This is a play about personal and social responsibility. Set in Victorian London, it offers a hint of the supernatural. We open with the chiming of church bells and the voice of the Head Goblin of the Chimes. Describing the wind, the church, the winter street; he introduces the protagonist, Toby Veck. Toby is a messenger who waits for jobs at the foot of St. Malackey's bell tower. His daughter, Meg, enters with two surprises: a hot dinner for him and news that she plans to marry the following morning. ("On New Year's Day, the best and brightest day in the year!") Her fiance, Richard, enters to receive Toby's blessing.