In a small town called Étretat, a young artist named Jean Summer married a crippled woman who used to be his model. The couple often spent time together in silence, as they both seemed to be unhappy with their lives.
One day, the young woman asked her husband to stop walking so they could rest. As they sat in silence, people passing by looked at them with pity, believing that Jean had married her out of love and devotion despite her disability.
Two young men nearby discussed Jean's marriage, with one of them claiming to know the real story behind it. According to him, Jean had fallen in love with the woman, named Joséphine, when she was his model. They had a passionate relationship, but it soon turned sour as they constantly fought and argued.
She was really a nice little thing, and had that graceful puckish charm our Parisian little ladies so often have.
Jean eventually decided to end the relationship and left her some money as compensation. However, Joséphine refused to accept the money and confronted Jean at his friend's house. She demanded that he take her back, threatening to kill herself if he married someone else. Jean, in a moment of anger, dared her to jump out of the window. To his horror, she did, resulting in both her legs being broken and leaving her permanently disabled.
Overwhelmed with guilt and remorse, Jean decided to marry Joséphine and take care of her. The couple continued to live together in silence, their relationship strained by the tragic events that had brought them together.