Chapter 41: 410-421
- A person or thing that has no equal; a paragon.
- A small, flat chocolate drop covered with white pellets of sugar.
"Lepton" is Greek money. It is also a subatomic particle. See, also, "Dinn's Notes": MDMD(14) Notes & Questions Part 1, 410.16 Also, see page 301.
Tallow Dips, and the last feeble Rush-Light
"The first candles probably consisted of dried rushes soaked in grease. Homemade rushlights were commonly used in England as late as 1800 because, although they smoked and smelled horribly, they were so cheap ... Eventually someone discovered the method of making a "tallow dip" with a wick running longitudinally through its center. The wick -- a few threads of flax, hemp, or cotton, lightly twisted or plaited -- was dipped in melted tallow and allowed to cool, again and again, until the candle had a desired thickness" -- Candles. Nature Bulletin No. 590. Forest Preserve District of Cook County. February 6, 1960
Note that the lighting technologies are listed regressively, as if moving back through time.
bloomery -- a forge in which wrought iron is made straight from ore (Wiktionary)
“Adam Smith's notion that rational agents guided by their own self-interest would act in such a way as to promote the public interest, the foundation of laissez-faire economics which caused much of the misery associated with the Industrial Revolution” – HyperArts entry: Invisible Hand
"(mining) The earthy waste substances occurring in metallic ore" -- Wiktionary
Equations of Proprietary Happiness
See page 328.
more room inside than could possibly be contained in the sorrowing ruin
Cf. "a Conveyance, wherein the inside is quite noticeably larger than the outside", page 354.
Plafond, in a broad sense, is any (flat, vaulted or dome) ceiling of any premise. Plafond can be product of monumental and decorative painting and sculpture; subject or ornamental - also is designated by the term "Plafond". Picturesque plafonds can be executed directly on plaster (in technique of fresco, oil, glutinous, synthetic paints, etc.), on a canvas attached to a ceiling (panel), a mosaic, and other methods. As a part of decorative furniture of church and palace stateroom plafonds received a wide circulation in 17 - beginning of 19 centuries. For plafond compositions of this period typically use of effect of illusory break in architectural in open or proceeding behind a ceiling space, the image of figures and architectural details in strong foreshortenings. – from Wikipedia
silver sconce and Sperm Taper Light
"sperm taper is a candle made from spermaceti or sperm oil. sconce, LME, aphetic fr Fr esconse = hiding place or lantern, or fr med Lat sconsa aphetic fr absconsa (laterna) = dark (lantern), 1 a) A lantern or candlestick with a screen to protect the light from the wind, and a handle for carrying, LMW-M18, b) a flat candlestick with a handle, M19, 2 A bracket for a candle or a light hung on or fixed to an interior wall, rare M19." -- from MDMD Dinn's notes on Ch. 41
from the Oboick Reveries of the Besozzis, as the Imperial Melismata of Quantz
- Besozzis: probably Antonio Besozzi and his son Carlo Besozzi, oboists and composers (numerous gifted woodwind players apparently sprung from the Besozzi family tree)
- Melismata: plural form of melism, “a melody or melodic sequence of notes. Usually spec. (in singing and vocal composition): the prolongation of one syllable over a number of notes; an instance of this” – the OED
- Quantz, Johann Joaquim (1697-1773): German flautist and composer, and court composer for Frederick II, the Great. He wrote a treatise on flute playing and composed a huge quantity of pieces for the flute.
Question: Did Quantz compose a piece entitled "Melismata"?
No, but he wrote a treatise on Flute Playing which deals with ornamentation such as Melismata - see 
Trivia: Quantz and Carlo Besozzi were both oboists for the Dresden court: Carlo from 1754 until his death; Quantz seemingly earlier as he entered Frederick the Great's service in 1741.
“aka "Hurricane" (a large private party - 18th cent.)” – HyperArts entry: Hurricanoe/Hurricane
Likely of social climbers.
Churs of Stroud
Churs = electors??? Stroud = Stroud, Gloucestershire UK: Google Map
Calvert agent Captain Dasp
Calvert County Realtors - Calvert Agents In Maryland.
"Raby Castle [...] near Staindrop, County Durham is one of the largest inhabited castles in England. It has opulent eighteenth and nineteenth century interiors inside a largely unchanged late medieval shell. It is a Grade I listed building. Raby once belonged to the Neville family, who became one of the most powerful in England" -- Wikipedia Also, see page 43.
worn with a petticoat, the Brunswick was an informal gown or Riding Habit. A riding habit consisted of a petticoat, jacket, and waistcoat.
a favorite boot color of TRP's. There is a "wine-cordovan boot" on page 121 of ATD, also a female's.
French Court heels
Ladies of the French court once carried canes to support themselves on uncomfortable high heels. Heels became lower after the French Revolution, not surprisingly.
Nabob (from Wiktionary):
- an Indian ruler within the Mogul empire; a nawab
- (by extension) someone of great wealth or importance
Phrygioid if not Phrygian
According to unvarying tradition the Phrygians were most closely akin to certain tribes of Macedonia and Thrace; and their near relationship to the Hellenic stock is proved by all that is known of their language and art, and is accepted by almost every modern authority. -- Encyclopedia Britannica, 11 th edition. Pynchon's wit makes up the word Phrygioid to mean something like "like Phrygian" that is fake Phyrgian due to the prevalence of 'British modality'--preceding phrase.
"Phrygian Mode - A lot of traditional music, especially Scottish and Irish is termed 'Modal' because it does not follow the conventional modern major or minor scales. There are seven modes, and Phrygian is the one that starts with E." --Toby Levy's Three Pages Per Day Project This is not quite accurate; the Phrygian mode starts with E if C is the Parent major (Ionian) scale. The Phrygian mode starts with the 3rd note of a major scale, resulting in a natural minor scale with a flatted 2nd. This gives the following degrees: 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7.
pierc'd paint Eyes of Nevilles and Vanes
"Presumably like some Hammer House of Horror movie there is a tunnel passing behind the portraits in the gallery" (from MDMD Dinn's notes on Ch. 41). Raby's castle was once held by the Nevilles (Raby Castle History: Nevilles) and was later passed to the Vanes (Raby Castle History: Vanes). Also, see page 225.
Bellezza, che chiama
"a beauty that beckons" - HyperArts entry: Italian Translations
An incurable romantic, perhaps.
after three of these trans-Stygian Years, become Journeyman
Stygian (from Wiktionary):
- Dark and gloomy
- Infernal or hellish
- Of, or relating to the river Styx
Also, see page 399 for Mason's Styx analogies
- The mistress of a castle or large household.
- A chain or clasp worn at the waist by women in the 16th to the 19th centuries, with handkerchief, keys, etc., attached.
"A type of fine French bobbin lace made in narrow strips and having the consistency of tulle. Occas. more fully mignonette lace. Now hist" -- OED
It is a conception of the world's structure that was accepted, and unquestioned, by most educated men from the time of Lucretius until the Copernican and Darwinian revolution and the ultimate flowering of the Renaissance. The chain of being is composed of a great number of hierarchal links, from the most basic and foundational elements up through the very highest perfection, in other words, God, or the Prime Mover.
God, and beneath him the angels, both existing wholly in spirit form, sit at the top of the chain. Earthly flesh is fallible and ever-changing: mutable. Spirit, however, is unchanging and permanent. This sense of permanence is crucial to understanding this conception of reality. One does not abandon one's place in the chain; it is not only unthinkable, but generally impossible. The hierarchy is a chain and not a ladder.
The natural order, earth (rock) is at the bottom of the chain; these elements possess only the attribute of existence. Moving on up the chain, each succeeding link contains the positive attributes of the previous link, and adds (at least) one other. Rocks, as above, possess only existence; the next link up, plants, possess life and existence. Beasts add not only motion, but appetite as well.
Man is a special instance in this conception. He is both mortal flesh, as those below him, and also spirit. In this dichotomy, the struggle between flesh and spirit becomes a moral one. -- abridged (slightly) from Wikipedia
Notice Pynchon's multimeaning playfulness with the "chains" of the Chainmen and, one must think, the chains of the slave trade. This joking on the concept by Lord Lepton seems to touch some deep themes of M & D.
What [creature] dangles at the bottom of the chain? Where does it "fall" if it 'fails to hold on'? Stephen Hawking's 1988 book A Brief History of Time, quotes the following story:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"
You sound like one of those Leveler chaps
Levelers or Levellers, English Puritan sect active at the time of the English civil war. The name was apparently applied to them in 1647, in derision of their beliefs in equality. The Levelers demanded fundamental constitutional reform—a written constitution, a single supreme representative body elected by universal manhood suffrage, proportional representation, and the abolition of monarchy and noble privilege. Their ideals, far in advance of their time, were those of complete religious and political equality. They were adept at the use of mass petitions and extensive pamphleteering to arouse the public. When the Long Parliament did not respond to their ideas, they tried to build support in the ranks of the army, with some success. -- Columbia Encyclopedia
A fiduciary duty is a legal or ethical relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties, most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary. One party, for example a corporate trust company or the trust department of a bank, holds a fiduciary relation or acts in a fiduciary capacity to another, such as one whose funds are entrusted to it for investment. In a fiduciary relation one person justifiably reposes confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter. In such a relation good conscience requires one to act at all times for the sole benefit and interests of another, with loyalty to those interests. From WIKI
??? chitter-chatter? ???
Coke is the solid carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. Cokes from coal are grey, hard, and porous... Coke is used as a fuel and as a reducing agent in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace... In 1709, Abraham Darby I established a coke-fired blast furnace to produce cast iron. Coke's superior crushing strength allowed blast furnaces to become taller and larger. The ensuing availability of inexpensive iron was one of the factors leading to the Industrial Revolution. From WIKI
plural for Stath (from OED):
- The land bordering on water, a bank, shore.
- A landing-stage, wharf; esp. a waterside depôt for coals brought from the collieries for shipment, furnished with staging and shoots for loading vessels.
- An embankment.
Staithes is an English village at the most northerly point of the North Yorkshire coast [...] Roxby Beck (a small river) running through Staithes is the border between North Yorkshire and neighbouring Redcar and Cleveland. Formerly one of the largest and most productive fishing centres in North-East England, Staithes is now largely a tourist destination thanks to its picturesque appearance [...] Staithes is noted for its sheltered harbour, bounded by high cliffs and two long breakwaters. A mile to the north, Boulby Cliff is the highest cliff in England - from Wikipedia
There was a Cistercian abbey founded in Medmenham in the 12th century, under the ownership of Woburn Abbey, though it was not officially recognised by royal charter until 1200. In 1547 at the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey was seized and given to the Moore family, and then sold privately to the Duffields. It was while in the possession of the Duffields that the abbey became infamous as the location of The Hellfire Club, formerly called the Monks of Medmenham. From WIKI
the Hellfire Club
The Hellfire Club was the popular name for a number of supposed exclusive clubs for high society rakes established all over Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. These clubs were rumoured to be the meeting places of "persons of quality" who wished to take part in immoral acts, and the members were often very involved in politics. Neither the activities nor membership of the club are easy to ascertain. From WIKI Also, see pages 110, 260 & 367.
Damasks were one of the five basic weaving techniques of the Byzantine and Islamic weaving centres of the early Middle Ages, and derive their name from their supposed origin in the city of Damascus, Syria... By the fourteenth century, damasks were being woven on draw looms in Italy. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, most damasks were woven in a single colour, with a glossy warp-faced satin pattern against a duller ground. Two-colour damasks had contrasting colour warps and wefts, and polychrome damasks added gold and other metallic threads or additional colors as supplemental brocading wefts. Medieval damasks were usually woven in silk, but wool and linen damasks were also woven. From WIKI
A chrysalis or nympha is the pupal stage of butterflies. The term is derived from the metallic gold-colouration found in the pupae of many butterflies referred to by the Greek term χρυσός (chrysós) for gold. Because chrysalides are often showy and are formed in the open, they are the most familiar examples of pupae. Most chrysalides are attached to a surface by a Velcro-like arrangement of a silken pad spun by the caterpillar and a set of hooks (cremaster) at the tip of the pupal abdomen. From WIKI
Plural form of Majordomo (from Wiktionary):
- The head servant in a wealthy European household
- A butler
a lightweight soprano voice or type of soprano role, frequently found in comic operas or operettas; the soubrette usually possesses a flirtatious demeanor and street wise manner, as in the case of Adele in Die Fledermaus, or is a particularly fetching country innocent, like Adina in The Elixir of Love. Webster's online dictionary.
Mason is suggesting he will get an ear ache (or infection) from Dixon's "loud" and "moist" whisperings:
- Octic - "(anatomy) of, relating/pertaining to, or located near the ear" (Wiktionary)
- Catarrh - "inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat" (Wiktionary)
Apogee (from Wiktionary):
- (astronomy) That point in the orbit of any object which is at the greatest distance from the center of the central body. For example, the point in the moon's orbit which is the greatest distance from the center of the earth.
- The highest point.
Viudas de Cristo
Spanish: "The Widows of Christ"
Peace of Paris
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on February 10, 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the Seven Years' War. The treaty marked the beginning of an extensive period of British dominance outside of Europe. Notably, the treaty did not involve either Prussia or Austria who signed a separate Treaty of Hubertusburg. From WIKI
An escaubitte is a calker's oil-box.
Ercole Antonio Mattioli (1640–1694) was a minister of Duke Charles IV of Mantua. He was kidnapped and imprisoned by Louis XIV of France. He has been associated with the Man in the Iron Mask... In 1679, Louis XIV had his French envoy d'Estrades kidnap Mattioli and take him to France. There Mattioli was imprisoned in the fortress of Pignerol where he was eventually put into solitary confinement. By 1680 he was described as nearly mad. His manservant was also kidnapped and held with him. Ercole Antonio Mattioli died in 1694 while incarcerated on the island of Sainte-Marguerite. From WIKI Also, see page 373.
Boys from Presque Isle
Fort Presque Isle (also Fort de la Presqu'île) was a fort built by French soldiers in 1753 along Presque Isle Bay at present-day Erie, Pennsylvania. The fort was part of a line that included Fort Le Boeuf, Fort Machault, and Fort Duquesne. The fort was built as part of the French military occupation of the Ohio Country; rival claims to the area by the British led to the French and Indian War. After the 1759 British victory at the Battle of Fort Niagara, the French burned the fort and retreated from the area. From WIKI
Paradise of Chance
Cf. The Chums of Chance in Against the Day.
A-and from an article on the Ancient Greek philosopher perhaps most associated with the concept of Chance, Democritus: "it[chance] seems to be an attempt to show how an apparently ordered arrangement can arise automatically, as a byproduct of the random collisions of bodies in motion. No attractive forces or purposes need be introduced to explain the sorting by the tide or in the sieve: it is probable that this is an attempt to show how apparently orderly effects can be produced without goal-directioned forces or purpose." Democritus
Such a condition would be Paradisaical in Pynchon's anti-determinism vision.
"Even Odds"; a roulette (French: "small wheel") wheel, a gambling game based on opposing pairs, e.g. black/white, even/odd, in which players bet on which red or black numbered compartment of a revolving wheel a small ball (spun in the opposite direction) will come to rest within. Bets are placed on a table marked to correspond with the compartments of the wheel.
Bezique (in French, bézique) is a 19th century French melding and trick-taking card game for two players derived from Mariage via Briscan by the addition of more scoring features - notably a peculiar liaison Q ♠and J♦ under the names Bésigue, Binokel, Pinochle, etc., according to the country. From WIKI
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