Mary J. Randolph to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)
|Monticello Dec. 27th 1821|
Brother Jeff sets off on saturday my dear Virginia and I will remember my promise of writing to you first altho I daresay mama has written to you if she has written to either of you I have not seen her since you left home but heard from her to day I am to send the horses down to morrow as she wishes to come up for a short time but not to stay I believe I do not know when she intends to leave sister Jane entirely as she says nothing of it in her note of to day tho grand papa told me she was to return home saturday. sister Ellen has written Cornelia a splendid account of the de Neuville ball which brother Jeff will carry down with him & I do not think C. will quarrel with me for writing you this dull letter when she gets such an amusing one at the same time for indeed I have nothing to tell you [. . .] this Christmas has passed away hitherto as quietly as I wished & a great deal more so than I expected I have not had a single application to write passes or done or seen any of the little disagreable business that we generally have to do & except catching the sound a fiddle yesterday on my way to the smokehouse & getting a glimpse of the fiddler as he stood with half closed eyes & head thrown back with one foot keeping time to his own scraping in the midst of a circle of attentive & admiring auditors I have not seen or heard any thing like Christmas gambols & what is yet more extraordinary have not ordered the death of a single turkey or helped to do execution on a solitary any mince pie so you see you lost nothing by being on the road this week & you have gained something by not arriving in Richmond till the end of it since I am told it is the most disagreable part of the year to the white population of the place in town however I am told it is generally the beginning of the gay season & I heartily wish you may find it so in this instance for I long to hear that you are embarked full sail upon the sea of dissipation leaveing awkwardness mauvaise honte & the blues far behind and giving all your cares to the winds prepare to run the career of gaiety pleasure and mad spirits without knowing either check or stop till you have run your destined course & are obliged sad reverse of fate to come back in to the country bringing with you good looks sound nerves & a hoard of pleasant recollections enough to last you through many a dull winter in Albemarle yet to come all this is nonsense I know but I have really nothing else to talk about but what comes out of my own impoverished brain & that is not likely to be made much better by the life I lead & the functions I perform which are exactly such as a machine might be made to perform with equal success locking & unlocking doors pouring out tea & coffee & in the interim plying my needle not with any great diligence tho, next week I shall turn over a new leaf & try if I can not employ myself better or to more purpose in some way or other the only thing that embarasses me & prevents my organizing my plan of industry at once & falling to work, is the uncertainty of my prospects which are not I am afraid to be very quickly settled if it were only decided & at once whether I am to be a sharer in the scene of action I have just been describing to you or to stay out the winter here with no other companions than my books & household employments where I shall be “alas at leisure to improve” & to learn latin which grand papa has just been reccomending to me. in either case I could bring myself to submit to my fate with becoming fortitude but tis the uncertainty which torments me & as you know when a body is pulled different ways by two contrary powers neither of which are of force sufficient to conquer the result is that the whole stands still so it is with me not being able to decide which I am to devote myself my books or my needle work laziness has taken the decision into her own hands & has so far got the better of me that as yet I have done nothing tho with as little temptation to be idle situated as you know I am as ei[. . .]ary body had in the world. Aunt Marks is m[. . .] adour and delighted with the opportunity “de faire l impor [. . .] really fancies “green gosling” as she takes me to be [. . .] the house could not go on without her presence & judicious interposition nay so persuaded is she of its efficacy that she would not let me drink my tea without her advice or trust to my doing it at all without being told & then so loquacious so eloquent as she can be such matter of ep expatiations as she has contrived to find from the appearance of two lean ducks at our board to the great discredit of my management but I it seems am not the only sufferer by them for I heard Ben exclaim in rather an impatient tone “I wish Aunt Marks would let me alone about the ducks I wonder what they are to me.”— I have written you a long & I fear silly letter my dear V. but I have got into the habit of writing long letters lately & I never was out of the habit of writing silly ones kiss all of my hearts treasures for me not forgetting Martha when you see her to H. I shall write soon as I am in her debt embrace her & C & E for me you have always had so much of my love my dear sister that I need scarcely say with how much affection I think of you at all times
I did not tell you what it gave me great concern to hear from a letter Grand papa received & from some of the Millbrook people who are here that Uncle Eppes from being in unusually good health has had another violent attack he was taken speechless in bed one night & was only brought to life by a bleeding he is well enough now to walk about his house & yard again but I feel anxious & uneasy about him for his own but still more for Francis’s sake on whose account the precarious state of his father’s health has always been a subject of painful interest to me, let me know when you hear from him & in what sort of spirits he is once more adieu think of me with only half the affection I feel for you & I shall be satisfied.
I am sorry there are no letters for Mrs M. Randolph in the post office here perhaps you are more successful in Richmond