It is wartime in Barsetshire, and so much has changed. Belier’s Priory is now a hospital for wounded soldiers, and Sir Harry and Lady Waring have moved to the servants’ quarters, where they make the best of it – so much more practical than the large, draughty house! Soon, their niece Leslie, who has a hush-hush job with the navy, comes to recuperate: her nerves are frayed from overwork and a close call with a torpedo. When the Warings are then asked to house an intelligence officer and his wife, they reluctantly agree. They cannot know what a much-needed tonic Noel and Lydia Merton will prove to be. With the Priory being both the Waring residence and the army hospital, it becomes the hub of activity for all of Barsetshire.