He remained at Lexington only for a short time, as it was decided that he should go to the Hot Springs, Virginia, where he could try their famous waters for his rheumatism. On the day of his arrival he writes to my mother:
"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, August 10, 1870.
"My Dear Mary: We reached here this morning about 9:30 A. M., Captain White and I, after as pleasant a journey as we could have expected. After taking the cars at Goshen, the old route by Milboro' rose up so strong before me that we determined to adhere to it. Reached the Bath Alum about 4:00 P. M., where we passed the night and were in luck in finding several schools or parts of them rusticating on alum-water. Mrs. Heath was in charge of the detachment from Dr. Phillips's [a well known girl's school at Staunton]. They presented a gay and happy appearance. This morning we breakfasted at the Warm and had the attention of Richard. There is a small party there, Admiral Louis Goldsborough and his wife and Miss West amongst them. Here thee is quite a company. Mrs. Lemmon from Baltimore, her daughter Mrs. Dobbin, Mrs. General Walker, wife of the ex-Secretary of War of the Confederacy, Mrs. and Miss. Sivent, etc., etc.
"Dr. and Mrs. Cabell are here, and the Tandys and Mrs. Mac regret that you are not with me...I saw Mrs. Maise at the Warm, and her sister from Kentucky, Mrs. Tate. Rev. Mr. Mason and the Daingerfields have a girls' school in the village. The Warm seems to be retrograding. I hope the new man, Edward, has arrived. Tell him to take good care of the cow, and ask the girls to see to he and the garden, etc. I saw Mrs. Caskie at the Baths. She looks very well. Her niece, Gay, is with her, a pretty child. Mrs. Myers and her children are also there. Mrs. Asher also. Small company, but select. All pleased with Mr. Brown [the manager of the hotel]. Tell the girls I have no one to rub me now. Shall miss them in this and other ways much. Dr. Cabell says I must continue my medicines and commence with the hot spout to-morrow. He has great confidence in the waters, and says that 95 out of 100 patients that he has treated have recovered. I shall alternate the spout with the boiler. But he says the great error is that people become impatient and do not stay long enough. I hope I may be benefited, but it is a tedious prospect. I hope that you all will continue well. If you wish to go to the Baths, or to come here, you must do so and write me what you want, if there is anything I can do or get for you. Give love to all the girls and remembrances to all friends. Tell our neighbours that I was so occupied the last days I was in Lexington that I had not time to bid them adieu. If you want more money let me know. God bless you and preserve you all. Good-bye, dear Mary.
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.