psna.ru

Magazine for tourists

Table of contents


Kinds of tourism

Excursion (author BV Emelyanov)

introduction

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

 Contents
 1. never talk to strangers
 Pontius pilate
 The seventh proof
 The pursuit
 The affair at griboyedov
 Schizophrenia
 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
 Margarita
 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
 Epilogue
Charlotte bronte. jane eyre

F. scott fitzgerald / the great gatsby

Jerome klapka jerome / three men in a boat


 Home
     Mikhail bulgakov. the master and margarita
          Koroviev's tricks

Koroviev's Tricks

Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoi, chairman of the tenants' association of No.

302A, Sadovaya Street, Moscow, where the late Berlioz had lived, was in

trouble. It had all begun on the previous Wednesday night.

At midnight, as we already know, the police had arrived with Zheldybin,

had hauled Nikanor Ivanovich out of bed, told him of Berlioz's death and

followed him to flat No. 50. There they had sealed the deceased's papers and

personal effects. Neither Grunya the maid, who lived out, nor the imprudent

Stepan Bogdanovich were in the flat at the time. The police informed Nikanor

Ivanovich that they would call later to collect Berlioz's manuscripts for

sorting and examination and that his accommodation, consisting of three

rooms (the jeweller's study, drawing-room and dining-room) would revert to

the tenants' association for disposal. His effects were to be kept under

seal until the legatees' claims were proved by the court.

The news of Berlioz's death spread through the building with

supernatural speed and from seven o'clock on Thursday morning Bosoi started

to get telephone calls. After that people began calling in person with

written pleas of their urgent need of vacant housing space. Within the space

of two hours Nikanor Ivanovich had collected thirty-two such statements.

They contained entreaties, threats, intrigue, denunciations, promises

to redecorate the flat, remarks about overcrowding and the impossibility of

sharing a flat with bandits. Among them was a description, shattering in its

literary power, of the theft of some meat-balls from someone's jacket pocket

in flat No. 31, two threats of suicide and one confession of secret

pregnancy.

Nikanor Ivanovich was again and again taken aside with a wink and

assured in whispers that he would do well on the deal....

This torture lasted until one o'clock, when Nikanor Ivanovich simply

ran out of his flat by the main entrance, only to run away again when he

found them lying in wait for him outside. Somehow contriving to throw off

the people who chased him across the asphalt courtyard, Nikanor Ivanovich

took refuge in staircase 6 and climbed to the fatal apartment.

Panting with exertion, the stout Nikanor Ivanovich rang the bell on the

fifth-floor landing. No one opened. He rang again and again and began to

swear quietly. Still no answer. Nikanor Ivanovich's patience gave way and

pulling a bunch of duplicate keys from his pocket he opened the door with a

masterful flourish and walked in.

' Hello, there! ' shouted Nikanor Ivanovich in the dim hallway. ' Are

you there, Grunya? '

No reply.

Nikanor Ivanovich then took a folding ruler out of his pocket, used it

to prise the seal from the study door and strode in. At least he began by

striding in, but stopped in the doorway with a start of amazement.

Behind Berlioz's desk sat a tall, thin stranger in a check jacket,

jockey cap and pince-nez. . . .

' And who might you be, citizen? ' asked Nikanor Ivanovich.

' Nikanor Ivanovich! ' cried the mysterious stranger in a quavering

tenor. He leaped up and greeted the chairman with an unexpectedly powerful

handshake which Nikanor Ivanovich found extremely painful.

' Pardon me,' he said suspiciously, ' but who are you? Are you somebody

official? '

' Ah, Nikanor Ivanovich! ' said the stranger in a man-to-man voice. '

Who is official and who is unofficial these days? It all depends on your

point of view. It's all so vague and changeable, Nikanor Ivanovich. Today

I'm unofficial, tomorrow, hey presto! I'm official! Or maybe vice-versa--who

knows? '

None of this satisfied the chairman. By nature a suspicious man, he

decided that this voluble individual was not only unofficial but had no

business to be there.

' Who are you? What's your name? ' said the chairman firmly, advancing

on the stranger.

' My name,' replied the man, quite unmoved by this hostile reception, '

is . . . er . . . let's say . . . Koroviev. Wouldn't you like a bite to eat,

Nikanor Ivanovich? As we're friends? '

' Look here,' said Nikanor Ivanovich disagreeably, ' what the hell do

you mean--eat? ' (Sad though it is to admit, Nikanor Ivanovich had no

manners.) ' You're not allowed to come into a dead man's flat! What are you

doing here? '

' Now just sit down, Nikanor Ivanovich,' said the imperturbable

stranger in a wheedling voice, offering Nikanor Ivanovich a chair.

Infuriated, Nikanor Ivanovich kicked the chair away and yelled:

' Who are you? '

' I am employed as interpreter to a foreign gentleman residing in this

flat,' said the self-styled Koroviev by way of introduction as he clicked

the heels of his dirty brown boots.

Nikanor Ivanovich's mouth fell open. A foreigner in this flat, complete

with interpreter, was a total surprise to him and he demanded an

explanation.

This the interpreter willingly supplied. Monsieur Woland, an artiste

from abroad, had been kindly invited by the manager of the Variety Theatre,

Stepan Bogdanovich Likhodeyev, to spend his stay as a guest artiste, about a

week, in his flat. Likhodeyev had written to Nikanor Ivanovich about it

yesterday, requesting him to register the gentlemen from abroad as a

temporary resident while Likhodeyev himself was away in Yalta.

' But he hasn't written to me,' said the bewildered chairman.

' Take a look in your briefcase, Nikanor Ivanovich,' suggested Koroviev

amiably.

Shrugging his shoulders Nikanor Ivanovich opened his briefcase and

found a letter from Likhodeyev. ' Now how could I have forgotten that? '

mumbled Nikanor Ivanovich, gazing stupidly at the opened envelope.

' It happens to the best of us, Nikanor Ivanovich! ' cackled Koroviev.

' Absent-mindedness, overstrain and high blood-pressure, my dear friend!

Why, I'm horribly absent-minded. Some time over a glass or two I'll tell you

a few things that have happened to me--you'll die with laughter! '

' When is Likhodeyev going to Yalta? '

' He's already gone,' cried the interpreter. ' He's on his way there.

God knows where he is by now.' And the interpreter waved his arms like

windmill sails.

Nikanor Ivanovich announced that he had to see the foreign gentleman in

person, but this was refused. It was quite out of the question. Monsieur

Woland was busy. Training his cat.

' You can see the cat if you like,' suggested Koroviev.

This Nikanor Ivanovich declined and the interpreter then made him an

unexpected but most interesting proposal: since Monsieur Woland could not

bear staying in hotels and was used to spacious quarters, couldn't the

tenants' association lease him the whole flat for his week's stay, including

the dead man's rooms?

' After all, what does he care? He's dead,' hissed Koroviev in a

whisper. ' You must admit the flat's no use to him now, is it?'

In some perplexity Nikanor Ivanovich objected that foreigners were

normally supposed to stay at the Metropole and not in private accommodation

. . .

' I tell you he's so fussy, you'd never believe it,' whispered

Koroviev. ' He simply refuses! He hates hotels! I can tell you I'm fed up

with these foreign tourists,' complained Koroviev confidentially. ' They

wear me out. They come here and either they go spying and snooping or they

send me mad with their whims and fancies--this isn't right, that isn't just

so! And there'd be plenty in it for your association, Nikanor Ivanovich.

He's not short of money.' Koroviev glanced round and then whispered in the

chairman's ear : ' He's a millionaire!'

The suggestion was obviously a sensible one, but there was something

ridiculous about his manner, his clothes and that absurd, useless pince-nez

that all combined to make Nikanor Ivanovich vaguely uneasy. However he

agreed to the suggestion. The tenants' association, alas, was showing an

enormous deficit. In the autumn they would have to buy oil for the steam

heating plant and there was not a kopeck in the till, but with this

foreigner's money they might just manage it. Nikanor Ivanovich, however,

practical and cautious as ever, insisted on clearing the matter with the

tourist bureau.

' Of course! ' cried Koroviev. ' It must be done properly. There's the

telephone, Nikanor Ivanovich, ring them up right away! And don't worry about

money,' he added in a whisper as he led the chairman to the telephone in the

hall, ' if anyone can pay handsomely, he can. If you could see his villa in

Nice! When you go abroad next summer you must go there specially and have a

look at it--you'll be amazed! '

The matter was fixed with the tourist bureau with astonishing ease and

speed. The bureau appeared to know all about Monsieur Woland's intention to

stay in Likodeyev's flat and raised no objections.

' Excellent! ' cried Koroviev.

Slightly stupefied by this man's incessant cackling, the chairman

announced that the tenants' association was prepared to lease flat No. 50 to

Monsieur Woland the artiste at a rent of ... Nikanor Ivanovich stammered a

little and said :

' Five hundred roubles a day.'

At this Koroviev surpassed himself. Winking conspiratorially towards

the bedroom door, through which they could hear a series of soft thumps as

the cat practised its leaps, he said :

' So for a week that would amount to three and a half thousand,

wouldn't it? '

Nikanor Ivanovich quite expected the man to add ' Greedy, aren't you,

Nikanor Ivanovich? ' but instead he said:

' That's not much. Ask him for five thousand, he'll pay.'

Grinning with embarrassment, Nikanor Ivanovich did not even notice how

he suddenly came to be standing beside Berlioz's desk and how Koroviev had

managed with such incredible speed and dexterity to draft a contract in

duplicate. This done, he flew into the bedroom and returned with the two

copies signed in the stranger's florid hand. The chairman signed in turn and

Koroviev asked him to make out a receipt for five . . .

' Write it out in words, Nikanor Ivanovich. " Five thousand roubles ".'

Then with a flourish which seemed vaguely out of place in such a serious

matter--' Eins! 'yvei! drei! '--he laid five bundles of brand-new banknotes

on the table.

Nikanor Ivanovich checked them, to an accompaniment of witticisms from

Koroviev of the ' better safe than sorry ' variety. Having counted the money

the chairman took the stranger's passport to be stamped with his temporary

residence permit, put contract, passport and money into his briefcase and

asked shyly for a free ticket to the show . . .

' But of course! ' exclaimed Koroviev. ' How many do you want, Nikanor

Ivanovich--twelve, fifteen? '

Overwhelmed, the chairman explained that he only wanted two, one for

his wife Pelagea Antonovna and one for himself.

Koroviev seized a note-pad and dashed off an order to the box office

for two complimentary tickets in the front row. As the interpreter handed it

to Nikanor Ivanovich with his left hand, with his right he gave him a thick,

crackling package. Glancing at it Nikanor Ivanovich blushed hard and started

to push it away.

' It's not proper . . .'

' I won't hear any objection,' Koroviev whispered right in his ear. '

We don't do this sort of thing but foreigners do. You'll offend him, Nikanor

Ivanovich, and that might be awkward. You've earned it . . .'

' It's strictly forbidden . . .' whispered the chairman in a tiny

voice, with a furtive glance around.

' Where are the witnesses? ' hissed Koroviev into his other ear. ' I

ask you--where are they? Come, now . . .'

There then happened what the chairman later described as a miracle--the

package jumped into his briefcase of its own accord, after which he found

himself, feeling weak and battered, on the staircase. A storm of thoughts

was whirling round inside his head. Among them were the villa in Nice, the

trained cat, relief that there had been no witnesses and his wife's pleasure

at the complimentary tickets. Yet despite these mostly comforting thoughts,

in the depths of his soul the chairman still felt the pricking of a little

needle. It was the needle of unease. Suddenly, halfway down the staircase,

something else occurred to him-- how had that interpreter found his way into

the study past a sealed door? And why on earth had he, Nikanor Ivanovich,

forgotten to ask him about it? For a while the chairman stared at the steps

like a sheep, then decided to forget it and not to bother himself with

imaginary problems . . .

As soon as the chairman had left the flat a low voice came from the

bedroom:

' I don't care for that Nikanor Ivanovich. He's a sly rogue. Why not

fix it so that he doesn't come here again? '

' Messire, you only have to give the order . . .' answered Koroviev in

a firm, clear voice that no longer quavered.

At once the diabolical interpreter was in the hall, had dialled a

number and started to speak in a whining voice :

' Hullo! I consider it my duty to report that the chairman of our

tenants' association at No. 302A Sadovaya Street, Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoi,

is dealing in black-market foreign currency. He has just stuffed four

hundred dollars wrapped in newspaper into the ventilation shaft of the

lavatory in his flat. No. 3 5. My name is Timothy Kvastsov and I live in the

same block, flat No. 11. But please keep my name a secret. I'm afraid of

what that man may do if he finds out . . .'

And with that the scoundrel hung up.

What happened after that in No. 50 is a mystery, although what happened

to Nikanor Ivanovich is common knowledge. Locking himself in the lavatory,

he pulled the package out of his briefcase and found that it contained four

hundred roubles. He wrapped it up in a sheet of old newspaper and pushed it

into the ventilation shaft. Five minutes later he was sitting down at table

in his little dining-room. From the kitchen his wife brought in a pickled

herring, sliced and thickly sprinkled with raw onion. Nikanor Ivanovich

poured himself a wineglassful of vodka, drank it, poured out another, drank

that, speared three slices of herring on his fork . . . and then the

doorbell rang. Pelagea Antonovna was just bringing in a steaming casserole,

one glance at which was enough to tell you that in the midst of all that

hot, thick borsch was one of the most delicious things in the world --a

marrow bone.

Gulping down his running saliva, Nikanor Ivanovich snarled :

' Who the hell is that--at this hour! They won't even allow a man to

eat his supper. . . . Don't let anybody in--I'm not at home.... If it's

about the flat tell them to stop worrying. There'll be a committee meeting

about it in a week's time.'

His wife ran into the hall and Nikanor Ivanovich ladled the quivering

marrow bone out of its steaming lake. At that moment three men came into the

dining-room, followed by a very pale Pelagea Antonovna. At the sight of them

Nikanor Ivanovich turned white and got up.

' Where's the W.C.? ' enquired the first man urgently. There was a

crash as Nikanor Ivanovich dropped the ladle on to the oilcloth table-top.

' Here, in here,' babbled Pelagea Antonovna. The visitors turned and

rushed back into the passage.

' What's going on? ' asked Nikanor Ivanovich as he followed them. ' You

can't just burst into our flat like that . . . Where's your identity card if

you don't mind? '

The first man showed Nikanor Ivanovich his identity card while the

second clambered up on to a stool in the lavatory and thrust his arm into

the ventilation shaft. Nikanor Ivanovich began to feel faint. They unwrapped

the sheet of newspaper to find that the banknotes in the package were not

roubles but some unknown foreign money--bluish-green in colour with a

picture of an old man. Nikanor Ivanovich, however, saw none of it very

clearly because spots were swimming in front of his eyes.

' Dollars in the ventilation shaft. . . .' said the first man

thoughtfully and asked Nikanor Ivanovich politely : * Is this your little

parcel? '

' No! ' replied Nikanor Ivanovich in a terrified voice. ' It's been

planted on me!'

' Could be,' agreed the first man, adding as quietly as before :

' Still, you'd better give up the rest.'

' There isn't any more! I swear to God I've never even seen any! '

screamed the chairman in desperation. He rushed to a chest, pulled out a

drawer and out of that his briefcase, shouting distractedly as he did so :

' It's all in here . . . the contract . . . that interpreter must have

planted them on me . . . Koroviev, the man in the pince-nez!'

He opened the briefcase, looked inside, thrust his hand in, turned blue

in the face and dropped his briefcase into the borsch. There was nothing in

it--no letter from Stepan, no contract, no passport, no money and no

complimentary tickets. Nothing, in short, except a folding ruler.

* Comrades!' screamed the chairman frantically. ' Arrest them! The

forces of evil are in this house!'

Something odd happened to Pelagea Antonovna at this point. Wringing her

hands she cried :

' Confess, Nikanor! They'll reduce your sentence if you do! '

Eyes bloodshot, Nikanor Ivanovich raised his clenched fists over his

wife's head and screamed :

' Aaah! You stupid bitch! '

Then he crumpled and fell into a chair, having obviously decided to bow

to the inevitable. Meanwhile, out on the landing, Timothy Kondratievich

Kvastsov was pressing first his ear then his eye to the keyhole of the

chairman's front door, burning with curiosity.

Five minutes later the tenants saw the chairman led out into the

courtyard by two men. Nikanor Ivanovich, so they said later, had been

scarcely recognisable--staggering like a drunkard and muttering to himself.

Another hour after that a stranger appeared at flat No. n just when

Timothy Kondratievich, gulping with pleasure, was describing to some other

tenants how the chairman had been whisked away; the stranger beckoned

Timothy Kondratievich out of his kitchen into the hall, said something and

took him away.


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