Mary J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

your letter arrived my dear Sister just as I was preparing to spend this evening in writing to you and in addition to the pleasure of hearing from you again after so long a silence, [. . .] ( & even mama has neglected us of late) I am rejoiced to have an opportunity of answering it immediately instead of being obliged to wait a week or two until my turn comes round again as is generally the case. Virginia left us yesterday to spend a week with Mrs Dunglison, a visit she had been so much & so often pressed to pay and which had been so long promised and delayed that she began to think she was in danger of offending Mrs D. and the Dr by not complying with their repeated invitations and that they began to consider her conduct on the occasion as something odd and strange and not to be comprehended, especially as Nicholass string of apologies and explanations were completely exhausted and that he had been near falling into sundry unlucky blunders in the dilemma in which he found himself, so she was obliged notwithstanding her disinclination to enter into company after so long & entire a seclusion as she has been in since we left Monticello, to trust herself in the gay circle at the University and we expected Cornelia who has been there already some time, to return in the carriage which carried Virginia, Nicholas, and the baby, but instead of herself, we received only a note announcing her intention of staying a day or two longer and then she only comes back on her way to Bremo Recess with Jane and Mary Cary. Louisiana Cocke is to be married this month and I expect C. will be at her wedding, which will be conducted very much in the good old fashioned styled I suppose, a crowd of friends and relations of both parties & a plenty of good cheer and merry making among the company at large. John Cocke has recovered his health. his sister is about to marry his most intimate friend and favourite companion, young Dr Falson the match is approved of by her father, and every body is happy and satisfied except the match making Barands who have not recovered from the mortification of losing the Brandon establishment and who cannot brook the sight of another, enjoying the wealth which might have been their granddaughter’s while she is content to sit down with a mere independence—I rode to Edgehill yesterday with sister Jane and brother Jeff and spent the whole morning in examining the place and endeavouring in the present state of things to find some traces of the past in the house there is nothing now whatever to recall the recollection of our old habitation except the moat in which it is still seated, but which is so much filled up with the wrecks of every part of the former building, (but the parlour & dining room which with alone remain,) that in comparison comparing it with the idea I had formed of it in childhood, it appeared to me to be diminished at least one half. the yard is a wilderness of beautiful trees & thick underwood, intermingled with patches of tall weeds which form an impenetrable shade immediately around the house, and exclude everything like prospect, except an occasional glimpse of the mountain. you cannot conceive a more sequestered spot or one that has more completely the air of being shut out from the world, but it wants nothing but the hand of cultivation to to render it beautiful, & on returning along the road which leads to the barn, I thought I never had seen a more lovely or smiling landscape than presented itself to our view in the cultivated fields [. . .] lying at the foot of the mountains which stretch around on every side, as if they designed to enclose this little spot; and separate it from the haunts of men; and then that venerable magnificent old elm in the valley, that I dare say you remember, with its wide spreading branches, forming a forest in itself. I gathered a branch from your spice wood which still grows and flourishes on the the edge of the moat, and stuck it in my bonnet, designing to enclose a leaf of it to you but it was so completely withered by the heat of the sun before I reached Tufton that it had lost all its fragrance and resisted all my endeavours to restore it to life by putting it in fresh water. I hope the hams have arrived ere this and prove such as will do credit to theancient dominion” and its support her well deserved celebrity for producing this article in perfection; verily she has no reputation to lose, and cannot afford to part with a jot of the praise due her for what there is still left commendable about her.—the frocks I had no hand in, being in Fluvanna till a few days before Willard left the neighborhood. I could scarcely have completed mine if I had known he was to remain so long, as it was I thought him gone a day or two before he actually left CharlottesvilleSister Jane gave me a [. . .] message for mama which as I am writing to you instead of to her you must deliver for me. she says she has been intending to write some time and has been prevented only by an abundance of work, that she is particularly sorry not to have had it in her1 submit2 to his decision I am sure—Uncle Tom arrived here a few hours ago. he brought me a letter from Harriet. she says that they had all been distracted to go to Florida but that she feels that if we return to Monticello to live, she will yet have a tie to bind her to this State. at all events, she says it is so improbable that they will have it in their power to remove that it is scarcely worth talking about. Elizabeth has just sent down for Aunt Silla, [. . .] she3

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); bottom of third page torn away; addressed: “To Mrs Joseph Coolidge junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 14 June; endorsed by Coolidge: “Mary June 11. 1827”; with notes by Coolidge: “Great kindness of the Dunglisons. Marriage of Louisiana Cocke. Edgehill—a beautiful spot—secluded & overgrown. Virginia Hams. They at least are something to boast of.”
1Remainder of third page torn away.
2Fourth page begins here.
3Manuscript ends here.
Date Range
June 11, 1827