Imágenes de página

claimed one of the sea-captains; and then added, in a loud voice : Come in, you old vagabond !'

“The door opened; but instead of Steersman Madsen, entered Count Falkenstjerne, splendidly dressed, who bowed to the company.

"All sprang up at this unexpected sight. Svendsen collected himself, and advanced towards him; Helene stood as if riveted to the floor.

“The Count apologised in the most polite manner for his intrusion, but added, that he was just returned from the country, where among others he had visited the beforementioned clergyman's family, and had undertaken himself to convey to their Copenhagen friends, a letter and a basket of fruit. He now delivered a letter to Svendsen, and then going to the door, received from his servant, who stood there with it, a large covered basket, which he presented to Madame Svendsen. After this, he approached Helene, and said with a respectful yet significant manner : “I have also a letter for you, from the clergyman's daughter, your friend Maria.'

“He drew forth the letter, adding, in an under voice, as he placed it in her hand: 'I was commissioned particularly to beg of you to open and read this letter when you are alone.'

“Somewhat astonished, Helene received the letter without any reply.

“The good-natured parents were touched by the politeness of the Count. They thanked him, and begged him to be seated, and Svendsen deferentially inquired if he might venture to offer him a glass of punch? Then presenting the strangers to him, he added: 'I sit here quite at my ease with a couple of faithful old friends.' “ The Count bowed ; seated himself at the table with

; them, but declined the glass of punch which was offered. The old seamen in their simple dress were quite embarrassed; their loud-toned merriment was all gone, and they presently laid aside their pipes, perceiving that tobaccosmoke in a room was unpleasant to the high-bred stranger.

“Madame Svendsen asked the Count whether she might not offer him a cup of tea ? He thanked her, and rose to join her and her daughter at the tea-table.

“The urn, however, by this time had gone cold, and Helene was about to lift it from the table, to carry it out, when the Count held her back, and insisted on doing it for her. The poor girl felt ready to cry for shame; and her father, who was quite impatient at the sight, called out in a stentorian voice to the maid-servant in the adjoining kitchen, and bade her come and fetch it. The servant entered, her appearance making it very evident that she had been interrupted in the midst of coarse work. Her dirty kitchen-apron was tucked up at one corner, and she looked very angry at being obliged to show herself in this condition before company.

“Carry out the urn, and bring in hot water !' said Svendsen.

“« Then you must wait for it,' said the girl ; ‘for there is no more hot water.'

“ The Count prayed, that, for Heaven's sake, they would not make any difference on his account ; for that in reality he was not accustomed to drink tea so early in an afternoon.

“In the meantime, Gustav having entered, had been witness of this scene. He made, therefore, an end of all embarrassment, by approaching Helene, and saying to her:

“If you will really oblige Alexander and me, let us have some of the fruit which he has brought, and a glass of that excellent wine which your father lately purchased!

[ocr errors]

“ Helene hastened from the room, and returned gladly with a waiter, on which stood a bottle inclosed in wickerwork, finely-cut wine-glasses, and a silver basket of fruit, together with silver knives, all old-fashioned but costly.

“ The Count was eloquent in praise of this entertainment, and seemed to contemplate the whole with real delight. He and Gustav seated themselves with Helene and her mother, and thoroughly enjoyed this little meal. When Gustav, however, observed that Svendsen and his friends seemed out of their element in the presence of himself and the Count, he brought it to a close as soon as possible, though it was not without difficulty that he could induce Falkenstjerne to go away with him.”




THE beauty and affluence of the Danish literature has caused us to exceed the limits which we had set to our notice of it. We are, therefore, compelled to compress into one chapter the mention of a constellation of living writers, each of whom deserves a chapter to himself.


Is a distinguished lyric poet, dramatist and romancewriter. He was born in 1791, in Frederikshald. His father was Privy-Conference-Counsellor, General PostDirector and Grand Cross of Dannebrog. He has himself been chiefly attached to literature. He was Lecturer to the Academy of Sorö, and afterwards Professor in Kiel; but he quitted it in consequence of the outbreak of the war, and now resides in Copenhagen.

In his poetry, there are strong traces of the naturalist, as in his poem, “The Life of Plants.” The same tendency is observable in his romances, the principal of which are “Wilhelm Zabern,” an Autobiography ; “The Goldmaker," and " The Two Points of View."

His tragedies are numerous, and full of intellectual power: the principal ones are, “Bajazet,” “Tiberius,' “Gregory VII.” and “Don Juan,” “The Death of Charles V.,” “The Siege of Maastricht,” “Svend Grathe, or the Meeting of the Kings in Roeskilde,” and “ Marsk Stig.” In all these, there is a strong tendency to metaphysical philosophizing, to the tracing of the outward character to its inward springs, and to the representation of intense passion, and scenes of exciting peril and distress. On the whole, they are calculated to delight the deep thinker, rather than the general reader and mere seeker of amusement. This may well be imagined from the strong opposition which Hauch has always made to the character, and what he deems the tendency of Heiberg's dramas.


Is another of Denmark's most brilliant living poets and dramatists. He was born in 1798; and in 1827, he produced, but anonymously, his play of “Herr Burckhardt and his Family." In 1832, he published this with his name, in conjunction with two other plays : “The Flitting-Day,” (that is, day of removal); and “Emma, or the Secret Betrothal.” In 1827, appeared his vaudeville, “Love and the Police;" soon after, “Love's Strokes of Genius ;” and in 1836, “Debates in the Police Friend,” a vaudeville, in two acts. Since then, he has dramatized Sagas and Viser, from the times of the poetry of the people, in his “Svend Dyring's House,” a romantic tragedy, in five acts; and in “The Swan-Coat, or Swan Disguise," a romantic play, in three acts, written and represented in 1841, on occasion of the arrival in Denmark of the Crown Princess, Charlotte Mariana. But his

« AnteriorContinuar »