Written as a story for one of his Christmas editions of 'All the Year Round', 'Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions' as it was first entitled is a heart-wrenching tale of a cheap jack, market trader, who loses his own daughter and then his wife and ends up adopting a deaf and dumb young girl.
In the most gentle and enchanting way (which follows some of the more brutish happenings earlier in the tale) Doctor Marigold (so called because he was delivered on the Queen's highway by a kindly doctor) teaches her to understand and communicate with him as they travel the country selling his wares.
When she meets a young boy who she is obviously attracted to Doctor is in a quandary and does not know what to do. His heart tells him that Sophy, the name he had given her after his own daughter, is his and his alone and he feels that he cannot let her go after all the effort he has put in to educate her. But after much heart searching he realises that he is being selfish and gives his blessing to the relationship.
Sophy marries and departs with her new husband only to return some years later with a child of her own and Doctor's delight when he realises that his granddaughter can speak is unbounded.
It is a loving story with plenty of Dickensian description and dialogue to augment the delightful tale.
The book then goes on to show how the father made a sacrifice for his daughter, a sacrifice that resulted in happiness for them both.