“To move a man to correct morals, pointing out the proper way to him,” is the reason that prompted the author to create this woeful tale. Rich and noble Franval, corrupted by his education and “newfangled trends,” marries the charming Mademoiselle de Farney. The wife adores her husband, he is “amazingly cold-blooded” to her. Nevertheless, a year later they have a daughter, named Franval Eugenie – “simultaneously a filthy and beautiful creature of nature.”
Hardly a child came into the world, Franval begins to implement his infamous design. He separates the baby from the mother and gives to the faithful faithful women. At the age of seven, he hires the daughters of teachers and begins to teach her the most diverse sciences and trains her body. Eugénie lives, obeying the thoughtful order of Franval, eats only the dishes chosen by him, communicates only with him. Mother and grandmother is very rarely allowed to see the girl. Despite
the timid protests of the mother, Franval forbids giving the daughter the basis of religious education. On the contrary, he gradually instills in the girl his own cynical views on religion and morality, and ultimately completely subordinates her thoughts and will. The fourteen-year-old Eugenie loves only her “friend”, her “brother”, as Franval directs her to call herself, and hates her mother,
And so Franval realizes his infamous plan – with full agreement, Eugenie makes her his mistress. His system of upbringing gives its fruits: Eugenie with “unquenchable ardor” surrenders to love with his own father. Every night lovers indulge in criminal passion, but act so deftly that the beautiful Madame de France is not aware of anything and continues to try to please her husband with all her might; Franval treats her worse and worse.
Beauty Eugenie begins to attract fans, and now a certain worthy young man asks for her hands. Ms de Franval conveys his proposal to his daughter, but she refuses and sends the mother to her father for explanations. Hearing from the lips of
his wife the offer to marry his daughter, Franval is enraged and, under the threat of a complete separation from his daughter, forbids his wife to even think about Eugenie’s marriage. The disappointed Madame de France is telling her mother everything, and, being more experienced in everyday affairs, she begins to suspect the evil and goes to her brother-in-law herself. But she gets the same answer.
Meanwhile, Franval convinces his daughter that her mother wants to separate them, and together with Eugénie they decide to find Madame de Farney’s lover to distract her attention from her. Their request is ready to be performed by a certain Valmont, a friend of Franval, who does not have “moral prejudices”. Wanting to persuade Madame de France, Valmont tells her that her husband is betraying her with Eugene. Not believing him, Madame de France deported Valmont, but the seeds of doubt were sown in her heart. Having bribed Eugénie’s maid, Madame de France is convinced the truth of Valmon’s words the next night. She begs her daughter and her husband to think, but Franval, indifferent to her pleas, drops her off the stairs.
Madame de France is seriously ill, and her mother sends to Franval her confessor Clairville, so that he consulates his son-in-law. Clairville does not reach the goal, and the vindictive Franval orders his servants to grab the priest and imprison him in one of his secluded castles. Then, deciding to inevitably compromise his wife, Franval again appeals for assistance to Valmon. He for his service asks him to show him the naked Eugenie. Seeing the young beauty in the appropriate form, Valmont falls in love with her and, instead of seducing Madame de France, confesses to her in her love for Eugénie. Wishing to break off Eugenie’s criminal relationship with his father, Valmont suggests that she kidnap the girl and marry her.
With the consent of Mme de Valval, Valmont takes Eugenie away, but Franval traps them and kills Valmon. Then, in order to avoid the penalty of justice, Franval flees to one of his remote castles and takes his wife and daughter with him. Learning that Eugenie was kidnapped with the knowledge of his wife, he decides to take revenge on Madame de France and instructs his daughter to poison his mother. He himself is forced to flee abroad, because he was sentenced to death. On the way to Franval, the robbers attack and take away from him everything he had. The wounded and exhausted Franval meets Clairville: a worthy priest managed to get out of the dungeon’s chambers. However, full of Christian humility, Clairville is ready to help his tormentor. Along the way, Franval and Clairville meet a gloomy procession – bury Mrs. de France and Eugénie. Poisoning his mother, Eugénie suddenly felt such a burning repentance, that suddenly she died near the mother’s cold body. Rushing to the coffin of his wife, Franval pierces himself with a dagger. Such is the crime and the “terrible fruits of it” …