Nicholas P. Trist to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)

You will not think, I know, my beloved Virginia, from my tardiness in answering your two last letters, that my heart has been backward in acknowledging the tenderness that breathes throughout them.—

They show me that I am loved as I wish to be;as I, myself, Love: do not therefore be too punctilious, but let me enjoy the delight they afford, as often as possible.—Whenever your heart bids you to write, do So without reckoning whether I am in your debt or not; and let that “unreserved community of thought and feeling” reign between us, which, ever since I have thought at all on the subject, I have been convinced is necessary to the happiness of all married people who love each other, and which from my own disposition, I know is so to ours.

I wrote to our Mother a few days ago, and hoped when the servant went to the office, that on his return he would bring me a letter: in this, I was disappointed however, and am therefore still in painful suspense, though I do not know exactly why; but anxiety will intrude itself on minds prepared to receive it, and this is now the case of mine—besides, if she is well, it is almost time for me to expect an answer to the few lines I wrote her in May.

As I observed to her, my return next spring depends entirely on you.—Bid me then come, dearest Love! and show the joy you will feel at my return, by granting what I most wish: that we be united within the week after I first embrace you.—There is no reason why you should not—Though my property is far from great, still, it is sufficient to support us; and will, in a few years, I hope put it in my power to afford you some of those enjoyments which you might have commanded at once, had you loved a richer man.

as to the period of my going to the bar, an excellent reason is induces me to defer it for some time: a great deficiency in every quel qualification necessary to my making a resp tolerably respectable figure there.—as this is owing chiefly to the utter loss of the greater portion of my time, in the last six or seven years of my life, I must try to make up for it as much as possible, before I present myself for the severe judgment of the public; which I do not intend doing before two years from the present time.—With the exception of Mathematics, which by some chance or other, I fell upon the right way of studying; I never studied any thing; because I never knew how. The books that were put into my hands, I ran over, if they interested me, and or slept over, and waded through if they did not: recollecting little of the former, and nothing at all of the latter.—By this course, I have missed the little profit that might have been gained from my limited reading; and ruined a memory that in my early childhood was excellent, because much practised.—The perusal of Locke’s essay on the conduct of the understanding, has however lighted up my intellect a little; enough, at least, to see the entrance into the road to Knowledge; and, in future, by making a study of what I read, though it be little (for my mind is not a grasping one) it shall at least be digested.

Though your laziness is not much flattered by it, this early rising must be beneficial to your health; and therefore, pleasing to me on that account, as well as its giving you an opportunity of pursuing your studies.—The improvement of our minds, works, as you say, evidently to the improvement of the whole being: and in whose improvement could I feel so much interest as in that of her, who is to be, in the voyage of life, my constant companion, my adviser and my bosom-friend, and many much [. . .] else; which you know, with me, are all implied in the word wife.

We are all well; your little daughter embraces you, indeed she Kisses me often for you when she will not for myself. Browse vous embrasse en frère, as I do all my sisters; dont forget him to them or your mother.

God bless and preserve you for your own devoted
Nicho Ph: Trist

Present me to my “Sisters” at ashton with love at least equal and coeval to with what they Sent me express for me.—

RC (NcU: NPT); addressed: “Mrs M. Randolph of Monticello. near Charlottesville Albemarle County Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Donaldsonville, 7 July.