<br /> Lee Letter: w069

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Unknown
Mary Anna Randolph Custis

My dear Mary

must imparte my silence to any thing but forgetfulness – & were not apologies so trite I would offer now at least 50 for not having written – You flatter me only with the content to hear that my time has been <illegible> given up to company which I have for the last fortnight – My friend Miss Lightfoot and Miss Eliza Moore her cousin from Alexandria were the most conspicuous personages except <illegible> in here by the dozens – I will mention one particularity to you – A Mr Coleman from Philadelphia a Quaker – a remarkably intelligent man – handsome rather eccentric sometimes – tho I think that is as <illegible> in order to amuse others for the time – He is there just because of Miss Lightfoot as he came down with her from Alexandria – but he says that his object in visiting Virginia was to see it & not Miss L – I would relate to you our different pleasures but as you are unacquainted the parties included – that it will be uninteresting – I suppose & hope that you to have been enjoying yourself in going I there <illegible> <illegible> – I was not invited nor could I have expected so distinguished an honor not being intimate to be with any of the parties – but I hope my near connexion with George will ensure me an invite to Virginia’s wedding when I will accept your kind invitation to go with you – I indeed regret necessarily that I have no velvet rose root to send you but I hope next fall I may – The bush died last winter & now have on a few little rushes puting up – Fanny Lightfoot has promised me a white Chrisanthemum & when I get it, it shall be divided with my dear Mary – I am delighted that my woodbine is so flourishing & must get you to and <illegible> to get me an Arbor Vitae from the Island to send with it – At any time you have an opportunity to Alexandria if you can send the box there to the care of Mr Cazenove with directions to send it to me – I could get it with facility or then as often opportunities from here to Alexandria.

I heard a few days since Fanny Carters marriage – She was married in English style at 3 o clock – and immediately got in a hack that waiting at the door for her and went off on her way to New York – I heard with deep regret of the death of Shirly Carter – Tho I still hope the reporting be a false one – I heard from Brother last mail he was quite well & appears to be determined to study very hard – so I think Mary you had better visit a while and take him out – The beautiful season is approaching when all nature seems to be animated & showing in its richest colours the adorable and wonderful works of our Creator – Our trees have nearly all their foliage & the prospect for a <illegible> of fruit is quite cheering – I suppose your wood bine & multiflora are vieing with each other in the beauty of their bloom – Like most of the precious things of this life they are too transient – & seem as if intended to show the mortality of all things – You think I moralise too deeply, but in a few days past I have met with a cap in an intimate friend which makes me feel more keenly than I ever did before – The person alluded to is Mrs Botts – a sister of Catherine Murats only a year older than myself – & was taken ill from the midst of gaiety & fashion and in one days notice was a corpse – She left an infant at only a year old & her parents who arrived from Tallahassee only two hours before she breathed her last – Sad visit it will be to them who had been anticipating so much pleasure in the reunion of their daughter <illegible> But enough of this painful subject – we will want to some more pleasing –

I supposed this <illegible> has experienced the sensations of a mother I feel anxious to hear from her & hope the pledge of her affections may prove reconciliation to her parents – And Rosa is wearied of this world? Indeed Mary between ourselves you and I would never have it to go farther I fear Rosa has been sadly disappointed in this gentle youth Giovani – I did indeed think her affections were placed on him – but I hoped that Rosa knew too much of his fickle disposition to be too sanguine – what think you of my surmise – I read Armistead’s oration & liked it much for its originality as much as brevity for these things are generally spun out too much No doubt there was an interest in seeing & hearing it delivered by him which makes a great loss to me I am sure I must have missed a great deal in not going up to the Drs this winter but as all happens for the best I shall look forward to going next winter when I hope nothing will interfere with a visit which allways (sic) affords as much pleasure – I hope by this time you have been able to prevail on your parents to come down & see us or to let you come at any rate

Oh do I feel anxious to see you I feel as if years had rolled by since we last met – but thank heaven sorrows have not been mine – My affectionate love to your mother, & Father & Cousin Eleanor – in which I am joined by Papa to you all – write soon to my dear Mary to your friend R E Stuart – Love to all inquiring friends – particularly the Moxons & your Aunts & Nieces


Robert E. Lee Papers (064 collection)Leyburn Library

The letter’s enevelope is addressed: “King George Cty April 17 Miss Mary Ann Randolph Custis of Arlington Near Alexandria D.C.”