In a once grand Venetian palazzo an old woman and her niece live in seclusion. An American publisher asks to leases some rooms, his purpose to unearth the mystery of a brilliant author who once loved the aunt. The old woman curtly rejects all inquiries. When she finds him going through the some papers he’s discovered, she has a stroke and dies. The lonely niece pathetically proposes to him, but he rejects her when she says she’s burned the papers. She locks herself up in the palazzo and then destroys the papers.