From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:


Spiritual Mobilisation
Another Ovation at the Workers' Association.

1864: Spiritual Mobilisation

In this year

Release of Raconti fantastici di giovinetti (Milano). A second edition is released the same year.

2 January

HCA's assets are calculated at 10,039 rdl. (in 1993 terms, this equals 1,000,000 Dkr.). Of this amount, 4,539 rdl. are in a bank, 2,500 are on loan to Edvard Collin and 1,000 are on loan to Henrik Stampe (interest is paid on both loans). Moreover, HCA owns a royal bond worth 1,000 rdl. At this time his taxes amount to 12 rdl. and 48 skilling (farthings) quarterly.

5 January

Returns to Copenhagen.


Follows the mobilisation in Copenhagen with interest ("I felt overcome by this moment in time, fascinated and bitterly aware of my isolation", the diary, 29th).

13 January

Reads aloud for the Workers' Association.

23 January

Reads aloud for the pharmacists at Vincent's restaurant.

1 February

War breaks out, the Germans cross the Ejder.

3 February

Reads aloud for several hundred ladies at the Workers' Association. Hears the first reports of battle (from Mysunde).

5 February

Dannevirke is vacated without combat. Slesvig is captured by the Germans. There is unrest in Copenhagen in the following days, with the government (and at times also the royal house) labelled as traitors.

16 February

Sees Counsellor Chr. Glud, chief of section in the Ministry of War, who is in charge distributing money to the wives and children of soldiers. HCA had been asked to provide a verse of inscription for the paper piggy banks which are to be used, and therefore found a verse which he had written for a similar purpose at an earlier date. But this verse read; "Soldiers shelter Dannevirke" and would of course not do for the present situation. So the text had to be adjusted!
HCA comments on the distribution in the diary (16th):

"It was in those very same rooms at the Royal Dockyard that I had approached Admiral Krigers and visited Miss Tønderlund, when I first arrived in Copenhagen. I had not been there since; at that time I had stood here with my tragedy: The Robbers of Vissenberg, but was now one of Denmark's famous writers, bringing forth my poetic contribution, in aid of the wives and children of the Danish army"

Large numbers of HCA's piggy banks are sold at a bazaar held later in the month by the ladies at the Students' Association in Copenhagen. The piggy banks are sold for 24 skilling a piece (farthings).


Gets a new set of teeth at this time, but has a lot of trouble with them:

"Better dead and buried, one slowly deteriorates, that the shell, inside I am still 16 years, but not allowed to be like that, according to other people"
(the diary, 29th)


Comments on the atmosphere in Denmark:

"Widespread despondency here in the country and the parties dominate. Especially the women are fanatic"
(the diary, 21st).

24 February

Takes a large decorative paper-cutting along to a charitable bazaar, for it to be auctioned there. HCA himself suggests a price of 3 marks, but it is sold for twice that amount, 1 rdl.
This very imaginative decoration carries, moreover, an inscription written by HCA himself:

"This cutting is somewhat dear
it is priced at a half rix dollar
But it is a complete cut-out tale
And your kindness of heart will pay"
(privately owned, reproduced in: H.C. Andersen. Papirklip/Paper Cuts. 1992).

26 February

Takes a large decorative paper-cutting along to a charitable bazaar, for it to be auctioned there. HCA himself suggests a price of 3 marks, but it is sold for twice that amount, 1 rdl.
This very imaginative decoration carries, moreover, an inscription written by HCA himself:

"This cutting is somewhat dear
it is priced at a half rix dollar
But it is a complete cut-out tale
And your kindness of heart will pay"
(privately owned, reproduced in: H.C. Andersen. Papirklip/Paper Cuts. 1992).

3 March

HCA receives a new set of teeth from Bramsen the dentist and thus notes in the diary:

"A new enrolment to the ranks of elderly men and with my youthful feelings therefore ridiculous personality".

9 March

First performance at the Casino theatre of Paa Langebro, Folkekomedie med Chor og Sange i fire Acter. Efter Musæus og Kotzebue (On Langebro, Folk-Comedy with Choir and Songs in Four Acts. Based on Musæus and Kotzebue). [Langebro is a bridge in Copenhagen]. The play is performed 19 times during HCA's life.

16 March

Reads aloud in conjunction with a concert at the Students' Association, held in aid of the soldiers. At this time, HCA is approached by many people who want him to read aloud at charitable events.

1 April

A book version of On Langebro..

8 April

Signs, for the first time, a "political statement" (the diary). HCA and other well-known public persons have been encouraged to sign this petition addressed to the Swiss people.

9 April

HCA's poem "Denmark" is printed in the newspaper Dagbladet. On the street the next day he meets several "high-ranking officers" who thank him for the poem. HCA himself feels "moved and overwhelmed by the tragedy" and also feels "burdened and aged, death would be best for me" (the diary, 10th).
At a dinner (14th April) hosted by the English attachè, who speaks German well, HCA insists on speaking English. An explanation is given in the diary (same date): "at the moment, this language [German] resonates with the sound of canons and the shriek of the enemy. I would rather rely on my less fluent English".

15 April

Reads aloud at the Students' Association. The proceeds are in aid of burn victims from Sønderborg.

1864: Psalms

18 April

The assault on Dybbøl. HCA is extremely concerned about the fate of Viggo Drewsen during the fighting, but is reassured on 24th when a message relays that he has only been wounded in the leg.

27 April

First performance at the Royal Theatre of Han er ikke født, originalt Lystspil i to Acter (He Has Yet To Be Born, Original Comedy. Two Acts). HCA experiences the harshness of the events of the day: earlier in the day, before the premiere of the play, he had attended funeral services held at the garrison church for those fallen in the war. - The play is performed 6 times in total.

28 April

Reads aloud at the Workers' Association. The proceeds are in aid of a war widow and her infant. The proceeds amount to 66 rdl., of which the Association keeps half, leaving the widow with 33 rdl.

3 May

Visits Mrs Heiberg before dinner. She is planning to go and see HCA's play on the same evening.

"We discussed the times; I mentioned how bitter everything felt to me, as I am so alone. And she expressed the same regarding her loneliness since Heiberg's death"
(the diary).

10 May

The play He Has Yet To Be Born is released as a book.

11 May

Makes decorative paper cut-outs for charitable bazaars,

"The other day, one item was bought for 1 Species [2 rdl.] by Bruun, the baker at the court; I heard later that he had clasped it to a copy of my collected tales"
(the diary).

21 May

Reads aloud at a charity event at Hotel Phønix. The proceeds go to the wounded and the widows of the fallen:

"It was filled to the brim and dreadfully hot. I almost collapsed during the first reading, The Little Matchstick Girl, then The Butterfly and finally It's Quite True; my strength almost ran out, my legs weakened, water seeped from all my pores. The audience was very satisfied and applauded. The section was concluded with my "Denmark", composed by a young Norwegian. In the second section, I read "The Snowman" and "What The Old Man Does".

Is able, on the same day, to withdraw the final portion of his fee for Paa Langebro (On Langebro). The fee amounts to 330 rdl.

Late May

HCA describes his state of mind in the diary on 22nd: "godless, bitter towards people and without confidence in God". However, he immediately feels this line of thinking is sinful towards God. Also in the diary (27th):

"It is quite tragic the way I am idle and loafing about, accomplishing next to nothing. The weather is very cold, most have a fire. I watch the day passing, wish it was evening so I could go to bed. I look forward to nothing. There is nothing inside me. What will become of me".

3 June

Goes to Basnæs Estate. Here, soldiers from the camp hospital in Copenhagen are convalescing. HCA entertains them and reads aloud both for them and for the people on the estate.
During the stay at Basnæs, HCA writes his "Psalm": "Hartmann has been given it to compose" (letter to Henriette Collin, 22nd).

27 June

Returns to Copenhagen.

2 July

By train to Holte and from there by coach to visit Mrs Louise Neergaard (widow to Johan Ferdinand Neergaard at Gundersholm). HCA is to be a guest at her small country seat in Søllerød (until 18th July):

"The drive out was quite pretty, the first time I went by railroad; Mrs Neergaard's house is small and old, but under the roof there are several cosy guest rooms; I have one of the largest, it is very much like a cabin. I was cordially received and am very welcome, that is quite clear"
(letter to Edvard Collin, 3rd July).

In the same letter HCA enquires about the peace settlement. He has read in the papers about a rumour which claims Denmark is to be under German rule:

"I make every effort to gather in my thoughts all the mercy and the blessings that God has granted me, unmerited in this life, in order to find the strength to drain that cup of woe that I must. The good times are at an end for us elderly, the new generation is elastic, perhaps it can grow [...] Should you outlive me, please think of what were known as my good points and not of my weaknesses".

4 July

Accompanies Mrs Neergaard to visit the queen dowager at Sorgenfri Castle. HCA is suffering from a nasty toothache and on the way in to see the queen he steps on the dress of the lady-in-waiting,

"causing it to say Ritschratsch! The queen appeared and greeted me, Rasmus Nielsen read my psalm aloud, and I: Comfort in Belief, then Nielsen read my poem Denmark. He was moved by it and the queen had tears in her eyes. My toothache got worse, the queen gave me her eau de cologne, but I begged to be excused before Nielsen read. The queen shook hands with me twice, in a hearty manner. I went home; the doctor was still here, he ordered me to bed, placed sour-dough under my feet and gave me a glass of strong toddy to sleep on"
(the diary, same day).

Takes part in several outings whilst at the house in Søllerød (to Rudersdal Forest, Vedbæk, Skodsborg, The Erimitage and the park Dyrehavsbakken). Here he works on the opera Saul.

Mrs Neergaard is a devout follower of Grundtvig and goes to Vartov every Sunday to hear him preach. HCA does not join her.

17 July

HCA's "psalm" (from Basnæs), "Jeg har en Angst som aldrig før" (I am Fearful, as Never Before) is printed in the periodical Dansk Kirketidende (The Danish Church Chronicle).

18 July

Returns to Copenhagen, feeling "shattered and saddened by life; one long motley day of living, that was my life. Now the night draws near, I see no future" (the diary, same day).
Takes his opera Saul to Hartmann and discusses it with him.

1864: Another Ovation at the Workers' Association.

21 July

By train from Copenhagen to Fredensborg, where also Bournonville and Paludan-Müller are present. HCA seeks out both of them.

22 July

Continues to Elsinore by train; goes to the seaside hotel Marienlyst and lodges there. Walks to Elsinore on 23rd and sees his old school yard again.
Meets the Swedish Prince Oscar at Marienlyst on 23rd. On 25th, he meets Mathilde Fibiger (Clara Raphael) once more. Spends time with his friend Scharff, who he has invited up to Marienlyst for a couple of days.
He and Scharff go by train on 27th to Frederiksborg Castle, where HCA is given a tour of the restored castle ("the walls were a convincing representation of the old ones, but the poetry of the Middle Ages, of the memories, now gone with the fire", diary, same day).
Travels back to Copenhagen with Scharff on 28th.

3 August

Departure aboard the steamship 'Flora' to Bøget and from here by day-coach to Christinelund. Without enthusiasm, HCA takes part in an outing from here to Nysø Estate. There are political discussions, with Jonna Stampe accusing the king of being German and labelling HCA as belonging to the reactionary set, i.e. the "royals": "I became very upset, later lay there like a wet mop; rushed out into the field, ranted loudly and was in a complete rage". Afterwards however, Jonna does admit that HCA has sacrificed a great deal by severing all ties with Germany, and they are reconciled once more.

11 August

Takes the day-coach via Næstved to Ringsted and continues, upon invitation, from here by train to Sorø to visit Mrs Ingemann. Hears that she has burnt most of her husbands manuscripts. Ingemann had wanted HCA to publish his work, but Mrs Ingemann had advised HCA not to do so, out of consideration for his own work. Visits Peter Heise, the composer.

13 August

Passes Pedersborg on the way to the estate Conradineslyst, to visit the Countesses Tekla and Marie Moltke. Goes on an outing from here on 15th to see the Countesses brother, Ernst, at Aagaard. Also visits the home for the ailing which had been set up by the countesses. Reads "a great number of fairy-tales" out loud while there (the diary, 18th). In return, the farmers' children sing "Risens Datter" for HCA.

19 August

Goes to Roskilde, where HCA stays with Ortwed, the rural dean. Disagrees with the dean regarding the racial issue. HCA supports "the emancipation of blacks", whilst the dean maintains that they are "a race inferior to us" (the diary, 20th).
Visits Hartmann, also the painter Wilh. Marstrand and the organist and composer G. Matthison-Hansen, who he hears play whilst being shown around the cathedral.

23 August

Return to Copenhagen. Goes on an outing (31st) from here to Klampenborg, in order to visit Martin R. Henriques and his family at their country-home near the beach.

1 September

Pays 9 rdl. and 8 skilling in income tax for the April quarter, as well as war taxes of 27 rdl. and 60 skilling for half a year.

16 September

Is summoned to a soirè at Christiansborg, held in honour of a visit from the Prince of Wales (the later King Edward VII) and his Danish wife, Alexandra. Prince Edward informs HCA that he is familiar with most of his work.

23 September

Commences sitting as model for the sculptor Fr. Chr. Stramboe, who is to make a bust in replacement of the one made by Kolberg.

24 September

Is the guest of honour at the anniversary of the founding of the Worker's Association. Receives an ovation for his readings here.

30 September

Attends an evocative evening of music at the home of Mrs Heiberg.

1 October

Commences sitting as model for the sculptor H.V. Bissen - in the same period as he sits for Stramboe. Bissen wishes to make a bust of him.

28 October

Attends a birthday party for children held by Mrs Heiberg. Here, the foster children recite "Det døende Barn" (The Dying Child - poem by HCA) and give three cheers. HCA notes in the diary "I found it childish" (same day). He also reads aloud at the party.

28 November

An anonymous author sends HCA the book Kroisos. Lydiens sidste Konge. Dramatisk Digtning (Kroisos. The Last King of Lydia. A Dramatic Work). He is very taken with the southern sensuality of the book and writes back. HCA is then paid a visit on 8th December by the author, who turns out to be the 24 year-old actor Alfred Flinch from the Royal Theatre.


"Folkesangens Fugl. En Stemning" (The Bird of the Folk Song. A Mood) is printed in Dansk Folkekalender for 1865.

22 December

Travels aboard the freight train to Sorø (at departure, sees for the first time "our new train station, which is very impressive"). The train journey takes all of 4 1/2 hours! (in 1998, approx. 1 hour).

"Mrs Ingemann was delighted to see me, but unfortunately she is now so deaf that considerable power of speech is necessary in order to start a conversation of a sort; I retired to my room for a rest now and then; but it was a great pleasure to see how lively her spirit remained and how well she has adjusted to old age and therein she sees so clearly beyond the grave; she longs perpetually for reunion with her Bernhard. Rothe the gardener has made many changes to the gardens facing the lake and thus also with the Ingemann's. Half of it has been cut off"
(letter to Henriette Collin, 25th December).

Sorø is further mentioned in the same letter:

"The whole new landscape is very beautiful, with the principle's house, as well as Rothe's and Ingemann's, all like enclaves in the academy garden. But the boys attending the academy lose a large tumbling ground, and the part of Ingemann's garden where he most often sat has been cut off. A large hillock has been evened out and the old column base, which served as a table, now lies outside in the road, where there is, at least, still shade from the mighty trees. But no longer in the garden".

Whilst staying with Mrs Ingemann, the maid gives HCA some poems in manuscript which Ingemann had written.

24 December

Continues via Skælskør to Basnæs Estate. First there is the Christmas tree celebration for the poor peasant children: "They had been well fed before-hand and seemed almost to have eaten so much as to make them quiet and still. There was no zest in them [...] It was very quiet here and no Christmas spirit" (letter to Henriette Collin, 25th). After tea, there was a Christmas tree celebration for the family and guests.
During the stay at Basnæs, there is differences surface between HCA and the owner, Mrs Scavenius.

31 December

HCA's assets are calculated at 11,484 rdl. The amount has increased by 1,445 rdl. during the year.
At the end of the year, Edvard Collin describes in a letter to HCA that he is ending his "career in public service and leaving behind the green table at which I now have sat for more than 33 years" (26th December).

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