Beaumarchais' third piece to the Almaviva's servant and her pair is more of a bourgeois melodrama as a comedy as the two preceding. La mère coupable also had the poet's lifetime great success and was intended to set to music. There was a project with the then successful French composer André Grétry. However, Beaumarchais' death in 1799 nullified the plan, and La mère coupable had to wait long for a setting. The French composer Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) discovered it again and created from the melodrama a gloomy chamber play, but by the Figaro prudence and love the captive in moral constraints figures to lead tolerance and happy ending.
The Almaviva live with her son Leon and the foster daughter Florestine in Paris. Figaro and Suzanne are still in the service of the count. Léon and Florestine are in love. In the family there is a schemer has crept in, a certain Begearss. His goal is to bring the assets of the Count to himself, for he alone knows all the delicious secrets of this family and play them skillfully for his purposes from: Florestine is the illegitimate daughter of the Count, and Leon is the son of the Countess with the now fallen in the war Chérubin. Begearss proves the Count that Léon is not his son, whereupon he Florestine makes a high dowry to the heiress. The schemer now makes Léon and Florestine proof that they were siblings, therefore, not likely to get married and advertises itself to Florestine. But Figaro and Suzanne look through the wrong game and work against him. The tangle of half-truths and shamefully kept secrets heart is only broken up when the Count is aware of at the height of the intricacies of his love to his wife all lies end, Begearss is marketed and Léon and Florestine can marry.