Monsieur Lemonnier was a simple, honest man who fell in love with and married a poor neighbor. They had a happy life together, and after five years, they had a child.
The birth of their son brought them immense joy, but it also took the life of Lemonnier's wife. Devastated, Lemonnier devoted himself to raising their son, Jean, with the help of his close friend, Monsieur Duretour.
As Jean grew, Lemonnier and Duretour spoiled him, giving him everything he wanted. This caused tension with the family's old nurse, Céleste, who believed they were ruining the child.
It's a shame, monsieur, a shame. You'll be the ruin of the child, the ruin of him, do you hear!
One day, Céleste tried to force Jean to eat his soup, leading to a violent confrontation between her and Lemonnier. In her anger, Céleste revealed that Jean was not Lemonnier's son, but rather the result of an affair between his wife and Duretour.
Shocked and heartbroken, Lemonnier spent the night writing a letter to Duretour, entrusting him with the care of Jean. He then took his own life, hanging himself in his room. Céleste discovered his body the next morning, along with the letter addressed to Duretour.
I leave and entrust the little one to you.
The tragic events left Jean in the care of the man who had unknowingly caused his father's despair and ultimate demise.