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Spinsters Julia and Agatha Kittredge live with their inventor brother Jonathan in the family mansion in Philadelphia. When the kind-hearted Jonathan, who attends to his sisters every need, brings a dog into the house, the stern Agatha orders her brother to return the animal, claiming that it would damage the family's valuable heirlooms. Near midnight that evening, the three are awakened by the sound of their doorbell. When they open the door, they meet Tessie Legruda, a taxi driver and law student, who entreats them to help her passenger, a pregnant woman who is about to deliver her baby. Although Agatha views her guests as intruders, the sisters send for Dr. Bill White to deliver the baby. When the mother dies in childbirth, the doctor is unable to locate the baby's father, a soldier fighting overseas, and so leaves the infant in the Kittredges' care until it can be placed in a home. Soon after, Mr. Spengler, a representative of the Kittredges' bank, visits the sisters and notifies them that the bank is about to foreclose on them because their mortgage is in arrears. Tessie, who has stayed through the baby's delivery, offers to pay off the loan in return for permission to turn the mansion into a boardinghouse, which would help alleviate the wartime housing shortage. With no other choice, the sisters agree to Tessie's terms, and soon the house is filled with women defense plant workers, whom Jonathan calls "soldiers in slacks." Months pass, and the sisters become doting aunts to the infant, whom they name Ralphie. One day, a soldier named Charles Jones comes to their door looking for his wife. After Tessie relates the story of his wife's death, Charles, filled with grief, blames the baby for her death and tells them to keep the child. Sensitive to his pain, Tessie follows Charles and comforts him, and the two become friends. At dinner one night, Lucklow, a mechanical engineer who is dating one of the Kittredges' boarders, becomes intrigued when he learns that Jonathan is an amateur inventor. One night, when Jonathan goes to the kitchen to get more mashed potatoes, Lucklow follows him. After Jonathan shows him a lock that he has designed, Lucklow asks to test it in the landing gear of an experimental fighter plane. As Christmas approaches, the boarders become giddy with excitement, and are upbraided by Agatha for upsetting the decorum of the house. After Agatha leaves the room, the boarders make nasty comments about her, which she overhears. Soon after, Lucklow comes to present Jonathan with a check for his invention, which is to be incorporated into a new fighter plane. Jonathan declines the money, protesting that the invention was just part of his patriotric duty. Stung by her boarders' criticism, Agatha demands that he accept the check and announces that she plans to use it to pay off her mortgage and evict her tenants. Stunned by his sister's cruelty and selfishness, Jonathan packs his bags and leaves with the others. Alone once more, Agatha and Julia are visited by Charles and Tessie, who declare they have just been married and have come to claim Ralphie. After they leave the house, Tessie, feeling compassion for the sisters, returns to thank them and finds Agatha in tears. Realizing the error of her ways, Agatha asks Tessie to bring the girls back home. On Christmas Eve, the entire family is reunited when Jonathan returns, and his sisters present him with his dog.