That monumental man [Mr. R.] with his clayey makeup and false grin, and Mr. Tamworth of the brigand's beard, seemed to be acting out a stiffly written scene for the benefit of an invisible audience from which Person, a dummy, kept turning away as if moved with his chair by Sherlock's concealed landlady, no matter how he sat or where he looked in the course of the brief but boozy interview. It was indeed all sham and waxworks as compared to the reality of Armande, whose image was stamped on the eye of his mind and shone through the show at various levels, sometimes upside down, sometimes on the teasing marge of his field of vision, but always there, always, true and thrilling. (10)
In The Adventure of the Empty House by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a wax bust of Holmes is moved regularly from below by Mrs. Hudson (Sherlock's landlady) to simulate life. In his story Chetvyortoe izmerenie ("The Fourth Dimension," 1929) G. Ivanov mentions Conan Doyle, the author of "immortal" Sherlock Holmes, as the Grand Master of the spiritualists:
Над спиритами смеются - и действительно, спириты всегда смешноваты. Таинственное у них тесно перепутано с комическим. Чего стоит хотя бы король бульварных романистов, автор "бессмертного" Шерлока Холмса в роли их великого магистра, объявивший, кстати, недавно спиритизм на каком-то конгрессе - excusez du peu - религией.
In one of the Sherlock stories Holmes describes Professor Moriarty (a criminal mastermind) as the "Napoleon of crime." Hugh Person witnessed Napoleon's appearance at a séance:
Hugh, in his sleep, had imagined that his bedside table, a little three-legged affair (borrowed from under the hallway telephone), was executing a furious war dance all by itself, as he had seen a similar article do at a séance when asked if the visiting spirit (Napoleon) missed the springtime sunsets of St. Helena. (7)
HP is a sleep-walker. Lunatik v pustotu glyadit ("A sleep-walker looks into the emptiness..." 1949) is one of G. Ivanov's most famous poems:
Лунатик в пустоту глядит,
Сиянье им руководит,
Чернеет гибель снизу.
И даже угадать нельзя,
Куда он движется, скользя,
По лунному карнизу.
Расстреливают палачи
Невинных в мировой ночи -
Не обращай вниманья!
Гляди в холодное ничто,
В сияньи постигая то,
Что выше пониманья.
The executioners shoot dead
the innocent in the universal night -
Do not pay attention!..
Lunatik ("The Sleep-Walker," 1932) is the title of G. Ivanov's memoir essay on Pyast, a great friend of Blok and ardent admirer of E. A. Poe. According to Ivanov, it was Gumilyov (the poet who was executed by the Bolsheviks) who contemptuously called Pyast etot lunatik ("that sleep-walker"). In his memoirs Peterburgskie zimy ("The St. Petersburg Winters") G. Ivanov compares Blok (the author of "The Twelve," 1918) to a sleep-walker who suddenly woke up from his trance, fell down and perished. The two poets who could not stand each other, Blok and Gumilyov died almost simultanously in August, 1921.
Alexey Sklyarenko
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