74 Washington Irving.
cheerily in my little household, and I would not exchange the cottage for any chateau in Christendom."
Irving was never weary in describing the beautiful scenes amid which his charming home was situated. He was especially eloquent whenever the Hudson was the subject of his pen. In the introduction to his Sketch of Sleepy Hollow he says :
" 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."
With the exception of the three years which Irving spent as minister at the court of Madrid, he lived for the most part here in his beautiful country-home.
Mr. Theodore Tilton, who visited him but a little time before his death, thus writes of him as he last saw him in his study: "I stood reverently in the little room as if it were a sacred place. Its associations filled my mind with as much delight as if I had been breathing
fragrance from hidden flowers. On leaving I carried the picture of it vividly in my mind, and still carry it—the quiet, secluded, poetic haunt in which a great author wrote his greatest works. As I came
away, the old gentleman bundled his shawl about him, and stood a few moments on the steps. A momentary burst of sunshine fell on him through the breaking clouds. In that full light he looked still less like an old man than in the dark parlor by the shaded window. . . I wish always to remember him as I saw him at that last
Irving died suddenly on November 28, 1859. Although for several months his health had been gradually failing he was not at any time confined to his bed. " It was on the 1st of December," writes
his biographer, "that the mortal remains.of Washington Irving were conveyed to their last resting-place, but no breath of winter chilled
the air. The Indian summer, which this season had lingered into the very winter, shed its soft and melancholy beauty over the scene; and nothing could have been more exquisite than the day, or more in
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