Rus Articles Journal

Unless it is impossible to smoke here? From the cycle “Nonfictional Stories“

I, to the greatest regret, personally did not manage to meet Mikhail Arkadyevich Svetlov, but here what history I heard from my aunt Zina, or as she was officially called, Nadezhda Kazimirovna. The matter is that on a nationality the wife of the mother`s brother was Pole, and on Catholic custom it had two a name, one house - Zinaida, and the second which she received at a baptism, subsequently brought in a metrics. Here so she and a vein - houses was Zinaida, and at work as Nadezhda Kazimirovna. the aunt Zina worked with

As long as I could remember, in Russian Wines shop. This shop up to the end of the last century was on Gorky Street, directly opposite to the Central telegraph.

When I grew up already enough, and it occurred in the late fifties last century, I very often called on the aunt Zina. I well remember it behind a counter where she sold champagne in pouring. I liked to watch how it one imperceptible movement absolutely silently opened a bottle and spilled it on high wine glasses. Perhaps, I am mistaken, but at me in the head the figure “desyat“ here got stuck, to me it is remembered that so many rubles were cost at that time by one glass of this noble drink, naturally, on old, before reform of 1960, money.

Later the aunt Zina before the most retirement worked as the director of this shop, but all fiftieth years she precisely stood behind the counter about which buyers constantly crowded. Here then - that there was also that history about which I want to tell.

There was it in the early fifties when the U.S. Embassy still was located directly opposite to the Kremlin on Mokhovaya Street. The American diplomats Povaditsya to drink champagne in shop. Came, took seat at a bar counter, got thick smelly cigars and began to smoke directly under the sign “It Is Forbidden to Smoke“. Their visits began to get so that it became just impossible. On one request to stop smoking they did not react, pretended that they do not understand in Russian.

The aunt Zina about all this outrage of Americans in the presence of Mikhail Arkadyevich Svetlov who almost daily came to drink on a glass of champagne with the friend - the artist - the caricaturist Iosif Igin complained somehow. Friends, the famous jokers, conferred, and next day over a rack the big poster hung. On it the fat pig in the cylinder with the American flag on a brilliant side of a headdress who seated on a chair was represented, having piled up the legs on a table, and smoked a thick Havana cigar. Through puffs, escaping from an open mouth of a pig, the poster “At Us Do Not Smoke“ was clearly visible, and larger letters crept out of a snout curls of a tobacco smoke: “And I smoke“.

The crowd of the laughing American diplomats was, they got there were cigars, but having seen the poster, silently turned and left. More they did not appear there.

And Mikhail Arkadyevich visited this shop almost to the most death. At the same time he asked to release every day to him one glass of champagne on credit, next day it brought chervonets and again borrowed to the following time. And there was it owes my aunt ten rubles, did not manage to give before the death.