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Unable to pay his debts, Mathias, an Alsatian innkeeper, murders a rich traveler and takes his gold. Mathias is not suspected of the crime; he is, however, tormented by an avenging conscience. He hears the bells that rang as his victim lay dying and has visions of a courtroom and of the bloody hands of the slain traveler. Mathias finally sees the ghost of the traveler and dies in spiritual agony, his secret unconfessed.