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She Stoops to Conquer; or, the Mistakes of a Night, a Comedy,
was acted for the first time at Covent Garden Theatre (then
under the management of the elder Colman), on the isth of
March, 1773, and ran twelve nights, the theatre closing for the
season with it on the 3ist of May. The leading incident of the
piece, the mistaking a gentleman's house for an inn, is said to
have been borrowed from a blunder of the author himself,
while travelling to school at Edgeworthstown. Its first MS.
title was The Old House a New Inn, but this was soon
rejected. The title, it is suggested (Forster ii. 374), may
have originated in one of Dryden's well-known couplets :

"The prostrate loon, when he lowest lies,
But kneels to conquer, and but stoops to rise."




By inscribing this slight performance to you, I
do not mean so much to compliment you as myself.
It may do me some honour to inform the public, that
I have lived many years in intimacy with you. It may
serve the interests of mankind also to inform them,
that the greatest wit may be found in a character,
without impairing the most unaffected piety.

I have, particularly, reason to thank you for your
partiality to this performance. The undertaking a
comedy, not merely sentimental, was very dangerous; 1
and Mr. Colman, who saw this piece in its various
stages, always thought it so. However, I ventured to
trust it to the public; and, though it was necessarily
delayed till late in the season, I have every reason to
be grateful.

I am, dear Sir,
Your most sincere friend

And admirer,

1 "With Steele the unlucky notion began of setting Comedy to
reform the morals instead of imitating the manners of the age.
Fielding slily glances at this, when he makes Parson Adams
declare, The Conscious Lovers to be the only play fit for a Christian
to see, and as good as a sermon." FORSTER'S Goldsmith, vol. ii.,
p. 116.




Miss Hardcastle. " Was there ever such a
sober, sentimental interview?" . Frontispiece

Tony. "Here's a health to the Three Jolly 18
Pigeons." . . . . , .

Hastings. " Thou dear dissembler." . . 42
Miss Hardcastle. "Did you call, sir?" . 72
Marlow. "And why not now, my angel?" go



Enter MR. WOODWARD, 1 dressed in black, and holding a
handkerchief to his eyes.

EXCUSE me, Sirs, I pray I can't yet speak
I'm crying now and have been all the week.
; Tis not alone this mourning suit," good masters:
"I've that within" for which there are no plasters!
Pray, would you know the reason why I'm crying?
The Comic Muse, long sick, is now a-dying!
And if she goes, my tears will never stop;
For as a player, I can't squeeze out one drop:
I am undone, that's all shall lose my bread
I'd rather, but that's nothing lose my head.
When the sweet maid is laid upon the bier,
Shuter and I shall be chief mourners here.
To her a mawkish drab of spurious breed,

1 Woodward (who had no part in the play) was a good actor.
He died April 17, 1777. There is a clever full-length engraving of
him by M'Ardell, as the Fine Gentleman, in Lethe; also a good half-
length of him by J. R. Smith, as Petruchio. His portrait by Sir
Joshua is at Petworth.


xii prologue

Who deals in sentimentals, will succeed!
Poor Ned and I are dead to all intents ;
We can as soon speak Greek as sentiments!
Both nervous grown, to keep our spirits up,
We now and then take down a hearty cup.
What shall we do? If Comedy forsake us,
They'll turn us out, and no one else will take us.
But, why can't I be moral? Let me try
My heart thus pressing fix'd my face and eye
With a sententious look, that nothing means,
(Faces are blocks in sentimental scenes)
Thus I begin "All is not gold that glitters,
Pleasure seems sweet, but proves a glass of bitters.
When Ignorance enters, Folly is at hand:
Learning is better far than house and land.
Let not your virtue trip ; who trips may stumble,
And virtue is not virtue, if she tumble."

I give it up morals won't do for me ;

To make you laugh, I must play tragedy.

One hope remains hearing the maid was ill,

A Doctor comes this night to show his skill.

To cheer her heart, and give your muscles motion,

He, in Five Draughts prepar'd, presents a potion:

A kind of magic charm for be assur'd,

If you will swallow it, the maid is cur'd :

But desperate the Doctor, and her case is,

If you reject the dose, and make wry faces!

This truth he boasts, will boast it while he lives,


No poisonous drugs are mix'd in what he gives.
Should he succeed, you'll give him his degree;
If not, within he will receive no fee!
The College you, must his pretensions back,
Pronounce him Regular, or dub him Quack .




YOUNG MARLOW (his Son) . . Mr. Lee Lewes. l

HARDCASTLE . . . . Mr. Shuter.

HASTINGS Mr. Dubellamy.

TONY LUMPKIN . . . Mr. Quick.

DIGGORY Mr. Saunders.


MRS. HARDCASTLE. . . . Mrs. Green.

Miss HARDCASTLE . . . Mrs. Bulkley.

Miss NEVILLE .... Mrs. Kniveton.

MAID ...... Miss Williams.

Landlord, Servants, etc., etc.

1 Smith and Woodward, who were designed to play Young
Marlow and Tony Lumpkin, threw up their parts. To this unlocked
for and unnecessary resignation Lee Lewes and Quick owed much
of their early celebrity.





SCENE A Chamber in an old-fashioned House.

Mrs. Hard. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you 're very
particular. Is there a creature in the whole
country but ourselves, that does not take a trip
to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? \
There 's the two Miss Hoggs, and our neighbour
Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polishing every

Hard. Ay, and bring back vanity and affecta-
tion to last them the whole year. I wonder why
London cannot keep its own fools at home. In
my time, the follies of the town crept slowly among
us, but now they travel faster than a stage-coach.
Its fopperies come down not only as inside passen-
gers, but in the very basket.


4 Sbe Stoop0 to Conquer

Mrs. Hard. Ay, your times were fine times in-
deed; you have been telling us of them for many a
long year. Here we live in an old rumbling man-
sion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but
that we never see company. Our best visitors are
old Mrs. Oddfish, the curate's wife, and little Crip-
plegate, the lame dancing-master; and all our
entertainment your old stories of Prince Eugene
and the Duke of Marlborough. I hate such old-
fashioned trumpery.

Hard. And I love it. I love everything that 's
old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books,
old wine; and I believe, Dorothy (taking her hand),
you '11 own I have been pretty fond of an old

Mrs. Hard. Lord, Mr. Hardcastle, you 're for
ever at your Dorothy's and your old wifes. You
may be a Darby but I '11 be no Joan, I promise you.
I 'm not so old as you 'd make me, by more than
one good year. Add twenty to twenty, and make
money of that.

Hard. Let me see; twenty added to twenty
makes just fifty and seven.

Mrs. Hard. It 's false, Mr. Hardcastle; I was
but twenty when I was brought to bed of Tony,
that I had by Mr. Lumpkin, my first husband;
and he 's not come to years of discretion yet.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 5

Hard. Nor ever will, I dare answer for him.
Ay, you have taught him finely.

Mrs. Hard. No matter. Tony Lumpkin has
a good fortune. My son is not to live by his learn-
ing. I don't think a boy wants much learning to
spend fifteen hundred a-year.

Hard. Learning, quotha! a mere composition
of tricks and mischief.

Mrs. Hard. Humour, my dear; nothing but
humour. Come, Mr. Hardcastle, you must allow
the boy a little humour.

Hard. I 'd sooner allow him a horse-pond. If
burning the footmen's shoes, frighting the maids,
and worrying the kittens be humour, he has it. It
was but yesterday he fastened my wig to the back
of my chair, and when I went to make a bow, I /
popt my bald head in Mrs. Frizzle's face. 1

Mrs. Hard. And am I to blame? The poor
boy was always too sickly to do any good. A
school would be his death. When he comes to
be a little stronger, who knows what a year or
two's Latin may do for him?

Hard. Latin for him! A cat and fiddle. No,
no; the alehouse and the stable are the only schools
he '11 ever go to.

1 This incident was but the counterpart of a trick played upon
Goldsmith himself, during his last visit to Gosfield, by the daughter
of Lord Clare.

6 Sbe Stoops to Conquer

Mrs. Hard. Well, we must not snub the poor
boy now, for I believe we shan't have him long
among us. Any body that looks in his face may
see that he 's consumptive.

Hard. Ay, if growing too fat be one of the

Mrs. Hard. He coughs sometimes.

Hard. Yes, when his liquor goes the wrong way.

Mrs. Hard. I 'm actually afraid of his lungs.

Hard. And truly so am I; for he sometimes
whoops like a speaking-trumpet (TONY hallooing
behind the scenes). O, there he goes a very
consumptive figure, truly.

Enter TONY, crossing the stage.

Mrs. Hard. Tony, where are you going, my
charmer? Won't you give papa and I a little of
your company, lovee ?

Tony. I 'm in haste mother, I cannot stay.

Mrs. Hard. You shan 't venture out this raw
evening, my dear; you look most shockingly.

Tony. I can't stay, I tell you. The Three
Pigeons expects me down every moment. There 's
some fun going forward.

Hard. Ay; the alehouse, the old place; I
thought so.

Mrs. Hard. A low, paltry set of fellows.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 7

Tony. Not so low, neither. There 's Dick
Muggins the exciseman, Jack Slang the horse
doctor, little Aminadab that grinds the music-
box, and Tom Twist that spins the pewter platter.

Mrs. Hard. Pray, my dear, disappoint them
for one night at least.

Tony. As for disappointing them, I should not
so much mind; but I can't abide to disappoint

Mrs. Hard. (Detaining him.) You shan't go.

Tony. I will, I tell you.

Mrs. Hard. I say you shan't. . ^,

Tony. We '11 see which is strongest, you or I.

[Exit, hauling her out.

Hard. (Solus.) Ay, there goes a pair that only
spoil each other. But is not the whole age in a
combination to drive sense and discretion out of
doors? There 's my pretty darling Kate! the
fashions of the times have almost infected her too.
By living a year or two in town, she 's as fond
of gauze and French frippery as the best of them.


Hard. Blessings on my pretty innocence! drest
out as usual, my Kate. Goodness! What a quan-
tity of superfluous silk hast thou got about thee,
girl! I could never teach the fools of this age, that

8 Sbe Stoopa to Conquer

the indigent world could be clothed out of the
trimmings of the vain.

Miss Hard. You know our agreement, Sir.
You allow me the morning to receive and pay
visits, and to dress in my own manner; and in the
evening I put on my housewife's dress to please

Hard. Well, remember, I insist on the terms
of our agreement; and, by the bye, I believe I shall
have occasion to try your obedience this very

Miss Hard. I protest, Sir, I don't comprehend
your meaning.

Hard. Then to be plain with you, Kate, I ex-
pect the young gentleman I have chosen to be your
husband from town this very day. I have his
father's letter, in which he informs me his son is
set out, and that he intends to follow himself
shortly after.

Miss Hard. Indeed! I wish I had known
something of this before. Bless me, how shall I
behave? It 's a thousand to one I shan't like
him; our meeting will be so formal, and so like a
thing of business, that I shall find no room for
friendship or esteem.

Hard. Depend upon it, child, I '11 never control
your choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 9

upon, is the son of my old friend, Sir Charles Mar-
low, of whom you have heard me talk so often.
The young gentleman has been bred a scholar,
and is designed for an employment in the service
of his country. I am told he 's a man of excellent

Miss Hard. Is he?

Hard. Very generous.

Miss Hard. I believe I shall like him.

Hard. Young and brave.

Miss Hard. I 'm sure I shall like him.

Hard. And very handsome.

Miss Hard. My dear papa, say no more (kiss-
ing his hand), he 's mine; 1 11 have him.

Hard. And, to crown all, Kate, he 's one of
the most bashful and reserved young fellows in
all the world.

Miss Hard. Eh! you have frozen me to death
again. That word reserved has undone all
the rest of his accomplishments. A reserved
lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious

Hard. On the contrary, modesty seldom re-
sides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler
virtues. It was the very feature in his character
that first struck me.

Miss Hard. He must have more striking

io gbe Stoops to Conquer

features to catch me, I promise you. However, if
he be so young, so handsome, and so everything as
you mention, I believe he '11 do still. I think I 11
have him.

Hard. Ay, Kate, but there is still an obstacle.
It 's more than an even wager he may not have

Miss Hard. My dear papa, why will you mor-
tify one so ? Well, if he refuses, instead of break-
ing my heart at his indifference, I '11 only break
my glass for its flattery, set my cap to some
newer fashion, and look out for some less difficult

Hard. Bravely resolved! In the mean time
I 11 go prepare the servants for his reception: as
we seldom see company, they want as much train-
ing as a company of recruits the first day's muster.


Miss Hard. (Alone.) Lud, this news of papa's
puts me all in a flutter. Young, handsome; these
he put last; but I put them foremost. Sensible,
good-natured; I like all that. But then reserved
and sheepish, that 's much against him. Yet
can't he be cured of his timidity, by being taught
to be proud of his wife? Yes; and can 't I But
I vow I 'm disposing of the husband before I
have secured the lover.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 1 1

Enter Miss NEVILLE.

Miss Hard. I 'm glad you 're come, Neville, my
dear. Tell me, Constance, how do I look this even-
ing? Is there any thing whimsical about me ? Is
it one of my well-looking days, child? Am I in
face to-day?

Miss Nev. Perfectly, my dear. Yet now I
look again bless me! sure no accident has hap-
pened among the canary birds or the gold fishes!
Has your brother or the cat been meddling? or has
the last novel been too moving?

Miss Hard. No; nothing of all this. I have
been threatened I can scarce get it out I have
been threatened with a lover.

Miss Nev. And his name

Miss Hard. Is Marlow.

Miss Nev. Indeed!

Miss Hard. The son of Sir Charles Marlow.

Miss Nev. As I live, the most intimate friend
of Mr. Hastings, my admirer. They are never
asunder. I believe you must have seen him when
we lived in town.

Miss Hard. Never.

Miss Nev. He 's a very singular character, I
assure you. Among women of reputation and
virtue he is the modestest man alive; but his
acquaintance give him a very different character

12 Sbe Stoops to Conquer

among creatures of another stamp: you understand

Miss Hard. An odd character indeed. I shall
never be able to manage him. What shall I do?
Pshaw, think no more of him, but trust to occur-
rences for success. But how goes on your own
affair, my dear? has my mother been courting you
for my brother Tony as usual?

Miss Nev. I have just come from one of our
agreeable tete-a-tetes. She has been saying a hund-
red tender things, and setting off her pretty
monster as the very pink of perfection.

Miss Hard. And her partiality is such, that
she actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours
is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the
sole management of it, I 'm not surprised to see
her unwilling to let it go out of the family.

Miss Nev. A fortune like mine, which chiefly
consists in jewels, is no such mighty temptation.
But at any rate, if my dear Hastings be but con-
stant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at
last. However, I let her suppose that I am in love
with her son; and she never once dreams that my
affections are fixed upon another.

Miss Hard. My good brother holds out stoutly.
I could almost love him for hating you so.

Miss Nev. It is a good-natured creature at

Sbe Stoopa to Conquer 13

bottom, and I 'm sure would wish to see me mar-
ried to any body but himself. But my aunt's bell
rings for our afternoon's walk round the improve-
ments. Allans! Courage is necessary, as our
affairs are critical.

Miss Hard. " Would it were bed-time, and all
were well." [Exeunt.

SCENE An Alehouse Room.

Several shabby Fellows with punch and tobacco. TONY at
the head of the table, a little higher than the rest, a mallet
in his hand.

Omnes. Hurrea! hurrea! hurrea! bravo!

First Fellow. Now, gentlemen, silence for a song.
The 'Squire is going to knock himself down for a

Omnes. Ay, a song, a song!

Tony. Then I '11 sing you, gentlemen, a song I
made upon this alehouse, the Three Pigeons.


Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,

With grammar, and nonsense, and learning,

Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
Gives genus a better discerning.

Let them brag of their heathenish gods,
Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians,

Their Quis, and their Quses, and their Quods,

14 Sbe Stoopa to Conquer

They 're all but a parcel of Pigeons.

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.

When Methodist preachers come down,

A-preaching that drinking is sinful,
1 11 wager the rascals a crown,

They always preach best with a skinful.
But when you come down with your pence,

For a slice of their scurvy religion,
I '11 leave it to all men of sense,

But you, my good friend, are the Pigeon.

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.

Then come, put the jorum about,

And let us be merry and clever,
Our hearts and our liquors are stout,

Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons for ever.
Let some cry up woodcock or hare,

Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons;
But of all the gay birds in the air,

Here 's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.

Toroddle, toroddle, toroll. 1

Omnes. Bravo, bravo!

First Fellow. The 'Squire has got spunk in him.
Sec. Fellow. I loves to hear him sing, bekeays
he never gives us nothing that 's low.

1 " We drank tea with the ladies [after a dinner at General Ogle-
thorpe's] and Goldsmith sang Tony Lumpkin's song in his comedy,
She Stoops to Conquer. BOSWELL by CROKER, p. 251.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 15

Third Fellow. O damn any thing that 's low,
I cannot bear it. 1

Fourth Fellow. The genteel thing is the genteel
thing any time: if so be that a gentleman bees in
a concatenation accordingly. .

Third Fellow. I like the maxum of it, Master
Muggins. What, though I 'm obligated to dance
a bear, a man may be a gentleman for all that.
May this be my poison, 2 if my bear ever dances but
to the very genteelest of tunes; " Water Parted,"
or "The Minuet in Ariadne."

Sec. Fellow. What a pity it is the 'Squire is not
come to his own. It would be well for all the pub-
licans within ten miles round of him.

Tony. Ecod, and so it would, Master Slang. I 'd
then show what it was to keep choice of company.

Sec. Fellow. O, he takes after his own father
for that. To be sure old 'Squire Lumpkin was
the finest gentleman I ever set my eyes on. For
winding the straight horn, or beating a thicket
for a hare, or a wench, he never had his fellow. It
was a saying in the place, that he kept the best
horses, dogs, and girls, in the whole county.

Tony. Ecod, and when I 'm of age, 1 11 be no
bastard, I promise you. . I have been thinking of

1 See these low allusions explained in Forster's Goldsmith, ii., 121.

2 See Vol. I., p. 8 1, note 2.

1 6 gbe Stoops to Conquer

Bet Bouncer and the miller's grey mare to begin
with. But come, my boys, drink about and be
merry, for you pay no reckoning. Well, Stingo,
what 's the matter?

Enter Landlord.

Land. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise
at the door. They have lost their way upo' the
forest; and they are talking something about Mr.

Tony. As sure as can be, one of them must be
the gentleman that 's coming down to court my
sister. Do they seem to be Londoners?

Land. I believe they may. They look wound-
ily like Frenchmen.

Tony. Then desire them to step this way, and
I '11 set them right in a twinkling. (Exit Landlord.)
Gentlemen, as they may n't be good enough com-
pany for you, step down for a moment, and I '11 be
with you in the squeezing of a lemon.

[Exeunt mob.

Tony. (Sofas.) 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 grum-
bletonian. But then I 'm afraid afraid of what?
I shall soon be worth fifteen hundred a-year, and
let him frighten me out of that if he can.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 1 7

Enter Landlord, conducting MARLOW and HASTINGS.

Marl. What a tedious uncomfortable day have
we had of it! We were told it was but forty miles
across the country, and we have come above

Hast. And all, Marlow, from that unaccount-
able reserve of yours, that would not let us inquire
more frequently on the way.

Marl. I own, Hastings, I am unwilling to lay
myself under an obligation to every one I meet,
and often stand the chance of an unmannerly

Hast. At present, however, we are not likely to
receive any answer.

Tony. No offence, gentlemen. But I 'm told
you have been inquiring for one Mr. Hardcastle,
in these parts. Do you know what part of the
country you are in?

Hast. Not in the least, Sir, but should thank
you for information.

Tony. Nor the way you came?

Hast. No, Sir; but if you can inform us

Tony. Why, gentlemen, if you know neither
the road you are going, nor where you are, nor the
road you came, the first thing I have to inform
you is, that you have lost your way.

Marl. We wanted no ghost to tell us that.

1 8 be Stoops to Conquer

Tony. Pray, gentlemen, may I be so bold as
to ask the place from whence you came?

Marl. That 's not necessary towards directing
us where we are to go.

Tony. No offence; but question for question

is all fair, you know. Pray, gentlemen, is not
this same Hardcastle a cross-grained, old-fashioned,
whimsical fellow, with an ugly face, a daughter,
and a pretty son?

Hast. We have not seen the gentleman; but
he has the family you mention.

Tony. The daughter, a tall, trapesing, trollop-
ing, talkative may-pole the son, a pretty, well-
bred, agreeable youth, that everybody is fond of?

Marl. Our information differs in this. The
daughter is said to be well-bred, and beautiful;
the son an awkward booby, reared up and spoiled
at his mother's apron-strings.

Tony. He-he-hem! Then, gentlemen, all I
have to tell you is, that you won't reach Mr. Hard-
castle's house this night, I believe.

Hast. Unfortunate!

Tony. It 's a damn'd long, dark, boggy, dirty,
dangerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the
way to Mr. Hardcastle's! (Winking upon the Land-
lord.) Mr. Hardcastle's, of Quagmire Marsh, you
understand me.

Sbe Stoops to Conquer 19

Land. Master Hardcastle's! Lock-a-daisy, my
masters, you 're come a deadly deal wrong! When
you came to the bottom of the hill, you should
have crossed down Squash Lane.

Marl. Cross down Squash Lane!

Land. Then you were to keep straight forward,
till you came to four roads.

Marl. Come to where four roads meet?

Tony. Ay; but you must be sure to take only
one of them.

Marl. O, Sir, you 're facetious.

Tony. Then keeping to the right, you are to
go sideways, till you come upon Crackskull Com-
mon: there you must look sharp for the track of
the wheel, and go forward till you come to farmer
Murrain's barn. Coming to the farmer's barn,
you are to turn to the right, and then to the left,
and then to the right about again, till you find out
the old mill

Marl. Zounds, man! we could as soon find out
the longitude!

Hast. What 's to be done, Marlow?

Marl. This house promises but a poor reception;
though perhaps the landlord can accommodate us.

Land. Alack! master, we have but one spare

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