Chapter 3: 14-29

Page 14

Spiritual Day-Book
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a preacher in the Church of England and one of the leaders of the Methodist movement. He was a pioneer in the commercialization of religion and seen by many as the most powerful leader of the Great Awakening in America. Whitefield popularized the concept of a spiritual day-book:

Whitefield's familiary with a shopkeeper's daybook provided another metaphor for his faith. He urged his followers to take an accounting of their spiritual lives. "I think a good tradesman whether he deals largely or not, will take care to keep his day-book well," Whitefield explained, adding, "if a man will not keep his day-book well it is ten to one but he loses a good deal when he comes to count up his things at Christmas." Then applying the lesson to converts, the evangelist continued, "now I take it for granted, a good spiritual tradesman will keep his spiritual day-book well." A good Christian will be able to look at his accounts at the end of a day and proclaim, "I have died a little more to the world than yesterday, [and] this day I hope that I have been a little more alive to God than I was yesterday." [1]

Day's Fatigue
Foreshadows the leitmotif of Against the Day. The working day against which, etc., etc.

waking Traverse was done
Not sure if the meaning has held constant, but modern day surveyors use the noun TRAverse (with the emphasis on the 1st syllable) to refer not to a line, but to a loop or geometric figure created by measuring the angle & distance from one point to another. By closing the loop and measuring the angle & distance back to the original point, the surveyor can determine the accuracy of the measurements (the loop should close completely, without any deviation from the measurements) and apply a correction, if necessary. Use of the word in this way describes each day as a forward progress (traVERSE) in addition to a circular return (TRAverse) --incredibly poignant.

Traverse is the main family name in Against the Day. Descendants of Webb Traverse appear in Vineland.

yet another Term in the Contract between the City and oneself
A reference to Social Contracts, the implied agreements by which people form nations and maintain a social order. This means that the people give up some rights to a government in order to receive social order. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) are the most famous philosophers of contractarianism, which formed the theoretical groundwork of democracy.

Pynchon has always been wary of cities, crushing the individual (the charismatic, the Life Force) in the pursuit of a rationalized and efficient system. Cf. the City Dactylic in Gravity's Rainbow — ""the city of the future where every soul is known, and there is noplace to hide." Cf., also, the Routinization of Charisma in Gravity's Rainbow.

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Wapping High Street
The area was first settled by Saxons, from whom it takes its name (meaning literally "[the place of] Wæppa's people"). It developed along the embankment of the Thames, hemmed in by the river to the south and the now-drained Wapping Marsh to the north. This gave it a peculiarly narrow and constricted shape, consisting of little more than the axis of Wapping High Street and some north-south side streets. John Stow, the 16th century historian, described it as a "continual street, or a filthy strait passage, with alleys of small tenements or cottages, built, inhabited by sailors' victuallers." Wikipedia entry...

The village [of Tyburn] was notorious for centuries as the site of the Tyburn gallows, London's principal location for public executions by hanging. Executions took place at Tyburn from the 12th to the 18th century (with the prisoners processed from Newgate Prison in the City). Located near Marble Arch in present-day London. Wikipedia entry...

the Motrix of Honest Mirth
The vis motrix is a term meaning "moving force" or "soul." Here we could equate it to 'Engine' or 'Stimulus'.

Immanual Kant, in the decades before the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason, was a metaphysical dualist who offered a positive account of mind/body interaction. Thoughts of the True Estimation of Living Forces (1747), his first philosophical work, contains an argument that the mind/body problem presupposed several false and interrelated assumptions, all of which fell under the general view that the essential force of body is vis motrix. Kant argued that the traditional vis motrix view, which was defended by Wolff and other post-Leibnizian German rationalists, appealed to an unexplanatory and metaphysically incoherent conception of force. [1]

Dixon's Joke
We can only assume that TP intends Dixon's 'joak' to fail, to heighten the characters' mutual discomfort; Mason's response is no kind of punchline, and scarcely seems to justify Dixon's assumption that he has 'heard it before', unless the punchline was too vulgar to be repeated in company.

Page 16

Corsican accent
Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus). The Corsican language has strong similarities to Italian.

In the French bourgeoisie any dialect other than "educated" Parisian French is regarded as inferior and excites hilarity; and of the many dialects, the Belgian and Corsican accents are regarded as the ugliest and funniest.[2]

Napoléon Bonaparte, who was born on Corsica, was 9 years old when his family left for France and although he learned French, he was never able to shake his strong Corsican accent.

North-Road Cockade
The Great North Road was the main highway between England and Scotland. It features in the legendary flight of the highwayman Dick Turpin from London to York, also in The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. The cockade could be have broad outlaw/rebel connotations of the time or those associated with the Jacobites who wore white cockades. Also, during the 1780 Gordon Riots in London the blue cockade became a symbol of anti-government feelings and was worn by most of the rioters. During the American Revolution of 1765-1783, the Continental Army wore cockades of various colours. Wikipedia entry Quakers were known for their plain dress and teetotalism - Dixon adheres to neither. More of this in Chapter 5.

Page 17

Ha-ha (garden) The ha-ha or sunken fence is a type of boundary to a garden, pleasure-ground, or park, designed not to interrupt the view and to be invisible until closely approached. The ha-ha consists of a trench, the inner side of which is perpendicular and faced with stone, with the outer slope face sloped and turfed - making it in effect a sunken fence. The ha-ha is a feature in the landscape gardens laid out by Charles Bridgeman, the originator of the ha-ha, according to Horace Walpole (Walpole 1780) and by William Kent and was an essential component of the "swept" views of Capability Brown.

Aristarchus (310 BC - c. 230 BC) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born on the island of Samos, in ancient Greece. He is considered the first person to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe (hence he is sometimes known as the "Greek Copernicus").

the other fellow
It appears that Dixon is just rambling on a list of Astronomers and can't remember a particular name. Galileo? Copernicus? Tycho Brahe? Take your pick.

Page 18

Vine with Corn, beware the Morn
An early version of such modern sayings as, "Beer before liquor, never sicker." Mixing types of drink has long been known to produce unwelcome effects.

mirror'd Lanthorns
"Lanthorn" (pronounced "lantern") is an archaic, chiefly British, spelling of "lantern." It is derived from horn, of which the sides were once made. When horns are soaked in hot water for a time they become soft and flexible, much as fingernails do when they are kept in dishwater. These flexible horns can be cut and flattened out to make many translucent plastic-like objects. "Lant" comes from the Latin lanterna ("lamp," "torch") which is derived from the Greek lampter ("torch")" from lampein ("to shine").

Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier

The grand entrance of the Learnèd English Dog. It appears that the name is an anachronism in Mason & Dixon: The Norfolk Terrier is the smallest of the working Terriers. Prior to 1960, when it gained recognition as an independent breed, it was a variety of the Norwich Terrier, distinguished from the Norwich by its "drop", or folded ears.

In the 1880s, British sportsmen developed a working terrier of East Anglia, England. The Norwich Terrier and later the drop-eared variety now know as the Norfolk Terrier, were believed to have been developed by crossing Cairn Terriers, small, short-legged Irish Terrier breeds and the small red terriers used by the Gypsy ratters of Norfolk. Wikipedia

Page 19

1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a minister of religion or of the ministry. 2. Of or relating to administrative and executive duties and functions of government. 3. Law Of, relating to, or being a mandatory act or duty admitting of no personal discretion or judgment in its performance. 4. Acting or serving as an agent; instrumental. From the American Heritage Dictionary.

Where the Bee Sucks
A song from Shakespeare's The Tempest set to music by Robert Johnson, the lutenist to James I, in the 1659 Cheerful Ayres or Ballads. In The Tempest, after he is set free by Prospero, Ariel sings "Where the Bee Sucks":

Where the bee sucks, there suck I
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

The reference to Ariel and The Tempest foreshadows the L.E.D.'s discourse on how "Dogs learn'd to act as human as possible" in order to avoid being killed for food by humans (p. 22). A brief analysis of Ariel's character: [2]

Ariel is a spirit of the air who, because he refused to serve the witch, Sycorax, was imprisoned in a tree until rescued by Prospero. Ariel willingly carries out Prospero’s wishes because he is eager to be free. Although he wants his freedom in exchange, Ariel approaches his tasks with enthusiasm, quickly doing what is asked and promptly reporting any activities that he observes. Early in the play, Ariel reports the plot to murder Prospero, and later, he assists in punishing Prospero’s enemies. Ariel’s obedience is an important symbol of Prospero’s humanity, because he ameliorates Prospero’s role on the island and humanizes the action that Prospero takes against his old adversaries. Finally, Ariel’s willing obedience of Prospero’s wishes stands in stark contrast to Caliban’s cursing and plotting against the same master.

Read & Listen...

Integral of One over (Book) d (Book)
Freshman calculus gag. The antiderivative or integral of the function 1/x is the function logarithm of x. Written (integral sign) 1/x dx = log x. Substitute (Book) for x. Answer: log (Book) = logbook.

The same gag appears in GR: 'integral of 1 over cabin d cabin = Log cabin + c = houseboat'.

The French name given to a Spanish gold coin in use in 1537; it was a double escudo, the gold unit. The name was also given to the Louis d'Or of Louis XIII of France, and to other European gold coins of about the value of the Spanish coin. One pistole was worth approximately ten livres. In Dumas' The Three Musketeers, set in the 1620s, we learn that thirty-five pistoles and twenty crowns make 465 livres.

Gate-Ways to Futurity
Windows into the future.

Metempsychosis is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to the belief of transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. Wikipedia entry...

Page 20

Sailors with Queues
A queue is a men's hairstyle whose primary attribute is a braid or ponytail at the back of the head, such as that worn by men in Imperial China. Wiktionary

upstart Chapels
upstart: Suddenly raised to a position of consequence. 2. Self-important; presumptuous. Amer Her Dict.

singing Catches
A Catch is a canonic, often rhythmically intricate composition for three or more voices, popular especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wikipedia entry...

Page 21

Fender: a soft bag or cushion hung from the side of a ship to protect it from the stones or piles of a wharf. Fender-Belly has such a cushion in front. A Bodine of some sort appears in almost every TP work.

A Beer made with, or flavoured with, coconut milk.

A British and American subculture inspired by the fashion of continential Europe eps. that of Italy. The term comes from the Itallian "maccherone" which means "boorish fool" but was taken on by the British to mean over the top fashionable. Macaroni They would often speak in an affected manner and mix Latin into their speech. Macaronic Verse

A Lunarian is an member of the movement of astronomers who felt that the solution to the Logitude prize lay in the development of lunar tables describing the moons of Jupiter. Famous Lunarians included Nevil Maskelyne; here it seems to be only a vague term of abuse.

Singular...One who is employed to tend horses, especially at an inn. 2. One who services a large vehicle or engine, such as a locomotive. Middle English, from Anglo-Norman hostiler.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose, defines a glim-jack as a link-boy. A link-boy (or link boy or linkboy) was a boy who carried a flaming torch to light the way for pedestrians at night. Linkboys were common in London in the days before street lighting. The linkboy's fee was commonly one farthing, and the torch was often made from burning pitch and tow.

In thieves' cant (a secret language which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in English-speaking countries), a linkboy was known as a "Glym Jack" ("glym" meant "light") or a "moon-curser" (as their services would not be required on a moonlit night). Employing a linkboy could be dangerous, as some would lead their clients to dark alleyways, where they could be beset by footpads.

Page 22

The L.E.D. blinks, shivers, nods in a resign'd way.
L.E.D., here the "Learnèd English Dog", is also the abbreviation for "light-emitting diodes", which do blink on a regular basis.

state of holy Insanity
the second time an Eastern religious practice is linked to insanity. Rev. Cherrycoke, page 10. Ecstasy or real madness or both?

praeternatural... supernatural
Praeternatural: Beyond or different from what is natural, or according to the regular course of things, but not clearly supernatural or miraculous; strange; inexplicable; extraordinary; uncommon; irregular; abnormal

tail-wagging Scheherazades
In A Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights), Scheherazade tells a story to the king (her husband) each night in order to stay her execution. Each night she ends in the middle of a tale, so that the King postpones her execution out of curiosity to hear the story's end.

Algernon is the name of a laboratory mouse in the novel (and short story) of Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon (1966), where the mouse undergoes surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told as a series of progress reports written by Charlie, who originally has an IQ of 68 and is the first human test subject for the surgery. Charlie – the same way as the mouse – shows spectacular progress in the beginning, only to regress later to his original state and die shortly after. Keyes in his turn took the name Algernon from the English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), a decadent master of verse, who in his late life suffered mental and physical breakdown due to his alcoholism, algolagnia and excitable character.

Here, it is little more than shorthand denoting an upper-class dilettante - Derek is surely addressing his friend, not the dog - but it can hardly be accidental that the name arises in the context of a miraculous increase of intelligence in an animal.

Macaroni Italian Style [...] Fop Fricasée
The Terrier (the Learnèd English Dog) is futuristically punning on the Macaronis and Fops mentioned on page 21, as macaroni the food wasn't introduced in the U.S. until years later when Thomas Jefferson did so in 1789, when he returned home after serving as ambassador to France, bringing his "macaroni machine" with him.

Page 23

An old name for rabies and thus an understandable concern for the LED. Perhaps also sheer bravado in the interests of not being kidnapped - a small dog has no other threat against a group of eager sailors.

Six feet. Sea depth is conventionally given in fathoms.

Bath, properly Royal Bath Spa, a genteel town in Somerset (originally the Roman Aqua Sulis); but an unlikely place to find Bodine's roots. Bodine's speech, with his elision ('Li'oo doggie', 'all 'e way', 'you take i' ') and the substitution of F for TH is archetypal London dialect, unlike Mason's, whose rhotic 'R's reflect his West Country upbringing (Stroud and Bath are not far apart linguistically).

"a British Dog, Sir. No one owns me".
Cf. Rev Cherrycoke, page 10.

Lopsided. (One OED cite from 1865)

Page 24

the Point

Portsmouth Point, see Wiki entry.

Welsh Main
" which eight pairs were matched, the eight victors being again paired, then four, and finally the last surviving pair" EB11-cockfighting

Page 25

"Loaded dice are called high and lowmen, or high and low fulhams, by Ben Jonson and other writers of his time; either because they were made at Fulham, or from that place being the resort of sharpers" (Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811)


“A nautical term for blocks of wood with holes in them” (Levy, Toby. MD3PAD PDF. p. 8). The holes are used for running and securing line. The term usually refers specifically to the crowfeet dead-eyes. See photos 2-6 in this series of pix.

Diminutive of Hephzibah.Mother of Manasseh in the Old Testament(see 2 Kings 21:1).

The usage here means "to divine" or "to read into," from the ancient practice of divining the future through the interpretation of smoke rising from a fire.

From Chambers's Encyclopedia (1868):

Capnomancy (formed from the Greek capnos, smoke, and manteia, divination) was practiced by the ancients in two different ways - either they threw grains of jasmine or poppy on the burning coals, and watched the motions and the density of the smoke that rose from them, or they watched the smoke of sacrifices. This latter kind of C. was most generally employed, and that to which the greatest importance was attached. If the smoke was thin, and ascended in a right line, instead of being blown back by the breeze, or spreading over the altar, the augury was good. It was also believed that the inhalation of the smoke rising from the victims or from the fire which consumed them, gifted the priests with prophetic inspiration. [3]

Page 26

Shortened form of 'apert' (open, bold).

Presumably a reference to the predecessor of Lloyd's bank. The business was started only in 1765, co-founded by Sampson Lloyd II, who was a Quaker.

Page 27

half a crown
A high-value coin, worth two shillings and sixpence (one eighth of a pound) or 12 1/2 pence in modern currency. In M&D's time, worth about £13 ($20), so a substantial fee. Until 1919, made of silver, thereafter half silver until 1946 when cupro-nickel was used. Discontinued shortly before decimalization in 1970.

Page 28

share quarters
Bodine's comment would suggest that the girls were indeed close.

The colour Mauve wasn't discovered until the 1830s. However "Malva" (the source for the word)or "Mallow" was one of the oldest known plants.

H.M.S. Inconvenience
Fender-Belly Bodine's former ship (to appear again in 2006 in Against the Day)


  1. Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737-1770, Frank Lambert, Princeton University Press, 1994, p.50
  2. Race and Ethnicity: Essays in Comparative Sociology, Pierre L. Van den Berghe; Basic Books, 1970, p.4

Latitudes and Departures

1: 5-11, 2: 12-13, 3: 14-29, 4: 30-41, 5: 42-46, 6: 47-57, 7: 58-76, 8: 77-86, 9: 87-93, 10: 94-104, 11: 105-115, 12: 116-124, 13: 125-145, 14: 146-157, 15: 158-166, 16: 167-174, 17: 175-182, 18: 183-189, 19: 190-198, 20: 199-206, 21: 207-214, 22: 215-227, 23: 228-237, 24: 238-245, 25: 245-253


26: 257-265, 27: 266-274, 28: 275-288, 29: 289-295, 30: 296-301, 31: 302-314, 32: 315-326, 33: 327-340, 34: 341-348, 35: 349-361, 36: 362-370, 37: 371-381, 38: 382-390, 39: 391-398, 40: 399-409, 41: 410-421, 42: 422-435, 43: 436-439, 44: 440-447, 45: 448-451, 46: 452-459, 47: 460-465, 48: 466-475, 49: 476-483, 50: 484-490, 51: 491-498, 52: 499-510, 53: 511-524, 54: 525-541, 55: 542-553, 56: 554-561, 57: 562-569, 58: 570-574, 59: 575-584, 60: 585-596, 61: 597-607, 62: 608-617, 63: 618-622, 64: 623-628, 65: 629-632, 66: 633-645, 67: 646-657, 68: 658-664, 69: 665-677, 70: 678-686, 71: 687-693, 72: 694-705, 73: 706-713

Last Transit

74: 717-732, 75: 733-743, 76: 744-748, 77: 749-757, 78: 758-773

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