Queenie and the girls are billeted in a big house called the School House.
The housekeeper Gwen, who looks after them, is a bit cold but she gradually melts as time goes by. The owner Mrs Merton is a wealthy woman who doesn’t want the girls in her house, and she is hardly seen. Queenie has only seen her once when she stole a look and heard her say she didn’t want to see the visitors in her house.
Queenie is impressed with the sea near the house as it is the first time she has seen it. On the beach she runs into Jimmy Nicholls, who used to live near her and was a year below in her school. Jimmy is there with his siblings, and he and Queenie start becoming friends. That first day Jimmy and Queenie discover a little house on the property; it is a garage and on the top floor there is what used to be a bedroom. When they ask Gwen, she says that the room used to housed Hugh Jones, a young man who stayed there when the house was a school, but he was killed in the Great War. It is clear that Gwen, who at the time was a young girl, must have been in love with Hugh. Queenie and Jimmy ask for Gwen’s permission to tidy up the room and use like a den to play in. Gwen agrees, and Queenie and Jimmy as well as Hester, Mary, and Hugh’s siblings spend long hours there. Then when Mary and Hester start school, and Mary has problems with her reading, Queenie uses the place to help Mary and the other children with their letters. The teacher at the school where Hester and Mary hear what nice job Queenie is doing with the children, and they ask her to come to the schoolhouse twice a week and teach the younger children. Queenie is impressed and can’t believe all these new things happening to her. Her mother used to call her thick, and now she is going to teach!!! I think Queenie is realising that her mother leaving is the best thing that could have happened to her. I wonder if Agnes Tate is gone forever or maybe she will turn up at some point.