Auriol Darcy is surprised attempting to remove the heads of two traitors from the Southwark Gateway of Old London Bridge. He is injured by the warder, Baldred, and carried to the house of Dr Lamb, an alchemist and Auriol Darcy's grandfather, who is assisted by his faithful dwarf Flapdragon. Lamb, on the point of discovering the elixir of life, has a seizure and dies as his ungrateful grandson consumes the draught. The action is entirely couched as a fantasy, so that the supernatural element can take comparatively free rein. The story is accordingly a thoroughly gothic romance. The story concludes in the atmosphere of the lunatic assylum and the villain of the story is his keeper. Indeed, the use of the phantasmagorical aspects of the story to create a nightmarish commentary on contemporary society.