Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) to Martha Jefferson Randolph

Having been against our expectations detained at this place, my dearest Mother, I my first care is to perform my promise of writing to let you know that we have advanced so far in safety, and have little doubt of reaching Washington under the same favorable auspices. Nicholas seems perfectly well now although the first day I could not help feeling a little uneasy about him as he complained of swimming in the head and other disagreable symptoms owing I believe to having slept not at all the night preceding his departure! we were out until between seven & eight oclock the night of the day we left you, it was perfectly dark and the roads very bad, I felt no uneasiness on this account for the driver appeared to be a master of his art, the carriage too was quite a comfortable one and if I could have ceased for one moment to think of you all and the situation in which I left you, and if I had had not had some fears for Nicholas, I should have felt pleasantly enough having escaped the attack I so much dreaded and deprecated and feeling as well as when I left home. soon after dark Nicholas began to doze, and soon after dropt upon my shoulder on which he continued to rest himself to our journey's end for that night, and I felt most happy in thus contributing to his comfort especially as it gave me no sort of fatigue and I would willingly have supported a still greater portion of his weight, on his own account as well as upon my dear V’s, who deserves every proof of love for herself and every thing that belongs to her, that I could possibly give.—he is going to write himself, but for fear of his speaking less of himself than you could all wish, I have gone into these little details, and will say further that he appears perfectly well this morning—fortunately for us, the house at which we are staying is one of the best kept taverns in the state. our accommodations are perfectly elegant; I am at this moment writing in a carpetted and curtained sitting room which would not in neatness and taste disgrace the house of any gentleman in the land; yesterday we dined—upon canvas back & oysters and to day after an early dinner shall procure a comfortable carriage to take us to the steam-boat, at an early hour instead of waiting for the stage which leaves Fredericksburg at six o clock, and does not reach the steam boat until between eight and nine at night. this regulation has been made to accommodate passengers from Richmond who do not arrive here until very late in the day.—Nicholas has heard since his arrival here that there is a line of stages from Washington which falls into the Wheeling turn-pike, of course he is dispensed from going to Baltimore—I hope his journey will be safe and even as pleasent as it can be when every step takes him from his bien-aimèe & her & his friends—he is perfectly and admirably secured fr[om] cold with his well contrived wrappings, and seated between Browse and himself, I felt well convinced that from the comfort which I derived from the supernumerary folds of their drapery that they might travel to Lapland in that trim without experiencing any serious ill effects from cold. he has been full as attentive and kind to me & my wants, as I could have anticipated even from him, which is saying a great deal.—Browse desires to be remembered to you all; [. . .] You are not quite so much interested in him as in Nicholas and I have therefore said less of him, but he is quite well, and I dare say thinks of the friends he has left with no small portion of regret. I have been so continually uneasy about the state in which I left you, my dearest Mother that my eyes are continually filling with tears [. . .] that I would hide in vain under smiles which are from the lips outwards, and play a cold and unnatural light over a countenance to which they do not belong—I shall be miserable until I hear from you and intreat that you will write or desire the girls to write immediately, I am unhappy too upon Patsy account and the spreading of the fever, and wonder what it was that induced made me to leave home under such circumstances—I can scarely comprehend what motive could be urgent enough to induce me to do it, and I actually was actuated by none. for what pleasure can I anticipate in a trip to Washington,? none. but I must bid you adieu and leave the desk to Nicholas—give a great deal of love to the dear girls, to Papa if he is with you and [to] all the family—I am myself quite well, better much than I expected to be, and will write again from Washington

once more adieu dear dear mother—
RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); torn at seal and folds; addressed: “Mrs M. Randolph Monticello. Charlottesville Postoffice Albemarle”; stamped; postmarked Fredericksburg, 20 Nov.