<br /> Lee Letter: c016

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Annette Carter

I have just received your letter of the 27th. You know the pleasure it has given me. Though I have been regretting your absence ever since you left, I am glad that you reached home comfortably and safely and found all well. I can readily understand how glad they were to have you back, but am at a loss to make you know how sorry we were to part with you and how much we regret your absence. My rides are entirely solitary now. Even Traveller seems to miss your enlivening presence and I fear is becoming as sombre as his master. But you promised to come and see us again. That is the only way to bring us pleasure or to restore life to Lexington. Since you left, Captain Henderson has not been to see us, but takes long walks with Custis. What he imparts to him may be numbered among the secrets of the grave, while I talk freely to Traveller, and feel equally sure of his discretion. I shall be so anxious to receive your picture, but he must be a skillful artist to paint you as I know you or to equal the portrait that I have constantly before me.

I am very much obliged to you for the cravat. I hope it will last forever, and it certainly will if it lasts as long as my admiration. But do not think that it is necessary to recall you to my thoughts for you live there always and I cherish the hope of being able to get to Goodwood to see you all once again. You had better make up your mind to marry Custis and come and live with me always. He is so poor that you will not be tempted into any extravagance. I suppose pretty May Carter is full of her finery. Tell her she might as well spare herself the trouble. Major B. will not see a piece of it. We have had three rides here since your departure. They all go down to the Natural Bridge, which possesses for me more attraction since I have visited it with you. We are expecting a visit from Fitzhugh daily. He is to be married on the 28th of this month, and says he cannot think of its taking place unless I am present. This is a sore terrible to me, for I had not intended to attend. My going will not only be an inconvenience to myself but to others, and then I shall have to see so many persons that I will be unable to see those I desire. When I go to Goodwood, Annette, you may be sure that I go to see you, your father and sisters and their families, and that you must be with me wherever I go. The Harrisons are still at the Natural Bridge. I believe it is their purpose to leave tomorrow morning. They must have been alarmed yesterday morning at discovering the ground covered with snow. It still lingers on the mountain tops, and chills our atmosphere. Miss May McKim writes she is charmed with the Bridge and never tires of seeing it. Now sweet Annette I must bid you farewell, but I hope not for a long time, for you must write to your uncle who loves you so dearly, and do not be deterred by his tedious letters. If he wrote forever he could not tell you how dear you were to him. . . .

R. E. Lee



Transcription based on dealer’s catalog.