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193. The Grace of Culture

Major Grantly was left with five year old Edith when his wife died. He was the rich heir of his father the Archdeacon. Grace was the nineteen year old daughter of a poor clergyman, Mr. Crawley, an austere, dutiful scholar of Oxford. It was a wilful fate that clamped on the devout preacher a false case of theft, a theft of 20 pounds. His daughter Grace had a high education in Greek and Latin. She was eminently a lady by virtue of what she was. Major Grantly loved her and his father the Archdeacon was furious. He was bent upon breaking the engagement, if there was one.

News of Grace's stay in a friend's house nearby stirred the father to action. He announced himself at that house and asked to meet Miss Grace Crawley. Somewhere from the kitchen she presented herself in her old clothes. Against his will, he was struck by her bearing and was all admiration for what she was. 'How can my son not love such a lovely girl?' he said to himself. His fury came down to a frown. She was not defiant, but her firmness had a charm for the old man. There was a conversation of sorts. The Archdeacon was swept off his feet by the utter truthfulness of the girl when she spoke of her relationship with his son.

By this time the old man, who had been at the other end of the room was standing close to her with tears in his eyes. He told her how impossible it was for her to marry his wealthy son because of the scandal over her father's head. She promised him voluntarily not to marry his son until the slur on her father's good name was wiped out. It was too much for the Archdeacon. He came closer, bent down his aged proud head, kissed the head of the young angel and told her if the blot was removed, he would withdraw his opposition to the marriage.

He could see the girl was cultivated and magnanimous. At moments he saw she could be described as majestic. The Major's father, who had been foul-mouthed about the alliance was won over by the cultured grace of the poor girl. Though he himself had no elements of graceful behaviour, he had enough education to admire the attainments of Grace Crawley. Her endowments were not directly spiritual, but bordered on spirituality through high education and rich culture.

story | by Dr. Radut