Virginia J. Randolph Trist to Nicholas P. Trist

Every thing is going on exactly as you would wish it, Dearest Nicholas; We have had several delightful days, and the baby and myself have taken advantage of them to leave our room. I have dined and at table for several days, and have taken my breakfast in the dining room twice, but not until the family had breakfasted, as I still make use of the privilege of lying late in the morning, which my recent confinement gives me. if the wind does not rise, in a few hours I am to take a walk on the terrace, the day being quite a warm one. I am still troubled with rheumatic pains, sometimes fixing in my head, and some times in my face. but as this has not been bad enough to prevent my sleeping well at night, I need not complain. it comes on at night when the boy comes to bed, and I can not keep so closely cover’d, but as soon as his cry of famine is stilled, and I can bury my head in the bed clothes, I get easy and sleep well again. The baby’s mouth is nearly well, and he grows very fast, I sometimes think him larger in the morning than when he was put to bed the night before. he is very strong, and so active, (especially when he is in a passion) that I am afraid of his throwing himself out of my arms. his grand mother says that he does not possess the “ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,” and he really appears to have as fiery and impatient a temper as I ever knew. How I wish I could show him to you but for a moment. he opens his large dark eyes, now become quite strong, and looks around as if he was taking notice of what is passing around him. his head is shaped exactly like yours, and will soon be cover’d entirely with soft black hair. his hair has grown so quickly that it has almost reconciled Aunt Scilla to the bare head, she cannot help acknowledging that the cap rubs off the first hair. the little boy has a chin and forehead like yours, his mouth is wide, but quite a pretty one, and his chest very high & round. his nose we must suspend our judgement of until he is rather older. our darling Pat is nearly well of her cold, but she has an angry looking spot under her left eye which we fear may be a bile, yesterday Mama gave her a dose of castor oil, and we have kept her from eating meat. she writes to you whenever she can get a scrap of paper and pencil, and talks of going to see you. I hope, dearest Nicholas, that you may be as particular in writing about yourself, as I am in writing about those you left behind you.

Since I began to write a gentleman who is going to Washington has called & enquired if we had any commissions, offering to take a letter to you or any thing else we might wish to send. I have not been able to get your shirts ready, but I suppose if I had, I could not send them by this gentleman who is mounted on horse back with saddle bags—A visit from Sister Jane interrupted me in my letter, which I could not get ready to send by Mr Page (the gentleman above mentioned) he was going directly to Washington and did not stop here more than 15 or 20 minutes. he was very polite to call, and I suppose we owe the attention to some of our friends in the neighbourhood. Sister Jane says that Brother Jeff and herself are very envious of our good fortune in having a son, and show their spite by calling him T. I. T. (tit) we must make him drop the first T. in signing his name, I think. Sister Jane exclaimed at his likeness to you the moment she saw him, and ridicules the idea of the spot on his nose being a mark. she says, and so does Mama, that it is a scratch and I hope it is nothing more. yesterday a single drop of blood oozed from it. I am at work on your night shirts, but from some delay in getting the cotton, and the constant interruptions from the baby & Pat, I cannot get them ready to send by Mrs. Rives. I hope, & trust that I shall be able to give them to you at Christmas, but if [. . .] I am disappointed in seeing you then, some other opportunity will offer occur perhaps.—The boys have not said that they have made up their minds not to take office, but from what Sister Jane tells us of Ben, he seems to object to it a good deal and will probably determine not to apply for a clerkship. she added that Ben wished to get the place you had, (secretaryship to the board of visitors) and wished to prepare him self in case of his succeeding. I said nothing, though I thought from what I once heard you say that Mr. Davis would probably have it. I think you had better write, or send a message to Brother Jeff in your next letter, about the books you intend to buy. he got Mama to write to Mr. Coolidge to enclose the Catalogue to Mr Madison, and the books will be sold as soon as it arrives. Mama intends to write to Mrs. M. to apologize for this liberty.

Brother Jeff has had an offer for the mill of $10,000, from Mr. Craven and Mr. Snider.—Lewis is waiting for my letter, and I must close it in haste. it has been written in a hurry, and I have been repeatedly interrupted, which must excuse it’s being so badly written. I will try and do better the next time. Lewis will bring me a letter from you. adieu dearest, most devotedly your own

V. J. Trist

Mama & the girls send love—Pat says “kiss him.”

I forgot to say that Lewis does not appear to be inclined to change his plans, but of course until you hear their answer, you need say nothing about their disposition at present. I saw your grand mother this morning, she appears to be gradually sinking, I doubt whether you ever see her again.

RC (NcU: NPT); addressed: “To Nicholas P. Trist Esqr Washington D. C.”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 27 Nov.; endorsed by N. Trist: “Trist. V. J. Nov. 26. 28.”