Cornelia J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

I have been just a fortnight at this place my dear Sister, during which I have received one letter from Tufton but though the girls promised faithfully to forward all your letters and mama’s to me during my absence, it is now nearly four weeks since I have had a word of intelligence from you in any way, and I begin to feel sad and dissatisfied and impatient at n the length of time that has passed since I heard from you. I think however you must have written and I am sure Virginia would not neglect to send on the letters so I endeavour as much as possible to console myself by throwing all the blame on the post office and hoping that every mail day will bring me news of you. this is if possible a more retired spot than Carysbrook even, the house is a wooden one, sufficiently dilapidated by being left untenanted or inhabited by overseers and such sort of people. it commands no prospect, but the turf and trees and clean & grey soil give it altogether a neat rural appearance, there is an orchard adjoining the yard on one side and an excellent garden spot on the other, enclosed on two sides by a wall for fruit trees, and a range of substantial stone stables, cow houses & c the whole of course much neglected and out of repair. the garden is almost uncultivated and furnishes little or nothing for the comfort of the family at present, but it has evidently been a good one and the ornamental part still abounds in lilacs, roses, and honeysuckles [. . .] the usual staple commodities of the flower borders. there are besides walks here in various directions, neither too long nor too fatiguing and [. . .] often terminating in beautiful views, sometimes of the distant mountains and sometimes of James river and [. . .] its low grounds, [. . .] covered with a luxuriant growth of wheat which presents at this season a sheet of uninterrupted verdure to the eye—

I have never taken such regular or pleasant exercise I think, as I have been in the habit of taking [. . .] since I came to this place. my life is a quiet regular one too, and I think I should be well content to pass a great part of it as quietly, people usually go abroad in search of company & dissipation but I am quite satisfied to have found solitude, freedom from the vexations troubles and cares that often annoy us in our own homes, with the liberty of employing my time in working, writing, or reading, as I happen to feel inclined. the day passes tranquilly and pleasantly enough in these various occupations, and when the sun seems nearly to have reached the end of his journey and but is but a little way above the horizon, we put our away our work and our book for one of the party usually reads aloud while the others are working, and saunter forth to visit favourite points of view or explore new paths, and we seldom return to the house till long [. . .] after sunset. we rarely meet even a negro in our rambles, and ac except the distant bark of a dog or sound of a cow bell, have never encountered either sight or sound that could give alarm to the most apprehensive—the country lies so level, and even the hills slope so much more gently than our mountain spurs, that though an unpractised walker I am not often fatigued by our little excursions, and am [. . .] becoming a very adept in climbing fences, [. . .] crossing streams, and making my way through bush and briar and tangled underwood, without much detriment to my face and hands and clothes, having at first paid for my experience how ever, in one or too two instances, by sundry rents and scratches received from straggling thorns—the Bremo family are in Norfolk, except the children who remain at home under the care of Miss Nancy Moreland and their tutor, a nephew of Mrs Cocke's, who by the by is a frequent visitor here, and a perfect original, and often amuses us by his “whims & oddities” one of which is to prefer the situation of “Dominie” in gen. Cockes family to the practice of the law, which I am told he has actually studied with application and success enough to have secured himself an independance by means of his profession. this “dominie” and William Gilmer whom you know of old, and who, though I verily believe him to be one of the best hearted young men in existence, is neither very clever or nor very agreeable, are the only specimens of the man kind a of Fluvanna that have as yet fallen under my observations. I ought not to omit [. . .] the visits [. . .] that Philip Cocke made us however, during a stay of three or four days at Bremo which he found time to make lately and in consequence of a short holiday at the University, and it did not require much discernment to discover the attraction that could bring him home at a time when there was no one to welcome him; it is impossible indeed not to see that he is desperately smitten with Mary Cary who has grown up, since you last saw her a tall lovely girl, with an amiable affectionate disposition and gentle engaging manners. her understanding is a very good improvable one, and she has a great inclination to improve it, and I think would be a desirable wife for any man& with the spirit of prophecy I cannot help looking taking a look into the future and foreseeing a time when this match may perhaps come to pass, indeeds it seems to me so suitable that I should scarcely think it would meet with opposition from the frii friends on either side provided the parties themselves agree—John Cocke h after having been for some months apparently in a state of rapid decline that left his friends little or no hope, is thought to be recovering. he has shown Aunt Cary much kindness, [. . .] since the misfortune that deprived her of a home, and made many exertions to establish her comfortably in this house which he has lent her until she provides herself with another. her present plan is to rebuild at Carysbrook but the building is not yet begun and I should not be surprised if she were to abandon the idea. she told me indeed that Gen. Cocke had advised against it, but she thought she could not afford to live in a town and that it would be cheaper and more advantageous to build a another house and continue to live on her own plantation—I have no news to give you from this sequestered spot. the only thing likely to create a sensation in these parts soon, was told me in profoundest confidence and with so strict and an injunction to secrecy that though it is a subject of gossip for servants I am well assured, and is or will be the same for the whole neighbourhood I shall say nothing about it. till it actually comes to pass—this pen is really so bad that I cannot write another word and I am afraid you will be as much puzzled to decypher what I have written already. love to my dear mother Joseph and the children and kisses to my sweet little Ellen how I long to hear from you all & how much I think of you dearest Sister—

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); addressed: “To Mrs Joseph Coolidge junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Winn's Tavern Fluvanna County, 23 Apr.; endorsed by Coolidge: “Cornelia. 22. April 1827”; with notes by Coolidge: “Bremo Recess (the old mannor of Gen. Cocke—) a sweet place—Calm & repose of country life—rest, all that the weary require—recreation not needful. Mary Cary a lovely girl—. Carysbrook to be rebuilt”; added by Coolidge, probably at a later date: “(Afterwards Mrs Fairfax).”