Oct 30th 1830
Miss Molly, did you ever see a poor fellow between two raw sisters, in a bustling town, returning visits for the first time? For if you have, you can only know how to pity the situation I have been in for the last two days, and the prospect for this, is even less flattering. As to having any will or opinion of my own in finding the location, streets &c of the different houses in question, was a thing not to be tolerated for an instant. Indeed from the inequality in the gaits of my companions I had great difficulty in expressing it, and then being kept at a very respectful distance by the fashionable dresses, together with the noise of the carts, it was too evident that every passenger was better acquainted with the nature of my remonstrances than the parties addressed. So Cousin like a dutiful brother, I was obliged to yield and follow where they led. After to day I believe I will have seen every lady in B. and so far I must say that I have neither derived the benefit or pleasure I anticipated, perhaps one reason is that I am not in a very pleasant humour, and another, that I can not help drawing comparisons, which I have long read “were odious.” Oh Cousin I am any thing but pleased with this trip to Cockspur, and had I felt when with you, as I do now, I believe I should have almost have refused to come. But now that I have started, I will go on, and even wait patiently till I can return. The truth is, that I have been for so many years in the habit of repressing my feelings, that I can now scarcely realize that I may give vent to them, and act according to their dictates, but this is fast recurring to me, so you may be prepared for their expression. Each afternoon since my arrival I have been traversing the streets for a case for that, which I almost alone take pleasure in contemplating, but it has been in vain, and I almost despair of finding one till I reach N. York. Neither can I ascertain any thing further in relation to the sailing of the Packets, than what I learned from Charles. So my present plan is, to leave here Wednesday, reach N. York Thursday, and if possible sail for Savannah Saturday. Therefore dearest Cousin, if you can, do contrive me a letter as at that place by Saturday morning, if not, I must again draw upon my patience, which little stock I much fear will be too soon exhausted. Why Walker is a most unconscionable little creature, here she has just pounced in upon, and declares I must go dress for it is after eleven, but notwithstanding I shall be obliged to finish this page. Dick went off Friday morning to Old Point with a heavy heart, and you may tell our little Ravensworth cousin, that he says as to seeing her and the District these hard times, is entirely out of the question, moreover had she seen how how [sic] happy he was night before last with his cousin Elizabeth, and how sweetly she turned up her lips at this departure, it would have made her shudder. He had only been to see her three times that day, and the last visit I went with him at four & returned after ten. I don’t pretend to explain all these things for he told me nothing. Tell dear Cousin Anna that the certificate I sent to Richmond was all sufficient, and the money has been received. Also that I delivered her letter to her brother W. the night I arrived. He has not yet gone over to the E.S. and does not intend going till next Tuesday. The town is filled with Officers, with a party of whom I am to dine to day. Among others Mr Harris is here, but he has not succeeded heard whether he has succeeded in getting a situation at W. Point. And now dear Cousin I must stop, and beg you often to think of your devoted
R E Lee
P.S. The visits are all over, but the dinner is not. Remember me affectionately to your Mother & Father, and tell Miss Eleanor & Miss Mary, that if they would not take leave of me for fear of my seeing tears in their eyes, they might have saved themselves the trouble as I don’t believe I should have perceived them.
Little Linchy is the sweetest little fellow I ever saw (Don’t tell Mrs B), he has grown very much & talks delightfully. He says Uncle Warbet I can’t mack you, your to noofs is too big. All send their love to you
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. 517-519.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 25