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seize her, and take his revenge ; but she stepped back, and turned demurely toward a pew, where reclined a gentleman with perfumed handkerchief in one hand, and on the other a kid glove. This young man was one of Louisa's beaux, and she felt curious to know whether Mr. Snorer's preaching produced any effect on his mind. But to her surprise, she could not find that he had any mind. There was a vacuum in its place! It was a mere puppet, dressed up in the externals of good society!
Louisa turned to some young acquaintance of her own sex, and, as she expected, found them with their frivolous thoughts intent upon dress, running up and down the scale of fashion, with the same monotonous perseverance with which young ladies are taught to run their scales on the piano. When their eyes lighted on a new and expensive dress, well garnished with feathers, and furbelows, and all the paraphernalia of fashion, they might be considered at the top of the scale ; and down their silly thoughts ran again, when a dowdy object met their view.
There was one lady, whose handsome face and brilliant eyes had often excited Louisa's admiration. They seemed capable of expressing the pure intellectual sentiments of an elevated mind; but Louisa dreamed that the fine qualities of this beautiful girl were obscured by pride and vanity; and even in church, these prevailed, to the exclusion of feelings better befitting the occasion. Perhaps, thought Louisa, if the preacher's words reached her heart, for a heart she has of innate worth, beating beneath that lovely form, if the preacher's words touched one chord there, it might respond in a nobler strain. But the discourse did not fix her attention, for which it would be hard to blame poor Mr. Snorer; and Louisa found her contemptuously scrutinizing the mean apparel of some humble-looking strangers in a pew before her. Mother and daughter they appeared to be, and were, as Louisa remarked, any thing but well dressed. However, though the outside was mean, there was worth beneath it. In the heart of the old lady dwelt the piety which “ passeth show;' nor was her daughter destitute of devotional feeling ; but at that moment, a sad struggle was going on in her mind. She felt herself meanly attired, in the midst of wealth and fashion. Poverty seemed to hang about her as a garment; and she was striving in vain to conquer this unworthy sense of debasement, by every lesson in favor of meekness and humility, that christianity had taught her. Mortification had entered her young heart, and envy stood in the portal. How can I pray here, thought she, amid looks of scorn, and eyes of cold inquiry? 'Go into thy closet and shut the door;' these words seemed to be ringing in her ears, and she longed for the sanctity of solitude, to relieve her from feelings which were at war with devotion. When she raised her head, her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes suffused with lears. It was the blush of false shame; the tears were those of mor tified pride; and as her mother at the same moment raised her head, there was a remarkable contrast in the expression of tranquil resig. nation in her pale countenance. Louisa was gazing on them both, with much interest, and preparing to search deeper into their hearts, when a bustle in the congregation awakened her. Mr. Snorer had reached the end of his sermon, and very soon he and father Somnus
stalked off together; and Louisa walked silently home. On arriving there, she hastened to her mother's room, and exclaimed as she entered, “Oh! mother! I have had such a dream!'
• A dream, Louisa ?' said her mother, in an incredulous tone. I cannot think
have been sleeping in church again !' • That was a matter of course, I am sorry to say,' replied Louisa ; 'but my dream, dear mother; will you hear my dream ?'
Silence gave consent, and Louisa recounted her silly vision, as related above ; at the conclusion of which, her mother yawned several times; and then remarked, that if dreams were any criterion of the disposition of the dreamer, Louisa must stand accused of great want of charity in her interpretation of her neighbors' thoughts.
Having pitched my tent, probably for the remainder of my days, in the neighborhood of Sleepy Hollow, I am tempted to give some few particulars concerning that spell-bound region; especially as it has risen to historic importance, under the pen of my revered friend and master, the sage historian of the New Netherlands. Beside, I find the very existence of the place has been held in question by many; wh:), judging from its odd name, and from the odd stories current among the vulgar concerning it, have rashly deemed the whole to be a farciful creation, like the Lubber Land of mariners. I must confess there is some apparent cause for doubt, in consequence of the coloring given by the worthy Diedrich, to his descriptions of the Hollow; who, in this instance, has departed a little from his usually sober if not severe style; beguiled, very probably, by his predilection for the haunts of his youth, and by a certain lurking taint of romance, whenever any thing connected with the Dutch was to be described. I shall endeavor to make up for this amiable error, on the part of my venerable and venerated friend, by presenting the reader with a more precise and statistical account of the Hollow; though I am not sure that I shall not be prone to lapse, in the end, into the very error I am speaking of, so potent is the witchery of the theme.
I believe it was the very peculiarity of its name, and the idea of something mystic and dreamy connected with it, that first led me, in my boyish ramblings, into Sleepy Hollow. The character of the valley seemed to answer to the name ; the slumber of past ages apparently reigned over it; it had not awakened to the stir of improvement, which had put all the rest of the world in a bustle. Here reigned good old long-forgotten fashions; the men were in homespun garbs, evidently the product of their own farms, and the manufacture of their own wives; the women were in primitive short gowns and petticoats, with the venerable sun-bonnets of Holland origin. The lower part of the valley was cut up into small farms, each consisting of a little meadow and corn-field; an orchard of sprawling, gnarled apple trees, and a garden, where the rose, the marigold, and the hollyhock were permitted to skirt the domains of the capacious cabbage, the aspiring pea, and the portly pumpkin. Each had its prolific little mansion, teeming with children; with an old hat nailed against the wall for the house-keeping wren ; a motherly hen, under a coop on the grass-plot, clucking to keep around her a brood of vagrant chickens; a cool stone well, with the moss-covered bucket suspended to the long balancing pole, according to the antediluvian idea of hydraulics; and its spinning-wheel humming within doors, the patriarchal music of home manufacture.
The Hollow at that time was inhabited by families which had existed there from the earliest times, and which, by frequent intermarriage, had become so interwoven, as to make a kind of naturalcommonwealth. As the families had grown larger, the farms had grown smaller, every
new generation requiring a new subdivision, and few thinking of swarming from the native hive. In this way, that happy golden mean had been produced, so much extolled by the poets, in which there was no gold, and very little silver. One thing which doubtless contributed to keep up this amiable mean, was a general repugnance to sordid labor. The sage inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow had read in their Bible, which was the only book they studied, that labor was originally inflicted upon man as a punishment of sin; they regarded it, therefore, with pious abhorrence, and never humiliated themselves to it, but in cases of extremity. There seemed, in fact, to be a league and covenant against it, throughout the Hollow, as against a common enemy.
Was any one compelled, hy dire necessity, to repair his house, mend his fences, build a barn, or get in a harvest, he considered it a great evil, that entitled him to call in the assistance of his friends. He accordingly proclaimed a 'bee,' or rustic gathering ; whereupon all his neighbors hurried to his aid, like faithful allies ; attacked the task with the desperate energy of lazy men, eager to overcome a job; and when it was accomplished, fell to eating and drinking, fiddling and dancing, for very joy that so great an amount of labor had been vanquished, with so little sweating of the brow.
Yet let it not be supposed that this worthy community was without its periods of arduous activity. Let but a flock of wild pigeons fly across the valley, and all Sleepy Hollow was wide awake in an instant. The pigeon season had arrived! Every gun and net was forthwith in requisition. The flail was thrown down on the barn floor; the spade rusted in the garden ; the plough stood idle in the furrow; every one was to the hill side, and stubble-field, at day break, to shoot or entrap the pigeons, in their periodical migrations.
So, likewise, let but the word be given that the shad were ascending the Hudson, and the worthies of the Hollow were to be seen launched in boats upon the river; setting great stakes, and stretching their nets, like gigantic spider-webs, half across the stream, to the great annoyance of navigators. Such are the wise provisions of Nature, by which she equalizes rural affairs. A laggard at the plough is often extremely industrious with the fowling-piece and fishing net; and whenever a man is an indifferent farmer, he is apt to be a first-rate sportsman. For catching shad and wild pigeons, there were none throughout the country to compare with the lads of Sleepy Hollow.
As I have observed, it was the dreamy nature of the name, that first beguiled me, in the holiday rovings of boyhood, into this sequestered region. I shunned, however, the populous parts of the Hollow, and sought its retired haunts, far in the foldings of the hills, where the Pocantico 'winds its wizard stream, sometimes silently and darkly, through solemn woodlands; sometimes sparkling between grassy borders, in fresh green meadows; sometimes stealing along the feet of rugged heights, under the balancing sprays of beech and chestnut trees. A thousand crystal springs, with which this neighborhood abounds, sent down from the hill-sides their whimpering rills, as if to pay tribute to the Pocantico. In this stream I first essayed my unskilful hand at angling. I loved to loiter along it, with rod in hand, watching my float as it whirled amid the eddies, or drifted into dark holes, under twisted roots and sunken logs, where the largest fish are
apt to lurk. I delighted to follow it into the brown recesses of the woods; to throw by my fishing gear, and sit upon rocks beneath towering oaks and clambering grape-vines; bathe my feet in the cool current, and listen to the summer breeze playing among the treetops. My boyish fancy clothed all nature around me with ideal charms, and peopled it with the fairy beings I had read of in poetry and fable. Here it was I gave full scope to my incipient habit of day-dreaming, and to a certain propensity to weave up and lint sober realities with my own whims and imaginings, which has sometimes made life a little too much like an Arabian tale to me, and this • working day world' rather like a region of romance.
The great gathering place of Sleepy Hollow, in those days, was the church. It stood outside of the Hollow, near the great highway; on a green bank, shaded by trees, with the Pocantico sweeping round it, and emptying itself into a spacious mill-pond. At that time, the Sleepy Hollow church was the only place of worship for a wide neighborhood. It was a venerable edifice, partly of stone and partly of brick, the latter having been brought from Holland, in the early days of the province, before the arts in the New Netherlands could aspire to such a fabrication. On a stone above the porch, were inscribed the names of the founders, Frederick Filipsen, a mighty patroon of the olden time, who reigned over a wide extent of this neighborhood, and held his seat of power at Yonkers; and his wife, Katrina Van Courtlandt, of the no less potent line of the Van Courtlandts of Croton, who lorded it over a great part of the Highlands.
The capacious pulpit, with its wide-spreading sounding board, were likewise early importations from Holland; as also the communiontable, of massive form and curious fabric. The same might be said of a weather-cock, perched on top of the belfry, and which was considered orthodox in all windy matters, until a small pragmatical rival was set up, on the other end of the church, above the chancel. This latter bore, and still bears, the initials of Frederick Filipsen, and assumed great airs in consequence. The usual contradiction ensued that always exists among church weather-cocks, which can never be brought to agree as to the point from which the wind blows, having doubtless acquired, from their position, the christian propensity to schism and controversy.
Behind the church, and sloping up a gentle acclivity, was its capacious burying-ground, in which slept the earliest fathers of this rural neighborhood. Here were tombstones of the rudest sculpture; on which were inscribed, in Dutch, the names and virtues of many of the first settlers, with their portraitures curiously carved in similitude of cherubs. Long rows of grave-stones, side by side, of similar names, but various dates, showed that generation after generation of the same families had followed each other, and been garnered together in this last gathering place of kindred.
Let me speak of this quiet grave-yard with all due reverence, for I owe it amends for the heedlessness of my boyish days. I blush to acknowledge the thoughtless frolic with which, in company with other whipsters, I have sported within its sacred bounds, during the