The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
“I congratulate you, my dear Eliza,” Lucy writes, “on the stability of your conduct towards Mr. Boyer,” for a man of his “honor and good sense will never abridge any privileges which virtue can claim.” She tells Eliza that Major Sanford has inquired about the sale of local house, and many in town see him as an “agreeable addition” to society. Lucy, however, is not convinced.
Lucy is just as bad as Mrs. Richman; she, too, is well aware of Eliza’s desire to stay single, but she also pushes for Boyer against Eliza’s wishes. Lucy applauds “the stability” of Eliza’s “conduct” with him—Eliza hasn’t behaved coquettishly—which is condescending and patronizing and not remotely helpful to Eliza.
Themes
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
For Major Sanford to be an agreeable addition to their society, his “principles and practice must be uncorrupted” and his morals reflective of “probity and honor.” However, “if I mistake not,” Lucy writes, “this gallant of yours cannot boast” these qualities. Lucy hopes that neither she nor Eliza will have much to do with him should he move to town. “But I shall not set up for a censor,” Lucy says and closes her letter with talk of her fiancé and their upcoming nuptials.
Lucy’s comment that she “shall not set up for a censor” means that she won’t criticize Sanford or Eliza—which, of course, isn’t true. Lucy’s entire letter is a criticism of Eliza’s relationship with Sanford and is intended to convince her to marry Boyer to preserve her honor and morality. Lucy’s entire letter assumes that Eliza is morally corrupt and in need of saving.
Themes
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon