"… all that I want is him—him for whom I have left husband, children, friends, everything that a good woman should prize. Alas, I am no longer good. For him I have taken a step, which, when it is known to the world, will brand me forever with shame. … Why does he not send for me? It cannot be that he has tired of my charms already. If I thought that could be, I would go mad—I would go raving mad." (46)
Emeline Lawrence is the wife of a Boston businessman, until a young man named Martin Haley lures her away from him. Martin has stolen money from Emeline’s husband and taken to New York City. When Martin learns that a New York detective is onto him, he leaves Emeline in the hotel with plenty of money to keep her comfortable. However, he has done what Emeline fears: taken up with another woman, a waitress in a saloon. In spite of the false trail Emeline laid, her husband becomes aware of what she has done, but he has no desire to reunite with her.
The detective following Martin arrests him and asks Emeline’s husband to come to New York to provide testimony. The detective has also planned a trap to reveal both of Martin’s lovers to each other. They are both at the trial, waiting in a room adjacent to the court. Though they are in the room together, neither woman knows why the other is there. When the women hear Martin’s name in the course of the trial, they both sprint into the court room and are confronted with his scandalous behavior toward of them. In the midst of this debacle, Emeline's husband, Eliphalet, enters the court room.
When Martin’s other lover hears of his behavior, she stabs him and then herself. Emeline runs to Martin and clasps his dying body before fainting. When she comes to, she sees the blood in her hands and believes that she has murdered Martin and his lover. She goes mad as a result of Martin’s treachery and death. It is decided that she should be taken to a hospital for the insane.