I will commence a reply to your interesting letter My dear brother Carter which in spite of the burden of years you complain of, is very uprightly & the Muse seems not to have forsaken you, she might well be inspired by a beauty so bright as her triplets though I hear there is not much detriment connected with it. Robert started today for Baltimore after being very sick for a week with a cold & it has been pouring all day They went in a private carriage & I hope were well protected from the damp. His presence was deemed so important to the success of the application to the City of Baltimore he did in making the R. Road, that he could not well refuse, tho’ he was very unwilling to go, feeling so unwell I hope the change may benefit him Agnes went with him as far as Staunton to make a little visit as she has been poorly for some time & is as thin as a sparrow She will return to aid us in the move into our new house which will be I suppose some time in May. I hope you will be able to get to see us this summer on your way to Hardy. I wish Custis could meet you there but he is very closely tied to his duties at the Institute & do not think they agree with his health, so that sorry as I should be to lose him I wish he could engage in more active employment – Engineering would suit him best but he is unfortunately for his comfort & reputation of such a disposition that he thinks from all the notoriety I fear will always be unwilling to take any but a subordinate position. On that account I fear he inherits this diffidence from some of his Custis relations. The Lees & Custis’s do not seem to have been wanting in confidence – We hear of the wonderful babe at the White House. If he is as sweet as my darling little Rob his predecessor I shall be content, Rob has decided that he cannot afford to build even with his Father’s aid this season & in consequence will have to defer choosing a wife, too expensive a luxury but I think he is wrong to be deferring what may have a happy change for him so long – I regret very much to hear that Henry’s eyes are no better & hope he has not failed to follow Dr Madison’s directions who is considered here a most skillful physician Give my love to him & all the children. I thought you were the child spoiler in your house & am informed that you accuse sister Lucy & Miss Bittie. I do not think my old friend, Mr Davies has done your Pet Robert justice his face is not in a good position these men have rarely any taste in arranging the sitters – I hope my little Mildred will be better Tell her I am going to be carried to the Photograph gallery tomorrow & if I succeed in getting a good likeness I will send her one Not a word from Richardson I fear he is in some difficulties & think I will write to him myself after coming after Robert all the time & writing constantly for the Manuscript we never get a line from him now. I heard his wife had some property but I do not know He seemed very friendly to the South & was very anxious to reprint my Father’s Recollections but it is well now I did not accede to his offer, I think the next time there is anything to be published it would be well to try one of those men in Baltimore – We have not heard very recently from E Childe & do not know whether they still intend coming over this summer I fear her health is very delicate, but from his account & from her pictures & letters she must be very sweet & attractive Hope your boys will have a good garden. Is much of your fruit killed? There was none here last summer & I fear will not be much this season the weather is so disagreeable – tho it is lovely now & the Spring has opened on us suddenly & beautifully – the best drive is indeed magnificent – I will enclose the proceedings of the <illegible> Club for Georges benefit & will bring my letter to a close. With much love to all & kisses to the babes

yours affectionately

M C Lee

I intended to have written you a separate letter my dear little Mildred but will only add a postscript write to me hon & tell me if you would like me to send your purple dress & how I had better send it that I trust it to Capt Publette I never heard if Henry received his prayer Book & how he liked it I have also a number of the Magazines for you Do you get the Little Planner regularly There are many pretty stories in it that you could read to Catherine – I am glad to hear you are so steady at your lessons & I hope you will improve greatly. You must write me what books you are learning & if you have been able to read any in the little French volume I sent you. You attend to your lessons better than Sam does to ours we have some very young chickens – A Mother & Lettia both have broods of kittens in which your cousin Mildred takes great pleasure She joins me in love to you all

Your affectionate Aunt

M C Lee

Robert E. Lee Papers (064 collection), Leyburn Library