Cornelia J. Randolph to Virginia J. Randolph Trist
|Edgehill Aug 22nd 1831|
This is your birthday, dear Virginia, and sorry am I that you are not here with us as you hoped you would be. I should have liked so much if we could have all spent it up at Monticello together. as it is when we do go there I fear it will be after Dr Barclay has taken possession & it will be a sad sad visit to us; I rode up there yesterday with Hannah & Lewis & I felt so sick at heart I was sorry I had gone; indeed while I am in this neighbourhood I feel so constantly a painful excitement that I am impatient to go away beautiful as every thing is here & so suited to my taste, & then being the very scenes where my youth has been spent. I found daddy cutting a head stone to put at mammy’s grave; there is something affecting to me in these constant thoughts of her; he talks of her incessantly tells over & over again her last sickness & death, detailing the minutest circumstances & with his odd manner & gesticulation; his health too has been very bad & once or twice the idea crossed my mind that he was not in his right mind. The servants do not hesitate to say that he drinks (tho’ this he positively denies) & that all the things he tells about her knowledge of her approaching end & the speeches she made on the occasion [. . .] are mere romancing or else that he misunderstood her & imagined what was not really so. I do not know how it is but this much is true that he certainly does think incessantly of her. He has given up work & does nothing I believe. Old Bet is a greater virago than ever; Mary is with her at present & Brown & herself wish old Bet to go to Lexington to live & that mama should support her there but mama cannot afford that & I suppose she will be in a fury when she hears it. Mama says if she goes to Washington to live with Melinda she will assist in her support there; but poor Melinda, I really should be very sorry that the comfort & happiness of her [life?] family should be destroy’d by this vixens tongue. Dr Barclay they tell me means to make his fortune by the cultivation of the vine & the rearing of silkworms at Monticello; people here are turning their attention to making wine & silk; brother Jeff has a cask of wine which he is waiting patiently four years to see if it will be good; at present it is most nauseus to the taste tho pleasant to the smell. sister Jane intends rearing silk worms; I forget whether I asked Nicholas to enquire where & how the eggs can be procured. In our golden dreams before the sale of Monticello, silk worms & a grass farm where what we had determined on when we were rich enough to buy it & I went there to live but alas! alas!Hannah wrote you her determination to go to Washington with Mr Kane & Dr Dunglison; we have not heard from them since she wrote; so do not know whether they still continue in their plan of setting out day after to morrow; brother Jeff. is gone to the University to dine to day & I will keep my letter open untill he returns, when we shall learn what they are going to do. it will not go out by tomorrow’s mail in consequence & if they go wednesday, Hannah will take it.
W[e are ver?]y impatient for you to come; it will not [. . .] more [. . .] months now before some of us return; [. . .] will go first & one or both of the girls with me & I think you had better let us take one of the children & you can follow after with mama when we have got the house ready to receive you. adieu dearest Virginia I promised to draw something in Hannah’s album & have to write a letter to Mary Stearns also & it is late in the day. kisses to your family & love & remembrances to other friends. We have not heard any thing of the Cutts’s since soon after their arrival at Montpelier.
The dutch dictionary is on the lower shelf of the book shelves next the door opening into the passage & on that side next the same door. Bring your childrens patterns also. Mrs Dunglison is to stay with us while the Dr is away. We have been thinking of Lewis’s trying to get a clerkship keeping it only untill he had sufficiently studied his profession. Since I wrote this mama tells me she has sent a message to N. about it.
24. Hannah will be with you on sunday morning; Dr D. has given up going farther than Mr Madison’s.
Mary Ann Wydown was married last saturday, this is wednesday. Tim says will you look in the bottom drawer of the chest of drawers in the little room & bring her work basket to her.