71 Washington Irving.
master rode over these hills on his way to the merry-making at Baltas Van Tassel's, never dreaming of the terrible experience in store for
him that night. Over on the east side of the valley may be seen the Sleepy Hollow schoolhouse where the worthy Ichabod labored with the slowly awakening intellects of the phlegmatic Dutch boys. It is not the identical building, but it stands on the same spot occupied by its humble ancestor. Some school-children were playing near, and
through the half open door we caught a glimpse—not of any who looked like the descendant of the gaunt, genius-of-famine form of the Connecticut psalm-singer, but the plump figure of a very modern-looking schoolma'am. I entered into conversation with one of the
children—a boy of some twelve or fourteen summers. He had never read or even heard of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He reminded me of the Yarmouth fisherman who had never heard of Dickens.
The Westchester Herald for Nov. 30, 1852, contained a notice of the death of Jesse Merwin, an old time schoolmaster, who for many years enjoyed the acquaintance and friendship of Irving. He
was the original Ichabod Crane, and seems to have been in no wise offended by the caricature portrayed in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Irving writes to him from Sunnyside early in 1851. In this
letter he refers in his characteristic manner to the old schoolhouse:
"You tell me the old school building is torn down, and a nice one built in its place. I am sorry for it. I should have liked to see the old schoolhouse once more, where, after my morning's literary task was over, I used to come and wait for you, occasionally until school was dismissed, and you would promise to keep back the punishment
of some little tough, broad-bottomed Dutch boy, until I should come,for my amusement,—but you never kept your promise. I don't think I should look with a friendly eye at the new schoolhouse, however ' nice it may be.' "
A few of the old time Dutch farm-houses are still standing in Sleepy Hollow, with their high second-story verandas on the front, approached by a broad flight of steps, and the roof sloping down on
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