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reappeared with a huge iron ladle in his hand.
“I know what must be done,” said Sam, you must make some sugar-sticks to-day, and show them to father when he comes home; he will believe then that you can do something. I've been to borrow a ladle from Mrs. Lee, and I have a shilling here, which will buy enough of sugar.”
Mary Graham's eyes quite brightened when she saw that she had a chance of being able to convince Mr. Dobbin, and she fell in at once with his proposal to go and buy the sugar.
* But where did you get the shilling, Sam?" asked his sister, “ I didn't think you had more than sevenpence."
“ I've saved it,” said the cripple—and so he had, for many a long day, and now the generous little fellow was about to venture his all in the experiment of the sugar-sticks. Could she only prove to Mr. Dobbin that she was able to earn enough for her living, then there could be no possible reason why she should not stay.
: Sam's shilling was laid out to the best advantage; the sugar was bought, the peppermint, and the colouring, and all that was required; not much was to be had of each, but still enough to enable Mary to show what she could do, and she forthwith set
to work. Mrs. Dobbin highly approved of her making the attempt, and afforded every facility in the way of fire, and the several little things that Mary required; and Sam and Poll stood by, ready to lend any assistance that they could.
The work progressed satisfactorily; the sugar-sticks were turned out to perfection, and Mary Graham spent extra time and care in colouring them in the very best style. Sam and his sister were delighted with their visitor's performance; they watched the whole process with the greatest attention and delight, and smacked their lips right heartily after they had tasted some of Mary Graham's handiwork.
“ Isn't it good, mother?” said the little cripple, appealing to Mrs. Dobbin;
so what do you think father will say to it when he comes home?"
“I think he'll want to eat it all,” said Mrs. Dobbin, laughing," and there will be an end of your shilling, Sam.”
“ Well I don't mind the shilling," said the cripple, “ if he'll only believe that Mary can make sugar-sticks, and will let her try; I wish he were come home now.”
In due course of time the coalheaver's team was heard, and the crack of his whip, as he made his appearance in the yard.
To Sam's great delight he seemed vastly taken with the peppermint-sticks, and expi'essed his surprise that they had actually been made by Mary Graham ; and that in his own room; who had ever thought of his room being turned into a confectioner's shop?
“Now what do you say, father?” asked the cripple, as he twirled one of the sugarsticks between his fingers ; " you see Mary can make them, as she said; only get her lots of stuff, and see if she don't get
Well, the taste is capital,” said Mr. Dobbin, after having had a piece of the sugarstick; “ although I ain't much used to peppermint, I think 'tis very good ; and as to the took, it could be no better; perhaps something could be done, if only we could get some money for a start; but d'ye see, Sam, that's the rub, money is the thing that's uncommon hard to be got.
“ Suppose you can spare half-a-crown ?" said Sam, looking inquiringly into his father's face.
“ Half-a-crown would be no manner of good," answered Mr. Dobbin, people make money, is by doing a lot at a tíme; then they buy the stuff cheap, and can make something out of it."
“ What is to be done, then?” said Poll, " for mother has no money, and I have
66 the way
none, and Mary has none, and Sam had a shilling, but 'tis spent in the stuff for these.” “ I'll see to-morrow,
said the worthy coalheaver, “perhaps God will raise us up a friend, He's able to help, how and when He will.”
On the morrow Tim Dobbin departed to his daily work, with the very unusual addition of a peppermint-stick in his pocket. It was carefully wrapped up in a piece of white paper,
with a brown one over it, to keep it from any chance dirt, and was about to be shown to no less a person than the gentleman that employed the coalheaver every day.
When this good man arrived at the counting-house, he asked for an interview with his master. This was readily granted, and Tim Dobbin stood face to face with his master.
* Good morning, Tim," said Mr. Drabstone, “ what can I do for thee?"
Mr. Drabstone was a quaker, and partly from hearing him say " thee" so often, and partly because he was a Yorkshireman, Tim always used the word “thee" also.
Tim Dobbin at first felt himself rather awkward when he remembered that his business was about a peppermint-stick, so he did not answer at once.
" Is the black mare dead?" asked Mr. Drabstone.
“ She's alive, Sir!" said Tim," and a wonderful deal better than she was.'
As the health of the black mare, which had been ailing, was the only subject on which Mr. Drabstone could think of Tim Dobbin's wanting him, he waited to hear if the latter would break the silence which now ensued. At last, as Tim seemed to grow more and more puzzled every minute, his employer asked him what it was that he wanted. Hereupon the coalheaver, with a good deal of fidgeting, unbuttoned his trowsers pocket and produced a piece of brown paper, which was no other than the covering of the sugar-stick.
66 What hast thou there?” said Mr. Drabstone, looking at the mysterious parcel.
" A peppermint - stick,” said the coalheaver, opening the inner wrapper with the greatest care.
“ And why hast thou brought a peppermint-stick to me? ” asked the Quaker, eyeing his man, as though he must have gone out of his mind.
Having asked the question, Mr. Drabstone waited patiently for an answer; and Tim Dobbin having taken courage and laid the whole matter before him, the loan of a pound was asked for, to be repaid at a shilling