IN the most fashionable street in the city stood a fineold house； the wall around it had bits of glass worked intoit， so that when the sun or the moon shone it looked as if itwere covered with diamonds．That was a sign of wealth， and there was great wealth inside． It was said that the mer－chant was a man rich enough to put two barrels of gold intohis best parlor and could even put a barrel of gold pieces，as a savings bank against the future， outside the door of theroom where his little son was born．
When the baby arrived in the rich house， there was great joy from the cellar up to the garret；and up there， there was still greater joy an hour or two later． The ware－houseman and his wife lived in the garret， and there， too，at the same time， a little son arrived，given by our Lord，brought by the stork， and exhibited by the mother．And there， too， was a barrel outside the door，quite accidental－ly； but it was not a barrel of gold—it was a barrel of sweepings．
The rich merchant was a very kind，fine man．His wife， delicate and always dressed in clothes of high quali－ty，was pious and， besides，was kind and good to the poor．Everybody rejoiced with these two people on now having a little son who would grow up and be rich and hap－py， like his father． When the little boy was baptized he was called Felix， which in Latin means"lucky，" and thishe was， and his parents were even more so．
The warehouseman， a fellow who was really good to the core， and his wife， an honest and industrious woman，were well liked by all who knew them． How lucky they were to have their little boy； he was called Peer．
The boy on the first floor and the boy in the garret each received the same amount of kisses from his parentsand just as much sunshine from our Lord； but still theywere placed a little differently—one downstairs， and oneup．Peer sat the highest，way up in the garret， and he had his own mother for a nurse；little Felix had a strangerfor his nurse， but she was good and honest—that was written in her service book． The rich child had a prettybaby carriage， which was pushed about by his elegantly dressed nurse； the child from the garret was carried in thearms of his own nither，both when she was in her Sunday clothes and when she had her everyday things on， and hewas just as happy．
Both children soon began to observe things； they were growing， and both could show with their hands how tall they were， and say single words in their mother tongue．They were equally handsome， petted，and equallyfond of sweets． As they grew up， they both got an equalamount of pleasure out of the merchant's horses and car－riages．Felix was allowed to sit by the coachman， alongwith his nurse， and look at the horses； he would fancyhimself driving．Peer was allowed to sit at the garret win－dow and look down into the yard when the master and mistress went out to drive；and when they had left， hewould place two chairs，one in front of the other， up there in the room， and so he would drive himself； he wasthe real coachman—that was a little more than fancying himself to be the coachman．
They got along splendidly， these two； yet it was notuntil they were two years old that they spoke to each oth－er．Felix was always elegantly dressed in silk and velvet，with bare knees， after the English style．"The poor childwill freezer！"said the family in the garret．Peer had trousers that came down to his ankles， but one day his clothes were torn right across his knees， so that he got asmuch of a draft and was just as much undressed as the merchant's delicate little boy．Felix came along with hismother and was about to go out through the gate when Peer came along with his and wanted to go in．
"Give little Peer your hand，"said the merchant'swife．"You two should talk to each other．"
And one said，"Peer！"and the other said，"Felix！"Yes， and that was all they said at that time．
The rich lady coddled her boy，but there was one who coddled Peer just as much， and that was his grandmother．
She was weak－sighted， and yet she saw much more in little Peer than his father or mother could see； yes， more thanany person could．
"The sweet child，"she said，"is surely going to get on in the world．He was born with a gold apple in his hand； I can see it even with my poor sight．Why， there is the shining apple！" And she kissed the child's little hand．His parents could see nothing，and neither could Peer；but as he grew to have more understanding， he liked to believe it．
"That is such a story， such a fairy tale， that Grand- mother tells！"said the parents．
Yes， Grandmother could tell stories， and Peer wasnever tired of hearing always the same ones．She taught him a psalm and the Lord's Prayer as well， and he could say it， not as gabble but as words that meant something；
she explained every single sentence in it to him． He gave particular thought to what Grandmother said about the words，"Give us this day our daily bread"； he was to un-derstand that it was necessary for one to get wheat bread，for another to get black bread； one must have a great housewhen he had many people in his employ； another， in small circumstances， could live quite as happily in a little roomin the garret．"So each person has what he calls 'daily bread．'"
Peer， of course， had his good daily bread—and the most delightful days， too， but they were not to last forever．The sad years of war began； the young men were to goaway， and the older men as well． Peer's father was amongthose who were called in； and soon afterward it was heard that he had been one of the first to fall in battle against thesuperior enemy．
There was bitter grief in the little room in the garret．The mother cried； the grandmother and little Peer cried；
and every time one of the neighbors came up to see them， they talked about"Papa， and then they cried all together．
The widow， meanwinle， was given permission to stay in hergarret flat，rent-free，during the first year，and afterward she was to pay only a small rent． The grandmother stayed with the mother， who supported herself by washing forseveral"single， elegant gentlemen，"as she called them．Peer had neither sorrow nor want． He had plenty of food and drink， and Grandmother told him stories， such strangeand wonderful ones about the wide world ，that he asked her，one day， if the two of them might not go to foreign lands some Sunday and return home as prince and princess， wearing gold crowns．
"I am too old for that，"said Grandmother，"and youmust first learn a good many things and become big and strong； but you must always be a good and affectionate child—as you are now．"
Peer rode around the room on hobbyhorses； he had two such horses． But the mer- chant's son had a real live horse； it was so small that it might well have been called a baby horse， which， in fact， Peer called it， and it never could become any bigger．Fe－ lix rode it in the yard； yes， and he even rode it outside the gate，when his father and a riding master from the king's stable were with him．For the first half－hour， Peer had not liked his horses and hadn't ridden them， for they were not real； and then he had asked his mother why he could not have a real horse like little Felix had， and his mother had said，"Felix lives down onthe first floor， close by the stables， but you live high upunder the roof． One cannot have horses up in the garret ex－cept like those you have． You should ride on them．"
And so now Peer rode—first to the chest of drawers，the great mountain with its many treasures；both Peter'sSunday clothes and his mother's were there， and there were the shining silver dollars that she laid aside for rent；then he rode to the stove，which he called the black bear；it slept all summer long，but when winter came it had to be useful， to warm the room and cook the meals．
Peer had a godfather who usually came there every Sunday during the winter and got a good warm meal．
Things had gone wrong for him， said the mother and the grandmother． He had begun as a coachman．He had been drinking and had fallen asleep at his post， and that neither a soldier nor a coachman should do． He then had become acabman and driven a cab， or sometimes a carriage， and of－ten for very elegant people．But now he drove a garbage wagon and went from door to door， swinging his rattle， "snurre－rurre－ud！"and from all the houses came the ser－ vantgirls and housewives with their buckets full， and turned these into the wagon；rubbish and junk， ashes and sweep－ings， were all thrown in．
One day Peer came down from the garret after his mother had gone to town． He stood at the open gate， andthere outside was Godfather with his wagon．"Would you like to take a drive？" he asked． Yes， Peer was willing to indeed，but only as far as the corner． His eyes shone as he sat on the seat with Codfather and was allowed to hold the whip．Peer drove with real live horses，drove right to the corner． Then his mother came along； she looked rather du－ bious， for it was not very nice to see her own little son rid-ing on a garbage wagon．She told him to get down at once．
Still，she thanked Godfather；but at home she forbade Peer to drive with him again．
One day he again went down to the gate． There was no Codfather there to tempt him with a drive， but therewere other temptations． Three or four small street urchinswere down in the gutter，poking about to see what they could find that had been lost or had hidden itself there．Frequently they had found a button or a copper coin，but frequently， too， they had cut themselves on a broken bot－ tle， or pricked themselves with a pin， which just now was the case．Peer simply had to join them， and when he got down among the gutter stones he found a silver coin．
Another day he was again down digging with the other boys； they only got dirty fingers ； he found a gold ring， andthen，with sparkling eyes， showed off his lucky find；whereupon the others threw dirt at him and called himLucky Peer．They wouldn't permit him to be with them any more when they poked in the gutter．
Back of the merchant's yard there was some low ground that was to be filled up for building lots；graveland ashes were carted and dumped out there，great heaps of it． Godfather helped deliver it in his wagon， but Peerwas not allowed to drive with him． The street urchins dug in the heaps， dug with a stick and with their bare hands；they always found one thing or another that seemed worth Picking up．
Then little Peer came along． They saw him and cried，"Get away from here，Lucky Peer！"And when， despite this， he came closer， they threw lumps of dirt athim． One of these struck against his wooden shoe and crumbled to pieces． Something shining rolled out， and Peer picked it up； it was a little heart made of amber． Heran home with it． The other boys did not notice that even when they threw dirt at him he was a child of luck．
The silver coin he had found was put away in his savings bank． The ring and the amber heart were shown to the merchant's wife downstairs， because the mother want-ed to know if they were lost articles that should be returned to the police．
How the eyes of the merchant's wife shone on see－ing the ring！ It was her own engagement ring， one that she bad lost three years before！ That's how long it hadlain in the gutter． Peer was well rewarded， and the money rattled in his little box． The amber heart was a cheap thing， the lady said；Peer might just as well keep that．
At night the amber heart lay on the bureau，and the grandmother lay in bed．
"My， what is it that burns so！" she said．"It looksas if a small candle is lighted there．"She got up to see，and it was the little heart of amber—yes，Grandmother， with her weak sight，frequently saw more than anyone else could see．She had her own thoughts about it．The next morning she took a narrow，strong ribbon，drew it through the opening at the top of the heart， and put it around her little grandson's neck．
"You must never take it off， except to put a new ribbon into it， and you must not show it to the other boys， either， for then they would take it from you， andyou would get a stomachache！"That was the only painful sickness little Peer had known so far． There was a strange power， too， in that heart． Grandmother showed him that when she rubbed it with her hand， and a little straw wasput next to it， the straw seemed to be alive and was drawn to the heart of amber and would not let go．
The merchant's son had a private tutor who taught him his lessons and who took walks with him， too． Peerwas also to have an education， so he went to publicschool with a great number of other boys． They played to－ gether， and that was much more fun than going along with a tutor． Peer would not have changed places with him．
He was a lucky Peer， but Godfather was also a lucky peer，although his name was not Peer． He won a pnize in the lottery， of two hundred dollars，on a ticket he shared with eleven others． He immediately bought some better clothes， and he looked very well in them．
Luck never comes alone； it always has company， and soit did this time．Godfather gave up the garbage wagon and joined the theater．
"What's that！" said Grandmother．"Is he going into the theater？ As what？"
As a machinist． That was an advancement． He be-came quite another person； and he enjoyed the plays very much， although he always saw them from the top or from the side． Most wonderful was the ballet， but that gavehim the hardest work， and there was always danger of fire． They danced both in heaven and on earth． That was something for little Peer to see； and one evening when there was to be a dress rehearsal of a new ballet， inwhich everyone was dressed and made up as on the open－ ing night when people pay to see all the magnificence， he had permission to bring Peer with him and put him in a place where he could see the whole show．
It was a Biblical ballet—Samson． The Philistinesdanced about him， and he tumbled the whole house downover them and himself； but there were both fire engines and firemen on hand in case of any accident．
Peer had never seen a stage play， not to mention a ballet．He put on his Sunday clothes and went with God－ father to the theater．It was just like a great deying loft，with many curtains and screens， big openings in the floor， lamps，and lights． There were so many tricky nooks and corners everywhere， from which people appeared， just as in a great church with its gallery pews． Peer was seat－ed down where the floor slanted steeply and was told to stay there until it was all finished and he was sent for．Hehad three sandwiches in his pocket， so that he need notstarve．
Soon it grew lighter and lighter； then up in front， just as if straight out of the earth， there came a number ofmusicians with both flutes and violins． In the seats next toPeer sat people dressed in street clothes；but there also appeared knights with gold helmets， beautiful maidens ingauze and flowers， even angels all in white， with wings on their backs．They seated themselves upstairs and downstairs， on the floor and in the balcony seats， towatch what was going on．They were all members of the ballet， but Peer did not know that． He thought they be－longed in the fairy tales his grandmother had told him about． There then appeared a woman， and she was themost beautiful of all， with a gold helmet and spear； she seemed to be above all the others， and sat between an an－gel and a troll． Ah， how much there was to see！ And yet the ballet bad not even begun．
Suddenly everything became quiet．A man dressed in black moved a little fairy wand over all the musicians， and then they began to play； the music made a whistling sound through the theater， and the whole wall in front be- gan to rise．One looked into a flower garden， where the sun shone and all the people danced and leaped． Such a wonderful sight Peer had never imagined． There weresoldiers marching， and there was war， and there was a banquet， and there were the mighty Samson and his lover．
But she was as wicked as she was beautiful； she betrayed him． The Philistines plucked his eyes out； he was forced togrind in the mill and to be mocked and insulted in the great house； it fell， and there burst forth wonderful flames of redand green fire．
Peer could have sat there his whole life long and looked on， even if the sandwiches were all eaten—and they were all eaten．
Now here was something to tell about， when he gothome．It was impossible to get him to go to bed．He stood on one leg and laid the other on the table—that was what Samson's lover and all the other ladies had done． He madea treadmill out of Grandmother's chair and upset two chairsand a pillow over himself to show how the banquet hall had come down．He showed this—yes，and he even presented it with the music that belonged to it；there was no talking in the ballet． He sang high and low，[with words andwithout words，] and it was quite incoherent． It was like awhole opera． The most noticeable thing of all， meanwhile，was his beautiful， bell－clear voice， but no one spoke ofthat．
Peer previously had wanted to be a grocer's boy， tobe in charge of prunes and powdered sugar． Now he foundthere was something much more wonderful， and that was toget into the Samson story and dance in the ballet． A great many poor children had taken that road， said the grand－mother， and had become fine and honored people； yet no little girl of her family would ever be permitted to do so；but a boy—well， he stood more firmly． Peer had not seen a single one of the little girls fall down before the whole house fell， and then they all fell together， he said．
Peer wanted to，and felt he must，be a ballet dancer．
"He gives me no rest！"said his mother．
At last， his grandmother promised to take him to theballet master， who was a fine gentleman and had his ownhouse， like the merchant． Would Peer ever be that rich？Nothing is impossible for our Lord．Peer had been born with a gold apple； luck had been laid in his hands—per－haps it was also in his legs．
Peer went to the ballet master and knew him at once；it was Samson himself．His eyes had not suffered atall at the hands of the Philistines． That was only acting inthe play， he was told． And Samson looked kindly and pleasantly at him， and told him to stand up straight， lookright at him， and show him his ankle．Peer showed his whole foot and leg， too．
"So be got a place in the ballet，"said Grandmother．
This was easily arranged with the ballet master；
but before that， his mother and grandmother had spo－ ken with several understanding people—first with the merchant's wife， who thought it a good career for ahandsome， bonest boy like Peer， but without any fu－ ture． Then they had spoken with Miss Frandsen； she knew all about the ballet， and at one time， in Grand-mother's younger days， she had been the most beauti－ful danseuse at the theater； she had danced goddesses and princesses， had been cheered and applauded wher－ever she had gone； but then she had grown older—weall do—and so no longer had she been given principal parts； she'd had to dance behind the younger ones；and when finally her dancing days had come to an end， she had become a wardrobe woman and dressed the others as goddesses and princesses．
"So it goes！"said Miss Frandsen．"The theater road is a delightful one to travel， but it is full of thorns．Jealousy grows there！Jealousy！"
That was a word Peer did not understand at all；but he came to understand it in time．
"No force or power can keep him from the bal－ let，"said his mother．
"A pious Christian child，that he is，"said Grandmother．
"And well brought up，"said Miss Frandsen．
"Well formed and moral！ That I was in my heyday．"
And so Peer went to the dancing school and got some summer clothes and thin－soled dancing shoes to make himself lighter．All the older girl dancers kissed him and said that he was a boy good enough to eat．
He had to stand up， stick his legs out， and hold on to a post so as not to fall， while he leaned to kick， firstwith his right leg， then with his left． It was not nearly sodifficult for him as it was for most of the others， The bal－let master patted him and said that he would soon be in the ballet； he was to play the child of a king who was carried on shields and wore a gold crown． This was prac－ticed at the dancing school and rehearsed at the theater itself．
The mother and grandmother had to see little Peer in all his glory， and when they saw this， they both cried， al－though it was such a happy occasion． Peer， in all his pomp and glory， did not see them at all； but he did see the mer－chant's family， who sat in the loge nearest the stage．LittleFelix was with them，[in his best clothes．]He wore but－ toned gloves，just like a grown－up gentleman， and although he could see perfectly well，he looked through an opera glass the whole evening， just like a grown－up gentleman．
He looked at Peer， and Peer looked at him； Peer was a king's child with a crown of gold． This evening brought thetwo children into closer relationship with one another．
A few days later，when they met each other at home in the yard，Felix went up to Peer and told him he had seen him when he was a prince． He knew very well that he was not a prince any longer， but then he had worn a prince's clothes and a gold crown．"I shall wear them again on Sunday，"said Peer．
Felix did not see him Sunday， but he thought about it the whole evening．He would have liked very much to have been in Peer's place； he had not heard Miss Frandsen'swarning that the road of the theater was a thorny one and that jealousy grew along it； nor did Peer know this yet， buthe would very soon learn it．
His young companions，the dancing children，were not all so good as they ought to be， although they often played angels and had wings on them． There was a little girl， Malle Knallerup，who always—when she was dressedas a page， and Peer was a page—stepped maliciously on the side of his foot， so as to dirty his stockings． Therewas a wicked boy who always was sticking pins in his back； and one day he ate Peer's sandwiches—by mis－take； but that was impossible， for Peer had meat balls onhis sandwiches， and the other boy had only bread withoutbutter； he could not have made a mistake．
It would be impossible to recite all the annoyances that Peer endured in two years，and the worst was yet to come．
There was a ballet per－ formed called The Vampire．
In it the smallest dancing children were dressed as bats， wore gray，knitted tights that fitted snugly to their bodies；
black gauze wings were stretched from their shoulders．
They were to run on tiptoe， as if they were light enough to fly， and then they wete to whirl around on the floor．
Peer could do this especially well；but his trousers and jacket，all of one piece，were old and worn and could not stand the strain．So just as he whirled around before the eyes of all the people， there was a rip right down his back， straight from his neck down to where the legs are fastenedin， and all of his short， white shirt could be seen． Allthe people laughed．Peer felt it and，knew what had hap－ pened； he whirled and whirled， but it grew worse andworse．People laughed louder and louder；the other vam－ pires laughed with them，and whirled into him，and all the more dreadfully when the people clapped and shouted， "Bravo！"
"That is for the ripped vampire！"said the dancing chil－dren．And from then on they always called him Rippy．
Peer cried． Miss Frandsen comforted him．"It is only jealousy，"she said； and now Peer knew what jealousywas．
Besides the dancing school， they had a regular school at the theater where the cinldren were taught arithmetic and writing，history and geography—yes， and they even had a teacher in religion， for it is not enough to know how to dance；there is something more important in the world than wearing out dancing shoes． Here， too， Peer was quick， the very quickest of all， and got plenty of good marks；but hisfellow students still called him Rippy． They were only teas－ ing him；but at last he could not stand it any longer，and he swung and hit one of the boys， so that he was black and blue under the left eye and had to have grease paint on it in the evening when he appeared in the ballet．Peer got a scolding from the dancing master，and a worse one from the sweeping woman， for it was her son he had"given asweeping．"
A good many thoughts went through little Peer's head． And one Sunday， when he was dressed in his bestclothes， he went out without saying a word about it to hismother or his grandmother， not even to Miss Frandsen， who always gave him good advice； he went straight to the or－chestra conductor； he thought this man was the most impor－ tant one there was outside the ballet． Cheerfully he stepped in and said，"I am at the dancing school， but there is so much jealousy there，and so I would rather be a player or a singer， if you would help me， please．"
"Have you a voice？"asked the conductor， and looked quite pleasantly at him．"Seems to me I know you． Where have I seen you before？ Wasn't it you who was ripped down the back？" And now he laughed． But Peer grew red；he was surely no longer Lucky Peer， as his grandmother had called him．He looked down at his feet and wished he were far away．
"Sing me a song！"said the conductor．"Come now，cheer up， my boy！"And he tapped him under the chin，and Peer looked up into his kind eyes and sang a song， "Mercy for Me，"which he had heard at the theater，in the opera Robert le Diable．
"That is a difficult song，but you did it pretty well，"
said the conductor．"You have an excellent voice—as long as it doesn't rip in the back！"And he laughed and calledhis wife． She also had to hear Peer sing， and she nodded her head and said something in a foreign tongue．Just at that moment the singing master of the theater came in；itwas really to him Peer should have gone if he wanted to be a singer； now the singing master came to him，quite acci－ dentally， as it were； he also heard him sing"Mercy for Me，" but he did not laugh， and he did not look so kindlyat him as the conductor and his wife； still it was decided that Peer should have singing lessons．
"Now he is on the right track，"said Miss Frandsen．
"One gets much farther with a voice than with legs． If I had had a voice， I would have been a great songstress andwould perhaps have been a baroness by now．"
"Or a bookbinder's wife，" said Mother．"Had you become rich， you surely would have taken the book－ binder．"
We do not understand that hint， but Miss Frandsendid．
Peer had to sing for her and sing for the merchant's family， when they heard of his new career． He was calledin one evening wnen they had company downstairs， ana hesang several songs， among them"Mercy for Me．"All the company clapped their hands，and Felix did，too；he had heard him sing before； in the stable Peer had sung the en－tire ballet of Samson， and that was the most delightful of all．
"One cannot sing a ballet，"said the lady．
"Yes， Peer can，"said Felix， and so they asked him to do it． He sang， and he talked； he drummed and hehummed；it was child's play，but fragments of well－known melodies came forth which really illustrated what the ballet was about． All the company found it very entertaining；they laughed and praised it， one louder than another．
The merchant's wife gave Peer a huge piece of cake and a silver dollar．
How lucky the boy felt， until he discovered a gen－tleman who stood somewhat in the background， and wholooked sternly at him． There was something harsh and se－ vere in the man's black eyes； he did not laugh；he didnot speak a single friendly word； this gentleman was the singing master from the theater．
Next forenoon， Peer went to him， and he stoodthere quite as severe－looking as before．
"What was the matter with you yesterday！"he said．
"Could you not understand that they were making a fool of you？Never do that again，and don't you go running about and singing at doors， either inside or outside． Nowyou can go．I won't give you any singing lesson today．"
When Peer left，he was dreadfully downcast； he had fallen out of the master's good graces． On the contrary，the master was really more satisfied with him than ever before． In all the absurdity which he had seen him per－ form， there was really some meaning， something quite unusual． The boy had an ear for music， and a voice asclear as a bell and of great compass； if it continued likethat， then the little fellow's fortune was made．
Now began the singing lessons．Peer was industrious and Peer was clever． How much there was to learn， howmuch to know！ The mother toiled and slaved to make an honest living， so that her son might be well dressed and neat and not look too shabby among the people to whom he now was invited． He was always singing and jubilant；
they had no need at all of a canary bird， the mother said．Every Sunday he had to sing a psalm with his grandmoth－ er． It was delightful to hear his fresh voice lift itself upwith hers．"It is much more beautiful than to hear him sing wildly！"That's what she called his singing when， like a little bird， his voice jubilantly gave forth with tonesthat seemed to come of themselves and make such music as they pleased． What tones there were in his little throat， what wonderful sounds in his little breast！ In－ deed， he could imitate a whole orchestra． There wereboth flute and bassoon in his voice， and there were violinand bugle． He sang as the birds sing； but man's voice is much more charming， even a little man's， when he cansing like Peer．
But in the winter， just as he was to go to the pastor to be prepared for confirmation， he caught cold； the littlebird in his breast said， pip！ The voice was ripped like thevampire's back－piece．
"It is no great misfortune，after all，"thought Moth－ er and Grandmother．"Now he doesn't go singing， tra－la， so he can think more seriously about his religion．"
His voice was changing， the singing master said．Peer must not sing at all now． How long would it be？ Ayear， perhaps two； perhaps the voice would never comeagain．That was a great grief．
"Think only of your confirmation now，"said Mother and Grandmother．"Practice your music，"said the singing master，"but keep your mouth shut．"
He thought of his religion，and he studied his mu－ sic；it sang and resounded within him． He wrote entire melodies down in notes， songs without words． Finally he wrote the words， too．
"You ale a poet，too，little Peer，"said the mer－ chant's wife， to whom he carried his text and music．Themerchant received a piece of music dedicated to him， a piece without words．Felix got one， too； and，yes， MissFrandsen also did，and that went into her scrapbook，in which were verses and music by two who were once young lieutenants but now were old majors on half pay； the book had been given by"a friend，"who had bound it himself．
And Peer was confirmed at Easter．Felix presented him with a silver watch． It was the first watch Peer had owned； he felt that this made him a man， for now he didnot have to ask others what time it was．Felix came up to the garret， congratulated him， and handed him thewatch； he himself was not to be confirmed until the au－ tumn． They took each other by the hand，these two chil- dren of the house，both the same age，born the same day and in the same house．And Felix ate a piece of the cake that had been baked in the garret for the occasion of the confirmation．
"It is a happy day with solemn thoughts，"saidGrandmother．
"Yes，very solemn！"said Mother．"If only Father had lived to see Peer today！"
The following Sunday all three of them went to Com－munion． When they came home from church they found a message from the singing master， asking Peer to come tosee him； and Peer went． Some good news awaited him，and yet it was serious， too． While he must give up singingfor a year， and his voice must lie fallow like a field， as apeasant might say，during that time he was to further hiseducation，not in the capital， where every evening he wouldbe running to the theater， from which he could not keepaway， but he was to go one hundred and twenty miles fromhome， to board with a schoolmaster who boarded a coupleof other young men． There he was to learn language andscience， which someday would be useful to him， The charge for a year's coirse was three hundred dollars， andthat was paid by a"benefactor who does not wish hisname to be known．"
"It is the merchant，"said Mother and Grandmother．
The day of departure came．A good many tears were shed， and kisses and blessings given； and then Peer rodethe hundred and twenty miles on the railway， out into thewide world． It was Whitsuntide． The sun shone， and thewoods were fresh and green； the train went rushing through them；new fields and villages were continually coming into view； country manors peeped out； the cattle stood in the pastures． Now they passed a station， then another，and market town after market town．At each stopping place there was a crowd of people， welcoming or saying good－by； there was noisy talking， outside and inthe carriages．Where Peer sat there was a lot of entertain－ ment and chattering by a widow dressed in black． She talked about his grave， his coffin，and his corpse—mean－ ing her child's． It had been such a poor little thing thatthere could have been no happiness for it had it lived． It had been a great relief for her and the little lamb when it had fallen asleep．
"I spared no expense on flowers on that occasion！"
she said；"and you must remember that it died at a veryexpensive time， when the flowers had to be cut from pot－ted plants！ Every Sunday I went to my grave and laid a wreath on it with great white silk bows； the silk bows were immediately stolen by some little girls and used for dancing bows； they were so tempting！One Sunday I wentthere， and I knew that my grave was on the left of themain path， but when I got there， there was my grave onthe right．'How is this？' says I to the gravedigger．'Isn't my grave on the left？'
"'No，it isn't any longer！'the gravedigger an－ swered．'Madam's grave lies there all right，but the mound has been moved over to the right； that placebelongs to another man's grave．'
"'But I want my corpse in my grave，'says I，'andI have a perfect right to say so．Shall I go and decorate a false mound， when my corpse lies without any sign on theother side？Indeed I won't！'
"'Then Madam must talk to the dean．'
"He is such a good man， that dean！ He gave me per－ mission to have my corpse on the right．It would cost five dollars． I gave that with a kiss of my hand and walked back to my old grave．'Can I now be very sure that it is my own coffin and my corpse that is moved？'
"'That Madam can！' And so I gave each of the men a coin for the moving． But now， since it had cost so much，I thought I should spend something to make it beautiful， and so I ordered a monument with an inscription． But—
will you believe it—when I got it， there was a gilded but－ terfly painted at the top．'Why， that means Frivolity，'
said I．'I won't have that on my glave．'
"'It is not Frivolity， Madam； it is Immortality．'
"' I never heard that，' said I．Now， have any of youhere in the carriage ever heard of a butterfly as a sign for anything but Frivolity？ I kept quiet． I don't like long con－versations． I composed myself， and put the monument away in my pantry．There it stood till my lodger came home．He is a student and haa so many， many books． He assured methat it really stood for Immortality，and so the monument was placed on the grave．"
And during all the chatter， Peer arrived at the station of the town where he was to live， and become just as wiseas the student， and have just as many books．
Herr Gabriel， the honorable man of learning withwhom Peer was to live as a boarding scholar， was at therailway station， to call for him． Herr Cabriel was a man asthin as a skeleton， with great， shiny eyes that stuck out sovery far that one was almost afraid that when he sneezed they would pop out of his head entirely．He was accompa－ nied by three of his own little boys； one of them stumbledover his own legs， and the other two stepped all over Peer's feet in their eagerness to get a close view of him．Two larger boys were with them， the older about fourteenyears， fair－skinned， freckled， and full of pimples．
"Young Madsen， who will be a student in aboutthree years，if he studies！ Primus， son of a dean．"Thatwas the younger， who looked like a head of wheat．"Bothare boarders， studying with me，"said Herr Gabriel．"Oursmall stuff，" he called his own boys．
"Trine，bring the newcomer's trunk on your wheel- barrow． The table is set for you at home．"
"Stuffed turkey！" said the other two young gentle－men boarders．
"Stuffed turkey！" said the"small stuff"； and againone of them fell over his own legs．
"Caesar，look after your feet！"exclaimed Herr Gabriel．
And they walked into town and then out of it． Therestood a great half-tumbled－down timber house， with a jas－mine－covered summerhouse，facing the road． Here MadamGabriel waited with more"small stuff，"two little girls．
"The new pupil，" said Herr Gabriel．
"A most hearty welcome！" said Madam Gabriel， ayouthful， well－fed woman， red and white， with spit curlsand a lot of pomade on her hair．
"Good heavens，how grown－up you are！"she said toPeer．"Why， you are a fully developed gentleman al- ready． I thought that you were like Primus or young Mad-sen．Angel Gabriel， it's a good thing the inner door isnailed． You know what I think．"
"Nonsense！"said Herr Gabriel． And they stepped into the room． There was a novel on the table，lying open，and a sandwich on it．One might have thought that it had been placed there as a bookmark—it lay across theopen page．
"Now I must be the housewife！"And with all five ofher children， and the two boarders， she showed Peer through the kitchen， and the hallway，and into a littleroom， the windows of which looked out on the garden；that was to be his study and bedroom；it was next to Madam Gabriel's room， where she slept with all the fivechildren； the connecting door， for decency's sake， and toprevent gossip"which spares nobody，"had been nailed up by Herr Gabriel that very day，at Madam's express re－ quest．
"Here you can live just as if you were at your par－ ents'． We have a theater， too， in the town．The pharma- cist is the director of a private company，and we have trav－ eling players But now you are going to have your turkey．"
And so she showed Peer into the dining room， where the wash was drying on a line．
"That doesn't do any harm，" she said．"It is only cleanliness， and that you are surely accustomed to．"
So Peer sat down to eat the roast turkey， while thechildren of the house， but not the two boarders， who hadwithdrawn，gave a dramatic show for the entertainment of themselves and the stranger． There had lately been a trav－eling company of actors in town，which had played Schiller's The Robbers． The two oldest boys had been im－ mensely taken with it． And they now performed the whole play at home—all the parts， notwithstanding that they re-membered only these words："Dreams come from the stom－ ach．"But they were spoken by all the characters in differ－ ent tones of voice．There stood Amelia，with heavenly eyes and a dreamy look．"Dreams come from the stomach！"she said， and covered her face with both her hands． Carl Moorcame forward with a heroic stride and manly voice， "Dreams come from the stomach，" and at that the wholeflock of children， boys and girls，rushed in； they were allrobbers，and murdered one another， crying out，"Dreams come from the stomach．"
That was Schiller's The Robbers． This performance and stuffed turkey were Peer's first introduction into HerrGabriel's house． He then went to his little chamber， wherethrough the window， into which the sun shone warmly， he could see the garden．He sat down and looked out．Herr Gabriel was walking there， absorbed in reading a book． Hecame closer and looked in； his eyes seemed fixed upon Peer，who bowed respectfully．Herr Gabriel opened his mouth as wide as he would， stuck out his tongue， and letit wag from one side to the other right in the face of theastonished Peer，who could not understand why he wastreated in such a manner．Whereupon Herr Gabriel left，but then turned back to the window and again stuck histongue out of his mouth．
Why did he do that？He was not thinking of Peer，or that the panes of glass were transparent from the out－side；he saw only the reflection of himself in them，andhe wanted to look at his tongue，as he had a stomach-ache，but Peer did not know all this．
Early in the evening Herr Gabriel went into hisroom，and Peer sat in his．Much later in the evening heheard quarreling－female quarreling－in Madam Gabriel'sbedroom．
"I am going up to Gabriel and tell him what rascalsyou are！"
［"We will also go to Gabriel and tell him whatMadam is！"］ "I shall have a fit！"she cried．
"Who wants to see a woman in a fit！Four shillings！"
Then Madam's voice sank deeper，but was distinct－ly heard．"What will the young man in there think of ourhouse when he hears all this vulgarity！"At that the quar-rel subsided，but then again rose louder and louder．
"Period！Finis，"cried Madam．"Go and make thepunch；it's better to agree than to quarrel！"
And then it was still．The door opened，and thegirls left，and then Madam knocked on the door to Peer'sroom．
"Young man，now you have some idea of what it isto be a housewife．You should thank heaven that youdon't have to bother with girls．I want to have peace，soI give them punch．I would gladly give you a glass-onesleeps so well after it-but no one dares go through thehallway door after ten o'clock；my Gabriel will not permitit．But you shall have some punch，nevertheless．There isa big hole in the door，stopped up with putty；I will pushthe putty out and put a funnel through the hole；you holdyour waterglass under it，and I shall pour you some punch．Keep it a secret，even from my Gabriel．You must notworry him with household affairs．"
And so Peer got his punch，and there was peace inMadam Gabriel's room， peace and quiet in the wholehouse．Peer went to bed，thought of his mother and grand-mother，said his evening prayer，and fell asleep．What onedreams the first night one sleeps in a strange house hasspecial significance，Grandmother had said．Peer dreamedthat he took the amber heart，which he still constantlywore，laid it in a flowerpot，and it grew into a great tree，up through the ceiling and the roof；it bore thousands ofhearts of silver and gold，so heavy that the flowerpotbroke，and it was no longer an amber heart-it had be-come mold，earth to earth-gone，gone forever！Then Peerawoke；he still had the amber heart，and it was warm，warm against his own warm heart．
Early in the morning the first study hours began atHerr Gabriel's．They studied French．At lunch the onlyones present were the boarders，the children，and Madam．She drank her second cup of coffee here；her first she al-ways took in bed．"It is so healthy when one is liable tospasms．She asked Peer what he had studied that day．
"It is an expensive language！"She said．"It is thelanguage of diplomats and one used by distinguished peo－ple．I did not study it in my childhood，but when one ismarried to a learned man one gains from his knowledge，asone gains from his mother's milk．Thus，I have all thenecessary words．I am quite sure I would know how to ex－press myself in whatever company I happened to be．"
Madam had acquireed a foreign name by her marriagewith a learned man．She had been baptized Mette after arich aunt，whose heir she was to have been．She had gotthe name，but not the inheritance．Herr Gabriel rebaptizedMette as Meta，the Latin word for measure．At the time ofher wedding，all her clothes，woolen and linen，weremarked with the letters M．G．，Meta Gabriel；but youngMadsen，who was a witty boy，interpreted the letters M．G．to be a mark meaning"most good，"and he added abig guestion mark in ink，on the tablecloths，the towels，and the sheets．
"Don't you like Madam？asked Peer，when youngMadsen made him privately acquainted with this joke．"She is so kind，and Herr Gabriel is so learned．"
"She is a bag of lies！"said young Madsen；"andHerr Gabriel is a scoundrel．If I were only a corporal，and he a recruit，oh，how I would discipline him！"And abloodthirsty expression came to young Madsen's face；hislips grew narrower than usual，and his whole face seemedone great freckle．
There were terrible words to hear，and they gavePeer a shock；yet young Madsen had the clearest right tothink that way．It was a cruel thing on the part of parentsand teachers that a fellow had to waste his best time，de－lightful youth，on learning grammar，names，and dates，which nobody cares anything about，instead of enjoyinghis liberty relaxing，and wandering about with a gun overhis shoulder like a good hunter．"No，one has to be shutin and sit on a bench and look sleepily at a book；HerrGabriel wants that．And then one is called lazy and getsthe mark'passable'；yes，one's parents get letters aboutit；that's why Herr Gabriel is a scoundrel．"
"He gives lickings，too，"added little Primus，whoagreed with young Madsen．This was not very pleasant forPeer to hear．But Peer got no lickings；he was too grown－up，as Madam had said．He was not called lazy，either，for that he was not．He had his lessons alone．He wassoon well ahead of Madsen and Primus．
"He has ability！"said Herr Gabriel．
"And one can see that he has been to dancingschool！"said Madam．
"We must have him in our dramatic club，"saidthe pharmacist，who lived more for the town's privatetheater than for his pharmacy．Malicious people appliedto him the old stale joke that he must have been bittenby a mad actor，for he was completely insane about thetheater．
"The young student was born for a lover，"said thepharmacist．"In a couple of years he could be Romeo；andI believe that if he were well made up，and we put a littlemustache on him，he could very well appear this winter．"
The pharmacist's daughter-"great dramatic talent，"said the father；"true beauty，"said the mother－was to beJuliet；Madam Gabriel had to be the nurse，and the phar-macist，who was both director and stage manager，wouldtake the role of the apothecary，which was small but ofgreat importance．Everything depended on Herr Gabriel'spermission for Peer to play Romeo．This had to be workedthrough Madam Gabriel；one had to know how to win herover-and this the pharmacist knew．
"You were born to be the nurse，"he said，andthought that he was flattering her exceedingly．"That is ac－tually the most important part in the play，"he continued．"It is the comedy role；without it，the play would be toosad to sit through．No one but you，Madam Gabriel，hasthe quickness and life that should sparkle here．"
All very trne，she agreed，but her husband wouldsurely never permit the young student to contribute whatev-er time would be required to play the part of Romeo．Shepromised，however，to"pump"him，as she called it．Thepharmacist immediately began to study his part，and espe－cially to think about his make-up．He wanted to look al－most like a skeleton，a poor，miserable fellow，and yet aclever man-a rather difficult problem．But Madam Gabrielhad a much harder one in"pumping "her husband to givehis permission．He could not，he said，answer for it toPeer's guardians，who paid for his schooling and board，ifhe permitted the young man to play in tragedy．We cannotconceal the fact，however，that Peer had the greatest desireto do it．"But it won't work，"he said．
"It's working，"said Madam；"only let me keep onpumping．"She would have given him punch，but HerrGabriel did not like to drink it．Married people are oftendifferent；this is said without any offense to Madam．
"One glass and no more，"she thought．"It elevatesthe mind and makes one happy，and that's what we oughtto be-it is our Lord's with us．"
Peer was to be Romeo；that was pumped through byMadam．The rehearsals were held at the pharmacist's．They had chocolate and"genii"-that is to say，smallbiscuits．These were sold at the bakery，twelve for a pen－ny，and they were so exceedingly small，and there wereso many，that it was considered witty to call them genii．
"It is an easy matter to make fun，"said HerrGabriel，although he himself often gave nicknames to onething and another．He called the pharmacist's house"Noah's ark，with its clean and unclean beasts"，andthat was only because of the affection which was shown bythat family toward their pet animals．The young lady hadher own cat，Graciosa，which was pretty and soft－skinned；it would lie in the window，in her lap，on hersewing work，or run over the table spread for dinner．Thewife had a poultry yard，a duck yard，a parrot，and ca－nary birds-and Polly could outcry them all together．Twodogs，Flick and Flock，walked about in the living room；they were by no means perfume bottles，and they lay onthe sofa and on the family bed．
The rehearsal began，and it was only interrupted amoment by the dogs slobbering over Madam Gabriel's newgown，but that was out of pure friendship and it did notspot it．The cat also caused a slight disturbance；it in－sisted on giving its paw to Juliet and sitting on her headand wagging its tail．Juliet's tender speeches were divid－ed equally between cat and Romeo．Every word that Peerhad to say was exactly what he wished to say to the phar－macist's daughter．How lovely and charming she was，achild of nature，who，as Madam Gabriel expressed it，was perfect for the role．Peer began to fall in love withher．
There surely was instinct or something even higherin the cat．It perched on Peer's shoulders as if to sym-bolize the sympathy between Romeo and Juliet．With eachsuccessive rehearsal Peer's fervor became stronger，moreapparent；the cat became more confidential，the parrotand the canary birds noisier；Flick and Flock ran in andout．
The evening of the performance came，and Peer wasa perfect Romeo；he kissed Juliet right on her mouth．
"Perfectly natural！"said Madam Gabriel．
"Disgraceful！"said the Councilor，Herr Svendsen，the richest citizen and fattest man in the town．The perspi－ration poured from him；it was warm in the house，andwarm within him as well．Peer found no favor in his eyes．"Such a puppy！"he said；"a puppy so long that one couldbreak him in half and make two puppies of him．"
Great applause-and one enemy！That was havinggood luck．Yes，Peer was a Lucky Peer．Tired and over－come by the exertions of the evening and the flatteryshown him，he went home to his little room．It was pastmidnight；Madam Gabriel knocked on the wall．
"Romeo！I have some punch for you！"
And the funnel was put through the hole in thedoor，and Peer Romeo held his glass under．
"Good night，Madam Gabriel．"
But Peer could not sleep．Everything he had said，and particularly what Juliet had said，buzzed through hishead，and when he finally fell asleep he dreamed of awedding-a wedding with Miss Frandsen！What strangethings one can dream！
"Now get that play－acting out of your head，"saidHerr Gabriel the next morning，"and let's get busy withsome science．
Peer had come near to thinking like young Madsen，that a fellow was wasting his delightful youth，being shutin and sitting with a book in his hand．But when he satwith his book，there shone from it so many noble andgood thoughts that Peer found himself quite absorbed init．He learned of the world's great men and theirachievements；so many had been the children of poorpeople：Themistocles，the hero，son of a potter；Shake－speare，a poor weaver's boy，who as a young man heldhorses outside the door of the theater，where later he wasthe mightiest man in poetic art of all countries and alltime．He learned of the singing contest at Wartburg，where the poets competed to see who would produce themost beautiful poem-a contest like the old trial of theGrecian poets at the great public feasts．Herr Gabrieltalked of these with especial delight．Sophocles in his oldage had written one of his hest tragedies and won theaward over all the others．In this honor and fortune hisheart broke with joy．Oh，how blessed to die in the midstof one's joy of victory！What could be more fortunate！Thoughts and dreams filled our little friend，but he hadno one to whom he could tell them．They would not beunderstood by young Madsen or by Primus-nor by Madam Gabriel，either she was either in a very good hu-mor，or was the sorrwing mother，in which case she wasdissolved in tears．
Her two little girls looked with astonishment at her．Neither they nor Peer could discover why she was so over－whelmed with sorrow and grief．
"The poor children！"she said．"A mother is al－ways thinking of their future．The boys can take care ofthemselves．Caesar fslls，but he gets up again；the twoolder ones splash in the water tub；they ought to be inthe navy，and would surely marry well．But my two littlegirls！What will their future be？They will reach the agewhen the heart feels，and then I am sure that whoevereach of them falls in love with will not be at all afterGabriel's liking；he will choose someone they'll despise，and that will make them so unhappy．As a mother，Ihave to think about these things，and that is my sorrowand grief．You poor children！You will be so unhappy！"She wept．
The little girls looked at her．Peer looked at her andfelt rather sad；he could think of nothing to say，so hereturned to his little room，sat down at the old piano，andtones and fantasies came forth as they streamed throughhis heart．
In the early morning he went to his studies with aclear mind and performed his duties，for someone waspaying for his schooling．He was a conscientious，right－minded fellow．In his diary he recorded each day what hehad read and studied，and how late he had sat up playingthe piano-always mutely，so that he wouldn't awakenMadam Gabriel．It never said in his diary，except onSunday，the day of rest，"Thought of Juliet，""Was atthe pharmacist's，""Wrote a letter to Mother and Grand－mother．"Peer was still Romeo and a good son．
"Very industriously！"said Herr Gabriel．"Followthat example，young Madsen！Or you'll fail！"
"Scoundrel！"said young Madsen to himself．
Primus，the Dean's son，suffered from sleepingsickness．"It is a disease，"said the Dean's wife；he wasnot to be treated with severity．
The deanery was only eight miles away；wealth andcomfort were there．
"That man will die a bishop，"said Madam Gabriel．"He has good connections at the court，and the Deanessis a lady of noble birth．She knows all about heraldry-that means coats of arms．
It was Whitsuntide．A year had passed since Peercame to Herr Gabriel's house．He had gained muchknowledge，but his voice had not come back；would itever come？
The Gabriel household was invited to the Dean's toa great dinner and a dall later in the evening．A goodmany guests came from the town and from the manorhouses about．The pharmacist's family was invited；Romeo would see his Juliet，perhaps dance the first dancewith her．
The deanery was a well－kept place，whitewashed，and without any manure heaps in the yard，［and it had a dovecot painted green，around which twined an ivy vine．］The Deaness was tall，corpulent woman；"Athene，Glaucopis，"Herr Gabriel called her；"the blue－eyed，"not"the ox－eyed，"as Juno was called，thought Peer．Therewas a certain distinguished kindness about her，and aneffort to have an invalid look；she probably had sleepingsickness just like Primus．She was in a light-blue silkdress and wore great curls；the one on the right side wasfastened with a large medallion portrait of her great-grand-mother，a general's wife，and the one on the left with anequally large bunch of grapes made of white porcelain．
The Dean had a ruddy，plump face，with shiningwhite teeth，well suited to biting into a roast fillet．Hisconversation always consisted of anecdotes．He could con－verse with everybody，but no one ever succeeded in carry－ing on a conversation with him．
The Councilor，too，was there，and among the strangers from the manors was Felix，the merchant's son；he had been confirmed and was now a most elegant younggentleman，both in clothes and manners；he was a mil－lionaire，they said．Madam Gabriel did not have courageenough to speak to him．
Peer was overjoyed at seeing Felix，who came tohim in a very genial manner and said that he had broughtgreetings from his parents，who read all the letters Peerwrote home to his mother and grandmother．
The dancing ．The pharmacist's daughter was to dance the first dance with the Councilor；that was apromise she had made at home to her mother and to theCouncilor．The second dance had been promised to Peer；but Felix came and took her with a good－natured nod．
"Permit me to have this one dance；the young ladywill give her permission only if you say so．
Peer kept a polite face；he said nothing，and Felixdanced with the pharmacist's daughter，the most beautifulgirl at the ball．He also danced the next dance with her．
"You will grant me the supper dance？"asked Peer，with a pale face．
"Yes，the supper dance，"she answered with her mostcharming smile．
"You surely will not take my partner from me？"saidFelix，who stood close by．"That's not being very friend－ly．We two old friends from town！You say that you are soglad to see me．Then you must allow me the pleasure oftaking the lady to supper！"And he put his arm aroundPeer and laid his forehead jestingly against him．"Granted，isn't it？Granted！"
"No！"said Peer，his eyes sparkling with anger．
Felix gaily raised his arms and set his elbows akimbo，as if he were trying to look like a frog ready to leap．"Youare Perfectly right，young man！I would say the same if thesupper dance were promised me，sir！"He drew back witha graceful bow to the young lady．
But shortly after，when Peer stood in a corner and ad-justed his necktie，Felix returned，put his arm around hisneck，and，with the most coaxing look，said，"Be big-hearted！My mother and your mother and old grandmotherwill all say that is just like you．I am leaving tomorrow，and I will be terribly bored if I do not take the young ladyto supper．My own friend，my only friend！"
Peer，as his only friend，could not resist that；hepersonally led Felix to the young beauty．
It was bright morning of the next day when the guestsdrove away from the Dean's．The Gabriel household was inone carriage，and the whole family went to sleep，exceptPeer and Madam．
She talked about the young merchant，the nich man'sson，who was really Peer's friend；she had heard him say，"Skaal，my friend！To Mother and Grandmother！"Therewas something so"uninhibited，gallant in him，"she said；"one saw at once that he is the son of rich people，or acount's child．That，the rest of us can't acquire．Onemust bow to that！"
Peer said nothing．He was depressed all day．Atnight，when bedtime had come and he lay in bed，sleepwas chased away，and he said to himself，"One has tobow；one has to please！"That's what he had done；hehad obeyed the rich young fellow；"because one is bornpoor，he is placed under obligation and subjection to theserichly born people．Are they then better than we？And whywere they created better than we？"
There was something vicious rearing up in him，some－thing that his grandmother would he grieved at．He thoughtof her．"Poor Grandmother！You have also known whatpoverty is．Why has God permitted that？"And he feltanger in his heart，and yet at the same time he was con－scious of having sinned in thoughts and words against thegood God．He was grieved to think he had lost his child'smind；and his faith returned，as wholesome and rich as be-fore．Happy Peer！
A week later a letter came from Grandmother．Shewrote in the only way she could，mixing up big letters andsmall letters，but all her heart's love was in everything，big and small，that concerned Peer：
My own sweet，blessed boy：
I am thinking of you；I am longing for you，and sois your mother．She is getting along well；she takes wash－ing．And the merchant's Felix came up to see us yesterday，with a greeting from you．You had both been dt the Dean'sball，and you had been such a gentleman，but that youwill always be，and make your old grandmother and yourhardworking mother happy．She has something to tell youabout Miss Frandsen．
And then followed a postscript from Peer's mother：
Miss Frandsen is going to be married，the oldthing．The bookbinder，Herr Hof，has been appointedcourt bookbinder，in accordance with his petition．Hehas a great new sign，"Court Bookbinder Hof．"And shewill become Madam Hof．It is an old love that does notrust，my sweet boy．
YOUR MOTHER Second Postscript：Grandmother has knitted you sixpairs of woolen socks；you will get them at the first opportu－nity．I am also sending you a pork pie，your favorite dish．I know that you never get pork at Herr Gabriel's，since hiswife is so afraid of what I have difficulty in spelling－"trichines．"You must not believe in these，but just goahead and eat．
YOUR OWN MOTHER Peer read the letter，and it made him happy．Felixwas so good；what a great injustice he had done him！Theyhad separated at the Dean's without saying good－by to eachother．
"Felix is better than I，"said Peer．
In a quiet life，one day slips into the next，andmonth quickly follows month．Peer was already in thesecond year of his stay at Herr Gabriel's，who with greatearmestness and determination，though Madam called itobstinacy，insisted that he should not again go on thestage．
Peer received from the singing master，who monthlypaid the stipend for his instruction and support，a seriousreminder not to think of the stage as long as he wasplaced there．And he obeyed；but his thoughts frequentlytraveled to the theater at the capital-they carried him，as if by magic，onto the stage there，where he was tohave appeared as a great singer．Now his voice was gone，and it did not return，which often deeply grieved him．Who could comfort him？Neither Herr Gabriel nor Madam，but our Lord surely could．Consolation comes tous in many ways．Peer found it in sleep；he was indeed aLucky Peer．
One night he dreamed that it was Whitsunday，and hewas out in the beautiful green forest，where the sun shonethrough the branches and where all the ground was coveredwith anemones and primrose．Then the cuckoo began，"Cuckoo！""How many years shall I live？" asked Peer，forone always asks the cuckoo that，the first time in the yearone hears it cuckoo；and the cuckoo answered，"Cuckoo！"but no more；it was silent．
"Shall I live only one more year？"asked Peer．"Thatis really too little．Be so good as to cuckoo again！"Thenthe bird began again，"Cuckoo！Cuckoo！"Yes，and it wenton without stopping，and Peer cuckooed with it，as realisti－cally as if he，too，were a cuckoo；but his notes werestronger and clearer．All the song birds joined in the war－bling．Peer sang their songs，but far more beautifully．Hehad all the clear voice of his childhood，and rejoiced insong；he was so happy at heart．And then he awoke，butwith the assurance that the"soundboard"was still in him，that his voice still lived and，some bright Whitsun morning，would burst forth in all its freshness；and so he slept，hap－py in this assurance．
But in none of the following days，weeks，or monthsdid he have any feeling of his voice returning．
Every bit of news he could get of the theater at thecapital was a true feast for his soul；it was spiritual breadto him．Crumbs are also bread，and he received crumbsthankfully-the smallest bits of news．
There was a flax dealer's family living near theGabriels'．The mother，a highly respectable housewife，lively and laughing，but without any acquaintance or knowl－edge of the theater，had been at the capital for the first timeand was delighted with everything there，even with the peo－ple，who had laughed at all she had said，she assured-and that was very likely．
"Were you at the theater also？"asked Peer．
"That I was，"replied the flax dealer's wife．"How Isteaned！You should have seen me sit and steam in thatheat！"
"But what did you see？What play？"
"I will tell you that，"she said．"I shall give youthe whole play．I was there twice．The first evening itwas a talking play．Out came the princess－'Ahbe，dahbe！Abe，dabe！'-how she could talk！Next came aman-'Ahbe，dahbe！Abe，dabe！'And then down fellMadam．Now they began again．The prince－'Ahbe，dahbe！Abe，dabe！'Then down fell Madam．She felldown five times that evening．The second time I wasthere，it was all singing-'Ahbe，dahbe！Abe，dabe！'And then down fell Madam again．It so happened that acountrywoman was sitting next to me；she had never beenin the theater，and thought the show was all over；but I，who now knew all about it，said that when I was therelast，Madam fell down five times．The singing eveningshe only did it three times．Yes，there you have both theplays，as true to life as I saw them．"
Was it tragedy she bad seen，since she said thatMadam always fell down？Then it dawned on Peer whatshe meant．The great theater curtain that fell between theacts had a large female figure painted on it，a Muse withthe comic and the tragic masks．This was the Madam whofell down．That had been the real comedy；what they hadsaid and sung had been only"Ahbe，dahbe！Abe， dabe！"to the flax dealer's wife；but it had been a greatpleasure，and so it had been to Peer，too，and not less toMadam Gabriel，who had heard this recital of the plays．She had sat with an expression of astonishment and a con－sciousness of mental superiority，for the pharmacist hadsaid that she，as the nurse，had"carried"Shakespeare'sRomeo and Juliet．"Down fell the Madam"as explainedby Peer，afterward became a witty byword in the houseevery time a child，a cup，or one or another piece of fur-niture fell on the floor in the house．
"That is the way proverbs and familiar sayings arecreated，"said Herr Gabriel，who carried everything intothe sphere of learning．
New Year's Eve，at the stroke of twelve，theGabriels and their boarders stood，each with a glass ofpunch，the only one Herr Gabriel drank the whole year，because punch is bad for a weak stomach．They drank atoast，"Skaal，"to the new year，and counted the strokesof the clock，"One，two-"to the twelfth stroke．"Downfell the Madam！"they said．
The new year rolled up and rolled along．By Whit－suntide，Peer had been two years in the house．
Two years were gone，but the voice had not re－turned．How would the future be for our young friend？
He could always be a teacher in a school，opinedHerr Gabriel；there was a livelihood in that，though noth－ing to be married on；however，that hadn't entered Peer's mind，no matter how large a place in his heart the phar－macist's daughter had．
"Be a teacher！"said Madam Gabriel；"a school-master！Then you'll be the most boring individual onearth，just like my Gabriel．No，you were born for thetheater．Be the greatest actor in the world；that is some-thing more than being a teacher．"
An actor！Yes，that was the goal．
He mentioned this in a letter to the singing master；he told of his longing and his hope．He longed most ea－gerly for the great city，where his mother and grandmotherlived；he had not seen them for two long years．The dis－tance was only one hundred and twenty miles；by fasttrain，he could be there in six hours．Why had they notseen one another？That is easily explained．On his depar－ture，Peer had given his promise to stay where he was be－ing sent and not to think of a visit．His mother was busyenough with her washing and ironing；yet she had oftenthought of making the great journey，even if it would costa good deal of money，but this never materialized．Grandmother had a horror of railways；to travel by railwas to tempt the Lord．Nothing could induce her to travelby steam；she was an old woman，and she was not goingto travel until she traveled up to our Lord．
That she said in May，but in June the old womanwould travel，and all alone，the one hundred and twentylong miles，to the strange town，to strange people，and allto get to Peer．It would be a big occasion，yet the mostdismal one that could occur to Mother and Grandmother．
The cuckoo had said"Cuckoo！"without end whenPeer had asked it the second time，"How many years shallI live？"His health and spirits were good，and the futurelooked bright．He had received a delightful letter from hisfatherly friend，the singing master．Peer was to go home，and they would see what could be done for him－whatcourse he should take now that his voice was still gone．
"Appear as Romeo！"said Madam Gabriel．"Nowyou are old enough for the lover's part and have someflesh on your bones．You don't need to use make－up．"
"Be Romeo！"said the pharmacist and the pharma－cist's daughter．
Many thoughts went through his head and heart．But"Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring．"
He sat down in the garden that stretched out to themeadow．it was evening，and there was moonlight．Hischeeks burned；his blood was on fire；the air brought adelightful coolness．Over the moor hung a mist that roseand sank and made him think of the dance of the elfinmaidens．Then into his mind came the old ballad aboutKnight Olaf，who rode out to ask the guests to his wed－ding，but was stopped by the elfin maidens，who drewhim into their dance and play and thereby caused hisdeath．It was a piece of folklore，an old poem．Themoonlight and the mist over the moor formed pictures of itthis evening．
Peer was soon in a state of half dreaming，lookingout upon it all．The bushes seemed to have shapes ofboth humans and beasts；they stood motionless，while themist rose like a great waving veil．Peer had seen some－thing like this in a ballet at the theater，when elfin maid－ens were represented whirling and waving with veils ofgauze；but here it was far more charming and more won－derful．A stage as large as this，no theater could have；none had so clear an air，so shining a moonlight．
Right in front in the mist，there distinctly appeared afemale shape；the one became three，and the three becamemany；hand in hand they danced；they were floatinggirls．The air bore them along to the hedge where Peerstood．They nodded to him；they spoke；it was like thesound of silver bells．They danced into the garden abouthim；they enclosed him in their circle．Withoutthought，he danced with them，but not their dance．Hewhirled about，as in the unforgettable vampire dance，but he didn't think of that；he really didn't think atall；he was completely overwhelmed by all the magnifi－cent beauty he saw about him．
The moor was a sea，so deep and dark blue，withwater lilies that were bright with all conceivable colors．Dancing over the waves，they carried him upon their veilto the opposite shore，where the old viking burial moundhad thrown aside its grassy turf and risen into a castle ofclouds，but the clouds were of marble．Flowering treesof gold and costly stones twined about the mighty blocksof marble；each flower was a brilliantly colored bird thatsang with a human voice．It was like a choir of thou－sands and thousands of happy children．Was it heaven，or was it Elfin Hill？
The castle walls moved；they glided toward eachother．They closed about him．He was inside，and theworld of man was outside．He then felt anguish，astrange fear，as never before．There was no exit to befound，but from the floor way up to the roof，and fromall the walls，there smiled at him lovely young girls；they were so lifelike to look at，and yet he thought：Arethey but paintings？He wanted to speak to them，but histongue found no words；his speech was completely gone；not a sound came from his lips．Then he threw himselfupon the earth，more miserable than he had ever been．
One of the elfin maidens approached him；surely shemeant well，for she had taken the shape he would mostlike to see；she looked like the pharmacist's daughter；he was almost ready to believe that it was she，but soonhe saw that she was hollow in back and had only abeautiful front-open in the back，with nothing at allinside．
"One hour here is a hundred years outside，"shesaid．"You have already been here a whole hour．Ev－eryone you know and love outside these walls is dead．Stay with us！Yes，stay you must，or the walls willsqueeze you until the blood flows from your brow！"
And the walls trembled，and the air became likethat of a glowing bake oven．He found his voice．
"O Lord，O Lord，have You forsaken me？"he criedfrom the depths of his soul．
Then Grandmother stood beside him．She took himin her arms；she kissed his brow；she kissed his mouth．
"My own sweet little one！"she said．"Our lordwill not forsake you；He forsakes none of us，not eventhe greatest sinner．God be praised and honored for alleternity！"
And she brought forth her psalmbook，the same onefrom which she and Peer had sung on many a Sundny．How her voice rang！How full were her tones！All theelfin maidens laid their heads down for a well－neededrest．Peer sang with Grandmother，as before he had sungevery Sunday；how wtrong and powerful， yet how soft，hisvoice was all at once！The walls of the castle moved；theybecame clouds and mist．Grandmother walked with himout of the hill into the tall grass，where the glowwormsgleamed and the moon shone．But his feet were so tirednow he could not move them；he sank down on the turf；it was the softesd bed；there he rested well and awoke tothe sound of a psalm．
Grandmother sat beside him，sat by his bed in thelittle chamber in Herr Gabriel's house．The fever wasover；health and life had returned．He had been deathlyill．They had found him in a faint on that evening downin the garden；a violent fever had followed．The doctorhad thought that he would not get up from it，but woulddie，and they had written to his mother about it．She andGrandmother had wanted to，and felt they must，go tohim；both had not been able to leave，and so the oldgrandmother had gone，and gone by the railway．
"That I would only do for Peer，"she said．"I did itin God's name；otherwise I would have had to believethat I flew with the evil ones on a broomstick on Midsum－mer Eve！"
The journey home was made with a glad and lightheart．Grandmother deeply thanked our Lord that Peerwas to outlive her．She had delightful traveling compan－ions in the railway carriage-the pharmacist and hisdaughter；they talked about Peer，and loved Peer as ifthey were of the same family．He was to become a greatactor，said the pharmacist．His voice had now returned，too，and there was a fortune in such a throat as his．
What a pleasure it was to the grandmother to hearsuch words！She lived on them；she believed them thor－oughly．And then they arrived at the station in the capi－tal，where the mother met her．
"God be praised for the railway！"said Grandmoth-er，"and be praised，too，that I quite forgot I was on it！I owe that to these splendid people．"And she pressed thehands of the pharmacist and his daughter．"The railway isa blessed discovery when one is through with it！One is inGod's hands！"
And then she talked of her sweet boy，who was outof all danger，and who lived with well－to－do people，whokept two servant girls and a manservant．Peer was like ason in the house，and on the same footing with two chil-dren of distinguished families，one of whom was a dean'sson．The grandmother had lodged at the post inn；it wasterribly expensive，but then she had been invited toMadam Gabriel's；there she had stayed five days，andthey were simply wonderful people，particularly the wife；she had urged her to drink punch，splendidly made butstrong．
With God's help，Peer would be strong enough tocome home to the capital in a month．
"He must have become very elegant and spoiled，"said the mother．
"He will not feel at home here in the garret．I amvery happy that the singing master has invited him to staywith him．And yet，"cried the mother，"it is awfully sadthat one should be so poor that one's child cannot live inhis own home！"
"Don't say those words to Peer！"said Grandmother．"You don't understand him as I do．"
"But he must have food and drink，no matter howfine he has grown，and he shall hot go hungry so long as Ican move my hands．Madam Hof has told me that he caneat his dinner twice a week with her，now that she is welloff．She has known both prosperity and hard times．Shehas told me herself that one evening，in the box at the the－ater where the old danseuses have a place，she felt sick．The whole day long she had only had water and a caraway-seed bun，and she was ill from hunger，and very faint．'Water！Water！'cried the others．'No！Some food！'shebegged．'Food！'She needed something nourishing，andhad not the least need of water．Now she has her ownlarder and a wellspread table．"
Peer was still one bundred and twenty miles away，but happy in the thought that he would soon be in the city，and at the theater，with all his dear old friends，whom nowhe would know how to value．Happiness sang and resound－ed within him and all about him；there was sunshine every－where，in this happy time of youth，the time of hope andexpectation．Every day he grew stronger；his good spiritsand his color returned．But Madam Gabriel became verymoved as the time for departure drew near．
"You are on your way to greatness；and there will bemany temptations，for you are handsome－that you havebecome in our house．You are natural，just as I，and thatwill help when temptations come．One must not be too sen－sitive or unruly sensitive like Queen Dagmar，who on Sun-day laced her silk sleeves and then had pangs of conscienceover such a minor thing；it should take more than that toaffect one．I would never have grieved as Lucretia did．What did she stab herself for？She was pure and honest；she knew that，and everybody in the town knew that．Whatcould she do about the misfortune which I won't talk aboutbut which you at your age understand perfectly well？Soshe gave out a shriek and took the dagger！That wasn'tnecessary at all．I would not have done it，and neitherwould you；we are both natural people；one should benatural at all times，and that you will continue to be inyour artistic career．How happy I shall be to read aboutyou in the papers！Perhaps sometime you will come to ourlittle town and appear as Romeo，but I shall not be thenurse then．I shall sit in the parquet and enjoy myself．"
Madam had a lot of washing and ironing done theweek he went away，so Peer could go home with a cleanwardrobe，as he had had on his arrival there．She drew anew，strong ribbon through his amber heart；that was theonly thing she wanted as a"remembrance souvenir，"butshe did not get it．
From Herr Gabriel he received a French lexicon，theone he had used during his school hours，and it hadmarginal notes in Herr Gabriel's own hand．MadamGabriel gave him roses and quaking grass．The roseswould wither，but the grass would keep all winter if itwasn't put into the water but was kept in a dry place．And she wrote a quotation from Goethe on a kind of albumleaf：Umgang mit Frauen ist das Element guter Sitten．She gave a translation of it："Companionship with womenis the foundation of good manners．Goethe．"
"He was a great man！"she said．"If he had onlynot written Faust，for I don't understand it．Gabriel saysso，too．"
Young Madsen presented Peer with a not badly donedrawing he had made of Herr Gabriel hanging from thegallows，with a birch rod in his hand，and the inscrip－tion，"A great actor's first conductor on the road of sci-ence．"Primus，the Dean's son，gave him a new pair ofslippers，which the Deaness herself had made，but solarge that Primus could not fill them for a year or two yet．Upon the soles was written in ink，"A reminder of a sor-rowing friend．Primus．"
Herr Gabriers'entire household accompanied Peerto the train．
"It shall not be said that you left us sans adieu！"said Madam，and she kissed him at the railway station．
"I am not bashful！"she said．"When one does not doa thing secretly，one can do anything！"
The signal whistle blew－young Madsen and Primusshouted hurrahs；the"small stuff"joined in with them；Madam dried her eyes and waved with her pocked hand－kerchief；Herr Gabriel said only the word，"Vale！"
The villages and stations flew by．Were the peoplein them as happy as Peer？He thought of that，praised hisgood fortune，and thought of the invisible golden applethat Grandmother had seen lying in his hand when he wasa child．He thought of his lucky find in the gutter and，above all，of his new－found voice and of the knowledgehe had now acquired．He had become altogether anotherperson．He sang inwardly with happiness；it took greatself-control for him to keep from singing aloud in the car．
Now the towers of the city appeared，and the build－ings began to show themselves．The train reached the sta-tion．There stood Mother and Grandmother，and someonewith them，Madam Hof，well bound，Court BookbinderHof's wife，born Frandsen．Neither in want nor in pros－perity did she forget her friends．She had to kiss him ashis mother and his grandmother did．
"Hof could not come with me，"she said；"he ishome at work，binding a set of collected works for theking's private library．You have your good luck， and Ihave mine．I have my Hof and my own fireside cornerwith a rocking chair．Twice a week you are to eat withus．You will see my life at home；it is a completeballet！"
Mother and Grandmother bardly had an opportunityto talk to Peer，but they looked at him，and their eyesshone with delight．Then he had to take a cab to get tohis new home at the singing master's．They laughed andthey cried．
"What a wonderful man he is！"said Grandmother．
"He still has such a kind face，just as when he wentaway，"said Mother；"and that he will keep in thetheater．"
The cab stopped at the singing master's door，butthe master was out；his old servant opened the door andshowed Peer up to his room，where there were portraits ofcomposers on the walls and a white plaster bust stoodgleaming on the stove．The old man，a little dull，buttrustworthiness itself，showed him the drawers in the bu－reau and hooks for him to hang his clothes on，and saidhe was very willing to shine his boots．Then the singingmaster arrived and welcomed Peer with a hearty hand－shake．
"This is the apartment！"he said．"Make yourself athome．You may use my piano in the living room．Tomor－row we will hear how your voice is．This is our castlewarden，our housekeeper．"And he nodded to the old ser－vant．"All is in order．Carl Maria von Weber，on thestove there，has been whitened in honor of your coming；he was terribly dirty．But it isn't Weber that's up there，after all；it is Mozart．Where did he come from？"
"It is the old Weber，"said the servant；"I carriedhim myself to the plasterer，and I brought him home againthis morning．"
"But this is a bust of Mozart，and not a bust ofWeber．"
"Pardon me，sir，"said the servant；"it is the oldWeber，who has been cleaned．The master does not rec-ognize him now that he has been whitened．"The plasterercould verify that．
But at the Plasterer's he got the answer that Weberhad been broken to pieces，and so he had given himMozart instead；it was all the same on a stove．
The first day Peer was not to sing or play，but whenour young friend came into the parlor，where the pianostood，and the opera Joseph lay open upon it，he sang"My Fourteenth Spring，"and sang with a voice that wasas clear as a bell．There was something so sincere aboutit，so innocent，and yet so strong and full．The singingmaster's eyes were wet with tears．
"That's the way it should be，"he said，"and it willbe even better．Now we shall close the piano．You needto rest．"
"But I have promised my mother and grandmother tovisit them tonight．"And he hurried away．The settingsun shone over the home of his childhood；the bits of glassin the wall sparkled；it was like a diamond castle．Motherand Grandmother were waiting for him in the garret，a goodmany steps up，but he flew up，three stairs at a time，reached the door，and was received with kisses and em－braces．
It was clean and tidy there in the little room．Therestood the stove，the old bear，and the chest of drawers withthe hidden treasure from his hobby－horse days；on the wallshung the three familiar pictures，the King's portrait，apicture of our Lord，and Father's silhouette，cut out ofblack paper．It was an excellent side view of him，saidMother，but it would have been more like him if the paperhad been white and red，for that he was．A wonderfulman！And Peer was the very picture of him．
There was much to talk about，much to tell．Theywere to have a headcheese，and Madam Hof had promisedto visit them later in the evening．
"But how is it that those two old people，Hof andMiss Frandsen，ever thought of getting married？"askedPeer．
"It has been in their thoughts these many years，"saidMother．"You know，of course，that he was married．Well，he did it，they say，to irritate Miss Frandsen，wholooked down on him when she was in her high and mightystate．His wife was wealthy，but she was very old，butlively，and on crutches！She could not die；he was waitingfor it．It would not have surprised me if，like the man inthe story，he had every Sunday put the old lady out in theopen air，so that our Lord could see her and remember tosend for her．"
"Miss Frandsen sat quietly by and waited，"saidGrandmother．"I never believed she would attain this．Butlast year Madam Hof died，and so Frandsen came to be thewife in the house．"
At that moment in came Madam Hof．
"We were talking about you，"said Grandmother；"wewere talking about your patience and reward．"
"Yes，"said Madam Hof．"It did not come in myyouth，but one is always young enough，when one's healthis good，says my Hof．He has the most charming flashesof wit．We were old，fine works，he says，both in onevolume，and with a gilt top．I am so happy with my Hofand my corner by the fireside．A porcelain stove！Therea fire is started in the evening，and it keeps warm allthe next day．It is such a joy．It is as in the ballet ofCirce's island．Do you remember me as Circe？"
"Yes，you were charming！"said Grandmother．"But how a person can change！"That was not at allsaid impolitely，and was not so taken．Then came theheadcheese and the tea．
The next morning Peer paid a visit to the mer－chant's．The lady met him，pressed his hand，andasked him to take a seat by her．During their conversa－tion he expressed his great gratitude；he knew that themerchant was his secret benefactor．The lady did notknow it．"But it is like my husband，"she said．"It isnot worth talking about．"
The merchant was almost angry when Peer men－tioned this．"You are on the wrong track altogether，"hesaid，as he closed the conversation and walked away．
Felix was a student and was to have a diplomaticcareer．
"My husband calls it madness，"said the lady．"Ihave no opinion．Providence takes care of such things．"
Felix did not show himself，for he was taking alesson at his fencing master's．
At home Peer told how he had thanked the mer-chant，but that he would not receive this thanks．
"Who told you that he was，what you call him，your benefactor？"asked the singing master．
"My mother and my grandmother did，"answeredPeer．
"Well，then it must be he．"
"You know about it？"said Peer．
"I know，but you will not find out from me．Andfrom now on，we shall sing an hour here at home everymorning．"
Once a week there was quartet music．Ears，soul，and thought were filled with the grand musical poems ofBeethoven and Mozart．It had been a long time since Peerhad heard good and well-played music．It was as if a kissof fire traveled down his spine and shot through all hisnerves．His eyes filled with tears．Every musical eveninghere at home was a festive evening to him，which made adeeper impression upon him than any opera at the theater，where something always disturbs one or imperfections arerevealed．Sometimes the words do not come out right；theyare so smoothed dowm in the singing that they are as intelli－gible to a Chinese as to a Greenlander；and sometimes theeffect is weakened by faults in dramatic expression，and bya full voice sinking in places to the power of a music box ordrawling out false tones．Lack of truthfulness in stage set-tings and costumes also is to be observed．All this was ab-sent from the quartet．The music poems rose in all theirgrandeur；costly hangings decorated the walls in the concertroom；here he was in the world of music，which its mastershad created．
One evening，Beethoven's"Pastoral" Symphony wasgiven by a great orchestra in the big public music hall．Itwas the andante movement，"the scene by the brook，"thatparticularly，and with a strange power，stirred and excitedour young friend．It carried him into the living，freshwoods；the lark and the nightingale rejoiced，and thecuckoo sang there．What beauty of nature；what a well－spring of refreshment there was！From this hour he knewwithin himself that it was the picturesque music，in whichnature was reflected and the emotions of human hearts wereset forth，that struck deepest into his soul．Beethoven andHaydn became his favorite composers．
He often spoke with the singing master about this，and with each conversation the two became closer friends．How rich in knowledge this man was，as inexhaustible asMimir's well．Peer listened to him；just as eagerly as hehad to Grandmother's fairy tales and stories as a littleboy，he now listened to those of the world of music，andcame to know what the forest and the sea told，whatsounds in the old giant mounds，what every bird singswith its bill，and what the flower silently exhales in fra－grance．
The hour devoted to his singing lesson every morningwas an hour of true delight for master and pupil；everylittle song was sung with freshness，expression，and sim－plicity；most charmingly did he sing the Schubert series ofTravel Songs．Both the melodies and the words wereheard to their full advantage；they blended together；theyexalted and illumined one another，as is fitting．Peer wasundeniably a dramatic singer．His ability showed progresseacn month，each week，day by day．
Our young friend grew in a wholesome，happy way，knowing no want or sorrow．His was a rich and wonderfullife，with a future full of blessings before him．His trustin mankind was never deceived；he had a child's souland a man's endurance，and everywhere he was receivedwith gentle eyes and a kind welcome．Day by day the re-lations between him and the singing master grew moreheartfelt and confidential；the two were like an elder anda younger brother，and the younger had all the fervor andwarmth of a young heart，which was understood andreturned in full measure by the elder．
The singing master's personality was characterizedby a southern ardor，and one saw at once that this mancould hate vehemently or love passionately，and，fortu－nately，this last governed in him．He was，moreover，sosituated by a fortune his father had left him that he didnot need to work，unless it interested and pleased himto do so．Secretly he did a great deal of good in a sensi－ble way，but didn't want people to thank him or to talkabout it．
"If I have done anything，"he said，"it was becauseI could and should have done it．It was my duty．"
His old servant，"our warden，"as be called him injest，talked only with half a voice when he gave expres-sion to his opinion about the master of the house．"I knowwhat he has given away and done during years and days，and yet I don't know the half！The king ought to givehim a star to wear on his breast．But he would not wearit；he would be furious，if I know him，should he behonored for his kind deeds．He is happy，more so thanthe rest of us，in whatever faith he has．He is just like aman out of the Bible．"
And to that the old fellow gave additional emphasis，as if Peer could have some doubt．
He felt and understood well that the singing masterwas a true Christian in good deeds，an example for every－one；yet the man never went to church，and when Peerone day mentioned that the following Sunday he was goingwith his mother and his grandmother to our"Lord's table"and asked if the singing master ever did the same，theanswer was，"No！"It seemed as if he wanted to saysomething more，as if，indeed，he had something to con－fide to Peer，but nothing was said．
One evening he read aloud from the newspaper aboutthe beneficence of a couple of men，and that led him tospeak of good deeds and their reward．
"When one does not think of it，it is sure to come．The reward for good deeds is like dates that are spoken ofin the Talmud；they ripen late and then are sweet．"
"Talmud？"asked Peer．"What sort of book isthat？"
"A book，"was the answer，"from which more thanone seed of thought has been implanted in Christianity．"
"Who wrote that book？"
"Wise men in the earliest times，wise men in vari-ous nations and religions．Here wisdom is preserved in afew words，as in Solomon's Proverbs．What kernels oftruth！One reads here that men round about the wholeearth，in all the centuries，have always been the same．'Your friend has a friend，and your friend's friend has afriend；be discreet in what you say！'is found here．It isa piece of wisdom for all times．'No one can jump overhis own shadow！'is here，too，and，'Wear shoes whenyou walk over thorns！'You ought to read this book．Youwill find in it the proof of culture more clearly than youwill find it in the layers of the earth．For me，as a Jew，it is，moreover，an inheritance from my fathers．"
"Jew？"said Peer．"Are you a Jew？"
"Did you not know that？How strange that we twoshould not have spoken of it before today！"
Mother and Grandmother knew nothing about it，ei-ther；they had never thought anything about it，but alwayshad known that the singing master was an honorable，wonderful man．It was through God's guidance that Peerhad met him on his way；next to our Lord he owed him allhis good fortune．
And now the mother divulged a secret that she hadcarried faithfully a few days only and that，under thepledge of secrecy，had been told her by the merchant'swife．The singing master must never know that this wasrevealed；it was he who had paid for Peer's support andeducation at Herr Gabriel's．From the evening when，atthe merchant's house，he had heard Peer sing the balletSamson，he alone had been his real friend and benefac-tor，but in secret．
Madam Hof was expecting Peer at her house，andnow he arrived there．
"Now you will meet my Hof，"she said，and youwill meet my fireside corner．I never dreamed of thiswhen I danced in Circe and The Rose Elf in Provence．Indeed，there are not many now who think of that balletand of little Frandsen．Sic transit gloria in the moon！-that's what my Hof，who is a witty fellow，calls it inLatin，and he uses that phrase when I talk about my timeof glory．He likes to poke fun at me，but he does it witha good heart．"
The"fireside corner"was an inviting room with a lowceiling，a carpet on the floor，and portraits suitable for abookbinder to have．There were pictures of Gutenberg，and of Franklin，of Shakespeare，Cervantes，Molière，andthe two blind poets，Homer and Ossian．Lowest down hungone，enclosed in glass and a broad frame，of a danseuse，cut out of paper，with great gold spangles on a dress ofgauze，the right leg lifted toward heaven，and with a versewritten beneath：
Who captures all hearts by her dancing？
Who wears her wreath of art entrancing？
Miss Emilie Frandsen！
It was written by Hof，who wrote charming verse，es-pecially comic verse．He had clipped the picture out him-self and pasted and sewed it before he had married his firstwife．For many years it had lain in a drawer；now it wasdisplayed here in the poet picture gallery-"my firesidecorner，"as Madam Hof called her little room．Here Peerand Hof were introduced to each other．
"Isn't he a wonderful man？"she said to Peer．"Tome he is just the most wonderful．"
"Yes，on Sunday，when I am well bound in my newclothes，"said Herr Hof．
"You are wonderful without any binding，"shesaid，and then she tipped her head down as if she real－ized that she had spoken a little too childishly for one ofher age．
"Old love does not rust，"said Herr Hof．"An oldhouse on fire burns down to the ground．"
"It is as with the phoenix bird，"said Madam Hof；"one rises up young again．Here is my paradise．I don'tcare to be any other place-except for an hour or so atyour mother's and grandmother's．"
"And at your sister's，"said Herr Hof．
"No，Angel Hof；that is no longer a paradise．I musttell you，Peer，they live in small circumstances，and amidbig complications．One doesn't know what he dares sayin that house．One doesn't dare mention the word'darky，'for the eldest daughter is engaged to one whohas some Negro blood in him．One doesn't dare say'hunchback，'for that one of the children is．Onedoesn't dare talk about 'deficit'-my brother－in－lawhas heen involved in such a mishap．One doesn't evendare say that he has been driving in the wood；wood hasan ugly sound，for Wood was the name of the fellow whobroke his engagement with the youngest daughter．Idon't like to go out and sit and keep my mouth shut．Ifl don't dare talk，I want to be in my own house and sitin my fireside corner．Were it not too sinful，as theysay，I would gladly ask our Lord to let us live as long asmy fireside corner holds out，for here one grows better．Here is my paradise，and this my Hof has given me．"
"She has a gold mill in her mouth，" he said．
"And you have gold grains in your beard，"she said．
Grind，grind what the bag will hold．
Emilie is as pure as gold！
He said，as she tickled him under the chin．
"He wrote that verse at this very moment！It'sgood enough to be printed！"
"Yes，and handsomely bound！"he said．
That's how these two old folks amused each other．
A year passed before Peer began to study a role atthe theater．He chose Joseph，but he exchanged it forthe role of George Brown in the opera The White Lady．He quickly learned the words and music，and from Wal－ter Scott's novel，which had furnished the material forthe opera，he obtained a clear，full picture of theyoung，spiried officer who visits his native hills andcomes to his ancestral castle without knowing it；an oldsong awakens recollections of his childhood；luck is withhim，and he wins a castle and a wife．
What he read became like something he himself hadlived—a chapter of his own life's story．The richly melo-dious music was entirely in keeping．A long，long timepassed before the first rehearsals began．The singing masterdid not think that there was any hurry for him to make hisappearance，but finally the day to start arrived．He was notmerely a singer；he was an actor，and his whole personalitywas thrown into the role．The chorus and the orchestra ap－plauded him loudly at the outset，and the opening nightwas looked forward to with the greatest expectation．
"One can be a great actor in a dressing gown athome"said a good－natured companion，"can be very greatby daylight，but only so－so before the footlights in a packedhouse．Time，will tell．"
Peer had no fear，but had a burning desire for theeventful evening．The singing master，on the contrary，wasextremely nervous．Peer's mother had not the courage to goto the theater；she would be ill with fear for her dear boy．Grandmother was sick and must stay at home，the doctorhad said；but the faithful friend，Madam Hof，promised tobring news the very same evening of how it all went．Sheshould and would be at the theater，even if she were dy-ing．
How long that evening was！How the three or fourhours stretched into eternity！Grandmother sang a psalmand prayed with Mother to the good God for their littlePeer，that he might this evening also be Lucky Peer．Thehands of the clock moved slowly．
"Now Peer is beginning，"they said．"Now he is inthe middle．Now he has finished．"The mother and grand－mother looked at each other，but they didn't say anotherword．
In the streets there was the rumbling of carriages；people were driving home from the theater．The two womenlooked down from the window；the people who were passingtalked in loud voices；they had come from the theater；what they knew would bring either gladness or sadness upinto the garret of the merchant's house．
At last someone came up the stairs．Madam Hof burstin，followed by her husband．She flung herself about theneck of the mother and grandmother，but didn't say aword．She wept and sobbed．
"Lord God"said Mother and Grandmother．"Howdid everything go for Peer？"
"Let me weep！"said Madam Hof，who was so moved，so overcome．"I cannot bear it．Ah，you dearpeople，you cannot bear it，either！"And her tearsstreamed down．
"Have they hissed him off？"cried Mother．
"No，not that！"said Madam Hof．"They have-oh，that I should live to see it！"
Then both Mother and Grandmother wept．
"Be calm，Emilie，"said Herr Hof．"Peer has con-quered！He has triumphed！They clapped so much thatthe house nearly tumbled down！I can still feel it in myhands．It was one storm of applause from the first row tothe gallery．The entire royal family clapped，too．Really，It was what one may call a red－letter day in the annals ofthe theater．It was more than talent-it was genius．"
"Yes， genius！"said Madam Hof；"those are mywords．God bless you，Hof，because you said them forme！You good people，never would I have believed thatone could both sing and act like that，though I have livedthrough a theater's whole history．"She cried again；Mother and Grandmother laughed，while tears still randown their cheeks．
"Now sleep well on that，"said Herr Hof．"Comealong，Emilie．Cood night，good night！"
They left the garret room and two happy peoplethere．These two were not alone long．The door opened，and Peer，who hadn't promised to come before the nextforenoon，stood in the room．He well knew how the oldpeople had followed him in their thoughts，how ignorant，too，they still must be of his success，and when drivingby the house with the singing master，he had stopped out－side；with the light still burning up in the garret，he hadfelt he must go to them．
"Splendid，glorious，superb！All went well！"heexclaimed jubilantly，and kissed his mother and hisgrandmother．The singing master nodded with a beamingface and pressed their hands．
"And now he must go home and have some rest，"hesaid．And the late visit was over．
"Our Father in heaven，how gracious and good Youare！"said these two poor women．They talked far into thenight about Peer．Everywhere in the great city peopletalked about him－the young，handsome，wonderful singer．Lucky Peer had gone that far．
With great fanfare，the morning paper told of the de－but as something out of the ordinary，the drama critic re－serving his privilege of expressing his opinion in a followingissue．The merchant invited Peer and the singing master toa grand dinner．It was an observance-a testimony of hisand his wife's interest in the young man，who had beenborn in the house，in the same year and on the very sameday as their own son．
The merchant made a beautiful speech and proposed atoast to the singing master，the man who had found andpolished this"Precious stone，"a name one of the promi－nent papers had called Peer．Felix sat by his side and wasthe soul of gaiety and affection．After dinner he brought outhis own cigars；they were better than the merchant's．"Hecan afford to get them，"said the latter；"he has a rich fa-ther．"Peer did not smoke-a great fault，but one whichcould be remedied easily enough．
"We must be friends，"said Felix．"You have becomethe lion of the town！All the young ladies，and the oldones，too，for that matter，you have taken by storm．Youare lucky with everything．I envy you，especially in thatyou can go in and out over there at the theater，among allthe little girls．"
To Peer that did not seem anything very worthy of envy．
He received a letter from Madam Gabriel．She wasin a state of ecstasy over the splendid accounts in thepapers of his debut and over what he would become asan artist．She and the girls had drunk a toast to him withpunch．Herr Gabriel also had a share in his honor，andwas quite sure that he，beyond most others，could pro－nounce foreign words correctly．The pharmacist ran abouttown and reminded everyone that it was at their little the－ater they had first seen and admired his talent，which nowfor the first time was recognized in the capital．"The phar－macist's daughter would surely be irritated，"addedMadam，"now that he could propose to baronesses andcountesses．"The pharmacist's daughter had been in toomuch of a hurry and given in too soon，for a month earliershe had become，betrothed to the fat Councilor．The bannshad been published，and they were to be married on thetwentieth of the month．
It was just the twentieth of the month when Peer re－ceived this letter．He felt as if he had been piercedthrough the heart．At that moment it became clear to himthat，during all the vacillation of his soul，she had beenhis steadfast thought．He cared more for her than anyoneelse in the world．Tears came into his eyes；he crumpledthe letter in his hand．It was the first great grief of hearthe had known since he had heard，with Mother and Grandmother，that his father had fallen in the war．Hethought that all happiness was gone，that his future wouldbe empty and sorrowful．The sunlight no longer beamedfrom his youthful face；the sunshine was put out in hisheart．
"He doesn't look well，"said Mother and Grand－mother．"It is the hard work at that theater．"
They could both see that he was not the same as be－fore，and the singing master saw it，too．
"What is the matter？"he said．"May I not knowwhat troubles you？"
At that his cheeks turned red，his tears flowedafresh，and he told him about his sorrow，his loss．
"I loved her so deeply！"he said．"Only now，whenit is too late，is it really clear to me！"
"Poor，grieved friend！I understand you so well．Weep freely，and as soon as you can，hold onto thethought that whatever happens in the world happens forthe best．I，too，have known and felt what you now arefeeling．I，like you，once loved a girl；she was intelli－gent，pretty，and fascinating；she was to be my wife．Icould offer her good circumstances，and she cared for me；but one condition had to be met before the marriage；her parents required it，and she required it：I must be－come a Christian！"
"And that you would not？"
"I could not．One cannot，with an honest con－science，jump from one religion to another without sinningeither against the one he takes leave of or the one hesteps into．"
"Have you no faith？"said Peer．
"I have the God of my fathers．He is a light for myfeet and my understanding．"
They sat in silence for a while．Then the hands ofthe singing master touched the keys，and he played anold folk song．Neither of them sang the words；perhapseach was deep in his own thoughts．
Madam Gabriel's letter was not read again．Shenever dreamed what sorrow it had brought．
A few days later a letter arrived from Herr Gabriel；he also wished to offer his congratulations and"a commis－sion，"which perhaps was the real reason for the letter．He asked Peer to buy a little porcelain figure，namely，Amor and Hymen，Love and Marriage．"It is all sold outhere in town，"he wrote，"but can easily be bought inthe capital．The money is enclosed with this．Send thething as quickly as possible；it is a wedding present forthe Councilor，at whose marriage I was with my wife．"Moreover，Peer was told："Young Madsen never will be－come a student；he has left the house and has painted thewalls with embarrassing remarks against the family．Abad subject，that young Madsen．Sunt pueri pueri，pueripuerilia tractant！i．e．，'Boys are boys，and boys doboyish things．'I translate it since you are not a Latinscholar．"
And with that Herr Cabriel's letter closed．
Frequently，when Peer sat at the piano，theresounded tones in it that stirred within his breast andhead．The tones rose into melodies，which now and thencarried words along with them；they could not be separat-ed from the melodies．Thus several little poems that wererhythmic and full of feeling came into being．They weresung in a subdued voice．It was as if they，shy and afraidof being heard，were gliding along in loneliness．
Everything passes，like the wind that blows；
There is nothing lasting here．
From your cheek will fade the rose，
As well as smile and tear．
Why be burdened with pain and grief？
Away with your trouble and sorrow，
For everything goes，fades like the leaf；
Time and man pass with the morrow．
All vanishes，everything goes，
Your youth，your hope，and your friend，
Everything passes，like the wind that blows
Never to return，only to end！
"Where did you get that song and melody？"askedthe singing master，who by chance saw the words and mu-sic written down．
"It came of itself，that and all these．They will nev－er fly farther into the world．"
"A downcast spirit sets out flowers，too，"said thesinging master，"but a downcast spirit dares not give ad－vice．Now we must set sail and steer toward your next de－but．What do you say to Hamlet，the melancholy youngPrince of Denmark？"
"I know Shakespeare's tragedy，"said Peer，"butnot yet Thomas'opera．"
"The opera should be called Ophelia，"said thesinging master．In the tragedy，Shakespeare has made theQueen tell us of Ophelia's death，and this has become thehigh light in the musical rendering．One sees before hiseyes，and feels in the tones，what before we could learnonly from the narrative of the Queen．
There is a willow grows aslant a brook，
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream；
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers，nettles，daisies，and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name，
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them：
There，on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang，an envious sliver broke；
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook．Her clothes spread wide，
And，mermaid-like，awhile they bore her up：
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes，
As one incapable of her own distress…
The opera brings all this before our eyes．We seeOphelia；she comes out playing，dancing，singing the oldballad about the mermaid who entices men down beneaththe river，and while she sings and plucks the flowers thesame tones are heard from the depths of the stream；theysound in the voices of the chorus alluringly from the deepwater；she listens；she laughs；she draws near the brink；she holds onto the overhanging willow and stoops to pluck the white water lilies；gently she glides out onto them and，singing，reclines on their broad leaves；she swings withthem and is carried by the stream out into the deep，where，like the broken flower，she sinks in the moonlìght，with the mermaid's melody welling forth about her．
In this great scene it is as if Hamlet，his mother，hisuncle，and the dead，avenging king were created only tomake the frame for this exquisite picture．We do not getShakespeare's Hamlet，just as in the opera Faust we donot get Goethe's Faust．The speculative is no material formusic．It is the love element in both these tragedies thatelevates them to musical poems．
The opera of Hamlet was presented on the stage．Theactress who had Ophelia's part was admirable，and thedeath scene was very effective，while Hamlet himself re－ceived sympathetic greatness on this evening，a fullness ofcharacter that grew with each scene in which he appeared．Furthermore，people were astonished at the extent of thesinger's voice，at the freshness shown in the high as wellas in the deep tones，and that he，with an equal brilliancyof power，could sing Hamlet and Ceorge Brown．
In most of the Italian operas the singing parts areeach like a canvas on which the gifted singer or songstressputs his or her soul and genius，and with the varied，wavy colors creates the form the poem requires．Howmuch more glorious they must be able to reveal themselveswhen the music is composed and carried out throughthought centered upon the character；and Gounod andThomas have understood．
That evening at the theater，the character Hamletwas given flesh and blood，and he raised himself into theposition of the leading personage in the opera Unforget-table was the night scene on the ramparts，where Hamlet，for the first time，sees his father's ghost-the scene inthe castle，before the stage that has been erected，wherehe flings out the words that are drops of poison -the ter－rible meeting with his mother，where the father's ghoststands with avengeful attitude before the son-and final－ly，what power in his voice，what tones，at Ophelia'sdeath！She was the sympathetic lotus flower upon thedeep，dark sea；its waves rolled with a mighty force intothe soul of the spectators．That evening Hamlet becamethe leading figure．The triumph was complete．"Fromwhom did that boy get it？"said the merchant's rich wife，as she thought of Peer's parents and his grandmother upin the garret．The father had been a warehouseman，goodand honorable，and had fallen as a soldier on the field ofhonor-the mother，a washerwoman-but that does notgive the son culture；he had grown up in a charityschool－and how much knowledge could a provincialschoolmaster give him in a period of two years？
"It is genius！"said the merchant．"Genius-that isborn of God's grace．"
"Most certainly！"said his wife．And she folded herhands as she talked to Peer．"Do you really feel humble inyour heart at what you have received？Heaven has been in－conceivably gracious to you！Everything is given you．Youdo not know how gripping your Hamlet is！You simply can-not imagine it！I have heard that many great poets do notthemselves know the glory of what they have given；thephilosophers must reveal it to them．Where did you getyour conception of Hamlet？"
"I have thought about the character，have read agreat deal of what has been written about Shakespeare'swork，and then on the stage I have tried to put life into theperson and his surroundings，I give my share，and our Lordgives the rest．"
"Our Lord！"she said with a half－reproving look．"Donot use that name in such a manner！He gave you ability，but you surely do not believe that He has anything to dowith the theater and opera！"
"Yes，most certainly！"said Peer courageously．"Hehas a pulpit there，too，and most people listen more therethan in church！"
She shook her head．"God is with us in everythinggood and beautiful，but let us be careful not to take Hisname in vain．It is a gift of grace for one to be a greatartist，but it is still better to be a good Christian．"Felix，she felt，would never have compared the theater and thechurch before her，and she was glad．
"Now you have fallen out with Mamma！"said Felix，laughing．
"That was so far from my thoughts！"
"Don't trouble yourself about it．You will get intoher good graces again next Sunday when you go to church．Stand outside her pew，and look up to the right，for there，in the balcony pew，is a little face which isworth looking at-the widow baroness'charming daugh－ter．This is a well－meant bit of advice，and I'll give yousome more．You cannot live where you are now．Move in－to a larger apartment-with a decent stairway！-or，ifyou won't leave the singing master，then let him live inbetter style．He has means enough，and you have a prettygood income．You must give a party，too，an eveningsupper．I could give it myself，and will do so，but youcan invite a few of the little dancing girls．You're a luckyfellow！But I believe，heaven help me，that you don't yetunderstand how to be a young man！"
Peer did understand it exactly，in his own way．With his full，warm，young heart，he was in love withart；she was his bride；she returned his love and liftedhim into gladness and sunshine．The depression that hadcrushed him evaporated soon；gentle eyes looked uponhim，and everyone met him in a friendly and cordial man－ner．The amber heart，which he still wore constantly，onhis breast，where Grandmother once had hung it，wascertainly a talisman；yes，so he thought，for he was notquite free from superstition-a childlike faith，one maycall it．Every nature that has genius in it has something ofthis，and looks to and believes in its star．Grandmotherhad shown him the power that lay in the heart，how itcould draw things to itself．His dream had shown him atree growing out of his amber heart，bursting through ceil－ing and roof，and bearing thousands of hearts of silver andgold；that surely neant that in the heart，in his own warmheart，lay the power of his art，whereby he had won andstill would win thousands upon thousands of hearts．
Between him and Felix there was undoubtedly a kindof sympathy，different as they were from each other．Peerassumed that the difference between them lay in that Felix，as the rich man's son，had grown up amid temptations anddesires and could afford to taste them．
He had，on the contrary，been more fortunatelyplaced as a poor man's son．
Both of these two chilthen of the house had sincegained prominence．Felix would soon be a gentleman inwaiting to the royal coult，and that is the first step towardbecoming a chamberlain；then one has a gold key behind．Peer，always lucky，already had the gold key of genius inhis hand，though it was invisible-the key that opens allthe treasures of the earth，and all hearts，too．
It was still wintertime．The sleigh bells jingled，andthe clouds carried snowflakes in them，but wherever a sun－beam burst through them，it announced that spring wasnear．In the young heart there was a fragrance and a songthat flowed out in picturesque tones and found expression inwords：
The snow is still upon the earth，
O'er the lake，skaters race in mirth．
The trees are frost－rimmed，full of crows，
But tomorrow perhaps the winter goes．
The sun breaks through the sky of gray；
Spring is in town；it's like a summer day．
The willow's woolen gloves fall from the tree．
Strike up，musicians，for a merry spree！
Sing，little birds！All voices blend！
For mow the winter has come to an end！
Oh，to be kissed by the warming sun！
Come，pluck violets and primrose-what fun！
It's as if the forest its breath were holding，
While in the night each leaf is unfolding．
The cuckoos sing；you know their song．
Hear them sing that your life will be long．
The world is young，so be young with the young！
With thankful heart and merry tongue，
Sing of spring！All voices blend！
For never does youth come to an end！
Never does youth come to an end！
Life on earth is a magic blend
Of sunshine and storm，joy and pain．
Within our hearts a world was lain；
It vanishes not like a shooting star，
For man is the image of God afar．
God and nature remain ever young．
Teach us，O Spring，the song you've long sung．
Every little bird sings；all voices blend-
For never does youth come to an end！
"That is a complete musical painting，"said thesinging master，"and well adapted for chorus and orches－tra．It is the best yet of your emotional compositions．Youcertainly must learn thorough bass，although it is not yourdestiny to be a composer．"
Young music friends soon introduced the song at agreat concert，where it attracted attention but aroused noexpectations．Our young friend's career was open beforehim．His greatness and importance lay not only in thesympathetic tones of his voice，but in his remarkable dra-matic talent as well；this he had shown as George Brownand as Hamlet．He very much preferred the regular operato the light opera．It was contrary to his sound，naturalsense to go from song to talk and back to song．
"It is，"he said，"as if one were going from marblesteps onto wooden steps，sometimes even onto mere hen－roosts，and then back onto marble．The whole poemshould live and breathe in its passage through tones．"
The music of the future，as the new movement inopera is called，and for which Wagner，in particular，is abanner－bearer，had a defender and admirer in our youngfriend．He found here characters so clearly drawn，pas－sages so full of thought，and the entire action character－ized by forward movement，without any standstill or fre-quent recurrence of melodies．"It is most unnatural toinclude those long arias．"
"Yes，"said the singing master．"But how they，in the works of most of the great masters，stand out as amost important part of the whole！That is as it should andmust be．If the lyric has a home in any place，it is in theopera．"And he mentioned in Don Giovanni，Don Ottavio's aria，"Tears，cease your flowing．""How much it is likea beautiful lake in the woods，by whose bank one rests andenjoys the music that streams through it！I bow to the inge－nuity that lies in this new musical movement，but I do notdance with you before that golden calf．Either it is not yourheart's real opinion that you express，or else it is not quiteclear to you．"
"I will appear in one of Wagner's operas，"said ouryoung friend．"If I cannot express my meaning in words，Iwill do so by my singing and acting！"
The choice made was Lohengrin，the young mysteri－ous knight who，in the boat drawn by the swan，glides overthe river Scheldt to fight for Elsa of Brabant．Who had eversung and acted so well the first song of the meeting，thelove song in the bridal chamber，and the song of farewellwhen the Holy Grail's white dove hovers about the youngknight who came，conquered，and vanished？This eveningwas，if possible，another step forward in the artistic great－ness and significance of our young friend；and to thesinging master it was a step forward in the recognition of the music of the future．
"Under certain conditions，"he said．
At the great yearly exhibition of paintings，Peer andFelix met one day，before the portrait of a pretty young la－dy，the daughter of the widow baroness，as the mother wasgenerally called；the latter's salon was the rendezvous forthe world of distinction and for everyone of importance inart and science．The young baroness was in her sixteenthyear，an innocent，beautiful child．The picture was a goodlikeness and done with artistic skill．
"Step into the hall near by，"said Felix．"Therestands the young beauty herself with her mother．"
They stood engrossed in viewing a painting of char－acterization．It represented a field where two young mar－ried people were riding on the same horse，holding ontoone another．The chief figure，however，was a youngmonk who was looking at the two happy travelers．Therewas a sorrowful，dreamy look on the young man's face；one could read his thoughts in it，the story of his life-anaim missed，great happiness lost！Happiness in humanlove he had not won．
The elder baroness saw Felix，who respectfullygreeted her and the beautiful daughter．Peer showed thesame customary politeness．The widow baroness knew himimmediately from having seen him on the stage，and afterspeaking to Felix she said some friendly，obliging wordsto Peer as she pressed his hand．
"I and my daughter belong to your admirers．"
How perfectly beautiful the young girl was at thismoment！She looked with her gentle，clear eyes almostgratefully at him．
"I see in my house，"said the window baroness，"somany of the most distinguished artists．We common peo-ple stand in need of a spiritual airing．You will be hearti－ly welcome．Our young diplomat，"she pointed to Felix，"will bring you along the first time，and afterward I hopethat you will find the way yourself．"
She smiled at him．The young girl reached out herhand naturally and cordially，as if they had long knowneach other．
Late in the autumn，on a cold，sleety evening，thetwo young men went to the Baroness'home，the two bornin the rich merchant's house．It was weather for drivingand not walking，for the rich man's son and the firstsinger on the stage．Nevertheless，they walked，wellwrapped up，with galoshes on their feet and Bedouin capson their heads．
It was like entering a complete fairyland to comefrom the raw air into this home that displayed such luxuryand good taste．In the vestibule，before the carpetedstairs，there was a great display of flowers among bushesand fan palms．A little fountain splashed water into abasin，which was surrounded by tall callas．
The great salon was magnificently lighted，and alarge part of the company had already gathered．It soonbecame very crowded．People stepped on silk trains andlaces，amid the humming，sonorous mosaic of conversa－tion，which，on the whole，was the least worth while ofall the splendor there．
Had Peer been a vain fellow，which he was not，hecould have imagined that it was a party for him，so cor－dial was the reception he received from the lady of thehouse and the beaming daughter．Young and elderly
ladies，yes，and gentlemen，too，paid him many compli－ments．
There was music．A young author read a well-writ－ten poem．There was singing，and tactfulness was shownin that no one urged our young and honored singer tomake the affair complete．The lady of the house was amost attentive hostess，brilliant and genial，in that ele-gant salon．
That was his introduction into the great world，andour young friend was soon also one of the select group inthe choice family circle．The singing master shook hishead and laughed，
"How young you are，dear friend，"he said，"thatit can please you to be with these people！In a way theyare good enough，but they look down on us plain citi－zens．For some of them it is only a matter of vanity，anamusement，and for others a sort of sign of exclusive cul－ture，when they receive into their circle artists and the li－ons of the day．These belong in the salon much as theflowers in a vase；they decorate and then they are thrownaway．"
"How harsh and unreasonable！"said Peer．"You donot know these people；you do not want to know them！"
"No，"answered the singing master．"I don't feel athome among them，nor do you，either．That they all re－member and know．They pat you and look at you just asthey pat and look at a race horse that is expected to win awager．You belong to another race than they．They willlet you go when you are no longer in the fashion．Don'tyou understand that？You are not proud enough．You arevain，and you show that by seeking these people's com-pany．"
"How very differently you would talk and judge，"said Peer，"if you knew the widow baroness and a few ofmy friends there．"
"I shall not come to know them，"said the singingmaster．
"When is the engagement to be announced！"askedFelix one day．"Is it the mother or the daughter？"And helaughed．"Don't take the daughter，for then you'll haveall the young nobility against you，and I，too，shall beyour enemy，and the deadliest one！"
"What do you mean？"asked Peer．
"You are indeed the favorite．You can go in and outat all hours．With the mother，you'd get money andbelong to a good family．"
"Stop your joking，"said Peer．"There is nothingamusing to me in what you say．"
"It is not supposed to be amusing，"said Felix．"Itis a most serious matter，for you surely wouldn't let hergeace sit and weep and be a double widow！"
"Leave the Baroness out of this conversation，"saidPeer．"Make fun over me if you want to，but over mealone，and I will answer you！"
"No one will believe that it is a love match on yourside，"continued Felix．"She is a little outside of the lineof beauty．True，one does not live on intellect alone！"
"I thought you had more refinement and good
sense，"said Peer，"than to talk so disrespectfully of alady you should esteem and whose house you visit，and Ican't bear to listen to you any longer！"
"What are you going to do about it？"asked Felix．"Do you want to fight？"
"I know that you have learned that，and I have not，but I can learn！"And he left Felix．
A couple of days later the two children of thehouse met again，the son from the first floor and the sonfrom the garret．Felix talked to Peer as if no break hadcome between them．He answered courteously，but curt－ly，too．
"What is the matter now！"said Felix．"We twowere a little irritable recently，but one must have his littlejoke，which doesn't necessarily mean one is flippant．Idon't like to bear a grudge．So let us forgive and forget．"
"Can you forgive yourself the manner in which youspoke of a lady to whom we both owe great respect？"
"I spoke very frankly！"said Felix．"In high societyone can also talk with a razor edge，but no one takes thatvery seriously；it is the salt for the tasteless，everyday fishdinner，as the poet calls it．We are all just a little spite-ful．You can also let a drop fall，my friend，a little drop ofinnocence that smarts！"
Soon they were seen arm in arm again．Felix wellknew that more than one pretty young lady who otherwisewould have passed him by without looking at him now no－ticed him because he was walking with the"idol of thestage．"The footlights always cast a glamour over the the－ater's hero and lover，and it still shines about him when heshows himself on the street，in daylight，though it is moreor less extinguished then．Most of the artists of the stageare like swans；one should see them in their element，noton the paving stones or the public promenade．There areexceptions，however，and to these belonged our youngfriend．His personality off the stage never disturbed theconception one had of him as George Brown，or Hamlet，orLohengrin．To many a young heart these poetical and musi－cal figures were the artist himself and rose to the exaltationof their ideal．He knew that this was the case and found asort of pleasure in it．He was happy in his art and with thetalents he possessed；still a shadow would come over thehappy young face，and then from the piano would sound themelody to the words：
All vanishes，everything goes，
Your youth，your hope，and your friend．
Everything passes，like the wind that blows，
Never to return，only to end！
"How mournful！"said the widow baroness．"Youhave good fortune in full measure．I know no one who is asfortunate as you．"
"Call no one fortunate before he is in his grave，thewise Solon said，"he replied，and smiled through his se-riousness．"It would be wrong ，a sin ，if I were not thank-ful and happy in my heart．I am that．I am thankful forwhat is entrusted to me，but I myself set a different valueon this than others do．It is a beautiful piece of fireworksthat soars forth and then goes out！So it is with the stageactor's work．The everlasting shining stars may be forgot－ten for the meteors of a moment，but when these are ex-tinguished，there is no lasting trace of them other thanwhat may be found in old records．A new generation doesnot know and cannot picture to itself those who delightedtheir grandfathers from the stage；the youth of today per－haps applauds the luster of brass as fervently and loudlyas the old folks once did the luster of pure gold．Far morefortunately placed than the performing artist are the poet，the sculptor，the painter，and the composer．They oftenexperience trying conditions in the struggle of life and missthe merited appreciation，while those who exhibit theirworks live in luxury and in arrogance born of idolatry．
"Let the mob stand and admire the bright－coloredcloud and forget the sun；the cloud vanishes，but the sunshines and beams for new generations．"
He sat at the piano and improvised with a richnessof thought and a power such as he never before hadshown．
"Wonderfully beautiful！"broke in the widowbaroness．"It was as if I heard the story of a whole life－time．You gave your heart's song in the music．"
"I thought of the Thousand and One Nights，"saidthe young girl，"of the lamp of fortune，of Aladdin！"Andshe looked at him with innocent，tearful eyes．
That evening was the turning point in his life．Anew chapter surely began．
What happened to him during this fast-moving year？His fresh color left his cheeks，though his eyes shonefar more clearly than before．He passed sleepless nights，but not in wild orgies，in revels and drinking，as so manygreat artists．He became less talkative，but more cheerful．
"What is it that fills you so？" said his friend，thesinging master．"You do not confide everything to me！"
"I think of how fortunate I am！"he replied．"I thinkof the poor boy！I think of－Aladdin！"
Measured by the expectations of a poor－born child，Peer now led a prosperous，pleasant life．He was so welloff that，as Felix once had said，he could give a big partyfor his friends．He thought of it，and thought of his twoearliest friends，his mother and his grandmother．For themand himself he provided a festival．
It was wonderful spring weather，and the two old peo－ple were going to drive with him out of town and see a littlecountry place that the singing master had recently bought．As he was seating himself in the carriage，a woman camealong humbly clad，about thirty years old；she had a noterecommending her，signed by Madam Hof．
"Don't you know me？"she said．"Little Curly－head，they used to call me．The curls are gone；there isso much that is gone；but there are still good peopleleft．We two have appeared together in the ballet．Youhave become better off than I．You have become a greatman．I am now separated from two husbands and no
longer at the theater．"
The note requested a sewing machine for her．
"In what ballet have we two performed together？"asked Peer．
"In the Tyrant of Padua，"she replied．"We wereboth pages，in blue velvet and berets．Don't you rememberlittle Malle Knallerup？I walked right behind you in theprocession．
"And stepped on the side of my foot！"said Peer，laughing．
"Did I？"she said．"Then I took too long a step．But you have gone far ahead of me．You have understoodhow to use your head instead of your legs．"And sheloked coquettishly at him with her melancholy face，quitesure she had paid him a witty compliment．Peer was agenerous fellow．She should have the sewing machine，hepromised．Little Malle had indeed been one of those whoin pariticular had driven him out of the ballet into a morefortunate career．
He was soon outside the merchant's house，andhe then ascended the stairs to his mother's and hisgrandmother's．They were in their best clothes，andby chance they had a visit from Madam Hof，who wasat once invited to drive with them；whereupon she hadquite a struggle with herself，which ended in her send－ing a note to Herr Hof to inform him that she hadaccepted the invitation．
"Such fine greeting Peer gets！"she said．
"How stylishy we are driving！"said Mother．
"And in such a beautiful，comfortable carriage，"said Grandmother．
Near the town，close to the royal park，stood a cozylittle house，surrounded by vines and roses，hazels andfruit trees．Here the carriage stopped．This was the coun－try house．They were received by an old woman well ac－quainted with Mother and Grandmother；she had oftenhelped them with their washing and ironing．
The garden was inspected，and the house was in-spected．There was one particularly charming thing—alittle glasshouse with beautiful flowers in it．It was con－nected with the sitting room；the sliding door betweencould be pushed right into the wall．
"That is just like a coulisse on the stage，"saidMadam Hof．"It moves by band．And one can sit herejust as in a bird cage，with chickweed all about．It iscalled a winter garden．"
The bedroom was equally delightful in its way．There were long，heavy curtains at the windows，soft car－pets，and two armchairs so comfortable that Mother andGrandmother must try them．
"One would get very lazy sitting in them，"said Mother
"One loses his weight，"said Madam Hof．"Indeed，here you two music people can rest comfortably after yourtheatrical labors．I have also known what they are！Yes，believe me，I can still dream of doing high kicks，and Hofdoes high kicks by my side！Is it not charming—'twosouls and one thought'！"
"The air is fresher here，and there is more room，than in the two small rooms up in the garret，"said Peerwith beaming eyes．
"That there is，"said Mother．"Still，home is nice，too．There you were born，my sweet boy，and there I livedwith your father．"
"It is better here，"said Grandmother．"Here youhave a whole mansion．I do not begrudge you and that no－ble man，the singing master，this home of peace．"
"Then I do not begrudge you this，Grandmother，andyou，my dear blessed mother！You two shall always livehere，and not，as in town，walk up so many steps and bein such narrow and small quarters．You shall have a ser－vant to help you and shall see me as often as in town．Areyou happy about it？Are you content with it？"
"What is all this the boy stands here and says！"saidMother．
"The house，the garden—it's all yours，Mother，andyours，Grandmother！To be able to give you this is what Ihave striven for．My friend the singing master has faithfullyhelped me with getting it ready．"
"What is all this you are saying，child！"exclaimedthe mother．"You want to give us a gentleman's mansion！You sweet boy！Yes，you would do it if you could！"
"I am serious，"he said．"The house is yours andGrandmother's．"He kissed them both，and they burst intotears．Madam Hof shed just as many．It is the happiestmoment of my life！exclaimed Peer，as he embraced allthree of them．
And now they had to see everything all over again，since it was their own．They now had that beautiful littleglasshouse in which to put their five or six pot plants fromthe garret roof．Instead of a little cupboard，they had herea great roomy pantry，and the kitchen was a complete，warm little chamber．The chimney bad an oven and cook-ing stove；it looked like a great，shining flatiron，saidMother．
"Now you have a fireside corner just like I have！"said Madam Hof．"This is magnificent！You have attainedall that people can attain on this earth，and you，too，myown，popular friend！"
"Not all！"said Peer．
"The little wife will come along！"said Modam Hof．"I have her already for you！I feel sure I know who sheis！But I shall keep my mouth shut．You wonderful man！Isn't all this like a ballet！"She laughed with tears in hereyes，and so did Mother and Grandmother．
To write the text and music for an opera，and be theinterpreter of his own work on the stage，was a great andhappy aim．Our young friend had a talent in common withWagner，in that he could construct the dramatic poemhimself；but did he，like Wagner，have the fullness ofmusical emotion to create a musical work of any signifi－cance？
Courage and doubt alternated in him．He could notdismiss this persistent thought of his．For years and daysit had shone in his mind as a picture of fancy；now it wasa possibility，his life's goal．Many free fancies were wel－comed at the piano as birds of passage from that Land ofPerhaps．The little ballads and the characteristic springsong gave promise of the still undiscovered land of tone．The widow baroness saw in them the sign of promise，asColumbus saw it in the fresh green weed that the currentsof the sea bore toward him before he saw the land itself onthe horizon．
Land was there！The child of fortune should reachit．A word thrown out was the seed of thought．She，theyoung，pretty，innocent girl，had spoken the word—Aladdin．Our young friend was a child of fortune likeAladdin；it shone within him．
With understanding and delight he read and rereadthe beautiful Oriental story．Soon it took dramatic form；scene after scene grew into words and music，and themore it grew，the richer the music thoughts became．Atthe close of the work was as if the well of tone werenow for the first time pierced，and all the abundant freshwater streamed forth．He then recomposed his work，andin stronger form，after months，arose the opera Alddin．
No one knew of this work；no one had heard asmuch as a single bar of it，not even the most sympatheticof all his friends，the singing master．No one at the the－ater，when in the evening the young singer entranced hispubic with his voice and his masterful acting，had anyidea that the young man who seemed so to live andbreathe in his role lived more intensely—yes，and forhours afterward lost himself in a mighty work of music thatpoured from his own soul．
The singing master had not heard a bar of the operaAladdin before it was put on his table for examination，complete in notes and text．What judgment would bepassed？Assuredly a strong and just one．The young com-poser passed from highest hope to the thought that thewhole thing was only a self-delusion．
Two days passed by，and not a word was exchangedabout this important matter．Finally，the singing masterstood before him with the score in his hands，which henow knew．There was a peculiar seriousness spread overhis face that did not indicate his thoughts．
"I had not expected this，"he said．"I had not be-lieved it of you．Indeed，I do not yet have a clear judg－ment，so I dare not express it．Here and there there arefaults in the instrumentation，faults that can easily becorrected．There are single things，bold and novel，thatone must hear under proper conditions．As there is inWagner a certain influence of Carl Maria von Weber，sothere is noticeable in you a breath of Haydn．That whichis new in what you have given is still rather remote to me，and you yourself are too near for me to be the right judge．I would rather not judge．I will embrace you！"he burstout，beaming with happiness．"How have you been ableto do this！"And he embraced him in his arms．"Happyman！"
A rumor soon spread through the city，via the news－papers and gossip，about the new opera by the popularyoung singer．
"He's a poor tailor who cannot put together a child's coat out of the scraps left over on his board，"said oneand another．
"Write the text，compose it，and sing it himself！"was also said．"That is a three－storied genius．But hereally was born still higher—in a garret！"
"There are two at it，he and the singing master，"they said．"Now they'll begin to beat the signal drum ofthe partnership of mutual admiration！"
The opera was given out for study．Those who tookpart would not give any opinion．"It shall not be said thatit is judged from the theater，"they remarked；and almosteveryone put on a serious face that did not show any ex－pectation．
"There are a good many horns in the piece，"said ayoung trumpeter．"If only he doesn't run a horn into him－self！"
"It has genius；it is brilliant，full of melody andcharacter！"That was also said．
"Tomorrow at this time，"said Peer，"the scaffold willbe raised．The judgment is，perhaps，already passed．"
"some say that it is a masterpiece，"said the singing master，"others，that it is a mere patchwork．"
"And where lies the truth？"
"Truth！"said the singing master．"Yes，tell me where．Look at that star up there．Tell me exactly where
its place is．Shut one eye．Do you see it？Now look at it with the other only．The star has shifted its place．When each eye in the same，person sees so differently，how differ- ently must the great multitude see！"
"Happen what may，"said our young friend，"I must know my place in the world，understand what I can and must create，or give up．"
The eveing came，the eveing of decision．A popu- lar artist was to be exalted to a higher place or humiliated in his gigantic，vain effort．Success or failure！The matter concerned the whole city．People stood all night in the street before the ticket office，to obtain seats．The house was crammed full．The ladies came with great bouquets；
would they be earried home again or thrown at the victor's feet？
The widow baroness and the young，beautiful daugh－ ter sat in a box above the orchestra．There was a stir in the audience，a murmuring，a movement，which stopped atonce as the leader of the orchestra took his place and the overture began．
Who does not remember Hanselt's piece，"Si l'
oiseau j'étais，" which is like a twittering of birds？This was somewhat simailar；there were jubilant，playing chil－ dren，happy child voices mingling；the cuckoo cuckooed with them；the thrush sang．It was the play and jubilation of the innocent child mind—the mind of Aladdin．Then a thunderstorm rolled in；Noureddin displayed his power；a flash of deadly lightning split the mountain．Gentle，beck－ oning tones followed；a sound came from the enchanted grotto，where the lamp shone in the petrified cavern，while the wings of mighty spirits brooded over it．Now，in the tones of a French horn，sounded a psalm，which was as gentle and soft as if it were coming from the mouth of a child；a single horn was heard，and then another；moreand more were blended in the same tones and rose in full-ness and power，as if they were the trumpets of the judg－ment day．The lamp was in Aladdin's hand，and thenthere swelled forth a sea of melody and grandeur such asonly the ruler of spirits and the masters of music can cre－ate．
The curtain rolled up in a storm of applause thatsounded like a fanfare under the conductor's baton．Agrown－up，bandsome boy was playing；he was so big andyet so innocent；it was Aladdin，who leaped about amongthe other boys．Grandmother would at once have said，"That is Peer as he played and jumped about between thestove and the chest of drawers at home in the garret．Heis not a year older in his soul！"
With what faith and sincerity he sang the playerNoureddin bade him offer before he stepped down into therocky cavern to obtain the lamp！Was it the pure，reli-gious melody or the innocence with which he sang that en－chanted all the listeners？The applause would not cease．
It would have been a profane thing to have repeatedthe song．It was demanded，but it was not given．Thecurtain fell；the first act was over．
Every critic was speechless；people were overcomewith gladness and，in their appreciation，were certain ofenjoying the rest of the evening．
A few chords sounded from the orchestra，and thecurtain rose．The strains of music，as in Gluck's Armidaand Mozart's Magic Flute，arrested the attention of ev－eryone as the scene was disclosed，the scene in which Al-addin stood in the wonderful garden．Soft，subdued musicsounded from flowers and stones，from springs and deepcaverns，different melodies blending in one great harmo－ny．An air of spirits was heard in the chorus；it was nowfar off，now near，swelling in might and then dying away．Arising from this harmony，and supported by it，was thesong monologue of Aladdin—what one indeed calls a greataria，but so entirely in keeping with character and situa－tion that it was a necessary dramatic part of the whole．The resonant，sympathetic voice，the intense music of theheart，subdued all listeners and seized them with a rap－ture that could not rise higher when he reached for thelamp of fortune that was embraced by the song of the spir－its．
Bouquets tained down from all sides；a carpet ofliving flowers was spread out before his feet．
What a moment of life for the young artist—thehighest，the greatest！A mightier one could never againbe granted him，he felt．A wreath of laurel touched hisbreast and fell down in front of him．
He had seen whose hand it had come．He saw the young girl in the box nearest the stage，the youngbaroness，rising like a spirit of beauty，loudly rejoicingover his triumph．
A fire rushed through him；his heart swelled as nev-er before；he bowed，took the wreath，pressed it againsthis heart，and at the same moment fell backward．Faint－ed？Dead？What was it？The curtain fell．
"Dead！"resounded through the house．Dead in themoment of triumph，like Sophocles at the Olympiangames，like Thorvaldsen in the theater during Beethoven's symphony．An artery in his heart had burst，and as by a flash of lightning his days here were ended，ended without pain，ended in an earthly triumph，in thefulfillment of his mission on earth．Lucky Peer！Morefortunate than millions！