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Brev fra H.C. Andersen til Henriette Oline Collin, f. Thyberg 19. juni 1857

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Dato: 19. juni 1857
Fra: H.C. Andersen   Til: Henriette Oline Collin, f. Thyberg
Sprog: dansk, engelsk.


Gad’s Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent 19 Juni 1857.

Kjære Fru Collin!

Naar jeg her skriver til Dem er det jo det samme som om jeg skrev til Deres Mand, og jeg kan fra Dem hver især igjen vente en Skrivelse, saa det er den klogelige Beregning af mig! Mit Brev til Ingeborg Drevsen har De vel læst, veed altsaa om min Reise her til, veed at jeg allerede igaar havde været her hos Dickens i otte Dage. Tag frem Schackspears Henrik den 4de, første Deel, 1 Act 2den Scene der vil De finde Henrik og Falstaf lystelige tale om Gads Hill og det er netop Stedet hvor jeg er, Dickens Landsted ligger paa den Plads hvor Vertshuset laae, hvorhen Schackspear har henlagt sin Falstaf-Scene, det er tæt ved den gamle Landevei mellem London og Dower, De vil paa Kortet finde Midtpunktet, mellem Gravesend og Roschester, der boe vi, temmeligt høit, med duftende Kløvermarker, blomstrende Hyld, og Libanons Cedertræer rundt om os; fra mit Vindue kan jeg see ned over Higham til Themsen hvor det vrimler med Skibe; Fru Dickens finder jeg denne Gang smuk og de to Døttre, Mary og Kate ere nydelige talentfulde Piger; den yngste ligner ganske det Portræt De har seet af Dickens; dernæst er her i Huset fire Sønner, Charles, opkaldt efter Faderen, Walter Lindrow, der om nogle Uger gaaer i indisk Tjeneste, skal være Officeer i Calcutta, derpaa komme to smaa Fyre, Henrik Fielding og Edwar Lytton Bulwer, som er fem Aar. (Den ældste Søn lidt over 20.) I Bologne gaaer tre Sønner i Skole, Francis Geoffry, Alfred Tennyson og Sidney Schmidt. De seer at alle Børnene ere opkaldte efter bekjendte Navne. Dickens selv er blevet lidt ældre i sit Udseende end sidst jeg saae ham, men ligesaa ungdommelig livlig, saa elskværdig og hjertelig. Tag ud af hans Skrifter det Hjerteligste, Livligste og meest Tiltalende, skab deraf en Mand og De har hans tro Portræt,/

ham forstod jeg strax og Alt hvad han siger er mig tydeligt, selv taler jeg nu kun Engelsk, en enkelt Gang Tydsk, med den ældste Søn, og Dickens siger at jeg ikke blot Dag for Dag, men Time for Time, taler bedre, at jeg gjør mærkelig Fremskridt; selv Tyendet kan nu forstaae mig og jeg dem, det er nu kun kjedelig at jeg [overstr.: igjen] vil hjemme i Danmark glemme det igjen. - Mandag, Tirsdag og Onsdag var jeg inde i London; den første Dag kjørte jeg med Fru Dickens, Mary og Kate ud til Krystal-Paladset til den første Händels Fest, der blev givet "Messias", og det udførtes af 2000 Mennesker; henved 12000 Tilhørere havde samlet sig og dog betaltes for hver Billet omtrent 20 Rdlr Dansk. Chorene var af en forbausende Virkning, jeg fik nerveust Taarer i Øinene. Chrystal-Paladset er en sand Alfe-Stad, med Gader og Stræder, Blomsterhaver og pompeianske Stuer; en stor Kanal af hvidt Marmor med levende røde og blaa Lothus-Blomster henrykkede mig; udenfor sprang Fontainerne jeg troer flere hundrede, Regnbuer zittrede paa Vandene, det saae ud som Undines Rige, hos [ulæseligt på grund af fold i papiret, men antagelig: den fornemste Mand ved Krystal-] Paladset spiiste vi til Middag og naaede saa Klokken 8te London hvor vi strax kjørte hen til Theatret for at see den berømte Madam Ristori i en ny italiensk (daarlig) Tragedie Camma; jeg var meget træt og tør altsaa ikke ganske dømme, som jeg følte, men jeg blev ikke varm ved Spillet før i den allersidste Scene, det var ganske fortræffeligt. Hun har et udmærket Ansigt for Scenen, men hendes Mimik, om vel ganske rigtig saa dog alfor stærk, det grændsede til Grimasse; hun var altid over Stregen. Stykket selv er et Slags "Norma-Medea", - Hos Dickens paa Landet var jeg de to første Dage sammen med en Miss Coutt, hun skal være een af Engelands rigeste Damer, hun har "umaadelig Formue" sagde Dickens og Hambro nævnede en Sum om Aaret, der klang mig som 50.000 £, nok "umaadelig", hun indbød mig at boe hos sig i London, den sidste Dag jeg var der, at jeg ikke skulde være ene i Dickens store tomme Huus og jeg var da en Dag og Nat indqvarteret /

saaledes, som ingen Første har indqvarteret mig; jeg havde Badekammer, Balkon ud til Piccadilly og den store Have; Ilden brændte i min Kamin og Tjenerne gik om "og saae stolte ud", saa at jeg henvendte mig til Miss Coutts hver Gang jeg ønskede Noget; ved Frokosten her var Admiral Napier, han sad ved Siden af mig og spurgte til Kongen og "Madam", desuden til Frøknerne Holstein. Miss Coutt kjørte mig ud til sin Have udenfor London, den var mere en kongelig, slige Drivhuse har jeg ikke før seet, og saa var i Haven selv Rodondentron høire end jeg og en Udsigt til London der var henrivende. Miss Coutt gjør uendelig meget godt, fortalte Dickens mig, hun ikke blot bygger Kirker, grunder Stiftelser men er en ædel, høist respectabel Personlighed. "Det er eet af de første Bekjendtskaber i Engeland, De har der," sagde vor Grev Reventlou-Criminil da jeg sagde ham hvor jeg boede; Hambro fortalte at Miss Coutt aldrig blev gift da hun troede om Alle at de friede for Pengene, da hun [ulæseligt pga fold] syntes hun at see ud som Folk er fleest, kun temmelig mager. Wellington, Helten, kom meget i hendes Huus og var hende en trofast Ven. – Min Roman To be or not to be, er kommet ud, men jeg har ikke seet mere end een eneste engelsk Anmældelse; den var meget god, kun at min Bog denne Gang var mere for danske og tydske Læsere, hvad Materialismen angik, end de tidligere Værker af mig. Den blev iøvrigt kaldt "religiøs philosophisk Novelle; Fru Bushby, Oversætterinden skrev mig til at de af hendes Bekjendtskaber som havde læst Bogen ansaae den for min betydeligste, og Boghandleren Bentley sagde at han ventede at den vilde have god Fremgang, uagtet det Fremmede i Indholdet; Dickens har endnu ikke læst den da han har saa uendeligt travlt med at arangere nogle Forestillinger til Indtægt for Jerrolds Enke; selv vil han læse høit sin Jule-Fortælling / der skal ogsaa gives dramatiske Forestillinger. Dickens ældste Datter siger man har et stort dramatisk Talent, Dickens, Bulwer, Tackkeray ere alle udmærkede Skuespillere. -


Gads Hill den 20de Juni.

Endelig har vi da i Dag Varme i Luften, jeg har for al den Tid jeg var her gaaet med Vinter-Frakke, i Dag er det Sommer; jeg kommer lige fra Rochester, hvorhen jeg hver anden Morgen kjøres for at blive barberet, det er 3 engelske Miil hen og tre tilbage; i Nat var her Lyn og Torden, det har regnet og Morgenen har en Luft saa frisk, saa duftende af Hø og vilde Roser at det er en Lyst, jeg er glad over ikke at have fulgt Dickens imorges til London, hvorhen han til en Forandring vilde føre mig, London er gruelig, Rummel, Tummel, Røg og Støv, man er som puttet ned i en stor arbeidende knagende dampende Maskine. Dette mit Brev lader De Deres Svigerfader læse, ligesom Ingeborg Drevsen og Fru Lind, thi De indseer nok at det bliver umueligt at skrive mere [end et] enkelt Brev hjem til hver især, men De som have særlig Interesse for mig læse jo nok de Breve som komme, seer Viggo dette, da nikker jeg til ham, Einar og Harald! – Fortæl mig om hvad godt der siges hjemme om "At være eller ikke være!" hils Louise, Jonas og Deres Broders ret hjerteligt fra mig, bring ogsaa Frøken Reimer og Hr Gerson min Hilsen. – Reisen her til har været lidt mere dyr end jeg beregnede, Ophold i Engeland overgaaer alle vore Begreber om Udgifter, godt er det at jeg er som i et Hjem, og dog [overstr.: koster] er hver Bi-Udgift dristig stor; dog jeg vil godt komme ud af det; fra Bentley skulde jeg for tilsendelsen af femten trykte Ark have 200 preussiske Daler, han har strax udebetalt mig disse, ja lidt over. Jeg faaaer ypperligt Indblik i det engelske Familie Liv, kan allerede uden Lexicon nu læse Was. Irwing. Nu Gud bevar og glæde Dem!

hils særligt Deres Mand. hjerteligst

H. C. Andersen

til Fru Henriette Collin


[På tværs:]

NB: Breve til mig her i London, sendes bedst til det danske Gesandtskab, Grev Reventlow-Criminil, Chapel Street 19, Belgrave Square London

Tekst fra: Solveig Brunholm

Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent 19 June 1857.

Dear Mrs Collin!

When I write to you it is the same thing as if I wrote to your husband, and then I can expect a letter from each of you, this is my clever plan! I suppose you have read my letter to Ingeborg Drewsen so you know about my journey to this place and that yesterday I had already been with Dickens for a week. Take out Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part ane, Act 1 2nd Scene, and you will find Henry and Falstaff speaking merrily of Gad's Hill, which is indeed the place where lam, Dickens' villa is at the site of the inn, which is the scene of Shakespeare 's Falstaff, it is close to the old high road between London and Dover. an the map you will find the midpoint between Gravesend and Rochester, that is where we live, fairly high up, with the scent of clover fields, with elderberries in bio om, and the cedars of Lebanon around us; from my window I have a view over Higham to the Thames, which is crowded with ships; this time I find Mrs Dickens pretty and the two daughters, Mary and Kate, are fine talented girls; the youngest looks just like the portrait you have seen of Dickens; besides there are four sons at home, Charles, named after his father, Walter Landor, who in a few weeks will enter the Indian service, he is to be an officer in Calcutta, then two little fellows, Henry Fielding and Edward Lytton Bulwer, who is five. (The eldest son is just over 20.) In Boulogne three sons are at school, Francis Jeffrey, Alfred Tennyson and Sidney Smith. You see that all the children are named after famous people. Dickens now looks a little older than the last time, but he is just as youthful and vivacious, pleasant and cordial. Take from his works the most cordial, lively and prepossessing, make a man of it and you have a faithful portrait of him,/ I understood him at once and all that he says is very clear to me, myself I now only speak English, just once in a while German, with the eldest son, and Dickens says that I speak better not only day by day, but hour by hour, that I make perceptible progress; even the servants can now understand me and I can understand them, only it is sad that I will forget the whole thing [crossed out: again] when I am back in Denmark. - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was in London; the first day I rode with Mrs Dickens, Mary and Kate in a coach to the Crystal Palace to the firs t Handel festival, the "Messiah" was performed, and by 2,000 people; an audience of about 12,000 had assembled and yet every ticket cost about 20 Danish rix-dollars. The choruses had an astonishing effect, and nervous tears came to my eyes. The Crystal Palace is a true elfin city, with streets and lanes, flower gardens and Pompeian rooms; a broad canal of white marble with real red and blue lotus blossoms ravished me; outside the fountains were playing, several hundred, I think, rainbows were shimmering over the waters, it looked like the realm of Undine, we had dinner with [illegible due to fold in the paper, but probably: the most distinguished man at the Crystal] Palace and reached London at 8 p.m., where the coach immediately took us to the theatre to see the famous Madame Ristori in a new (bad) Italian tragedy, Camma; I was very tired and so I am not absolutely certain, but the performance did not move me till the very last scene, which was very good indeed. She has a good face for the stage, but her gestures, even though they are proper, are still exaggerated, bordering on grimace; she always went too far. The play itself is a sort of "Norma-Medea", - At Dickens' in the country I spent the two first days with a Miss Coutts, who is supposed to be one of the richest ladies in England, she has an "immense fortune" , said Dickens, and Hambro mentioned a yearly sum, which sounded to me like f50,000, indeed "immense", she invited me to stay with her in London, the last day I was there, so I did not have to be alone in Dickens' large empty house, and so for one day and night I was given more magnificent quarters than/ any prince has ever provided me with; I had a bathroom, a balcony facing Piccadilly and the large garden; there was a fire in my fireplace and the servants walked about "looking proud", so I applied to Miss Coutts whenever I wanted anything; at lunch here came Admiral Napier, who sat next to me and inquired after our King and "Madam", also the Misses Holstein. Miss Coutts took me out to her garden outside London in her coach, it was more than royal, such greenhouses I have never seen before, and in the garden itself the rhododendrons were taller than me, and it commanded an enchanting view of London. Miss Coutts does very much go od indeed, Dickens told me, not only does she build churches and found various institutions, but she is a noble, very respectable person. "It is one of the most important acquaintances in England you have made," said Count Reventlow­ Criminil when I told him where I was staying; Hambro said that Miss Coutts had never married because she thought of everybody that they proposed because of the money, when she [illegible due to fold] seemed to look most like other people, only rather thin. Wellington, the hero, was often seen in her house and was a faithful friend to her. - My novel To Be Or Not To Be has appeared, but I have not seen more than one English review; it was very good, only that this time my book was more for Danish and German readers, as far as materialism applied, than earlier works by me. And then it was called "a religious-philosophical story"; Mrs Bushby, the translator, wrote to me that one of her acquaintances, who had read the novel, regarded it as my best, and the bookseller Bentley said that he expected it to sell well in spite of its dealing with foreign material; Dickens has not read it yet as he is very busy preparing some performances for the benefit of Jerrold's widow; he would read his Christmas Carol himself / there are also to be dramatic entertainments. Dickens' eldest daughter says that he has a great dramatic talent. Dickens, Bulwer, Tackeray are all excellent actors. -

Gad's Hill 20 June.

Today the air has finally got warm, I have been using my winter coat throughout my stay, today it is summer; I have just come from Rochester, where I am taken every second morning to be shaved, it is 3 English miles each way; this night there was thunder and lightening, it has rained, and the morning has a scent so fresh, so full of hay and wild roses that it is wonderful, I am happy that I did not follow Dickens to London this morning, where he would take me for a change, London is horrible, rumbling, bumbling, smoke and dust, you feel as if you are stuffed into a large working and creaking steam engine. This letter from me you will let your father-in-law read, and also Ingeborg Drewsen and Mrs Lind, for you must see that it will be impossible to write more [than one] single letter to each, but those whose are especially interested in me will, I am sure, read the letters that appear, if Viggo sees this, let me nod to him, Einar and Harald! - Tell me what good is said in Copenhagen about To Be Or Not To Be! Greet Louise, Jonas and your brother and his family heartily from me, convey my greetings also to Miss Reimer and Mr Gerson. - The journey here has been a bit more expensive than I expected, staying in England exceeds all our ideas of expenditure, it is good that lam here as in a home, and yet [crossed out: costs] every supplementary expense is vastly extravagant; still I manage very well; Bentley is to give me 200 Prussian dollars for fifteen printed sheets. he paid up at once, indeed a little more. I get marvellous insight into English family life. and can now already read Washington Irwing without a dictionary. Now God be with you and make you happy!

Special greetings to your husband. With my very best wishes

H. C. Andersen

P.S.: Letters to me in London should be directed to the Danish Legation, Count Reventlow-Criminil, 19 Chapel Street. Belgrave Square London

Tekst fra: Solveig Brunholm