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Willful, proud Peter Grimm, a prosperous nursery owner in upstate New York, argues constantly with his physician and family friend, Dr. Andrew Macpherson, about reincarnation, insisting that the hereafter does not consist of ghosts who return to visit the living. When Peter learns later that he has a terminal illness, he makes his ward Catherine promise that she will marry his nephew Frederik, even though he knows that she is in love with James, his secretary. Shortly after, Peter dies, and in spite of her growing mistrust of Frederik, Catherine proceeds with the promised wedding plans. Although the scheming Frederik, who believes that Peter has left him his entire estate, is confident that Catherine will keep her vow, a ghostly, remorseful Peter returns to earth, determined to stop the marriage. Unable to communicate with either Catherine, James or Dr. Macpherson, however, Peter goes to the deathbed of William, his housekeeper's sickly grandson. Through William, Peter extracts a confession from Frederik that he is William's father and that years before in Europe, he deserted both the boy and his mother, who later committed suicide. Convinced of Frederik's duplicity, Catherine rejects Frederik and embraces the faithful James, just as Dr. Macpherson locates Peter's will in which he states his intention to leave everything to his ward and "her husband." A satisfied Peter then returns to heaven, with little William at his side.