Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon (1997)

Mason & Dixon


Dabby, Shotton


Daffy's Elixir

267; Daffy's 'elixir salutis' was one of many syrups used to keep children quiet. It was invented by the Reverend Thomas Daffy, Vicar of Redmile (d.1680) in Leicestershire, first coming to public notice between 1660 and 1680. A recipe of 1700 for "True Daffy" lists the following common ingredients, many of which were purgatives: aniseed, fennel seed, parsley seed, spanish liquorice, senna, rhubarb, elecampane, jalap, saffron, manna, raisin, cochineal, brandy. A chemical analysis carried out in the 1940s of a bottle of daffy's that had been excavated, confirmed that this was a laxative that would have been made largely from alcohol, with senna as a chief ingredient (Richardmond & Webster, 36). One of the most common forms of alcohol used was gin; hence the slang name daffy's for gin; ALSO: 'What it tasted like one can no longer tell, but it was probably pretty good since it contained brandy, canary wine, oranges, lemons, rhubarb and a certain amount of borax, perhaps to convince customers that it really was a medicine and not just a rather expensive sort of gin' (Earle, 304); 538





Damsel, Anne

205; Charles Mason's mother


640; a Mohawk Warrior; 675

Darby, Mr.

7; chain-man on M-D Line crew; 444; impersonates M&D (with Cope), 471

d'Argental, Count & Countess


Darkling Beetle

88; A dark beetle without wings, also called nocturnal ground beetle, belonging to the family Tenebrionidae ["Tenebrae!" exclaims the contributor of this entry.]

Darlington, Earl of

278; at Raby Castle

Darlington Fair

235; Darlington is a borough of northeast England south of Newcastle. It's annual fair was the place to see many other wonders, such as tomatoes; 495

Dasp, Captain

414; Perhaps French: "d'asp" = "the asp [a small venomous cobra-like snake]"; "notorious Calvert agent" at Hurricanoe

Davies, Miss

268; "Glass Armonica" player


575; friend of Tom Hynes


195; 247; "to turn Eastward..." 263; 281; 295; 346; 361; 364; 430; 501; 539; 541; 585; 599; "Death-shade of the Forest" 635; 646; "Instant of Tranquility" 660; 673; Insignia, 703; 713

De Bosch, Mrs.

61; 102



Deep, Mr.

728; "subcontinental genius" who designs Maskelyne's suit


198; the act of throwing someone (or something) out of a window; 685; Defenestration of Prague


261; The beginnings of English Deism appear in the seventeenth century, its main principles found in the writings of Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648). In De Veritate (Paris, 1624), Cherbury advanced a theory of knowledge based upon the recognition of innate universal characteristics on the object perceived, and rigidly opposed to knowledge supernatural in its origin and determinable in only by strife and conflict. In De religions Gentilium errorumque apud eos causes (London, 1645), he set out the common marks by which religious truth is recognized: (1) a belief in the existence of the Deity, (2) the obligation to reverence such a power, (3) the identification of worship with practical morality, (4) the obligation to repent of sin and to abandon it, and, (5) divine recompense in this world and the next. These five essentials (the so-called "Five Articles" of the English Deists) constitute the nucleus of all religions and of Christianity in its primitive, uncorrupted form. The variations between positive religions were explained as due partly to the allegorization of nature, partly to self-deception, the workings of imagination, and priestly guile; 278; 489; 568; 772

de la Tube, Père

515; at the Jesuit College in Quebec; 531

Delisle, Joseph Nicolas (1688-1768)

213; French astronomer, founded a famous school of astronomy in St. Petersburg in 1726; Chair of Astronomy, College de France; Mappemonde for the Transit of Venus

Delphic Vapors

311; fumes that emerged from a crack in the earth at the Oracle at Delphi in Greece and "inspired" the priestess whose uncomprehensible utterances would then be "interpreted" by a priest.



Dennis the Meager

632; aka Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis = Dionysius; Exiguus = small, little, meager); perhaps a little Dennis the Menace allusion here

De Pugh

96; son of Ives LeSpark


23; Lunarian


723; in Ulster

d'Escaubitte, Pépé

420; Perhaps pronounced: "peppy disco-beat"; French spy?

De Solis et Lunae Defectibus

474; Latin: On Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon


581; Latin: "pollex" = "thumb" = "give a thumbs down"


pentacle, 342; surveying chains called "Devil's Guts" 447; 471; 605




174; An Arab lateen-rigged (triangular sail on a low mast) low-waisted ship

Dicey, Mr.

733; his "County Atlas"


160; German on St. Helena; 172; 551

Dimdown, Philip

365; 388; 566


127; "Damme, I'm Off!" - a men's catchphrase of the late 18th-early 19th centuries; 413; 709

Dionysius Exiguus

632; This sixth-century Scythian scholar established the adoption of the birth of Christ as the initial epoch of the Christian calendar, while compiling a table of dates of Easter. An existing table covered the nineteen-year period denoted 228-247, where years were counted from the beginning of the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Dionysius continued the table for a nineteen-year period, which he designated Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi 532-550. [From Calendars and Their History] However... when determining the date of the birth of Christ, Dionysious Exiguus forgot that Caesar Augustus had ruled under the name of Octavian for four years, and thus made a four-year error.


400; a long straight-bladed dagger

Dismal Swamp Land Company

279; where Geo Washington wants Gershom to invest his money


262; in ancient Greece, a dithyramb was an ecstatic hymn to Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine. Thus, the "Dithyrambists" would have been devotees of Dionysus; these days, dithyramb is, according to Webster, "a sus. short poem in an inspired wild irregular strain" or "a statement or writing in an exalted or enthusiastic vein"

Dittersdorf, Ditters von (1739-99)

104; violin virtuoso and composer of 44 operas, and over 100 symphonies; 750

Dixon, Elizabeth

238; Jeremiah's sister

Dixon, George, Jr.

240; Jeremiah's brother; 477

Dixon, George, Sr.

238; Jeremiah's father, who has a "wild-cat coal operation out upon the Fell"; 650

Dixon, George

116; Jeremiah's Great-Uncle; 416

Dixon, Hannah

241; Jeremiah's sister

Dixon, Jeremiah (1733-79)

7; and Emerson, 21; Quaker, 43; "I owe my existence to a pair of Shoes" 238; father dies, 241; his map of the world, 242; in Williamsburg, 394; "To the pursuit of Happiness" 395; Edge of Pleasure, 415; practicing levitation, 423; 440; commence M-D Line, 444; learning to fly, 504; meets Eliza, 536; at Theater with No Name in New York, 562; Enclosure, 587; "off at an angle to the serial curve of his Life" 599 [Gravity's Rainbow]; "Young Jollification" 648; wants to keep the Line going, 678; accosts slave-driver, 695; willing to go to Cherry Island to view second Transit of Venus, 717; Biography; More Bio; Email received from Dixon's GGG Granddaughter!

Dixon, Mary Hunter (d.1773)

751; Dixon's second wife; 753

Dixon, Ralph

239; George Dixon Sr.'s father


243; "the Peedee" (on the River Tyne, the boy on board a keel)


221; 234; 248; 681

Dodington, George Bubb

See Bubb Doddington, George

Dog Goblin, The

229; at Cudgel and Throck

Dolland, John (1706-61)

13; Born into a Huguenot family, and originally a silk weaver, he became an optician in 1752 and, with the help of his son Peter, invented an achromatic telescope.


299; measuring Eastern movement of Pennsylvania


Dagga, 65, 655; opium, 129, 140, 141, 267; Laudanum, 267; George Washington & "hemp" 278; 378; 411; 481; giant hemp plant, 654; "Dagga hath many mysteries" 655



Douglas, Captain

738; of H.M.S. Emerald


70; "she beggars, wenches, whores" Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811)


189; 587

Draconick Incursion

216; the arrival of a dragon


601; "shape" of the land"; 635


70; 108; 109; 112; 155; 179; 205; 320-21; Brittania dreaming of America, 345; 359; 378; 387; 394; 409; 435; 477; 492-93; Captives, 529-30; 531; Mason's, 538; Tenebrae's, 553; 561; 592; 593; 608; 609; 610; 620; 649; 663; 671; 677; "just at the Crepuscule" 690; 696; "Fugitive as a Dream" 703; "were sold to pay" 703; 708; Mason, 718; Mason, 721-23; "ordinary" 725; Mason's of "night-time City" 749; 749; M & D dreaming of each other, 752; "No-body's dream of Life" 755; Mason dreaming of America, 757; 759; 759; 760

Drivelli, Signore



402; half-breed on Long Island


210; 219; "bonfire of the Bodleian" 560; 597


463; a durable, closely woven usu. cotton fabric

Duck, Vaucanson's mechanickal

372-80; an actual historickal figure; "account of the mechanism of an automaton, or image playing on the German-flute: as it was presented in a memoire, to the gentlemen of the Royal academy of sciences at Paris, by Vaucanson, inventor and maker of the said machine. Together with a description of an artificial duck, eating, drinking, macerating the food, and voiding excrements, pluming her wings, picking her feathers, and performing several operations in imitation of a living duck" (Translated out of the French original, by J.T. Desaguliers. London, Printed by T. Parker, and sold by S. Varillon, 1742); 666-69; [Elaboration & Illustration]


694; a boardwalk or slatted flooring laid on a wet, muddy, or cold surface -- usually used in plural

Duke of Bedford


Duke of Glouchester

290; Ale venue in Philadelphia


470; "peevish Dumbledores in flight"

Dunkard Creek

673; See Mason's Journal Entry


216; 233; 238

Dusky Olaf

613; aka Sweden; derived from King Olaf (995-1030 A.D.) who reigned during the lifetime of and was a close friend of Leif Ericsson, the first European to reach North America. Olaf was king of Norway and Sweden from 1016 to 1028. Dusky implies the sunset, contrary to Stig's "all-night sun" (612.6)

Dutch Rifle, The

342; tavern where the Paxton Boys had a drink before slaughtering the Indians, with the pentacle on its sign


Mason & Dixon
Mason & Dixon - Thomas Pynchon