17 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
reigned throughout the school-room. It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro, in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a
round-crowned fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he
managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making
or I quilting frolic," to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having delivered his message with that air of importance, and
effort at fine language, which a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind, he dashed over the brook, and was seen
scampering away up the Hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission.
All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school-room. The scholars were hurried through their lessons, without stopping at
trifles ; those who were nimble skipped over half with impunity, and those who were tardy had a smart application now and then in the
rear, to quicken their speed, or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside without being put away on the shelves, inkstands
were overturned, benches thrown down, and the whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time, bursting forth like a legion
of young imps, yelping and racketing about the green, in joy at their early emancipation.
The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best and indeed his only suit of
rusty black, and arranging his locks by a bit of broken looking-glass,
that hung up in the school-house. That he might make his appearance before his mistress in the true style of a cavalier, he borrowed a
horse from the farmer with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman, of the name of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus gallantly
mounted, issued forth, like a knight-errant in quest of adventures. But it is meet I should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, that had outlived
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