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Richard, an artist with syphilis, ignores his doctor's advice and marries Lucie, a naïve country girl. Richard's only patron is his doctor who buys Lucie's portrait, not knowing that she is Richard's wife. Admiration of the painting brings Richard a new client, Patrice, a socialite who commissions him to paint her portrait. Patrice falls in love with Richard, unaware of his marriage and illness, but when Lucie gives birth to a stillborn child, Richard's syphilis becomes common knowledge. Rejected now by Patrice, and ravaged by his disease, Richard goes mad and suffers an agonizing death. Finally, Lucie is restored to health by the doctor, whom she subsequently marries.