And in this manner I procured the Danish Bible, and I commenced my task; first of all, however, I locked up in a closet the volume which had excited my curiosity, saying, ’Out of this closet thou comest not till I deem myself competent to read thee,’ and then I sat down in right earnest, comparing every line in the one version with the corresponding one in the other; and I passed entire nights in this manner, till I was almost blind, and the task was tedious enough at first, but I quailed not, and soon began to make progress: and at first I had a misgiving that the old book might not prove a Danish book, but was soon reassured by reading many words in the Bible which I remembered to have seen in the book; and then I went on right merrily, and I found that the language which I was studying was by no means a difficult one, and in less than a month I deemed myself able to read the book.
Anon, I took the book from the closet, and proceeded to make myself master of its contents; I had some difficulty, for the language of the book, though in the main the same as the language of the Bible, differed from it in some points, being apparently a more ancient dialect; by degrees, however, I overcame this difficulty, and I understood the contents of the book, and well did they correspond with all those ideas in which I had indulged connected with the Danes. For the book was a book of ballads, about the deeds of knights and champions, and men of huge stature; ballads which from time immemorial had been sung in the North, and which some two centuries before the time of which I am speaking had been collected by one Anders Vedel, who lived with a certain Tycho Brahe, and assisted him in making observations upon the heavenly bodies, at a place called Uranias Castle, on the little island of Hveen, in the Cattegat.
The two individuals—The long pipe—The Germans—Werther—The female Quaker—Suicide—Gibbon—Jesus of Bethlehem—Fill your glass—Shakespeare—English at Minden—Melancholy Swayne Vonved—The fifth dinner—Strange doctrines—Are you happy?—Improve yourself in German.
It might be some six months after the events last recorded, that two individuals were seated together in a certain room, in a certain street of the old town which I have so frequently had occasion to mention in the preceding pages; one of them was an elderly, and the other a very young man, and they sat on either side of a fireplace, beside a table on which were fruit and wine; the room was a small one, and in its furniture exhibited nothing remarkable. Over the mantelpiece, however, hung a small picture with naked figures in the foreground, and with much foliage behind. It might not have struck every beholder, for it looked old and smoke-dried; but a connoisseur, on inspecting it closely, would have pronounced it to be a judgment of Paris, and a masterpiece of the Flemish school.