Samuel Tansey, a timid and shy clerk, is infatuated with Miss Peek but is too afraid to express his feelings. One night, after being teased by his friends about his relationship with Miss Peek, Tansey decides to take a walk. He ends up in a strange part of town and encounters bizarre and fantastical events.
He sees a wall with a convent behind it and hears singing. He also sees pigeons, glowing green eyes, and a dancing nymph. Tansey then comes across a street where he witnesses a fight between Captain Peek and a dwarf.
He saves Katie, Miss Peek's daughter, from being taken away in a carriage.
“Sam! Sam! — help me, Sam!”
However, he is then attacked and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he finds himself back at the steps near the convent. He goes home and is scolded by Miss Peek for coming home late.
They have a brief interaction, but Tansey's attempt to light a lamp fails, and he is left to ascend the stairs to his doom.