Mary J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

this is the fifth day of Virginias confinement my dear sister, and both herself and the baby are doing well, she has rested very well for the last two nights and though [. . .] she suffered a good deal the third day from the flowing of the milk she has had no threat of rising breasts. the baby received the name of Martha Jefferson at her birth, mama of course opposing it. she weighed 4 lbs and three quarters and is thought by many persons to be very like Mrs Trist but this resemblance if it does exist is not more striking than her likeness to a miniature of Nicholas’s father in his possession, and you know we have always heard him spoken of as an uncommonly handsome man, in spite of [. . .] the resemblance which he bore his mother. her mouth and chin are beautiful, her nose not so good, and [. . .] she so rarely uncloses her eyes and when she does, never opens them to their full extent, that we cannot yet decide upon their size and colour. she has not learned to suck yet and is obliged to be fed by hand entirely—IVirginia I believe mentioned in a letter to Cornelia, that I was spending a week in Charlottesville with Jane and Mary Cary at Mrs Minors, after passing my time very pleasantly there, I returned home on saturday and found them all going on so well without me that I thought I might safely venture to accompany the girls to Bentivar the day after from whence we had planned an excursion to Peter’s mountain, when the unexpected birth of my niece brought me suddenly home again. I can not express the degree of surprise that I felt on learning this event the morning after it took place. my anxiety and impatience would not allow me to wait for the probable arrival of the carriage in the course of a few hours, and I had borrowed Clarissa Carr’s horse and under the escort of her father brother proceeded three miles on my journey when I was met by the carriage, I was so well pleased however with the horse on which I was mounted that I prefered riding him as far as Charlottesville, though the beginning of my ride was rendered rather up unpleasant by the turning of the saddle twice in the course of the first half mile, in both cases however I extricated myself and stood safely on my feet at a moments warning, in spite of the snapping of the girth, which caused the accident the last time. in Charlottesville I called at Mr Hatch’s and brought old Mrs Trist to see her great granddaughter, she is with us still, her hearing is very bad and her memory has failed her more completely than I could have supposed possible. yesterday she fancied that Nicholas was her son and when mama convinced her of the contrary she could not recollect who was his mother until she was also reminded of her daughter in law —I am going to morrow with Margaret Nicholas, to hear a sermon preached by Mr Meade in our neat little episcopal church, which has been finished since you went away and is to be consecrated this month. there are several clergymen of different sects staying in Charlottesville at present; besides those belonging to the place. your old friend Dr Rice preached there last night. Margaret N. who was here yesterday tells us that sister Sarah writes her, that sister Jane is delighted with her visit to Baltimore, she was going to see the launch of a frigate and what is still better had been to the dentists and had her front teeth renewed and was more [. . .] astonishingly improved in her appearance Sarah says than she could have conceived possible in the same space of time. the baby has likewise improved very much, and her mother congratulates herself every day on having been prevailed on to make the journey, and we, I think, are nearly as much pleased at it as she is. we have just heard from Elizabeth who makes many affectionate [. . .] inquiries about you and expresses great pleasure at hearing the fortunate termination of your confinement. she is very anxious to know the name of your daughter that she may register its birth in her bible after your marriage. I am not sure that we have ever mentioned the plans of the Ashton family to Cornelia or yourself [. . .] though we well know the interest you take in them, and I do not believe that they had spoken of [. . .] their final arrangements and determination even to us before she went away. Harriet [. . .] energy an[. . .] the plan and as she did nothing without [. . .] of those who were best able to advise her I hope she will meet with all the success that she deserves. they mean to open a school in New London in October where they are flattered with the prospect of getting a great many scholars. Mr Yancey thinks it is a much more advantageous situation for a school than Lynchburg, it will suit aunt Jane’s tastes and habits much better besides being considerably nearer to Elizabeth. Harriet and Lucy propose to divide the task of instruction between them and Mary, under her mothers direction, will keep house. I feel quite sad at the thoughts of their leaving Ashton probably for ever, though we have seen but little of them since Elizabeths marriage, but I am sure they will be happier near her, and it is the best thing they can do under every point of view. John Nicholas is promoted and is going to sea. I understand that the same good fortune has befallen John Carr, though I am rather surprised that the Col. said not a word about it to me when I saw him a few days ago—grandpapa says that he can give no answer to Willard about the clock until Gen. Cocke and himself have had a consultation on the state of the finances—the I am writing in such a dark room that I can scarcely see to g guide my pen and my eyes ache with the exertion. tell Cornelia that [. . .] Ellen and Tim supply her place in the housekeeping and that I have not had to touch the keys since I came home, my love to Joseph & herself and believe me dearest sister ever your own

M

13th Virginia is better still to day

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); mutilated at seal; addressed: “To Mrs J Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 14 May; endorsed by Coolidge: “Mary. 12. May. 1826”; with notes by Coolidge: “ pattie Trist’s birth Episcopal Church in Charlottesville. Jane H in Baltimore. plans of the Ashton family. Grandpapa’s answer to Willard about the Clock.”
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