Mary J. Randolph, Nicholas P. Trist, and Virginia J. Randolph Trist to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge and Joseph Coolidge
|Monticello Aug. 18th 1825|
I have seated myself in the drawing room to write to you my dearest sister, in the hope that a rainy day will prevent my being driven hence before I have half finished my letter, though in good truth there is so little rain falling that I should not be very much surprised if the Marquis himself (of whom we are in hourly expectation) prefering this cloudy weather to our hot sun, should be the cause of interruption. as much pleased as I shall be to see the old general again, I cannot help wishing that his visit had been made at a less inconvenient period. grandpapa’s health [. . .] appears to depend so much on his being allowed to attend exclusively to his own comfort and inclinations, that I fear he will suffer from the sacrifice of both, that he will think it necessary to make, not only to his old friend, but to the crowd of visitors that will be attracted here by his the presence of La Fayette, I think however that he will be obliged to leave these upon the hands of the family though we shall not have brother Jefferson’s assistance as regularly as we had the last time. Nicholas too cannot remain with us without defering his visit to the springs for an inconvenient length of time, and if the Marquis’s visit should be a long one I suppose he would be obliged to leave us before it is over. You need not however dear sister, allow yourself to feel any apprehensions on grandpapa’s account, though certainly not as well as when you left him Dr Dunglison in whom we place perfect confidence, assures us, that there is nothing alarming in his case. that he has never known an instance of a man of his advanced age being free from this complaint and that it is in this instance even milder than is usual. he has also latterly allowed mama to relieve him from much of the fatigue of [. . .] company by consenting that she should receive all the visitors who come, make his excuses to those who can be refused, and sometimes, where that is impossible, admit them to his bed room where he can recline at his ease on his [. . .] own sofa. there are many days however in on which he appears comparatively well and cheerful and these I think are generally the days when he is most left to himself. Elizabeth has just left the neighbourhood accompanied by her mother, Lucy, and Arthur, they will not return till [. . .] september or October and Harriet and Mary remain at home to keep house for their father and James in the mean time. Martha Woodward is with them at present, as soon we are alone again we one of us will go down and bring up the three girls to spend some time with us. Cornelia has been staying at Tufton for a day or two to assist in nursing Maria Carr who has been for some time extremely low and appears to be getting weaker rather than gaining strength, she is quite unable to rise or assist herself in the least and has become so excessively sore from lying always in bed, that any attempt to move her throws her into agonies of pain. she has no appetite and takes scarcely any food but what is forced upon her by her nurses and has had several tremendous chills in the course of the last three or four days which Dr Dunglison says are occasioned by the quantities of bark she has been taking; he did not appear when he was here, to think her situation a dangerous one, but brother Jeff was here yesterday morning (some days later than the Dr.) and we heard from him that she had had another chill and was not getting better and he thinks her continuing so long in such a state gives reason for serious apprehension—our unfortunate cousin Mrs Minor has just lost her only son, a fine intelligent little boy whom I saw to all appearanes in perfect health not two months ago. I should not be surprised if this misfortune was to complete the derangement of her intellects which have been always in an unsettled state—I must not forget to give you a piece of news of a more cheerful nature which we learned from Martha Woodward. it is that your old acquaintances Elizabeth Pickett and Charles Mac Murdo, have come to an explanation at last and that marriage, the usual denoûment in all romances, is to be the consequence—you talk of our visiting you my dear sister, and I would fain [. . .] hope that it may some day or other be within the limits of possibility for us to do so, though nothing but the great desire I have to be with you and to see you in your own house would ever have made me imagine it. we are very sensible of the kind wishes which Joseph (I hope I may be allowed the privilage of writing the name at least) expresses on the same subject, and very much obliged to him for his attention in giving us information of you and of himself do not forget my love to him. mama sends hers to you both and desires you will thank him for his letter and say that she will certainly answer it, to yourself she would have written ere this but has had her hands full completely full. she wrote to Mrs Coolidge some time since and I hope the letter has been received—Nicholas will speak for himself, and that he may have room allowed him to do so I must conclude at once to make way for his apologies, (which I presume should be pretty numerous) and his matters of business of which I know nothing. ever dearest sister your affectionate and unaltered friend
I have got Mary to leave room for my apologies; and it seems from her liberality that she did is under the impression that I have a goodly store of them. I have been very remiss in writing to, but not in thing thinking of, you Both have often occupied my thoughts, as you always do my heart. I’ll soon write and explain why I have not written.
Yrs most truly, with an execrable pen, & great lack of ink.—
neither Mary nor Nicholas seem to think it worth while to mention me, although they know very well that I love you both just as well as they do, & am always glad of an opportunity of saying so. words alas! are the only proofs I can give of the devoted love I feel for those nearest & dearest to me. I wrote a few days ago, but am so busy at present that I shall not be able to write again probably for ten days or a fortnight. farewell, believe that I feel for you both, all you can desire.