Act 1

The starting act is set near a garden outside. All the scenes occur in the same setting. We are introduced to Clara and her mother. They are waiting for her brother Freddy to arrange transportation to return home, Freddy is frustrated in his attempts to find a ride and the women nag him for his failure.

In his rushed state, he knocks into a flower girl named Eliza. She cries foul and asks for compensation for her destroyed property. Suddenly, Eliza comes across an elderly gentleman who calls himself Colonel Pickering. He has returned from India recently and hands Eliza some money seeing her in need. 

They are interrupted by a man who comes out of the shadows with a diary in his hand. Eliza is worried that he may be a cop but puts up a brave front. The man calls himself Higgins and reads her what he has written which is exactly what she had said through the preceding conversations.

He even imitates her voice which attracts other bystanders who feel entertained by Higgins’s gift of impersonation. Higgins starts to ask everyone about their whereabouts and also guesses their place of residence. 

Now, Pickering strikes a conversation with Higgins. It turns out that they both know each other’s work and had intended to meet the other person for a long time. Higgins’s work on phonetics and Pickering’s work in India were quite widely known.

The two arrange a taxi for Clara and her mother and then decide to move their conversation to a different place. After they leave, Freddy arrives at the scene to take his mother and sister home but they had already left then. Eliza, taking the opportunity, takes the cab and exits the space.