As she speaks to Van, Lucette mentions a box of korsetov i khrestomatiy (corsets and chrestomathies) left behind by Mlle Larivire (Lucettes governess):


Oh, it went on practically every night at Marina Ranch, and often during siestas; otherwise, in between those vanouissements (her expression), or when she and I had the flow, which, believe it or not

I can believe anything, said Van.

took place at coincident dates, we were just ordinary sisters, exchanging routine nothings, having little in common, she collecting cactuses or running through her lines for the next audition in Sterva, and I reading a lot, or copying beautiful erotic pictures from an album of Forbidden Masterpieces that we found, apropos, in a box of korsetov i khrestomatiy (corsets and chrestomathies) which Belle had left behind, and I can assure you, they were far more realistic than the scroll-painting by Mong Mong, very active in 888, a millennium before Ada said it illustrated Oriental calisthenics when I found it by chance in the corner of one of my ambuscades. (2.5)


In her autobiographical story Moy Pushkin (My Pushkin, 1937) Marina Tsvetaev mentions her half-brother Andreys khrestomatiya (chrestomathy) full of Bagrov grandson, Bagrov grandfather, etc.:  


ߧէڧߧ ֧ާѧڧ ҧݧ ߧ֧ާߧ֧ߧߧ-ݧѧ, ֧ ѧڧѧݧ ѧԧӧ-ӧߧܧ ѧԧӧ-է֧է, ݧڧѧէ֧ ާѧ֧, էѧ֧ ާ ԧէ ֧ҧקߧܧ, ӧ֧ ҧ֧٧ާߧ ݧҧӧ ԧ ֧ҧקߧܧ, ӧקէѧާ ҧ, ݧӧڧާ էѧݧڧӧ ާݧէ , - " ߧ ڧ?" - ڧܧݧ֧ߧܧ, ӧ֧ާ ֧ާ ԧߧڧާ ҧ٧ާ, ӧ֧ާ ݧڧڧ֧ܧڧާ ѧާ ڧ.


In her poem Bohme (1917) Marina Tsvetaev mentions her belyi korset (white corset), karta vin (carte des vins) and stulya (chairs):


ާߧڧ ݧѧ ԧݧҧ,
ߧѧ ݧا?
ѧ ڧԧѧݧ ҧ
ا֧ߧ ާا.


֧ӧ ҧѧݧ֧,
ҧ֧ݧ ܧ֧,
ӧ ާѧݧڧߧӧ اڧݧ֧,
ѧ ܧݧ֧ѧ ݧ֧?!


, ӧݧ էҧ,
ڧѧ ߧ֧.
ӧѧڧݧ ҧҧ
ߧާ .


ѧ ߧѧ ܧѧ ӧڧ
ߧ ѧݧ էݧ,
ѧ էާڧ ܧѧާڧ
ݧ֧֧ݧ ݧ.


ާߧڧ ܧѧ ֧?
ݧ ҧ ѧߧߧ!
ѧ, ӧ ާ֧,
ߧ֧ էާ٧ڧߧ.


ѧ ѧ ߧѧ ֧,
ݧ֧ۧ ѧ٧ҧا֧ߡ
֧ݧ ҧ֧,
ڧ ߧ اڧߡ


֧ӧ ҧѧݧ֧,
ҧ֧ݧ ܧ֧,
ӧ ާѧݧڧߧӧ اڧݧ֧
ѧ ܧݧ֧ѧ ݧ֧ա


Marina Tsvetaevs poem begins:


Do you remember the blue cloak,

Street lamps and puddles?

How we played

In wife and husband.


Demons adversary in a sword duel, Baron dOnsky (Skonky) married the Bohemian lady:


The challenge was accepted; two native seconds were chosen; the Baron plumped for swords; and after a certain amount of good blood (Polish and Irish - a kind of American 'Gory Mary' in barroom parlance) had bespattered two hairy torsoes, the whitewashed terrace, the flight of steps leading backward to the walled garden in an amusing Douglas d'Artagnan arrangement, the apron of a quite accidental milkmaid, and the shirtsleeves of both seconds, charming Monsieur de Pastrouil and Colonel St Alin, a scoundrel, the latter gentlemen separated the panting combatants, and Skonky died, not 'of his wounds' (as it was viciously rumored) but of a gangrenous afterthought on the part of the least of them, possibly self-inflicted, a sting in the groin, which caused circulatory trouble, notwithstanding quite a few surgical interventions during two or three years of protracted stays at the Aardvark Hospital in Boston - a city where, incidentally, he married in 1869 our friend the Bohemian lady, now keeper of Glass Biota at the local museum. (ibid.)


In Ilf and Petrovs novel Zolotoy telyonok (The Golden Calf, 1931) the fat samovar face of Douglas Fairbanks (the actor who played dArtagnan in a Hollywood version of The Three Musketeers) is mentioned:


ѧ ٧էѧߧڧ ڧԧѧڧ ܧާڧڧ ٧ѧѧݧ ѧҧ ݧߧ ѧ٧ԧѧ. ڧݧ ݧڧݧӧ ݧѧާ, ݧܧڧ ֧ѧߧ ާѧڧߧ ٧ѧҧ֧ߧߧ ݧѧݧ ܧݧާ. ڧ ߧڧ ӧ֧ܧѧݧ ֧ݧ էߧ ܧѧܧ, ڧ ֧ӧ֧, ާߧԧܧѧߧ, ݧӧߧ ܧѧ ڧ ܧѧӧ ݧ֧, ӧݧ֧ѧݧ ܧܧ ֧ѧާ ԧݧѧ ֧ҧ֧ߧܧ קߧ ݧާѧܧ ߧ ݧ ѧާӧѧߧ ާէ, ѧӧѧ֧ݧߧ ڧ է ݧѧӧߧԧ ާѧݧԧ ӧѧѧ֧ߧߧާ ԧݧѧ٧ѧާ, ڧ٧ӧ֧ߧԧ ڧާ֧ߧ֧ ߧ ֧ߧܧ.


Three of them [printing presses] were spitting out monochrome pictures of the canyon, while out of a fourth, multicolored press, like cards out of a card sharps sleeve, there flew postcards of Douglas Fairbanks with a black half-mask over his fat samovar face, the charming Lia de Putti and the famous little bug-eyed man known as Monty Banks. (Chapter Five, "The Underground Kingdom")


In Ilf and Petrovs novel Dvenadtsat stulyev (The Twelve Chairs, 1928) Father Fyodor calls the eagle that stole his sausage sterva (bitch of a bird):


ݧ ҧݧѧܧ. ѧ קէ ܧاڧݧڧ ݧ. ѧާ ާ֧ݧ ڧ ߧڧ ܧѧ ѧ ݧҧڧ֧ݧܧ ܧݧҧѧ ӧ٧ާѧ ܧݧ ҧڧ ֧ߧڧۧ ֧֧ ߧ ݧ ݧ֧ҧ. ֧ קէ ԧ٧ڧ ݧ ѧݧ֧ , ݧ֧٧ѧߧ ݧҧѧ, ֧ѧ:

ڧܧ ҧاڧ ߧ ٧ߧѧ֧ ߧ ٧ѧҧ, ߧ է, ݧݧڧӧ ߧ ӧڧӧѧ֧ էݧԧӧ֧ߧԧ ԧߧ֧٧է. ק ܧڧݧ ߧ קէ, ٧ѧܧڧѧ «ܧ-ܧ--ܧ» ݧ֧֧.

, ݧ, ݧ, ҧݧѧ ֧ӧ!


Clouds drifted by. Eagles cruised above Father Fyodors head. The bravest of them stole the remains of the sausage  and with its wings swept a pound and a half of bread into the foaming Terek. Father Fyodor wagged his finger at the eagle and, smiling radiantly, whispered: "God's bird does not know Either toil or unrest, It never builds A long-lasting nest."

The eagle looked sideways at Father Fyodor, squawked cockadoodledoo and flew away.

"Oh, eagle, you eagle, you bitch of a bird!" (chapter 38 Up in the Clouds)


Father Fyodor quotes the lines from Pushkins poem Tsygany (The Gypsies, 1824). In My Pushkin Marina Tsvetaev also quotes them and says that they about a butterfly:


ڧܧ اڧ ߧ ٧ߧѧ֧

٧ѧҧ, ߧ է,

ݧݧڧӧ ߧ ӧڧӧѧ֧

ݧԧӧ֧ߧԧ ԧߧ֧٧է.


ѧ ا ߧ ԧէ է֧ݧѧ֧? ܧ ا ԧէ ӧק ԧߧ֧٧է? ֧ ݧ ӧҧ ѧܧڧ ڧܧ, ܧާ ܧܧܧ, ܧѧ ߧ ڧܧ, ֧ݧѧ ڧڧ? ڧ ӧߧ ߧѧڧѧߧ ҧѧҧܧ.


Marina Tsvetaev mentions kukushka (cuckoo), a bird that lays its eggs in other birds nests. Marina (Vans, Adas and Lucettes mother) made her mad twin sister Aqua believe that Van is her, Aquas, beloved son.


Sterva (the word of abuse used by Father Fyodor; Lucette mentions Adas auditions in Sterva) is an anagram of versta (verst), an obsolete Russian unit of length equal to 500 sazhen (1,0668 km). Vyorsty (The Versts) is the title of several collections of poetry by Marina Tsvetaev. According to Van, the distance between Raduga and Radugalet (the other Ardis) is ten versts:


It was, Van suggested, a tower in the mist (as she called any good recollection), and then a conductor walked on the running board of every coach with the train also running and opened doors all over again to give, punch, collect tickets, and lick his thumb, and change money, a hell of a job, but another mauve tower. Did they hire a motor landaulet to Radugalet? Ten miles, she guessed. Ten versts, said Van. She stood corrected. (1.24)


Vans ten versts bring to mind Aquas ten fingers:


You know, Doctor, I think Ill need glasses soon, I dont know (lofty laugh), I just cant make out what my wrist watch says... For heavens sake, tell me what it says! Ah! Half-past for for what? Never mind, never mind, "never" and "mind" are twins, I have a twin sister and a twin son. I know you want to examine my pudendron, the Hairy Alpine Rose in her album, collected ten years ago (showing her ten fingers gleefully, proudly, ten is ten!). (1.3)


Marina Tsvetaev was short-sighted.


"Tower in the mist" and "mauve tower" seem to hint at Marina Tsvetaev's autobiographical story Bashnya v plyushche ("The Tower in Ivy," 1933) and at "mauve shades of Monsieur Proust" in Ada's entomological diary:


'I think Marina would stop scolding me for my hobby ("There's something indecent about a little girl's keeping such revolting pets...," "Normal young ladies should loathe snakes and worms," et cetera) if I could persuade her to overcome her old-fashioned squeamishness and place simultaneously on palm and pulse (the hand alone would not be roomy enough!) the noble larva of the Cattleya Hawkmoth (mauve shades of Monsieur Proust), a seven-inch-long colossus flesh colored, with turquoise arabesques, rearing its hyacinth head in a stiff "Sphinxian" attitude.' (1.8)


Cattleya is any of several tropical American orchids of the genus Cattleya, having showy flowers ranging from white to purple. In Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu "cattleya" is Swann's and Odette's "tender turret" word for their love-makings. In "My Pushkin" Marina Tsvetaev pairs Pushkin with Marcel Proust:


ѧܧ ߧ֧اߧ ݧӧ ѧ ߧѧݧڧ ݧܧ ߧ֧էѧӧߧ ާѧӧ֧ԧ  ߧѧ ԧ֧ߧڧ - ѧ֧ݧ . ܧڧ. . ӧ ѧާߧڧܧ ߧӧߧ.


According to Marina Tsvetaev, Pushkin and Proust are two monuments of synovnost (filial affection). The author of Stikhi k Chekhii (Verses to Czechoslovakia, 1939), Marina Tsvetaev lived in Prague after leaving Russia in 1922. VNs mother spent her last years and in 1939 died in Prague.


Karta vin (carte des vins) mentioned by Marina Tsvetaev in her poem Bohme brings to mind the cart de van demanded by Adas husband at the dinner in Bellevue:


Lemorio's agents, an elderly couple, unwed but having lived as man and man for a sufficiently long period to warrant a silver-screen anniversary, remained unsplit at table between Yuzlik, who never once spoke to them, and Van, who was being tortured by Dorothy. As to Andrey (who made a thready 'sign of the cross' over his un-unbuttonable abdomen before necking in his napkin), he found himself seated between sister and wife. He demanded the 'cart de van' (affording the real Van mild amusement), but, being a hard-liquor man, cast only a stunned look at the 'Swiss White' page of the wine list before 'passing the buck' to Ada who promptly ordered champagne. (3.8)


Darkbloom (Notes to Ada): cart de van: Amer., mispronunciation of carte des vins.


Yuzlik is the director who filmed Don Juans Last Fling, the movie in which Ada played the gitanilla. Van and Lucette watch it in the Tobakoff cinema hall on the eve of Lucettes suicide (3.5). Andrey Andreevich Vinelander (Adas husband) is a namesake of Andrey Andreevich Aksakov (AAA, Vans angelic Russian tutor). Describing the first occasion on which Ada saw him, Van mentions his tutor and Bagrovs grandson:


He [Van] was out, he imagined, na progulke (promenading) in the gloomy firwood with Aksakov, his tutor, and Bagrovs grandson, a neighbors boy, whom he teased and pinched and made horrible fun of, a nice quiet little fellow who quietly massacred moles and anything else with fur on, probably pathological. (1.24)


Yuzlik + kovcheg + Orlik = yug + Kozlevich + Krolik


kovcheg - ark; in The Twelve Chairs (chapter 32 A Shady Couple) kovcheg is mentioned

Orlik - Filipp Orlik, a character in Pushkin's Poltava (1829) 

yug - South

Kozlevich - Adam Kozlevich, a character in Ilf and Petrov's "The Golden Calf" (the driver of the Antelope Gnu car)

Krolik - Dr Krolik, Ada's teacher of natural history (the local entomologist whom Ada calls my court jeweler); krolik means rabbit; in Bloks Incognita (1906) the drunks with the eyes of rabbits (pyanitsy s glazami krolikov) cry out: In vino veritas!


Alexey Sklyarenko

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