25 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which men talk in the dark, the countenances of the listeners only now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a pipe, sank deep in the mind
of Ichabod. He repaid them in kind with large extracts from his invaluable author, Cotton Mather, and added many marvellous events
that had taken place in his native State of Connecticut, and fearful sights which he had seen in his nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow.
The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered together' their families in their wagons, and were heard for some time
rattling along the hollow roads and over the distant hills. Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind their favorite swains, and
their light-hearted laughter, mingling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed along the silent woodlands, sounding fainter and fainter until they gradually died away—and the late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the
custom of country lovers, to have a tHe-'h-tete with the heiress, fully convinced that he was now on the high road to success. What passed at this interview I will not pretend to say, for in fact I do not know.
Something, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, after no very great' interval, with an air quite
desolate and chopfallen. Oh, these women ! these women ! Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish tricks ? Was
her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his rival ? Heaven only knows, not I ! Let it suffice
to say, Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking
a hen-roost, rather than a fair lady's heart. Without looking to the right or left to notice the scene of rural wealth on which he had so
often gloated, he went straight to the stable, and with several hearty cuffs and kicks, roused his steed most uncourteously from the
comfortable quarters in which he was soundly sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and whole valleys of timothy and clover.
It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crestfallen, pursued his travel homeward, along the sides of the
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