Tag Archive : Henrik and Rosalie

/ Henrik and Rosalie

Henrik and Rosalie part 7

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

The head of the household was absent on a hunting party. He may not have been a very interesting man, but even a less entertaining person to whom one is accustomed, may by his absence leave a hole, an emptiness, which it is difficult to fill, especially in the country where the postman is not expected for another day or two, or where the farmhand has returned from his last trip to town with the wrong books from the circulating library or perhaps with no books at all.

Fortunately Lundtofte had its own library. After impatiently putting aside her embroidery, the young girl fetched a copy of Oehlenschlager’s poems, and at the request of the older lady began reading aloud. It was the romance about Aage and Else. Before she had reached the end, she suddenly stopped, exclaiming, “I wonder how these legends arise, about lovers who step forth from their graves? I am sure they are not taken from real life.”

Conversation to the subject

The old lady’s reply led the conversation to the subject of ghosts; then with a jump it turned again to love, and once more drifted on to ghosts, until the young girl said: “It would be worth while meeting some one in this life who had the power and the will to appear to us after death.”

The old lady replied: “Those who would do that for us, we probably do not see in the right light until they are in their graves.”

Then silence followed in which each was occupied with her own thoughts.

Suddenly the maid appeared and said, “Someone is outside asking for shelter.”

“What sort of person?” demanded the old lady.

“I don’t know. He looks awful, as if he was steeped in his own clothes.”

“Is he a journeyman?”

“No, he wears a white shirt—even though it is no longer white.”

“I wonder who it can be? Ask him his name.”

The maid left, but returned immediately, saying, “He is lying outside.”

“What do you mean?”

“Yes, he is lying outside. I am afraid he is dead.”

They all hurried into the hall. The young girl uttered a cry at the sight of Henry Falk, for he it was—our wandering doctor—as my reader no doubt has guessed. The old lady gave instructions to get a room ready, to put warm sheets on the bed, and so forth.

Henrik and Rosalie part 8

It took several days before the doctor regained consciousness, and when it happened, he experienced something which everyone in his own way may expect to encounter once in his life, namely, a miracle —something so wonderful and exquisite that it does not seem to come to us from natural sources according to rules and merits or even by accident, but must have befallen us by the grace of God.

Rosalie was sitting at his bedside, lovelier than ever, beautified through her very sacrifice, fairylike and glorified by the suddenness, the strangeness, and the enchantment of the whole occurrence.

How these two again joined the bond that had been torn asunder more than five years ago, my reader must picture for himself. Such reconciliations are made in words which have a strange and mysterious power over those by whom they are expressed and those for whom they are intended, but to everyone else they lose their wondrous sound.

It may be said, however, that the reconcilement was so much easier as Rosalie had never really thought that the connection had been broken entirely and, strange as it may sound, when she wrote her little note to Henrik she had a feeling, not as if the tie were cut forever, but rather as if it were being prolonged for an indefinite time. Let him who can explain it, though it is of no vital importance any more than the fact that it soon occurred to Henrik that he, too, had had the same feeling.

Exhilarating and refreshing influence

However this may be, there was one thing which still lingered in Rosalie’s memory after the first rapture—in which the whole estate participated—had subsided, and which never ceased to have an exhilarating and refreshing influence on her married life: it was the delight she took in picturing to herself Henrik traversing the heath guided by her love, although ignorant thereof and even unwilling in his suffering condition.

It seemed to her that she had Seen with her own eyes life’s poetry brought into reality, by his side, with her hand on his shoulder, leading him through the wet heather, forcing him forward step by step, toward the happiness which had once been lost. These memories were forever a source of great happiness to her, and every time the subject was discussed it brought to the doctor’s face a tender and grateful smile, yet at the same time gave him an uncomfortable feeling which he carefully concealed, for he had not the heart to tell his wife in plain words that this wonderful, blessed, romantic turn in their lives was due to an unromantic pig who had got a bone in his throat.

Henrik and Rosalie part 6

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

He deliberated for a moment, trying to find his bearings, and as he considered carefully everything that had happened, he remembered suddenly that the farmer had not put him out by the front gate; he realized therefore that he had taken the wrong course and would have to go back almost as far as he had come. He did not want to pass the farm once more; and besides, he figured out that as the farm must be on his right hand and the town south of the farmstead, he would have to keep in a straight line toward the southeast.

But the heath cannot be traversed by means of guesswork, and after a short time he absolutely lost his way among the heather, wet to the skin and surrounded by utter darkness.

The situation began indeed to seem perilous, and not without reason. The indisposition he had felt earlier in the day had increased. The blood hammered in his temples, and his head was hot and pained him considerably. His clothes were soaking wet, and he shivered with cold.

He forced himself to go forward, walking in a straight line, and continued this course not so much because he had hopes of finding his way, but in order to get warm and not to collapse. Suddenly the heath seemed to change into meadowland. He discovered in the distance a house with lights in the windows, but a body of water separated him from it. He continued his way almost unconscious.

At this moment two women—one an elderly lady and the other a young girl of twenty-two or -three years of age—were sitting in the spacious, old-fashioned parlor on the estate Lundtofte. The old lady looked wise and placid; the young girl had a soulful face which might have been considered fitting for the heroine of a romance on an isolated estate.

Denoted a charming simplicity

She had a dreamy expression, and her whole appearance denoted a charming simplicity, but at the same time there was something indescribable about her person, about her eyes, her complexion, her hair or perhaps the manner in which it was piled on her head, which did not belong in these surroundings, which seemed to conceal a memory and to rebel against the thought that the doors were closed, that no guest was expected, unknown though his name might be.

To him who understood the language, this young figure expressed, not in plain letters but in music without words, that she had approached many a guest with a searching glance, but had again withdrawn after consulting something within herself which always in the last moment seemed to admonish her to wait. The poetic nimbus that surrounded her was expectancy—expectation of some romance, a beginning, pensive doubt as to whether it would ever happen, and at the same time a firm determination to give romance a trial for another year, even if her cheeks should grow a little paler in the waiting.

Henrik and Rosalie part 5

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

“Is that so!” said the farmer.

“Yes, that is so. And now let me get back to town immediately.”

“Go ahead,” replied the farmer. “Nobody is holding you back, neither you nor your foul words. You had better take them along with you.”

“It just occurs to me,” said the doctor, in a milder tone, “that there may be a misunderstanding somewhere. I moved into the house of Hansen, the veterinary, so that may explain the case.”

“May be,” answered the farmer.

“Will you please send the wagon for me?”

“No, our horses shall not drive you or your ugly words from this place—not unless you cure the pig first.”

“Don’t talk to me about your confounded pig.”

Without another word the farmer took hold of the doctor so’ it hurt, pressing the latter’s arms tightly up against his sides just above the hips, and by lifting him a little from the ground brought him into an almost horizontal position. In this fashion the farmer carried him outside, and not until they had reached some distance from the farm did he put him down, exclaiming. “Shame on you and your horrid language!” Groaning with pain and anger the doctor cried, “You shall drive me home. You have my doctor’s stool; if you keep it you are a thief.”

Home on foot

The farmer returned to the house, fetched the stool and, laying two kroner upon it, said, “There you are, and once more shame on you!” The doctor realized that he had lost out. He decided to start on his way home on foot, and in the meantime try to hire somebody to fetch his stool. Unfamiliar as he was with the neighborhood, he only remembered that when entering the farm he had turned to the left, so that in leaving he now turned to the right.

But he entirely overlooked the fact that he had been put out on the opposite side, and the result was that he took the wrong direction. At first, owing to his agitated condition, he did not notice the surroundings, but when after a while he began to wonder that he had not yet reached the main road, he could no longer find even the path; nothing but wheel tracks could be seen in the heath. Besides, it was not only beginning to grow dark, but a cold rain had started, and a sharp wind was blowing.

Henrik and Rosalie part 4

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

One day, not long afterwards, a man from the neighboring country drove up in front of the house and asked the doctor to follow him to his master’s farm. Falk was pleased that the news of his establishment had already reached the farmers in the district; his new, hitherto unused doctor’s stool was soon placed in the wagon, and the two drove off in silence.

After they got out of the town Falk asked the sullen driver, “What is the matter with your patient? What do you think has gone wrong?”

“He got a bone in his throat,” replied the man.

“I see! Did you not try to slap him on the back?”

The man turned slowly toward the doctor, looked puzzled at him and said, “Very likely.”

There the conversation ended, and after a while they arrived at the farm, which was situated at the edge, or almost at the edge of the heath. The farmer received the doctor, showed him the way to the parlor and sent for sandwiches and brandy, but Falk had no appetite; as a matter of fact he did not feel quite well.

Farmer opened the low

Finally the time came to look at the patient, and Falk was somewhat surprised when the farmer led him into the yard, through the stables, and stopped at a small isolated house situated in a morass which sent out a most unpleasant odor. The farmer opened the low door and took the doctor over to a pig.

“There he is,” he said.

Henry Falk had entirely forgotten that he had moved into the house of a veterinary. The blood rushed to his cheeks and he cried, “What, do you expect me to cure your pig?”

The farmer answered, “Well, before you came we sent for Jespersen to cure the horse, but next time, if it so pleases our Lord, you shall treat the horse also. To-day you will have to be satisfied with the pig.”

“Go to—with your pig and your horse.”

“You should not use such ugly language,” said the farmer, and colored slightly.

“That is just what I shall!” shouted the doctor. “And next time you have a sick beast, send for a veterinary and not for a practising physician. I have heard it said that to you farmers, nothing is too good for your beasts, but that you scarcely send for a veterinary when a human being is ill.”

Henrik and Rosalie part 3

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

And now it was all over! For among the qualities which heretofore he had hardly noticed or appreciated in her, one trait now seemed to stand out: she was determined and high-minded. It was due to her ideality and womanly loftiness, and to her lack of coquetry that she had immediately accepted him, and this romance he had dragged into mere prose and thereby become extremely unhappy himself.

For some time he grieved very much and, although his sorrow became less intense as time passed, it remained in his heart and made a great change in him.

To begin with, he gave up the study of theology. This desire had been as sudden as his engagement. He had discussed with Rosalie country life, parsonages, happiness, and before he knew it this had led him to speak the decisive word; later he had had a feeling that the way in which he had spoken contained a promise that he would lead her into his parsonage.

This was the reason why he chose the study of theology. But now there was no reason why he should follow this profession. He had lost all desire either for parsonages or parsons’ wives, or, in fact, for wives of any kind, and he decided to take up the study which he had originally preferred, and which in his present mood seemed to offer the greatest emancipation from his former plans, namely, medicine.

Young physician

After five and a half years of hard study, Henrik Falk had finished and was ready to start out as a young physician. He decided to settle down in some provincial town, and this was especially due to the fact that in the course of time he had developed a certain romantic sentiment. In Copenhagen everything seemed to him so prosaic, while life in a small town, with visits to the neighboring villages, still offered an opportunity of finding innocence, spontaneity, romance and poetry.

He heard that there were prospects of acquiring a clientele in a small town in Jutland, and he immediately left for that place. But although the good-looking young doctor with the wistful smile made a pleasant impression, he immediately met with difficulties; there were not many apartments to be had, and the few that suited him the landlords did not like to rent to him for fear of offending his colleagues who were already established there. Just at that time a veterinary died and, having some available funds, Falk bought the veterinary’s house from his widow and soon moved into these new quarters.

Henrik and Rosalie part 2

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

“You know,” continued Rosalie’s aunt. “I had really no control over her plans. She was here only on a visit and if she wanted to go to the— to other relatives of hers, I had no means of preventing her.”

Which relatives, which uncle and aunt—for Rosalie’s parents were dead—the lady would not tell; she said she had given her word of honor not to disclose the secret. They discussed the matter for some time, and in the course of the conversation Rosalie’s aunt asked Henrik if he was certain that he had not in any way offended the young girl, of which he assured her most emphatically.

“Oh, well,” said the aunt, “it is a difficult problem to handle such a young girl, only seventeen years of age, besides being of independent means. You know, Mr. Falk, she was really too young to become engaged. Next time you must be more cautious.”

Less appreciative

On his way home, and for several hours after, Henrik reviewed carefully his past life. He had to admit that there had been moments when he had—not exactly regretted, but almost regretted his engagement. Not because he had found any fault whatsoever with Rosalie; in the light in which he now viewed the situation, he asked himself what it was that at times had made him less appreciative of his good fortune, in fact so ungrateful that it was now difficult for him to realize his former feeling.

When he examined his own heart, he remembered that even the previous day it had almost seemed to him as if Rosalie had been won too easily. They met at a dance shortly after he had finished college; later there was a casual meeting, a walk, a happy mood—and the word was said. He had been accepted, and fortune had bestowed upon him a happiness far greater than he had heretofore realized.

Yes, that was the trouble, he had not appreciated his good luck; in his heart there had been an apathy, a lack of force and will, a want of enthusiasm which she undoubtedly had noticed, and now she had punished him cruelly but justly. In his present mood she appeared to him in all her loveliness which for some time he had almost overlooked. He saw her before his mind’s eye more clearly than he had ever beheld her with his physical eye.

Henrik and Rosalie part 1

31/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

Meyer Aron Goldschmidt (1819-1887)

Goldschmidt was for the greater part of his life actively engaged in editorial work. As editor of a satirical and political paper he threw himself whole-heartedly into the struggle for the establishment of liberal ideas. As a writer he excelled in his novels and tales of Jewish life. He is regarded as a great stylist, and in his typical novels and short stories he shows a firm grasp of character.

Henrik and Rosalie is considered one of his finest stories. It was originally published in His Love Stories of Many Lands, in 1867. The present version is translated by Minna Wreschner. It appeared in The American Scandinavian Review, July, 1922, and is here reprinted by permission of the editor.

Henrik and Rosalie

The fate that rules in matters of love is often singular, and its ways are inscrutable, not only in vital things but also in those of less importance, as this story will show.

Henrik Falk, student of divinity, had taken his fiancée, Rosalie Hvidbjerg, to the theater one evening to see Heiberg’s The Inseparables. The following morning, as he was seated in his cozy student quarters at Regensen, smoking his pipe, he received the following note: “I consider it best that our engagement be broken.—Rosalie.”

Henrik Falk’s surprise upon reading this message can easily be understood; he put down his pipe, dressed quickly, and hastened to his fiancée’s home. There he was told that Rosalie had gone away, but if he wished he could see her aunt. The aunt arrived but could give him no explanation, as she herself was in the dark about the whole affair.

When Rosalie had returned from the theater the previous night, she had been very quiet; but soon after she had shown signs of great inward agitation and had said that to her the unpoetic relations which existed between Malle and Klister (main characters in the play), seemed unbearable, even wrong, and that probably all or at least the greater part of engaged couples were like that, or else sooner or later would assume that indifferent attitude toward each other, in which case she preferred to remain single.

Whereupon she had written scores of letters, no doubt all to him, Henrik Falk, had again tom them up, one after the other, but had finally sent one letter to the post office. She did not go to bed, but packed her belongings and left by the morning train.