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To Mrs. Thomas B. Coles1
from Elizabeth Coles Marshall
[September 2, 1923] Fort Myer, Virginia
Dearest Aunt Lot-
. . . Mud [Mother] & I have been having a very quiet, happy summer together—You know George had started for a 5 weeks Inspection trip & when they had gotten around the loop as far as San Francisco (they had only been gone two weeks) the President died- & Genl. Pershing & George came back on the "funeral train"- George has been on a short trip or two since then- & goes away next week on a motor trip with the General to Greensburg Penn (where G’s sister, Marie, lives.)
Miss Pershing2 is now visiting the General & they both want me to go on the trip too- but I believe it will be a very trying & tiring one from the hectic programme mapped out (all sorts of hot old receptions etc.) & frankly, I can’t see much fun in it so I’ve declined- It’s not my idea of a good time- I have enough of that sort of thing in winter—
I’m going to make Mud stay with me until George comes back from Greensburg— Then she says she must go back to Lex[ington] & get things straightened up there before she returns to me here for the winter.—
I will run down there for a week or so & pay a little visit & bring her back with me, before Xmas—
I have a grand cellar packed full of furnace coal, enough to last all winter- & poor little Mud hasn’t a lump in Lex- So I want her here with me safe & warm-before real winter sets in—
I do wish this little house of mine was larger! Of course I adore having Mud with me- but I just have the one guestroom- & so I’m terribly handicapped-Before Mud comes back- though- Aunt Lot- I do want you & Sharley to pay me a little visit—I’ve wanted you ever since we have been at Myer, but there seemed to be a perpetual guest in my one little guest chamber! . . .
This is our last winter here, you know- as, a year from now, we expect to go to China! (for 3 years.)
George feels he has to go back to troops, for the good of his career- & he has picked China as the place of all others he prefers to go—
I want to take Mud with me, for I’d be wretched if I left her behind—
A lot of our friends are over there- & all are wild about it- One of my friends now in Tien Sien (they call it Tin Sin) says she has nine servants, for the price of one, in the States—
Everyone over there lives in the most unbelievable luxury. Beautiful houses—wonderful food—& tremendously gay & interesting. Mud feels a little sceptical but I tell her she has got to be a sport & come along!
It’s so nice that George is once more called "Colonel" & this time, not through courtesy but because his promotion has really come—3 The slump, after the war, was a bit trying.
George is looking perfectly fine—He is exercising a lot- He is in the saddle every morning at seven o’clock & rides til 830— Then every day he has a swim in the "Tidal Basin"- & tennis before dinner each evening— He’s hard as nails &black as an Indian. I’ve never seen him looking better—. . .
I hope "Timmie" is feeling all rested & set up by the country— There’s nothing like it- & it’s the dream of my life- & Geo’s- to own a country place- We hope to do it one of these days— He wants to go to California for his- but I think I prefer the East—
Mud sends you lots of love- She looks well— & seems perfectly happy here with me—
We have our three meals a day out on the porch—It is all awninged & I have it furnished in wicker & chintz, with oval matting rugs etc- & its just like a room—We have not eaten our meals indoors for nearly 4 months!
. . . As ever Devotedly
Document Copy Text Source: Research Files, Family Folder, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. Mrs. Coles, "Aunt Lot," was Charlotte Berkeley Coles, wife of U.S. Steel Corporation Vice-President Thomas S. Coles. Mrs. Marshall’s mother (born Elizabeth Chiles Pendleton) had married Walter Coles III, Thomas’s brother. The Thomas Coles family lived in New York City, but frequently visited the family home of "Woodville" in Albemarle County, Virginia.
2. General Pershing’s sister May.
3. Marshall was promoted to lieutenant colonel effective August 21.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 234-235.