Miss Kate Hardcastle In She Stoops to Conquer

The first thing we note is the good understanding between father and daughter. The father allows her the necessary degree of liberty and the use of her own discretion in matters calling for it. He is justified in his faith in her And Miss Hardcastle has to manage her own affairs with Marlow-and none could have managed it better. She first hears what her father has to tell her about Marlow. There is a frank talk between father and daughter about Marlow When she is told that Marlow is one of the most bashful and reserved young fellows in the world, there is a problem for her, and her enthusiasm is dampened: “Eh! you frozen to me death again.” Young, handsome, generous-all the attributes that her father bestows upon Marlow did indeed rouse her enthusiasm. However, she is going to have a try at him, and she seems to be quite confident even when her father hints that Marlow might refuse her. She ponders over this matter of bashfulness and reserve. Can he be cured of his timidity which seriously engages her attention?

When she meets Marlow, she finds him as her father has described him He does not lift up his eyes to her face and he is timid, though he is not wanting in good sense-and he is handsome too. It depends upon what she can make of him. She gets to know of the way Marlow behaves with her father She is going to work on the tip, given her by Miss Neville: “He’s a very singular character, I assure-you. Among women of reputation and virtue he is the modestest man alive; but his acquaintance gives him a different character among creatures of another stamp: you understand me.” Now Marlow has something of the same strain as Tony has. As he confesses to Hastings: “My life has been chiefly spent in a college or an inn, in seclusion from that lovely part of the creation that chiefly teach men confidence.”

Miss Hardcastle’s plan is then to appear before Marlow plainly dressed as a barmaid, so that she can be mistaken for one by Marlow, and she knows quite well that he will not be able to recognize her, for he never looked up at her in their first interview. It must be said that Miss Hardcastle acts with the right instinct and judgment. for by doing so she can draw Marlow out. She had to wait a little before she catches his attention. He is deceived into thinking that she is a barmaid, and he finds himself more at ease. Her sprightly malicious eyes at once take his fancy, and he begs for the nectar at her lips, and she pretends that he asks for some kind of liquor. He attempts to kiss her: so Marlow can be bold, with a common woman. It is the revelation of his character that Miss Hardcastle is looking for. Miss Hardcastle defends her modesty by begging him to keep his distance. She reminds him how he has treated Miss Hardcastle-he looked dashed, kept bowing to the ground and talked. for all the world, as if he were before a justice of peace. Her acute observation makes her give a very correct description of Marlow’s attitude before Miss Hardcastle and it goes home. He is now brazen-faced to laugh and pays back by describing Miss Hardcastle as a mere awkward squinting thing. He pretends to be a great favourite among ladies. At the Ladies’ Club in town he is called their agreeable Rattle. He is not pleased to see that she is amused by his funny description of himself, and laughs outright. It means that she displays intelligence above a barmaid. He wants her to show him her embroidery, and he will suggest new patterns to her. Then he catches hold of her hand and she struggles with him. At this moment her father appears there, and Marlow withdraws.

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Despite the evidence to the contrary, Miss Hardcastle wants to convince her father that Marlow is a modest fellow. She demands only a little more time. He demands that it must be all fair and open, and she promises not to overstep her duty, which satisfies the father. Marlow is enraptured with the barmaid. “Such fire, such motion, such eyes, such lips” he tells Hastings. A barmaid may have an easy virtue, but he declares to Hastings that he has no dishonourable intention about the girl. Marlow has a second chance of meeting her when he has discovered his mistake that he is staying at the house of Hardcastle. Now right away he confesses his love to her when he learns that she is a poor relation of the family. Her beauty and simplicity gain upon him. And he tells her that if he were free, he would make his choice at once. Miss Hardcastle stooped to conquer-and she has won Marlow. And she is going to tell her father the truth.

When Sir Charles arrives at the house of Hardcastle, Miss Hardcastle has to put Marlow through another test to convince him. In the meantime, Marlow has made up for his impudence by apologizing to Hardcastle, but he denies to his father that he has had anything to do with Miss Hardcastle beyond seeing her once and exchanging a few words with her-he denies that it could be anything like a declaration of love. As arranged by Miss Hardcastle, her father and Sir Charles witness the unseen scene between Marlow and Miss Hardcastle in which Marlow again confesses his love on his knees. He is confounded when his father and Hardcastle appear there and Hardcastle claims his beloved as his daughter. Miss Hardcastle now twists him about his dual character. She is clever and intelligent, but she can be sarcastic too. She throws at him the remark that he made about herself-that squinting thing, and the appellation of the Rattle of the Ladies Club. Marlow has no way of escape. As Miss Hardcastle promised, she reforms Marlow-she transforms him from a timid, stuttering lover into an ardent and passionate one, who respects her virtue. It must be an achievement. And she convinces her father that she was right while he was wrong about Marlow. Miss Hardcastle has more than average cleverness and intelligence: she has the right instinct and judgment, and none understands better the situation in which she finds herself, and in which she has to tackle Marlow, tongue-tied and timid before a woman of reputation and virtue. She has an understanding and open-minded father who has aided rather than hindered her and she owes her success in reforming Marlow no little to him.



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