Margaret Smith Nicholas to Jane H. Nicholas Randolph

My dear Jane

I understand you were quite offended at not receiving a letter by Phill this I think was rather unreasonable, our home was then, in the greatest state of confusion, and when at your Uncle Norborn’s we were engaged in company. However, I will promise that he shall not return again without a letter from one of us, and I beg that he may never come down again without one from you. We shall always be anxious to hear how the babes improve, and how you get along in housekeeping. I am particularly anxious to hear from you now, As I wish to know all the particulars of your Aunt Carrs trip. We receiv’d a letter from Cary Ann yesterday but she was in such a passion with a french Millinar, whom she had imployed to make a Pelisse and marino frock, for Polly and who had just brought them home quite spoild, that she quite forgot to say one word about My Sister Carr. this was as great a disappointment to me, as not receiving [. . .] our box of finery which she says was shiped in the Steam Boat, and ought to have arrived yesterday. But alas the Boat arrived, without our Package, or without knowing any thing about it. The Cap promised to make inquiry about it, at Norfolk. and thus, we must remain in a state of suspence until Wednesday, when the Boat will again return.

Ellen, and Cornelia, have at length arriv’d, Margaret has been with them every day. but the Weather has been so cold that they have not ventur’d out, and I have not yet seen them, but think it probable that they will call to day, I have not seen your Aunt Randolph. I understand she has been up to the ey’s in preparations ever since her return. Mrs Hackly is likely to get a very large School, and it is thought that she will do very well, I am extremely sorry that she is at such a distance from us, and that it will not be possible for Sidney to avail herself of so good a school.

I wrote the above on Sunday when visitors coming in obliged me to postpone the conclusion, and I have not had leisure till now, to commence again. Altho the weather has been extremely fine for the three last days, I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing either your Aunt Randolph, or the girls, Margaret waited on them the day after their arrival, and went every day for three day’s successively in excessive cold weather; which increased a bad cold which she has so much, that I persuaded her to remain at home a few days, and try to get well. And she too has not seen them since Saturday. therefore I can give you no tidings of them. Not having any Belles in my house, I know not what the prospect of Baux Beaux may be in Town. But I am told that all the Beauties of the Country are coming to Town. There has been two Public parties since our arrival. But Margaret, did not go to attend either the death of your Uncle Cary prevented her from going to the last, they are to have them regularly once a fortnight; the private parties, have not commenced yet. We have had crowds of Morning Visitors, a vast number more than when we were in the Governors house.

I received your letter yesterday. I think you do the girls great injustice, in blaming them so much for not writing by Phill, either from Warren, or this Place. You can have no Idea how busily we were all occupied, at both places Phill arrived at Warren after night, and the next days there was every appearance of it being a day of Rain indeed it did rain a little. But Phill was in his usual hurry and Margaret thought the day too wet Damp for me to go over and have the barrels filled. And this she did herself, and in her Bustle, the patterns quite escap’d her memory, you cou’d not have been more mortified than she was; when she made the discovery, she urged me very much to allow her to send them on by William, but this was impossible. I am much disappointed at your not having seen your Aunt Carr. I hope that you will contrive to visit her, and that your next will give me an ample detail of her trip. I had very little hope that [. . .] hearing wou’d be bennifited, but I do flatter myself that her spirits will be very much improved. The admiration which I am told Maria receives would I am sure be a cordial to her. Robert Hollins writes Polly Nicholas that both her manners, and Beauty are very much admired. I am afraid she was wrong to part with her this winter, the seperation both from her and Dabney, in addition to Georges leaving the Country, I greatly fear will be too much for her feeling heart. And for her present state of health. I have no doubt but that Maria will derive great improvement. She is that sort of girl. I have no sort of doubt but that in a very little time she will be as stylish as Miss Goodwin herself.

I visited Mrs Peyton the other day, I did not think she looked so well without her Bonnet, Their house is very small, their dining Room about half the size of yours, their side table is very handsome, and the rest of their furniture very neat.

Sarah say’s she thanks you for the compli[ment] that, you must excuse her writing, that she has taken [. . .] Polly, and John, for her Corrispondents. And her numirous occupations will pervent her for some time from engaging with any other, But I will engage that you shall hear from one of us at least once a Week. If we get our things from Baltimore tomorrow as I hope. I will inform you of it, and give you a discription of them, by the next day’s Mail,

I am amus’d with your intention, that when your daughters are old enough to be effected by your looks, that you will carry sunshine in your face altho wretchedness may sit at your heart, or disease, and pain torturing you. this is an admirable resolution; but I suspect you overate your powers, As I do not know a more telltale face than yours. I can with truth say that I am never grave, but when I am sick, or in real distress, and when in distress, no one ever made greater effort to overcome it than I have. this I consider a duty. And this is a duty I have always endeavor’d to perform. We have not heard from Wilson since he went to the Ohio, We have been looking for him every day for a Month. Margaret send by Phill, a pr of Boots for her dear little Mag, and a little Coach, which I presume she will demolish in a few minutes. and you will receive by him a tin kettle filled with Cramberries it is the same kettle in which you received the Almonds. you may keep it now. the Cramberries are not the best I ever saw, you had better pick out the rotton ones and stew the others immediately, brown sugar is as good as white, pound for pound, they will keep all the winter they make very good tarts, and eat very well with stews, [If I?] had time I wou’d have stewed them for you, do not throw away the white ones, the brown mashed ones, are those that ought to be pick’d out. I have almost concluded again without saying any thing about my health, and when this is the case, you may always be assured that it is pretty good. this fine warm weather I feel very well. the cold weather of last week did not agree with me so well. I do not mean this Winter, to accept of invitations either for evening or dinner parties.

Peggy Nicholas
RC (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); torn at seal; addressed: “Mrs. Jefferson Randolph Milton.
Margaret Smith Nicholas
Date Range
December 7, 1817