WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tenant for Life

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.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Green Sickness

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Green Sickness

This week’s word is one of those that make you laugh and roll your eyes at the same time. Oh, the taint of virginity on one’s health – the concept implied physical affliction but reality revealed true financial miseries to be the main component. Back in the day, a woman married to survive. Literally.

Perhaps that thought would make one ill.

A girl fainting and collapsing into the arms of a woman, engraving by W. Sedgwick after E. Penny, Wellcome Images (alternative title, Apparent Dissolution).

Green Sickness

The disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.

William Savage, who writes historical mystery novels and blogs at Pen and Pension, has a thorough post on this topic that I encourage you to visit ~ The Cure for Green Sickness. He hooks interest with the first few sentences:

‘Green sickness’ was described as a condition ‘peculiar to virgins’, which was said to turn the skin a greenish colour and leave the sufferer weak and melancholic. It was also believed to be common throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in girls approaching puberty and in thin and languid young women.

Perhaps she’s dressed in a smart green pelisse to ward off the vile Green Sickness. Walking Dress, fashion plate from La Belle Assemblée, April 1817, public domain.

Are your eyes rolling yet?

Barbara W. Swords wrote an essay comparing the actual status of women during Jane Austen’s time versus the Lady’s representation of women in her works. It’s a historically-rich read for any connoisseur of the era and Austen, but for this week’s purposes of adding sardonic laughter and a groan or two, I adore this quote from a 1770 parliamentary statute (purloined from Ms. Swords’ treatise A Woman’s Economic Opportunities During the Regency Era).

Here we go:

All women of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, whether virgin maid or widow, that shall from and after such Act impose upon, seduce, and betray into matrimony any of His Majesty’s subjects by means of scent, paints, cosmetics, washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, ironstays, hoops, high-heeled shoes, or bolstered hips, shall incur the penalty of the law now in force against witchcraft and like misdemeanors, and that the marriage upon conviction shall stand null and void.

It is amazing that parliament omitted those ladies of a greenish hue that were desperate to obtain the marriage cure for their sickness. The beautiful lady above scoffs at the notion of Green Sickness, although perhaps she’ll regret such an in-your-face skewering when she reads about the deadly Regency pigments of Emerald Green and Paris Green at Jane Austen’s Regency World.

But that’s a post for another week.

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The rest of the links are highlighted in the post. Read and enjoy!