Endnotes

  1. “Houses of Suffrance”⁠—i.e., Houses of the Necessary Evil. —⁠Trans.

  2. The Russian term is “pharaoh.” —⁠Trans.

  3. A German exclamation of disgust or contempt, corresponding to the English fie. —⁠Trans.

  4. Probably a sly dig at Gautier’s Captain Fracasse. —⁠Trans.

  5. A small, secret opening, unnoticeable from the outside.

  6. The Russian equivalent of “pox,” “syph.” —⁠Trans.

  7. Positive⁠—Benedict Arnold; comparative⁠—Judas Iscariot; superlative⁠—Georgii Apollonovich Gapon, priest and political agent provocateur. —⁠Trans.

  8. Tony the Potato. —⁠Trans.

  9. An untranslatable pun on Economochka, a diminutive for “housekeeper.” —⁠Trans.

  10. Sourwater. —⁠Trans.

  11. The Russian expression is “the red flag.” —⁠Trans.

  12. The reference here is most probably to Chekhov. —⁠Trans.

  13. The heroine of Dostoievsky’s Crime and Punishment. —⁠Trans.

  14. “The little claw is sunk in, the whole bird is bound to perish”⁠—a folk proverb used by Tolstoy as a subtitle to his The Power of Darkness. —⁠Trans.

  15. All provincial towns. —⁠Trans.

  16. Horizon is quoting a Nietzscheism of Gorky’s. —⁠Trans.

  17. While there can be but little doubt that these four stanzas are an actual transcript from life, Heinrich Heine’s “Ein Weib” is such a striking parallel that it may be reproduced here as a matter of interest. The translation is by Mr. Louis Untermeyer. —⁠Trans.

    A Woman

    They loved each other beyond belief⁠—
    She was a strumpet, he was a thief;
    Whenever she thought of his tricks, thereafter
    She’d throw herself on the bed with laughter.

    The day was spent with a reckless zest;
    At night she lay upon his breast.
    So when they took him, a while thereafter
    She watched at the window⁠—with laughter.

    He sent word pleading “Oh come to me,
    I need you, need you bitterly,
    Yes, here and in the hereafter.”
    Her little head shook with laughter.

    At six in the morning they swung him high;
    At seven the turf on his grave was dry;
    At eight, however, she quaffed her
    Red wine and sang with laughter!

  18. “Pay attention, baroness, the girl is rather educated for one of her position.”

  19. “Just imagine, I, too, have remarked this strange face. But where have I seen it⁠ ⁠… was it in a dream?⁠ ⁠… in semi-delirium? Or in her early infancy?”

  20. “Don’t trouble to strain your memory, baroness. I will come to your aid at once. Just recall Kharkov, a room in Koniakine’s hotel, the theatrical manager, Solovieitschik, and a certain lyrical tenor⁠ ⁠… At that time you were not yet Baroness de⁠ ⁠…”

  21. “But tell me, in God’s name, how you have come to be here, Mademoiselle Marguerite?”

  22. Somewhat like a Spitzenburg, but a trifle rounder. —⁠Trans.

  23. Love. —⁠Trans.

  24. In contradistinction to “thou,” as used to familiars and inferiors in Russia. —⁠Trans.

  25. God is great.

  26. The Russian phrase is “Eedet!” —⁠Trans.

  27. A verst is equal to two-thirds of a mile. —⁠Trans.

  28. Anglice, “confet” is a bonbon; “portret,” a portrait. —⁠Trans.

  29. A Russian bon vivant, wit and poet (1781⁠–⁠1839), the overwhelming majority of whose lyrics deals with military exploits and debauches. —⁠Trans.

  30. Orenburg has as high a reputation for woolens as Sheffield has for steel. —⁠Trans.

  31. Schoolbooks (taking their names from their authors), upon which generation after generation of gymnazists have been brought up. —⁠Trans.

  32. This story is Lit No. 29, by Guy de Maupassant. —⁠Trans.

  33. In English, a “toff”; in American, a “swell.” —⁠Trans.

  34. “My mastery of the German language is a trifle worse than that of the French, but I can always keep up my end in parlor small talk.”

  35. “O, splendid!⁠ ⁠… You have a bewitching Riga enunciation, the most correct of all the German ones. And so, let us continue in my tongue. That is far sweeter to my ear⁠—my mother tongue. All right?”

  36. “All right.”

  37. “In the very end you will give in, as though unwillingly, as though against your will, as though from infatuation, a momentary caprice, and⁠—which is the main thing⁠—as though on the sly from me. You understand? For this the fools pay enormous money. However, it seems I will not have to teach you.”

  38. “Yes, my dear madam. You say very wise things. But this is no longer small talk; it is, rather, serious conversation⁠ ⁠…”

  39. Zolotorotzi⁠—a subtle euphemism for cleaners of cesspools and carters of the wealth contained therein. —⁠Trans.

  40. The first edition in English consisted⁠—if the publisher is to be believed⁠—of 1,225 copies, retailing from ten to sixty dollars per copy; the next edition⁠—with the same qualification of its publisher’s statement⁠—was of 1,550 copies, also prohibitively priced. This revised, augmented edition is the third. —⁠Trans.

  41. In a delightful letter to me Kuprin has written: “I am not at all mistaken in saying that Yama was translated in all lands and realms⁠—with the possible exception of the Touaregs and the Bottoludi.⁠ ⁠… I must say that in England and in Holland neither Yama nor Sulamith was allowed: the first for its naked truth; the second for its light-minded attitude toward the Bible.⁠ ⁠…” I myself, as a bookseller, have had occasion to supply Yama in Yiddish. And since the above was written, this version of Yama has been published in England and has met with deserved success. —⁠Trans.