Tony Lumpkins is perhaps the character whose actions influence the plot of the play more than any other character. He is the son of Mrs. Hardcastle who is born by her earlier marriage to Mr. Lumpkin. Tony Lumpkin has questionable character. He is a regular face at the Three Pigeons, a popular ale-house where he drinks and smokes without regard to the family’s sense of decency and decorum. It should be noted that the book is subtitled “The Mistakes of a Night”. This title derives from the unforgivable misdirection of Young Marlow and Hastings by Tony.
The two have missed their way to the house of Mr. Hardcastle and on inquiry at the ale-house, Tony Lumpkin deceives them by telling them, that the place they intend to visit is an inn. As a result of this blatant deceit, Young Marlow and Mr. Hastings mistake Mr. Hardcastle as an inn-keeper and Kate, that lady to be married to Young Marlow is seen as a servant or maid at the inn.
Apart from this, Tony tries to steal Constance Neville’s jewels. This is done with the help of his mother Mrs. Hardcastle, whose intent is to cheat Neville and cart away her valuable jewels. After the failed attempt to steal Miss Neville’s jewels, Mrs. Hardcastle lambasts her son saying, “…I’ll teach you to abuse your mother…” In response, Tony quickly said, “Ecod, mother…”. In the parish says you have spoiled me, and so you may take the fruits on it” (pg. 82).
It is therefore on these little tricks and deceits coupled with his penchant for drinking and smoking and keeping late nights that Tony Lumpkin is well known.