As he speaks to Cordula de Prey (Ada¡¯s schoolmate at Brownhill), Van mentions the Teuton and his petit topinambour:
She shook her short curls. No - she went there very seldom. Twice to a concert, in a pine forest. She had not been aware that Ada took music lessons. How was Ada?
'Lucette,' he said, 'Lucette takes or took piano lessons. Okay. Let's dismiss Kalugano. These crumpets are very poor relatives of the Chose ones. You're right, j'ai des ennuis. But you can make me forget them. Tell me something to distract me, though you distract me as it is, un petit topinambour as the Teuton said in the story. Tell me about your affairs of the heart.' (1.42)
Darkbloom (¡®Notes to Ada¡¯): topinambour: tuber of the girasole; pun on 'pun' ('calembour').
In a letter of Feb. 20, 1826, to Delvig Pushkin calls his and Delvig¡¯s Lyceum friend K¨¹chelbecker tevton Kyukhlya (¡°the Teuton Kyukhlya¡±):
§°§é§Ö§ß§î §Ò§Ý§Ñ§Ô§à§Õ§Ñ§â§Ö§ß §Ù§Ñ §ä§Ó§à§Ú §Ú§Ù§Ó§Ö§ã§ä§Ú§ñ, §â§Ñ§Õ§å§ð§ã§î, §é§ä§à §ä§Ö§Ó§ä§à§ß §¬§ð§ç§Ý§ñ §ß§Ö §Ò§í§Ý §³§Ý§Ñ§Ó§ñ§ß§Ú§ß ¡ª §Ñ §à§ç§Þ§Ö§Ý§Ö§Ý §Ó §é§å§Ø§à§Þ §á§Ú§â§å.
Pushkin is glad to learn that K¨¹chelbecker (who was arrested with other Decembrists) was not a Slav (i. e. rebel), but okhmelel v chuzhom piru (was innocent; literally: ¡°got drunk in others¡¯ feast¡±).
In a letter of Dec. 1-6, 1825, to K¨¹chelbecker Pushkin criticizes K¨¹chelbecker¡¯s comedy Shekspirovy dukhi (¡°Shakespeare¡¯s Spirits,¡± 1825) and in a footnote mentions calembour:
§±§â§Ö§Ø§Õ§Ö §é§Ö§Þ §á§à§Ò§Ý§Ñ§Ô§à§Õ§Ñ§â§ð §ä§Ö§Ò§ñ, §ç§à§é§å §ã §ä§à§Ò§à§ð §á§à§Ò§â§Ñ§ß§Ú§ä§î§ã§ñ. §±§à§Ý§å§é§Ú§Ó §ä§Ó§à§ð §Ü§à§Þ§Ö§Õ§Ú§ð, §ñ §ß§Ñ§Õ§Ö§ñ§Ý§ã§ñ §ß§Ñ§Û§ä§Ú §Ó §ß§Ö§Û §Ú §á§Ú§ã§î§Þ§à. §Á §ä§â§×§ã, §ä§â§×§ã §Ö§× §Ú §Ø§Õ§Ñ§Ý, §ß§Ö §Ó§í§á§Ñ§Õ§Ö§ä §Ý§Ú §ç§à§ä§î §é§Ö§ä§Ó§Ö§â§ä§å§ê§Ü§Ñ §á§à§é§ä§à§Ó§à§Û §Ò§å§Þ§Ñ§Ô§Ú; §ß§Ñ§á§â§Ñ§ã§ß§à: §ß§Ú§é§Ö§Ô§à §ß§Ö §Ó§í§Õ§â§à§é§Ú§Ý §Ú §ã§à §Ù§Ý§à§ã§ä§Ú §Õ§å§ç§à§Þ §á§â§à§é§×§Ý «§¥§å§ç§à§Ó»,* §ã§á§Ö§â§Ó§Ñ §á§â§à §ã§Ö§Ò§ñ, §Ñ §á§à§ä§à§Þ §Ú §Ó§ã§Ý§å§ç.
*Calembour! reconnais-tu le sang?
In his letter (that never reached the addressee, because he was soon arrested) Pushkin praises Caliban, a character in K¨¹chelbecker¡¯s comedy: §©§Ñ§ä§à §¬§Ñ§Ý§Ú§Ò§Ñ§ß ¡ª §á§â§Ö§Ý§Ö§ã§ä§î. According to Aqua (Marina¡¯s mad twin sister who imagined that she could understand the language of her namesake, water), ¡°bathwater (or shower) was too much of a Caliban to speak distinctly:¡±
Bathwater (or shower) was too much of a Caliban to speak distinctly ¡ª or perhaps was too brutally anxious to emit the hot torrent and get rid of the infernal ardor ¡ª to bother about small talk; but the burbly flowlets grew more and more ambitious and odious, and when at her first ¡®home¡¯ she heard one of the most hateful of the visiting doctors (the Cavalcanti quoter) garrulously pour hateful instructions in Russian-lapped German into her hateful bidet, she decided to stop turning on tap water altogether. (1.3)
The chapter in which Van describes his trip to Kalugano and his pistol duel with Captain Tapper in the Kalugano forest begins as follows:
Aqua used to say that only a very cruel or very stupid person, or innocent infants, could be happy on Demonia, our splendid planet. (1.42)
In a letter of Dec. 4, 1824, to his brother Lyov and to his sister Olga Pushkin complains that K¨¹chelbecker published his (Pushkin¡¯s) poem Demon (¡°The Demon,¡± 1823) incorrectly:
§¯§Ö §ã§ä§í§Õ§ß§à §Ý§Ú §¬§ð§ç§Ý§Ö §ß§Ñ§á§Ö§é§Ñ§ä§Ñ§ä§î §à§ê§Ú§Ò§à§é§ß§à §Þ§à§Ö§Ô§à «§¥§Ö§Þ§à§ß§Ñ»! §Þ§à§Ö§Ô§à «§¥§Ö§Þ§à§ß§Ñ»! §á§à§ã§Ý§Ö §ï§ä§à§Ô§à §à§ß §Ú «§£§Ö§â§å§ð» §ß§Ñ§á§Ö§é§Ñ§ä§Ñ§Ö§ä §à§ê§Ú§Ò§à§é§ß§à. §¯§Ö §Õ§Ñ§Ó§Ñ§ä§î §Ö§Þ§å §Ù§Ñ §ä§à §ß§Ú «§®§à§â§ñ», §ß§Ú §Ü§Ñ§á§Ý§Ú §ã§ä§Ú§ç§à§Ó §à§ä §Þ§Ö§ß§ñ.
Kalugano + bitva + parad + pater = Kaliban + otvaga + udar/dura/ruda + Tapper
Kaliban + tovar/otvar + Raduga = Kaluga + britva + ad + nora = Luga + kartina + voda + Abo
Kalugano + oblik = Kaliban + ugolok
Kalugano + Luga = Kaluga + Lugano
bitva - battle
parad - parade
pater - Pater
Kaliban - Caliban (in Russian spelling)
otvaga - courage
udar - blow; stroke, etc.
dura - fool (female)
ruda - ore
tovar - goods; wares
otvar - broth; decoction
britva - razor; a story (1926) by VN
ad - hell
nora - hole
kartina - picture
voda - water
Abo - Swedish name of Turku
oblik - look, aspect, appearance
ugolok - diminutive of ugol, corner; cf. Kak chasto my sideli v tyomnom ugolke i kazhetsya, chto v etom? (¡°How oft we sat together in a corner / And what harm might there be in that?¡±), Chatski¡¯s words to Sophia in Griboedov¡¯s play Gore ot uma (¡°Woe from Wit,¡± 1824) quoted by Marina (1.37); in his poem Uchast¡¯ russkikh poetov (¡°The Destiny of Russian Poets,¡± 1845) K¨¹chelbecker speaks of Pushkin, Griboedov and himself
To reach Kalugano Van has to change the train in Ladoga:
First, he decided to go to Kalugano to settle accounts with Herr Rack. Out of sheer misery he fell asleep in a corner of a compartment, full of alien legs and voices, in the crack express tearing north at a hundred miles per hour. He dozed till noon and got off at Ladoga, where after an incalculably long wait he took another, even more jerky and crowded train. (1.42)
Ladoga is the largest lake in Europe, NE of St. Petersburg. In K¨¹chelbecker¡¯s story Ado (1824) the action takes place in Estonia on the banks of Lake Peipus (Chudskoe ozero).