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

I got your letter when it was a week old my dear Virginia & you have now got mine which was written 4 or 5 days before brother Jeff set off, his journey was defered several days longer than he intended but I did not think it worth while to take the trouble of writing my letter over because really I had nothing more to say & despaired of making it any better than it was. I have not forgotten my promise of writing often & have complied with it as far as I could by writing to all of you once round I have so much upon my hands at present & so little leisure that equally divided among all my correspondents it will not enable me to write very frequently to any one of them but one or the other of you shall hear from me at least once or twice a week & that will be enough to satisfy you that we are all well & you will have the pleasure of receiving occasional letters from mama mine are really so stupid that I can not expect any body to take pleasure in them [. . .] except as they give you news from home besides your letters & Cornelia’s we received two this morning from sister Ellen under cover to mama addressed to you and myself she thought it would reach you as soon or sooner & safer by sending it to us than if she had put it into the direct post from Washington to Richmond it will be sealed & sent you along with this by the tuesday’s mail I wish I could send you mine also as a pendant to yours for it contains an account of the principal belles of the city as yours does of the beaux & is quite as amusing a description of them I think, she tells me that I must burn it and desire you to do the same but I have not yet determined how far it is necessary to comply with these kind of injunctions & should be sorry to burn any thing that has afforded me so much amusement. Aunt Randolph writes Aunt Jane that of those who will probably offer themselves for sister E,s acceptance Mr V B. is decidedly her choice except for his 3 children which she admits is an objection. you will see who & what he is & can judge how you would like him as a relation—there is also a letter [. . .] from Mrs Trist here for you & another from sister Ann both of which mama will send you so this time I am sure you can not complain that nobody writes to you & you will have enough to do in reading & answering the whole packet—is not Mr Mc Duffee “the thane of Fife” the person of whom Wayles said so much & was he not a protegèe of Mr Calhouns? I have some reccollection that this was what Wayles told us, I remember he spoke of him very often & said a great deal about his talents & of his being elected for congress this year for the first time, I think, at the age of 5 & 20 the very earliest period at which a man is eligible. I dare say you remember it all better than I do as soon as I came across the name I had some indistinct reccollection of having heard it before—John Randolph has been exceedingly polite to sister Ellen where ever he meets her & I suppose his conversation is very agreable when he chuses. Mr Poinsett is also very attentive & his attentions it seems have a peculiar fascination. she seems to be spending a most delightful winter & I sincerely hope that she may not be obliged to return before the spring much as I long to see her once more—I compassionate your hard fate very deeply in having only one beau between you four, tho the case of the poor beau is certainly the most deplorable & I really think he deserves the best return that your smiles & favor can make him for his martyrdom in your service poor man he may well say when you have broken him down “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” sister Jane pretends to have discovered that himself & her uncle Norborne have both got a random shot tho she will not say whose eyes levelled the darts whether it was your dark eyes or Harriets bright one’s or Elizabeth’s pensive graces or Cornelia’s fine form that “hit their fancies to such a recess” pray let me know who I am to congratulate upon having made a conquest for some of the four it must certainly be, it would be [. . .] too unheard of for you to pass 3 whole weeks in a city & not to have captivated a single heart by your united efforts

I am glad that papa has at last been able to do something for you tho it only went to paying your debts & hope that things will be better in future in the mean time keep up your s[pirits?] enjoy the pleasure of fine walks & weather which you so[. . .] also drive away the blues whenever they seem inclined to attack you that your improved health & good looks may equal my expectations. I am sorry to hear that your toe has been so troublesome tho I expect mine [. . .] used to be as much so & I never tried any remedy but having it cut out with the scissars which mammy always did for me—I find I have great dificulties to encounter in my work for want of proper materials having literally nothing in the way of trimming my ward robe will be still more incomplete & scant than yours & I could not venture down without the certainty of a speedy reinforcement. are the handkerchiefs trimmed all round or only two sides? I think you must be tired by this time therefore adieu my dearest Virginia & believe me always your warmly attached sister & friend

Mary.
RC (NcU: NPT); torn at seal; addressed: “For Miss. Virginia J Randolph to the care of T. M. Randolph governor of Virginia Richmond.”