The Richard mentioned had been lately his house servant at Lexington, and Edward was a new man he had engaged for the garden and stable. The letters written to my mother and others of his family from the Hot Springs at this time were frequent, and I give them in full, as they tell all we know now of his visit there:
"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, August 14, 1870.
"My Dear Mary: I received this morning the last letters forwarded by you. The first batch arrived yesterday. I am glad to hear that you all continue well. I hope my letter of the 10th, announcing my arrival, has reached you. It should have done so, it seems to me, previously to your note of Friday. I have but little more to say than I had them. I have taken four baths, Hot Spout, which seems to agree with me very well, but it is too soon yet to look for results. I receive the water on my shoulder, back, and chest. The sensation is pleasant, and so far I have succeeded in preventing taking cold. The atmosphere, however, is damp, and temperature variable. When the sun shines, it is hot; but when it rains, which is the usual condition of the weather, the former the exception, it is cool. Mrs. Sledge and party are here, the former improved. She was much better, went over to the White and Sweet, retrograded, and returned. Will stay here September. Many of our invalids are improving. Society has a rather solemn appearance, and conversation runs mostly on personal ailments, baths, and damp weather. There were some pretty tableaux last evening. The Misses Tardy, Mrs. Dobbin, and the little girls, the performers. Mr. Washington [William Washington, a well known painter of that day, who was for a short time professor of painting and drawing at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington] is here. He looks well, is quiet, and has been copying points of scenery in the neighbourhood. I do not know whether he was in search of health or the picturesque. The latter is more easily found in these mountains than the former. Captain White is well and sends remembrances to all. I hope Edward has arrived and is an improvement on the present occupant of the situation. If he does not present himself, retain Henry till I come. I will endeavour to find some one. You do not mention the cow; she is of more interest to me than the cats, and is equally destructive of rats. I am glad the girls are well; what are they troubling about now? I wish they were with me. I find many ladies here for neuralgia. Mrs. General Walker has been much benefited, also others. If little Agnes should desire to try the effects of the waters, tell her to come on, I will take care of her. I suppose Tabb will go with her husband. I am sorry Fitzhugh is complaining. I have written to Rob and Miss Lottie [Miss Charlotte Haxall, afterward Mrs. Robert E. Lee, Jr., who died in 1872]. I heard of Charles Carter's [Charles Carter, of "Goodwood," Maryland, was my father's first cousin. Mildred and Ella, two of his daughters] passing up the road to the White, and Mildred preceded him a week. Ella, I hear, is much improved. I shall not go to the White unless specially called by something now unknown, but will remain here till the end of the month, if I find it profitable, and then return to Lexington. I hope the college is prospering. What does Mrs. Podestad say? I understand that Markie Peter [Mrs. Peter was a near cousin of my mother, and with her as a little girl our associations had been very near] and child are occupying her old quarters at the Lomaxes near Warrenton. I have a merry time with my old cronies, tell Mildred. I am getting too heavy for them now. They soon drop me. I am getting uneasy about Edward and Blanche. The reverses of the French, which seem to be light, appear to have demoralised the nation. May God help all in affliction and keep and guard you and all with you, is my constant prayer.
"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, August 19, 1870.
"My Dear Mary: I received this morning your letters of the 14th and 18th, inclosing Dr. Buckler's, and was informed by Colonel Turner that he had brough the package to which you referred. He has not yet sent it to me, but, no doubt, will in time. I am sorry that Edward has not kept his engagement, for I liked his appearance and recommendations, though perhaps they are deceptive. You had better retain Harry till I come, unless you fall in with a better. I am glad that you are all well. You have such industrious little daughters that I am sure all will go well. Thank Agnes for her letter and say to her that I have not seen Mr. Vanmeter or Blair, but gave the letter to the former to Colonel White, who will send it to him when he finds out his position. Mr. Thom arrived this morning and Mr. John Jones and family rode over from the Healing. They are there for a sick child. My old friend, Dr. Broaddus, and the Reverend Mr. Jones also presented themselves.... I have been trying the Boiler for four days--and the Spout the five preceding. I do not perceive any benefit yet, though some little change in the seat of my pains. I will continue till the middle of next week, the 29th, when, if no decided improvement takes place, I think of going over to the Healing. Dr. Houston thinks that it will be beneficial, whereas, Dr. Cabell recommends this. I am obliged to be in Staunton on the 30th ult. to attend a meeting of the Valley Railroad Company, so I shall leave here on the 29th for that purpose. After getting through with that business, I shall return to Lexington. I am sorry that I shall be called away, but I fear my stay here would be of no avail. Colonel White is well and sends regards to all. I am glad that the cow is better. She stands next in my affections to Traveller.... I hope that Agnes's neuralgia is better, and as she has not accepted my proposition I presume she declines. Hot bathing is not agreeable to me either in its operations or effects, but I see daily evidences of its good results on others. I wish that it suited your case. You must try and get some one in Sally's place if Tabb, etc., come, and make them all comfortable. If you want more money, let me know in time. Send over to Mr. Leyburn for the flour, when you want it. Mr. Bowie, I suspect, can arrange it for you. I fear Captain Brooks's house will not be ready for occupancy this fall. I hope that General Smith will begin Custis's in time. I heard of him on his way to Edward Cocke's the other day. Mr. Washington is still here. Better, I think. Again love to all.
"Most truly and affectionately,
"P.S.--Mr. Turner has just sent me the package.
To his son Fitzhugh, who was at the "White House" with his family: