1870Continuation of the Journey Around Europe
Getting Acquainted with Henrik Ibsen
Lykke-Peer (Lucky Peter)
Reads aloud for the hotel guests in Nice, where he has lodged at Pension Suisse since 30th November, on the ground floor of the lean-to building. This room was arranged after the first night, which he had to spend in a room on the 5th floor.
Reads aloud again at the hotel.
Jonas Collin jnr. arrives from Verona, via Genoa.
Reads aloud once more for the ladies at the hotel.
Departure from Nice. Via Cannes, Marseille, Arles, Lyon and Dijon to Paris.
8th - 24th February
In Paris. There is an outbreak of disturbances in the town, with wounded and some deaths. Jonas thinks that HCA has been to brothels, which he denies indignantly.
Off to Brussels.
On to Cologne.
To Hannover, where HCA sees in the newspaper 'Kölner-Zeitung' that Henrik Hertz died on 25th February. The journey continues on 4th March via Haarburg, Hamburg, from Altona to Fredericia. Here HCA is greeted by the Citizens Choral Society at Hotel Kronprins Frederik.
Arrival in Odense, where they stay at Larsens Hotel. On the 9th, HCA shows Jonas the cathedral and his childhood home. As usual when in Odense, he goes for a walk around Munke Mose (a park) with Bishop Engelstoft.
To Nyborg, then across The Great Belt from Slipshavn to Korsør. Jonas goes directly on to Copenhagen, while HCA remains in Korsør, as it is getting rather late in the evening.
Arrival in Copenhagen, where he moves in at Hotel d'Angleterre (no. 66).
Moves in to the apartment of Moritz Melchior at Højbro Plads. Whilst at the theatre on the same evening, HCA sees Henrik Ibsen's play De Unges Forbund (The Young People's League) :
"...was funny, but not, however, a comedy. I grew tired of all the talk, with little action"
HCA is, however, more positive about Ibsen's drama when he sees Kongsemnerne (The King Candidates) in January 1871. Of the money which he had brought with him on the journey around Europe, 658 rdl. remain and are deposited in the bank. Travelling with Jonas had not been problematic on this trip.
Dinner with Christian IX. On the next day he is invited to dine at the residence of the queen dowager.
Meets Wilhelm Dinesen, the father of Karen Blixen (nom de plume; Isaac Dinesen) at a dinner party.
Sees the first two acts of Lohengrin by Wagner, and is more enthusiastic about the opera than he had been while travelling. Hears the opera again on several occasions in the following period. Mrs Heiberg, Carl Brosbøll (Carl Etlar) and the actor Ludvig Phister are not in favour of Wagner's music, while Edvard and Jette Collin are interested (HCA gives Edvard and Jette tickets to Lohengrin a couple of days later).
Meets Grieg and his young wife at a dinner at the Henriques'. She sings Grieg/HCA; "Hjertets Melodier" (Songs of the Heart), "Vandring i Skoven" (A Forest Walk) and "Det var som friske Fugletoner" (Like Cheerful Bird Song) (the diary, same day).
21st May - 26th June
At Basnæs Estate. From here, an outing to Borreby. Reads on 11th June that Charles Dickens died on 9th; "so we'll never meet again on earth, never speak together, he'll never explain to me why he did not answer my most recent letters" (the diary, same day).
Ludvig Holstein-Holsteinborg becomes prime minister (1870-74).
At Basnæs Estate, HCA and the ladies dispute about Christ and Christianity;
"...said that the Gospel was from God and was a blessing, but that matters of birth and family were indeed of great interest, but for me unnecessary". In answer to the objection that HCA can not be a Christian if he does not believe in both the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, he replies that he believes in them "as concepts, not persons or bodily figures"
(the diary, same day).
During this period of time, HCA finds Mrs Scavenius irritatingly stubborn in relation to all sorts of minor issues. They argue daily, but he remains on good terms with her, as she has a "warm heart" (the diary, 20th).
26th June - 3rd July
At Holsteinborg Estate, where he is met with hoisted flags on arrival. Starts work on Lykke Peer (Lucky Peter) whilst here. At departure, on the way to Sorø, the horse-carriage transporting HCA falls into the roadside ditch. He emerges unharmed from the accident, which is reported in the newspaper Dagens Nyheder already on the next day.
In Copenhagen, where he lodges once more in the two small rooms, nr. 66, at Hotel d'Angleterre.
An outing to Hellebæk, where he visits the Collins' as well as Hauch in his new house. Because he always catches a cold on the way to this area, he proposes - in a humorous letter to Henriette Collin - that Hellebæk be renamed as:
"The Fever Coast, the roadstead of coffin ships, the windy corner, the sustenance of doctors, the Greenland of Zealand [...] I expunge my entire wrath over the area and its open transportation".
9th - 19th July
Staying with the Henriques at Petershøj. Finishes work on Lykke-Peer (Lucky Peter) whilst here.
War breaks out between France and Prussia.
19th July - 19th September
With the Melchiors at Rolighed. Receives a visit here from;
"a young Swedish student named Warburg from Götheborg, whom I had given my portrait card" (has read aloud from Lykke Peer to him and the others).
The student is the later professor of literary history Karl Warburg. The visit takes place on 26th July, and Karl Warburg visits HCA once again on 31st August 1871 in Göteborg, when HCA is on the way to Norway. Whilst in Göteborg, he also socializes with Karl Warburg's brother, Consul Warburg and his family.
Signe Læssøe dies. HCA attends her funeral on 30th.
9th - 10th august
Reads Lykke-Peer (Lucky Peter) aloud for Mrs Heiberg and her three foster daughters. Mrs Heiberg is pleased to note that the work contains an element of fairy-tale, but feels that Wagner's music is referred to too positively.
The first contact with Henrik Ibsen. HCA reads Peer Gynt before the meeting:
"It's as if it were written by a mad poet, one becomes disturbed oneself if one wishes to live in this book; The verses aren't good either, there's something quite sick about the whole thing. I regret having read it, as Ibsen is coming here tonight for the first time, I've never met him, he's known as a silent and dark fellow. After dinner he arrived with Bloch and made a good impression. He was well-spoken and polite, we all liked him"
(the diary, same day).
HCA reads stories aloud for Ibsen after dinner on 21st, also Lucky Peter . Ibsen supposedly finds it "so poetic" (the diary).
In a letter to Henriette Collin dated 26th, HCA mentions Ibsen:
"Ibsen the writer came to dinner here at "Rolighed" and was very pleasant, modest and likeable. I like him, but not his work "Peer Gynt", which I have now read; it seems impermissibly insane to me. What is the meaning of it all? Furthermore, the verses are not good and at times far too cynical, for example at the party of the mountain troll".
Reads Lykke Peer for Rasmus Nielsen and "...the young Jacobsen from Carlsberg." [Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg Beer and he himself founder of New Carlsberg]. Rasmus Nielsen is of the opinion that HCA with this work has "cast a new direction, between fairy-tale and novel" (the diary, same day). At this time, HCA is once more dissatisfied with Jonas Collin, who scorns description offered by Rasmus Nielsen and goes on about HCA's preference for strong drinks while they were travelling together..
The Battle of Sedan. In the next few days there are reports of the defeat of the French and the termination of The Empire. The many bloody reports affect HCA a great deal. HCA of course knew the French Emperor and Empress personally, but also felt very badly about the suffering the war had inflicted on both the German and the French people. In a letter to Henriette Collin dated 5th September, HCA writes:
"My new book [ Lucky Peer ] is already at the printers, making it possible to send printed pages to New York as soon as possible, so that they can get it translated and released around New Year; I would probably get more for it were it released there earlier than here at home, but the latter amuses me more. This in spite of the fact that people seem not to favour reading poetic works this year. Quite different great works of a lifetime are now available for study. What a ghastly bloody time this is, the air is filled with the steam of gun-powder and sighs of despair! -"
Orla Lehmann dies.
Moves in to his new lodgings at the Misses Rossings' in Tordenskjoldsgade 17, 1st floor (a pension named Crown Princess Lovisa). He had rented rooms here from 1st September. Already by 5th September he mentions in a letter to Henriette Collin:
"My clothes are already in my new apartment, which does not please me at all, it is far too small and in my lounge there is a door to the neighbours. I have no idea who they are".
Reads aloud at the Students' Association.
Release of Lykke-Peer (Lucky Peter) . Receives a total of 1,000 rdl. from this work, paid in 1871.
Anniversary celebration to mark what would have been Thorvaldsen's 100th birthday:
"In so many aspects of life I felt akin to Thorvaldsen, our poor background, our fight and the great recognition we receive from the world"
(the diary, same day).
Reads aloud from Tales and Stories for 130 ladies at Nathalie Zahle's Institute.
In the next fews days, HCA's attention is taken up by the fact that Caroline David has left her children and gone to Rome
"to take care of Brandes the writer, who is very ill and for whom she has a very kind heart"
(the diary, 5th).
Reads aloud for the youngest pupils at Nathalie Zahle's school.
Release of H.C. Andersens nye Eventyr og Historier. Med Illustrationer efter Originaltegninger af Lorenz Frølich. Første Bind. (Hans Christian Andersen's New Tales and Stories. Illustrated with Original Drawings by Lorenz Frølich. Volume One.) . The two following volumes are released in 1871 and 1874. This collected edition of three volumes, illustrated by Frølich, is a continuation of the edition from 1862-63, consisting of two volumes illustrated by Vilhelm Pedersen. These five volumes in total make up the complete edition in HCA's own life-time of his fairy-tales and stories. From the volume released on this day, HCA earns 1,200 rdl., paid in 1871.
Spends Christmas Eve alone, after having had dinner at the Henriques'.
Spends New Years Eve alone, after having had dinner at the Collins'.