This letter is in the handwriting of Major Burr, and undoubtedly was prepared by him for the signature of the general. Miss Moncrieffe was, at this time, in her fourteenth year. She had travelled, and, for one of her age, had mingled much in the world. She was accomplished, and was considered handsome.
Harry knew that both armies, far up and down the river, were counting those shots, as the little group in the Moncrieffe house were counting them. Certainly there would be no hostilities on that day. "Nine," they said under their breath. "Ten!" "Eleven!" "Twelve!" Then they listened, as the echo of the twelfth Southern shot died away on the stream, and no sound came after it.
"And a great bunch of holly!" said Colonel Talbot, in whose eye, usually so warlike, a large tear stood. "Dat," said Caesar, "was sent by little Miss Julia Moncrieffe, just nine years old. She wished she had a bunch for every soldier in the army, an' she sent her lub to all uv 'em." "God bless little Julia Moncrieffe, aged nine," said Colonel Talbot, much moved.
"God bless her, so say we all of us," the others added together. "And now, Caesar," said Colonel Talbot, "put your horse in the part of the stable that remains. I noticed some hay there which you can give to him. Then come to the kitchen. Mr. Moncrieffe, whose name be praised, says that you're the best cook since those employed by Lucullus.
In the rather florid style of those days the once youthful Margaret Moncrieffe expresses herself as follows: Oh, may these pages one day meet the eye of him who subdued my virgin heart, whom the immutable, unerring laws of nature had pointed out for my husband, but whose sacred decree the barbarous customs of society fatally violated! Commenting on this paragraph, Mr.
Put him to work, and if he disobeys, shuffles or evades in any manner, hit him over the head with anything that you can find hard enough or heavy enough to make an impression. Wishing the Army of Northern Virginia the continued and brilliant success that has attended it heretofore, I remain, Your most obedient servant, THEOPHILUS MONCRIEFFE.
Moncrieffe as the last 'blaw' faded into silence, and Jean Dalziel came upstairs to say that they could seldom get a quiet moment for family prayers, because we were always at the piano, hurling incendiary sentiments into the air, sentiments set to such stirring melodies that no one could resist them. "We are very sorry, Miss Dalziel," I said penitently.
It has no mountainous eminence in its midst, castle-crowned, like Stirling, from which to look off upon such a scene as the latter commands. But Nature has erected grand and lofty observatories near by in the Moncrieffe and Kinnoull Hills, from which a splendid prospect is unrolled to the eye.
H. C. Merwin justly remarks that, whatever may have been Burr's conduct toward Margaret Moncrieffe, the lady herself, who was the person chiefly concerned, had no complaint to make of it. It certainly was no very serious affair, since in the following year Burr met a lady who, while she lived, was the only woman for whom he ever really cared.
Her captivity was regarded as little more than a joke; but while she was thus a prisoner she saw a great deal of Burr. For several months they were comrades, after which General Putnam sent her with his compliments to her father. Margaret Moncrieffe had a most emotional nature. There can be no doubt that she deeply loved the handsome young American officer, whom she never saw again.