Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge
|[16 Nov. 1825]|
I have only time to write you a few lines My dearest Ellen, to prevent a longer silence than usual and which might alarm you. I recieved Your letter last monday was a week, and would have answered it with in the same week, but the next mail mail brought one from Col. Peyton informing us of the loss of Your trunks that which affected me so much that I had not the spirits to write during the first [. . .] days of more sorrow, than I supposed such and accident could have occasioned. I had dwelt with so much pleasure upon the unpacking and arranged arranging every loved memento of home, and of so many dearly loved friends. many of them but trifles in them selves, yet consecrated by their associations with your childhood whose treasures they had constituted. even old Melly Melly’s cup that I had cleaned with so much care that it shone with pristine brilliancy, excited strong regret in My mind. but the misfortune is irremediable; I hope it will be accepted as a last sacrifice, by that unrelenting enemy of your unfortunate family who in consigning1 these best valued mementos of [. . .] home to the deep may take you into favour now bestow her smiles upon you as the member of a more favoured race. the next step My dear daughter, is to see how much of the misfortune can be repaired. in the first place from the confusion of packing whilst the house was full of company, and being able only to devote the early hours of the morning and late at night when our visitors had retired to rest, I found some articles had been left that but for the loss of those sent, I should have been extremely vexed at. in the first place your sea otter cape, pink satin cloak trimmed with the same, and chess men were overlooked, and left. all the written receipts I am now engaged in copp copying for you, and as soon as we can get musick paper all the manuscript musick shall be copied. your view of La Grange I can replace by one not as well done, but very accurate that Martha Woodward had copied for me. some few of Your drawings Cornelia had kept back to copy—a little impression of the Mexican seal, I believe that was in with my papers by what accident I do not know. the writing desk Johnny insists upon it that he has no longer eye sight to execute. he actually wept when hea he heard of the loss, but that will be replaced by one your grand father means to send Mr Coolidge, the identical desk upon which the declaration of independence was written. elegance, in our country at least was not the order of that day but it is decent enough not to disgrace your house, and I can replace poor old Mrs Cary’s work pincushion or rather a substitute for it.
I hear much of the elegance of Anne’s establishment; they say it is one of the handsomest in the country, but as there will always be some draw back to all earthly happiness, he has six children and a “most venemous” old maiden sister living with him. is Winchester in your way? I think we went that road to Philadelphia once. what a gratification it would be to you both to meet again. and now as a piece of news in which we all take the deepest interest, Our dear Virginia is most assuredly “in the way that women wish to be who love their lords” and a more suffering one in that condition I have never seen. although the some simptons may deceive yet all can not, and I have long suspected My dear daughter that You too have a secret to communicate if you chose. your fainting in the steam boat excited My suspicions at the time, and your fine health and encreasing enbonpoint strengthend My suspicions, for strange to say the same cause will in different constitutions produce diametrically opposite effectsof—
Papa’s health is so much better that he has ridden on horse back without experiencing any ill effects. he has just met with a great disappointment. the shaft of the pillar upon which his bust is to stands stand has just arrived, and instead of being fine white Carara marble as was expected is dark grey the pedestal and bust are both white, concieve how provoking. Cornelia is very busily engaged in painting on white velvet a porte montre for Mr Coolidge and yourself if she succeeds yours will have a bunch of hawthorn which in the language of flowers means return, with a wreath of jessamine and cypress pine hope and sighs—Joseph’s will have a flowering pea a kiss with some thing else I forget what—if she fails you must give her credit for her good will and poetic2 taste, and a great deal of perseverance. I have written in noise and hurry and with one ear forcibly engrossed by George who insisted on reading the adventures of that queen of dotards old Mother Hubbard and her dog. adieu dear daughter, I shall write again soon when Papa’s box goes. in the mean time accept for yourself and dear Joseph all a mother’s love—
the poplar, remembrance is the other part of the device on J—s porte montre