According to Greg Erminin, his wife Maude is Anglo-Scottish:
Van was about to leave when a smartly uniformed chauffeur came up to inform ‘my lord’ that his lady was parked at the corner of rue Saïgon and was summoning him to appear.
‘Aha,’ said Van, ‘I see you are using your British title. Your father preferred to pass for a Chekhovian colonel.’
‘Maude is Anglo-Scottish and, well, likes it that way. Thinks a title gets one better service abroad. By the way, somebody told me — yes, Tobak! — that Lucette is at the Alphonse Four. I haven’t asked you about your father? He’s in good health?’ (Van bowed,) ‘And how is the guvernantka belletristka?’
‘Her last novel is called L‘ami Luc. She just got the Lebon Academy Prize for her copious rubbish.’
They parted laughing. (3.2)
In Canto the Tenth (XVII) of Don Juan Lord Byron says that he is half a Scot by birth:
And when I use the phrase of "Auld Lang Syne!"
'Tis not address'd to you -- the more's the pity
For me, for I would rather take my wine
With you, than aught (save Scott) in your proud city.
But somehow, -- it may seem a schoolboy's whine,
And yet I seek not to be grand nor witty,
But I am half a Scot by birth, and bred
A whole one, and my heart flies to my head, --
In one of the preceding stanzas (Ten: XV: 1) Byron mentions “a legal broom.” According to Greg Erminin, the maiden name of his mother-in-law is Brougham:
‘I’m also very fat, yes?’
‘What about Grace, I can’t imagine her getting fat?’
‘Once twins, always twins. My wife is pretty portly, too.’
‘Tak tï zhenat (so you are married)? Didn’t know it. How long?’
‘About two years.’
‘The daughter of the poet?’
‘No, no, her mother is a Brougham.’
Might have replied ‘Ada Veen,’ had Mr Vinelander not been a quicker suitor. I think I met a Broom somewhere. Drop the subject. Probably a dreary union: hefty, high-handed wife, he more of a bore than ever. (3.2)
Van never met Vanda Broom, Ada’s lesbian schoolmate at Brownhill whose photograph Van saw in Cordula’s graduation album:
‘It’s a gruesome girl!’ she cried after the melodious adieux. ‘Her name is Vanda Broom, and I learned only recently what I never suspected at school — she’s a regular tribadka — poor Grace Erminin tells me Vanda used to make constant passes at her and at — at another girl. There’s her picture here,’ continued Cordula with a quick change of tone, producing a daintily bound and prettily printed graduation album of Spring, 1887, which Van had seen at Ardis, but in which he had not noticed the somber beetle-browed unhappy face of that particular girl, and now it did not matter any more, and Cordula quickly popped the book back into a drawer; but he remembered very well that among the various more or less coy contributions it contained a clever pastiche by Ada Veen mimicking Tolstoy’s paragraph rhythm and chapter closings; he saw clearly in mind her prim photo under which she had added one of her characteristic jingles:
In the old manor, I’ve parodied
Every veranda and room,
And jacarandas at Arrowhead
In supernatural bloom. (1.43)
Having parted with Greg Erminin, Van meets Cordula (who is now married to Ivan Giovannovich Tobak, the ship-owner whose patronymic hints at Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni) and they make love in a drab hotel across the street:
A moment later, as happens so often in farces and foreign cities, Van ran into another friend. With a surge of delight he saw Cordula in a tight scarlet skirt bending with baby words of comfort over two unhappy poodlets attached to the waiting-post of a sausage shop. Van stroked her with his fingertips, and as she straightened up indignantly and turned around (indignation instantly replaced by gay recognition), he quoted the stale but appropriate lines he had known since the days his schoolmates annoyed him with them:
The Veens speak only to Tobaks
But Tobaks speak only to dogs.
The passage of years had but polished her prettiness and though many fashions had come and gone since 1889, he happened upon her at a season when hairdos and skirtlines had reverted briefly (another much more elegant lady was already ahead of her) to the style of a dozen years ago, abolishing the interruption of remembered approval and pleasure. She plunged into a torrent of polite questions — but he had a more important matter to settle at once — while the flame still flickered.
‘Let’s not squander,’ he said, ‘the tumescence of retrieved time on the gush of small talk. I’m bursting with energy, if that’s what you want to know. Now look; it may sound silly and insolent but I have an urgent request. Will you cooperate with me in cornuting your husband? It’s a must!’
‘Really, Van!’ exclaimed angry Cordula. ‘You go a bit far. I’m a happy wife. My Tobachok adores me. We’d have ten children by now if I’d not been careful with him and others.’
‘You’ll be glad to learn that this other has been found utterly sterile.’
‘Well, I’m anything but. I guess I’d cause a mule to foal by just looking on. Moreover, I’m lunching today with the Goals.’
‘C’est bizarre, an exciting little girl like you who can be so tender with poodles and yet turns down a poor paunchy stiff old Veen.’
‘The Veens are much too gay as dogs go.’
‘Since you collect adages,’ persisted Van, ‘let me quote an Arabian one. Paradise is only one assbaa south of a pretty girl’s sash. Eh bien?’
‘You are impossible. Where and when?’
‘Where? In that drab little hotel across the street. When? Right now. I’ve never seen you on a hobbyhorse yet, because that’s what tout confort promises — and not much else.’
‘I must be home not later than eleven-thirty, it’s almost eleven now.’
‘It will take five minutes. Please!’
Astraddle, she resembled a child braving her first merry-go-round. She made a rectangular moue as she used that vulgar contraption. Sad, sullen streetwalkers do it with expressionless faces, lips tightly closed. She rode it twice. Their brisk nub and its repetition lasted fifteen minutes in all, not five. Very pleased with himself, Van walked with her for a stretch through the brown and green Bois de Belleau in the direction of her osobnyachyok (small mansion).
‘That reminds me,’ he said, ‘I no longer use our Alexis apartment. I’ve had some poor people live there these last seven or eight years — the family of a police officer who used to be a footman at Uncle Dan’s place in the country. My policeman is dead now and his widow and three boys have gone back to Ladore. I want to relinquish that flat. Would you like to accept it as a belated wedding present from an admirer? Good. We shall do it again some day. Tomorrow I have to be in London and on the third my favorite liner, Admiral Tobakoff, will take me to Manhattan. Au revoir. Tell him to look out for low lintels. Antlers can be very sensitive when new. Greg Erminin tells me that Lucette is at the Alphonse Four?’
‘That’s right. And where’s the other?’
‘I think we’ll part here. It’s twenty minutes to twelve. You’d better toddle along.’
‘Au revoir. You’re a very bad boy and I’m a very bad girl. But it was fun — even though you’ve been speaking to me not as you would to a lady friend but as you probably do to little whores. Wait. Here’s a top secret address where you can always’ — (fumbling in her handbag) — ‘reach me’ — (finding a card with her husband’s crest and scribbling a postal cryptograph) — ‘at Malbrook, Mayne, where I spend every August.’
She looked around, rose on her toes like a ballerina, and kissed him on the mouth. Sweet Cordula! (3.2)
Van’s phrase c’est bizarre brings to mind “dear bizarre aunt Maud” who raised Shade, the poet in VN’s novel Pale Fire (1962):
As she speaks to Van, Lucette mentions ‘Pale Fire with Tom Cox Up,’ a steeplechase picture that hangs above Cordula’s and her husband’s bed in their Tobakoff suit:
There hung, she said, a steeplechase picture of 'Pale Fire with Tom Cox Up' above dear Cordula's and Tobak's bed, in the suite 'wangled in one minute flat' from them, and she wondered how it affected the Tobaks' love life during sea voyages. (3.5)
In the ship’s grill bar Van and Lucette eat a roast bearlet à la Tobakoff:
They had huge succulent ‘grugru shrimps’ (the yellow larvae of a palm weevil) and roast bearlet à la Tobakoff. (ibid.)
In Pale Fire Kinbote says that Southey liked a roasted rat for supper:
This is replaced in the draft by the more significant--and more tuneful--variant:
the Head of our Department deemed
Although it may be taken to refer to the man (whoever he was) who occupied this post at the time Hazel Shade was a student, the reader cannot be blamed for applying it to Paul H., Jr., the fine administrator and inept scholar who since 1957 headed the English Department of Wordsmith College. We met now and then (see Foreword and note to line 894) but not often. The Head of the Department to which I belonged was Prof. Nattochdag--"Netochka" as we called the dear man. Certainly the migraines that have lately tormented me to such a degree that I once had to leave in the midst of a concert at which I happened to be sitting beside Paul H., Jr., should not have been a stranger's business. They apparently were, very much so. He kept his eye on me, and immediately upon John Shade's demise circulated a mimeographed letter that began:
Several members of the Department of English are painfully concerned over the date of a manuscript poem, or parts of a manuscript poem, left by the late John Shade. The manuscript fell into the hands of a person who not only is unqualified for the job of editing it, belonging as he does to another department, but is known to have a deranged mind. One wonders whether some legal action, etc.
"Legal action," of course, might be taken by somebody else too. But no matter; one's just anger is mitigated by the satisfaction of foreknowing that the engage gentleman will be less worried about the fate of my friend's poem after reading the passage commented here. Southey liked a roasted rat for supper--which is especially comic in view of the rats that devoured his Bishop. (note to Lines 376-377)
In Canto the Tenth (XIII) of Don Juan Byron mentions “shuffling Southey, that incarnate lie” (the Poet-laureate to whom Byron addresses in Don Juan: Dedication):
This were the worst desertion: -- renegadoes,
Even shuffling Southey, that incarnate lie,
Would scarcely join again the "reformadoes,"
Whom he forsook to fill the laureate's sty:
And honest men from Iceland to Barbadoes,
Whether in Caledon or Italy,
Should not veer round with every breath, nor seize
To pain, the moment when you cease to please.
Southey was a Lake poet (Byron wished that Southey and his friends would change their lakes for Ocean). Southey’s Bishop (from his God's Judgment on a Wicked Bishop, a ballad translated into Russian by Zhukovski as Sud bozhiy nad episkopom) brings to mind Doc Fitzbishop, the surgeon in the Kalugano Lakeview hospital who operates Van after his duel with Tapper. In the hospital Van visits Philip Rack (Lucette’s music teacher who was poisoned by his jealous wife and is dying in Ward Five) and calls him “a rotting rat:”
As you may guess by the plain but thoughtful trappings of this quiet room, you are an incurable case in one lingo, a rotting rat in another. No oxygen gadget can help you to eschew the "agony of agony" — Professor Lamort’s felicitous pleonasm. (1.42)
Professor Lamort’s pleonasm reminds one of Agonic Lines by Kithar Sween (the poet whom Van mentions in his conversation with Greg Erminin):
The Bourbonian-chinned, dark, sleek-haired, ageless concierge, dubbed by Van in his blazer days ‘Alphonse Cinq,’ believed he had just seen Mlle Veen in the R?camier room where Vivian Vale’s golden veils were on show. With a flick of coattail and a swing-gate click, Alphonse dashed out of his lodge and went to see. Van’s eye over his umbrella crook traveled around a carousel of Sapsucker paperbacks (with that wee striped woodpecker on every spine): The Gitanilla, Salzman, Salzman, Salzman, Invitation to a Climax, Squirt, The Go-go Gang, The Threshold of Pain, The Chimes of Chose, The Gitanilla — here a Wall Street, very ‘patrician’ colleague of Demon’s, old Kithar K.L. Sween, who wrote verse, and the still older real-estate magnate Milton Eliot, went by without recognizing grateful Van, despite his being betrayed by several mirrors.
The concierge returned shaking his head. Out of the goodness of his heart Van gave him a Goal guinea and said he’d call again at one-thirty. He walked through the lobby (where the author of Agonic Lines and Mr Eliot, affalés, with a great amount of jacket over their shoulders, dans des fauteuils, were comparing cigars) and, leaving the hotel by a side exit, crossed the rue des Jeunes Martyres for a drink at Ovenman’s. (3.3)
According to Van, Kithar Sween is also the author of The Waistline, a satire on Anglo-American feeding habits:
The last occasion on which Van had seen his father was at their house in the spring of 1904. Other people had been present: old Eliot, the real-estate man, two lawyers (Grombchevski and Gromwell), Dr Aix, the art expert, Rosalind Knight, Demon’s new secretary, and solemn Kithar Sween, a banker who at sixty-five had become an avant-garde author; in the course of one miraculous year he had produced The Waistline, a satire in free verse on Anglo-American feeding habits, and Cardinal Grishkin, an overtly subtle yarn extolling the Roman faith. (3.7)
In Pale Fire Kinbote mentions T. S. Eliot (the author of Sweeney Agonistes and The Waste Land who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948):
One of the examples her father gives is odd. I am quite sure it was I who one day, when we were discussing "mirror words," observed (and I recall the poet's expression of stupefaction) that "spider" in reverse is "redips," and "T.S. Eliot," "toilest." But then it is also true that Hazel Shade resembled me in certain respects. (note to Lines 347-348)
After her husband had divorced her, Cordula married a Baynard. In Part Four of Ada (Texture of Time) Ada tells Van about Cordula’s divorce and new marriage and Van mentions Scotch veterinaries who had had to saw off Tobak’s antlers:
‘When I was a kid,’ said Van, ‘and stayed for the first — or rather, second — time in Switzerland, I thought that "Verglas" on roadway signs stood for some magical town, always around the corner, at the bottom of every snowy slope, never seen, but biding its time. I got your cable in the Engadine where there are real magical places, such as Alraun or Alruna — which means a tiny Arabian demon in a German wizard’s mirror. By the way, we have the old apartment upstairs with an additional bedroom, number five-zero-eight.’
‘Oh dear. I’m afraid you must cancel poor 508. If I stayed for the night, 510 would do for both of us, but I’ve got bad news for you. I can’t stay. I must go back to Geneva directly after dinner to retrieve my things and maids, whom the authorities have apparently put in a Home for Stray Females because they could not pay the absolutely medieval new droits de douane — isn’t Switzerland in Washington State, sort of, après tout? Look, don’t scowl’ — (patting his brown blotched hand on which their shared birthmark had got lost among the freckles of age, like a babe in autumn woods, on peut les suivre en reconnaissant only Mascodagama’s disfigured thumb and the beautiful almond-shaped nails) — ‘I promise to get in touch with you in a day or two, and then we’ll go on a cruise to Greece with the Baynards — they have a yacht and three adorable daughters who still swim in the tan, okay?’
‘I don’t know what I loathe more,’ he replied, ‘yachts or Baynards; but can I help you in Geneva?’
He could not. Baynard had married his Cordula, after a sensational divorce — Scotch veterinaries had had to saw off her husband’s antlers (last call for that joke).
Describing his performance as Mascodagama, Van compares it to Ada’s castle of cards:
It was Ada's castle of cards. It was the standing of a metaphor on its head not for the sake of the trick's difficulty, but in order to perceive an ascending waterfall or a sunrise in reverse: a triumph, in a sense, over the ardis of time. (1.30)
Soon after Van’s first arrival at Ardis Ada was building a house of cards:
'Fine,' said Van, 'that's certainly fascinating; but I was thinking of the first time you might have suspected I was also a sick pig or horse. I am recalling,' he continued, 'the round table in the round rosy glow and you kneeling next to me on a chair. I was perched on the chair's swelling arm and you were building a house of cards, and your every movement was magnified, of course, as in a trance, dream-slow but also tremendously vigilant, and I positively reveled in the girl odor of your bare arm and in that of your hair which now is murdered by some popular perfume. I date the event around June 10 - a rainy evening less than a week after my first arrival at Ardis.'
'I remember the cards,' she said, 'and the light and the noise of the rain, and your blue cashmere pullover - but nothing else, nothing odd or improper, that came later. Besides, only in French love stories les messieurs hument young ladies.'
'Well, I did while you went on with your delicate work. Tactile magic. Infinite patience. Fingertips stalking gravity. Badly bitten nails, my sweet. Forgive these notes, I cannot really express the discomfort of bulky, sticky desire. You see I was hoping that when your castle toppled you would make a Russian splash gesture of surrender and sit down on my hand.'
'It was not a castle. It was a Pompeian Villa with mosaics and paintings inside, because I used only court cards from Grandpa's old gambling packs. Did I sit down on your hot hard hand?'
'On my open palm, darling. A pucker of paradise. You remained still for a moment, fitting my cup. Then you rearranged your limbs and reknelt.'
'Quick, quick, quick, collecting the flat shining cards again to build again, again slowly? We were abominably depraved, weren't we?'
'All bright kids are depraved. I see you do recollect -'
'Not that particular occasion, but the apple tree, and when you kissed my neck, et tout le reste. And then - zdravstvuyte: apofeoz, the Night of the Burning Barn!' (1.18)
Walter Campbell (Kinbote’s tutor who is a Scotsman) would have called Ada’s castle of cards “a hurley-house:”
A Commentary where placid scholarship should reign is not the place for blasting the preposterous defects of that little obituary. I have only mentioned it because that is where I gleaned a few meager details concerning the poet’s parents. His father, Samuel Shade, who died at fifty, in 1902, had studied medicine in his youth and was vice-president of a firm of surgical instruments in Exton. His chief passion, however, was what our eloquent necrologist calls “the study of the feathered tribe,” adding that “a bird had been named for him: Bombycilla Shadei” (this should be “shadei,” of course). The poet’s mother, nee Caroline Lukin, assisted him in his work and drew the admirable figures of his Birds of Mexico, which I remember having seen in my friend’s house. What the obituarist does not know is that Lukin comes from Luke, as also do Locock and Luxon and Lukashevich. It represents one of the many instances when the amorphous-looking but live and personal hereditary patronymic grows, sometimes in fantastic shapes, around the common pebble of a Christian name. The Lukins are an old Essex family. Other names derive from professions such as Rymer, Scrivener, Limner (one who illuminates parchments), Botkin (one who makes bottekins, fancy footwear) and thousands of others. My tutor, a Scotsman, used to call any old tumble-down building “a hurley-house.” But enough of this. (note to Line 71)
At Wordsmith College Professor Hurley (Paul H., Jr., a fine administrator but inept scholar beside whom Kinbote was sitting at a concert) is the head of the English Department.
Describing the Night of the Burning Barn when he and Ada make love for the first time, Van (who draped himself in his tartan lap robe) calls himself “Ramses the Scotsman:”
‘Can one see anything, oh, can one see?’ the dark-haired child kept repeating, and a hundred barns blazed in her amber-black eyes, as she beamed and peered in blissful curiosity. He relieved her of her candlestick, placing it near his own longer one on the window ledge. ‘You are naked, you are dreadfully indecent,’ she observed without looking and without any emphasis or reproof, whereupon he cloaked himself tighter, Ramses the Scotsman, as she knelt beside him. For a moment they both contemplated the romantic night piece framed in the window. He had started to stroke her, shivering, staring ahead, following with a blind man’s hand the dip of her spine through the batiste.
‘Look, gipsies,’ she whispered, pointing at three shadowy forms — two men, one with a ladder, and a child or dwarf — circumspectly moving across the gray lawn. They saw the candlelit window and decamped, the smaller one walking à reculons as if taking pictures. (1.19)
Van does not realize that Ada, who wanted to spend the night with him, has bribed Kim Beauharnais (the kitchen boy and photographer at Ardis) to set the barn on fire. In Southey’s ballad Bishop Hatto sets fire to his barn and burns the poor folk in it:
At last Bishop Hatto appointed a day
To quiet the poor without delay;
He bade them to his great Barn repair,
And they should have food for the winter there.
Rejoiced such tidings good to hear,
The poor folk flock'd from far and near;
The great barn was full as it could hold
Of women and children, and young and old.
Then when he saw it could hold no more,
Bishop Hatto he made fast the door;
And while for mercy on Christ they call,
He set fire to the Barn and burnt them all.
In the same chapter of Ada that immediately precedes the Night of the Burning Barn Van mentions Drongo, “a very sick horse:”
And she remembered blushing painfully when somebody said poor Pig had a very sick mind and ‘a hardening of the artery,’ that is how she heard it, or perhaps ‘heartery’; but she also knew, even then, that the artery could become awfully long, for she had seen Drongo, a black horse, looking, she must confess, most dejected and embarrassed by what was happening to it right in the middle of a rough field with all the daisies watching. She thought, arch Ada said (how truthfully, was another question), that a foal was dangling, with one black rubber leg free, out of Drongo’s belly because she did not understand that Drongo was not a mare at all and had not got a pouch as the kangaroo had in an illustration she worshipped, but then her English nurse explained that Drongo was a very sick horse and everything fell into place. (1.8)
An anagram of Gordon, Drongo seems to hint at George Gordon Byron. On the other hand, in his Commentary Kinbote mentions Gordon, Mr. Lavender’s nephew who shows to Gradus the garden of Lavender’s villa:
From a window seat a gaunt jet-glittering lady stiffly arose and introduced herself as the governess of Mr. Lavender's nephew. Gradus mentioned his eagerness to see Lavender's sensational collection: this aptly defined its pictures of love-making in orchards, but the governess (whom the King had always called to her pleased face Mademoiselle Belle instead of Mademoiselle Baud) hastened to confess her total ignorance of her employer's hobbies and treasures and suggested the visitor's taking a look at the garden: "Gordon will show you his favorite flowers," she said, and called into the next room "Gordon!" Rather reluctantly there came out a slender but strong-looking lad of fourteen or fifteen dyed a nectarine hue by the sun. He had nothing on save a leopard-spotted loincloth. His closely cropped hair was a tiny lighter than his skin. His lovely bestial face wore an expression both sullen and sly. Our preoccupied plotter did not register any of these details and merely experienced a general impression of indecency. "Gordon is a musical prodigy," said Miss Baud, and the boy winced. "Gordon, will you show the garden to this gentleman?" The boy acquiesced, adding he would take a dip if nobody minded. He put on his sandals and led the way out. Through light and shade walked the strange pair: the graceful boy wreathed about the loins with ivy and the seedy killer in his cheap brown suit with a folded newspaper sticking out of his left-hand coat pocket.
"That's the Grotto," said Gordon. "I once spent the night here with a friend." Gradus let his indifferent glance enter the mossy recess where one could glimpse a collapsible mattress with a dark stain on its orange nylon. The boy applied avid lips to a pipe of spring water and wiped his wet hands on his black bathing trunks. Gradus consulted his watch. They strolled on. "You have not seen anything yet," said Gordon.
Although the house possessed at least half-a-dozen water closets, Mr. Lavender in fond memory of his grandfather's Delaware farm, had installed a rustic privy under the tallest poplar of his splendid garden, and for chosen guests, whose sense of humor could stand it, he would unhook from the comfortable neighborhood of the billiard room fireplace a heart-shaped, prettily embroidered bolster to take with them to the throne.
The door was open and across its inner side a boy's hand had scrawled in charcoal: The King was here.
"That's a fine visiting card," remarked Gradus with a forced laugh. "By the way, where is he now, that king?"
"Who knows," said the boy striking his flanks clothed in white tennis shorts, "that was last year. I guess he was heading for the Cote d'Azur, but I am not sure."
Dear Gordon lied, which was nice of him. He knew perfectly well that his big friend was no longer in Europe; but dear Gordon should not have brought up the Riviera matter which happened to be true and the mention of which caused Gradus, who knew that Queen Disa had a palazzo there, to mentally slap his brow. (note to Line 408)
Like Gordon, Van’s and Ada’s uncle Ivan (Marina’s and Aqua’s brother who died young and famous) was a musical prodigy. On a picture in Marina’s bedroom he is clad in a bayronka (open shirt, a pay on tolstovka, a blouse):
A formal photograph, on a separate page: Adochka, pretty and impure in her flimsy, and Vanichka in gray-flannel suit, with slant-striped school tie, facing the kimera (chimera, camera) side by side, at attention, he with the shadow of a forced grin, she, expressionless. Both recalled the time (between the first tiny cross and a whole graveyard of kisses) and the occasion: it was ordered by Marina, who had it framed and set up in her bedroom next to a picture of her brother at twelve or fourteen clad in a bayronka (open shirt) and cupping a guinea pig in his gowpen (hollowed hands); the three looked like siblings, with the dead boy providing a vivisectional alibi. (2.7)
There is Kim in kimera (Van and Ada watch the photographs in Kim Beauharnais’ album).
In his Index to PF Kinbote mentions Gordon’s surname, Krummholz:
Krummholz, Gordon, b. 1944, a musical prodigy and an amusing pet; son of Joseph Lavender's famous sister, Elvina Krummholz, 408.
In German Krummholz means “crooked wood.” Traveling with Lucette onboard The Admiral Tobakoff Van curses nature for having planted a gnarled tree bursting with vile sap within a man’s crotch:
Her half-veiled gaze dwelt upon him with heavy, opaque greed, and she was right, they were really quite alone, he had possessed Marion Armborough behind her uncle’s back in much more complex circumstances, what with the motorboat jumping like a flying fish and his host keeping a shotgun near the steering wheel. Joylessly, he felt the stout snake of desire weightily unwind; grimly, he regretted not having exhausted the fiend in Villa Venus. He accepted the touch of her blind hand working its way up his thigh and cursed nature for having planted a gnarled tree bursting with vile sap within a man’s crotch. Suddenly Lucette drew away, exhaling a genteel ‘merde.’ Eden was full of people. (3.5)
Marion Armborough’s uncle is the governor of Armenia. During his stay in Venice Byron (the author of To Marion, 1807) learnt the Armenian language.
In PF Kinbote leaves Zembla in a powerful motorboat.