Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The timber merchant George Melbury spares no expense in educating his only daughter, Grace. She was away from home for one year, and he is eagerly awaiting her return. Giles Winterborne, a traveling farmer and apple grower, also looks forward to Grace’s homecoming. Mr. Melbury wronged Giles’s father many years before; to atone for this, he half promises Giles that he should have Grace for his wife.
When Grace returns, it is immediately evident that she is much too cultured and refined for the ways of a simple farmer. However, Grace knows that her father promised her to Giles, and she means to go through with it even though she shrinks a little from his plainness. Mr. Melbury is the most concerned. He is an honorable man and likes Giles, but he loves his only child above everything else. He cannot bear to see her throw herself away when she can marry better.
Giles agrees that he is not worthy of Grace, and so the three vacillate, no one wanting to make a decision. Then through a series of unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, Giles loses the houses that ensured his livelihood. His loss decides the matter. Although Mr. Melbury can easily support them both, it is unthinkable that such a lady as Grace should be tied to a man without a steady income. However, when her father tells her that she must forget Giles, Grace finds herself for the first time thinking of her would-be lover with real affection.
The local doctor, Edgar...
(The entire section is 1220 words.)
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