Notes for Pages 40-58.
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Page 40: The free tables were a mainstay of Universities at this time. Scholarship students would be awarded a place at cafeteria tables specifically designated “free of charge” for one or two meals a day. The food was not fantastic (think “spam, spam, spam on spam”), but it would keep you alive on the cheap.
The Rector was the rough equivalent of the college president: in charge of PR, overseer of all the committees and bodies within the school, chair of the Senate, head of the disciplinary Court of Justice, and so on.
Page 41: it’s not a working clock. Alas.
Page 42: As mentioned before, Medicine was one of the major disciplines, along with Law and Theology. You could theoretically switch, but then, nobody cared too strongly how long you stuck around – students would drift in and out, a large number never making it through a particular degree. Hans Ruder is probably one of those Super Seniors you see lying around the quad playing hacky sack and hitting on pre-freshmen.
They’re likely not drinking water (not even Liesl). Water at the time was often unsanitary and foul-tasting, so in many places you would have “small beer”, a very diluted, mooshy ale made from the second or third take on a single batch of brewer’s mash.
This wasn’t looked on with any particular horror, even by religious folk, because alcohol content rarely hit 3% – it made normal ale look like jet fuel in comparison, and it was especially pushed on children and servants. It was particularly popular in colonial America. John Adams pretty much lived off the stuff.
Page 44: Yeah, Lucien’s not being particularly canonical, here – even Milton at least makes Lucifer rebel out of jealousy for the coming Christ. Romanticism and its big ole focus on sexy, brooding, tragic individualist heroes didn’t exist yet, but Lucien probably met Percy Shelley when he was a teenager and caused it all.
Page 45: And then after the ANCHOR escapement, this guy named Graham figured out how to jigger it so that the constantly changing temperature of the pendulum itself wouldn’t throw the clock off-rhythm (by hollowing out the bob and filling it with liquid mercury), and then this guy Harrison refined it still further in 1761 and if Luther and Johann hear this lecture one more time they will scream.
Page 46: Little bits of the main shop, here, closed up for the night.
The only other room on the ground floor, besides the study, is the kitchen and its pantry in the back of the house. Only the better-off or non-merchant types could boast a fully residential house with a separate parlor and dining room.
Page 48: That pocketwatch on the right side of the table? Totally has a compass attached to the glass lid. The iPhone of its day.
Lucien is saying “Good night, Colleague.” Because he’s a complete dweeb.
Page 49: And Luther is saying “Good night, companion.” Because he’s a complete dweeb.
Page 53: To be honest, the whimsically-inclined daughter of a converted Jewish clockmaker and an ex-bourgeois Pietist living in a small trade village in 18th century Germany probably doesn’t have dazzling prospects in her future. Luther can angst all he wants, but his sister has it worse. Being a girl in just about any era of the past? No good.
Page 59: It’s surprisingly hard to find good reference for carriages – or at least for the sorts of carriages used by normal people rather than crazed Hungarian princes. In the end I just conceded to destiny, found my DVD of Sleepy Hollow, and did some freeze-frame flim-flammery on the opening scenes where Martin Landau gets his head sliced off.
So if you’re an 18th century carriage enthusiast and can tell exactly where I screwed up – don’t judge me too harshly, and send your hatemail to Tim Burton.
The horse gear, on the other hand, is from an actual source. So I feel good about that.
Lastly, “Tausend Dank” = “A thousand thanks.”
Page 57: Luther just made a very bad Spanish pun. I apologize on his behalf.