Richmond Oct 28, 1895

Dear Frank,

Yesterday was truly a
day of days; of sympathi-
zing sorrow & overwhelming
sadness with us all. Besides
the terrific blow that fell on
dear Robert Stiles in the
death of his daughter Lelia,
who died in the morning at
8 o'clock, there next came
upon us the crushing news that
the dear old University was
in flames and doubtless
doomed to destruction! I
need not attempt to describe
our misery and anxiety.
All day long was spent in

eagerness, & melancholy, about
the University's fate. I hardly
have ever known more excite-
ment in our Community, and
as the day wore on & the news
became sadder & sadder, we
felt as if the loss of the
beloved old Rotunda and
Public Hall, with its priceless
contents, would be the
most irreparable of disasters,
and saddest of blows. I
thought of you very often
& those invaluable treasures;
and especially of your lecture-
room & its apparatus.

To you and Peters and
Mr. Holmes did my heart

go forth,-- and to Venable and Thornton and all
of you, and to all the circle of life-long
friends in the familiar walks where it has
been so frequently my privilege to resort.

Carrie and Willie and Eugene
were (with me) in deepest sympathy &
sorrow with the University, and its
Professors & all the neighbors & friends of the
Institution. I hope & pray that the heavy ca-
lamity may soon be as far as possible repaired.

We hope & expect to visit "Copeley" as
usual say about Nov 10th to 12th, and
to see you then & there. Kind regards to
your good wife & family.

In great haste
Yrs. truly sincerely
James Pleasants

Prof. F. H. Smith
Univ. Of Va.