Virginia J. Randolph (Trist) to Nicholas P. Trist, with Postscript by Martha Jefferson Randolph

Dear Nicholas

I fear that the letter which I addressed to you at Louisville, and which Mama enclosed in one from her self, will never reach it’s destination, and I have therefore determined to write again, believing that you will be equally pleased at this unceremonious conduct, and at hearing from me so soon after your arrival at home. I do not regret having given way to my feelings when I took leave of you for so long a time, and particularly now that I know it is a source of pleasant recollection to your self; of my heart I am sure none of my friends have cause to complain, but of my temper and it’s unpleasant effects on my manners, I know they have very great; I am quite sensible of these defects and very anxious to correct them, but I sometimes fear that all my efforts will be unavailing, and that I shall live to deplore it yet more deeply in the alter’d hearts of those friends whose affection is necessary to my existance.—but enough. I did not intend to tire you with a confession of my sins.

A Gentleman who was here a few days after your departure, told us that there was a very good stage from Charlottesville to Louisville, which passed through Liberty; I suppose that would have been a much shorter route for you, and would have prevented the delays very frequently occasion’d he says, in the voyage from Wheeling to Louisville, by low water, and which made when the river is full, in five days, takes ten and even twenty when it is not. I hope you will write from Wheeling as we are very anxious to know all your movements, Sister Ellen said in her last letter that you would arrive there on the 25th.

The visitors of the University met three days ago, and Mr. Madison who was accompanied by Mr. Todd, has been detained here ever since by bad weather. I really expect that poor Mr. Todd will hang him self if it rains again tomorrow. Cousin Richard will be here in a day or two, to carry us to Richmond, and we have not time to employ in vain endeavours to amuse this unhappy victim of ennui, and consequently he is left to his fate which appears to hang upon the weather-cock. Mrs. Watkins has risen from her death bed, and gone to Tennessee; it seems that her life was never in danger, but only “her sweet senses” which forsook her so entirely at one time, that she fancied the Doctor had the keeping of her breath, and that if he left her side for a moment she should suffocate. I hope her caprice will bring him back again shortly, for he is the only Physician in the County with whom I would trust the life of a friend.—Mama thinks you had better [. . .] enclose all your letters to Grand-Papa, as it would be very unsafe to direct them to her in Richmond, where there are so many Mrs. Randolphs. write often, for it will be my greatest source of gratification to hear from you, and always mention your health I command.—Cornelia and my self have found the buttons which you gave us, a very pretty and convenient mode of fastening our belts, and I have mine on at this instant. Adieu my Dear Nicholas believe me your own and ever affectionate

V. J. R.

one glance at this writing will shew you that I have not as yet, been able to copy the capital letters you made for me, but I shall do it certainly. Mary who is now at my elbow sends her love to you, in which I have no doubt she would be joined by Mama and Cornelia.—give my love to Browse, and if you please, to your Mother.

Coffee is coming to clean the pictures this winter. tell Browse if he is very anxious about it I dare say I can procure the picture of his Hebe for him. we heard thro’ the same channel that Queen Elisabeth was dead, and of a broken heart, it is certainly true for Mr Peyton read it in the papers, that accounts for the downfall of the ruffs. pray write to some body shortly we are very anxious to hear from you. remember me affectionately to Browse to your dear Mother. and Grandmother also and accept for your self My Dear Nicholas every feeling which can warm the heart of an affectionate Mother the almond paste will enable me to play on the piano this winter, for never without it should I have had the courage to stretch out a claw rivalling the peacocks in coulour & roughness. adie[u]

M R.
RC (DLC: NPT); torn at seal; addressed: “Nicholas P. Trist Esqr Donaldsonville La fourche Louisiana”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 4 Dec.; endorsed by Trist: “Randolph (V. J.) Dec. 2. 21.”