From Mary Jefferson
Monticello, April 18th, 1791.
I received your letter of March 31st the 14th of this month; as for that of March 9, I received it some time last month, but I do not remember the day. I have finished Don Quixote, and as I have not Desoles yet, I shall read Lazarillo de Tormes. The garden is backward, the inclosure having but lately been finished. I wish you would be so kind as to send me seven yards of cloth like the piece I send you. Adieu, my dear papa. I am your affectionate daughter,
MS not found. Text taken from Randolph, Domestic Life description begins Sarah N. Randolph, The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson, Compiled from Family Letters and Reminiscences by His Great-Granddaughter, Cambridge, Mass., 1939 description ends , p. 199. Recorded in SJL as received 30 Apr. 1791.
Under TJ’s prodding and now with Martha’s supervision, Mary had been struggling with Spanish for three years, being given ten pages to master in a day (see TJ to Elizabeth Wayles Eppes, 12 July 1788 and 7 Mch. 1790; Mary Jefferson to TJ, 25 Apr. 1790, 23 May 1790, and 22 Jan. 1791; Martha Jefferson Randolph to TJ, 16 Jan. 1791). The work that she had not yet tackled was Historia de la Conquista de Mejico by Antonio de Solis (1610–1686), Spanish dramatist and historian. In 1787 TJ owned the two-volume edition published in Madrid in 1783–1784 (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–1959, 5 vols. description ends No. 4119). It is not known which edition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote Mary was reading. Of the several editions owned by TJ, one (published in Paris in 1754) was read by him as a youth and still survives, bearing on its title-page in his hand “Ex libris Thomæ Jefferson” (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–1959, 5 vols. description ends No. 4347). The work which Mary was about to read was presumably The life and adventures of Lazarillo de Tormes.