To Judith Morely, Cranford was more than just a hospital where she made her living at a job she liked. Cranford was a refuge and a haven and Judith had no thought of ever leaving it to face marriage, men, or the world.
Judith had never known her father. Her mother had died when she was very young. She was brought up by her Aunt Hepsie in near-poverty, and it had been drummed into her over and over again that her father had forsaken his wife and child, that men were monsters not to be trusted, that she had a bad heritage and could never expect to amount to anything or live down the stigma. No one at Cranford knew about that past, or cared. Judith was well liked, an efficient nurse, an important part of the staff.
Then young Dr. Larry Booth tried to break down her reserve. He said he loved her. He said he wanted to marry her. She didn’t want to fall in love with him and she didn’t want to believe him. But gradually, she found she was beginning to do both. And Rufus Grant said he loved her and said he wanted to marry her. She felt sure she didn’t want to fall in love with him, but she did believe he was honest. And one evening, when she discovered that Dr. Booth really wasn’t trustworthy, she almost came to believe that Aunt Hepsie had been right. But Rufus Grant showed her why that wasn’t true.