On the following day Ada informed her mother that Lucette badly needed a bath and that she would give it to her, whether her governess liked it or not. 'Horosho,' said Marina (while getting ready to receive a neighbor and his prot¨¦g¨¦, a young actor, in her best Dame Marina style), 'but the temperature should be kept at exactly twenty-eight (as it had been since the eighteenth century) and don't let her stay in it longer than ten or twelve minutes.' (1.23)
In the sense used by Marina the word khorosho means ¡°all right.¡± Khorosho! ("Good!" 1927) is a poem by Mayakovski written for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. It is parodied by VN in Istreblenie tiranov ("Tyrants Destroyed," 1938):
§±§â§Ñ§Ù§Õ§ß§Ú§Ü, §Ü§Ñ§Ü §ñ §å§Ø§Ö §Ô§à§Ó§à§â§Ú§Ý, §â§Ñ§Ù§Ô§à§â§Ñ§Ý§ã§ñ, §Ú §Ó§Ö§ã§î §Þ§à§Ü§â§í§Û §à§ä §ã§Ý§×§Ù §Ú §ã§Þ§Ö§ç§Ñ §ñ §ã§ä§à§ñ§Ý §å §à§Ü§ß§Ñ, §ã§Ý§å§ê§Ñ§ñ §ã§ä§Ú§ç§Ú §ß§Ñ§ê§Ö§Ô§à §Ý§å§é§ê§Ö§Ô§à §á§à§ï§ä§Ñ, §Ü§à§ä§à§â§í§Ö §Õ§Ö§Ü§Ý§Ñ§Þ§Ú§â§à§Ó§Ñ§Ý §á§à §â§Ñ§Õ§Ú§à §é§å§Õ§ß§í§Û §Ñ§Ü§ä§×§â§ã§Ü§Ú§Û §Ô§à§Ý§à§ã, §ã §Ò§Ñ§â§Ú§ä§à§ß§Ñ§Ý§î§ß§à§Û §Ú§Ô§â§à§Û §Ó §Ü§Ñ§Ø§Õ§à§Û §ã§Ü§Ý§Ñ§Õ§à§é§Ü§Ö:
§·§à§â§à§ê§à-§ã,-- §Ñ §á§à§Þ§ß§Ú§ä§Ö, §Ô§â§Ñ§Ø§Õ§Ñ§ß§Ö,
§¬§Ñ§Ü §ç§Ú§â§Ö§Ý §ß§Ñ§ê §Ü§â§Ñ§Û §Ò§Ö§Ù §à§ä§è§Ñ?
§´§Ñ§Ü §Ò§Ö§Ù §ç§Þ§Ö§Ý§ñ §ã§Ú§Ý§î§ß§Ö§Û§ê§Ñ§ñ §Ø§Ñ§Ø§Õ§Ñ
§¯§Ö §ã§à§Ù§Õ§Ñ§ã§ä §ß§Ú §á§Ú§Ó§è§Ñ, §ß§Ú §á§Ö§Ó§è§Ñ.
§£§à§à§Ò§â§Ñ§Ù§Ú§ä§Ö, §ß§Ú §â§Ö§á §ß§Ö§ä,
§¯§Ú §Ò§Ñ§Ü§Ý§Ñ§Ø§Ñ§ß§à§Ó, §ß§Ú §Ò§â§ð§Ü§Ó...
§´§Ñ§Ü §Ú §á§Ö§ã§ß§ñ, §é§ä§à §Õ§ß§Ö§ã§î §å §ß§Ñ§ã §Ü§â§Ö§á§ß§Ö§ä,
§©§Ñ§Õ§í§ç§Ñ§Ý§Ñ§ã§î §Ó §Ý§å§Ü§à§Ó§Ü§Ñ§ç §Ò§å§Ü§Ó.
§º§Ý§Ú §Þ§í §ä§â§à§á§Ú§ß§à§Û §Ú§ã§ä§à§â§Ö§ß§ß§à§Û,
§¤§à§â§î§Ü§Ú§Ö §Ö§Ý§Ú §Ô§â§Ú§Ò§í,
§±§à§Ü§Ñ §Ó§à§â§à§ä§Ñ §Ú§ã§ä§à§â§Ú§Ú
§¯§Ö §Õ§â§à§Ô§ß§å§Ý§Ú §à§ä §Ü§à§Ý§à§ä§î§Ò§í!
§±§à§Ü§Ñ, §Ò§Ö§Ý§Ú§Ù§ß§à§ð §Ü§Ú§ä§Ö§Ý§î§ß§à§Û
§³§Ú§ñ§ñ §Ó§Ö§â§ß§í§Þ §ã§í§ß§Ñ§Þ,
§³ §å§Ý§í§Ò§Ü§à§Û §ã§Ó§à§Ö§Û §å§Õ§Ú§Ó§Ú§ä§Ö§Ý§î§ß§à§Û
§±§â§Ñ§Ó§Ú§ä§Ö§Ý§î §ß§Ö §Ó§í§ê§Ö§Ý §Ü §ß§Ñ§Þ.
The festivities, as I have said, were spreading; I stood at the window, my whole being drenched with tears and convulsed with laughter, listening to the verses of our foremost poet, declaimed on the radio by an actor¡¯s juicy voice, replete with baritone modulation:
Now then, citizens,
You remember how long
Our land wilted without a Father?...
Thus, without hops, no matter how strong
One¡¯s thirst, it is rather
Difficult, isn¡¯t it,
To make both the beer and the drinking song!
Just imagine, we lacked potatoes,
No turnips, no beets could we get:
Thus the poem, now blooming, wasted
In the bulbs of the alphabet!
A well-trodded road we had taken,
Bitter toadstools we ate.
Until by great thumps was shaking
Until in his trim white tunic
Which upon us its radiance cast,
With his wonderful smile the Ruler
Came before his subjects at last! (chapter 16)
In the original, the verses of our foremost poet begin with the word khorosho-s ("now then").
In a letter of May 10-20, 1866, to Fet Tolstoy says that he hopes to finish his new novel (now known as ¡°War and Peace¡±) that he will entitle Vsyo khorosho, chto khorosho konchaetsya (¡°All's Well that Ends Well¡±) by the beginning of 1867:
§²§à§Þ§Ñ§ß §ã§Ó§à§Û §ñ §ß§Ñ§Õ§Ö§ð§ã§î §Ü§à§ß§é§Ú§ä§î §Ü 1867 §Ô§à§Õ§å §Ú §ß§Ñ§á§Ö§é§Ñ§ä§Ñ§ä§î §Ó§Ö§ã§î §à§ä§Õ§Ö§Ý§î§ß§à §ã §Ü§Ñ§â§ä§Ú§ß§Ü§Ñ§Þ§Ú, §Ü[§à§ä§à§â§í]§Ö §å §Þ§Ö§ß§ñ §å§Ø §Ù§Ñ§Ü§Ñ§Ù§Ñ§ß§í, §é§Ñ§ã§ä§î§ð §ß§Ñ§â§Ú§ã§à§Ó§Ñ§ß§í §¢§Ñ§ê§Ú§Ý§à§Ó§í§Þ (§ñ §à§é§Ö§ß§î §Õ§à§Ó§à§Ý§Ö§ß §Ú§Þ§Ú) §Ú §á§à§Õ §Ù§Ñ§Ô§Ý§Ñ§Ó§Ú§Ö§Þ: «§£§ã§× §ç§à§â§à§ê§à, §é§ä§à §ç§à§â§à§ê§à §Ü§à§ß§é§Ñ§Ö§ä§ã§ñ».
While Lucette soaks in the tub, Van and Ada make love in the bathroom¡¯s hidden nook:
The two elder children, having locked the door of the L-shaped bathroom from the inside, now retired to the seclusion of its lateral part, in a corner between a chest of drawers and an old unused mangle, which the sea-green eye of the bathroom looking-glass could not reach; but barely had they finished their violent and uncomfortable exertions in that hidden nook, with an empty medicine bottle idiotically beating time on a shelf, when Lucette was already calling resonantly from the tub and the maid knocking on the door: Mlle Larivi¨¨re wanted some hot water too. (1.23)
The L-shaped bathroom brings to mind the Antiterran L disaster followed by great anti-L years of reactionary delusion:
The details of the L disaster (and I do not mean Elevated) in the beau milieu of last century, which had the singular effect of both causing and cursing the notion of 'Terra,' are too well-known historically, and too obscene spiritually, to be treated at length in a book addressed to young laymen and lemans - and not to grave men or gravemen.
Of course, today, after great anti-L years of reactionary delusion have gone by (more or less!) and our sleek little machines, Faragod bless them, hum again after a fashion, as they did in the first half of the nineteenth century, the mere geographic aspect of the affair possesses its redeeming comic side, like those patterns of brass marquetry, and bric-¨¤-Braques, and the ormolu horrors that meant ¡®art¡¯ to our humorless forefathers. (1.3)
¡°Bric-¨¤-Braques¡± seems to hint at George Braques (a Cubist painter, 1882-1963) and at brikabrak (an antique shop mentioned by Tolstoy in ¡°The Death of Ivan Ilyich¡±); but it also brings to mind Lilya Brik (Mayakovski¡¯s mistress). In his essay on Mayakovski, Dekol¡¯tirovannaya loshad¡¯ (¡°The Horse in a D¨¦collet¨¦ Dress,¡± 1927), Khodasevich says that Mayakovski surprised with his ¡°novelty¡± only Shklovsky, Brik (Lilya¡¯s husband, a linguist who worked in Lenin¡¯s and Stalin¡¯s secret police) and Yakobson:
§¦§ã§Ý§Ú §Ò§í §·§Ý§Ö§Ò§ß§Ú§Ü§à§Ó, §¢§â§ð§ã§à§Ó, §µ§Ú§ä§Þ§Ñ§ß, §¢§Ý§à§Ü, §¡§ß§Õ§â§Ö§Û §¢§Ö§Ý§í§Û, §¤§Ú§á§á§Ú§å§ã §Õ§Ñ §Ö§ë§× §â§Ñ§×§ê§ß§Ú§Ü§Ú §Õ§à§Ò§â§à§Ô§à §ã§ä§Ñ§â§à§Ô§à §Ó§â§Ö§Þ§Ö§ß§Ú §à§ä§à§Ò§â§Ñ§Ý§Ú §å §®§Ñ§ñ§Ü§à§Ó§ã§Ü§à§Ô§à §ä§à, §é§ä§à §à§ß §Ó§Ù§ñ§Ý §à§ä §ß§Ú§ç, -- §à§ä §®§Ñ§ñ§Ü§à§Ó§ã§Ü§à§Ô§à §Ò§í §à§ã§ä§Ñ§Ý§à§ã§î §á§å§ã§ä§à§Ö §Þ§Ö§ã§ä§à. "§¯§à§Ó§Ú§Ù§ß§à§ð" §à§ß §å§Õ§Ú§Ó§Ú§Ý §ä§à§Ý§î§Ü§à §º§Ü§Ý§à§Ó§ã§Ü§à§Ô§à, §¢§â§Ú§Ü§Ñ §Õ§Ñ §Á§Ü§à§Ò§ã§à§ß§Ñ.
Roman Yakobson (with whom VN had refused to collaborate on the translation of Slovo o polku Igoreve) was a Professor of Slavic languages at Harvard. On Antiterra (aka Demonia, Earth¡¯s twin planet on which Ada is set) Harvard is known as Aardvark:
As Van Veen himself was to find out, at the time of his passionate research in terrology (then a branch of psychiatry) even the deepest thinkers, the purest philosophers, Paar of Chose and Zapater of Aardvark, were emotionally divided in their attitude toward the possibility that there existed¡¯ a distortive glass of our distorted glebe¡¯ as a scholar who desires to remain unnamed has put it with such euphonic wit. (Hm! Kveree-kveree, as poor Mlle L. used to say to Gavronsky. In Ada¡¯s hand.) (1.3)
Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa, ¡°earth pig.¡± The animal¡¯s Russian name, trubkozub rhymes with Skalozub, a character in Griboedov¡¯s Gore ot uma (¡°Woe from Wit,¡± 1824). The name Griboedov brings to mind gor¡¯kie eli griby (¡°bitter toadstools we ate¡±), a line in the verses to which the narrator of Tyrants Destroyed listens on the radio. During his conversation with Marina in ¡°Ardis the Second¡± Van is sitting on ivanilich and Marina quotes the lines from Griboedov¡¯s play:
'Sit down, have a spot of chayku,' she said. 'The cow is in the smaller jug, I think. Yes, it is.' And when Van, having kissed her freckled hand, lowered himself on the ivanilich (a kind of sighing old hassock upholstered in leather): 'Van, dear, I wish to say something to you, because I know I shall never have to repeat it again. Belle, with her usual flair for the right phrase, has cited to me the cousinage-dangereux-voisinage adage - I mean "adage," I always fluff that word - and complained qu'on s'embrassait dans tous les coins. Is that true?'
'¡A propos de coins: in Griboedov's Gore ot uma, "How stupid to be so clever," a play in verse, written, I think, in Pushkin's time, the hero reminds Sophie of their childhood games, and says:
How oft we sat together in a corner
And what harm might there be in that?
but in Russian it is a little ambiguous, have another spot, Van?' (he shook his head, simultaneously lifting his hand, like his father), 'because, you see, - no, there is none left anyway - the second line, i kazhetsya chto v etom, can be also construed as "And in that one, meseems," pointing with his finger at a corner of the room. Imagine ¡ª when I was rehearsing that scene with Kachalov at the Seagull Theater, in Yukonsk, Stanislavski, Konstantin Sergeevich, actually wanted him to make that cosy little gesture (uyutnen¡¯kiy zhest).' (1.37)
In his essay on Mayakovski Khodasevich compares VN¡¯s ¡°late namesake¡± to a horse that he saw in the 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§Ö§Ý§ä§í§Ö §Ù§å§Ò§í.
§´§Ñ§Ü§å§ð §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§î §ñ §Ó§Ú§Õ§Ö§Ý §Ó §è§Ú§â§Ü§Ö §à§ã§Ö§ß§î§ð 1912 §Ô§à§Õ§Ñ. §£§Ö§â§à§ñ§ä§ß§à, §ñ §Ó§ã§Ü§à§â§Ö §Ù§Ñ§Ò§í§Ý §Ò§í §Ö§×, §Ö§ã§Ý§Ú §Ò§í §ß§Ö§ã§Ü§à§Ý§î§Ü§à §Õ§ß§Ö§Û §ã§á§å§ã§ä§ñ, §á§â§Ú§Õ§ñ §Ó §°§Ò§ë§Ö§ã§ä§Ó§à §ã§Ó§à§Ò§à§Õ§ß§à§Û §ï§ã§ä§Ö§ä§Ú§Ü§Ú, §ß§Ö §å§Ó§Ú§Õ§Ö§Ý §ä§Ñ§Þ §à§Ô§â§à§Þ§ß§à§Ô§à §ð§ß§à§ê§å §ã §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§Ú§ß§í§Þ§Ú §é§Ö§Ý§ð§ã§ä§ñ§Þ§Ú, §Ó §é§×§â§ß§à§Û §â§å§Ò§Ñ§ç§Ö, §â§Ñ§ã§ã§ä§Ö§Ô§ß§å§ä§à§Û §é§å§ä§î §Ý§Ú §ß§Ö §Õ§à §á§à§ñ§ã§Ñ §Ú §à§Ò§ß§Ñ§Ø§Ñ§Ó§ê§Ö§Û §Ô§Ú§Ô§Ñ§ß§ä§ã§Ü§à§Ö §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§Ú§ß§à§Ö §Õ§Ö§Ü§à§Ý§î§ä§ï. §¬§Ñ§ð§ã§î: §á§â§à§Ù§Ó§Ú§ë§Ö "§Õ§Ö§Ü§à§Ý§î§ä§Ú§â§à§Ó§Ñ§ß§ß§Ñ§ñ §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§î" §ß§Ñ§Õ§à§Ý§Ô§à §ã §ä§à§Ô§à §Ó§Ö§é§Ö§â§Ñ §å§ä§Ó§Ö§â§Õ§Ú§Ý§à§ã§î §Ù§Ñ §ð§ß§à§ê§Ö§Û... §¡ §ð§ß§à§ê§Ñ §ï§ä§à§ä §Ò§í§Ý §£§Ý§Ñ§Õ§Ú§Þ§Ú§â §®§Ñ§ñ§Ü§à§Ó§ã§Ü§Ú§Û. §¿§ä§à §Ò§í§Ý§à §Ö§Ô§à §á§Ö§â§Ó§à§Ö §á§à§ñ§Ó§Ý§Ö§ß§Ú§Ö §Ó §Ý§Ú§ä§Ö§â§Ñ§ä§å§â§ß§à§Û §ã§â§Ö§Õ§Ö, §Ú§Ý§Ú §à§Õ§ß§à §Ú§Ù §á§Ö§â§Ó§í§ç. §³ §ä§Ö§ç §á§à§â §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§Ú§ß§à§Û §á§à§ã§ä§å§á§î§ð §á§â§à§ê§×§Ý §à§ß §á§à §â§å§ã§ã§Ü§à§Û §Ý§Ú§ä§Ö§â§Ñ§ä§å§â§Ö -- §Ú §ß§í§ß§Ö, §ã§Õ§Ñ§Ö§ä§ã§ñ §Þ§ß§Ö, §ã§ä§à§Ú§ä §å§Ø§Ö §á§â§Ú §Ü§à§ß§è§Ö §ã§Ó§à§Ö§Ô§à §á§å§ä§Ú. §±§ñ§ä§ß§Ñ§Õ§è§Ñ§ä§î §Ý§Ö§ä -- §Ý§à§ê§Ñ§Õ§Ú§ß§í§Û §Ó§Ö§Ü.
The name of one of Marina¡¯s lovers, Baron d¡¯Onsky, seems to hint at Onegin¡¯s donsloy zherebets (Don stallion) in Pushkin¡¯s Eugene Onegin (Two: V: 4). After his duel with Demon (Van¡¯s and Ada¡¯s father) Skonky (d¡¯Onsky¡¯s one-way nickname) spent two or three years at the Aardvark Hospital in Boston:
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 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 a city where, incidentally, he married in 1869 our friend the Bohemian lady, now keeper of Glass Biota at the local museum. (1.2)
The full text of Tolstoy¡¯s ¡°War and Peace¡± was published as a book in 1869 (the year when d¡¯Onsky married the Bohemian lady). According to Ada, at Marina¡¯s funeral Demon and d¡¯Onsky¡¯s son, a person with only one arm, wept comme des fontaines:
D¡¯Onsky¡¯s son, a person with only one arm, threw his remaining one around Demon and both wept comme des fontaines. (3.8)
Fontan (¡°The Fountain,¡± 1836) is a poem by Tyutchev. In his biography of Tyutchev Ivan Aksakov (Tyutchev¡¯s son-in-law) quotes the poet¡¯s letter to his brother (written in 1867) in which Tyutchev mentions ¡°Tolstoy¡¯s last arm¡± (a hero of the anti-Napoleon war, Count Osterman-Tolstoy lost his arm in the battle of Kulm):
§³§å§Õ§î§Ò§Ö §å§Ô§à§Õ§ß§à §Ò§í§Ý§à §Ó§à§à§â§å§Ø§Ú§ä§î§ã§ñ §á§à§ã§Ý§Ö§Õ§ß§Ö§Û §â§å§Ü§à§Û §´§à§Ý§ã§ä§à§Ô§à (§Ó§ã§á§à§Þ§Ú§ß§Ñ§Ö§ä §¶§×§Õ§à§â §ª§Ó§Ñ§ß§à§Ó§Ú§é §Ó §à§Õ§ß§à§Þ §Ú§Ù §á§Ú§ã§Ö§Þ §ã§Ó§à§Ú§ç §Ü §Ò§â§Ñ§ä§å §Ý§Ö§ä 45 §ã§á§å§ã§ä§ñ), §é§ä§à§Ò §á§Ö§â§Ö§ã§Ö§Ý§Ú§ä§î §Þ§Ö§ß§ñ §ß§Ñ §é§å§Ø§Ò§Ú§ß§å.
¡°Fate equipped itself with Tolstoy¡¯s last arm in order to resettle me to a foreign land.¡±
Kulm (Chlumec) is a town in northern Bohemia.