The Howletts live in a huge castle. John Howlett, the master of the house, treats his servants very well, though his father thinks he is too soft. John’s wife Elizabeth has been in psychiatric care after one of their children died, and spends most of her time in her room, speaking with noone. One day the Howletts take in the orphaned girl Rose to become the companion of the other boy James, who is allergic and almost constantly sick. They befriend Dog, the son of Mr. Logan, who works as the grounds keeper, and often beats up his son.