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A long table was now spread, eked out by boards laid upon carpenters' "horses," and this was covered with a variety of table-cloths, all shining clean, however, and carefully disposed. The whole table array was equally various, the contributions, I presume, of several neighbouring loghouses. The feast spread upon it included every variety that ever was put upon a tea-table; from cake and preserves to pickles and raw cabbage cut up in vinegar.
Pies there were, and custards and sliced ham, and cheese, and three or four kinds of bread. I could do little besides look, and try to guess out the dishes. However, everything was very good, and our hostess must have felt complimented by the attention paid to her various delicacies.
The cabbage, I think, was rather the favourite; vinegar being one of the rarities of a settler's cabin.
I was amused to see the loads of cake and pie that accumulated upon the plates of the guests.
When all had finished, most of the plates seemed full. But I was told afterwards that it was not considered civil to decline any one kind of food, though your hostess may have provided a dozen. You are expected at least to try each variety. But this leads to something which I cannot think very agreeable.
After all had left the table, our hostess began to clear it away, that the quilt might be restored to its place; and, as a preliminary, she went all round to the different plates, selecting such pieces of cake as were but little bitten, and paring off the half-demolished edges with a knife, in order to replace them in their original circular position in the dishes. When this was accomplished, she assiduously scraped from the edges of the plates the scraps of butter that had escaped demolition, and wiped them back on the remains of the pat. This was doubtless a season of delectation to the economical soul of Mrs. Boardman; you may imagine its effects upon the nerves of your friend. Such is
the influence of habit! The good woman doubtless thought she was performing a praiseworthy action, and one in no wise at variance with her usual neat habits; and if she could have peeped into my heart, and there have read the resolutions I was tacitly making against breaking bread again under the same auspices, she would have pitied or despised such a lamentable degree of pride and extravagance. So goes this strange world.
The quilt was replaced, and several good housewives seated themselves at it, determined to see it out." I was reluctantly compelled to excuse myself, my inexperienced fingers being pricked to absolute rawness. But I have since ascertained that the quilt was finished that evening, and placed on Mrs. Boardman's best bed immediately; where indeed I see it every time I pass the door, as it is not our custom to keep our handsome things in the background. There were some long stitches in it, I know, but they do not show as far as the road; so the quilt is a very great treasure, and will probably be kept as an heirloom.
I have some thoughts of an attempt in the "patchwork" line myself. One of the company at Mrs. Boardman's
remarked that the skirt of the French cambric dress I wore would make a "splendid" quilt. It is a temptation, certainly.
A PATENTED CHILD.
HE town of Sussex, Pennsylvania, has lately been profoundly stirred by an extraordinary and romantic lawsuit. The case was an entirely novel one, and no precedent bearing upon it is to be found in the common or statute law. While it is necessarily a matter of great interest to the legal profession, its romantic side cannot fail to attract the attention of persons of all ages and every kind of sex. In fact, it is destined to be one of the most celebrated cases in the annals of American jurisprudence.
Some time last winter a lady whom we will call Mrs. Smith, who kept a boarding-house in Sussex, took her little girl, aged four, with her to make a call on Mrs. Brown, her near neighbour. Mrs. Brown was busy in the kitchen, where she received her visitor with her usual cordiality. There was a large fire blazing in the stove, and while the ladies were excitedly discussing the new bonnet of the local
Methodist minister's wife, the little girl incautiously sat down on the stove hearth. She was instantly convinced that the hearth was exceedingly hot, and on loudly bewailing the fact, was rescued by her mother and carried home for medical treatment. A few days later Mrs. Smith burst in great excitement into the room of a young law student, who was one of her boarders, and with tears and lamentations disclosed to him the fact that her child was indelibly branded with the legend, "Patented, 1872." These words in raised letters had happened to occupy just that part of the stove-hearth on which the child had seated herself, and being heated nearly to red heat they had reproduced themselves on the surface of the unfortunate child.
The law student entered into the mother's sorrow with much sympathy, but after he had in some degree calmed her mind he informed her that a breach of law had been committed. "Your child," he remarked, "has never been patented, but she is marked 'Patented, 1872.' This is an infringement of the statute. You falsely represent by that brand that a child for whom no patent was issued is patented. This false representation is forgery, and subjects you to penalty made and provided for that crime."
Mrs. Smith was, as may be supposed, greatly alarmed at learning this statement, and her first impulse was to beg the young man to save her from a convict's cell. With a gravity suited to the occasion, he explained the whole law of patents. He told her that had she desired to patent the child, she should have either constructed a model of it or prepared accurate drawings, with specifications showing distinctly what parts of the child she claimed to have invented. This model or these drawings she should have forwarded to the Patent Office, and she would then have received in due time a patent-provided, of course, the child was really patentable and would have been authorised to label it "Patented." "Unfortunately," he pursued, "it is now too
late to take this course, and we must boldly claim that a patent was issued, but that the record was destroyed during the recent fire in the Patent Office."
This suggestion cheered the spirits of Mrs. Smith, but they were again dashed by the further remarks of the young man. He reminded her that the child might find it very inconvenient to be patented. "If we claim," he went on to say, "that she has been regularly patented, it follows that the ownership of the patent, including the child herself, belongs to you, and will pass at your death into the possession of your heirs. Holding the patent, they can prevent any husband taking possession of the girl by marriage, and they can sell, assign, transfer, and set over the patent right and the accompanying girl to any purchaser. If she is sold to a speculator or to a joint-stock company, she will find her position a most unpleasant one; and to sum up the case, madam, either your child is patented or she is not. If she is not patented, you are guilty of forgery. If she is patented, she is an object of barter and sale, or in other words a chattel."
This was certainly a wretched state of things, and Mrs. Smith, to ease her mind, began to abuse Mrs. Brown, whose stove had branded the unfortunate little girl. She loudly insisted that the whole fault rested with Mrs. Brown, and demanded to know if the latter could not be punished. The young man, who was immensely learned in the law, thereupon began a new argument. He told her that where there is a wrong there must, in the nature of things, be a remedy. "Mrs. Brown, by means of her stove, has done you a great wrong. In accordance with the maxim, Qui facit per alium facit per se, Mrs. Brown, and not the stove, is the party from whom you must demand redress. She has wickedly and maliciously, and at the instigation of the devil, branded your child, and thus rendered you liable for an infringement of the patent law. It is my opinion,