The story of Juliane, a young woman who learns how to take her fate in her own hands and to trust nobody but herself. The plot is set in the Copenhagen tenements of the 1880s. Juliane is trapped in an unhappy marriage to a man who suffers extended periods of insanity. They have two children. She struggles to improve her social status, however, striving to attain the level of her two elder sisters is not easy. The great upheaval comes when she meets Otto, a smith, younger than Juliane, and in many ways her opposite. He is an ardent socialist, whereas she believes in herself. It is love at first sight when they meet and waltz on the pavement, but their passion really bursts into flame as time goes by. At last Juliane has found a man as strong-willed as she is.