a finer figurehead for a gentleman of fortune I never clapped my eyes on

chong lee

Senior Member
türkçe
Hi,
Quote is from the book "Treasure Island".

Silver flatters the boy to gain him for his side.

Clap eyes on: to catch sight of

Figurehead is an ornament locates at the head of ship.

I did not understand "a finer figurehead for a gentleman of fortune I never clapped my eyes on". I did not even have a clue.

Thanks


"And a brave lad you were, and smart too," answered Silver, shaking hands so heartily that all the barrel shook, "and a finer figurehead for a gentleman of fortune I never clapped my eyes on."
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I believe that a gentleman of fortune here means a pirate.

    I have never seen a finer figurehead for a pirate.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I looked at the page where this appears, and Silver is speaking to a crew of young pirates. The narrator is listening while hidden in a barrel, and so he starts to hear at the middle of the conversation. The first part he overhears is about how it's best for a ship to keep its name, rather than change it when it changes hands. This makes me think that they're aboard a ship newly captured by the young pirate crew. It's the same ship that was in the question asked earlier (here: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2928041 ), so the captain also thinks it's a fine ship.

    I think the use of figurehead is synecdoche* for the ship, and it means "I've never seen a finer ship for pirates."

    As for the connection (how flattering the boy and finer figurehead is connected) - the connection is that the brave act Silver is flattering the boy about was probably his part of the act of capturing this fine ship.

    *http://www.wordreference.com/definition/synecdoche
    n. a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for a whole or a whole for a part, as in 50 head of cattle for 50 cows, or the army fora soldier
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd say that 'figurehead' here probably just means 'face'. From the OED:
    b. humorously for: Face (of a person).
    1840 F. Marryat Poor Jack v. 21 [It] had..‘knocked his figure-head all to smash’.
    1884 D. Pae Eustace 91 If you don't want your figure-head spoiled.

     
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