A Danish Parsonage by Vicary, John Fulford
A DANISH PARSONAGE
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH & CO., 1, PATERNOSTER SQUARE
(The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.)
The Danish Parsonage--Trout fishing on the Gudenaa
The Danish Church--The clerical party in Denmark
Danish parishioners--The piano--English and Danish horses
Pike, perch, and eel fishing--A silver wedding at a Danish proprietor's
Danish horse-breeding--A fatal accident
The superstition of the Huldr--The tradition of Gefion--Of Churches--The legend of the sunken mansion--Of the boar Limgrim
Kaempehøie or tumuli--Hidden treasure--Ghosts--Spectral Huntsmen--Witches--Gypsies--The book of Cyprianus--Nissen--Elle folk
The purchase of Rosendal--Pike fishing--Karl Lindal rides the English horse
The legend of the Damhest--The Helhest--The Kirkelam--The Gravso--Burying alive to propitiate supernatural power--Traditions of robbers--The Basilisk--The Lindorm--Lygtemænd
Horse racing in Denmark--A horse race
Trout fishing in hot weather--Danish ladies riding--A practical visit to Rosendal
Folketro--Havmænd--Havfruer--The gnome of the elder tree--Varulv--Marer--Strandvarsler--Kirkegrim
The Pastor and his daughter--The Scotch landscape gardener--Folkeviser
Trout fishing--The legend of the Aamænd--Changelings--Wise men and wise women--Dværge--Tyge Brahe--Herr Eske Brok--The family Rosenkrands
A drive through part of Jutland--Silkeborg--Himmelbjerg Traditions of Holger Danske--Walling sinners up
Horsens--Veile--Legends--The Swedes in Jutland--Hamlet--Abbot Muus--A found treasure--The priest at Urlev--Koldinghuus
Holsted--Folke Eventyr--The story of the priest and his clerk--Of the queen who was walled up seventeen years--Of the Trold and the boy--Esbjerg
In England--Hardy Place--Mrs. Hardy--Correspondence with Denmark
Mrs. Hardy visits Denmark--Helga Lindal--The yacht sails for Copenhagen
Yachting from Copenhagen to Christiania--Helga Lindal's Birthday
Christiania to Aarhus--Pastor Lindal and the yacht--John Hardy's wedding-day is fixed--The Domkirke at Aarhus--Traditions and legends
Pastor Lindal joins the yacht for a cruise amongst the Danish islands--Samsø and traditions--Endelave and the giantess--Odense and its historical traditions--Nyborg--King Christian and the monkey--The ghost of Queen Helvig--Mærkedage--Svendborg--St. Jørgen and the Lindorm--The murdered lady--Weather days
Vordingborg--Mariebo and traditions--Legend of Borre Island--Phanefjord and Grønsund--Legends of Phane and Grøn--The pilgrim stone--Drive to Møen's Klint--The Underjordiske--Margrethe Skælvig's wedding-dress--The twenty pigs and Gamle Erik--Præstø--Stevn's Klint--Hoierup--The termination "rup" explained--Copenhagen to Aarhus
Pastor Lindal's views as to his parish--His daughter's as to her wedding-dress--The marriage--John Hardy and his wife's arrival at Hardy Place--With the Pastor--A daughter-in-law's duty--Pastor Lindal's strong opinions on the English church system--
The Viking, _tenax propositi_, if he planned an expedition, carried it out, through all obstacles, or died in the attempt.
The descendants, softened in manner and cast of thought by centuries of time, retain the same singleness of purpose.
There is no other thought of the duty of life except to do it. If self has to be sacrificed, it is done without reserve.
The result is that there are men and women who are the reflection of duty, and although this occurs in all lands, yet nowhere does it exist in greater purity than in the descendants of the Viking.
A DANISH PARSONAGE
"_Piscator_. Oh, sir! doubt not but that Angling is an art. Is it not an art to deceive a Trout with an artificial fly?--a Trout that is more sharp-sighted than any Hawk you have named, and more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled Merlin is bold. And yet I doubt not to catch a brace or two to-morrow for a friend's breakfast." --_The Complete Angler._
John Hardy had lived with his mother at Hardy Place. His father had died when he was six years of age, and there was consequently a long minority of fifteen years. The greatest influence in John Hardy's life was a trout stream that ran winding through an English landscape for four miles in the Hardys' property. John Hardy fished it as a schoolboy, and it was the greatest triumph he experienced as a lad, to catch more trout in it with a fly than the numerous fly-fishers to whom Mrs. Hardy's kindness gave permission. When college days came, John Hardy, ever intent on fishing, went to Norway in the vacation with the checkered result of getting an occasional salmon, and in the smaller streams on the fjelds a quantity of small trout. The grand scenery in the fjords, and the kindly nature of the people, led John Hardy to more remote districts, where sport was better, the fare and quarters worse, but some acquisition of Scandinavian language a necessity.
Thus John Hardy not only gradually acquired a knowledge of many dialects in Scandinavia, but the ability to read and understand the simpler books in the language. He travelled and fished through Norway and Sweden, and by degrees learnt, from the necessity of speaking it, more and more of the Danish language, the language of Scandinavia, as English relatively is to broad Scotch. This naturally led to his going to Denmark, and his travelling through Jutland and the Danish islands. In Jutland he accidentally fished in a West Jutland river, and to his surprise found the difficult but good fishing that his heart longed for.
John Hardy returned home, and was at Hardy Place with his mother the whole winter, and then, as April came round with the fishing season, John became restless, and told his mother of his Danish fishing experiences, and left for Copenhagen. His mother said, "Write me once a week, John, and bring me home a Scandinavian princess for your wife." John Hardy promised to write, but said he thought Scandinavian princesses did not rise to a fly. His mother's face grew grave, and she said, "You should marry soon, John; you are twenty-eight, and I want to see you married to a wife to whom you can trust Hardy Place and the care of your mother in her old age."
"I can find no one yet, dear mother," said John Hardy. "I cannot bear you should have any one at Hardy Place you did not only like but love."
"Bless you, John," said his mother. "I trust in your love; and I know some men are such gentlemen, and so was your father, and so are you, John."
So Hardy left for Copenhagen by the English steamer from Hull to St. Petersburg, and was landed in the pilot-boat at Elsinore, and went thence by rail to Copenhagen. On the journey John Hardy thought that his best course was to get lodgings with a respectable family in Jutland near the Gudenaa, the little river that embouches in the Randers fjord and flows through part of Jutland, and is the principal river in it.
John Hardy had taken from his bankers introductions to persons in Copenhagen, to whom he had communicated his wishes. The result was an advertisement in the _Berlinske Tidende_ that an Englishman required lodgings near the Gudenaa, with an opportunity of being taught the Danish language. The replies were many and of a very varied character, as might be anticipated from such an advertisement.
But John Hardy received a reply from a Danish clergyman in Jutland, which struck his fancy beyond the rest. It was as follows:--
"In reply to the advertisement in the _Berlinske Tidende_ of yesterday's date, I beg to offer lodgings in my house. It is a small parsonage in Jutland, and the Gudenaa is near. There is a towing-path on the banks, and where such exists the fishing is free, consequently no difficulty will arise as to permission to fish. The fishing is not particularly good, and if great anticipations exist on this score, I must say that they will not, in my opinion, be realized. Small fish on which the trout feed are abundant, as also the cadis worm and fly, and the trout do not take readily an artificial bait, either fly or minnow. I cannot, therefore, say that I think many trout can be caught. There is also much fishing with small nets. I can, however, teach Danish to an Englishman, although my knowledge of English is imperfect; but on the other hand, if the advertiser will teach my two sons, of sixteen and fourteen years of age, English, I should require no payment from him. I am a widower, with a daughter and the two sons already named. I can only add that he would be received kindly, and treated as a member of my family."
The straightforwardness of this communication had its effect on John Hardy's open character, and he replied that he would accept the conditions stipulated, but that he could do so only on a payment of a monthly sum, which he was advised in Copenhagen was a full compensation, and rather more than would be expected, for the accommodation and cost that might be incurred by the Danish Pastor.
The reply from the Jutland parsonage was: "The evident consideration shown by your answer to my letter should be sufficient, but before you come here will you kindly give me references in Copenhagen, or, if that be difficult, in England, where I might make inquiry. I am the Pastor of the parish where I reside, and it is due to my position that I should make inquiry before I can admit any one to my house under any circumstances. I do not wish to ask what is not right or reasonable, but as I am situated it is a necessity, however advantageous your coming here might be to me."
This reply impressed John Hardy more than the previous communication, and he replied with the address of a bank in Copenhagen, with reference to his own bankers in London, for which John Hardy had to wait a week in Copenhagen. These replies were to the effect that John Hardy was a gentleman of position and character in England, and that any amount that might be incurred by him for expenses in Denmark would at once be paid by the Danish bank.
John Hardy, it must be confessed, would rather have been fishing in the Gudenaa than waiting for references that would show he was to be trusted in a Danish household; but he was assured in Copenhagen that in Jutland an introduction is not only necessary, but that it should be supported by references, which when once done in a satisfactory manner, then the natural kindness of the Jutland people would be open to him. John Hardy's later experiences led him to recognize how true the advice he received in Copenhagen was in this respect.
He left Copenhagen by the steamer for Aarhus, and went by rail to a small station on the railway, where the Pastor met him with a two-horse vehicle, that made the small distance of eight English miles a journey of nearly three hours. The Pastor was a man of fifty, with a fresh complexion and a kindly face, and asked many questions of John Hardy's family and friends, his position in England, his age, the income from his landed property, and his views and intentions in life.
John Hardy had, however, heard he must expect this, and answered simply and frankly.
When at length the little Danish parsonage was reached, with its whitewashed garden wall, with poplar trees and lilac bushes, John Hardy felt it was a relief to escape the close cross-examination to which he had been so long subjected, and to see the Pastor's two boys running out with eager curiosity to inspect the Englishman, and assist in taking his luggage to the room apportioned to him.
"We shall have dinner shortly," said the Pastor. "Helga is not here to meet us, and that is a sign that we shall not wait long. Karl and Axel will show you your room and bring anything you may want, and help you to unpack your portmanteaus."
John Hardy went to his room--a room with little furniture, but adapted as a sitting-room or bedroom. The two boys, with the desire that all boys have to be useful to a guest, assisted in undoing his luggage, and John Hardy was soon ready to follow them to the little dining-room of the parsonage.
The table was laid with a little bunch of wild flowers and grasses here and there, but with little else. The Pastor received Hardy in a more friendly manner than he had exhibited before, and his daughter Helga appeared from a door leading from the kitchen, and was introduced by her father. John Hardy saw a tall woman of twenty, with fair hair and violet eyes, and bowed. The dinner was borne in by two women-servants, and Helga signed to John Hardy where he should sit.
There was little conversation at dinner. John Hardy, for his part, was hungry, and also knew little Danish; but gradually, as the more substantial dishes disappeared, conversation arose, and John Hardy turned its direction to the fishing in the Gudenaa.
"Your frank letters to me," said Hardy, "would not lead me to expect much; but there are trout in the Gudenaa, and it might be that a few might be caught."
"You will not catch them with a fly, after the English fashion," said Karl. "An Englishman that came from Randers has been here, and he caught three only in a whole day."
"I fear Karl is right," said the Pastor. "There is such an abundance of fish-food in the Gudenaa, that a means of catching them that leaves no option to the fish is apparently the only successful method."
"That is the very position that interests me," replied Hardy. "The difficulty is the only pleasure in the sport."
"They fish with the lines set at night, baited with a small fish, and catch, not only trout, but eels," said Karl. "You might try that. But they do not catch many."
Helga had brought her father a large porcelain pipe with a long stem, and the Pastor was smoking slowly and vigorously. Coffee was brought in, and Helga offered Hardy a large pipe like her father's. This he declined.
"Do you not smoke?" said the Pastor.
"Yes," replied Hardy; "but we are not accustomed to do so in a lady's presence in England; and what an English gentleman would do in England he should do in Denmark."
"Good," said the Pastor, "very good. But it is our custom to smoke. The practice is habitual with us. Helga, will you speak?"
"I should be sorry you did not smoke, Herr Hardy," said Helga. "My father likes to have some one smoking at the same time. It will be a comfort to him."
So John lit a cigar with some misgiving; and he sent Karl up to his room for a courier-bag, in which he had some fishing-books with trout-flies. Karl and Axel looked at the English trout-flies with interest.
"Those feathered things," said Karl, "I have seen used, but they only catch small trout, and now and then a bleak. I have seen Englishmen use them here from Randers."
John Hardy selected three flies and put them on a casting-line, and wound it round his hat, and he said, "Now, will you two boys go with me to fish at six o'clock to-morrow morning?"
"Yes, that will we," said Karl. "Kirstin will call us, and will have coffee ready an hour earlier than usual, if you wish it."
"Am I disturbing your house, Herr Pastor," said Hardy, "by suggesting this to your boys?"
"By no means," said the Pastor. "It is now Thursday, and we shall not expect you to begin to teach them English until Monday, and the boys can have a free time until then. We have breakfast at ten to eleven, and you would have time to fish a little; and Kirstin will give you some bread and butter and coffee at six."
"There is nothing unusual in this, Herr Hardy," said Frøken Helga, in reply to a look of surprise from Hardy. "It will put us to no inconvenience."
"That may be," said the Pastor; "but I think you should clearly understand that you are not likely to catch any trout."
"That," said Hardy, "we must leave to the trout to decide."
"_Piscator._ Good morrow, sir! What, up and dressed so early! "_Viator._ Yes, sir. I have been dressed this half hour, for I rested so well and have so great a mind either to take or to see a trout taken in your fine river that I could no longer lie a-bed. "_Piscator._ I am glad to see you so brisk this morning and so eager of sport, though I must tell you, this day proves so calm, and the sun rises so bright, as promises no great success to the angler; but however, we will try, and one way or the other, we shall sure do something." --_The Complete Angler._
Kirstin, the elder of Pastor Karl Lindar's women servants, was about forty-five--a large-framed woman with a hard face. She possessed, in common with the Jutland lower class, a shrewd sense, yet highly suspicious, but at the bottom strong good nature. She had been with Pastor Lindal more than twenty years, and her devotion to him and his was complete. At all times she gave her advice, whether asked or unasked, on every topic, and materially assisted in economizing the pastor's narrow income. Her work was done with the exactitude of a clock, neat and precise; and if the work in the house was by any cause increased, she rose earlier and went to bed later, rejoicing in her capacity for work and usefulness. The influence her steady character had in the house was great, and on the Pastor's daughter, Frøken Helga's leaving an educational institution at Copenhagen, Kirstin's strict sense of duty created an impression that Frøken Helga never lost. She awoke to the fact of what her duty was--that it was to her father and his home. Kirstin's manner was not kindly, and she could give sharp answers, but the woman's kindly nature often showed itself in a strong light. Outside the Pastor's house she was respected and liked, and always went by the name of Præsten's Kirstin.
At half-past five the morning of the day after John Hardy's arrival at the parsonage, Kirstin knocked at the door of his room, and brought in the accustomed coffee and its belongings.
John Hardy was dressed, as he was always an early riser, and was attaching two large Irish lake trout flies to a stronger casting line than he had selected the night before.
"Morn," said Kirstin. "I tell the gentleman that Karl and Axel have had coffee. Has the gentleman anything to command?"
"Tell them I am ready to go fishing," said Hardy; "but if we catch any trout and the trout are in the kitchen by ten o'clock, can we have them cooked for breakfast?"
"If the gentleman's fish are there, the frying-pan is ready," replied Kirstin; "but the Herr Pastor would not wish the gentleman to be without a breakfast."
It was clear Kirstin doubted a trout breakfast's possibility. John Hardy began to doubt too; but he took his fishing-rod, a light sixteen-foot fly rod, and called the two boys, who rushed into his room eager to a degree.
"Herr Hardy," said Axel, "they all say you will catch nothing--do you think you will?"
The anxiety in the boy's face amused Hardy, who gave him the fishing-bag to carry, and his brother Karl the landing-net.
John Hardy went to the bridge close to the parsonage, and looked up the river. The country was flat, chiefly arable land, with meadows here and there of coarse grass. The river had a peaty colour, and resembled in its flow some portions of the Thames.
"Do you know where the deepest water is up the river, boys?" inquired Hardy.
"Up by the tile works," said the boys both at once, "and above that it is not deep."
Hardy walked up the towing-path, keeping his eye on the river, but not a trout moved. He saw the abundance of bleak and smaller fish, and it occurred to him that it was easy to account for the non-success of the fly-fishers in the Gudenaa. The fish would not be often feeding, as trout food existed in such quantity; and besides, to a voracious trout a plump little fish was more acceptable than an ephemera. If there were any fish feeding they would be in the shallows.
Hardy tried small trout flies, but without success; not a fish moved, and the boys' faces had a disappointed look. He changed his casting line for the one with the Irish lake trout flies, and was soon fast in a trout. This Karl, in his excitement to get into the landing-net, nearly lost, but Hardy let the fish have line, and then drew it again within reach of the landing-net. This fish was full of food, and corroborated the Pastor's statement. The trout resembles the Hampshire trout, but the colours were more brightly painted. Hardy fished steadily for two hours, with the result of landing eight trout averaging a pound each, to the boys' intense delight. Kirstin and their father had both doubted Hardy, but there were the fish and could be cooked for breakfast. The boys never doubted Hardy after.
"Axel, little man," said John Hardy, "run to the kitchen with the fish, and tell Kirstin that the Englishman wants to know if the frying-pan is ready."
Axel was off like a hare.
When Karl and Hardy reached the parsonage, the Pastor was at the door. "I see no fish," said he, "and I am glad I did not lead you to expect any success in that direction."
"We have not been very successful," said Hardy, quietly taking down his rod. "A knowledge of the habits of the fish in different rivers, and a knowledge of the rivers is necessary, and this an intimate acquaintance only gives."
"Yes, but, father," put in Kari, "Herr Hardy has caught a lot; he would not let us keep the small ones, but kept eight of the biggest. Axel has ran on with them. Kirstin told me the frying-pan would be ready, but not the gentleman's fish."
When John Hardy was called to breakfast--a Danish breakfast corresponds much to an early English lunch--he found Karl and Axel's tongues wagging like a dog's tail at dinner-time, they were so full of the fishing. They had caught a few roach in the river, and about once in a moon a trout, and John Hardy's completer knowledge had impressed them. Hardy bowed to Frøken Helga, and would have shaken hands, but she pointed to a seat, and Hardy sat down. The Pastor said grace, and attacked the trout with much appreciation of their merits.
"We tried to cast a line out, father, with Herr Hardy's rod," said Axel, "but could not, the line fell all of a heap, while Herr Hardy threw it a long way; it hovered over the water for a second, and fell slowly on the water. The flies appeared like live insects."
"You know, father," put in Karl, "the wider shallow in the river above the tile works? I saw a trout rise there, and pointed it out to Herr Hardy, He watched it, and when the trout rose again he walked straight into the river and caught it by a long cast. It was the biggest fish."
"I have undertaken to teach you two boys English," said Hardy; "and if you will try and learn, I will teach you how to fish and give you rods and flies as well."
"A thousand thanks, Herr Hardy," said Karl and Axel, with delight.
"You have already prepared the way for performing your part of our contract, Herr Hardy," said the Pastor; "I can only hope I shall execute mine so well. With the boys' hearts in the work the rest is easy;" and Pastor Lindal regarded his manly and self-possessed guest with interest.
John Hardy could now in the full light of a day in May consider Pastor Lindal; his age was apparently over fifty, his features were clear cut and handsome, his eyes blue, and his hair had been a light-brown. There was an impression of probity about him that struck Hardy forcibly. His manner was a trifle awkward to Hardy's notion, but it was kindly. His daughter Helga was like her father. Her complexion was clear and her voice musical. Her manner was, Hardy thought, not refined. It was simple and straightforward, and to John Hardy she appeared to want the ladylike tone of an English lady. The two boys Karl and Axel were like English lads of the same age, frank and open, and Hardy liked them.
The Pastor had his pipe in full glow--his daughter had filled it--and Hardy, taught by his experience of the previous evening, lit a cigar. The Pastor said that he had his duties to attend to, and some of his parish children as he called them to visit, and that his daughter Helga had also her visits to make. Hardy replied that he should write to his mother and some business letters, and if dinner was at four, as the Pastor had intimated, that he should like to fish in the evening, to relieve Kirstin's doubts as to whether the frying-pan would be wanted for breakfast on the morrow by catching some trout the night before.
"And you will take us, Herr Hardy?" said Karl and Axel with some anxiety.
"Come to my room at three," said Hardy; "I will begin to teach you how to fish. I have a lighter fly rod, and we will prepare the tackle."
After dinner John Hardy and the boys went to the river. Hardy had a sixteen-foot minnow rod, and put up a twelve-foot fly rod for the boys, and showed them how to cast it. They took it in turns, and Karl caught a trout. Hardy waded the shallows, fishing with a minnow, and the trout for an hour were on the feed. The largest trout he caught was over three pounds, and seventeen weighed nineteen pounds, by Hardy's English spring balance.
John Hardy changed his clothes and came down to the room occupied by Pastor Lindal and his family as a sitting-room, and found Frøken Helga playing on an old piano to the Pastor, who was smoking in his easy chair. She at once ceased.
"We have caught more and larger fish, Herr Pastor," said Hardy; "the fishing in the Gudenaa is good, and any doubt as to there being trout for breakfast, and, if you wish, dinner, to-morrow, is at an end."
"You English are a thorough people," said the Pastor; "whether it be sport or business, science or skill, you are to the front."
"Our faith is that we owe it to our Danish ancestors," said Hardy; "the hard tenacity of the Vikings is what we admire most in history."
"My faith is that it is the free and independent spirit of your institutions for ages," replied the Pastor. "You now enjoy the changes wrought by Cromwell, for which the English people then were ripe. But do light your cigar, and hear a suggestion I have to make for to-morrow. There is an old Danish place near here, called Rosendal. Its special beauty is the idyllic landscape of beech trees, a lake, and a valley where they grow such roses as will resist our Danish climate. The house is an old house, but has been restored by successive owners. The place is visited by people far and near. It is thoroughly Danish, and especially Jydsk (Jutlandsk). It is only two English miles from here, and my daughter Helga's only enthusiasm is Rosendal. She will go with you, with Karl and Axel. Is the walk too far?"
"No, certainly not," said Hardy; "do we go before breakfast or after?"
"Helga, order breakfast earlier," said the Pastor.
"Yes, father," said Frøken Helga; "but is it necessary for me to go to Rosendal, the boys can show Herr Hardy the way?"
"You always like to go there and enjoy it," said her father. "You have been in the house some days preparing to receive Herr Hardy, and the walk will do you good. Go by all means."
"And I will make thee beds of roses, And then a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle." _The Complete Angler._
John Hardy had risen early, and had time before breakfast to inspect the surroundings of the little Danish parsonage. The house was low, of two stories, with a large cellarage underneath, in which was stored articles of all kinds that might be injured by the frost of winter. The roof was brown tiles, with a high pitch, so that the snow should slip off easily. The chief entrance was through a little shrubbery surrounded by a white-washed wall leading up to a few steps to the front door. The living rooms were to the left of the inner hall, and the Pastor's study to the right, which was so arranged that access was easy from the front door, or by passing through an inner vestibule to the back of the house. The kitchen was to the rear of the left side, and the outbuildings, which consisted of stables for cows, horses, and sheep, were to the back of the main building. The Pastor had two horses, for the farm work of his glebe, and these were used for journeys to the railway station or elsewhere in an old four-wheel conveyance, which could scarcely be termed a carriage or a waggon. In fact, it answered both purposes. The rooms were warmed by iron stoves, in the winter, the fuel used being chiefly wood and turf. The Pastor had a sort of turbary right, which supplied him with the latter. The shrubbery in front of the main building was planted with poplars, lilacs, and laburnum. The grass on the lawn was coarse and rough, and an occasional cow was tethered on it, which did not improve the quality of the herbage.
The income from all sources of Pastor Lindal was small, according to English views, but it was sufficient to enable him to maintain a happy home and to do his duty to his parish with strict economy. The difficulty was the future of his sons and daughter.
After breakfast, in which the trout caught by Hardy the previous evening occupied a conspicuous position, the Pastor said--
"When you return I shall be interested, Herr Hardy, to hear your views of Rosendal. The place is, as I told you, Danish; but I should like to hear how it looks through English spectacles."
"You have told me, Herr Pastor," said Hardy, "that Frøken Helga has an enthusiasm for Rosendal. I fear I shall be interested thereby, as she goes with us."
Hardy looked at Frøken Helga, who looked annoyed; and he saw he had said something which displeased her.
The way to Rosendal was over the sandy road for two English miles, when the entrance gate was reached, leading up an avenue of lime trees that had been pollarded. The storms would certainly have pollarded them in a more irregular manner than the hand of man. The house was a much larger house than Pastor Lindal's parsonage, but after the same fashion. The entrance steps were wider, but the whole arrangement of the mansion was after the same plan. There was the same too near proximity of the stables and cow houses, possibly essential in cold weather, for their being attended to. The view from the front of the house was to a lake of about thirty acres. On each side of the lake were very large beech trees, with juniper bushes underneath; and the effect was, as the Pastor had said, idyllic. A narrow valley was planted with roses, and through it a path led to the lake, hence the name Rosendal. The beech trees were of great age, and the rising ground on each side had protected them from the prevailing winds. The effect on the eye, in comparison with the nakedness of the surrounding country, was forcible, and John Hardy was impressed by the natural and distinctive beauty of the place.
Frøken Helga had scarcely replied to his attempts at conversation on the way to Rosendal. She had run races with her brothers and entered into all their whims and caprices, but to John Hardy she had only replied in monosyllables; but when she saw the effect the beauty of the place had on Hardy, she said--
"Is it not a pretty place?"
"It has its peculiar beauty, Frøken Helga," replied Hardy.
"I would rather live here than any place I know," said Helga. "The peace and calm of the beech woods, and the fret of the wind waves on the shore of the lake, suggest thoughts that are unspeakable to me."
Hardy started. She had spoken in a simple manner, but he felt that she experienced all she uttered. He now understood Pastor Lindal's words that Rosendal was Helga's enthusiasm. Then there was an appreciation of nature and her mysteries that Hardy had thought impossible out of English refinement and its influence.
"Can we go through the house?" said Hardy, as if with a sudden determination. "I wish to see it."
"The Forvalter or bailiff lives in the house, and if he is not at home his wife is, or their servant," replied Helga.
The house had reception-rooms after the older Danish fashion, and were such as could be made comfortable, even to an English tenant. John Hardy asked the bailiff's wife if she could point out the boundary of the property; and this was done from the rising ground behind the house. A visit to the valley of roses was made, and a stroll through the beech woods. Karl and Axel had ran to the shores of the lake, and had hunted along its banks to find wild ducks' eggs, happily without success.
On the way back to Pastor Lindal's parsonage, John Hardy attempted a conversation with Frøken Helga; but it failed utterly. She talked with her brothers and walked with them. Hardy saw he was avoided. He had seen the same conduct in young girls in France, and attributed it to the same reason, and said nothing more.
The Pastor, when his pipe had been, as usual, filled by Helga after dinner, and at the first vigorous puffs, addressed Hardy.
"Let me hear about Rosendal, Herr Hardy. I can listen, but when Helga has filled my pipe, can make any allowance then, for anybody's prejudices, even an Englishman's."
"Rosendal is a place with an accidental, peculiar beauty," said Hardy. "The configuration of the land is adapted to form a shelter to the beech trees, while the little lake is just in the right place to produce a pretty effect. The landscape is, as you say, a Jutland landscape; the grass in the meadows is coarse, and the arable land sandy."
"You speak like a photograph, Herr Hardy," said Pastor Lindal. "But did you not like the house and grounds?"
"The house is Danish, of a past fashion," replied Hardy, "and there is no difference in plan from your parsonage. The stables and outhouses are too near the house, and so is the kitchen garden; it may be convenient, but it is not to our English taste. The grounds are not made the best of; but this is a subject in which the climate must be consulted. The specimen trees we use for the purpose would, many of them, grow dwarfed, or not at all."
"I have heard much of the English taste in this respect," said the Pastor. "I should like to see an English residence, in contrast to our dear Rosendal."
"That you can judge of by some photographs of Hardy Place, my residence in England," said Hardy. "I will fetch them."
He shortly after appeared with a set of four photographs, and a strong reading-glass.
"There," said Hardy, "is the front of Hardy Place. You will observe the arrangement of the lawn, and you will see the fineness of the turf, which you will see nowhere else than in England. The conservatory is to the right of the front entrance, to be sheltered from the east wind; the house faces south. You will see by these other photographs different views of the house and its surroundings. The stables and gardens, for vegetables and fruit, are at some distance; while the home farm, equivalent to your Bondegaard, is an English mile distant. This gives greater privacy; while at Rosendal, the stables and house and farm are practically under one roof."
"Herr Hardy would say, father, that we Danes want the refinement of the English," said Frøken Helga, who did not like the correct criticism of a place she loved so well.
"When I asked you the name of the owner of Rosendal," said Hardy, looking at her, "the answer I received from you might have led my thoughts in that direction, Frøken Helga."
"I gave no answer!" retorted Helga.
"Just so," said Hardy, smiling.
Helga understood him.
The Pastor and his two boys had been looking at the photographs with much interest. "It is a Slot [a palace], and there is good taste throughout. And do you live there, Herr Hardy?"
"Yes," replied Hardy, "except when I take a foreign tour. My mother resides there. My father died when I was young. But would not Frøken Helga like to see the photographs?"
Helga did not look up from the knitting, which was her constant employment every spare moment; so Hardy addressed himself to her father, as if he had not put the question.
"Before I came here," said Hardy, "I read in the _Berlinske Tidende_ an advertisement for the sale of Rosendal, which to-day appears to be the same place.
"Yes," said Pastor Lindal. "It is the property of a Baron Krag; he will sell it if he can obtain about double its value. He has the argument on his side, that it is an exceptional place, and should sell at an exceptional price; hitherto he has not found a buyer on these terms. The property is small in extent."
About a week after this conversation, John Hardy received the following letter from Copenhagen:--
"I was honoured by your letter of the 10th of this month, and, in pursuance of your wishes, called at the Bank and enquired of you, and presented your letter, requesting them to give me information about you. They replied that they had heard from your London bankers that you had a considerable sum at your disposition in their hands, and that your yearly income was considerable, and that any services I rendered you would be promptly paid for. I accordingly send particulars of Rosendal, which I have already procured for other clients; and I send sketch of the estate. The price is much in excess of its value, 300,000 kroner (18 kroner is equal to £1 sterling). The price that has been bid is 200,000 kroner, and possibly an advance may be obtained on that. I wish to point out to you that 200,000 kroner is beyond the value of Rosendal in an economical sense, and the same money in the Danish funds would yield twice the income.
"The cows, horses, and sheep, agricultural implements, all go to the purchaser. The land is managed by a bailiff, and the sources of income are chiefly from the sale of butter, barley, and produce. There is a small tile works; and a certain quantity of turf can be sold yearly. The income is therefore uncertain.
"I think it also my duty to lay clearly before you, that if you wish to introduce any alteration in our Danish system of farming, that it would not be successful. There would be a passive antagonism with the people, who, if you let them be steered by a good bailiff, would give you no trouble. In the direction of any improvement, however, new agricultural implements from England of the simpler kind would be well received and adopted. The Danish cattle also are suitable to the country, and the introduction of English high class-breeds might not answer.
"If you did not reside at Rosendal, the bailiff's accounts could be checked either by me or any other person you thought proper, and the place visited twice yearly, to report the condition and the state of the property.
"I will ascertain the exact sum that will be accepted, if you desire it; but it will take time--negotiations for large properties are often much protracted in Denmark.
"I wait, therefore, the honour of your reply, and respectfully greet you.
"Obediently, "Axel Steindal, "_Prokuratør._"
"Many a one Owes to his country his religion, And in another, would as strongly grow Had but his mother or his nurse taught him so." _The Complete Angler._
The church at Vandstrup lay on rising ground from the river. It was white-washed, covered with red tiles, and surrounded by a white-washed wall enclosing God's acre, in which so many slept the last long sleep. There were a few poplars planted close to the church-yard wall, and a few weather-beaten ash trees, with a single dwarfed weeping willow over a grave. On Sunday, John Hardy watched with interest the church-going people collecting by the church gate. The men in dark Wadmel jackets with bright buttons, and the women with red ribands bound on their caps and knitted sleeves. The women left their wooden shoes in the dry ditch by the roadside, and put on leather shoes, and waited for the Pastor's arrival. Accuracy of time was not expected, and only when the Pastor appeared did the men throng into the church on one side and the women on the other. The interior of the church was simple to a degree. John Hardy with Karl and Axel sat on the men's side, and Frøken Helga and Kirstin on the other. The service was similar to that of the English Protestant service, although relics of what would be now called Romanism remained. There were candles on the altar, and the Pastor chanted some portion of the service. John Hardy longed for the sermon. The thorough honest feeling exhibited by the Pastor's character in his home, with his evident refinement and education, had excited his curiosity as to what the sermon would be.
The text of the sermon was from the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, part of ver. 42: "Give to him that asketh thee!"
"When a man comes and asks anything of you, what should you give? The best thing is sympathy and love; material gifts he may want, but these kindliness will dictate, and kindliness is the real gold of life. If no power exists to give what is necessary to assist your neighbour in a material sense, yet to your ability give; and if you give at all, give kindly. Those of you who want not material things, yet may want kind sympathy when God smiteth with sorrow. Recollect, then, that that is the time for kindliness to be proved that is golden."
This was the epitome of the sermon, and John Hardy could not hear a sound in the church, so intently was it listened to.
"I could understand your sermon, Herr Pastor," said Hardy; "it was preached in such simple Danish, and I liked it. But what interested me was the earnestness with which you were listened to: every word was heard by every one of your congregation, and I could see felt."
"It was not always so," said Pastor Lindal. "I have won the sympathy and friendship of the children of my parish by years of work amongst them. The character of the Jutland people is suspicious--there is a strange mixture of shrewdness and stolidity; they are slow to appreciate, but when once their sympathy is won, they are fast friends. It is impossible for a sermon to have any effect without you have won their friendship on other days than Sundays."
John Hardy said nothing, but he thought that the application was true to other lands than Denmark, particularly England.
The Pastor had to perform another service at an Annex Kirke (a subsidiary church), and left after a short meal to do so. Frøken Helga went to her room, and Karl and Axel implored Hardy to go fishing; but he refused. "It is not right to do so," he said; "we have to keep the Sunday, and fishing is not keeping the Sunday."
"But everybody does here, and more than, other days," said Karl.
"That may be," said Hardy; "but I cannot do what I do not think is right."
Kirstin was present and heard this conversation, and it met her evident approval. She told the boys that the Englishman must not be teased on a Sunday, that he might wish to read his Bible, and that he must not be disturbed. The boys left the room in bad humour.
"Kirstin," said Hardy, "my being here will, I dare say, give you more trouble, and I wish to recognize it. I am an Englishman accustomed to many servants, and may be careless of what trouble I give. You must not judge me by what is the custom in Denmark. Here is forty kroner; will you kindly give what you think fit to others in the house, and keep the rest yourself?"
"No," said Kirstin, "I will have no money. Herr Pastor says you will pay for your stay here by teaching, and it rests with him; also it is too much."
Hardy had to pocket his money again with a dissatisfied look, but Kirstin understood him; and his face, on which nature had written "gentleman," and which she had closely observed since Hardy's arrival, appealed to her.
"I have seen the gentleman," said Kirstin, "look at Frøken Helga, and I will tell the gentleman something that may serve him. Frøken Helga can never marry. Her duty is to her father and her brothers, and she knows and feels that."
John Hardy was not in love with Frøken Helga; but yet this simple Jutland peasant had divined what might occur, and had forewarned him. The explanation of Helga's conduct towards him was clear. He saw that she daily visited the people in the parish, and told the Pastor what was necessary to tell him, and that her usefulness in the parsonage and in every corner of it was a want that she filled. Kirstin understood all this, and saw that it could not be interrupted without a breach of duty.
John Hardy went to his room, and did not come out of it until they were all assembled that Sunday evening in the little dining-room.
The Pastor was tired, but very conversational; and when his great porcelain pipe had been filled as usual by Helga with Kanaster, he said, "I was struck by your evident interest in our service; but I was pleased to hear that you refused to go fishing with Karl and Axel, because the sabbath should be kept. Now, we have not that view, although it is the best view; and I say frankly that if you had taken the boys fishing, I should have not objected; but you said you felt it was not right, and I honour the thought. There is with us in Denmark a strong feeling against the Established Church, and a political question arose some years ago which will well illustrate it. On the 7th of January, 1868, a bill was brought before our Lower House of Parliament as to military service, and the question was raised whether theological candidates should be eligible for military service. The issue was raised in the Lower House of Representatives and fought there. It then passed into the Higher House of Representatives, and was fought there. The strife was long and intensely bitter, the greater part of the population of Denmark becoming partisans for or partisans against the clerical party. After the fight in the Higher House, it was again referred to the Lower, and refought there, and so again to the Higher House, with two interludes of appeals to the country. The clerical party described the position of the clergy in a florid style. They declaimed that poets and painters had represented the life of a Danish priest as a beautiful idyl, each scene in relative harmony with surrounding nature, whose heart is not touched as wandering in the path-fields he hears the bells of the country church ringing in the morning of the sabbath. How lovely is the little white church, with its red roof and quaint gables, amidst its woods and meadows! The little parsonage standing in its own garden, with a little belt of trees close to the church, while around it flock the little country houses, as a hen gathers her chickens. Nothing is more exquisite than the perfect affection and peace that exists between the country clergyman and his congregation. He is the teacher of the young, the comforter of the old, in each house a welcome guest, and the estimation in which his holy calling is held invests him with respect. In spiritual need or worldly care every one of his congregation hasten to their minister. He is the curer of souls, adviser, father, friend. The homes of his flock are his own, and it is his pride to confer happiness and promote contentment."
"That is a bright picture," said Hardy.
"Yes," said Pastor Lindal; "but the opposite party drew another, which attracted many partisans. They said his reverence has a good time of it. He has a house which is better than a Danish farmer's, and a farm which is just as good. He has horses, cows, pigs, sheep, and poultry. He has, moreover, tithes and dues of many kinds; and besides these, it is necessary to stick a dollar in his fist whenever one must make use of him. Whilst the Danish farmer has to sweat behind his plough, the clergyman sits at his ease smoking his pipe in his study, and has nothing more to do than to preach on a Sunday, and to hear the children read once a week. Everything that is congenial to the taste of the Danish farmer, the clergyman turns up his nose at. He abuses the leaders of the people, and only reads conservative newspapers, and on election days he votes against all his parish. The farmer maintains and pays him, but his conviction is that he is better than any farmer. What, therefore, can be more stiff-necked of him than to refuse to serve his country with his own, reverend person? Off with his black coat and clap on a red, and let the corporal teach him. He is a learned fellow, but, doubtless, stupid at drill."
"That last," said Hardy, "is a reference to Holberg's play of 'Erasmus Montanus.'"
"Yes," said Pastor Lindal; "and it amused the country. But they got hold of another idea, and tore it to shreds: they said if the flock goes to war, the shepherd should not be absent. The result, however, was that theological candidates are liable to military service, and it makes a difference of possibly twenty men yearly. It, however, proves one thing, and that is, the Lower House had got hold of the clerical gown, and were determined, with bull-dog tenacity, to rend it."
"A similar question in England," said Hardy, "would have produced the same result."
"That I can well believe," said the Pastor; "but with you a congregation can be sold to the highest bidder, and is. There is no thought in England of adjusting the payment for church work to the work done, and so long as this exists it is a dangerous feature."
"Without doubt," said Hardy.
Before going to bed, Hardy said to Frøken Helga, "Good night," as he had done on previous nights, without more than a bow; but to his surprise she held out her hand, and said--
"Thank you, Herr Hardy; I have rarely seen my father so interested to talk with any one, and it is kind of you to interest him."
"It is the contrary, Frøken Helga; he interests me," said Hardy.
"Hunting trains up the younger nobility to the use of manly exercises in their riper age." --_The Complete Angler._
To John Hardy the days passed pleasantly at the little Danish parsonage. He taught the boys English a short time daily, and their bright faces and strong desire to learn made Hardy interested in their progress. If they were inclined to be inattentive, which was rare, the hint that he should not take them with him fishing secured earnest and immediate attention. The Pastor saw that the boys made progress in learning English with Hardy, and he himself taught them several hours daily, or, if he were absent, he set them work to do, and his daughter Helga sat in the room until the Pastor returned.
Hardy accompanied him in his visits to his Sognebørn (literally, parish children), and he gradually became acquainted with the Danish farmers, and was known in the parish as Præsten's Englænder, or the parson's Englishman. He was amused by the habits of many of the men, in treating him as if he was a harmless idiot, to be humoured and always answered in the affirmative. Stories were told him of how in some parts of the river there were trout et Par Alen long (about four feet), but to amuse the idiot for the moment.
The peculiarity of knickerbockers received much consideration, and it was a frequent question if Hardy adopted that dress for a sickness in his legs. Hardy's knowledge of farming and the management of cattle, particularly horses, was an unfailing source of conversation. There are many good horses bred in Jutland for sale in England, Germany, and Sweden. The original breed appeared to Hardy to be either Hungarian or Polish. These horses are well adapted for light carriage work; and many a horse foaled on a Jutland farm has been in a London carriage, to the considerable profit of the importer.
The evenings at the parsonage passed in conversation with the Pastor, who held a sort of tobacco parliament. Hardy was a good listener, and was anxious to perfect himself in the Danish language. Frøken Helga knitted and listened. The boys learned lessons or played games. The Pastor liked to hear his daughter sing; but it would be doing that worthy man strong injustice to say he liked the piano, which was very old and worse than worthless. It was to Hardy's ear torture to hear it in contrast with Frøken Helga's clear voice. At last he could stand it no longer, and the matter came to a crisis.
"Herr Pastor," said Hardy, "when at the exhibition of Copenhagen, of your national industry, I was much struck by the tone of a piano by a Copenhagen maker, and I have ordered one, and I shall be much indebted to you if you will allow it to be sent here until I return to England."
"There will be much extra expense attached to that plan," replied the Pastor, "and, besides, it might get injured here."
"Those considerations I am fully prepared for," said Hardy; "but if I may take the leaf from my mouth, as you Danes say, or speak plainly, your piano is worn out, and is spoiling Frøken Helga's ear and taste for music. Her voice is excellent, and rings as clearly as a silver bell; but then the jingle of the piano is like the toothache."
"We are all accustomed to it," said the Pastor; "but I only hear Helga's voice."
So the piano appeared, and a man to tune it, and Frøken Helga played it. The tone was good, and the Pastor listened to the old Danish songs he had heard so many times with delight.
One evening Helga had to make a visit to a sick woman, and the Pastor puffed away at his teacup of a pipe, with longer puffs than usual. Hardy saw there was something in the way, and at last it struck him that he missed his daughter's song. He had once told Hardy that her voice was like her mother's.
Hardy sat down to the piano, and played and sang an English ballad, and then another. He then sang a plaintive German song, with a manly pathos and taste, that showed the well-bred gentleman he was.
The Pastor applauded loudly, and Hardy turned round, and, lo! there was Frøken Helga, with a look on her face that Hardy never forgot, so intense was her surprise.
"Helga," said her father, "go and thank Herr Hardy for his singing to me instead of you; he saw I missed you, my child, and he sang to divert me."
"A thousand thanks!" said Helga, using a common Danish expression. "I never heard so beautiful a song! But why did you not tell us that you could play and sing before?"
"Because I preferred Frøken Helga's voice to that of Præsten's Englænder," said Hardy.
Nothing would induce Frøken Helga to sing that evening; her father almost commanded her, but she would not. At last she said, "I cannot, father; Herr Hardy sings too well."
This speech was not forgotten for a long time, and Karl and Axel teased their sister with perpetual questions as to whether they or she was not doing something or other too well. If Karl caught no trout, he explained to his sister that he was afraid of fishing too well. If Axel had dirty hands, his explanation was that he was afraid of washing them too well.
John Hardy had visited the Gudenaa within walking distance, or boating distance, and he wished to make longer expeditions from the parsonage. He inspected several of the farms near, and at last arranged with farmer Niels Jacobsen to rent stabling for three horses. He then wrote the following letter, addressed to a groom at Hardy Place:--
"I want you to bring Buffalo to me in Denmark. The horse is to be taken to Harwich, and thence on board the steamer for Esbjerg. The steamers are fitted up with stables for horses, and there will be no difficulty. When you come to Esbjerg, take train to Horsens, where I will meet you. A telegram must be sent me to Vandstrup Præstegaard, to say when you will arrive at Horsens. Bring two hunting saddles and bridles, and some of the snaffle bits that I like.
"Show this letter to the steward, and he will let you have what money he thinks is necessary for your journey.
In little more than a week, Buffalo and Robert Garth were in Niels Jacobsen's stables.
Buffalo was a good English-bred horse, a good jumper, with a chest like a wall, and hind-quarters up to weight. Niels Jacobsen and his neighbours had collected and criticized.
"Gild bevars! sikken en Hest!" ["God preserve us, what a horse!"] said Niels, sucking away at his pipe, with a chorus echoing the same words from his neighbours. There was no doubt of their approval, and Buffalo had a succession of visitors and admirers for days.
Hardy had communicated to Pastor Lindal that he intended to have one of his horses and a groom from England, and had great difficulty in preventing the Pastor turning out his own small stable to make room for Buffalo; but this Hardy would not allow. Robert Garth lodged at Jacobsen's, and Hardy, with that thoughtfulness he always had for those about him, arranged for his man's meals and sleeping quarters as nearly as possible to an English groom's notions.
"Well, Bob," said Hardy, "you will shake down after a bit; but what I want you to do is, to help me to pick out a pair of light carriage horses from here. I have seen a lot, and you will have plenty to choose from. They will suit my mother, and I wish to take them over as a present to her."
"I have seen some of them Danish horses," said Robert Garth, "and not half bad horses either; but it is the infernal lingo. They keep smoking them big wood pipes, and when they don't smoke they chews, and then they spits."
"Where did you see any Danish horses?" asked Hardy.
"At Sir Charles'; he had a pair, hardly up to fifteen hands, but very pretty steppers, with a thinish mane, a trifle small below the knee," said Garth.
"That's the very thing," said Hardy.
As soon as it was known that the priest's Englishman wanted to buy two Jutland horses, plenty offered; and Karl and Axel were intensely interested in the trial of the horses, which went on in a rough piece of land close to the parsonage.
When the horses were brought up, Hardy mounted one, and Robert Garth criticized. Hardy put the horse through its paces, and if his judgment was not favourable, it was declined; but if doubtful. Garth rode it, and Hardy looked on. A couple of horses were thus selected, and both had Robert Garth's unqualified approval.
"They are both as handsome as paint, and as sound as bells," said Garth.
"Are you a horse-dealer?" asked Pastor Lindal, of Hardy, one evening.
"No, certainly not," replied Hardy.
"You have shown every qualification for it," said the Pastor.
"Possibly," said Hardy. "I see I have done this also too well. I only wanted the horses for my mother's carriage. She likes an open light carriage, and it is difficult to procure really good horses in England of a suitable size. The horses I have bought will suit her exactly, if we have good luck with them; that is, that they turn out well, and we have no accident with them. I shall buy a light four-wheel carriage at Horsens, and my groom will drive them, and we shall then see if it be necessary to discard either or both, before they are taken to England."
"But why did you send for a horse from England?" said Pastor Lindal, to whom a horse was a horse and a cow was a cow.
"I fear because I like a good horse," replied Hardy. "Your Jutland horses are not adapted to the saddle, except for lady's hacks, or light carriage work; my English horse would jump the ditches that abound in your Danish fields, and would, for instance, jump your garden wall."
"That I am sure no horse can," said the Pastor, decidedly.
"Does he mean, father," said Frøken Helga, "that his horse can jump our garden wall?"
"Yes," said Hardy; "it is scarcely five feet. But will you promise, Frøken Helga, that if my horse does jump the wall, that you will not say that the horse does it too well? It is not me, but the horse that jumps the wall."
Helga looked annoyed at the reference made to her saying that he sang and played too well for any one to follow after him, but she said nothing.
Karl and Axel had listened. They too thought it impossible; but they believed in Hardy.
"Well, Karl," said Hardy, "don't you believe in me and the English horse?"
"No," said Karl. "A horse cannot jump the garden wall by himself, much more with a man on his back; no horse could do it. But I believe you can do anything."
"Well, Herr Pastor," said Hardy, "I have no one who believes in me or my horse. Frøken Helga regards me with suspicion; and no one in Jutland appears to believe more than they see."
"Yes; but it is impossible," said Pastor Lindal.
The next day after breakfast, Buffalo and one of the Danish horses were taken to the parsonage by Robert Garth. Buffalo had an English saddle on, and looked fully recovered from his journey to Denmark, and fit for anything. The Pastor, his daughter, and his two boys came out to see the English horse. Frøken Helga had not seen it before, and it struck her as being the handsomest horse she had ever seen; and she observed the respect the English groom showed Hardy.
"What do you think of the oats, Bob?" said Hardy.
"First-rate," said Garth, touching his hat; "they have picked Buffalo up wonderful, and he is fit to go anywhere."
Hardy mounted his horse. His mother had sent over his hunting breeches, and when mounted, the Pastor was struck with the manly figure of the quiet-mannered Englishman.
"The horse will not take even such a jump as your garden wall," said Hardy, "in cold blood. I will give him a gallop down the field below, and then bring him up and jump the wall. You will see the grand spread of his stride as he gallops."
Hardy rode like an English country gentleman accustomed to the saddle, and the great wide strides taken by Buffalo even the Pastor observed with astonishment. Suddenly Hardy turned and came at the garden wall, with Buffalo well in hand, who rose to the jump and cleared it easily, and out through a break in the shrubbery over the wall at the other side.
Hardy rode quietly in through the entrance gate and dismounted. It was clear, by the demeanour of the English groom, that he saw nothing unusual in what had passed; but it was very different with the Danish family. The boys cheered, but Frøken Helga had disappeared.
"If you were not accustomed to do this," said the Pastor, "I should consider it was not right to risk so good a horse and your own limbs. A fall must be dangerous to you and your horse."
"Yes; a fall would be, and is," said Hardy. "I have broken my arm and a collar-bone by falls when hunting."
"Now, Herr Pastor," added Hardy, "you will see the difference between my English horse and one of the best horses we could buy here."
"He can't jump a yard, master," said Garth; "it is no use trying him."
Hardy mounted the Danish horse, and the difference was apparent in pace and action.
"Bob," said Hardy, "they are no use for saddle horses, except for ladies; but they will do well for what we bought them."
"Right you are, master!" said Garth, as Hardy remounted Buffalo, and went for a ride.
"Next, note that the eel seldom stirs in the day, but then hides himself; and therefore is usually caught by night, with one of those baits of which I have spoken." --_The Complete Angler._
The two Danish horses were driven by Garth, and, in his hands, soon grew accustomed to harness and the light carriage John Hardy had purchased at Horsens. Longer expeditions were made to fish the smaller Danish streams, and, to the great gratification of Karl and Axel, to Silkeborg. The lakes at Silkeborg, with their idyllic picturesqueness, interested Hardy, while the pike and the perch fishing yielded good sport. Hardy was skilful in spinning a heavy minnow deep in the water, casting it from a boat, and thus attracting the heaviest perch. A paternoster also in his hands caught a quantity of perch. Pike were caught by casting a dead roach, with a rod with upright rings, and Hardy threw his bait with a length and certainty that the Danish fishermen were not accustomed to. The bait would fall into a little spot of water amongst the reeds. A jerk and pull made the dead fish appear like a wounded live one; when out would rush Herr _Esox lucius_ from his lair, and, after expostulating in the usual manner, would come into the boat with the sullen look of how-I-should-like-to-bite-the-calf-of-your-leg, peculiar to Herr Esox's genus.
The Danish fishermen at Silkeborg began to entertain the notion that John Hardy, if his stay was prolonged, would depopulate the lakes of both pike and perch; and they hugged the idea with affection that at least he could not catch eels, with which the lakes abound.
"Can you catch eels, Herr Hardy?" said Karl. "The fishermen say you may be able to catch pike and perch, but you do not know how to catch eels with a line in the lakes."
"Yes," replied Hardy, "if you and Axel will undertake to take them off the hooks when caught; it is not an agreeable bit of work."
"Yes, that will we," said Karl and Axel at once.
They had then no idea of the difficulty of getting off the slime of an eel from their clothes, and what very pointed personal remarks would be made by Kirstin, when they returned to Vandstrup Præstegaard.
The preparations for catching eels with lines was of immense interest to the boys. Hardy had several stakes made with sharpened ends. The stakes were driven into a shallow part of the lake, and a line attached to each, of about thirty yards' length. The line was a cotton one, with copper wire twisted in it; and to each line, at the distance of every six feet, was attached a strong gimp hook, baited with a dead minnow. The lines were laid down at dusk, with a weight at the end of about half a pound. A boat was chartered, and the lines visited at intervals the half part of the night. By drawing the line, it was easy to detect if an eel was on the line. The result was the constant employment of Karl and Axel in taking eels off the lines; and the next day their clothes were white and shiny, with slime from the eels.
"You are so good to us, Herr Hardy," said Karl, "I wish you would live always with us."
"We do not live only to catch fish," said Hardy; "each of us has his duty and work to do; but there is no reason why we should not enjoy the beautiful world God has given us, when we do our duty first. My duty I know; yours you have yet to learn."
These simple words had a strong impression on the two lads, and were never forgotten; and when Karl and Axel returned to their father's house, they told him what Hardy had said, and he never forgot it either.
"I think," said the Pastor to his daughter, "that Herr Hardy is as good as he is kind."
One little circumstance that now occurred it is necessary to mention. Hardy had been some time at the parsonage, and he therefore offered to pay what he had agreed to pay for his board and lodging.
The Pastor refused to accept payment, "You have come here, and whilst here have repaid us again and again by your kind ways and manners. My two boys have grown in a few weeks to be gentle and considerate in their conduct. They were rough and wild before. You have taught them English, and their progress has astonished me. I have taught them daily, but you have succeeded in teaching more in a few weeks than I have years. I cannot repay this. I can only say I will receive no money of yours."
"But I am well able to pay the moderate sum you stated that was your wish I should pay, and I will pay it with pleasure."
"That may be," said the Pastor, "but the principle is the same. I could not honestly take anything from you."
"Then I must leave," said Hardy; "I could not remain here at your charge. I see I put you to more expenditure than is usual with you, and I could not continue to do so."
"You are, of course, at liberty to leave when you wish," said the Pastor; "but if you will give way in this, I shall feel I have at least recognized in the only way in my power what you have done for me and mine."
There was no doubt of the sincerity of the Pastor's meaning. His open face was as clear to read as print.
Frøken Helga was present at this interview, and Hardy looked at her in the hope of finding in her expression as to what he should do. She was knitting as usual. He thought there was a feeling that she wished the matter should drop, so Hardy said--
"Well, Herr Pastor, all I can say is that the money is at your disposition, and if you refuse to take it when I go away I shall pay it to the Fattigkasse (poor box); and I must insist I have done nothing more than any Englishman would do."
"Good, very good!" said the Pastor. "Let us shake hands, and there is an end of it."
As Hardy took the Pastor's hand, he thought Frøken Helga's face bore an expression of approval, but her retiring manner made it impossible to discover what her thoughts really were.
A few days after, at breakfast, the Pastor said to Hardy, "There is an invitation for you to go to Gods-eier (landowner) Jensen's. They are going to celebrate their silver wedding. They have also invited me and my daughter Helga. Jensen breeds horses, and his reason for asking you is probably because he has heard of your English horse. Niels Jacobsen has talked with him about it. He saw him at a market some days ago. You can, of course, decline; and, at any rate, you can do as you wish. We shall go because they are friends of ours, and it would be a want of respect not to go on such an occasion as a silver wedding. There will be several persons there, and there will be a dinner at about three, and a dance after, in which the younger people will join."
"Thank you," said Hardy; "I should like to see more of Danish society, and I should wish to go for that reason."
John Hardy did not say that he had a strong wish to see Frøken Helga in society. He had seen her only at home, perpetually knitting and occupied in the management of the affairs of the parsonage. He observed, when she expressed a wish, that neither the wayward boys nor the strong-minded Kirstin had the least thought of acting in opposition to it, and he felt an interest in the opportunity of seeing her in society, and observing whether there would be the same unbending nature.
The invitation was therefore accepted.
The distance was about five English miles, and Garth drove the pair of Danish horses in the neat livery of Hardy Place; and the Pastor and his daughter sat together, while Hardy sat beside Garth. He did this because he thought that Frøken Helga would rather dispense with his society.
"They will do eight miles," said Garth, "but I do not believe they will do more; they go what you may call pretty, but there is not much stay in them, and if you drive them out of their pace, they are cut down at once."
"Yes, Bob," said Hardy; "but they will suit my mother, and they are just what she wants and would like."
"Yes," said Bob Garth, "there is that; but they starves them so much when they are young, and that does not make sinew or bone."
Notwithstanding Garth's predictions, the Jensen's mansion was reached in half an hour from Vandstrup Præstegaard, and Garth drove up with a flourish that impressed Herr Jensen, who was on the door steps.
"Are these the horses the Englishman bought a few days ago, Herr Pastor Lindal?" asked Herr Jensen.
"Yes," said Pastor Lindal. "But how are you, and how is Fru Lindal and your family?"
"They are all right, thank you, Herr Pastor," replied Herr Jensen. "But I never saw horses so managed! Why, they could be sold in Hamburgh for a lot of money. They are fit for any carriage anywhere."
If Fru Jensen had not appeared on the scene, it is possible that her husband's interest in the horses might have been prolonged indefinitely; but she conducted Frøken Helga Lindal into the house, introduced herself to John Hardy, and told the Pastor to tell the English groom where to put up his horses and where to wait until he should be required to return to Vandstrup Præstegaard.
Herr Jensen looked at the Englishman with interest, as he stood before him in his evening dress, broad-shouldered with fine limbs, his clothes fitting well, and looking like a wedge from his broad chest down to his feet.
They went into an assembly-room, where many guests were gathered. There were several landowners of the district with their families, and John Hardy's simple manners and unmistakable stamp of gentleman made a favourable impression. He was introduced to a Frøken Jaeger, and was told he would have to take her in to dinner. Hardy bowed.
"How old are you?" said Frøken Jaeger.
"Twenty-eight," replied Hardy.
"What is your profession?" inquired Frøken Jaeger.
"Landowner," replied Hardy. And Hardy was subjected to a cross-examination that elicited from him that his father was dead years ago, that his mother lived at Hardy Place, that he was a magistrate for the English county where he resided, and was also an officer in the yeomanry cavalry.
"Then why do you not wear a uniform?" inquired Frøken Jaeger, with some asperity.
"Because it is not allowed, and I do not wish it, when in a foreign country," replied Hardy.
It is to be feared that if the cross-examination had been much longer, that Hardy would have declined to answer any more questions, and have exhibited some of that insularity that is so common in Englishmen; but dinner was announced, and Hardy offered his arm, and Frøken Jaeger was soon occupied in other and more material subjects. She was about thirty-five, according to Hardy's judgment, and had a long sharp nose and an equally sharp chin, tending ultimately to form what some people ungenerously call nutcrackers; but her appetite was good, and it left an opportunity to Hardy to observe his fellow guests.
The Pastor sat near his host, and his daughter was paired with a young Danish landowner, who paid her great attention. Her dress was simple, with an ornament or two inherited from her mother; but her clear complexion, her tall figure and clean-cut features impressed Hardy. She talked with every one with animation, and Hardy could scarcely realize the comparison between the quiet figure steadily knitting with ear and eye always at her father's service to the perfect Danish lady before him.
There were several toasts proposed during the dinner. The event of the day had to be particularly recognized, which was done with much enthusiasm. Then followed other toasts, and Hardy's health was drunk, to which he had to reply. He rose quickly, and said in Danish that his knowledge of the language was yet so imperfect that he could say little more than thanks, but that he would add that he owed a debt of kindness to the Danes with whom he had been brought in contact, and he thanked them and his host for their kindness and consideration to a foreigner. Hardy read in Frøken Helga's face that what he had said was what had her approval, and that he had said enough.
"You appear to look at Frøken Helga Lindal, Herr Hardy," said Frøken Jaeger; "are you engaged to her?"
"No," said Hardy.
"But what do you think of her?"
"That she is an excellent daughter," replied Hardy.
"And that she would make an excellent wife?" said Frøken Jaeger.
"Possibly," said Hardy, with a determination to say nothing more.
The dinner party broke up. The elder people of the male sort adjourned to a very strong tobacco-parliament and cards; the younger went into the assembly-room, which was now converted into a ball-room. Frøken Jaeger said, "Herr Hardy, I have put your name down in my list of dances for the first dance, and you will dance with me."
Hardy went to Frøken Helga Lindal, and besought her to deliver him from Frøken Jaeger; but she declined, and said, "You have to dance with Frøken Jaeger; you have taken her in to dinner, and it is our custom."
"Then," said Hardy, "let me have one dance with you, a waltz?"
Helga gave him her list, and he wrote his name down for the first waltz possible.
"Is it your father's wish to stay here a long time, Frøken Helga?" asked Hardy.
"No; but it depends on you," replied Helga. "He will not leave until you wish, but I know the sooner he is home the better for him. But Herr Jensen will want to talk to you about his horses."
"I will see him at once," said Hardy, "and tell him I will ride over to-morrow to see his horses, and that will, I think, prevent any delay arising from that cause."
So Hardy went into the tobacco-parliament, and arranged with Herr Jensen to see him the following day, and the catechising Frøken Jaeger had to wait while the dance and the waltz she loved so well had begun; but Hardy's appearance and his good dancing allayed her rising anger.
"Do you dance much in England?" said Frøken Jaeger.
"No," said Hardy; "I do not like it."
At length the time came for his dance with Frøken Helga Lindal, and as they stood up the personal beauty of both was remarked. Helga's elastic movement on Hardy's arm, the ease with which she danced in perfect time, and her bright manner had its effect on Hardy. He was not quite sure but that he had just told Frøken Jaeger a story, in saying that he did not like dancing.
"You dance well, Frøken Helga!" said Hardy.
"I can do nothing so well as you," replied Helga. "But my father would wish to leave, and if you can arrange it, I shall thank you so much. You can do what you like; we cannot."
A short time after, they were sitting behind the trotting horses, and the Pastor thanked Hardy for his consideration. "They are kind people," said he, "but they do not think that my duty is never to be away from my home, so that I can be called at any moment to do what duty may arise, and which, if I should delay or omit, would be wrong."
"It is a strict view," said Hardy, "but it is the right one. I cannot say it is general in England."
"If the prayer be good, the commoner the better. Prayer in the Church's words, As well as sense, of all prayers bears the bell." _The Complete Angler._
The next day after the late breakfast at the parsonage, John Hardy rode over to the Jensen's on Buffalo, and Garth followed on one of the Danish horses, and was received with much warmth. Herr Jensen walked round and round Buffalo, for he loved a horse, and admired the length of his step as Buffalo walked. He had heard the story of his jumping the wall at Vandstrup Præstegaard, and his desire to see him perform in that capacity was so great, that Hardy put him through a gallop and over a few fences, and Herr Jensen approved loudly. Fru Jensen was present and her two daughters, Mathilde and Maria Jensen.
Hardy's quiet manner when he dismounted and made his respects to the ladies, as if he had just trotted his horse up the avenue, struck them, and they forgave him on the spot for leaving so early the night before. Hardy went into the old Danish Herregaard (country house), and was received with the usual Danish hospitality. The ladies talked incessantly of the proceedings of the night before, and Hardy had to bear the result of Frøken Jaeger's severe cross-examination to the fullest particular. She had told all Hardy's answers to her questions, and they were possessed with Hardy's position in England, so far as he had chosen to answer Frøken Jaeger, and the ladies were ready to pursue the inquiry further; but, fortunately for Hardy, Herr Jensen was anxious to show him his farm, and particularly his horses. Hardy at once assented, and Herr Jensen took him to see his brood mares and foals, with a few young horses not yet sold, which Herr Jensen was holding for a higher price than the people he sold to at Hamburgh would pay him. Garth accompanied them.
"I have sold horses often to England," said Jensen; "but they will pay a price upon each particular horse. Some they will pay £40 for, some they will pay £18 for; and when the horses arrive at Hull, they will say there is some fault or defect in the higher paid-for horses, and the consequence is that I prefer selling to the Germans. They pay £25 to £30 a horse, and take, perhaps, twenty or thirty yearly; and many of the best go to England after being trained, and the rest are sold in Germany or elsewhere; but I never hear any complaints of defects or the like."
"That I can well understand," said Hardy. "In England, a really good horse has no price. If he is wanted, any price will be paid; but a horse with a fault is nowhere."
"Our horses," said Jensen, "are good horses for light weights; but in England they are used chiefly for carriages now. I have two horses here that would make good saddle horses, and I wish you could try them."
The two horses Herr Jensen referred to were in a pasture, tethered to an iron spike driven in the ground, with a rope giving them a range of a few yards of grass.
"What do you think of these two horses, Bob?" said Hardy to Garth.
"Very good park hacks," said Garth, "and just the thing for a lady to ride."
"My man will try one of the horses if you like," said Hardy. "He is accustomed to horses."
Garth fetched the saddle he had rode over in, and a light snaffle bridle, and mounted, and, after the usual difficulties that always occur with colts, he rode the horse, sitting firm and easy in the saddle, to Herr Jensen's great admiration.
"He is a good horse," said Garth. "But, master, ask the governor one question, and that is how he feeds them in the winter."
"What does he say?" asked Herr Jensen.
"He asks how you feed your horses in the winter," replied Hardy.
"That is the difficulty," said Jensen. "We have little to give them in the winter and spring, and it is hard work to keep them alive. We cut our grass in the meadows twice yearly; the first hay is good, the second is not so good by a long way."
"Our notion is that a horse should always be kept well," said Hardy, "or his bone and sinew want firmness."
"There is no doubt of that," said Herr Jensen. "We understand that very well; but yet what can we do? We breed horses to make money by them. If we fed them as you say, we could not get the cost back."
"I have heard the same story in England," said Hardy; "a farmer has to treat his farm as a business, and, Herr Jensen, you are quite right in doing so."
Hardy went over Herr Jensen's farm, and his knowledge of farming in all its branches so interested Herr Jensen, that it was late when they returned to the Herregaard. Dinner was ready, and Hardy had to bear a running fire of criticism from Fru Jensen and her daughters. He had not, they said, observed the particular merits of many of the Danish ladies who had been present at the dance of the previous evening, but doubtless he was preoccupied.
"No," said Hardy, "I was not preoccupied. My difficulty is that I do not know Danish well, and Herr Jensen has had the greatest difficulty to understand me about horses; how, then, could I understand so difficult a subject as a Danish lady?"
"Frøken Jaeger says, you said that Frøken Helga Lindal would make an excellent wife," said Fru Jensen.
"Yes," said Hardy. "She asked me, and I said it was possible."
Hardy said this in so strong a manner that it was even apparent to Herr Jensen that he did not wish the conversation extended, so Herr Jensen proposed a cigar and an adjournment to his own room.
Hardy left at six o'clock, and rode to Vandstrup. On his way thither an occurrence happened that Hardy never forgot.
Hardy, followed by Garth, had ridden on to within an English mile of Vandstrup, when he saw a waggon overturned, and a man lying underneath it. The horses were kicking in their harness, as they lay in the ditch by the roadside. The waggon was the same as is usually employed by the Danish farmer, for his farm work, and was heavy in construction. Hardy galloped up, and found the man lying under the waggon evidently seriously injured. He was a workman called Nils Rasmussen, and had taken a load of turf, in company with another man with a similar load in another waggon, to a village near Vandstrup. The turf discharged, there was the opportunity of getting drunk; and the horses of both waggons were driven hard down a slope in the road by their drunken drivers, and coming in contact, Nils Rasmussen was thrown out, and the waggon fell on him, whilst the struggling of the horses every moment increased the serious injuries he was receiving.
Garth cut the horses free, and Nils Rasmussen was taken from under the waggon. Several people came running up, and one of them rode Hardy's Danish horse for the district doctor. Hardy assisted in carrying the injured man to his home, and sent Garth to the stables on Buffalo, with instructions to come to Rasmussen's house for orders. It was clear the case was serious from the first Hardy undressed the man, and found that he had more than one limb broken, while from the froth and blood in the mouth, internal injuries were present.
When Garth returned, he was sent to the parsonage, with a request for a pair of dry clean sheets, a bottle of cognac, and some of Hardy's linen handkerchiefs. Garth returned in a white heat, without the articles he was sent for. Hardy had supposed that the news of the accident would have reached the parsonage, and after enumerating the articles required, he added a request that they should be given to Garth to take to Rasmussen's. Kirstin read the note, and put several questions to Garth, which, from his ignorance of Danish, it was impossible for him to answer; "When suddenly," said Garth, "she appeared to get into a rage. She rushed at me, beat me about the head, and shouted at me."
The district doctor now came in, and Hardy's attention was occupied. He told him what he had seen of the accident, and the symptoms of injury internally. The doctor was used to cases either more or less grave of a similar character, and he showed much cool professional skill. "I will remain here," e said to Hardy, "until sent for. The case is hopeless, and all that can be done is to watch by him."
When the doctor left, Hardy decided to remain, as Nils Rasmussen's wife and family were incapable of being of the slightest use. He sent Garth to his lodgings, with orders to come to Rasmussen's at six the next morning.
Meanwhile Hardy had been expected at the parsonage, and it grew later and later.
"He is stopping with the Jensens," said the Pastor,
"No, he is not!" burst out Kirstin; "he is at Rasmussen's. He sent that man of his here a while since for a pair of sheets and a bottle of the best brandy to take to Rasmussen's, and you can see the writing he sent by his servant."
The Pastor took the scrap of paper and read it aloud.
"It is that bold, bad hussey, Karen Rasmussen!" said Kirstin.
"How can you know that?" said Frøken Helga.
"Know it!" exclaimed Kirstin; "I am sure of it. No man can be so good as the Englishman appears to be."
The Pastor and his family retired to rest with a shock of grief and pain. "He must leave at once," thought the Pastor.
Shortly after six the next morning, Garth fetched one of Rasmussen's neighbours, whom he sent with the following note to the pastor, written on a similar scrap of paper as his unfortunate communication of the previous evening, and torn from his note-book.
"Dear Herr Pastor,
"Nils Rasmussen, the workman at Jorgensens, is sinking fast. You have, of course, heard of the accident? The district doctor at once saw the case was beyond all hope. Will you come immediately?
As the Pastor left his house, he met one after another of Nils Rasmussen's neighbours coming for him. He heard of John Hardy's assistance and care, and that he had been the whole night acting as nurse, as the family were incapable.
As the Pastor entered, he met Hardy.
"It is too late, Herr Pastor," said the latter; "the man is dead. But go in and speak to the wife, and I will wait for you. Here is twenty kroner, which you can give her; the expenses of the funeral I will bear, and I can arrange that she shall receive ten kroner weekly, through the post-office, until they can help themselves."
In half an hour the Pastor came out, and he said, "Hardy, I thank you for your attention to this poor man. You have done nothing more than what was right you should do, and what any one else should have done; but you have done your duty with a kindliness that does you honour."
Hardy said nothing, the horror of watching a man dying in agony for a whole night had unstrung his steady nerves. On reaching the parsonage, he went to his room, and, wearied out, at last fell asleep.
The Pastor, after the usual morning prayers with his household, said, "Stay, Kirstin! You have wickedly cast shame on an honest man; you have attributed sin to another without cause. You have heard that Rasmussen is dead, and how he died; but you do not know that the man you foully slandered had done his utmost for his brother man. When I came to Rasmussen's house, Herr Hardy's clothes were covered with dirt and blood. He had tended the dying man the whole night; he had torn up his linen shirt and under-clothing for bandages; and when I was about to speak to the widow, he gave me money for present need, and has ordered it so that she shall not want for the future. And yet this is the man to whom you would impute sin and shame. Ask forgiveness of God, and beg Herr Hardy's pardon. Go!"
The hard-natured Jutland woman was overcome. Frøken Helga's eyes filled with tears, and she went and kissed her father.
"We were wrong to think evil of another, under any circumstances," said the Pastor, "or to allow suspicion of evil to grow in our minds."
Hardy was ignorant of the little episode thus acted in the Pastor's household, and when he came down from his room some time later, he found a breakfast waiting for him, the Pastor shook hands with him, and asked how he was.
"I feel what I have gone through this night," replied Hardy, "but am quite well."
"An honest answer," said the Pastor.
"But, little father," said Frøken Helga, "can you not tell Herr Hardy that he has been kind and good?"
Praise from her father's lips for a duty well done was with Helga more than gold or incense; and how wrong had they not all been towards Hardy!
"Your father has already said enough," said Hardy.
"Then I will speak for myself," said Helga, "and say that I thank you for your goodness to Rasmussen and his family;" and she took his hand and kissed it.
Hardy saw she was governed by a momentary impulse, but it evinced a warm sympathy for what she considered a good act, and impressed him the more so as her manner was always towards him cold and retiring.
At this juncture Kirstin appeared in an unusual state of agitation.
"I have come," she said, "to ask Herr Hardy's pardon, for what I have said and done."
"My servant reports to me that you beat him yesterday," said Hardy, "and as you did not beat me I have nothing to forgive. I have told my man, if you do so again, to lay the matter before the authorities. He will have to come here in acting as my servant; but if you beat him because you cannot understand him, he must be protected, the more so as his orders are not to strike you, under any circumstances. The matter has been brought to the Herr Pastor's knowledge, and that is enough, and you can go out."
There was a stern dignity in John Hardy's manner, always present in a man of his type when accustomed to obedience.
Kirstin hesitated. "You can go out, Kirstin," repeated Hardy; and she obeyed.
Frøken Helga's implicit faith in the rigid character of Kirstin was shaken.
Rasmussen's funeral took place shortly after, and on the Sunday the Pastor referred to Hardy's conduct.
"It may hurt the sensibility of the Englishman who is with us, that I should refer to him thus publicly; but it is my duty, while the occurrence of Rasmussen's death has the force of its being recent to point out, not that it was his simple duty to do what he did, but the way and manner that duty was done showed a Christian charity that no one of us could do more than imitate."
"I question whether you are right, to praise the conduct of an individual from the pulpit, Herr Pastor," said Hardy.
"My duty," said the Pastor, gravely, "is to preach the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the recent occurrence will interest many who would not be interested otherwise."
"My father has done what is right," said his daughter, with warmth. "I should have done the same."
"Oh, how happy here's our leisure! Oh, how innocent our pleasure!" _The Complete Angler._
John Hardy received a letter from his mother, dated from Hardy Place.
"My dearest John,
"Your weekly letters have become shorter, and I have read between the lines that you are keeping back something from your mother; but this doubt has been made a certainty from a letter of Robert Garth's to his friends here. He writes, so I hear, that the 'governor' is sweet on a parson's daughter in Denmark. Now, I know, dearest John, that you will always be the true gentleman your father was; but this has distressed me, because you say yourself nothing. Do come home to me. I miss the sound of your footstep, the manly voice that reminds me of your father, and, above all, your kindly manner to your mother. Write at once, as my anxiety is more than I can bear."
There was more in the letter, breathing the same deep affectionate solicitude a mother alone feels. John Hardy wrote at once.
"My dearest Mother,
"If I had anything to tell you, I should have told you long ago. I have described Pastor Lindal's family to you in my letters, and, I can only add, my respect for him grows daily. He does his duty with a simplicity that is difficult to be understood in England, and I have learnt to look forward to hearing his Sunday sermons, from their freshness such as single-mindedness alone gives. I feel more the earnestness of religion and the simplicity with which it should be invested from the influence of his character. I know you will say that this has nothing to do with Frøken Helga Lindal, his daughter, and you want to hear of her. All I can say is, that her character is what would attract you. She does her duty in the Pastor's household with simple exactness; she assists in visiting the parish, and is of material use to her father in this respect. She is spoken of everywhere and by all in praise and regard, and she is like her father--simple and true. I cannot say that I do not admire so perfect a nature, but I do not feel now a wish to ask her to be my wife, and if I did she would say 'no.' Her father is a widower, and his daughter is his right hand. His two boys, who are really good lads, have to be considered, and Frøken Helga's influence over them is complete. Her leaving her father would leave him unassisted, and his two sons without the influence she alone possesses. She knows and sees this, and would sacrifice her life to her sense of duty. If she cared for me, there would be no difference; that would be sacrificed too. I can assure you that I shall never bring any one to Hardy Place that my mother cannot receive as her daughter. The kind affection and care you have always shown me is dearer to me than houses and land and wealth or the strongest feelings of selfishness.
"I hope, dear mother, that this will set your mind at rest.
"If you wish me to come home, I will do so; but I wish to stay longer, and when you see there is no real cause for anxiety, you may have no objection. The days pass pleasantly here. I teach the two boys English every day. They fish with me for trout in the river, the Gudenaa, and we make excursions together, and occasionally we visit a Danish family in the neighbourhood; and the genuine kindness I receive everywhere interests me. In the evenings Pastor Lindal is conversational, and his conversation is like his sermons, always fresh. There is no one thought harped upon and torn to tatters. To say he is a man of original thought would not describe him--it is individuality and simplicity; there is nothing extraordinary or unusual, but a clearness of colour, like a diamond, which is the more valuable when it has no colour."
John Hardy wrote a little more on home affairs at Hardy Place, and closed his letter.
In the evening, when the Pastor's pipe was as usual lighted by his daughter, Hardy asked him as to the superstitions in Denmark, and if they then were prevalent and had any force.
"They are endless," said the Pastor, "and in every conceivable direction. There is no land so full of traditional superstition as Jutland."
"When in Norway," said Hardy, "the superstition that struck me most was that of the Huldr, who in different districts was differently described. Generally the Huldr was described as a tall fair woman, with a yellow bodice and a blue skirt, with long fair yellow hair loose over the shoulders; but she was as hollow as a kneading trough, and had a cow's tail. She was described as coming to the Sæter farms on the fjelds, after they were vacated by the Norwegian farmers, with a quantity of cattle and milking cans; and I have heard the cattle call sang by Norwegians that they have heard the Huldr sing. I have spoken with people who have seen the Huldr, and described her to me with a vividness as if it were a real personage. I have heard people say they have seen her knitting, sitting on a rock with a ball of worsted thrown out before her, to entice mortals to take it up, when they must follow where she would lead."
"We have not that superstition in Jutland," said the Pastor; "that is begotten of the lonely life in the isolated farms in the fields in Norway and their interminable woods and natural wildness of nature. Our superstitions are, as I said, endless. They consist of historical traditions of a supernatural character, of traditions attached to places, as old houses, churches, also of particular men, of hidden treasure, of robbers, and the like. Then there are the more supernatural superstitions, as of witches, ghosts, the devil, of Trolds, of mermen and mermaids, of Nissen, like your English pixey, of the three-legged horse that inhabits the churchyards, the were-wolf, the gnome that inhabits the elder tree, the nightmare, or, as we call it, Maren. There is also the tradition of gigantic dragons or serpents, called by us Lindorm, in which your story of St. George and the dragon prominently figures. There are also minor superstitions of the will-o'-the-wisp, the bird called in English the goatsucker, and the classical Basilisk."
"But surely all those superstitions cannot exist now?" inquired Hardy.
"I do not say they do; but they are hidden to a greater extent in the recesses of the hearts of the people than you would imagine."
"Can you relate anything of these superstitions?" said Hardy. "It would interest me beyond everything."
"Yes," said the Pastor. "I will give you an example in any one of the particular traditions I have mentioned, and I will begin with the historical superstition, as I mentioned that first.
"When King Gylfe reigned in Sweden, a woman came to him, and she enchanted him so by her singing that he gave her leave to plough so much of his land as she could in a day with four oxen, and what she thus ploughed should be hers. This woman was of the race of the giants (Aseme). She took her four sons and changed them into oxen, and attached them to the plough. She ploughed out the place she had chosen, and thus created the island of Sjælland. She did this from the Mælar lake in Sweden; and it is said that where there is a point of land in Sjælland there is in the Mælar lake a bay, and vice versa, so that both the Mælar lake and Sjælland island have one form, one is land, the other water. This tradition is common over Denmark, and with us has become classical. The woman's name was Gefion."
"I have seen a delineation of the tradition," said Hardy, "at one of your Danish palaces, on a ceiling at Fredriksborg."
"Yes, it is there; but you will find it everywhere in Denmark," replied the Pastor. "Of traditions of churches, they are endless; but we will take one example, possibly by no means the best. When Hadderup church, between Viborg and Holstebro, was building, the Trolds tore down every night what had been erected in the day. It was therefore determined to attach two calves to a load of stones in a waggon, and where the calves were found in the morning to build the church. This, however, did not answer, and at last an agreement was made with the Trolds that they should allow the church to be built, on the condition that they should have the first bride that went to the church. This succeeded, and the church was built. When the first bridal procession should, however, go to the church, at a particular place a sudden mist fell upon them, and when it cleared off the bride had disappeared."
"A very striking tradition," said Hardy. "It has a good deal of picturesque colouring."
"Yes," said the Pastor, "and that is why I told you that particular tradition. But of places there is a tradition of Silkeborg, with nothing supernatural about it; but as you have been there fishing, it may interest you to know why it has obtained that name. The story is, that a bishop wished to build a house there, but he was uncertain where; so he threw his silk hat into the water as he sailed on the Gudenaa, and he determined that where his silk hat came to land, that there would he build his house. The hat came ashore at Silkeborg. The bishop, however, could not have sailed up the Gudenaa, and the probability is he must have gone down the lake, as the Gudenaa runs from the lake through Jutland to the sea at Randers."
"There is a similar tradition," said Hardy, "in Iceland. When the Norwegian chiefs were conquered by Harold the Fair-haired, about 870, they cast the carved oak supports of their chairs, that they were accustomed to sit in at the head of their tables, surrounded by their dependents, and decided that where these drove ashore, they would found a colony; and where they did drive ashore was on the shores of Iceland. It may possibly have influenced the tradition you relate of Silkeborg."
"Possibly," said the Pastor; "but of traditions of places, there are very many, and, as an example, there was in Randers province an island, and on the island a mansion; and when the family owning it were absent, three women-servants determined to play the priest a trick. They dressed up a sow like a sick person in bed, and sent for the priest to administer the sacrament to a dying person. The priest, however, saw the wicked deception, and at once left the island in his boat. Immediately the whole island sank as soon as he lifted his foot from the shore of the island. But a table swam towards him, on which was his Bible, which in his anger and haste he had forgotten to take with him. Where the island sank can, it is said, yet be seen the three chimneys of the mansion deep down in the water; and there are some high trees growing up through the water, to which, when they grow high enough, will the enemies of Denmark come and fasten their ships."
"This story is only one of a class to the same effect," continued the Pastor. "It has many variations to a similar effect. You have heard of Limfjord in North Jutland. It derives its name after our tradition to the following: At the birth of Christ a Trold woman was so enraged at the circumstance of his birth that she produced a monster at a birth, and this monster gradually took the form of a boar; and it is related that when the boar was in the woods, its bristles were higher than the tops of the trees. This boar was called Limgrim, and rooted up the land so as to create the inlet of the sea that we call Limfjord; the name originally was Limgrimsfjord, since abbreviated to Limfjord."
"What is your view of the origin of these traditions?" asked Hardy.
"They are to me," said the Pastor, "an evidence of the continuous change the world undergoes, has undergone, and will undergo. The older the tradition, the more antagonistic it is to the known laws of nature; the later the tradition, the less improbable it is. We have seen how heathenism, with its unreasonable and wild vagaries, gave way to the early Christian Church. Then arose the ultramontane Church, which was succeeded by the purer light let in by Morten Luther; and changes are taking place, and will take place; and the use of these old traditions is to teach us that change must be. Age succeeds to age, and generation to generation. The science of geology teaches the same lesson. As we learn more of it, and more accurately of it, we gradually grasp the thought that endless ages have wrought changes, and will continue to work at the discretion of the Great Power that we feel and know exists. We can only say that the works of the Lord are wonderful, and trust in him."
"Have you heard of the religion of Buddha?" said Hardy. "With all our present researches into it, we know comparatively little; but, taken broadly, it is a doctrine of slow development. A life exists, and gradually earthly passion ceases, and a state of perfect rest is reached, but through an endless series of change."
"Yes," replied Pastor Lindal; "but it is a religion of the imagination. It has a certain beauty and a poetic charm, while the Christian religion has the reality of the principle that kindliness is the real gold of life, which I have learnt from you."
Hardy felt that in his letters to his mother he had correctly described Pastor Lindal.
Frøken Helga had continued knitting as usual, but that she listened to every word her father uttered was clear to Hardy; and when he rose to go to his room for the night, she said, "Thank you, Herr Hardy; you have interested my father to speak in the way he only can."
"But he that unto others leads the way In public prayer, Should do it so, As all that hear may know They need not fear To tune their hearts unto his tongue." _The Complete Angler._
The next day, as soon as signs of the tobacco parliament were apparent by Frøken Helga filling and lighting her father's pipe, Karl and Axel, who had been interested in listening to the conversation on traditions the previous evening, besought Hardy to lead Pastor Lindal to the same subject.
"The many ancient burial places existing all over Jutland," said Hardy, "must have given rise to traditions of hidden treasure. Our English word for these tumuli is barrows."
"And ours," said the Pastor, "is Kæmpehøi, or Kæmpedysse, meaning a fighting man's burial place; the verb to fight is kæmpe, and present Danish. It was, however, a custom to bury treasure in secluded places, and to kill a slave at the place that his ghost might guard the treasure. There is a tumulus or barrow between Viborg and Holstebro. It is related that this barrow was formerly always covered with a blue mist, and that a copper kettle full of money was buried there. One night, however, two men dug down to the kettle, and seized it by the handle; but immediately wonderful things happened, with a view of preventing them from taking away the kettle and the money--first, they saw a black dog with a red hot tongue; next, a cock drawing a load of hay; then a carriage with four black horses. The men, however, pursued their occupation without uttering a word. But at last came a man, lame in one foot, halting by, and he said, 'Look, the town is on fire!' The two men looked, and sure enough the town appeared to them to be on fire. One of them uttered an exclamation, and the kettle and the treasure sank in the earth far beyond their reach. There are many of these stories, but the principle inculcated is, that when digging for treasure it must be carried out in perfect silence. You will have observed that a great many of the tumuli you have met with in Denmark have been opened. This has chiefly been done by the hidden-treasure seekers; but it has had one good result, and that is, it has enriched the museums in Denmark, especially that of Northern Antiquities in Copenhagen. You have probably seen the museum in Bergen, Norway. You will have seen precisely the same type of subjects there as in Copenhagen; and in the tumuli in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, what has been found is, _coeteris paribus_, identical in type."
"You said just now that a slave was killed at places where treasure was hidden," said Hardy; "is there much belief in that direction?"
"Yes; the belief in ghosts was very strong," replied the Pastor, "and still exists. The general view was that if a man's conduct was criminal in a high degree, that within three days after he 'walked;' that is, his ghost appeared at the places he had been attached to when in life, attended by more or less supernatural attributes. This, of course, arose from our Saviour's resurrection on the third day; but as to this, I will tell you a tradition that is an exception. There was once a man who was exceptionally wicked and bad; he was a thief and a robber, never went to church, and committed all manner of crimes. When he died and was buried in the churchyard, and the people who had attended the funeral had returned to the man's house to drink the Gravøl--that is the beer that was specially brewed for consumption at a funeral--lo! there was the dead and buried man sitting on the roof of the house, glaring down on all those who ventured to look up at him. The priest was sent for, and he exorcised the ghost, and ordered him to remain, until the world's end, at the bottom of a moss bog, and to keep him there had a sharp stake driven through him; but, notwithstanding, the ghost rises at night, but as he cannot, from the exorcising of the priest, assume human form, he flies about in the likeness of the bird we call the night raven until cock crow."
"In English," said Hardy, "the night jar. It was the practice in England to bury suicides with a stake driven through their bodies at four cross-ways. It is possible that this arose from a desire to prevent the ghost of the dead person from troubling the living, and being at a four cross-ways, that it should not know which direction to take."
"It may be so," said Pastor Lindal; "but in discussing these things we are apt, as in philology, to assume our own comparisons to be correct. We have also the traditions of spectral huntsmen, with the accompaniment of horses and hounds with red-hot glowing tongues; and, singularly enough, the tradition often occurs that their quarry was the Elle-kvinder, that is women of the elves, but who are described as of the size of ordinary women. The spectral huntsmen have often been seen with the Elle-kvinder tied to their saddles by their hair."
"Your traditions of witches," said Hardy, "appear to be similar to ours. You appear to have burnt and thrown them into ponds to drown after the same cruel custom as in England."
"True," replied the Pastor, "and the description in Macbeth of witches answers to our traditions. On St. John's night witches were supposed to fly to Bloksberg, a mythical place in Norway, upon broomsticks and in brewing tubs. There they met Gamle Erik, the evil one, who entered their names in his ledger, and instructed them in witchcraft, and, after executing the witches' dance, they returned to their respective homes in the same fashion. This tradition is common to other countries, but in Jutland the belief was that the favourite form a witch adopted was that of a hare, which evaded the huntsmen, and could not be shot except by a piece of silver, which must have been inherited--a piece of silver purchased or given had no effect. The witch was then found in the person of some old woman with a wound, who was forthwith dealt with in the cruel fashion then the rule. The gypsies, or, as they are called with us, Tâtarfolk, from their eastern origin, drove a good business by professing to cure the effects of witchcraft; they generally managed to cause the ill effect, however, before they cured it. They would give a drug to a farmer's cow, and call a few days after and offer to drive away the witch that possessed the cow. They would take with them a black furry doll tied to a string. A hole was dug several feet deep in the cowhouse; suddenly the black furry thing was at the bottom of the hole, just sufficient for some of the people to see it when it disappeared. That was the witch; the cow was, of course, cured by an antidote."
"The gypsy is common enough in England," said Hardy; "but they do less in telling fortunes or in thieving farmyards then formerly was their custom. They appear to do a good business in small wares, as brushes and mats, which they take about in vans."
"The gypsy," said the Pastor, "where superstition exists, trade upon it, and in old times in Denmark this brought them a rich harvest. They persuaded the farmers' wives that they must have inherited silver, or they could do nothing against evil influences, and acquired thereby many an old-fashioned heirloom. With us they have never pursued, as you suggest, a steady trade."
"Have you not a tradition of a book called Cyprianus?" asked Hardy.
"The idea of the book is from the Sibyll's books of Roman history," replied Pastor Lindal. "The contents of Cyprianus is very differently described. It is related of it that it is a book of prophecy of material events, that is not in a religious sense. Also, it is described as containing formula for raising the devil, or a number of small devils, who immediately demand work to do, and whom it is fatal not to keep employed. There are many stories based on this, chiefly related of persons who accidentally find a Cyprianus and read some of it, when the hobgoblins appear, and the difficulty of the situation increases until some person versed in the use of the book applies the formula that sends the hobgoblins to their proper places."
"The devil I have always heard in Norway as taking the form of a black dog," said Hardy.
"It is the same in our traditions," said Pastor Lindal. "An extraordinary belief was that a carriage at certain times and places would not move, and that the horses could not draw it. The remedy then was, for those who knew how, to take off one hind wheel of the carriage and put it in the carriage, when the devil would have to act as hind wheel to the end of the journey, much to his supposed discomfort. There are many stories of this."
"Hans Christian Andersen's stories have made us acquainted with Nissen, or the house goblin," said Hardy.
"There is little more to tell you then," said the Pastor, "except that Nissen's description is defined by our traditions in Jutland to be a little fellow with sharp cat-formed ears, and to have fingers only, and no thumb. He is supposed to inhabit particular farm-houses and their range of buildings, and, when there is a scarcity of fodder, will steal from another farm; and if there be another Nissen there, they will fight each for the interests of the farm he frequents. He will play tricks on the people working at the farms, particularly so if every Thursday night his porridge is neglected to be put in its accustomed place, generally in the threshing barn."
"But have you no traditions of underground people?" asked Hardy.
"The stories of underground people are more abundant than any other class of tradition," replied the Pastor. "We call them Underjordiske, which means underground people; but by it is included Elle folk or elves, Trolds or goblins, and Bjærg folk or hill people. Their homes are chiefly placed by tradition in the tumuli or barrows to which we have before referred; and at times a tumulus is seen as standing on four pillars, while the Underjordiske dance underneath and drink ale and mead. At times it is related that they come out of their dwellings in the barrows with their red cows, or to air their money, or clean their kitchen utensils. Through all these stories the manner of life of the Underjordiske is the same as that of the Danish Bønde or farmer. They are not, however, always supposed to live in the barrows, as several stories exist of the Bjærg folk coming to a Bønde and asking him to shift his stable to another place, as the dung from his cattle falls on his (the Bjærgmand's) dining-table, and it is disagreeable. If the Bønde obeys, he is promised prosperity, and everything thrives on his farm. They can also, however, be revengeful, and are dangerous generally. Their particular aversion is church bells, and it is generally attributed to their influence that there are so few Underjordiske seen nowadays."
"Can you relate any stories of them?" asked Hardy.
"Very many," replied the Pastor. "There are several collections of these traditions, and although each collection is generally the same in character, yet the details and stories themselves widely differ. But I will tell you two of the stories. A Trold lived in a barrow between two church towers, about a mile from each other. This Trold had a wife, who was of Christian folk. It was necessary to get the services of a midwife, and the Trold fetched the nearest, and gave her for her services what appeared to be two pieces of charcoal; but the Trold's wife told her to take them home, but warned her that as soon as she put one foot outside she should suddenly jump aside, as the Trold would cast a glowing hot-iron rod at her. She followed the advice and went home, when the charcoal turned to silver money. The two women, however, became friends, and the midwife often spun flax for the Trold; but she was forbidden to wet her fingers with Christian spittle, and they brought her a little crock to hold water for her to wet her fingers in. This continued for some time, when at last the Trold wife came to the midwife and said, 'My husband, the Trold, will stay here no longer. He says he cannot bear the two ding-dong danging church towers.' So they left, flying, it is said, through the air on a long stick, with all their belongings."
"A story with some imagery," said Hardy.
"The next, however, is more so," said the Pastor. "On a St. John's night, or, as we call it, Sankt. Hans. Nat, the Bjærg folk and Elle folk had collected to make merry. A man came riding by from Viborg, and he could see the assembled Underjordiske enjoying the feast. An Ellekone, or elf wife, went round with a large silver tankard, and offered drink to every one, and came at last to the horseman. He pretended to drink, but threw the contents of the tankard over his shoulder, put spurs to his horse, and galloped off. But the Ellekone was after him, and came nearer and nearer; her breasts were so long that they fell on her knees and impeded her. She therefore threw them, one after the other, over her shoulders, and continued the chase with renewed speed. Fortunately he was close to the river, and dashed through it. The Ellekone caught the hind shoe of his horse, and tore it off; but she could not go over the water. The tankard was said to be the largest ever seen in Denmark."
"The story is a common one to many countries, but it scarcely exists with so much clear and distinct imagery as in your recital, Herr Pastor," said Hardy.
"I think now we have had enough of traditions for one evening," said the Pastor.
"What is your opinion of the effect of these traditions on the minds of the people generally?" asked Hardy.
"It is difficult to say," said the Pastor; "we can but guess at their effect. As education and civilization progress, they lose their superstitious influence and interest and amuse. There is a wild picturesque imagery that must appeal to the most educated mind. They afford subjects to painters; but I have never seen a picture yet based on these traditions that grasped the graphic thought of the recital of the tradition. In a religious sense they do no harm; they excite the imagination of the people only to prepare their minds for the simplicity of the Christian faith, at least they assist to do so. When I visit my Sognebørn (literally, parish children), I tell the children these traditions, and when they grow older they like to hear anything I have to say; it assists me in suggesting religious thought when their minds are ripe for it."
Frøken Helga, who had all the evening knitted and listened to her father, dropped her knitting and went to him and caressed him. "Dear little father," she said, "you are always good and thoughtful."
"I think so also," said Hardy.
"But I am the most pleased with this little house of anything I ever saw: it stands in a kind of peninsula too, with a delicate clear river about it. I dare hardly go in, lest I should not like it so well within as without, but by your leave I will try." --_The Complete Angler._
The next day John Hardy received a letter from Prokuratør Steindal of Copenhagen.
"Your honoured instructions as to Rosendal I have attended to. The price they will sell for I have approximately arrived at, but I cannot advise you to buy. The value of Rosendal is not so great as the price asked, and it appears to me that you should hesitate before making a purchase that will pay you so little income. I feel it my duty to say that whatever your instructions may be, that I cannot act on them without a personal interview. If you wish, therefore, to pursue the matter further, you should come to Copenhagen and discuss it with me. I cannot advise a client to make a purchase to his prejudice; if I did so, I should not only acquire a bad reputation, but it would not be right for me to do so. I await, therefore, the honour of your reply."
John Hardy went to Copenhagen, and returned in a few days to Vandstrup Præstegaard.
The next day the Pastor had received the _Jyllands Post_, the local newspaper. When Hardy appeared at the breakfast table, he said, "Rosendal is sold to Prokuratør Steindal of Copenhagen, and it is extra-ordinary that I have received a letter from him to say that I and my family have leave to visit Rosendal when we wish to do so, and that my two sons, Karl and Axel, have leave to catch all the pike in Rosendal lake. There is the usual notice of the sale in the _Jyllands Post_, and from the letter from Steindal, it must be true."
"I have no doubt of its truth," said Hardy. "I would only suggest that we at once went to fish for the pike at Rosendal lake; my servant can bring the carriage, and I can ride my English horse, so that Frøken Helga can enjoy another visit to Rosendal."
"But," said the Pastor, "the permission to fish does not extend to you, Herr Hardy."
"That may be," said Hardy, "but that is no reason why my advice should not be rendered as to how to catch the pike."
Robert Garth brought the carriage and drove, and Hardy rode his horse Buffalo. The weather was pleasant, and the drive was enjoyable.
When they came to Rosendal, the respectful demeanour of the bailiff towards Hardy struck the Pastor. Hardy placed his forefinger across his lips. The bailiff told Hardy that if they wished to have lunch in the mansion they could do so, after a walk in the beechwoods and by the lake and rosary.
"The boys are so intent on the pike fishing," said Hardy, "that I will go with them. We shall try and catch a pike, and send it up to the bailiff's wife to be baked, and will then leave our lines and join you."
"But, Herr Hardy, you have no permission to fish; it only extends to Karl and Axel," said the Pastor, with some firmness.
"Then I think I must leave the boys to their own devices," said Hardy; "but I fear no pike will appear for our lunch."
"It is better so than we should trespass on a stranger's kindness," said the Pastor.
So Hardy walked with the Pastor and his daughter through the beechwoods and by the lake.
"I think now in the summer-time, with the beech trees in full leaf, and the reeds by the lake, and the grass in the meadows in full growth, that Rosendal is nearly at its best," said Frøken Helga.
"It has its beauty always," said her father. "I have seen it in spring, and in summer, and in autumn, and in winter; it has a charm of its own. It appeals to us with its idyllic nature."
"You are right, little father," said Helga; "it has always its peculiar beauty. There is no place I love so much."
Hardy, who had bought Rosendal, felt as if he was deceiving the open and kindly natures of the Pastor and his daughter, and he determined to keep the secret no longer. He would but wait an opportunity to clear the matter up.
When they returned to the mansion of Rosendal, Garth and the bailiff's wife had prepared the refreshments they had taken with them. Garth waited at table. The bailiff's wife, however, appeared disquieted, and the Pastor asked what was the matter.
"Only that the owner of Rosendal should sit at the head of the table, instead of between two boys," replied she.
"The owner of Rosendal!" exclaimed the Pastor.
"Yes. There he sits!" said the bailiff's wife, pointing at Hardy.
"How do you know I am the owner of Rosendal?" asked Hardy.
"Because the Prokuratør Steindal has written my man to say so," said the bailiff's wife, "and we have expected it all along."
"If that be the case, Herr Pastor, you might have allowed me to catch a pike for lunch," said Hardy; "for the boys did not."
"But have you bought Rosendal, Herr Hardy?" asked Frøken Helga.
"I did so when in Copenhagen," said Hardy. "Is there any reason why I should not?"
"But why have you not said a word to us?" asked Pastor Lindal.
"Because it was so uncertain, and because I wished, as a surprise to you, to say that any enjoyment of Rosendal stands at your disposition and your family's," replied Hardy.
They all looked at Hardy, but there was no doubt of the sincerity of his meaning.
"And may we come here and catch the pike?" asked Karl, with some anxiety.
"Yes, if you can, every fin of them," replied Hardy; "and we will, if the Pastor will now allow me, catch some this afternoon. I dare say Rasmussen's widow would like as many as we can catch. We will set a lot of lines and leave them, and roam about the place and visit them later, and the chances are, if there be pike, we shall catch a few."
They wandered through the grounds and over the house and buildings with renewed interest.
"Do you understand the management of such a property, Hardy?" inquired Pastor Lindal, who, since the Rasmussen incident, rarely addressed him otherwise than by his name simply.
"I understand farming and the management of landed property in England," replied Hardy; "and it does not appear to me so very difficult to manage so small a place as Rosendal, with common sense and the assistance of so good a class of people as are already on the estate. I shall not, for instance, begin to cut down the beech trees, or drain the lake, although in an economical sense both would pay to do. The lake could be drained to a good meadow; draining at the same time the meadows adjoining, while the beech trees could be sold, and the land they occupy turned into tillage. The house is a poor residence and out of repair, so are the farm-buildings; but the place has its peculiar charm, which I should not interrupt."
Pastor Lindal regarded the practical self-possessed Englishman with surprise.
Hardy observed a look of displeasure in Helga's face at the thought of so pretty a situation being turned into a practical farm, so he said--
"I have not possession yet, and shall not have until after I leave Denmark this summer, and I could do nothing now; but my intention is to consult a professional English landscape gardener, with the view of increasing the attraction of Rosendal. He would do nothing that would appear inconsistent with the natural beauty of the place."
"But he will cut it up and make all sorts of changes!" said Helga, in a disappointed tone.
"Yes," said Hardy; "and I see you think that it would not be the same old Rosendal to you again; but you have not seen how pretty the surroundings of our English homes are made by these means, and the exercise of judicious taste."
"But it would not be the same Rosendal to me," said Helga, unconsciously uttering the very thought Hardy had read in her handsome face.
"Possibly not," replied Hardy; "but your first exclamation would be that you could not have believed Rosendal could have been made so beautiful. A natural gem must be polished to exhibit its full beauty."
"That may be; but the thought of seeing Rosendal changed, Hardy, is what strikes us," said the Pastor.
"Well, Herr Pastor, there is one thing I will do," said Hardy, "and that is, before I do anything the plans shall be submitted to your and Frøken Helga's judgment."
"Which, I fear, we shall not understand," said the Pastor.
"Yes, you will, because you will have the plan of the estate, as it now exists, before you as well as the plan of the proposed alterations; but, as far as I myself can see, no striking change would be desirable, or would be suggested."
"But why have you bought Rosendal, Herr Hardy?" asked Helga, looking full at him. She had all a woman's curiosity, and it was inexplicable to her what motive Hardy could have had for his purchase.
"I will tell you when my mother comes here next year," said Hardy.
"You have bought it for a residence for your mother, then?" said Helga, inquiringly.
"I cannot say I have," replied Hardy.
They had come to the shores of the little lake, where the two boys had been anxiously watching the trimmers that Garth had assisted them in setting round the reeds; but although they saw several fish were on, Garth would not let them take the boat to the lines until his master came. Hardy saw the situation, and said--
"Don't wait, Bob; take the lads to the lines, and let them pull them up."
Several pike were brought ashore, but none of any size. It had been the habit of the former owner of Rosendal to use nets, and take out the largest fish, so as not to allow a few monsters to tyrannize over the rest of the fish in the lake. The boys had seen similar tackle to the English trimmers, but neither so neat nor effective.
"We do not consider this method of fishing a fair way in England," said Hardy; "it is adopted by poachers, to steal fish from private ponds, and it is not popular with anglers. The approved method is to troll for pike."
"Very interesting to the fish, if they only knew it," said the Pastor. "I fear when on the hooks they would scarcely appreciate the distinction. For my part, I do not like the mode of fishing you have just practised, as a little fish is kept in misery until the pike chops him with his teeth, or it dies on the hook."
"You are quite right to condemn it in that way," said Hardy; and, turning to Karl and Axel, added, "You hear what your father says; so when you wish to fish here you must troll, as you saw me do at Silkeborg; and as only one can troll in the boat at one time, I will give you my trolling-rod and gear, so that you can fish when you like."
"Thank you, so much, Herr Hardy," said the boys at once. "You are always good, and think so much about us."
"You are kind. Hardy," said the Pastor; while Frøken Helga looked as if she did not understand Hardy.
As they walked up to the mansion from the lake, they went through the valley of roses, which has before been described as giving the name to Rosendal.
"What do you say, Frøken Helga, to this place?" asked Hardy. "Is there no room for improvement here? There are a few ragged rose bushes widely distributed, and in the whole valley of roses scarcely a dozen roses in bloom at a time of the year when there should be abundance."
"More roses might be planted, Herr Hardy," said Helga; "but your view would be to plant a straight row of standards, with a gravel walk down the middle."
"You are like Kirstin, always imputing evil to me," said Hardy. "Such a walk would destroy the natural effect of the valley, and would be a sin to do."
Helga started. She did not know that Hardy was ignorant of Kirstin's conduct towards him. The Pastor, with his delicate instinct, at once saw that Hardy was ignorant of Kirstin's tale of shame, or he would not have referred to it.
"Whatever Hardy does, Helga," said the Pastor, "will be thoughtfully done."
"No doubt of it," said Helga; "he is a cool and calculating Englishman." She was vexed at the illusion to Kirstin.
When they came close to the mansion, Hardy said, "Now, here the grounds do not require alteration, provided they were always covered with snow, which, however frequent, is not what we can fall back upon in a summer residence, which Rosendal is. There is the straight drive up to the door steps, a clump of bushes each side of a bit of meadow grass, and that is all; and there is a straight view from the house to the lake, there is no break or change, nothing catches the eye except the tethered cows. It is like the toy houses made at Leipsic for children to play with. Surely a change that introduces a thought of beauty in the landscape would not be destructive to Rosendal, Frøken Helga."
"You appear, Herr Hardy, to find fault with everything Danish," said Helga, sharply; "our horses are inferior, our houses are, and even our gardens are."
"But I never said you were," broke in Hardy, with a laugh.
"No; but I see you think it," retorted Helga. "You have heard me say that I like Rosendal as it is, and you exhibit your English ideas to show how uncivilized and wanting in taste I am."
"But are you not imputing evil," said Hardy, "like Kirstin, the grossly suspicious?"
Helga blushed and said nothing, and Pastor Lindal determined to tell Hardy what Kirstin had imputed to him.
As Garth brought round the horses and a man led out Buffalo, Karl was struck with a great wish to ride the English horse. He asked Hardy hesitatingly. Hardy told him to ask his father, who looked at Hardy.
"The horse is likely to give him a fall," he said, "and he might get an awkward fall; but boys should learn to ride, and I have no objections if you have not."
The Pastor assented, the stirrups were shortened, and Karl mounted.
"Don't pull at his mouth," said Hardy; "he does not like a stranger interfering with his mouth."
"And might I jump him over a ditch on the way home?" begged Karl.
"You may; but I think you had better leave that alone," said Hardy.
Garth drove, and Hardy chatted with the Pastor, but kept his eye fixed on Karl. Buffalo went along at a smooth trot after the carriage--so far, so well; but when they came to the meadow running down to the Gudenaa, Karl rode into the meadow and galloped at a water ditch in the same manner as he had often seen Hardy do. Buffalo stretched out and took the ditch like a bird, making a longer jump than was at all necessary. There was a loud splash and a scream from Frøken Helga, and Buffalo, with an empty saddle, was galloping away.
Hardy took the reins from Garth, as he said coolly, "Pick the lad out of the ditch, and catch the horse. There is nothing to fear, Herr Pastor."
Garth called the horse, which stopped. He then assisted Karl out of the ditch, who was covered with peaty slime, wiped the mud from his face and mouth, and pointed to the carriage. Garth then crossed the ditch on a plank bridge and caught Buffalo, and rode him over the ditch, coming to the side of the carriage. Karl looked foolish.
"There, is nothing to be ashamed of, Karl," said Hardy. "I had many a fall before I learnt how to stick on. It is what we all have to go through. Come up by the side of me, little man; you would make your father and sister in a mess."
The Pastor and his daughter were, for the moment, much frightened by the incident; but Hardy's manner of treating it as a matter of course reassured them.
"There was no cause for alarm, Herr Pastor," said Hardy. "Karl can, if he will, assure you that the mud at the bottom of the ditch was as soft as eider down. Garth, ride on; I will drive up to the parsonage, and thence to the stables."
"Thank you for a pleasant day, Hardy," said the Pastor, as he went into his house.
"Stop, Herr Pastor! here are the pike that were caught in the lake. Take what you like, and I will send the rest to Widow Rasmussen."
The pike cooked that day for dinner was, Hardy thought, a fish with as strong a flavour of mud as any fish could possibly possess. The horse-radish sauce, and the sage and bread with which it was stuffed, availed nothing, and Hardy formed a resolution with regard to the lake that afterwards had the result of its being stocked with trout instead of pike.
"_Piscator._--I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to look upon one another the next morning."--_The Complete Angler._
When the tobacco parliament began the evening after the excursion to Rosendal, Pastor Lindal said, "I have told Herr Hardy the nature of Kirstin's imputations against him, and what he said to-day to you, Helga, was in ignorance of that. I am quite sure that he would never have referred to Kirstin in the way he did had he known everything. His only thought was that Kirstin was generally suspicious and that was all. He had no idea that when you criticized his treatment of Rosendal that he was comparing your conduct with what was bad."
Helga looked puzzled; but after a while she rose up from her seat, and extended her hand to Hardy. "I hope you will forgive me, Herr Hardy, if I have not understood you."
"Thank you," said Hardy. "I had hoped that my character was so simple that it left nothing to the imagination or to construction. It appears to me to be a work of time to acquire the approving confidence of any one in Jutland."
"I begin to think you are true," said Helga. "You have said no single word which has not been borne out; but your opinions differ from ours, and that widely."
"There is, of course," said Hardy, "the difference of nationality, but in the wide world what is best is best, and if anything I do or say differs from your national feeling, yet if it be right and best it is best."
"Good, very good," said the Pastor. "We are all in the hands of a Higher Power, and we have to obey it. It is not for us to criticize and doubt, but to obey."
"But it is not a question of religion," said Helga, "if we Danes differ in opinion from the English or if our customs are different."
"Just so," said the Pastor; "but God is over all. Nation may call to nation and generation to generation; but, as Herr Hardy suggests, nationalities may differ, but what is best in thought and deed will come to the front."
"But why should he despise us?" asked Helga.
"Herr Hardy despises nothing," replied her father. "He sees and appreciates what is good in us, and sympathizes with the stability of the Danish character, but he naturally values the broader thought in everyday life of the English people."
"That is because he is an Englishman," retorted Helga.
"You forget, Helga, that Herr Hardy is present," said her father, "and what you have said would pain him. If he be an Englishman he cannot help it, and if he should be English in thought and character it is not what you should condemn. He is only true to himself. Since he has been with us, what has his conduct been?"
Helga knitted in silence; she felt the justice of her father's reproof and her injustice to Hardy.
Hardy, to change the conversation, said to Karl, "Well, Karl, you have not told us how soft you found the ditch that you went to the bottom of."
"I do not know how I fell off," said Karl. "I was suddenly under water in the ditch."
"You fell off as Buffalo was about to jump. He checked his stride before he jumped, and then you tumbled off," said Hardy.
"What should I have done?" asked Karl.
"Stuck on," replied Hardy. "You have to learn the motion of the horse when jumping, which only practise gives."
"It was like the Damhest," said the Pastor, "which is a legendary horse that comes out of mill-dams, ponds, or lakes, at night, and entices people to ride it, when it jumps into the water. The best story of it is from Thisted, a little to the north-west of this. Three tipsy Bønder (farmers) were going home, when one of them wished for a horse, that they might ride home, when, lo! there appeared a long-backed black horse, on whose back they all clambered, and there appeared room for many more. As the last man got up he exclaimed--
'Herre, Jesu Kors Aldrig saae jeg saadan Hors.'
'By the Lord Jesu's cross, Never saw I such a horse.'
Instantly at that holy name the horse disappeared from under them, and the three Bønder were lying on the ground. The Danish word for horse is 'hest,' but the Jutland people use the word 'hors,' in their dialect."
"There is a similar legend in the Shetland Islands; but, then, it is a little horse that jumps into the sea, with the unfortunate person it has enticed to mount it," said Hardy.
"There is also a similar legend in France," said the Pastor. "The horse is called 'Le Lutin.' We have another legendary horse, that is said to abide in churchyards, and has three legs. The legend has arisen from the practice in old times of burying a living horse at the funeral of a man of distinction. This horse's ghost is called the 'Helhest.' If any one meets it, it is a sign to him of an early death. It is a tradition of the cathedral at Aarhus, that such a horse is occasionally seen there. A man whose window looked out to the cathedral exclaimed one day to a neighbour, 'What horse is that?' There is none,' said his neighbour. 'Then it must be the Helhest,' said the other, who shortly after died. It is said that in the cathedral at Roeskilde, there is a narrow stone on which, in old times, people used to spit, because a Helhest was buried there. The word 'hel' is from 'hæl,' a heel, because the horse lacked one hoof or heel. The legend appears to have existed in the Roman times, as they called it Unipes, or the one-footed."
"The pronunciation of 'hel' in Danish is as if it were spelt in English as 'hæl'" said Hardy. "I certainly never heard that legend before."
"There are other legends of animals," said Pastor Lindal. "There is the Kirkelam, or the church lamb. This arose from the practice, when a church was founded, to bury under the altar a living lamb, to prevent, it was said, the church from sinking. This lamb's ghost was called the Kirkelam, and, if at any time a child was about to die, the church lamb was supposed to appear at the threshold of the door. In Carlslunde church tower there is a bas-relief of a lamb, to show that a living lamb was buried there when the church was built. It is related that a woman was sent for to nurse another woman who was very ill; as she went through the churchyard, she was aware of something like a dog or a cat rubbing itself against her clothes. She stooped down to look at it, in the half light of the evening, when, lo! it was the church lamb. The sick woman died at the very same instant, so runs the legend."
"The legend of the Kirkelam," said Hardy, "is distinctive, insomuch as it appears symbolical, and not based, as most legends are, on the fancies and wild imaginations of the people."
"In the olden times of Christianity," said Pastor Lindal, "it was found necessary to employ symbols, and to take measures to occupy the attention of an ignorant people, and it is possible that thus the practice arose to be followed by the legend."
"It was a heathen practice to bury living creatures," continued the Pastor, "to avert the plague, when sometimes they buried children, or for other fantastic reasons. Thus, there is the legend of the Gravso, meaning the buried sow. The reason for its having been buried alive is lost. The sow is supposed to appear in the streets of towns, and when it appears is an omen of bad luck or death. Sometimes it is said that it runs between people's legs, and takes them on its back, and leaves them in strange places."
"You said just now that children were buried to avert or stay the plague, when it visited Denmark," said Hardy; "does there exist any authentic record of such, or does it rest entirely on tradition?"
"I fear we must admit it to have occurred," replied Pastor Lindal. "The records of it are too many and consistent to doubt the truth of the practice. There is a tradition of a place in Jutland where all the inhabitants died of the plague, and the inhabitants of an adjoining town averted the spread of the pestilence by buying a child of a gypsy, and burying it alive, which tradition says had the desired result. There is also a tradition that on the east side of a certain church in Jutland no one is buried, because a child was buried there to stay the plague. At another place, two children were purchased of very poor parents, and were buried alive in a sandhill, to stay the pestilence then raging in the district. The people gave them some bread and butter, to induce them to go into the living grave prepared for them; and when the first spadeful of sand was thrown into the hole, one of the children cried out, 'Mother, they are throwing sand on my bread and butter!' Comparing this with the treatment of witches, or women suspected of witchcraft, at the same epoch, it is not at all impossible that such senseless and cruel customs prevailed. The stories of robbers that may be well attributed to the same period have all a cruel tinge."
"Can you tell us any?" asked Hardy.
"A very great many. One story has been adopted and embellished, and has appeared in many lands, and it is possible that you may have heard it, so wide has the same story spread. The story is that a rich man had an only daughter, and amongst many suitors was a young stranger of singularly bold manners, and she accepted him with her father's full consent. But, as it happened, she went out for a walk in a wood near, and she came to a cave. She was astonished to find that this cave was inhabited and divided into rooms. There were chairs and a table and kitchen utensils in the first room, in the second room there was much old silver plate and costly articles, but in the inner room of all there were portions of dead bodies. She was terrified, and would have fled from these horrors, but she heard steps at the entrance of the cave, and the robbers entered. She hid herself under a bed, and, to her horror, she saw the man she had promised to marry bring in a woman, whom he brutally murdered; and as he could not get a gold ring off that was on her finger, he chopped it off with an axe, with such violence that it rolled underneath the bed where she was. The robber could not find it, and gave up the search. At night, the robbers all departed on a plundering expedition, when she hastened home. She said, however, nothing of what had happened. The wedding-day was fixed, and the wedding guests assembled; but when the festivities were at the highest, she produced the finger of the dead woman, with the ring on it! The bridegroom turned pale, and, after being put to the torture, confessed many murders, and was, with his band, executed with the cruelty then practised; that is, their entrails were cut out by the executioner, the bodies severed into pieces, and hung up to rot on a gallows."
"The whole story is a very cruel picture," said Hardy.
"So the stories of robbers all are," said the Pastor. "There is a story of a robber called Langekniv, or 'long knife.' His practice was to kill people by casting a heavy knife at them, with a string attached to it, so that he could possess himself of the knife again with celerity. He committed many murders. But one day a pedlar was going across a lonely heath, when he saw Langekniv coming. The pedlar fell down at first with fright, but afterwards pretended to be nearly dead from illness; and when Langekniv came up, he said, 'Take my pack and my money, and fetch a doctor; I am dying.' Langekniv thought that with a man who could be so easily robbed, it was not necessary to do more than he was asked; but as soon as he turned to go away, the pedlar struck him with his staff a blow on the ankle, that disabled him from running. He then ran for assistance, and Langekniv, after making it very hot for his captors by casting his long knife, was seized, and bound, and put in a cart, and was executed. When his entrails was being cut out by the executioner, he was asked if it hurt, and Langekniv replied that it was not so bad as the toothache.
"There is one robber story, however, that illustrates the extraordinary manner in which a clue to a murder can sometimes be acquired. A pedlar was passing in a lonely hollow of a road on a heath in Jutland, when two robbers attacked him, and killed him under circumstances of great cruelty. A flock of wild geese was flying over head, and the pedlar said the birds of the air shall witness against you of my murder. Years went by, when, one day, the people were waiting in the churchyard for the priest to come to service. A flock of geese was flying overhead, when a horse-dealer from Holstein, a stranger to the place, said, 'There goes the pedlar's witnesses.' These words excited attention. The man lost all control over himself, and confessed the murder."
"A very extraordinary story," said Hardy, "but a very possible one. But have you not traditions of very supernatural things, as the story of the Kraken?"
"There is the tradition of the Basilisk, as we call it, and that of the Lindorm. The legend of the Basilisk is, of course, of classic origin. It is that when a cock becomes very old, it lays an egg, and the heat of a dungheap hatches it, and a Basilisk is produced. It is so hideous a monster, that whoever looks on it can no longer live, but melts away. It is also said that the Basilisk inhabits wells, and that it is dangerous to look down a well, as to encounter the gaze of a Basilisk would be to turn the beholder to stone. There is also another variation of the legend. The egg when laid by the cock must be hatched by a toad; but when the Basilisk is hatched, if it be first seen by a human being, it at once dies, but if the contrary, the beholder dies."
"There is a novel written by Sir Walter Scott," said Hardy, "under the title of 'Count Robert of Paris' in which he describes the Varanger guard. It is possible that as such a body of men did exist, that such legends were brought back by them."
"It may be," said Pastor Lindal; "but in all such matters we may dogmatize, and be very wide of the mark, although we cannot deny the possibility."
"But what about the Lindorm?" asked Hardy.
"The Lindorm is a legendary serpent," replied the Pastor. "Your English story of St. George and the dragon is a contest with a Lindorm, and we have many variations of the story. The principal incidents, however, coincide with your English story. One story of a Lindorm is, that a girl went out to milk her master's cows, and as she went over the fields she saw a little spotted snake. It appeared so pretty that she took it home and kept it in a box. Every day she fed it with milk and what else she could get that it would eat, but it became at last so large that it could not be kept in the box any longer. It ran after the girl wherever she went, and drank out of the milk-pails, as she milked the cows. This the house mother (the farmer's wife) objected to, and she said the snake should be killed to prevent further mischief; but the snake was not killed, and further mischief did occur. It became so big that it was not satisfied with what was given it, but seized the cattle, one after another, and ate them. It soon became the terror of the district. A wise woman, however, advised that a bull calf should be reared with fresh milk and wheat bread, to destroy the Lindorm. Meanwhile it had attained such a size, that every day a cow had to be given it, or an old horse, to prevent its taking the more valuable cattle. When, however, the bull calf was three years old, it was strong enough to combat the Lindorm, and killed it; but when the combat took place, the snake struck a large stone with its tail, and cut thereby a furrow in it, and the stone is shown to this day as a proof of the legend."
"A very interesting legend," said Hardy. "Are there more?"
"There is a remarkable one," replied Pastor Lindal, "as one of the legends of the old cathedral at Aarhus. Many years ago, it was observed that the bodies buried in the churchyard, then belonging to the cathedral, were taken away, no one knew how. At last, it was observed that a Lindorm had its habitation under the cathedral, and came out every night, and devoured the corpses. As it was feared that not only this would continue, but also that the foundations of the cathedral might be undermined by the excavations made by the Lindorm, it was determined to seek means to destroy it. At this time a glazier came to Aarhus, and when he heard the danger in which the cathedral was placed, he promised to help the town councillors to get rid of the Lindorm. He made a box of looking-glass so large that he could himself go into it, and to which there was only one opening, and which was not larger than that he could use his sword with effect. He had this box taken into the cathedral by daylight, and when midnight came he lighted four wax candles, which he placed in the four corners of the box. When the Lindorm came up the aisle of the cathedral and saw its reflection in the looking-glass, it thought that it was another Lindorm, with whom it could pair, and was so occupied in its contemplation that the glazier had the opportunity of cutting its throat with his sword, and it died of the wound thus given. The poisonous nature of the blood that flowed from the Lindorm, however, caused the glazier's death."
"That is certainly a striking legend," said Hardy.
"There is also a legend of a Lindorm that encircled a church and devoured the people as they came out, as it appeared only after their being in it. It had its head at one entrance and its tail at the other, and destroyed the people with both. The people then made a hole in the church wall, through which they escaped. Another legend is that a Lindorm bathes once a year in a lake, which after has a green film on it. This, however, you may have observed in the lakes at Silkeborg this summer, arising from the quantity of weed growth during the hotter weather."
"I have observed what you mention," said Hardy, "and I should expect it is not the first time that an ordinary natural occurrence has been attributed to supernatural causes."
"That applies," said the Pastor, "also to what you call in England will-o-the-wisp. We call this in Danish, Lygtemænd, or men with lanterns. The tradition is that they are spirits of wicked people, particularly of men who have measured land falsely, and so acquired an advantage over their neighbours. They are supposed to desire to mislead the traveller, and entice him into bogs and swamps. It is said that the best means to prevent being thus deceived is to turn one's hat, so that the back part should come to the front; care, however, must be taken not to point at a Lygtemænd, as he is then dangerous. Such is the tradition."
"Your legends, this evening, have been more than usually interesting, Herr Pastor," said Hardy. "It would appear as if, with such a mass of legendary lore, you would have men growing up and becoming authors of the richest fancy."
"Hans Christian Andersen is an instance," said the Pastor, "so is Ingemann, and, of late, Carl Andersen, the curator of Rosenborg palace. There are others also. It is no doubt that the human fancy, when led into extraordinary lines of thought, is influenced to produce them."
"Who hunts, doth oft in danger ride; Who hawks, lures oft both far and wide; Who uses games, shall often prove A loser; but he who falls in love Is fettered in fond Cupid's snare. My Angle breeds me no such care." _The Complete Angler._
An idea had occurred to Godseier Jensen which had filled the mind of the worthy proprietor and horse breeder. He had discussed the idea with his neighbours in all its branches, and had appealed to his paternal Government to assist him. The idea was a horse race, after the English model. Tentative advertisements appeared in the Danish and Swedish papers, and the replies in the support of the idea came in from all sides. A few Swedish noblemen owned race-horses, and they gave in their adhesion and support. The local horse-breeders and dealers were eager in its support, and the Government expressed their intention of assisting, in the hope that it might encourage the breeding of better class horses.
John Hardy was early consulted in the movement, and heard a great deal of good advice and well-intentioned talk on the subject of horses and horse racing in particular. A prominent feature in the idea was naturally where the races should be held, and on this point John Hardy, at one time, thought the whole affair would fall through.
A field was, however, found that gave a course round it of one and a quarter English miles, the soil was light, and the field did not make the best racing ground; but there was no better to be secured for the purpose, and the consequence was it was determined on. A grand stand was erected, and the course staked out, the day fixed, and the entries for the races were anxiously waited for by Herr Jensen, who acted as honorary secretary. They at last were able to arrange several flat races, a hurdle race--the hurdles rather low--a trotting match, a steeple-chase, and a consolation race. The steeple-chase course was down a sharpish incline, with a water jump at the bottom, and some fences specially erected, and about the middle of the course a stone wall of loose stones. This course was well in view of the grand stand, as well as from the middle of the flat-race course.
John Hardy was implored by proprietor Jensen to enter Buffalo for the steeple-chase, but he declined, on the ground that he preferred to look on, and did not like risking so favourite a horse in a steeple-chase race. Herr Jensen was in despair; he himself and all his friends and acquaintances felt more interest in the steeple-chase than all the rest put together. The only entries for the race were some horses belonging to a cavalry regiment, but of these there were only four. The pressure that was brought to bear on Hardy was so great, that he saw he should give serious offence if he did not let Buffalo be entered for the steeple-chase. He, however, explained to proprietor Jensen that his servant, Robert Garth, would ride, but that his orders would be to ride carefully, avoid the other horses, and not press Buffalo. Now a fresh difficulty arose. The cavalry horses were entered by the subalterns of the regiment, who would ride the horses themselves, and the Englishman was going to send his servant to ride against them. There was the insular pride and bad taste of the English exemplified, and, in the end, John Hardy had to ride his own horse, very much against his will.
The auspicious day dawned, and crowds attended, bearing positive testimony to the popularity of Herr Jensen's idea.
The Pastor declined to go; he said he thought it was no place for him. "It is a day of amusement where a black coat and the notion of a sermon appears out of place."
The Jensens insisted on taking Frøken Helga and her two brothers, who, since they had heard that Hardy was to ride, were intensely excited.
"I have prayed that you will win, Herr Hardy," said Axel, who was always a quiet lad in manner, and had become more so since his acquaintance with Hardy.
"I am going to take care of my good horse, Axel," said Hardy. "I do not intend to risk his being injured by throwing him down or letting the other horses get too near, and, besides, I should not like to win."
"And why not?" said Helga. "I cannot understand a man riding in a race and not doing his best to win it."
"Your sympathies are with the cavalry officers, and I should please you best by not winning," said Hardy.
"There is your professed superiority again," retorted Helga; "you say you are going to let the others win, suggesting that you could win the race if you chose to do so. I do not believe you can, and think you are afraid to ride hard. You speak of taking care of your horse, which means yourself."
John Hardy looked her full in the face, with a stern expression he sometimes had. What she had said would have galled any man, and Hardy felt it keenly.
The races began, and were well ridden, and ridden to win. There was no betting that John Hardy heard of. He and his servant Garth were asked, on the horses being trotted out, as to the probable winners, which they were able to indicate from their knowledge of what is and is not racing condition in a horse, and they were generally correct.
The trotting match was a failure; there were several entries, but only one horse trotted both heats round the course, the others had not been trained properly or sufficiently. The hurdle race yielded much amusement; many horses had entered for that race, and several refused to jump at all, and there were many falls, to the delight of the populace, and only three horses went through the race, which was won by a neck, the three coming well in together.
When the steeple-chase race was prepared for, Garth brought up Buffalo, looking, as he always did, a grand horse, and amongst the more horsey of the Danes there was much praise of him. John Hardy mounted; he had taken off his coat, waistcoat, and braces, and Garth had tied a blue silk handkerchief on his head. There was a quiet look of efficiency about John Hardy that was a contrast to the heavy mustachios cultivated by the cavalry officers and their rather weedy steeds. There was trouble in getting a start from the restiveness of one of the cavalry horses and the difficulty his rider experienced in managing it, but once away they swept down the slope, Buffalo two horse lengths behind. The water jump reached, the cavalry horses rushed into it, and Hardy had a difficulty in steering clear of the floundering men and horses and letting Buffalo fly the water jump. The water jump had been specially prepared, and was very shallow, and Danish horses appeared to have considered it was best to gallop through it. As it was the rule of the race that the jump must be taken, they were, by that rule, out of the race. They, however, kept on and rode well, taking the fences and wall, with Buffalo going wide of them in the rear. When they came to the rising ground again, corresponding to the slope they had ridden down, the Danish horses began to show signs of being ridden out of hand, and Buffalo passed easily in a canter, taking his fences as quietly as if at exercise, and came in an easy winner. The course had been about four to five English miles, a little too long, thought Hardy, for the Danish horses. Proprietor Jensen came forward to congratulate Hardy, and to thank him for enabling the race to be made interesting to them all.
The prize was a silver cup, but Hardy declined to accept it, to the astonishment of stout proprietor Jensen and his friends.
"What in the name of the devil's skin and bones does the man mean?" said Herr Jensen, with some heat. "Why, you have won it, and rode so well that it has been a pleasure to us all to see you."
"The race has not been a fair one," said Hardy; "my horse has been specially trained for this sort of work, the horses I rode against have not, I therefore wish the cup given to the second horse."
The Danish officers pressed Hardy to take the cup, but Hardy was firm. They spoke to him in that manly way habitual with Danish gentlemen, and Hardy liked them. They went up to Buffalo, which Robert Garth was leading up and down to cool; and Hardy induced one of the officers to try Buffalo at one of the small fences erected for the hurdle race; and when he came back, the Danish cavalry officer said, "Why, you could have ridden away from us from the first!"
"No doubt," said Hardy.
"And you did not, because you did not wish to let the race appear a hollow one," said the officer, "and it would disappoint so many."
"I only entered my horse for the race," said Hardy, "under great pressure, not until I saw I should give offence to Godseier Jensen and many others who have been kind to me. They wanted to see my horse race. I intended to have let my servant ride, but when I heard I should have to ride against Danish gentlemen, I rode myself."
"What a charger he would make!" said one of the cavalry officers.
"He is too light in bone," said Hardy. "I am an officer in the yeomanry cavalry of my country, and use a bigger framed horse as a charger."
"We will take the cup because it is your wish, Herr Hardy," said the officer, "but you must come and dine with some of us to-morrow, and bring your horse, and let the other men of our regiment see it. We are much obliged to you. You have taught us what we have heard of, and that is a hunting-seat. Cavalry men cannot go well across country, riding, as we do, with a cavalry seat. We dine at three. Ask for Baron Jarlsberg."
Hardy accepted, and went up to the grand stand where Fru Jensen and her daughters were and Frøken Helga Lindal. He had changed his clothes for a black morning coat and tweed trousers. The last race was being ran.
"Herr Jensen has sent me to see you to your carriage, Fru Jensen," said Hardy; "he is much occupied with his duties of honorary secretary, and settling the usual disputes that arise."
"And was that you with a blue handkerchief round your head and nothing on but a flannel shirt?" asked Fru Jensen.
"Yes," said Hardy; "but I had other garments on than a flannel shirt."
"Of course," said Fru Jensen, "of course; but if I were your mother, I should be afraid of your catching cold."
"But when, Fru Jensen, we ride a race, we have to be dressed for it, and the less clothes we have the better."
"And you have won the race, I hear," said Fru Jensen; "but I did not know who won, and I see it is a silver cup. It will be something to take back to England. Your father, Helga, will be glad to hear Herr Hardy is to have a silver cup."
Helga had perception enough to see that she had wounded Hardy in the early part of the day and that he had not forgotten it. He said nothing to her, but gave Fru Jensen his arm, and conducted them to the Jensen's carriage, a heavy four-wheeled conveyance, arranged to carry eight, by seats placed one after the other in a sort of four-wheeled dogcart with a long body.
It had been a great desire of proprietor Jensen to have a dinner of a public character after the races, but this it was found not practicable to carry out within anything like a reasonable hour, according to Danish notions, and the consequence was Herr Jensen had to content himself with asking as many of his own friends and his friends' friends as he could to his own Herregaard. He was in the best possible humour. The races had gone off without a hitch, and every one had congratulated him. He had been told he had made a great hit with his Englishman, as the officers of the Danish cavalry regiment were delighted with him. It was, however, positively necessary that the worthy proprietor should return home to receive his friends.
"Where is the Englishman?" he inquired, as he came to the carriage.
"Here," said Hardy. "The ladies are waiting for you, and the carriage is ready to start."
John Hardy was going to sit by the side of one of Herr Jensen's daughters, but he would not have it. The proprietor must talk over the races with Hardy, and he did, so volubly that Hardy could scarcely understand him. "I never saw anything so smart as the way you took those fences after passing the other horses! It was grand to see your horse going easily over about a foot above them; and the way you came in past the judges was splendid. I must say I did not like your refusal to take the prize; it was only a cup that cost us about £5 of your money, but it was the prize for all that, and was well won. If it was the smallness of its value," said the worthy proprietor, carried away by his enthusiasm, "I would give you a dozen such. They lost the race at once by not taking the water jump and galloping their horses through it without jumping it. I saw you were in a difficulty, but the way you held your horse and took the water jump was good. I did like the way also in which you spoke to the cavalry officers and letting one of them ride your horse over one of the hurdle jumps, and so let him see that they had been nowhere, and that you could have beaten them at any point of the race. After all, I think you were right to give up the cup with such a superior horse, but very few men would have done it, but the way you did it is what has made such a good impression. Come and stay with me as long as you like! There is a little river through my property with trout in it, you may catch them all if you like."
"Thank you, Herr Jensen," said Hardy, "but I return to England shortly. I will, however, come over, with your permission, and fish your river, which is a little tributary to the Gudenaa, and I hear has some good trout in it. We have not liked to ask your leave, because you might have other friends for whom you would wish to reserve the fishing."
"If I had," said the proprietor, "I would give it you; nothing would give me greater pleasure than to return your kindness to me. You gave up your own wishes about the racing only to oblige me; you did not wish to ride or risk your horse, but you did it to oblige me."
"Thank you very much," said Hardy. "May I take Pastor Lindal's two sons, Karl and Axel, with me to fish? They will not depopulate the stream."
"You may take anybody," said Herr Jensen, warmly.
Frøken Helga heard this conversation, and it showed her how differently Hardy had acted from what she had suggested to him in the morning before the races. Herr Jensen's unqualified praise had let her see how good Hardy had been, and how considerate for others, and she had accused him of being a coward and only caring for himself.
When they came to proprietor Jensen's Herregaard, Hardy jumped out of the carriage, and assisted Fru Jensen and her daughters out, but to Frøken Helga Lindal he only extended his arm, so that she might rest her hand on it on her descending from the carriage. She would have spoken, but Hardy was gone.
The dinner at proprietor Jensen's was a very lively affair. Early in the dinner he proposed the Englishman's health, and Hardy responded briefly; and then came many other toasts, and the ultimate conclusion was there was nothing like horse-racing, and as the evening wore on, so did the fogginess of the subject. Hardy had sent Garth to his stables with Buffalo after the race, and told him to fetch them at Herr Jensen's Herregaard at an early hour with the carriage, and Hardy drove himself, talking to Garth, who sat beside him. Karl and Axel had preferred to stay to see the last festivities of the races and to walk home, consequently Frøken Helga sat by herself in the carriage, and Hardy, after seeing her safely in and well cared for, did not address a word to her. They drove to the parsonage, and Hardy drove to the stables with Garth, to see Buffalo after his extra work that day, and Hardy walked back.
The Pastor was smoking his pipe, listening to the events of the day as described by Karl and Axel. "You won your race. Hardy," said Pastor Lindal; "and the boys say easily."
"Yes, I won the race I rode," said Hardy.
"And, father, he would not take the cup, that is the prize he won; he said his horse was a better horse, and gave it to the man who came in second, and a long way behind he was," said Karl.
Frøken Helga knitted, but did not look up.
"And did you not see the race, Helga?"
"Yes, father," said Helga; "and I saw Herr Hardy win it."
"But what is the matter, Helga?" asked her father, with some hardness.
"Father, I have been wrong," said Helga. "Herr Hardy said he did not wish to risk his horse, and that he did not wish to win the race, but that he could easily if he chose. I did not like his professing to be so superior over us Danes, and I told him so, and that he was afraid to ride his horse, and that he knew he would not win. I now know that what he said was quite true, and that he has behaved well."
"You should have heard how they cheered him when he came in," said Karl.
"I do think, Helga, if you made so insulting a speech to Herr Hardy," said the Pastor, with some asperity, "that it should be withdrawn. To tell a man that he is a coward and has false pride is too galling, and when not a single ground for it exists the more so. You might thereby have tempted him to risk his life, to say nothing of his horse."
Helga burst into tears.
Hardy rose and held out his hand to her. "I hope," he said, "you will think no more of this; I shall not. Your saying what you have to your father is enough for me. I do hope you will believe me when I say that after so frank an admission that I shall only respect the strong national feeling that prompted you. I admit a Danish gentleman can do all I can and possibly more."
"You are a gentleman, Hardy," said the Pastor.
Helga took Hardy's hand coldly, and left the room. She had made a mistake and had atoned, that was all.
The next day Hardy rode Buffalo, attended by Garth on one of the Danish horses, to the quarters of the cavalry regiment, and was received with much kindness. A dinner had been arranged at a hotel near, and the men and officers of the regiment regarded Buffalo with much interest. One after the other asked leave to mount him and ride him a short distance over a bit of grass adjoining the cavalry barracks. Hardy let them inspect the horse to their hearts' content. His winning the race so easily the day before had its special value. Hardy's knowledge of cavalry accoutrements and horses was another point of common interest. He rode several of the best horses of the regiment, but preferred changing their heavy military bridles to his own light snaffle, and the effect was marked, and was noted by the cavalry officers.
At dinner, the cup of the day before was produced, and Hardy had to drink out of it.
"It is your cup and fairly won, but we appreciate the feeling that gives it to us," said Baron Jarlsberg, "and we shall keep it in the regiment as a memento of an English horse beating the best horses in a Danish cavalry regiment."
Hardy rode to the parsonage, after a very pleasant time, with many expressions of good feeling from the Danish officers.
"These are to be angled for with a short line not much more than half the length of your rod, if the air be still, or with longer very near, or all out as long as your rod, if you have any wind to carry it from you." --_The Complete Angler._
Two days after the horse race recorded in the last chapter, John Hardy had asked the Pastor's permission to take Karl and Axel with him to fish Godseier Jensen's tributary to the Gudenaa. They had breakfast early, and Hardy asked for a little lunch to take with them, to which the Pastor willingly assented.
"Hardy," said the Pastor, "may I ask you one thing, and that is, have you spoken to Kirstin about what I told you?"
"No," replied Hardy. "Why should I? There is nothing that is necessary for me to say. She is your servant and not mine. If she be suspicious naturally and accuses me of gross misconduct, it is not for me to reprove her, although, if you believed it, I should clear myself, as I value your good opinion. Surely that is not necessary?"
"No, by no means," said Pastor Lindal; "but I thought a reproof from you----"
"You have given her reproof sufficient," interrupted Hardy, "and so have I, and there is no need to repeat it. It is true, I spoke to her without full knowledge of her conduct, but to say more is neither necessary nor expedient."
The Pastor was surprised at the decided tone Hardy used. It had been his intention to clear the matter up, so that nothing should rest in Hardy's mind against Kirstin. He now understood that Hardy thought no more of the matter than that a woman-servant in his employ had said a foolish thing. This was a small matter, but it raised Hardy much in the worthy Pastor's estimation.
Hardy had sent a note to proprietor Jensen, to say he was coming over to fish on his property, and to ask leave to put his horses in his stable. So Garth drove, and they got out of the carriage near the stream they were to fish, and Karl and Axel were soon busy in putting up the rods Hardy had given them. The stream ran through a flat meadow, and here and there was covered with reeds. There was little flow in the stream, but where it was deeper there were no reeds. The water rush was abundant on the banks, growing along the flat banks and out in the water. Hardy had heard there were plenty of trout there, but it appeared difficult to catch them. The day was warm and still, and it did not look at all propitious. Karl and Axel threw their flies into the water for a long time with no result--not a trout moved. Hardy did not fish, but looked on. It was clear the trout were not on the feed, and, moreover, the sun was high and the day bright. Hardy sat down and smoked. The two boys came back to him after their futile attempts to fish. They saw Hardy had not wetted his line, but had attached a dyed casting line to it, on which was a large but light thin wired hook. He then sent the boys hunting for grasshoppers and fernwebs, and letting out so much of the reel line as, with the casting line, would be as long as his rod, he let the grasshopper that he had put on the hook fall lightly on the water, and be carried down by the sluggish stream; there was a swirl in the water, and Hardy was fast in a big trout. The day, however, was so hot and bright that, after catching eight trout with much difficulty and steady fishing, Hardy decided to call at the Jensen's Herregaard, and give them the fish he had caught, and fish in the evening, when the sun was less powerful. The heat, as it sometimes is in Denmark, was excessive. He had been seen coming up the avenue of lime trees, and the stout proprietor came out to meet him, with his face full of pleasure and kindness, for he liked John Hardy.
"Welcome, and glad to see you!" exclaimed Herr Jensen. "It is too hot and bright for fishing, and you have been wise to come up to the house. I thought it probable that you would not fish much, and I remained at home in the hope you might call."
"We have caught a few trout for you," said Hardy; "but the heat in your flat country such a day as this is more than I care to bear. Your trout are larger on the average than in the Gudenaa, and are splendid fish. I have fished in many lands, and never saw better. The few fish we have caught to-day average a pound, but they are very young fish, and I never saw fish the same age so large."
"How can you tell how old they are?" asked Herr Jensen, incredulously.
"Why, you look at a horse's mouth, don't you? and it is the same with trout," replied Hardy; "that is, to some extent. The teeth get larger at the base, the jaw bone thickens with age, and the snout gets longer. I have often seen trout that have been reared from ova, and whose age was consequently known, and have closely observed their mouths. The fish in your stream grow fast from the great abundance of the food that trout thrive best on."
"But come in out of the heat," said Herr Jensen, "and have a snaps or a glass of wine. My friends who come here to fish rarely catch so many trout in a whole day's fishing; and that when they consider the weather favourable; but you English appear to be born with a rod and a gun."
Karl and Axel proposed going with Robert Garth to see the proprietor's horses and live stock, and, as they knew a little English, they got on very well with Garth, whom they considered a paragon of a servant. His respectful demeanour towards Hardy impressed them, and the way he did his work about the horses was always a matter of interest.
Hardy went into the proprietor's spacious reception room, which was well but plainly furnished, with its aspect of neatness so dear to a Danish house mother.
Fru Jensen and her two daughters were knitting, but rose to welcome Hardy, with the genial friendliness habitual with Danish ladies. They insisted on his staying to dinner, but Hardy objected, as he had Karl and Axel with him as well as his servant; but all objections were futile, and Fru Jensen left the room, to give the necessary directions for a very substantial dinner.
Mathilde Jensen was about two and twenty, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes, and light hair, and a cheerful manner. "How is your beautiful horse, Herr Hardy?" she asked.
"Quite fit to run another race," replied Hardy. "But do not you Danish ladies ride?"
"Yes. We have each our own horse, and we often ride with father and by ourselves short distances," said Frøken Mathilde; "but they are not such good horses as those you have purchased in Denmark."
"They are never satisfied with their horses," said the proprietor; "they are always wanting me to buy a horse of a different colour than what they have got--first it's chesnut, and then dark bay."
"Would you like to ride one of my Danish horses?" said Hardy. "They have been frequently ridden."
"No, no; don't go putting that in their heads, Herr Hardy!" protested the proprietor. "They never had a petticoat on their backs."
"If Frøken Mathilde would lend her side saddle and an old skirt, my man shall try both the horses, while we are here," said Hardy. "I have no lady's saddle here, but from what I know of the horses there is no doubt but that they will carry a lady quietly, and better backs for a lady I have seldom seen."
Proprietor Jensen's desire to see an English groom, whom he saw understood his business, handling his favourite animal, a horse, overcame whatever scruples he may have had as to its leading to his daughters riding Hardy's horses, and in a few minutes one of the horses was mounted by Garth, with a skirt tied to his waist, and the horse trotted and cantered up and down the avenue. The other horse was also tried. The English groom's perfect riding was much praised by the proprietor.
"Do let me ride, father, just once up and down," begged Frøken Mathilde; and before her father could object, she had slipped the skirt that Garth had just untied from his waist over her dress and mounted, with Garth's assistance.
It was a pretty sight to see the handsome girl's enjoyment of riding the well-trained horse, as she rode up to where her father and mother and Hardy were standing.
"Oh, father!" she exclaimed, "you must get me a horse like this, or I shall die, I know I shall;" and she went up and kissed her father in a coaxing manner.
"What nonsense!" said the prudent Fru Jensen. "One horse is as good as another for you."
"Well, well, we'll see," growled the proprietor, but pleased, nevertheless, to see his daughter, like himself, fond of horses.
At dinner the conversation turned on Rosendal, which the Jensens had heard Hardy had purchased.
"It is a pretty place," said the proprietor, "but the farm is not much. But why did you buy it? It cannot be as a speculation, as the price is excessive."
"He intends to marry Helga Lindal and live there so that she will not be too far from her father, to whom she is so much attached," said Mathilde Jensen, laughing. "I can explain it all for him."
"Thank you, for disposing of my affairs so nicely," said Hardy; "you have saved me a good deal of explanation."
"Yes, but Pastor Lindal's daughter is going to marry the Kapellan (curate) he once had, a Kapellan Holm. She refused him, but her father wishes it, as Holm is a good man," said Fru Jensen.
"In Denmark, you must know," said the proprietor, "that it is the custom for a Pastor's daughter always to marry the Kapellan."
Hardy understood now the secret of Frøken Helga Lindal's manner. She was attached to this Kapellan Holm.
"But what are you going to do with Rosendal?" asked Herr Jensen. "It is a matter of interest to us; it is not far, and we should like such a neighbour as Herr Hardy."
"The first thing I intend to do is to improve the grounds and repair the house, but I do not contemplate making much alteration."
"I should so like to see Rosendal!" said Mathilde Jensen; and her younger sister, Marie Jensen, expressed the same wish.
"Why, you have seen it again and again," said their mother. "You want Herr Hardy to take you."
"So we do, little mother," said both the girls, "and we want him to let us ride his horses."
"Snak!" said their father. The Danish word "snak" has its peculiar expressive force, its meaning in English being that nonsense is being talked.
"Garth shall bring over both horses to-morrow," said Hardy, "and I will ride over; and I dare say Herr Jensen will accompany us, and lend my man a horse, as we should want him at Rosendal. If you assent, I will send a message to the bailiff, as you might like a little refreshment there."
"A most excellent plan, Herr Hardy!" exclaimed Frøken Mathilde; "but it leaves little mother home alone, which is the only fault in it. But you will drive, won't you, little father, and take mother and Herr Hardy's groom?"
Of course everything was ordered as Frøken Mathilde Jensen wished. She had made her father make many a sacrifice of his money and own wishes, but she repaid him with her real affection for him.
As the evening drew on, Hardy and the two boys left, and tried the proprietor's little stream with a fly. The trout rose freely, and Hardy caught about a dozen. The fish rose best to a gray-winged sedge fly, when thrown high over the water and falling slowly and softly near the reeds. Karl and Axel had little success, the perfect stillness of the water to them was a difficulty.
When they arrived at the parsonage, the Pastor was smoking in his accustomed chair, and his daughter was singing to him. She stopped as soon as she heard the carriage wheels. And after speaking a few words to the Pastor, Hardy went to his room. Karl and Axel remained, and, like other boys who go about very little, were very full of the day's experiences. The trying the horses was described, and Frøken Mathilde Jensen's explanation of why Hardy had bought Rosendal was given in full, with Fru Jensen's statement as to Kapellan Holm; so that when John Hardy came from his room, he saw that something had passed which had disturbed both the Pastor and his daughter. He at once judged correctly what had occurred. The boys were in the habit of saying what was uppermost.
It was clear, then, that what Proprietor Jensen had said about Frøken Helga was correct.
"We have caught a few trout," said Hardy, "and taken a few to the Jensens, who were so good as to make us stay to dinner, with the kind hospitality so conspicuous in Denmark."
"They are hospitable people," said the Pastor.
"But great gossips," added the daughter, who had scarcely noticed Hardy since his return. She got up and left the room.
Hardy determined to risk a question. "Your daughter is, the Jensens say, attached to a Kapellan Holm, Herr Pastor?" said he, inquiringly.
"No, decidedly not," said the Pastor. "I am sorry to say she dislikes him; his manner is not pleasant, and she considers him addicted to drink, of which I have never observed any sign. He is a good man, a little boisterous in manner. He is coming here to assist me in the winter, and will live with us. He is now in Copenhagen."
Hardy thought Helga Lindal difficult to understand. That she would marry a man that the Pastor had described was not consistent with her character; but, then, women do inconsistent things. Her manner to him was not courteous--it was unfriendly; but now and then she would speak warmly and gratefully for any kindness Hardy showed her father.
"Godseier Jensen and his family are going to Rosendal to-morrow," said Hardy, after smoking some time in silence.
"Yes," said Karl; "the Frøken Jensens want to ride Herr Hardy's horses."
Helga had returned, and heard what Karl said.
"Frøken Mathilde Jensen is a girl with a cheerful character, open and honest, like the Danes naturally are," said Hardy.
"I think she is a great deal too forward!" said Helga, sharply.
Hardy looked at her; it was clear she meant what she said. To his view there was nothing to condemn in Mathilde Jensen's conduct. She had good animal spirits, was natural in manner, and affectionate to her parents, who rather spoilt her.
The next day Hardy rode his English horse to the Jensens' Herregaard, and Garth followed with both the Danish horses.
The Jensens were all on the doorsteps, as Hardy trotted up. The proprietor received him warmly, and his family did the like. He walked round Hardy's horse and admired him, as he had done on a previous occasion.
"It is the breadth of his loins," he said, "that sends him over his jumps. I never saw anything so fine as when he passed the other horses, taking his leaps like nothing; and how he came in with a grand stride, by the winning post!"
"As you breed horses, Herr Jensen," said Hardy, "you should import an English mare of Buffalo's stamp; it would enormously improve your breeding stud. A stallion would not do so well, and would be very costly. It is a slower process, but a more certain one."
"Yes; but we Danes are poor," said the proprietor, "and I cannot afford the purchase of such a mare."
"When I return to England, I will see what I can do for you," said Hardy.
The side saddles were placed on Hardy's Danish horses, and they went to Rosendal, the Frøken Jensens enjoying the ride greatly.
Fru Jensen went through the dairy and criticized, her husband did the same with the farm buildings, and gave Hardy useful and practical advice, which Hardy noted down and afterwards followed.
They strolled through the beech woods, and saw the valley of roses in its ragged and neglected condition. But the good proprietor would insist on seeing the farm, and on this also he gave Hardy many practical hints. They returned to the mansion and had such a lunch as Hardy had been able to arrange, which delighted Frøken Mathilde Jensen from its incompleteness.
"The fact is, Herr Hardy," she said, "you want a wife. You have no idea how to manage anything. We have none of us a napkin, and everything is served abominably."
"I hope to induce my mother to come here next summer," said Hardy; but he knew Mrs. Hardy of Hardy Place would scarcely adapt herself to the situation Frøken Mathilde suggested.
"No doubt your mother will do everything," said Frøken Mathilde, "but a wife is the one thing needful."
"Possibly," said Hardy. "I will consult my mother on the subject."
"I do not like, Mathilde," said Fru Jensen, "your saying such things to Herr Hardy. It is not what I should have said when I was your age."
"That may be, little mother," replied Frøken Mathilde; "but Englishmen are very dull, and you had none to talk to."
As they rode back to the Jensens' Herregaard, the two girls wanted to race the horses back, to Herr Jensen's and his wife's great alarm.
Hardy told them their parents did not wish it, and that, as they did not, he did not; and he, instead of riding with them, rode by the side of the proprietor's carriage. And when they arrived at the Herregaard, the girls dismounted, and Frøken Mathilde said, with much emphasis--
"Herr Hardy, we thank you for your kindness to us, but we both vote that you are frightfully dull and a bore; but we like you very much."
The hospitable proprietor would not hear of Hardy's leaving; a glass of schnaps was inevitable and a smoke, and Rosendal was discussed again and again, and its advantages and defects considered from every point of view.
At last, Hardy left, and rode to Vandstrup Præstegaard, in time for a later dinner than usual Hardy told the Pastor of the practical advice Proprietor Jensen had given him, and the Pastor commented on it and approved.
Frøken Helga asked if the Fru Jensen had given him any advice.
"Yes," said Hardy, "and very good advice, about the management of the people and dairy." But, he added, the Frøken Jensens had decidedly advised him to marry, so as to have some one to manage these details for him; but he had replied that he must consult his mother on such a subject.
"And which you intend to do, Herr Hardy?" asked Helga.
"Certainly," said Hardy.
"Good God, how sweet are all things here! How beautiful the fields appear! How cleanly do we feed and lie! Lord, what good hours do we keep; How quietly we sleep! What peace! what unanimity! How different from the lewd fashion Is all our business, all our recreation!" _The Complete Angler._
Frøken Helga had filled the porcelain pipe with Kanaster one evening, when she said to her father that he should relate to Herr Hardy what he knew of Folketro.
"What is Folketro?" asked Hardy.
"It is the belief in supernatural subjects; for instance, the belief in the merman is a Folketro."
"I know the beautiful old ballad that is sung in Norway of the merman king rising from the sea in a jewelled dress, where the king's daughter had come to fish with a line of silk. He sings to her, and, charmed with his song, she gives him both her hands, and he draws her under the sea."
"Yes, we all know that ballad," said the Pastor; "it is known to all Scandinavians. We have, however, in Jutland, a tradition founded upon it. Two poor people who lived near Aarhus had an only daughter, called Grethe. One day she was sent to the seashore to fetch sand, when a Havmand (merman) rose up out in the sea. His beard was greener than the salt sea, but otherwise his form was fair, and he enticed the girl to follow him into the sea, by the promise of as much silver as she could wish for. She went to the bottom of the sea, and was married to the Havmand ('Hav' is a Danish word for the sea), and had five children. One day she sat rocking the cradle of her youngest child, when she heard the church bells ring ashore. She had almost forgotten what she had learnt of Christian faith, but the longing was so great to go to church that she wept bitterly. The merman at length allowed her to go, and she went to church. She had not been there long before the merman came to the church and called 'Grethe! Grethe!' She heard him call, but remained; this occurred three times, when the merman was heard loudly lamenting, as he returned to the sea. Grethe remained with her parents, and the merman is often heard bitterly grieving the loss of Grethe."
"The same tradition occurs in many lands," said Hardy.
"Yes, but that is the one we have here in Jutland," replied Pastor Lindal. "There is a story that comes from the neighbourhood of Ringkiøbing, which may have a similarity with traditions elsewhere also; but the Jutland story is as follows: For a long time no ship had been wrecked on the west coast of Jutland, and consequently the Havmand had been a long time without a victim. So he went on land and threw a hook at the cattle on the sand hills, whither they frequently wandered from the farms, and dragged them into the sea. Close to the sea lived a Bonde, who had two red yearlings, which he did not wish to lose; so he coupled them together with twigs of the mountain ash, over which the Havmand had no power. However, he threw his hook at them, but could not drag the yearlings down to the sea, as they were protected by the virtue in the mountain ash. His hook stuck in its twigs, and the yearlings came home with it, and the Bonde hung it up in his house by the chimney. One day, when his wife was at home alone, the Havmand came and took away the hook, and said, 'The first calves of red cows, with a mountain ash couple, the Havmand could not drag to the sea, and for want of my hook I have missed many a good catch.' So the Havmand returned to the sea, and since then has never taken any cattle from that part of the coast."
"It is very possible that the cattle were stolen by people landing from the sea," said Hardy.
"Probably," said the Pastor. "There is another story of a Havmand's body being washed up by the sea, close to the church, and it was buried in the churchyard. But the sea every year washed away so much of the sandy coast that the people were afraid the church would be washed away; so they dug up the Havmand, and found him sitting at the bottom of the grave, sucking one of his toes. They carried him down to the sea, for which he thanked them, and said that now the sea should ever cast up as much sand as it washed away, and both the church and churchyard should never suffer from the encroachments of the sea."
"A story with more apparent improbability than usual. But the impression appears to exist that these supernatural beings could never really die. Is it not so?" inquired Hardy.
"It would appear so," replied the Pastor; "but in the case of Trolds or Underjordiske, their deaths are occasionally referred to in the traditions about them."
"But are there no legends of mermaids?" said Hardy.
"Many," replied the Pastor. "The Danish word is 'Havfru,' or sea-woman. On the Jutland coast a mermaid or Havfru was accustomed to drive her cattle up from the sea, so that they could graze in the fields ashore. This the Bønder did not like. They, therefore, one night, surrounded the cattle, and secured both them and the Havfru in an enclosure, and refused to let them go until they had been paid for the grass the sea cattle had consumed from their fields. As she had no money, they demanded that she should give them the belt that she wore round her waist, which appeared to be covered with precious stones. To ransom herself and cattle, she at length consented, and the Bønder received the belt; but as she went to the sea-shore she said to the biggest bull of her herd, 'Root up,' and the bull rooted the earth up that was over the sand in their meadows, and the consequence was the wind blew the sand so that it buried the church. The Bønder, therefore, had small joy of the belt, particularly when they found it was only common rushes."
"There is a ballad," said Hardy, "that I met with in Norway of Count Magnus and the Havfru. She promised him a sword, a horse, and a ship of miraculous powers; but he was true to his earthly love."
"The people often sing it here," said the Pastor, "and a good ballad it is. It is, however, well known in England. There was a common belief that there were cattle in the sea, and it is related that a man once saw a red cow constantly in the evening feeding on his standing corn. He asked his neighbours' assistance, and they secured it. It had five calves whilst in the man's possession, and each of them cow calves; but they gave him so much trouble from their unruly nature that he beat them frequently. One day he did so by the seaside, when a voice from the sea called the cattle, who all rushed into the sea.
"There is a very common story of a fisherman, on the west coast of Jutland, seeing a Havmand riding on a billow of the sea, but shivering with the cold, as he had only one stocking on. The fisherman took off one of his stockings and gave it to the Havmand. Some time after, he was on the sea fishing, when the Havmand appeared, and sang--
'Hør du Mand som Hosen gav. Tag dit Skib og drag til Land, Det dundrer under Norge.'
'Listen, you man, who gave the stocking. Take your ship and make for land, It thunders under Norway.'
The fisherman obeyed, and a great storm ensued, and many people perished at sea."
"It is common to observe that where the natural disposition of the people is a kindly one, there exists in their legends instances of a similar character, where a kindness is recollected and rewarded," said Hardy.
"It occurs often," said Pastor Lindal, "in the legends of the Underjordiske."
"Hans Christian Andersen has a story about the elder tree, but it is not very clear what position the fairy of the elder tree bears in tradition," said Hardy.
"There is supposed to exist in the elder tree a supernatural being, a gnome or fairy, called the Hyldemøer, or fairy of the elder tree," replied the Pastor. "She is said to revenge all injury to the tree; and of a man who cut an elder bush down, it is related that he died shortly after. At dusk, the Hyldemøer peeps in through the window at the children, when they are alone. It is also said that she sucks their breasts at night, and that this can be only averted by the juice of an onion."
"Is there any distinct legend of the Hyldemøer?" asked Hardy.
"Not that I know of," replied the Pastor. "There is a saying that a child cannot sleep if its cradle is made of elder tree, but there is no story with any incidents, that I am aware of. A cradle of elder tree is not likely to be often made."
"The legend of the were-wolf is very general in all Europe," said Hardy. "Does the tradition exist with you?"
"It is called the Varulv with us," replied the Pastor. "It is said to be a man, who changes into the form of a wolf, and is known by a tuft of hair between the shoulders. When he wishes to change himself from the human form to a wolf, he repeats three times, 'I was, I am,' and immediately his clothes fall off, like a snake changing its skin. It is said that if a woman creeps under the caul of a foal, extended on four sticks, that her children will be born without the usual pains of childbirth, but that the boys will be Varulve, and the daughters Marer, or mares. The superstition about the latter, I will tell you presently. The man, however, is freed by some other person telling him he is a Varulv. In the other traditions on the subject elsewhere, the Varulv is supposed to attack women near their confinement; and it is related that a man, who was a Varulv, was at work in the fields with his wife, when suddenly a wolf appeared, and attacked her. She struck at it with her apron, which the wolf tore to pieces. Then the man reappeared, with a torn piece of the apron in his mouth. 'You are a Varulv,' said the woman; and the man said, 'I was, but now you have told me so I am free.' This is the Jutland legend of the were-wolf."
"What is that of the Marer, or mares?" asked Hardy.
"Marer is the plural of Mare," replied the Pastor. "It is a woman, who, like the Varulv, changes to the form of a mare. It is the nightmare, which, as we all know, is dreadful enough. A woman who is a Mare (the final e is pronounced as a) is known by the hair growing together on her eyebrows. It is a very old superstition. It occurs in Snorro's 'Heimskringla,' where King Vauland complains of a Mare having ridden him in his sleep. There are several stories based on the superstition. A Bondekarl--that is, a farm servant--was ridden every night by a Mare, although he had stopped up every hole to prevent her; but at last he discovered that she came through a hole in an oak post, which he stopped with a wooden pin, as soon as he knew she was in the room. As the day dawned, she assumed her human form, having no power otherwise. The man married her, and they lived together very happily. One day, the man asked his wife if she knew how she came into the house, and showed her the little wooden pin, which yet stood in the oak post. His wife peeped through the hole, and as she stood and looked, she suddenly became so small that she could go through the hole. She disappeared and never returned. There is also a story of a certain Queen of Denmark, who was very fond of horses, but she liked one horse far beyond the others. The groom observed that this horse was always tired in the morning, with the appearance of its having been ridden all night. He at length suspected that it was ridden by a Mare. He, therefore, one night took a bucket of water and threw it over the horse, when, lo! the queen sat on the horse's back."
"The superstition is evidently an ancient one," said Hardy. "There is no doubt that people had the nightmare very badly in old times, from their habits of life and sudden and violent changes taking place in their circumstances."
"There is a method of catching a Mare," said the Pastor; "and that is by putting a sieve over her when she is acting a nightmare. It is said she can then be caught, as she cannot come out until she has counted all the holes in the sieve."
"There are difficulties enough attending that," said Hardy. "But surely this must exhaust all the subjects you call Folketro?"
"By no means," said the Pastor. "We have a very dangerous coast on the west of Jutland, and I have heard sailors say of our sandy coast that they prefer rocks to sands to be wrecked on. There has consequently arisen a superstition as to omens, and these are called Strandvarsler, or omens from the sea-shore or strand. Varsel is an omen, Varsler is the plural of the word. In old times it was said to be dangerous to go on the roads or paths near the coast, as the Strandvarsler were often met. They were ghosts of people who had been drowned and still lay unburied in the sea. It is related that one evening a Strandvarsel jumped on a Bonders back and shouted, 'Carry me to church!' The Bonde had to obey, and went the nearest way to the church. When he came close to the churchyard wall, the Strandvarsel jumped over it; but the Kirkegrim, of whom I will speak directly, seized the Strandvarsel, and immediately a combat took place between them. When they had fought a while, they both rested to take breath. The Strandvarsel asked the Bonde, 'Did I hit him?' 'No,' said the Bonde. So they fought again, and again they rested, and the Strandvarsel put the same question. 'No,' said the Bonde. They fought again, and they rested, and the same question was put by the Strandvarsel. 'Yes,' said the Bonde. 'It was lucky for you that you said "Yes,"' said the Strandvarsel, 'or I would have broken your neck.' The legend goes no farther. There is, however, another story, but of the same character in its bearing. A Bondekone--that is, a farmer's wife--went out to milk her cows. She saw that a corpse had been washed up by the sea, and there was a purse of money on its waist. As there was no one near, she took the money, which she thought she could have as much need of as any one else. But the next night the Strandvarsel came and made so much noise outside her window that she came out, and he said she must help him. There was nothing to do but to obey, she thought; so she said farewell to her children, as she expected death, and went out to the Strandvarsel. When she came out, he told her to take him by his leg and drag him to the nearest churchyard, which was three English miles distant. When they came to the churchyard, the Strandvarsel said, 'Let me go, or the Kirkegrim will seize you.' This she did; but as soon as the Strandvarsel was in the churchyard, the Kirkegrim rushed at the Bondekone, and seized her by her skirt; as this was old, it gave way, and she escaped. But she had a good time of it after, with the money she had taken from the corpse by the sea-shore."
"These legends are fresh and interesting," said Hardy; "thank you very much. But is there no story where an omen had effect?"
"There are several," replied the Pastor, "and the people on the west coast have the reputation of having what is called a clear sight of the future in this respect. There was a man who stated that a ship would be wrecked at Torsminde, which would be laden with such heavy timber that it would take four men to carry each of the pieces of timber. He said he had the warning from a Strandvarsel. A year passed, when a ship was wrecked, with such heavy railway iron that it took four men to carry each rail. It was certainly a mistake for the omen to say it would be timber when it was iron; but as it was correct about four men having to carry each piece of railway iron, and the ship did wreck at Torsminde, it was considered a true warning or omen."
"But that brings the superstition down to quite recent time," said Hardy.
"I have already told you that these superstitions yet live in the hearts of the people; they do not confess them openly, but they do exist here and there."
"What is the superstition about the Kirkegrim?" asked Hardy.
"The Kirkegrim," replied the Pastor, "is a spirit or gnome that inhabits the church, and revenges any injury to it or the churchyard. That is all; there are no stories about it, beyond what I have related, that I know of."
"It is, in fact, a spiritual churchwarden," said Hardy, "after our English notions. It is to be regretted we have not them in England."
"I think, little father, you have talked a long time, and you are tired," said Frøken Helga.
"You are right, Frøken," said Hardy. "Thank you, Herr Pastor, for a series of interesting legends. I can only say how sorry I am that I must go to England shortly. My mother wishes to have me at home, as she is lonely without me, and I cannot bear she should be so any longer."
"And when, Herr Hardy, do you propose to leave?" inquired Helga.
"In about a week, Frøken," replied Hardy, to whom he thought it appeared a matter of indifference whether he went or stayed.
"My father will miss you much, and so shall we all," said Helga. "You have been good and kind, and there has nothing happened about you that we have not liked."
Hardy looked at her. It was clear that, as usual, she said nothing but what she meant.
"If you come here again, you will go to Rosendal?" said the Pastor.
"Yes," replied Hardy. "My intention is to go to Rosendal in May, next year, and I hope to bring my mother with me; but, meanwhile, I have told the bailiff that the place is at your disposition, and Karl and Axel can catch all the fish in the lake they can; and as it is my intention to clear the lake of pike and put in trout instead, I hope they will use their best endeavours. My rods and tackle I will leave to assist them."
"You are so good to us, Herr Hardy!" said Karl.
"Yes; but I am afraid I have a proposition to make with regard to you, Karl, which may interrupt the fishing."
"And what is that?" asked the Pastor.
"Your present view with regard to Karl is that he should go to Copenhagen and be a legal student. Now, my proposition is that he returns with me to England, that he resides at Hardy Place and learns English, during the winter. I will get a tutor in the English curate with the English rector of my parish. I will, meanwhile, inquire if I can find him a place in an English house of business in London, and, if I can, it will be a better future for him than that of a legal student in Copenhagen. At any rate, the experiment can be tried; and there is another reason--it will cost you, Herr Pastor, nothing."
"It is kind," said the Pastor. "I will think of it, and I thank you, Hardy."
"I have much to thank you for, Herr Pastor. I have learnt much here," said Hardy, "and as you will take nothing from me for the cost I have put you to during my stay here, it will give me the opportunity of repaying in part my debts to you."
The Pastor rose up and extended his hand to Hardy, and said, "I cannot say how much I thank you. I accept it, Hardy."
His daughter had knitted as usual, but her head was bent over her work.
"Helga," said the Pastor, "why do you not speak?"
"Because, father," said Helga, "Herr Hardy is so good I do not know what to say. He is better than other men."
When Hardy said "Good night" to her, before he went to his room, she said, "Good night, sir!" in English, but would not take the hand Hardy held out to her.
"_Piscator._--But come, sir, I see you have dined, and therefore, if you please, we will walk down again to the little house, and I will read you a lecture on angling." --_The Complete Angler._
Frøken Helga and Kirstin the next day were much occupied in preparing Karl's outfit; old stockings had to have new feet, cloth had to be bought and the tailor sent for, as well as a Syjomfru, or seamstress, to assist about his shirts. An inquiry, however, directed to Hardy on the subject, put a stop to all the bustle.
"How many stockings of a thick kind had Karl better take?" asked Helga. "We are preparing his outfit, and there is but a short time to get his clothes and shirts made."
'"The less he takes the better," replied Hardy. "It is better he should get his clothes in England. He will then appear like lads of the same age do in England in dress. It is very galling to a lad not to be dressed as other boys. English boys are apt to tease on the subject of anything foreign in dress and manner. I know it is not good conduct to do so, but it is done. If, therefore, you will let me order his things in England, it will be best, and save you much trouble now."
"But my father would find it difficult to pay for the expensive English things," retorted Helga.
"No, he will not; that I will care for," said Hardy, using a familiar Danish phrase.
"Then I must mention it to my father," said Helga.
"Certainly," said Hardy; "but tell him that as I have undertaken to make an effort on Karl's behalf to assist him to an independent position, it will be less difficult for me to do so if he is well dressed."
"You despise everything Danish, Herr Hardy, even a boy's clothes," said Helga, as she was leaving the room.
"Stop," said Hardy; "I want to ask you one question. Do you not yourself think, Frøken Helga, that what I propose is best for Karl?"
"Yes," said Helga, almost involuntarily.
"Then why should you suggest to me that I despise everything Danish?" asked Hardy. "No country has interested me more."
Helga looked at him, as if begging him to say no more, and went to her father's study. She told him what Hardy had said. "I think it is so noble of him, little father, to be so considerate; he seems to think beforehand of everything."
"Yes," said Pastor Lindal, "I have learnt to know that if he does anything, he is sure to find out the kindest way to do it. I will go at once and thank him."
"And I told him, little father, that he despised everything Danish, even to a boy's clothes," said Helga, between whom and her father existed a perfect trust in one another; "and he looked hurt, and I feel so sorry, little father."
"You treat him as if you disliked him, Helga, but if you do he has certainly given no cause, and he is entitled to common civility. I think what you told me you said to him at the horse-race was irritating and wrong."
"I feel it was, little father, but I do my utmost to try not to like him or any one. Kirstin has told him that my duty is to you and Karl and Axel, and that I could never marry. I know it is my duty to live for you, little father, and that you could not get on without me."
"You have a duty to yourself, Helga," said her father, gravely, as he saw that his daughter liked Hardy, and that her conduct towards him had only been an effort to do what she thought her duty in life. He saw also that in a short time Hardy would see it too. "There is no man I like so much," added he; "but I do not wish to lead you to like any one, yet there is no good in struggling against what is natural and necessary. Now, Helga, answer me this--has he said anything to you?"
"No, no; not a word!" replied Helga, quickly.
"I was sure of it," said her father, "and he will not; he is under my roof, and he will say nothing to me or you--he has too much delicacy of feeling to do so."
"But, little father, he looks on me as an inferior," said Helga. "He is so superior in everything, that I feel as if he said, 'You are a simple country girl.'"
"Well," said her father, "what are you else? But I am sure he never said or, by his manner, led you to infer that he thought you his inferior."
"It is not that," said Helga. "If he but opens the door and enters a room or leaves it, he does so in a manner I cannot describe. He is not like other men. He does everything well and knows everything well. He makes me feel I am so small."
"When he is with me," said the Pastor, "he makes me feel the better Christian and more kindly towards every one. When he first came he taught me one sentence I shall never forget, 'that kindliness is the real gold of life.'"
"But you said that on the first Sunday he was here, little father, in your sermon," interrupted Helga.
"But I learnt it from him," said the Pastor. "But there is something I think I had better tell you, as there should be perfect confidence, even in thought, between us, my child. When Karl came from the Jensens' the other day, he repeated what Mathilde Jensen said about Hardy buying Rosendal. I think myself it is probable--mind, I only say probable. I see he observes everything you do, and that your unfair speeches hurt him. He asked me if you were, as Fru Jensen said, attached to Kapellan Holm, and his manner for the moment changed. He is going to bring his mother over to Denmark, and, judging from his character of simple kindly consideration for every one, it is clear he wishes his mother to see you before he speaks."
"Oh, little father, it cannot be true," said Helga; "it cannot be true!"
"No, it is not true; but it is, as I said, probable," replied her father. "But there is one thing I should like to tell him myself, if you dislike what I have said, and that is, if he should entertain anything of the sort, that you have no wish in that direction. I do not think it right to let him nurse the probability in his mind that you might listen to him when he comes with his mother next year, when it would be painful to her to see her only son get a Kurv" (literally, a basket; the meaning is a rejection). "I think we should save them this, as it would be a heavy blow to both son and mother."
"But Kirstin has told him I cannot marry, little father," said Helga, "and he believes it."
"Herr Hardy will not care what an old woman says," replied her father; "but there is no need to say anything whatever, and nothing must be said unless you feel you could never listen to him."
"I do not know what to say, little father," said Helga, with a bright gleam of coming happiness in her eyes.
"Then we will say nothing, and let things take their course," said Pastor Lindal. "It is best so. You do not know your own mind yet, and it is possible it is the same with Hardy; only do not build too much on this, Helga. And now kiss your little father, and I will go and thank Hardy for his goodness about Karl."
John Hardy was writing a letter to his mother.
"We shall be home in ten days from the date of this letter, dearest mother, and this letter will be three days reaching you. The route we shall take is by the cattle steamer from Esbjerg to Harwich, from which latter place I will telegraph. I shall bring the two Danish horses I have bought for your own use, and as Garth has had them in training some time they will be ready for you to use at once.
"I shall bring a son of Pastor Lindal's with me; his age is, as I have told you in a former letter, about sixteen. His father has been good to me, and would receive no payment for my stay with him; but I have left the money to be distributed in his parish as he should direct. My view is to let Karl Lindal stay at Hardy Place this autumn and winter, but in the spring to get him a situation with a foreign broker in London. His knowledge of English is only from what I have taught him, and it is necessary that he should learn more to fit him for an office in England. He is also a raw country lad, and a stay at Hardy Place will work a change, and prepare him for a wider sphere than a retired Danish parsonage.
"I am expecting the gardener you have sent over to survey Rosendal and plan some improvement in the grounds. He has been two days at Rosendal, and, I fear, has had the usual difficulty of language. Garth, however, has been with him, to assist his measuring. Pastor Lindal and his daughter are in a state of alarm at what I am going to do there. They fear I shall destroy the natural beauty of the place. I shall soon be home now, and am longing to see your dear kind face again."
The tobacco parliament, as Hardy always called it, had scarcely began, when Kirstin announced that there was an Englishman at the door.
"It is the Scotchman, Macdonald, the gardener, my mother has sent over to see Rosendal," said Hardy. "May he come in and show you his plans?"
"We should like to see them beyond everything," said Frøken Helga, eagerly.
"The difficulty about the place is that the farmyard is at the house," said Macdonald. Hardy interpreted.
"We cannot interfere with that now, Macdonald. We must make the best of it as it is," said Hardy.
"Just what I expected," said Macdonald, unfolding his plans. "There is the plan of Rosendal as it now is--that is, the house, woods, lake, and gardens; you must look it all over first, and see if you know the place, and then you'll be prepared for the next plan. You see, Mr. Hardy, there is practically little room for alteration. The little low whitewashed wall round the house can come down, the kitchen garden made into a shrubbery with walks; the turf is so coarse that you cannot make anything of it. The kitchen garden can be placed at the back. The valley of roses can be made into a pretty place, and I should advise the _Pinus Montana_ being planted, to contrast with its dark green the roses when in bloom; it will shelter them also. The little wall being down, the ground can be sloped and planted, as shown in plan. For the valley of roses I have prepared a large plan."
Hardy interrupted, but seeing the Pastor about to speak, said--
"No, Herr Pastor; we must have Frøken Helga's opinion first. She it is that has so blamed the obstinacy of my conduct in thinking that Rosendal can be improved. Let her speak; but, first, Macdonald has more to say."
Macdonald suggested several other changes, which, although small in themselves, yet in the aggregate made considerable alteration.
"Well, Frøken Helga?" said Hardy, after she had seen the plans.
"I think it will make Rosendal perfectly lovely," said Helga, warmly. "I should not have thought it possible so few simple changes could effect so much."
"The cost," said the Pastor, "cannot be much either. I heartily approve of the plans."
"We will come over and see you at Rosendal to-morrow, Macdonald, and go through the plans on the spot," said Hardy. And after Macdonald had experienced the hospitality of the Pastor, he left.
"He is a clever man," said the Pastor, referring to Macdonald.
"He is a good man," said Hardy; "but he has been educated to such work, and consequently he sees things that did not even strike the quick intelligence of Frøken Helga Lindal."
"I have been very foolish and----" said Helga, but stopped and blushed.
"Not at all," said Hardy. "You had liked Rosendal as it is. It was very natural that you should have thought any change would be for the worse."
"Thank you, Herr Hardy," said Helga; but her voice had a softer tone. "I wish," she added, after a pause, "you would sing to us the German song you sang once to my father."
Hardy rose at once and did so. He looked round to ask if he should sing another song, when he saw Helga looking at him as a woman sometimes looks at the man to whom she has given her heart. Her back was turned to her father and brothers. Hardy sang the popular "Folkevise," beginning--
"Det var en Lørdag aften Jeg sad og vented dig Du loved mig at komme vist Men kom dog ej til mig."
This song of the people possesses a rare plaintiveness, and describes how a peasant girl had expected her lover, but he came not, and her grief at seeing him with a rival. The ballad is touching to a degree, and the verse--
"Hvor kan man plukker Roser Hvor ingen Roser groer? Hvor kan man finde Kjærlighed Hvor Kjærlighed ej boer?"
"Where can one pluck roses Where no roses grow? Where can one find affection Where no affection lives?"
is exquisitely tender. Helga had heard the song often, and sang it herself, but it had never seemed to possess such a depth of feeling.
Hardy got up from the piano, and saw that Helga's eyes were tearful.
"I thank you, Hardy," said the Pastor. "No man can sing like that unless his heart is true."
"I am sure of it, father," said Helga. "I never heard anything so beautiful in my life!"
"But, Hardy, you are going away; and how will you take the piano?" asked Pastor Lindal.
"If you would allow it to remain with you, Herr Pastor, during the autumn and winter, I should be much indebted to you," said Hardy. "But if Frøken Helga would accept it as a recollection of a cool and calculating Englishman, I will give it her with pleasure."
Before the Pastor could reply, his daughter had.
"I will accept it gratefully;" and she rose up and, after the Danish manner, gave her hand to Hardy, and said, using a Danish expression, "a thousand thanks."
"Thank you, Hardy, very much," said the Pastor. "You have done us many kindnesses; but after visiting the poor and the sick in my parish, the knowledge that I shall hear my daughter's voice, that is so like my wife's, singing in the winter evenings, will be a comfort to me."
The next day they went to Rosendal, and met Macdonald with his plans. The being on the spot and understanding what was proposed to be done was a different thing to seeing the plans at the parsonage. The reality struck Helga. She was much interested, and Hardy saw that she understood and entered into everything. There was nothing to suggest or to alter in Macdonald's plans, and Hardy at once arranged for their execution. The Danish bailiff was at first obstructive, but Hardy's quiet, decisive manner changed the position, and gradually it dawned upon him that the place would be greatly improved, and that the residence of an English family for part of the year at Rosendal would not prejudice him.
Karl and Axel had been on the lake trolling, but they had caught nothing, and came back disappointed to the mansion, and begged Hardy to fish, if but to catch one pike.
Hardy said he could not leave the Pastor and his daughter while he went fishing with them.
"We must have a pike for dinner," said the Pastor, "and as the boys cannot catch one, you must, Hardy."
"May I go in the boat?" asked Helga. "I have never seen Herr Hardy fish."
"Oh, pike-fishing is nothing," said Karl "It is trout-fishing with a fly that Herr Hardy does so well."
Hardy got into the boat, and put his gear in order, which had been disarranged by the boys' efforts to fish. A man accustomed to the lake rowed it, and Helga stepped into it. She remarked it was wet and dirty.
"That is the boys' doing," said Hardy, as he pulled off his coat for her to sit on.
They rowed on the lake, and Hardy cast his trolling-bait with the long accurate cast habitual to him, and caught four pike, and then directed the boat to be rowed ashore.
As Frøken Helga stepped ashore, where her father and brothers were waiting for her, she said, "I can understand the boys' enthusiasm for Herr Hardy; when Lars (the boatman) pointed out a place where a pike might be, although yards away, the bait was dropped in it and the pike caught. I wish Herr Hardy would let me see him catch fish on the Gudenaa with flies."
"We can do that to-morrow evening," said Hardy, "as you cannot get up at three in the morning, as we are accustomed to do."
"I cannot let little father miss his evening talk with you, Herr Hardy, and to get up at three in the morning these summer days is no hardship to me. May I go to-morrow?" asked Helga.
"Certainly, if you wish it," said Hardy.
As they returned home, Karl expressed no wish to ride Buffalo, and Garth rode it, and Hardy drove his Danish horses.
"I should like to see how you drive; may I come up and sit beside you?" said Helga.
After they had gone a little way, Hardy said to her, "Take the reins and drive. I have bought these horses for my mother, and she will drive them herself, and you can drive them. Draw the reins gently to the horses' mouths and let them go as you wish them. To slacken speed, draw the reins firmly but gently, and they will obey."
Helga drove the carriage to the parsonage.
"Little father," said Helga, "I have driven you all the way from the entrance gate at Rosendal."
"I am glad," said the Pastor, "you did not tell me that before, as I should have been in great anxiety."
"But Herr Hardy was sitting by me, little father," said Helga, "and there was no danger when he is near."
"The trout and salmon being in season have, at their first taking out of the water, their bodies adorned with such red spots, and the other with such black spots, as give them such an addition of natural beauty as I think was never given to any woman by artificial paint or patches." --_The Complete Angler._
John Hardy had tied a couple of casting lines with the flies he usually fished with on the Gudenaa, and came down a little before three the next day.
Karl and Axel yet slept, but their sister called them, and after the accustomed cup of coffee and rusks they went out to fish on the Gudenaa. Of late Hardy had hired a flat-bottomed boat, and a man called Nils Nilsen rowed or punted it with a pole, as on the Thames, or he went ashore on the towing-path and pulled it up the river with a towing rope, while a minnow was cast from the boat.
Hardy had taken a travelling rug for Helga to sit on, and Nils Nilsen towed the boat up the river, while Hardy fished with a minnow and caught a few trout. When they reached the shallows, which Hardy usually fished with a fly, he sent the boys on land to cast from the bank, and Nils Nilsen took the pole to punt the boat slowly down the stream. The trout rose freely for about an hour, and Helga had charge of the landing-net, and lost for Hardy several good fish, to Nils Nilsen's great disgust. She saw the long casts Hardy made, the light fall of the fly on the water, while a slight motion of the line threw the flies repeatedly on the surface of the river like real flies, and as soon as a trout rose the line was tightened with a sudden motion, and the trout drawn gradually to within reach of the landing-net.
"May I try, Herr Hardy, to throw the line for the Fish?" asked Helga.
"Certainly," replied Hardy, and he shortened the line to allow her to do so.
Her first attempt was to hook Hardy's cap; her next was to hook Nils Nilsen by the ear.
"It seems so easy to do," said Helga, as she handed Hardy the rod, who showed her how to cast the line as well as he was able.
"You will fish better from the bank, where it is not necessary to cast such a long line," said Hardy. "We will try a little lower down."
Helga followed his instructions, and at length hooked a trout, which Hardy picked out with the landing-net.
"I do so like this sort of fishing," said Helga; "it is the way a lady should fish, if she fished at all."
"Many English ladies are good fly fishers," said Hardy; "and I have seen them catch salmon in Norway. I will, with pleasure, leave my rods and tackle here, if you would like to fish with Axel; he can show you how to attach the flies to the line, and anything else necessary."
"Thank you so much!" replied Helga; and as she raised her eyes to his, with her handsome face lit up by exercise, Hardy saw how beautiful she was. Her manner towards him had changed. She talked freely to him now, and without reserve.
"We will put a mark on the trout you have caught," said Hardy, "that we may know it again after it has been in the frying-pan. The Herr Pastor does not often eat fish of his daughter's catching. It weighs just half an English pound."
"How can you tell?" asked Helga.
"I guess it to be so; but we will soon see," replied Hardy, as he took a little spring balance out of his pocket, and held it up to her with the trout on it. "That little line is the half-pound, and the fish pulls the spring to that line."
"What a pretty thing to weigh with! Is it silver?" asked Helga.
"Yes, it is silver," replied Hardy. "I will leave it with you, with the rest of the fishing gear, on the condition that the first time you catch a trout weighing one pound you write and tell me all about it."
"Yes, that I will!" said Helga. "I write my father's letters, and shall have to write to you for him about Rosendal."
At breakfast, Helga described to her father all the little incidents of the morning, and her bright fresh look testified to the benefit of early morning exercise.
"I think, Helga," said the Pastor, "that when Karl is gone, you had better go fishing in the morning with Axel; you look the better for it."
When the tobacco parliament was opened that evening, and the Pastor had finished puffing like a small steam launch to get his porcelain pipe well lit. Hardy asked him if there was anything in the superstitions of Jutland, corresponding to those of the sea, about the rivers.
"Yes," replied the Pastor. "Our Danish word for river is 'Aa' (pronounced like a broad _o_). Thus, the Gudenaa is the Guden river. The tradition is that each river has its Aamand or river man, who every year craves a life; if a year passes without a victim, he can be heard at night saying, 'The time and hour are come, but the victim is not yet come.' Sometimes the Aamand is called Nøkken."
"That is the Norsk name," said Hardy. "In Scotland they have a superstition as to changelings; that is, a human child is stolen and a child of the Trolds substituted. This is referred to by Sir Walter Scott in one of his poems. Does anything of the sort exist in your Jutland traditions?"
"There are several varied stories," replied Pastor Lindal. "One is of a couple who had a very pretty child; they lived near a wood called Rold Wood. The Trolds came one night and stole the child, leaving one of their own in its place. The man and his wife did not at first notice any change, but the wife gradually became suspicious, and she asked the advice of a wise woman, who told her to brew in a nutshell, with an eggshell as beer barrel, in the changeling's presence, who exclaimed that it had lived so many years as to have seen Rold Wood hewn down and grow up three times, but had never seen any one brew in a nutshell before. 'If you are as old as that,' said the wife, 'you can go elsewhere;' and she took the broom-stick and beat the changeling until it ran away, and as it ran he caught his feet in his hands and rolled away over hill and dale so long as they could see it. This story has a variation that they made a sausage with the skin, bones, and bristles of a pig, and gave the changeling, who made the same exclamation, with the result as I have before related. There is also another variation, where the changeling is got rid of by heating the oven red hot and putting it into the oven, when the Trold mother appears and snatches it out, and disappears with her child."
"The superstition would appear to have arisen from children being affected with diseases which were not understood," said Hardy.
"We can only speculate," said the Pastor, "in these subjects; the origin is lost in the mists of time. There is one story of a changeling that has some graphic incidents. When a child is born, a light is always kept burning in the mother's room until the child is baptized, as the Trolds may come and steal it. This was not done at a place in North Jutland, because the mother could not sleep with the light burning. The father therefore determined to hold the child in his arms, so long as it was dark in the room, but he fell asleep; shortly after he was aroused, and he saw a tall woman standing by the bed, and found that he had two children in his arms. The woman vanished, but the children remained, and he did not know which was his own. He consulted a wise woman, who advised him to get an unbroken horse colt, who would indicate the changeling. Both children were placed on the ground, and the colt smelt at them; one he licked, but the other he kicked at. It was therefore plain which was the changeling. The Trold mother came running up, snatched the child away, and disappeared."
"The advice of the wise woman was clever. It is, as you say, a graphic story," said Hardy. "But who were the wise women?"
"There were both men and women. They were called Kloge Mænd and Kloge Koner, or wise men and wise wives. They pretended to heal diseases, to find things lost or stolen, and the like. They were often called white witches, as in England. There was a man called Kristen, who pretended to have wonderful powers. A certain Bonde did not believe in him, and one day told him that he had a sow possessed with a devil. The sow was simply vicious. Kristen at once offered to drive the devil out of the sow. He instructed the Bonde and his men not to open the door of the stable in which the pig was, even if they saw him (Kristen) come and knock and shout, as the devil would take upon him his appearance, to enable him to escape better. Kristen went into the stable and began to exorcise. The sow, however, rushed at him and chased him round the stable, and every time Kristen passed the door, he shouted to the Bonde and his men to open it, but they, pretending to follow his instructions, would not. At last, when Kristen was nearly dead with fatigue, they opened the door. Of course, Kristen never heard the last of that sow."
"That is not a bad story," said Hardy.
"You have read Holberg's comedies?" said the Pastor. "In one of them you will recollect a thief is discovered from amongst the other domestics of the house, by their being ranged behind the man who had been asked to discover the thief, and who tells them all to hold their hands up. He asks if they are all holding their hands up, as his back is towards them. They all reply, 'Yes;' and the man then asks if the person who has stolen the silver cup is holding up his hand. The thief replied 'Yes,' thus discovering himself. There is a story of a watch being stolen in a large household in Jutland. The white witch was sent for, and he discovered the thief by ranging the domestics round a table and making each domestic put a finger on the table, over which he held a sharp axe. He asked each if they had stolen the watch, as the axe would fall and cut off the finger of the one who had. He detected the thief by his at once removing his finger."
"Verily a wise man," said Hardy. "In Norway I used to meet with the word 'Dværg,' as applied to supernatural beings.
"Dværg is dwarf in Danish," replied the Pastor; "but there are many stories of them, and in a superstitious sense. Dværg are analogous to Underjordiske, or underground people. The tradition of their origin is, that Eve was one day washing her children at a spring, when God suddenly called her, at which she was frightened, and hid two of the children that were yet unwashed, as she did not wish Him to see them when dirty. God said, 'Are all your children here?' and she replied, 'Yes.' God said, 'What is hidden from Me shall be hidden from men;' and from these two children are descended the Dværg and Underjordiske. The most striking story of a Dværg is that in the Danish family Bille, who have a Dværg in their coat of arms. There was, many hundred years ago, such a dry time in the land that all the water-mills could not work, and the people could not get their corn ground. A member of the family of Bille was in his Herregaard, and was much troubled on this account. A little Dværg came to him, who was covered with hair, and had a tree in his hand plucked up by the roots. 'What is the matter?' said the Dværg. 'It is no use my telling you' said Bille; 'you cannot help me.' The Dværg replied, 'You cannot get your corn ground, and you have many children and people that want bread; but I will show you a place on your own land where you can build seven corn-mills, and they shall never want water.' So Herr Bille built the seven mills, and they have never wanted water, winter or summer. The Dværg gave him also a little white horn, and told Herr Bille that as long as it was kept in the family, prosperity would attend it. This legend belongs to Sjælland."
"I suppose there are many traditions in families in Denmark?" said Hardy.
"Very many," replied the Pastor. "There is a story of Tyge Brahe, or, as you call him in England, Tycho. He was at a wedding, and got into a quarrel with a Herr Manderup Parsberg, and it went so far that they fought a duel. Tyge Brahe lost his nose. But he had a nose made of gold and silver, so artistically correct that no one could see that it was any other than his own nose, and of flesh and blood; but to be sure that it should not be lost, he always carried some glue in his pocket."
"I never heard that story of the great astronomer," said Hardy.
"There is a story also of a Herr Eske Brok, who lived in Sjælland. He was one day walking with a servant, and was swinging about his walking-stick, when suddenly a hat fell at his feet. He picked it up and put it on, when he heard an exclamation from his servant Then said Brok, 'You try the hat;' and they found that whoever had the hat on was invisible to the other. After a while, a bareheaded boy came to Brok's house and inquired for his hat, and offered a hundred ducats for it, and afterwards more. At last, the boy promised that if he gave him the hat none of his descendants should ever want. Brok gave the hat to the boy; but as he went away he said, 'But you shall never have sons, only daughters.' So Eske Brok was the last of his name."
"That boy must have been a Dværg," said Hardy.
"Quite as probable as the story," said the Pastor. "There is, however, another impossible story of a Herr Manderup Holck of Jutland. He was taken prisoner by the Turks, and his wife contrived his escape by sending him a dress of feathers, so that he could fly out of his Turkish prison and home to Jutland. She, with very great prudence, collected all the bed-clothes in the parish, that he should fall soft when he alighted in Jutland."
"The story is so improbable that it must be very old indeed," said Hardy.
"I think the tradition about the Rosenkrands' arms is older," said Pastor Lindal. "The date attached to it is given as A.D. 663. The son of the then King of Denmark went to England to help an English king, whose name is given as Ekuin, in his wars. He secretly married the daughter of the crown prince, and by her had a son. She placed the child in a box of gold, and placed a consecrated candle and salt in the box, because the child was not baptized. One day, her father, Prince Reduval, rode by and saw the child, and as it was in a gold box he concluded that it came from a noble source. He brought it up under the name of Karl. King Ekuin died, and Prince Reduval succeeded, and he was the first Christian king in England. He desired to marry Karl to his daughter, who was his own mother; but when the marriage should take place, she confessed that the bridegroom was her own son. The king therefore wanted to burn her at the stake, but Karl arranged matters so that his father should be married to his mother, who for nineteen years had been separated from her. Karl had painted on his arms a white cross, to show he was a Christian, then white and blue, to show he was both an English and a Danish prince. In one quartering he had a lion painted white with a crown, to signify Denmark, and in another quartering a lion, to signify England, and then a design like a chessboard, to betoken the long separation of his father and mother."
"I think the story rather clashes with history," said Hardy; "but Rosenkrands means a wreath of roses."
"Yes, it does," said the Pastor. "One of them went to Rome, and the pope gave him a wreath of roses; hence the name."
"You will miss Herr Hardy, little father," said Helga. "In two days he leaves us. Cannot he stay longer?"
"No, I cannot," said Hardy. "My mother wishes me to return. She is anxious to see me, and I am anxious to tell her my experiences in Denmark; but whatever my own wishes are, I must obey hers."
"What sort of person is your mother?" asked Helga.
"The best and kindest," replied Hardy, as he took a photograph out of his pocket-book and handed her, which Helga looked at with evident interest.
"I feel what you say of her is true," said Helga. "Little father, it is a noble face."
"It is like you, Hardy," said the Pastor. "She must have been handsome."
"Yes, but she is," said Hardy. "Here is a photograph of her picture at twenty-two;" and he handed the Pastor another photograph.
Helga looked over her father's shoulder. "It is lovely!" she said, with warmth. "It is more like you, Herr Hardy, than the other."
"As you like the photographs, Frøken," said Hardy, "keep them; it is seldom a compliment is so well uttered."
"_Viator._--That will not be above a day longer; but if I live till May come twelvemonth, you are sure of me again, either with my Master Walton or without him." --_The Complete Angler._
The next morning, John Hardy was up early, studying the excellent map of Jutland by Oberst Mansa. It gives the roads and by-ways with much care and correctness. The idea had occurred to him to drive the hundred and odd English miles from the parsonage to Esbjerg. The horses must be sent there to meet the steamer; the weather was settled, and as it was early in August, the early mornings and evenings were pleasant He accordingly sketched out the route, with the distances from one little Jutland town to another, and it was clear a good deal could be seen and the drive would be enjoyable.
Hardy came down to the little reception-room, where breakfast was usually served, and opened out Mansa's map on the table. Frøken Helga was there, and her two brothers, Karl and Axel.
"I want to speak to your sister, boys," said Hardy; "you will hear all about it by-and-by, if you will go out for a while."
The boys left. Helga looked a little startled. Hardy said, "I have an extraordinary proposition to make; but you must not look so frightened." Helga had turned pale, her knitting dropped. "I only want your attention to this map of Jutland," added Hardy. He saw her face was now full of colour; but what about the map of Jutland? Hardy, an inconsistent man for the moment, was thinking of who else in the world but Kapellan Holm, and his being at Vandstrup Præstegaard all the winter, and that was not the map of Jutland. Suddenly it flashed across his mind that Pastor Lindal had told him about Kapellan Holm, and that Karl had repeated what Mathilde Jensen had said about his buying Rosandal. As he sat thinking, he looked all the time at Helga. At length he said, "I am going home to my mother, Frøken, but I hope to be here in May; earlier I cannot come, because it would be cold for my mother to travel."
"We shall be glad to see you, Herr Hardy; and I long to see your mother," said Helga.
Then Hardy knew that Kapellan Holm was nowhere, and his face grew bright, and he was ready for the map of Jutland.
Hardy explained his idea of driving to Esbjerg, and the extraordinary proposition was that he proposed to take not only Karl, but Helga Lindal herself and Axel.
"I should so like it," said Helga, "but----"
"I know," said Hardy, "that there are likely to be several 'buts.' The serious one is that the Pastor would not like to leave his parish for five days. Can this be arranged? Can he get any one to come here?"
"He will write the Provost" (the dean), replied Helga. "But he has already arranged to go to Esbjerg to see Karl off to England, and as we thought you might go to England earlier, a Hjælpe-præst is ready to come here at any time; a day more or less will make no difference."
"The next 'but' is, whether the Herr Pastor would like it," said Hardy.
"That I am sure he will; but he must consider the expense," replied Helga, "and there would be the extra railway expense of my returning here."
"Then we leave at midday for Silkeborg," said Hardy. "Will you, Frøken, tell your father about it? he is in his study; and now we can tell the boys;" and he called them, sent Axel for Garth, and told Karl to be ready at midday.
The Pastor immediately bustled in. "What a scheme you have hatched!" he said.
"Yes; but you cannot have had time to have heard it," said Hardy, "much more to condemn it."
"Helga came into my study and said, 'Little father, Herr Hardy wants to drive us all by stages to see Karl off; can we go?' Now, is that the scheme?"
"Certainly," replied Hardy. "We want you to send our heavy luggage to the station for Esbjerg, and a telegram to Silkeborg to order dinner at five and beds, and leave here at midday. The next day we can get to Horsens, and then to Veile, or farther. I have taken out the different places and distances by Mansa's map, which you can check. Here is also the English guide-book for Jutland. We can have a row on the lake at Silkeborg this evening, and as I have been your guest so long, I invite you to be mine to Esbjerg. I must leave now, or we should miss the steamer."
Hardy's quiet self-possession overcame the scruples the Pastor was about to make. He had been bound to his parish for years, and not even his youngest son would enjoy the drive to Esbjerg more.
"Honestly said," the Pastor spoke, addressing Hardy, and using a familiar Danish phrase, "I should enjoy it more than I can say."
Helga liked Hardy's way of treating the money difficulty. It was done with such tact that it seemed as if Hardy was receiving a favour.
Axel came in with Robert Garth.
"Bob," said Hardy, in English, "we shall drive to Esbjerg by stages; clear everything, and get ready to start at twelve."
"Thank you, sir," said Garth, and was gone.
"What did you say." said Helga, whose knowledge of English was slight. Hardy explained.
The man's ready obedience struck her, and lingered in her mind long after. She was not accustomed to the prompt execution of such an order by a servant, and attributed it to Hardy's personal character and influence.
After breakfast, during which much conversation arose on the proposed drive, Hardy came down with his fly-rods, books, and reels, and the precious little spring balance.
"There," he said, "Frøken Helga, is all the fly-fishing gear; the flies in the small book are best for the Gudenaa. I hope you will break all the rods and smash all the tackle, to give me the pleasure of bringing you fresh ones from England."
She thanked him in the Danish manner that Hardy liked so much in her.
At twelve they left for Silkeborg. Hardy drove, and Garth rode Buffalo. The Pastor sat by Hardy's side, and told many an interesting anecdote of the places they passed. The circumstances of the Danish families, the tradition of a Kæmpehøi or tumulus, and the social condition of the people were all known to him. Hardy drove slowly, as the day was warm, and he wished to spare his horses, and it was not until a little after five that they reached the hotel at Silkeborg. Hardy had been there before, with Karl and Axel, and they knew him, and obeyed his telegram to the letter.
"I have a proposition to make," said Hardy, "but I will leave it to my guests to do as they please, I propose we have a row on the lake this evening, but not for long; but to-morrow that we rise at six and charter one of the wheel boats, that is the paddle-wheel boats that are worked by hand, and visit Himmelbjerg, and have breakfast there, and the carriage can meet us at the foot of the hill, at a point to the south of it, and we can drive on to Horsens."
"Excellent!" said Helga, using a Danish expression. "But it will be a long day for my father."
"We should get to Horsens at six, and we can telegraph to the hotel to be ready to receive us at that time," said Hardy. "But the next day is only nineteen English miles to Veile, and would be less fatiguing."
"I like to be tired, Hardy, by outdoor exercise," said Pastor Lindal. "Your plan is excellent, and is just what I should not only like, but enjoy."
The row on the lake was very pleasant. The Pastor told the story of Bishop Peter applying to the pope to decree a separation of all the married priests from their wives, and how the three sisters of the priest there drew lots who should go to Rome to get a dispensation for their brother to keep his wife. The lot fell on the youngest, and she went to Rome and got the pope's permission; but on the condition that she should have cast three bells, which she shipped at Lubeck, one bell was lost in the sea, and the two others were placed in two churches near Aarhus.
The view from Himmelbjerg has the strong charm of great variety. The lakes are spread out below, amongst woods, heaths, meadows, and cultivated land. The early morning gives the view at its best. There are views and views, but the variety of prospect from Himmelbjerg impresses. Juul Sø, the lake at the foot of the Himmelbjerg, is at times lovely.
Axel was, however, very hungry. The view might be good, but a growing boy's appetite is good also. He asked his father if he might go to the restaurant in Himmelbjerg and get a bit of Smør-brød (bread and butter). Karl said he wanted to go, too. There had been the long row up the lakes, the walks about Himmelbjerg, and even Frøken Helga looked hungry. As soon as they came to the restaurant, the waiter told them that breakfast was waiting for them.
"Waiting for us!" said the Pastor; "it is more likely we shall have to wait for our breakfast."
"I thought that you might prefer that the breakfast should be ready, and I ordered it yesterday. I sent a note up last night," said Hardy.
The breakfast was the more enjoyed from Hardy's thoughtfulness, so much so that when the inevitable porcelain pipe was filled, it was a difficulty to get the Pastor down the Himmelbjerg. When they at last reached the carriage, which a man from the hotel at Silkeborg had driven, as Garth had charge of Buffalo, the Pastor decided to go in the carriage, and not by Hardy's side. Helga, after seeing her father comfortable, got up by Hardy, and talked to him unreservedly.
The bright ripple of Helga's talk was pleasant to hear in its clear transparency. She told Hardy of her father so long as she could recollect, and the great sorrow that fell upon him when her mother died, and how difficult it was to keep him from the bitter memory of his loss; that she was with him at every spare moment, and how at times it was beyond her power to cheer him; but that since Hardy had been with them, her father had scarcely shown a sign of the sorrow they knew was always at his heart.
"It is the way you listen," said Helga, "that my father likes. You cannot, he says, speak Danish as well as we Danes, but your manner of listening is perfect, and that there is a respectful attention impossible to describe."
"I can describe it," said Hardy, laughing. "The fact is, I know Danish not very perfectly, and my whole attention is necessary to grasp what is said."
"I told him so," said Helga; "but he said there is more than that--it was true politeness."
"Well," said Hardy, "you have now explained that you have not so good an opinion of me as your father."
"No," said Helga; "that's not my meaning. I only related what passed, and I am not able to judge any one like my father."
"I have heard, however, that you have differed from your father in judging a particular person," said Hardy, "and a man whom your father speaks well of."
"That is Kapellan Holm," said Helga, quickly, "My father has told you about him?"
"Yes," replied Hardy; "but I do not wish you to tell me any more about him, and to prevent your thoughts being occupied by the Kapellan, would you like to drive a few miles?"
"Gladly," replied Helga, using the pretty Danish phrase that so well expressed her meaning.
She insisted on taking off her gloves to drive, and said she could not feel the reins so well, and disliked wearing gloves in hot weather.
Hardy showed her how to hold the reins so as to feel the horses' mouth slightly. She appeared to like to hear the quick sound of the horses trotting.
"How easily they go! There is no difficulty in slackening or quickening their speed, and they obey the least touch on the rein," said Helga.
"We have been training them for my mother to drive, and Garth drives well," said Hardy.
"I should so like to learn to ride!" said Helga, carried away by her admiration of the horses.
"That is what I once offered to teach you," said Hardy, "and you replied in the negative so decidedly that I did not like to refer to the subject afterwards."
"Yes; Kirstin said it was not womanly to ride, and that I was not a Bondetøs" (a peasant girl), replied Helga. "But I do not see that it is different in that respect to driving a horse in a carriage, and if horses are kept, I think that it is useful to be able to ride them. There was also another reason why I did not wish you to teach me to ride, that I cannot tell you."
"Then do not tell me," said Hardy. "But supposing I am at Rosendal, in May, next year, will there be any objection then, if your father has none?"
"No," said Helga, involuntarily.
"Then I will recollect to bring over an English lady's saddle," said Hardy.
The Pastor, overcome with his walk, his breakfast, and the warmth of the day, had fallen asleep, and woke up to the situation that his daughter was driving the carriage.
"Stop!" he cried; "you will upset the carriage, Helga. You must not drive; you will throw down the horses."
"She has driven for the last ten miles, Herr Pastor," said Hardy.
The worthy Pastor, however, was so decided, that Hardy had to take the reins and drive into Horsens. He had telegraphed and ordered dinner at six, and drove into the hotel yard, but was scarcely prepared to find so many people collected there. They had simply come to see Buffalo, whose reputation had risen after the horse-race. They smoked, spat, criticized, and praised. "Sikken en Hest."
As they came in, Hardy gave a very necessary order to his servant, Robert Garth, namely, to get the horses' feet well washed, as the roads are so sandy.
The dinner was well served, and much praised by Pastor Lindal, who of course had a legend to relate, of Holger Danske, whose sword was buried with him near Horsens. The sword was so heavy that, when it was taken from the Kæmpehøi, or tumulus, twelve horses could not draw it. The walls of the house in which it was placed shook, and so much unhappiness occurred that the sword was restored to its resting place in the tumulus, and on its return journey two horses could draw it easily. Holger Danske was so big a man, that when he had a suit of clothes made, the tailors were obliged to use ladders to take his measure; but one day an unfortunate tailor tickled him in the ear with his scissors, and Holger Danske thought it was a flea, and squeezed him to death between his fingers."
"There were giants in those days," said Hardy.
"There is in the Kloster (cloister) Church at Horsens a hole in the wall, across which is an iron cross. Behind this a nun was walled up alive. She had, it was said, been confined of a dog. There is a stone in which a dog is figured, to preserve the recollection of so very extraordinary a circumstance, and a place is shown where her fingers marked the stone of the wall in her last agony."
"The practice of walling people up," said Hardy, "was very general in Denmark, was it not?"
"Yes, if tradition be true," said the Pastor, "which, as you know, we must receive _cum grano salis_. There is a story of a man walling up his woman-servant, because she cooked a cat for his dinner. He had caught a hare, but a dog had stolen it, so she cooked a cat instead. This enraged her master, and he walled her up alive."
"Thank you, Herr Pastor, for your legends," said Hardy; "but I should like to walk through the little town, and I dare say Karl and Axel would too, if we may leave you and Frøken Helga."
"By all means," said the Pastor, "and Helga will go too."
"No, little father, I will stay with you," said Helga. "You will have no one to fill your pipe, and will feel lonely."
As John Hardy went out, he gave Karl and Axel some money. The boys asked what it was for.
"To buy anything you like, as far it will go," said Hardy.
The boys, however, would not take it; they were sure their father would not wish it, after the expense Hardy had already been put to on their account.
"Your father would be quite right," said Hardy; but he recollected it, and this small circumstance, told him that Karl could be trusted, and assisted him more to get Karl a situation of trust than Hardy's influence and that of his friends.
"_Viator._--Methinks the way is mended since I had the good fortune to fall into your good company." --_The Complete Angler._
Horsens was explored the next day, but Hardy had a purpose in view. He knew his mother would like to see photographs of his Danish friends. The chief reason for a walk the night before was to ascertain the photographer's shop. This he discovered, and proposed that they should all be separately photographed.
"You want to show your mother our photographs," said Helga.
"I do," said Hardy. "You have all been so kind to me that it would interest her."
"I should like to see the photographs before they are sent you," said Helga.
"That you can," said Hardy. "They shall be sent you, and if you do not like them, do not send them to me."
"Nonsense," said the Pastor; "they shall of course be sent you. I can understand that if you have a photograph it will describe more than any description, and we will send them, or rather the photographer shall; it is not that we should wish to appear other than as we really are. If the photographs are not what is called successful, you can explain that, if you like, but I, for my part, would rather not be favoured by any artificial process."
"You are right, little father," said Helga; and they were all photographed separately, except Hardy and Karl, as the Pastor objected to the latter. "They will see Karl himself, and there is no need of the expense," he said; "and Hardy we shall not forget."
They left Horsens a little after midday for Veile, a distance, as before stated, of about nineteen English miles. Pastor Lindal sat by Hardy as he drove, and as they passed by Engom, he told the story of how Øve Lunge had sold himself to the evil one, "Øve Lunge made a bargain with the owners of the land near to acquire as much land as he could ride a foal just born round, whilst the priest was preaching a sermon in the pulpit at Engom Church. They assented readily; but the foal ridden by Herr Øve Lunge went like a bird, and two black boars followed, rooting up the line the foal took, so as to enclose the land. On his way, Herr Øve Lunge met a Bonde with an axe, and he was obliged to turn aside, as the evil one has no power against an edge of steel. Therefore there were many irregularities in the foal's course. The Bonde who had thus sought to interrupt Herr Øve Lunge, rushed to the church at Engom, and besought the priest to vacate the pulpit, who did so, and thus saved much land passing into Herr Øve Lunge's possession. As Herr Øve Lunge had sold himself to the evil one, he can of course find no rest, and his ghost is seen, followed by his hounds, as he hunts at night over the property thus acquired."
"Are their many legends relating to Veile?" asked Hardy.
"A few," replied the Pastor, "and some historical, Gorm den Gamle, that is Gorm the old and his Queen Thyra, are buried in two tumuli, or Kæmpehøi, at Jellinge, near Veile. At Queen Thyra's tumulus there was once a spring of water which sprung up, it is related as evidence of her purity. One day, however, a Bonde washed a horse that had the glanders at the spring, when it at once dried up.
"At the same place, Jellinge (the final e is pronounced like a), in the year 1628, a priest called Søren Stefensen was suspected by the Swedes of being in correspondence with the Danes, when the Swedes were invading Jutland, and had occupied Jellinge, The messenger who went with his letters was taken, and a letter was found in a stick he carried. The Swedes hung him up to his own church door by his beard to a great hook, and he is said to have hung there a long time; but at last they took him down, and hung him on a gallows. He was priest at Veile, and the governor of the Latin school there, from 1614 to 1619."
"In Shakespeare's play of 'Hamlet'" said Hardy, "it is described of Hamlet's father that he smote the sledded Polaks on the ice."
"Our story of Amlet, not Hamlet, is as follows," said the Pastor. "At Mors, a place in Jutland, there was a king called Fegge. He had a tower at a place which is now called Fegge Klit ('klit' is a sand-hill), and from thence he sent his ships to sea, in the Western sea, that is your North sea. He and his brother Hvorvendil took turns to rule at land or at sea, so that one should be at sea three years, and the other on land three years. Fegge, however, became jealous of Hvorvendil's power and good luck, and killed him and married his wife, which murder was avenged by Amlet, her son, who slew Fegge, whose grave is yet shown at Fegge Klit. The word 'sledded,' is bad Danish for driving in a sledge. Polak is a Pole, and near Veile they committed great atrocities. They killed women and children, and stole the Bønder's cattle; and a man had often to buy his own bullock, and the price went down to such a degree that the price at last reached about 2d, (English) for a cow. They were hired by the Swedes to plunder Denmark. They came to a Præstegaard, near Veile, and stole and plundered; but a man in the priest's service, called Hans Nielsen, told the priest's wife to give them all the drink she could. They all got drunk. Hans Nielsen took away their arms. He then bound them one by one, and made one of them shoot all the rest, one after the other. This man confessed he was a Dane, but had joined the Swedes. So Hans Nielsen killed him with a sword, for being a traitor. The Poles were all buried in a hole, which is now called Polakhullet, or the Pole's hole. They committed such devastation in the very district we are now passing, that a man from Thy met a woman from Skaane, in Sweden, and she at once offered to marry him in the dialect of the time.
"'Aa vil du være min Mand? Saa vil a være din Kone; Du er fød i Thyeland, Og a er fød i Skaane.'
"'Oh, will you be my man? So will I be your wife; You are born in Thyeland, And I am born in Skaane.'
This is a nursery rhyme to this day. There is also a weed called Charlock in England, the seed of this was brought by them with the fodder they had with them, and it is now all over Denmark."
"What you have told me about Shakespeare's play would, I fear, excite some controversy amongst persons who make Shakespeare their study in England," said Hardy.
"I can only say," rejoined the Pastor, "that the tradition is as related by me."
"We shall soon be at Veile," said Hardy, turning round to Frøken Helga Lindal. She had heard that her father talked incessantly to Hardy, so was satisfied that all went well.
"I wish it was double the distance away," she said; "I enjoy travelling like this so much!"
Veile is a pretty little Jutland town, and as they drove up to the hotel Hardy had selected and telegraphed to, they determined to have a walk in the neighbourhood at once, and postpone dinner a little later.
"There was a fire once in Veile, in the year 1739," said the Pastor. "A woman who was thought out of her mind, at Easter visited a neighbour, who showed her the clothes she had made to wear at Easter; but the woman said, 'What will this avail, when the whole street will be burned in eight days; but although I shall perish in the flames, yet my body will be laid out in the town hall before I am buried?' The next Sunday, a boy in firing off some powder he had put in a door key, set fire to a house. The mad woman, as she was called, had forgotten some things in the house, and went in for them; but her clothes caught on fire, and she died from the burns she received. She was taken to the town hall as the nearest place, and the street she indicated was burnt.
"There is another story of an old monastery near Veile. The name of the abbot was Muus (mouse). He was so hostile to the king that it was determined to suppress the monastery. The force commissioned to execute the king's order sent word to the abbot that he could leave the monastery, if not, they should be obliged, in execution of their orders, to arrest him. This message was given the abbot when he was at dinner, and he replied that the mouse must have time to eat his dinner in peace. The commander of the force replied not longer than the cat will permit, and took the place by force. It is said this happened in the thirteenth century."
"The place appears to bristle with legends," said Hardy. "Are there more?"
"Many more; but I will not tell you any more until after dinner."
"That is right, little father," said his daughter, who always feared that he might get too tired before he retired to rest.
The dinner at Veile was excellent. The host had asked Hardy what they would like, and Hardy had replied that he would leave it to him to get as good a dinner as he could. The consequence was that the host did his best. The Pastor was greatly pleased at Hardy's simple manner of ordering a dinner, but that it should be successful was a greater success still.
The tobacco-parliament continued to be held, although for the time at Veile. The journey had a good effect on Pastor Lindal, whose temperament was naturally cheerful. He talked on subjects that Hardy had no idea he had any knowledge of in natural science. He had studied Darwin, and had even read a book of Sir John Lubbock's. At last Hardy interrupted.
"There are no more legends or traditions of Veile, are there?" he said.
"As I have said before, there are many," was the reply, "and here is one. Once there were two brothers living near Fredericia, one was rich, the other was poor. The place they lived at wanted a church. The rich brother would contribute nothing, and his brother said that if he were so rich he would build the church himself. The next night he dreamt that on a bridge at Veile, called the southern bridge, he would hear of something to his advantage. He went to Veile, and walked up and down it all day. At last an officer passed and repassed him, and asked him what he wanted. He told him he had dreamt he would find a treasure on Veile bridge. The officer replied, 'I dreamt that I should find a treasure in a barn near Fredericia,' belonging to a Bonde he named. It was the man's own name. He found the treasure. One day he was out looking round for a place to build the church on when he met his brother, who did not know what had happened. He said, 'I am going to build the church, and I am looking round to find the best site.' 'Indeed,' said the rich brother; 'if you build the church, I will give the bells.' But when he saw the church would be built, it vexed the avaricious man so much to have to give the bells, that he went and hung himself.
"There is an authenticated story of a priest, as we are generally called," continued the Pastor, "at the time of the plague, in 1654. It was brought by a ship to Copenhagen, and spread rapidly. The priest at Urlev Præstegaard had some clothes sent him belonging to his relatives, who had died of the plague at Copenhagen. His name was Søren Pedersen Prip. As soon as he saw the plague had occurred in his household, his only thought was how to prevent its spreading in his parish. He forbade all intercourse; and as his servants, wife, and children died one after the other, he hoisted a flag, as a signal when he wanted a coffin, which, as he had no one to send to fetch it, he managed to convey on a wheelbarrow, and he himself buried all his household. But that the people should not be without hearing God's word, he preached to them from a stone in the churchyard, which is yet shown. There is said to be also a carved wooden basrelief of him in the church."
"He might have said, 'Exegi monumentum ære perennius'" said Hardy. "Such a man exhibits one side of your national character that the world has honoured and will honour. You say the stone can be pointed out. It is a matter of surprise to me that the stones used in many places in your old walls about churchyards and old buildings are so varied in character: there are, for instance, red and grey granite, syenite, the older sandstones, but all of the older geological formations. The side, for instance, of Viborg Cathedral is like a piece of old-fashioned patchwork from this cause, and has not a good effect."
"In the glacial period these stones were brought down by the ice and stranded on Jutland," said the Pastor; "they are scattered over the whole country more or less. There is a legend of a giant who lived at Veile, who threw these stones at Graverslund Church; but he was a bad shot, and this accounts for the stones being found everywhere. His name was Gavl; but it was the ice of the glacial period that was the giant."
"It will not be possible to visit Kolding," said Hardy, "because it would make us too late for the steamer. We shall have a longer run than usual to-morrow, and reach Esbjerg midday the day after, and the steamer leaves at night. Are there any traditions of Kolding, Herr Pastor?"
"A number, and, of course, attached to Koldinghuus, which was erected in the thirteenth century," said the Pastor. "The oldest story is that of the bloodstains in Koldinghuus. It is said that a king lived there, who had an only daughter. For some reason he determined to kill her, and decided that as she was fond of dancing she should be danced to death. He therefore, amongst his officers, sought out the toughest for the work; but his daughter danced with nine of them without signs of giving way. The king was enraged. He danced with her himself, and then cut with his dagger the belt she wore, which had sustained her, so says the legend. Her mouth filled with blood, and she died in her father's arms. Nothing could wash the stain of her blood out of the floor.
"As to Kolding itself, there are several stories," continued the Pastor. "There is more than one about the church clock, which never keeps time, the reason is that the men in an adjoining town, not far from Kolding, had in a time of scarcity borrowed seed from the men from Kolding, and had pledged a neighbouring meadow, which should belong to the men of Kolding if the value of the seed was not paid on a certain day and at a certain hour. When the time came, the men of Kolding induced the clock-keeper to alter the clock; and when the borrowers came to repay the loan, it was too late, and the meadow was adjudged to belong to the men of Kolding. There is a variation of this story, that the widow of Henning Limbek borrowed the money and pledged the meadow with the same result. She was on the bridge and heard the clock strike twelve and she at once returned home and surrendered the meadow to the men of Kolding. There is another story of a rich man who lived near Kolding, and they offered him a large sum for the meadow, and the terms were settled at a feast. The rich man, however, had a horse, and he affirmed that the horse would gallop from his house to Kolding by a certain time. This the men of Kolding denied as possible. He then offered to wager the meadow against a considerable sum that the horse would. The horse performed the journey within the time stated, but the clock had been altered. Ever since, the church clock has never been correct."
"Not very correct of the men of Kolding," said Hardy, "and, I fear, not a good side of the Danish character."
"I cannot deny that such principles occur with us," said Pastor Lindal; "possibly we have learnt it from the English."
"We shall have to start at six to-morrow, Herr Pastor, to reach Hoisted," said Hardy. "The hotel there is moderate, and we can only expect what we can obtain. We shall have to break our longest journey where we can, to give the horses a little rest."
"Therefore, we should go to bed early," said the Pastor.
"But I cannot go to bed without thanking you, Herr Hardy, for your goodness to my father," said Frøken Helga. "I have never seen him so bright, and I thank you." She thanked him in her Danish manner by shaking hands.
"There is little need to thank me," said Hardy. "I have learnt much from your father, and am thankful for it; but I hope with time to win the same kindly trust from him as you already possess, and I think deservedly."
Helga never forgot these words. They echoed in her recollection through the winter months, and Kapellan Holm was nowhere.
"_Piscator._--Come, sir, let us be going; for the sun grows low, and I would have you look about you as you ride, for you will see an odd country, and sights that will seem strange to you." --_The Complete Angler._
John Hardy, before he retired to rest, had arranged with the hotel manager at Veile to telegraph to Bække, where he designed to have a late breakfast, or rather lunch, and to a little inn, a few English miles further on, where they could pass the night. Thus the horses could rest at Bække, and then go further to a station that would leave them but a little distance to reach Esbjerg.
It was eleven before they reached Bække, travelling over not the best of roads, and when they got there Hardy's forethought in telegraphing was apparent. The Pastor was tired, but as conversational as ever. Karl and Axel were obviously hungry, and as there was nothing to be had but fried eggs, and the usual indigestible _et ceteras_, Hardy was anxious to get on to their destination for the night. The Pastor went into the carriage, and Helga got up by Hardy's side, but her father had specially stipulated that she was not to drive the horses. This, of course, had to be obeyed, as the Pastor's wish once expressed was enough for Helga. The direction was over by-roads, and it was perhaps best the Pastor had been so decisive.
Helga talked as before, unreservedly, and the ring of her clear voice, with its transparent truth, was a pleasure to hear.
"Travelling like this is such a pleasure," she said; "the sound of the step of the horses even has its effect, as we feel they go easily to themselves. There is the succession of change of place and scene, fresh green meadows after dry and dusty roads, and, after a dull bit, there comes a pretty prospect of a country house, with its woods and lake. The coming also to a fresh place every night has its interest. I cannot think of a more pleasant way of travelling. Do you, Herr Hardy?"
"Yes," said Hardy. "I like a fresh breeze blowing in the wished-for direction, and an English sailing yacht, as a means of travelling. You do not go so fast as you appear to sail, but it is pleasant to see the bright wave flashing by, and to feel the yacht rushing through the sea."
"But, then, there is not the varied change of scene as in travelling as we now do, Herr Hardy," said Helga.
"There is nothing like yachting for variety, if there be favourable winds, but on that it is dependent," said Hardy. "For instance, the Mediterranean can be explored in a winter, and places in Spain and Portugal visited on the way to Gibraltar, and then Italy and the Ionian Islands and Greece."
"It must be a great drawback to be so dependent on the wind," said Helga.
"Yes; and particularly so in yachting on the coast of Norway, amongst the Danish islands, or up the Baltic," said Hardy; "but this difficulty is got over by the use of steam, and steam yachts are becoming the rule."
"Have you a yacht, Herr Hardy?" asked Helga.
"I am having one built," replied Hardy. "My mother likes the sea, and I am having one built so that she may be as comfortable as possible. It is a steam yacht, and we shall be at sea in a fortnight, and I shall take Karl, if he wishes."
"He likes the sea, and when we go to Copenhagen from Aarhus in the steamer, we enjoy the journey," said Helga.
"There is one small matter which has struck me with regard to Karl," said Hardy, "and that is, you Scandinavians are liable to what you call Hjemve (home sickness). I wish you would ask your father to say to him that he goes to England to try to get on in life, and that it is childish to be afraid of meeting strange people, but to look to the future and not be occupied with the present."
"Thank you very much, Herr Hardy; you are very thoughtful. Karl has been very quiet the last two days, and you have anticipated what I had thought," said Helga.
They had arrived at Hoisted, where they had to pass the night. The modest little inn did its best for them, and the Pastor was glad to rest; but after dinner his enjoyment of his pipe was great. It is not understood in England that such is good or necessary. _Tot homines quot sententiæ_. The question is in England, Is it wrong for a parson to enjoy his pipe? The answer is, "No," with some people, "Yes," with others; but the question whether it is good for him is very generally answered in the negative.
"You have but few stories of the people, or, as you call them, Eventyr?" asked Hardy.
"There are very many," replied the Pastor. "But in Norway you will have found an even richer store. The grandness of nature there has influenced the imaginations of the people. Their legends, traditions, and stories are more romantic and weird. Their traditions of the Huldr are exquisitely fantastic and picturesque to a degree. Their Folke-Eventyr is rich in colour. There is a depth of thought and of the knowledge of human nature as it is that fills the mind with astonishment. There is in them all a sense of justice, a feeling of appreciation of what is good and true, as if the thought had been inspired. Nationally, the Norwegians are honest, and their Folke-Eventyr has contributed to form the character of the people. It has engendered a respect for what is good and true. There is also an idea of rough justice and humour; and I will tell you a story which will illustrate this. There was once a priest who was very overbearing. When he drove in the roads, he shouted to the people he met, 'Out of the way, I am coming; out of the way!' He did this so often that the king determined to check his pride, and drove to the priest's. As he was coming, he met the priest, who shouted as usual. The king drove as he should do, as king, and the priest had to give way. When the king was at the side of the priest's carriage, he said, 'Come to me at the palace to-morrow, and if you cannot answer three questions I put to you, I will punish you for your pride's sake.' This was treatment the priest was not accustomed to. He could bully the Bønder, but answering questions did not suit him. So he went to his clerk and told him that one fool can ask more questions than ten wise men could answer, and that he must go up to the palace to the king and reply to his questions. So the clerk went in the priest's gown. The king was in the balcony with his crown and sceptre, and was dressed in such a costume that he looked a king."
"'So you have come,' said the king.
"'Yes,' said the clerk. It was quite certain that he was there.
"'Tell me' said the king, 'how far the east is from the west?'
"'A day's journey,' answered the clerk.
"'How can that be?' said the king.
"'The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and generally does it in a day,' answered the clerk.
"'Good,' said the king. 'But tell me now how much money I am worth?'
"'Well,' replied the clerk, 'Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, and I should put you at twenty-nine.'
"'A good answer,' said the king. 'But tell me now what I am at this moment thinking about?'
"'That's easy to answer,' replied the clerk. 'The fact is, you think I am the priest, but I am only the clerk.'
"'Then go you home and be priest, and, let the priest be clerk,' commanded the king."
"A very excellent story," said Hardy, "and, as you say, shows a strong sense of rough justice and humour."
"There is a child's story," said the Pastor, "with its humour; but it is very simple, as all stories of the people should be. A boy found a pretty box in a wood, but he could not open it, for it was locked. A little further he found a key. The question was whether the key would fit the box. He blew into the key and put the key into the lock, when lo! it fitted, and the box opened. But can you guess what was in the box? No, of course not. There was a calf's tail in the box, but if the calf's tail had been longer, so would this story be."
"But that is a Norwegian story," said Hardy. "Are there none essentially Danish?"
"They are related to some extent in H. C. Andersen's stories, and they have been translated into English. There is a story, however, that may not have been translated. A king and queen had no children; but a beggar came to her and said, 'You can have a son, if you will let me be his godfather when he is christened.' The queen assented. The queen had a son, but the king had to go to war to quell a rebellion. The king made her promise that she would nurse the child herself, and not trust to nurses and other people. The queen did so, and the beggar stood godfather. The beggar bent down over the child, and said that everything it wished for it should have. This the king's attendant heard. He was accustomed to attend the king when hunting, and he thought that such a child was worth possessing. The queen, however, watched the child night and day. One day she was in a summer-house and had fallen asleep, with the child in her lap; when she woke the child was gone. When the king returned, he had a tower built in a wood, and he walled the queen up in it, as a punishment for losing the child. The attendant brought the child up as his own, and there was no suspicion. He took the child, when grown up, out hunting when the king went, and taught him to wish for such and such a head of game, and if he shot an arrow at it, he always hit. The king could not understand how so young a hunter could always be so successful, but the attendant assured him that it was only a sure hand and eye. The attendant had meanwhile become very rich, by getting the king's son to wish him to be so. The attendant had taken a girl into his service, who grew up to be very beautiful. She had suspicions that all was not right, and asked the attendant; but he would not tell her. At last the attendant told her the boy must be killed, and she must do it, and cut out his tongue, to show him that she had murdered him. She, however, killed a hind, and cut out its tongue, and showed the attendant the tongue. The attendant thought she had done as she was told, and told her the story, which the king's son heard from a place where she had hid him. The king's son immediately wished the attendant should be a three-legged dog, that must always follow him. He wished the girl to be a rose and put her in his button-hole. The king's son then attended the court, as the king wished to go hunting. 'Where is the attendant?' asked the king. 'He is here close by,' said the king's son. The king was satisfied with the answer, and went out hunting. The king's son led the hunt to the tower where the queen was walled in, and wished that the tower might fall down and the queen be found in it yet living. This happened, although she had been there seventeen years. The prince then took the rose out of his button-hole, and married the girl who had so well served him."
"A graphic story," said Hardy, "and has the same tendency that you attributed to the Norwegian stories of the people, or Folke-Eventyr."
"There is a story more peculiarly belonging to Jutland," said Pastor Lindal, "and that is of a Trold who lived in a wood in a large Kæmpehøi, or tumulus. He was an old grey-bearded Trold, and the people in the district were afraid of him. There was an old woman who lived near with her son. They had a cow, and it was difficult to get grass for it, particularly in the winter. The boy took the cow and grazed it on the Trold's Kæmpehøi. The Trold came out and objected, and threatened, and drove the boy and the cow away. The boy, however, got a piece of soft cheese from his mother, and stole a bird sitting on its eggs in a nest, these he put in his pocket; so the next day he took the cow to the same place, and the Trold came out and threatened. The Trold took up a stone and pressed it in his hand, so that water came from it, to show how he could crush him. The boy said that is nothing, and took the cheese from his pocket and pressed it, so that it appeared as if he was squeezing more out of a stone than the Trold could. So the Trold said, 'I will throw a stone up, and you can count until it comes down. The boy did so, and counted up to one hundred and thirty-one. 'That is good!' said the boy. 'But now count for the stone I cast;' and the Trold counted, but the boy threw the bird up in the air, and of course it flew away. The Trold was astonished, and asked the boy if he would come into his service. The first thing was to fetch water, as the Trold wanted to brew. The Trold had a large bucket to fetch water, which the boy could not even lift; so he said, 'This will not do at all; we had best fetch in the river.' But this the Trold could not do. The boy behaved in the same way with fetching turf and fuel; and when the Trold went out to pick nuts, he picked up stones and gave the Trold to crack. This gave him the toothache, but the boy advised him to fill his mouth full of water and sit on the fire until it boiled. This did not succeed, and so the boy continued to tease the Trold until he compassed his destruction, and taking all the Trold's gold and silver, he went home, and had enough to live on all his days, with his mother."
"I have heard a parallel story from many lands," said Hardy.
"That is true enough; it is a story very widespread, with different incidents and features," said the Pastor.
The next day they drove into Esbjerg, and Garth and Hardy put the horses on board the steamer for England. It would leave in the evening, when the tide would allow it to get out of dock.
The Pastor had arranged to stay the night at Esbjerg, to see the very last of his son Karl on his leaving for England.
As they left, Hardy said, "I shall be at Rosendal in May, and I hope my mother will be with me; but you will hear from me many times before then, and I dare say Karl will write you more frequently than I do."
Helga said simply, "I thank you, Herr Hardy, for your kindness to us."
The steamer left that night, and the next day Pastor Lindal went to the railway station at Esbjerg to take three tickets to the station nearest his parsonage. Three tickets were handed to him, and the Pastor expostulated.
"They are first-class tickets, and----"
"Yes," said the station clerk; "but they are already taken and paid for."
"_Piscator,_--But, look you, sir, now you are at the brink of the hill, how do you like my river, the vale it winds through like a snake, and the situation of my little fishing-house?"--_The Complete Angler._
As John Hardy drove up to the front of Hardy Place, the young Danish lad was struck with the beauty of the lawns and shrubberies.
"This is by far prettier than Rosendal, Herr Hardy," he said.
Mrs. Hardy had evidently been waiting some time for the sound of wheels on the carriage drive, and as her son alighted, she received him with warm natural affection.
"John, my own boy, I am so glad to see you again," she said; "you have been too long away from your mother."
"You will have me all to yourself until next May, mother, and then you will have me with you at Rosendal," said her son. "But here is Karl Lindal, son of Pastor Lindal, of Vandstrup Præstegaard, Denmark."
The tall, fair-haired lad, with his honest blue eyes, favourably impressed Mrs. Hardy, who could see beyond outward appearance and awkwardness of manner.
"Welcome to Hardy Place, Mr. Karl Lindal," she said, taking the lad's hand kindly. "You can have no better introduction here than as my own boy's friend."
Karl bowed. He saw a tall elderly lady, dressed in good taste and perfect neatness, strikingly like her son. They entered the inner hall, where Mrs. Hardy had been sitting, and tea was served, and she and her son talked to each other with that kindly confidence not so frequent nowadays. Karl looked at the old portraits on the wall, and observed the quiet taste of the decorations and furniture, with its appearance of comfort, so conspicuous in an English home.
Mother and son had much to say to each other; but at length John Hardy observed a tired look on the young Dane's face, and he took him up to the bedroom Mrs. Hardy had directed to be prepared for him, near her son's rooms.
"Karl," he said, "here is your room, and everything you are likely to want ready. If you want anything, press that nob, which rings a bell, and a man-servant will answer it; but as he may not understand you, come for a moment into my dressing-room, and I will show you where my things are, and if you want anything, take it."
There was a strong contrast between Hardy's rooms in his own home and the single little room he had occupied in Denmark, and Karl said so.
"Yes," said Hardy; "you will find a good deal of difference between England and Denmark, but you will find me the same John Hardy."
"I have not dressed, mother," said Hardy, as he came down just before the gong was struck for dinner; "my young Danish friend is not supplied with evening dress, and I thought he might feel a trifle less strange, where everything must strike with the force of novelty a lad of seventeen, if I appeared as he has usually seen me."
"You are the same thoughtful, considerate old John," said his mother, proud of her son's kind heart; "but I do think, John, you look better than when you left."
"I am better," said John. "The fare at the little Danish parsonage was simple and good. At first I missed a few things that I was accustomed to here, but the excellence of the quality of everything at the Pastor's soon made me forget them. I think, too, my mother, I have learnt much. The simplicity with which the Danish Pastor did his work with exact conscientiousness interested me. There was never a thought of postponing a duty under any circumstances. There was never a thought that a duty done was a sacrifice of self, but his duty was done with a serious singleness of purpose and thorough trust in God, that had a strong influence on his parishioners. They saw he was sincere and true."
"You are drawing a good picture of the Pastor, John," said his mother; "but," she added in a whisper, as John took her into dinner, "what about the Scandinavian princess?"
"I will tell you all about her after you have seen her photograph," said John. "I will give it you when you go into the library after dinner. I will give Karl Lindal some English to read, as he must lose no time in acquiring the language."
Karl Lindal felt awkward and uneasy at dinner. The novelty of everything so occupied him that he was the more gauche in manner. This Mrs. Hardy observed, and said little to him. It was best the lad should be left to get over the change that had impressed him.
When John Hardy joined his mother in the library, he found her with a large reading-glass, looking at Helga Lindal's photograph. "It is a good face, John, like her brother somewhat, and fine features," said his mother. "Is she tall?"
"About five feet eight, mother," replied John. "She is like her father in character--simple and true, and with common sense."
"But you wrote me, John, that if you did propose to her that she would not accept you, on account of her father wanting her assistance and relying so much on her," said Mrs. Hardy.
"I did, mother; but her father wished her to become engaged to a curate of his called Holm," said John. "She refused Holm, as she did not like him, and I think her father would wish her to marry any one she did like. His view appears to be that she owes a duty to herself, and he would think it his duty to prevent her sacrificing all her young life even to him."
"Why, the man is right, John, and his photograph says as much!" said Mrs. Hardy. "But, John, answer me plainly--have you said anything to her?"
"No," replied Hardy. "I do not feel certain of myself without you, mother. I want you to see her."
"Have you led her to expect that you might speak to her John?" asked his mother.
"When I went there first, she behaved towards me as if she disliked me," replied John; "but her manner changed. I had offered to teach her to ride: she declined in a very decided way; but in driving to Esbjerg, she said she should like to learn, and that her objection, whatever it was, did not exist longer. I said I would teach her when I came again to Denmark. One evening, I sang the German song you have heard me sing so often, and I turned round suddenly and saw her face; she looked at me as if she loved me with all her heart, but possibly so simple a nature as hers was carried away by the song's influence. I turned away my face, that it might reflect nothing to her."
"Did anything else occur, John?" asked his mother.
"Yes," replied John. "A few evenings before I left, I showed her father and herself your photographs; she exhibited a warm interest in them, particularly that one of the picture. I gave her the photographs, and she thanked me as if I had given her something she had a great wish for."
"It is a long way for an old woman, John," said Mrs. Hardy; "but I would go to the end of the earth to see you happily married. I like her face," added she, looking at Helga Lindal's photograph; "it is good and firm of purpose for so young a woman. Is she ladylike, John?"
"Her manner is simple and sincere," he replied; "and I never saw anything that you, mother, would not approve of; but, living as she does, and has, she has not seen much society, or acquired any artificial manner. Her management of her father's house is practical, and the obedience to her wishes and orders as complete as they ever are in Denmark. Their servants are not as ours are."
"Why you do like her, John," said his mother.
"I do, but I do not feel certain of myself," said John. "The time I have known her is short, and it may be only a passing fancy; and what I want, mother, is your help in knowing my own mind, but, above all, hers. You will understand her instantly."
"But why did you buy Rosendal, John?" asked his mother; "in all your letters you never gave a reason."
"I bought it on an impulse," replied John, "but I did think I might want it at the time. It is a place you can live in, mother, until you are tired of it, but from which you can help me."
"I do not think you need fear, John, her being carried off by any one," said Mrs. Hardy, to whom the idea of any woman not being in love with her son was impossible.
"I must risk it," said John, "but I could not do other than I have done. If I had spoken a word to her when a guest in her father's house, it would have been wrong. But I wanted to talk with you, my mother. I have no secrets from you; and John kissed her, and wished her 'Good night.'"
A few weeks at Hardy Place made a great change in Karl Lindal. He talked English better, and his manners were not so boyish. He felt also the influence of the good people about him, and had lost his home-sickness.
The experimental trip in the new steam yacht that Hardy had had built (and which he had christened the _Rosendal_) was a great delight to the young Dane, who was naturally fond of the sea. The yacht made a few short trips in the English Channel, and was then laid up for the winter. Karl made himself useful on board the yacht, and his greatest pleasure was to do anything for John Hardy or his mother. The lad's thankfulness for the kindness he received was thorough, and Mrs. Hardy liked the lad.
"Is your sister Helga like you, Mr. Karl Lindal?" asked Mrs. Hardy, one day, when her son was not present.
"She is more clever in everything than I am," replied Karl, "and she is so good to me and Axel, and gives up everything for us. She is four years older."
At last a letter came to John Hardy, from Vandstrup Præstegaard.
"My father desires me to say that they are proceeding with the work at Rosendal, and that there is nothing specially to report at present, as there is nothing being done contrary to your wishes, and there is no room for complaint on what is being done.
"My father also desires me to express his thanks for your kindness about the tickets from Esbjerg. It was a matter that surprised us all, except me, and it was my fault in saying that my coming back from Esbjerg would be an additional cost to him; I understood the completeness of your kindness at once. I felt you would not let it be a burden to my father on my account and Axel, and that when you were taking the tickets that you might as well include my father's also; but to take first-class tickets was not necessary, and what we did not wish.
"I promised to write if I caught a trout that weighed one pound, English, by your measure. I have fished many times, and caught one by the bend in the river just below the tile works. Axel got it into the landing-net, and my father has seen it weighed, and it is just a little heavier than the line that marks the one pound English. I thank you also for your consideration in this. My father is pleased to see me looking fresh and well after going out fishing, and he says no fish are so good as those Helga catches. I thank you, Herr Hardy, for your thinking that this would also please my father.
"We all send you friendly greeting from here, and our best affection to Karl.
John Hardy translated the letter for his mother, and gave it to her with the original.
"Her handwriting is ladylike, John," said his mother, "there is no doubt of that; and she writes such a beautiful, simple letter! I like her, John! If you love her, do not lose her for the world."
John Hardy was touched.
"Bless you, my mother," he said; "your heart is as mine; you love again with your son's love. But I know it is best to wait until May, when we can go there."
Karl Lindal wrote to his father in Denmark.
"My all-dearest Father,
"The kindness I receive from Herr Hardy and his mother is great. They are most kind. I feel it not possible to express my thanks; but I am always trying to be useful, to show how thankful I am. They are so different from Danish people. I cannot say how beautiful Herr Hardy's house is. It is far prettier than Rosendal. I learn English every day with an English Kapellan; he is very kind, and he teaches me the English games of cricket and lawn tennis. Mrs. Hardy, that is Herr Hardy's mother, is beautiful. She touches my cheek with her hand, and she asks if Helga is like me. I answer that Helga is better, and she seems to be pleased to hear me say so. Herr Hardy has taken me out in his yacht, that is a pleasure vessel with steam power; he has called it the _Rosendal_.
"I have been out with Herr Hardy shooting partridges. He has had many gentlemen down to shoot, but they none of them shoot so well as Herr Hardy. A flock of the birds get up, and Herr Hardy, who shoots with a double-barrelled gun, always gets two. His gamekeeper, or Jaeger, told me that they always could depend on the governor, as they call Herr Hardy.
"Herr Hardy took me to London, and I went to the Zoological Gardens, where there were a great many rare animals, and to the Haymarket Theatre, which is like the Royal Theatre at Copenhagen. I was measured for clothes by a tailor in London, and Herr Hardy has given me many more things than necessary; but he is so kind I do not know what to say or do. I send my best love to you and Helga and Axel.
Another letter came from Vandstrup Præstegaard.
"My father desires me to say that the work at Rosendal is nearly finished, and that the land where the trees are to be planted is prepared for them. There is nothing that he sees neglected, or that he should bring to your notice.
"We have received many letters from Karl, and we are interested in them. He writes and describes your house, and repeats again and again your goodness to him. He describes your mother as very kind. We have no doubt but this is you. My father says if you do anything, you do it always in the kindest way. I do not doubt but that this is so, and we all thank you gratefully, and greet you kindly.
John Hardy translated this letter for his mother. She read it, and said--
"John, the letter is a letter to keep for all time! I feel so proud of you, my own boy, that such a letter should be addressed to you. I never read so beautiful a letter; so short, and yet so exquisite in its simplicity! You can trust your future to her, John."
"Thank you, my mother," replied her son. "I know I can trust her, if she will trust me."
"Why, John, you can offer her wealth, position, and influence," said Mrs. Hardy.
"All which would be nothing with her," said John "She would be as content to marry me on a bare subsistence as if I had a larger income than we have. Position is nothing to her, because she scarcely understands it; and as for influence, she has more influence for good in her father's parish than any person in it."
"A faint heart, John," suggested his mother.
"Yes, I know that; but my heart is not faint," said John. "I only wait to be sure of it, and your approval, mother."
Karl Lindal made progress in learning English and Hardy made inquiries for a berth for him with a foreign broker. In reply to the question as to Karl's character, Hardy told the story of the young Dane's refusing taking any money from Hardy in their driving tour to Esbjerg. This slight matter made a favourable impression, and the young Dane entered on his duties. Hardy procured lodgings for him in London, with a young medical man who had recently married, and had began to keep house, and whose relatives resided near Hardy Place.
"Only a sweet and virtuous soul Like seasoned timber, never gives But when the whole world turns to coal, Then chiefly lives." _The Complete Angler._
The interior of Rosendal had been painted, and sketch plans of the different floors and rooms had been submitted to Mrs. Hardy. Lithographed drawings of Danish furniture had been procured in Copenhagen, so that she could select what furniture she thought necessary for their stay at Rosendal during the summer, and this was purchased for John Hardy by Prokuratør Steindal, and sent to Rosendal.
The planting and improvements in the grounds had been carried out.
Robert Garth and a manservant were sent with the horses, a carriage, and the heavy impedimenta to Esbjerg by steamer, late in April, to prepare for the occupation of the mansion at Rosendal.
Then came a letter from Vandstrup Præstegaard.
"We have heard that your servants are preparing Rosendal for your mother's residence there. It has occurred to my father that everything may not be at first ready for her, and he has directed me to write and say that if she will come here on her arriving in Jutland, that we will do our best to make her stay a pleasant one. We are all so grateful for your goodness to Karl, that it would gladden us to do anything for your mother.
"We send respectful greetings to her and to yourself.
John translated the letter to his mother.
"Accept it, John," she said. "My maid can be driven over by Robert Garth, the two miles you say that Rosendal is situated from the parsonage, if she would be in the way there."
"No, my mother," said Hardy; "you do not know the language. I will go to Rosendal, and you can certainly take your maid with you. Pastor Lindal knows a little English, and so does his daughter. It will be a good sign if she has been learning it in the winter; I left my Danish-English books there, but I suggested nothing to her in this direction."
"How simply to the point her letter is, John!" exclaimed Mrs. Hardy. "There are no phrases about their accommodation not being so good, or that their means are narrow; she simply says they will do their best, and that they would be glad to do it. It is not possible to doubt her."
"It is like her manner," said John. "I can fancy I hear the words she writes."
Towards the middle of May, Mrs. Hardy, her son, and two women-servants travelled overland to Jutland, from Flushing.
Robert Garth met them at the railway station, and drove them to the parsonage.
Parson Lindal was at the door, and welcomed Mrs. Hardy with much old-fashioned politeness. "Welcome, and glad to see you," he said in English to her, while he warmly greeted Hardy in Danish.
Helga was standing by her father, regarding their visitor with great interest; she had shaken hands with John Hardy, and welcomed him back to Jutland. The Pastor introduced his daughter to Mrs. Hardy, who held out her hand to Helga, and drew her closer and kissed her, as if she had been her daughter.
"You are a beautiful edition of your brother Karl, Miss Lindal," she said. "He has become a great favourite of mine, and you will be glad to hear he is well spoken of in London."
Robert Garth drove one of the servants to Rosendal, and had orders to fetch John Hardy in the evening, at the parsonage.
The Pastor had time for a word with Hardy, as his mother went to change her travelling dress.
"I am glad to see you, Hardy; but what a trick you played us about the tickets from Esbjerg! I did not like it at first, but when I thought of your friendly intentions, I forgave you; but I cannot thank you enough for your goodness to Karl, and your wisely placing him in lodgings with the chance of good influence. That is good of you, indeed."
"Where is Axel?" asked Hardy.
"He is at Copenhagen, at a school for a time," replied the Pastor. "He will be home in the summer for a holiday."
"What about Rosendal?" asked Hardy.
"It is much improved; in a month or six weeks it will be lovely," answered the Pastor. "The plan was excellent that you adopted, and, as you have been written, it has been executed well."
When Mrs. Hardy appeared, perfectly well dressed, as she always was, John could see that the Pastor observed her well-bred manner. "Your parsonage, Herr Pastor," she said, "has a look of calm contentment and quiet that strikes me in coming from busy England."
"That is near the reality, Mrs. Hardy," replied he; "but it is not the fact with all our Danish parsonages, men vary here as they do elsewhere."
"That may be; but you have the greater opportunity for attaining the actuality of what is simple and true," said Mrs. Hardy.
"Possibly we have," replied Pastor Lindal; "but I fear we are all liable to neglect opportunities which suggest only."
John Hardy had been obliged to assist at this conversation as interpreter, when Kirstin announced dinner was served. Hardy rose and shook hands with Kirstin.
"It is an old servant, mother," said Hardy; and Mrs. Hardy rose and shook hands with Kirstin, and then the Pastor took Mrs. Hardy in to dinner.
Mrs. Hardy's ladylike tact soon enabled her to get on with the Pastor--she used the simplest English words, and Hardy was able to talk to Helga.
"I have brought the side saddle," he said.
"I have seen it at Rosendal; and your man Garth has been exercising the horses with a skirt daily, to make them more accustomed to a lady riding them," said Helga.
"Well?" said Hardy, inquiringly.
"I shall be glad to learn to ride, Herr Hardy, if you will kindly teach me," said Helga. "Your man has told us that the horses and carriage were at our disposal until your mother came. We have not often used them, as my father said that if I wished to learn to ride, I had better wait until you came, as you understood horses, and that he was afraid some accident might occur."
John Hardy had apprised Mrs. Hardy of the inevitable porcelain pipe, which, as she did not like tobacco smoking, her son asked the Pastor to hold his tobacco-parliament in his own study, where he went to keep him company.
Thus Mrs. Hardy was alone with Helga for some time. She found that Helga could speak a little English, and Mrs. Hardy led her to speak of the management of the little household at the parsonage, and then of her father, which with Helga was an inexhaustible theme. She told Mrs. Hardy of John's gift of the piano, which she said she had accepted because her father liked to hear her sing.
"I feel it was wrong to have accepted it," she said, "but I did so on the impulse of the moment; my father had been listening to my singing, and it seemed to draw his mind away from his great sorrow, and I thought any feeling of my own should be sacrificed to that."
"Why, what a dear child you are!" said Mrs. Hardy, led away by Helga's earnest blue eyes, and she kissed her affectionately. "You talk a good deal better English than I expected," she added.
"Perhaps so," replied Helga. "Mr. Hardy left his books here for Axel, and I have been learning all the winter, in the hope of being of use to you; I knew you would want some one to speak English, as your son might not always be at hand. Karl has written with such gratitude of you, that it is the only way that occurred to me that I might really be useful to you."
"You are a dear, sensible girl, Miss Lindal," said Mrs. Hardy, caressing her; "and so it will be. And will you come and stay with me as long as your father can spare you, at Rosendal, and help me to get the house in order?"
"I will do anything for you, Mrs. Hardy," replied Helga, earnestly.
John Hardy came in to wish them "Good night," before he left for Rosendal.
"I shall drive over in the morning to see if you wish to go to Rosendal, mother," he said.
"Certainly I do, John," replied his mother, "But I have a message for you;" and she whispered, "I like her already, John; she is perfectly good and true."
John Hardy was right when he said that his mother's influence on his own thoughts would crystallize them.
The next few days were occupied in settling down at Rosendal. Mrs. Hardy was charmed with the place. Its natural beauty was what such a mind as hers could recognize, and she praised Rosendal to Helga, to the latter's great satisfaction.
Helga was assiduous in learning English, and daily became more useful to Mrs. Hardy, The Pastor often came to dinner, and the days passed pleasantly.
"John," said Mrs. Hardy, one day, when she was alone with her son, "you have asked me to ascertain what Helga Lindal's feelings are to you, if I possibly could. I cannot. All I can say is, marry her, and you will never regret it. Ask her. She is the best and truest woman I ever met."
"Very good, mother," replied John. "I will."
That day Pastor Lindal came to dinner, and his daughter was to return with him in the evening, to remain at home.
John Hardy asked Helga to walk through the grounds, while her father was conversing with Mrs. Hardy, They went to a particular place that John recollected, and he said--
"Frøken, do you remember your asking me at this spot why I bought Rosendal?"
"Yes, perfectly," said Helga, frankly; "and you said you would tell me when your mother came."
"My reason is, and was, because you said there was no place you should like to live at so much as Rosendal."
"Do you mean you will give it to us?" asked Helga.
"My meaning is that I will give it to you, Helga. I want you to be my wife."
"I will, if you will wait. Hardy; my father cannot live without me now."
"Wait!" cried Hardy; and he looked into her blue eyes. "Why, you have loved me a long time, and never told me so! I have been in doubt and fear."
"You never need doubt it more. Hardy," said she, saying "du" to him for the first time. "When you came here first, I tried not to like you; then I tried to disgust you with me, and you were so good and manly that I loved you with all my heart. I thought," she added, "you would have spoken to me when you proposed the driving tour to Esbjerg, and I was so frightened."
"Yes," said Hardy, "it was in my mind, but I was a guest in your father's house, and I had to ask my mother's blessing and support. But tell me one thing, what was the reason that you would not tell me about your refusing to learn to ride?"
"My reason was that I did try not to like you, and then I refused."
"I see," said Hardy, kissing what he thought the most beautiful mouth in the world.
When they returned to the house, Mrs. Hardy saw her son's bright face, and knew he had been accepted.
"Dear mother," said John, caressing her, "she's won."
Mrs. Hardy embraced Helga warmly, and the Pastor saw how the matter stood, and held out his hand.
"I have understood you all along, Hardy, and you are a noble fellow. You have my consent, willingly."
Helga was preparing to return with her father, but Mrs. Hardy interposed.
"You can have John, Herr Pastor," she said; "but I must have my daughter here, that I may get to know more of her. John shall go with you, but I must have her for to-night."
The Pastor had to give way, and John Hardy went with him, and they held a tobacco-parliament, and John slept in his old room at the parsonage.
Mrs. Hardy, when they were gone, said, "Tell me all about John, my darling, all you know;" and Helga told her.
"He is like his father," said Mrs. Hardy; "he was so true and good a gentleman, that I feel the same interest as if it were my own marriage over again, and my son has been my all for years. He has told me so much about you, that before I came it was the holding up the mirror to memory; all what he said, and had dwelt in my mind, came back."
Helga told her that she could not marry until her father was too old to attend to his duty; that he could not, and would not, give his duty up until pronounced unfit.
"I will arrange all that," said Mrs. Hardy, "You shall be married to John this summer, and you must say no more; you must leave that to me. Your father's greatest happiness will be to see you happily married, and he has told me so."
A few days after, John Hardy and his mother and Helga Lindal called at the Jensens'. John frankly told them the story of his engagement, and, as he was going to be married in Denmark, asked the two Frøken Jensens if they would be bridesmaids. Helga wished it.
Mathilde Jensen reminded Hardy that she had said he bought Rosendal because he wanted to marry Helga Lindal.
"Yes," said John; "I thanked you for so disposing of me."
The worthy proprietor was delighted that John Hardy would be his neighbour for some time of the year, and thanked him for the mare Hardy had sent over from England to improve his breeding stock. John Hardy had made him a present of it.
"She is," said the proprietor, "as handsome as can be; but she has a temper."
"She is Irish," said Hardy. "But you will find the horse foals easy to manage; the mares may give a little trouble, but they will go like birds."
The Jensens pressed them to stay to an early dinner, and Mrs. Hardy thought they had best do so. The well-bred English lady made a strong impression on the Jensen ladies, and the genuine Danish hospitality appealed to Mrs. Hardy.
The result of this visit was a return visit to Rosendal. The exact service and the excellent arrangements of everything had its effect on the Jensens, and the consequence was that numerous calls were made at Rosendal.
Helga had returned to the parsonage, when John Hardy one day came to his mother with a telegram. The steam yacht Rosendal was at Aarhus.
"Let us go to Copenhagen, John," said Mrs. Hardy, "and take Helga with us. She is fond of the sea, and I enjoy her society. It is the perfect truth that is in everything about her that I love."
"She will not go if I ask her, mother," said John; "but if you do she may."
"Telegraph to them to have steam up, John," said his mother, "and I will drive to the parsonage."
His mother left, and, to John's astonishment, Helga returned with her, ready to go anywhere.
"The Pastor insisted on her going," said Mrs. Hardy, "and I promised to bring back his youngest son, who is at school at Copenhagen. The Pastor is a sensible man. He said to his daughter, 'Why should you not enjoy the kindness your future husband can show you?' and there was an end to her objections."
They hurried to the station, and got on board the Rosendal after a short railway journey.
"You had better go below and get your dress changed, Helga; my mother will show you where your berth is. What you want is a warm woollen dress that a little sea water will not hurt. There are several belonging to my mother on board."
When Helga came up, they were at sea. The pilot was steering. Mrs. Hardy was sitting on a wicker chair on deck. Some one in a sailor's dress placed a chair for her.
"When you are tired of sitting here," said Hardy, for he it was, "you can go into the deck-house and lie down. We shall have dinner at six. There is Samsø, and before you rise to-morrow we shall be at Copenhagen, I shall have to be up all night."
The yacht delighted Helga. The dinner was served so well that it surprised her; and when they came on deck, it was a pleasure to see the distant lights in the fine summer's night, and to feel the yacht rushing through the smooth sea.
"I do like this. Hardy," she said. "Must I go to my berth? I would rather be on deck and hear your voice now and then."
"No," said Hardy; "because you must not draw off my attention. We have to look after the pilot, and I am the only man on board that knows Danish;" and Helga went at once.
Mrs. Hardy, who had heard what had passed, was pleased to see her rapid compliance with what was necessary.
When Helga came on deck the next day, they were at anchor near the Custom House at Copenhagen. Mrs. Hardy was already up, and they had breakfast.
Hardy gave some necessary orders as to coaling, and they went ashore and saw the Museum of Northern Antiquities, Thorwaldsen's Museum, and much else, and lunched at the Hotel d'Angleterre in the King's New Market, or Kongens Nytorv.
"Now, Helga, what is there more to see?" asked Hardy.
"There is the picture gallery in Christiansborg Slot, but there are so many steps up to it that it will fatigue Mrs. Hardy; but, if we might, I should like to call and see Axel, and arrange about his coming back with us," said Helga. "To-morrow you could see Rosenborg, which is certain to interest you; we have to give notice to-day to the curator."
"I shall be henpecked, mother," said Hardy. "She orders everything already."
"No, you will not," said Helga, who understood him, although he had spoken in English. "I shall give my life to you, and my will too." There was no mistaking the look in those blue eyes. "You might be interested," she added, "in going to the Royal Theatre. The play to-night is one of Holberg's comedies, 'Den pantsatte Bondedreng,' that is, 'The Farmer's Boy left in Pledge.' It is a good play and popular. I can tell the story of the play to Mrs. Hardy before she goes, as you. Hardy, already know it."
"I give myself entirely in your hands, Helga. You shall be obeyed before marriage, and obey me after," said Hardy, laughing.
"It is not a question of obedience," replied Helga. "I am yours altogether when I am your wife."
As she had said this in Danish, Hardy explained to his mother.
Mrs. Hardy said, "She is a jewel, John, and without price;" and rose from her seat and kissed her on the parting of her hair.
"Don't do that, mother," said John; "you make me wish to kiss her head off."
"Oh, ye valleys! oh, ye mountains! Oh, ye groves, and crystal fountains! How I love, as liberty, By turns to come and visit ye!" _The Complete Angler._
Axel's joy at the unexpected pleasure of seeing his sister and Hardy was unbounded, but when he heard he was going on board the yacht for a cruise, and then to return home, he was wild with delight.
They went to the theatre that evening, and to Rosenborg the next day, and the yacht left in the afternoon for Elsinore, and anchored for the night.
Mrs. Hardy preferred being at sea to staying longer at Copenhagen. The theatre with its excellent acting interested her, but the knowledge of the language was wanting, and detracted from her enjoyment of Holberg's dramatic genius, which for so many years has interested the Danish public. Rosenborg, with its rich and varied treasures for four hundred years, was a greater enjoyment to her, and is alone worth a visit to Copenhagen.
"We have supplies and coal on board, mother," said Hardy, "and we can run up the Swedish coast to Gothenborg and see the falls at Trollhättan, by starting early, and can then cruise down the Danish coast."
"I think, John," said Mrs. Hardy, "I would rather go up to Christiania; we can write Pastor Lindal from Elsinore that we shall do so. We can lay to during the darker hours at many places, or, as we take a pilot from here to Christiania, can run on. The weather is calm."
Helga had heard what Mrs. Hardy had said, and, as Hardy looked at her, she said, "Where your mother pleases."
The next day, at breakfast time after English fashion, the yacht was fifty miles from Elsinore, and sea life began. The decks were clean and everything in order. The fore-staysail was set, as well as the fore and main sails, to catch the wind from the westward, and the yacht ran steadily, to the comfort of all on board.
Hardy had every arrangement made for his mother's comfort, her chair and wraps and footstool were all placed on deck, as he knew she liked, and Helga watched him doing this with pleasure.
"I think, Helga," he said, "it may interest you to inspect the yacht. Axel has been everywhere except up the masts." And Hardy showed her the engines, the many contrivances for economizing space, the compact little cooking-galley, and the berths for his own use and friends, as well as the little library they had on board, the stores and pantry. "And now," he said, "as the sea air will make you hungry, and you are not accustomed to an English breakfast, what would you like for lunch? There is a list of soups, also preserved meats, and a lot of things sent from Hardy Place."
"I will have anything that has come from Hardy Place," said Helga; and Hardy gave directions accordingly, to her subsequent approval.
They walked up and down the deck, and Hardy pointed out the different places on the coast on the chart, stopping at times to speak to Mrs. Hardy.
"I think this is the most delightful way of travelling. Hardy," said Helga, "and I recollect that you said so when you drove us to Esbjerg. There is more living interest at sea; the changes and contrasts are greater, that is, in natural features."
"You are right, Helga, except that you call me Hardy. Now, my name is John, positively John."
"I cannot pronounce it as you do," said Helga, "and I am afraid you will laugh at me. The name with us is spelt 'Jon,' pronounced 'Yon.' We have also 'Johan,' pronounced 'Yohan.'"
"I am aware of the learning you exhibit, Helga; but, notwithstanding, my name is John, and if you do not call me so, I shall be obliged to kiss you until you do, and my mother will say I shall be quite justified in taking that course."
Helga went and sat down by Mrs. Hardy.
"He is teasing me," she said, as she laid her head on Mrs. Hardy's lap.
"John," said Mrs. Hardy, as she touched Helga's cheek, "you do not take care of your Scandinavian princess; her skin is so thin and clear, that this little cheek is at fever heat with the action of the sun and wind. Tell my maid to bring the lotion I use, and a sponge."
"Thank you, Mrs. Hardy," said Helga, "but I do not mind the sun burning me; it makes my face a little warm, that is all."
"She does not know how handsome she is, John," said Mrs. Hardy, in French; "but her beauty lies in this, that there is nothing so beautiful as what is true."
After lunch, John Hardy told one of his men to fetch some rope quoits, to amuse Axel, and cleared part of the deck for the purpose. Helga, however, joined in the game with the zest of a child; her clear voice and laughter and natural grace made conquests of the yacht sailors.
"Uncommon neat about the spars!" exclaimed an old salt; "a smart craft when she's got all her sails bent, I'll be bound."
"Well, pilot," said Hardy, "where can you put us in for shelter for the night? We want to go up the Christiania Fjord by daylight, and when the ladies will be on deck. It has, besides, been a long run for the engineers."
"We shall have Frederikstad abeam at ten tonight, if she goes as she's going, and we can lay off there until the morning," replied the pilot. "There is no anger in the weather, and it will be a fine night. In fact, there will be no night; we are close on St. Hans' night, the longest day."
"We will keep the fires banked, anyway," said Hardy, "and set a watch.''
"Yes, better weigh," said the pilot. "The chances are the custom-house officers will board, and you had best keep your burgee and ensign flying, as then they may not trouble you."
At six the wind fell, and the sails were taken in, and the sea was soon without a ripple. Mrs. Hardy and Helga sat on deck after dinner, enjoying the changing beauty of the shore and the soft tints that rest on the northern lands at close of day. Hardy had wraps brought up from below, to keep the dew off his mother and the Scandinavian princess, and chatted with them.
When they determined to go below, Helga, in her Danish manner, shook hands with Hardy, and said, "Tak for i dag" (thank you for to-day). "I have never enjoyed life so much."
"Mother," said John, when Helga had gone, "you surprised me when you said you would rather go up to Christiania; you did so that I might see my princess for a few days when her mind is animated by what is strikingly novel to her, so that the bright transparency of her character should be more apparent. Thank you, my mother!"
"We have one heart, John," replied his mother.
John Hardy went on deck, anything but disposed to sleep. "Pass the word to get up for drift-lines and two men to go in a boat fishing."
The night, or rather the softer daylight, was favourable for catching, Pollock and one man rowing. John Hardy worked two lines and the other man two. They pulled in round the islands and soon caught many fish, which made a welcome addition to the breakfast-table the next day.
At eight they were under weigh, steaming up the grander scenery of the Christiania Fjord. Helga had come on deck, and Hardy saw she was interested in the scenery they were passing.
"We are in the Christiania Fjord," he said.
"How lovely and lake-like!" said Helga, when the breakfast-bell rang. "Must we go below, John?"
"There is no need whatever, now that you have called me, John;" and he directed her breakfast and his own to be brought on deck, and that his mother should be informed they were having breakfast on deck, which brought Mrs. Hardy up with them.
"We are making progress, mother," said Hardy, "and, for the first time, I have been called John; but only under desperate threats."
"You will not let him tease me, Mrs. Hardy?" said Helga, with an appealing look and earnest tone.
"Do you wish me to punish him?" said Mrs. Hardy, smiling. "Shall I have him thrown overboard, or put in irons?"
"No, no!" cried Helga, who was doubtful how far the maternal authority might extend amongst the English.
"Then we will both of us forgive him this time?" said Mrs. Hardy.
"Yes, I will, Mrs. Hardy," said Helga, with an earnestness that left no doubt.
"Now then," said John, "as I have been condemned and pardoned, let us have breakfast. I was afraid to go to sleep last night, so went fishing, to catch some fish for breakfast, and here they are."
"Why, John, were you afraid to go to sleep?" asked Helga, anxiously.
"Because I knew I should dream of you, Helga," replied Hardy, "and have not been in bed all night because of that, and because I went fishing. Moreover, I suspect you of being a 'Mare,' your eyebrows grow together, and I dread the nightmare."
"My eyebrows do not grow together," replied Helga, firmly.
"Let me see," said John; and he took her face between his hands, and added, "I am not certain, I must look closer;" and kissed her between the eyes.
"It is time for me to interfere," said John's mother; and she rang a small handbell in the deckhouse.
"Oh, don't, mother!" said John, with a piteous look.
"Oh, Mrs. Hardy! what are you going to do with Him?" asked Helga, with concern.
"First, he shall have no more breakfast, because he has finished," said Mrs. Hardy; "and then I will condemn him to----"
"No, no!" said Helga, beseechingly.
"I must," said Mrs. Hardy.
The great black-bearded steward came in to take away the breakfast things.
"Do go away; you are not wanted!" said Helga; and she pushed him out, and shut the door of the deck-house.
Mrs. Hardy got up and embraced her affectionately.
"Why," said she, "I was only going to condemn him to love you always, all his life, and with all his heart. You must not mind if he teases a little, all men do; but he is as good as gold, and as true as yourself."
"Now, Helga," said John, "let the steward clear away, and have a walk on deck. I will not tease you any more until next time. But where is that boy Axel?"
Axel had become a favourite with the men, for English sailors like a quick lad. He had an undying interest in knots and the contrivances on board the yacht, and the men liked the little Dane, as they called him. John Hardy sent a man to find him.
"He is down in the fok'sle, sir, learning knots off the men," said the man, touching his cap.
"Axel is trying to learn our English way of tieing knots, Helga," said Hardy, "and my men have taken him in charge. They will be kind to him, and would teach a lad no harm."
"When you were with us last year, you were so thoughtful of every one, and you were so kind; but when you tease me, I think you love me less," said Helga, slowly; "and I see you are thoughtful still. But why do you tease me?"
"Because I love you so; I do not know how to behave wisely," replied John. "You called me a cool and calculating Englishman; but if you knew how it hurt me when you said so, you would not have said what you did."
Mrs. Hardy had come on deck, and Helga went to her. Mrs. Hardy saw she was agitated, and was alarmed, but waited for Helga to speak.
"I know now he loved me from the first time we went to Rosendal," said Helga, "and I have been so bad to him. What I have said and did was hard."
"He understands it all, Helga, and there is no need for grief when you are so happy in the certainty of John's truth," said Mrs. Hardy.
"Thank you; thank you!" said Helga. "I feel so weak against his strength."
"Go and tell him so," said Mrs. Hardy, "if you feel so, and enjoy the beautiful scenes he is taking you through."
"There is not the weirdness in the scenery here, Helga, as further north, on the west coast of Norway. The hills here are rounder in form, as if by the action of ice ages ago," said Hardy. "Your father has often explained to you the action of glaciers, and how the large stones or boulders found in Jutland were conveyed by the ice and left where the ice grounded."
"It is lovely to pass a fresh prospect every minute," said Helga, "and to sail so easily through the still waters. The sun is hotter here than I think with us; it scalds more."
"Pass the word to get the awning up," said Hardy to one of his men; and presently half a dozen willing hands had done it.
"How pleasant!" said Helga. "The draught of air under the awning makes it feel so delightfully fresh. The colour of the foliage, the grass, the rocks, and sea appear distinct in effect of colour, John; how is that?"
"It is one of the many phases of nature," replied John. "The air is very clear here, and it may be that the summer being so short, nature paints in fresher colours."
"When shall we reach Christiania?" asked Helga.
"About three, as the yacht is going; the order I have given is, to run forty revolutions, that is a little more than half speed," replied Hardy. "If you wish to reach Christiania earlier, I will give the order for full speed."
"You must do what your mother wishes, John," said Helga.
"I am," replied John; "her wishes are that I should consult yours. Now, for instance, we shall get to Christiania at three; what would you like to see this afternoon?"
"Oscarshall," said Helga, "and Tidemand's pictures is what I long to see; but we had best go there to-morrow. We can take a walk this afternoon."
"And come back to dinner and go to the theatre?" added John.
The New Palace came in view about two, and then Akershuus Castle, and the yacht was put in her berth by the pilot.
Mrs. Hardy declined to go ashore, as she said she should be too fatigued to go to the theatre, and John had a walk with his princess. He tried to inveigle her into saying that she wanted something, that he might get it for her; but his sly ways were detected.
At the theatre a French Vaudeville was acted, which John thought his mother was greatly tired of and would have left, but Helga's interest at being in a foreign theatre, and seeing so many strange faces, was so apparent that Mrs. Hardy would not leave. The night when they came out of the theatre was beautiful, and John, at his mother's wish, steered the yacht's gig a little out of the harbour before they joined the yacht.
The next day was Helga's birthday, her twenty-first, and at eight o'clock, Norsk time, the yacht was dressed with bunting.
Before Helga had finished dressing, Mrs. Hardy's maid came into her state-room, with a small packet, containing a handsome turquoise ring from Mrs. Hardy, and a leather case from John Hardy, with the initials "H. H." There was a slight blush on her cheek as she remarked this. Her name was to be Helga Hardy.
"Mr. Hardy has directed me to show you the contents of the dressing-case, as you may not understand how to open the secret drawer," said Mrs. Hardy's maid. "This is a little gold key, and opens the dressing-case; there is scent, tooth-powder, and soap, and the whole is ready for use. And this is the way the jewel drawer opens; you press this knob, and it flies open, and is filled with the jewellery Mr. Hardy thought you might like. When you wish to shut the drawer, you push it so, and it closes with a spring."
Mrs. Hardy's maid opened the jewel drawer again, and left it for Helga to examine its contents. The initials were engraved as a monogram on different articles, even the ivory brushes had them. Mrs. Hardy had told her that light blue suited her, and there was a turquoise bracelet in good taste, and several rings, some of which did not fit her, as John Hardy when he bought her betrothal ring in Copenhagen had not been able to get them altered, as his stay in Copenhagen was short. Her first impulse was to decline such a costly present, next she thought, "He cannot have told his mother." The breakfast bell rang, and she went into the saloon where breakfast was served, and kissed Mrs. Hardy, whose present she wore and thanked her warmly. John Hardy wished her many happy returns of the day in a kindly Danish phrase.
"But how do you like John's present, my child?" said Mrs. Hardy.
Helga looked at John. She saw at once that his mother not only knew all about it, but had probably suggested it. "I thought it too costly to accept," said Helga.
John put his hands on her two shoulders and shook her gently. "You must not," he said in Danish, "be stiff-necked on your birthday. My mother bought what I have given you in London, and the jewellery was sent to Copenhagen for us to select from. It is all my mother's choice."
"In the winter?" said Helga.
"Yes, my child, in the winter. I understood John, although he had so many doubts and fears. He told me so much about you that I ordered the dressing-case, which John has paid for," said Mrs. Hardy, "and if I were you I would thank him."
She thanked him in the pretty Danish manner that so well became her, and said, "Thank you, Mr. Hardy; you are so good to me."
If the black-bearded steward had not come in at this moment, it is to be feared that John would have run the risk of being summarily adjudicated upon as before described.
"Where is Axel?" asked John.
"He is out fishing, sir; been out since six o'clock, with one of the men forard," replied the steward. This was explained to Helga, and breakfast proceeded.
"I think," said Mrs. Hardy, "that Helga should write her father, and say that we have arrived here and shall leave to-morrow evening; and, John, you could ask him to meet us at Aarhus when we arrived. I fear the worthy Pastor may think you have carried off his daughter, John."
"The very course I intend to take, mother, and in which you have aided and abetted, and I bless and thank you for it," said John.
"Come, live with me and be my love. And we will all the pleasures prove, That valleys, groves, or hills, or field, Or woods and sleepy mountains yield." _The Complete Angler._
Helga wrote her father as follows:--
"My All-dearest Father,
"You were written to that we were going to Christiania from Elsinore. I did not know that it was so far, but the steamship Herr Hardy has sails as fast as the steamer from Aarhus to Copenhagen, and everything is so clean and nice, and seeing fresh places, has been a great pleasure. Mrs. Hardy has been, as Karl said, as kind as any one could be, and I cannot say how grateful I am to her. We are to go to Oscarshall to-day and many other places in Christiania; and Mr. Hardy has asked me to write and say that we shall leave here to-morrow, and shall call at Fredrikshavn and telegraph to you from there the time we may expect to be at Aarhus, and they think you might like to come and see the steamer, and stay the night on board, and return home the next day with us. Herr Hardy has written a letter, which I enclose, as he said you might wish to hear from him to say how glad his mother would be to see you on English ground, as an English ship is as English land. If you can come, dear little father, I should be so glad! I hope Kirstin has managed everything for you in my absence. She said I was wrong to go away from you, and perhaps I am, and it is a sad thought to me; but it is not for long, and if I have been led away to do what is not fitting, you will tell me, and I will do what you say. Axel is very happy on board. Herr Hardy is very good to him, and his men are so friendly and teach him how to tie knots and go fishing with him, that he is very happy all day long.
"Mrs. Hardy greets you kindly, and Herr Hardy says I must say that he thanks you for teaching him to love what is good and true. Live well, little father.
John Hardy gave directions that the yacht should fill up with coal and supplies; and in the two days they were at Christiania, a good deal was seen. There is much to see, and much of natural beauty in Christiania, and Helga was interested. When they got under way and steamed down the Christiania Fjord and saw the effect of the sun setting, which then had its special beauty, Helga thought she had never seen anything so lovely.
"No! not even Rosendal?" asked John.
"Rosendal has its own charm," replied Helga; "there can be other places that have their singular beauty."
"I am so glad that you say that," said Hardy. "You may even come to think that the place where my fathers have lived in England has its charm;" and he held her face in his hands, and looked into her eyes.
"I have promised to marry you, John," said Helga, "and it is not whether your house is beautiful or not; wherever you live I will give my life to you."
"Bless you, dearest," said John, "I will never forget what you say;" and he never did.
When the yacht had cleared the Christiania Fjord, the night was fine and clear, but a breeze sprang up from the westward, and grew fresher towards morning. This had the effect of sending the yacht along under sail and steam, and at eight o'clock the next day the pilot was sent ashore at Frederikshavn with a telegram for Pastor Lindal, that they hoped to arrive at Aarhus at six in the evening.
"When are you going to marry your Scandinavian princess, John?" asked Mrs. Hardy, when she was settled in her usual place on deck.
"I am afraid to say anything, mother, to Helga," replied her son. "I see there does exist a doubt in her mind as to whether she is not doing what is wrong in leaving her father for this cruise, much more a cruise for life. I fear to approach the subject with her, as it may lead to her entertaining a fixed determination not to marry until her father's death."
"There is no selfishness about Pastor Lindal," said Mrs. Hardy, "and, moreover, he is a sensible man. He is certain to desire that his daughter should be well and happily provided for; besides, he has seen enough of you, John, to value you, and I see he likes you. I think you are right not to speak to Helga on the subject; leave it to me and Pastor Lindal."
"Thank you, mother, a thousand times," said John. "I understand you perfectly well, and I will do anything you think best or shall arrange."
"What I have thought of, John, is this," said his mother: "you can be married, say, the first of August, and remain at Rosendal for your honeymoon, and then come home to Hardy Place."
"And what will you do, mother?" asked John.
"I see you do not want your own mother in the way during the honeymoon," said Mrs. Hardy, smiling. "You can send the yacht round to Esbjerg, and I will meet it by rail as soon as you are married, and return home in the yacht to Harwich."
"What! go home alone, mother?" said John. "I cannot let you do that!"
"Well, you can see me safely off at Esbjerg, John," said Mrs. Hardy, "But this is the way that will please me best, and I wish to give you a welcome home with your wife, and I long to see her at the head of the table at Hardy Place."
"You are the same good mother, ever;" and John took his mother's hand and kissed it.
As soon as the entrance of the outer harbour at Aarhus could be made out, John Hardy went on the bridge with his binocular, and distinguished Pastor Lindal's head appearing over the parapet wall at the pierhead.
"Your father is on the pier, Helga, and you can see him with this glass," said Hardy, handing her his binocular. This she found difficult to do, as there were so many other heads appearing; but all doubt was at an end as the yacht glided past the pierhead of the outer harbour, for there was the worthy Pastor himself.
The yacht was soon brought to, and Pastor Lindal stepped on deck, to be met with much affection from his daughter and Axel. It was clear to Mrs. Hardy that Helga's attachment to her father was one of simple trust in each other, the same as existed between herself and her own boy John.
The Pastor was ceremoniously polite to Mrs. Hardy, but he greeted John Hardy with much warmth and thanks. He was pleased with the yacht and its many clever contrivances for saving space and arriving at comfort, and at dinner was, for him, merry. He was delighted to see his daughter with such a fresh and healthy look, after the cruise to Christiania. Axel, usually a quiet and retiring lad, talked incessantly; he had so much to relate of all that passed since leaving Copenhagen, that at length the Pastor stopped him; but Hardy intervened, "Let him run on, Herr Pastor; he is describing very well. He will come to an end with what he has to say, shortly."
The Pastor had thus, from Axel's point of view, the whole history of the cruise from beginning to end.
"And what do you say, Helga?" asked the Pastor.
"I never thought that life could be made so pleasant and so happy, little father," replied Helga. "Mrs. Hardy is kinder than I can say."
"And Hardy was not?" said the Pastor, smiling.
"He is like his mother, little father; their natures are the same," replied Helga. "But he is a man, and men are never so good as women."
John Hardy laughed, and, as the conversation was in Danish, told his mother what Helga had said.
"It is her simple naturalness that makes her say that, John," said Mrs. Hardy. "She sees in me what she thinks a perfect woman, although I am an ordinary Englishwoman; while she does not understand the rougher nature men possess. Her thorough truth in thought and feeling is her greatest charm."
Axel, however, put his oar in. "Why, father how can Helga say Herr Hardy is not as good as Fru Hardy? He gave her a toilet box with costly things in it."
"Yes, little father, it is true," said Helga; "but it was too costly a present, and I did not like to accept it."
When dinner was over, Mrs. Hardy told her son to go on deck, and take Axel with him. She then asked Helga to show her father the dressing-case John Hardy had given her. The Pastor started when he read the initials, "H. H." His quick apprehension realized the position.
"Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy, "our children leave us as we grow older; and is there any better wish for them than that they should have a happy future?"
Mrs. Hardy held out her hand, and Pastor Lindal grasped it. He understood her, and, with the ceremonious politeness habitual to him, raised her hand to his lips.
"I think," said Mrs. Hardy, "they can be married on the first of August. There is no reason to delay the happiness of their young life. They can remain near you at Rosendal for a month, and come to England for the winter, and return to you in May."
Helga was present, and heard all Mrs. Hardy had said. She put one hand on her father's shoulder.
"Father," she said in Danish, "I will wait your wish and time."
"Mrs. Hardy is right, Helga," said her father, "I shall miss you, but it will be a joy to me to lose you to Hardy. He is the one man I like, and I hope he is the one man you love."
"I can never forget how we wronged him, when Rasmussen was injured and died, and how noble he has always been!" said his daughter. "I have been unkind and bad to him, and I now know pained him with what I said. Little father, what you say I should do that will I do."
"Mrs. Hardy," said the Pastor, "my daughter assents to what you propose, and I assent. You can order the matter as you will."
"I will promise you. Pastor Lindal," said Mrs. Hardy, "that all the time she can she shall be in Denmark, and that I will be to her as her own mother." Mrs. Hardy held out her hand to the Pastor, and the compact then made ever after was adhered to.
Mrs. Hardy rose, and kissed Helga on her flaxen hair. "Will you tell John, or I?" she asked.
"I cannot," replied Helga, earnestly.
"Then, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy, "we will go on deck, and I should like a walk about Aarhus, if you will take me, and John can take his wife that is to be."
When Mrs. Hardy came on deck, she said to her son, "The first of August, John; it is so settled."
John Hardy lifted his mother from the deck, and positively kissed her in the sight of his own men and a numerous crowd of curious Danes, who had collected to see the yacht, and f Helga had not jumped ashore, it was not at all improbable but that she might have shared the same fate.
The trust and confidence the mother and son had in each other was a comfort to the Pastor. It was the best guarantee for Helga's future.
"It is late," said the Pastor; "but I know the clerk at the Domkirke (cathedral), and you can possibly see it."
The advantage of seeing the Domkirke with the Pastor was obvious to Mrs. Hardy, and they were much interested in the details he gave of the old vestments preserved in the Domkirke and the ancient folding pictures at the altar, the date of which is 1479, but the pictures are Italian and older.
"The old church tradition," said the Pastor, "is that the patron saint, St. Clement, after suffering martyrdom, came ashore after floating about the sea for eleven hundred years, bound to a ship's anchor, which circumstance is delineated in more than one place in the Domkirke. One of the stories of the Domkirke is recorded on a stone," continued the Pastor. "It is the figure of a woman with a hole in her left breast. She was shot by a rejected lover, as she went to the Domkirke to attend the church service of the times. The stone must have been once in an horizontal position, as it is worn as if it had been placed at the entrance of the Domkirke, as is believed to be the case, and much trodden on."
"Are there more stories connected with the Domkirke?" asked Mrs. Hardy.
"Yes, many," replied the Pastor. "There is the story of the monks being killed by bricks falling on them from the arched roof, when playing cards behind the altar. There is also the story of a large hunting horn, which is said to be now preserved in one of our museums, which horn was used at the evening service before Good Friday, in catholic times. It was blown through a hole in the roof of the Domkirke, and the words shouted as loud as possible, 'Evig forbandet være, Judas' (For ever may Judas be accursed). There is also the monument of Laurids Ebbesen who had been unfaithful to the king, who, when he visited the Domkirke, cut the nose off the monumental figure with his sword. The ship which is hung up in the Domkirke, is a model which Peter the Great of Russia had made in France, and it was sent by a French vessel from Toulon, which was wrecked at the Scaw, or, as we call it, Skagen. The cargo of the ship was sold by auction. A seaman of Aarhus bought the model, which is that of a ship of war with seventy-four cannon, and gave it to the Domkirke, at Whitsuntide, 1720."
"Thank you very much, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy.
It must, however, be recorded that notwithstanding the interest John Hardy had in such lore as the Pastor possessed in such rich abundance, he was very much interested in another direction. At length, after much absorbing contemplation, he said, "I never saw such blue as there is in your eyes, Helga!"
The next day they returned to Rosendal, and Pastor Lindal to his parsonage with Helga. He had been pleased with his berth on board the yacht, and the comfortable opportunity the deck-house afforded for holding a tobacco-parliament, which Mrs. Hardy bore with much patience.
As the yacht was at Aarhus, Mrs. Hardy wished to make a tour amongst the Danish islands before sending it to Esbjerg.
"I think, John," she said, "that to-morrow we will invite Pastor Lindal and Helga to dinner, and we will talk over the arrangements for your wedding. I should not offer to give her a wedding outfit, as I think she would not like it. I should give her a good watch and chain, as a wedding present, and lockets to the two Miss Jensens. It is clear that the quieter the wedding is the more likely to meet the Pastor's wishes and his daughter's."
"I think," said John, "that you are right, but I should wish to let Helga know that I would bear any expense they wished. I should be so glad if you would say so to her, mother. When we were at Christiania, I wanted her to let me get her gloves or anything else she might wish for, and she said 'You need not try to buy my goodwill, John; you possess it' but she used a Danish word which 'goodwill' does not translate."
"I had better ascertain their wishes, John," said his mother, "and say we only wish to further them; and this once settled, you must come with me on board the yacht, so that your mother may have her own boy with her for a while. It will be better for you, as here you would be restless; and as to your plans for teaching Helga to ride, you can do so after you are married and are staying here."
John caressed his mother and assented.
Helga had filled the porcelain pipe after dinner, and Mrs. Hardy and Pastor Lindal sat in a garden seat in the grounds at Rosendal, the day following the decision of Mrs. Hardy's views for her son's wedding.
"We should wish to obey any wishes you may have, Herr Pastor, as to the wedding," said Mrs. Hardy, after a general conversation with him.
"John will remain at Rosendal for a month, and then go to England for the winter, and come to you again in May."
The Pastor took several long pulls at his pipe and created a cloud of smoke. At last he said--
"I have not thought of it, Mrs. Hardy." And it was plain he had not.
"I will, then, say what I think," said she. "The wedding should be at your church; and will you marry them?"
"Certainly; it is my intention," he replied.
"The wedding to be as quiet as possible," continued Mrs. Hardy, "and proprietor Jensen's daughters to be bridesmaids; and John has an old college friend who will come here to be his best man, and will return with me to England in the yacht, from Esbjerg."
Mrs. Hardy's practical common sense impressed the Pastor; he assented sadly.
"There is nothing to mourn over or regret, Herr Pastor, and you will feel the constant joy of knowing that she is happy with the man of her choice, and that as long as I live I will watch over her as my own; also the pleasure of looking forward to her stay in Denmark every summer will occupy and interest you."
The Pastor smoked in silence, but his heart was sad.
It was fortunate that John and Helga appeared, the latter laden with blooms gleaned in the valley of roses. Her face was bright with happiness.
"Mrs. Hardy," she said, "John has persisted in picking rose after rose, holding them up to my cheek and telling me that I am the fairest rose, and that I am going to be the rose of Rosendal, and has teased me dreadfully."
"I think John is right to say so, and to say so to you," said Mrs. Hardy, smiling kindly at her.
The Pastor felt what Mrs. Hardy had once said, that we should love with our children's love, and the sadness left his face. He began to share his daughter's love for Hardy.
Mrs. Hardy rose from her seat, and drew Helga away, and John had to be content to follow her with his eyes only.
"Your father, Helga, last year, went for a tour with John; can he do the same now? On Monday, I am going with John in the yacht for a cruise amongst the Danish islands," said Mrs. Hardy, "do you think he would like to go with us? It would allow of his being better acquainted with us, and would distract his thoughts from dwelling on your leaving him."
"Nothing could be better or kinder, Mrs. Hardy," replied Helga. "I will write for the priest who generally does my father's duty in his absence, at once."
"Stay," said Mrs. Hardy, "if your father leaves with us, it will enable you to get ready for your wedding in his absence; it will be better so. And here is a little packet. It will meet any expense; it is not from John, it is from me;" and Mrs. Hardy kissed her affectionately and was gone.
"_Piscator._--But, my worthy friend, I would rather prove myself a gentleman by being learned and humble, valiant and inoffensive, virtuous and communicable, than by any fond ostentation of riches." --_The Complete Angler._
Pastor Lindal accepted the invitation to join the yacht. He was anxious to know more of Mrs. Hardy, in whose hands he felt so much of his daughter's future lay.
Mrs. Hardy had, as she had done before every Sunday, attended the parish church, and Helga thanked her for the contents of the packet of Danish bank notes. It was more in amount, she said, than she wanted, and would return Mrs. Hardy three-fourths of it.
"It is very kind," said Helga; "but I can only accept what is positively necessary, and I accept that because it would relieve my father from an expense that he cannot well bear, and because John might wish to see me well dressed when I am married to him."
"Would you not like to make Kirstin and your father's other servants a present when you are married?" said Mrs. Hardy.
"Yes, I shall; but I cannot use your money to do that, Mrs. Hardy. I shall give them what I have of my own, and what they know I have valued; it is not much, but they would like it best."
This conversation had ended when they reached the parsonage, where Robert Garth was waiting with the carriage to drive Mrs. Hardy and her son to Rosendal.
"John," said Mrs. Hardy, as they drove away, "she is worthy of your best affection. There is not a day passes but that something arises which makes me love her more and more." Mrs. Hardy loved again with her son's love.
"Mother," said John, "she is so dear to me; there is nothing that is not truth with her."
"You are right, John," said his mother. "Give her all your heart, and she will give you hers."
"I know it, mother," said John.
Pastor Lindal accompanied them to Aarhus, and when they came on board the yacht, John Hardy spread out the chart of the Danish islands before him.
"We can reach Nyborg to-night, Herr Pastor," said he, "and call and stop at Svendborg, and run round Møen's Klint to Copenhagen, and passing Elsinore to Aarhus again, stopping at any place on the way."
"But the time?" asked the Pastor.
"A week," replied John; "or you can land at any place, and return by rail in a few hours."
"No, Herr Pastor," interposed Mrs. Hardy, "you must not bind us to time. We shall see if the cruise is a benefit to you, and if so, you must prolong it."
The Pastor always surrendered when challenged by Mrs. Hardy.
Whilst they were at lunch, the _Rosendal_ steam yacht was passing Samsø.
"This island," said John Hardy, "appears from the chart to be a sand bank washed up by the sea."
"So is all Denmark," said Pastor Lindal. "The legends and traditions belonging to Samsø, however, are not as old as those of Jutland, and it would therefore appear not to have been inhabited at so early a period. There is an historical tradition that in 1576 a mermaid appeared to a man of Samsø, and directed him to go to Kallundborg, where King Frederick II. was then staying with his court, and tell him that his queen would have a son, which would become a mighty ruler. The king questioned the man, who stated that the mermaid's name was Isbrand, and that she lived in the sea, not far from land, with her mother and grandmother, and that it was the latter that had foretold the birth of Queen Margrethe, who united the three Scandinavian kingdoms under one crown. King Frederick sent the man home, and commanded him not to come to the court again.
The king's son was Christian IV., under whose rule Denmark attained its zenith of power. Once, when Christian IV. was driven ashore by a storm on Samsø, he saw the priest's man ploughing. The king took the plough and ploughed a furrow, and told the man to tell his master that the king had ploughed for him."
"A good way to acquire popularity in those times," remarked Mrs. Hardy. "But are there any more stories of the kind?"
"There is the story of the Church of the Holy Cross. There is a tablet said to be yet in the church, on which there is an inscription," replied the Pastor. "This states that a gilt cross in the church was washed ashore bound to a corpse, but that when they would take the corpse to a particular churchyard, that four horses could not move the waggon in which it was placed. They then tried to draw the waggon to another churchyard, with the same result; but at last they directed the horses to the church at Onsberg, and then two horses could easily draw it; so the corpse was buried in the eastern end of the church, and the church afterwards called the Church of the Holy Cross. The date is given as 1596. There is also a story of the Swedish war of 1658, when a party of Swedish cavalry took a tailor prisoner, and set him at work on a table in a farm-house, while they fired at a mark on the door, the balls passing close to his head. It is said the door yet exists, with the bullet marks in it."
"We have an island in sight, on the starboard bow, called Endelave; are there any traditions existing there?" asked Hardy.
"There is only the story of a giant who threw a stone from thence to Jutland, which was so large that two girls saved themselves from a bull by climbing to the top of it. There is, however, the variation that it was thrown by a giantess from Fyen (Funen) with her garter. I know of no special legend from Endelave."
"There is a town marked Kjerteminde on the chart; is that in recollection of anything specially historical, as would appear from the name?" asked Hardy.
"When Odin built the town called Odense," replied the Pastor, "the other towns were envious of its better appearance and condition, and particularly the town now called Kjerteminde, and complaint was made to Odin, who was angry, and replied, 'Vær du mindre' (literally, 'be you less'); this was that they should continue to be smaller towns than Odense. In time the name from Vær du mindre became altered to its present name of Kjerteminde. There is also the variation that the name is from St Gertrude's minde (memory) contracted to Kjerteminde. She was the sailors' patron saint."
"There is more to be said of Odense, as it was founded by Odin," said Mrs. Hardy.
"What I can tell you of Odense," said the Pastor, "is history, chiefly. There is the story that a rich man called Ubbe gave his property to St. Knud's (Canute) Church under singular circumstances. His relatives wanted him to leave his property to them, and they placed a woman in his household, if possible, to influence him in their favour, and she did not. Ubbe had become blind. He directed some tripe to be cooked, possibly because his teeth were gone. The woman, however, having no tripe, cut up an old felt hat and gave him. This he chewed and chewed, when a little child told him what it was. He was angry at the deceit, and gave his property to the Church; and the name of a portion of his lands was changed from Ubberud to Kallun (tripe). Odense is the birth-place of Hans Christian Andersen, whose stories have been translated into English," continued Pastor Lindal; "but, like other translations, they lose immeasurably by translation."
"What is the chief historical interest connected with Odense?" asked Mrs. Hardy.
"The death of St. Knud," replied the Pastor. "He was the grand-nephew of Canute the Great. He was killed in the church of St Albanus, in 1086, by his rebellious subjects. He wanted to make war on England, as he claimed the English throne, and they resisted; so far it is history. The story is that he was pursued, and fled to the church, and prayed for his enemies. He saw a Jutland man looking at him through a window of the church, and the king asked for water. The man ran to a stream and fetched water in a cup; but as he reached it to the king, another man struck the cup with his spear, and the water was spilt, and the king was killed by a stone thrown at him. The man who had prevented the king getting the cup of water went out of his mind, and had always a burning thirst, and on going to a well to drink fell down, and stuck in it over the water, which he could not reach, and so perished. The king was canonized, but is said to occasionally visit the church, where he was buried, from his place amongst the angels. This church he had just commenced to build. There is a story that when the tower was building, an apprentice told his master he was as good a builder. The master-builder went out of the tower on the scaffolding and stuck an axe into it, and told the apprentice to go and fetch it, if he could. The apprentice went, but called out that an adjoining village was approaching the town of Odense. 'Then God have mercy on your soul' said the master-builder. The apprentice fell to the ground and was killed. There is, however, a variation of this story, which localizes it in Copenhagen at Our Lady's Church there, and that the apprentice cried out that he saw two axes. The result was the same."
"Thank you very much, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy. "You must try and keep up the practice of speaking English." The Pastor was in the habit of falling back on his own language when he had a difficulty, for John Hardy to interpret.
"I think we should have but one language all over the world," said the Pastor, "and that language should be English."
"There is not much to see at Nyborg, mother," said John, "and the pilot says if we leave early to-morrow that we had best anchor outside the harbour, clear of the course of the steamers from Korsør. We shall have the anchor down at six, and we can go ashore and have dinner a little before eight, and then the Pastor can hold his second tobacco-parliament before we turn in. We shall also have to engage another pilot, as it is difficult navigation to Svendborg; and if we start at six, we shall be there at eight to-morrow, which will enable us to see Svendborg and its pretty neighbourhood, and in the evening can anchor under shelter of Væirø, an island, so as to reach Vordingborg early to-morrow."
Mrs. Hardy followed her son's explanation on the chart. He was himself the registered owner of his yacht, and acted as his own skipper when on board; and as his men had been with him in other yachts, of which he had been the owner, they had confidence in him, as they had seen his courage and seamanship again and again put to the proof.
"You are always self-reliant, John," said his mother.
"Yes; but Pastor Lindal has taught me on whom reliance should be placed," said John. "The simple trust he has and the simple faith of which he is convinced are in his life and practice. No sermon can have such influence as to be with him one day in his parish when he visits those he sees it necessary to visit. It is the simplicity of perfect truth about him that has made his daughter a pearl without price."
"I believe every word of what you say, John," said his mother. "She has now my heart as completely as she has yours."
There is not so much to see in Nyborg. The walk in the wood is pretty with its thoroughly Danish prospect, and there is little else to interest. Pastor Lindal was tired when they reached the yacht, but revived with the tonic effect of a good dinner. They adjourned to the deck-house, and Hardy essayed to fill the porcelain pipe with Kanaster, but failed. The pipe was too hard pressed with tobacco and would not draw, and it was not John Hardy only who missed Helga.
"Is there anything to relate about Nyborg, Herr Pastor?" asked Hardy.
"There is not much specially," replied the Pastor. "There is the story of the monkey taking Christian II. out of his cradle when there was a royal residence at Nyborg, and jumping out of the window with him, and taking him upon the roof, so that it was with difficulty that they got him down again. There is also the story of the ghost of Queen Helvig, who was married to Valdemar Atterdag. She is said to have appeared for years to the sentry on the ramparts, and to have always left a dollar under a stone, which he collected; but one day, he was sick, and told a comrade to fetch the dollar, but no dollars were placed under the stone after. Queen Helvig was imprisoned there for a long time, under a charge frequently preferred in those days."
"Had you not particular days called Mærkedage, to which particular importance was attached?" asked Hardy.
"They were principally the greater festivals of the Church, or on New Year's Day," replied the Pastor. "Thus, for instance, if the sun shone out so long on New Year's Day that a horse could be saddled, it was a sign of a fruitful year; also, if a girl or a young man wished to know whom she or he would marry, they write the names of suspected persons on different pieces of paper, and put them under their pillows on New Year's Eve, and the one thus dreamt of is the one selected; also, if a turf is cut from the churchyard New Year's Eve, the person who puts it on his or her head can see who will die in the year, as their ghosts will appear in the churchyard. There is also another means to the same end, and that is when people sit at a table New Year's Eve; those that will die in the year cast a shadow, but without a head. Tyge Brahe has particularized many days in the year as being unlucky, on which to attend to any business or to do anything important, but they are so numerous that they are not regarded."
"Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy, "you are tired with your walk about Nyborg, and your speaking so much in English; I wish to suggest a subject that will give you something to think of."
"What may that be?" asked the Pastor.
"I have thought," said Mrs. Hardy, "that you might like to see us at home in England before the winter. John will leave at the end of August, and you might go with him. What I feel is, that I should like during the winter you should feel that your daughter is well cared for."
"I will go," said the Pastor; and he held out his hand to Mrs. Hardy in his Danish manner, and the matter was at an end. Mrs. Hardy's kindly tact always overcame him.
The visit to Svendborg entailed so much to see and explore, that it was not until late in the evening that the yacht was reached. The Pastor was, however, fresher than the evening before, possibly because they had not walked so much, but had driven.
"What we have seen at Svendborg, Herr Pastor, is very pretty," said Mrs. Hardy, "but it differs from an English landscape; and it is only by seeing both that you can realize the contrast."
"That is very possible," replied Pastor Lindal. "The same landscape painted by different artists would make each their impression; how much more, then, would nature, with influences we cannot understand, produce different effects?"
Mrs. Hardy looked as if a fresh field of thought was opened to her, and her son observed his mother's look of surprise.
"I have been often astonished," he said, "to hear from Pastor Lindal and Helga a similar cast of thought that has given me something to think of for long after. I think it is the outcome of a natural singleness of thought we do not often meet."
"I believe you are right, John," said his mother. "But possibly Herr Pastor can tell us a tradition of Svendborg;" and she raised her voice and addressed him.
"There is the tradition of St. Jørgen," he said, "or, as you call it in English, St. George and the dragon. The features of the story, of course, are the same; with us the tradition runs as follows:--There was a temple inhabited by a dragon, who issued from it and laid waste the country. Each day the monster craved a human life, until at last lots were drawn as to who should be the victim, and from this neither the king nor his family were exempt, and the lot fell on his only daughter. The king offered half his kingdom to any one who should destroy the dragon. A knight called Jørgen attempted to do so, by putting poisoned cakes in the dragon's way; but that availed nothing. He then attacked it, and the monster retreated to Svendborg; but it again came forth, and a combat between the knight and the dragon ensued. The dragon was slain, and where its poisonous blood poured out no grass will grow. The combat is said to be delineated on the church bells. It is very probably only an echo of the Greek story of Perseus and Andromeda. You will observe the dragon in our tradition is said to have issued from a temple. We had no temples, the Greeks had.
"There are not many special traditions connected with Svendborg. There is the story of a noble lady who was murdered at Svendborg, but the murderers were men of rank, and the whole town agreed to pay blood-money, and some farms were apportioned to the murdered woman's relatives and a wooden cross set up over her grave; and it was agreed that when the wooden cross fell into decay, whoever first repaired it should possess the farm so apportioned. The consequence was that a wooden cross was always kept ready to repair the original cross. This story has many variations and is differently localized."
"Are there not many proverbs with regard to the weather, or the like, in Denmark?" asked Hardy.
"There are, but they are identical with the English," replied the Pastor. "There are some that may be new; for instance, we say that there is always some sun on a Saturday, that the poor may dry the clothes they wash. The farmers also say that if the priest takes his text from St. Luke in preaching his Sunday's sermon, it is sure to rain. Also, that a southerly wind is like a woman's anger, it always ends in weeping. Of days in the week we say, that if it rains on a Sunday and a Monday it will rain the whole week. Again, we say--
'Søndags Veir til Middag Er Ugens Veir til Fredag.'
'Sunday's weather to midday Is the week's weather to Friday.
There is another of the same character:
'Tirsdag giver Veir til Torsdag, Fredags Veir giver Søndags Veir, Lørdag har sit eget Veir, Mandag enten værre eller bedre.'
'Tuesday's weather is Thursday's weather, Friday's weather is Sunday's weather, Saturday has its own weather, Monday is either worse or better.
The same, I believe, exists in England," continued the Pastor, "or at least very nearly allied to it."
"It is so," said Hardy.
"Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright, The bridal of the earth and sky." _The Complete Angler._
The yacht had anchored for the night to the east of Væirø, an island and lighthouse. The pilot and steward had gone ashore to purchase fresh milk. The morning was without a breath of wind, and the yacht was motionless.
"What a sense of calm and peace!" said Mrs. Hardy, as she came on deck. "There is not a fish coming to the surface of the still water, or a bird in the air, or a boat visible. It is almost desolation."
"We are out of the track of vessels," said Pastor Lindal, "and there are few fish just here, consequently no sea-birds in pursuit of them."
"You will soon see more life, mother," said Hardy, "From our position we are seventeen knots to Vordingborg, which we shall reach shortly after breakfast. We shall have to take another pilot there, for the difficult channel by Grønsund out to the Baltic, as our present pilot is not allowed to go beyond Vordingborg."
"Your pilots, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy, "appointed by your Government, appear men well selected for their duty. They are all experienced men and well-conducted. We have been yachting on many shores, but the pilots we have taken in Denmark have been all men that have given me a feeling of confidence."
"There is much employment for pilots on some parts of our coast," said the Pastor, "and the men soon acquire experience."
When they came on deck after breakfast, the yacht was half-way to Vordingborg.
"What is the land on the starboard bow?" asked Mrs. Hardy.
"Falster," replied the Pastor, "and to the south is Laaland. One of the chief towns is Mariebo; it is so called from the special wish of the Virgin, as evidenced by a shining light having been seen there every night. Queen Margrethe bought the site for a church, from the owner, Jens Grim, and the place was called Mariebo. The termination 'bo' is present Danish for an abode or dwelling, as it was supposed the Virgin had been there. 'By' is present Danish for a town. In the church there is the figure of a monk on one of the pillars pointing at another pillar, where it is said a treasure is buried. A Danish antiquary is said to have found in the Vatican a paper stating that when the monks were driven out of Mariebo, they had hid their documents in a pillar of the church. It is not known to me whether any search has been made. The owner of the site, Jens Grim, was attacked by people from Lubeck; they besieged his two fastnesses. They succeeded in taking one of them by a very simple stratagem. Jens Grim had lost his knife, which the Lubeckers found, and took it to the fastness, where they knew he was not, and said they had come to take possession by Jens Grimes order, and produced the knife. They were admitted and took the place."
"What do you propose to do at Vordingborg, John?" asked Mrs. Hardy.
"We are close to it, mother," replied John. "It is likely to be a similar place to Svendborg."
"There is not much to see at Vordingborg. There are the ruins of King Valdemar's castle; the portion most prominent is called the Goose Tower, because the figure of a goose was used as a weathercock," said the Pastor. "If I might suggest, a drive in a carriage in the neighbourhood would, I think, interest you. The scenery is the same type as at Svendborg."
The Pastor's suggestion was followed, and he poured forth much historical learning connected with Vordingborg.
"Is there no legend?" asked Hardy.
"Yes," replied the Pastor; "but it is one common to a great many places. It is this. A giantess wished to remove a tumulus or Kæmpehøi from Vordingborg to Møen. She put it in her apron; but there was a hole in it, and the Kæmpehøi fell into the sea near the coast, and formed what is called Borreø, or Borre Island. That is the only legend I know, or can recollect at present, particularly attached to Vordingborg. But do you not propose an excursion to Møen's Klint?"
"That we do, as it is different from any other place in Denmark," said Hardy. "The difficulty is, if it should come on to blow hard in the eastern sea, as you call the Baltic, the yacht would have to run back to Grønsund, or go to Copenhagen."
"Then," said the Pastor, "why not leave the yacht at Grønsund? You can get a carriage and a pair of horses to drive through the whole of Møen, about sixteen English miles, and return the same evening to the yacht."
John Hardy laid Mansa's map and the chart before his mother, who assented.
"Where can we get horses?" he asked.
"At Phanefjord, I expect," replied the Pastor. "They could be ordered to be ready at the ferry at six in the morning, and in three hours we could reach Liselumd, from whence Møen's Klint can be explored on foot."
"Is it too much for you, mother?" said Hardy. "It will be a long day; but the next day, weather permitting, we should be under weigh for Copenhagen, and you would have rest."
"It will be a long day, John," replied his mother, "but not too long. I like Pastor Lindal's plan."
"What is the meaning of the name Phanefjord?" asked Hardy. "Is it derived from the Greek?"
"There was a giant called Grønjette, or the Green Giant; he gave his name to the fjord, which is called Grønsund. He was married to a giantess called Phane; hence Phanefjord. They are said to be buried at Harbolle, and their graves are one hundred yards (English) long. He was accustomed to ride through the woods with his head under his left arm, with a spear, and surrounded by hounds. The Bønder always left a sheaf of oats for his horse, so that he should not ride over their freshly sown fields, when the Jette or giant went on his hunting excursions. There is even an epitaph on Grøn and Phane:--
'Nu hviler Grøn med Phane sin; Som trættede rasken Hjort og Hind. Tak, Bonde, god! den dyre Gud, Nu gaar du tryg af Sundet ud.'
'Now rests Grøn and his Phane; They followed the quick buck and hind. Thank, peasant, the good God, That now you can safely go through the fjord.'
There is a story of Grøn. He halted one night and knocked at a Bonde's door, and told him to hold his hounds by a leash. Grøn rode away, and was absent two hours. At length he returned, but across his horse was a mermaid, which he had shot. This was before the time of powder. Grøn said to the Bonde, 'I have hunted that mermaid for seven years, and now I have got her.' He then asked for something to drink, and when he was served with it he gave the Bonde some gold money; but it was so hot it burnt through his hand, and the money sunk in the earth. Grøn laughed, and said, 'As you have drank with me, you shall have something, so take the leash you have held my hounds with.' Grøn rode away, and the Bonde kept the leash, and as long as he did so all things prospered; but at last he thought it was of little value, and threw it away. He then gradually grew poorer and poorer, and died in great poverty."
"A very good legend, and thank you, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy.
"There is an old ballad," continued the Pastor, "called 'The Pilgrim Stone,' which opens with a mother calling her three daughters to go to the early Catholic church service of the times, and then the water was so shallow between Møen and Falster that they could jump over it. The three daughters were attacked by three robbers and killed by them. They put their bodies in sacks; but they were seized by the father and his men, and then it appeared that the three robbers were brothers to the murdered girls, having been stolen, when they were very young, on their way to school. The two eldest were hung, and the youngest made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and when he returned he lived a few years at Phanefjord, and was buried where the pilgrim stone marks the place. The ballad is of the simplest character and incomplete; but such is the story. Under different conditions it is recited in other places in Denmark; but it is dramatic in all cases."
"It is indeed dramatic," said Mrs. Hardy. "The stories of giants appear to have had their origin from natural forces, as ice, or the heat of summer, but have been blended with human attributes."
The drive to Møen's Klint from Grønsund was full of interest from Pastor Lindal's knowledge of the past history of so many places.
"There are not so many traditions in the low part of Møen as in Høie Møen; that is where the cliffs are," said the Pastor. "The cliffs are chalk, with layers of flint, and were supposed to be peopled with Underjordiske or underground people, the chief of whom was called the Klinte Konge, or cliff king. Klint is the Danish word for cliff. His queen is described as being very beautiful, and she resided at the place called Dronningstol, or the queen's throne or chair, and near it was her sceptre, in old times called Dronningspir, but now called Sommerspir. The Klinte Konge was supposed to reside at Kongsberg. He was always at war with another Klinte Konge, at Rygen, and there is an old ballad on the subject. It is said that when Denmark is in danger, the Klinte Konge and his army can be seen ready to resist the invader. There are very many variations of this superstitious story, more or less picturesque."
"Are there any stories of communications between the Underjordiske and mortals?" asked Mr. Hardy.
"There is such a story. A woman called Margrethe Skælvigs was going to Emelund to borrow a dress of Peer Munk's wife, to be married in, when an old woman met her, and asked where she was going. Margrethe told her. 'When you pass here on Saturday, I will lend you a bridal dress;' and she gave Margrethe a dress of cloth of gold, and told her to return it in eight days; but that if Margrethe saw no one when she brought it back, she might keep the dress. No one appeared, and Margrethe kept the dress."
"The conjecture might be that the dress was given her by her intended husband," said Hardy, "who adopted this method of giving her a dress. I should like to impose on Helga in the same way."
"Don't talk nonsense, John," said Mrs. Hardy, who feared that it might not be agreeable to Pastor Lindal; and, to turn his thoughts in another direction, asked him if there were not other legends of a different type.
"Yes; there is one very commonly repeated," he replied. "A Bonde had twenty pigs ranging through the wood by Møen's Klint. He lost them, and after searching for a whole year, he met Gamle Erik (the devil; literally, Old Erik) riding on a pig and driving nineteen before him, and making a great noise by beating on an old copper kettle. The pigs were all in good case, except the one Gamle Erik rode, which bore traces of bad treatment. The Bonde shouted and called, and Gamle Erik was frightened, and dropped the copper kettle, and let the pigs be pigs. So the Bonde had not only his pigs, but a copper kettle to recollect Gamle Erik by."
Mrs. Hardy was much pleased with the scenery about the cliffs, and the contrast of the dark blue sea against the white chalk, and the varied prospects in the woods.
The drive had been full of interest, and Mrs. Hardy thanked Pastor Lindal for his suggesting it, and the pleasure of hearing his narrations on the very places with which they were connected, and added--
"I shall come again another year, Herr Pastor, on purpose to enjoy your society, if you will act as guide."
"God willing, it will be a pleasure to me," said he; "but these few days have had their effect on me. I appear to see things with a clearer view, that at home have been difficult to me. Travelling develops the mind, and gives it a broader cast of thought. You, who have travelled so much, Mrs. Hardy, appear to have been influenced by the process."
"Thank you for your compliment, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy. "It is well put."
At eight the following day, the yacht was passing Møen's Klint, at sea, bound for Copenhagen. There was a stiff breeze from the westward, and in passing Præstø Bay the yacht was in a short rough beam sea, that made things very lively to all on board, except possibly the Pastor, as his ears gradually assumed a greenish tint.
John Hardy consulted the pilot, and the yacht was brought up and anchored under Stevn's Klint, in shelter, much to Pastor Lindal's comfort, who appeared at lunch fully recovered from his sea-sickness.
"Præstø," said he, "is so called after a priest called Anders; he was a monk at the time of the Reformation, but adopted the reformed religion. He had only a small copper coin, which always returned to him when he spent it, and received no other payment for his services. In the arms of the town of Præstø is a man in a priest's dress, supposed to be in his memory."
"Were there any Underjordiske in the cliff at the yacht's bow?" asked Hardy.
"There was fabled to be an Elle Konge," replied Pastor Lindal, "or king of the elves, and he occupied not only Stevn's Klint, but also an adjoining church, where a place in the wall is shown as his residence, and is called Elle Kongen's Kammer, or the king of the elves' chamber. In the neighbourhood of this church are the remains of an oak wood. The trees therein are said to have been trees by day, but the soldiers of the elf king by night. The church referred to is Storehedinge, and was built by a monk against the wishes of the great man of the locality, who, when the church was built, cut off the monk's head. The figure of a monk's head is on a stone in the wall by the altar.
"The church a little to the south of the lighthouse is called Høierup, and was built in fulfilment of the vow of a seaman when in danger. As the cliff crumbles away, the church is said to go a cock's footstep back on the mainland every Christmas night."
"What is the meaning of 'rup' as a termination to so many Danish places?" asked Hardy.
"It is your English 'thorp,' or Swedish 'torp,' or German 'dorf,' a village," replied the Pastor. "Vandstrup, for instance, is 'the village by the water,' as the Danish word for water is Vand. It is, as you know, close to the river."
The pilot had predicted that the wind would lessen at four o'clock in the afternoon, and the yacht got under weigh, and, carrying plenty of sail and full steam, made a rapid passage across Kiøge Bay, so disturbing sometimes to the breakfast of the Kiøbenhavner, who trusts himself to a pleasure excursion on its waters.
Off Dragør, the jack was again hoisted for the Copenhagen pilot, and the Rosendal steam yacht was at anchor off the Custom House at Copenhagen, before a late dinner, that evening.
"We must fill up with coal and water, mother, and it had better be done here," said Hardy; "it would give us time for an excursion to Roeskilde to see the Domkirke, or elsewhere."
"No, John," said Mrs. Hardy. "I want to purchase many articles that you will want at Rosendal after you are married, that you would never think of; and I must leave something for the Pastor to tell me next summer."
"But what shall I do with Pastor Lindal tomorrow?" asked John Hardy.
"He will like to be left to himself, to go where he wishes," replied his mother; and she was right. As the yacht left Copenhagen a day or so after, Mrs. Hardy refused to visit the beautiful vicinity of Copenhagen. "No, John; and no, Herr Pastor," she said. "I must keep something to see for other years, and something to look forward to and wish to see. I even decline to hear the story of the soldier who shot from Kronborg Castle a cow with a cannon in Sweden, and that although he did not hurt the milkmaid. The Herr Pastor must keep something to tell me another season."
"But, mother, we can anchor at Elsinore, and you could see Kronborg Castle," urged her son.
"So I will another year, John," she replied. "Get your mud-hook up, as you call it, and let me have my way. I hope not only to visit more of Denmark, but also of Sweden and Norway, and hope not only the Herr Pastor will be with us, but his daughter."
"Thank you kindly," said the Pastor, shaking hands with her in the manner frequent in Denmark.
"Come, live with me and be my love, And we will some new pleasures prove. Of golden sands and crystal brooks. With silken lines and silver hooks." _The Complete Angler._
When Pastor Lindal arrived at his parsonage, he was received by his daughter with much affection. She saw he was benefited by the cruise in the yacht, and was in good spirits.
"Little father," she said, "you look so well. Thank you, Mrs. Hardy, for taking him with you; it will give my father so much to talk of, in the winter, to Axel; and thank you, John, too."
"I am glad there is a word for me," said Hardy, using, as he often did with her, a Danish phrase. "I was beginning to think I was not to be spoken to at all."
"I think," said Mrs. Hardy, "that the Pastor and Helga might come to us to-morrow, John, and that, as you are so impatient for a tête-à-tête interview with Helga, you can have a ramble in your woods at Rosendal, while I discuss the matters that have to be arranged with the Pastor."
John thought this a very excellent arrangement; but Pastor Lindal declined. He had much to see to in his parish, and he could not, he said, after the absence of a week, return to his parish and not visit it. He explained that he felt it to be his duty to feel the pulse of his parish, to see what changes of thought occurred and what circumstances had arisen that might influence his Sognebørn (children of his parish). This, he said, guided him in what he preached.
"I agree with every word you say, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy. "There can be no better view of what your duty is. The shepherd should always watch;" and, as she read disappointment in her son's face, she added, "You can, however, spare us Helga to lunch with us at Rosendal; John can drive over for her, and she shall return early."
Pastor Lindal assented, and John Hardy drove over as early as he thought advisable, and in returning to Rosendal insisted on Helga's driving and telling him everything that had occurred in his absence at sea.
It was a pleasure to Mrs. Hardy to see their happy faces as they drove up at Rosendal.
"Bless you, dear mother!" said John. "It has been so sweet to hear the thankfulness with which she speaks of every little attention we showed her father when at sea. It was your considerate goodness that suggested it all."
"You must let me have your princess, John, for a few minutes," said his mother. "You have to consider her, and that there are subjects that we can discuss better without you."
"I agree to five minutes, and no longer," said John, with some warmth. "For goodness' sake, mother, do not be unreasonable, and keep her an unconscionable time."
"There is no doubt of his affection for you, Helga," said Mrs. Hardy, "and it is a joy to me to see it; but come into my sitting-room, and tell me what you have done about your wedding-dress."
"Here is the money you kindly gave me," replied Helga. "I have thought it over, and I think that John would rather marry me just as I am than that I should appear any different; and my father, I feel, would wish it so." Mrs. Hardy recollected the cloud on the Pastor's open face when her son had referred to giving Helga a wedding-dress. "I have, therefore, not used any of the money, Mrs. Hardy," added Helga; "but I am very grateful for your considering me as if I were your daughter."
"I will always act a mother's part to you, Helga," said Mrs. Hardy; "your freedom from selfishness, as well as honesty of feeling, make me love and respect you. It is not money, or money's worth, that is everything. I have always taught my son that kindliness is the real gold of life."
"When John came here first," said Helga, "he said that, and my father has liked him from that moment."
"But you did not, Helga?" said Mrs. Hardy, as if asking the question, and smiling.
"I did, really," replied Helga; "but I thought it was wrong to think of him, and I treated him in a manner of which I am ashamed. I would give anything to recall what I said to him."
John Hardy came bustling in. "Mother!" he exclaimed, "I really cannot let you take up all Helga's time with discussions."
"What we have discussed, John, is yourself," said his mother, "and I can wish for nothing better for you than Helga's golden truth and love. You can take her for a walk in the woods until lunch, but mind, John, to be back punctually at one."
"Why, that is only an hour, mother," protested John, who was becoming quite unreasonable and impatient.
"And twelve times as long as you would let your mother speak to her daughter that is to be," said Mrs. Hardy.
"Now, Helga," said John, "I recollect you called me a cool and calculating Englishman. I shall take you down to the lake, where it will be cool, and there I shall find a Smørblomst, or a buttercup, and by placing it to your chin, I shall be able to calculate the transparency of your complexion from the reflection of colour."
"Don't tease me, John, about what I said to you last year," said Helga, imploringly. "If I said anything that pained you, I am sorry for it; but do not always keep it alive against me."
"There is the rose of Rosendal, mother, and the jewel of Hardy Place," said Hardy to his mother, on his unpunctual return to lunch. "She is so good and single-minded that it is impossible to invent ways of teasing her."
"Then I should not try, John," said his mother.
A few days before John's marriage, his friend and neighbour, Sir Charles Lynton, arrived at Rosendal.
"It is a lovely place, John," said his friend; "but, I suppose, nothing to be compared with the loveliness of your Scandinavian princess?"
"Don't quiz," said Hardy; "but come out and try a cast for an hour or so for the Danish trout. We can also visit a landowner near, who breeds good Jutland horses, and I know that is in your line."
"By all means," said his friend.
The stout proprietor, Jensen, was pleased with their visit, and the opportunity of hearing another Englishman's opinion as to his stock of horses.
"They want bone," said Sir Charles, "and to be kept better through the winter."
"Then it would not pay to breed horses," said the proprietor. "A big-boned horse would be more expensive to keep up, and would not stand the cold and wet of our climate. We have no market for very high-class horses; that is, we might sell one now and then, but not many."
A short tobacco-parliament on horses was inevitable, and hints were exchanged and thoughts expressed very valuable in their way, but not necessary to be recorded here.
The wedding took place in the little Danish church at Vandstrup, and was witnessed by a large number of Hardy's Danish acquaintances and the Pastor's friends. The Pastor made a long discourse, for his heart was full.
Mrs. Hardy would not hear of her son's accompanying her to Esbjerg. She left with Sir Charles Lynton, for Horsens, to continue the journey the next day to Esbjerg, where the yacht had been sent to meet them.
It was not until the middle of September that John Hardy and his wife, with Pastor Lindal, left Denmark by the overland route for Hardy Place. The time of their arrival at the station for Hardy Place was therefore known some time before, and confirmed by a telegram from Hardy on their reaching England.
Mrs. Hardy was on the platform, with a tall young man Pastor Lindal did not know.
"It is your son Karl, Herr Pastor," said Mrs. Hardy.
A year's residence in England had made a great change in the Danish lad, and he appeared so English that the Pastor hesitated before he spoke to him in Danish. Karl's reply assured him that if he was changed outwardly, there was no change that he could regret.
Mrs. Hardy welcomed the Pastor and her son's wife warmly. Two carriages had been prepared, and John Hardy and his wife went in the first, and Mrs. Hardy, the Pastor, and Karl in the second. When they reached the entrance to Hardy Place, there was a considerable crowd of well-wishers, who cheered lustily. There was an arch with the words--
"Saxon and Dane are we, But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee."
"It is kindly meant," said the Pastor, to Mrs. Hardy; "and I like the full ring of the English cheer."
At the door at Hardy Place there was another crowd, and amid more English cheers the fair Dane John Hardy had brought home as his wife alighted at Hardy Place.
Mrs. Hardy took possession of Helga, and left her son to speak to his friends and thank them for their reception, and entertain them.
"I have only asked Sir Charles Lynton to dinner, John," said Mrs. Hardy. "I was afraid Helga might not be at her ease with a party of perfect strangers the very first day she is here."
The Pastor was delighted with Hardy Place. "I see now," he said, "how you knew how to deal with Rosendal. Your English landscape gardening is good. I never saw so beautiful a place! The impression on me is that of neatness and taste."
"Sir Charles Lynton comes to dinner, Herr Pastor," said Hardy; "and you shall go and see his place to-morrow--it is only eight English miles from here--and then you must tell me what you would like to see or do during your very short stay in England. I dare say Karl can suggest something. He must go to his work in London to-morrow."
Mrs. Hardy brought Helga down to the drawing-room before dinner, dressed in her neat Danish dress, and a flower in her hair. She shook hands with Sir Charles Lynton, and thanked him for his coming to her wedding in Denmark.
"Now," said Mrs. Hardy, "I shall take her in to dinner and place her at the head of your table, John, as the new mistress of Hardy Place, and a better there cannot be."
Helga did not clearly understand, and John explained in Danish. "My mother," he said, "wishes to instal you in the position she has herself so long occupied as mistress here."
"No," said Helga, decidedly. "I am her daughter, and will serve her gladly. You surely would not wish me to usurp your mother's place, John, and that to-day?" She had said this in Danish, and she added in English, "No, Mrs. Hardy; you are housemother here, and I am your daughter and owe you a daughter's duty."
It had been Mrs. Hardy's dream that when her son brought his wife home, the latter should occupy her seat, and rule as Mrs. Hardy of Hardy Place. As Helga put it, she had got a daughter, and that was all. Helga took Mrs. Hardy's hand and kissed it.
"What a trump she is, John!" exclaimed Sir Charles Lynton. "She will be the greatest joy and comfort to your mother all her life. I shall advertise in the Danish papers for a wife."
"Let Helga sit at your side, mother," said John, "and the Pastor at your right."
The Pastor did not appear to think what had passed was unusual in his daughter's conduct, but this little episode prepared the way for young Mrs. Hardy of Hardy Place acquiring many friends.
During Pastor Lindal's short stay in England, John Hardy did his best to interest him in English life and manners. The Pastor's wish was to visit an English country church, and to see the whole working of an English parish. His disapproval of the gift, or, worse still, the sale, of a cure of souls was utter and complete.
"Your system of selling or giving livings is bad," he said. "No actual sympathy can arise between the clergyman and his parishioners unless they are interested in his selection."
When he had attended the parish church on the Sunday, Hardy questioned him.
"The perfect neatness and order in the church," said the Danish Pastor, "leave nothing to be desired; what is wanting is the warmth of human sympathy and life. The service is cold and lifeless, the sermon like dead leaves. The congregation hear, but they do not listen. There is a want of harmony created by your system; it produces a barrier between your clergyman and his flock; it prevents their working well together, as a rule. In a few cases you will have exceptional men that will get over any difficulty, and will do their duty well if you bind them with chains; but it is not in that direction you should look, but to a Christian bond of sympathy and common interest, as a rule."
"You are a keen observer, Herr Pastor. It is so," said Hardy.
"It is not necessary to be a keen observer to see it," replied Pastor Lindal. "It lies so near the surface that it is not seen, when deeper causes are looked for and ascribed as producing results they are far from effecting."
"Your criticism is hard on the English country parishes," said Hardy; "if you were here longer, you might alter the decisive character of your opinion."
"It is possible, but the contrast strikes me," said Pastor Lindal. "I speak as I see."
"That I do not doubt," said Hardy; "and I think the impression of contrast between your own parish and that of mine is wide."
"There is but one principle, and that is that 'charity suffereth long, and is kind,'" said the Pastor; "and when you came to Denmark and said that kindliness is the real gold of life, there was nothing struck me so much. It was my very thought in a phrase. I cannot therefore understand why it should not be a more active principle in your churches."
"It is in the hearts of a great many English people," said Hardy.
"It may be," said Pastor Lindal, "but it is not apparent to a stranger in your parish church. But there is another matter cognate to us if not to you, and that is the relief of the poor. Your system is costly, but it creates the evil. You assist the poor to be paupers; we assist the poor not to be so, and it costs us less. You train up children in your work-houses to look to the poor rate or poor box, as we call it, in after life as something to fall back on, in case of need, or without need. The system is bad, as it creates more claimants on your poor rate. This we prevent by teaching the children to earn a living. The interest your clergy have in this is indirect, and it appears to me they have little power to be of use, if they had the wish to be so, which with many men must be a strong wish."
"It is so;" said Hardy, "and it does not appear to me so extraordinary that you should observe it, as the contrast between what exists with you and in England is so marked."
The Pastor left for Harwich to meet the Danish steamer, and John Hardy and Helga accompanied him. Helga was cheerful until her father had left, but for a long time wore a sad expression on her face. John Hardy and his mother did their best to comfort and allay, but without success. At last came a letter from her father, and her sadness vanished. The good man wrote of Hardy and Mrs. Hardy, and how worthy they were of her affection, and it was her duty now to give them her gratitude and love; and she became bright at once. John Hardy's friends called, and Helga mixed in English society and gradually became accustomed to her new home, and no one was so popular as young Mrs. Hardy of Hardy Place.
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