She Stoops to Conquer
Charles Marlow, bashful with women of his own class but uninhibited with those of lower rank, is traveling to meet Kate Hardcastle, his prospective wife. He is accompanied by Hastings, who loves Constance Neville, a niece and ward of Kate’s mother.
When they stop at an alehouse for directions, Tony Lumpkin, Mrs. Hardcastle’s son, directs them for lodging to a supposed inn, which really is the Hardcastle home.
When they arrive, Hastings sees Miss Neville and learns that Tony duped them; however, he does not tell Marlow, thus setting the stage for Marlow’s pursuit of Kate, whom his father has chosen for him, but whom he thinks is a servant.
Hastings and Constance want to wed, but her aunt hopes to match Tony with the girl. Since Tony does not want to marry, he helps orchestrate Constance’s elopement.
In the final act, Tony again demonstrates that though illiterate, he is not an oaf, and he cleverly forestalls his mother’s attempt to remove Constance to another aunt for safekeeping. The arrival of Marlow’s father also moves the plot to its proper conclusion, for he and Hardcastle confront the young man with the real identity of the girl he has been wooing.
Mrs. Hardcastle finally releases Constance’s inheritance when Hardcastle’s revelation that Tony is of age enables the young man to renounce Constance as his prospective wife. All are reconciled and look forward to the two marriages.
(The entire section is 531 words.)
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