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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesO. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 32
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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 32 Post by :twoelfling Category :Long Stories Author :Hans Christian Andersen Date :May 2012 Read :1680

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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 32


"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.

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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 33 O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 33

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 33
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-MULLER"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

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 31 O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 31

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 31
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 hoi' (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