Laura and her husband are seen to be arguing about finances at the first scene. Laura is seen to have arrived from shopping for Christmas and still wants more money for more shopping from her husband. This shows her extravagance which exceeds reasonable levels. You cannot base your reason for shopping extravagantly to the hope that your husband is presumably going to be a bank manager at the beginning of the next year. She (Laura) even goes to the extent of telling her husband that if all goes wrong she could borrow the money from a friend. I strongly support her husband’s decision where he told her to anticipate uncertainties brought about by life. She however is persistent and is given money in the long run, and is really extravagant as seen.
Cristina – Laura’s childhood friend – is second to be introduced in the plot and she is pitted as a widow. Laura empathizes with her wholeheartedly and shows us her true inner soft self. Cristina describes how she could not have rejected the advances of her late husband no matter how unhappy she was. I honestly thought that Cristina was out to just visit but she had seemingly heard that Laura’s husband was soon to be bank manager and she thus came soliciting for a job.
Discussions between Laura and Christina show that Laura had saved her husband’s life when they had travelled to Italy together a few years back. Cristina made us discover that the money borrowed was from Mr. Grougstard whom she perfectly knew apparently not as such a good man.
Their discussion is then later joined by a doctor who talks about how influential people in society do things to people that will always keep them in check. Before he could go any further, Mr. Grougstard shows up and asks to see Laura’s husband and Laura offer’s her visitors’ macaroons. The doctor is quick to point out that they are forbidden in the house. She however hides them for herself and lies to her husband that she does not take them anymore, that was another lie to her husband. The matter being discussed by the doctor funny enough was applying to Laura’s situation although she could not see it as the doctor, Laura’s husband and Mr. Grougstard leave, Cristina joins them. Mr. Grougstard however comes back secretly and starts blackmailing Laura. Unfortunately, Laura had forged an I.O.U which her father was to sign. She did this in good faith so as to be lend cash by the latter which was to be used to treat her husband. Problem is she did this in utter secrecy from her husband. All she just wanted was to save her husband and avoid stressing her old father who was sick.
Mr. Grougstard thus sees her actions as an act of fraud and promises to fall out with her in case he was supposed to be cast out of society a second time. Laura’s extravagance and secrecy had put her in woe. Mr. Grougstard still blackmails her despite the fact that she paid her dues to him regularly. The doctor’s argument which she barely wanted to listen to was now making sense in her life. A man of influence in society was keeping her in check and she barely knew what to do in this situation. The secrets she had been keeping from her husband would soon be out in the open. A simple honest gesture to a people who she loved had gone sour.