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
          News from yalta

News from Yalta

As disaster overtook Nikanor Ivanovich in Sadovaya Street, not far from

No. 302A two men were sitting in the office of Rimsky the treasurer of the

Variety Theatre : Rimsky himself and the house manager, Varenukha.

From this large office on the second floor two windows gave on to

Sadovaya and another, just behind the treasurer's back as he sat at his

desk, on to the Variety's garden; it was used in summer and contained

several bars for serving cold drinks, a shooting gallery and an open

promenade. The furniture of the room, apart from the desk, consisted of a

collection of old posters hanging on the wall, a small table with a carafe

of water, four chairs and a stand in one corner supporting a dusty,

long-forgotten model of a stage set. Naturally the office also contained a

small, battered fireproof safe standing to the left of Rimsky's desk.

Rimsky had been in a bad mood all morning. Varenukha, by contrast, was

extremely cheerful and lively, if somewhat nervous. Today, however, there

was no outlet for his energy.

Varenukha had just taken refuge in the treasurer's office from the

complimentary ticket hounds who made his life a misery, especially on the

days when there was a change of programme. And today was one of those days.

As soon as the telephone started to ring Varenukha picked up the receiver

and lied into it:

' Who? Varenukha? He's not here. He's left the theatre.'

' Please try and ring Likhodeyev once more,' said Rimsky testily.

' But he's not at home. I've already sent Karpov; the Hat's empty.'

' I wish to God I knew what was going on! ' hissed Rimsky, fidgeting

with his adding machine.

The door opened and a theatre usher dragged in a thick package of

newly-printed fly-posters, which announced in large red letters on a green

background :

Tonight and All This Week in the Variety Theatre

A Special Act

PROFESSOR WOLAND

Black Magic All Mysteries revealed

As Varenukha stepped back from the poster, which he had propped up on

the model, he admired it and ordered the usher to have all the copies posted

up.

' All right--look sharp,' said Varenukha to the departing usher.

' I don't care for this project at all,' growled Rimsky disagreeably,

staring at the poster through his horn-rims. ' I'm amazed that he was ever

engaged.'

' No, Grigory Danilovich, don't say that! It's a very smart move. All

the fun is in showing how it's done--" the mysteries revealed ".'

' I don't know, I don't know. I don't see any fun in that myself. . .

just like him to dream up something of this sort. If only he'd shown us this

magician. Did you see him? God knows where he's dug him up from.'

It transpired that Varenukha, like Rimsky, had not seen the magician

either. Yesterday Stepa had rushed (' like a madman ', in Rimsky's words)

into the treasurer's office clutching a draft contract, had ordered him to

countersign it and pay Woland his money. The magician had vanished and no

one except Stepa himself had seen him.

Rimsky pulled out his watch, saw that it was five minutes to three and

was seized with fury. Really, this was too much! Likhodeyev had rung at

about eleven o'clock, had said that he would come in about half an hour and

now he had not only failed to appear but had disappeared from his flat.

' It's holding up all my work' snarled Rimsky, tapping a pile of

unsigned papers.

' I suppose he hasn't fallen under a tram, like Berlioz? ' said

Varenukha, holding the receiver to his ear and hearing nothing but a

continual, hopeless buzz as Stepa's telephone rang unanswered.

' It would be a damned good thing if he has . . .' said Rimsky softly

between his teeth.

At that moment in came a woman in a uniform jacket, peaked cap, black

skirt and sneakers. She took a square of white paper and a notebook out of a

little pouch on her belt and enquired :

' Which of you is Variety? Priority telegram for you. Sign here.'

Varenukha scrawled some hieroglyphic in the woman's notebook and as

soon as the door had slammed behind her, opened the envelope. Having read

the telegram he blinked and handed it to Rimsky.

The telegram read as follows: 'yalta oi moscow

VARIETY STOP TODAY 1130 PSYCHIATRIC CASE NIGHT-SHIRTED TROUSERED

SHOELESS STAGGERED POLICE STATION ALLEGING SELF LIKHODEYEV MANAGER VARIETY

WIRE YALTA POLICE WHERE LIKHODEYEV.'

' Thanks--and I'm a Dutchman! ' exclaimed Rimsky and added : ' Another

little surprise package! '

' The False Dimitry! ' said Varenukha and spoke into the telephone : '

Telegrams, please. On account. Variety Theatre. Priority. Ready? " Yalta

Police stop Likhodeyev Moscow Rimsky Treasurer."'

Disregarding the Pretender of Yalta, Varenukha tried again to locate

Stepa by telephone and could not, of course, find him anywhere. While he was

still holding the receiver in his hand and wondering where to ring next, the

same woman came in again and handed Varenukha a new envelope. Hastily

opening it Varenukha read the text and whistled. ' What is it now? ' asked

Rimsky, twitching nervously. Varenukha silently passed him the telegram and

the treasurer read the words :

' BEG BELIEVE TRANSPORTED YALTA WOLANDS HYPNOSIS WIRE POLICE

CONFIRMATION MY IDENTITY LIKHODEYEV.'

Rimsky and Varenukha put their heads together, read the telegram again

and stared at one another in silence.

' Come on, come on! ' said the woman irritably. ' Sign here. Then you

can sit and stare at it as long as you like. I've got urgent telegrams to

deliver!'

Without taking his eyes off the telegram Varenukha scribbled in her

book and the woman disappeared.

' You say you spoke to him on the telephone just after eleven? ' said

the house manager in complete bewilderment.

' Yes, extraordinary as it may seem! ' shouted Rimsky. ' But whether I

did or not, he can't be in Yalta now. It's funny.'

' He's drunk . . .' said Varenukha.

' Who's drunk? ' asked Rimsky and they stared at each other again.

There was no doubt that some lunatic or practical joker was

telegraphing from Yalta. But the strange thing was--how did this wit in

Yalta know about Woland, who had only arrived in Moscow the evening before?

How did he know of the connection between Likhodeyev and Woland?

' " Hypnosis ",' muttered Varenukha, repeating one of the words in the

telegram. ' How does he know about Woland? ' He blinked and suddenly shouted

firmly : ' No, of course not. It can't be! Rubbish! '

' Where the hell has this man Woland got to, damn him? ' asked Rimsky.

Varenukha at once got in touch with the tourist bureau and announced to

Rimsky's utter astonishment that Woland was staying in Likhodeyev's flat.

Having then dialled Likhodeyev's flat yet again, Varenukha listened for a

long time as the ringing tone buzzed thickly in the earpiece. In between the

buzzes a distant baritone voice could be heard singing and Varenukha decided

that somewhere the telephone system had got its wires crossed with the radio

station.

' No reply from his flat,' said Varenukha, replacing the receiver on

its rest. ' I'll try once more . . .'

Before he could finish in came the same woman and both men rose to

greet her as this time she took out of her pouch not a white, but a black

sheet of paper.

' This is getting interesting,' said Varenukha through gritted teeth,

watching the woman as she hurried out. Rimsky was the first to look at the

message.

On a dark sheet of photographic paper the following lines were clearly

visible :

' As proof herewith specimen my handwriting and signature wire

confirmation my identity. Have Woland secretly followed. Likhodeyev.'

In twenty years of experience in the theatre Varenukha had seen plenty,

but now he felt his mind becoming paralysed and he could find nothing to say

beyond the commonplace and absurd remark:

‘ It can't be!'

Rimsky reacted differently. He got up, opened the door and bellowed

through it to the usher sitting outside on a stool:

' Don't let anybody in except the telegraph girl,' and locked the door.

He then pulled a sheaf of papers out of his desk drawer and began a

careful comparison of the thick, backward-sloping letters in the photogram

with the writing in Stepa's memoranda and his signatures, with their

typically curly-tailed script. Varenukha, sprawling on the desk, breathed

hotly on Rimsky's cheek.

' It's his handwriting,' the treasurer finally said and Varenukha

echoed him:

' It's his all right.'

Looking at Rimsky's face the house manager noticed a change in it. A

thin man, the treasurer seemed to have grown even thinner and to have aged.

Behind their hornrims his eyes had lost their usual aggressiveness. Now they

showed only anxiety, even alarm.

Varenukha did everything that people are supposed to do in moments of

great stress. He paced up and down the office, twice spread his arms as

though he were being crucified, drank a whole glass of brackish water from

the carafe and exclaimed :

' I don't understand it! I don't understand it! I don't under-stand

it!'

Rimsky stared out of the window, thinking hard. The treasurer was in an

extremely perplexing situation. He had to find an immediate, on-the-spot,

natural solution for a number of very unusual phenomena.

Frowning, the treasurer tried to imagine Stepa in a nightshirt and

without his shoes, climbing that morning at about half past eleven into some

incredibly super-rapid aeroplane and then the same Stepa, also at half past

eleven, standing on Yalta airport in his socks. ...

Perhaps it wasn't Stepa who had telephoned him from his flat? No, that

was Stepa all right! As if he didn't know Stepa's voice. Even if it hadn't

been Stepa talking to him that morning, he had actually seen the man no

earlier than the evening before, when Stepa had rushed in from his own

office waving that idiotic contract and had so annoyed Rimsky by his

irresponsible behaviour. How could he have flown out of Moscow without

saying a word to the theatre? And if he had flown away yesterday evening he

couldn't have reached Yalta before noon today. Or could he?

' How far is it to Yalta? ' asked Rimsky.

Varenukha stopped pacing and cried :

' I've already thought of that! To Sebastopol by rail it's about

fifteen hundred kilometres and it's about another eighty kilometres to

Yalta. It's less by air, of course.' I? . . . Yes . . . No question of his

having gone by train. What then? An Air Force fighter plane? Who'd let Stepa

on board a fighter in his stockinged feet? And why? Perhaps he'd taken his

shoes off when he got to Yalta? Same problem-- •why? Anyhow, the Air Force

wouldn't let him board a fighter even with his shoes on! No, a fighter was

out of the question too. But the telegram said that he'd appeared at the

police station at half past eleven in the morning and he'd been in Moscow,

talking on the telephone, at ... Just a moment (his watch-face appeared

before Rimsky's eyes) ... He remembered where the hands had been pointing .

. . Horrors! It had been twenty past eleven!

So what was the answer? Supposing that the moment after his telephone

call Stepa had rushed to the airport and got there in, say, five minutes

(which was impossible anyway), then if the aeroplane had taken off at once

it must have covered over a thousand kilometres in five minutes.

Consequently it had been flying at a speed of more than twelve thousand

kilometres per hour! Impossible, ergo--he wasn't in Yalta!

What other explanation could there be? Hypnosis? There A was no such

hypnosis which could hurl a man a thousand kilometres. Could he be imagining

that he was in Yalta? He might, but would the Yalta police imagine it? No,

no, really, it was absurd! ... But they had telegraphed from Yalta, hadn't

they?

The treasurer's face was dreadful to see. By now someone outside was

twisting and rattling the door handle and the usher could be heard shouting

desperately :

' No, you can't! I wouldn't let you in even if you were to kill me!

They're in conference! '

Rimsky pulled himself together as well as he could, picked up the

telephone receiver and said into it:

' I want to put through a priority call to Yalta.'

' Clever! ' thought Varenukha.

But the call to Yalta never went through. Rimsky put back the receiver

and said :

' The line's out of order--as if on purpose.'

For some reason the faulty line disturbed him a great deal and made him

reflect. After some thought he picked up the receiver again with one hand

and with the other started writing down what he was dictating into the

telephone :

' Priority telegram. From Variety. Yes. To Yalta police. Yes. "Today

approximately 1130 Likhodeyev telephoned me Moscow. Stop. Thereafter failed

appear theatre and unreach-able telephone. Stop. Confirm handwriting. Stop.

Will take suggested measures observe Woland Rimsky Treasurer." '

' Very clever! ' thought Varenukha, but the instant afterwards he

changed his mind : ' No, it's absurd! He can't be in Yalta! '

Rimsky was meanwhile otherwise engaged. He carefully laid all the

telegrams into a pile and together with a copy of his own telegram, put them

into an envelope, sealed it up, wrote a few words on it and handed it to

Varenukha, saying :

' Take this and deliver it at once, Ivan Savyelich. Let them puzzle it

out.'

' Now that really is smart! ' thought Varenukha as he put the envelope

into his briefcase. Then just to be absolutely sure he dialled the number of

Stepa's flat, listened, then winked mysteriously and made a joyful face.

Rimsky craned his neck to listen.

' May I speak to Monsieur Woland, please? ' asked Varenukha sweetly.

' He's busy,' answered the receiver in a quavering voice. ' Who wants

him? '

' Varenukha, house manager of the Variety Theatre.'

' Ivan Savyelich? ' squeaked the earpiece delightedly. ' How very nice

to hear your voice! How are you? '

' Merci,' replied Varenukha in some consternation. ' Who's speaking? '

' This is Koroviev, his assistant and interpreter,' trilled the

receiver. ' At your service, my dear Ivan Savyelich! Just tell me what I can

do for you. What is it? '

' I'm sorry ... is Stepan Bogdanovich Likhodeyev at home? '

' Alas, no, he isn't,' cried the telephone. ' He's gone out.'

' Where to? '

' He went out of town for a car-ride.'

' Wha-at? Car-ride? When is he coming back? '

' He said he just wanted a breath of fresh air and then he'd be back.'

' I see . . .' said Varenukha, perplexed. ' Merci. . . please tell

Monsieur Woland that his act this evening starts after the second interval.'

' Very good. Of course. At once. Immediately. Certainly. I'll tell

him,' came the staccato reply from the earpiece.

' Goodbye,' said Varenukha, in amazement.

' Please accept,' said the telephone, ' my warmest and most sincere

good wishes for a brilliant success! It will be a great show--great! '

' There you are--I told you so! ' said the house manager excitedly. '

He hasn't gone to Yalta, he's just gone out of town for a drive.'

' Well, if that's the case,' said the treasurer, turning pale with

anger, ' he has behaved like an absolute swine!'

Here the manager leaped into the air and gave such a shout that Rimsky

shuddered.

' I remember! I remember now! There's a new Turkish restaurant out at

Pushkino--it's just opened--and it's called the " Yalta "! Don't you see? He

went there, got drunk and he's been sending us telegrams from there!'

' Well, he really has overdone it this time,' replied Rimsky, his cheek

twitching and real anger flashing in his eyes. ' This little jaunt is going

to cost him dear.' He suddenly stopped and added uncertainly : ' But what

about those telegrams from the police?'

' A lot of rubbish! More of his practical jokes,' said Varenukha

confidently and asked : ' Shall I take this envelope all the same? '

' You must,' replied Rimsky.

Again the door opened to admit the same woman. ' Oh, not her! ' sighed

Rimsky to himself. Both men got up and walked towards her.

This time the telegram said :

'THANKS CONFIRMATION IDENTITY WIRE ME FIVE HUNDRED ROUBLES POLICE

STATION FLYING MOSCOW TOMORROW LIKHODEYEV.'

' He's gone mad,' said Varenukha weakly. Rimsky rattled his key-chain,

took some money out of the safe, counted out five hundred roubles, rang the

bell, gave the money to the usher and sent her off to the post office.

' But Grigory Danilovich,' said Varenukha, unable to believe his eyes,

' if you ask me you're throwing that money away.'

' It'll come back,' replied Rimsky quietly, ' and then he'll pay dearly

for this little picnic.' And pointing at Varenukha's briefcase he said :

' Go on, Ivan Savyelich, don't waste any time.' Varenukha picked up his

briefcase and trotted off. He went down to the ground floor, saw a very long

queue outside the box office and heard from the cashier that she was

expecting to have to put up the ' House Full' notices that evening because

they were being positively overwhelmed since the special bill had been

posted up. Varenukha told her to be sure not to sell the thirty best seats

in the boxes and stalls, then rushed out of the box office, fought off the

people begging for free tickets and slipped into his own office to pick up

his cap. At that moment the telephone rang. ' Yes? ' he shouted.

' Ivan Savyelich? ' enquired the receiver in an odious nasal voice.

' He's not in the theatre! ' Varenukha was just about to shout, but the

telephone cut him short:

' Don't play the fool, Ivan Savyelich, and listen. You are not to take

those telegrams anywhere or show them to anybody.'

' Who's that? ' roared Varenukha. ' Kindly stop playing these tricks!

You're going to be shown up before long. What's your telephone number? '

' Varenukha,' insisted the horrible voice. ' You understand Russian

don't you? Don't take those telegrams.'

' So you refuse to stop this game do you? ' shouted the house manager

in a rage. ' Now listen to me--you're going to pay for this!' He went on

shouting threats but stopped when he realised that no one was listening to

him on the other end.

At that moment his office began to darken. Varenukha ran out, slammed

the door behind him and went out into the garden through the side door.

He felt excited and full of energy. After that last insolent telephone

call he no longer had any doubt that some gang of hooligans was playing some

nasty practical joke and that the joke was connected with Likhodeyev's

disappearance. The house manager felt inspired with the urge to unmask the

villains and, strange as it may seem, he had a premonition that he was going

to enjoy it. It was a longing to be in the limelight, the bearer of

sensational news.

Out in the garden the wind blew in his face and threw sand in his eyes

as if it were trying to bar his way or warn him. A window-pane on the second

floor slammed shut with such force that it nearly broke the glass, the tops

of the maples and poplars rustled alarmingly. It grew darker and colder.

Varenukha wiped his eyes and noticed that a yellowish-centred thundercloud

was scudding low over Moscow. From the distance came a low rumble.

Although Varenukha was in a hurry, an irresistible urge made him turn

aside for a second into the open-air men's toilet just to check that the

electrician had replaced a missing electric lamp.

Running past the shooting gallery, he passed through a thick clump of

lilac which screened the blue-painted lavatory. The electrician seemed to

have done his job : the lamp in the men's toilet had been screwed into its

socket and the protective wire screen replaced, but the house manager was

annoyed to notice that even in the dark before the thunderstorm the

pencilled graffiti on the walls were still clearly visible.

' What a . . .' he began, then suddenly heard a purring voice behind

him:

' Is that you, Ivan Savyelich? '

Varenukha shuddered, turned round and saw before him a shortish, fat

creature with what seemed like the face of a cat.

' Yes . . .' replied Varenukha coldly.

' Delighted to meet you,' answered the stout, cat-like personage.

Suddenly it swung round and gave Varenukha such a box on the ear that his

cap flew off and vanished without trace into one of the lavatory pans.

For a moment the blow made the toilet shimmer with a flickering light.

A clap of thunder came from the sky. Then there was a second flash and

another figure materialised, short but athletically built, with fiery red

hair . . . one wall eye, a fang protruding from his mouth ... He appeared to

be left-handed, as he fetched the house manager a shattering clout on his

other ear. The sky rumbled again in reply and rain started to drench the

wooden roof.

' Look here, corn . . .' whispered Varenukha, staggering. It at once

occurred to him that the word ' comrades ' hardly fitted these bandits who

went around assaulting people in public conveniences, so he groaned instead

'. . . citizens . . . ', realised that they didn't even deserve to be called

that and got a third fearful punch. This time he could not see who had hit

him, as blood was spurting from his nose and down his shirt.

' What have you got in your briefcase, louse? ' shouted the cat-figure.

' Telegrams? Weren't you warned by telephone not to take them anywhere? I'm

asking you--weren't you warned?'

' Yes ... I was . . . warned,' panted Varenukha.

' And you still went? Gimme the briefcase, you skunk! ' said the other

creature in the same nasal voice that had come through the telephone, and

wrenched the briefcase out of Varenukha's trembling hands.

Then they both grabbed the house manager by the arms and frog-marched

him out of the garden and along Sadovaya Street. The storm was in full

spate, water was roaring and gurgling down the drain-holes in great bubbling

waves, it poured off the roofs from the overflowing gutters and out of the

drain pipes in foaming torrents. Every living person had vanished from the

street and there was no one to help Ivan Savyelich. In second, leaping over

muddy streams and lit by flashes of lightning the bandits had dragged the

half-dead Varenukha to No302-A and fled into the doorway, where two barefoot

women stood pressed against the wall, holding their shoes and stockings in

their hands. Then they rushed across to staircase 6, carried the nearly

insane Varenukha up to the fifth floor and threw him to the ground in the

familiar semi-darkness of the hallway of Stepa Likhodeyev's flat.

The two robbers vanished and in their place appeared a completely naked

girl--a redhead with eyes that burned with a phosphorescent glitter.

Varenukha felt that this was the most terrible thing that had ever

happened to him. With a groan he turned and leaned on the wall. The girl

came right up to him and put her hands on his shoulders. Varenukha's hair

stood on end. Even through the cold, soaking wet material of his coat he

could feel that those palms were even colder, that they were as cold as ice.

' Let me give you a kiss,' said the girl tenderly, her gleaming eyes

close to his. Varenukha lost consciousness before he could feel her kiss.


... previous page     next page...