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安徒生童话故事全集英文版:LUCKY PEER

2019-03-14 15:32

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  Ⅰ

  IN the most fashionable street in the city stood a fineold house; the wall around it had bits of glass worked intoit, so that when the sun or the moon shone it looked as if itwere covered with diamonds.That was a sign of wealth, and there was great wealth inside. It was said that the mer-chant was a man rich enough to put two barrels of gold intohis best parlor and could even put a barrel of gold pieces,as a savings bank against the future, outside the door of theroom where his little son was born.

  When the baby arrived in the rich house, there was great joy from the cellar up to the garret;and up there, there was still greater joy an hour or two later. The ware-houseman and his wife lived in the garret, and there, too,at the same time, a little son arrived,given by our Lord,brought by the stork, and exhibited by the mother.And there, too, was a barrel outside the door,quite accidental-ly; but it was not a barrel of gold—it was a barrel of sweepings.

  The rich merchant was a very kind,fine man.His wife, delicate and always dressed in clothes of high quali-ty,was pious and, besides,was kind and good to the poor.Everybody rejoiced with these two people on now having a little son who would grow up and be rich and hap-py, like his father. When the little boy was baptized he was called Felix, which in Latin means"lucky," and thishe was, and his parents were even more so.

  The warehouseman, a fellow who was really good to the core, and his wife, an honest and industrious woman,were well liked by all who knew them. How lucky they were to have their little boy; he was called Peer.

  The boy on the first floor and the boy in the garret each received the same amount of kisses from his parentsand just as much sunshine from our Lord; but still theywere placed a little differently—one downstairs, and oneup.Peer sat the highest,way up in the garret, and he had his own mother for a nurse;little Felix had a strangerfor his nurse, but she was good and honest—that was written in her service book. The rich child had a prettybaby carriage, which was pushed about by his elegantly dressed nurse; the child from the garret was carried in thearms of his own nither,both when she was in her Sunday clothes and when she had her everyday things on, and hewas just as happy.

  Both children soon began to observe things; they were growing, and both could show with their hands how tall they were, and say single words in their mother tongue.They were equally handsome, petted,and equallyfond of sweets. As they grew up, they both got an equalamount of pleasure out of the merchant's horses and car-riages.Felix was allowed to sit by the coachman, alongwith his nurse, and look at the horses; he would fancyhimself driving.Peer was allowed to sit at the garret win-dow and look down into the yard when the master and mistress went out to drive;and when they had left, hewould place two chairs,one in front of the other, up there in the room, and so he would drive himself; he wasthe real coachman—that was a little more than fancying himself to be the coachman.

  They got along splendidly, these two; yet it was notuntil they were two years old that they spoke to each oth-er.Felix was always elegantly dressed in silk and velvet,with bare knees, after the English style."The poor childwill freezer!"said the family in the garret.Peer had trousers that came down to his ankles, but one day his clothes were torn right across his knees, so that he got asmuch of a draft and was just as much undressed as the merchant's delicate little boy.Felix came along with hismother and was about to go out through the gate when Peer came along with his and wanted to go in.

  "Give little Peer your hand,"said the merchant'swife."You two should talk to each other."

  And one said,"Peer!"and the other said,"Felix!"Yes, and that was all they said at that time.

  The rich lady coddled her boy,but there was one who coddled Peer just as much, and that was his grandmother.

  She was weak-sighted, and yet she saw much more in little Peer than his father or mother could see; yes, more thanany person could.

  "The sweet child,"she said,"is surely going to get on in the world.He was born with a gold apple in his hand; I can see it even with my poor sight.Why, there is the shining apple!" And she kissed the child's little hand.His parents could see nothing,and neither could Peer;but as he grew to have more understanding, he liked to believe it.

  "That is such a story, such a fairy tale, that Grand- mother tells!"said the parents.

  Yes, Grandmother could tell stories, and Peer wasnever tired of hearing always the same ones.She taught him a psalm and the Lord's Prayer as well, and he could say it, not as gabble but as words that meant something;

  she explained every single sentence in it to him. He gave particular thought to what Grandmother said about the words,"Give us this day our daily bread"; he was to un-derstand that it was necessary for one to get wheat bread,for another to get black bread; one must have a great housewhen he had many people in his employ; another, in small circumstances, could live quite as happily in a little roomin the garret."So each person has what he calls 'daily bread.'"

  Peer, of course, had his good daily bread—and the most delightful days, too, but they were not to last forever.The sad years of war began; the young men were to goaway, and the older men as well. Peer's father was amongthose who were called in; and soon afterward it was heard that he had been one of the first to fall in battle against thesuperior enemy.

  There was bitter grief in the little room in the garret.The mother cried; the grandmother and little Peer cried;

  and every time one of the neighbors came up to see them, they talked about"Papa, and then they cried all together.

  The widow, meanwinle, was given permission to stay in hergarret flat,rent-free,during the first year,and afterward she was to pay only a small rent. The grandmother stayed with the mother, who supported herself by washing forseveral"single, elegant gentlemen,"as she called them.Peer had neither sorrow nor want. He had plenty of food and drink, and Grandmother told him stories, such strangeand wonderful ones about the wide world ,that he asked her,one day, if the two of them might not go to foreign lands some Sunday and return home as prince and princess, wearing gold crowns.

  "I am too old for that,"said Grandmother,"and youmust first learn a good many things and become big and strong; but you must always be a good and affectionate child—as you are now."

  Peer rode around the room on hobbyhorses; he had two such horses. But the mer- chant's son had a real live horse; it was so small that it might well have been called a baby horse, which, in fact, Peer called it, and it never could become any bigger.Fe- lix rode it in the yard; yes, and he even rode it outside the gate,when his father and a riding master from the king's stable were with him.For the first half-hour, Peer had not liked his horses and hadn't ridden them, for they were not real; and then he had asked his mother why he could not have a real horse like little Felix had, and his mother had said,"Felix lives down onthe first floor, close by the stables, but you live high upunder the roof. One cannot have horses up in the garret ex-cept like those you have. You should ride on them."

  And so now Peer rode—first to the chest of drawers,the great mountain with its many treasures;both Peter'sSunday clothes and his mother's were there, and there were the shining silver dollars that she laid aside for rent;then he rode to the stove,which he called the black bear;it slept all summer long,but when winter came it had to be useful, to warm the room and cook the meals.

  Peer had a godfather who usually came there every Sunday during the winter and got a good warm meal.

  Things had gone wrong for him, said the mother and the grandmother. He had begun as a coachman.He had been drinking and had fallen asleep at his post, and that neither a soldier nor a coachman should do. He then had become acabman and driven a cab, or sometimes a carriage, and of-ten for very elegant people.But now he drove a garbage wagon and went from door to door, swinging his rattle, "snurre-rurre-ud!"and from all the houses came the ser- vantgirls and housewives with their buckets full, and turned these into the wagon;rubbish and junk, ashes and sweep-ings, were all thrown in.

  One day Peer came down from the garret after his mother had gone to town. He stood at the open gate, andthere outside was Godfather with his wagon."Would you like to take a drive?" he asked. Yes, Peer was willing to indeed,but only as far as the corner. His eyes shone as he sat on the seat with Codfather and was allowed to hold the whip.Peer drove with real live horses,drove right to the corner. Then his mother came along; she looked rather du- bious, for it was not very nice to see her own little son rid-ing on a garbage wagon.She told him to get down at once.

  Still,she thanked Godfather;but at home she forbade Peer to drive with him again.

  One day he again went down to the gate. There was no Codfather there to tempt him with a drive, but therewere other temptations. Three or four small street urchinswere down in the gutter,poking about to see what they could find that had been lost or had hidden itself there.Frequently they had found a button or a copper coin,but frequently, too, they had cut themselves on a broken bot- tle, or pricked themselves with a pin, which just now was the case.Peer simply had to join them, and when he got down among the gutter stones he found a silver coin.

  Another day he was again down digging with the other boys; they only got dirty fingers ; he found a gold ring, andthen,with sparkling eyes, showed off his lucky find;whereupon the others threw dirt at him and called himLucky Peer.They wouldn't permit him to be with them any more when they poked in the gutter.

  Back of the merchant's yard there was some low ground that was to be filled up for building lots;graveland ashes were carted and dumped out there,great heaps of it. Godfather helped deliver it in his wagon, but Peerwas not allowed to drive with him. The street urchins dug in the heaps, dug with a stick and with their bare hands;they always found one thing or another that seemed worth Picking up.

  Then little Peer came along. They saw him and cried,"Get away from here,Lucky Peer!"And when, despite this, he came closer, they threw lumps of dirt athim. One of these struck against his wooden shoe and crumbled to pieces. Something shining rolled out, and Peer picked it up; it was a little heart made of amber. Heran home with it. The other boys did not notice that even when they threw dirt at him he was a child of luck.

  The silver coin he had found was put away in his savings bank. The ring and the amber heart were shown to the merchant's wife downstairs, because the mother want-ed to know if they were lost articles that should be returned to the police.

  How the eyes of the merchant's wife shone on see-ing the ring! It was her own engagement ring, one that she bad lost three years before! That's how long it hadlain in the gutter. Peer was well rewarded, and the money rattled in his little box. The amber heart was a cheap thing, the lady said;Peer might just as well keep that.

  At night the amber heart lay on the bureau,and the grandmother lay in bed.

  "My, what is it that burns so!" she said."It looksas if a small candle is lighted there."She got up to see,and it was the little heart of amber—yes,Grandmother, with her weak sight,frequently saw more than anyone else could see.She had her own thoughts about it.The next morning she took a narrow,strong ribbon,drew it through the opening at the top of the heart, and put it around her little grandson's neck.

  "You must never take it off, except to put a new ribbon into it, and you must not show it to the other boys, either, for then they would take it from you, andyou would get a stomachache!"That was the only painful sickness little Peer had known so far. There was a strange power, too, in that heart. Grandmother showed him that when she rubbed it with her hand, and a little straw wasput next to it, the straw seemed to be alive and was drawn to the heart of amber and would not let go.

  Ⅱ

  The merchant's son had a private tutor who taught him his lessons and who took walks with him, too. Peerwas also to have an education, so he went to publicschool with a great number of other boys. They played to- gether, and that was much more fun than going along with a tutor. Peer would not have changed places with him.

  He was a lucky Peer, but Godfather was also a lucky peer,although his name was not Peer. He won a pnize in the lottery, of two hundred dollars,on a ticket he shared with eleven others. He immediately bought some better clothes, and he looked very well in them.

  Luck never comes alone; it always has company, and soit did this time.Godfather gave up the garbage wagon and joined the theater.

  "What's that!" said Grandmother."Is he going into the theater? As what?"

  As a machinist. That was an advancement. He be-came quite another person; and he enjoyed the plays very much, although he always saw them from the top or from the side. Most wonderful was the ballet, but that gavehim the hardest work, and there was always danger of fire. They danced both in heaven and on earth. That was something for little Peer to see; and one evening when there was to be a dress rehearsal of a new ballet, inwhich everyone was dressed and made up as on the open- ing night when people pay to see all the magnificence, he had permission to bring Peer with him and put him in a place where he could see the whole show.

  It was a Biblical ballet—Samson. The Philistinesdanced about him, and he tumbled the whole house downover them and himself; but there were both fire engines and firemen on hand in case of any accident.

  Peer had never seen a stage play, not to mention a ballet.He put on his Sunday clothes and went with God- father to the theater.It was just like a great deying loft,with many curtains and screens, big openings in the floor, lamps,and lights. There were so many tricky nooks and corners everywhere, from which people appeared, just as in a great church with its gallery pews. Peer was seat-ed down where the floor slanted steeply and was told to stay there until it was all finished and he was sent for.Hehad three sandwiches in his pocket, so that he need notstarve.

  Soon it grew lighter and lighter; then up in front, just as if straight out of the earth, there came a number ofmusicians with both flutes and violins. In the seats next toPeer sat people dressed in street clothes;but there also appeared knights with gold helmets, beautiful maidens ingauze and flowers, even angels all in white, with wings on their backs.They seated themselves upstairs and downstairs, on the floor and in the balcony seats, towatch what was going on.They were all members of the ballet, but Peer did not know that. He thought they be-longed in the fairy tales his grandmother had told him about. There then appeared a woman, and she was themost beautiful of all, with a gold helmet and spear; she seemed to be above all the others, and sat between an an-gel and a troll. Ah, how much there was to see! And yet the ballet bad not even begun.

  Suddenly everything became quiet.A man dressed in black moved a little fairy wand over all the musicians, and then they began to play; the music made a whistling sound through the theater, and the whole wall in front be- gan to rise.One looked into a flower garden, where the sun shone and all the people danced and leaped. Such a wonderful sight Peer had never imagined. There weresoldiers marching, and there was war, and there was a banquet, and there were the mighty Samson and his lover.

  But she was as wicked as she was beautiful; she betrayed him. The Philistines plucked his eyes out; he was forced togrind in the mill and to be mocked and insulted in the great house; it fell, and there burst forth wonderful flames of redand green fire.

  Peer could have sat there his whole life long and looked on, even if the sandwiches were all eaten—and they were all eaten.

  Now here was something to tell about, when he gothome.It was impossible to get him to go to bed.He stood on one leg and laid the other on the table—that was what Samson's lover and all the other ladies had done. He madea treadmill out of Grandmother's chair and upset two chairsand a pillow over himself to show how the banquet hall had come down.He showed this—yes,and he even presented it with the music that belonged to it;there was no talking in the ballet. He sang high and low,[with words andwithout words,] and it was quite incoherent. It was like awhole opera. The most noticeable thing of all, meanwhile,was his beautiful, bell-clear voice, but no one spoke ofthat.

  Peer previously had wanted to be a grocer's boy, tobe in charge of prunes and powdered sugar. Now he foundthere was something much more wonderful, and that was toget into the Samson story and dance in the ballet. A great many poor children had taken that road, said the grand-mother, and had become fine and honored people; yet no little girl of her family would ever be permitted to do so;but a boy—well, he stood more firmly. Peer had not seen a single one of the little girls fall down before the whole house fell, and then they all fell together, he said.

  Ⅲ

  Peer wanted to,and felt he must,be a ballet dancer.

  "He gives me no rest!"said his mother.

  At last, his grandmother promised to take him to theballet master, who was a fine gentleman and had his ownhouse, like the merchant. Would Peer ever be that rich?Nothing is impossible for our Lord.Peer had been born with a gold apple; luck had been laid in his hands—per-haps it was also in his legs.

  Peer went to the ballet master and knew him at once;it was Samson himself.His eyes had not suffered atall at the hands of the Philistines. That was only acting inthe play, he was told. And Samson looked kindly and pleasantly at him, and told him to stand up straight, lookright at him, and show him his ankle.Peer showed his whole foot and leg, too.

  "So be got a place in the ballet,"said Grandmother.

  This was easily arranged with the ballet master;

  but before that, his mother and grandmother had spo- ken with several understanding people—first with the merchant's wife, who thought it a good career for ahandsome, bonest boy like Peer, but without any fu- ture. Then they had spoken with Miss Frandsen; she knew all about the ballet, and at one time, in Grand-mother's younger days, she had been the most beauti-ful danseuse at the theater; she had danced goddesses and princesses, had been cheered and applauded wher-ever she had gone; but then she had grown older—weall do—and so no longer had she been given principal parts; she'd had to dance behind the younger ones;and when finally her dancing days had come to an end, she had become a wardrobe woman and dressed the others as goddesses and princesses.

  "So it goes!"said Miss Frandsen."The theater road is a delightful one to travel, but it is full of thorns.Jealousy grows there!Jealousy!"

  That was a word Peer did not understand at all;but he came to understand it in time.

  "No force or power can keep him from the bal- let,"said his mother.

  "A pious Christian child,that he is,"said Grandmother.

  "And well brought up,"said Miss Frandsen.

  "Well formed and moral! That I was in my heyday."

  And so Peer went to the dancing school and got some summer clothes and thin-soled dancing shoes to make himself lighter.All the older girl dancers kissed him and said that he was a boy good enough to eat.

  He had to stand up, stick his legs out, and hold on to a post so as not to fall, while he leaned to kick, firstwith his right leg, then with his left. It was not nearly sodifficult for him as it was for most of the others, The bal-let master patted him and said that he would soon be in the ballet; he was to play the child of a king who was carried on shields and wore a gold crown. This was prac-ticed at the dancing school and rehearsed at the theater itself.

  The mother and grandmother had to see little Peer in all his glory, and when they saw this, they both cried, al-though it was such a happy occasion. Peer, in all his pomp and glory, did not see them at all; but he did see the mer-chant's family, who sat in the loge nearest the stage.LittleFelix was with them,[in his best clothes.]He wore but- toned gloves,just like a grown-up gentleman, and although he could see perfectly well,he looked through an opera glass the whole evening, just like a grown-up gentleman.

  He looked at Peer, and Peer looked at him; Peer was a king's child with a crown of gold. This evening brought thetwo children into closer relationship with one another.

  A few days later,when they met each other at home in the yard,Felix went up to Peer and told him he had seen him when he was a prince. He knew very well that he was not a prince any longer, but then he had worn a prince's clothes and a gold crown."I shall wear them again on Sunday,"said Peer.

  Felix did not see him Sunday, but he thought about it the whole evening.He would have liked very much to have been in Peer's place; he had not heard Miss Frandsen'swarning that the road of the theater was a thorny one and that jealousy grew along it; nor did Peer know this yet, buthe would very soon learn it.

  His young companions,the dancing children,were not all so good as they ought to be, although they often played angels and had wings on them. There was a little girl, Malle Knallerup,who always—when she was dressedas a page, and Peer was a page—stepped maliciously on the side of his foot, so as to dirty his stockings. Therewas a wicked boy who always was sticking pins in his back; and one day he ate Peer's sandwiches—by mis-take; but that was impossible, for Peer had meat balls onhis sandwiches, and the other boy had only bread withoutbutter; he could not have made a mistake.

  It would be impossible to recite all the annoyances that Peer endured in two years,and the worst was yet to come.

  There was a ballet per- formed called The Vampire.

  In it the smallest dancing children were dressed as bats, wore gray,knitted tights that fitted snugly to their bodies;

  black gauze wings were stretched from their shoulders.

  They were to run on tiptoe, as if they were light enough to fly, and then they wete to whirl around on the floor.

  Peer could do this especially well;but his trousers and jacket,all of one piece,were old and worn and could not stand the strain.So just as he whirled around before the eyes of all the people, there was a rip right down his back, straight from his neck down to where the legs are fastenedin, and all of his short, white shirt could be seen. Allthe people laughed.Peer felt it and,knew what had hap- pened; he whirled and whirled, but it grew worse andworse.People laughed louder and louder;the other vam- pires laughed with them,and whirled into him,and all the more dreadfully when the people clapped and shouted, "Bravo!"

  "That is for the ripped vampire!"said the dancing chil-dren.And from then on they always called him Rippy.

  Peer cried. Miss Frandsen comforted him."It is only jealousy,"she said; and now Peer knew what jealousywas.

  Besides the dancing school, they had a regular school at the theater where the cinldren were taught arithmetic and writing,history and geography—yes, and they even had a teacher in religion, for it is not enough to know how to dance;there is something more important in the world than wearing out dancing shoes. Here, too, Peer was quick, the very quickest of all, and got plenty of good marks;but hisfellow students still called him Rippy. They were only teas- ing him;but at last he could not stand it any longer,and he swung and hit one of the boys, so that he was black and blue under the left eye and had to have grease paint on it in the evening when he appeared in the ballet.Peer got a scolding from the dancing master,and a worse one from the sweeping woman, for it was her son he had"given asweeping."

  Ⅳ

  A good many thoughts went through little Peer's head. And one Sunday, when he was dressed in his bestclothes, he went out without saying a word about it to hismother or his grandmother, not even to Miss Frandsen, who always gave him good advice; he went straight to the or-chestra conductor; he thought this man was the most impor- tant one there was outside the ballet. Cheerfully he stepped in and said,"I am at the dancing school, but there is so much jealousy there,and so I would rather be a player or a singer, if you would help me, please."

  "Have you a voice?"asked the conductor, and looked quite pleasantly at him."Seems to me I know you. Where have I seen you before? Wasn't it you who was ripped down the back?" And now he laughed. But Peer grew red;he was surely no longer Lucky Peer, as his grandmother had called him.He looked down at his feet and wished he were far away.

  "Sing me a song!"said the conductor."Come now,cheer up, my boy!"And he tapped him under the chin,and Peer looked up into his kind eyes and sang a song, "Mercy for Me,"which he had heard at the theater,in the opera Robert le Diable.

  "That is a difficult song,but you did it pretty well,"

  said the conductor."You have an excellent voice—as long as it doesn't rip in the back!"And he laughed and calledhis wife. She also had to hear Peer sing, and she nodded her head and said something in a foreign tongue.Just at that moment the singing master of the theater came in;itwas really to him Peer should have gone if he wanted to be a singer; now the singing master came to him,quite acci- dentally, as it were; he also heard him sing"Mercy for Me," but he did not laugh, and he did not look so kindlyat him as the conductor and his wife; still it was decided that Peer should have singing lessons.

  "Now he is on the right track,"said Miss Frandsen.

  "One gets much farther with a voice than with legs. If I had had a voice, I would have been a great songstress andwould perhaps have been a baroness by now."

  "Or a bookbinder's wife," said Mother."Had you become rich, you surely would have taken the book- binder."

  We do not understand that hint, but Miss Frandsendid.

  Peer had to sing for her and sing for the merchant's family, when they heard of his new career. He was calledin one evening wnen they had company downstairs, ana hesang several songs, among them"Mercy for Me."All the company clapped their hands,and Felix did,too;he had heard him sing before; in the stable Peer had sung the en-tire ballet of Samson, and that was the most delightful of all.

  "One cannot sing a ballet,"said the lady.

  "Yes, Peer can,"said Felix, and so they asked him to do it. He sang, and he talked; he drummed and hehummed;it was child's play,but fragments of well-known melodies came forth which really illustrated what the ballet was about. All the company found it very entertaining;they laughed and praised it, one louder than another.

  The merchant's wife gave Peer a huge piece of cake and a silver dollar.

  How lucky the boy felt, until he discovered a gen-tleman who stood somewhat in the background, and wholooked sternly at him. There was something harsh and se- vere in the man's black eyes; he did not laugh;he didnot speak a single friendly word; this gentleman was the singing master from the theater.

  Next forenoon, Peer went to him, and he stoodthere quite as severe-looking as before.

  "What was the matter with you yesterday!"he said.

  "Could you not understand that they were making a fool of you?Never do that again,and don't you go running about and singing at doors, either inside or outside. Nowyou can go.I won't give you any singing lesson today."

  When Peer left,he was dreadfully downcast; he had fallen out of the master's good graces. On the contrary,the master was really more satisfied with him than ever before. In all the absurdity which he had seen him per- form, there was really some meaning, something quite unusual. The boy had an ear for music, and a voice asclear as a bell and of great compass; if it continued likethat, then the little fellow's fortune was made.

  Now began the singing lessons.Peer was industrious and Peer was clever. How much there was to learn, howmuch to know! The mother toiled and slaved to make an honest living, so that her son might be well dressed and neat and not look too shabby among the people to whom he now was invited. He was always singing and jubilant;

  they had no need at all of a canary bird, the mother said.Every Sunday he had to sing a psalm with his grandmoth- er. It was delightful to hear his fresh voice lift itself upwith hers."It is much more beautiful than to hear him sing wildly!"That's what she called his singing when, like a little bird, his voice jubilantly gave forth with tonesthat seemed to come of themselves and make such music as they pleased. What tones there were in his little throat, what wonderful sounds in his little breast! In- deed, he could imitate a whole orchestra. There wereboth flute and bassoon in his voice, and there were violinand bugle. He sang as the birds sing; but man's voice is much more charming, even a little man's, when he cansing like Peer.

  But in the winter, just as he was to go to the pastor to be prepared for confirmation, he caught cold; the littlebird in his breast said, pip! The voice was ripped like thevampire's back-piece.

  "It is no great misfortune,after all,"thought Moth- er and Grandmother."Now he doesn't go singing, tra-la, so he can think more seriously about his religion."

  His voice was changing, the singing master said.Peer must not sing at all now. How long would it be? Ayear, perhaps two; perhaps the voice would never comeagain.That was a great grief.

  "Think only of your confirmation now,"said Mother and Grandmother."Practice your music,"said the singing master,"but keep your mouth shut."

  He thought of his religion,and he studied his mu- sic;it sang and resounded within him. He wrote entire melodies down in notes, songs without words. Finally he wrote the words, too.

  "You ale a poet,too,little Peer,"said the mer- chant's wife, to whom he carried his text and music.Themerchant received a piece of music dedicated to him, a piece without words.Felix got one, too; and,yes, MissFrandsen also did,and that went into her scrapbook,in which were verses and music by two who were once young lieutenants but now were old majors on half pay; the book had been given by"a friend,"who had bound it himself.

  And Peer was confirmed at Easter.Felix presented him with a silver watch. It was the first watch Peer had owned; he felt that this made him a man, for now he didnot have to ask others what time it was.Felix came up to the garret, congratulated him, and handed him thewatch; he himself was not to be confirmed until the au- tumn. They took each other by the hand,these two chil- dren of the house,both the same age,born the same day and in the same house.And Felix ate a piece of the cake that had been baked in the garret for the occasion of the confirmation.

  "It is a happy day with solemn thoughts,"saidGrandmother.

  "Yes,very solemn!"said Mother."If only Father had lived to see Peer today!"

  The following Sunday all three of them went to Com-munion. When they came home from church they found a message from the singing master, asking Peer to come tosee him; and Peer went. Some good news awaited him,and yet it was serious, too. While he must give up singingfor a year, and his voice must lie fallow like a field, as apeasant might say,during that time he was to further hiseducation,not in the capital, where every evening he wouldbe running to the theater, from which he could not keepaway, but he was to go one hundred and twenty miles fromhome, to board with a schoolmaster who boarded a coupleof other young men. There he was to learn language andscience, which someday would be useful to him, The charge for a year's coirse was three hundred dollars, andthat was paid by a"benefactor who does not wish hisname to be known."

  "It is the merchant,"said Mother and Grandmother.

  The day of departure came.A good many tears were shed, and kisses and blessings given; and then Peer rodethe hundred and twenty miles on the railway, out into thewide world. It was Whitsuntide. The sun shone, and thewoods were fresh and green; the train went rushing through them;new fields and villages were continually coming into view; country manors peeped out; the cattle stood in the pastures. Now they passed a station, then another,and market town after market town.At each stopping place there was a crowd of people, welcoming or saying good-by; there was noisy talking, outside and inthe carriages.Where Peer sat there was a lot of entertain- ment and chattering by a widow dressed in black. She talked about his grave, his coffin,and his corpse—mean- ing her child's. It had been such a poor little thing thatthere could have been no happiness for it had it lived. It had been a great relief for her and the little lamb when it had fallen asleep.

  "I spared no expense on flowers on that occasion!"

  she said;"and you must remember that it died at a veryexpensive time, when the flowers had to be cut from pot-ted plants! Every Sunday I went to my grave and laid a wreath on it with great white silk bows; the silk bows were immediately stolen by some little girls and used for dancing bows; they were so tempting!One Sunday I wentthere, and I knew that my grave was on the left of themain path, but when I got there, there was my grave onthe right.'How is this?' says I to the gravedigger.'Isn't my grave on the left?'

  "'No,it isn't any longer!'the gravedigger an- swered.'Madam's grave lies there all right,but the mound has been moved over to the right; that placebelongs to another man's grave.'

  "'But I want my corpse in my grave,'says I,'andI have a perfect right to say so.Shall I go and decorate a false mound, when my corpse lies without any sign on theother side?Indeed I won't!'

  "'Then Madam must talk to the dean.'

  "He is such a good man, that dean! He gave me per- mission to have my corpse on the right.It would cost five dollars. I gave that with a kiss of my hand and walked back to my old grave.'Can I now be very sure that it is my own coffin and my corpse that is moved?'

  "'That Madam can!' And so I gave each of the men a coin for the moving. But now, since it had cost so much,I thought I should spend something to make it beautiful, and so I ordered a monument with an inscription. But—

  will you believe it—when I got it, there was a gilded but- terfly painted at the top.'Why, that means Frivolity,'

  said I.'I won't have that on my glave.'

  "'It is not Frivolity, Madam; it is Immortality.'

  "' I never heard that,' said I.Now, have any of youhere in the carriage ever heard of a butterfly as a sign for anything but Frivolity? I kept quiet. I don't like long con-versations. I composed myself, and put the monument away in my pantry.There it stood till my lodger came home.He is a student and haa so many, many books. He assured methat it really stood for Immortality,and so the monument was placed on the grave."

  And during all the chatter, Peer arrived at the station of the town where he was to live, and become just as wiseas the student, and have just as many books.

  Ⅴ

  Herr Gabriel, the honorable man of learning withwhom Peer was to live as a boarding scholar, was at therailway station, to call for him. Herr Cabriel was a man asthin as a skeleton, with great, shiny eyes that stuck out sovery far that one was almost afraid that when he sneezed they would pop out of his head entirely.He was accompa- nied by three of his own little boys; one of them stumbledover his own legs, and the other two stepped all over Peer's feet in their eagerness to get a close view of him.Two larger boys were with them, the older about fourteenyears, fair-skinned, freckled, and full of pimples.

  "Young Madsen, who will be a student in aboutthree years,if he studies! Primus, son of a dean."Thatwas the younger, who looked like a head of wheat."Bothare boarders, studying with me,"said Herr Gabriel."Oursmall stuff," he called his own boys.

  "Trine,bring the newcomer's trunk on your wheel- barrow. The table is set for you at home."

  "Stuffed turkey!" said the other two young gentle-men boarders.

  "Stuffed turkey!" said the"small stuff"; and againone of them fell over his own legs.

  "Caesar,look after your feet!"exclaimed Herr Gabriel.

  And they walked into town and then out of it. Therestood a great half-tumbled-down timber house, with a jas-mine-covered summerhouse,facing the road. Here MadamGabriel waited with more"small stuff,"two little girls.

  "The new pupil," said Herr Gabriel.

  "A most hearty welcome!" said Madam Gabriel, ayouthful, well-fed woman, red and white, with spit curlsand a lot of pomade on her hair.

  "Good heavens,how grown-up you are!"she said toPeer."Why, you are a fully developed gentleman al- ready. I thought that you were like Primus or young Mad-sen.Angel Gabriel, it's a good thing the inner door isnailed. You know what I think."

  "Nonsense!"said Herr Gabriel. And they stepped into the room. There was a novel on the table,lying open,and a sandwich on it.One might have thought that it had been placed there as a bookmark—it lay across theopen page.

  "Now I must be the housewife!"And with all five ofher children, and the two boarders, she showed Peer through the kitchen, and the hallway,and into a littleroom, the windows of which looked out on the garden;that was to be his study and bedroom;it was next to Madam Gabriel's room, where she slept with all the fivechildren; the connecting door, for decency's sake, and toprevent gossip"which spares nobody,"had been nailed up by Herr Gabriel that very day,at Madam's express re- quest.

  "Here you can live just as if you were at your par- ents'. We have a theater, too, in the town.The pharma- cist is the director of a private company,and we have trav- eling players But now you are going to have your turkey."

  And so she showed Peer into the dining room, where the wash was drying on a line.

  "That doesn't do any harm," she said."It is only cleanliness, and that you are surely accustomed to."

  So Peer sat down to eat the roast turkey, while thechildren of the house, but not the two boarders, who hadwithdrawn,gave a dramatic show for the entertainment of themselves and the stranger. There had lately been a trav-eling company of actors in town,which had played Schiller's The Robbers. The two oldest boys had been im- mensely taken with it. And they now performed the whole play at home—all the parts, notwithstanding that they re-membered only these words:"Dreams come from the stom- ach."But they were spoken by all the characters in differ- ent tones of voice.There stood Amelia,with heavenly eyes and a dreamy look."Dreams come from the stomach!"she said, and covered her face with both her hands. Carl Moorcame forward with a heroic stride and manly voice, "Dreams come from the stomach," and at that the wholeflock of children, boys and girls,rushed in; they were allrobbers,and murdered one another, crying out,"Dreams come from the stomach."

  That was Schiller's The Robbers. This performance and stuffed turkey were Peer's first introduction into HerrGabriel's house. He then went to his little chamber, wherethrough the window, into which the sun shone warmly, he could see the garden.He sat down and looked out.Herr Gabriel was walking there, absorbed in reading a book. Hecame closer and looked in; his eyes seemed fixed upon Peer,who bowed respectfully.Herr Gabriel opened his mouth as wide as he would, stuck out his tongue, and letit wag from one side to the other right in the face of theastonished Peer,who could not understand why he wastreated in such a manner.Whereupon Herr Gabriel left,but then turned back to the window and again stuck histongue out of his mouth.

  Why did he do that?He was not thinking of Peer,or that the panes of glass were transparent from the out-side;he saw only the reflection of himself in them,andhe wanted to look at his tongue,as he had a stomach-ache,but Peer did not know all this.

  Early in the evening Herr Gabriel went into hisroom,and Peer sat in his.Much later in the evening heheard quarreling-female quarreling-in Madam Gabriel'sbedroom.

  "I am going up to Gabriel and tell him what rascalsyou are!"

  ["We will also go to Gabriel and tell him whatMadam is!"] "I shall have a fit!"she cried.

  "Who wants to see a woman in a fit!Four shillings!"

  Then Madam's voice sank deeper,but was distinct-ly heard."What will the young man in there think of ourhouse when he hears all this vulgarity!"At that the quar-rel subsided,but then again rose louder and louder.

  "Period!Finis,"cried Madam."Go and make thepunch;it's better to agree than to quarrel!"

  And then it was still.The door opened,and thegirls left,and then Madam knocked on the door to Peer'sroom.

  "Young man,now you have some idea of what it isto be a housewife.You should thank heaven that youdon't have to bother with girls.I want to have peace,soI give them punch.I would gladly give you a glass-onesleeps so well after it-but no one dares go through thehallway door after ten o'clock;my Gabriel will not permitit.But you shall have some punch,nevertheless.There isa big hole in the door,stopped up with putty;I will pushthe putty out and put a funnel through the hole;you holdyour waterglass under it,and I shall pour you some punch.Keep it a secret,even from my Gabriel.You must notworry him with household affairs."

  And so Peer got his punch,and there was peace inMadam Gabriel's room, peace and quiet in the wholehouse.Peer went to bed,thought of his mother and grand-mother,said his evening prayer,and fell asleep.What onedreams the first night one sleeps in a strange house hasspecial significance,Grandmother had said.Peer dreamedthat he took the amber heart,which he still constantlywore,laid it in a flowerpot,and it grew into a great tree,up through the ceiling and the roof;it bore thousands ofhearts of silver and gold,so heavy that the flowerpotbroke,and it was no longer an amber heart-it had be-come mold,earth to earth-gone,gone forever!Then Peerawoke;he still had the amber heart,and it was warm,warm against his own warm heart.

  Ⅵ

  Early in the morning the first study hours began atHerr Gabriel's.They studied French.At lunch the onlyones present were the boarders,the children,and Madam.She drank her second cup of coffee here;her first she al-ways took in bed."It is so healthy when one is liable tospasms.She asked Peer what he had studied that day.

  "French,"he answered.

  "It is an expensive language!"She said."It is thelanguage of diplomats and one used by distinguished peo-ple.I did not study it in my childhood,but when one ismarried to a learned man one gains from his knowledge,asone gains from his mother's milk.Thus,I have all thenecessary words.I am quite sure I would know how to ex-press myself in whatever company I happened to be."

  Madam had acquireed a foreign name by her marriagewith a learned man.She had been baptized Mette after arich aunt,whose heir she was to have been.She had gotthe name,but not the inheritance.Herr Gabriel rebaptizedMette as Meta,the Latin word for measure.At the time ofher wedding,all her clothes,woolen and linen,weremarked with the letters M.G.,Meta Gabriel;but youngMadsen,who was a witty boy,interpreted the letters M.G.to be a mark meaning"most good,"and he added abig guestion mark in ink,on the tablecloths,the towels,and the sheets.

  "Don't you like Madam?asked Peer,when youngMadsen made him privately acquainted with this joke."She is so kind,and Herr Gabriel is so learned."

  "She is a bag of lies!"said young Madsen;"andHerr Gabriel is a scoundrel.If I were only a corporal,and he a recruit,oh,how I would discipline him!"And abloodthirsty expression came to young Madsen's face;hislips grew narrower than usual,and his whole face seemedone great freckle.

  There were terrible words to hear,and they gavePeer a shock;yet young Madsen had the clearest right tothink that way.It was a cruel thing on the part of parentsand teachers that a fellow had to waste his best time,de-lightful youth,on learning grammar,names,and dates,which nobody cares anything about,instead of enjoyinghis liberty relaxing,and wandering about with a gun overhis shoulder like a good hunter."No,one has to be shutin and sit on a bench and look sleepily at a book;HerrGabriel wants that.And then one is called lazy and getsthe mark'passable';yes,one's parents get letters aboutit;that's why Herr Gabriel is a scoundrel."

  "He gives lickings,too,"added little Primus,whoagreed with young Madsen.This was not very pleasant forPeer to hear.But Peer got no lickings;he was too grown-up,as Madam had said.He was not called lazy,either,for that he was not.He had his lessons alone.He wassoon well ahead of Madsen and Primus.

  "He has ability!"said Herr Gabriel.

  "And one can see that he has been to dancingschool!"said Madam.

  "We must have him in our dramatic club,"saidthe pharmacist,who lived more for the town's privatetheater than for his pharmacy.Malicious people appliedto him the old stale joke that he must have been bittenby a mad actor,for he was completely insane about thetheater.

  "The young student was born for a lover,"said thepharmacist."In a couple of years he could be Romeo;andI believe that if he were well made up,and we put a littlemustache on him,he could very well appear this winter."

  The pharmacist's daughter-"great dramatic talent,"said the father;"true beauty,"said the mother-was to beJuliet;Madam Gabriel had to be the nurse,and the phar-macist,who was both director and stage manager,wouldtake the role of the apothecary,which was small but ofgreat importance.Everything depended on Herr Gabriel'spermission for Peer to play Romeo.This had to be workedthrough Madam Gabriel;one had to know how to win herover-and this the pharmacist knew.

  "You were born to be the nurse,"he said,andthought that he was flattering her exceedingly."That is ac-tually the most important part in the play,"he continued."It is the comedy role;without it,the play would be toosad to sit through.No one but you,Madam Gabriel,hasthe quickness and life that should sparkle here."

  All very trne,she agreed,but her husband wouldsurely never permit the young student to contribute whatev-er time would be required to play the part of Romeo.Shepromised,however,to"pump"him,as she called it.Thepharmacist immediately began to study his part,and espe-cially to think about his make-up.He wanted to look al-most like a skeleton,a poor,miserable fellow,and yet aclever man-a rather difficult problem.But Madam Gabrielhad a much harder one in"pumping "her husband to givehis permission.He could not,he said,answer for it toPeer's guardians,who paid for his schooling and board,ifhe permitted the young man to play in tragedy.We cannotconceal the fact,however,that Peer had the greatest desireto do it."But it won't work,"he said.

  "It's working,"said Madam;"only let me keep onpumping."She would have given him punch,but HerrGabriel did not like to drink it.Married people are oftendifferent;this is said without any offense to Madam.

  "One glass and no more,"she thought."It elevatesthe mind and makes one happy,and that's what we oughtto be-it is our Lord's with us."

  Peer was to be Romeo;that was pumped through byMadam.The rehearsals were held at the pharmacist's.They had chocolate and"genii"-that is to say,smallbiscuits.These were sold at the bakery,twelve for a pen-ny,and they were so exceedingly small,and there wereso many,that it was considered witty to call them genii.

  "It is an easy matter to make fun,"said HerrGabriel,although he himself often gave nicknames to onething and another.He called the pharmacist's house"Noah's ark,with its clean and unclean beasts",andthat was only because of the affection which was shown bythat family toward their pet animals.The young lady hadher own cat,Graciosa,which was pretty and soft-skinned;it would lie in the window,in her lap,on hersewing work,or run over the table spread for dinner.Thewife had a poultry yard,a duck yard,a parrot,and ca-nary birds-and Polly could outcry them all together.Twodogs,Flick and Flock,walked about in the living room;they were by no means perfume bottles,and they lay onthe sofa and on the family bed.

  The rehearsal began,and it was only interrupted amoment by the dogs slobbering over Madam Gabriel's newgown,but that was out of pure friendship and it did notspot it.The cat also caused a slight disturbance;it in-sisted on giving its paw to Juliet and sitting on her headand wagging its tail.Juliet's tender speeches were divid-ed equally between cat and Romeo.Every word that Peerhad to say was exactly what he wished to say to the phar-macist's daughter.How lovely and charming she was,achild of nature,who,as Madam Gabriel expressed it,was perfect for the role.Peer began to fall in love withher.

  There surely was instinct or something even higherin the cat.It perched on Peer's shoulders as if to sym-bolize the sympathy between Romeo and Juliet.With eachsuccessive rehearsal Peer's fervor became stronger,moreapparent;the cat became more confidential,the parrotand the canary birds noisier;Flick and Flock ran in andout.

  The evening of the performance came,and Peer wasa perfect Romeo;he kissed Juliet right on her mouth.

  "Perfectly natural!"said Madam Gabriel.

  "Disgraceful!"said the Councilor,Herr Svendsen,the richest citizen and fattest man in the town.The perspi-ration poured from him;it was warm in the house,andwarm within him as well.Peer found no favor in his eyes."Such a puppy!"he said;"a puppy so long that one couldbreak him in half and make two puppies of him."

  Great applause-and one enemy!That was havinggood luck.Yes,Peer was a Lucky Peer.Tired and over-come by the exertions of the evening and the flatteryshown him,he went home to his little room.It was pastmidnight;Madam Gabriel knocked on the wall.

  "Romeo!I have some punch for you!"

  And the funnel was put through the hole in thedoor,and Peer Romeo held his glass under.

  "Good night,Madam Gabriel."

  But Peer could not sleep.Everything he had said,and particularly what Juliet had said,buzzed through hishead,and when he finally fell asleep he dreamed of awedding-a wedding with Miss Frandsen!What strangethings one can dream!

  Ⅶ

  "Now get that play-acting out of your head,"saidHerr Gabriel the next morning,"and let's get busy withsome science.

  Peer had come near to thinking like young Madsen,that a fellow was wasting his delightful youth,being shutin and sitting with a book in his hand.But when he satwith his book,there shone from it so many noble andgood thoughts that Peer found himself quite absorbed init.He learned of the world's great men and theirachievements;so many had been the children of poorpeople:Themistocles,the hero,son of a potter;Shake-speare,a poor weaver's boy,who as a young man heldhorses outside the door of the theater,where later he wasthe mightiest man in poetic art of all countries and alltime.He learned of the singing contest at Wartburg,where the poets competed to see who would produce themost beautiful poem-a contest like the old trial of theGrecian poets at the great public feasts.Herr Gabrieltalked of these with especial delight.Sophocles in his oldage had written one of his hest tragedies and won theaward over all the others.In this honor and fortune hisheart broke with joy.Oh,how blessed to die in the midstof one's joy of victory!What could be more fortunate!Thoughts and dreams filled our little friend,but he hadno one to whom he could tell them.They would not beunderstood by young Madsen or by Primus-nor by Madam Gabriel,either she was either in a very good hu-mor,or was the sorrwing mother,in which case she wasdissolved in tears.

  Her two little girls looked with astonishment at her.Neither they nor Peer could discover why she was so over-whelmed with sorrow and grief.

  "The poor children!"she said."A mother is al-ways thinking of their future.The boys can take care ofthemselves.Caesar fslls,but he gets up again;the twoolder ones splash in the water tub;they ought to be inthe navy,and would surely marry well.But my two littlegirls!What will their future be?They will reach the agewhen the heart feels,and then I am sure that whoevereach of them falls in love with will not be at all afterGabriel's liking;he will choose someone they'll despise,and that will make them so unhappy.As a mother,Ihave to think about these things,and that is my sorrowand grief.You poor children!You will be so unhappy!"She wept.

  The little girls looked at her.Peer looked at her andfelt rather sad;he could think of nothing to say,so hereturned to his little room,sat down at the old piano,andtones and fantasies came forth as they streamed throughhis heart.

  In the early morning he went to his studies with aclear mind and performed his duties,for someone waspaying for his schooling.He was a conscientious,right-minded fellow.In his diary he recorded each day what hehad read and studied,and how late he had sat up playingthe piano-always mutely,so that he wouldn't awakenMadam Gabriel.It never said in his diary,except onSunday,the day of rest,"Thought of Juliet,""Was atthe pharmacist's,""Wrote a letter to Mother and Grand-mother."Peer was still Romeo and a good son.

  "Very industriously!"said Herr Gabriel."Followthat example,young Madsen!Or you'll fail!"

  "Scoundrel!"said young Madsen to himself.

  Primus,the Dean's son,suffered from sleepingsickness."It is a disease,"said the Dean's wife;he wasnot to be treated with severity.

  The deanery was only eight miles away;wealth andcomfort were there.

  "That man will die a bishop,"said Madam Gabriel."He has good connections at the court,and the Deanessis a lady of noble birth.She knows all about heraldry-that means coats of arms.

  It was Whitsuntide.A year had passed since Peercame to Herr Gabriel's house.He had gained muchknowledge,but his voice had not come back;would itever come?

  The Gabriel household was invited to the Dean's toa great dinner and a dall later in the evening.A goodmany guests came from the town and from the manorhouses about.The pharmacist's family was invited;Romeo would see his Juliet,perhaps dance the first dancewith her.

  The deanery was a well-kept place,whitewashed,and without any manure heaps in the yard,[and it had a dovecot painted green,around which twined an ivy vine.]The Deaness was tall,corpulent woman;"Athene,Glaucopis,"Herr Gabriel called her;"the blue-eyed,"not"the ox-eyed,"as Juno was called,thought Peer.Therewas a certain distinguished kindness about her,and aneffort to have an invalid look;she probably had sleepingsickness just like Primus.She was in a light-blue silkdress and wore great curls;the one on the right side wasfastened with a large medallion portrait of her great-grand-mother,a general's wife,and the one on the left with anequally large bunch of grapes made of white porcelain.

  The Dean had a ruddy,plump face,with shiningwhite teeth,well suited to biting into a roast fillet.Hisconversation always consisted of anecdotes.He could con-verse with everybody,but no one ever succeeded in carry-ing on a conversation with him.

  The Councilor,too,was there,and among the strangers from the manors was Felix,the merchant's son;he had been confirmed and was now a most elegant younggentleman,both in clothes and manners;he was a mil-lionaire,they said.Madam Gabriel did not have courageenough to speak to him.

  Peer was overjoyed at seeing Felix,who came tohim in a very genial manner and said that he had broughtgreetings from his parents,who read all the letters Peerwrote home to his mother and grandmother.

  The dancing .The pharmacist's daughter was to dance the first dance with the Councilor;that was apromise she had made at home to her mother and to theCouncilor.The second dance had been promised to Peer;but Felix came and took her with a good-natured nod.

  "Permit me to have this one dance;the young ladywill give her permission only if you say so.

  Peer kept a polite face;he said nothing,and Felixdanced with the pharmacist's daughter,the most beautifulgirl at the ball.He also danced the next dance with her.

  "You will grant me the supper dance?"asked Peer,with a pale face.

  "Yes,the supper dance,"she answered with her mostcharming smile.

  "You surely will not take my partner from me?"saidFelix,who stood close by."That's not being very friend-ly.We two old friends from town!You say that you are soglad to see me.Then you must allow me the pleasure oftaking the lady to supper!"And he put his arm aroundPeer and laid his forehead jestingly against him."Granted,isn't it?Granted!"

  "No!"said Peer,his eyes sparkling with anger.

  Felix gaily raised his arms and set his elbows akimbo,as if he were trying to look like a frog ready to leap."Youare Perfectly right,young man!I would say the same if thesupper dance were promised me,sir!"He drew back witha graceful bow to the young lady.

  But shortly after,when Peer stood in a corner and ad-justed his necktie,Felix returned,put his arm around hisneck,and,with the most coaxing look,said,"Be big-hearted!My mother and your mother and old grandmotherwill all say that is just like you.I am leaving tomorrow,and I will be terribly bored if I do not take the young ladyto supper.My own friend,my only friend!"

  Peer,as his only friend,could not resist that;hepersonally led Felix to the young beauty.

  It was bright morning of the next day when the guestsdrove away from the Dean's.The Gabriel household was inone carriage,and the whole family went to sleep,exceptPeer and Madam.

  She talked about the young merchant,the nich man'sson,who was really Peer's friend;she had heard him say,"Skaal,my friend!To Mother and Grandmother!"Therewas something so"uninhibited,gallant in him,"she said;"one saw at once that he is the son of rich people,or acount's child.That,the rest of us can't acquire.Onemust bow to that!"

  Peer said nothing.He was depressed all day.Atnight,when bedtime had come and he lay in bed,sleepwas chased away,and he said to himself,"One has tobow;one has to please!"That's what he had done;

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