Francis has enjoyed constant & perfect health, and is as happy as the day is long. he has had little success as yet with either his traps, or bow & arrows. he is now engaged in a literary contest with his cousin Virginia, both having begun to write together. as soon as he gets to z (being now only at h) he promises you a letter.
To John Wayles Eppes, December 8, 1809
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Grandfather leaders know both indoor and outdoor education is necessary!
Jefferson reported to his widowed son-in-law (married to his daughter Maria, who died in 1804) on the safe arrival of his 8-year-old son Francis at Monticello. In a time when health and life could vanish in an instant, he reassured the father that his son was both healthy and happy.
Jefferson treasured a multi-faceted education. Chances are he was helping his grandson with both outdoor and indoor skills. Francis’ hunting and trapping prowess needed some work, but his indoor education was coming along. Competing with his 8-year-old cousin, both were learning how to write their letters. Francis was up to the letter H. His father could expect a letter when he got to Z. (Maybe he would have some hunting success to report on by then?)