The family is cursed because a great-great-great grandfather didn't marry his pregnant servant-girl, Clara, who then killed herself. Clara's witch mother cursed the next girl to be born "with the face of a pig". Five generations later, Penelope was born, according to the specs of the curse. The curse could only be broken when "one of your own accepts you for better, for worse". Penelope's mother thinks this means marriage, and tries to get any blue-blood to marry Penelope to break the curse. A journalist mistakes the gambler Max for a penniless blue-blood and pays him to get photos of Penelope's face. Penelope leaves her home and discovers the city for herself.