In 1940s Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to visit a sick maid at the dilapidated Hundreds Hall. The maid confesses to faking and hopes the doctor will send her home. The Hall now belongs to Roderick Ayres, a scarred Royal Air Force veteran severely burned in the Second World War, who is being nursed by his sister, Caroline. Dr. Faraday recalls during his childhood in 1919 visiting the home, where his beloved mother had once been a maid to the grand Ayres family. He broke an acorn from an elaborate wooden carving, to his mother's anger, in view of young Susan, the Ayres' first daughter, known as Suki.