Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

dearest Ellen

I wrote a hurried scrawl to Mr Coolidge by the last mail which would have been burnt if I had had time to collect my thoughts to do better, but although I went in to Nicholas’s pavillion and it rained furiously while I was there, I was so often interrupted, and even forced to leave My letter to come in the house twice during the short time of writing it, that I found if I did not send that, that another and heaven knows how many more mails might pass before I had time to do it that write again. this neighbourhood is becoming a place of general resort during the summer season, many Parents who have sons at the University come to Charlottesville instead of going to the Springs, and you know if a person has an acquaintance, particularly if there is the slightest degree of relationship, [. . .] it would be a slight to go to a publick house if they can be accomodated at a private one at any possible inconvenience to the family. poor Mr Garrett has had William Bollig Bolling’s family consiting of 6 white persons 3 or 4 servants and 7 horses living upon him for a fortnight, although Mrs Garret is obliged to go back 4 generations and himself 3 before they come to the common stock. Mrs Garretts house is small, [. . .] their income moderate, and a young family just coming forward in the world and William Bolling very rich, but they are relations. I waited upon Mrs Bolling and invited the two families to dinner, expecting 1 carriage full of ladies and perhaps 3 gentlemen behind say 8 persons, they there came 2 carriages full of ladies and children, and 4 gentlemen on horseback 12 persons, besides 4 others unexpected which with your aunt Cary’s family Made 20 persons to dinner in the dining room and 11 children & boys in My sitting room 31 persons in all. two days after, Monday we had another invited party, and Thursday another. every day but one some person more than the family, and Saturday, that day week from the great party, another dinner party, 4 in the same week. Your Aunt Cary and all her children have been with us since the first of September, and I believe will spend the month, the girls are belles and allways have some beaux from the University according as the lectures permit, it in their train. and untill Mann became so very ill that I would not permit it, danced every evening. it was extremely annoying to me whilst his danger [. . .] cast such a gloom over the family to see so many young people dressing and flirting and restrain’d only by a sense of decency from actually dancing. thank heaven there is a slight change for the better to day, the doctor admitted for the first time that he was better than he has been, but still his pulse is unchanged, his last fit of stupor was shorter and his violent but the fever as violent as ever. it is a complicated case of fever the same of which poor Mrs Minor’s son died, with a tendency to inflamation in the brain, and some other simtoms simptoms which his long residence in the lower country occasioned, and the danger is still eminent. with regard to Your Aunt Cary her affairs are very prosperous and she in fine spirits, handsomer and more agreable than I have seen her for years. Jane also is much improved. Mary has lost her exquisite complection and much of her beauty with it, though she is still a very pretty girl Modest and unassuming, a little too much of Mrs Duck still; your namesake is wonderfully changed for the better, she has lost much of her beauty but has retained enough with those beautifull large dark eyes to be still quite pretty. her manners are greatly improved; in company she is modest and gentle, and not disagreable any where. My part of the family Patsy is very pretty lively and good humoured, but so bold so noisy, rude, & pertinaciously teasing [. . .] that she is the most trouble some disagreable child I know. I am never so sensible of the excellence of Jefferson’s children till I see them contrasted with others. they were staying with me for their health while the Marquis was here. Margaret’s throat had two blisters upon it and both were using a red pepper gargle every hour. I hung up my watch and told them how to consult it, and I scarcely ever had to remind them when the time came or check them on any account not even for making a noise. Patsy is developing into a sensible good and really very interesting child. the little creatures were as happy as affectionate and as entirely at home with us as if they had been at Tufton. Anne Randolph has had a lover an excellent man, but a widower with a large family of children a Mr Jones from North Carolina, and report says she has discarded him—Col. Peyton has advised me to send your books by a waggon to his care it is vain to wait for the river. the water is so low in consequence of the drought that we shall have no navigation this fall. he will forward the draft for V—s piano to Mr Coolidge as soon as he returns to Richmond, which will be early next week or the latter end of this. I will try to get your trunk down about the same time. Your dear Grandfather is I think still improving he seems more chearful and moves less feebly. his voice is still wrong, I frequently dont know it when [. . .] next room. he says he has derived great benefit from riding [. . .] he goes in a walk and never beyond the 2d roundabout but he has ridden 5 miles on them. My own health is excellent and the rest of the family as well as usual. Eagle started at a cow and placed Miss Cornelia on her feet in the road, but she says took great care not to tread upon or jostle her and behaved as well as possible on such an occasion as soon as he could recover his self possession, adieu My dear daughter, the family are gone to church and I have written in haste but such as the letter is, it will let you know what is most important to your comfort, that your treasures here are all safe Jane has been very ill but not in danger but the inflammation is was so great in her head and face that the doctor apprehended it might extend to the brain. he said the case was a singular one with two separate & dissimilar sets of symptoms but she is better. God bless you My beloved remember me affectionately to Joseph and greet me as often as you please at your side I shall be generally there in imagination

yours unchangeably.

Sally is very happy with Mrs Key who is much pleased with her she (Sally) begged to be affectionately remembered to you—as do all your friends Your Aunt C. and Jane particularly. the girls are working a trimming for Sidney with 6 yds in it so that your debt will be paid in that quarter—

Sept. 19. the last news from Mann late yesterday evening he was still mending

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dateline at foot of text; torn at seal; addressed: “To Mrs Joseph Coolidge Junior to the care of Joseph Coolidge Junr Esqr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville 20 Sept.; endorsed by Coolidge: “18. September 1825”; with notes by Coolidge: "abuse of hospitality in Virginia close of relationship. Dinners at Monticello—2 carriage loads of women & children. Men on horseback. Eagle."