13th July 1831
So Captain, you would not come up to Arlington on that memorable Thursday. But I gave you the severest scolding you have had this many a day, from which I hope you will derive great benefit. However you would have seen nothing strange, for there was neither fainting nor fighting, nor anything uncommon which could be twisted into an adventure. The Parson had few words to say, though he dwelt upon them as if he had been reading my Death warrant, and there was a tremulousness in the hand I held, that made me anxious for him to end. I am told I looked “pale & interesting” which might have been the fact. But I felt as “bold as a sheep,” & was surprised at my want of Romance in so great a degree as not to feel more excitement than at the Black Board at West Point.
The Party all kept together till the following Tuesday, when most of them departed, particularly the Gentlemen. Some of the Ladies remained the rest of the week. And we were then left alone. I would tell you how the time passed, but fear, I am too much prejudiced to say anything more, but that it went very rapidly & still continues to do so. We are this far on our way to the upper country where we shall spend the remainder of my leave of Absence. And I then hope the Mother & Daughter will recover from the effects of an attack of the Fever & Ague, they have lately undergone. Their health has been reestablished though not their looks. We shall return to the District about the first of August & you may expect me down in the first Boat in that Month. I purchased in Alexandria some few Articles which I directed to be sent by the Potomac to your care, & are to go down next Friday. May I trouble you to have the Bedstead placed in the larger room, (of the two in the Wing) Since the Madam prefers that, and such other articles as you may think fit, the rest can be placed in the Small room. All Feather beds have been forbid the apartment under pain &c and as I could not procure a Palliasse, The mattress must answer for the present. The Box of Articles I will not trouble you to open or arrange, as I can do that in five minutes after my arrival. And this closes the list of commissions. There is nothing new here except a second edition of the Ingham affair which has been put to press since the arrival of the President & all of which you will get by the Papers. I was over in Washington last Monday, saw the Genl & Mrs. G[ratiot] the first of [letter damaged] was not very well. They talk of going north before going to Old Point. Col Thayer had arrived that day & was with the Genl. Poor Mansfield had been ordered on to consult Genl Bernard & arrived the very day he resigned, so that he has to go back to N. Port. I was very anxious to see M, but could not find him. Remember me kindly to Mrs. Hale & tell her I am constantly reminded of her by the Good People I am with & that the Madam looks forward with great pleasure to forming her acquaintance. I long to hear little Miss Rebecca’s “Lee,” “Lee” & to see whether Miss Kate is still as “Bwack as Wee’ I write in great haste, with the servant waiting to take this to the office which will give him a long ride because I actually could not find time before I left the District for anything but —Remember me to every one & Excuse Dear Capt all the trouble I have given you & Believe me
Yours truly & sincerely
R. E. Lee
P.S. They are all talking around me at such a rate that I hardly know what I have written & despair of reading it. But Please send the boat out for me, the first trip the P. makes in August.
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Mss1 L5156a 1, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 September 23