New Burlington Street. August 24, 1860.
My dear Friend,
I hope you received safely copies of the Sandhills of Jutland, which were forwarded to you. You will be grateful to hear that the work has been well received here and well reviewed. Not to speak of smaller or less influential portions of the press - The Athenæum and The Saturday Review were high in their eulogy of your new Work. You may readily believe how gratified I was myself at this warm reception of your book. For I have the great delight to call you my friend, and therefore any good happening to you must give me pleasure. I copy part of the critique of the Saturday Review of the 18th inst: "It is not alone the little world of pinafores and short frocks that will receive pleasure from the announcement of another collection of Hans Christian Andersen's stories being translated for their benefit. His tales are familiar in almost every household, and welcome to every age; for [there are none of precisely the same character, and certainly] they stand unrivalled for delicate humour and gentle wisdom. They do not resemble our own inimitable nursery classics or the elegant fairy burlesques of Madame D'Aulnay etc. [...] The appreciation of the beauty of external nature, a sympathy which render the whole of the inanimate world vocal, invest the humblest insects with interest, and alike endows dumb creatures with power to tell their past and express their passions is characteristic of the German mind, and is never absent from Hans Christian Andersen. After their fashion, all nations have endowed nature with life; and the conspicuous differences that present themselves, even in fairy stories, are very remarkable. [...] To be able to write for children is one of the most enviable, and by no means the least inconsiderable of gifts. The intense all-absorbing way in which a child lives, as it were, on the breath of the story-teller, all eyes and ears, and, when older, reads and re-reads its loved book, is an artless homage which no one would disdain. [...] Hans Andersen's imagination is a fountain always bubbling over with fancies bright and fresh as the sparkling spray. Those who know his Mahrchen will not suspect us of over praise. [...] dull must be the mind insensible to the fascination of "the Ugly Young Duck" [or the story of Kay and Gerda]. [...] The principal charm of the Sand Hills [of Jutland] lies in the author's quaint humour, generous feeling, and religious sentiment - which together with a lively fancy and exuberant love of nature make a remarkable combination of qualifications."
There is much more in a similar vein of eulogy. The criticism concludes thus; "This brilliant-adorned volume will meet with genuine appreciation. To a fantastic mind, the golden: Stork on the cover bearing an angel child, may be an emblem of such tales, which are not confined to one region; but wing their way to foreign lands, where they are we1comed and cherished as the offspring of genius."
I propose, my dear friend, to bring out this volume with illustrations as a Christmas present Book. Are there any illustrations in the original Danish work? If so, I should be glad to see them; or if it is proposed to give them in a subsequent edition; or are there any illustrations to the German edition?
I should like to make a beautiful book. Well, so I suppose you are now off for Spain. May health and happiness accompany you. On this new ground I shall hope to hear of your writing another Improvisatore, Improvisatore Espagnole.
All my family desire to be most kindly remembered to you. I contemplate going (if this terrible weather should cease) to Heidelberg with my wife and two daughters next month and to remain until the end of October. At present nothing can be more miserable, rain, day after day. It has become very serious as regards the harvest. I am told that we are to have a General Fast on next Sunday praying Heaven to avert the awful catastrophe of famine; for the crops in many parts are literally drowned.
God bless you.
Always your sincere friend,