Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge
|Dearest Ellen||Monticello Nov. 26. 1825|
We have just despatched a box containing such a ridiculous heterogeneous collection, that even you will smile when you unpack it. to begin with the principal article of the catalogue, and which in fact obtained transportation for the rest, is the writing desk for Joseph which I mentioned in a former letter. then your chess men and board, and your counters safely packed in a little green velvet bag. daddy’s 3 butter prints are, I was going to say next in importance, but you will recognise a little relick that for it’s dear owner’s sake will be most precious to you; a little sugar dish that belonged to your Grand father’s breakfast equipage at the hermitage of Mount Calvary near Paris, where he rented rooms to which he retired when he had dispatches of importance to expedite. Old Melly Melly’s bottle with a few drops of Otter of roses, the latter poor little Tim’s contribution and to which the D—l would certainly exclaim as upon a former occasion great cry && a large bottle with very little in it. but I sent it not as a valuable but merely and old acquaintance still “breathing odours” of it’s former [. . .] passion and having the power of recalling many pleasing recollections of a happy period—
The Inauguration speech printed on satin I send My dear Joseph as a memento that will not be indifferent to him, but I fear papa has played me a trick in the packing for when I asked him about in it he was confused said he had mistaken the envelope for waste paper and crammed it down the D—l knows where but as he saw the drawing of La Grange and put that away carefully I hope the inauguration speech may have got in with that it and escaped the fate of the silk paper in which they were wrapped together with the Mexican seal. you will find the copy of La Grange very accurate in the out line though tame in the execution. Martha Woodward did it for me.
Your 2 fur capes were both sent, they were poor Governor Lewis’s present to me and I hope will be valuable to your in the tremendous winters of your new country. and last in this singular cargo of trifles, come 2 pincushions which “I made all myself” and most vilely made they are; but My fingers are stiff, and My sight dim, of that the long stitches will give abundant proof, but they will make Joseph and your self think of me at least twice in the 24 hours. he when he deposits his breast pin at night and1 replaces it in the morning, and You dear daughter, when ever your eye rests upon them will remember the affection of the maker so constantly and tenderly alive whilst working for you. I send you also in Your Grandfather’s letter all my manuscript receipts except those which you will find in Sister R—s book of her own ours I send you as we have them, the originals, and which you will find no where else. I have not sent you those which as a town lady would be useless to you. for example you need not know how to make soap or blacking or yeast or ley and or rennet & &, nor do I presume you will ever brew your own beer or make your own candles, therefore I sent you nothing of that sort, and indeed there are many kinds of little cake usefull enough where there are many children visitors, that I might have left out, but I thought you might would occasionally like to try them for variety—I w would advise you to get Sister R—s book, for although very defective in many parts yet, upon the whole, it is the best perhaps, and if you bring it with You we can add where the directions are deficient that is the fault also of many of the receipts I sent send you, they always write for people who are adepts and not beginners who require to be told every thing.
My father’s health is wonderfully improved but as usual when he gets better he will venture too far and injures him self. he had written ridden 5 miles on horse back without inconvenience, and extending it still farther he fatigued him self and passed a bad night, but he is again recovering from it and I hope will be more cautious; the doctor has all always protested against exercise on horseback.
Wilson Cary has to the astonishment of his acquaintances yielded to General Cocke’s advise to write for a year in the Fluvanna clerks office, and is actually boarding in Timberlake’s family. the most surprising conquest over his pride and love for dissipation I ever heard of, but General Cocke is certainly omnipotent. he is the Guardian angel of that family. certainly. poor Maria Carr is declining rapidly I have no idea she will live through the Month of december, her symptoms of late have been those of the last stage of the dissease disease. she sees no one but her nurses, I was admitted and I have been the only one for some time past. adieu dear daughter, it is not usual to leave any space at the end of our letters, but I wrote to you but not long since, and am just on the wing for Tufton. tell Joseph will answer his letter next week. God bless you both Yours unalteraby
The shells in the box are some of Tims childishness. we have just heard of the arrival of the Prince Saxe Weimar in Charlottesville, of course shall have him here to dinner. pray remember me to Your brother if I have neglected [. . .] always; it is from the hurry in which I generally write, and the chattering aro[. . .] your reciepts are most probably interlarded with fragments of conversation, and [. . .] doubt full of blunders, for my head is not competent to the variety of subjects frequently intruded upon it whether reading writing or even instructing the children—