In ActII Marlow and Hastings arrive at Mr. Hardcastle's house after having lost their way after a long and tiresome journey. They have been directed there by Tony Lumpkin who has fooled them into believing that Mr.Hardcastle's house is an inn.
On arrival at "the inn" Marlow confesses that he suffers from "the Englishman's malady," that is lack of self-confidence ("assurance"). He says that in the presence of modest women of good reputation he becomes completely tongue tied because his mother is the only woman of good reputation with whom he is familiarlyacquainted. He admits that,"a modest woman, drest out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation." On the contrary, in the presence of woman of low reputation he can wax eloquent like any passionate lover. His friend Hastings wonders how Marlow who is "such a trembler,such an idiot" in the presence of women of good reputation will ever be able to propose marriage to the lady (Kate) whom they have come to meet at their father's insistence.
Hastings, as Marlow remarks is deeply and passionately in love with Constance Neville and unlike him, is a confident and suave lover who "has talents and arts to captivate any woman."
Soon, Mr.Hardcastle arrives on the scene and what follows is a delightful 'comedy of errors' for Marlow and Hastings mistake him for the inn-keeper and begin ordering him about rudely. Mr.Hardcastle does his best to please his 'guests' even as he is shocked at their "impudence."