An old woman, who was once very beautiful and had many lovers, decided to share her first romantic adventure with a friend. She was married to a rich man, Count Hervé de Ker, who was tall, elegant, and aristocratic but lacked intelligence and had a closed mind.
They lived in a large, lonely country house surrounded by a park and two big ponds. The narrator reflects on her views about love and marriage, questioning whether true love can exist within the confines of a legal union.
Can that which is imposed upon one from the outside, sanctioned by law and blessed by the priest, be love?
One autumn evening, her husband invited her to join him in hunting a fox that had been eating their chickens. They waited in a hut by the pond, and after some time, a man appeared under the trees. The woman's husband shot the man, who fell to the ground. The woman screamed in horror, and her husband, realizing his mistake, tried to kill her as well. However, her maid, Paquita, intervened and saved her.
Paquita then threw herself on the dead man's body, kissing him passionately, revealing that he was her lover.
The husband, realizing his mistake, begged for his wife's forgiveness. After the husband kills the Baron de C, he realizes his mistake and begs for his wife's forgiveness, admitting that he had been misled by his keeper.
Oh! forgive me, darling. I suspected you and I have killed this girl’s lover; my keeper deceived me.
From that moment on, the woman knew she would be unfaithful to her husband.