Nicholas P. Trist to Virginia J. Randolph Trist

You will receive tomorrow, beloved wife, the letter I wrote from Poplar forest, and which, for reasons therein stated, I did not send by mail. I left the forest on Sunday morning; reached Liberty between nine and ten, and found that Mr Gilmer had set out the evening previous for albemarle. The rest of the family were there however to welcome me: and I found among them the same happiness, contentment, and adaptation of mode of living to means that I had known before. I sojourned with them until yester evening slept last might at the foot of the blue ridge, and crossed this morning to breakfast (fourteen miles) At this place, which Mrs Gilmer recommended to me to visit, if it were only to see the beauty of the establishment. It is indeed a delightful spot: such a one as I should like to possess with a comfortable independence, “free frae din & far frae men”, and live in at least ten months of the twelve. Good house, next brick cabins, and the Spring spot delightful. It is not much frequented however, except as a convenient stopping place, to rest at three or four days going & coming; the water not being deemed of sufficient strength—though I found it rotten eggish enough for my purpose. This morning was the first time that I tasted sulphur water—both taste & smell surpass the anticipation I had made, and yet, strange to tell, it excites no disgust in me: on the contrary, I already begin to thirst for it. I have taken seven glasses and shall probably complete the ten after supper. To morrow morning I start for the salt sulphur, viâ Fincastle because I hear that the water is equally good with the white; and there is no possibility of getting in at the latter. Never was such a crowd known over here before; its partly ascribed to the high price of tobacco.—I saw at Liberty in Harmer Gilmer, an uncommonly fine boy; and in a Miss Moseley of the neighborhood, and a Miss Anthon[y], daughter of a self made lawyer of Lynchburg: two very intelligent, genteel, sprightly, pretty girls: don't be jealous!—

Sweet springs September 1st.—

Dearest

I left Johnson’s yesterday morning; got to Fincastle—a neat place with a beautiful court house, and an excellent lavern—to their customary breakfast; left there at nine, walked up and down a mountain which took me twenty minutes to the top, and the same to the botton, without getting out of breath; dined at the widow Baileys, and set out at four, to cross a tremendous mountain, eight miles across. Night had set in before I got to the foot on this side; and I therefore stopped short of this place, my purposed stage, having travelled only 98 miles—equal to 50 in Albemarle,—without any thing like weariness or lassitude. I got here this morning at an early hour; and the first object that met my sight was Mr Rives, who greeted me very cordially, and equired very particularly after the family. He looks quite well; and I heard that when he came over he looked miserably. I trust that a corresponding change will take place in me. When I determined on going to the w salt sulphur, I was under the impression that it was much nearer the white than I now hear it is. I trust to get a letter from you at the latter place, and shall set out for it tomorrow. Were you ever at this Spring? I’m sadly disappointed in it! Had been told t’was like soda water. But instead of finding it cold & sparkling, it is warm and flat. I had no idea there was so beautiful a country this side the blue ridge as I passed yesterday—Genl Brakenridge’s—a couple of miles this side of Fincastle—is the handsomest farm I ever beheld. From the road along which I passed, it presented the appearance of a level bottom of five or six hundred acres (I’m told the quantity is much greater), and about the centre, a hillock about one hundred feet high just large enough for a house and yard. Afterwards, I passed a good deal of the same kind of level land.—I forgot to tell you while on the subject of Mr Rives that he set out directly after for albemarle, and offered to take charge of any thing. There is here a Mr Randolph very much like your aunt R: I have not yet been able to ascertain whether if he Jack or not; but am almost sure it is not—his appearance is not original enough. I ascertained from the postmaster in Fincastle. that the only communication between here and Charlottesville is by a weekly mail to Fincastle, wh leaves this tomorrow morning. You will probably get this, dearest Virginia, on monday; and then absolve me from the remissness with which you have probably more than once accused me already. I shall perhaps not have time to write to my grandmother: send her a line as soon as this reaches you, informing her that I’m well, & will write next week: say also that it is useless for her to write, because I’m changing my residence every day. Otherwise she will be very apt to write every day, and her letters to be read, to which I should have strong objections.—Recollect, love, what I charged you with, on the subject of the books I expect from Ireland. If any ship letters, or letters having [. . .] outlandish appearance come, open them; and forward their contents to Colo Peyton. Your grandfather will receive duplicates—when they come, mention to him the provision I have made for getting them, and say to him that the money to pay the duties, is in Colo P’s hands.—Adieu! my own dear wife: how I envy those whose means permit them to have theirs with them! Half my time I’m home sick, already: what will it be ere the month is out? Eh bien! cela viendra!—When I’m chief Justice, we’ll all travel together. God guard you and those around you. Don’t omit what I told you, if the piano money should fail to come. I want to find it in place when I return to you. I think I mentioned the cumumbra lamp in my last—I should like to find that also when I yet back: the nights will have become long enough to study in: and I want to hasten the time when I shall be making money [. . .] for our enjoyment—adieu Je vous embrasse, chère femme, tendrement.

N. P. T.
RC (NcU: NPT); addressed: “To Mrs Nicholas Philip Trist Monticello Near Charlottesville Albemarle County Virginia Colo Thos R. Randolph”; stamped; postmarked Everettsville, 9 Sept.