* Sam Pollit is a naturalist who has a daughter from an earlier marriage and a number of kids with Henny, whom we meet as she comes home from a shopping trip.
* Louie is Sam's first daughter, and she takes care of the other children, even though she is not yet twelve.
* Henny is perennially short on funds and usually irritated by her children. She feels that they are a burden.
* Sam is a genial character who loves the children, but he doesn't really parent them. He treats them as little adults.
* The Pollit household is pretty contentious most of the time because of Henny's constant bad moods.
* Louie gets to escape from her house by visiting Mrs. Kydd, who is very poor, but more genial.
* Henny goes to Washington D.C. to ask her old friend and confidante for money, but he tells her...
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