Every year on the eve of his birthday, stableboy Francis Raven is pursued by the vision of a mysterious woman who tries to stab him to death. At a druggist's, Francis meets Alicia Warlock, an alcoholic attempting to buy laudanum, and despite his mother's objections, marries her. One night, when Francis finds Alicia in a drunken stupor, he hits her, after which she vows to kill him in the manner of his dream. Francis takes his wife's knife, but it is later stolen from him. Years later, Francis is employed as a groom by the Fairbanks who ask Rigobert, another groom, to guard him on his birthday eve to avoid the increasingly more frightening vision. At the bidding of a prostitute whom Rigobert has taken to his room, he binds and gags Francis, then goes to tell the Fairbanks that Francis is safe. Now helpless, the terrified Francis watches as the prostitute, who is actually Alicia, takes the knife and stabs him in the heart. The Fairbanks discover Francis' corpse and follow Alicia's tracks to the river.