The meaning, as given in various dictionaries, is a “stubble goose.” As to the origin, we have not been able to find any account to bo depended on, other than what is now given, which is nearly two hundred years old. and is taken from “Moxon’s Mechanickk Exercises,” printed in 1683, the first practical work published on the art of printing: “It is customary for all the journeymen to make every year new paper windows. whether the old ones will do or no; because that day they make them, the master printer gives them a way-goose; that is, he makes them a good feast, and not only entertains them at his own house, but besides, gives them money to spend at the ale-house or tavern at night; and to this feast they invite the Corrector, Founder, Smith, Joyner, and Inck-maker, who all of them severally (except the Corrector in his own civility) open their purse-strings and add their benevolence (which workmen account their duty, because they generally chose these workmen) to the master printer’s: but from the Corrector they expect nothing, because the master printer chusing him, the workmen a can do him no kindness. These way-gooses are always kept about Bartholomew-tide. And till the master printer have given this way-goose the journeymen do not use to work by candlelight.”
An annual festivity celebrated in most large offices. Among the customs prevailing in printing ottlcos in former times which was described in Moxon’s “Mechanick exercises” was the wayzgoose, thus spoken of:—
“It is customary for all the journeymen to make every year new paper windows, whether the old will serve again or no, because that day they make them the master printer gives them a way-goose, that is, he makes them a good feast, and not only entertains them at his own house but besides gives them money to spend at the alehouse or tavern at night. To this feast they invite the corrector, founder, smith, joiner, and ink maker, who all of them severally (except the corrector in his own civility) open their purse strings and add their benevolence (which workmen account their duty, because they generally choose these workmen) to the master printer’s. But from the corrector they expect nothing, because the master printer choosing him, the workmen can do him no kindness. These way-gooses are always held about Bartholomew Tide. And till the master printer have given this waygoose the journeymen do not use to work by candle light.”
At the present time the trade custom thus quaintly alluded to, prevails with considerable alterations. Printers no longer are required to make paper windows, or to work by candle light. The typefounders, inkmakers and other tradesmen are not expected to contribute to the journeymen’s feast; if they like to do so they may, but in many cases, by so doing they would only lay themselves open to a suspicion of thereby bribing an employé. Very seldom does the employer now invite his men to his house to dine; still more seldom does he give them money to spend in the “ale-house or tavern at night.” Things are ordered much more decorously. Several weeks before the time usual for the celebration—which is about July—a chapel is held, and a consultation takes place as to where the wayzgoose shall be held, the nature of the entertainment, and the date; two stewards being appointed to carry out the wishes of the hands, as expressed at this meeting. The expenses are paid, in equal proportions, by the men, who, however, usually invite their employer and perhaps some of his friends. It is customary for the latter to present a subscription to the common fund. The wayzgoose generally consists of a trip into the country, open air amusements, a good dinner, and speeches and toasts afterwards.