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SUGGESTIONS OF TOPICS OF INQUIRY.
Where is Westminster Abbey ?
How is the word minster used?
Who was the founder of the abbey ? Edward the Confessor ?
When did the abbey lose its conventual character? Why?
Is there any fact or description in the sketch that shows the age of the building?
What were the author's thoughts as he passed from the cloisters into the abbey ?
Where do visitors linger longest? Why?
What epitaph does Irving notice? What criticism does he make on it?
66 Beating against the very walls of the sepulchre." What is the sepulchre? Why so called?
Describe the walls and roof of Henry the Seventh's chapel.
Where is Henry the Seventh's tomb? Define mausoleum.
"Sure signs of solitariness and desertion." What are the signs? Why are they signs of solitariness and desertion?
Does Irving favor Mary or Elizabeth in what he says? Give a reason for your answer.
Commit to memory the description of the music of the organ.
Who was Edward the Confessor?
"It was literally but a step from the throne to the sepulchre." Explain.
What lesson do these "incongruous mementos" teach?
What tire of the day was it when Irving left the abbey ?
"It is indeed the empire of Death." What is the empire of Death? "Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand, and their epitaphs but characters written in the dust?" Explain with special reference to the italicized words.
Make short, pointed quotations from this sketch.
Give the substance of the last paragraph in fresh words.
What is the general character of this sketch? Description? Reason for your answer?
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW.
FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER.
"A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
Castle of Indolence.
In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market-days. Be that as it
Castle of Indolence. A celebrated poem, published in 1748, by James Thomson, who wrote also The Seasons. Born in 1700; died 1748.
3. Tappan Zee. This is ten miles long and four wide. (Zee sea. ) 5. St. Nicholas. The original St. Nicholas was bishop of Myra in Lycia. On a voyage to Palestine, it is said, a sailor was drowned, and St. Nicholas restored him to life. A dangerous storm occurred, and the sailors besought him to save them; he prayed, and the storm ceased. He is identified with the Dutch Santa Claus, and is the patron saint of children, sailors, travellers, and merchants, also of the Russian nation. St. Nicholas is very often invoked and alluded to in Irving's humorous History of New York (see Book II. Chapters 2 and 5; Book VI. Chapters 4, 8, and 9).
8. Tarrytown is twenty-seven miles from New York.
may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the 15 quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.
I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrelshooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was pro- 25 longed and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat, whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.
From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar char- 30 acter of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and 35 to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is the 40
26. Reverberated (Lat. re, back, again; verberare, to lash, strike; from verber, a lash), driven back, returned. If ever I should wish for a retreat, etc. This desire was gratified literally, when Irving was owner of Sunnyside.
39. Powwows. A powwow was a meeting held with incantations before a hunt, a council, a warlike expedition, etc., at which there were feasting, dancing, and great noise and confusion.
40. Hendrick Hudson.
The distinguished navigator after whom Hud
place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country-folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent
son's Bay, Hudson's Straits, and the Hudson River were named. He discovered the river in his second great voyage, while seeking to find a northwest passage to China and India.
49. The nightmare, with her whole nine fold, etc. Nightmare is derived from Icelandic mara, a nightmare; akin to Polish mara, vision, dream; perhaps Lat. lemures, troublesome nocturnal ghosts. The nightmare was supposed to seize men in their sleep, and take away their speech and power to
"Saint Withold footed thrice the wold;
And her troth plight,
And, Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee."
King Lear, Act III. Sc. 4.
50. Gambols, sportful leapings. See note on this word in The Voyage, p. 3.
51. Dominant (Lat. dominari, to rule; from dominus, master), prevailing, ruling.
54. Hessian. In 1776 the British government hired of petty German princes about 16,000 troops. They were called Hessians, because most of them belonged to Hesse-Cassel, a province of Western Germany.
roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great 60
Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, 70 which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow 80 imaginative, to dream dreams and see apparitions.
I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great State of New York, that population, manners, and customs remain fixed; while the great torrent 85 of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant
62. Collating (Lat. conferre, collatum, to bring together), laying together and comparing, by examining the points in which two or more things of a similar kind agree or disagree. The word is applied particularly to passages in manuscripts and books.
70. Purport (Old Fr. pourporter, declare, make known; Lat. pro, forth, and portare, to carry), design, tendency, meaning, import.
77, 78. Every one .... they. Is this an error in the number of the pro
82. Laud (Lat. laus, laudis, praise), praise, commendation.
86. Migration (Lat. migrare, to quit or leave a place), change of residence, removal.