From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1865Music by Edvard Grieg
New Version of Ravnen (The Raven)
Journey to Sweden
Death of P.L. Møller
Return to Copenhagen.
Sits for the painter Laura Wittusen, who has an atelier at Christiansborg. As the sittings progress in February and March, she finds it difficult to paint a life-like "contour". The painting was never completed.
At a dinner party, HCA raises objections to the differentiation made by Rasmus Nielsen, professor of philosophy, between the poet ("who sees") and the philosopher ("who is able to explain that which has been given to the other"). HCA feels that:
"Indeed it is given to the poet, but he himself is able, thereafter, to see and understand that which has been given"
The differences are not, however, insurmountable. In fact HCA visits Rasmus Nielsen on 22nd and reads his new comedy play out loud for him ( Da Spanierne var her (When the Spaniards Were Here )). Nielsen is very enthusiastic about the play.
To the municipal authorities, HCA specifies that his income from the previous year amounted to 1,820 rdl.
HCA's 60th birthday is celebrated and he is overwhelmed by a shower of greetings and gifts. HCA is especially pleased to receive a telegram from Mrs Serre in Dresden, in light of the fact that he himself had cut off all connections with Germany in 1864.
The day is rounded off with a large dinner held by the Henriques family. Amongst the guests are the Melchiors. In the evening, HCA goes to the theatre (to hear the opera Lucia de Lammermoor , but the programme is changed to Gounod's Faust).
This day actually began with HCA depressed:
"Was not satisfied with myself when I awoke; I felt no festive thankfulness towards God, as I should have"
but all the attention and praise during the day does lift his spirits. Even at 10 pm, when HCA returns home from the theatre, the day ends on a pleasant note: a telegram has arrived from some admirers in the town of Hobro, who had gathered for a drink in his honour.
Receives a visit from Edvard Grieg - whose music he had heard for the first time two days earlier and had found to be "the most important" (the diary) out of the whole evening's music programme. Grieg brings HCA his music written for "Melodies of the Heart", dedicated to him.
During an evening of music hosted by the queen dowager, HCA is informed that his fairy-tales have been translated to and released in Sanskrit.
Full house at the Royal Theatre for the premiere of Da Spanierne var her. Originalt romantisk Lystspil i tre Acter (When the Spaniards Were Here. Original Romantic Comedy in Three Acts) . The royal family is present for the premiere. The play is performed 7 times.
A new version is released of The Raven. Fairy-tale Opera in Four Acts with music by J.P.E. Hartmann. The earlier version (from 1832) was a ballad opera in three acts with dialogue. In the new version, recitatives replace the dialogue, and both text and music have been revised by the author and the composer.
First performance of the new version of The Raven at the Royal Theatre. It is not a success. This and the earlier version are performed 10 times in total during HCA's life.
Release of When the Spaniards Were Here in book form.
8th - 16th May
Daily visits to Anna Bjerring and her mother, who are in Copenhagen at this time.
Is invited to Lisbon to visit George O'Neill (Portuguese merchant and Danish consular general in Lisbon).
At a dinner held by Edvard Collin (main course: peas and pork), HCA meets the painter Carl Bloch, who requests permission to paint a large portrait of HCA in the following year.
Off to Basnæs Estate. At the railway station, Anna Bjerring pays her respects to HCA, bidding him farewell with a bouquet of flowers.
During the stay at Basnæs, HCA is engrossed in reading Werke by Heines:
"Very few volumes might, in my opinion, be read to a lady; Heine is like a fine display of fireworks; it finishes and one is left standing in the darkest of night. He is a witty gossip, ungodly and of easy virtue, and yet he is a true poet; his books are elf-maids in flower and silk, swarming with passion, so that one can not allow them to move freely around in a sitting room filled with fully clothed people"
(Letter dated 31st May to Edvard Collin).
Departure from Basnæs, aboard the steamship Skirmer from Korsør to Århus (aboard is also Ernst von der Recke, who often reads his poetry out loud for HCA in Copenhagen). Arrives at Friisenborg on the same day. Here he meets Wilhelm Dinesen, the father of Karen Blixen (nom de plume; Isaac Dinesen), who is amongst the house guests at the estate.
Several photographs of HCA are taken during this visit to Friisenborg, e.g. one where he is standing holding a letter from Anna Bjerring.
Does 24 cut-outs for a lampshade similar to the one he had made at Holsteinborg Estate.
Departure from Friisenborg. Via Randers to the vicarage in Hem, where HCA stays with Pastor Ole Christian Kahrs, who is married to a daughter of Joh. Ferd. Neergaard.
Reads in the newspaper Fædrelandet that some of his fairy-tales have been translated by Jean Pio (who is staying in Athens) into New Greek.
Departure from Hem Vicarage via Mariager and Hobro to Randers (arriving 6th). By train on 8th from Randers to Hinnerup and then by coach to Friisenborg.
Leaves Friisenborg. Takes the ship from Århus to Korsør, arriving at Glorup Estate on 17th ("The garden is now very developed and might be the most beautiful in the country", the diary, same day). Does not feel at home here (feels that the estate lacks a wife and feels he can not stand such a bachelor-like lifestyle!). He is not a popular guest. All the same, he does receive a heartfelt farewell and an invitation to come again.
Departure from Glorup, headed for Sorø. On to Christinelund on 27th. From here he attends a dinner at Nysø.
Via Ringsted on the way back to Copenhagen.
The tenancy with Mrs Anholm in Nyhaven 67 is terminated, as the landlady requires the rooms for other purposes.
Receives a visit from Bjørnson, the Norwegian writer, who seeks HCA's support with regards to applying for the 'Anker' grant (HCA is on the board of directors for the grant). In return, Bjørnson will stage HCA's plays in Christinia, Norway.
12th - 21st August
Visits Mrs Neergaard in Søllerød. Here, there are celebrations in honour of HCA; a floral port has been erected, a song is sung for him and three cheers are shouted. Present are e.g. Michael Rosing, lecturer at Sorø Academy, who is a poet himself and reads his poems out loud for HCA. During an outing to Tårbeck, he gets to know the Austrian poet Ludwig August Frankl. There is also an outing to Hellebæk to visit Jonas Collin jnr. and the sister, Louise.
A party is held at Tivoli for the people from Slesvig (Mrs Heiberg has some of them staying with her). There is dancing and fireworks, and patriotic songs are sung. HCA is there, along with a total of 24,000 people.
Before his journey to Sweden, HCA has searched for a new place to live, but with no result. During a dinner with the Melchior family, they offer him two rooms (with a view towards Malmø), should he wish to make use of them.
The last evening at no. 67 Nyhavn, which he had called his Danish home.
Bids Mrs Anholm farewell and departs for Sweden (via Malmø, Jönköping and Falköping to Stockholm).
The decision to go to Sweden had been made fairly suddenly and rather by chance. Originally, HCA had planned a trip to Portugal, but gave up on the idea upon hearing that cholera had broken out in Spain and that there was also a case of the disease in Lisbon. As an alternative, he asks Einar Drewsen to go to Paris with him, but Einar replies that he is too busy for such a journey. HCA therefore decides, after having had a talk with Edvard Collin on 6th, to go to Stockholm instead.
17th - 24th September
In Stockholm. Feels bored, as several of the people he had expected to see are not there. Moreover, he does not receive the degree of attention to which he was accustomed in Sweden. After a while, the situation does, however, improve. Amongst others, he visits Fredrika Bremer, Bernhard von Beskow and the editor of the newspaper Aftonbladet, August Sohlman. Also spends time with Martin Henriques and his family whilst here.
24th - 27th September
Travels with Henriques to Uppsala (Henriques returns to Stockholm on 26th). The students in Uppsala celebrate the arrival of HCA on 26th:
"A medley of lamps were lit, the Danish flag waved in the breeze, the students' spokesman made a speech for me and a beautiful poem was read aloud; Swedish and Danish songs were sung and as I walked home in the evening, I was accompanied by singing admirers. Curiously, the evening seemed beautifully southern, wind-still, with stars twinkling and at times the moon casting long beams. But ahead, to the north, the Northern Lights were shining. There was also song in the courtyard of the building I was staying in, and as they left, three cheers were shouted. I felt so wonderfully touched, so young again"
(Letter to Edvard Collin, 1st October).
27th September - 7th October
In Stockholm. Attends the theatre here, seeing a performance of Den Skønne Helene (The Beautiful Helene) by Offenbach. HCA describes the play as "typically French in its loose morality" and as "lecherous" [underlined]. It is the music of an ale-house" (diary, 29th). (This does not however prevent him from seeing the play once more at a later date in Denmark!).
Spends time with Bonniers and Beskows. Is in contact with the playwright Frans Hedberg.
Visits King Karl XV at Ulriksdal:
"I was welcomed in a most wonderful heartfelt manner. The king himself gave me a tour of the palace and introduced me to the queen. The king gave me a couple of his books and his portrait card. I received from him a paper cigar [cigarette] as the other cigars were too strong. It was all so intimately cosy and pleasant"
(letter to Edvard Collin, 1st October).
Visits Prince Oscar at his palace and then go with the prince to see his mother, Queen Josefina, at Drottningholm.
"Prince Oscar walked arm-in-arm with me through the halls, as did the king. How proud and joyful my mother would have been if she could have seen the likes of this, and old grandmother [paternal] too!"
(the diary, same day).
In a letter dated 1st October to Edvard Collin, HCA sums up the visit to Sweden, which had been a disappointment initially, as follows:
"all in all, I feel I have been welcomed as a celebrity. And yet - I confide in you - I do not feel happy at all. It is ungrateful, but I now understand more and more how empty, how like a bubble as the glitter and fame really is. I have read, and not just in Copenhagen Danish, that I am very vain. I do not believe that is so".
Departure from Stockholm. On the day before, HCA had been up at the palace to bid the king farewell. And on the actual day of departure, the queen sends her lord-in-waiting to HCA, so that he may sign a book for her. Travels via Hallsberg, Jönköping (8th - 10th), Lund (10th - 12th) ( The students of Lund pay their respects to HCA on 11th). Then via Malmø back to Copenhagen.
Arrival in Copenhagen. Goes to the Hotel d'Angleterre, where he is given a room in the rear of the building, facing a garden.
Is moved to two "small, neat rooms" (diary, same day) on the 2nd floor of the hotel, facing Kongens Nytorv, as he can not stand the quietness at the back of the building. For the same reason, he later turns down an offer from the Henriques family of rooms in their home, as it turns out that these rooms are also in the back building. He wishes to have a daily view of the pulsating life of the town.
An actual friendship develops between HCA and the 28 year-old journalist, writer and otherwise man about the town Robert Watt.
HCA suffers from serious mood swings during this period.
"Today I have truly perceived the infinitely far too great goodness, grace and love which God has for me. This is surely the last year of life for me; in the next I shall be no more".
This comment is written in the diary on 30th. And when he wakes up the next day with a headache and pain in the small of his back, he notes:
"at my age, I should stick to a diet and yet I indulge heartily in food and drink. My eyes grow weak, one of my legs tired".
5th - 6th November
Is invited to visit the royal family at Fredensborg. This is the first time he sees the castle from the inside.
"It seems to be God's will that also this royal household wishes to show me favour; they are kind-hearted people"
(the diary, 5th).
Visits the Bournonvilles on the same occasion.
Coaxes Reitzel the publisher to allow Frølich to illustrate his fairy-tales.
Reads aloud at the Students' Association.
Release of Nye Eventyr og Historier. Anden Række. Tredie Samling (New Tales and Stories. Second Series. Third Installment). Included are: ("Lygtemændene ere i Byen, sagde Mosekonen" (The Will-o'-the-Wisps are in Town), "Veirmøllen" (The Windmill), "Sølvskillingen" (The Silver Shilling), "Bispen paa Børglum og hans Frænde" (The Bishop of Börglum and his Men), "I Børnestuen" (In the Children's Room), "Guldskat" (Golden Treasure), "Stormen flytter Skilt" (The Storm Shifts the Signboards). 5,000 copies of the book are printed, and by mid-January, 4,500 have been sold. The fee earned may be estimated at approx. 1,000 rdl.
Is in contact with the young composer Asger Hammerich, who is a great admirer of HCA.
Christian Schmidt, actor and co-director of the Casino theatre, hangs himself after having lost his assets of 12,000 rdl. In the next few days, HCA helps organize a collection for the benefit of Schmidt's widow and children.
Reads aloud for approx. 500 ladies at the Workers' Association.
A.N. de Saint-Aubin (Carl Bernhard, the writer) dies.
On the same day, HCA is at the silver wedding anniversary of Louise (Collin) and W. Lind. In his speech, Adolph Drewsen jokingly mentions that HCA was not at the wedding,
"that I was off somewhere, as though shot from a canon. Love, a broken heart, must be taken into consideration; I took it with a sense of humour [...] now, at home, I thank God that I did not become Louise's husband. An entirely different type of writing activity, God only knows which, would then have been afforded me"
(diary, same day).
Departure for Sorø ("It's very difficult to speak with dear Mrs Ingemann", diary, same day). Is collected on the next day by a coach from Holsteinborg Estate.
Receives a letter from Edvard Collin, including a statement of his assets which amount to 12,080 rdl. The interest for the year amounts to 450 rdl.
P.L. Møller, the critic, dies in France. HCA commences the work of noting down what he remembers about Møller, for his memoirs.
Goes from Holsteinborg Estate to Basnæs Estate, where he is lodged in the usual two rooms. On the 29th - 31st HCA accompanies Mrs Scavenius and the others from Basnæs to Espe. The New Year is celebrated at Basnæs.