Young knight Albert has trouble coming at the court due to his poverty. There is no way his rich yet greedy uncle help him out. Usually a money lender used to lend a hand for a young man. In anger Albert sends him away refusing to accept his money even with excuses. So Albert decides to seek protection with the duke.
Old Baron descends into the basement, where he keeps his storage chests full of gold – his fortune and raison d’etre. Baron gloats over the chests – he owns the world now, no matter what dark secrets are held behind his wealth; he opens up the chests and revels in contemplation.
Baron is only worried about one thing: his prodigal lunatic son would inherit his fortune. If only he could arise from the grave “a ghostly watchman, and sit upon the chest, and guard my treasures against the living, as I guard them now!”
At Duke’s palace. After hearing Albert’s grievance about his father, Duke empathizes with him and promises to speak to Baron personally. Then Baron arrives. Duke sends Albert to another room waiting. They start a conversation, Duke and his loyal liegeman. He reproaches Baron with abandoning the court and leaving Duke aside. Baron alludes to his age, and incapability of taking part in tourneys and other entertainments of the royal household.
After being heavily questioned, Baron blackens his son, blaming him in attempt of Baron’s assassination and robbery. Albert enters the room in anger and catches his father out on lying. Baron calls his son out in a duel. Duke sends Albert away and puts Baron to shame.
Baron collapses fatally; but even being in his dying moments, he’s only thinking of his riches.