The School for Scandal

Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley Character Analysis

The wealthy uncle of Joseph and Charles Surface. After sixteen years doing business in the East Indies (colonial India), Sir Oliver returns to London to pick one of his nephews as an heir to his enormous fortune. Seeking to learn the two young men’s true characters, Sir Oliver, who is very concerned with ideas of the family honor and reputation, assumes two false identities: that of a poor relative seeking charity—“Mr. Stanley”—and of a moneylender—“Mr. Premium.” Sir Oliver has never married, and teases his good friend Sir Teazle for marrying a young wife.

Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley Quotes in The School for Scandal

The The School for Scandal quotes below are all either spoken by Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley or refer to Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley. 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:
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The School for Scandal published in 1991.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

ROWLEY. You know, Sir Peter, I have always taken the liberty to differ with you on the subject of these two young gentlemen. I only wish you may not be deceived in your opinion of the elder. For Charles, my life on't! he will retrieve his errors yet. Their worthy father, once my honoured master, was, at his years, nearly as wild a spark; yet, when he died, he did not leave a more benevolent heart to lament his loss.

SIR PETER. You are wrong, Master Rowley. On their father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's liberality gave them an early independence: of course, no person could have more opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I was never mistaken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young men of the age. He is a man of sentiment, and acts up to the sentiments he professes; but for the other, take my word for't, if he had any grain of virtue by descent, he has dissipated it with the rest of his inheritance. Ah! my old friend, Sir Oliver, will be deeply mortified when he finds how part of his bounty has been misapplied.

Related Characters: Sir Peter Teazle (speaker), Joseph Surface / Mr. Surface , Charles Surface, Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley, Mr. Rowley
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

SIR PETER. Wild!—Ah! my old friend, I grieve for your disappointment there; he’s a lost young man, indeed. However, his brother will make you amends. Joseph is, indeed, what a youth should be. Everybody in the world speaks well of him.

SIR OLIVER. I am sorry to hear it; he has too good a character to be an honest fellow. Everybody speaks well of him!—Pshaw! then he has bowed as low to knaves and fools as to the honest dignity of genius and virtue.

SIR PETER. What, Sir Oliver! do you blame him for not making enemies?

SIR OLIVER. Yes, if he has merit enough to deserve them.

SIR PETER. Well, well—you’ll be convinced when you know him. ’Tis edification to hear him converse; he professes the noblest sentiments.

SIR OLIVER. Oh, plague of his sentiments! If he salutes me with a scrap of morality in his mouth, I shall be sick directly. —But, however, don’t mistake me, Sir Peter; I don’t mean to defend Charles’s errors: but, before I form my judgment of either of them, I intend to make a trial of their hearts; and my friend Rowley and I have planned something for the purpose.

Related Characters: Sir Peter Teazle (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Joseph Surface / Mr. Surface , Charles Surface, Mr. Rowley
Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

SIR OLIVER. Sir, I understand you have lately had great dealings with my nephew, Charles.

MOSES. Yes, Sir Oliver, I have done all I could for him; but he was ruined before he came to me for assistance.

SIR OLIVER. That was unlucky, truly; for you have had no opportunity of showing your talents.

MOSES. None at all; I hadn't the pleasure of knowing his distresses till he was some thousands worse than nothing.

SIR OLIVER. Unfortunate, indeed! –But I suppose you have done all in your power for him, honest Moses?

Related Characters: Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Moses (speaker), Charles Surface
Related Symbols: Jews and Anti-Semitism
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

CHARLES. Not much, indeed; unless you have a mind to the family pictures. I have got a room full of ancestors above, and if you have a taste for paintings, egad', you shall have 'em a bargain.

SIR OLIVER. Hey! what the devil! sure, you wouldn't sell your forefathers, would you?

CHARLES. Every man of them to the best bidder.

SIR OLIVER. What! your great-uncles and aunts?

CHARLES. Ay, and my great-grandfathers and grandmothers too.

SIR OLIVER. Now I give him up. [Aside.] What the plague, have you no bowels for your own kindred? Odd's life, do you take me for Shylock in the play, that you would raise money of me on your own flesh and blood?

CHARLES. Nay, my little broker, don't be angry: what need you care if you have your money's worth?

SIR OLIVER. Well, I'll be the purchaser: I think I can dispose of the family canvas. Oh, I'll never forgive him this! never!

Related Characters: Charles Surface (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker)
Related Symbols: Jews and Anti-Semitism, Heirlooms
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et doloreLorem ipsum dolor sit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

CHARLES. Bravo, Careless! —Well, here’s my great-uncle, Sir Richard Raveline, a marvelous good general in his day, I assure you. He served in all the Duke of Marlborough’s wars, and got that cut over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. —What say you, Mr. Premium? —look at him—there’s a hero! not cut out of his feathers, as your modern clipped captains are, but enveloped in wig and regimentals, as a general should be. What do you bid?

MOSES. Mr. Premium would have you speak.

CHARLES. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds, and I’m sure that’s not dear for a staff officer.

SIR OLIVER. Heaven deliver me! his famous uncle Richard for ten pounds! [Aside.] —Well, sir, I take him at that.

Related Characters: Charles Surface (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Moses (speaker)
Related Symbols: Heirlooms
Page Number: 41-42
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

MOSES. Well, sir, I think, as Sir Peter said, you have seen Mr. Charles in high glory; 'tis great pity he's so extravagant.

SIR OLIVER. True, but he would not sell my picture.

MOSES. And loves wine and women so much.

SIR OLIVER. But he would not sell my picture.

MOSES. And games so deep.

SIR OLIVER. But he would not sell my picture. —Oh, here's Rowley.

Enter Rowley.

ROWLEY. So, Sir Oliver, I find you have made a purchase—

SIR OLIVER. Yes; yes, our young rake has parted with his ancestors like old tapestry.

ROWLEY. And here has he commissioned me to re-deliver you part of the purchase-money—I mean, though, in your necessitous character of old Stanley.

MOSES. Ah! there is the pity of all; he is so damned charitable.

ROWLEY. And I left a hosier and two tailors in the hall, who, I'm sure, won't be paid, and this hundred would satisfy them.

SIR OLIVER. Well, well, I'll pay his debts, and his benevolence too.

Related Characters: Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Mr. Rowley (speaker), Moses (speaker)
Page Number: 45-46
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

SIR OLIVER. I was, sir —so nearly that my present poverty, I fear, may do discredit to her wealthy children, else I should not have presumed to trouble you.

JOSEPH. Dear sir, there needs no apology:—he that is in distress, though a stranger, has a right to claim kindred with the wealthy. I am sure I wish I was of that class, and had it in my power to offer you even a small relief.

SIR OLIVER. If your uncle, Sir Oliver, were here, I should have a friend.

JOSEPH. I wish he was, Sir, with all my heart: you should not want an advocate with him, believe me, sir.

SIR OLIVER. I should not need one—my distresses would recommend me. But I imagined his bounty would enable you to become the agent of his charity.

JOSEPH. My dear sir, you were strangely misinformed. Sir Oliver is a worthy man, a very worthy man; but avarice, Mr. Stanley, is the vice of age. I will tell you, my good sir, in confidence, what he has done for me has been a mere nothing; though people, I know, have thought otherwise, and, for my part, I never chose to contradict the report.

Related Characters: Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Joseph Surface / Mr. Surface
Page Number: 60-61
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

SIR OLIVER. Odd’s heart, no more can I; nor with gravity either. —Sir Peter, do you know the rogue bargained with me for all his ancestors; sold me judges and generals by the foot, and maiden aunts as cheap as broken china.

CHARLES. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a little free with the family canvas, that’s the truth on’t. My ancestors may rise in judgment against me, there’s no denying it; but believe me sincere when I tell you—and upon my soul I would not say so if I was not—that if I do not appear mortified at the exposure of my follies, it is because I feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seeing you, my liberal benefactor.

Related Characters: Charles Surface (speaker), Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley (speaker), Sir Peter Teazle
Related Symbols: Heirlooms
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley Character Timeline in The School for Scandal

The timeline below shows where the character Sir Oliver Surface / Mr. Premium / Mr. Stanley appears in The School for Scandal. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Crabtree turns to Joseph and asks if it is true that his uncle, Sir Oliver , is returning soon from the East Indies. Joseph says he has not heard this.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...men, since he served as their guardian until they were given fortunes by their uncle Sir Oliver . He continues by saying that Joseph is “a man of sentiment” who speaks and... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...has a low opinion of Charles, because the young man’s destiny will soon be determined— Sir Oliver has arrived back in England. Sir Peter is surprised and overjoyed, saying he has not... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Sir Peter says to Rowley that Sir Oliver will tease him for having married, since they used to make fun of married men... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver and Rowley are at Sir Peter’s house, waiting for Sir Peter to come in. Sir... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Peter enters and he and Sir Oliver greet each other warmly. Sir Oliver is about to mock Sir Peter for marrying, but... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Peter, Sir Oliver , and Rowley sit in Sir Peter’s house and discuss how Sir Oliver can test... (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...help in person. Since Joseph and Charles have never met Stanley and do not remember Sir Oliver , Sir Oliver can pretend to be Stanley and judge the Surface brothers’ characters based... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley tells Sir Peter and Sir Oliver that he has also arranged for them to meet with a Jewish moneylender, Moses, who... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Moses enters. Sir Oliver says he hears that Moses has done business with his nephew, and Moses says he... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver asks how he will be able to pass for a Jew, but Moses replies that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver , pretending to be “Mr. Premium,” arrives at Charles’s house with Moses. While Charles’s servant... (full context)
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Trip returns and says Charles has asked them to wait. Sir Oliver , pretending to be “Mr. Premium,” asks Trip whether he likes working for Charles. Trip... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...warns that wine will only bring out their natural bad qualities. Trip escorts Moses and Sir Oliver (who is pretending to be Mr. Premium) in. Careless and the other men in the... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Moses begins to make an elaborate introduction between “ Mr. Premium ” and Charles, but Charles cuts him off. He quickly summarizes the situation: he is... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Mr. Premium ” asks Charles what possessions he has that he can offer as collateral. He learns... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Mr. Premium says that these are not good terms. Charles asks Mr. Premium if he worries that... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...a portrait of his great-uncle and gives him a detailed description of the man’s prominence. Mr. Premium asks what he wants for it, and Charles says ten pounds. To himself, Sir Oliver... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Charles proposes that the remaining family portraits be sold wholesale for three hundred pounds. “ Mr. Premium ” agrees, but points out one portrait that Charles has always passed over. Charles explains... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...his father’s old steward persuade him to pay his debts with the money received from Mr. Premium . Rowley enters and Charles instructs him to bring a hundred pounds immediately to old... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
In the parlor in Charles’s home, Moses says to Sir Oliver that it is a shame Charles is so extravagant, but all Sir Oliver cares about... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
In Joseph’s library, “ Mr. Stanley ” has arrived to visit Joseph, and Joseph complains to himself that he is in... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Joseph enters and makes exaggeratedly polite excuses for keeping Mr. Stanley waiting. Mr. Stanley says he has decided to come to ask Joseph and Charles for... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...to say how much money he has given to help his brother with his debts. Sir Oliver does not believe this. “Mr. Stanley” says that he sees that Joseph cannot help him,... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Rowley then enters and gives Joseph a note saying that Sir Oliver has arrived in London. Joseph asks his servant to stop Mr. Stanley if he has... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Mrs. Candour, Sir Benjamin, and Mr. Crabtree see Sir Oliver approach. They conclude that he is Sir Peter’s doctor and ask him how the patient... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Rowley arrives at Sir Peter’s. He and Sir Oliver tell Sir Peter that they have seen both Charles and Joseph, and Sir Oliver agrees... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Rumors, Wit, and Cruelty Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Sir Oliver says that he must now go to Joseph’s, where he will tell the Surface brothers... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
There is a knock at the door. Joseph says it must be his uncle, Sir Oliver , and tells Lady Sneerwell to wait in the next room. Lady Sneerwell tells him... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver enters and, recognizing him as “Mr. Stanley,” Joseph tells him he must leave immediately. “Mr.... (full context)
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
...Rowley arrive. Sir Peter says he is glad that he arrived in time to save Sir Oliver from being knocked down. Joseph and Charles realize Sir Oliver’s identity and are stunned. Sir... (full context)
Concealment and Exposure Theme Icon
The Man of Sentiment Theme Icon
Family Honor and Money Theme Icon
Sir Oliver then begins to give his impression of Charles, but Joseph interrupts him, saying he wishes... (full context)