Like so many of his stories, "The Last Leaf" is set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. In Greenwich Village, where the "art people" all congregate, two aspiring artists, Sue from Maine and Johnsy from California find an apartment. In an apartment below them lives an old curmudgeon, Mr. Behrman. Yet, he has sentimental feelings for the two ingenues who have come to the big city with their big hopes.
They had met at the table d'hote of an Eighth Street "Delmonico's" and found their tastes in art,...so congenial that the joint studio resulted.
Unfortunately, the California girl is not used to Northeastern winters, and she catches pneumonia. The rest of the story revolves around Johnsy's illness.