From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1874The Last Visit from his Female Friends
HCA's Finances in The Later Years
January - April
Stays active by glueing pictures onto his folding screen. Reitzel the publisher and a photographer also give HCA pictures of well known Danish men and women for this screen. Oksen the student takes care of HCA quite a bit and goes for little walks with him.
1 AprilAnna Bjerring surprises HCA with a visit; she has come for his birthday. She stays in town until the 13th and they meet a few times more.
Flags are kept at half-mast today, as this particular 2nd April is Maundy Thursday, just as it had been in 1801 on the day of the Battle of "Reden" (an inconclusive battle waged between the British and Danish navies, just outside the harbour in Copenhagen). HCA interprets this as a bad omen for himself, as this is his birthday. He is inundated with flowers, greeting cards and visitors to mark the day. Amongst others, Crown Prince Frederik comes to see him and is shown the folding screen. HCA is appointed "konferensråd", a high Danish title, now obselete (the same rank as Adolph Drewsen, Edvard Collin is titular Councillor of State).
"...for two hours while Lund, the historical painter, drew my face. It is to be used in Viborg church to paint a ceiling, where the four great and the twelve small prophets are to be portrayed; I am to be one of the great ones with a halo about my head"
(the diary, same day).
The historical painter Fr. Chr. Lund, who had drawn HCA in 1867 for Mrs Melchior, decorates the ceiling of Viborg Cathedral during 1874-1875 and uses models for the portrayal of the prophets. HCA was given the honour of being portrayed as the prophet Jeremiah (holding a text which reads: Judah shall be redeemed). In 1912 Lund's decoration was covered by a new ceiling which was put up and painted by P-C. Skovgaard.
HCA's friend, the painter Wilhelm Kaulbach, dies of cholera in Munich.
Receives a telegram from the Grand Duke of Weimar, who enquires about his health. HCA had not in fact corresponded with him since the war in 1864 and had not visited him since then either. After answering the telegram, HCA later sends him the book Lykke-Peer (Lucky Peter) in German.
First visit to the theatre during this long period of illness.
Clara Heinke arrives in Copenhagen with her sister. In the following week, HCA meets with them daily and drives them around. They are invited to the Melchiors' and also visit HCA in his apartment.
23 May 1874
Before the departure, HCA's monthly rent had just been increased by 5 rdl. to a total of 45 rdl. (the amount includes meals). He comments on this in several letters to Henriette Collin, e.g. on 29th June, in which he mentions that everyone except Mrs Melchior - "and that annoys me!!!" - agrees that it has now become far too expensive to stay at Miss Ballins'. HCA finds it very wrong of his landlady to have put the rent up before he was due to go to the country, where he would not cost her anything:
"I can not forgive Miss Ballin for not informing me about the increase in rent as soon as she received the order, but rather omitted to mention this, *out of consideration for me until the moment I left and only had the apartment for my furniture. The other day I was in Nyhavn for a few minutes and felt sickened by all the: "Dear Sir this and Sir that...!" which I heard there. It is most unfortunate. I hope I will feel more comfortable there when I move back in. - At my calculation, the yearly rent will amount to: 540. Every month I pay at least 32 rdl. for a few days very modest dinner and similar lunch, (not including wine) plus the charge for beer, light etc.That amounts to 385 rdl. a year, and what with tips and other minor expenses, 1,000 rdl. yearly, but of course the cost of clothes, shoes, laundry, wine, charity and a number of incalculable expenses necessitate a sum not under 500 rdl.; all these expenses amount to no less than 1,500 rdl. for consumption! This is too much for a single person, especially as I give out more! Just the taxes are a couple of hundred rdl!
This entire matter has presented itself to me, or rather become a mess for me, because of the untimely self-serving actions of the kind Miss Ballin. [...] Once more I am helpless regarding moving, changing to another landlady. I really want to believe they have my interests at heart, but how can I? So I am obliged to sit tight and be grateful for perpetually hearing the words: "Dear Sir this and that!""
Is at Holsteinborg till 18th June, where he is;
"...taken care of, tended to, made a fuss of, like a dear child of the family. You can not imagine a more charming, meticulous hostess than Countess Holstein. I feel so happy, so content and for each passing day my disposition improved greatly"
(letter to Henriette Collin dated 20th June).
Receives a visit while here from the young painter Kristian Zahrtmann, whose low opinion of Carl Bloch HCA does not appreciate. During the stay at Holsteinborg, which will be HCA's last, he makes a series of paper cuttings for Marie Steenbuch, the four-year-old daughter of the estate physician. She dies later in the year.
The last performance in the old building of the Royal Theatre is staged.
Back in Copenhagen, where he moves in at Rolighed, the home of the Melchior family.
"Here at "Rolighed" everyone is surprised at how well I look and am able to move about, even my barber (who said today that when he saw me last he would not have wagered a mere pipe of tobacco on me, so sure was he that he had shaved me for the last time). All the same, I do suffer quite a bit from arthritis, in the hands, elbows and knees and often let out a yell; "av!""
(letter to Henriette Collin dated 20th June).
Also staying at Rolighed is the young Swedish composer, J.A. Hägg.
Gives up the idea of travelling, as his expenses are sizeable. He estimates his annual expenses to be 2,000 rdl.
HCA's assets are calculated and amount to 23,842 rdl., of which approx. 21,000 generate interest. Interest in the first half of the year amounts to 427 rdl. The rate of interest is still 4%. HCA's annual earnings from interest and the annual poet's grant are now close to being equal (the grant is 1,000 rdl.). Edvard Collin suggests that HCA lend 2,000 rdl. as mortgage in a building which Viggo Drewsen is about to start work on. It seems that nothing came of the proposal.