Chapter 7: 58-76

Page 58

sepia: NOUN: 1a. A dark brown ink or pigment originally prepared from the secretion of the cuttlefish. b. A drawing or picture done in this pigment. c. A photograph in a brown tint. 2. A dark grayish yellow brown to dark or moderate olive brown. ADJECTIVE: 1. Of the color sepia. 2. Done or made in sepia.
Orwell uses this phrase about street shadows--like tea-- in Keep the Aspidistra Flying.

Herren XVII
Modern Dutch spelling "de Heeren XVII," the 17 Lords, board of governors of the V.O.C.
When the Herren XVII ordered the Cape government in 1717 to stop granting land in freehold ... heard by the Herren XVII—who ruled in their favor in 1706, ...

Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company.

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Monsieur Lacaille
Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, French astronomer. WIKI

Slavery is an integral theme of the novel; it is the underbelly of the enlightenment. It is the central rift that forms along the Mason-Dixon Line, and it is the paradox of America, i.e. liberty for some.

Castle of the Compagnie
The Castle of Good Hope, see WIKI.

set against
Imperialist strategy of divide-and-conquer.

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drosters' - runaways from service contracts. South African usage.

vroo*. Dutch for pious

Jethro's Tent
Biblical: Jethro (also called Reuel), a Midean priest, was Moses' father-in-law. Moses came to live with Jethro after he rescued his seven daughters and helped them water their sheep. See (Exodus 2:15-25, 3:1-2)

Biblical: Son of Cush, a founder of Babylon (see Genesis 10:8-10). A hunter. Informal. A person regarded as silly, foolish, or stupid.

Early "offensive" word for a black person, see WIKI.

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It's hard to see from TRP's descriptions what women see in M, other than on Joanna Vroom's case, good slave breeding stock.
The Journal of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon is full of passages where Mason's normally scientific writtings give way to poetic and gothic images of ghosts and devils. In the Journals he frequents massacre sites.

Portable Soup... Slabs
An extremely reduced meat stock (not freeze-dried, just boiled down and then dried) in cakes or slabs. Heat in a pan of water and you have soup. Most users regarded it as a necessity rather than a pleasure.

Darlington Market
In Darlington , County Durham. Still a good market today--21st Century-- says an online British guidebook.

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the name of Job's second daughter (Job 42:14), born after prosperity had returned to him. Also Cassia.

(the horn of beauty), the youngest of the daughters of Job, born to him during the period of his reviving prosperity. (Job 42:14) Source: Smith's Bible Dictionary

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Imp from Hell
Cf. Imp allusions and Poe story cited. Three uses so far in M & D. Here Els' impulsiveness is an apt allusion to impishness, overstated as in speech.

the rattle watch, appointed at the request of the burghers to relieve them of night-watch duty.
"First, the said rattle watch shall be held to appear at the burghers' guard house after the ringing of the nine o'clock bell and together at ten o'clock shall begin making their rounds, giving notice of their presence in all the streets of the village by sounding their rattle and calling [out the hour], and this every hour of the night, until 4 o'clock in the morning. From an Orange County decree, 1859 online.

English Tea-Pot
Free associating, Mason to English to English tea to teapot?
"I'm a little tea-pot, short and stout" allusion? Old song.

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Dutch: lady, woman, wife. Vroom Vroom!


  1. To make the shrill cry characteristic of a hen after laying an egg.
  2. To laugh or talk in a shrill manner.

Often said of "witches".

fatally but not yet mortally
fatally: with fatal consequences or implications; "he was fatally ill equipped for the climb"
mortally: fatal 'unto death"--to an extreme. American Heritage Dictionary

Is the economics behind slavery what TRP is getting at here through Austra?

Page 65

Dried female flowers of cannabis sativa, prepared for smoking.

Page 66

dorsal 'Scape
Dorsal landscape = shapely rear end.

five Sprites
The women?
Yes, the impish females whose behavior toward Mason is designed to urge him into a sexual liaison with Austra.

Asian parlor-game
see four-door farces, p. 184 and Parlour Game, p. 184

Page 67

Austronesian peoples predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, see WIKI.

Pygmy as any group whose adult males grow to less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) in average height, see WIKI.

Traditionally saltpetre. Mason wants a drug to reduce his libido. Anaphrodisiac

Page 68

the wrongs committed daily...invisible, yet possessing mass and velocity
Cf. gravity in GR and mass in ATD. Very Pychonesque motif and phrasing here.

need to keep the Ghost propitiated
see the ghosts and major dark spirit in ATD.

Page 69

NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. vel·le·i·ties 1. Volition at its lowest level. 2. A mere wish or inclination. ETYMOLOGY: New Latin velleits, from Latin velle, to wish. American heritage Dictionary

Reichsdollar, a Dutch coin.

German Reichsthaler, Dutch Rijksdaalder; current throughout the European colonies.

Dutch Company which is ev'rywhere & ev'rything
East India Company pervades as "[the Deists']God?"--Dixon

Late Blow
Mason suggests Dixon threw an illegal punch with that last metaphor comparing the East India Company with God.

Butter-Bag Castle
Butter-Bag was slang for a Dutchman.

keep to the margins
Dixon stays where Pynchon's valued characters live. See "Low-Lands" and passim in other works.
This paragraph is so fine in expressing a kind of place beyond all the ways of being mapped, known, predicted, so to speak. Off the grid, so to speak. Where some anarchists argue we should strive to be. Another deep Pynchon theme.

Page 70

The word was later adapted into English as curries.

This tribe is/was real, although I did not think they were known about until the later age of anthropological study. They did share dreams and conquered their fears this way. If a child had a dream of falling, say, when shared with all, the adults would tell him to just fly next time--and he would. Their dream life was incorporates into their whole life and they were a happy, contented people. Researching.



Like the book says, a dagger, but further, both a weapon and a spiritual object. See WIKI.

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...fantastical beings...
Note that Jorge Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings (Wikipedia) includes a listing for Sea Horse (see Borges' text on Fantastic Zoology); the Seahorse, is, of course, the ship on which M&D sail to Cape of Good Hope.

Second brightest star system in the constellation Scorpius, and one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky, see WIKI.

See especially in this context, with ridottoes, definition #5--a fashionable gathering...with other attendant resonances of meaning.
rout (rout)
n. 1A)A disorderly retreat or flight following defeat.
1B)An overwhelming defeat.

2A) A disorderly crowd of people; a mob.
2B) People of the lowest class; rabble.
3) A public disturbance; a riot.
4) A company, as of knights or wolves, that are in movement. See synonyms at flock 1.
5) A fashionable gathering.
tr.v., rout·ed, rout·ing, routs.

The ridotto was a space behind the theatres, much like a foyer, where visitors of all layers of society mingled and engaged in discussion, gambling, or other spirited forms of entertainment. Most visitors wore masks. It was the famous black and white bauta which made recognition virtually impossible. Started in Venice.
In all of the approximately 20 ridotti of Venice, gambling was the main activity. Young aristocrats sold their military duty to poor souls in need of money. Servants, poets, flower girls, singers, merchants, foreign visitors, and dignitaries all passed through the ridotto. Casanova praised the beautiful women, playwright Goldoni found willing listeners to his fantastic stories in the ridotto. The painters Longhi, Guardi, and Tiepolo all found inspiration in the dark-lit establishments.

Original spelling for modern ketchup or catsup, which seems to have come from an Asian influence on tomato sauce.

Page 72

A direct address use of this verb as a noun to describe Dixon ruining [blighting] Mason's fantasies with common-sense.

terre mauvais
badlands. GR: terre mauvais: "badlands" 87

Page 73

Spanish Inquisitors
equated with [all] 'Authorities'!

two Punches in a Droll-booth
As in Punch-and-Judy slapstick puppets.

Jesuits... Invisible College
philosophical riff on whether M & D are "free" or controlled by others, Jesuits, Dixon and the Invisible College, Mason.
The Invisible College was a precursor to the Royal Society of United Kingdom. It consisted of a group of scientists including Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, John Wallis, John Evelyn, Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren and William Petty. In letters in 1646 and 1647, Boyle refers to "our invisible college" or "our philosophical college". The society's common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation. WIKI

The idea of an invisible college became influential in seventeenth century Europe, in particular, in the form of a network of savants or intellectuals exchanging ideas (by post, as it would have been understood at the time). The invisible college idea is exemplified by the network of astronomers, professors, mathematicians, and natural philosophers in 16th century Europe. Men such as Johannes Kepler, Georg Joachim Rheticus, John Dee and Tycho Brahe passed information and ideas to each other in an invisible college. One of the most common methods used to communicate was through annotations written in personal copies of books that were loaned, given, or sold from person to person.

Nervus Probandi
nervus probandi (L): the crux of the argument; the most conclusive and decisive proof
So, Dixon is essentially asking "Your point?"

Mr. Peach
Sam Peach Sr., the powerful EIC director.

Spotted Cubes

Sector Wallah
"Wallah," in British India, a specialist or tradesman. Sector Wallah, the person in charge of the Sector.

Page 74

whole onions and meat as a stew. Also "stifado." However, see OED 1688 "stuffado" and 1771 "stuffata." Also stufata. The latter two are probably Italian. This dish is Greek.

dating back to Walpole
Sir Robert Walpole, who held the influential office of First Lord of the Treasury. 4 April 1721 – 11 February 1742. Previous holders of the post had often been important figures in government, but not to such a degree as Walpole. His influence grew even stronger because the King, George I, was not active in English politics, preferring to concentrate on his native Hanover. Walpole is generally regarded as the first Prime Minister, not just because of his influence in Government, but because he could persuade (or force) his colleagues in the Cabinet to act in a harmonious and unified fashion, instead of intriguing against each other for more power. Walpole's office, First Lord of the Treasury, became strongly associated with the leadership of the Government; it became the position which the Prime Minister almost always held... Though Walpole is considered the first "Prime Minister," ...the powers of the monarch were slowly diminished, and those of the Prime Minister gradually increased, over the course of the following years. From WIKI

Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB (29 September 1725–22 November 1774), also known as Clive of India, was a British soldier who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Southern India and Bengal. He is credited with securing India, and the wealth that followed, for the British crown. Together with Warren Hastings he was one of the key figures in the creation of British India. From Clive of India WIKI

Dr. Nevil Maskelyne
Reverend Dr Nevil Maskelyne. Astronomer, Lunarian, enemy of John Harrison, 5th Astronomer Royal. See WIKI

Robert Waddington
from an old established English family. 27 M iv. Robert Waddington was born in 1743. Waddington genealogy online.

Bleak \Bleak\, n. [From Bleak, a., cf. Blay.] (Zo["o]l.)
A small European river fish (Leuciscus alburnus), of the family Cyprinid[ae]; the blay. [Written also blick.] Source: Webster's unabridged Dictionary 1913.

if Beetles be your Passion, why the Beetle Variety there!
Anachronistic allusion to Charles Darwin and a famous remark about evolution? For years, after dropping out of medical school, Darwin had a passion for collecting beetles.
And, "the contemplation of nature can give rise to some curious reflexions. There is a famous (possibly apocryphal) story about the great biologist J.B.S. Haldane.[20th Century] At a major British public occasion, Haldane was sitting next to an Anglican bishop, who asked him what biology had shown him about the designs and predilections of the Creator. Haldane is supposed to have replied "An inordinate fondness for beetles."

St. Helena
Island of volcanic origin and a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean, see WIKI.

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Tom Birch
18th Century English historian, see WIKI. Friend of Ben Franklin, and as well, member of Royal Society.

medieval type of arrowhead designed to shoot through the protective chain mail usually worn by Knights.

In this case a thick, blunt needle used in taped or corded hemming, or in leather work. cf. Hamlet solioquy, '...could his quietus make with a bare bodkin'.

Annotation Index

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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