Cornelia J. Randolph to Virginia J. Randolph (Trist)

I reciev’d your letters yesterday My Dear Virginia while writhing under one of those infernal pains, & with the horrors of being oblig’d to sleep that night in a room full of girls, for Mrs Carr & her daughters were expected last evening on their arrival from Baltimore; she is to spend the summer among her friends here; however your letters have the same efficacy with me that poor Meade [. . .] spoke of, for immediately I got well, & to relieve me from [. . .] my dread Mrs Carr did not arrive. Sister Janes [. . .] other sisters came up & carried Miss Margaret, & little Margaret & Pat, to Warren for Col. Nicholas intended coming here himself that he might be near Dr Watkins, & as the he cannot bear the noise of the children they were carried away; he did not come but is expected to day. I have been here nearly a week keeping house which as it is a mere trifle [. . .] in comparison with housekeeping at Monticello particularly as sister Jane tho’ not quite well attends to a great deal herself, I should have time to carry on my studies as I intended but for Aunt Randolphs ruff, that I am laying myself out to finish. I am truly rejoic’d to hear that [. . .] Sister Ellen found the operation on her teeth so much less than she expected it to be & that you all of you have got your business so happily perform’d, but cannot [. . .] sympathise with you in your passion for [. . .] Mr Baker, for tho’ I know people’s imagination can perform wonders [. . .] I can not concieve how [. . .] even yours, Sister Ellens, & Elizabeths, warm as they are, can transform a dentist into a hero! or be so much interested in him, had he the form of an Apollo & every grace and beauty [. . .] belonging to gods or men. I am glad to hear that you have a room to yourselves, & a piano which I hope you practice upon but should be inconsolable if I was in your place for [. . .] not being able to attend that party in the steam boat, the dear delightful steam boat, to have gone sixty miles down the river in it & with a band of music [. . .] dancing too would have been so charming, you certainly will not neglect another invitation on any account. I suppose you have seen Mrs Baker by this time & no doubt like her exceedingly, as I have always heard she was such an amiable woman, & as she is Wayleses Wayles’s mother.

I have not heard from ashton since the day you left it, I rode home that evening & was caught in the rain which forc’d me to form an acquaintance [. . .] with Mrs Carden & her daughters whose house I stopt at during the hardest of the rain, they were very kind to me & lent me a shawl when I was going home & one of the young ladies threw a sort of a dirty dress” over the saddle which was quite wet; from Mrs Colclaser I got an umbrella & arriv’d home in very good time with no injury to myself but far worse a desperate one to my bonnet, which I am afraid [. . .] can never be recover’d as it is stain’d all over [. . .] by the green dressing; ask sister Ellen if it can be scour’d white again.

Mr [. . .] Bacon as usual exagerated his accounts of the hurt Mr & Mrs Harris got by their fall from the gig most amazingly, the very day that we pass’d they went away the gentleman, on horseback & the lady in her a carriage; they were both very much hurt tho’, for the lady got her collar bone broke & was dreadfully bruis’d, & there were some fears for her life, & the gentleman had his shoulder put out of place; we have heard since that they were recover’d.

Uncle Tom & brother Jeff. were detain’d two days in charlottesville (you recollect they had not return’d when you left us) not because the jury was hung but for they [. . .] all agreed in condemining the man (who was accus’d of stealing [. . .] eleven hundred dollars) at once; but because it was so long before all the evidence in his favour & against him could be heard, his brothers & other friends did all in their power to save him tho’ it was clear as daylight that he was guilty & that they lied backwards & forwards [. . .] & were determin’d [. . .] that he should not want any aid that lying could give him, they also did a thousand little things to give credit to what they said which only serv’d to lengthen out the trial; one was that his two brothers said they had gone that evening to some saw Mill to get a bull which they were to carry home, & that they had got a rope from the saw Mill tied him & carried him home, someone else swore that they had not got the bull, they had come for him but he was not there & they could not borrow a rope then they offer’d to prove what they said to be true, because they thought that if they prov’d their truth in one instance it would [. . .] give credit to what they had said [. . .] before, to do this they [. . .] would have to send twenty miles [. . .] for a witness & it was now late in the evening, the jury remonstrated against this proceeding as they said it could make not the least change in their opinion, the young men telling the truth in one instance, for they were convinc’d from circumstances [. . .] that had no connection with this, that they had lied before, but their remonstrances were of no avail, & they were oblig’d to wait untill the next morning. It was prov’d at last that the young man had got the bull, but had not as they said tied him with a rope & led him [. . .] home, for being disapointed in finding him & in borrowing the rope, they were returning home without him but met him on the road & drove him before them. therefore tho’ they prov’d what they wish’d they were still convicted of a lie, however little & without motive. but I am already as tired of writing as I expect you are of reading, & will only say that the man was condemn’d to the penitentiary for six years, & that the twelve jurors, being oblig’d to spend the night at Kingsolvings Kingsolvins were put with two sheriffs in a room with one bed & because there they were oblig’d to stay they could not prevail on the bar keeper to accomodate them better, however by brother Jeff’s advice they seiz’d another room with two beds forcibly & laid violent hands on a pile of blankets that they found, & manag’d as well as the could for the night, the next day for breakfast & dinner they had only the scraps left [. . .] from the table after every body else had din’d & breakfasted—but to proceed to business [. . .] The enclos’d is sister Jane’s; she says you must give it to sister Ellen as you are two young & inexperienc’d to be trusted with her whole fortune, & [. . .] ask her to get for little Margaret a spelling book, such as have a picture & the name of the thing [. . .] it is a picture of [. . .], in alphabetical order. & the rest she must lay out in dark gingham for the childrens summer cloths, & tell her she must be sure to recollect that œconomy is the order of the [. . .] this is the whole sister J. is worth in the world, & two doll[. . .] belongs properly to her. Adieu my dear Virginia give my l[ove to A]unt Hackly & cousin Jane & kiss sister Ellen & Elizabeth for me, if [. . .] you stay long enough I will write to sister Ellen also, [. . .] & shall expect a letter from Elizabeth.yours sincerely & affectionately

C. R.
RC (NcU: NPT); mutilated at seal; ink stained; addressed: “Miss Virginia Randolph[. . .] Richmond Care of Thomas Eston Randolph Eqr.”; in an unknown hand: “Richmond” “Milton”; stamped; postmarked Richmond, 23 May, and Charlottesville, 26 May.
Date Range
May 19, 1820