A brilliant chemist and a shrewd businessman — die on the same day. The widow of the chemist, Mrs. Fontaine, is left with the poisons he was researching , while Mrs. Wagner is left with her husband's mental health institution reforms and his plans for hiring women along with men in his firm's offices. Mrs. Wagner believes in treating madmen gently, and requests for the funny little man Jack Straw to be released from the madhouse. At the same time, her nephew David Glenney is sent to the Frankfurt office, where he works with Mr Engelmann and Mr Keller. The Keller sun, Fritz, has fallen in love with Minna Fontaine, but the prospect of marriage is not being approved of by his father because Madame Fontaine is said to be in debt after her husband's death.