L-F Ltr 5 JAN 1873
I was glad to hear from you my dear Norvell it has been so long since for both Mildred & I think we never received the letter you alluded to at the time of poor Lottie = s death. It seemed very sad but we must trust & hope it was all for the best for both of them. Agnes went down to aid Rob in fixing up his house, a sad occupation he had anticipated so much pleasure in arranging it with his young wife It has given him some occupation & interest & he writes me that it is very nice & comfortable His father had been waiting for him to build for some years but Rob always said he would prefer to wait until he had the means to do it himself & only commenced after his engagement then Lottie = s health & the necessity of going South with her delayed matters, so it is only now completed. Mildred being still a little lame preferred not to leave home > till latter in the season so we hurried Agnes off that she might be ready to return when Mildred could go. We are quite a small family. Mildred Custis & I, & one of Carter Lees son = s who lives with us & attends College - I expected to have spent the winter at the White House but was delayed from various causes until the freeze & now I may not be able to leave before Spring tho = I shall go earlier if the canal is open & the weather permits. How I should love to see you again my dear Norvell & your children. I know you (Page 2) you are a most attentive wife & Mother & a great manager, & next summer or autumn you must try & get to see me, for I never can get to you - I am more helpless than you have ever seen me tho = much better than I was last winter. Who is your little Nannie like? & how old is she now? I trust the little expected one will give you no trouble anyway. Tabb was confined here unexpectedly last summer & I never saw any one so well under the circumstances You must be sure & get a good nurse, that is such a comfort. I am truly grievous to hear your grandma is not well but hope she will get to you > ere too long - You must give much care to her when you write - You will be glad to hear Mary is still in Paris enjoying herself greatly She was staying with the Lewis = s who have rooms in Paris for the Ned = s wife who has had 3 children since they were named Mary is charmed with her & Esther has been with them more than a year & Neds little Lucy is there too His wifes boys by her first husband Tom Garnett are at school in Switzerland. Dany (?) has a little daughter 4 or 5 months old & is living at Audley - He wrote to me announcing her birth & seemed much delighted His mother expects to return next summer, Mary says they all seem very happy there together (Page 3) & Paris contains so many things of interest that a stranger never wearies of them, She will go to Rome as soon as she can join a pleasant party for that famed city.. I scarcely expect her home before next fall unless her means fail entirely She will return to England next Spring & visit probably Scotland & Ireland I am glad she has been able to enjoy so much tho = it was not so convenient for her to go I thought it was a pity she should not do so as she had nothing special to keep her at home Do you ever go to Richmond now ? I thought once you never could be happy out of a city but I believe now a sensible woman can always be happy in domestic life & adapt herself to her situation - Mildred is writing & I suppose has given you all Lexington news of which there is little to interest you Have you seen Mr Deas since he left us He was going to Orange. He was a great loss here I had hoped he would have remained a long time when you write to Nannie Hutchursun(?) give much love to her When will she return to this country? I should like to see her again yrs affectly Mary Custis Lee (Appearing on upper left corner of Page 1 is the following: Remember me especially to your husband).
I want to see how much better I manage things (though I am not faultless now) than when I was being broken into harness - but principally I want to see you dear Norvell. I hate to think of our being separated. Letters are too unsatisfactory to be endured - I dont know where to begin. If I get well in time which is doubtful, I will go to Savannah when Agnes returns. I have always wanted to travel any where - & as for this country is concerned prefer the South & I fortunately have many cordial invitations from that place to the Lawtons, & Mrs Genl Johnston. I am getting in fact too old for students, others you know flourish here. I still have my cats - dont you pity me! Occasionaly - very rarely- a new man suitor steps forth, more forlorn than the last - & thus my life is passing away - I hope we will soon hear good news of you, my dear child - much love- afftly yrs. Mildred