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The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this
sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring
mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running
about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the
pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked
in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own
gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married
couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers
he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy
relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up,
with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of
savory sausages; and even bright chanticleer himself lay
sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted claws, as if
craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit disdained to ask
while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled
his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields
of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards
burdened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of
Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit
these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea, how
they might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested in
immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the
wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, and
presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of
children, mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household
trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld
himself bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels,
setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, --or the Lord knows where!

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was
complete. It was one of those spacious farmhouses, with high-
ridged but lowly sloping roofs, built in the style handed down
from the first Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves forming a
piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad
weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, various utensils
of husbandry, and nets for fishing in the neighboring river.
Benches were built along the sides for summer use; and a great
spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other, showed the
various uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From
this piazza the wondering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed
the centre of the mansion, and the place of usual residence. Here
rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his
eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag of wool, ready to be spun;
in another, a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears
of Indian corn, and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in
gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red
peppers; and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best
parlor, where the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables
shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and
tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-
oranges and conch - shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of
various-colored birds eggs were suspended above it; a great
ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a corner
cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old
silver and well-mended china.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of
delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study
was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van
Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real
difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of
yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery
dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, to contend
with and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and
brass, and walls of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of
his heart was confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man
would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas pie; and then
the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the
contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette,
beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were forever
presenting new difficulties and impediments; and he had to
encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood,
the numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her
heart, keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but
ready to fly out in the common cause against any new competitor.

Among these, the most formidable was a burly, roaring,
roystering blade, of the name of Abraham, or, according to the
Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round
which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was
broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair,
and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air
of fun and arrogance From his Herculean frame and great powers of
limb he had received the nickname of BROM BONES, by which he was
universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in
horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was
foremost at all races and cock fights; and, with the ascendancy
which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the
umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving
his decisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or
appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but
had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and with all
his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish
good humor at bottom. He had three or four boon companions, who
regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he scoured
the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for
miles round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap,
surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail; and when the folks at a
country gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance,
whisking about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by
for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along
past the farmhouses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a
troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled out of their
sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had
clattered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones
and his gang!" The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture
of awe, admiration, and good-will; and, when any madcap prank
or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook their
heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it.




The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Category:
General Fiction
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