The "Markie" referred to in each of the above letters was Martha Custis Williams, a great-niece of my grandfather, Mr. Custis, who had for many years lived at Arlington with her uncle. The "little children" were her motherless nieces, whom she had brought that summer to the mountains for their health. General Lee had been engaged for some time in bringing out a third edition of his father's "Memoirs of the War of '76 in the Southern States." It was now in the hands of his publisher, Mr. Richardson, of New York. To this edition he had added a sketch of the famous "Light Horse Harry," written by himself. It was to his publisher's proposition of placing his portrait in the "Introduction" to the new work that he at first objected, and then agreed, as stated in the two letters just given. The season of '69 is still noted in the annals of the White Sulphur as having had in its unusually large company so many noted and distinguished men. Mr. George Peabody and Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the two great philanthropists, were among them and helped to enlarge the receipts of the concert for the benefit of the little Episcopal church in Lexington, of which General Lee was a member and a vestryman.
by the last of August he was back again in Lexington, making arrangements for the home-coming of his wife and her party from the Baths. Here is part of another letter written soon after his arrival home, some lines of which (apparently relating to the servants) have been partially obliterated by time:
"Lexington, Virginia, August 31, 1869.
"My Dear Mary: I received this evening your note by Miss Mays. You had better come up whenever agreeable to your party...we can only try them and make the best of them. Alice, when she gets well, will return if wanted. If Cousin Julia [Mrs. Richard Stuart, of 'Cedar Grove'] will return with you, you can see her here as well as there, and we can all have that pleasure. If she will not, you had better remain with her as long as she will stay. Mrs. Pratt died to-day at 12:30 P. M.
"I received a letter to-day from Edward Childe saying that he and Blanche would leave Liverpool in the 'Fava' on September 4th, and after spending a few days in the North, would come to Lexington. He will probably reach Boston about September 15th, so that they may be expected here from the 20th to the 30th of September. I am anxious for them to see our daughter and grandson and all our sons. Give my best love to all with you. The girls would send love, but a 'yearling' and a 'leader of the herd' ["Yearling" was a term that originated with us just after the war (when many of the students were ex-soldiers), to distinguish the real boys from the "Confeds." From that expression, a professor came to be called a "leader of the herd." It was a form of speech that we had kept up amongst ourselves.] occupy them. Affectionately yours,
This session of Washington College opened with very favourable prospects. The number of students was larger than ever before, every southern, and some northern States being represented. The new chairs of instruction which had been instituted were now in good working order, their professors were comfortably established, and the entire machinery of the institution was running well and smoothly. The president commenced to see some of the results of his untiring energy and steady work. He had many plans which lack of funds prevented him from carrying out. One of them was a School of Commerce in which a student, while following the branches which would discipline and cultivate the mind, might also receive special instruction and systematic training in whatever pertained to business in the largest sense of the term. Another was a School of Medicine, the plan for which, with full details, was drawn up under his eye, and kept in readiness until the funds of the institution should permit of its being carried into effect.
His meeting with Mr. Peabody at the White Sulphur Springs attracted that gentleman's attention to the college and to his work as its president. To a request for his photograph to be placed in the Peabody Institute among the friends of its founder, he sends with the likeness the following note:
"Washington College, Virginia, September 25, 1869.