The eldest daughter of a poor preacher, Penelope Penn leaves her country home to seek her fortune in the big city. Taking a room in a boarding-house at 39 East, Penelope futilely searches for work as an actress until she secretly accepts a minor part in the chorus. Napoleon Gibbs, Jr., Penelope's fellow boarder, defends her good name against the criticism of other boarders who are scandalized by the girl's late hours. Penelope, having understudied the leading lady of the show, finally gets an opportunity to fill her role and scores a complete triumph. Napoleon, eager to congratulate her, waits backstage where he sees the stage manager escorting his new star home. When she arrives back at the boarding-house, Penelope explains to the crestfallen Napoleon that she has no interest in her stage manager. Napoleon then seizes upon the opportunity to propose, and is accepted.