The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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Miss Eliza Wharton

Mrs. Wharton’s daughter, friend to Lucy, Julia, and Mrs. Richman, Reverend Boyer’s love interest, and Peter Sanford’s mistress. Eliza is a single woman in her middle thirties living in… (read full character analysis)

Major Peter Sanford

Nancy Sanford’s husband, Eliza Wharton’s lover, and brief love interest of Miss Laurence. Sanford is a confessed libertine and rake, and he is determined to make Eliza another notch in his womanizing… (read full character analysis)

Reverend J. Boyer

Eliza Wharton’s love interest for a short time and friend to Mr. Selby. Reverend Boyer first meets Eliza when she is visiting friends in New Haven, and he quickly becomes enamored with her… (read full character analysis)

Miss Lucy Freeman/Mrs. Lucy Sumner

Eliza Wharton’s closest friend and Mr. Sumner’s wife. Lucy and Eliza grew up near each other in Harford, Connecticut, and they have been friends for years. Eliza writes Lucy far more than anyone… (read full character analysis)

Miss Julia Granby

Eliza Wharton’s friend. Julia is a single woman, but unlike Eliza, she is looking forward to marriage and domestic life. She is beautiful and highly virtuous, and, according to Major Sanford, completely incapable… (read full character analysis)
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Mrs. Richman

Eliza Wharton’s cousin and dear friend, and the wife of General Richman. The General and Mrs. Richman “are the picture of conjugal felicity,” and Eliza frequently visits their happy home in New Haven… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. M. Wharton

Eliza Wharton’s mother. Mrs. Wharton is the epitome of a proper eighteenth-century woman; she is a devoted mother to her children, whom she constantly dotes on, and she is fiercely proud of her place… (read full character analysis)

Mr. T. Selby

The Reverend J. Boyer’s closest friend. Selby and Boyer frequently correspond about Boyer’s relationship with Eliza Wharton, and Boyer sends Selby in person to deliver a letter to her. Selby is offended by… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Nancy Sanford

Major Peter Sanford’s wife and, for a short time, Eliza Wharton’s friend. Nancy comes from a wealthy Southern family, and Sanford marries her for her money so he can retain his class status. Sanford… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Haly

Eliza Wharton’s former fiancé. Mr. Haly’s engagement to Eliza was arranged by Eliza’s deceased father, who was particularly fond of Haly. Not much is known about him, although it is implied that he was… (read full character analysis)

Miss Laurence

Mr. Laurence and Mrs. Laurence’s daughter, friend to the General and Mrs. Richman, and fleeting love interest of Peter Sanford. Miss Laurence comes from a wealthy family, and Sanford sees her fortune… (read full character analysis)

General Richman

Mrs. Richman’s husband and Eliza Wharton’s friend. General Richman is the personification of wealth and high social standing, and his name confirms that he is indeed a rich man. The General’s marriage to… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Laurence

The wife of Mr. Laurence and mother to Miss Laurence. Mrs. Laurence is a wealthy woman of high social standing, and she frequently visit the General and Mrs. Richman with her family. Mrs. Laurence… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Sumner

Lucy’s husband. Lucy and Mr. Sumner are married near the middle of the book, but very little is ever said about him except that he and Lucy are “a charming couple” and exceedingly happy… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Laurence

Mrs. Laurence’s husband and Miss Laurence’s father. Mr. Laurence is a wealthy man, and he is of the upper class. He frequently visits the General and Mrs. Richman. He briefly considers Major(read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Mr. Charles Deighton
Peter Sanford’s friend. Sanford writes several letters to Charles, whom he describes as a dear friend, but Charles never writes to Sanford. This one-sided correspondence suggests that Charles is not as close a friend as Sanford imagines or would like.