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Graham. Miss Avery was not too grand to go into a poor place, and at about three o'clock she found herself at Tim Dobbin's door. Mary was within, hard at work at the time over some fancy sugar ornaments, and crippled Sam was taking lessons, and helping at the same time.
Miss Avery asked Mary Graham how she was getting on, and heard from her a very satisfactory report of her proceedings. It seemed she had found several excellent wholesale customers in the small shopkeepers of the neighbourhood, who were able to make ready sale of her sugar-sticks and ornaments, they were so cheap and good. Small profits and quick returns was the plan on which the little girl acted, and she had been successful. Mr. Drabstone's sovereign had been paid off, Mary had given Mrs. Dobbin something every week for her board, and things were quite as flourishing as could be expected. All were highly pleased, and the worthy coalheaver, who did not in the least know what was to be done with his poor crippled son, and how he was to get his bread, had the great satisfaction of seeing him learning a kind of trade which did not task his feeble strength.
When Miss Avery made her proposition that Mary Graham should be bound to a confectioner, there was great weeping and wailing in Tim Dobbin's room. The little cripple Sam hinted that it was almost wicked to take Mary away, who was now the same as a sister to him, and even Mrs. Dobbin was very loth to part with her. Miss Avery was not an unreasonable woman, and she quite confessed that it would be a trial to all at Tim Dobbin's to part with the little girl. “ Still,” said she, " consider how much it is for her good, and she may perhaps never again get an opportunity of being so well provided for."
When the matter was talked over that evening, on Tim Dobbin's coming home, much as he and his wife were unwilling to part with Mary, they thought it better for her to go.
“But not yet," said the little girl ; " perhaps the lady will not mind if I stay two or three weeks longer with you."
“What for ?" asked the coalheaver ; “why not go at once ?"
“ Because,” said Mary Graham, “ in about three weeks Sam will be perfect in the work, and can do it as well as I, and I should not like to go until he is able to keep all the custom."
Mrs. Dobbin could not help kissing Mary, and thanking her too, for it was a great thing to have her crippled son able to get his own livelihood; and now that the little business was being well established, it would be a great pity to break it up.
On the following day Mary Graham waited on Miss Avery, and told her how gladly she accepted her kind offer, but requested three weeks' delay before she left her kind friend's roof. On explaining her motive, her wish met with that benevolent lady's approval; and during the next three weeks the little cripple was initiated into the mysteries of all that Mary Graham knew.
Miss Avery applied to the confectioner with whom she dealt, and as she offered a handsome premium, he willingly took Mary Graham to teach her the trade. She was a pleasant pupil; she had such a hearty goodwill for learning, and so much taste in ornamenting cakes and dishes, that she soon proved a valuable assistant in his business; so much so indeed, that after a while he volunteered to give her a salary, small it is true, but still a substantial token of his approval.
As to the original sugar-stick business which had been commenced with Mr. Drabstone's sovereign, it remained in Sam's hands, who carried it on with great spirit; he contrived to secure several new customers, and “Dobbin's sugar-sticks” and “Dobbin's candy" were famous in the neighbourhood. But there was something even better than
this in store for the crippled boy. Mary Graham contrived to get him into the same shop with which she herself was connected, and there he was provided for for life.
The Dobbins lost nothing by their kindness to the friendless girl; and if anything could have been done by man for poor Sam's crippled limbs Doctor Kenton would have done it. But, after a careful examination of them, the surgeon was obliged to give up all hope; he felt that poor Sam's was a case in which he could not expect success; he said, therefore, that the best thing to be done was to give him some light employment, and feed him well, and make him as strong as possible. After Eddy Graham's wonderful cure, the coalheaver and his wife had expected that something might perhaps have been done for their poor child; but Dr. Kenton convinced them that the two cases were quite distinct, and they were very thankful for having had so good a provision made for him. As to Sam himself, he never complained; and when, in after-years, Mary Graham became the head of the establishment where she had formerly been apprenticed, Sam Dobbin remained where he was, and was able from his earnings to help to support his parents.
As to Eddy Graham, he was put to school by Dr. Kenton and Miss Avery, and every
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three months was examined by the doctor himself. His progress gave satisfaction, and Doctor Kenton informed Miss Avery that he felt sure his former patient would prove worthy of being a surgeon. Eddy Graham did not disappoint his patron; he continued steadily at his work, and became, in afteryears, a surgeon well known for his benevolent efforts among the poor. He remembered the care and expense so freely bestowed upon him by Dr. Kenton, and with purse and skill he was ever ready to assist every one in need. Mrs. Thompson lived to nurse some of his patients and to tell them of the wonderful cure that the great Dr. Kenton had once performed on their surgeon's limb. With such a powerful friend as Dr. Kenton, and, better still, with his own unceasing industry, and with God's blessing, without which no one can prosper, Eddy Graham became a great man, and was not only great but good.