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The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Lee Family Digital Archive

Wood Stock

September 11th 1830

Well my Sweet Cousin, I am stationary at last. I arrived here yesterday from Eastern View[1] and established my headquarters in this land of corn bread and ice milk, which I hope will be able to keep me alive during my absence from you. But I know that you will not believe, I think more of the representative than the object, nor suppose that in these long days of outgoings & incomings, this latter has not been constantly present to my thoughts, notwithstanding the many recollections called up by the sight of old scenes, and the appearance of well known faces. Perhaps this may account why I have already determined to shorten my visit to this neibourhood, therefore my dearest Cousin don’t be too much surprised if I should make my appearance at Arlington a full week earlier than I had originally intended. The letters of which I was the bearer, threw them all over at the View in the greatest commotion, insomuch that I was in the greatest alarm, lest the scenes that had already taken place in France[2] should again be enacted in Fauquier. The feelings of the house were first shown in smiles, hints, and indirect allusions, to these, the opposite party paid not the least attention and put on a great appearance of coolness. Presently the symptoms became more alarming, and the cries of contracts, engagements &c were accompanied with loud talking & laughing. The other side became agitated & restless, and it was evident the crisis was fast approaching. Both parties gradually approached the place where I was standing, and just as the storm seemed ready to burst upon my innocent head I bolted from the house & took refuge in the laundry. I just escaped in time, for hardly had I closed the door , when the whole building rung with the shouts and clamour of the enraged combatants. See then Cousin, what danger I escaped, and I hope you will acknowledge that the next time I am made the bearer of your dispatches it will be but fair that I should be made acquainted their nature

Yesterday E. View was quite deserted. Dr Mason & his wife, Mr & Mrs Hill Carter & family, Marietta & Lavinia left there for Kinlock, Sir Robert went up to Warrenton to spend a few days with his wife, who is staying with her sister during her sickness and I came over to Wood Stock. Every body in these parts are well, & at this place the family are all well & happy as usual. Capt. Charles Randolph and family are expected at E. View to day, and the horses are now at the door to take Uncle Fitz & myself over to dine with them. So Cousin Good-bye, and remember that you are not indebted to my impudence for this letter, but to your permission. So answer it, and if you will promise that cousin M. shan’t see mine, the next will be less stiff & more natural. I hope that Dear Cousin Anna is more resigned & in better health than when I saw her & that you & yours are as well & happy as you deserve.

                                                      R E Lee

 

 

 

 

Source: Robert E. E. deButts, Jr., “Lee in Love: Courtship and Correspondence in Antebellum Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 115, No. 4 (2007), pp. 514-515.

 

 

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 22

 


[1] Located on Cedar Run, near Warrenton, Virginia. House owned by the Carter family.

[2] Lee is referring to King Charles X being deposed in 1830 July, which led to riots in Paris.

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