Against the half dead life of the country town of Dorthe is sketched in spare narration the story of sacred and profane love and the progression to God. Marie Dubernet's ailing mother will not consider Gilles Salone as a suitor and Marie and Gilles make use of her governess, the high-born, strong-minded Madame Agathe, as an in-between sure that she will help them because of her overwhelming passion for Nicholas Plassac, devoted friend of Gilles. Knowing he is a dupe, Nicholas tries to rebel but succumbs, even to an engagement, when Mme. Agathe wins over his mother. Mme. Dubernet's death changes the picture and the atmosphere, for Marie now has her father's permission to marry Gilles, and Nicholas is freed when Mme. Agathe gets the chance to marry M. Dubernet. A still life in which the fine points of a sense of religion rather than religion itself is the motivating force, this is argued by a postscript essay by the author, whose works have small appeal for a large audience, but a large appeal for that small audience won by his previous titles.