Beryl is a young, beautiful girl of eighteen. Filled with gentleness and kindness and a talent for art and music. Ellice, the mother of Beryl, is bed-ridden and Beryl's care is what sustains her. Beryl's father has been dead for some time and her brother, Robert, who is her mother's favorite, is off doing his own thing. Times are hard for Ellice Bretano and her daughter. They survive on the sale of Beryl's portraits and even this is not enough because Ellice needs surgery desperately in order to live.