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huge horse-pistol out and asked who was there. The mention of his name, however, had an immediate influence upon the servant, who threw the door wide open, welcomed him with a broad
dark, panelled room, dimly lighted by candles stuck in silver sconces, and where were seated around a table a score of gaunt, grave-faced men, who greeted him with a sort of quiet enthusiasm which sounded like distant thunder.
readily enough be accounted for on those principles of exceeding fertility which mark the flowerless plants as a whole. Professor Huxley calculates that a single fly may bear one thousand stalks of fungus, each having a spore-case. Allow-grin, and led the way across the hall to a long, ing each spore-case to contain twenty spores, and that each case develops fully in twelve hours, we shall thus obtain forty thousand spores in a day of twenty-four hours. In the case of a salmon, as many as two hundred and eightyeight thousand spore-cases may exist in the diseased patches of its body, this amount giving ten million spores as the product of twenty-four hours' vitality; or enough spores to give one such germ to every cubic foot of water in a mass one hundred feet wide, five feet deep, and four miles in length. And when we lastly reflect that over two thousand diseased salmon have been removed from a small river in one season, the favourable conditions under which the salmondisease is propagated, are by no means difficult to conceive.
The space at our command will not serve for a further enumeration of other points connected with the habits of the lower plants. But enough has been said to show the vast field of economic as well as scientific interest that finds a focus in the lower ranks of the vegetable world. It may | form an argument in favour of the practical utility of science-studies, when we discover that a knowledge of the history of those minute pests is the first condition for successfully attempting their extirpation. No greater boon can well be conceived as being conferred upon our race than the knowledge which tends to limit and check a plague or pest, by showing us clearly and distinctly the nature and habitat of the enemy; and but for the aid of science, we might still be hopelessly fighting many a hidden enemy in the dark.
AN OLD VIRGINIAN STORY.
IN TWO CHAPTERS.-CHAP. I.
UPON the night of the 20th of December 1781, the solitary figure of a man was buffeting its way against a blinding snow-storm through the silent deserted streets of Alexandria, that quaint, dead, old-world town, which still slumbers upon the banks of the Potomac, in the pleasant state of Virginia. Passing down Broadway and Maiden Lane until he had left the last houses of the town behind him, he met the full blast of the storm as it swept across the river from the distant Maryland hills. Verily, a man must have had important business indeed to have been out upon such a weird, uncanny night; and the Rev. Nahum Bond, a thin, withered, crop-eared young man, of the true old Independent type, was, as a rule, far too sensible of the comforts of life to be exposing himself unless he had important business in hand. He staggered along for a mile until he arrived at the gates of a gaunt, grim old house which stood some way back from the road, and known to the country round as Braddock's. His knock at the door was answered by a negro, who, carefully opening it but an inch or two, pushed the muzzle of a
He who occupied the chair at the head of the table-a big, fine-looking man, who wore his own iron-gray hair-rose as Mr Bond entered, and said: Better late than never, Brother Nahum. We waited half an hour for you; but as time is short and business is pressing, we considered it best to proceed at once?
The young divine muttered something about being detained in the town, and sat himself upon the right hand of the president.
A stranger might have been pardoned for imagining that the object of this meeting was some sort of religious celebration, so stern and grave were the faces of its members, added to the presence of a gentleman in holy orders, and of a huge brass-bound Bible amongst the papers and inkstands which were strewed about the table. But its real character was soon made clear by the big man beside the Bible, who rose and said: 'Now that our number is completed by the arrival of one of our most earnest supporters and hearty co-operators, I think I may recapitulate what we have decided upon, for his benefit. The presence of the redcoat tyrants upon Mount Pleasant has become intolerable; and as hitherto Alexandria has not shown herself to be a distinguished atom of the great glorious mass now known throughout the civilised world as the Free and Independent States of North America, we, as representatives of the town, have resolved that the blow shall be struck. We are men; and as men, it does not become us to listen helplessly any longer to the continual complaints which pour in from all sides of the rapacious acts and insolent bearing of these men who call themselves our superiors. What has been done at Lexington, at Concord, at Wilmington, and at fifty other places, can surely be done at Alexandria. And what we propose to do is this: in five days, the Britishers will be celebrating, with their usual profane riotousness and drunkenness, their Christmas festival; and we propose to take advantage of their being off their guard, to drive them out of the place into the river, into the woods, no matter where, so long as it be away from Alexandria. I am not a man of blood; but upon an occasion like this, it behoves us to be ready to make any sacrifice. They are not cowards, these Britishers; they will fight, and we must be prepared for it; and I take this to be our solemn duty, as much to ourselves as to every one to whom tyranny and oppression are hateful.'
The grim dark faces which had been gradually lighting up during the course of this impassioned oration, now relaxed altogether as the speaker sat down, and a loud murmur of applause arose, and continued until a tall weather-beaten Potomac pilot rose. 'Good words and true, Brother Hood,' he said; 'and I am sure that we all echo them. For myself, I can guarantee a score of river-side lads who will be a match for any twenty Britishers,
grenades, pikes, and all, although none of 'em have ever fired a gun in their lives except at a canvas-back or a jack-rabbit. And I suggest that we make Brother Hood's house, as being away from the town, our magazine and our place of meeting. My friend and I have overhauled the cellars in which the Britisher Braddock used to keep his wines in '55, and we have calculated that we can stow away there at least five hundred muskets, with pikes, swords, and ammunition in proportion. Now about the men we can raise. The Britishers are a hundred and fifty. We ought at least to have three hundred. 'Cause why? We've discipline and practice against us. As I said just now, I'll write down twenty for my shere.'
Then one stern man after another rose-all men of wealth and position in the neighbourhood; and in a very few minutes three hundred good men and true were guaranteed for the cause of liberty.
'So far so good, brethren,' said Jeremiah Hood. 'And we must begin at once; for five days is none too much time in which to make our plans and to insure unanimity of movement amongst three hundred men. Let us each take solemn oath, brother Alexandrians, that we will not rest until every Britisher shall have been expelled from Virginian soil.' He raised the Bible to his lips, and passed it to his neighbour, and so on round the table.
It was rather a striking scene: the dark old room, with its Rembrandtesque effects of light and shade; the grim portraits of old Roundhead Hoods with biblical names and severe faces; the candles in the silver sconces just giving sufficient light to intensify the darkness, and to bring out in strong contrast the shades on the earnest faces of the assembly; all heightened by the low murmur of the gruff deep voices, and the ring of steel as each man, raising the Bible to his lips, drew his sword from its scabbard. The religious ordeal was followed by the more convivial ceremony of passing round a huge black jack brimming with brown October; for the night was bitter, and many members of the league had long distances to go. Then they took up their broad-brimmed hats, buckled their cloaks fast around them, and went out, leaving the parson and the host
'Fill your pipe, Nahum,' said Jeremiah, and let us speak of our affairs together.'
A fresh log was piled on the fire, the jack was refilled, the pipes were lit, and the two men drew their chairs to the fire. The contrast between them was striking. On the one hand the burly, square form of the Independent farmer, his broad forehead lined with furrows of determination, inherited doubtless from those stern, conscientious forefathers of his who had preferred the solitude of the American backwoods to persecution and intolerance at home; the beard clipped short; and the sturdy development of the head well set off by the absence of a wig. On the other hand, the tall, thin, ungainly, big-boned figure of the parson, whose garb and bearing proclaimed at once the Independent minister, beloved by satirists and lampoonists. The two men sat puffing their pipes and gazing at the fire in silence for some minutes; then the old farmer said: 'I've been so occupied of late with this project, that I have
had no time to talk of the course of matters between you and my daughter Marjorie. I hope you make as rapid progress in her good graces as she does in her studies?'
The parson writhed uneasily in his chair, and then, after the manner peculiar to his time, replied: I would that I could say so, Master Hood. If I advanced as quickly in her opinion as she does in Latin and French, I should be the happiest man in America. I fear she will not need a tutor much longer.'
'Well, then,' said Hood, 'she will be needing a husband. Hey?'
'And I dare give it as my opinion,' quoth the minister, looking askance out of his green eyes at the old farmer, 'that the need will be satisfied sooner than people think-sooner than it could be wished for.?
The farmer took his pipe from his mouth, and wheeling himself round, looked keenly at the young man.' "That is a dark speech, Nahum. What does it mean?' he asked.
Nahum preserved silence.
'You don't mean to say,' continued the old man, that she has a-a lover, that I know not of?'
Nahum was still silent.
'Now listen, Master Nahum,' resumed Jeremiah; we are both men of the world. I put implicit trust in you; I respect you, I admire you; and I almost look upon you as my son. You have been connected with my family all your life, as was your father before you, and there should not be anything between us. Tell me now: has my Marjorie a lover other than you? I shan't be angry with her, although, of course, I shall be bitterly disappointed; for I have for a long time regarded you as the right man, and it would be a long time before I could reconcile myself to any other. I don't want to thwart the wench's inclination; I don't think that is a father's duty, so long as her lover is a true colonial and a good man.-Well; speak out, man!'
'I fear, I very much fear,' said Mr Nahum, that she cares very little for me; in fact, she despises and ridicules me. We have wandered together so pleasantly through the paths that lead to Parnassus, that I flattered myself our journey together would only end with our lives. Ah, Master Hood, it makes my heart ache to think that so good, so doting, so noble a father should be so rewarded! But I fear that she is carrying on a clandestine acquaintance with the very man of all others whom you would least care about her knowing. I have seen them together, I have seen them exchange embraces, I'–
'Who is he?' cried the old man sternly. Now, I charge you, Nahum, by all our old friendship, to tell me.'
'Lieutenant Harraden of the King's Regiment,' replied the minister.
The old man started as if struck; his dark face grew absolutely black, and his brow contracted so that his eyebrows formed a bristling black hedge across his face. He slapped his hand on his sword-hilt and said in a voice of thunder: She-my daughter, dare to give ear to the love-speeches of a king's officer! to hold converse with one of the instruments of our oppression, the tramplers of our crops, the
violators of our hearths, the enemies of our liberty! Rather than she should so far demean herself, I would shoot her!'
Nay, Master Hood,' said Nahum insinuatingly. 'Remember, she is but a young and thoughtless girl; and who ever knew a girl who did not prefer a red coat to a black one, and empty compliments to words of monition? Do not
be too hard on her.'
'What sort of young fellow is this Harraden? I know the name somehow. The Harradens used to be neighbours of our family in Kent.'
'He is just as the rest of the king's officers are,' replied Nahum.
'That means to say, I suppose, that he looks upon any wench as fair game; that he drinks his two bottles of wine at a sitting; that he gambles, blasphemes, and fights; is a fop, a bully, and a roisterer? And such a man thinks himself a fit husband for the daughter of Jeremiah Hood, whose grandfather fought in the cause of liberty at Naseby, and three of whose sons are fighting in the glorious cause of liberty in America!'
Nahum had shot his arrow; so he put on his cloak, and wishing the old farmer a sorrowful good-night, went out.
The old man strode up and down the room in angry cogitation for some moments. Then he called the negro Cicero. 'Let Miss Marjorie speak with me,' he said.
one whose word I have never yet had occasion to doubt.'
'I know-that sneak Nahum Bond,' murmured the girl.
'What's that? what's that?' asked her father, stopping short in his walk.
I said Nahum Bond was a sneak, and so he is,' repeated Marjorie, who inherited the family spirit, although, as a rule, she was the most demure and peaceful of girls.
'Never-never let me hear you talk of your respected tutor in that way again,' said the angry old man. 'Sneak indeed! That's a new-fangled English word, and sounds very genteelly on the lips of a colonial lady forsooth! I have the very highest respect for Mr Nahum; I respect him for his honesty, for the love he bears me, for his humility, his steadiness, and his thrift. He is the man I had fixed upon as a fitting husband for you.'
'He, my husband, father!' exclaimed Marjorie, terrified. 'Are you in earnest?' 'Ay,' returned Mr Hood sternly. ever know me otherwise?'
"Well,' said Marjorie, 'he may be all you of him, and I hope he is; but if it were only for his being a-a, what I said just now, father, I couldn't love him.'
'But he loves you, Marjorie,' said the old farmer; and I can tell you it is something in these days for a girl to say that she is loved The servant, alarmed at the fierce expression by a man of his character and attainments.' upon his master's face, left the room with alacrity; "Yes, I know he does,' said Marjorie; 'he's and presently the door opened, and Marjorie always paying me clumsy compliments which I appeared-a fresh-coloured, brown-eyed, brown-hate, and reading love-poetry, and calling me haired lass, dressed in the sober style prevalent his Dulcinea and his Saccharissa, and I don't amongst the daughters of Independent families, know what else besides. A creeping, writhing, but with a dash more of coquetry in the shape yellow-faced creature!' of a ribbon or two and skirts above the ankles, than was generally sanctioned amongst these stern God-fearing colonists-a pretty, piquant, graceful girl, such as we love to see in old pictures, and to associate with old red-brick houses, standing in many tinted gardens, with smooth-shaven lawns leading down to quiet rivers.
'Did you want me, father?' asked Marjorie, not without a tremor in her voice, as she saw the frown upon Jeremiah Hood's brow, and noted that his hands were tightly clenched behind him, as was his habit when disturbed in spirit.
'Yes, I did,' replied her father, without moving his head towards her. 'I want a few words with you. Shut the door. I hear that you are carrying on a clandestine acquaintance with one of our enemies, with Lieutenant Harraden of the King's Regiment.'-No answer.-"That you, the daughter of Jeremiah Hood, as well known as any man in Virginia as a champion for the rights of the great American people, have so far demeaned yourself as to receive the addresses of a roistering young fop, who will pretend to love you and then desert you; and above all, who wears the livery of the tyrant.'-Marjorie winced a little, but said nothing.-'He is an enemy,' continued her father; and all who have dealings with the enemy are traitors to their country and to the holy universal cause of liberty.'
'Who told you this, father?' asked Marjorie. 'Never mind who told me,' replied the farmer. 'I have it upon the very best authority, from
'At anyrate,' said Mr Hood, it is my command that you cease all acquaintance with this Mr Harraden. Return him all his love-letters, for of course you have been writing to each other, and tell him that you cannot keep up a pretence of love with an enemy of your country.'
'I don't pretend, father,' said Marjorie warmly. 'I love him truly and honestly, and I always will; and as to placing Mr Nahum by the side of him, why!'-here the damsel tossed her head in the most supreme contempt. Ed-I mean Mr Harraden's family have been in Kent since the Conquest. And nobody knows who Mr Nahum is.'
'I don't care about families,' said the farmer. 'I have only to say that I consider Mr Harraden a very unfit person for you to know; and that if I find any further communication passing between you, I shall send you off to your old aunt's in Connecticut, and there you'll have meeting-house going enough to drive all ideas of love out of your head. That is all I have to say.'
Marjorie courtesied and left the room. Mr Nahum Bond, when he came the next morning to give Marjorie her usual lessons, was uncommonly affable; whilst the attitude of the young lady towards him was distinctly the reverse. The minister could not fail to notice this, so, when the most uncomfortable two hours were ended, he said: Miss Hood, how very cold and distant you are to me to-day. May I ask if I have been guilty of anything to offend you?'
What's the good of your standing there and
asking me if you have offended me,' replied Marjorie, when you know very well that you have? I wouldn't be a sneak, if I were you, Mr
A what, Miss Hood!' exclaimed the minister. 'A sneak? Surely a very improper expression to fall from the lips of a young lady at any time, but especially when addressed to one whose life is wrapped up in her happiness and welfare.' 'Then why should you go and tell my father, knowing his sentiments, about my acquaintance with Mr Harraden?' asked Marjorie.
"Your father put the question plainly to me,' replied Nahum, and what else could I do? He has suspected it for a long time.'
Somebody has made him suspicious, then,' said Marjorie, 'for it would never occur to him naturally. I'm ashamed of you, Mr Bond, and I thought better of you.'
"Then try and think better of me again, Miss Hood,' said the young man, for I do love you so dearly, and you know that I would not do anything to hurt your feelings or to make you miserable. Can you not love me?'
'Mr Bond,' said Marjorie, assuming a dignified air as well as she could, whilst under the strongest provocation to laugh at the absurd attitude of her wooer, I love Mr Harraden; and I do not, I never can love you! Is that not enough?’
A peculiar look came over Nahum's face, such as Marjorie had never seen there before. "You say, Miss Hood, that you do not and you never can love me,' he said.Must I take this answer as final?'
'Quite final,' replied Marjorie; and with a formal courtesy she left the room,
'Final is it?' muttered Mr Nahum as he quitted the house; 'very well then, miss. Your father and all his crew, and you also, shall pay for this decision.'
THE MARRIAGE OF WARDS OF COURT. THE general superintendence and protective jurisdiction over the persons and property of infants,* which is vested in the Crown, has for a very long period been delegated to the Court of Chancery; and by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act of 1873, is retained for the Chancery division of the High Court of Justice, which takes the direction of their estate, and appoints guardians for their persons only. The young persons thus protected are called Wards of Court,' and are constituted such by any suit which relates to them, or on an order for their maintenance being made upon petition or summons, or when money in which they are interested is paid into Court under the Trustee Relief Act of 1847; but unless infants have property, the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction concerning them.
Now, to enable a Chancery ward, whether male or female, to marry, it is necessary to apply to the Court for permission for him or her to do 60; which will only be granted on satisfactory evidence that the alliance is a suitable one, and
Any one under twenty-one years of age is, legally speaking, an infant.
that a proper marriage settlement will be made; on which being done, an order is drawn up giving the ward liberty to marry.
sanction the marriage of an infant ward when, Formerly, the Court of Chancery declined to on account of his infancy, it was impossible for him to settle his real property so as to go along with his title, or to provide for his younger children by the settlement. It is provided, however, by the Infants' Settlement Act for 1855, that every male infant of twenty-one years, and every female infant of seventeen years, may upon, or in contemplation of marriage, with the approval
of the Court, make a valid and binding settlement of their real or personal estate on their matrimony.
It is considered a very serious contempt of Court to marry a ward without its consent; and the person who does so, as well as those who contribute and assist at the marriage, are liable to be committed to prison; while, if they are peers or peeresses, a sequestration will be ordered against them; but members of the House of Commons will not be privileged from arrest and imprisonment for this offence.
Among the more noteworthy cases of such contempt of Court are those which have occurred last century and the early part of the present one. Of the more flagrant of these cases, is one in which the son of Lord Tankerville's steward, by the contrivance of a nobleman, married a ward of Chancery in the nobleman's Park; for which grievous contempt they, and a parson in the Fleet Prison, who had been bribed by the nobleman with one hundred guineas to marry them, and also a maid-servant, were all sent to, and kept in jail for a fortnight, except the husband, who was detained there for six weeks. In another instance, a woman in mean circumstances and of bad character was lodged in prison for a long period, for marrying a male ward of Court, who was made drunk at an alehouse, and thus entrapped into the marriage. A very flagrant contempt of Court, under exceedingly aggravating circumstances, was committed by a justice of the peace, and a barrister who was formerly a solicitor, by contriving the marriage of a ward, with a fortune of thirty thousand pounds, to a schoolmaster in Islington. He was for this serious offence not only sent to prison for five weeks, but was struck out of the Commission as justice of the peace, and prohibited from practising at the bar. In the leading case of Eyre v. Countess of Shaftesbury, tried in 1710, before Lord Chancellor Macclesfield, and Lords Commissioners Jekyll, Gilbert, and Raymond, a sequestration was issued against the Countess of Gainsborough, and Lady Shaftesbury, for marrying an infant, who was a peer, to Lady Susannah Noel; which, though not to his disparagement, was done without the consent of the Court or his guardian. In another case, that of Baseley v. Baseley, it appears that Mrs Baseleyformerly Miss Anne Wade-was on the death
of her father in 1806, heiress to real and personal tempt of its authority, but to compel him to property of large amount. She was made a ward execute a proper settlement; and in those of Chancery at an early age; in her seventeenth instances in which there are mitigating circumyear she was taken away by Mr Baseley, a young stances, the husband, in offering to make an gentleman of no property, and who had no approved settlement, may obtain his discharge. previous acquaintance with her or her family; It is thought that the modern practice is not but he obtained possession of her by the aid of to enforce the power of committal, when the her governess and servants, and in gross contempt contempt is not attended by any aggravating of Court. He and the young lady went to circumstances, but to hold it so as to compel Scotland, and were married at Gretna Green in the execution of a proper settlement. In a 1815; and were shortly afterwards again married flagrant case, however, the husband will not be in the Episcopal church of Edinburgh. After resid- discharged on his offering to do so, until the ing for some time in Scotland, petitions were Court should think he has been sufficiently presented to the Lord Chancellor on their behalf; punished; nor if it has ordered that he should, but his Lordship would not listen to any appli- for procuring the marriage, be indicted for a cation until the ward was brought within the conspiracy. jurisdiction of his Court. Shortly afterwards, Mr Baseley presented himself in Court, when Lord Eldon committed him to jail, where he was kept until Mrs Baseley attained her age of twenty
It also appears that if a guardian connives at an intended marriage of a ward, or if there only be an apprehension that the infant will be married unsuitably either by the guardian or by his neglect, the Court will send for the infant, and commit him or her to the care of a proper person or relative, in order to prevent such danger.
The Court may also prevent a female ward from receiving letters, messages, &c., as was done in the case of Leoni, a Jewish singer. If it is doubtful whether a marriage with a ward of the weaker sex is valid, an inquiry may be made to ascertain this, and all intercourse will in the meantime be restrained; and if it be found that the marriage is illegal, a valid one will be ordered. For moral reasons, this course may also be adopted with a male ward.
As to the terms of the settlement, when there has been no moral wrong, the terms are not influenced by the fact of a mere technical contempt having been committed. In most cases, when wards of Court have been married without its permission, the husbands have been men of straw, who married for the sake of the fortune; and the Court has therefore generally refused to give them any interest in the property; but if they are of equal rank and fortune with their wives, and make a corresponding provision for them out of their own property, it does not appear that the same rule would be adopted. In the case of Bathurst v. Murray, in 1802, Lord Eldon directed that the husband should have an annuity out of the property during the matrimonial union, as his lordship mentioned that there could not be much expectation of happiness when the husband had nothing, and the wife had the entire power over the property; but this course appears to have been rarely taken. In the case of Hodgens v. Hodgens, tried in 1837, on appeal to the House of Lords from the Court of Chancery in Ireland, Lord Cottenham properly said, that when men It is likewise considered an aggravated con- seek to get advantages for themselves by obtaining tempt of Court for a person to marry one of possession of wards under the jurisdiction of a its wards much above him or her in rank. In Court of Equity, and by so doing are guilty of Herbert's case, last century, it was decided to be contempt against its jurisdiction, the Court will a very gross contempt when an infant ward, seldom if ever permit them to profit by their who possessed twelve hundred pounds a year, misconduct, or to enjoy any part of the property, upon coming to town from Oxford, was drawn to obtain which has probably been the motive into marrying a common servant-maid older of their proceeding. The Master of the Rolls, than himself, and with no fortune. In another Sir John (afterwards Lord) Romilly, decided to instance, in which an infant of good family, the same effect in the case of Wade v. Hopkinson the representative of a very old baronet, was in 1855; and Lord-Justices Knight-Bruce and about to be entrapped into a marriage with Turner entertained the same view in the case of common bricklayer's daughter, the Court Field v. Moore in the same year. These judg would not permit it, and stopped the marriage. In a third case also, it was considered very criminal in all parties who contrived the marriage of a ward of Court with eight thousand pounds to the son of Lord Tankerville's steward, as already referred to. It appears, however, from several other cases, that the possession of a large fortune by the other party would be considered to counterbalance any but a very great inequality of rank; though the Court would not probably allow a man of no property whatever, although of equal family, to marry an infant heiress of rank with very large possessions, notwithstanding the consent of the guardians and all other parties concerned.
The commitment of a person to prison for marrying a ward of Court without its permission, is often made not merely to punish such a con
ments are also in accordance with the decision of Sir Edward Sugden, afterwards Lord St Leonards, in re Anne Walker, a minor, tried in the Chancery Court of Ireland in 1835. It also appears that the property of a female ward of Court will not be entirely settled upon the issue of her first marriage, although she and her guardians may consent to this being done.
From what has been stated, it is clear that our Court of Equity has adopted very strong and wise measures to discourage the marriage of infants under its protection without its permission; and we need scarcely add that those individuals who do so are held as guilty of a grave breach of morality and etiquette, almost beyond forgiveness. Moreover, such condemnable marriages mostly turn out unhappy ones, of which we have several conspicuous examples.