"'No,' replied the General, 'but frequently I could not get even that.'
"His love of children was most marked, and he never failed to show them patient consideration. On the occasion of this visit, his answers to all our boyish questions were given with as much detail and as readily as if we had been the most important men in the community. Several years before the war I remember that my sister, brother, and myself, all young children, drove over to Arlington Mills, and that while going there Colonel Lee rode up on a beautiful black horse. He impressed my childish fancy then as the handsomest and finest horseman I had ever seen--the beau-ideal of a soldier. Upon seeing us he at once stopped, spoke to each of us, and took my sister, then about ten years of age, upon his horse before him, and rode with us for two miles, telling her, I remember, of his boy Robby, who had a pony, and who should be her sweetheart. Often have I seen him on the road or street or elsewhere, and though I was 'only a boy,' he always stopped and had something pleasant to say to me."
The Mr. Leary mentioned here was my father's teacher when a boy in Alexandria. His regard and esteem for him was very high, as is shown in the following letter:
"Lexington, Virginia, December 15, 1866.
"My Dear Sir: Your visit has recalled to me years long since passed, when I was under your tuition and received daily your instruction. In parting from you, I beg to express the gratitude I have felt all my life for the affectionate fidelity which characterised your teaching and conduct toward me. Should any of my friends, wherever your lot may be cast, desire to know your qualifications as a teacher, I hope you will refer them to me; for that is a subject on which I can speak knowingly and from experience. Wishing you health, happiness, and prosperity, I am, affectionately,
His next letter is from "Ravensworth," where he went after his visit to the "Seminary Hill:"
"Ravensworth, Virginia, July 20, 1870.
"My Dear Mary: I arrived here yesterday from Alexandria and found Aunt Maria well in general health, but less free to walk than when I last saw her. She is cheerful and quiet, but seems indisposed to try any of the healing baths, or, indeed, any of the remedies resorted to in cases of similar character, and seems to think nothing will be of avail. I hope in time that she will be relieved. Her niece, Mrs. Goldsborough, the daughter of her sister Wilhelmina, is with her. She seems to be a nice little lady--has a big boy of eight months, and is expecting her husband to-morrow, so nothing need be said more on her account. Mr. Dickens was over last evening, and reports all well with him. All the family are to be over this evening, so I cannot say more of them. Ravensworth is looking very well--I mean the house and grounds, but little of the farm seems to be cultivated, and is growing up with pines. I received your letter directed to Alexandria after my return from my visit to Cassius, also Colonel Williamson's. Resolutions will not build the church. It will require money. Mr. Smith did not give so favourable an account of Mr. Price as did Mr. Green. I did not see Mr. P---, for it would have been of no avail without having the plans, etc., and I cannot wait here to receive them. I shall have to send them, or to invite him to Lexington after my return. I propose to leave here, if nothing prevents, on Monday, 25th inst. If I go by Goshen, I hope to reach Lexington that night, or Tuesday morning after breakfast. I have heard a rumour that the water has been withdrawn from the canal above Lynchburg for the purpose of repairs. If that is so, I shall have to go by Goshen. My cold continues, but is better. The weather is very hot and to me is almost insupportable. At 6:00 P. M. yesterday, the thermometer in Ravensworth hall marked 86 degrees. This morning, when I first went out, it stood at 84 degrees. Thank Agnes for her letter. I cannot respond at this time. The letter you forwarded from Mrs. Podestad describes the sickness her children have passed through. She is now with them at Capon, and Miss Emily has gone to visit Mrs. Barksdale in Greenbrier. Mrs. P--- says she will be ready to visit you any time after the middle of August that you will notify her. I am glad all are well with you, and hope the garden will give you some vegetables. I am anxious to get back and see you all. Give much love to the girls, including the Misses Selden. Tell them they must not leave till I return, that I am hurrying back as fast as rheumatism will let me. I have abandoned my visit to Nannie and the boys on the Pamunkey. Tell them it is too hot and that I am too painful. Aunt M--- sends love to all. Remember me to all friends. I must leave details till I return.