Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, European Fiction Series)
Bartholine was not like her family. They were common types, not desirous of knowledge or power, seeing little beyond the daily routine. Bartholine, however, loved beauty, lived in poetry. When Lyhne came to woo her, she accepted him as a matter of course, for he was of a family of poets and travelers. Her husband disappointed her, however; he was the youngest, and all gifts of insight had been given to his older brothers.
When Niels was born, she put her hopes in him. Her son must be a real poet. She brooded on her boy and dreamed dreams for him, but Niels remained an ordinary insentient boy until he began to play with the pastor’s son. The two youngsters played at the usual imaginative childhood games, but they had one special pastime. They told each other, turn and turn about, an interminable story which continued for months. Then Erik, a little older and a little stronger, became their leader. He had no time for stories; their play now was of pirates and secret caves.
When Niels was twelve years old, two new people came to the Lyhne farm, Herr Bigum, a tutor, and Edele, Lyhne’s unmarried sister. The tutor was forty years old and insignificant; he had failed to pass his examinations for the priesthood. Edele was a belle from Copenhagen. Her carefree social life had ruined her health, and she had been sent to the country to recuperate. Niels, strongly attracted to his aunt, followed her constantly. One day he heard the ridiculous tutor...
(The entire section is 1158 words.)
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