Dimitri Nabokov

By Mercedes Kemp

played by Terry Hedges / Peter Fellowes

. . . .

I don’t….I don’t really know what I am doing here…

How did I end in this place? So very far away…

I am Dimitri Nabokov.

My memory is not what it used to be….

How did I end in this shady graveyard, where leaves whisper with the voices of the dead?

I forget…

But some things… I do remember.


Driving through the snow covered streets on a troika drawn by three white horses, wrapped in bear skin rugs.  The Winter Palace ablaze with light and music. One thousand, nine hundred and forty five windows, and each one shining like a star. Can you imagine? And dancing, dancing through the night in ballrooms that sparkled like jewel boxes. Dinner for 1,000 guests. We thought it would never end…. But while we danced, the workers were striking and the clouds in the horizon were hanging dangerously low…

And in summer, travelling for days from St Petersburg to Yalta, by the shores of the Black sea, to a white dacha, its windows billowing with fine linen in the morning breeze. And swimming, boating and more dancing…

Dmitrij pesnja –   počemu ja zdes’?

Počemu ja zdes’?  Daleko ot doma?                   Why am I here?  Far from home?

Moe serdce i duša moja v Mat’ Rossija              My heart, my soul are in Mother Russia

Počemu ja zdes’?  Tak daleko ot doma?            Why am I here?  So far from home?

Ja pomnju sneg, tol’ko sneg,                                I remember snow, only snow,

Veter v berezy derev’ev                                       Wind in the birch trees


O Mother Russia, how could we be so blind!

I remember a fearful journey through forests that rustled with grief and in trains loaded with shadows, endless waiting rooms, the kindness of strangers.

And then, I forget. Why here? And who cared for me enough to find me this resting place, so far away from home.  Perhaps you know?


. . . .

Postscript: Was the man we have met Dimitri Nabokov, great man of Tsarist Russian establishment?  And did he really end his days here in a modest house in Blight’s Row, Redruth?  The historical records offer no easy answer to these questions but his mystery endures.

Dimitri Nabokov (1870 – 1951)