Basnæs, by Skjelskjør June 9, 1872.
Dear and excellent friend:
I returned here to Denmark yesterday after a two months' trip abroad. Shortly before my departure I sent you a letter with thanks for the last honorarium sent me. I hope that you have received same, and that you will generously forgive me for not writing to you while on the journey itself. I sped from town to town, from country to country, and the time sped faster still. As I had been in delicate health throughout the entire winter, my friends advised a trip, but not alone. So I invited a young poet, the brother of my friend Carl Bloch, who is perhaps becoming our most famous painter. In the beginning of April, we journeyed overland to Hamburg. Spring showed us its first green trees at Hanover. In Dresden all the fruit trees were in bloom, and when we reached Vienna, we had entered into a warm, indeed quite too warm a summer. It was lovely in the mountains about Salzburg, but when we proceeded by train over the Alps, we were in the midst of winter once more; the snow was two feet thick on the rails. I spent some lovely days in north Italy, by Lago di Garda, and in the towns of Verona and Venice.
Refreshed and invigorated, I started homeward from here, but at Innsbrück in the Tyrol I had the misfortune of falling and badly bruising my knee, hip and head. I did not consult a physician, as nothing was broken. I used an arnica bath, which indeed helped, but as I had forgotten to dilute it with water, it affected my skin to such an extent that my whole side was [covered] with large red, burning patches. Once more I was self-wise; I washed myself with tar soap, which served to increase the trouble, so that I suffered and am still suffering from the burning smart. I looked up a physician in Hamburg, and he suggested that I do nothing at all ab out it, and that seems also to be the best procedure, but now on the nineteenth day af ter the fall, I am still suffering from the consequences of my own prescription.
Yesterday I arrived here in Basnæs, where I am most comfortable, and in a few days I expect to be in Copenhagen to stay a few weeks with my friends, the merchant Melchior and family, who have a lovely house by the shore outside the city. The racing season is on in the city these days, and next week an exhibition will be opened, presenting fine arts, as well as arts and crafts, from the three northern kingdoms.
Robert Watt, I notice, has written a nice description of his visit with the lovable Longfellow, in which you, dear friend, are also given friendly mention. On my homeward journey I met in Hamburg, in the hotel where I was living, the American minister, Cramer, accompanied by his wife, who seems to be a daughter or a sister of President Grant. Now that she was going to America, I had to give her several samples of my handwriting. I gave her also a thousand hearty greetings to my American friends.
Goodbye and good cheer! Give me the pleasure of a letter soon.
H. C. ANDERSEN