i4 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
houses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don Cos-
sacks ; and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for
a moment till the hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim :
" Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his gang !" The neighbors looked
upon him with a mixture of awe, admiration, and good-will ; and
when any madcap prank, or rustic brawl, occurred in the vicinity,
always shook their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bot-
tom of it.
This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming
Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries ; and though his
amorous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endear-
ments of a bear, yet it was whispered that she did not altogether dis-
courage his hopes. Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival
candidates to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his
amours ; insomuch that, when his horse was seen tied to Van Tas-
sel's paling on a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was court-
ing, or, as it is termed, " sparking," within, all other suitors passed
by in despair, and carried the war into other quarters.
Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to
contend, and, considering all things, a stouter man than he would
have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have de-
spaired. He had, however, a happy mixture of pliability and perse-
verance in his nature ; he was in form and spirit like a supplejack—
yielding, but tough ; though he bent, he never broke ; and though
he bowed beneath the slightest pressure, yet, the moment it was away
—jerk ! he was as erect, and carried his head as high, as ever.
To have taken the field openly against his rival would have been
madness, for he was not a man to be thwarted in his amours, any
more than that stormy lover, Achilles. Ichabod, therefore, made his
advances in a quiet and gently insinuating manner. Under cover of
his character of singing-master, he had made frequent visits at
the farm-house ; not that he had any thing to apprehend from the
meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a stumbling-
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