Cornelia J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge
|Monticello Aug. 3 1825|
I am mounted upon a high chest in the cellar, my dear sister, in the midst of sweapers and scourers, for my time is so completely occupied by serving & entertaining company that I have not a quiet unemployed half hour even to devote to you, but write to you I will even in this sort of distracting situation. We have had more company than usual since you left us; the stream of members of the convention in Staunton in passing & repassing has completely overwhelmed us; day after day we had thirteen, fourteen & fifteen morning visitors, & ten or a dozen perhaps in the evening; the neighbourhood too is becoming more sociale sociable & our neighbours favour us with visits much oftener than they formerly did; a few days ago at one of our student dinners we had nine uninvited guests, fortunately those invited did not all come, before we rose from table a party of twelve of the members from Staunton entered the house; grandpapa was sick & this day’s labour increased his indisposition greatly, he is however as well now as usual. We are more & more pleased with Dr Dunglison both as a man & a physician, in this latter capacity he is certainly great & if he can but give my dear grandfather relief in his painful disorder will prove the best friend we have, for after all what misfortune have we so great as his advanced age; pecuniary distresses I ever thought I could bear with great philosophy. as we become better acquainted with all of the professors & their wives we like them better with the exception of Mrs Blatterman who from all accounts is a vulgar virago; indeed, she is one to whom you may apply the whole of Richard’s discription of his mistress’s maid without speaking more harshly than she deserves
“There’s not such a b— in king George’s dominion
She’s peevish, she’s thievish, she’s ugly, she’s old
And a liar, andd a fool & a slut & a scold”
Not one word is there here too much, for if she does not steal it is probably because she has no occasion to do so. The old Dr’s manners I think are mended & he is very popular among the students. Mr Key is much beloved, they say of him that he is “the finest fellow that ever trod the earth” Mr Bonnycastle’s friends say he is as amiable as man can be & are mortified to death at the probability of his marrying a girl they think not good enough for him. Dr Emmet is an irishman complete, warm in his likings & dislikes; fiery, & so impetuous even in lecturing that his students complain they his words are too rapid for their apprehension; they cannot follow him quick enough; to which he answers, they must catch his instruction as it goes, he cannot wait for any man’s understanding. in conversation his words tumble out heels over head so that he is continually making bulls & blunders and to crown all has much of the brogue when he becomes animated. Mr Tucker is not much liked they say; his eccentricity of character does not please and in his capacity of professor he is still less thought of, at least by the students; MrsHigginbotham says he has just courted Mary Carter, if so it was a forlorn hope of retrieving his fortunes I suppose; but I doubt the truth of it much. Judge Dade has not yet decided whether he will accept the law professorship; grandpapa seams to think he would suit that place better than anyone who has been proposed; he is particularly pleased with his politics.
We all liked Judge Dade very [. . .] much indeed; he has that frankness about him that you would suppose was the effect of perfect honesty & integrity; a man who was conscious of not having feelings he need be ashamed to avow; and it is so rare to meet with a Virginian who is a man of Education that it is always an agreable surprise to me; then, every thing he says is worth hearing and with all there is so much modesty—I am quite in love with him.
I do not know what the success of the Convention in Staunton was but they say their proceedings are to appear in the papers; they disagreed about some things, about [. . .] general suffrage particularly, but agreed unanimously in abolishing the council.
Virginia has been disappointed in her hopes of a piano, the money that was to buy it is appropriated to something else, so that you need not make the enquiries she desired you to make, she is dreadfully disappointed but I hope will get it yet.
The news of the neighbourhood is that James Wydown is to be married immediately to a girl without a cent, a Miss Gooch, and you know he is supported by his sisters. Miss Wydown (Mary Ann) is engaged for the Charlottesville accademy; where she will get 600$ a year. I wish Maria Woodward had been thought of; but to Miss Wydown on more accounts than one will be glad of the place, they say Mrs H. treats her abominably. Jesse Harrison report saysis to Marry the second Miss Tucker. Emma Gilmer also it is reported is to be married to I forget who.
Judge Carr’s family is with us at present; Jane Harrison has no prospect of an increase of her family at which she is much distressed; their being in the house, & this being post day, hurries me still more in my letter than I should otherwise be hurried; but I am sure I have written such a scratch that the less of it the better for I have been in such a “hellabelloo ” that I scarce know whether I am on my [. . .] head or my heels I trust to the indulgence of my own dear sister, which I count as great or I never would send such letters as mine, so incoherent & so scrathed
be assured however that they come from one who feels for you [. . .] warmest affection of a sister although imperfect in the expression [. . .]
give my love to Mr Coolidge
Since I wrote to you grandpapa has given me a letter to copy from which I learn that Judge Dade has finally refused the professorship & that Mr Gilmer is again thought of, he has recovered his health and is ready to accept; what they will do about his politics which seem to be so important a consideration, I know not. from all I can hear they are any thing but what they should be—but I can write t no more, with a dozen people talking to me I am almost distracted