“Dear Madam,” Julia writes Mrs. Wharton. Julia and Lucy have just returned from Danvers, where they visited Eliza’s final resting place. “The grave of Eliza Wharton,” Lucy said, “shall not be unbedewed by the tears of friendship.” They sat graveside for nearly an hour, and then Lucy commissioned a “decent stone” to be placed. The stone bears a long inscription and says: “This humble stone, / in memory of / Eliza Wharton, / is inscribed by her weeping friends, / to whom she endeared herself uncommon / tenderness and affection.” The stone also celebrates Eliza’s “humility and benevolence,” and claims that in her final moments, Eliza “exhibited an example of calm resignation.”
Lucy’s commissioned gravestone suggests that she is feeling guilty for treating Eliza badly in life and is trying to make it up with a fancy gravestone. Although, the inscription is exactly how Eliza would have wanted to be remembered: as a loyal and dedicated friend and daughter without any mention of coquetry. For the first time, Eliza is finally being acknowledged as a woman a virtue, which Foster suggests has been the case all along.
Julia bids Mrs. Wharton farewell and hopes that the stone “may alleviate [her] grief.” She tells Mrs. Wharton that the stone offers “the pleasing remembrance of her virtues,” and she assures her that “[her] Eliza is happy.”
While Eliza is finally being regarded as virtuous woman, it is unfortunate that it took her dying for her friends to recognize it.