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O. T. a Danish Romance by H. C. Andersen

Heard himself addressed as thou by Wilhelm


"Very

beautiful," said the lady; "you speak like a Jean Paul."

At this moment the door opened, and all were surprised by the entrance of Miss Sophie, Wilhelm, and the dear mamma. They were not expected before the following evening. They had travelled the whole day through Zealand.

"We should have been here to dinner," said Sophie, "but my brother could not get his business finished in Roeskelde; then he had forgotten to order horses, and other little misadventures occurred: six whole hours we remained there. Mamma contracted quite a passion there--she fell fairly in love with a young girl, the pretty Eva."

"Yes, she is a nice creature!" said the old lady. "Had I not reason, Mr. Thostrup? You and my Wilhelm had already made her interesting to me. She has something so noble, so refined, which one so rarely meets with in the lower class; she deserves to come among educated people."

"Otto, what shall our hearts say," exclaimed Wilhelm, "when my good mother is thus affected?"

They assembled round the tea-table. Wilhelm addressed Otto with the confidential "thou" which Otto himself had requested.

"We will drink together in tea and renew our brotherhood."

Otto smiled, but with such a strangely melancholy air, and spoke not a word.

justify;">"He's thinking about the old grandfather," thought Wilhelm, and laid his hand upon his friend's shoulder. "The Kammerjunker and his ladies greet thee!" said he. "I believe the Mamsell would willingly lay thee in her own work-box, were that to be done."

Otto remained quiet, but in his soul there was a strange commotion. It would be a difficult thing to explain this motive, which belonged to his peculiarity of mind; it entered among the mysteries of the soul. The multitude call it in individuals singularity, the psychologist finds a deeper meaning in it, which the understanding is unable to fathom. We have examples of men, whose strength of mind and body were well known, feeling faint at the scent of a rose; others have been thrown into a convulsive state by touching gray paper. This cannot be explained; it is one of the riddles of Nature. A similar relaxing sensation Otto experienced when he, for the first time, heard himself addressed as "thou" by Wilhelm. It seemed to him as though the spiritual band which encircled them loosened itself, and Wilhelm became a stranger. It was impossible for Otto to return the "thou," yet, at the same time, he felt the injustice of his behavior and the singularity, and wished to struggle against it; he mastered himself, attained a kind of eloquence, but no "thou" would pass his lips.

"To thy health, Otto," said Wilhelm, and pushed his cup against Otto's.

"Health!" said Otto, with a smile.

"It is true," began the cousin, "I promised you the other day to bring my advertisements with me; the first volume is closed." And he drew from his pocket a book in which a collection of the most original Address-Gazette advertisements, such as one sees daily, was pasted.

"I have one for you," said the lady; "I found it a little time since. 'A woman wishes for a little child to bottle.' Is not that capital?"

"Here is also a good one," said Wilhelm, who had turned over the leaves of the book: "'A boy of the Mosaic belief may be apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, but he need not apply unless he will eat everything that happens to be in the house.' That is truly a hard condition for the poor lad."


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