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After the Napoleonic Wars, the aristocratic Chabert comes back to his palatial home to find that his wife has remarried. She had given Chabert, whom she never really loved, up for dead. Her new husband, who is also richer, makes her much happier. To protect her new life, the wife calls Chabert an imposter and has him committed to an asylum. He sneaks out and wanders the streets where he meets and becomes friends with the impoverished street folk. By the time his true identity is revealed it is too late. Chabert has decided to renounce his aristocracy and opts to live with the poor.