Dorchester, Massachusetts

Nov 17 1860


My sweetest Annie    

How often I think of you! How often I speak of you! how many times I say I will write to you and alas how sadly have I heretofore been disappointed in the accomplishment of my wishes! But, this morning, I have arisen & with a resolution that nothing can daunt. I have come down stairs in the parlor, before the rest of the house-hold, that I may have a few quiet moments to carry out my positive determination to write to you, to-day.

I have been with dear Florence a little more than a week. Dorchester must be a beautiful place in summer, but at this season, as you may suppose it is dreary to a degree. The House in wh[ich] Florence is boarding & where I am also staying is fitted up for the summer, no curtains to the windows and white matting all over the floors. The house is consequently very cold & cheerless & the only heat is from a large stove in the parlor & the same in those ladies’ rooms, who desire it.

I am going to insist on Florence’s moving, or else having a carpet put on her floor. She is improving very much in health is looking very well & can walk a mile & a half without being over-fatigued. For the last day or two, she has not been quite so well, but, it is only temporary, I think. She appears to be very happy & contented here. She likes Dr. Miller very much & he & his family are kind & attentive to her. She thinks she may be well enough to go home at Christmas, but, it is uncertain. She wants to remain here, until she is entirely well. Willie has grown & seems very well. They both send much love to you all. Willie was sorry to hear of poor santz’s death. Dear little Santz! I shall miss the little white creature on the green lawn. 

There are two Canadian Ladies in the house with us, who are musicians & sing very well. I am learning two or three new songs, wh I hope some of these days, dear Annie, to have the pleasure of singing to you. I hope you had a pleasant visit at Goodwood & that you have quite recovered from your chills. Poor little Annita! I wish I had been with you when you were sick. I have a deep sympathy with the suffering & it is my greatest pleasure to be enabled to minister to those I love. I spoke of you, so often, at Waltham, dear Annie, that Annie Adams said to one, “When you write to Annie Lee, do give my love to her. I am sure you I should love her.” So you see Annie, that although I have not written, you have been in my memory. Annie Adams is a lovely girl. I am very much attached to her. I had a very pleasant visit at Waltham. They were so delicate about ever alluding to matters of difference between North & South. I appreciate this very much.

I long to hear what has been the result or rather what is the result of the present state of feeling at A[rlington]. My strongest sympathies are with you all dearest Annie & I hope you will write at once & tell me what is going on.

I have just reread your last letter, Annie, & must say I think you are very naughty to speak as you do about your Brother. I felt the utmost indignation when I read it. I remember Miss Annie, that I always take the part of my friends, even though they treat me in a manner unworthy the appellation, tell Custis.

I am learning, however, a great deal of philosophy, in this “land of steady habits,” this land of granite & ice!

What is Orton doing? I rarely hear from him & when he writes it is but a few lines. Please tell me where he lives & what he is doing. Give my love to him & tell him I will enclose his remittance from Buffalo as soon as I can get a check. I have just received the money. My destiny this winter, is still a little undecided.

I expect to leave here next thursday for New York. If you write within a day or two, I will get the letter before I go. Do write, for I feel as cut off from you all. I am anxious to know whether Agnes has returned. Give much love to all dear Annie & believe me ever your attached Cousin Markie.

PS Give much love to your dear mother

I should have sent her a special message but intended to write a few lines in this. I recd her nice long letter at Waltham


Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 264, Section 14, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 May 9