NABOKV-L post 0026277, Wed, 8 Jul 2015 12:18:24 +0300

rearranged furniture & barin in Lik
Когда же революция пошла переставлять мебель и Лик попал в другой город, а
пятнадцатилетний, уже усатенький и вконец озверевший Олег куда-то в общей
суматохе пропал, наступило блаженное затишье, скоро, впрочем, сменившееся
новыми, более тонкими муками под управлением мелких наследников
первоначального палача.

Then the Revolution began rearranging the furniture, and Lik found himself
in a different city, while fifteen-year-old Oleg, already sporting a
mustache and completely brutified, disappeared in the general confusion, and
a blissful lull began. It was soon replaced, however, by new, more elaborate
tortures at the hands of the initial rackmaster's minor successors.

The furniture rearranged by the Revolution brings to mind Ilf and Petrov's
novel Dvenadtsat' stuliev ("The Twelve Chairs," 1928). One of the three
diamond hunters in it is Vorob'yaninov, Mme Petukhov's son-in-law. The name
Vorob'yaninov comes from vorobey (sparrow), the name Petukhov comes from
petukh (cock). Lik's real name seems to be Kulikov. It comes from kulik (the
bird stint, sandpiper). Lik (whom Koldunov calls barin, "master") promises
to write to Koldunov from Paris:

-- Я никого не задерживаю, -- проговорил он тихо и весело.-- Но и меня
попрошу не задерживать. И не учить. Прощай, барин, -- добавил он, не глядя
на Лика, который почему-то счёл нужным сказать: -- Из Парижа напишу,

-- Пускай пишет, а? -- вкрадчиво произнёс Колдунов, продолжая, по-видимому,
обращаться к жене. Лик, сложно отделившись от стула, пошёл было по
направлению к ней, но его отнесло в сторону, и он наткнулся на кровать.

"I am not detaining anyone," he spoke softly and cheerfully. "And I'll be
thankful not to be detained by others. Or told what to do. So long, mister,"
he added, not looking at Lik, who for some reason found it necessary to say:
"I'll write from Paris, without fail..."

"So he's going to write, is he?" said Koldunov softly, apparently still
addressing his wife. With some trouble Lik extricated himself from the chair
and started in her direction, but swerved and bumped into the bed.

In "The Twelve Chairs" Tikhon believes that his former barin (master)
arrived from Paris:

На верхней ступеньке стоял Ипполит Матвеевич Воробьянинов, черноусый и
черноволосый. Глаза его сияли под пенсне довоенным блеском.

- Барин ! - страстно замычал Тихон. - Из Парижа!

On the top step stood Ippolit Matveyevich Vorob'yaninov with a black
moustache and black hair. His eyes behind his pince-nez had a pre-war

"Master!" bellowed Tikhon with delight. "Back from Paris!" (Part One,
chapter V, "The Smooth Operator")

There is lik in velikiy (great; cf. velikiy kombinator, "the smooth
operator" ). As he speaks to the old man-servant, Igor (a character in
Suire's play "The Abyss" whom Lik plays) mentions velika voina (the great
war; see my previous post).

Tikhon is dvornik (a caretaker). According to Koldunov, he worked for a
month or so as musorshchik (a garbage collector):

В начале лета, так с месяц, я тут проработал в русской артели, шут бы её
взял, мусорщиком.

At the beginning of summer, I worked for a month or so with some other
Russians here, collecting beach garbage.

Part One of "The Twelve Chairs" is entitled Stargorodskiy lev ("The Lion of
Stargorod;" "the lion of Stargorod" is Vorob'yaninov, the former marshal of
the nobility). In VN's play Sobytie ("The Event," 1938) one of the guests at
Antonina Pavlovna's birthday party, the famous writer, is star i l'vist (old
and leonine).

Alexey Sklyarenko

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Nabokv-L policies:
Nabokov Online Journal:"
AdaOnline: "
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
The VN Bibliography Blog:
Search the archive with L-Soft:

Manage subscription options :