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xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="ltr"> Chapter 40: 399-409 - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Mason & Dixon

Chapter 40: 399-409

Page 399

Mason leaves the Forks of Brandywine
February 11, 1765.

arriving in New-York by way of the Staten Island Ferry
February 16, 1765.

New York City grew in importance as a trading port while under British rule. The city hosted the seminal John Peter Zenger trial in 1735, helping to establish the freedom of the press in North America. In 1754, Columbia University was founded under charter by George II of Great Britain as King's College in Lower Manhattan. The Stamp Act Congress met in New York in October of 1765 as the Sons of Liberty organized in the city, skirmishing over the next ten years with British troops stationed there. From WIKI

In the 1700s ferry service between Staten Island and the city of New York (then occupying only the southern tip of Manhattan) was conducted by private individuals with "periaugers", shallow-draft, two-masted sailboats used for local traffic in New York harbor. From WIKI

Trinity Church... where he will attend services on Sunday.
on Sunday, February 17, 1765

Trinity Church (also known as Trinity Wall Street) at 79 Broadway, New York City, is an historic, full-service parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Trinity Church is located at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street in downtown Manhattan. From WIKI

But then there is Monday Night.
Monday, February 17, 1765

Presently he has fallen in...
The journals indicate that this is February 19, 1765, since the next day is marked as "In Long Island."

Brooklyn
In 1683, the British reorganized the Province of New York into twelve counties, each of which was sub-divided into towns. Over time, the name evolved from Breuckelen, to Brockland, to Brocklin, to Brookline, and eventually, to Brooklyn. Kings County was one of the original counties, and Brooklyn was one of the original six towns within Kings County. The county was named in honor of King Charles II of England. From WIKI

Pearl-Street
The name Pearl Street is an English translation of the Dutch Parelstraat (written as Paerlstraet around 1660). This street along the eastern shore of New Amsterdam was named for the many oysters found in the river. From WIKI

Styx
The River Styx (Greek: Στύξ, Stux, also meaning "hate" and "detestation") was a river in Greek mythology which formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades which is also the name of this domain's ruler). It circles the Underworld nine times. The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh. The other important rivers of the underworld are Lethe and Eridanos, and Alpheus, a real river that runs in Italy partially underground and undersea. The ferryman was called Charon (also spelled Kharon in older texts). From WIKI

Page 400

ornamental Dirk
Dirk is a Scots word for a short dagger; sometimes a cut-down sword blade mounted on a dagger hilt, rather than a knife blade. The word dirk could have possibly derived from the Gaelic word sgian dearg (red knife), via dearg [ˈdʒʲɛrəɡ],[dubious – discuss] shifting to Scots "dirk" [ˈdɪɾk]. It may also have been a corruption of the Low German terms Dulk or Dolk. From WIKI

the inconvenient Dilemma of stepping in as a Gentleman must
inconvenient, once again, as interacting with life, here almost a foreshadowing of what the Chums of Chance do from Inconvenience the airship, in ATD.

Page 401

bum-bailiff
an officer: The French pousse-cul seems to favour the notion that bum-bailiff is no corruption. These officers are frequently referred to as bums. “Scout me for him at the corner of the orchard, like a bum-bailiff.” Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, iii. 4.--Brewer Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

Cadastral Surveyor
Surveyor of property lines and boundaries

Page 402

"Cad! Ass? - Eeeoo!"
Amelia misunderstands Mason to be a surveyor of cad (young, roguish sorts) ass - This is a roundabout pun on the old "Butt Pirate," I presume.

"Quotha."
Indeed - archaic variation of modern slang "true that" or "amen" - in other words, the word is saying agreeably "quoth he" or "quoth she"

Page 403

Sobriquet
A sobriquet (pronounced so-brik-ay or so-brik-et) is a nickname or a fancy name, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation. From WIKI

The Telescope stands...
map of Brooklyn from 1766
I would guess that they are a little north the "Brookland Ferry" on this map. But, would that be enough elevations that the telescope is pointing "down?"
This drawing from the 1770s shows a veiw from Brooklyn. Might even be the inspiration for the location.

White-Hall Slip
Near the foot of the street is the site of the Governor's house built by Peter Stuyvesant; when the British took over New Amsterdam from the Dutch, they christened the street and the building "Whitehall" for England's seat of government, Whitehall, London. On the Castello map (1660, illustration) Whitehall, with its white roof, stands on a jutting piece of land at Manhattan's tip, facing along the waterfront strand that extends along the East River. The only extensive pleasure gardens in seventeenth-century Nieuw Amsterdam/New York are seen to extend behind it, laid out in a patterned parterre of four squares. Other grounds in the center of blocks behind houses are commons and market gardens. The mansion is long since gone, and now the name survives only as the short north-south Whitehall Street. From WIKI

Governor's Island
First named by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, it was called Noten Eylant (and later in pidgin language Nutten Island) from 1611 to 1784. The island's current name—made official eight years after the 1776 Declaration of Independence—stems from British colonial times when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors. From WIKI

Page 404

Republican fogs
In recent years a debate has developed over its role in the American Revolution and in the British radicalism of the eighteenth century. For many decades the consensus was that liberalism, especially that of John Locke, was paramount and that republicanism had a distinctly secondary role. The new interpretations were pioneered by J.G.A. Pocock who argued in The Machiavellian Moment (1975) that, at least in the early eighteenth-century, republican ideas were just as important as liberal ones. Pocock's view is now widely accepted. Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood pioneered the argument that the American Founding Fathers were more influenced by republicanism than they were by liberalism. Cornell University Professor Isaac Kramnick, on the other hand, argues that Americans have always been highly individualistic and therefore Lockean. In the decades before the American Revolution (1776), the intellectual and political leaders of the colonies studied history intently, looking for guides or models for good (and bad) government. They especially followed the development of republican ideas in England... The commitment of most Americans to these republican values made inevitable the American Revolution, for Britain was increasingly seen as corrupt and hostile to republicanism, and a threat to the established liberties the Americans enjoyed. From WIKI

Virtual Representation
See page 330.

Bengal
Bengal (Bengali: বঙ্গ Bôngo, বাংলা Bangla, বঙ্গদেশ Bôngodesh or বাংলাদেশ Bangladesh), is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent. The region of Bengal is one of the most densely populated regions on earth... Most of the Bengal region lies in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta, the world's largest delta. In the southern part of the delta lies the Sundarbans—the world's largest mangrove forest and home of the Bengal tiger. Though the population of the region is mostly rural and agrarian, two megacities, Kolkata (previously Calcutta) and Dhaka (previously Dacca), are located in Bengal. The Bengal region is renowned for its rich literary and cultural heritage as well as its immense contribution to the socio-cultural uplift of Indian society in the form of the Bengal Renaissance, and revolutionary activities during the Indian independence movement. From WIKI

Night of the Black Hole
See pages 109, 152 & 196.

Page 405

Mr. Garrick
See pages 184 & 214.

Whitefield
See pages 14 & 260.

Page 406

"Coffee-House Cabals"... "We are in correspondence."
In 1765, after the Stamp Act, people in the New York area formed the Sons of Liberty, these gentlemen are probably they. More on the Committees of Correspondence.

Page 407

Sophistry
A sophism is taken as a specious argument used for deceiving someone. It might be crafted to seem logical while actually being wrong, or it might use difficult words and complicated sentences to intimidate the audience into agreeing, or it might appeal to the audience's prejudices and emotions rather than logic, i.e. raising doubts towards the one asserting, rather than his assertion. The goal of a sophism is often to make the audience believe the writer or speaker to be smarter than he or she actually is, e.g., accusing another of sophistry for using persuasion techniques. An Ad Hominem argument is an example of Sophistry. From WIKI

Dragoons
An exception to the rule was the British Army. In order to cut the state's military budget, all Horse (cavalry) regiments were gradually demoted to the status of Dragoons from 1746 onwards--a change that placed them on a lower pay scale. When this change was completed in 1788, the heavy cavalry regiments had become known as either Dragoon Guards or Heavy Dragoons (depending on their precedence). The designation of Dragoon Guards did not mean that these regiments (the former 2nd to 8th Horse) had become Household Troops, but simply that they had been given a more dignified designation to compensate for the loss of pay and prestige. Starting in 1756, seven regiments of Light Dragoons were raised. These Light Dragoons were trained in reconnaissance, skirmishing and other work requiring endurance in accordance with contemporary standards of light cavalry performance. The success of this new class of cavalry was such that that 8 regular Dragoon regiments were converted to Light Dragoons between 1768 and 1783. From WIKI

Contemptible cowardly dogs...
In a 1758 letter, Wolfe complained of the quality of American troops: "The Americans are in general the dirtiest, most contemptible cowardly dogs that you can conceive. There is no depending upon ’em in action. They fall down dead in their own dirt and desert by battalions, officers and all. Such rascals as those are rather an incumbrance than any real strength to an army."

Wolfe... Martyr of Quebec
The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Oil on canvas, 1770.

See page 312.

Historian Francis Parkman describes the death of Wolfe:

They asked him [Wolfe] if he would have a surgeon; but he shook his head, and answered that all was over with him. His eyes closed with the torpor of approaching death, and those around sustained his fainting form. Yet they could not withhold their gaze from the wild turmoil before them, and the charging ranks of their companions rushing though the line of fire and smoke.

"See how they run." one of the officers exclaimed, as the French fled in confusion before the leveled bayonets.

"Who run?" demanded Wolfe, opening his eyes like a man aroused from sleep.

"The enemy, sir," was the reply; "they give way everywhere."

"Then," said the dying general, "tell Colonel River, to cut off their retreat from the bridge. Now, God be praised, I die contented," he murmured; and, turning on his side, he calmly breathed his last breath. From WIKI

Page 408

Capt. V.
Captain Volcanoe abbreviated in what seems to be a Pynchon allusion to V. and other V-named characters in his works. See ATD.

Wednesday Morning
Well, February 20th was a Wednesday. However, the Journals show Mason traveling from Long Island back to Staten Island and then the Jerseys on the 21st.

the Jerseys
Settlement for the first 10 years of English rule was in the Hudson River region and came primarily from New England. On March 18, 1673, Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England (with William Penn acting as trustee for a time), who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony. New Jersey was governed very briefly as two distinct provinces, East and West Jersey, for 28 years between 1674 and 1702. In 1702, the two provinces were reunited under a royal, rather than a proprietary, governor. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, became the first governor of the colony as a royal colony. Lord Cornbury was an ineffective and corrupt ruler, taking bribes and speculating on land, so in 1708 he was recalled to England. New Jersey was then ruled by the governors of New York, but this infuriated the settlers of New Jersey, who accused those governors of favoritism to New York. Judge Lewis Morris led the case for a separate governor, and was appointed governor by King George II in 1738. From WIKI

Met some boys,
Sunday,February 24, 1765.
The text of the Journal follows the passage as Pynchon gives it, but adds: "...However I got up as did my Horse after some time and I led him by the Meeting House, (the Friends pouring out) very serene, as if all had been well. But" and it cuts off with with word "But".

All thro' the Monday he lies in bed...
February 25, 1765.<br.

Horses may detect Spirits invisible to human Sensoria
See the mysterious horses in ATD.

Page 409

I Corinthians, Chapter 15
here

"39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."

See, also Great Chain of Being.

Annotation Index

One:
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


Two:
America

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

Three:
Last Transit

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

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