The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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

The Coquette: Letter 38 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eliza writes her mother, Mrs. Wharton, from Boston and reports that Lucy is “agreeably settled and situated” and “possess of every blessing which can render life desirable.” They have frequented the theater (where they ran into Major Sanford) and the circus, but such an active social life has proved expensive. “I fear that your will think me extravagant when you are told how much,” Eliza tells her mother. Mr. Boyer has since returned to his own home in Hampshire. “O mamma! I am embarrassed of this man,” Eliza admits. “His worth I acknowledge; nay I esteem him very highly. But can there be happiness with such a disparity of disposition?”
Eliza doesn’t think she can be happy with Boyer because they are so different. Lucy and her new husband are so happy together in large part because they are so similar (they have the same disposition and opinions and come from the same social class), so Eliza assumes she will never be happy with such a solemn man—especially with the way she spends money. Preachers are often known to be prudent and economical, and Eliza spends money (that she probably can’t afford) on frivolous things, like entertainment and fashionable clothes. 
Themes
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon