Warm Springs 27th July
I should have sooner replied to your letter my dear Carter but we are leading such a quiet life here that there was nothing to tell you of any interest except our own domestic concerns which have not been very cheering as agnes was quite sick for some days after we arrived & as soon as she recovered sufficiently to come out (for she is far from well now) Mildred who was recovering quite rapidly from an attack of fever she had in Lexington took a violent cold from some imprudence after bathing & has been in bed for a week with some typhoid symptoms which alarmed us, I am happy to say she is much better this morning though not yet out of bed & doesnot regain her strength & appetite as rapidly as we could desire.
as soon as she is well enough, probably about the last of this week we shall go over to the “Hot” & after Robert has settled us there he may go to the White for a little while as he thinks that water is always of great benefit to him. I will remain at the Hot long enough to try once more the virtue of its waters in my case. Robert says he does not see why you thought he wrote in low spirits, that he is not of a sanguine temperament & looks at things as they are & not as he would have them to be. He & the girls unite in love to you all & especially little Mildred. I suppose you have heard that E. Childes marriage is postponed until Novr on account of some law difficulties. I regret it very much as I had anticipated a visit from my new niece with great pleasure being much prepossessed in her favor both from her picture & a sweet little note she wrote me. I suppose now they will not come here before next summer. I heard from Custis at the White House that F & Rob were well but Tabb1 was quite sick at her Father’s in Petersburgh. F wished to bring her up to join us at the springs after Harvest but I fear she will not feel well enough to come. You do not say a word of your trip to Hardy. I hope you will be able to accomplish it for all your sakes = as there is no greater blessing than health. As to Capon1 I have been there tho’ not since this last & most severe attack but I do not think the bathing suited me even then. It was too cold & I did not react as I usually do. The baths are splendid but colder than any I have ever taken. I am very glad to hear Mr Taylor takes an interest in his grandchildren & hope it will last. I am also much gratified that you find Mildred improved. I think she is capable of much more & is just of an age to require a judicious control as from the great indulgence with which you have always treated her, she is rather too apt to express her opinions on all subjects too freely. Yet I have generally found her tractable & disposed to listen to reason, though sometimes needing a little sterner discipline than mine. Her cousin Mary is a much better manager of children than I am & though very wayward herself requires prompt obedience in others. She is now at Washington Peters near Ellicots Mills2 nor do I know when she expects to get home again. After the most intense heat ever known in these Mountains we are having a rainy season which I hope will benefit the corn & the gardens. I have only seen one ripe tomato. I suppose you have a plenty by this time.
Mrs. George Randolph is over at the Healing & her physician Dr Houston who lives here in the same cottage with ourselves tells me she is improving. There are some Alexandrians here among others a Mrs. Richard Stabler3 who was a niece of Phineas Janney4 quite a pretty woman who during the war joined old Christ Church with her husband. I have written you a long & very stupid letter for which I owe you an apology, but I write now with some difficulty with our united love to you
M C Lee
1. Mary Tabb Bolling Lee (1846-1924), who was born in Petersburg, was the wife of William Henry Fitzhugh Lee. She was the father of George Washington Bolling (1806-1875). He was from Petersburg.
2. Capon Springs in West Virginia.
3. Ellicott’s Mills in Baltimore County, Maryland.
4. May be referring to Richard Hartshorne Stabler (1820-1878), a native of Alexandria, Virginia.
5. Phineas Moore Janney (1810-1896). He was born in Virginia.
Source: Photostat of original handwritten letter, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall. Original at Yale University Library
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 22