A month later he writes again to this daughter in the same playful strain, and sends his remembrances to many friends in Richmond:
"Lexington, Virginia, February 2, 1870.
"My Precious Life: Your letter of the 29th ultimo, which has been four days on the road, reached me this morning, and my reply, unless our mails whip up, will not get to you before Sunday or Monday. There is no danger, therefore, of our correspondence becoming too brisk. What do the young girls do whose lovers are at Washington College or the Institute? Their tender hearts must always be in a lacerated and bleeding condition! I hope you are not now in that category, for I see no pining swains among them, whose thoughts and wishes are stretching eagerly toward Richmond. I am glad you have had so pleasant a visit to the Andersons. You must present my regards to them all, and I hope that Misses Ellen and Mary will come to see you in the summer. I am sure you will have an agreeable time at Brook Hill. Remember me to all the family, and tell Miss Belle to spare my friend Wilkins. He is not in a condition to enjoy the sufferings which she imposes on her Richmond beaux. Besides, his position entitles him to tender treatment.
"I think it time that you should be thinking of returning home. I want to see you very much, and as you have been receiving instruction from the learned pig, I shall expect to see you much improved. We are not reduced to apply to such instructors at Lexington. Here we have learned professors to teach us what we wish to know, and the Franklin Institute to furnish us lectures on science and literature. You had better come back, if you are in search of information on any subject. I am glad that Miss 'Nannie' Wise found one occasion on which her ready tongue failed her. She will have to hold it in subjection now. I should like to see Miss Belle under such similar circumstances, provided she did not die from suppressed ideas. What an awful feeling she must experience, if the occasion should ever come for her to restrain that active member! Although my friend Wilkins would be very indulgent, I think he would want her to listen sometimes. Miss Pendleton has just been over to give us some pleasing news. Her niece, Miss Susan Meade, Philip's daughter, is to be married next month to a Mr. Brown, of Kentucky, who visited her two year ago upon the recommendation of the Reverend Charles Page, found her a school-girl, and has waited until she became a woman. He is rich, forty-nine, and has six children. There is a fair start in the world for a young woman! I recommend her example to you. We are all as usual, and 'Mrs. Smith' is just the same. Miss Maggie Johnston, who has been staying with us occasionally for a few days at a time, is now on a visit to us. There is to be an anniversary celebration of the societies of the Institute on Friday, and a student's party on Monday night, and a dance at the College Hotel. To-morrow night your mother has an evening for some young students. Gaiety will never cease in Lexington so long as the ladies are so attractive and the men so agreeable. Surprise parties are the fashion now. Miss Lucy Campbell has her cousin, Miss Ella Heninberger, staying with her, who assists her to surprise and capture too unwary youths. I am sorry to hear of Mrs. Ould's illness. If you see her, present me most kindly to her; also to Mrs. George Randolph. Do beware of vanilla cream. Recollect how far you are from home, and do not tamper with yourself. Our semi-annual examination has been in progress for a fortnight. We shall conclude on Saturday, which will be a great relief for me, for, in addition to other things, I have to be six hours daily in the examination rooms. I was sorry that I could not attend Mr. Peabody's funeral, but I did not feel able to undertake the journey, especially at this season. I am getting better, I hope, and feel stronger than I did, but I cannot walk much farther than to the college, though when I get on my horse I can ride with comfort. Agnes accompanies me very often. I must refer you to her and your mother for all local news. Give my love to Fitzhugh, and Tabb, and Robert when you see them, and for yourself keep an abundance. I have received letters from Edward and Blanche. They are very anxious about the condition of political affairs in France. Blanche sent you some receipts for creams, etc. You had better come and try them.
"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee.
The following letter to his son, Fitzhugh, further shows his tender interest in his children and grandson:
"Lexington, Viriginia, February 14, 1870.
"My Dear Fitzhugh:...I hope that you are all well and that you will not let any one spoil my grandson. Your mother has written all the family and Lexington news. She gathers much more than I do. I go nowhere but to the college, and when the weather permits I ride in the mountains. I am better, I think, but still troubled. Mildred, I hope, is with you. When she gets away from her papa, she does not know what she wants to do, tell her. You have had a fine winter for work, and later you will have a profitable season. Custis is well and very retired; I see no alarming exhibition of attention to the ladies. I have great hopes of Robert. Give much love to my daughter Tabb and to poor little 'Life.' I wish I could see you all; it would do my pains good. Poor little Agnes is not at all well, and I am urging her to go away for a while. Mary as usual.