The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Dato: 6. november 1873
Fra: H.C. Andersen   Til: Horace E. Scudder
Sprog: dansk, engelsk.

Copenhagen, November 6, 1873.

Much honored and dear friend:

If I recall correctly, it is now perhaps half a year since I wrote to you. My letter was sent from Switzerland, I believe from Glion, where I was taking the "Molken-kur." I felt better each day I took it, and was looking forward to coming home completely recovered and well. This winter was not to be like the preceding one, where illness persisted steadily. I am at home, the third month that I have been here; but I am sick and suffering, have not the strength to do anything, and that is the reason you have not heard from me for so immeasurably long a time.

When I left Glion I felt fairly strong, and I undertook, besides railway trips, various journeys in Switzerland in my own carriage. I wanted to see once more the magnificent [Mount] Splugen, and when I got up there, I gave my young travelling companion, who had never been out of Denmark before, the chance to get a little glimpse of Italy. We proceeded down to Chiavenna, but the sun was shining with a blistering, intolerable heat, and I dared only to think of a visit by Lake Como. But as we drove on down, the horse was stung so badly by poisonous insects which made it bleed, that the poor beast threw itself on the ground and almost tipped the carriage over. Fearfully and with not a little difficulty I managed to get down to the ground successfully. Just at that moment the horse started on the run back to Chiavenna, which lay scarcely more than an English mile to our rear. But now I was obliged to trudge back on foot along that road in the boiling sun. The road went between chalky white stone walls, with no tree' to cast its shade. I was about to collapse, and arrived at the hotel in the town in a state of complete exhaustion and desolation. This excursion gave my health a fresh blow.

Meantime, as long as I remained in Graubnden, where the air was fresh and light, I did not notice much inconvenience. But when, in order to get back to Denmark I entered Germany, my strengfth left me in the warm summer. Cholera was going the rounds in several places. I avoided these, but my stomach was affected by some trouble akin to this malady. For some five or six days I suffered a good deal, and when the pain ceased, after subsisting mainly on a diet of rice water and opium, I arrived home in August in a weak and ruined state. The doctor thought that if I would stay in the country and remain completely quiet for a fortnight, doing nothing at all, not even writing letters, I would get well again. The recovery has meanwhile proceeded slower than he expected, but has made steady progress just the same, and hence at last I am writing you today. On my arrival home, I received your last letter with the draft for the little sum that my writings have brought me as honorarium from America in the past half year. Make no apologies for the sum being small; I am glad to be read and loved, although I must often smile at the erroneous ideas that most of my countrymen and people abroad entertain as to the great sums I receive from the mighty New World. When a paper announces that one or other of my books is now being published in America, I am certain to receive from one or another a request for money assistance, as I must now have become a rich man. I have indeed become rich in readers; my public has become very large in the countries about the world! I can see this particularly from the innumerable letters requesting "autographs." Indeed, if each such letter contained an honorarium as a token of a debt of gratitude, I would have a small fortune. Now I am obliged to help myself, and that I shall be able to do in the short span of life that remains to me.

On April 2, as you know, I shall be sixty-nine years old. So I am approaching the seven times ten which the Bible sets as the mortal span of man' s life. It is not going to occur to any childless rich man to close The Story of My Life by making me his heir, and moreover I have no time now to use large sums of money. I have, u God wills it, what I need; I have my need of daily bread and a hoard of wealth in my friends. The best of these have come to me through the years in all sincerity and honor! My little home is cosy and good, my life on earth is a wonderful and delightful fairy tale, even in difficult days. May God who granted me so much happiness vouchsafe me a quiet, painless death. Should you, dear friend, read before long that I have been called away, then you will think happily of me and will know that I was devoted to you and grateful to you for all your faithful and sympathetic labors for me and my work. May God give you joy and bless you! Greet my friends.


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Kjbenhavn den 6 November 1873

M eget rede, kjre Ven! Om jeg husker ret er det vistnok nuhenved et halvt Aar siden jeg skrev Dem til; mit Brev blev afsendt fra Schweitz, jeg tro er fra Glion, hvor jeg brugte "Molkenkuur". Jeg flte mig ved den for hver Dag bedre og gldede mig til at komme aldeles frisk og vel hjem; denne Vinter skulde ikke blive som, den foregaaende, stadigt at vre syg; desvrre har det ikke stillet sig saaledes; jeg er i Hjemmet, har allerede vret her paa tredie Maaned, men er syg og lidende, har ikke Krfter til at bestille Noget og det er Skyld i at De saa umaadeligt lnge ikke .har hrt fra mig. Da jeg forlod Glion var. jeg ret godt ved Krfter og forsgte med egen Vogn, foruden Jernbanefarterne, forskjellige Reiser i Schweitz. Jeg vilde gjerne endnu [en] Gang see det storartede "Splgen" og da jeg naaede derop undte jeg min unge Reiseflle, der aldrig havde vret udenfor Danmark fr, at faae et lille Indblik i Italien; vi kom ned til Chiavena, men Solen brndte utaaleIigt og jeg vovede da kun at tnke paa et Besg ved Comersen, men som vi kjrte herned. blev Hesten saa overvldet af giftige Fluer som stak den tilblods. at det arme Dyr kastede sig paa Jorden og var ved at vlte Vognen; jeg havde stor Angst og Besvr med at komme ned paa Jorden, men det lykkedes, netop i det ieblik Hesten tog Fart tilbage til Chiavena, der laae neppe mere end en engelsk Miil bag os; men nu maatte jeg, i den stegende Sol lgge Veien, tilfods, tilbage; Veien var imellem kalkhvide Mure, hvor intet Tr skyggede, jeg var ved at synke om og kom aldeles udmattet og delagt til Hotellet i Byen; denne Vandring gav igen min Sundhed et Knk; imidlertid fornam jeg det mindre saalnge jeg blev i Graubnden, hvor Luften var frisk og let, men saasnart jeg, for nu at naae hjem til Danmark, kom ind i Tydskland i den varme Sommer, svigtede Krfterne; rundt om i flere Steder var Kolera, jeg undgik disse, men min Mave fik dog en Green af dette Onde, jeg var i en 5 til 6 Dage meget lidende og da dette ophrte, jeg havde mest levet ved Riisvand og Opium, kom jeg, i August, svag og delagt hjem. Lgen meente at jeg ved at leve et Par Uger aldeles i Stilhed paa Landet, ikke tage mig Noget for, ikke engang skrive Breve, vilde jeg nok komme mig. Det gaaer imidlertid langsommere end han troede, men dog altid fremad til det Bedre, og derfor, endeligt, skriver jeg i Dag. Ved min Ankomst til Hjemmet modtog jeg Deres seneste Brev med Anviisning paa den lille Sum mine Skrifter i det sidste halve Aar bringer mig i Honorar fra America. tal ikke om at det er lidet, jeg er glad ved at jeg lses og er afholdt, uagtet jeg dog tidt maa smile over de feilagtige Forestillinger de fleste af mine Landsmnd og Folk i Udlandet have om de store Summer jeg faaer fra den ny, mgtige Verden. Naar en Avis mlder at nu er een eller anden af mine Bger komne ud i Amerika, kan jeg vre vis paa at erholde fra Een og Anden et Bnskrift om Penge-Hjlp, da jeg nu maa vre blevet en riig Mand; ja riig er jeg blevet paa Lsere, mit Publicum er blevet meget stort rundt om i Verdens Lande! jeg kan srligt see det paa de uendeligt mange Skrivelser om at erholde "Autographs"; ja laae der et Taknemligheds Honorar for mine Skrifter i hvert. saadant Brev, saa fik jeg en lille Formue, nu maa jeg see at hjlpe mig og det vil jeg kunde i den korte Tid jeg endnu har at leve i. Den 2den April, veed De, bliver jeg nu 69 Aar, jeg er altsaa nr de 7 Gange 10, Bibelen nvner som Stvets Aar. Det falder ingen barnls Rigmand ind at Slutte mit Livs Eventyr, med at gjre mig til sin rige Arving, og nu har jeg heller ikke Tid til at benytte store Pengesummer, jeg har, om Gud vil, det Ndvendige, jeg har det daglige Brd efter mit Behov og en Rigdom i mine Venner; de Bedste i min Tid ere hjertelige og hdrende traadte mig i mde! mit lille Hjem er hyggeligt og godt; mit Jordliv er et forunderligt deiligt Eventyr, selv i tunge Dage. Gud, som forundte mig saa megen Lykke, beder jeg forunde mig en stille smertefri Dd. Lser De, kjre Ven, om ikke lnge, at jeg er bortkaldt, da vil De have mig glad i Tanke og vide at jeg var Dem hengiven og taknemlig for al Deres trofaste DeeltageIse for mig og min Virken. Gud glde og velsigne Dem:

Hils mine Venner!



Tekst fra: Se tilknyttede bibliografiposter