1853Visit to Silkeborg
Arranges with Reitzel that 4,000 copies of his work Illustrerede Eventyr (Illustrated Fairy-tales) are to be printed, as well as a low-price edition of his Samlede Skrifter (Collected Works), consisting of 2,000 copies. The publisher Reitzel in fact dies shortly after this agreement is made.
Travels to Sorø, where he stays with the Ingemanns until 7th June. At this time, HCA reads the new novel by Carsten Hauch, Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steam-ship, with great interest.
Up in the large attic room of Ingemann's house, with a view of the lake, HCA sits reading the book and writes to Hauch about his impression of it:
"I have experienced, in my own development, the truth of what you have felt and given" (letter dated 3rd June).
He also writes to Henriette Wulff about the book (on 5th June), adding:
"Each day I have a minor dispute with Ingemann about the significance of inventions, as he values poetry higher than science, which I do not. He admits that ours is the great age of inventions, but only at a mechanical level, a material level; I consider this to be the necessary foundation for the spiritual, providing great branches upon which poetry may blossom. The fact that people draw closer to one another, that countries and towns are connected, through steam and electromagnetism, into one great community hall seems to me so spiritually great and wondrous that the thought of it elevates me to such heights as the song of any poet has ever been able".
To Henriette Wulff and Carsten Hauch he relates how, in Copenhagen, the poet and telegraph-director Peter Faber had recently demonstrated the principle of telegraphing for him. (Faber is the author of the Danish Christmas carol "Højt fra Træets grønne Top" (On the Green Tip of the Tree). The telegraph line Elsinore - Copenhagen - Fredericia - Hamburg was laid out in 1852-1853 and opened 1st February 1854. Use of the telegraph was thus demonstrated to HCA while it was still only the employees who practised on the line.
Peter Faber telegraphed up to the staff in Elsinore and told them that HCA was standing next to him. The staff in Elsinore replied by quoting:
"Every skipper has a wife", or as HCA writes in a letter dated 3rd June to Hauch: "[....] the entire first verse of one of my own oldest poems, written, I believe, during my school-days in Elsinore. I felt strangely overwhelmed by the enormity of the invention; it was as though I stood beneath the beating wings of an infinitely powerful spirit [...] I feel and see God's infinite love also in every new insight which he allows us into the laws and powers of nature, and the elevated power he thereby grants mankind [...] the material substance we gain is, after all, like the framework for building the temple of the spirit; people are drawn closer to each other; ideas may be exchanged more easily, more and more, we become one people, one nation of spirit. During the past few years, I have become so very interested in science. I am convinced that had I been as aware of its magnificence twenty years ago as I am now, I would probably have taken an avenue in life other than the one I now follow, or rather; I would have attained knowledge within such fields that my authorship would have blossomed quite differently than is now the case".
After a journey via Kalundborg and Århus, arrival in Vilhelmsborg (visiting Baroness Gyldenkrone), where he stays until 26th June.
Fuglen i Pæretræet (The Bird in The Pear Tree), which had first been performed at the Royal Theatre 1842, is now staged at the Casino Theatre. Here it is performed 17 times during HCA's life.
Learns that cholera has broken out in Copenhagen.
Arrives in Silkeborg, where he is a guest of Amalie (Malle) and Michael Drewsen until 15th July. During the stay he goes on a outing to the heath, where he sees a mirage and gypsies. Also takes a ride on a barge on the Gudenå (river).