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V

CHAPTER V.
CONCERNING TINCTURES.
IRST and foremost of the Heraldic decorations to be considered are the Tinctures or colours used in the blazon, or, as some frivolous writers term it, the blaze on the Shield or Escutcheon. Their number is nine: so that our readers may easily remember them by thinking of the days of the week and adding two to the total amount: but persons with strong memories have of course no need to resort to this weekly contrivance.
    First comes "Or," or gold, and as gold may be said to hold the first place in all human affairs, we are not suprised to find it occupying a similar position in Heraldry.
    Next comes "Argent," or silver: this is but natural, as every one would of course place silver after gold, and in fact when changing the first we generally obtain the second.
    Thirdly we have "Gules," or red. From this tincture originated the term "Oh, Gules," or "Goles"--afterwards corrupted into the phrase "Oh, Golly!" This was first used by a knight of Heraldic proclivities on discovering that his nose was bleeding after the visitation of a mace upon that expressive feature. The terseness and general applicability of the phrase was at once recognised, and it was handed down to posterity.
    Fourthly comes "Azure," or blue; which, though often met with on an escutcheon, is also sometimes to be found on the human countenance; as, for instance, when a man comes home at 2 a.m. and after dismissing his cab finds his latch-key lost and the household gone to bed.
    Fifthly, "Sable," or black. This colour is to be recommended for the armorial bearings of abolitionists, and all those gentlemen who go in for the Am-I-not-a-man-and-a-brother business. Eyes, both artificial and natural, of the same colour are also not unfrequent. For choice we prefer the latter.
    Sixthly, "Vert," or green. This colour is very prevalent in humanity generally, especially when young and inexperienced.
    Seventhly, "Purpur," or purple, which we should say belongs rather to feline than human heraldry, as cats must naturally be best acquainted with purr-purr.
    Eighthly, "Tenne," or orange, a colour reminding us more of dessert than of the dry study of Heraldry, though we hope to find some juice in it.
    Lastly comes "Sanguine," or murrey, and this naturally brings us to ourselves, always sanguine of success and uncommonly murrey.
    These last two colours were generally held to denote dishonour, and were therefore never used voluntarily by knights, so that where we now should expel a man from his club, or ceremoniously kick him downstairs, the mediaeval gentry dabbed a daub of "Tenne" or "Sanguine," upon his shield, which answered the purpose equally well, and made him socially uncomfortable.
    As, however, the Family Herald (his services as a rule cost the employer of them a pretty penny) when called upon suddenly to provide or blazon arms did not happen always to have a portable paint-box in the pocket of his tabard, it occurred to some original mind that it would not be a bad idea to depict the most frequently used colours in black and white.
    The idea once started was instantly run to earth, or rather to the groundwork of the shield, and resulted in the following ingenious devices.
    Considering the wild imagining of our Author in illustrating the Heraldic Tinctures, as reproduced in black and white, we think the least we can do for the sake of our readers is to explain them in verse. Cockneys may say that the lines are verse than useless--but then, cockneys will say anything. So here goes with--
THE TINCTURES.
OR, the first of the Tinctures, you'll own has its charms
None the less that it's used for the Lombardy Arms,
Where an uncle resides, who will tell you full soon,
The value in ARGENT of each silver spoon.
If 'Electro,' your relative won't "see his way"
To assist impecunious need; and he'll say,
With looks quite as SABLE, as black as your hat,
"I'm not to be got at that way, and that's flat!"
Then over the way is a hostel whose sign
Is the Grapes, PURPURE, wreathed with the VERT leaves of vine:
Will you kindly observe the old gent in the cut,
His nose blazoned GULES, and his necktie is put
In a colour called AZURE, the hue of the sky;
And his waistcoat is TENNE, his coat is called MURREY,
Now don't forget notions like these in a hurry.
    Besides these tinctures there are others, including the tinct-opii, or mother's blessing, much patronised by the late lamented Mr. Daffy to still the voice of childhood, when indulging in the luxury of a nice scream: but as we object to kid-napping of all kinds, and this particular sort especially, we shall pass it by, merely observing that it has no connection with the subject in hand, and we must therefore decline to mix it in our Heraldic retort.
    The metals and colours above mentioned are distinguished by some ancient Heralds by the names of the planets and precious stones, but modern Heralds plan it differently, and not only is the practice exploded, but the originators also have been considerably blown up.


V

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