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SOME years after Edward Graham's commencement in practice, he went one day, as was his custom, to the hospital, where he had been in former times as a patient. The worthy Doctor Kenton was now dead, and had left him a legacy of one thousand pounds, which, with his own earnings, was sufficient to enable him to live in comfort and respectability.
On the day of which we now speak, the young surgeon went through the wards of the hospital, to see a case which had been brought in only a little while before, and which required immediate attendance. A man had fallen from a ladder, and broken his leg. The injury was a very severe one; and from his previous habits, for he had evidently been a drunkard, it was very doubtful whether the injury would not cost him his life. In a few moments the
young surgeon stood by the man's bedside, and there, in those distorted features, he recognised the face of the one that had injured him so much. Yes,
there, helpless, almost stupified from his accident, lay John Graham; but “was it indeed he? might it not be some one like him?” Glad as Edward Graham would have been to have met the unhappy man, for whom he had long searched in vain, this was a dreadful way in which to find him. With a trembling hand the surgeon unbuttoned the neck of the wounded man's shirt, and there he saw suspended his mother's wedding ring; it was then his brother indeed; but oh, what a spectacle! what a judgment had come upon him!
The room in which Edward Graham himself had been cured was disengaged; it was used principally for private patients, and this 'case the surgeon determined to treat at his own expense.
Hither, then, was John Graham brought, and his brother Edward set his broken limb; but the subsequent cure was very slow indeed. The most dangerous cases which are brought to hospitals are those of men who have been accustomed to drink, and John Graham had been such a confirmed drunkard, that for a long time his brother Edward did not dare to hope for his recovery. At last he saw some favourable symptoms, and after having lain for a long time between life and death,
the injured man began to rally. His accident had brought him low, and when he was fit to be removed, his brother took him to his own house.
Edward Graham had to use the greatest caution in letting his brother know who he was; but though thus careful in discovering himself, it nearly proved the patient's death. John Graham had not an idea that the surgeon under whose hands he had been was his own ill-treated brother. It was not to be wondered at; for the healthy-looking Mr. Graham, well dressed, and occupying so high a position, was very unlike the poor emaciated cripple, for whose support his brother would only allow a penny a day.
When John Graham was well enough, he told his history to Edward, and his sister Mary. After some time his unhappy wife had recovered from the effects of the blow he had given her, and he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. On coming out of jail, he could not find her anywhere, and she had not been heard of from that day up to the time of his fall.
Without a home or shelter, John Graham wandered about the streets for a long time, for he could not bring himself to go near the old woman's house again. Day by day he was haunted with the idea that he had been the cause of both Mary's and Eddy's death ; and he went deeper and deeper in his habits of drunkenness and sin.
As a last resource, and to keep himself from starving, he had been obliged to become a common labourer; and while carrying a hod of mortar up a high ladder, his head being giddy from drinking, he fell, and was brought to the hospital, where he met with his brother.
They had now changed places. Eddy was no longer the cripple, dependent upon his brother's bounty, but his brother was a cripple dependent upon him. The leg, although set, was always weak, and John Graham had received such a shake, that he was fit for work no more. Edward did not remember against him the fact of his once having thought a penny a day enough for him, but supplied him liberally with what he required. John Graham's habit of drunkenness was broken during the time of his sojourn in the hospital; his brother's returning him good for evil, helped to soften and melt his heart, and he lived and died an altered man.
R. CLAY, FRINTER, BREAD STREET HILL.
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