Illustration of Kate Hardcastle in high society attire on the left, and dressed as a barmaid on the right

She Stoops to Conquer

by Oliver Goldsmith

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"This Is Liberty Hall"

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Context: Tony Lumpkin and his stepfather, Mr. Hardcastle, have no great affection for each other; and Tony takes any opportunity to play tricks on the old man. His chance occurs when Mr. Marlow and Mr. Hastings, having lost their way en route to the Hardcastle country home, enter a tavern where Tony has been drinking with some companions. He directs them to the Hardcastles', but tells them the house is an inn. When the two men arrive and before they have been greeted by Mr. Hardcastle, they talk about the two girls, Miss Hardcastle and Miss Neville, whom they have come to court. Hardcastle enters and greets them warmly, but Marlow continues chatting with Hastings and ignores Hardcastle almost completely. Marlow suggests that he and Hastings on the morrow should change their attire to something more stylish than their traveling clothes.

HASTINGS [aside]
I fancy, Charles, you're right: the first blow is half the battle.
I intend opening the campaign with the white and gold.
Mr. Marlow–Mr. Hastings–gentlemen–pray be under no constraint in this house. This is Liberty Hall, gentlemen. You may do just as you please here.

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