The Coquette

The Coquette

Miss Eliza Wharton Character Analysis

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 post-Revolutionary America. She is a dedicated and dutiful daughter, and when her late father arranged for her to marry Mr. Haly, a preacher several years her senior, Eliza agreed, due to an “implicit obedience to the will and desires of [her] parents.” Sadly, Mr. Haly falls ill, and even though they are not yet married, Eliza tenderly nurses him until he dies. Released from her obligation, she vows to remain single and enjoy her newly found freedom. Eliza is of a naturally “cheerful” and “gay disposition,” and she is prone to coquetry, or flirtatious behavior. Eliza is a loyal and devoted friend, and she places value on friendship above all else. She is particularly resistant to the narrow and confining patriarchal ideals of eighteenth-century womanhood, and she is averse to the idea of marriage and the domestic sphere. She considers marriage “the tomb of friendship,” and she has no desire to sacrifice her freedom and happiness to devote herself to a man and family. Eliza’s friends are particularly critical of her coquettish ways, and they frequently imply that she is lacking virtue and moral fiber because she prefers to date multiple men instead of settling down. Eliza’s judgmental friends push her towards the respectable Reverend Boyer and condemn her feelings for the libertine Peter Sanford, but Eliza is torn. She knows she should consent to marry Boyer, and she knows that she probably will, but Sanford’s fortune is alluring to Eliza and she dreams of rising in social class and standing. Boyer grows tired of Eliza entertaining both him and Sanford, and it isn’t until after Boyer leaves her that Eliza realizes she wants to marry him. Sanford forsakes her too and marries a woman with a fortune, and Eliza is left alone and heartbroken. Her friends continue to lecture and degrade her for being a coquette and she grows increasingly depressed and physically ill. Sanford eventually comes back with his new wife and continues to pursue Eliza, and he finally succeeds in seducing her. He leaves her pregnant and alone at a roadside inn at Danvers, where she gives birth to a baby that promptly dies. Eliza dies shortly after, as well, presumably from tuberculosis, rejected by her friends and society.

Miss Eliza Wharton Quotes in The Coquette

The The Coquette quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Eliza Wharton or refer to Miss Eliza Wharton. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women and Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Coquette published in 2015.
Letter 4 Quotes

I was introduced to Miss Eliza Wharton; a young lady whose elegant person, accomplished mind, and polished manners have been much celebrated. […] You will think, that I talk in the style of a lover. I confess it, nor am I ashamed to rank myself among the professed admirers of this lovely fair one. I am in no danger, however, of becoming an enthusiastic devotee. No, I mean to act upon just and rational principles. Expecting soon to settle in an eligible situation, if such a companion as I am persuaded she will make me, may fall to my lot, I shall deem myself as happy as this state of imperfection will admit. She is now resident at Gen. Richman’s. The general and his lady are her particular friends. They are warm in her praises. They tell me, however, that she is naturally of a gay disposition. No matter for that; it is an agreeable quality, where there is discretion sufficient for its regulation. A cheerful friend, much more a cheerful wife is peculiarly necessary to a person of a studious and sedentary life.

Related Characters: Reverend J. Boyer (speaker), Miss Eliza Wharton, Mr. T. Selby
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Coquette quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Letter 5 Quotes

What, my dear, is your opinion of our favorite Mr. Boyer? Declaring him your favorite, madam, is sufficient to render me partial to him. But to be frank, independent of that, I think him an agreeable man. Your heart, I presume, is now free? Yes, and I hope it will long remain so. Your friends, my dear, solicitous for your welfare, wish to see you suitably and agreeably connected. I hope my friends will never again interpose in my concerns of that nature. You, madam, who have ever known my heart, are sensible, that had the Almighty spared life, in a certain instance, I must have sacrificed my own happiness, or incurred their censure. I am young, gay, volatile. A melancholy event has lately extricated me from those shackles, which parental authority had imposed on my mind. Let me then enjoy that freedom which I so highly prize. Let me have opportunity, unbiassed by opinion, to gratify my natural disposition in a participation of those pleasures which youth and innocence afford.

Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Of such pleasures, no one, my dear, would wish to deprive you. But beware, Eliza! —Though strowed with flowers, when contemplated by your lively imagination, it is, after all, a slippery, thorny path. The round of fashionable dissipation is dangerous. A phantom is often pursued, which leaves its deluded votary the real form of wretchedness. She spoke with an emphasis, and taking up her candle, wished me a good night. I had not power to return the compliment. Something seemingly prophetic in her looks and expressions, cast a momentary gloom upon my mind! But I despise those contracted ideas which confine virtue to a cell. I have no notion of becoming a recluse. Mrs. Richman has ever been a beloved friend of mine; yet I always thought her rather prudish.

Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 8 Quotes

I first saw [Miss Eliza Wharton] on a party of pleasure at Mr. Frazier’s where we walked, talked, sung, and danced together. I thought her cousin watched her with a jealous eye; for she is, you must know, a prude; and immaculate, more so than you or I must be the man who claims admission to her society. But I fancy this young lady is a coquette; and if so, I shall avenge my sex, by retaliating the mischiefs, she meditates against us. Not that I have any ill designs; but only to play off her own artillery, by using a little unmeaning gallantry. And let her beware of the consequences.

Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 9 Quotes

My friends were waiting for me in the parlor. They received me sociably, inquired after my health, my last evening’s entertainment, the company, &c. When, after a little pause, Mrs. Richman said, and how do you like Major Sanford, Eliza? Very well indeed, madam: I think him a finished gentleman. Will you, who are a connoisseur, allow him that title? No, my dear: in my opinion, he falls far below it; since he is deficient in one of the great essentials of the character, and that is, virtue. I am surprised, said I: but how has he incurred so severe a censure? By being a professed libertine; by having but too successfully practiced the arts of seduction; by triumphing in the destruction of innocence and the peace of families!

Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 11 Quotes

I believe too, that I have charmed the eye at least, of the amiable Eliza. Indeed, Charles, she is a fine girl. I think it would hurt my conscience to wound her mind or reputation. Were I disposed to marry, I am persuaded she would make an excellent wife; but that you know is no part of my plan, so long as I can keep out of the noose. Whenever I do submit to be shackled, it must be from a necessity of mending my fortune. This girl would be far from doing that. However, I am pleased with her acquaintance, and mean not to abuse her credulity and good nature, if I can help it.

Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 12 Quotes

Marriage is the tomb of friendship. It appears to me a very selfish state. Why do people, in general, as soon as they are married, centre all their cares, their concerns, and pleasures in their own families? former acquaintances are neglected or forgotten. The tenderest ties between friends are weakened, or dissolved; and benevolence itself moves in a very limited sphere.

Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 14 Quotes

From a scene of constraint and confinement, ill suited to my years and inclination, I have just launched into society. My heart beats high in expectation of its fancied joys. My sanguine imagination paints, in alluring colors, the charms of youth and freedom, regulated by virtue and innocence. Of these, I wish to partake. While I own myself under obligations for the esteem which you are pleased to profess for me, and in return, acknowledge, that neither your person nor manners are disagreeable to me, I recoil at the thought of immediately forming a connection, which must confine me to the duties of domestic life, and make me dependent for happiness, perhaps too, for subsistence, upon a class of people, who will claim the right of scrutinizing every part of my conduct; and by censuring those foibles, which I am conscious of not having prudence to avoid, may render me completely miserable.

Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 23 Quotes

Miss Wharton and I, said Mrs. Richman, must beg leave to differ from you, madam. We think ourselves interested in the welfare and prosperity of our country; and, consequently, claim the right of inquiring into those affairs, which may conduce to, or interfere with the common weal. We shall not be called to the senate or the field to assert its privileges, and defend its rights, but we shall feel for the honor and safety of our friends and connections, who are thus employed. If the community flourish and enjoy health and freedom, shall we not share in the happy effects? if it be oppressed and disturbed, shall we not endure our proportion of the evil? Why then should the love of our country be a masculine passion only? Why should government, which involves the peace and order of the society, of which we are a part, be wholly excluded from our observation? Mrs. Laurence made some slight reply and waived the subject. The gentlemen applauded Mrs. Richman’s sentiments as truly Roman; and what was more, they said, truly republican.

Page Number: 34-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 27 Quotes

I am quite a convert to Pope’s assertion, that “Every woman is, at heart, a rake.” How else can we account for the pleasure which they evidently receive from the society, the flattery, the caresses of men of that character? Even the most virtuous of them seem naturally prone to gaiety, to pleasure, and, I had almost said, to dissipation! How else shall we account for the existence of this disposition, in your favorite fair? It cannot be the result of her education. Such a one as she has received, is calculated to give her a very different turn of mind. You must forgive me, my friend, for I am a little vexed, and alarmed on your account.

Page Number: 42-3
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 28 Quotes

I have not yet determined to seduce her, though, with all her pretensions to virtue, I do not think it impossible. And if I should, she can blame none but herself, since she knows my character, and has no reason to wonder if I act consistently with it. If she will play with a lion, let her beware of his paw, I say.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 31 Quotes

I look upon the vicious habits, and abandoned character of Major Sanford, to have more pernicious effects on society, than the perpetrations of the robber and the assassin. These, when detected, are rigidly punished by the laws of the land. If their lives be spared, they are shunned by society, and treated with every mark of disapprobation and contempt. But to the disgrace of humanity and virtue, the assassin of honor; the wretch, who breaks the peace of families, who robs virgin innocence of its charms, who triumphs over the ill placed confidence of the inexperienced, unsuspecting, and too credulous fair, is received, and caressed, not only by his own sex, to which he is a reproach, but even by ours, who have every conceivable reason to despise and avoid him. Influenced by these principles, I am neither ashamed nor afraid openly to avow my sentiments of this man, and my reasons for treating him with the most pointed neglect.

Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Enclosed in the Foregoing Quotes

Many faults have been visible to me; over which my affection once drew a veil. That veil is now removed. And, acting the part of a disinterested friend, I shall mention some few of them with freedom. There is a levity in your manners, which is inconsistent with the solidity and decorum becoming a lady who has arrived to years of discretion. There is also an unwarrantable extravagance betrayed in your dress. Prudence and economy are such necessary, at least, such decent virtues, that they claim the attention of every female, whatever be her station or her property. To these virtues you are apparently inattentive. Too large a portion of your time is devoted to the adorning of your person.

Related Characters: Reverend J. Boyer (speaker), Miss Eliza Wharton, Mr. T. Selby
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 43 Quotes

How natural, and how easy the transition from one stage of life to another! Not long since I was a gay, volatile girl; seeking satisfaction in fashionable circles and amusements; but now I am thoroughly domesticated. All my happiness is centered within the limits of my own walls; and I grudge every moment that calls me from the pleasing scenes of domestic life. Not that I am so selfish as to exclude my friends from my affection or society. I feel interested in their concerns, and enjoy their company. I must own, however, that conjugal and parental love are the main springs of my life. The conduct of some mothers in depriving their helpless offspring of the care and kindness which none but a mother can feel, is to me unaccountable. There are many nameless attentions which nothing short of maternal tenderness, and solicitude can pay; and for which the endearing smiles, and progressive improvements of the lovely babe are an ample reward.

Related Characters: Mrs. Richman (speaker), Miss Eliza Wharton, Reverend J. Boyer
Related Symbols: Babies
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 52 Quotes

The circus is a place of fashionable resort of late, but not agreeable to me. I think it inconsistent with the delicacy of a lady, even to witness the indecorums, which are practised there; especially, when the performers of equestrian feats are of our own sex. To see a woman depart so far from the female character, as to assume the masculine habit and attitudes; and appear entirely indifferent, even to the externals of modesty, is truly disgusting, and ought not to be countenanced by our attendance, much less by our approbation.

Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 66 Quotes

Indeed, I feared some immediate and fatal effect. I therefore seated myself beside her; and assuming an air of kindness, compose yourself, Eliza, said I; I repeat what I told you before, it is the purest friendship, which thus interests me in your concerns. This, under the direction of charity, induces me again to offer you my hand. Yet you have erred against knowledge and reason; against warning and counsel. You have forfeited the favor of your friends; and reluctant will be their forgiveness. I plead guilty, said she, to all your charges. From the general voice I expect no clemency. If I can make my peace with my mother, it is all I seek or wish on this side the grave.

Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 69 Quotes

Should it please God to spare and restore me to health, I shall return, and endeavor, by a life of penitence and rectitude, to expiate my past offences. But should I be called from this scene of action; and leave behind me a helpless babe, the innocent sufferer of its mother’s shame, Oh, Julia, let your friendship for me extend to the little stranger! Intercede with my mother to take it under her protection; and transfer to it all her affection for me; to train it up in the ways of piety and virtue, that it may compensate her for the afflictions which I have occasioned!

Related Characters: Miss Eliza Wharton (speaker), Miss Julia Granby, Mrs. M. Wharton
Related Symbols: Babies
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 70 Quotes

[Eliza] is exceedingly depressed; and says she neither expects nor wishes to survive her lying in. Insanity, for aught I know, must be my lot, if she should die. But I will not harbor the idea. I hope, one time or other, to have the power to make her amends, even by marriage. My wife may be provoked, I imagine, to sue for a divorce. If she should, she would find no difficulty in obtaining it; and then I would take Eliza in her stead. Though I confess that the idea of being thus connected with a woman whom I have been able to dishonor would be rather hard to surmount. It would hurt even my delicacy, little as you may think me to possess, to have a wife whom I know to be seducible. And, on this account, I cannot be positive that even Eliza would retain my love.

Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 71 Quotes

I foresee, my dear Mrs. Sumner, that this disastrous affair will suspend your enjoyments, as it has mine. But what are our feelings, compared with the pangs which rend a parent’s heart? This parent, I here behold, inhumanly stripped of the best solace of her declining years, by the ensnaring machinations of a profligate debauchee! Not only the life, but what was still dearer, the reputation and virtue of the unfortunate Eliza, have fallen victims at the shrine of libertinism! Detested be the epithet! Let it henceforth bear its true signature, and candor itself shall call it lust and brutality!

Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Letter 73 Quotes

How sincerely I sympathize with the bereaved parent of the dear, deceased Eliza, I can feel, but have not power to express. Let it be her consolation, that her child is at rest. The resolution which carried this deluded wanderer thus far from her friends, and supported her through her various trials, is astonishing! Happy would it have been, had she exerted an equal degree of fortitude in repelling the first attacks upon her virtue! But she is no more; and heaven forbid that I should accuse or reproach her!

Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Upon your reflecting and steady mind, my dear Julia, I need not inculcate the lessons which may be drawn from this woe-fraught tale; but for the sake of my sex in general, I wish it engraved upon every heart, that virtue alone, independent of the trappings of wealth, the parade of equipage, and the adulation of gallantry, can secure lasting felicity. From the melancholy story of Eliza Wharton, let the American fair learn to reject with disdain every insinuation derogatory to their true dignity and honor. Let them despise, and for ever banish the man, who can glory in the seduction of innocence and the ruin of reputation. To associate, is to approve; to approve, is to be betrayed!

Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Coquette LitChart as a printable PDF.
The coquette.pdf.medium

Miss Eliza Wharton Character Timeline in The Coquette

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Eliza Wharton appears in The Coquette. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter I. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Miss Eliza Wharton writes a letter to her dear friend, Lucy. Eliza’s fiancé, Mr. Haly, has recently... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Eliza does not, however, “rejoice in [Mr. Haly’s] death.” She felt for him “the sincerest friendship... (full context)
Letter II. to the same.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“My friends, here, are the picture of conjugal felicity,” Eliza writes of General and Mrs. Richman. Eliza is having a wonderful time in New Haven,... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“I have received your letter,” Eliza writes to Lucy, “your moral lecture rather; and be assured, my dear, your monitorial lessons... (full context)
Letter III. to the same.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy again to speak of her “conquests.” “Or must I enjoy them in silence?”... (full context)
Letter IV. to Mr. Selby.
Women and Society Theme Icon
...with whom he has spent much time in New Haven, have introduced him to Miss Eliza Wharton, “a young lady whose elegant person, accomplished mind, and polished manners have been much... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Boyer has had many occasions to speak to Eliza, and he has found her to have an “elevated mind, a ready apprehension, and an... (full context)
Letter V. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“I am so pestered with these admirers,” Eliza writes Lucy. Since arriving in New Haven, Eliza has been “followed, flattered, and caressed,” but... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Richman recently asked Eliza about Reverend Boyer. Eliza knows that Mrs. Richman is very fond of Boyer, and this... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Richman knows as well as anyone that, had Mr. Haly lived, Eliza would have forfeited her own desires. “I am young, gay, volatile,” Eliza told Mrs. Richman.... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“But beware, Eliza!” Mrs. Richman warned. Pursuing such freedoms may be tempting, but it is “a slippery, thorny... (full context)
Letter VI. to the same.
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza again writes Lucy and tells her that she has been invited to attend a ball... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The General and Mrs. Richman are a “happy pair,” Eliza tells Lucy, and if it is ever Eliza’s “fate to wear the hymenial chain,” she... (full context)
Letter VII. to Mr. Selby.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...Mr. Selby. Boyer had been so excited at the prospect of spending more time with Eliza, but recent events have left him “dashed with the bitter rankings of jealousy and suspicion.”... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Reverend Boyer asks Mrs. Richman if Major Sanford’s character is “unexceptionable.” Surely, Eliza, “a lady of delicacy,” would not spend time “with an immoral, not to say profligate... (full context)
Letter VIII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Major Sanford writes his friend, Charles Deighton, and tells him of his date with Eliza, “a young lady whose agreeable person, polished manners, and refined talents have rendered her the... (full context)
Letter IX. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy to tell her of the previous day’s excitement. Yesterday, just as Major Sanford... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza had a lovely time with Sanford at the ball, and he had asked to see... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...once; and refuse him admission, if [Major Sanford] call, in compliance with the customary forms?” Eliza asked Mrs. Richman. “By no means,” Mrs. Richman responded, but Eliza must be careful. “A... (full context)
Letter X. to the same.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza again writes Lucy and tells her that Major Sanford was waiting for her in the... (full context)
Letter XI. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...writes, “I have been manœuvring to day, a little revengefully.” He had gone to see Eliza earlier that morning and sensed that she was “vexed.” No doubt Mrs. Richman has warned... (full context)
Letter XII. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“The heart of your friend is again besieged,” Eliza writes Lucy. “Sometimes I think of becoming a predestinarian, and submitting implicitly to fate, without... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
When Eliza went down to dinner that evening, she found Reverend Boyer already waiting. After a nice... (full context)
Letter XIII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“Methinks I can gather from your letters,” Lucy writes Eliza, “a predilection for this Major Sanford. But he is a rake, my dear friend.” Lucy... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Lucy says that she knows Eliza’s “ambition is to make a distinguished figure in the first class of polished society,” but... (full context)
Letter XIV. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“This was the day fixed for deciding Mr. Boyer’s cause,” Eliza writes Lucy. He came to visit today, and after a bit of small talk, “he... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
After Reverend Boyer had gone, Mrs. Richman told Eliza that she “should own [herself] somewhat engaged to him,” but Eliza told her that was... (full context)
Letter XV. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“I congratulate you, my dear Eliza,” Lucy writes, “on the stability of your conduct towards Mr. Boyer,” for a man of... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...writes, “this gallant of yours cannot boast” these qualities. Lucy hopes that neither she nor Eliza will have much to do with him should he move to town. “But I shall... (full context)
Letter XVI. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“We go on charmingly here,” Eliza writes Lucy, “almost as soft and smooth as your ladyship.” Today, Reverend Boyer informed Eliza... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
After Sanford left, Boyer asked Eliza “to give him some assurance of [her] constancy,” but she “reminded him of the terms... (full context)
Letter XVII. to Mr. Selby.
Reverend Boyer again writes Mr. Selby and tells him about Eliza. The time Boyer has spent with her has been “some of the happiest hours of... (full context)
Letter XVIII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“This same Eliza, of whom I have told you,” Sanford writes Charles, “has really made more impression on... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
While Sanford intends to marry Miss Laurence, he much prefers Eliza. “I know not the lady in the world with whom I would sooner form a... (full context)
Letter XIX. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy and tells her that Major Sanford approached her as she walked alone in... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sanford asked Eliza if they might be friends and if she would allow him to visit occasionally, “as... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“I hope you have been agreeably entertained,” Mrs. Richman said to Eliza after Sanford left. “I did not choose my company, madam,” Eliza said. “Nor,” said Mrs.... (full context)
Letter XX. to Mrs. M. Wharton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“At this time, my dear mamma,” Eliza writes her mother, Mrs. Wharton, “I am peculiarly solicitous for your advice.” Eliza tells her... (full context)
Letter XXI. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Mrs. Wharton was happy to hear from her daughter, and she writes back to tell Eliza that, in her own experience, life with a preacher was “replete with happiness.” Preachers are... (full context)
Letter XXII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“Your idea has been the solace of my retired moments,” Reverend Boyer tells Eliza in his next letter. He has been thinking fondly of their time together, and he... (full context)
Letter XXIII. to the Rev. J. Boyer.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“I have executed your commission,” Mr. Selby writes Reverend Boyer, and “I think [Eliza] fully justifies your partiality to her.” Selby tells Boyer that Eliza is very lovely, but... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
The dinner conversation soon turned to politics. Mrs. Richman and Eliza readily joined in, but Mrs. Laurence claimed she “never meddled with politics; she thought they... (full context)
Letter XXIV. to the Rev. J. Boyer.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Mr. Selby resumes his letter to Reverend Boyer and encloses a letter from Eliza. He had gone to General Richman’s around noon to retrieve Eliza’s letter, and was surprised... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza claimed that her running into Major Sanford was “accidental.” Last night she made plans with... (full context)
Letter XXV. to the Rev. J. Boyer.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“Sir,” writes Eliza to Boyer, “I congratulate you on your agreeable settlement, and hope it will be productive... (full context)
Letter XXVI. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
“I am perplexed and embarrassed, my friend,” Eliza writes Lucy, “by the assiduous attentions of this Major Sanford.” Reverend Boyer’s friend, Mr. Selby,... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza agreed to go horseback riding the next day with Miss Laurence, and Major Sanford appeared... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Once Miss Laurence was gone, Major Sanford told Eliza that he was struck with “jealousy” by the appearance of Reverend Boyer’s friend, Mr. Selby.... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Is it not true that “a reformed rake makes the best husband?” Eliza asks Lucy. Eliza admits that she may be “too volatile for a confinement to domestic... (full context)
Letter XXVII. to the Rev. Mr. Boyer.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...men” like Major Sanford. Mr. Selby attended the assembly last night and became suspicious of Eliza’s relationship with Sanford. He wants to believe that Eliza is as virtuous and good as... (full context)
Letter XXVIII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“I go on finely with my amour,” Sanford writes Charles. Sanford knows that Eliza’s friends do not approve of him, and he wonders why this alone is not enough... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“I have not yet determined to seduce [Eliza],” Sanford tells Charles, although he doesn’t believe it would be difficult to do so. If... (full context)
Letter XXIX. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...you, like an ignis fatuus from the path of rectitude and virtue!” Lucy Freeman writes Eliza. She tells Eliza that a rake can never be reformed; however, even if Eliza could... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Lucy questions how Eliza, a woman “used to serenity and order in family” who is also so “refined,” could... (full context)
Letter XXX. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes to Lucy and informs her that she has “renounced [Sanford] entirely.” In compliance with... (full context)
Letter XXXI. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Lucy responds, pleased with Eliza’s decision to quit the company of Major Sanford. Lucy considers libertines and rakes more dangerous... (full context)
Letter XXXII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“I am really banished and rejected,” Sanford writes Charles. He is quite heartbroken by Eliza’s termination of their relationship, although he is optimistic about taking possession of his new home... (full context)
Letter XXXIII. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza again writes Lucy and tells her of Reverend Boyer’s intention to “seduce [Eliza] into matrimony.”... (full context)
Letter XXXIV. to Mrs. Richman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Eliza writes to Mrs. Richman from her mother, Mrs. Wharton’s, home in Hartford and tells her... (full context)
Letter XXXV. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
General Richman writes Eliza at “Mrs. Richman’s request,” as she has just given birth to a baby girl. General... (full context)
Letter XXXVI. to Mrs. Richman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“Hail happy babe!” Eliza writes to Mrs. Richman. After relaying her happiness regarding the newest addition to the Richman... (full context)
Letter XXXVII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“My hopes begin to revive,” Sanford tells Charles. Eliza has proved agreeable to continuing to interact with him in social situations, and he couldn’t... (full context)
Letter XXXVIII. to Mrs. M. Wharton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes her mother, Mrs. Wharton, from Boston and reports that Lucy is “agreeably settled and... (full context)
Letter XXXIX. to Mr. T. Selby.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...and apologizes for neglecting their friendship, but he has been preoccupied lately. Boyer had accompanied Eliza back to her home and now fears that there may be some merit to Selby’s... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Boyer made the mistake of mentioning Major Sanford to Eliza—who, incidentally, has purchased a home in New Haven—and she claimed Boyer was merely jealous. The... (full context)
Letter XL. to Mr. T. Selby.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...Boyer to Selby, “but Oh! how different from my fond expectations!” When Boyer arrived at Eliza’s he found her arriving home in the company of Major Sanford, and she quickly resumed... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
The next day, Boyer called on Eliza at home, but she was indisposed. Mrs. Wharton claimed that Eliza had not been sleeping... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Upset, Boyer ran from the garden and Eliza quickly followed. They met in the parlor where Eliza burst into tears. “Will you,” she... (full context)
to Miss Eliza Wharton. ENCLOSED IN THE FOREGORING.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“I take this method of bidding you a final adieu,” Boyer writes Eliza. He writes Eliza “not as a lover” but as a “friend” who is concerned for... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Further acting in the role “of a disinterested friend,” Boyer informs Eliza that “there is a levity in [her] manners” that is “inconsistent with the solidity and... (full context)
Letter XLI. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy and tells her that Hartford is “gloomy” after the excitement of Boston, but... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza met with Major Sanford in the garden to inform him of her choice regarding Reverend... (full context)
Letter XLII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...“and the girl is my own.” Sanford tells Charles that he had gone to visit Eliza and that the Reverend Boyer had interrupted their talk. Boyer gave them “a pretty harsh... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Sanford reassured Eliza that her displeasure and “embarrassments” wouldn’t last, and by the time Sanford returned from his... (full context)
Letter XLIII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Richman writes to Eliza and offers her condolences regarding Eliza’s separation from Reverend Boyer. “I had long contemplated a... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
...scenes of domestic life.” Mrs. Richman does not mean to neglect her friends—she even invites Eliza for another visit—but “conjugal and parental love are the main springs of [her] life.” (full context)
Letter XLIV. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“I am extremely depressed, my dear Lucy!” Eliza writes. Major Sanford has recently gone southward for several months, and Eliza has “declined any... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Reverend Boyer’s recent rejection of Eliza has made him “appear in the brightest colors,” and this “fatal separation” has caused her... (full context)
Letter XLV. to the same.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza has returned home to her mother, Mrs. Wharton, she writes to Lucy, but can’t find... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Major Sanford has not written Eliza in nearly twelve months. “Has he too forsaken me?” Eliza asks Lucy. If he has,... (full context)
Letter XLVI. to the Rev. J. Boyer.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“I cannot but hope that this letter coming from the hand which you once sought,” Eliza writes to Reverend Boyer, “will not be unacceptable.” Instead of an apology, Eliza tells Boyer... (full context)
Letter XLVII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
“Madam,” responds Boyer to Eliza. “The regard which I felt for you was tender and animated, but it was not... (full context)
Letter XLVIII. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Women and Society Theme Icon
“I am shipwrecked on the shoals of despair!” Eliza writes to Lucy. Eliza encloses a copy of her letter to Boyer and his answer... (full context)
Letter XLIX. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“You refer yourself to my friendship for consolation,” Lucy writes Eliza, “but I must act the part of a skillful surgeon, and probe the wound, which... (full context)
Letter L. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy and tells her that Julia has arrived. “She is all that I once... (full context)
Letter LI. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Friendship Theme Icon
...write you respecting Miss Wharton,” Julia writes to Lucy, “and I obey.” Julia claims that Eliza has completely changed, and that her previous “vivacity has entirely forsaken her.” Eliza has turned... (full context)
Letter LII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Friendship Theme Icon
Lucy writes to Eliza and begs her to “rise above” her present depression. “Avoid solitude,” Lucy orders, as solitude... (full context)
Letter LIII. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“Gracious Heaven!” Eliza writes to Lucy. “What have I heard?” Eliza tells Lucy that Sanford is married. “Yes,... (full context)
Letter LIV. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Still, Sanford can’t help but pine over Eliza. “O, Eliza,” he cries, “accuse me not of infidelity; for your image is my constant... (full context)
Letter LV. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes to Lucy and tells her she had a visit from Major Sanford. He had... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sanford went on to ask Eliza to be a friend to his wife, Nancy. She is “a stranger” in Harford after... (full context)
Letter LVI. To Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...returned,” Julia writes to Lucy, “and amity (but not commerce,) is ratified.” Julia reports that Eliza is lifting from her depression, and while Eliza claims she wishes to return to her... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...him exceedingly.” She has “no charity for these reformed rakes.” While on a walk with Eliza, Julia again ran into Sanford and his wife, Nancy, and they endured a pleasant exchange.... (full context)
Letter LVII. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza and Julia recently went to dine at Major and Mrs. Sanford’s, and Eliza writes Lucy... (full context)
Letter LVIII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...Sanford goes on to say that he has “atoned” for his past offenses, and that Eliza has forgiven him. Sanford’s “sensibility” surprised even himself. “Why, I was as much a woman... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Sanford tells Charles that Eliza “is extremely altered,” and that her depressed nature “mortifies [him] exceedingly.” He suspects Reverend Boyer... (full context)
Letter LIX. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Eliza writes Lucy to tell her that, while Julia is headed to Boston, Eliza will not... (full context)
Letter LX. to the same.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Julia writes Lucy and informs her that all her attempts to persuade Eliza to travel to Boston have been “in vain.” Eliza’s depression is worsening again, something Julia... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Julia warned Eliza about her “visible fondness for the society of such a man.” Clearly, “marriage has not... (full context)
Letter LXI. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“Julia, you say, approves not Major Sanford’s particular attention to you,” Lucy writes Eliza. “Neither do I.” Lucy begs Eliza to be careful with Sanford’s professed friendship and tells... (full context)
Letter LXII. to Miss Julia Granby.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza writes one letter to both Julia and Lucy, who are both now in Boston. “Writing... (full context)
Letter LXIII. to Miss Eliza Wharton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Julia writes Eliza and expresses her condolences for Mrs. Richman’s baby. She speaks briefly about her time in... (full context)
Letter LXIV. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Julia writes Lucy and informs her that she has arrived back at Eliza’s in Hartford. When Eliza first saw Julia, she immediately burst into tears and hugged her.... (full context)
Letter LXV. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...have arrived to the utmost bounds of my wishes; the full possession of my adorable Eliza!” It was a difficult task indeed, but Sanford is yet to be “defeated in [his]... (full context)
Letter LXVI. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“Oh, my friend,” Julia writes Lucy. “I have a tale to unfold!” While staying with Eliza, Julia noticed that Eliza had left the house in the middle of the night and... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“It is the purest friendship,” Julia told Eliza, “which thus interests me in your concerns.” Julia can’t understand how Eliza could behave this... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Despite Julia’s insistence that Eliza stay away from Major Sanford, Eliza claimed that she could not comply with her friend’s... (full context)
Letter LXVII. to the same.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“She is gone!” Julia writes to Lucy. “Yes, my dear friend, our beloved Eliza, is gone!” A few days earlier, Eliza had gone to the garden to meet “her... (full context)
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
That evening, Eliza refused dinner, and then she fell to Mrs. Wharton’s feet and wept. “Oh madam!” she... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Later, Julia woke to the sound of the front door and saw Eliza leave, followed by a man. Of course, it was Major Sanford, Julia says. Mrs. Wharton... (full context)
Letter LXVIII. to Mrs. M. Wharton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“My Honored And Dear Mamma,” Eliza writes to Mrs. Wharton. “Yes, madam, your Eliza has fallen; fallen, indeed!” Eliza tells her... (full context)
Letter LXIX. to Miss Julia Granby.
Friendship Theme Icon
“My Dear Friend,” Eliza begins her letter to Julia. Eliza goes on to tell Julia that she has “reason... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Eliza claims that she will come back if her health allows and repent for her indiscretions,... (full context)
Letter LXX. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...he is hiding something, and he knows she will soon divorce him. He considers marrying Eliza but finds this idea difficult to imagine. “It would hurt even my delicacy,” Sanford writes,... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Sanford plans to visit Eliza tomorrow. “From the very soul I pity her,” Sanford claims, “and wish I could have... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sanford has taken Eliza to a roadside inn in a neighboring state, but before he did, Eliza cursed him... (full context)
Letter LXXII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
“Oh, Deighton,” Sanford writes, “I am undone!” He tells Charles about Eliza’s death and expresses his deep love for her and regret that she is now gone.... (full context)
Letter LXXIII. to Miss Julia Granby.
Friendship Theme Icon
...Mrs. Wharton’s pain, and doesn’t have the “power to express” her sorrows. She remarks that Eliza’s decision to flee required much “resolution.” “Happy would it have been,” Lucy says, “had she... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...engraved upon every heart, that virtue alone […] can secure lasting felicity.” She wishes for Eliza’s “melancholy story” to stand as a lesson to “the American fair” to “reject with disdain... (full context)
Letter LXXIV. to Mrs. M. Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...the stone offers “the pleasing remembrance of her virtues,” and she assures her that “[her] Eliza is happy.” (full context)