She Stoops to Conquer

by

Oliver Goldsmith

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Inns Symbol Icon

Throughout She Stoops to Conquer, the inn is a place in which the expectation of upper-class etiquette and civility is suspended. Hardcastle’s house resembles an inn because he has not redecorated it (often, large houses like his were turned into inns if their owners went bankrupt and had to sell them). So the Hardcastles’ house seems—to Marlow at least—like a place where social conventions were once observed, but have since faded away with the sale of the house to members of a lower class. Thus, Marlow and Hastings feel entitled to do whatever they want in Hardcastle’s home, as long as they pay “the innkeeper” (i.e., Hardcastle himself). Marlow sits in the best chair, demands alcohol, and takes his boots off in the living room to demand that they be shined. He also grabs Kate in an aggressive attempt at seducing her because he believes she is a barmaid—another thing to which he can help himself as long as he pays. Because Marlow has spent so much time in inns, breaking the rules of polite society by drinking and seducing maids, he is uncomfortable in polite society. A normal social situation like meeting the Hardcastles makes him so nervous that he tries too hard and ends up seeming shy and formal. Thus, the inn becomes a symbol not only for indecorous behavior, but for the falseness of the veneer of upper-class refinement and civility.

Inns Quotes in She Stoops to Conquer

The She Stoops to Conquer quotes below all refer to the symbol of Inns. 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:
Act 1 Quotes

HASTINGS. You have lived very much among them. In truth, I have been often surprised, that you who have seen so much of the world, with your natural good sense, and your many opportunities, could never yet acquire a requisite share of assurance.

MARLOW. The Englishman's malady. But tell me, George, where could I have learned that assurance you talk of? My life has been chiefly spent in a college or an inn, in seclusion from that lovely part of the creation that chiefly teach men confidence. I don't know that I was ever familiarly acquainted with a single modest woman—except my mother—But among females of another class, you know—

HASTINGS. Ay, among them you are impudent enough of all conscience.

MARLOW. They are of us, you know.

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), George Hastings (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

HASTINGS. But in the company of women of reputation I never saw such an idiot, such a trembler; you look for all the world as if you wanted an opportunity of stealing out of the room.

MARLOW. Why, man, that's because I do want to steal out of the room. Faith, I have often formed a resolution to break the ice, and rattle away at any rate. But I don't know how, a single glance from a pair of fine eyes has totally overset my resolution. An impudent fellow may counterfeit modesty; but I'll be hanged if a modest man can ever counterfeit impudence.

HASTINGS. If you could but say half the fine things to them that I have heard you lavish upon the bar-maid of an inn, or even a college bed-maker—

MARLOW. Why, George, I can't say fine things to them; they freeze, they petrify me. They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or some such bagatelle; but, to me, a modest woman, drest out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), George Hastings (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 13
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:

MISS HARDCASTLE. Did he? Then as I live, I'm resolved to keep up the delusion. Tell me, Pimple, how do you like my present dress? Don't you think I look something like Cherry in the Beaux Stratagem?

MAID. It's the dress, madam, that every lady wears in the country, but when she visits or receives company.

MISS HARDCASTLE. And are you sure he does not remember my face or person?

MAID. Certain of it.

MISS HARDCASTLE. I vow, I thought so; for, though we spoke for some time together, yet his fears were such, that he never once looked up during the interview. Indeed, if he had, my bonnet would have kept him from seeing me.

MAID. But what do you hope from keeping him in his mistake?

MISS HARDCASTLE. In the first place I shall be seen, and that is no small advantage to a girl who brings her face to market. Then I shall perhaps make an acquaintance, and that's no small victory gained over one who never addresses any but the wildest of her sex. But my chief aim is, to take my gentleman off his guard, and, like an invisible champion of romance, examine the giant's force before I offer to combat.

Related Characters: Kate Hardcastle (speaker), Pimple (speaker), Charles Marlow
Related Symbols: Clothing, Inns
Page Number: 32-33
Explanation and Analysis:

HARDCASTLE. I tell you, sir, I'm serious! and now that my passions are roused, I say this house is mine, sir; this house is mine, and I command you to leave it directly.

MARLOW. Ha! ha! ha! A puddle in a storm. I shan't stir a step, I assure you. (In a serious tone.) This your house, fellow! It's my house. This is my house. Mine, while I choose to stay. What right have you to bid me leave this house, sir? I never met with such impudence, curse me; never in my whole life before.

HARDCASTLE. Nor I, confound me if ever I did. To come to my house, to call for what he likes, to turn me out of my own chair, to insult the family, to order his servants to get drunk, and then to tell me, This house is mine, sir. By all that's impudent, it makes me laugh. Ha! ha! ha! Pray, sir (bantering), as you take the house, what think you of taking the rest of the furniture? There's a pair of silver candlesticks, and there's a fire-screen, and here's a pair of brazen-nosed bellows; perhaps you may take a fancy to them?

MARLOW. Bring me your bill, sir; bring me your bill, and let's make no more words about it.

HARDCASTLE. There are a set of prints, too. What think you of the Rake's Progress, for your own apartment?

[Exit.]

Related Characters: Charles Marlow (speaker), Kate Hardcastle (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inns
Page Number: 40-41
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:
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Inns Symbol Timeline in She Stoops to Conquer

The timeline below shows where the symbol Inns appears in She Stoops to Conquer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...anyone interesting and that they live in a house that anyone could mistake for an inn, while he bores everyone with his stories of the good old days in the war.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...Marlow and Hastings that they are only a mile away from one of the best inns in the area. The landlord asks him privately if he really means to send them... (full context)
Act 2
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...look around them approvingly, but remark sadly that fine old houses often end up as inns when the owners lose their fortunes. They compare good and bad inns and the cost... (full context)
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...he lacks confidence. Marlow says that his life has been spent at college and in inns, so he has never spent time with women of his own class and only knows... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...room. Hastings is overjoyed to see her 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... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...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 will leave immediately and ruin... (full context)
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...Hastings tells Marlow that, by a lucky accident, Constance and Kate are both at the inn now. Becoming nervous about meeting the women, Marlow says that his clothing looks bad after... (full context)
Act 3
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Fashions and Tastes Theme Icon
...learned about Tony’s prank and laughs with Pimple at Marlow’s mistaking their house for an inn. Pimple tells Kate that Marlow is getting even more confused. When Kate walked past Marlow... (full context)
Act 4
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
...they are both travelling. He asks the servant whether he gave the box to the inn’s landlady for safekeeping as he had asked. (The “landlady” is in fact not a landlady... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...Marlow says that barmaids have no honor, and he certainly won’t do anything in the inn without paying for it, including sleeping with the barmaid. He promises Hastings that if the... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
...Kate enters and sees that Marlow seems to be realizing he is not in an inn. She says to herself that she will not disclose the full truth to him yet.... (full context)
Mistakes and Deceptions Theme Icon
Class and Geography Theme Icon
Courtship and Love Theme Icon
Marlow tells Kate that he mistook her for the barmaid of the inn. She pretends to be hurt by the idea that she could have such a low... (full context)
Epilogue 1
Class and Geography Theme Icon
...her life shy and nervous and hoping to be hired to work at a country inn. In the second act, she gains confidence as she presides over a bar in the... (full context)