Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Mr. Hardcastle, a landed English gentleman. Sometimes grumpy, he is more often a hearty old squire with the habit of retelling the same jokes and stories to his guests. At first excited by the prospect of having Marlow as his son-in-law, he finds his patience severely strained by the apparent impudence of the young man, who is the son of Hardcastle’s old friend, Sir Charles Marlow. When he receives incivilities in return for his hospitality, the old gentleman loses his self-control and orders Marlow and his party from the house. Finally, however, he realizes that he is the victim of a hoax and willingly accepts the young man as Kate’s suitor.
Mrs. Hardcastle, his formidable wife. Her strongest desire, other than having her son Tony marry Constance Neville, is to have an annual social polishing in London. For a time, she manages to thwart the romance of Hastings and Constance. Seeing that they are in love, she tries to circumvent their plans by taking Constance to Aunt Pedigree’s. This stratagem fails when her undutiful son Tony merely drives them around Mrs. Hardcastle’s home for three hours, finally landing the unsuspecting old lady in a horsepond near her home. Finally, she is forced to acknowledge the fact that her beloved Tony has only one desire—to get his inheritance.
Tony Lumpkin, her son by her first marriage. He is a...
(The entire section is 651 words.)
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A talkative, likeable servant with poor table manners and a broad sense of humor. Mr. Hardcastle attempts to teach Diggory and other field servants to serve at a formal table, with comic results.
Diggory also delivers the letter which tells Tony that Hastings needs fresh horses in order to elope with Constance. Constance must read the letter aloud in front of her aunt. Realizing its contents, Constance pretends to read, instead fabricating a story about gambling. Tony's interest in gaming causes him to hand the letter to his mother, which spoils the secret elopement.
Miss Kate Hardcastle
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle, Kate seeks in marriage a compatible and companionable husband, not money or status. In an effort to ascertain Marlow's true feelings, she pretends to be a barmaid to get him to announce that he loves her despite her low social position. In her intelligence and versatility, she resembles such Shakespearean heroines as Viola in Twelfth Night and Rosalind in As You Like It.
Mr. Hardcastle loves the rustic life away from fashionable London, which he believes breeds "vanity and affectation." He may be stuffy, long-winded, and old-fashioned, but he affectionately humors his wife, and loves his daughter, Kate. He wants the best for her, and in selecting a good husband for her, his objective is not money or status, but her happiness. A...
(The entire section is 1116 words.)