Harriet F. Randolph (Willis), Cornelia J. Randolph, and Mary Elizabeth Randolph (Eppes) to Jane H. Nicholas Randolph

Although we have been nearly a fort night in Richmond, I have nothing to tell you my dear cousin that is worth inking my fingers for; Virginia I suppose has given you full account of the [ball], and except on that occasion we have never gone out but to return morning calls.—certainly we have had some adventures in these excursions which deserve commemoration1 from their singularity, but as I am not quite sure that they would tell well for the actors, I shall be silent, and leave it to a more uninterested [. . .] historian to record the exploits of the nine Miss Simmons’s. such I have no doubt will be found, for it is impossible that a set of country puts should go tearing up and down the city, in an old rattling carriage with a driver and footman incessantly quarreling at the top of their voices, and now and then bawling to the foot passengers to enquire the way to Mr this or that, sometimes knocking at a dozen doors at in a row before finding the right one, and occasionally after finding the right one, knocking so hard as for the door to burst open, the footman to pitch in head foremost and a score of pet dogs to set on him at once,— it is utterly impossible that such incidents should pass unobserved in broad day light. ——If to make a noise, is to be a belle, rely on it we are the greatest belles in town.—

The accounts we have just recieved of Cousin E’s great success, and the brilliant career she is running in Washington, have induced the girls to make a great many mortifying comparisons, and their smothered discontent has broke forth in words.—we have always checked each other untill now, for hinting that we do not enjoy ourselves excessively, but now all these barriers are broken down, and our complaints resound through the great empty house—I should not say “our” though for I have enjoyed myself quite as much as I expected, and I have not as yet experienced any thing of those [horrible?] sufferings which I anticipated from my extreme diffidence.—We have not met with neglect, [. . .] though we have recieved no extraordinary attentions; and I think after we become habituated to the drudgery of dressing two or three times a day; and of conforming to the etiquette of the place, our time will pass very pleasantly indeed.—

I hope you will not believe a word cousin Jeff says of us.—he has treated us so badly, and behaved altogether so outrageously, that we were obliged to threaten to have him drummed out of town with his accomplice Carter Harrison only think cousin Jane of their setting, and before our faces telling your brother Mr Nicholas that we had said he was the most-striking figure, and the handsomest man in the ball room the night before. it is true it was so, and we had said so, but we did not intend it should be repeated, above all to him and in a way to [ma]ke him think it was [said] in ridicule. I verily believe we should have expired from utter confusion, if our rage had not been so great as to exclude every idea but that of tearing out the eyes of the offenders—pray teach cousin Jeff better manners before you allow him to visit the metropolis again, for indeed he scandalized your management at presen[. . .]

Give my love to Miss Margaret and the […] the children for me I hope you will excu[se]immediately this illegible, unintelligible scra[wl] adieu my dearest cousin

believe me with warm affection, ever yours,
HR –

I was about to write to you my dear sister but finding the girls had just penned two epistles of a reasonable length I thought I had better defer it untill another time, my love to Miss Margaret & kisses to all your little ones

ever your affectionate
C J Randolph

The girls have left me very little room for a post script my dear cousin, & I have not much chance for legibility with the pen which I am at present doomed to employ—but at least I can remind you that you are in my debt, & that I am anxiously expecting a letter from you. Uncle Norborne has been here this morning, & he looks so youthful, & makes himself so very agreeable, that at his departure, when a comparison was drawn between him & his son, the decision was given in favour of the father with but one dissenting voice—I will not tell you whose still, small voice that was, but will only say that my penchant was always for youth & beauty—Robert Nicholas was one of the beau’s at the last ball, & there was no draw back to his fascinations except the knowledge of his being desperately in love with Miss Lewis—the girls I believe, have already told you of the admiration which your brother excited among his county-women, & of their luckless disclosure of it to your graceless—adieu—love to Miss Margaret, & kisses to the dear children—I hope soon to be able to write you a more lady like epistle than my last—in the mean time

God bless you my ever dear Cousin—
M E C Randolph
RC (ViU: ER); mutilated at seal; addressed: “For Mrs Thos Jefferson Randolph Tufton near Milton Albemarle”; stamped; postmarked Richmond, 10 Jan.; endorsed by recipient: “Elizabeth.”
1 Manuscript: “commemmoration.”