The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 73 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 decision to flee required much “resolution.” “Happy would it have been,” Lucy says, “had she exerted an equal degree of fortitude in repelling the attacks upon her virtue!”
Lucy is just as judgmental as Julia. She immediately sympathizes with Mrs. Wharton, not Eliza, and she again mentions Eliza’s lack of virtue. It seems a moot point to continue to condemn Eliza, but both Lucy and Julia continue as if it will do some sort of good.
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Lucy closes her letter, but first she tells Julia that she wishes “it 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 every insinuation derogatory to their true dignity and honor.” She wishes them to “banish” and “despise” the men who seek to seduce them. “To associate, is to approve,” Lucy says, “to approve, is to be betrayed!”
Lucy’s claim that only virtue “can secure lasting felicity” certainly wasn’t true in Eliza’s case. Eliza was unhappy long before she sacrificed her virtue, but Lucy refuses to see this. Lucy’s wish for Eliza’s story to stand as a lesson is directly against Eliza’s own wishes to be remembered for her good qualities, and it too suggests that Lucy never really knew Eliza at all.
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