Lexington May 25 [1869]



            I need not assure you my dear Lettie[1] now much pleasure it will give us all to have you with us at commencement. We shall move into our new house[2] next week & shall have always room for you even should other friends come at that time for you are not so very large. I wish your dear Mamma could come with you. I should be so glad to see her once again. The Genl went to the Convention in Fredericksburgh[3] but will return in a few days and we shall I hope be comfortably settled in the course of the week so you must come whenever you are ready and drive straight up to our door. Tell Miss Johnson I have a book for her sent by Mr. Edey who seems to have a deep interest in her spiritual welfare. I am awaiting a good opportunity to send it & suppose I shall scarcely have one before Martin Burk returns. I hope his parents have forgiven his sister who seemed to be a very nice little girl when I saw her. We have all been very busy with a strawberry feast which we have been holding for the benefit of our Church & the girls are just now bringing home the articles which were not sold I am sorry to say was a good many. No one wanted really anything but strawberries & cream. I hope they sold well but we had to get them from Lynchburg as but few can be had here, & I fear they will cost us about $30.00 though we have not gotten the bill yet. We made only about a $1.60, we had hoped for $200 but the students on whom we calculated on most were all out of money. You know boys never can keep any. I must write you a very stupid letter for I am so tired out with all duties today & occupations the girls are very busy fitting themselves up for the summer I never seem to have a moment’s leisure. I fear they are bad managers of their time when you write to Kitty give my love to her tell her I often recall the time when she was in my room in Richmond so gay & joyous with Genl Stuart. How bright all were in spite of the war for we all hoped & believed we should succeed in the dearest wish of our hearts alas, how, all hope is fled & a dismal blank is before us. Yet our only hope is that God who knoweth our paine [sic] & remembereth that we are but dust will not afflict us beyond what we are able to bear & all nature is so joyous & smiling that we should not be sad. Good night I may write some more tomorrow the girls send much love with me to you & all.



                                                Mary Custis Lee


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box M2009.405, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 8



[1] Letitia Burwell, a first cousin once removed from Robert E. Lee.

[2] The new president’s house for Lee and his family at Washington and Lee. Lee would live in this house until his death in October 1870.

[3] Lee was in Fredericksburg for a meeting of religious leaders.