Magazine for tourists

Table of contents

Kinds of tourism

Excursion (author BV Emelyanov)


1. Fundamentals Excursion

2. guided technique

3. Professional skills guide

Tunisia (author Danielle shetar Friedrich chum)

In the Sikhote-Alin (author VK Arseniev)

Michail bulgakov. the heart of a dog

Mikhail bulgakov. the master and margarita

 1. never talk to strangers
 Pontius pilate
 The seventh proof
 The pursuit
 The affair at griboyedov
 The haunted flat
 A. duel between professor and poet
 Koroviev's tricks
 News from yalta
 The two ivans
 Black magic revealed
 Enter the hero
 Saved by cock-crow
 The dream of nikanor ivanovich
 The execution
 A day of anxiety
 Unwelcome visitors
 Azazello's cream
 The flight
 By candlelight
 Satan's rout
 The master is released
 How the procurator tried to save judas of karioth
 The burial
 The last of flat no.50
 The final adventure of koroviev and behemoth
 The fate of the master and margarita is decided
 Time to go
 On sparrow hills
 Absolution and eternal refuge
Charlotte bronte. jane eyre

F. scott fitzgerald / the great gatsby

Jerome klapka jerome / three men in a boat

     Mikhail bulgakov. the master and margarita
          A. duel between professor and poet

A. Duel between Professor and Poet

At about half past eleven that morning, just as Stepa lost

consciousness in Yalta, Ivan Nikolayich Bezdomny regained it, waking from a

deep and prolonged sleep. For a while he tried to think why he was in this

strange room with its white walls, its odd little bedside table made of

shiny metal and its white shutters, through which the sun appeared to be


Ivan shook his head to convince himself that it was not aching and

remembered that he was in a hospital. This in turn reminded him of Berlioz's

death, but today Ivan no longer found this very disturbing. After his long

sleep Ivan Nikolayich felt calmer and able to think more clearly. After

lying for a while motionless in his spotlessly clean and comfortably sprung

bed, Ivan noticed a bell-push beside him. Out of a habit of fingering

anything in sight, Ivan pressed it. He expected a bell to ring or a person

to appear, but something quite different happened.

At the foot of Ivan's bed a frosted-glass cylinder lit up with the word

'DRINK'. After a short spell in that position, the cylinder began turning

until it stopped at another word:

' NANNY '. Ivan found this clever machine slightly confusing. ' NANNY '

was replaced by ' CALL THE DOCTOR '.

' H'm . . .' said Ivan, at a loss to know what the machine expected him

to do. Luck came to his rescue. Ivan pressed the button at the word ' NURSE

'. In reply the machine gave a faint tinkle, stopped and went out. Into the

room came a kind-looking woman in a clean white overall and said to Ivan :

' Good morning!'

Ivan did not reply, as he felt the greeting out of place in the

circumstances. They had, after all, dumped a perfectly healthy man in

hospital and were making it worse by pretending it was necessary! With the

same kind look the woman pressed a button and raised the blind. Sunlight

poured into the room through a light, wide-mesh grille that extended to the

floor. Beyond the grille was a balcony, beyond that the bank of a meandering

river and on the far side a cheerful pine forest.

' Bath time! ' said the woman invitingly and pushed aside a folding

partition to reveal a magnificently equipped bathroom.

Although Ivan had made up his mind not to talk to the woman, when he

saw a broad stream of water thundering into the bath from a glittering tap

he could not help saying sarcastically :

' Look at that! Just like in the Metropole! '

' Oh, no,' replied the woman proudly. ' Much better. There's no

equipment like this anywhere, even abroad. Professors and doctors come here

specially to inspect our clinic. We have foreign tourists here every day.'

At the words ' foreign tourist' Ivan at once remembered the mysterious

professor of the day before. He scowled and said :

' Foreign tourists . . . why do you all think they're so wonderful?

There are some pretty odd specimens among them, I can tell you. I met one

yesterday--he was a charmer! '

He was just going to start telling her about Pontius Pilate, but

changed his mind. The woman would never understand and it was useless to

expect any help from her.

Washed and clean, Ivan Nikolayich was immediately provided with

everything a man needs after a bath--a freshly ironed shirt, underpants and

socks. That was only a beginning : opening the door of a wardrobe, the woman

pointed inside and asked him:

' What would you like to wear--a dressing gown or pyjamas? '

Although he was a prisoner in his new home, Ivan found it hard to

resist the woman's easy, friendly manner and he pointed to a pair of crimson

flannelette pyjamas.

After that Ivan Nikolayich was led along an empty, soundless corridor

into a room of vast dimensions. He had decided to treat everything in this

wonderfully equipped building with

sarcasm and he at once mentally christened this room ' the factory


And with good reason. There were cupboards and glass-fronted cabinets

full of gleaming nickel-plated instruments. There were armchairs of

strangely complex design, lamps with shiny, bulbous shades, a mass of

phials, bunsen burners, electric cables and various totally mysterious

pieces of apparatus.

Three people came into the room to see Ivan, two women and one man, all

in white. They began by taking Ivan to a desk in the corner to interrogate


Ivan considered the situation. He had a choice of three courses. The

first was extremely tempting--to hurl himself at these lamps and other

ingenious gadgets and smash them all to pieces as a way of expressing his

protest at being locked up for nothing. But today's Ivan was significantly

different from the Ivan of yesterday and he found the first course dubious ;

it would only make them more convinced that he was a dangerous lunatic, so

he abandoned it. There was a second--to begin at once telling them the story

about the professor and Pontius Pilate. However yesterday's experience had

shown him that people either refused to believe the story or completely

misunderstood it, so Ivan rejected that course too, deciding to adopt the

third: he would wrap himself in proud silence.

It proved impossible to keep it up, and willy-nilly he found himself

answering, albeit curtly and sulkily, a whole series of questions. They

carefully extracted from Ivan everything about his past life, down to an

attack of scarlet fever fifteen years before. Having filled a whole page on

Ivan they turned it over and one of the women in white started questioning

him about his relatives. It was a lengthy performance--who had died, when

and why, did they drink, had they suffered from venereal disease and so

forth. Finally they asked him to describe what had happened on the previous

day at Patriarch's Ponds, but they did not pay much attention to it and the

story about Pontius Pilate left them cold.

The woman then handed Ivan over to the man, who took a different line

with him, this time in silence. He took Ivan's temperature, felt his pulse

and looked into his eyes while he shone a lamp into them. The other woman

came to the man's assistance and they hit Ivan on the back with some

instrument, though not painfully, traced some signs on the skin of his chest

with the handle of a little hammer, hit him on the knees with more little

hammers, making Ivan's legs jerk, pricked his finger and drew blood from it,

pricked his elbow joint, wrapped rubber bracelets round his arm . . .

Ivan could only smile bitterly to himself and ponder on the absurdity

of it all. He had wanted to warn them all of the danger threatening them

from the mysterious professor, and had tried to catch him, yet all he had

achieved was to land up in this weird laboratory just to talk a lot of

rubbish about his uncle Fyodor who had died of drink in Vologda.

At last they let Ivan go. He was led back to his room where he was

given a cup of coffee, two soft-boiled eggs and a slice of white bread and

butter. When he had eaten his breakfast, Ivan made up his mind to wait for

someone in charge of the clinic to arrive, to make him listen and to plead

for justice.

The man came soon after Ivan's breakfast. The door into Ivan's room

suddenly opened and in swept a crowd of people in white overalls. In front

strode a man of about forty-five, with a clean-shaven, actorish face, kind

but extremely piercing eyes and a courteous manner. The whole retinue showed

him signs of attention and respect, which gave his entrance a certain

solemnity. ' Like Pontius Pilate! ' thought Ivan.

Yes, he was undoubtedly the man in charge. He sat down on a stool.

Everybody else remained standing.

' How do you do. My name is doctor Stravinsky,' he said as he sat down,

looking amiably at Ivan.

' Here you are, Alexander Nikolayich,' said a neatly bearded man and

handed the chief Ivan's filled-in questionnaire.

' They've got it all sewn up,' thought Ivan. The man in charge ran a

practised eye over the sheet of paper, muttered' Mm'hh' and exchanged a few

words with his colleagues in a strange language. ' And he speaks Latin

too--like Pilate ', mused Ivan sadly. Suddenly a word made him shudder. It

was the word ' schizophrenia ', which the sinister stranger had spoken at

Patriarch's Ponds. Now professor Stravinsky was saying it. ' So he knew

about this, too! ' thought Ivan uneasily.

The chief had adopted the rule of agreeing with everybody and being

pleased with whatever other people might say, expressing it by the word '

Splendid . . .'

' Splendid! ' said Stravinsky, handing back the sheet of paper. He

turned to Ivan.

' Are you a poet? '

' Yes, I am,' replied Ivan glumly and for the first time he suddenly

felt an inexplicable revulsion to poetry. Remembering some of his own poems,

they struck him as vaguely unpleasant.

Frowning, he returned Stravinsky's question by asking:

' Are you a professor? '

To this Stravinsky, with engaging courtesy, inclined his head.

' Are you in charge here? ' Ivan went on.

To this, too, Stravinsky nodded.

' I must talk to you,' said Ivan Nikolayich in a significant tone.

' That's why I'm here,' answered Stravinsky.

' Well this is the situation,' Ivan began, sensing that his hour had

come. ' They say I'm mad and nobody wants to listen to me!'

' Oh no, we will listen very carefully to everything you have to say,'

said Stravinsky seriously and reassuringly, ' and on no account shall we

allow anyone to say you're mad.'

' All right, then, listen: yesterday evening at Patriarch's Ponds I met

a mysterious person, who may or may not have been a foreigner, who knew

about Berlioz's death before it happened, and had met Pontius Pilate.'

The retinue listened to Ivan, silent and unmoving.

' Pilate? Is that the Pilate who lived at the time of Jesus Christ?'

enquired Stravinsky, peering at Ivan. ' Yes.'

' Aha,' said Stravinsky. ' And this Berlioz is the one who died falling

under a tram? '

' Yes. I was there yesterday evening when the tram killed him, and this

mysterious character was there too .'

' Pontius Pilate's friend? ' asked Stravinsky, obviously a man of

exceptional intelligence.

' Exactly,' said Ivan, studying Stravinsky. ' He told us, before it

happened, that Anna had spilt the sunflower-seed oil ... and that was the

very spot where Berlioz slipped! How d'you like that?!' Ivan concluded,

expecting his story to produce a big effect.

But it produced none. Stravinsky simply asked :

' And who is this Anna? '

Slightly disconcerted by the question, Ivan frowned.

' Anna doesn't matter,' he said irritably. ' God knows who she is.

Simply some stupid girl from Sadovaya Street. What's important, don't you

see, is that he knew about the sunflower-seed oil beforehand. Do you follow

me? '

' Perfectly,' replied Stravinsky seriously. Patting the poet's knee he

added : ' Relax and go on.'

' All right,' said Ivan, trying to fall into Stravinsky's tone and

knowing from bitter experience that only calm would help him. ' So obviously

this terrible man (he's lying, by the way--he's no professor) has some

unusual power . . . For instance, if you chase him you can't catch up with

him . . . and there's a couple of others with him, just as peculiar in their

way: a tall fellow with broken spectacles and an enormous cat who rides on

the tram by himself. What's more,' went on Ivan with great heat and

conviction, ' he was on the balcony with Pontius Pilate, there's no doubt of

it. What about that, eh? He must be arrested immediately or he'll do untold


' So you think he should be arrested? Have I understood you correctly?

' asked Stravinsky.

‘ He's clever,' thought Ivan, ' I must admit there are a few bright

ones among the intellectuals,' and he replied :

' Quite correct. It's obvious--he must be arrested! And meanwhile I'm

being kept here by force while they flash lamps at me, bath me and ask me

idiotic questions about uncle Fyodor! He's been dead for years! I demand to

be let out at once! '

' Splendid, splendid! ' cried Stravinsky. ' I see it all now. You're

right--what is the use of keeping a healthy man in hospital? Very well, I'll

discharge you at once if you tell me you're normal. You don't have to prove

it--just say it. Well, are you normal? '

There was complete silence. The fat woman who had examined Ivan that

morning glanced reverently at the professor and once again Ivan thought:

' Extremely clever! '

The professor's offer pleased him a great deal, but before replying he

thought hard, frowning, until at last he announced firmly:

' I am normal.'

' Splendid,' exclaimed Stravinsky with relief. ' In that case let us

reason logically. We'll begin by considering what happened to you

yesterday.' Here he turned and was immediately handed Ivan's questionnaire.

' Yesterday, while in search of an unknown man, who had introduced himself

as a friend of Pontius Pilate, you did the following: ' Here Stravinsky

began ticking off the points on his long fingers, glancing back and forth

from the paper to Ivan. ' You pinned an ikon to your chest. Right? '

' Right,' Ivan agreed sulkily.

' You fell off a fence and scratched your face. Right? You appeared in

a restaurant carrying a lighted candle, wearing only underpants, and you hit

somebody in the restaurant. You were tied up and brought here, where you

rang the police and asked them to send some machine-guns. You then attempted

to throw yourself out of the window. Right? The question--is that the way to

set about catching or arresting somebody? If you're normal you're bound to

reply--no, it isn't. You want to leave here? Very well. But where, if you

don't mind my asking, do you propose to go? ' ' To the police, of course,'

replied Ivan, although rather less firmly and slightly disconcerted by the

professor's stare.

' Straight from here? '

' Mm'hh.'

' Won't you go home first? ' Stravinsky asked quickly.

' Why should I go there? While I'm going home he might get away!'

' I see. And what will you tell the police? '

' I'll tell them about Pontius Pilate,' replied Ivan Nikolayich, his

eyes clouding.

' Splendid! ' exclaimed Stravinsky, defeated, and turning to the man

with the beard he said: ' Fyodor Vasilievich, please arrange for citizen

Bezdomny to be discharged. But don't put anybody else in this room and don't

change the bedclothes. Citizen Bezdomny will be back here again in two

hours. Well,' he said to the poet, ‘I won't wish you success because I see

no chance whatever of your succeeding. See you soon!' He got up and his

retinue started to go.

' Why will I come back here? ' asked Ivan anxiously.

' Because as soon as you appear at a police station dressed in your

underpants and say yom've met a man who knew Pontius Pilate, you'll

immediately be brought back here and put in this room again.'

' Because of my underpants? ' asked Ivan, staring distractedly about


' Chiefly because of Pontims Pilate. But the underpants will help. We

shall have to take a.way your hospital clothes and give you back your own.

And you came here wearing underpants. Incidentally you said nothing about

going home first, despite my hint. After that you only have to start talking

about Pontius Pilate . . . and you're done for.'

At this point something odd happened to Ivan Nikolayich. His will-power

seemed to crumple. He felt himself weak and in need of advice.

' What should I do, then? ' he asked, timidly this time.

' Splendid! ' said Stravinsky. ' A most reasonable question.

Now I'll tell you what has really happened to you. Yesterday someone

gave you a bad fright and upset you with this story about Pontius Pilate and

other things. So you, worn out and nerve-racked, wandered round the town

talking about Pontius Pilate. Quite naturally people took you for a lunatic.

Your only salvation now is complete rest. And you must stay here.'

' But somebody must arrest him! ' cried Ivan, imploringly.

' Certainly, but why should you have to do it? Put down all your

suspicions and accusations against this man on a piece of paper. Nothing

could be simpler than to send your statement to the proper authorities and

if, as you suspect, the man is a criminal, it will come to light soon

enough. But on one condition--don't over-exert your mind and try to think a

bit less about Pontius Pilate. If you harp on that story I don't think many

people are going to believe you.'

' Right you are! ' announced Ivan firmly. ' Please give me pen and


' Give him some paper and a short pencil,' said Stravinsky to the fat

woman, then turning to Ivan : ' But I don't advise you to start writing


' No, no, today! I must do it today! ' cried Ivan excitedly.

' All right. Only don't overtax your brain. If you don't get it quite

right today, tomorrow will do.'

' But he'll get away! '

' Oh no,' countered Stravinsky. ' I assure you he's not going to get

away. And remember--we are here to help you in every way we can and unless

we do, nothing will come of your plan. D'you hear? ' Stravinsky suddenly

asked, seizing Ivan Nikolay-ich by both hands. As he held them in his own he

stared intently into Ivan's eyes, repeating : ' We shall help you ... do you

hear? . . . We shall help you . . . you will be able to relax . . . it's

quiet here, everything's going to be all right ... all right . . . we shall

help you . . .'

Ivan Nikolayich suddenly yawned and his expression softened.

' Yes, I see,' he said quietly.

' Splendid! ' said Stravinsky, closing the conversation in his no

habitual way and getting up. ' Goodbye!' He shook Ivan by the hand and as he

went out he turned to the man with the beard and said : ' Yes, and try

oxygen . . . and baths.'

A few moments later Stravinsky and his retinue were gone. Through the

window and the grille the gay, springtime wood gleamed brightly on the far

bank and the river sparkled in the noon sunshine.

... previous page     next page...