1875The Party at Kenilworth
Criticism of The Intended Statue
Death of HCA
After discussions with the composer Axel Liebmann, HCA works on changing the dialogue in the play The Party at Kenilworth for recitatives. Finds the old version of the opera highly outdated.
The poem "Kjøbenhavn" (Copenhagen) is printed in the magazine "Nær og Fjærn" (Near and Far) no. 137.
The poem "Odense" is printed in the magazine "Illustreret Tidende" along with a picture of Odense taken from Nonnebakken, i.e. near the town hall.
Is appointed Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog, first rank.
HCA is paid tribute from near and far on his birthday. In Odense a commemorative plaque is laid in the wall of his childhood home. The evening is spent with the Melchiors. HCA has a hard time managing this and the visits made in the next few days. He feels exhausted after the evening at the Melchiors'. To mark his birthday, the Royal Theatre perform the play Den ny Barselstue (The New Lying-in Room) and the opera Liden Kirsten (Little Kirsten).
Release of Hans Christian Andersen Historien om en Moder i Femten Sprog udgiven af Jean Pio og Vilh. Thomsen (Hans Christian Andersen The Story of a Mother in Fifteen Languages edited by Jean Pio and Vilh. Thomsen London Kjøbenhavn Leipzig Williams & Norgate C.A. Reitzel F.A. Brockhaus Sortiment Trykt hos Bianco Luno (Printed by Bianco Luno) (price; 3 Dkr.). The book has a title page in Danish as well as in English. The languages apart from Danish are: Swedish, Icelandic, German, Low German, Dutch, English, French, Spanish, New Greek, Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian and Finnish.
The poem "Mit Barndoms Hjem" (My Childhood Home) is printed in the newspaper "Søndags-Posten, illustreret Ugeblad til Nytte og Fornøielse for alle Stænder" (The Sunday-Post, Illustrated Weekly Journal For the Benefit and Enjoyment Of All Classes). A picture of the childhood home is included.
Receives a copy of the London newspaper the Evening News, which claims that he is the most widely read of all living writers, and that the fairy-tales;
"...deserve a place in the pantheon where Homer and Shakespeare live forever"
(diary, same day).
The Duke of Sachsen-Weimar sends HCA the Order of Commander (Komthur) of The White Falcon.
Goes to the Royal Theatre for the last time (sees a dress rehearsal of a ballet by Bournonville)
Sees the sketch for his statue and likes the one by Otto Evens but not the one by A.V. Saabye.
Attends the celebration to mark the 70th birthday of J.P.E. Hartmann.
Decides to travel to Menton and stay there for the winter. However, in the next few days he feels so ill that Johan Krohn must overnight in his sitting room, so as to assist him. During this long period of illness he takes morphine almost daily ("morphine juice").
Receives a visit from the sculptor A.V. Saabye,
"...whose sketch I can not abide, as it reminds me of old Socrates and the young Alcibades" [!].
Refuses to sit for him or speak to him. Through the painter Jørgen Roed, HCA raises an official complaint against Saabye and his group, not least due to;
"...that tall boy who is draped all the way up my leg"
(the diary, same day).
Is reassured on the following day by the painter F. Vermehren, who promises that the boy will be changed to a small child, to symbolise the childlike spirit.
Another visit from Saabye. This time HCA speaks to him personally, saying;
"...that I was not happy with his statue of me, that neither he nor any of the other sculptors knew me, had not seen me read, and that I could not abide people standing behind me and did not have children on my back, lap or leg; that my fairy-tales were just as much for adults as for children, who only understood the ornamental trappings, but only as mature adults can they see and perceive the contents. That the naive was only one part of my fairy-tales, that humour was the actual zest in them"
(diary, same day).
Had planned to go to Bregentved Estate, but the stay there is cancelled as Frederik Moltke- Bregentved is made Minister of Foreign Affairs in Estrup's new government.
Is collected and taken to the Melchior family at Rolighed.
The Poem "Tunge Timer" (Difficult Hours) is printed in the magazine Illustreret Tidende.
The last entry in the diary which is made by HCA himself. After this he dictates entries for the diary to Dorothea Melchior or one of her daughters, Harriet and Louise
Revises his testament. Notes down various minor sums which are to be distributed immediately after his death.
Has not been able to sleep, due to a poem which he has in his mind ("Fyn og Schweiz" (Funen and Switzerland); it is also a poem about the extremes in his life and about death). Dictates it to Mrs Melchior. The poem is published post-humously in December in Karl Schmidt's Julebog 1875 (Christmas Book 1875) (Odense).
During this period of severe illness, HCA lies dictating sporadic memories of "loose" women and of women who had made themselves available to him. Amongst the comments he dictates to the diary are sentences such as;
"Often so little strength while dying that through our smallest nerve it is entirely ebbing out. It leads to a clarity, which also gives light" (23rd July).
"Every 6th breaking wave from the sea is to be smaller, yet a breaker all the same, and so it is with thought"
HCA is not at all coherent in the last few weeks of his life, and often not conscious.
HCA dies at five minutes past eleven. The cause of death is registered as cancer of the liver.
The magazine-illustrator Knud Gamborg draws HCA on his deathbed. This drawing is used to produce a highly embellished and idealised woodcut, which is printed in Illustreret Tidende. The drawing shows the deceased HCA alone, while the woodcut shows the dying HCA surrounded by the Melchior family.
The funeral service for HCA is held at Copenhagen's cathedral "Vor Frue Kirke", (The Church of Our Lady). The king and crown prince are present. Speeches are made by Archdeacon C. Rothe and Bishop C.T. Engelstoft from Odense. HCA's own song, "Som Bladet, der fra Træet falder" (Like The Leaf, Falling From The Tree) is sung, and at the end; "Sov du trætte Barn, sov sødt,/aldrig ængstet mer og saaret" (Sleep, weary child, sleep tight/never again frightened and wounded), written by Carl Ploug for the occasion.
HCA was buried at the cemetery "Assistens Kirkegård" in a plot which Edvard Collin had picked out for HCA, himself and his wife Henriette. HCA was therefore buried in the western portion of the plot and the monument was erected there. Edvard dies in 1886 and Henriette 1894, but their headstone is later (1914) moved to the Collins' family burial plot at Frederiksberg cemetery, as a controversy had developed in the newspapers about the Collins' treatment of HCA. Edvard and Henriette did however remain where they were buried. But after their headstone had been moved, the plot at Assistens cemetery was changed so that HCA's monument was placed in the middle.
The stone is inscribed with the last 4 lines of HCA's poem "Oldingen" (The Old Man) from 1874:
The soul which God in his image created,
Is incorruptible, can not be lost.
Our life on earth is the seed of eternity,
Our body dies, but the soul can not die!
Edvard Collin is noted as residuary legatee. A number of provisions are made for grants (e.g. for a poor and diligent schoolboy in Odense, for The Frederik VII Foundation, also in Odense, and for the Child Welfare Association in Copenhagen) and also for individual recipients of certain items and minor amounts. Clara Heinke had originally been considered in the will, but has been taken out in an addition to it. Anna Bjerring is not mentioned in the will.
The Publishing Rights
to HCA's (up until this point published) works are transferred to Reitzel for a total of 40,000 Dkr. [approx. 2,000,000 Dkr. in 1993 value] of which the first 5,000 Dkr. were paid on 15th January 1876. [HCA's own assets - the "income" from the estate - totalled 56,452 Dkr. at the time of his death, i.e. an amount close to the equivalent of 3,000,000 Dkr. in 1993 value]. After deduction of estate duty, these funds were to be used for grants for female descendants of Jonas Collin, and for the widows of his male descendants. It was decided that the amount in the trust fund must not fall below 20,000 Dkr. A new decision was made in 1950 that the money in the fund be increased to 30,000 Dkr. [approx. 3-400,000 in 1993 value], and the interest be distributed amongst female descendants of Jonas Collin and secondly to those of H.C. Ørsted. In the event that there are no more recipients within this circle, the money is to be transferred to the local authorities in Copenhagen and be distributed to poor Danish poets or musicians.