We first meet Daisy when she's five years old and selling cress on the streets of London in the 1850s. On Christmas Eve she returns to her home in Mile End, to find the family have deserted the rooms they occupied. Her parents and siblings have gone into the workhouse because her father has lost his job so they are destitute. With nobody to help her she has little option but to return to the streets of the West End and earn a crust. Initially, she teams up with a boy to sweep crossings, and eventually moves into a cellar where she lives with some other girls who are in the same situation. For a time she's happy although that which held so much promise, proves to be a disaster; but she's resilient, and eventually goes 'into service' which elevates her social status a little. By the time she reaches her teens she has learnt read and write, and to behave with propriety but again, misfortune strikes. The road is long and hard for Daisy, but with guts and determination she wins through.