Ellen (Eleanora) Wayles Randolph Coolidge to Virginia J. Randolph Trist
|Boston March 23. 1837.|
I believe, my dear Virginia, that no one has written to you since Mr Gorham left Boston, and to-day being rainy (as every day has been for the last fortnight, and will be for the next three months) I shall try to get through a few lines if it only be to say that we have received Havana dates from you now as late as Feb. 25. by the brig Orono. a letter to Mary from you, another to me from Joseph, and a third to Mr Heard from Nicholas, which contained something very interesting to me on the subject of Joseph’s health.
We are all here as when we last wrote; Mary continues her long walks and is at least as well as usual; I do not think her spirits improve, and I do not see well how they could, for there is nothing to amuse or distract her attention and I have no doubt the weight of ennui is added to other causes of depression. We are not entirely without society, because [. . .] there are a few persons who visit us socially and kindly, but there is not much to enliven in such a state of things, and in a gloomy climate, at a gloomy season, among amid a society of rather grave complexion, there is [. . .] little relief to be expected for a person whose spirits require change and excitement to restore them to their usual tone. For myself, I have too much to do and too much to think of to leave much any leisure for dwelling on [. . .] sad thoughts—They will frequently intrude but I claim no merit for driving them away, they retire before a host of cares and every day duties which throng every avenue of my [. . .] brain and threaten to stupefy and almost idiotize me. Still I feel that a cold shadow has fallen over my existence; I am busy and active and full of worldly cares, but never happy.
I do not think I ever thanked you for the care you took of Joseph during his illness, with my pen I mean for in my heart there was certainly no want of gratitude; I fear he has added not a little to the weight of your own family cares, for he is remarkably helpless and exacts a great deal. Poor dear little fellow, my thoughts hover perpetually over him, and as Dr Channing told me, with my husband in the East and my son in the West Indies, my dearest interests are widely diffused, and my sense of dependance on the only power who can rule the course of events, should be greatly increased.—My last letters from Joseph are of very late date. Dec. 10th. He was well and in good spirits but says nothing of coming home. He always sends love to Nicholas and yourself particularly and to the family generally. His business continues to thrive but his favorite partner and friend Mr Forbes has left him & is now on his way home, not able to bear a longer separation from country and friends. To be sure he has a fortune of $100.000 already and will moreover retain his interest in the firm and draw his regular profits as his business connexion in this country is so large as to make him an important member of any Commercial House. Joseph had received the segars and was much pleased with them. He has almost made up his mind to let me leave this house which I think I shall do if I find it possible to find another to suit me. It really costs a fortune in fuel and servants to occupy such a castle in such a climate.—We have not heard very lately from Edgehill but they were all well when we did hear—Here your acquaintance I believe is limited to Mr Heard (who is worth in his own person both morally & intellectually one half the whole town) He is confined to his chambers by a lame knee got, of course, by a fall on the ice; the only wonder is that we are not all maimed and crippled in the same way, for there is from November to April alw[. . .] ice & snow enough about the streets to break the necks [. . .] the whole community. Mr Heard makes a quiet captive and has a steady levee of gentlemen & ladies attending on him. Mary and myself went to see him two days ago, & having displaced two Olivers, had in turn to give way before a couple of Wigglesworths. How many had preceded or how many succeeded us I had no means of ascertaining.—I shall try and send you a copy of Jon which is now being acted in this city, the celebrated Miss Ellen Tree taking the character of the hero. This is quite in character with Boston where the women so uniformly wear the inexpressibles. I have never seen any place where they [. . .] take the mens’ work out of their hands as they do here. I shall add the “Chess Players ” that celebrated outline by Retsch which has been republished here & quite well. Adieu my dear Sister, love to all your family and kisses to the children.
I must not omit to say that I have seen Martha Stearns lately looking very well, and received a letter from Eliza Vail with the kindest messages for all of you. She wrote to me in particular as I was the only person of the family with whose “whereabouts” she was acquainted, but the letter was for all. Aaron has a boy and Eugene three.