Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to Martha Jefferson Randolph, with Postscript by Ellen R. Coolidge (Dwight)

By this time, my dearest mother, I hope you are safely arrived at your own house in Washington, and after a pleasant journey, for all circumstances appear to have been favorable. the weather here has been [. . .] fine for the season, clear calm & moderately cold, we know you had agreable companions, & we presume good boats & good carriages. I have counted the hours that you would be on the road, & shall still count them until I hear of your arrival establishment in winter quarters. We went to bed again after you left us in the morning, but not to sleep, a feverish & disturbed dozing was my only approach to rest, & I rose the second time with a heavy heart to prepare for Church. Mr Greenwood gave us a fine sermon, after which the different members of Joseph’s family dispersed to their respective homes, there being no question of a general dinner. We took our solitary meal thinking of you & wishing you back again—indeed you have no idea how very much we all miss you, servants, children, and all. John, stupid John, for once made a wise speech, saying he guessed there never was a better lady than Mrs Randolph, Mercy declared she felt as if some one was dead in the house, & good Mrs Coxe repeats every hour how glad she should be to have you back again. Ellen, in the bustle of preparation for going to Church, did not the first morning of your absence, seem as uneasy as I thought she would be, but upon her return, she appeared for the first time to realize that you were gone, & pulling off her bonnet & pelisse & looking eagerly round she [. . .] burst into a violent fit of hysteric sobbing from which I had some difficulty in recovering her. the approach of evening renewed her grief & she wept bitterly for some time. the next day the sight of your deserted chamber brought on another paroxysm of sorrow, and the her tears continue to flow now, whenever I attempt to talk to her of her dear grandmama & the happy hours [. . .] she used to pass with her. the child wanders about disconsolately, runs frequently into your room, opens her drawer of playthings & then recollecting that there is nobody there to promote her amusements, she turns away from her toys & books & seeks employment consolation in following me through all my perambulations up stairs & down. Bess talks of you & wants to know if you are not coming back to-morrow. Tom whenever he can make his escape from the nursery rushes to your door, & never comes up stairs without making signs to be carried into your chamber. As for myself, my dearest mother, I do not seek to express my own feelings since you have left me—you can readily understand them, & the state of desolation forlornness in which I am. if it is as if I had again left home & friends & come among strangers but I have learnt to wear the same countenance under almost all events, & no one knows what is passing in my heart from any outward show.

The day after you went away, we had an English gentleman to dine with us & my time was taken up in following John from place to place to see that he did his business or to do it [. . .] for him. on Saturday Ellen and myself went out together to pay your bills & leave your cards. the picture, (Mr Madison) was also boxed up, & is now ready to embark in the first ship along with George’s trunk, in which I shall put the Albums and your black silk apron. Bourrienne has gone home but the Testament & Worcester I have not yet had an opportunity of returning. to-day, at church, I spoke to Mrs Pratt who regrets much not having seen you & Aunt Storer expressed her concern at the accident which prevented her dining with you on Saturday. Thomas Bulfinch speaks of you with much regard, & says how very well you are liked by all your acquaintances in Boston, in short how great a favorite you are with all who know you.

A ring at the bell two days ago introduced a packet directed to Mrs Randolph, which being simply tyed with a twine string, I opened and found the diary of an Ennyee Ennuyèe frightfully bound & lettered on the back Diary of an Annuyee. where did this come from?

Ellen has been worrying me for some time to let her dictate a letter to her dear grandmama, & to get rid of her persecutions I must yield to her wish. [. . .] fare well then dearest mother, I have written in great haste & under every possible disadvantage; love to all & pray let me hear from you as soon as possible, & wh[en] you have decided what to do with Ge[orge] I should like much [to] know your determination—I feel very sad at the thought that he too is gone, & no one now of my name or blood nearer to me than five hundred miles. once more adieu.


(word for word from her own mouth with not even a change of grammar.)

My dear Grandmama

Mrs Coxe misses you very much, I have been sobbing and crying after you ever since you went away; Bessie, I am sorry to say, has broken [. . .] the little bowl that you bought her, Mrs Coxe says she will join it for her again; I have kept mine very nice, I have not broken it at all.—I want you to come back.—I laid out the money that uncle George and you gave me in a doll—I have kept the books that Uncle George gave me very nice & have not torn them—I gave the seeds to Mrs Coxe—She has three flower pots—one with the seeds, one with a geranium, and one with your millinet (mignionette) she takes good care of it & it grows finely.I love you dearly, good bye, I hope you will come back again soon

Ellen R. Coolidge

The twins are as well and as bad as ever. Joseph sends his best love, & Mrs Coxe begs me to offer her respects.

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); torn at seal; addressed: “To, Mrs Randolph to the care of Nicholas P. Trist Department of State Washington”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 6 Dec.

The diary of an ennuyée was written by Anna Brownell Jameson and published in 1826.