An appealing if untidy jaunty-rags-to-sorrowful-satin romance, featuring tough little juggernaut Tracy Sullivan--who, in 1895, at 18 (a $6.00/week shopgirl supporting four siblings, Grandpa, and drinking Dad in an East Side tenement), vows she'll get rich and play the lady. Tracy gets her first boost in her scratch-by-claw climb from distant M.D. cousin Luke--another child of deprivation, with the same killer instincts, who married for money. Recognizing his mirror image in Tracy, Luke lends her the money to launch a secretarial school for poor working girls using that new-fangled typing machine. And after some initial disasters--a window broken by hooligans, a fake ""demonstration""--the school is a success. So at last Tracy is able to move her family into a house in a picturesque Connecticut town, near a mill managed by generous Katherine, the girl whom Luke (he's now dead) left when he opted for filthy lucre. But a more important friend is handsome, brooding Michael Ryan, a neighbor across the air-shaft whom Tracy will love . . . but will then abandon, tricking weak, boring, well-to-do WASP Russell Curtis into marriage. As cushy years go by, then, Tracy's main source of happiness is her son Stephen--and contacts with her old East Side friends, Ruth and David Litvak, owner of a socialist newspaper. And through them she will now and then meet Michael, who's prospering in the auto biz. But only when Stephen's parentage is revealed (this revelation is a bit thick!) do the lovers finally shape up: Tracy mourns her callous past; Stephen nearly dies in WW I and is pulled through by Michael; divorce and marriage. As innocently refreshing--and wet--as a Mott Street summer ice-wagon.