64 Washington Irving.
I sat down on the stone steps of the ancient edifice, and looking out through the drooping branches of elm and willow across the daisy-covered fields, watched the white-winged schooners and the excursion
steamers gaily ornamented with the flags of all nations, as they passed like an endless panorama up and down the river. To allow one's self to drift into revery under such circumstances, with such surroundings, is the most natural thing that can happen. My imagination ran
back over the past to the time when the first congregations gathered here. Their method of worship was in keeping with their rude
primitive, hardy life.
The entire family embarked in their heavy farm-wagon early in the morning and journeyed ten, twelve, or twenty miles, over rough
roads. They would have felt wronged and cheated had they been turned away with one of our mild modern sermons of twenty minutes'
duration. The pulpit orators of those days were estimated more bythe vigor of their voice than by the subtlety of their thought. They preached a hardy theology, and the greater part of the day, with an
intermission at noon for lunch, was devoted to their efforts. The Reverend J. K. Allen in a lecture on " The Legendary History of the
Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow," says : " During this hour the people ate their lunch, and possibly if they were not very good, gossiped a little. Old Caesar, a colored man, came from the Saw Mill River valley and sold cakes and home-made beer in this intermission.
A great many young men and women came on horseback-
to church. There was a grove of locust trees down on the shore of the mill pond, where the horses were tied, and here the rustic swains exhibited their dexterity and their gallantry in assisting the buxom, rosy-cheeked Dutch girls in dismounting. Who can tell what innocent flirting and love-making went on in that grove at the noontide hour of the summers long ago ? What thoughts took possession of the young bosoms, which were not prompted by the dominie's solemn
sermon in the morning about the vanity of all things here below ? Who can tell how often the services of the dominie were demanded
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