Henry and Muriel's life on the new estate is relatively harmonious despite the vulgar neighbours, the Second World War and the regular Sunday visits from Muriel's mother (who believes her daughter has married far below her station).
The accidental appearance of Mr Hawthorne - Muriel's student - at their house one Sunday afternoon brings unexpected upheavals. Here is a man of respectable breeding, of munificent means, and someone capable of refined, intelligent conversation. Mr Hawthorne has something to offer everyone in the family, but his posting to London disturbs the delicate balance of personal affairs . . .