Mary J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

Virginia was too unwell to write to you in her turn last sunday my dear sister and though she wished still to have written by some of the mails this week she continues so much indisposed and is so constantly suffering from nausea and disordered stomach that she finds it impossible. she desires me to say that you shall hear from her as soon as she is well enough, and in the mean time I write that you may not feel surprised or alarmed at receiving no news from home. we heard yesterday to our deep regret, (by a letter from Col. Peyton) of the fate of your unfortunate trunks; lost in the brig Washington. we cannot console ourselves for the grief and vexation that this accident will cause you and our memory’s are active in recapitulating your losses and the various ways in which your comfort will be affected by them. your books, those old and valued friends, I know you will be so grieved to part with, and then what you perhaps prized more highly and will more deeply regret your papers, your correspondence, all grandpapas and mama’s letters and every thing written in their hands to which you attached so much value, your own notes & extracts [. . .] the accumulation of which has been the employment of years, and lastly your whole treasure of memento’s and keepsakes on which the heart fixes its own price, every little insignificant thing in short which [. . .] would have served to recall the recollection of home and your child hood and which are valuable as links to connect the “contemplation of the present with the memory of the past”, all gone at one blow, and making altogether an amount of losses, more vexatious and difficult to be borne because they are irreparable. such things do really tempt [. . .] me to become a fatalist and to set down this last mischance with our other misfortunes to the prevalence of an evil star, but if it be so I would fain hope that hence forth its malign influence will be confined to those whose fortunes depend all on one cast, and must rise or fall together, and that the waves having swallowed up the [. . .] only possession you could ever hope to derive from your father’s house, this will be the last piece of ill luck that will follow you from that source. Mama would have given me a list of the contents of the trunks, but it is needless to enumerate them, as you already know that they contained every thing belonging to you, which we thought of sufficient value to be sent after you, except your chessmen which were luckily forgotten, and a very few volumes, some most of them odd, either designedly or accidentally detained, “La Rochefoucauld,” the “letters of Dortis,” three volumes of Millots ancient history, and “Trayde,” are perhaps the whole—among the things sent was your stock of flannel, great part of which mama made with her own hands, Mr Coolidges breastpin in a little pincushion which she had made for him, to induce him to be more careful another time, a blue china cup and saucer which you may remember of old, and a painted velvet workbag, a gift from Septimia. also two volumes of Huerta’s works which I put among your spanish books and a variety of other little articles that I dont recollect at present.—at the breaking up of the synod, among many other visits, we received one from your old friend Dr Rice, who made many affectionate enquiries after you, and left with us an assurance of his paternal regards to be conveyed to you. we had to day three visitors, wh Mr Key and two English gentlemen who came in just as we were about to sit down to dinner, as grandpapa according to custom neglected to introduce them, I do not even know their names but they spoke of have having met with you at Mr Ticknor’s not long since—when you get the Central Gazette which I believe Nicholas sends regularly to Mr Coolidge now, you will see a proof of the unexampled impudence of Mr Browere which surpasses even our expectations. it is a letter from him to the Editor of a Ney New York paper which Mr Gilmer has inserted in the central with his own remarks on it. in his haste to vindicate himself he has had the audacity to bring us into the newspapers with an account of his attempt on grandpapa in which there is scarcely a word of truth. that he should have dared to jest upon the subject of the sufferings that he made grandpapa undergo was bad enough, without the additional falsehood that we did not treat his the attempt with the indignation it deserved. he would also make it appear that our alarm and grandpapa’s danger was the consequence and not the cause of our entering the room when we did, though we were quite unconscious of what was going on, till the noise made by the servants hurrying backwards and forwards for wine & water &c first excited our apprehensions, and though I was the first to go in it was not until I was terrified by hearing the sound of groans as I stood at the door, and Mr Browere himself was calling out for “spiritswhen as I entered. another trait of his accuracy is his converting permission to copy a bust into a gift of it, luckily it has not yet left the house and will not be sent until he is set right in that particular—mama & virgin[ia] desire me to tell you that if you will send some blank music paper with the piano they will copy anything from their music books that you wish to have, and that they will get the notes of “sheela na guira” from Aunt Cary for you. [. . .], mama promises also to make fresh copies of her manuscript receipts to replace those that are lost. I am afraid this scrawl will be a trial to your eyes my dear sister but you know alas! that I am incorrigible on this that head and I am writing besides with such a pen and have been interrupted and called off, time after time until I begun to despair of ever getting to the end of my letter and now my thoughts are so completely scattered that I do not know whether I have not forgotten half the things I had to tell you—my love to Mr Coolidge & believe me dearest sister always and most

affectionately your own
M. J R

your Diknvilles Atlas and the little drawing of Paraclete that mama gave you are also safe—

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); torn at seal; addressed: “To Mrs J. Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville Nov.; endorsed by Coolidge: “Mary 10h Nov. 1825”; with notes by Coolidge: “Loss of my trunks on the Washington. Browere’s falsehood & impudence.”