Helene Grandjean, an attractive young widow, lives a secluded life in Paris with her only child, Jeanne. Jeanne is a delicate and nervous girl who jealously guards her mother's affections. When Jeanne falls ill, she is attended by Dr Deberle, whose growing admiration for Helene gradually turns into mutual passion. Deberle's wife Juliette, meanwhile, flirts with a shallow admirer, and Helene, intent on preventing her adultery, precipitates a crisis whose consequences are far-reaching. Jeanne realises she has a rival for Helene's devotion in the doctor, and begins to exercise a tyrannous hold over her mother
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