My dear Lucy
It is with much regret that I part with your Mildred1 she has been very useful & a great comfort to me the long dreary Winter & Spring & I do not know how I shall get along without her, but hope you will be able to spare her to visit us again before a great while. Henry’s examination2 was over yesterday & as he expressed a great desire to return only fearing the funds for that purpose might not come in time. The genl offered to advance them both for him & Mildred, as we thought it the best opportunity for her to return & you seemed so anxious she should do so. I do hope you will all be able to go to the soda sulphur. It would be of great service to you. I am sure, we shall probably leave home early in June for some of the Springs, probably the Hot, tho’ I am almost hopeless of any improvement in my condition yet it is some relief to the wearisome monotony of my life to go away from here. I have been giving Mildred Alum water for a month past which has been of the greatest service to her & I hope she will have no more chills with proper care, but if she eats improperly or is much exposed to the hot sun & draughts of air she is sure to be sick & you will have to be very careful with her. She has promised me she will not eat green fruit. Please make her attend to her teeth & though she probably will not study a great deal this summer yet if you could make her read out to you every day it would be a great advantage as she both reads & writes indifferently. Constant practice would improve in both. I have not attended to those branches as much as to her other studies, & will you also correct her habits of lounging about in all possible postures which I have vainly endeavoured to do. The great interest I feel in the child makes me wish to see all she ought to be & all I think she might be, with proper training & a firm but mild restraint. I suppose, Mr. Meade3 has sent my brother Carter the Lee genealogy. It is a very handsome Book though the Genl’s picture is indifferent & mine most horrible. I intend to cut it out of my copy & have written to request Mr. Richardson not to have it inserted in any more. I hope if you have one you will cut my picture out of it. I will refer you to Mildred for all further news of ourselves as I feel pretty tired having been forced to spend several hours in the kitchen this morning having unfortunately a most delicate set of domestics. Much love to all. Ever
M C Lee
Source: Photostat of handwritten letter, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall. Original at Yale University.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 21
1. Robert E. Lee in a letter of March 1868 noted how hard the winter had been. Given the context of the rest of the letter, it is likely that Mary was writing in the spring of 1868.
2. Mildred Lee Francis (1857-1945).
3. Perhaps referring to Henry Carter Lee (1842-1889), the son of Sidney Smith Lee.
4. See Charles Carter Lee’s letter to Robert E. Lee concerning the book, 1868 December 3. http://leefamilyarchive.org/9-family-papers/311-charles-carter-lee-to-robert-e-lee-1868-december-3