From charlesreid1

January

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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 22 | Loc. 346-48  | Added on Monday, January 09, 2017, 10:41 PM

A.D. 435. This year the Goths sacked the city of Rome; and never since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten winters after it was built. They reigned altogether in Britain four hundred and seventy winters since Gaius Julius first sought that land. A.D. 443. This year sent the Britons over sea to Rome,
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 23 | Loc. 355-60  | Added on Monday, January 09, 2017, 10:42 PM

Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the men of Kent, the Wightwarians (that is, the tribe that now dwelleth in the Isle of Wight), and that kindred in Wessex that men yet call the kindred of the Jutes. From the Old Saxons came the people of Essex and Sussex and Wessex. From Anglia, which has ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of those north of the Humber. Their leaders were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians also.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 25 | Loc. 388-90  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:52 PM

Then succeeded Alfred, their brother, to the government. And then had elapsed of his age three and twenty winters, and three hundred and ninety-six winters from the time when his kindred first gained the land of Wessex from the Welsh.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 26 | Loc. 406-8  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:54 PM

A.D. 547. This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday,
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 27 | Loc. 411-13  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:54 PM

In this year Ethelbert, the son of Ermenric, was born, who on the two and thirtieth year of his reign received the rite of baptism, the first of all the kings in Britain.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 27 | Loc. 414-16  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:54 PM

Ella was the son of Iff, Iff of Usfrey, Usfrey of Wilgis, Wilgis of Westerfalcon, Westerfalcon of Seafowl, Seafowl of Sebbald, Sebbald of Sigeat, Sigeat of Swaddy, Swaddy of Seagirt, Seagar of Waddy, Waddy of Woden, Woden of Frithowulf.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 28 | Loc. 433-34  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:56 PM

A.D. 596. This year Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain with very many monks, to preach the word of God to the English people.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 29 | Loc. 437-38  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:56 PM

A.D. 601. This year Pope Gregory sent the pall to Archbishop Augustine in Britain, with very many learned doctors to assist him; and Bishop Paulinus converted Edwin, king of the Northumbrians, to baptism.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 29 | Loc. 439-41  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:56 PM

A.D. 603. This year Aeden, king of the Scots, fought with the Dalreathians, and with Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, at Theakstone; where he lost almost all his army. Theobald also, brother of Ethelfrith, with his whole armament, was slain. None of the Scottish kings durst afterwards bring an army against this nation.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Bookmark on Page 42 | Loc. 633  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:01 PM


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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 42 | Loc. 632-37  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:01 PM

"I Theodorus, Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all that hold it." (+) "I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to this charter; and I ratify this same curse." (+) "I Saxulf, who was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of all my successors, to those who break this."—"I Ostritha, Ethelred's queen, confirm it."—"I Adrian, legate, ratify it."—"I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it."—"I Waldhere, Bishop of London, confirm it."—"I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it; so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops and of all christian folk. Amen."
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 42 | Loc. 639-41  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:01 PM

A.D. 678. This year appeared the comet-star in August, and shone every morning, during three months, like a sunbeam. Bishop Wilfrid being driven from his bishopric by King Everth, two bishops were consecrated in his stead, Bosa over the Deirians, and Eata over the Bernicians.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 43 | Loc. 655-56  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:01 PM

This year there was in Britain a bloody rain, and milk and butter were turned to blood.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 54 | Loc. 800-801  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:05 PM

A.D. 784. This year Cyneard slew King Cynewulf, and was slain himself, and eighty-four men with him.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 54 | Loc. 806-8  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:05 PM

A.D. 787. This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife. And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen from the land of robbers. The reve (30) then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town; for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain. These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English nation.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 55 | Loc. 818-22  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:05 PM

A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter. Siga died on the eighth day before the calends of March.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 57 | Loc. 843-44  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:06 PM

A.D. 797. This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 67 | Loc. 993-97  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:08 PM

A.D. 877. This year came the Danish army into Exeter from Wareham; whilst the navy sailed west about, until they met with a great mist at sea, and there perished one hundred and twenty ships at Swanwich. (36) Meanwhile King Alfred with his army rode after the cavalry as far as Exeter; but he could not overtake them before their arrival in the fortress, where they could not be come at. There they gave him as many hostages as he required, swearing with solemn oaths to observe the strictest amity. In the harvest the army entered Mercia; some of which they divided among them, and some they gave to Ceolwulf.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 71 | Loc. 1052-59  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:12 PM

A.D. 891. This year went the army eastward; and King Arnulf fought with the land-force, ere the ships arrived, in conjunction with the eastern Franks, and Saxons, and Bavarians, and put them to flight. And three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat without any oars from Ireland; whence they stole away, because they would live in a state of pilgrimage, for the love of God, they recked not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions for seven nights; and within seven nights they came to land in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred. They were thus named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maelinmun. And Swinney, the best teacher that was among the Scots, departed this life. And the same year after Easter, about the gang-days or before, appeared the star that men in book-Latin call "cometa": some men say that in English it may be termed "hairy star"; for that there standeth off from it a long gleam of light, whilom on one side, whilom on each.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 76 | Loc. 1126-37  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:15 PM

This same year the plunderers in East-Anglia and Northumbria greatly harassed the land of the West-Saxons by piracies on the southern coast, but most of all by the esks which they built many years before. Then King Alfred gave orders for building long ships against the esks, which were full-nigh twice as long as the others. Some had sixty oars, some more; and they were both swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were not shaped either after the Frisian or the Danish model, but so as he himself thought that they might be most serviceable. Then, at a certain turn of this same year, came six of their ships to the Isle of Wight; and going into Devonshire, they did much mischief both there and everywhere on the seacoast. Then commanded the king his men to go out against them with nine of the new ships, and prevent their escape by the mouth of the river to the outer sea. Then came they out against them with three ships, and three others were standing upwards above the mouth on dry land: for the men were gone off upon shore. Of the first three ships they took two at the mouth outwards, and slew the men; the third veered off, but all the men were slain except five; and they too were severely wounded. Then came onward those who manned the other ships, which were also very uneasily situated. Three were stationed on that side of the deep where the Danish ships were aground, whilst the others were all on the opposite side; so that none of them could join the rest; for the water had ebbed many furlongs from them. Then went the Danes from their three ships to those other three that were on their side, be-ebbed; and there they then fought.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 77 | Loc. 1143-45  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:15 PM

A.D. 901. This year died ALFRED, the son of Ethelwulf, six nights before the mass of All Saints. He was king over all the English nation, except that part that was under the power of the Danes. He held the government one year and a half less than thirty winters; and then Edward his son took to the government.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 84 | Loc. 1252-53  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:18 PM

A.D. 922. This year, betwixt gang-days and midsummer, went King Edward with his army to Stamford, and ordered the town to be fortified on the south side of the river. And all the people that belonged to the northern town submitted to him, and sought him for their lord.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 84 | Loc. 1260-64  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:18 PM

A.D. 924. This year, before midsummer, went King Edward with an army to Nottingham; and ordered the town to be repaired on the south side of the river, opposite the other, and the bridge over the Trent betwixt the two towns. Thence he went to Bakewell in Peakland; and ordered a fort to be built as near as possible to it, and manned. And the King of Scotland, with all his people, chose him as father and lord; as did Reynold, and the son of Eadulf, and all that dwell in Northumbria, both English and Danish, both Northmen and others; also the king of the Strathclydwallians, and all his people.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 85 | Loc. 1264-66  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:18 PM

((A.D. 924. This year Edward was chosen for father and for lord by the king of the Scots, and by the Scots, and King Reginald, and by all the North-humbrians, and also the king of the Strath-clyde Britons, and by all the Strath-clyde Britons.))
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 86 | Loc. 1278  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:19 PM

A.D. 928. William took to Normandy, and held it fifteen years.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 86 | Loc. 1285-91  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:19 PM

A.D. 938. Here Athelstan king, of earls the lord, rewarder of heroes, and his brother eke, Edmund atheling, elder of ancient race, slew in the fight, with the edge of their swords, the foe at Brumby! The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers. So were they taught by kindred zeal, that they at camp oft 'gainst any robber their land should defend, their hoards and homes. Pursuing fell the Scottish clans; the men of the fleet in numbers fell; 'midst the din of the field the warrior swate. Since the sun was up in morning-tide, gigantic light! glad over grounds, God's candle bright, eternal Lord!— 'till the noble creature sat in the western main: there lay many of the Northern heroes under a shower of arrows, shot over shields; and Scotland's boast, a Scythian race, the mighty seed of Mars!
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 87 | Loc. 1291-96  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:20 PM

With chosen troops, throughout the day, the West-Saxons fierce press'd on the loathed bands; hew'd down the fugitives, and scatter'd the rear, with strong mill-sharpen'd blades, The Mercians too the hard hand-play spared not to any of those that with Anlaf over the briny deep in the ship's bosom sought this land for the hardy fight. Five kings lay on the field of battle, in bloom of youth, pierced with swords. So seven eke of the earls of Anlaf; and of the ship's-crew unnumber'd crowds. There was dispersed the little band of hardy Scots, the dread of northern hordes; urged to the noisy deep by unrelenting fate! The king of the fleet with his slender craft escaped with his life on the felon flood;— and so too Constantine, the valiant chief, returned to the north in hasty flight.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 87 | Loc. 1303-6  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:20 PM

No slaughter yet was greater made e'er in this island, of people slain, before this same, with the edge of the sword; as the books inform us of the old historians; since hither came from the eastern shores the Angles and Saxons, over the broad sea, and Britain sought,— fierce battle-smiths, o'ercame the Welsh, most valiant earls, and gained the land.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 109 | Loc. 1636-39  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:25 PM

A.D. 1011. This year sent the king and his council to the army, and desired peace; promising them both tribute and provisions, on condition that they ceased from plunder. They had now overrun East-Anglia [1], and Essex [2], and Middlesex [3], and Oxfordshire [4], and Cambridgeshire [5], and Hertfordshire [6], and Buckinghamshire [7], and Bedfordshire [8], and half of Huntingdonshire [9], and much of Northamptonshire [10]; and, to the south of the Thames, all Kent, and Sussex, and Hastings, and Surrey, and Berkshire, and Hampshire, and much of Wiltshire.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 110 | Loc. 1653-58  | Added on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:26 PM

Then on the Saturday was the army much stirred against the bishop; because he would not promise them any fee, and forbade that any man should give anything for him. They were also much drunken; for there was wine brought them from the south. Then took they the bishop, and led him to their hustings, on the eve of the Sunday after Easter, which was the thirteenth before the calends of May; and there they then shamefully killed him. They overwhelmed him with bones and horns of oxen; and one of them smote him with an axe-iron on the head; so that he sunk downwards with the blow; and his holy blood fell on the earth, whilst his sacred soul was sent to the realm of God. The corpse in the morning was carried to London; and the bishops, Ednoth and Elfhun, and the citizens, received him with all honour, and buried him in St. Paul's minster; where God now showeth this holy martyr's miracles.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 124 | Loc. 1863-66  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:53 PM

This year also ordered Hardacnute to lay waste all Worcestershire, on account of the two servants of his household, who exacted the heavy tribute. That people slew them in the town within the minster. Early in this same year came Edward, the son of King Ethelred, hither to land, from Weal-land to Madron. He was the brother of King Hardacnute, and had been driven from this land for many years: but he was nevertheless sworn as king, and abode in his brother's court while he lived.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 124 | Loc. 1870-73  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:54 PM

And before he was buried, all people chose Edward for king at London: may he hold it the while that God shall grant it to him! And all that year was a very heavy time, in many things and divers, as well in respect to ill seasons as to the fruits of the earth. And so much cattle perished in the year as no man before remembered, as well through various diseases as through tempests.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 124 | Loc. 1874-76  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:54 PM

A.D. 1042. This year died King Hardacnute at Lambeth, as he stood drinking: he fell suddenly to the earth with a tremendous struggle; but those who were nigh at hand took him up; and he spoke not a word afterwards, but expired on the sixth day before the ides of June.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 125 | Loc. 1883-88  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:55 PM

And this year, fourteen nights before the mass of St. Andrew, it was advised the king, that he and Earl Leofric and Earl Godwin and Earl Siward with their retinue, should ride from Gloucester to Winchester unawares upon the lady; and they deprived her of all the treasures that she had; which were immense; because she was formerly very hard upon the king her son, and did less for him than he wished before he was king, and also since: but they suffered her to remain there afterwards. And soon after this the king determined to invest all the land that his mother had in her hands, and took from her all that she had in gold and in silver and in numberless things; because she formerly held it too fast against him.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 126 | Loc. 1899-1900  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:56 PM

This year there was very great hunger over all England, and corn so dear as no man remembered before; so that the sester of wheat rose to sixty pence, and even further.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 127 | Loc. 1917  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:56 PM

This year died Elfwine, Bishop of Winchester, on the fourth day before the calends of September;
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 127 | Loc. 1919-21  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:57 PM

Sweyne also sent hither, and requested the aid of fifty ships against Magnus, king of the Norwegians; but it was thought unwise by all the people, and it was prevented, because that Magnus had a large navy: and he drove Sweyne out, and with much slaughter won the land.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 128 | Loc. 1927-30  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 03:57 PM

((A.D. 1046. This year died Brithwin, bishop in Wiltshire, and Herman was appointed to his see. In that year King Edward gathered a large ship-force at Sandwich, on account of the threatening of Magnus in Norway: but his and Sweyn's contention in Denmark hindered his coming here. This year died Athelstan, Abbot of Abingdon, and Sparhawk, monk of St. Edmund's-bury, succeeded him. And in this same year died bishop Siward, and Archbishop Eadsine again obtained the whole bishopric.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 131 | Loc. 1971-73  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:00 PM

The same year Bishop Siward resigned his bishopric from infirmity, and retired to Abingdon; upon which Archbishop Edsy resumed the bishopric; and he died within eight weeks of this, on the tenth day before the calends of November.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Bookmark on Page 138 | Loc. 2089  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:15 PM


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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 137 | Loc. 2084-91  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:15 PM

A.D. 1051. This year came Archbishop Robert hither over sea with his pall from Rome, one day before St. Peter's eve: and he took his archiepiscopal seat at Christ-church on St. Peter's day, and soon after this went to the king. Then came Abbot Sparhawk to him with the king's writ and seal, to the intent that he should consecrate him Bishop o[oe] London; but the archbishop refused, saying that the pope had forbidden him. Then went the abbot to the archbishop again for the same purpose, and there demanded episcopal consecration; but the archbishop obstinately refused, repeating that the pope had forbidden him. Then went the abbot to London, and sat at the bishopric which the king had before given him, with his full leave, all the summer and the autumn. Then during the same year came Eustace, who had the sister of King Edward to wife, from beyond sea, soon after the bishop, and went to the king; and having spoken with him whatever he chose, he then went homeward.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 138 | Loc. 2091-99  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:16 PM

When he came to Canterbury eastward, there took he a repast, and his men; whence he proceeded to Dover. When he was about a mile or more on this side Dover, he put on his breast-plate; and so did all his companions: and they proceeded to Dover. When they came thither, they resolved to quarter themselves wherever they lived. Then came one of his men, and would lodge at the house of a master of a family against his will; but having wounded the master of the house, he was slain by the other. Then was Eustace quickly upon his horse, and his companions upon theirs; and having gone to the master of the family, they slew him on his own hearth; then going up to the boroughward, they slew both within and without more than twenty men. The townsmen slew nineteen men on the other side, and wounded more, but they knew not how many. Eustace escaped with a few men, and went again to the king, telling him partially how they had fared. The king was very wroth with the townsmen, and sent off Earl Godwin, bidding him go into Kent with hostility to Dover. For Eustace had told the king that the guilt of the townsmen was greater than his. But it was not so: and the earl would not consent to the expedition, because he was loth to destroy his own people.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 138 | Loc. 2099-2113  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:16 PM

Then sent the king after all his council, and bade them come to Gloucester nigh the after-mass of St. Mary. Meanwhile Godwin took it much to heart, that in his earldom such a thing should happen. Whereupon be began to gather forces over all his earldom, and Earl Sweyne, his son, over his; and Harold, his other son, over his earldom: and they assembled all in Gloucestershire, at Langtree, a large and innumerable army, all ready for battle against the king; unless Eustace and his men were delivered to them handcuffed, and also the Frenchmen that were in the castle. This was done seven nights before the latter mass of St. Mary, when King Edward was sitting at Gloucester. Whereupon he sent after Earl Leofric, and north after Earl Siward, and summoned their retinues. At first they came to him with moderate aid; but when they found how it was in the south, then sent they north over all their earldom, and ordered a large force to the help of their lord. So did Ralph also over his earldom. Then came they all to Gloucester to the aid of the king, though it was late. So unanimous were they all in defence of the king, that they would seek Godwin's army if the king desired it. But some prevented that; because it was very unwise that they should come together; for in the two armies was there almost all that was noblest in England. They therefore prevented this, that they might not leave the land at the mercy of our foes, whilst engaged in a destructive conflict betwixt ourselves. Then it was advised that they should exchange hostages between them. And they issued proclamations throughout to London, whither all the people were summoned over all this north end in Siward's earldom, and in Leofric's, and also elsewhere; and Earl Godwin was to come thither with his sons to a conference; They came as far as Southwark, and very many with them from Wessex; but his army continually diminished more and more; for they bound over to the king all the thanes that belonged to Earl Harold his son, and outlawed Earl Sweyne his other son.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 139 | Loc. 2113-23  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:17 PM

When therefore it could not serve his purpose to come to a conference against the king and against the army that was with him, he went in the night away. In the morning the king held a council, and proclaimed him an outlaw, with his whole army; himself and his wife, and all his three sons—Sweyne and Tosty and Grith. And he went south to Thorney, (67) with his wife, and Sweyne his son, and Tosty and his wife, a cousin of Baldwin of Bruges, and his son Grith. Earl Harold with Leofwine went to Bristol in the ship that Earl Sweyne had before prepared and provisioned for himself; and the king sent Bishop Aldred from London with his retinue, with orders to overtake him ere he came to ship. But they either could not or would not: and he then went out from the mouth of the Avon; but he encountered such adverse weather, that he got off with difficulty, and suffered great loss. He then went forth to Ireland, as soon as the weather permitted. In the meantime the Welshmen had wrought a castle in Herefordshire, in the territory of Earl Sweyne, and brought as much injury and disgrace on the king's men thereabout as they could. Then came Earl Godwin, and Earl Sweyne, and Earl Harold, together at Beverstone, and many men with them; to the intent that they might go to their natural lord, and to all the peers that were assembled with him; to have the king's counsel and assistance, and that of all the peers, how they might avenge the insult offered to the king, and to all the nation.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 140 | Loc. 2123-28  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:17 PM

But the Welshmen were before with the king, and bewrayed the earls, so that they were not permitted to come within the sight of his eyes; for they declared that they intended to come thither to betray the king. There was now assembled before the king (68) Earl Siward, and Earl Leofric, and much people with them from the north: and it was told Earl Godwin and his sons, that the king and the men who were with him would take counsel against them; but they prepared themselves firmly to resist, though they were loth to proceed against their natural lord. Then advised the peers on either side, that they should abstain from all hostility: and the king gave God's peace and his full friendship to each party.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 140 | Loc. 2128-38  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:18 PM

Then advised the king and his council, that there should be a second time a general assembly of all the nobles in London, at the autumnal equinox: and the king ordered out an army both south and north of the Thames, the best that ever was. Then was Earl Sweyne proclaimed an outlaw; and Earl Godwin and Earl Harold were summoned to the council as early as they could come. When they came thither and were cited to the council, then required they security and hostages, that they might come into the council and go out without treachery. The king then demanded all the thanes that the earls had; and they put them all into his hands. Then sent the king again to them, and commanded them to come with twelve men to the king's council. Then desired the earl again security and hostages, that he might answer singly to each of the things that were laid to his charge. But the hostages were refused; and a truce of five nights was allowed him to depart from the land. Then went Earl Godwin and Earl Sweyne to Bosham, and drew out their ships, and went beyond sea, seeking the protection of Baldwin; and there they abode all the winter. Earl Harold went westward to Ireland, and was there all the winter on the king's security. It was from Thorney (69) that Godwin and those that were with him went to Bruges, to Baldwin's land, in one ship, with as much treasure as they could lodge therein for each man. Wonderful would it have been thought by every man that was then in England, if any person had said before this that it would end thus!
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 145 | Loc. 2209-12  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 04:26 PM

((A.D. 1052. This year died Alfric, Archbishop of York, a very pious man, and wise. And in the same year King Edward abolished the tribute, which King Ethelred had before imposed: that was in the nine-and-thirtieth year after he had begun it. That tax distressed all the English nation during so long a time, as it has been written; that was ever before other taxes which were variously paid, and wherewith the people were manifestly distressed.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 149 | Loc. 2287-90  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 11:53 PM

On the day after Easter sat he with the king at table; when he suddenly sunk beneath against the foot-rail, deprived of speech and of all his strength. He was brought into the king's chamber; and they supposed that it would pass over: but it was not so. He continued thus speechless and helpless till the Thursday; when he resigned his life, on the seventeenth before the calends of May; and he was buried at Winchester in the old minster.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 150 | Loc. 2302-10  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 11:58 PM

A.D. 1054. This year died Leo the holy pope, at Rome: and Victor was chosen pope in his stead. And in this year was so great loss of cattle as was not remembered for many winters before. This year went Earl Siward with a large army against Scotland, consisting both of marines and landforces; and engaging with the Scots, he put to flight the King Macbeth; slew all the best in the land; and led thence much spoil, such as no man before obtained. Many fell also on his side, both Danish and English; even his own son, Osborn, and his sister's son, Sihward: and many of his house-carls, and also of the king's, were there slain that day, which was that of the Seven Sleepers. This same year went Bishop Aldred south over sea into Saxony, to Cologne, on the king's errand; where he was entertained with great respect by the emperor, abode there well-nigh a year, and received presents not only from the court, but from the Bishop of Cologne and the emperor. He commissioned Bishop Leofwine to consecrate the minster at Evesham; and it was consecrated in the same year, on the sixth before the ides of October. This year also died Osgod Clapa suddenly in his bed, as he lay at rest.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 151 | Loc. 2310-17  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 11:58 PM

((A.D. 1054. This year went Siward the earl with a great army into Scotland, both with a ship-force and with a landforce, and fought against the Scots, and put to flight King Macbeth, and slew all who were the chief men in the land, and led thence much booty, such as no man before had obtained. But his son Osborn, and his sister's son Siward, and some of his house-carls, and also of the king's, were there slain, on the day of the Seven Sleepers. The same year went Bishop Aldred to Cologne, over sea, on the king's errand; and he was there received with much worship by the emperor [Henry III], and there he dwelt well nigh a year; and either gave him entertainment, both the Bishop of Cologne and the emperor. And he gave leave to Bishop Leofwine [Of Lichfield] to consecrate the minster at Evesham on the sixth before the ides of October. In this year died Osgod suddenly in his bed. And this year died St. Leo the pope; and Victor was chosen pope in his stead.))
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 151 | Loc. 2317-19  | Added on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 11:58 PM

A.D. 1055. This year died Earl Siward at York; and his body lies within the minster at Galmanho, (76) which he had himself ordered to be built and consecrated, in the name of God and St. Olave, to the honour of God and to all his saints.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 152 | Loc. 2334-41  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:00 AM

((A.D. 1055. In this year died Siward the earl at York, and he lies at Galmanho, in the minster which himself caused to be built, and consecrated in God's and Olave's name. And Tosty succeeded to the earldom which he had held. And Archbishop Kynsey [Of York], fetched his pall from Pope Victor. And soon thereafter was outlawed Elgar the earl, son of Leofric the earl, well-nigh without guilt. But he went to Ireland and to Wales, and procured himself there a great force, and so went to Hereford: but there came against him Ralph the earl, with a large army, and with a slight conflict he put them to flight, and much people slew in the flight: and they went then into Hereford-port, and that they ravaged, and burned the great minster which Bishop Athelstan had built, and slew the priests within the minster, and many in addition thereto, and took all the treasures therein, and carried them away with them. And when they had done the utmost evil, this counsel was counselled: that Elgar the earl should be inlawed, and be given his earldom, and all that had been taken from him. This ravaging happened on the 9th before the Kalends of November.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 153 | Loc. 2348-54  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:01 AM

The worthy Bishop Athelstan died on the fourth before the ides of February; and his body lies at Hereford. To him succeeded Leofgar, who was Earl Harold's mass-priest. He wore his knapsack in his priesthood, until he was a bishop. He abandoned his chrism and his rood—his ghostly weapons—and took to his spear and to his sword, after his bishophood; and so marched to the field against Griffin the Welsh king. (79) But he was there slain, and his priests with him, and Elnoth the sheriff, and many other good men with them; and the rest fled. This was eight nights before midsummer. Difficult is it to relate all the vexation and the journeying, the marching and the fatigue, the fall of men, and of horses also, which the whole army of the English suffered, until Earl Leofric, and Earl Harold, and Bishop Eldred, came together and made peace between them; so that Griffin swore oaths, that he would be a firm and faithful viceroy to King Edward.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 155 | Loc. 2371-74  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:03 AM

In the same year died Pope Stephen; and Benedict was appointed pope. He sent hither the pall to Bishop Stigand; who as archbishop consecrated Egelric a monk at Christ church, Bishop of Sussex; and Abbot Siward Bishop of Rochester. ((A.D. 1058. This year died Pope Stephen, and Benedict was consecrated pope: the same sent hither to land a pall to Archbishop Stigand.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 155 | Loc. 2375-76  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:03 AM

A.D. 1059. This year was Nicholas chosen pope, who had been Bishop of Florence; and Benedict was expelled, who was pope before.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 156 | Loc. 2398-2405  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:05 AM

A.D. 1065. This year, before Lammas, ordered Earl Harold his men to build at Portskeweth in Wales. But when he had begun, and collected many materials, and thought to have King Edward there for the purpose of hunting, even when it was all ready, came Caradoc, son of Griffin, with all the gang that he could get, and slew almost all that were building there; and they seized the materials that were there got ready. Wist we not who first advised the wicked deed. This was done on the mass-day of St. Bartholomew. Soon after this all the thanes in Yorkshire and in Northumberland gathered themselves together at York, and outlawed their Earl Tosty; slaying all the men of his clan that they could reach, both Danish and English; and took all his weapons in York, with gold and silver, and all his money that they could anywhere there find. They then sent after Morkar, son of Earl Elgar, and chose him for their earl.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 158 | Loc. 2430-34  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:07 AM

A.D. 1066. This year came King Harold from York to Westminster, on the Easter succeeding the midwinter when the king (Edward) died. Easter was then on the sixteenth day before the calends of May. Then was over all England such a token seen as no man ever saw before. Some men said that it was the comet-star, which others denominate the long-hair'd star. It appeared first on the eve called "Litania major", that is, on the eighth before the calends off May; and so shone all the week. Soon after this came in Earl Tosty from beyond sea into the Isle of Wight, with as large a fleet as he could get; and he was there supplied with money and provisions.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 160 | Loc. 2459-67  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:09 AM

There was slain Harald the Fair-hair'd, King of Norway, and Earl Tosty, and a multitude of people with them, both of Normans and English; (91) and the Normans that were left fled from the English, who slew them hotly behind; until some came to their ships, some were drowned, some burned to death, and thus variously destroyed; so that there was little left: and the English gained possession of the field. But there was one of the Norwegians who withstood the English folk, so that they could not pass over the bridge, nor complete the victory. An Englishman aimed at him with a javelin, but it availed nothing. Then came another under the bridge, who pierced him terribly inwards under the coat of mail. And Harold, king of the English, then came over the bridge, followed by his army; and there they made a great slaughter, both of the Norwegians and of the Flemings. But Harold let the king's son, Edmund, go home to Norway with all the ships. He also gave quarter to Olave, the Norwegian king's son, and to their bishop, and to the earl of the Orkneys, and to all those that were left in the ships; who then went up to our king, and took oaths that they would ever maintain faith and friendship unto this land. Whereupon the King let them go home with twenty-four ships. These two general battles were fought within five nights.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 161 | Loc. 2471-74  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:10 AM

There was slain King Harold, and Leofwin his brother, and Earl Girth his brother, with many good men: and the Frenchmen gained the field of battle, as God granted them for the sins of the nation. Archbishop Aldred and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 165 | Loc. 2549-56  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:13 AM

This summer the child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them; and came to Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who entertained them all. Then began King Malcolm to yearn after the child's sister, Margaret, to wife; but he and all his men long refused; and she also herself was averse, and said that she would neither have him nor any one else, if the Supreme Power would grant, that she in her maidenhood might please the mighty Lord with a carnal heart, in this short life, in pure continence. The king, however, earnestly urged her brother, until he answered Yea. And indeed he durst not otherwise; for they were come into his kingdom. So that then it was fulfilled, as God had long ere foreshowed; and else it could not be; as he himself saith in his gospel: that "not even a sparrow on the ground may fall, without his foreshowing."
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 166 | Loc. 2558-63  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:14 AM

The king therefore received her, though it was against her will, and was pleased with her manners, and thanked God, who in his might had given him such a match. He wisely bethought himself, as he was a prudent man, and turned himself to God, and renounced all impurity; accordingly, as the apostle Paul, the teacher of all the gentries, saith: "Salvabitur vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem; sic et mulier infidelis per virum fidelem," etc.: that is in our language, "Full oft the unbelieving husband is sanctified and healed through the believing wife, and so belike the wife through the believing husband." This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was. Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 174 | Loc. 2687-92  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:19 AM

This year, therefore, Robert fought with his father, without Normandy, by a castle called Gerberoy; and wounded him in the hand; and his horse, that he sat upon, was killed under him; and he that brought him another was killed there right with a dart. That was Tookie Wiggodson. Many were there slain, and also taken. His son William too was there wounded; but Robert returned to Flanders. We will not here, however, record any more injury that he did his father. This year came King Malcolm from Scotland into England, betwixt the two festivals of St. Mary, with a large army, which plundered Northumberland till it came to the Tine, and slew many hundreds of men, and carried home much coin, and treasure, and men in captivity.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 174 | Loc. 2697-2707  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:20 AM

One day the abbot went into the chapter-house, and spoke against the monks, and attempted to mislead them; (101) and sent after some laymen, and they came full-armed into the chapter-house upon the monks. Then were the monks very much afraid (102) of them, and wist not what they were to do, but they shot forward, and some ran into the church, and locked the doors after them. But they followed them into the minster, and resolved to drag them out, so that they durst not go out. A rueful thing happened on that day. The Frenchmen broke into the choir, and hurled their weapons toward the altar, where the monks were; and some of the knights went upon the upper floor, (103) and shot their arrows downward incessantly toward the sanctuary; so that on the crucifix that stood above the altar they stuck many arrows. And the wretched monks lay about the altar, and some crept under, and earnestly called upon God, imploring his mercy, since they could not obtain any at the hands of men. What can we say, but that they continued to shoot their arrows; whilst the others broke down the doors, and came in, and slew (104) some of the monks to death, and wounded many therein; so that the blood came from the altar upon the steps, and from the steps on the floor. Three there were slain to death, and eighteen wounded. And in this same year departed Matilda, queen of King William, on the day after All-Hallow-mass.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 175 | Loc. 2713-19  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:21 AM

But the king left the army to shift for themselves through all this land amongst his subjects, who fed them, each according to his quota of land. Men suffered much distress this year; and the king caused the land to be laid waste about the sea coast; that, if his foes came up, they might not have anything on which they could very readily seize. But when the king understood of a truth that his foes were impeded, and could not further their expedition, (107) then let he some of the army go to their own land; but some he held in this land over the winter. Then, at the midwinter, was the king in Glocester with his council, and held there his court five days. And afterwards the archbishop and clergy had a synod three days. There was Mauritius chosen Bishop of London, William of Norfolk, and Robert of Cheshire. These were all the king's clerks. After this had the king a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 176 | Loc. 2719-26  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:21 AM

Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out "How many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire." Also he commissioned them to record in writing, "How much land his archbishops had, and his diocesan bishops, and his abbots, and his earls;" and though I may be prolix and tedious, "What, or how much, each man had, who was an occupier of land in England, either in land or in stock, and how much money it were worth." So very narrowly, indeed, did he commission them to trace it out, that there was not one single hide, nor a yard (108) of land, nay, moreover (it is shameful to tell, though he thought it no shame to do it), not even an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, that was not set down in his writ. And all the recorded particulars were afterwards brought to him. (109)
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 177 | Loc. 2736-53  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:22 AM

A.D. 1087. After the birth of our Lord and Saviour Christ, one thousand and eighty-seven winters; in the one and twentieth year after William began to govern and direct England, as God granted him, was a very heavy and pestilent season in this land. Such a sickness came on men, that full nigh every other man was in the worst disorder, that is, in the diarrhoea; and that so dreadfully, that many men died in the disorder. Afterwards came, through the badness of the weather as we before mentioned, so great a famine over all England, that many hundreds of men died a miserable death through hunger. Alas! how wretched and how rueful a time was there! When the poor wretches lay full nigh driven to death prematurely, and afterwards came sharp hunger, and dispatched them withall! Who will not be penetrated with grief at such a season? or who is so hardhearted as not to weep at such misfortune? Yet such things happen for folks' sins, that they will not love God and righteousness. So it was in those days, that little righteousness was in this land with any men but with the monks alone, wherever they fared well. The king and the head men loved much, and overmuch, covetousness in gold and in silver; and recked not how sinfully it was got, provided it came to them. The king let his land at as high a rate as he possibly could; then came some other person, and bade more than the former one gave, and the king let it to the men that bade him more. Then came the third, and bade yet more; and the king let it to hand to the men that bade him most of all: and he recked not how very sinfully the stewards got it of wretched men, nor how many unlawful deeds they did; but the more men spake about right law, the more unlawfully they acted. They erected unjust tolls, and many other unjust things they did, that are difficult to reckon. Also in the same year, before harvest, the holy minster of St. Paul, the episcopal see in London, was completely burned, with many other minsters, and the greatest part, and the richest of the whole city. So also, about the same time, full nigh each head-port in all England was entirely burned. Alas! rueful and woeful was the fate of the year that brought forth so many misfortunes. In the same year also, before the Assumption of St. Mary, King William went from Normandy into France with an army, and made war upon his own lord Philip, the king, and slew many of his men, and burned the town of Mante, and all the holy minsters that were in the town; and two holy men that served God, leading the life of anachorets, were burned therein. This being thus done, King William returned to Normandy.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 178 | Loc. 2753-56  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:22 AM

Rueful was the thing he did; but a more rueful him befel. How more rueful? He fell sick, and it dreadfully ailed him. What shall I say? Sharp death, that passes by neither rich men nor poor, seized him also. He died in Normandy, on the next day after the Nativity of St. Mary, and he was buried at Caen in St. Stephen's minster, which he had formerly reared, and afterwards endowed with manifold gifts.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 179 | Loc. 2781-86  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:24 AM

As he forbade men to kill the harts, so also the boars; and he loved the tall deer as if he were their father. Likewise he decreed by the hares, that they should go free. His rich men bemoaned it, and the poor men shuddered at it. But he was so stern, that he recked not the hatred of them all; for they must follow withal the king's will, if they would live, or have land, or possessions, or even his peace. Alas! that any man should presume so to puff himself up, and boast o'er all men. May the Almighty God show mercy to his soul, and grant him forgiveness of his sins! These things have we written concerning him, both good and evil; that men may choose the good after their goodness, and flee from the evil withal, and go in the way that leadeth us to the kingdom of heaven.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 180 | Loc. 2786-89  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:24 AM

Many things may we write that were done in this same year. So it was in Denmark, that the Danes, a nation that was formerly accounted the truest of all, were turned aside to the greatest untruth, and to the greatest treachery that ever could be. They chose and bowed to King Cnute, and swore him oaths, and afterwards dastardly slew him in a church.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 183 | Loc. 2848-51  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:22 PM

A.D. 1091. In this year the King William held his court at Christmas in Westminster, and thereafter at Candlemas he went, for the annoyance of his brother, out of England into Normandy. Whilst he was there, their reconciliation took place, on the condition, that the earl put into his hands Feschamp, and the earldom of Ou, and Cherbourg; and in addition to this, that the king's men should be secure in the castles that they had won against the will of the earl.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 184 | Loc. 2859-63  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:24 PM

When the King William in Normandy heard this, then prepared he his departure, and came to England, and his brother, the Earl Robert, with him; and he soon issued an order to collect a force both naval and military; but the naval force, ere it could come to Scotland, perished almost miserably, a few days before St. Michael's mass. And the king and his brother proceeded with the land-force; but when the King Malcolm heard that they were resolved to seek him with an army, he went with his force out of Scotland into Lothaine in England, and there abode.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 185 | Loc. 2871-76  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:32 PM

A.D. 1093. In this year, during Lent, was the King William at Glocester so sick, that he was by all reported dead. And in his illness he made many good promises to lead his own life aright; to grant peace and protection to the churches of God, and never more again with fee to sell; to have none but righteous laws amongst his people. The archbishopric of Canterbury, that before remained in his own hand, he transferred to Anselm, who was before Abbot of Bec; to Robert his chancellor the bishopric of Lincoln; and to many minsters he gave land; but that he afterwards took away, when he was better, and annulled all the good laws that he promised us before. Then after this sent the King of Scotland, and demanded the fulfilment of the treaty that was promised him.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 185 | Loc. 2877-79  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:32 PM

the men returned, that brought him with great dignity to the king. But when he came to the king, he could not be considered worthy either of our king's speech, or of the conditions that were formerly promised him. For this reason therefore they parted with great dissatisfaction, and the King Malcolm returned to Scotland.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 185 | Loc. 2879-83  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:33 PM

And soon after he came home, he gathered his army, and came harrowing into England with more hostility than behoved him; and Robert, the Earl of Northumberland, surrounded him unawares with his men, and slew him. Morel of Barnborough slew him, who was the earl's steward, and a baptismal friend (115) of King Malcolm. With him was also slain Edward his son; who after him should have been king, if he had lived. When the good Queen Margaret heard this—her most beloved lord and son thus betrayed she was in her mind almost distracted to death.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 186 | Loc. 2883-84  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:33 PM

And the Scots then chose (116) Dufenal to king, Malcolm's brother, and drove out all the English that formerly were with the King Malcolm.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 186 | Loc. 2884-87  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:33 PM

When Duncan, King Malcolm's son, heard all that had thus taken place (he was then in the King William's court, because his father had given him as a hostage to our king's father, and so he lived here afterwards), he came to the king, and did such fealty as the king required at his hands; and so with his permission went to Scotland, with all the support that he could get of English and French, and deprived his uncle Dufenal of the kingdom, and was received as king.
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Unknown)
- Highlight on Page 186 | Loc. 2887-89  | Added on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 09:34 PM

But the Scots afterwards gathered some force together, and slew full nigh all his men; and he himself with a few made his escape. (117) Afterwards they were reconciled, on the condition that he never again brought into the land English or French.
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 1 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:48 AM

Theessentialelementsofthecontrolproblemare •Adesiredoutputofthesystem. •Asetofadmissibleinputsor“controls.” •Aperformanceorcostfunctionalwhichmeasurestheeffectivenessofagiven“controlaction.”
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1 Introduction
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Whenacostfunctionalhasbeendecidedupon, theengineerformulateshis/hercontrolproblemasfollows:
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 2 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:50 AM

Optimal controldealswiththeproblemoffindingacontrollawforagiven systemsuchthatacertainoptimalitycriterionisachieved.Anoptimalcontrolisasetofdifferentialequationsdescribingthepaths ofthecontrolvariablesthatminimizethecostfunctional
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:50 AM

TheLegendrepolynomials(LPs)originatedfromdetermining theforceofattractionexertedbysolidsofrevolution[5],andtheir orthogonalpropertieswereestablishedbyAdrianMarieLegendre during1784–1790
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1 Introduction
- Note on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:52 AM

different kindsof orthogonal functions

legendre polynmials
piecewise bass functions
block pulse functions

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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:53 AM

Probably,ChenandHsiao,1975,were thefirstwhoappliedaclassofpiecewiseconstantOFs,i.e.Walsh functions(WFs),obtainedanumericalsolutionofthematrixRiccatiequation[6]andfoundthetime-varyinggain.Thenmanyresearchersstartedinvestigatingtheproblemsofidentification,analysisandcontrolusingdifferentclassesofOFs.
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1 Introduction
- Bookmark on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:53 AM


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1 Introduction
- Note on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:54 AM

different kindsof orthogonal functions

legendre polynmials
piecewise base functions
walsh functions
block pulse functions

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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 4 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:54 AM

ThekeyfeatureofOFsisthatitconvertsdifferentialorintegralequationsintoalgebraicequationsin thesenseofleastsquares.Sothisapproachbecamequitepopular computationallyasthedynamicalequationsofasystemcanbe convertedintoasetofalgebraicequationswhosesolutionleadsto thesolutionoftheproblem
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1 Introduction
- Note on Page 3 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:55 AM

different kindsof orthogonal functions

legendre polynmials
piecewise base functions
walsh functions
block pulse functions
chebyshev polyonmials
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 5 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:57 AM


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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 5 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:58 AM

Theproblemofoptimalcontrolincorporatingobservershas beensuccessfullystudiedviadifferentclassesofOFs,namelyBPFs [19],SLPs[30,47],shiftedJacobipolynomials(SJPs)[33],general orthogonalpolynomials(GOPs)[41],sine-cosinefunctions(SCFs) [44,47],SCP1s[25,47],shiftedChebyshevpolynomialsofthesecondkind(SCP2s)[47]andsingle-termWalshseries[52].Theapproachfollowedin[25,30,33,41,44,47]isnonrecursive,whileitis recursivein[19,52],makingtheapproachin[25,30,33,41,44,47] computationallynotattractive
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1 Introduction
- Bookmark on Page 5 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 10:59 AM


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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 6 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 11:02 AM

Ingeneral,aninterconnection ofstatevariablesubsystemsisconvenientlydescribedasasingularsystem.Thesingularsystemiscalledgeneralizedstate-space system,implicitsystem,semi-statesystem,ordescriptorsystem. Optimalcontrolofsingularsystemshasbeendiscussedin[15] and[18
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 6 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 11:17 AM

Thesingle-termWalshseriesmethod[56]hasbeenapplied tostudytheoptimalcontrolproblemofsingularsystems.In[62] SLPswereusedtosolvethesameproblem.However,thisapproach isnonrecursiveinnature.TheHaarwaveletapproach[68]hasbeen presentedtostudytheoptimalcontrolproblemoflinearsingularly perturbedsystems.Intherecenttimes,SCFs[71],SCP1s[74]and Legendrewavelets
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1 Introduction
- Highlight on Page 7 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 11:18 AM

Afewpracticalexamples[46]arecontrollingthe speedofasteamenginerunninganelectricpowergeneratorunder varyingloadconditions,andcontrolofroomtemperature,acold rollingmill,spaceship,hydraulicsystem,etc. Downloaded by [University of Washington] at 20:12 26 January 2017 Asitappearsfromtheliterature,extensiveworkwasdoneon theproblemofoptimalcontroloflinearcontinuous-timedynamical systemscontainingtimedelays
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Highlight on Page 13 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 03:52 PM

TheOFapproachbecamequitepopularnumericallyandcomputationallyasitconvertscalculus(differentialorintegral)into algebrainthesenseofleastsquares,i.e.dynamicalequationsof asystemcanbeconvertedintoasetofalgebraicequationswhose solutionsimplyleadstothesolutionofdynamicalequations
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 14 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 07:57 PM

state estimation ad optimal control utilizes bpf block pulse funcs and lp legendre polynomial
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 13 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 07:59 PM

square integrable... different from continuous... if so how
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Highlight on Page 14 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:00 PM

anm−dimensionalblock-pulsespectrumoff(t),and
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 14 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:01 PM

what is block pulse spectrum...
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 14 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:03 PM

of course. your fi vaues are not just samples. they are averages over the time period.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 15 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:05 PM

i undrsand in theory wy you want to cover integration of B. but why by itself... is that something you ever realy have to do...
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 16 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:07 PM

if you approx integral of B as H B then does that mean you can approx integral of B f as H B f or something similar...
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 16 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:09 PM

is C just any old matrix... and then we eventually replace it with B... seems not valid to me.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 08:11 PM

ooookay. still not clear what C is. or g. or G. 
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February

2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Highlight on Page 16 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 12:21 PM

theoperationalmatrixofforwardintegration[8]ofBPF
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 16 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 12:22 PM

to integrate bpfs in time use forward integration matrix
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 16 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 12:51 PM

maybe c and f are multivariate here... size is n x n and n x one. not m x m or m x one.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 16 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 12:53 PM

maybe c and f are multivariate here... size is n x n and n x one. not m x m or m x one.

f is an m dimensional block pulse spectrum.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 12:59 PM

ooookay. still not clear what C is. or g. or G.
looks like...
c and f are multivariate. i think.
tha turns continuous multivariate linear sytem into something w r t discrete fi and ci and gi.
however. i dont qite know where n x n went. is fi and is ci theoriginal size...... in oter wrds. gi eqals matrix ci times vector fi. i indexes number of bpfs. c and f areof size n x n and n x one fr each i.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 01:03 PM

aalogy with prior section. full vector f equals fi times Bti. here we sa the same thing.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 01:04 PM

aalogy with prior section. full vector f equals fi times Bti. fi are window time averages. here we see analogous thing.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 01:07 PM

treating f as multivariate. precisely wat we are doing.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 17 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 07:54 PM

nothing novel here really... just saing we can define zeta as the pre time zero vaue... ad that before time zero f is seta. for time offset case f eqals zeta when t minus tau less than t zero.
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Highlight on Page 22 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 08:24 PM

operationalmatrixofforwardintegration[26]ofSLPs
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2 Orthogonal Functions and Their Properties
- Note on Page 22 | Added on Wednesday, February 01, 2017, 08:26 PM

oka. got it. legendre polynomials. they are scaled. the are related to legendre polynomial spectrum f. but not exactly surewat this f hs to do wit our function f. mainly bc f is definedin terms of ntegral of f times legendre polynomials over all times
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3 State Estimation
- Highlight on Page 38 | Added on Thursday, February 02, 2017, 11:28 AM

June

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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 131-33  | Added on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 04:51 PM

Mechanically, all of this was handled in a fashion that was perfectly clear, simple, and logical. Lawrence had supposed that the machine must be at least as complicated as the most intricate fugue that could be played on it. Now he had learned that a machine, simple in its design, could produce results of infinite complexity.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 253-60  | Added on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 05:01 PM

"Shut up about Leibniz for a moment, Rudy, because look here: You—Rudy—and I are on a train, as it were, sitting in the dining car, having a nice conversation, and that train is being pulled along at a terrific clip by certain locomotives named The Bertrand Russell and Riemann and Euler and others. And our friend Lawrence is running alongside the train, trying to keep up with us—it’s not that we’re smarter than he is, necessarily, but that he’s a farmer who didn’t get a ticket. And I, Rudy, am simply reaching out through the open window here, trying to pull him onto the fucking train with us so that the three of us can have a nice little chat about mathematics without having to listen to him panting and gasping for breath the whole way." "All right, Alan." "Won’t take a minute if you will just stop interrupting."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1030-37  | Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:36 AM

The artist who had designed the poster then confessed that he had simply copied it from a book and had made no effort whatsoever to obtain permission—the entire concept of getting permission to use other people’s work was faulty, since all art was derivative of other art. High-powered trial lawyers converged, like dive bombers, on the small town in Kentucky where the aggrieved veteran was up on the roof of a black church with a mouthful of nails, hammering down slabs of A/D exterior plywood and mumbling "no comment" to a horde of reporters down on the lawn. After a series of conferences in a room at the town’s Holiday Inn, the veteran emerged, accompanied by one of the five most famous lawyers on the face of the planet, and announced that he was filing a civil suit against the Three Siblings that would, if it succeeded, turn them and their entire community into a flat, smoking abrasion in the earth’s crust. He promised to split the proceeds between the black churches and various disabled veterans’ and breast cancer research groups.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1058-62  | Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:39 AM

The whole city is a cauldron of internal combustion. Manila seems to have more pistons and exhaust pipes than the rest of the world combined. Even at two in the morning the hotel’s seemingly unshakable mass hums and rattles from the seismic energy pouring from all of those motors. The noise detonates car alarms down in the hotel’s lot. The noise of one alarm triggers others, and so on. It is not the noise that keeps Randy awake so much as the insane stupidity of this chain reaction. It is an object lesson: the kind of nightmarish, snowballing technological fuck-up that keeps hackers awake at night even when they can’t hear the results.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1121-24  | Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:43 AM

—Avi has a planning horizon that extends over a period of at least a century. Randy paces around his room while his computer soars through number space. The shipping containers on the backs of those trucks bear exactly the same logos as the ones that used to fill the streets of South Seattle when a ship was unloading. To Randy this is oddly satisfying, as if by making this crazy lunge across the Pacific, he has brought some kind of antipodal symmetry to his life.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1124-27  | Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:43 AM

He has gone from the place where things are consumed to where they are produced, from a land where onanism has been enshrined at the highest levels of the society to one where cars have "NO to contraception!" stickers in their windows. It feels bizarrely right. He has not felt this way since Avi and he founded their first doomed business venture twelve years ago.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2262-68  | Added on Saturday, June 24, 2017, 06:52 PM

He stares out the windows for hours, watching America go by, and sees that all of it is beautiful and clean. There might be wildness, there might be deep forest, there might even be grizzly bears and mountain lions, but it is cleanly sorted out, and the rules (don’t mess with bear cubs, hang your food from a tree limb at night) are well-known, and published in the Boy Scout Manual. In those Pacific islands there is too much that is alive, and all of it is in a continual process of eating and being eaten by something else, and once you set foot in the place, you’re buying into the deal. Just sitting in that train for a couple of days, his feet in clean white cotton socks, not being eaten alive by anything, goes a long way towards clearing his head up. Only once, or possibly two or three times, does he really feel the need to lock himself in the can and squirt morphine into his arm.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2315-23  | Added on Saturday, June 24, 2017, 06:57 PM

he has come to understand the culture for what it is: a system of etiquette within which it becomes possible for groups of men to live together for years, travel to the ends of the earth, and do all kinds of incredibly weird shit without killing each other or completely losing their minds in the process. The extreme formality with which he addresses these officers carries an important subtext: your problem, sir, is deciding what you want me to do, and my problem, sir, is doing it. My gung-ho posture says that once you give the order I’m not going to bother you with any of the details—and your half of the bargain is you had better stay on your side of the line, sir, and not bother me with any of the chickenshit politics that you have to deal with for a living. The implied responsibility placed upon the officer’s shoulders by the subordinate’s unhesitating willingness to follow orders is a withering burden to any officer with half a brain, and Shaftoe has more than once seen seasoned noncoms reduce green lieutenants to quivering blobs simply by standing before them and agreeing, cheerfully, to carry out their orders.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2947-49  | Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 07:19 AM

He has a bristly mustache, trimmed very short, of silver and auburn whiskers. He is a cheerful sort, at least in the presence of higher ranks, and smiles frequently. His teeth splay out radially from the gumline so that each mandible has the appearance of a coffee can in which a small grenade has been detonated.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3595-98  | Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 05:01 PM

Enoch Root has wedged himself into the back of the fuselage, where it gets narrow, and is perusing two books at once. It strikes Shaftoe as typical—he supposes that the books say completely different things and that the chaplain is deriving great pleasure from pitting them against each other, like those guys who have a chessboard on a turntable so that they can play against themselves. He supposes that when you live in a shack on a mountain with a bunch of natives who don’t speak any of your half-dozen or so languages, you have to learn to have arguments with yourself.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3748-51  | Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 05:15 PM

"Well they evacuated me to Brisbane where I started making a stink about codes. That’s the only way they could have found me—obviously our codes had been broken. And after I’d made enough of a stink, someone apparently said, ‘You’re British, you’re a priest, you’re a medical doctor, you can handle a rifle, you know Morse code, and most importantly of all, you’re a fucking pain in the ass—so off you go!’ And next thing I know, I’m in that meat locker in Algiers."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4194-97  | Added on Monday, June 26, 2017, 05:15 AM

At first he mistakes Qwghlm House for the world’s tiniest and most poorly located department store. It has a bow window that looms over the sidewalk like the thrusting ram of a trireme, embarnacled with Victorian foofawfery, and housing a humble display: a headless mannequin dressed in something that appears to have been spun from steel wool (perhaps a tribute to wartime austerity?); a heap of sallow dirt with a shovel in it; and another mannequin (a recent addition shoehorned into one corner) dressed in a Royal Navy uniform and holding a wooden cutout of a rifle.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4234-38  | Added on Monday, June 26, 2017, 05:19 AM

This operation is repeated a few times with doors that are successively lighter but more richly decorated. The first room, it becomes clear, was actually a preäntepenultimate room, so it is a while before they can be said to be definitely inside Qwghlm House. By that time they seem to be deep in the center of the block, and Waterhouse half expects to see an underground train screech by. Instead he finds himself in a windowless paneled room with a crystal chandelier that is painfully bright but does not seem to actually illuminate anything.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4617-20  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:47 PM

But this Detachment 2702 thing is a whole different outfit. Even the grunts are carrying trench brooms! And if that didn’t get their attention, the cyanide capsules sure did. And the lecture from Chattan on the correct way to blow your own head off ("you would be astonished at how many otherwise competent chaps botch this apparently simple procedure").
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4658-63  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:49 PM

"Sarge! We’re here!" says Private Flanagan. Before he even wakes up, Bobby Shaftoe notices that Flanagan is speaking in a normal voice and does not sound scared or excited. Wherever "here" is, it’s not someplace dangerous. They are not under attack. Shaftoe opens his eyes just as the tarp is being peeled back from the open top of the truck. He stares straight up into a blue Italian sky torn around the edges by the scrabbling branches of desperate trees. "Shit!" he says. "What’s wrong, Sarge?" "I just always say that when I wake up," Shaftoe says.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4716-22  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:53 PM

"To help those who were in need." "Oh, yeah." "I also learned some Italian along the way. There’s a lot of it going around in the Church." "Fuck me," Shaftoe exclaims. "But my Italian is heavily informed by the Latin that my father insisted that I learn. So I would probably sound rather old-fashioned to the locals. In fact, I would probably sound like a seventeenth-century alchemist or something." "Could you sound like a priest? They’d eat that up." "If worse comes to worst," Root allows, "I will try hitting them with some God talk and we’ll see what happens."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4764  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:56 PM

ostentatiously.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4769-71  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:57 PM

"My husband and I operate a small bed and breakfast," Mrs. Qrtt says. "We should be honored to have an Asdic man stay with us." Asdic is simply the British acronym for what Yanks refer to as sonar, but every time the word is mentioned in the presence of Alan, he gets a naughty look on his face and goes on an unstoppable punning tear.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5024-28  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 04:15 PM

He reads another message simply because of the return address: From: root@pallas.eruditorum.org On a UNIX machine, "root" is the name of the most godlike of all users, the one who can read, erase, or edit any file, who can run any program, who can sign up new users and terminate existing ones. So receiving a message from someone who has the account name "root" is like getting a letter from someone who has the title "President" or "General" on his letterhead. Randy’s been root on a few different systems, some of which were worth tens of millions of dollars, and professional courtesy demands he at least read this message.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5242-47  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:08 PM

It’s not a very good idea. But they have been getting bombed a lot. Even if the shrapnel misses you, the bomb’s shock wave is like a stone wall moving at seven hundred miles an hour. Unlike a stone wall, it passes through your body, like a burst of light through a glass figurine. On its way through your flesh, it rearranges every part of you down to the mitochondrial level, disrupting every process in every cell, including whatever enables your brain to keep track of time and experience the world. A few of these detonations are enough to break the thread of consciousness into a snarl of tangled and chopped filaments. These men are not as human as they were when they left home; they cannot be expected to think clearly or to do things for good reasons.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5411-16  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:20 PM

The photographer comes in, trailed by assistants who are burdened with miles of film. All he knows is that each page must be photographed perfectly. The malarial reek practically flattens him the moment he walks in the door, but when he recovers, his eyes scan the garage. All he can see, stretching as if to infinity, are pages dripping and curling, turning white as they dry, casting their grids of information into sharp relief, like the reticules of so many bomb sights, the graven crosshairs of so many periscopes, plunging through cloud and fog to focus, distinctly on the abdomens of Nipponese troopships, pregnant with North Borneo fuel, alive with burning steam.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5501-7  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:25 PM

’’They’re going to begin searching this area tomorrow." "Well, then let’s get the fuck out of here," Shaftoe said. "Colonel Chattan orders you to wait," Benjamin said, "until you know that the Germans know that we are here." "But I do know that the Germans know that we are here," Shaftoe said, "you just told me." "No, no no no no," Benjamin said, "wait until you would know that the Germans knew even if you didn’t know from being told by Colonel Chattan over the radio." "Are you fucking with me?" "Orders," Benjamin said, and handed Shaftoe the deciphered message as proof.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5528-40  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:28 PM

Corporal Benjamin hesitated, one hand poised above his radio key. "Sarge, are you sure they know we’re here?" Everyone turned to see how Shaftoe would respond to this mild challenge. He had been slowly gathering a reputation as a man who needed watching. Shaftoe turned on his heel and strolled out into the middle of a clearing a few yards away. Behind him, he could hear the other men of Detachment 2702 jockeying for position in the doorway, trying to get a clear view of him. The Henschel was coming back for another pass, now so close to the ground that you could probably throw a rock through its windshield. Shaftoe unslung his tommy gun, pulled back the bolt, cradled it, swung it up and around, and opened fire. Now some might complain that the trench broom lacked penetrating power, but he was positive he could see pieces of crap flying out of the Henschel’s motor. The Henschel went out of control almost immediately. It banked until its wings were vertical, veered, banked some more until it was upside down, shed what little altitude it had to begin with, and made an upside-down pancake landing in the olive trees no more than a hundred yards distant. It did not immediately burst into flame: something of a letdown there. There was perfect silence from the other men. The only sound was the beepity-beep of Corporal Benjamin, his question now answered, sending out his little message. Shaftoe was able to follow the Morse code for once—this message was going out plaintext. "WE ARE DISCOVERED STOP EXECUTING PLAN TORUS."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5559-61  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:30 PM

The Germans at the second intersection had no idea what was going on. This was obviously the result of some kind of internal Wehrmacht communications fuckup, clearly recognizable as such even across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Detachment 2702 were able to simply open fire from underneath the tarp and tear them to pieces, or at least drive them into hiding.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5569-81  | Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:31 PM

But even with the biggest power saw in the shop, Bobby Shaftoe always got the sense that he was imposing some kind of stress on the machine. It would slow down when the blade contacted the material, it would vibrate, it would heat up, and if you pushed the material through too fast it would threaten to jam. But then one summer he worked in a mill where they had a bandsaw. The bandsaw, its supply of blades, its spare parts, maintenance supplies, special tools and manuals occupied a whole room. It was the only tool he had ever seen with infrastructure. It was the size of a car. The two wheels that drove the blade were giant eight-spoked things that looked to have been salvaged from steam locomotives. Its blades had to be manufactured from long rolls of blade-stuff by unreeling about half a mile of toothed ribbon, cutting it off, and carefully welding the cut ends together into a loop. When you hit the power switch, nothing would happen for a little while except that a subsonic vibration would slowly rise up out of the earth, as if a freight train were approaching from far away, and finally the blade would begin to move, building speed slowly but inexorably until the teeth disappeared and it became a bolt of pure hellish energy stretched taut between the table and the machinery above it. Anecdotes about accidents involving the bandsaw were told in hushed voices and not usually commingled with other industrial-accident anecdotes. Anyway, the most noteworthy thing about the bandsaw was that you could cut anything with it and not only did it do the job quickly and coolly but it didn’t seem to notice that it was doing anything. It wasn’t even aware that a human being was sliding a great big chunk of stuff through it. It never slowed down. Never heated up.

July


Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5838-47  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 12:01 AM

"How could a court subpoena a document if, from their reference frame, it had never existed?" "Are you talking about encrypting it?" Eb looks slightly pained by Randy’s simple-mindedness. "We are already doing that. But someone could still prove that a document, of a certain size, had been sent out at a certain time, to a certain mailbox." "Traffic analysis." "Yes. But what if one jams it? Why couldn’t I fill my hard drive with random bytes, so that individual files would not be discernible? Their very existence would be hidden in the noise, like a striped tiger in tall grass. And we could continually stream random noise back and forth to each other." "That would be expensive." Eberhard waves his hand dismissively. "Bandwidth is cheap." "That is more an article of faith than a statement of fact," Randy says, "but it might be true in the future." "But the rest of our lives will happen in the future, Randy, so we might as well get with the program now."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6038-41  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 02:32 AM

a cabin, or maybe (at about four by six feet) a corner of a cabin. There’s a bed, a little fold-out table, and cabinets made of actual wood. These in combination with the photographs of family and friends give it a cozy, domestic flavor which is, however, completely ruined by the framed picture of Adolf Hitler on the wall. Waterhouse finds this to be in shockingly poor taste until he remembers it’s a German boat.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6282-85  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:44 PM

"I was joking," Randy explains. "If the Dentist analyzes the recording, he’ll find nothing but stress in my voice." Avi and John laugh sympathetically. But Eb is crestfallen. "Oh," Eb says. "I was thinking that we could absolutely jam his device if we so wanted." "A tape recorder doesn’t use radio," John says. "How could we jam it?" "Van Eck phreaking," Eb says.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6400-6409  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:54 PM

Still, it looks like an interesting exercise. Now that the rest of Detachment 2702 has arrived, making further trysts with Margaret impractical, Waterhouse has nothing to look forward to. Trying to crack the code used on these sheets will be a perfect puzzle to fill the gaping void that opened up as soon as Waterhouse broke the combination of the safe. He steals some paper of his own, sits down at the desk, and busies himself for an hour or two copying out the ciphertext from the skipper’s pages, double- and triple-checking each code group to make sure he’s got an accurate copy. On the one hand, this is a pain in the ass. On the other, it gives him a chance to go through the ciphertext by hand, at the very lowest level, which might be useful later. The ineffable talent for finding patterns in chaos cannot do its thing unless he immerses himself in the chaos first. If they do contain patterns, he does not see them just now, in any rational way. But there may be some subrational part of his mind that can go to work, now that the letters have passed before his eyes and through his pencil, and that may suddenly present him with a gift-wrapped clue—or even a full solution—a few weeks from now while he is shaving or antenna-twiddling.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6358-62  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:56 PM

When the tumblers move, it sounds like Waterhouse is shooting the main bolt on the Gate of Hell. It takes him a little while, and a few more false starts, to get his bearings; he doesn’t know how many numbers are in the combination, or which way he should turn the dial to begin with. But with experimentation, some patterns begin to show through, and eventually he works out the following combination: 23 right—37 left—7 right—31 left—13 right and then there’s a really meaty click and he knows in his marrow that he can take off the headphones.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6453-57  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:57 PM

As soon as the door wafts shut behind the grand wazir’s ass, Avi says, "I smell a con job." "A con job?" Randy scoffs. "What, you think this is a rear-screen projection? You think this table is made of Formica?" "It’s all real," Avi admits sourly. "But whenever someone gives you the treatment like this, it’s because they’re trying to impress you." "I’m impressed," Randy says. "I admit it. I’m impressed." "That’s just a euphemism for, ‘I’m about to do something moronic,’" Avi says.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6499-6503  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:00 PM

Harvard Li has clearly been thinking very hard about how to put money where guys like Microsoft can’t get it. There are many time-honored ways: the Swiss bank account, the false-front corporation, the big real estate project in deepest, darkest China, bars of gold in a vault somewhere. Those tricks might work with the average government, but Microsoft is ten times smarter, a hundred times more aggressive, and bound by no particular rules. It gives Randy a little frisson just to imagine Harvard Li’s situation: being chased across the planet by Microsoft’s state-of-the-art hellhounds.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6503-5  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:00 PM

Harvard Li needs electronic cash. Not the lame stuff that people use to buy t-shirts on the Web without giving away their credit card numbers. He needs the full-on badass kind, based on hard crypto, rooted in an offshore data haven, and he needs it bad. So nothing’s more logical than that he is sending lots of e-mail to John Cantrell.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6510-13  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:01 PM

"In a way," Tom says, "these guys are tons smarter than us, because they’ve never had a currency they could depend on." He and Randy look over at John Cantrell, who has crossed his arms over his chest and is unloading a disquisition on the Euler totient function while Harvard Li nods intently and his nerd-de-camp frantically scrawls notes on a legal pad. Avi stands far to one side, staring at the Old Palace, as in his mind the ramifications of this bloom and sprawl and twine about each other like a tropical garden run riot.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6527-32  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:02 PM

"I’m not planning on using the phone," Li says, "we can exchange them on floppies." John knocks on wood. "Doesn’t matter. Have one of your staff look into the subject of Van Eck phreaking. That’s with a ‘p-h,’ not an ‘f,’ " he says to the aide who’s writing it down. Then, sensing Li’s need for an executive summary, he says, "They can read the internal state of your computer by listening to the faint radio emissions coming out of the chips." "Ahhhhh," Li says, and exchanges hugely significant looks with his technical aides, as if this explains something that has been puzzling the shit out of them.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6543-48  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:04 PM

Suddenly everyone is sitting down. Randy pulls his chair back and falls into it. The leathery depths swallow his ass like a catcher’s mitt accepting a baseball. He’s about to pull his laptop out of its bag, but in this setting, both the nylon bag and the plastic computer have a strip-mall tawdriness. Besides, he has to resist this sophomoric tendency to take notes all the time. Avi himself said that nothing was going to happen at this meeting; all the important stuff is going to be subtextual. Besides, there is the matter of Van Eck phreaking, which Cantrell probably mentioned just to make Harvard Li paranoid, but which has Randy a bit rattled too. He opts for a pad of graph paper—the engineer’s answer to the legal pad—and a fine-point disposable pen.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6550-59  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:04 PM

The room contains a few dozen living human bodies, each one a big sack of guts and fluids so highly compressed that it will squirt for a few yards when pierced. Each one is built around an armature of 206 bones connected to each other by notoriously fault-prone joints that are given to obnoxious creaking, grinding, and popping noises when they are in other than pristine condition. This structure is draped with throbbing steak, inflated with clenching air sacks, and pierced by a Gordian sewer filled with burbling acid and compressed gas and asquirt with vile enzymes and solvents produced by the many dark, gamy nuggets of genetically programmed meat strung along its length. Slugs of dissolving food are forced down this sloppy labyrinth by serialized convulsions, decaying into gas, liquid, and solid matter which must all be regularly vented to the outside world lest the owner go toxic and drop dead. Spherical, gel-packed cameras swivel in mucus-greased ball joints. Infinite phalanxes of cilia beat back invading particles, encapsulate them in goo for later disposal. In each body a centrally located muscle flails away at an eternal, circulating torrent of pressurized gravy. And yet, despite all of this, not one of these bodies makes a single sound at any time during the sultan’s speech. It is a marvel that can only be explained by the power of brain over body, and, in turn, by the power of cultural conditioning over the brain.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6564-73  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:06 PM

Hence nothing is more natural than that the present-day Kinakutans should run big fat optical fiber cables in every direction, patch into every major national telco within reach, and become a sort of digital bazaar. All of the guests nod soberly at the sultan’s insight, his masterful ability to meld the ancient ways of his country with modern technology. But this is nothing more than a superficial analogy, the sultan confesses. Everyone nods somewhat more vigorously than they did before: indeed, everything that the sultan was just saying was, in fact, horseshit. Several people jot down notes, lest they lose the Sultan’s thread. After all, the sultan says, physical location no longer matters in a digitized, networked world. Cyberspace knows no boundaries. Everyone nods vigorously except for, on the one hand, John Cantrell, and, on the other, the grizzled Chinese guys. But hey, the sultan continues, that’s just dizzy-headed cyber-cheerleading! What bullshit! Of course locations and boundaries matter!
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6577-84  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:06 PM

The sultan is whipping some graphics on them: a map of the world in one of those politically correct projections that makes America and Europe look like icebound reefs in the high Arctic. A pattern of straight lines is superimposed on the map, each joining two major cities. The web of lines gets denser and denser as the sultan talks, nearly obscuring the land masses, and the oceans as well. This, the sultan explains, is the conventional understanding of the Internet: a decentralized web connecting each place with all the other places, with no bottlenecks or, if you will, choke-points. But it’s more bullshit! A new graphic comes up: same map, different pattern of lines. Now we have webs within countries, sometimes within continents. But between countries, and especially between continents, there are only a few lines. It’s not weblike at all. Randy looks at Cantrell, who’s nodding slyly.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6587-95  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:07 PM

Clearly, then, any Internet application that wants to stand free of governmental interference is undermined, from the very beginning, by a fundamental structure problem." . . . free of governmental interference. Randy can’t believe he’s hearing this. If the sultan was a scruffy hacker talking to a room full of crypto anarchists, that’d be one thing. But the sultan is a government, for god’s sake, and the room is full of card-carrying Establishment types. Like those Chinese buzz-cuts! Who the hell are they? Don’t try to tell Randy those guys aren’t part of the Chinese government, in some sense. "Bottlenecks are only one of the structural barriers to the creation of a free, sovereign, location-independent cyberspace," the sultan continues blithely. Sovereign!? "Another is the heterogeneous patchwork of laws, and indeed of legal systems, that address privacy, free speech, and telecoms policy."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6630-32  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:09 PM

Those Chinese guys across the table look like the Maoist Mt. Rushmore; it is impossible to imagine that any of them has ever smiled in his life. They are getting a live translation of the proceedings through ear pieces, connected through the mysterious table to a boiler room full of interpreters.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6695-6702  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:16 PM

The Americans have invented a totally new bombing tactic in the middle of a war and implemented it flawlessly. His mind staggers like a drunk in the aisle of a careening train. They saw that they were wrong, they admitted their mistake, they came up with a new idea. The new idea was accepted and embraced all the way up the chain of command. Now they are using it to kill their enemies. No warrior with any concept of honor would have been so craven. So flexible. What a loss of face it must have been for the officers who had trained their men to bomb from high altitudes. What has become of those men? They must have all killed themselves, or perhaps been thrown into prison. The American Marines in Shanghai weren’t proper warriors either. Constantly changing their ways. Like Shaftoe. Shaftoe tried to fight Nipponese soldiers in the street and failed. Having failed, he decided to learn new tactics—from Goto Dengo. "The Americans are not warriors," everyone kept saying. "Businessmen perhaps. Not warriors."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6806-16  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:34 PM

Magnificent isn’t the word you would normally use to describe Tom Howard; he’s burly and surly, completely lacking in social graces, and doesn’t apologize for it. Most of the time he sits silently, wearing an expression of sphinxlike boredom, and so it’s easy to forget how good he is. But during this particular half hour of Tom Howard’s life, it is of the essence that he be magnificent. He is going blade-to-blade with the Seven Samurai here: the nerdiest high-octane Ph.D.s and the scariest private-security dicks that Asia can produce. One-by-one they come after him and he cuts their heads off and stacks them on the table like cannon-balls. Several times he has to stop and think for sixty seconds before delivering the deathblow. Once he has to ask Eberhard Föhr to make some calculations on his laptop. Occasionally he has to call on the cryptographic expertise of John Cantrell, or to look over at Randy for a nod or shake of the head. But eventually, he shuts the hecklers up. Beryl wears a not very convincing smile throughout the entire thing. Avi just grips the arms of his chair, his knuckles going from blue to white to pink to a normal healthy glow over the course of the final five minutes, when it’s clear that the Samurai are withdrawing in disarray. It makes Randy want to empty a six-shooter into the ceiling and holler, "Yeeehaaw!" at the top of his lungs.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6949-55  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:43 PM

Isoroku Yamamoto spent a lot of time playing poker with Yanks during his years in the States, smoking like a chimney to deaden the scent of their appalling aftershave. The Yanks are laughably rude and uncultured, of course; this hardly constitutes a sharp observation. Yamamoto, by contrast, attained some genuine insight as a side-effect of being robbed blind by Yanks at the poker table, realizing that the big freckled louts could be dreadfully cunning. Crude and stupid would be okay—perfectly understandable, in fact. But crude and clever is intolerable; this is what makes those redheaded ape-men extra double super loathsome. Yamamoto is still trying to drill the notion into the heads of his partners in the big Nipponese scheme to conquer everything between Karachi and Denver. He wishes that they would get the message.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7100-7106  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:54 PM

Waterhouse thinks that really the RCA Radio Tube Manual is like a ball and chain holding Alan back. If he would just work with pure ideas like a proper mathematician he could go as fast as thought. As it happens, Alan has become fascinated by the incarnations of pure ideas in the physical world. The underlying math of the universe is like the light streaming in through the window. Alan is not satisfied with merely knowing that it streams in. He blows smoke into the air to make the light visible. He sits in meadows gazing at pine cones and flowers, tracing the mathematical patterns in their structure, and he dreams about electron winds blowing over the glowing filaments and screens of radio tubes, and, in their surges and eddies, capturing something of what is going on in his own brain. Turing is neither a mortal nor a god. He is Antaeus. That he bridges the mathematical and physical worlds is his strength and his weakness.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7148-57  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:57 PM

"So what do you suppose is the rationale for this new scheme?" asks Alan, clearly enjoying himself a great deal. "The problem with one-time pads is that you have to make two copies of each pad and get them to the sender and the recipient. I mean, suppose you’re in Berlin and you want to send a message to someone in the Far East! This U-boat that we found had cargo on board—gold and other stuff—from Japan! Can you imagine how cumbersome this must be for the Axis?" "Ahh," Alan says. He gets it now. But Waterhouse finishes the explanation anyway: "Suppose that you came up with a mathematical algorithm for generating very large numbers that were random, or at least random-looking." "Pseudo-random." "Yeah. You’d have to keep the algorithm secret, of course. But if you could get it—the algorithm, that is—around the world to your intended recipient, then they could, from that day forward, do the calculation themselves and figure out the one-time pad for that particular day, or whatever."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7181-85  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:59 PM

The Americans responsible for this appalling gaffe are now trying to cover their asses by spreading a story that native islander spies caught wind of Yamamoto’s trip and radioed the news to Guadalcanal, whence the fatal P-38s were dispatched. But the P-38s were operating at the extreme limit of their fuel range and would have had to be sent out at precisely the correct time in order to make it back to Guadalcanal, so the Japanese would have to have their heads several feet up their asses to fall for that. Winston Churchill is pissed off in the extreme, and these meetings represent a prolonged bureaucratic hissy fit intended to produce some meaningful and enduring policy shift.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7248-55  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:03 PM

He also installed Finux, a free UNIX operating system created by Finns, almost as a way of proclaiming to the rest of the world "this is how weird we are," and distributed throughout the world on the Net. Of course Finux was fantastically powerful and flexible and enabled you, among other things, to control the machine’s video circuitry to the Nth degree and choose many different scanning frequencies and pixel clocks, if you were into that kind of thing. Pekka most definitely was into it, and so like a lot of Finux maniacs he set his machine up so that it could display, if he chose, a whole lot of tiny little pixels (which displayed a lot of information but was hard on the eyes) or, alternatively, fewer and larger pixels (which he tended to use after he had been hacking for twenty-four hours straight and lost ocular muscle tone), or various settings in-between. Every time he changed from one setting to another, the monitor screen would go black for a second and there would be an audible clunk from inside of it as the resonating crystals inside locked in on a different range of frequencies.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7280-87  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:06 PM

If you lay a sheet of white paper on an old gravestone, and sweep the tip of a pencil across it, you get one horizontal line, dark in some places and faint in others, and not very meaningful. If you move downwards on the page by a small distance, a single pencil-line-width, and repeat, an image begins to emerge. The process of working your way down the page in a series of horizontal sweeps is what a nerd would call raster-scanning, or just rastering. With a conventional video monitor—a cathode-ray tube—the electron beam physically rasters down the glass something like sixty to eighty times a second. In the case of a laptop screen like Randy’s, there is no physical scanning; the individual pixels are turned on or off directly. But still a scanning process is taking place; what’s being scanned and made manifest on the screen is a region of the computer’s memory called the screen buffer. The contents of the screen buffer have to be slapped up onto the screen sixty to eighty times every second or else (1) the screen flickers and (2) the images move jerkily.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7287-94  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:06 PM

The way that the computer talks to you is not by controlling the screen directly but rather by manipulating the bits contained in that buffer, secure in the knowledge that other subsystems inside the machine handle the drudge work of pipelining that information onto the actual, physical screen. Sixty to eighty times a second, the video system says shit! time to refresh the screen again, and goes to the beginning of the screen buffer—which is just a particular hunk of memory, remember—and it reads the first few bytes, which dictate what color the pixel in the upper left-hand corner of the screen is supposed to be. This information is sent on down the line to whatever is actually refreshing the screen, whether it’s a scanning electron beam or some laptop-style system for directly controlling the pixels. Then the next few bytes are read, typically for the pixel just to the right of that first one, and so on all the way to the right edge of the screen. That draws the first line of the grave-rubbing.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7302-8  | Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:07 PM

These issues all stem from inherent physical limitations of sweeping electron beams through space in a cathode-ray tube, and basically disappear in the case of a laptop screen like the one Tom Howard has set up a few inches in front of Pekka, on the other side of that wall. But the video timing of a laptop screen is still patterned after that of a cathode-ray tube screen anyway. (This is simply because the old technology is universally understood by those who need to understand it, and it works well, and all kinds of electronic and software technology has been built and tested to work within that framework, and why mess with success, especially when your profit margins are so small that they can only be detected by using techniques from quantum mechanics, and any glitches vis-à-vis compatibility with old stuff will send your company straight into the toilet.)
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7736-39  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:17 AM

"So what’s the point?" Shaftoe asks. He asks this because he is expecting Root to give him an order, which is usually what men of the talkative sort end up doing after jabbering on for a while. But no order seems to be forthcoming, because that’s not Root’s agenda. Root just felt like talking about words. The SAS blokes refer to this kind of activity as wanking.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7739-45  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:17 AM

Shaftoe has had little direct contact with that Waterhouse fellow during their stay on Qwghlm, but he has noticed that men who have just finished talking to Waterhouse tend to walk away shaking their heads—and not in the slow way of a man saying "no," but in the sudden convulsive way of a dog who has a horsefly in his middle ear. Waterhouse never gives direct orders, so men of the first category don’t know what to make of him. But apparently men of the second category fare no better; such men usually talk like they have an agenda in their heads and they are checking off boxes as they go, but Waterhouse’s conversation doesn’t go anywhere in particular. He speaks, not as a way of telling you a bunch of stuff he’s already figured out, but as a way of making up a bunch of new shit as he goes along. And he always seems to be hoping that you’ll join in. Which no one ever does, except for Enoch Root.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7891-94  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:29 AM

The only member of Epiphyte Corp. who does not at least crack a smile is John Cantrell, who has been looking distant and tense ever since yesterday. ("It’s one thing to write a dissertation about mathematical techniques in cryptography," he said, on the way up here, when someone asked him what was bothering him. "And another to gamble billions of dollars’ worth of Other People’s Money on it."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8037-41  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:41 AM

But a small and valuable company in the business world is like a bright and beautiful bird sitting on a branch in a jungle, singing a happy song that can be heard from a mile away. It attracts pythons." Avi pauses for a moment. "Usually, the grace period is longer. You get valuable, but then you have some time—weeks or months—to establish a defensive position, before the python manages to slither up the trunk. This time, we happened to get valuable while we were perched virtually on top of the python. Now we’re not valuable any more."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8298-8313  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 09:01 AM

Randy says, "You asked me earlier what is the highest and best purpose to which we could dedicate our lives. And the obvious answer is ‘to prevent future Holocausts.’" Avi laughs darkly. "I’m glad it’s obvious to you, my friend. I was beginning to think I was the only one." "What!? Get over yourself, Avi. People are commemorating the Holocaust all the time." "Commemorating the Holocaust is not, not not not not not, the same thing as fighting to prevent future holocausts. Most of the commemorationists are just whiners. They think that if everyone feels bad about past holocausts, human nature will magically transform, and no one will want to commit genocide in the future." "I take it you do not share this view, Avi?" "Look at Bosnia!" Avi scoffs. "Human nature doesn’t change, Randy. Education is hopeless. The most educated people in the world can turn into Aztecs or Nazis just like that." He snaps his fingers. "So what hope is there?" "Instead of trying to educate the potential perpetrators of holocausts, we try to educate the potential victims. They will at least pay some fucking attention." "Educate them in what way?" Avi closes his eyes and shakes his head. "Oh, shit, Randy, I could go on for hours—I have drawn up a whole curriculum." "Okay, we’ll get into that later." "Definitely later. For now, the key point is that the Crypt is all-important. I can take all of my ideas and put them into a single pod of information, but almost every government in the world would prevent distribution to its citizens. It is essential to build the Crypt so that the HEAP can be freely distributed throughout the world."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8373-79  | Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 09:05 AM

"He is the kind of guy who does deals on a handshake. On personal honor," Randy says. "Once he had made the proposition, he would never withdraw it." "The problem with those honorable men," Avi says, "is that they expect everyone else to be honorable in the same way." "It is true." "So he believes, now, that we are accomplices in this plan to hide the existence of this sunken treasure from the Dentist and the Bolobolos," Avi says. "Unless we come clean to them right away." "In which case we are betraying Doug Shaftoe," Avi says. "Cravenly backstabbing the ex-SEAL who served six years of combat duty in Vietnam, and who has scary and well-connected friends all over the world," Randy adds.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8752-55  | Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:05 AM

"And you still have a copy of this chart with you?" Bischoff asks skeptically. "Nah," Shaftoe says, with a flip coolness that in a less charismatic man would be infuriating. "But the lieutenant remembers it. He’s really good at remembering numbers. Aren’t you, sir?" Enoch shrugs modestly. "Where I grew up, memorizing the digits of pi was the closest thing we had to entertainment."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8823-25  | Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:12 AM

It would be an idyllic tropical paradise if not for the malaria, the insects, the constant diarrhea and resulting hemorrhoids, and the fact that the people are dirty and smell bad and eat each other and use human heads for decoration.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9012-17  | Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:24 AM

"You’ll notice there’s no umbilical," Doug says. "Normally that is mandatory for an ROV. You need the umbilical for three reasons." Randy grins, because he knows that Doug Shaftoe is about to enumerate the three reasons. Randy has spent almost no time around military people, but he is finding that he gets along with them surprisingly well. His favorite thing about them is their compulsive need to educate everyone around them, all the time. Randy does not need to know anything about the ROV, but Doug Shaftoe is going to give him a short course anyway. Randy supposes that when you are in a war, practical knowledge is a good thing to spread around.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9055-62  | Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:28 AM

Amy jams the kris back into its sheath, smiles sweetly at Randy, and plugs her face back into the rig. Randy is speechless for a while. The question of whether or not she is a lesbian is rapidly becoming more than purely academic. He performs a quick mental review of all of the lesbians he has known. Usually they are mid-level, nine-to-five city dwellers with sensible haircuts. In other words, they are just like most of the other people Randy knows. Amy is too flagrantly exotic, too much like a horny film director’s idea of what a lesbian would be. So maybe there is some hope here. "If you’re gonna stare at my daughter that way," Doug Shaftoe says, "you’d better start boning up on your ballroom dancing." "Is he starin’ at me? I can never tell when I have my face stuck in this thing," Amy says. "He was in love with his watch. Now he has no object for his affections," Doug says. "So, hold on to your hats!"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9153-61  | Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:33 AM

After a minute or so, he goes out to join Doug, who is ritualistically lighting up a cigar. "This is a good time to smoke," he mumbles. "Want one?" "Sure. Thanks." Randy pulls out a folding multipurpose tool and cuts the end from the cigar, a pretty impressive-looking Cuban number. "Why do you say it’s a good time to smoke?" "To fix it in your memory. To mark it." Doug tears his gaze from the horizon and looks at Randy searchingly, almost beseeching him to understand. "This is one of the most important moments in your life. Nothing will ever be the same. We might get rich. We might get killed. We might just have an adventure, or learn something. But we have been changed. We are standing close to the Heraclitean fire, feeling its heat on our faces." He produces a flaring safety match from his cupped palms like a magician, and holds it up before Randy’s eyes, and Randy puffs the cigar alive, staring into the flame. "Well, here’s to it," Randy says. "And here’s to whoever got out," replies Doug.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10120-24  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:43 PM

But now he knows how Alan must have felt after they turned decryption into a mechanical process, industrializing Bletchley Park. He must have felt that the battle was won, and with it the war. The rest might seem like glorious conquest to people like the General, but to Turing, and now to Waterhouse, it just looks like tedious mopping-up. It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. From here on out, it’s all can openers.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10146-54  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:45 PM

Mary is a tiny, white-skinned, red-headed person who is often seized by little fits of self-consciousness. When this happens she averts her eyes from his and swallows, and when she swallows there is a certain cord in her white neck, rounding the concavity from shoulder to ear, that stands out for a moment. It draws attention both to her vulnerability and to the white flesh of her neck, which is not white in a pallid sick way but in another way that Waterhouse could never have understood until recently: viz., from his little stint in New Guinea, where everything is either dead and decaying, or bright and threatening, or unobtrusive and invisible, Waterhouse knows that anything this tender and translucent is too vulnerable and tempting to hold its own in a world of violently competing destroyers, that it can only be sustained for a moment (let alone years) by the life force within. In the South Pacific where the forces of Death are so powerful, it leaves him vaguely intimidated. Her skin, as unmarked as clear water, is an extravagant display of vibrant animal power. He wants his tongue on it. The whole curve of her neck, from collarbone to earlobe, would make a perfect cradle for his face.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10206-9  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:50 PM

Shaftoe is gripped with a sort of giddy queasiness that, he knows, is the most pleasant thing he will feel here. "Morphine takes away the body’s ability to experience pleasure," says the booming voice of Enoch Root, his wry, annoying Virgil, who for purposes of this nightmare has adopted the voice and physical shape of Moe, the mean, dark-haired Stooge. "It may be some time before you feel physically well."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10218-23  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:53 PM

Everything has been reorganized, General MacArthur is still very high in the tree, walking a brace of giant lizards on steel leashes, but now the hierarchy is filled with grinning Arabs holding up lumps of hashish, frozen butchers, dead or doomed lieutenants, and that fucking weirdo, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, dressed in a black, hooded robe, heading up a whole legion of pencil-necked Signals geeks, also in robes, holding bizarrely shaped antennas above their heads, wading through a blizzard of dollar bills printed on old Chinese newspapers. Their eyes glow, flashing on and off in Morse code. "What are they saying?" Bobby says. "Please, stop screaming," says Enoch Root. "Just for a little while."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10239-42  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:54 PM

Root is sitting on the opposite bunk with the cigar box on his lap. He holds up his hand in a V for Victory, then levels it at Shaftoe’s face and pokes him in the eyes. "I cannot help you with your inability to find physical comfort—it is a problem of body chemistry," he says. "It poses interesting theological questions. It reminds us that all the pleasures of the world are an illusion projected into our souls by our bodies."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10254-56  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:56 PM

All of these names sound alike to Shaftoe, but Root says, "A Russian?" Shaftoe is really coming around now, reemerging into the World. He sits up straight, and his body feels stiff, like it hasn’t moved in a long time. He is about to apologize for the way he has been behaving, but since no one is looking at him funny, Shaftoe sees no reason to fill them in on what he’s been doing these last few minutes.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10279-81  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:57 PM

When he gets back, von Hacklheber is just winding up. "It all came down to a problem of sifting through large amounts of raw data—lengthy and tedious work." Shaftoe cringes, wondering what something would have to be like in order to qualify as lengthy and tedious to this joker.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10327-35  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:01 PM

He throws a dressing gown over his pajamas, steps into slippers, and opens the door of his flat to reveal, predictably, a small, prematurely withered man backed up by a couple of classic Gestapo killers in long black leather coats. "May I proffer an observation?" says Rudy von Hacklheber. "But of course, Herr Doktor Professor. As long as it is not a state secret, of course." "In the old days—the early days—when no one knew what the Gestapo was, and no one was afraid of it, this four in the morning business was clever. A fine way to exploit man’s primal fear of the darkness. But now it is 1942, almost 1943, and everyone is afraid of the Gestapo. Everyone. More than they are of the dark. So, why don’t you work during the daytime? You are stuck in a rut." The bottom half of the withered man’s face laughs. The top half doesn’t change. "I will pass your suggestion up the chain of command," he says. "But, Herr Doktor, we are not here to instill fear. We have come at this inconvenient time because of the train schedules."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10471-74  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:11 PM

"Certain materials I use in my research. They had been scattered among many libraries, all over Europe. Göring brought them all together for me—it makes men like him feel powerful, to do these little favors for their slaves. I departed from Berlin last week, on the pretext of going to Hannover, to do my Leibniz research. Instead I made my way to Sweden through channels that were quite involved—"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10489-94  | Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:12 PM

"Enoch the Red, your organization can get us to Manila," von Hacklheber says. Shaftoe snorts. "Don’t you think the Catholic Church has its hands sort of full right now?" "I’m not talking about the Church," Rudy says. "I’m talking about Societas Eruditorum." Root freezes. "Congratulations there, Rudy!" Shaftoe says. "You surprised the padre. I didn’t think it could be done. Now would you mind telling us what the fuck you’re talking about?"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10827-29  | Added on Saturday, July 08, 2017, 09:02 PM

Progress halted for several minutes while they marveled at the pens' handy clicking mechanisms and doodled on the palms of their hands. The American t-shirts were, in other words, not worn as Americans wear them but in the same spirit that the Queen of England wore the exotic Koh-I-Noor Diamond on her crown. Not for the first time I was overtaken by a strong not-exactly-in-Kansas feeling.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10904-7  | Added on Saturday, July 08, 2017, 09:06 PM

That certain people have a lot of money that they badly want to spend. And that if we can give them a way to spend it, through the Crypt, that these people will be very happy, and conversely that if we screw up they will be very sad, and that whether they are happy or sad they will be eager to share these emotions with us, the shareholders and management team of Epiphyte Corp.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11119-24  | Added on Monday, July 24, 2017, 07:16 AM

Shaftoe consults the instructions. It does not matter that these are printed in Russian, because they are made for illiterates anyway. A series of parabolas is plotted out, the mortar supporting one leg and exploding Germans supporting the opposite. Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas Fucking Edison. Shaftoe scans the terrain, picks out his killing zone, then climbs up and paces off the distance, assuming one meter per pace.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11127-31  | Added on Monday, July 24, 2017, 07:16 AM

"How many engines?" "Probably two." Root turns out to be right on the money. Two large black Mercedes issue from the forest, like bad ideas emerging from the dim mind of a green lieutenant. Their headlights are not illuminated. Each stops and then sits there for a moment, then the doors open quietly, Germans climb out and stand up. Several of them are wearing long black leather coats. Several are carrying those keen submachine guns that are the trademark of German infantry, and the envy of Yanks and Tommies, who must go burdened with primeval hunting rifles.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11428-30  | Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 05:34 AM

"Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum," he is saying. "It is Latin. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." "Jew? I thought Jesus was Christian," said Goto Dengo. The man in the black robe just stares at him. Goto Dengo tries again: "I didn’t know Jews spoke Latin."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12070-72  | Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 12:30 PM

They were a bit quieter than many others, they took up less space in the room, but then that was normal for people trying to raise three kids, and so they passed.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12232-34  | Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 12:43 PM

He is a little unnerved by how rapidly Waterhouse is coming up to speed. But one of the responsibilities of leadership is to mask one’s own fears, to project confidence at all times. Comstock grins and says, "You sound awfully sure of yourself, Waterhouse! I wonder if you can get me to feel that same level of confidence."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12566-80  | Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 01:27 PM

"What’s an electronic banknote look like, Randy?" "Like any other digital thing: a bunch of bits." "Doesn’t that make it kind of easy to counterfeit?" "Not if you have good crypto," Randy says. "Which we do." "How did you get it?" "By hanging out with maniacs." "What kind of maniacs?" "Maniacs who think that having good crypto is of near-apocalyptic importance." "How’d they get around to thinking any such thing?" "By reading about people like Yamamoto who died because they had bad crypto, and then projecting that kind of thing into the future." "Do you agree with them?" Amy asks. It might be one of those pivotal-moment-in-the-relationship questions. "At two in the morning, when I’m lying awake in bed, I do," Randy says. "In the light of day, it all seems like paranoia." He glances over at Amy, who’s looking at him appraisingly, because he hasn’t actually answered the question yet. He’s got to pick one thing or the other. "Better safe than sorry, I guess. Having good crypto can’t hurt, and it might help." "And it might make you a lot of money along the way," Amy reminds him. Randy laughs. "At this point, it’s not even about trying to make money," he says. "I just don’t want to be totally humiliated." Amy smiles cryptically. "What?" Randy demands. "You sounded just like a Shaftoe when you said that," Amy says.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12819-24  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:49 PM

It flowed across the blasted volcanic scab land of central Washington in (Randy supposed) a more or less continuous laminar sheet that, when it hit the rolling Palouse country, ramified into a vast system of floods, rivers and rivulets diverging around the bald swelling hills and recombining in the sere declivities. But it never recombined exactly the way it was before. The hills had thrown entropy into the system. Like a handful of nickels in a batch of bread dough this could be kneaded from place to place but never removed. The entropy manifested itself as swirls and violent gusts and ephemeral vortices. All of these things were clearly visible, because all summer the air was full of dust or smoke, and all winter it was full of windblown snow.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12837-40  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:51 PM

Other times, like if you tried to catch one in your hands, it would vanish—but then you’d look up and see another one just like it twenty feet away, running away from you. The whole concept of matter spontaneously organizing itself into grotesquely improbable and yet indisputably self perpetuating and fairly robust systems sort of gave Randy the willies later on, when he began to learn about physics.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12840-50  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:52 PM

There was no room for dust devils in the laws of physics, as least in the rigid form in which they were usually taught. There is a kind of unspoken collusion going on in mainstream science education: you get your competent but bored, insecure and hence stodgy teacher talking to an audience divided between engineering students, who are going to be responsible for making bridges that won’t fall down or airplanes that won’t suddenly plunge vertically into the ground at six hundred miles an hour, and who by definition get sweaty palms and vindictive attitudes when their teacher suddenly veers off track and begins raving about wild and completely nonintuitive phenomena; and physics students, who derive much of their self-esteem from knowing that they are smarter and morally purer than the engineering students, and who by definition don’t want to hear about anything that makes no fucking sense. This collusion results in the professor saying: (something along the lines of) dust is heavier than air, therefore it falls until it hits the ground. That’s all there is to know about dust. The engineers love it because they like their issues dead and crucified like butterflies under glass. The physicists love it because they want to think they understand everything. No one asks difficult questions. And outside the windows, the dust devils continue to gambol across the campus.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12854-58  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:53 PM

From the wind’s frame of reference, it (the wind) is stationary and the hills and valleys are moving things that crumple the horizon and then rush towards it and then interfere with it and go away, leaving the wind to sort out consequences later on down the line. And some of the consequences are dust or ice devils. If there was more stuff in the way, like expansive cities filled with buildings, or forests filled with leaves and branches, then that would be the end of the story; the wind would become completely deranged and cease to exist as a unitary thing, and all of the aerodynamic action would be at the incomprehensible scale of micro-vortices around pine needles and car antennas.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12878-82  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:55 PM

The portrait is securely bolted to the cinderblock wall of the lobby and imprisoned under a half-inch-thick slab of Plexiglas that must be replaced every couple of years, as it fogs from repeated scrubbings and petty vandalizations. Seen through this milky cataract, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse is grimly resplendent in full doctoral robes. He has one foot up on something, his elbow planted on the elevated knee, and has tucked his robes back behind the other arm and planted his fist on his hip. It is meant to be a sort of dynamic posture, but to Randy, who at the age of five was present for its unveiling, it has a kind of incredulous what-the-hell-are-those-little-people-doing-down-there
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12912-18  | Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:58 PM

"The question reduces," Uncle Red says, "to a mathematical one: how do you divide up an inhomogeneous set of n objects among m people (or couples actually); i.e., how do you partition the set into m subsets (S1,S2, . . . ,Sm) such that the value of each subset is as close as possible to being equal?" "It doesn’t seem that hard," Aunt Nina begins weakly. She is a professor of Qwghlmian linguistics. "It is actually shockingly difficult," Randy says. "It is closely akin to the Knapsack Problem, which is so difficult to solve that it has been used as the basis for cryptographic systems."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13225-26  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:08 AM

Farming might have been an adequate sort of booby prize for one or at most two of their sons, sort of a fallback for any offspring who happened to suffer major head injuries or fall into chronic alcoholism.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13234-40  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:10 AM

It had been a standing joke among her male offspring that Mom could walk unescorted into any biker bar in the world and simply by her bearing and appearance cause all ongoing fistfights to be instantly suspended, all grubby elbows to be removed from the bar, postures to straighten, salty language to be choked off. The bikers would climb over one another’s backs to take her coat, pull her chair back, address her as ma’am, etc. Though it had never been performed, this biker bar scene was like a whole sort of virtual or notional comedy sketch that was a famous moment in entertainment for the Waterhouse family, like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Belushi doing his samurai bit on Saturday Night Live. It was up there on their mental videocassette shelves right next to their imaginary newsreels and B-movies of what the Patriarch had done in the war.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13246-55  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:11 AM

Whenever any of her offspring came to visit, someone would discreetly slip out to the garage to yank the dipstick, which would always be mysteriously topped up with clear amber-colored 10W40. It eventually turned out that her late husband had summoned the entire living male lineage of the Patterson family—four generations of them—into his hospital room and gathered them around his deathbed and wrought some kind of unspecified pact with them along the general lines of that, if at any point in the future, the tire pressure in the Lincoln dropped below spec or the maintenance in any other way lapsed, all of the Pattersons would not merely sacrifice their immortal souls, but literally be pulled out of meetings or lavatories and dragged off to hell on the spot, like Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. He knew that his wife had only the vaguest idea of what a tire was, other than something that from time to time a man would heroically jump out of the car and change while she sat inside the car admiring him. The world of physical objects seemed to have been made solely for the purpose of giving the men around Grandma something to do with their hands; and not, mind you, for any practical reason, but purely so that Grandma could twiddle those men’s emotional knobs by reacting to how well or poorly they did it.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13257-59  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:11 AM

The ability of the Lincoln to run flawlessly for a quarter of a century without maintenance—without even putting gasoline in the tank—had only confirmed Grandmother’s opinions about the amusing superfluity of male pursuits.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13267-69  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:13 AM

Randy’s father dumps the contents out on a ping-pong table that inexplicably sits in the center of the rec room at Grandma’s managed care facility, whose residents are about as likely to play ping-pong as they are to get their nipples pierced.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13313-16  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 04:05 PM

"How about this guy we’re going to see in Seattle? He’s a computer guy too? Ooh, you’re getting this look on your face like ‘Amy just said something so stupid it caused me physical pain.’ Is this a common facial expression among the men of your family? Do you think it is the expression that your grandfather wore when your grandmother came home and announced that she had backed the Lincoln Continental into a fire hydrant?"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13750-53  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 04:32 PM

Randy’s body has now finally had time to deploy a full-on fight-or-flight reaction—part of his genetic legacy as a stupendous badass. This must have been very useful when saber-toothed tigers tried to claw their way into his ancestors’ caves but is doing him absolutely no good in these circumstances. "On behalf of whom?" "Oh, come on, Randy. There aren’t that many candidates."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13883-86  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:24 PM

"But I don’t think that teenagers are the way they are because of their age. It’s because they have nothing to lose. They simultaneously have a lot of time on their hands and yet are very impatient to get on with their lives." "And that’s kind of where you are right now?" "It’s exactly where I am."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13897-902  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:25 PM

But for god’s sake, I’m not even sure she’s heterosexual. It’d be madness to put a lesbian in charge of my ejaculatory functions." "If she were a lesbian—exclusively—she’d have had the basic decency to tell you by now," Avi says. "My feeling about Amy is that she steers by her gut feelings, and her gut feeling is that you just don’t have the level of passion that a woman like her probably would like to see as a prerequisite for getting involved." "Whereas, if I stopped masturbating, I would become such a deranged maniac that she could trust me." "Exactly. That’s exactly how women think," Avi says.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14064-70  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:38 PM

Many soldiers ride atop the trucks. When the sun rises, Goto Dengo savors the novel and curious sight of fresh, healthy, well-fed Nipponese men. They are armed with light and heavy machine guns. They look like Nipponese soldiers did way back in 1937, when they were rolling across northern China. It gives Goto Dengo a strange feeling of nostalgia to remember a day when a terrible defeat was not imminent, when they were not going to lose everything horribly. A lump actually gathers in his throat, and his nose begins to run. Then he snaps out of it, realizing that the big day has finally arrived. The part of him that is still a loyal soldier of the emperor has a duty to see that the vital war materiel, which has just arrived, is stored away in the big vault of Golgotha. The part of him that isn’t a loyal soldier anymore still has a lot to accomplish.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14263-68  | Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:55 PM

He has, in other words, just slapped big greasy fingerprints all over a weapon that the police are moments away from seizing as evidence. If Tombstone is shut down and grabbed by the cops before Randy can erase those traces, they will know he has logged on at the very moment that Tombstone was confiscated, and will put him in prison for tampering with evidence. He very much wishes that Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe could somehow be made aware of what a ballsy thing he is doing here. But then Doug has probably done all kinds of ballsy things of which Randy will never be aware, and Randy respects him anyway because of his bearing. Maybe the way to get that kind of bearing is to go around doing ballsy things in secret that somehow percolate up to the surface of your personality.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14548-52  | Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:16 AM

Anyway, if you do a Web search on Ordo, you’ll see this nonsense had absolutely nothing to do with us. Nothing." "That’s funny, because Comstock is denying that it’s a crackdown on Ordo," Doug says. When speaking of official U.S. government denials, Vietnam combat veterans like Doug are capable of summoning up a drawling irony that is about as subtle as having automotive jumper cables connected directly to your fillings, but much funnier. Vodka climbs about halfway up Randy’s nose before he controls it. "They say that it’s just a little old civil suit," Doug says, now using a petal-soft, wounded innocent tone.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14582-89  | Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:19 AM

"What should I call you—Root? Pontifex?" "Pontifex is a nice word." "It’s true," Randy says. "I checked it out, looking for clues in the etymology—it’s an old Latin word meaning ‘priest.’ " "Catholics call the Pope ‘Pontifex Maximus,’ or pontiff for short," says Pontifex agreeably, "but the word was also used by pagans to denote their priests, and Jews their rabbis—it is ever so ecumenical." "But the literal meaning of the word is ‘bridge builder,’ and so it’s a good name for a cryptosystem," Randy says. "Or, I hope, for me," Pontifex says drily. "I am glad you feel that way, Randy. Many people would think of a cryptosystem as a wall, rather than a bridge." "Well, gosh. It’s nice to telephonically meet you, Pontifex."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14652-58  | Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:25 AM

"First a disclaimer: I’ve been out of circulation for a while. Have not picked up the postmodern unwillingness to make value judgments." "Okay, I am bracing myself." "My advice: do try to build the best Crypt you possibly can. Your clients—some of them, anyway—are, for all practical purposes, aborigines. They will either make you rich or kill you, like something straight out of a Joseph Campbell footnote." "So you’re talking about your basic Colombian drug lord types, here?" "Yes, I am, but I’m also referring to certain white men in suits. It only takes a single generation to revert to savagery."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14863-69  | Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 05:45 AM

"What do you mean?" This is Randy in unaccustomed sounding-board mode, psychotherapeutically prompting Cantrell for his feelings. It must have been a weird day for John Cantrell, and no doubt there are some feelings that need to be addressed. "Holding one of those things in your hands, cleaning the barrel and shoving the rounds into clips, really brings you face-to-face with what a desperate, last-ditch measure they really are. I mean, if it gets to the point where we are shooting at people and vice versa, then we have completely screwed up. So in the end, they only strengthened my interest in making sure we could do without them." "And hence the Crypt?" Randy asks. "My involvement in the Crypt is arguably a direct result of a few very bad dreams that I had about guns."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14877-82  | Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 05:47 AM

"They were probably happy to get out of there, and to go sit in a dark cool room and drink beer afterwards. Certainly a lot of them have been sending me e-mail about the Crypt since then." "As an alternative to violent resistance to the United States Government, I assume and hope you mean." "Exactly. Sure. I mean, that’s what the Crypt is becoming. Right?" The question sounds a little querulous to Randy. "Right," he says. He wonders why he feels so much more settled about this stuff than John Cantrell does, and then recalls that he has nothing left to lose.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15195-96  | Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 06:15 AM

He pinches his nose shut, presses his lips together, and begins to blow air into his Eustachian tubes, equalizing the pressure. The others follow his lead.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15790-93  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 02:43 PM

Intuition, like a flash of lightning, lasts only for a second. It generally comes when one is tormented by a difficult decipherment and when one reviews in his mind the fruitless experiments already tried. Suddenly the light breaks through and one finds after a few minutes what previous days of labor were unable to reveal.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15793-97  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 02:43 PM

Randy has this very strong feeling that Amy doesn’t read bodice-ripper novels. She goes the other way. She can’t tolerate surrendering to any one. Which makes it hard for her to function in polite society; she could not have been happy sitting at home during her senior year of high school, waiting for a boy to invite her to the prom. This feature of her personality is extremely prone to misinterpretation, so she bailed out. She would rather be lonely, and true to herself, and in control, in an out-of-the-way part of the world, with her music-by-intelligent-female-singer-songwriters to keep her company, than misinterpreted and hassled in America.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15798-809  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:00 PM

"I love you," he says. Amy looks away and heaves a big sigh like, At last we’re getting somewhere. Randy continues, "I’ve been infatuated with you ever since we met." Now she’s back to looking at him expectantly. "And the reason I’ve been slow to, uh, to actually show it, or do anything about it, is first of all because I wasn’t sure whether or not you were a lesbian." Amy scoffs and rolls her eyes. ". . . and later just because of my own reticence. Which is unfortunately part of me too, just like this part." He glances down just for a microsecond. She’s shaking her head at him in amazement. "The fact that the scientific investigator works fifty percent of his time by nonrational means is quite insufficiently recognized," Randy says. Amy sits down on his side of the table, jacknifes, spins around neatly on her ass, and comes to light on the other side. "I’ll think about what you said," she says. "Hang in there, sport." "Smooth sailing, Amy." Amy gives him a little smile over her shoulder, then walks straight to the exit, turning around once in the doorway to make sure he’s still looking at her. He is. Which, he feels quite confident, is the right answer.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15822-25  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:08 PM

Maybe half of the Nips are killed or wounded by this barrage, but they are fighting at such close quarters that two of Shaftoe’s Huks are hit as well. Shaftoe is trying to drag one of them out of danger when he looks down and sees that he is stomping across a mess of shattered white crockery that is marked with the name of a hotel—the same hotel where he slow-danced with Glory on the night that the war started.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15899-905  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:12 PM

"Hey! Tell me something I didn’t fucking already know!" Shaftoe says. "Even winning battles isn’t important to you. Is it?" Goto Dengo looks the other way, shamefaced. "Haven’t you guys figured out yet that banzai charges DON’T FUCKING WORK?" "All of the people who learned that were killed in banzai charges," Goto Dengo says. As if on cue, the Nips in the left field dugout begin screaming "Banzai!" and charge, as one, out onto the field. Shaftoe puts his eye up to a bullet hole in the wall and watches them stumbling across the infield with fixed bayonets.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15968-77  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:16 PM

Finally MacArthur unhands the stiff body of Goto Dengo, steps back dramatically, and presents him to his staff. "Meet Goto-san," he announces. "You have all heard the expression, ‘the only good Nip is a dead Nip’? Well, this young fellow is a counterexample, and as we learned in mathematics, it only takes one counterexample to disprove the theorem." His staff observe cautious silence. "It seems only fitting that we take this young fellow to the Church of St. Agustin, over yonder in Intramuros, to carry out the sacrament of baptism," The General says. One of the aides steps forward, hunched over in that he’s expecting to get a slug between the shoulder blades any minute. "Sir, it is my duty to remind you that Intramuros is still controlled by the enemy." "Then it is high time we made our presence felt!" MacArthur says. "Shaftoe will get us there. Shaftoe and these fine Filipino gentlemen." The General throws one arm around Goto Dengo’s neck in a highly affectionate, companionable way, and begins strolling with him towards the nearest gate. "I would like you to know, young man, that when I set up my headquarters in Tokyo—which, God willing, should be within a year—I want you there bright and early the first day!"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16112-19  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 07:09 PM

Randy had to bite his tongue not to start asking all kinds of questions about just what "brilliant" meant in an oral-surgery context—questions that were motivated solely by curiosity but that the dentist would be likely to take the wrong way. Among coders it was pretty obvious who was brilliant and who wasn’t, but how could you tell a brilliant oral surgeon apart from a merely excellent one? It gets you into deep epistemological shit. Each set of wisdom teeth could only be extracted once. You couldn’t have a hundred oral surgeons extract the same set of wisdom teeth and then compare the results scientifically. And yet it was obvious from watching the look on this dentist’s face that this one particular oral surgeon, this new guy, was brilliant. So later Randy sidled up to this dentist and allowed as how he might have a challenge—he might personally embody a challenge—that would put this ineffable quality of oral-surgery brilliance to some good use, and could he have the guy’s name please.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16544-46  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:11 PM

"It says ignoti et quasi occulti, which means ‘unknown and partly hidden’ or words to that effect," says Enoch Root. "It is the motto of a society to which I belong. You must know that the word ‘occult’ does not intrinsically have anything to do with Satanic rituals and drinking blood and all of that. It—"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16559-64  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:12 PM

"Some complain that e-mail is impersonal—that your contact with me, during the e-mail phase of our relationship, was mediated by wires and screens and cables. Some would say that’s not as good as conversing face-to-face. And yet our seeing of things is always mediated by corneas, retinas, optic nerves, and some neural machinery that takes the information from the optic nerve and propagates it into our minds. So, is looking at words on a screen so very much inferior? I think not; at least then you are conscious of the distortions. Whereas, when you see someone with your eyes, you forget about the distortions and imagine you are experiencing them purely and immediately."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16573-81  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

"If you think of the Greek gods as real supernatural beings who lived on Mount Olympus, no. But if you think of them as being in the same class of entities as the Root Rep, which is to say, patterns of neurological activity that the mind uses to represent things that it sees, or thinks it sees, in the outside world, then yes. Suddenly, Greek gods can be just as interesting and relevant as real people. Why? Because, in the same way as you might one day encounter another person with his own Root Rep so, if you were to have a conversation with an ancient Greek person, and he started talking about Zeus, you might—once you got over your initial feelings of superiority—discover that you had some mental representations inside your own mind that, though you didn’t name them Zeus and didn’t think of them as a big hairy thunderbolt-hurling son of a Titan, nonetheless had been generated as a result of interactions with entities in the outside world that are the same as the ones that cause the Zeus Representation to appear in the Greek’s mind. And here we could talk about the Plato’s Cave thing for a while—the Veg-O-Matic of metaphors—it slices! it dices!"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16584-88  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

"—so that given a shadow projected on your wall is going to adopt a different shape from the same shadow projected on his wall, where the different wall-shapes here correspond to let’s say your modern scientific worldview versus his ancient pagan worldview." "Yeah. That Plato’s Cave metaphor." At this very moment some wag of a prison guard, out in the corridor, throws a switch and shuts off all of the lights. The only illumination now is from the screensaver on Randy’s laptop, which is running animations of colliding galaxies.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16589-91  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

"I think we can stipulate that the wall in front of you, Randy, is considerably flatter and smoother, i.e., it generally gives you a much more accurate shadow than his wall, and yet it’s clear that he’s still capable of seeing the same shadows and probably drawing some useful conclusions about the shapes of the things that cast them."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16601-10  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:17 PM

We start out with Chaos, which is where all theogonies start, and which I like to think of as a sea of white noise—totally random broadband static. And for reasons that we don’t really understand, certain polarities begin to coalesce from this—Day, Night, Darkness, Light, Earth, Sea. Personally, I like to think of these as crystals—not in the hippy-dippy Californian sense, but in the hardass technical sense of resonators, that received certain channels buried in the static of Chaos. At some point, out of certain incestuous couplings among such entities, you get Titans. And it’s arguably kind of interesting to note that the Titans provide really the full complement of basic gods—you’ve got the sun god, Hyperion, and an ocean god, Oceanus, and so on. But they all get overthrown in a power struggle called the Titanomachia and replaced with new gods like Apollo and Poseidon, who end up filling the same slots in the organizational chart, as it were. Which is kind of interesting in that it seems to tie in with what I was saying about the same entities or patterns persisting through time, but casting slightly different shaped shadows for different people. Anyway, so now we have the Gods of Olympus as we normally think of them: Zeus, Hera, and so on. "A couple of basic observations about these: first,
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16726-30  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:40 PM

Randy is mounting a known-ciphertext attack: the hardest kind. He has the ciphertext (the Arethusa intercepts) and nothing else. He doesn’t even know the algorithm that was used to encrypt them. In modern cryptanalysis, this is unusual; normally the algorithms are public knowledge. That is because algorithms that have been openly discussed and attacked within the academic community tend to be much stronger than ones that have been kept secret. People who rely on keeping their algorithms secret are ruined as soon as that secret gets out. But Arethusa dates from World War II, when people were much less canny about such things.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16732-37  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:41 PM

There is a compromise between the two extremes of, on the one hand, not knowing any of the plaintext at all, and, on the other, knowing all of it. In the Cryptonomicon that falls under the heading of cribs. A crib is an educated guess as to what words or phrases might be present in the message. For example if you were decrypting German messages from World War II, you might guess that the plaintext included the phrase "HEIL HITLER" or "SIEG HEIL." You might pick out a sequence of ten characters at random and say, "Let’s assume that this represented HEIL HITLER. If that is the case, then what would it imply about the remainder of the message?"
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16751-53  | Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:43 PM

And sure enough, Randy learns from the Cryptonomicon that Azure was an oddball system used by both the Nipponese and the Germans that employed a mathematical algorithm to generate a different one-time pad every day. This is awfully vague, but it helps Randy rule out a lot. He knows for example that Arethusa isn’t a rotor system like Enigma.

August

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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16893-903  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:28 AM

"I know that all the bright lights fled Germany in the thirties—Einstein, Born—" "And Schrödinger, and von Neumann, and others—but do you know why they fled?" "Well, because they didn’t like the Nazis, of course!" "But do you know specifically why the Nazis didn’t like them?" "A lot of them were Jews." "It goes deeper than mere anti-Semitism. Hilbert, Russell, Whitehead, Gödel, all of them were engaged in a monumental act of tearing mathematics down and beginning from scratch. But the Nazis believed that mathematics was a heroic science whose purpose was to reduce chaos to order—just as National Socialism was supposed to do in the political sphere." "Okay," Randy says, "but what the Nazis didn’t understand was that if you tore it down and rebuilt it, it was even more heroic than before." "Indeed. It led to a renaissance," Root says, "like in the seventeenth century, when the Puritans tore everything to rubble and then slowly built it back up from scratch. Over and over again we see the pattern of the Titanomachia repeated—the old gods are thrown down, chaos returns, but out of the chaos, the same patterns reemerge."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16904-7  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:29 AM

"Ares always reemerges from the chaos. It will never go away. Athenian civilization defends itself from the forces of Ares with metis, or technology. Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists’ uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn’t work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16907-11  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:29 AM

"Sounds teleological, Enoch. Free countries get better science, hence superior military power, hence get to defend their freedoms. You’re proclaiming a sort of Manifest Destiny here." "Well, someone’s got to do it." "Aren’t we beyond that sort of thing now?" "I know you’re just saying that to infuriate me. Sometimes, Randy, Ares gets chained up in a barrel for a few years, but he never goes away. The next time he emerges, Randy, the conflict is going to revolve around bio-, micro-, and nanotechnology.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16916-25  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:32 AM

Root, not surprisingly, has an answer: the gold was stolen from all of Asia by the Nipponese, who intended to use it as backing for a currency that would become the legal tender of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and that while it goes without saying that those particular Nips were among the most egregious buttheads in planetary history, some aspects of their plan weren’t such a shitty idea. That to the extent life still sucks for many Asians, things would get a lot better, for a lot of people, if the continent’s economy could get jerked into the twenty-first, or at least the twentieth, century and hopefully stay there for a while instead of collapsing whenever some dictator’s-nephew-in-charge-of-a-central-bank loses control of his sphincters and wipes out a major currency. So maybe stabilizing the currency situation would be a good thing to accomplish with a shitload of gold, and that’s the only moral thing to do with it anyway considering whom it was stolen from—you can’t just go out and spend it. Randy finds this answer appropriately sophisticated and Jesuitical and eerily in sync with what Avi has written into the latest edition of the Epiphyte(2) Business Plan.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16982-86  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:38 AM

Seattle’s full of guys like this who flipped a coin when they graduated from college (heads Prague, tails Seattle) and just showed up with this expectation that because they were young and smart they’d find a job and begin making money, and then appallingly enough did exactly that. Randy can’t figure out what the world must look like to a guy like this. He has a hard time getting rid of the guy, who shares the common assumption (increasingly annoying) that just because Randy’s in jail, he doesn’t have a life, has nothing better to do than interface with visitors.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17164-72  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:01 PM

For weeks it comes in bits and pieces, and then one evening, some switch turns on in Lawrence Waterhouse’s mind, and he knows, in some preconscious way, that he’s about to get it. He works for twenty-four hours. By that point he has come up with a lot of evidence to support, and none to contradict, the hypothesis that this calculation is a variant of a zeta function. He naps for six hours, gets up, and works for another thirty. By that point he’s figured out that it definitely is some kind of zeta function, and he’s managed to figure out several of its constants and terms. He almost has it now. He sleeps for twelve hours, gets up and walks around Manila to clear his head, goes back to work, and hammers away at it for thirty-six hours. This is the fun part, when big slabs of the puzzle, painstakingly assembled from fragments, suddenly begin to lock together, and the whole thing begins to make sense. It all comes down to an equation written down on one sheet of paper. Just looking at it makes him feel weirdly nostalgic, because it’s the same type of equation he used to work with back at Princeton with Alan and Rudy.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17182-90  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:02 PM

(4) The room is referred to as the Basement, even though it’s only part of the basement. When "the Basement" is written down, it is capitalized. When someone (let’s say Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock) is going to verbalize this, he will come to a complete stop in mid-sentence, so that all of the preceding words kind of pile into each other like cars in a colliding train. He will, in fact, bracket "the Basement" between a pair of full one-second-long caesuras. During the first of these, he will raise his eyebrows and purse his lips simultaneously, altering the entire aspect ratio of his face so that it becomes strikingly elongated in the vertical dimension, and his eyes will dart sideways in case any Nipponese spies somehow managed to escape the recent apocalypse and found a place to lurk around the fringes of his peripheral vision. Then he will say "the" and then he will say "Basement," drawing out the s and primly articulating the t. And then will come another caesura during which he will incline his head towards the listener and fix him with a sober, appraising look, seeming to demand some kind of verbal or gestural acknowledgment from the listener that something appallingly significant has just passed between them. And then he will continue with whatever he was saying.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17193-99  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:03 PM

Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock tried to enter the Basement to inspect it. But owing to a clerical error, Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock’s name was not on the list, and so a difference of opinion ensued that culminated with one of the Marines drawing his Colt .45 and taking the safety off and chambering a round, pressing the barrel of the weapon directly into the center of Comstock’s right thigh, and then reminiscing about some of the spectacular femur-bursting wounds he had personally witnessed on places like Tarawa and in general trying to help Comstock visualize just what his life would be like, both short- and long-term, if a large piece of lead were to pass through the middle of said major bone. To everyone’s surprise, Comstock was delighted with this encounter, almost enchanted, and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Of course, now his name’s on the list.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17291-301  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 04:16 PM

He could very easily take care of the Hunk of Burning Love problem now that he has privacy, but astonishes himself by electing not to. This may be perverse; he’s not sure. The last month and a half of total celibacy, relieved only by nocturnal emissions at roughly two-week intervals, has definitely got him in a mental space he has never been to before, or come near, or even heard about. When he was in jail he had to develop a fierce mental discipline in order not to be distracted by thoughts of sex. He got alarmingly good at it after a while. It’s a highly unnatural approach to the mind/body problem, pretty much the antithesis of every sixties and seventies-tinged philosophy that he ever imbibed from his Baby Boomer elders. It is the kind of thing he associates with scary hardasses: Spartans, Victorians, and mid-twentieth-century American military heroes. It has turned Randy into something of a hardass in his approach to hacking, and meanwhile, he suspects, it has got him into a much more intense and passionate head space than he’s ever known when it comes to matters of the heart. He won’t really know that until he comes face to face with Amy, which looks like it’s going to be a while, since he’s just been kicked out of the country where she lives and works. Just as an experiment, he decides he’s going to keep his hands off of himself for now. If it makes him a little tense and volatile compared to his pathologically mellow West Coast self, then so be it.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17305-8  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 04:18 PM

He’s scarcely recognizable. Before the beginning of this the Third Business Foray he kind of assumed that, going into his mid-thirties, he had figured out who he was, and that he’d keep being the way he was forever, except with a gradually decaying body and gradually increasing net worth. He didn’t imagine it was possible to change so much, and he wonders where it’s going to end. But this is nothing more than an anomalous moment of reflection. He shakes it off and gets back to his life.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17680-84  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:36 PM

This building is of the sheer-walls-of-solid-glass school of architecture and so the windows go floor-to-ceiling, providing, through a bead curtain of raindrops, a view of nighttime Tokyo that stretches over the horizon. Menus are handed out, printed in French only. Randy and Avi get the girl menus, with no prices. Goto Dengo gets the wine list, and pores over it for a good ten minutes before grudgingly selecting a white from California and a red from Burgundy. Meanwhile, Furudenendu is leading them in exceedingly pleasant small talk about the Crypt.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17693-97  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:38 PM

The sommelier comes around with the wines and Goto Dengo interrogates him in a mixture of Nipponese and French for a while, until a film of sweat has broken out on the sommelier’s brow. He samples the wines very carefully. The tension is explosive as he swirls them around in his mouth, staring off into the distance. The sommelier seems genuinely startled, not to mention relieved, when he accepts both of them. The subtext here would seem to be that hosting a really first-class dinner is a not insignificant management challenge, and that Goto Dengo should not be bothered with social chatter while he is coping with these responsibilities.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17713-19  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:41 PM

Dinner arrives; and so everyone has to eat for a bit, and to thank Goto-sama for his excellent recommendation. Avi gets a bit reckless and asks the old man if he might regale them with some reminiscences about Douglas MacArthur. He grins, as if some secret has been ferreted out of him, and says, "I met the General in the Philippines." Just like that, he’s jujitsued the topic of conversation around to what everyone actually wants to talk about. Randy’s pulse and respiration ratchet up by a good twenty-five percent and all of his senses become more acute, almost as if his ears have popped again, and he loses his appetite. Everyone else seems to be sitting up a bit straighter too, shifting in their chairs slightly. "Did you spend much time in that country?" Avi asks.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17794-804  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:51 PM

"You are going to take the gold out and dump it into the ocean, then?" "No," Avi says, with a nervous chuckle. Goto Dengo raises his eyebrows. "Oh. So, you wish to become rich as part of the bargain?" At this point Avi does something that Randy’s never seen him do, or even come close to doing, before: he gets pissed off. He doesn’t flip the table over, or raise his voice. But his face turns red, the muscles of his head bulge as he clenches his teeth together, and he breathes heavily through his nose for a while. The Gotos both seem to be rather impressed by this, and so no one says anything for a long time, giving Avi a chance to regain his cool. It seems as though Avi can’t bring words forth, and so finally he takes his wallet out of his pocket and flips through it until he’s found a black-and-white photograph, which he pulls from its transparent sleeve and hands across to Goto Dengo. It’s a family portrait: father, mother, four kids, all with a mid-twentieth century, Middle-European look about them. "My great-uncle," Avi says, "and his family. Warsaw, 1937. His teeth are down in that hole. You buried my uncle’s teeth!" Goto Dengo looks up into Avi’s eyes, neither angry nor defensive. Just sad. And this seems to have an effect on Avi, who softens, exhales finally, breaks eye contact.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17810-12  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:51 PM

The tension has been broken. Everyone’s relaxed, not to say exhausted. "General Wing is very close to finding Golgotha," Randy says, after a decent interval has ticked by. "It’s him or us." "It’s us, then," says Goto Dengo.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17849-52  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:55 PM

"This is Jesus Christ who taketh away the sins of the world," Goto Dengo says. "Enoch Root, no one knows the sins of the world better than me. I have swum in those sins, drowned in them, burned in them, dug in them. I was like a man swimming down a long cave filled with black cold water. Looking up, I saw a light above me, and swam towards it. I only wanted to find the surface, to breathe air again. Still immersed in the sins of the world, at least I could breathe. This is what I am now."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17863-68  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:57 PM

"The world is bleeding. It needs medicine and bandages. These cost money." "But before this war, all of this gold was out here, in the sunlight. In the world. Yet look what happened." Goto Dengo shudders. "Wealth that is stored up in gold is dead. It rots and stinks. True wealth is made every day by men getting up out of bed and going to work. By school children doing their lessons, improving their minds. Tell those men that if they want wealth, they should come to Nippon with me after the war. We will start businesses and build buildings." "Spoken like a true Nipponese," Enoch says bitterly. "You never change."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17883-90  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:58 PM

"My condition is that if that gold ever comes out of the ground, it should be used so that we do not have any more wars like this one." "And how should we accomplish such a thing, Goto Dengo?" Goto Dengo sighs. "You put a big weight on my shoulders!" "No. I did not put the weight on your shoulders. It has always been there." Enoch Root stares mercilessly into Goto Dengo’s tormented face. "Jesus takes away the sins of the world, but the world remains: a physical reality on which we are doomed to live until death takes us away from it. You have confessed, and you have been forgiven, and so the greater part of your burden has been taken away by grace. But the gold is still there, in a hole in the ground. Did you think that the gold all turned into dirt when you swallowed the bread and the wine? That is not what we mean by transubstantiation." Enoch Root turns his back and walks away, leaving Goto Dengo alone in the bright avenues of the city of the dead.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17927-31  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 08:02 PM

John Wayne is patrolling the surf with a cigarette and a pump shotgun. Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe rates the probability of frogman attack rather low because the gold in the pamboat is only worth two and half million dollars, an amount that hardly rates anything as elaborate, and expensive, as a seaborne assault. John Wayne needs to be there in case someone gets the mistaken impression that they’ve somehow managed to pack ten or twenty times that much gold into the pamboat. This seems improbable from a hydrodynamics standpoint. But Doug says that overestimating the intelligence of the enemy is, if anything, more dangerous than underestimating it.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 18059-60  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 08:21 PM

He arouses violent controversy among a loose flock of chickens that is straggling across his path, none of whom can seem to figure out how to get out of his way; they’re scared of him, but not mentally organized enough to translate that fear into a coherent plan of action.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 18560-66  | Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 10:13 PM

"Yes. Secretary of State Stimson did away with it, he said ‘Gentlemen do not read one another’s mail.’" Comstock laughs out loud at this. He laughs for a long time. "Ahh, the world has changed, hasn’t it, Waterhouse? Without reading Hitler’s and Tojo’s mail, where would we be now?" "We would be in a heck of a fix," Waterhouse concedes. "You have seen Bletchley Park. You have seen Central Bureau in Brisbane. Those places are nothing less than factories. Mail-reading on an industrial scale." Comstock’s eyes glitter at the idea, he is staring through the walls of the building now like Superman with his X-ray vision. "It is the way of the future, Lawrence. War will never be the same. Hitler is gone. The Third Reich is history. Nippon is soon to fall. But this only sets the stage for the struggle with Communism.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 19002-9  | Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:51 AM

2. Use a bridge ordering. A description of a set of bridge hands that you might see in a newspaper or a bridge book is about a 95-bit key. If the communicants can agree on a way to convert that to a deck ordering and a way to set the jokers (perhaps after the first two cards that are mentioned in the discussion of the game), this can work. Be warned: the secret police can find your bridge column and copy down the order. You can try setting up some repeatable convention for which bridge column to use; for example, "use the bridge column in your home town newspaper for the day on which you encrypt the message," or something like that. Or use a list of keywords to search the New York Times website, and use the bridge column for the day of the article that comes up when you search on those words. If the keywords are found or intercepted, they look like a passphrase. And pick your own convention; remember that the secret police read Neal Stephenson’s books, too.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 19085-91  | Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:57 AM

*Baudot code is what teletypes use. Each of the 32 characters in the teletype alphabet has a unique number assigned to it. This number can be represented as a five-digit binary number, that is, five ones or zeroes, or (more useful) five holes, or absences of holes, across a strip of paper tape. Such numbers can also be represented as patterns of electrical voltages, which can be sent down a wire, or over the radio waves, and printed out at the other end. Lately, the Germans have been using encrypted Baudot-code messages for communications between high-level command posts; e.g., between Berlin and the various Army group headquarters. At Bletchley Park, this category of encryption schemes is called Fish, and the Colossus machine is being built specifically to break it.
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 19105-8  | Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:58 AM

"There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily."
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Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 19105-9  | Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:58 AM

"There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily." —Alan Turing
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 101-7  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 01:44 AM

Two aphorisms detachable from the novel may suggest something of the complex nature of this freedom and how it may have struck the novel’s first readers. One is the much-quoted ’Manuscripts don’t burn‘, which seems to express an absolute trust in the triumph of poetry, imagination, the free word, over terror and oppression, and could thus become a watchword of the intelligentsia. The publication of The Master and Margarita was taken as a proof of the assertion. In fact, during a moment of fear early in his work on the novel, Bulgakov did burn what he had written. And yet, as we see, it refused to stay burned. This moment of fear, however, brings me to the second aphorism — ’Cowardice is the most terrible of vices’ — which is repeated with slight variations several times in the novel.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 169-76  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:01 AM

It differs little from the final version. In it, however, the master is told explicitly and directly: The house on Sadovaya and the horrible Bosoy will vanish from your memory, but with them will go Ha-Nozri and the forgiven hegemon. These things are not for your spirit. You will never raise yourself higher, you will not see Yeshua, you will never leave your refuge. In an earlier note, Bulgakov had written even more tellingly: ‘You will not hear the liturgy. But you will listen to the romantics ...’ These words, which do not appear in the definitive text, tell us how painfully Bulgakov weighed the question of cowardice and guilt in considering the fate of his hero, and how we should understand the ending of the final version. They also indicate a thematic link between Pilate, the master, and the author himself, connecting the historical and contemporary parts of the novel.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 183-91  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:02 AM

In the typescript, the fate of the master, announced to Woland by Matthew Levi, speaking for Yeshua, is not to follow Pilate but to go to his ‘eternal refuge’ with Margarita, in a rather German-Romantic setting, with Schubert’s music and blossoming cherry trees. Asked by Woland, ’But why don’t you take him with you into the light?‘ Levi replies in a sorrowful voice, ’He does not deserve the light, he deserves peace.‘ Bulgakov, still pondering the problem of the master’s guilt (and his own, for what he considered various compromises, including his work on a play about Stalin’s youth), went back to his notes and revisions from 1936, but lightened their severity with an enigmatic irony. This was to be the definitive resolution. Clearly, the master is not to be seen as a heroic martyr for art or a ’Christ-figure‘. Bulgakov’s gentle irony is a warning against the mistake, more common in our time than we might think, of equating artistic mastery with a sort of saintliness, or, in Kierkegaard’s terms, of confusing the aesthetic with the ethical.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 200-207  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:04 AM

The Master and Margarita as a whole is a consistently free verbal construction which, true to its own premises, can re-create ancient Jerusalem in the smallest physical detail, but can also alter the specifics of the New Testament and play variations on its principal figures, can combine the realities of Moscow life with witchcraft, vampirism, the tearing off and replacing of heads, can describe for several pages the sensation of flight on a broomstick or the gathering of the infamous dead at Satan’s annual spring ball, can combine the most acute sense of the fragility of human life with confidence in its indestructibility. Bulgakov underscores the continuity of this verbal world by having certain phrases — ’Oh, gods, my gods‘, ’Bring me poison‘, ’Even by moonlight I have no peace’ - migrate from one character to another, or to the narrator. A more conspicuous case is the Pilate story itself, successive parts of which are told by Woland, dreamed by the poet Homeless, written by the master, and read by Margarita, while the whole preserves its stylistic unity.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 213-19  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:05 AM

It is not by chance that his stage adaptations of the comic masterpieces of Gogol and Cervantes coincided with the writing of The Master and Margarita. Behind such specific ‘influences’ stands the age-old tradition of folk humour with its carnivalized world-view, its reversals and dethronings, its relativizing of worldly absolutes — a tradition that was the subject of a monumental study by Bulgakov’s countryman and contemporary Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s Rabelais and His World, which in its way was as much an explosion of Soviet reality as Bulgakov’s novel, appeared in 1965, a year before The Master and Margarita. The coincidence was not lost on Russian readers. Commenting on it, Bulgakov’s wife noted that, while there had never been any direct link between the two men, they were both responding to the same historical situation from the same cultural basis.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 220-23  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:06 AM

Many observations from Bakhtin’s study seem to be aimed directly at Bulgakov’s intentions, none more so than his comment on Rabelais’s travesty of the ‘hidden meaning’, the ‘secret’, the ‘terrifying mysteries’ of religion, politics and economics: ’Laughter must liberate the gay truth of the world from the veils of gloomy lies spun by the seriousness of fear, suffering, and violence.‘
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 226-28  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:08 AM

In his novel ... he uses the popular-festive system of images with its charter of freedoms consecrated by many centuries; and he uses it to inflict a severe punishment upon his foe, the Gothic age ... In this setting of consecrated rights Rabelais attacks the fundamental dogmas and sacraments, the holy of holies of medieval ideology.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 229-32  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:08 AM

For thousands of years the people have used these festive comic images to express their criticism, their deep distrust of official truth, and their highest hopes and aspirations. Freedom was not so much an exterior right as it was the inner content of these images. It was the thousand-year-old language of fearlessness, a language with no reservations and omissions, about the world and about power.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 233-37  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:10 AM

The novel’s form excludes psychological analysis and historical commentary. Hence the quickness and pungency of Bulgakov’s writing. At the same time, it allows Bulgakov to exploit all the theatricality of its great scenes - storms, flight, the attack of vampires, all the antics of the demons Koroviev and Behemoth, the seance in the Variety theatre, the ball at Satan‘s, but also the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, the crucifixion as witnessed by Matthew Levi, the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 238-40  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:10 AM

his premises are made clear in the very first pages of the novel, in the dialogue between Woland and the atheist Berlioz. By the deepest irony of all, the ‘prince of this world’ stands as guarantor of the ’other’ world. It exists, since he exists. But he says nothing directly about it.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 241-52  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:11 AM

Of this language Kafka wrote, in his parable ’On Parables‘: Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: ‘Go over,’ he does not mean that we should cross to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if it was worth the trouble; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something, too, that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the least. All these parables really set out to say simply that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter. Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables, you yourselves would become parables and with that rid of all your daily cares. Another said: I bet that is also a parable. The first said: You win. The second said: But unfortunately only in parable. The first said: No, in reality. In parable you lose. A similar dialogue lies at the heart of Bulgakov’s novel. In it there are those who belong to parable and those who belong to reality. There are those who go over and those who do not. There are those who win in parable and become parables themselves, and there are those who win in reality. But this reality belongs to Woland.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 261-62  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:12 AM

‘He is of a rare impartiality and sympathizes equally with both sides of the fight. Owing to that, the results are always the same for both sides.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 266-68  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:13 AM

Once terror is identified with the world, it becomes invisible. Bulgakov’s portrayal of Moscow under Stalin’s terror is remarkable precisely for its weightless, circus-like theatricality and lack of pathos. It is a substanceless reality, an empty suit writing at a desk.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 270-75  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:15 AM

Berlioz, the comparatist, is the spokesman for this ‘normal’ state of affairs, which is what makes his conversation with Woland so interesting. In it he is confronted with another reality which he cannot recognize. He becomes ’unexpectedly mortal‘. In the story of Pilate, however, a moment of recognition does come. It occurs during Pilate’s conversation with Yeshua, when he sees the wandering philosopher’s head float off and in its place the toothless head of the aged Tiberius Caesar. This is the pivotal moment of the novel. Pilate breaks off his dialogue with Yeshua, he does not ’go over‘, and afterwards must sit like a stone for two thousand years waiting to continue their conversation.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 319-21  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:18 AM

‘... who are you, then?’ ‘I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.’ Goethe, Faust
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 370-73  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:22 AM

Displaying a solid erudition, Mikhail Alexandrovich also informed the poet, among other things, that the passage in the fifteenth book of Tacitus’s famous Annals,8 the forty-fourth chapter, where mention is made of the execution of Jesus, was nothing but a later spurious interpolation.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 377-82  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:23 AM

Berlioz’s high tenor rang out in the deserted walk, and as Mikhail Alexandrovich went deeper into the maze, which only a highly educated man can go into without risking a broken neck, the poet learned more and more interesting and useful things about the Egyptian Osiris,9 a benevolent god and the son of Heaven and Earth, and about the Phoenician god Tammuz,10 and about Marduk,11 and even about a lesser known, terrible god, Vitzliputzli,12 once greatly venerated by the Aztecs in Mexico.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 388-92  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:24 AM

First of all, the man described did not limp on any leg, and was neither short nor enormous, but simply tall. As for his teeth, he had platinum crowns on the left side and gold on the right. He was wearing an expensive grey suit and imported shoes of a matching colour. His grey beret was cocked rakishly over one ear; under his arm he carried a stick with a black knob shaped like a poodle’s head.13 He looked to be a little over forty. Mouth somehow twisted. Clean-shaven. Dark-haired. Right eye black, left — for some reason — green. Dark eyebrows, but one higher than the other. In short, a foreigner.14
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 399-405  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:25 AM

‘For instance, Ivan,’ Berlioz was saying, ‘you portrayed the birth of Jesus, the son of God, very well and satirically, but the gist of it is that a whole series of sons of God were born before Jesus, like, say, the Phoenician Adonis,15 the Phrygian Attis,16 the Persian Mithras.17 And, to put it briefly, not one of them was born or ever existed, Jesus included, and what’s necessary is that, instead of portraying his birth or, suppose, the coming of the Magi,18 you portray the absurd rumours of their coming. Otherwise it follows from your story that he really was born! ...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 412-13  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:26 AM

It must be added that from his first words the foreigner made a repellent impression on the poet, but Berlioz rather liked him — that is, not liked but ... how to put it ... was interested, or whatever.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 421-30  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:27 AM

and, casting a thievish glance around and muffling his low voice for some reason, he said: ‘Forgive my importunity, but, as I understand, along with everything else, you also do not believe in God?’ He made frightened eyes and added: ‘I swear I won’t tell anyone!’ ‘No, we don’t believe in God,’ Berlioz replied, smiling slightly at the foreign tourist’s fright, ‘but we can speak of it quite freely.’ The foreigner sat back on the bench and asked, even with a slight shriek of curiosity: ‘You are — atheists?!’ ‘Yes, we’re atheists,’ Berlioz smilingly replied, and Homeless thought, getting angry: ‘Latched on to us, the foreign goose!’ ‘Oh, how lovely!’ the astonishing foreigner cried out and began swivelling his head, looking from one writer to the other. ‘In our country atheism does not surprise anyone,’ Berlioz said with diplomatic politeness. ‘The majority of our population consciously and long ago ceased believing in the fairy tales about God.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 439-40  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:27 AM

‘Alas!’ Berlioz said with regret. ‘Not one of these proofs is worth anything, and mankind shelved them long ago. You must agree that in the realm of reason there can be no proof of God’s existence.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 463-70  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:31 AM

‘And in fact,’ here the stranger turned to Berlioz, ‘imagine that you, for instance, start governing, giving orders to others and yourself, generally, so to speak, acquire a taste for it, and suddenly you get ... hem ... hem ... lung cancer ...’ — here the foreigner smiled sweetly, as if the thought of lung cancer gave him pleasure — ‘yes, cancer’ — narrowing his eyes like a cat, he repeated the sonorous word — ’and so your governing is over! ‘You are no longer interested in anyone’s fate but your own. Your family starts lying to you. Feeling that something is wrong, you rush to learned doctors, then to quacks, and sometimes to fortune-tellers as well. Like the first, so the second and third are completely senseless, as you understand. And it all ends tragically: a man who still recently thought he was governing something, suddenly winds up lying motionless in a wooden box, and the people around him, seeing that the man lying there is no longer good for anything, burn him in an oven.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 638-46  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:43 AM

‘No, no, Hegemon,’ the arrested man said, straining all over in his wish to convince, ‘there’s one with a goatskin parchment who follows me, follows me and keeps writing all the time. But once I peeked into this parchment and was horrified. I said decidedly nothing of what’s written there. I implored him: “Burn your parchment, I beg you!” But he tore it out of my hands and ran away.’ ‘Who is that?’ Pilate asked squeamishly and touched his temple with his hand. ‘Matthew Levi,’13 the prisoner explained willingly. ‘He used to be a tax collector, and I first met him on the road in Bethphage,14 where a fig grove juts out at an angle, and I got to talking with him. He treated me hostilely at first and even insulted me — that is, thought he insulted me - by calling me a dog.’ Here the prisoner smiled. ‘I personally see nothing bad about this animal, that I should be offended by this word ...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 660-69  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:45 AM

‘Matthew Levi?’ the sick man asked in a hoarse voice and dosed his eyes. ‘Yes, Matthew Levi,’ the high, tormenting voice came to him. ‘And what was it in any case that you said about the temple to the crowd in the bazaar?’ The responding voice seemed to stab at Pilate’s temple, was inexpressibly painful, and this voice was saying: ‘I said, Hegemon, that the temple of the old faith would fall and a new temple of truth would be built. I said it that way so as to make it more understandable.’ ‘And why did you stir up the people in the bazaar, you vagrant, talking about the truth, of which you have no notion? What is truth?’15 And here the procurator thought: ‘Oh, my gods! I’m asking him about something unnecessary at a trial ... my reason no longer serves me ...’ And again he pictured a cup of dark liquid. ‘Poison, bring me poison ...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 722-27  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:49 AM

‘I do not know these good people,’ the prisoner replied. ‘Truly?’ ‘Truly.’ ‘And now tell me, why is it that you use the words “good people” all the time? Do you call everyone that, or what?’ ‘Everyone,’ the prisoner replied. ‘There are no evil people in the world.’ ‘The first I hear of it,’ Pilate said, grinning. ‘But perhaps I know too little of life! ... You needn’t record any more,’ he addressed the secretary, who had not recorded anything anyway, and went on talking with the prisoner.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 763-68  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:52 AM

‘Listen, Ha-Nozri,’ the procurator spoke, looking at Yeshua somehow strangely: the procurator’s face was menacing, but his eyes were alarmed, ‘did you ever say anything about the great Caesar? Answer! Did you? ... Yes ... or ... no?’ Pilate drew the word ‘no’ out somewhat longer than is done in court, and his glance sent Yeshua some thought that he wished as if to instil in the prisoner. ‘To speak the truth is easy and pleasant,’ the prisoner observed. ‘I have no need to know,’ Pilate responded in a stifled, angry voice, ‘whether it is pleasant or unpleasant for you to speak the truth. You will have to speak it anyway. But, as you speak, weigh every word, unless you want a not only inevitable but also painful death.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 781-85  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:53 AM

‘Among other things,’ the prisoner recounted, ‘I said that all authority is violence over people, and that a time will come when there will be no authority of the Caesars, nor any other authority. Man will pass into the kingdom of truth and justice, where generally there will be no need for any authority.’ ‘Go on!’ ‘I didn’t go on,’ said the prisoner. ‘Here men ran in, bound me, and took me away to prison.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 818-21  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 02:56 AM

A moment later Mark Ratslayer stood before the procurator. The procurator ordered him to hand the criminal over to the head of the secret service, along with the procurator’s directive that Yeshua Ha-Nozri was to be separated from the other condemned men, and also that the soldiers of the secret service were to be forbidden, on pain of severe punishment, to talk with Yeshua about anything at all or to answer any of his questions.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 906-10  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 03:04 AM

Remember how on account of you I had to remove the shields with the emperor’s insignia from the walls, had to transfer troops, had, as you see, to come in person to look into what goes on with you here! Remember my words: it is not just one cohort that you will see here in Yershalaim, High Priest - no! The whole Fulminata legion will come under the city walls, the Arabian cavalry will arrive, and then you will hear bitter weeping and wailing! You will remember Bar-Rabban then, whom you saved, and you will regret having sent to his death a philosopher with his peaceful preaching!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 978-81  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 03:10 AM

He knew that behind his back the platform was being showered with bronze coins, dates, that people in the howling mob were climbing on shoulders, crushing each other, to see the miracle with their own eyes - how a man already in the grip of death escaped that grip! How the legionaries take the ropes off him, involuntarily causing him burning pain in his arms, dislocated during his interrogation; how he, wincing and groaning, nevertheless smiles a senseless, crazed smile.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1017-23  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 04:53 AM

‘Oh, yes! That there is one who can!’ the professor, beginning to speak in broken language, said with great assurance, and with unexpected mysteriousness he motioned the two friends to move closer. They leaned towards him from both sides, and he said, but again without any accent, which with him, devil knows why, now appeared, now disappeared: ‘The thing is ...’ here the professor looked around fearfully and spoke in a whisper, ‘that I was personally present at it all. I was on Pontius Pilate’s balcony, and in the garden when he talked with Kaifa, and on the platform, only secretly, incognito, so to speak, and therefore I beg you - not a word to anyone, total secrecy, shh ...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1032-38  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 04:54 AM

‘Yes, yes, yes,’ Berlioz said excitedly, ‘incidentally it’s all possible ... even very possible, Pontius Pilate, and the balcony, and so forth ... Did you come alone or with your wife?’ ‘Alone, alone, I’m always alone,’ the professor replied bitterly. ‘And where are your things, Professor?’ Berlioz asked insinuatingly. ‘At the Metropol?1 Where are you staying?’ ‘I? ... Nowhere,’ the half-witted German answered, his green eye wandering in wild anguish over the Patriarch’s Ponds. ‘How’s that? But ... where are you going to live?’ ‘In your apartment,’ the madman suddenly said brashly, and winked.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1065-68  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 04:57 AM

Here, just at the exit to Bronnaya, there rose from a bench to meet the editor exactly the same citizen who in the sunlight earlier had formed himself out of the thick swelter. Only now he was no longer made of air, but ordinary, fleshly, and Berlioz clearly distinguished in the beginning twilight that he had a little moustache like chicken feathers, tiny eyes, ironic and half drunk, and checkered trousers pulled up so high that his dirty white socks showed.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1098-1105  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 05:26 PM

‘... Annushka, our Annushka! From Sadovaya! It’s her work ... She bought sunflower oil at the grocery, and went and broke the whole litre-bottle on the turnstile! Messed her skirt all up, and swore and swore! ... And he, poor man, must have slipped and - right on to the rails ...’ Of all that the woman shouted, one word lodged itself in Ivan Nikolaevich’s upset brain: ‘Annushka’... ‘Annushka ... Annushka?’ the poet muttered, looking around anxiously. ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute ...’ The word ‘Annushka’ got strung together with the words ’sunflower oil‘, and then for some reason with ’Pontius Pilate‘. The poet dismissed Pilate and began linking up the chain that started from the word ’Annushka‘. And this chain got very quickly linked up and led at once to the mad professor.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1194-1202  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 05:34 PM

In the very shortest time, Ivan Nikolaevich could be seen on the granite steps of the Moscow River amphitheatre.3 Having taken off his clothes, Ivan entrusted them to a pleasant, bearded fellow who was smoking a hand-rolled cigarette, sitting beside a torn white Tolstoy blouse and a pair of unlaced, worn boots. After waving his arms to cool off, Ivan dived swallow-fashion into the water. It took his breath away, so cold the water was, and the thought even flashed in him that he might not manage to come up to the surface. However, he did manage to come up, and, puffing and snorting, his eyes rounded in terror, Ivan Nikolaevich began swimming through the black, oil-smelling water among the broken zigzags of street lights on the bank. When the wet Ivan came dancing back up the steps to the place where the bearded fellow was guarding his clothes, it became clear that not only the latter, but also the former — that is, the bearded fellow himself — had been stolen.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1337-41  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 05:54 PM

And at midnight there came an apparition in hell. A handsome dark-eyed man with a dagger-like beard, in a tailcoat, stepped on to the veranda and cast a regal glance over his domain. They used to say, the mystics used to say, that there was a time when the handsome man wore not a tailcoat but a wide leather belt with pistol butts sticking from it, and his raven hair was tied with scarlet silk, and under his command a brig sailed the Caribbean under a black death flag with a skull and crossbones.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1408-18  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 05:59 PM

All the while the waiters were tying up the poet with napkins, a conversation was going on in the coat room between the commander of the brig and the doorman. ‘Didn’t you see he was in his underpants?’ the pirate inquired coldly. ‘But, Archibald Archibaldovich,’ the doorman replied, cowering, ‘how could I not let him in, if he’s a member of Massolit?’ ‘Didn’t you see he was in his underpants?’ the pirate repeated. ‘Pardon me, Archibald Archibaldovich,’ the doorman said, turning purple, ‘but what could I do? I understand, there are ladies sitting on the veranda ...’ ‘Ladies have nothing to do with it, it makes no difference to the ladies,’ the pirate replied, literally burning the doorman up with his eyes, ‘but it does to the police! A man in his underwear can walk the streets of Moscow only in this one case, that he’s accompanied by the police, and only to one place — the police station! And you, if you’re a doorman, ought to know that on seeing such a man, you must, without a moment’s delay, start blowing your whistle. Do you hear? Do you hear what’s going on on the veranda?’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1521-27  | Added on Saturday, August 05, 2017, 06:06 PM

‘Ah, so?!’ Ivan said, turning around with a wild and hunted look. ‘Well, then ... Goodbye!’ And he rushed head first into the window-blind. The crash was rather forceful, but the glass behind the blind gave no crack, and in an instant Ivan Nikolaevich was struggling in the hands of the orderlies. He gasped, tried to bite, shouted: ‘So that’s the sort of windows you’ve got here! Let me go! Let me go! ...’ A syringe flashed in the doctor’s hand, with a single movement the woman slit the threadbare sleeve of the shirt and seized the arm with unwomanly strength. There was a smell of ether, Ivan went limp in the hands of the four people, the deft doctor took advantage of this moment and stuck the needle into Ivan’s arm. They held Ivan for another few seconds and then lowered him on to the couch.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1913-18  | Added on Monday, August 07, 2017, 08:17 PM

Here something strange happened with Ivan Nikolaevich. His will seemed to crack, and he felt himself weak, in need of advice. ‘What am I to do, then?’ he asked, timidly this time. ‘Well, how very nice!’ Stravinsky replied. ‘A most reasonable question. Now I am going to tell you what actually happened to you. Yesterday someone frightened you badly and upset you with a story about Pontius Pilate and other things. And so you, a very nervous and high-strung man, started going around the city, telling about Pontius Pilate. It’s quite natural that you’re taken for a madman. Your salvation now lies in just one thing - complete peace. And you absolutely must remain here.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 1925-32  | Added on Monday, August 07, 2017, 08:18 PM

‘Well, all right. Only don’t strain your head. If it doesn’t come out today, it will tomorrow.’ ‘Hell escape.’ ‘Oh, no,’ Stravinsky objected confidently, ‘he won’t escape anywhere, I guarantee that. And remember that here with us you’ll be helped in all possible ways, and without us nothing will come of it. Do you hear me?’ Stravinsky suddenly asked meaningly and took Ivan Nikolaevich by both hands. Holding them in his own, he repeated for a long time, his eyes fixed on Ivan’s: ‘You’ll be helped here ... do you hear me? ... You’ll be helped here ... you’ll get relief ... it’s quiet here, all peaceful ... you’ll be helped here ...’ Ivan Nikolaevich unexpectedly yawned, and the expression on his face softened. ‘Yes, yes,’ he said quietly.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 2325-35  | Added on Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 02:10 AM

Ivan worked assiduously, crossing out what he had written, putting in new words, and even attempted to draw Pontius Pilate and then a cat standing on its hind legs. But the drawings did not help, and the further it went, the more confusing and incomprehensible the poet’s statement became. By the time the frightening cloud with smoking edges appeared from far off and covered the woods, and the wind began to blow, Ivan felt that he was strengthless, that he would never be able to manage with the statement, and he would not pick up the scattered pages, and he wept quietly and bitterly. The good-natured nurse Praskovya Fyodorovna visited the poet during the storm, became alarmed on seeing him weeping, closed the blinds so that the lightning would not frighten the patient, picked up the pages from the floor, and ran with them for the doctor. He came, gave Ivan an injection in the arm, and assured him that he would not weep any more, that everything would pass now, everything would change, everything would be forgotten. The doctor proved right. Soon the woods across the river became as before. It was outlined to the last tree under the sky, which cleared to its former perfect blue, and the river grew calm. Anguish had begun to leave Ivan right after the injection, and now the poet lay calmly and looked at the rainbow that stretched across the sky.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 2772-76  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 12:29 AM

‘Go on?’ repeated the visitor. ‘Why, you can guess for yourself how it went on.’ He suddenly wiped an unexpected tear with his right sleeve and continued: ‘Love leaped out in front of us like a murderer in an alley leaping out of nowhere, and struck us both at once. As lightning strikes, as a Finnish knife strikes! She, by the way, insisted afterwards that it wasn’t so, that we had, of course, loved each other for a long, long time, without knowing each other, never having seen each other, and that she was living with a different man ... as I was, too, then ... with that, what’s her...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 2837-38  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 12:35 AM

The story of Ivan’s guest was becoming more confused, more filled with all sorts of reticences.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 2872-86  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 12:39 AM

“This was at dusk, in mid-October. And she left. I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep without turning on the light. I was awakened by the feeling that the octopus was there. Groping in the dark, I barely managed to turn on the light. My pocket watch showed two o‘clock in the morning. I was falling ill when I went to bed, and I woke up sick. It suddenly seemed to me that the autumn darkness would push through the glass and pour into the room, and I would drown in it as in ink. I got up a man no longer in control of himself. I cried out, the thought came to me of running to someone, even if it was my landlord upstairs. I struggled with myself like a madman. I had strength enough to get to the stove and start a fire in it. When the wood began to crackle and the stove door rattled, I seemed to feel slightly better. I dashed to the front room, turned on the light there, found a bottle of white wine, uncorked it and began drinking from the bottle. This blunted the fear somewhat — at least enough to keep me from running to the landlord — and I went back to the stove. I opened the little door, so that the heat began to burn my face and hands, and whispered: ‘“Guess that trouble has befallen me ... Come, come, come! ...” ‘But no one came. The fire roared in the stove, rain lashed at the windows. Then the final thing happened. I took the heavy manuscript of the novel and the draft notebooks from the desk drawer and started burning them. This was terribly hard to do, because written-on paper burns reluctantly. Breaking my fingernails, I tore up the notebooks, stuck them vertically between the logs, and ruffled the pages with the poker. At times the ashes got the best of me, choking the flames, but I struggled with them, and the novel, though stubbornly resisting, was nevertheless perishing. Familiar words flashed before me, the yellow climbed steadily up the pages, but the words still showed through it. They would vanish only when the paper turned black, and I finished them off with the poker.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3037-42  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 10:11 PM

As soon as the findirector became firmly convinced that the administrator was lying to him, fear crept over his body, starting from the legs, and twice again the findirector fancied that a putrid malarial dankness was wafting across the floor. Never for a moment taking his eyes off the administrator — who squirmed somehow strangely in his armchair, trying not to get out of the blue shade of the desk lamp, and screening himself with a newspaper in some remarkable fashion from the bothersome light - the findirector was thinking of only one thing: what did it all mean? Why was he being lied to so brazenly, in the silent and deserted building, by the administrator who was so late in coming back to him? And the awareness of danger, an unknown but menacing danger, began to gnaw at Rimsky’s soul.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3259-67  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 10:28 PM

‘I’ll turn it over,’ Kanavkin said quietly. ‘How much?’ ‘A thousand dollars and twenty ten-rouble gold pieces.’ ‘Bravo! That’s all, then?’ The programme announcer stared straight into Kanavkin’s eyes, and it even seemed to Nikanor Ivanovich that those eyes sent out rays that penetrated Kanavkin like X-rays. The house stopped breathing. ‘I believe you!’ the artiste exclaimed finally and extinguished his gaze. ‘I do! These eyes are not lying! How many times have I told you that your basic error consists in underestimating the significance of the human eye. Understand that the tongue can conceal the truth, but the eyes - never! A sudden question is put to you, you don’t even flinch, in one second you get hold of yourself and know what you must say to conceal the truth, and you speak quite convincingly, and not a wrinkle on your face moves, but — alas - the truth which the question stirs up from the bottom of your soul leaps momentarily into your eyes, and it’s all over! They see it, and you’re caught!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3276-79  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 10:30 PM

‘Money,’ the artiste went on, ‘must be kept in the state bank, in special dry and well-guarded rooms, and by no means in some aunt’s cellar, where it may, in particular, suffer damage from rats! Really, Kanavkin, for shame! You’re a grown-up!’ Kanavkin no longer knew what to do with himself, and merely picked at the lapel of his jacket with his finger.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3288-92  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 10:31 PM

‘Ah, yes, I wanted to ask you, has the aunt ever mentioned where she hides hers?’ the master of ceremonies inquired, courteously offering Kanavkin a cigarette and a lighted match. As he lit up, the man grinned somehow wistfully. ‘I believe you, I believe you,’ the artiste responded with a sigh. ‘Not just her nephew, the old pinchfist wouldn’t tell the devil himself! Well, so, we’ll try to awaken some human feelings in her. Maybe not all the strings have rotted in her usurious little soul. Bye-bye, Kanavkin!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3462-64  | Added on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 10:57 PM

‘I was mistaken!’ Levi cried in a completely hoarse voice. ‘You are a god of evil! Or are your eyes completely clouded by smoke from the temple censers, and have your ears ceased to hear anything but the trumpeting noises of the priests? You are not an almighty god! You are a black god! I curse you, god of robbers, their soul and their protector!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 3766-73  | Added on Thursday, August 10, 2017, 02:52 AM

Maximilian Andreevich was considered one of the most intelligent men in Kiev, and deservedly so. But even the most intelligent man might have been nonplussed by such a telegram. If someone sends a telegram saying he has been run over, it is clear that he has not died of it. But then, what was this about a funeral? Or was he in a bad way and foreseeing death? That was possible, but such precision was in the highest degree strange: how could he know he would be buried on Friday at three pm? An astonishing telegram! However, intelligence is granted to intelligent people so as to sort out entangled affairs. Very simple. A mistake had been made, and the message had been distorted. The word ‘have’ had undoubtedly come there from some other telegram in place of the word Berlioz’, which got moved and wound up at the end of the telegram. With such an emendation, the meaning of the telegram became clear; though, of course, tragic.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4469-77  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 12:57 AM

The third lane led straight to the Arbat. Here Margarita became fully accustomed to controlling the broom, realized that it obeyed the slightest touch of her hands and legs, and that, flying over the city, she had to be very attentive and not act up too much. Besides, in the lane it had already become abundantly clear that passers-by did not see the lady flier. No one threw his head back, shouted ‘Look! look!’ or dashed aside, no one shrieked, swooned or guffawed with wild laughter. Margarita flew noiselessly, very slowly, and not high up, approximately on second-floor level. But even with this slow flying, just at the entrance to the dazzlingly lit Arbat she misjudged slightly and struck her shoulder against some illuminated disc with an arrow on it. This angered Margarita. She reined in the obedient broom, flew a little aside, and then, suddenly hurling herself at the disc with the butt of the broom, smashed it to smithereens. Bits of glass rained down with a crash, passers-by shied away, a whistle came from somewhere, and Margarita, having accomplished this unnecessary act, burst out laughing.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4477-81  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 12:58 AM

‘On the Arbat I must be more careful,’ thought Margarita, ‘everything’s in such a snarl here, you can’t figure it out.’ She began dodging between the wires. Beneath Margarita floated the roofs of buses, trams and cars, and along the sidewalks, as it seemed to Margarita from above, floated rivers of caps. From these rivers little streams branched off and flowed into the flaming maws of night-time shops. ‘Eh, what a mess!’ Margarita thought angrily. ‘You can’t even turn around here.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4692-98  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 01:45 AM

Then they all started getting ready. The naiads finished their dance in the moonlight and melted into it. The goat-legged one deferentially inquired of Margarita how she had come to the river. On learning that she had come riding on a broom, he said: ‘Oh, but why, it’s so inconvenient!’ He instantly slapped together some dubious-looking telephone from two twigs, and demanded of someone that a car be sent that very minute, which, that same minute, was actually done. An open, light sorrel car came down on the island, only in the driver’s seat there sat no ordinary-looking driver, but a black, long-beaked rook in an oilcloth cap and gauntlets. The little island was becoming deserted. The witches flew off, melting into the moon-blaze. The bonfire was dying down, and the coals were covering over with hoary ash.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4701-10  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 01:52 AM

The steady humming of the car, flying high above the earth, lulled Margarita, and the moonlight warmed her pleasantly. Closing her eyes, she offered her face to the wind and thought with a certain sadness about the unknown river bank she had left behind, which she sensed she would never see again. After all the sorceries and wonders of that evening, she could already guess precisely whom she was being taken to visit, but that did not frighten her. The hope that there she would manage to regain her happiness made her fearless. However, she was not to dream of this happiness for long in the car. Either the rook knew his job well, or the car was a good one, but Margarita soon opened her eyes and saw beneath her not the forest darkness, but a quivering sea of Moscow lights. The black bird-driver unscrewed the right front wheel in flight, then landed the car in some completely deserted cemetery in the Dorogomilovo area. Having deposited the unquestioning Margarita by one of the graves along with her broom, the rook started the car, aiming it straight into the ravine beyond the cemetery. It tumbled noisily into it and there perished. The rook saluted deferentially, mounted the wheel, and flew off.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4743-51  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 01:59 AM

Margarita liked Koroviev, and his rattling chatter had a soothing effect on her. ‘No,’ replied Margarita, ‘most of all I’m struck that there’s room for all this.’ She made a gesture with her hand, emphasizing the enormousness of the hall. Koroviev grinned sweetly, which made the shadows stir in the folds of his nose. ‘The most uncomplicated thing of all!’ he replied. ‘For someone well acquainted with the fifth dimension, it costs nothing to expand space to the desired proportions. I’ll say more, respected lady — to devil knows what proportions! I, however,’ Koroviev went on chattering, ‘have known people who had no idea, not only of the fifth dimension, but generally of anything at all, and who nevertheless performed absolute wonders in expanding their space. Thus, for instance, one city-dweller, as I’ve been told, having obtained a three-room apartment on Zemlyanoy Val, transformed it instantly, without any fifth dimension or other things that addle the brain, into a four-room apartment by dividing one room in half with a partition.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4751-57  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:00 AM

‘He forthwith exchanged that one for two separate apartments in different parts of Moscow: one of three rooms, the other of two. You must agree that that makes five. The three-room one he exchanged for two separate ones, each of two rooms, and became the owner, as you can see for yourself, of six rooms — true, scattered in total disorder all over Moscow. He was just getting ready to perform his last and most brilliant leap, by advertising in the newspapers that he wanted to exchange six rooms in different parts of Moscow for one five-room apartment on Zemlyanoy Val, when his activity ceased for reasons independent of him. He probably also has some sort of room now, only I venture to assure you it is not in Moscow. A real slicker, you see, ma’am, and you keep talking about the fifth dimension!‘
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4759-60  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:00 AM

‘But to business, to business, Margarita Nikolaevna. You’re quite an intelligent woman, and of course have already guessed who our host is.’ Margarita’s heart thumped, and she nodded.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4779-86  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:01 AM

and even, I would say, sad ... And, besides, you are of royal blood yourself.’ ‘Why of royal blood?’ Margarita whispered fearfully, pressing herself to Koroviev. ‘Ah, my Queen,’ Koroviev rattled on playfully, ‘questions of blood are the most complicated questions in the world! And if we were to question certain great-grandmothers, especially those who enjoyed a reputation as shrinking violets, the most astonishing secrets would be uncovered, my respected Margarita Nikolaevna! I would not be sinning in the least if, in speaking of that, I should make reference to a whimsically shuffled pack of cards. There are things in which neither barriers of rank nor even the borders between countries have any validity whatsoever. A hint: one of the French queens who lived in the sixteenth century would, one must suppose, be very amazed if someone told her that after all these years I would be leading her lovely great-great-great-granddaughter on my arm through the ballrooms of Moscow. But we’ve arrived!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4789-94  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:03 AM

The door opened. The room turned out to be very small. Margarita saw a wide oak bed with dirty, rumpled and bunched-up sheets and pillows. Before the bed was an oak table with carved legs, on which stood a candelabrum with sockets in the form of a bird’s claws. In these seven golden claws1 burned thick wax candles. Besides that, there was on the table a large chessboard with pieces of extraordinarily artful workmanship. A little low bench stood on a small, shabby rug. There was yet another table with some golden bowl and another candelabrum with branches in the form of snakes. The room smelled of sulphur and pitch. Shadows from the lights criss-crossed on the floor.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4824-30  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:06 AM

He reached out and beckoned Margarita to him with his hand. She went up, not feeling the floor under her bare feet. Woland placed his hand, heavy as if made of stone and at the same time hot as fire, on Margarita’s shoulder, pulled her towards him, and sat her on the bed by his side. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘since you are so charmingly courteous - and I expected nothing else - let us not stand on ceremony.’ He again leaned over the side of the bed and cried: ‘How long will this circus under the bed continue? Come out, you confounded Hans!’3 ‘I can’t find my knight,’ the cat responded from under the bed in a muffled and false voice, ‘it’s ridden off somewhere, and I keep getting some frog instead.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4832-38  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:06 AM

‘Not for anything, Messire!’ yelled the cat, and he got out from under the bed that same second, holding the knight in his paw. ‘Allow me to present...’ Woland began and interrupted himself: ‘No, I simply cannot look at this buffoon. See what he’s turned himself into under the bed!’ Standing on his hind legs, the dust-covered cat was meanwhile making his bows to Margarita. There was now a white bow-tie on the cat’s neck, and a pair of ladies’ mother-of-pearl opera glasses hung from a strap on his neck. What’s more, the cat’s whiskers were gilded. ‘Well, what’s all this now?’ exclaimed Woland. ‘Why have you gilded your whiskers? And what the devil do you need the bow-tie for, when you’re not even wearing trousers?’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4839-42  | Added on Saturday, August 12, 2017, 02:07 AM

‘A cat is not supposed to wear trousers, Messire,’ the cat replied with great dignity. ‘You’re not going to tell me to wear boots, too, are you? Puss-in-Boots exists only in fairy tales, Messire. But have you ever seen anyone at a ball without a bow-tie? I do not intend to put myself in a ridiculous situation and risk being chucked out! Everyone adorns himself with what he can. You may consider what I’ve said as referring to the opera glasses as well, Messire!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4848-55  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:11 AM

‘Ah, the cheat, the cheat,’ said Woland, shaking his head. ‘Each time his game is in a hopeless situation, he starts addling your pate like the crudest mountebank on a street comer. Sit down at once and stop slinging this verbal muck.’ ‘I shall sit down,’ replied the cat, sitting down, ‘but I shall enter an objection with regard to your last. My speeches in no way resemble verbal muck, as you have been pleased to put it in the presence of a lady, but rather a sequence of tightly packed syllogisms, the merit of which would be appreciated by such connoisseurs as Sextus Empiricus, Martianus Capella,4 and, for all I know, Aristotle himself.’ ‘Your king is in check,’ said Woland. ‘Very well, very well,’ responded the cat, and he began studying the chessboard through his opera glasses.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4880-90  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:15 AM

‘I repeat, your king is in check!’ ‘Messire,’ the cat responded in a falsely alarmed voice, ‘you are overtired. My king is not in check.’ The king is on square G-2,‘ said Woland, without looking at the board. ‘Messire, I’m horrified!’ howled the cat, showing horror on his mug. There is no king on that square!‘ ‘What’s that?’ Woland asked in perplexity and began looking at the board, where the bishop standing on the king’s square kept turning away and hiding behind his hand. ‘Ah, you scoundrel,’ Woland said pensively. ‘Messire! Again I appeal to logic!’ the cat began, pressing his paws to his chest. ‘If a player announces that the king is in check, and meanwhile there’s no trace of the king on the board, the check must be recognized as invalid!’ ‘Do you give up or not?’ Woland cried in a terrible voice. ‘Let me think it over,’ the cat replied humbly, resting his elbows on the table, putting his paws over his ears, and beginning to think. He thought for a long time and finally said: ‘I give up.’ ‘The obstinate beast should be killed,’ whispered Azazello.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 4915-23  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:17 AM

‘I wouldn’t want to be on the side that this Abaddon is against,’ said Margarita. ‘Whose side is he on?’ The longer I talk with you,‘ Woland responded amiably, ’the more I’m convinced that you are very intelligent. I’ll set you at ease. He is of a rare impartiality and sympathizes equally with both sides of the fight. Owing to that, the results are always the same for both sides. Abaddon!‘ Woland called in a low voice, and here there emerged from the wall the figure of some gaunt man in dark glasses. These glasses produced such a strong impression on Margarita that she cried out softly and hid her face in Woland’s leg. ’Ah, stop it!‘ cried Woland. ’Modern people are so nervous!‘ He swung and slapped Margarita on the back so that a ringing went through her whole body. ’Don’t you see he’s got his glasses on? Besides, there has never yet been, and never will be, an occasion when Abaddon appears before someone prematurely. And, finally, I’m here. You are my guest! I simply wanted to show him to you.‘
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5003-6  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:25 AM

‘Everything must be made ready in advance, Queen,’ explained Koroviev, his eye gleaming through the broken monocle. ‘There’s nothing more loathsome than when the first guest to arrive languishes, not knowing what to do, and his lawful beldame nags at him in a whisper for having come before everybody else. Such balls should be thrown in the trash, Queen.’ ‘Definitely in the trash,’ confirmed the cat.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5164-72  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:43 AM

‘Mikhail Alexandrovich,’ Woland addressed the head in a low voice, and then the slain man’s eyelids rose, and on the dead face Margarita saw, with a shudder, living eyes filled with thought and suffering. ‘Everything came to pass, did it not?’ Woland went on, looking into the head’s eyes. ‘The head was cut off by a woman, the meeting did not take place, and I am living in your apartment. That is a fact. And fact is the most stubborn thing in the world. But we are now interested in what follows, and not in this already accomplished fact. You have always been an ardent preacher of the theory that, on the cutting off of his head, life ceases in a man, he turns to ashes and goes into non-being. I have the pleasure of informing you, in the presence of my guests, though they serve as proof of quite a different theory, that your theory is both solid and clever. However, one theory is as good as another. There is also one which holds that it will be given to each according to his faith.19 Let it come true! You go into non-being, and from the cup into which you are to be transformed, I will joyfully drink to being!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5194-5204  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:46 AM

The baron turned paler than Abaddon, who was exceptionally pale by nature, and then something strange took place. Abaddon stood in front of the baron and took off his glasses for a second. At the same moment something flashed fire in Azazello’s hand, something clapped softly, the baron began to fall backwards, crimson blood spurted from his chest and poured down his starched shirt and waistcoat. Koroviev put the cup to the spurt and handed the full cup to Woland. The baron’s lifeless body was by that time already on the floor. ‘I drink your health, ladies and gentlemen,’ Woland said quietly and, raising the cup, touched it to his lips. Then a metamorphosis occurred. The patched shirt and worn slippers disappeared. Woland was in some sort of black chlamys with a steel sword on his hip. He quickly approached Margarita, offered her the cup, and said imperiously: ‘Drink!’ Margarita became dizzy, she swayed, but the cup was already at her lips, and voices, she could not make out whose, whispered in both her ears: ‘Don’t be afraid, Queen ... Don’t be afraid, Queen, the blood has long since gone into the earth. And where it was spilled, grapevines are already growing.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5224-33  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 01:49 AM

Woland silently raised his glass and clinked with Margarita. Margarita drank obediently, thinking that this alcohol would be the end of her. But nothing bad happened. A living warmth flowed into her stomach, something struck her softly on the nape, her strength came back, as if she had got up after a long, refreshing sleep, with a wolfish appetite besides. And on recalling that she had eaten nothing since the previous morning, it flared up still more ... She greedily began gulping down caviar. Behemoth cut a slice of pineapple, salted it, peppered it, ate it, and then tossed off a second glass of alcohol so dashingly that everyone applauded. After Margarita’s second glass, the candles in the candelabra flared up more brightly, and the flame increased in the fireplace. Margarita did not feel drunk at all. Biting the meat with her white teeth, Margarita savoured the juice that ran from it, at the same time watching Behemoth spread mustard on an oyster. ‘Why don’t you put some grapes on top?’ Hella said quietly, nudging the cat in the ribs. ‘I
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5279-87  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:00 AM

‘My dear,’ clattered Koroviev, ‘that’s the point, that they’re covered up! That’s the whole salt of it! Anyone can hit an uncovered object!’ Koroviev took a seven of spades from the desk drawer, offered it to Margarita, and asked her to mark one of the pips with her fingernail. Margarita marked the one in the upper right-hand comer. Hella hid the card under a pillow, crying: ‘Ready!’ Azazello, who was sitting with his back to the pillow, drew a black automatic from the pocket of his tailcoat trousers, put the muzzle over his shoulder, and, without turning towards the bed, fired, provoking a merry fright in Margarita. The seven was taken from under the bullet-pierced pillow. The pip marked by Margarita had a hole in it. ‘I wouldn’t want to meet you when you’re carrying a gun,’ Margarita said, casting coquettish glances at Azazello. She had a passion for anyone who did something top-notch.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5352-61  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:06 AM

‘I know that one can only speak frankly with you, and so I will tell you frankly: I am a light-minded person. I asked you for Frieda only because I was careless enough to give her firm hope. She’s waiting, Messire, she believes in my power. And if she’s left disappointed, I’ll be in a terrible position. I’ll have no peace in my life. There’s no help for it, it just happened.’ ‘Ah,’ said Woland, ‘that’s understandable.’ ‘Will you do it?’ Margarita asked quietly. ‘By no means,’ answered Woland. ‘The thing is, dear Queen, that a little confusion has taken place here. Each department must look after its own affairs. I don’t deny our possibilities are rather great, they’re much greater than some not very keen people may think ...’ ‘Yes, a whole lot greater,’ the cat, obviously proud of these possibilities, put in, unable to restrain himself. ‘Quiet, devil take you!’ Woland said to him, and went on addressing Margarita: ‘But there is simply no sense in doing what ought to be done by another - as I just put it — department. And so, I will not do it, but you will do it yourself.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5373-74  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:07 AM

Silence ensued, interrupted by Koroviev, who started whispering in Margarita’s ear: ‘Diamond donna, this time I advise you to be more reasonable! Or else fortune may slip away.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5406-7  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:09 AM

‘Ah, yes, yes,’ Woland responded, ‘I had the pleasure of meeting that young man at the Patriarch’s Ponds. He almost drove me mad myself, proving to me that I don’t exist.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5421-28  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:10 AM

Let me see it.’ Woland held out his hand, palm up. ‘Unfortunately, I cannot do that,’ replied the master, ‘because I burned it in the stove.’ ‘Forgive me, but I don’t believe you,’ Woland replied, ‘that cannot be: manuscripts don’t burn.’2 He turned to Behemoth and said, ‘Come on, Behemoth, let’s have the novel.’ The cat instantly jumped off the chair, and everyone saw that he had been sitting on a thick stack of manuscripts. With a bow, the cat gave the top copy to Woland. Margarita trembled and cried out, again shaken to the point of tears: ‘It’s here, the manuscript! It’s here!’ She dashed to Woland and added in admiration: ‘All-powerful! All-powerful!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5473-80  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 02:13 AM

‘Anyway, they’ll find me missing at the hospital,’ he added timidly to Woland. ‘Well, how are they going to find you missing?’ Koroviev soothed him, and some papers and ledgers turned up in his hands. ‘By your medical records?’ ‘Yes...’ Koroviev flung the medical records into the fireplace. ‘No papers, no person,’ Koroviev said with satisfaction. ‘And this is your landlord’s house register?’ ‘Y-yes ...’ ‘Who is registered in it? Aloisy Mogarych?’ Koroviev blew on the page of the house register. ‘Hup, two! He’s not there, and, I beg you to notice, never has been. And if this landlord gets surprised, tell him he dreamed Aloisy up! Mogarych? What Mogarych? There was never any Mogarych!’ Here the loose-leafed book evaporated from Koroviev’s hands. ‘And there it is, already back in the landlord’s desk.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5630-36  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 09:11 PM

Margarita went to the intact notebooks and found the place she had been rereading before she met Azazello under the Kremlin wall. Margarita did not want to sleep. She caressed the manuscript tenderly, as one caresses a favourite cat, and kept turning it in her hands, examining it from all sides, now pausing at the title page, now opening to the end. A terrible thought suddenly swept over her, that this was all sorcery, that the notebooks would presently disappear from sight, and she would be in her bedroom in the old house, and that on waking up she would have to go and drown herself. But this was her last terrible thought, an echo of the long suffering she had lived through. Nothing disappeared, the all-powerful Woland really was all powerful, and as long as she liked, even till dawn itself, Margarita could rustle the pages of the notebooks, gaze at them, kiss them, and read over the words:
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5636-37  | Added on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 09:11 PM

The darkness that came from the Mediterranean Sea covered the city hated by the procurator ...‘ Yes, the darkness
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5639-43  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:00 PM

The darkness that came from the Mediterranean Sea covered the city hated by the procurator. The hanging bridges connecting the temple with the dread Antonia Tower disappeared, the abyss descended from the sky and flooded the winged gods over the hippodrome, the Hasmonaean Palace with its loopholes, the bazaars, caravanserais, lanes, pools ... Yershalaim - the great city — vanished as if it had never existed in the world. Everything was devoured by the darkness, which frightened every living thing in Yershalaim and round about. The strange cloud was swept from seaward towards the end of the day, the fourteenth day of the spring month of Nisan.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5776-81  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:10 PM

‘Understood, Hegemon,’ replied the guest, and he got up, saying: ‘In view of the complexity and responsibility of the matter, allow me to go immediately.’ ‘No, sit down again,’ said Pilate, stopping his guest with a gesture, ‘there are two more questions. First, your enormous merits in this most difficult job at the post of head of the secret service for the procurator of Judea give me the pleasant opportunity of reporting them to Rome.’ Here the guest’s face turned pink, he rose and bowed to the procurator, saying: ‘I merely fulfil my duty in the imperial service.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5786-5802  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:11 PM

‘They say,’ the procurator continued, lowering his voice, ‘that he supposedly got some money for receiving this madman so cordially?’ ‘Will get,’ the head of the secret service quietly corrected Pilate. ‘And is it a large sum?’ ‘That no one can say, Hegemon.’ ‘Not even you?’ said the hegemon, expressing praise by his amazement. ‘Alas, not even I,’ the guest calmly replied. ‘But he will get the money this evening, that I do know. He is to be summoned tonight to the palace of Kaifa.’ ‘Ah, that greedy old man of Kiriath!’ the procurator observed, smiling. ‘He is an old man, isn’t he?’ ‘The procurator is never mistaken, but he is mistaken this time,’ the guest replied courteously, ‘the man from Kiriath is a young man.’ ‘You don’t say! Can you describe his character for me? A fanatic?’ ‘Oh, no, Procurator.’ ‘So. And anything else?’ ‘Very handsome.’ ‘What else? He has some passion, perhaps?’ ‘It is difficult to have such precise knowledge about everyone in this huge city, Procurator ...’ ‘Ah, no, no, Aphranius! Don’t play down your merits.’ ‘He has one passion, Procurator.’ The guest made a tiny pause. ‘A passion for money.’ ‘And what is his occupation?’ Aphranius raised his eyes, thought, and replied: ‘He works in the money-changing shop of one of his relatives.’ ‘Ah, so, so, so, so.’ Here the procurator fell silent, looked around to be sure there was no one on the balcony, and then said quietly: ‘The thing is this — I have just received information that he is going to be killed tonight.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5841-46  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:14 PM

It was the second time in the same day that anguish came over him. Rubbing his temple, where only a dull, slightly aching reminder of the morning’s infernal pain lingered, the procurator strained to understand what the reason for his soul’s torments was. And he quickly understood it, but attempted to deceive himself. It was clear to him that that afternoon he had lost something irretrievably, and that he now wanted to make up for the loss by some petty, worthless and, above all, belated actions. The deceiving of himself consisted in the procurator’s trying to convince himself that these actions, now, this evening, were no less important than the morning’s sentence. But in this the procurator succeeded very poorly.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 5850-55  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:15 PM

The procurator sat down in the armchair. Banga, his tongue hanging out, panting heavily, lay down at his master’s feet, and the joy in the dog’s eyes meant that the storm was over, the only thing in the world that the fearless dog was afraid of, and also that he was again there, next to the man whom he loved, respected, and considered the most powerful man in the world, the ruler of all men, thanks to whom the dog considered himself a privileged, lofty and special being. Lying down at his master’s feet without even looking at him, but looking into the dusky garden, the dog nevertheless realized at once that trouble had befallen his master. He therefore changed his position, got up, came from the side and placed his front paws and head on the procurator’s knees, smearing the bottom of his cloak with wet sand.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6018-25  | Added on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:28 PM

‘Now we shall always be together,’2 said the ragged wandering philosopher in his dream, who for some unknown reason had crossed paths with the equestrian of the golden spear. ‘Where there’s one of us, straight away there will be the other! Whenever I am remembered, you will at once be remembered, too! I, the foundling, the son of unknown parents, and you, the son of an astrologer-king and a miller’s daughter, the beautiful Pila.’3 ‘Yes, and don’t you forget to remember me, the astrologer’s son,’ Pilate asked in his dream. And securing in his dream a nod from the En-Sarid4 beggar who was walking beside him, the cruel procurator of Judea wept and laughed from joy in his dream. This was all very good, but the more terrible was the hegemon’s awakening.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6440-45  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 12:57 AM

The men instantly dispersed through all the rooms and found no one anywhere, but instead on the table of the dining room they discovered the remains of an apparently just-abandoned breakfast, and in the living room, on the mantelpiece, beside a crystal pitcher, sat an enormous black cat. He was holding a primus in his paws. Those who entered the living room contemplated this cat for quite a long time in total silence. ‘Hm, yes ... that’s quite something ...’ one of the men whispered. ‘Ain’t misbehaving, ain’t bothering anybody, just reparating my primus,’ said the cat with an unfriendly scowl, ‘and I also consider it my duty to warn you that the cat is an ancient and inviolable animal.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6447-55  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 12:58 AM

‘Well, come right in, you inviolable, ventriloquous cat!’ The net unfolded and soared upwards, but the man who cast it, to everyone’s utter astonishment, missed and only caught the pitcher, which straight away smashed ringingly. ‘You lose!’ bawled the cat. ‘Hurrah!’ and here, setting the primus aside, he snatched a Browning from behind his back. In a trice he aimed it at the man standing closest, but before the cat had time to shoot, fire blazed in the man’s hand, and at the blast of the Mauser the cat plopped head first from the mantelpiece on to the floor, dropping the Browning and letting go of the primus. ‘It’s all over,’ the cat said in a weak voice, sprawled languidly in a pool of blood, ‘step back from me for a second, let me say farewell to the earth. Oh, my friend Azazello,’ moaned the cat, bleeding profusely, ‘where are you?’ The cat rolled his fading eyes in the direction of the dining-room door. ‘You did not come to my aid in the moment of unequal battle, you abandoned poor Behemoth, exchanging him for a glass of — admittedly very good — cognac! Well, so, let my death be on your conscience, and I bequeath you my Browning...’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6516-28  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:25 AM

‘No cats allowed!’ ‘I beg your pardon,’ rattled the long one, putting his gnarled hand to his ear as if he were hard of hearing, ‘no cats, you say? And where do you see any cats?’ The doorman goggled his eyes, and well he might: there was no cat at the citizen’s feet now, but instead, from behind his shoulder, a fat fellow in a tattered cap, whose mug indeed somewhat resembled a cat‘s, stuck out, straining to get into the store. There was a primus in the fat fellow’s hands. The misanthropic doorman for some reason disliked this pair of customers. ‘We only accept currency,’ he croaked, gazing vexedly from under his shaggy, as if moth-eaten, grizzled eyebrows. ‘My dear man,’ rattled the long one, flashing his eye through the broken pince-nez, ‘how do you know I don’t have any? Are you judging by my clothes? Never do so, my most precious custodian! You may make a mistake, and a big one at that. At least read the story of the famous caliph Harun al-Rashid2 over again. But in the present case, casting that story aside temporarily, I want to tell you that I am going to make a complaint about you to the manager and tell him such tales about you that you may have to surrender your post between the shining mirrored doors.’ ‘Maybe I’ve got a whole primus full of currency,’ the cat-like fat fellow, who was simply shoving his way into the store, vehemently butted into the conversation.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6579-88  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:30 AM

To this Pavel Yosifovich, usually restrained and calm, shouted sternly: ‘You just stop that!’ and waved into the distance, impatiently now. Then the trills by the door resounded more merrily. But Koroviev, unabashed by Pavel Yosifovich’s pronouncement, went on: ‘Where? — I ask you all this question! He’s languishing with hunger and thirst, he’s hot. So the hapless fellow took and sampled a mandarin. And the total worth of that mandarin is three kopecks. And here they go whistling like spring nightingales in the woods, bothering the police, tearing them away from their business. But he’s allowed, eh?’ and here Koroviev pointed to the lilac fat man, which caused the strongest alarm to appear on his face. ‘Who is he? Eh? Where did he come from? And why? Couldn’t we do without him? Did we invite him, or what? Of course,’ the ex-choirmaster bawled at the top of his lungs, twisting his mouth sarcastically, ‘just look at him, in his smart lilac suit, all swollen with salmon, all stuffed with currency — and us, what about the likes of us?! ... I’m bitter! Bitter, bitter!’5 Koroviev wailed, like the best man at an old-fashioned wedding.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7786-87  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:32 AM

The only novel by the ‘father of Russian prose’ Nikolai Gogol (1809-52). Its influence on The Master and Margarita is pervasive. Bulgakov made an adaptation of Dead Souls for the Moscow Art Theatre in the thirties, while at work on his own novel.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6637-45  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:34 AM

‘You’re writers?’ the citizeness asked in her turn. ‘Unquestionably,’ Koroviev answered with dignity. ‘Your identification cards?’ the citizeness repeated. ‘My sweetie ...’ Koroviev began tenderly. ‘I’m no sweetie,’ interrupted the citizeness. ‘More’s the pity,’ Koroviev said disappointedly and went on: ‘Well, so, if you don’t want to be a sweetie, which would be quite pleasant, you don’t have to be. So, then, to convince yourself that Dostoevsky was a writer, do you have to ask for his identification card? Just take any five pages from any one of his novels and you’ll be convinced, without any identification card, that you’re dealing with a writer. And I don’t think he even had any identification card! What do you think?’ Koroviev turned to Behemoth. ‘I’ll bet he didn’t,‘ replied Behemoth, setting the primus down on the table beside the ledger and wiping the sweat from his sooty forehead with his hand.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6756-59  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:41 AM

‘I have come to see you, spirit of evil and sovereign of shadows,’ the newcomer replied, glowering inimically at Woland. ‘If you’ve come to see me, why didn’t you wish me a good evening, former tax collector?’ Woland said sternly. ‘Because I don’t wish you a good anything,’ the newcomer replied insolently.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6761-64  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:41 AM

You uttered your words as if you don’t acknowledge shadows, or evil either. Kindly consider the question: what would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it? Shadows are cast by objects and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. Trees and living beings also have shadows. Do you want to skin the whole earth, tearing all the trees and living things off it, because of your fantasy of enjoying bare light? You’re a fool.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6764-74  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 01:42 AM

‘I won’t argue with you, old sophist,’ replied Matthew Levi. ‘You also cannot argue with me, for the reason I’ve already mentioned: you’re a fool,’ Woland replied and asked: ‘Well, make it short, don’t weary me, why have you appeared?’ ‘He sent me.’ ‘What did he tell you to say, slave?’ ‘I’m not a slave,’ Matthew Levi replied, growing ever angrier, ‘I’m his disciple.’ ‘You and I speak different languages, as usual,’ responded Woland, ‘but the things we say don’t change for all that. And so? ...’ ‘He has read the master’s work,’ said Matthew Levi, ‘and asks you to take the master with you and reward him with peace. Is that hard for you to do, spirit of evil?’ ‘Nothing is hard for me to do,’ answered Woland, ‘you know that very well.’ He paused and added: ‘But why don’t you take him with you into the light?’ ‘He does not deserve the light, he deserves peace,’ Levi said in a sorrowful voice. ‘Tell him it will be done,’ Woland replied and added, his eye flashing: ‘And leave me immediately.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 6994-7005  | Added on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 09:31 AM

‘Ah, it’s you! And I kept waiting and waiting for you! And here you are, my neighbour!’ To this the master replied: ‘I’m here, but unfortunately I cannot be your neighbour any longer. I’m flying away for ever, and I’ve come to you only to say farewell.’ ‘I knew that, I guessed it,’ Ivan replied quietly and asked: ‘You met him?’ ‘Yes,’ said the master. ‘I’ve come to say farewell to you, because you are the only person I’ve talked with lately.’ Ivanushka brightened up and said: ‘It’s good that you stopped off here. I’ll keep my word, I won’t write any more poems. I’m interested in something else now,’ Ivanushka smiled and with mad eyes looked somewhere past the master. ‘I want to write something else. You know, while I lay here, a lot became clear to me.’ The master was excited by these words and, sitting on the edge of Ivanushka’s bed, said: ‘Ah, but that’s good, that’s good. You’ll write a sequel about him.’ Ivanushka’s eyes lit up. ‘But won’t you do that yourself?’ Here he hung his head and added pensively: ‘Ah, yes ... what am I asking?’ Ivanushka looked sidelong at the floor, his
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7042-50  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:22 AM

So, then,’ he addressed the master alone, ‘bid farewell to the city. It’s time for us to go,’ Woland pointed with his black-gauntleted hand to where numberless suns melted the glass beyond the river, to where, above these suns, stood the mist, smoke and steam of the city scorched all day. The master threw himself out of the saddle, left the mounted ones, and ran to the edge of the hillside. The black cloak dragged on the ground behind him. The master began to look at the city. In the first moments a wringing sadness crept over his heart, but it very quickly gave way to a sweetish anxiety, a wondering gypsy excitement. ‘For ever! ... That needs to be grasped,’ the master whispered and licked his dry, cracked lips. He began to heed and take precise note of everything that went on in his soul. His excitement turned, as it seemed to him, into a feeling of deep and grievous offence. But it was unstable, vanished, and gave way for some reason to a haughty indifference, and that to a foretaste of enduring peace.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7105-18  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:27 AM

Night also tore off Behemoth’s fluffy tail, pulled off his fur and scattered it in tufts over the swamps. He who had been a cat, entertaining the prince of darkness, now turned out to be a slim youth, a demon-page, the best jester the world has ever seen. Now he, too, grew quiet and flew noiselessly, setting his young face towards the light that streamed from the moon. At the far side, the steel of his armour glittering, flew Azazello. The moon also changed his face. The absurd, ugly fang disappeared without a trace, and the albugo on his eye proved false. Azazello’s eyes were both the same, empty and black, and his face was white and cold. Now Azazello flew in his true form, as the demon of the waterless desert, the killer-demon. Margarita could not see herself, but she saw very well how the master had changed. His hair was now white in the moonlight and gathered behind in a braid, and it flew on the wind. When the wind blew the cloak away from the master’s legs, Margarita saw the stars of spurs on his jackboots, now going out, now lighting up. Like the demon-youth, the master flew with his eyes fixed on the moon, yet smiling to it, as to a close and beloved friend, and, from a habit acquired in room no. 118, murmuring something to himself. And, finally, Woland also flew in his true image. Margarita could not have said what his horse’s bridle was made of, but thought it might be chains of moonlight, and the horse itself was a mass of darkness, and the horse’s mane a storm cloud, and the rider’s spurs the white flecks of stars. Thus they flew in silence for a long time, until the place itself began to change below them. The melancholy forests drowned in earthly darkness and drew with them the dim blades of the rivers. Boulders appeared and began to gleam below, with black gaps between them where the moonlight did not penetrate.
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7122-31  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:29 AM

The moon helped Margarita well, it shone better than the best electric lantern, and Margarita saw that the seated man, whose eyes seemed blind, rubbed his hands fitfully, and peered with those same unseeing eyes at the disc of the moon. Now Margarita saw that beside the heavy stone chair, on which sparks glittered in the moonlight, lay a dark, huge, sharp-eared dog, and, like its master, it gazed anxiously at the moon. Pieces of a broken jug were scattered by the seated man’s feet and an undrying black-red puddle spread there. The riders stopped their horses. ‘Your novel has been read,’ Woland began, turning to the master, ‘and the only thing said about it was that, unfortunately, it is not finished. So, then, I wanted to show you your hero. For about two thousand years he has been sitting on this platform and sleeping, but when the full moon comes, as you see, he is tormented by insomnia. It torments not only him, but also his faithful guardian, the dog. If it is true that cowardice is the most grievous vice, then the dog at least is not guilty of it. Storms were the only thing the brave dog feared. Well, he who loves must share the lot of the one he loves.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7131-38  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:30 AM

‘What is he saying?’ asked Margarita, and her perfectly calm face clouded over with compassion. ‘He says one and the same thing,’ Woland replied. ‘He says that even the moon gives him no peace, and that his is a bad job. That is what he always says when he is not asleep, and when he sleeps, he dreams one and the same thing: there is a path of moonlight, and he wants to walk down it and talk with the prisoner Ha-Nozri, because, as he insists, he never finished what he was saying that time, long ago, on the fourteenth day of the spring month of Nisan. But, alas, for some reason he never manages to get on to this path, and no one comes to him. Then there’s no help for it, he must talk to himself. However, one does need some diversity, and to his talk about the moon he often adds that of all things in the world, he most hates his immortality and his unheard-of fame. He maintains that he would willingly exchange his lot for that of the ragged tramp Matthew Levi.’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7141-46  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:30 AM

‘Let him go!’ Margarita suddenly cried piercingly, as she had cried once as a witch, and at this cry a stone fell somewhere in the mountains and tumbled down the ledges into the abyss, filling the mountains with rumbling. But Margarita could not have said whether it was the rumbling of its fall or the rumbling of satanic laughter. In any case, Woland was laughing as he glanced at Margarita and said: ‘Don’t shout in the mountains, he’s accustomed to avalanches anyway, and it won’t rouse him. You don’t need to ask for him, Margarita, because the one he so yearns to talk with has already asked for him.’ Here Woland turned to the master and said: ‘Well, now you can finish your novel with one phrase!’
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7174-84  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:34 AM

‘Listen to the stillness,’ Margarita said to the master, and the sand rustled under her bare feet, ‘listen and enjoy what you were not given in life — peace. Look, there ahead is your eternal home, which you have been given as a reward. I can already see the Venetian window and the twisting vine, it climbs right up to the roof. Here is your home, your eternal home. I know that in the evenings you will be visited by those you love, those who interest you and who will never trouble you. They will play for you, they will sing for you, you will see what light is in the room when the candles are burning. You will fall asleep, having put on your greasy and eternal nightcap, you will fall asleep with a smile on your lips. Sleep will strengthen you, you will reason wisely. And you will no longer be able to drive me away. I will watch over your sleep.’ Thus spoke Margarita, walking with the master to their eternal home, and it seemed to the master that Margarita’s words flowed in the same way as the stream they had left behind flowed and whispered, and the master’s memory, the master’s anxious, needled memory began to fade. Someone was setting the master free, as he himself had just set free the hero he had created. This hero had gone into the abyss, gone irrevocably, the son of the astrologer-king, forgiven on the eve of Sunday, the cruel fifth procurator of Judea, the equestrian Pontius Pilate. 
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The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- Highlight Loc. 7273-81  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 01:43 AM

Georges Bengalsky, for instance, after spending three months in the clinic, recovered and left it, but had to give up his work at the Variety, and that at the hottest time, when the public was flocking after tickets: the memory of black magic and its exposure proved very tenacious. Bengalsky left the Variety, for he understood that to appear every night before two thousand people, to be inevitably recognized and endlessly subjected to jeering questions of how he liked it better, with or without his head, was much too painful. And, besides that, the master of ceremonies had lost a considerable dose of his gaiety, which is so necessary in his profession. He remained with the unpleasant, burdensome habit of falling, every spring during the full moon, into a state of anxiety, suddenly clutching his neck, looking around fearfully and weeping. These fits would pass, but all the same, since he had them, he could not continue in his former occupation, and so the master of ceremonies retired and started living on his savings, which, by his modest reckoning, were enough to last him fifteen years.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 53-56  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:06 AM

Those who assume hypotheses as first principles of their speculations . . . may indeed form an ingenious romance, but a romance it will still be. —Roger Cotes, preface to Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, second edition, 1713
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 148-52  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:21 AM

“I shall answer your question,” Enoch says before Ben can let fly with any more. “What do people in other parts call the place I am from? Well, Islam—a larger, richer, and in most ways more sophisticated civilization that hems in the Christians of Europe to the east and the south—divides all the world into only three parts: their part, which is the dar al-Islam; the part with which they are friendly, which is the dar as-sulh, or House of Peace; and everything else, which is the dar al-harb, or House of War. The latter is, I’m sorry to say, a far more apt name than Christendom for the part of the world where most of the Christians live.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 220-23  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:28 AM

The ferryman’s hefty Africans pace short reciprocating arcs on the deck, sweeping and shoveling the black water of the Charles Basin with long stanchion-mounted oars, minting systems of vortices that fall to aft, flailing about one another, tracing out fading and flattening conic sections that Sir Isaac could probably work out in his head. The Hypothesis of Vortices is pressed with many difficulties.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 223-25  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:28 AM

The sky’s a matted reticule of taut jute and spokeshaved tree-trunks. Gusts make the anchored ships start and jostle like nervous horses hearing distant guns. Irregular waves slap curiously at the lapping clinkers of their hulls, which are infested with barefoot jacks paying pitch and oakum into troublesome seams. The ships appear to glide this way and that as the ferry’s movement plays with the parallax.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 262-69  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:32 AM

“Philosophers, sir!” Enoch had supposed the boy should be disappointed. Instead he’s thrilled. So Enoch was correct: the boy’s dangerous. “Natural Philosophers. Not, mind you, the other sort—” “Unnatural?” “An apt coinage. Some would say it’s the unnatural philosophers that are to blame for Protestants fighting Protestants in England and Catholics everywhere else.” “What, then, is a Natural Philosopher?” “One who tries to prevent his ruminations from straying, by hewing to what can be observed, and proving things, when possible, by rules of logic.” This gets him nowhere with Ben. “Rather like a Judge in a Court, who insists on facts, and scorns rumor, hearsay, and appeals to sentiment. As when your own Judges finally went up to Salem and pointed out that the people there were going crazy.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 321-30  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:37 AM

“Mr. Root is a Natural Philosopher of note, sir!” blurts Ben, only as a way to prevent himself bursting into tears. The way he says it makes it clear he thinks the Harvard men are of the Unnatural type. “He is a Fellow of the Royal Society!” Oh, dear. The Don steps forward and hunches his shoulders like a conspirator. “I beg your pardon, sir, I did not know.” “It is quite all right, really.” “Dr. Waterhouse, you must be warned, has fallen quite under the spell of Herr Leibniz—” “—him that stole the calculus from Sir Isaac—” someone footnotes. “—yes, and, like Leibniz, is infected with Metaphysickal thinking—” “—a throwback to the Scholastics, sir—notwithstanding Sir Isaac’s having exploded the old ways through very clear demonstrations—” “—and labors now, like a possessed man, on a Mill—designed after Leibniz’s principles—that he imagines will discover new truths through computation!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 358-60  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:40 AM

They’re pursued through the streets of Charlestown by some of the more nimble Doctors. But Charlestown doesn’t have that many streets and so the chase is brief. Then they break out into the mephitic bog on its western flank. It puts Enoch strongly in mind of another swampy, dirty, miasma-ridden burg full of savants: Cambridge, England.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 364-67  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:41 AM

“He is very likely named after Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.” “A friend of yours and Sir Isaac’s?” “Of mine, yes. Of Sir Isaac’s, no—and therein lies a tale too long to tell now.” “Would it fill a book?” “In truth, ‘twould fill several—and it is not even finished yet.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 400-403  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:45 AM

“True, too true—but it’s not the answer I was looking for. The answer is: the Navigation Act. And a sea-war against the Dutch. So you see, Ben, journeying via Paris might have been roundabout, but it was infinitely safer. Besides, people in Paris had been pestering me, too, and they had more money than Mr. Clarke. So Mr. Clarke had to get in line, as they say in New York.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 434-37  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:48 AM

Then I nipped up to Oxford, meaning only to pay a call on John Wilkins and pick up some copies of Cryptonomicon.” “What is that?” Ben wants to know. “A very queer old book, dreadfully thick, and full of nonsense,” says Godfrey. “Papa uses it to keep the door from blowing shut.” “It is a compendium of secret codes and cyphers that this chap Wilkins had written some years earlier,” says Enoch.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 440-44  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:49 AM

“But I thought you said there was no Natural Philosophy in those days,” Godfrey complains. “There was—once a week, in John Wilkins’s chambers at Wadham College,” says Enoch. “For that is where the Experimental Philosophical Clubb met. Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, and others you ought to have heard of. By the time I got there, they’d run out of space and moved to an apothecary’s shop—a less flammable environment. It was that apothecary, come to think of it, who exhorted me to make the journey north and pay a call on Mr. Clarke in Grantham.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 450-52  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:57 AM

For between true science and erroneous doctrines, ignorance is in the middle. —HOBBES, Leviathan
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 452-55  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:57 AM

IN EVERY KINGDOM, empire, principality, archbishopric, duchy, and electorate Enoch had ever visited, the penalty for transmuting base metals into gold—or trying to—or, in some places, even thinking about it—was death. This did not worry him especially. It was only one of a thousand excuses that rulers kept handy to kill inconvenient persons, and to carry it off in a way that made them look good.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 458-60  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:58 AM

The old stars-and-moons act was a good way to farm the unduly trusting. But the need to raise money in the first place seemed to call into question one’s own ability to turn lead into gold.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 465-67  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 04:59 AM

He’d stayed a week or two in Wilkins’s chambers, and attended meetings of the Experimental Philosophical Clubb. This had been a revelation to him, for during the Civil War, practically nothing had been heard out of England. The savants of Leipzig, Paris, and Amsterdam had begun to think of it as a rock in the high Atlantic, overrun by heavily armed preachers.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 475-81  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 05:00 AM

Clarke backed out his side-door embracing a brimming chamber-pot. “Save it up,” Enoch said, his voice croaky from not having been used in a day or two, “you can extract much that’s interesting from urine.” The apothecary startled, and upon recognizing Enoch he nearly dropped the pot, then caught it, then wished he had dropped it, since these evolutions had set up a complex and dangerous sloshing that must be countervailed by gliding about in a bent-knee gait, melting foot-shaped holes in the frost on the grass, and, as a last resort, tilting the pot when whitecaps were observed. The roosters of Grantham, Lincolnshire, who had slept through Enoch’s arrival, came awake and began to celebrate Clarke’s performance. The sun had been rolling along the horizon for hours, like a fat waterfowl making its takeoff run.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 491-93  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 05:01 AM

Clarke chuckled. “Oh, no, Enoch, I’ll not be drawn into some foreign trading scheme. This tay is inoffensive enough, but I don’t think Englishmen will ever take to anything so outlandish.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 565-67  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 05:07 AM

The schoolmaster adjusted his azimuth as the target moved, like a telescope tracking a comet, but none of his blows seemed to have been actually felt by the fair boy yet—he wore a look of steadfast, righteous triumph, much like Enoch supposed Cromwell must have shown as he beheld the butchering of the Irish at Drogheda.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 659-62  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 07:33 PM

indeed Waterhouse does have a mechanic’s shop in a corner of the—how will Enoch characterize this structure to the Royal Society? “Log cabin,” while technically correct, calls to mind wild men in skins. “Sturdy, serviceable, and in no way extravagant laboratory making ingenious use of indigenous building materials.” There.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 667-84  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 07:35 PM

On pretext of cleaning up his mess, Enoch begins to pick the spilled cards off the floor. Each is marked at the top with a rather large number, always odd, and beneath it a long row of ones and zeroes, which (since the last digit is always 1, indicating an odd number) he takes to be nothing other then the selfsame number expressed in the binary notation lately perfected by Leibniz. Underneath the number, then, is a word or short phrase, a different one on each card. As he picks them up and re-stacks them he sees: Noah’s Ark; Treaties terminating wars; Membranophones (e.g., mirlitons); The notion of a classless society; The pharynx and its outgrowths; Drawing instruments (e.g., T-squares); The Skepticism of Pyrrhon of Elis; Requirements for valid maritime insurance contracts; The Kamakura bakufu; The fallacy of Assertion without Knowledge; Agates; Rules governing the determination of questions of fact in Roman civil courts; Mummification; Sunspots; The sex organs of bryophytes (e.g., liverwort); Euclidean geometry—homotheties and similitudes; Pantomime; The Election & Reign of Rudolf of Hapsburg; Testes; Nonsymmetrical dyadic relations; the Investiture Controversy; Phosphorus; Traditional impotence remedies; the Arminian heresy; and— “Some of these strike one as being too complicated for monads,” he says, desperate for some way to break the ice. “Such as this—‘The Development of Portuguese Hegemony over Central Africa.’ “ “Look at the number at the top of that card,” Waterhouse says. “It is the product of five primes: one for development, one for Portuguese, one for Hegemony, one for Central, and one for Africa.” “Ah, so it’s not a monad at all, but a composite.” “Yes.” “It’s difficult to tell when the cards are helter-skelter. Don’t you think you should organize them?” “According to what scheme?” Waterhouse asks shrewdly. “Oh, no, I’ll not be tricked into that discussion.” “No linear indexing system is adequate to express the multi-dimensionality of knowledge,” Dr. Waterhouse reminds him. “But if each one is assigned a unique number—prime numbers for monads, and products of primes for composites—then organizing them is simply a matter of performing computations . . . Mr. Root.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 693-98  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 07:37 PM

Daniel Waterhouse is almost completely bald, with a fringe of white hair clamping the back of his head like wind-hammered snow on a tree-trunk. He makes no apologies for being uncovered and does not reach for a wig—indeed, appears not to own one. His eyes are large, wide and staring in a way that probably does nothing to improve his reputation. Those orbs flank a hawkish nose that nearly conceals the slot-like mouth of a miser biting down on a suspect coin. His ears are elongated and have grown a radiant fringe of lanugo. The imbalance between his organs of input and output seems to say that he sees and knows more than he’ll say.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 720-23  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:01 PM

“Now the lads are torn every direction at once, like a prisoner being quartered. Or eighthed, or sixteenthed. I can already see it happening to young Ben out there, and soon it’ll happen to my own boy. ‘Should I study mathematics? Euclidean or Cartesian? Newtonian or Leibnizian calculus? Or should I go the empirical route? Will it be dissecting animals then, or classifying weeds, or making strange matters in crucibles? Rolling balls down inclined planes? Sporting with electricity and magnets?’ Against that, what’s in my shack here to interest them?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 723-29  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:02 PM

“Could this lack of interest have something to do with that everyone knows the project was conceived by Leibniz?” “I’m not doing it his way. His plan was to use balls running down troughs to represent the binary digits, and pass them through mechanical gates to perform the logical operations. Ingenious, but not very practical. I’m using pushrods.” “Superficial. I ask again: could your lack of popularity here be related to that all Englishmen believe that Leibniz is a villain—a plagiarist?” “This is an unnatural turn in the conversation, Mr. Root. Are you being devious?” “Only a little.” “You and your Continental ways.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 750-56  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:07 PM

“George Louis is the embodiment of awkwardness—he doesn’t care, and scarcely knows, and would probably think it amusing if he did. But his daughter-in-law the Princess—author of this letter—in time likely to become Queen of England herself—is a friend of Leibniz. And yet an admirer of Newton. She wants a reconciliation.” “She wants a dove to fly between the Pillars of Hercules. Which are still runny with the guts of the previous several peace-makers.” “It’s supposed that you are different.” “Herculean, perhaps?” “Well . . .” “Do you have any idea why I’m different, Mr. Root?” “I do not, Dr. Waterhouse.” “The tavern it is, then.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 761-66  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:10 PM

Waterhouse enters a tavern but immediately backs out of it. Looking into the place over his companion’s shoulder, Enoch glimpses a white-wigged Judge on a massive chair at the head of the tap-room, a jury empaneled on plank benches, a grimy rogue being interrogated. “Not a good place for a pair of idlers,” Waterhouse mumbles. “You hold judicial proceedings in drinking-houses!?” “Poh! That judge is no more drunk than any magistrate of the Old Bailey.” “It is perfectly logical when you put it that way.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 769-76  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:12 PM

Enoch cannot believe the size of the planks that make up the floor. They creak and pop like ice on a frozen lake as people move around. Waterhouse leads him to a table. It consists of a single slab of wood sawn from the heart of a tree that must have been at least three feet in diameter. “Trees such as these have not been seen in Europe for hundreds of years,” Enoch says. He measures it against the length of his arm. “Should have gone straight to Her Majesty’s Navy. I am shocked.” “There is an exemption to that rule,” Waterhouse says, showing for the first time a bit of good humor. “If a tree is blown down by the wind, anyone may salvage it. In consequence of which, Gomer Bolstrood, and his fellow Barkers, have built their colonies in remote places, where the trees are very large—” “And where freak hurricanoes often strike without warning?” “And without being noticed by any of their neighbors. Yes.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 794-98  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:14 PM

“My father, Drake, educated me for one reason alone,” Daniel finally says. “To assist him in his preparations for the Apocalypse. He reckoned it would occur in the year 1666—Number of the Beast and all that. I was, therefore, produced in 1646—as always, Drake’s timing was carefully thought out. When I came of age, I would be a man of the cloth, with the full university education, well versed in many dead classical languages, so that I could stand on the Cliffs of Dover and personally welcome Jesus Christ back to England in fluent Aramaic. Sometimes I look about myself—” he waves his arm at the tavern “—and see the way it turned out, and wonder whether my father could possibly have been any more wrong.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 813-24  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:16 PM

It was a decade or two since Wilkins had written his great Cryptonomicon. In the course of that project, he had, of course, gathered tomes on occult writing from all over the world, compiling all that had been known, since the time of the Ancients, about the writing of secrets. The publication of that book had brought him fame among those who study such things. Copies were known to have circulated as far as Peking, Lima, Isfahan, Shahjahanabad. Consequently more books yet had been sent to him, from Portuguese crypto-Kabbalists, Arabic savants skulking through the ruins and ashes of Alexandria, Parsees who secretly worship at the altar of Zoroaster, Armenian merchants who must communicate all across the world, in a kind of net-work of information, through subtle signs and symbols hidden in the margins and the ostensible text of letters so cleverly that a competitor, intercepting the message, could examine it and find nothing but trivial chatter—yet a fellow-Armenian could extract the vital data as easy as you or I would read a hand-bill in the street. Secret code-systems of Mandarins, too, who because of their Chinese writing cannot use cyphers as we do, but must hide messages in the position of characters on the sheet, and other means so devious that whole lifetimes must have gone into thinking of them. All of these things had come to him because of the fame of the Cryptonomicon, and to appreciate my position, you must understand that I’d been raised, by Drake and Knott and the others, to believe that every word and character of these books was Satanic.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 835-39  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:17 PM

‘Leave it in my hands,’ he said, and winked at me. “Drake would not hear of sending me to Gresham’s, so two years later I enrolled at that old vicar-mill: Trinity College, Cambridge. Father believed that I did so in fulfillment of his plan for me. Wilkins meanwhile had come up with his own plan for my life. And so you see, Enoch, I am well accustomed to others devising hare-brained plans for how I am to live. That is why I have come to Massachusetts, and why I do not intend to leave it.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 871-78  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:20 PM

“That revolution is turning on itself now. The calculus dispute is becoming a schism between the natural philosophers of the Continent and those of Great Britain. The British have far more to lose. Already there’s a reluctance to use Leibniz’s techniques—which are now more advanced, since he actually bothered to disseminate his ideas. Your difficulties in starting the Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts are a symptom of the same ailment. So do not lurk on the fringes of civilization trifling with cards and cranks, Dr. Waterhouse. Return to the core, look at first causes, heal the central wound. If you can accomplish that, why, then, by the time your son is of an age to become a student, the Institute will no longer be a log cabin sinking into the mire, but a campus of domed pavilions and many-chambered laboratories along the banks of the River Charles, where the most ingenious youth of America will convene to study and refine the art of automatic computation!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 881-92  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:22 PM

TO BE A EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN (the rest of the world might be forgiven for thinking) was to build ships and sail them to any and all coasts not already a-bristle with cannons, make landfall at river’s mouth, kiss the dirt, plant a cross or a flag, scare the hell out of any indigenes with a musketry demo’, and—having come so far, and suffered and risked so much—unpack a shallow basin and scoop up some muck from the river-bottom. Whirled about, the basin became a vortex, shrouded in murk for a few moments as the silt rose into the current like dust from a cyclone. But as that was blown away by the river’s current, the shape of the vortex was revealed. In its middle was an eye of dirt that slowly disintegrated from the outside in as lighter granules were shouldered to the outside and cast off. Left in the middle was a huddle of nodes, heavier than all the rest. Blue eyes from far away attended to these, for sometimes they were shiny and yellow. Now, ‘twere easy to call such men stupid (not even broaching the subjects of greedy, violent, arrogant, et cetera), for there was something wilfully idiotic in going to an unknown country, ignoring its people, their languages, art, its beasts and butterflies, flowers, herbs, trees, ruins, et cetera, and reducing it all to a few lumps of heavy matter in the center of a dish. Yet as Daniel, in the tavern, tries to rake together his early memories of Trinity and of Cambridge, he’s chagrined to find that a like process has been going on within his skull for half a century.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1031-38  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:34 PM

Some of his friends might be quite angry with you, I’ll admit—oh, no, Mr. Waterhouse, I didn’t mean it in the way you think. I am not your enemy—remember, I am of the Golden, not the Silver, Comstocks.” It was not the first time he’d said something like this. Daniel knew that the Comstocks were a grotesquely large and complicated family, who had begun popping up in minor roles as far back as the reign of King Richard Lionheart, and he gathered that this Silver/Golden dichotomy was some kind of feud between different branches of the clan. Roger Comstock wanted to impress on Daniel that he had nothing in common, other than a name, with John Comstock: the aging gunpowder magnate and arch-Royalist, and now Lord Chancellor, who had been the author of the recent Declaration of Uniformity—the act that had filled Drake’s house with jobless Ranters, Barkers, Quakers, et cetera. “Your people,” Daniel said, “the Golden Comstocks, as you dub them—pray, what are they?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1125-30  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:47 PM

Like a pair of comets drawn together, across a desolate void, by some mysterious action at a distance, they attracted each other across the greens and fells of Cambridge. Both were shy, and so early they would simply fall into parallel trajectories during their long strolls. But in time the lines converged. Isaac was pale as star-light, and so frail-looking that no one would’ve guessed he’d live as long as he had. His hair was exceptionally fair and already streaked with silver. He already had protruding pale eyes and a sharp nose. There was the sense of much going on inside his head, which he had not the slightest inclination to share with anyone else. But like Daniel, he was an alienated Puritan with a secret interest in natural philosophy, so naturally they fell in together.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1135-42  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:48 PM

Daniel learned that Isaac came from a family prosperous by Lincolnshire standards. His father had died before Newton was even born, leaving behind a middling yeoman’s legacy. His mother had soon married a more or less affluent cleric. She did not sound, from Isaac’s description, like a doting mum. She’d packed him off to school in a town called Grantham. Between her inheritance from the first marriage and what she’d acquired from the second, she easily could have sent him to Cambridge as a pensioner. But out of miserliness, or spite, or some hostility toward education in general, she’d sent him as a sizar instead—meaning that Isaac was obliged to serve as some other student’s boot-polisher and table-waiter. Isaac’s dear mother, unable to humiliate her son from a distance, had arranged it so that some other student—it didn’t matter which—would do it in her stead. In combination with that Newton was obviously far more brilliant than Daniel was, Daniel was uneasy with the arrangement. Daniel proposed that they make common cause, and pool what they had, and live together as equals.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1146-49  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:49 PM

His hair was thick and long, and Isaac learned that if he combed it in a particular way he could bring out a certain natural wave, up above Daniel’s forehead. He would not rest, every morning, until he had accomplished this. Daniel went along with it uneasily. Even then, Isaac had the air of a man who could be dangerous when offended, and Daniel sensed that if he declined, Isaac would not take it well.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1153-57  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:49 PM

he noticed, above the youth’s brow, a detail in the hair. It served as the cryptological key that unlocked the message. Suddenly he recognized himself in that page. Not as he really was, but purified, beautified, perfected, as though by some alchemical refinement—the slag and dross raked away, the radiant spirit allowed to shine forth, like the Philosophick Mercury. It was a drawing of Daniel Waterhouse as he might have looked if he had gone to the Justice of the Peace and accused Upnor and been persecuted and suffered a Christlike death.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1170-74  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:51 PM

Meanwhile, Daniel turned back to his Euclid. Jeffreys kept reminding him that he had failed at being a holy man. Jeffreys did this because he supposed it was a way of torturing Daniel the Puritan. In fact, Daniel had never wanted to be a preacher anyway, save insofar as he wanted to please his father. Ever since his meeting with Wilkins, he had wanted only to be a Natural Philosopher. Failing the moral test had freed him to be that, at a heavy price in self-loathing. If Natural Philosophy led him to eternal damnation, there was nothing he could do about it anyway, as Drake the predestinationist would be the first to affirm.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1174-75  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:51 PM

An interval of years or even decades might separate Whitsunday 1662 and Daniel’s arrival at the gates of Hell. He reckoned he might as well fill that time with something he at least found interesting.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1175-81  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:52 PM

A month later, when Isaac was out of the room, Daniel opened up the note-book and turned to the page headed Since Whitsunday 1662. It was still blank. He checked it again two months later. Nothing. At the time he assumed that Isaac had simply forgotten about it. Or perhaps he had stopped sinning! Years later, Daniel understood that neither guess was true. Isaac Newton had stopped believing himself capable of sin. This was a harsh judgment to pass on anyone—and the proverb went Judge not lest ye be judged. But its converse was that when you were treating with a man like Isaac Newton, the rashest and cruelest judge who ever lived, you must be sure and swift in your own judgments.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1183-85  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:53 PM

Others apart sat on a Hill retir’d, In thoughts more elevate, and reason’d high Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will and Fate —MILTON, Paradise Lost
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1185-91  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:53 PM

LIKE A GOOD CARTESIAN who measures everything against a fixed point, Daniel Waterhouse thinks about whether or not to go back to England while keeping one eye, through a half-closed door, on his son: Godfrey William, the fixed stake that Daniel has driven into the ground after many decades’ wanderings. At an arbitrary place on a featureless plain, some would argue, but now the Origin of all his considerations. Sir Isaac would have it that all matter is a sort of permanent ongoing miracle, that planets are held in their orbits, and atoms in their places, by the immanent will of God, and looking at his own son, Daniel can hardly bear to think otherwise. The boy’s a coiled spring, the potential for generations of American Waterhouses, though it’s just as likely he’ll catch a fever and die tomorrow.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1203-6  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:55 PM

“But people have been known to change their minds—” says the reverend. “Am I to infer, from what you just said, that you are a Free Will man?” Daniel inquires. “I really am shocked to find that in a Waterhouse. What are they teaching at Harvard these days? Don’t you realize that this Colony was founded by people fleeing from those who backed the concept of Free Will?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1213-18  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 09:56 PM

“When you speak of a soul, you phant’sy something above and beyond the cranks and gears, the dead matter, of which the machine—be it a Logic Mill or a brain—is constructed. I do not believe in this.” “Why not?” Like many simple questions, this one is difficult for Daniel to answer. “Why not? I suppose because it puts me in mind of Alchemy. This soul, this extra thing added to the brain, reminds me of the Quintessence that the Alchemists are forever seeking: a mysterious supernatural presence that is supposed to suffuse the world. But they can never seem to find any. Sir Isaac Newton has devoted his life to the project and has nothing to show for it.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1248-51  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:03 PM

Daniel wants to say that Wait Still’s best arguments would be about as influential as boogers flicked against the planking of a Ship of the Line in full sail, but sees no reason to be acrimonious—the whole point of the exercise is to be remembered well by those who’ll stay in the New World, on the theory that as the sun rises on the eastern fringe of America, small things cast long shadows westwards.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1267-68  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:10 PM

Wait Still stands by Faith’s side, and Daniel can’t help thinking they make a lovely couple. Enoch, that home-wrecker, remains on the end of the wharf, guiltily apart, his silver hair glowing like white fire in the full moon-light.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1278-80  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:10 PM

It is (musicological speculations aside) an entirely sad song, and Daniel knows why: by climbing aboard this boat and breaking down in sobs, he has reminded each one of these Africans of the day when he was taken, in chains, off the coast of Guinea, and loaded aboard a tall ship.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1312-21  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:14 PM

Daniel screamed from deep down in his gut. The cat, morbidly obese from eating virtually all of Isaac’s meals, fell off the table like a four-legged haggis, and trudged away. Isaac did not flinch, which was probably a good thing. Daniel’s scream had no other effects on business as usual at Trinity College—those who weren’t too impaired to hear it probably assumed it was a wench playing hard-to-get. “In my dissections of animals’ eyes at Grantham, I often marveled at their perfect sphericity, which, in bodies that were otherwise irregular grab-bags of bones, tubes, skeins and guts, seemed to mark them out as apart from all the other organs. As if the Creator had made those orbs in the very image of the heavenly spheres, signifying that one should receive light from the other,” Isaac mused aloud. “Naturally, I wondered whether an eye that was not spherical would work as well. There are practical as well as theologic reasons for spherical eyes: one, so that they can swivel in their sockets.” There was some tension in his voice—the discomfort must have been appalling. Tears streamed down and spattered on the table like the exhaust from a water-clock—the only time Daniel ever saw Isaac weep. “Another practical reason is simply that the eyeball is pressurized from within by the aqueous humour.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1321-23  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:15 PM

“My God, you’re not bleeding the humour from your eyeball—?” “Look more carefully!” Isaac snapped. “Observe—don’t imagine.” “I can’t bear it.” “The needle is not piercing anything—the orb is perfectly intact. Come and see!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1328-35  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:15 PM

Now supposedly Daniel was a student, attending lectures and studying the works of Aristotle and Euclid. But in fact, he had over the last year become the one thing, aside from the Grace of God, keeping Isaac Newton alive. He’d long since stopped asking him such annoying, pointless questions as “Can you remember the last time you put food into your mouth” or “Don’t you suppose that a nap of an hour or two, once a night, might be good?” The only thing that really worked was to monitor Isaac until he physically collapsed on the table, then haul him into bed, like a grave-robber transporting his goods, then pursue his own studies nearby and keep on eye on him until consciousness began to return, and then, during the moments when Isaac still didn’t know what day it was, and hadn’t gone off on some fresh train of thought, shove milk and bread at him so he wouldn’t starve all the way to death. He did all of this voluntarily—sacrificing his own education, and making a burnt offering of Drake’s tuition payments—because he considered it his Christian duty.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1336-37  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:16 PM

Daniel was like one of those Papist fanatics who, after they died, were found to’ve been secretly wearing hair-shirts underneath their satin vestments.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1338-40  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:16 PM

“The diagram may give you a better comprehension of the design of tonight’s experiment,” Isaac said. He’d drawn a cross-sectional view of eyeball, hand, and darning-needle in his Waste Book. It was the closest thing to a work of art he had produced since the strange events of Whitsunday last year—since that date, only equations had flowed from his pen.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1340-43  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:16 PM

“May I ask why you are doing this?” “Theory of Colors is part of the Program,” Isaac said—referring (Daniel knew) to a list of philosophical questions Isaac had recently written out in his Waste Book, and the studies he had pursued, entirely on his own, in hopes of answering them.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1344-50  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:17 PM

Isaac continued, “I’ve been reading Boyle’s latest—Experiments and Considerations Touching Colors—and it occurred to me: he uses his eyes to make all of his observations—his eyes are therefore instruments, like telescopes—but does he really understand how those instruments work? An astronomer who did not understand his lenses would be a poor philosopher indeed.” Daniel might have said any number of things then, but what came out was, “How may I assist you?” And it was not just being a simpering toady. He was, for a moment, gobsmacked by the sheer presumption of a mere student, twenty-one years old, with no degree, calling into question the great Boyle’s ability to make simple observations. But in the next moment it occurred to Daniel for the first time: What if Newton was right, and all the others wrong?
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1355-57  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:17 PM

So the night proceeded—by sunrise, Isaac Newton knew more about the human eye than anyone who had ever lived, and Daniel knew more than anyone save Isaac. The experiment could have been performed by anyone. Only one person had actually done it, however.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1359-66  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:18 PM

Daniel saw in a way he’d never seen anything before: his mind was a homunculus squatting in the middle of his skull, peering out through good but imperfect telescopes and listening-horns, gathering observations that had been distorted along the way, as a lens put chromatic aberrations into all the light that passed through it. A man who peered out at the world through a telescope would assume that the aberration was real, that the stars actually looked like that—what false assumptions, then, had natural philosophers been making about the evidence of their senses, until last night? Sitting in the gaudy radiance of those windows hearing the organ play and the choir sing, his mind pleasantly intoxicated from exhaustion, Daniel experienced a faint echo of what it must be like, all the time, to be Isaac Newton: a permanent ongoing epiphany, an endless immersion in lurid radiance, a drowning in light, a ringing of cosmic harmonies in the ears.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1385-90  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:20 PM

IN THE GREAT COURT of Trinity there was a sundial Isaac Newton didn’t like: a flat disk divided by labeled spokes with a gnomon angling up from the center, naïvely copied from Roman designs, having a certain Classical elegance, and always wrong. Newton was constructing a sundial on a south-facing wall, using, as gnomon, a slender rod with a ball on the end. Every sunny day the ball’s shadow would trace a curve across the wall—a slightly different curve every day, because the tilt of the earth’s axis slowly changed through the seasons. That sheaf of curves made a fine set of astronomical data but not a usable timepiece.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1394-1407  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:21 PM

One evening, about two hundred days and over a thousand cross-ticks into this procedure, Daniel asked Isaac why he found sundials so interesting. Isaac got up, fled the room, and ran off in the direction of the Backs. Daniel let him be for a couple of hours and then went out looking for him. Eventually, at about two o’clock in the morning, he found Isaac standing in the middle of Jesus Green, contemplating his own long shadow in the light of a full moon. “It was a sincere request for information—nothing more—I want you to convey to me whatever it is about sundials I’ve been too thick-headed to find very interesting.” This seemed to calm Isaac down, though he did not apologize for having thought the worst about Daniel. He said something along the lines of: “Heavenly radiance fills the aether, its rays parallel and straight and, so long as nothing is there to interrupt them, invisible. The secrets of God’s creation are all told by those rays, but told in a language we do not understand, or even hear—the direction from which they shine, the spectrum of colors concealed within the light, these are all characters in a cryptogram. The gnomon—look at our shadows on the Green! We are the gnomon. We interrupt that light and we are warmed and illuminated by it. By stopping the light, we destroy part of the message without understanding it. We cast a shadow, a hole in the light, a ray of darkness that is shaped like ourselves—some might say that it contains no information save the profile of our own forms—but they are wrong. By recording the stretching and skewing of our shadows, we can attain part of the knowledge hidden in the cryptogram. All we need to make the necessary observations is a fixed regular surface—a plane—against which to cast the shadow. Descartes gave us the plane.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1407-11  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:22 PM

And so from then onwards Daniel understood that the point of this grueling sundial project was not merely to plot the curves, but to understand why each curve was shaped as it was. To put it another way, Isaac wanted to be able to walk up to a blank wall on a cloudy day, stab a gnomon into it, and draw all of the curves simply by knowing where the shadow would pass. This was the same thing as knowing where the sun would be in the sky, and that was the same as knowing where the earth was in its circuit around the sun, and in its daily rotation.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1411-13  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:22 PM

Though, as months went on, Daniel understood that Isaac wanted to be able to do the same thing even if the blank wall happened to be situated on, say, the moon that Christian Huygens had lately discovered revolving around Saturn.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1419-22  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:09 PM

Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man. For WAR, consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known. —HOBBES, Leviathan
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1425-29  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:10 PM

The decks are slightly arched to shed water and supply greater strength, the masts flexed, impelled by the thrust of the sails but restrained by webs of rigging: curve-grids like Isaac’s sundial lines. Of course, wherever wind collects in a sail or water skims around the hull it follows rules that Bernoulli has set down using the calculus—Leibniz’s version. Minerva is a congregation of Leibniz-curves navigating according to Bernoulli-rules across a vast, mostly water-covered sphere whose size, precise shape, trajectory through the heavens, and destiny were all laid down by Newton.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1430-31  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:10 PM

One cannot board a ship without imagining ship-wreck. Daniel envisions it as being like an opera, lasting several hours and proceeding through a series of Acts.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1446-50  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:10 PM

Men of his generation were born during Act V* and raised in Act IV. As students, they huddled in a small vulnerable bubble of Act III. The human race has, actually, been in Act V for most of history and has recently accomplished the miraculous feat of assembling splintered planks afloat on a stormy sea into a sailing-ship and then, having climbed onboard it, building instruments with which to measure the world, and then finding a kind of regularity in those measurements. When they were at Cambridge, Newton was surrounded by a personal nimbus of Act II and was well on his way to Act I.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1450-54  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:11 PM

But they had, perversely, been living among people who were peering into the wrong end of the telescope, or something, and who had convinced themselves that the opposite was true—that the world had once been a splendid, orderly place—that men had made a reasonably trouble-free move from the Garden of Eden to the Athens of Plato and Aristotle, stopping over in the Holy Land to encrypt the secrets of the Universe in the pages of the Bible, and that everything had been slowly, relentlessly falling apart ever since.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1455-58  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:11 PM

With a few exceptions such as Isaac Barrow, none of them would have had any use for Isaac’s sundial, because it didn’t look like an old sundial, and they’d prefer telling time wrong the Classical way to telling it right the newfangled way. The curves that Newton plotted on the wall were a methodical document of their wrongness—a manifesto like Luther’s theses on the church-door.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1465-73  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:13 PM

Isaac hadn’t studied Euclid that much, and hadn’t cared enough to study him well. If he wanted to work with a curve he would instinctively write it down, not as an intersection of planes and cones, but as a series of numbers and letters: an algebraic expression. That only worked if there was a language, or at least an alphabet, that had the power of expressing shapes without literally depicting them, a problem that Monsieur Descartes had lately solved by (first) conceiving of curves, lines, et cetera, as being collections of individual points and (then) devising a way to express a point by giving its coordinates—two numbers, or letters representing numbers, or (best of all) algebraic expressions that could in principle be evaluated to generate numbers. This translated all geometry to a new language with its own set of rules: algebra. The construction of equations was an exercise in translation. By following those rules, one could create new statements that were true, without even having to think about what the symbols referred to in any physical universe. It was this seemingly occult power that scared the hell out of some Puritans at the time, and even seemed to scare Isaac a bit.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1473-78  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:13 PM

By 1664, which was the year that Isaac and Daniel were supposed to get their degrees or else leave Cambridge, Isaac, by taking the very latest in imported Cartesian analysis and then extending it into realms unknown, was (unbeknownst to anyone except Daniel) accomplishing things in the field of natural philosophy that his teachers at Trinity could not even comprehend, much less accomplish—they, meanwhile, were preparing to subject Isaac and Daniel to the ancient and traditional ordeal of examinations designed to test their knowledge of Euclid. If they failed these exams, they’d be branded a pair of dimwitted failures and sent packing.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1478-85  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:13 PM

As the date drew nearer, Daniel began to mention them more and more frequently to Isaac. Eventually they went to see Isaac Barrow, the first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, because he was conspicuously a better mathematician than the rest. Also because recently, when Barrow had been traveling in the Mediterranean, the ship on which he’d been passenger had been assaulted by pirates, and Barrow had gone abovedecks with a cutlass and helped fight them off. As such, he did not seem like the type who would really care in what order students learned the material. They were right about that—when Isaac showed up one day, alarmingly late in his academic career, with a few shillings, and bought a copy of Barrow’s Latin translation of Euclid, Barrow didn’t seem to mind. It was a tiny book with almost no margins, but Isaac wrote in the margins anyway, in nearly microscopic print. Just as Barrow had translated Euclid’s Greek into the universal tongue of Latin, Isaac translated Euclid’s ideas (expressed as curves and surfaces) into Algebra.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1485-89  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:14 PM

Half a century later on the deck of Minerva, that’s all Daniel can remember about their Classical education; they took the exams, did indifferently (Daniel did better than Isaac), and were given new titles: they were now scholars, meaning that they had scholarships, meaning that Newton would not have to go back home to Woolsthorpe and become a gentleman-farmer. They would continue to share a chamber at Trinity, and Daniel would continue to learn more from Isaac’s idle musings than he would from the entire apparatus of the University.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1501-6  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:16 PM

I made some waggish student-like remark about this curve, as curves had been much on our minds the previous year, and Newton began to speak with confidence and enthusiasm—demonstrating that the ideas he spoke of were not extemporaneous speculation but a fully developed theory on which he had been working for some time. “Yes, and suppose we were on one of those punts,” Newton said, pointing to one of the narrow, flat-bottomed boats that idle students used to mess about on the Cam. “And suppose that the Bridge was the Origin of a system of Cartesian coordinates covering Jesus Green and the other land surrounding the river’s course.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1520-22  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:17 PM

He can stop here. For those who know how to read between the lines, this is sufficient to prove Newton had the calculus—or Fluxions, as he called it—in ’65, most likely ’64. No point in beating them over the head with it . . . Yes, beating someone over the head is the entire point.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1562-69  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:20 PM

Daniel and Isaac roamed for the better part of an hour, ignoring the shouts and pleadings of the retailers on all sides, until finally Isaac stopped, alert, and sidestepped over to a small folding display-case-on-legs that a tall slender Jew in a black coat had set up. Daniel eyed this Son of Moses curiously—Cromwell had re-admitted these people to England only ten years previously, after they’d been excluded for centuries, and they were as exotic as giraffes. But Isaac was staring at a constellation of gemlike objects laid out on a square of black velvet. Noting his interest, the Kohan folded back the edges of the cloth to reveal many more: concave and convex lenses, flat disks of good glass for grinding your own, bottles of abrasive powder in several degrees of coarseness, and prisms. Isaac signalled that he would be willing to open negotiations over two of the prisms. The lens-grinder inhaled, drew himself up, and blinked. Daniel moved round to a supporting position behind and to the side of Isaac. “You have pieces of eight,” the circumcised one said—midway between an assertion and a question.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1574-86  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:22 PM

“As you, sir, are English, and so am I, let us use English means.” “You wish to trade cheese? Tin? Broadcloth?” “How many shillings will buy these two prisms?” The Hebraic one adopted a haggard, suffering look and gazed at a point above their heads. “Let me see the color of your money,” he said, in a voice that conveyed gentle regret, as if Isaac might have bought some prisms today, and instead would only get a dreary lesson in the unbelievable shabbiness of English coinage. Isaac reached into a pocket and wiggled his fingers to produce a metallic tromping noise that proved many coins were in there. Then he pulled out a handful and let the lens-grinder have a glimpse of a few coins, tarnished black. Daniel, so far, was startled by how good Isaac was at this kind of thing. On the other hand, he had made a business out of lending money to other students—maybe he had talent. “You must have made a mistake,” said the Jew. “Which is perfectly all right—we all make mistakes. You reached into the wrong pocket and you pulled out your black money*—the stuff you throw to beggars.” “Ahem, er, so I did,” Isaac said. “Pardon me—where’s the money for paying merchants?” Patting a few other pockets. “By the way, assuming I’m not going to offer you black money, how many shillings?” “When you say shillings, I assume you mean the new ones?” “The James I?” “No, no, James I died half a century ago and so one would not normally use the adjective new to describe pounds minted during his reign.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1591-99  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:23 PM

“Why, I believe I have heard that the King is beginning to mint new coins,” Isaac said, looking to Daniel for confirmation. “My half-brother in London knows someone who saw a gold carolus ii dei gratia coin once, displayed in a crystal case on a silken pillow,” Daniel said. “People have begun to call them Guineas, because they are made of gold that the Duke of York’s company is taking out of Africa.” “I say, Daniel, is it true what they say, that those coins are perfectly circular?” “They are, Isaac—not like the good old English hammered coins that you and I carry in such abundance in our pockets and purses.” “Furthermore,” said the Ashkenazi, “the King brought with him a French savant, Monsieur Blondeau, on loan from King Louis, and that fellow built a machine that mills delicate ridges and inscriptions into the edges of the coins.” “Typical French extravagance,” Isaac said.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1601-12  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:24 PM

“That must be why everyone is melting those new coins down as fast as they are minted, and shipping the metal to the Orient . . . ?” Daniel began, “. . . making it impossible for the likes of me and my friend to obtain them,” Isaac finished. “Now there is a good idea—if you can show me coins of a bright silver color—not that black stuff—I’ll weigh them and accept them as bullion.” “Bullion! Sir!” “Yes.” “I have heard that this is the practice in China,” Isaac said sagely. “But here in England, a shilling is a shilling.” “No matter how little it weighs!?” “Yes. In principle, yes.” “So when a lump of metal is coined in the Mint, it takes on a magical power of shillingness, and even after it has been filed and clipped and worn down to a mere featureless nodule, it is still worth a full shilling?” “You exaggerate,” Daniel said. “I have here a fine Queen Elizabeth shilling, for example—which I carry around, mind you, as a souvenir of Gloriana’s reign, since it is far too fine a specimen to actually spend. But as you can see, it is just as bright and shiny as the day it was minted—” “Especially where it’s recently been clipped there along the side,” the lens-grinder said. “Normal, pleasing irregularity of the hand-hammered currency, nothing more.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1621-27  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:25 PM

“If you would allow me to approach within ten feet of these coins, it would help me to appreciate their numismatic excellence,” the lens-grinder said. “I could even use some of my magnifying-lenses to . . .” “I’m afraid I would be offended,” Isaac said. “You could inspect this one as closely as you wanted,” Daniel said, “and find no evidence of criminal tampering—I got it from a blind innkeeper who had suffered frostbite in the fingertips—had no idea what he was giving me.” “Didn’t he think to bite down on it? Like so?” said the Judaic individual, taking the shilling and crushing it between his rear molars. “What would he have learned by doing that, sir?” “That whatever counterfeit-artist stamped it out, had used reasonably good metal—not above fifty percent lead.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1655-62  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:27 PM

That they lived was evidence that Daniel eventually pulled Isaac away and got him pointed back up the river toward Cambridge. But Isaac’s mind was still on those Satanic miracles that had appeared in the dead man’s groin. “I admire Monsieur Descartes’ analysis, but there is something missing in his supposition that the world is just bits of matter jostling one another like coins shaken in a bag. How could that account for the ability of matter to organize itself into eyes and leaves and salamanders, to transmute itself into alternate forms? And yet it’s not simply that matter comes together in good ways—not some ongoing miraculous Creation—for the same process by which our bodies turn meat and milk into flesh and blood can also cause a man’s body to convert itself into a mass of buboes in a few hours’ time. It might seem aimless, but it cannot be. That one man sickens and dies, while another flourishes, are characters in the cryptic message that philosophers seek to decode.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1662-66  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:28 PM

“Unless the message was set down long ago and is there in the Bible for all men to read plainly,” Daniel said. Fifty years later, he hates to remember that he ever talked this way, but he can’t stop himself. “What do you mean by that?” “The year 1665 is halfway over—you know what year comes next. I must to London, Isaac. Plague has come to England. What we have seen today is a harbinger of the Apocalypse.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1687-93  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:31 PM

At first he did it from the upperdeck, but he didn’t like the way the instrument got battered against the hull, and he was wearied by the looks of incomprehension on the sailors’ faces. The old gaffers back here don’t necessarily think he’s any less crazy but they don’t think less of him for it. So like a sojourner in a foreign city who eventually finds a coffeehouse where he feels at home, Daniel has settled on this place, and been accepted here. The regulars are mostly in their thirties and forties: a Filipino; a Lascar; a half-African, half-white from the Portuguese city of Goa; a Huguenot; a Cornish man with surprisingly poor English; an Irishman. They’re all perfectly at home here, as if Minerva were a thousand-year-old ship on which their ancestors had always lived. If she ever sinks, Daniel suspects they’ll happily go down with her, for lack of any other place to live.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1710-12  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:32 PM

Th’earths face is but thy Table; there are set Plants, cattell, men, dishes for Death to eate. In a rude hunger now hee millions drawes Into his bloody, or plaguy, or sterv’d jawes. —JOHN DONNE, “Elegie on M Boulstred”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1737-41  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:35 PM

As all of this had happened years before Daniel had even been born, it didn’t matter to him—this was just how Dad had always looked—and of course it had never mattered to Drake. Within a few weeks, Drake had been back on the highways of England, buying cloth that he’d later smuggle to the Netherlands. In a country inn, on the way to St. Ives, he encountered a saturnine, beetle-browed chap name of Oliver Cromwell who had recently lost his faith, and seen his life ruined—or so he imagined, until he got a look at Drake, and found God. But that was another story.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1742-47  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:36 PM

Daniel and Drake ate their potatoes and herring on a table that had the size and weight of a medieval drawbridge. There was no other furniture in the room, although the eight-foot-high grandfather clock in the adjoining hall contributed a sort of immediate presence with the heaving to and fro of its cannonball-sized pendulum, which made the entire house lean from one side to the other like a drunk out for a brisk walk, and the palpable grinding of its gear-train, and the wild clamorous bonging that exploded from it at intervals that seemed suspiciously random, and that caused flocks of migrating waterfowl, thousands of feet overhead, to collide with each other in panic and veer into new courses.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1750-53  | Added on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 11:37 PM

That it conveyed no information whatever as to what the time actually was, drove Daniel into such transports of annoyance that he had begun to entertain a phant’sy of standing at the intersection of two corridors and handing Drake, every time he passed by, a libel denouncing the ancient Clock, and demanding its wayward pendulum be stilled, and that it be replaced with a new Huygens model. But Drake had already told him to shut up about the clock, and so there was nothing he could do.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1756-63  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 07:19 PM

For example, Daniel could not ask, “How is Praise-God doing in Boston?”* because he had asked this on the first day, and Drake had answered it, and since then few letters had arrived because the letter-carriers were dead or running away from London as fast as they could go. Sometimes private couriers would come with letters, mostly pertaining to Drake’s business matters but sometimes addressed to Daniel. This would provoke a flurry of conversation stretching out as long as half an hour (not counting rants), but mostly what Daniel heard, day after day, was corpse-collectors’ bells, and their creaking carts; the frightful Clock; cows; Drake reading the Books of Daniel and of Revelation aloud, or playing the virginal; and the gnawing of Daniel’s own quill across the pages of his notebook as he worked his way through Euclid, Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Huygens. He actually learned an appalling amount.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1833-42  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 07:38 PM

“There you are.” Mr. Ham pray pay to the bearer one pound I say £1—of that money of myne which you have in your hands upon sight of this Bill Drake Waterhouse London “What is this instrument, Father?” “Goldsmith’s Note. People started doing this about the time you left for Cambridge.” “Why does it say ‘the bearer’? Why not ‘Daniel Waterhouse’?” “Well, that’s the beauty of it. You could, if you chose, use this to pay a one-pound debt—you’d simply hand it to your creditor and he could then nip down to Ham’s and get a pound in coin of the realm. Or he could use it to pay one of his debts.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1999-2002  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:03 PM

He’d never been invited into the cellar, but he’d always known about it—from the solemn way it was talked about, or, to be precise, talked around, he’d always known it must be full of either ghosts or a large quantity of gold. Now he found it to be absurdly small and homely compared to its awesome reputation, in a way that was heartwarmingly English—but it was full of gold, and it was getting larger and less ditch-like by the minute.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2029-33  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:06 PM

“Paganism? Then we are all pagans! It is a symbol of Mercury—patron of commerce—who has been worshipped in this cellar—and in this city—for a thousand years, by Bishops as well as business-men. It is a cult that adapts itself to any religion, just as easily as quicksilver adopts the shape of any container—and someday, Daniel, you’ll meet a young lady who is just as adaptable. Take it.” Putting the silver coin next to the caduceus in Daniel’s palm, he folded Daniel’s fingers over the top and then clasped the fist—chilled by the touch of the metal—between his two warm hands in benediction.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2049-53  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:08 PM

By this it appears how necessary it is for any man that aspires to true knowledge, to examine the definitions of former authors; and either to correct them, where they are negligently set down, or to make them himself. For the errors of definitions multiply themselves according as the reckoning proceeds, and lead men into absurdities, which at last they see, but cannot avoid, without reckoning anew from the beginning. —HOBBES, Leviathan
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2097-2101  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:13 PM

Hooke had stopped near Daniel’s luggage, attracted by the croaking of frogs. He stepped in and seized the basket. “Oh, he ever looks as if he’s been bleeding to death for several hours—fear for the frogs, not for Hooke!” Wilkins said. He had a perpetual knowing, amused look that enabled him to get away with saying almost anything. This, combined with the occasional tactical master-stroke (e.g., marrying Cromwell’s sister during the Interregnum), probably accounted for his ability to ride out civil wars and revolutions as if they were mere theatrical performances.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2103-6  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:13 PM

“You say you quarantined yourself at Epsom town—you must have paid for lodgings there—that means you have pocket-money. Drake must’ve given it you. What on earth did you tell him you were coming here to do? I need to know,” Wilkins added apologetically, “only so that I can write him the occasional letter claiming that you are doing it.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2111-20  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:15 PM

“Perish the thought! Damn me, I’d almost forgotten about that old thing. Wrote it a quarter-century ago. Consider the times! The King was losing his mind—his Ministers being lynched in Parliament—his own drawbridge-keepers locking him out of his own arsenals. His foes intercepting letters abroad, written by that French Papist wife of his, begging foreign powers to invade us. Hugh Peters had come back from Salem to whip those Puritans into a frenzy—no great difficulty, given that the King, simply out—out—of money, had seized all of the merchants’ gold in the Tower. Scottish Covenanters down as far as Newcastle, Catholics rebelling in Ulster, sudden panics in London—gentlemen on the street whipping out their rapiers for little or no reason. Things no better elsewhere—Europe twenty-five years into the Thirty Years’ War, wolves eating children along the road in Besançon, for Christ’s sake—Spain and Portugal dividing into two separate kingdoms, the Dutch taking advantage of it to steal Malacca from the Portuguese—of course I wrote the Cryptonomicon! And of course people bought it! But if it was the Omega—a way of hiding information, of making the light into darkness—then the Universal Character is the Alpha—an opening. A dawn. A candle in the darkness. Am I being disgusting?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2128-32  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:16 PM

“The tragedy of these middle-European savants is that they are always trying to apply their philosophick acumen in the political realm.” “Whereas the Royal Society is—?” “Ever so strictly apolitical,” Wilkins said, and then favored Daniel with a stage-actor’s hugely exaggerated wink. “If we stayed away from politics, we could be flying winged chariots to the Moon within a few generations. All that’s needed is to pull down certain barriers to progress—” “Such as?” “Latin.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 2133  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:16 PM


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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2132-39  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:16 PM

“Latin!? But Latin is—” “I know, the universal language of scholars and divines, et cetera, et cetera. And it sounds so lovely, doesn’t it. You can say any sort of nonsense in Latin and our feeble University men will be stunned, or at least profoundly confused. That’s how the Popes have gotten away with peddling bad religion for so long—they simply say it in Latin. But if we were to unfold their convoluted phrases and translate them into a philosophical language, all of their contradictions and vagueness would become manifest.” “Mmm . . . I’d go so far as to say that if a proper philosophical language existed, it would be impossible to express any false concept in it without violating its rules of grammar,” Daniel hazarded. “You have just uttered the most succinct possible definition of it—I say, you’re not competing with me, are you?” Wilkins said jovially.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2152-57  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:18 PM

“Lately, every time Mr. Hooke peers at something with his Microscope he finds that it is divided up into small compartments, each one just like its neighbors, like bricks in a wall,” Wilkins confided. “What do these bricks look like?” “He doesn’t call them bricks. Remember, they are hollow. He has taken to calling them ‘cells’ . . . but you don’t want to get caught up in all that nonsense. Follow me, my dear Daniel. Put thoughts of cells out of your mind. To understand the Philosophical Language you must know that all things in Earth and Heaven can be classified into forty different genera . . . within each of those, there are, of course, further subclasses.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2261-63  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:26 PM

But Hooke only became irritated. “I tell you again. True beauty is to be found in natural forms. The more we magnify, and the closer we examine, the works of Artifice, the grosser and stupider they seem. But if we magnify the natural world it only becomes more intricate and excellent.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2340-55  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:29 PM

Hooke was aiming the sparks at a blank sheet of paper. “Mark where they strike,” he said to Daniel. Daniel hovered with a pen, and whenever an especially large spark hit the paper, he drew a tight circle around it. They examined the paper under the Microscope, and found, in the center of each circle, a remnant: a more or less complete hollow sphere of what was obviously steel. “You see that the Alchemists’ conception of heat is ludicrous,” Hooke said. “There is no Element of Fire. Heat is really nothing more than a brisk agitation of the parts of a body—hit a piece of steel with a rock hard enough, and a bit of steel is torn away—” “And that is the spark?” “That is the spark.” “But why does the spark emit light?” “The force of the impact agitates its parts so vehemently that it becomes hot enough to melt.” “Yes, but if your hypothesis is correct—if there is no Element of Fire, only a jostling of internal parts—then why should hot things emit light?” “I believe that light consists of vibrations. If the parts move violently enough, they emit light—just as a struck bell vibrates to produce sound.” Daniel supposed that was all there was to that, until he went with Hooke to collect samples of river insects one day, and they squatted in a place where a brook tumbled over the brink of a rock into a little pool. Bubbles of water, forced beneath the pool by the falling water, rose to the surface: millions of tiny spheres. Hooke noticed it, pondered for a few moments, and said: “Planets and stars are spheres, for the same reason that bubbles and sparks are.” “What!?” “A body of fluid, surrounded by some different fluid, forms into a sphere.Thus: air surrounded by water makes a sphere, which we call a bubble. A tiny bit of molten steel surrounded by air makes a sphere, which we call a spark. Molten earth surrounded by the Coelestial AEther makes a sphere, which we call a planet.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2376-82  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:31 PM

A housefly was perched on the end of the quill that was stuck in Hooke’s ear. Daniel tried to shoo it away. Its wings blurred, but it didn’t move. Looking more closely Daniel saw that it had been glued down. “Do that again, it gives me a different pitch,” Hooke demanded. “You can hear the fly’s wings?” “They drone at a certain fixed pitch. If I tune this string”—pluck, pluck—“to the same pitch, I know that the string, and the fly’s wings, are vibrating at the same frequency. I already know how to reckon the frequency of a string’s vibration—hence, I know how many times in a second a fly’s wings beat. Useful data if we are ever to build a flying-machine.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2389-94  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:33 PM

Wilkins had also embarked on a whole range of experiments concerning the generation of flies and worms out of decomposing meat, cheese, and other substances. Everyone knew, or thought they knew, that this happened spontaneously. But Hooke with his microscope had found tiny motes on the undersides of certain leaves, which grew up into insects, and in water he had found tiny eggs that grew up into gnats, and this had given him the idea that perhaps all things that were believed to be bred from putrefaction might have like origins: that the air and the water were filled with an invisible dust of tiny eggs and seeds that, in order to germinate, need only be planted in something moist and rotten.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2419-32  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:36 PM

Comstock was pushing sixty. Here on his own country estate, he had no patience with wigs or other Court foppery, and so his silver hair was simply queued, and he was dressed in plain simple riding-and-hunting togs. “In the year of my birth, Jamestown was founded, the pilgrims scurried off to Leyden, and work commenced on the King James version of the Bible. I have lived through London’s diverse riots and panics, plagues and Gunpowder Plots. I have escaped from burning buildings. I was wounded at the Battle of Newark and made my way, in some discomfort, to safety in Paris. It was not my last battle, on land or at sea. I was there when His Majesty was crowned in exile at Scone, and I was there when he returned in triumph to London. I have killed men. You know all of these things, Dr. Wilkins, and so I mention them, not to boast, but to emphasize that if I were living a solitary life in that large House over yonder, you could set off cannonades, and larger detonations, at all hours of day and night, without warning, and for that matter you could make a pile of meat five fathoms high and let it fester away beneath my bedchamber’s window—and none of it would matter to me. But as it is, my house is crowded, just now, with Persons of Quality. Some of them are of royal degree. Many of them are female, and some are of tender years. Two of them are all three.” “My lord!” Wilkins exclaimed. Daniel had been carefully watching him, as who wouldn’t—the opportunity to watch a man like Wilkins being called on the carpet by a man like Comstock was far more precious than any Southwark bear-baiting. Until just now, Wilkins had pretended to be mortified—though he’d done a very good job of it. But now, suddenly, he really was.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2441-48  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:38 PM

It took days’ peering at Fops through hedges, deconstructing carriage-door scutcheons, and shinnying out onto the branches of diverse noble and royal family trees for Daniel to understand what Wilkins had inferred from a few of John Comstock’s pithy words and eyebrow-raisings. Comstock had formal gardens to one side of his house, which for many excellent reasons were off-limits to Natural Philosophers. Persons in French clothes strolled in them. That was not remarkable. To dally in gardens was some people’s life-work, as to shovel manure was a stable-hand’s. At a distance they all looked the same, at least to Daniel. Wilkins, much more conversant with the Court, spied on them from time to time through a prospective-glass. As a mariner, seeking to establish his bearings at night, will first look for Ursa Major, that being a constellation of exceptional size and brightness, so Wilkins would always commence his obs’v’ns. by zeroing his sights, as it were, on a particular woman who was easy to find because she was twice the size of everyone else.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2510-15  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:44 PM

they took turns looking at smaller and smaller structures on the moon. But here again, Hooke saw things Daniel didn’t. “The moon must have gravity, like the earth,” he said. “What makes you say so?” “The mountains and valleys have a settled shape to them—no matter how rugged the landforms, there is nothing to be seen, on that whole orb, that would fall over under gravitation. With better lenses I could measure the Angle of Repose and calculate the force of her gravity.” “If the moon gravitates, so must everything else in the heavens,” Daniel observed.*
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2521-24  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:44 PM

Kings most commonly, though strong in legions, are but weak in Arguments; as they who have ever accustom’d from the Cradle to use thir will onely as thir right hand, thir reason alwayes as thir left. Whence unexpectedly constrain’d to that kind of combat, they prove but weak and puny Adversaries. —MILTON, PREFACE TO Eikonoklastes
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2529-33  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:45 PM

Too, he could no longer muster quite the same malice towards these people. Drake had raised his sons to hate the nobility by wasting no opportunity to point out their privileges, and the way they profited from those privileges without really being aware of them. This sort of discourse had wrought extraordinarily, not only in Drake’s sons but in every Dissident meeting-house in the land, and led to Cromwell and much else; but Cromwell had made Puritans powerful, and as Daniel was now seeing, that power—as if it were a living thing with a mind of its own—was trying to pass itself on to him, which would mean that Daniel was a child of privilege too.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2533-37  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:46 PM

The tables of the Philosophical Language were finished: a vast fine-meshed net drawn through the Cosmos so that everything known, in Heaven and Earth, was trapped in one of its myriad cells. All that was needed to identify a particular thing was to give its location in the tables, which could be expressed as a series of numbers. Wilkins came up with a system for assigning names to things, so that by breaking a name up into its component syllables, one could know its location in the Tables, and hence what thing it referred to.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2541-43  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:46 PM

Sir Robert Moray came to visit, and ground up a bit of the unicorn’s horn to make a powder, which he sprinkled in a ring, and placed a spider in the center of the ring. But the spider kept escaping. Moray pronounced the horn to be a fraud.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2596-2600  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:53 PM

Daniel, in other words, had a lot of time to think that day. Cells, spiders’ eyes, unicorns’ horns, compressed and rarefied air, dramatic cures for deafness, philosophical languages, and flying chariots were all perfectly fine subjects, but lately Hooke’s interest had been straying into matters coelestial, and that made Daniel think about his roommate. Just as certain self-styled philosophers in minor European courts were frantic to know what Hooke and Wilkins were up to at Epsom, so Daniel wanted only to know what Isaac was doing up at Woolsthorpe.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2602-8  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:54 PM

“This proves nothing,” Hooke said as they rode home through the dark. “The scale is not precise enough. But if one were to construct a clock, driven by a pendulum, in a sealed glass vessel, so that changes in moisture and baroscopic pressure would not affect its speed . . . and if one were to run that clock in the bottom of a well for a long period of time . . . any difference in the pendulum’s weight would be manifest as a slowing, or quickening, of the clock.” “But how would you know that it was running slow or fast?” Daniel asked. “You’d have to compare it against another clock.” “Or against the rotation of the earth,” Hooke said. But it seemed that Daniel’s question had thrown him into a dark mood, and he said nothing more until they had reached Epsom, after midnight.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2643-47  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:58 PM

A few moments previously, he’d mastered a daft impulse to tackle his royal highness before his royal highness reached the kitchen, for fear that his royal highness would be disgusted by what was going on in there. But he’d not reckoned on the fact that the Duke, young though he was, had fought in a lot of battles, both at sea and on land. Which was to say that as bad as this business with the dog was, the Duke of York had seen much worse done to humans. The R.S., far from seeming like a band of mad ruthless butchers, were dilettantes by his standards. Further grounds (as if any were wanted!) for Daniel to feel queasy.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2647-51  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:58 PM

Daniel really knew of no way to regulate his actions other than to be rational. Princes were taught a thing or two about being rational, as they were taught to play a little lute and dance a passable ricercar. But what drove their actions was their own force of will; in the end they did as they pleased, rational or not. Daniel had liked to tell himself that rational thought led to better actions than brute force of will; yet here was the Duke of York all but rolling his eyes at them and their experiment, seeing naught that was new.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2658-65  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 08:59 PM

“Surely with so many clever Doctors in the Royal Society, working on artificial breath and such, there must be some thought of how to cure a man such as my friend.” And his wife and his children, Daniel thought, for James must have either gotten it from, or passed it on to, Anne Hyde, who had therefore probably given it to the daughters, Mary and Anne. To date, James’s older brother the King had not been able to produce any legitimate children. There were plenty of bastards like Monmouth. But none eligible to inherit the throne. And so this nasty thing that James had brought back from France was really a matter of whether the Stuart dynasty was to survive. This raised a fascinating side question. With a whole cottage full of Royal Society Fellows to choose from, why had James carefully chosen to speak with the one who happened to be the son of a Phanatique? “It is a sensitive matter,” the Duke remarked, “the sort of thing that stains a man’s honor, if it is bandied about.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2676-81  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 09:00 PM

They’d come here supposedly as refugees from the Black Death, but really they were fleeing their own ignorance—they hungered for understanding, and were like starving wretches who had broken into a lord’s house and gone on an orgy of gluttonous feasting, wolfing down new meals before they could digest, or even chew, the old ones. It had lasted for the better part of a year, but now, as the sun rose over the aftermath of the artificial breath experiment, they were scattered around, blinking stupidly at the devastated kitchen, with its dog-ribs strewn all over the floor, and huge jars of preserved spleens and gall-bladders, specimens of exotic parasites nailed to planks or glued to panes of glass, vile poisons bubbling over on the fire, and suddenly they felt completely disgusted with themselves.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2686-89  | Added on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 09:01 PM

Isaac had sent him a letter: “Require asst. w/obs. of Venus pls. come if you can.” He had wondered at the time if this might be something veiled. But standing there in that dew-silvered field with his back to the house of carnage and nothing before him but the Dawn Star, Daniel remembered what Isaac had said years ago about the natural harmony between the heavenly orbs and the orbs we view them with. Four hours later he was riding north on a borrowed horse.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2733-37  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:10 AM

“The explosion—?” “ ’Twas a grenade. We have a few retired grenadiers in our number—” “You threw a bomb into someone else’s boat?” “Aye, and then—if all went according to plan—our Filipinos—former pearl divers, excellent swimmers—climbed over the gunwales with daggers in their teeth and cut a few throats—” “But that’s mad! This is Massachusetts!” Dappa chuckles. “Aye. That it is.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2746-48  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:11 AM

He discovereth the depe & secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkenes, and the light dwelleth with him. —Daniel 2:22
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2762-65  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:13 AM

He turned off the lane. The house was set back from it not more than twenty feet. Set above the door was a coat of arms carved into the stone: on a blank shield, a pair of human thigh-bones crossed. A Jolly Roger, minus skull. Daniel sat on his horse and contemplated its sheer awfulness for a while and savored the dull, throbbing embarrassment of being English. He was waiting for a servant to notice his arrival.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2768-74  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:14 AM

Daniel had noticed that there were some families (like the Waterhouses) skilled at presenting a handsome façade to the world, no matter what was really going on; it was all lies, of course, but at least it was a convenience to visitors. But there were other families where the emotional wounds of the participants never healed, never even closed up and scabbed over, and no one even bothered to cover them up—like certain ghastly effigies in Papist churches, with exposed bleeding hearts and gushing stigmata. Having dinner or even polite conversation with them was like sitting around the table participating in Hooke’s dog experiment—everything you did or said was another squeeze of the bellows, and you could stare right in through the vacancies in the rib cage and see the organs helplessly responding, the heart twitching with its own macabre internal power of perpetual motion.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2779-91  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:15 AM

“Isaac?” The head turned slightly. “It is I.” Daniel rode up out of the mud and into the apple-garden, then dismounted and tethered the horse to the low branch of an apple tree—a garland of white flowers. The petals were coming down from the apple-blossoms like snow. Daniel swung round Isaac in a wide Copernican arc, peering at him through the fragrant blizzard. Isaac’s hair had always been pale, and prematurely streaked with gray, but in the year since Daniel had seen him, he’d gone almost entirely silver. The hair fell about him like a hood—as Daniel came around to the front, he was expecting to see Isaac’s protruding eyes, but instead he saw two disks of gold looking back at him, as if Isaac’s eyes had been replaced by five-guinea coins. Daniel must have shouted, because Isaac said, “Don’t be alarmed. I fashioned these spectacles myself. I’m sure you know that gold is almost infinitely malleable—but did you know that if you pound it thin enough, you can see through it? Try them.” He took the spectacles off with one hand while clamping the other over his eyes. Daniel bobbled them because they were lighter than he’d expected—they had no lenses, just membranes of gold stretched like drum-heads over wire frames. As he raised them towards his face, their color changed. “They are blue!” “It is another clue about the nature of light,” Isaac said. “Gold is yellow—it reflects the part of light that is yellow, that is, but allows the remnant to pass through—which being deprived of its yellow part, appears blue.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2797-2804  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 12:16 AM

“I have made observations concerning the nature of Light that contradict the theories of Descartes, Boyle, and Huygens,” Isaac said. “I have divided the white light of the Sun into colors, and then recombined these rays to make white light again. I have done the experiment many times, changing the apparatus to rule out possible sources of error. But there is one I have yet to eliminate: the Sun is not a point source of light. Its face subtends a considerable arc in the heavens. Those who will seek to find fault with my work, and to attack me, will claim that this—the fact that the light entering my prism, from different parts of the Sun’s disk, strikes it from slightly different angles—renders my conclusions suspect, and therefore worthless. In order to defeat these objections I must repeat the experiments using light, not from the Sun, but from Venus—an almost infinitely narrow point of light. But the light from Venus is so faint that my burned eyes cannot see it. I need you to make the observations with your good eyes, Daniel. We begin tonight. Perhaps you’d care to take a nap?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2857-61  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 05:28 AM

Isaac fancied himself as a combination of Galileo and St. Anne, but that unlike Galileo he had no intention of knuckling under, and unlike St. Anne he would not end up riddled with his tormentors’ arrows—he was getting ready to catch the arrows, and fling them back. It was the sort of thing that Hooke never bothered with—because for Hooke being right was enough, and he didn’t care what anyone else thought of him or his ideas.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2874-79  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 05:30 AM

The earth spun and the ribbons of color migrated across the invisible wall, an inch a minute, pouring across the rough plaster like shining puddles of quicksilver driven before a steady wind, revealing, in gorgeous colors, tiny strips of the pictures that Isaac had drawn and scratched on those walls. Each of the little rainbows showed only a fragment of a picture, and each picture in turn was only part of Isaac’s tapestry of sketchings and scratchings, but Daniel supposed that if he stood there through a sufficient number of long cold nights and concentrated very hard, he might be able to assemble, in his mind, a rough conception of the entire thing. Which was the way he had to address Isaac Newton in any case.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3163-70  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 05:55 AM

Daniel could do nothing but sit. As a way of paying rent on this chair, he kept having more coffee brought out. The first sip had been tooth-looseningly unpleasant, like one of those exotic poisons that certain Royal Society members liked to brew. But he was startled to notice after a while that the cup was empty. This whole exercise had begun rather early in the day when no one of quality was awake, and when it was too cold and dewy to sit at the outdoor tables anyway. But as Daniel sat and pretended to read his newspaper, the sun swung up over York House and then Scotland Yard, the place became comfortable, and Personages began to occupy seats nearby, and to pretend to read their newspapers. He even sensed that in this very coffee-house were some members of the cast of characters he had heard about while listening to his siblings talk over the dinner table. Actually being here and mingling with them made him feel like a theatregoer relaxing after a performance with the actors—and in these racy times, actresses.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3249-53  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 06:04 AM

They were planning some sort of real estate development on the edge of the city—probably on that few acres of pasture out back of the Waterhouse residence. They would put up town-houses around the edges, make the center into a square, and along the square Sterling would put up shops. Rich people would move in, and the Waterhouses and their confederates would control a patch of land that would probably generate more rent than any thousand square miles of Ireland—basically, they would become farmers of rich people.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3339-54  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:16 PM

This Club of Vertuoso’s, upon a full Night, when some eminent Maggot-monger, for the Satisfaction of the Society, had appointed to demonstrate the Force of Air, by some hermetical Pot gun, to shew the Difference of the Gravity between the Smoak of Tobacco and that of Colts-foot and Bittany, or to try some other such like Experiment, were always compos’d of such an odd Mixture of Mankind, that, like a Society of Ringers at a quarterly Feast, here sat a fat purblind Philosopher next to a talkative Spectacle-maker; yonder a half-witted Whim of Quality, next to a ragged Mathematician; on the other Side a consumptive Astronomer next to a water-gruel Physician; above them, a Transmutator of Metals, next to a Philosopher-Stone-Hunter; at the lower End, a prating Engineer, next to a clumsy-fisted Mason; at the upper End of all, perhaps, an Atheistical Chymist, next to a whimsy-headed Lecturer; and these the learned of the Wise-akers wedg’d here and there with quaint Artificers, and noisy Operators, in all Faculties; some bending beneath the Load of Years and indefatigable Labour, some as thin-jaw’d and heavy-ey’d, with abstemious Living and nocturnal Study as if, like Pharaoh’s Lean Kine, they were designed by Heaven to warn the World of a Famine; others looking as wild, and disporting themselves as frenzically, as if the Disappointment of their Projects had made them subject to a Lunacy. When they were thus met, happy was the Man that could find out a new Star in the Firmament; discover a wry Step in the Sun’s Progress; assign new Reasons for the Spots of the Moon, or add one Stick to the Bundle of Faggots which have been so long burthensome to the back of her old Companion; or, indeed, impart any crooked Secret to the learned Society, that might puzzle their Brains, and disturb their Rest for a Month afterwards, in consulting upon their Pillows how to straiten the Project, that it might appear upright to the Eye of Reason, and the knotty Difficulty to be rectify’d, as to bring Honour to themselves, and Advantage to the Public. —NED WARD, The Vertuoso’s Club
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3365-67  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:17 PM

The Dog, that had a piece of his skin cut off at the former meeting, being enquired after, and the operator answering, that he had run away, it was ordered, that another should be provided against the next meeting for the grafting experiment. The president produced from Sir WILLIAM CURTIUS a hairy ball found in the belly of a cow.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3428-32  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:22 PM

John Wilkins brushed significantly past Daniel and stepped outside, plucking a pipe from a tobacco-box on the wall. Daniel joined him for a smoke on the street. It was a fine summer eve in Bishopsgate: on the far side of London Wall, lunaticks at Bedlam were carrying on vigorous disputes with angels, demons, or the spirits of departed relations, and on this side, the rhythmic yelping of a bone-saw came through a half-open window of Gresham’s College as a cabal of Bishops, Knights, Doctors, and Colonels removed the rib-cage from a living mongrel. The Dogg’s sign creaked above in a mild river-breeze.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3435-38  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:23 PM

“Mr. Oldenburg is the heart of the R.S.,” Bishop Wilkins began. “I would give that honor to you, or perhaps Mr. Hooke . . .” “Hold—I was not finished—I was launching a metaphor. Please remember that I’ve been preaching to rapt congregations, or at least they are pretending to be rapt—in any case, they sit quietly while I develop my metaphors.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3484-88  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:26 PM

Hooke, resentful: “The surface to be used could be stipulated: copper, or glass . . .” “If the force of gravity varies with altitude, how would that affect the height of the drop?” asked Daniel Waterhouse. “Do it at sea-level,” said Hooke, with a dollop of spleen. “Sea-level varies with the tides,” Pepys pointed out. “What of other planets?” Wilkins demanded thunderously. “Other planets!? We haven’t finished with this one!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3502  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:27 PM

“I note my Lord Gunfleet has taken up a sudden interest in Naval-gazing,” said Wilkins.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3526-31  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:29 PM

What was he doing in this carriage having this conversation, besides going out on a limb, and making a fool of himself? The real answer was known only to John Wilkins, Lord Bishop of Chester, Author of both the Cryptonomicon and the Philosophical Language, who encrypted with his left hand and made things known to all possible worlds with his right. Who’d gotten Daniel into Trinity College—invited him out to Epsom during the Plague—nominated him for the Royal Society—and now, it seemed, had something else in mind for him. Was Daniel here as an apprentice, sitting at the master’s knee? It was shockingly prideful, and radically non-Puritan, for him to think so—but he could come up with no other hypothesis.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3667-72  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:50 PM

There, mounted up high on a weatherbeaten stick, was a sort of irregular knot of stuff, barely visible as a gray speck in the moonlight: the head of Oliver Cromwell. When the King had come back, ten years ago, he’d ordered the corpse to be dug up from where Drake and the others had buried it, and the head cut off and mounted on a pike and never taken down. Ever since then Cromwell had been looking down helplessly upon a scene of unbridled lewdness that was Whitehall Palace. And now Cromwell, who had once dandled Drake’s youngest son on his knee, was looking down upon him. Daniel tilted his head back and looked up at the stars and supposed that seen from Drake’s perspective up in Heaven it must all look like Hell—and Daniel right in the middle of it.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3692-94  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:52 PM

I’ve considered decorating these walls with some graffiti of my own, and writing it in the Universal Character . . . but it’s too depressing. ‘Look, we have invented a new Philosophickal Language so that when we are imprisoned by Kings we can scratch a higher form of graffiti on our cell walls.’
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3814-18  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:05 PM

But then Daniel Waterhouse was right in the City of London—slightly confused, as some of the streets had been straightened and simplifed after the Fire. He pulled a fat gold egg from his pocket—one of Hooke’s experimental watches, a failed stab at the Longitude Problem, adequate only for landlubbers. It told him that the Phosphorus Demo’ was not quite finished at Whitehall, but that it was not too late to call on his in-laws. Daniel did not especially like to just call on people—seemed presumptuous to think they’d want to open the door and see him—but he knew that this was how men like Pepys got to become men like Pepys. So to the house of Ham.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3824-36  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:06 PM

Mayflower Ham, neé Waterhouse—tubby, fair, almost fifty, looking more like thirty—gave him a hug that pulled him up on tiptoe. Menopause had finally terminated her fantastically involved and complex relationship with her womb: a legendary saga of irregular bleeding, eleven-month pregnancies straight out of the Royal Society proceedings, terrifying primal omens, miscarriages, heartbreaking epochs of barrenness punctuated by phases of such explosive fertility that Uncle Thomas had been afraid to come near her—disturbing asymmetries, prolapses, relapses, and just plain lapses, hellish cramping fits, mysterious interactions with the Moon and other coelestial phenomena, shocking imbalances of all four of the humours known to Medicine plus a few known only to Mayflower, seismic rumblings audible from adjoining rooms—cancers reabsorbed—(incredibly) three successful pregnancies culminating in four-day labors that snapped stout bedframes like kindling, vibrated pictures off walls, and sent queues of vicars, midwives, physicians, and family members down into their own beds, ruined with exhaustion. Mayflower had (fortunately for her!) been born with that ability, peculiar to certain women, of being able to talk about her womb in any company without it seeming inappropriate, and not only that but you never knew where in a conversation, or a letter, she would launch into it, plunging everyone into a clammy sweat as her descriptions and revelations forced them to consider topics so primal that they were beyond eschatology—even Drake had had to shut up about the Apocalypse when Mayflower had gotten rolling. Butlers fled and serving-maids fainted. The condition of Mayflower’s womb affected the moods of England as the Moon ruled the tides.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3871-87  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:12 PM

“They are still warm!” he exclaimed. Uncle Thomas nodded. “From the Mint?” “Yes.” “You mean to tell me that the coins being stamped out at the Mint are, the very same night, melted down into bullion on Threadneedle Street?” Daniel was noticing, now, that the chimney of Apthorp’s shop, two doors up the street, was also smoking, and the same was true of diverse other goldsmiths up and down the length of Threadneedle. Uncle Thomas raised his eyebrows piously. “Where does it go then?” Daniel demanded. “Only a Royal Society man would ask,” said Sterling Waterhouse, who had slipped out to join them. “What do you mean by that, brother?” Daniel asked. Sterling was walking slowly towards him. Instead of stopping, he flung his arms out wide and collided with Daniel, embraced him and kissed him on the cheek. Not a trace of liquor on his breath. “No one knows where it goes—that is not the point. The point is that it goes—it moves—the movement ne’er stops—it is the blood in the veins of Commerce.” “But you must do something with the bullion—” “We tender it to gentlemen who give us something in return” said Uncle Thomas. “It’s like selling fish at Billingsgate—do the fishwives ask where the fish go?” “It’s generally known that silver percolates slowly eastwards, and stops in the Orient, in the vaults of the Great Mogul and the Emperor of China,” Sterling said. “Along the way it might change hands hundreds of times. Does that answer your question?” “I’ve already stopped believing I saw it,” Daniel said, and went back into the house, his thin shoe-leather bending over irregular paving-stones, his dull dark clothing hanging about him coarsely, the iron banister cold under his hand—he was a mote bobbing in a mud-puddle and only wanted to be back in the midst of fire and heat and colored radiance.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3889-96  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:13 PM

“Quicksilver is the elementary form of all things fusible; for all things fusible, when melted, are changed into it, and it mingles with them because it is of the same substance with them . . .” “Who said that?” Sterling asked—keeping an eye on his little brother, who was showing signs of instability. “Some damned Alchemist,” Daniel answered. “I have given up hope, tonight, of ever understanding money.” “It’s simple, really . . .” “And yet it’s not simple at all,” Daniel said. “It follows simple rules—it obeys logic—and so Natural Philosophy should understand it, encompass it—and I, who know and understand more than almost anyone in the Royal Society, should comprehend it. But I don’t. I never will . . . if money is a science, then it is a dark science, darker than Alchemy. It split away from Natural Philosophy millennia ago, and has gone on developing ever since, by its own rules . . .”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3972-78  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:20 PM

“Going after the Philosophic Mercury, Isaac?” “What else is there to do?” “The R.S. adores your telescope,” Daniel said. “Oldenburg wants you to write more on the subject.” “Mmm,” Isaac said, lost in thought, comparing passages in three different books to one another. “Could you hold this for a moment, please?” Which was how Daniel came to be a human book-rest for Isaac. Not that he was in any condition to accomplish greater things. In his lap for the next hour was a tome: folio-sized, four inches thick, bound in gold and silver, obviously made centuries before Gutenberg. Daniel was going to blurt, This must have been fantastically expensive, but on closer investigation found a book-plate pasted into it, bearing the arms of Upnor, and a note from the Earl:
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4182-84  | Added on Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:35 PM

Within a few minutes, anyway, they were at Wilkins’s house. Pepys left his assistant and his papers below in the carriage and pounded up stairs holding the bladder-stone in his hand like a questing knight brandishing a fragment of the Cross.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4649-53  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 12:44 AM

Roger Comstock and the other minions looked crestfallen to learn that Professor Newton would be leaving them, but Locke and Boyle and LeFebure took it in stride. Newton made himself presentable very quickly—this being why academics loved robes, and fops loathed them. A contingent of five Royal Society members—Boyle, Locke, LeFebure, Waterhouse, and Newton—set out across the Great Court of Trinity College. All were in long black robes and mortar-boards save Newton, who led the way, a cardinal pursued by a flock of crows, a vivid red mark on the Trinity green.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4653-58  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 12:45 AM

“I HAVEN’T SEEN THIS PLAY,” Locke said, “but I have seen one or two from which the story and characters of this one were . . . uh . . .” Newton: “Stolen.” Boyle: “Inspired.” LeFebure: “Appropriated.” Locke: “Adapted, and so I can inform you that a ship has run aground in a storm, near a castle, the seat of a foppish courtier probably named something like Percival Kidney or Reginald Mumblesleeve—” “Francis Buggermy, according to the Playbill,” Daniel put in. Isaac turned around and glared at him.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4807-11  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 12:54 AM

Once the characteristic numbers of most notions are determined, the human race will have a new kind of tool, a tool that will increase the power of the mind much more than optical lenses helped our eyes, a tool that will be as far superior to microscopes or telescopes as reason is to vision. —LEIBNIZ, Philosophical Essays, trans. by Arlew and Garber
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4867-74  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 12:58 AM

“There was—” and here the man’s English gave way. He made a helpless, encompassing gesture. “Fog!” “Fog,” he repeated. “Did you hear guns?” “A few—but very likely they were only signals. Coded data speeding through the fog, so opaque to light, but so transparent to sound—” and here he lost control of his intellectual sphincters and began to think out loud in French, fortified with Latin, working out a system for sending encrypted data from place to place using explosions, building on ideas from Wilkins’s Cryptonomicon but marrying them to a practical plan that, in its lavish expenditure of gunpowder, would be sure to please John Comstock. In other words, he identified himself (to Daniel anyway) as Dr. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. The watchers lost interest and began aiming their questions at another boat.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4907-12  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:00 AM

“And yet viewing several depictions of even an imaginary city, is enlightening in a way,” Leibniz said. “Each painter can view the city from only one standpoint at a time, so he will move about the place, and paint it from a hilltop on one side, then a tower on the other, then from a grand intersection in the middle—all on the same canvas. When we look at the canvas, then, we glimpse in a small way how God understands the universe—for he sees it from every point of view at once. By populating the world with so many different minds, each with its own point of view, God gives us a suggestion of what it means to be omniscient.” Daniel decided to step back and let Leibniz’s words reverberate, as organ-chords must do in Lutheran churches.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 4944  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:13 AM


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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4942-48  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:13 AM

“A few very good years in mathematics, sir. And it also contains certain unpublished manuscripts of Descartes and Pascal.” “But none of the classics?” “I had the good fortune to be raised, or to raise myself, in my father’s library, which contained all of them.” “Your father was mathematickally inclined?” “Difficult to say. As a traveler comprehends a city only by viewing pictures of it drawn from differing standpoints, I know my father only by having read the books that he read.” “I understand the similitude now, Doctor. The Bibliothèque du Roi then gives you the closest thing that currently exists to God’s understanding of the world.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5042-50  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:20 AM

who gave me the job of reforming the legal code—which was a Tower of Babel—Roman and Germanic and local common law all mangled together. I concluded that there was little point in jury-rigging something. What was needed was to break everything down into certain basic concepts and begin from first principles.” “I can see how the Philosophical Language would be useful in breaking things down,” Daniel said, “but to build them back up, you would need something else—” “Logic,” Leibniz said. “Logic has a dismal reputation among the higher primates in the Royal Society—” “Because they associate it with the Scholastic pedants who tormented them in university,” Leibniz said agreeably. “I’m not talking about that sort of thing! When I say logic, I mean Euclidean.” “Begin with certain axioms and combine them according to definite rules—” “Yes—and build up a system of laws that is as provable, and as internally consistent, as the theory of conic sections.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5069-74  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:22 AM

“If I can explain to Mr. Hooke the importance of this device, I’m confident he’ll undertake it.” “You don’t understand Hooke,” Daniel said. “Because you are German, and because you have diverse foreign connections, Hooke will assume you are a part of the Grubendolian cabal—which in his mind looms so vast that a French invasion of Egypt would be only a corner of it.” “Grubendol?” Leibniz said. Then, before Daniel could say it, he continued, “I see—it is an anagram for Oldenburg.” Daniel ground his teeth for a while, remembering how long it had taken him to decipher the same anagram, then continued:
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5123-40  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:27 AM

“Then I repeat my question: What is a number? And what is it to multiply two numbers?” “Whatever it is, Doctor, it is different from thinking.” “Bacon said, ‘Whatever has sufficient differences, perceptible by the sense, is in nature competent to express cogitations.’ You cannot deny that numbers are in that sense competent—” “To express cogitation, yes! But to express cogitations is not to perform them, or else quills and printing-presses would write poetry by themselves.” “Can your mind manipulate this spoon directly?” Leibniz said, holding up a silver spoon, and then setting it down on the table between them. “Not without my hands.” “So, when you think about the spoon, is your mind manipulating the spoon?” “No. The spoon is unaffected, no matter what I think about it.” “Because our minds cannot manipulate physical objects—cup, saucer, spoon—instead they manipulate symbols of them, which are stored in the mind.” “I will accept that.” “Now, you yourself helped Lord Chester devise the Philosophical Language, whose chief virtue is that it assigns all things in the world positions in certain tables—positions that can be encoded by numbers.” “Again, I agree that numbers can express cogitations, through a sort of encryption. But performing cogitations is another matter entirely!” “Why? We add, subtract, and multiply numbers.” “Suppose the number three represents a chicken, and the number twelve the Rings of Saturn—what then is three times twelve?” “Well, you can’t just do it at random,” Leibniz said, “any more than Euclid could draw lines and circles at random, and come up with theorems. There has to be a formal system of rules, according to which the numbers are combined.” “And you propose building a machine to do this?” “Pourquoi non? With the aid of a machine, truth can be grasped as if pictured on paper.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5141-54  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:34 AM

“How do you suppose God gives it to us?” “I do not pretend to know, sir!” “If you take a man’s brain and distill him, can you extract a mysterious essence—the divine presence of God on Earth?” “That is called the Philosophick Mercury by Alchemists.” “Or, if Hooke were to peer into a man’s brain with a good enough microscope, would he see tiny meshings of gears?” Daniel said nothing. Leibniz had imploded his skull. The gears were jammed, the Philosophick Mercury dribbling out his ear-holes. “You’ve already sided with Hooke, and against Newton, concerning snowflakes—so may I assume you take the same position concerning brains?” Leibniz continued, now with exaggerated politeness. Daniel spent a while staring out the window at a point far away. Eventually his awareness came back into the coffee-house. He glanced, a bit furtively, at the arithmetical engine. “There is a place in Micrographia where Hooke describes the way flies swarm around meat, butterflies around flowers, gnats around water—giving the semblance of rational behavior. But he thinks it is all because of internal mechanisms triggered by the peculiar vapors arising from meat, flowers, et cetera. In other words, he thinks that these creatures are no more rational than a trap, where an animal seizing a piece of bait pulls a string that fires a gun. A savage watching the trap kill the animal might suppose it to be rational. But the trap is not rational—the man who contrived the trap is. Now, if you—the ingenious Dr. Leibniz—contrive a machine that gives the impression of thinking—is it really thinking, or merely reflecting your genius?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5164-67  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 01:35 AM

Leibniz raised his eyebrows and spent a few moments staring at the clutter of pots and cups on the table. “This is one of the two great labyrinths into which human minds are drawn: the question of free will versus predestination. You were raised to believe in the latter. You have rejected it—which must have been a great spiritual struggle—and become a thinker. You have adopted a modern, mechanical philosophy. But that very philosophy now seems to be leading you back towards predestination. It is most difficult.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5206-8  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 11:50 PM

There are plenty of men belowdecks who could be making contributions here, but they don’t come up. Daniel, beginning to get the hang of pirate-fighting, understands that van Hoek wants to hide the true size of his crew from Teach.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5210-12  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 11:50 PM

So they have to come about now and begin to work to windward, towards the open Atlantic. These simple terms—“come about,” for example—denote procedures that are as complicated and tradition-bound as the installation of a new Pope.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5212-16  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 11:51 PM

They take up positions on the forecastledeck or shinny out onto the bowsprit, but politely step aside for the wiry foretopmen who begin their laborious ascent up the fore shrouds to work the topsails and things higher up the foremast. It is a bristling and tangled thicket of nautical detail. Like watching fifty surgeons dissect fifty different animals at once—the kind of stuff that, half a century ago, would’ve fascinated Daniel, sucked him into this sort of life, made him a sea-captain.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5309-13  | Added on Friday, August 25, 2017, 11:58 PM

There were marble benches a-plenty, but he could not sit. Rage had taken him. Daniel was not especially susceptible to that passion. But he understood, now, why the Greeks had believed that Furies were angels of a sort, winged-swift, armed with whips and torches, rushing up out of Erebus to goad men unto madness. Roger, watching Daniel pace around the garden, might have convinced himself that his friend’s wild lunges and strides were being provoked by invisible lashes, and that his face had been scorched by torches. “O for a sword,” Daniel said.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5329-31  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:00 AM

Roger plainly had no idea what Daniel was talking about. “I don’t recall that—did you meet me in the street, before I left for Amsterdam? I probably did look wretched then.” Daniel now tried the Leibnizian experiment of rehearsing the explosion in the laboratory from Roger’s point of view.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5360-63  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:02 AM

“Just so—the Dutch sold France the grain that King Looie is using to conquer them! At any rate—I took my money from the Guinea Company shares, and took a large position in Amsterdam-grain just before King Looie bid the price up! Voilà! Now I’ve a Hooke-watch, a big wig, and a lot on fashionable Waterhouse Square!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5364-68  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:03 AM

“Dr. Leibniz—the Royal Society were quite taken with your Arithmetickal Engine,” Roger said. “But they did not like my mathematickal proofs,” said one dejected German savant. “On the contrary—they were acknowledged to be unusually elegant!” Daniel protested. “But there is no honor in elegantly proving a theorem in 1672 that some Scotsman proved barbarously in 1671!”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5512-13  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:14 AM

“During our last conversation, we spoke of the difficulty of reconciling a mechanical philosophy with free will. This problem has any number of resonances with the theological question of incarnation.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5516-23  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:15 AM

Likewise, when we debate whether a mechanism—such as a fly drawn to the smell of meat, or a trap, or an arithmetickal engine—is thinking by itself, or merely displaying the ingenuity of its creator, we are asking whether or not those engines have, in some sense, been imbued with an incorporeal principle or, vulgarly, spirit that, like God or an angel, possesses free will.” “Again, I hear an echo of the Scholastics in your words—” “But Mr. Waterhouse, you are making the common mistake of thinking that we must have Aristotle or Descartes—that the two philosophies are irreconcilable. On the contrary! We may accept modern, mechanistic explanations in physics, while retaining Aristotle’s concept of self-sufficiency.” “Forgive me for being skeptical of that—” “It is your responsibility to be skeptical, Mr. Waterhouse, no forgiveness is needed.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5525-29  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:15 AM

“Thought.” “Yes!” “Where is this principle to be found? The Cartesians think it’s in the pineal gland—” “It is not spread out through space in any such vulgar way—but the organization that it causes is distributed throughout the body—it informs the body—and we may know that it exists, by observing that information. What is the difference between a man who has just died, and one who is going to die in a few ticks of Mr. Hooke’s watch?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5533-37  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:16 AM

Do you recall our discussion of symbols? You admitted that your mind cannot manipulate a spoon directly—instead it must manipulate a symbol of the spoon, inside the mind. God could manipulate the spoon directly, and we would name it a miracle. But created minds cannot—they need a passive element through which to act.” “The body.” “Yes.” “But you say that Cogitatio and Computation are the same, Doctor—in the Philosophical Language, a single word would suffice for both.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5565-71  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:19 AM

“But Holland is soon to be overrun . . . you could not pick a worse place to be.” “The Dutch Republic has enough shipping to carry two hundred thousand persons out of Europe, and around the Cape of Good Hope to the furthermost islands of Asia, far out of reach of France.” “That is entirely too phantastickal for me to believe.” “Believe. The Dutch are already making plans for this. Remember, they made half of their land with the labor of their hands! What they did once in Europe, they can do again in Asia. If the last ditch is stormed, and the United Provinces fall under the heel of King Louis, I intend to be there, and I will board ship and go to Asia and help build a new Commonwealth—like the New Atlantis that Francis Bacon described.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5580-81  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:20 AM

It was funny in a painful way. God had given him the desire to be a great Natural Philosopher—then put him on earth in the midst of Newton, Hooke, and Leibniz.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5587-92  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:21 AM

These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame, Which into hallow Engins long and round Thick-rammed, at th’ other bore with touch of fire Dilated and infuriate shall send forth From far with thundring noise among our foes Such implements of mischief as shall dash To pieces, and oerwhelm whatever stands Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. —MILTON, Paradise Lost
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5663-73  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:27 AM

“Apologies, Doctor, didn’t know you’d come awake,” says a Looming Column of Shadow, speaking in Dappa’s voice, and stepping back to block the sun from Daniel’s face. “He’s parleying with certain pirates who rowed out from Teach’s flagship under a flag of truce.” “What do they want?” “They want you, Doctor.” “I don’t understand.” “You’re thinking too hard—there’s naught to understand—it is entirely simple,” Dappa says. “They rowed up and said, ‘Give us Dr. Waterhouse and all is forgotten.’” Dr. Waterhouse now ought to spend a long time being dumbstruck. But his stupefaction lasts only a little while. The sensation of nubby silk thread being drawn briskly through fresh holes in his flesh, makes serious reflection all but impossible. “You’ll do it—of course,” is the best he can come up with. “Any other captain would—but whoever arranged to put you aboard, must’ve known about Captain van Hoek’s feelings concerning pirates. Behold!” and Dappa steps out of the way to give Daniel an unobstructed view of a sight stranger than anything gawkers would pay to view at St. Bartholomew’s Fair: a hammer-handed man climbing up into the rigging of a ship. That is to say that one of his arms is terminated, not by a hand, and not by a hook, but by an actual hammer.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5683-85  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:29 AM

A fifth doctrine, that tendeth to the dissolution of a commonwealth, is, that every private man has an absolute propriety in his goods; such, as excludeth the right of the sovereign. —HOBBES, Leviathan
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5686-89  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:31 AM

DANIEL HAD NEVER been an actor on a stage, of course, but when he went to plays at Roger Comstock’s theatre—especially when he saw them for the fifth or sixth time—he was struck by the sheer oddity of these men (and women!) standing about on a platform prating the words of a script for the hundredth time and trying to behave as if hundreds of persons weren’t a few yards away goggling at them. It was strangely mannered, hollow, and false, and all who took part in it secretly wanted to strike the show and move on to something new.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5709-12  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:34 AM

After his stint as laboratory assistant during the Plague Year at Epsom, Charles had matriculated at Cambridge, where he’d been tutored by Daniel. He had been well on his way to being a competent Natural Philosopher. But now he was the scion of a great family, and never could be aught else, unless the family ceased to be great, or he ceased being a part of it.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5736-43  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:37 AM

RALEIGH: “Our newest tenant informs me you’ve decided to turn architect, Daniel.” STERLING: “We thought you were going to be a savant.” DANIEL: “All the other savants are doing it. Just the other day, Hooke figured out how arches work.” STERLING: “I should have thought that was known by now.” RALEIGH: “Do you mean to say all existing arches have been built on guesswork?” Sir Richard Apthorp: “Arches—and Financial Institutions.” DANIEL: “Christopher Wren is going to re-design all the arches in St. Paul’s, now that Hooke has explained them.” STERLING: “Good! Maybe the new one won’t become all bow-legged and down-at-heels, as the old one did.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5776-77  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:39 AM

RALEIGH: “The Duke of York! What bootlicking courtier was responsible for naming New York after him? ’Tis a perfectly acceptable city.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5793-96  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:41 AM

RALEIGH: “Our late brother-in-law was ruined, because the King borrowed all of his deposits—presumably at gunpoint—and then declined to pay ’em back—what mathematick principle will you use to prevent that?” APTHORP: “Why, the same one that you and your co-religionists have used in order to maintain your faith: tell the King to leave us alone.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5797-5800  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:41 AM

APTHORP: “I saw the King yesterday, and I tell you that he loves being bankrupt even less. I was born in the very year that the King seized the gold and silver that Drake and the other merchants had deposited in the Tower of London for safekeeping. Do you recall it?” RALEIGH: “Yes, ’twas a black year, and made rebels of many who only wanted to be merchants.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5801-5  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:42 AM

APTHORP: “Your brother-in-law’s business, and the practice of goldsmith’s notes, arose as a result—no one trusted the Tower any more.” STERLING: “And after today no one will trust goldsmiths, or their silly notes.” APTHORP: “Just so. And just as the Empty Tomb on Easter led, in the fullness of time, to a Resurrection . . .” DANIEL: “I am stopping up mine ears now—if the conversation turns Christian, wave your hands about.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5817-18  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:44 AM

These were paunchy mercers who simply wanted to know where all of their money had got to. The answer was that it had gone to wherever it goes when markets crash.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5859-63  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:48 AM

“Paris!” Leibniz said, as if it were the only thing that could get him through the next few days. “When I get back to the Bibliothèque du Roi, I will turn all of my efforts to mathematics.” “You don’t want to complete the Arithmetickal Engine?” It was the first time Daniel had ever seen the Doctor show annoyance. “I am a philosopher, not a watchmaker. The philosophickal problems associated with the Arithmetickal Engine have already been solved . . . I have found my way out of that labyrinth.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5863-68  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:48 AM

“That reminds me of something you said on your first day in London, Doctor. You mentioned that the question of free will versus predestination is one of the two great labyrinths into which the mind is drawn. What, pray tell, is the other?” “The other is the composition of the continuum, or: what is space? Euclid assures us that we can divide any distance in half, and then subdivide each of them into smaller halves, and so on, ad infinitum. Easy to say, but difficult to understand . . .” “It is more difficult for metaphysicians than for mathematicians, I think,” Daniel said. “As in so many other fields, modern mathematics has given us tools to work with things that are infinitely small, or infinitely large.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 5870  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:49 AM


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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5868-72  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:49 AM

“Perhaps I am too much of a metaphysician, then,” Leibniz said. “I take it, sir, that you are referring to the techniques of infinite sequences and series?” “Just so, Doctor. But as usual, you are overly modest. You have already demonstrated, before the Royal Society, that you know as much of those techniques as any man alive.” “But to me, they do not resolve our confusion, so much as give us a way to think about how confused we are. For example—”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5878-84  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:50 AM

“If you sum this series, it will slowly converge on pi. So we have a way to approach the value of pi—to reach toward it, but never to grasp it . . . much as the human mind can approach divine things, and gain an imperfect knowledge of them, but never look God in the face.” “It is not necessarily true that infinite series must be some sort of concession to the unknowable, Doctor . . . they can clarify, too! My friend Isaac Newton has done wizardly things with them. He has learned to approximate any curve as an infinite series.” Daniel took the stick from Leibniz, then swept out a curve in the dirt. “Far from detracting from his knowledge, this has extended his grasp, by giving him a way to calculate the tangent to a curve at any point.” He carved a straight line above the curve, grazing it at one point.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5888-95  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:51 AM

“I thought Newton only did Alchemy,” Leibniz said. “From time to time, Oldenburg or Comstock or I cajole him into writing out some of his mathematical work.” “Perhaps I need more cajoling,” Leibniz said. “Huygens can cajole you, when you get back.” Leibniz shrugged violently, as if Huygens were sitting astride his neck, and needed to be got rid of. “He has tutored me well, to this point. But if all he can do is give me problems that have already been solved by some Englishman, it must mean that he knows no more mathematics than I do.” “And Oldenburg is cajoling you—but to do the wrong thing.” “I shall endeavour to have an Arithmetickal Engine built in Paris, to satisfy Oldenburg,” Leibniz sighed. “It is a worthy project, but for now it is a project for a mechanic.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5895-98  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:51 AM

They came into the light of another street-lamp. Daniel took advantage of it to look at his companion’s face, and gauge his mood. Leibniz looked a good deal more resolute than he had beneath the previous street-lamp. “It is childish of me to expect older men to tell me what to do,” the Doctor said. “No one told me to think about free will versus predestination. I plunged into the middle of the labyrinth, and became thoroughly lost, and then had no choice but to think my way out of it.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5949-55  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:55 AM

“The gunners never even see what is inside of it!” Hooke nodded. “The only powder that the gunners need concern themselves with is the priming-powder that is poured into the touch-hole and used to communicate fire to the bag.” “Then those gunners are trusting the ones who sew up the bags—trusting them with their lives,” Daniel said. “If the wrong sort of powder were used—” and he faltered, and went over and dipped his fingers once more into the bag before him to feel the consistency of the powder inside. The difference between it and the Comstock powder was like that between flour and sand. “Your discourse is strangely like that of John Comstock when he delivered that bag and that keg to me,” Hooke said.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5975-77  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:57 AM

There might be other such bags in other magazines, but they are mostly on the bottom of the sea, thanks to Admiral de Ruyter. We have lost the war, and it must be blamed on someone. Someone other than the King and the Duke of York. Comstock has now come to understand that it is being blamed on him.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5978-88  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12:58 AM

Hooke had rigged an articulated rod to the back of the piston, and connected the rod to a system of cranks. Now, by means of a tiny touch-hole in the base of the cylinder, he introduced fire to the chamber. Thump. The piston snapped up to the top of the bore much faster than Daniel could flinch away from it. This caused an instant of violent motion in the gear-train, which had the effect of winding a spring that spiraled around in a whirling hoop the size of a dinner-plate. A ratchet stopped this from unwinding. Hooke then re-arranged the gears so that the giant watch-spring was connected, by a string wound around a tapered drum, to the drive-shaft of a peculiar helical object, very light-weight, made of parchment stretched on a frame of steam-bent cane. Like a Screw of Archimedes. The spring unwound slowly, spinning the screw swiftly and steadily. Standing at one end of it, Daniel felt a palpable breeze, which continued for more than a minute—Hooke timed it with his latest watch. “Properly wrought, and fed with gunpowder at regular intervals, it might generate enough wind to blow itself off the ground,” Hooke said. “Supplying the gunpowder would be difficult,” Daniel said. “I only use it because I have some,” Hooke said. “Now that Anglesey has been elected President of the Royal Society, I look forward to experimenting with combustible vapors in its stead.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6044-51  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:21 AM

Believing in Roger’s innocence lifted from Daniel’s shoulders an immense weight that he had not been sensible of until it was gone. This felt so good that it triggered a few moments of Puritanical self-examination. Anything that felt so good might be a trick of the devil. Was he only feigning trust in Roger, because it felt good? “How can you go on associating with those people when you know the atrocious thing they have done?” “I was going to ask you.” “I beg your pardon?” “You have been associating with them since the Plague Year, Daniel, at every meeting of the Royal Society.” “But I did not know they were doing murder!” “On the contrary, Daniel, you have known it ever since that night at Trinity twelve years ago when you watched Louis Anglesey murder one of your brethren.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6054-56  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:21 AM

The terms of the transaction finally were clear. Why did Daniel refuse to hate Roger? Not out of blindness to Roger’s faults, for he saw Roger’s moral cowardice as clearly as Hooke peering through a lens at a newt. Not out of Christian forgiveness, either. He refused to hate Roger because Roger saw moral cowardice in Daniel, had done so for years, and yet did not hate Daniel. Fair’s fair. They were brothers.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6059-63  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:22 AM

When she and the other woman were finished laughing at the look on Daniel’s face, she leaned forward and got her fingers all entangled with his. She was shockingly and alarmingly alive—somewhat more alive, in fact, than he was. She looked him in the eyes and spoke in her French accent: “Twooly, Daniel, eet eez ze hrole of a lifetime—portraying ze mistress of a gentlemen who eez too pure—too spiritual—to sink zee thoughts of zee flesh.” Then a middling London accent. “But really I prefer the challenging parts. The ability to do them’s what separates me from Nell Gwyn.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6105-8  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:26 AM

“Do not become stupid now, just because you are seeing his face,” Roger said to him. “That man was a Cavalier. He led cavalry charges against the Parliamentarian foot-soldiers. Do you know what that means? Do you see that great bloody awful painting there of Comstock’s great-uncle and his friends galloping after that fox? Replace the fox with a starving yeoman, unarmed, alone, and you have a fair picture of how that man spent the Civil War.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6145-51  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:29 AM

Tess was right. He had found his place now: he was just another actor, albeit he would never appear on a stage, and would have to make up his own lines ad libitum. His role, as he could see plainly enough, was to be a leading Dissident who also happened to be a noted savant, a Fellow of the Royal Society. Until lately he would not have thought this a difficult role to play, since it was so close to the truth. But whatever illusions Daniel might once have harbored about being a man of God had died with Drake, and been cremated by Tess. He very much phant’sied being a Natural Philosopher, but that simply was not going to work if he had to compete against Isaac, Leibniz, and Hooke. And so the role that Roger Comstock had written for him was beginning to appear very challenging indeed. Perhaps, like Tess, he would come to prefer it that way.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6161-64  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:30 AM

Pain scares him, death doesn’t especially (he never expected to live so long!), but chaos, and the feeling that the world is not behaving according to rational laws, put him into the same state of animal terror as a dog who’s being dissected alive but cannot understand why. To him the rolling eyes of those bound and muzzled dogs have ever been the touchstone of fear.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6177-80  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:32 AM

“Suffice it to say that she is not leewardly. Her apparent course is as close as it can be to her true course.” “And you’d like to know, whether the same is true of yonder schooner,” Daniel says. “It is not unlike the problem an astronomer faces, when—imprisoned as he is on a whirling and hurtling planet—he tries to plot the true trajectory of a comet through the heavens.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6206-8  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:34 AM

Daniel passes an extraordinarily pleasant half-hour turning Dappa’s steady observations into sines and cosines, conic sections and fluxions. Pleasant because it is imbued with the orderliness that taketh away his fear. Not to mention a fascination that makes him forget the throbbing and pulling stitches in his flesh.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6225-26  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:36 AM

To out-sail a pirate, he insists, is a sweeter revenge than to out-fight him.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6226-29  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 01:36 AM

So van Hoek orders Minerva to come about and point herself toward England. The men who’ve been manning the guns are told to make like Cincinnatus, walking away from their implements of war at the very moment of their victory so that they may apply themselves to peaceful toils: in this case, spreading every last sail that the ship can carry.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6242-46  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:02 AM

There is, doubtless, as much skill in pourtraying a Dunghill, as in describing the finest Palace, since the Excellence of Things lyes in the Performance; and Art as well as Nature must have some extraordinary Shape or Quality if it come up to the pitch of Human Fancy, especially to please in this Fickle, Uncertain Age. — Memoirs of the Right Villanous John Hall, 1708
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6302-8  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:10 AM

There, the parson set up a sort of impromptu Bible study class, the purpose of which was to get the mudlarks to memorize the 51st Psalm. Or, failing that, at least the first bit: Have mercie upon me, o God, according to they loving kindenes: according to the multitude of thy compassions put awaie mine iniquities. Wash me throughly from mine iniquities, and clense me from my sin. For I knowe mine iniquities, & my sinne is ever before me. Against thee, against thee onely have I sinned, & done evil in thy sight, that thou maiest be just when thou speakest, and pure when thou judgest. Behold, I was borne in iniquitie, and in sinne hath my mother conceived me.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6308-12  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:14 AM

Quite a mouthful, that, for mudlarks, but these were more diligent pupils than any Clerke of Oxenford. For on the day that they were marched down the straight and narrow passage to the Old Bailey and brought below the magistrate’s balcony, an open Bible was laid in front of them, and they recited these lines. Which, by the evidentiary standards then prevailing in English courts, proved that they could read. Which proved that they were clergymen. Which rendered them beyond the reach of the criminal courts; for clergymen were, by long-hallowed tradition, subject only to the justice of the ecclesiastical courts. Since these no longer existed, the mudlarks were sent free.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6325-30  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:17 AM

Cole, more solemn than the others, explained to Jack and Bob that when the executioner “turned him off,” which was to say, body-checked him off the cart and left him to hang by his neck, Cole would very much appreciate it if Jack could grab his left leg and Bob his right, or the other way round if they preferred, and hang there, pulling him down with their combined weight, so that he’d die faster. In exchange for this service, he told them of a loose board in the floor of a certain shack on the Isle of Dogs beneath which they could find hidden treasure. He laid out the terms of this transaction with admirable coolness, as if he were hanged by the neck until dead every Friday.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6357-61  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:19 AM

After a few moments of dangling from the rope, Cole began to kick vigorously. Jack was tempted to let go, but the tremors coming down Cole’s legs reminded him of what he’d felt in the rope when poor Dick had been dragged down beneath the river, and he held on by imagining that this was some kind of vengeance. Bob must’ve had the same phant’sy, for both boys gripped their respective legs like stranglers until Cole finally went limp. When they realized he was pissing himself, they both let go at once and tumbled into the foetid dust below the gibbet.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6437-46  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:36 AM

And damn my frugal self. For, at a cost That scarce exceeds an evening at the pub, Might I have hired those exc’llent Shaftoe boys, Young Jack, and Bob, the elder of the pair, To dangle from my legs, which lacking ballast, Do flail most ineffectu’lly in the air, And make a sort of entertainment for The mobile. Bob removes the noose from Jack’s neck. But soft! The end approaches— Earth fades—new worlds unfold before my eyes— Can this be heaven? It seemeth warm, as if A brazier had been fir’d ‘neath the ground. Perhaps it is the warmth of God’s sweet love That so envelops me.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6462-64  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:37 AM

When a woman is thus left desolate and void of counsel, she is just like a bag of money or a jewel dropt on the highway, which is a prey to the next comer. —DANIEL DEFOE, Moll Flanders
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6484-90  | Added on Saturday, August 26, 2017, 02:39 AM

This rich man had hired Jack and arranged for him to get something called a Plague Pass: a large document in that Gothickal German script with occasional excursions into something that looked like either Latin (when it was desirable to invoke the mercy and grace of God) or French (for sucking up to King Looie, only one rung below God at this point).* By flourishing this at the right times, Jack was able to carry out his mission, which was to go into Strasbourg; proceed to the rich man’s dwelling; wash off the red chalk crosses that marked it as a plague-house; pry off the deals he’d nailed over the doors and windows; chase out any squatters; fend off any looters; and live in it for a while. If, after a few weeks, Jack hadn’t died of the plague, he was to send word to this rich man in the country that it was safe to move back in.
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The New Oxford American Dictionary
- Highlight Loc. 600396-406  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 12:47 AM

pa·lat·i·nate  n. HISTORICAL a territory under the jurisdiction of a count palatine.  (the Palatinate) the territory of the German Empire ruled by the count palatine of the Rhine.
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The New Oxford American Dictionary
- Highlight Loc. 600413-23  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 12:47 AM

pal·a·tine 1  adj. [usu. postpositive] CHIEFLY HISTORICAL (of an official or feudal lord) having local authority that elsewhere belongs only to a sovereign.  (of a territory) subject to this authority.  late Middle English: from French palatin(e), from Latin palatinus 'of the palace'.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7326-29  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 12:50 AM

A month aboard ship taught me that there’s no freedom at all to be had on the high seas. Oh, the ship might be moving. But all water looks the same, and while you wait for land to crawl over the horizon, you’re locked up in a box with a lot of insufferable fools. And pirate-ships are no different. There is no end of rules as to how booty and swag are to be collected, valued, and divided among the numerous different classes and ranks of pirates.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7451-54  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:08 AM

Besides which, the entire scene of motley Vagabonds gutting and mutilating these immense fifty-year-old carp had become almost as strange and apocalyptic as anything they’d seen in the Turk’s camp, and they just wanted to put it behind them. Before dark, Jack and Eliza were northbound. That night, for the first time, it got so chilly that they were obliged to sleep curled up next to the fire under the same blanket, which meant Eliza slept soundly and Jack hardly at all.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7472-74  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:10 AM

Their first month at the hot springs, then, consisted of small struggles won and forgotten the next day, and nothing passed between them except for the simple plans and affairs of peasants. But eventually things settled to the point where they did not have to spend every moment in toil. Jack did not care one way or the other. But Eliza let it be known that certain matters had been on her mind the entire time.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7481-86  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:11 AM

“What’s this?” Jack asked. “Keeping you alive isn’t enough? I’m to provide entertainment as well?” “You seem reluctant to talk about this. Perhaps you’re a bit melancholy, too?” “You have this clever little mind that never stops working. You’re going to put my stories to ill-considered purposes. There are certain details, not really important, in which you’ll take an unwholesome interest.” “Jack, we’re living like brutes in the middle of the wilderness—what could I possibly do with a story as old as I am? And for God’s sake, what else is there to do, when I lack thread and needles?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7503-5  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:13 AM

Sir Winston pulled what few strings were available to him—probably whined about his great loyalty during the Interregnum—and got John appointed as a page to James, the Duke of York—the King’s Papist brother—who, last I heard, was up in Edinburgh, going out of his mind and torturing Scotsmen.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7507-8  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:14 AM

“Don’t pretend to admire me—you know my secrets. We plugged away at duties Regimental. John Churchill went to Tangiers for a few years to fight Barbary Pirates.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7717-21  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:46 AM

He did think about mentioning it, and then leading an ambush himself, but he knew that in that event he’d ride away without Eliza, the one woman in the world, or at least the only one he personally knew, capable of providing him with carnal satisfaction. He understood then why Herr Geidel had observed his conversations with Eliza so intently—trying to see whether Jack could be trusted. Apparently he’d concluded Eliza had Jack well in hand. This did not sit well with Jack—but he’d be rid of Herr Geidel soon enough, though not of Eliza.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7740-43  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 01:49 AM

Queer signs and effigies, frequently in gold leaf, loomed on the fronts of the buildings: a golden snake, a Turk’s head, a red lion, a golden bear. So they were a bit like English taverns, which had effigies instead of names, so that people like Jack, who could not read, could know them. But they were not taverns. They were like large town-houses, with many windows, and each had this large vaulted opening giving way to a courtyard full of Bedlam.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7823-28  | Added on Sunday, August 27, 2017, 09:24 AM

“Why not let’s wait until we actually have money to buy kuxen with?” Jack pleaded. “Jack, it is all the same—if we want kuxen, why pass through the intermediate step of exchanging silk or ostrich-plumes for coin, and then coin for kuxen, when we could simply exchange silk or plumes for kuxen?” “Ow, that one was like a stave to the bridge of the nose. You’re saying—” “I’m saying that at Leipzig all goods—silk, coins, shares in mines—lose their hard dull gross forms and liquefy, and give up their true nature, as ores in an alchemist’s furnace sweat mercury—and all mercury is mercury and can be freely swapped for mercury of like weight—indeed cannot be distinguished from it.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7969-79  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:15 AM

“Well, if he founded it, it’s his journal, so why’s he got leeches in his breeches?” “Ssh! All the savants of Europe will read the words on that page—they must be perfect.” “Then why doesn’t he take it with him and work on it some more? This is no place to make anything perfect.” “It has been finished for years,” the Doctor said, sounding unusually sad. “The decision: should I publish it at all?” “Is it a good yarn?” “It is not a narrative. It is a mathematical technique so advanced that only two people in the world understand it,” the Doctor said. “When published, it will bring about enormous changes in not only mathematics, but all forms of natural philosophy and engineering. People will use it to build machines that fly through the air like birds, and that travel to other planets, and its very power and brilliance will sweep old, tottering, worn-out systems of thought into the dustbin.” “And you invented it, Doctor?” Eliza asked, as Jack was occupied making finger-twirling movements in the vicinity of his ear. “Yes—seven or eight years ago.” “And still no one knows about it, besides—” “Me, and the other fellow.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7980-87  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:16 AM

“Why haven’t you told the world about it?” “Because it seems the other fellow invented it ten years before I did, and didn’t tell anyone.” “Oh.” “I’ve been waiting for him to say something. But it’s been almost twenty years since he did it, and he doesn’t show the slightest inclination to let anyone else in on it.” “You’ve waited eight years—why today? It’s well after midday,” Jack said. “Take it with you—give it another two or three years’ thought.” “Why today? Because I do not believe God put me on this earth, and gave me either the best or second-best mind currently in existence, so that I could spend my days trying to beg money from the likes of Lothar von Hacklheber, so that I could dig a large hole in the ground,” the Doctor said. “I don’t want my epitaph to be, ‘He brought the price of silver down one-tenth of one percent.’”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7987-89  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:16 AM

“Right! Sounds like a decision to me,” Jack said. Reaching into the carriage he gathered up the manuscript, carried it up the walk to the door in question, and heaved it through the transom. “And now, off to the mountains!” “One more small errand in the Booksellers’ Quarter,” the Doctor said, “as long as I’m getting myself into trouble.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8032-41  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:21 AM

“As it is now, a savant in Leipzig may never become aware of a book that’s been published in Mainz, and so the world of letters is fragmented and incoherent—not like in England, where all the savants know each other and belong to the same Society.” “What!? A Doctor here wants to make things more like England?” “The Doctor proposed to the Emperor that a new decree be drawn up, ordering that all booksellers at the Leipzig and Frankfurt fairs must write up a description of every book they publish, and send these, along with copies of each book, to—” “Let me guess—to the Doctor?” “Yes. And then he would make them all part of some vast, hard-to-understand thing he wants to build—he couldn’t restrain himself from breaking into Latin here, so I don’t know exactly—part library, part academy, part machine.” “Machine?” Jack was imagining a mill-wheel assembled from books. But they were interrupted by ribald, helpless, snorting laughter from the corner of the Common-Room, where the Doctor himself was sitting on a stool, reading (as they saw when they came over and joined him) one of the hurled books that had lodged in the baggage-cart.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8044-49  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:21 AM

“I love reading novels,” the Doctor exclaimed. “You can understand them without thinking too much.” “But I thought you were a philosopher,” Eliza said, apparently having waxed close enough to him now that she could get away with teasing and pouting maneuvers. “But when philosophizing, one’s mind follows its natural inclination—gaining profit along with pleasure—whereas following another philosopher’s meditations is like stumbling through a mine dug by others—hard work in a cold dark place, and painful if you want to zig where they decided to zag. But this—” holding up the book “—you can read without stopping.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8054-58  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:23 AM

“Oh, stop!” the Doctor said. “I didn’t bring you all this way to have an imbroglio.” “Why, then?” Jack asked—quickly, as Eliza was still so red-faced he didn’t think it would be clever or resourceful to give her a chance to speak. “For the same reason that Eliza sacrified some of your silk to make some dresses, and thereby fetched a higher price. I need to draw some attention to the mine project—make it seem exciting—fashionable even—so that people will at least think about investing.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8067-73  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:24 AM

Then the Doctor distracted her with: “In order to blend in with that crowd, Eliza, we shall only have to find some way to make you seem half as intelligent as you really are, and to dim your natural radiance so that they’ll not be blinded by awe or jealousy.” “Oh, Doctor,” Eliza said, “why is it that men who desire women can never speak such words?” “You’ve only been in the presence of men who are in the presence of you, Eliza,” Jack said, “and how can they pronounce fine words when the heads of their yards are lodged in their mouths?” The Doctor laughed, much as he’d been doing earlier. “What’s your excuse, Jack?” Eliza responded, eliciting some sort of violent thoracic Incident in the Doctor.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8079-85  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 10:26 AM

Mammon led them on, Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell From heav’n, for ev’n in heav’n his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heav’ns pavement, trod’n Gold, Then aught divine or holy else enjoy’d In vision beatific; by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, Ransack’d the Center, and with impious hands Rifl’d the bowels of thir mother Earth For Treasures better hid. —MILTON, Paradise Lost
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8231-34  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:10 PM

Of this town, which was called Bockboden, the Doctor had had little to say, save for a few mild comments such as “I wouldn’t go there,” “Don’t go there,” “It’s not a very good place to be in,” and “Avoid it.” But none of these had been reinforced by the lurid fabrications that a Vagabond would’ve used to drive the point home. It seemed an orderly town from above, but not dangerously so.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8309-14  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:17 PM

Most of them, he knew, had only showed up for the sake of maintaining their reputations, but those sorts would be the most likely to accuse a stranger of witchcraft. The real witch-haters were up at the front, hollering in the local variant of German, which sometimes sounded maddeningly like English. Jack could not make out what they were saying. It sounded like threats. That was nonsensical, because the witch was about to be killed anyway. But Jack heard snatches like “Walpurgis” and “heute Nacht,” which he knew meant “tonight” and then he knew that they were threatening not the woman who was about to die, but others in the town they suspected of being witches.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8348-57  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:20 PM

After that Jack could not sleep. Another group much like the first came by a few minutes later. This forest was damnably crowded. Jack picked up his few belongings and withdrew into the shadows to observe what other moths were attracted to the flame. Within a few minutes, a squadron of mostly women, ranging from girls to hags, had taken over the fire, and stoked it up to a blaze. They’d brought along a black iron kettle that they filled with buckets of water from a nearby creek and set up on the fire to boil. As steam began to rise from the pot—illuminated by firelight down below, vanishing into the cold sky as it ascended—they began to throw in the ingredients of some kind of stew: sacks of some type of fat dark-blue cherries, red mushrooms with white speckles, sprigs of herbs. No meat, or recognizable vegetables, to the disappointment of Jack. But he was hungry enough to eat German food now. The question was: how to secure an invitation to the feast? In the end, he just went down and got some, which was what everyone else seemed to be doing. Traffic through this part of the woods had become so heavy that he could not rely on going unnoticed anyway.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8371-75  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:22 PM

Others were all around him. The forest was very tall skinny black trees closely packed together like the massed pikes of a military formation, the eruptions of moonlight between fleeing clouds like the bursting of bombs, and Jack heard, or dreamed, the tramping of feet and blowing of trumpets. Forgetting why his leg was splinted, he supposed he must have been wounded in action (possibly in the head as well as the leg) and the wound dressed by a barber. For a while he was almost certain he was still fighting Turks in Vienna and all of the Eliza stuff just a long, elaborate, cruel dream.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8479-87  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:31 PM

One of the hand-haspel’s buckets was at the top, the other down below. Jack climbed into the one that was up, and hugged the opposite rope, and by letting it slide through his arms was able to descend smoothly for a short distance: until he relaxed, and the rope slid too fast, and he hugged it tight out of panic, so it burnt him and made him let go, causing the same cycle to repeat, except worse. The only thing that interrupted this round was when, at the halfway mark, the lower bucket came up and caught him under the chin and caused him to let go entirely—which was fine, as he would have been stuck at that point anyway. He dropped, then, with only the empty, ascending bucket as counterweight, and what saved him was that the impact of his chin against same had set it swinging briskly back and forth, its rim biting into the rough wall of the shaft faster and faster as it rose higher and higher, throwing sparks and dislodging fusillades of jagged rock in Jack’s direction with every impact, but also slowing his fall with a corresponding series of violent jerks. Jack kept his head down and his kienspan up in case this shaft terminated in water, a possibility he should have considered earlier.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8522-28  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:36 PM

The green light grew brighter. He could see the silhouettes of his hands in front of it. He’d been dreaming, before he woke up, about the giant water-pipes, the hubbly-bubblies that the Turks smoked in Leipzig. They’d suck on the tube, and smoke from the tobacco bowl would pass down through the water and come back upwards into the tube, cooled and purified. The dream had, he guessed, been inspired by the last sound he’d heard before falling asleep, because the cave had made a similar seething and gurgling noise. As he considered it (having no other way to spend the time), he wondered whether the mine might not have acted like a giant water-pipe, and the fire like a giant Turk sucking on its tube, drawing air downwards, through a water-filled sump, from the outside, so that it bubbled up into this tunnel.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8588-90  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 05:40 PM

Trade, like Religion, is what every Body talks of, but few understand: The very Term is dubious, and in its ordinary Acceptation, not sufficiently explain’d. —DANIEL DEFOE, A Plan of the English Commerce
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8654-57  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 08:51 PM

Forgive an ignorant Vagabond, but I am used to men of action—so when the Doctor spends all day, every day, talking to people, it seems to me as if he’s doing nothing.” “He’s accomplishing nothing—that’s very different from doing nothing,” Enoch said gravely.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8698-8706  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 08:55 PM

“So Alchemy has its uses,” Enoch said, noting that Jack was coming out of his reverie. “You invented this?” “I improved it. In the old days they used only quicksilver and salt. The piles were cold, and they had to sit for a year. But when dross of copper is added, they become warm, and complete the change in three or four weeks.” “The cost of quicksilver is—?” Enoch chuckled. “You sound like your lady friend.” “That’s the first question she’s going to ask.” “It varies. A good price for a hundredweight would be eighty.” “Eighty of what?” “Pieces of eight,” Enoch said. “It’s important to specify.” “Christendom’s but a corner of the world, Jack,” Enoch said. “Outside of it, pieces of eight are the universal currency.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8721-24  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 08:56 PM

“The Doctor provides quicksilver to the mines whose masters do what the Doctor wants.” “So,” Eliza said, “the Doctor has—what?” “Power,” Jack finally said after a few wrong guesses. “Because he has—what?” “Quicksilver.” “So that’s the answer—we go to Amsterdam and buy quicksilver.” “A splendid plan—if only we had money to buy it with.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8756-63  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 08:59 PM

“The letter D,” she said firmly. “Number four in the alphabet. Four is this,” holding up that versatile left again, with only the long finger folded down. “Yes, I can see you’re holding up four fingers . . .” “No—these digits are binary. The pinky tells ones, the ring finger twos, the long finger fours, the index eights, the thumb sixteens. So when the long finger only is folded down, it means four, which means D.” “But you had the thumb and pinky folded down also, just now . . .” “The Doctor also taught me to encipher these by adding another number—seventeen in this case,” Eliza said, displaying her right with the thumb and pinky tip-to-tip. Putting her hand back as it had been, she announced, “Twenty-one, which means, in the English alphabet, U.” “But what is the point?” “The Doctor has taught me to hide messages in letters.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8776-81  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 09:00 PM

“Why do you think the Doctor is going through such exertions to find investors for the silver mine?” “Thank you—you’ve brought me back to my question: what does the Doctor want?” “To translate all human knowledge into a new philosophical language, consisting of numbers. To write it down in a vast Encyclopedia that will be a sort of machine, not only for finding old knowledge but for making new, by carrying out certain logical operations on those numbers—and to employ all of this in a great project of bringing religious conflict to an end, and raising Vagabonds up out of squalor and liberating their potential energy—whatever that means.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8956-59  | Added on Monday, August 28, 2017, 11:43 PM

But why—an intelligent horse might ask—why was John Churchill also in Brussels—part of Spain’s, and therefore the Pope’s, dominions? Why, it’s because—thanks to the maneuverings of his daddy Winston—ever since John had been just a lad, he’d been in the household of James, King Chuck’s brother, the Duke of York. And York—then, and now, first in line for the throne—was, and is today—you’ll like this—a fanatical Papist! Now do you understand why London was, and probably still is, nervous?
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9114-17  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 06:25 AM

WITH THE MONEY HE’D BROUGHT with him, and the money he’d earned, Jack could have stayed somewhere decent—but he didn’t know how to find such a place, or how to behave once he found one. The last year had been an education in how little having money really mattered. A rich Vagabond was a Vagabond still, and ’twas common knowledge that King Charles, during the Interregnum, had lived without money in Holland. So Jack wandered across town to the district called the Marais.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9140-45  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 06:28 AM

“You have been riding on horseback—I can smell it.” Jack decided to let this pass. “How can you smell anything except man-shit here?” St.-George sniffed the air. “Shit? Where? Who has been shitting?” This, being a sort of joke, was a signal that Jack could now offer to buy St.-George something, as a token of friendship. After some negotiations, St.-George agreed to be the recipient of Jack’s generosity—but not because he needed it—only because it was inherent in human nature that one must from time to time give things away, and at such times, one needed someone to give things away to, and part of being a good friend was to be that someone, as needed.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9158-61  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 06:30 AM

Jack had to put the crutch to much rude use, and considered taking out the sword. Eliza had been right—Paris was retail—funny she’d known this without ever having set foot in the city, while Jack, who’d lived here, on and off, for years . . . Best to keep his mind on St.-George.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9822-26  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 08:01 AM

“Yes—but he needn’t know what is being planned, or when. We need only manipulate his mental state, so that he has reason to believe that V.O.C. shares are soon to rise.” “And—as I’m now beginning to understand—you are something of a virtuoso when it comes to manipulating men’s mental states,” Monmouth said. “You make it sound ever so much more difficult than it really is,” Eliza answered. “Mostly I just sit quietly and let the men manipulate themselves.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9854-58  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 08:04 AM

The stragglers were tailed by a horseman who, as Jack watched, patiently uncoiled his nerf du boeuf, whirled it round his head a time or two (to make a scary noise and build up speed), and then snapped it through the air to bite a chunk out of a slave’s ear. Extremely pleased with his own prowess, he then said something not very pleasant about the R.P.R. Which made everything clear to Jack, for R.P.R. stood for Religion Pretendue Réformée, which was a contemptuous way of referring to Huguenots. Huguenots tended to be prosperous merchants and artisans, and so naturally if you gave them the galley slave treatment they would suffer much worse than a Vagabond.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9932-36  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 08:09 AM

Chained by the necks, Slaves of Louis the Rex, You might think that we’ve lost our freedom, But the Cosmos, Like clock-work, No more than a rock’s worth Of choices, to people, provides!
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10076-80  | Added on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 08:17 AM

The Art of War is so well study’d, and so equally known in all Places, that ’Tis the longest Purse that conquers now, not the longest Sword. If there is any Country whose people are less martial, less enterprising, and less able for the Field; yet if they have but more Money than their Neighbors, they shall soon be superior to them in Strength, for Money is Power . . . —DANIEL DEFOE, A Plan of the English Commerce
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10699-703  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 12:42 AM

Must businesse thee from hence remove? Oh, that’s the worst disease of love, The poore, the foule, the false, love can Admit, but not the busied man. He which hath businesse, and makes love, doth doe Such wrong, as when a maryed man doth wooe. —JOHN DONNE, “Breake of Day”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10703-8  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 12:42 AM

“WHO IS YOUR GREAT BIG tall, bearded, ill-dressed, unmannerly, harpoon-brandishing, er—?” asked Eliza, and ran out of adjectives. She was peering out the windows of the Maiden coffee-house at a loitering Nimrod who was blotting out the sun with an immense, motley fur coat. The management had been reluctant to let even Jack come into the place, but they had drawn the line at the glaring wild man with the harping-iron. “Oh, him?” Jack asked, innocently—as if there were more than one such person who owned that description. “That’s Yevgeny the Raskolnik.” “What’s a Raskolnik?” “Beats me—all I know is they’re all getting out of Russia as fast as they can.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11308-11  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 01:28 AM

In all times kings, and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealousies, and in the state and posture of gladiators; having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms; and continual spies upon their neighbors; which is a posture of war. —Hobbes, Leviathan
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11323-25  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 03:21 AM

but nothing was really different—which taught Daniel that the world was full of powerful men but as long as they played the same roles, they were as interchangeable as second-rate players speaking the same lines in the same theatre on different nights.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11511-17  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 03:45 AM

He also (as Daniel noted, with a kind of admiration) was able to make it clear, to all present, just what a morbid catastrophe it would be if the King died and turned England over into the hands of that mad Papist the Duke of York whilst, practically in the same phrases—with the same words—asserting that York was really such a splendid fellow that it was almost imperative that all of them rush straight-away to the King’s Bedchamber and smother Charles II under a mattress. In a sort of recursive fugue of dependent clauses he was, similarly, able to proclaim Drake Waterhouse to’ve been the finest Englishman who’d ever boiled beef whilst affirming that blowing him up with a ton of gunpowder had been an absolute touchstone of (depending on how you looked at it) monarchical genius that made Charles II such a colossal figure, (or) rampant despotism that augured so favorably for his brother’s reign.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11682-87  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 04:38 AM

He was one of them. Not as powerful, not as highly ranked—in fact, completely unranked—but he was here, now, and for these people that was the only sort of rank that amounted to anything. To be here, to smell the place, to bow to the mistresses, was a sort of initiation. Drake would have said that merely to set foot in such people’s houses and show them common courtesy was to be complicit in their whole system of power. Daniel and most others had scoffed at such rantings. But now he knew it was true, for when the Countess had acknowledged his presence and known his name, Daniel had felt important. Drake—if he’d had a grave—would have rolled over in it. But Drake’s grave was the air above London.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11706-11  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 04:41 AM

“Do you really think Roger sent me here to . . .” “Of course not, Daniel! I was being jocular.” “But there is a certain tradition of killing the messenger.” “Hard as it might be for you to believe, the Duke admires certain things about Puritans: their sobriety, their reserve, their flinty toughness. He saw Cromwell fight, Daniel! He saw Cromwell mow down a generation of Court fops. He has not forgotten it.” “What, you’re suggesting I’m to emulate Cromwell now!?” “Emulate anything but a courtier,” said Samuel Pepys, now gripping Daniel’s arm and practically shoving him through the doorway.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11733-37  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 04:43 AM

Mr. Pepys has been saying good things about you.” “Thank you, Mr. Pepys . . .” “You’re welcome, Dr. Waterhouse!” “. . . for telling the Duke that I have a cowardly willingness to bend my principles.” “As much as it offends me to tell such beastly lies about you, Daniel, I’m willing to do it, as a personal favor to a good friend,” Pepys answered instantly.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11920-25  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:10 AM

The first time some son of a marquis came up to me spouting such nonsense I told him he must have me mixed up with some other wench, and sent him packing! But the next one dropped your name and I understood that he had in some sense been dispatched by you—or, to be more precise, that his coming to me under the delusion of my having a wise Spanish uncle was a consequence or ramification of some chain of events that had been set in motion by you. On that assumption, I began to play along, quite cautiously, as I did not know what sort of game might be afoot. From the way this fellow talked I soon understood that he believes me to be a sort of crypto-Jew, the bastard offspring of a swarthy Spanish Kohan and a butter-haired Dutchwoman, which might actually seem plausible as the sun has bleached my hair and darkened my skin.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12170-76  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:32 AM

Philosophy is written in this immense book that stands ever open before our eyes (I speak of the Universe), but it cannot be read if one does not first learn the language and recognize the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without the means of which it is humanly impossible to understand a word; without these philosophy is confused wandering in a dark labyrinth. —Galileo Galilei, Il Saggiatore (The Assayer) in Opere, v. 6, p. 197, translation by Julian Barbour
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12204-9  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 10:28 AM

“To be quite honest with you, I do not care,” he said. “I tried to hold him back. Tried to turn his attention toward astronomy, dynamics, physics—natural philosophy as opposed to unnatural theology. I failed; I left; here I am.” “You left? Or were ejected?” “I misspoke.” “Which time?” “I meant it in a sort of metaphorical way, when I used the word ‘ejected.’ “ “You are a damned liar, Daniel!” “What did you say!?” “Oh, sorry, I was speaking in a sort of metaphorical way.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12368-75  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 06:39 PM

“Look out the window, yonder. That fen is divided into countless small plots by watercourses—some natural, some carved out by industrious farmers. Each rectangle of land could be made into two smaller ones—just drag a stick across the muck and the water will fill up the scratch in the ground, like the aether filling the void between particles of matter. Is that metaphysical yet?” “Why no, it is a good similitude, earthy, concrete, like something from the Geneva Bible. Have you looked into the Geneva Bible recently, or—” “What happens then if we continue subdividing?” Daniel asked. “Is it the same all the way down? Or is it the case that something happens eventually, that we reach a place where no further subdivision is possible, where fundamental properties of Creation are brought into play?” “Er—I have no idea, Brother Daniel.” “Is it vanity for us to consider the question? Or did God give us brains for a reason?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12431-35  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 06:46 PM

Mr. Palling shook his head, then turned toward the water. “One day soon the sun will rise from across yonder sea and chase the fog of stupidity and the shadows of syphilitic insanity away.” “Very poetic, Mr. Palling—but I have met the Duke of Monmouth, I have roomed with the Duke of Monmouth, I have been vomited on by the Duke of Monmouth, and I am telling you that the Duke of Monmouth is no Charles II! To say nothing of Oliver Cromwell.” Mr. Palling rolled his eyes. “Very well, then—if Monmouth fails I’m on the next ship to Massachusetts.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12471-72  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 06:51 PM

Flamsteed had stuck his neck out by about ten miles and asked the question, What if this was not two comets but one?
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12475-79  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 06:52 PM

It was known, for example, that most of a hyperbola was practically indistinguishable from a straight line—so who was to say that the supposed two comets of 1680 might not have been one comet that had executed a sharp course-change while close to the Sun, and out of astronomers’ view? In some other era this would have ranked Flamsteed with Kepler and Copernicus, but he was living now, and so it had made him into a sort of data cow to be kept in a stall in Greenwich and milked by Newton whenever Newton became thirsty. Daniel was serving in the role of milk-maid, rushing to Cambridge with the foaming pail.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12532-36  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:02 PM

The question of aggregates had been vexing Leibniz to no end. A flock of sheep consisted of several individual sheep and was a flock only by convention—the quality of flockness was put on it by humans—it existed only in some human’s mind as a perception. Yet Hooke had found that the human body was made up of cells—therefore, just as much an aggregate as a flock of sheep. Did this mean that the body, too, was just a figment of perception? Or was there some unifying influence that made those cells into a coherent body?
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12593-99  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:08 PM

Once trapped in the gravel, it was frozen and helpless. Isaac could stand and look at it for as long as he wanted, like Sir Robert Moray gazing at a stuffed eel in a glass box. After a while Isaac would begin to slash straight lines into the gravel, building up a scaffold of rays, perpendiculars, tangents, chords, and normals. At first this would seem to grow in a random way, but then lines would intersect with others to form a triangle, which would miraculously turn out to be an echo of another triangle in a different place, and this fact would open up a sort of sluice-gate that would free information to flood from one part of the diagram to another, or to leap across to some other, completely different diagram—but the results never came clear to Daniel’s mind because here the diagram would be aborted and a series of footsteps—lunar craters in the gravel—would plot Isaac’s hasty return to his chambers, where it could be set down in ink.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12616-20  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:10 PM

“It’s right there in the Bible, Daniel. First chapter: the Garden of Eden. Last chapter: the Apocalypse.” “I know, I know, the world started out perfectly good and has gotten worse and worse since then, and the only question is how bad will it get before God brings down the curtain. I was raised to believe that this tendency was as fixed and unavoidable as gravity, Isaac. But the Apocalypse did not come in 1666.” “It will occur not long after 1867,” Isaac said. “That is the year when the Beast will fall.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12665-67  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:14 PM

“Far be it from me to tell you how to do physics, Isaac, but this strikes me as an ideal problem for the integral calculus—so why are you solving it geometrically?” “Why not?” “Is it because Solomon didn’t have the calculus?”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12669-76  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:16 PM

“This is idle talk. The result, as anyone can see from contemplating my diagram, is that a spherical body—a planet, moon, or star—having a given quantity of matter, produces a gravitational attraction that is the same as if all of its matter were concentrated into a single geometric point at the center.” “The same? You mean exactly the same?” “It is a geometrical proof,” Isaac merely said. “That the particles are spread out into a sphere doesn’t make any difference because the geometry of the sphere is what it is. The gravity is the same.” Daniel now had to locate a chair; all the blood in his legs seemed to be rushing into his brain. “If that is true,” he said, “then everything you proved before about point objects—for example that they move along conic section trajectories—” “Applies without alteration to spherical bodies.” “To real things.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12688-93  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 07:17 PM

“I’m saying that the fact that we do need him proves that God is making choices.” “Or has made them.” This caused a sort of queasy sneer to come across Isaac’s face. He closed his eyes and shook his head. “I am not one of those who believes that God made the world and walked away from it, that He has no further choices to make, no ongoing presence in the world. I believe that He is everywhere, making choices all the time.” “But only because there are certain things you have not explained yet with geometric proofs.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12700-12703  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:16 PM

“Geometry can never explain gravity.” “Calculus then?” “The calculus is just a convenience, a short-hand way of doing geometry.” “So what is beyond geometry is also beyond calculus.” “Of course, by definition.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12715-19  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:19 PM

Each breaker, she supposed, was as unique as a human soul. Each made its own run up onto the shore, being the very embodiment of vigor and power at the start. But each slowed, spread thin, faltered, dissolved into a hissing ribbon of gray foam, and got buried under the next. The end result of all their noisy, pounding, repetitious efforts was the beach. Seen through a lens, the particular arrangement of sand-grains that made up the beach presumably was complicated, and reflected the individual contributions of every single wave that had ended its life here; but seen from the level of Eliza’s head it was unspeakably flat, an “abomination of desolation in a dark place,” as the Bible would put it.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12749-57  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:26 PM

“There are Christian slaves in Barbary, you know, who expend vast efforts to accomplish tiny goals, such as getting a new piece of furniture in their banyolar . . .” “Banyolar?” “Slave-quarters.” “What a pathetic story.” “Yes, but it is all right for them to achieve meager results because they are in a completely hopeless and desperate situation,” Eliza said. “In a way, a slave is fortunate, because she has more head-room for her dreams and phant’sies, which can soar to dizzying heights without bumping up ‘gainst the ceiling. But the ones who live at Versailles are as high as humans can get, they practically have to go about stooped over because their wigs and head-dresses are scraping the vault of heaven—which consequently seems low and mean to them. When they look up, they see, not a vast beckoning space above, but rather—” “The gaudy-painted ceiling.” “Just so. You see? There is no head-room.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12771-73  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:28 PM

“Hmph. None of my explanations is satisfactory, it seems.” “Now that you are out of France you must shed the habit of pouting, my Duchess. You do it exquisitely, but if you try it on a Dutchman he’ll only want to slap you.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12780-84  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:29 PM

The point is that they have read all of your letters to d’Avaux and conveyed anything important to the King. When they are finished they give the letters back to the Postmaster, who artfully re-seals them and sends them north . . . my Postmaster then re-opens them, reads them, re-seals them, and sends them on to d’Avaux. So the King’s admonition could have been intended for anyone in that chain: d’Avaux (though probably not), me, my advisors, the members of his own cabinet noir . . . or you.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12936-39  | Added on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:47 PM

Shall I devote a thousand words, or ten thousand, to how I fell in love with Abigail Frome? “I fell in love with her” does not do it justice, but ten thousand words would be no better, and so let us leave it at that. Perhaps I loved her because she was a rebel girl, and my heart was with the rebellion. My mind could see it was doomed, but my heart was listening to the Imp of the Perverse.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13161-63  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:10 AM

I will not help you because I am touched by your love for Abigail or stirred by your prating about honor. I will help you because I wish to be somewhat more than another wave spreading and spending itself on a godforsaken beach.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13171-73  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:11 AM

“You are much cooler in dealing with men than with women,” Eliza observed, sotto voce. “A woman such as you has never seen a man in a cool condition, unless you were spying on him through a knot-hole,” Bob returned.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13226-30  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:15 AM

“It is all right for a clock to run fast or slow at times, so long as it is calibrated against the sun, and set right. The sun may come out only once in a fortnight. It is enough. A few minutes’ light around noon is all that you need to discover the error, and re-set the clock—provided that you bother to go up and make the observation. My parents somehow knew this, and did not become overly concerned at my strange enthusiasms. For they had confidence that they had taught me how to know when I was running awry, and to calibrate my behavior.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13372-74  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:21 AM

You do not grasp the nature of Leibniz’s objections. It is not that Newton left some corollary unproved, or failed to follow up on some promising line of inquiry. Turn back, even before the Laws of Motion, and read what Isaac says in his introduction. I can quote it from memory: “For I here design only to give a mathematical notion of these forces, without considering their physical causes and seats.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13464-67  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:23 AM

Descartes was wrong. His theory of dynamics is beautiful in that it is purely geometrical and mathematical. But when you compare that theory to the world as it really is, it proves an unmitigated disaster. The whole notion of vortices does not work. There is no doubt that the inverse square law exists, and governs the motions of all heavenly bodies along conic sections. But it has nothing to do with vortices, or the coelestial aether, or any of that other nonsense.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13479-82  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:24 AM

RAVENSCAR: What on earth are you talking about? WATERHOUSE: Dig up some ancient family trees, stop assuming that Leibniz is a defeated ninehammer, and consider it. Put your philosophick acumen to use: know, for example, that the children of syphilitics are often syphilitic themselves, and unable to bear viable offspring. RAVENSCAR: Now you are swimming out into the deep water, Daniel. Monsters are there—bear it in mind.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13554-55  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:42 AM

Only small minds want always to be right. —LOUIS XIV
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13674-76  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 12:54 AM

Enough people here now depend on me that my status as a commoner is awkward and inconvenient. They need a pretext to give me a title so that they can have routine conversations with me without having to set up elaborate shams, such as fancy-dress balls, to circumvent the etiquette.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13696-97  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:16 AM

No man goes so high as he who knows not where he is going. —CROMWELL
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13724-26  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:20 AM

Finally Penn looked at him. “Don’t tell me you haven’t considered moving to Massachusetts.” “I consider it every day. Nonetheless, most of my constituency does not have that luxury available and so I’d like to see if we can avoid letting Olde Englande get any more fouled up than ‘tis.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13758-60  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:24 AM

Daniel closed his eyes and saw the image that had been branded onto his retinas thirty-five years ago: Drake hurling a stone saint’s head through a stained-glass window, the gaudy image replaced with green English hillside, silvery drizzle reaching in through the aperture like the Holy Spirit, bathing his face.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13819-27  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:30 AM

William had turned his gaze back to the fire as she spoke, signalling that he believed her. “Your fascination with Negroes is very odd. But I have observed that the best people are frequently odd in one way or another. I have got in the habit of seeking them out, and declining to trust anyone who has no oddities. Your queer ideas concerning slavery are of no interest to me whatever. But the fact that you harbor queer ideas makes me inclined to place some small amount of trust in you.” “If you trust my judgment, the slender Puritan is the one to watch,” Eliza said. “But he has no vast territories in America, no money, no followers!” “That is why. I would wager he had a father who was very strong, probably older brothers, too. That he has been checked and baffled many times, never married, never enjoyed even the small homely success of having a child, and has come to that time in his life when he must make his mark, or fail. This has become all confused, in his thinking, with the coming rebellion against the English King. He has decided to gamble his life on it—not in the sense of living or dying, but in the sense of making something of his life, or not.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13856-64  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:33 AM

M. Descartes had found the way to have his conjectures and fictions taken for truths. And to those who read his Principles of Philosophy something happened like that which happens to those who read novels which please and make the same impression as true stories. The novelty of the images of his little particles and vortices are most agreeable. When I read the book . . . the first time, it seemed to me that everything proceeded perfectly; and when I found some difficulty, I believe it was my fault in not fully understanding his thought. . . . But since then, having discovered in it from time to time things that are obviously false and others that are very improbable, I have rid myself entirely of the prepossession I had conceived, and I now find almost nothing in all his physics that I can accept as true. . . . —HUYGENS, P. 186 OF WESTFALL’S 1971 The Concept of Force in Newton’s Physics: The Science of Dynamics in the Seventeenth Century
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13867-70  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 01:34 AM

Eliza was the author of the seating plan. Huygens and Waterhouse must not sit next to each other or they’d fuse together and never say a word to the others. This way was better: Fatio would only want to talk to Waterhouse, who would only want to talk to Eliza, who would pretend she had ears only for Huygens, and so the guests would pursue each other round the table clockwise, and with a bit of luck, an actual conversation might eventuate.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14720-26  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:52 AM

So he spent a while searching his soul, and found nothing there. It was as sparse and void as a sacked cathedral. He did not have a wife or children. He lusted after Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, but something about being locked up in this round room made him realize that she neither lusted after nor particularly liked him. He did not have a career to speak of, because he was a contemporary of Hooke, Newton, and Leibniz, and therefore predestined for rôles such as scribe, amanuensis, sounding-board, errand-boy. His thorough training for the Apocalypse had proved a waste, and he had gamely tried to redirect his skills and his energies towards the shaping of a secular Apocalypse, which he styled Revolution. But prospects for such a thing looked unfavorable at the moment. Scratching something on the wall might enable him to make a permanent mark on the world, but he would not have time.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14726-30  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:52 AM

All in all, his epitaph would be: daniel waterhouse 1646–1688 son of drake. It might have made an ordinary man just a bit melancholy, this, but something about its very bleakness appealed to the spirit of a Puritan and the mind of a Natural Philosopher. Suppose he’d had twelve children, written a hundred books, and taken towns and cities from the Turks, and had statues of himself all over, and then been clapped in the Tower to have his throat cut? Would matters then stand differently? Or would these be meaningless distractions, a clutter of vanity, empty glamour, false consolation?
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14758-59  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:55 AM

Better to perceive the world as Tess had during those ten and a half hours than as Daniel had while he’d been fucking her. But the oysters were extraordinarily good, their flavor intense and vaguely dangerous, their consistency clearly sexual.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14762-69  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:56 AM

Robert Hooke showed up with a firkin of ale. Daniel assaulted it in much the same way as the murderers would him. “I was apprehensive that you would spurn my gift, and pour it into the Thames,” Hooke said irritably, “but I see that the privations of the Tower have turned you into a veritable satyr.” “I am developing a new theory of bodily perceptions, and their intercourse with the soul, and this is research,” said Daniel, quaffing vigorously. He huffed ale-foam out of his whiskers (he’d not shaved in weeks) and tried to adopt a searching look. “Being condemned to die is a mighty stimulus to philosophick ratiocination, all of which is however wasted at the instant the sentence is carried out—fortunately I’ve been spared—” “So that you may pass on your insights to me,” Hooke finished dourly. Then, with ponderous tact: “My memory has become faulty, pray just write it all down.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14788-95  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:58 AM

Newton makes his discoveries in geometrickal realms where our minds cannot go, he strolls in a walled garden filled with wonders, to which he has the only key. But you, Hooke, are cheek-by-jowl with all of humanity in the streets of London. Anyone can look at the things you have looked at. But in those things you see what no one else has. You are the millionth human to look at a spark, a flea, a raindrop, the moon, and the first to see it. For anyone to say that this is less remarkable than what Newton has done, is to understand things in but a hollow and jejune way, ’Tis like going to a Shakespeare play and remembering only the sword-fights.” Hooke was silent for a time. The room had gone darker, and he’d faded to a gray ghost, that vivid pair of red sparks still marking his eyes. After a while, he sighed, and the sparks winked out for a few moments. “I shall have to fetch you quill and paper, if this is to be the nature of your discourse, sir,” he said finally.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14795-98  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 08:59 AM

“I am certain that in the fullness of time, the opinion I have just voiced will be wide spread among learned persons,” Daniel said. “This may not however elevate your stature during the years you have remaining; for fame’s a weed, but repute is a slow-growing oak, and all we can do during our lifetimes is hop around like squirrels and plant acorns. There is no reason why I should conceal my opinions. But I warn you that I may express them all I like without bringing you fame or fortune.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14887-92  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 09:07 AM

And yet its very completeness signals that there is more work to be done. I believe that the great edifice of the Principia Mathematica encloses nearly all of the geometrickal truths that can possibly be written down about the world. But every dome, be it never so large, has an inside and an outside, and while Newton’s dome encloses all of the geometrickal truths, it excludes the other kind: truths that have their sources in fitness and in final causes. When Newton encounters such a truth—such as the inverse square law of gravity—he does not even consider trying to understand it, but instead says that the world simply is this way, because that is how God made it. To his way of thinking, any truths of this nature lie outside the realm of Natural Philosophy and belong instead to a realm he thinks is best approached through the study of alchemy.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14919-24  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 09:11 AM

Shall we then say, like Newton, that all such truths are made arbitrarily by God? Shall we seek such truths in the occult? For if God has laid these rules down arbitrarily, then they are occult by nature. To me this notion is offensive; it seems to cast God in the rôle of a capricious despot who desires to hide the truth from us. In some things, such as the Pythagorean Theorem, God may not have had any choice when He created the world. In others, such as the inverse square law of gravity, He may have had choices; but in such cases, I like to believe he would have chosen wisely and according to some coherent plan that our minds—insofar as they are in God’s image—are capable of understanding.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14988-5000  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 09:19 AM

“Then I shall wait for you to get your wits back. More to the point, I shall wait for you to become angry. Forgive me for presuming to instruct a fellow of your erudition, but at a moment like this, you are supposed to be angry.” “It is a very odd thing about Jeffreys that he can treat people abominably and never make them angry. He influences his victims’ minds strangely, like a glass rod bending a stream of water, so that we feel we deserve it.” “You have known him a long time.” “I have.” “Let’s kill him.” “I beg your pardon?” “Slay, murder. Let us bring about his death, so he won’t plague you any more.” Daniel was shocked. “It is an extremely fanciful idea—” “Not in the least. And there is something in your tone of voice that tells me you like it.” “Why do you say ‘we’? You have no part in my problems.” “You are high up in the Royal Society.” “Yes.” “You know many Alchemists.” “I wish I could deny it.” “You know my lord Upnor.” “I do. I’ve known him as long as I’ve known Jeffreys.” “Upnor owns my lady love.” “I beg your pardon—did you say he owns her?” “Yes—Jeffreys sold her to him during the Bloody Assizes.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15799-805  | Added on Thursday, August 31, 2017, 11:55 PM

This might sound like a foolish thing to have done, but a woman who has no family and few friends is forever skirting the edges of a profound despair, which derives from the fear that she could vanish from the world and leave no trace she had ever existed; that the things she has done shall be of no account and the perceptions she has formed (as of Dr. von Pfung for example) shall be swallowed up like a cry in a dark woods. To write out a full confession and revelation of my doings, as I’ve done here, is not without danger; but if I did not do so I would be so drowned in melancholy that I would do nothing at all, in which event my life truly would be of no account. This way, at least, I am part of a story, like the ones Mummy used to tell me in the banyolar in Algiers, and like the ones that were told by Shahrazad, who prolonged her own life for a thousand and one nights by the telling of tales.


September


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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15885-87  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 02:58 AM

He drained about half the pint and turned round in the middle of the tavern so that his cloak fell open, revealing the sword. The weapon’s existence was noted, with professional interest, by the tavernkeeper, who didn’t look directly at it; he was one of those blokes who used peripheral vision for everything. Give him a spyglass, he’d raise it to his ear, and see as much as Galileo.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16028-30  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:21 AM

The sails hung from those yards like vestments. There were not many such ships in the Pool tonight, but Daniel sought them all out and appraised each one shrewdly. He was shopping for something to take him away; he wanted to voyage out of sight of land for once in his life, to die and be buried on another continent.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16041-43  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:23 AM

Those who took any notice of him at all, soon lost their interest, or (strange to relate) lost their nerve and looked away. For Daniel carried now the unstudied nonchalance of a man who knew he’d be dead in a year no matter what; people seemed to smell the grave about him, and were happy to leave him alone.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16086-88  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:28 AM

Now Daniel was known, to the men of that regiment, as a wretch who’d been imprisoned there by King James II; one cheer for Daniel! Jeffreys had sent murderers to slay him—two cheers! And he had arrived at some untalked-about agreement with Sergeant Bob: three cheers! So in the last weeks before his “escape” Daniel had become a sort of regimental mascot—as Irish regiments kept giant wolf-hounds, this one had a Puritan.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16166-71  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:39 AM

“You have entered into contracts before, Mr. Waterhouse?” asked Churchill, still appraising Daniel’s out-stretched hand. Daniel could sense Bob Shaftoe looking at them from one end of the causeway. “Yes, as when working as an architect, et cetera.” “Then you know every contract involves obligations reciprocal. I might agree to ‘shore you up’ when you are undermined—but in return I may call upon you from time to time.” Daniel’s hand did not move. “Very well, then,” said Churchill, reaching out across smoke, damp, and dark.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16243-47  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:45 AM

Daniel immediately, for some reason, saw this through the suspicious eyes of a John Churchill. Here sat a Catholic nobleman who was more at home in Versailles than in London; an Englishman of Puritan upbringing and habits, lately fallen into heresy, the smartest man in the world; and a Swiss Protestant famous for having saved William of Orange from a French plot. Just now they’d been interrupted by a Nonconformist traitor. These differences, which elsewhere sparked duels and wars, counted for naught here; their Brotherhood was somehow above such petty squabbles as the Protestant Reformation and the coming war with France. No wonder Churchill found them insidious.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16277-82  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:49 AM

Newton—who’d been gazing at Daniel—seemed to detect this in the corner of his eye, and spoke: “In this house, Daniel, a vast repository of alchemical lore has accumulated. Nearly all of it is garbled nonsense. Some of it is true wisdom—secrets that ought rightly to be kept secret from them in whose hands they would be dangerous. Our task is to sort out one from the other, and burn what is useless, and see to it that what is good and true is distributed to the libraries and laboratories of the adept. It is difficult for me to see how you could be of any use in this, since you believe that all of it is nonsense, and have a well-established history of incendiary behavior in the presence of such writings.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16321-29  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:53 AM

“God save you, Mr. Waterhouse.” “And you, Mr. Root. But I say this to you—and you as well, Mr. Locke. As I came in here I saw a map, lately taken from this house, burning in the fire. The map was empty, for it depicted the ocean—most likely, a part of it where no man has ever been. A few lines of latitude were ruled across that vellum void, and some legendary isles drawn in, with great authority, and where the map-maker could not restrain himself he drew phantastickal monsters. That map, to me, is Alchemy. It is good that it burnt, and fitting that it burnt tonight, the eve of a Revolution that I will be so bold as to call my life’s work. In a few years Mr. Hooke will learn to make a proper chronometer, finishing what Mr. Huygens began thirty years ago, and then the Royal Society will draw maps with lines of longitude as well as latitude, giving us a grid—what we call a Cartesian grid, though ’twas not his idea—and where there be islands, we will rightly draw them. Where there are none, we will draw none, nor dragons, nor sea-monsters—and that will be the end of Alchemy.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16336-38  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 05:55 AM

“He is an old friend of the Earl of Upnor as well,” Enoch Root said, a bit distractedly. “This I know, for they cover up each other’s murders.”
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16530-35  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 07:42 PM

Dear Doctor, “Dynamics” makes me think not only of force, but of Dynasties, which use forces, frequently concealed, to maintain themselves—as the Sun uses forces of a mysterious nature to make the planets pay court to him. So I think that the name has a good ring to it, especially since you are becoming such an expert on Dynasties new and old, and are so adept at balancing great forces against each other. And insofar as words are names for things, and naming gives a kind of power to the namer, then you are very clever to make your objections to Newton’s work a part of the very name of your new discipline.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16654-56  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 07:54 PM

Again refer to plaintext for description of various agonies and indignities. The point, for purposes of this narration, is that when the worst fits came over me, I was not really conscious. If you doubt it, Doctor, eat some bad oysters and then try doing some of your calculus at the moment your insides try to turn themselves inside out.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17010-16  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 08:32 PM

Hooke took advantage of Daniel’s plea to jam a leather strap into his mouth. “You may bite down on that if you wish, or you may spit it out and scream all you like—this is Bedlam, and no one will object. Neither will anyone take heed, or show mercy. Least of all Robert Hooke. For as you know, Daniel, I am utterly lacking in the quality of mercy. Which is well, as it would render me perfectly incompetent to carry out this operation. I told you a year ago, in the Tower, that I would one day repay your friendship by giving you something—a pearl of great price. Now the time has come for me to make good on that promise. The only question left to answer is how much will that pearl weigh, when I have washed your blood off it and let it clatter onto the pan of yonder scale.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17447-55  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 08:46 PM

Why put the information on such a complicated system, when a simple FAQ is easier? Because we are hoping that the annotations of the book on this site will seed a body of knowledge called the Metaweb, which will eventually be something more generally useful than a list of FAQs about one and only one novel. The idea of the Metaweb was originated by Danny Hillis. My own view of the Metaweb is pretty straightforward: I don’t think that the Internet, as it currently exists, does a very good job of explaining things to people. It is great for selling stuff, distributing news and dirty pictures, and a few other things. But when you need to get a good explanation of something, whether it is a scientific principle, a bit of gardening advice, or how to change a tire, you have to sift through a vast number of pages to find the one that gives you the explanation that is right for you. Generally this is not a problem with the explanations themselves. On the contrary, it seems as though a lot of people like to explain things on the Internet, and some of them are quite good at it. The problem lies in how these explanations are organized.
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Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 17455-64  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 08:46 PM

We have been looking for a way to get an explanation system seeded for a long time, and it occurred to us that a set of annotations to my book might be one way to get it started. At first, the explanations here will be strongly tied to characters and situations in Quicksilver and so may be of only limited interest to those who have not read the book. However, with a few clicks we might move on to more general explanations. For example, Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle appear as characters in Quicksilver, and so early on we might see annotations concerning specific things that they are shown doing in the book. But later these might link to explanations of Boyle’s Law. Such an explanation need not refer to Quicksilver in any way, and so it could be useful to, say, a high school student who has never heard of me or my book but who needs to understand Boyle’s Law and why it is important. What it boils down to is this: if you have come here hoping to get an explanation of something that puzzles you about Quicksilver, then this site should serve that purpose. If you don’t find an existing annotation that answers your question, you can request that I or someone else write one and post it.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 215-16  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 10:39 PM

“I owe an ’umble apology to every Scotsman I’ve ever met,” he shouted, “for it isn’t true, after all, that their music is the most despicable in the world.” His companion cocked an ear in his direction but heard little, and understood less.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 448-53  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 11:06 PM

But gradually—too gradually for anyone to really see a difference in his lifetime—the prices that were offered for slaves rose higher, and the visits of the buyers came more frequently. Dutch and English and other sorts of white men came wanting ever more slaves. My town grew wealthy from this trade—the temples of the Aro priests shone with gold and silver, the slave-trains from upriver grew longer, and came more frequently. Even then, the supply was not equal to the demand. The priests who served as our judges began to pass the sentence of enslavement on more and more persons, for smaller and smaller offenses. They grew rich and haughty, the priests did, and were carried through the streets on gilded sedan-chairs.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 466-73  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 11:08 PM

“But how did you become a slave?” “One time I traveled downriver to Bonny, which is the slave-fort at the mouth of the Niger. En route I passed many towns, and understood for the first time that mine was only one of many feeding slaves down the river. The Spanish missionary I was traveling with told me that Bonny was only one of scores of slave-depots up and down the coast of Africa. For the first time, then, I understood how enormous the slave trade was—and how evil. But since you are a slave yourself, Jack, and have expressed some dissatisfaction with your estate, I’ll not belabor this. I asked the Spanish missionary how such a thing could be justified, given that the religion of Europe is founded on brotherly love. The Spaniard replied that this had been a great controversy in the Church, and much debated—but that in the end, they justified it only by one thing: When white slavers bought them from black slavers, Africans were baptized, and so the good that was done to their immortal souls, in that instant, more than compensated for the evils done to their temporal bodies during the remainder of their lives.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 486-91  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 11:09 PM

‘My god,’ I said, as I began to understand the full horror of what was being done to me, ‘can you not see the evil of what you are doing? Bonny—and all the other slave-depots—are filled with our brothers, dying of disease and despair before they even get on those hellish slave-ships! Hundreds of years from now, their descendants will live on in faraway lands as outcasts, embittered by the knowledge of what was perpetrated against their forefathers! How can we—how can you—seemingly a decent man—capable of showing love and affection towards your wives and children—perpetrate such unspeakable crimes?’
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 568-70  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 11:18 PM

“IN RUSSIA, I BELONGED to a secret society, wherein we trained one another to feel no pain under torture,” Yevgeny said, offhandedly, later. This remark dampened all conversation for a few minutes, and Jack took stock of his situation.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 595-98  | Added on Friday, September 01, 2017, 11:19 PM

“As I watched Yevgeny’s bout this evening,” Moseh continued, “it came to me that said market is a sort of Invisible Hand that grips us all by the testicles—” “Hold, hold! Are you babbling some manner of Cabbalistic superstition now?” “No, Jack, now I am using a similitude. For there is no Invisible Hand—but there might as well be.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 660-64  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 12:03 AM

“My name is Excellentissimo Domino Jeronimo Alejandro Peñasco de Halcones Quinto, Marchioni de Azuaga et de Hornachos, Comiti de Llerena, Barcarrota, et de Jerez de los Caballeros, Vicecomiti de Llera, Entrín Alto y Bajo, et de Cabeza del Buey, Baroni de Barrax, Baza, Nerva, Jadraque, Brazatortas, Gargantiel, et de Val de las Muertas, Domino Domus de Atalaya, Ordinis Equestris Calatravae Beneficiario de la Fresneda. As you have guessed from my name, I am of a great family of Caballeros who, of old, were mighty warriors for Christendom, and famous Moor-killers even back unto the time of the Song of Roland—but that is another story, and a more glorious one than mine.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 677-80  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 12:05 AM

“I believe I can speak for all the other nine in saying you have our full attention, there, Excellentissimo—” Jack began, amiably enough; but the Spaniard cut him off, saying, “Shut up! Or I’ll cut off what remains of your poxy yard and ram it down your Protestant throat with my hard nine inches!” Before Jack could take exception to this, Jeronimo continued as if it hadn’t happened: “Not for long did I linger in this El Dorado,
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 791-97  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 12:20 AM

but for me the highest honor was that, among the boca-neers, I became known as the second coming of El Torbellino. I was given the name El Desamparado, which I will now explain to you ignorant filth who know not its meaning. ‘Desamparado’ is a holy word to those of us who profess the True Faith, for it is the very last word uttered by Our Lord during His agony on the Holy Rood—” “What’s it mean,” asked Jack, “and why’d they paste it on you, who already had such a surfeit of other names?” “It means, Forsaken by God. For tales of my struggles, and my confinement in the dungeons of Mexico, had preceded me; from which even one such as you, Jack, who has parts missing both fore and aft, may understand why I was called this.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 929-34  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:09 AM

I am here with a stew of English, Dutch, Huguenot, Ulster, Danish, and Brandenburg regiments, enlivened by a sprinkling of unreconstructed Phanatiques whose fathers came over with Cromwell, conquered this island, and were paid for their work in Irish land. Now the Irish have got it back, and these hectical Nonconformists are disgruntled, and undecided whether they should join our army and conquer it anew, or sail to America and conquer that instead. They shall have a good eight or nine months to make up their minds, as Marshal Schomberg—the general whom King William has put in charge of this army—is desultory, and intends to tarry here in Dundalk for the entire winter.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1075-80  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:21 AM

“Now as you may know, Bon-bon, every pirate and privateer has lurking within him the soul of an accountant. Though some would say ’tis the other way round. This arises from the fact that their livelihood derives from sacking ships, which is a hurried, disorderly, murky sort of undertaking; one pirate may come up with some gentleman’s lucky rabbit’s foot while the fellow on his left pulls an emerald the size of a quail’s egg from a lady’s cleavage. The whole enterprise would dissolve into a melee unless all the takings were pooled, and meticulously sorted, appraised, tallied, and then divided according to a rigid scheme. That is why the English euphemism for going a-pirating is going on the account.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1089-92  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:22 AM

“In time I was put aboard a longboat and taken to the flagship. Lieutenant Bart emerged from his cabin to welcome me aboard. I think he was expecting some dowager. When he saw me, he was shocked.” “It is not shock,” Rossignol demurred. “It is an altogether different thing. You have witnessed it a thousand times, but you’ll go to your grave without understanding it.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1126-28  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:26 AM

“They were afraid that you would lodge an objection to the confiscation of your money—for how can a French privateer steal from a French countess?” said Rossignol. “Your ambiguous status would make it into a complicated affair legally. The letters that passed back and forth were most amusing.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1171-74  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:29 AM

“After I had been living on that boat for two weeks, my mail began to catch up with me, and one day I received that packet, sewn up in tent-cloth, which had been posted to me from Belfast. It turned out to be correspondence stolen from the desk of Monsieur le comte d’Avaux in Dublin. It contained many letters and documents that were state secrets of France.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1175-78  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:30 AM

“Excellent. Is there a place where I could spread them out and go through them?” Here, though she would never show it, Eliza felt a sudden upwelling of affection for Rossignol. In a world full of men who only wanted to take her to bed, it was somehow comforting to know that there was one who, given the opportunity, would prefer to read through a big pile of stolen correspondence.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1207-10  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:33 AM

“Your voice is hoarse,” Eliza observed. “Is it a catarrh, or have you been screaming a lot?” “I am not afraid to raise my voice to inferiors. In your presence, mademoiselle, I shall comport myself properly.” “Does that mean you no longer intend to have me dangled over hot coals in a sack full of cats?” Eliza turned over a letter, written by d’Avaux, in which he had proposed to someone that such was the most fitting treatment for spies.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1211-15  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:33 AM

“Mademoiselle, I am shocked beyond words that you would connive with Irishmen to enter my house and ransack it. There is much that I would forgive you. But to violate the sanctity of an ambassadorial residence—of a nobleman’s home—and to commit theft, makes me fear I over-estimated you. For I believed you could pass for noble. But what you have done is common.” “These distinctions that you draw ’tween noble and common, what is proper and what is not, seem as arbitrary and senseless to me, as the castes and customs of Hindoos would to you,” Eliza returned.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1238-41  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:36 AM

Thus d’Avaux let her know the stakes of the game. She might end up in a work-house, or as a countess at Versailles. And her baby might be raised a thousand miles away from her, or a thousand yards. Or so d’Avaux wished her to believe. But though she did not gamble, Eliza understood games. She knew what it was to bluff, and that sometimes it was nothing more than a sign of a weak hand.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1251-56  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:37 AM

For if it was a sign of high class and elevated tastes to adorn the walls of one’s dwelling with paintings, then how infinitely more sophisticated to lean great stacks of homeless art against walls, and stash them behind chairs! Reaching this gallery, anyway, he smelled eau de cologne, and placed his left hand on the scabbard of his rapier (a style of weapon that had gone out of fashion, but it was the one his father, Antoine Rossignol, the King’s cryptanalyst before him, had taught him how to use, and he would be damned if he would make a fool of himself trying to learn how to fence with a small-sword) and thumbed it out an inch or two, just to be sure it would not turn out to be stuck when the time came.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1445-59  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:57 AM

I know that you must do as honor dictates. Go then to Versailles—for I cannot travel as fast as you, encumbered as I am with an infant and a household, and busy as I am with this project of recovering your papers. State your case to the King. Let him know that I am no noble, but a common wench who deserves no better treatment. He will be startled to learn these things, for he considers me to be a hereditary Countess. I am a dear friend of his sister-in-law and moreover have recently loaned him above a million livres tournois of my own money. But your persuasive powers are renowned—as you demonstrated during your posting in the Hague, where you so effectively reined in the ambitions of that poseur, William of Orange.” This was truly a knee to the groin, and rendered d’Avaux speechless, not so much from pain as from a curious admixture of shock and awe. Eliza continued, “You may induce the King to believe anything—particularly given that you have such strong evidence. What was it again? A journal?” “Yes, mademoiselle—your journal.” “Who is in possession of this book?” “It is not a book, as you know perfectly well, but an embroidered pillowcase.” Here d’Avaux began to pinken again. “A…pillowcase?” “Yes.” “In English they call it a sham, by the way. Tell me, are there any other bedlinens implicated in the scandal?” “Not that I am aware of.” “Curtains? Rugs? Tea-towels?” “No, mademoiselle.” “Who has possession of this…pillowcase?” “You do, mademoiselle.” “Such items are bulky and soon go out of fashion. Before I left the Hague, I sold most of my household goods and burned the rest—including all pillowcases.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1466-72  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 01:58 AM

“I do not think that I am particularly well-or ill-informed, monsieur. I am simply trying to be of service to you.” “In what way?” “You have a difficult interview awaiting you at Versailles. You shall come before the King. In his treasury—which he watches with utmost care—he has a fortune in hard money, lately deposited by me. You will make him believe that I am a commoner and a traitor by describing a report you have never seen about a pillowcase that no longer exists, supposedly carrying an encrypted message in Qwghlmian, which no one reads except for some three-fingered monk in Ireland.” “We shall see,” said d’Avaux. “My interview with Father Édouard de Gex will be a simple matter by comparison.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1522-23  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 02:09 AM

Jean-Jacques turned out to be one of those infants who accepts the dunking, not with hysterical protests but with aghast curiosity; this made his godfather immensely proud, while giving his mother a vision of long rambunctious years ahead.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1699-1705  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 04:37 AM

“That much is good for us,” Jack said. “Now, tell me why you are favoring me with the evil eye.” “When you mentioned that execrable French Duke, the Pasha knew who you meant immediately, and mentioned, in passing, that the same Duke had lately been pestering him for information as to the whereabouts of one Ali Zaybak—an English fugitive.” “’Tis not an English name.” “It is a sort of cryptical reference to a character in the Thousand and One Nights: a notorious thief of Cairo. Time and again the police tried to entrap him but he always squirted free, like a drop of quicksilver when you try to put your finger on it. Zaybak is the Arabic word for quicksilver—accordingly, this character was given the sobriquet of Ali Zaybak.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1708-11  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 04:37 AM

“In Paris, Jack has a reputation,” put in Vrej Esphahnian. “There is a Duke there who does not love our Jack ever since he crashed a party, strangled one of the guests, chopped off the hand of the Duke’s first-born son and heir, and made a spectacle of himself in front of the Sun King.” “Then perhaps this Duke got wind of Jack’s misadventures on the high seas,” Dappa said, “and began to make inquiries.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1870-73  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 06:06 AM

“There is a lot of competition for the small amount of bullion that exists here, and so you will have to accept a large discount,” Monsieur Wachsmann warned him, “but if that is really what you want, the house that specializes in such transactions is that of Hacklheber. They are at the Sign of the Golden Mercury, cater-corner from the Place au Change.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1889-93  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 06:08 AM

“I trade in wax. I know where wax comes from and where it goes, and how much wax of different types is worth to different people in different times and places. I say to you that what I am to wax, Lothar von Hacklheber is to money.” “You mean gold? Silver?” “All kinds. Metals in pig, bullion, or minted form, paper, moneys of account such as our ecus au soleil. To me, money is frankly somewhat mysterious; but to him it is all as simple as wax.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1983-84  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 10:45 PM

The baby was in a gleeful mood for some reason, grabbing his feet and fountaining spit, and this cheered her up. For he had no thought of anything outside of the room, nor in the past, nor the future.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1998-2003  | Added on Saturday, September 02, 2017, 10:47 PM

“If you must know, the nobility have a lot of metal, because they hoard it. Le Roi gets to them at Versailles and gives them a little talk: ‘Why is your coastline not better defended? It is your obligation to take care of this.’ ” Of course they cannot resist. They spend some of their metal to put up the fort. In return they get the personal gratitude of the King, and get to go to dinner with him or hand him his shirt or something.” “That’s all?” He smiled. “That, and a note from the contrôleur-général saying that the French Treasury owes him whatever amount of money he spent.” “Aha! So that’s how it works: These nobles are exchanging hard money for soft: metal for French government debt.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2394-2402  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:25 AM

“I am going to call in all of the gold and silver coins,” said Pontchartrain. “All of them? All of them in the entire country!?” exclaimed the Duchess. “Indeed, my lady. We will mint new gold and silver louis, and exchange them for the old.” “Heavens! What is the point of doing it, then?” “The new ones will be worth more, madame.” “You mean that they will contain more gold, or silver?” Eliza asked. Pontchartrain gave her a patient smile. “No, mademoiselle. They will have precisely the same amount of gold or silver as the ones we use now—but they will be worth more, and so to obtain, say, nine louis d’or of the new coin, one will have to pay the Treasury ten of the old.” “How can you say that the same coin is now worth more?” “How can we say that it is worth what it is now?” Pontchartrain threw up his hands as if to catch snowflakes. “The coins have a face value, fixed by royal decree. A new decree, a new value.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2508-12  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:32 AM

“I beg your pardon, but which one of us is leading, my lady?” asked Rossignol. “Who is it you look for? You think of someone who wishes you ill? Do not be too sure of your first assumptions—that is a common error in cryptanalysis.” “Do you know who—?” “If I did I should tell you at once, if for no other reason than that I should enjoy another sleigh-ride some day. But no, mademoiselle, I cannot guess who it is that the Duchess is so worried about.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2534-36  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:38 AM

“I know this. Tell me, mademoiselle. What drives you to make such decisions? What is it you want?” “To find the man who wronged me, and kill him.” In truth, Eliza had not thought about this for so long that the idea sounded strange to her ears, even as it came from her lips; but she said it with conviction, and liked the sound of it.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2552-56  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:38 AM

D’Avaux saw to it he was placed in the best orphanage in France, under the care of the Society of Jesus. To me, it seems that the natural culmination is that I should raise him up into a Jesuit.” “I see, yes…” said Eliza dreamily, “so that the little Lavardac bastard does not create further complications by breeding.” “I beg your pardon, my lady?” “Please forgive me, I am not myself!” “I should hope not!” De Gex was actually blushing. Which wreaked a great change for the better on his face.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2580-82  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:39 AM

“Oh. I had been hoping to say something to him.” “You and everyone else in France!” They were dancing now. Bart was amused. “You have already danced with his majesty! Mademoiselle, there are women in this room who have sacrificed babies in the Black Mass hoping to conjure up a single word, or a glance, from the King! You should be satisfied—”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2607-9  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:41 AM

I was touched by your expression of concern, and amused by the narrative of the timber. I had not appreciated how fortunate England is in this respect, for if we want timber in London, we need only denude some part of Scotland or Ireland where a few trees still stand.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2614-18  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:42 AM

I keep running accounts at several coffee-houses, pubs, and a bottle-ale house in my street, so that every small purchase need not be attended by a tedious and irksome transfer of coin. Many who go out more often than I do have formed together into societies, called Clubbs, which facilitate purchase of food, drink, snuff, pipe-tobacco, &c., on credit. When, through some miracle, one comes into possession of coins recognizable as such, one runs out and tries to settle one’s more important accounts. The system staggers along. People do not know any better.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2621-23  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:43 AM

But as I said, I am over-simplifying to make a point: If you understand how money works in France, then you know everything about our Tories. And if you understand how it works in Amsterdam, then you know our Whigs.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2627-29  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:44 AM

Our President is the Marquis of Ravenscar, a very powerful Whig, and he has been assiduous in finding ways to harness the ingenuity of the Fellows of the Royal Society for practical ends. Some of these, I gad, have to do with money, revenue, banks, stocks, and other subjects that fascinate you.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2630-33  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:44 AM

Isaac Newton was elected to Parliament a year ago, in the wake of our Revolution. He had made a name for himself in Cambridge opposing the former King’s efforts to salt the University with Jesuits. He spent much of the last year in London, to the dismay of those of us who would prefer to see him turn out more work in the vein of Principia Mathematica. He and your friend Fatio have become the closest of companions, and share lodgings here.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2644-50  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:45 AM

NEWTON would have us believe that Time is stepped out by the ticking of God’s pocket-watch, steady, immutable, an absolute measure of all sensible movements. LEIBNIZ inclines toward the view that Time is nothing more nor less than the change of objects’ relationships to one another—that movements, observed, enable us to detect Time, and not the other way round. NEWTON has laid out his system to the satisfaction, nay, amazement of the world, and I can find no fault in it; yet the system of LEIBNIZ, though not yet written out, more aptly describes my own subjective experience of Time. Which is to say that during the autumn of last year, when I and all around me were in continual motion, I had the impression that much Time was passing. But once I reached Versailles, and settled into lodgings at my cottage on the domain of La Dunette, on the hill of Satory above Versailles, and got my household affairs in order, and established a routine, suddenly four months flew by.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2763-67  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 03:11 AM

“Well, it is good to have you back, even briefly,” said Eliza. “It is odd, I feel as if I have met you before. I suppose it comes from seeing your busts and portraits everywhere, and your handsome features echoed in the face of Étienne.” By now the Duke had drawn close to Eliza. He had put on cologne recently, something Levantine, with a lot of citrus. It did not quite mask another odor which put Eliza in mind of rotting flesh. A bird, or some little scurrying creature, must have given up the ghost some days ago under the gazebo, and gone foul in the heat.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3155-59  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 03:44 AM

Those spies are here, and probably in Cadiz as well, to inform William of whether a war will be necessary this year.” “Why would the Spaniards want to hoard it?” “Because Portugal has opened vast new gold mines in Brazil, and—as Dappa can tell you—supplied them with numberless slaves. In the next ten years, the amount of gold in the world will rise extravagantly and its price, compared to that of silver, will naturally decline.” “So the price of silver is certain to rise…” Jack said. “Giving Spaniards every incentive to hoard it now.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3190-97  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 03:47 AM

But what really addled his mind—or clarified it, depending on one’s point of view—was his certainty that the Duc d’Arcachon had become involved, somehow. This much had been obvious from the evolutions of the Plan during the nine months since they’d presented it to the Pasha. By hiding the fact that he could understand Turkish, Dappa had learned much. Now, Jack really had no particular reason to care so much about said Duke—he was an evil rich man, but there were many of those. However, at one point when he’d been stupefied by Eliza, he had volunteered to kill that Duke one day. This was the closest he’d ever come to having a purpose in life (supporting his offspring was tedious and unattainable), and he had rather enjoyed it. D’Arcachon had now been so helpful as to reciprocate by attempting to hunt him down to the ends of the earth. Jack took a certain pride in that, seeing in it what his Parisian friend St.-George would call good form. To slink away now and live like a rat in East London, forever worrying about the Duke’s homicidal intentions, would be bad form indeed.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3248-53  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 03:52 AM

Not that propriety had ever shaped Jack’s actions in the past. But only now was it coming clear to him that he had forgone his one opportunity to escape, and thereby gambled his life upon the success of the Plan: a Plan that, only an hour ago, he was silently mocking as inconceivably complex, and dependent upon too many persons’ exhibiting sundry rare virtues, such as cleverness and bravery, at just the right times. It was, in other words, a Plan that only desperate men would have come up with, a Plan in which it made no sense to participate unless one had no alternatives whatsoever. Jack had only gone along with it, to this point, because he’d always known he could jump ship before the worst parts of it were put into action.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3255-58  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 03:52 AM

Accordingly, Jack did not gamble, but contented himself with a tankard of cerveza—the first liquor that had passed his lips in something like five years—and simply gazing at the whores and barmaids, who were the first human females he had seen (other than the bat-like phantasms of Algiers) since Eliza. And his view of her had been obstructed by an incoming harpoon.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3610-13  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 04:41 AM

“What is your point?” Dappa muttered over his shoulder. “Four,” said al-Ghuráb, watching Jack grab a bar. Jack began to mount the stairs behind Dappa. “I’m the only one of us who had a choice. And—never mind what the Calvinists say—no man is truly damned until he has damned himself. The rest of you are just like trapped animals gnawing your legs off.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3613-17  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 04:41 AM

What when we fled amain, pursu’d and strook With Heav’ns afflicting Thunder, and besought The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seem’d A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay Chain’d on the burning Lake? that sure was worse. —MILTON, Paradise Lost
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3637-44  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 04:43 AM

The day then dissolved into a long sickening panic, a slow and stretched-out dying. Jack rowed, and was whipped, and other times he whipped other men who were rowing. He stood above men he loved and saw only livestock, and whipped skin off their backs to make them row infinitesimally harder, and later they did the same to him. The raïs himself rowed, and was whipped by his own slaves. Whips wore out and broke. The galleot became an open tray of blood, skin, and hair, a single living body cut open by some pitiless anatomist: the benches ribs, the oars digits, the men gristle, the drum a beating heart, the whips raw dissected nerves that spun and whorled and crackled through the viscera of the hull. This was the first hour of their day, and the last; it quickly became too terrible to imagine, and remained thus without letting up, forever, even though it was only a day—just as a short nightmare can seemingly encompass a century. It passed out of time, in other words, and so there was nothing to tell of it, as it was not a story.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3684-91  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 04:46 AM

“Truly you are a prince among camel-traders, Nyazi, and no man is better suited to be the Ibrahim of his race.” “Alas,” Nyazi sighed, “I have not yet been able to impregnate even a single one of my forty wives.” “Forty!” cried several of the Cabal at once. “Counting the several I already had; ones we had acquired in trade during this trip and sent home via a different route; and those of the men who had been made eunuchs by the savages, the number should come to forty, give or take a few. All waiting for me in the foothills of the mountains of Nuba.” Nyazi got a faraway look in his eye, and an impressive swelling down below. “I have been saving myself,” he announced, “refusing to practice the sin of Onan, even when ifrits and succubi come to tempt me in the night-time. For to spill my seed is to diminish my ferocity, and weaken my resolve.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4240-44  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 08:52 AM

Then he heard Jeronimo bellowing in Spanish, “If I had a copper for every fly that swarms on you, beast, I’d buy the Spanish Empire! You smell worse than Vera Cruz in the springtime, and there is more filth clinging to your body than most animals shit in a year. Truly you must have sprung fully formed from a heap of manure, as flies and Popes do—may God have mercy on my soul for saying that! Jack Shaftoe is there smiling at me, thinking that you, camel, and I are well matched for each other—later I’ll make him your wife perhaps and you can take him out into the desert and do with him what you will.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4337-41  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 09:05 PM

“Then, as I have been chosen to represent the Cabal in our final negotiation with the Investor, I must ask you all to do one thing. I am a Vagabond, and was never one for swearing pompous oaths and prating about honor. But this undertaking is no longer a Vagabondish sort of enterprise—so every man among you must now swear, by whatever he considers holiest, that you are with me tomorrow. That, whatsoever happens in my dealings with the Duke—whether I show foolishness or wisdom—whether I remain collected, or lose my temper, or piss my breeches—whether or not the Imp of the Perverse comes to pay me a visit—you are with me, and will accept my decision, and live or die with me.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4341-47  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 09:05 PM

Here Jack had been expecting a long, awkward pause, or even laughter. But the sword of Gabriel Goto was out of its sheath before Jack’s words had stopped echoing round the narrow yard. The newcomers flinched. In a simple swift movement Gabriel reversed his sword and presented its hilt to Jack, and in the light of the fire the blade shimmered like a swift stream of clear water beneath the rising sun. “I am samurai,” he said simply. Padraig, the big Irishman, stepped forward and spat into the fire. “We’ve a saying,” he said to Jack in English. “Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in? Well, I’m in, which ought to suffice. But if you want me to swear by something, then I do swear on my mother’s grave above the sea in Kilmacthomas, and damn you if you think that’s not as good as being a samurai.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4385-90  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 09:36 PM

The challenges and salutations were barely audible through the stable’s haystacks; Jack could not even make out the language. Then he heard horseshoes pocking over the stone floor, coming closer. Jack rested his hand on the pommel of his sword and recited a poem he’d been taught long ago, standing in the bend of a creek in Bohemia: Watered steel-blade, the world perfection calls, Drunk with the viper poison foes appals. Cuts lively, burns the blood whene’er it falls; And picks up gems from pave of marble halls.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4462-76  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 09:48 PM

Jack looked up to see Pierre de Jonzac aiming a pistol at him from no more than two yards away. Moseh had meanwhile stuck his tongue out, and gone into motion. A flying hatchet lodged in de Jonzac’s shoulder, causing him to drop the weapon. A moment later his horse collapsed, shot through the head, and de Jonzac was thrown to the ground practically at Jack’s feet. Jack snatched the fallen pistol; aimed it at the head of de Jonzac; then moved the barrel slightly to one side and fired into the ground. “My men think you are dead now, and won’t waste balls on you,” Jack said. “In fact I have let you live, but for one purpose only: so that you can make your way back to Paris and tell them the following: that the deed you are about to witness was done for a woman, whose name I will not say, for she knows who she is; and that it was done by ‘Half-Cocked’ Jack Shaftoe, L’Emmerdeur, the King of the Vagabonds, Ali Zaybak: Quicksilver!” As he said these words he was stepping over to the Duc d’Arcachon, who had dragged himself out from under his horse and was lying there, hatless and wigless, propped up on one elbow, with the jagged ends of his leg-bones poking out through the bloody tissues of his silk stockings. “Here I am supposed to give you a full account and explanation of your sins, and why you deserve this,” Jack announced, “but there is no time. Suffice it to say that I am thinking of a mother and daughter you once abducted, and disgraced, and sold into slavery.” The Duke pondered this for a moment, looking bewildered, and then said: “Which ones?” Then Jack brought the bright blade of the Janissary-sword down like a thunderbolt, and the head of Louis-François de Lavardac, duc d’Arcachon, bounced and spun in the dirt of Khan el-Khalili in the center of the Mother of the World, and the dust of the Sahara began to cloud the lenses of his eyes.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4568-79  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:03 PM

But Jack’s view of these was suddenly blocked by a figure in a black ankle-length robe: Gabriel Goto, who stepped out from the shelter of a doorway and took up a position blocking the eye of the needle. At the moment he appeared to be unarmed; but he stopped the Frenchmen in their tracks anyway, by raising up his right hand and uttering some solemn words in Latin. Jack was no Papist, but he’d been in enough battles and poorhouses to recognize the rite of extreme unction, the last sacrament given to men who were about to die. Hearing musket-fire from the opposite way out—the way Yevgeny had gone—Jack turned to look, and saw a somewhat wider street that wound off in the direction of where those musketeers had established their road-block. Ten or twelve yards away, just where it curved out of view, a corpse lay sprawled on its back. Jack turned round again to look at Gabriel Goto, who had planted himself just on this side of the needle’s eye and was standing in a prayerful attitude as the Frenchmen came towards him. The samurai waited until they were no more than two yards away. Then he reached under his cloak and drew out his two-handed saber, gliding forward in the same movement, like a snake over grass, and tracing a compound diagram in the air with his sword-tip. Then he drew back, and Jack noticed that the head, neck, and right arm of one Frenchman were missing—removed by a single diagonal cut. As Gabriel Goto seemed to have matters well in hand at the needle’s eye, Jack went the other way, slowing as he approached the corpse that lay in the street. It was the Turk from Monsieur Arlanc’s oar.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4601-3  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:06 PM

A rightward glance at the T intersection told him that Gabriel Goto was still embroiled at the needle’s eye, French body parts continuing to thud down every few seconds. The sword whirling through the air tracing Barock figures, like the pen of a royal calligrapher.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4609-14  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:07 PM

His intention had been to pour the remainder of the lamp-oil into the gutter and use it as a sort of liquid fuse. But here events overtook him. For Yevgeny had come up with the idea of trying to set fire to the barricade, and had fashioned a sort of burning lance from a spear and an oily rag. As Jack watched from the gutter, Yevgeny fired a pistol alongside this contrivance, igniting it; then he stepped out into the street and immediately took a musket-ball in the ribs. He paused, stepped farther into the street, and took another in the thigh. But these wounds apparently did not even qualify as painful by Russian standards, and so with perfect aplomb he hefted the flaming harpoon, judged the distance, then hopped forward three times on his good leg and hurled it towards the powder-keg.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4618-24  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:07 PM

Jack turned around to see planks fluttering down all over the neighborhood, and stray wagon-wheels bounding along the street. The right fork of the Y, where the barricade had once stood, was just a smoky mess. Above it, on the rooftop, Nasr al-Ghuráb had dragged himself into position despite a flayed and butchered thigh. He whipped out a cutlass, threw his good leg over the parapet, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and fell into the inferno, landing on two musketeers, crushing one and cutting the other in half. At the same moment, Jack saw movement down the left fork of the Y, which had not figured much into the battle as it led to a place directly in front of the musketeers. But all of a sudden a lone man on horseback was galloping across that space: It was Excellentissimo Domino Jeronimo Alejandro Peñasco de Halcones Quinto, mounting a one-man cavalry charge on his Arab steed.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4624-35  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:08 PM

He almost reached the enemy without suffering any injuries, for he had timed his charge carefully, and none of the musketeers were in position to fire. But as he galloped the last few yards, screaming “Estremaduras!” a shower of blood erupted from his back; some officer, perhaps, had shot him with a pistol. The horse was hit, too, and went down on its knees. This would have pitched any other man out of the saddle, but Jeronimo seemed to be ready for it. As he flew out of the saddle he shoved off with both feet, pitching his hindquarters upwards; tucked his head under; landed hard on one shoulder, and rolled completely over in a somersault. In the same continuous movement he sprang up to his feet, drew his rapier, and drove it all the way through the body of the officer who had shot him. “How do you like that, eh? El Torbellino made me practice that one until I pissed blood; and then he made me practice it some more until I got it right!” He pulled out the rapier and slashed its edge through the throat of another Frenchman who was coming up from one side. “Now you will learn that a man of Estremaduras can fight better when he is bleeding to death than a Frenchman in the pink of health! I judge that I have sixty seconds to live, which—” plunging his rapier into a a musketeer’s neck “—should give me more than enough time to—” cutting another musketeer’s throat “—kill a dozen of you—four so far—” he now revealed a dagger in the other hand, and stabbed a fleeing musketeer in the back “—make it five!”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4678-80  | Added on Sunday, September 03, 2017, 10:11 PM

“I have not done this before,” he announced, fishing out, and inspecting, a long, rusty pick, “but have had it all explained to me, by men who have.” “Men who have lost sea-battles and been taken as galley-slaves,” Jack added.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4778-82  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 12:01 AM

During my earlier life here, I’d have been beside myself, for this early frost would have sent the commodities markets into violent motion, and it would have been of the highest importance for me to get instructions to Amsterdam. As matters stand, my responsibilities are more profound, but less immediate. Money surges and courses through this realm in the most inscrutable ways. I suppose one could construct some sort of strained analogy—Paris is the heart, and Lyons the lungs, or something—but in any event, the system does not work, and money does not flow, unless people make it work, and I have become one of those people.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4853-56  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 12:08 AM

I stayed my quill, as it would seem ludicrous to liken this obscure and outlandish Baron to a spider, and the duc d’Arcachon to a fly. And yet in person Lothar is much more formidable than the duc. At the House of Huygens I have seen a spider through a magnifying-glass, and Lothar, with his round abdomen and his ghastly pox-marked face, looked more like it than any other human I have beheld.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5331-39  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 12:56 AM

NOW, AT THIS MOMENT Eliza was far from clear-headed; yet she was the most clear-headed person in the room, with the possible exception of the late duke. Though she was still in a lot of trouble—much more trouble than three minutes ago, in fact—she knew two things absolutely. One was that the duc d’Arcachon was dead. Her mission in life had, therefore, been accomplished. The other was that Jack Shaftoe was alive, had redeemed himself, and loved her. Best of all, he loved her from a tremendous distance, which made being loved by him ever so much less inconvenient. And so even as people were still gasping and screaming and fainting all around her, Eliza was moving toward the duchesse d’Oyonnax, who, aside from Eliza, was the coolest person in the room. She looked almost amused. Eliza fished the little green phial out of her waistband. She approached Oyonnax from the side, reached out with her left hand, grasped that of Oyonnax, and drew it towards her, twisting it palm up. With her right hand Eliza pressed the phial down on Oyonnax’s palm. The Duchess’s fingers curled about it involuntarily, before she knew what it was, and Eliza got clear.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5340-62  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 12:58 AM

Her attention—and that of almost everyone else in the room—turned to d’Avaux, who had approached the King, and received permission to speak. It was a wonder he had sought permission, for he was in such a rage that he was almost slavering. He kept looking back at Eliza, which gave Eliza the idea that it might be best for her to draw closer and listen in. “Your majesty!” cried d’Avaux. “By your majesty’s leave, I say that while the perpetrator of this atrocious crime may be far away, the first cause and inspiration of it is close by, yea, within the reach of your majesty’s sword almost, so that your majesty may have satisfaction presently—for she, the woman in whose name L’Emmerdeur committed this murder, is none other than—” and he raised his hand before his face, index finger extended, like a pistol-duellist in the moment before he levels the weapon at his foe. His gaze was rapt on Eliza. The fatal finger began to descend toward her heart. She reached up and caught that digit, however, while it was still directed toward the magnificent Le Brun ceiling, and bent it back sharply enough to make d’Avaux inhale sharply—which meant he could not finish his sentence. “Merci beaucoup, monsieur,” she whispered, and executed a full three-hundred-sixty-degree pirouette that brought her face to face with the King while relegating d’Avaux to the background. Her hand was behind the small of her back now, still gripping d’Avaux’s finger. She had carried it off—or so she hoped—in such a manner that an observer, still in shock over the appearance of the severed head of the birthday boy, might think that d’Avaux had courteously offered her his hand, and she had gratefully accepted it. “By your leave, your majesty, I have heard it said that the rules of etiquette dictate ladies before gentlemen; was I deceived?” “In no way, mademoiselle,” said the King. “I tell you, it was—” began d’Avaux; but the King silenced him with a flick of the eyes, and Eliza reinforced the message with some torque on the finger. “Moreover, it is said that the laws of Heaven place love before hate, and peace before war; is it true?” “Pourquoi non, mademoiselle?” “Then as a lady who stands before your majesty on an errand of love, I beg precedence over this gentleman, my dear friend and mentor, Monsieur le comte d’Avaux, whose red and angry visage tells me he is on some errand of hateful retribution.” “So terrible is the news to-night that it would bring me, if not pleasure, then perhaps a few moments’ diversion from what is so unpleasant, to grant you precedence over Monsieur d’Avaux; provided that his errand is not of an urgent nature.” “Oh, not at all, your majesty, what I have to say will be every bit as useful to you in a few minutes’ time as it is now. I insist that Mademoiselle la comtesse de la Zeur go ahead.” D’Avaux finally worried his finger free and backed off a step.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5362-67  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 12:59 AM

“Your majesty,” said Eliza, “I grieve for le duc. I trust he has gone to his reward. I pray that L’Emmerdeur will get what he deserves for what he has done. But I cannot, I will not, allow the so-called King of the Vagabonds the additional satisfaction of disrupting the peaceful conduct of your majesty’s household, that is to say La France; and so, notwithstanding my feelings of shock and grief at this moment, I beg your leave to accept the proposal of marriage that was tendered to me earlier this evening by Étienne de Lavardac—now, duc d’Arcachon.” “Then marry him with all the blessings a King can bestow,” the King answered.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5387-92  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:00 AM

He backed away one step, turned, and swept his arm up and out towards a corner of the painted ceiling, where Pandora was opening up her Box (in—come to think of it—an odd reminder of the box-opening scene that had just played out on the ballroom floor) to release a flood of demonic Vices. Pandora had been painted, as everyone knew, to resemble Mary, the usurper Queen of England. The foremost of the Vices rushing out of her box was green-eyed Envy, who had been made to resemble Sophie of Hanover. It was to Envy that d’Avaux now drew the King’s attention. “That, your majesty, is the lady love, not only of L’Emmerdeur—who is after all a nobody—but also of all the Dutch and English. Envy is what inspires their chivalrous acts.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5392-95  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:01 AM

“You powers of observation are as keen as ever, monsieur,” said the King, “and I have never been more pleased to number you among my subjects.” At this d’Avaux bowed very deeply. Eliza could not help but think that, for all the frustration and defeat d’Avaux had suffered here, this immense compliment from le Roi was more than compensation enough. It made her wonder: Did the King know everything?
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5418-22  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:44 AM

It seems to us indeed that this block of marble brought from Genoa would have been exactly the same if it had been left there, because our senses make us judge only superficially, but at bottom because of the connection of things the whole universe with all of its parts would be entirely different, and would have been another from the beginning, if the least thing in it went otherwise than it does. —LEIBNIZ
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5426-29  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:46 AM

Leibniz moved on into a tutorial about a new notion he had been toying with in his spare time, called parallel curves, which he illustrated by drawing invisible lines on the hearth with the toe of his boot. Petty nobles of Lower Saxony who trespassed on these were politely asked to move, so that Fatio could draw several invisible lines and curves of his own. Then he managed, in a single grammatically correct sentence, to make reference to Apollonius of Perga, the Folium of Descartes, and the Limaçon of Pascal.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5479-87  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:53 AM

“Our use of knowledge progresses through successively higher levels of abstraction as we perfect civilization and draw nearer to the mentality of God,” Leibniz said, as if making an off-handed comment about the weather. “Adam named the beasts; meaning, that from casual observations of particular specimens, he moved to the recognition of species, and then devised abstract names for them—a sort of code, if you will. Indeed, if he had not done so, Noah’s task would have been inconceivable. Later, a system of writing was developed: spoken words were abstracted into chains of characters. This became the basis for the Law—it is how God communicated His intentions to Man. The Book was written. Then other books. At Alexandria the many books were brought together into the first Library. More recently came the invention of Gutenberg: a cornucopia that spills books out into specialized markets in Frankfurt and Leipzig. The merchants there have been completely unreceptive to my proposals! There are too many books in the world now for any one mind to comprehend. What does Man do, Fatio, when he is faced with a task that exceeds the physical limits of his body?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5488-89  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:53 AM

“Harnesses beasts, or makes a tool. And beasts are of no use in a Library. So—” “So we want tools. Behold!” Leibniz proclaimed, taking his hands from his coat-pockets just long enough to direct a sort of shoveling gesture at the looming Pile.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5508-11  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:55 AM

“I have laid off of Dynamics for the time being and am trying to finish another book Proto-gaea, whose subject matter you may know from the title. But let us refrain from digressions,” said Leibniz, shuffling carefully across the cluttered room. He paused to regard a colossal piece of furniture. “You see I am not the first to contemplate the making of a knowledge engine.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5520-25  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:57 AM

“These were written out personally by one Duke August, a forerunner of that lot you just met. He lived to a great age and died some twenty-five years ago. It was he who assembled most of this collection,” Leibniz explained. Fatio bent slightly at the waist to read one of the pages. It consisted of a series of paragraphs each preceded by a title and a long Roman numeral. “It is a description of a book,” he concluded. “The process of abstraction continues,” Leibniz said. “Duke August could not keep the contents of his library in his memory, so he wrote out catalogs. And when there were too many catalogs for him to use them conveniently, he had woodwrights make Bücherrads—engines to facilitate the use and maintenance of the catalogs.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5526-29  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:57 AM

“It is very ingenious.” “Yes—and it is threescore years old,” Leibniz returned. “If you do the arithmetick, as I have, you may easily demonstrate that to hold all the catalogs needed to list all the world’s books would require so many Bücherrads that we would need some Bücherradrads to spin them around, and a Bücherrad-rad-rad to hold all of them—” “German is a convenient language that way,” Fatio said diplomatically.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5539-46  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 01:59 AM

how do you find what you want?” Leibniz asked. “I believe you are now questioning me in a Socratic mode.” “And you may answer in any mode you like, Monsieur Fatio, provided that you do answer.” “I suppose one would go by the numbers. Supposing that they were shelved in numerical order.” “Suppose they were. The numbers merely denote the order in which the Duke acquired, or at least cataloged, the volumes. They say nothing of the contents.” “Re-number them, then.” “According to what scheme? By name of author?” “I believe it would be better to use something like Wilkins’s philosophical language. For any conceivable subject, there would be a unique number. Write that number on the spine of the book and shelve them in order. Then you can go directly to the right part of the library and find all books on a given subject together.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5549-53  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:00 AM

Leibniz stepped over to an empty bookcase and drew his finger down the length of one shelf from left to right. “A shelf is akin to a Cartesian number-line. The position of a book on that shelf is associated with a number. But only one number! Like a number-line, it is one-dimensional. In analytic geometry we may cross two or three number-lines at right angles to create a multi-dimensional space. Not so with bookshelves. The problem of the librarian is that books are multi-dimensional in their subject matter but must be ordered on one-dimensional shelves.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5555-62  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:00 AM

Consider the following: Suppose we assign the number three to Aristotle, and four to turtles. Now we must decide where to shelve a book by Aristotle on the subject of turtles. We multiply three by four to obtain twelve, and then shelve the book in position twelve.” “Excellent! By a simple multiplication you have combined several subject-numbers into one—collapsed the multi-dimensional space into a uni-dimensional number-line.” “I am pleased that you favor my proposal thus far, Fatio, but now consider the following: suppose we assign the number two to Plato, and six to trees. And suppose we acquire a book by Plato on the subject of trees. Where does it belong?” “The product of two and six is twelve—so it goes next to Aristotle’s book on turtles.” “Indeed. And a scholar seeking the latter book may instead find himself with the former—clearly a failure of the cataloging system.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5570-74  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:01 AM

“Two, three, five, and seven—all prime numbers,” remarked Fatio after giving it a brief study. “The shelf-numbers are composites, the products of prime factors. Excellent, Doctor! By making this small improvement—assigning prime numbers, instead of counting numbers, to the various subjects—you have eliminated the problem. The shelf position of any book may be found by multiplying the subject-numbers—and you may be assured it will be unique.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5589-92  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:03 AM

Looking at a shelf I might see some number, eight or nine digits long. I would know this to be a composite number, the product of two or more primes. But to decompose such a number into its prime factors is a notoriously difficult and tedious problem. There is a curious asymmetry about this approach, in other words, lying in the fact that to its creator the structure and organization of the great library will be clear as glass—but to a solitary visitor it will seem a murky maze of impenetrable numbers.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5595-5605  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:04 AM

“You should know this about me. My father was a learned man who owned one of the finest libraries in Leipzig. He died when I was very small. Consequently I knew him only as a jumble of childish perceptions—between us there were feelings but never any rational connection, perhaps somewhat like the relationship that you or I have with God.” And he related a story about how he had, for a time, been locked out of his father’s library, but later re-admitted. “So I ventured into that library which had been closed up since the death of my father and still smelled like him. It might seem funny for me to speak of the smell, but that was the only connection I could draw at the time. For the books were all written in Latin or Greek, languages I did not know, and they treated of subjects with which I was completely unfamiliar, and they were arranged upon the shelves according to some scheme that must have been clear to my father, but to me was unknown, and would have been beyond my ken even if someone had been there to explain it to me. “Now in the end, Monsieur Fatio, I mastered that library, but in order to do it I first had to learn Greek and Latin, and then read the books. Only when I had done these things was I finally able to do the most difficult thing of all, namely to understand the organizing principle by which my father had arranged the books on the shelves.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5605-12  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:05 AM

Fatio said: “So you are not troubled by the plight of my hypothetical scholar, a-mazed in the penetralia of your Knowledge Engine. But Doctor Leibniz, how many persons, dropped into a library of books written in unknown languages, could do what you did?” “The question is more than just rhetorical. The situation is not merely hypothetical,” Leibniz answered. “For every human being who is born into this universe is like a child who has been given a key to an infinite Library, written in cyphers that are more or less obscure, arranged by a scheme—of which we can at first know nothing, other than that there does appear to be some scheme—pervaded by a vapor, a spirit, a fragrance that reminds us that it was the work of our Father. Which does us no good whatever, other than to remind us, when we despair, that there is an underlying logic about it, that was understood once and can be understood again.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5612-17  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:05 AM

“But what if it can only be understood by a mind as great as God’s? What if we can only find what we want by factoring twenty-digit numbers?” “Let us understand what we may, and extend our reach, insofar as we can, by the making of engines, and content ourselves with that much,” Leibniz answered. “It will suffice to keep us busy for a while. We cannot perform all of the calculations needed without turning every atom in the Universe into a cog in an Arithmetickal Engine; and then it would be God—” “I think you are coming close to words that could get you burnt at the stake, Doctor—meanwhile, I turn to ice. Is there a place where we could strike a balance between those two extremes?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5639-42  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:07 AM

“Monsieur Newton and I devoted the month of March to reading Mr. Huygens’s Treatise on Light and were so taken with it that we agreed to divide forces for the year—I have been studying with Huygens—” “And Newton toils at his Alchemy.” “Alchemy, theology, philosophy—call it what you will,” Fatio said coolly, “he is close to an achievement that will dwarf the Principia.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5667-72  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:09 AM

“You sound like Huygens!” Fatio snapped, suddenly annoyed. “I might as well have stayed in the Hague.” “I am sorry if the tendency of me and Huygens to agree causes you grief.” “You may agree with each other all you like. But why will you not agree with Isaac? Can you not perceive the magnificence of what he has achieved?” “Any sentient man can perceive that,” Leibniz returned. “Almost all will be so blinded by its brilliance that they will be unable to perceive its flaws. There are only a few of us who can do that.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5705-11  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:17 AM

Leibniz now deserted his post and began stomping towards Fatio. “Newton would have it that this field possesses a reality of its own, which governs the balls, and makes them discernible. But I say the field is not necessary! Forget about it, and consider only the balls’ perceptions.” “Perceptions?” “You said yourself that when you stood there you perceived a large snowball on the left, far away, and a small one on the right. Here you perceive a large one on the right, near at hand, and a small one on the left. So even though the balls might be indiscernible, and hence identical, in terms of their external properties such as size, shape, and weight, when we consider their internal properties—such as their perceptions of one another—we see that they are different. So they are discernible!
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5713-17  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:17 AM

“You seem to be granting every object in the Universe the power to perceive, and to record its perceptions,” Fatio ventured. “If you are going to venture down this road of subdividing objects into smaller and smaller bits, you must somewhere stop, and stick your neck out by saying, ‘This is the fundamental unit of reality, and thus are its properties, on which all other phaenomena are built,’ ” said the Doctor. “Some think it makes sense that these are like billiard balls, which interact by colliding.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5726-34  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:21 AM

“Physics, then, becomes a sort of vast record-keeping exercise. Every object in the Universe is distinguished from every other object by the uniqueness of its perceptions of all the other objects.” “If you think on it long enough you will see it is the only way to distinguish them.” “Why, it is as if every atom or particle—” “I call them monads.” “Monad, then, is a sort of Knowledge Engine unto itself, a Bücherrad-rad-rad-rad…” Leibniz summoned a weak smile. “Its gears grind away like the ones in your Arithmetickal Engine, and it decides what to do of its own accord. You knew Spinoza, did you not?” Leibniz held up a warning hand. “Yes. But pray do not put me in with him.” “If I may just return to the topic that got us started, Doctor, it seems to me that your theory allows for a possibility you scoffed at—namely, that two lumps of gold might be different from each other.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5738-42  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:22 AM

“Why not admit it, then? Why this stubborn refusal to consider Newton’s system, when yours is just as fraught with difficulties?” Leibniz drew to a halt before the front stoop of the Schloß, as if he’d rather freeze than continue the discussion where it might be overheard. “Your question is dressed up in the guise of Reason, to make it appear innocent. Perhaps it is. Perhaps not.” “Even if you do not think me innocent, pray believe that my confusion is genuine.” “Isaac and I had this conversation long ago, when we were young, and matters stood quite differently.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5745-51  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 02:23 AM

“I stand corrected, Doctor. There are three of us who have known him thusly.” “That is a very clever sentence you just uttered,” Leibniz exclaimed, sounding genuinely impressed. “Like a silken cord turned in on itself and knotted into a snare. I commend you for it, but I will not put my foot in it. And I will thank you to keep Daniel out of it as well.” Fatio had turned red. “The only thing I wish to snare is a clearer understanding of what has passed between you and Isaac.” “You want to know if you have a rival.” Fatio said nothing. “The answer is: you do not.” “That is well.” “You do not have a rival, Fatio. But Isaac Newton does.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5766-69  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 06:45 AM

Teague rhapsodized about Connaught all the time, and did it so convincingly that half the regiment was ready to move there. Bob had taken it with a grain of salt because he knew that Teague had never in his life ventured more than five miles’ distance from London Bridge, and was merely repeating tales told to him by his folk. From which Bob had collected, very early, something that it would have benefited the Partrys to know, namely that Ireland was a mentality, and not a physical place.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5848-53  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 06:54 AM

The rapparees actually did have firearms that worked, and had learned to strip them down into their parts in seconds. The locks they kept in their pockets, the barrels they corked shut and hid in sloughs or streams, the stocks they thrust into wood-piles, or anywhere else a bare stick might go unnoticed. So what appeared to be a crew of half-naked peat-cutters or a congregation strolling to Mass could scatter into the waste at a word or a gesture, and reconstitute itself an hour later as a band of heavily armed marauders. Because of the rapparees there were few places on the island, outside of Ulster, where Englishmen could feel safe in groups of less than an infantry company.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5890-96  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:00 AM

After a month they were joined by Monsieur LaMotte, a Huguenot cavalry captain who happened to spy them as he was riding by one day. He was expert with a cavalry saber, which was a somewhat similar weapon to the spadroon, but he had also studied the rapier, and so he was at last able to give Oliver some instruction in what to do with his weapon. In general, cavalry officers (who tended to be Persons of Quality) would never fraternize thusly with common foot-soldiers, but the Huguenots were an exceeding queer lot. Many were common Frenchmen whose families had grown wealthy in trade and then been kicked out of France. Now they were in Ireland, gaining some small revenge by teaching the defencing tricks of the Continental nobility to savage Anglo-Irish Puritans.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5896-5903  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:01 AM

OLIVER GOOD’S GRANDFATHER had dwelt for a dozen years on a farm between Athlone and Tullamore, which placed it in Leinster. But it lay not far from the Connaught frontier, which was regarded by Protestants as the utmost boundary of civilization. He had obtained title to the land by driving off its Catholic inhabitants, the Ferbanes, who had driven their cattle west across a ford of the Shannon and thereby vanished from ken. Good’s justification, if he needed any, was that those Ferbanes had taken part in the Rebellion of 1641 and expanded their farm at the expense of some neighboring Protestants who had come over from England in Elizabethan times. But he had to stop using that justification after he was confronted by several ragged men who appeared on the property one day claiming to be the descendants and rightful heirs of those same Elizabethan Protestants! After that, if anyone dared question his claim to the land, he said it was his by right of conquest, and because he had a piece of paper that said so.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5903-6  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:01 AM

He and his children toiled on the land as only Puritans could toil on the land, and made many improvements, few of which were obvious, none of which produced results quickly. They bore arms all their days and often rode the countryside hunting down “disorderly elements.” They did not see those ragged Protestants any more, and forgot about them altogether, except for their surname, which could be read from the odd gravestone: Crackington.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5916-18  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:02 AM

Then when James II became King, he re-Catholicized Ireland. The Crackingtons awoke one morning to find breaches in their fences, and wild Connaught kine grazing in their enclosures, guarded closely by red-haired men who spoke no English and carried French muskets. It was not possible to persuade them to leave because the new Catholic government in Dublin had confiscated the weapons of the English gentry.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5947-51  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:08 AM

During the battle that had given the Black Torrent Guards their name, their commander, Feversham, had been asleep. Even when he was awake he was daft, because of his brain injury. John Churchill had been the real commander and Bob and the other foot-soldiers had done the fighting. Yet Feversham had got the credit for all. Why? Because it made a good story, Bob supposed, and people could only make sense of complicated matters through stories. Likewise the war for Ireland, which had ceased to be a good story when the Kings had left the stage. Thus Bob in a very bleak mood all through April.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5997-6007  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 07:16 AM

The rules of Continental siege warfare were in effect, meaning that towns could hope for easy treatment if they surrendered but that resistance was to be punished by massacre. Bob’s chief worry, then, was that he would be given a direct order to go into Athlone and massacre someone. The only thing that would be worse would be if the victims turned out to be Mr. McCarthy’s company of foot-soldiers from Baron Youghal’s regiment. Mr. McCarthy was a Dublin candle-maker who had spent all of his money to raise and outfit a company, and made himself its captain. Along the way he had recruited Teague Partry, who had in turn recruited several other of Bob’s out-laws. Jack Shaftoe’s sons—Bob’s nephews—had gotten swept up in Regimental life, much as Jack and Bob had done at the same age. For all Bob knew, the boys might be carrying muskets now. So it was not out of all possibility that Bob might be obliged to swing a spadroon into the necks of his nephews during the mopping-up of Athlone. It was the sort of dilemma that might make a fellow anxious. Fortunately Bob had (as was his habit) imagined and anticipated the worst, and made up his mind in advance what he should do if it came to pass: He would excuse himself, declare himself Irish (easily enough done, as ’twas only a state of mind anyway), make the sign of the cross over his red-coated breast, and go running off into Connaught with the Partrys. He even had a sort of excuse worked out: He’d declare that the hag who’d brained him with the bottle in Limerick was his long-lost great-aunt.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6030-36  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 10:00 PM

When someone was trying to kill him and his men (which was not really all that often), Bob’s chief professional obligation was to think about that. At all other times he thought about food. Treading carefully among sleeping men, he came to a place where he could look out through a bomb-hole and see orange flames fondling the bum of Black Betty, the company’s prize kettle, out in the court. There would be a sort of gruel boiling in it, with shreds of mutton flashing to the top occasionally, and an inch of grease floating on it. In other weathers a cloud of steam would be roiling from Black Betty’s mouth, but today she was surrounded and hemmed in by aeons of fog proceeding out of the west, seemingly drawn by the feeble promise of the pink gloaming over Leinster. If any steam was coming out of Black Betty, it was like a fart in a whirlwind.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6066-69  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 10:03 PM

Now that all burdens had been thrown down and the commotion of the march had ceased, Bob found that he could hear for a great distance. In fact, he was convinced that they had mistakenly set up only a stone’s throw from the enemy. But the sound came and went with the sluggish convolutions of the fog, telling him that it was only a trick played on his ears by the queerness of the air, and further evidence that Connaught was a realm of mischievous faeries.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6132-36  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 10:51 PM

“Today we will be dragoons, until we are told otherwise.” “Where are our horses, then?” “We must imagine them.” “Imaginary horses are much slower than the other kind.” “We need never mount up. Dragoons are supposed to ride into battle, then dismount and fight as infantrymen,” Barnes reminded him. “We walked here, that much is true. But that’s in the past. Now it’s as if we have all just climbed out of our saddles.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6220-26  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:03 PM

“We could make you a bed from ammunition cases.” “I thought they had none.” “They have thousands of musket-balls in there,” Barnes said. “Then why did they not use them?” “Because they are made for English muskets—ever so slightly larger than the barrels of their French muskets.” Hamilton had ambled to within earshot of this conversation, and responded, “Haw! I always knew we Englishmen had bigger balls than the French!” Indeed, all of the private soldiers found it hilarious. But sergeants and captains—who were actually responsible for getting musket-balls to the troops—could only wince at such a story, even when it had befallen the enemy.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6232-36  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:04 PM

ONCE THE DANES and the Huguenots over-ran the field like flocks of starlings scouring the earth for worms, Bob’s red Guards uniform would not help him; this side of the bog, any man on foot was under a death sentence. Because the French/Irish phant’sied themselves the army of the true King (James II), many of their regiments wore the same red uniforms, and the only way to tell them apart was by looking for small badges or devices thrust into their hats: sprigs of green for King William’s forces, scraps of white paper for James Stuart’s. These were difficult to see even in good light. Bob’s hat had been lost in the bog anyway.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6253-56  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:08 PM

Bob knew what they were doing: first, preserving their regimental standard (one of the three riders was the standard-bearer). This would enable them to erect the colors on a high place later, so that the scattered squadrons and stragglers could converge on it and reform into an effective battalion. Without that scrap of cloth they could never amount to anything but lost Vagabonds.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6257-60  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:09 PM

Bob out-stripped Ruvigny’s cavalry in an instant when they galloped into the Catholic squadrons and stopped to duel it out with pistols and sabers. French Protestants fighting for the King of England crossed blades with English Catholics fighting for the King of France. Bob, having no personal interest in their quarrel, rode through them all like a cannonball through a bank of smoke and discovered himself in open country pursuing the three riders.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6367-68  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:18 PM

“When you go to the next world,” Upnor said, “tell the angels and demons that we know everything about your infamous cabal, and that we will have the gold of Solomon!”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6370-78  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:20 PM

“You know perfectly well,” he said indignantly, “Now go and do as I have instructed you!” He aimed a death-blow at Bob’s heart. Bob put his hands up to slap it aside. Then a large object hurtled across the sky and smashed into the rapier’s guard, crumpling the bars and sending it spinning away. Upnor staggered back, gripping a damaged hand. Bob looked up to see a bulky figure in a ragged muddy gray coat, gripping eight feet or so of pike-staff: the same bit that Bob had broken off the cavalry standard. Bob levered himself up on his elbow and rose to a seated position to find the cool, level gaze of Teague Partry directed his way. Teague had a head like a cube of limestone, and brown hair pulled back tight against his skull, though many strands had come loose during the day’s fighting and been plastered back with mud. His blue-gray eyes were set close together, redoubling the intensity of his glare. “What d’you think y’are, a character in a friggin’ novel, Bob? Can you not perceive that the gentleman is wearin’ armor, and knows more concernin’ swordsmanship than you ever will?” “I perceive it well enough now, Teague.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6380-92  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:21 PM

“Look out, Teague, he’s as dangerous with his left as he is with his right—” “Bob! You make too much and too little of him at the same time. As a ’fencer he’s a caution, ’tis plain enough to see, but in the larger scheme, Bob, what is he but a friggin’ tosser wavin’ a poker around in the dark.” By this time Upnor had advanced to within about eight feet and so Teague gave his stave a toss upward, gripped it with both hands at the end, and with a grunt, swung it round in a long arc parallel to the ground, catching Upnor in the side and flattening him. Upnor made a grab at the end of the staff, which had ended up hovering over his face, but his movements were cramped by his steel cuirass, which now sported a huge dent jabbing deep into his side. Teague withdrew the stave, shifted his grip so that he was holding it in the middle, raised it up above his head, and began to execute a series of brisk stabbing motions, with the occasional mighty swing. These were accompanied by metallic bashing sounds and screams from Upnor’s end of the stick. Between these efforts he sent the following, loosely connected string of comments and observations Bob’s way: “You have responsibilities now, Bob. You must lose this naïve understanding of violence! You are embarrassin’ me in front of the lads! You can’t play by their rules or they’ll win unfailingly! You don’t engage in courtly play-fightin’ with one such as this. You get a great friggin’ tree-branch and keep hittin’ him with it until he dies. Like that. D’you see, boys?” “Aye, Uncle Teague,” came back two voices in unison.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6394-97  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:22 PM

“There,” Teague said. “Now get you over the ditch and be gone with the lads.” “I’ve been run through the liver.” “All the more reason to stop your lollygaggin’. You’ll bleed to death shortly or heal up in a few weeks—the liver has a miraculous power of regeneration, while the body lives. Take it from an Irishman.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6403-8  | Added on Monday, September 04, 2017, 11:23 PM

“I’ll raise a monument in London,” Bob promised, and got up slowly. He did not pass out. “To me? They wouldn’t have it!” “To Upnor,” Bob said, staggering past the Earl’s smashed corpse, and kicking the rapier aside into the watercourse. “A fine statue of him, looking just as he does now, and an inscription: ‘In Memoriam, Louis Anglesey, Earl of Upnor, finest swordsman in England, beaten to death with a stick by an Irishman.’ ” Teague considered it for a moment, then nodded. “In Connaught,” he added.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6524-27  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 07:30 AM

“I mean to end up, in some sense, with my boot on the neck of Lothar von Hacklheber, and him looking up helpless into my eyes.” “Well. Well! Let me just say that the last bloke who had me in such a fix was the Earl of Upnor, and—” “My powers of organization exceed those of the late Upnor by a significant margin, and so I intend to arrange matters so that I will not end up being beaten to death with a stick by an Irishman.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6828-35  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 07:55 AM

“But if I may once again play the rôle of the uncouth banker,” said Étienne—who had abandoned his post in “Lyon” to watch the denouement—“why on earth should the English Mint strike coins whose purpose is to finance a foreign invasion of England?” This quieted the crowd so profoundly that Étienne felt rather bad about it, and began to formulate what showed every sign of being a lengthy and comprehensive apology. But Eliza was having none of it. “You don’t know England!” she said, “But I do, for I am Mercury. England has factions. The one that rules now is called the Tories, and they make no secret that they loathe the Usurper, and want him out. Indeed, our invasion plans are predicated, are they not, on the assumption that the English Navy will look the other way as our fleets cross the Channel, and that the common folk of England, and much of the Army, will joyfully throw off the yoke of the Dutchman and welcome our French and Irish soldiers with open arms.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7037-40  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 08:11 AM

Bernard had settled down a bit. “Never fear, madame, for my father and I both converted to Catholicism after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Just as you have married a hereditary Duke.” “I don’t really see what those two have to do with each other.” “They were, if you will, sacraments that we undertook to show that we were submitting to the established order of this country—the same order that we undermine by pursuing what you so aptly described as our predilection for finance.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7100-7105  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 08:16 AM

“Now you flirt with me. Madame, it is within my power to make this happen. I may have been re-baptized as a Catholic, but this has not prevented my maintaining any number of contacts with Huguenots who elected to leave. They have gone to places like London and prospered. You know this perfectly well, for you have filled the void that was created in the Compagnie du Nord by their departure. You buy timber from them in Sweden and Rostock all the time. So yes. I can see to it that your silver is transferred, and I shall. But it shall not be profitable. It shall not be especially convenient. Monsieur Castan’s credit with the Dépôt shall be over-extended for a time. I shall have to twist his arm. And I hate dealing with Lothar.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7122-49  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 08:19 AM

“What does this mean, I have no idea? I may be a mathematician, but yet I know what passes between a man and a woman.” “Indeed; but you are not a commerçant, and you haven’t the faintest idea what passes between the likes of me and Bernard. Don’t worry. If you were a commerçant, I shouldn’t be attracted to you—just as I’m not attracted to Bernard.” “But it looked for all the world as if you were flirting.” “As indeed we were—but the intercourse to which this flirting will lead is not sexual.” “I am perfectly confused now—you are playing with me.” “Come now, Bon-bon! Let us review matters. Out of all the men in Germany, which did I choose for a friend?” “Leibniz.” “And what is he?” “A mathematician.” “Holland?” “Huygens…a mathematician.” “England?” “Daniel Waterhouse. A Natural Philosopher.” “France?” “…” “Come now! When I came to Versailles for the first time, and got invited to Court soirées, and was pursued by any number of randy Dukes, to whom did I give my affections?” “You gave them to…a mathematician.” “What was that mathematician’s name?” asked Eliza, cupping a hand to her ear. “It was Bonaventure Rossignol,” said Bonaventure Rossignol, and flicked his black eyes to and fro to see if anyone was listening. “Now, when I got myself into a big mess of trouble outside of St. Diziers, who was the first to learn of it?” “That fellow who was reading everyone’s mail. Bonaventure Rossignol.” “And who came galloping to my rescue across half of France, and journeyed north with me to Nijmegen, and put me on a boat?” “Bon—” “Stop. The name is beautiful and distinguished. But I prefer to call him Bon-bon.” “Very well, then, it was Bon-bon.” “Who made love to me along the banks of the Meuse?” “Étienne de Lavardac.” “Who else?” “Bon-bon.” “And who helped me concoct a plan to get out of my terrible mess of trouble?” “Bon-bon.” “Who helped me cover my traces, and forged documents, and lied to the King and to d’Avaux?” “Bon-bon.” “And who is the father of my first-born?” “I’ve no idea.” “Only because you avoided looking at him, when you had the opportunity. But I tell you Jean-Jacques looks very much like Bon-bon—there is no trace in him of the tainted blood of the Lavardacs. You are the father, Bon-bon.” “What is your point?” “Only that it is absurd for you to be jealous of this Samuel Bernard. Whatever may pass between him and me in the way of business is nothing compared to the adventure that you and I had, and the son that we share.” The attention of “Bon-bon” had strayed to a painting of a fabulous, many-domed mosque that adorned a wall behind Eliza. “You remind me of things I would forget. I could have done a better job.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7207-12  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 08:24 AM

to the Question that you put to Dr. Waterhouse in your recent Missive, viz.: who is in charge of the Mint at the Tower of London, and is it reasonable to assume that he is a good Tory? The answers, respectively, are Sir Thomas Neale, and yes, it were reasonable to make such an assumption—but WRONG. Reasonable, because, as you have obviously heard, our Government has fallen under the Sway of the Tories since the election of ’90. Wrong because this is England, and Offices and Privileges of the Realm are not managed according to REASON but BECAUSE WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THUS.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7450-53  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:13 PM

Eliza would never have been so fatuous as to have said that the day had gone perfectly. For aboard those ships scuttling about on the water were men, and every bloom of powder-smoke meant balls of metal flying through the air and sometimes carrying away legs, or lives. But not a single ship had gone down; it was no longer possible to take seriously the possibility of an invasion; and Eliza’s plan was ticking along like a watch.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7560-66  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:22 PM

Eventually they would become waterlogged and sink, but they had both got hold of the little boat’s gunwale and seemed fine for now. Which was the very least that Eliza looked for, from her personal staff. Indeed she made a mental note to ask this question of all prospective employees she interviewed in future: You are on your mistress’s jacht preparing for her petit levée when the vessel is taken by English marines and towed out to sea under fire from shore batteries. Barricaded in a cabin, waiting for a fate worse than death, you are picked up and hurled into the sea by a mysterious one-armed giant who has swung into a window on a rope. Do you (a) struggle bootlessly until you sink and drown, (b) scream until someone rescues you, or (c) dog-paddle to the nearest floating object and wait calmly for your mistress to resolve the difficulty?
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7652-57  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:30 PM

The burning of the French fleet had begun. Those aboard Arbalète could at least turn their backs on the scene, and run away from it. Not so fortunate, as Eliza knew, was James Stuart, who was camped in a royal tent on a hill above La Hougue. He’d have to watch the whole thing. For all that she despised the man and his reign, Eliza couldn’t but feel sorry for him: chased out of England once in girl’s clothes, during the Commonwealth, and a second time with a bloody nose during the Glorious Revolution; loser of the Battle of the Boyne; chased out of Ireland; and now this. It was while she was mulling over these cheerful matters that Bob Shaftoe unexpectedly piped up with his ruminations on the topic of stumps; which gives a fair portrait of the mood aboard Arbalète during her passage to England.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7750-52  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:44 PM

They had been driving around a triangular circuit of Cornhill, Threadneedle, and Bishopsgate, enclosing some twenty acres of ground that contained more money than the rest of the British Isles.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7759-62  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:45 PM

I have a small transaction that I must conduct at the House of Hacklheber—do you know it?” “That? It is a hole in the wall, a niche, a dovecote—if you require pocket money in London, madame, I can convey you to the banca of Sir Richard Apthorp himself, who will be pleased to extend you credit—”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7767-70  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:46 PM

Eliza had only just returned to the carriage and was still smoothing her skirts down. She’d been in there for an hour and twelve minutes. Ten minutes’ waiting would have made Ravenscar impatient; twenty, apoplectic. Seventy-two had put him through the full gamut of emotional states known to mortal man, as well as a few normally reserved for angels and devils. Now, he was spent, drained. Though perhaps just a bit apprehensive that she would want to go on some other errand next.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7789-97  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:48 PM

More jingling crashes came to their ears from just behind, where a hackney had pulled up, and was being laden with more strong-boxes. The sound was enormously distracting to Ravenscar, who struggled to keep stringing words together. “Our route to the lovely shops of the West End shall take us past Apthorp’s, where—” “Oh, that’s right. You wish to put your silver on the market. Not yet.” “Not yet!?” “Think of a ship’s captain, sailing into battle, guns charged and ready to let go a broadside. If he loses his nerve, and fires too soon, the balls fall short of their target, and splash into the water, and he looks a fool. Worse, he is not afforded the opportunity to re-load. It is like that now.” Ravenscar did not seem convinced. “After our epistolary flirtation, which I did enjoy so much,” Eliza tried, “I should be crestfallen if I journeyed all the way to London only to find that you were a premature ejaculator.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7810-11  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:49 PM

“It shall probably be the Gravesend Ferry, but you might have to trail him all the way to Ipswich or something,” Eliza added, partly to explain the amount; for she got the idea, from the way Ravenscar had just swallowed his own tongue, that she had overpaid.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7814-17  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:49 PM

“They were full of impertinent questions about what I meant to do with all that silver.” “And you told them—?” “I affected a noble diffidence, and pretended not to understand any language other than the high French of Versailles.” “Right. So they believe that the invasion has begun!”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7819-27  | Added on Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 11:50 PM

Eliza shrugged. “To fetch the rest, I’d suppose.” “The rest of the Germans!?” “No, no, the rest of the silver—the remaining four-fifths of it.” An observer standing without the carriage would have seen it buck and rock. Some sort of nervous catastrophe had caused all of the Marquis of Ravenscar’s muscles to contract at once. He was a few moments getting his faculties back. When he spoke again, it was from a sprawling, semi-prone position. “What the hell are you going to do with so much silver?” “Most likely, convert it into Bills of Exchange that can be taken back to France.” “Where the money came from in the first place. Why bother at all?” “Now it is you who asks impertinent questions,” Eliza said. “All that need concern you for now is that the Hacklhebers believe the invasion has been launched. They are probably trying to buy silver on the London market now. Which shall lead all to believe in the invasion, until positive news arrives to the contrary. Your silver has only gone up in value.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7857-58  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:03 AM

And it was dramatick, after a fashion; but whatever genuine emotions Eliza might have had she kept to herself, for no reason other than that Fatio was studying her as a starving man studies a closed oyster.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7873-78  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:05 AM

“You are also a friend of Leibniz. Now, there are those who would have me believe that Leibniz is, to me, some sort of adversary. I do not think so.” Newton’s eyes strayed towards Fatio as he said this. Fatio turned red, and would not meet his gaze. “I say that the product of mass and velocity is conserved; Leibniz says that the product of mass and the square of velocity is conserved; it seems that both of us are correct, and that by applying both of these principles we may build a science of Dynamics—to borrow Leibniz’s term—that is more than the sum of these two parts. So in this Leibniz has not detracted from my work, but added to it.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7889-92  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:06 AM

The flesh is weak, yes, but the spirit is strong, and by applying our minds to the contemplation of what has been interrupted by our fleshly organs of sense, we may make our minds wiser and our spirits better, even though flesh decays. Now! I do not have a fever, my lady.” He took his hand back, and gripped the arm of his chair to stop its shivering. The little rainbow now fell on Eliza’s cupped hands.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7893-7900  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:07 AM

Now consider this light that you are catching in your hands. It has traveled a hundred million miles from the Sun without being affected in any wise by the Coelestial AEther. In its passage through the atmosphere it has been subjected to only slight distortions. And yet in traversing a quarter of an inch of window-glass, its course is bent, and it is riven into several colors. It is such an everyday thing that we do not mark it; yet pray consider for a moment just how remarkable it is! During its hundred-million-mile passage, is it not acted upon by the gravity of the Sun, which is powerful enough to hold even mighty Jupiter in its grasp, though at a much greater remove? And is it not acted upon as well by the gravity of the Earth and Moon, and all the other planets? And yet it seems perfectly insensitive to thse mighty forces. Yet there is embedded within this shard of glass some hidden Force that bends it and splits it with no effort. It’s as if a cannonball, hurled at infinite speed from some gun of inconceivable might, and passing through ramparts and bulwarks as if they were shadows, were deflected and shivered into bits by a child holding up a feather.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7917-22  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:09 AM

“King Solomon the Wise, builder of the Temple, was the forefather of all Alchemists,” Isaac said. “Set upon the throne, a young man, fearing himself unequal to the task, he made a thousand burnt offerings to the LORD; who then came to him in a dream and said, ‘Ask what I shall give thee.’ And Solomon asked not for wealth or power but for an understanding heart. And it pleased the LORD ‘so well that Solomon had desired this thing, that he gave him an understanding heart ‘so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall arise the like unto thee.’ First Kings, Chapter Three, Verse 12. Thus Solomon’s name became a byword for wisdom: Sophia. What is the name we give to those who love wisdom? Philosophers.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7941-42  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:11 AM

Suffice it to say that the Solomonic Gold, though it looks the same, is slightly heavier than mundane gold. And so even those who know nothing of the Art may recognize a sample of this Gold as extraordinary merely by weighing it, and computing its density.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7984-88  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:14 AM

The lawyers were five strong. To judge from their ages, the quality of their periwigs, and their posture, she guessed two full-fledged barristers and three clerks. The barristers were shoulder-to-shoulder with their clients, the clerks packed like oakum into spaces beneath the stair and among bancas that were not, for the most part, shaped at all like human beings. It was well that Eliza’s morning sickness had abated, for the smell of coffee, snuff, decaying teeth, unwashed men, and colognes used to overpower same would else have sent her right back out into ’Change Alley, where she’d have gone into a fit as bad as Isaac Newton’s.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8014-18  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:16 AM

“A lady’s wealth consists of the contents of her jewellery-box, but that of a banking-house consists largely in its credit. Direct losses such as the shipment of silver may be written off, and perhaps recovered. By contrast, when a Person of Quality erects an elaborate complot to destroy the good name of a banking-house—” “It would be terrible, I could not agree more!” exclaimed Eliza; which shut them all up for a bit, as it was not quite the sort of response they had readied themselves for.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8026-31  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:17 AM

For I had received word that the House of Hacklheber had suffered a reversal of its fortunes. Lothar von Hacklheber is reputed to be a vindictive and unprincipled man. My first thought was that he might try to soften the blow to his reputation, by deflecting it onto me; which would be most unfair, given that he entered into this transaction of his own free will, and on his own terms, well knowing the risks. Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that I am here in London, alone, defenseless, with no assets other than my title as Duchess of Qwghlm, which was bestowed on me by King William.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8055-58  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:20 AM

“Are we to understand,” said the London factor, translating for him, “that La France is to receive—in addition to the hundred thousand livres in silver we have already delivered to you—four hundred thousand livres worth of silver as booty in Dunkerque as well as four hundred thousand livres worth of Baltic timber, in exchange for nothing more than five hundred thousand livres in French government obligations in Lyon?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8076-78  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:21 AM

you said you wanted your boot on Lothar’s neck. And it seems to me you had that, just as you phant’sied. But you let him go?” “Never,” said Eliza, “never. For do not forget that every transaction has two ends, and this is only one of them.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8092-95  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:23 AM

“Can I not simply buy the girl from Sheerness?” “It would raise questions. Why should you care about one English slave?” “That is my business.” “And Abigail is mine—” “Would Abigail agree? Or would she prefer that plan that is most likely to lead to her freedom?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8095-98  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:24 AM

This made Bob a bit stormy-looking. He strove with his temper for a bit. Then he chuckled. “What’s the point of flapping my jaw when you’ll go and do just what you please, no matter what I say? Be off to Dunkerque, then. But if my wishes have any gravity, you’ll tend to yourself and not to me. For I ween you are in a delicate way just now. That is all.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8105-9  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:25 AM

“You have seen me sick, and suppose that I am pregnant. This has wrought powerfully on your mind, for you know that Abigail was given syphilis by Upnor and may not be able to give you children, even if you do pry her free from the clutches of Count Sheerness. You have stopped thinking of me as ‘Eliza the woman I roger from time to time’ and begun to think of me as ‘Eliza the expectant mother of my only child.’ This has queered your judgment and led you to consider schemes that are not likely to produce Abigail’s freedom.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8116-20  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 12:26 AM

Bob did not move, but let the brick wall hold him up for some while, until the proprietor—an insurance-man—thrust his head out the window and gave him that look that Gentlemen give to Vagabonds when it is time for them to be moving on. Bob had a soldier’s knack for moving when he did not wish to. He levered himself away from the wall, rounded the corner, and marched down Little Eastcheap toward the Tower, where his Captain would be waiting for him with orders.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8425-27  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 10:46 PM

“The comparison is apt,” Surendranath said. “As a matter of fact, it is not even a comparison. Shatterer of Worlds is a Frenchman.” “Those damned Frogs are everywhere!” Jack exclaimed.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8653-63  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 10:58 PM

“Amon, or Amon-Ra, was the great god of the ancient peoples of al-Khem.* And just as al-Khem gave its name to Alchemy, so did the god Amon serve as namesake of a magickal substance well known to practitioners of that Art. For behold, when the Romans made al-Khem a part of their empire, they perceived in this Amon a manifestation of Jupiter, and dubbed him Jupiter-Ammon, and made idols depicting him as a mighty King with ram’s horns sprouting from his temples. To him they raised up a great temple at the Oasis of Siwa, which lies in the desert far to the west of Alexandria. As well as being a great caravanserai, long has that place been a center of mystickal powers and emanations; lo, an oracle of Amon was there from the time of the Pharaohs, and the Roman temple of Jupiter-Ammon was erected upon the same site. It was, and is, a very hotbed of Alchemy, and has become renowned for the production of a pungent salt, which is prepared from the dung of the thousands of camels that pass through the place. The secret of its preparation is known to but a few; but the Salt of Ammon, or sal ammoniac, is taken by the caravans to Alexandria and the other trading-centers of North Africa, whence it is distributed the world over by the infinitely various channels of Commerce. Thus have its extraordinary, and some would say magical, powers become known throughout the world.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8792-8800  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:07 PM

Among the personal effects of the Doctor, Jack had once seen books, filled not with letters but with depictions of curves. These he had leafed through in times of boredom; for though he could not read, he could stare at a strange curve as well as any other man. Eliza had sat next to him and pronounced their names: the Limaçon of Pascal, the Kampyle of Eudoxus, the Conchoid of de Sluze, the Quadratrix of Hippias, the Epitrochoid, Tractrix, and the Cassinian Ovals. At the onset of the recitation Jack had wondered how geometers could be so inventive as to produce so many types and families of curves. Later he had come to perceive that of curves there was no end, and the true miracle was that poets, or writers, or whoever it was that was in charge of devising new words, could keep pace with those hectic geometers, and slap names on all the whorls and snarls in the pages of the Doctor’s geometry-books. Now, though, he understood that geometers and word-wrights alike were nothing more than degraded and by-passed off-shoots of the South Asian weapons industry. There was not a straight blade in all of Hindoostan.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8976-81  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:28 PM

“Roger, what is Mrs. Bligh’s bloody book—by your leave, Mrs. Bligh!—but squiggles of ink? I have ink, Roger, a firkin of it, and can molest a goose to obtain quills, and make ink-squiggles all night and all day. But they are just forms on a page. What does it say of us that our commerce is built ’pon forms and figments while that of Spain is built ’pon silver?” “Some would say it speaks to our advancement.” “I am not one of those hard cases who believes credit is Satan’s work, do not put me in that poke, Roger. I say only that ink, once dried on the page, is a brittle commodity, and an oeconomy made of ink is likewise brittle, and may for all we know be craz’d and in a state to crumble at a touch.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8985-86  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:29 PM

“Daniel. Do you really want to go to Massachusetts, and leave all this behind?” “All this is more amusing, not to mention profitable, to you than ’tis to me. I want to put distractions behind, go to the wilderness, and work.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9019-22  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:31 PM

“You shall amass some sort of capital, and lend out money.” “This is the timeless function of a banca.” “I can only perceive two drawbacks to what is otherwise an excellent plan, my lord…” “Don’t say it. We have no capital…and no money.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9034-38  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:32 PM

The coin had been passing from hand to hand and purse to purse for more than a hundred years, and probably had more tales to tell than a ship full of Irish sailors—yet it was just a single mote in the dust-pile that was the English money supply. In a certain way to take that dust and shovel it into the maw of the crucibles was monstrous, like burning a library. But imagine the glowing rivers that would spring from the lips of those crucibles when all of that tarnished silver was made clean, and made quick, and con-fused, and all of its old stories driven off as clouds of smoke that the river wind would carry away.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9041-47  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:33 PM

“We’ve no choice. The Pope has all the gold, all the silver, all the men, and the rich lands where the sun shines. We cannot long stand against Spain, France, the Empire, the Church. Not as long as power is like a scale, with our riches on one pan, and our adversaries’ on the other. What are we to do, then? Daniel, you know that I think Alchemy is nonsense! Yet there is something in the idea of Alchemy; the conceit that we may cause gold to appear where ’twas not, by dint of artfulness and machinations up here.” He pressed the tip of one index finger delicately to his forehead. “We have no mines, no El Dorado. If we want gold and silver we must look not to treasure-fleets from America. Yet if we conduct commerce here, and build the Bank of England, why, gold and silver will appear in our coffers as if by magic—or Alchemy if you prefer.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9070-72  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:35 PM

Daniel had now realized what was coming, and slid down in his chair, and put his hands over his face. “You don’t want me to enlist him, Roger! I no longer have his ear. You want Fatio, Fatio, Fatio!” “Everyone knows he is in-Fatio-ated—but passions are fleeting. You have known him longer than anyone, Daniel. You are the man for it. England needs you! Your Massachusetts sinecure awaits!”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9135-38  | Added on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 11:40 PM

The only difference he could think of was that Hooke liked Daniel and White hated him. Could it be, then, that Daniel’s true cowardice lay in that he could not stand for people to think poorly of him? That would be a strange shape for cowardice to take. But it tallied well with Daniel’s experiences to date. It was Daniel’s biography in a sentence.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9309-13  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:24 AM

“Daniel, it is well that your friend and mine Mr. John Locke foretold your coming, or I should take it the wrong way.” “How so, Isaac?” “I have got into an odd turn of mind of late. The world seemeth benign enough, as I sit here in a bright garden among friends. But when night falls, as it does earlier and earlier, darkness stretches over my mind, and I phant’sy long menacing shadows cast by everyone and everything I saw during the day-time, which shades are interconnected in plots and conspiracies.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9363-67  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:28 AM

“I know you have torn Alchemy down to its foundations, and built it back up, and are recording it in a book called Praxis, which will be to Alchemy what Principia Mathematica was to physics. And perhaps ’tis hoped that in combination with some new reading of scriptures from Fatio, here, and new philosophy from Locke, there, and a reworking of Christianity on Arian principles from your disciples scattered round England, it shall all come together in some grand unifying discourse, a kind of scientific apocalypse in which the whole universe, and all history, shall be made clear as distilled water.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 9386  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:31 AM


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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9387-94  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:31 AM

“Before I came up to Woolsthorpe, Isaac, I did an experiment with him. We set up a scale above a well, and weighed the same object at the level of the ground, and again three hundred feet below it, to see if there was a difference. For you see, Hooke had an inkling of the inverse-square law.” Isaac did a little calculation in his head and said, “There was no observable difference.” “Just so. Hooke was let down, of course, but as we drove home he conceived a refinement of the experiment, which has never been carried out. But the point of the story is that our colloquium at Epsom succeeded at much, but failed in that, its most ambitious effort. Did it mean the end of Natural Philosophy? No. The end of Hooke’s career, or Wilkins’s, or mine? By no means. On the contrary, it led straight on to a flourishing of all those things. Which has led me to mistrust apocalyptic readings of Science or of Society.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9399-9402  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:32 AM

“I am here as a cat’s paw for Isaac Newton, my friend of thirty years. I fear for him because I perceive that he has an idea of what Natural Philosophy is, and of what he is, that is false. He is so far above all of the rest of us that he has come to believe that he carries the burden of some millennial destiny, and that he must bring Natural Philosophy to some ultimate omega-point or be a failure. He has been encouraged to believe this by certain sycophantic admirers.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9411-17  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:33 AM

“Isaac,” Daniel said, “two or three years ago, before you set out on the Great Work that has just come to an end, you made inquiries, with Pepys and Roger Comstock and others, concerning the possibility of a position in London. Since then Trinity College has only become more impoverished—your need of a reliable income cannot have been met from that quarter. Now I have come to offer you the Mint.” Everyone now observed a prayerful silence for a minute or two as Isaac Newton considered it. “In normal circumstances the position would be without interest,” he said, “but Comstock has sent adumbrations my way concerning a great Recoinage.” “It is intended that Recoinage would be your Great Work. Which I do not say in jest.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9429-31  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:34 AM

“Short of conquering the whole Orient and collecting all its riches by tyrannical confiscations, there is then no way to recover what the Vagabond King has pissed away—unless you could, by some magical incantation, cause the gold to come from every corner of the earth to London, and pass through the crucibles of the Tower.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9434-37  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:34 AM

“Daniel has done all the explaining we may justly require of him. He means—but is unwilling to say—that your theory of gravity is nonsense and that it has weakened my position vis-à-vis Leibniz. He probably refers also to your claim to be a co-inventor of the calculus, which is, I am sorry to say, perfectly false. Perhaps he has also in mind your pretensions of becoming a medical doctor and curing thousands with a new patent-medicine, and your fanciful interpretations of the Bible, and strange prophecies drawn therefrom.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9441-45  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:35 AM

“The nub of it is this: I have let my affection for you cloud my judgment,” Isaac said. “I have given much greater credit to your work, Nicolas, than I ever should have, and it has led me down a cul-de-sac and caused me to waste years, and ruin my health. Thank you, Daniel, for telling me this forthrightly. Mr. Locke, you have worked in a gentle way to bring about this epiphany, and I apologize for thinking poorly of you and accusing you of plotting against me. Nicolas, come to London and share lodgings with me and be my help-meet as I move forward in the Great Work.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9465-68  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 12:37 AM

“What you have done was necessary and in no way do I fault you for it,” Locke said, “but gravely I fear that he shall never be the same.” “You are right. He will be merely the most successful Natural Philosopher in all of history. Which is a better thing to be than a false Messiah. It will take him years to get used to his new station in the world. By the time he is himself again, I’ll be out of his reach, in Boston, Massachusetts.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9754-57  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:00 AM

To suffer, as to doe, Our strength is equal, nor the Law unjust That so ordains. —MILTON, Paradise Lost
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9758-60  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:00 AM

LIKE A GUINEA WORM, Eleanor’s story had to be drawn out of her inch by inch. Its telling extended over a week, and was broken into a dozen installments, each of which was preceded by exhausting maneuvers and manipulations from Eliza and brought to a premature end by Eleanor’s changing the subject or breaking down in tears.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9810-11  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:06 AM

Caroline, despite being an abnormally acute young lady when it came to squirrels and logarithms, had no idea that any of this was happening.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9836-39  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:08 AM

One eye, then the other, strayed in the direction of the Countess von Röohlitz. She was everything that Eliza could have anticipated from Eleanor’s narration. Stuffed into a bag and smuggled a thousand miles to the southeast, she’d have sold, in a Constantinople slave-mart, for a whole stable of Arab race-horses. To ask her to make conversation, however, was a little bit like expecting a dog to cook his meat before eating it.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9970-74  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:19 AM

“Pay attention, that’s all,” Eliza said. “Notice things. Connect what you’ve noticed. Connect it into a picture. Think of how the picture might be changed; and act to change it. Some of your acts may turn out to have been foolish, but others will reward you in surprising ways; and in the meantime, simply by being active instead of passive, you have a kind of immunity that’s hard to explain—” “Uncle Gottfried says, ‘Whatever acts cannot be destroyed.’
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10177-83  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:38 AM

“It is a common desire. Most come to terms with Death sooner or later. My failure to do so was an unintended consequence of a pact that my family had made with Enoch Root. In order for him to dwell among humankind he must don identities, and later, before his longevity draws notice, shed them. My father knew about Enoch—knew a little of what he was—and struck a deal with him: he would vouch for Enoch as a long-lost relative named Egon von Hacklheber, and suffer him to dwell among us under that name for a period of some decades, if, in exchange, ‘Egon’ would serve as a tutor to his three sons. Of the three, I was in some sense the quickest, for I came to know that Enoch was not like us. And I guessed that this was a matter of his having discovered some Alchemical receipt that conferred life eternal. A reasonable guess—but wrong. At any rate, it fired my interest in Alchemy until of late.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10208-9  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:40 AM

How unreasonable of you. You belabor me for being confused—yet you took the boy, not for love of him, but for hate of me, and out of lust for Alchemical gold—only to change your mind!”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 10209  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:40 AM


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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10208-9  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:40 AM

How unreasonable of you. You belabor me for being confused—yet you took the boy, not for love of him, but for hate of me, and out of lust for Alchemical gold—only to change your mind!” Lothar shrugged. “Perhaps that is the real Alchemy.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10223-30  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:42 AM

Now Eliza—who only a couple of hours ago had been preaching to Caroline about the importance of noticing, and connecting—at last took her own advice. There was no telling how long it might have taken for her to recognize Flail-arm as Yevgeny the Raskolnik if he had not suddenly appeared gripping a harpoon, and making ready to kill Lothar; but these two data did the trick. She remembered now seeing this Yevgeny in the company of Jack in Amsterdam. Eliza had even borrowed his harpoon, and in a fit of pique hurled it at Jack. Yevgeny must have become, and might still be, a member of Jack’s pirate-band. He must have peeled off from the group and come back to Christendom for some reason. He’d been keeping an eye on Eliza, and, in consequence, had found himself in Leipzig, before the gates of the house of the man who, as he supposed, was Jack’s worst enemy. And now he was about three heartbeats away from doing what any red-blooded pirate would, when presented with such an opportunity.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10293-97  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 02:47 AM

“When a thing such as wax, or gold, or silver, turns liquid from heat, we say that it has fused,” Eliza said to her son, “and when such liquids run together and mix, we say they are con-fused.” “Papa says I am confused sometimes.” “As are we all,” said Eliza. “For confusion is a kind of bewitchment—a moment when what we supposed we understood loses its form and runs together and becomes one with other things that, though they might have had different outward forms, shared the same inward nature.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10488-92  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 03:02 AM

So you see, lads, you’re not the first men to violate the Fourth Commandment in Hindoostan—” “ ‘Remember the Sabbath?’ ” quoth Jimmy, incredulous. “Beg your pardon, I must’ve meant the Seventh.” “ ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery?’ ” said Jimmy and Danny in unison. “I can see the Papists have left their mark on you lads—again, my fault.” “His Royal Highness meant to say the Fifth—honor thy father and mother,” hollered Enoch Root—who, along with Surendranath, had been dropping farther and farther behind them, but who was still within earshot.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10503-7  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 03:04 AM

sprinkling of Christian artillerymen—renegadoes and Vagabond soldiers from the armies of King Looie and the Holy Roman Emperor. Aurangzeb needs ’em, you see, because they’ve mastered the al-jebr, which is a sort of mathematickal sorcery that we had the good sense to steal from the Arabs. And by wielding this al-jebr they can predict where cannonballs will land, which is a useful thing to know in a battle. Consequently, Aurangzeb simply cannot make do without ’em.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10534-36  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 03:07 AM

“I can guess two,” said Danny. “Avoid Shahjahanabad as if ’twere a plague-town. Go dwell in your jagir and do all you can to suck it dry, so you can get out wi’a shite-loahd o’ money…” “Just like an English lord in Ireland,” Jimmy added. Jack heaved a great sigh; sniffled once; and wiped a tear from his eye. “My sons, you do me proud.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10576-81  | Added on Thursday, September 07, 2017, 03:10 AM

“That might’ve been part of God’s plan,” Danny demurred, “as a trial and a test for the faithful.” “I think I have made it abundantly clear that I am no good at tests of that sort,” Jack said, “but these kolis are another matter. They will wander the hills for weeks and look at every single tree. They’ll send a child scampering up a promising teak to inspect the place where a bough branches off from the trunk, for that is where the grain-lines of the wood curve just so—and, too, it’s where the wood is strongest and heaviest. When they’ve found the right tree, down it comes! And they move the whole village there until the wood has been shaped and the timbers delivered.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10873-81  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 05:56 AM

At daybreak they were startled awake by a shouting match between a Cheruman, standing before a slab of rock sixty-four feet from the city limits, and a Banyan standing on the parapet of the wall. The Cheruman upended a sack of money onto the slab: cowrie-shells, Persian bitter almonds, and a few black coppers. Then he withdrew. A minute later the Banyan came out, deposited a bundle of goods, plucked off a few shells, almonds, and coppers, and went back into the town. The Cheruman returned and collected the bundle and whatever change the Banyan had left behind. “Seems a wee bit cumbersome,” Danny observed, watching incredulously. “On the contrary, I deem it eminently practical,” said Enoch Root. “If I belonged to a small warrior elite, my greatest fear would be a peasant uprising—ambushes along the roads, and so on. If I had the right to kill any peasant who came within a bow-shot of me…” “You could relax an’ enjoy the good life,” Jimmy said.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11002-4  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:07 AM

“From the others you have heard stories that are as complicated as a Barock church or Ottoman mosque. But the Japanese way is to be simple, like this garden, so I will tell my tale with as few brush-strokes as possible. Even so it will be too many.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11012-20  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:09 AM

“The tale of these two clans goes on for centuries, and is as fraught with complications as the history of Japan itself—someday when we are on a long sea-voyage perhaps I will relate more of it. What is important is that copper and then silver were discovered in the rocky up-lands. This was about two hundred years ago, at a time when the shogun turned his back on the affairs of the world and went into retirement, and Japan ceased being a unified country for a very long time—like Germany today. All power fled from Kyoto to the provinces, and each part of the country was controlled by a lord called a daimyo, something like a baron in Germany. These daimyos clashed and strove against each other ceaselessly, like stones on a pebble beach grinding each other. Ones who met with success built castles. Markets and cities formed round their walls. Markets require coins, and so each daimyo began to mint his own currency. “What it amounts to is that this was a dangerous time to be a warrior but an excellent time to be a miner. As my ancestors—being Buddhists—would have expressed it, the two clans were bound to opposite points of the Wheel, and the Wheel was turning.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11181-93  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:26 AM

“You want to return to this homeland that you have never seen,” Jack said. “It could hardly be more obvious.” Gabriel Goto closed his eyes and turned towards the Laccadive Sea. The onshore breeze blew his long hair back from his face and made his kimono billow like a colorful sail. “When I was a boy standing at my father’s knee and watching him paint his pictures of the Passage to Niigata, he told me, over and over again, that Nippon was now a forbidden land to us, and that the places he was drawing were places I would never see. And that is just what I believed for most of my life. But let me tell you that when I stood in Saint Peter’s, in Rome, waiting to kiss the Pope’s ring, I looked up at the ceiling of that place, which was magnificently adorned by a painter named Michelangelo. Not in Latin, English, or Nipponese are there words to express its magnificence. And that is the very reason for its being there, for sometimes pictures say more than words. There is a place in that painting where the Heavenly Father reaches out with one finger toward Adam, whose hand is outstretched as I am doing here, and between the fingertips of the Father and the Son there is a gap. And something has leapt across that gap, something invisible, something that not even Michelangelo could portray, but anyway it has crossed from the Father into the Son, and the Son has been awakened by it, and been infused with awareness and purpose. At the moment that I stood there in Saint Peter’s and saw all of these things, understanding suddenly came into my mind, bridging the gap of miles and years that separated me from my father, and I became aware for the first time. I understood that even though with his words he had forbidden me to return to Nippon, in his pictures he had told me that one day I must return—and in those same pictures he had given me the means.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11252-55  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:33 AM

Vroom, who was two heads taller, grabbed van Hoek’s arm on the backswing and stopped it. “It is bad luck! Leave the coin be!” Jack understood that much Dutch, anyway. He did not understand what van Hoek said in return—some sort of advanced calculus of luck, he gathered, in which the sacrilege of removing the coin was weighed against the ill omen of having a golden effigy of Leroy eternally planted in the heart of the ship.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11313-23  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:40 AM

“Stop talking to each other, and talk to me,” she said. Another ring came off her neck, and every man within a hundred yards cringed. She flung this one at a closer target: the line mooring her boat to the quay. It sang through the rope as easily as flying through a shaft of sunlight and vanished into the water with a sizzle. The boat began to drift downstream. Jack caught movement in the corner of his eye and turned back to look at the masts: they too had gone into ponderous movement, and were adrift in the river now—Queen Kottakkal’s first throw had cut their line. A third ring spun out and embedded itself in the mainmast next to a coil of rope with a throwing-lead tied to its end. “Mark that rope,” said the Queen. “If you throw it to one of your friends on my boat, here, your masts are saved. If not, they drift out to sea, and all of you are my slaves to the end of your days.” “Are you certain you translated that aright?” Jack inquired. “I translated it perfectly,” said Dappa, gazing nervously at the departing masts. “Have I gotten her general drift—that she wants me to swim through crocodile-infested waters to retrieve the masts?” “The judicial machinery here is not well-developed,” Dappa announced. “There is only one sort of trial: and that is Trial by Ordeal.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11327-34  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:40 AM

As the Queen had begun flinging her lethal jewelry about, half a dozen Nayars had vaulted aboard the boat and trained loaded blunderbusses upon the other members of the Cabal. They could do nothing but sit tidily on their benches, like churchgoers, and watch Jack. Looking at them Jack was struck—and not for the first time, either—by the fact that, ever since Cairo, all of them had tended to look to Jack to take action. In other lives or other circumstances they might’ve been doers of deeds and leaders of men. But put ’em all together, pose ’em a problem, and they’d all turn their eyes Jack’s way to see what he was going to do. Which (come to think of it) had probably been noticed by Queen Kottakkal—so wise in the ways of men crowded together on armed Vessels, so backwards in her approach to judicial proceedings—and probably accounted for that it was Jack, and not van Hoek, or Moseh, who had been chosen to undergo the Trial by Ordeal.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11334-42  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:41 AM

The others followed his lead because of what he had done in Cairo. And Jack had done that deed because the Imp of the Perverse had somehow tracked him down in the Khan el-Khalili and convinced him that, rather than let the Duke live, and accept the perfectly reasonable deal that he was holding out, it would be better to slay him, and bring down consequences on himself and the others. Everything that had happened since had been born in that moment. All of this Jack understood well enough. His only difficulty, just now, was that the said Imp had not followed him out as far as Malabar—or if it had, it had been waylaid by pirates and was now chained up in some dusty ’stan and being put to work (one could only suppose) getting rag-heads to do rash and imprudent things. At any rate the Imp was absent. And Jack—who at earlier times of his life would have dived without hesitation into the river—was strangely fixed to the spot, as if he were an old banyan-tree that had sunk a million roots into the earth. There were so many things to be said in favor of not attempting to swim through crocodiles that he simply could not move.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11350-61  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:43 AM

Jack noticed, as if from a distance, that he was sprinting down the river-bank. The masts had a bit of a head start. Jack’s path was eventually barred by mangroves, which formed a sort of living breakwater at the edge of the village. But there was a way through it, a path that people took over exposed roots and through brackish sumps, to get to the edge of the river where they would collect fish with nets or spears. Jack detoured through a cane house, snatching a couple of chickens as he ran across the yard. Too, a piece of bamboo caught his eye. It was rumored that you could wedge a crocodile’s jaws open with such a thing and so he grabbed this and tucked it under his arm. Then—moving as fast as a man could over wet slick tree-roots with one chicken-neck clenched in each fist—he picked his way out to the river-bank just in time to see the masts gliding by. They had reached a place where the river widened and slowed, and dropped silt on its bottom to form a submerged bar. Jack was praying that the masts would get hung up on this. But of course Queen Kottakkal’s minions had put floats around the masts to make them ride high in the water and prevent it from happening. The masts were ten yards away, moving at a fast walking pace. The intervening water was murky and still, broken only by nostrils and eyeballs, some of which were disconcertingly far apart. Jack estimated the number of animals at somewhere between eight and a dozen. They had observed him, and were beginning to cruise in his direction. This was more or less how the Queen had planned
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11366-69  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:43 AM

Like Frenchmen, crocodiles were what they were, and did what they did, and saw no point in making pretenses or apologies, and therefore possessed a sort of aplomb that Jack found admirable in a way. He wished only that God would send him some more mammalian enemies. Though, come to think of it, nothing was more evident than that Queen Kottakkal was a mammal—unless it was that she was his enemy, too. So perhaps it was a distinction without a difference.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11380-89  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:45 AM

The second chicken had long since been swallowed, without any tedious chewing, by a big croc. The rope was still attached—it ran up the crocodile’s gullet, out of its mouth, and several yards across the water, over the mast-raft to the floating spear. As the masts moved downstream, the spear was dragged backwards across them, and inevitably the barbs in the spear-head snagged in some of the ropes binding the raft together. As to what happened inside of the crocodile’s gut when the rope went taut and tried to pull the chicken out, Jack could only speculate—and as to what was going on in the mind of the chicken (which might be in some sense still alive), that was a matter for metaphysicians. The outward result was that the masts stopped moving and the crocodile became highly annoyed. Jack supposed that a very big and old crocodile must take a certain pride in his work, viz. swallowing and digesting whatever came along, and that an attempt to revoke a meal by yanking it out must be viewed, by such a Reptile, as a very serious affront. In any event it led to an amount of thrashing. And that led to a bit of good fortune Jack had not really looked for: All of the other crocodiles seemed to hear or feel this commotion and made it their business to get there as fast as they could—which was disturbingly fast.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11403-13  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:47 AM

The Queen’s boat was waiting there, and with a couple of throws Jack was able to get the line over to his comrades, who proceeded to reel him and the masts in like a fish. Jack sensed that he was already badly sunburnt; yet the equatorial sun was a soothing balm compared to the glare of Queen Kottakkal. “I perceive the wisdom of your tradition, O Queen,” Jack said as his mast-raft was brought alongside the royal barge, “for not one man in a thousand could survive the trial you set for me there. Andas near as I can make out, one in a thousand is the normal proportion of honest men in any group…” But here Jack’s oration was rudely interrupted by screams from nearly every man on the boat. He turned around to see a giant crocodile, twenty feet long if it was an inch. It was not so much climbing onto the masts as thrusting them below the surface of the water with its weight, and then gliding up over the submerged wood. This meant that it was advancing toward him. But then suddenly it was raining Shaftoes as Jimmy and Danny vaulted down between Jack and the reptile, each gripping a boat-paddle, and began waving these in the animal’s face. It proceeded to chew its way up the wood as if the oars were breadsticks, and was well on its way to having Jimmy and Danny Shaftoe for lunch, and Jack for dessert, when the Nayars up on the boat opened fire with their blunderbusses.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11424-31  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 06:49 AM

“This ship is not destined to remain in Malabar forever. One day she will find her way back to some Christian port—and there are very few Christian ports left where Eliza is not, in some sense, embroiled.” “Well, what the hell should we name it, then? Electress Sophie? Queen Kottakkal?” “Sometimes it is better to be indirect…then each and every one of those Ladies can suppose that the ship is really named after her.” “Not a bad idea, Enoch…but what does each of those three Ladies have in common?” “Wisdom. Wisdom, and a kind of strength—a willingness to put her wisdom into effect.” “Say no more,” Jack said, “I have seen the very Lady in plays.” Then, turning his attention back to the ship: “I christen thee Minerva.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11578-81  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 11:51 PM

“To perfect the illusion, I’ll need something in lieu of a turd.” “Spotted Dick!” said Roger instantly, eyeing a brown log on a platter. “I was thinking bangers,” Daniel said, “but in English cuisine there are so many items of about the right size, shape, color and composition that it is easy to be overwhelmed by choices.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11624-32  | Added on Friday, September 08, 2017, 11:58 PM

Jean Bart, though he and his home town were as always well-fed, kept hearing reports from the interior of France that people were starving to death in large numbers; so he had sailed his fleet up north and fallen upon a hundred-ship convoy bringing Russian and Polish wheat out of the Baltic. He had defeated the Dutch naval squadron escorting it toward Amsterdam and diverted the entire convoy to Dunkirk. They were being unloaded as fast as cranes and stevedores could work, and the wheat was being taken in to famished France on endless wagon-trains that darkened the shore, and plugged the narrow ways of the town. (3) As bad as things were in France, they were worse to the north; reports had come in that during the winter just ending, one out of three Finns had died. And Scotland was not much better. Finland and Scotland were as far north as it was possible to go, and so those Finns and Scots who had been able to straggle out to the coasts and take ship had sailed south, and converged on harbors where food might be had. Many had ended up in Dunkirk.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11714-22  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 12:12 AM

Daniel reached into both hip-pockets at once. From each he drew a sheaf of printed bills, and held them out, rather like the two pans of a balance, so that Eliza could inspect them. The offerings on left and right were similar, but different. Clearly there had been a lot of work for engravers in London lately, for these documents had been pressed out by copper-plates of awesome complication: miles of line folded up into inches of space, like the windings of testicles. One depicted a goddess gripping a trident and sitting upon a great mound of coins. “Even by Barock standards, the most vulgar thing I’ve seen,” Eliza pronounced it. BANK OF ENGLAND, it said; and below that was printed a florid and verbose assertion that it—which is to say, this piece of paper—was money. The bills on Daniel’s opposite hand said LAND BANK and supported like claims—if anything, even more pompous. “Whig,” said Daniel, shaking the BANK OF ENGLAND bills, “and Tory,” shaking the LAND BANK bills. “You even have different money!?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11730-39  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 12:14 AM

“Let me ask you this, Doctor: what is the exchange rate between Whig and Tory money?” “Ah. At the moment, one of these—” he held up the Land Bank notes “—buys rather a lot of these.” He indicated the Bank of England notes. “For many are of the view that the Bank of England has failed already, and the Land Bank is ascendant.” “Which amounts to saying that the Juncto will be cast down in the next election, and Harley will lead the Tories to victory.” “I dare not disagree—as much as I’d like it otherwise.” “Then I shall buy a few of these, in exchange for a Bill of Exchange, denominated in thalers, and payable at the House of the Golden Mercury in Leipzig,” said Eliza, indicating the Land Bank notes, “but I shall exchange them immediately for a lot of these.” She licked a finger and began to count off Bank of England notes. “You place your trust in the Whigs? Roger shall be overjoyed.” “I place my trust in Newton,” Eliza said. “You refer to his new position at the Mint.” “I had more in mind the calculus.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11740-50  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 12:14 AM

“This is really a matter of derivatives, is it not?” “Financial derivatives?” “No, mathematical ones! For any quantity—say, position—there is a derivative, representing its rate of change. As I see it, England’s stock of land represents a fixed quantity of wealth. But commerce I see as a derivative—it is the slope, the speed, the rate of change of the nation’s wealth. When commerce stagnates, this rate of change is small, and money founded upon it is worthless. Hence the lopsided exchange rate you told me of. But when commerce thrives, all goes into rapid movement, the derivative jumps up, and money founded on it becomes of much greater value. Once Newton goes to work at the Mint, the supply of coin in England can only improve. Commerce, which has been frozen for lack of money, will surge, at least briefly. The exchange rate between these two currencies will swing the opposite way, long enough at least for me to take a profit.” “It is a way of looking at the thing I had not considered before,” said Daniel, “and it sounds right to me. But if you ever have an opportunity to expound your theory to Isaac, I hope you’ll use the word fluxion in place of derivative.” “What’s a fluxion?” “That,” said Daniel, “is the problem in a nutshell.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11776-82  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 12:17 AM

“I had to escape from Versailles,” said de Gex. “I was an imbecile before—it took me so long to understand the enormity of this conspiracy. Madame la duchesse d’Arcachon, of course, is at the center—but she is in league—always has been—with L’Emmerdeur. The Baron von Hacklheber was her enemy, but is now her friend. She operates with the Juncto hand-in-glove. Newton—the recoinage in England—all part of the same conspiracy! What could I do? D’Avaux displeased her, and was sent packing to Stockholm! Lucky he was not poisoned—or harpooned, as I was!” “This sounds,” said the Duchess, “like a little speech that you memorized, before you swallowed my sleeping-draught, so that you could recite it to St. Peter if you never woke up. I am not St. Peter, and this is the gateway to Hell, not Heaven. But if it pleases you to recite the speech anyway, pray continue.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11799-802  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 12:19 AM

“But, cousine, I had always believed that you had only affected an interest in the Black Arts, when it was fashionable, years ago, when you were young and foolish. That you considered it all perfect nonsense.” “You have been furious at me, Édouard, for deeming it all nonsense! For to call Satan a figment of man’s phant’sy is but one step from saying the same of God, is it not?”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11965-68  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:07 AM

“The foolish boy gave me an opening, by discoursing too much of mortars and cannons,” Daniel admitted. “We got into parabolas. I halted the carriage in a field between Münster and Osnabrück and we scattered some peasants by conducting a systematic trial, first with archery, later moving on to firearms.” “You see? He’ll never forget that! Every time Johann sees a Projectile Weapon—which in this benighted world means every five minutes—he’ll know that they are useless without mathematicks.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11995-99  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:11 AM

“The Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts,” began Daniel, “has been founded, and will sooner or later be endowed, by the Marquis of Ravenscar, who looks after his majesty’s money, and who is a great Whig. That means he belongs to a faction whose bank and whose money are founded on Commerce. They are ever opposed to the Tories, whose bank and money are founded on Land.” “Land seems much the better choice, being fixed and stable.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12007-13  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:12 AM

“Mr. Locke has spent much time in London of late, debating Recoinage; for while Newton would devalue the pound sterling, Locke is a staunch believer that the standard laid down by Sir Thomas Gresham must never be tampered with.” “Why do England’s greatest savants spend so much time arguing about coins?” Caroline asked. Daniel considered it. “In the old world, the Tory world, when coin was nothing more than an expedient for moving rents from the country to London, they would never have paid it so much notice. But Antwerp suggested, and Amsterdam confirmed, and London has now proved, that there is in Commerce at least as much wealth as in Land; and still no one knows what to make of it. But money makes it all work somehow, or, when it is managed wrong, makes it collapse. And so coins are as worthy of the attention of savants as cells, conic sections, and comets.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12023-30  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:14 AM

“Some think so,” said Leibniz, agreeably enough. “At any rate, it happens that even the Principia Mathematica of Mr. Newton does not even attempt to settle such questions. He avoids these two labyrinths altogether—a wise choice! For in no way does he address the topic of free will versus predestination, other than to make it plain that he believes in the former. And he does not touch on atoms. Indeed, he is reluctant even to divulge his work on infinitesimal mathematics! But do not be misled into believing that he does not have an interest in such things. He does, and toils night and day on them. As do I, and as will Dr. Waterhouse in Massachusetts.” “Do you toil on these two problems separately or—” “A most important question, and one I should have anticipated,” said Leibniz, clapping his hands. “I should have mentioned that both Newton and I share a suspicion that these two problems are connected. That they are not two separate labyrinths, but a single large one with two entrances! You can enter either way; but by solving one, you solve the other.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 12061  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:16 AM


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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12059-65  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:16 AM

If it is made of atoms, then it is made of atoms, and must be explained in terms of atoms; when we get into a difficulty, we cannot suddenly wave our hands and say, ‘At this point there is a miracle,’ or ‘Here I invoke a wholly new thing called Force which has nothing to do with atoms.’ And this is why neither Dr. Waterhouse nor I loves the Atomic theory, for we cannot make out how such phaenomena as light and gravity and magnetism can possibly be explained by the whacking and sticking of hard bits of stuff.” “Does this mean that you can explain them in terms of monads, Doctor?” “Not yet. Not in the sense of being able to write out an equation that predicts the refraction of light, or the pointing of a compass-needle, in terms of interactions among monads. But I do believe that this type of theory is more fundamentally coherent than the Atomic sort.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12086-92  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:26 AM

What do we know of monads thus far?” “Infinitely small.” “One mark.” “All the universe explainable in terms of their interactions.” “Two marks.” “They perceive all the other monads in the universe.” “Three. And—?” “And they act.” “They act, based on what?” “Based on what they perceive, Dr. Leibniz.” “Four marks! A perfect score. Now, what must be true about monads, to make all of these things possible?” “Somehow all of these perceptions are flooding into the monad, and then it sort of decides what action to take.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12098-103  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:28 AM

So the monad must have its own brain. By this I do not mean a great spongy mass of tissue, like your highness’s brain, but rather some faculty that can alter its internal state depending on the state of the rest of the universe—which the monad has somehow perceived, and stored internally.” “But would not the state of the universe fill an infinite number of books!? How can each monad store so much knowledge?” “It does because it has to,” said the Doctor. “Don’t think of books. Think of a mirrored ball, which holds a complete image of the universe, yet is very simple. The ‘brain’ of the monad, then, is a mechanism whereby some rule of action is carried out, based upon the stored state of the rest of the universe.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12103-11  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:28 AM

you might think of it as like one of those books that gamblers are forever poring over: let us say, ‘Monsieur Belfort’s Infallible System for Winning at Basset.’ The book, when all the verbiage is stripped away, consists essentially of a rule—a complicated one—that dictates how a player should act, given a particular arrangement of cards and wagers on the basset-table. A player who goes by such a book is not really thinking, in the higher sense; rather, she perceives the state of the game—the cards and the wagers—and stores that information in her mind, and then applies Monsieur Belfort’s rule to that information. The result of applying the rule is an action—the placing of a wager, say—that alters the state of the game. Meanwhile the other players around the table are doing likewise—though some may have read different books and may apply different rules. The game is, au fond, not really that complicated, and neither is Monsieur Belfort’s Infallible System; yet when these simple rules are set to working around a basset-table, the results are vastly more complex and unpredictable than one would ever expect.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12131-35  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 01:31 AM

“How long will it take?” “Years and years,” said Daniel. “Longer, if I were to try to do it amid the distractions of London. So, as soon as I have delivered you to Berlin, I shall begin heading west, and not stop for long until I have reached Massachusetts. How long shall it take? Suffice it to say that by the time I have anything to show for my labors, you’ll be full-grown, and a Queen of some Realm or other. But perhaps in an idle moment you may recall the day you went to Berlin in a coach with two strange Doctors. It may even occur to you to ask yourself what became of the one who went off to America to build the Logic Mill.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12494-97  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 02:03 AM

“He is worried about Raskolniki,” Sophie Charlotte said helpfully. “As very well he should be!” Sophie returned without hesitation. “They believe that I am the Antichrist,” Peter said sheepishly. “I can assure you that Doctor Leibniz is in no way offended to have been mistaken for a Raskolniki, are you, Doctor?” “In a strange way I am almost honored, your majesty.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12518-24  | Added on Saturday, September 09, 2017, 02:04 AM

“The Doctor is hard at work on a wonderful project in Natural Philosophy, which my son does not understand, but which should produce miraculous results, provided some wise monarch can only supply him with an infinite amount of money.” At this Leibniz naturally winced, and George Louis chuckled. But Tsar Peter thought about it very gravely, as if an infinite amount of money was a routine sum for him to bandy about in his budget-meetings.* “Could it make ships better?” “Ships and many other things, Mr. Romanov.” That did it; Peter hurled a frightfully significant glare at some advisor, who cringed back half a step and then fastened a raptor-like gaze upon Leibniz’s face. The Tsar, having settled that much, brushed past the Doctor on his way to greet George Louis.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12567-71  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:34 AM

“In truth? I feel as if I’ve already been round the world,” Jack said. “The only thing separating me from London is Mexico, which I have seen on maps, and know to be but a narrow isthmus.” “Don’t forget the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans,” Enoch said. He began closing up the several latches and locks of the little chest. “’Tis naught but water, and we have a ship,” Jack scoffed. Every Filipino within earshot crossed himself, taking Jack’s words as a more or less direct request for God to strike Jack, and anyone near him, dead.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12578-81  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:35 AM

and learnt that they stood in need of a new Sultan—I say, when we became aware that the place was essentially being given to us—I looked at that beautiful snow-capped mountain and named it Eliza. Because it was warm, fertile, and beautiful below, while being a bit frosty and inaccessible at the top—yet possessing a volcanick profile foretelling explosions—”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12613-16  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:39 AM

never feel cold, except when I had snow brought down from Eliza Peak, and scooped a handful of it into a rum-drink. Brrr! How can those men stand it?” He nodded across fifty yards of chop to the Japanese boat. The Samurais were kneeling there stolidly, facing into the wind, which made their garments billow and snap. “Later they will go boil themselves in vats,” Enoch said learnedly.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12622-26  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:40 AM

Jack, for his part, had never felt especially friendly toward the man, but now he remembered the ronin doing battle against the foe at the needle’s eye in Khan el-Khalili, and his nose ran and tears came to his eyes. Gabriel Goto was recalling the same thing, for he bowed low to Jack and said in Sabir: “I have been a ronin all my life, Jack, which means a Samurai without a master—except for that one day in Cairo when I swore allegiance to you, and for a brief time knew what it was to have a Lord and to fight as part of an Army. Now I go to a place where I will have a new Lord and serve in a different Army. But in my heart I will always owe my first allegiance to you.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12685-93  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:45 AM

“When we sailed into this harbor early this morning, my lanthorn suddenly began to swing so violently that it was bashing against the ceiling and spilling oil about the cabin,” Enoch said. “And so I took it down and adjusted the chain to a different length, as you see it now.” Enoch now lifted the lanthorn’s chain from its hook in the ceiling-beam, and began to feel his way along, link by link, until he came to one that was worn smooth. “This is how it was when we entered the harbor,” he said, and then re-hung the lanthorn so that it dangled a few inches lower than before. He pulled it away to the side and then let it go, and it began swinging back and forth in the center of the cabin. “So it follows that the frequency we observe now—swing, swing, swing—is tuned to the natural period of this harbor’s waves.” “With all due respect to you and your friends of the Royal Society,” van Hoek said, “can this demonstration not wait until we are out in the middle of the Sea of Japan?” “It cannot,” Enoch said calmly, “because we will never reach the Sea of Japan. This is a death-trap.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12703-8  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:46 AM

“I submit to you that they have been tuned, as carefully as the pipes in a cathedral-organ. When this ship is fully loaded, and we try to sail out the harbor’s mouth—” “We will hit those waves…ten tons of quicksilver will began to heave back and forth…we will be torn apart,” van Hoek said. “It is a simple matter to remedy,” Enoch said. “All we need is to go down and open the flasks and fill each one up so that they cannot slosh. But we must not let the Japanese know that we have figured out their plan, or else they will swarm on us. The warehouse on shore has an oily smell. I believe that there are many archers concealed in the woods, waiting with fire-arrows.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12731-34  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:48 AM

They added one or two more knots to their speed thereby, and after three days, ran the Straits of Tsushima: a procedure that might have been devised by some fiendish engineer specifically to drive van Hoek mad with anxiety, as it involved running down a complex and current-ridden, yet poorly charted chute hemmed in on one side by pirate-islands of Korea and on the other by a country (Japan) where it was death for a foreigner to set foot.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12755-61  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:50 AM

Enoch stood on the upperdeck, waiting for his chests and bags to be lowered into the longboat. As he often did in idle moments, he reached into the pocket of his traveling-cloak and took out a contraption that looked a bit like a spool. But a poorly made one, for the ends of the spool were bulky, and the slot in between them, where the cord was wound, was narrow. He unwound a couple of inches of cord and slipped his finger through a loop that had been tied in its end. Then he allowed the spool to fall from his hand. It dropped slowly at first, as the spool’s inertia resisted its tendency to unwind, but then it picked up speed and plunged smoothly toward the deck. Just shy of hitting the planks it stopped abruptly, having unwound its meager supply of cord. At the same moment Enoch gave a little twitch of the hand, and the spool reversed its direction and began to climb up the string.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12763-65  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:50 AM

“They cannot see the string at this distance,” Jack commented, “and suppose you are doing some sort of magick.” “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a yo-yo,” Enoch said. “That could not hurt a sparrow,” Jack said. “I prefer the original type with the rotating knives.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12797-800  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:53 AM

The only one who survived was one Elizabeth de Obregon, the wife of the Admiral who had commanded the squadron.” “And what does she have to say for herself?” “She has said nothing. In a society where women cannot own property, Jack, secrets are to them what gold and silver are to men.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12800-12813  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 01:53 AM

“Why did the Viceroy not then send out another squadron?” “Perhaps he did.” “You have grown coy, Enoch, and time grows short.” “It is not that I am coy, but that you are lazy in your thinking. If such expeditions had been sent out, and found nothing, what would the results be?” “Nothing.” “If an expedition had succeeded, what result then?” “Some chronicle, kept secret in a Spanish vault in Mexico or Seville, and a great deal of gold…” Here Jack faltered. “What did you expect to find in the hold of the Viceroy’s brig?” “Silver.” “What found you instead?” “Gold.” “But the mines of Mexico produce only silver.” “It is true…we never solved the mystery of the origin of that gold.” “Do you have any idea, Jack, how many alchemists are numbered among the ruling classes of Christendom?” “I’ve heard rumors.” “If a rumor got out among those people—kings, dukes, and princes—that the Island of Solomon had been discovered, and gold taken from there—not just any gold, mind you, but gold that came from the furnaces of King Solomon himself, and was very close to being the pure stuff of the Philosopher’s Stone and the Philosophick Mercury—I should think that it would excite a certain amount of interest. Wouldn’t you say?” “If rumor got out, why, yes—” “It always gets out,” Enoch explained flatly.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12867-72  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:03 AM

From this point of view—or any point of view, for that matter—it did not look like a fabled citadel of inconceivable wealth. If the Spaniards had built Manila anywhere else, her church-spires and watch-towers would have reached into the clouds. As it was, even the noblest buildings hugged the ground and had a stoop-shouldered look about them, because they had learned the hard way that anything more than two storeys high, and built of stone, would be brought down by an earthquake while the mortar was scarcely dry. So as Jack stood there on Minerva’s deck he perceived Manila as something very dark, low, and heavy, and overlaid with smoke and humidity, softened only a little by the high coconut palms that lined her shore.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12879-80  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:04 AM

Malabaris had suspended themselves in the ratlines like spiders in webs and were hanging there motionless with eyes half closed and mouths half open, waiting for meaningful stirrings in the air.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12905-9  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:06 AM

“I did not appreciate that Moseh had any such influence with the Sons of Torquemada,” Jack said. “Moseh has let it be known, to a few of the Spaniards, what we are planning,” said Danny. “Suddenly those Spaniards are our friends.” “They call off the Inquisitor’s dogs whenever Moseh lets out a squawk,” Jimmy said airily. “I wonder what their friendship will cost us,” Jack said. “They’d be more expensive as enemies, Dad,” Danny said, and in his voice was a confidence that Jack had not felt about anything in about twenty years.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12933-42  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:14 AM

the ship for weather. Jack ascended the stairs to the quarterdeck and took up a position behind van Hoek, among the other share-holders. As he turned round to look out over the upperdeck—facing in the general direction of Manila—one of those constellation-gods in the sky above the city, furious because he had ended up in possession of nothing more than a few shredded rags of dim gray-indigo stuff, flung a thunderbolt horizontally into the mid-section of a rival, who was dressed in incandescent coral and green satin. The distance between them must have been twenty miles. It seemed as if a sudden crack had spanned a quarter of Heaven’s vault, allowing infinitely more brilliant light to shine through it, for an instant, from some extremely well-illuminated realm beyond the known universe. It was just as well that the crew were facing the other way—though some of them noticed startled expressions on the faces of the worthies on the quarterdeck, and swiveled their heads to see what was the matter. They saw nothing except a blade of rain sinking into the black jungle beyond Manila. “It must have been Yevgeny, throwing a coelestial Harpoon, to remind van Hoek that brevity is a virtue,” Jack said, and those who had known Yevgeny chuckled nervously.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12956-59  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:15 AM

“A great ship for a great voyage,” van Hoek said, referring to the Spanish behemoth. “That is the Manila Galleon, and soon it will be laden with all the silks of China and spices of India and it will sail out of this bay and commence a voyage of seven months, crossing half of the terraqueous globe. When the Philippines fall away to aft her anchors will be brought up and stowed in the nethermost part of her hold, because for more than half a year they’ll not see a speck of dry land, and anchors will be as much use to her as bilge-pumps on an ox-cart.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12986-91  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:18 AM

“First ’twas Yevgeny—now Enoch Root is putting in his tuppence worth,” he joked, but if anyone did so much as chuckle, the sound was swallowed up in the susurration of waves against the hull. Van Hoek turned and glanced at Jack for a moment, then squared off again to continue his terrible Narration. The weird Fire of Saint Elmo had crawled down the mast to dance round the fringes of his tri-cornered hat, and even the curls of his goat-hair wig had become infected by sparks that buzzed and rustled as if alive. The individual hairs of that long-dead goat were now re-animated as if by some voudoun chaunt, and began trying to get away from each other, which entailed straightening and spreading out-wards. The quivering tip of each hair was defended by a nasty corona.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13016-21  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:20 AM

“Of all the enterprises to which a man can devote his energies,” van Hoek began grudgingly, raising his voice, “long-distance trade is the most profitable. It is what every Jew, Puritan, Dutchman, Huguenot, Armenian, and Banyan aspires to—it is what built the Navies and palaces of Europe, the Court of the Great Mogul in Shahjahanabad, and many other prodigies besides. And yet in the world of trade, it is common knowledge that no circuit—not the slave trade of the Caribbean, not the spice trade of the Indies—exceeds the Manila-to-Acapulco run in sheer profit. The wealthiest Banyans in Surat and bankers in Genoa lay their perfumed heads on silken pillows at night, and dream of sending a few bales of cargo across the Pacific on the Manila Galleon.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13044-50  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:22 AM

Much has happened since we last exchanged letters. You have probably noticed that I have a new address (Berlin) and what is more, it is in a new kingdom (Prussia). The monarch you knew by the name Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg is now called King Frederick I of Prussia. He is the same chap, still joyfully married to the same Sophie Charlotte, living in and ruling from the same palace that he built for her in Berlin, but he has (through machinations that would only disfigure this letter) persuaded the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna (still Leopold I, in case you have not been keeping up) to suffer him to use the title of King. His family (the Hohenzollerns) have been the Dukes of Prussia as well as Electors of Brandenburg for so many generations that it made sense to merge the two countries. The result is called Prussia but still ruled out of Brandenburg.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13067-69  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:24 AM

Yes, I still correspond with Eliza. How could I not? But, as many people do when they have children, she settled, at some point, into a more steady kind of life, and since has not written to me as frequently.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13098-106  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:27 AM

If I have not scared you away yet, then consider the nature of the work. The thing I want to make embodies very little that is beautiful or elegant mathematically. It will consist of two components: a mechanical system for performing arithmetickal and logical operations upon numbers, and a vast compendium of data that will inform the operations of that machine. Much work remains to be carried out on both of these fronts. The former promises more satisfaction, in that it is a practical pursuit, akin to Hooke’s watch-making, and one may see the machine take shape on the workbench, and point to this gear or that shaft with a measure of pride. But I fear it is not what really demands our attention now. Think of how the art of watch-making has advanced during our lifetimes alone, beginning with Huygens’s pendulums, &c., and extrapolate this into the future, and you will readily agree that arithmetickal engines will only get better with time. On the other hand—with due respect for the work that you and Wilkins did on the Philosophical Language—we have only just embarked upon the amassing of the data and the writing-out of the logical rules that will govern the machine’s workings.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13106-10  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 02:28 AM

You are the protégé of Wilkins and the only man still living who worked on that project; on his deathbed he passed his mantle on to you. It follows that you are the man best suited to assemble and organize the data that our machine shall require, and to place it in a form that may be read and understood by a machine. This is a matter of assigning prime numbers to the symbols and then encoding them in some medium, probably as binary digits. The medium needs to be something enduring, for it may be many generations before machines can be constructed that are capable of doing the work. Best would be thin sheets of gold.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13465-73  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 05:31 PM

The crew of Minerva now embarked on a strange program of eating California, beginning with the seaweed that floated off-shore, working their way through the mussel-beds and crab-flats of the intertidal zone, chewing tunnels into the scrub that clung to the beach-edge and perpetrating massacres of animals and birds. Foraging-parties would go out one after the next in the longboat, and half of them would stand guard with muskets and cutlasses while the others ransacked the place for food. Certain parts of the shoreline were defended by Indians who were not very happy to see them, and it took a bit of experimentation to learn where these were. The most dangerous part was the first five minutes after the longboat had been pulled up on the beach, when the men felt earth beneath their feet for the first time in four months, and stood there dumbfounded for several minutes, their ears amazed by the twittering of birds, the buzzing of insects, the rustle of leaves. Said Edmund de Ath: “It is like being a newborn babe, who has known nothing but the womb, suddenly brought forth into an unimagined world.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13859-63  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 06:03 PM

Dr. Leibniz has taught me all about religion.” “Oh, has he now?” Father von Mixnitz asked uneasily. “Yes, he has. Now tell me, Father, are you one of those Catholics who still refuses to believe that the Earth goes round the Sun?” Father von Mixnitz swallowed his tongue and then hacked it back up. “Highness, I believe in what Dr. Leibniz was saying just a minute ago, namely, that it is all relative.” “That’s not exactly what I said,” Leibniz protested.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13864-72  | Added on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 06:03 PM

“Do you believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and the wine, Father?” Caroline asked. “How could I be a Catholic if I did not, Highness?” “This is not how we do birthday parties in Poland,” commented Wladyslaw, ladling himself another cup of wine. “Hush! I am enjoying it greatly,” Sophie returned. “What if you ate it and then you got sick and threw up? When it came out, would it be Jesus’s flesh and blood? Or would it de-transubstantiate on the way out, and become bread and wine again?” “Such solemn questions do not comport with the frothy imaginings of an eighteen-year-old girl,” said Father von Mixnitz, who had gone all red in the face and was biting the words off one at a time, as if his tongue were a trip-hammer in a mill. “Here’s to frothy imaginings!” said Queen Sophie Charlotte, raising her glass with a beautiful smile; but her eyes were like those of a falcon tracking a mink as she watched Father von Mixnitz take his leave and stalk out of the room.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14547-56  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 07:42 AM

“Does she explain the firing of the signal-cannon?” “The hereticks mutinied. They fired the cannon in an attempt to summon help. There was general warfare—the black-robe was driven belowdecks…” “Where he kindled a fire, to make an auto da fé of the entire ship.” “When Elizabeth de Obregon woke aboard Minerva, the first thing she saw was that same black-robe staring her in the face. With opium and with clever arguments he induced her to believe that the burning of the Galleon had been an accident, and that now, on Minerva, they were prisoners of the hereticks, who would kill the black-robe if they knew him to be a Jesuit. After that they would make her their whore. So she played the role that the black-robe devised for her…but after recuperating in Mexico City, and suffering diverse tortures from want of opium, and coming out from the influence of the black-robe, these nightmares had begun. She decided that they were not nightmares but true memories, and that all the black-robe’s doings must have been part of a plan having something to do with Minerva, and something to do with the gold of Solomon, which Minerva’s owners had stolen from the ex-Viceroy.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14620-29  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 07:48 AM

“Where, then, is King Solomon’s gold?” “Turn around,” Jack said. De Gex finally turned around. The harbor below the Castle was crowded with French ships, most of them riding at anchor; the few that were in a position to get under way were now, however, frantically trying to raise more sail. Their decks were a-swarm with sailors coming up from below, like ants from a damaged hill. De Gex could not fathom why, until he noticed that every spyglass and pointing finger in the harbor was aimed at Minerva, now several miles ahead of the French ships that were trying to organize a pursuit. Van Hoek—commanding from a sick-bed lashed into place on the poop deck—had heeled her perilously far over for one so lightly ballasted, but she did not capsize, and seemed to be skimming over the water rather than plowing it up. A ship that hadn’t been careened since before Vera Cruz would normally have been too encrusted with barnacles to make much headway, but Minerva moved as if her hull had been freshly scraped and painted. Not until she altered course slightly, and the sun glanced off her exposed hull, did de Gex understand why: the underside of the ship, below the waterline, had been sheathed, from stem to stern, in plates of hammered gold.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14731-35  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 07:57 AM

Jack’s fate, it seemed, was to languish in a chilly dungeon three hundred and sixty-odd days out of each year and, on the other few days, to be a captive audience to a bad play. He had to grant that it would be a humiliating fate if he had been a member of the French nobility. But as a Vagabond who’d already lived thrice as long as he ought to’ve, it wasn’t bad at all; it was pleasing, in fact, to see how not under Étienne’s thumb was Eliza. Jack’s chief source of discomfort, then, was a feeling well known to soldiers of low rank, to doctors’ patients, and to people getting their hair cut; namely, that he was utterly in the power of an incompetent.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14739-41  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 07:58 AM

He was there for all of a month. Then a French frigate came and took him away. They gave him clothes, soap, and a razor. Jack had a most enjoyable journey to Le Havre, for he knew that there was only one man in the world who could have countermanded the orders of Étienne de Lavardac, duc d’Arcachon.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14752-61  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 07:59 AM

The Kings of France and of the Vagabonds were alone together; the former had made a great show of dismissing his glorious courtiers, who had made a great show of being astonished. Now Jack could hear the murmur of their voices in the gallery outside as they smoked pipes and batted witticisms at each other. But he could not make out any of their words. And this, he began to suspect, was all by design. This room was large enough to race horses in, but it had been emptied of furniture, except for the big armchair and the stool, which were in its center. The King could be certain that any words he spoke would be heard by Jack, and no one else. “You know,” said Jack, “I was a King for a while in Hindoostan, and my subjects would get worked up into a lather about a potato, which to them was worth as much as a treasure-chest. At first I’d want to know everything about the potato in question, and I would take a large stake in the matter, but towards the end of my reign—” Here Jack rolled his eyes, as Frenchmen frequently did during encounters with Englishmen. Leroy seemed to take his meaning very clearly. “It is the same with every King.” “Potatoes grow back,” Jack pointed out.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14766-70  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:00 AM

“The King must not descend into these broils,” said Leroy. “He is Apollo, riding above all in his bright chariot, seeing the entire world as if it were a courtyard.” “I could not have put it better myself,” Jack said. “But even bright Apollo had his adversaries: other Gods, and loathsome monsters, spawned before Time from the Earth and the Deep. The legions of Chaos.” “I never had to contend with those legions of Chaos myself, cuz, but then everything you do is on a much, much larger scale.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14774-77  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:01 AM

“The Mint.” “Mexico beats out the divine ichor that circulates through, and animates, Catholic realms. Sometimes the treasure-fleet sinks and we feel faint; then another one reaches Cadiz and we are invigorated. London beats out the vile humour that circulates through the countless grasping extremities of the Beast.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14813-27  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:06 AM

During this discourse Vrej had held his arms crossed somewhat awkwardly before him, as if the right was injured and wanted support from the left. Now he unfolded them and held out the right as if to shake; though he kept it curiously bent at the elbow. Postural oddities aside, Jack, who had lived with Vrej, on and off, for a dozen years, had no doubt of his sincerity. He reached out and shook Vrej’s hand. Vrej looked him in the eye. “To Moseh, Dappa, van Hoek, Gabriel, Nyazi, Yevgeny, Jeronimo, and Mr. Foot!” Vrej said. “To the Ten,” Jack agreed, and pumped Vrej’s hand, hard enough to straighten the elbow. At that, something hard slid forth from Vrej’s sleeve and barked Jack’s knuckle. Vrej reached across with his left and slapped his forearm to keep the object from falling out altogether. As Jack could see plainly enough, it was a two-barrelled pocket-pistol. Not knowing what Vrej had in mind, Jack let go his hand and got between him and Eliza. He’d scarcely done so when he heard a loud noise and saw Étienne d’Arcachon collapsing to the floor. “Pardon the interruption, your majesty,” said Vrej. The pistol was in his hand, a cloud of smoke drifting up from it. Jack had got himself squarely between Vrej and Eliza by now, but she wanted to see what was happening, and kept moving about, which forced him to move as well. A door whammed open at the far end of the ballroom, and a cloud of feathers, lace, and blades—a dozen or so armed noblemen—came at them. It would be some moments before they arrived. “I could run. Perhaps escape,” Vrej went on. “But this would bring suspicion down upon my family—who are wholly innocent, your majesty, and always were.” “We understand,” said Leroy, “and always have.” Vrej turned the pistol round and shot himself in the mouth.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14830-32  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:07 AM

Now Jack had always taken a dim view of Louis, but even he had to admit he was impressed by the aplomb with which this surprising turn of events was managed. There was, of course, an interruption; but only a few minutes elapsed before the conversation resumed. Jack, Eliza, and the King were in the Petit Salon now; the ballroom would require some cleaning-up.
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14844-47  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:08 AM

We must now turn our attentions back to the War; but it shall please us to learn, in a year, or several, that the money of England has been rendered worthless, and the ability of that heretic country to make war beyond its shores thus mitigated. Do take your time and make a proper job of it. No half measures. And know that as the pound sterling suffers, the widow d’Arcachon and her children shall thrive, and shall continue to enjoy all the good things that France has to offer.”
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14851-54  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:09 AM

The upheavals of the last twenty years have been unbelievable: the kingdoms of England, Holland and Spain have been transformed as fast as scenery in a theatre. When later generations come to read about our history they will think they are reading a romance, and not believe a word of it. —LISELOTTE IN A LETTER TO SOPHIE, 10 JUNE 1706
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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 14897  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:13 AM


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The confusion (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14894-99  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:13 AM

High above, on one of the ancient towers, he could see a gentleman who had gone up there for a stroll, perhaps to get some fresh air and clear his head after too long spent down in the broiling Mint. This fellow stopped on the parapet to look out over the river, silhouetted against the burning cloud behind him, and a sea-breeze caught his long hair and blew it back like a banner. Jack could see that the man’s hair was snow-white. “That must be him, then,” he said to no one, “him that was put in charge of the Mint.” Raising his voice a bit he said, “Enjoy your perch up there, Mister Newton, because Jack the Coiner has come back to London-town, and he aims to knock you down; the game has begun, and may the best man win!”
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Newton and the Counterfeiter (Thomas Levenson)
- Highlight on Page 112 | Loc. 1713-22  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 08:26 AM

That's how it began: money, captured on a sheet of paper. It rapidly became something more. By lending the full sum of its deposits (and soon enough, even more) to the government, and by issuing notes against that same capitalization that depositors could spend, the Bank of England performed the essential economic miracle: it created capital out of thin air. This was the birth of what is known as fractional reserve banking, the foundation of the modern financial system. In a fractional reserve bank, working on the assumption that only a small percentage of depositors will demand their share back at any given time, the institution lends more than the sum total of its capital. How much more is the question. Banks that lend too great a multiple of their deposits risk running out of cash if too many depositors demand payment. If the banking system as a whole lends too little, credit tightens, loans become more costly, and economic life suffers. (Bank regulators can use the reserve requirement—how much cash as a percentage of loans a bank is required to keep on hand—as a tool to tighten or loosen credit, and thus, in theory, keep an economy from becoming either too sullen or too exuberant. The gap between that theory and actual practice is not, perhaps, as small as economists would wish.)
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 160-66  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:29 AM

The Earl paused to grope among the clanking array of fetishes dangling from chains round his neck, and finally came up with a crusty old chisel-pointed hammer which he waved menacingly in the air—and unlike most Earls, he looked as if he might have actually used a hammer for some genuine purpose during his life. “The assayer would remove a corner from each block, and test its purity. An archaic word for ‘corner’ is ‘coign,’ whence we get, for example, ‘quoin’—” Daniel nodded. “The wedge that gunners use, aboard ship, to elevate a cannon, is so called.” “This came to be known as quoinage. And thence, our queer English word ‘coin,’ which bears no relation to any French or Latin words, or German.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 196-202  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 04:36 PM

The stone walls that rambled over this land were so old that they were shot through with holes where stones had fallen out, and their tops, far from running straight and level, leaped and faltered. He would phant’sy he was in an abandoned country if it weren’t for the little pellets of sheep dung rolling away under Newcomen’s footsteps and crunching beneath the soles of his boots. On certain hilltops grew spruce forests, as fine and dense and soft-looking as the pelts of Arctic mammals. When the wind gusted through these, a sound issued from them that was like icy water hurrying over sharp stones. But most of the land was covered with heather, gone scab-colored for the winter. There the wind was silent, except for the raucous buller that it made as it banged around in the porches of Daniel’s ears like a drunk burglar.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 243-46  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 04:41 PM

“My grandfather was John Comstock, the Earl of Epsom, and the scion of that branch of our ancient line, known vulgarly as the Silver Comstocks. As you know he came to ruin, and my father, Charles, fared little better, and even had to leave over the Earldom and immigrate to America when James I was overthrown. I make no bones about my ancestors.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 335-37  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:01 PM

That merely glimpsing three good wooden boxes on a baggage-wain could lead to such broodings made Daniel wonder that he could get out of bed in the morning. Once, he had feared that old age would bring senility; now, he was certain it would slowly paralyze him by encumbering each tiny thing with all sorts of significations.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 399-403  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:07 PM

Through the windows of Mr. Threader’s carriage he was viewing a country almost as strange to him as Japan. It was not only England’s unwonted peace and prosperity that made it strange to him. Too, it was that he was viewing places that Puritans and Professors did not get invited to. Since Daniel had never seen those places, he tended to forget they existed, and to discount the importance of the people who lived in them. But this was a mistake, which would make him a very poor and useless pawn indeed if he did not mend it; and weak pawns were liable to be sacrificed early in the game.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 449-51  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:22 PM

In the first few days’ travel he had bobbled such bait before Daniel, but his angling had been in vain. Since then, Daniel had kept busy reading in his books and Mr. Threader writing in his. Both men were of an age when they were in no great hurry to make friends and share confidences. Starting friendships, like opening up new overseas trade routes, was a mad venture best left to the young.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 455-58  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:23 PM

Mr. Threader, for his part, wanted to know how Daniel was connected to the Earl of Lostwithiel. To him, it was monstrously strange that an aged Natural Philosopher should materialize all of a sudden in the middle of Dartmoor, in a coonskin wrapper, and croak out a few words that would cause every gentleman in a twenty-mile radius to liquidate other holdings, and buy stock in that commercial Lunatick Asylum, the Proprietors of the Engine for Raising Water by Fire.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 589-93  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:34 PM

The next day, Sunday, January 31st, 1714, Daniel did not get breakfast, because none was served. His host had given his kitchen staff the day off. Instead he was hustled off to a splendid church between Windsor and London. It was exactly the sort of church that Drake would have set fire to with extreme prejudice during the Civil War. As a matter of fact, the longer Daniel looked at it, the more certain he became that Drake had torched it, and that Daniel had watched. No matter; as Mr. Threader would say, that was in the past.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 702-5  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:48 PM

“On the contrary, Mr. Threader. I know that the Tories have established their own Bank, as a rival and a counterpoise to the Bank of England. But the Bank of England is capitalized with East India shares. The equity of the Tories’ Land Bank is, simply, land. And East India trade grows from year to year. But of land there is a fixed quantity, unless you mean to emulate the Dutch, and manufacture your own.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 867-69  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:08 PM

“Welcome to Crane Court, Dr. Waterhouse,” said the porter, sincerely but coolly, speaking in a French accent. “I am Henry Arlanc, at your service.” “A Huguenot,” muttered Mr. Threader as Henry Arlanc helped Daniel down onto the pavement.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 889-96  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:10 PM

I want that you should follow that sedan chair, and tell me where it goes!” No answer came back. Mr. Threader’s voice came out of the smoke, just a few yards away. “Watchman, follow that sedan chair and I shall give you a guinea!” “Right you are, sir!” returned the watchman. “…or a guinea’s equivalent value in other goods or services, at my discretion, provided that timely and useful information, which would not have been obtainable through other means, is brought to me, and me alone; and note that nothing in this offer shall be construed to create a condition of employment between you and me, particularly where assumption of liabilities, criminal or civil, is concerned. Did you hear all of that, Dr. Waterhouse?” “Yes, Mr. Threader.” “It is so witnessed this thirty-first day of January, Year of our Lord 1714.” Mr. Threader muttered very rapidly.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 963-67  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:31 PM

London had eighteen of them. ’Twas as if the combination in one city of too many printing presses; a bloody and perpetual atmosphere of Party Malice; and an infinite supply of coffee; had combined, in some alchemical sense, to engender a monstrous prodigy, an unstanchable wound that bled Ink and would never heal. Daniel, who had grown to maturity in a London where printing presses had to be hidden in hay-wagons to preserve them from the sledgehammers of the Censor, could not quite believe this at first; but they kept coming, every day.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1064-75  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:43 PM

These rings are unlike water-waves, which consist of different water at different times, for smoke rings propagate through clear air, proving that they indeed carry their own substance with them, neither diluting it with, nor dispersing it into, the surrounding atmosphere. And yet there is nothing special about the smoke as such—it is the same smoke that hangs over battlefields in shapeless clouds. The identity of a smoke ring would appear to consist, not in the stuff of which it is made, for that is commonplace and indifferent, but rather in a particular set of relationships that is brought into being among its parts. It is this pattern of relationships that coheres in space and persists in time and endows the smoke-ring with an identity. Perhaps some similar observation might be made about other entities that we observe, and credit with uniqueness and identity, including even human beings. For the stuff of which we are made is just the common stuff of the world, viz. ordinary gross matter, so that a materialist might say, we are no different from rocks; and yet our matter is imbued with some organizing principle that endows us with identities, so that I may send a letter to Daniel Waterhouse in London in the full confidence that, like a smoke-ring traversing a battle-field, he has traveled a great distance, and persisted for a long time, and yet is still the same man. The question, as always, is whether the organizing principle is added to the gross matter to animate it, as yeast is thrown into beer, or inheres in the relationships among the parts themselves.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1075-77  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:44 PM

for if Natural Philosophy is to explain the world, it must do so in terms of the things that make up the world, without recourse to occult intrusions from some external, unknowable Realm Beyond.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1191-94  | Added on Monday, September 11, 2017, 11:54 PM

and (3) for God’s sake give the Tsar something to show for our work of the last fifteen years. If you can arrange for your note-cards to be shipped over from Boston in time, that is ideal. Short of that, any tangible evidence that you have been doing something at the Massachusetts Bay Institute of Technologickal Arts, may help to keep your humble and obedient servant from being broken on a wheel before the Russian Academy of Sciences, as an example to Scientists who draw stipends without yielding Science.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1261-65  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:07 AM

Turning his back on the window and opening his bedchamber door brought him back to London straightaway—not the London of average Londoners, but the circa-1660, Natural-Philosophic London of John Wilkins and Robert Hooke. For the remainder of the attic was packed to the rafters with material that Daniel recognized and identified under the broad heading of, Science Crapp. All had been brought over from the Royal Society’s crèche at Gresham’s College.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1285-88  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:10 AM

The only thing atop it was a glass bell jar covering a dessicated owl. Daniel set the bird to one side, drew out the crate, and pulled off the lid. It was the old Archbishop of York’s beetle collection, lovingly packed in straw. This, and the owl, told all. It was as he had feared. Birds and bugs, top to bottom, front to back. All salvaged, not because they had innate value, but because they’d been given to the Royal Society by important people. They’d been kept here just as a young couple keeps the ugly wedding present from the rich aunt.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1299-1302  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:11 AM

“How long have you served here, Henry?” “Since you moved in, sir.” Daniel was a bit confused until he realized you meant The Royal Society. “I like to say, that I came with the property,” Henry continued.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1392-95  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 12:55 AM

“Roger, if you would set aside this quaint notion that countries must be ruled by kings who are the sons of other kings, then it would not matter whether the Pretender entered St. James’s Palace through a vagina, or a warming-pan; either way, to hell with him.” “Are you suggesting I become a Republican?” “I’m suggesting you already are one.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1410-14  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 01:09 AM

By the time he had lurched and wheezed to the end, several nearby clubbers had picked up the melody—if it could be so called—and begun to sing along. At the end, they all rewarded themselves by Consumption of Alcohol. “Roger! I never would have dreamed any woman could move you to write even bad poetry.” “Its badness is proof of my sincerity,” Roger said modestly. “If I wrote her an excellent love-poem, it might be said of me, that I had done it only to flaunt my wit.” “As matters stand, you are indeed safe from any such accusations.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1418-21  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 01:10 AM

The prize is to be quite large.” “If you have their support, Roger, what can you possibly want of me?” “It is high time the Massachusetts Bay Institute of Technologickal Arts—which I have supported so generously—did something useful!” “Such as—?” “Daniel, I want to win the Longitude Prize!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1480-86  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 01:15 AM

Mr. Newcomen’s Engine is a huge and beastly piece of ironmongery, and he needs no assistance from me to make it. I am thinking of small, precise, clever machines.” “I suppose you mean, small, precise machines, made cleverly.” “I meant what I said, Sir Christopher.” “So it’s the Logic Mill again? I thought Leibniz gave up on it, what, forty years ago.” “Leibniz only set it aside forty years ago, so that he could—” Here Daniel was struck dumb for a few moments out of sheer awe at the faux pas he had been about to commit; he was going to say, invent the calculus. Sir Christopher’s face, as he regarded this narrowly averted conversational disaster, looked like the death-mask of a man who had died in his sleep while having a pleasant dream.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1500-1506  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 01:18 AM

“But there is so much arithmetick to be done, with that method.” “And so let us equip every ship with an Arithmetickal Engine.” Sir Christopher Wren pinkened—not because he was angry, or embarrassed, but because he was interested. His mind worked for a while. Daniel let it. Finally Wren said, “The most ingenious mechanics I have ever seen, have not been those who make clocks—though they are admittedly very clever—but the ones who make organs.” “Pipe-organs, you mean?” “Yes. For churches.” Daniel felt something very strange happening to his face: he was smiling. “Sir Christopher, you must have employed more organ-makers than any man in history.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1534-37  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 01:20 AM

“It is the least I can do on behalf of the estate of the fellow who taught me how to design arches. Lastly, I shall nominate you as Overseer of Demonstrations to the Royal Society.” “I beg your pardon?” “It will become clear to you with a little reflection. I bid you good day, Dr. Waterhouse.” “You are a perfect gentle knight, Sir Christopher.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1603-6  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 06:30 AM

Certain things Daniel had been noticing suddenly became connected in his mind. The rafts of hardwood logs floating down the Charles, day after day, in Boston, and the fact that coal, its smoke, and its soot were everywhere in London now, both spoke of a desperate hunger for wood. The forests of Old and New England alike were being turned into fleets, and only a fool would burn the stuff.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1661-66  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 06:46 AM

Mr. Kikin is quite certain that London is alive with Raskolniks.” “What’s a Raskolnik?” “From the nature of Mr. Kikin’s precautions, I infer that it is a sort of Russian Huguenot, bearded, ten feet tall, and good at throwing things.” “Well, I don’t think I quite match that description—” “One can never be too careful. Thou couldst be a Raskolnik disguised as a superannuated dandy.” “Brother Norman, ’tis such a pleasure to be free of the stuffy courtesies of London.” “The pleasure is entirely mine, Brother Daniel.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1676-79  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 06:47 AM

That is why I, and half the other shipwrights along the Pool, went to the trouble of having a look at this Minerva when she was in dry-dock.” “But you did not see gold.” “Copper is what I saw, Brother Daniel. Which might have been shiny and red when it was new. And if the light were to glance off it in just the right way, why, a Frenchman—a Papist, susceptible to gaudy and false visions—might phant’sy it were gold.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1784-90  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 06:59 AM

in its place was a conveyance far ruder, and much better suited to this district: a knacker’s wagon, dark and crusty with old gore and bright and runny with new. Daniel from his elevated vantage point was able to see things in the back of that wagon that were hidden from the view of Mr. White, who remained down by the ring’s edge: a newly cut-up horse was in there. Not a worn-out nag but a glossy and well-looked-after steed. It was one of Mr. White’s carriage-horses. Mr. White’s footmen and driver were standing very close together a quarter of a mile away, next to a motionless carriage, to which only three horses were harnessed. Daniel took another look at the Nonconformists and noticed that every single one of them had at least one pistol in his belt. ’Twas an excellent time to be leaving.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1796-99  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:00 AM

Amid such distractions, the only way Daniel could think of to seize Mr. Kikin’s attention was to invoke the name of Peter the Great. It worked. Kikin showed not the slightest doubt that Daniel was telling the truth. From this, Daniel knew that Leibniz’s account of the Tsar was on the mark; he did things his own way, be they never so irregular, and his servants, such as Kikin, did not long endure if they wanted the nimbleness to keep pace with his evolutions.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1904-8  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:13 AM

Bob sighed. “The Mint men have been melting down a lot of silver, which was taken from a treasure-galleon on the Spanish Main. When it melts, certain fumes rise out of it—surely you know more on this than I—and the men who breathe in those vapors grow ill. There is only one remedy. Sir Isaac learnt of it from some German coiners he hired during the Great Recoinage. It is to drink milk from a human skull. Several of the Mint-men have lately gone down ill; so the call has been put out for skulls and milch-cows. What are you doing here, guv’nor?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 1971-73  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:20 AM

Swirling heat-waves still roiled out of the destroyed hull. Through them he could see a weirdly distorted image of men on small boats rowing to and fro, peering at the disaster in something of the same spirit as other men had watched the bear-baiting.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2010-14  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:25 AM

“Pray consider me at your disposal if the Hand-in -Hand Fire-Office tries to blame this on you, Brother Norman.” “You may have hidden virtues, Brother Daniel. Pray overlook my stubborn unwillingness to see them.” “Pray forgive my hiding my light under a bushel, Brother Norman.” “Indeed,” said Kikin, “there is much that is hidden in you, Dr. Waterhouse. I would see it uncovered. Would you please explain yourself?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2048-52  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:28 AM

Mr. Orney paused for a moment at the foot of the stairs to let his eyes adjust, which was very prudent, then advanced on Daniel and Mr. Threader, dodging round nearly invisible puddles with sailorly grace as he made his way between the sarcophagi. He was showing a lack of curiosity, and a refusal to be awed, that in another man would have been infallible proof of stupidity. Since Daniel knew him not to be stupid, he reckoned that it was a sort of religious assertion; to a Quaker, these Papist crusader-knights were as primitive, and as beside the point, as a clan of Pictish barrow-diggers.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2065-70  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:30 AM

“That is rank flattery, sir,” Daniel protested. “But I will grant you this much, that if our Clubb is to achieve its Goal, we must learn all we can of the Infernal Devices in question. They were driven by clock-work, you may be sure on’t. Now, thirty years ago, I knew Huygens and Hooke, the most illustrious horologists of the aera. But when I returned to London I found that I was no longer privy to the secrets, nor acquainted with the practitioners, of that Technology. In my eagerness to redress this, I did from time to time forget my manners, prising open clocks and watches to examine their workings and decypher their makers’ marks, as Mr. Threader has waspishly reminded me. The result: we are met here in Clerkenwell!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2078-83  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:31 AM

“This damp will kill us,” Mr. Kikin predicted in a stolid way, as if he got killed every morning before breakfast. “As long as the candles don’t go out, we have nothing to fear from this atmosphere,” said Daniel, who was deeply sick and tired of hearing semi-learned people ascribe all their problems to damps. “Yes, water seeps in here from the moist earth. But Mr. Orney was only just now remarking upon the marvellous purity of these waters. Why do you think the Knights Templar built their Temple here? It is because the nuns of St. Mary and the Knights Hospitallers both drew their water from the same well here, and didn’t die of it. Why, just up the road, wealthy gentle-folk pay money to soak in these same moistures.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2098-2102  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:33 AM

“A new building is contemplated?” asked Mr. Orney, as one man of commerce to another. “Is already underway,” Daniel confided, “to include an arcade of shops and ateliers for makers of watches, and of instruments—not only musickal, but philosophickal.” He was getting expectant stares, as if he had broken off in mid-sentence. “Planispheres, heliostats, theodolites, and circumferentors, e.g.,” he tried. Nothing. “If Longitude is found, I daresay, ’twill be found on this property!” he concluded.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2113-16  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:35 AM

The notion had struck Daniel as questionable, until Roger had finally lured him to the Kit-Cat Clubb. On entering that place Daniel had said, “Oh, why didn’t you say so!” for he had understood it immediately as a Routine Upgrade of the coffee-houses where everyone had used to pass the time of day twenty years ago—the chief difference being that only certain people were let in. This all but ruled out ear-biting, stab-wounds, and duels.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2174-77  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 07:41 AM

The device that burned your ship went off at the right time: the dead of night. The one in Mr. Threader’s carriage went off too early. I conclude that the device that was used ran too quickly in a moving carriage on a cold day, but ran at the correct rate sitting still in the belly of a ship’s hull. From that I can guess as to what sort of clock-work was used, which might help lead us to him who made the Infernal Devices.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2269-73  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:27 AM

AS A WAVE PASSES THROUGH a rug that is being shaken, driving before it a front of grit, fleas, apple seeds, tobacco-ashes, pubic hairs, scab-heads, &c., so the expansion of London across the defenseless green countryside pushed before it all who had been jarred loose by Change, or who simply hadn’t been firmly tied down to begin with. A farmer living out in the green pastures north of the city might notice the buildings creeping his way, year by year, but not know that his pasture was soon to become part of London until drunks, footpads, whores, and molly-boys began to congregate under his windows.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2299-2306  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:35 AM

the entire stretch of territory from the Islington Road on the east to Tottenham Court Road on the west had become a sort of deranged park, with Black Mary’s Hole in the center of it. It was where people resorted to have every form of sexual congress not sanctioned by the Book of Common Prayer, and where footpads went to prey upon them, and thief-takers to spy on the doings of the footpads and set one against another for the reward money. Baths and tea-gardens provided another reason to go there—or, barring that, a convenient pretext for gentlefolk whose real motives had nothing to do with bathing or tea. And—complicating matters terribly—any number of people went there for childishly simple and innocent purposes. Picknickers were as likely to come here as murderers. On his first visit to this district, Daniel had heard someone creeping along behind him, and been certain it was a footpad, raising his cudgel to dash Daniel’s brain’s out; turning around, he had discovered a Fellow of the Royal Society brandishing a long-handled butterfly net.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2315-17  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:36 AM

Root had a knack for finding, or creating, alignments between his interests and those of the people whose lives he meddled with. Daniel needed a place to build things. Clerkenwell, though it was obviously unstable, muddy, smelling of the knacker, and loud with the screams and roars of fighting beasts, Regarded as Unsafe by Persons of Quality, was a suitable place for Daniel.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2412-17  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:46 AM

In sum, the man’s head looked like a Dutch oven forged over a dying fire with a ball-peen hammer. His hair hung round his face in a way that reminded Daniel of the young Robert Hooke; but where Hooke had been sickly and bent, this man was made like a meat-wagon. Yet he was holding Daniel’s watch in the most curious delicate way, the time-piece resting on a half-acre of pink palm, the chain drawn back and draped over the black-creviced fingers of the other hand. He was displaying it. Daniel took another step forward. He had the ridiculous phant’sy that the man would dart away if Daniel reached out: a reflex Daniel had learned in childhood games of keep-away, and never quite got rid of.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2419-22  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:47 AM

“I am a horologist gone bad.” “You deal in stolen time—” “Don’t we all, sir? Each striking his own bargain, as ’twere.” “I was going to say, ‘time-pieces,’ but you interrupted me.” “ ’Tis a common error of those who buy time dear, and sell it cheap, Dr. Waterhouse.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2431-35  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:48 AM

“Mechanic since I was a lad, clock-maker since I came to my senses,” said Saturn. “The piece of information you are wanting, Doctor, is this: this here is an old Hooke balance-spring watch, this is. When the Master made it, why, it might’ve been the best time-piece ever fashioned by human hands. But now there’s a score of proper horologists round Clerkenwell who can make ones that’ll keep better time. Technology ages, dunnit?” Daniel pursed his lips to keep from laughing at the spectacle of this new, five-guinea word, Technology, emerging from that head.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2442-55  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:49 AM

“Very well, sir. A certain flash cull of my acquaintance, a file-cly with a specialization in tatlers, who had run afoul of a Harmon in Fleet Street, and been condemned to shove the tumbler from Newgate to Leadenhall, came by my ken of an afternoon, desiring employment of a sedentary nature while his stripes healed. And after taking sensible precautions, which is to say, making sure that he was not running a type of service-lay to slum my ken, I said to this buz, my business here has fallen on hard times because I cannot run it without transitory knowledge. And yet my brain has had its fill of the same, and all I wish to do is to sit in my shop reading books, to acquire knowledge aeternal, which benefits me in ways intangible, but in no way helps me to receive and sell stolen property of a horologickal nature, which is the raison d’être of the shop. Therefore, go ye out into the Rumbo, the Spinning-Ken, to Old Nass, go to the Boozing-kens of Hockley-in-the-Hole and the Cases at the low end of the Mount, go to the Goat in Long-lane, the Dogg in Fleet Street, and the Black-boy in Newtenhouse- Lane, and drink—but not too much—and buy drinks—but never too many—for any flash culls you spy there, and acquire transitory knowledge, and return to my ken and relate to me what you have learnt. And back he comes, a week later, and informs me that a certain old Gager has lately been making the rounds, trying to recover some lost property. ‘What has he lost?’ I inquired. ‘Not a thing,’ came the answer, ‘he is after another cull’s lost property—some gager who was Phinneyed ten years since.’ ‘Go and learn that dead cove’s name,’ says I, ‘and the quick one’s, too.’ Come the answers: Robert Hooke, and Daniel Waterhouse, respectively. Why, he even pointed you out to me once, when you walked past my shop on your way to visit your swine-yard. That’s how I knew you.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2463-66  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:53 AM

long ago you went over the sea, didn’t you, to set up an Institute of Technologickal Arts. And here you are back in London, aren’t you, on some similar errand. Why, Doctor? You had the life I dream of: to sit on your arse and read of truths aeternal. And yet I cannot make my way through a chapter of Plato without glancing up to see you sprawled against my shop-window like an enormous spate of bird-shite. Why turn away from the study of truths aeternal, to traffick in transitory knowledge?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2467-68  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:54 AM

“Why does the minister tell mundane stories during his homily? Why not simply quote direct from sublime works of theology?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2469-72  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:54 AM

“Then if Newton and Leibniz are sublime theologians, sir, I am an humble vicar. Technology is a sort of religious practice to me, a way of getting at the aeternal by way of the mundane. Does that answer your question, and may I have my hand back?” “Yes,” said Saturn. “You have your watch, sir; you have your hand; and you have a parishioner.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2481-86  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:56 AM

“I say to you one more time—” “There’s that word again! Time. Let me speak of time, Doc, and say to you this: if you continue to walk through Hockley-in-the-Hole unaccompanied, and to wander about the city as you’ve been doing, your time may be measured in days, or hours. You are not leery enough. This fact has been made note of by certain coves who make unleery gagers their prey. Every foot-scamperer and bridle-cull on the upper Fleet pricks up his ears when you trudge out to your swine-yard and disappear into your hole in the ground. Your time will be up very soon, and you will wind up as a scragg’d, naked corpse, floating down Fleet Ditch to Bridewell, if you do not make some large friends soon.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2517-22  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 09:59 AM

“There’s always Vulcan.” “Lame!” “Indeed, he was a bit gouty, like many a gentleman,” Daniel had said patiently, “but he got all the most beautiful goddesses—including Venus herself!” “Haw! The rogue!” “He was master of metals—though humble, and scorned, he fettered Titans and Gods with his ingenuity—” “Metals—including—?” “Gold and silver.” “Capital!” “And of course he was God of Fire, and Lord of Volcanoes.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2595-98  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:08 AM

Faces could beguile, enchant, and flirt. But clearly this woman was inflicting major spinal injuries on men wherever she went, and only a body had the power to do that. Hence the need for a lot of Classical allusions in Catherine Barton love-poetry. Her idolaters were reaching back to something pre-Christian, trying to express a bit of what they felt when they gazed upon Greek statues of nude goddesses.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2632-37  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:13 AM

Swords, daggers, helmets, and cuirasses were strewn all round, interspersed with the odd half-forged thunderbolt. Vulcan’s knobby fingers were ripping Minerva’s breastplate away to expose a body obviously modeled after Catherine Barton’s. Daniel recognized the tale: Minerva went to Vulcan’s forge to acquire weapons and armor; Vulcan became inflamed with lust and assaulted her; she, being one tough deity, held him at bay, and he had to settle for ejaculating on her leg. She wiped it off with a rag and flung it on the ground, fertilizing Mother Earth, who later bore Erichthonius, an early king of Athens, who introduced the use of silver money.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2642-44  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:14 AM

Catherine was ignoring the fountain altogether; she did not want to talk about it, had turned her face away, her posture rhyming with Minerva’s. Daniel contented himself with pursuing her across the court-yard, albeit with even less success than Vulcan.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2651-55  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:16 AM

Daniel found these moments slightly unnerving. For the most part she did not look like Isaac—not even the young, frail, girlish Isaac Daniel had met at Trinity half a century ago. He would never have guessed she had a drop of Newton-blood in her veins if he hadn’t known as much already. But during the moments when she forgot to hide her cleverness, a family resemblance flashed forth, and he saw Isaac’s face for an instant, as if the author of Principia Mathematica were stalking him through a darkened room when lightning struck outside.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2697-98  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:19 AM

Daniel and Isaac were alone together in the study. Or Daniel assumed it was called a study. He could not imagine Isaac having a bedchamber or a dining-room. Any room he was in, was a study by default.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 2706  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:21 AM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2703-13  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:21 AM

His face had not changed all that much, though it had got heavier, and he still had the long white hair. But his hairline had jumped back, making it seem as if his brain were trying to force its way up out the top of his head. His skin had been white when Daniel had walked in, but by the time he had made it to the end of the room to proffer his hand, Isaac had gone red in the face, as if stealing the color from his robe. “There is nothing in my life quite so irritating as to be riddled and teased with inane conundrums, meant to prove my wit, and to try my senility,” he answered. “Bernoulli—Leibniz’s pawn—sent me—” “The brachistochrone problem, I recall it,” Daniel said, “and you solved it in hours. It took me rather longer.” “But you did solve it,” Isaac commanded. “Because it was a problem of the calculus, meant to try whether I understood the calculus or not! Can you fathom the impertinence of it!? I was the first man who could ever have solved it, Daniel, and you the second, because you had the calculus from me first-hand. To be hectored thus, by the Baron’s lackeys, three decades after I had invented it—” “In truth my riddle is another sort of thing altogether,” Daniel said. “I really am quite sorry to have wrong-footed you.” Isaac blinked and heaved a sigh.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2717-19  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:22 AM

To Isaac, Daniel was more than a pawn; he was a rook, kept sequestered in the corner of the board until the end-game, then brought out at last to sweep inexorably down the board, driving the foe back to the last rank and forcing surrender. Isaac would put up with a lot, from a rook.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2748-49  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:25 AM

To go on prating of coins, when the true topic of the conversation was so close to breaking the surface, were faintly ridiculous. But Englishmen, given a choice, would always prefer the faintly ridiculous over the painfully direct. So, on with numismatics.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2752-54  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:26 AM

“Now England is awash in gold. The currency is as hard as adamant. Our commerce is the wonder of all the earth, and even Amsterdam is in our shade. It were vanity for me to take too much credit for this. But it is simple honesty to say, that it could not happen in the absence of this plain understanding, shared by all Englishmen, that a guinea may be exchanged for a guinea without a second thought. That all guineas are the same.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2757-61  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:27 AM

a weigher” (he almost said, “Mr. Threader”) “is a chap who to outward appearances believes what every honest, plain-dealing Englishman believes about the value of a guinea. But in secret, he takes every guinea that comes his way, and weighs it ’pon scales of the most exacting precision. Such as are light, or of the mean weight, he returns into circulation. But such as are heavy, he hoards. And when he has hoarded an hundred such—I am only making up numbers for the sake of argument—perhaps he has enough gold, in sum, to mint an hundred and one guineas. He has created a new guinea out of thin air.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2767-69  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:28 AM

“You mean that weighers are connected with coiners.” “As spinners are with weavers, Daniel.” Daniel was silent for a moment, rehearsing every memory he had of Mr. Threader.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2781-85  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:30 AM

“Your mind, being a logical organ, rejects it,” Isaac said, “because, by definition, pure gold weighs twenty-four carats. Pure gold cannot become purer, hence, cannot be heavier. Of course, I am aware of this. But I say to you that I have with my own hands weighed gold that was heavier than gold that I knew to be pure.” From any other man on earth—Natural Philosophers included—this would amount to saying, “I was sloppy in the laboratory and got it wrong.” From Sir Isaac Newton, it was truth of Euclidean certainty.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2789-95  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:30 AM

“I give you credit for ingenuity,” Isaac said, slightly amused, “but there is a simpler explanation. Yes, the gold I speak of is alloyed with something: a fluidic essence that fills the interstices among its atoms and gives the metal greater weight. But I believe that this essence is nothing less than—” “The Philosophick Mercury!” Daniel exclaimed. The words came out of his mouth in a spirit of genuine excitement; bounced off the hard walls of dark wood; and, when they entered his ears, made him cringe at his own idiocy. “You think it is the Philosophick Mercury,” he corrected himself. “The Subtile Spirit,” Isaac said, not excited, but solemn as Rhadamanthus. “And the goal of Alchemists for thousands of years, ever since the Art was taken into the Orient, and removed from human ken, by its past master, King Solomon.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2795-2801  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:31 AM

“You have been searching for traces of the Philosophick Mercury since we were boys,” Daniel reminded him. “As recently as twenty years ago, your efforts to find even the smallest trace of it had met with abject failure. What has changed?” “I took your advice, Daniel. I accepted the charge of the Mint from my lord Ravenscar. I initiated the Great Recoinage, which brought vast tonnage of gold plate and bullion out from where it had been hoarded.” “And you adjusted the ratio in valuation of silver to gold, so that the latter was over-valued,” Daniel said, “which as everyone knows, has practically driven all silver off the island, and attracted gold from every corner of the globe where commerce has spread its tendrils.” Isaac declined comment.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2801-6  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:31 AM

“Prior to your—” here Daniel was about to say something like terrifying spasm of dementia but corrected himself: “change of career, twenty years ago, you were only able to work with such modest samples of gold as you could buy from local sources. Your appointment to the Mint—combined with the policies you have adopted there—have made the Tower of London the bottle-neck through which all the world’s gold flows, and put you in a position to dip your finger into that flow at will, sampling and testing the gold of many different lands—am I getting it right?” Isaac nodded, and it seemed he looked almost mischievous, in a naughty-old-man sort of way.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2831-33  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:34 AM

“So, ’twould appear that whoever has this gold, has hoarded it, and used to spend it, in the form of plates stained with tar. But from time to time he will deliver some of it up to a coiner—” “Not a coiner but the coiner. Jack. Jack the Coiner. My Nemesis, and my prey, these last twelve years.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2846-60  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:36 AM

The Islands of King Solomon lie in the Pacific. There his gold rested, undisturbed by men, until round the time that you and I were young, and Huygens’s clock began to tick. A Spanish fleet, driven by a typhoon far off the charted sea-lanes that join Acapulco to Manila, dropped anchor in the Solomons, and took on board certain provisions, including earth to pack round the galley-stoves to protect the planks of the ship from fire. During the voyage home to New Spain, the heat of the fire melted gold—or something that looked like it—out of the sand, and it pooled to form nuggets of astonishing fineness, which were discovered when the ships broke bulk in Acapulco. The Viceroy of New Spain, then just beginning a twenty-five- year reign, was not slow to send out ships to the Solomons to extract more of this gold, and bring it back to Mexico to be piled up in his personal hoard. At the end of his reign, he caused the Solomonic Gold to be loaded aboard his private brig, which sailed back to Spain in convoy with the Spanish treasure-fleet. They made it safe as far as Cadiz. But then the little brig foolishly sailed alone up to Bonanza, where the Viceroy had caused a villa to be built, in which he phant’sied he would enjoy a wealthy retirement. Before she could be unloaded, she was set upon in the night by pirates, dressed as Turks, and led by the infamous criminal known to us as Half-Cocked Jack, the King of the Vagabonds, and to the French as L’Emmerdeur. The gold was stolen and spirited away in long stages to Hindoostan, where most of it fell into the possession of a heathen potentate, an Amazon pirate-queen, black as char-coal, who had not the faintest understanding of what she had netted. But on those shores, Jack and his confederates used their ill-gotten gains to build a pirate-ship. And from some Dutch shipwrights they had the notion—which was in no way a faulty one, as e’en a stopped Clock is correct twice daily—that if the hull of this ship were cladded, below the waterline, with sheets of smooth metal, she would afford no purchase for barnacles, and repel the attacks of the teredo.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2870-72  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:38 AM

“I find it very odd that the prize you have sought your entire life, should happen to rest in the hands of the man you describe as your Nemesis.” “My Nemesis, where Mint work is concerned. In other fields, I have other foes,” Isaac reminded him shortly.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2984-87  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:50 AM

“I was afraid you might have grown weary of slave-tales. I fear they are repetitious. ‘I was seized by raiders from the next village…traded to the tribe across the river…marched to the edge of the great water, marked with a hot iron, put aboard ship, dragged off of it half dead, now I chop sugar cane.’ ” “All human stories are in some sense repetitious, if you boil them down so far. Yet people fall in love.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 2984-93  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:51 AM

“I was afraid you might have grown weary of slave-tales. I fear they are repetitious. ‘I was seized by raiders from the next village…traded to the tribe across the river…marched to the edge of the great water, marked with a hot iron, put aboard ship, dragged off of it half dead, now I chop sugar cane.’ ” “All human stories are in some sense repetitious, if you boil them down so far. Yet people fall in love.” “What?” “They fall in love, Dappa. With a particular man or woman, and no one else. Or a woman will have a baby, and love that baby forever…no matter how similar its tale might seem to those of other babies.” “You are saying,” Dappa said, “that we make connections with other souls, despite the sameness—” “There is no sameness. If you looked down upon the world from above, like an albatross, you might phant’sy there was some sameness among the people crowding the land below you. But we are not albatrosses, we see the world from ground level, from within our own bodies, through our own eyes, each with our own frame of reference, which changes as we move about, and as others move about us. This sameness is a conceit of yours, an author’s hobgoblin, something you fret about in your hammock late at night.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3159-65  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:08 AM

“I agree with Mr. Dappa!” Roger said forcefully. “The story of his tête-à-tête with the Duchess is racing up and down Grub Street like cholera, and will be in newspapers tomorrow at cock-crow!” And then he was gone, as if by trap-door. “You see? If you were more discreet—” “Then Grub Street would be unawares. Nothing would be written, nothing printed, concerning me, or the Duchess. No one would hear of us—no one would buy my next book.” “Ah.” “Light dawns ’pon your phizz, Doctor.” “ ’Tis a novel, strange form of commerce, of which I was unawares until just now.” “Only in London,” Dappa said agreeably.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3203-8  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:11 AM

“This is a very odd conversation,” Dappa observed. “On an arbitrary numerical scale of conversational oddness, ranging from one to ten, with ten being the oddest conversation I’ve ever had, and seven being the oddest conversation I have in a typical day, this rates no better than five,” Daniel returned. “But to make it less odd for you, I shall now speak directly. I know what those plates are made of. I know that you take some out from time to time, when you are in London, and I know that they find their way into the coinage. It does not matter to me how this is done, or why. But I say to you that you are putting yourselves in danger every time you spend the treasure from that bilge.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3250-53  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:15 AM

The Kit-Cat Clubb had become quiet as a monastery. Perhaps three dozen men were in the place. By and large, they were of a mind to find nearly anything funny. Rarely did a minute tick away without all conversation in the Clubb being drowned out by a storm-burst of booming laughter from one table or another. But there was something in Peer’s performance so queer that it had shut them all up.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3369-74  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 02:44 PM

“To you, he is just a singular imbecile,” Dappa returned. “To me, he is a typical sample of the sort of bloke I need to reach with my books. And so, if I seem distracted, it is not because I am annoyed with you—though I am a little. It is because I am asking myself, what is the point of trying to reach such persons at all? Am I wasting my time?” “My nephew simply believes whatever the people around him believe,” Daniel said. “If every man in the Kit-Cat Clubb proclaimed you King of England, why, he would fall on his knees and kiss your ring.” “This may be true, but it does not help me, or my publisher.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 3535-38  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 03:02 PM

“A boy who snatches your watch in the street, and runs off with it, does not do so out of a perverse longing to cause you grief. He is moved by a reasonable expectation of profit. Where you see sheep being sheared, you may assume there are spinning-wheels nearby; where you have your pocket picked, you know that there is a house such as this one within sprinting-distance.” “In its ambience ’tis rather like a coffee-house.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4045-52  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:43 PM

As a young man Daniel had known the Angleseys as a clan of dangerous crypto-Catholic court fops. The patriarch, Thomas More Anglesey, Duke of Gunfleet, had been a contemporary, and a mortal rival, of John Comstock, who was the Earl of Epsom and the first great noble backer of the Royal Society. Comstock had been the C, and Anglesey the first A, in the CABAL, the group of five who had run the Restoration government of Charles II. In those days Daniel had been too naïve to comprehend just how close the connections were between the Angleseys and the royal family. Later, he’d learned that the two sons of Thomas More Anglesey, Louis (the Earl of Upnor) and Phillip (Count Sheerness), were both bastards of Charles II, fathered on a French Countess during the Interregnum, when Charles had been exiled in France. Thomas More Anglesey had then been induced, somehow, to marry the embarrassed Countess and raise the two boys. He’d done a wretched job of it—perhaps he’d been distracted by ceaseless plot-making against John Comstock.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4126-29  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 10:51 PM

Lord Gy shrugged. “Aye, let’s hae it.” Gy was the name of a river near Arras. Back in the days when he had been named simply Rufus MacIan, this man had, on an impulse, splashed across it and cut a French gentleman in two with one swing of a five-foot-long Claymore. The Frenchman had turned out to be a Count, and a Colonel, with a poor sense of direction. The tide of a battle had been turned as a consequence of that Claymore-stroke. MacIan had been ennobled as Lord Gy.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4345-52  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:42 PM

The water does not have senses to see, or a will to follow them. How then do the sun and moon, so far away, affect the water?” “Gravity,” responded Colonel Barnes, lowering his voice like a priest intoning the name of God, and glancing about to see whether Sir Isaac Newton were in earshot. “That’s what everyone says now. ’Twas not so when I was a lad. We used to parrot Aristotle and say it was in the nature of water to be drawn up by the moon. Now, thanks to our fellow-passenger, we say ‘gravity.’ It seems a great improvement. But is it really? Do you understand the tides, Colonel Barnes, simply because you know to say ‘gravity’?” “I’ve never claimed to understand them.” “Ah, that is very wise practice.” “All that matters is, he does,” Barnes continued, glancing down, as if he could see through the deck-planks. “Does he then?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4357-61  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:42 PM

if Gravity predicts what the moon does, why, it should apply as well to the sloshing back and forth of the water in the oceans.” “But is to describe something to understand it?” “I should think it were a good first step.” “Yes. And it is a step that Sir Isaac has taken. The question now becomes, who shall take the second step?” “You mean, is it to be he or Leibniz?” “Yes.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4368-76  | Added on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:43 PM

“What weapon could Leibniz possibly have that would do injury to Sir Isaac?” “To begin with, a refusal to be over-awed, and a willingness, not shared at this time by any Englishman, to ask awkward questions.” “What sort of awkward questions?” “Such as I’ve already asked: how does the water know where the moon is? How can it perceive the Moon through the entire thickness of the Earth?” “Gravity goes through the earth, like light through a pane of glass.” “And what form does Gravity take, that gives it this astonishing power of streaming through the solid earth?” “I’ve no idea.” “Neither does Sir Isaac.” Barnes was stopped in his tracks for a few moments. “Does Leibniz?” “Leibniz has a completely different way of thinking about it, so different as to seem perverse to some.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4537-48  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:39 AM

The Hope limned a hammerhead-shaped protrusion of Kent with no particular boundary between marsh and water, but instead a mile-wide zone between high and low tide—the river halved its width at ebb. Because Daniel knew where they were going, he traced the flat top of the hammerhead eastwards until he reached the semicircular peen at its seaward end. This was labeled the Isle of Grain. The Thames flowed along its northern cheek, the Medway along its southern. The two rivers met just off the Isle’s eastern tip. And like a couple of porters who drop their loads in the middle of the street to engage in a fist-fight over which had right-of-way, these two rivers, at the place where they came together, let go of all the muck they’d been carrying out to the sea. In this way was built up a vast bank, a bulge growing eastwards from the Isle of Grain’s indefinite shore, and as that bulge reached out into the sea, mile after mile, it narrowed, converged, refined itself into a slim prod sticking far out into brackish water between Foulness Sand on the north and the Cant on the south. At the extremity of that bar was the Buoy of the Nore. The estuary yawned east like a viper’s mouth, the Nore spit thrust out in its middle like a barbed tongue. It was in that cursed in-between depth, too shallow for most vessels and too deep for any beast. But far short of the Buoy, just off the Isle of Grain’s coast, was a place that might be reached by boat or beast, depending upon the tide. It was a tiny thing, like a gnat crawling on the page. Daniel did not have to bend down and squint at those crabbed letters to know it was Shive Tor.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4569-74  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:41 AM

“My lord Bolingbroke, now, he is a Jacobite,” Bob remarked. Which was like opining that Fleet Ditch was unwholesome. “Been seeing a lot of him?” Daniel inquired. “Been seeing a lot of him,” Bob said, turning his head slightly toward the quarterdeck and glancing up at the banner that flew at the mizzen, carrying the arms of Charles White. “And you must know he is the whip that Bolingbroke cracks.” “I did not know it,” Daniel confessed, “but it rings very true.” “Bolingbroke is the Queen’s pet,” Bob continued, “and has been ever since he drove Marlborough out of the country.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4606-11  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:44 AM

Then he had one of those moments where he suddenly stood outside of his own body and beheld himself, as from a seagull’s perspective, standing on the deck of Mr. Charles White’s sloop running down the tide in the Hope. And he came to ask, why was he, who had little time left on earth, devoting these minutes to drawing up a tedious inventory of who was, and was not, scared? Was there nothing better for a Doctor and Fellow of the Royal Society to do with his time? The answer was all around him, buoying him up and keeping him and the others from drowning: Hope. According to myth, the last thing to emerge from Pandora’s Box.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 4613  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:47 AM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4611-17  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:47 AM

And perhaps Hope was no less contagious than Fear. He wanted to be infected with Hope and so he was trying to think of someone, like Wren or Marlborough, who would give it him. It was an hypothesis, anyway. And it described the actions of others as well as it did his own. Why had Princess Caroline summoned him from Boston? Why had Mr. Threader wanted to make a Clubb with him? Why did Roger want him to find the Longitude and Leibniz want him to make a thinking machine? Why did the likes of Saturn trail him through Hockley-in-the-Hole, asking for spiritual direction? Why did Isaac solicit his aid? Why did Mr. Baynes expect Daniel to look after his wayward daughter in Bridewell? Why were Colonel Barnes and Sergeant Shaftoe asking him these pointed questions today?
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4617-21  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:47 AM

Because they were all scared, and, just like Daniel, they longed for Hope, and sought anyone who might give it to them; and when they drew up their mental inventories of who was and wasn’t scared, why, somehow—through what was either a grotesque error or a miracle—they put Daniel in the “wasn’t scared” column. Daniel laughed when he understood this. Bob Shaftoe might’ve been unnerved by that. But because Bob had got in the habit of thinking Daniel wasn’t scared, he read it as further evidence of Daniel’s supreme and uncanny self-confidence.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4624-26  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:48 AM

But that was to take a child’s view of the Pandora’s Box story, and to conceive of Hope as an angel. Perhaps what Pandora had was really just a jack-in-the-box, and Hope had never been anything more than a clock-work clown, a deus ex machina.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4626-30  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:48 AM

God from the machine. Daniel had spent enough time with theatrical machinery to watch its workings, and its effect upon audiences, with a cynical eye. Indeed, had passed through a long phase of despising the theatre, and the groundlings who paid money to be fooled. But coming back to London (which had theatres) from Boston (which didn’t), he had seen that his cynicism had been ill-founded. London was a better city, England a more advanced place, for its theatres. It was not wrong for people to be fooled by actors, or even by machinery.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4634-35  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:49 AM

False, machine-made Hope could make real Hope—that was the true Alchemy, the turning of lead into gold.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4635-39  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:49 AM

“Charles White is very like my lord Jeffreys, would you not say?” “In many respects, yes, guv.” “Do you recall the night we hunted Jeffreys down like a rabid dog, and arrested him, and sent him to justice?” “Indeed, guv, I have dined out on the tale for a quarter-century.” Which explained much, for the tale had probably grown in the re-telling, and made Daniel seem more heroic than he’d been in the event.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4696-4700  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:18 AM

The old man said, “Danny boy, if you hadn’t spent the last month at Shive Tor making all ready; and Jimmy, if you hadn’t been toiling over the coin-presses; you’d know that half of our number did. But for me to enter by some such subtile way would not serve the purpose now, would it? Don’t stand there a-gawping at your Dad, move along, let’s get it done before the whole venture misfires! And if you get ahead of me, and you meet with any decent London folk who’d make good witnesses, why, don’t be foolish, take ’em hostage! You know how it’s done!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4772-84  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:28 AM

“My boys. My doves,” said the man in the golden waistcoat. “Every varlet in a mile radius is doing me a favor of some description, save you twain. Do you not wot how long it took me to hoard all of the favors I am spending in this hour? Favors are harder to get than money. Faith, what I am doing here now is like shoveling guineas into the sea. Why am I doing it? Simple, boys: ’tis all for you. All I want is to provide you lads with a proper Mum to look after you.” His voice had gone thick; his face had collapsed and now bore no trace of anger. “Starin’ at yon Tower as if you’d never seen the minars of Shahjahanabad. Remindin’ me of my own self, a wee mudlark boy, first time Bob and I sallied up the river. Fascinating it might be to you, who’ve been ’tending to other matters, and ’tending well, I might add. But I am so bloody sick of the place, e’en though I’ve ne’er set foot in it. A thorough study of the Tower of London your father has made. Where the Tower is concerned, I am, as our friend Lord Gy would say, a dungeon o’ learnin’. No small toil for one as unused to study as I. Spent many hours plying with drink your Irish outlaws who have garrisoned it, and know its odd corners and passages. Sent artists in to sketch me this or that tower. Stood up here on howling bitter days peering at it through a perspective-glass. Wooed the Tower’s maid-servants, bribed and blackmailed the Warders. To me ’tis now as familiar as a parish church to its aged vicar. I have traced through foetid streets the invisible boundary of the Liberty of the Tower. I know which prisoners are close kept, and which have been granted that Liberty. I know the amount of the stipend that the Constable of the Tower is paid for looking after a Commoner-of-
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4788-94  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:29 AM

Did you know that the Steward of the Court of the Liberty of the Tower does double duty as its Coroner? Or that the Apothecary serves by warrant of the Constable, whereas the Barber is a wholly informal and unsworn position? I do, and indeed the Barber is one of our number. All these and numberless other things I know concerning the Tower. And at the end of my studies I have concluded that the place is naught more than just another queer English town, with a rickety wooden gaol and a parish church, and the only thing of note about it is that money is made there, and its leading citizens are all Lords committed for High Treason. I inform you of this now so you’ll not be let down anon when it’s amply shown ’tis true; and also, so that you’ll stop gawping at it, and count the redcoats in the Wharf Guard, and assemble the fucking Rocket!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4818-23  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:32 AM

The robed one cast back his hood to reveal black hair with gray streaks and an unfashionable, but admittedly handsome, goatee. “Good day, Jack.” “Say instead Bonjour, Jacques, so that our hostages shall make a note of your Frenchitude. And while you are at it, Father Ed, make the sign of the cross a few times to show off your Catholicity.” Father Édouard de Gex switched happily to French and raised his voice. “I shall have more than one occasion to cross myself before we are finished. Mon Dieu, are these the only hostages you could arrange? They are Jews.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4824-28  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:33 AM

Father Édouard de Gex’s nose was a magnificent piece of bone architecture surmounting nostrils big enough to swallow wine-corks. He put them to good use now, literally sniffing at the Jews. He threw back and cast off his long robe to reveal the black cassock of a Jesuit, complete with swingeing crucifix, rosary, and other regalia. The Jews—who had supposed, until now, that the business with the pulley was part of routine Monument maintenance—now could not choose between astonishment and fear; We came up to take in the view, they seemed to say, and never expected the Spanish Inquisition.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4846-48  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 01:34 AM

“Come, they’re not so bad,” Jack put in, “see how the redcoats swarm to the Wharf. The alarm has gone up.” “Excellent,” de Gex purred. “Then a Russian and a Scotsman may achieve what no Englishman would dream of.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 4910-12  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:49 AM

There was no changing Barnes’s mind. Daniel had committed a grave error by instilling Barnes with Hope first, then trying to make him afraid. If a want of hope made men desperate, a surfeit of it made them stupid in a wholly other way. Hope was tricky business, it seemed, and ought to be managed by someone with more experience of it than Daniel.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5047-50  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:06 AM

“They’re so doughty,” cooed Angusina. “Yon blae-coatit Jocks oot on the River. And whaur were such stout-hertit Marines enlisted, uncle?” “A bankrupt theatre,” he answered. “Yon French Marines ir no French, nor Marines, nor doughty, nor stout-hertit, nor aye soldiers. They ir actors, lass, an they hae been told they ir playin in a wee masque for the amusement o the Dutch Ambassador.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5557-70  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 02:20 PM

Some minutes passed. London as always continued in roiling feverish busy-ness: the Mobb around the base of the Monument, swollen to a thousand, chanting for their promised guineas, here parting to make room for a mad dog, there clumping to assault a pick-pocket. The fire brigades at their pumping-engines in the Tower hamlets and now in Mincing Lane, surrounded by more of the Mobility, protected by cordons of lobsterbacks. The Highlanders atop the White Tower, victorious but somehow forlorn, as no one seemed to have noticed what they’d accomplished. The men on the barge spinning the giant wheel, like the main gear of an immense clock. The ships on the Pool as ever, going about their toils and quotidian adventures perfectly oblivious to all of these things. Phaethon himself was just in the act of crash-landing on the upper Thames, some leagues to the west of town. With any luck he’d set fire to Windsor Castle on his way down. The radiance of his final approach sprayed flat across London and made the whole city jagged and golden. Jack looked at it all, most carefully, as he had once looked out over Cairo, and indeed the place suddenly looked as queer and as outlandish to him as Cairo once had. Which was to say that he saw all through a traveler’s dewy eye, and perceived all that was overlooked by the Cockney’s brass-tacks stare. He owed it to Jimmy and Danny and all his posterity to look at it thus. For de Gex was right, Jack was a bastard who had ascended to a great height and hob-nobbed with Heroes and Titans and seen things he was never meant to see. This might be the last time in many a generation that a Shaftoe might gaze down from such a vantage-point and see so much so clearly. But what was he seeing? “Dad,” Jimmy was saying, “it’s time, Dad.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5589-96  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 04:22 PM

Jack had avoided looking into his sons’ faces during this Oration, because he reckoned they’d not wish to be seen with tears streaming down their faces. But looking up at Jimmy now he saw dry eyes and a quizzical if impatient phizz. Turning the other way, he saw Danny gazing distractedly at the White Tower. “Did you hear a single fucking word I said?” “You want us to do you a favor,” Danny returned. “Before you embark on a new life overseas, assuming that is your fate,” Jack said, “find Eliza and tell her she is my true love.” And then he jerked the chains loose from the restraining grip of first Jimmy, then Danny. He leaned forward, pushed off against the rail with both feet, and launched himself into space above London. His cloak spread in the wind of his flight like the wings of an eagle, revealing, to anyone who might be gazing up into the sky, a lining made from cloth-of-gold that glistered in the rays of the setting sun like the chariot of Apollo. He was on his way down.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5616-21  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 04:24 PM

“Yes. I shall try to get back to the ship. If I’m not aboard at the next high tide, though, then you and Minerva must leave me.” Dappa glanced up toward the window and saw the worst thing he could have seen: the tout who had been handing out the libels had hunted them through the crowd, and was now pressing his shiny face against the window. He met Dappa’s eye. Dappa felt the way he had once in Africa, a little boy playing near the river, when he had looked up and seen the striped eye of a crocodile looking back at him. It was as if a thousand ancestors were standing round him in a great invisible chorus, screaming, “Run! Run!” And run he would have, but for the knowledge that he was the only black man in a mile, and could never run far or fast enough.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5634-42  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 04:26 PM

A larger man came into view just behind the tout, and over his shoulder. He was blond and blue-eyed, a young bloke, better dressed, and he had something in his hand: a walking-stick, which he was tossing straight up into the air. The brass handle at its stop leaped above his head. He caught the stick about halfway along its length and in the same motion snapped it down. The brass ball at the top stopped hard against the back of the tout’s head. The tout’s face and then his whole body lost tone, as if all 206 of his bones had been jellied. Before the tout could fall to the ground and block the door, the blond man stepped in beside him and checked him out of the way. The tout disappeared from view, except for his feet, which lay twitching on the threshold. The big blond man allowed his walking-stick to slide down through his fist until the brass grip was back in his hand. He bowed to Dappa in the most genteel way imaginable and extended his free hand toward the carriage, offering Dappa a lift. And it was not until that moment that Dappa recognized this man as one Johann von Hacklheber, a Hanoverian, and a member of the household of the Duchess of Arcachon-Qwghlm.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5675-80  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 05:35 PM

How strange a thing that was! How could he have explained it to the villagers he’d grown up with in Africa? These bits of metal, put in a frame, smeared with black stuff, and pressed upon these white leaves, had the magical property that they would make one man out of a whole metropolis into a terrified fugitive, while every other man whose eyes were exposed to the incantation would become his implacable pursuer. Yet the same bits of metal put in the same frame, but in a different arrangement, would have no effect. Indeed, Dappa wondered whether he might print up some handbills naming Charles White his escaped slave, and putting some price on his head.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5805-18  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 05:47 PM

De Gex was standing behind MacIan and had watched the banner-burning over the other’s epaulets. The backs of MacIan’s ears had gone cherry red. He’d not so much as twitched an eyelid when Jack had strode past him to the stair. De Gex knew what would be coming soon. There was nothing he could say now to interrupt the proceedings going on in MacIan’s brain: the marshalling of the arguments, the sure and inevitable judgment. But there was something he could do. He let his satchel down to the floor, and reached silently into the pocket of his cassock. It was not a lined pocket, but a slit that went all the way through the garment, and gave him access to what was beneath. Father Edouard was a member of the Society of Jesus, but he was a participant in the society of men—to be specific, the men of London, the most beastly city he had ever seen, though he’d circumnavigated the globe. In his waistband, his fingers found the hilt of a splendid watered-steel dagger he’d picked up from a Banyan in Batavia. He drew it silently from its leather sheath. MacIan still hadn’t moved. The room was silent except for the crackle of the flames spreading to the pile of ancient documents Jack had strewn around the flag. De Gex broke the silence, a little, by stepping forward. But this triggered a greater sound from behind him. Before de Gex could turn to see what it was, his dagger-hand had been seized from behind and twisted up behind his back. The fingers opened and the weapon dropped, but did not fall to the floor; it was intercepted by another hand. An instant later that hand appeared in front of him and brought the dagger to his throat. He had been embraced from behind by a man who smelled of sweat-sodden wool, of horses, and of gunpowder. One of the Highlanders had tailed him silently down stairs.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5848-55  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 05:59 PM

There was, in Rufus MacIan, a responsible and level-headed military officer. For the last few moments this person had been muscled out of the way by another that shared the same skull: the raving Celtic berserker. The sight of those sparks striking that keg caused the latter to vanish like a will o’ the wisp and the former to be reinstated. There was a momentary pause as Rufus MacIan waited to see if they and the White Tower were to remain in existence. But the sparks winked out, and nothing happened. “Lucky that,” MacIan remarked, and cleared his throat, for suddenly his lungs were congested. He noticed that Jack was standing rather close—too close to be struck with the long Claymore. Indeed, he had his foot on the tip of MacIan’s sword. Rufus MacIan coughed, and felt something hot and wet soaking his beard. Glancing down, he noticed the hilt of Jack’s sword, all encrusted with heathenish designs, pressed up against his
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5855-56  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 05:59 PM

chest. “Oh, it’s because I am a lucky lucky fellow, my lord,” said Jack—though MacIan was feeling oddly distracted, and the words did not really register. “In every respect, save the one that most matters.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5859-65  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:01 PM

De Gex was frozen for a three-count. He rolled his eyeballs down in their sockets to verify that his dagger was now lying on the floor, i.e., no longer anywhere near his throat. The weight, and pressure, and the fragrance of the Scotsman were all gone. He bent down and snatched up the dagger, then spun around to face Jack—and nearly lost his footing on a spreading hot puddle. The Highlander who’d been holding him at bay was curled up on the floor, eyes half open, face gray. “That was very risky,” remarked de Gex. “Oh, I’m sorry, we’re going to begin accounting for risk now?” Jack returned, astonished. “Do you have any idea what just nearly—” “That will do,” said de Gex crisply, for he knew that once Jack had got into a mocking mood it was as difficult to cure as the hiccups.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5880-92  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:17 PM

“I’m glad you’re finally here, mate,” said Tom to Jack, “I been trying to explain to the Muscovite, here, this ain’t the right way in!” He hooked a thumb back over his shoulder. “This here is Brick Tower! Jewel Tower’s the next one down!” Tom stepped forward onto the green and pointed down the line to the bastion that stood in the northeast corner of the Inner Ward. A dozen or so men, who from their looks could have stepped off Blackbeard’s flagship a quarter of an hour ago, were Loitering with Intent in that vicinity, and looking shrewdly at Jack. “And of what significance is that?” Jack demanded. An awkward silence. Tom could be seen looking a bit pale. De Gex sidled up and whispered something into Jack’s ear. “Oh, yes, of course, the Jewel Tower,” Jack said. “That’s where they keep the, what do you call them—” “The Crown Jewels, sir,” whispered Tom, now quite rattled. “Yes, now I see where you are going—yes—of course! The Crown Jewels. Right.” He considered it for a good long time. “Would you like to have a go at stealing the Crown Jewels, then, as long as we are here?” “I thought that was the entire point of the Lay, sir,” Tom answered, seeming very boylike indeed now. “Oh, yes! To be sure!” Jack hastened to say, “by all means, yes, that’s all I’ve ever wanted, really, to have some great bloody lump of gold with jewels stuck in it to put on my head. Diamonds, rubies—I’m mad for them really—go! Run along!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5904-7  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:18 PM

“Your name?” Jack said to the Yeoman Warder. “Clooney! And whatever it is you want—” “Why, Yeoman Clooney, you make it sound as if I am some sort of nefarious villain. All I want is for you to be my boon companion these next several minutes, and to survive the night in good health.” “I should not love to be your companion for any length of time.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5936-49  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:26 PM

“All objects that perform the essential functions of a box, are unavoidably boxy,” said the other. “If it makes you feel any better, the locks are excellent.” “Those two don’t appear to have been excellent enough,” Jack remarked. “Ah, but this one. I am guessing that the other two were those of the Comptroller and the Warden. But this is the lock of the Master.” “Newton.” “Yes. Some admirer—some royal sycophant from the Continent—must have given it to him.” Jack was conscious now of de Gex breathing behind him. He said, “You of all people ought to be more alive to the passage of time.” “But Saturn was Time’s lord, not its servant.” “Which are you?” “Both. For most of the day and night, time oppresses me. It is only when I am at work on the innards of a clock—or a lock—that time stops.” “The clock stops, you mean.” “No. Time stops, or so it seems. I do not sense its passage. Then something interrupts me—I become aware that my bladder is full, my mouth dry, my stomach rumbling, the fire’s gone out, and the sun’s gone down. But there before me on the table is a finished clock—” now suddenly a snicker from the mechanism, and a deft movement of his hands. “Or an opened lock.” Saturn could not stand in this confined space, but he sat up straight, heaved a vast sigh, then drew the padlock out of the loop of the third hasp with great care, not wanting to bang it up on the way out. “I thought you said that Newton’s lock was something extraordinary,” Jack said.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5949-55  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:27 PM

Saturn held it up near a candle-flame so that all could admire its Baroqueness. It had been fashioned after the style of the portico of an ancient temple. The style was Classical. But the tiny figures all around were seraphim and cherubim, rather than the gods of Olympus, and the inscription on the frieze was in Hebrew. “It is the Temple of Solomon,” Saturn explained. “There is no keyhole!” Jack said. The front of the temple, between the pillars, was closed by a small doorway with more Hebrew on it. Saturn flicked this open with a blackened fingernail to reveal, hidden beneath, an impossibly complex keyhole, shaped like a maze. It had been cut into a block of what appeared to be solid gold, which was shaped like a flame burning on the temple’s altar. “You were right,” Jack said, “it’s bloody amazing.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 5996-6002  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:36 PM

A sense of relief now washed over him as he came to a realization: they were altogether doomed. He went belowdecks to inform Isaac. Daniel might have expected Isaac to be furious over having been left in the dark. But as the light of the lanthorn invaded the hold, it revealed Isaac curled up on the decking with one ear pressed against the side of the chest, like one of Queen Anne’s physicians trying to make out whether she was still alive. “It is a Tompion balance-spring movement,” Isaac proclaimed, “of curiously massive construction—like a watch wrought for a giant. But well-wrought. There is no grinding in the bearings, the gears mesh cleanly.” “Shall we try to force it open?” “The art of building lethal traps into lock-boxes is far more ancient than that of constructing Infernal Devices,” Isaac returned.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6004-14  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:37 PM

“Something is happening,” he announced. “A pin was engaged. A cam revolves—” he opened his eyes and drew back as if it had only just entered his mind that he was in danger. Daniel caught one of Isaac’s hands and assisted him to his feet—then caught him in his arms as the boat was heaved beneath their feet by a swell coming in from the sea. “Well,” Daniel said, “are you ready to find out what comes next?” “As I told you, there is some mechanism—” “I meant, after we die,” Daniel said. “For that I have long been ready,” said Isaac; and Daniel was put in mind of Whitsunday 1662, when Isaac had repented of all the sins he had ever committed, and begun a ledger of sins committed since then. Did that ledger still exist somewhere? Was it still blank? “And you, Daniel?” Isaac inquired. “I made myself ready twenty-five years ago, when I was dying of the Stone,” Daniel said, “and have oft wondered when Death would bother to come for me.” “Then neither of us has anything to fear,” said Isaac. Which Daniel agreed with on a purely intellectual level; but still he flinched when a hefty mechanical clunk sounded from the chest, and its lid sprang open, driven by a pair of massive springs.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6031-33  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:42 PM

There was the usual amount of corruption, intimidation, and rioting. —SIR CHARLES PETRIE, DESCRIBING A PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION OF THE ERA
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6035-37  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:43 PM

Do not pity me. I am at last going to satisfy my curiosity about the origin of things, which even Leibniz could never explain to me, to understand space, infinity, being and nothingness… —SOPHIE CHARLOTTE, QUEEN OF PRUSSIA, ON HER DEATHBED AT AGE THIRTY-SIX
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6050-53  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:45 PM

“Of all that was offered to Princess Caroline in the years that followed, two mattered above all others: first Love. For Sophie Charlotte was both an elder sister and a foster mother to her. And second Knowledge. For in the palace was a great library, to which Caroline was given a key by one of the wise men: a Doctor who was the Queen’s mentor and advisor. She spent every minute that she could in that library, doing what she loved most, which was reading books.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6053-56  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:46 PM

“Years later, after she had grown to a woman and begun to have children of her own, Caroline was to ask the Doctor how he had been so clever as to know that she would want a key to the library. The Doctor explained: ‘As a little boy, I lost my own father, who, like your royal highness’s, was a well-read man; but later I came to know him, and to feel his presence in my life, by reading the books he left behind.’ ”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6072-77  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:50 PM

“It has indeed been an eventful nine years since that dolorous day,” Mrs. Braithwaite allowed, “but it would still read much like a faery-tale to the common reader, if you but changed a few words. The Doctor could become a wizard, the aged Electress a wise Queen—no one in England would object to that change!” “Except for all those Jacobites who want Sophie dead,” Caroline returned. This was a bit like sticking her leg out in front of Mrs. Braithwaite when she was trying to tiptoe, skirts hiked up, down a turd-strewn alley.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6091-95  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:53 PM

By those lights, Caroline—who was married in the sight of God to George Augustus, and who had been endowed by her mother with the incredible and priceless faculty of generating new Princes and Princesses—stood in the same wise, to the likes of Henrietta Braithwaite, as Hera to some dung-flecked shepherdess who had lately been rolling in the clover with Zeus. Caroline was expected to remind Mrs. Braithwaite of her inferiority from time to time, and Mrs. Braithwaite was expected to receive it meekly and submissively. As how could she not, for the grandchildren of Caroline would reign over the British Empire while the Braithwaites would spend their lives losing at cards and killing themselves with gin in mildewy London salons.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6121-23  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:55 PM

Leibniz’s house was much bigger than a bachelor really needed, because he cohabited with a library. It was one of those Hapsburg wedding-cakes, thickly frosted in high-relief friezes of queer and heinous goings-on from the Bible.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6134-37  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 06:57 PM

But the buildings of today were informed by geometry; which meant that each one betrayed the particular Idea of geometry that its architect had drilled on in school. A hundred years ago this might have meant parabolas, ellipses, surfaces of revolution, involutes and evolutes, and parallel curves. Now it meant Cartesian rectilinear coordinates—the cruel gridiron to which all of those soaring arcs had been lashed fast by the toiling algebraists.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6147  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:10 PM

Hanover was a city, and a city was, above all else, an organism for repelling armed assaults.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6153-55  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:12 PM

The Leine threaded its way through this in whatever way was most advantageous to the engineers. In some places it had been compressed into a chute, like meat funneled into a wurst-casing, and in others it was given leave to spread out and inundate ground that was considered vulnerable.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6155-62  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:12 PM

Fort-makers and fort-breakers alike were playing a sort of chess-game with geometry. Light, which conveyed intelligence, moved in straight lines, and musket-balls, which killed over short distances, nearly did. Cannonballs, which broke down forts, moved in flattish parabolas, and mortars, which destroyed cities, in high ones. Fortifications were now made of dirt, which was cheap, abundant, and stopped projectiles. The dirt was mounded up and shaved into prisms—volumes bounded by intersecting planes. Each plane was an intention to control its edges. Lines of sight and flights of musket-balls were supposed to skim along these, seeing and killing whatever presented itself at the creases. It was hoped that cannonballs would come in perpendicularly and dig their own graves, as opposed to glancing off and bounding to and fro like murderous three-year-olds. Cavalry-stables, infantry-barracks, powder-houses, and gangways were etched into the dirt-piles in the places where cannonballs were least likely to reach. The human parts were utterly subordinated to the demands of geometry. It was a desert of ramps and planes.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6176-80  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:15 PM

Caroline’s first stroll in the gardens of Herrenhausen had been ten years ago, when Sophie Charlotte had brought the orphan princess out from Berlin to be flirted with by George Augustus. Young Caroline had known Electress Sophie for a few years, but had never before been granted the honor of being Summoned to Go for a Walk. Leibniz had walked with them on that occasion, for he and Sophie Charlotte shared a kind of Platonic infatuation with each other. As for Sophie, she did not mind having the Doctor tag along, as it was often useful to have an ambulatory library in which to look up obscure facts.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6198-6205  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:23 PM

By chance, or perhaps by some ponderous scheming of George Louis, the mother and her entourage encountered the son and his at a place on the riding-path very near the wrack of the gondola, which rested askew, occasionally shedding a dandruff of gold leaf into the canal, almost as if it had been planted there as a memento mori to make young princes reflect on the fleeting and fickle nature of their youthful passions. If so, George Louis had misread it. “Hullo, Mummy, and to you, Sissy,” he had said to the Electress of Hanover and the Queen of Prussia respectively. And then after a few pleasantries, “Is it not sad to come upon the dingy old ruin of Papa’s gondola here among all of these flowers?” “Flowers are beauty that lives and dies,” Sophie had answered. “Does this mean that when the petals begin to fall, I should order my garden plowed under?” There followed a complicated silence.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6219-23  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:24 PM

“My English is not good enough for me to understand your French,” Sophie had returned, “but I collect that you were setting in front of me some advice as to how I should manage my garden. Please know that I love my garden as it is: not only the living but also the dying parts of it. It is not meant to be some phantasm of eternal and perfect life. Such a garden did exist once, or so the Bible instructs us; but it was brought to an ill end by a snake who fell out of a tree.” This with a very dubious head-to-toe look at Braithwaite, who turned magenta and backed off.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6224-26  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:24 PM

George Louis had been a bit unnerved, not by the content of Sophie’s remarks (which seemed to have quite flown past him) but by their tone, which was that of a Queen at war rejecting a proffered treaty. Another man would have sensed danger, recoiled, and made amends. But inertia was all for George Louis.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6243-51  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:38 PM

This had seemed merely funny to Caroline, as in truth they had been discoursing of the tendency of a cousin of theirs to gain weight when her husband was away at the front. But she did not smile for long. It had become apparent to all that Sophie was very angry, and so her words lanced out into a febrile silence. “The blood of the house of Plantagenet flows in these veins,” she said, exposing a milky wrist, “and in yours. The little Princes in the Tower died, the Houses of York and of Lancaster were united, and six perfectly delightful ladies sacrificed themselves on the bed of our ancestor, Henry VIII, to make it possible for us to exist. The Church of Rome was cast out of Britain because it was an impediment to the propagation of our line. For us, the Winter Queen roved across Christendom as a Vagabond through the Thirty Years’ War. All so that I could be born, and so that you could. Now my daughter rules Prussia and Brandenburg. Britain shall be yours. How did it all come about? Why do my children rule over the richest swath of Christendom, not his?” She pointed to a gardener shoving a wheelbarrow of manure, who rolled his eyes and shook his head.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6256-59  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:42 PM

You may—if it pleases you—flatter your vanity by phant’sying that riding across the countryside in hot pursuit of vermin is a kingly pastime, and makes you fit to one day rule a dominion that stretches to Shahjahanabad and to Boston. I shall allow you that much folly. But never shall I suffer you to trespass upon what keeps our line alive down through plagues, wars, and revolutions. I say that you are guilty of such a trespass now. Get out of my garden. Never again interrupt us at our work.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6263-70  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 08:43 PM

Leibniz had dropped onto a bench like a sack of turnips kicked off a cart, and put his head in his hands. He pulled the wig back to expose his bald skull, glistering with sweat, so that the breeze could stream over it. This had only made Caroline more disposed to giggle, as it seemed that her teacher was being comically faint of heart. Later she had come to understand matters more clearly. Sophie would die one day, and George Louis would be Elector of Hanover, King of England, and Leibniz’s boss. On that day Sophie Charlotte would still be the Queen of Prussia, and Caroline might be the Princess of Wales; but Leibniz would be the strange, incomprehensible man who had too much influence with those ladies who had ruled and humilated George Louis all his life. Leibniz’s anxiety on that score had increased tenfold a short time later when Sophie Charlotte had suddenly taken sick and died. If he’d been spending a lot of time talking to Russians since then, it might be so that he would have at least one safe harbor in which to live out a future exile.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6395-6401  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:05 PM

Where the former King of Prussia amused himself by attending the opera, the new one plays with toy soldiers…I see amusement on your face, your royal highness. Familial affection, I think this must be, for this cousin of yours who adores parades and goose-stepping soldiers. But to those of us who do not share in the family joke, it is dreadfully serious. For the war is over; most of the great conflicts have been sorted out; Natural Philosophy has conquered the realm of the mind; and now—today—as we stand here—the new System of the World is being writ down in a great Book somewhere.” “The System of the World—that is the title of the book we have anticipated for so many years from Sir Isaac Newton. A new volume of Principia Mathematica…or am I mistaken?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6451-55  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:10 PM

“One of the English was using a funny word yester evening—‘currency.’ Do you know it?” “It is the quality that a current has. They speak of the currency of the River Thames, which is sluggish in most places, but violent when it passes under London Bridge. It is just the same as our word Umlauf—running around.” “That is what I supposed. This Englishman kept discoursing of currency in a way that was most fraught with meaning, and I thought he was speaking of some river or drainage-ditch. Finally I collected that he was using it as a synonym for money.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6464-67  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:11 PM

“Does Sir Isaac turn Cornish tin into gold in an alchemical laboratory in the Tower of London?” “Opinions differ. Leibniz thinks not.” “I agree with Baron von Leibniz. And yet all the gold is in England! It is dug up from Portuguese and Spanish mines, but it flows, by some occult power of attraction, to the Tower of London.” “Flows,” Caroline repeated, “flows like a current.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6467-68  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:11 PM

Sophie nodded. “And the English have grown so used to this that they use ‘currency’ as a synonym for ‘money’ as if no distinction need be observed between them.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6469-74  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:12 PM

Caroline said, “Is this the answer to your question—how does a poor country defeat rich ones?” “Indeed. The answer is, not by acquiring wealth, in the sense that France has it—” “Meaning vineyards, farms, peasants, cows—” “But rather to play a sort of trick, and redefine wealth to mean something novel.” “Currency!” “Indeed. Baron von Hacklheber says that the idea is not wholly new, having been well understood by the Genoese, the Florentines, the Augsburgers, the Lyonnaise for many generations. The Dutch built a modest empire on it. But the English—having no other choices—perfected it.” “You have given me new food for thought.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6478-83  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:13 PM

Caroline answered: “I am pleased by the cleverness of this trick that the English have played, to win wars against their betters by tinkering with what wealth is. Because of it, I do not have to marry some inbred Bourbon, as poor Eliza did, and live out my days at Versailles, or in the Escorial. But I am troubled by the uncertainty that all of this brings. To paraphrase a wise man I know, it is as though a new System of the World has been drawn up. And not by us but by some strange Natural Philosophers in a smoky room in London. Now we must live by the rules of that System. But it is not perfectly understood; and I fear that where the English have played a trick with money, to gain a temporary advantage, some other trick might be played upon them to reverse the field.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6538-44  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:24 PM

“I take your point,” Sophie said. “A coinage based upon silver and gold has a sort of absolute value.” “Like Sir Isaac’s absolute space and time,” Caroline mused. “You can assay it.” “But if value is based upon reputations—like stocks in Amsterdam—or upon this even more nebulous concept of flow—” “Like the dynamics of Leibniz in which space and time inhere in relationships among objects—” “Why, then, it becomes unknowable, plastic, vulnerable. For flow may have some value in a market-place—and that value might even be real—” “Of course it is real! People make money from it all the time!” “—but that sort of value cannot survive the refiner’s fire at a Trial of the Pyx.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6563-66  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:26 PM

The bends looked something like elbows and knees, and the smooth bark and sinewy shape of the wood made the whole thing look like unidentifiable limbs of strange animals, melted into one another. The woodcutters of the Harz hated it, and cut it back wherever they could, but here Sophie had given it leave to spread. Now the Teufelsbaum returned the favor by embracing Sophie and Caroline in its sinuous arms.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6575-80  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:27 PM

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution, That a Reward be settled by Parliament upon such Person or Persons as shall discover a more certain and practicable Method of ascertaining the Longitude, than any yet in Practice; and the said Reward be proportioned to the Degree of Exactness to which the said Method shall Reach. —Journals of the House of Commons, VENERIS, 11° DIE JUNII; ANNO 13° ANNAE REGINAE, 1714
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6619-22  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:35 PM

“I HAVE BEEN made aware of four diverse Projects for discovering the Longitude,” said Sir Isaac Newton. “Only four?” asked Roger Comstock, the Marquis of Ravenscar: a Whig, and the bloke who had invited Newton here. He belonged to Lords, not Commons, and was therefore a guest in this chamber. “At the Royal Society, it seems we are exposed to four a week.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6628-33  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:36 PM

“Their theory is as correct as their ambitions are feeble,” answered Newton. The House of Commons became silent, not out of shock at Newton’s cruelty, but out of professional admiration. “Supposing their scheme could be executed—a supposition that might be debated, at the Royal Society, as long and as fiercely as the late War was in this House—I say, disregarding all of the practical difficulties entailed in their Project, and supposing it were effected by some latter-day Daedalus—it would not suffice to navigate across an ocean, but only to enable the most diligent mariners to avoid running aground, when they wandered close to a Shore.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6636-42  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:37 PM

Not partaking of the entertainment was the Marquis of Ravenscar, who had just been handed a slip of paper by a page. He opened and read it, and for only a moment looked as dismayed as Ditton and Whiston. Then he got the better of himself. Like the deaf dinner-guest pretending that he heard the bon mot, he adopted a knowing grin, and allowed the mood of the House to infiltrate his phizz. He glanced down to review the documents spread out on the table before him, as if he had forgotten the subject of this hearing and needed to jog his memory. Then he spoke: “Merely to avoid ramming the odd continent is a low bar. What of the other three Projects that are true in theory? For it seems to me that if such Herculean efforts are to be made to practice a scheme, they were better directed to schemes that should enable our sea-captains to discover the Longitude anywhere.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6715-19  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 09:55 PM

Tower of London a month and a half ago.” It was terribly unkind for Roger to have dubbed one of his fellow-men “The Eel.” And yet a visitor from another place and time, blundering into Star Chamber, not knowing any of the men in the place, would have been able to pick out the one Roger meant. Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, and Secretary of State to Her Britannic Majesty, was strolling about the open center of the chamber as he talked. All others were backed up against the walls, like so many small fry sharing a tank with something toothy and sinuous.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6736-45  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 10:58 PM

“In the Tower of London is a place called the Mint,” Bolingbroke continued, allowing his gaze to slide over Newton’s face. Newton did not glance away—a detail, but a noteworthy one. Roger Comstock, or any other worldly man, would have advised Sir Isaac to lower his gaze, as this was thought to have a calming effect on mad dogs and Lords of the Council alike. But Newton spent most of his time in other worlds. Those aspects of this world considered most important by men like Ravenscar and Bolingbroke, Sir Isaac was most apt to find trivial and annoying. Bolingbroke did not know Isaac Newton. Newton was a Puritan and a Whig, Bolingbroke a man of no fixed principles, but with the brainstem reflexes of a Jacobite Tory. Bolingbroke was one of those hommes d’affaires who had sought and obtained entry to the Royal Society because it was the done thing. Out of its recondite deliberations, certain Whigs such as Pepys and Ravenscar had summoned forth magic: Banks, Annuities, Lotteries, National Debt, and other eldritch practices that had conjured latent money and power from out of nowhere. One couldn’t blame a man like Bolingbroke for thinking that the Royal Society was, therefore, all about power and money.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6746-51  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 10:59 PM

the Mint—if full understanding of Newton could have been inserted, whole, into the mind of Bolingbroke—it would have been necessary to carry Her Majesty’s Secretary of State out of the room on a door, and give him tincture of opium for days. As it happened, he assumed that Newton had taken the job because the highest thing a man could aspire to was to be a time-serving hack with a sinecure, a pompous title, and as few responsibilities as possible. And now Newton was staring him directly in the eye. Only a few men in all of Christendom had the kidney for a staredown with Bolingbroke, and until this moment, Bolingbroke had thought he knew who all of them were. For this was his first encounter of any significance with Newton, and his first hint that Newton was at the Mint for reasons that were not obvious.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 6752  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 10:59 PM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6710-15  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 11:04 PM

“This is no more a debate than is Hanging Day at Tyburn Cross. Viscount Bolingbroke would be our Jack Ketch. Anything we are allowed to say shall be strictly in the nature of Last Words. Our reply, supposing we can muster any, shall consist of deeds not words, and it shall be delivered…outside…of…this…Chamber!” Roger timed it so that he stepped over the threshold at the moment he uttered the last word. Newton dared not respond, for the Chamber was crowded with Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Knights, Courtiers, and Clerks. And it was as silent as a parish-church when the vicar has lost his place in the middle of the sermon.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6752-61  | Added on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 11:04 PM

“How stand matters in the Realm of the Coin, Sir Isaac?” Bolingbroke inquired, manipulating his snuff-box—which gave him a pretext to break contact with Newton’s blood-freezing glare. “Her Majesty’s coinage has never been more sound, my lord—” Newton began, then stopped as Ravenscar put a hand on the small of his back. Bolingbroke had spun away as if to hide from Sir Isaac, while exhibiting to a rank of his supporters an expression of surprise and mirth that had come over his face. For as any well-brought-up person ought to discern, Realm of the Coin was a play on words, a mere witticism, tossed out as a sort of ice-breaker, to establish a feeling of welcome and camaraderie, while giving Newton an opening to respond with a bon mot of his own. Newton had missed this, which showed lack of breeding, and taken it as a literal request for information, which showed he was oddly nervous, keyed-up, trigger-happy. Odd, that! Why so defensive? Bolingbroke took snuff and composed himself, then turned back around to face Newton—but not before all of these things had been communicated to the men standing behind him, and registered on their faces, visible to everyone else in Star Chamber. All were mortified on Sir Isaac’s behalf, except for Sir Isaac, who clearly just wanted to be asked questions so that he could answer them and get away from these people.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6873-78  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:19 AM

“And so the Pyx, as of April 22nd, contained samples of all lots of coins minted during the months that the Black Torrent Guard controlled the Tower.” “Er, indeed, my lord,” said Newton, wondering what that had to do with anything. Bolingbroke was only too happy to lead him out of his confusion. “Mr. Charles White is of the view that those who were responsible for the assault on the Tower, phant’sied that they could somehow benefit more from compromising the Pyx, than from stealing the Crown Jewels! How could such a thing possibly be, Sir Isaac?” “I do not know, my lord, and I hold it to be idle, for the Pyx was never compromised.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6918-22  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:23 AM

“There shall be one anon, at a Trial of the Pyx.” “I beg my lord’s pardon,” said Peer, who had out of some blind herd instinct blundered out to act as scape-goat for his entire Party, “but why bother to have a Trial of the Pyx, if the Pyx has been tampered with?” “Why, to get all false coins out of it, so that we shall know that all coins put in thereafter shall be genuine samples of the Mint’s produce—and not frauds put in as a desperate gambit to hide long-standing flaws in the coinage!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6922-31  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:24 AM

“The poetry of it!” Roger exclaimed, though these reflections were concealed under a hubbub, the sound of Parties and Factions mobilizing and arming. “Sir Isaac dares not assert that the Pyx is clean, for fear that Jack may have salted it with debased coins—which would be found out at the Trial, and laid to Sir Isaac. To save his hand and his balls, he must admit that it has been compromised; but in doing so, he calls his own coins into question, and names himself as a suspect in the assault on the Tower!” “My lord,” said a Tory, “it is suggested that a year’s coin-samples are now simply gone—stolen by Jack the Coiner! If that is so, how can we gauge the present soundness of Her Majesty’s coinage? Our enemies in the world shall say that the Mint has spewed out false and debased guineas for a year or more.” “It is a question of extraordinary gravity,” Bolingbroke allowed, “and I say that it is a State affair, since the security of our State is founded on Trade, which is founded upon our currency. If it is true that the conspiracy has deprived us of our Pyx, why then we can only prove the soundness of our money by collecting samples of coins that are in circulation, and bringing them in for assay.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 6948-58  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:27 AM

“You see?” Bolingbroke was remarking to Charles White, who was standing at his side, in the role of wide-eyed ’prentice a-gawp at the Master’s skill. “It is not necessary to bite their ears off. Oh, this is nothing. I have seen others drop dead in their shoes. One needs an apoplectic for that.” He seemed ready to offer up more advice in this vein, but his attention was drawn by the Marquis of Ravenscar, standing serenely on the opposite side of the Chamber as other Whigs bent their backs to the very odd job of dragging out Isaac Newton. Ravenscar held out a hand. Someone slapped a walking-stick into his palm. He hefted it. Charles White, anticipating physical violence, took half a step forward, then realized he was being absurd, and brought his hands together in front of his silver greyhound medallion, absent-mindedly rubbing at an ancient dagger-scar that went all the way through one palm. Bolingbroke merely elevated an eyebrow. Roger Comstock raised his walking-stick until it was pointed up at the starry ceiling, and brought the butt of it to his face, then snapped it down briskly. It was a swordsman’s salute: a gesture of respect, and a signal that the next thing to come would be homicidal violence. “Let’s to the Kit-Cat Clubb,” he said to Peer and a few other Whigs who had not yet been able to get their feet to move. “Sir Isaac has the use of my coach; but I am in a mood for a walk. God save the Queen, my lord.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7023-26  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:35 AM

This team was coming her way, and the horses were blowing as if very tired. Had they been driven all night? If so, they weren’t the only exhausted horses hereabouts. The nobility of Europe were converging on Herrenhausen, using Sophie’s funeral as an excuse to stage a reunion of the largest, most bizarre, violent, and incestuously cross-linked family in the world. Caroline had scarcely been able to sleep last night for all the nocturnal arrivals.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7148-53  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:50 AM

“In your researches, have you learnt that this Blackbeard is aligned with Jacobite interests?” “I know that his flagship is christened Queen Anne’s Revenge, and I collected, from this, that he had some axe to grind.” “He assaulted the ship I was on—Minerva—and sacrificed one and possibly two ships of his fleet to get at me.” “To get at Minerva, you mean, or—” “To get at me, I say. He asked for me by name. And any other sea-captain would have given me up; but Otto van Hoek would not give a pirate a wormy biscuit, much less a passenger.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7166-67  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:52 AM

“Acquaintance, but not friend?” “We are such old friends that we refuse to speak to each other for decades at a time.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7176-78  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:52 AM

“This fellow has made inquiries. He has found evidence that the order to hunt me down was despatched to Ed Teach from London.” “I did not think pirates took orders from London.” “Oh, on the contrary, it is an ancient, celebrated practice.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7186-88  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:54 AM

“Its contents are said to have been so vexatious as to have struck the Electress dead on the spot.” “The Viscount Bolingbroke is known to have a genius for such word-play,” Daniel mused, “and he probably penned it. But it is neither here nor there.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7211-15  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:56 AM

“Listen to me. I did not wish to be summoned by your Princess. Summoned, I did not wish to come. But having been summoned, and having come, I mean to give a good account of myself. That’s how I was taught by my father, and the men of his age who slew Kings and swept away not merely Governments but whole Systems of Thought, like Khans of the Mind. I would have my son in Boston know of my doings, and be proud of them, and carry my ways forward to another generation on another continent. Any opponent who does not know this about me, stands at a grave disadvantage; a disadvantage I am not above profiting from.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7217-21  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 07:57 AM

At a glance they could see he was richly attired, hence, probably had begun his ride in the Leine Schloß. On a second look Johann recognized him. He crouched down lower and spoke into Daniel’s ear: “That is the Englishman—supposedly a staunch Whig—Harold Braithwaite.” “IT SEEMS SO OBVIOUS in retrospect,” Johann lamented, a quarter of an hour later, after they had stolen back through the park to the Allee, and begun walking back toward Herrenhausen Palace. “Great discoveries always do,” Daniel said, and shrugged. “Ask me some day how I feel about the Inverse Square Law.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7243-48  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:00 AM

“If it was in proper English, then her English tutor must have helped her write it. And that is Mrs. Braithwaite.” “It shall be most awkward,” Daniel pointed out, “if the mistress of the Prince of Wales proves to be a spy for men who are dead set against his family acquiring the Crown.” “I know the woman. She is immoral but not malicious, if you know what I mean. After she helped Caroline write that letter, she probably mentioned it, innocently, to her husband, who, as we have seen, is the true spy.” “Difficult to dispose of him, without a scandal in the household—” Daniel observed. “Oh, not really,” Johann murmured.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7286-91  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:04 AM

“I thought my son seemed…frustrated.” “It is good for men to be frustrated,” Caroline announced, “that is when they behave in the manner that is most pleasing to us, with beautiful displays of daring and gallantry.” The Duchess considered this for a long time before answering, “There is truth in that, your royal highness. But some day when we have more time I might tell you a tale of one whose frustration became perhaps too enormous.” “What did he do then?” “Behaved in a manner that was perhaps a bit over-daring, and too gallant, and kept it up for rather too long.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7608-12  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:37 AM

“When you smoke your pipe, you feel an initial rush of stimulation, followed by a calmness, a steadying of the nerves. This is but a trace, a shadow, of nicotine poisoning. If you were cut with this dagger, that relaxation of the nerves would advance to the point where you would simply forget to breathe, and drown in air…every time you smoke tobacco, you are prefiguring your own death.” “Horrid…it makes me want to smoke something just to calm down.” “Mr. Hooke experimented with an herb called bhang that would cure what ails you—alas, it is harder to get.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7620-25  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:39 AM

When, God willing, you have reached the age of forty, you’ll sit up in bed in the middle of the night, covered in sweat, with the memory of this night fresh in your mind, and say, ‘My God, I cannot believe I once fought a duel!’ Or so I hope.” “Why do you hope for me to sleep poorly?” “Because though I have not done violence I have seen rather a lot of it. Not all of the men who employ it are stupid, or evil. Only most of them. The rest use it reluctantly, as a way, when all else has failed, of seizing the main chance. Thus you tonight. Your mother will understand this and get her equilibrium back. But like a man who imbibes tobacco-smoke, you have died a little death tonight. I do not recommend that you become addicted to it.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7654-61  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:42 AM

“Rumors of assassins in the garden are absurd,” Eliza said, “They are chimaeras, figments of her royal highness’s fevered brain. Even if they did exist, they would face grave difficulties gaining entrance to the place to which we are taking her, which, as you know if you have been studying your family history, was built on a rock in a lake by a rich Baron so concerned for his personal security that he believed that even the birds of the air were wind-up toys invented by hashishin to fly in his windows and put anthrax into his beer.” “Oh, was he the chap who invented beer-mugs with lids on them?” Daniel wondered aloud. But Eliza was in no mood. “I should like it very much, Dr. Waterhouse, if you were to fall down and suffer a medical crisis.” “I am here to serve, my lady,” Daniel returned gallantly, and began looking round the pantry for a comfortable place to hit the floor.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7752-56  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 02:03 PM

“What of the Queen’s Messengers?” “All they do is stand in a Mobb around the Pyx day and night.” Comstock permitted himself a dry chuckle. “You are a man of many words but few specifics. You’d do well in Parliament.” Shaftoe shrugged. “I’m old. Your hirelings, who broke me out of the Tower, they are young lads, and were moved greatly by each little happening. Ask them to relate the story to you, and you shall hear a yarn far longer and more diverting than any I would tell.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7801-4  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 02:08 PM

“No,” Ravenscar assured him, “no, you don’t. Believe you me, the great happenings of Parliament are better to hear about than to suffer through. But make no mistake, it shall be a great event. After I have let the World know what I know concerning Bolingbroke, and what he has been doing with the Asiento money, we’ll hear no more about a Trial of the Pyx, at least for a little while.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 7886-93  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:43 PM

“Allow me to demonstrate,” Daniel said. He strode off across the court. Johann, “Hildegard,” and Eliza followed, forming a queue that snaked and wended among forges, furnaces, and less namable constructs until it stopped at the foot of the barrow-mound. This had been endowed with a set of wrought-iron gates, exceptionally massive, and closed with a lock the size of a Folio Bible, as might be seen on an Arsenal-Gate. Daniel had the key: a pound of brass wrought and carved into a lacy labyrinth. He blew on it, then inserted it into a hatch on the lock’s front with the care of a surgeon lancing a King’s boil. Snicking and clicking noises emanated from the penetralia of the device as it issued mechanical challenges, which were rebutted by the key; finally Daniel was given leave to spin a brass wheel that drew back several bolts. The gates came a-jar.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8019-20  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:56 PM

BRIDEWELL PALACE WAS TYPICAL English in that, outside of whatever historical process had caused it to end up the way it was, it made no sense whatever. Like Botany, it could be Memorized but not Understood.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8105-12  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:03 PM

It now became obvious that pistons were concealed within those cylinders, and some of them were being pressed up by air from the wind-chest. As they moved they elevated the ends of the brass levers. Each lever pivoted around an oiled fulcrum that was far from the piston, and close to the central mechanism, giving it a large mechanical advantage at the latter end. The rapid upward thrust of each piston caused the opposite end of its lever to press downward slowly, but with great force; and each of those lever-ends bore down upon a slim vertical rod. The rods were thirty-two in number, arranged in a regular picket-line; each of them resisted movement for a few heart-beats and then gave way, as if some barrier had been breached. This sudden yielding enabled the piston at the opposite end to fly up until it tripped a lever affixed to a vertical pushrod on the outside of its pipe. The pushrod transmitted force down to some air-gate at the base of the pipe, which sprang open, allowing the piston to fall down to its starting-place. It was all over in a few moments. Miss Spates pulled the knob that caused all the keys to pop up to the zero position.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8113-20  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:03 PM

The coda to the performance was a faint skirling noise that emanated from the works for a few seconds. Then a little golden spume jetted from a cavity on the front of the console, and was caught by a porcelain bowl beneath. Daniel snatched this and showed it to the visitors. It contained several tiny disks of gold, like faery-coins, some of which were still spinning and buzzing round on their rims. “These bits,” Daniel said, “are all of a common weight, which means that to weigh them is to count them; the count is then tallied.” “Tallied in what way?” Johann asked. “The clerk examines the card,” Daniel said, indicating the snarled document Miss Spates had been reading from, “and checks the sum of each number, to know how many bits ought to have been punched out; if this agrees not with the number of bits in the bowl, the card is in error, and is sent back to be re-melted. A rare occurrence, for Miss Spates does not make Mis-takes!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8170-73  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:07 PM

“The length is from now until a Hanover is crowned King or Queen of Great Britain.” “That could be never.” “And yet, as a wise woman once remarked, we are all gambling on it.” “It could be years, then.” “Queen Anne is as likely to live to the end of 1714 as I am to go to Naples and sell myself in the town square as a gigolo,” Daniel averred.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8194-8202  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:11 PM

“A financier, asked for a loan, carries out a diligent summing-up of the debtor’s assets, to ensure that the loan shall be secured by something of worth,” Eliza continued. “You have gold. This gold could be weighed, to find its worth. There could be no better security for a loan. But there is a complication. You are not using the gold as gold. You are using it as a medium for storage of information. Or I might say it thus: you are informing it. Once informed by the card-punching organ, it possesses value—to you, at least—that it did not have before. If it were to be melted down, it would lose that value. The only like procedure that I can call to mind, is that whereby blank disks of gold are informed by the blow of a die at the Mint, making ’em into guineas, and thereby imbuing ’em with additional worth—seigneurage, they name it. And so I say that your organ at Bridewell is like a little Mint, and your punched cards are the Coin of a new Realm.” “You have convinced me,” Daniel said. “I only hope that Sir Isaac does not hear of it, and denominate me a rival.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8203-7  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:11 PM

Supposing you build the Logic Mill, and it works. Then the value—and I mean value not moral, aesthetic, or spiritual, but oeconomic—of your Institute inheres in the ability to carry out logical and arithmetical work using the cards.” “Indeed, madame, that is all we can offer.” “If the cards were foreclosed upon by a creditor, and melted, the information would all be con-fused, the Logic Mill would not do work, and the value we just spoke of would be annihilated.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8222-27  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 09:13 PM

“When I returned from Hanover two days ago I devoted some time to reviewing the schemes that the ingénieurs have devised. I am most pleased with the results. But then I discovered a grave difficulty: we want power.” “Ah, you spoke to me of this in Hanover.” “Indeed, for then I had begun to suspect what I now know: that the Logic Mill shall require a source of Power, in the newfangled Mechanickal sense of that word, that is both mighty and steady. A very large water-wheel in a great river might serve; but much better would be—” “The Engine for Raising Water by Fire!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8227-35  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:07 PM

“If you were to invest in that, madame—and rest assured that it does want investors—you could obtain a controlling interest with little difficulty, thereby satisfying your requirement for Equity. With a new financial wind at his back, Mr. Newcomen could clear certain shoals on which the work has recently run aground, and drive on into open and beckoning seas. Meanwhile, here in London, the Logic Mill project shall arrive at an impasse, because of the dearth of Power. It shall happen soon—less than a year from now. You may then take the matter up with the Tsar, or with the Marquis of Ravenscar, or both; they will bargain with you then, madame, having no other choices.” Eliza gazed out the windows for some minutes. By now they had run the length of Saffron Hill, and the driver had made a detour to the edge of Clerkenwell Green and up Rag Street so as to spare himself, his horses, and his passengers a disagreeable and perilous transit of Hockley-in-the-Hole, where at this very moment outrages were being committed that would be punished six weeks hence at the next Hanging Day.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8394-99  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:22 PM

“It goes splendidly,” Daniel returned, “but it is a slow strategy that I am pursuing, one that shall reward our patience. Notwithstanding which, results are beginning to develop: both the Marquis of Ravenscar and the Royal College of Physicians have been victims of burglary in the last month. I could not be more satisfied.” The other three exchanged looks, but none would be first to admit that he could not understand what Daniel was talking about. He was developing a reputation, it seemed, as a strange bloke who wandered about London in possession of perforated gold plates badly wanted by the Tsar; and the instincts of Mr. Orney, Mr. Threader, and Mr. Kikin were not to pry into the Pandora’s Box that, it seemed, was the life of Dr. Waterhouse.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8424-26  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:24 PM

Why, then, should I route this letter through the circuitous channel of Mr. Root’s Table at the Thorn Bush Tavern? Because what I wish to convey to my son is not easily set down in phrases that a boy of his age has the wit to parse rightly.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8433-40  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:25 PM

Now in Boston lives a boy Godfrey William who may shortly find himself in the same plight that Gottfried Wilhelm faced in Leipzig sixty years ago. To wit, it is likely that his father shall turn up dead, and that the boy shall find himself in the care of a mother who is loving and well-intentioned but entirely too apt to be swayed by the counsels of neighbors, teachers, ministers, &c. I have spent enough time around Puritans in general, and Boston Puritans in particular, to know what these people will tell her: lock up the library! Or in other words—since I left only a paltry library behind—raise the boy to think of his father as a kindly but inept, fanciful but harmless character (rather like our neighbor, Mrs. Goose), who wandered off on a fool’s errand, and met with a wholly predictable, and therefore richly deserved, fate—a sort of fate that Godfrey may avoid, by steering clear of his father’s eccentricities and enthusiasms. In other words, Faith will let the boy partake of whatever nourishment he wants, provided it smacks not of Philosophy.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8440-41  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:26 PM

I charge you, Enoch, with saving the boy. A weighty burden I know; but much is afoot here.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8453-57  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:27 PM

The truth of the matter is that Newton has been moved back to his house in St. Martin’s, and is recovering satisfactorily. Today I addressed the Longitude Committee in his stead—not because he is really all that sick, but because no inducement will now prevail on him to come back to Westminster Palace, which he looks on as a thriving nest of vipers, hornets, Jesuits, &c., &c. If he ever sets foot in this place again—which will happen only if he is compelled to, by a Trial of the Pyx—he will not come naïve and unready, as he did a fortnight ago. He will come in the habit of a Grenadier, viz. as bedizened with Bombs as is the Apple Tree with Fruit.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8582-90  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 10:42 PM

“Several men have lately been found guilty of coining,” I explained. “On the thirtieth they shall be taken to Tyburn to be half-hanged, drawn, and quartered. Such men, being coiners, may have information about Jack. Being as they are afraid of Jack, they’ll not let a word slip for the time being. But as the thirtieth of the month looms nearer, fear of Jack Ketch will grow to out-weigh fear of Jack Shaftoe. In those last few days, they may be persuaded, by one such as Sean Partry, to tell what they know concerning Jack, in exchange for lenient treatment at the Fatal Tree.” “You mean Partry can arrange a pardon!?” demanded Kikin, who was ready to be scandalized by our judicial laxity. “No. But if we supply money to Partry, he may pass some of it on to Jack Ketch, who will then see to it that the prisoner in question receives a quick hanging—a neck-snapper instead of a slow strangler—so that he’ll not be alive to know he is being disembowelled.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8643-45  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:37 PM

and what had come to be known as the Six R’s: Raising the Militia, Running Brandy, Reducing Interest, Revenues of Scotch Bishops, Restraining the Growth of Popery, and (awkwardly) laws Relating to Vagrants. It was all hogwash.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8647-49  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:37 PM

He dropped the paper to discover that his Mohawk had vanished on some other errand—perhaps called away to a raiding-party on the upper Hudson River. So Daniel went out and found a place he could urinate (which actually was easier than finding a place he couldn’t) and then took to strolling up and down the Painted Chamber and the Long Gallery.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8652-59  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:38 PM

This gave Daniel over to grave forebodings. He had seen Charles I’s head spurt and roll. He had attended Charles II almost to the moment of his death, fighting a bitter rear-guard action to keep the royal physicians at bay. He had watched, and been tempted to take part in, a tavern brawl that bloodied James II’s nose, and more or less signalled the end of his reign. Quite prudently, he had absented himself from the country during the deaths of William and of Mary. But now he was back, and they were bringing the Queen to him. If she chose this time and place to give up the ghost, would every wigged head in the room turn and look at him? Would they tear him limb from limb on the spot, or ship him downriver for a proper beheading at the Tower? Would it come out that he had lately been riding round town in a carriage with a certain foreign Princess who was here incognito and uninvited?
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8686-88  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:40 PM

This particular Viscount, as everyone understood, could never have crafted such lines himself. He was accompanied by one of the young poets who loitered about the Clubb tossing off epigrams in exchange for pies and wine.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8693-96  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:41 PM

Substantial men, one after another, had been saying as much to Roger for hours now, and he had been receiving each plaudit with a nod so perfunctory it had dwindled to a vestigial tic. And yet when Isaac Newton said much the same sort of thing to him, Ravenscar took it with (if a play on words could be permitted) the utmost gravity. As if other men went about congratulating people almost at random, but Newton really meant it. Perhaps it helped that he was speaking in prose.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8698-8700  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:42 PM

Roger loved the counterattack. He’d spent the last month readying one, but now it was spent. He was in the position of a pistol-duellist who has discharged his weapon, and now stands defenseless, not knowing whether the foe is wounded mortally; merely dazed; or relishing the power to blow his brains out. He needed to be readying himself for Bolingbroke’s riposte; instead he had to sit here and listen to bad poetry.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8703-5  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:42 PM

“If you would hope to find the Longitude, “Find Newton first—and give him Food!” Roger improvised, to light applause and heavy drinking. “Mr. Cat! If you would! Mutton-pies, please.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8716-23  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:44 PM

“Then with your indulgence I shall withdraw,” Roger said, “that the two of you may speak. Please, speak of weighty matters, and keep your discourse to the matter at hand—for there is no more potent weapon for the Jacobites than to make the City, the Country, and the Mobb believe that the Whigs—and by extension the Hanovers—have secretly debased the coinage to make themselves rich!” This was an awfully blunt thing to say to the Master of the Mint. Newton was shocked, which had probably been Roger’s intention. Roger hovered just long enough to be certain that Newton was not going to collapse twitching on the floor. But instead Newton just glared at him. Daniel caught Roger’s eye and threw him a wink. For Daniel had seen Isaac in this mood many times before, and it usually meant that he was going to work for forty-eight hours at a stretch until some problem or other was solved. Roger bowed and withdrew—depositing the whole burden on the shoulders of Daniel, who could already feel himself sagging.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8725-30  | Added on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 11:45 PM

“What would be even better than his testimony, we might compel him to yield up any good guineas that he might have stolen from the Pyx, which would exonerate me beyond even the powers of Jesuits.” “If that is your wish, Isaac, I am pleased to let you know that the pursuit of Jack has been underway for some months, and that it is being pressed forward by—” “Your Clubb—yes, I know about your Clubb,” Isaac said. “I shall require membership.” “The bylaws require a vote on such matters,” Daniel said. This was a jest. Isaac in this mood was not very receptive to it.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8749-57  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:00 AM

Isaac, though better equipped than Daniel or any other man alive to understand Relativity, shewed no interest in his pie—as if being in a state of movement with respect to the planet Earth rendered it somehow Not a Pie. But as far as Daniel was concerned, a pie in a moving frame of reference was no less a pie than one that was sitting still: position and velocity, to him, might be perfectly interesting physical properties, but they had no bearing on, no relationship to those properties that were essential to pie-ness. All that mattered to Daniel were relationships between his, Daniel’s, physical state and that of the pie. If Daniel and Pie were close together both in position and velocity, then pie-eating became a practical, and tempting, possibility. If Pie were far asunder from Daniel or moving at a large relative velocity—e.g., being hurled at his face—then its pie-ness was somehow impaired, at least from the Daniel frame of reference. For the time being, however, these were purely Scholastic hypotheticals. Pie was on his lap and very much a pie, no matter what Isaac might think of it.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8757-61  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:00 AM

Mr. Cat had lent them silver table-settings, and Daniel, as he spoke, had tucked a napkin into his shirt-collar—a flag of surrender, and an unconditional capitulation to the attractions of Pie. Rather than laying down arms, he now picked them up—knife and fork. Isaac’s question froze him just as he poised these above the flaky top-crust. “Is it the Clubb’s intention to remain idle for the entire month of July?” “Each member pursues whatever lines of inquiry strike him as most promising,” Daniel returned. “As you and I are doing at this very moment.” And he stabbed Pie.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8766-72  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:02 AM

“You know my opinion of Mr. Threader,” Isaac said. Daniel nodded. “He has had dealings with Jack—you may be certain of it,” Isaac continued. To Daniel this seemed about as likely as that his wife in Boston was secretly in league with Blackbeard. But his mouth was full of pie, he was contented, and he did not raise an objection—merely an eyebrow. “Mr. Threader must be terrified that the recent investigation of the coinage, set afoot by Bolingbroke, will discover his sordid dealings with Jack. Men have been quartered at Tyburn Cross for less.” Here Isaac let it drop, in true mathematician’s style, leaving the rest as an exercise for the reader.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8790-93  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:04 AM

Ye Product of Pie & ye Radius, Squared, Doth yield the Size of the Pan, An area vast enough to’ve been Shared, Not gobbled entire by One Man!
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8806-9  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:09 AM

when Hooke had been sketching them, and had even dared to make suggestions, which Hooke had of course ignored. After they had been realized by sculptors, and hoisted into position, Daniel had walked beneath them many times, going to visit Hooke or to partake of the Royal Society’s crack-pated madness-experiments. Never until today, though, had he felt such a kinship with them.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8809-12  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:10 AM

For today Daniel, who on so many days was the personification of Melancholy, was standing in this queue to the left hand of Sir Isaac Newton: Mr. Mania himself. He looked back and forth a few times between sculpted Mania—or, as the Vulgar styled him, Raving Madness—and Isaac, hoping that the latter would note the similarity. For Daniel could not quite muster the nerve to voice his thoughts. Finally Isaac sighed, rolled his eyes, and said, “Yes, it is very droll.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8832-36  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:13 AM

“Pray, where is Mr. Doe now?” “He is in the Machine for Calming Violent Lunaticks, sir,” said Stubbs, a bit startled by the question. “Just as you prescribed—four hours a day.” “Have the purges worked?” “If you mean, do they purge him, sir, why, yes, they do, mightily. But if you mean, have they cured his madness, I am afraid not—so we have doubled them again.” “Excellent!” Daniel exclaimed. “Which way to the Machine?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8860-64  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:16 AM

After it had died down, Stubbs announced “We’ve had to swop out the straw in John Doe’s cell five times a day,” in case Daniel still had lingering doubts as to the efficacy of those purges. “The other inmates have learnt to stand clear of him—except for the coprophiliacs, of course, who must be beaten back with sticks.” He nodded to a door a short distance ahead. Coincidentally or not, an umber bullet flew out of its window and impacted on the wig of a passing fop, sending up a pretty burst of white powder. “He should have paid for a guide,” Stubbs remarked, leading Daniel, Isaac, and Saturn on a long arc to keep them out of turd-range.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8894-97  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 12:58 AM

“Has he assaulted any more walls?” Daniel asked. “Only the one, Doctor. It is a part of his mania that he phant’sies he knows just where the treasure is hidden.” “What treasure do you refer to?” Isaac asked. “Why, the same one all the lunaticks are searching for, sir,” said Stubbs, “the Gold of King Solomon.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8930-37  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 01:02 AM

“But I often visited Hooke here much earlier—back in the seventies. This part of Bedlam went up first—as you’ll recall, the wings took years to complete.” “Yes.” “I am trying to recollect what it looked like, before lath and plaster were put up. I phant’sy that behind these surfaces are large cavities—particularly—if memory serves—here, between where the chimney is hidden as it pierces the roof, and the corner. There are four chimneys—hence, four such cavities.” Daniel had been dragging a hand along the plaster as he spoke, occasionally thumping with his knuckles. He’d stopped at a place, near the corner, where it answered with an especially resonant boom. Without allowing his hand to move, he turned round now to scan the other three corners. His gaze lit on one that was stained with fresh plaster. Then—fortuitously—he noticed that Timothy Stubbs had finally caught up with them.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8937-41  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 01:02 AM

Pleasantly baffled might have described Stubbs’s state of mind when he’d reached the head of the stairs; horrified was nearer the mark now. Daniel favored him with a thin smile. “Does my discourse have a familiar ring to you, Mr. Stubbs?” “Indeed, Doctor, it is very like what John Doe was saying to his confederates, after I followed them hither that night.” “You showed commendable nerve, Mr. Stubbs, in sneaking up on a gang of madmen.” The praise caused Stubbs to relax a bit. “Wish I’d been so cool as to’ve tackled all of ’em, guv.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8943-54  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 01:03 AM

“Mad as hatters—or so ’twould seem,” Daniel mused. “On the other hand, suppose there really is treasure, or something, hidden in one of these corners. Then John Doe is no madman, but a burglar or worse; and all of the treatments I have prescribed for him are to no purpose. They might even be detrimental! He should in that event be at Newgate awaiting justice, not at Bedlam seeking a cure. The only way to be certain is to look. I take it that Doe found nothing, when he broke through the wall?” “Wasps’ nests and bat droppings only,” Stubbs returned, speaking slowly, as he was a bit lost. “That is not surprising. Mr. Hooke would have placed his cache in the corner most sheltered from the prevailing winds—there,” Daniel said, and pointed along the wall to the next corner. Saturn looked at him, and Daniel nodded. Saturn turned his back to the others and sauntered to the corner indicated. He gave his right arm a little twitch as he went, and a loggerhead of black iron dropped out of his sleeve, fat end first. His fingers closed round the narrow end just in time to keep it from dropping to the floor. Then with a sudden movement he brought it diagonally up and across his body, and with a ponderous swing of his whole trunk delivered a massive back-hand blow to the wall. The loggerhead burst through the plaster and the underlying lath like a musket-ball piercing a melon. Saturn drew it out, transferred the loggerhead to the other hand, and shoved half of his arm through the hole.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8954-57  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 01:04 AM

Mr. Timothy Stubbs was not in the least pleased by any of this, and looked as though the only thing preventing him from adding Saturn to Bedlam’s roster was the implicit threat of the four lads Saturn had summoned up. But Peter Hoxton quickly settled the issue by declaring: “The verdict is in. John Doe is no lunatick, but a common burglar.” And he drew his arm out of the hole, and held up, as proof, a rolled sheaf of dusty papers. “Or perhaps an uncommon one.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 8959-64  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 01:04 AM

He and Daniel had retreated to the opposite corner of the upper storey to get away from the dust and noise created by the assault on the wall. Saturn’s lads, who had come with diverse crowbars, steve-dore’s hooks, &c., secreted on their persons, had demolished a few square yards of plaster and lath, exposing a prism of dark space in which two or three bodies might have been concealed, if Hooke had been that sort of chap. Instead, he had packed in two wooden trunks, and a few leather wallets, then caulked the interstices with wadded or rolled papers. The dust was now settling to the point where Daniel and Isaac were tempted to approach. But first Isaac wanted an explanation.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9043-59  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 05:10 PM

“The procedure went normally. However, the patient…the patient died,” Daniel translated. He had begun to feel unaccountably woozy, and took a moment now to sit down atop a dusty trunk, lest he lose consciousness and topple over the balustrade into Bedlam’s Well of Souls. “I beg your pardon…the patient died, as often happens, of shock. No pulse was evident. Whereupon the learned fellow I spoke of earlier emerged from a place of concealment, from which he had been observing the procedure.” “How convenient!” Saturn scoffed. “What, are we to believe this Alchemist lurks in Bedlam’s shadows just waiting for someone to give up the ghost during an impromptu tabletop lithotomy?” “The truth is not so fanciful. He had been present, earlier in the evening, for a social gathering. He overstayed to keep an eye on the procedure,” Daniel said. This much was not written down on the page—it came from Daniel’s memory. “A social gathering—the oft-mentioned premature going-away party, perhaps!” Saturn said. He meant it as a jest. But neither Daniel nor Isaac laughed. Daniel continued with the translation: “Hooke had in this room a Reverberatory Furnace, which was already hot for another experiment. The Alchemist went to work in some haste, using some chymicals from Hooke’s own cupboard—which I can testify was well-stocked. For example, he used something that is rendered, on this page, as a bone-cube-cup…” “Hooke must have meant a cupel.” “Ah, well done, Isaac. A cupel, and certain materials that he carried on his person in a small wooden chest. The receipt is not easy to translate—I too shall have to revise Wilkins.” He skipped a page, then another. “The result: a small quantity of a light-bearing compound. Placed in the mouth of the dead patient, it caused his heart to resume beating, and cured him of his shock. Several minutes after, he came awake, and professed to have no memory of what had transpired. The Alchemist had by then departed, taking all the residues of the receipt with him. Hooke set it down as best he could from his recollections.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9267-74  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 10:49 PM

Though in truth ’twas not the Room they saw first, but what lay beyond its windows, which faced to the east: the Pool of London, so crowded with vessels of all sizes and descriptions that it struck the eye not so much as a body of liquid water as a morass, congested and nearly rafted over by floating wood. Aboard Prudence they had been maneuvering through it—which was to say, they’d been part of it—for a few hours, and so one might not expect the scene to’ve drawn their notice as strongly as it did. But viewed from above, and framed thusly in the lattice-work of the windows, it gave an entirely different impression; the hundreds of ships, variously bobbing, rocking, steaming, smoking, loading, unloading, undergoing diverse mendings, splicings, paintings, caulkings, and swabbings, shrugging off the rain from above while holding back and riding upon Thames-pressure from below, seemed as if they had been arrayed thus solely to be viewed by the Clubb from these windows.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9279-84  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 10:50 PM

Buildings on London Bridge tended to be made by trial and error. Starting with a scheme that was more or less sane, in the broad sense that it had not fallen down yet, proprietors would enlarge their holdings by reaching out over the water with cantilevered add-ons, buttressed with diagonal braces. This was the trial phase. In the next, or error phase, the additions would topple into the Thames and wash up days later in Flanders, sometimes with furniture and dead people in them. Those that did not fall into the river were occupied, and eventually used to support further enhancements. Countless such iterations, spread thick over centuries, had made the Bridge as built-up as the laws of God and the ingenuity of Man would allow.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9304-12  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 10:53 PM

“What have you told the proprietor about who we are, and what we are doing?” Mr. Threader was asking Saturn. “That you are Royal Society men making observations of the daily currency of the river.” “He’s not going to believe that, is he?” “You didn’t ask me what he believes. You asked me what I told him. What he believes, is that you are City men investigating a case of insurance fraud by spying on a certain ship anchored out in the Pool.” “Fine—our true purpose shall not be suspected as long as he is telling people that.” “Oh no, he’s not telling people that. He’s telling them that you are a Sect of Dissenters forced to meet in secret because of the recent passage of Bolingbroke’s Schism Act.” “Let the blokes in the tap-room think we are Dissenters then, is all I’m trying to say.” “That’s not what they think. They think that you are Sodomites,” Partry said. This silenced Threader for a while.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9382-87  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:02 PM

In consideration of the fact, which I have now prov’d beyond question, that no part of the Triangular Trade works as it is supposed to—viz. Civilization not reaching Africa, Slaves not reaching America, and Assiento money not reaching Your Britannick Majesty’s coffers—I propose we denominate it a fail’d Adventure, and bring it to an End immediately. I have the honour to be, Your Britannick Majesty’s Humble Servant, though not [yet anyway] her obedient Slave, BONNY
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9398-9402  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:04 PM

At this moment, many a chap would have glanced away to say something to the others, and thereby lost track of which window he’d been gazing at; but Daniel, out of a mental discipline earned fifty years ago, remained still until he had memorized certain peculiarities of the Window in Question: the way a seam in the canvas angled across the upper right corner, and a pair of bricks in the sill that were not as dark as the rest. Only then did he begin to swing the telescope laterally, causing the image to sweep at greatly amplified speed.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9536-42  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:19 PM

As Partry is not able to read what is set down in ink on these pages, I shall permit myself greater Liberties, in discoursing upon his Character, than I should if I suspected he might one day acquaint himself with what I write down here. I beg the forbearance of the Clubb as I proffer Advice for which they never asked. For though its members be worldly and season’d Gentlemen all, yet the Clubb itself is of an age such that, were it an Infant, it should not yet have the ability to crawl, or even to roll over in its Cradle. Though I am its newest Member, it cannot be disputed that I have been engag’d in Pursuit of Coiners for nigh on a score of Years now; which giveth me Reason to suppose that some of my thoughts and opinions, carefully considered, & judiciously set down, might be of sufficient Interest to the Clubb as to be worth the few minutes it shall take to read them.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9543-50  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:19 PM

I would not have hired Partry. This gambit of hiring a thief-taker to venture into the vile and perilous Haunts that are the natural Habitat of Coiners, is easily understood; for to habituate such places is naturally repugnant, as well as dangerous, to a Gentleman. But Dias would never have found the Cape of Good Hope, save by braving the journey, and putting his own person in harm’s way; and many are the tales in the annals of the Royal Society of Natural Philosophers who expos’d themselves to disgusting and dangerous Circumstances, even to the point of sacrificing Limb or Life, because no other means could be found to their desir’d Ends. In consideration of which, it has long been my Habit to alter my appearance, viz. by applying Latex of Brasil to my face to give me a pox-mark’d Visage, &c., &c., and, thus disguised, to go out incognito into Gaols, Boozing-Kens, Taverns, &c., to see and hear with my own Organs of Sense what I will not trust any villainous Thief-taker to perceive clearly nor recount coherently.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9605-10  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:24 PM

“Your pint, sirrah.” “That is very kind of you, Saturn,” said Daniel, setting the quill into its pot, and glancing once more at the distant window where Partry was puffing on his pipe. “How did you guess I was in the mood for a pint?” “I am in the mood for one,” Saturn said. “Then why didn’t you bring up two?” “You forget that I am a Paragon of Sobriety. I shall derive my pleasure from watching you drink yours.” “I am happy to oblige,” Daniel said, and took a swallow.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9645-48  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:26 PM

“And?” “And about poison,” Daniel said. “An attempt was recently made on the life of Princess Caroline. The weapon was a poniard smeared with nicotine, excellently prepared.” “Bloody peculiar,” reflected Peter Hoxton, “when this benighted world doth so abound in simpler means of killing.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9653-60  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:28 PM

Supposing I wanted to kill someone—would I brew up nicotine? No. No, Peter, this is being done by someone of a more recent generation. He has conceived a diseased Fascination with the Royal Society of the 1660s. He has poured an unhealthy amount of time into studying what we did, and reading our annals.” “Why?” “Why? When a young man falls under the spell of a particular young woman, and will not leave her alone, though her father and brothers menace him with daggers drawn, ask you why?” “But this is different.” “Perhaps.” “Trust me, ’tis different. The buyer desires something. I believe you know what the something is. Will you please let me in on the secret?” “I have held it back, not because I wish to keep secrets from you,” Daniel sighed, “but because I find the entire subject painfully embarrassing. The buyer seeks the Philosopher’s Stone.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9663-72  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:28 PM

“Of the Alchemist in that story, yes. If you are the sort of chap who believes in Alchemy, then it is implicit, in that story, that the elixir must have been made using something akin to the Philosopher’s Stone. Now, according to the lore of the Alchemists, that Stone is made by combining the Philosophic Mercury with the Philosophic Sulphur. Where, might you ask, does a bloke get his hands on such ingredients? The answers are many and various, depending on which Alchemist you talk to. But many believe that King Solomon was an Alchemist, who knew how to get, or to make, the Philosophic Mercury, and who used it to turn lead into gold.” “Ah, that would explain why he was so rich!” “Just so. Now, the story goes that if you could find some of King Solomon’s gold and put it in a crucible, you could extract from it minute traces of the Philosophic Mercury. I believe that our buyer somehow got wind of this yarn about the Alchemical Resurrection in Bedlam twenty-five years ago, and reckoned that the shortest and quickest way for him to get his hands on a sample of the Philosophic Mercury was—” “To ransack London for Hooke’s old notes and knick-knacks.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9747-50  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:45 PM

In this brief melee the hood had fallen from the buyer’s head to reveal his face. It was not burnt or pox-marked. On the contrary, it was a well-formed head of noble bearing. He had black hair going silver, and a goatee. That much was obvious as he surveyed the crowd on the Square, which had formed a ring around him and Saturn, well beyond dagger-range. Daniel recognized him (though it took a few moments) as Édouard de Gex.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9754-63  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:46 PM

“WHEN I WAS A BOY, traveling the roads of France with my father—may God have mercy on his soul—and my brother Calvin, we would from time to time overtake a traveling knife-grinder, sweating with the labor of shoving his rig, which was very heavy because of the massive round grindstone. My father, God rest him, was a trader. A merchant. Everything he needed to conduct his business he carried in his head, or in his purse. This Calvin and I considered to be the normal state of affairs. How strange it was, therefore, to see these knife-sharpeners, who could not earn their bread without a great heavy stone! One day Father heard me and Calvin make some mocking comments after we had passed one of these poor hard-working men. He chided us for our arrogance, and gave us a lesson: the grindstone was set in motion by a shove, and kept turning by occasional slaps of the grinder’s hand. If it lacked weight, it would run down so quickly as to be useless. But because of its tremendous mass, it continued to turn with the greatest impetuosity once set in motion. The stone acted, my father said, as a sort of banca, storing up the work that the grinder did sporadically with hand-slaps, and releasing it steadily. This faculty was so essential to the knife-grinder’s work that he willingly pushed that heavy stone up and down hills every day of his life, like Sisyphus.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9774-81  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:47 PM

“For the first several years that Jack was back in London, he applied himself to little else. And his wisdom in doing so was demonstrated presently, when the War of the Spanish Succession began to go badly for France, what with all the great blows struck at the armies of Le Roi by Marlborough and Prince Eugene. You may be sure that Louis sent Jack very little gold in those grim years. Jack should have been reduced to the estate of a Vagabond, and been rendered useless to Le Roi, had he not been able to sustain himself from the profits of the East London Company. As it was, Jack prospered even as Louis declined, and by the time that Marlborough crushed the French at Ramillies, and stood poised to drive into the heart of France (or so it seemed), Jack had built Mr. Knockmealdown up into the most powerful Receiver in Christendom: a sort of Pirate-King, able to absorb into his warehouses the entire contents of a stolen ship as a dog swallows a fly, and, on the same tide, to load the same ship to the gunwales with swag. The East London Company thereby became the Foundation upon which Jack could build his dark Edifice.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9787-93  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:49 PM

Mrs. Arlanc had been horrified but not the least bit surprised when, at the beginning of the Clubb’s meeting, as the first item of New Business, Sean Partry had stormed into the room and clapped her husband in irons. The prisoner, by contrast, had been astonished; but once this had faded he had shown no strong emotion, seeming to accept his personal ruin with true Huguenot fatalism. If anything, he seemed relieved. “Explain to the Clubb how you became a minion of Jack Shaftoe,” Sir Isaac demanded, “and do you speak slowly and clearly, that every word may be pricked down.” For in lieu of Arlanc—who had, until minutes ago, been the Clubb’s Secretary—they had brought in a Clerk from the Temple, who was scratching away with a quill as fast as he could, writing in shorthand.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9793-96  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:50 PM

“Very well. You will already have heard many tales of the horrors visited upon the French Calvinists after the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and so I shall spare you another, save to say that my father was caught up in a dragonnade and made a galley-slave—but not before he had contrived to smuggle me and Calvin across the Manche to England, packed in barrels, like herring. Later the galley on which my father served was destroyed in a battle against a Dutch fleet in the Mediterranean.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9801-6  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:50 PM

“He was lost at sea, then, as I take it?” asked Mr. Threader, in a touchingly genteel and delicate way. “On the contrary, sir—he was rescued by a pirate-galley commanded by none other than Jack Shaftoe.” At this claim, Kikin rolled his eyes, and Orney let out a “Poh!” Isaac took no note of them, but sharpened his gaze, which remained locked on Arlanc’s face. “It is consistent,” he announced. “Jack Shaftoe turned Turk in the late 1680s. His Corsairs are known to have raided Bonanza during the summer of 1690. Thence they fled through the Gates of Hercules into the Mediterranean. By late summer they had reached Cairo, as all the world now knows. Mr. Arlanc’s account is plausible.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9809-13  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:51 PM

When we were let out of our barrels in England, a pair of young lads, not yet fully grown, we could, I’m ashamed to say, muster very little interest in following our father’s example and becoming merchants. We lusted after revenge—preferably violent, and if possible, glorious. We joined one of the Huguenot cavalry regiments forming in the Dutch Republic. By the time that William and Mary had come to England, we had risen in the ranks a bit—Calvin had become an assistant Chaplain and I was a non-commissioned officer. Our regiment was one of those that were despatched to Ireland during the early years of the war, to drive out the Pretender.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9843-48  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:54 PM

“How touching,” Isaac said, very much as if he wanted to skip over this part as quickly as possible. But curiosity had already got the better of Daniel, who asked: “What did these warnings concern?” This earned him a glare from Isaac, and so Daniel went on: “Forgive me, but it is clear that my father and yours had much in common with each other, Mr. Arlanc, and I cannot guess what sort of warnings a man like my father would have issued to a man like Jack, unless it was that his immortal soul was doomed to the Lake of Fire!” Orney slapped the table and chuckled silently. “My father implored Jack to beware of a certain passenger whom they’d plucked out of the Pacific following the wrack of the Manila Galleon.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9857-60  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:55 PM

“For years it has been assumed, by many at Court, that de Gex—who spends much time in London—was an agent of the King of France. And many rumors have reached my ears that he was entangled, somehow, with Jack the Coiner. I had assumed that de Gex and Shaftoe operated hand-in-glove.” He nodded at the place where Arlanc had just been sitting. “But this talk of a warning that went unheeded hints at a conflict of fourteen years’ standing between the two of them.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9906-8  | Added on Friday, September 15, 2017, 11:59 PM

“He’s gone around the world, Jack has. He’s had a pile of gold, lost it, got it back, and lost it again. He’s been a Vagabond, a King, and everything in between. He has more swag now than a man could ever need. You must ask yourselves: what could move such a man? When Jack gets up in the morning, what does he think of? What does he desire?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9931-35  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:00 AM

“You have learned from Arlanc how Jack builds power: he wheedles a small favor from someone, then comes back again asking for a larger one, and so on, until that person is ensnared, and has lost the power to refuse. Is it so difficult to believe that such a thing could have happened to an inveterate Weigher such as Mr. Threader?” “I will consider it,” Daniel said, “on the condition that you will entertain another, just as repugnant possibility: that the Royal Society harbors another, of infinitely higher rank than Henry Arlanc, who is working in league with Jack the Coiner.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 9995-10004  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:07 AM

It was perhaps a small act of mercy that Isaac did not ask any questions more grueling than What is it you wish to shew me here? For as Daniel surveyed the Court, he noted that very little progress was being made on the Logic Mill. If he were more responsible-minded, he should have been alarmed by that. Had he styled himself a leader of men, he should have taken measures to bring these aimless ingénieurs back to order. But he did not feel so moved. He had brought these men together here and given them what they most longed for: freedom to make things, and to work on whatever they found most interesting. For several months, the most interesting thing had been the Logic Mill, and all of them had glady worked together on it, without having to be told to. Of late they had become interested in new adventures. For a little while Daniel had been annoyed by their fickleness. Then he had reflected that the world, as of July 1714, was of a sudden crowded with interesting projects for men such as these: enough to keep them all busy for hundreds of years. If they let their attention drift from the Logic Mill, who was Daniel to command them not to be interested in sparks, or steam? And if Isaac was bored by the Engine for Raising Water by Fire, what power or right had Daniel to forbid it? It was nothing more than the Boyle/Hooke Rarefying Engine, built larger, and that was from fifty years ago.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10025-28  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:10 AM

“That is another conversation. The point is that Oxford—and with him all the moderate Tories—are out. Thus has the Queen let all the world know, today, that she favors Bolingbroke and the Jacobites. She has set in motion events that shall lead to the overturning of the Settlement Act, the rejection of the Hanovers, and a Catholic King.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10072-74  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:13 AM

What has Ravenscar in his hand? A few strong cards, to be sure.” “But we may strengthen his hand immeasurably,” Isaac said, “and at the same instant weaken Bolingbroke’s, by capturing Jack the Coiner, and exonerating the Pyx. It is very clear to me now. Thank you for the walk, Daniel.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10108-13  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:17 AM

“You toy with me, sirrah.” “Not at all. Why should our prisoner be so apprehensive that he’ll not even consent to show his face in the Black Dogg?” “Because he’s a bloody coward?” “Even a coward should have naught to fear from Jack—unless he possessed information that was dangerous to Jack in the extreme.” “I have a question for you, Daniel.” “Pray ask it then, Roger.” “Have you ever participated in a negotiation in your entire life? For a quality oft found in persons who have, is an ability to look past some of the more fanciful assertions made by the adversary.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10122-26  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:18 AM

“If it came down to that—Daniel, look me in the eye,” Roger said. “You must not offer this save as a last, desperate measure, and then only if it is sure to bring about our victory.” “I understand.” “If this chap can help me bring down Bolingbroke, I’ll break him out of Newgate Prison and set him up with a farm in Carolina.” “Splendid, Roger.” “Not a manor, mind you, but a patch of dirt, a pointed stick, and a chicken.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10176-82  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:24 AM

“James II did it poorly,” Daniel reflected. Then, not to be a party-pooper, recovered with: “But you are made of better stuff.” “And unlike him, the Princess has friends, and a plan,” said Johann, “though she doesn’t know it. I can set this plan in motion with a word. Is that what you recommend, Dr. Waterhouse?” Now this was a rather weighty matter to have placed on Daniel’s shoulders. As a younger man he’d have been paralyzed by the responsibility. But all decisions had come to him easier, somehow, since he had learnt that he was supposed to be dead anyway. “Oh, by all means,” he said. “You must fly. But I would have a word with her grace, if the plan permits it.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10182-87  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:24 AM

Eliza smiled. “The plan calls for Johann and Caroline to change clothes first of all,” she said, and excused the two of them with a smile, and a flicker of the eyelids. Johann turned away, blindly thrusting a hand behind him, and Caroline’s hand dove into it like a falcon stooping on game, and thus they made for the door, he striding, bent forward, and she floating, erect as a Princess was supposed to be. As they gained the anteroom, Johann began to distribute commands, in German, to various persons who had quietly convened there during the quarter of an hour since Daniel had arrived. One of these thrust his head and arm into the room, favored Eliza with a deferential nod, and Daniel with a flash of the whites of his eyes, and pulled the door to so sharply that every panel in the room gave a sympathetic pop.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10188-89  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:24 AM

“You are alone with me,” Eliza observed. “A scenario oft sung of by the poets of the Kit-Cat Clubb.” Daniel smiled. “If they sing of this, I shall be likened to Tithonus, who was granted aeternal life, and turned into a cricket.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10214-18  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:26 AM

The diverse spies planted in and around Leicester Fields by political factions, foreign governments, nervous speculators, and Grub Street newspapers, would all report to their masters that a cricket-like geezer had scurried out of the London home of the Duchess of Arcachon-Qwghlm, hopped into an inappropriately seductive and libidinous Mode of Transport, swung round to snatch the World’s Greatest Natural Philosopher, and thundered off in the direction of—Newgate Prison. What the recipients would make of this information was anyone’s guess. Daniel was past caring.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10247-57  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:30 AM

“My going mad days are done,” said Partry, turning his back on the bar, so that he became a shade halving the beam of fire. “Do not concern yourselves about it. I have paid for the candles with my own money. When we are finished I’ll give ’em away to prisoners who cannot afford to buy even the mean grease-lights that are peddled by the gaolers, and whose eyes have forgotten light.” “You presume much,” Isaac said. He and Daniel were shoulder-to-shoulder now, facing Partry, the heat of the candles on their faces like summer sun. “Nothing shall be paid you until we have achieved our goal. Where is the prisoner?” “There is no prisoner,” said Partry, “and never has been. I’ve been lying to you the entire time. Any information you are given to-night, concerning the whereabouts of Jack Shaftoe, shall come, not from some suppositious prisoner, but from me.” “Why have you lied to us?” Isaac asked. “Lying to you enabled me to set up a meeting on neutral ground,” answered Partry, and stomped his foot on the pavement. “Here, I feel safe in divulging my information.” “And what is that information, at long last?” Isaac demanded. “That I am Jack Shaftoe,” answered Jack Shaftoe, “alias Jack the Coiner, alias Quicksilver, and many other nick-names and titles besides; and that I am willing to wind up my career to-night, provided the right terms can be struck.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10304-7  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:42 AM

“Von Leibniz. Thank you for reminding me of the man’s name. How shall we keep all of these dreadful German names straight if not for the Whigs, who know them so intimately?” “It is difficult to acquire the German tongue, when French ones are perpetually thrust into one’s ears,” Ravenscar answered; a jest that was greeted with awed and terrified silence round the table.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10324-25  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:43 AM

“Spoils of political conquest, Roger. We all lust after such spoils, do we not?” “The profession of politics would be altogether too disagreeable,” Roger allowed, “without compensations above and beyond what is strictly appropriate.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10371-80  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:46 AM

IT HAPPENED SOMETIMES in the practice of physics that the student, having wrestled for hours with a recalcitrant equation, would suddenly find a way to wreak some drastic simplification upon it. Of a sudden, two terms, which he had copied out time and again, and which had become as familiar to him as his own signature, would, through some insight, or the providence of some new scrap of information, turn out to be equal to each other, and vanish from the equation altogether, leaving a wholly new mathematical sentence to be pondered. The student’s first reaction was exhiliration: pride at his own cleverness, mingled with a sense that at last he was getting somewhere. But soon sobriety took over, as he pondered the remade equation and became aware that he was really just starting on a new problem. Thus Daniel in the Black Dogg, trying to re-think all. For example: Jack Shaftoe was wearing a sword. When he had been Sean Partry, Daniel had scarce noted this, for many men went armed. But for Jack to be armed, here and now, was no mere affectation. He had set it all up so that he could kill Daniel and Isaac, if it came to that. And the king’s ransom in fine bright candles: from Sean Partry this had been simply bizarre, but from Jack it was a way to get a good look at his interlocutors’ faces whilst keeping his own phizz cloaked in the dazzle. And these were just the simple and superficial matters. Daniel would be puzzling over the deep bits for weeks.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10391-93  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:48 AM

“The whole time it has been my misfortune to know the man, he has turned minutes into hours, and hours into days, with his jabbering about Alchemy. The last few months—since he learned that you had been summoned home from Boston—it has been worse than ever. As he has made me suffer so much with it, I reckoned it mere justice to use it to kill him.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10394-98  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:48 AM

The mention of Alchemy had brought Isaac composure, and somehow made him willing to take part in the conversation. (This struck Daniel as an extremely familiar pattern; for when had Isaac ever been sociable, save when the company was Alchemists, and the topic Alchemy? Not for nothing did they call it the Esoteric Brotherhood. It was the only way he had ever made new acquaintances, with the sole exception of Daniel; it was his entire system for getting along with people, and that was its true magic.) “If ever was a moment, and a place, to ask a grossly indelicate question, ’twere now, and here,” Isaac began. “Let her rip, Ike,” said Jack.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10409-11  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:49 AM

Daniel’s fear of being locked in a dungeon of Newgate with London’s most infamous criminal had suddenly been shoved out of his mind by fear of what Roger would have to say when he learned just how utterly Daniel had bungled the negotiation.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10421-29  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:51 AM

Thus was the deal struck: Jack would to London to carry out the destruction of the vaunted Pound Sterling under the supervision of his tiresome overseer, de Gex, and in exchange, Eliza would be left alone. “What a difference twelve years makes! The war is over, my friends, and France won. Oh, England wrung some scraps from them, but make no mistake, that is a Bourbon on Spain’s throne. Leroy would still see Jamie the Rover on the throne of Great Britain, but that is not as important to him, now, as was securing the Spanish Empire in 1701! This undertaking I have toiled at, of undermining the currency, has taken on a new cast. Before, the objective was to bring about a crash in this country’s foreign trade—its only means of paying for war. Now, it is a petty matter: to create a scandal, and get the rich men of the City up in arms against the Whigs. Don’t look so indignant, Ike, you know perfectly well this is what I’ve been up to. I am in a position to accomplish this now, or as soon as Bolingbroke can arrange a Trial of the Pyx.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10431-36  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12:52 AM

In sum it is a much more difficult matter, now, for de Gex to bring about her death—and it shall become more difficult yet, if I bring about his.” “Is this going to conclude with you asking for something?” Daniel asked. “All I seek is a dignified retirement from the brawls of the World,” Jack said, “though, since you mentioned the farm in Carolina, I think I should like to give that to my sons. They’ll only get into scrapes if they stay in London.” “Oh yes,” Daniel said, “it is quite unthinkable that anyone should get into trouble in America.” “Different trouble is all I seek for my lads,” Jack said. “Wholesome trouble out in the fresh air.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10707-9  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:34 AM

“I HAVE THE HEAVY GOLD. You know this,” Jack said. “The Solomonic Gold?” Isaac corrected him. “Funny, that is what Father Ed calls it, too.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10710-17  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:34 AM

A jury of London money-men shall open up the Pyx and take out a sample of coins—” “Coins that you put in,” Isaac said. “That you can’t prove—but in any case, you are personally responsible for every one of those coins,” Jack reminded him. “They shall be counted and weighed first. And it may astonish you, Ike, to hear that the coins I put in there shall pass this first test. I made the blanks a bit thicker, you see—not enough so as you would notice, holding one between your fingers, but enough to make them of legal weight, even though they are allayed with base metal.” “But when they are assayed—?” Daniel said. “When those same coins are melted in the cupel, and the quantity of gold in them is measured, they’ll be found wanting. And this is where I may be of service to you, Ike, and to that Marquis who got you your post at the Mint.” “You can supply me with heavy gold, as you call it.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10719-29  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:35 AM

Isaac Newton, who had been strangely unmoved by all that infiltrated his nostrils and stuck to the soles of his shoes here in Newgate, was nauseated by this. Jack Shaftoe was quick to note it and to know why. “I disgust you, Ike, for the same reason I disgust Father Ed, which is that to me the heavy gold is only that. And when I offer it to you as a part of our present transaction, I offer it, not as a mystical essence for use in your divine sorcery, but as a bit o’ spare weight to save your nuts during the Trial of the Pyx that is soon to come. Our conversation here would seem a good deal nobler, wouldn’t it, if it were about that rather than this; if it were about that, why, you could phant’sy yourself living out a sort of latter-day sequel to the Bible, and Newgate, foul as it is, would be like those leper-towns where Jesus walked: not so foul, because part of a fair story. But because it is about this, namely, Ike Newton not getting his balls and his hand chopped off, why, you look about yourself and say, ‘Eeeyuh, I am in the Black Dogg of Newgate Prison and it stinketh!’ I see this clearly only because I have seen it so oft on the face of Father Ed, for whom all of London might as well be Newgate Prison when it is compared to Versailles. But I shall solace you with the same words I have spoke to Father Ed when he turns thus green about the gills.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10807-16  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:54 AM

“I have deeds to do here.” “Our transaction is not finished!” Newton shouted back. “It cannot be helped. I shall try to meet you in Golden Square later.” “If you do not, you may consider that the deal is null and void,” Newton returned, his voice faltering, as he was no longer so sure that anyone was listening. Jack had dissolved into the Mobb. The Fabrick’s Finish’d, and the Builder’s part Has shown the Reformation of his Art. Bless’d with Success, thus have their first Essays Reform’d their Buildings, not Reform’d their Plays… Never was Charity so Ill Employ’d, Vice so Discourag’d, Vertue so Destroy’d; Never Foundation so abruptly laid, So Much Subscrib’d and yet so little Paid. —FROM DANIEL DEFOE’S ATTACK ON THE OPERA HOUSE IN HAY MARKET, THE REVIEW, NO. 26, 3 MAY 1705
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10837-54  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:57 AM

“Money, and all that comes with it, disgusts me,” said Father Édouard de Gex, speaking apparently to his own boots. For he had planted one to either side of the head of the Duchess of Arcachon-Qwghlm, and clamped her head between his ankle-bones, forcing her to look up into his face. “Within living memory, men and women of noble birth did not even have to think about it. Oh, there were rich nobles and poor, just as there were tall and short, beautiful and ugly. But it would never have entered the mind of even a peasant to phant’sy that a penniless Duke was any less a Duke, or that a rich whore ought to be made a Duchess. Nobles did not handle money, or speak of it; if they were guilty of caring about it, they took pains to hide it, as with any other vice. Men of the cloth did not need money, or use it, except for a few whose distasteful duty it was to take in the tithes from the poor-box. And ordinary honest peasants lived a life blessedly free of money. To nobles, clerics, and peasants—the only people needed or wanted in a decent Christian Realm— coins were as alien, eldritch, inexplicable as communion wafers to a Hindoo. They are, I believe, an artifact of the pagan necromancers of the Romans, talismans of the subterranean Cult of Mithras, which St. Constantine, after his conversion to the True Faith, somehow forgot to eradicate, even as the temples of the idolaters were being pulled down or made over into churches. The makers, users, and hoarders of money were a cult, a cabal, a parasitical infestation, enduring through many ages, no more Christian than the Jews—indeed, many were Jews. They convened in a few places like Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, and Seville, and spun round the globe a web or net-work of links along which money flowed, in feeble and fitful pulses. This was repugnant but endurable. But what has happened of late is monstrous. The money-cult has spread faster across what used to be Christendom than the faith of Mahomet did across Araby. I did not grasp the enormity of it until you came to Versailles as an infamous Dutch whore, a plaything of diseased bankers, and shortly were ennobled—made into a Countess, complete with a fabricated pedigree—and why? Because you had noble qualities? No. Only because you were Good with Money—a high sorceress of the coin-cult—and so were adored by the same sort of degraded Versailles court-fops who would gather in abandoned churches at midnight to recite the Black Mass.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10859-62  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:58 AM

It was to have been the end of heresy—the heresy of the so-called Protestants, of the Jews, and, most of all, of the money-cult. Great canvases and frescoes would have been painted of the event, by the Michelangelos of a new age, who would work not for money but for the glory of God. These paintings would have been vast tableaux of countless figures; but in the center of all, taking pride of place, would have been you, Eliza, bound to a stake in Charing Cross, burning.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10870-78  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 01:59 AM

“Of course some Alchemists are charlatans, seeking wealth; they are a mockery of people like you, sharing your avarice, wanting your artifice. But can you not see that Alchemy is the avenging angel to destroy your heresy? For what value shall your money have, if gold may be made as easily as straw?” “So that is the end you seek,” Eliza said, “to overturn and scatter the new System that has been built up, during your lifetime, by the ineffable workings of Money.” “Indeed! What right do Britain, and the Dutch Republic, have to exist? God did not mean for men to live in such places, or if He did, He did not mean for them to prosper here. Look—look at this opera house! Built on the edge of the world by frostbitten shepherds—yet in its size, its glory, truly a monster, an abomination, only possible because of the unnatural distortions that Money has wreaked on the world. The same is true of all London! It should all burn. And you should be the spark to kindle it.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10884-87  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:00 AM

You may take it as a moral lesson: though you have lived expensively, and in grand style, you shall die a simple and humble death in the gutter of Hay Market.” “Ain’t it a shame,” said an English voice, somehow familiar to Eliza, “when a noble holy man, who despises money, has to cut corners, and kill meanly, all because he and Leroy don’t have two louis d’or to rub together.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10904-9  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:02 AM

lunging toward de Gex and thrusting one hand forward. He looked less like a duellist than a wizard casting a spell, for no blade was in his hand, and the distance between them was too great for him to land a punch. But he had been cradling a small object in his palm, which flew outwards, spinning so fast that it made a buzzing hum, like the wings of a small bird. It shot past de Gex’s upraised dagger-hand, but then, impossibly, reversed its direction and whipped around his wrist, going into a spiral orbit whose velocity waxed as its radius waned, finally becoming a whizzing blur that collided with his hand, and stuck there: for the thing that Jack had thrown was studded with glinting blades.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10930-36  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:04 AM

“That was one English musket-ball,” said a voice, oddly similar to Jack’s, from the parapet of the Opera above. “We have more.” “Identify yourselves!” demanded de Gex, raising his bloody hand to shield his eyes from the glare of the building’s entrance. “You are in no position to give orders. But it suits my purposes to let you know that you have been surrounded by the First Company of the First Regiment of Dragoons of the Whig Association Militia, once known, and soon to be known again, as the King’s Own Black Torrent Guards. We have been bivouacked not far away to defend Marlborough House should the need arise, and were drawn here by all of your disorderly conduct.” “Then do you return to your post, Captain,” said de Gex. “I am a lowly Sergeant, alas.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10938-46  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:05 AM

“It is, if truth be told, of direct concern to me, sir,” said the Sergeant, “being a sort of family matter. For unless my eyes are telling me lies, my brother, who has ever been a disgrace to the family name, is down there attempting to redeem himself, and repent, and redress his sins, and so on and so forth, by the ancient and honorable trial of single combat—for the honour of a fair lady, no less! I have sworn, many times in the past, that I’d slay my brother myself if given a chance. And perhaps I will someday. But I’ll not abandon him to be slain when he is about to do something honourable for once in his life. So have at it; but if any of your Horse try to intervene, they’ll be as dead as Captain Shelby. We are Dragoons, and to make short work of foppish cavalry is our bread and butter.” So spoke Bob Shaftoe. The mounted Jacobites below all heard him, and heeded him; but Father Édouard de Gex missed the last bit, for he had darted inside the Opera House. Jack had lit out after him. After only a moment’s pause, Eliza called out, “Thank you, Bob…”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10951-58  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:10 AM

“WE POLITICIANS,” quoth Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, re-filling his goblet with port for the eleventh time, “are like men who live in frosty climes. It is the habit of such men that whenever they have nothing else to take up their time, they hie to the chopping-block, take up the axe, and set to work splitting and stacking cord-wood. They do it even in the heat of August, for they are ever driven by the memory of having been cold once. You and I have each had our days of bitter cold, Roger, and so whenever we are not otherwise busy, we go to work stacking up our political cord-wood. Each of us has a mountain of it. Other men, seeing the size of the woodpile, would call it enough, and leave off chopping. But you and I know ’tis meant to be burned, and shall burn quickly once lit. This whole Realm that we call the United Kingdom is one great pile of cord-wood now, or rather two piles, one called Whig and one called Tory.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10977-81  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:13 AM

“Not so, Roger, not so! His Royal Highness is a Catholic, true, but—” “As to the other thing, I am not yet overawed by your forces and your powers. Princess Caroline, whatever you might phant’sy about her, is not in London.” Bolingbroke laughed. “But, Roger, you told me, only an hour ago, that you had seen her through my telescope!” “But, Henry, I was lying.” It was Roger’s turn to take up the de-canter and replenish his glass. As he did, he turned his gaze south toward Hay Market.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10984-89  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:13 AM

the Mobb, yet wanting any clear purpose. But currents of order and purpose moved through the chaos, like rivers in the sea: disciplined groups, probably militia. The sight of it, so near to his beloved Opera, threw him into a woozy fit, and reminded him how much easier it would be to surrender to Bolingbroke. But then his eyes picked out a black corpuscle, moving up Hay Market with implacable purpose, gleaming like a bead of lacquer as it slalomed round bonfires. At the great cross with Piccadilly it made the turn that would angle it up Shug Lane toward Golden Square. He knew then that this was his phaethon, hurtling across London like a black panther through a forest fire.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10991-97  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:14 AM

“But I would speak to you of the other matter—of the Prince.” “George Louis of Hanover? Splendid chap.” “No, Roger. His royal highness James Stuart, who by right, even if not by law, is our next King.” He held up a hand. “The Queen has made up her mind, Roger. She cannot, will not abandon her own flesh and blood. She will make him her heir.” “Then let him have the china, the silver, the furniture for all I care. But not Great Britain. We are past this, Henry.” “We are never past what is right.” “Sometimes I phant’sy I am speaking to a medieval relic, when I talk to a Tory,” Roger said. “What magical quintessence do you suppose it is that imbues a Stuart with the right to reign over a country that hates him and that espouses a different religion!?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 10998-99  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:15 AM

“The question is, shall we be ruled by Money, and the Mobb—which are one and the same to me, as neither serves any fixed principle—or by one who serves a higher good? That is the point of Royalty, Roger.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11029-37  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:17 AM

Then something whacked Roger on the side of the face. It thudded to the floor. “What did you say, Roger?” Roger blinked haze out of the impacted eye, and squatted down to pluck the missile off the floor. He knew it immediately. Hefting it in the palm of his hand, he strolled over to the desk, where Bolingbroke was blotting ink. “Henry, since you have such a fascination with coins and coining, I thought you might like to have this as a souvenir of this evening. You might like to take it off to exile in France.” “Exile in France? What on earth are you talking about?” “Your future, Henry, and mine.” Roger clapped the object—still warm from Daniel’s pocket—down atop the gaudy Warrant. It was a leathern bundle, sewn shut, written on in ink, and heavy as only gold could be. “A Sinthia from the Pyx,” Roger announced. “There are more, many more, where this came from. Jack the Coiner is ours. He has yielded all, and told all.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11068-75  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 02:20 AM

“I am sorry, I did not understand that this was a full rehearsal!” she exclaimed. Behind Epicure Mammon and Surly, a carpenter was kneeling down to tack a bit of stage-dressing in place, and to one side, a painter was daubing away at a trompe l’oeil sky. Mammon scowled at her. She raised a hand to her mouth in apology. “My lady,” exclaimed Handel, reverting, in his astonishment, to German, “what has brought you here?” “This night,” insisted Mammon, “I’ll change all that is metal in thy house, to gold. And early in the morning, will I send to all the plumbers, and the pewterers, and buy their tin, and lead up; and to Lothbury, for all the copper.” “What, and turn that, too?” asked Surly, expertly feigning amazement, but at the same time, somehow managing to favor Eliza with a wink; Mammon might scorn her, but Surly knew a beautiful woman when he saw one.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11140-45  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 04:35 AM

The Mohawks behind him began hip-hip-hooraying, and pretty soon everyone in Golden Square was doing it. Daniel was slow to take up the cheer. But when he did, he meant it. This was politics. It was ugly, it was irrational, but it was preferable to war. Roger was being cheered because he had won. What did it mean to win? It meant being cheered. So Daniel huzzahed, as lustily as his dry pipes and creaky ribs would permit, and was astounded to see the way people came a-running: not only the Quality from their town-houses, but hooligans and Vagabonds from bonfire-strewn fields to the north, to throng around Roger and cheer him. Not because they agreed with his positions, or even knew who he was, but because he was plainly enough the man of the hour.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11164-66  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 05:57 PM

“They know perfectly well who you are,” said Johann. He offered a bow, sarcastically obsequious, to the men of the Kit-Cat Clubb, who stood above them at the top of the stairs, all spread out in a tableau, but difficult to make out in the dark—like a group portrait of themselves gone almost black from tobacco-smoke.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11176-80  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 05:58 PM

Off the sea came Aphrodite, To the Greeks whose lust was mighty. Soft of wit and firm of P—, Romans worshipped foam-borne Venus. ’Pon the River dark as wine, Rides Britons’ love-queen, Caroline.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11182-88  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 05:58 PM

From Billingsgate a lone wag was chanting May her Womb Be Popery’s Tomb But pray the German Keeps his sperm in. He was immediately shouted down by indignant, even scandalized Kit-Cats. Really! Some chaps knew no bounds! Someone drew a sword halfway, and made a great show of having to be restrained, all the while glancing river-wards to be sure his gallantry was being noted by Caroline.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11263-67  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:05 PM

She had to raise her voice and lean closer to Johann, because Ursel had begun screaming. Like expert flautists, who could use the trick of circular breathing to play long continuous notes, Ursel had the ability, oft seen among sergeants, schoolteachers, wives, and other leaders of men, to scream for several minutes without letting up to replenish his lungs. “He has had an epiphany,” Caroline said. “For quite a while, we wandered lost in the fog. Now, suddenly, he knows where we are.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11301-3  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:09 PM

It was altogether tense, chancy, and perilous, and so ought to have been thrilling. Yet it stretched out over half the day, and as much as an hour would sometimes go by without anything in particular happening. It was a bit like sitting by the bedside of a loved one with a grave illness: momentous, all-consuming, yet boring, hence exhausting.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11326-29  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:10 PM

By the time all of these things had been achieved, Sophia had run a large set of Hanoverian colors to the top of her otherwise bare mast. And this seemed to give the brig’s skipper second thoughts. For the arms of the House of Hanover were so close to those of the royal family of Great Britain as to be indistinguishable from this distance. The brig might be menacing Sophia with open gunports and run-out cannons; but Princess Caroline had just pressed a loaded pistol to the forehead of the brig’s skipper.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11581-84  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:37 PM

“This place used to lie beyond the edge of the city,” Daniel explained, “and bloody-minded young men would come here to practice at sword-play, or even to fight. This was more than a hundred years ago, when it was the fashion to have a wee shield on the left hand—a buckler. The sound of rapiers swashing against bucklers could be heard from far away, when they fought. Young men of that mentality came to be known, in the vernacular, as—” “Bucklerswashers! Yes, I have heard of this,” said Peter. “Which way do I go here?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11607-9  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:39 PM

“The Court of Technologickal Arts?” “If that is what you call it.” “What would you call it?” “A temple.” “Oh? Of what religion?” “A religion that presupposes that we may draw closer to God by better understanding the World that He made.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11613-18  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:40 PM

“How gratifying, then, that you judge me fit to partake of this secret. Does this mean you have found me worthy to distinguish between the majority of charlatans and the minority of—” “The Wise? Yes.” “Does that mean I am Wise?” “No. You are not Wise but erudite. You are a member of the Societas Eruditorum.” “Leibniz has spoken of it, but I did not know I was a member.” “It is not like these guys,” Solomon said, rapping a knuckle on a Templar-sarcophagus, “with bylaws and initiation-rites and such.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11620-23  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:40 PM

“You make it sound unsatisfactory. Change your mind about this. It is better to know why you know things than simply to have things revealed to you.” “Enoch Root—is he Wise?” “Yes.” “Leibniz?” “Erudite.” “Newton?” “Hard to say.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11639-41  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:42 PM

“Most people would call me a mere Natural Philosopher, not a savant,” Daniel corrected him. He nodded across and down the table at Leibniz. “Now he is a savant.” “Yes,” Saturn agreed, “and so is he.” And he nodded toward the entrance of the tavern. Daniel looked up just in time to see Sir Isaac Newton come through the door.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11667-75  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:44 PM

Damn it anyway. This matter of the Solomonic Gold (he reminded himself) was not Daniel’s affair. He could not care less about it. As a favor to Leibniz, whose name was being dragged through the mud every day by Newton, and as a way to further his own work on the Logick Mill, Daniel had brokered a one-for-one swop of normal for “Solomonic” gold that had finally and improbably been consummated within the last few hours. Minerva was at last free of her cursed burthen. Jack Shaftoe was well on his way to being free of the threat of prosecution and punishment for his past work in coining that gold. The stuff was sitting in the Templar-tomb now, legally under Ravenscar’s control, but effectively Daniel’s to do with as he pleased. Daniel had been working toward this moment for some months now, and ought to have been hoisting a glass or two in carefree celebration. There was this one complication, having to do with Isaac’s notions about Alchemy; but Daniel had gotten better, with age, at accepting and ignoring the quirks and difficult peculiarities of his friends, perhaps even unto the point of self-induced blindness, and so he had not considered this very much until now.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11739-47  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:49 PM

“The heavy gold is of great political importance here, in that it could mean the difference between Newton’s surviving a Trial of the Pyx, or not.” And here he was forced to explain a great deal concerning Jack the Coiner, Bolingbroke, and the Clubb. On balance, Leibniz seemed to take it as good news: “It sounds as if this difficulty can be cleared up, then. If this deal that you negotiated with Jack goes through as planned, Newton shall get what he requires to survive the Trial of the Pyx; and if not, why, how difficult can it possibly be to track down this gang of coiners when Newton, Waterhouse, and Leibniz are numbered among the thief-takers, and when two of the master-criminals—Édouard de Gex and Yevgeny the Thief-taker—have recently been slain in brawls?” For it was plain that the melee outside was over, and if the Tsar had lost, they probably would have heard about it by now. “I find it difficult to believe, Gottfried, that, at this point in your career, what you really want to do is hang around the worst parts of London pursuing a band of criminals.” “All right, I admit it’s only a pretext.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11757-64  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:50 PM

Daniel assented, very grudgingly. He was perfectly aware that to admit to any premise in a conversation with Leibniz would lead to a Socratic bear-trap banging shut on his leg a few minutes later. “Who started the Acta Eruditorum, Daniel?” “You, and that other chap. Listen, I stipulate that Newton tends to hide his work while you are very forward in publishing yours.” “And hiding one’s results—restricting them to dissemination among a tiny fraternity—is a characteristic of what group?” “The Esoteric Brotherhood.” “Otherwise known as—?” “Alchemists,” Daniel snapped. “So the priority dispute would never have arisen if Sir Isaac Newton were not thoroughly infected with the the mentality of Alchemy.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11766-69  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 06:51 PM

I will remain in London incognito—no one need never know I was here—and find some way to engage Newton in Philosophick discourse and help him out of the labyrinth in which he has wandered for so many years. It is a labyrinth without a roof, affording a clear view of the stars and the moon, which he understands better than any man; but behold, when Newton lowers his gaze to what is near to hand, he finds himself trapped and a-mazed in dark serpentine ways.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11868-74  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 07:00 PM

“As how could they not,” Solomon returned, “for Mithras was the god of contracts.” “The god of contracts!?” exclaimed William Ham. “Indeed,” said Solomon, “and so it is a good thing for you that you have founded your Bank on his Temple.” “This Mithras does not appear in any Pantheon I have ever heard of.” “He was not a god of Olympus but one that the Greeks borrowed from the Persians, who had in their turn borrowed him from Hindoostan. From the Greeks his cult spread to the Romans, and became popular around the hundredth year of what you call Anno Domini. Or, as I would put it, some years after the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. Especially among soldiers, such as garrisoned Londinium, along the banks of the Walbrook.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11886-96  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 07:01 PM

“What did the mosaic depict?” Solomon asked. “Some figures that called to mind Mercury. Mr. Ham styled it a Temple of Mercury and made of it a good omen. But it contained other images that would call his opinion into question—” “Ravens?” “Yes! How did you know?” “Carox, the raven, was, to Persians, a messenger of the Gods—” “As Mercury was to the Romans.” “Indeed. The worshippers of Mithras believed that as the soul descended from the sphere of the fixed stars to be incarnated on Earth, it passed through all of the planetary spheres along the way, and was influenced by each in turn. In passing through the sphere of Venus the soul became amorous, and so on. The innermost sphere, and the last to wreak its influence on the soul, was that of Mercury or Corax. The practitioners of this cult believed that as the soul prepared for death, and a return to the sphere of the fixed stars, it must reverse that transmigration, shedding first the trappings of Mercury-Corax, then those of Venus, et cetera, and finally—” “Saturn?” guessed Saturn. “Indeed.” “I am honored to be closest to the fixed stars, and least worldly of vices.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11896-99  | Added on Saturday, September 16, 2017, 07:02 PM

“Accordingly, there were seven ranks. For each rank was a chamber—always subterranean. Your uncle’s cellar was that of Mercury-Corax, where new initiates were taken in. Later they would move through a gate or passage to the next chamber, which would have been decorated with images of Venus, and so on.” “What was the big chamber under the Bank?” “You shall be pleased to know it was the chamber of Saturn, for the highest-ranking members,” Solomon said.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11920-22  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 02:03 AM

It remains that, from the same principles, I now demonstrate the frame of the System of the World. —NEWTON, Principia Mathematica
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11943-46  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 02:07 AM

As Daniel was helped down out of the carriage, and walked to the front door, he wondered how many of the crowd knew who he was, and of his ancient connexion to the terrible Puritan warlord. Some of them had to be Tory spies, who would mark Daniel, and note the connexion instantly. Daniel guessed that he had been summoned here to send a message of a vaguely threatening nature to all Torydom.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 11959-63  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 02:09 AM

The Duke was in a dressing-gown of something that gleamed and whispered, and his neck had been swaddled in miles of linen in preparation for the shaving. It was as far from Puritan severity as one could possibly imagine. If there were any Tories without, on Pall Mall, who phant’sied that Daniel had come to pass the torch to the next Cromwell, a moment’s glimpse into this room would have extinguished their fears. If Marlborough had come back in triumph to take over the country, he’d do so not as a military dictator but as a Sun King.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12046-51  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 03:50 PM

I propose a novel Theory of Power, which is inspired by the lucubrations of Mr. Newcomen, the Earl of Lostwithiel, and Dr. Waterhouse on the Engine for Raising Water by Fire. As a Mill makes Flour, a Loom makes Cloth, and a Forge makes Steel, so, we are assured, this Engine shall make Power. If the Backers of this Device speak truly—and I’ve no reason to deprecate their honesty—it proves that Power is not a Conserved Quantity, for of such Quantities it is never possible to make more. The amount of Power in the world, it follows, is ever-increasing, and the rate of increase grows ever faster as more of these Engines are built.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12051-53  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 03:50 PM

A Man who hoards Power is therefore like a miser who sits on a heap of Coins, in a Realm where the Currency is being continually debased by production of more coins than the market can bear; so that what was a great Fortune when first he raked it together, insensibly becomes a slag-heap, and is found to be devoid of value, when at last he takes it to the market-place to be spent.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12151-56  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 03:59 PM

“Here is what I told the Duke of Marlborough concerning Alchemy,” Daniel said, which brought Roger to attention. “It has been my view for some years that a new System of the World is being created around us. I used to suppose that it would drive out and annihilate any older Systems. But things I have seen recently, in the subterranean places beneath the Bank, have convinced me that new Systems never replace old ones, but only surround and encapsulate them, even as, under a microscope, we may see that living within our bodies are animalcules, smaller and simpler than us, and yet thriving even as we thrive. When we have stronger microscopes I should not be surprised to discover yet smaller and simpler organisms within those animalcules. And so I say that Alchemy shall not vanish, as I always hoped.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12156-58  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 03:59 PM

it shall be encapsulated within the new System of the World, and become a familiar and even comforting presence there, though its name may change and its practitioners speak no more about the Philosopher’s Stone. It shall be gone from view but it shall continue to run along beneath, as the lost river Walbrook streams beneath the Bank of England.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12175-79  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:10 PM

“Being a Regent has changed you!” Leibniz remarked, eyeing the ring. “This damned thing is a present from that Solomon Kohan,” Daniel confided. “He does not strike me as the gift-giving type.” “After our visit to Bridewell, I presented him with a small purse containing bits of gold punched out of the cards. A few days later this ring was delivered to me by a Jew who has a goldsmith’s shop along Lombard. With it was a note from Monsieur Kohan. He had the bits melted down and poured into a ring-mold. This is the result.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12193-200  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:11 PM

“I desire what I have always desired,” Isaac said. “Your machinations with Baron von Leibniz have made it harder to get—for much of it is now locked up in a tomb in Clerkenwell, and promised to the Tsar. But Jack might yet have some. Ergo, I must redouble my pursuit of Jack.” “What if a situation were to arise, Isaac, in which you were presented with a choice: on the one hand, striking a deal with Jack that would end the peril he poses to the currency and to the King, but leave you wanting what you seek. On the other, pursuing Jack to the bitter end in the hopes of getting his gold, but at the risk of failing the Trial of the Pyx? “You ask questions like a Regent,” Isaac said. “Like it or not, I am one, and must ask such questions. And the question boils down to this: Do you respect the authority of the King, or of Regents appointed to act in his stead, and do you place the Mint and the Currency above other, more personal interests? Or does the Philosoper’s Stone come first?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12202-6  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:12 PM

“You mistake me. I do not care a fig for the King. In this I am one with Drake. But Drake also taught me the value of money. I may not love money as much as some, but I do respect it. Do you?” “Do you, Daniel, really believe that I left the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and came to the Mint, solely out of an interest in numismatics?” “Well answered,” Daniel said. “Since we agree it is in our interests to continue the pursuit of Jack, let us rejoin the others in back.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12279-83  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:31 PM

“The phosphorus paint compounded by Freiherr von Leibniz, and daubed upon its card by Mr. Hoxton, performed as expected. It was right in my face, as bright as a full moon. I say we were going southeast on a good road—almost certainly this one,” insisted Kikin, streaking his finger across the map. “I counted, er…” and here he consulted his notes. “Seventy-eight revolutions of the wheel.” For Newton had proposed, and Saturn had constructed, a little device that produced a click every time the wheel went round. “One thousand and thirty feet, then,” said Newton, having worked out the product in his head. For all of them knew by heart the circumference of the wheel in question.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12288-91  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:32 PM

“Yes, west-southwest for fifty ticks—then an elbow in the road, bringing us round to almost due south—three hundred and thirty ticks later we went up and over a stone bridge.” This led to some back-tracking and head-scratching, for it was not clear which of several possible roads the wagon might have taken; but presently Leibniz noticed a bridge whose position was found to be consistent with all of Kikin’s data, and so they went on reckoning from there.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 12330  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:40 PM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12329-34  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:41 PM

Threader and Orney were left to bait each other, as was their practice; though neither of them would dream of admitting to it, they had developed a kind of friendship. Daniel and Saturn shared a water-taxi. Long before it reached London, Saturn had cause to regret this, for Daniel—who had been so content at the beginning of the day, sitting on his bale and watching the river flow by—had now become gloomy and brooding even by Saturnine standards. “Isaac will bring this to a head,” Daniel predicted. “Not for him the dodge, the accommodation, the quiet understanding. The armistice we made with Jack in the Black Dogg is forgotten. He must slay the bête noire. Ha! I wonder what he has in mind for me.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12339-45  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 09:55 PM

“but they are far away, and not really part of Newton’s world. He will not take such persons into consideration. Me he will hate for having done the wrong thing.” “What are the practical consequences of being so hated?” Saturn wondered. Daniel thought of Hooke, and how Hooke’s legacy had disappeared. But if that happened after one was dead, did it really matter? Saturn went on, “He is civil to you when the Clubb is together—” “And I had wondered why, until today,” Daniel said. “Isaac no longer has the King’s Messengers and the Black Torrent Guard at his disposal. Bolingbroke has stripped him of the temporal power he had, or phant’sied he had, a few months ago. To act against Jack the Coiner, Isaac requires that sort of power—and I have got such power, at least indirectly, through Roger.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12349-52  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:10 PM

He’ll not be satisfied with anything less than the destruction of Bolingbroke, Charles White, Jack Shaftoe, Leibniz, and—if I’ve been so foolish as to get tangled up with ’em—me. Peter, I cannot summon anything like the fury of Newton, hot as a refiner’s fire. Perhaps I and the others really are nothing more than schlock to be raked off the top of his crucible and dumped on the ground to harden and blacken.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12423-29  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:26 PM

THE STREETS OF LONDON, EACH so particular and unique to the terrified, benighted pedestrian, were, to a coach-passenger, as anonymous and same as waves on the sea. As Waterhouse, Newton, and Leibniz had sailed through them during the early hours of the morning, Daniel had teased himself with the phant’sy that they would settle the Calculus Dispute now, perhaps with Christian reconciliation or perhaps with a roadside duel in the dead of night. But Sir Isaac had made it plain that he had no intention of talking about anything, and had pretended to sleep, and shifted and glared when Leibniz and Waterhouse disturbed his repose with candle-light and chit-chat. This made perfect sense. Isaac held the upper hand in the dispute, and was going to triumph; why talk to Leibniz at all? Leibniz would have to make Newton want to talk.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12430-36  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:28 PM

But this lasted only for a quarter of an hour or so before it dissolved in fog. Leibniz, then Newton, stirred from feigned or genuine sleep. “Do you suppose we are riding to the Clubb’s final meeting, then?” Daniel asked, now desperate to get them talking about something. “If by that what you are really asking is, ‘are we about to catch Jack?’ then I should say no,” Isaac answered. “This does not seem his sort of place. It looks like the country house of some lord.” “You seem disquieted by that,” Leibniz said, “but has it not been obvious from the beginning that Jack must be conniving with men of high rank?” “Of course,” said Isaac, “but I had not expected to drive right through the gate of some Duke’s country-house! Where are we?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12502-5  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:56 PM

But now it was coming for them, angling in on their larboard quarter. It faltered as it perceived a choice between going for Newton and Leibniz—who were several paces ahead—or Daniel and the mounted Mohawk. Wisely, it chose the former. Newton and Leibniz, so different in matters of high philosophy, were absolutely the same when it came to being chased across a farm-yard by a huge ravening mastiff. They cheated to the right, and got up against the hedgerow, prepared to clamber over it if they had to—but this was a last resort, at their age.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12513-17  | Added on Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10:57 PM

Isaac was down, not because he had tripped, but because he had gotten interested in something. He held out his hand. A reddish nodule lay in the middle of his palm. “Behold,” he announced, “Jack has learnt the art of making red phosphorus. It is scattered all about.” “That would be the source of ignition for the Infernal Devices, then,” said Leibniz over his shoulder. He was still en garde with the paddle, protecting the other two, who were crouched behind him at the base of the hedgerow. But this was less and less necessary, as the Mohawk now had the dog’s undivided attention.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12639-45  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:27 AM

“And the elder is quite obviously a master,” said Newton. “Please tell him who I am, and give him my highest compliments.” Leibniz did so. The mention of Newton’s name nearly struck the Saxons dead with terror, but the compliment that followed close on its heels caused the oldest of the three to go all pink. He bowed very low—then, perhaps fearing that this was not obsequious enough, he got down on both knees. The younger men followed suit. Daniel had rarely seen humans so abject. “Isaac,” he said, “they are probably wondering whether you intend to kill them.” “What they have been doing here would be High Treason, were they Englishmen,” Isaac allowed. “Whether Saxons can be accused of treason against the United Kingdom is a question for scholars of the law.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12650-58  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:27 AM

“A fortnight ago, I directed the engravers at the Tower Mint to begin work on a die for the new King George guineas,” Newton said. “Since then—as many can testify—I have not once set foot in the Liberty of the Tower. I have never seen the dies from which that wax impression was struck. And yet here in this cottage in Surrey—the property of my lord Bolingbroke—we find the impression, and—” he picked up a cylinder of metal, bearing on one end an engraved mirror-image of the relief on the wax “—an essentially perfect copy of the die, which may be put to use in coining counterfeit guineas! This evidence, and the testimony of the Saxons, have delivered our enemies into our hands. Those charged with guarding the Mint—under the command of Charles White—have quite obviously colluded in making the wax impression, and delivering it here, where we have found coining-equipment, and caught the two sons of Jack Shaftoe red-handed. And since I have taken care not to enter the Mint, Bolingbroke cannot accuse me of having had a hand in any of this. I’ll see them all at Tyburn—and as for these Saxons, they shall be free to go home after they have assisted us with our inquiries.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12662-69  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:28 AM

“Oh, Sir Isaac,” he said, and began flailing for a handhold. “Help me to rise,” he said to no one. “I think you should stay down,” said Daniel. “That moment has arrived I prayed would never come,” said Threader. “I must get down on my knees and pray to Sir Isaac Newton for my life—or, barring that, an honorable death—or if that is not feasible, an expeditious.” “Then you admit collusion with coiners?” said Isaac, quite as bored as the others were astonished. “You figured it out ages ago, didn’t you, Sir Isaac? Yes. Collusion with coiners. With the coiner. Now, mind you, in the beginning—” “It seemed like nothing,” said Isaac, and waved his hand as if shooing off a wasp. “Forgive me, but I detect the onset of a long and well-rehearsed narration, for which I have no sufferance. The longer you make the story, the more gradual, insensible, and innocent seems your descent into…High Treason.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12671-74  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:29 AM

Isaac continued. “At the beginning you fall into the seemingly harmless practice of weighing guineas, and culling out those that are infinitesimally heavier. At the end you have been thoroughly compromised by Jack the Coiner. He has placed his agents in your company—he owns you so completely that he can even place an Infernal Device in your luggage-wagon, in the hope of assassinating the Master of the Mint at the Royal Society.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12677-80  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:29 AM

“Oh, but what if I testify? Put me before a magistrate, Sir Isaac! No counter-tenor at the Italian Opera ever sang as I shall!” “I do not need to hear you sing,” said Isaac. “Your offer has come too late. With no assistance from you, I have obtained all I wished for.” “What if I could give you Jack the Coiner?” said Mr. Threader. Which struck Daniel and the others as frightfully dramatic; but Newton smiled thinly, like a chess-master who always knew that his foe would bring his Queen out eventually.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12745-51  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:37 AM

The butler backed away and set the Seals on a library table near Daniel, then backed out of the room bowing. This gave Newton some moments to frame a response. Isaac, who until now had been at pains to respond instantly to the Princess’s every word and gesture, bated for a moment before answering. Daniel searched his face and thought he perceived a quiver of triumph—a rare self-indulgence for a Puritan. He was sitting at the right hand of the Princess of Wales telling the tale of how he’d caught the arch-villain Jack the Coiner, and, as a soupçon, the Seals of his most terrible persecutor had been brought in as a sort of trophy. Only Bolingbroke’s scalp on a stick would have given satisfaction more complete. “Fight? No. Rather, he feigned a sort of boredom, or so I am told by the bailiffs who arrested him.” “Boredom?” “Yes, highness, as if he had known all along that he was walking into a trap.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12774-83  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:40 AM

“As you may know, Sir Isaac, I have known Baron von Leibniz for many years, and learned from him much of what I know of Mathematicks, Metaphysicks, and the younger discipline of Natural Philosophy. Concerning the first of these, reports have reached me of an unpleasant dispute concerning the origin of the Calculus. The particulars are tedious. Lesser minds, confronted with such complexities, have seized on simple explanations. One such is that you stole the calculus from Freiherr von Leibniz; another is that he stole it from you. I find both of these hypotheses unconvincing.” During Caroline’s remarks Daniel had observed a change in the weather pass across Isaac’s face. If he had expected lavish thanks and praise, he had been disappointed; Caroline had found the news of Jack and Bolingbroke interesting but, in the end, not all that remarkable. ’Twas as if the exhausted and bloodied Knight had dragged a pair of freshly slain dragons into the forecourt of the Princess’s castle, and after a look-see and a polite question or two, she had gone back to filing her nails. Isaac had been irked for a moment, then resigned himself to it. ’Twas ever thus, for Isaac. Everything he had done had been under-appreciated and over-criticized. The pink flush of victory, which earlier had been so plain on his face, had vanished, to be replaced by the visage he was used to wearing: gray and stiff as the figurehead on a worn-out ship.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12797-99  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 01:42 AM

A year ago, I asked Dr. Waterhouse to journey hither from Boston, that we might go to work healing this breach. That you, Sir Isaac, and you, Baron von Leibniz, are here together in this room now, is all his doing; but he did it at my command. His part in the thing is done and he has my gratitude forever. Your parts, gentlemen, begin now.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12839-45  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:18 PM

But I am troubled by the vision of such a Globe in flames. What you are looking at here is a poor rendition of it; in my nightmares, it is ever so much more lovely and dreadful.” “What do you suppose that vision signifies, highness?” asked Daniel Waterhouse. “That this System, if it is set up wrong, might be doomed from the start,” said Caroline. “Oh, it shall be a wonder to behold at first, and all shall marvel at its regularity, its oeconomy, and the ingenuity of them who framed it. Perhaps it shall work as planned for a decade, or a century, or more. And yet if it has been made wrong at the beginning, it shall burn, in the end, and my vision shall be realized in a manner infinitely more destructive than this.” She gave the smoking globe a nudge. It had been wholly scoured by the flames and become a trackless black orb.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12849-53  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:19 PM

“Baron von Leibniz may be on to something,” said Caroline, “which is that, though you, and most other Fellows of the Royal Society, are true Christians, and believers in Free Will, the very doctrines and methods that the Royal Society has promulgated have caused many to question the existence of God, the divinity of Christ, the authority of the Church, the premise that we have souls endowed with Free Will. Why, Dr. Waterhouse himself has lately given me the lamentable news that he has quite abandoned all such doctrines.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12853-54  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:19 PM

This earned Daniel perturbed and puzzled looks from Newton and Leibniz. All he could do, in the face of such disapproval from such minds, was make a frail smile and shrug.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 12876  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:21 PM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12873-81  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:22 PM

“Like the God of Spinoza,” said Caroline, “if I am following your similitude correctly.” “Indeed, highness. And so if Baron von Leibniz is of the view that the world can go on forever without the continual inspection and governance of God, why, then, I say that it is his philosophy that shall incline men towards Atheism.” “That is not my view, as I think you know,” said Leibniz equably. “I believe that God takes part in the world’s workings at every moment—but not in the sense of mending it when it has gone awry. To say otherwise is to say God makes mistakes, and changes His mind. Instead of which I believe in a pre-established harmony, reflecting that God has foreseen all, and provided for it.” To which Sir Isaac was about to make some rejoinder when he was interrupted by Daniel. “This, I believe, is the least interesting topic that the two of you could debate. It is really an argument about the signification of certain words, and the applicability of certain metaphors: the clock-maker, the King, et cetera.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12895-900  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:23 PM

suffice it to say, that as a result of being near men like Newton and Leibniz, men like Locke and I are all too keenly aware of the limits of our own intellects, and the dullness of our own senses. And not only of ours but of most other people’s, too. And as a result of studying Natural Philosophy we have got glimmerings of the immensity and complexity of the Universe that were not available to anyone until of late, and are known only to a few now. The imbalance between the grand mysteries of the Universe as opposed to our own feeble faculties, leads us to set very modest expectations as to what we shall and shan’t be able to understand—and makes us passing suspicious of anyone who propounds dogma or seems to phant’sy he has got it all figured out.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12909-13  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:25 PM

I put it to you that the latter question—free will, and the spirit—is, as far as that goes, the more important. Myself, I am comfortable with the notion that we are Machines made of Meat, that there’s no more free will in us than there is in a cuckoo-clock, and that the spirit, soul, or whatever you want to call it, is a faery-tale. Many who study Natural Philosophy will arrive at the same conclusion, unless the two of you find a way of convincing them otherwise.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12927-30  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:26 PM

Why should we attempt to frame hypotheses about such matters?” “Because if you do not, Sir Isaac, others, of less brilliance, will; and they will frame the wrong ones,” Caroline said. Newton bristled. “My work on gravity and opticks has brought me a kind of fame, which is a thing I never sought, nor wanted. It has done me nothing good, and much bad—as now, when I am expected to utter profundities on topics far afield from what I have chosen to study.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12936-38  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:27 PM

Isaac learned early that anything he openly professed was liable to come under attack, to his great aggravation and embarrassment, and so became chary of professing anything until he had got it perfect, and made it impervious.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12942-43  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 06:27 PM

“As I state quite plainly in Principia Mathematica,” said Isaac, in a bit of a high clarion self-righteous tone, “it is not my intention, in that work, to consider the causes and seats of Force.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12984-86  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 09:19 PM

“I understand that,” said Daniel, “and I say it is all pistons and cylinders, weights and springs, to the very top. And that’s all I need to explain how I inform ink on a page, and how a bird informs the air with its wings.” “And I agree with you!” said Leibniz. This produced a dumbfounded pause.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 12998-99  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 09:20 PM

For the relationship that our souls bear to our bodies, is akin to the relationship that God bears to the entire Universe.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13051-55  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 09:25 PM

Have you not read my Principia? The Mechanical world exists, the Mechanical philosophy describes it.” “Dr. Waterhouse would say that Mechanism describes not just half, but all of it,” Leibniz said. “I take the opposite view, which is that Vegetable is all, and what we think of as mechanical is only the superficies of underlying processes that are not mechanical at all.” “We await a coherent explanation,” said Isaac.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13229-35  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 09:38 PM

“After we visited Wilkins on his death-bed,” said Leibniz, “we went to a coffee-house, did we not, and talked. We spoke of Mr. Hooke’s observations of snowflakes—their remarkable property, which is that each of the six arms grows outwards from a common center, and each grows independently, of its own internal rules. One arm cannot affect the others. And yet the arms are all alike. To me this is an embodiment of the pre-established harmony. Now, Daniel, in like manner, there grows out of the core of Natural Philosophy more than one system for understanding the Universe. They grow according to their own internal principles, and one does not affect another—as Newton and I demonstrated yesterday by utterly failing to agree on anything! But if it’s true—as I believe—that they are rooted in a common seed, then in the fullness of time they must adopt a like form, and become reflections of one another, as a snowflake’s arms.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13262-65  | Added on Monday, September 18, 2017, 09:40 PM

“Seven?” Daniel shouted. “Seven exactly!” came the answer. “I shall see you, Daniel, on Parnassus, or wherever it is that Philosophers end up!” “I think they end up in old books,” said Daniel, “and so I shall look for you, sir, in a Library.” “That is what I am building,” said Leibniz, “and that is where you shall find me. Good-bye, Daniel!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 13829-33  | Added on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 10:10 PM

Wretched ministers sat here all day long, hoping to earn a shilling or two by performing quick no-questions-asked weddings. The same rite, celebrated a few yards away, would be illegal and illegitimate, but here the Bishop had no power to ban it. There were too many such men of the cloth to fit on the finite bench space under the arch; the more enterprising were all parading up and down the bank of the Fleet hoping to draw in business. The other people on the bench tended to be male and female prostitutes, or their customers, hoping to conduct business, which was to be negotiated here, and consummated within the Prison.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14289-91  | Added on Thursday, September 21, 2017, 04:07 PM

“Dad said he wants us in Carolina, though,” Danny said, “and so Carolina’s where we’ll go.” “I don’t doubt it,” Daniel said. “America will suit you, I think.” “We know,” said Jimmy, “we’ve already friggin’ been there.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 14294-300  | Added on Thursday, September 21, 2017, 04:08 PM

“I never knew how bloody complicated it was, to be a criminal master-mind,” Daniel complained. He had been excited until a few minutes ago but was now feeling more exhausted than he had in years. “Most people work their way up to it gradual-like, beginning with simpler jobs, such as snatching watches,” Saturn said. “It is very unusual to go straight to the top. Only a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society could have managed it. My hat would be off to you, sir, if I had one.” “I wonder if my inexperience will be looked on as a mitigating circumstance when I am put on trial for all of this.” “If, not when. Though it would behoove you to think about going back to America.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15013-17  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:15 AM

I do not think one can ever own the quicksilver spirit that circulates among the minds of philosophers and ingénieurs. It is like trying to catch in a bucket the electrickal fluid of Mr. Hauksbee.” “So it is hopeless, then?” “Is what hopeless, Dr. Waterhouse?” “Trying to support, to invest in such projects?” “Oh, no. Not hopeless. I think it could be done. I got it wrong the first time. That’s all.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15028-31  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:16 AM

Daniel was appalled, in some sense, by the pitiless brutality of this financial discourse. But he was also fascinated. It was a bit like vivisection: savage, but just interesting enough to keep him from slinking out of the room and going straight to the nearest boozing-ken. “I suppose I am asking you about the whole structure of ideas that gives the cards of the Logic Mill their value,” he said. “Value?” “Power, then. Power to effect computations.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15040-45  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:16 AM

Caroline loves the Doctor, and has tried to effect a reconciliation between him and Sir Isaac, but this came to naught. Even when she is Queen she will have little power to change this—so irreconcilable are Leibniz’s ideas with Newton’s. It would be different if Leibniz’s ideas were useful, but they are not—not yet, not compared to Newton’s. It might be a long time before a Logic Mill can be constructed—a hundred years or more. And so the answer is that it is all devoid of monetary value at this time.” “Hmm. My life’s work, devoid of value. That’s hard to hear.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15051-53  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:17 AM

Daniel showed empty hands to her. “What else is there?” “At the very least, there is your son Godfrey, whom you ought to go home and look in on! One child in Boston today is a million descendants at some time in the future.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15061-63  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:19 AM

“I lose money all the time,” she assured him. “I have spent rather a lot on this Slavery project, and it is only beginning—it’ll take at least as long to do away with Slavery as it will to construct a proper Logic Mill, of that I’m sure.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15078-84  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:21 AM

“A very questionable supposition, that,” she pointed out, “and at any rate, I don’t want him to make any such deal. I want him to be executed on Friday.” Daniel was so dumbfounded by this bald utterance that he kept on talking, like a man who has been shot through the head but keeps walking a stride or two before he crumples. “Er—well—even if that is what you want—why not strike a deal that would give him a quick merciful hanging, at least?” “The original sentence,” she insisted, “is what I want to be carried out against Jack Shaftoe on Friday.” “So—” Daniel blinked and shook his head, unable to fathom her placid cruelty. “So you are asking me, is there a way for Newton to triumph, in a Trial of the Pyx, even without testimony from Jack?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15095-104  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:24 AM

The Vagabond-camps of his youth had been more than amply supplied with lunaticks. Indeed Newgate was the only place he had ever been since that contained a higher proportion of madmen. He and Bob had learnt very early that the Nation of the Insane comprised diverse classes, sects, and parties, each of which must be treated with in a different way. A matched pair of starving ragamuffins, roving around a camp in the middle of some ducal game-park, exerted a powerful draw on maniacs of many types. But for those boys to survive, they had to learn to distinguish between, say, the religious Phanatiques and the paedophiles. For the consequences of being caught by them were wholly different. A Phanatique might even take it upon himself to defend a couple of boys from the sort of mad Vagabond who was bent on buggery. For this service he might exact a price, namely, to make them hear a sermon. It was in his nature to give sermons, just as it was to lambaste sodomites. As these two behaviors expressed the same nature, they could not be teased apart. The boys had to accept one with the other. From such sermons had the Shaftoe boys learned everything there was to know about the Anglican Church.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15200-15208  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:36 AM

“Anyway,” Daniel continued, “after we found your father’s vault empty we went up on the roof of your house—” “We?” “Your uncles Raleigh and Sterling and I, and Sir Richard Apthorp. And do you know what happened up there on the roof?” “Can’t imagine.” “Sir Richard founded the Bank of England.” “What do you mean!? This was not founded until twenty years later! And in any case, how can one man found a bank on the roof of a goldsmith’s shop that is being burned down by the Mobb?” “I mean he saw it all together in his head. He saw that banks would never work right if the King could sack their vaults whenever he ran low on revenue. This was a revolutionary thought. Probably would not have entered his mind had he not been thrown together with the sons of Drake the King-killer, the enemy of Divine Right, the champion of Enterprise. But when Sir Richard put those elements together in his mind, he created—all this.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15218-24  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:37 AM

People around the City shall hear of it, and the stock of the Bank shall rise, because of the stand you have made. But more important: your father, if he can see this, is saying to the other departed spirits, this is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” “Good of you to say so—since I know you don’t believe in any of that!” said William, a bit huskily. Daniel had averted his gaze from the sight of tears filling the pouches under his nephew’s eyes, and so was startled, and almost dropped the lanthorn, when William socked him on the shoulder. “But I do believe in such things, and I say that if my dad’s looking on, why, yours is right there next to him, and couldn’t be happier to see you poking your brand-new King in the eye with a sharp stick!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15248-52  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:39 AM

But by the time the last of the Solomonic Gold went down the hole, voices—angry ones—could already be heard on the other side of the door, and hasty men were rattling the locks and picking curiously at the hasps and the hinges. William had promised to delay as long as he could by being indolent, then argumentative, and finally by pretending he couldn’t find the key; but clearly enough these pretenses were all wearing thin. Worse, Daniel was growingly certain that Isaac was on the other side of that door, and Isaac could pick any lock ever made.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15443-47  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 12:58 AM

…the Bell-man, who is the Prelude to the Hangman, like a Flourish before a damn’d Melancholy Tune, comes next to Torture them with his Inhumane Stanza’s, as if Men in their Condition cou’d have any Stomach to Unseasonable Poetry; for the Night before Execution, placing himself under their Window, he harangues them with the following Serenade, set to the Tune of the Bar Bell at the Black Dog. —Memoirs of the Right Villanous John Hall, 1708
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15480-88  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:01 AM

Jack was ready for him. He put his face to the open grate and shouted back, O tedious Man, who with thy Bell Dost ring me down the road to Hell, Tomorrow eve, at half past seven, I’ll hock a spit on you from Heaven. For if, as preachers say, the afterlife Smells sweet, sounds pleasant, is free of strife, And is, in sum, a Kingdom of Felicity, It must be any place that does not harbor Thee.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15519-25  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:04 AM

“It must all seem quite foreign to you. I was fortunate: I was chumming with Isaac during the years that he turned our domicile into one great smoking Lab. So, all the stuff you see around you here was moved in to our house one bit at a time, and I could ask Isaac what it was, and how to use it.” Daniel laughed. “I am more at home here than I should care to admit!” Mr. Threader permitted himself a dry chuckle. “I must say that you look quite at home here, which is quite amusing after all of the unkind remarks you have made about Alchemy.” Daniel wondered what Mr. Threader would make of it if Daniel were to let him know that tomorrow he, Daniel, might be the most eminent Alchemist since King Solomon went in to the East. But he shook it off as being too uncanny to speak of just now.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15543-47  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:13 AM

“You have been chosen by the Jury of the Citizens to serve in the rôle of Pesour tomorrow, have you not?” “Dr. Waterhouse, you are strangely well-informed about what is supposed to have been a secret, and so I shall not make a fool of myself denying it.” “You are, therefore, the adversary—the challenger—of the Master of the Mint.” “That is how the avarice of the Mint-men has been kept in check since ancient days,” Mr. Threader said agreeably. “It is the goldsmiths’ duty and their honour.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15582-84  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:16 AM

“No, in truth, any member of the Jury probably could have been swayed, one way or another,” Daniel said. “I thought of you because of your skill at prestidigitation. And I hope you can do tricks with coin-snips as well as with whole guineas.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15616-29  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:19 AM

Daniel falls into an orbit around the central pillar. Some of his lessons are coming back to him, and he recalls that this was where the King’s Council, and later Parliament, convened until the monks got sick of their hollering and kicked them out and across the street to Westminster Palace. From the way one old man’s footfalls and breathing echo around the place, Daniel can’t imagine how raucous it must have been when it was filled with politicians. The brilliant windows capture his attention during the first few orbits, but later his eyes are drawn to the wooden panels below them, at head level. These are painted with scenes that Daniel recognizes, almost without even having to look at them, as the Revelation of that scary lunatick St. John the Divine. The Four Horsemen on their color-coded steeds, the Great Beast spitting terrified Saints, misguided humans queueing up to receive the Mark of the Beast. The Whore drunk on the Blood of the butchered Saints, and later being burned for it. Christ leading the armies of Heaven on a white horse. Much of this is so faded that it can only be made out by one such as Daniel who had to memorize it when he was a boy, so that, like an actor standing backstage awaiting his scene, he’d be able to follow the script, and know his cue, when it happened for real. In the more dilapidated Mobb-scenes, only the eyes stand out among the faded and peeling pigmentation: some sleepy, some upraised, some darting about for Earthly advantage, others attending to the faraway deeds of Angels, still others lost in contemplation of what it all means. He can not help seeing this all as a final message from Drake. A reminder that, in spite of all Isaac’s lucubrations, Isaac still does not know the date and time of the Last Trumpet, and that in spite of all Drake’s methodical preparations, Daniel has yet to step out of the wings and play his assigned role.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15634-37  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:20 AM

“Good morning, Dr. Waterhouse!” exclaims the first, “have you your Key?” It is an inane question, as there’d be no point in Daniel’s being here if he didn’t have the bloody key; but the man who asks it does so with a twinkle in his eye. It is nothing more than a rhetorical and facetious chat-starter, and perhaps a way of taking Daniel’s measure.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15639-43  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:20 AM

Daniel’s key is in his left coat-pocket and his hand is clenched around it. In the right pocket, his other hand cradles a small wooden box, like a jewelry-chest, that he nicked from a storage-closet at Isaac’s a couple of hours ago. He is struck by a little spell of dizziness for a moment, and spreads his feet wider, as a precaution against toppling and splitting his head on the old floor-tiles. The Key and the Chest, the rite of the Six Padlocks—why, it’s as if he’s been dropped in to some hidden, never-published Chapter of the Revelation—perhaps even a whole separate book, an apocryphal sequel to the Bible.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15664-68  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:22 AM

Eyes turn to Daniel again. He goes down in there and puts his shoulder to the door and shoves. It swings halfway open and stops resolutely, as he knew it would. The vault beyond is twice as ancient as the Chapter House. It was rifled during some 13th-Century disturbance—for this is where the Abbey stores its plate and other treasures—and so they installed a stone kerb on the floor so that the door could not be swung fully a-gape, and any future looters would have to ferry the goods out one bauble at a time, as opposed to by the chest-load.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15668-70  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:22 AM

It is Daniel’s privilege now to go in, so he takes possession of a lanthorn and side-steps into the Pyx chamber—then quells a misanthropic urge to slam it behind him and bar it, and live here for a thousand years on the Philosopher’s Stone.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15673-76  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:23 AM

Others follow him in. Some seem to know their way around the place. They converge on certain of the treasure-chests, and there is much more finagling with keys. The last group to sack the place were Cromwell’s men, who shot the locks off the chests and helped themselves to the Coronation regalia. But Cromwell had needed a sound coinage as badly as any King of old, and so he’d had to mend the chests and replace the locks. Daniel is tempted to point this out as he watches hereditary nobles fumbling with the Puritan hard-ware, but he stifles himself.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15681-82  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:23 AM

These three treasures are borne up into the Cloister as if they were royal triplets being trotted out for some fresh air.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15720-24  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:27 AM

The Hanging-Suit is replete with pockets, several of which came pre-loaded with coins, placing Jack in a position to dispense Civility Money to the sundry turnkeys, gaolers, blacksmiths, drivers, and executioners who’ll be handling him during the course of the day. It is extraordinary that those coins were not pilfered and the buttons not ripped off by the gaolers when they inspected the Hanging-Suit; Jack concludes that the Mysterious Personage who brought it to him must have employed not only bribery, but threats of Prosecution and of Physical Violence as well.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15736-41  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:29 AM

Gazing over the wall from this privileged vantage-point, Jack is just a bit let down to see that the College of Physicians is still standing. Oh, there are columns of smoke rising from its property. But this is not because the Mobb burned it down last night. The smoke issues rather from cook-fires. The garden in the back has been turned into a bivouac for (counting the tents) a company of soldiers. No, strike that, they are (examining the colours) grenadiers. Of soldiers, these are the biggest (in that they are obliged to march around with large numbers of iron bombs strapped to their bodies), stupidest (obviously), and the most dangerous to the Mobility (considering the effect of a grenade lobbed into a crowd). Just the lot you’d want to have camped out in your garden if you were Noble, and expecting a nocturnal visit from the Mobile.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15741-47  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:29 AM

As long as he’s here, Jack takes a moment to fondle one of his golden buttons, and to twist it round for a good look. He notes, first of all, that it’s not attached very firmly: just a few threads hold it in place. But he already knew that from fumbling with it in the dark, back in his apartment. What he really wants is to examine the emblem that is molded into every one of those buttons. Now that he has light, he recognizes it instantly: this is the symbol written by Alchemists to denote quicksilver. These preliminaries, small as they might seem, put all into a new light—and not just literally—for Jack. He allows himself to be escorted up the aisle, very much like a radiant bride, and very much to the dazzlement of his pew-mates and the dismay of the Ordinary.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15749-52  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:30 AM

The service follows the usual pattern, complete with Old and New Testament readings chosen to fit the occasion. The Ordinary has pre-positioned bookmarks. The Old Testament one is a length of black grosgrain ribbon that takes him into the type of passage whose sole purpose, in a Christian service, is to demonstrate just how much trouble we would all be in, if we were still Jews.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15752-55  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:30 AM

Finishing this, the Ordinary grips three inches’ and fifty pounds’ worth of pages and heaves them over, bypassing a lot of zany Prophets and tedious Psalms, and dropping smack dab into the New Testament. A small adjustment then takes him to a page that has been marked with the gaudiest, most whorish bookmark Jack’s ever seen, a fat swath of yellow silk with a gold medallion dangling from the end.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15758-66  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:31 AM

“Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. Luke 9:28–29. “As they were going along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Luke 9:57–58. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:30–34.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15766-71  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:31 AM

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. Luke 16:19–23.” “I’ll be damned, that Luke was a hell of a scribbler,” says Jack. The Ordinary pauses and stares at Jack over his half-glasses.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15773-78  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:32 AM

“Your Reverence, could I trouble you to read the Old Testament passage one more time?” “I beg your pardon?” “Read it again. Consider it, sir, to be part of those Duties for which you have been already Compensated.” With great rakings and shovelings of pages, the Ordinary returns to the very beginning of the Tome. The other condemned prisoners shift and mutter; some even rattle their chains. To be hanged by the neck until dead is one thing; but to be forced to listen to a reading from the Old Testament twice, why, that is not only Unusual but Cruel.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15778-89  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:33 AM

“Cain knew his wife,” the Ordinary intones, “and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a City, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch…” There now follows a quarter of an hour of men knowing their wives, and becoming the fathers of other men and living for hundreds and hundreds of years. This was the bit where Jack lost his concentration on the first read-through. And to be perfectly honest he loses it again now, somewhere around the time when Kenan becomes the father of Mahalalel. But he snaps to attention later when the name of Enoch comes up again. “When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. The Book of Genesis, Chapter 5.” And the Ordinary heaves an immense sigh, for he has been reading for a long time, and lo, he thirsteth mightily for the wine on the Lord’s Table, for his throat is as dry as a place in the wilderness without water, amen. “What the hell does that mean? ‘Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him’?” “Enoch was translated,” the Ordinary says. “Even an unlettered mudlark like me knows that the Bible was translated from another tongue, your Reverence, but—” “No, no, no, I don’t mean translated that way. It is a term of theology,” the Ordinary says, “it means that Enoch did not die.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15790-92  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:33 AM

“At the point of death, he was taken away bodily into the afterlife.” “Bodily?” “His body, rather than dying, was translated away,” says the Ordinary. “Is it all right with you if we continue now with the service as planned?” “Carry on, sir,” Jack says. “Carry on.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15829-32  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:44 AM

Similar rites attend the box of weights. This is lined in green velvet, with neat depressions to contain the individual weights: the largest, a full pint or so of brass, marked 500 shillings and much smaller ones for 1 shilling and 4 pence and one pence, &c., &c., and finally a set of ivory-handled tweezers for manipulating the tiniest of them.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15832-36  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:45 AM

“Summon the Goldsmiths,” intones the King’s Remembrancer. To Daniel and his coterie, he says, “You may stand over there,” and waves at an open space in the corner. Daniel leads the group over, and turns around to find the eyes of the Duke of Marlborough on him: a reminder—as if Daniel needed any—that this is it. The new System is facing its first test, and it’s doing so under the most adverse possible circumstances: a sick and possibly demented Alchemist is in charge of the Mint and a Vagabond has tampered with the Pyx and is now going to meet his Maker without having coughed up the evidence they want. And Roger’s no longer around to make it all better.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15844-45  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:45 AM

All stare inwards toward the two most famous Jacks in London: Shaftoe and Ketch, exchanging civilities like Addison and Steele. There is no sound except for the scraping of their chains on the floor, and the organized chants of the Mobb outside.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15846-48  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:46 AM

Then an ear-splitting clang sounds from the stone anvil. Another prisoner has just had his ankle-fetters struck off. The only restraint upon him now is a length of cord with which Ketch has lately bound his elbows together behind his back. “The communion-bread, you know, is in the shape of coins,” Shaftoe remarks.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15858-68  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:49 AM

“You think I borrowed this suit!? Fie on all such gossip-mongers, Mr. Ketch, you know better than to pay heed to them. This suit is every bit as much my own property, as that handsome hood is yours.” Another clang. Ketch excuses himself again and binds up the bloke who’s directly in front of Jack. While he is doing so, he sniffles once or twice, juicily, as if the air in the High Hall does not agree with him. But of all men in London, Ketch must be the least sensitive to miasmas, damps, and vapours. When Ketch turns back round, Shaftoe’s startled, and even a bit alarmed, to see, below the fringe of the hood, a teardrop trickling down his cheek. Ketch steps close to Shaftoe, close enough that Shaftoe, craning his neck (for Ketch is a head taller) can resolve individual cavities in Ketch’s last remaining incisor. “You can’t imagine what this means to me, Mr. Shaftoe.” “No, I cannot, Mr. Ketch. What does it mean to you?” “I’m in debt, Mr. Shaftoe, deep in debt.” “You don’t say!” “My Betty—the missus—can’t stop having little ones. Every year for the last eight.” “You have eight little Ketches? How remarkable, that a man in your line of work should be such a fount of new life.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15870-77  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:49 AM

“What would my boys think of me if I wound up here, in Newgate?” “You have wound up here in Newgate, Mr. Ketch. But never mind, I take your meaning.” “They’d have to come and live with me. Here.” “It is not the best environment for raising small children,” Shaftoe allowed. “That’s why—excuse me—” Ketch steps behind Shaftoe, draws out another length of cord, and strings it between the latter’s elbows. Ketch makes a sliding knot, and begins to draw it tighter, bringing Shaftoe’s elbows closer together—but only a bit. “It would be a shame to wrinkle the Hanging-Suit,” Shaftoe remarks. “A great shame, Mr. Shaftoe, but more important to me is your comfort.” Shaftoe smiles in spite of himself at this polite evasion. And
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15870-83  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:50 AM

“What would my boys think of me if I wound up here, in Newgate?” “You have wound up here in Newgate, Mr. Ketch. But never mind, I take your meaning.” “They’d have to come and live with me. Here.” “It is not the best environment for raising small children,” Shaftoe allowed. “That’s why—excuse me—” Ketch steps behind Shaftoe, draws out another length of cord, and strings it between the latter’s elbows. Ketch makes a sliding knot, and begins to draw it tighter, bringing Shaftoe’s elbows closer together—but only a bit. “It would be a shame to wrinkle the Hanging-Suit,” Shaftoe remarks. “A great shame, Mr. Shaftoe, but more important to me is your comfort.” Shaftoe smiles in spite of himself at this polite evasion. And with that smile on his face, he steps forward, raises a knee, and places one immaculate polished shoe on the stone anvil. “Do have a care with that hammer, my good man,” he says to the smith—a pox-ravaged prisoner who looks like he has been in Newgate since the Fire. “These clothes mean nothing to me, but they will soon be inherited by my good friend Mr. Ketch here. For he is not only my friend, and my sole heir, but the executor of my will. By the immemorial traditions of this Realm, all that I wear upon my person, and the contents of its pockets, are his at the moment of my expiration. In those pockets reside several coins of diverse denominations. If you go about your work soberly, and leave my shoes unmarked, Mr. Ketch may choose to reach into one of my pockets and fish out a rather large coin for your Civility Money; but if you ruin them, Mr. Ketch may have to recoup his losses by giving you nothing.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15923-29  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:54 AM

“As his nurse, Miss Barton, is it your opinion that he is fit to understand what is going on around him, and to be tried?” asks the King’s Remembrancer. “Oh, yes. He knows,” Miss Barton insists, “however, because he is so very weak, he requests that Dr. Daniel Waterhouse act as his spokesman.” And, having now fixed on the King’s Remembrancer as the boss, she steps forward and hands him a letter, presumably written in Isaac’s hand, saying as much. Generally not one to seize the moment, Daniel acts all out of character now by striding in to the middle of the room while most eyes are still trying to pick him out in the crowd. “If Sir Isaac’s proposal is acceptable to my lords, then I shall be honoured to serve as his hand and voice.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15958-67  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:58 AM

“This rope I got from a pirate-captain I hanged last year.” “He supplied his own rope?” “Indeed. A hawser, he called it. Look at the thickness of it.” “He wanted to be sure the rope would not break? That seems very odd to me.” “No, no, I’ll show you!” And Ketch steps round to Shaftoe’s left side and fits the noose over the latter’s head. The rope is so thick and stiff, the noose so tight, that it can barely close around Shaftoe’s throat. But the knot lodges under his left ear like a great bony fist. “Feel that leverage—now you’ll take my meaning, sir!” Ketch says, pulling up once or twice on the loose end of the rope. Each time he does, the knot, bearing on the heel of Shaftoe’s skull, crowbars his entire head forward and to one side. “And look at the length of it!” Shaftoe turns to see that Ketch has retreated to a distance of some two fathoms, but still has not run out of rope. “With this I can give you a drop such as few men are afforded, Mr. Shaftoe, very few. By the time you get to the end of this rope you’ll be moving as fast as a cannonball. You’ll be smoking a pipe in Heaven long before I chop off your testicles and shovel your guts out; and the quartering will mean as little to you, as coffin-worms to a dead bishop.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15968-75  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 01:59 AM

“Mr. Shaftoe,” says Jack Ketch in a lower voice, stepping up very close to him now, and absent-mindedly wrapping the loose rope into a neat coil, “I shan’t have leisure to exchange words with you again, until we are standing beneath the Tree. For I’ve other prisoners to tend to, as you can see, and the journey to Tyburn promises to be, er…” “Festive?” “I was going to say ‘eventful,’ not wanting to show disrespect. I’ll be in the cart. We shall not be able to hear each other. Since you’re facing backwards, we shall not be able to see each other. Even when we are face to face beneath the Tree, the noise will be such that we’ll not be able to exchange a word, though we scream in each other’s ears. So I say to you now, sir, thank you! Thank you! And know that you shall feel less pain today than a man who bangs his head on a door-frame in a dark room.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15990-94  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:01 AM

Only one lock remains: a beauty, made to look like the front of the Temple of Solomon. Daniel gets it open and flips the hasp out of the way. Two members of the City jury step up and raise the lid of the Pyx. The cervical vertebrae of the Great and the Good pop and creak all round as they vie to see what’s in it: a pile of wee leather packets, called Sinthias, each labeled with a month and a year. “Very well,” says the King’s Remembrancer, “the Jurors may withdraw to Star Chamber to conduct the Assay.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 15998-6003  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:02 AM

Many a London man-about-town has dreamed of receiving a come-hither look from those lovely Orbs, but Daniel will have to settle for what he’s just been given: a go-thither look. “He said,” she says, “that you would know what to do.” So he goes into the corner, opens the door again, and verifies that Isaac’s still dead (which might seem a safe enough thing to assume; but with Isaac, you never know). He leans his head and shoulders into the box now, and checks under Isaac’s armpit: still tepid. Looking up, he has a full view of the back of Catherine Barton’s bodice and all of Star Chamber beyond. The black screen darkens everything somewhat, but his eyes soon enough adjust. No one, of course, can see him or Isaac.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16011-24  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:06 AM

He said you would know what to do. Well, yes and no. Daniel has studied a document, written in Hooke’s hand, asserting that a patient (who happened to be one Daniel Waterhouse, but that is neither here nor there) died, and was brought back to life by a coction brewed up by an Alchemist. Hooke set down the receipt as best as he could from memory. Later Isaac went through and studied this, as only Isaac could study a thing, and made any number of annotations to it, all in the mythology-ridden argot and the queer symbology of the Esoteric Brotherhood. Daniel knows more than he’d like to of such things, from having spent so much of his young life around such people, and he’s had a few days to go over Hooke’s receipt and Newton’s commentary and puzzle out what they mean. Isaac has made several attempts in recent weeks to carry out all of the steps in the procedure save the last, and so all of the necessary crucibles, retorts, &c. were lying out in plain sight on his laboratory-table when Daniel began work a couple of days ago, and all of the ingredients were there, too. All, that is, except for the last and most crucial. Out of his pocket Daniel now takes the small wooden chest. He sets it on Isaac’s lap and opens it. The contents are a stoppered glass flask containing a red liquid, and a paper packet, like a wee Sinthia no bigger than Daniel’s fingernail. Daniel unfolds this with great care to expose a small quantity of gold dust. This is what remains of the ring that Solomon Kohan gave him, which Daniel melted last night to make a counterfeit guinea. Half of that guinea was snipped up into tiny shards that ought to be up Mr. Threader’s sleeve just now. The rest of it Daniel tediously rubbed against a file until it was all gone, and collected the dust of it into this paper packet.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16034-37  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:07 AM

Tilting the vial, Daniel observes that the magma is thick, like porridge—it is congealing. If he waits much longer, he fears, it will be solid and unusable. Daniel grabs the only spatulate object near to hand: the key to Isaac’s padlock. Using this as a spoon, he digs out a gob of the bright stuff as big as the last joint of his little finger, and introduces it to Isaac’s mouth, flips it upside-down, and wipes it off on Isaac’s tongue.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16071-75  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:10 AM

The first leg of the three-mile journey encompasses somewhat less than a hundred yards, that being the distance from the portcullis of Newgate to the Church-Yard of St. Sepulchre’s. It only takes them about twenty minutes, which makes Jack phant’sy this isn’t going to be so very difficult as popular legend would have one believe. He remembers these things as being a good deal bigger and rowdier. But then he hasn’t attended one since before the Plague, and everything seemed larger through a child’s eyes.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16075-81  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:11 AM

Still and all, he has plenty of time to rid himself of the cord that Jack Ketch used to link his elbows. Being loose to begin with, it scrapes off easily on the rough planks of the sledge. He’s about to toss it away into the crowd when he gets to looking at it, and thinks it might have other uses. Jack—who’s lived on ships, and knows his knotwork—has a bowline in the end of it before the Mobb can chant “Jack Shaftoe!” and slips this over the toe of his shoe. It catches on the heel, and makes a kind of stirrup. With a few undignified gestures he is able to thread it up his leg, beneath his breeches. Then, reaching down his front, he pulls it up under his shirt so that it emerges from his collar, just at the base of his throat. And now his seamanship once again comes into play as he whips that cord round the noose a few times, and makes it fast.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16087-90  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:12 AM

The general idea, here, is that back in the old days, when St. Sepulchre’s sat outside the City Gate on the Edge of Nowhere, this was the last church that any Tyburn-bound prisoner would ever see, and hence marked his absolutely final opportunity to repent. This being the London of today, they’ll pass any number of Wren-churches between here and the Fatal Tree. But tradition is tradition. And so the Church of England gets a few points for sheer persistence.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16091-98  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:12 AM

The rite, whatever it is, doesn’t last long, and then the church-folk come out with little nosegays for the prisoners, and cups of wine. Jack accepts both with good grace, reaching deep into his pockets for Civility Money. This gesture is noted by the crowd and garners a roar of approval, which comes to Jack’s ears as a great sea tearing into a pebbly beach a mile away. And so Jack beckons the Bell-Man over and gives him a whole guinea for his pains—though not before biting down on it. This jest elicits laughs even from the soldiers. Finally, since this is going over so well, he gets the Vicar to descend the steps, and hands over another guinea—his last—for the poor-box, and shakes his hand. And nearly jerks the poor fellow’s arm out of its socket, as the sledge has started up again. This thanks to Ketch, who has not failed to notice Shaftoe’s guineas—which is to say, Ketch’s guineas—disappearing into the undeserving hands of Church-men! Ketch gets the caravan moving double-time, as if they were being menaced from the rear by a Horde of Mongols.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16102-7  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:13 AM

But, in all seriousness, he thinks he might have repented. Something happened there, in truth. A sort of portcullis clanged down, severing the long, bad part of his life from a shorter and better part of it. It is all bound up, somehow, with that procedure of eating the coin of bread. But there is a powerful point to that rite, and he reckons it has something to do with a joining together, a sharing with everyone else who’s ever accepted payment in that coinage, God’s Legal Tender. In sum, Jack feels strangely one with all of Christendom this morning—which is not by any means a familiar way for him to feel—and Christendom seems to reciprocate those tender feelings, for all of it has turned out to see him off.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16107-15  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:16 AM

Now at last he begins to comprehend the immensity and power of the Mobb. Until this point he has seen it at a remove, like a man watching a play. Now there is a reversal. Jack is the poor player having his hour on the stage, and the audience is all of London. Or since so many appear to have come in from out of town, let’s just call it all of the Universe. They react to his merest gesture. They even react to things he hasn’t actually done. Seams of laughter rip through the crowd in response to jests he is rumored to have uttered. Not one person in an hundred even knows of his own knowledge that Jack is here, because most of them (as Jack recollects from having been a part of such Mobbs) can only see others’ backs. They have been drawn here by the legend that Jack Shaftoe will be drawn to Tyburn on a sledge, and having come, and being unable to see him, they get by on the suspicion that he is out there somewhere. Jack Ketch—still stung and dismayed by the loss of those two guineas—is without a doubt the foremost member of the audience, viewing Jack’s performance from, as it were, his own private box-on-wheels.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16136-38  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 02:19 AM

Jack stands up in his sledge and waves an arm. Ten thousand people surge to glimpse the great event. It is difficult to guess how many are crushed; but at least a hundred of them are projected over the kerb into the Ditch. Jack sits down, not wishing to be responsible for any more such mayhem. Another score of spectators tumble into the Fleet.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16165-79  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:22 AM

reaching around himself, groping for the ridiculous sword he’s hung on himself for the occasion, and half yanking it from its scabbard. In that moment every face in the room turns toward him. Mr. Threader snuffs out another star, lets another one fall from between his fingers, and reloads. “Dr. Waterhouse,” he says, mumbling a bit, probably because he is in the act of swallowing a bit of a guinea, “my old friend! Are you feeling quite all right?” “I am no friend of yours, sir!” Daniel cries, and makes to draw the sword all the way out; but then younger and stronger hands are on his arm, and someone has moved to block his path to Mr. Threader. “I am a true friend of Sir Isaac Newton—a man so dedicated, so loyal to his King and to his craft that he has come here to-day in spite of being laid low with illness!” Daniel shoves the sword back in to its sheath, spins, and takes a few paces back into the open space between the Jurors and Miss Barton. All eyes track him except for those of Mr. Threader, who is up to more conjuring. “You would do well to remember, sir, that it is your solemn duty to conduct this assay justly and truly, and in spite of the enmity that your profession bears toward Sir Isaac. The Lords of the Council—” and here Daniel turns to gesture with one hand toward the door of the side chamber. The unfamiliar scabbard swings around and whacks him on the ankle, which gives him an idea—he hooks a toe over it, flails his arms, and tumbles to the floor. It’s all the Jurors can do not to laugh out loud. But soon enough they are struck dumb by two very different, yet equally mesmerizing sights: first of all Catherine Barton rushing forward and bending down to assist Daniel, so that everyone’s able to stare down her bodice. Second, the Duke of Marlborough striding in from the next room in high dudgeon.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16200-16205  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:25 AM

He sets this into the depression in the top of the cupel—for that is the name of the cube of burnt bone ash. The sample fits into this neatly, recalling diagrams Daniel once studied in Geometry of spheres inscribed within cubes. William carries the tray over and sets it beside the furnace. A pair of tongs awaits. He uses these to pick up the cupel and thrust it into the heart of the furnace. It is dark and gray at first, but in a few moments it begins to absorb and then to give back some of the radiance in which it’s immersed. The lead softens and sags. William Ham consults his watch. A dome of surface tension forms in the cupel as its contents become liquid. The gray ash darkens as the molten metals saturate it.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16223-27  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:31 AM

HOLBOURN OUGHT TO BE the Valley of the Shadow of Death for Jack. Perhaps he’d see it that way if he were facing forwards, watching Tyburn creep toward him. But they’ve faced him the other way, towards the London he’s leaving. There is intended to be a message in this: he is supposed to be looking back ruefully on his traitorous doings. But it is not working out thus. Jack is a spark dragged through a trench full of gunpowder. Far from being the Valley of the Shadow of Death, it is a roaring flume of vibrant riotous life, perfectly arrayed for viewing by Jack, and as such, a great distraction for one who really ought to be attending to his sins.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16291-302  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:40 AM

Even if Ketch removed his hood, the face beneath would be no more expressive than is the black leather mask. He has gone into a cool professional mode. In a way, revenge is easy for Ketch, because he need only carry out the Court’s sentence to the letter, and put him to death in terrorem. Jack now wonders whether this strategy was a good idea. A younger man would be scared. But it’s normal to have second thoughts at this stage. It’s the sign of a good plan. He is expected to say a few words now. “I, Jack Shaftoe, also known as L’Emmerdeur, the King of the Vagabonds, Ali Zaybak, Quicksilver, Lord of Divine Fire, Jack the Coiner, do hereby repent of all my sins and commend my soul to God,” he says, “and ask only that I receive a decent Christian burial, with all of my quarters, if they can be rounded up, to be put together in the same box. And my head, too. For it is well known that the College of Physicians is gathered, as I speak, round their dissection-table on Warwick Lane, sharpening their scalpels, and getting ready to cut my head open so that they may rummage through my brains looking for the house where the Imp of the Perverse has dwelt lo these many years. I would prefer that this not happen. Having said that, Mr. Ketch, I turn myself over to your care. And I ask only that you check your knotwork twice over, for last night when Betty came to service me and these other fellows in the Condemned Hold, she was saying that you had quite lost your enthusiasm for the job, and were looking for a position as a maid-of-all-work. Step to it, man, the Physicians are
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16291-307  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:40 AM

Even if Ketch removed his hood, the face beneath would be no more expressive than is the black leather mask. He has gone into a cool professional mode. In a way, revenge is easy for Ketch, because he need only carry out the Court’s sentence to the letter, and put him to death in terrorem. Jack now wonders whether this strategy was a good idea. A younger man would be scared. But it’s normal to have second thoughts at this stage. It’s the sign of a good plan. He is expected to say a few words now. “I, Jack Shaftoe, also known as L’Emmerdeur, the King of the Vagabonds, Ali Zaybak, Quicksilver, Lord of Divine Fire, Jack the Coiner, do hereby repent of all my sins and commend my soul to God,” he says, “and ask only that I receive a decent Christian burial, with all of my quarters, if they can be rounded up, to be put together in the same box. And my head, too. For it is well known that the College of Physicians is gathered, as I speak, round their dissection-table on Warwick Lane, sharpening their scalpels, and getting ready to cut my head open so that they may rummage through my brains looking for the house where the Imp of the Perverse has dwelt lo these many years. I would prefer that this not happen. Having said that, Mr. Ketch, I turn myself over to your care. And I ask only that you check your knotwork twice over, for last night when Betty came to service me and these other fellows in the Condemned Hold, she was saying that you had quite lost your enthusiasm for the job, and were looking for a position as a maid-of-all-work. Step to it, man, the Physicians are waiting—” And that is all he can get out, for during this last bit, Ketch has slung the loose end of the rope over the timber above, and pulled it taut. Very taut. Earlier, he’d promised to put a lot of slack in it and give Shaftoe a nice long drop, so that it would be over quickly; but that was before Shaftoe breached a certain implied contract. Ketch pulls the rope so taut that Jack is only appearing to stand on the cart; in truth, the tips of his toes are barely grazing the floor-boards now. “I shall tend to you in a few minutes’ time, Jack,” he mumbles into Shaftoe’s ear.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16312-22  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:45 AM

One of these is a solitary man, dressed in a monk’s robe. Come to think of it, he’s one of the monks who was escorting the Catholic priest up Holbourn. He takes up a position in the open, next to the giant butcher block. The man’s hood is drawn nearly closed, so that he looks out at the world down a tunnel of black homespun. He turns to face Jack, cleverly arranging it so that a tube of sunlight will shine onto his face. Jack’s expecting Enoch Root or, barring that, some wild holy man. Instead he recognizes the face of his brother Bob. And that explains how a lone monk is able to be here at all, because Bob, of course, knows his way around the King’s Own Black Torrent Guard. For one glorious moment of stupidity, Jack supposes that some kind of rescue is about to happen. Then there’s a moment of terror as he wonders if Bob is going to run up and hang from his legs to kill him fast. Or barring that, perhaps he’ll pull a pistol and put Jack out of his misery directly. The cord snaps! Jack drops a couple of inches, the noose clubs him in the back of the head, the rope draws tighter. Jack keeps watching his brother. Now, as in the early years of his life, there is no one else in the world.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 16322  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:45 AM


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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16322-29  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:45 AM

Bob until now has kept his hands together in front of him, tucked into the capacious sleeves of his garment. Now, seeing Jack’s distress, he draws them apart, and holds them up in the air like a saint. The sleeves churn. Two larks fly out of the right one, and a blackbird from the left. They flutter aimlessly about the gallows for a few moments, then identify it as Not a Real Tree, and ascend into the light. Jack feels the pressure of the world being relieved. He has no trouble taking the birds’ meaning: they have escaped. All three of them. They are headed for America. There is a roaring. He cannot know if it is the blood in his ears, or the Mobb, or, perhaps, a legion of demons and a choir of angels fighting for possession of his soul. Jack rolls his eyes high up in their sockets, trying to keep those birds in view. The sky, which was blue a moment ago, has turned uniformly gray, and its compass is narrowing. It shrinks to a lead coin with two white birds and a black one minted on its face.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16376-82  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:51 AM

Daniel glances at Barnes, who is going through a chrestomathy of head-shaking, throat-slitting, eye-bulging, and hand-waving. But Marlborough is oblivious; he’s got eyes only for the Lords of the Council, and the Hanoverians. He goes on, “Would the Juries care to make a preliminary report?” The Pesour and the Fusour make after-you gestures at each other. Finally William Ham steps forward, and bows. “We shall of course draw up the document presently, and give it to the King’s Remembrancer,” he says, “but it is my great pleasure to inform my lords that the assay has been performed, and it has proved beyond doubt that His Majesty’s currency is sounder than it has ever been in all the history of this Realm, and that the highest accolades are owed to the Master of his majesty’s Mint, Sir Isaac Newton!”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16382-92  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:52 AM

Isaac is diffident, but the Fusour’s announcement starts up a round of hip-hip-huzzahs that only bates when he steps forward and bows to the room. Which he does gracefully and with perfect balance; he has not looked so spry in years. Daniel searches the room for Miss Barton, and only finds her when she appears at his side, seizes him by the right arm, and plants a kiss on his cheek. “It is my very great honor,” says Isaac, “to do what I can for my country. Some distinguish themselves in battle” (a nod at Marlborough), “others in sage advice” (a nod—astonishingly—at Daniel), “still others in grace and beauty” (Miss Barton). “I make coins, and strive to make them sound, as a foundation on which the Commerce of this Realm may be builded by her thrifty and industrious Citizens.” A nod to the Jurors. “There is another thing that you do very well, besides making coins, is there not, Sir Isaac?” This Marlborough enunciates very clearly, for the benefit of the Hanoverians, and he waits for Johann von Hacklheber to effect a translation before he goes on: “I refer, of course, to your duty of prosecuting those who make bad coins.” “That, too, is the charge of the Master of the Mint,” Isaac admits.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16465-68  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:57 AM

“It sounds as though he was re-animated by the Elixir Vitae,” Leibniz admits. “I thought you didn’t believe in such things,” says Johann, and gestures at the gold plates all around. “I don’t think about such matters the way he does,” says Leibniz, “but I can’t rule out the possibility that monads, ordered in the right way, might do things that would seem like miracles to us.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16471-77  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:58 AM

been living forever,” Leibniz says, “such as your supposed great-uncle, and my benefactor, Egon von Hacklheber. Or Enoch Root, as others know him. Let us suppose that Enoch knows how to manipulate the Subtile Spirit in such a way as to heal diseases and extend life. What of it, then? What has he accomplished? How has it changed anything?” “Hardly at all,” says Johann. “Hardly at all,” agrees Leibniz, “save that from time to time he may grant a few years’ undeserved life to someone who would otherwise have perished. Enoch must have been asking himself, these last couple of millennia, what is the point of it all. It is obvious that he took a lively interest in Natural Philosophy, and did what he could to foster it. Why?”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16477-87  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 04:12 AM

“Because Alchemy was not bringing him satisfaction.” “Evidently not. Now, Johann, it would seem that Sir Isaac has been granted a few more years by Alchemy, and yet clearly it has not brought him any happiness or enlightenment that he did not possess before. Which gives us another hint as to why it does not satisfy Enoch. You point out that I, likewise, could use the Solomonic Gold in this cellar to extend my life. Let us suppose that it’s true. But obviously this is not the goal toward which I have been directed by Enoch, or by Solomon Kohan. On the contrary! Those two have sought to sequester the gold and keep it out of the hands of the one man who knows how to wield it: Isaac Newton. For me to take up Alchemy at my age, and melt those plates down to make an elixir—why, it’d be Doctor Faustus all over again! And with the same dismal result in the last act.” “I can’t bear to see Newton triumph, while you sicken and dwindle here in Hanover.” “I’ve got all of the Solomonic Gold. He doesn’t. That is a triumph. It does not make me glad. No, triumph will not be mine if I only ape what he did. That is surrender. If I am to outlive Newton, it will not be by extending the span of my life with unnatural coctions. We must do all in our power to see that the Logic Mill is built.” “In St. Petersburg?” “Or wherever, and whenever, some great prince sees fit to build it.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16487-95  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 04:13 AM

“I’ll make arrangements to have some stout crates built,” says Johann, “and delivered here. I’ll take them into this cellar myself and pack the golden cards into them with my own two hands, and nail them shut so that no one will have cause to think that they contain anything more valuable than musty old letters. Once that is done, you may ship them to St. Petersburg, if that is the right place for them, with a stroke of a quill. But if what I hear from Russia has any color of truth, the Tsar is distracted, and may not see the thing through.” Leibniz smiles. “That’s why I was careful to say whenever some great prince sees fit to build it. If not the Tsar, then someone else who will come along after my death.” “Or after mine, or my son’s or my grandson’s,” Johann says. “Human nature being what it is, I fear that this will only happen when the things that the Logic Mill is good at become important to a war. And that is a difficult thing to imagine.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16495-96  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 04:14 AM

“Then pray bring up your son and your grandson, if you have any, to be imaginative. Then impress on them the importance of looking after those dusty old crates in the Leibniz-Archiv.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16496-503  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 04:15 AM

“The Princess of Wales,” says Johann, holding up a hand, “has become most imperious since she got her new lands and titles, and has ordered me to find a woman I have some actual prospect of marrying. My dear mother has weighed in, too. I beg you not to start.” “Very well,” says Leibniz, and lets a respectful silence fall. “That must have been a difficult conversation. I am sorry.” “It was a difficult conversation that I had been expecting,” says Johann, “and I find it’s easier to have it behind me than in front of me. I am here now. I’ll go to London from time to time, and dance with her at a ball, and take tea with my mother, and remember. Then I shall return to Hanover and live my life.” “What about them? What do you hear from those two great ladies?” “They are on this Continent,” says Johann, “mending fences with their cousins, now that the war is finally over.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16619-23  | Added on Friday, September 22, 2017, 11:03 PM

Jimmy and Danny burst out of the shed. Danny wipes his blade on his pant-leg and re-sheathes it. Jimmy hollers to the other indentured servants: “You all can take the rest of the day off! And when Mr. Ickham comes back from Charleston, and wants to know what happened, why, you just tell him that it was done by the Red-Neck Ronin, and that we went that-away!” And he thrusts his wakizashi into the un-tamed West. Then he sheathes it and turns to his companions. “Let’s head for the hills, boys.”
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16697-99  | Added on Saturday, September 23, 2017, 01:39 AM

This journey began with a wizard walking into his door. Now it ends with a new kind of wizard standing on an Engine. Gazing down on this boiler from above, the wizard has the sense of being an angel or demon regarding Earth from Polaris.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16703-6  | Added on Saturday, September 23, 2017, 01:40 AM

At some point the whole System will fail, because of the flaws that have been wrought into it in spite of the best efforts of Caroline and Daniel. Perhaps new sorts of Wizards will be required then. But—and perhaps this is only because of his age, and that there’s a longboat waiting to take him away—he has to admit that having some kind of a System, even a flawed and doomed one, is better than to live forever in the poisonous storm-tide of quicksilver that gave birth to all of this.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Highlight Loc. 16707  | Added on Saturday, September 23, 2017, 01:40 AM

He has done his job. “I’m going home now,” he says.
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The system of the world (Neal Stephenson)
- Bookmark Loc. 16811  | Added on Sunday, September 24, 2017, 07:14 PM


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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 498 | Loc. 7623-28  | Added on Sunday, September 24, 2017, 07:37 PM

The main Polish force was by now established on the Mont Ormel escarpment to the north-east of Chambois. Short of fuel and ammunition, they received some supplies by parachute drop. The Poles, not surprisingly, saw the battle as an intensely symbolic contest between their white eagle and the black Nazi eagle. Poland’s proud and tragic history was constantly in their thoughts. The 1st Armoured Division’s insignia was the helmet and Husaria eagle wings worn upright on the shoulders of the Polish knights who saved Vienna from the Turks 300 years earlier. Their commander, General Maczek, declared with poignant pride, ‘The Polish soldier fights for the freedom of other nations, but dies only for Poland.’
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Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review Books Classics) (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky)
- Highlight on Page 137 | Loc. 2361-65  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:34 PM

A dingily bilious sun was seeping through a tent of black clouds. Passersby, spitefully elbowing elbows, were rushing along the pavement. People thronging the doorways of shops tried to pummel their way through and stuck fast, their faces flushed with spite and fury, their teeth bared. The running boards floating along the tram tracks were jammed with passengers: Chests tried to climb up on backs, but the backs, brandishing spiteful shoulder blades, would not give an inch; tangles of hands gripped the vertical handrails with a predatory vigor, like flocks of carrion crows fighting over prey. 
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Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review Books Classics) (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky)
- Highlight on Page 138 | Loc. 2379-84  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:35 PM

The competitor who came up with the motto Oderint [1] might well have lost out to the witty and scientifically sophisticated idea of forcing the sun itself to pay for the damages it had inflicted on the planet: Heightened solar activity in some parts of the world should, this project said, be boosted to temperature levels capable of doing work by converting heat into mechanical energy. The idea of harnessing the sun to rebuild the globe’s half-ruined industries was close to winning the seven-figure prize, but . . .the corners of the commission chairman’s eyes looked a little yellow, while the lenses of the deputy chairman’s pince-nez had a prickly glint. 
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Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review Books Classics) (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky)
- Highlight on Page 139 | Loc. 2389-93  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:36 PM

Whereas other emotions—tenderness, say, or affection—are accompanied by a certain loss of muscle tone and relaxation of the motor system, spite is muscular to the core; it’s all tensed muscles, clenched fists, and gritted teeth. But this feeling has no outlet; it is muted, muffled, and socially dimmed, like an oil lamp, which is why it produces soot but no light. So then, remove the mufflers, let that bile burst the social dams, and this yellow coal, as I call it, will set our factory flywheels spinning again, a million lamps will shine with electric bile and . . .I must ask you not to interrupt . . . How can this be done? If I may have a piece of chalk, I will draw you a diagram of my myeloabsorberator: 
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Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review Books Classics) (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky)
- Highlight on Page 146 | Loc. 2499-2502  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:47 PM

The yellow-coal conversion had naturally led to unrest among workers in obsolete industries. Meanwhile, the capitalists, hand in glove with CANOE, abandoned the old policy of appeasing workers who bore grievances against the exploiter class. Now that hatred of exploitation could be . . .exploited for industrial purposes, collected by an absorberator, and pumped into engines and machines. 
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Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review Books Classics) (Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky)
- Highlight on Page 149 | Loc. 2540-44  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:53 PM

The governments of all nations were making every effort to avert a full-blown crisis. They needed to raise spite-radiation to former levels by artificial means. They decided to cut off people’s heat and electricity from time to time. But those people with their bankrupt livers simply sat, patiently and uncomplainingly, in their enormous now-dark rooms and didn’t even try to move closer to their rapidly cooling stoves. Even had it been possible, it would have been pointless to turn on a light to see the expressions on their faces: Their faces wore no expression at all. They were vacant, rosy-cheeked, and mentally dead. 
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 502 | Loc. 7696-7703  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:58 PM

‘Bits of uniform were plastered to shattered tanks and trunks and human remains hung in grotesque shapes on the blackened hedgerows. Corpses lay in pools of dried blood, staring into space as if their eyes were being forced from their sockets. Two grey-clad bodies, both minus their legs, leaned against a clay bank as if in prayer.’ Amid the skeletons of burnt trees, the detritus of war and of military bureaucracy lay all around, including typewriters and exploded mailbags. ‘I picked up a photograph of a smiling German recruit standing between his parents, two solemn peasants who stared back at me in accusation.’ It was a sharp reminder that ‘each grey-clad body was a mother’s son’. The writer Kingsley Amis, who also witnessed the scene, was struck by the massive number of draught animals which the Germans had used in their attempts to escape: ‘The horses seemed almost more pitiful, rigid in the shafts with their upper lips drawn above their teeth as if in continuing pain.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 504 | Loc. 7721-23  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:00 PM

British doctors with 6 General Hospital also had to deal with gas gangrene. They were in addition concerned with an epidemic of enteritis and the threat of typhus, when they discovered how many German prisoners were covered in lice: ‘Their blankets have been segregated from the other patients and washed before being used on any other patient.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 505 | Loc. 7742-47  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:03 PM

He missed his chance of closing at the Seine by doing the envelopment at Falaise. Monty changed his mind and went for a short hook too late, perhaps because he was afraid of the Americans taking all the credit.’ These strictures certainly indicate the frustration which boiled among both British and American officers at the missed opportunity to destroy the German armies in Normandy entirely. They are unfair in some respects. It was Bradley’s decision to allow Patton to split Haislip’s corps at Argentan, not Montgomery’s. But there can be little doubt that Montgomery’s failure to reinforce the Canadians at the crucial moment constituted a major factor in allowing so many German troops, especially those of the SS panzer divisions, to escape.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 506 | Loc. 7757-59  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:05 PM

Patton’s Third Army had advanced much further than Bradley had realized. Patton, with his various corps spread over such a huge area, had to abandon his Jeep and take to the air. ‘This Army covers so much ground that I have to fly in Cubs most places,’ he wrote. ‘I don’t like it. I feel like a clay pigeon.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 507 | Loc. 7759-61  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:05 PM

Haislip’s XV Corps had moved from Dreux to Mantes on the Seine, where one of his regiments would cross the river on the night of 19 August. Patton, after a flying visit, proudly announced to Bradley that he had ‘pissed in the river that morning’.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 508 | Loc. 7780-85  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:08 PM

The German commander of Gross-Paris - ‘Greater Paris’ - was now Generalleutnant von Choltitz, the former commander of LXXXIV Corps on the Cotentin coast. Hitler had summoned Choltitz to the Wolfsschanze on the morning of 7 August when the attack on Mortain was beginning. ‘Hitler made me a speech for three-quarters of an hour, as though I were a public meeting,’ he complained later. Hitler, looking sick and bloated, raged at the plotters of 20 July. He claimed that he had unmasked the opposition at one blow and would crush them all. Choltitz was convinced that he really had become deranged and that the war was lost. Hitler, having calmed down, then gave him his orders for Paris. Choltitz had full powers as the commander of a ‘besieged fortress’ over all Wehrmacht personnel in Greater Paris. The city was to be defended to the end.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 508 | Loc. 7787-90  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:09 PM

Choltitz had indeed carried out Nazi orders faithfully. In British captivity that autumn, Choltitz said to General Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma, ‘The worst job I ever carried out - which however I carried out with great consistency - was the liquidation of the Jews. I carried out this order down to the very last detail.’76 (Choltitz, however, never faced a war crimes tribunal for these acts.)
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 511 | Loc. 7830-34  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:13 PM

On 17 August, the National Council of Resistance and its military wing held a meeting to debate the call to arms. The Communists, led by Rol, wanted to start immediately, even though the Resistance in Paris had little more than 400 weapons. Although the British had parachuted nearly 80,000 sub-machine guns to the Resistance in France, only just over 100 had reached Paris. The Gaullists were in a difficult position. In spite of Koenig’s instruction, they knew that if they refused to act, the Communists would seize the initiative and perhaps power in the capital.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 512 | Loc. 7837-42  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:14 PM

‘Along the rue Lafayette,’ he wrote, ‘coming from the luxury hotels around the Etoile, sparkling torpedoes pass by containing purple-faced generals, accompanied by elegant blonde women, who look as if they are off to some fashionable resort.’ The departure was accompanied by a great deal of last-minute looting. The contents of wine cellars were loaded on to Wehrmacht trucks, as well as rolls of carpet, Louis XVI furniture, bicycles and works of art. Parisians, who had tried to ignore their German occupiers during the last four years, now jeered them openly. Sylvia Beach, the founder of the bookshop Shakespeare & Company, described how a crowd of Parisians waved lavatory brushes at them, but then the angry and nervous soldiers opened fire.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 517 | Loc. 7924-27  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:31 PM

Elsewhere, one woman noted cynically that when the Canadians arrived, the girls who had compromised themselves the most during the German occupation were the first to approach the victors, ‘smiles on their lips and their arms full of flowers’. She also observed that when Allied troops threw chocolate and cigarettes to young women as they drove by, they waited until the truck had disappeared, then knelt down a little shamefacedly to pick them up.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 521 | Loc. 7978-80  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:36 PM

On 22 August, the FFI ended the truce and went on to a general offensive with the order ‘Tous aux barricades!’ On the same day, General von Choltitz received the clearest order from Hitler that Paris was to be destroyed.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 522 | Loc. 7991-94  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:37 PM

Eisenhower had already been weakening in his resolve to bypass Paris. ‘Well, what the hell, Brad,’ he said, ‘I guess we’ll have to go in.’ Bradley agreed that they had no option. Eisenhower had to sell the decision to General Marshall back in Washington as a purely military one to aid the Resistance. Roosevelt would be furious if he thought that the change in plan was an attempt to install de Gaulle in power.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 523 | Loc. 8019-23  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:40 PM

Ernest Hemingway, officially a war correspondent for Collier’s magazine, was far more interested in acting as an irregular soldier with the local Resistance. He openly carried a heavy automatic pistol, even though it was strictly illegal for a non-combatant. According to John Mowinckel, an American intelligence officer there, Hemingway wanted to interrogate a pathetic German prisoner hauled in by his new Resistance friends. ‘I’ll make him talk,’ he boasted. ‘Take his boots off. We’ll grill his toes with a candle.’ Mowinckel told Hemingway to go to hell and released the boy, who clearly knew nothing.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 524 | Loc. 8034-35  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:41 PM

While so many could think only of Paris’s liberation, senior American commanders were far more preoccupied with the advance on Germany.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 525 | Loc. 8042-45  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:42 PM

After de Gaulle had supped off cold C-Rations in the ornate surroundings of Rambouillet’s state dining room, Leclerc briefed him on his plan of attack. De Gaulle approved. ‘You are lucky,’ he said to him after a long pause, thinking of the glory that awaited the liberator of Paris. Camped out beside their vehicles in the sodden park and forest, the soldiers of the 2ème DB cooked their rations, cleaned their weapons and shaved carefully in preparation for the welcome which awaited them.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 528 | Loc. 8083-86  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:48 PM

One of the divisional chaplains, the Reverend Père Roger Fouquer, came across a terrible scene in a house partly demolished by a shell. He found two nuns kneeling by a young mother who, having just given birth, had been killed by a shell splinter through the chest. Her baby lay silently beside her dead body. Then the church bells rang out to celebrate liberation.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 532 | Loc. 8144-45  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:52 PM

It was the pealing of Le Bourdon which finally convinced the people of Paris. A woman refugee from Normandy was undressing for bed when she heard it. Then the street outside began to fill with people yelling, ‘They’re here!’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 532 | Loc. 8146-51  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:53 PM

At the far end of the rue de Rivoli from the Hôtel de Ville, in the anteroom to his office, Choltitz and his staff officers were drinking champagne from the Meurice’s cellar. On that humid August night, they were discussing the St Bartholomew’s Eve massacre of Huguenots in Paris and whether there were any similarities to their own position. When they heard the bells, Choltitz stood up and went through to his desk. He rang Generalleutnant Speidel and, once he was through, he held the receiver towards the window. Speidel knew immediately what it signified. Choltitz, who knew that he would not see Germany again for a long time, asked him to look after his family.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 533 | Loc. 8165-66  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:54 PM

Ecstatic citizens surged forward waving improvised flags and holding their fingers up in V for victory signs.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 533 | Loc. 8168-70  | Added on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:54 PM

Fouquer, who was wearing the same combat kit and black tank beret of the 50ème Chars de Combat, complained good-naturedly that ‘never in my life have I had cheeks so coloured by lipstick’. The soldiers called out to the women, ‘Careful! Don’t kiss him too much. He’s our chaplain.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 537 | Loc. 8223-30  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:00 AM

At 11.00 hours that morning, Colonel Billotte had sent an ultimatum via the Swedish consul-general, Raoul Nordling, to Generalleutnant von Choltitz. It demanded the surrender of the city by 12.15 hours. Choltitz sent back a message to say that the honour of a German officer prevented him from surrendering without a proper fight. Fifteen minutes after the ultimatum expired, Choltitz and his staff officers assembled for their last lunch together in the large dining room of the Hôtel Meurice. ‘Silent from the effort of showing no emotions, we gathered as usual,’ wrote Leutnant Graf von Arnim. Instead of sitting at a table near the window to enjoy the view, as was the custom, they took their places further back in the room. Bullets fired from the Louvre riddled the windowpanes and sent chunks of wall flying around. ‘But apart from that,’ Arnim added, ‘it was the same setting, the same waiter and the same food.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 538 | Loc. 8248-55  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:02 AM

Some junior officers and soldiers of the headquarters staff were not so fortunate when they were escorted outside by the FFI. A screaming crowd rushed at them to seize what they could. Arnim’s attaché case was wrenched from him. Hands searched their pockets, others grabbed spectacles and watches. German officers and soldiers were punched in the face and spat at. Finally, the prisoners were forced into three ranks and marched off. Their FFI escorts found it very hard to protect their prisoners and even themselves from the fury of the mob. Arnim saw ‘a bearded giant in shirtsleeves’ appear out of the crowd, put a pistol to the temple of his friend, Dr Kayser, who was in the row in front, and shoot him through the head. Arnim stumbled over the doctor’s body as he fell. According to Arnim, unarmed members of the Kommandantur transport company were also shot down in the Tuileries gardens after they had surrendered. Father Fouquer of the 2ème DB was shocked by ‘the crowd, often hateful when facing the enemy disarmed by others’.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 540 | Loc. 8269-73  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:04 AM

Gerow asked him when the Nazis would surrender. Choltitz replied that ‘the Americans had something to go home to’. The Germans, on the other hand, had ‘nothing to look forward to’. Gerow believed that Choltitz, who had been their opponent in Normandy, should have ‘surrendered Paris to V Corps’. This was certainly not a view shared by General de Gaulle. Gerow’s revenge was a calculated insult. ‘General Gerow, being in military command of Paris,’ his report continued, ‘set up the command post in the offices of Marshal Pétain in the Invalides.’
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 543 | Loc. 8317-23  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:09 AM

The city seemed to suffer from a collective hangover the next morning. David Bruce recorded in his diary that the previous day they had drunk ‘beer, cider, white and red Bordeaux, white and red Burgundy, Champagne, rum, Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados. . . the combination was enough to wreck one’s constitution’. ‘Slowly the tank hatches opened,’ wrote an American officer, ‘and bedraggled women crawled stiffly out.’ In the Bois de Boulogne, Capitaine Dronne went round pulling the young women out of his men’s tents. One of them made advances to him. To roars of laughter from his men, he replied, ‘Me, I don’t give a damn. I’m homosexual.’ The lovers of the night then breakfasted together on K-Rations round improvised campfires.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 544 | Loc. 8338-44  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:10 AM

Shooting broke out on the Place de la Concorde, causing panic and chaos. Nobody knows how it started, but the first shot may well have come from a nervous or trigger-happy Fifi. Jean-Paul Sartre, watching from a balcony of the Hôtel du Louvre, came under fire and Jean Cocteau, watching from the Hôtel Crillon, claimed unconvincingly that the cigarette in his mouth was shot in half. But a senior official in the Ministry of Finance was shot dead at a window and at least half a dozen others died in the cross-fire. De Gaulle was then taken by car to the cathedral of Notre-Dame. Cardinal Suhard was conspicuously absent. He had been prevented from attending because he had welcomed Pétain to Paris, and had recently presided over the memorial service in honour of Philippe Henriot, the Vichy minister of propaganda assassinated by the Resistance.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 545 | Loc. 8347-49  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:11 AM

‘Public order is a matter of life and death,’ he told Pasteur Boegner a few days later. ‘If we do not re-establish it ourselves, foreigners will impose it upon us.’ American and British forces now appeared to be seen as ‘foreigners’ rather than allies. France was truly liberated. As de Gaulle himself put it, France had no friends, only interests.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 546 | Loc. 8357-61  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:12 AM

Generals Bradley, Hodges and Gerow were joined by General de Gaulle at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, where they laid a wreath. Then the four men reviewed the march-past from a stand erected by American engineers out of a Bailey bridge turned upside down on the Place de la Concorde. It was entirely fitting that Norman Cota, now the commander of the 28th Division, should lead the parade. Few men had demonstrated so clearly, as he had done at Omaha, the need for determined leadership in battle.
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D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- Highlight on Page 547 | Loc. 8375-80  | Added on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 12:14 AM

Pogue himself was shaken to find that the Petit Palais had been taken over, with a large sign announcing the distribution of free condoms to US troops. In Pigalle, rapidly dubbed ‘Pig Alley’ by GIs, prostitutes were