Tony Lumpkin is the son of Mrs Hardcastle and stepson to Mr Hardcastle. It is as a result of his practical joking that the comic aspects of the play are set up. When he accidentally meets Charles Marlow and his friend Hastings, who are coming to see Tony's parents in order to put Marlow forward as a suitor to Tony's stepsister Kate, he deliberately misdirects them, causing them to believe that the house where they are bound is an inn and that the Hardcastles are its landlord and landlady.
Tony is promised in marriage to his cousin, Constance Neville, whom he despises, and therefore he assists in her plans to elope with Hastings. Tony takes an interest in horses, "Bet Bouncer" and especially the alehouse, where he joyfully sings with members of the lower-classes. It is Tony's initial deception of Marlow, for a joke, which sets up the plot.
- Anonymous (1873). Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day. Illustrated by Frederick Waddy. London: Tinsley Brothers. pp. 74–75. Retrieved 2011-01-06.