A Sentimental Journey
By Laurence Sterne

  • Correction and annotation by Students and Staff of Marymount University, Sarah Abdel-Aziz, Maram Alfawzan, Mohammed Al-Hashemi, Anthony Benitez, Benji Cardonne, Zachary Emmons, Zeynab Eshaghbeigi, Aaron Galonis, Peyton Jacobs, Sakriya Nepal, Faith Oyedepo, Pierre Thomas, Hannah Tilahun, Gabriel Psallidas, Valdir De Souza Claros, Francheska Zapata
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London: printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, 1768.A facsimile copy of this book is available via Google BooksMr. Yorick = Laurence Sterne.With a list of subscribers.Reproduction of original from the British Library.English Short Title Catalog, ESTCT14747.Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library, 2007 OctoberAn open-source SGML copy of this book is available via ECCO-TCP.

Editorial Statements

Research informing these annotations draws on publicly-accessible resources, with links provided where possible. Annotations have also included common knowledge, defined as information that can be found in multiple reliable sources. If you notice an error in these annotations, please contact lic.open.anthology@gmail.com.

Original spelling and capitalization is retained, though the long s has been silently modernized and ligatured forms are not encoded.

Hyphenation has not been retained, except where necessary for the sense of the word.

Page breaks have been retained. Catchwords, signatures, and running headers have not. Where pages break in the middle of a word, the complete word has been indicated prior to the page beginning.

Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section.


Laurence Sterne. "A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy: By Mr. Yorick [2 Vols]." , printed for T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, 1768.. Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthologydev.lib.virginia.edu/work/Sterne/sentimental-journey-2vols. Accessed: 2021-12-03T13:55:13.42Z

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[Title Page]
Printed for T. BECKET and P. A. DE HONDT, in the Strand.
Page [Title Page]


a001 Sterne is using the word "sentimental" in its eighteenth-century context of emotion in opposition to reason. With the development of the novel as a form of writing came the sub-genre of the sentimental novel, which sought to celebrate emotion as a means to moral truth, and to similarly generate emotion in its readers.
a002"Quoth" means "Said" in modern day English (OED)
a003According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, in the 18th century a shirt was a piece of underwear made out of linen. they were usually bought in bulk if the owner could afford it so that a clean one could be worn daily. The image here shows a man's shirt from the mid 18th century, from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a004The "Dover stage" is a stage-coach going to Dover. This is how Yorick got to the boat that takes him to Calais. Here is an image (1747) by William Hogarth showing a stage-coach in the mid-eighteenth century. Image via Victoria and Albert Museum.
a005Given that the packet is "sailing at nine the next morning," this is likely a reference to a ship, and probably a ship that carries mail (OED).
a006A leather case or traveling bag. During the eighteenth century people used it as a suitcase to pack clothing and other necessary accessories for travel.
a007"Spleen" is a noun meaning deep anger (OED).
a008"The Bourbon...race" is a reference to a dynastic French family that long held the throne (OED).
a009A livre is an old French currency. Yorick is saying that each bottle of his burgundy costs 2 livres. (OED). For more general information on the livre, see Wikipedia.
a010Used in this context as a noun, "précieuse" is of French adoption and refers to a woman who is overly affected or delicate in her mannerisms (OED, n.A).
a011Materialism is a preference for material values at the detriment of moral or other values. According to the OED, the concept of materialism is related to matter or the material world. Materialism is “[a]n emphasis on or preference for that which is material, at the expense of spiritual or other values; (now) esp. the tendency to treat material possessions and physical comfort as more important or desirable than spiritual values; a way of life based on material interests” (OED, 2).
a012Calais is the major port of entry to France from England. It is located on the north coast of France just across the English Channel.
a013Someone who is puissant is powerful and influential (OED).
a014A sou is a form of small currency, 1/20th of a livre or 5 centimes (OED).
a015A tonsure is a bald spot that some monks would have due to shaving the tops of their heads. The image here shows a porcelain figurine of a seated monk, with tonsure, from 1755, housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a016Guido Reni was an Italian painter (1575-1642). He is mainly known for his religious work (Wikipedia).
a017Bramin are the members of high or religious caste in the Hindu religion (OED, n).
a018When he says Indostan, he is referring to Hindustan, which is also called India. Here there are more Bramins than any other part of world.
a019Franciscans are members of a Catholic religious organization characterized by a vow of poverty (Wikipedia).
a020Smote is the past tense of smite, which means to strike firmly. The word smite is often used in a religious context, but not here (OED).
a021The OED cites this passage in A Sentimental Journey as the first use of the word, which Sterne goes on to describe. This is a small carriage or chaise, an 18th century form of travel, for hire or owned by the wealthy of the time period.
a022Someone who is expatriated is someone who is outside of their native country (Merriam-Webster). Here Yorick is saying that mercy is against those people.
a023"Delinquent" in this line means one who violates rules or laws, especially debts or taxes (OED).
a023aThe word "felonious" is used in the context of this sentence to mean criminal or related to having committed a felony (OED).
a023bA sojourn is a temporary visit or stay at a place for a limited time. This can also mean vacation (OED).
a024Yorick classifies himself as a sentimental traveller, meaning that he is traveling for sentimental or emotional reasons.
a025This is a geographical protrusion at the southern tip of Africa. It was often considered very dangerous waters and was popular for Dutch shipping.
a026From the Dutch "mijnheer," this is a way to address a Dutchman in a friendly or respectful manner (OED). It was also used by non-Dutch people to refer to all people of Dutch descent, sometimes in a derogatory way.
a027An allusion to Sancho Panza, the donkey-riding squire to the absurd self-proclaimed knight, Don Quixote. The image here shows a painting of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza from 1840 by John Gilbert, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a028A carriage or chaise was an 18th-century form of travel for hire or owned by the wealthy of the time period. This "Travelling Chariot" (1790-1791) from the Victoria and Albert Museum was made by John Hatchett of London, England for James, 3rd Duke of Montrose (1755-1836). Typically a carriage for one or two people, a chaise has two wheels and usually accommodates one horse (Dictionary.com). As Sterne continues his story, though, it would seem that his post-chaise was probably four-wheeled and accommodated more than one horse.
a029A vis-à-vis is a carriage in which the travelers sit directly with the front travelers facing backward and the back travelers looking ahead. Vis-a-Vis is a French phrase which means “face to face” (OED).
a030More commonly known in French as "Mont Cenis," this is a pass from France to Italy located in the Alps. The carriage was "twice taken apart" to get it over the rugged terrain.
a030b"C'est bien vrai" is French for "It's true."
a031Hyde Park is a large park in London. In the eighteenth century, it was a common place for duels to take place (Wikipedia).
a032A duel is a battle between two people, usually with swords and later, pistols, that has been settled upon as a way of resolving a conflict (OED). It was falling out of favor in the eighteenth century.
a033A Turk is a person from the country of Turkey. In this context, Turk--and Jew--is used negatively as "an other." The map shown here, from 1814, includes Turkey (NYPL).
a034Gloves were routinely worn by both men and women during the eighteenth century. This is an image of women's gloves--or mittens--from the late 18th century, via the Victoria and Albert Museum. In Sterne's text, Yorick notes that the thumb and two forefingers were open.
a035A remise is an old term for a place to store horses or carriages (OED).
a036A colloquy is a formal conversation (OED add sense). A colloquy can take place in a small gathering or in a big conference. In the text, Yorick describes "a colloquy of five mi|nutes", meaning a short formal conversation.
a037The Tiber River is the third largest river in Italy that goes through the capital city of Rome. This image shows a late 19th century painting of the Tiber River by John Collingham Moore, housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a038 Contrary to the modern derogatory and highly sexualized definition, the word had a 17th-19th century meaning that ranged from neutral to positive connotation when describing a woman informally (OED, 3).
a039Esdras is a version of "Ezra," here referring to the biblical scribe. Yorick is referring to the time of Esdras, meaning 440-480 BCE (Wikipedia).esdras
a040Fortune was the Roman goddess of chance or luck; she is often depicted with a wheel, as in this 1541 engraving by Hans Sebald Beham (Britannica). personified
a041A snuff-box is a small, decorative box fashionable in the eighteenth-century as a device for holding powdered tobbacco, or snuff. The image included here shows a snuff box wrought in tortiseshell and inlaid with gold, held by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a042Amiens is a city situated north of the capital, Paris. Amiens is home to the Notre Dame cathedral, and it is known for its gothic architecture and design.
a043According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a cabal is a small group of people that are secretly planning to seize political power. The term is used in the text to signify the struggle in Yorick’s mind over whether or not he should offer the woman a place in his carriage.
a044An axiom is a generally accepted proposition (OED).
a045The grand tour was an educational journey that men of wealthy means would undertake across the major cities of Europe in order to become more cultured and civilized (OED)
a046Gallantry, used as an adjective in this context, describes actions politeness or courtliness to the female sex; men who are gallant are characterized by “polite or courteous bearing or attention to ladies” (OED)
a047A "guinea" is gold coin produced in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814. It was made of about a quarter of an ounce of gold, and it was called a "guinea" because it was made of gold mined in Guinea (Wikipedia). Twelve guineas was a notable sum of money in the eighteenth century.
a048Beersheba is a town in the northern part of the Negev region of Israel, and Dan, in the south. As a phrase, "from Dan to Beersheba" is used in the Bible on several occasions to refer to the tribes of Israel (Wikipedia).
a049A satirization of a real author; an allusion to Tobias Smollett, who published Travels Through France and Italy in 1766. "Smelfungus" has now come to mean a traveller who finds fault in every aspect of his or her travels (Merriam-Webster).
a050Mundungus" is the name Sterne has given to Dr. Samuel Sharp, a "hard-nosed, unimaginative English" travel writer, like Smollett, who was satirized as Smelfungus (Victorian Web).
a051The grand tour is a rite of passage for aristocratic young men in the 18th century. The journey typically involved three or four years of travel around Europe (Britannica).
a052Montriul is a town about 7km from Paris.
a053Spatterdashes, also known as spats, are extended gaiters or leggings, worn over boots or pants to keep them clean, especially when riding (OED). The image included here shows a pair of 19th-century lilac-colored spatterdashes made from silk and leather. These particular spatterdashes are held by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a054Used in this context a noun, "pasquinade" is of Italian adoption and refers to a public satirical writing meant to ridicule someone (OED).
a055In Greek mythology, Perseus is the son of Poseidon, God of the sea. Perseus was known for killing and beheading Medusa, as in this 19th century bronze sculpture, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a056Abdera is a place in Thrace, associated with the 8th labor of Hercules. Thrace is an ancient term for Eastern and Southeastern Europe (Getty TGN).
a057The French phrase, "place aux dames," is translated as "make room for the ladies" (Merriam-Webster).
a058Politesse is a French term, adapted by the English, to refer to politeness (OED).
a059A cuckold is, according to the OED, "[a] derisive name for the husband of an unfaithful wife." So, cuckoldom refers to the state of being a cuckold.
a060Nampont is a small town situated northwest of the capital, Paris (Getty TGN).
a061A postillion is a person who rides the leading horse or group of horses to guide them, especially when there is no one driving the carriage (OED).
a062"The deuce!" is an expression of incredulity, invoking the devil or the spirit of mischief (OED).
a063This passage demonstrates the use of the handkerchief as a symbol of a bond or relationship between the two characters. Typically, handkerchiefs were used as a fashion accessory and given as gifts. This handkerchief is embroidered with the letter "S," and it was originally given to Maria by Tristram Shandy, who had met her before Yorick does, here. The image included here is an 18th century embroidered handkerchief with a monogram, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a065An auberge is an inn (or public place for travelers to stay) in France (OED).
a066According to the OED, "apocrypha" are writings included in the Old Testament that are not considered authentic since they aren't genuine and have no authorship. In this context, Yorick is describing the long list of “inquiries after Madame de L***'s health” as apocryphal, meaning non-existent or made up.
a067A billet, from the French, is a short, informal letter (OED).
a068"'Tis" is a contraction of "it is" (OED).
a069The eighteenth-century was a letter writing period, and writing tools were sometimes elaborate, though here, Yorick is in a rush. Yorick's pen was likely a quill pen, or a feather from a turkey or a goose cut in a specific way with a pen-knife to absorb and release ink; ink was either in powder or liquid form, made with a variety of ingredients, and sometimes stored together in the inkwell with pounce, or a sandy substance made to blot the ink, as in this inkwell from the 1770s, via the Victoria and Albert Museum. Paper was typically made from fabric--linen or cotton--and sometimes treated to prevent over-absorption of ink
a070These items common to letter-writing in the period, sand and seal wax, were used to prepare the letter for sending. The "sand" Yorick calls for is pounce, which is, according to the OED, "[a] fine powder, made from pulverized sandarac or cuttle shell, used to prevent ink from spreading (esp. when writing on unsized paper) or to prepare the surface of parchment to receive writing" (pounce, n3.1). Wax was heated with a candle and dripped onto a folded letter, then impressed with a signet or mark to indicate the author. Read more about seal wax online.
a072A "billet doux" refers to a love letter (OED).

I am penetrated by the keenest pain, and at the same time reduced to despair by this unexpected return of the Corporal making our interview tonight the most impossible thing in the world.
But long live the joy! and all of mine will be thinking of you.
Love is nothing without feeling.
And the feeling is even less without love.
They say we should never be in despair.
It is also said that the Corporal stands guard Wednesday; then it will be my turn.
Each one has their turn.
In the meantime — Long live love! and long live the trifle!
I am MADAME, With all the most respectful and tender feelings,
all yours,

a073A flambeau is torch used to light up areas (OED)
a074Grissette is of French origin and refers to a young woman of the working class, often a shop assistant. It is also an low-quality fabric in gray, which was the common material used by such workers for their clothing (OED).
a076A wig or "periwig" is a styled wig worn formerly as a fashionable headdress by both women and men. Today, judges in the UK retain the wig as part of their professional clothing (OED). The image included here shows a fashionable young man wearing a wig. This image is from the 1780s and is held by the VAM.
a077A "periwig" is another type of wig; hence, a periwig-maker is a maker of periwigs.
a078According to Encyclopedia Britannica, this is French form of opera in which spoken dialogue alternates with musical numbers, song, and dance. The Opera Comique is also a French theatrical company of the eighteenth century and particular theater in Paris (Wikipedia). To learn more about eighteenth-century opera, see the Victoria and Albert Museum's introduction to opera.
a079A pair of ruffles is a piece of clothing--ruffled fabric that protrudes from a man's coat sleeve. The image here shows an eighteenth-century ruffle, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a080A louis d'or is a gold coin issued in the reign of Louis XIII (Wikipedia).
a081This is an idiomatic phrase meaning to be equalled with, to be in tune with (something or someone); sharing a mind and direction (Merriam-Webster).
a082Another idiomatic expression, this means to be in agreement (OED).
a083A French law "by which females were excluded from succession to the crown" (OED).
a084A shagreen case is a case of any kind made out of ray or shark skin. It was commonly used in the 17th and 18th century. The image included here shows a sharkskin shagreen case for glasses, from the early 20th century, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a085St. Cecilia is a patron saint of music and musicians (Britannica)
a086In this context, the parterre is "[t]he part of the ground floor of a theatre in front of the orchestra"; in the U.S., it is "the part of an auditorium beneath the galleries" (OED, 3).
a087Mr. Shandy the Elder refers to Toby Shandy, Tristram's father and Yorick's close friend, featured in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,
a088Here, the "box" is also a portion of the stage. Yorick is at the Opera Comique. The boxes are "[a]n exclusive, enclosed seating area within a theatre auditorium, for a limited number of people, typically located at various levels along the side of the stage" (OED 16a).
a089The orchestra is another portion of the space inside a theater--either the place where musicians sit, or the seating area for patrons near the front of the central seating area. See sense 2 in the OED.
a090In a theater, the side-boxes are boxes for private seating that are located along the sides of the theater. Typically, these seats afford a limited view of the stage--but full view of those who are seated there (OED 1).
a091Here, the queue is not a line one stands in--rather, as the context shows, it is a piece of hair that the dwarf cuts from the head (or wig) of the German standing in front of him. See sense 4 in the OED.
a092Used in this context as a noun, a "bon mot" is of French adaptation and it translates to "witty remark" (OED).
a095Tartuffe was a theatrical comedy performed in 1664 and written by the French playwright Moliere. It also refers to a religious hypocrite or an impostor (OED).
a095When Yorick asks if Madame Ramboulict wants anything, she replies, "Rien que pisser!" or "Nothing but to piss!"
a096A spring on Mount Parnassus, in Greece, thought of as "sacred to the Muses" (OED).
n097Bourgeoisie is used in this context as a noun. It refers to those who live in French towns. It is also more generally used to refer to the middle class (OED)
a100A fille de chambre a young chambermaid or a woman's personal maid. They usually would help make the beds or take care of the lady in her chambers. The image here shows a French lady and her fille de chambre, with her back turned, showing two caps for her lady to choose from; read more about this painting by François Boucher at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
a101Polonius was a character in William Shakespeare's Hamlet who gave notable advice to his son, Laertes, and was killed inadvertently by Hamlet. The image provided here, via the Victoria and Albert Museum, shows an 18th century rendering of the scene where Hamlet kills Polonius, who is concealed behind a curtain. Sterne would not have seen this particular performance.
a102Hamlet is a famous tragedy by William Shakespeare (1609). In one well-known scene, Hamlet speaks to the skull of the dead King’s jester, Yorick, which had been unearthed as the gravediggers were preparing a plot for Ophelia.
a103Quai means dock, platform, or street in French, but it is typically used to describe a street near the embankment of a river (OED). The Quai de Conti is a street in Paris located beside the Seine River. On the street, there is a row of shops where Yorick visits a bookstore. Here is an image of the Quai de Conti by Guilhem Vellut, via Flickr.
a104This is the title of a libertine novel by Crebillon, which translates to the wanderings of the heart and mind (Wikipedia). The image here is the title page of the first French edition in 1736, via Gallica. Sterne's novel is both sentimental and erotically suggestive.
a105The young woman carries a small green satin purse; the image here shows a more elaborate purse from the Victoria and Albert Museum.Note the sexual suggestiveness of the conversation here.
a106"Ribband" or riband is a word for a ribbon or a decorative strip of fabric or lace (OED).
a108Used in this context as a noun, "consanguinity" is of French origin and means the fact of sharing an ancestor (OED).
a109A passport in Sterne's time was usually a piece of paper issued by an authority--sometimes simply a letter by a well-known individual--granting safe conduct. Read more about the history of the passport at The Guardian and at Anna Thane's website Regency Explorer. The image included here, via Forum Auctions, shows a passport from 1640.
a109Yorick travelled to Paris just before the Seven Years' War ended. This demonstrates the political tensions between France and England at that time. According to information included in the OED, "The main issues of the war were the struggle between Britain and France for supremacy overseas, and that between Prussia and Austria for the domination of Germany. The British made substantial gains over France abroad, capturing French Canada and undermining French influence in India. The war was ended by the Treaties of Paris and Hubertusburg in 1763, leaving Britain the supreme European naval and colonial power and Prussia in an appreciably stronger position than before in central Europe" (OED, c2).
a110Yorick here refers to a small personal telescope that gentlemen who traveled frequently carried with them. Here is a very early example of a spy glass, via the British Museum.
a111Boulougne is a city on the coast of northern France, southwest of Calais (Britannica).
a112The Bastille was a castle built in Paris during the 14th century and used as a jail during the 17th and 18th centuries (OED). It was famously stormed during the French Revolution. The image here, via Wikimedia Commons, shows the Bastille.
a113"Cela n'empeche pas" is a common French phrase meaning one thing does not prevent the other.
a114Cavaliers are horsemen or knights, but someone who acts "cavalierly" is someone who is arrogant or haughty (OED, adj.)
a115Eugenius is a pseudonym Sterne gave to a fellow writer and friend, John Hall-Stevenson. Read more about Hall-Stevenson in this PMLA article by Lodwick Hartley.
a116According to the OED the word "pertinacity" means the state of being persistent, almost obstinantly so.
a117"Soliloquy" means to think out loud by yourself in disregard to anyone who could be listening (OED).
a118"Chymic" is an obsolete or no-longer-used term related to chemistry or alchemy (OED)
a119This is an important section in the novel as it expresses sentimental views regarding the inhumanity of slavery. Sterne corresponded with Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780), a well-known Black Briton and early symbol of abolition. According to an article on Sancho's letters from the Public Domain Review, "At the height of the debate about slavery, in 1766, Sancho wrote to Sterne encouraging the writer to lend his fame to help lobby for the abolition of the slave trade. 'That subject, handled in your striking manner,' wrote Sancho, 'would ease the yoke (perhaps) of many – but if only one – Gracious God! – what a feast to a benevolent heart!'" Note that Sancho seems to draw on Sterne's sentimental style; A Sentimental Journey was published in 1768.
a120Sterne refers here to a starling, a type of bird. Yorick’s starling was probably a European Starling (sturnus vulgaris), which he has put on his coat of arms or family crest. To read more about starlings, see the Cornell Ornithology Lab's All About Birds.
a121Situated to the west of Paris, Versailles is one of the most notable cities in France, known for an extravagant Palace and luxurious gardens. Attached is a photograph, via Wikimedia Commons of the Palace of Versailles.
a122Burgundy is a specific kind of red wine made in the Burgundy region of France (OED). The image here shows a bottle ticket from 1755, via the Victoria and Albert Museum, which would have been used to identify bottles or carafes of wine before paper labels, introduced in the 1790s (VAM).
a123Character is being used in this context as a noun. It refers to the specific features or signs that distinguish something or someone (OED).
a125Gallantry is used as a noun in this context, describing a polite or courteous attitude toward ladies--even a courtly show of devotion (OED).
a126A patisser is an individual selling pastries or patès en croute (OED).
a126.1A chevalier is a horseman in the armed forces. This individual is specifically a "Chevalier de St Louis," which is a class in the Order of Saint Louis (Wikipedia). La Fleur is appalled to find him selling food on the street.
a127A patè is a paste that is usually made from multiple ingredients that have been mashed up together. Typically it includes proteins such as meat or fish, and was sometimes encased in pastry (OED, n.3).
a128La Fleur knows the man is a Chevalier in the Order of St. Louis because he as seen the "croix" or cross of the order, which he wore from his coat. This would have indicated a highly decorated soldier.
a129A damask napkin is a napkin or piece of fabric made of damask. In this case, it is probably a "twilled linen" the weaving of which shows designs in the light (OED II.3.b)
a130Patrimony is used in this context as a noun. It refers to property inherited from one's father, or generally, through the ancestral line (OED).
a132"Patisserie" is a French word meaning pastry making or a shop that sells pastry (OED).
a133A place in northwest France, the capital of Brittany.
a134Martinico is another name for the island of Martinique, then a French colony. The image included here is an eighteenth-century map of Martinique held in the Library of Congress.
a135This term (or Marquess) is a title used to describe a wife or widow of a nobleman carrying the rank of Marquis. It is also used to refer to a woman holding the rank in her own right (OED).
a136The Palais-Royal is a palace built in Paris in 1639 (Wikipedia). It was raided, trashed and looted during Revolution of 1849, and during the French Revolution of 1789, it became the Palais de l'Égalité (Palace of Equality). Pictured here is the front of the Palais-Royal, now housing the French courts, via Wikimedia Commons.
a137This is probably a reference to the Luxembourg Palace, located in Paris and near the grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens. These are all sights that a traveler on the Grand Tour might see, but as a sentimental traveller, Yorick eschews.
a138The facade of the Palais du Louvre in Paris, or the Louvre Collonade, is a great example of classical architecture and often visited by those on the grand tour (Wikipedia). The photograph included here, via Wikimedia Commons and showing the Louvre Colonnade, is by Christian Bortes.
a139Yorick is here refering to women, identified, as the OED (sense A.I.f) notes, collectively, and "as expressing a quality considered as characteristic of the female sex"--that is, beauty.
a140The Transfiguration is a painting by Renaissance artist Raphael. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
a141The Count's English is not very strong, so Yorick points to his name, which appears in Hamlet, to introduce himself. In Shakespeare's play, Yorick was the King of Denmark's Jester, long since dead. A jester is a historical entertainer, usually a clown or a buffoon. In the accompanying image, from the Victoria and Albert Museum, you can see two popular jesters on the fairground stage.
a142Charles II, pictured here in the coronation painting by John Michael Wright (1661), was known as "the merry monarch" and his court, for a licentious or sexually free air. Read more about Charles II, who reigned from 1661-1685 at History Collection.
a144According to a footnote by Melvin New in his edition of A Sentimental Journey, this is a reference to a Dutch physician Johannes Bevoricius who wrote Commentary on the Generations of Adam, mentioned by Yorick here. According the footnote, sparrows in this text were described as lecherous and signs of sexual desire (123 n2).
a146A band-box is a “slight box of card-board or very thin chip covered with paper, for collars, caps, hats, and millinery; originally made for the ‘bands’ or ruffs” from the seventeenth century (OED).
a149A "drab colored coat" was specifically muted light brown or yellow brown in color (OED).
a151The OED describes a magazine as "[a] portable receptacle (usually for articles of value)," and it cites this instance of Sterne's work. The Grisset carries the laces she has for sale in her magazine.
a152This is a French phrase meaning "It is a derogation of nobility"--that is, it's unfitting of nobility (OED).
a153This is a proverbial phrase meaning great wealth achieved through colonial expansion. The East Indies were India, and the West Indies, the islands of the Caribbean. For more information, read "The Gold of the Indies" by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
a154Chaldea is located in what is today southern Iraq, along the Persian Gulf (Brittanica).
a155La Fleur is a name that historically referred to a soldier or a servant, and La Fleur is both. It also means "flower" or "blossom" in French, making it especially appropriate for this character (Ancestry.com).
a156La Fleur probably has a second-hand tricorne hat edged with sliver lace, which, according to the Fashion History Timeline, was popular throughout the period.
a157La Fleur has found a good second-hand coat and breeches of scarlet red. For an example of the kind of suit La Fleur might have found, see this salmon-pink French suit from the 1760s, housed in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. For a good history of fashion during the eighteenth century, see the Fashion History Timeline. and breeches of the same
a158The "Rue de Friperie" was a street--perhaps a real street name, but also likely simply a street with a lot of thrift stores on it--known as the place to find cheap second hand clothing.
a159For some exceptionally high quality images of men's fashion in the period, see The Elegant: Men’s Fashion of the 18th and 19th Century.
a160La Fleur has purchased a new bag for his wig. These "wig bags" would decoratively contain the queue or tail of the wig, as visible in this eighteenth-century European wig with various accoutrements. The bag is the black fabric item, and the queue of the wig is the braided tail. Image via Colonial Williamsburg.
a161While today the word "solitaire" might suggest a diamond, in this context, La Fleur is talking about his wig and his other pieces of second-hand clothing. In this sense, a solitaire is part of the wig-bag, with extra ribbons or fabric that is pulled around and tied in a bow at the neck. This painting by Philippe Coypel (1732), via Wikimedia Commons, shows the sitter in a red lace-trimmed waistcoat, a drab coat, and a shirt with lace ruffles. He also wears a bag-wig, with a solitaire--note the black fabric tied at his throat.
a162Garters, or pieces of fabric or ribbon that are tied around the leg to hold up stockings, would have been worn by both men and women during the period.
a163Ruffles in this context are sleeve accessories that are visible beneath a coat or at the end of the sleeve of a dress. They can be separate from the shirt. Here, La Fleur has purchased a pair of second-hand muslin sleeve ruffles. The image included here shows mid-century men's sleeve ruffles in linen, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a165Hair "dressed in the first style" means that La Fleur's hairstyle was at the height of fashion.
a166La Fleur asks Yorick for a day off to take his girlfriend out.
a167"Service" here refers to the state of being in the employ of someone else (see sense 8a in the OED). Hence, "sons and daughters of service" are those men and women whose lives are devoted to serving others--chambermaids, cooks, footment, and so on.
a168François Rabelais is a French author and humanist (ca.1494-1553), noted for his satires (Your Dictionary).
a169Gothic or blackletter was a typeface, derived from medieval germanic calligraphic lettering of the same kind. In the image here, via Wikimedia Commons, the main body of the text is in blackletter or gothic type (Wikipedia).
a170Jan Gruger (1560-1627) and Jacob Spon (1647-1685) were scholars; hence Yorick's comparison of his contemplation of the Burgundy wine to that of these scholars on an ancient "nonsensical inscription."
a171The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge of many that cross the Seine in Paris. The image here, showing the bridge, was taken by Sumit Surai.
a172A ballustrade is a row of short, often decorative pillars, in a railing (OED). The image included here shows an English example of an eighteenth-century iron balustrade, via the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a173A Gascon is a person from Gascony; however, it had come also to mean someone who brags or boasts, traits stereotypically associated with Gascons (OED).
a174Used in this context as a noun, a harquebuss is a "matchlock gun invented in the 15th century which was portable but heavy and was usually fired from a support” (OED). Pictured here is a 19th-century photograph of harquebusses, from the Victoria and Albert Museum
a175A lanthorn is an older way of referring to a lantern, or something that gives light. The image here, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, shows a young woman reading ballads by the light of a paper lantern.
a176A notary is a lawyer or a legal authority who overlooks the signing of documents (OED).
176.1An ink-horn was a container for ink. This photograph from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows a variety of eighteenth-century glass ink horns. Unlike ink stands, ink horns (the earliest were made of animal horn) were meant to be portable (OED).
a176.2For more information on wills int the eighteenth century, read this engaging post from Georgiana.
a177A nosegay is a sweet-smelling bunch of flowers or herbs (OED).
a178Of French origin, a fiacre is a small horse-drawn carriage (OED)--or "hackney coach" as Sterne notes.
a179The word "vestal" suggests sexual purity or chastity (OED).
a180Used in this context as a noun, "esprit" is of French adaptation and is defined as a lively and witty person (OED).
a181According to the OED, a coquette is "A woman (more or less young), who uses arts to gain the admiration and affection of men, merely for the gratification of vanity or from a desire of conquest, and without any intention of responding to the feelings aroused; a woman who habitually trifles with the affections of men; a flirt."
a182A person who believes that God's existence is determined through logic and exploration of the world (OED).
a183A devotee is one who is religiously zealous or superstitious, and often extremly so (OED).
a184A coterie is an exclusive circle or society of people, or an elite club (OED).
a1853The Bourbonnois is an area of France. According to Brittanica, in the 18th century "different parts of Bourbonnais formed parts of five [Catholic] dioceses. . . . The principal towns of Bourbonnais were Moulins (the capital), Gannat, Montluçon, and Lapalisse. The province had a military government with headquarters at Moulins" (Brittanica). The image included here shows where the Bourbonnais existed in historical France, via Wikimedia Commons.
a186Yorick here refers to either Tristram Shandy or Tristram's father, Toby Shandy. All three characters were featured in Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.
a187Don Quixote is paradigmatically referred to as "the Knight of the Woeful Countenance."
a188Likely a reference to a silk hairnet, similar to the wig-bag that La Fleur procures from the second-hand store.
a190A pipe in this sense is not likely something Maria is smoking; rather, it is a simple musical instrument, in keeping with her pastoral setting.
a191Maria has a little dog with her; pets were increasingly common in the eighteenth century, and often were objects of satire, though not in this case. To read more about the history of lapdogs, see this article from BBC3.
a192According to the OED, a poplar a "fast-growing [deciduous tree], sometimes narrowly erect"; it typically grows in the northern hemisphere and is characteristic of the French countryside. The image here shows a row of French Lombardy poplars in England, by Mike Finn via Flickr
a194Although the pictured flagon is from the early 19th century, this is the fashion in which the flagon referenced in the text would've looked like. Typically used to store wine; could have been made of pottery or metal (OED). Here is an image of an early 19th century rendering of a flagon, via National Gallery of Art, Index of American Design
a195A sabot is a wooden shoe commonly worn among the lower classes up to the 19th century (OED, Wikipedia). The image here shows a 19th century French sabot, via the Victoria and Albert Museum. Knowing the clothing the characters are wearing allows the reader to get a good visual idea of them.
a196A vielle--or a hurdy-gurdy--is a musical instrument mostly used by peasants and "associated with pastoral music" (VAM). Here is an image of an 18th-century French vielle from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
a197Used in this context as a noun, "voiturin" is of French origin and is defined as a hired person who drives a carriage (OED).
a198"Cataracts" are the mythological flood gates of heaven that hold the rain described in the Old Testament (OED).
a199A person from the north-west region of Italy, close to France, which is known for its proximity to the Alps (OED).
a200A Lyonnais is a person from Lyon, a city in the southern part of France near the Alps.
a201Here, "articles" refer to "[e]ach of the distinct heads or points of an agreement or treaty" or "a set of these points comprising a formal agreement" (OED, 3a).
a202A portion of a legal document that makes a claim or statement (OED, n).


auth1All the effects of strangers (Swiss and Scotch excepted) dying in France, are seized by virtue of this law, tho' the heir be upon the spot—the profit of these contingencies being farm'd, there is no redress. [Sterne's note]
auth2A chaise, so called in France, from its holding but one person. [Sterne's note.]
auth3Vide S----'s's Travels. [Sterne's note]
auth4Post horse. [Sterne's note.]
auth5Nosegayn177. [Sterne's note.]
auth6Hackney-coach. [Sterne's note.]
auth7Plate, napkin, knife, fork, and spoon. [Sterne's note.]