The Coquette

The Coquette

Mrs. M. Wharton Character Analysis

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 in the domestic sphere. Mrs. Wharton has recently been widowed, but she was likewise devoted to her husband, who Foster hints was also a preacher. After Eliza becomes pregnant with Sanford’s illegitimate baby, she is too ashamed to tell her mother. Eliza hides her condition and confesses in a letter, but not before she throws herself at Mrs. Wharton’s feet and begs forgiveness for being a “wretch.” She easily grants Eliza forgiveness and professes her eternal love. Mrs. Wharton is devastated when Eliza runs off and leaves town in the middle of the night, and she is the first to read in a Boston newspaper that a woman matching Eliza’s description has died after giving birth at an inn at Danvers.

Mrs. M. Wharton Quotes in The Coquette

The The Coquette quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. M. Wharton or refer to Mrs. M. 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 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:
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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:
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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:
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Mrs. M. Wharton Character Timeline in The Coquette

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. M. Wharton appears in The Coquette. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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 mother about Reverend Boyer’s... (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,... (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 how happy she is to be with her... (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 situated” and “possess of... (full context)
Letter XL. to Mr. T. Selby.
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 well and had been recently been struck by... (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 happiness even there. Eliza has been for... (full context)
Letter LXIV. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...burst into tears and hugged her. She lamented her “gloom” and appeared frail and sick. Mrs. Wharton told Julia that while Major Sanford will visit daily for some time, he also goes... (full context)
Letter LXVI. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...forgiveness.” Eliza begged for Julia’s forgiveness and asked her to keep “this distressing tale” from Mrs. Wharton for the time being. Eliza promised to write her mother a letter. “After she knows... (full context)
Letter LXVII. to the same.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...and wrote. She refused to come downstairs and begged Julia to make an excuse to Mrs. Wharton on her behalf. Later, she appeared calm and claimed: “It is finished, […]. You will... (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 cried. “Can you forgive a wretch, who has... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
...saw Eliza leave, followed by a man. Of course, it was Major Sanford, Julia says. Mrs. Wharton was roused from sleep as well and came out of her room. “Eliza has left... (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 mother that she... (full context)
Letter LXXI. to Mrs. Lucy Sumner.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...writes to Lucy. “A tragical one indeed it has proved.” Recently, in a Boston newspaper, Mrs. Wharton read a notice about a young woman matching Eliza’s description who died at Danvers after... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...fortune. Only “poverty and disgrace await him!” Julia says. She laments the depressed state of Mrs. Wharton , who has been “stripped of the best solace of her declining years, by the... (full context)
Letter LXXIII. to Miss Julia Granby.
Friendship Theme Icon
Lucy immediately responds to Julia’s letter. She tells her that she “sincerely sympathizes” with Mrs. Wharton ’s pain, and doesn’t have the “power to express” her sorrows. She remarks that Eliza’s... (full context)
Letter LXXIV. to Mrs. M. Wharton.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
“Dear Madam,” Julia writes Mrs. Wharton . Julia and Lucy have just returned from Danvers, where they visited Eliza’s final resting... (full context)
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Julia bids Mrs. Wharton farewell and hopes that the stone “may alleviate [her] grief.” She tells Mrs. Wharton that... (full context)