Bjornstjerne Bjornson, 1832-1910 - novelonlinefree.info
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"'Who took my five franc piece?' It was a five franc piece that he had got somewhere or other and had stuck in his pocket to buy a theatre ticket with. It turned out that the maid had found it and given it to Fru Bjornson. For it seemed quite unthinkable to her that the master should have any money to take out with him.
"This complete indifference of Bjornson to small matters sometimes proved annoying. In this connection I may tell of a little trip he once took with Jonas Lie.
"The two poets, who did not live far apart, had long counted with pleasure upon a trip to Pere Lachaise, where they wished to visit Alfred de Musset's grave. At last the day came, and with big soft hats on their heads, and engaged earnestly in conversation, they drove away through Paris.
"When they came to Pere Lachaise, and wanted to enter the cemetery, the driver stopped them and asked for his pay. Then it appeared that neither had any money, which they smilingly explained, and asked him in bad French to wait and drive them home again. But the two gentlemen with the big soft hats had not inspired the driver with any marked degree of confidence. He made a scene, and attracted a great crowd of the boys, loafers, and well-dressed Frenchmen who always collect on critical occasions. The end of the affair was that the poets had to get into their cab again and drive all the long way back without having had a glimpse of the grave. When they reached Lie's lodgings, Lie went in to get some money, while Bjornson sat in the cab as a hostage.
Nevertheless, both poets maintained that they had had a pleasant expedition. A Norwegian question, which had accidentally come up between them, had made them forget all about Alfred de Musset."
Finally, a story may be given that is told by Bjornson himself.
"I had a pair of old boots that I wanted to give to a beggar. But just as I was going to give them to him, I began to wonder whether Karoline had not some use for them, since she usually gave such things to beggars. So I took the boots in my hand, and went downstairs to ask her, but on the way I got a little worked up because I did not quite dare to give them to the beggar myself. And the further I went down the steps, the more wrathful I got, until I stood over her. And then I was so angry that I had to bl.u.s.ter at her as if she had done me a grievous wrong. But she could not understand a word of what I said, and looked at me with such amazement, that I could not keep from bursting into laughter."
From his early years, Bjornson kept in touch with the modern intellectual movement by mingling with the people of other lands than his own. Besides his visits to Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, he made many lengthy sojourns in the chief continental centres of civilization, in Munich, Rome, and Paris. The longest of his foreign journeys was that which brought him to the United States in the winter of 1880-81, for the purpose of addressing his fellow countrymen in the Northwest.
His home for the last thirty years and more has been his estate of Aulestad in the Gausdal, a region of Southern Norway. Here he has been a model farmer, and here, surrounded by his family,--wife, children, and grandchildren,--his patriarchal presence has given dignity to the household, and united its members in a common bond of love. Hither have come streams of guests, friends old and new, to enjoy his generous hospitality. There has been provision for all, both bed and board, and the heartiest of welcomes from the host. And the stranger from abroad has been greeted, as like as not, by the sight of his own country's flag streaming from a staff before the house, and foreshadowing the personal greeting that awaited him upon the threshold.
Bjornson died in Paris (where he had been spending the winter, as was his custom for many years past), April 26, 1910. He had been ill for several months, and only an extraordinarily robust const.i.tution enabled him to make a partial recovery from the crisis of the preceding February, when his death had been hourly expected. The news of his death occasioned demonstrations of grief not only in his own country, but also throughout the civilized world. Every honor that a nation can bestow upon its ill.u.s.trious dead was decreed him by King and Storthing; a wars.h.i.+p was despatched to bear his remains to Christiania, and the pomp and circ.u.mstance of a state funeral acclaimed the sense of the nation's loss.
LIST OF WORKS.
SYNNoVE SOLBAKKEN. Fortaelling, 1857 MELLEM SLAGENE. Drama, 1858 ARNE. Fortaelling, 1858 HALTE-HULDA. Drama, 1858 EN GLAD GUT. Fortaelling, 1860 KONG SVERRE. 1861 SIGURD SLEMBE. 1862 MARIA STUART I SKOTLAND. Skuespil, 1864 DE NYGIFTE. Komedie, 1865 FISKERJENTEN. Fortaelling, 1868 DIGTE OG SANGE. 1870 ARNLJOT GELLINE. 1870 SIGURD JORSALFAR. Skuespil, 1872 FORTAELLINGER I-II, 1872 BRUDE-SLAATTEN. Fortaelling, 1873 REDAKToREN. Skuespil, 1874 EN FALLIT. Skuespil, 1874 KONGEN. 1877 MAGNHILD. Fortaelling, 1877 KAPTEJN MANSANA. Fortaelling fra Italien, 1879 LEONARDA. Skuespil, 1879 DET NY SYSTEM. Skuespil, 1879 EN HANDSKE. Skuespil, 1883 OVER AEVNE. Forste Stykke, 1883 DET FLAGER I BYEN OG PAA HAVNEN, 1884 GEOGRAFI OG KJAERLIGHED. 1885 PAA GUDS VEJE. 1889 NYE FORTAELLINGER. 1894 LYSET. En Universitetskantate, 1895 OVER AEVNE. Andet Stykke, 1895 PAUL LANGE OG TORA PARSBERG. 1898 LABOREMUS. 1901 TO FORTAELLINGER. 1901 PAA STORHOVE. Drama, 1904 DAGLANNET. 1904 TO TALER. 1906.
MARY. Fortaelling, 1906 VORT SPROG. 1907 NAAR DEN NY VIN BLOMSTRER. 1909