(a) The husband is under a plain legal duty to support his wife, unless she lives apart from him without his fault. If he fails to perform this duty, one who furnishes necessaries to her may recover from him the reasonable value thereof.1 It is often said that the wife, under such circumstances, is to be regarded as the "agent of necessity" of her husband, but unquestionably the real basis of the obligation is the quasi contractual doctrine of dutiful intervention.

(b) Inconceivable as it may seem, there is actually a difference of judicial opinion as to the existence, at the common law, of an obligation on the part of the parent to support his infant child.2 Wherever it is held that such an obligation does exist, it is clear, upon principle (see ante, Sec. 194) and authority, that if the parent fails to discharge it, he is liable to a third person for the reasonable value of necessaries furnished to the child.3

Necessaries furnished insane person: Baxter v. Earl of Portsmouth, 1826, 5 Barn. & Cr. 170; In re Rhodes, 1890, 44 Ch. Div. 94 ; Ex parte Northington, 1861, 37 Ala. 496; 79 Am. Dec. 67; Estate of Yturburru, 1901, 134 Cal. 567; 66 Pac. 729; Michaels v. Central Kentucky Asylum, 1904, 118 Ky. 445; 81 S. W. 247, (deduction for services rendered by insane person); D. M. Smith's Comm. v. Forsythe, 1906,28 Ky. Law Rep. 1034; 90 S. W. 1075; Sawyer v. Lufkin, 1868, 56 Me. 308; Sceva v. True, 1873, 53 N. H. 627; Richardson v. Strong, 1851, 13 Ired. Law (35 N. C.) 106; 55 Am. Dec. 430.

The obligation of both infant and insane person to pay for necessaries is fully considered in treatises on persons, and a further discussion in this work would be profitless.

1 Bolton v. Prentice, 1744, 2 Str. 1214; Pierpont v. Wilson, 1881, 49 Conn. 450; Watkins v. De Armond, 1883, 89 Ind. 553; Baker v. Oughton, 1906, 130 la. 35; 106 N. W. 272; Mayhew v. Thayer, 1857, 8 Gray (Mass.) 172; Walker v. Laighton, 1855, 31 N. H. Ill; Clothier v. Sigle, 1906, 73 N. J. L. 419; 63 Atl. 865.

2 See Tiffany, "Persons and Domestic Relations" (2d ed.), p. 251, and cases there cited and discussed.

3 Stanton v. Willson's Extrs., 1808, 3 Day (Conn.) 37; 3 Am. Dec. 255, (cf. Finch v. Finch, 1853, 22 Conn. 411, 420); Watkins v. De Armond, 1883, 89 Ind. 553; Porter v. Powell, 1890, 79 la. 151; 44 N. W. 295; 7 L. R. A. 176; 18 Am. St. Rep. 353 ; Reynolds v. Sweetser, 1860, 15 Gray (Mass.) 78; Hyde v. Leisenring, 1895, 107 Mich. 490; 65 N. W. 536; Manning v. Wells, 1894, 8 Misc. R. 646; 29 N. Y. Supp. 1044;