A drawing-room in O’Farrell’s house in John Street. It is very prettily but not extravagantly furnished. The O’Farrells are a young married couple of modest income. It is between six and seven in the evening. Peyton, a neat parlour-maid, opens the door and shows in Mr. Davenport Barlow. Barlow is a short, self-important person of middle age. He is very bald, red in the face, and wears a small, neatly curled moustache; he is dressed in the height of fashion. His manner is fussy and pompous. He comes forward as though he expected to find some one in the room. Seeing that it is empty, he stops and looks at Peyton. He cannot make out why there is no one to receive him.