Arlington House 16 Sept 1839

 

Dearest Wife & Daughter

 

Your joint letter came to hand only yesterday, & made me happy in hearing that you were well, & among your good friends in Frederic.  I had almost despaired of hearing from you, after a fortnights interval.  We are well here.  Not a soul has has been sick in the time since you left us, & only two or three cases of ague & fever on the farm & they unusually mild.  How it may be for a fortnight to come, we hate to see.  I have graded and gravelled the hill, a good job.  We were today putting on the second and last coat of paint on the parlour, which looks remarkably well.  I assure you it is well painted.  I had varnished the doors as I have found some old varnish, will answer the purpose. The large doors in the hall look much better for being painted a dark gray colour.  The roofs will all be examined, & repaired while the workman is here.  Some --?-- fire wood to be put away in the cellar (Page 2) for bad weather in winter, a thing you have often wished.  My hands have been pulling fodder for Napoleon, for a week (for one half).  By this I shall get a large supply of the most valuable provender, far preferable to the marsh hay, from which I am excluded by the Canal.- The marsh will for a time be devoted to the raising of Hogs, to which it is admirably adopted.  Napoleon has 40 fine Hogs for killing, many all raised in my marsh, without asking a cent.- I have an encrease in piggy wiggys, & I hope to turn 30 into the marsh in the Spring. - The three jocks, will be very fine for an early killing this winter.  Thousands of my fine cabbages have rotted, from the season, & want of market, my celery is good, & I am preparing for a very large set out of early jocks .  I sent two Beets, & one squash to the Horticultural Exhibition.  I am feasted every morning upon deliciuous Red Birds - The Partridges, I keep for you.  Lawrence is the Sportsman.  There are a good many partridges, & I hope to give you a good suuply when I shall shoot in October.  Rice gallantly attacked a poacher the other day, who knocked the old Irishman (Page 3) down with a stone, but Rice rallied, routed the poachers 3 in number, & drove them to G Town Ferry then went over & got warrants, but the rascals have absconded.  - Eleanor has cured an ample supply of peaches and other sweet fruits for you & Mrs Lewis is now about getting some quinces. - The wool is of better quality than usual, & is washed & given out to spinning.  One gentleman, a great traveler, came here two days ago making 3 persons in 7 weeks.  He wondered I could do any thing else but look at the prospect, as I had looked on it for 37 years. - There dear Children.  Tell Daughter to be a good girl, & Gampa will go to the ....get something very nice for her.  Tell old Bonaparte that Gampa is taming a pup for him.  The Pup already at meals but is rather shy of being handled, Ephriam predicts that he will be the total ruin of the mice. - Tell Dear Brother that he must work away at the Book, & we will have grand shooting on October.  I have written you a long letter, God bless & preserve my dear family, that are never out of my thoughts.  Remember me most kindley to all with you including Dr Henry - Maria not yet home.  Let me hear from you once a week. & Believe me your truly affectionate Husband

& Father                                              George W P Custis

 

Address on the reverse:


Paid

 

To

 Mrs Mary L Custis

care of Lorenzo Lewis Esq.

of Audley

                        near Berryville

Clarke County Virginia