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Sunnyside And Irving

Sunnyside And Irving image
Parent Issue
Day
20
Month
October
Year
1865
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

It was au odd aftair of steep roofs, gable ende, and decorated eaves - a sort of cottage half covered with flowers and dimbing viues, upon the summit of which stood a queer-looking weathercock, which I understood to be an old Duteh relie from Albany. On the left was a pórtico, from which you had a fine glimpse of the Hudsou ; winding walks led in and out of the shrubbery, and the place resembled a sort of Dutch paradise - all graas, birds, flowers and euiitíhine. Hither, withio a few miles ot Sleepy Hollow, sceue of the adventure of IchabodCrone, and not far from the Catskills, iinrnortalzed by the mishaps of Rip Van Winkle, the creator of tbose personages had come to spend bis tranquil and happy old age - proclaiming to the world in his very house, and the choice of its site, tbose odd bumorous, half-Dutch peculiarities wbich had coni municated such a charro to his writings, and made the author so famous. I was looking curiously at the original structure wben my eyes feil upon the 6gure of a man standing upon a knoll to the left of tho house, his face turned studiously away from us. My friend dlrectcd his steps in that direction. I foilowed, aud " How do you do, Mr. Irving ?"caused the figure to wheel round, waiking-etick in hand. It was of a short, ruther " dunipy " person, dressed in black, aod very plainly. There was absolutely nothing to indícate taste or character in the costume, nor was there mueh, at first sight, in tLe face. A plain, elderly genlleman, taking a walk iu his grounds, and enjoying the suushine - such was the face and figure oí Irving. But over this calm face there paosed all at once a smile which seerned to change its whole ebaracter : he advanced quickly, nd greeted us with the greatest cordialty, iuquiring with the most affectionate solicitude after his Iriends in Vir ginia. A sly emile thon flitted over his face, and with a short laugh, he said to " I saw you coming, but I thought you were sume of tho people from New York They are always coming to nee we - eutire slrangers - and anuoy me." We epent, the whole day with Irving, and it would be impossible to imagine anythiiig more charuiing than the conversation. It was not " brilliant " or " slriking," or any olher commonplace adjoctire, but perfectly natural, original and pleasant. The first impressiop produced by the individua! was not pleas ant. You woald have said that a plain, ratber dull (armer tood before you, with no ideas beyond the prioe of wheftt, and no ambition greater than to raige the most gigantic pumpkins. But this theory of the nian soon disappeared from the mind, It was evidently a scholar, anc a ripe one," who was walking beaide you, with his pleasant voice, his sweet emile, bis queer little figure, the very 8ight of which put you in good humor. And thjs scbolar, as you soon found, had not studied human nature in booKs only, but in men. From his cbanoe allusions - and no man talks less for effect, or so little thought of " making an impression '%- yon discovered that be had not ooly seen many countries but had known personally gome of the mogt celebrated man of moderu times. Scott, Leslie tbe painter, Cernís Napoleon, the Empresa Eugene- soiae allusion brought up these personages; aud Irving strolled on amid his flowers, talking of thern with the simplest and quietest humor, and from time to time a touch of feeling for all the world like his booka His talk was an April day - drifting olonds and unshine, but the sunshiue predom inant. His short, shy laugh was the perfection of quiet eDJoyment ; and there was a charm in the Had, memorial tones of his voice, as he spoke of Scott and other8, which cannot easily be described. He laughed as he told of the paiuter, Leslie, I think, who went to Abbotslord to paint Scott's portrait and fouud the house full of ooinpany. ïhe ciimpany baving departed, Lesiïe thought, "Now for my picture;" but Scott, startipg up from the breakfast-table, exclaimed " Now for a hare 1" tbe remainder of the day being spent in hunting, though at this time the printers were waitiug far " copy " of one of his great est novéis. Irving's account of Scott was delightful, and his aneodotes of Leslie, then just dend I be lieve, flll of in terest. They had traveled to Strafford togetber, he said, and ho wanted Leslie to paint " Shakspeare before Sir Thomas Lucy ;" but the great artist did not get the inspiration, and never made the picture. Speaking of the present Emperor of the French, Irving suid ; " Yes, he is a remarkabje man, I knew him when he was in America, and j he uod to travel up from New York to look. at Wcpt Pojnt, wbicb seemod to interest hini yery much. Hö dmed witb tue here, one day, and sat just where you do now, [to me, we were at diuner] He was grave and silent, scarcely opening hit lips while here; but a youug Fruuoh Count who ; panied him was aiore agreeable, and a much greater favorito wilb the girls." D spoke of the Empress Eugenie, aud Irving said: " I knew her very well in Spain, when sbe was littlo Eugunie de Montijo, daughter of the Count de Teba. Sbe was a fine buxomgirl, a beautiful figuro; and at the halls dressed as a moHquet aire - fetuale. I have often had her on my knee, and now to think be a an Empress ! Oíd Calderón, [de la Barca, Spauish minister] said to me at Washington when I was there; (ood heavtns! Irvingljust to think ! little Eugenie Montijo enipretsajof Frauce - huui! hum ! hum !'' Whut was more delighlful about thia tranquil, smilingtalk of the great writer, strolliug over the summer sward, beneath Lis trees, was the genuine simplicity and aaturalness of bis tone and manner. It wns the spontaneous overflow of the genial fountain of feeling and humor in the bo8om of the man. Here was evideolly a good and true man - one wbo scorned falsehood, hated mjanness, loved his fellows, and had a kind and charitable word for all men. - His humor attracted attention more than all his other traits ; but this humor was only the lightniug wbicb tiiokered over the broad ocean of bis humaaity and love of his fel'ow-creatures.

Article

Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus