Jean Renneval, a mature and attractive stage actor, seduces Thérèse Verdier, a beautiful woman whom he notices attending the play one evening. Henri Verdier, her husband, is about to leave in a business appointment, but he makes arrangements with Henriette - Thérèse's friend - to stay at his place, and sleep there after dinner. He has learned from his first two earlier wives: Lucie cuckoo-ed him with Hector van Broken, his look-a-like; and Juliette with the sultan Hammanlif. His friend Marinier goes with him in the car to the railway station, and during their conversation, Verdier decides to return home - only to find he has been betrayed a third time. Renneval leaves the bedroom already dressed and composed with his costume of cardinal, and with his rhetoric convinces Verdier to accept his fate.