Vitry [the director who made a film of Van¡¯s novel Letters from Terra] dated Theresa¡¯s visit to Antiterra as taking place in 1940, but 1940 by the Terranean calendar, and about 1890 by ours. The conceit allowed certain pleasing dips into the modes and manners of our past (did you remember that horses wore hats ¡ª yes, hats ¡ª when heat waves swept Manhattan?) and gave the impression ¡ª which physics-fiction literature had much exploited ¡ª of the capsulist traveling backward in terms of time. Philosophers asked nasty questions, but were ignored by the wishing-to-be-gulled moviegoers. (5.5)
At the beginning of his essay on Mayakovski, Dekol¡¯tirovannaya loshad¡¯ (¡°Decolletted Horse,¡± 1927), Khodasevich mentions a horse wearing a lady¡¯s hat that he saw in a circus:
§±§â§Ö§Õ§ã§ä§Ñ§Ó§î§ä§Ö §ã§Ö§Ò§Ö §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§î, §Ú§Ù§à§Ò§â§Ñ§Ø§Ñ§ð§ë§å§ð §ã§ä§Ñ§â§å§ð §Ñ§ß§Ô§Ý§Ú§é§Ñ§ß§Ü§å. §£ §Õ§Ñ§Þ§ã§Ü§à§Û §ê§Ý§ñ§á§Ü§Ö, §ã §è§Ó§Ö§ä§Ñ§Þ§Ú §Ú §á§Ö§â§î§ñ§Þ§Ú, §Ó §â§à§Ù§à§Ó§à§Þ §á§Ý§Ñ§ä§î§Ö, §ã §Ü§à§â§à§ä§Ü§Ú§Þ§Ú §â§å§Ü§Ñ§Ó§Ñ§Þ§Ú §Ú §ã §â§à§Ù§à§Ó§í§Þ §â§ð§ê§Ö§Þ §Ó§à§Ü§â§å§Ô §Ô§Ú§Ô§Ñ§ß§ä§ã§Ü§à§Ô§à §Ó§à§â§à§ß§à§Ô§à §Õ§Ö§Ü§à§Ý§î§ä§ï, §à§ß§Ñ §ç§à§Õ§Ú§ä §ß§Ñ §Ù§Ñ§Õ§ß§Ú§ç §ß§à§Ô§Ñ§ç, §ß§Ö§Ý§Ö§á§à §Ó§í§ä§ñ§Ô§Ú§Ó§Ñ§ñ §Ò§Ö§ã§Ü§à§ß§Ö§é§ß§å§ð §ê§Ö§ð §Ú §ã§Ü§Ñ§Ý§ñ §Ø§×§Ý§ä§í§Ö §Ù§å§Ò§í.
In his essay Khodasevich compares VN¡¯s ¡°late namesake¡± to a horse (wearing not a lady¡¯s hat, though, but a Jacobin¡¯s cap):
§¯§Ö §ã§á§à§â§ð, §Õ§Ý§ñ §ï§ä§à§Ô§à §Ú §Õ§Ý§ñ §Þ§ß§à§Ô§à§Ô§à "§ä§à§Þ§å §á§à§Õ§à§Ò§ß§à§Ô§à" §®§Ñ§ñ§Ü§à§Ó§ã§Ü§Ú§Û §ß§Ñ§ê§Ö§Ý §â§ñ§Õ §Ó§í§â§Ñ§Ù§Ú§ä§Ö§Ý§î§ß§Ö§Û§ê§Ú§ç, §à§ä§Ý§Ú§é§ß§à §ã§à§ã§ä§Ñ§Ó§Ý§Ö§ß§ß§í§ç §æ§à§â§Þ§å§Ý. §ª §Ó §ß§Ñ§Ô§â§Ñ§Õ§å §Ù§Ñ §Ü§â§í§Ý§Ñ§ä§à§Ö §ã§Ý§à§Ó§à §à§ß §ä§Ö§á§Ö§â§î §Ø§å§×§ä §â§ñ§Ò§é§Ú§Ü§à§Ó, §à§ä§ß§ñ§ä§í§ç §å §Ò§å§â§Ø§å§Ö§Ó. §¯§à§Ó§í§Û §Ò§å§â§Ø§å§Û, §Õ§Ö§Ü§à§Ý§î§ä§Ú§â§à§Ó§Ñ§ß§ß§Ñ§ñ §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§î §Ó§Ù§Ô§â§à§Þ§à§Ù§Õ§Ú§Ý§Ñ§ã§î §Ù§Ñ §ã§ä§à§Ý, §ä§à§é§î-§Ó-§ä§à§é§î §Ü§Ñ§Ü §ä§à§Ô§Õ§Ñ, §Ó §è§Ú§â§Ü§Ö. §¦§ã§Ý§Ú §ß§Ö §Ó §Õ§Ñ§Þ§ã§Ü§à§Û §ê§Ý§ñ§á§Ü§Ö, §ä§à §Ó §Ü§à§Ý§á§Ñ§Ü§Ö §ñ§Ü§à§Ò§Ú§ß§è§Ñ. §ª §ä§à §Ú §Õ§â§å§Ô§à§Ö §à§Õ§Ú§ß§Ñ§Ü§à§Ó§à §Ö§Û §á§â§Ú§ã§ä§Ñ§Ý§à.
Like Phrygian caps, the caps of Jacobins were red. In his poem Tovarishcham (¡°To my Comrades,¡± 1817) Pushkin asks his schoolmates to leave him his red cap (ostav¡¯te krasnyi mne kolpak). In his poem ¡°To V. S. Filimonov at Receiving his Poem The Dunce¡¯s Cap¡± (1828) Pushkin says that his old cap is worn out and thrown away and that red color is not in fashion these days:
§£§Ñ§Þ §Þ§å§Ù§í, §Þ§Ú§Ý§í§Ö §ã§ä§Ñ§â§å§ê§Ü§Ú,
§¬§à§Ý§á§Ñ§Ü §ã§Ó§ñ§Ù§Ñ§Ý§Ú §Ó §Õ§à§Ò§â§í§Û §é§Ñ§ã,
§ª, §á§â§Ú§è§Ö§á§Ú§Ó §Ü §ß§Ö§Þ§å §Ô§â§Ö§Þ§å§ê§Ü§Ú,
§³§Ñ§Þ §¶§Ö§Ò §ß§Ñ§Õ§Ö§Ý §Ö§Ô§à §ß§Ñ §Ó§Ñ§ã.
§·§à§ä§Ö§Ý§à§ã§î §Ó §ä§à§Þ §Ø§Ö §Þ§ß§Ö §å§Ò§à§â§Ö
§±§â§Ö§Õ §Ó§Ñ§Þ§Ú §ß§í§ß§é§Ö §ë§Ö§Ô§à§Ý§î§ß§å§ä§î
§ª §Ó §à§ä§Ü§â§à§Ó§Ö§ß§ß§à§Þ §â§Ñ§Ù§Ô§à§Ó§à§â§Ö,
§¬§Ñ§Ü §Ó§í, §ß§Ñ §Þ§ß§à§Ô§à§Ö §Ó§Ù§Ô§Ý§ñ§ß§å§ä§î;
§¯§à §ã§ä§Ñ§â§í§Û §Þ§à§Û §Ü§à§Ý§á§Ñ§Ü §Ú§Ù§ß§à§ê§Ö§ß,
§·§à§ä§î §Ú §Ý§ð§Ò§Ú§Ý §Ö§Ô§à §á§à§ï§ä;
§°§ß §á§à§ß§Ö§Ó§à§Ý§Ö §Þ§ß§à§Û §Ù§Ñ§Ò§â§à§ê§Ö§ß:
§¯§Ö §Ó §Þ§à§Õ§Ö §ß§í§ß§é§Ö §Ü§â§Ñ§ã§ß§í§Û §è§Ó§Ö§ä.
§ª§ä§Ñ§Ü, §Ó §Ù§ß§Ñ§Ü §Þ§Ú§â§ß§à§Ô§à §á§â§Ú§Ó§Ö§ä§Ñ,
§³§ß§Ú§Þ§Ñ§ñ §ê§Ý§ñ§á§å, §Ò§î§ð §é§Ö§Ý§à§Þ,
§±§à§Õ §à§ã§ä§à§â§à§Ø§ß§í§Þ §Ü§à§Ý§á§Ñ§Ü§à§Þ.
¡So, as a sign of peaceful salute,
I take off my hat with a bow,
having recognized the poet-philosopher
under his wary cap.
The title of Filimonov¡¯s poem in the original, Duratskiy kolpak, brings to mind Durak Walter (Marina¡¯s husband who is also known as Red Veen):
On April 23, 1869, in drizzly and warm, gauzy and green Kaluga, Aqua, aged twenty-five and afflicted with her usual vernal migraine, married Walter D. Veen, a Manhattan banker of ancient Anglo-Irish ancestry who had long conducted, and was soon to resume intermittently, a passionate affair with Marina. The latter, some time in 1871, married her first lover¡¯s first cousin, also Walter D. Veen, a quite as opulent, but much duller, chap.
The ¡®D¡¯ in the name of Aqua¡¯s husband stood for Demon (a form of Demian or Dementius), and thus was he called by his kin. In society he was generally known as Raven Veen or simply Dark Walter to distinguish him from Marina¡¯s husband, Durak Walter or simply Red Veen. (1.1)
Durak is Russian for ¡°fool.¡± At the picnic on Ada¡¯s sixteenth birthday Uncle Dan wears a straw hat:
In the meantime, Uncle Dan, very dapper in cherry-striped blazer and variety-comic straw hat, feeling considerably intrigued by the presence of the adjacent picnickers, walked over to them with his glass of Hero wine in one hand and a caviar canap¨¦ in the other. (1.39)
Describing Daniel Veen¡¯s death, Van compares him to a crippled steed:
According to Bess (which is ¡®fiend¡¯ in Russian), Dan¡¯s buxom but otherwise disgusting nurse, whom he preferred to all others and had taken to Ardis because she managed to extract orally a few last drops of ¡®play-zero¡¯ (as the old whore called it) out of his poor body, he had been complaining for some time, even before Ada¡¯s sudden departure, that a devil combining the characteristics of a frog and a rodent desired to straddle him and ride him to the torture house of eternity. To Dr Nikulin Dan described his rider as black, pale-bellied, with a black dorsal buckler shining like a dung beetle¡¯s back and with a knife in his raised forelimb. On a very cold morning in late January Dan had somehow escaped, through a basement maze and a toolroom, into the brown shrubbery of Ardis; he was naked except for a red bath towel which trailed from his rump like a kind of caparison, and, despite the rough going, had crawled on all fours, like a crippled steed under an invisible rider, deep into the wooded landscape. (2.10)
Demon Veen (Van¡¯s and Ada¡¯s father who tells Van about Uncle Dan¡¯s death) and Baron d¡¯Onsky (Marina¡¯s lover whose nickname, Skonky, is an anagram of konskiy, ¡°of a horse¡±) have the same London hatter:
Both men were a little drunk, and Demon secretly wondered if the rather banal resemblance of that Edenic girl to a young actress, whom his visitor had no doubt seen on the stage in ¡®Eugene and Lara¡¯ or ¡®Lenore Raven¡¯ (both painfully panned by a ¡®disgustingly incorruptible¡¯ young critic), should be, or would be, commented upon. It was not: such nymphs were really very much alike because of their elemental limpidity since the similarities of young bodies of water are but murmurs of natural innocence and double-talk mirrors, that¡¯s my hat, his is older, but we have the same London hatter. (1.2)
The name of Demon¡¯s rival seems to hint at Onegin¡¯s Don stallion in Pushkin¡¯s Eugene Onegin (Two: V: 1-8):
§³§ß§Ñ§é§Ñ§Ý§Ñ §Ó§ã§Ö §Ü §ß§Ö§Þ§å §Ö§Ù§Ø§Ñ§Ý§Ú;
§¯§à §ä§Ñ§Ü §Ü§Ñ§Ü §ã §Ù§Ñ§Õ§ß§Ö§Ô§à §Ü§â§í§Ý§î§è§Ñ
§¦§Þ§å §Õ§à§ß§ã§Ü§à§Ô§à §Ø§Ö§â§Ö§Ò§è§Ñ,
§§Ú§ê§î §ä§à§Ý§î§Ü§à §Ó§Õ§à§Ý§î §Ò§à§Ý§î§ê§à§Û §Õ§à§â§à§Ô§Ú
§©§Ñ§ã§Ý§í§ê§Ú§ä §Ú§ç §Õ§à§Þ§Ñ§ê§ß§Ú §Õ§â§à§Ô§Ú, -
§±§à§ã§ä§å§á§Ü§à§Þ §à§ã§Ü§à§â§Ò§ñ§ã§î §ä§Ñ§Ü§Ú§Þ,
§£§ã§Ö §Õ§â§å§Ø§Ò§å §á§â§Ö§Ü§â§Ñ§ä§Ú§Ý§Ú §ã §ß§Ú§Þ.
At first they all would call on him,
but since to the back porch
there was habitually brought
a Don stallion for him
the moment that along the highway
one heard their homely shandrydans -
outraged by such behavior,
they all ceased to be friends with him.
Demon¡¯s and d¡¯Onsky¡¯s London hatter brings to mind staraya anglichanka (an old Englishwoman) mentioned by Khodasevich at the beginning of his essay on Mayakovski:
Imagine a horse impersonating an old Englishwoman¡