Anno 1826. Grethi Birger is 17 years old and is now all alone in the world. Her mother is dead, and she has never known her father. Grethi are now looking for the mother's only sister, aunt Birger who has a laundry in a remote provincial town. Aunt is of strictly religious disposition, receiving sister daughter with cool goodness. When the young county clerk Peer discovers that Grethi is heir to a large fortune from his father, he plans to marry her without telling anything about the legacy.