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Sally Wister: A Girl Of The American Revolution
by [?]

At once she looked them over, man by man, with a critical eye, and passed judgment on them in her diary, relating, that to her surprise, they seem “very peaceable sort of men,” and adds, “they eat like other folks, talk like them, and behave themselves with elegance, so I will not be afraid of them, no I won’t,” and winds up her letter with, “Adieu. I am going to my chamber to dream, I suppose of bayonets and swords, sashes, guns and epaulets.”

On the following day, she writes to Debby, “I dare say thee is impatient to know my sentiments of the officers, so while Somnus embraces them and the house is still, take their characters according to their rank,” and then gives a vivid pen picture of each one of the officers, her trenchant description showing her to be no respecter of persons. Major William Truman Stoddard, a nephew of the General, and not much older than Sally herself, she at first describes as appearing “cross and reserved,” but her opinion of the young officer materially changes. On the second day of their acquaintance she writes, “Well, here comes the glory, the Major, so bashful, so famous; I at first thought him cross and proud, but I was mistaken. He cannot be extolled for graces of person, but for those of the mind he may be justly celebrated.” On the third day, “the Major is very reserv’d, nothing but ‘Good morning’ or ‘your servant,’ madam,” and she adds that she has heard that he is worth a fortune of thirty thousand pounds, but is so bashful that he can hardly look at the ladies, after which information she roguishly remarks in an aside, “Excuse me, good sir, I really thought you were not clever; if ’tis bashfulness only, we will drive that away!”

At the end of several days, Sally seems to be much interested in the Major, but to have made little headway in getting acquainted with him, and the only entry concerning him is “The Gen’l still here. The Major still bashful.”

Then on a Sunday evening when she was playing with her little brother, the Major drew up a chair and began to play with the child too, and Sally says, “One word brought us together and we chatted the greatest part of the evening.” This seems to have broken the ice between them completely and two days later while Liddy and Sally were reading she tells us that, “The Major was holding a candle for the Gen’l who was reading a newspaper. He looked at us, turned away his eyes, looked again, put the candlestick down, up he jumped, out of the door he went.” But presently he returned and seated himself on the table begging them for a song, which Liddy said Sally could give, and they laughed and talked for an hour and Sally found him “very clever, amiable and polite.” In the same letter Sally exclaimed, “Oh, Debby, I have a thousand things to tell thee. I shall give thee so droll an account of my adventures that thee will smile. ‘No occasion of that, Sally,’ methinks I hear thee say, ‘for thee tells me every trifle.’ But child, thee is mistaken, for I have not told thee half the civil things that are said of us SWEET creatures at General Smallwood’s Quarters!” Sly little Mistress Sally!

On the next day, “A polite ‘Good morning’ from the Major. More sociable than ever. No wonder, a stoic could not resist such affable damsels as we are!”–Conceited little monkey–Again, “the Major and I had a little chat to ourselves this evening. No harm, I assure thee. He and I are friends.”

That letter also recounts the coming of Colonel Guest, who at once fell a victim to the charms of Liddy, in telling which to Debby, Sally remarks, “When will Sally’s admirers appear? Ah! that indeed. Why, Sally has not charms sufficient to pierce the heart of a soldier. But still I won’t despair. Who knows what mischief I may yet do?”–Ah, yes, little coquette, who knows?