Vera is born into a family of considerable wealth, but she is rather bored and tired of this luxurious but all-too-safe and secluded life. One day Vera’s mother invites her to go with her to help the poor. She is so moved by helping the poor that she decides to devote her life to their cause. One of the people she helps, a man named Maxim, is enchanted by her beauty. He writes Vera a letter, asking her to come back to help with his worsening medical condition which is a complete lie. She goes by herself to his apartment, where he rapes her. While he is sleeping, Vera escapes his grasp, and then she bludgeons him to death. One year later she is introduced to Prince Dol’skii. He shows off his excellent marksmanship skills, and she is soon smitten with him. They get married and Vera decides that she must tell him the truth about what happened to her.