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Title: O. T., A Danish Romance
Author: Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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O. T.

A Danish Romance

by Hans Christian Andersen

Author of the “Improvisatore” and the “Two Baronesses”



CHAPTER I

     “Quod felix faustumque sit!”

There is a happiness which no poet has yet properly sung, which no
lady-reader, let her be ever so amiable, has experienced or ever will
experience in this world. This is a condition of happiness which alone
belongs to the male sex, and even then alone to the elect. It is a
moment of life which seizes upon our feelings, our minds, our whole
being. Tears have been shed by the innocent, sleepless nights been
passed, during which the pious mother, the loving sister, have put up
prayers to God for this critical moment in the life of the son or the
brother.

Happy moment, which no woman, let her be ever so good, so beautiful,
or intellectual, can experience--that of becoming a student, or, to
describe it by a more usual term, the passing of the first examination!

The cadet who becomes an officer, the scholar who becomes an academical
burgher, the apprentice who becomes a journeyman, all know, in a greater
or less degree, this loosening of the wings, this bounding over the
limits of maturity into the lists of philosophy. We all strive after
a wider field, and rush thither like the stream which at length loses
itself in the ocean.

Then for the first time does the youthful soul rightly feel her freedom,
and, therefore, feels it doubly; the soul struggles for activity, she
comprehends her individuality; it has been proved and not found too
light; she is still in possession of the dreams of childhood, which have
not yet proved delusive. Not even the joy of love, not the enthusiasm
for art and science, so thrills through all the nerves as the words,
“Now am I a student!”

This spring-day of life, on which the ice-covering of the school is
broken, when the tree of Hope puts forth its buds and the sun of Freedom
shines, falls with us, as is well known, in the month of October, just
when Nature loses her foliage, when the evenings begin to grow darker,
and when heavy winter-clouds draw together, as though they would say
to youth,--“Your spring, the birth of the examination, is only a dream!
even now does your life become earnest!” But our happy youths think not
of these things, neither will we be joyous with the gay, and pay a visit
to their circle. In such a one our story takes its commencement.



CHAPTER II

     “At last we separate:
     To Jutland one, to Fünen others go;
     And still the quick thought comes,
     --A day so bright, so full of fun,
     Never again on us shall rise.”--CARL BAGGER.

It was in October of the year 1829. Examen artium had been passed
through. Several young students were assembled in the evening at the
abode of one of their comrades, a young Copenhagener of eighteen, whose
parents were giving him and his new friends a banquet in honor of the
examination. The mother and sister had arranged everything in the nicest
manner, the father had given excellent wine out of the cellar, and the
student himself, here the rex convivii, had provided tobacco, genuine
Oronoko-canaster. With regard to Latin, the invitation--which was, of
course, composed in Latin--informed the guests that each should bring
his own.

The company, consisting of one and twenty persons--and these were only
the most intimate friends--was already assembled. About one third of the
friends were from the provinces, the remainder out of Copenhagen.

“Old Father Homer shall stand in the middle of the table!” said one of
the liveliest guests, whilst he took down from the stove a plaster bust
and placed it upon the covered table.

“Yes, certainly, he will have drunk as much as the other poets!” said
an older one. “Give me one of thy exercise-books, Ludwig! I will cut him
out a wreath of vine-leaves, since we have no roses and since I cannot
cut out any.”

“I have no libation!” cried a third,--“Favete linguis.” And he sprinkled
a small quantity of salt, from the point of a knife, upon the bust, at
the same time raising his glass to moisten it with a few drops of wine.

“Do not use my Homer as you would an ox!” cried the host. “Homer shall
have the place of honor, between the bowl and the garland-cake! He is
especially my poet! It was he who in Greek assisted me to laudabilis
et quidem egregie. Now we will mutually drink healths! Jörgen shall be
magister bibendi, and then we will sing ‘Gaudeamus igitur,’ and ‘Integer
vitae.’”

“The Sexton with the cardinal’s hat shall be the precentor!” cried
one of the youths from the provinces, pointing toward a rosy-cheeked
companion.

“O, now I am no longer sexton!” returned the other laughing. “If thou
bringest old histories up again, thou wilt receive thy old school-name,
‘the Smoke-squirter.’”

“But that is a very nice little history!” said the other. “We called him
‘Sexton,’ from the office his father held; but that, after all, is not
particularly witty. It was better with the hat, for it did, indeed,
resemble a cardinal’s hat. I, in the mean time, got my name in a more
amusing manner.”

“He lived near the school,” pursued the other; “he could always slip
home when we had out free quarters of an hour: and then one day he
had filled his mouth with tobacco smoke, intending to blow it into
our faces; but when he entered the passage with his filled cheeks the
quarter of an hour was over, and we were again in class: the rector was
still standing in the doorway; he could not, therefore, blow the smoke
out of his mouth, and so wished to slip in as he was. ‘What have you
there in your mouth?’ asked the rector; but Philip could answer nothing,
without at the same time losing the smoke. ‘Now, cannot you speak?’
cried the rector, and gave him a box on the ear, so that the smoke burst
through nose and mouth. This looked quite exquisite; the affair caused
the rector such pleasure, that he presented the poor sinner with the
nota bene.”

“Integer vitae!” broke in the Precentor, and harmoniously followed the
other voices. After this, a young Copenhagener exhibited his dramatic
talent by mimicking most illusively the professors of the Academy, and
giving their peculiarities, yet in such a good-natured manner that it
must have amused even the offended parties themselves. Now followed the
healths--“Vivant omnes hi et hae!”

“A health to the prettiest girl!” boldly cried one of the merriest
brothers. “The prettiest girl!” repeated a pair of the younger ones, and
pushed their glasses toward each other, whilst the blood rushed to their
cheeks at this their boldness, for they had never thought of a beloved
being, which, nevertheless, belonged to their new life. The roundelay
now commenced, in which each one must give the Christian name of his
lady-love, and assuredly every second youth caught a name out of the
air; some, however, repeated a name with a certain palpitation of the
heart. The discourse became more animated; the approaching military
exercises, the handsome uniform, the reception in the students’ club,
and its pleasures, were all matters of the highest interest. But there
was the future philologicum and philosophicum--yes, that also was
discussed; there they must exhibit their knowledge of Latin.

“What do you think,” said one of the party, “if once a week we
alternately met at each other’s rooms, and held disputations? No Danish
word must be spoken. This might be an excellent scheme.”

“I agree to that!” cried several.

“Regular laws must be drawn up.”

“Yes, and we must have our best Latin scholar, the Jutlander, Otto
Thostrup, with us! He wrote his themes in hexameters.”

“He is not invited here this evening,” remarked the neighbor, the young
Baron Wilhelm of Funen, the only nobleman in the company.

“Otto Thostrup!” answered the host. “Yes, truly he’s a clever fellow,
but he seems to me so haughty. There is something about him that does
not please me at all. We are still no dunces, although he did receive
nine prae caeteris!”

“Yet it was very provoking,” cried another, “that he received the only
Non in mathematics. Otherwise he would have been called in. Now he will
only have to vex himself about his many brilliant characters.”

“Yes, and he is well versed in mathematics!” added Wilhelm “There was
something incorrect in the writing; the inspector was to blame for
that, but how I know not. Thostrup is terribly vehement, and can set
all respect at defiance; he became angry, and went out. There was only
a piece of unwritten paper presented from him, and this brought him a
cipher, which the verbal examination could not bring higher than non.
Thostrup is certainly a glorious fellow. We have made a tour together
in the steamboat from Helsingöer to Copenhagen, and in the written
examination we sat beside each other until the day when we had
mathematics, and then I sat below him. I like him very much, his pride
excepted; and of that we must break him.”

“Herr Baron,” said his neighbor, “I am of your opinion. Shall not we
drink the Thou-brotherhood?”

“To-night we will all of us drink the Thou!” said the host; “it is
nothing if comrades and good friends call each other _you_.”

“Evoe Bacchus!” they joyously shouted. The glasses were filled, one arm
was thrown round that of the neighbor, and the glasses were emptied,
whilst several commenced singing “dulce cum sodalibus!”

“Tell me what thou art called?” demanded one of the younger guests of
his new Thou-brother.

“What am I called?” replied he. “With the exception of one letter, the
same as the Baron.”

“The Baron!” cried a third; “yes, where is he?”

“There he stands talking at the door; take your glasses! now have all of
us drank the Thou-brotherhood?”

The glasses were again raised; the young Baron laughed, clinked his
glass, and shouted in the circle, “Thou, Thou!” But in his whole bearing
there lay something constrained, which, however, none of the young
men remarked, far less allowed themselves to imagine that his sudden
retreat, during the first drinking, perhaps occurred from the
sole object of avoiding it. But soon was he again one of the most
extravagant; promised each youth who would study theology a living on
his estate when he should once get it into his own hands; and proposed
that the Latin disputations should commence with him, and on the
following Friday. Otto Thostrup, however, should be of the party--if he
chose, of course being understood; for he was a capital student, and his
friend they had made a journey together and had been neighbors at the
green table.

Among those who were the earliest to make their valete amici was the
Baron. Several were not yet inclined to quit this joyous circle. The
deepest silence reigned in the streets; it was the most beautiful
moonlight. In most houses all had retired to rest--only here and there
was a light still seen, most persons slept, even those whose sense
of duty should leave banished the god of sleep: thus sat a poor
hackney-coachman, aloft upon his coach-box, before the house where he
awaited his party, and enjoyed, the reins wound about his hand, the
much-desired rest. Wilhelm (henceforth we will only call the young Baron
by his Christian name) walked alone through the street. The wine had
heated his northern blood--besides which it never flowed slowly; his
youthful spirits, his jovial mood, and the gayety occasioned by the
merry company he had just quitted did not permit him quietly to pass
by this sleeping Endymion. Suddenly it occurred to him to open the
coach-door and leap in; which having done, he let the glass fall and
called out with a loud voice, “Drive on!” The coachman started up out
of his blessed sleep and asked, quite confused, “Where to?” Without
reflecting about the matter, Wilhelm cried, “To the Ship in West
Street.” The coachman drove on; about half-way, Wilhelm again opened the
coach-door, a bold spring helped him out, and the coach rolled on.
It stopped at the public-house of the Ship. The coachman got down
and opened the door; there was no one within; he thrust his head
in thoroughly to convince himself; but no, the carriage was empty!
“Extraordinary!” said the fellow; “can I have dreamed it? But still
I heard, quite distinctly, how I was told to drive to the Ship! Lord
preserve us! now they are waiting for me!” He leaped upon the box and
drove rapidly back again.

In the mean time Wilhelm had reached his abode in Vineyard Street; he
opened a window to enjoy the beautiful night, and gazed out upon the
desolate church-yard which is shut in by shops. He had no inclination
for sleep, although everything in the street, even the watchmen not
excepted, appeared to rejoice the gift of God. Wilhelm thought upon the
merry evening party, upon his adventure with the poor hackney-coachman,
then took down his violin from the wall and began to play certain
variations.

The last remaining guests from the honorable carousal, merrier than when
Wilhelm left them, now came wandering up the street. One of them jodeled
sweetly, and no watchman showed himself as a disturbing principle. They
heard Wilhelm violin and recognized the musician.

“Play us a Française, thou up there!” cried they.

“But the watchman?” whispered one of the less courageous.

“Zounds, there he sits!” cried a third, and pointed toward a sleeping
object which leaned its head upon a large wooden chest before a closed
booth.

“He is happy!” said the first speaker. “If we had only the strong
Icelander here, he would soon hang him up by his bandelier upon one of
the iron hooks. He has done that before now; he has the strength of a
bear. He seized such a lazy fellow as this right daintily by his girdle
on one of the hooks at the weighing-booth. There hung the watchman
and whistled to the others; the first who hastened to the spot was
immediately hung up beside him, and away ran the Icelander whilst the
two blew a duet.”

“Here, take hold!” cried one of the merry brothers, quickly opening the
chest, the lid of which was fastened by a peg. “Let us put the watchman
into the chest; he sleeps indeed like a horse!” In a moment, the four
had seized the sleeper, who certainly awoke during the operation, but
he already lay in the chest. The lid flew down, and two or three of the
friends sprang upon it whilst the peg was stuck in again. The watchman
immediately seized his whistle and drew the most heart-rending tones
from it. Quickly the tormenting spirits withdrew themselves; yet not so
far but that they could still hear the whistle and observe what would
take place.

The watchmen now came up.

“The deuce! where art thou?” cried they, and then discovered the place.

“Ah, God help me!” cried the prisoner. “Let me out, let me out! I must
call!”

“Thou hast drunk more than thy thirst required, comrade!” said the
others. “If thou hast fallen into the chest, remain lying there, thou
swine!” And laughing they left him.

“O, the rascals!” sighed he, and worked in vain at opening the lid.
Through all his powerful exertions the box fell over. The young men now
stepped forth, and, as though they were highly astonished at the whole
history which he related to them, they let themselves be prevailed upon
to open the box, but only upon condition that he should keep street
free from the interference of the other watchmen whilst they danced a
Française to Wilhelm’s violin.

The poor man was delivered from his captivity, and must obligingly play
the sentinel whilst they arranged them for the dance. Wilhelm was called
upon to play, and the dance commenced; a partner, however, was wanting.
Just then a quiet citizen passed by. The gentleman who had no partner
approached the citizen with comic respect, and besought him to take part
in the amusement.

“I never dance!” said the man, laughing, and wished to pursue his way.

“Yes,” replied the cavalier, “yet you must still do me this pleasure,
or else I shall have no dance.” Saying this he took hold of him by the
waist and the dance commenced, whether the good man would or no.

“The watchman should receive a present from every one!” said they, when
the Française was at an end. “He is an excellent man who thus keeps
order in the street, so that one can enjoy a little dance.”

“These are honest people’s children!” said the watchman to himself,
whilst he with much pleasure thrust the money into his leathern purse.

All was again quiet in the street; the violin was also silent.



CHAPTER III

     “Who looks into the shadowy realm of my heart?”
                                     A. V. CHAMISSO.

In the former chapter we heard mention made of a young student, Otto
Thostrup, a clever fellow, with nine prae caeteris, as his comrades
said, but also of a proud spirit, of which he must be broken. Not at
the disputations, which have been already mentioned, will we make his
acquaintance, although there we must be filled with respect for the good
Latin scholar; not in large companies, where his handsome exterior and
his speaking, melancholy glance must make him interesting; as little in
the pit of the Opera although his few yet striking observations there
would show him to be a very intellectual young man; but we will seek
him out for the first time at the house of his friend, the young Baron
Wilhelm. It is the beginning of November: we find them both with their
pipes in their mouths; upon the table lie Tibullus and Anacreon, which
they are reading together for the approaching philologicum.

In the room stands a piano-forte, with a number of music-books; upon the
walls hang the portraits of Weyse and Beethoven, for our young Baron is
musical, nay a composer himself.

“See, here we have again this lovely, clinging mist!” said Wilhelm. “Out
of doors one can fairly taste it; at home it would be a real plague to
me, here it only Londonizes the city.”

“I like it!” said Otto. “To me it is like an old acquaintance from
Vestervovov. It is as though the mist brought me greetings from the sea
and sand-hills.”

“I should like to see the North Sea, but the devil might live there!
What town lies nearest to your grandfather’s estate?”

“Lernvig,” answered Otto. “If any one wish to see the North Sea
properly, they ought to go up as far as Thisted and Hjörring. I have
travelled there, have visited the family in Börglum-Kloster; and,
besides this, have made other small journeys. Never shall I forget one
evening; yes, it was a storm of which people in the interior of the
country can form no conception. I rode--I was then a mere boy, and a
very wild lad--with one of our men. When the storm commenced we found
ourselves among the sand-hills. Ah! that you should have seen! The sand
forms along the strand high banks, which serve as dikes against the sea;
these are overgrown with sea-grass, but, if the storm bursts a single
hole, the whole is carried away. This spectacle we chanced to witness.
It is a true Arabian sand-storm, and the North Sea bellowed so that
it might be heard at the distance of many miles. The salt foam flew
together with the sand into our faces.”

“That must have been splendid!” exclaimed Wilhelm, and his eyes
sparkled. “Jutland is certainly the most romantic part of Denmark.
Since I read Steen-Blicher’s novels I have felt a real interest for that
country. It seems to me that it must greatly resemble the Lowlands of
Scotland. And gypsies are also found there, are they not?”

“Vagabonds, we call them,” said Otto, with an involuntary motion of the
mouth. “They correspond to the name!”

“The fishermen, also, on the coast are not much better! Do they
still from the pulpit pray for wrecks? Do they still slay shipwrecked
mariners?”

“I have heard our preacher, who is an old man, relate how, in the first
years after he had obtained his office and dignity, he was obliged to
pray in the church that, if ships stranded, they might strand in his
district; but this I have never heard myself. But with regard to what
is related of murdering, why, the fishermen--sea-geese, as they are
called--are by no means a tender-hearted people; but it is not as bad
as that in our days. A peasant died in the neighborhood, of whom it was
certainly related that in bad weather he had bound a lantern under
his horse’s belly and let it wander up and down the beach, so that the
strange mariner who was sailing in those seas might imagine it some
cruising ship, and thus fancy himself still a considerable way from
land. By this means many a ship is said to have been destroyed. But
observe, these are stories out of the district of Thisted, and of an
elder age, before my power of observation had developed itself; this was
that golden age when in tumble-down fishers’ huts, after one of these
good shipwrecks, valuable shawls, but little damaged by the sea, might
be found employed as bed-hangings. Boots and shoes were smeared with the
finest pomatum. If such things now reach their hands, they know better
how to turn them into money. The Strand-commissioners are now on the
watch; now it is said to be a real age of copper.”

“Have you seen a vessel stranded?” inquired Wilhelm, with increasing
interest.

“Our estate lies only half a mile from the sea. Every year about this
time, when the mist spreads itself out as it does to-day and the storms
begin to rage, then was it most animated. In my wild spirits, when I
was a boy, and especially in the midst of our monotonous life, I truly
yearned after it. Once, upon a journey to Börglum-Kloster, I experienced
a storm. In the early morning; it was quite calm, but gray, and we
witnessed a kind of Fata Morgana. A ship, which had not yet risen above
the horizon, showed itself in the distance, but the rigging was turned
upside down; the masts were below, the hull above. This is called the
ship of death, and when it is seen people are sure of bad weather and
shipwreck. Later, about midday, it began to blow, and in an hour’s time
we had a regular tempest. The sea growled quite charmingly; we travelled
on between sand-hills--they resemble hills and dales in winter time, but
here it is not snow which melts away; here never grows a single green
blade; a black stake stands up here and there, and these are rudders
from wrecks, the histories of which are unknown. In the afternoon arose
a storm such as I had experienced when riding with the man between
the sand-hills. We could not proceed farther, and were obliged on this
account to seek shelter in one of the huts which the fishermen hail
erected among the white sand-hills. There we remained, and I saw the
stranding of a vessel: I shall never forget it! An American ship lay not
a musket-shot from land. They cut the mast; six or seven men clung fast
to it in the waters. O, how they rocked backward and forward in the
dashing spray! The mast took a direction toward the shore; at length
only three men were left clinging to the mast; it was dashed upon land,
but the returning waves again bore it away; it had crushed the arms and
legs of the clinging wretches--ground them like worms! I dreamed of this
for many nights. The waves flung the hull of the vessel up high on the
shore, and drove it into the sand, where it was afterward found. Later,
as we retraced our steps, were the stem and sternpost gone: you saw two
strong wooden walls, between which the road took its course. You even
still travel through the wreck!”

“Up in your country every poetical mind must become a Byron,” said
Wilhelm. “On my parents’ estate we have only idyls; the whole of Funen
is a garden. We mutually visit each other upon our different estates,
where we lead most merry lives, dance with the peasant-girls at the
brewing-feast, hunt in the woods, and fish in the lakes. The only
melancholy object which presents itself with us is a funeral, and the
only romantic characters we possess are a little hump-backed musician,
a wise woman, and an honest schoolmaster, who still firmly believes, as
Jeronimus did, that the earth is flat, and that, were it to turn round,
we should fall, the devil knows where!”

“I love nature in Jutland!” exclaimed Otto. “The open sea, the
brown heath, and the bushy moorland. You should see the wild moor in
Vendsyssel--that is an extent! Almost always wet mists float over its
unapproachable interior, which is known to no one. It is not yet fifty
years since it served as an abode for wolves. Often it bursts into
flames, for it is impregnated with sulphuric gas,--one can see the fire
for miles.”

“My sister Sophie ought to hear all this!” said Wilhelm. “You would make
your fortune with her! The dear girl! she has the best head at home, but
she loves effect. Hoffman and Victor Hugo are her favorites. Byron rests
every night under her pillow. If you related such things of the west
coast of Jutland, and of heaths and moors, you might persuade her to
make a journey thither. One really would not believe that we possessed
in our own country such romantic situations!”

“Is she your only sister?” inquired Otto.

“No,” returned Wilhelm, “I have two--the other is named Louise; she
is of quite an opposite character: I do not know of which one ought to
think most. Have you no brothers or sisters?” he asked of Otto.

“No!” returned the latter, with his former involuntary, half-melancholy
expression. “I am an only child. In my house it is solitary and silent.
My grandfather alone is left alive. He is an active, strong man,
but very grave. He instructed me in mathematics, which he thoroughly
understands. The preacher taught me Latin, Greek, and history: two
persons, however, occupied themselves with my religious education--the
preacher and my old Rosalie. She is a good soul. How often have I teased
her, been petulant, and almost angry with her! She thought so much of
me, she was both mother and sister to me, and instructed me in religion
as well as the preacher, although she is a Catholic. Since my father’s
childhood she has been a sort of governante in the house. You should
have seen her melancholy smile when she heard my geography lesson, and
we read of her dear Switzerland, where she was born, and of the south
of France, where she had travelled as a child. The west coast of Jutland
may also appear very barren in comparison with these countries!”

“She might have made you a Catholic! But surely nothing of this still
clings to you?”

“Rosalie was a prudent old creature; Luther himself need not have been
ashamed of her doctrine. Whatever is holy to the heart of man, remains
also holy in every religion!”

“But then, to erect altars to the Madonna!” exclaimed Wilhelm; “to pray
to a being; whom the Bible does not make a saint!--that is rather too
much. And their tricks with burning of incense and ringing of bells!
Yes, indeed, it would give me no little pleasure to cut off the heads of
the Pope and of the whole clerical body! To purchase indulgence!--Those
must, indeed, be curious people who can place thorough faith in such
things! I will never once take off my hat before the Madonna!”

“But that will I do, and in my heart bow myself before her!” answered
Otto, gravely.

“Did I not think so? she has made you a Catholic!”

“No such thing! I am as good a Protestant as you yourself: but
wherefore should we not respect the mother of Christ? With regard to the
ceremonials of Catholicism, indulgence, and all these additions of the
priesthood, I agree with you in wishing to strike off the heads of all
who, in such a manner, degrade God and the human understanding. But in
many respects we are unjust: we so easily forget the first and greatest
commandment, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself!’ We are not tolerant.
Among our festivals we have still one for the Three Kings--it is yet
celebrated by the common people; but what have these three kings done?
They knelt before the manger in which Christ lay, and on this account we
honor them. On the contrary, the mother of God has no festival-day; nay,
the multitude even smile at her name! If you will only quietly listen to
my simple argument, we shall soon agree. You will take off your hat and
bow before the Madonna. Only two things are to be considered--either
Christ was entirely human, or He was, as the Bible teaches us, a divine
being. I will now admit the latter. He is God Himself, who in some
inexplicable manner, is born to us of the Virgin Mary. She must
therefore be the purest, the most perfect feminine being, since God
found her worthy to bring into the world the Son, the only one; through
this she becomes as holy as any human being can, and low we must bow
ourselves before the pure, the exalted one. Take it for granted that
Christ was human, like ourselves, otherwise He cannot, according to my
belief, call upon us to imitate Him; neither would it be great, as God,
to meet a corporeal death, from which He could remove each pain. Were He
only a man, born of Mary, we must doubly admire Him; we must bow in the
dust before His mighty spirit, His enlightening and consoling doctrine.
But can we then forget how much the mother has must have influenced the
child, how sublime and profound the soul must have been which spoke to
His heart? We must reverence and honor her! Everywhere in the Scriptures
where she appears we see an example of care and love; with her whole
soul she adheres to her Son. Think how uneasy she became, and sought for
Him in the temple--think of her gentle reproaches! The words of the Son
always sounded harsh in my ears. ‘Those are the powerful expressions of
the East!’ said my old preacher. The Saviour was severe, severe as
He must be! Already there seemed to me severity in His words! She
was completely the mother; she was it then, even as when she wept at
Golgotha. Honor and reverence she deserves from us!”

“These she also receives!” returned Wilhelm; and striking him upon
the shoulder he added, with a smile, “you are, according to the Roman
Catholic manner, near exalting the mother above the Son! Old Rosalie has
made a proselyte; after all, you are half a Catholic!”

“That am I not!” answered Otto, “and that will I not be!”

          “See! the thunder-cloud advances!”

resounded below in the court: the sweet Neapolitan song reached the
ears of the friends. They stepped into the adjoining room and opened the
window. Three poor boys stood below in the wind and rain, and commenced
the song. The tallest was, perhaps, fourteen or fifteen years old, his
deep, rough voice seemed to have attained its strength and depth more
through rain and bad weather than through age. The dirty wet clothes
hung in rags about his body; the shoes upon the wet feet, and the hat
held together with white threads, were articles of luxury. The other two
boys had neither hat nor shoes, but their clothes were whole and clean.
The youngest appeared six or seven years old; his silvery white hair
formed a contrast with his brown face, his dark eyes and long brown
eyelashes. His voice sounded like the voice of a little girl, as fine
and soft, beside the voices of the others, as the breeze of an autumnal
evening beside that of rude November weather.

“That is a handsome boy!” exclaimed the two friends at the same time.

“And a lovely melody!” added Otto.

“Yes, but they sing falsely!” answered Wilhelm: “one sings half a tone
too low, the other half a tone too high!”

“Now, thank God that I cannot hear that!” said Otto. “It sounds sweetly,
and the little one might become a singer. Poor child!” added he gravely:
“bare feet, wet to the very skin; and then the elder one will certainly
lead him to brandy drinking! Within a month, perhaps, the voice will
be gone! Then is the nightingale dead!” He quickly threw down some
skillings, wrapped in paper.

“Come up!” cried Wilhelm, and beckoned. The eldest of the boys flew up
like an arrow; Wilhelm, however, said it was the youngest who was meant.
The others remained standing before the door; the youngest stepped in.

“Whose son art thou?” asked Wilhelm. The boy was silent, and cast down
his eyes in an embarrassed manner. “Now, don’t be bashful! Thou art of
a good family--that one can see from thy appearance! Art not thou thy
mother’s son? I will give thee stockings and--the deuce! here is a pair
of boots which are too small for me; if thou dost not get drowned in
them they shall be thy property: but now thou must sing.” And he seated
himself at the piano-forte and struck the keys. “Now, where art thou?”
 he cried, rather displeased. The little one gazed upon the ground.

“How! dost thou weep; or is it the rain which hangs in thy black
eyelashes?” said Otto, and raised his head: “we only wish to do thee a
kindness. There--thou hast another skilling from me.”

The little one still remained somewhat laconic. All that they learned
was that he was named Jonas, and that his grandmother thought so much of
him.

“Here thou hast the stockings!” said Wilhelm; “and see here! a coat with
a velvet collar, a much-to-be-prized keepsake! The boots! Thou canst
certainly stick both legs into one boot! See! that is as good as having
two pairs to change about with! Let us see!”

The boy’s eyes sparkled with joy; the boots he drew on, the stockings
went into his pocket, and the bundle he took under his arm.

“But thou must sing us a little song!” said Wilhelm, and the little one
commenced the old song out of the “Woman-hater,” “Cupid never can be
trusted!”

The lively expression in the dark eyes, the boy himself in his wet,
wretched clothes and big boots, with the bundle under his arm; nay, the
whole had something so characteristic in it, that had it been painted,
and had the painter called the picture “Cupid on his Wanderings,” every
one would have found the little god strikingly excellent, although he
were not blind.

“Something might be made of the boy and of his voice!” said Wilhelm,
when little Jonas, in a joyous mood, had left the house with the other
lads.

“The poor child!” sighed Otto. “I have fairly lost my good spirits
through all this. It seizes upon me so strangely when I see misery and
genius mated. Once there came to our estate in Jutland a man who played
the Pandean-pipes, and at the same time beat the drum and cymbals: near
him stood a little girl, and struck the triangle. I was forced to weep
over this spectacle; without understanding how it was, I felt the misery
of the poor child. I was myself yet a mere boy.”

“He looked so comic in the big boots that I became quite merry, and not
grave,” said Wilhelm. “Nevertheless what a pity it is that such gentle
blood, which at the first glance one perceives he is, that such a pretty
child should become a rude fellow, and his beautiful voice change into
a howl, like that with which the other tall Laban saluted us. Who knows
whether little Jonas might not become the first singer on the Danish
stage? Yes, if he received education of mind and voice, who knows? I
could really have, pleasure in attempting it, and help every one on in
the world, before I myself am rightly in the way!”

“If he is born to a beggar’s estate,” said Otto, “let him as beggar live
and die, and learn nothing higher. That is better, that is more to be
desired!”

Wilhelm seated himself at the piano-forte, and played some of his own
compositions. “That is difficult,” said he; “every one cannot play
that.”

“The simpler the sweeter!” replied Otto.

“You must not speak about music!” returned the friend “upon that you
know not how to pass judgment. Light Italian operas are not difficult to
write.”

In the evening the friends separated. Whilst Otto took his hat, there
was a low knock at the door. Wilhelm opened it. Without stood a poor old
woman, with pale sharp features; by the hand she led a little boy--it
was Jonas: thus then it was a visit from him and his grandmother.

The other boys had sold the boots and shoes which had been given him.
They ought to have a share, they maintained. This atrocious injustice
had induced the old grandmother to go immediately with little Jonas to
the two good gentlemen, and relate how little the poor lad had received
of flint which they had assigned to him alone.

Wilhelm spoke of the boy’s sweet voice, and thought that by might make
his fortune at the theatre; but then he ought not now to be left running
about with bare feet in the wind and rain.

“But by this means he brings a skilling home,” said the old woman.
“That’s what his father and mother look to, and the skilling they can
always employ. Nevertheless she had herself already thought of bringing
him out at the theatre,--but that was to have been in dancing, for they
got shoes and stockings to dance in, and with these they might also run
home; and that would be an advantage.”

“I will teach the boy music!” said Wilhelm; “he can come to me
sometimes.”

“And then he will, perhaps, get a little cast-off clothing, good sir,”
 said the grandmother; “a shirt, or a waistcoat, just as it happens?”

“Become a tailor, or shoemaker,” said Otto, gravely, and laid his hand
upon the boy’s head.

“He shall be a genius!” said Wilhelm.



CHAPTER IV

                         “Christmas-tide,
     When in the wood the snow shines bright.”
                              OEHLENSCHLÄGER’S Helge

We again let several weeks pass by; it was Christmas Eve, which brings
us the beautiful Christmas festival. We find the two friends taking a
walk.

Describe to an inhabitant of the south a country where the earth appears
covered with the purest Carrara marble, where the tree twigs resemble
white branches of coral sprinkled with diamonds, and above a sky as blue
as that belonging to the south, and he will say that is a fairy land.
Couldst thou suddenly remove him from his dark cypresses and olive-trees
to the north, where the fresh snow lies upon the earth, where the white
hoar-frost has powdered the trees over, and the sun shines down from the
blue heaven, then would he recognize the description and call the north
a fairy land.

This was the splendor which the friends admired. The large trees upon
the fortification-walls appeared crystallized when seen against the blue
sky. The Sound was not yet frozen over; vessels, illuminated by the red
evening sun, glided past with spread sails. The Swedish coast seemed to
have approached nearer; one might see individual houses in Landskrona.
It was lovely, and on this account there were many promenaders upon the
walls and the Langelinie.

“Sweden seems so near that one might swim over to it!” said Wilhelm.

“The distance would be too far,” answered Otto; “but I should love to
plunge among the deep blue waters yonder.”

“How refreshing it is,” said Wilhelm, “when the water plays about one’s
cheeks! Whilst I was at home, I always swam in the Great Belt. Yes, you
are certainly half a fish when you come into the water.”

“I!” repeated Otto, and was silent; but immediately added, with a kind
of embarrassment which was at other times quite foreign to him, and from
which one might infer how unpleasant confessing any imperfection was to
him, “I do not swim.”

“That must be learned in summer!” said Wilhelm.

“There is so much to learn,” answered Otto; “swimming will certainly be
the last thing.” He now suddenly turned toward the fortress, and
stood still. “Only see how melancholy and quiet!” said he, and led the
conversation again to the surrounding scenery. “The sentinel before the
prison paces so quietly up and down, the sun shines upon his bayonet!
How this reminds me of a sweet little poem of Heine’s; it is just as
though he described this fortress and this soldier, but in the warmth
of summer: one sees the picture livingly before one, as here; the weapon
glances in the sun, and the part ends so touchingly,--‘Ich wollt’, er
schösse mich todt!’ It is here so romantically beautiful! on the right
the animated promenade, and the view over the Sund; on the left, the
desolate square, where the military criminals are shot, and close upon
it the prison with its beam-fence. The sun scarcely shines through those
windows. Yet, without doubt, the prisoner can see us walking here upon
the wall.”

“And envy our golden freedom!” said Wilhelm.

“Perhaps he derides it,” answered Otto. “He is confined to his chamber
and the small courts behind the beam-lattice; we are confined to the
coast; we cannot fly forth with the ships into the mighty, glorious
world. We are also fastened with a chain, only ours is somewhat longer
than that of the prisoner. But we will not think of this; let us go down
to where the beautiful ladies are walking.”

“To see and to be seen,” cried Wilhelm. “‘Spectatum veniunt; veniunt
spectentur ut ipsae,’ as Ovid says.”

The friends quitted the wall.

“There comes my scholar, little Jonas!” cried Wilhelm. “The boy was
better dressed than at his last appearance; quickly he pulled his little
cap off and stood still: a young girl in a wretched garb held him by the
hand.

“Good day, my clever lad!” said Wilhelm, and his glance rested on the
girl: she was of a singularly elegant form; had she only carried herself
better she would have been a perfect beauty. It was Psyche herself who
stood beside Cupid. She smiled in a friendly manner; the little lad had
certainly told her who the gentlemen were; but she became crimson, and
cast down her eyes when Wilhelm looked back after her: he beckoned to
Jonas, who immediately came to him. The girl was his sister, he said,
and was called Eva. Wilhelm nodded to her, and the friends went on.

“That was a beautiful girl!” said Wilhelm, and looked back once more. “A
rosebud that one could kiss until it became a full blown rose!”

“During the experiment the rosebud might easily be broken!” answered
Otto; “at least such is the case with the real flower. But do not look
back again, that is a sin!”

“Sin?” repeated Wilhelm; “no, then it is a very innocent sin! Believe
me, it flatters the little creature that we should admire her beauty.
I can well imagine how enchanting a loving look from a rich young
gentleman may be for a weak, feminine mind. The sweet words which one
can say are as poison which enters the blood. I have still a clear
conscience. Not ONE innocent soul have I poisoned!”

“And yet you are rich and young enough to do so,” returned Otto, not
without bitterness. “Our friends precede us with a good example: here
come some of our own age; they are acquainted with the roses!”

“Good evening, thou good fellow!” was the greeting Wilhelm received from
three or four of the young men.

“Are you on Thou-terms with all these?” inquired Otto.

“Yes,” answered Wilhelm; “we became so at a carouse. There all drank the
Thou-brotherhood. I could not draw myself back. At other times I do
not willingly give my ‘thou’ to any but my nearest friends. _Thou_ has
something to my mind affectionate and holy. Many people fling it to the
first person with whom they drink a glass. At the carouse I could not
say no.”

“And wherefore not?” returned Otto; “that would never have troubled me.”

The friends now wandered on, arm-in-arm. Later in the evening we again
meet with them together, and that at the house of a noble family, whose
name and rank are to be found in the “Danish Court Calendar;” on which
account it would be wanting in delicacy to mention the same, even in a
story the events of which lie so near our hearts.

Large companies are most wearisome. In these there are two kinds of
rank. Either you are riveted to a card-table, or placed against the
wall where you must stand with your hat in your hand, or, later in the
evening, with it at your feet, nay, even must stand during supper. But
this house was one of the most intellectual. Thou who dost recognize the
house wilt also recognize that it is not to be reckoned with those,--

               “Where each day’s gossiping stale fish
                Is served up daily for thy dish.”

This evening we do not become acquainted with the family, but only with
their beautiful Christmas festival.

The company was assembled in a large apartment; the shaded lamp burned
dimly, but this was with the intention of increasing the effect when
the drawing-room doors should open and the children joyfully press in
together.

Wilhelm now stepped to the piano-forte; a few chords produced stillness
and attention. To the sounds of low music there stepped forth from
the side-doors three maidens arrayed in white; each wore a long veil
depending from the back of her head,--one blue, the other red, and the
third white. Each carried in her arms an urn, and thus they represented
fortune-tellers from the East. They brought good or ill luck, which each
related in a little verse. People were to draw a number, and according
to this would he receive his gift from the Christmas-tree. One of the
maidens brought blanks--but which of them? now it was proved whether you
were a child of fortune. All, even the children, drew their uncertain
numbers: exception was only made with the family physician and a few
elderly ladies of the family; these had a particular number stuck into
their hands--their presents had been settled beforehand.

“Who brings me good luck?” inquired Otto, as the three pretty young
girls approached him. The one with a white veil was Wilhelm’s eldest
sister, Miss Sophie, who was this winter paying a visit to the family.
She resembled her brother. The white drapery about her head increased
the expression of her countenance. She rested her gaze firmly upon Otto,
and, perhaps, because he was the friend of her brother, she raised her
finger. Did she wish to warn or to challenge him? Otto regarded it as
a challenge, thrust his hand into the urn, and drew out number 33. All
were now provided. The girls disappeared, and the folding-doors of the
drawing-room were opened.

A dazzling light streamed toward the guests. A splendid fir-tree,
covered with burning tapers, and hung over with tinsel-gold, gilt eggs
and apples, almonds and grapes, dazzled the eye. On either side of the
tree were grottoes of fir-trees and moss, hung with red and blue paper
lamps. In each grotto was an altar; upon one stood John of Bologna’s
floating Mercury; upon the other, a reduced cast in plaster of
Thorwaldsen’s Shepherd-boy. The steps were covered with presents, to
which were attached the different numbers.

“Superbe! lovely!” resounded from all sides; and the happy children
shouted for joy. People arranged themselves in a half-circle, one row
behind the other. One of the cousins of the family now stepped forth,
a young poet, who, if we mistake not, has since then appeared among the
Anonymouses in “The New Year’s Gift of Danish Poets.” He was appareled
this evening as one of the Magi, and recited a little poem which
declared that, as each one had himself drawn out of the urn of Fate,
no one could be angry, let him have procured for himself honor or
derision--Fate, and not Merit, being here the ruler. Two little boys,
with huge butterfly wings and in flowing garments, bore the presents to
the guests. A number, which had been purposely given to one of the elder
ladies, was now called out, and the boys brought forward a large, heavy,
brown earthen jug. To the same hung a direction the length of two sheets
of paper, upon which was written, “A remedy against frost.” The jug was
opened, and a very nice boa taken out and presented to the lady.

“What number have you?” inquired Otto of Wilhelm’s sister, who, freed
from her long veil, now entered the room and took her place near him.

“Number 34,” she answered. “I was to keep the number which remained over
when the others had drawn.”

“We are, then, neighbors in the chain of Fate,” returned Otto; “I have
number 33.”

“Then one of us will receive something very bad!” said Sophie. “For, as
much as I know, only every other number is good.” At this moment their
numbers were called out. The accompanying poem declared that only a
poetical, noble mind deserved this gift. It consisted of an illuminated
French print, the subject a simple but touching idea. You saw a frozen
lake, nothing but one expanse of ice as far as the horizon. The ice was
broken, and near to the opening lay a hat with a red lining, and beside
it sat a dog with grave eyes, still and expectant. Around the broken
opening in the ice were seen traces of the dog having scratched into the
hard crust of ice. “Il attend toujours” was the simple motto.

“That is glorious!” exclaimed Otto. “An affecting thought! His master
has sunk in the depth, and the faithful log yet awaits him. Had that
picture only fallen to my lot!”

“It is lovely!” said Sophie, and a melancholy glance made the young girl
still more beautiful.

Soon after Wilhelm’s turn came.

           “Open the packet, thou shalt see
            The very fairest gaze on thee!”

ran the verse. He opened the packet, and found within a small mirror.
“Yes, that was intended for a lady,” said he; “in that case it would
have spoken the truth! in my hands it makes a fool of me.

“For me nothing certainly remains but my number!” said Otto to his
neighbor, as all the gifts appeared to be distributed.

“The last is number 33,” said the cousin, and drew forth a roll of
paper, which had been hidden among the moss. It was unrolled. It was an
old pedigree of an extinct race. Quite at the bottom lay the knight with
shield and armor, and out of his breast grew the many-branched tree with
its shields and names. Probably it had been bought, with other rubbish,
at some auction, and now at Christmas, when every hole and corner was
rummaged for whatever could be converted into fun or earnest, it had
been brought out for the Christmas tree. The cousin read the following
verse:--

         “Art thou not noble?--then it in far better;
          This tree unto thy father is not debtor;
          Thyself alone is thy ancestral crown.
          From thee shall spring forth branches of renown,
          And if thou come where blood gives honor’s place,
          This tree shall prove thee first of all thy race!
          From this hour forth thy soul high rank hath won her,
          Not will forget thy knighthood and thy honor.”

“I congratulate you,” said Wilhelm, laughing. “Now you will have to pay
the nobility-tax!”

Several of the ladies who stood near him, smiling, also offered a
kind of congratulation. Sophie alone remained silent, and examined
the present of another lady--a pretty pincushion in the form of a gay
butterfly.

The first row now rose to examine more nearly how beautifully the
Christmas tree was adorned. Sophie drew one of the ladies away with her.

“Let us look at the beautiful statues,” said she; “the Shepherd-boy and
the Mercury.”

“That is not proper,” whispered the lady; “but look there at the
splendid large raisins on the tree!”

Sophie stepped before Thorwaldsen’s Shepherd-boy. The lady whispered to
a friend, “It looks so odd that she should examine the figures!”

“Ah!” replied the other, “she is a lover of the fine arts, as you well
know. Only think! at the last exhibition she went with her brother
into the great hall where all the plaster-casts stand, and looked at
them!--the Hercules, as well as the other indecent figures! they were
excellent, she said. That is being so natural; otherwise she is a nice
girl.”

“It is a pity she is a little awry.”

Sophie approached them; both ladies made room for her, and invited
her most lovingly to sit clown beside them. “Thou sweet girl!” they
flatteringly exclaimed.



CHAPTER V

     “Hark to trumpets and beaten gongs,
     Squeaking fiddles, shouts and songs.
          Hurra! hurra!
          The Doctor is here;
     And here the hills where fun belongs.”
                              J. L. HEIBERG.

We will not follow the principal characters of our story step for step,
but merely present the prominent moments of their lives to our readers,
be these great or small; we seize on them, if they in any way contribute
to make the whole picture more worthy of contemplation.

The winter was over, the birds of passage had long since returned; the
woods and fields shone in the freshest green, and, what to the friends
was equally interesting, they had happily passed through their examen
philologicum. Wilhelm, who, immediately after its termination, had
accompanied his sister home, was again returned, sang with little Jonas,
reflected upon the philosophicum, and also how he would thoroughly
enjoy the summer,--the summer which in the north is so beautiful, but
so short. It was St. John’s Day. Families had removed from Copenhagen to
their pretty country-seats on the coast, where people on horseback
and in carriages rushed past, and where the highway was crowded with
foot-passengers. The whole road presented a picture of life upon the
Paris Boulevard. The sun was burning, the dust flew up high into the
air; on which account many persons preferred the pleasanter excursion
with the steamboat along the coast, from whence could be seen the
traffic on the high-road without enduring the annoyance of dust and
heat. Boats skimmed past; brisk sailors, by the help of vigorous strokes
of the oar, strove to compete with the steam-packet, the dark smoke from
which, like some demon, partly rested upon the vessel, partly floated
away in the air.

Various young students, among whom were also Wilhelm and Otto, landed
at Charlottenlund, the most frequented place of resort near Copenhagen.
Otto was here for the first time; for the first time he should see the
park.

A summer’s afternoon in Linken’s Bad, near Dresden, bears a certain
resemblance to Charlottenlund, only that the Danish wood is larger; that
instead of the Elbe we have the Sound, which is here three miles broad,
and where often more than a hundred vessels, bearing flags of all the
European nations, glide past. A band of musicians played airs out of
“Preciosa;” the white tents glanced like snow or swans through the green
beech-trees. Here and there was a fire-place raised of turf, over which
people boiled and cooked, so that the smoke rose up among the trees.
Outside the wood, waiting in long rows, were the peasants’ vehicles,
called “coffee-mills,” completely answering ho the couricolo of the
Neapolitan and the coucou of the Parisian, equally cheap, and overladen
in the same manner with passengers, therefore forming highly picturesque
groups. This scene has been humorously treated in a picture by
Marstrand. Between fields and meadows, the road leads pleasantly toward
the park; the friends pursued the foot-path.

“Shall I brush the gentlemen?” cried five or six boys, at the same time
pressing upon the friends as they approached the entrance to the park.
Without waiting for an answer, the boys commenced at once brushing the
dust from their clothes and boots.

“These are Kirsten Piil’s pages,” said Wilhelm, laughing; “they take
care that people show themselves tolerably smart. But now we are brushed
enough!” A six-skilling-piece rejoiced these little Savoyards.

The Champs Elysées of the Parisians on a great festival day, when
the theatres are opened, the swings are flying, trumpets and drums
overpowering the softer music, and when the whole mass of people, like
one body, moves itself between the booths and tents, present a companion
piece to the spectacle which the so-called Park-hill affords. It
is Naples’ “Largo dei Castello,” with its dancing apes, shrieking
Bajazzoes, the whole deafening jubilee which has been transported to a
northern wood. Here also, in the wooden booths, large, tawdry pictures
show what delicious plays you may enjoy within. The beautiful female
horse-rider stands upon the wooden balcony and cracks with her whip,
whilst Harlequin blows the trumpet. Fastened to a perch, large, gay
parrots nod over the heads of the multitude. Here stands a miner in his
black costume, and exhibits the interior of a mine. He turns his
box, and during the music dolls ascend and descend. Another shows the
splendid fortress of Frederiksteen: “The whole cavalry and infantry who
have endured an unspeakable deal; here a man without a weapon, there a
weapon without a man; here a fellow without a bayonet, here a bayonet
without a fellow; and yet they are merry and contented, for they have
conquered the victory.” [Note: Literal translation of the real words of
a showman.] Dutch wafer-cake booths, where the handsome Dutch women,
in their national costume, wait on the customers, entice old and young.
Here a telescope, there a rare Danish ox, and so forth. High up, between
the fresh tree boughs, the swings fly. Are those two lovers floating up
there? A current of air seizes the girl’s dress and shawl, the young
man flings his arm round her waist; it is for safety: there is then less
danger. At the foot of the hill there is cooking and roasting going on;
it seems a complete gypsy-camp. Under the tree sits the old Jew--this is
precisely his fiftieth jubilee; through a whole half-century has he sung
here his comical Doctor’s song. Now that we are reading this he is dead;
that characteristic countenance is dust, those speaking eyes are closed,
his song forgotten tones. Oehlenschläger, in his “St. John’s Eve,” has
preserved his portrait for us, and it will continue to live, as Master
Jakel (Punch), our Danish Thespis, will continue to live. The play and
the puppets were transferred from father to son, and every quarter of an
hour in the day the piece is repeated. Free nature is the place for the
spectators, and after every representation the director himself goes
round with the plate.

This was the first spectacle which exhibited itself to the friends.
Not far off stood a juggler in peasant’s clothes, somewhat advanced in
years, with a common ugly countenance. His short sleeves were rolled
up, and exhibited a pair of hairy, muscular arms. The crowd, withdrawing
from Master Jakel when the plate commenced its wanderings, pushed Otto
and Wilhelm forward toward the low fence before the juggler’s table.

“Step nearer, my gracious gentlemen, my noble masters!” said the
juggler, with an accentuation which betrayed his German birth. He opened
the fence; both friends were fairly pushed in and took their places upon
the bench, where they, at all events, found themselves out of the crowd.

“Will the noble gentleman hold this goblet?” said the juggler, and
handed Otto one from his apparatus. Otto glanced at the man: he was
occupied with his art; but Otto’s cheek and forehead were colored with a
sudden crimson, which was immediately afterward supplanted by a deathly
paleness: his hand trembled, but this lasted only a moment; he gathered
all his strength of mind together and appeared the same as before.

“That was a very good trick!” said Wilhelm.

“Yes, certainly!” answered Otto; but he had seen nothing whatsoever. His
soul was strangely affected. The man exhibited several other tricks, and
then approached with the plate. Otto laid down a mark, and then rose to
depart. The juggler remarked the piece of money: a smile played about
his mouth; he glanced at Otto, and a strange malicious expression lay in
the spiteful look which accompanied his loudly spoken thanks: “Mr. Otto
Thostrup is always so gracious and good!”

“Does he know you?” asked Wilhelm.

“He has the honor!” grinned the juggler, and proceeded.

“He has exhibited his tricks in the Jutland villages, and upon my
father’s estate,” whispered Otto.

“Therefore an acquaintance of your childhood?” said Wilhelm.

“Of my childhood,” repeated Otto, and they made themselves a way through
the tumult.

They met with several young noblemen, relatives of Wilhelm, with the
cousin who had written the verses for the Christmas tree; also several
friends from the carouse, and the company increased. They intended, like
many others, to pass the night in the wood, and at midnight drink out of
Kirsten Piil’s well. “Only with the increasing darkness will it become
thoroughly merry here,” thought they: but Otto had appointed to be in
the city again toward evening. “Nothing will come out of that!” said the
poet; “if you wish to escape, we shall bind you fast to one of us.”

“Then I carry him away with me on my back,” replied Otto; “and still run
toward the city. What shall I do here at night in the wood?”

“Be merry!” answered Wilhelm. “Come, give us no follies, or I shall grow
restive.”

Hand-organs, drums, and trumpets, roared against each other; Bajazzo
growled; a couple of hoarse girls sang and twanged upon the guitar:
it was comic or affecting, just as one was disposed. The evening
approached, and now the crowd became greater, the joy more noisy.

“But where is Otto?” inquired Wilhelm. Otto had vanished in the crowd.
Search after him would help nothing, chance must bring them together
again. Had he designedly withdrawn himself? no one knew wherefore, no
one could dream what had passed within his soul. It became evening.
The highway and the foot-path before the park resembled two moving gay
ribbons.

In the park itself the crowd perceptibly diminished. It was now the
high-road which was become the Park-hill. The carriages dashed by each
other as at a race; the people shouted and sung, if not as melodiously
as the barcarole of the fisher men below Lido, still with the thorough
carnival joy of the south. The steamboat moved along the coasts. From
the gardens surrounding the pretty country-houses arose rockets into the
blue sky, the Moccoli of the north above the Carnival of the Park.

Wilhelm remained with his young friends in the wood, and there they
intended, with the stroke of twelve, to drink out of Kirsten’s well.
Men and women, girls and boys of the lower class, and jovial young men,
meet, after this manner, to enjoy St. John’s Eve. Still sounded the
music, the swings were in motion, lamps hung out, whilst the new moon
shone through the thick tree boughs. Toward midnight the noise died
away; only a blind peasant still scratched upon the three strings which
were left on his violin; some servant-girls wandered, arm-in-arm, with
their sweethearts, and sang. At twelve o’clock all assembled about
the well, and drank the clear, ice-cold water. From no great distance
resounded, through the still night, a chorus of four manly voices. It
was as if the wood gods sang in praise of the nymph of the well.

Upon the hill all was now deserted and quiet. Bajazzo and il Padrone
slept behind the thin linen partition, under a coverlid. The moon set,
but the night was clear; no clear, frosty winter night has a snore
beautiful starry heaven to exhibit. Wilhelm’s party was merry, quickly
flew the hours away; singing in chorus, the party wandered through the
wood, and down toward the strand. The day already dawned; a red streak
along the horizon announced its approach.

Nature sang to them the mythos of the creation of the world, even as she
had sung it to Moses, who wrote down this voice from God, interpreted
by Nature. Light banished the darkness, heaven and earth were parted; at
first birds showed themselves in the clear air; later rose the beasts of
the field; and, last of all, appeared man.

“The morning is fairly sultry,” said Wilhelm; “the sea resembles a
mirror: shall we not bathe?”

The proposal was accepted.

“There we have the Naiades already!” said one of the party, as a
swarm of fishermen’s wives and daughters, with naked feet, their green
petticoats tucked up, and baskets upon their backs, in which they
carried fish to Copenhagen, came along the road. The gay young fellows
cast toward the prettiest glances as warm and glowing as that cast by
the sun himself, who, at this moment, came forth and shone over the
Sound, where a splendid three-masted vessel had spread all her sails to
catch each breeze. The company reached the strand.

“There is some one already swimming out yonder,” said Wilhelm. “He
stands it bravely. That is an excellent swimmer!”

“Here lie his clothes,” remarked another.

“How!” exclaimed Wilhelm: “this is Otto Thostrup’s coat! But Otto cannot
swim; I have never been able to persuade him to bathe. Now, we will out
and make a nearer acquaintance.”

“Yes, certainly it is he,” said another; “he is now showing his skill.”

“Then he must have been all night in the wood,” exclaimed Wilhelm. “Yes,
indeed, he’s a fine bird. Does he fly us? He shall pay for this. Good
night in the water, or in any other improper place? To quit friends
without saying a word does not appertain to the customs of civilized
people. Since you, therefore, show yourself such a man of nature, we
will carry away your garments; it cannot annoy you in puris naturalibus
to seek us out in the wood.”

Otto raised his head, but was silent.

“Now, will you not come forth?” cried Wilhelm. “Only kneeling before
each of us can you receive the separate articles of your dress, so
that you may again appear as a civilized European.” And saying this he
divided the clothes among the others; each one held an article in his
hand.

“Leave such jokes!” cried Otto with singular earnestness. “Lay down the
clothes, and retire!”

“Aye, that we will, presently,” returned Wilhelm. “You are a fine
fellow! You cannot swim, you say. Now, if you should not kneel”--

“Retire!” cried Otto, “or I will swim out into the stream, and not
return again!”

“That might be original enough,” answered Wilhelm. “Swim forth, or come
and kneel here!”

“Wilhelm!” cried Otto, with an affecting sigh, and in a moment swam
forth with quick strokes.

“There he shoots away,” said one of the party. “How he cuts the waves!
He is a splendid swimmer!”

Smiling they gazed over the expanse; Otto swam even farther out.

“But where will he swim to?” exclaimed, somewhat gravely, one of the
spectators. “He will certainly lose his strength before he returns the
same distance.”

They unmoored the boat. Otto swam far out at sea; with quick strokes of
the oars they rowed after him.

“Where is he now?” cried Wilhelm shortly afterwards; “I see him no
longer.”

“Yes, there he comes up again,” said another; “but his strength is
leaving him.”

“On! on!” cried Wilhelm; “he will be drowned if we do not come to his
help. Only see--he sinks!”

Otto had lost all power; his head disappeared beneath the water. The
friends had nearly reached him; Wilhelm and several of the best swimmers
flung from themselves boots and coats, sprang into the sea, and dived
under the water. A short and noiseless moment passed. One of the
swimmers appeared above water. “He is dead!” were the first words heard.
Wilhelm and the three others now appeared with Otto; the boat was near
oversetting as they brought him into it. Deathly pale lay he there,
a beautifully formed marble statue, the picture of a young gladiator
fallen in the arena.

The friends busied themselves about him, rubbing his breast and hands,
whilst two others rowel toward the land.

“He breathes!” said Wilhelm.

Otto opened his eyes; his lips moved; his gaze became firmer; a deep
crimson spread itself over his breast and countenance; he raised himself
and Wilhelm supported him. Suddenly a deep sigh burst from his breast;
he thrust Wilhelm from him, and, like a madman, seized an article of
dress to cover himself with; then, with a convulsive trembling of the
lips, he said to Wilhelm, who held his hand, “I HATE YOU!”



CHAPTER VI

     --“Art thou Prometheus, pierced with wounds?
     The Vulture thou that tugs at his heart?”
                    J. CHR. V. ZEDLITZ’S Todtenkränze.

Not half an hour after this adventure a carriage rolled toward the
city--a large carriage, containing three seats, but, beside the
coachman, there was only one person within. This was Otto; his lips were
pale; death, it is true, had touched them. Alone he dashed forward; his
last words to Wilhelm had been his only ones.

“He has lost his wits,” said one of the friends.

“It is a fit of madness,” answered another, “such as he was seized with
at the examination, when he only sent in a scrap of white paper for
the mathematical examination, because he felt himself offended by the
inspector.”

“I could quite vex myself about my stupid joke,” said Wilhelm. “I ought
to have known him better; he is of a strange, unhappy character. Give me
your hands! We will mention to no one what has occurred; it would only
give occasion to a deal of gossip, and wound him deeply, and he is an
excellent, glorious fellow.”

They gave their hands upon it, and drove toward the city.

The same day, toward evening, we again seek Otto. We find him in his
chamber. Silent, with crossed arms, he stands before a print, a copy of
Horace Vernet’s representation of Mazeppa, who, naked and bound upon a
wild horse, rushes through the forest. Wolves thrust forth their heads
and exhibit their sharp teeth.

“My own life!” sighed Otto. “I also am bound to this careering wild
horse. And no friend, not a single one! Wilhelm, I could kill thee! I
could see you all lying in your blood! O, Almighty God!” He pressed his
hands before his face and threw himself into a seat; his eyes, however,
again directed themselves toward the picture; it exhibited a moment
similar to the condition of his own mind.

The door now opened, and Wilhelm stood before him.

“How do you find yourself, Thostrup?” he inquired. “We are still friends
as before?” and he wished to give his hand. Otto drew back his. “I have
done nothing which could so much offend you,” said Wilhelm; “the whole
was merely a joke! Give me your hand, and we will speak no more of the
affair!”

“To the man whom I hate, I never reach my hand,” replied Otto and his
lips were white like his cheeks.

“A second time to-day you speak these words to me,” said Wilhelm, and
the blood rushed to his face. “We were friends, wherefore cannot we be
so still? Have people slandered me to you? Have they told lies about me?
Only tell me faithfully, and I shall be able to defend myself.”

“You must fight with me!” said Otto; and his glance became more gloomy.
Wilhelm was silent; there reigned a momentary stillness. Otto suppressed
a deep sigh. At length Wilhelm broke silence, and said, with a grave
and agitated voice,--“I am so thoughtless, I joke so often, and regard
everything from the ridiculous side. But for all that I have both heart
and feeling. You must have known how much dearer you were to me than
most other people. You are so still, although you offend me. At this
moment your blood is in a fever; not now, but after a few days, you
yourself will best see which of us is the offended party. You demand
that I fight with you; I will if your honor requires this satisfaction:
but you must lay before me an acceptable reason. I will know wherefore
we risk our lives. Let some days pass by; weigh all with your
understanding and your heart! It will still depend upon yourself whether
we remain friends as before. Farewell!” And Wilhelm went.

Each of his words had penetrated to Otto’s heart. A moment he stood
silent and undecided, then his limbs trembled involuntarily, tears
streamed from his eyes--it was a convulsive fit of weeping; he pressed
his head back. “God, how unfortunate I am!” were his only words.

So passed some minutes; he had ceased to weep, and was calm; suddenly he
sprang up, shot the bolt in the door, drew down the blinds, lighted his
candle, and once more looked searchingly around: the key-hole was also
stopped up. He then flung his coat away from him and uncovered the upper
part of his body.



CHAPTER VII

     “The towers pass by, even before we perceive them.”
                     OEHLENSCHLÄER’S Journey to Fünen.

Early the following morning, whilst Wilhelm still slept and dreamed of
his beloved sisters, well-known footsteps sounded on the stairs, the
door opened, and Otto stepped into the sleeping-room. Wilhelm opened his
eyes. Otto was pale; a sleepless night and sorrow of heart had breathed
upon his brow and eyes.

“Thostrup!” cried Wilhelm, with joyous surprise, and stretched forth
his hand toward him, but it again sank; Otto seized it, and pressed it
firmly in his own, adding at the same time, with gravity,--“You have
humbled me! Is that sufficient satisfaction for you?”

“We are then friends!” said Wilhelm. “Friends must be very indulgent
toward each other. Yesterday you were a little strange, to-morrow I may
be so; that is the way in which one retaliates.”

Otto pressed his hand. “We will never speak again of the occurrence of
yesterday!”

“Never!” repeated Wilhelm, affected by the strange gravity of his
friend.

“You are a noble, a good creature!” said Otto, and bent over him; his
lips touched Wilhelm’s forehead.

Wilhelm seized his hand, and gazed frankly into his eye. “You are not
happy!” exclaimed he. “If I cannot assist you, I can, at least, dear
Otto, honestly share the grief of a friend!”

“Even on that very point we may never speak!” replied Otto. “Farewell!
I have determined on travelling home; we have only vacation for a few
weeks, and I have not been in Jutland since I became a student. Even a
month’s sojourn there cannot throw me back; I am well prepared for the
philosophicum.”

“And when will you set out?” asked Wilhelm.

“To-morrow, with the steamboat. It is hot and sultry here in the city:
my blood becomes heated: it will, also, soon be a year since I saw my
family.”

“Thostrup!” exclaimed Wilhelm, through whom a thought suddenly flashed,
“I should also like to see my family; they have written to me to come.
Listen: make your journey through Funen, and only remain three or four
days with us. My mother’s carriage shall convey you then to Middelfart.
Say ‘Yes,’ and we will set out this evening.”

“That cannot be done!” replied Otto; but half an hour later, as both
sat together over the tea-table, and Wilhelm repeated his wish, Otto
consented, but certainly more through a feeling of obligation than
through any pleasure of his own. Toward evening, therefore, they set out
in the beautiful summer night to travel through Zealand.

Smartly dressed families wandered pleasantly through the city gate
toward the summer theatre and Fredericksberg. The evening sun shone
upon the column of Liberty; the beautiful obelisk, around which stand
Wiedewelt’s statues, one of which still weeps,

             “In white marble clothing,
                Hand upon the breast,
                Ever grief-oppressed,
              Looking down upon the gloomy sea,”

where were closed the eyes of the artist. Was it the remembrance which
here clouded Otto’s glance, as his eye rested upon the statues as they
drove past, or did his own soul, perhaps, mirror itself in his eyes?

“Here it is gay and animated!” said Wilhelm, wishing to commence a
conversation. “Vesterbro is certainly your most brilliant suburb. It
forms a city by itself,--a little state! There upon the hill lies the
King’s Castle, and there on the left, between the willows, the poet’s
dwelling, where old Rahbek lived with his Kamma!”

“Castle and poet’s dwelling!” repeated Otto; “the time will be when they
will inspire equal interest!”

“That old place will soon be pulled down!” said Wilhelm; “in such a
beautiful situation, so near the city, a splendid villa will be raised,
and nothing more remind one of Philemon and Baucis!”

“The old trees in the park will be spared!” said Otto; “in the garden
the flowers will scent the air, and remind one of Kamma’s flowers.
Rahbek was no great poet, but he possessed a true poet’s soul, labored
faithfully in the great vineyard, and loved flowers as Kamma loved
them.”

The friends hail left Fredericksberg behind them. The white walls of the
castle glanced through the green boughs; behind Söndermark, the large,
wealthy village stretched itself out. The sun had set before they
reached the Dam-house, where the wild swans, coming from the ocean,
build in the fresh water fake. This is the last point of beauty; nothing
but lonely fields, with here and there a cairn, extend to the horizon.

The clear summer’s night attracted their gaze upward; the postilion blew
his horn, and the carriage rolled toward the town of Roeskilde, the St.
Denis of Denmark, where kings turn to dust; where Hroar’s spring still
flows, and its waters mingle with those of Issefjords.

They drove to a public-house to change horses. A young girl conducted
the friends into the public room; she lighted the way for them. Her
slender figure and her floating gait drew Wilhelm’s attention toward
her; his hand touched her shoulder, she sprang aside and fixed her
beautiful grave eyes upon him; but their expression became milder, she
smiled and colored at the same time.

“You are the sister of little Jonas!” cried Wilhelm, recognizing the
young girl he had seen with him at Christmas.

“I must also thank you,” said she, “for your kindness toward the poor
boy!” She quickly placed the lights on the table, and left the room with
a gentle glance.

“She is beautiful, very beautiful!” exclaimed Wilhelm. “That was really
quite a pleasant meeting.”

“Is it then you, Herr Baron, who honor me thus?” cried the host,
stepping in--an elderly man with a jovial countenance. “Yes, the Baron
will doubtless visit his dear relations in hunch? It is now some little
time since you were there.”

“This is our host!” said Wilhelm to Otto. “He and his wife were born
upon my parent’s estate.”

“Yes,” said the host, “in my youth I have shot many a snipe and wild
duck with the Herr Baron’s father. But Eva should spread the table; the
gentlemen will certainly take supper, and a glass of good punch the Herr
Baron will certainly not despise, if he is like his blessed father.”

The young girl spread the cloth in an adjoining room.

“She is pretty!” Wilhelm whispered to the old man.

“And just as pious and innocent as she is pretty!” returned he; “and
that is saying much, as she is a poor girl, and from Copenhagen. She is
of good service to us, and my wife says Eva shall not leave us until she
is well married.”

Wilhelm invited the host to join them at a glass. The old man became
more animated, and now confided to him, half mysteriously, what made Eva
so honorable in the eyes of his wife, and what was, indeed, really very
nice of her. “My old woman,” said he, “was in Copenhagen, in search of a
waiting-girl. Yes, there are enough to be had, and they are fine girls;
but mother has her own thoughts and opinions: she has good eyes--that
she has! Now, there came many, and among others Eva; but, good Lord! she
was very poorly clad, and she looked feeble and weak, and what service
could one get out of her! But she had a good countenance, and the poor
girl wept and besought mother to take her, for she was not comfortable
at home, and would not remain at Copenhagen. Now, mother knows how
to make use of her words: it is unfortunate that she is not at home
to-night; how pleased she would have been to see the Herr Baron! Yes,
what I would say is, she so twisted her words about, that Eva confessed
to her why she wished to leave home. You see the girl is petty; and the
young gallant gentlemen of Copenhagen had remarked her smooth face,--and
not alone the young, but the old ones also! So an old gentleman--I could
easily name him, but that has nothing to do with the affair--a very
distinguished man in the city, who has, besides, a wife and children,
had said all sorts of things to her parents; and, as eight hundred
dollars is a deal of money to poor people, one can excuse them: but
Eva wept, and said she would rather spring into the castle-ditch. They
represented all sorts of things to the poor girl; she heard of the
service out here with us. She wept, kissed my old woman’s hand, and thus
came to us; and since then we have had a deal of service from Eva, and
joy also!”

Some minutes after Eva stepped in, Otto’s eye rested with a melancholy
expression upon the beautiful form: never had he before so gazed upon a
woman. Her countenance was extraordinarily fine, her nose and forehead
nobly formed, the eyebrows dark, and in the dark-blue eyes lay something
pensive, yet happy: one might employ the Homeric expression, “smiling
through tears,” to describe this look. She announced that the carriage
was ready.

A keen observer would soon have remarked what a change the host’s
relation had worked in the two friends. Wilhelm was no longer so free
toward poor Eva. Otto, on the contrary, approached her more,--and at
their leave-taking they offered her a greater present than they would
otherwise have given.

She stood with Otto at the door, and assisted him on with his travelling
cloak.

“Preserve your heart pure!” said he, gravely; “that is more than
beauty!”

The young girl blushed, and gazed at him with astonishment; in such a
manner had no one of his age ever before spoken to her.

“The poor girl!” said Otto; “but I think she is come to good people.”

“She has a strange glance!” said Wilhelm. “Do you know that there
is really a certain affinity between you and her? It was to me quite
striking.”

“That is a compliment which I cannot accept,” returned Otto, smiling.
“Yet, perhaps, I might resemble her.”

It was not yet three o’clock when the friends reached Ringsted.

“I have never before been so far in Zealand,” said Otto.

“Shall I be your guide?” returned Wilhelm. “Ringsted has a street and an
inn, and one is very badly served there, as you will soon both see and
experience yourself. Meanwhile, one can think of Hagbarth and Signe;
not far from here, at Sigersted, he hung his mantle on the oak, and
Signelil’s abode stood in flames. Now only remain fields and meadows, a
cairn, and the old popular song. Then we rush past the friendly Soroe,
that mirrors itself with the wood in the lake, which forms itself
into so many bays; but we do not see much of it. We have here another
romantic spot, an old castle converted into a church, high up on the
hill near the lake, and close to it the dismal place of execution.
We then reach Slagelse, an animated little town; with the Antvorskov
convent, the poet Frankenau’s grave, and a Latin school, celebrated on
account of its poets. It was there Baggesen and Ingemann learned their
Latin. When I once questioned the hostess regarding the lions of the
town, she would only acknowledge two,--Bastholm’s library, and the
English fire-engine. The curtain in the theatre represents an alley
with a fountain, the jets of which are painted as if spouting out of
the prompter’s box; or is this, perhaps, the English fire-engine? I
know not. The scene-decoration for towns represents the market-place of
Slagelse itself, so that the pieces thus acquire a home-feeling. This is
the modern history of the little town; and, with regard to its older
and romantic history, learn that the holy Anders was preacher here! Yes,
indeed, that was a man! He has been also sung of by our first poets. We
end with Korsöer, where Baggesen was born and Birckner lies buried. In
the more modern history of this town, King Solomon and Jörgen the hatter
play a considerable rôle. Besides this, I know that the town is said
once to have possessed a private theatre; but this soon was done for,
and the decorations were sold; a miller bought them, and patched his
windmill sails with them. Upon one sail was a piece of a wood, upon
another a shred of a room, or a street; and so they rushed round one
after the other. Perhaps this is mere slander, for I have my information
from Slagelse; and neighboring towns never speak well of each other.”

In this manner Wilhelm gossiped on, and the friends travelled over the
way he had described. Slagelse, and the peasant village of Landsgrav,
they had already behind them, when Wilhelm ordered the coachman to
diverge from the high-road toward the right.

“Where will you take us to?” asked Otto.

“I will give you a pleasure!” returned Wilhelm. “We shall reach the
weariful Korsöer early enough: the steamboat leaves at ten, and it is
not yet seven. You shall be surprised--I know well that you are half a
Catholic; I will conduct you where you may believe yourself carried back
several centuries, and may imagine yourself in a Catholic country. That
is right pleasant, is it not?”

Otto smiled. The friends alighted from the coach and walked over a
corn-field. They found themselves upon a hill, the whole landscape
spread itself out before them--they saw the Belt, with Sprogöe and
Funen. The surrounding country was certainly flat, but the variety of
greens, the near meadow, the dark stretch of wood in the neighborhood
of Korsöer, the bay itself, and all this seen in a warm morning light,
produced effect. The friends diverged to the right; and before them,
upon a hill, stood a large wooden cross, with the figure of the
Crucified One. Above the cross was built a small roof to carry off the
rain,--such as one may yet find in Bavaria. The figure of the Redeemer
was of wood, painted with strong, tawdry colors; a withered garland of
corn-flowers still hung around his bowed head.

“It is extraordinary,” said Otto, “to find in our time, in the year
1830, such a Catholic symbol in Lutheran Denmark! And yet--yes, you will
laugh at me, but I find it lovely: it affects me, moves me to worship.”

“That tawdry, tasteless figure!” cried Wilhelm. “Only see how coarse!
the hair is covered with tar to keep off the rain! The peasants here
have their peculiar superstition. If they allow the cross to fall they
have no luck with their lands. It was upon this hill that the holy
Anders, the celebrated preacher of Slagelse, awoke. He visited the
sepulchre of Christ, but through praying there too long the ship sailed
without him, and he was forced to stay behind. Then came a man and took
him upon his horse, and they would ride to Joppa: the holy Anders fell
asleep; but when he awoke he lay here, and heard the bells ringing in
Slagelse. Upon a foal, only one night old, he rode round the extensive
city lands, whilst King Waldemar lay in his bath. He could hang his
glove upon the beams of the sun. This hill, where he awoke, was called
Rest-hill; and the cross, with the figure of the Redeemer erected
upon it, which still stands here, reminds us of the legend of the holy
Anders.”

A little peasant girl at this moment mounted the hill, but paused when
she perceived the strangers.

“Don’t be afraid, my child!” said Wilhelm. “What hast thou there? a
garland! shall it hang here upon the cross? Only come, we will help
thee.”

“It should hang over our Lord,” said the little one, holding, in an
embarrassed manner, the garland of pretty blue cornflowers in her hand.
Otto took the garland, and hung it up in place of the faded one.

“That was our morning adventure!” said Wilhelm, and soon they were
rolling in the deep sand toward Korsöer, toward the hill where the poet
watched the sun and moon sink into the sea, and wished that he had wings
that he might catch them.

Melancholy and silent lies the town on the flat coast, the old castle
turned into a farm-house--high grass grows upon the walls. In a storm,
when the wind blows against the city, the surf beats against the
outermost houses. High upon the church stands a telegraph; the black
wooden plates resemble mourning-flags hung above the sinking town. Here
is nothing for the stranger to see, nothing except a grave--that of the
thinker Birckner. The friends drove to the public-house on the
strand. No human being met them in the street except a boy, who rung a
hand-bell.

“That calls to church,” said Wilhelm. “Because there are no bells in the
tower, they have here such a wandering bell-ringer as this. Holla! there
lies the inn!”

“Baron Wilhelm!” cried a strong voice, and a man in a green jacket with
pockets in the breast, the mighty riding-boots splashed above the tops,
and with whip in hand, approached them, pulled his horse-hair cap, and
extended his hand to Wilhelm.

“The Kammerjunker from Funen!” said Wilhelm; “my mother’s neighbor, one
of the most industrious and rich noblemen in all Funen.”

“You will come one of the first days to me!” said the Kammerjunker; “you
shall try my Russian steam-bath: I have erected one upon my estate. All
who visit me, ladies and gentlemen without any exception, must try it!”

“And do the cherry-trees bear well this year?” asked Wilhelm.

“No, no,” answered the Kammerjunker, “they are good for nothing; but
the apples are good! All the old trees in the hill-garden stand in full
splendor: I’ve brought them into condition! Two years ago there was not,
on all the trees together, a bushel of fruit. But I had all the horses
which had to be bled led under the trees, and had the warm blood
sprinkled upon the roots; this happened several times, and it has been a
real inoculation for life.”

“The wind is certainly favorable,” said Otto, whom this conversation
began to weary.

“No, just the contrary!” said the Kammerjunker. “The vane upon the
little house yonder lies; it points always to Nyborg, always shows a
good wind for us when we want to leave. In Nyborg is also a vane, which
stands even as firmly as this, and prates to the folk there of good
wind. I regard both vanes as a kind of guide-post, which merely says,
There goes the way! No, if we had had a wind I should have gone with the
boat, and not with the little splashing thing, as the seamen call the
steamboat. The carriage is doubtless awaiting the young gentleman in
Nyborg?” pursued he. “I will join company with you--my brown horse
waits for me at Schalburg. You should see him! He has sinews like steel
springs, and legs like a dancing-master! He is my own brown.”

“No one knows that we are coming,” answered Wilhelm. “We shall,
therefore, take a carriage from Nyborg.”

“We will join company,” said the Kammerjunker, “and then you will pay me
a visit with the young gentleman. You shall sleep in the black chamber!
Yes, you will give me the pleasure?” said he to Otto. “If you are a
lover of the antique, my estate will afford you pleasure; you find there
moats, towers, guard-rooms, ghosts, and hobgoblins, such as belong to an
old estate. The black chamber! after all, it is not quite secure there;
is it, Herr Baron?”

“No, the deuce remain a night with you!” said Wilhelm; “one gets to bed
late, and even then it is not permitted one to close one’s eyes. You,
your sister, and the Mamsell,--yes, you are a pretty clover-leaf!
Yes, Thostrup, you cannot believe what pranks are hatched upon the
Kammerjunker’s estate! One must be prepared for it! It is said to be
haunted, but if the dead will not take that trouble the living do. The
Kammerjunker is in the plot with his women-folk. They sewed me lately
live cockchafers into my pillow, and they crawled and scrambled about
till I did not know what the deuce it could be! A live cock they had
also placed under my bed, and just in the morning, when I would go to
sleep, the creature began to crow!”

“The women-folk had done that,” said the Kammerjunker. “Did they not
the very same night fasten a door-bell to the head of my bed? I never
thought of it; fat Laender slept in the same room, and had fastened
along the wall a string to the bell. I awoke with the ringing. ‘What the
devil is that bell?’ said I, and glanced about the room, for I could not
conceive what it was. ‘Bell?’ asked Laender--‘there is no bell here!’
The ringing also ceased. I thought I must have dreamed, or that our
merry evening must have left some buzzing in my ears. Again it began to
ring. Laender looked so innocent all the time, I could not comprehend
myself; I thought it must be my imagination. I became quite
fainthearted, I denied my own hearing, and said, ‘No, I have only
dreamed!’ and commenced reckoning and counting to employ my mind; but
that did no good, and it nearly drove me mad! I sprang out of bed, and
then I found out the trick: but how Laender grinned! he was swollen and
red in the face with his mirth.”

“Do you play such jokes on your estate?” inquired Otto, addressing
himself to Wilhelm.

“No, not such refined ones!” returned the Kammerjunker; “perhaps a piece
of wood, or a silly mask, is laid in your bed. Miss Sophie gives us
other clever things for amusement--tableaux and the magic-lantern. I was
once of the party. Yes, what was it I represented? Ah, I played, Heaven
help me! King Cyrus: had a paper crown on my head, and Miss Sophie’s
cloak about me, the wrong side turned outward, for it is lined with
sable. I looked like Satan!”

The steamboat passengers were summoned on board, the company went down
to the vessel, and soon it was cutting through the waves of the Belt.



CHAPTER VIII

     “See now, Fünen signifieth _fine_,
       And much in that word lies;
     For Fünen is the garden fine,
       Where Denmark glads its eyes.”

The nakedness which the last aspect of Zealand presents occasions one
to be doubly struck by the affluent abundance and luxuriance with which
Funen steps forth. Green woods, rich corn-fields, and, wherever the eye
rests, noblemen’s seats and churches. Nyborg itself appears a lively
capital in comparison with the still melancholy Korsöer. One now
perceives people upon the great bridge of boats, on the ramparts, and
in the broad streets with their high houses; one sees soldiers, hears
music, and, what is especially animating upon a journey, one comes to
an excellent inn. The drive out through the arched gateway is an
astonishment; it is the same length and breadth as one of the gates of
Copenhagen. Villages and peasants’ houses here assume a more well-to-do
aspect than in Zealand, where one often on the way-side imagines one
sees a manure-heap heaped upon four poles, which upon nearer examination
one finds is the abode of a family. On the highroads in Funen one
perceives only clean houses; the window-frames are painted; before the
doors are little flower-gardens, and wherever flowers are grown,
as Bulwer strikingly remarks, the peasant is in a higher state of
civilization; he thinks of the beautiful. In the ditches along the
highway one sees lilac with their white and lilac flowers. Nature
herself has here adorned the country with a multitude of wild poppies,
which for splendor of color might vie with the most admired and
beautiful in a botanic garden. Especially in the neighborhood of Nyborg
do they grow in exceeding abundance.

“What a dazzling color!” exclaimed Otto, as the friends rolled past
these beautiful red flowers.

“That is a proud color!” said the Kammerjunker, who rode near them upon
his brown steed, “a proud color! but they are manured with the blood
of Andalusian horses. It was just here where the battle between these
beasts took place. You know that sit the year 1808 the Spaniards lay
in Funen; the English ships were cruising about in the Belt, and Romana
fled with his whole army on board, but they could net take their horses
with them. These were the most splendid Andalusian creatures that eyes
ever saw. The Spaniards took off their bridles, and left them here to
scamper about the fields like wild horses. The horses of Nyborg chanced
also to graze here, and as soon as the Andalusian steeds became aware of
ours they arranged themselves in a row, and fell upon the Danish horses:
that was a combat! At length they fell upon each other, and fought until
they fell bleeding to earth. Whilst still a boy I saw little skull of
one of these beasts. This is the last adventure left us from the visit
of the Spaniards to Denmark. In the village through which we shall
now pass are some outer remembrances. Remark the young lads and
lasses,--they are of a darker complexion than the inhabitants of other
Funen valleys; that is Spanish blood, it is said. It was in this village
that the story took its rise of the preacher’s servant-girl, who wept
and was so inconsolable at the departure of the Spaniards. But not on
account of her bridegroom did she weep,--not over her own condition. The
preacher consoled her, and then she said she only wept to think that
if the innocent child resembled its father it certainly would speak
Spanish, and then not a soul would understand it! Yes, such histories as
this have we in Funen!” said he laughingly to Otto.

With similar relations, and some agricultural observations, according as
they were called forth by surrounding objects, did our excellent landed
proprietor amuse our young gentlemen. They were already distant several
miles from Nyborg, when he suddenly broke off in the midst of a very
interesting discourse upon a characteristic of a true inhabitant of
Funen, which is, that whenever he passes a field of buckwheat he moves
his mouth as if chewing, and made Wilhelm observe a Viennese carriage,
which approached them by a neighboring road. To judge from the coachman
and the horses, it must be the family from the hall.

This was the case--they returned from paying a visit. Where the roads
crossed they met each other. Otto immediately recognized Miss Sophie,
and near to her sat an elderly lady, with a gentle, good-humored
countenance; this was the mother. Now there was surprise and joy. Sophie
blushed--this blush could not have reference to the brother; was it
then the Kammerjunker? No: that appeared impossible! therefore, it must
concern Otto. The mother extended her hand to him with a welcome, whilst
at the same time she invited the Kammerjunker to spend the afternoon
with them. There lay, in the manner with which she proposed this, so
much attention and consideration, that Otto felt the man was here held
in greater esteem, and was otherwise regarded than he, during their
short acquaintance, had imagined possible.

Sophie added, smiling, “You must stay!” To which the Kammerjunker
replied with an apology for his travelling-dress.

“We are not strangers!” said the mother; “it is only a family meal!
You see the usual circle. You, Mr. Thostrup,” added she, with a most
obliging manner, “I know so well from Wilhelm’s letters, that we are no
strangers. The gentlemen are acquainted with each other!”

“I accept the invitation,” said the Kammerjunker, “and I will now
show you into what a gallop I can put my steed! It is Carl Rise,
[Translator’s Note: Name of one of the heroes in Waldemar the Conqueror,
a romance by Ingemann.] as you see, young lady--you called him so
yourself!”

“Yes, ride forward,” said Sophie, smiling. “By that means you will
oblige my sister. She might otherwise be quite frightened, did she
see such a mighty caravan approach the house, did she had not properly
prepared the dinner-table.”

“As my gracious young lady commands!” said the rider, and sprang
forward.

The country became more woody; the road passed various small lakes,
almost overgrown with water-lilies and shaded by old trees; the
old-fashioned, indented gable-ends of the hall now peeped forth. They
drove through an avenue of wild chestnut-trees; the stone pavement here
threatened to smash the carriage axles. On the right lay the forge,
through the open door of which flew the sparks. A little girl, with bare
feet, opened a gate, and they now found themselves in a large open space
before the red-painted out-buildings. The ground was covered with straw,
and all the cows of the farm were collected here for milking. Here they
were obliged to drive, step by step, until by the gateway they reached
the larger courtyard, which was inclosed by the barns and the principal
building itself. This was surrounded by broad ditches, almost grown over
with reeds. Over a solid bridge, resting upon pillars of masonry, and
through a principal wing which bore the armorial bearings and initials
of the old possessor, they arrived in the innermost court, which was
shut in by three wings, the antique one already mentioned, and two
others: the fourth side was inclosed by a low trellis-work which
adjoined the garden, where the canals lost themselves in a small lake.

“That is an interesting old court!” exclaimed Otto.

“O, that is not to be compared with the Kammerjunker’s!” returned
Wilhelm: “you should first see his!”

“Yes, you must come over some of these days,” said the Kammerjunker.
“Silence, Fingal! Silence, Valdine!” cried he to the barking dogs. A
couple of turkey-cocks spread their feathers out, and gobbled with all
their might. Men and women servants stood at the door: that was their
reception!

“Thostrup will have the red room, will he not?” said Wilhelm, and the
friends ascended the stairs together.

A pale young girl, not free from freckles, but with eyes full of soul,
hastened toward them; this was Wilhelm’s youngest sister. She pressed
her brother to her breast, and took Otto’s hand with kindness. She is
not beautiful! was the first impression she made upon him. His chamber
was vaulted, and the walls painted in the style of Gobelin tapestry;
they represented the whole of Olympus. On the left was an old
fire-place, with decorations and a gilt inscription; on the right
stood an antiquated canopy-bed, with red damask hangings. The view was
confined to the moat and the interior court. But a few minutes and Otto
and Wilhelm were summoned to table. A long gallery through two wings of
the hall, on one side windows, on the other entrances to the rooms,
led to the dining-room. The whole long passage was a picture-gallery.
Portraits the size of life, representing noble knights and ladies
shining forth in red powdered periwigs, children adorned like their
elders, with tulips in their hands, and great hounds by their sides,
together with some historical pieces, decorated the walls.

“Have we no garland on the table?” asked Sophie, as she entered the
dining-room with the others.

“Only a weak attempt to imitate my sister!” said Louise, smiling.

“But there is not a single flower in the garland! What economy! And yet
it is sweet!”

“How tasteful!” exclaimed Otto, examining the garland which Louise had
laid.

All kinds of green leaves, with their innumerable shades, a few yellow
linden-leaves, and some from the copper-beech, formed, through their
varied forms and colors, a tasteful garland upon the white table-cloth.

“You receive a thistle and a withered leaf!” whispered Wilhelm, as Otto
seated himself.

“But yet the most beautiful!” answered he. “The copper beech contrasts
so sweetly with the whitish-green thistle and the yellow leaf.”

“My sister Sophie,” said Louise, “lays us each day a different
garland;--it is such a pretty decoration! If she is not here we get
none; that would have been the case to-day, but when I learned that
Wilhelm was coming, and that we,” she added, with a friendly glance,
“should have two other guests, I in great haste, made an attempt, and”--

“And wished to show how nicely it could be made without robbing your
flowers!” interrupted Sophie, laughing. “In reality, I am very cruel! I
cut all the heads of her favorites off. To-morrow, as a parody upon her
garland of to-day, will I make one of green cabbage and pea-shells!”

“Madeira or port wine?” asked the Kammerjunker, and led the conversation
from flowers to articles of food and drink.

“One feels one’s self comfortable here at the hall! Miss Louise cares
for the body, and Miss Sophie for the soul!”

“And mamma bestows a good cup of coffee,” said the mother; “you must
also praise me a little!”

“I give music after dinner!” cried Wilhelm; “and thus the whole family
will have shown their activity!”

“But no voluntaries!” said the Kammerjunker; “no voluntaries, dear
friend! No, a brisk song, so that one can hear what it is! but none
of your artificial things!” A right proper blow on the shoulders was
intended to soften his expression.



CHAPTER IX

     “She sees if the cloth is clean and white
     --If the bed has pillows and sheets;
     If the candle fits in the candlestick....

     “Modest she is, although you know
       She makes the whole of the place;
     And in she slips in the evening glow,
       To light the room with her merry face “--OEHLENSCHLÄGER

A quiet, busy house-fairy was Louise; the beautiful, fragrant flowers
were her favorites. Good-humoredly she smiled at the raillery of her
sister, quietly listened to each thoughtless jest; but if any one, in
joke, touched upon what was holy to her soul, she was aroused from her
calmness and attained a certain eloquence.

We will now become more nearly acquainted with the sisters, and on this
account pass over to one of the following days.

An abode together of a week, at a country-seat, will often bring about
a greater intimacy than if, throughout a whole winter, people had met
in large companies in cities. Otto soon felt himself at home; he was
treated as a near relative. Wilhelm related all he knew of the beautiful
Eva, and Sophie discovered that she was a romantic character. Mamma
pitied the poor child, and Louise wished she had her on the estate: an
inn was, after all, no proper place for a respectable girl. They then
spoke of the winter enjoyments in Copenhagen, of art, and the theatre.
Louise could not speak much with them upon these subjects, although
she had seen one play, “Dyveke:” the amiable nature of the actress had
spoken deeply to her heart.

Several days had passed; the sky was gray; the young people assembled
round the table; they were at no loss for a subject of conversation. All
those who have brothers or sons who study well, have remarked how much
they are especially fascinated by the lectures on natural philosophy and
astronomy; the world, as it were, expands itself before the intellectual
eye. We know that the friends, during the past summer, had participated
in these lectures, and, like the greater number, were full of
these subjects, from the contemplation of a drop of water, with its
innumerable animalculae, to the distance and magnitude of stars and
planets.

To most of us these are well-known doctrines; to the ladies, also, this
was nothing entirely new: nevertheless, it interested them; perhaps
partly owing to Otto’s beautiful eloquence. The gray, rainy weather led
the conversation to the physical explanation of the origin of our globe,
as the friends, from Orsted’s lectures, conceived it to have been.

“The Northern and Grecian myths agree also with it!” sail Otto. “We must
imagine, that in infinite space there floated an eternal, unending mist,
in which lay a power of attraction. The mist condensed itself now to
one drop--our globe was one enormous egg-shaped drop; light and warmth
operated upon this huge world egg, and hatched, not alone ONE creature,
but millions. These must die and give way to new ones, but their corpses
fell as dust to the centre: this grew; the water itself condensed, and
soon arose a point above the expanse of ocean. The warmth of the sun
developed moss and plants; fresh islands presented themselves;
for centuries did a more powerful development and improvement show
themselves, until the perfection was attained which we now perceive!”

“But the Bible does not teach us thus!” said Louise.

“Moses invented his account of the creation,” answered Otto; “we keep to
Nature, who has greater revelations than man.”

“But the Bible is to you a holy book?” asked Louise, and colored.

“A venerable book!” returned Otto. “It contains the profoundest
doctrines, the most interesting histories, but also much which belongs
not at all to a holy book.”

“How can you say such things?” exclaimed Louise.

“Do not touch upon religion in her presence,” said Sophie; “she is a
pious soul, and believes, without desiring to know wherefore.”

“Yes,” said Wilhelm, “this winter she became quite angry, and, as I
believe, for the first time angry with me, because I maintained that
Christ was a man.”

“Wilhelm!” interrupted the young girl, “do not speak of that; I feel
myself unhappy at this thought; I can and will not see the Holy brought
down to my level, and to that of every-day life. It lies in my nature
that I commit a sin if I think otherwise than I have learned and than my
heart allows me. It is profane, and if you speak longer of religion in
this strain I shall leave the room.”

At this moment the mother entered. “The festival has commenced,” said
she; “I have been forced to give my brightest silver skilling. Does Mr.
Thostrup know the old custom which is observed here in the country, when
beer is brewed for the mowing-feast?”

A piercing cry, as from a horde of savages, at this moment reached the
ears of the party.

The friends descended.

In the middle of the brew-house stood a tub, around which danced all the
female servants of the estate, from the dairymaids down to the girl
who tended the swine; their iron-bound wooden shoes dashed against the
uneven flag-stones. The greater number of the dancers were without their
jackets, but with their long chemise-sleeves and narrow bodices. Some
screamed, others laughed, the whole was blended together in a howl,
whilst they danced hand in hand around the tub in which the beer should
be brewed. The brewing-maid now flung into it the silver skilling, upon
which the girls, like wild Maenades, tore off each other’s caps, and
with bacchanalian wildness whirled round the tub. By this means
should the beer become stronger, and work more intoxicatingly at the
approaching mowing-feast.

Among the girls, one especially distinguished herself by her Strong
frame of body, and her long black hair, which, now that her cap was torn
off, hung in disorder over her red face. The dark eyebrows were grown
together. All seemed to rage most violently within her, and in truth she
assumed something wild, nay almost brutal. Both arms she raised high in
the air, and with outstretched fingers she whirled around.

“That is disgusting!” whispered Otto: “they all look like crazy people.”

Wilhelm laughed at it. The wild merriment was lost in a joyous burst of
laughter. The girl with the grown-together eyebrows let fall her arms;
but still there lay in her glance that wild expression, which the loose
hair and uncovered shoulders made still more striking. Either one of the
others had had the misfortune to scratch her lip, or else she herself
had bitten it in bacchanalian wildness until it bled: she accidentally
glanced toward the open door where stood the friends. Otto’s countenance
became clouded, as was ever the case when anything unpleasant affected
him. She seemed to guess his thoughts, and laughed aloud. Otto stepped
aside; it was as though he in anticipation felt the shadow which this
form would one day cast across his life.

When he and Wilhelm immediately afterward returned to Sophie and Louise,
he related the unpleasant impression which the girl had made upon him.

“O, that is my Meg Merrilies!” exclaimed Sophie. “Yes, spite of her
youth, do you not find that she has something of Sir Walter Scott’s
witch about her? When she grows older, she will be excellent. She has
the appearance of being thirty, whereas she is said not to be more than
twenty years old: she is a true giantess.”

“The poor thing!” said Louise; “every one judges from the exterior. All
who are around her hate her, I believe, because her eyebrows are grown
together, and that is said to be a sign that she is a nightmare:

     [Note: This superstition of the people is mentioned in
     Thieles’s Danish traditions: “When a girl at midnight
     stretches between four sticks the membrane in which the foal
     lies when it is born, and then creeps naked through it, she
     will bear her child without pains; but all the boys she
     conceives will become were-wolves, and all the girls
     nightmares. You will know them in the daytime by their
     eyebrows grown together over the nose. In the night she
     creeps in through the key-hole, and places herself upon the
     sleeper’s bosom. The same superstition is also found in
     German Grimm speaks thus about it: If you say to the
     nightmare,--

         Old hag, come to-morrow,
         And I from you will borrow,

     it retreats directly, and comes the next morning in the
     shape of a man to borrow something.”]

they are angry with her, and how could one expect, from the class to
which she belongs, that she should return scorn with kindness? She is
become savage, that she may not feel their neglect. In a few days, when
we have the mowing-feast, you yourself will see how every girl gets a
partner; but poor Sidsel may adorn herself as much as she likes, she
still stands alone. It is truly hard to be born such a being!”

“The unfortunate girl!” sighed Otto.

“O, she does not feel it!” said Wilhelm: “she cannot feel it; for that
she is too rude, too much of an animal.”



CHAPTER X

     “Were the pease not tender, and the vegetables fresh and
     sweet as sugar What was the matter with the hams, the smoked
     goose-breasts, and the herrings? What with the roasted lamb,
     and the refreshing red-sprinkled head-lettuce? Was not the
     vinegar sharp, and the nut-oil balmy? Was not the butter as
     sweet as a nut, the red radishes tender? What?”--VOSS’S
     Louise.

“Mr. Thostrup shall see the Kammerjunker’s old country-seat; to-morrow
we must go over.”

Louise could not go with them, a hundred small duties chained her to the
house. The most important of them all was ironing.

“But that the house-maid can do,” said Sophie. “Do come with us.”

“When thou seest thy linen nice and neat in thy drawers,” returned
Louise, “thou wilt certainly pardon me for remaining at home.”

“Yes, thou art a glorious girl!” said Sophie; “thou dost deserve to have
been known by Jean Paul, and made immortal in one of his books. Thou
dost deserve the good fortune of being sung of by such a poet.”

“Dost thou call it good fortune,” answered the sister, “when the whole
world directs its attention to one person?--that must be painful!
unhappy! No, it is much better not to be remarked at all. Take my
greetings with you, and ask for my Claudius back; they have had it now a
whole half year.”

“There, they have kept half my sister’s library,” said Sophie, smiling
to Otto. “You must know she has only two books: Mynster’s Sermons, and
the ‘Wandsbecker Boten.’”

The carriage rolled away through the chestnut avenue. “There upon the
hill, close by the wood, did I act the elf-maiden,” said Sophie. “I was
not yet confirmed; there were strangers staying with us at the hall,
and we wandered in the beautiful moonlight through the wood. Two of my
friends and I hastened toward the hill, took hold of each other’s hands
and danced in a ring. The day after, two persons of the congregation
told the preacher about three elfin-maidens, clad in white, who had
danced upon the hill in the moonlight. The elfin-maidens were we; but
that our backs were hollow as baking-troughs, and that the hill glanced
like silver, was their own invention.”

“And in this oak,” exclaimed Wilhelm, “when a boy, I killed the first
bird which fell from my shot. It was a crow, and was very honorably
interred.”

“Yes, beneath my sister’s weeping-willow,” said Sophie. “We buried it
in an old chapeaubras, adorned with white bows; the grave was decorated
with peony-leaves and yellow lilies. Wilhelm, who was then a big boy,
made an oration, and Louise strewed flowers.”

“You were little fools!” said the mother. “But see, who comes here?”

“O, my little Dickie, my dwarf of Kenilworth!” exclaimed Sophie, as a
little hump-backed man, with thin legs and an old face, approached. He
was dressed as a peasant, and bore upon his back a little knapsack of
red calfskin, the hairy side turned outward: in this he carried his
violin.

“Is he called Dickie?” asked Otto.

“No, that is only a joke of Sophie’s,” pursued Wilhelm; “she must always
make suitable people romantic. He is called commonly ‘Musikanti.’ The
inhabitant of Funen Italianizes most names; otherwise he is called Peter
Cripple.”

“You will hear his tones,” said Sophie. “The day after to-morrow, when
we have the mowing-feast, he will he number one. He understands
music with which you are scarcely acquainted; he will play you the
‘Shoemaker’s Dance’ as well as ‘Cherry-soup:’ such dances as these have
people here in the country.”

“We are now beyond my lands, and upon our neighbor’s,” said the old
lady. “You will see a thorough old mansion.”

“Now, I should like to know how the inhabitants will please Mr.
Thostrup,” said Sophie. “The Kammerjunker you know; he is an excellent
country gentleman. His sister, on the contrary, is a little peculiar:
she belongs to that class of people who always, even wily the best
intentions, say unpleasant things. She has for this quite a rare
talent--you will soon experience this; but she does not intend anything
so bad. She can also joke! Thank God that you will not remain there
over night, otherwise you would experience what she and the Mamsell can
invent!”

“Yes, the Mamsell is my friend!” said Wilhelm. “You will see her
work-box with all the curiosities. That little box plays a great part:
it is always taken out with her when she pays a visit--for the sake of
conversation it is brought out; all is then looked through, and every
article goes the round of the company. Yes, there are beautiful things
to be seen: a little wheelbarrow with a pincushion, a silver fish, and
the little yard-measure of silk ribbon.”

“Yes, and the amber heart!” said Sophie; “the little Napoleon of cast
iron, and the officer who is pasted fast to the bottom of the box: that
is a good friend in Odense, she lately told to me in confidence.”

“See what beautiful stone fences the Kammerjunker has made!” said the
mother. “And how beautifully the cherry-trees grow! He is an industrious
man!”

They approached the garden. It was laid out in the old French style,
with straight walks, pyramids of box, and white painted stone figures:
satyrs and goddesses peeped through the green foliage. You now caught
sight of a high tower with a spire; and soon the whole of the old
mansion presented itself to view. The water was conveyed away from the
broad moats, where the weeping willows with bowed heads and uncovered
roots stood in the warm sunshine. A number of work-people were busily
employed in clearing the moats of mud, which was wheeled in barrows on
both sides.

They soon reached the principal court-yard. The barns and the
out-buildings lay on the opposite side. A crowd of dogs rushed forth
barking toward the carriage--all possible races, from the large Danish
hound, which is known to the Parisian, down to the steward’s little
pug-dog, which had mixed with this company. Here stood the greyhound,
with his long legs, beside the turnspit. You saw all varieties, and each
had its peculiar and melodious bark. A couple of peacocks, with bright
outspread tails, raised at the same time a cry, which must have made an
impression. The whole court-yard had a striking air of cleanliness. The
grass was weeded from between the stones; all was swept and arranged
in its appointed order. Before the principal flight of steps grew four
large lime-trees; their tops, from youth bent together and then clipped
short, formed in spring and summer two large green triumphal arches. On
the right stood upon an upright beam, which was carved and formed into
a pillar, a prettily painted dove-cot; and its gay inhabitants fluttered
and cooed around. The peacock-pigeon emulated the peacock in spreading
its tail; and the cropper-pigeon elevated itself upon its long legs, and
drew itself up, as though it would welcome the strangers with the air of
a grand gentleman. The reddish-brown tiles and the bright window-panes
were the only things which had a modern air. The building itself, from
the stone window-seats to the old-fashioned tower through which you
entered, proclaimed its antiquity. In the vaulted entrance-hall stood
two immense presses: the quantity of wood which formed them, and the
artistical carving, testified to their great age. Above the door were
fastened a couple of antlers.

The Kammerjunker’s sister, Miss Jakoba, a young lady of about thirty,
neither stout nor thin, but with a strange mixture of joviality and
indolence, approached them. She appeared to rejoice very much in the
visit.

“Well, you are come over, then!” said she to Wilhelm. “I thought you had
enough to do with your examination.”

Wilhelm smiled, and assured her that after so much study people required
relaxation.

“Yes, you doubtless study in handsome boots!” said the young lady, and
in a friendly manner turned toward Sophie. “Good heavens, miss!” she
exclaimed, “how the sun has burnt your nose! That looks horrible! Don’t
you ever wear a veil? you, who otherwise look so well!”

Otto was a stranger to her. He escaped such unpleasant remarks. “They
should spend the whole day there,” insisted Miss Jakoba; but mamma spoke
of being at home by noon.

“Nothing will come of that!” said Jakoba. “I have expected you; and we
have cooked a dinner, and made preparations, and I will not have had
all this trouble in vain. There are some especial dishes for you, and of
these you shall eat.” This was all said in such a good-humored tone that
even a stranger could not have felt himself offended. The Kammerjunker
was in the fields looking after his flax; he would soon be back. Squire
Wilhelm could in the mean time conduct Mr. Thostrup about the premises:
“he would otherwise have nothing to do,” said she.

No one must remain in the sitting-room; it was so gloomy there! The
walls were still, as in by-gone days, covered with black leather, upon
which were impressed gold flowers. No, they should go to the hall--that
had been modernized since the Baroness was last there. The old
chimney-piece with carved ornaments was removed, and a pretty porcelain
stove had taken its place. The walls were covered with new paper from
Paris. You could there contemplate all the public buildings of that
city,--Notre Dame, Saint Sulpice, and the Tuileries. Long red curtains,
thrown over gilt rods, hung above the high windows. All this splendor
was admired.

“I prefer the antique sitting-room, after all,” said Sophie; “the old
chimney-piece and the leather hangings. One fairly lives again in the
days of chivalry!”

“Yes, you have always been a little foolish!” said Jakoba, but softened
her words by a smile and a pressure of the hand. “No, the hall is more
lively. Ah!” she suddenly exclaimed; “Tine has placed her work-box in
the window! That is disorder!”

“O, is that the celebrated work-box, with its many fool’s tricks?”
 inquired Wilhelm, as he laughingly took it up.

“There are neither fools nor tricks in the box,” said Jakoba. “But only
look in the mirror in the lid, and then you will perhaps see one of the
two.”

“No rude speeches, my young lady!” said Wilhelm; “I am an academical
burgher!”

The Kammerjunker now entered, attired in the same riding dress in which
we made his acquaintance. He had visited his hay and oats, had seen
after the people who were working at the fences, and had been also in
the plantation. It had been a warm forenoon.

“Now, Miss Sophie,” said he, “do you see how I am clearing out the
court? It costs me above five hundred dollars; and still they are
the peasants of the estate who clear away the mud. But I shall get a
delicate manure-heap, so fit and rich that it’s quite a pleasure. But,
Jakoba, where is the coffee?”

“Only let it come in through the door,” said Jakoba, somewhat angrily.
“You certainly ate something before you went from home. Let me attend to
the affairs of the ladies, and do thou attend to the gentlemen, so that
they may not stand and get weary.”

The Kammerjunker conducted the friends up the winding stone stairs into
the old tower.

“All solid and good!” said he. “We no longer build in this manner. The
loop-holes here, close under the roof, were walled up already in my
father’s time. But only notice this timber!”

The whole loft appeared a gigantic skeleton composed of beams, one
crossing the other. On either side of the loft was a small vaulted
chamber, with a brick fire-place. Probably these chambers had been used
as guard-rooms; a kind of warder’s walk led from these, between the
beam-palisade and the broad wall.

“Yes, here,” said the Kammerjunker, “they could have had a good lookout
toward the enemy. Look through my telescope. You have here the whole
country from Vissenberg to Munkebobanke, the Belt, and the heights
of Svendborg. Only see! The air is clear. We see both Langeland and
Zealand. Here one could, in 1807, have well observed the English fleet.”

The three climbed up the narrow ladder and came past the great clock,
the leaden weights of which, had they fallen, would have dashed through
the stone steps, and soon the gentlemen sat on the highest point. The
Kammerjunker requested the telescope, placed it and exclaimed:--

“Did I not think so? If one has not them always under one’s eyes they
begin playing pranks! Yes, I see it very well! There, now, the fellows
who are working at the fences have begun to romp with the girls! they do
nothing! Yes, they don’t believe that I am sitting here in the tower and
looking at them!”

“Then a telescope is, after all, a dangerous weapon!” exclaimed Wilhelm.
“You can look at people when they least expect it. Fortunately, our seat
lies hidden behind the wood: we are, at all events, safe.”

“Yes, that it is, my friend,” returned the other; “the outer sides of
the garden are still bare. Did I not, last autumn, see Miss Sophie quite
distinctly, when she was gathering service-berries in her little basket?
And then, what tricks did she not play? She certainly did not think that
I sat here and watched tier pretty gambols!”

They quitted the tower, and passed through the so-called Knight’s Hall,
where immense beams, laid one on the other, supported the roof. At
either end of the hall was a huge fireplace, with armorial bearings
painted above: the hall was now used as a granary; they were obliged to
step over a heap of corn before reaching the family pew in the little
chapel, which was no longer used for divine service.

“This might become a pretty little room,” said the Kammerjunker, “but we
have enough, and therefore we let this, for curiosity’s sake, remain in
its old state. The moon is worth its money!” and he pointed toward the
vaulted ceiling, where the moon was represented as a white disk, in
which the painter, with much naïveté, had introduced a man bearing a
load of coals upon his back; in faithful representation of the popular
belief regarding the black spot in the moon, which supposes this to be
a man whom the Lord has sent up there because he stole his neighbor’s
coal. “That great picture on the right, there,” pursued he, “is Mrs.
Ellen Marsviin; I purchased it at an auction. One of the peasants put
up for it; I asked him what he would do with this big piece of
furniture--he could never get it in through his door. But do you know
what a speculation he had? It was not such a bad one, after all. See!
the rain runs so beautifully off the painted canvas, he would have a
pair of breeches made out of it, to wear in rainy weather behind the
plough; they would keep the rain off! I thought, however, I ought to
prevent the portrait of the highly honorable Mrs. Ellen Marsviin being
so profaned. I bought it: now she hangs there, and looks tolerably
well pleased. The peasant got a knight instead--perhaps one of my own
ancestors, who was now cut up into breeches. See, that is what one gets
by being painted!”

“But the cupboard in the pillar there?” inquired Otto.

“There, certainly, were Bibles and Prayer-books kept. Now I have in it
what I call sweetmeats for the Chancery-counselor Thomsen: old knives of
sacrifice, coins and rings, which I have found in the horse-pond and up
yonder in the cairns: not a quarter of a yard below the turf we found
one pot upon another; round each a little inclosure of stones--a flat
stone as covering, and underneath stood the pot, with burnt giants’
bones, and a little button or the blade of a knife. The best things are
already gone away to Copenhagen, and should the Counselor come, he will,
God help me! carry away the rest. That may be, then, willingly, for I
cannot use the stuff, after all.”

After coffee, the guests wandered through the old garden: the clearing
away of the mud was more closely observed, the dairy and pig-sty
visited, the new threshing-machine inspected. But now the Russian bath
should be also essayed; “it was heated!” But the end of the affair was,
that only the Kammerjunker himself made use of it. The dinner-table
was prepared, and then he returned. “But here something is wanting!”
 exclaimed he; left the room, and returned immediately with two large
bouquets, which he stuck into an ale-glass which he placed upon the
table. “Where Miss Sophie dines, the table must be ornamented with
flowers: certainly we cannot lay garlands, as you do!” He seated himself
at the end of the table, and wished, as he himself said, to represent
the President Lars: they had had the “Wandsbecker Boten” half a year in
the house, and it would certainly please Miss Sophie if they betrayed
some acquaintance with books. This Lars and the flowers, here, meant
quite as much as in the south a serenade under the windows of the fair
one.

When, toward evening, the carriage for their return drew up before the
door, Otto still stood contemplating some old inscriptions which were
built into the tower-wall.

“That you can look at another time,” said Jakoba; “now you must be of
use a little!” And she reached him the ladies’ cloaks.

Amidst promises of a return visit and the parting yelping of the dogs
the carriage rolled away.

“I have fairly fallen in love with the old place!” said Sophie.

“The Kaminerjunker gains much upon nearer acquaintance,” said Otto.

They bad now reached the furthest extremity of the garden. A flower-rain
showered itself over them and the carriage. The Kammerjunker, Jakoba,
and the Mamsell, had taken a shorter way, and now waved an adieu to the
travellers, whilst at the same time they scattered hyacinths and stocks
over them. With a practiced hand Jakoba threw, as a mark of friendship,
a great pink straight into Otto’s face. “Farewell, farewell!” sounded
from both sides, and, accompanied by the sound of the evening-bell from
the near village, for it was sunset, the carriage rolled away.



CHAPTER XI

     “Dance and stamp
     Till the shoe-soles drop!”
                       --Danish Popular Song.

On the following day should the much-talked-of mowing-festival take
place. It was the hay-harvest which occasioned all this merriment.
[Author’s Note: It is true that serfdom is abolished, but the peasant
is still not quite free; neither can he be so. For his house and land he
must pay a tribute, and this consists in labor. His own work must give
way to that of his lord. His wagon, which he has had prepared to bring
home his own harvest, must, if such be commanded, go to the nobleman’s
land, and there render service. This is, therefore, a kind of tax which
he pays, and for the faithful payment of which he is rewarded by a
harvest and mowing-feast; at the latter he receives a certain quantity
of brandy, and as much ale as he can drink. The dance generally takes
place in the middle of the court-yard, and the dancers themselves must
pay their musicians.]

During three afternoons in succession, in the inner court and under free
heaven, should a ball be held. Along the walls, rough planks, laid upon
logs of wood, formed a row of benches. At both ends of the court lay
two barrels of the newly brewed ale, which had received more malt than
usual, and which, besides, through the silver skilling, and the magic
dance of the maidens round the tub, had acquired extraordinary strength.
A large wooden tankard, containing several measures of brandy, stood
upon a table; the man who watched the bleaching-ground was placed as
a kind of butler to preside at this sideboard. A bread-woman, with new
white bread from Nyborg upon her barrow, wheeled into the court, and
there established her stall for every one; for it was only liquors the
guests received gratis.

The guests now entered the court by pairs; the men, part in jackets,
part in long coats which hung down to their ankles. Out of the
waistcoat-pocket protruded a little nosegay of sweet-williams and musk.
The girls carried their “posies,” as they called them, in their neatly
folded pocket-handkerchiefs. Two musicians--one quite a young blade,
in a laced coat with a stiff cravat, mid the other the well-known Peter
Cripple, “Musikanti” as he was called--led the procession. They both
played one and the same piece, but each according to his own manner. It
was both good and old.

They now began to draw lots, who should dance before the door of the
family and who before that of the steward; after which the two parties
drew lots for the musicians. The girls seated themselves in a row upon
the bench, from whence they were chosen. The gallantry accorded with the
ball-room,--the hard stone pavement. Not even had the grass been pulled
up, but that would be all right after dancing there the first day. “Nay,
why art thou sitting there?” spoken with a kind of morose friendliness,
was the invitation to dance; and this served for seven dances. “Only
don’t be melancholy!” resounded from the company, and now the greater
portion moved phlegmatically along, as if in sleep or in a forced dance:
the girl with her eyes staring at her own feet, her partner with his
head bent toward one side, and his eyes in a direct line with the girl’s
head-dress. A few of the most active exhibited, it is true, a kind of
animation, by stamping so lustily upon the stone pavement that the dust
whirled up around them. That was a joy! a joy which had occupied them
many weeks, but as yet the joy had not reached its height; “but that
will soon come!” said Wilhelm, who, with his sister and Otto, had taken
his place at an open window.

The old people meanwhile kept to the ale-barrels, and the brandy. The
latter was offered to the girls, and they were obliged, at least, to
sip. Wilhelm soon discovered the prettiest, and threw them roses. The
girls immediately sprang to the spot to collect the flowers: but the
cavaliers also wished to have them, and they were the stronger;
they, therefore, boldly pushed the ladies aside, so that some seated
themselves on the stone pavement and got no roses: that was a merry bit
of fun! “Thou art a foolish thing! It fell upon thy shoulder and thou
couldst not catch it!” said the first lover to his lady, and stuck the
rose into his waistcoat-pocket.

All got partners--all the girls; even the children, they leaped about to
their own singing out upon the bridge. Only ONE stood forlorn,--Sidsel,
with the grown-together eyebrows; she smiled, laughed aloud; no one
would become her partner. Peter Cripple handed his violin to one of the
young men and asked him to play, for he himself wished to stretch his
legs a little. The girls drew back and talked with each other; but Peter
Cripple stepped quietly forward toward Sidsel, flung his arms around
her, and they danced a whirling dance. Sophie laughed aloud at it, but
Sidsel directed her extraordinary glance maliciously and piercingly
toward her. Otto saw it, and the girl was doubly revolting and frightful
in his eyes. With the increasing darkness the assembly became more
animated; the two parties of dancers were resolved into one. At length,
when it was grown quite dark, the ale barrels become empty, the tankard
again filled and once more emptied, the company withdrew in pairs,
singing. Now commenced the first joy, the powerful operation of the ale.
They now wandered through the wood, accompanying each other home, as
they termed it; but this was a wandering until the bright morning.

Otto and Wilhelm were gone out into the avenue, and the peasants shouted
to them a grateful “Good night!” for the merry afternoon.

“Now works the witchcraft!” said Wilhelm; “the magical power of the ale!
Now begins the bacchand! Give your hand to the prettiest girl, and she
will immediately give you her heart!”

“Pity,” answered Otto, “that the Maenades of the north possess only that
which is brutal in common with those of the south!”

“See, there goes the smith’s pretty daughter, to whom I threw the best
rose!” cried Wilhelm. “She has got two lovers, one under either arm!”

“Yes, there she goes!” simpered a female voice close to them. It was
Sidsel, who sat upon the steps of a stile almost concealed in the
darkness, which the trees and the hedge increased still more.

“Has Sidsel no lover?” asked Wilhelm.

“Hi, hi, hi,” simpered she; “the Herr Baron and the other gentleman
seek, doubtless, for a little bride. Am I beautiful enough? At night all
cats are gray!”

“Come!” whispered Otto, and drew Wilhelm away from her. “She sits like
some bird of ill omen there in the hedge.”

“What a difference!” exclaimed Wilhelm, as he followed; “yes, what a
difference between this monster, nay, between the other girls and Eva!
She was, doubtless, born in the same poverty, in similar circumstances,
and yet they are like day and night. What a soul has been given to Eva!
what inborn nobility! It must be, really, more than a mere freak of
Nature!”

“Only do not let Nature play her freaks with you!” said Otto, smiling,
and raised his hand. “You speak often of Eva.”

“Here it was association of ideas,” answered Wilhelm. “The contrast
awoke remembrance.”

Otto entered his chamber--he opened the window; it was a moonlight
night. From the near wood resounded laughter and song. They came from
the young men and girls, who, on their wandering, gave themselves up
to merriment. Otto stood silent and full of thought in the open window.
Perhaps it was the moon which lent her paleness to his countenance.
On what did he reflect? Upon his departure, perhaps? Only one more day
would he remain here, where he felt himself so much at home; but then
the journey was toward his own house, to his grandfather, to Rosalie,
and the old preacher, who all thought so much of him. Otto stood
listening and silent. The wind bore the song more distinctly over from
the wood.

“That is their joy, their happiness!” said he. “It might have been my
joy also, my happiness!” lay in the sigh which he heaved. His lips did
not move, his thoughts alone spoke their silent language. “I might have
stood on a level with these; my soul might have been chained to the
dust, and yet it would have been the same which I now possess, with
which I long to compass all worlds! the same, endowed with this
sentiment of pride, which drives me on to active exertion. My fate
wavered whether I should become one such as these or whether I should
rise into that circle which the world calls the higher. The mist-form
did not sink down into the mire, but rose above into the high refreshing
air. And am I become happy through this?” His eye stared upon the bright
disk of the moon. Two large tears rolled over his pale cheeks. “Infinite
Omnipotence! I acknowledge Thy existence! Thou dost direct all; upon
Thee will I depend!”

A melancholy smile passed over his lips; he stepped back into the
chamber, folded his hands, prayed, and felt rest and peace.



CHAPTER XII

     “The travellers roll through the world of men,
     Like rose leaves in a stream.
     The past will ne’er come back again,
     But fade into a dream.”--B. S. INGEMANN.

The following day, the last before Otto’s departure, whilst he and
Wilhelm were walking in the garden, Sophie approached them with a
garland made of oak-leaves: this was intended for Otto; they were now
really to lose him.

“Sophie will scarcely be up so early to-morrow morning,” said Louise;
“she is, therefore, obliged to present her garland to-day. I am never
missing at the breakfast-table, as you well know; and I shall then bring
my bouquet.”

“I shall preserve both until we meet again,” returned Otto; “they are
vignettes to my beautiful summer-dream. When I again sit in Copenhagen,
when the rain patters and the winter approaches with cold and a joyless
sky, I shall still see before me Funen with its green woods, flowers,
and sunshine; it will appear to me that it must still be so there, and
that the garland and bouquet are only withered because they are with me
in the winter cold.”

“In Copenhagen we shall meet again!” said Sophie.

“And I shall see you again with the swallows!” said Louise, “when my
flowers spring up again, when we have again warm summer days! As far
as I am concerned, you belong to the summer, and not to the cold, calm
winter.”

Early on the following morning was Sophie, after all, at the breakfast
table. That was to honor Otto. Mamma showed herself as the carriage
was at the door. Wilhelm would accompany him as far as Odense. It was,
therefore, a double leave taking, here and there.

“We will always remain friends, faithful friends!” said Wilhelm, when
they parted.

“Faithful friends!” repeated Otto, and they rolled away toward
Middelfart; thus far should mamma’s own carriage convey the excellent
Otto. Wilhelm remained behind in Odense; his coachman drove Otto, and
they discoursed upon the way. They passed Vissenberg: the high, wooded
hills there have received the name of the Funen Alps. The legend relates
of robbers who had here deep passages underneath the high-road, where
they hung bells which rang when any one passed above. The inhabitants
are still looked upon with suspicion. Vissenberg appears a kind of Itri,
between Copenhagen and Hamburg. [Author’s Note: “Itri,” Fra Diavolo’s
birthplace, lies in the Neapolitan States, on the highway between
Rome and Naples. The inhabitants are not, without reason, suspected of
carrying on the robber’s trade.] Near the church there formerly lay a
stone, on which Knud, the saint, is said to have rested himself when
flying from the rebellious Jutlanders. In the stone remained the
impression of where he had sat; the hard stone had been softer than the
hearts of the rebellious people.

This, and similar legends, the coachman knew how to relate; he was born
in this neighborhood, but not in Vissenberg itself, where they make the
false notes. [Author’s Note: A number of years ago a band of men were
seized in Vissenberg who had forged bank-notes.] Every legend gains
in interest when one hears it in the place with which it is connected.
Funen is especially rich in such relations.

“That cairn elevates itself at Christmas upon four red posts, and one
can then see the dance and merriment of the goblins within. Through that
peasant’s farm there drives every night a glowing coach, drawn by four
coal-black horses. Where we now see a pond overgrown with reeds and
roots there once stood a church, but it sank as the godless desecrated
it; at midnight we still hear their sighs, and hymns of repentance.”

It is true that the narrator mixed up together certain leg-ends which
related to other places in the country--that he took little springs, and
mingled his own thoughts with his relations; but Otto listened to him
with great interest. The discourse turned also upon the family at the
hall.

“Yes, they are very much liked!” said the coachman; “the gentleman may
believe we know how to value them.”

“And now, which of the young ladies is the best?” asked Otto.

“Yes, every one is best served by Miss Louise,” returned the fellow.

“Miss Sophie is the prettiest,” said Otto.

“Yes, she is also very good,--she belongs to the learned ones! She knows
German, that she does! she can act comedy very excellently! I once
got permission with the rest of the people to be up-stairs in the
sitting-room--we stood behind the family; she did not manage her affairs
at all badly.”

However much the old legends interested Otto, it seemed as though he
listened with more pleasure to the simple reasonings of the coachman
upon the family who were become so dear to him. Words and thoughts were
busied about the objects there. Wilhelm, however, was and still remained
the dearest; he recollected with what mildness Wilhelm had stretched
forth his hand in reconciliation, when he himself had thrust him
from him. Already the happy summer days which he had spent at the
country-seat, the whole visit, appeared a beautiful but short dream.

Otto felt an inward impulse to express his gratitude; his pride even,
which was a fundamental feature of his character, commanded him to do
this. Wilhelm’s affection, his desire for a continued friendship, Otto
thought he must reward; and on this account he added the following words
to the few lines which he gave the coachman before his passage over the
Little Belt:--

“Wilhelm, in future we will say thou to each other; that is more
confidential!” “He is the first to whom I have given my thou,” said
Otto, when the letter was dispatched. “This will rejoice him: now,
however, I myself have for once made an advance, but he deserves it.”

A few moments later it troubled him. “I am a fool like the rest!” said
he, and wished he could annihilate the paper. He was summoned on board.
The Little Belt is only a river between the two countries; he soon found
himself upon Jutland ground; the whip cracked, the wheels turned round,
like the wheels of fortune, up and down, yet ever onward.

Late in the evening he arrived at an inn. From his solitary chamber
his thoughts flew in opposite directions; now toward the solitary
country-seat of his grandfather, among the sand-hills; now toward the
animated mansion in Funen, where the new friends resided. He had
opened his box and taken out what lay quite at the top, the garland of
oak-leaves and the beautiful bouquet of flowers of this morning.

Most people maintain that one dreams at night of that which one has
thought much about. According to this, Otto must have thought a deal
about the North Sea, for of it he dreamed the whole night,--not of the
young ladies.



CHAPTER XIII

     “The heat-lark warbles forth his sepulchral melodies.”
                                             S. S. BLICHER.

The peninsula of Jutland possesses nothing of the natural beauty
which Zealand and Funen present--splendid beeches and odoriferous
clover-fields in the neighborhood of the salt sea; it possesses at
once a wild and desolate nature, in the heath-covered expanses and the
far-stretching moors. East and west are different; like the green, sappy
leaf, and grayish white sea-weed on the sea shore. From the Woods of
Marselisborg to the woods south of Coldinger Fjord, is the land rich
and blooming; it is the Danish Nature in her greatness. Here rises the
Heaven Mountain, with its wilderness of coppice and heather; from here
you gaze over the rich landscape, with its woods and lakes, as far down
as the roaring Cattegat.

The western coast, on the contrary, lies without a tree, without bushes,
with nothing but white sand-hills stretching along the roaring ocean,
which scourges the melancholy coast with sand-storms and sharp winds.
Between these contrasts, which the east and west coasts present, the
Hesperides and Siberia, lies the vast heath which stretches itself from
the Lyneborg sand to the Skagen’s reef. No hedge shows here the limits
of possession. Among the crossing tracks of carriage wheels must thou
seek thy way. Crippled oaks, with whitish-green moss overgrown to the
outermost branches, twist themselves along the ground, as if fearing
storms and the sea-mist. Here, like a nomadic people, but without
flocks, do the so-called Tartar bands wander up and down, with their
peculiar language and peculiar ceremonies. Suddenly there shows itself
in the interior of the heathy wilderness a colony--another, a strange
people, German emigrants, who through industry compel the meagre country
to fruitfulness.

From Veile, Otto wished to take the road through Viborg, as the most
direct and the shortest to his grandfather’s estate, which lay between
Nisumfjord and Lemvig.

The first heath-bushes accosted him as dear friends of his childhood.
The beautiful beech-woods lay behind him, the expanse of heath began;
but the heath was dear to him: it was this landscape which formed the
basis of many dear recollections.

The country became ever higher with brown heights, beyond which nothing
was visible; houses and farms became more rare, the cherry orchards
transformed themselves into cabbage-gardens. Only single spots were free
from heather, and here grew grass, but short, and like moss or duckweed
which grows upon ponds: here birds congregated by hundreds, and
fluttered twittering into the air as the carriage drove past.

“You know where to find the green spot in the heath, and how to become
happy through it,” sighed Otto. “Could I only follow your example!”

At a greater distance rose bare hills, without ling or ploughed land;
the prickly heath looked brown and yellow on the sharp declivities. A
little boy and girl herded sheep by the way-side; the boy played the
Pandean pipe, the little girl sang a psalm,--it was the best song which
she knew how to sing to the traveller, in order to win a little present
from him.

The day was warm and beautiful, but the evening brought the cold mist
from the sea, which, however, in the interior of the country loses
something of its power.

“That is a kiss of welcome from my home,” said Otto; “the death-kiss of
the mermaid! In Funen they call it the elf maiden.”

Within the last few years a number of children have been sent from the
Orphan Asylum to the heath, in order that, instead of Copenhagen
rogues, they may become honest Jutland peasants. Otto had a boy of this
description for his coachman. The lad was very contented, and yet Otto
became low-spirited from his relation. Recollections from his own life
stirred within his breast. “Return thanks to God,” said he, and gave the
lad a considerable present; “on the heath thou hast shelter and a home;
in Copenhagen, perhaps, the sandy beach would have been thy nightly
resting-place, hunger and cold the gifts which the day would bring
thee.”

The nearer he approached the west, the more serious became his frame of
mind; it was as if the desolate scenery and cold sea-mist entered his
soul. The pictures of the gay country-seat at Funen were supplanted by
recollections of his home with his grandfather. He became more and more
low-spirited. It was only when a single mile separated him from his
home that the thought of surprising his dear friends conquered his
melancholy.

He caught sight of the red roof of the house, saw the willow
plantations, and heard the bark of the yard-dog. Upon the hillock before
the gate stood a group of children. Otto could no longer endure the slow
driving through the deep ruts. He sprang out of the carriage, and ran
more than he walked. The children on the hillock became aware of him,
and all looked toward the side from whence he came.

The slow driving, and his being absorbed in melancholy fancies, had
relaxed his powerful frame; but now in one moment all his elasticity
returned: his cheeks glowed, and his heart beat loudly.

From the court resounded singing--it was the singing of a psalm. He
stepped through the gateway. A crowd of peasants stood with bared heads:
before the door stood a carriage, some peasants were just raising a
coffin into it. In the doorway stood the old preacher, and spoke with a
man clad in black.

“Lord Jesus! who is dead?” were Otto’s first words, and his countenance
became pale like that of a corpse.

“Otto!” all exclaimed.

“Otto!” exclaimed also the old preacher, astonished; then seized his
hand, and said gravely, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord!”

“Let me see the face of the dead!” said Otto. Not a tear came to his
eye; surprise and sorrow were too great.

“Shall I take out the screws?” inquired the man who had just screwed up
the coffin.

“Let him sleep the eternal rest!” said the preacher.

Otto stared at the black coffin in which his grandfather lay. The
carriage drove away with it. Otto followed after with the preacher,
heard him throw earth upon it, heard words which he did not comprehend,
saw the last corner of the coffin, and it was then removed from his
sight. All was as a dream to him.

They returned back to the preacher’s abode; a pale figure approached
him: it was Rosalie--old Rosalie.

“We have here no abiding-place, we all hasten toward futurity!” said
the old preacher. “Strengthen yourself now with meat and drink! The body
cannot suffer like the soul. We have accompanied him to His sleeping
chamber; his bed was well prepared! I have prayed the evening prayer; he
sleeps in God, and will awaken to behold His glory. Amen!”

“Otto! thou dear Otto!” said Rosalie. “The bitterest day brings me this
joy! How have I thought of thee! Amongst strangers shouldst thou receive
the tidings of his death! with no one who could feel for thy sorrow!
where thou shouldst see no eye weep for what thou hast lost! Now thou
art here! now, when I believed thee so far distant--it is a miracle!
Thou couldst only have received the letter to-day which carried the
intelligence of thy grandfather’s death to thee!”

“I wished to surprise you,” said Otto. “A melancholy surprise awaited
me!”

“Sit down, my child!” said the preacher, and drew him toward the covered
table. “When the tree falls which gave us shade and fruit, from which
we, in our own little garden, have planted shoots and sown seeds, we may
well look on with sadness and feel our loss: but we must not forget our
own garden, must not forget to cherish that which we have won from the
fallen tree: we must not cease to live for the living! I miss, like you,
the proud tree, which rejoiced my soul and my heart, but I know that it
is planted in a better garden, where Christ is the gardener.”

The preacher’s invitation to remain with him, during his stay, in his
house, Otto declined. Already this first night he wished to establish
himself in his own little chamber in the house of mourning. Rosalie also
would return.

“We have a deal to say to each other,” said the old preacher, and laid
his hand upon Otto’s shoulder. “Next summer you will hardly press my
hand, it will be pressed by the turf.”

“To-morrow I will come to you,” said Otto, and drove back with the old
Rosalie to the house.

The domestics kissed the hand and coat of the young master--he wished to
prevent this; the old woman wept. Otto stepped into the room; here had
stood the corpse, on account of which the furniture had been removed,
and the void was all the more affecting. The long white mourning
curtains fluttered in tire wind before the open window. Rosalie led
him by the hand into the little sleeping-room where the grandfather had
died. Here everything yet stood as formerly--the large book case, with
the glass doors, behind which the intellectual treasure was preserved:
Wieland and Fielding, Millot’s “History of the World,” and Von der
Hagen’s “Narrenbuch,” occupied the principal place: these books had
been those most read by the old gentleman. Here was also Otto’s earliest
intellectual food, Albertus Julius, the English “Spectator,” and Evald’s
writings. Upon the wall hung pikes and pistols, and a large old sabre,
which the grandfather had once worn. Upon the table beneath the mirror
stood an hour-glass; the sand had run out. Rosalie pointed toward the
bed. “There he died,” said she, “between six and seven o’clock in the
evening. He was only ill three days; the two last he passed in delirium:
he raised himself in bed, and shook the bed posts; I was obliged to let
two strong men watch beside him. ‘To horse! to horse!’ said he; ‘the
cannons forward!’ His brain dreamed of war and battles. He also spoke of
your blessed father severely and bitterly! Every word was like the stab
of a knife; he was as severe toward him as ever!”

“And did the people understand his words?” asked Otto with a wrinkled
brow.

“No, for the uninitiated they were dark words; and even had they
possessed any meaning, the men would have believed it was the sickness
which spoke out of him. ‘There stands the mother with the two children!
The one shall fall upon the flank of the enemy and bring me honor and
joy. The mother and daughter I know not!’ That was all which I heard him
say about you and your mother and sister. By noon on the third day the
fever had spent itself; the strong, gloomy man was become as weak and
gentle as a child; I sat beside his bed. ‘If I had only Otto here!’ said
he. ‘I have been severely attacked, Rosalie, but I am now much better:
I will go to sleep; that strengthens one.’ Smilingly he closed his eyes
and lay quite still: I read my prayers, withdrew gently so as not to
wake him; he lay there unchanged when I returned. I sat a little while
beside his bed; his hands lay upon the coverlid; I touched them, they
were ice-cold. I was frightened, touched his brow, his face--he was
dead! he had died without a death-struggle!”

For a long time did they converse about the dead man; it was near
midnight when Otto ascended the narrow stairs which led to the little
chamber in the roof, where as child and boy he had slept. All stood here
as it had done the year before, only in nicer order. Upon the wall hung
the black painted target, near to the centre of which he had once shot.
His skates lay upon the chest of drawers, near to the nodding plaster
figure. The long journey, and the overpowering surprise which awaited
him on his return, had strongly affected him: he opened the window;
a large white sand-hill rose like a wall straight up before it, and
deprived him of all view. How often, when a child, had the furrows
made by rain in the sand, and the detached pieces, presented to him
pictures,--towns, towers, and whole marching armies. Now it was only a
white wall, which reminded him of a winding-sheet. A small streak of the
blue sky was visible between the house and the steep slope of the hill.
Never before had Otto felt, never before reflected, what it was to stand
alone in the world, to be lovingly bound to no one with the band of
consanguinity.

“Solitary, as in this silent night do I stand in the world! solitary in
the mighty crowd of human beings! Only ONE being can I call mine! only
ONE being press as kindred to my heart! And I shudder at the thought of
meeting with this being--I should bless the thought that she was dead!
Father! thou didst ruin one being and make three miserable. I have
never loved thee; bitterness germinated within my breast when I
became acquainted with thee! Mother! thy features have died out of my
recollection; I revere thee! Thou wast all love; to love didst thou
offer up thy life--more than life! Pray for me with thy God! Pray for
me, ye dead! if there is immortality; if the flesh is not alone born
again in grass and the worm; if the soul is not lost in floods of air!
We shall be unconscious of it: eternally shall we sleep! eternally!”
 Otto supported his forehead upon the window-frame, his arm sank
languidly, “Mother! poor mother! thou didst gain by death, even if it
be merely an eternal sleep,--asleep without dreams! We have only a short
time to live, and yet we divide our days of life with sleep! My body
yearns after this short death! I will sleep--sleep like all my beloved
ones! They do not awaken!” He threw himself upon the bed. The cold air
from the sea blew through the open window. The wearied body conquered;
he sank into the death-like sleep, whilst his doubting soul, ever
active, presented him with living dreams.



CHAPTER XIV

     “Man seems to me a foolish being; he drives along over the
     waves of time, endlessly thrown up and down, and descrying a
     little verdant spot, formed of mud and stagnant moor and of
     putrid green mouldiness, he cries out, Land! He rows
     thither, ascends--and sinks and sinks--and is no more to be
     seen.”--The Golden Fleece of GRILLPARZER.

Old Rosalie was pouring out coffee when Otto came down the next morning.
Peace and resignation to the will of God lay in her soft countenance.
Otto was pale, paler than usual, but handsomer than Rosalie had seen him
before: a year had rendered him older and more manly; a handsome, crisp
beard curled over his chin; manly gravity lay in his eyes, in which,
at his departure, she had only remarked their inborn melancholy glance.
With a kind of satisfaction she looked upon this beautiful, melancholy
countenance, and with cordial affection she stretched forth her hand
toward him.

“Here stands thy chair, Otto; and here thy cup. I will drink to thy
welcome. It seems to me long since I saw thee, and yet it is, now I have
thee again, only a short time. Were that place only not empty!” and
she pointed to the place at the table which the grandfather had used to
occupy.

“If I had only seen him!” said Otto.

“His countenance was so gentle in death,” said Rosalie. “The severity
and gravity which had settled in his eyes were softened away. I was
myself present when he was dressed. He had his uniform on, which he
always wore upon occasions of ceremony, the sabre by his side and the
great hat upon his head. I knew that this was his wish!” Quietly she
made the sign of the cross.

“Are all my grandfather’s papers sealed?” inquired Otto.

“The most important--those which have the greatest interest for thee,”
 said Rosalie, “are in the hands of the preacher. Last year, the day
after thy departure, he gave them to the preacher; thy father’s last
letter I know is amongst them.”

“My father!” said Otto, and glanced toward the ground. “Yes,” continued
he, “there is truth in the words of Scripture,--the sins of the fathers
are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation!”

“Otto!” said Rosalie, with a beseeching and reproachful look, “thy
grandfather was a severe man. Thou last known him, hast seen his darkest
moments, and yet then age and cares had softened him: his love to thee
calmed every outbreak. Had he only loved thy father as he loved thee,
things would, perhaps, have ended better: but we may not judge!”

“And what have I done?” said Otto. “Thou, Rosalie, knowest the
history of my life. Is it not as if a curse rested upon me? I was a
high-spirited boy, I often occasioned thee tears; yet didst thou always
place thyself between me and punishment. It was my evil blood, the blood
of my birth in which the curse lay, that drove me on!”

“But thou didst become good and full of love, as thou art now!” said
Rosalie.

“Only when I became acquainted with myself and my destiny. In the
thoughtlessness of childhood, unacquainted with myself and the world,
did I myself have that sign of my misery, which now presses down my
soul, cut into my flesh. Yes, Rosalie! I remember this very well,
and have clearly preserved this, my earliest recollection before
my grandfather took me, and I came here a boy. I remember the great
building from whence I was brought, the number of people who there
worked, sang, and laughed, and who told me extraordinary stories of how
badly people were treated in the beautiful world. This was my parents’
home, thought I, when I began to ponder upon parents and their
connection with children. It was a large manufactory which they
possessed, thought I; I remembered the number of work-people. All played
and romped with me. I was wild and full of boisterous spirits a boy of
only six years old, but with the perseverance and will of one of ten.
Rosalie, thou sawest many proofs of the evil which lay in my blood; it
bordered upon insolence. I remembered well the strong, merry Heinrich,
who always sang at his loom; he showed me and the others his tattooed
breast, upon which he had his whole mournful history imprinted. Upon
his arm were his own and his bride’s names. That pleased me; I wished to
have my name also on my arm. ‘It is painful!’ said he; ‘then thou wilt
pipe, my lad!’ That was spur enough to make me desire it. I allowed him
to puncture my skin, to puncture an O and a T upon my shoulder, and
did not cry,--no, not once whilst the powder burnt into it; but I was
praised, and was proud to bear the initials--proud of them until three
years ago, when I met Heinrich here. I recognized him, but he did not
recognize me. I showed him my shoulder, and besought him to read the
name, this O and T: but he did not say Otto Thostrup; he named a name
which destroyed the happiness of my childhood, and has made me miserable
forever!”

“It was a fearful day!” said Rosalie. “Thou didst demand from me an
explanation, thy grandfather gave it thee, and thou wast no longer the
Otto thou hadst formerly been. Yet wherefore speak of it? Thou art good
and wise, noble and innocent. Do not fill thy heart with sorrow from a
time which is past, and which, for thy sake, shall be forgotten.”

“But Heinrich still lives!” said Otto; “I have met with him, have spoken
with him: it was as if all presence of mind forsook me.”

“When and where?” asked Rosalie.

Otto related of his walk with Wilhelm in the park, and of the juggler,
in whom he had recognized Heinrich. “I tore myself from my friends,
I wandered the whole night alone in the wood. O Rosalie, I thought
of death! I thought of death as no Christian ought to do. A beautiful
morning followed, I wandered beside the sea which I love, and in which
I have so often dived. Since that explanation of the initials on my
shoulder was suggested, that explanation which reminded me of my unhappy
birth, I have never uncovered them before any one. O, I have rubbed
thorn with a stone, until they were bloody! The letters are gone, but
still I imagine I can read them in the deep scar--that in it I see a
Cain’s mark! That morning the desire to bathe came upon me. The fresh
current infused life once more into my soul. Just then Wilhelm and
several acquaintance came down; they called to me and carried off my
clothes; my blood boiled; all my unhappiness, which this night had
stirred within my soul, again overwhelmed me: it was as though the
obliterated initials on my shoulder would reveal themselves in the scar
and betray the secret of my grief. Disgust of life seized upon me. I
no longer knew what I shouted to them, but it seemed to me as if I must
swim out into the stream and never return. I swam until it became night
before my eyes. I sank, and Wilhelm rescued me! Never since then have
we spoken of this hour! O Rosalie! long is it since I have been able to
open my heart as before thee at this moment. What use is it to have a
friend if one cannot lay before him one’s whole thoughts? To no one
have I been able to unfold them but to thee, who already knowest them. I
suffer, as a criminal and yet am I innocent,--just as the misshapen, the
deformed man, is innocent of his ugliness!”

“I do not possess thy knowledge, Otto,” said Rosalie, and pressed his
hand; “have never rejoiced in such a clear head as thine; but I have
that which thou canst not as yet possess--experience. In trouble,
as well as in joy, youth transforms the light cobweb into the cable.
Self-deception has changed the blood in thy veins, the thoughts in thy
soul; but do not forever cling to this one black spot! Neither wilt
thou! it will spur thee on to activity, will enervate thy soul, not
depress thee! The melancholy surprise of thy grandfather’s death, whom
thou didst believe active and well, has now made thee dejected, and thy
thoughts so desponding. But there will come better days! happy days!
Thou art young, and youth brings health for the soul and body!”

She led Otto into the garden, where the willow plantations protected the
other trees from the sharp west wind. The gooseberry-bushes bore fruit,
but it was not yet ripe: one bush Otto had planted when a cutting; it
was now large. Rosalie had tied the twigs to a palisade, so that, as an
espalier, it could thoroughly drink in the sun’s rays. Otto regarded the
fetters more than the good intention.

“Let it grow free!” said he; “if that brittle palisade should tumble
down, the twigs would be broken.” And he cut the bands.

“Thou art still the old Otto,” said Rosalie.

They went into her little room, where the crucifix, and before it a
small vase of flowers, adorned the table. Above the cross hung a garland
of withered heather.

“Two years ago didst thou give me that, Otto!” said Rosalie. “There
were no more flowers, there was nothing green but the heath, and thou
twinedst a garland of it for me. Afterward I would not take it down from
the crucifix.”

They were interrupted by a visit. It was from the old preacher.



CHAPTER XV

     “His coal was coarse, its fashion old;
       He asked no dress of greater worth
     Than that which kept from storm and cold
       The Baptist when he preached on earth.”
                                C. J. BORE.

Not alone of Otto’s affairs, but also of “the city yonder,” as the
preacher called Copenhagen, would he speak. Only once a week came the
“Viborg Collector” to hint, and the Copenhagen papers were a whole month
going their round. “One would willingly advance with the time,” said he.
Yesterday, at the interment, he had not found it seemly to gratify his
desire of hearing dear Otto talk about the city, but to-day he thought
it might well be done, and therefore he would not await Otto’s visit but
come over to pay one himself.

“Thou hast certainly seen our good king?” was his first question. “Lord
help the anointed one! he is then as vigorous and active as ever--my
good King Frederik!” And now he must relate a trait which had touched
his heart, and which, in his opinion, deserved a place in the annals of
history. This event occurred the last time that the king was in Jutland;
he had visited the interior of the country and the western coast also.
When he was leaving a public-house the old hostess ran after him, and
besought that the Father would, as a remembrance, write his name with
chalk upon a beam. The grand gentlemen wished to deter her, but she
pulled at the king’s coat; and when he had learned her wish he nodded in
a friendly manner, and said, “Very willingly!” and then turned back and
wrote his name on the beam. Tears came into the old man’s eyes; he wept,
and prayed for his king. He now inquired whether the old tree was still
standing in the Regent’s Court, and then spoke of Nyerup and Abrahamson,
whom he had known in his student days.

In fact, after all, he was himself the narrator; each of his questions
related to this or that event in his own life, and he always returned
to this source--his student-days. There was then another life, another
activity, he maintained. His royal idea of beauty had been Queen
Matilda. [Translator’s Note: The unhappy wife of Christian VII. and
daughter of our George III.] “I saw her often on horseback,” said he.
“It was not then the custom in our country for ladies to ride. In her
country it was the fashion; here it gave rise to scandal. God gave
her beauty, a king’s crown, and a heart full of love; the world gave
her--what it can give--a grave near to the bare heath!”

Whilst he so perpetually returned to his own recollections, his share of
news was truly not new, but he was satisfied. Copenhagen appeared to him
a whole world--a royal city; but Sodom and Gomorrah had more than one
street there.

Otto smiled at the earnestness with which he said this.

“Yes, that I know better than thou, my young friend!” continued the old
preacher. “True, the devil does not go about like a roaring lion, but
there he has his greatest works! He is well-dressed, and conceals his
claws and his tail! Do not rely upon thy strength! He goes about, like
the cat in the fable, ‘pede suspenso,’ sneakingly and cautiously! It is,
after all, with the devil as it is with a Jutland peasant. This fellow
comes to the city, has nothing, runs about, and cleans shoes and boots
for the young gentlemen, and by this means he wins a small sum of money.
He knows how to spare. He can now hire the cellar of the house in
which thou livest, and there commence some small trade. The trade is
successful, very successful. It goes on so well that he can hire the
lower story; then he gains more profit, and before thou canst look about
thee he buys the whole house. See, that is the way with the Jutland
peasant, and just the same with the devil. At first he gets the cellar,
then the lower story, and at last the whole house!”



CHAPTER XVI

     “Sure ‘tis fair in foreign land,
         But not so fair as home;

     Let me but see thy mountains grand
         Glaciers and snowy dome!

     Let me but hear the sound that tells
     Of climbing cattle, dressed with bells.”
                                The Switzer’s Homesickness.

Not until after breakfast did the preacher pass over to Otto’s affairs.
His grandfather’s will made him the sole heir to the large property; a
man in Copenhagen, the merchant Berger, should be his guardian, since
the preacher did not wish to undertake the office. Rosalie was not
forgotten: her devotion and fidelity had won for her a relative’s right.
Her last days should be free from care: she had truly striven to remove
all care from the dead whilst yet he lived. An old age free from care
awaited her; but Otto wished that she should also have a happy old age.
He imparted his plan to the preacher; but the latter shook his head,
thought it was not practicable, and regarded it as a mere fancy--a whim.
But such it was not.

Some days passed by. One afternoon Rosalie sat upon a small wooden bench
under the cherry-trees, and was making mourning for the winter.

“This is the last summer that we shall sit here,” said she; “the last
summer that this is our home. Now I am become equally rooted to this
spot; it grieves me that I must leave it.”

“Thou wast forced to leave thy dear Switzerland,” said Otto; “that was
still harder!”

“I was then young,” answered she. “The young tree may be easily
transplanted, but the old one has shot forth deeper roots. Denmark is a
good land--a beautiful land!”

“But not the west coast of Jutland!” exclaimed Otto. “For thy green
pasture hast thou here heath; for thy mountains, low sand-hills.”

“Upon the Jura Mountains there is also heath,” said Rosalie. “The heath
here often reminds me of my home on the Jura. There also is it cold, and
snow can fall already in August. The fir-trees then stand as if powdered
over.”

“I love Switzerland, which I have never seen,” pursued Otto. “Thy
relation has given me a conception of the picturesque magnificence of
this mountain-land. I have a plan, Rosalie. I know that in the heart
of a mountaineer homesickness never dies. I remember well how thy eyes
sparkled when thou toldest of the walk toward Le Locle and Neufchâtel;
even as a boy I felt at thy words the light mountain air. I rode with
thee upon the dizzy height, where the woods lay below us like potato
fields. What below arose, like the smoke from a charcoal-burner’s kiln,
was a cloud in the air. I saw the Alpine chain, like floating cloud
mountains; below mist, above dark shapes with glancing glaciers.”

“Yes, Otto,” said Rosalie, and her eyes sparkled with youthful fire; “so
looks the Alpine chain when one goes from Le Locle to Neulfchâtel: so
did I see it when I descended the Jura for the list time. It was in
August. The trees, with their autumnal foliage, stood yellow and red
between the dark firs; barberries and hips grew among the tall fern.
The Alps lay in such a beautiful light, their feet blue as heaven, their
peaks snow-white in the clear sunshine. I was in a sorrowful mood; I
was leaving my mountains! Then I wrote in my book--O, I remember it so
well!--The high Alps appear to me the folded wings of the earth: how
if she should raise them! how if the immense wings should unfold, with
their gay images of dark woods, glaciers, and clouds! What a picture! At
the Last Judgment will the earth doubtless unfold these pinions, soar
up to God, and in the rays of His sunlight disappear! I also have been
young, Otto,” pursued she, with a melancholy smile. “Thou wouldst have
felt still more deeply at the sight of this splendor of nature. The lake
at the foot of the mountains was smooth as a mirror; a little boat with
white sails swam, like a swan, upon its expanse. On the road along which
we drove were the peasants beating down chestnuts; the grapes hung in
large black bunches. How an impression such as this can root itself in
the memory! It is five and thirty years since, and yet I still see that
boat with the white sail, the high Alps, and the black grapes.”

“Thou shalt see thy Switzerland again, Rosalie,” exclaimed Otto; “again
hear the bells of the cows upon the green pastures! Thou shalt go once
more to the chapel in Franche Compté, shalt visit thy friends at Le
Locle, see the subterranean mill, and the Doub fall.”

“The mill wheel yet goes round, the water dashes down as in my youth;
but the friends are gone, my relatives dispersed! I should appear
a stranger there; and when one has reached my age, nature cannot
satisfy--one must have people!”

“Thou knowest, Rosalie, my grandfather has settled a sum upon thee so
long as thou livest. Now I have thought thou couldst spend thy latter
days with thy beloved ones at home, in the glorious Switzerland. In
October I take my philosophicum; the following summer I would then
accompany thee. I must also see that splendid mountain-land,--know
something more of the world than I have yet known. I know how thy
thoughts always dwell upon Switzerland. Thither will I reconduct thee;
thou wilt feel thyself less lonely there than here in Denmark.”

“Thou art carried away by the thoughts of youth, as thou shouldst and
must be, thou dear, sweet soul!” said Rosalie, smiling. “At my age it is
not so easy.”

“We will make short days’ journeys,” said Otto, “go with the steamboat
up the Rhine--that is not fatiguing; and from Basel one is soon in
Franche Compté on the Jura.”

“No, upon the heath, near Vestervovov, as it is called here, will old
Rosalie die; here I have felt myself at home, here I have two or three
friends. The family at Lemvig have invited me, have for me a place at
table, a little room, and friendly faces. Switzerland would be no
longer that Switzerland which I quitted. Nature would greet me as an old
acquaintance; it would be to me music, once more to hear the ringing of
the cows’ bells; it would affect me deeply, once again to kneel in the
little chapel on the mountain: but I should soon feel myself a greater
stranger there than here. Had it been fifteen years ago, my sister would
still have been living, the dear, pious Adèle! She dwelt with my uncle
close on the confines of Neufchâtel, as thou knowest, scarcely a quarter
of a mile from Le Locle--_the town_, as we called it, because it was the
largest place in the neighborhood. Now there are only distant relations
of mine living, who have forgotten me. I am a stranger there. Denmark
gave me bread, it will also give me a grave!”

“I thought of giving thee a pleasure!” said Otto.

“That thou dost by thy love to me!” returned she.

“I thought thou wouldst have shown me thy mountains, thy home, of which
thou hast so often spoken!”

“That can I still do. I remember every spot, every tree--all remains so
clear in my recollection. Then we ascend together the Jura higher and
higher; here are no more vineyards to be found, no maize, no chestnuts
only dark pines, huge cliffs, here and there a beech, as green and large
as in Denmark. Now we have the wood behind us, we are many feet
above the sea; thou canst perceive this by the freshness of the air.
Everywhere are green meadows; uninterruptedly reaches our ear the
ringing of the cow-bells. Thou as yet seest no town, and yet we are
close upon Le Locle. Suddenly the road turns; in the midst of the
mountain-level we perceive a small valley, and in this lies the town,
with its red roofs, its churches, and large gardens. Close beneath the
windows rises the mountain-side, with its grass and flowers; it looks
as though the cattle must be precipitated upon the houses. We go through
the long street, past the church; the inhabitants are Protestants--it
is a complete town of watchmakers. My uncle and Adèle also sat the whole
day, and worked at wheels and chains. That was for Monsieur Houriet,
in Le Locle. His daughters I know; one is called Rosalie, like myself.
Rosalie and Lydia, they will certainly have forgotten me! But it is true
that we are upon our own journey! Now, thou seest, at the end of the
town we do not follow the broad road--that leads to Besançon; we remain
in the lesser one, here in the valley where the town lies. The beautiful
valley! The green mountain-sides we keep to our right; on it are
scattered houses, with large stones upon their steep wooden roofs, and
with little gardens tilled with plum-trees. Steep cliff-walls shut in
the valley; there stands up a crag; if thou climbest it thou canst look
straight into France: one sees a plain, flat like the Danish plains. In
the valley where we are, close under the rock, lies a little house; O, I
see it distinctly! white-washed and with blue painted window-frames: at
the gate a great chained dog. I hear him bark! We step into that quiet,
friendly little house! The children are playing about on the ground.
O, my little Henry-Numa-Robert! Ah, it is true that now he is older and
taller than thou! We descend the steps toward the cellar. Here stand
sacks and chests of flour; under the floor one hears a strange roaring;
still a few steps lower, and we must light the lamp, for here it is
dark. We find ourselves in a great water-mill, a subterranean mill. Deep
below in the earth rushes a river--above no one dreams of it; the water
dashes down several fathoms over the rushing wheel, which threatens to
seize our clothes and whirl us away into the circle. The steps on which
we stand are slippery: the stone walls drip with water, and only a step
beyond the depth appears bottomless! O, thou wilt love this mill as I
love it! Again having reached the light of day, and under free heaven,
one only perceives the quiet, friendly little house. Dost thou know,
Otto, often as thou hast sat quiet and dreaming, silent as a statue,
have I thought of my mill, and the repose which it presented? and yet
how wildly the stream roared in its bosom, how the wheels rushed round,
and how gloomy it was in the depth!”

“We will leave the mill!” said Otto, and sought to lead her from her
reflections back to her own relation. “We find ourselves in the wood,
where the ringing of the evening-bell reaches our ear from the little
chapel in Franche Compté.”

“There stands my father’s house!” said Rosalie. “From the corner-window
one looks over the wood toward Aubernez, [Author’s Note: A village in
the canton Neufchâtel, lying close upon the river Doub, where it forms
the boundary between Switzerland and France.] where the ridge leads over
the Doub. The sun shines upon the river, which, far below, winds along,
gleaming like the clearest silver.”

“And the whole of France spreads itself out before us!” said Otto.

“How beautiful! O, how beautiful!” exclaimed Rosalie, and her eyes
sparkled as she gazed before her; but soon her glance became sad, and
she pressed Otto’s hand. “No one will welcome me to my home! I know
neither their joys nor their sorrows--they are not my own family! In
Denmark--I am at home. When the cold sea-mist spreads itself over the
heath I often fancy I am living among my mountains, where the heather
grows. The mist seems to me then to be a snow-cloud which rests over
the mountains, and thus, when other people are complaining of the bad
weather, I am up among my mountains!”

“Thou wilt then remove to the family at Lemvig?” asked Otto.

“There I am welcome!” returned she.



CHAPTER XVII

     “Look at the calming sea. The waves still tremble in the
     depths, and stem to fear the gale.--Over my head is hovering
     the shadowy mist.--My curls are wet with the filling dew.”
      --OSSIAN.

Otto had not as yet visited the sand-hills on the strand, the fishermen,
or the peasants, among whom formerly he had spent all his spare time.

The beautiful summer’s day drove him forth, his heart yearned to drink
in the summer warmth.

Only the roads between the larger towns are here tolerable, or rather
as tolerable as the country will allow. The by-ways were only to be
discerned by the traces of cart-wheels, which ran on beside each other;
at certain places, to prevent the wheels sinking into the deep sand,
ling had been spread; where this is not the case, and the tracks cross
each other, a stranger would scarcely find the way. Here the landmark
places its unseen boundary between neighboring possessions.

Every farm, every cottage, every hill, was an old acquaintance to Otto.
He directed his steps toward Harbooere, a parish which, one may say,
consists of sand and water, but which, nevertheless, is not to be
called unfruitful. A few of the inhabitants pursue agriculture, but the
majority consists of fishermen, who dwell in small houses and have no
land.

His first encounter upon his wandering was with one of those large
covered wagons with which the so-called eelmen, between the days of St.
John and St. Bartholomew, go with eels toward the small towns lying
to the south and east, and then, laden with apples and garden produce,
return home--articles which are rapidly consumed by the common people.
The eelman stopped when he saw and recognized Otto.

“Welcome, Mr. Otto!” said he. “Yes, you are come over abut a sad affair!
That Major Thostrup should have gone off so! But there was nothing else
to be expected from him he was old enough.”

“Death demands his right!” replied Otto, and pressed the man’s hand.
“Things go, doubtless, well with you, Morten Chraenseu?”

“The whole cart full of eels, and some smoked carp! It is also good to
meet with you, Mr. Otto. Upon the land a preacher is very good, but
not upon the sea, as they say at home. Yes, you are certainly now a
preacher, or will become one?”

“No, I am not studying to become a preacher!” answered Otto.

“No! will you then become a lawyer? It strikes me you are clever
enough--you have no need to study any more! You will just go and say
a few words to them at home? The grandmother sits and spins yarn for
eel-nets. She has now the cataract on the other eye, but her mouth is as
well as ever; she does not let herself grow dumb, although she does sit
in the dark. Mother provides the baits; she has also enough to do with
the hooks.”

“But Maria, the lively little Maria?” said Otto.

“The girl? She has gone this year with the other fishergirls to
Ringkjoebing, to be hired for the hay and corn harvest; we thought we
could do without her at home. But now, God willing! I must travel on.”
 Cordially he shook Otto’s hand, and pursued his slow journey.

The brothers of the eelman were active fishermen, as their father
had been before them; and although they were all married they lived
together. The swarm of children was not insignificant; young and old
formed one family, in which the old grandmother had the first voice.

Otto approached the dwelling; before it lay a little plot of land,
planted with potatoes and carrots, and also beds of onions and thyme.
Two large bull-dogs, with sharp teeth and wicked eyes, rushed toward
Otto. “Tyv! Grumsling!” shrieked a voice, and the dogs let fall their
tails and drew back, with a low growl, toward the house. Here at the
threshold sat an old woman in a red woolen jacket, with a handkerchief
of the same material and same color about her neck, and upon her head
a man’s black felt hat. She spun. Otto immediately recognized the old
blind grandmother.

“God’s peace be in the house!” said he.

“That voice I have not heard for a year and a day!” replied the old
woman, and raised her head, as if she would see him with her dead eyes.
“Are not you Major Thostrup’s Otto? You resemble him in the voice. I
thought, truly, that if you came here you would pay us a visit. Ide
shall leave the baits and put on the kettle, that you may have a cup of
coffee. Formerly you did not use to despise our entertainment. You have
not grown proud with your journey, have you? The coffee-vetch [Author’s
Note: Astragalus baeticus is used as a substitute for coffee, and is
principally grown upon the sand-hills west of Holmsland. It is first
freed from the husk, and then dried and roasted a little.] is good; it
is from Holmsland, and tastes better than the merchant’s beans.” The
dogs still growled at Otto. “Cannot you stupid beasts, who have still
eyes in your heads to see with, recognize that this is the Major’s
Otto?” cried she wrathfully, and gave them several good blows with her
hand.

Otto’s arrival created a great stir in the little household that he was
welcome, you might see by every countenance.

“Yes,” said the grandmother, “now you are grown much wiser in the town,
could, very likely, were it needful, write an almanac! You will very
likely have found for yourself a little bride there, or will you fetch
one out of Lemvig? for no doubt she must be from a town! Yes, I have
known him ever since he was a little fellow; yonder, on the wall, he
made, out of herrings’ heads, the living devil, just as he lives and
breathes. He thrust our sucking-pig into the eel-cart, between the
casks. We sought a whole day after the sucking-pig without finding him,
and he was forced to make the journey with them to Holstebro. Yes,
he was a wild fellow! Later, when he was obliged to learn so much, he
became sad. Yes, yes, within the last years his books have overdone
him!”

“Yes, many a time has he put out to sea with my husband!” pursued one of
the daughters-in-law. “One night he remained out with him. How anxious
the French Mamsell at the hall was about him!”

“He was never haughtty,” said the grandmother. “He nibbled his dried
fish with the fresh fish, and drank a little cup of water, although he
was used to better things at home. But to-day we have white bread, fresh
and good; it came yesterday from Lemvig.”

The brandy-glass, with its wooden, red-painted foot, was placed before
Otto. Under the bed there was an anker of brandy,--“a little stock,” as
all stranded goods are here called.

Otto inquired after the married sons. They were with their men on the
shore, ready to embark on their fishing expedition, The grandmother
would accompany him thither; they were not yet departed: she should
first take them provisions.

The old woman took her stick, the dog sprang forward, and now commenced
their wandering among the sand-hills, where their huts or booths, built
with rafters and smeared with earth, stood. Around lay the refuse of
fish,--heads and entrails, thrown about. The men were just then busied
in carrying the trough and fishing-tackle [Author’s Note: A “Bakke”
 consists of three lines, each of 200 Danish ells, or about 135 yards,
and of 200 fishing-hooks; the stretched “Bakke” is thus about 200 yards,
with 600 hooks; these are attached to the line with strings half an
ell long and as thick as fine twine. To each “Bakke” belongs a square
trough, on which it is carried on board. To a larger fishing-boat are
reckoned six lots of hooks; each lot has eight to nine “Bakkes.”] on
board.

The open sea lay before them, almost as bright as a mirror, for the wind
was easterly. Near to them paused a horseman; he was partly dressed
like a peasant, with riding-breeches on, which were buttoned down at the
sides.

“Have you heard the news?” he cried to Otto. “I come from Ringkjoebing.
At Merchant Cohen’s I have read the German paper; there is a revolution
in France! Charles X. is fled with the whole royal family. Yes, in
Paris, there is fine work!”

“The French are a wild people!” said the grandmother. “A king and a
queen they have beheaded in my time; now they will do the same with
these. Will our dear Lord suffer that such things be done to His
anointed?”

“There will be war again!” said one of the fishermen.

“Then more horses will go out of the country,” said the stranger,
pressed Otto’s hand, and vanished behind the sandhills.

“Was not that the horse-dealer from Varde?” inquired Otto.

“Yes, he understands languages,” said the fisherman; “and thus he
is acquainted with foreign affairs sooner than we. Then they are now
fighting in France! Blood flows in the streets; it will not be so in
Denmark before the Turk binds his horse to the bush in the Viborg Lake.
And then, according to the prophecy of the sibyl, it will be near the
end of the world.”

Meanwhile, everything was prepared for their embarkation. If Mr. Otto
would take the further oar, and was inclined to pass the night on the
sea, there was a place for him in the boat. But he had promised Rosalie
to be back before evening. The grandmother now prayed, kneeling with the
others, and immediately after quick strokes of the oars the flat boat
rowed away from the shore. The fate of France was forgotten; their
calling occupied the fishermen.

The old woman seemed to listen to the strokes of the oars; her dead
eyes rested immovably on the sea. A sea-mew passed close to her in
its flight. “That was a bird!” said she. “Is there no one here beside
ourselves?”

“No; no one at all,” answered Otto, carelessly.

“Is no one in the hut, no one behind the sand-hills?” again asked
the grandmother. “It was not on account of the dried meat that I came
here--it was not to wet my face on the shore; I speak with you alone,
which I could not do in the house. Give me your hand! Now that the old
man rests in the grave, you yourself will guide the rudder; the estate
will be sold, and you will not come again to the west coast. Our Lord
has made it dark before my eyes before He has closed my ears and given
me leave to go. I can no longer see you, but I have you in my thought
as you looked before you left our land. That you are handsomer now I
can easily imagine; but gayer you are not! Talk you certainly can, and I
have heard you laugh; but that was little better than the two last years
you were here. Once it was different with you--no fairy could be wilder
than you!”

“With years one becomes more quiet,” said Otto, and gazed with
astonishment at the blind woman, who did not leave go his hand. “As a
boy I was far too merry--that could not continue; and that I should now
be grave, I have, as you will see, sufficient reason--I have lost my
last support.”

“Yes, truly, truly!” repeated she slowly, and as if pondering; then
shook her head. “That is not the reason. Do you not believe in the power
of the devil? our Lord Christ forgive me! do not you believe in the
power of wicked men? There is no greater difference between the human
child and the changeling brat which the underground spirits lay in his
stead in the cradle, than there is between you when you were a boy and
you as you became during the last year of your stay here. ‘That comes
from books, from so much learning,’ said I to other people. Could I only
have said so to myself! But you shall become gay; the trouble of your
heart shall wither like a poisonous weed. I know whence it sprung, and
will, with God’s help, heal it. Will you solemnly promise, that no soul
in the world shall learn what we speak of in this hour?”

“What have you to say to me?” asked Otto, affected by the extraordinary
earnestness of the old woman.

“The German Heinrich, the player! You remember him well? He is to blame
for your grief! Yes, his name drives the blood more quickly through your
pulse. I feel it, even if I cannot see your face.”

“The German Heinrich!” repeated Otto, and his hand really trembled.
Had Heinrich, then, when he was here three years ago, told her and the
fishermen that which no human being must know,--that which had destroyed
the gayety of his youth? “What have I to do with the German Heinrich?”

“Nothing more than a pious Christian has to do with the devil!” replied
she, and made the sign of the cross. “But Heinrich has whispered an evil
word in your ear; he has banished your joyous humor, as one banishes a
serpent.”

“Has he told you this?” exclaimed Otto, and breathed more quickly. “Tell
me all that he has said!”

“You will not make me suffer for it!” said she. “I am innocent, and yet
I have cooperated in it: it was only a word but a very unseemly word,
and for it one must account at the day of judgment!”

“I do not understand you!” said Otto, and his eyes glanced around to see
whether any one heard. They were quite alone. In the far distance the
boat with the fishermen showed itself like a dark speck.

“Do you remember how wild you were as a boy? How you fastened bladders
to the cat’s legs and tail, and flung her out of the loft-window that
she might fly? I do not say this in anger, for I thought a deal of you;
but when you became too insolent one might wall say, ‘Can no one, then,
curb this lad?’ See, these words I said!--that is my whole fault, but
since then have lain heavy on my heart. Three years ago came the German
Heinrich, and stayed two nights in our house; God forgive it us! Tricks
he could play, and he understood more than the Lord’s Prayer--more than
is useful to a man. With one trick you were to assist him, but when
he gave you the goblet you played your own tricks, and he could make
nothing succeed. You would also be clever. Then he cast an evil eye upon
you, although he was still so friendly and submissive, because you
were a gentleman’s child. Do you remember--no, you will certainly have
forgotten--how you once took the baits of the hooks off and hung my
wooden shoes on instead? Then I said in anger, and the anger of man
is never good, ‘Can no one, then, tame this boy for me? He was making
downright fun of you to your own face,’ said I to the player. ‘Do you
not know some art by which you can tame this wild-cat?’ Then he laughed
maliciously, but I thought no more of the matter. The following day,
however, he said, ‘Now I have curbed the lad! You should only see how
tame he is become; and should he ever again turn unruly, only ask him
what word the German Heinrich whispered in his ear, and you shall. Then
see how quiet he will become. He shall not mock this trick!’ My heart
was filled with horror, but I thought afterward it really meant
nothing. Ei! ei! from the hour he was here you are no longer the same as
formerly; that springs from the magical word he whispered in your ear.
You cannot pronounce the word, he told me; but by it you have been
enchanted: this, and not book-learning, has worked the change. But you
shall be delivered! If you have faith, and that you must have, you shall
again become gay, and I, spite of the evil words which I spoke, be able
to sleep peacefully in my grave. If you will only lay this upon your
heart, now that the moon is in its wane, the trouble will vanish out of
your heart as the disk of the moon decreases!” And saying this she drew
out of her pocket a little leather purse, opened it and took out a
piece of folded paper. “In this is a bit of the wood out of which our
Saviour’s cross was made. This will draw forth the sorrow from your
heart, and bear it, as it bore Him who took upon Himself the sorrow of
the whole world!” She kissed it with pious devotion, and then handed it
to Otto.

The whole became clear to him. He recollected how in his boyish
wantonness he had caused Heinrich’s tricks to miscarry, which occasioned
much pleasure to the spectators, but in Heinrich displeasure: they soon
again became friends, and Otto recognized in him the merry weaver of the
manufactory, as he called his former abode. They were alone, Otto asked
whether he did not remember his name: Heinrich shook his head. Then Otto
uncovered his shoulder, bade him read the branded letters, and heard the
unhappy interpretation which gave the death-blow to his gayety. Heinrich
must have seen what an impression his words made upon the boy: he gained
through them an opportunity of avenging himself, and at the same time
of bringing himself again into repute: as a sorcerer. He had tamed him,
whispered he to the old woman,--he had tamed the boy with a single word.
At any future wantonness of Otto’s, gravity and terror would immediately
return should any one ask him, What word did the German Heinrich whisper
into thy ear? “Only ask him,” had Heinrich said.

In a perfectly natural manner there lay, truly, enchantment in
Heinrich’s words, even although it were not that enchantment which the
superstition of the old woman would have signified. A revelation of
the connection of affairs would have removed her doubts, but here an
explanation was impossible to Otto. He pressed her hand, besought her to
be calm; no sorrow lay heavy on his heart, except the loss of his dear
grandfather.

“Every evening have I named your name it my prayers,” said the old
grandmother. “Each time when the harbingers of bad weather showed
themselves, and my sons were on the sea, so that we hung out flags or
lighted beacons as signals, did I think of the words which had escaped
my lips, and which the wicked Heinrich had caught up; I feared lest our
Lord might cause my children to suffer for my injustice.”

“Be calm, my dear old woman!” said Otto. “Keep for yourself the holy
cross, on the virtue of which you rely; may it remove each sorrow from
your own heart!”

“No, I am guilty of my own sorrow! yours has a stranger laid upon your
heart! Only the sorrow of the guiltless will the cross bear.”

The beautiful sentiment which, unconsciously to her, lay in these words,
affected Otto. He accepted the present, preserved it, sought to calm
the old woman, and once more at parting glanced toward the splendid sea
expanse which formed its own boundary.

It was almost evening before he reached the house where Rosalie awaited
him. His last scene with the blind fisher-woman had again thrown him
into his gloomy mood. “After all, she really knows nothing!” said he to
himself. “This Heinrich is my evil angel! might he only die soon!” It
was in Otto’s soul as if he could shoot a ball through Heinrich’s heart.
“Did he only lie buried under the heather, and with him my secret! I
will have blood! yes, there is something devilish in man! Were Heinrich
only dead! But others live who know my birth,--my sister! my poor,
neglected sister, she who had the same right to intellectual development
as myself! How I fear this meeting! it will be bitter! I must away. I
will hence--here will my life-germ be stifled! I have indeed fortune--I
will travel! This animated France will drive away these whims, and--I
am away, far removed from my home. In the coming spring I shall be
a stranger among strangers!” And his thoughts melted into a quiet
melancholy. In this manner he reached the hall.



CHAPTER XVIII

     “L’Angleterre jalouse et la Grèce homérique,
     Toute l’Europe admire, et la jeune Amérique
     Se lève et bat des mains du bord des océans.
     Trois jours vous ont suffi pour briser vos entraves.
     Vous êtes les aînés d’une race de braves,
     Vous êtes les fits des géans!”
                                  V. HUGO, Chants du Crépuscule.

                  “Politiken, mine Herrer!”
                       MORTONS’ Lystspil: den Hjemkomne Nabob

“In France there is revolution!” was the first piece of information
which Otto related. “Charles X. has flown with his family. This, they
say, is in the German papers.”

“Revolution?” repeated Rosalie, and folded her hands. “Unhappy France!
Blood has flowed there, and it again flows. There I lost my father and
my brother. I became a refugee--must seek for myself a new father-land.”
 She wiped away a tear from her cheek, and sunk into deep meditation.
She knew the horrors of a revolution, and only saw in this new one a
repetition of those scenes of terror which she had experienced, and
which had driven her out into the world, up into the north, where
she struggled on, until at length she found a home with Otto’s
grandfather--a resting abode.

Everything great and beautiful powerfully affected Otto’s soul; only in
one direction had he shown no interest--in the political direction, and
it was precisely politics which had most occupied the grandfather in
his seclusion. But Otto’s soul was too vivacious, too easily moved, too
easily carried away by what lay nearest him. “One must first thoroughly
enter into life, before the affairs of the world can seize upon us!”
 said he. “With the greater number of those who in their early youth
occupy themselves with politics, it is merely affectation. It is with
them like the boy who forces himself to smoke tobacco so as to appear
older than he really is.” Beyond his own country, France was the
only land which really interested Otto. Here Napoleon had ruled, and
Napoleon’s name had reached his heart--he had grown up whilst this name
passed from mouth to mouth; the name and the deeds of the hero sounded
to him, yet a boy, like a great world adventure. How often had he heard
his grandfather, shaking his head, say, “Yes, now newspaper writers have
little to tell since Napoleon is quiet.” And then he had related to
him of the hero at Arcole and among the Pyramids, of the great campaign
against Europe, of the conflagration at Moscow, and the return from
Elba.

Who has not written a play in his childhood? Otto’s sole subject was
Napoleon; the whole history of the hero, from the snow-batteries at
Brienne to the rocky island in the ocean. True, this poem was a wild
shoot; but it had sprung from an enthusiastic heart. At that time he
preserved it as a treasure. A little incident which is connected with
it, and is characteristic of Otto’s wild outbreaks of temper when a boy,
we will here introduce.

A child of one of the domestics, a little merry boy with whom Otto
associated a good deal, was playing with him in his garret. Otto was
then writing his play. The boy bantered him, pulling the paper at the
same time. Otto forbade him with the threat,--“If thou dost that again I
will throw thee out of the window!” The boy again immediately pulled at
the paper. In a moment Otto seized him by the waist, swung him toward
the open window, and would certainly have thrown him out, had not
Rosalie fortunately entered the room, and, with an exclamation of
horror, seized Otto’s arm, who now stood pale as death and trembling in
every limb.

In this manner had Napoleon awoke Otto’s interest for France. Rosalie
also spoke, next to her Switzerland, with most pleasure of this country.
The Revolution had livingly affected her, and therefore her discourse
regarding it was living. It even seemed to the old preacher as though
the Revolution were an event which he had witnessed. The Revolution and
Napoleon had often fed his thoughts and his discourse toward this land.
Otto had thus, without troubling himself the least about politics, grown
up with a kind of interest about France. The mere intelligence of this
struggle of the July days was therefore not indifferent to him. He
still only knew what the horse-dealer had related; nothing of the
congregation, or of Polignac’s ministry: but France was to him the
mighty world-crater, which glowed with its splendid eruptions, and which
he admired from a distance.

The old preacher shook his head when Otto imparted this political
intelligence to him. A king, so long as he lived, was in his eyes holy,
let him be whatever sort of a man he might. The actions of a king,
according to his opinion, resembled the words of the Bible, which man
ought not to weigh; they should be taken as they were. “All authority is
from God!” said he. “The anointed one is holy; God gives to him wisdom;
he is a light to whom we must all look up!”

“He is a man like ourselves!” answered Otto. “He is the first magistrate
of the land, and as such we owe him the highest reverence and obedience.
Birth, and not worth, gives him the high post which he fills. He ought
only to will that which is good; to exercise justice. His duties are
equally great with those of his subjects.”

“But more difficult, my son!” said the old man. “It is nothing, as a
flower, to adorn the garland; more difficult is it to be the hand which
weaves the garland. The ribbon must be tight as well as gently tied; it
must not cut into the stems, and yet it must not be too loose. Yes, you
young men talk according to your wisdom! Yes, you are wise! quite as
wise as the woman who kept a roasted chicken for supper. She placed it
upon a pewter plate upon the glowing coals, and went out to attend to
her affairs. When she returned the plate was melted, and the chicken lay
among the ashes. ‘What a wise cat I have!’ said she; ‘she has eaten
I the plate and left the chicken!’ See, you talk just so, and regard
things from the same foolish point of view. Do not speak like the rest
of them in the city! ‘Fear God, and honor the king!’ We have nothing
to argue with these two; they transact their business between them! The
French resemble young students; when these have made their examen artium
they imagine they are equal to the whole world: they grow restive, and
give student-feasts! The French must have a Napoleon, who can give
their something to do! If they be left to themselves they will play mad
pranks!”

“Let us first see what the papers really say,” replied Otto.

The following day a large letter arrived; it was from Wilhelm:--

“My excellent Otto,--We have all drunk to Otto Thostrup’s health. I
raised the glass, and drank the health. The friendship’s dissonance YOU
has dissolved itself into a harmonious THOU, and thou thyself hast given
the accord. All at home speak of thee; even the Kammerjunker’s Mamsell
chose lately thee, and not her work-box, as a subject of conversation.
The evening as thou drovest over the Jutland heaths I seated myself at
the piano, and played thy whole journey to my sisters. The journey over
the heath I gave them in a monotonous piece, composed of three tones,
quite dissimilar to that composed by Rousseau. My sisters were near
despair; but I told them it was not more uninteresting than the heath.
Sometimes I made a little flight, a quaver; that was the heath-larks
which flew up into the air. The introduction to the gypsy-chorus in
‘Preciosa’ signified the German gypsy-flock. Then came the thema out of
‘Jeannot and Collin’--‘O, joyous days of childhood!’--and then thou wast
at home. I thundered powerfully down in the bass; that was the North
Sea, the chorus in thy present grand’ opéra. Thou canst well imagine
that it was quite original.

“For the rest, everything at home remains in its old state. I have been
in Svendborg, and have set to music that sweet poem, ‘The Wishes,’ by
Carl Bagger. His verses seem to me a little rough; but something will
certainly come out of the fellow! Thy own wishes are they which he has
expressed. Besides this, the astonishing tidings out of France have
given us, and all good people here, an electrical shock. Yes, thou in
thy solitude hast certainly heard nothing of the brilliant July days.
The Parisians have deposed Charles X. If the former Revolution was
a blood-fruit, this one is a true passionflower, suddenly sprung up,
exciting astonishment through its beauty, and as soon as the work
is ended rolling together its leaves. My cousin Joachim, who as thou
knowest is just now at Paris, has lived through these extraordinary
days. The day before yesterday we received a long, interesting letter
from him, which gave us--of the particulars as well as of the whole--a
more complete idea than the papers can give us. People assemble in
groups round the post-houses to receive the papers as they arrive. I
have extracted from my cousin’s letter what has struck me most, and send
thee these extracts in a supplement. Thou canst thus in thy retirement
still live in the world. A thousand greetings from all here. Thou hast a
place in mamma’s heart, but not less so in mine.

          “Thy friend and brother,

                       “WILHELM.

“P. S.--It is true! My sister Sophie begs thee to bring her a stone from
the North Sea. Perhaps thou wilt bring for me a bucket of water; but it
must not incommode thee!”

This hearty letter transported Otto into the midst of the friendly
circle in Funen. The corner of the paper where Wilhelm’s name stood he
pressed to his lips. His heart was full of noble friendship.

The extract which Wilhelm had made from his cousin’s letter was short
and descriptive. It might be compared with a beautiful poem translated
into good prose.

In the theatre we interest ourselves for struggling innocence; but we
are still more affected when the destiny of a whole nation is to be
decided. It is on this account that “Wilhelm Tell” possesses so much
interest. Not of the single individual is here the question, but of all.
Here is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. Greater than the play
created by the poet was the effect which this description of the July
days produced upon Otto. This was the reality itself in which he lived.
His heart was filled with admiration for France, who fought for Liberty
the holy fight, and who, with the language of the sword, had pronounced
the anathema of the age on the enemies of enlightenment and improvement.

The old preacher folded his hands as he heard it; his eyes sparkled: but
soon he shook his head. “May men so judge the anointed ones of God? ‘He
who taketh the sword shall perish by the sword!’”

“The king is for the people,” said Otto; “not the people for the king!”

“Louis XVIth’s unhappy daughter!” sighed Rosalie; “for the third time
is she driven from her father-land. Her parents and brothers killed! her
husband dishonored! She herself has a mind and heart. ‘She is the only
man among the Bourbons,’” said Napoleon.

The preacher, with his old-fashioned honesty, and a royalist from his
whole heart, regarded the affair with wavering opinion, and with fear
for the future. Rosalie thought most of those who were made unhappy of
the royal ladies and the poor children. Each followed the impulse of
their own nature, and the instinctive feeling of their age; thus did
Otto also, and therefore was his soul filled with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm
belongs to youth. His thoughts were busied with dreams of Paris; thither
flew his wishes. “Yes, I will travel!” exclaimed he; “that will give
my whole character a more decided bias: I will and must,” added he
in thought. “My sorrow will be extinguished, the recollections of my
childhood be forgotten. Abroad, no terrific figures, as here, will
present themselves to me. My father is dead, foreign earth lies upon his
coffin!”

“But the office--examination!” said the old preacher, “pass that first.
It is always good to have this in reserve, even if thou dost make no use
of it. Only make this year thy philosophicum.”

“And in the spring I shall travel,” said Otto.

“That depends upon thy guardian, my son!” said the preacher.

Several days passed, and Otto began to feel it solitary in his home--all
moved here in such a confined circle. His mind was accustomed to a wider
sphere of action. He began to grow weary, and then the hours travel with
the snail’s pace.

           “...minutterna ligesom räcka og strärka sig.
   Man känner behof at göre sa med.” [Note: Sketches of Every-day Life.]

He thought of his departure.

“Thou must take the road through Lemvig,” said Rosalie. “I will then
visit the family there for a few days; it will make them quite happy to
see thee, and I shall then be so much longer with thee. That thou wilt
do, wilt thou not?”

The day was fixed when they should travel.

The evening previous, Otto paid his last visit to the preacher. They
spoke together a long time about the deceased grandfather. The preacher
gave up several papers to Otto; among them also his father’s last
letter.

In honor of Otto, a bottle of wine was placed upon the table.

“To thy health, my son!” said the preacher, raising his glass. “We shall
hardly spend another evening together. Thou wilt have much to learn
before thou comest as far as I. The world has more thorn-bushes than
gold-mountains. The times look unsettled. France commences a new
description of campaign in Europe, and certainly will draw along with
it all young men: formerly it was the conquerer Napoleon who led to the
field; now it is the idea of liberty! May the Lord preserve our good
king, and then it will remain well with us! Thou, Otto, wilt fly out
into the wide world--hadst thou only first passed thy examination
for office! But when and where-ever thou mayest fly, remember on all
occasions the words of Scripture.

“We all desire to rule. Phaeton wished to drive the chariot of the
sun, but not understanding how to guide the reins, he set fire to the
countries, precipitated himself from the chariot, and broke his neck. I
have no one in the city of Copenhagen whom I can ask thee to greet for
me. All the friends of my youth are scattered to the east and to the
west. If any of them still be in the city, they will certainly have
forgotten me. But shouldst thou ever go to the Regent’s Court, and smoke
with the others a pipe under the tree, think of me. I have also sat
there when I was young like thee; when the French Revolution drove also
the blood quicker through my veins, and thoughts of freedom caused me to
carry my head more high. The dear old tree! [Author’s Note: At the end
of the last century it was felled, and two younger ones, which are now
in full growth, planted in its stead.] Yes, but one does not perceive in
it, as in me, how many years have passed since then!”

He pressed a kiss on Otto’s forehead, gave him his blessing, and they
parted.

Otto was in a melancholy mood; he felt that he had certainly seen the
old man for the last time. When he arrived at home he found Rosalie busy
hacking. The following morning, by earliest dawn, they were to travel
toward Lemvig. Otto had not been there within these two last years. In
old times the journey thither had always been to him a festival, now it
was almost indifferent to him.

He entered his little chamber; for the last time in his life he should
now sleep there. From the next morning commenced, so it seemed to him, a
new chapter in his life. Byron’s “Farewell” sounded in his ears like an
old melody:--

     “Fare thee well, and if forever,
                Still for ever fare thee well.”

At break of day the carriage rolled away with him and old Rosalie. Both
were silent; the carriage moved slowly along the deep ruts. Otto looked
back once more. A lark rose, singing above him.

“It will be a beautiful day!” said the coachman; his words and the song
of the lark Rosalie regarded as a good omen for Otto’s whole journey.



CHAPTER XIX

   “Geske.--Have you put syrup in the coffee?
   Henrich.--Yes, I have.
   Geske.--Be so good, dear madams, be so kind as to be contented.”
                                      HOLBERG’S Political Pewterer.

Lemvig lies, as is well known, on an arm of the Limfjord. The legend
relates, that in the Swedish war a troop of the enemy’s cavalry
compelled a peasant here to mount his horse and serve as a guide.
Darkness came on; they found themselves already upon the high
sand-banks. The peasant guided his horse toward a steep precipice; in a
farm-house on the other side of the fjord they perceived a light. “That
is Lemvig,” said the peasant; “let us hasten!” He set spurs to his
horse, the Swedes followed his example, and they were precipitated into
the depth: the following morning their corpses were found. The monument
of this bold Lemvig peasant consists of this legend and in the songs of
the poets; and these are the monuments which endure the longest. Through
this legend the bare precipice receives an intellectual beauty, which
may truly compare itself with the naturally beautiful view over the city
and the bay.

Rosalie and Otto drove into the town. It was two years since he had
been here; everything seemed to him, during this time, to have shrunk
together: wherever he looked everything was narrow and small. In his
recollection, Lemvig was very much larger.

They now drew up before the merchant’s house. The entrance was through
the shop, which was decorated with wooden shoes, woolen gloves, and
iron ware. Close within the door stood two large casks of tea. Over the
counter hung an extraordinary stuffed fish, and a whole bunch of felt
hats, for the use of both sexes. It was a business en gros and en
détail, which the son of the house managed. The father himself was
number one in Lemvig; he had ships at sea, and kept open house, as they
call it, in the neighborhood.

The sitting-room door opened, and the wife herself, a stout, square
woman, with an honest, contented countenance, stepped out and
received the guests with kisses and embraces. Alas! her good Jutland
pronunciation cannot be given in writing.

“O, how glorious that the Mamsell comes and brings Mr. Thostrup with
her! How handsome he is become! and how grown! Yes, we have his mark
still on the door.” She drew Otto along with her. “He has shot up more
than a quarter of a yard!”

He looked at the objects which surrounded him.

“Yes,” said she, “that instrument we have had since you were last
here; it is a present to Maren from her brother. She will now sing; you
something. It is astonishing what a voice she has! Last Whitsuntide she
sang in the church with the musical people; she sang louder than the
organ!”

Otto approached the sofa, over which a large piece of needlework hung,
in a splendid gold frame. “That is Maren’s name-sampler,” said the
mistress of the house. “It is very pretty. See! there stand all our
names! Can Mr. Thostrup guess who this is? Here are all the figures
worked in open stitch. That ship, there, is the Mariane, which was
called after me. There you see the Lemvig Arms--a tower which stands on
the waves; and here in the corner, in regular and irregular stitches,
is her name, ‘Maren, October the 24th, 1828.’ Yes, that is now two years
since. She has now worked a cushion for the sofa, with a Turk upon
it. It went the round of the city--every one wished to see it; it is
astonishing how Maren can use her hands!”

Rosalie inquired after the excellent girl.

“She is preparing the table,” said the lady. “Some good friends are
coming to us this evening. The secretary will also come; he will then
play with Maren. You will doubtless, in Copenhagen, have heard much more
beautiful music; ours is quite simple, but they sing from notes: and I
think, most likely the secretary will bring his musical-box with him.
That is splendid! Only lately he sang a little song to the box, that was
much better than to the larger instrument; for I must say he has not the
strong chest which Maren has.”

The whole family assembled themselves for the first time at the
dinner-table. The two persons who took the lowest places at table
appeared the most original; these were the shopman and the aunt. Both
of them had only at dinner the honor of being with the family; they were
quite shut out from the evening parties.

The shopman, who in the shop was the first person, and who could there
speak a few words, sat here like a quiet, constrained creature; his hair
combed toward one side, and exhibiting two red, swollen hands: no sound
escaped his lips; kissing the hand of the lady of the house, at coming
and going, was all he did beside eat.

The aunt, who was not alone called so by the family, but by the whole
of Lemvig, was equally sparing of her words, but her face was constantly
laughing. A flowered, red cotton cap fitted close to the thin face,
giving something characteristic to the high cheek-bones and hanging
lip. “She assisted in the household, but could take no part in genteel
company,” as the lady expressed herself. She could never forget how, at
the Reformation Festival, when only the singers sang in the church, aunt
began singing with them out of her book, so that the churchwarden was
forced to beg her to be silent; but this she took very ill, and declared
she had as notch right as the others to praise God, and then sang in
defiance. Had she not been “aunt,” and not belonged to the family to
which she did, she would certainly have been turned out.

She was now the last person who entered and took her place at table.
Half an hour had she been sought after before she was found. She had
stood at the end of the garden, before the wooden trellis. Grass had
been mown in the field behind the garden, and made into a rick; to see
this she had gone to the trellis, the odor had agreeably affected
her; she had pressed her face against the trellis-work, and from
contemplation of it had fallen into thought, or rather out of thought.
There she was found, and the dreamer was shaken into motion. She was
again right lively, and laughed each time that Otto looked at her. He
had his seat between Maren and the lady of the house, at the upper end
of the table. Maren was a very pretty girl--little, somewhat round,
white and red, and well-dressed. A vast number of bows, and a great
variety of colors, were her weak side. She was reading at this time
“Cabal and Love.”

“Thou art reading it in German!” said the mother.

“Yes, it must be a beautiful piece. I speak German very well, but when I
wish to read it I get on too slowly with it: I like to get to the end of
a book!”

The husband had his place at the head of the table. A little black cap
sat smoothly on his gray hair, and a pair of clever eyes sparkled in his
countenance. With folded hands he prayed a silent prayer, and then bowed
his head, before he allowed the dinner to be served. Rosalie sat beside
him. Her neighbor on the right seemed very talkative. He was an old
soldier, who in his fortieth year had gone as lieutenant with the land’s
troops, and had permission to wear the uniform, and therefore sat there
in a kind of military coat, and with a stiff cravat. He was already deep
in Polignac’s ministry and the triumph of the July days; but he had the
misfortune to confound Lafitte and Lafayette together. The son of the
house only spoke of bull-calves. The lady at the table was a little
mamsell from Holstebro, who sat beside him, dressed like a girl for
Confirmation, in a black silk dress and long red shawl. She was in grand
array, for she was on a visit. This young lady understood dress-making,
and could play upon the flute; which, however, she never did without
a certain bashfulness: besides this, she spoke well, especially upon
melancholy events. The bottle of wine only circulated at the upper
end of the table; the shopman and aunt only drank ale, but it foamed
gloriously: it had been made upon raisin-stalks.

“He is an excellent man, the merchant, whom you have received as
guardian, Mr. Thostrup,” said the master of the house. “I am in
connection with him.”

“But it is strange,” interrupted the lady, “that only one out of his
five daughters is engaged. If the young ladies in Copenhagen do not go
off better than that, what shall we say here?”

“Now Mr. Thostrup can take one of them,” said the husband. “There is
money, and you have fortune also; if you get an office, you can live in
floribus!”

Maren colored, although there was no occasion for coloring; she even
cast down her eyes.

“What should Mr. Thostrup do with one of them?” pursued the wife. “He
shall have a Jutland maiden! There are pretty young ladies enough here
in the country-seats,” added she, and laid the best piece of meat upon
his plate.

“Do the royal company give pretty operas?” asked Maren, and gave another
direction to the conversation.

Otto named several, among others Der Freischütz.

“That must be horrible!” said the lieutenant. “They say the wolf-glen
is so natural, with a waterfall, and an owl which flutters its wings.
Burgomaster Mimi has had a letter from a young lady in Aarhuus, who has
been in Copenhagen, and has seen this piece. It was so horrible that she
held her hand before her face, and almost fainted. They have a splendid
theatre!”

“Yes, but our little theatre was very pretty!” said the lady of the
house. “It was quite stupid that the dramatic company should have been
unlucky. The last piece we gave is still clear in my recollection; it
was the ‘Sandseslöse.’ I was then ill; but because I wished so much to
see it, the whole company was so obliging as to act it once more, and
that, too, in our sitting-room, where I lay on the sofa and could
look on. That was an extraordinary mark of attention from them! Only
think--the burgomaster himself acted with them!”

In honor of the strangers, coffee was taken after dinner in the garden,
where, under the plum-trees, a swing was fixed. Somewhat later a sailing
party was arranged. A small yacht belonging to the merchant lay, just
unladen, near the bridge of boats.

Otto found Maren and the young lady from Holstebro sitting in the arbor.
Somewhat startled, they concealed something at his entrance.

“The ladies have secrets! May one not be initiated?”

“No, not at all!” replied Maren.

“You have manuscript poems in the little book!” said Otto, and boldly
approached. “Perhaps of your own composition?”

“O, it is only a memorandum-book,” said Maren, blushing. “When I read
anything pretty I copy it, for we cannot keep the books.”

“Then I may see it!” said Otto. His eye fell upon the written sheet:--

             “So fliessen nun zwei Wasser
              Wohl zwischen mir und Dir
              Das eine sind die Thränen,
              Das andre ist der See!”
               [Note: Des Knaben Wunderhorn.]

he read. “That is very pretty! ‘Der verlorne Schwimmer,’ the poem is
called, is it not?”

“Yes, I have copied it out of the secretary’s memorandum-book; he has so
many pretty pieces.”

“The secretary has many splendid things!” said Otto, smiling.
“Memorandum-book, musical snuff-box”--

“And a collection of seals!” added the young lady from Holstebro.

“I must read more!” said Otto; but the ladies fled with glowing cheeks.

“Are you already at your tricks, Mr. Thostrup?” said the mother, who
now entered the garden. “Yes, you do not know how Maren has thought of
you--how much she has spoken of you. You never wrote to us; we never
heard anything of you, except when Miss Rosalie related us something
out of your letters. That was not nice of you! You and Maren were always
called bride and bridegroom. You were a pair of pretty children, and
your growth has not been disadvantageous to either of you.”

At four o’clock the evening party assembled--a whole swarm of young
ladies, a few old ones, and the secretary, who distinguished himself by
a collection of seals hanging to a long watch-chain, and everlastingly
knocking against his body; a white shirt-frill, stiff collar, and a
cock’s comb, in which each hair seemed to take an affected position.
They all walked down to the bay. Otto had some business and came
somewhat later. Whilst he was crossing, alone, the court-yard, he heard,
proceeding from the back of the house, a fearful, wild cry, which ended
in violent sobbing. Terrified, he went nearer, and perceived the aunt
sitting in the middle of a large heap of turf. The priestess at Delphi
could not have looked more agitated! Her close cap she had torn from her
head; her long, gray hair floated over her shoulders; and with her feet
she stamped upon the turf, like a willful child, until the pieces flew
in various directions. When she perceived Otto she became calm in a
moment, but soon she pressed her thin hands before her face and sobbed
aloud. To learn from her what was the matter was not to be thought of.

“O, she is only quarrelsome!” said the girl, to whom Otto had turned for
an explanation. “Aunt is angry because she was not invited to sail with
the company. She always does so,--she can be quite wicked! Just lately,
when she should have helped me to wring out the sheets, she always
twisted them the same way that I did, so that we could never get done,
and my hands hurt me very much!”

Otto walked down to the bay. The sail was unfurled, the secretary
brought out his musical-box, and, accompanied by its tones, they glided
in the burning sunshine over the water.

On the other side tea was to be drunk, and then Maren was to sing. Her
mother asked her to sing the song with the strong tones, so that Otto
might hear what a voice she had.

She sang “Dannevang.” Her voice had uncommon power, but no style, no
grace.

“Such a voice, I fancy, you have not heard in the theatre at
Copenhagen?” said the secretary, with dogmatical gravity.

“You might wish yourself such a chest!” said the lieutenant.

The secretary should now sing; but he had a little cold, which he had
always.

“You must sing to the musical-box!” said the lady, and her wish was
fulfilled. If Maren had only commenced, one might have believed it a
trial of skill between Boreas and Zephyr.

They now walked about, drank tea, and after this they were to return
to the house, there to partake of fish and roast meat, a piece of boxed
ham, and other good things.

Otto could by no means be permitted to think of leaving them the
following morning; he must remain a few days, and gather strength, so
that in Copenhagen he might apply himself well to work. But only one
day would he enjoy all the good things which they heaped upon him. He
yearned for other people, for a more intellectual circle. Two
years before he had agreed splendidly with them all, had found them
interesting and intellectual; now he felt that Lemvig was a little town,
and that the people were good, excellent people.

The following play again brought capital cookery, good foul, and good
wine--that was to honor Mr. Thostrup. His health was drunk, Maren was
more confidential, the aunt had forgotten her trouble, and again sat
with a laughing face beside the constrained shopman. They must, it is
true, make a little haste over their dinner, for the fire-engine was to
be tried; and this splendor, they maintained, Otto must see, since he so
fortunately chanced to lie there.

“How can my mother think that this will give Mr. Thostrup pleasure?”
 said Maren. “There is nothing to see in it.”

“That has given him pleasure formerly!” answered the mother. “It is,
also, laughable when the boys run underneath the engine-rain, and the
stream comes just in their necks.”

She spoke of the former Otto and of the present one--he was become so
Copenhagenish, so refined and nice, as well in the cut of his clothes
as in his manners; yet she still found an opportunity of giving him a
little hint to further refinement. Only think! he took the sugar for his
coffee with his fingers!

“But where are the sugar-tongs, the massive silver sugar-tongs?” asked
she. “Maren, dost thou allow him to take the sugar with his fingers?”

“That is more convenient!” answered Otto. “I do that always.”

“Yes, but if strangers had been here,” said the hostess, in a friendly
but teaching tone, “we must, like that grand lady you know of, have
thrown the sugar out of the window.”

“In the higher circles, where people have clean fingers, they make use
of them!” said Otto. “There would be no end of it if one were to take it
with the sugar-tongs.”

“They are of massive silver!” said the lady, and weighed them in her
hand.

Toward evening Rosalie went into the garden under the plum trees.

“These, also, remind me of my mountains,” said she; “this is the only
fruit which will properly flourish there. Lemvig lies, like La Locle, in
a valley,” and she pointed, smiling, to the surrounding sand-hills.
“How entirely different it is here from what it is at home on thy
grandfather’s estate! There I have been so accustomed to solitude, that
it is almost too lively for me here. One diversion follows another.”

It was precisely this which Otto did not like. These amusements of the
small towns wearied him, and he could not delight himself with them, no
longer mingle in this life.

He wished to set out early the following morning. It would be too
exhausting to drive along the dry road in the sun’s heat, they all
declared; he must wait until the afternoon, then it would be cooler;
it was, also, far pleasanter to travel in the night. Rosalie’s prayers
decided him. Thus, after dinner and coffee, the horses should be put
into the carriage.

It was the last day. Maren was somewhat in a grave mood. Otto must
write in her album. “He would never come to Lemvig again,” said she. As
children they had played with each other. Since he went to Copenhagen
she had, many an evening, seated herself in the swing near the
summer-house and thought of him. Who knows whether she must not have
done so when she copied out of the secretary’s memorandum-book, the
verses,--

             “So fliessen nun zwei Wasser
              Wohl zwischen mir and Dir?”

The sea certainly flows between Aarhuus and Copenhagen.

“Maren will perhaps go over for the winter,” said the mother; “but we
dare not speak too much about it, for it is not yet quite settled. It
will really make her gayer! lately she has been very much inclined to
melancholy, although God knows that we have denied her no pleasure!”

There now arrived a quantity of letters from different acquaintance, and
from their acquaintance: if Mr. Thostrup would have the goodness to
take care of this to Viborg, these to Aarhuus, and the others as far as
Copenhagen. It was a complete freight, such as one gets in little towns,
just as though no post went through the country.

The carriage stopped before the door.

Rosalie melted into tears. “Write to me!” said she. “Thee I shall never
see again! Greet my Switzerland when thou comest there!”

The others were merry. The lady sang,--

                “O could I, like a cloud, but fly!”

The young lady from Holstebro bowed herself before him with an
Album-leaf its her hand, upon which she must beg Mr. Thostrup to write
her something. Maren gave him her hand, blushed and drew back: but as
the carriage rolled away she waved her while handkerchief through the
open window: “Farewell! Farewell!”



CHAPTER XX

     “Stop! cried Patroclus, with mighty, thundering voice.”
      --WILSTER’S Iliad.

The parting with Rosalie, the hospitality of the family, and their
sincere sympathy, touched Otto; he thought upon the last days, upon his
whole sojourn in his home. The death of his grandfather made this an
important era in his life. The quiet evening and the solitary road
inclined him still more to meditation.

How cheering and interesting had been a visit to Lemvig in former times!
Then it furnished matter for conversation with Rosalie for many weeks;
it now lay before him a subject of indifference. The people were
certainly the same, therefore the change must have taken place in
himself. He thought of Copenhagen, which stood so high, and of the
people there.

“After all, the difference is not so great!” said he. “In Copenhagen
the social foci are more numerous, the interests more varied; each day
brings a fresh topic of conversation, and one can choose one’s society.
The multitude, on the contrary, has something citizenish; it obtrudes
itself even from beneath the ball-dress which shows itself at court; it
is seen in the rich saloon of the wholesale merchant, as well as in the
house of the brandy distiller, whose possessions give to him and his two
brewers the right of election. It is the same food which is presented
to us; in the small towns one has it on earthenware, in Copenhagen on
china. If one had only the courage, in the so-called higher classes,
to break through the gloss which life in a greater circle, which
participation in the customs of the world, has called forth, one should
soon find in many a lady of rank, in many a nobleman who sits not
alone in the theatre, on the first bench, merely that empty common
earthenware; and that, as with the merchant’s wife in Lemvig, a déjeuner
or a soirée, like some public event, will occupy the mind before and
after its occurrence. A court-ball, at which either the son or daughter
has figured, resembles the most brilliant success in an examination for
office. We laugh at the authorities of Lemvig, and yet with us the crowd
runs after nothing but authorities and newspapers. This is a certain
state of innocence. How many a poor officer or student must play the
subordinate part of the shopman at the table of the rich, and gratefully
kiss the hand of the lady of the house because she has the right of
demanding gratitude? And in the theatre, with the multitude, what does
not ‘an astonishing chest’ do? A strength of voice which can penetrate
right through the leather of the mind gains stormy applause, whilst
taste and execution can only be appreciated by the few. The actor can
be certain of applause if he only thunder forth his parting reply. The
comedian is sure of a shout of bravo if he puts forth an insipidity, and
rubs his legs together as if replying with spirit and humor. The massive
plate in the house gives many a lady the boldness to teach that in which
she herself might perhaps have been instructed. Many a lady, like the
Mamsell from Holstebro, dresses always in silk and a long shawl, and
if one asks after her profession one finds it consists at most in
dress-making; perhaps she does not even possess the little accompanying
talent of playing the flute. How many people do not copy, like Maren,
out of other people’s memorandum-books, and do not excel musical-boxes!
still one hears a deal of musical snuff-box music, and is waited upon by
voices which are equally as insignificant as the secretary’s.”

These were pretty much Otto’s reflections, and certainly it was a good
feeling which lay at the bottom of them. Let us remember in our judgment
that he was so young, and that he had only known Copenhagen _one_ year;
otherwise he would most certainly have thought _quite differently_.

Night spread itself over the heath, the heavens were clear. Slowly the
carriage wound along through the deep sand. The monotonous sound, the
unchanging motion, all rendered Otto sleepy. A falling star shot like
a fire column across the sky--this woke him for a moment; he soon again
bowed his head and slept, fast and deep. It was an hour past midnight,
when he was awoke by a loud cry. He started up--the fire burnt before
them; and between it and the horse stood two figures, who had taken
hold of the leather reins. Close beside them was a cart, under which was
placed a sort of bed, on which slept a woman and some children.

“Will you drive into the soup-kettle?” asked a rough voice, whilst
another scolded in a gibberish which was unintelligible to Otto.

It had happened to the coachman as to him, only that the coachman had
fallen asleep somewhat later; the horses had lost their track,
and uncertain, as they had long been, they were now traversing the
impassable heath. A troop of the so-called Scavengers, who wander
through these districts a nomadic race, had here taken up their quarters
for the night, had made a fire and hung the kettle over it, to cook some
pieces of a lamb they had stolen on their journey.

“They were about half a mile from the highway,” said an elderly woman
who was laying some bushes of heath under the kettle.

“Half a mile?” replied a voice from the other side of the cart, and Otto
remarked a man who, wrapped in a large gray riding-cloak, had stretched
himself out among the heather. “It is not a quarter of a mile to the
highway if people know how to direct their course properly!”

The pronunciation of the man was somewhat foreign, but pure, and free
from the gibberish which the others employed in their speech. The voice
seemed familiar to Otto, his ear weighed each syllable, and his blood
ran quicker through his veins: “It is the German Heinrich, the evil
angel of my life!” he felt, and wrapt himself closer in his mantle, so
that his countenance was concealed.

A half-grown lad came forward and offered himself as a guide.

“But the lad must have two marks!” said the woman.

Otto nodded assent, and glanced once more toward the man in whom he
believed he recognized the German Heinrich; the man had again carelessly
stretched himself among the heath, and did not seem inclined to enter
into farther discourse.

The woman desired the payment in advance, and received it. The boy led
the horses toward one side; at the moment the fire flare up between the
turf-sods, a great dog, with a loose cord about his neck, sprang forward
and ran barking after the carriage, which now travelled on over the
heath in the gloomy night.



CHAPTER XXI

     “Poetry does not always express sorrow; the rainbow can also
     arch across a cloudless blue firmament.”--JEAN PAUL.

We again find ourselves in Copenhagen, where we meet with Otto, and may
every day expect Wilhelm, Miss Sophie, and the excellent mamma; they
would only stay a few weeks. To learn tidings of their arrival, Otto
determined to pay a visit where they were expected; we know the house,
we were present at the Christmas festival: it was here that Otto
received his noble pedigree.

We will now become somewhat better acquainted with the family. The
husband had a good head, as people sat, had an excellent wine-cellar,
and was, as one of the friends maintained, a good l’hombre player. But
the soul of the house, the animating genius, which drew into this circle
all that possessed life and youth, was the wife. Beautiful one could by
no means call her, but, enchanted by her natural loveliness, her
mind, and her unaffectedness, you forgot this in a few moments. A rare
facility in appreciating the comic of every-day life, and a good-humored
originality in its representation, always afforded her rich material for
conversation. It was as if Nature, in a moment of thoughtlessness, had
formed an insipid countenance, but immediately afterward strove to make
good her fault by breathing into it a soul, which, even through pale
blue eyes, pale cheeks, and ordinary features, could make her beauty
felt.

When Otto entered the room he heard music. He listened: it must be
either Weyse or Gerson.

“It is the Professor Weyse,” said the servant, and Otto opened the door
softly, without knocking.

The astral-lamp burnt upon the table; upon the sofa sat two young
ladies. The mistress of the house nodded Otto a friendly welcome, but
then smiling laid her finger on her lips, as a sign of silence, and
pointed to a chair, on which he seated himself, and listened to the soft
tones, which, like spirits, floated from the piano at which the musician
sat. It was as if the slumbering thoughts and feelings of the soul,
which in every breast find a response, even among the most opposite
nations, had found a voice and language. The fantasies died away in a
soft, spiritual piano. Thus lightly has Raphael breathed the Madonna
di Foligno upon the clouds; she rests there as a soap-bubble rests upon
velvet. That dying away of the tomes resembled the thoughts of the lover
when his eye closes, and the living dream of his heart imperceptibly
merges and vanishes in sleep. Reality is over.

Here also the tones ceased.

            “Der Bettelvogt von Ninive
             Zog hinab zum Genfersee,
                  Hm, hm!”
              [Author’s Note: An old popular German song.]

commenced the musician once more, with an originality and spirit which
influenced the whole company. Far too soon did he again break off,
after he had enchanted all ears by his own treasures, as well as by the
curiosities of the people’s life in the world of sound. Only when he
was gone did admiration find words; the fantasies still echoed in every
heart.

“His name deserves to be known throughout Europe!” said the gracious
lady; “how few people in the world know Weyse and Kuhlau!”

“That is the misfortune of a musician being born in a small country,”
 said Otto. “His works become only manuscript for friends; his auditory
extends only from Skagen to Kiel: there the door is closed.”

“One must console one’s self that everything great and good becomes at
length known,” said the cousin of the family, who is known to us by his
verses for the Christmas-tree. “The nations will become acquainted with
everything splendid in the kingdom of mind, let it bloom in a small or
in a large country. Certainly during this time the artist may have died,
but then he must receive compensation in another world.”

“I truly believe,” returned the gracious lady, “that he would wish a
little in advance here below, where it is so ordered that the immortal
must bow himself before the mortal.”

“Certainly,” replied Otto; “the great men of the age are like mountains;
they it is which cause the land to be seen from afar, and give it
importance, but in themselves they are bare and cold; their heights are
never properly known.”

“Very beautiful,” said the lady; “you speak like a Jean Paul.”

At this moment the door opened, and all were surprised by the entrance
of Miss Sophie, Wilhelm, and the dear mamma. They were not expected
before the following evening. They had travelled the whole day through
Zealand.

“We should have been here to dinner,” said Sophie, “but my brother could
not get his business finished in Roeskelde; then he had forgotten to
order horses, and other little misadventures occurred: six whole hours
we remained there. Mamma contracted quite a passion there--she fell
fairly in love with a young girl, the pretty Eva.”

“Yes, she is a nice creature!” said the old lady. “Had I not reason, Mr.
Thostrup? You and my Wilhelm had already made her interesting to me. She
has something so noble, so refined, which one so rarely meets with in
the lower class; she deserves to come among educated people.”

“Otto, what shall our hearts say,” exclaimed Wilhelm, “when my good
mother is thus affected?”

They assembled round the tea-table. Wilhelm addressed Otto with the
confidential “thou” which Otto himself had requested.

“We will drink together in tea and renew our brotherhood.”

Otto smiled, but with such a strangely melancholy air, and spoke not a
word.

“He’s thinking about the old grandfather,” thought Wilhelm, and laid his
hand upon his friend’s shoulder. “The Kammerjunker and his ladies greet
thee!” said he. “I believe the Mamsell would willingly lay thee in her
own work-box, were that to be done.”

Otto remained quiet, but in his soul there was a strange commotion. It
would be a difficult thing to explain this motive, which belonged to
his peculiarity of mind; it entered among the mysteries of the soul. The
multitude call it in individuals singularity, the psychologist finds a
deeper meaning in it, which the understanding is unable to fathom. We
have examples of men, whose strength of mind and body were well known,
feeling faint at the scent of a rose; others have been thrown into a
convulsive state by touching gray paper. This cannot be explained; it
is one of the riddles of Nature. A similar relaxing sensation Otto
experienced when he, for the first time, heard himself addressed as
“thou” by Wilhelm. It seemed to him as though the spiritual band which
encircled them loosened itself, and Wilhelm became a stranger. It was
impossible for Otto to return the “thou,” yet, at the same time, he
felt the injustice of his behavior and the singularity, and wished to
struggle against it; he mastered himself, attained a kind of eloquence,
but no “thou” would pass his lips.

“To thy health, Otto,” said Wilhelm, and pushed his cup against Otto’s.

“Health!” said Otto, with a smile.

“It is true,” began the cousin, “I promised you the other day to bring
my advertisements with me; the first volume is closed.” And he drew
from his pocket a book in which a collection of the most original
Address-Gazette advertisements, such as one sees daily, was pasted.

“I have one for you,” said the lady; “I found it a little time since. ‘A
woman wishes for a little child to bottle.’ Is not that capital?”

“Here is also a good one,” said Wilhelm, who had turned over the leaves
of the book: “‘A boy of the Mosaic belief may be apprenticed to a
cabinet-maker, but he need not apply unless he will eat everything that
happens to be in the house.’ That is truly a hard condition for the poor
lad.”

“Almost every day,” said the cousin, “one may read, ‘For the play of
to-day or to-morrow is a good place to be had in the third story in the
Christenbernikov Street.’ The place is a considerable distance from the
theatre.”

“Theatre!” exclaimed the master of the house, who now entered to take
his place at the tea-table, “one can soon hear who has that word in
his mouth; now is he again at the theatre! The man can speak of nothing
else. There ought, ready, to be a fine imposed, which he should pay each
time he pronounces the word theatre. I would only make it a fine of two
skillings, and yet I dare promise that before a month was over he would
be found to pay in fines his whole pocket-money, and his coat and boots
besides. It is a real mania with the man! I know no one among my young
friends,” added he, with an ironical smile at Wilhelm,--“no, not one,
who has such a hobby-horse as our good cousin.”

“Here thou art unjust to him!” interrupted his wife; “do not place a
fine upon him, else I will place thee in a vaudeville! Thy life is in
politics; our cousin’s in theatrical life; Wilhelm’s in thorough-bass;
and Mr. Thostrup’s in learned subjects. Each of you is thus a little
nail in the different world-wheels; whoever despises others shows
that he considers his wheel the first, or imagines that the world is
a wheelbarrow, which goes upon one wheel! No, it is a more complicated
machine.”

Later in the evening, when the company broke up, Otto and Wilhelm went
together.

“I do not think,” said Wilhelm, “that thou hast yet said thou to me. Is
it not agreeable to thee?”

“It was my own wish, my own request,” replied Otto. “I have not remarked
what expressions I have employed.” He remained silent. Wilhelm himself
seemed occupied with unusual thoughts, when he suddenly exclaimed: “Life
is, after all, a gift of blessings! One should never make one’s self
sorrows which do not really exist! ‘Carpe diem,’ said old Horace.”

“That will we!” replied Otto; “but now we must first think of our
examination.”

They pressed each other’s hands and parted.

“But I have heard no thou!” said Wilhelm to himself “He is an oddity,
and yet I love him! In this consists, perhaps, my own originality.”

He entered his room, where the hostess had been cleaning, and had
arranged the books and papers in the nicest order. Wilhelm truly called
it disorder; the papers in confusion and the books in a row. The lamp
even had a new place; and this was called order!

Smiling, he seated himself at the piano; it was so long since they had
said “Good day” to each other! He ran over the keys several times, then
lost himself in fantasies. “That is lovely!” he exclaimed. “But it is
not my property! What does it belong to? It melts into my own feelings!”
 He played it again. It was a thema out of “Tancredi,” therefore from
Rossini, even the very composer whom our musical friends most looked
down upon; how could he then guess who had created those tones which now
spoke to his heart? His whole being he felt penetrated by a happiness, a
love of life, the cause of which he knew not. He thought of Otto with a
warmth which the latter’s strange behavior did not deserve. All beloved
beings floated so sweetly before his mind. This was one of those moments
which all good people know; one feels one’s self a member of the great
chain of love which binds creation together.

So long as the rose-bud remains folded together it seems to be without
fragrance; yet only one morning is required, and the fine breath streams
from the crimson mouth. It is only one moment; it is the commencement of
a new existence, which already has lain long concealed in the bud: but
one does not see the magic wand which works the change. This spiritual
contrast, perhaps, took place in the past hour; perhaps the last evening
rays which fell upon the leaves concealed this power! The roses of the
garden must open; those of the heart follow the same laws. Was this
love? Love is, as poets say, a pain; it resembles the disease of the
mussel, through which pearls are formed. But Wilhelm was not sick; he
felt himself particularly full of strength and enjoyment of life. The
poet’s simile of the mussel and the pearl sounds well, but it is false.
Most poets are not very learned in natural history; and, therefore, they
are guilty of many errors with regard to it. The pearl is formed on the
mussel not through disease; when an enemy attacks her she sends forth
drops in her defense, and these change into pearls. It is thus strength,
and not weakness, which creates the beautiful. It would be unjust to
call love a pain, a sickness; it is an energy of life which God has
planted in the human breast; it fills our whole being like the fragrance
which fills each leaf of the rose, and then reveals itself among the
struggles of life as a pearl of worth.

These were Wilhelm’s thoughts; and yet it was not perfectly clear to him
that he loved with his whole soul, as one can only love once.

The following forenoon he paid a visit to Professor Weyse.

“You are going to Roeskelde, are you not?” asked Wilhelm. “I have heard
you so often play the organ here in Our Lady’s church, I should very
much like to hear you there, in the cathedral. If I were to make the
journey, would you then play a voluntary for me?”

“You will not come!” said the musician.

“I shall come!” answered Wilhelm, and kept his word. Two days after this
conversation he rolled through the streets of Roeskelde.

“I am come for a wager! I shall hear Weyse play the organ!” said he to
the host, although there was no need for an apology.

Bulwer in his romance, “The Pilgrims of the Rhine,” has with endless
grace and tenderness called forth a fairy world. The little spirits
float there as the breath of air floats around the material reality; one
is forced to believe in their existence. With a genius powerful as that
which inspired Bulwer, glorious as that which infused into Shakespeare
the fragrance we find breathed over the “Midsummer-night’s Dream,” did
Weyse’s tones fill Wilhelm; the deep melodies of the organ in the
old cathedral had indeed attracted him to the quiet little town! The
powerful tones of the heart summoned him! Through them even every day
things assumed a coloring, an expression of beauty, such as Byron shows
us in words, Thorwaldsen in the hard stone, Correggio in colors.

We have by Goethe a glorious poem, “Love a Landscape-painter.” The poet
sits upon a peak and gazes before him into the mist, which, like canvas
spread upon the easel, conceals all heights and expanses; then comes
the God of Love and teaches him how to paint a picture on the mist. The
little one now sketches with his rosy fingers a picture such as only
Nature and Goethe give us. Were the poet here, we could offer him no
rock on which he might seat himself, but something, through legends and
songs, equally beautiful. He would then sing,--I seated myself upon the
mossy stone above the cairn; the mist resembled outstretched canvas. The
God of Love commenced on this his sketch. High up he painted a glorious
still, whose rays were dazzling! The edges of the clouds he made as of
gold, and let the rays penetrate through them; then painted he the fine
light boughs of fresh, fragrant trees; brought forth one hill after the
other. Behind these, half-concealed, lay a little town, above which rose
a mighty church; two tall towers with high spires rose into the air; and
below the church, far out, where woods formed the horizon, drew he a
bay so naturally! it seemed to play with the sunbeams as if the waves
splashed up against the coast. Now appeared flowers; to the fields and
meadows he gave the coloring of velvet and precious stones; and on the
other side of the bay the dark woods melted away into a bluish mist. “I
can paint!” said the little one; “but the most difficult still remains
to do.” And he drew with his delicate finger, just where the rays of the
sun fell most glowingly, a maiden so gentle, so sweet, with dark
blue eyes and cheeks as blooming as the rosy fingers which formed the
picture. And see! a breeze arose; the leaves of the trees quivered;
the expanse of water ruffled itself; the dress of the maiden was
gently stirred; the maiden herself approached: the picture itself was a
reality! And thus did the old royal city present itself before Wilhelm’s
eyes, the towers of the cathedral, she tay, the far woods, and--Eva!

The first love of a pure heart is holy! This holiness may be indicated,
but not described! We return to Otto.



CHAPTER XXII

     “A man only gains importance by a poet’s fancy, when his
     genius vividly represents to our imagination a clearer, but
     not an ennobled image of men and objects which have an
     existence; then alone he understands how to idealize.”--H.
     HERTZ.

We pass on several weeks. It was toward the end of September, the examen
philosophicum was near. Preparations for this had been Otto’s excuse for
not yet having visited the family circle of his guardian, the merchant
Berger. This was, however, brought about by Otto’s finding one day, when
he went to speak with his guardian, the mistress of the house in the
same room. We know that there are five daughters in the house, and that
only one is engaged, yet they are all well-educated girls--domestic
girls, as their mother assured her friend upon more than one occasion.

“So, then, I have at length the honor of making your acquaintance,” said
Mrs. Berger, “this visit, truly, is not intended either for me or the
children, but still you must now drink a cup of coffee with us. Within
it certainly looks rather disorderly; the girls are making cloaks for
the winter. We will not put ourselves out of the way for you: you shall
be regarded as a member of the family: but then you must come to us in a
friendly way. Every Thursday our son-in-law dines with us, will you then
be contented with our dinner? Now you shall become acquainted with my
daughters.”

“And I must to my office,” said the husband; “therefore let us consider
Thursday as an appointment. We dine at three o’clock, and after coffee
Laide gives us music.”

The lady now conducted Otto into the sitting-room, where he found the
four daughters in full activity with a workwoman. The fifth daughter,
Julle, was, as they had told him, gone to the shops for patterns:
yesterday she had run all over the town, but the patterns she received
were not good.

The lady told him the name of each daughter; their characteristics he
naturally learnt later.

All the five sisters had the idea that they were so extremely different,
and yet they resembled each other to a hair. Adelaide, or Laide, as she
was also called, was certainly the prettiest; that she well knew also,
therefore she would have a fur cape, and no cloak; her figure should be
seen. Christiane was what one might call a practical girl; she knew how
to make use of everything. Alvilde had always a little attack of the
tooth-ache; Julle went shopping, and Miss Grethe was the bride. She was
also musical, and was considered witty. Thus she said one evening when
the house-door was closed, and groaned dreadfully on its hinges, “See
now, we have port wine after dinner.” [Translator’s Note: A pun which it
is impossible to translate. The Danish word Portviin according to sound,
may mean either port wine or the creaking of a door.] The brother, the
only son of the house, with whom we shall become better acquainted, had
written down this conceit; “but that was only to be rude toward her,”
 said Miss Grethe. “Such good ideas as this I have every hour of the
day!”

We ought really to accuse these excellent girls of nothing foolish; they
were very good and wise. The lover, Mr. Svane, was also a zealous wit;
he was so lively, they said. Every one with whom he became a little
familiar he called immediately Mr. Petersen, and that was so droll!

“Now the father has invited Mr. Thostrup to come on Thursday!” said the
lady. “I also think, if we were to squeeze ourselves a little together,
he might find a place with us in the box; the room is, truly, very
confined.”

Otto besought them not to incommode themselves.

“O, it is a large box!” said the lady, but she did not say how many of
them were already in it. Only eleven ladies went from the family itself.
They were obliged to go to the theatre in three parties, so that
people might not think; if they all went together, there was a mob.
One evening, when the box had been occupied by eighteen persons, beside
several twelve-year old children, who had sat in people’s laps, or stood
before them, and the whole party had returned home in one procession,
and were standing before the house door to go in, people streamed
together, imagining there was some alarm, or that some one had fallen
into convulsions. “What is the matter?” they asked, and Miss Grethe
immediately replied, “It is a select company!” [Translator’s Note: A
select or shut-out company. We regret that this pun, like the foregoing
one, is untransferable into English.] Since that evening they returned
home in separate divisions.

“It is really a good box!” said Alvilde; “if we had only other
neighbors! The doors are opening and shutting eternally, and make a
draught which is not bearable for the teeth. And then they speak so
loud! the other night I did not hear a single word of the pretty song
about Denmark.”

“But did you lose much through that?” asked Otto, smiling, and soon they
found themselves very much at variance, just as if they had been old
acquaintances. “I do not think much of these patriotic scraps, where the
poet, in his weakness, supports himself by this beautiful sentiment
of patriotism in the people. You will certainly grant that here the
multitude always applauds when it only hears the word ‘Father-land,’ or
the name of ‘Christian IV.’ The poet must give something more; this is
a left-handed kind of patriotism. One would really believe that Denmark
were the only country in the world!”

“Fie, Mr. Thostrup!” said the lady: “do you not then love your
father-land?”

“I believe I love it properly!” returned he: “and because it really
possesses so much that is excellent do I desire that only what is
genuine should be esteemed, only what is genuine be prized.”

“I agree in the main with Mr. Thostrup,” said Miss Grethe, who was
busied in unpicking and turning her cloak, in order, as she herself
said, to spoil it on the other side. “I think he is right! If a poem is
well spoken on the stage, it has always a kind of effect. It is just the
same as with stuffs--they may be of a middling quality and may have an
unfavorable pattern, but if they are worn by a pretty figure they look
well after all!”

“I am often vexed with the public!” said Otto. “It applauds at improper
places, and sometimes exhibits an extraordinary innocence.”

“Those are ‘the lords of the kingdom of mind,’” said Miss Grethe,
smiling.

   [Note: “We are the lords of the kingdom of mind!
         We are the stem which can never decay!”
          --Students’ Song, by CHRISTIAN WINTHER.]

“No, the _neighbors_!” replied Otto quickly.

At this moment Miss Julle entered. She had been wandering from shop
to shop, she said, until she could bear it no longer! She had had the
stuffs down from all the shelves, and at length had succeeded so far
as to become possessed of eight small pieces--beautiful patterns, she
maintained. And now she knew very well where the different stuffs were
to be had, how wide they were, and how much the yard. “And whom did I
meet?” said she; “only think! down the middle of East Street came the
actor--you know well! Our little passion! He is really charming off the
stage.”

“Did you meet him?” said Laide. “That girl is always lucky!”

“Mr. Thostrup,” said the mother, presenting him, for the young lady
seemed to forget him entirely, so much was she occupied with this
encounter and her patterns.

Julle bowed, and said she had seen him before: he had heard Mynster, and
had stood near the chair where she sat; he was dressed in an olive-green
coat.

“Then you are acquainted with each other!” said the lady. “She is the
most pious of all the children. When the others rave about Spindler and
Johanne Schoppenhauer, she raves about the clergyman who confirmed her.
You know my son? He became a student a year before you. He sees you in
the club sometimes.”

“There you will have seen him more amiable than you will find him
at home,” said Adelaide. “Heaven knows he is not gallant toward his
sisters!”

“Sweet Laide, how can you say so!” cried the mother. “You are always so
unjust toward Hans Peter! When you become better acquainted with him,
Mr. Thostrup, you will like him; he is a really serious young man, of
uncorrupted manners. Do you remember, Laide, how he hissed that evening
in the theatre when they gave that immoral piece? And how angry he is
with that ‘Red Riding Hood?’ O, the good youth! Besides, in our family,
you will soon meet with an old acquaintance--in a fortnight a lady out
of Jutland will come here. She remains the winter here. Do you not guess
who it is? A little lady from Lemvig!”

“Maren!” exclaimed Otto.

“Yes, truly!” said the lady. “She is said to have such a beautiful
voice!”

“Yes, in Lemvig,” remarked Adelaide. “And what a horrible name she has!
We must christen her again, when she comes. She must be called Mara, or
Massa.”

“We could call her Massa Carara!” said Grethe.

“No; she shall be called Maja, as in the ‘Every-day Tales,’” said
Christiane.

“I am of Jane’s opinion!” said the mother. “We will christen her again,
and call her Maja.”



CHAPTER XXIII

     Men are not always what they seem.--LESSING.

Our tale is no creation of fancy; it is the reality in which we live;
bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Our own time and the men of
our own age we shall see. But not alone will we occupy ourselves with
every-day life, with the moss on the surface; the whole tree, from the
roots to the fragrant leaves, will we observe. The heavy earth shall
press the roots, the moss and bark of every-day life adhere to the
stern, the strong boughs with flowers and leaves spread themselves out,
whilst the sun of poetry shall shine among them, and show the colors,
odor, and singing-birds. But the tree of reality cannot shoot up so soon
as that of fancy, like the enchantment in Tieck’s “Elves.” We must seek
our type in nature. Often may there be an appearance of cessation;
but that is not the case. It is even so with our story; whilst
our characters, by mutual discourse, make themselves worthy of
contemplation, there arises, as with the individual branches of the
tree, an unseen connection. The branch which shoots high up in the air,
as though it would separate itself from the mother-stem, only presses
forward to form the crown, to lend uniformity to the whole tree. The
lines which diverge from the general centre are precisely those which
produce the harmony.

We shall, therefore, soon see, though these scenes out of every-day life
are no digression from the principal events, nothing episodical which
one may pass over. In order still sooner to arrive at a clear perception
of this assertion, we will yet tarry a few moments in the house of Mr.
Berger, the merchant; but in the mean time we have advanced three weeks.
Wilhelm and Otto had happily passed their examen philosophicum. The
latter had paid several visits, and was already regarded as an old
friend of the family. The lover already addressed him with his droll
“Good day, Mr. Petersen;” and Grethe was witty about his melancholy
glance, which he was not always able to conquer. She called it “making
faces,” and besought him to appear so on the day of her funeral.

The object of the five sisters’ first Platonic love had been their
brother. They had overwhelmed him with caresses and tenderness, had
admired and worshipped him. “The dear little man!” they called him; they
had no other. But Hans Peter was so impolite and teasing toward the dear
sisters, that they were found to resign him so soon as one of them had
a lover. Upon this lover they all clung. Each one seemed to have a piece
of him. He was Grethe’s bridegroom, would be their brother-in-law. They
might address him with the confidential thou, and even give him a little
kiss.

Otto’s appearance in the family caused these rays to change their
direction. Otto was handsome, and possessed of fortune; either of which
often suffices to bow a female heart. Beauty bribes the thoughtless;
riches, the prudent.

Maren, or as she was here called, Maja, had arrived. The young ladies
had already pulled off some of her bows, arranged her hair differently,
and made one of her silk handkerchiefs into an apron; but, spite of all
this finesse, she still remained the lady from Lemvig. They could remove
no bows from her pronunciation. She had been the first at home; here she
could not take that rank. This evening she was to see in the theatre,
for the first time, the ballet of the “Somnambule.”

“It is French!” said Hans Peter; “and frivolous, like everything that we
have from them.”

“Yes, the scene in the second act, where she steps out of the window,”
 said the merchant; “that is very instructive for youth!”

“But the last act is sweet!” cried the lady. “The second act is
certainly, as Hans Peter very justly observed, somewhat French. Good
heavens! he gets quite red, the sweet lad!” She extended her hand to
him, and nodded, smiling, whereupon Hans Peter spoke very prettily
about the immorality on the stage. The father also made some striking
observation.

“Yes,” said the lady, “were all husbands like thee, and all young men
like Hans Peter, they would speak in another tone on the stage, and
dress in another manner. In dancing it is abominable; the dresses are so
short and indecent, just as though they had nothing on! Yet, after all,
we must say that the ‘Somnambule’ is beautiful. And, really, it is quite
innocent!”

They now entered still deeper into the moral: the conversation lasted
till coffee came.

Maren’s heart beat even quicker, partly in expectation of the play,
through hearing of the corruptions of this Copenhagen Sodom. She heard
Otto defend this French piece; heard him speak of affectation. Was
he then corrupted? How gladly would she have heard him discourse upon
propriety, as Hans Peter had done. “Poor Otto!” thought she; “this
is having no relations, but being forced to struggle on in the world
alone.”

The merchant now rose. He could not go to the theatre. First, he had
business to attend to; and then he must go to his club, where he had
yesterday changed his hat.

“Nay, then, it has happened to thee as to Hans Peter!” said the lady.
“Yesterday, in the lecture-room, he also got a strange hat. But, there,
thou hast his hat!” she suddenly exclaimed, as her eye fell upon the hat
which her husband held in his hand. “That is Hans Peter’s hat! Now, we
shall certainly find that he has thine! You have exchanged them here at
home. You do not know each other’s hats, and therefore you fancy this
occurred from home.”

One of the sisters now brought the hat which Hans Peter had got in
mistake. Yes, it was certainly the father’s. Thus an exchange in the
house, a little intermezzo, which naturally, from its insignificance,
was momentarily forgotten by all except the parties concerned, for to
them it was an important moment in their lives; and to us also, as we
shall see, an event of importance, which has occasioned us to linger
thus long in this circle. In an adjoining room will we, unseen spirits,
watch the father and son. They are alone; the family is already in the
theatre. We may, indeed, watch them--they are true moralists. It is only
a moral drawn from a hat.

But the father’s eyes rolled, his cheeks glowed, his words were
sword-strokes, and must make an impression on any disposition as gentle
as his son’s; but the son stood quiet, with a firm look and with a
smile on his lips, such as the moral bestows. “You were in the adjoining
room!” said he. “Where it is proper for you to be there may I also
come.”

“Boy!” cried the father, and named the place, but we know it not;
neither know we its inhabitants. Victor Hugo includes them in his
“Children’s Prayer,” in his beautiful poem, “La Prière pour Tous.” The
child prays for all, even “for those who sell the sweet name of love.”

     [Note: “Prie!... Pour les femmes échevelées Qui vendent
      le doux nom d’amour!”]

“Let us be silent with each other!” said the son. “I am acquainted with
many histories. I know another of the pretty Eva!”--

“Eva!” repeated the father.

We will hear no more! It is not proper to listen. We see the father
and son extend their hands. It appeared a scene of reconciliation. They
parted: the father goes to his business, and Hans Peter to the
theatre, to anger himself over the immorality in the second act of the
“Somnambule.”



CHAPTER XXIV

     “L’amour est pour les coeurs,
     Ce que l’aurore est pour les fleurs,
     Et le printemps pour la nature.”--VIGUE.

     “Love is a childish disease and like the small-pox. Some
     die, some become deformed, others are more or less scarred,
     while upon others the disease does not leave any visible
     trace.”--The Alchemist, by C. HAUCH.

“Be candid, Otto!” said Wilhelm, as he one day visited his friend. “You
cannot make up your mind to say thou to me; therefore let it be. We are,
after all, good friends. It is only a form; although you must grant that
in this respect you are really a great fool.”

Otto now explained what an extraordinary aversion he had felt, what a
painful feeling had seized upon him, and made it impossible to him.

“There you were playing the martyr!” said Wilhelm, laughing. “Could you
not immediately tell me how you were constituted? So are most men. When
they have no trouble, they generally hatch one themselves; they will
rather stand in the cold shadow than in the warm sunshine, and yet the
choice stands open to us. Dear friend, reflect; now we are both of us on
the stream: we shall soon be put into the great business-bottles, where
we shall, like little devils, stretch and strain ourselves without
ever getting out, until life withdraws from us!” He laid his arm
confidentially upon Otto’s shoulder. “Often have I wished to speak with
you upon one point! Yes, I do not desire that you should confess every
word, every thought to me. I already know that I shall be able to prove
to you that the thing lies in a region where it cannot have the power
which you ascribe to it. In the cold zones a venomous bite does not
operate as dangerously as in warmer ones; a sorrow in childhood cannot
overpower us as it does in riper age. Whatever misfortune may have
happened to you when a child, if in your wildness--you yourself say that
you were wild--whatsoever you may have then done, it cannot, it ought
not to influence your whole life: your understanding could tell you this
better than I. At our age we find ourselves in the land of joy, or we
never enter it!”

“You are a happy man!” exclaimed Otto, and gazed sorrowfully before
him. “Your childhood afforded you only joy and hope! Only think of the
solitude in which mine was passed. Among the sand-hills of the west
coast my days glided away: my grandfather was gloomy and passionate;
our old preacher lived only in a past time which I knew not, and Rosalie
regarded the world through the spectacles of sorrow. Such an environment
might well cast a shadow upon my life-joy. Even in dress, one is
strangely remarkable when one comes from afar province to the capital;
first this receives another cut, and one gradually becomes like those
around one. The same thing happens in a spiritual relation, but one’s
being and ideas one does not change so quickly as one’s clothes. I have
only been a short time among strangers, and who knows?” added he, with
a melancholy smile, “perhaps I shall come into equilibrium when some
really great misfortune happens to me and very much overpowers me,
and then I may show the same carelessness, the same phlegm as the
multitude.”

“A really great misfortune!” repeated Wilhelm. “You do, indeed, say
something. That would be a very original means of cure, but you are an
original being. Perhaps lay this means you might really be healed. ‘Make
no cable out of cobweb!’ said a celebrated poet whose name does not
occur to me at this moment. But the thought is good, you should have it
embroidered upon your waistcoat, so that you might have it before your
eyes when you droop your head. Do not look so grave; we are friends,
are we not? Among all my young acquaintance you are the dearest to me,
although there are moments when I know not how it stands with us. I
could confide every secret to you, but I am not sure that you would be
equally open with me. Do not be angry, my dear friend! There are secrets
of so delicate a nature, that one may not confide them even to the
dearest friend. So long as we preserve _our_ secret it is our prisoner;
it is quite the contrary, however, so soon as we have let it escape us.
And yet, Otto, you are so dear to me, that I believe in you as in my own
heart. This, even now, bears a secret which penetrates me with joy and
love of life! I must speak cut. But you must enter into my joy, partake
in it, or say nothing about it; you have then heard nothing--nothing!
Otto, I love! therefore am I happy, therefore is there sunshine in my
heart, life joy in my veins! I love Eva, the beautiful lovely Eva!”

Otto pressed his hand, but preserved silence.

“No, not so!” cried Wilhelm. “Only speak a word! Do you I’m in a
conception of the world which has opened before me?”

“Eva is beautiful! very beautiful!” said Otto, slowly. “She is innocent
and good. What can one wish for more? I can imagine how she fills your
whole heart! But will she do so always? She will not always remain
young, always lovely! Has she, then, mind sufficient to be everything
to you? Will this momentary happiness which you prepare for her and
yourself be great enough to outweigh--I will not say the sorrow, but the
discontent which this union will bring forth in your family? For God’s
sake, think of everything!”

“My dear fellow!” said Wilhelm, “your old preacher now really speaks
out of you! But enough: I can bear the confession. I answer, ‘Yes, yes!’
with all my heart, ‘yes!’ Wherefore will you now bring me out of my
sunshine into shade? Wherefore, in my joy over the beauty of the rose
should I be reminded that the perfume and color will vanish, that the
leaves will fall? It is the course of life! but must one, therefore,
think of the grave, of the finale, when the act begins?”

“Love is a kind of monomania,” said Otto; “it may be combated: it
depends merely upon our own will.”

“Ah, you know this not at all!” said Wilhelm. “But it will come in due
time, and then you will be far more violent than others! Who knows?
perhaps this is the sorrow of which you spoke, the misfortune which
should bring your whole being into equipoise! That was also a kind of
search after the sorrowful. I will sincerely wish that your heart may be
filled with love as mine is; then will the influence of the sand-hills
vanish, and you will speak with me as you ought to do, and as my
confidence deserves!”

“That will I!” replied Otto. “You make the poor girl miserable! Now you
love Eva, but then you will no longer be able. The distance between
you and her is too great, and I cannot conceive how the beauty of her
countenance can thus fill your whole being. A waiting-girl! yes, I
repeat the name which offends your ear: a waiting-girl! Everywhere
will it be repeated. And you? No one can respect nobility less than I
do--that nobility which is only conferred by birth; it is nothing, and a
time will come when this will not be prized at all, when the nobility of
the soul will be the only nobility. I openly say this to you, who are a
nobleman yourself. The more development of mind, the more ancestors!
But Eva has nothing, can have nothing, except a pretty face, and this
is what has enchained you; you are become the servant of a servant, and
that is degrading yourself and your nobility of mind!”

“Mr. Thostrup!” exclaimed Wilhelm, “you wound me! This is truly not the
first time, but now I am weary of it. I have shown too much good nature,
and that is the most unfortunate failing a man can be cursed with!”

He seated himself at the piano, and hammered away.

Otto was silent a moment, his checks glowed, but he was soon again calm,
and in a joking tone said: “Do not expend your anger upon that poor
instrument because we disagree in our views. You are playing only
dissonances, which offend my ear more than your anger!”

“Dissonances!” repeated Wilhelm. “Cannot you hear that they are
harmonies? There are many things for which you have a bad ear!”

Otto knew how to lead his anger to different points regarding which
they had formerly been at variance, but he spoke with such mildness that
Wilhelm’s anger rather abated than increased.

They were again friends, but regarding Eva not one word more was said.

“I should not be an honest and true friend to him, were I to let him
be swallowed up by this whirlpool!” said Otto to himself, when he was
alone. “At present he is innocent and good but at his age, with his gay
disposition!--I must warn Eva! soon! soon! The snow which has once
been trodden is no longer pure! Wilhelm will scarcely forgive me! But I
must!”

On the morrow it was impossible for him to travel to Roeskelde, but the
following day he really would and must hasten thither.

Still, in the early morning hour, Eva occupied his thoughts; she busied
Wilhelm’s also, but in a different way: but they agreed in the purity of
their intentions. There was still a third, whose blood was put in motion
at the mention of her name, who said: “The pretty Eva is a servant
there! One must speak with her. The family can make an excursion there!”

“You sweet children!” said the merchant’s wife, “the autumn is charming,
far pleasanter than the whole summer! The father, should the weather
remain good, will make an excursion with us to Lethraborg the day after
to-morrow. We will then walk in the beautiful valley of the Hertha, and
pass the night at Roeskelde. Those will be two delightful days! What an
excellent father you have! But shall we not invite Mr. Thostrup to go
with us? We are so many ladies, and it looks well to have a few young
gentlemen with us. Grethe, thou must write an invitation; thou canst
write thy father’s name underneath.”



CHAPTER XXV

     “These poetical letters are so similar to those of Baggesen,
     that we could be almost tempted to consider the news of his
     death as false, although so well affirmed that we must
     acknowledge it.”--Monthly Journal of Literature.

     “She is as slender as the poplar-willow, as fleet as the
     hastening waters. A Mayflower odorous and sweet.”--H. P.
     HOLST.

     “Ah, where is the rose?”--Lulu, by GUNTELBURG.

The evening before Otto was to travel with the merchant’s family to
Roeskelde he called upon the family where Miss Sophie was staying. Her
dear mamma had left three days before. Wilhelm had wished to accompany
him to Roeskelde, but the mother did not desire it.

“We have had a pleasure to-day,” said Sophie, “a pleasure from which we
shall long have enjoyment. Have you seen the new book, the ‘Letters of
a Wandering Ghost?’ It is Baggesen himself in his most perfect beauty,
a music which I never believed could have been given in words. This is
a poet! He has made July days in the poetry of Denmark. Natural thoughts
are so strikingly, and yet so simply expressed; one has the idea that
one could write such verses one’s self, they fall so lightly.”

“They are like prose,” said the lady, “and yet the most beautifully
perfect verse I know. You must read the book, Mr. Thostrup!”

“Perhaps you will read to us this evening?” said Sophie. “I should very
much like to hear it again.”

“In a second reading one shall enter better into the individual
beauties,” said the lady of the house.

“I will remain and listen,” said the host.

“This must be a masterpiece!” exclaimed Otto,”--a true masterpiece,
since all are so delighted with it.”

“It is Baggesen himself; and truly as he must sing in that world where
everything mortal is ennobled.”

      “‘Meadows all fragrance, the strongholds of pleasure,
        Heaven blue streamlets,

That speed through the green woods in musical measure,’” began Otto, and
the spiritual battle-piece with beauty and tone developed itself more
and more; they found themselves in the midst of the winter camp of the
Muses, where the poet with

     ...“lyre on his shoulder and sword at....

Hastened to fight with the foes of the Muses.” Otto’s gloomy look won
during the perusal a more animated expression. “Excellent!” exclaimed
he; “this is what I myself have thought and felt, but, alas! have been
unable to express.”

“I am a strange girl,” said Sophie; “whenever I read a new poet of
distinguished talent, I consider that he is the greatest. It was so with
Byron and Victor Hugo. ‘Cain’ overwhelmed me, ‘Notre Dame’ carried me
away with it. Once I could imagine no greater poet than Walter Scott,
and yet I forget him over Oehlenschläger; yes, I remember a time when
Heiberg’s vaudevilles took almost the first place among my chosen
favorites. Thus I know myself and my changeable disposition, and yet
I firmly believe that I shall make an exception with this work. Other
poets showed me the objects of the outer world, this one shows me my own
mind: my own thoughts, my own being he presents before me, and therefore
I shall always take the same interest in the Ghost’s Letters.”

“They are true food for the mind,” said Otto; “they are as words in
season; there must be movement in the lake, otherwise it will become a
bog.”

“The author is severe toward those whom he has introduced,” said the
lady; “but he carries, so to say, a sweet knife. A wound from a sharp
sword-blade is not so painful as that from a rusty, notched knife.”

“But who may the author be?” said Sophie.

“May we never learn!” replied Otto. “Uncertainty gives the book
something piquant. In such a small country as ours it is good for the
author to be unknown. Here we almost tread upon each other, and look
into each other’s garments. Here the personal conditions of the author
have much to do with success; and then there are the newspapers, where
either friend or enemy has an assistant, whereas the being anonymous
gives it the patent of nobility. It is well never to know an author.
What does his person matter to us, if his book is only good?

“‘Crush and confound the rabble dissolute That desecrate thy poet’s
grave?’” read Otto, and the musical poem was at an end. All were
enchanted with it. Otto alone made some small objections: “The Muses
ought not to come with ‘trumpets and drums,’ and so many expressions
similar to ‘give a blow on the chaps,’ etc., ought not to appear.”

“But if the poet will attack what is coarse,” said Sophie, “he must
call things by their proper names. He presents us with a specimen of the
prosaic filth, but in a soap-bubble. We may see it, but not seize upon
it. I consider that you are wrong!”

“The conception of idea and form,” said Otto, “does not seem to be
sufficiently presented to one; both dissolve into one. Even prose is a
form.”

“But the form itself is the most important,” said the lady of the house;
“with poetry as with sculpture, it is the form which gives the meaning.”

“No, pardon me!” said Otto; “poetry is like the tree which God allows
to grow. The inward power expresses itself in the form; both are equally
important, but I consider the internal as the most holy. This is here
the poet’s thought. The opinion which he expresses affects us as much as
the beautiful dress in which he has presented it.”

Now commenced a contest upon form and material, such as was afterward
maintained throughout the whole of Copenhagen.

“I shall always admire the ‘Letters of a Wandering Ghost,’” said
Sophie,--“always rave about these poems. To-night I shall dream of
nothing but this work of art.”

How little men can do that which they desire, did this very moment
teach.

When we regard the fixed star through a telescope and lose ourselves
in contemplation, a little hair can conceal the mighty body, a grain of
dust lead us from these sublime thoughts. A letter came for Miss Sophie;
a traveller brought it from her mother: she was already in Funen, and
announced her safe arrival.

“And the news?” said the hostess.

“Mamma has hired a new maid, or, rather, she has taken to be with her
an amiable young girl--the pretty Eva in Roeskelde. Mr. Thostrup and
Wilhelm related to us this summer several things about her which make
her interesting. We saw her on our journey hither, when mamma was
prepossessed by her well-bred appearance. Upon her return, the young
girl has quite won her heart. It really were a pity if such a pretty,
respectable girl remained in a public-house. She is very pretty; is she
not, Mr. Thostrup?”

“Very pretty!” answered Otto, becoming crimson, for Sophie said this
with an emphasis which was not without meaning.

The following day, at an early hour, Otto found himself at the
merchant’s.

Spite of the changeable weather of our climate, all the ladies were in
their best dresses. Three persons must sit upon each seat. Hans Peter
and the lover had their place beside the coachman. It was a long time
before the cold meat, the provision for several days, was packed up, and
the whole company were seated. At length, when they had got out of the
city, Christiane recollected that they had forgotten the umbrellas, and
that, after all, it would be good to have them. The coachman must go
back for them, and meantime the carriage drew up before the Column of
Liberty. The poor sentinel must now become an object of Miss Grethe’s
interest. Several times the soldier glanced down upon his regimentals.
He was a Krähwinkler, who had an eye to his own advantage. A man who
rode past upon a load of straw occupied a high position. That was very
interesting.

Otto endeavored to give the conversation another direction. “Have
not you seen the new poem which has just appeared, the ‘Letters of a
Wandering Ghost?’” asked he, and sketched out their beauty and tendency.

“Doubtless, very heavy blows are dealt!” said Mr. Berger, “the man must
be witty--Baggesen to the very letter.”

“The ‘Copenhagen Post’ is called the pump!” said Hans Peter.

“That is superb!” cried Grethe. “Who does it attack besides?”

“Folks in Soroe, and this ‘Holy Andersen,’ as they call him.”

“Does he get something?” said Laide. “That I will grant him for his milk
and water. He was so impolite toward the ladies!”

“I like them to quarrel in this way!” said the merchant’s lady. “Heiberg
will doubtless get his share also, and then he will reply in something
merry.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Berger, “he always knows how to twist things in such a
manner that one must laugh, and then it is all one to us whether he is
right or not.”

“This book is entirely for Heiberg,” said Otto. “The author is
anonymous, and a clever man.”

“Good Heavens! you are not the author, Mr. Thostrup?” cried Julle, and
looked at him with a penetrating gaze. “You can manage such things
so secretly! You think so highly of Heiberg: I remember well all the
beautiful things you said of his ‘Walter the Potter’ and his ‘Psyche.’”

Otto assured her that he could not confess to this honor.

They reached Roeskelde in the forenoon, but Eva did not receive them.
The excursion to Lethraborg was arranged; toward evening they should
again return to the inn, and then Eva would certainly appear.

The company walked in the garden at Lethraborg: the prospect from the
terrace was beautiful; they looked through the windows of the castle,
and at length came to the conclusion that it would be best to go in.

“There are such beautiful paintings, people say!” remarked the lover.

“We must see them,” cried all the ladies.

“Do you often visit the picture-gallery of the Christiansborg?” inquired
Otto.

“I cannot say that we do!” returned Mrs. Berger. “You well know that
what is near one seldom sees, unless one makes a downright earnest
attempt, and that we have not yet done. Besides, not many people go up:
that wandering about the great halls is so wearying.”

“There are splendid pieces by Ruysdal!” said Otto.

“Salvator Rosa’s glorious ‘Jonas’ is well worth looking at!”

“Yes, we really must go at once, whilst our little Maja is here. It does
not cost more than the Exhibition, and we were there three times last
year. The view from the castle windows toward the canal, as well as
toward the ramparts, is so beautiful, they say.”

The company now viewed the interior of Lethraborg, and then wandered
through the garden and in the wood. The trees had their autumnal
coloring, but the whole presented a variety of tints far richer than one
finds in summer. The dark fir-trees, the yellow beeches and oaks, whose
outermost branches had sent forth light green shoots, presented a most
picturesque effect, and formed a splendid foreground to the view over
old Leire, the royal city, now a small village, and across the bay to
the splendid cathedral.

“That resembles a scene in a theatre!” cried Mrs. Berger, and
immediately the company were deep in dramatic affairs.

“Such a decoration they should have in the royal theatre!” said Hans
Peter.

“Yes, they should have many such!” said Grethe. “They should have some
other pieces than those they have. I know not how it is with our poets;
they have no inventive power. Relate the droll idea which thou hadst
the other day for a new piece!” said she to her lover, and stroked his
cheeks.

“O,” said he, and affected a kind of indifference, “that was only an
idea such as one has very often. But it might become a very nice piece.
When the curtain is drawn up, one should see close upon the lamps the
gable-ends of two houses. The steep roofs must go down to the stage, so
that it is only half a yard wide, and this is to represent a watercourse
between the two houses. In each garret a poor but interesting family
should dwell, and these should step forth into the watercourse, and
there the whole piece should be played.”

“But what should then happen?” asked Otto.

“Yes,” said the lover, “I have not thought about that; but see, there is
the idea! I am no poet, and have too much to do at the counting-house,
otherwise one might write a little piece.”

“Heavens! Heiberg ought to have the idea!” said Grethe.

“No, then it would be a vaudeville,” said the lover, “and I cannot bear
them.”

“O, it might be made charming!” cried Grethe. “I see the whole piece!
how they clamber about the roofs! The idea is original, thou sweet
friend!”

By evening the family were again in Roeskelde.

The merchant sought for Eva. Otto inquired after her, so did Hans Peter
also, and all three received the same answer.

“She is no longer here.”



CHAPTER XXVI

     “I wish I was air, that I could beat my wings, could chase
     the clouds, and try to fly over the mountain summits: that
     would be life.”--F. RÜCKERT.

The first evening after Otto’s return to Copenhagen he spent with
Sophie, and the conversation turned upon his little journey. “The pretty
Eva has vanished!” said he.

“You had rejoiced in the prospect of this meeting, had you not?” asked
Sophie.

“No, not in the least!” answered Otto.

“And you wish to make me believe that? She is really pretty, and has
something so unspeakably refined, that a young gentleman might well
be attracted by her. With my brother it is not all quite right in this
respect; but, candidly speaking, I am in great fear on your account, Mr.
Thostrup. Still waters--you know the proverb? I might have spared you
the trouble. The letter which I received a few evenings ago informed me
of her departure. Mamma has taken her with her. It seemed to her a
sin to leave that sweet, innocent girl in a public-house. The host and
hostess were born upon our estate, and look very much up to my mother;
and as Eva will certainly gain by the change, the whole affair was soon
settled. It is well that she is come under mamma’s oversight.”

“The girl is almost indifferent to me!” said Otto.

“Almost!” repeated Sophie. “But this almost, how many degrees of warmth
does it contain? ‘O Vérité! Où sont les autels et tes prêtres?’” added
she, and smiling raised her finger.

“Time will show how much you are in error!” answered Otto with much
calmness.

The lady of the house now entered, she had made various calls;
everywhere the Ghost’s Letters were the subject of conversation, and now
the conversation took the same direction.

It was often renewed. Otto was a very frequent guest at the house. The
ladies sat at their embroidery frames and embroidered splendid pieces
of work, and Otto must again read the “Letters of the Wandering Ghost;”
 after this they began “Calderon,” in whom Sophie found something
resembling the anonymous author. The world of poetry afforded subjects
for discourse, and every-day life intermingled its light, gay scenes; if
Wilhelm joined them, he must give them music, and all remarked that his
fantasies were become far richer, far softer. He had gained his touch
from Weyse, said they. No one thought how much one may learn from one’s
own heart. With this exception he was the same joyous youth as ever. No
one thought of him and Eva together. Since that evening when the friends
had almost quarreled, he had never mentioned her name; but Otto had
remarked how when any female figure met them, Wilhelm’s eyes flashed,
and how, in society, he singled out the most beautiful. Otto said
jokingly to him, that he was getting oriental thoughts. Oehlenschläger’s
“Helge,” and Goethe’s Italian sonnets were now Wilhelm’s favorite
reading. The voluptuous spirit of these poems agreed with the dreams
which his warm feelings engendered. It was Eva’s beauty--her beauty
alone which had awoke this feeling in him; the modesty and poverty of
the poor girl had captivated him still more, and caused him to forget
rank and condition. At the moment when he would approach her, she was
gone. The poison was now in his blood. If is gay and happy spirit did
not meanwhile let him sink into melancholy and meditation; his feeling
for beauty was excited, as he himself expressed it. In thought he
pressed beauty to his heart, but only in thought--but even this is sin,
says the Gospel.

Otto, on the contrary, moved in the lists of philosophy and poetry. Here
his soul conceived beauty--inspired, he expressed it; and Sophie’s
eyes flashed, and rested with pleasure on him. This flattered him and
increased his inspirations. For many years no winter had been to him so
pleasant, had passed away so rich in change as this; he caught at the
fluttering joy and yet there were moments when the though pressed upon
him--“Life is hastening away, and I do not enjoy it.” In the midst
of his greatest happiness he experienced a strange yearning after the
changing life of travel. Paris glanced before his eyes like a star of
fortune.

“Out into the bustling world!” said he so often to Wilhelm, that the
same thought was excited in him. “In the spring we will travel!” Now
were plans formed; circumstances were favorable. Thus in the coming
spring, in April, the still happier days should begin.

“We will fly to Paris!” said Wilhelm; “to joy and pleasure!”

Joy and pleasure were to be found at home, and were found: we will
introduce the evening which brought them; perhaps we shall also find
something more than joy and pleasure.



CHAPTER XXVII

     “A midsummer day’s entertainment--but how? In February? Yea,
     some here and behold it!”--DR. BALFUNGO.

With us the students form no Burschenschafts, have no colors. The
professors do not alone in the chair come into connection with them;
the only difference is that which exists between young and old scholars.
Thus they come in contact with each other, thus they participate in
their mutual pleasures. We will spend an evening of this kind in the
Students’ Club, and then see for ourselves whether Miss Sophie were
right when she wished she were a man, merely that she might be a student
and member of this club. We choose one evening in particular, not only
that we may seek a brilliant moment, but because this evening can afford
us more than a description.

An excursion to the park had often been discussed in the club. They
wished to hire the Caledonia steam-packet. But during the summer months
the number of members is less; the majority are gone to the provinces to
visit their relations. Winter, on the contrary, assembles them all.
This time, also, is the best for great undertakings. The long talked of
excursion to the park was therefore fixed for Carnival Monday, the 14th
of February, 1831. Thus ran the invitations to the professors and older
members. “It will be too cold for me,” replied one. “Must one take a
carriage for one’s self?” asked mother. No, the park was removed to
Copenhagen. In the Students’ Club itself, in the Boldhuus Street, No.
225, was the park-hill with its green trees, its swings, and amusements.
See, only the scholars of the Black School could have such ideas!

The evening of the 114th of February drew near. The guests assembled in
the rooms on the first floor. Meanwhile all was arranged in the second
story. Those who represented jugglers were in their places. A thundering
cracker was the steamboat signal, and now people hastened to the park,
rushing up-stairs, where two large rooms had, with great taste and
humor, been converted into the park-hill. Large fir-trees concealed the
walls--you found yourself in a complete wood. The doors which connected
the two rooms were decorated with sheets, so that it looked as if
you were going through a tent. Hand-organs played, drums and trumpets
roared, and from tents and stages the hawkers shouted one against the
other. It was a noise such as is heard in the real park when the hubbub
has reached its height. The most brilliant requisites of the real
park were found here, and they were not imitated; they were the things
themselves. Master Jakel’s own puppets had been hired; a student,
distinguished by his complete imitation of the first actors, represented
them by the puppets. The fortress of Frederiksteen was the same which we
have already seen in the park. “The whole cavalry and infantry,--here a
fellow without a bayonet, there a bayonet without a fellow!” The old Jew
sat under his tree where he announced his fiftieth park jubilee: here
a student ate flax, there another exhibited a bear; Polignac stood as a
wax figure outside a cabinet. The Magdalene convent exhibited its little
boxes, the drum-major beat most lustily, and from a near booth came the
real odor of warm wafer-cakes. The spring even, which presented itself
in the outer room, was full of significance. Certainly it was only
represented by a tea-urn concealed between moss and stones, but
the water was real water, brought from the well in Christiansborg.
Astounding and full of effect was the multitude of sweet young girls
who showed themselves. Many of the youngest students who had feminine
features were dressed as ladies; some of them might even be called
pretty. Who that then saw the fair one with the tambourine can have
forgotten her? The company crowded round the ladies. The professors paid
court to them with all propriety, and, what was best of all, some ladies
who were less successful became jealous of the others. Otto was much
excited; the noise, the bustle, the variety of people, were almost
strikingly given. Then came the master of the fire-engines, with his
wife and little granddaughter; then three pretty peasant girls; then the
whole Botanical Society, with their real professor at their head. Otto
seated himself in a swing; an itinerant flute-player and a drummer
deafened him with dissonances. A young lady, one of the beauties, in a
white dress, and with a thin handkerchief over her shoulders, approached
and threw herself into his arms. It was Wilhelm! but Otto found his
likeness to Sophie stronger than he had ever before noticed it to be;
and therefore the blood rushed to his cheeks when the fair one threw
her arms around him, and laid her cheek upon his: he perceived more of
Sophie than of Wilhelm in this form. Certainly Wilhelm’s features were
coarser--his whole figure larger than Sophie’s; but still Otto fancied
he saw Sophie, and therefore these marked gestures, this reeling about
with the other students, offended his eyes. When Wilhelm seated himself
on his knee, and pressed his cheek to his, Otto felt his heart beat
as in fever; it sent a stream of fire through his blood: he thrust him
away, but the fair one continued to overwhelm him with caresses.

There now commenced, in a so-called Krähwinkel theatre, the comedy, in
which were given the then popular witticisms of Kellerman.

The lady clung fast to Otto, and flew dancing with him through the
crowd. The heat, the noise, and, above all, the exaggerated lacing,
affected Wilhelm; he felt unwell. Otto led him to a bench and would
have unfastened his dress, but all the young ladies, true to their part,
sprang forward, pushed Otto aside, surrounded their sick companion and
concealed her, whilst they tore up the dress behind so that she might
have air: but, God forbid! no gentleman might see it.

Toward evening a song was commenced, a shot was heard, and the last
verse announced:--

     “The gun has been fired, the vessel must fly
       To the town from the green wood shady.
     Come, friends, now we to the table will hie,
       A gentleman and a fair lady.”

And now all rushed with the speed of a steamboat downstairs, and soon
sat in gay rows around the covered tables.

Wilhelm was Otto’s lady--the Baron was called the Baroness; the glasses
resounded, and the song commenced:--

     “These will drink our good king’s health,
       Will drink it here, his loyal students.”

And that patriotic song:--

     “I know a land up in the North
       Where it is good to be.”

It concluded with--

                        “An hurrah
     For the king and the rescript!”

In joy one must embrace everything joyful, and that they did. Here was
the joy of youth in youthful hearts.

     “No condition’s like the student’s;
       He has chosen the better way!”

so ran the concluding verse of the following song, which ended with the
toast,--

     “For her of whom the heart dreams ever,
       But whom the lips must never name!”

It was then that Wilhelm seemed to glow with inward fire; he struck his
glass so violently against Otto’s that it broke, and the wine was spilt.

“A health to the ladies!” cried one of the signors.

“A health to the ladies!” resounded from the different rooms, which were
all converted into the banquet-hall.

The ladies rose, stood upon their chairs, some even upon the table,
bowed, and returned thanks for the toast.

“No, no,” whispered Otto to Wilhelm, at the same time pulling him
down. “In this dress you resemble your sister so much, that it is quite
horrible to me to see you act a part so opposed to her character!”

“And your eyes,” Said Wilhelm, smiling, “resemble two eyes which have
touched my heart. A health to first love!” cried he, and struck his
glass against Otto’s so that the half of his wine was again lost.

The champagne foamed, and amidst noise and laughter, as during the
carnival joy, a new song refreshed the image of the nark which they had
just left:--     “Here if green trees were not growing
       Fresh as on yon little hill,
     Heard we not the fountains flowing,
       We in sooth should see them still!
     Tents were filled below, above,
     Filled with everything but love!

     ***

     Here went gratis brushing-boys--     Graduated have they all!
     Here stood, who would think it, sir?
     A student as a trumpeter!”

“A health to the one whose eyes mine resemble!” whispered Otto, carried
along with the merriment.

“That health we have already drunk!” answered Wilhelm, “but we cannot do
a good thing too often.”

“Then you still think of Eva?”

“She was beautiful! sweet! who knows what might have happened had she
remained here? Her fate has fallen into mamma’s hands, and she and the
other exalted Nemesis must now conduct the affair: I wash my hands of
it.”

“Are you recovered?” asked Otto. “But when you see Eva again in the
summer?”

“I hope that I shall not fall sick,” replied Wilhelm; “I have a strong
constitution. But we must now hasten up to the dance.”

All rushed from the tables, and up-stairs, where the park was arranged.
There was now only the green wood to be seen. Theatres and booths had
been removed. Gay paper-lamps hung among the branches, a large orchestra
played, and a half-bacchanalian wood-ball commenced. Wilhelm was Otto’s
partner, but after the first dance the lady sought out for herself a
more lively cavalier.

Otto drew back toward the wall where the windows were concealed by the
boughs of Fir-tree. His eye followed Wilhelm, whose great resemblance
to Sophie made him melancholy; his hand accidentally glided through the
branches and touched the window-seat; there lay a little bird--it was
dead!

To increase the illusion they had bought a number of birds, which should
fly about during the park-scene, but the poor little creatures had died
from fright at the wild uproar. In the windows and corners they lay
dead. It was one of these birds that Otto found.

“It is dead!” said he to Wilhelm, who approached him.

“Now, that is capital!” returned the friend; “here you have something
over which you may be sentimental!”

Otto would not reply.

“Shall we dance a Scotch waltz?” asked Wilhelm laughing, and the wine
and his youthful blood glowed in his cheeks.

“I wish you would put on your own dress!” said Otto. “You resemble, as I
said before, your sister”--

“And I am my sister,” interrupted Wilhelm, in his wantonness. “And as
a reward for your charming readings aloud, for your excellent
conversation, and the whole of your piquant amiability, you shall now be
paid with a little kiss!” He pressed his lips to Otto’s forehead; Otto
thrust him back and left the company.

Several hours passed before he could sleep; at length he was forced to
laugh over his anger: what mattered it if Wilhelm resembled his sister?

The following morning Otto paid her a visit. All listened with lively
interest to his description of the merry St. John’s day in February.
He also related how much Wilhelm had resembled his sister, and how
unpleasant this had been to him; and they laughed. During the relation,
however, Otto could not forbear drawing a comparison. How great a
difference did he now find! Sophie’s beauty was of quite another kind!
Never before had he regarded her in this light. Of the kisses which
Wilhelm had given him, of course, they did not speak; but Otto thought
of them, thought of them quite differently to what he had done before,
and--the ways of Cupid are strange! We will now see how affairs stand
after advancing fourteen days.



CHAPTER XXVIII

   “Huzza for Copenhagen and for Paris! may they both flourish!”
                                     The Danes in Paris by HEIBERG.

Wilhelm’s cousin, Joachim, had arrived from Paris. We remember the young
officer, out of whose letters Wilhelm had sent Otto a description of
the struggle of the July days. As an inspired hero of liberty had he
returned; struggling Poland had excited his lively interest, and he
would willingly have combated in Warsaw’s ranks. His mind and his
eloquence made him doubly interesting. The combat of the July days,
of which he had been an eye-witness, he described to them. Joachim was
handsome; he had an elegant countenance with sharp features, and was
certainly rather pale--one might perhaps have called him worn with
dissipation, had it not been for the brightness of his eyes, which
increased in conversation. The fine dark eyebrow, and even the little
mustache, gave the countenance all expression which reminded one of fine
English steel-engravings. His figure was small, almost slender, but the
proportions were beautiful. The animation of the Frenchman expressed
itself in every motion, but at the same time there was in him a certain
determination which seemed to say: “I am aware of my own intellectual
superiority!”

He interested every one: Otto also listened with pleasure when Cousin
Joachim related his experiences, but when all eyes were turned toward
the narrator, Otto fixed his suddenly upon Sophie, and found that she
could moderate his attentions. Joachim addressed his discourse to all,
but at the points of interest his glance rested alone on the pretty
cousin! “She interests him!” said Otto to himself. “And Cousin Joachim?”
 Yes, he relates well; but had we only traveled we should not be inferior
to him!”

“Charles X. was a Jesuit!” said Joachim; “he strove after an
unrestrained despotism, and laid violent hands on the Charter. The
expedition against Algiers was only a glittering fire-work arranged to
flatter the national pride--all glitter and falseness! Like Peirronnet,
through an embrace he would annihilate the Charter.”

The conversation now turned from the Jesuits to the Charter and
Polignac. The minute particulars, which only an eyewitness can relate,
brought the struggle livingly before their eyes. They saw the last
night, the extraordinary activity in the squares where the balls
were showered, and in the streets where the barricades were erected.
Overturned wagons and carts, barrels and stones, were heaped upon each
other--even the hundred year-old trees of the Boulevards were cut
down to form barricades: the struggle began, Frenchman fought against
Frenchman--for liberty and country they sacrificed their life.

      [Note:
     “Ceux qui pieusement sont morts pour la patrie
     Ont droit qu’à leur cerceuil la foule vienne et prie:
     Entre le plus beaux noms, leur nom est le plus beau.
     Toute gloire, près d’eux, passe et tombe éphèmere
     Et, comme ferait une mère,
     La voix d’un peuple entier les berce en leur tombeau!”
      --VICTOR HUGO.]

And he described the victory and Louis Philippe, whom he admired and
loved.

“That was a world event,” said the man of business. “It electrified
both king and people. They still feel the movement. Last year was an
extraordinary year!”

“For the Copenhageners also,” said Otto, “there were three colors. These
things occupied the multitude with equal interest: the July Revolution,
the ‘Letters of a Wandering Ghost,’ and Kellermann’s ‘Berlin Wit.’”

“Now you are bitter, Mr. Thostrup,” said the lady of the house.
“The really educated did not occupy themselves with these Berlin
‘Eckensteher’ which the multitude have rendered national!”

“But they hit the right mark!” said Otto; “they met with a reception
from the citizens and people in office.”

“That I can easily believe,” remarked Joachim; “that is like the people
here!”

“That is like the people abroad!” said the hostess. “In Paris they pass
over still more easily from a revolution, in which they themselves have
taken part, to a review by Jules Janin, or to a new step of Taglioni’s,
and from that to ‘une histoire scandaleuse!’”

“No, my gracious lady, of the last no one takes any notice--it belongs
to the order of the day!”

“That I can easily believe!” said Miss Sophie.

The man of business now inquired after the Chamber. The cousin’s answer
was quite satisfactory. The lady of the house wished to hear of the
flower-markets, and of the sweet little inclosed gardens in the Places.
Sophie wished to hear of Victor Hugo. She received a description of him,
of his abode in the Place Royale, and of the whole Europe littéraire
beside. Cousin Joachim was extremely interesting.

Otto did not pay another visit for two days.

“Where have you been for so long?” asked Sophie, when he came again.

“With my books!” replied he: there lay a gloomy expression in his eyes.

“O, you should have come half an hour earlier--our cousin was here!
He was describing to me the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. O, quite
excellently!”

“He is an interesting young man!” said Otto.

“The glorious garden!” pursued Sophie, without remarking the emphasis
with which Otto had replied. “Do you not remember, Mr. Thostrup, how
Barthélemi has spoken of it? ‘Où tout homme, qui rêve à son pays absent,
Retrouve ses parfums et son air caressant.’ In it there is a whole
avenue with cages, in which are wild beasts,--lions and tigers! In small
court-yards, elephants and buffaloes wander about at liberty! Giraffes
nibble the branches of high trees! In the middle of the garden are the
courts for bears, only there is a sort of well in which the bears
walk about; it is surrounded by no palisades, and you stand upon the
precipitous edge! There our cousin stood!”

“But he did not precipitate himself down!” said Otto, with indifference.

“What is the matter?” asked Sophie. “Are you in your elegiac mood? You
look as I imagine Victor Hugo when he has not made up his mind about the
management of his tragic catastrophe!”

“That is my innate singularity!” replied Otto. “I should have pleasure
in springing down among the bears of which you relate!”

“And in dying?” asked Sophie. “No, you must live. ‘C’est le bonheur de
vivre Qui fait la gloire de mourir.’”

“You speak a deal of French to-day,” said Otto, with a friendliness
of manner intended to soften the bitterness of the tone. “Perhaps your
conversation with the lieutenant was in that language?”

“French interests me the most!” replied she. “I will ask our cousin to
speak it often with me. His accent is excellent, and he is himself a
very interesting man!”

“No doubt of it!” answered Otto.

“You will remain and dine with us?” said the lady of the house, who now
entered.

Otto did not feel well.

“These are only whims,” said Sophie.

The ladies made merry, and Otto remained. Cousin Joachim came and was
interesting--very interesting, said all. He related of Paris, spoke also
of Copenhagen, and drew comparisons. The quietness of home had made an
especial impression on him.

“People here,” said he, “go about as if they bore some heavy grief, or
some joy, which they might not express. If one goes into a coffee-house,
it is just as if one entered a house of mourning. Each one seats
himself, a newspaper in his hand, in a corner. That strikes one when one
comes from Paris! One naturally has the thought,--Can these few degrees
further north bring so much cold into the blood? There is the same
quiet in our theatre. Now I love this active life. The only boldness the
public permits itself is hissing a poor author; but a wretched singer,
who has neither tone nor manner, a miserable actress, will be endured,
nay, applauded by good friends--an act of compassion. She is so fearful!
she is so good! In Paris people hiss. The decoration master, the
manager, every one there receives his share of applause or blame. Even
the directors are there hissed, if they manage badly.”

“You are preaching a complete revolution in our theatrical kingdom!”
 said the lady of the house. “The Copenhageners cannot ever become
Parisians, and neither should they.”

“The theatre is here, as well as there, the most powerful organ of the
people’s life. It has the greatest influence, and ours stands high, very
high, when one reflects in what different directions it must extend its
influence. Our only theatre must accommodate itself, and represent, at
the same time, the Theatre Français, the grand Opera, the Vaudeville,
and Saint-Martin; it must comprehend all kinds of theatrical
entertainments. The same actors who to-day appear in tragedy, must
to-morrow show themselves in a comedy or vaudeville. We have actors who
might compare themselves with the best in Paris--only _one_ is above all
ours, but, also, above all whom I have seen in Europe, and this one
is Mademoiselle Mars. You will, doubtless, consider the reason
extraordinary which gives this one, in my opinion, the first place. This
is her age, which she so completely compels you to forget. She is still
pretty; round, without being called fat. It is not through rouge, false
hair, or false teeth, that she procures herself youth; it lies in her
soul, and from thence it flows into every limb--every motion becomes
charming! She fills you with astonishment! her eyes are full of
expression, and her voice is the most sonorous which I know! It is
indeed music! How can one think of age when one is affected by an
immortal soul? I rave about Léontine Fay, but the old Mars has my heart.
There is also a third who stands high with the Parisians--Jenny Vertprè,
at the Gymnase Dramatique, but she would be soon eclipsed were the
Parisians to see our Demoiselle Pätges. She possesses talent which will
shine in every scene. Vertprè has her loveliness, her whims, but not
her Proteus-genius, her nobility. I saw Vertprè in ‘La Reine de Seize
Ans,’--a piece which we have not yet; but she was only a saucy soubrette
in royal splendor--a Pernille of Holberg’s, as represented by a
Parisian. We have Madame Wexschall, and we have Frydendal! Were Denmark
only a larger country, these names would sound throughout Europe!”

He now described the decorations in the “Sylphide,” in “Natalia,” and in
various other ballets, the whole splendor, the whole magnificence.

“But our orchestra is excellent!” said Miss Sophie.

“It certainly contains several distinguished men,” answered Joachim;
“but must one speak of the whole? Yes, you know I am not musical, and
cannot therefore express myself in an artistical manner about music,
but certain it is that something lay in my ear, in my feeling, which, in
Paris, whispered to me, ‘That is excellent!’ Here, on the contrary, it
cries, ‘With moderation! with moderation!’ The voice is the first; she
is the lady; the instruments, on the contrary, are the cavaliers who
shall conduct the former before the public. Gently they should take her
by the hand; she must stand quite foremost; but here the instruments
thrust her aside, and it is to me as if each instrument would have the
first place, and constantly shouted, ‘Here am I! here am I!”

“That sounds very well!” said Sophie; “but one may not believe you!
You have fallen in love with foreign countries, and, therefore, at home
everything must be slighted.”

“By no means! The Danish ladies, for instance, appear the prettiest, the
most modest whom I have known.”

“Appear?” repeated Otto.

“Joachim possesses eloquence,” said the lady of the house.

“That has developed itself abroad!” answered he: “here at home there are
only two ways in which it can publicly develop itself--in the pulpit,
and at a meeting in the shooting-house. Yet it is true that now we
are going to have a Diet and a more political life. I feel already,
in anticipation, the effect; we shall only live for this life, the
newspapers will become merely political, the poets sing politics the
painters choose scenes from political life. ‘C’est un Uebergang!’
as Madame La Flèche says. [Author’s Note: Holberg’s Jean de France.]
Copenhagen is too small to be a great, and too great to be a small city.
See, there lies the fault!”

Otto felt an irresistible desire to contradict him in most things which
he said about home. But the cousin parried every bold blow with a joke.

“Copenhagen must be the Paris of the North,” said he, “and that it
certainly would become in fifty, or twice that number of years. The
situation was far more beautiful than that of the city of the Seine. The
marble church must be elevated, and become a Pantheon, adorned with the
works of Thorwaldsen and other artists; Christiansborg, a Louvre, whose
gallery you visit; Öster Street and Pedermadsen’s passage, arcades such
as are in Paris, covered with glass roofs and flagged, shops on both
sides, and in the evening, when thousands of gas-lamps burnt, here
should be the promenade; the esplanades would be the Champs Elysées,
with swings and slides, music, and mâts de cocagne. [Author’s Note:
High smooth poles, to the top of which victuals, clothes, or money are
attached. People of the lower classes then try to climb up and seize the
prizes. The best things are placed at the very top of the pole.] On
the Peblinger Lake, as on the Seine, there should be festive water
excursions made. Voilà!” exclaimed he, “that would be splendid!”

“That might be divine!” said Sophie.

Animation and thought lay in the cousin’s countenance; his fine features
became striking from their expression. Thus did his image stamp itself
in Otto’s soul, thus did it place itself beside Sophie’s image as she
stood there, with her large brown eyes, round which played thought and
smiles, whilst they rested on the cousin. The beautifully formed white
hand, with its taper fingers, played with the curls which fell over her
cheeks. Otto would not think of it.



CHAPTER XXIX

     “And if I have wept alone, it is my own sorrow.”--GOETHE

Latterly Otto had been but seldom at Mr. Berger’s. He had no interest
about the merchant’s home. The family showed him every politeness and
mark of confidence; but his visits became every week more rare. Business
matters, however, led him one day there.

Chance or fate, as we call it, if the shadow of a consequence shows
itself, caused Maren to pass through the anteroom when Otto was about
taking his departure. She was the only one of the ladies at home. In
three weeks she would return to Lemvig. She said that she could not
boast of having enjoyed Mr. Thostrup’s society too often.

“Your old friends interest you no longer!” added she, somewhat gravely.
With this exception she had amused herself very well in the city,
had seen everything but the stuffed birds, and these she should see
to-morrow. She had been seven times in the theatre, and had seen the
“Somnambule” twice. However, she had not seen “Der Frieschütz,” and
she had an especial desire to see this on account of the wolf-glen. At
Aarhuus there was a place in the wood, said she, called the wolf-glen;
this she knew, and now wished to see whether it resembled the one on the
stage.

“May I then greet Rosalie from you?” she asked at length.

“You will still remain three weeks here,” said Otto: “it is too soon to
speak of leave-taking.”

“But you scarcely ever come here,” returned she. “You have better places
to go to! The Baron’s sister certainly sees you oftener; she is said
to be a pretty and very clever girl: perhaps one may soon offer one’s
congratulations?”

Otto became crimson.

“In spring you will travel abroad,” pursued she; “we shall not then see
you in Jutland: yes, perhaps you will never go there again! That will
make old Rosalie sad: she thinks so incredibly much of you. In all the
letters which I have received here there were greetings to Mr. Thostrup.
Yes, I have quite a multitude of them for you; but you do not come to
receive them, and I dare not pay a visit to such a young gentleman. For
the sake of old friendship let me, at least, be the first who can relate
at home of the betrothal!”

“How can you have got such a thought?” replied Otto. “I go to so many
houses where there are young ladies; if my heart had anything to do with
it, I should have a bad prospect. I have great esteem for Miss Sophie;
I speak with her as with you, that is all. I perceive that the air of
Copenhagen has affected you; here in the city they are always betrothing
people. This comes from the ladies in the house here. How could you
believe such stories?”

Maren also joked about it, but after they had parted she seated herself
in a corner, drew her little apron over her head and wept; perhaps
because she should soon leave the lively city, where she had been seven
times to the theatre, and yet had not seen the wolf-glen.

“Betrothed!” repeated Otto to himself, and thought of Sophie, of the
cousin, and of his own childhood, which hung like a storm-cloud in
his heaven. Many thoughts passed through his mind: he recollected the
Christmas Eve on which he had seen Sophie for the first time, when she,
as one of the Fates, gave him the number. He had 33, she 34; they were
united by the numbers following each other. He received the pedigree,
and was raised to her nobility. The whole joke had for him a
signification. He read the verse again which had accompanied it. The
conclusion sounded again and again in his ears:--“From this hour forth
thy soul high rank hath won her, Nor will forget thy knighthood and thy
honor!”

“O Sophie!” he exclaimed aloud, and the fire which had long smouldered
in his blood now burst forth in flames. “Sophie! thee must I press to my
heart!” He lost himself in dreams. Dark shapes disturbed them. “Can she
then be happy? Can I? The picture which she received where the covering
of ice was broken and the faithful dog watched in vain, is also
significant. That is the fulfillment of hopes. I sink, and shall never
return!”

The image of the cousin mingled in his dreams. That refined countenance
with the little mustache looked forth saucily and loquaciously; and
Sophie’s eyes he saw rest upon the cousin, whilst her white hand played
with the brown curls which fell over her cheek.

“O Sophie!” sighed Otto, and fell asleep.



CHAPTER XXX

           ...“We live through others,
     We think we are others; we seem
     Others to be... And so think others of us.”
                                       SCHEFER.

When the buds burst forth we will burst forth also! had Otto and Wilhelm
often said. Their plan was, in the spring to travel immediately to
Paris, but on their way to visit the Rhine, and to sail from Cologne to
Strasburg.

“Yes, one must see the Rhine first!” said Cousin Joachim; “when one has
seen Switzerland and Italy, it does not strike one nearly as much.
That must be your first sight; but you should not see it in spring, but
toward autumn. When the vines have their full variety of tint, and the
heavy grapes hang from the stems, see, it is then the old ruins stand
forth. These are the gardens of the Rhine! Another advantage which you
have in going there in autumn is that you then enter Paris in winter,
and that one must do; then one does not come post festum; then is the
heyday of gayety--the theatre, the soirées, and everything which can
interest the beau monde.”

Although Otto did not generally consider the cousin’s words of much
weight, he this time entered wonderfully into his views. “It would
certainly be the most prudent to commence their journey toward autumn,”
 he thought: “there could be no harm in preparing themselves a little
more for it!”

“That is always good!” said Joachim; “but, what is far more advantageous
abroad than all the preparations you can make at home, is said in a few
words--give up all intercourse with your own country-people! Nowadays
every one travels! Paris is not now further from us than Hamburg was
some thirty years ago. When I was in Paris I found there sixteen or
seventeen of my countrymen. O, how they kept together! Eleven of
them dwelt in the same hôtel: they drank coffee together, walked out
together, went to the restaurateur’s together, and took together half a
bench in the theatre. That is the most foolish thing a person can do!
I consider travelling useful for every one, from the prince to the
travelling journeyman. But we allow too many people to travel! We are
not rich, therefore restrictions should be made. The creative artist,
the poet, the engineer, and the physician must travel; but God knows why
theologians should go forth. They can become mad enough at home!
They come into Catholic countries, and then there is an end of them!
Wherefore should book-worms go forth? They shut themselves up in the
diligence and in their chambers, rummage a little in the libraries, but
not so much as a pinch of snuff do they do us any good when they return!
Those who cost the most generally are of the least use, and bring the
country the least honor! I, thank God! paid for my journey myself, and
am therefore free to speak my opinion!”

We will now hear what Miss Sophie said, and therefore advance a few
days.

“We keep you then with us till August!” said she, once when she was
alone with Otto. “That is wise! You can spend some time with us in
Funen, and gather strength for your journey. Yes, the journey will do
you good!”

“I hope so!” answered Otto. “I am perhaps able to become as interesting
as your cousin, as amiable!”

“That would be requiring too much from you!” said Sophie, bantering him.
“You will never have his humor, his facility in catching up character.
You will only preach against the depravity of the Parisians; you will
only be able to appreciate the melancholy grandeur of Switzerland and
the solitude of the Hungarian forests.”

“You would make a misanthrope of me, which I by no means am.”

“But you have an innate talent for this character!” answered Sophie.
“Something will certainly be polished away by this journey, and it is on
account of this change that I rejoice.”

“Must one, then, have a light, fickle mood to please you?” asked Otto.

“Yes, certainly!” answered Sophie, ironically.

“Then it is true what your cousin told me!” said Otto. “If one will be
fortunate with the ladies, one must at least be somewhat frivolous, fond
of pleasure, and fickle,--that makes one interesting. Yes, he has made
himself acquainted with the world, he has experience in everything!”

“Yes, perfectly!” said Sophie, and laughed aloud.

Otto was silent, with contracted brow.

“I wish you sunshine!” said Sophie, and smiling raised her finger. Otto
remained unchanged--he wrinkled his brow.

“You must change very much!” said she, half gravely; and danced out of
the room.

Three weeks passed by, rich in great events in the kingdom of the
heart; it was still a diplomatic secret: the eyes betrayed it by their
pantomimic language, the mouth alone was silent, and it is after all the
deciding power.

Otto visited the merchant’s family. Maren had departed just the day
before. In vain had she awaited his visit throughout the three weeks.

“You quite forget your true friends!” said the ladies. “Believe us,
Maja was a little angry with you, and yet we have messages. Now she is
sailing over the salt sea.”

This was not precisely the case; she was already on land, and just at
this moment was driving over the brown heath, thinking of Copenhagen
and the pleasures there, and of the sorrow also--it is so sad to be
forgotten by a friend of childhood! Otto was so handsome, so clever--she
did not dream at all how handsome and clever she herself would appear at
home. Beauty and cleverness they had discovered in her before she left;
now she had been in the capital, and that gives relief.

The little birds fluttered round the carriage; perhaps they sang to her
what should happen in two years: “Thou wilt be a bride, the secretary’s
lovely little bride; thou shalt have both him and the musical-box!
Thou wilt be the grandest lady in the town, and yet the most excellent
mother. Thy first daughter shall be called Maja--that is a pretty name,
and reminds thee of past days!”



CHAPTER XXXI

     “The monastery is still called ‘Andersskov’ (the wood of
     Anders) in memory of its being the habitation of the pious
     Anders.

     “The hill on which he awoke, comforted by sleep, is still
     called ‘Hvile höi’ (the hill of rest). A cross having a
     Latin inscription, half-effaced, marks the spot.”--J. L.
     HEIBERG.

It was spring, fresh, life-bearing spring! Only one day and one night,
and the birds of passage were back again; the woods made themselves once
more young with green, odorous leaves; the Sound had its swimming Venice
of richly laden vessels; only one day and one night, and Sophie was
removed from Otto--they were divided by the salt sea; but it was spring
in his heart; from it flew his thoughts, like birds of passage, to the
island of Funen, and there sang of summer. Hope gave him more “gold and
green woods” than the ships bear through the Sound, more than Zealand’s
bays can show. Sophie at parting pressed his hand. In her eyes lay what
his heart might hope and dream.

He forgot that hope and dreams were the opposites of reality.

Cousin Joachim had gone to Stockholm, and would not return either in the
spring or summer to Funen. On the contrary, Otto intended to spend a
few weeks at the country-seat; not before August would he and Wilhelm
travel. There would at least be one happy moment, and many perhaps
almost as happy. In his room stood a rose-bush, the first buds formed
themselves, and opened their red lips--as pure and tender as these
leaves was Sophie’s cheek: he bent over the flower, smiled and read
there sweet thoughts which were related to his love. A rose-bud is a
sweet mystery.

                   “The myriad leaves enmaze
                    Small labyrinthine ways
                    Where spicy odor flows,
                    Thou lovelv bud o’ the rose!”

The day came on which Otto, after he had comfortably terminated his
visits of leave-taking, at midday, in the company of three young
students travelled away through Zealand. They had taken a carriage
together as far as Slagelse, where, like Abraham’s and Lot’s shepherds,
they should separate to the right and left. Otto remained alone, in
order to travel post that night to Nyborg. It was only four o’clock in
the afternoon, Otto had no acquaintance here, therefore it was but to
take a walk.

“There still exist remains of the old Antvorskov convent, [Author’s
Note: The convent was founded by Waldemar I., 1177.] do there not?”
 asked he.

“Yes, but very little!” answered the host. “The convent became a castle,
the castle a private house, and now within the last few years, on
account of the stones, it has been still more pulled down. You will find
nothing old remaining, except here and there in the garden a piece of a
red wall standing out. But the situation is beautiful! If you will only
take the road toward the large village called Landsgrav, you are on the
way to Korsöer, and close to the cross of the holy Anders. It is a right
pleasant excursion!”

“Convent ruins and the holy cross!” said Otto; “that sounds quite
romantic!” And he commenced his wanderings.

A few scholars from the Latin school, with their books held together by
a strait, and then a square built lancer, who greeted in military style
an elderly-young lady, who was seated behind a barricade of geraniums
and wall flowers, were the only individuals he met with on his way. Yet
Otto remarked that the windows were opened as he passed; people wanted
to see who the stranger might be who was going up the street.

A long avenue led from the town to the castle. On either side the way
lay detached houses, with little gardens. Otto soon reached the remains
of old Antvorskov. The way was red from the stones which were flung
about, and were now ground to dust. Huge pieces of wall, where the
mortar and stone were united in one piece, lay almost concealed among
the high nettles. Rather more distant stood a solitary house of two
stories. It was narrow, and whitewashed. A thick pilaster, such as one
sees in churches, supported the strong wall. This was half of the last
wing of the castle,--a mingling of the ancient and incident, of ruin and
dwelling-house.

Otto went into the garden, which was laid out upon the hill itself, and
its terraces. Here were only young trees; but the walks were everywhere
overgrown. The view stretched itself far over the plain, toward the Belt
and Funen. He descended from the terrace down to the lowest wall. In
this there yet remained a piece of an old tombstone, of the age of the
convent, on which you perceived the trace of a female form; and near
to this the figure of a skeleton, round which was twined a snake. Otto
stood sunk in contemplation, when an old man, with two water-buckets
suspended from a yoke on his shoulders, approached a near well.

The old man was very ready to commence a conversation. He told
of excavations, and of an underground passage which had not been
discovered, but which, according to his opinion, was certainly in
existence. So far they had only found a few walled-round spaces, which
had most probably been prisons. In one of these was an iron chain
fastened into the wall. But with regard to the underground passage, they
had only not yet discovered the right place, for it must exist. It led
from here, deep under the lake and forest, toward Soröe. There were
large iron gates below. At Christmas one could hear how they were swung
to and fro. “Whoever should have that which is concealed there,” said
the old man, “would be a made man, and need not neither slip nor slide.”

Otto looked at the solitary wing which rose up over the terrace. How
splendid it had been here in former times!

Close to the large wood, several miles in extent, which stretches itself
on the other side of Soröe, down to the shore of the King’s Brook, lay
the rich convent where Hans Tausen spoke what the Spirit inspired him
with. Times changed; the convent vanished;

                 “Halls of state
      Tower upon that spot elate;
      Where the narrow cell once stood;”
      [Author’s Note: Anders-skov, by Oehlenschläger.]

where the monks sang psalms, knights and ladies danced to the sound of
beating drums: but these tone’s ceased; the blooming cheeks became dust.
It was again quiet. Many a pleasant time did Holberg ride over from
Soröe, through the green wood, to visit the steward of Antvorskov. Otto
recollected what one of his daughters, when an old woman, had related
to a friend of his. She was a child, and lay in the cradle, when old
Holberg came riding there, with a little wheaten loaf and a small pot of
preserve in his pocket--his usual provision on such little excursions.
The steward’s young wife sat at her spinning-wheel. Holberg paced up
and down the room with the husband; they were discussing politics. This
interested the wife, and she joined in the conversation. Holberg turned
round to her,--“I fancy the distaff speaks!” said he. This the wife
could never forget. [Translator’s Note: Rokkehoved, distaff, means also
dunce in Danish.]

Otto smiled at this recollection of the witty but ungallant poet,
quitted the garden, and went through a winding hollow way, where the
luxuriant briers hung in rich masses over the stone fence. Slagelse,
with its high hills in the background, looked picturesque. He soon
reached Landsgrav. The sun went down as he walked over the field where
the wooden cross stands, with its figure of the Redeemer, in memory of
the holy Anders. Near it he perceived a man, who appeared to kneel. One
hand held fast by the cross; in the other was a sharp knife, with which
he was probably cutting out his name. He did not observe Otto. Near
the man lay a box covered with green oil-cloth; and in the grass lay a
knapsack, a pair of boots, and a knotty stick. It must be a wandering
journeyman, or else a pedlar.

Otto was about to return, when the stranger rose and perceived him. Otto
stood as if nailed to the earth. It was the German Heinrich whom he saw
before him.

“Is not that Mr. Thostrup?” said the man and that horrible grinning
smile played around his mouth. “No, that I did not expect!”

“Does it go well with you, Heinrich?” asked Otto.

“There’s room for things to mend!” replied Heinrich “It goes better with
you! Good Lord, that you should become such a grand gentleman! Who would
have thought it, when you rode on my knee, and I pricked you in the arm?
Things go on strangely in this world! Have you heard of your sister? She
was not so much spoiled as you! But she was a beautiful child!”

“I have neither seen her nor my parents!” replied he, with a trembling
which he strove to conquer. “Do you know where she is?”

“I am always travelling!” said Heinrich; “but thus much I know, that
she is still in Funen. Yes, she must take one of us, an unpretending
husband! You can choose a genteel young lady for yourself. That’s the
way when people are lucky. You will become a landed proprietor. Old
Heinrich will then no doubt obtain permission to exhibit his tricks on
your estate? But none of its will speak of former times!--of the red
house on the Odense water!” This last he whispered quite low. “I shall
receive a few shillings from you?” he asked.

“You shall have more!” said Otto, and gave to him. “But I wish us to
remain strangers to each other, as we are!”

“Yes, certainly, certainly!” said Heinrich, and nodded affirmatively
with his head, whilst his eyes rested on the gift Otto had presented him
with. “Then you are no longer angry with my joke in Jutland?” asked he
with a simpering smile, and kissed Otto’s hand. “I should not have known
you then. Had you not shown me your shoulder, on which I saw the letters
O and T which I myself had etched, it would never have occurred to
me that we knew each other! But a light suddenly flashed across me. I
should have said Otto Thostrup; but I said ‘Odense Tugt-huus.’ [Note:
Odense house of correction.] That was not handsome of me, seeing you are
such a good gentleman!”

“Yes, now adieu!” said Otto, and extended to him unwillingly his hand.

“There, our Saviour looks down upon us!” said the German Heinrich, and
fixed his eyes upon the figure on the cross. “As certainly as He lives
may you rely upon the silence of my mouth. He is my Redeemer, who hangs
there on the cross, just as he is etched upon my skin, and as he stands
along the high-roads in my father-land. Here is the only place in the
whole country where the sign of the cross stands under the free heaven;
here I worship: for you must know, Mr. Thostrup, I am not of your faith,
but of the faith of the Virgin Mary. Here I have cut into the wood the
holy sign, such as is placed over every door in my father-land,--an I,
an H, and this S. In this is contained my own name; for H stands for
Heinrich; I, for I myself; and S means Sinner; that is, I, Heinrich,
Sinner. Now I have completed my worship, and you have given me a
handsome skilling, I shall now go to my bed at the public-house; and if
the girl is pretty, and lets one flatter her, I am still young enough,
and shall fancy that I am Mr. Thostrup, and have won that most glorious,
elegant young lady! Hurrah! it is a player’s life which we lead!”

Otto left him, but heard how Heinrich sang:

           “Tri, ri, ro,
   The summer comes once mo!
     To beer, boys! to beer
   The winter lies in bands, O!
     And he who won’t come here,
   We’ll trounce him with our wands, O!
            Yo, yo, yo,
   The summer comes once mo!”

As, suddenly on a clear sunny day, a cloud can appear, extinguish the
warm sunshine, conceal the green coast, and change everything into
gray mist forms, so was it now with Otto, who had but just before felt
himself so happy and full of youthful joy.

“You can sleep quietly!” said the host, when Otto returned to Slagelse;
“you shall be wakened early enough to leave with the mail.”

But his rest was like a delirium.

The post-horn sounded in the empty street; they rolled away--it was at
daybreak.

“Is that a gallows?” inquired one of the travellers, and pointed toward
the hill, where at this distance the cross looked like a stake.

“That is the cross of the holy Anders!” replied Otto; and livingly stood
before him the recollections of the evening before.

“Does that really exist?” said the stranger. “I have read of it in the
‘Letters of a Wandering Ghost.’”

This was a beautiful morning, the sun shone warmly, the sea was smooth
as a mirror, and so much the faster did the steamboat glide away. The
vessel with the mail, which had set sail two hours earlier, still lay
not far from land. The sails hung down loosely; not a breeze stirred
them.

The steamboat glided close past her; the passengers in the mail-vessel,
the greater portion coachmen, travelling journeymen, and peasants, stood
on the deck to see it. They waved greetings. One of the foremost leaned
on his knotty stick, pulled off his hat, and shouted, “Good morning,
my noble gentlefolk!” It was the German Heinrich; he then was going to
Funen. Otto’s heart beat faster, he gazed down among the rushing waves
which foamed round the paddle, where the sunbeams painted a glorious
rainbow.

“That is lovely!” said one of the strangers, close to him.

“Very lovely!” returned Otto, and stilled the sigh which would burst
forth from his breast.

Scarcely two hours were fled--the cables were flung upon the Nyborg
bridge of boats, and the steamboat made fast to the island of Funen.



CHAPTER XXXII

     “It is so sweet when friendly hands bid you a hearty
     welcome, so dear to behold well-known features, wherever you
     turn your eyes. Everything seems so home-like and quiet
     about you and in your own breast.”   HENRIETTE HAUCK.

Otto immediately hired a carriage, and reached the hall just about
dinner-time. In the interior court-yard stood two calashes and an
Holstein carriage; two strange coachmen, with lace round their hats,
stood in animated discourse when Otto drove in through the gate. The
postilion blew his horn.

“Be quiet there!” cried Otto.

“There are strangers at the hall!” said the postilion; “I will only let
them know that another is coming.”

Otto gazed at the garden, glanced up toward the windows, where mine of
the ladies showed themselves only out of a side building a female
head was stretched out, whose hair was put back underneath a cap. Otto
recognized the grown-together eyebrows. “Is she the first person I am to
see here?” sighed he; and the carriage rolled into the inner court. The
dogs barked, the turkey-cocks gobbled, but not Wilhelm showed himself.
The Kammerjunker came--the excellent neighbor! and immediately afterward
Sophie; both exclaimed with smiles, “Welcome!”

“See, here we have our man!” said the Kammerjunker; “we can make use of
him in the play!”

“It is glorious you are come!” cried Sophie. “We shall immediately put
you under arrest.” She extended her hand to him--he pressed it to his
lips. “We will have tableaux vivants this evening!” said she: “the
pastor has never seen any. We have no service from Wilhelm; he is in
Svendborg, and will not return for two days. You must be the officer;
the Kammerjunker will represent the Somnambulist, who comes with her
light through the window. Will you?”

“Everything you desire!” said Otto.

“Do not speak of it!” returned Sophie, and laid her finger on her lips.
The mother descended the steps.

“Dear Thostrup!” said she, and pressed, with warm cordiality, both his
hands. “I have really quite yearned after you. Now Wilhelm is away, you
must for two whole days put up with us alone.”

Otto went through the long passage where hung the old portraits; it was
as if these also wished welcome. It only seemed a night full of many
dreams which had passed since he was here; a year in the lapse of time
is also not so long as a winter’s night in the life of man.

Here it was so agreeable, so home-like; no one could have seen by the
trees that since then they had stood stripped of leaves and covered with
snow; luxuriantly green they waved themselves in the sun’s warmth, just
as when Otto last gazed out of this window.

He had the red room as before. The dinner-bell rang.

Louise met him in the passage.

“Thostrup!” exclaimed she, with delight, and seized his hand. “Now, it
is almost a year and a day since I saw you!”

“Yes much has happened in this year!” said the Kammerjunker. “Come
soon to me, and you shall see what I have had made for pastime--a
bowling-green! Miss Sophie has tried her skill upon it.”

The Kammerjunker took the mother to dinner. Otto approached Sophie.

“Will you not take the Kammerjunker’s sister?” whispered she.

Mechanically, Otto made his bow before Miss Jakoba.

“Take one of the young ladies!” said she; “you would rather do that?”

Otto bowed, cast a glance toward Sophie; she had the old pastor. Otto
smiled, and conducted Jakoba to table.

The Mamsell, renowned through her work-box, sat on his left hand.
He observed the company who, beside those we have already mentioned,
consisted of several ladies and gentlemen whom he did not know. One
chair was empty, but it was soon occupied; a young girl, quiet in her
attire, and dressed like Louise, entered.

“Why do you come so late?” asked Sophie, smiling.

“That is only known to Eva and me!” said Louise, and smiled at the young
girl.

Eva seated herself. It was, perhaps, the complete resemblance of their
dress which induced Otto to observe both her and Louise so closely, and
even against his own will to draw comparisons. Both wore a simple dark
brown dress, a small sea-green handkerchief round the neck. Louise
seemed to him enchanting--pretty one could not call her: Eva, on the
contrary, was ideal; there lay something in her appearance which made
him think of the pale pink hyacinth. Every human being has his invisible
angel, says the mythos; both are different and yet resemble each other.
Eva was the angel; Louise, on the contrary, the human being in all its
purity. Otto’s eyes encountered those of Sophie--they were both directed
to the same point. “What power! what beauty!” thought he. Her mind is
far above that of Louise, and in beauty she is a gorgeous flower, and
not, like Eva, a fine, delicate hyacinth. He drew eloquence from these
eyes, and became interesting like the cousin, although he had not been
in Paris.

The Kammerjunker spoke of sucking-pigs, but that also was interesting;
perhaps be drew his inspiration out of the same source as Otto. He spoke
of the power of green buckwheat, and how the swine which eat it become
mad. From this doubtless originated the legend of the devil entering
into the swine. It is only coal-black pigs which can digest green
buckwheat; if they have a single white speck upon them, they become ill
at eating. “This is extraordinary,” exclaimed he.

In his enthusiasm his discourse became almost a cry, which caused Miss
Jakoba to say that one might almost think that he himself had eaten
green buckwheat.

Otto meantime cut out of the green melon-peel a man, and made him ride
on the edge of his glass; that withdrew Sophie’s attention from the
Kammerjunker. The whole company found that this little cut-out figure
was very pretty; and the Mamsell begged that she might have it--it
should lie in her work-box.

Toward evening all were in preparation for the approaching tableaux.

Eva must represent Hero. With a torch in her hand she must kneel on a
table, which was to be draped so as to represent a balcony. The poor
girl felt quite unhappy at having to appear in this manner. Sophie
laughed at her fear, and assured her that she would be admired, and that
therefore she must and should.

“Give way to my sister,” said Louise, in a beseeching voice; and Eva was
ready, let down her long brown hair, and allowed Sophie to arrange the
drapery.

Otto must put on an officer’s uniform. He presented himself to the
sisters.

“That gold is not sewn fast on the collar,” said Sophie, and undertook
to rectify it. He could easily keep the uniform on whilst she did this,
said she. Her soft hand touched Otto’s cheek, it was like an electric
shock to him; his blood burned; how much he longed to press the hand to
his lips!

They all burst out laughing when the Kammerjunker appeared in a white
petticoat which only reached a little below the knee, and in a large
white lady’s dressing-jacket. Miss Sophie must arrange his hair. She did
it charmingly; her hand stroked the hair away from his brow, and glided
over his cheeks: he kissed it; she struck him in the face, and begged
him not to forget himself! “We are ladies,” said he, and rose in his
full splendor. They all laughed except Otto; he could not--he felt a
desire to beat him. The spectators arranged themselves in a dark room,
the folding doors were opened.

Eva as Hero, in a white linen robe, her hair hanging down on her
shoulders, and a torch in her hand, gazed out over the sea. No painter
could have imagined anything more beautiful; the large dark-blue eyes
expressed tenderness and melancholy; it was Eva’s natural glance,
but here you saw her quiet. The fine black eyebrows increased the
expression, the whole figure was as if breathed into the picture.

Now followed a new picture--Faust and Margaret in the arbor; behind
stood Mephistophiles, with his devilish smile. The Kammerjunker’s
Mamsell was Margaret. When the doors were opened she sent forth aloud
cry, and ran away; she would not stay, she was so afraid. The group was
disarranged, people laughed and found it amusing, but the Kammerjunker
scolded aloud, and swore that she should come in again; at that the
laughter of the spectators increased, and was not lessened when the
Kammerjunker, forgetting his costume as the Somnambule, half stepped
into the frame in which the pictures were represented, and seated the
Mamsell on the bench. This group was only seen for one moment: the
dorors were again closed; the spectators applauded, but a whistle was
heard. Laughter, and the hum of conversation, resounded through the
room; and it was impossible to obtain perfect quiet, although a new
picture already shone in the frame. It was Sophie as Correggio’s
“Magdalene”: her rich hair fell in waves over her shoulders and round
arms; before her lay the skull and the holy book.

Otto’s blood flowed faster; never had he seen Sophie more beautiful. The
audience, however, could not entirely forget the comic scene which they
had just witnessed; there was heard a faint suppressed laughter.

This at length was able to take its free course when the following
picture presented itself, where the Kammerjunker, as the Somnambule, his
hand half-concealing the extinguished light, showed himself at the open
window.

A most stormy burst of applause was awarded to the actors.

“Miss Sophie has arranged the whole!” cried the Kammerjunker, and now
her name sounded from the lips of all the audience.

Not before two days did Wilhelm return. He and Otto slept in the same
apartment. Otto told of the tableaux, and said how lovely Eva had been
as Hero.

“That I can well believe,” replied Wilhelm, but did not enter further
into the subject; he laughed about the Kammerjunker and the disarranged
group.

Otto again named Eva, but Wilhelm lightly passed over this subject in
his replies. Otto could not fathom their connection.

“Shall we not go to sleep?” said Wilhelm; they wished each other
good-night, and it was quiet.

The old man Sleep, as Tieck has described him, with the box out of
which he brings his dream-puppets, now commenced his nightly dramatic
adventures, which lasted until the sun shone in through the window.



CHAPTER XXXIII

     “He draws nearer and nearer to her.
     ‘O, give my hope an answer by this pink-flower.’
     She sighs: ‘O, I will--no--I will not.’”
                              The Dancer, by PALUDAN-MÜLLER

“I shall get to know!” thought Otto. “This violent love cannot be
evaporated.” He paid attention to every little occurrence. Eva was the
same quiet, modest creature as formerly--a house-fairy who exercised
a friendly influence over all. Wilhelm spoke with her, but not with
passion, neither with affected indifference. However, we cannot entirely
rely upon Otto’s power of observation: his glance was directed too often
toward a dearer object--his attention was really directed to Sophie.

They walked in the garden.

“Once as you certainly know,” said Otto, “your brother had a fancy for
the pretty Eva. Is it not, therefore, somewhat dangerous her living
here? Has your mother been prudent?”

“For Wilhelm I am quite unconcerned!” answered Sophie. “Only take care
of yourself! Eva is very amiable, and has very much changed for the
better since she came here. My sister Louise quite raves about her, and
my mother regards her almost as an adopted daughter. You have certainly
remarked that she is not kept in the background. Yet she is weak; she
resembles the tender mountain-flowers which grow in ice and snow, but
which bow their heads in the soft mountain air, when it is warmed by
the sun. It really seems to me that she is become weaker since she has
enjoyed our care and happy days. When I saw her at Roeskelde she was far
more blooming.”

“Perhaps she thinks of your brother--thinks of him with quiet sorrow?”

“That I do not think is the case,” replied Sophie; “otherwise Louise
would have heard something of it. She possesses Eva’s entire confidence.
You may make yourself easy, if you are jealous!”

“What make you conjecture this? My thoughts are directed above, and not
beneath me!” said he, with a kind of pride, “I feel that I could never
fall in love with Eva. Feel love toward her? no! Even when I think of
it, I feel almost as though I had some prejudice against her. But you
joke; you will rally me, as you have so often done. We shall soon part!
Only two months longer shall I remain in Denmark! Two long years abroad!
How much may occur in that time! Will you think of me--really think of
me, Miss Sophie?” He bent, and kissed her hand.

Sophie became crimson. Both were silent.

“Are you here!” said the mother, who came out of a side walk.

Otto stooped lower, and broke one of the beautiful stocks which hung
over the border.

“Are you taking Louise’s favorite flowers?” said she, smiling. “This bed
is declared to be inviolable.”

“I was so unfortunate as to break it!” said Otto, confused.

“He wished to gather the dark-red pink for my table-garland!” said
Sophie. “If he took it, my conscience would be clear!”

And they all three walked along speaking of cherries, gooseberries, of
the linen on the bleaching-ground, and of the warm summer’s day.

In the evening Eva and the two sisters sat at their work, Otto and
Wilhelm had taken their seats beside them. They spoke of Copenhagen.

Sophie knew how to introduce a number of little anecdotes, which she had
gathered among the young ladies there. Otto entered into her ideas, and
knew cleverly how to support what she said. What in reality interested
young ladies was discussed.

“When a girl is confirmed, all manner of fancies awake!” said Otto. “She
experiences a kind of inclination for the heart of man; but this may
not be acknowledged, except for two friends to the clergyman and the
physician. For these she has quite a passion, especially for the
former; she stands in a kind of spiritual rapport with him. His physical
amiability melts into the spiritual. Thus her first love one may
designate clergyman-love.”

“That is well said!” exclaimed Sophie.

“He preaches himself so deeply into her heart!” pursued Otto. “She melts
into tears, kisses his hand, and goes to church; but not for the sake of
God, but on account of the sweet clergyman!”

“O, I know that so well!” said Sophie, and laughed.

“Fie! you do not mean so!” said Louise; “and I do not know how you can
say such a thing Mr. Thostrup! That is frightful! You do not in the
least know a young girl’s soul! do not know the pure feeling with which
she inclines herself to the man who has laid open before her the holy
things of religion! Do not make sport of the innocent, the pure, which
is so far removed from every earthly impression!”

“I assure you,” said Otto, smiling, “were I a poet, I would make the
clergyman-love ridiculous in a hundred witty epigrams; and were I a
teacher, I would protest against it from the chair.”

“That would be scattering poison into a well!” said Louise. “You, as a
man, do not know the pure, the holy sentiment which exists in a young
girl’s bosom. Eva, thou art certainly of my opinion?”

“Neither is this Mr. Thostrup’s opinion?” answered she, and looked at
him with a mild gravity.

Wilhelm laughed aloud.



CHAPTER XXXIV

     “Alas, I am no sturdy oak!
     Alas, I’m but the flower
       That wakes the kiss of May!
     And when has fled its little hour,
       Will voice of Death obey.”--RUCKERT.

The following afternoon came visitors--two young ladies from Nyborg,
friends of Sophie and Louise. Before dinner they would take a walk
through the wood to an inclosure where the flax was in bloom. Otto was
to accompany them.

“I am also of the party!” said the Kammerjunker, who just galloped into
the court-yard as the ladies, with Otto, were about setting out on
their excursion. Thus the whole company consisted of five ladies and two
gentlemen.

“The cows are not in the field over which we must go, are they?” asked
Eva.

“No, my good girl!” returned Sophie; “you may be quite easy! Besides, we
have two gentlemen with us.”

“Yes; but they would not be able to protect us from the unruly
bullocks!” said Louise. “But we have nothing to fear. Where we are
going the cows do not go until after they are milked. I am no heroine!
Besides, it is not long since one bullock nearly gored the cowherd to
death. He also gored Sidsel a great hole in her arm just lately: you
remember the girl with her eyebrows grown together?”

“There is also in the wood a wild sow, with eleven sucking pigs!” said
Sophie, in ironical gravity; “it would not be agree able to meet with
her!”

“She is almost as dangerous as the bullocks!” said the Kammerjunker, and
laughed at Eva.

The conversation took another turn.

“Shall we not visit Peter Cripple?” asked Sophie. “The gentlemen can
then see the smith’s pretty daughter; she is really too beautiful to be
his wife!”

“Is Peter Cripple married?” inquired Otto.

“No, the wedding will be held on Sunday!” replied the Kammerjunker; “but
the bride is already in the house. The bans were published last Sunday,
and they immediately commenced housekeeping together. This often takes
place even earlier, when a man cannot do without a wife. She has taken
him on account of his full money-bags!”

“Yes, with the peasant it is seldom love which brings about the affair!”
 said Louise. “Last year there was quite a young girl who married a
man who might have been her grandfather. She took him only, she said,
because he had such a good set of earthenware.”

“These were very brittle things to marry upon!” remarked Otto.

Meantime they were nearly come to the edge of the wood. Here stood a
little house; hops hung luxuriantly over the hedge, the cat stood with
bent back upon the crumbling edge of the well.

Sophie, at the head of the whole company, stepped into the room, where
Peter Cripple sat on the table sewing; but, light and active as an
elf, he sprang down from the table to kiss her hand. The smith’s pretty
daughter was stirring something in an iron pot in the hearth. St. John’s
wort, stuck between the beams and the ceiling, shot forth in luxuriant
growth, prophesying long life to the inhabitants of the house. On the
sooty ceiling glittered herrings’ souls, as a certain portion of the
herring’s entrails is called, and which Peter Cripple, following the
popular belief, had flung up to the ceiling, convinced that so long as
they hung there he should be freed from the ague.

Otto took no part in the conversation, but turned over a quantity of
songs which he found; they were stitched together in a piece of blue
tobacco-paper. The principal contents were, “New, Melancholy Songs,”
 “Of the Horrible Murder,” “The Audacious Criminal,” “The Devil in Salmon
Lane,” “Boat’s Fall,” and such things; which have now supplanted, among
the peasants, the better old popular songs.

With Louise, Eva, and one of the ladies from Nyborg, Otto slowly
preceded the others, who had still some pleasantries to say before
leaving Peter Cripple and his bride.

“Shall we not go over the inclosure to the cairn?” said Louise. “It is
clear to-day; we shall see Zealand. The others will follow us; here,
from the foot-path, they will immediately discover us.”

Otto opened the gate and they went through the inclosure. They had
already advanced a considerable way, when the Kammerjunker and his
ladies reached the foot-path from which they could see the others.

“They are going to the cairn,” said he.

“Then they will have a little fright!” said Sophie. “Down in the corner
of the inclosure lie the young cattle. They may easily mistake them for
cows, and the wild bullocks!”

“Had we not better call them back?” asked the other lady.

“But we must frighten them a little,” said Sophie. “Shout to them that
there are the cows!”

“Yes, that I can do with a clear conscience!” said the Kammerjunker;
and he shouted as loud as he could, “There are the cows! Turn back! turn
back!”

Eva heard it the first. “O God!” said she, “hear what they are calling
to us!”

Otto glanced around, but saw no cows.

“They are standing still!” said Sophie; “call once again!”

The Kammerjunker shouted as before, and Sophie imitated the lowing of
the cows. At this noise the young cattle arose.

Louise now became aware of them. “O heavens!” exclaimed she; “there,
down in the corner of the inclosure, are all the cows!”

“Let us run!” cried Eva, and took to flight.

“For God’s sake, do not run!” cried Otto; “walk slowly and quietly,
otherwise they may come!”

“Come away, away!” resounded from the wood.

“O Lord!” shrieked Eva, when she saw the creatures raise their tails in
the air as soon as they perceived the fugitives.

“Now they are coming!” cried the lady who accompanied them, and sent
forth a loud scream.

Eva fled first, as if borne by the wind; the lady followed her, and
Louise ran on after them.

Otto now really saw all the cattle, which, upon the ladies flight, had
instinctively followed, chasing over the field after them in the same
direction.

Nothing now remained for him but, like the others, to reach the gate.
This he opened, and had just closed again, when the cattle were close
upon them, but no one had eyes to see whether the cattle were little or
big.

“Now there is no more danger!” cried Otto, as soon as he had well closed
the gate; but the ladies still fled on, passing among the trees until
they reached the spot where the Kammerjunker and his two ladies awaited
them with ringing laughter.

Sophie was obliged to support herself against a tree through all the
amusement. It had been a most remarkable spectacle, this flight; Eva at
the head, and Mr. Thostrup rushing past them to open the gate. Louise
was pale as death, and her whole body trembled; the friend supported her
arm and forehead on a tree, and drew a long breath.

“Bah!” again cried Sophie, and laughed.

“But where is Eva?” asked Otto, and shouted her name.

“She ran here before me!” said Louise; “she is doubtless leaning against
a tree, and recovering her strength.”

“Eva!” cried Sophie. “Where is my hero: ‘I want a hero!’” [Author’s
Note: Byron’s Don Juan.]

Otto returned to seek her. At this moment Wilhelm arrived.

The Kammerjunker regretted that he had not seen the race with them, and
related the whole history to him.

“O come! come!” they heard Otto shout. They found him kneeling in the
high grass. Eva lay stretched out on the ground; she was as pale as
death; her head rested in Otto’s lap.

“God in heaven!” cried Wilhelm, and flung himself down before her. “Eva!
Eva! O, she is dead! and thou art to blame for it, Sophie! Thou hast
killed her!” Reproachfully he fixed his eyes on his sister. She burst
into tears, and concealed her face in her hands.

Otto ran to the peasant’s cottage and brought water. Peter Cripple
himself hopped like a mountain-elf behind him through the high nettles
and burdocks, which closed above and behind him again.

The Kammerjunker took Eva in his strong arms and carried her to the
cottage. Wilhelm did not leave hold of her hand. The others followed in
silence.

“Try and get her home,” said Wilhelm; “I myself will fetch the
physician!” He rushed forth, and hastened through the wood to the ball,
where he ordered the men to bring out a sedan-chair for the invalid;
then had horses put into one of the lightest carriages, seated himself
in it as coachman, and drove away to Nyborg, the nearest town, which,
however, was distant almost twenty miles.

Sophie was inconsolable. “It is my fault!” she said, and wept.

Otto found her sitting before the house, under an elder-tree. She could
not endure to see Eva’s paleness.

“You are innocent,” said Otto. “Believe me, to-morrow Eva will be
completely restored! She herself,” added he, in an assuaging tone,
“behaved in an imprudent manner. I warned her not to run. Her own terror
is to blame for all.”

“No, no,” returned Sophie; “my folly, my extravagance, has caused the
whole misfortune!”

“Now it is much better,” said the Kammerjunker, coming out of the house.
“She must be devilish tender to fly before a few calves! I really must
laugh when I think of it, although it did come to such an end!”

The men now arrived whom Wilhelm had sent with the sedan-chair.

Eva thought she could walk, if she might lean upon some one; but it
would be better, her friends thought, if she were carried.

“Dost thou feel any pain?” asked Louise, and gave her a sisterly kiss on
the brow.

“No, none at all,” replied Eva. “Do not scold me for having frightened
you so. I am so fearful, and the bullock were close behind us.”

“They were, God help me, only calves!” answered the Kammerjunker; “they
wished to play, and only ran because you ran!”

“It was a foolish joke of mine!” said Sophie, and seized Eva’s hand. “I
am very unhappy about it!”

“O no!” said Eva, and smiled so pensively, yet happily. “To-morrow I
shall be quite well again!” Her eye seemed to seek some one.

Otto understood the glance. “The physician is sent for. Wilhelm has
himself driven over for him.”

Toward the middle of the wood the mother herself approached them; she
was almost as pale as Eva.

All sought to calm her; Eva bowed her head to kiss the good lady’s hand.
The Kammerjunker told the story to her, and she shook her head. “What an
imprudent, foolish joke!” said she; “here you see the consequences!”

Not before late in the afternoon did Wilhelm return with the physician;
he found his patient out of all danger, but prescribed what should still
be done. Quiet and the warm summer air would do the most for her.

“See,” said Otto, when, toward evening he met Sophie in the garden,
“to-day Wilhelm did not conceal his feelings!”

“I fear that you are right!” returned Sophie. “He loves Eva, and that is
very unfortunate. Tell me what you know about it.”

“I know almost nothing!” said Otto, and told about little Jonas and the
first meeting with Eva.

“Yes, that he has told us already himself! But do you know nothing
more?” Her voice became soft, and her eyes gazed full of confidence into
Otto’s.

He related to her the short conversation which he had had last autumn
with Wilhelm, how angry he had been with his candid warning, and how
since then they had never spoken about Eva.

“I must confide my fear to our mother!” said Sophie. “I almost now am
glad that he will travel in two months, although we shall then lose you
also!”

And Otto’s heart beat; the secret of his heart pressed to his lips;
every moment he would speak it. But Sophie had always still another
question about her brother; they were already out of the garden, already
in the court-yard, and yet Otto had said nothing.

Therefore was he so quiet when, late in the evening, he and Wilhelm
entered their chamber. Wilhelm also spoke no word, but his eye
repeatedly rested expectantly on Otto, as if waiting for him to break
the silence. Wilhelm stepped to the open window and drank in the fresh
air, suddenly he turned round, flung his arms round Otto, and exclaimed,
“I can no longer endure it! I must say it to some one! I love her, and
will never give her up, let every one be opposed! I have now silently
concealed my feelings for some months; I can do so no longer, or I shall
become ill, and for that I am not made!”

“Does she know this?” asked Otto.

“No, and yes! I do not know what I should answer! Here at home I have
never spoken alone with her. The last time when Weyse played on the
organ at Roeskelde I had bought a pretty silk handkerchief, and this
I took with me for her; I know not, but I wished to give her pleasure.
There came a woman past with lovely stocks; I stood at the open window;
she offered me a bouquet, and I bought it. ‘Those are lovely flowers!’
said Eva, when she entered. ‘They will fade with me!’ said I; ‘put them
in water and keep there for yourself!’ She wished only to have a few,
but I obliged her to take them all: she blushed, and her eyes gazed
strangely down into my soul. I know not what sort of a creature I
became, but it was impossible for me to give her the handkerchief; it
seemed to me that this would almost be an offense. Eva went away with
the flowers, but the next morning it seemed to me that she was uneasy; I
fancied I saw her color come and go when I bade her adieu! She must have
read the thoughts in my soul!”

“And the handkerchief?” interrupted Otto.

“I gave it to my sister Sophie,” said Wilhelm.



CHAPTER XXXV

             “Tell me
     What would my heart?
       My heart’s with thee,
     With thee would have a part.”
                GOETHE’S West-östlicher Divan.

     “There stands the man again--
     The man with gloomy mien.”
              Memories of Travel, by B. C. INGEMANN.

Several days passed; the fine crimson again returned to Eva’s cheeks.
The first occasion of her going out with the others was to see the
rape-stalks burned. These were piled together in two immense stacks. In
the morning, at the appointed hour, which had been announced through
the neighborhood that no one might mistake it for a conflagration, the
stalks were set fire to. This took place in the nearest field, close
beside the hall, where the rape-seed was threshed upon an out-spread
sail.

The landscape-painter, Dahl, has given us a picture of the burning
Vesuvius, where the red lava pours down the side of the mountain; in the
background one sees across the bay as far as Naples and Ischia: it is a
piece full of great effect. Such a splendid landscape is not to be found
in flat Denmark, where there are no great natural scenes, and yet this
morning presented even there a picture with the same brilliant coloring.
We will study it. In the foreground there is a hedge of hazels, the nuts
hang in great clusters, and contrast strongly with their bright green
against the dark leaves; the blue chicory-flower and the blood-red poppy
grew on the side of the ditch, upon which are some tall rails, over
which the ladies have to climb: the delicate sylph-like figure is Eva.
In the field, where nothing remains but the yellow stubble, stand Otto
and Wilhelm; two magnificent hounds wag their tails beside them. To the
left is a little lake, thickly overgrown with reeds and water-lilies,
with the yellow trollius for its border. In the front, where the wood
retreats, lie, like a great stack, the piled-together rape-stalks: the
man has struck fire, has kindled the outer side of them, and with a
rapidity like that of the descending lava the red fire flashes up the
gigantic pile. It crackles and roars within it. In a moment it is all a
burning mound; the red flames flash aloft into the blue air, high above
the wood which is now no longer visible. A thick black smoke ascends up
into the clear air, where it rests like a cloud. Out of the flames,
and even out of the smoke, the wind carries away large masses of fire,
which, crackling and cracking, are borne on to the wood, and which fill
the spectator with apprehension of their falling upon the nearest trees
and burning up leaf and branch.

“Let us go further off,” said Sophie; “the heat is too great here.”

They withdrew to the ditch.

“O, how many nuts!” exclaimed Wilhelm; “and I do not get one of them! I
shall go after them if they be ripe.”

“But you have grapes and other beautiful fruit!” said Eva smiling. “We
have our beautiful things at home!”

“Yes, it is beautiful, very beautiful at home!” exclaimed Wilhelm;
“glorious flowers, wild nuts; and there we have Vesuvius before us!” He
pointed to the burning pile.

“No,” said Sophie; “it seems to me much more like the pile upon
which the Hindoo widow lays herself alive to be burned! That must be
horrible!”

“One should certainly be very quickly dead!” said Eva.

“Would you actually allow yourself to be burned to death, if you were a
Hindoo widow--after, for instance, Mr. Thostrup, or after Wilhelm,” said
she, with a slight embarrassment, “if he lay dead in the fire?”

“If it were the custom of the country, and I really had lost the only
support which I had in the world--yes, so I would!”

“O, no, no!” said Louise.

“In fact it is brilliant!” exclaimed Sophie.

“Burning is not, perhaps, the most painful of deaths!” said Otto, and
plucked in an absent manner the nuts from the hedge. “I know a story
about a true conflagration.”

“What is it like?” asked Wilhelm.

“Yet it is not a story to tell in a large company; it can only be heard
when two and two are together. When I have an opportunity, I shall tell
it!”

“O, I know it!” said Wilhelm. “You can relate it to one of my sisters
there, whichever you like best! Then I shall--yes, I must relate it to
Eva!”

“It is too early in the day to hear stories told!” said Louise; “let us
rather sing a song!”

“No, then we shall have to weep in the evening,” replied Wilhelm. And
they had neither the song nor the story.

Mamma came wandering with Vasserine, the old, faithful hound: they
two also wished to see how beautiful the burning looked. It succeeded
excellently with the rape-stalks; but the other burning, of which the
story was to be told, it did not yet arrive at an outbreak! It might be
expected, however, any hour in the day.

In the evening Otto walked alone through the great chestnut avenue.
The moon shone brightly between the tree-branches. When he entered the
interior court Wilhelm and Sophie skipped toward him, but softly, very
softly. They lifted their hands as if to impress silence.

“Come and see!” said Sophie; “it is a scene which might be painted! it
goes on merrily in the servants’ hall; one can see charmingly through
the window!”

“Yes, come!” said Wilhelm.

Otto stole softly forward. The lights shone forth.

Within there was laughter and loud talking; one struck upon the table,
another sung,--

        “And I will away to Prussia land,
             Hurrah!
         And when I am come to Prussia land,
             Hurrah!”  [Note: People’s song.]

Otto looked in through the window.

Several men and maids sat within at the long wooden table at the end
of this stood Sidsel in a bent attitude, her countenance was of a deep
crimson; she spoke a loud oath and laughed--no one imagined that they
were observed. All eyes were riveted upon a great fellow who, with his
shirt-sleeves rolled up, and a pewter tankard in his hand, was standing
there. It was the German Heinrich, who was exhibiting to them his
conjuring tricks. Otto turned pale; had the dead arisen from the bier
before him it could not have shocked him more.

“Hocus-pocus Larifari!” cried Heinrich within, and gave the tankard to a
half-grown fellow, of the age between boy and man.

“If thou hast already a sweetheart,” said he; “then the corn which is
within it will be turned to flour; but if thou art still only a young
cuckoo, then it will remain only groats.”

“Nay, Anders Peersen!” said all the girls laughing, “now we shall see
whether thou art a regular fellow!”

Sophie stole away.

The echoing laughter and clapping of hands announced the result.

“Is it not the same person who was playing conjuring tricks in the
park?” inquired Wilhelm.

“Yes, certainly,” replied Otto; “he is to me quite repulsive!” And so
saying, he followed Sophie.

Late in the evening, when all had betaken themselves to rest, Wilhelm
proposed to Otto that they should make a little tour, as he called it.

“I fancy Meg Merrilies, as my sister calls Sidsel,” said he, “has made
a conquest of the conjuror, although he might be her father. They have
been walking together down the avenue; they have been whispering a deal
together; probably he will to-night sleep in one of the barns. I must go
and look after him; he will be lying there and smoking his pipe, and
may set our whole place on fire. Shall we go down together? We can take
Vasserine and Fingel with us.”

“Let him sleep!” said Otto; “he will not be so mad as to smoke tobacco
in the straw! To speak candidly, I do not wish to be seen by him. He was
several times at my grandfather’s house. I have spoken with him, and now
that I dislike him I do not wish to see him!”

“Then I will go alone!” said Wilhelm.

Otto’s heart beat violently; he stood at the open window and looked out
over the dark wood, which was lit up by the moon. Below in the court he
heard Wilhelm enticing the dogs out. He heard yet another voice, it was
that of the steward, and then all was again silent. Otto thought upon
the German Heinrich and upon Sophie, his life’s good and bad angels;
and he pictured to himself how it would be if she extended to him
her hand--was his bride! and Heinrich called forth before her the
recollections which made his blood curdle.

It seemed to him as if something evil impended over him this night. “I
feel a forewarning of it!” said he aloud.

Wilhelm came not yet back.

Almost an hour passed thus. Wilhelm entered, both dogs were with him;
they were miry to their very sides.

“Did you meet any one?” inquired Otto.


“Yes, there was some one,” said Wilhelm, “but not in the barn. The
stupid dogs seemed to lose their nature; it was as if there was a
somebody stealing along the wall, and through the reeds in the moat. The
hounds followed in there; you can see how they look!--but they came the
next moment back again, whined, and hung down their ears and tails. I
could not make them go in again. Then the steward was superstitious!
But, however, it could only be either the juggler, or one of the
servant-men who had stilts. How otherwise any one could go in among the
reeds without getting up to their necks, I cannot conceive!”

All was again perfectly still without. The two friends went to the open
window, threw their arms over each other’s shoulders, and looked out
into the silent night.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

     “Bring’ häusliche Hülfe
     Incubus! incubus.
     Tritt herhor und mache den Schluss.”
                             GOETHE’s Faust.

     “Es giebt so bange Zeiten,
     Es giebt so trüben Muth!”--NOVALIS.

The next morning Wilhelm related his evening adventure at the
breakfast-table; the sisters laughed at it. The mother, on the contrary,
was silent, left the room, and after some time returned.

“There have been thieves here!” said she, “and one might almost imagine
that they were persons in the household itself. They have been at the
press where the table-linen is kept, and have not been sparing in their
levies. The beautiful old silver tankard, which I inherited from my
grandmother, is also missing. I would much sooner have given the value
of the silver than have lost that piece!”

“Will not the lady let it be tried by the sieve?” asked the old servant:
“that is a pretty sure way!”

“That is nothing but superstition,” answered she; “in that way the
innocent may so easily be suspected.”

“As the lady pleases!” said the servant, and shook his head.

In the mean time a search through the house was instituted. The boxes of
the domestics were examined, but nothing was discovered.

“If you would only let the sieve be tried!” said the old servant.

In the afternoon Otto went into the garden; he fell into discourse with
the gardener, and they spoke of the theft which had occurred.

“It vexes every one of us,” said he, “because we think much of the lady,
and of the whole family. And some one must, nevertheless, be suspected.
We believe that it was Sidsel, for she was a good-for-nothing person! We
folks tried among ourselves with the sieve, but however, at the mention
of her name, if it did not move out of its place. We had set it upon
the point of a knife, and mentioned the name of every person about
the place, but it stood as if it were nailed quite fast. But there was
really something to see, which not one of us would have believed. I’ll
say no more about it, although we had every one of us our own thoughts.
I would have taken my oath of it.”

Otto pressed him to mention the person who was suspected.

“Yes, to you perhaps, I may mention it,” replied he; “but you will not
say anything about it? As we were standing today, at noon, around the
sieve, and it did not move at Sidsel’s name, she became angry, because
a word bad been let fall which could not be agreeable to her if she were
innocent. She drew herself up as if in a passion, and said to us, ‘But
there are also in the hall a many people besides us, who may slip and
slide! There are strangers here, and the fine Mamsell, and the farmers.
Yes, I suspect no one, but every one ought to be named!’

“And so we did it. Yes, we mentioned even your name, Mr. Thostrup,
although we knew very well that you were guiltless of the charge; but we
would not excuse any one. The sieve stood quite entirely still until we
mentioned Eva’s name, and then it moved. Not one of us actually could
believe it, and the servant Peter said also that it was because of the
draught from the chimney. We mentioned yet once more all the names, and
the sieve stood still until we came to Eva’s, and then we perceived very
plainly a movement. The servant Peter at the same moment gave a great
blow to the sieve, so that it fell to the ground, and he swore that it
was a lie, and that he would answer for Eva. I would have done so too;
but yet it was very extraordinary with the sieve! Most of the folks,
however, have their own thoughts, but no one venture to express them
to the gentry who think so much of her. I cannot, however, rightly
reconcile it to myself!”

“She is innocent!” said Otto; and it amazed him that any one should
cast the slightest suspicion on Eva. He thought of German Heinrich and
Sidsel, who alone appeared to him suspicious. There then occurred to him
an experiment of which he had heard from Rosalie. It now seemed to him
available, and, physiologically considered, much more certain than that
with the sieve.

“Probably it may lead to a discovery,” said he, after he had
communicated his whole plan to Sophie and the steward.

“Yes, we mast try it!” said she; “it is excellent! I also will be put to
the proof, although I am initiated into the mystery.”

“Yes, you, your sister, Wilhelm, Eva, we all of us must,” said Otto.
“Only I will not do the speaking: that the steward must do.”

“That is proper, very proper!” replied she: “it shall be tried this
evening when it is dark.”

The time came; the steward assembled the people.

“Now I know,” said he, “how we shall find the thief!”

All were to remain in the first room: within a side-room, which was
quite dark, there stood in a corner on the right hand a copper kettle;
to this every person as they came in, one by one, were to go and lay
their hand down on the flat bottom of the kettle. The hand of every one
who was innocent would be brought out again white and pure, but the hand
of the criminal would be severely burned, and would become black as a
coal.

“He who now,” said the steward, addressing them, “has a good conscience,
may go with this and our Lord into the innermost room, lay his hand upon
the bottom of the kettle, and show it to me. Now I go to receive you
all!”

The daughters went, the friends, Eva, and all the household. The steward
questioned them as they came in: “Answer me, upon thy conscience, did
thy hand touch the flat bottom of the kettle?”

All replied, “Yes!”

“Then show me your hand!” said he; and they showed them, and all were
black: Sidsel’s alone was white.

“Thou art the thief!” said the steward. “Thy evil conscience has
condemned thee. Thou hast not touched the kettle; hast not laid thy hand
upon it, or it would have become as black as that of the others. The
kettle was blackened inside with turpentine smoke; they who came with a
good conscience, knowing that their hands would remain pure like their
consciences, touched the kettle fearlessly and their hands became black!
Thou hast condemned thyself! Confess, or it will go worse with thee!”

Sidsel, uttered a horrible cry and fell down upon her knees.

“O God, help me!” said she, and confessed that she was the thief.

A chamber high up in the roof was prepared as a prison; here the
delinquent was secured until the affair, on the following day, should be
announced to the magistrate.

“Thou shalt be sent to Odense, and work upon the treadmill!” said
Wilhelm: “to that thou belongest!”

The family assembled at the tea-table. Sophie joked about the day’s
adventure.

“Poor Sidsel!” said Eva.

“In England she would be hanged,” said Wilhelm; “that would be a fine
thing to see!”

“Horrible!” replied Louise; “they must die of terror in going to the
gallows.”

“Nay, it is very merry,” said Wilhelm. “Now you shall hear what glorious
music has been set to it by Rossini!” And he played the march from
“Gazza Ladra,” where a young girl is led to the gallows.

“Is it not merry?” asked he. “Yes, he is a composer!”

“To me it seems precisely characteristic,” answered Otto. “They are not
the feelings of the girl which the composer wished to express; it is the
joy of the rude rabble in witnessing an execution--to them a charming
spectacle, which is expressed in these joyous tones: it is a tragic
opera, and therefore he chose exactly this character of expression!”

“It is difficult to say anything against that,” replied Wilhelm; “yet
what you assert I have not heard from any other person.”

“When a soldier is executed they play some lively air,” said Otto; “the
contrast in this case brings forth the strongest effect!”

The servant now entered, and said with a smile that Peter Cripple, the
“new-married man,” as he called him, was without and wished to speak to
the Baron Wilhelm.

“It is about a waltz,” said he, “which the Baron had promised to him!”

“It is late for him to come into the court!” said Sophie “the peasants
generally go to bed with the sun.”

In the lobby stood the announced Peter in his stocking-feet, with his
hat in one hand and a great stick in the other. He knew, he said, that
it was still daytime with the gentlefolks; he was just coming past the
hall and thought that he could, perhaps, have that Copenhagen Waltz
which the Baron had promised him: he should want it to-morrow night
to play at a wedding, and, therefore, he wished to have it now that he
might practice it first of all.

Sophie inquired after his young wife, and said something merry. Louise
gave him a cup of tea, which he drank in the lobby. Otto looked at him
through the open door; he made comical grimaces, and looked almost as
if he wished to speak with him. Otto approached him, and Peter thrust
a piece of paper into his hand, making at the same time a significant
gesture indicative of silence.

Otto stepped aside and examined the dirty piece of paper, which was
folded together like a powder and sealed with a lump of wax. On the
outside stood, in scarcely legible characters,

           “TotH’ WeL-borne,
               Mr. Odto Tustraab.”

He endeavored, in the first place, to read it in the moonlight; but that
was scarcely possible.

After considerable labor he made out the meaning of this letter,
written, as it was in a half-German, half-Danish gibberish, of the
orthography of which we have given a specimen in the direction. The
letter was from the German Heinrich. He besought Otto to meet him this
evening in the wood near Peter Cripple’s house, and he would give to him
an explanation which should be worth the trouble of the walk. It would
occasion, he said, much trouble and much misery to Mr Thostrup if he did
not go.

A strange anxiety penetrated Otto. How could he steal away without being
missed? and yet go he both must and should. An extraordinary anxiety
drove him forth.

“Yes, the sooner the better!” said he, hastening down the steps and
leaping in haste over the low garden-fence lest the gate should,
perhaps, make a noise. He was very soon in the wood: he heard the
beating of his own heart.

“Eternal Father!” said he, “strengthen my soul! Release me from this
anxiety which overpowers me! Let all be for the best!”

He had now reached Peter Cripple’s house. A figure leaned against the
wall; Otto paused, measured it with his eye to ascertain who it was, and
recognized German Heinrich.

“What do you want with me?” inquired Otto.

Heinrich raised his hand in token of silence, beckoned him forward,
and opened a little gate which led to the back of the house. Otto
mechanically followed him.

“It goes on badly at the hall,” said Heinrich. “Sidsel is really put in
prison, and will be taken to-morrow to Odense, to the red house by the
river.”

“It is what she has deserved!” said Otto. “I did not bring it about.”

“O no!” answered Heinrich; “in a certain way we bring nothing about; but
you can put in a good word for her. You must see that this punishment
does not befall her.”

“But the punishment is merited!” replied Otto; “and how can I mix myself
up in the affair? What is it that you have to say to me?”

“Yet, the good gentleman must not get angry!” began Heinrich again; “but
I am grieved about the girl. I can very well believe that he does not
know her, and therefore it gives him no trouble; but if I were now to
whisper a little word in his ear? She is your own sister, Mr. Thostrup!”

All grew dark before Otto’s eyes; a chill as of death went through his
blood; his hands held firmly by the cold wall, or he must have sunk to
the earth; not a sound escaped his lips.

German Heinrich laid his hand in a confidential manner upon his
shoulder, and continued in a jeering, agitated tone, “Yes, it is hard
for you to hear! I also struggled a long time with myself before I could
make up my mind to tell you. But a little trouble is preferable to a
great one. I had some talk with her yesterday, but I did not mention
you, although it seemed queer to me at my heart that the brother should
sit at the first table with the young ladies, and the sister be farm
swine-maiden. Now they have put her in prison! I am very sorry for her
and you too, Mr. Thostrup, for it is disagreeable! If the magistrate
come to-morrow morning, and she fall into the claws of the red angel,
it will not be so easy to set her at liberty again! But yet you
could, perhaps, help her; as, for instance, to-night! I could make an
opportunity--I would be in the great avenue beyond the hall. If she
could get thus far she would be safe; I would then conduct her out of
this part of the country. I may as well tell you that we were yesterday
half-betrothed! She goes with me; and you can persuade the gracious lady
at the hall to let the bird fly!”

“But how can I? how can I?” exclaimed Otto.

“She is, however, always your sister!” said Heinrich, and they both
remained silent for a moment. “Then I will,” said Heinrich, “if all be
still at the hall, wait in the avenue as the bell goes twelve.”

“I must!” exclaimed Otto; “I must! God help me!”

“Jesu, Maria, help!” said Heinrich, and Otto left him.

“She is my sister! she, the most horrible of all!” sighed he; his knees
trembled, and he leaned against a tree for support: his countenance was
like that of the dead; cold sweat-drops stood upon his brow. All around
him lay the dark night-like wood; only to the left glimmered, between
the bushes, the moonlight reflected from the lake.

“Within its depths,” sighed he, “all would be forgotten--my grief would
be over! Yet, what is my sin? Had I an existence before I was born upon
this globe? Must I here be punished for sins which I then committed?”

His dark eye stared lifelessly out of his pale countenance. Thus sit the
dead upon their graves in the silent night; thus gazes the somnambulist
upon the living world around him.

“I have felt this moment before--this moment which now is here; it was
the well-spring whence poison was poured over my youthful days! She is
my sister! She? unhappy one that I am!”

Tears streamed from his eyes, it was a convulsive weeping; he cried
aloud, it was impossible to him to suppress his voice; he sank half down
by the tree and wept, for it was night in his soul: silent, bitter tears
flowed, as the blood flows when the heart is transpierced. Who could
breathe to him consolation? There lay no balsam in the gentle airs
of the clear summer night, in the fragrance of the wood, in the holy,
silent spirit of nature. Poor Otto!

             “Weep, only weep! it gives repose,
              A world is every tear that flows,--
              A world of anguish and unrest,
              That rolleth from the troubled breast.

             “And hast thou wept whilst tears can flow,
              A tranquil peace thy heart will know;
              For sorrow, trivial or severe,
              Hath had its seat in every tear.

             “Think’st thou that He, whose love beholds
              The worm the smallest leaf enfolds,--
              That He, whose power sustains the whole
              Forgets a world--thy human soul?”



CHAPTER XXXVII

     “Mourir! c’est un instant de supplice: mais vivre?”
      --FRÉDÉRIC SOULIE.

The physician from Nyborg, who had been on a visit to a sick person in
the neighborhood, took this opportunity of calling on the family and
inquiring after Eva’s health. They had prayed him to stay over the night
there, and rather to drive hone in the early morning than so late in the
evening. He allowed himself to be persuaded. Otto, on his return,
found him and the family in deep conversation. They were talking of the
“Letters of a Wandering Ghost.”

“Where have you been?” asked Sophie, as Otto entered.

“You look so pale!” said Louise; “are you ill?”

“I do not feel well!” replied Otto; “I went therefore down into the
garden a little. Now I am perfectly recovered.” And he took part in the
conversation.

The overwhelming sorrow had dissolved itself in tears. His mind had
raised itself up again from its stupefaction, and sought for a point of
light on which to attach itself. They were talking of the immense caves
of Maastricht, how they stretch themselves out into deep passages and
vast squares, in which sound is lost, and where the light, which cannot
reach the nearest object, only glimmers like a point of fire. In order
to comprehend this vacuity and this darkness, the travellers let the
guide extinguish his torch, and all is night; they are penetrated, as it
were, with darkness; the hand feels after a wall, in order to have some
restraint, some thought on which to repose itself: the eye sees nothing;
the ear hears nothing. Horror seizes on the strongest mind: the same
darkness, the same desolate emotion, had Heinrich’s words breathed into
Otto’s soul; therefore he sank like the traveller to the earth: but as
the traveller’s whole soul rivets itself by the eye upon the first spark
which glimmers, to kindle again the torch which is to lead him forth
from this grave, so did Otto attach himself to the first awakening
thought of help. “Wilhelm? his soul is noble and good, him will I
initiate into my painful secret, which chance had once almost revealed
to him.”

But this was again extinguished, as the first spark is extinguished
which the steel gives birth to. He could not confide himself to Wilhelm;
the understanding which this very confidence would give birth to between
them, must separate them from each other. It was humiliating, it was
annihilating. But for Sophie? No, how could he, after that, declare the
love of his heart? how far below her should he be placed, as the child
of poverty and shame! But the mother of the family? Yes, she was gentle
and kind; with a maternal sentiment she extended to him her hand, and
looked upon him as on a near relation. His thoughts raised themselves on
high, his hands folded themselves to prayer; “The will of the Lord
alone be done!” trembled involuntarily from his lips. Courage returned
refreshingly to his heart. The help of man was like the spark which
was soon extinguished; God was an eternal torch, which illumined the
darkness and could guide him through it.

“Almighty God! thou alone canst and willest!” said he; “to thou who
knowest the heart, do thou alone help and lead me!”

This determination was firmly taken; to no human being would he confide
himself; alone would he release the prisoner, and give her up to
Heinrich. He thought upon the future, and yet darker and heavier than
hitherto it stood before him. But he who confides in God can never
despair the only thing that was now to be done was to obtain the key of
the chamber where Sidsel was confined, and then when all in the house
were asleep he would dare that which must be done.

Courage and tranquillity return into every powerful soul when it once
sees the possibility of accomplishing its work. With a constrained
vivacity Otto mingled in the conversation, no one imagining what a
struggle his soul had passed through.

The disputation continued. Wilhelm was in one of his eloquent moods. The
doctor regarded the “Letters of the Wandering Ghost” as one of the most
perfect books in the Danish literature. Once Sophie had been of the same
opinion, now she preferred Cooper’s novels to this and all other books.

“People so easily forget the good for the new,” said Wilhelm; “if the
new is only somewhat astonishing, the many regard the author as the
first of writers. The nation is, aesthetically considered, now in its
period of development. Every really cultivated person, who stands among
the best spirits of his age, obtains, whilst he observes his own advance
in the intellectual kingdom, clearness with regard to the development
of his nation. This has, like himself, its distinct periods; in him
some important event in life, in it some agitating world convulsion,
may advance them suddenly a great leap forward. The public favor is
unsteady; to-day it strews palm-branches, to-morrow it cries, ‘Crucify
him!’ But I regard that as a moment of development. You will permit
me to make use of an image to elucidate my idea. The botanist goes
wandering through field and wood, he collects flowers and plants; every
one of these had, while he gathered it, his entire interest, his whole
thought--but the impression which it made faded before that of its
successor: nor is it till after a longer time that he is able to enjoy
the whole of his treasures, and arrange them according to their worth
and their rareness. The public seizes alike upon flowers and herbs; we
hear its assiduous occupation with the object of the moment, but it is
not yet come into possession of the whole. At one time, that which was
sentimental was the foremost in favor, and that poet was called the
greatest who best knew how to touch this string; then it passed over
to the peppered style of writing, and nothing pleased but histories
of knights and robbers. Now people find pleasure in prosaic life, and
Schröder and Iffland are the acknowledged idols. For us the strength
of the North opened heroes and gods, a new and significant scene. Then
tragedy stood uppermost with us. Latterly we have begun to feel
that this is not the flesh and blood of the present times. Then the
fluttering little bird, the vaudeville, came out to us from the dark
wood, and enticed us into our own chambers, where all is warm and
comfortable, where one has leave to laugh, and to laugh is now a
necessity for the Danes. One must not, like the crowd, inconsiderately
place that as foremost which swims upon the waters, but treasure the
good of every time, and arrange them side by side, as the botanist
arranges his plants. Every people must, under the poetical sunshine,
have their sentimental period, their berserker rage, their enjoyment of
domestic life, and their giddy flights beyond it; it must merge itself
in individuality before it can embrace the beauty of the whole. It is
unfortunate for the poet who believes himself to be the wheel of his
age; and yet he, with his whole crowd of admirers, is, as Menzel says,
only a single wheel in the great machine--a little link in the infinite
chain of beauty.”

“You speak like a Plato!” said Sophie.

“If we could accord as well in music as we do in poetry,” said Otto,
“then we should be entirely united in our estimation of the arts. I love
that music best which goes through the ear to the heart, and carries
me away with it; on the contrary, if it is to be admired by the
understanding, it is foreign to me.”

“Yes, that is your false estimation of the subject, dear friend!” said
Wilhelm: “in aesthetics you come at once to the pure and true; but in
music you are far away in the outer court, where the crowd is dancing,
with cymbals and trumpets, around the musical golden calf!”

And now the aesthetic unity brought them into a musical disunity. On
such occasions, Otto was not one to be driven back from his position; he
very well knew how to bear down his assailant by striking and original
observations: but Otto, this evening, although he was animated
enough--excited, one might almost say--did not exhibit the calmness, the
decision in his thoughts and words, which otherwise would have given him
the victory.

It was a long hour, and one yet longer and more full of anxiety, which
commenced with supper. The conversation turned to the events of the day.
Otto mingled in it, and endeavored therefrom to derive advantage; it was
a martyrdom of the soul. Sophie praised highly his discovery.

“If Mr. Thostrup had not been here,” said she, “then we should hardly
have discovered the thief. We must thank Mr. Thostrup for it, and really
for a merry, amusing spectacle.”

They joked about it alai laughed, and Otto was obliged to laugh also.

“And now she sits up there, like a captive, in the roof!” said he; “it
must be an uncomfortable night to her!”

“Oh, she sleeps, perhaps, better than some of us others!” said Wilhelm:
“that will not annoy her!”

“She is confined in the gable chamber, out in the court, is she not?”
 inquired Otto: “there she has not any moonlight.”

“Yes, surely she has!” answered Sophie; “it is in the gable to the
right, hooking toward the wood, that she is confined. We have placed her
as near to the moon as we could. The gable on the uppermost floor is our
keep.”

“But is it securely locked?” inquired Otto.

“There is a padlock and a great bar outside the door; those she cannot
force, and no one about the place will do such a piece of service for
her. They dislike her, every one of them.”

They rose up from the table; the bell was just on the stroke of eleven.

“But the Baron must play us a little piece!” said the physician.

“Then Mr. Thostrup will sing us the pretty Jutlandish song by
Steen-Blicher!” exclaimed Louise.

“O yes!” said the mother, and clapped Otto on the shoulder.

Wilhelm played.

“Do sing!” said Wilhelm; all besought him to do so, and Otto sang the
Jutlandish song for them.

“See, you sang that with the proper humor,” said Sophie, and clapped her
hands in applause. With that all arose, offered to him their hands,
and Wilhelm whispered to him, yet so that the sisters heard it, “This
evening you have been right amiable!”

Otto and Wilhelm went to their sleeping-room.

“But, my good friend,” said Wilhelm, “what did you really go into the
garden for? Be so good as to confess to me: you were not unwell! You did
not go only into the garden! you went into the wood, and you remained a
long time there! I saw it! You made a little visit to the handsome
woman while the fiddler was here, did you not? I do not trust you so
entirely!”

“You are joking!” answered Otto.

“Yes, yes,” continued Wilhelm, “she is a pretty little woman. Do you not
remember how, last year at the mowing-feast, I threw roses at her? Now
she is Peter Cripple’s wife. When she comes with her husband then we
have, bodily, ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

That which Otto desired was, that Wilhelm should now soon go to sleep,
and, therefore, he would not contradict him; he confessed even that the
young wife was handsome, but added that she, as Peter Cripple’s wife,
was to him like a beautiful flower upon which a toad had set itself,--it
would be disgusting to him to press the flower to his lips.

The friends were soon in bed. They bade each other good night, and
seemed both of them to sleep; and with Wilhelm this was the case.

Otto lay awake; his pulse throbbed violently.

Now the great hall clock struck twelve. All was still, quite still; but
Otto did not yet dare to raise himself. It struck a quarter past the
hour. He raised himself slowly, and glanced toward the bed where Wilhelm
lay. Otto arose and dressed himself, suppressing the while his very
breathing. A hunting-knife which hung upon the wall, and which belonged
to Wilhelm, he put in his pocket; and lifted up, to take with him, the
fire-tongs, with which he intended to break the iron staple that held
the padlock. Yet once more he looked toward Wilhelm, who slept soundly.
He opened the door, and went out without his shoes.

He looked out from the passage-windows to see if lights were visible
from any part of the building. All was still; all was in repose. That
which he now feared most was, that one of the dogs might be lying in the
lobby, and should begin to bark. But there was not one. He mounted up
the steps, and went into the upper story.

Only once before had he been there; now all was in darkness. He felt
with his hands before him as he went.

At length he found a narrow flight of stairs which led into a yet higher
story. The opening at the top was closed, and he was obliged to use his
whole strength to open it. At length it gave way with a loud noise. This
was not the proper entrance; that lay on the opposite side of the story,
and had he gone there he would have found it open, whereas this one had
not been opened for a long time.

The violent efforts which he had made caused him great pain, both in
his neck and shoulders; but he was now at the very top of the building,
close before the door he sought, and the moonlight shone in through the
opening in the roof.

By the help of the hunting-knife and the fire-tongs he succeeded in
forcing the door, and that without any very considerable noise. He
looked into a small, low room, upon the floor of which some dirty
coverlets were thrown.

Sidsel slept deeply and soundly with open mouth. A thick mass of hair
escaped from beneath her cap, upon her brow; the moonlight fell, through
the window-pane in the roof, upon her face. Otto bowed himself over her
and examined the coarse, unpleasing features. The thick, black eyebrows
appeared only like one irregular streak.

“She is my sister!” was the thought which penetrated him. “She lay upon
the same bosom that I did! The blood in these limbs has kinship with
that in mine! She was the repelled one, the rejected one!”

He trembled with pain and anguish; but it was only for a short time.

“Stand up!” cried he, and touched the sleeper.

“Ih, jane dou! [Author’s Note: An exclamation among the common people
of Funen, expressive of terror.] what is it?” cried she, half terrified,
and fixed her unpleasant eyes wildly upon him.

“Come with me!” said Otto, and his voice trembled as he spoke. “German
Heinrich waits in the avenue! I will help you out! Hence; to-morrow it
will be too late!”

“What do you say?” asked she, and still looked at him with a bewildered
mien.

Otto repeated his words.

“Do you think that I can get away?” asked she, and seized him by the
arm, as she hastily sprang up.

“Only silently and circumspectly!” said Otto.

“I should not have expected theft from you!” said she. “But tell me why
you do it?”

Otto trembled; it was impossible for him to tell her his reasons, or to
express the word,--“Thou art my sister!”

His lips were silent.

“To many a fellow,” said she, “have I been kinder than I ought to have
been, but see whether any of them think about Sidsel! And you do it! You
who are so fine and so genteel!”

Otto pressed together his eyelids; he heard her speak; an animal
coarseness mingled itself with a sort of confidential manner which was
annihilating to him.

“She is my sister!” resounded in his soul.

“Come now! come now!” and, descending the steps, she followed after him.

“I know a better way!” said she, as they came to the lowest story. She
seized his arm and they again descended a flight of steps.

Suddenly a door opened itself, and Louise, still dressed, stepped forth
with a light. She uttered a faint cry, and her eye riveted itself upon
the two forms before her.

But still more terribly and more powerfully did this encounter operate
upon Otto. His feet seemed to fail him, and, for a moment, every
object moved before his eyes in bright colors. It was the moment of his
severest suffering. He sprang forth toward Louise, seized her hand, and,
pale as death, with lifeless, staring eyes, half kneeling, besought of
her, with an agitated voice:--

“For God’s sake, tell no one of that which you have seen! I am compelled
to serve her--she is my sister! If you betray my secret I am lost to
this world--I must die! It was not until this evening that I knew this
to be the case! I will tell you all, but do not betray me! And do you
prevent tomorrow any pursuit after her! O Louise! by the happiness of
your own soul feel for the misery of mine! I shall destroy myself if you
betray me!”

“O God!” stammered Louise. “I will do all--all! I will be silent!
Conduct her hence, quick, that you may meet with no one!”

She seized Otto’s hand; he sank upon his knee before her, and looked
like a marble image which expressed manly beauty and sorrow.

Louise bent herself with sisterly affection over him; tears flowed down
her cheeks; her voice trembled, but it was tranquillizing, like the
consolation of a good angel. With a glance full of confidence in her,
Otto tore himself away. Sidsel followed him and said not a word.

He led her to the lowest story and opened for her, silently, a window,
through which she could descend to the garden, and thence easily reach
the avenue where German Heinrich waited for her. To have accompanied
her any further was unnecessary; it would have been venturing too much
without any adequate cause. She stood now upon the window-sill--Otto put
a little money into her hand.

“The Lord is above us!” said he, in a solemn voice. “Never forget Him
and endeavor to amend your life! All may yet be well!” He involuntarily
pressed her hand in his. “Have God always in your thoughts!” said he.

“I shall get safely away, however,” said she, and descended into the
garden; she nodded, and vanished behind the hedge.

Otto stood for a while and listened whether any noise was heard, or
whether any dog barked. He feared for her safety. All was still.

Just as sometimes an old melody will suddenly awake in our remembrance
and sound in our ear, so awoke now a holy text to his thoughts. “Lord,
if I should take the wings of the morning, and should fly to the
uttermost parts of the sea, thither thou wouldst lead me, and thy right
hand would hold me fast! Thou art near to us! Thou canst accomplish and
thou willest our well-being! Thou alone canst help us!”

In silence he breathed his prayer.

He returned to his chamber more composed in mind. Wilhelm seemed to
sleep; but as Otto approached his bed he suddenly raised himself, and
looked, inquiringly, around him.

“Who is there?” exclaimed he; “you are dressed! where have you been?” He
was urgent in his inquiry.

Otto gave a joking reason.

“Let me have your hand!” said he. Otto gave it to him, he felt his pulse.

“Yes, quite correct!” said he; “the blood is yet in commotion. One sees
plain enough that there is no concealing things! Here was I sleeping in
all innocence, and you were running after adventures. You wicked bird!”

The thoughts worked rapidly in Otto’s soul. If Louise would only be
silent, no one would dream of the possibility of his having part in
Sidsel’s flight. He must allow Wilhelm quietly to have his joke.

“Was not I right?” asked Wilhelm.

“And if now you were so,” replied Otto, “will you tell it to any one?”

“Do you think that I could do such a thing?” replied Wilhelm; “we are
all of us only mortal creatures!”

Otto gave him his hand. “Be silent!” he said.

“Yes, certainly,” said Wilhelm; and, according to his custom,
strengthened it with an oath. “Now I have sworn it,” said he; “but when
there is an opportunity you must tell me more about it!”

“Yes, certainly,” said Otto, with a deep sigh. Before his friend he no
longer stood pure and guiltless.

They slept. Otto’s sleep was only a hateful dream.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

     “...Wie entzückend
     Und süss es ist, in einer schönen Seele,
     Verherrlicht uns zu fühlen, es zu wissen,
     Das uns’re Fruede fremde Wangen röthet,
     Und uns’re Angst in fremdem Busen zittert,
     Das uns’re Leiden fremde Augen nässen.”
                                      SCHILLER.

“How pale!” said Wilhelm the next morning to Otto. “Do you see, that is
what people get by night-wandering?”

“How so?” inquired Otto.

Wilhelm made a jest of it.

“You have been dreaming that!” said Otto.

“How do you mean?” replied Wilhelm; “will you make me fancy that I have
imagined it? I was really quite awake! we really talked about it; I
was initiated in it. Actually I have a good mind to give you a moral
lecture. If it had been me, how you would have preached!”

They were summoned to breakfast. Otto’s heart was ready to burst. What
might he not have to hear? What must he say?

Sophie was much excited.

“Did you, gentlemen, hear anything last night?” she inquired. “Have you
both slept?”

“Yes, certainly,” replied Wilhelm, and looked involuntarily at Otto.

“The bird is flown, however!” said she; “it has made its escape out of
the dove-cote.”

“What bird?” asked Wilhelm.

“Sidsel!” replied she; “and, what is oddest in the whole affair is, that
Louise has loosed her wings. Louise is quite up to the romantic. Think
only! she went up in the night to the topmost story, unlocked the
prison-tower, gave a moral lecture to Sidsel, and after that let her go!
Then in the morning comes Louise to mamma, relates the whole affair, and
says a many affecting things!”

“Yes, I do not understand it,” said the mother, addressing Louise. “How
you could have had the courage to go up so late at night, and go up to
_her_! But it was very beautiful of you! Let her escape! it is, as you
say, best that she should. We should all of us have thought of that last
evening!”

“I was so sorry for her!” said Louise; “and by chance it happened that I
had a great many things to arrange after you were all in bed. Everything
was so still in the house, it seemed to me as if I could hear Sidsel
sigh; certainly it was only my own imagination, but I could do no other
than pity her! she was so unfortunate! Thus I let her escape!”

“Are you gone mad?” inquired Wilhelm; “what a history is this? Did you
go in the night up to the top of the house? That is an unseasonable
compassion!”

“It was beautiful!” said Otto, bending himself involuntarily, and
kissing Louise’s hand.

“Yes, that is water to his mill!” exclaimed Wilhelm. “I think nothing of
such things!”

“We will not talk about it to anyone,” said the mother. “The steward
shall not proceed any further in it. We have recovered the old silver
tankard, and the losing that was my greatest trouble. We will thank God
that we are well rid of her! Poor thing! she will come to an unfortunate
end!”

“Are you still unwell, Mr. Thostrup?” said Sophie, and looked at him.

“I am a little feverish,” replied he. “I will take a very long walk, and
then I shall be better.”

“You should take a few drops,” said the lady.

“O, he will come to himself yet!” said Wilhelm; “he must take exercise!
His is not a dangerous illness.”

Otto went into the wood. It was to him a temple of God; his heart poured
forth a hymn of thanksgiving. Louise had been his good angel. He felt
of a truth that she would never betray his secret. His thoughts clung to
her with confidence. “Are you still unwell?” Sophie had said. The tones
of her voice alone had been like the fragrance of healing herbs; in her
eye he had felt sympathy and--love. “O Sophie!” sighed he. Both sisters
were so dear to him.

He entered the garden and went along the great avenue; here he met
Louise. One might almost have imagined that she had sought for him:
there was no one but her to be seen in the whole avenue.

Otto pressed her hand to his lips. “You have saved my life!” said he.

“Dear Thostrup!” answered she, “do not betray yourself. Yon have come
happily out of the affair! Thank God! my little part in it has concealed
the whole. For the rest I have a suspicion. Yes, I cannot avoid it. May
not the whole be an error? It is possible that she is that which you
said! Tell me all that you can let me know. From this seat we can see
everybody who comes into the avenue. No one can hear us!”

“Yes, to you alone I can confide it!” said Otto; “to you will I tell
it.”

He now related that which we know about the manufactory, which he called
the house, in which German Heinrich had first seen him, and had tattooed
his initials upon his shoulder; their later meeting in the park, and
afterwards by St. Ander’s Cross.

Louise trembled; her glance rested sympathizingly upon Otto’s pale and
handsome countenance. He showed her the letter which had been brought to
him the last evening, and related to her what Heinrich had told him.

“It may be so,” said Louise; “but yet I have not been able to lose
the idea all the morning that you have been deceived. Not one of her
features resembles yours. Can brother and sister be so different as you
and she? Yet, be the truth as it may, promise me not to think too much
about it. There is a good Ruler above who can turn all things for the
best.”

“These horrible circumstances,” said Otto, “have robbed me of the
cheerfulness of my youth. They thrust themselves disturbingly into my
whole future. Not to Wilhelm--no, not to any one have I been able to
confide them. You know all! God knows that you were compelled to learn
them. I leave myself entirely in your hands!”

He pressed her hand silently, and with the earnest glance of confidence
and truth they looked at each other.

“I shall speedily leave my native country,” said Otto. “It may be
forever. I should return with sorrow to a home where no happiness
awaited me. I stand so entirely alone in the world!”

“But you have friends,” said Louise; “sincere friends. You must think
with pleasure of returning home to Denmark. My mother loves you as if
she were your own mother. Wilhelm and Sophie--yes, we will consider you
as a brother.”

“And Sophie?” exclaimed Otto.

“Yes, can you doubt it?” inquired Louise.

“She knows me not as you know me; and if she did?”--He pressed his hands
before his eyes and burst into tears. “You know all: you know more
than I could tell her,” sighed he. “I am more unfortunate than you can
believe. Never can I forget her--never!”

“For Heaven’s sake compose yourself!” said Louise rising. “Some one
might come, and you would not be able to conceal your emotion. All may
yet be well! Confide only in God in heaven!”

“Do not tell your sister that which I have told you. Do not tell any
one. I have revealed to you every secret which my soul contains.”

“I will be to you a good sister,” said Louise, and pressed his hand.

They silently walked down the avenue.

The sisters slept in the same room.

At night, after Sophie had been an hour in bed, Louise entered the
chamber.

“Thou art become a spirit of the night,” said Sophie. “Where hast thou
been? Thou art not going up into the loft again to-night, thou strange
girl? Had it been Wilhelm, Thostrup, or myself who had undertaken such a
thing, it would have been quite natural; but thou”--

“Am I, then, so very different to you all?” inquired Louise. “I should
resemble my sister less than even Mr. Thostrup resembles her. You two
are so very different!”

“In our views, in our impulses, we very much resemble each other!” said
Sophie.

“He is certainly not happy,” exclaimed Louise. “We can read it in his
eyes.”

“Yes, but it is precisely that which makes him interesting!” said
Sophie; “he is thus a handsome shadow-piece in everyday life.”

“Thou speakest about it so calmly,” said Louise, and bent over her
sister, “I would almost believe that it was love.”

“Love!” exclaimed Sophie, raising herself up in bed, for now Louise’s
words had become interesting to her; “whom dost thou think that he
loves?”

“Thyself,” replied Louise, and seized her sister’s hand.

“Perhaps?” returned Sophie. “I also made fun of him! It certainly went
on better when our cousin was here. Poor Thostrup!”

“And thou, Sophie,” inquired Louise, “dost thou return his love?”

“It is a regular confession that thou desirest,” replied she. “He is
in love--that all young men are. Our cousin, I can tell thee, said many
pretty things to me. Even the Kammerjunker flatters as well as he can,
the good soul! I have now resolved with myself to be a reasonable girl.
Believe me, however, Thostrup is in an ill humor!”

“If the Kammerjunker were to pay his addresses to you, would you accept
him?” asked Louise, and seated herself upon her sister’s bed.

“What can make you think of such a thing?” inquired she. “Hast thou
heard anything?--Thou makest me anxious! O Louise! I joke, I talk a
deal; but for all that, believe me, I am not happy!”

They talked about the Kammerjunker, about Otto, and about the French
cousin. It was late in the night. Large tears stood in Sophie’s eyes,
but she laughed for all that, and ended with a quotation from Jean Paul.

Half an hour afterward she slept and dreamed; her round white arm lay
upon the coverlet, and her lips moved with these words:

           “With a smile as if an angel
            Had just then kissed her mouth.” [Note: Christian Winther.]

Louise pressed her countenance on the soft pillow, and wept.



CHAPTER XXXIX

      “A swarm of colors, noise and screaming,
         Music and sights, past any dreaming,
       The rattle of wheels going late and early,--
         All draw the looker-on into the hurly-burly.”
                                         TH. OVERSKOU.

A few days passed on. Otto heard nothing of German Heinrich or of his
sister. Peter Cripple seemed not to be in their confidence. All that
he knew was, that the letter which he had conveyed to Otto was to be
unknown to any one beside. As regarded German Heinrich, he believed that
he was now in another part of tire country; but that at St. Knud’s fair,
in Odense, he would certainly find him.

In Otto’s soul there was an extraordinary combating. Louise’s words,
that he had been deceived, gave birth to hopes, which, insignificant as
the grain of mustard-seed, shot forth green leaves.

“May not,” thought he, “German Heinrich, to further his own plans, have
made use of my fear? I must speak with him; he shall swear to me the
truth.”

He compared in thought the unpleasing, coarse features of Sidsel, with
the image which his memory faintly retained of his little sister.
She seemed to him as a delicate creature with large eyes. He had not
forgotten that the people about them had spoken of her as of “a kitten
that they could hardly keep alive.” How then could she now be this
square-built, singularly plain being, with the eyebrows growing
together? “I must speak with Heinrich,” resolved he; “she cannot be my
sister! so heavily as that God will not try me.”

By such thoughts as these his mind became much calmer. There were
moments when the star of love mirrored itself in his life’s sea.

His love for Sophie was no longer a caged bird within his breast; its
wings were at liberty; Louise saw its release; it was about to fly to
its goal.

St. Knud’s fair was at hand, and on that account the family was about to
set out for Odense. Eva was the only one who was to remain at home. It
was her wish to do so.

“Odense is not worth the trouble of thy going to see,” said Sophie; “but
in this way thou wilt never increase thy geographical knowledge. In the
mean time, however, I shall bring thee a fairing--a husband of honey
cake, ornamented with almonds.”

Wilhelm thought that she should enjoy the passing pleasure, and go with
them; but Eva prayed to stay, and she had her will.

“There is a deal of pleasure in the world,” said Wilhelm, “if people
will only enjoy it. If one day in Paris is a brilliant flower, a day at
Odense fair is also a flower. It is a merry, charming world that we
live in! I am almost ready to say with King Valdemar, that if I might
keep--yes, I will say, the earth, then our Lord might willingly for
me keep heaven: there it is much better than we deserve; and God knows
whether we may not, in the other world, have longings after the old
world down here!”

“After Odense fair?” asked Sophie ironically.

Otto stood wrapped in his own thoughts. This day, he felt, would be one
of the most remarkable in his life. German Heinrich must give him
an explanation. Sophie must do so likewise Could he indeed meet with
success from them both? Would not sorrow and pain be his fairings?

The carriage rolled away.

From the various cross-roads came driving up the carriages of the gentry
and the peasants; the one drove past the other; and as the French and
English Channel collects ships from the Atlantic Ocean, so did the
King’s Road those who drove in carriages, those who rode on horseback,
and those who went on foot.

Behind most of the peasant-vehicles were tied a few horses, that went
trotting on with them. Mamsells from the farms sat with large gloves on
their red arms and hands. They held their umbrellas before their faces
on account of the dust and the sun.

“The Kammerjunker’s people must have set off earlier than we,” said
Sophie, “otherwise they would have called for us.”

Otto looked inquiringly at her. She thought on the Kammerjunker!

“We shall draw up by Faugde church,” said Sophie. “Mr. Thostrup can
see Kingo’s [Author’s Note: The Bishop of Funen, who died in 1703.]
grave--can see where the sacred poet lies. Some true trumpeting angels,
in whom one can rightly see how heavy the marble is, fly with the
Bishop’s staff and hat within the chapel.”

Otto smiled, and she thought also about giving him pleasure.

The church was seen, the grave visited, and they rapidly rolled along
the King’s Road toward Odense, the lofty tower of whose cathedral had
hailed them at some miles’ distance.

We do not require alone from the portrait-painter that he should
represent the person, but that he should represent him in his happiest
moment. To the plain as well as to the inexpressive countenance must
the painter give every beauty which it possesses. Every human being
has moments in which something intellectual or characteristic presents
itself. Nature, too, when we are presented only with the most barren
landscape, has the same moments; light and shadow produce these effects.
The poet must be like the painter; he must seize upon these moments in
human life as the other in nature.

If the reader were a child who lived in Odense, it would require nothing
more from him than that he should say the words, “St. Knud’s fair;”
 and this, illumined by the beams of the imagination of childhood, would
stand before him in the most brilliant colors. Our description will be
only a shadow; it will be that, perhaps, which the many will find it to
be.

Already in the suburbs the crowd of people, and the outspread
earthenware of the potters, which entirely covered the trottoir,
announced that the fair was in full operation.

The carriage drove down from the bridge across the Odense River.

“See, how beautiful it is here!” exclaimed Wilhelm.

Between the gardens of the city and a space occupied as a bleaching
ground lay the river. The magnificent church of St. Knud, with its lofty
tower, terminated the view.

“What red house was that?” inquired Otto, when they had lost sight of
it.

“That is the nunnery!” replied Louise, knowing what thought it was which
had arisen in his mind.

“There stood in the ancient times the old bishop’s palace, where
Beldenak lived!” said Sophie. “Just opposite to the river is the
bell-well, where a bell flew out of St. Albani’s tower. The well is
unfathomable. Whenever rich people in Odense die, it rings down below
the water!”

“It is not a pleasant thought,” said Otto, “that it rings in the well
when they must die.”

“One must not take it in that way now!” said Sophie, laughing, and
turned the subject. “Odense has many lions,” continued she, “from a
king’s garden with swans in it to a great theatre, which has this in
common with La Scala and many Italian ones, that it is built upon the
ruins of a convent. [Note: That of the Black Brothers.]

“In Odense, aristocracy and democracy held out the longest,” said
Wilhelm, smiling; “yet I remember, in my childhood, that when the nobles
and the citizens met on the king’s birthday at the town-house ball, that
we danced by ourselves.”

“Were not, then, the citizens strong enough to throw the giddy nobles
out of the window?” inquired Otto.

“You forget, Mr. Thostrup, that you yourself are noble!” said Sophie. “I
was really the goddess of fate who gave to you your genealogical tree.”

“You still remember that evening?” said Otto, with a gentle voice, and
the thoughts floated as gayly in his mind as the crowd of people floated
up and down in the streets through which they drove.

Somewhere about the middle of the city five streets met; and this
point, which widens itself out into a little square, is called the Cross
Street: here lay the hotel to which the family drove.

“Two hours and a quarter too late!” said the Kammerjunker, who came out
to meet them on the steps. “Good weather for the fair, and good
horses! I have already been out at the West-gate, and have bought two
magnificent mares. One of them kicked out behind, and had nearly given
me a blow on the breast, so that I might have said I had had my fairing!
Jakoba is paying visits, drinking chocolate, and eating biscuits.
Mamsell is out taking a view of things. Now you know our story.”

The ladies went to their chamber, the gentlemen remained in the saloon.

“Yes, here you shall see a city and a fair, Mr. Thostrup!” said the
Kammerjunker, and slapped Otto on the shoulder.

“Odense was at one time my principal chief-city,” said Wilhelm; “and
still St. Knud’s Church is the most magnificent I know. God knows
whether St. Peter’s in Rome would make upon me, now that I am older, the
impression which this made upon me as a child!”

“In St. Knud’s Church lies the Mamsell with the cats,” said the
Kammerjunker.

“The bishop’s lady, you should say,” returned Wilhelm. “The legend
relates, that there was a lady of a Bishop Mus who loved her cats to
that degree that she left orders that they should be laid with her
in the grave. [Author’s Note: The remains of the body, as well as the
skeletons of the cats, are still to be seen in a chapel on the western
aisle of the church.] We will afterward go and see them.”

“Yes, both the bishop’s lady and the cats,” said the Kammerjunker, “look
like dried fish! Then you must also see the nunnery and the military
library.”

“The Hospital and the House of Correction!” added Wilhelm.

The beating of a drum in the street drew them to the window. The city
crier, in striped linsey-woolsey jacket and breeches, and with a
yellow band across his shoulders, stood there, beat upon his drum, and
proclaimed aloud from a written paper many wonderful things which were
to be seen in the city.

“He beats a good drum,” said the Kammerjunker.

“It would certainly delight Rossini and Spontini to hear the fellow!”
 said Wilhelm. “In fact Odense would be, at New Year’s time, a city for
these two composers. You must know that at that season drums and fifes
are in their glory. They drum the New Year in. Seven or eight little
drummers and fifers go from door to door, attended by children and old
women; at that time they beat both the tattoo and the reveille. For this
they get a few pence. When the New Year is drummed-in in the city they
wander out into the country, and drum there for bacon and groats. The
New Year’s drumming in lasts until about Easter.”

“And then we have new pastimes,” said the Kammerjunker.

“Then come the fishers from Stige, [Author’s Note: A fishing village
in Odense Fjord.] with a complete band, and carrying a boat upon their
shoulders ornamented with a variety of flags. After that they lay a
board between two boats, and upon this two of the youngest and the
strongest have a wrestling-match, until one of them falls into the
water. The last years they both have allowed themselves to tumble in.
And this has been done in consequence of one young man who fell in being
so stung by the jeers which his fall had occasioned that he left, that
same day, the fishing village, after which no one saw him. But all the
fun is gone now! In my boyhood the merriment was quite another thing.
It was a fine sight when the corporation paraded with their ensign
and harlequin on the top! And at Easter, when the butchers led about a
bullock ornamented with ribbons and Easter-twigs, on the back of which
was seated a little winged boy in a shirt. They had Turkish music, and
carried flagons with them! See! all that have I outlived, and yet I am
not so old. Baron Wilhelm must have seen the ornamented ox. Now all that
is past and gone; people are got so refined! Neither is St. Knud’s fair
that which it used to be.”

“For all that, I rejoice that it is not so!” said Wilhelm. “But we will
go into the market and visit the Jutlanders, who are sitting there among
the heath with their earthenware. You will stand a chance there, Mr.
Thostrup, of meeting with an old acquaintance; only you must not have
home-sickness when you smell the heather and hear the ringing of the
clattering pots!”

The ladies now entered. Before paying any visits they determined upon
making the round of the market. The Kammerjunker offered his arm to the
mother. Otto saw this with secret gladness, and approached Sophie. She
accepted him willingly as an attendant; they must indeed get into the
throng.

As in the Middle Ages the various professions had their distinct streets
and quarters, so had they also here. The street which led to the market
place, and which in every-day life was called the “Shoemaker Street,”
 answered perfectly to its name. The shoemakers had ranged their tables
side by side. These, and the rails which had been erected for the
purpose, were hung over with all kinds of articles for the feet; the
tables themselves were laden with heavy shoes and thick-soled boots.
Behind these stood the skillful workman in his long Sunday coat, and
with his well-brushed felt-hat upon his head.

Where the shoemakers’ quarter ended that of the hatters’ began, and with
this one was in the middle of the great market-place, where tents and
booths formed many parallel streets. The booth of galanterie wares, the
goldsmith’s, and the confectioner’s, most of them constructed of canvas,
some few of them of wood, were points of great attraction. Round about
fluttered ribbons and handkerchiefs; round about were noise and bustle.
Peasant-girls out of the same village went always in a row, seven or
eight inseparables, with their hands fast locked in each other; it was
impossible to break the chain; and if people tried to press through
them, the whole flock rolled together in a heap.

Behind the booths there lay a great space filled with wooden shoes,
coarse earthenware, turners’ and saddlers’ work. Upon tables were spread
out toys, generally rudely made and coarsely painted. All around
the children assayed their little trumpets, and turned about their
playthings. The peasant-girls twirled and twisted both the work-boxes
and themselves many a time before the bargain was completed. The air
was heavy with all kinds of odors, and was spiced with the fragrance of
honey-cake.

Here acquaintances met each other-some peasant-maidens, perhaps, who had
been born in the same village, but since then had been separated.

“Good day!” exclaimed they, took each other by the hand, gave their arms
a swing, and laughed.

“Farewell!”

That was the whole conversation: such a one went on in many places.

“That is the heather!” exclaimed Otto, as he approached the quarter
where the Jutland potters had their station; “how refreshing is the
odor!” said he, and stooping down seized a twig fresh and green, as if
it had been plucked only yesterday.

“Aye, my Jesus though! is not that Mr. Otto!” exclaimed a female voice
just beside him, and a young Jutland peasantwoman skipped across the
pottery toward him. Otto knew her. It was the little Maria, the eelman’s
daughter, who, as we may remember at Otto’s visit to the fisher’s,
had removed to Ringkjoebing, and had hired herself for the hay and
cornharvest--the brisk Maria, “the girl,” as her father called her. She
had been betrothed in Ringkjoebing, and married to the rich earthenware
dealer, and now had come across the salt-water to Odense fair, where she
should meet with Mr. Otto.

“Her parents lived on my grandfather’s estate,” said Otto to Sophie,
who observed with a smile the young wife’s delight in meeting with
an acquaintance of her childhood. The husband was busily employed in
selling his wares; he heard nothing of it.

“Nay, but how elegant and handsome you are become!” said the young wife:
“but see, I knew you again for all that! Grandmother, you may believe
me, thinks a deal about you! The old body, she is so brisk and lively;
it does not trouble her a bit that she cannot see! You are the second
acquaintance that I have met with in the fair. It’s wonderful how people
come here from all parts of the world! The players are here too! You
still remember the German Heinrich? Over there in the gray house, at the
corner of the market, he is acting his comedy in the gateway.”

“I am glad that I have seen you!” said Otto, and nodded kindly. “Greet
them at home, and the grandmother, for me!”

“Greet them also from me!” said Sophie smiling. “You, Mr. Thostrup, must
for old acquaintance sake buy something. You ought also to give me a
fairing: I wish for that great jug there!”

“Where are you staying!” cried Wilhelm, and came back, whilst the rest
went forward.

“We would buy some earthenware,” said Sophie. “Souvenir de Jutland. The
one there has a splendid picture on it!”

“You shall have it!” said Otto. “But if I requested a fairing from you,
I beseech of you, might I say”--

“That it possibly might obtain its worth from my hand,” said Sophie,
smiling. “I understand you very well--a sprig of heather? I shall
steal!” said she to the young wife, as she took a little sprig of heath
and stuck it into his buttonhole. “Greet the grandmother for me!”

Otto and Sophie went.

“That’s a very laughing body!” said the woman half aloud, as she looked
after them; her glance followed Otto, she folded her hands--she was
thinking, perhaps, on the days of her childhood.

At St. Knud’s church-yard Otto and Sophie overtook the others. They were
going into the church. On the fair days this and all the tombs within it
were open to the public.

From whichever side this church is contemplated from without, the
magnificent old building has, especially from its lofty tower and
spire, something imposing about it; the interior produces the same, nay,
perhaps a greater effect. But as the principal entrance is through the
armory, and the lesser one is from the side of the church, its full
impression is not felt on entering it; nor is it until you arrive at the
end of the great aisle that you are aware rightly of its grandeur. All
there is great, beautiful, and light. The whole interior is white with
gilding. Aloft on the high-vaulted roof there shine, and that from the
old time, many golden stars. On both sides, high up, higher than the
side-aisles of the church, are large Gothic windows, from which the
light streams down. The side-aisles are adorned with old paintings,
which represent whole families, women and children, all clad in
canonicals, in long robes and large ruffs. In an ordinary way, the
figures are all ranged according to age, the oldest first, and then down
to the very least child, and stand with folded hands, and look piously
with downcast eyes and faces all in one direction, until by length of
time the colors have all faded away.

Just opposite to the entrance of the church may be seen, built into the
wall, a stone, on which is a bas-relief, and before it a grave. This
attracted Otto’s attention.

“It is the grave of King John and of Queen Christina, of Prince
Francesco and of Christian the Second,” said Wilhelm; “they lie together
in a small vault!” [Author’s Note: On the removal of the church of
the Grey Brothers, the remains of these royal parents and two of their
children were collected in a coffin and placed here in St. Knud’s
Church. The memorial stone, of which we have spoken, was erected
afterwards.]

“Christian the Second!” exclaimed Otto. “Denmark’s wisest and dearest
king!”

“Christian the Bad!” said the Kammerjunker, amazed at the tone of
enthusiasm in which Otto had spoken.

“Christian the Bad!” repeated Otto; “yes, it is now the mode to speak of
him thus, but we should not do so. We ought to remember how the Swedish
and Danish nobles behaved themselves, what cruelties they perpetrated,
and that we have the history of Christian the Second from one of the
offended party. Writers flatter the reigning powers. A prince must
have committed crimes, or have lost his power, if his errors are to be
rightly presented to future generations. People forget that which was
good in Christian, and have painted the dark side of his character, to
the formation of which the age lent its part.”

The Kammerjunker could not forget the Swedish bloodbath, the execution
of Torben Oxe, and all that can be said against the unfortunate king.

Otto drove him completely out of the field, in part from his enthusiasm
for Christian the Second, but still more because it was the Kammerjunker
with whom he was contending. Sophie took Otto’s side, her eye sparkled
applause, and the victory could not be other than his.

“What is it that the poet said of the fate of a king?” said Sophie.

                              “Woe’s me for him
   Who to the world shows more of ill than good!
   The good each man ascribes unto himself,
   Whilst on him only rest the crimes o’ th’ age.”

“Had Christian been so fortunate as to have subdued the rebellious
nobles,” continued Otto, “could he have carried out his bold plans, then
they would have called him Christian the Great: it is not the active
mind, but the failure in any design, which the world condemns.”

Louise nevertheless took the side of the Kammerjunker, and therefore
these two went together up the aisle toward the tomb of the Glorup
family. Wilhelm and his mother were already gone out of the church.

“I envy you your eloquence!” said Sophie, and looked with an expression
of love into Otto’s face; she bent herself over the railing around the
tomb, and looked thoughtfully upon the stone. Thoughts of love were
animated in Otto’s soul.

“Intellect and heart!” exclaimed he, “must admire that which is great:
you possess both these!” He seized her hand.

A faint crimson passed over Sophie’s cheeks. “The others are gone out!”
 she said; “come, let us go up to the chancel.”

“Up to the altar!” said Otto; “that is a bold course for one’s whole
life!”

Sophie looked jestingly at him. “Do you see the monument there within
the pillars?” asked she after a short pause; “the lady with the crossed
arms and the colored countenance? In one night she danced twelve knights
to death, the thirteenth, whom she had invited for her partner, cut her
girdle in two in the dance and she fell dead to the earth!” [Author’s
Note: In Thiele’s Danish Popular Tradition it is related that she was
one Margrethe Skofgaard of Sanderumgaard, and that she died at a ball,
where she had danced to death twelve knights. The people relate it with
a variation as above; it is probable that it is mingled with a second
tradition, for example, that of the blood-spots at Koldinghuus, which
relates that an old king was so angry with his daughter that he resolved
to kill her, and ordered that his knights should dance with her one
after another until the breath was out of her. Nine had danced with her,
and then came up the king himself as the tenth, and when he became weary
he cut her girdle in two, on which the blood streamed from her mouth and
she died.]

“She was a northern Turandot!” said Otto; “the stony heart itself was
forced to break and bleed. There is really a jest in having the marble
painted. She stands before future ages as if she lived--a stone image,
white and red, only a mask of beauty. She is a warning to young ladies!”

“Yes, against dancing!” said Sophie, smiling at Otto’s extraordinary
gravity.

“And yet it must be a blessed thing,” exclaimed he, “a very blessed
thing, amid pealing music, arm-in-arm with one’s beloved, to be able to
dance life away, and to sink bleeding before her feet!”

“And yet only to see that she would dance with a new one!” said Sophie.

“No, no!” exclaimed Otto, “that you could not do! that you will not do!
O Sophie, if you knew!”--He approached her still nearer, bent his head
toward her, and his eye had twofold fire and expression in it.

“You must come with us and see the cats!” said the Kammerjunker, and
sprang in between them.

“Yes, it is charming!” said Sophie. “You will have an opportunity, Mr.
Thostrup, of moralizing over the perishableness of female beauty!”

“In the evening, when we drive home together,” thought Otto to himself
consolingly, “in the mild summer-evening no Kammerjunker will disturb
me. It must, it shall be decided! Misfortune might subject the
wildness of childhood, but it gave me confidence, it never destroyed my
independence; Love has made me timid,--has made me weak. May I thereby
win a bride?”

Gravely and with a dark glance he followed after Sophie and her guide.



CHAPTER XL

     “In vain his beet endeavors were;
     Dull was the evening, and duller grew.”--LUDOLF SCHLEF.

     “Seest thou how its little life
       The bird hides in the wood?
     Wilt thou be my little wife--
       Then do it soon. Good!
     --A bridegroom am I.”--Arion.

Close beside St. Knud’s Church, where once the convent stood, is now the
dwelling of a private man. [Author’s Note: See Oehlenschläger’s Jorney
to Funen.] The excellent hostess here, who once charmed the public on
the Danish stage as Ida Munster, awaited the family to dinner.

After dinner they wandered up and down the garden, which extended to the
Odense River.

In the dusk of evening Otto went to visit the German Heinrich; he had
mentioned it to Louise, and she promised to divert attention from him
whilst he was away.

The company took coffee in the garden-house; Otto walked in deep thought
in the avenue by the side of the river. The beautiful scene before
him riveted his eye. Close beside lay a water-mill, over the two great
wheels of which poured the river white as milk. Behind this was thrown a
bridge, over which people walked and drove. The journeyman-miller
stood upon the balcony, and whistled an air. It was such a picture as
Christian Winther and Uhland give in their picturesque poems. On the
other side of the mill arose tall poplars half-buried in the green
meadow, in which stood the nunnery; a nun had once drowned herself where
now the red daisies grow.

A strong sunlight lit up the whole scene. All was repose and summer
warmth. Suddenly Otto’s ear caught the deep and powerful tones of an
organ; he turned himself round. The tones, which went to his heart, came
from St. Knud’s Church, which lay close beside the garden. The sunshine
of the landscape, and the strength of the music, gave, as it were, to
him light and strength for the darkness toward which he was so soon to
go.

The sun set; and Otto went alone across the market-place toward the old
corner house, where German Heinrich practiced his arts. Upon this place
stood St. Albani’s Church, where St. Knud, betrayed by his servant
Blake, [Author’s Note: Whence has arisen the popular expression of
“being a false Blake.”] was killed by the tumultuous rebels. The common
people believe that from one of the deep cellars under this house
proceeds a subterranean passage to the so-called “Nun’s Hill.” At
midnight the neighboring inhabitants still hear a roaring under the
marketplace, as if of the sudden falling of a cascade. The better
informed explain it as being a concealed natural water-course, which has
a connection with the neighboring river. In our time the old house is
become a manufactory; the broken windows, the gaps of which are repaired
either with slips of wood or with paper, the quantity of human bones
which are found in the garden, and which remain from the time when this
was a church-yard, give to the whole place a peculiar interest to the
common people of Odense.

Entering the house at the front, it is on the same level as the
market-place; the back of the house, on the contrary, descends
precipitously into the garden, where there are thick old walls and
foundations. The situation is thus quite romantic; just beside it is
the old nunnery, with its dentated gables, and not far off the ruins, in
whose depths the common people believe that there resides an evil being,
“the river-man,” who annually demands his human sacrifice, which he
announces the night before. Behind this lie meadows, villas, and green
woods.

On the other side of the court, in a back gate-way, German Heinrich
had set up his theatre. The entrance cost eight skillings; people of
condition paid according to their own will.

Otto entered during the representation. A cloth constituted the whole
scenic arrangement. In the middle of the floor sat a horrible goblin,
with a coal-black Moorish countenance and crispy hair upon its head. An
old bed-cover concealed the figure, yet one saw that it was that of a
woman.

The audience consisted of peasants and street boys. Otto kept himself in
the background, and remained unobserved by Heinrich.

The representation was soon at an end, and the crowd dispersed. It was
then that Otto first came forward.

“We must speak a few words together!” said he. “Heinrich, you have not
acted honestly by me! The girl is not that which you represented her to
be; you have deceived me: I demand an explanation!”

German Heinrich stood silent, but every feature eloquently expressed
first amazement, and then slyness and cunning; his knavish, malicious
eye, measured Otto from top to toe.

“Nay; so then, Mr. Thostrup, you are convinced, are you, that I have
been cheating you?” said he. “If so, why do you come to me? In that case
there needs no explanation. Ask herself there!” And so saying he pointed
to the black-painted figure.

“Do not be too proud, Otto!” said she, smiling; “thou couldst yet
recognize thy sister, although she has a little black paint on her
face!”

Otto riveted a dark, indignant glance upon her, pressed his lips
together, and tried to collect himself. “It is my firm determination
to have the whole affair searched into,” said he, with constrained
calmness.

“Yes, but it will bring you some disagreeables!” said Heinrich, and
laughed scornfully.

“Do not laugh in that manner when I speak to you!” said Otto, with
flushing cheeks.

Heinrich leaned himself calmly against the door which led into the
garden.

“I am acquainted with the head of the police,” said Otto, “and I might
leave the whole business in his hands. But I have chosen a milder way; I
am come myself. I shall very soon leave Denmark; I shall go many
hundred miles hence shall, probably, never return; and thus you see the
principal ground for my coming to you is a whim: I will know wherefore
you have deceived me; I will know what is the connection between you and
her.”

“Nay; so, then, it is _that_ that you want to know?” said Heinrich, with
a malicious glance. “Yes, see you, she is my best beloved; she shall be
my wife: but your sister she is for all that, and that remains so!”

“Thou couldst easily give me a little before thou settest off on thy
journey!” said Sidsel, who seemed excited by Heinrich’s words, and put
forth her painted face.

Otto glanced at her with contracted eyebrows.

“Yes,” said she, “I say ‘thou’ to thee: thou must accustom thyself to
that! A sister may have, however, that little bit of pleasure!”

“Yes, you should give her your hand!” said Heinrich, and laughed.

“Wretch!” exclaimed Otto, “she is not that which you say! I will find
out my real sister! I will have proof in hand of the truth! I will
show myself as a brother; I will care for her future! Bring to me her
baptismal register; bring to me one only attestation of its reality--and
that before eight days are past! Here is my address, it is the envelope
of a letter; inclose in it the testimonial which I require, and send it
to me without delay. But prove it, or you are a greater villain than I
took you for.”

“Let us say a few rational words!” said Heinrich, with a constrained,
fawning voice. “If you will give to me fifty rix-dollars, then you shall
never have any more annoyance with us! See, that would be a great deal
more convenient.”

“I abide by that which I have said!” answered Otto; “we will not have
any more conversation together!” And so saying, he turned him round to
go out.

Heinrich seized him by the coat.

“What do you want?” inquired Otto.

“I mean,” said Heinrich, “whether you are not going to think about the
fifty rix-dollars?”

“Villain!” cried Otto, and, with the veins swelling in his forehead, he
thrust Heinrich from him with such force, that he fell against the worm
eaten door which led into the garden; the panel of the door fell out,
and had not Heinrich seized fast hold on some firm object with both his
hands, he must have gone the same way. Otto stood for a moment silent,
with flashing eyes, and threw the envelope, on which his address was, at
Heinrich’s feet, and went out.

When Otto returned to the hotel, he found the horses ready to be put to
the carriage.

“Have you had good intelligence?” whispered Louise.

“I have in reality obtained no more than I had before!” replied he;
“only my own feelings more strongly convince me than ever that I have
been deceived by him.”

He related to her the short conversation which had taken place.

The Kammerjunker’s carriage was now also brought out; in this was more
than sufficient room for two, whereas in the other carriage they had
been crowded. The Kammerjunker, therefore, besought that they would
avail themselves of the more convenient seat which he could offer; and
Otto saw Sophie and her mother enter the Kammerjunker’s carriage. This
arrangement would shortly before have confounded Otto, now it had much
less effect upon him. His mind was so much occupied by his visit to
German Heinrich, his soul was filled with a bitterness, which for the
moment repelled the impulse which he had felt to express his great love
for Sophie.

“I have been made Heinrich’s plaything--his tool!” thought he. “Now he
ridicules me, and I am compelled to bear it! That horrible being is not
my sister!--she cannot be so!”

The street was now quiet. They mounted into the carriage. In the corner
house just opposite there was a great company; light streamed through
the long curtains, a low tenor voice and a high ringing soprano mingled
together in Mozart’s “Audiam, audiam, mio bene.”

“The bird may not flutter from my heart!” sighed Otto, and seated
himself by the side of Louise. The carriage rolled away.

The full moon shone; the wild spiraea sent forth its odor from the road
side; steam ascended from the moor-lands; and the white mist floated
over the meadows like the daughters of the elfin king.

Louise sat silent and embarrassed; trouble weighed down her heart. Otto
was also silent.

The Kammerjunker drove in first, cracked his whip, and struck up a wild
halloo.

Wilhelm began to sing, “Charming the summer night,” and the Kammerjunker
joined in with him.

“Sing with us man,” cried Wilhelm to the silent Otto, and quickly the
two companies were one singing caravan.

It was late when they reached the hall.



CHAPTER XLI

     “Destiny often pulls off leaves, as we treat the vine, that
     its fruits may be earlier brought to maturity.”--JEAN PAUL.

It was not until toward morning that Otto fell into sleep. Wilhelm and
he were allowed to take their own time in rising, and thus it was late
in the day before these two gentlemen made their appearance at the
breakfast-table; the Kammerjunker was already come over to the hall, and
now was more adorned than common.

“Mr. Thostrup shall be one of the initiated!” said the mother. “It
will be time enough this evening for strangers to know of it. The
Kammerjunker and my Sophie are betrothed.”

“See, it was in the bright moonlight, Mr. Thostrup, that I became such
a happy man!” said the Kammerjunker, and kissed the tips of Sophie’s
fingers. He offered his other hand to Otto.

Otto’s countenance remained unchanged, a smile played upon his lips.
“I congratulate you!” said he; “it is indeed a joyful day! If I were a
poet, I would give you an ode!”

Louise looked at him with an extraordinary expression of pain in her
countenance.

Wilhelm called the Kammerjunker brother-in-law, and smiling shook both
his hands.

Otto was unusually gay, jested, and laughed. The ladies went to their
toilet, Otto into the garden.

He had been so convinced in his own mind that Sophie returned his
passion. With what pleasure had she listened to him! with what an
expression had her eye rested upon him! Her little jests had been to
him such convincing proofs that the hope which he nourished was no
self-delusion. She was the light around which his thoughts had circled.
Love to her was to him a good angel, which sung to him consolation and
life’s gladness in his dark moments.

Now, all was suddenly over. It was as if the angel had left him; the
flame of love which had so entirely filled his soul, was in a moment
extinguished to its last spark. Sophie was become a stranger to him; her
intellectual eye, which smiled in love on the Kammerjunker, seemed to
him the soulless eye of the automaton. A stupefying indifference went
through him, deadly as poison that is infused into the human blood.

“The vain girl! she thought to make herself more important by repelling
from her a faithful heart! She should only see how changed her image is
in my soul. All the weaknesses which my love for her made me pass over,
now step forth with repulsive features! Not a word which she spoke fell
to the ground. The diamond has lost its lustre; I feel only its sharp
corners!”

Sophie had given the preference to a man who, in respect of intellect,
stood far below Otto! Sophie, who seemed to be enthusiastic for art and
beauty, for everything glorious in the kingdom of mind, could thus have
deceived him!

We will now see the sisters in their chamber.

Louise seemed pensive, she sat silently looking before her.

Sophie stood thoughtfully with a smile upon her lips.

“The Kammerjunker is very handsome, however!” exclaimed she: “he looks
so manly!”

“You ought to find him love-worthy!” said Louise.

“Yes,” replied her sister, “I have always admired these strong
countenances! He is an Axel--a northern blackbearded savage. Faces such
as Wilhelm’s look like ladies’! And he is so good! He has said, that
immediately after our marriage we shall make a tour to Hamburg. What
dress do you think I should wear?”

“When you make the journey to Hamburg?” inquired Louise.

“O no, child! to-day I mean. Thostrup was indeed very polite! he
congratulated me! I felt, however, rather curious when it was told to
him. I had quite expected a scene! I was almost ready to beg of you
to tell him first of all. He ought to have been prepared. But he was,
however, very rational! I should not have expected it from him. I really
wish him all good, but he is an extraordinary character! so melancholy!
Do you think that he will take my betrothal to heart? I noticed that
when I was kissed he turned himself suddenly round to the window and
played with the flowers. I wish that he would soon go! The journey
into foreign countries will do him good--there he will soon forget his
heart’s troubles. To-morrow I will write to Cousin Joachim; he will also
be surprised!”

Late in the afternoon came Jakoba, the Mamsell, the preacher, and yet a
few other guests.

In the evening the table was arranged festively. The betrothed sat
together, and Otto had the place of honor--he sat on the other side
of Sophie. The preacher had written a song to the tune of “Be thou
our social guardian-goddess;” this was sung. Otto’s voice sounded
beautifully and strong; he rang his glass with the betrothed pair, and
the Kammerjunker said that now Mr. Thostrup must speedily seek out a
bride for himself.

“She is found,” answered Otto; “but now that is yet a secret.”

“Health to the bride!” said Sophie, and rung her glass; but soon again
her intellectual eye rested upon the Kammerjunker, who was talking about
asparagus and stall-feeding with clover, yet her glance brought him back
again to the happiness of his love.

It was a very lively evening. Late in the night the party broke up. The
friends went to their chamber.

“My dear, faithful Otto!” said Wilhelm, and laid his hand on his
shoulder; “you were very lively and good-humored this evening. Continue
always thus!”

“I hope to do so,” answered Otto: “may we only always have as happy an
evening as this!”

“Extraordinary man!” said Wilhelm, and shook his head. “Now we will soon
set out on our journey, and catch for ourselves the happiness of the
glorious gold bird!”

“And not let it escape again!” exclaimed Otto. “Formerly I used to say,
To-morrow! to-morrow! now I say, To-day, and all day long! Away with
fancies and complainings. I now comprehend that which you once said to
me, that is. Man _can_ be happy if he only _will_ be so.”

Wilhelm took his hand, and looked into his face with a half-melancholy
expression.

“Are you sentimental?” inquired Otto.

“I only affect that which I am not!” answered Wilhelm; and with that,
suddenly throwing off the natural gravity of the moment, returned to his
customary gayety.

The following days were spent in visiting and in receiving visitors. On
every post-day Otto sought through the leathern bag of the postman, but
he found no letter from German Heinrich, and heard nothing from him. “I
have been deceived,” said he, “and I feel myself glad about it! She, the
horrible one, is not my sister!”

There was a necessity for him to go away, far from home, and yet he felt
no longing after the mountains of Switzerland or the luxuriant beauty of
the south.

“Nature will only weaken me! I will not seek after it. Man it is that I
require: these egotistical, false beings--these lords of everything!
How we flatter our weaknesses and admire our virtues! Whatever serves to
advance our own wishes we find to be excellent. To those who love us,
we give our love in return. At the bottom, whom do I love except myself?
Wilhelm? My friendship for him is built upon the foundation,--I cannot
do without thee! Friendship is to me a necessity. Was I not once
convinced that I adored Sophie, and that I never could bear it if she
were lost to me? and yet there needed the conviction ‘She loves thee
not,’ and my strong feeling was dead. Sophie even seems to me
less beautiful; I see faults where I formerly could only discover
amiabilities! Now, she is to me almost wholly a stranger. As I am, so
are all. Who is there that feels right lovingly, right faithfully for
me, without his own interest leading him to do so? Rosalie? My old,
honest Rosalie? I grew up before her eyes like a plant which she loved.
I am dear to her as it! When her canary-bird one morning lay dead in its
cage, she wept bitterly and long; she should never more hear it sing,
she should never more look after its cage and its food. It was the loss
of it which made her weep. She missed that which had been interesting
to her. I also interested her. Interest is the name for that which
the world calls love. Louise?” He almost spoke the name aloud, and his
thoughts dwelt, from a strong combination of circumstances, upon it.
“She appears to me true, and capable of making sacrifices! but is not
she also very different from all the others? How often have I not heard
Sophie laugh at her for it--look down upon her!” And Otto’s better
feeling sought in vain for a shadow of self-love in Louise, a single
selfish motive for her noble conduct.

“Away from Denmark! to new people! Happy he who can always be on the
wing, making new friendships, and speedily breaking them off! At the
first meeting people wear their intellectual Sunday apparel; every point
of light is brought forth; but soon and the festival-day is over, and
the bright points have vanished.”

“We will set off next week!” said Wilhelm, “and then it shall be--

    ‘Over the rushing blue waters away!
     We will speed along shores that are verdant and gay!’

Away over the moors, up the Rhine, through the land of champagne to the
city of cities, the life-animating Paris!”



CHAPTER XLII

     “A maiden stood musing, gentle and mild. I grasped the hand
     of the friendly child, but the lovely fawn shyly
     disappeared.... From the Rhine to the Danish Belt,
     beautiful and lovely maidens are found in palaces and tents;
     yet nobody pleases me.”--SCHMIDT VON LÜBECK.

The last day at home was Sophie’s birthday. In the afternoon the whole
family was invited to the Kammerjunker’s, where Jakoba and the Mamsell
were to be quite brilliant in their cookery.

A table filled with presents, all from the Kammerjunker, awaited Miss
Sophie; it was the first time that he had ever presented to her a
birthday gift, and he had now, either out of his own head or somebody’s
else, fallen on the very good idea of making her a present for every
year which she had lived. Every present was suited to the age for which
it was intended, and thus he began with a paper of sugar-plums and ended
with silk and magnificent fur; but between beginning and end there
were things, of which more than the half could be called solid: gold
ear-rings, a boa, French gloves, and a riding-horse. This last, of
course, could not stand upon the table. It was a joy and a happiness;
people walked about, and separated themselves by degrees into groups.

The only one who was not there was Eva. She always preferred remaining
at home; and yet, perhaps, to-day she might have allowed herself to have
been overpersuaded, had she not found herself so extremely weak.

Silently and alone she now sat at home in the great empty parlor. It
was in the twilight; she had laid down her work, and her beautiful,
thoughtful eyes looked straight before her: thoughts which we may not
unveil were agitating her breast.

Suddenly the door opened, and Wilhelm stood before her. Whilst the
others were walking he had stolen away. He knew that Eva was alone at
home; nobody would know that he visited her, nobody would dream of their
conversation.

“You here!” exclaimed Eva, when she saw him.

“I was compelled to come,” answered he. “I have slipped away from
the others; no one knows that I am here. I must speak with you, Eva.
To-morrow I set off; but I cannot leave home calmly and happily without
knowing--what this moment must decide.”

Eva rose, her checks crimsoned, she cast down her eyes.

“Baron Wilhelm!” stammered she, “it is not proper that I should remain
here!” She was about to leave the room.

“Eva!” said Wilhelm, and seized her hand, “you know that I love you! My
feelings are honorable! Say Yes, and it shall be holy to me as an oath.
Then I shall begin my journey glad at heart, as one should do. Your
assent shall stand in my breast, shall sound in my ear, whenever sin and
temptation assail me! It will preserve me in an upright course, it will
bring me back good and unspoiled. My wife must you be! You have
soul, and with it nobility! Eva! in God’s name, do not make a feeble,
life-weary, disheartened being of me!”

“O Heavens!” exclaimed she, and burst into tears, “I cannot, and--will
not! You forget that I am only a poor girl, who am indebted for
everything to your mother! My assent would displease her, and some time
or other you would repent of it! I cannot!--I do not love you!” added
she, in a tremulous voice.

Wilhelm stood speechless.

Eva suddenly rang the bell.

“What are you doing?” exclaimed he.

The servant entered.

“Bring in lights!” said she; “but first of all you must assist me with
these flowers down into the garden. It will do them good to stand in the
dew.”

The servant did as she bade; she herself carried down one of the pots,
and left the room.

“I do not love you!” repeated Wilhelm to himself, and returned to the
company which he had left, and where he found all gayety and happiness.

The supper-table was spread in the garden; lights burned in the open air
with a steady flame; it was a summer-evening beautiful as the October of
the South; the reseda sent forth its fragrance; and when Sophie’s health
was drunk cannon were fired among the lofty fir-trees, the pines of the
North.

The next morning those countenances were dejected which the evening
before had been so gay. The carriage drew up to the door. The dear
mother and sisters wept; they kissed Wilhelm, and extended their hands
to Otto.

“Farewell!” said Louise; “do not forget us!” and her tearful glance
rested upon Otto. Eva stood silent and pale.

“You will not forget me!” whispered Otto, as he seized Louise’s hand. “I
will forget your sister!”

The carriage rolled away; Wilhelm threw himself back into a corner. Otto
looked back once more; they all stood at the door, and waved their white
handkerchiefs.



CHAPTER XLIII

     “In one short speaking silence all conveys--
     And looks a sigh, and weeps without a tear.”
                                   MRS. BROWNING.

     “Forgive us our debts as we
       The debts of others forgive;
     And lead us not in tempting ways;
       Apart from evil let us live.”
                    A. VON CHAMISSO.

We will not accompany the friends, but will remain behind in Funen,
where we will make a bolder journey than they, namely, we will go back
one-and-twenty years. We will allow the circumstances of Otto’s birth
again to come before us. It is a leap backward that we take from 1830 to
1810. We are in Odense, that old city, which takes its name from Odin.

The common people there have still a legend about the origin of the name
of the city. Upon Naesbyhoved’s Hill [Author’s Note: Not far from the
city, by the Odense Channel; it is described in Wedel Simonsen’s City
Ruins.] there once stood a castle; here lived King Odin and his wife:
Odense city was not then in existence, but the first building of it was
then begun. [Author’s Note: The place is given as being that of the now
so-called Cross Street.] The court was undecided as to the name which
should be given to the city. After long indecision it was at last agreed
that the first word which either King or Queen should speak the next
morning should be the name given to it. In the early morning the Queen
awoke and looked out from her window over the wood. The first house in
the city was erected to the roof, and the builders had hung up a
great garland, glittering with tinsel, upon the rooftree. “Odin, see!”
 exclaimed the Queen; and thenceforward the city was called Odensee,
which name, since then, has been changed by daily speech to Odense.

When people ask the children in Copenhagen whence they have come, they
reply, out of the Peblingsöe. The little children of Odense, who
know nothing about the Peblingsöe, say that they are fetched out of
Rosenbaek, a little brook which has only been ennobled within the few
last years, just as in Copenhagen is the case with Krystal Street, which
formerly had an unpleasant name. This brook runs through Odense, and
must, in former times, when united with the Odense River, have formed an
island where the city at that time stood; hence some people derive the
name of Odense from Odins Ei, or Odins Ö, that is, Odin’s Island. Be it
then as it might, the brook flows now, and in 1810, when the so-called
Willow-dam, by the West Gate, was not filled up, it stood, especially in
spring, low and watery. It often overflowed its banks, and in so doing
overflowed the little gardens which lay on either side. It thus ran
concealed through the city until near the North Gate, where it made its
appearance for a moment and then dived again in the same street, and,
like a little river, flowed through the cellars of the old justice-room,
which was built by the renowned Oluf Bagger. [Author’s Note: He was so
rich that once, when Frederick the Second visited him, he had the room
heated with cinnamon chips. Much may be found about this remarkable
man in the second collection of Thiele’s Popular Danish Legends. His
descendants still live in Odense, namely, the family of the printer Ch.
Iversen, who has preserved many curiosities which belonged to him.]

It was an afternoon in the summer of 1810; the water was high in the
brook, yet two washerwomen were busily employed in it; reed-matting
was fast bound round their bodies, and they beat with wooden staves the
clothes upon their washing-stools. They were in deep conversation, and
yet their labor went on uninterruptedly.

“Yes,” said one of them, “better a little with honor, than much with
dishonor. She is sentenced; to-morrow she is to go about in the pillory.
That is sure and certain! I know it from the trumpeter’s Karen, and from
the beggar-king’s [Author’s Note: Overseer of the poor.] wife: neither
of them go about with lies.”

“Ih, my Jesus!” exclaimed the other, and let her wooden beater fall, “is
Johanne Marie to go in the pillory, the handsome girl? she that looked
so clever and dressed herself so well?”

“Yes, it is a misfortune!” said the first; “a great misfortune it must
be! No, let every one keep his own! say I every day to my children.
After the sweet claw comes the bitter smart. One had much better work
till the blood starts from the finger-ends.”

“Ih, see though!” said the other; “there goes the old fellow, Johanne
Marie’s father. He is an honest man; he was so pleased with his
daughter, and to-morrow he must himself bind her to the pillory! But can
she really have stolen?”

“She has herself confessed,” returned she; “and the Colonel is severe. I
fancy the Gevaldiger is going there.”

“The Colonel should put the bridle on his own son. He is a bad fellow!
Not long ago, when I was washing yarn there, and was merry, as I always
am, he called me ‘wench.’ If he had said ‘woman,’ I should not have
troubled myself about it, for it has another meaning; but ‘wench,’ that
is rude! Ei, there sails the whole affair!” screamed she suddenly, as
the sheet which she had wound round the washing-stool got loose and
floated down the stream: she ran after it, and the conversation was
broken off.

The old man whom they had seen and compassionated, went into a great
house close by, where the Colonel lived. His eyes were cast upon the
ground; a deep, silent suffering lay in his wrinkled face; he gently
pulled at the bell, and bowed himself deeply before the black-appareled
lady who opened to him the door.

We know her--it was the old Rosalie, then twenty years younger than when
we saw her upon the western coast of Jutland.

“Good old man!” said she, and laid her hand kindly on his shoulder.
“Colonel Thostrup is severe, but he is not, however, inhuman; and that
he would be if he let you tomorrow do your office. The Colonel has said
that the Gevaldiger should stay at home.”

“No!” said the old man, “our Lord will give me strength. God be thanked
that Johanne Marie’s mother has closed her eyes: she will not see the
misery! We are not guilty of it!”

“Honest man!” said Rosalie. “Johanne was always so good and clever;
and now”--she shook her head--“I would have sworn for her, but she has
confessed it herself!”

“The law must have its course!” said the old man, and tears streamed
down his cheeks.

At that moment the door opened, and Colonel Thostrup, a tall, thin man,
with a keen eye, stood before them. Rosalie left the room.

“Gevaldiger,” said the Colonel, “to-morrow you will not be required to
act in your office.”

“Colonel,” returned the old man, “it is my duty to be there, and, if I
may say a few words, people would speak ill of me if I kept away.”

On the following forenoon, from the early morning, the square where lay
the council-house and head-watch, was filled with people; they were come
to see the handsome girl led forth in the pillory. The time began
to appear long to them, and yet no sign was seen of that which they
expected. The sentinel, who went with measured step backward and forward
before the sentry-box, could give no intelligence. The door of the
council-house was closed, and everything gave occasion to the report
which suddenly was put into circulation, that the handsome Johanne Marie
had been for a whole hour in the pillory within the council-house, and
thus they should have nothing at all to see. Although it is entirely
opposed to sound reason that punishment should be inflicted publicly, it
met with much support, and great dissatisfaction was excited.

“That is shabby!” said a simple woman, in whom we may recognize one of
the washerwomen; “it is shabby thus to treat the folks as if they were
fools! Yesterday I slaved like a horse, and here one has stood two whole
hours by the clock, till I am stiff in the legs, without seeing anything
at all!”

“That is what I expected,” said another woman; “a fair face has many
friends! She has known how to win the great people to her side!”

“Do not you believe,” inquired a third, “that she has been good friends
with the Colonels son?”

“Yes; formerly I would have said No, because she always looked so
steady, and against her parents there is not a word to be said; but as
she has stolen, as we know she has, she may also have been unsteady.
The Colonel’s son is a wild bird; riots and drinks does he in secret! We
others know more than his father does: he had held too tight a hand over
him. Too great severity causes bad blood!”

“God help me, now it begins!” interrupted another woman, as a detachment
of soldiers marched out of the guard-house, and at some little distance
one from the other inclosed an open space. The door of the council-house
now opened, and two officers of police, together with some of the guard,
conducted out the condemned, who was placed in the pillory. This was a
sort of wooden yoke laid across the shoulders of the delinquent; a piece
of wood came forward from this into which her hands were secured: above
all stood two iron bars, to the first of which was fastened a little
bell; to the other a long fox’s tail, which hung down the lack of the
condemned.

The girl seemed hardly more than nineteen, and was of an unusually
beautiful figure; her countenance was nobly and delicately formed,
but pale as death: yet there was no expression either of suffering or
shame,--she seemed like the image of a penitent, who meekly accomplishes
the imposed penance.

Her aged father, the Gevaldiger, followed her slowly; his eye was
determined; no feature expressed that which went forward in his soul:
he silently took his place beside one of the pillars before the guard
house.

A loud murmur arose among the crowd when they saw the beautiful girl and
the poor old father, who must himself see his daughter’s disgrace.

A spotted dog sprang into the open space; the girl’s monotonous tread,
as she advanced into the middle of the square, the ringing of the little
bell, and the fox-tail which moved in the wind, excited the dog, which
began to bark, and wanted to bite the fox’s tail. The guards drove the
dog away, but it soon came back again, although it did not venture again
into the circle, but thrust itself forward, and never ceased barking.

Many of those who already had been moved to compassion by the beauty
of the girl and the sight of the old father, were thrown again by this
incident into a merry humor; they laughed and found the whole thing very
amusing.

The hour was past, and the girl was now to be released. The Gevaldiger
approached her, but whilst he raised his hand to the yoke the old
man tottered, and sank, in the same moment, back upon the hard stone
pavement.

A shriek arose from those who stood around; the young girl alone stood
silent and immovable; her thoughts seemed to be far away. Yet some
people fancied they saw how she closed her eyes, but that was only for
a moment. A policeman released her from the pillory, her old father
was carried into the guard-house, and two policemen led her into the
council-house.

“See, now it is over!” said an old glover, who was among the spectators;
“the next time she’ll get into the House of Correction.”

“O, it is not so bad there,” answered another; “they sing and are merry
there the whole day long, and have no need to trouble themselves about
victuals.”

“Yes, but that is prison fare.”

“It is not so bad--many a poor body would thank God for it; and Johanne
Marie would get the best of it. Her aunt is the head-cook, and the cook
and the inspector they hang together. It’s my opinion, however, that
this affair will take the life out of the old man. He got a right
good bump as he fell on the stone-pavement; one could hear how it rung
again.”

The crowd separated.

The last malicious voice had prophesied truth.

Three weeks afterward six soldiers bore a woven, yellow straw coffin
from a poor house in East Street. The old Gevaldiger lay, with closed
eyes and folded hands, in the coffin. Within the chamber, upon the
bedstead, sat Johanne Marie, with a countenance pale as that of the dead
which had been carried away. A compassionate neighbor took her hand, and
mentioned her name several times before she heard her.

“Johanne, come in with me; eat a mouthful of pease and keep life in
you; if not for your own sake, at least for that of the child which lies
under your heart.”

The girl heaved a wonderfully deep sigh. “No, no!” said she, and closed
her eyes.

Full of pity, the good neighbor took her home with her.

A few days passed on, and then one morning two policemen entered the
poor room in which the Gevaldiger had died. Johanne Marie was again
summoned before the judge.

A fresh robbery had taken place at the Colonel’s. Rosalie said that it
was a long time since she had first missed that which was gone, but that
she thought it best to try to forget it. The Colonel’s violent temper
and his exasperation against Johanne Marie, who, as he asserted, by
her bad conduct, had brought her old, excellent father to the grave,
insisted on summoning her before the tribunal, that the affair might be
more narrowly inquired into.

Rosalie, who had been captivated by the beauty of the girl and by her
modest demeanor, and who was very fond of her, was this time quite calm,
feeling quite sure that she would deny everything, because, in fact,
the theft had only occurred within the last few days. The public became
aware of this before long, and the opinion was that Johanne Marie could
not possibly have been an actor in it; but, to the astonishment of the
greater number, she confessed that she was the guilty person, and that
with such calmness as amazed every one. Her noble, beautifully
formed countenance seemed bloodless; her dark-blue eyes beamed with a
brilliancy which seemed like that of delirium; her beauty, her calmness,
and yet this obduracy in crime, produced an extraordinary impression
upon the spectators.

She was sentenced to the House of Correction in Odense. Despised and
repulsed by the better class of her fellow-beings, she went to her
punishment. No one had dreamed that under so fair a form so corrupt a
soul could have been found. She was set to the spinning-wheel; silent
and introverted, she accomplished the tasks that were assigned her. In
the coarse merriment of the other prisoners she took no part.

“Don’t let your heart sink within you, Johanne Marie,” said German
Heinrich, who sat at the loom; “sing with us till the iron bars rattle!”

“Johanne, you brought your old father to the grave,” said her relation,
the head-cook; “how could you have taken such bad courses?”

Johanne Marie was silent; the large, dark eyes looked straight before
her, whilst she kept turning the wheel.

Five months went on, and then she became ill--ill to death, and
gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl--two beautiful and well-formed
children, excepting that the girl was as small and delicate as if its
life hung on a thread.

The dying mother kissed the little ones and wept; it was the first time
that the people within the prison had seen her weep. Her relation the
cook sat alone with her upon the bed.

“Withdraw not your hand from the innocent children,” said Johanne Marie;
“if they live to grow up, tell them some time that their mother was
innocent. My eternal Saviour knows that I have never stolen! Innocent
am I, and innocent was I when I went out a spectacle of public derision,
and now when I sit here!”

“Ih, Jesus though! What do you say?” exclaimed the woman.

“The truth!” answered the dying one. “God be gracious to me!--my
children!”

She sank back upon the couch, and was dead.



CHAPTER XLIV

     “Ah! wonderfully beautiful is God’s earth, and worthy it is
     to live contented.”--HÖLTY.

We now return to the hall in Funen, to the family which we left there;
but autumn and winter are gone whilst we have been lingering on the
past. Otto and Wilhelm have been two months away. It is the autumn of
1832.

The marriage of the Kammerjunker and Sophie was deferred, according to
her wish, until the second of April, because this day is immortal in the
annals of Denmark. In the house, where there now were only the mother,
Louise, and Eva, all was quiet. Through the whole winter Eva had become
weaker; yet she did not resemble the flowers which wither; there was no
expression of illness about her--it was much more as if the spiritual
nature overpowered the bodily; she resembled an astral lamp which,
filled with light, seems almost resembled be an ethereal existence. The
dark-blue eyes had an expression of soul and feeling which attracted
even the simple domestics at the hall. The physician assured them that
her chest was sound, and that her malady was to him a riddle. A
beautiful summer, he thought, would work beneficially upon her.

Wilhelm and Otto wrote alternately. It was a festival-day whenever a
letter came; then were maps and plans of the great cities fetched out,
and Louise and Eva made the journey with them.

“To-day they are here, to-morrow they will be there,” cried they.

“How I envy them both, to see all these glorious things!” said Louise.

“The charming Switzerland!” sighed Eva. “How refreshing the air must be
to breathe! How well one must feel one’s self there!”

“If you could only go there, Eva,” said Louise, “then you would
certainly get better.”

“Here all are so kind to me; here I am so happy!” answered she. “I am
right thankful to God for it. How could I have hoped for such a home as
this? God reward you and your good mother for your kindness to me.
Once I was so unhappy; but now I have had a double repayment for all
my sorrow, and all the neglect I have suffered. I am so happy, and
therefore I would so willingly live!”

“Yes, and you shall live!” said Louise. “How came you now to think about
dying? In the summer you will perfectly recover, the physician says. Can
you hide from me any sorrow? Eva, I know that my brother loves you!”

“He will forget that abroad!” said Eva. “He must forget it! Could I
be ungrateful? But we are not suited for each other!” She spoke of her
childhood, of long-passed, sorrowful days. Louise laid her arm upon
her shoulder: they talked till late in the evening, and tears stood in
Louise’s eyes.

“Only to you could I tell it!” said Eva. “It is to me like a sin, and
yet I am innocent. My mother was so too--my poor mother! Her sin was
love. She sacrificed all; more than a woman should sacrifice. The old
Colonel was stern and violent. His wrath often became a sort of frenzy,
in which he knew not what he did. The son was young and dissipated; my
mother a poor girl, but very handsome, I have heard. He seduced her.
She had become an unfortunate being, and that she herself felt. The
Colonel’s son robbed his father and an old woman who lived in the
family: that which had been taken was missed. The father would have
murdered the son, had he discovered the truth; the son, therefore,
sought in his need help from my poor mother. He persuaded her to save
him by taking the guilt on herself. The whole affair as regarded her
was, he intended, only to come from the domestics. She thought that with
her honor all was lost. She, indeed, had already given him the best of
which she was possessed. In anguish of heart, and overpowered by his
prayers, she said, ‘Yes; my father has been angry and undone already.’”

Eva burst into tears.

“Thou dear, good girl!” said Louise, and kissed her forehead.

“My poor mother,” continued Eva, “was condemned to an undeserved
punishment. I cannot mention it. For that reason I have never had a
desire to go to Odense. The old lady in the Colonel’s family concealed,
out of kindness, her loss; but by accident it was discovered. The
Colonel was greatly embittered. My mother was overwhelmed by shame and
misfortune: the first error had plunged her into all this. She was
taken to the House of Correction in Odense. The Colonel’s son shortly
afterward went away in a vessel. My unhappy mother was dispirited:
nobody knew that she had endured, out of despair and love, a disgrace
which she had not deserved. It was not until she lay upon her death-bed,
when I and my brother were born, that she told a relation that she was
innocent. Like a criminal, in the early morning she was carried to
the grave in a coffin of plaited straw. A great and a noble heart was
carried unacknowledged to the dead!”

“You had a brother?” inquired Louise, and her heart beat violently. “Did
he die? and where did you, poor children, remain?”

“The cook in the house kept us with her. I was small and weak; my
brother, on the contrary, was strong, and full of life. He lived mostly
among the prisoners. I sat in a little room with my doll. When we were
in our seventh year, we were sent for to the old Colonel. His son died
abroad; but before his death he had written to the old man, confessing
to him his crime, my mother’s innocence, and that we were his children!
I resembled my father greatly. The old gentleman, as soon as he saw
me, was very angry, and said, ‘I will not have her!’ I remained with my
foster-mother. I never saw my brother after that time. The Colonel left
the city, and took him with him.”

“O God!” cried Louise; “you have still some papers on this subject? Do
you not know your brother? It is impossible that it should be otherwise!
You are Otto’s sister!”

“O Heavens!” exclaimed Eva; her hands trembled, and she became as pale
as a corpse.

“You are fainting!” cried Louise, throwing her arm around her waist and
kissing her eyes and her cheeks. “Eva! he is your brother! the dear,
good Otto! O, he will be so happy with you! Yes, your eyes are like his!
Eva, you beloved girl!”

Louise related to her all that Otto had confided to her. She told her
about German Heinrich, and how Otto had assisted Sidsel away, and how
they had met.

Eva burst into tears. “My brother! O Father in heaven, that I may but
live! live and see him! Life is so beautiful! I must not die!”

“Happiness will make you strong! There is no doubt but that he is your
brother! We must tell it to mamma. O Heavens! how delighted she will be!
and Otto will no longer suffer and be unhappy! He may be proud of you,
and happy in you! O, come, come!”

She led Eva out with her to her mother, who was already in bed; but how
could Louise wait till next morning?

“May the Lord bless thee, my good child!” said the lady, and pressed a
kiss upon her forehead.

Eva related now how the Colonel had, given a considerable sum to
her foster-mother; but that was all she was to receive, he had said.
Afterward, when the foster-mother died, Eva had still two hundred
rix-dollars; and on consideration of this the sister of the deceased
had taken Eva to live with her. With her she came to Copenhagen and to
Nyboder, and at that time she was ten years old. There she had to nurse
a little child--her brother she called it--and that was the little
Jonas. As she grew older, people told her that she was handsome. It was
now four years since she was followed one evening by two young men, one
of whom we know--our moral Hans Peter. One morning her foster-mother
came to her with a proposal which drove her to despair. The merchant
had seen her, and wished to purchase the beautiful flower. Upon this Eva
left her home, and came to the excellent people at Roeskelde; and from
that day God had been very good to her.

She sank down upon her knees before the elderly lady’s bed. She was not
among strangers: a mother and a sister wept with the happy one.

“O that I might live!” besought Eva, in the depths of her heart. As a
glorified one she stood before them. Her joy beamed through tears.

The next morning she felt herself singularly unwell. Her feet trembled;
her cheeks were like marble. She seated herself in the warm sunshine
which came in through the window. Outside stood the trees with large,
half-bursting buds. A few mild nights would make the wood green. But
summer was already in Eva’s heart; there was life’s joy and gladness.
Her large, thoughtful eyes raised themselves thankfully to heaven.

“Let me not die yet, good God!” prayed she; and her lips moved to a low
melody, soft as if breezes passed over the outstretched chords:--

           “The sunshine warm, the odorous flowers,
            Of these do not bereave me!
            I breathe with joy the morning hours,
            Let not the grave receive me!
            There can no pleasant sunbeams fall,
            No human voice come near me;
            There should I miss the flow’rets small,
            There have no friends to cheer me.

            Now, how to value life I know--
            I hold it as a treasure;
            There is no love i’ th’ grave below,
            No music, warmth, or pleasure.
            On it the heavy earth is flung,
            The coffin-lid shuts tightly!
            My blood is warm, my soul is young!
            Life smiles--life shines so brightly!”

She folded her hands: all became like flowers and gold before her eyes.
Afar off was the sound of music: she reeled and sank down upon the sofa
which was near her. Life flowed forth from her heart, but the sensation
was one of bliss; a repose, as when the weary bow down their heads for
sleep.

“Here is a letter!” cried Louise, full of joy, and found her white and
cold. Terrified, she called for help, and bent over her.

Eva was dead.



CHAPTER XLV

     “Knowest thou the mountain and its cloudy paths? where the
     mule is seeking its misty way.”--GOETHE.

The letter was from Wilhelm; every line breathed life’s joy and
gladness.

“MIA CARA SORELLA!

“Does it not sound beautifully? It is Italian! Now then, I am in that
so-often-sung-of Paradise, but of the so much-talked-about blue air,
I have as yet seen nothing of consequence. Here it is gray, gray as in
Denmark. To be sure Otto says that it is beautiful, that we have the
heaven of home above us, but I am not so poetical. The eating is
good, and the filth of the people strikes one horribly after being in
Switzerland, the enchanting Switzerland! Yes, there is nature! We have
made a crusade through it, you may think. But now you shall hear about
the journey, and the entrance into ‘la bella Italia,’ which is yet below
all my expectations. I cannot at all bear these feeble people; I cannot
endure this monk-odor and untruthfulness. We are come direct from the
scenery of Switzerland, from clouds and glaciers, from greatness and
power. We travelled somewhat hastily through the valley of the Rhone;
the weather was gray, but the whole obtained therefrom a peculiar
character. The woods in the lofty ridges looked like heather; the valley
itself seemed like a garden filled with vegetables, vineyards, and green
meadows. The clouds over and under one another, but the snow-covered
mountains peeped forth gloriously from among them, It was a riven
cloud-world which drove past,--the wild chase with which the daylight
had disguised itself. It kissed in its flight Pissevache, a waterfall
by no means to be despised. In Brieg we rested some time, but at two
o’clock in the morning began again our journey over the Simplon. This is
the journey which I will describe to you. Otto and I sat in the coupée.
Fancy us in white blouses, shawl-caps, and with green morocco slippers,
for the devil may travel in slippers--they are painful to the feet.

“We both of us have mustaches! I have seduced Otto. They become us
uncommonly well, and give us a very imposing air; and that is very good
now that we are come into the land of banditti, where we must endeavor
to awe the robbers. Thus travelled we. It was a dark night, and still
as death, as in the moment when the overture begins to an opera. Soon,
indeed, was the great Simplon curtain to be rolled up, and we to behold
the land of music. Immediately on leaving the city, the road began to
ascend; we could not see a hand before us; around us tumbled and roared
the water-courses,--it was as if we heard the pulse of Nature beat.
Close above the carriage passed the white clouds; they seemed like
transparent marble slabs which were slid over us. We had the gray dawn
with us, whilst deep in the valley lay yet the darkness of night; in
an hour’s time it began to show itself there among the little wooden
houses.

“It is a road hewn out of the rocks. The giant Napoleon carried it
through the backbone of the earth. The eagle, Napoleon’s bird, flew like
a living armorial crest over the gigantic work of the master. There it
was cold and gray; the clouds above us, the clouds below us, and in the
middle space steep rocky walls.

“At regular distances houses (relais) are erected for the travellers;
in one of these we drank our coffee. The passengers sat on benches and
tables around the great fire-place, where the pine logs crackled. More
than a thousand names were written on the walls. I amused myself by
writing mamma’s, yours, Sophie’s, and Eva’s; now they stand there, and
people will fancy that you have been on the Simplon. In the lobby I
scratched in that of Mamsell, and added ‘Without her workbox.’ Otto
was thinking about you. We talked in our, what the rest would call
‘outlandish speech,’ when I all at once exclaimed, ‘It is really Eva’s
birthday!’ I remembered it first. In Simplon town we determined to drink
her health.

“We set off again. Wherever the glaciers might fall and destroy the road
the rocks have been sprung, and formed into great galleries, through
which one drives without any danger. One waterfall succeeds another.
There is no balustrade along the road, only the dark, deep abyss where
the pine-trees raise themselves to an immense height, and yet only look
like rafters on the mighty wall of rock. Before we had advanced much
further, we came to where trees no longer grew. The great hospice lay in
snow and cloud. We came into a valley. What solitude! what desolation!
only naked crags! They seemed metallic, and all had a green hue. The
utmost variety of mosses grew there; before us towered up an immense
glacier, which looked like green bottle-glass ornamented with snow.
It was bitterly cold here, and in Simplon the stoves were lighted; the
champagne foamed, Eva’s health was drunk, and, only think! at that very
moment an avalanche was so gallant as to fall. That was a cannonade; a
pealing among the mountains! It must have rung in Eva’s ears. Ask her
about it. I can see how she smiles.

“We now advanced toward Italy, but cold was it, and cold it remained.
The landscape became savage; we drove between steep crags. Only fancy,
on both sides a block of granite several miles long, and almost as high,
and the road not wider than for two carriages to pass, and there you
have a picture of it. If one wanted to see the sky, one was obliged to
put one’s head out of the carriage and look up, and then it was as if
one looked up from the bottom of the deepest well, dark and narrow.
Every moment I kept thinking, ‘Nay, if these two walls should come
together!’ We with carriage and horses were only like ants on a pebble.
We drove through the ribs of the earth! The water roared; the clouds
hung like fleeces on the gray, craggy walls. In a valley we saw boys
and girls dressed in sheep-skins, who looked as wild as if they had been
brought up among beasts.

“Suddenly the air became wondrously mild. We saw the first fig-tree by
the road-side. Chestnuts hung over our heads; we were in Isella, the
boundary town of Italy. Otto sang, and was wild with delight; I studied
the first public-house sign, ‘Tabacca e vino.’

“How luxuriant became the landscape! Fields of maize and vineyards! The
vine was not trained on frames as in Germany!--no, it hung in luxuriant
garlands, in great huts of leaves! Beautiful children bounded along the
road, but the heavens were gray, and that I had not expected in Italy.
From Domo d’Ossola, I looked back to my beloved Switzerland! Yes, she
turns truly the most beautiful side toward Italy. But there was not
any time for me to gaze; on we must. In the carriage there sat an old
Signorina; she recited poetry, and made: with her eyes ‘che bella cosa!’

“About ten o’clock at night we were in Baveno, drank tea, and slept,
whilst Lago Maggiore splashed under our window. The lake and the
Borromaen island we were to see by daylight.

“‘Lord God!’ thought I, ‘is this all?’ A scene as quiet and riant as
this we--have at home! Funen after this should be called Isola bella,
and the East Sea is quite large enough to be called Lago Maggiore. We
went by the steamboat past the holy Borromeus [Author’s Note: A colossal
statue on the shore of Lago Maggiore.] to Sesto de Calende; we had a
priest on board, who was very much astonished at our having come from so
far. I showed him a large travelling map which we had with us, where
the Lago Maggiore was the most southern, and Hamburg the most northern
point. ‘Yet still further off,’ said I; ‘more to the north!’ and he
struck his hands together when he perceived that we were from beyond the
great map. He inquired whether we were Calvinists.

“We sped through glorious scenes. The Alps looked like glass mountains
in a fairy tale. They lay behind us. The air was warm as summer, but
light as on the high mountains. The women wafted kisses to us; but they
were not handsome, the good ladies!

“Tell the Kammerjunker that the Italian pigs have no bristles, but have
a coal-black shining skin like a Moor.

“Toward night we arrived at Milan, where we located ourselves with
Reichmann, made a good supper, and had excellent beds; but I foresee
that this bliss will not last very long. On the other side of the
Apennines we shall be up to the ears in dirt, and must eat olives
preserved in oil; but let it pass. Otto adapts himself charmingly to
all things; he begins to be merry--that is, at times! I, too, have had
a sort of vertigo--I am taken with Italian music; but then there is a
difference in hearing it on the spot. It has more than melody; it has
character. The luxuriance in nature and in the female form; the light,
fluttering movement of the people, where even pain is melody, has won my
heart and my understanding. Travelling changes people!

“Kiss mamma for me! Tell Eva about the health-drinking on the Simplon,
and about the falling avalanche: do not forget that; that is precisely
the point in my letter! Tell me too how Eva blushed, and smiled, and
said, ‘He thought of me!’ Yes, in fact it is very noble of me. My sweet
Sophie and her Kammerjunker, Jakoba and Mamsell, must have a bouquet of
greetings, which you must arrange properly. If you could but see Otto
and me with our mustaches! We make an impression, and that is very
pleasant. If the days only did not go on so quickly--if life did not
pass so rapidly!

           “‘Questa vita mortale
             Che par si bella, a quasi piuma al vento
             Che la porta a la perde in un momento,’ [Note: Guarini]

as we Italians say. Cannot you understand that?

“Thy affectionate brother,

“WILHELM.”

Otto wrote in the margin of the letter, “Italy is a paradise! Here the
heavens are three times as lofty as at home. I love the proud pine-trees
and the dark-blue mountains. Would hat everybody could see the glorious
objects!”

Wilhelm added to this, “What he writes about the Italian heavens is
stupid stuff. Ours at home is just as good. He is an odd person, as you
very well know!

“‘Addic! A rivederci!’”



CHAPTER XLVI

     “Thou art master in thy world.
     Hast thou thyself, then thou hast all!”
      --WAHLMANN.

In the summer of 1834 the friends had been absent for two years. In the
last year, violet-colored gillyflowers had adorned a grave in the little
country church-yard.

     “A heart which overflowed with love,
     Was gone from earth to love and God,”
      were the words which might be read upon the grave-stone.

A withered bouquet of stocks had been found by Louise, with the
certificate of Eva’s birth and her hymn-book. These were the flowers
which Wilhelm had given her that evening at Roeskelde. Among the dry
leaves there lay a piece of paper, on which she had written,--“Even like
these flowers let the feelings die away in my soul which these flowers
inspire it with!”

And now above her grave the flowers which she had loved sent forth their
fragrance.

It was Sunday; the sun shone warm; the church-goers, old and young,
assembled under the great lime-tree near Eva’s grave. They expected
their young preacher, who to-day was to preach for the third time.

The gentlefolks would also certainly be there, they thought, because the
young Baron was come back out of foreign parts, and with him the other
gentleman, who certainly was to have Miss Louise.

“Our new preacher is worth hearing,” said one of the peasant women;
“such a young man, who actually preaches the old faith! as gentle and as
meek in conversation as if he were one of ourselves! And in the pulpit,
God help us! it went quite down into my legs the last time about the Day
of Judgment!”

“There is Father!” [Note: The general term applied to the preacher by
the Danish peasants.] exclaimed the crowd, and the heads of old and
young were uncovered. The women courtesied deeply as a young man in
priest-robes went into the church-door. His eyes and lips moved to a
pious smile, the hair was smooth upon his pale forehead.

“Good day, children!” said he.

It was Hans Peter. He had, indeed, had “the best characters,” and thus
had received a good living, and now preached effectively about the devil
and all his works.

The singing of the community sounded above the grave where the sun
shone, where the stocks sent forth their fragrance, and where Eva slept:
she whose last wish was to live.

     “There is no love i’ th’ grave below,
     No music, warmth, or pleasure.”

The earth lay firm and heavy upon her coffin-lid.

During the singing of the second hymn a handsome carriage drove up
before the church-yard. The two friends, who were only just returned to
their home in Denmark, entered the church, together with the mother and
Louise.

Travelling and two years had made Wilhelm appear somewhat older;
there was a shadow of sadness in his otherwise open and life-rejoicing
countenance. Otto looked handsomer than formerly; the gloomy expression
in his face was softened, he looked around cheerfully, yet thoughtfully,
and a smile was on his lips when he spoke with Louise.

There was in the sermon some allusion made to those who had returned
home; for the rest, it was a flowery discourse interlarded with many
texts from the Bible. The community shed tears; the good, wise people,
they understood it to mean that their young lord was returned home
uninjured from all the perils which abound in foreign lands.

The preacher was invited to dinner at the hall. The Kammerjunker and
Sophie came also, but it lasted “seven long and seven wide,” as
Miss Jakoba expressed herself, before they could get through all the
unwrapping and were ready to enter the parlor, for they had with them
the little son Fergus, as he was called, after the handsome Scotchman in
Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverley.” That was Sophie’s wish. The Kammerjunker
turned the name of Fergus to Gusseman, and Jacoba asserted that it was a
dog’s name.

“Now you shall see my little bumpkin!” said he, and brought in a
square-built child, who with fat, red cheeks, and round arms, stared
around him. “That is a strong fellow! Here is something to take hold of!
Tralla-ralla-ralla!” And he danced him round the room.

Sophie laughed and offered her hand to Otto.

Wilhelm turned to Mamsell. “I have brought something for you,” said he,
“something which I hope may find a place in the work-box--a man made of
very small mussel-shells; it is from Venice.”

“Heavens! from all that way off!” said she and courtesied.

After dinner they walked in the garden.

Wilhelm spoke already of going the following year again to Paris.

“Satan!” said the Kammerjunker. “Nay, I can do better with Mr. Thostrup.
He is patriotic. He lays out his money in an estate. It is a good
bargain which you have made, and in a while will be beautiful; there is
hill and dale.”

“There my old Rosalie shall live with me,” said Otto; “there she will
find her Switzerland. The cows shall have bells on their necks.”

“Lord God! shall they also be made fools of?” exclaimed Jakoba: “that is
just exactly as if it were Sophie.”

They went through the avenue where Otto two years before had wept, and
had related all his troubles to Louise. He recollected it, and a gentle
sigh passed his lips whilst his eyes rested on Louise.

“Now, do you feel yourself happy at home?” asked she; “a lovelier
summer’s day than this you certainly have not abroad.”

“Every country has its own beauties,” replied Otto. “Our Denmark is not
a step child of Nature. The people here are dearest to me, for I am
best acquainted with them. They, and not Nature, it is that makes a
land charming. Denmark is a good land; and here also will I look for my
happiness.” He seized Louise’s hand; she blushed, and was silent. Happy
hours succeeded.

This circle assembled every Sunday; on the third, their delight was
greater, was more festal than on any former occasion.

Nature herself had the same expression. The evening was most beautiful;
the full moon shone, magnificent dark-blue clouds raised themselves like
mountains on the other side the Belt. Afar off sailed the ships, with
every sail set to catch the breeze.

Below the moon floated a coal-black cloud, which foretold a squall.

A little yacht went calmly over the water. At the helm sat a boy--half
a child he seemed: it was Jonas, the little singing-bird, as Wilhelm had
once called him. Last Whitsuntide he had been confirmed, and with his
Confirmation all his singer-dreams were at an end: but that did not
trouble him; on the contrary, it had lain very heavy upon his heart that
he was not to be a fifer. His highest wish had been to see himself as
a regimental fifer, and then he should have gone to his Confirmation in
his red uniform, with a sabre at his side, and a feather in his hat half
as tall as himself. Thus adorned, he might have gone with the girls
into the King’s Garden and upon the Round Tower, the usual walk for poor
children in Copenhagen. On Confirmation-day they ascend the high tower,
just as if it were to gain from it a free view over the world. Little
Jonas, however, was confirmed as a sailor, and he now sat at the helm on
this quiet night.

Upon the deck lay two persons and slept; a third went tranquilly up
and down. Suddenly he shook one of the sleepers, and caught hold on
the sail. A squall had arisen with such rapidity and strength, that the
vessel in a moment was thrown on her side. Mast and sail were below the
water. Little Jonas uttered a shriek. Not a vessel was within sight.
The two sleepers had woke in time to cling to the mast. With great
force they seized the ropes, but in vain; the sail hung like lead in the
water. The ship did not right herself.

“Joseph, Maria!” exclaimed one of them, a man with gray hairs and
unpleasing features. “We sink! the water is in the hold!”

All three clambered now toward the hinder part of the vessel, where a
little boat floated after. One of them sprang into it.

“My daughter!” cried the elder, and bent himself toward the narrow
entrance into the cabin. “Sidsel, save thy life!” and so saying, he
sprang into the boat.

“We must have my daughter out,” cried he. One of the ship’s cabin
windows was under water; he burst in the other window.

“We are sinking!” cried he, and a horrible scream was heard within.

The old man was German Heinrich, who was about to come with this vessel
from Copenhagen to Jutland: Sidsel was his daughter, and therefore he
wished now to save her life a second time.

The water rushed more and more into the ship. Heinrich thrust his arm
through the cabin-window, he grasped about in the water within; suddenly
he caught hold on a garment, he drew it toward him; but it was only the
captain’s coat, and not his daughter, as he had hoped.

“The ship sinks!” shrieked the other, and grasped wildly on the rope
which held the boat fast: in vain he attempted to divide it with his
pocket-knife. The ship whirled round with the boat and all. Air and
water boiled within it, and, as if in a whirlpool, the whole sunk into
the deep. The sea agitated itself into strong surges over the place, and
then was again still. The moon shone tranquilly over the surface of the
water as before. No wreck remained to tell any one of the struggle which
there had been with death.

The bell tolled a quarter past twelve; and at that moment the last light
at the hall was extinguished.

“I will go to Paris,” said Wilhelm, “to my glorious Switzerland; here
at home one is heavy-hearted; the gillyflowers on the grave have an odor
full of melancholy recollections. I must breathe the mountain air;
I must mingle in the tumult of men, and it is quite the best in the
world.”

Otto closed his eyes; he folded his hands.

“Louise loves me,” said he. “I am so happy that I fear some great
misfortune may soon meet me; thus it used always to be. Whilst German
Heinrich lives I cannot assure myself of good! If he were away, I should
be perfectly tranquil, perfectly happy!”





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