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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesO. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 26
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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 26 Post by :twoelfling Category :Long Stories Author :Hans Christian Andersen Date :May 2012 Read :2632

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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 26

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. RUCKERT.

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 Verite! Ou sont les autels et tes pretres?'" 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. Oehlenschlager'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.

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