Katrina is plump and lovely, and a bit of a flirt—she shows off her looks with golden jewelry and a shortened petticoat. These include unprecedented levels of liberty and ease of movement and migration, vast available resources, and little emphasis on class hierarchy.
He lets them leave an hour early so that he can spend an extra thirty minutes preparing for the party and putting on his only suit. But by morning, daylight cures him of all his fears. A black man atop a ragged-looking colt arrives at the door of the school, with an invitation for Ichabod to attend a quilting frolic to be held at the Van Tassel farm that evening.
He has few possessions. The messenger rushes away, evidently feeling his mission to be critical. In the early American republic, going to school was far from a given. The farm, situated along the Hudson, is sheltered by an elm tree next to a bubbling spring and brook.
This allows histories and legends to be built and passed on in a way that would otherwise be impossible. The dichotomy that Crayon makes throughout The Sketchbook is between storied Europe and young, unstoried America.
The place is called Sleepy Hollow because of the calm, even dreamy atmosphere that infuses the entire valley.
The women in the town admire his taste and education, which he takes advantage of in order to guzzle down the treats they lay before him, or to pass Sundays gathering grapes for them or wandering with them around the millpond.
But this description is more of a parody of romanticist prose, as Irving pokes fun at the battle into which Ichabod is riding. Brom Bones stands out from the crowd with his horse Daredevil, a mischievous creature like himself.