20th September 1830



I had no idea of the immediate peril to which my disclosure exposed you or pity or perchance a gentler feeling would have induced me to forebear. The first alarming sensation having by this time subsided & peace being restored you will pardon my thoughtlessness which has occasioned you so many blushes & believe me when I assure you that there is nothing I have so much at heart as your true interests & for these my petitions are daily offered to my Heavenly Father & from whose love & mercy I hope for every blessing. I cannot say all I would on this subject for I might weary you & I know how I once felt. I only beg you to consider it & not to banish it from you heart. Your letter arrived on Wednesday the day I went to Ravensworth & I did not receive it until I returned on Saturday which must account for my delay. Aunt Maria is still in a state of despairing wretchedness did I not hope for her that this distress might lead her to Him who inflicted the blow & who alone has power to comfort her I should mourn over her hopelessly. She thinks of going to Baltimore this week with her Father to remain a short time. Mary has had a bilious fever but is much better now. I suppose Charles has told you all about his plans & many stories about me. We have spent today with Aunt Lewis who desired her love to you when I saw you. There was quite a commotion in Alexa occasioned by the arrival of a company of Phila troops who marched through the town with music playing & colours flying. I thought of you may guess who at that time. It is so cold that I can scarcely guide my pen. Mr Marshall has been here & says Ann is at West River in very poor health & spirits & they expect to go to Baltimore very soon. We go on much as usual. I have gained 3 pounds & ought to be as happy as possible could I feel as thankful as I ought for all the blessings which are daily lavished on my head but we are so accustomed to them that we do not feel them until they are taken away & then we murmur & repine. I hope Aunt Randolph has given you much good advice I know she loves you & feels a great interest in you. I have got a very pretty present for you to take to Cockspur with you. I shall hope to see you very soon now. Mother says if her eye is so appalling to you she will promise not to require a sight of your letters though I told her I could not imagine any thing you had to say that she might not see. Yet I know it is sometimes unpleasant so you are perfectly at liberty to say what you please trusting to your discretion to say only what is right. I could too say a great deal but Mr Hervieu is waiting for me & I am so hurried for I do not wish to lose this opportunity & occasion any unnecessary delay for I know that hope deferred maketh the heart sick. So you must appreciate my good intentions & excuse this very wandering epistle. I wish you were here today to amuse me while I am sitting for my portrait indeed I wish for you very often though I am still content. You must remember me to everyone up the country if you choose & I shall expect an account of all that you have been doing up there not pining I conclude from your allusion to the corn bread & milk. I direct this to E View & shall not expect to hear from you again before you come. I cannot keep Mr Hervieu waiting longer so must unwillingly bid you adieu. That God may protect & bless you & above all things may turn your heart to Him is my unceasing prayer for you. Then I should have nothing more to wish for on earth with regard to you. Believe me yrs devotedly.

M Custis

I will write you longer letters when you get to Cockspur.




Source: Robert E. E. deButts, Jr., “Lee in Love: Courtship and Correspondence in Antebellum Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 115, No. 4 (2007), pp. 515-517.



Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 22