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
Kaempehoie 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—Lygtemaend
Horse racing in Denmark—A horse race
Trout fishing in hot weather—Danish ladies riding—A practical visit to Rosendal
Folketro—Havmaend—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 Aamaend—Changelings—Wise men and wise women—Dvaerge—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—Samso and traditions—Endelave and the giantess—Odense and its historical traditions—Nyborg—King Christian and the monkey—The ghost of Queen Helvig—Maerkedage—Svendborg—St. Jorgen and the Lindorm—The murdered lady—Weather days
Vordingborg—Mariebo and traditions—Legend of Borre Island—Phanefjord and Gronsund—Legends of Phane and Gron—The pilgrim stone—Drive to Moen's Klint—The Underjordiske—Margrethe Skaelvig's wedding-dress—The twenty pigs and Gamle Erik—Praesto—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 Froken 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, Froken Helga's leaving an educational institution at Copenhagen, Kirstin's strict sense of duty created an impression that Froken 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 Praesten'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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken Helga has an enthusiasm for Rosendal. I fear I shall be interested thereby, as she goes with us."
Hardy looked at Froken 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.
Froken 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, Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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, Froken 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 Froken 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 L1 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, "Prokurator."
"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 Froken 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. Froken 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 Froken Helga, and I will tell the gentleman something that may serve him. Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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, Froken 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 Sogneborn (literally, parish children), and he gradually became acquainted with the Danish farmers, and was known in the parish as Praesten's Englaender, 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. Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken Helga's voice to that of Praesten's Englaender," said Hardy.
Nothing would induce Froken 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 Praestegaard, 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 Froken Helga, "that his horse can jump our garden wall?"
"Yes," said Hardy; "it is scarcely five feet. But will you promise, Froken 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. Froken 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. Froken 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 Froken 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 Praestegaard.
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.
Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Praestegaard, 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 Froken 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 Praestegaard.
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 Froken Jaeger, and was told he would have to take her in to dinner. Hardy bowed.
"How old are you?" said Froken Jaeger.
"Twenty-eight," replied Hardy.
"What is your profession?" inquired Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken Helga's face that what he had said was what had her approval, and that he had said enough.
"You appear to look at Froken Helga Lindal, Herr Hardy," said Froken 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 Froken 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. Froken 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 Froken Helga Lindal, and besought her to deliver him from Froken Jaeger; but she declined, and said, "You have to dance with Froken 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, Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken Jaeger.
"No," said Hardy; "I do not like it."
At length the time came for his dance with Froken 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 Froken Jaeger a story, in saying that he did not like dancing.
"You dance well, Froken 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 Praestegaard, 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 L40 for, some they will pay L18 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 L25 to L30 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?"
"Froken Jaeger says, you said that Froken 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 Froken 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. Froken 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 Froken 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.
Froken 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 Froken 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 Froken 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 Saeter 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.