Germany, 1914: The bourgeois austerity of the small, northern German town in which Ulyssa lives conflicts sharply with her desire to flirt with and be ensnared by charming, young men. That she's married is irrelevant; it's a marriage which exists only on paper. Among all the men Ulyssa flirts with, there is one for which she has genuine affection: Stefen Marbach, an upright and sincere man, far superior to her other men. And, indeed, the two are honest with one another about their feelings, but the outbreak of the First World War separates them. Sometime later, Ulyssa finds out that not only her husband, but Stefan, too, has fallen in battle. The news of this disaster leads her to reconsider and eventually give in to the constant urgings of the Viennese merchant Reindl. Ulyssa joins Reindl in Vienna and lives a life of wealth and comfort, until one day, Stefan shows up.