Lewis Romayne is a recluse, forced from his life of academic research by the dying call of an aunt in Paris. Subsequently involved in a duel, he returns a broken man, until he meets Stella Eyrecourt and marriage becomes a possibility. But a face from the past begins a battle for Romayne's soul.
When a condemned woman asks the local Minister to take her daughter home, the childless man is touched and finds himself unable to refuse. Yet the prisoner has been unrepentant of the murder of her husband. Will her vices be passed on to this seemingly sweet child?