Florence Italy

April 4th 1875

My dear Custis

Your letter of the 14th march from New Orleans came to hand to day. Very glad we were to hear from you, how you both were, & what you were doing. We arrived here last monday & will leave in about five more days. Florence is a beautiful city, & a great relief after the cities of southern Italy. It is clean the people are industrious & thrifty, at least for Italians, & the modern part of the town is very pretty.

I think in 20 or 30 yrs from now when the trees shall have had time to grow, & the improvements in the city & out, shall have been completed that Florence will be one of the handsomest & one of the most delightful residences in Europe.

I believe the latter part of my point is believed to be true now. From here we go to Milan the Italian Lakes & Venice from there on into Germany by Vienna, & hope to be in London the last of June. Do make up yr mind & come over & join us in London in June & July & we’ll make the tour of Eng, Scot & I[rela]nd together. Bring Mary with you. The sea voyage will do you good & though you’ll be bored over here, I don’t think there will be more of it here than there is at home. I wish you would if you possibly can. Then we can all go back together in the fall.

Mildred is quite well, but very hard to manage, indeed I don’t attempt it. The girls are al-ways ready for a fight, it costs them nothing & they like it. So I find the only way is to cower beneath them all the time.

I have seen pictures & churches until I am afaint. I’ll have them always about me in my dreams. Some very beautiful, but the majority very poor. But you soon get used to going all through them & you don’t mind it. In England there is not so much of that business, so I think you with my assistance could get along.

You wont be beset here, as sister writes word you were in the south. You’ll have as quiet a time as you ever had in your life. So think well of it & come over.

It costs about $6 a day here to travel say $8 at the very farthest. $1500 will do you for six months $6 per diem includes everything except clothes & purchases of art.

Love to all friends

Your affec brother

R E Lee




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a 6159-6162, Section 62, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 December 13