He was thinking strongly of taking a house in the country for himself and family, and asked the Colonel whether he could not suggest some part of the State that might suit him. Colonel Carter mentioned Clarke County as representing the natural-grass section of Virginia, and Gloucester County the salt-water. My father unhesitatingly pronounced in favour of the grass-growing country. He told Mrs. Carter how pleased he was to hear that she had received her husband in tears when he returned from the surrender, as showing the true spirit, for, though glad to see him, she wept because he could fight no more for the cause. The day after this dinner he had to turn his back on those dear friends and their sweet home.
When Traveller was brought up to the door for him to mount, he walked all around him, looking carefully at the horse, saddle, and bridle. Apparently the blanket was not arranged to suit him, for he held the bridle while "Uncle Henry" took off the saddle. Then he took off the blanket himself, spread it out on the grass, and, folding it to suit his own idea of fitness, carefully placed it on Traveller's back, and superintended closely the putting on and girthing of the saddle. This being done, he bade everybody good-bye, and, mounting his horse, rode away homeward--to Richmond. After crossing the Pamunkey at Newcastle ferry, he rode into "Ingleside," about a mile from the river, the lovely home of Mrs. Mary Braxton. Here he dismounted and paid his respects to the mistress of the house and her daughters, who were also cousins. That afternoon he reached Richmond, returning by the same road he had travelled coming out. After his visit, which he had enjoyed so much, he began looking about more than ever to find a country home.
The house he was occupying in Richmond belonged to Mr. John Stewart, of "Brook Hill," who was noted for his devotion to the cause of the South and his kindness to all those who had suffered in the conflict. My brother Custis had rented it at the time he was appointed on Mr. Davis's staff. A mess had been established there by my brother and several other officers on duty in Richmond. In time, my mother and sister had been made members of it, and it had been the headquarters of all of the family during the war, when in town. My father was desirous of making some settlement with his landlord for its long use, but before he could take the final steps my mother received the following note from Mr. Stewart:
"...I am not presuming on your good opinion, when I feel that you will believe me, first, that you and yours are heartily welcome to the house as long as your convenience leads you to stay in Richmond; and, next, that you owe me nothing, but, if you insist on paying, that the payment must be in Confederate currency, for which along it was rented to your son. You do not know how much gratification it is, and will afford me and my whole family during the remainder of our lives, to reflect that we have been brought into contact, and to know and to appreciate you and all that are dear to you."
My father had been offered, since the surrender, houses lands, and money, as well as positions as president of business associations and chartered corporations.
"An English nobleman," Long says, "desired him to accept a mansion and an estate commensurate with his individual merits and the greatness of an historic family."
He replied: "I am deeply grateful; I cannot desert my native State in the hour of her adversity. I must abide her fortunes, and share her fate."
Until his death, he was constantly in receipt of such offers, all of which he thought proper to decline. He wrote to General Long: