The Last Sentence (1917) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • George Crosby, a New York lawyer, with a passion for painting, wearied of his legal duties, sails for Brittany, where he meets Renée Kerouac, a fisher-maiden, and sketches her as a Corregan, a fairy who destroys the men who refuse her love. Hoel Kalloc, her betrothed, becomes jealous, and George marries her, after saving her from Hoel's brutality. He soon realizes her inferiority and the impossibility of introducing her as his wife; so he sends her to a convent to be educated, promising to send for her as soon as she has acquired the polish necessary in his sphere of life. Returning to America, he keeps his marriage a secret and is struggling to forget, when he receives a note that a girl, who she has named after him, has been born to her. George later meets Cynthia Ford, with whom he falls in love, and on receiving word of the death of Renée and the baby in a fire in the convent, they become betrothed. However, during the following winter, Renée reappears, and when George denies that he knows her, she leaves her baby in the care of her landlady and goes away. The next morning in the snow in front of their house the Crosbys find her body. Clutched in her hand is the crucifix George had given her, on the back of which had been scratched the word "pardon." The landlady identifies her as the mother of the baby who has been left in her care, and George, placing the crucifix around the baby's neck, pays the landlady to take care of her. Four years pass and a daughter, Georgianna is born to Cynthia and George. In the meantime, Georgette wanders away from the landlady's home and is adopted by a barge captain. Raoul Kerouac, now a French naval officer, comes to inquire for his lost sister, Renée. Seeing Cynthia's child, he mistakes her for Georgette. George writes a confession, revealing the truth, but Cynthia destroys the confession without reading it, on account of her faith in George. Sixteen years later, George is now Judge Crosby, while Georgette has secretly married Val, the reprobate son of Mrs. Lewis, in whose home she is employed as a maid. In an effort to cure him of his love for drink, his mother sends Val away, and Georgette is left alone. A girl is brought before Judge Crosby, charged with murdering her baby, and her conviction seems assured. Among the evidence is a crucifix with the word "pardon" scratched on the back. The judge is seized with apoplexy, as realizing the prisoner is his daughter, he sentences her to death. He has pronounced his last sentence. Cynthia's love for George survives all else; she strives to secure Georgette's freedom, and finally gets word to Val in the far north, whose answer states the baby is safe with him. Val returns with the baby, and he and Georgette sail for Brittany on their belated honeymoon. For the first time in years, George's heart is lightened, although his body is distorted with pain.


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