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here, I have had an opportunity of removing entirely the suspicion they had of your courting Miss De Visme. They believe nothing of it now, and attribute your visits at Paramus to motives of friendship for Mrs. Prevost and the family. Wherever I am, and can with propriety, you may be assured I shall represent this matter in its true light." And in that same June, Mrs. Prevost, though she had not yet seen her, was on terms of intimacy with Sally Reeve, and writing to her that "as you are no stranger to the partial friendship your amiable Brother honors me with, nor to my want of skill in the art of writing, I will not apologise for my present attempt. Although I can with propriety accuse him of a breach of confidence for having exposed the ignorance of his friend to a lady of your superior sense.
"Your health, my Dear Madam, has given me the utmost concern and anxiety. Though I have not the happiness of a personal acquaintance, As the sister of my inestimable friend you are justly entitled to my highest regard and attention . I flattered myself with the hope of seeing you with Mr. Reeve at the Hermitage. You will find a sympathizing friend who would feel a singular pleasure to be in the smallest degree conducive to your recovery, who would treat you with the familiarity of a sister that wishes to cultivate your friendship.'
That Burr was a frequent visitor at the Paramus Hermitage in 1780 was generally known; he was there, for instance, on a lamentable night which brought a cavalry escort to the door, conveying, on her way to New York, from the betrayal of West Point in which she had taken an active part, a veiled
and distracted lady who proved to be Mrs. Benedict Arnold-a friend of the De Vismes, and of Burr himself since childhood. Indeed, it was to become a popular tradition that in 1779, when he was in command at White Plains, Colonel Burr was in the habit of having himself ferried at night with his horse over the Hudson, eluding the British pickets and riding across country to spend a few hours at the Hermitage a feat, the romantic appeal of which is calculated to obscure the considerable unlikelihood of its repeated accomplishment.
But that was in 1779, and it is certain that in 1778, already, Colonel Burr was acquainted with the Paramus family; for in August a sloop and a "flagg of truce with three drums and fifes' given to him by Governor Clinton for the purpose of conducting within the British lines-in his capacity as a representative of the Board of Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies-the families of certain Tories who had preferred to "affect Allegiance to the King of Great Britain"; and to the certificate the Colonel added an endorsement stating that "Mrs. Prevost and Miss De Visme with one Man servant in consequence of Lord's Stirling's Leave to pass to N. York and return are admitted on board this Flagg." But this does not signify that Mrs. Prevost, in spite of her English marriage, was disloyal to the American cause, for at a later date Colonel Troup was writing to a brother officer that
"I feel irresistibly impelled by a perfect confidence in the intimacy subsisting between us to recommend to your kindest attention one of my female
friends in distress. I mean Mrs. Prevost, who has been justly esteemed for her honor, virtue and accomplishments. During the whole course of this war she has conducted herself in such a manner as proves her to possess an excellent understanding as well as a strong attachment to our righteous cause. My character of this lady is drawn partly from the information of the most respectable Whigs in the State. Impressed with those sentiments, I am not ashamed to confess that I feel an anxiety for her welfare. Without the least deviation from truth, I can affirm that Mrs. Prevost is a sincere and cordial well wisher to the success of our army, which will be an additional reason with you for showing her all the civilities in your power."
And if they were acquainted in 1778-so that, as seems to be the case, Colonel Burr was disposed to facilitate Mrs. Prevost's passage to New Yorkmay not one suppose that their knowledge of each other dated back to that September afternoon in 1777, when the Malcolms, with their Colonel in the van, came tramping down from the Clove, in that Ramapo Valley to which the glamor of Burr's name has ever since clung, into Paramus-past the red sandstone house with the diamond-shaped windows which was called the Hermitage?
It has sometimes been asserted that Mrs. Theodosia Prevost was Swiss. Beyond the fact that her supposed portrait adorns the dial of an old watchonce the property of Colonel Burr, and now owned