There must have been some change of date in my father's plans, for though he said he would start on June 1st for Fredericksburg, his first and only letter from there was written on May 28th:
"My Dear Mary: I reached here Tuesday night, the night after the morning I left you, about twelve o'clock and found Major Barton at the depot, who conducted me to his house. The town seems very full of strangers, and I have met many acquaintances. I have seen no one yet from 'Cedar Grove,' and cannot learn whether any of them are coming. They are no doubt in distress there, for you may have heard of the death of Charles Stuart, on his way from Arkansas. He died at Lynchburg of congestive chills. Harriott Cazenove (his sister) went on to see him, but he died before her arrival. Rosalie, I heard, was at 'Cedar Grove,' Turbeville in Essex. I have delivered all your packages but Margaret's. Cassius Lee and all from the seminary are here. Sally came up from Gloucester, and also Mrs. Taliaferro. But I must tell you of all occurrences upon my return, and of all whom I have met. All friends inquire very particularly and affectionately after you, particularly your cousin, Mrs. ---, who turns up every day at all assemblies, corners, and places, with some anxious question on her mind upon which some mighty--thought to me hidden--importance depends. Fitz. Lee arrived to-day, though I have not seen him yet. If I can accomplish it, I will go to 'Richland' to-morrow, Saturday, and spend Sunday, and take up my line of march Monday, in which event I hope to reach Lexington Wednesday morning, or rather Tuesday night, in the stage from Goshen. I may not be able to get away from the council before Monday. In that case, I shall not arrive before Wednesday night. Tell the girls there are quantities of young girls here and people of all kinds. I hope that you are all well, and that everything will be ready to move into our new house upon my arrival. I am obliged to stop. I am also so much interrupted and occupied that, though I have tried to write ever since my arrival, I have been unable. Love to all.
"Cedar Grove" was the plantation of Dr. Richard Stuart, in King George County, some fifty miles from Fredericksburg. His wife, a Miss Calvert, of "Riversdale," Maryland, was a near cousin of my mother, had been her bridesmaid, and the two families had been intimate all their lives. All the persons mentioned by my father were cousins and friends, several of them old neighbours from Alexandria and the Theological Seminary near by.
From Fredericksburg, after the completion of his duties at the council, he went to "Richland" on the Potomac, near Acquia Creek, where his brother Smith was then living. This meeting was a great pleasure to them both, for two brothers were never more devoted. This was the last time they saw one another alive, as Smith died two months afterward.
Chapter XX The New Home in Lexington
Numerous guests--Further sojourns at different Baths--Death of the General's brother, Smith Lee--Visits to "Ravensworth" and "The White House"--Meetings with interesting people at White Sulphur Springs-- Death of Professor Preston
On my father's return to Lexington the new house was ready. It adjoined the one he had been occupying, so the distance was not great and the transfer was easily accomplished. It was much larger and more comfortable than the one given up. My mother's room was on the first floor and opened out on the veranda, extending three sides of the house, where she could she could be rolled in her chair. This she enjoyed intensely, for she was very fond of the open air, and one could see her there every bright day, with Mrs. "Ruffner," a much petted cat, sitting on her shoulder or cradled in her lap. My father's favourite seat was in a deep window of the dining-room, from which his eyes could rest on rolling fields of grass and grain, bounded by the ever-changing mountains. After his early and simple dinner, he usually took a nap of a few minutes, sitting upright in his chair, his hand held and rubbed by one of his daughters. There was a new stable, warm and sunny, for Traveller and his companion, "Lucy Long," a cow-house, wood-shed, garden, and yard, all planned, laid out, and built by my father. The increased room enabled him to invite a great number to visit him, and this summer the house was full.
In answer to a letter from me on business, which reached him during commencement week, he writes: