Vitry [the director who made a film of Vans novel Letters from Terra] dated Theresas visit to Antiterra as taking place in 1940, but 1940 by the Terranean calendar, and about 1890 by ours. The conceit allowed certain pleasing dips into the modes and manners of our past (did you remember that horses wore hats yes, hats when heat waves swept Manhattan?) and gave the impression which physics-fiction literature had much exploited of the capsulist traveling backward in terms of time. Philosophers asked nasty questions, but were ignored by the wishing-to-be-gulled moviegoers. (5.5)


At the beginning of his essay on Mayakovski, Dekoltirovannaya loshad (Decolletted Horse, 1927), Khodasevich mentions a horse wearing a ladys hat that he saw in a circus:


֧էѧӧ ֧ҧ ݧѧէ, ڧ٧ҧѧاѧ ѧ ѧߧԧݧڧѧߧܧ. էѧާܧ ݧܧ, ӧ֧ѧާ ֧ާ, ٧ӧ ݧѧ, ܧܧڧާ ܧѧӧѧާ ٧ӧ ֧ ӧܧ ԧڧԧѧߧܧԧ ӧߧԧ է֧ܧݧ, ߧ էڧ ߧ ٧ѧէߧڧ ߧԧѧ, ߧ֧ݧ֧ ӧԧڧӧѧ ҧ֧ܧߧ֧ߧ ֧ ܧѧݧ اקݧ ٧ҧ.


In his essay Khodasevich compares VNs late namesake to a horse (wearing not a ladys hat, though, but a Jacobins cap):


, էݧ ԧ էݧ ާߧԧԧ "ާ էҧߧԧ" ѧܧӧܧڧ ߧѧ֧ ӧѧ٧ڧ֧ݧߧ֧ۧڧ, ݧڧߧ ѧӧݧ֧ߧߧ ާ. ߧѧԧѧէ ٧ ܧݧѧ ݧӧ ֧֧ اק ҧڧܧ, ߧ ҧا֧. ӧ ҧا, է֧ܧݧڧӧѧߧߧѧ ݧѧէ ӧ٧ԧާ٧էڧݧѧ ٧ , -- ܧѧ ԧէ, ڧܧ. ݧ ߧ էѧާܧ ݧܧ, ܧݧѧܧ ܧҧڧߧ. էԧ էڧߧѧܧӧ ֧ ڧѧݧ.


Like Phrygian caps, the caps of Jacobins were red. In his poem Tovarishcham (To my Comrades, 1817) Pushkin asks his schoolmates to leave him his red cap (ostavte krasnyi mne kolpak). In his poem To V. S. Filimonov at Receiving his Poem The Dunces Cap (1828) Pushkin says that his old cap is worn out and thrown away and that red color is not in fashion these days:


ѧ ާ٧, ާڧݧ ѧܧ,
ݧѧ ӧ٧ѧݧ էҧ ѧ,
, ڧ֧ڧ ߧ֧ާ ԧ֧ާܧ,
ѧ ֧ ߧѧէ֧ ֧ԧ ߧ ӧѧ.
֧ݧ ا ާߧ ҧ
֧ ӧѧާ ߧߧ ֧ԧݧߧ
ܧӧ֧ߧߧ ѧ٧ԧӧ,
ѧ ӧ, ߧ ާߧԧ ӧ٧ԧݧߧ;
ѧ ާ ܧݧѧ ڧ٧ߧ֧,
ݧҧڧ ֧ԧ ;
ߧ֧ӧݧ ާߧ ٧ѧҧ֧:
ާէ ߧߧ ܧѧߧ ӧ֧.
ѧ, ٧ߧѧ ާڧߧԧ ڧӧ֧,
ߧڧާѧ ݧ, ҧ ֧ݧ,
٧ߧѧ ڧݧ-
اߧ ܧݧѧܧ.


So, as a sign of peaceful salute,

I take off my hat with a bow,

having recognized the poet-philosopher

under his wary cap.


The title of Filimonovs poem in the original, Duratskiy kolpak, brings to mind Durak Walter (Marinas husband who is also known as Red Veen):


On April 23, 1869, in drizzly and warm, gauzy and green Kaluga, Aqua, aged twenty-five and afflicted with her usual vernal migraine, married Walter D. Veen, a Manhattan banker of ancient Anglo-Irish ancestry who had long conducted, and was soon to resume intermittently, a passionate affair with Marina. The latter, some time in 1871, married her first lovers first cousin, also Walter D. Veen, a quite as opulent, but much duller, chap.

The D in the name of Aquas husband stood for Demon (a form of Demian or Dementius), and thus was he called by his kin. In society he was generally known as Raven Veen or simply Dark Walter to distinguish him from Marinas husband, Durak Walter or simply Red Veen. (1.1)


Durak is Russian for fool. At the picnic on Adas sixteenth birthday Uncle Dan wears a straw hat:


In the meantime, Uncle Dan, very dapper in cherry-striped blazer and variety-comic straw hat, feeling considerably intrigued by the presence of the adjacent picnickers, walked over to them with his glass of Hero wine in one hand and a caviar canap in the other. (1.39)


Describing Daniel Veens death, Van compares him to a crippled steed:


According to Bess (which is fiend in Russian), Dans buxom but otherwise disgusting nurse, whom he preferred to all others and had taken to Ardis because she managed to extract orally a few last drops of play-zero (as the old whore called it) out of his poor body, he had been complaining for some time, even before Adas sudden departure, that a devil combining the characteristics of a frog and a rodent desired to straddle him and ride him to the torture house of eternity. To Dr Nikulin Dan described his rider as black, pale-bellied, with a black dorsal buckler shining like a dung beetles back and with a knife in his raised forelimb. On a very cold morning in late January Dan had somehow escaped, through a basement maze and a toolroom, into the brown shrubbery of Ardis; he was naked except for a red bath towel which trailed from his rump like a kind of caparison, and, despite the rough going, had crawled on all fours, like a crippled steed under an invisible rider, deep into the wooded landscape. (2.10)


Demon Veen (Vans and Adas father who tells Van about Uncle Dans death) and Baron dOnsky (Marinas lover whose nickname, Skonky, is an anagram of konskiy, of a horse) have the same London hatter:


Both men were a little drunk, and Demon secretly wondered if the rather banal resemblance of that Edenic girl to a young actress, whom his visitor had no doubt seen on the stage in Eugene and Lara or Lenore Raven (both painfully panned by a disgustingly incorruptible young critic), should be, or would be, commented upon. It was not: such nymphs were really very much alike because of their elemental limpidity since the similarities of young bodies of water are but murmurs of natural innocence and double-talk mirrors, thats my hat, his is older, but we have the same London hatter. (1.2)


The name of Demons rival seems to hint at Onegins Don stallion in Pushkins Eugene Onegin (Two: V: 1-8):


ߧѧѧݧ ӧ ߧ֧ާ ֧٧اѧݧ;
ѧ ܧѧ ٧ѧէߧ֧ԧ ܧݧ
ҧܧߧӧ֧ߧߧ էѧӧѧݧ
ާ էߧܧԧ ا֧֧ҧ,
ڧ ݧܧ ӧէݧ ҧݧ էԧ
ѧݧڧ ڧ էާѧߧ էԧ, -
ܧ ܧҧ ѧܧڧ,
էاҧ ֧ܧѧڧݧ ߧڧ.


At first they all would call on him,

but since to the back porch

there was habitually brought

a Don stallion for him

the moment that along the highway

one heard their homely shandrydans -

outraged by such behavior,

they all ceased to be friends with him.


Demons and dOnskys London hatter brings to mind staraya anglichanka (an old Englishwoman) mentioned by Khodasevich at the beginning of his essay on Mayakovski:


Imagine a horse impersonating an old Englishwoman


Alexey Sklyarenko

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