The Countess de la Garde is on her deathbed. Suddenly, she sits up, staring stiffly at the old armoire. She staggers from her bed towards the armoire, but before she can reach it, she collapses and dies. Her nephew, Chamberlain von Høfft, has been following the direction of her gaze. He never noticed anything odd about this stately piece of furniture, nor does he now, but he decides to keep an eye on it all the same. At an auction of the countess’s estate some time later, he shows up to buy the armoire. Once it is safely his, he figures he will be able to coax from it whatever secret had died with his aunt. At the auction, he runs into a fellow officer, Arthur Fang. A collector, Fang is interested in the old armoire, too. The two officers get into a bidding contest, which Fang ultimately wins. One day Fang is sitting at the old armoire. Absentmindedly, he starts fiddling with a knob he never noticed before, when a secret drawer slides out. In the drawer is a document written by the Countess de la Garde, saying that he, Fang, is her illegitimate son. If he makes this known in time, he will be sole heir to her fortune!