Hore Browse Trist to Nicholas P. Trist
|Dearest brother||Bentivar 19 feby 1819|
You must not grumble at my not answering your last letter sooner. I might as well be in Bedlam as here, placed in the room which the old major occupied formerly, with four noisy fools who are continually making an uproar which would worry the devil out of his wits. the said gentlemen are Charles Selden, John Cabell, J. Cabell J. Preston who is no great s…s. I suppose you remember to have heard of him, an immense large stout fellow, he is 6 feet 2 inches and large in proportion the noise he makes is likewise in proportion to his bulk, taking every thing into consideration however, he is a good natured good sort of a fellow—James Randolph is likewise here, still the same old horse, I beleive he feels a great affection for you. You will make great complaints of this letter as I have nothing to say on the subject nearest your heart except that I saw your beloved about a fortnight ago, she was very well then and likewise all the family, Mrs Randolph always desires to be remembered to you, but I always feel ashamed to remember her to you. dont make such a fuss, for undoubtedly your fickle heart will change before you are many months older & you will have to reproach yourself with inconstancy, & I will also throw out one of the bitterest anathemas against that ever was penned as nothing would please me more than to see you united to so amiable a girl, & an inmate in so delightful a house.
Grandmother told me that she had given you a long and full account of the encounter between J. Randolph and Mr Bankhead and how it ended. I suppose you will be glad to hear that J. R. is recovering very fast, he was so well the other day as to have rode ridden to Monticello on horse back. You won’t be sorry to hear that Mr B. has cleared out, his wife accompanied him. it seems to me a strange infatuation, how that she can bear to live in the same house with one who must be the refuse of the earth. were his drunkenness the only vice & he possessed it would appear to me enough to disgust any woman of delicacy especially one who has been brought up as Mrs B. has been, in the most refined circle. You know what a beast a drunken man is, he is indeed a nauseous animal (the discription of the devil) how any woman can get into the bed with a drunken man is beyond my comprehension. Miss V. was learning the borrowed lines when I was there last. And you will hear it in all perfection when you return. The tune is the same as that of the little french song, L’amour ma dit a chaque instant, peut on vivre sans amant They desired me to thank you, which I have already done, I beleive you are a favourite with them. Cultivate the Colonell’s friendship write to him moderately often & take some pains on with the composition of your epistles.
I feel anxious about the remittance which is due to me from home, If I am not mistaken the last which I received was during last september, & 5 months have almost elapsed since any more has come to hand. I am afraid father is somewhat pinched to procure money. I hope he sold his cotton before it fell, as I understand that it is now very low I am also anxious about the fate of yours, since I read in the papers that the mail was robbed. write to me immediately and releive my doubts. your debt at Leitches distresses me very much, I hate to leave this place until it is payed
I suppose you have heard of the death of Genl Mason, It is the first rencounter of that sort that I ever heard of, and to be sure It was a very bloody one. It is a pity that McCarty did not fall instead as he bears but a poor character. Every body says that he has thrown away his life.
I am reading Xenophon and Horace & am very much pleased with both of them—Grandmother is very well she is at Mr Divers—to show that the cadets are of importance you send me some letters written by one of them you might have been sure that he would give say every thing in favour of his own side. but however the General opinion is likewise on the side of the cadets—and therefore their cause must be just I am glad that you have formed an intim acquaintance with Fairfax he is no doubt a very deserving young man. I hope that you will triumph. & that F. will return to west Point, consistently with his honour. Grandmother read the letters aloud to Mr & Mr[s] Divers. I hope that you enjoy good health and are industrious in order to obtain the first honours at the next examination. I was very happy to hear that you were at any rate one of the first, but I would be much more delighted to hear that you were the first without any equals. all your friends that I meet enquire after you. go on & prosper be assured that your success will always be the fervent wish of your affectionate brother
L’amour ma dit ... sans amant: “Love says to me every moment, can we live without love?” By recounter the author referred to the duel fought between second cousins and political rivals, Armistead T. Mason and John M. McCarty, near Bladensburg, Maryland. Mason was killed instantly and McCarty was severely wounded (Richmond Enquirer, 9 Feb. 1819).