1859At Skagen, the Northern Point in Jutland
The Poet's Appanage is Increased
5th - 21st July
Staying at Nørre Vosborg. A party is held for HCA on the 10th with approx. 100 guests, mostly farmers. Goes on an outing to see the North Sea and visit Husby Vicarage. Writes a poem which is to be inscribed on a plaque in a summerhouse in the garden.
Continues to Fjaltring Vicarage and goes on an outing from here to Bovbjerg. On to Lemvig on 23rd, sailing on the Limfjord past Struer and Thisted to Ålborg.
23rd - 30th July
In Ålborg, guest at the home of Fritz Dahlstrøm, prefect, (married to Sophie, daughter of H.C. Ørsted). HCA is also welcomed in Ålborg by Anna Bjerring and her mother, amongst others. In the next few weeks he visits them a couple of times. Also meets the painter David Monies, recently returned home from Paris. HCA is paid homage by the local choral society. Visits Bishop P.C. Kierkegaard, the elder brother of Søren Kierkegaard. Here he meets David Vithusen, the municipal officer of health, who is an old friend from the school-days in Slagelse. Sees more of him in the next few days.
30 July 1859
Sails in a barge across the Limfjord to Nørresundby, where he is collected by Christian Michael Rottbøll, landowner, and taken by carriage to Børglum Kloster (formerly a convent, now estate).
"I was given a good room in which Bishop Kierkegaard had once stayed and seen ghosts, a flock of Catholic priests from the Middle Ages"
(the diary, same day).
HCA is very absorbed in the haunting at Børglum:
"The first thing I then had to do was to [...] examine the room from floor to ceiling; in fact, I went out into the garden, looked carefully at the surroundings and climbed up to the windows in order to see if the location was suitable for setting up ghost scenes; I did not know if it was the custom here, as in other manor-houses - in my earliest youth to be sure - to amuse oneself by arranging ghostly night-scenes. But I discovered nothing, and I slept calmly and safely that night and several more.
One night I went to bed earlier than usual and then woke up shortly before midnight, seized by a strange shivering; I felt frightened, thought of the ghosts that had been mentioned, but said to myself; how foolish this fear really is. Why should the priests in white appear before me. Did I not, while I still lived with the uncertain knowledge of Jette Wulff's death, pray fervently to God asking that I might, if such a thing were possible, receive a visible or audible sign if she was amongst the deceased; but no sign appeared, I felt nothing.
These thoughts lifted my spirits, but at that same moment I saw, at the end of the room in the darkness, a misty human-like figure. I looked and looked and my blood ran cold with terror; it was unbearable. By nature, I am fearful yet desirous to know and understand. I jumped out of bed, ran towards the misty image and then saw, now closer to the object, that the shiny, varnished door had two protruding ledges, lit up by a mirror, which in turn received light that streamed through the window on a clear summer night. This had created a shape somewhat like a human figure. That was the haunting I witnessed at Børglum"
(from the continuation of Mit Livs Eventyr (The Fairy Tale of My Life). Here, HCA also mentions two other hauntings he had experienced, but which both turn out to have natural explanations. An elderly minister's widow, to whom he tells one of the stories, is very disappointed by the solving of the interesting haunting: "How ever could you, a writer, find it in your heart to undo something like that into nothing!").
From Børglum Kloster there are outings to Løkken, a seaside town. Also outings to the sand dunes at Rubjerg.
Rottbøll drives HCA to Hjørring, where he stays at the Hotel du Nord. In the evening, he is serenaded by a deputation of citizens, and the rural dean, Djørup, delivers a long speech, full of praise. From here HCA continues by mail coach on 11th to Frederikshavn, where he is lodged with C.V. Uldall, a senior prosecutor, (married to the sister of Rottbøll) at the country house 'Constantia', outside the town. Both at Børglum Kloster (convent) and here, most of the stay is marred by a bad cold.
Is driven to Jerup. From here, a peasant drives him and Carl Uldall to Skagen, right along the edge of the water on the beach (during the entire trip, HCA sits in that side of the coach which is hanging out over the water!). At Skagen, HCA lodges at "The inn [Brøndum's] right out in the other end of the town" (the diary).
At Brøndum's inn (the later Brøndum's Hotel), HCA is annoyed with the host, Erik Brøndum, who is the father of the parish clerk Brøndum, well-known at the time of the 'painters' colony', for which Skagen would later become famous. HCA is annoyed because the host at the inn constantly sits in the lounge with the guests, smoking tobacco so the smoke gets everywhere, and butting in on the conversation. He is no less irritated by the fact that dinner is not available before almost 11 in the evening, which means that his guest, C.H.E. Hoffmeyer, commissioner in charge of the prevention of sand drifts, must leave the inn having had nothing but tea. But when the boiled fish finally arrives, HCA does find it "delicious" (the diary, 17th).
Sees Grenen (the tip of Jutland), the lighthouse and Gammel Skagen (old Skagen). HCA notes his impressions of Skagen in the diary on 18th:
"The streets are fenced off with string, behind there are small patches of potatoes or grain; dried fish line the outside of houses, for which ship timber has been used. Here and there a little shed, whose roof is the hull of a boat. The street covered with deep sand, the town unbelievably long; with dunes, potato storage and grain fields, children sleeping in the sand".
Leaves Skagen on 19th via Frederikshavn and Sæby, headed for Ålborg (arrival 21st). Is serenaded by the artisans' Choral Society.
Notes in his diary that "people would have me engaged to Miss Bjerring".
Departs Ålborg at night, travelling via Hobro to Randers and on from here on 28th to Hjermind Vicarage near Bjerringbro (on the way he writes the poem "Jylland mellem tvende Have" (Jutland Betwixt Two Seas). Here he meets, amongst others, the daughter of Bishop Otte Laub, Louise Magdalene, who he considers to be most charming.
Departs Bjerringbro for Asmildkloster (a convent) at Viborg. Sees Viborg Cathedral and visits F.C. Olsen, principal of the cathedral school. Olsen was a renowned literary historian (Johs. Ewald researcher) and had also been friends with and literary executor for Poul Martin Møller. Since 1856, he had been titular professor.
Principal Olsen was the son of the "Madame from Copenhagen" (as she is labelled in Mit Livs Eventyr (The Fairy Tale of My Life), who had travelled as a blind passenger in the day coach with HCA from Odense to Copenhagen in 1819: Sophie Charlotte Hermansen, nèe Flemming. Her first husband was Anders Olsen, a book-binder, later customs officer. At that time, she was a wet nurse for Ferdinand, heir presumptive. Her second husband was Herman Ditlev Johansen, called Hermansen, who in 1819 set up as shoemaker in Odense.
Regarding the meeting with F.C. Olsen, HCA notes in the diary on 3rd September.
"Visited Principal Olsen, who asked me if I spoke kindly of his mother in the Fairy Tale of My Life, and not lightly, as now".
A moving farewell to the daughter of Bishop Laub, amongst others. Travels from Asmildkloster to Palstrup to see Hjalmar Collin:
"A neglected old and damp building in need of the tidying hand and spirit of a wife", (the diary, same day).
Continues the journey on 8th September, when Hjalmar Collin drives HCA to Silkeborg. HCA is worried about the outbreaks of cholera in the towns of east Jutland. Continues on 10th by carriage through Vejle to Kolding. Then from Korsør to Sorø on 12th September.
Return to Copenhagen.
Meets his old friend from youth, D.G. Monrad, now Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs and Public Instruction. Monrad suggests that HCA's annual poet's appanage be increased from 600 to 1,000 rdl., just as Hertz, Christian Winther and Paludan-Müller already receive.