Valentine de la Verberie rejects the suit of Jean Lazet, for she loves Gaston de Clameran. In a café, Lazet makes a slurring reference to Valentine, and Gaston, overhearing the remark, strikes him. In the melee that ensues. Gaston stabs Lazet. He has to flee the country. After his father's death his brother, Louis, comes into the estate. Valentine gives birth to a son, and her mother places the child in the care of foster parents. The countess then takes Valentine to Paris, where she marries the banker Fauvel. Twenty years later, Louis, now penniless, discovers that Valentine has made a wealthy marriage. Determined to profit by what he knows of her past, he visits the old peasant to whose care the infant was entrusted. He is informed that the child died of croup eighteen months after its birth. Louis then determines to substitute his champion, Raoul, for the dead boy. He presents himself at the Fauvel home and introduces Raoul to Valentine as her lost son. To keep the secret from her ...
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