In his Commentary Kinbote mentions narstran, a hellish hall in a Zemblan legend:
They were alone again. Disa quickly found the papers he needed. Having finished with that, they talked for a while about nice trivial things, such as the motion picture, based on a Zemblan legend, that Odon hoped to make in Paris or Rome. How would he represent, they wondered, the narstran, a hellish hall where the souls of murderers were tortured under a constant drizzle of drake venom coming down from the foggy vault? (note to Lines 433-434)
Narstran seems to combine n¨¢r (Old Norse, ¡°corpse; deceased man¡±) with strana (Russ., ¡°land¡±). On the other hand, it brings to mind Chatski¡¯s words to Sofia in Griboedov¡¯s play in verse Gore ot uma (¡°Woe from Wit,¡± 1824): Ya stranen; a ne stranen kto zh? / Tot, kto na vsekh gluptsov pokhozh (I¡¯m strange; and who is not strange? / He who looks like all fools) (Act III, scene 1).
According to Kinbote, Odon (pseudonym of Donald O'Donnell, b. 1915, world-famous actor and Zemblan patriot) has a half-brother Nodo (b. 1916, son of Leopold O'Donnell and of a Zemblan boy impersonator; a cardsharp and despicable traitor; Index to PF). Odon = Nodo = odno (neut. of odin, ¡°one¡±). In ¡°Woe from Wit¡± (Act Two, scene 1) Famusov, calculating the pregnancy of a lady friend, uses the phrase odno uzh k odnomu (and on top of this):
§±§Ú§ê§Ú: §Ó §é§Ö§ä§Ó§Ö§â§Ô, §à§Õ§ß§à §å§Ø §Ü §à§Õ§ß§à§Þ§å,
§¡ §Þ§à§Ø§Ö§ä §Ó §á§ñ§ä§ß§Ú§è§å, §Ñ §Þ§à§Ø§Ö§ä §Ú §Ó §ã§å§Ò§Ò§à§ä§å,
§Á §Õ§à§Ý§Ø§Ö§ß §å §Ó§Õ§à§Ó§í, §å §Õ§à§Ü§ä§à§â§ê§Ú, §Ü§â§Ö§ã§ä§Ú§ä§î.
§°§ß§Ñ §ß§Ö §â§à§Õ§Ú§Ý§Ñ, §ß§à §á§à §â§Ñ§ã§é§Ö§ä§å
§±§à §Þ§à§Ö§Þ§å: §Õ§à§Ý§Ø§ß§Ñ §â§à§Õ§Ú§ä§î...
Write down: Thursday, on top of this,
Or perhaps on Friday, or on Saturday,
I must attend a christening day.
The widow hasn't given birth as yet,
But, by my reckoning, she must do...
According to Famusov, on the same day he is invited to the funeral:
§£ §é§Ö§ä§Ó§Ö§â§Ô §ñ §Ù§Ó§Ñ§ß §ß§Ñ §á§à§Ô§â§Ö§Ò§Ö§ß§î§Ö.
§°§ç, §â§à§Õ §Ý§ð§Õ§ã§Ü§à§Û! §á§â§Ú§ê§Ý§à §Ó §Ù§Ñ§Ò§Ó§Ö§ß§î§Ö,
§¹§ä§à §Ó§ã§ñ§Ü§Ú§Û §ã§Ñ§Þ §ä§å§Õ§Ñ §Ø§Ö §Õ§à§Ý§Ø§Ö§ß §Ý§Ö§Ù§ä§î,
§£ §ä§à§ä §Ý§Ñ§â§é§Ú§Ü, §Ô§Õ§Ö §ß§Ú §ã§ä§Ñ§ä§î, §ß§Ú §ã§Ö§ã§ä§î.
On Thursday I¡¯m invited to the funeral.
Oh, the human race! They all forget
That some day all of them shall get
Into the box, so small and tight!
Larchik (diminutive of larets, ¡°casket, small chest¡±) mentioned by Famusov brings to mind I. Annenski¡¯s collection Kiparisovyi larets (¡°The Cypress Box,¡± 1910). Like Famusov, Annenski (who wrote under the penname Nik. T-o) uses the word euphemistically in the sense ¡°coffin.¡±
Odon¡¯s half-brother Nodo is a cardsharp and despicable traitor. In Griboedov¡¯s play (Act Three, scene 9) Gorich asks Chatski to beware of Zagoretski who is indiscreet and cheats at cards:
§¹§Ö§Ý§à§Ó§Ö§Ü §à§ß §ã§Ó§Ö§ä§ã§Ü§Ú§Û,
§°§ä§ì§ñ§Ó§Ý§Ö§ß§ß§í§Û §Þ§à§ê§Ö§ß§ß§Ú§Ü, §á§Ý§å§ä -
§¡§ß§ä§à§ß §¡§ß§ä§à§ß§í§é §©§Ñ§Ô§à§â§Ö§è§Ü§Ú§Û,
§±§â§Ú §ß§×§Þ §à§ã§ä§Ö§â§Ö§Ô§Ú§ã§î: §á§Ö§â§Ö§ß§à§ã§Ú§ä§î §Ô§à§â§Ñ§Ù§Õ!
§ª §Ó §Ü§Ñ§â§ä§í §ß§Ö §ã§Ñ§Õ§Ú§ã§î: §á§â§à§Õ§Ñ§ã§ä.
He¡¯s a man of the world,
An outrageous swindler and a rascal,
Anton Antonych Zagoretski is his name.
Beware of him, he's indiscreet,
And don't play cards with him - he'll cheat.
(transl. A. Vagapov)
¡°Drake venom¡± coming down from the narstran¡¯s foggy vault brings to mind Sofia¡¯s words about Chatski in ¡°Woe from Wit¡± (Act One, scene 7): Ne chelovek, zmeya (A snake, not man).