'Of course there was a Great House at Allington. How otherwise should there have been a small house?' The Great House is home to Squire Dale, the Small House to his widowed sister-in-law, Mrs Dale, and her tow unmarried daughters, Lily and Bell. Both girls have two suitors: in Lily's case John Eames, a junior civil servant and 'hobbledehoy', and Adolphus Crosbie, a more senior civil servant and 'swell', in Bell's case Dr Crofts, the worthy but impecunious local doctor, and Captain Bernard Dale, her cousin and Squire Dale's heir. The sisters present a complete contrast in matters of the heart: while Lily quickly falls in love with Crosbie and accepts his proposal of marriage, Bell is far more reserved in her feelings. Meanwhile, Eames becomes entangled with the daughter of the woman who keeps the boarding-house where he lives. With a host of memorable and beautifully described characters, The Small House at Allington is a true classic of Victorian literature.