Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tom Sawyer's and Huckleberry Finn's Coat of Arms


Chapter XXXVIII

          Before Tom develops his unnecessarily complicated rescue plan for Jim, he tells Huck that they need to have a coat of arms. 
"On the scutcheon we’ll have a bend or in the dexter base, a saltire murrey in the fess, with a dog, couchant, for common charge, and under his foot a chain embattled, for slavery, with a chevron vert in a chief engrailed, and three invected lines on a field azure, with the nombril points rampant on a dancette indented; crest, a runaway n-----r, sable, with his bundle over his shoulder on a bar sinister; and a couple of gules for suporters, which is you and me; motto, Maggiore fretta, minore atto.  Got it out of a book – means the more haste the less speed.”
          Huck asks him to explain what it means, but Tom says that it does not matter. 

Here is somewhat of an explanation:

"On a shield-shaped object...a gold band from upper (left) corner to lower (right) corner, inside bend a reddish-purple diagonal cross, with a dog lying down with head up, with a chain underneath his foot, (and here is where it was confusing:) an inverted "V" at top with points outward, three scalloped lines on blue, with deep v-shaped points at upper third of shield; above the shield, a black image of runaway slave with bundle over shoulder (though there is no such thing as a bar sinister); Tom and Huck as supporting elements of the shield (although gules means red - it is said that Twain used this word facetiously to mean ghouls); and then the motto."

Last year, my kids and I studied a little blazonry to make our own coat of arms, and I wanted to see if anyone was able to develop what Tom’s and Huck’s coat of arms would look like; and I only found two examples online.  So I decided to make one myself.   Most of it I was able to understand, but some of it really did not work; therefore, I did my best, and this is what I came up with.

My thirteen-year old said I was investing too much time in it, so I really needed to wrap it up and be done with it.  Family names were usually added to the bottom, too, so I could have written Tom and Huck under their placements, respectfully. Maybe another time.

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