Elizabeth Trist to Emma Walker Gilmer (Breckinridge)

My Dear Emma

I expect’d I shou’d have had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you ere this, presuming on your being settled in Liberty and at leisure to take up the Pen, but not having heard from any of the family since leaving Bird wood conclude that your dear Father is on the wing for Williamsburg as this is the month that he fixd on for his visit to that place, but this dreadful cold spell of weather will retard his progress, and when it breaks up the roads will be bad, for the frost and snow generally leave the earth in an unfavorable State for travilling we have had it bitter for the last three days Thermometer as low as five this morning, Mrs Randolph is uneasy about the Girls leaving that they have commenced their journey home, Mr Eston Randolphs carriage carried his daughter Harriet last week to Richmond, to go to her Aunt Hackly to improve1 her self in the Spanish and french, tho in the latter she seems a proficient as both her and her sister often write to Virginia and Mary in that language, and Mrs Randolph said in looking over a long note that there was but one error the young Ladies read and study very hard, I observe that in reading in french and Spanish authors they never are with out a Dictionary by them to refer to, for the proper meaning of words and in reading History they always have maps to refer to, they not only read for amusement but instruction, I often wish you cou’d be placed in a situation were you cou’d have the society of well educated young Ladies older than your self, how much I deplore my slender means as it denies me the pleasure I shou’d have in giving you every advantage that Education can bestow to make you respectable and happy. I feel so much my own inferiority that I am more anxious that you shou’d experience no mortifications and I am certain that it will be your own fault if you are not one of the best inform’d Girls in the State, but you must give your mind to Study and not lose time in frivolity or Idleness, habit makes every thing familiar and the most difficult lessons will submit to perseverance and industry—I hope that My Dear George and Harmer will have their school and Books, it wou,d make me so happy to hear that they are good Boys, William I am sure will make the most of the advantages his Father is straining every nerve to give him, I am pleased that he is placed in a situation where he will have equal advantages and be nearer home than at Doctor Carrs. it is a fortnight since I have seen Browse Nicholas is here since saturday he had the loan of Doct Carrs Horse which he returnd to day he has undertaken a job for Mr Jefferson making an extract from a manuscript of old Colonel Birds, Great Grand Father of the Miss Birds that you got acquainted with in Lynchburg it is call’d the History of the line between Virginia and North Carolina, the Book is a large Folio volume, it was lent to Mr Jefferson by one of the family, and the Philosophical society happend to meet with an extract from it on a subject that was not concluded they wrote to Mr Jefferson to request that he wou’d let them have the whole of the extract which contains fifty twenty seven Pages. he observed that it wou’d be an arduous task for him who had so many letters to write Nicholas offerd his servise and commenced yesterday it will take him four or five days to get through with it, but he says it affords hi[m] entertainment, and if it was not for the obsolete Spelling the hand is so plain that he cou’d soon go over it the whole Book contains [. . .] three hundred and odd pages he must have been a very sensible industrious Man, but his Son has left no monument of his fame but that of being a dissipated spendthrift who squanderd an immence estate and left his family beggars, you must excuse inaccuracies as I am in haste and tho sitting by a good fire my fingers are numb’d with cold, have Scribbled a few lines to Farmington by way of appology for not having been there yet, I have certainly been detaind here longer than I had calculated on staying, your Cousin Nicholas says that he feels ashamed that he has not written to his Cousins he shou’d have written to day but for the business that now occupies him, while Browse was with you he thought writing to him wou’d be the same as writing to your Father and Mother but that he shall now be more attentive and begs me to assure the whole family of his most grateful and sincere love I hope My darling Francis has got the better of his indisposition and begins to Prattle Kiss them all for me Mrs Randolphs affectionate regard accompanies mine to your dear Father and Mother and be assured that your are not forgotten let me know when you heard from Aunt Abe, I hope we shall not lose her I have been making caps for her and Silla remember me to her and Betsy who I understand are to be the Domesticks chosen for and your new residence tell Nelson I hope that he is a good Boy and attentive to his duties, God bless and preserve you is the ardent wish of your affectionate Aunt

E. Trist
RC (ViU: Francis Walker Gilmer Papers); torn at seal; addressed: “Miss Emma Gilmer To the care of P. R. Gilmer Esqr Liberty Bedford Cty Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Milton, 14 Feb.
1Manuscript: “impove.”
Date Range
February 10, 1818