The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 60 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 noticed after Eliza was “in company with Major Sanford.” He calls on Eliza nearly every day, and Julia recently caught them in close and quiet conversation. Eliza swears their relationship is not “inconsistent with the purest friendship,” but Julia isn’t so sure. They recently took tea at neighbor’s, and Sanford arrived alone, claiming Nancy was indisposed. He then spent the remainder of the night talking to Eliza. Their closeness has begun to rouse suspicion.
Julia implies that Eliza’s status has declined since reconnecting with Sanford, and this suggests that Eliza isn’t quite over him yet. It also implies that Eliza feels guilty over their association and her depression is worsening because of it. Either way, Eliza continues to deteriorate, and Julia still doesn’t believe that her conduct with Sanford is appropriate or moral, and this has begun to cause gossip in town. 
Themes
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 changed [Sanford’s] disposition,” she told Eliza. She implored Eliza not to fall victim to his “evil machinations.” Julia claimed that if Sanford was of better character, he “would merit [Eliza’s] esteem,” but the reality is opposite. Eliza began to weep and refused to speak more on the subject. Julia called at Nancy Sanford’s the next day to say goodbye before leaving for Boston and learned that she knew nothing about tea the previous day and not been indisposed. “This is the first word I ever heard about it,” Nancy said. As Julia closes her letter, she tells Lucy that she is hesitant to leave Eliza. “I tremble at her danger!” Julia cries.
Julia again takes to lecturing Eliza, which only makes her feel worse. Eliza knows that her attraction to Sanford is considered inappropriate, so she certainly doesn’t need Julia to remind her. She doesn’t offer Eliza support; rather, Julia speaks of Sanford’s “evil machinations,” which is an insult to both Sanford’s morality and, by extension, Eliza’s. Julia clearly doesn’t trust Eliza or Sanford, and she calls on Nancy as a friend just to catch Eliza and Sanford in a lie, which not only undermines Julia and Eliza’s friendship, but Julia and Nancy’s as well.
Themes
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon