Virginia J. Randolph (Trist) to Nicholas P. Trist

I have been disappointed in hearing from you as I expected certainly to have done this evening, My Dear Nicholas, and have a great mind not to write to you atall, until I do get a letter, but as you have constituted your self the “repository” of all that passes in my thoughts, the terror and uneasiness that I have felt to day on my Grand-Fathers account, shall be faithfully detailed. This morning he got a fall down one of the flights of steps leading from the terrace, and broke his arm very near the wrist, besides cutting it badly, and getting a slight wound on his head. you may easily imagine what a shock it was to us all, but after the setting of the bone, by Dr. Watkins, and dressing the wound, the pain abated almost entirely, and to night every symptom is so favourable that our minds are greatly relieved from the uneasiness which oppressed them. Considering his advanced age, and consequent bodily weakness, I fear he does not take sufficient care of him self, for besides his spending every day from breakfast until dinner, since the month of August, in superintending the work going on at his Mill dam, he actually contemplates a journey to Bedford late in December. of the inutility, and even risk of this last undertaking, I hope Dr. Watkins and my brother will convince him, and especially since the broken bone will not [. . .] unite in less than six or eight weeks. Mama’s health has been tolerably good lately, and will continue so, I believe, as long as we can persuade her to be less regular in her attendance upon the poultry, for in my opinion many of her sick head-aches may be laid to the score of Master Bolton the King of the hen yard,1 and the turkies. I hope her alarm to day will not make her sick, although she has appear’d drooping ever since, and will probably be kept up late listening to the vie privèe of our renowned doctor.

This morning we were honour’d with a visit from General Smythe of Wythe County, accompanied by his daughter on her way to School—she was travelling on horse back, and I compassionated the poor little girl nearly as much for the long journey she was performing in that manner, as for being the child of a Man who had disgraced him self, and become a mark for the finger of scorn to point at.

Janes family left her last week, and we have been obliged to pay her frequent visits to keep off the “blues,” if Grand-Papa continues well, I shall go in a day or two to stay with her a short time, and also, to make a visit at Ashton; this circumstance determined me to write to you to night, that you might have no cause to complain of my neglecting you, otherwise I should have deferred writing still another mail, in hopes of owing you a letter; my temper is naturally a suspicious one, and sometimes inspite of your lectures upon the subject of confidence, the “cloven foot” will show it self, and make me fancy that you take very little pleasure in writing to me. I got a short letter three weeks ago, which I answer’d by a long one immediately, and that is the last which has reached me, and I have no reason to suppose that you have written. beware of again mortifying me as deeply as you did in the summer.

remember me affectionately to Browse, my Dearest Nicholas, and accept the renewed assurances of my long tried and faithful affection for your self. your own


Do not laugh at the blunders I have committed, and which may be attributed to the stupifying influence of a bad cold.

RC (DLC: NPT); dateline beneath signature; addressed: “To Nicholas P. Trist Esqr Donaldsonville La fourche Louisiana”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 14 Nov.; endorsed by Nicholas P. Trist.
1Preceding six words interlined.
\Nicholas P. Trist
Date Range
November 12, 1822