Margaret Smith Nicholas to Jane H. Nicholas Randolph

My dear Jane

We have this moment received your second letter to Sarah, and as she is very busy preparing for the Cotillion party of this evening. I am deputed by her to answer them. Parties are going on now with great spirit they have had one every night this week, on Tuesday we had a very handsome one (given to the Miss Randolphs) at your Uncle Norborn’s. which I did myself the honour to attend. I went merely to gain information as to the style and manner of such parties; and I was so completely occupied in laughing, and Talking, that I had nearly forgot to make the proper observations. I assure you I never enjoy’d myself more. But the entertainment was greatly beyond my reach. [. . .] the China, and the Cake, were both exquisite. and the Madam, was extremely eligant. and your Uncle Norborn looked as happy as a king. Margaret, Polly, and Mr Patterson, determined off hand last Fryday, that they wou’d make a trip by the Steam Boat to Baltimore, they sat off on Sunday. But lo! when they reach’d Norfolk, they found the Baltimore Steam-Boat just arrived, almost cut in threw with the Ice, so much injured, that the Capt determined not to venture again this Winter. And of course, they were obliged just to return again. You will Sympathise with poor Margaret in her disappointment, indeed it was a sad Mortification to both ladies, I do not think Mr Patterson regrets it very much, he has a set of acquaintences here whose company he enjoys excessively. they meant to have stay’d a fortnight in Baltimore, and then return. They are delighted with the mode of traveling in a Steam Boat. and are determin’d to avail themselves of it when ever they do go to Baltimore. Col Randolph was so occupied with business, that we had not the pleasure of his company to dinner, nor has he honour’d us with a call. Mann Randolph, call’d on us with your letter; and I did not at first recognize him. I think he is one of the handsomest young men I ever saw. [. . .] Wilson waited on him the next day with an invitation for him, and his Father, to dine with us yesterday, he said his Father wou’d not arrive until last evening, and he said he wou’d come if he cou’d. he found it not convenient, and did not come. We had invited a large company of Country Gentlemen, and as usual one half of them disappointed, us. Your Father was out to day, and to Morrow he will dine at Mr Wickham’s. And I think it more than probable, that he will not have it in his Power to see Mr T E Randolph. Polly say’s she will be obliged to write to you herself, to contridict all the slander that Sall has written to you, about her. She begs you will not believe a word of her having been in such a rage, that she is sure you wou’d have been astonisd at her Philosiphy. Indeed I thought myself that she bore it with a great deal of Christian patience. She hopes you said nothing of it to Cary Ann, for she poor thing had a great deal of trouble with our things, and indeed when she saw Polly’s things so much spoil’d, she cou’d not refrain from crying; It would be a pity that her concern shou’d be increas’d, by hearing such an exagerated account of Polly’s displeasure. The account of Margarets friend’s expectations, proved to be a false alarm, [. . .] She had no such Idea. She is most sincerely attach’d to Margaret altho she regreted extremely Margarets trip to Baltimore yet she thought it so natural that Margaret shou’d wish to go to see her Sister, that she would not oppose it; and offered her aid in Working, or doing any thing she cou’ld for her on Friday, and Saturday. the only two days she had to prepare for her trip. this I consider as a very strong evidence of her love, circumstanc’d as she is. it is so dark, that I must conclude

Yours with great affection
Peggy Nicholas

I got a candle lighted, and can now write you a few more lines I suppose you wou’d not thank me for a letter without one word about the Miss Randolph’s. I have been not a little gratified to observe that they are the most Stylish, Eligant looking girls that I meet with in any company. Ellen, when her face is lighted up in conversation, is certainly the most Beautiful too, that I have met with, Cornilia, has a fine figure, and would be an eligant girl, if she cou’ld be a little more at her ease. but this she is acquiring very fast. She is as new to the World as a girl of Sixteen. It is certainly a great error in Mrs Randolphs System of Education; I am satisfied now, that it would be better that our daughters should asociate with any of our Neigbors that were decent, than to stay at home, as much as Cornilia and Sarah, have done. this intercourse with Strangers ought to be acquired early in life to make it easy. and girls that have this sort of ease, appear to such advantage, and must enjoy themselves so much more. You, and Margaret, us’d to run about the Neighbourhood, and mix more with the society of the County than ever Sarah has. and I find Margaret is quite at home in all Company. no one certainly, enjoys themselves more. and I do not believe you have ever lost much by your diffidence. Ellen, would be greatly admired, if she had not such a tell-tale countinence. she shows too plainly that she feels her superiority. but this between ourselves. do you hear nothing of your1 Aunt Carr. I understand that Maria is call’d the beautiful Miss Carr.

Adieu once more.
RC (ViU: ER); address cover torn; addressed: “[. . .]on Randolph Milton”; stamped.
1 Manuscript: “you.”
Margaret Smith Nicholas
Date Range
January 8, 1818