She Stoops to Conquer

by

Oliver Goldsmith

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An old-fashioned gentleman who owns an old house in the countryside, Hardcastle is stuck in his ways and despises modern trends. He fought in the War of Spanish Succession and likes to tell stories of his time during the war. He is protective of his daughter, Kate, indulgent to his wife, Mrs. Hardcastle, and disapproves of his unpolished and rowdy stepson, Tony. Even though he dislikes modern society and leads a relatively isolated life, he does not wish to be thought of as an irrelevant old fogey. Hardcastle expects to be treated with respect by everyone he meets, so he is appalled by the ill-treament he receives from his friend SirCharles’s son, Marlow. Hardcastle may be eccentric, but he is fair-minded. Therefore, when he sees that his wife’s lies are preventing Tony, Constance, and Hastings from finding happiness, he reveals the truth they need to know to be freed to make their own ways in the world without her interference.

Hardcastle Quotes in She Stoops to Conquer

The She Stoops to Conquer quotes below are all either spoken by Hardcastle or refer to Hardcastle . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of She Stoops to Conquer published in 1991.
Prologue Quotes

MRS. HARDCASTLE. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country but ourselves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? There's the two Miss Hoggs, and our neighbour Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polishing every winter.

HARDCASTLE. Ay, and bring back vanity and affectation to last them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own fools at home! In my time, the follies of the town crept slowly among us, but now they travel faster than a stage-coach. Its fopperies come down not only as inside passengers, but in the very basket.

MRS. HARDCASTLE. Ay, your times were fine times indeed; you have been telling us of them for many a long year. Here we live in an old rumbling mansion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never see company. Our best visitors are old Mrs. Oddfish, the curate's wife, and little Cripplegate, the lame dancing-master; and all our entertainment your old stories of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough. I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.

HARDCASTLE. And I love it. I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and I believe, Dorothy (taking her hand), you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.

Related Characters: Hardcastle (speaker), Mrs. Hardcastle (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

HARDCASTLE. Diggory, you are too talkative.—Then, if I happen to say a good thing, or tell a good story at table, you must not all burst out a-laughing, as if you made part of the company.

DIGGORY. Then, ecod, your worship must not tell the story of Ould Grouse in the gun-room: I can't help laughing at that—he! he! he!—for the soul of me. We have laughed at that these twenty years—ha! ha! ha!

HARDCASTLE. Ha! ha! ha! The story is a good one. Well, honest Diggory, you may laugh at that—but still remember to be attentive. Suppose one of the company should call for a glass of wine, how will you behave? A glass of wine, sir, if you please (to DIGGORY).—Eh, why don't you move?

Related Characters: Hardcastle (speaker), Diggory (speaker)
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1 Quotes

LANDLORD. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise at the door. They have lost their way upo' the forest; and they are talking something about Mr. Hardcastle.

TONY. As sure as can be, one of them must be the gentleman that's coming down to court my sister. Do they seem to be Londoners?

LANDLORD. I believe they may. They look woundily like Frenchmen.

TONY. Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. (Exit Landlord.) Gentlemen, as they mayn't be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon. [Exeunt MOB.]

Related Characters: Tony Lumpkin, Esquire (speaker), Landlord (speaker), Charles Marlow, Hardcastle
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 7-8
Explanation and Analysis:

TONY. No offence; but question for question is all fair, you know. Pray, gentlemen, is not this same Hardcastle a cross-grained, old-fashioned, whimsical fellow, with an ugly face, a daughter, and a pretty son?

HASTINGS. We have not seen the gentleman; but he has the family you mention.

TONY. The daughter, a tall, trapesing, trolloping, talkative maypole; the son, a pretty, well-bred, agreeable youth, that everybody is fond of.

MARLOW. Our information differs in this. The daughter is said to be well-bred and beautiful; the son an awkward booby, reared up and spoiled at his mother's apron-string.

TONY. He-he-hem!—Then, gentlemen, all I have to tell you is, that you won't reach Mr. Hardcastle's house this night, I believe.

HASTINGS. Unfortunate!

TONY. It's a damn'd long, dark, boggy, dirty, dangerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the way to Mr. Hardcastle's! (Winking upon the Landlord.) Mr. Hardcastle's, of Quagmire Marsh, you understand me.

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), George Hastings (speaker), Tony Lumpkin, Esquire (speaker), Kate Hardcastle, Hardcastle
Page Number: 8-9
Explanation and Analysis:

MARLOW. Yet, George, if we open the campaign too fiercely at first, we may want ammunition before it is over. I think to reserve the embroidery to secure a retreat.

HARDCASTLE. Your talking of a retreat, Mr. Marlow, puts me in mind of the Duke of Marlborough, when we went to besiege Denain. He first summoned the garrison——

MARLOW. Don't you think the ventre d'or waistcoat will do with the plain brown?

HARDCASTLE. He first summoned the garrison, which might consist of about five thousand men——

HASTINGS. I think not: brown and yellow mix but very poorly.

HARDCASTLE. I say, gentlemen, as I was telling you, be summoned the garrison, which might consist of about five thousand men——

MARLOW. The girls like finery.

HARDCASTLE. Which might consist of about five thousand men, well appointed with stores, ammunition, and other implements of war. Now, says the Duke of Marlborough to George Brooks, that stood next to him—you must have heard of George Brooks—I'll pawn my dukedom, says he, but I take that garrison without spilling a drop of blood. So——

MARLOW. What, my good friend, if you gave us a glass of punch in the mean time; it would help us to carry on the siege with vigour.

HARDCASTLE. Punch, sir! (Aside.) This is the most unaccountable kind of modesty I ever met with.

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), George Hastings (speaker), Hardcastle (speaker), Kate Hardcastle, Constance Neville
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

HARDCASTLE. If he be what he has shown himself, I'm determined he shall never have my consent.

MISS HARDCASTLE. And if he be the sullen thing I take him, he shall never have mine.

HARDCASTLE. In one thing then we are agreed—to reject him.

MISS HARDCASTLE. Yes: but upon conditions. For if you should find him less impudent, and I more presuming—if you find him more respectful, and I more importunate—I don't know—the fellow is well enough for a man—Certainly, we don't meet many such at a horse-race in the country.

HARDCASTLE. If we should find him so——But that's impossible. The first appearance has done my business. I'm seldom deceived in that.

MISS HARDCASTLE. And yet there may be many good qualities under that first appearance.

HARDCASTLE. Ay, when a girl finds a fellow's outside to her taste, she then sets about guessing the rest of his furniture. With her, a smooth face stands for good sense, and a genteel figure for every virtue.

MISS HARDCASTLE. I hope, sir, a conversation begun with a compliment to my good sense, won't end with a sneer at my understanding?

HARDCASTLE. Pardon me, Kate. But if young Mr. Brazen can find the art of reconciling contradictions, he may please us both, perhaps.

Related Characters: Kate Hardcastle (speaker), Hardcastle (speaker), Charles Marlow
Page Number: 28-29
Explanation and Analysis:

MARLOW. So then, all's out, and I have been damnably imposed on. O, confound my stupid head, I shall be laughed at over the whole town. I shall be stuck up in caricatura in all the print-shops. The Dullissimo Macaroni. To mistake this house of all others for an inn, and my father's old friend for an innkeeper! What a swaggering puppy must he take me for! What a silly puppy do I find myself! There again, may I be hanged, my dear, but I mistook you for the bar-maid!

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), Kate Hardcastle, Hardcastle , Sir Charles
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

MISS HARDCASTLE. Yes, sir, that very identical tall squinting lady you were pleased to take me for. (Curtseying.) She that you addressed as the mild, modest, sentimental man of gravity, and the bold, forward, agreeable Rattle of the Ladies' Club. Ha! ha! ha!

MARLOW. Zounds! there's no bearing this; it's worse than death!

MISS HARDCASTLE. In which of your characters, sir, will you give us leave to address you? As the faltering gentleman, with looks on the ground, that speaks just to be heard, and hates hypocrisy; or the loud confident creature, that keeps it up with Mrs. Mantrap, and old Miss Biddy Buckskin, till three in the morning? Ha! ha! ha!

MARLOW. O, curse on my noisy head. I never attempted to be impudent yet, that I was not taken down. I must be gone.

HARDCASTLE. By the hand of my body, but you shall not. I see it was all a mistake, and I am rejoiced to find it. You shall not, sir, I tell you. I know she'll forgive you. Won't you forgive him, Kate? We'll all forgive you. Take courage, man. (They retire, she tormenting him, to the back scene.)

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), Kate Hardcastle (speaker), Hardcastle (speaker)
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hardcastle Character Timeline in She Stoops to Conquer

The timeline below shows where the character Hardcastle appears in She Stoops to Conquer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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The play begins in a room in an old-fashioned house, where Mrs. Hardcastle is complaining to her husband, Hardcastle, about never going to London on a holiday. Hardcastle... (full context)
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Hardcastle says that Tony will never have any discretion: she has spoiled her son and he... (full context)
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...out of the house, and his mother asks him to spend time with her and Hardcastle. Tony tells Mrs. Hardcastle that he is on his way to the alehouse to meet... (full context)
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Still ruminating, Hardcastle says that modern times are making everyone foolish. He sees his daughter Kate and remarks... (full context)
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Hardcastle says he will require Kate’s obedience soon, because the man he wants her to marry... (full context)
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...accept Marlow as a husband if he has all the other qualities her father described. Hardcastle reminds her that Marlow will also have to like her if they are to get... (full context)
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...mother is still trying to convince her to marry Tony, and Constance says that Mrs. Hardcastle continues to try to force the courtship to work. Kate says Mrs. Hardcastle is naturally... (full context)
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...to marry Tony. In the meantime, she pretends that she loves Tony so that Mrs. Hardcastle will not suspect her of loving someone else. Kate says that they’re lucky that Tony... (full context)
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...latest French fashions have driven up to the alehouse. They are lost and looking for Hardcastle’s house. Tony, realizing that this must be Marlow, asks his friends to leave him for... (full context)
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...asking if they know where they are. When they tell him they are looking for Hardcastle’s house, he tells them that they have lost their way. He asks if the Hardcastle... (full context)
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...Tony silences him. He offers to escort them partway and warns them that the innkeeper (Hardcastle) is rich and has pretentions to being a nobleman. He says that this innkeeper will... (full context)
Act 2
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At Hardcastle’s house, Hardcastle is teaching his servants how to behave around his guests. Calling them blockheads,... (full context)
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A servant shows Marlow and Hardcastle into the room. They look around them approvingly, but remark sadly that fine old houses... (full context)
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Hardcastle enters the room and greets them warmly, saying he is a generous and welcoming host.... (full context)
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Feeling that there is no way to get Hardcastle to leave them alone, Marlow engages him in conversation, but his attitude is mocking. He... (full context)
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Hardcastle tries to begin telling one of his war stories, but Marlow interrupts him, asking what... (full context)
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...but asks what she is doing at an inn. Constance says that they are in Hardcastle’s house, not an inn. When she hears that a young man told Hastings and Marlow... (full context)
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...the jewels she inherited from her uncle, but she has been trying to convince Mrs. Hardcastle to let her wear them and thinks that she is making some progress in persuading... (full context)
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Hastings tells Constance that if Marlow learns that he is in Hardcastle’s house and not an inn, he will be so mortified by his mistake that he... (full context)
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Tony and Constance enter, followed by Hastings and Mrs. Hardcastle. Constance flirts with Tony, but he tells her to leave him alone because he has... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle complains about Hardcastle’s old-fashioned insistence on continuing to wear a wig. She also asks Hastings... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle points out the way Constance and Tony flirt, telling Hastings that they will be married.... (full context)
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Angry at being babied by his mother, Tony says that if he is grown, Mrs. Hardcastle should stop making a fool of him and give him his fortune. She charges him... (full context)
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Tony sings a little song to himself, then tells Hastings not to worry about Mrs. Hardcastle’s distress. Hastings asks if Tony has no interest in women. Tony answers that he is... (full context)
Act 3
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Alone on stage, Hardcastle wonders aloud why his friend Sir Charles described Marlow as a modest man. He has... (full context)
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...because he was mistaken in thinking she might marry the modest Marlow. Both Kate and Hardcastle express astonishment at Marlow’s behavior, but Hardcastle mistakenly thinks that Kate also experienced his behavior... (full context)
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Hardcastle says that at least they are agreed on the matter of rejecting Marlow, but Kate... (full context)
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...enters and asks Tony if he has been pretending to love Constance so that Mrs. Hardcastle will not suspect the planned elopement. Tony does not answer this question, instead telling Hastings... (full context)
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Tony sees Mrs. Hardcastle and Constance approaching and tells Hastings to run off. Hastings exits, and Constance and Mrs.... (full context)
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...only way to shut Constance up is to tell her the jewels are lost. Mrs. Hardcastle thinks this is a funny idea and agrees, asking Tony to back up her story.... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle rushes back in, shouting that the jewels have been stolen. Tony commends his mother’s ability... (full context)
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Hardcastle walks into the room and is shocked to see Marlow groping Kate. Marlow curses his... (full context)
Act 4
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Hastings and Constance enter. Constance tells Hastings that Hardcastle has received a letter from Sir Charles saying that he is coming to visit that... (full context)
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...he had asked. (The “landlady” is in fact not a landlady at all, but Mrs. Hardcastle.)  The servant says that he had done as told, and that the landlady had demanded... (full context)
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...better idea of giving them to the landlady. Hastings is shocked and disappointed that Mrs. Hardcastle now has the jewels again. He says to himself that he has lost any hope... (full context)
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Hardcastle enters the room. He says to himself that he can hardly contain his anger at... (full context)
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Hardcastle loses his patience entirely and tells Marlow he is kicking him out of the house.... (full context)
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Left alone, Marlow wonders what Hardcastle’s last statement could have meant. Kate enters and sees that Marlow seems to be realizing... (full context)
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Tony and Constance enter. Tony says it’s a shame that Mrs. Hardcastle has gotten Constance’s jewels back, but at least she believes that they were mislaid by... (full context)
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...enters with a message for Tony, but Tony tells Diggory to give it to Mrs. Hardcastle to read aloud. Constance recognizes Hastings’ handwriting on the note. She tries to distract Mrs.... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle reads the letter and is shocked and furious at its contents. In it, Hastings requests... (full context)
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A servant enters and tells Constance that Mrs. Hardcastle wants her to come to the carriage immediately. Marlow and Hastings continue to argue. Constance... (full context)
Act 5
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...has driven off. The servant also reports that Sir Charles has arrived, and he and Hardcastle have been laughing over Marlow’s mistake. Hastings leaves to go wait in the garden for... (full context)
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Hardcastle and Sir Charles laugh together at how Marlow mistook Hardcastle for an innkeeper. Hardcastle feels... (full context)
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Hardcastle tells Sir Charles that he is very excited at the prospect of a marriage between... (full context)
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Marlow enters and apologizes to Hardcastle, saying how embarrassed he is. Hardcastle tells Marlow that they will soon all laugh over... (full context)
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...to see him when he arrives. Hastings asks Tony where he left Constance and Mrs. Hardcastle. Tony jokes with him that he left them where he found them, but Hastings doesn’t... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle enters. She is afraid, covered in mud, and under the impression that they are lost... (full context)
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Hardcastle approaches Tony and asks if he left Mrs. Hardcastle at Aunt Pedigree’s. Tony answers that... (full context)
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Realizing that she has been tricked, Mrs. Hardcastle turns angrily on Tony. Tony tells her that everyone says she spoiled him, and this... (full context)
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...immediately, but Constance says she is too tired and stressed after the ordeal with Mrs. Hardcastle to elope that night. Hastings tries to convince her, saying they will never regret leaving... (full context)
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At this moment, Sir Charles and Hardcastle get in position behind a screen to eavesdrop and discover if Kate is telling the... (full context)
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Sir Charles and Hardcastle burst out from behind the screen and demands to know why Marlow has been lying... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle and Tony enter the room. Mrs. Hardcastle says that Constance and Hastings have run off.... (full context)
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To Mrs. Hardcastle’s displeasure, Constance and Hastings enter at that moment. They approach Hardcastle and lay their case... (full context)
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Mrs. Hardcastle scoffs at Constance and Tony, but Hardcastle asks Tony whether he in fact refuses to... (full context)
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...not marry his cousin, which frees Constance to marry Hastings and keep her fortune. Mrs. Hardcastle is discontented, but all the other characters rejoice and look forward to the two couples’... (full context)