Vladimir Sofronitsky, Serge Prokofiev, Vladimir Dukelsky
and Lina Prokofiev in Prokofiev's Ballot. France, 1929.
Third driving lesson. Driving off in second gear, I wanted to change into third, but mistakenly went into first. Something juddered below my feet. In panic I pressed down, but not on the pedal. My instructor, at the driving wheel next to me, immediately stopped the car and cursed me at length. I didn't understand a thing and my one thought was whether I had ruined the car or not. Seeing my downcast look, he relented and said "Well, let's get on!"
It appears I had already been seen having a lesson in the Bois de Boulogne and Gorchakov heard the following conversation on the Métro: "So, things aren't going too well for Prokofiev ; he's learning to be a taxi driver!" Gorchakov said he nearly died laughing.
I took the test to get the "carte rose", i.e. the driving licence. The examiner actually turned out to be quite nice. The exam began in one of the side streets off the Avenue de la Grande Armée, and with something quite difficult: I had to start off on a slope and make a difficult turn; at that moment a car came at me and I gave way. The examiner cursed, not me but the car which came out and ought to have given way. Then I did a few more manoeuvres, answered three questions and having received the sheet of pink paper, went home, radiant. (Diary, 1926)
From left to right:
1 - Lina Prokofiev at the driving wheel;
2, 3, 4 - a Prokofiev automobile mishap, one-horse power comes to the rescue. France, 1928.