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was followed for half a century. He himself worked the same vein in “Bracebridge Hall,” and “Tales of a Traveller.” And there is no doubt that some of the most fascinating of the minor sketches of Charles Dickens, such as the story of the Bagman's Uncle, are lineal descendants of, if they were not suggested by, Irving's “Adventure of My Uncle,” and the “Bold Dragoon.” The taste for the leisurely description and reminiscent essay of the “SketchBook” does not characterize the readers of this generation, and we have discovered that the pathos of its elaborated scenes is somewhat “literary.” The sketches of “Little Britain,” and “Westminster Abbey,” and, indeed, that of “Stratford-onAvon,” will for a long time retain their place in selections of “good reading; ” but the “Sketch-Book” is only floated, as an original work, by two papers, the “Rip Van Winkle” and the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow; ” that is to say by the use of the Dutch material, and the elaboration of the “Knickerbocker Legend,” which was the great achievement of Irving's life. This was broadened and deepened and illustrated by the several stories of the “Money Diggers,” of “Wolfert Webber" and “Kidd the Pirate,” in “The Tales of a Traveller,” and by “Dolph Heyliger” in “Bracebridge Hall.” Irving was never more successful than in painting the Dutch manners and habits of the early time, and he returned again and again to the task until he not only made the shores of the Hudson and the islands of New York harbor and the East River classic ground, but until his conception of Dutch life in the New World had assumed historical solidity and become a tradition of the highest poetic value. If in the multiplicity of books and the change of taste the bulk of Irving's works shall go out of print, a volume made up of his Knick erbocker history and the legends relating to the region of New York and the Hudson would survive as long as anything that has been produced in this country. The philosophical student of the origin of New World society may find food for reflection in the “materiality” of the basis of the civilization of New York. The picture of abundance and of enjoyment of animal life is perhaps not overdrawn in Irving's sketch of the home of the Van Tassels, in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It is all the extract we can make room for from that careful study : —
“Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, was Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was, withal, a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold which her great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam ; the tempting stomacher of the olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.
“Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex; and it is not to be wondered at that so tempting a morsel soon found favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm ; but within those everything was snug, happy, and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth, but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance rather than the style in which he lived. His stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A great elm-tree spread its broad branches over it, at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a little well, formed of a barrel, and then stole sparkling away through the grass to a neighboring brook, that bubbled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farm-house was a vast barn, that might have served for a church, every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm. The flail was busily resounding within it from morning till night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings, or buried in their bosoms, and others swelling and cooing and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek, unwieldy
porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens, whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farm-yard, and guinea fowls fretting about it, like ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish, discontented cry. Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a warrior, and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings, and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart—sometimes tearing up the earth with his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered. “The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind's eye he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy, and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onionsauce. In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing