Staunton Va

May 21st 1856

My dearest Papa

Though we have received no answer to our last, I am going to write again, for if you have not received our last, you must think you have two very negligent daughters, which is not the case, for we write very dutifully home once a week. I have been upstairs with a most obstinate headache for two or three days, & am so tired of lying here doing nothing not even sleeping, that I got out your letters & read them over, & then could not resist the longing to talk with you even on poor paper. Oh! Pa. I want to see you even for a few minutes, if you could only step in this little room, where I am all by myself, the other girls being down at their French class, where they remain an hour, wouldn’t it be delightful. I think I would be quite well in a minute. Last night I dreamt Precious Life[1] came in & laid her little hands on my head & it stopt aching. Do not think I am not well, for I think this is the first time since Christmas that I have been sick & you know it is Spring now the Dr says & has dosed me well with sedlitz powders & tomorrow I am going down again. Next week we will have our Rhetoric examination. I dislike it so much & consequently never know it as well as my other lessons, but we hope for the best, & we will only have an hour’s examination. Some say school will close the 23d of next month, but the teachers wether to frighten us or in earnest say not till the 15th of July, I don’t know what we shall do if we stay so long, it will be so hot studying. The grass & trees are a beautiful rich green, & every thing is advancing, we have had some very pleasant walks afar over the hills. Last Saturday Mr. Wheat took ever so many of us out to Deaf & dumb Institute, it’s very interesting to see them laugh entirely by sign & some are very intelligent among them was Cousin Ann’s daughter Bella B.

Two little blind girls read to us, sweet little things with blue eyes & skins like marble. Sunday we went out again in the afternoon to see Mr. Turner preach to them. He was himself deaf & dumb [illegible] him was written up on slates his sheets & heads of discourse, they were very attentive & looked with all their eyes Mr. T’s gestures were very illustrative, even I could understand nearly all he said, then he prayed with closed eyes, & few motions. He was so curious I could not understand that Staunton is really a right pretty place especially when you go up on some of the hills & loock down, & then all round the country, & the distant mountains make a very pretty picture. Our drawing class is getting on very well. Mr. C reads to us every evening. Ada draws very beautifully I think & Annette very well I get so discouraged, & sometimes think I will give up trying. I want to learn to etch & draw in india ink.

The measles are in school, & a great many have them I hope we will escape, it is so funny to see go by the door, & see two or three girls, sketched out in the most forlorn manner, or sitting up crying from hunger. Mrs. Sheffey goes all round two or three times a day to see the sick, she has been very kind to me. I always love her when I am sick, but at other times not so much Mr. S & Mr. Phillips have gone to the convention, so that poor Mr Wheat is left to take care of the whole set of unruly girls, but I think no one is more competent, he flys about first to one class & then to another, & takes particular pains that not one shall escape.

Texas must be looking beautifully so much more advanced than this part of the world. I wish I could come out there, & see those wide prairies & the indians, what do you do all the time? I hope Agnes has told you something enlivening to make up for that.

They say Sister is going to spend the greater part of the summer at W P that Custis cannot come home. I think it is so hard that we should be so separated you so far away, when others [illegible] Fathers & brothers always near them. Write whenever you can find time & Goodbye from your devoted daughter.

Annie Lee  



Source: Lee Family Papers, Folder 9, Mss1 L51c 157, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 6


[1] Mildred Childe Lee (1845-1905).