The plot revolves around M. Lantin and his wife. He really loves her and they have a wonderful marriage. The only things that bother him are his wife's fascination with fake jewels and her love of the theater. Even though he really loves his wife more and more, after a time, he begs off going to the theater with her. He tells her that he does not like the fake jewels, but she wears them anyway, saying that she can't help it, she likes them.
One cold night attending the theater, M. Lantin's wife becomes ill and 8 days later she dies. After her death, he is grief stricken and he can't bear to look at the fake jewels. In need of money, he decides to sell the jewels and takes them to a merchant who tells him that the jewels are real and very valuable.
M. Lantin is shocked when he learns that the jewels were in fact real, he does not know how his wife could have afforded to buy them, he did not buy them, so he realizes that she must have had a lover who bought them for her. Confused by the discovery of his wife's infidelity, he determines to find a virtuous woman if he marries again.
M. Lantin finds a woman he wants to marry. He chooses a woman that is without question, very virtuous and will be totally faithful to him. They marry, and his wife is a model of virtue, and M. Lantin finds that he is miserable.