The Coquette

The Coquette


Hannah Webster Foster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Coquette can help.

The Coquette: Letter 65 Summary & Analysis

“Good news, Charles, good news!” Sanford writes. “I 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] plan.” Since then, Eliza’s mind and health have been “impaired,” and Nancy too has not been well. She recently birthed a baby boy, “a dead one though,” Sanford says. These events, however, bring Sanford “neither pain nor pleasure.” Sanford tells Charles that Julia Granby will be visiting Eliza soon. “Now there’s a girl, Charles, I should never attempt to seduce,” Sanford says. She is beautiful, but “her manners forbid all assaults upon her virtue.” 
When Sanford tells Charles that he has had “full possession” of Eliza, what he means to say is that he has finally had sex with her, and the sudden worsening of Eliza’s depression suggests that she is racked with guilt. Sanford and Nancy’s baby serves as a symbol of their marriage, and when the baby dies, this tragedy reflects the ruined state of their union. Sanford is indifferent to the death of his son, just as he is indifferent to Nancy, and he cares only that Eliza has become another notch in his belt. 
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon