I should like to see you Mr. Cocke in the positive you describe with your ambition & pride might too, & yourself writing under the winding sheet of Mortification - Just as I would like to see my thing now, or visit any place I had never been before - for where ever I have seen you, you have had a goodly allowance of both!
I always have thought, & still think, that there was a good deal of the Poet in you - & hope that at some future day you may be induced to show your poetical effusions - But you remember that the Disectic Village remained unheeded in a drawer for years, because Goldsmith was ashamed to show it? I [illegible] that has been the fate of many an illustrious price -
Now for the ride - dont you think we had better postpone it like some cooler evening? It almost breaks my heart to do this, but I think it would be best, for Agnes is still quite sick, & I would not like to leave her for so long a time -
I hear my chickens imploring me to come
You can see how heavily the [illegible] realities of life weigh upon me - no craving amid ambrosial flowers for me who has to wage a perpetual war against the big pig, the middle-sized pig - & the little pig!
Agnes sends her thanks for the delightful frozen cream,
The letter's envelope is addressed to: "Mr Preston Cocke Oaklands."
Editor's Note: The letter most likely dates from July-August 1865, when General Lee and his family were living at Derwent. Agnes came down with a case of typhoid fever in July. On 1865 July 29, General Lee wrote to his son Fitzhugh about Mildred's efforts to nurse Agnes back to health, saying, "She is very active & attentive & but for her I do not know what Agnes would do." Mildred also wrote about her chickens in a letter to Lucy Blain on 1865 August 14, noting "my chickens are a great comfort." See Mary P. Coulling, The Lee Girls, 154-55.
Source: Lee-Jackson Collection, Leyburn Library, Washington and Lee University
Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 28