David M. Randolph (1798–1825) to Nicholas P. Trist

When moments like the present occur (as they frequently recur do) when the fiend Ennui preys upon my mind, which like the entrails of Prometheus only is renovated to be again devoured; where shall I turn for consolation, but to the friend of my bosom, and such I fondly believe you to be, your letters are cordials to my drooping spirits, and your last carried brought conviction with it, respecting Miss C but I am a like the cat i’ the ag adage letting I dare not, wait upon, I would, time alone can tell what will be the event—From my own I turn with real pleasure to your affairs, two letters dated the 16 Sep. (which you may recollect is the date of your last) I have received, one from Virginia and the other from her mother, from my aunt the following is an extract ”The sadness we all feel for the departure of our two young friends and kinsmen Francis & Wayles Baker, reminds me of our parting with Nicholas Trist who had been long enough with us all to attach us all to him most affectionately.” the next is from VirginiaFrancis and Wayles, are going to Columbia College and in consequence of their departure I am much afflicted with the BLUES. Browse is to leave us in a few weeks for Philadelphia I shall feel much regret at parting with him.” From Brows the imaginati[on] would naturally turn to Nicholas, my conjecture then that you were thinking of each other at the same time is plausible that you were on the same day is allmost certain, that she does not mention you is I think a good sign for if you were perfectly indiferent or only in the light of an acquaintance or a friend why not mention you, it is my opinion that in spight of her mothers effort to keep secret your communication she has heard of it, certain it is that I was pumped at N. Milton, Ashton and Carisbrooke to know whether you was engaged, a courtship none doubted, by the extracts you see how you stand in the estimation of the good people in that county, and my conjectures you may take at valuation, the following lines from the Troubadour which Mr de Neuvilles nephew wrote for you, often recur to my recollection as suiting your case

Dans le bivouac le Troubadour fidèle
Le casque au front lu guittarre a la main
Toujour pensif et regrettant sa belle
Alloit partout en chantant son refrain

Mon bres á ma patrie

Mon Coeur a mon amie

Mourir gaiment pour la gloire et l’amour
Cest le devoir d’un valliant Troubadour

There is a young man from Amelia named Gwin, [. . .] who is courting Miss Belt, I have never seen him but understand he is just from West Point, do you know him and what kind of a fellow is he? You say I now have and allways have had friends I believe it but it is additional source of regret to me that I shall never have it in my power to return their kindness.

You have not informed me of the price of Genl L’s Artillery do so that I may send you the money, Why do you not seal your letter with Nec triste Nec trepide, should you see my aunt Morris remember me to her Though she is no favourite still I wish to keep up appearances, I have a first cousin by the Fathers side living in this county who is going to marry one of the greatest rascals and Drunkards, except Bankhad that can be raised, this she is doing against the advice and consent of her whole family, poor creature may she never live to repent it, it greaves me much but what must be must

D. M R.
RC (NcU: NPT); addressed: “Cadet, Nicholas Philip Trist Unites States Military Academy West Point New york”; endorsed by Trist: “Randolph, David M. jr Oct. 6. ’20.” and “DMR.—October 6th 1820.”

the cat i’ the adage letting i dare not, wait upon, i would, is from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, act 1, scene 7. dans le bivouac le troubadour fidèle is from one of the French songs that Sir Walter Scott included in Paul's Letters to His Kinsfolk (1816). With nec triste nec trepide, Randolph referred to the Trist family motto: “neither sad nor fearful.”

David M. Randolph (1798–1825)
Date Range
October 6, 1820