Colin must be comforted in his grief over the death of his fiancée. His friends, who never met the girl, arrange a tea party for him. Understandably, they are on edge wondering what to say to him. But there is more to their unease than that, for Diana and her husband Paul, John and Evelyn, and Marge – whose husband is perpetually out of circulation with trivial illnesses – are all kept together by a mixture of business and cross-marital emotional ties. By the time Colin arrives for tea, tenseness contrasts dramatically with his air of cheerful relaxation. He is the only happy one amongst them, and his happiness and insensitive analysis of their troubles causes each in his own way to break down.