WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tenant for Life

We’re back with Plate 6 this week, observing the virtues that mark Francis Goodchild’s life. Much like American television’s George Jefferson, he’s movin’ on up. Apprentice no longer, he’s now a partner with his former boss, and has married the his daughter.

The cynic in me declares good on you, Francis, with a wink and elbow jab. That IS industrious.

Tenant for Life

A married man; i.e. possessed of a woman for life.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 6: The Industrious ‘Prentice Out of His Time, & Married to His Master’s Daughter, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild has married the master’s daughter, thus their union is legal and respectable…. Plate 6 takes place in Fish Street Hill near the Monument (a memorial to the Great Fire of London in 1666), the base of which can be seen in the background. The well-appointed house occupied by Goodchild and his wife is both the couple’s home and a work place, which was common practice at this time. The couple have been interrupted taking tea by a large and potentially unruly band of musicians, drummers and butchers holding bones. While at first glance this appears to be part of the wedding celebrations, treating a newly-wedded couple to ‘rough music’ was a method of registering disapproval at marriages involving people from different social levels. The scene neatly underlines that Goodchild’s wealth and social advancement have not resulted solely from his exemplary attitude to work.

From the Wikipedia description:

The next plate shows that Francis Goodchild has been improving his time, as usual. He has also escaped his apprenticeship, but in the intended manner: having served his time, he is free and a journeyman weaver. Beyond that even, the sign of “WEST and GOODCHILD” under their trademark of a lion rampant shows that his former master has taken him into partnership (not an unreasonable step given that he previously kept the accounts).

The other significant change is that Miss West, last seen in Plate 2, has become Mrs. Goodchild. The scene here is likely the day after, when they distribute the remnants of the feast to various poor people.

Francis is at the window holding a teacup (without a handle) and giving a coin. In the foreground at the door a footman gives away a plate. To the left, a legless man in a tub, probably invalided from the Army or Navy, holds out a sheet of paper containing “Jeſse or the Happy Pair. A new Song”. Behind him a Frenchman with a base viol is forced out of the line by a (British) butcher.

The background shows the London Monument when it contained the lines “by the treachery of the Popish Faction.”

Proverbs CH: XII Ver: 4
The Virtuous Woman is a
Crown to her Husband.



Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.