A synopsis of the play by Alexander Dumas (fils)

This document was originally published in Minute History of the Drama. Alice B. Fort & Herbert S. Kates. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935. p. 77.

THE Baroness Suzanne D'Ange belongs to that questionable stratum of Parisian society full of married women whose husbands are never seen. She has had "affairs" with the Marquis de Thonnerins and more recently with Olivier de Jalin. Now, however, she has met the attractive young officer, Raymond de Nanjac, just back from ten years in the African service, and unacquainted with the new social development that enables women like Suzanne to live on the fringe of society. In his openly expressed admiration she sees an opportunity for marriage and social rehabilitation if she can persuade the Marquis and Olivier to keep silent.

As luck will have it, Olivier and Raymond meed and immediately become warm friends. When Olivier realizes that marriage is Raymond's intent he feels it his duty to warn his friend. Raymond is both incredulous and resentful. Suzanne, however, realizes that Olivier's words are bound to rouse her fiance's suspicions. She asks Olivier to return her letters and cleverly arranges to have Raymond meet him at her house, where she finds occasion to prove that the letters are not even in her handwriting. The certificates purporting to record her marriage to the Baron D'Ange and his subsequent death serve as final convincing proof of her innocence and complete Olivier's confusion.

Meanwhile, de Thonnerins, discovering a family friendship with Nanjac, warns Suzanne that her marriage must not take place. She promises that it shall not, but writes the Marquis a tearful appeal to keep her secret. Raymond discovers this letter on the eve of the duel he is about to fight with Olivier in defense of Suzanne's honor. An emotional scene is followed by his offer of forgiveness providing she will return de Thonnerins' "settlement" and swear that Olivier has been nothing to her.

Since both men insist on going through with the duel which is scheduled for the grounds behind Olivier's apartment, Suzanne goes to his rooms to await the outcome. At length Olivier appears and pretends that jealousy of Suzanne has driven him to kill Raymond. Always an opportunist, the girl readily accedes to his plea that she go away with him, at which point de Jalin bursts out laughing and Raymond appears. Suzanne's final duplicity has entirely cured his infatuation, but he makes the gentlemanly gesture of offering to restore to her from his own fortune the "settlement" he had forced her to return. Seeing that she has irrevocably lost, Suzanne admits that "in her confusion" she had returned some valueless papers to de Thonnerins and so can still continue to live without Raymond's help.

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