12 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was complete. It was one of those spacious farm-houses, with high-ridged,
but lowly sloping roofs, built in the style handed down from the first
Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves forming a piazza along the
front, capable of being closed in bad weather. Under this were hung
flails, harness, various utensils of husbandry, and nets for fishing in
the neighboring river. Benches were built along the sides for summer
use ; and a great spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other,
showed the various uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From this piazza the wondering Ichabod entered the hall,
which formed the centre of the mansion and the place of usual residence. Here, rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a long dresser,
dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag of wool ready to
be spun ; in another a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom ;
ears of Indian corn, and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in
gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers ;
and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best parlor, where the
claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables shone like mirrors ; and
the irons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, glistened from
their covert asparagus tops ; mock-oranges and conch-shells decorated
the mantel-piece ; strings of various colored birds' eggs were suspended
above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room,
and a corner cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old silver and well-mended china.
From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of
delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was
how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel.
In this enterprise, however, he had more real difficulties than generally
fell to the lot of a knight-errant of yore, who seldom had any thing
but giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and such like easily conquered
adversaries, to contend with; and had to make his way merely through
gates of iron and brass, and walls of adamant, to the castle keep, where
the lady of his heart was confined ; all which he achieved as easily as
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