Erik, the son of Count Bille, and Eva, the winsome daughter of Lawson, the surveyor on his estate, are lovers. Count Bille is fond of worldly indulgences, but, at the same time, is quietly submissive to his sister, Ulrica, a termagant. The count, prompted by his sister, tries to effect an alliance between his son and Lady Vera Torp, daughter of his friend, but Erik has ideas of his own on the point and shows a marked preference for Eva. Aunt Ulrica observes Erik go off to meet Eva, and sends the count after him on horseback to put an end to their romance. Erik informs Eva of his father's plans and his determination not to submit to them, but as they are riding together along a country road they meet Eva's father, and he informs them that he has just left the count, who has forbidden the girl to meet his son again. The next day Lady Vera calls at the house, and the count and his sister contrive to leave Erik alone with her, in the hope that the plans for their union may mature. Instead, Erik confesses to Vera his love for the surveyor's daughter, and earnestly pleads with her to help him by telling the count that Vera herself has no wish to marry Erik. Vera consents. The count arranges a shooting party, and after which we are led back to his domicile, where a reception and dinner is held. There is a portrait of a woman in white on the wall of the hall which attracts unusual attention, and when it is mooted that a legend attaches to it the count is sought out to explain it. The white lady, he said, was an ancestress who loved a youth from whom she was forcibly parted by her father, and on the day of her loveless wedding with a man whom her father had selected for her, she suddenly died, dressed in her bridal robes. "The legend goes," concludes the count, "that the white lady sometimes steps down from the picture to meet her lover." Lady Vera seeks out Erik to tell him that the legend of the white lady has given her an idea by which she hopes to further his suit with Eva. At her dictation Erik dispatches a note to Eva asking her to come to his home the next morning in company with her father. Immediately afterwards Vera explains to a number of her male friends staying at the count's house and secures their consent to help in the conspiracy in which she is engaged. They proceed to indulge with the somewhat inebriated count and contrive to remain with him while all the rest of the hunting party depart. In the meantime Vera and Erik, by bribing one of the servants, secure the keys of the tower in which the heirlooms of the aristocratic house are treasured, and, after a short search, find the identical garments worn by the white lady when her portrait was painted. Vera dons these while Erik covers the portrait with black velvet, and two of the conspirators at the same time buckle on the mail armor which has been placed on either side of the portrait. Vera then takes position in the frame. The count is brought down from his bedroom when all is ready, and is installed on two chairs in front of the picture. At the stroke of twelve Erik and the two companions who have carried the sleeping count downstairs make a noise from an adjoining room, and cause the count to wake. Vera slowly descends and the count visibly quakes with fear. She leads him to an adjacent table and demands him to write his consent to the marriage of Erik and Eva. As soon as he has signed the paper and Vera has taken it, he makes a bolt for his room, and fancying that he is pursued by the ghost of the white lady he strikes out blindly as he goes along. Aunt Ulrica, who has entered the gallery to discover the cause of the noise which had awakened her, receiving a blow in the face which, in the morning, is revealed through a discolored eye. At breakfast Ulrica's appearance with this discolored eye causes such mirth that all the young people, one after another, have to leave the room, and when the count is left alone with his sister he is subjected to a curtain lecture which makes him shake like a jellyfish. In accordance with the letter received from Erik, Eva and her father call at the count's home in the course of the morning. Aunt Ulrica sweeps majestically by with her nose in the air, and the count plainly shows his disapproval of their visit. The fact that he has given his consent to their marriage in due legal form overnight is brought to his attention, and he wavers; then Vera pleads with him for the young lovers, and he relents, giving them his benediction. Vera then takes the count aside to explain the conspiracy overnight, and the count, who has up till now been mystified by what he thought was a bad dream, hut which he failed to reconcile with the fact that he had written his consent to Erik's marriage with Eva, fully enters into the spirit of the joke, evidently forgetful of the reckoning which Ulrica may be expected to exact.