November 28th Novr
Your affectionate letter should have been sooner acknowledged my dear Carter but I have not recently felt in the writing vein which often seizes me & then all my correspondents suffer. I am much indebted to Mr. Eskridge in his kind offer but fear it would little advantage either of us for me to try it; as my case seems to baffle all remedies. I am now taking a famous remedy that E. Childe brought me from Paris but I do not perceive that it has produced the slightest effect. Fitzhugh also brought up an infallible remedy external & applied it himself but with no better result. I do not mind any external application but object to taking medicines the may affect my health & destroy the little comfort & ease that is left me. I must endeavour to resign myself to god’s will. Should you see Dr. E. you can thank him & tell him thus, why do you not try it upon Lucy. She is younger & maybe relieved whenever I hear of her, she seems to be suffering. I congratulate her upon having her sister settled so near her. It is a source of great regret to me that my sons are so far off especially now that I am unable to go to them. I greatly enjoyed the visit of Fitzhugh & his sweet wife & think he has been most fortunate in his choice. She seems very amicable & sensible & to interest herself in all that concerns her husband. This is also our nephew Edward’s wedding day who I hope may be equally happy in his choice. He regretted very much not going to see you but as you were not at home & he has promised to bring his wife over next summer you will see them soon. He is very much of a foreigner but seems to have affectionate memories of his relatives here. Many went down to Richmond to stay with the Caskies until they broke up their house. She will make a visit to the White House & other friends & I much fear will not return to us before Spring, tho’ I wanted her to come back Xmas with Rob. Lexington is not a very attractive place in the winter. Tell Mildred the ladies are very busy getting up a Xmas tree for Sunday School. I understood from Henry that she had no return of chills but Mr. Wilkerson was here & said he spent 6 weeks at your house last summer told me that she had fevers while he was there. I hope you will not let her forget the little I was able to teach her last winter as I fear her Momma will not have much time to devote to her & she writes me her Aunt Bettie is going away. I am waiting to hear she has read that French Book before I send her another I have missed her quite as much as she has done us & feel the greatest interest in her improvement & welfare in all respects.
I congratulate you upon being able to celebrate your 70th birthday so profitably & your cheerfulness amid all our troubles. Your toast was admirable & comprehensive. Your brother Robert desires his love to you all as do the girls & Custis, the latter & his papa seem to be absorbed in their duties all the time & to enjoy but little relaxation. I feel that if I could only once be set on my feet again I should never wish to sit down. Truly every heart knoweth its own bitterness, we have one consolation at our time of life that all trouble must soon pass away & if our faith rests upon the only sure foundation we shall then be forever with our Lord in a place where sorrow & sighing are unknown. I have been enjoying this beautiful weather riding out in the carriage of a kind friend here & though I get in & out with great difficulty yet when once seated comfortably do not mind the jolts. I got a letter from Aunt Maria who complains a good deal of her rheumatism. She was in Alex[andri]a & Smith had been staying with her but was not very well. He was going up to Ravensworth where Mary Goldsborough was to join her. I here from Parke quite often who always writes daily & from my Aunt Rosalie Webster who is still living in Cumberland takes care of Aunt Eleanor & Sarah the latter more than 80 years old, but still able to work among her flowers. I have written you quite an epistle & wish I had something of more interest to communicate. I think it is time the Morrows were making their appearance but do not know that Richardson has written about them recently.
Mary Custis Lee
Source: Photostat of original letter, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Memorial Library, Stratford Hall. Original at Yale University Library.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 20