Mary Jane [Terrell?] to Virginia Randolph Cary

I hope my beloved cousin does not impute my long silence to neglect, for I assure her that not a single day has past since I last saw her without my thinking of her, and wishing for the time when we shall again meet; but I have been so much engaged with company and other things, that I have literally never had time, and even now (I am so much of a Belle) I expect to be interrupted at least twenty times before I have concluded this letter.—The other day I came across the only one you ever wrote me, in which you say you cannot conceive what amusement I can expect to derive from a correspondence with a secluded being like yourself, whose thoughts and pursuits are so at variance with mine, for the compliment which is implied, I tender you all due thanks; as all your thoughts and pursuits are of course virtuous, if mine are wholly at variance with them, they must be entirely of an opposite nature; but waving my pretensions to the compliment, I really think it a matter of wonder and astonishment, that a lady of your taste and judgment can expect to derive any satisfaction from the letters of such a wild, nonsensical, romantic being as I am; hower as you have professed to do so, you must abide by the consequence—

We were very much pleased to hear that you were not disappointed in your trip to Albemarle, & also that the children had the meazles so favourably. I have seen a great many elegant beaux since I left Fluvanna; among the rest is a Colonel Pleasants, who is a second Dr Boswell; but as Mr Mason said of the latter, he has had time to be learned and graceful, for he is upwards of thirty, I will leave you to draw your own inferences when I tell you you that the aforesaid Colonel intends taking a trip to Williamsburg this winter, for the express purpose of seeing his cousin Carey.—There is a brother of Mr Mason here at College, who is though[t] by the ladies to be the most charming fellow in the world, and by the President and professors to be twice as clever as his brother, who ranked foremost among the Geniuses when he was here; in short, Mr James Mason (the new comer) is precisely such a personage as Scott would like to write and I to read about. I have becom very well acquainted with him, and believe myself to be some thing of a favourite; he has even offered to teach me Latin, so that by means of the family I shall become quite an accomplished lady.—If I dwell as long on the merits of each individual, I shall not be able to get through all the introductions, so I will proceed to make you acquainted with my friend Mr Edmund Harrison, (a son of the gentleman who married Patsy Skipwith) a tall youth with large sentimental hazel eyes; he stammers most dreadfully, which renders him extremely interesting. and last, not least, let me present to you, Mr Edward Cabell from Albemarle, he is graceful, well-informed and polite, and in a word, as a certain lady in Town observed of him, he does not look like a student.—I had a large party last night, and I am proud to tell you that Aunt Cary thought I did the honours with considerable grace.—I spent the morning with Mrs Page as you desired, and we talked only of you; she asked me a great many questions about you, and told me when I next wrote, to give her best love to you.—We have heard that Uncle Sam is married, and has carried his wife to Richmond. I am very anxious to hear the truth of it, as I have betted Aunt Cary a new set of waiters against a pair of shoes, that there must be some mistake, as I think sister would certainly have written to inform us of it.—I got an elegant Leghorn bonnet a 18 , a merino shawl at 28 , and a pink Canton crape one.—I have worn black ever since I came down, and every body says “Mary Jane you have fallen off a great deal since you were here last,”—. I received a letter from cousin Sally by the last post; she is in very bad spirits, and is very uneasy about Mr Newsum, who has constant fevers, attended with pain in his side and back. Aunt Cary intends going over, soon after Christmas.—I have promised to meet the Miss Coalters at Mrs Tazewell’s this evening, and as it is time for me to go, I must hasten to bid you adieu. All your friends here are delighted with the prospect of your visit in the Spring—Give my love united with that of both my Aunts to every body at Cary’s-brook and Oak-Hill.—Write soon to me my dear dear cousin, and be assured that your letters will always give sincere pleasure to Your Affectionate

Mary Jane
RC (NcU: NPT); torn at seal; addressed: “Mrs Virginia Cary. Wilmington P.O. Fluvanna”; stamped; postmarked Williamsburg, 12 Dec.
Mary Jane
Virginia Randolph Cary
Date Range
December 12, 1818