Morell respects Proserpine as his secretary. He is kind and polite to her. He is unaware of her feelings toward him; Proserpine is in love with him, and she is jealous of the way that he talks about his wife, Candida.
Proserpine is loyal to Morell and does not get along well with Marchbanks, the young poet, or Burgess, Candida's father. Proserpine thinks that Marchbanks is mad, and she is saying as much to Burgess when they get into a spat. Proserpine calls Burgess a "fathead," and then Morell appears. Burgess takes the opportunity of her stepping out to tell Morell what she has said; he expects that she will get into some trouble with him. Instead, Morell laughs delightedly and says that this is just like her: she always says exactly what she is thinking. He finds her amusing and likes her. When she returns, he jokingly asks Proserpine why she's calling his father-in-law names. She bursts into tears, and Morell attempts to console her. It is evident that he feels affection for her, though not love in the way she would want.
Candida tells Morell that Proserpine is in love with him. She explains to him that she feels that he has an abundance of love while Marchbanks has a shortage; all of Morell's secretaries have been in love with him, and he is unaware. This is true; he is surprised that Candida thinks Proserpine is in love with him.