Virginia J. Randolph Trist and Nicholas P. Trist to Virginia Randolph Cary
|Monticello May 2nd 1828|
Believe me my dear Aunt I have been truly grateful for the kindness that has prompted you to write to me sans ceremony during the passed dull, tedious winter months; and although the spiritless mood in which I have been, and the bad economy of my time which occasions me always to have more to do than I can properly & easily accomplish, has made me apparently neglectful of you, yet your letters have never failed to give me pleasure, and encrease my desire to be able to communicate more frequently with you. Your letter by my cousin elect should have been answered forthwith, but unfortunately it found me suffering from a derangement of the stomach which has not yet left me, and renders me quite good for nothing. I have not taken a meal with the family for a fortnight, and my appetite is so puny & whimsical that I do not know when I can again go to table. I require a seasoning to the warm weather every spring, & suppose I am now going through that process. it is a fortnight now since we have anxiously expected a letter from Mama or Cornelia telling us what day we might expect to see them at home, and none has arrived. but Sister Jane has heard from her friends in Baltimore that my brother would be there, on his return from the North, to day, and this makes us expect to see Mama early next week. I hope my dear Aunt that you will be one of the first of our friends to welcome her return after so long an absence, and I assure you that we will exert our selves to make you as comfortable as we can in this ‘bare’ castle of ours. by a division of bedding we shall continue to have a spare bed to offer to any of our friends who love us enough to occupy it, and we can also promise that you shall find a chair to sit down in whenever you are tired standing. I need not say how glad we shall all be to see you; an[d] as the sweat weather is returning; and I have just got the piano tuned I hope your time will pass pleasantly with us. we have no means left us of visiting our neighbours and consequently have little or no intercourse with them. the only interruption to our solitude is from the calls of strangers drawn here by curiosity or respect for the memory of my dear grandfather.I suppose Mary has mentioned in some of her letters the unfortunate situation of poor Aunt Marks. she is dying by inches of a cancerous ulcer, which Dr. Dunglison & Dr. Bramham pronounced after a consultation on the case to be incurable, and at the same time said that no operation could be performed on a person at her age successfully, at least so painful an operation as that would be. I do not think that the poor old lady is as great a sufferer as they thought she would be, she rarely resorts to laudanum, and the physicians thought that the daily use of it would be necessary to procure her ease.Papa came to us in March in very low health, and still continues extremely unwell. he is more emaciated & feeble than I ever saw him. Dr. Watkins, who is now in the neighbourhood went in to see him when he was last here, and in a friendly way advised him. Papa had before been unwilling to take advice from a Physician, thinking it not probable that he should reap any benefit from it. Dr. Watkins seems to think his complaint obscure gout: the weather appears to have considerable influence on it, in clear, warm weather Papa always gets better, and is more unwell when it is damp or cold. he occupies the North Pavillion at his own request and never joins us at meals.
Nicholas’s editorship obliges him to be a great deal in Charlottesville, but I do not think he has relinquished his hopes of being able to visit you in the course of the spring or summer. I wish he could go to see you for many reasons, and think it probable that the change & the ride would be of service to his health, which is even more deranged than usual, and which never is really good. I hope some of these days to be able to visit you my self dear Aunt, but when [or] how is more than I can at present say. when you come to see us you will find your little god daughter still a quadruped I believe she might have walked early in the winter, but she is as great a coward as her mother used once to be, and will never I fear venture to make the attempt. she has found the use of her tongue however, and her imperfect articulation is very sweet & amusing. Willie is a fine healthy, handsome boy, greatly in advance of Pat, but somewhat of a tempest in his humour. I am just preparing to put Martha into pantalets, and when I tried on a pair this morning she was frightened almost into fits.The girls have left you no doubt before this time, and I hope when they have rested from their visit to town, they will come to see us. we have a sincere affection for them both, and are very fond of their society, besides feeling a deep interest in their prospects. I hope my dear Mary’s are quite “couleur de rose” from what I have [. . .] & seen of Mr. Fairfax, and I think it will suit her better th[an i]t would [. . .] so soon to take the constraints & duties of a family on her [. . .] Jane should go at large a few years longer, it will suit the vivacity of her disposition better than the repose & unvariableness of domestic life. I hope my dear Jane will not be affronted at the expression of this opinion of mine, and I am sure if she could see my heart she would not be.—I can give you no satisfactory answer to your enquiries on the subject of Cousin Martha Minor’s marriage as the report never reached my ears until I got your letter. but I am “credibly informed” that Martha Terrell is to be married in August.
Adieu my Dear Aunt, this days mail has brought us no news from our friends in Boston, with respect to whose movements we are still in suspense. kiss the children for me, they have changed very much I suppose since I saw them last, and I dare say are aspirants for a more ceremonious appellation. love to the girls when you write or see them next, and also to Wilson it gave me great pleasure to hear how studious he has become. Nicholas will speak for himself in a post script, & Lewis & Mary charge me with love to you all. once more adieu, believe me ever your affectionate niece
|My dear Aunt|
I owe you a thousand apologies for not long since writing on the subject of Richard; although, for part of the time, I have a valid excuse in the circumstance that I have been waiting & waiting, I don’t know how long, for this very letter. I wrote immediately to my Louisiana friend, Mr Baker; but he had bought just such a boy & declined taking R.—By the time Mr B’s answer came, I heard that he was going on somewhat better; & as I had no idea of this way of turning him upon yr hands, I determined not to be accessory to it, & to leave things in status quo. Subjoined, is a list of the things I got for R, on yr account.—
If it wont make Mary blush, tell her I was truly sorry to be out when my cousin F. called; & to miss seeing him, as I did, entirely.
Mrs Randolph has been detained in Boston by sickness; & wont be here till the 15th at the Soonest.