleon exiled to St. Helena "the new Adamastor:" Each step made by the new Adamastor in the Southern Hemisphere can be heard by the inhabitants of the Northern one.
The breast of Voloshin's sailor is tattooed with a dragon:
Татуированный дракон
Под синей форменной рубашкой.
Браслеты. В перстне кабошон,
И красный бант с алмазной пряжкой.
In Voloshin's poem drakon (dragon) rhymes with kaboshon (cabochon). Van's cabochon once belonged to Daniel Veen (Marina's husband). Demon finds out that Van and Ada (the children of Demon and Marina) have been lovers for many years after uncle Dan's death (2.10). When Demon visits Van in Manhattan (and finds Ada in Van's bed), he is under the influence of some bright Chilean drug (volatina or drakonara):
The dragon drug had worn off: its aftereffects are not pleasant, combining as they do physical fatigue with a certain starkness of thought as if all color were drained from the mind. (2.11)
On his way from Santiago to Manhattan Demon has to change planes in Tent (or Palatka, as Tobakov's sailors who built this town called it):
At the airport of the moonlit white town we call Tent, and Tobakov's sailors, who built it, called Palatka, in northern Florida, where owing to engine trouble he had to change planes, Demon made a long-distance call and received a full account of Dan's death from the inordinately circumstantial Dr Nikulin (grandson of the great rodentiologist Kunikulinov - we can't get rid of the lettuce). (2.10)
The author of Lutetia Parisiorum (1915) who considered Paris his home city, Voloshin lived and died (in 1932) in Koktebel (near Feodosia in the Crimea). Voloshin often mentions Napoleon in his poems and articles, including Rossiya raspyataya (Russia Crucified, 1920):
Лишь только чужеземная рука касается её жизненных средоточий, немедленно рождается неожиданный ответный удар, который редко исходит из сознательной воли самого народа, а является разрядом каких-то стихийных, охраняющих её сил. Татары, поляки, Карл XII, Наполеон — все в своё время испытали его. Так, те, кто прикасался к библейскому Ковчегу Завета, бывали поражены ударом молнии.
The Tartars, the Poles, Karl XII, Napoleon - all of them were hit by a discharge of some mysterious power protecting Russia. Thus everybody who touched the ark of God (placed in the tent that David had pitched for it) was killed by lightning.
As I pointed out before, reading Van's palm Demon predicts his own death:
'I say,' exclaimed Demon, 'what's happened - your shaftment is that of a carpenter's. Show me your other hand. Good gracious' (muttering:) 'Hump of Venus disfigured, Line of Life scarred but monstrously long...' (switching to a gipsy chant:) 'You'll live to reach Terra, and come back a wiser and merrier man' (reverting to his ordinary voice:) 'What puzzles me as a palmist is the strange condition of the Sister of your Life. And the roughness!'
'Mascodagama,' whispered Van, raising his eyebrows. (1.38)
Palatka + Nikulin = Kantalupa + Likin/Kliin = palata + krik + Nulin - r (Kantalupa - one of Lika Mizinov's nicknames, "Cantaloup;" Likin - belonging to Lika; Kliin - belonging to Clio, the Muse of history; palata - ward; chamber; krik - cry, shout; Nulin - Count Nulin, the hero of a poem by Pushkin)
Alexey Sklyarenko
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