The film is based on a novella of the same name by Stefan Zweig.
An upper-class woman visits a doctor who has moved from Europe to one of the English colonies. He agrees to help her have an abortion, provided she spends a night with him. Offended, the woman decides to get rid of the child herself, but dies as a result. Her husband has her body sent to Europe in order to discover the cause of her death. Desperate to save her honour, the doctor deliberately throws her coffin overboard and drowns himself in the sea.