According to the narrator of VNs story Vesna v Fialte (Spring in Fialta), Segurs yellow car (that runs at full speed into the truck of a traveling circus) resembles zhuk (a beetle; in the English version, a giant scarab):


ݧѧѧߧѧާ ݧ ߧ֧ާ֧ܧ ާѧܧ ާڧܧݧ֧ܧ, ѧ ԧ٧ߧ ݧڧާ٧ڧ, ֧ ѧߧڧӧڧ ڧէ֧ ܧѧ֧ߧ, اקݧѧ, اѧ ߧ اܧ, ާѧڧߧ: "ѧ, ֧ ֧ԧ, -- ܧѧ٧ѧݧ ڧߧ, էҧѧӧڧ: -- ֧٧اѧ-ܧ , ѧ֧ߧܧ, ߧѧާ, ?,  ݧڧߧ ٧ߧѧݧ, ߧ ާԧ ֧ѧ. ݧѧܧ ߧѧէܧݧߧڧܧ ݧק ԧѧ ߧ֧ҧ ӧ֧ӧ֧; ާ֧ѧݧݧ էߧԧ ڧ ߧѧէէҧߧ ߧѧ֧ ާ ߧ֧ ѧާ ѧ٧ڧݧڧ ߧ ާڧ, է ܧѧ, , ֧֧ ߧ֧ܧݧܧ ѧԧ,   ֧ާ- ԧݧߧݧ ܧѧ ҧ ӧڧէ֧ , է֧ۧӧڧ֧ݧߧ ڧ٧ݧ ֧֧ ݧ ѧ: ܧѧ ߧ ӧק ѧاڧӧѧݧڧ, ѧӧާҧڧݧߧ ֧ѧ, ݧҧѧ ާѧڧӧѧ  ާߧ, ٧ѧߧ, ܧѧ ڧ٧ѧܧ, ܧӧ٧ ܧ ӧڧէ֧ ӧ֧ ާڧ, ӧ էקߧݧڧ, ߧݧڧ, ާ֧ߧڧݧڧ (ڧߧڧ ݧ֧էߧڧ է֧ڧѧݧ ڧӧ֧): ߧ ߧ ѧާ է֧ݧ ѧӧާҧڧݧ ֧ ߧ֧էӧڧاߧ, ԧݧѧէܧڧ ֧ݧ, ܧѧ ۧ, ڧߧ ާߧ ӧէڧݧ ߧ ֧ܧݧߧߧ ӧ֧ѧߧէ ֧ݧߧԧ ֧ѧߧ, ֧֧ ܧߧ ާ ا ӧڧէ֧ݧ, ܧѧ (էԧڧ ק, ֧ ڧݧ ާ) ڧҧݧڧاѧ ֧էڧߧѧߧ ֧ԧ.


Under the plane trees stood a motorcycle of German make, a mud-bespattered limousine, and a yellow long-bodied Icarus that looked like a giant scarab (That s oursSegurs, I mean, said Nina, adding, Why dont you come with us, Victor? although she knew very well that I could not come); in the lacquer of its elytra a gouache of sky and branches was engulfed; in the metal of one of the bomb-shaped lamps we ourselves were momentarily reflected, lean filmland pedestrians passing along the

convex surface; and then, after a few steps, I glanced back and foresaw, in an almost optical sense, as it were, what really happened an hour or so later: the three of them wearing motoring helmets, getting in, smiling and waving to me, transparent to me like ghosts, with the color of the world shining through them, and then they were moving, receding, diminishing (Ninas last ten-fingered farewell); but actually the automobile was still standing quite motionless, smooth and whole like an egg, and Nina under my outstretched arm was entering a laurel-flanked doorway, and as we sat down we could see through the window Ferdinand and Segur, who had come by another way, slowly approaching.


Mme de Sgur (b. Rostopchin, the author of books for children in the Bibliothque Rose series mentioned by VN in Speak, Memory and in Ada) was highly praised by Marina Tsvetaev:


ѧڧߧ է ֧ԧ - ҧݧѧ ڧѧ֧ݧߧڧ, ڧާ֧ӧѧ ԧݧ ӧҧѧ٧ڧ ֧ҧ ҧѧҧܧ ڧѧ ݧܧ էݧ է֧֧.

Countess de Sgur is a gifted writer who was stupid enough to imagine that she was a grandmother and wrote only for children. (The Tale about Sonechka)


In the first poem of her cycle Oka (The Oka, 1912) Marina Tsvetaev compares the automobiles to zolotye mayskie zhuki (golden may bugs):


ݧ֧ҧӧ ߧ֧ާ֧ܧ ֧֧ڧ,
ާߧ ӧѧݧ, ߧ֧ާ֧ܧڧ ۡ
ݧԧ ܧڧߧ ڧ
ѧӧ֧ݧ ܧڧߧ ݧ֧.


ڧݧ ݧ, ֧ҧ ާ ѧ ݧҧڧݧ,
٧ݧ ڧߧܧ ܧڡ
֧ ӧݧ ߧ ѧӧާҧڧݧ,
ݧ ާѧۧܧڧ اܧ.


This poem (beginning: The magic of a German fairy-tale ballet, / a languorous waltz, German and simple) was included in Marina Tsvetaevs book Volshebnyi fonar (The Magic Lantern, 1912). In VNs story Segurs car has snaryadopodobnye fonari (bomb-shaped lamps). Also, note a motorcycle of German make mentioned by the narrator.


In VNs story the narrator calls Ferdinand and his friend who survived in a car crash that proved fatal for Nina salamanders of fate, basilisks of good fortune:


ܧѧާ֧ߧ ҧ, ܧѧ ֧ݧ, קݧ, ӧߧ֧٧ѧߧ ߧ , ֧ԧ, ӧڧէ, ߧ ߧڧާѧ էݧ, ֧ާ էѧӧ֧ ѧ ӧ֧ܧѧݧ ֧֧ҧߧѧ ҧާѧاܧ, ֧ާ էاѧ ӧ֧ ѧܧѧߧ, ֧ާ ާ֧ѧݧ ާ: ҧ֧ݧ ߧ֧ҧ ߧѧ ڧѧݧ ߧ֧٧ѧާ֧ߧ ߧѧݧڧݧ ݧߧ֧, ֧֧ ߧ ҧݧ ݧߧ֧ߧ ݧ, ҧ֧ݧ ڧߧڧ ڧڧݧ, ڧڧݧ, ӧ ѧӧݧ ߧק, ӧ ڧ֧٧ѧݧ, ا ߧ ӧܧ٧ѧݧ, ڧݧѧߧ, ԧѧ٧֧, ڧ ܧ ٧ߧѧ, اקݧ ѧӧާҧڧݧ, ӧڧէ֧ߧߧ ާߧ ݧѧѧߧѧާ, ֧֧ ٧ ڧѧݧ ܧ֧ߧڧ, ӧݧ֧֧ ߧ ݧߧ է ԧ ҧէ֧ԧ ڧܧ, ڧק ֧էڧߧѧߧ ֧ԧ ڧ֧ݧ, ߧ֧٧ӧڧާ ۧէ, ѧݧѧާѧߧէ էҧ, ӧѧڧݧڧܧ ѧ, է֧ݧѧݧڧ ާ֧ߧ

ӧ֧ާ֧ߧߧ ӧ֧اէ֧ߧڧ֧ ֧, ԧէ ܧѧ ڧߧ, ߧ֧ާ ߧ ӧ էѧӧߧ֧, ֧էѧߧߧ էѧاѧߧڧ ڧ, ܧѧ٧ѧݧѧ ӧ-ѧܧ ާ֧ߧ.


But the stone was as warm as flesh, and suddenly I understood something I had been seeing without understandingwhy a piece of tinfoil had sparkled so on the pavement, why the gleam of a glass had trembled on a tablecloth, why the sea was a shimmer: somehow, by imperceptible degrees, the white sky above Fialta had got saturated with sunshine, and now it was sun-pervaded throughout, and this brimming white radiance grew broader and broader, all dissolved in it, all vanished, all passed, and I stood on the station platform of Mlech with a freshly bought newspaper, which told me that the yellow car I had seen under the plane trees had suffered a crash beyond Fialta, having run at full speed into the truck of a traveling circus entering the town, a crash from which Ferdinand and his friend, those invulnerable rogues, those salamanders of fate, those basilisks of good fortune, had escaped with local and temporary injury to their scales, while Nina, in spite of her long-standing, faithful imitation of them, had turned out after all to be mortal.


In her poem Ya seychas lezhu nichkom (I am now lying prone 1913) Marina Tsvetaev compares herself to Salamandra i Undina (Salamander and Undine):


ҧ ѧݧ ا ާڧ
ݧڧ, ާ ֧ߧڧ?


٧ݧ ֧֧ҧ
ѧݧѧާѧߧէ ߧէڧߧ.
ҧ ֧ݧ ߧ ܧӧ
ԧ֧ԧ ܧѧާڧߧ.


In her poem Pyotr i Pushkin (Peter I and Pushkin, 1931) Marina Tsvetaev mentions vasiliska vzglyad (a basilisks look of the tsar Nicholas I):


ҧ اѧߧէѧާܧԧ ܧ
ܧ ҧ «֧֧ӧ ӧ»!
ҧ ֧ҧ ӧѧڧݧڧܧ
٧ԧݧ! ߧ ٧ѧާѧاڧӧѧ .


In VNs story Ferdinand speaks of criticism and mentions Mme de V. (a well-known literary hostess who strongly resembled a grinning horse) and, a little later, Wouwermans white horse:


-- ڧڧܧ!-- ӧܧݧڧܧߧ  .--  ܧڧڧܧ. ܧѧ קާߧѧ ݧڧߧ ާߧ ڧѧ֧ ާѧݧ. ݧѧԧէѧ ܧߧ. ާڧ ܧߧڧԧѧ ڧѧԧڧӧѧ ѧܧ, ܧѧ ߧ֧ڧ٧ӧ֧ߧާ ݧ֧ܧڧ֧ܧާ ѧѧѧ. ѧ٧ҧڧѧ ӧ֧ ֧ ٧֧ߧڧ,

ܧާ ֧ӧ֧ߧߧ. է ԧ, ܧѧ ֧ݧ ҧ ߧѧѧݧڧ, ݧܧ ݧѧէ, ߧѧѧ ԧӧڧ קէݧѧ, ֧ѧܧѧ ڧݧ M-me de V. ( ߧѧ٧ӧѧ էѧާ ݧڧ֧ѧߧԧ ӧ֧, ѧާ է֧ݧ ֧ߧ ا ߧ ܧѧݧ֧ߧߧ ݧѧէ).   ا      ԧݧҧڧߧ  ܧӧ,-- էݧاѧ ֧ ا ԧާܧڧ, ӧڧ ԧݧ, ҧѧѧ ݧѧܧ֧, ܧ ߧ ֧ԧ ا֧ݧѧߧڧ, ާ֧ ߧѧѧӧݧ֧ߧڧ ֧, ҧ֧֧֧ާߧߧ ܧѧ٧ӧѧӧ֧ԧ ߧ ѧܧѧ ѧߧԧݧڧѧߧڧߧ. ֧ԧ ާߧ ڧާ  ҧ֧ԧ  ٧ߧѧܧާԧ,  էاߧڧܧ, ݧҧڧӧ֧ԧ ڧѧ ֧ܧݧ, ѧ٧ԧӧ ڧߧ ާ֧ߧ֧ ܧҧڧ֧ݧߧ ѧѧܧ֧. ֧اէ ֧ ѧߧԧݧڧѧߧڧ ӧէ ֧ڧ֧ݧߧ էߧݧ, ӧѧ ߧ , է ѧԧߧ ߧ էܧߧߧڧ , ӧާڧӧڧ  ӧ  ӧ֧  ӧ ԧާѧէߧ ,  ߧ  ӧ֧ߧ֧ԧ ԧݧ ܧߧߧڧ ݧӧܧ ֧֧ӧ֧ ܧҧ ߧߧ ҧѧҧܧ ҧҧӧ ڧߧܧ.

..., ܧѧ ҧ֧ݧѧ ݧѧէ ӧ֧ާѧߧ,-- ܧѧ٧ѧ ֧էڧߧѧߧ, ѧاէѧ ֧- ֧ԧ.

-- Tu es trs hippique ce matin,-- ٧ѧާ֧ڧ .


Criticism! he exclaimed. Fine criticism! Every slick jackanapes sees fit to read me a lecture. Ignorance of my work is their bliss. My books are touched gingerly, as one touches something that may go bang. Criticism! They are examined from every point of view except the essential one. It is as if a naturalist, in describing the equine genus, started to jaw about saddles or Mme. de V. (he named a well-known literary hostess who indeed strongly resembled a grinning horse). I would like some of that pigeons blood too, he continued in the same loud, ripping voice, addressing the waiter, who understood his desire only after he had looked in the direction of the long-nailed finger which unceremoniously pointed at the Englishmans glass. For some reason or other, Segur mentioned Ruby Rose, the lady who painted flowers on her breast, and the conversation took on a less insulting character. Meanwhile the big Englishman suddenly made up his mind, got up on a chair, stepped from there onto the windowsill, and stretched up till he reached that coveted corner of the frame where rested a compact furry moth, which he deftly slipped into a pillbox.

. . . rather like Wouwermans white horse, said Ferdinand, in regard to something he was discussing with Segur.

Tu es trs hippique ce matin, remarked the latter.


In her memoir story Chudo s loshadmi (A Miracle with Horses, 1934) Marina Tsvetaev speaks of Ivan Rukavishnikov and his wife, a former circus performer who was made by Lunacharski the head of all Soviet circuses. Rukavishnikov and his wife are also mentioned by Khodasevich in his memoir essay Belyi koridor (The White Corridor, 1925). In his essay Khodasevich describes Mme Kamenev as a Soviet literary hostess who lives in Kremlin. Khodasevichs essay on V. V. Mayakovski (VNs late namesake) is entitled Dekoltirovannaya loshad (The Horse in a Dcollet Dress, 1927). The author compares Mayakovski to a circus horse:


֧էѧӧ ֧ҧ ݧѧէ, ڧ٧ҧѧاѧ ѧ ѧߧԧݧڧѧߧܧ. էѧާܧ ݧܧ, ӧ֧ѧާ ֧ާ, ٧ӧ ݧѧ, ܧܧڧާ ܧѧӧѧާ ٧ӧ ֧ ӧܧ ԧڧԧѧߧܧԧ ӧߧԧ է֧ܧݧ, ߧ էڧ ߧ ٧ѧէߧڧ ߧԧѧ, ߧ֧ݧ֧ ӧԧڧӧѧ ҧ֧ܧߧ֧ߧ ֧ ܧѧݧ ا֧ݧ ٧ҧ.

ѧܧ ݧѧէ ӧڧէ֧ ڧܧ ֧ߧ 1912 ԧէ. ֧ߧ, ӧܧ ٧ѧҧ ҧ ֧, ֧ݧ ҧ ߧ֧ܧݧܧ էߧ֧ , ڧէ ҧ֧ӧ ӧҧէߧ ֧ڧܧ, ߧ ӧڧէ֧ ѧ ԧާߧԧ ߧ ݧѧէڧߧާ ֧ݧާ, קߧ ҧѧ, ѧקԧߧ ݧ ߧ է ҧߧѧاѧӧ֧ ԧڧԧѧߧܧ ݧѧէڧߧ է֧ܧݧ. ѧ: ٧ӧڧ "է֧ܧݧڧӧѧߧߧѧ ݧѧէ" ߧѧէݧԧ ԧ ӧ֧֧ ӧ֧էڧݧ ٧ ߧ֧... ߧ ҧ ݧѧէڧާڧ ѧܧӧܧڧ. ҧݧ ֧ԧ ֧ӧ ӧݧ֧ߧڧ ݧڧ֧ѧߧ ֧է, ڧݧ էߧ ڧ ֧ӧ. ֧ ݧѧէڧߧ ֧ ܧ ݧڧ֧ѧ -- ߧߧ, էѧ֧ ާߧ, ڧ ا ܧߧ ӧ֧ԧ . ߧѧէѧ ݧ֧ -- ݧѧէڧߧ ӧ֧.


Khodasevichs essay begins: Imagine a horse that imitates an old Englishwoman This horse brings to mind both Mme V. and the big Englishman in VNs story.


Alexey Sklyarenko

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