A governess cart is a small two-wheeled horse-drawn cart. Their distinguishing feature is a small tub body, with two opposed inward-facing seats. They could seat four, although there was little room for four large adults. The driver sat sideways on one of these seats. The centre rear of the body was lowered, or else had a small hinged door, and there was a step beneath. The wheels were of moderate size, always fitted with mud guards, and usually carried on elliptical springs. The axle was either straight or dropped, giving a low, stable, centre of gravity.
I am writing on behalf of a friend who is reading Invitation to a Beheading. He came across the term "fried chuckrick" and could not find a definition. I always assumed that it was a made-up word meant to convey something folksy-crude and fried (something like "ponchiki", I imagined), but there have been others who assumed VN made up words, only to be shamed by his unabridged dictionary, so now I wonder... (I don't have Dal' handy.)
I do have Dal' handy and it defines "Khukhrik" or "huhrik" ( in VN's transliteration) as a dialectical word meaning "shchegolek. i.e., a "fop" or "dandy"--which doesn't get us very far. "Shchegolek," however, comes from the (possibly different) root(s) shchegOl-/shchOgol' (the
capital "O's" = stress), the first, "shchegOl" now meaning the "Eurasian Goldfinch" (Carduelis carduelis) and the latter, "shchOgol'" a "Spotted Redshank," (Tringa erythropus) related to snipe and woodcock. Both are common in Northern Europe. (On my bird life list as Goldfinch: Lagos, Portugal 10 Dec. 1978 & Spotted Redshanks: Minsmere, England Jun 10, 1992). Small passerines like sparrows (or finchs?) are roasted and eated in Spain, but I have not seen them consumed elsewhere in Europe; nor do I know whether "Spotten Redshanks" are eaten although their kinship with snipe and woodcock suggests that such might be the case. So, to conclude: my guess is that Nabokov's characters are eating a game bird resembling a snipe.
As an irrelevant aside, I suggest (and I do not have Vasmer's etymological dictionary at hand) that the meaning "fop" or "dandy" linked with the root derives from the "goldfinch" meaning since the bird (unlike the "Spotted Redshanks) is extremely colorful. Note too that the English "popinjay" (fop) is a "folk etymology" coming from the same source as the Russian "popugai" (parrot).
"You remember, of course," resumed the soi-disant de Worms, pulling his beard and looking out of the window, "that when we broke up rather hurriedly the whole arrangements for the atrocity were left in the private hands of the Marquis and Dr. Bull."
found in the Coastal Northeastern North Carolina vernacular to mean a large bird, usually a Great Blue Heron, or a similar bird of the family Ardeidae, and based on the eerily prehistoric sound it makes upon being startled, "QUORK!"
Says Plowdon, the whale so caught belongs to the King and Queen, "because of its superior excellence." And by the soundest commentators this has ever been held a cogent argument in such matters.
But why should the King have the head, and the Queen the tail? A reason for that, ye lawyers!
In his treatise on "Queen-Gold," or Queen-pin-money, an old King's Bench author, one William Prynne, thus discourseth: "Ye tail is ye Queen's, that ye Queen's wardrobe may be supplied with ye whalebone." Now this was written at a time when the black limber bone of the Greenland or Right whale was largely used in ladies' bodices. But this same bone is not in the tail; it is in the head, which is a sad mistake for a sagacious lawyer like Prynne. But is the Queen a mermaid, to be presented with a tail? An allegorical meaning may lurk here.
A ridiculous burlesque, which in 1730 had an extraordinary run at the Haymarket theatre. So great was its popularity that a club called “The Hurlo-Thrumbo Society” was formed. The author was Samuel Johnson, a half-mad dancing master, who put this motto on the title-page when the burlesque was printed:
Ye sons of fire, read my Hurlo-Thrumbo, Turn it betwixt your finger and your thumbo, And being quite undone, be quite struck dumbo.
-Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894