22 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
the head ; bowing almost to the ground, and stamping with his foot whenever a fresh couple were to start.
Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him was idle ; and to
have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and clattering about
the room, you would have thought Saint Vitus himself, that blessed patron of the dance, was figuring before you in person. He was the admiration of all the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and
sizes, from the farm and the neighborhood, stood forming a pyramid
of shining black faces at every door and window, gazing with delight
at the scene, rolling their white eyeballs, and showing grinning rows
of ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and joyous ? the lady of his heart was his partner
in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all his amorous
oglings ; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat
brooding by himself in one corner.
When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot
of the sager folks, who, with old Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end
of the piazza, gossiping over former times, and drawing out long
stories about the war.
This neigborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, was one of those highly favored places which abound with chronicle and great
men. The British and American line had run near it during the war; it had, therefore, been the scene of marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds of border chivalry. Just sufficient
time had elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress up his tale with
a little becoming fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his recollection,
to make himself the hero of every exploit.
There was the story of Doffue Martling, a large blue-bearded Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate with an old nine-pounder from a mud breastwork, only that his gun burst at the sixth discharge. And there was an old gentleman who shall be nameless,
being too rich a mynheer to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle
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