Virginia J. Randolph (Trist) to Nicholas P. Trist

The clouds and mist which have envelloped us continually, have I fear imparted some of their dullness to my brain, for in several attempts that I have made to write to you, My Dearest Nicholas, I have found it too barren to furnish one page of sense. I wish the sun would deign to show his blessed face once more for a whole day, but we only have a glimpse of it now and then from behind his curtain of clouds, and his beams are withdrawn again as if in displeasure with the world. How fortunate that we do not worship him.—If it is true that wet summers are unhealthy, I hope this weather does not reach you, for my imagination is already too busy in painting the terrors of that climate for Browse and your self, after so long an absense from it. I have no fears for ourselves, for the air of [. . .] among the mountains is always healthy, except when it visits us with rheumatism and pleurisy in the winter. What a paradise might be formed by combining some of the advantages of the north and south; yet no doubt it is best as it is, ’though short sighted mortals! we are “pleased with nothing, if not bless’d with all.”—Your letter to Mama arrived last night, and with it one from Francis to me. He had just finished the task which he was to perform before he came again to see us (reading one volume of “Coke upon Lyttleton”) and was to set out on his journey the last of this month. His society affords me a great deal of pleasure always, and his visits please us all the more, because feeling him self among affectionate sisters, and so near to her whom he loves best on earth, he appears to be quite happy while staying here.

I hear’d with great surprise that Miss Braddick intended to break up her school and marry Mr. *Petticola in the fall—hitherto I have believed her too ambitious if not too prudent to make this match, but Sister Ellen who knew her better expected it to take place. I feel interested in her fate, which will not at least be as forlorn as it has been, and I hope she may be happy. speaking of them reminds me of their art, which I admire more than ever from having seen an exquisitely beautiful little drawing in Indian ink, done by Mr. E. Vail; it is a “view of Genl Lafayettes seat at la Grange,” and looks like a fairy dwelling. You must amuse your self in cultivating this charming accomplishment, it would be I am sure, an agreable recreation from the dull law books you are reading.—you see I am very liberal with my advice.—

Adieu Dear Nicholas, give my love to Browse always, and a kiss to little Mary. Believe ever in the constant affection of your own

V. J. R.

*it is an Italian name and spelt right.


pleased ... with all is from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man (London, 1733–4).

Date Range
June 27, 1822