Then one night, some villain sneaked into my chamber, and carved a device by the window …’ And next morning, a shaft of early sun, creeping through mist and rain, had picked out a gallows, from which dangled a cardinal's hat.

— Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

What is the meaning of "to carve a device" here?

  • I think that "device" here is a very vague word, imprecise and wishy-washy.
    – rogermue
    Sep 10 '15 at 6:05

"Device" is a picture or emblem. In this case, someone carved into a wall or window frame, a hangman's gallows and a cardinal's hat hanging from the rope.

  • 1
    Hat's off to you for that one! That is pretty obscure, and I was pretty confused.
    – Dan
    Sep 10 '15 at 0:08

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