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Paris, 1840. Whilst driving his fiancée Irène home in his horse-drawn carriage, the Marquis Rodolphe de Sombreuil accidentally knocks down a poor man in the street. Believing the man is only slightly injured, Rodolphe gives him a purse containing some money as a recompense. But the man dies not long afterwards, leaving his wife and daughter Marie desolate. The widow is then arrested by the police, who believe she stole Rodolphe’s purse. When Rodolphe is called to the police station to settle the matter, the distraught widow entreats him to go in search of her daughter, who has recently gone missing whilst looking for work. In fact Marie has been abducted by an old hag named La Chouette and forced to work as a prostitute. Meanwhile, Irène has grown tired of being neglected and becomes the mistress of Rodolphe’s enemy, the Baron de Lansignac. The latter is a mean businessman who has also taken an interest in Marie...