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The location of Beliers Priory in East Barsetshire, home to Sir Harry and Lady Waring, gives us a chance to enjoy some of Thirkell's delightful place names. The main RR line at Winter Overcotes serves Shearing Junction, Winter Underclose, and Worsted. Nearby are Lambton, Fleece, Skeynes, and Eiderdown. As war drags on, the Warings host a convalescent hospital for soldiers as well as billeting their niece Leslie, and Capt. Noel and Lydia Merton from West Barsetshire. Romance proceeds apace 'downstairs' as well as 'upstairs' with a trio of followers (including a 'Barkis is willin' character) pursuing Selina, the housemaid, to a most suitable conclusion. Philip Winter and Leslie meet, create, and resolve their difficulties. As Lydia observes they are 'growing up' and the stationmaster with a POW son, Tommy Needham's amputated arm, and everyone's uncertainty re: absent friends and relatives are sombre counterpoints to the prevailing attitude of 'soldiering on'.