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Ichabod Disappears

Imagine. Two horses approach Sleepy Hollow Bridge at a thunderous gallop. No doubt the first horse, Gunpowder, is on his last legs. He’s hardly fit enough for a trot. Now he catches his rider’s terror, and gallops as if the very devil is behind him. The second horse is sleek and muscular. His hooves pound

Ichabod Crane Flees The Headless Horseman

Ichabod Crane is a poor man with aspirations; a lover of ghost stories who fears the dark. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving creates an unsympathetic character as the subject of his American ghost story. Last week, Ichabod courted Katrina Van Tassel, hoping she would accept him as a suitor. One wonders why

Ichabod Crane Goes a-Courtin’

In honor of Halloween, I’m sharing Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this month. It’s about more than a wild horseback ride in the dead of night. Last week we met Ichabod Crane, a man of unfortunate appearance and few prospects. Nevertheless, Ichabod persevered in his quest for a comfortable life. Ichabod set his

Meet Ichabod Crane – Credulous Schoolteacher

October is best known for Halloween, a spooky holiday on the last evening of the month. The day is associated with costumes, ‘trick-or-treating,’ and spooky stories of ghosts and other supernatural beings. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published by American writer Washington Irving in 1819, is one of the most well-known. The famous headless horseman

West v.West:The Salem Scandal of 1806,Part 3

On November 19, 1806, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts declared the matrimonial bonds of Elizabeth Derby West and Nathaniel West to be dissolved on grounds of Nathaniel’s adulterous activities. Elizabeth charged these acts took place both before and after the new divorce law passed on March 7, 1806. The court disagreed, ruling that evidence

West v.West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part 2

On May 23, 1783, Elizabeth Derby married Nathaniel West. As noted in last week’s blog, Betsey, as she was known, was the eldest daughter of the richest man in Salem, Massachusetts. Betsey was 21 years old, free to marry the man of her choice. Nathaniel West, five years older than his bride, had been sailing

West v. West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part I

In 1761 Elias Hasket Derby, age 22,  married Elizabeth Crowninshield, age 26. When they married, Elias’ father built them a brick house on Salem’s waterfront. Elizabeth’s father provided household items, including furniture, linen, brass kettles, and looking glasses. Elias acquired a new beaver hat to mark the occasion.  The couple were well-suited. The Derby family

Last of the Summer Reads

Before we bid farewell to summer, there’s still time to enjoy a final three fictional escapes. Each story is attached to a place, and one or more points in history. Each involves at least one feisty heroine who takes control of her own life, however reluctantly.  I almost didn’t pick up The Lions of Fifth

Hunting Unicorns

Unicorns are elusive creatures, though I’m not sure they can be called shy.  In the Middle Ages, about the time unicorns became officially magical, people thought the creatures symbolized purity. This is probably why the standard color for unicorns is white. On the other hand, unicorns were said to be vain creatures who happily spent

Unicorn Tales

Sometimes fanciful thoughts relax our minds by reminding us of whimsical, carefree times. And what could be more whimsical than riding a unicorn? If the unicorn is white, with a multi-colored tale, it is clearly a fantasy. But unicorns of other descriptions were once thought to be real. The unicorn, a mythical, magical beast sporting