"You don't like this hat? Why, I have seen a whole cityful come out to admire it!"
There is only a short note to my mother that I can find written during this trip:
"My Dear Mary: I am still at Mr. Tagart's, but propose going to-morrow to Ella's, and thence to Washington's, which will consume Wednesday and Thursday. If not obliged to return here, which I cannot tell till this evening or to-morrow morning, I will then go to Washington, where I shall be obliged to spend a day or two, and thence to Alexandria, so I shall not be able to return to Lexington till the last of next week. What has become of little Agnes? I have seen many of our old friends, of whom I will tell you on my return. I have bought you a little carriage, the best I could find, which I hope will enable you to take some pleasant rides. All send love. Give mine to Mildred, and Custis, and all friends. I am just about starting to Mrs. Baker's.
"Truly and affectionately, R. E. Lee.
The "Ella" mentioned was Mrs. Sam George, of Baltimore, who as a girl had always been a pet and favourite of my father. She was a daughter of his first cousin, Mr. Charles Henry Carter, of "Goodwood," Prince George County, Maryland, and a schoolmate of my sister Mary. Their country place was near Ellicott City. He went there to see her, and from there to "Lynwood," near by, the seat of Washington Peter, my mother's first cousin and an intimate friend of us all
On Saturday, my father, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Tagart, went to Washington on an early train. They drove immediately to the Executive Mansion and called on the President. This meeting was of no political significance whatever, but simply a call of courtesy. It had been intimated to General Lee that it would be most agreeable to General Grant to receive him. Mr. and Mrs. Tagart went with him, and they met there Mr. Motley, the newly appointed Minister of England. The interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and neither General Lee nor the President spoke a word on political matters. While in Washington my father was the guest of Mrs. Kennon, of Tudor Place, Georgetown Heights. On Sunday he dined with Mrs. Podestad and her husband, the Secretary of the Spanish Legation, who were old friends and relatives.
After leaving Washington, he stopped in Alexandria for several days, as the guest of Mrs. A. M. Fitzhugh. It was at her country place, "Ravensworth," about ten miles from town, that his mother had died, and there, in the old ivy-covered graveyard, she was buried. Mrs. Fitzhugh was the wife of my mother's uncle, Mr. William Henry Fitzhugh, who, having no children, had made my mother his heir. The intimacy between "Arlington" and "Ravensworth" was very close. Since Mr. Fitzhugh's death, which occurred some thirty years prior to this time, my father and mother and their children had been thrown a great deal with his widow, and "Aunt Maria," as we called her, became almost a member of the family. She had the greatest love and admiration for "Robert," sought his advice in the management of her estate, and trusted him implicitly. His brother, Admiral Sidney Smith lee, came up from "Richland," his home on the Potomac near Acquia Creek, to meet him, and he found at Mrs. Fitzhugh's "Aunt Nannie" [Mrs. S. S. Lee] and her son Fitz. Lee. This was the first time they had met each other since their parting in Richmond just after the war.
On his arrival in Alexandria my father had walked up from the wharf to "Aunt Maria's." He was recognised by a number of citizens, who showed him the greatest deference and respect. So many of his friends called upon him at Mrs. Fitzhugh's that it was arranged to have a reception for him at the Mansion House. For three hours a constant stream of visitors poured into the parlours. The reception was the greatest ovation that any individual had received from the people of Alexandria since the days of Washington. The next day, in Bishop Johns' carriage, he drove out to Seminary Hill to the home of Mr. Cassius F. Lee, his first cousin, where he spent the night. In the afternoon he went to see the bishop and his family--General Cooper and the Reverend Dr. Packard. The next morning, with Uncle Smith, he attended Ascension-Day services at Christ church, and was afterward entertained at a dinner-party given by Mr. John B. Daingerfield. Before he left Alexandria he called on Mr. John Janney, who was president of the Virginia Convention in 1861, when, as Colonel Lee, he appeared before it and accepted the command of the Virginia forces, organised and to be organised.