Mary J. Randolph and Harriet F. Randolph (Willis) to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)

your letter to Elizabeth is full of complaints my dear Virginia which I suppose you think very just & therefore i as you say you have suffered so much from uneasiness at not hearing from any of us & you do really believe that you have good reason for your complaints I shall simply content my self with answering them & resign for the present my right of reproaching in return we have now been here more than a fortnight during which time we have not received one a line from any one except one letter from Mama which Mann brought up we have not heard a syllablle from either sister Ellen or yourself except through Elizabeth & Harriet & we have not missed writing by a single post since we came here—I did not [. . .] think it necessary to cause you any [. . .] anxiety by mentioning mama’s sore throat as it was not an alarming one & did not know till I heard it from you that Cornelia had said a word about it is it therefore surprising that in the hurry of of preparing for a long absence from home & the entire breaking up of the family we should have omitted by a single post to give you news of ourselves when you might so readily have assigned a simple & natural cause for our silence without accounting for it in a way to render yourselves uneasy?I am sure you can not fail of being satisfied by such a plain statement of facts as this is & as I dont suppose it can be any pleasure to you to hear that you have been in the wrong I will have done with this subject in as few words as [this] possible Mann went to Tufton yesterday & brought us intelligence of two letters from you that brother Jeff. had read & put in his pocket when he went out so that we lost that opportunity of getting them & I do not know when we shall [. . .] have another that being the only time we had heard from Tufton since we came here sister Jane is well & the children are recovering from the hooping cough which they have had very favorably—Mama writes us that Tim & George have the hooping cough decidedly but slightly dear little George has it much the worst of the two & his cough was getting more troublesome when she wrote. I am still however in hopes that it will not be very bad as it has in every instance both at Tufton & Monticello proved to be a very mild kind. travelling [. . .] is said to be beneficial in that complaint & mama’s return will not therfore be retarded by that circumstance tho it may be by others over which she has no controul she talks of setting off the 15th of this month but says that she1 can not speak with any certainty as it does not depend on her Aunt Hackley with her usual kindness has taken the whole concern of [. . .] mama’s ward robe into her hands & has furnished Aunt Cary & herself with caps for “the first impressioncousin Richard has also been very active in his assistance which was very acceptable in the state of things at the government house when [. . .] mama arrived there, she found every [. . .]thing in disorder windows unwashed carpets unshaken walls that had not seen a brush since Mrs Prestons time I daresay & the whole in short as she expresses it a scene of “uncleanly desolation.” they were [. . .] busy when she wrote providing bedding &c some other necessary articles from a remnant of the last appropriation there being furniture enough of other sorts in the house for the supply of her own wants [. . .] they were actually destitute of the needful but expected things would be rather better after the election which we see by the papers is over this will enable them to draw a part of the salary in advance & be [. . .] a relief to dificulties of that sort—Aunt Cary’s health is & spirits are already improved & will I have no doubt be quite restored by the change of air & scene & the amusements of a town the Richmond theatre is open & Mann was there several nights there are no very good performers I believe but even such as they are what would I not give to be there to see a play acted upon a real theatre with handsome scenery & decorations how delightful it must be when even the representations that we have seen afforded us so much amusement the girls talked of performing a pilgrimage on foot there rather than to [. . .] stay at home—

I have not been industrious in any of the various ways in which I might have displayed my industry if I had been so inclined & I am afraid you will get a long long way before me in history as well as in every thing else—I had almost forgotten to deliver a message from mammy in this letter as I did in the last she begs that you will tell daddy that wormley has undertaken to take care of his things in her absence & that she locked up all the papers in his drawer before she went away—My love to sis[ter] Ellen [. . .] wrote to her some time ago believe me with devoted affection your sister

Ma[ry]

I made Mary leave me this half page my dear Love, that I might tell you, I wrote a very long letter to you by the last mail and that whether it reaches you or not I shall expect an answer. what can be the reason of your not recieving the girls letters? they must be lost I suppose, and I am very much afraid my last has shared the same fate. however yours reach us in safety so pray continue to write.

We have done nothing since Brother Mann returned from Richmond but eat, and sleep, and romp, and play cards.—Cornelia has turned out in her old age the greatest romp that ever lived, she and brother Mann are Sworn enemys already and are fighting and scratching, every moment they are together.—

I wanted to write you a whole letter to day, but the girls declared that as Elizabeth and Mary were both writing, more than a postscript from me would be too outrageously unreasonable. and I was obliged to yeild to their representations however unwillingly—so you see it is no thanks to me that you are spared a third sheet.—

adieu my dearest Virginia I need not tell you with what energy of affection I am ever your own

Harriet
RC (NcU: NPT); torn at seal; word partially obscured by seal; addressed: “Miss Virginia J. Randolph Poplar Forest near Lynchburg”; stamped; postmarked Milton, 9 Dec.
1Manuscript: “the.”