Mary J. Randolph to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)

Mama & Cornelia both say that they are going to write to sister Ellen My dear Virginia & therefore I shall address my letter to you if you are so fortunate as to be able to desylpher a sccratch penned by candle light & in my incorrigible hand which you know of old—we all feel very anxious & uneasy about sister Ellen & shall continue so untill we hear how she got over those 3 bitter cold days which I conclude she spent on the road as I am sure none of you would agree to stop at a tavern unless the weather was such as would absolutely prevent your travelling—Sunday which was almost a day of close rain you might per perhaps have staid at Hunters but I scarcely think it possible you would stop within 18 miles of home & therefore I shall expect letters from you to morrow which is about the time we suppose it will take the boys & mules from Poplar to get down—

Mama was detained at Carysbrook a day longer than she intended [. . .] by the high waters & of course did not arrive till to day escorted b to our great delight by Mann whose arrival [. . .] we had not heard of he only got home yesterday with his father who waited in Richmond for him & we should not have seen him so soon I suppose if it had not been for the circumstance of mama’s being at Ashton, he is fatter than he ever was mama thinks but his whiskers make him look much really thinner than he really is & upon this head I advertise you you will find him quite incorrigible altho we have [. . .] resolved to add our influence to yours & Harriets when you come Cornelia attacked them without mercy before he got into the house but he told her he had had too much trouble with them ever to agree to their being cut off so Harriet will be obliged to relinquish her plan of inclosing them by th letter to you & wait for a reinforcement in your arrival which will be I hope before the 1st of January when Mann’s leave of absence will expire—you will find him just as gay as ever & as ready for a romp I dare say (tho I did not [. . .] see him in either yours or Harriets company) & indeed unchanged in every respect (whiskers excepted) as far as I could judge from the few hours he spent with us but I will leave you to decide upon that—mama arranged a plan at Ashton for carrying Tim & George to Richmond with her & dividing the rest of us between Tufton & Ashton Aunt Jane offered to send lend her her carriage as far as Carysbrook where papa was to send a carriagge & horses to meet her which with aunt Janes horses & driver in addition would carry the whole, party mama Aunt Cary Mammy & the children to Richmond—but we heard to day that Patsy had the whooping cough very badly & as George & Septimia both have bad coughs it is very probable that it may be the whooping cough & in that case mama will be obliged to relinquish her trip for this winter at least—I have written with the boys pens my dear V. & that must excuse my sending you such a wretched scrawl. my love to my dear sister Ellen & tell her I have moved her lemon as well your geranium in to my room where I shall take good care of it always your warmly devoted sister

RC (NcU: NPT); lower half of address cover torn away; partially addressed: “[Mi]ss Virginia Randolph poplar Forest.”