From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1830Satire of HCA
Arrival at Svendborg, where HCA remains for almost a week. Is the guest of Pastor Chr. J. Bredsdorff in St. Jørgens Gaard. Outings to Tåsinge (a visit to Valdemar's Castle and to his old teacher, Fedder Carstens, who nevertheless does not remember HCA. (Carstens was then employed at the telegraph office on Tåsinge), and trips to Maegaard and Nakkebølle.
Arrival in Faaborg. Visits an old school friend, Christian Voigt, the son of the wealthy agent Voigt. Becomes infatuated with Christian's sister, Riborg, who is, however, already engaged. Later he writes "Hjertets Melodier"(Melodies of the Heart) for her (e.g. "To brune Øjne (A pair of Brown Eyes).
In letters dated March 1831 to Ingemann and C.H. Lorenzen, HCA describes his painful heartache, but is also quite aware that this is a necessary step on the way to becoming a great writer and poet:
"My entire soul is devoted to a creature who may never be mine! -
Unsurpassable obstacles separate us forever. Oh, God has tried me harshly, almost too harshly. She is the most innocent, delightful creature I know, but engaged, the bride of another! She is aware of my feelings and, I dare believe, reciprocates my love, but this brings me only pain, she can not live for me. - How strangely everything has changed in the past six months! Before, I was a carefree creature, fluttering about [HCA also mentions his fluttering spirit in other letters from this period]; in some few days, all my bubbles of happiness are burst; how oddly have I not been dragged into life; I myself am not sure how this has come about. - Should all this be necessary to become a great writer, oh, then I would almost rather not have been at all."
(letter dated 12th March 1831 to C.H. Lorenzen, writer and teacher at Sorø Academy).
The last sentence in the citation from the letter is repeated 42 years later in the story "Tante Tandpine" (Aunty Toothache)
These potent feelings for Riborg are mentioned in neither diary entries or letters from the period in which the infatuation develops. This would suggest the problem is just as much a poetic fiction as an actual heart-breaking event.
The diary has (in the DSL version) only 2 entries from 1830 which are dated 4th and 5th August, just prior to the arrival in Fåborg. The entry for 5th August ends:
"Almighty God, you are all I have, my fate is in your hands. I must submit myself to you! Grant me a livelihood! Send me a bride! My blood craves love, as does my heart".
Niels Oxenvad has, however, suggested that the diary fragment is from 1836 rather than 1830, as assumed by Hans Brix.
Of the female friends HCA usually confides in, namely Henriette Wulff and Henriette Hanck, it is only the latter to whom there are letters with mention of the love affair. But these are made in ambiguous terms and not until after the whole episode is at a distance - whatever the event actually consisted of.
As evidence of the affair, HCA included in Levnedsbogen (The Biography) a letter written to Riborg 30th October 1830 (almost 3 months after his arrival in Fåborg and written when they met again in Copenhagen). In this letter, he reveals his feelings; "I could be anything by your side"and "I live in hope, without which my life is lost", but at the same time he is in retreat; "Your brother has now told me of your engagement, thus I should resign myself to stepping aside"and "forget a creature who could never, never forget you". The post script to the letter tellingly states: "For heavens sake, please do not think that this is but a poet's dream on my part!"
In a letter to Henriette Hanck from approx. 25th November 1830, HCA writes:
"In your opinion I convince myself that I am heartbroken [...] do remember that there are many events, not just of the heart, but in reality itself, to which no one is privy, and which I dare not disclose; a great deal, a great deal indeed, has taken place since the last time I fluttered joyfully about at Tolderlund. Events which have intervened in the story of my life, and which are not figments of my imagination; You say that apart from my art and all of nature, I have the memories, which surely compensate for every longing, but perhaps it is this that recreates my entire being; my spiritual being has won - now I am a poet and dare say so and feel that way in front of the entire world". -
From Fåborg, HCA travels back to Odense via Assens - paying a visit to the manor-house Flenstofte (where Edvard Collin was trained in estate administration immediately after his law examination).. Sees his mother whilst in Odense.
Revolution breaks out in Paris. The aftermath of the July Revolution reaches Denmark in the form of an incipient political debate and a demand for societal liberalisation. Already in Fodreisen (A Walking Tour), HCA had, by means of satirical tirades, expressed sympathy with the dawning liberalism.
29 August 1830
Returns from the summer journey. The three months of travelling have cost HCA almost 100 rdl.
Sees Riborg Voigt once again during Autumn in Copenhagen.
After arriving home from the trip, HCA worked on a prize paper issued by the University of Copenhagen: Development of the differences in Greek and Nordic myths in the similarities and their agreement in the differences (24 pages, in quarto, unfinished). HCA emphasises in this paper that the first men were monotheists, and that man then:
"for the first time witnessed all of nature in its youthful blossoming, saw the timelessness above, and felt the timelessness within themselves"- and through this impression of nature and the universe arises the idea of one creator, one maker".
(manuscript at the Royal Library).
Has a number of poems published in newspapers and magazines at this time.