Nicholas P. Trist to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)

I can give you no better proof of the confidence I have in you, dearest Virginia, than this letter, which is the third since the receipt of your last, now almost two months old—a letter one from Francis to Browse, received about ten days ago, has prevented me from feeling that intensity of uneasiness which wcould not fail to collect, if I were a month without hearing of you at all; and I now attribute it to the post, and bear with as much equanimity as possible, the greatest deprivation that I can be condemned to.—I have several times rode to the post office myself instead of sending a servant, so sure was I of getting a letter, and shall do so again this afternoon, at the risk of again cursing the mails in the face of the post master; though his answer will, I trust, this time raise a smile, instead of throwing over my face an expression of seriousness that I believe nature did not intend it for; as I recollect the time when I was even too much inclined to smile.

I have no better news for you, than was contained in my last; the first letter that came after I had written it, informed me that Mr Dunbar declined purchasing the remainder of the land; and this determination of his threw on my hands about a hundred acres which I should never have been able to sell to any one else, and would consequently have been a dead weight. I immediately wrote to my friend in Natches to offer the land at one, two and three years, in hopes that these long terms would be an inducement, and what is somewhat surprising, the boy on his return from the office, brought me a letter proposing exactly the same terms, which I have of course accepted. So that there is an end to this business; and Allah be praised! The two hundred acres become the property of the Dunbar estate, and they in return, pay Browse and me twenty four hundred dollars: twelve hundred cash, and the remainder in three equal annual instalments. Perhaps, when the distress and demand for money shall have become a little less, it will be in my power to have Mr Ds notes discounted: as soon as this is the case, I shall set out; be in it in August or December—I wish to God, your brother would write; for as I before told you, the amount of that bond must be known before I can possibly think of returning: W. nicholas is probably arrived; but I cannot leave home for a fortnight to come; and then we are to pay our visit to my uncle—On our return we will stop at Colo N.’s and spend a few days with him—The weather is again fine; I make it a rule not to sit up beyond 10 O’clock, and to rise with the lark, when the air is fresh and wholesome; a great deal of my time is employed in exercise, and the beneficial effects of this life become more and more apparent every day, both in my outward frame and in my feelings. No vertigos, few head-aches: and when I do study, it is with a tolerable appetite—Refraining entirely from wine, and drinking a glass or two of whey, during the day, will I hope, keep my blood below the fever heat, until I can fly from this furnace, as it may well be called, [. . .], especially from eight, until the same hour in the evening, though the nights are cooler even than with us.

The Library is of course going on! is it on the plan your Grand-father first intended? Does he entertain any hopes of the next Legislature? How often do I wish that one of those hundred thousand pounds windfalls would light on my head; I would make some of those gentleman ashamed of their niggardly ‘generosity’; and we should soon have the whole machine in full operation.—But I was not born for windfalls!

Neither would I ever dream of them but for your Sake, dearest Virginia, and for that of a few castles in the air which I have sometimes been employed in building. Hume succeeded in making a rigid frugality supply the deficiency of fortune; and maintained his independence unimpaired! why should not I? But Hume was not a married man!—True, but I shall have wherwith to support my wife as well as myself; and George Heriot’s receipt for making a fortune, you know is ‘honesty, industry and frugality.” which are in the power of every man.—Present me as usual to all around you, and believe in the constant devotion of your friend and Lover.

Nichs Ph. Trist
RC (NcU: NPT); addressed: “Mrs M. Randolph of Monticello Near Charlottesville Albemarle County Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Donaldsonville, 28 Mar.