Margaret Smith Nicholas to Jane H. Nicholas Randolph

My dear Jane

I am sorry you should think it necessary to write even with a severe head ach, to secure a letter from me, rest saticefied my dear Child, that I will give you a faithful, and accurate account of Sarah’s situation twice a week as long as she is Ill. and when I miss a mail you may be assured that she is a great deal better: The Doct had quit1 visiting her. But we were oblig’d again to send for him yesterday, he said there was another accumulation of Bile, and that it was necessary she shoul’d take more Medicine, he gave her ten grns of Calomil, and two doses of Salts afterwards which he thinks to day, has brought off all the Bile, but it has made her deadly sick, She never before complain’d of sick stomach, but this was the effect of the Calomil. she threw up a quantity of Bile. and she is now sleeping off the effects of the whole. and I have no doubt when she s awakes she will be infinately better. This would have been a charming day for Mag to have commenced her Journey. Patsy is perfectly well, but yet we are extremely anxious that she should return to you before the weather becomes warmer. Polly will not go up before Sarah is well enough to travel, Margaret, Sid, and Patsy, will probably set off on Saturday, or Sunday, perhaps it may be on Monday. It will depend very much on Sarahs situation. she will not set off unless she is better than she has been yesterday, and to day. Now do not imagine that we think her very Ill, her complaint is a tedious one, and will take time. but we think her in a very good way, she is much paler, than she has been, her pain in her side is very much deminish’d, and her cough is all but well, She has just awoke and appears much better, I think you may promise yourself the pleasure of seeing your Child on Sunday, at least you may put away dinner for them.

You have heard I presume, that your Aunt Carr, has positively2 determin’d on returning to Albemarle, that Mr Minor has offered her his old house, and garden, rent free, which she has accepted of, and will return either immediately, or early in the fall. I received a letter yesterday from our poor dear Cary Anne, her situation is truly pitiable, how she will support herself I am at a loss to conjecture. I would give a great deal to have her with us. She is in misirable spirits. And if the report that is in this place be true, she must be truly wretched. It is said that Smith, and Buchanan, have fail’d. I have been in an agony ever since I have heard it. and yet we have had no direct accounts from our friends, Cary Ann talks of going to the Western Country. Robert, will go immediately to Leghorn settle his affairs there, he expects to have a few thousands with which he too, means to go to the Western Country. Alas how bad, how very bad, are all our prospects. My poor dear Brother who has experienced every affliction in life, to have his3 day’s closed in poverty, By one injudicious stroke; to loose such an [. . .] immense property, Can he bare it? I think, I fear, it is impossible. indeed I am sure he will sink under it. and my poor dear Cary Ann, in her situation to have such a trial. Money too, is so necessary to her happiness write to her my dear, write to her in as cheerful, and as consoling a style as you can command, I have not written to her, I can not trust myself yet, Polly wrote to her yesterday, and say’s she did not make one gloomy comment. her Father, wrote to her too yesterday. Sarah recieved a letter last evening from Maria Carr, She say’s that they are all very gloomy, but say’s not a word of their failures. she say’s too, that Cary Ann had not left town, and that her husband had gone to Philidilphia. but does not say what for. She seems to think it necessary that her Mother should return to Virginia, but regrets it exceedingly. Your Father means to write to her to day, to advise to return immediately. But I suppose she will wish to stay until George returns. You see my dear how the disappointment of lathing your house sinks into, nothing. when compar’d with the horrible disasters that surround your friends, that in indeed surrounds the whole Mercantile community. how I could morralize on this; if it were not that my heart achs too much, for thought, or reflection. may you be ever happy my dearest Child, and may you be ever saticefied with a slow and gradual increase of wealth, is the sincere prayer of your Affectionate

Peggy [. . .]

Sarah begs that you will not write such gloomy letters, that she wants to see one of your Cheerful letters, something that will enliven her. I tell her that must be a difficult task, when your heart is aching on her account, But your cheerfulness is such a cordial to all our hearts, that we know not how to do without it. We have only heard once from Mr Patterson, he was then in Augusta and quite well.

This letter was written last thursday, I put in the drawer of my Ink stand, and beleived firmly that I had sent it to the post office, (such was the confused state of my mind.) until yesterday when I sat down to write to my poor dear Cary Anne, when to my great astonishment on opening the drawer there was my letter nicely seal’d, however if you have not suffered too much at not hearing from us, it is quite as well that you did not receive this sooner, As you would certainly have been alarm’d for Sarah, but without cause. As she is still recovering slowly. She sat up to day, about ten minutes. Margaret was not detain’d on her account, she her first disappointment was caus’d by a painful Sty on her Eye, and since by bad weather they have been packed up three day’s, and is as it is now clearing, they hoped to have set off tommorow, but they have been just told that the roads are very heavy, and they have determin’d to wait two days. Your Aunt Carr will certainly return to Virginia. They are all in the deepest affliction at Baltimore indeed they are totally ruin’d, John Smith is amply provided for, his good Father had made over long before his misfortunes, an ample fortune. No one will loose by my dear Brothers failure, but he will be totally dependent on his wifes property Gracious providence! can it be possible that my brother should be a dependent, no, I flatter myself that his Son will settle half of his income on him. I think for the Universe I would not have him dependent on his Wife, I am told she display’s the greatest fortitude. But he is deeply, most deeply, afflicted. But Margaret will tell you all, it [. . .] Breaks my heart but to think of it; never shall I no happiness again.

We were mistaken in Ellens Complaint, it was not the mumps, she is quite well. Both of Patsy’s Eye teeth4 are out, and she is as well as she can be. But still we are extremely anxious to send her home before it becomes very warm, Margaret is not sorry for her delay as it gives her an oppertunity of seeing Sarah set up, and she will not now, leave her with so much regret. Mr Patterson has returnd he got here yesterday, and has completely succeeded in his business, he will set off tommorrow, for Baltimore, he is anxious to be with our friends in their distress. mag as I have just said must give you all the particulars, it will be a tale of woe.

RC (ViU: ER); torn at seal; addressed “Mrs T Jefferson Randolph Milton”; stamped; postmarked Richmond, 31 May.
1Manuscript: “quite.”
2Manuscript: “positivety.”
3Manuscript: “his his.”
4Manuscript: “teet.”
Margaret Nicholas
Date Range
May 27, 1818 to May 31, 1818