In 1850 the Earl of Taplow and his family return from Italy to Taplows,their country house,with their retinue of servants,led by butler Jarvis and house-keeper Flora. George Cosmo, a confident youngster,arrives seeking employment as the second foot-man,bringing with him forged references. Whilst Flora is willing to take him at face value,Jarvis is less certain. However the sudden departure of under-butler Frank creates a vacancy which needs filling immediately. George is taken on. First footman William is not impressed but he catches the eye of Grace, nursemaid to the earl's handicapped young son Harry.
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