Elizabeth , a young wife and mother, waits for her husband Walter to come home from the coal mine. She attributes his lateness to him having gone drinking. As time goes on, she goes to look for him and alerts his colleagues. It transpires he has been killed in a pit accident. Elizabeth's mother-in-law helps her to wash the corpse after it is brought home from the mine. The reactions of the two women are in stark contrast - and the experience of laying out the body shows Elizabeth how she and her husband never really knew one another in life.