Another exercise in the transubstantiation of time, and there's as much moral as magic to it. Orphan Lorrie Mallard has lost her comfortable grandmother (temporarily) and her familiar Canadian school; she resents the boys who tease her and the neighbor who tries to help her "adjust" to a typical American town. Her solace is Octagon House, inhabited by elderly Miss Ashemeade and her Negro housekeeper, Hallie, both, like the house, relics of an earlier, more finespun time. Lorrie learns to do handwork, comes to love the house; and she learns something of its troubled history by entering the doll's house replica of it and helping the then young Miss Ashemeade rescue two poor orphans, a runaway Negro slave and a Confederate deserter. But now progress--in the form of a thruway--threatens. Lorrie is aghast, Miss Ashemeade is acquiescent (and hortatory)--"that is the normal course of life...one cannot say no...when you first came here you thought you could not find anything good in a new way of life..." etc., etc. The fantasy flickers briefly but the situation (genteel goodness with an iron spine) is all-too-familiar, the intent all-too-obvious, and Lorrie (with her terror of the boys, her hesitation at crossing a street) is all-too-young for her purported years.