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In the 1880s, American Madeleine Marlowe, called Madge by her friends, is the toast of the London musical comedy set and is engaged to Charles, the Duke of Trippingham. Although Madge wants to become a duchess immediately, Charles assures her that they will be married in a month, when he joins her in New York, where she is to star in a new show. After boarding a ship bound for the United States, Madge's manager, Arthur Skinner, and best friend, Edna Van Dyke, show her a copy of the notorious American tabloid The Police Gazette , which has been running a series on Madge. The current article reveals that her real name is Rosie O'Grady, and that she started out as a singer in Joe Flugelman's beer garden. The article's writer, Samuel A. Magee, then implies that Madge is only interested in the duke's title, and that the duke in turn is after Madge's money. Furious that her humble origins have been exposed, Madge vows to confront Sam in New York. When Madge's boat docks, a swarm of reporters awaits her. Sam "rescues" her from the competition and pumps her for information about her engagement, but when Madge learns his identity from another reporter, she tells the crowd waiting at her hotel that she and Sam are engaged, and that after their marriage, he will live off her income. Other newspapers print the story, and the Police Gazette 's cantakerous editor, Tom Morgan, fires Sam for making a laughingstock of their paper. Sam sends a message to Madge, begging for a truce, but when they meet for lunch, Madge again humiliates him by playing up their "romance" to Morgan and other waiting reporters. Fed up with being labeled a fortune hunter, Sam decides to turn the tables on Madge and publicly serenades her with a song he has written called "Sweet Rosie O'Grady." Sam then insists that he accompany her to Flugelman's, and although she is reluctant at first, Madge enjoys singing at her old stomping grounds. Sam and Madge, who have called off their feud, are drunk when they return to her hotel, and Charles, who has come to New York to surprise Madge, is furious to see them together. Madge becomes angry that Charles does not trust her, and after she breaks off the engagement, Charles and Sam commiserate in the hotel bar. Sam suggests that Charles pursue the wealthy Edna, and shortly after, Charles and Edna become engaged. Meanwhile, Skinner persuades Madge to take advantage of the publicity and stage a new show around Sam's "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" song. Sam attends the show's opening night, and is horrified by the lampooning of him during the second act. Madge, who now realizes that she loves Sam, is hurt when he disappears after the show, and enraged when it appears that he has stolen her love letters to the duke, which were returned by Charles after his engagement to Edna. When Madge goes to the Gazette 's office, however, she finds Sam beating up Morgan for stealing the letters. Pleased that Sam is defending her, Madge gets him to admit that he loves her, and after Morgan agrees to re-hire him, Madge accepts Sam's proposal of marriage.