A novel of one woman's career of service as it encompasses the years of social changes, wars, and hopes for better understanding and love between people. Susan, countrybred, learns the hard lessons of domestic apprenticeship as a little girl, makes her way to London and the many, various employers and homes that strengthen her conception of a perfect servant. Finally she has the sad little romance which leads her to have her son adopted, has her philosophy sweetened by an old woman, and finds the household which she can never leave. Susan's observations and belief in doing her job superbly bring about changes in those with whom she works, as well as in those for whom she works, so that when she sees her employer change from an icy, selfish woman to an understanding friend, during this war, she can now leave for a dignified position in the country. A pattern of domestic care, welfare and conditions -- this panoramas the English caste system and its gradual cracking up and provides a muted, sober version of the servant in the house.