In the early 1900s, in the French provinces. Célestine a beautiful and libertarian young woman, who has been hired as a chambermaid by the Lanlaires, arrives from Paris at the train station. Joseph, her masters' gruff gardener takes her to the house where she is to work. She is "welcomed" by Mr. Lanlaire who immediately starts fondling her. She then meets Mrs. Lanlaire, a very unpleasant woman with a class superiority. All this bodes ill for the future.