In She Stoops to Conquer, what are Mr.Hardcastle's insults to Tony that lead Tony to play a joke on his step-father?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Act I scene 2, Tony seizes upon the opportunity that fate has delivered into his hands to get his own back against his stepfather. The arrival of Marlow, the man that Mr. Hardcastle plans to marry his daughter, Kate, gives Tony the perfect opportunity to play a trick on both Marlow but also more importantly Mr. Hardcastle, by telling Marlow and Hastings that the Hardcastle's house is actually an inn and that Mr. Hardcastle is actually a member of the working class who gives himself airs and believes he is situated higher in society than he actually is. Note what Tony says to himself as he conceives of this plan:

Father-in-law has been calling me whelp and hound this half-year. Now, if I pleased, I could be so revenged upon the old grumbletonian.

Thus Mr. Hardcastle has been calling Tony "whelp" and "hound," and indeed when we first see Hardcastle and Tony with his mother, Hardcastle clearly does not have a very high opinion of Tony's character, particularly when he says he is heading to the alehouse.

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