“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, and she can feel the return of her “accustomed vivacity.” Eliza has been removed from “the gay world” for some time now, but she can feel her “natural propensity for mixing in the busy scenes and active pleasures of life returning.”
The marriage of General and Mrs. Richman is Foster’s prototype for a happy and successful marriage, and this is reflected in Eliza’s description of their “conjugal felicity.” Eliza should, according to society, pursue the same type of union, but she would rather have an active social life.
“I have received your letter,” Eliza writes to Lucy, “your moral lecture rather; and be assured, my dear, your monitorial lessons and advice shall be attended to.” Eliza promises that she will no longer behave, as Lucy puts it, in a “coquettish” way; however, Eliza thinks her behavior deserves a “softer appellation.” Her actions come “from an innocent heart, and are the effusions of youthful, and cheerful mind.”
Society views Eliza’s friendly and flirtatious behavior as inappropriate and unbecoming a lady. Lucy obviously does not approve either and has taken to lecturing Eliza about her “coquettish,” or flirty, behavior. Coquetry is also associated with sexual promiscuity, of which Lucy finds Eliza suspect. Eliza, however, considers her behavior “innocent” and sees nothing untoward in platonic friendships with men.