Journal of a Young Lady of Virginia (Lucinda Lee Orr), edited by Emily V. Mason

Young Lady of Virginia

For the Benefit of the Lee Memorial Association of Richmond,

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Note: The following journal was kept by Lucinda Lee, daughter of Thomas Ludwell Lee, one of the Lee brothers of Stratford Hall Lee prominent in the American Revolution, and his wife Mary Aylett Lee. Lucinda Lee married John Dalrymple Orr, a Prince William County-born physician educated at the University of Edinburg whose uncle, Colonel William Grayson, served with Lucinda’s uncle Richard Henry Lee as the first U.S. Senators from Virginia. The Orrs lived at Alexandria for some years before moving to North Hill, an estate on the Shenandoah River near Snicker’s Ferry in Clarke County, Virginia. Their daughter Ellen married General Asa Rogers of Loudoun County.

Lucinda Lee kept her journal for Polly Brent, a young Maryland friend who at the same time was supposed to be keeping a record of her own for Lee. Brent’s manuscript copy of Lee’s journal, now missing, was still in her family’s papers in 1871 when Emily V. Mason edited and published it to raise funds for Confederate veterans of the Civil War. Mason misdated the journal 1782, when in fact it was written in 1787.

Historian Rhys Issac includes a discussion of Lucinda Lee and her journal in his essay “Stories and Constructions of Identity: Folk Tellings and Diary Inscriptions in Revolutionary Virginia,” his contribution to Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on Personal Identity in Early America, edited by Ronal Hoffman, Mechal Sobel, and Fredrika J. Teute (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1997; pp. 206–235; discussion of Lee on pp. 228–235). Issac says Lee’s journal entries reveal “much of the ways that its writer drew on the momentously new mythology of the romantic novel that was revolutionizing self and society in the North Atlantic world by the 1780s.𔄭 (p. 229)

Emily Virginia Mason (1815–1909), the editor of Lee’s journal, was a great-granddaughter of George Mason of Gunston Hall. She was educated in Troy, New York, at a boarding school run by Mrs. Emma Willard. A southern woman writer described Mason as the Florence Nightingale “for our own boys” because of Mason’s service in the Confederate Hospital Department. After the Civil War Mason lived in Paris for fifteen years, working as an assistant principal in an American school for girls. In 1830 she moved with her family to Detroit, where her father and then her brother served as Secretary of the Territory of Michigan. A correspondent with the family of Robert E. Lee, Mason’s other publications include The Southern Poems of the War (Baltimore, 1867), which went through three editions before 1870; a Popular Life of General Robert Edward Lee (Baltimore, 1872); and The Autobiography of An Octogenarian (Miss Emily V. Mason), 1830–1850 (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections (vol. 35, 1907). The Library of Virginia owns an oil portrait of Mason painted by F. A. Perkins in 1878.


THE following pages contain a fragment of the Journal of a young lady of Virginia of the last century.

It seems to have been written by her while on a visit to her relatives, the Lees, Washingtons, and other families of Lower Virginia, mentioned in her Journal.

The friend for whom it was intended was Miss Polly Brent, also of Virginia.

The manuscript was found torn, and discolored by age, in an old desk at the country place in Maryland, to which Polly Brent carried it, upon her marriage into one of the old families of that State.

The Lees, of whom so much mention is made in the Journal—”Nancy,” “Molly,” “Hannah,” and “Harriet”—were the daughters of Richard Henry Lee, of Chantilly. Molly married W. A. Washington, and Hannah was—at the time of the Journal—the wife of Corbin Washington. Their grandson, John A. Washington, was the last occupant of Mount Vernon.

Harriet married the son of Mrs. Turberville, the “old lady” spoken of in the manuscript.

Ludwell Lee, a son of Richard Henry Lee, married the “Flora” of this chronicle. She was a daughter of Philip Ludwell Lee, of Stratford, and sister of Matilda Lee, the first wife of “Colonel Henry Lee;” whose little boy is mentioned as so “fine” a “child.” Colonel Henry Lee was none other than “Light-horse Harry;” the “little boy,” his eldest son Henry, half-brother to General Robert E. Lee.

It is believed the publication of this Journal will be well received, at a period when everything relating to the family of General Lee is of peculiar interest. It presents, also, a curious picture of the life and manners of that day.

There will be found in it many errors, and some antiquities of orthography, which it has not been deemed advisable to correct. It is believed that the Journal will be more entertaining in its original state than it would be with the aid of any amendments that we might make. It is certainly the work of a very clever girl, and possesses all that freedom of style and charming simplicity which is so pleasing and so rare.

Had the writer anticipated any criticism more searching than that of her amiable Polly, her style and orthography would doubtless have been more correct, and her Journal quite as commonplace as most of those that find their way into print.

The proceeds of the sale of this little volume will be devoted to the “Lee Memorial Association of Richmond,” which must further commend it to the favor of the public.

JANUARY, 1871.



THE WILDERNESSS, September 16. [1782][1]

I HEAR you say, “The Wilderness! where in the world is that, Lucy?” It is the name of this place. I can’t say I was much struck with the situation of the House; but they are as kind, good People as I ever saw.

[Sept. 17. 1782.] To-day is Sunday. Old Mrs. Gordon lives in sight of this [place]. One of her Daughters is just come—Lucy Gordon—very clever, though not a Beauty.

A Mr. Spotswood and his Lady are come to dine here. I must dress, of course.

They are gone.

Mrs. Spotswood, I think, is very Affable and agreeable, though not handsome. She has invited us to see her, and we shall go day after to-morrow.

I have spent the day pretty agreeably. Lucy Gordon is to stay with me to-night.

I have spent the morning in reading; and, much to my satisfaction, old Mrs. Gordon is just come to spend the day here. Lucy Gordon and myself are just returned from walking out. I was delighted: we walked to a river—they call it here; but it is very narrow. The banks of it are beautiful, covered with moss and wild flowers; all that a romantic mind could form. I thought of my Polly, and thought how delighted she would have been had she been a Spectater of the scene; and how much more pleased would your Lucy have been, how more delighted if she could have had her Polly to point out the Beauties too, and make her observations: but her dear Company was denied. Lucy Gordon is a truly good Girl, but nothing of the romance in her. So much the better, say I; she is much happier without. I wish to Heaven I had as little. Colonel Ball dined here to-day: a very clever man.[2]

[Sept. 18.] To-day we return Mrs. Spotswood’s visit. I have to crape my hair, which, of all things, is the most disagreeable. Adieu, my Polly, till my return.

Well, my dear, I am returned; and much pleased. Mrs. Spotswood is mighty clever in her house. She has a Daughter, about twelve years old (though very large of her age—she is as tall as I am), very agreeable, though not handsome.

They are at cards below, and have sent for me to join them, though I had much rather stay and converse with my Polly; yet politeness obliges my obeying the summons.

[Sept. 19.] To-day we dine at Old Mrs. Gordon’s: I flatter myself I shall spend this day agreeably. This evening Colonel Ball insisted on our drinking tea with him: we did, and I was much pleased with my visit; his Wife was not at home.

I have returned, and am sitting alone, writing to my dearest Polly. I don’t think I ever met with kinder, better People in my life; they do everything in their Power to make you happy. I have almost determined not to go to the races this Fall: every one appears to be astonished at [me,] but I am sure there is no sollid happiness to be found in such amusements. I don’t think I could answer for myself if you were to go; and then I should only go to be with you. I have no notion of sacrificing my own ease and happiness to the Opinion of the world in these matters. They laugh, and tell me, while I am mopeing at home, other girls will be enjoying themselves at races and balls; but I never will, I am determined, go to one, unless I have an inclination. I would not have you think from this that I pay no regard to the opinion of the World; far from it: next to that of a good conscience, the opinion of the world is to be regarded. Always pay due regard to that.

[Sept. 20.] I have spent this morning in reading Lady Julia Mandeville, and was much affected. Indeed, I think I never cried more in my life reading a Novel: the stile is beautiful, but the tale is horrid. I reckon you have read it. Some one just comes to tell us A Mr. Masenbird and Mr. Spotswood is come. We must go down, but I am affraid both Sister’s and my eyes will betray us. Adieu. I will describe the Gentlemen on my return.

Mr. Spotswood is the Gentleman we visited the other day. I think him handsome. Mr. Masenbird is an Englishman, and single, that has settled in this part of the World. I had heard he was a very uncouth creature, but he is quite the reverse—very polite, not handsome.

Interrupted again. They are come to tell me a Mr. Grimes and his Lady are come to wait on us. I must throw aside my pen, and go down to be introduced. Adieu. I will write more when we retire to dress.

Mrs. Grimes is very handsome,[3] though appears to be a little proud. Sister is almost drest; I shall have but little time to smart myself. Adieu. My Great-Coat shall be my dress to day.

[Sept. 21.] To- day we return Mrs. Grimes’s visit. I am going to wear my straw dress and my large hat; Sister wears A blue habit, with a white Sattin scirt. Adieu. I have but little time to dress.

I am returned, and was delighted with my visit. They live in a very genteel stile. She is one of the cleverest Women I have seen for some time. I saw there Miss Betty Lee, and A Miss Judy Roberson; the first is homely, though right agreeable—the latter is, I think, rather clever. You can’t conceive anything more nice or genteel than every[thing] was. I never was more pleased in my life. I am summon’d to supper. Adieu, my Polly; may every blessing attend you! Lucy Gordon is here, and has been ever since I came. I like her more and more every day.

[Sept. 22.] To-day we dine with old Mrs. Gordon. Lucy and myself are going to walk over now; Sister and Mrs. Gordon will not go this hour. Adieu. I will carry my Journal with me.

We had a very pleasant walk; got a number of grapes and nuts in our way. Lucy and myself are going to walk in the Garden, to get some pinkseed I am anxious to have. The Gentlemen dined to-day at Mr. Masenbird’s. Mrs. Gordon and sister are come: they have proposed cards, and I am called to join them. Adieu.

I would have staid to-night with old Mrs. Gordon, but expected to go down to-Morrow. Lucy and myself had a pleasant walk back. The married folks went on before.

We have supped, and the gentlemen are not returned yet. Lucy and myself are in a peck of troubles for fear they should return drunk. Sister has had our bed moved in her room. Just as we were undress’d and going to bed, the Gentlemen arrived, and we had to scamper. Both tipsy!

[Sept. 23.] To-day is Sunday. Brother was so worsted by the frolick yesterday, we did not set off to-day. Old Mrs. Gordon dines here to-day. Lucy and myself are going to walk to the river, and get a nosegay of wild flowers.

We are returned, and was much delighted with our walk. We went to Colonel Ball’s, and sat some time in the Porch; they are from home. Dinner is almost ready, and I have to dress. The children have surrounded me the whole evening, as it is to be the last we stay.

[Sept. 24.] We are just going to take our leave of these worthy People: I should like to stay some time longer, if it was convenient. Adieu: the Chariot is ready.

Well, my dearest Lavinia, I am arrived at Belleview,[4] a good deal fatigued, where we found Mr. Bushrod Washington and his lady, on their way down. She is fonder of me than ever; prest me to go with her to Maryland this Winter. Mr. Phil Fitzhugh is likewise here. He said, at supper, he was engaged to dance with one of the Miss Brents at a Ball in Dumfries, but that it was only conditionally. Mammy has just sent me word she has a letter for me—it is from Nancy, I am sure. Adieu.

It was, and one for you enclosed in it. Nancy writes me her Sister Pinkard is at Chantilly.[5] It must be a great acquisition to her happiness to have so amiable a companion as I have heard she was.

[Sept. 25.] The Company is all gone, and I have seated myself to converse with my Polly. Mrs. A. Washington has lent me a new Novel, called Victoria. I can’t say I admire the Tale, though I think it prettyly told. There is a verse in it I wish you much to read. I believe, if I a’n ?t too Lazy, I will copy it off for you: the verse is not very butifull, but the sense is, I assure you.

[Sept. 26.] To-day I have spent in putting my cloaths to rights—a dreadful task, you will say. I am going to take a little airing this evening. Adieu: the horses are at the door.

[Sept. 27.] I was sitting busy at work, when some one told me Mr. Charles Lee was here.[6] He was from Chantilly; and I flew out in expectation of a letter. What do you think I felt, when, instead of a letter, he told me my Nancy was very ill? My Polly, I am sure, will sympathize with me. What would I not give to see her! but that is denied me. I hope to God she is better! Mr. Lee says they did not apprehend any great danger.

[Sept. 28.] This morning Mr. Lee left us. Every time I see him I like him more and more. He has proved himself a truly good Brother, I am very uneasy with regard to Nancy—I wish to Heaven I could hear from her.

[Sept. 29.] Mrs Graem, Letty Ball, and Harry G—— called here to-day. Mrs. Graem, poor creature, appears much distressed at the death of her Children. When we come to consider, I think it much better for them: but how seldom can a Mother reason in this manner! Cousin Nancy is better, she told me: pray Heaven it may be so.

When Mrs. Graem came to-day, some one came running in and said the Richland chariot was coming.[7] You may be assured I flew to the door. Oh, how disappointed I was!

[Sept. 30.] To-day is Sunday, and I am going to church. Brother Aylett is going in the Chariot with me. I am this moment going to crape and dress. I shall wear my Great-Coat and dress Hat. Adieu, till my return.

I am returned. Mrs. Brook, Mrs. Selden, and Nancy were all at church in deep mourning. They were very civil to me, and prest me to dine at Selvington.[8] Mr. James Gordon is come to dinner from Chatham.[9] Mrs. Fitzhugh has sent me a very pressing invitation to go there this evening, and to-morrow to the races; but I have not the smallest inclination, and shall not go. This Mr. Gordon is a mighty clever man—I wish you could see him. I saw a beauty at church, a Miss Thaskkel. She has hazel eyes, fine complexion, and Beautiful Auburn hair, which hung in ringlets upon her neck.

We were sitting drinking tea this evening, when what should we see coming but Mr. Washington’s Carriage. I was delighted, you may be assured. They were all mighty well. I inquired for you. Cousin Molly told me you were in perfect health, and that your sister Brent and Nancy Ambler were with you—then I suppose my Polly is happy. I have a thousand Questions to ask about them, but I hope you will write me an exact detail of every thing that happened while there. You have been at a tea-drinking lately, in Dumfries: Mrs. A. Washington gave me the whole History of it—told me your dresses, and every thing. But where am I running to? I had forgot there was Company in the House, so happy am I always conversing with my Polly. Adieu.

You will smile, I am sure, when I tell you what I am about to do. Will you believe when I tell you I am this moment going to pack up my cloaths to go to Chantilly? Adieu. Some one has just come to tell me your Brother Richard is come.[10] I must go and inquire for my Polly.

You are very well, he sais. I shall give him your letter from Nancy. The Gentlemen are all in high spirits, thinking, I suppose, of the pleasure of to-morrow. I shall be far from this [place] by that time. I must quit, as the Boys are come for me to get Sweetmeats for supper.

[October 1.] I must really take my pen to scribble a little before I set off. The Gentlemen are just set off to the races, and I am preparing to set off for Chantilly. Adieu, my Polly.

[October 2.] I have arrived at Chantilly. Nancy was much better than I expected to find her. Weakness is her only complaint. She was delighted to see me, and inquired eagerly for her dear Polly, and was much pleased with your letter.

Mrs. Pinkard is here—and a sweet Woman she is. Adieu. Nancy says I shall not write more.

[October 3.] I am just up, and am going to seat myself for Sibby to crape my hair.

Cousin Nancy and myself have just returned from taking an airing in the Chariot. We went to Stratford:[11] walked in the Garden, sat about two hours under a butifull shade tree, and eat as many figs as we could. How did we wish for our dear Polly, and think that was the only thing we wanted to compleat our happiness!

We brought to Chantilly Co1o. H. Lee’s little Boy. He has stayed at Stratford since his Papa and Mama went to New York. I assure you he is a very fine child. Dinner announced. Adieu.

Nancy is rather unwell this evening; she is a little fatigued with her ride. Adieu. I must go and talk, to raise her spirits.

[October 4.] To-day I have been busy making a cap. I don’t think it clever, though I have spent a good while about it Nancy and myself have been locked up stairs by ourselves all day. She is better to-day than she was yesterday.

Oh, my Marcia, how hard is our fate! that we should be deprived of your dear company, when it would compleat our Felicity—but such is the fate of Mortals! We are never permitted to be perfectly happy. I suppose it is right, else the Supreme Disposer of all things would not have permitted it: we should perhaps have been more neglectful than we are of our duty.

[October 5.] Mr. Pinkard and a Mr. Lee came here to-day from the Fredericksburg races. How sorry I was to hear “Republican” was beaten. I was really interested in that race. Adieu. I must crape my hair for dinner.

It is a delightful evening. Nancy and myself are going to take a ride out in the Chariot. Oh, my Polly, why are you not here to join us! Away with such thoughts—they almost make me melloncholy. Nancy calls me. Adieu again. I come! I come!

We are returned, and had a delightful ride, and a much more delightful tête-à-tête. This Lee appears to be a hum-drum, disagreeable Creature. Tea is ready, and I must bid you good-by.

[October 6.] I wish, my Polly, you could see Mrs. Pinkard. You would be delighted with her. She is, I think, among the finest Women I have seen; and is thought very beautifull.

I have been very agreeably entertained this evening, reading a Novel called Malvern Dale. It is something like Evelina, though not so pretty.

I have a piece of advice to give you, which I have before urged—that is, to read something improving. Books of instruction will be a thousand times more pleasing [after a little while] than all the novels in the World. I own myself, I am too fond of Novel-reading; but, by accustoming myself to reading other Books, I have become less so, and I wish my Polly to do the same.

[October 7.] This is Sunday. We have been collected in the Chamber, reading the Lessons of the day. After that, Nancy and myself plann’d a ride out on horseback, which we are just going to put in execution. Adieu. I will resume my pen on my return.

We are returned. I can’t say I was much delighted with the ride, as I rode a very hard-going horse. They had dined when we returned.

[October 8.] Mr. Newton dined here to-day. I believe you know him, and therefore need not describe him. I have been very busy to-day working a little serene, to hold in my hand to prevent the fire from burning my face. I think it will be beautifull.

I have seated myself in my (w)rapper to scribble a little. Mr. Pinkard has been reading a Play all the evening to Nancy and myself. We were much pleased with it. Nancy grows better and better every day—which I am delighted at. Adieu: sleep has closed my eyes.

[October 9.] I was in danger last night of commiting a great piece of rudeness; the Play Mr. Pinkard read us was the Bell Strattagem. Mr. Newton was by when it was read. Some one ask’t him sometime afterwards what the Play was. He said the Country Cousin. I thought I should have burst with laughter!

The two Gentlemen went to the Court-house to-day. Molly and myself took a walk this evening, and should have walk’t much farther had we not met the Gentlemen. Mr. Newton dismounted and walkt home with us.

[October 10.] I have seated myself to give you the adventures of to-day. Mr. C. Washington returned to-day from Fredericksburg. You can’t think how rejoiced Hannah was, and how dejected in his absence she always is. You may depend upon it, Polly, this said Matrimony alters us mightely. I am afraid it alienates us from every one else. It is, I fear, the bane of Female Friendship. Let it not be with ours, my Polly, if we should ever Marry. Adieu. Harriet calls me to supper. Once more good-by.

[October 11.] Hannah and myself were going to take a long walk this evening, but were prevented by the two horred Mortals, Mr. Pinkard and Mr. Washington, who seized me and kissed me a dozen times in spite of all the resistance I could make. They really think, now they are married, they are prevaliged to do any thing.

[October 12.] I am going to tell you a little piece of a secret; but you must never mention it. Nancy had an admirer lately—who do you think it is? No other than Mr. Newton. He got his discard yesterday.

It is in the evening. Nancy and myself have been to visit our little garden [you have frequently heard me speak of it]. We were so unfortunate as to make it on the side of the hill, and it is wash’t very much. Do you visit our dear pledge, and think of your Lucy? How often do I think with rapture on the happy hours we spent sitting on the fence, singing and looking at the river with the Moon shining on it. Oh, how beautiful it look’t! Adieu.

[October 13.] I had almost forgot to tell you that to-morrow Mrs. Pinkard, Cousin Molly, and myself go below the ferry to Pecatone,[12] and Mr. Ballendine’s. I am very busy getting ready for the trip. Adieu.

It is in the evening. There are two Beaux just come. Mrs. Pinkard tels me I must go out and let her introduce them to me. The first I am acquainted with: he is homely, but a mighty worthy Man. The second I never saw beforeÔhe is tolerably clever. Nancy and myself are going to pore out tea.

[October 14.] I have but one moment to tell you that Nancy and myself are in a great hurry dressing. We are afraid we shall not be ready for breakfast, and we set off directly afterwards. This is Sunday. Cousin Washington and Nancy go as far as the Church, and return to Chantilly. Adieu, my dear Polly.

[October 15.] Well, my dear, we arrived late last night at Pecatone. When I wrote last we weare sitting off. We all dined at Doctor Thomson’s[13] together. Mrs. Washington and Milly called there in the evening on their way to Bushfield.[14] I never saw Milly before. I think I am a little disappointed in her beauty. She is not so pretty as I expected to find. I was distressed at parting with Nancy, but could not persuade her to come.

I don’t think you ever saw Cousin Turberville or Hannah. The first is homely, but very polite and hospitable in her house. The latter has not a handsome face, but is a genteel person. They gave us a very polite reception. Hannah was dressed in a lead-courlered habbit, open, with a lylack lutestring scirt. She had a butifull crape cushon on, ornamented with gauze and flowers.

I must bid you Adieu, for the Ladies are just dressed, and I shall not be ready for Breakfast.

I am just returned from riding out. While we were at Breakfast Cousin Molly proposed a ride to the store. It is kept by a Mr. Thomson—Brother to the Man it is said Miss H. Turberville is to Marry. Accordingly, we three went in the Chariot, and left the two Married Ladys by themselves.

We have retired to dress for dinner. Shall I tell you our dresses? I hear you say “Yes.” Mrs. P. wears a brocade; Cousin M. her pink Great-Coat, and I my pink. Adieu. Mrs. P. is going to dress my hair.

Every moment I can spare from the Company I dedicate to you. Two Beaux dined here. Mr. James Thomson and Mr. Ford. In the evening two more came—Mr. Beal and Mr. Joe Thomson. We are all preparing to dance. Adieu: I hear the Fidle.

[October 16.] We spent last night very agreeably. Danced till Eleven. My partner was Mr. Beal. This is a beautiful situation—the Garden extends from the House to the river [very much like Retirement]. I have been takeing a very agreeable walk there. An airing is proposed this morning. We all go in Mr. Turberville’s Coach. Adieu: it is at the door.

I don’t know when I ?ve been happier than I am now. Every thing I conspires to make me so. Cousin Turberville is so Affectionate. She does every thing in her power to make her Company happy. I had forgot to tell you Cousin Hannah’s dress yesterday. It was a blue lutestring habit, taffety apron and handkerchief, with the most butiful little hat on the side of her head I ever saw.

We are dressing for dinner: this is a ceremony always practiced here. I wear my Great-Coat.

We are just done tea; and are to have the same Gentlemen to dance again to-night.

I begin to want very much to see my Polly. Ah! what would I not give to obtain that [happiness]. It appears a year since the morning I parted from you, and how long, very long will it be before I clasp you to my breast. I am deprived even the consolation of hearing from you. Adieu, my love. I must return to the Company.

[October 17.] We danced last night, and every one appeared to be happy. I can answer for your Lucy: her partner was Mr. James Thomson—one of the best dancers I most ever saw. Early this morning came one of the Miss Ballendine’s—truly Amiable, I believe, but not handsome. But how prefarable is good sense and affability to Beauty: more pleasing a thousand times!

Cousin Molly and Hannah T. have rode to Mr. Ballendine’s to bring the other Sister. She is to be married soon to a Mr. Murfey.

The old man being sick that plays the Fidle, we have diverted ourselves playing grind the bottle and hide the thimble. Our time passed away agreeably enough.

[October 18.] Miss Nancy Ballendine would not come yesterday. Miss Eliza is still here; and a sweet Girl she is. I wish you could see her: I am sure my Polly would be pleased with her. We have been taking a walk together in the Garden, and talk’t of my Polly. She told me Mr. Macrae intended paying his addresses to you on his way up. I long to hear if he has.

We have the addition of two more Gentlemen to-night. A Doctor Harrington—a handsome man, I think—and an elderly Gentleman, Captain Grigg; the most laughable creature I ever saw. They tell me I shall be highly diverted at the minuet he dances; and we intend to make him dance one to-night.

[October 19.] I don’t think I ever laugh’t so much in my life as I did last night at Captain Grigg’s minuet. I wish you could see him. It is really the most ludicrous thing I ever saw; and what makes it more so is, he thinks he dances a most delightful one.

To-day we go to Mr. Ballendine’s. Adieu, my Love.

I am delighted with this Family. They take delight in promoting each other’s happiness, and they do it effectually; for I believe they are perfectly happy. Mrs. Ballendine is handsome—more so than either of her Daughters. Mr. Newton came this evening as we were at tea.

[October 20.] To-day is disagreeable and rainy. The young Ladys have been showing us the wedding-cloaths and some dresses they had from London; very genteel and pretty. Mr. Newton is still here, and is, I think, a very disagreeable creature. I wonder how Nancy did to bear with him. The young Ladys have been singing for me: they are mighty obliging, and sing whenever they are ask’t.

[October 21.] We have just returned this morning from visiting Mrs. Esquire Lee.

I never saw her before. She received us very graciously, and is, I think, rather clever. We returned just as dinner was on the table. Miss Nancy’s sweetheart came to-day. Mr. Murfey is a very good Man, I believe, but he is very homely. Adieu, my dearest.

[October 22.] We return this morning to Pecatone.

We are at Pecatone, and dressing. There are several Gentlemen to dine here. Mr. Thomson has invited this Family and ourselves to drink tea with him this evening. He has had a New Cargo of tea arrived. We intend going, and I shall not scribble again to-night.

[October 23.] We went to Mr. Thomson’s; returned, and danced at night. Mr. Turberville and Mr. Beal each made us all a present of a pound of Powder. I really have a great Affection for Mrs. Pinkard. She always chooses my head-dress, dresses my hair, and is the best Creature in lending you any thing. If you just say you want a thing, if she happens to have it, she will insist on your wearing it. Cousin Hannah has a quantity of Cloaths. She has put on every day since I have been here a different dress of muslin, and all handsome. Adieu, my best beloved. I have but little time to scribble, and that is only when we retire to dress.

[October 24.] We were entertained last night in the usual way—dancing. We have just returned from taking a delightful walk. We went to the peach orchard and eat a great many fine peaches. They are seldom met with this time of the year.

[October 25.] To-day we dine at Lee Hall—that is, at the Squire’s.[15] To-morrow we dine at Bushfield, with the Pecatone Family. Adieu; I will write when I get there.

I am at Lee Hall. Mrs. Lee is very polite. We found a Mrs. Ball here. She has the remains of a very pretty Woman, and appears to have a fixt melancholy on her countenance. I expect to see Nancy to-morrow at Bushfield—pray send I may. Mr. Beal and Mr. Pinkard are come. Adieu: I am called to supper.

[October 26.] I have but one moment to tell you we are just going to set out for Bush field Mr. Turberville’s Coach is waiting for us at the road.

[October 27.] When we got here we found the House pretty full. Nancy was here. I had to dress in a great hurry for dinner. We spent the evening very agreeably in chatting. Milly Washington is a thousand times prettyer than I thought her at first, and very agreeable. About sunset, Nancy, Milly, and myself took a walk in the Garden [it is a most butifull place]. We were mighty busy cutting thistles to try our sweethearts, when Mr. Washington caught us; and you can’t conceive how he plagued us—chased us all over the Garden, and was quite impertinent.

I must tell you of our frolic after we went in our room. We took it into our heads to want to eat; well, we had a large dish of bacon and beaf; after that, a bowl of Sago cream; and after that, an apple pye. While we were eating the apple pye in bed—God bless you! making a great noise—in came Mr. Washington, dressed in Hannah’s short gown and peticoat, and seazed me and kissed me twenty times, in spite of all the resistance I could make; and then Cousin Molly. Hannah soon followed, dress’d in his Coat. They joined us in eating the apple pye, and then went out. After this we took it in our heads to want to eat oysters. We got up, put on our rappers, and went down in the Seller to get them: do you think Mr. Washington did not follow us and scear us just to death. We went up tho, and eat our oysters. We slept in the old Lady’s room too, and she sat laughing fit to kill herself at us. She is a charming old lady—you would be delighted with her. I forgot to tell, Mr. Beal attended us here. I have been makeing Milly play on the forti-pianer for me; she plays very well. I am more and more delighted with her. She has just returned from the Fredericksburg races, and has given me a full account of them.

I have been filling out tea, and after that we took a walk to the river by Moonlight. The garden extends to the river. Nancy observed walking by moonlight, she thought, reminded us of our absent Friends. I joined her in thinking so, and my thoughts were at that instant with my Polly. We returned in the house, and I prevailed on Milly to entertain us an hour or two on the forti-pianer. We wanted very much to sleep in a room by ourselves to-night and try the dum cake, but could not persuade Nancy—she was afraid to sleep in the room with us.

[October 28.] To-day, which is Sunday, we dine at Doctor Thomson’s,[16] and in the evening go to Chantilly. Nancy stays, and goes to-Morrow with Corbin and Hannah in the Pheyton. Adieu, my ever dear Polly.

[October 29.] Chantilly. We got here late last night. In the evening, at Doctor Thomson’s, we heard, just by, there were six people to be dipt. We had Curiosity to see them, and accordingly went. I assure you it is a very Solemn Sight. We brought two Beaux home with us—Mr. Beal[17] and Mr. Stark.

[October 30.] To-day is rainy and disagreeable, which will prevent their comeing from Bushfield I have entertained myself all all day reading Telemachus. It is really delightful, and very improveing. Just as I have seated myself they are come to tell me tea is ready. Farewell.

[October 31.] Mr. Beal is still here. I assure you I think him very clever. Nancy is not yet come. I am quite lost without her. I have seated myself at Nancy’s desk to scribble a little—interrupted already. It is Cousin Molly. She is come to propose dressing Mr. Pinkard in Woman’s cloaths. I assent, so away goes the pen.

Just as we had got Mr. Pinkard dress’t, came Corbin, Hannah, and Nancy.

[Nov. 1.] Nancy and myself have just returned from a delightful walk. What do you think of her? She sais she could almost sware Mr. Beal is my slave! I laugh, and tell her there is nothing in it; nor do I believe he is.

Mr. Pinkard came in just now, and like to have taken this from me, tho I luckily got it in my pocket before he could get it.

[Nov. 2] To-day, Corbin and Hannah go to Blenheim, the seat of Mr. W. Washington. Hariot is going with them.

How much do I want to see my Polly! I hope, by this time, you are almost through your Book.

[Nov. 3.] To-day the Beaux took their leave. Last night Nancy had a fire made up in one of the up-stairs rooms; and was busily engaged in conversation, when Mr. Pinkard bolted in upon us and overheard part of our conversation—which hily delighted him.

To-morrow, Mrs. Pinkard, Nancy, and myself go to Blenheim. All the Bushfield Family are there. How often do we wish for our dear Polly! but she is denied us.

[Nov. 4.] We are now at Blenheim. The Hurry of dress prevented my writeing before I sat off. I am delighted with this Family, and still more delighted with Milly Washington. She is indeed a sweet Girl.

There came this evening a Major More Fauntleroy. We have had a heartty laugh at him; he is a Monstrous Simpleton; and likewise came this evening the hopefull Youth—A. Spotswood. He has lately commenced Milly’s lover. Nancy and myself have been teasin to get [something] out of her, but she is inflexible.

I have been very much entertained hearing Cousin Washington perform on the Spinnet. Adieu, my Friend. I can write no more.

[Nov. 5.] This is Sunday. We have just breakfasted. There came this morning one of the cleverest young Beaux I have seen for some time—a Mr. Turner.

Cousin Hannah and Hariet take our places this morning in the Chariot. Nancy and myself stay till the evening, and go with Mr. Washington in his Pheyton.

Nancy, Milly, and myself have shut ourselves in a room up stairs, and intend not to go down till summoned to dinner. The Topic of our Conversation is, regretting the manner in which we have spent our past life. It will tend to some good, you will say, if it will make us mend in future.

I have, for the first time in my life, just read Pope’s Eloiza. Just now I saw it laying in the Window. I had heard my Polly extol it frequently, and curiosity lead me to read it. I will give you my opinion of it: the poetry I think beautiful, but do not like some of the sentiments. Some of Eloiza’s is too Ammorous for a female, I think.

We set off this evening for Chantilly—but the Pheyton wheel broke, and we were obliged to turn back. Old Mrs. Washington has promised her Carriage to us to go in the morning.

[Nov. 6.] Chantilly. We sat off early in the morning, and we reached here this morning before breakfast. I found Mama’s Jem here. How delighted I am to hear of the Health of all my Friends above. He could not give me any information about you, except that he believes you are very well, which I am very much pleased to hear.

Aunt. Lee has been very sick for several days with a violent toothache.

[Nov. 7.] This is a delightful evening, my dear. Nancy and myself have just returned from a delightful1 walk to the river. On our return we two loll’d on the Sopha. I shall go up to Berry Hill directly the Pheyton is mended.[18] Mr. Washington is to carry me.

[Nov. 8.] To-day Old Mrs. Washington and Milly came. Nancy and myself have been dressing for dinner. N. looks handsomer to-day than I have seen her since I came. Adieu. I have not another moment to scribble.

Milly and myself took a’ walk tonight by moonlight. She knows you, she says, and thinks you beautifull.

We are going to join Nancy and Mr. Washington in the dineing-room. Adieu, my beloved.

[Nov. 9.] Mrs. Thomson, Mrs. Leland, and a Miss Leland are all just come, and unexpectedly too. I never saw the two last before. The first is a very clever old Lady, the latter very homely indeed. We are all going to dress. Adieu.

Dinner is just over. Harry, the Fiddler, is sent for, and we are going to dance. I had forgot to tell, Mr. Spotswood came to-day. You can’t conceive how angry Milly was. I soon got from her that he had promised never to trouble her again on the Subject, and she was displeased at his following her. Adieu—Harriet insists on my going out. She says the fiddle is come. Farewell, my love; may Heaven shower blessings on your head, prays your Lucinda. I always forget to make use of our other name.

[Nov. 10.] To-day Old Mrs. W. goes to Bushfield, and leaves Milly behind. I have promised to go with Milly when she goes, if I don’t go up before that time. Hannah and Corbin go with the Old Lady to-day. Cousin Molly and Mr. Pinkard go to Menoken today.[19]

Mr. Spotswood took his leave this evening; which Milly rejoiced at.

Nancy sleeps up stairs to-night with her Sister Pinkard. Milly, Miss Leland, and myself have the nurcery to ourselves. We want Nancy very much, but she is obliged to sleep up stairs.

I had forgot to tell you, the second night at Blenheim, Milly, Nancy, and myself had a room to ourselves, and tried the salt and egg; but neither of us dreamt.

I have undrest myself, and Sibby is going to comb my hair. Milly and Miss Leland are gone in the Garden. I propose to Sibby to go and frighten them: she agrees, and we are going to put it in execution.

We scared then1 a good deal. Milly screamed pretty lustily.

[Nov. 11.] We have just breakfasted. Mrs. Thomson and the Lelands have just departed. We are going hard to work. Milly is making herself a very pretty cap.

Cousin Molly came to-night; quite wet, as she was caught in a hard rain. We shall sit up very late to-night—I trimming my dress, and the rest makeing caps. I expect to go on Monday to Bushfield, with Milly. Nancy and Molly will go about that time to Miss A. Ballendine’s wedding.

[Nov. 12.] What a surprise, my Polly, have we all had this morning, and a delightful one too. Before we were out of bed a servant from Mr. Macarty’s came to let us know Aunt Fendall is arrived, and at Mr. Macarty’s. We are all invited to dine there to-day. I am delighted at the thought of seeing Flora before I go up. The Pheyton is mended, and I shall set off in a day or two.

I am not going to Mr. Macarty’s to-day.[20] I stay with Milly W. and Mrs. Pinkard. Aunt Lee, Molly, and Nancy go. It was my own choice to stay, for Nancy insisted on my going and her staying. They are gone. I drest Nancy’s hair—she really look’t beautiful to-day.

We are going’ to seat ourselves and hear Mr. Pinkard read a Novel.

Hannah and Corbin are just come from Bushfield. Mr. Washington sais he shall set off to-morrow.

Milly will set off directly after dinner. She has promised to correspond with me.

Milly has taken her leave, and I assure you I was a good deal affected at parting with her. She is a sweet Girl; and told me at parting that she was preposes’d with the notion we
should never meet again. God forbid! I can write no more, my Marcia, for I have got to pack up my cloaths.

I believe I shall scrible a little more to-night, if they should bring Flora home with them, if it is only to give you my opinion of her.

Well, my dear, they are come and, as I expected, brought Flora with them. She is very genteal, and wears monstrous Bustles. Her face is just as it always was. You, my dearest, that posses a great deal of Sencibility, would have supposed she would have been delighted to see me—far from it, I assure you. She saluted me just as if I had been a common acquaintance, and was not, I thought, at all glad to see me; but I suppose it is fashionable to affect indifference. I hope, my dearest, we shall always stear clear of such unnatural Fashions. She received Nancy in the same manner; that dear Friend and myself have just returned from a walk in the Garden—the last we shall take for some time, I am afraid.

Dear Mrs. Pinkard sets off this morning, and Cousin Molly goes as far as Peccatone with her.

The arrival of Flora has prevented Nancy from going.

I have just taken a last farewell of my dear Mrs. Pinkard—did I say a last farewell? I hope not. I should be unhappy did I think it a last farewell.

Mr. W. and myself have defer’d setting off till the evening, and then we go as far as Blenheim to-night. . . .


[1] “Wilderness” Residence of John Grymes, Esq., who married Miss Fitzhugh, of Eagle’s Nest. One of this family was Gen. Robert Lee’s grandmother.

[2] Col. Ball, probably the aide and kinsman of Gen. Washington: his second wife was France Washington, niece and legate of Gen. Washington.

[3] Of the Nicholas family.

[4] Belleview. Residence of Thomas Ludwell Lee.

[5] Chantilly. Residence of Richard H. Lee.

[6] Mr. Charles Lee—afterward Attorney-General in Gen. Washington’s second Cabinet—married the “Nancy” of the narrative.

[7] Richland. Residence of Daniel Brent, Esq.

[8] Selvington. Residence of Thomas Selden.

[9] Chatham. Residence of William Fitzhugh, grandfather of Mrs. Robert E. Lee. He afterward removed to Ravensworth, in Fairfax Co., when Chatham was occupied by his brother, Mr. Philip Fitzhugh.

[10] Richard Brent, U.S. Senator from Virginia for many years.

[11] Stratford. Residence of Philip Ludwell Lee.

[12] Pecatone. Residence of Mrs. Tuberville.

[13] Nomini. Built by “Counsellor Carter,” son of “King Carter.”

[14] Bushfield. Residence of Mr. Washington.

[15] Lee Hall. Residence of Richard Lee.

[16] Nomini.

[17] Beal’s—a family distinguished in the Revolution. This one is probably the same who was an officer in the war. Died a bachelor.

[18] Berry Hill. A country-seat of Thomas L. Lee.

[19] Menokin. Residence of Francis L. Lee.

[20] McCartys, married into the Lee family, lived at “Marmion.”