My God, what a pain!

Autumn leaves had blanketed the drooping grass around Martha’s former home overseen by the remnants of Monticello’s plantation.  Edgehill, the nearby farm Father had so desperately sought for her in 1790, had fallen to the auctioneers gavel a few years before her final goodbye on October 10, 1836.  Whether family honor, memories of Grandpapa, or the comfort of familiar spaces motivated Thomas Jefferson Randolph to purchase his father’s heavily mortgaged property, we can never know.  However, the piece of land did preserve for a time a fleeting peace of mind his mother felt in the shadow of the Mountain.  As she had copied in Father’s Commonplace Book: “Every feature of that landscape has its own spell upon my heart, can bring back the living, breathing presence of those long mingled with the clods of the valley, can renew (for a moment) youth itself.”  Martha felt the spring of 1836 had dragged with it “the winter season of life, with all its infirmities, so greatly encreased by the absence of warm weather. . . .  I feel that the days of my strength and usefulness are gone.”  Yet, the perseverance her father had encouraged while young Patsy struggled with translating Livy, itself was steadfast:  “There are pleasures even for age.  My dear children that first and greatest of blessings, fine weather, books, flowers . . . and oh if I should ever again . . . have a home . . . .”  It was in her lost home at Edgehill in the fall of 1836 that Martha cried from her son’s arms: “My god, what a pain!”

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