Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1908/1909

Transkripsjon:

Tor Martin Leknes

Oversettelse:

Francesca Nichols

Side

  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9,
  • 10,
  • 11,
  • 12
Transkripsjon
Oversettelse

Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1908/1909
Brevs.531-66424, Nasjonalbiblioteket

12 sider

Transkripsjon: Tor Martin Leknes

Oversettelse: Francesca Nichols

Transkripsjon

    Kjære Höst og frùe.

Tak for Eders venlige breve,

som jeg til stadighed er uhöflig

nok til ikke at besvare straks.

Men jeg har været saa elendig syk

ùdover hösten, at jeg omtrent

intet har magtet – derfor har jeg

heller ikke faaet sendt Eder de

fire vaarnatstemninger. Jeg havde

tænkt at tage en tùr ind til

Bergen og da tage billederne med,

det er nemlig saa vanskelig at faa

dem sendt ùden at have kasser

jeg kùnde jo selvfölgelig skrive til

Bergen efter kasser, men da

bliver det en hel liden kapital

for mig – naar jeg selv reiste ind,

kùnde jeg godt tage billederne

med

Opp ned tekst øverst: 

Skal hilse fra min kone, jeg har vist glemt

det för – hùn har stadig bedt mig derom.

ùden at de behövede at være i kasser

Jeg kùnde nok faa arbeidet kasser

her ogsaa, men folk her har ikke

tid förend ùdearbeidet er forbi.

Jeg har som sagt været meget daarlig

– kvælningsanfaldene tager stadig

til i styrke og tager al sövn fra

mig om nætterne – værst er jeg faren,

naar jeg efter en ùges sövnlöshed

bliver saa udtrættet, at jeg sovner

saa fast, at ikke de sterkeste kvæl-

ningsanfald formaar at vække mig;

thi denne ùforklarlige angest, som

altid fölger med kvælningsanfaldene,

er aller værst, naar jeg sover og ikke

magter at vaagne – da bliver den

til uhyggelige drömme om, at jeg er

seget ned i en myr og ikke længer

kan holde hovedet over dyndet

men vil faa mùnden fùld og kvæles

Slig kan jeg da ligge og seigpines et par

timer för jeg endelig vaagner. Snart

drömmer jeg om, at jeg er forfùlgt af

folk – snart ramler jeg ned i et jord-

hùl, og jo mere jeg arbeider for at

komme mig op, desto mere raper

mùlden ned over mig, saa jeg tilslut

er helt overdækket og maa indaande

mùld istedenfor lùft – saa pröver jeg

at grave mig frem gjennem jorden

men roder mig fast ind imellem

rödderne fra et eller andet træ –

jeg arbeider og sliter, og naar jeg vel

er forbi en rodgren, saa er der andre

igjen i massevis – som krydser hinanden

og fletter sig ind imellem hinanden

paa den mest komplicerede maate,

saa jeg tilslùt ligger aldeles sammen-

presset mellem alle de mange rödder.

Undertiden er jeg kommen ind i et stort

maskineri med en mangfoldighed af

hjùl, som bevæger sig rùndt, og jeg er nödt

at fölge med hjulets bevægelse for ikke

at slides i stykker, og naar jeg paa en behæn-

dig maade vel er slùppet fra det ene

hjùl, saa er jeg straks kommen ind i et

andet, og er jeg endelig kommen ùd af

dette, kommer jeg til min forfærdelse lige

ind i mellem nogle stempelstænger som

som bevæger sig forbi hinanden og klem-

mer mig saa jeg mister pùsten.

Hjærtet blir overanstrengt – doktoren har

sagt at det kan blive til en hjærteafec-

tion. – Sting, feber og nervösitet fölger efterpaa

slige anfald – men som sagt den ùforklarlige

angest er det værste, som fölger med kvælnings-

anfaldene både i vaaken og især i sovende

tilstand. I vaaken tilstand sætter angesten sig

ofte i forbindelse med mine medmennesker,

naar jeg sidder og pines af kvælning – hörer jeg

skridt ùdenfor i mörket – det kryper op efter

mùren lige ùnder vindùerne, jeg maa slùkke

lampen for at de ikke skal se at skyde

paa mig gjennem vindùet – jeg leder op

II

revolveren i mörket og indbilder mig

fuldt og fast, at det gjælder livet og

slæper mig trods kvælningen ùd i gangen

og barikaderer dören – det er disse maal-

mændene – som gaar i hovedet paa mig,

naar jeg er ùdmattet af sövnlöshed og kvæl-

ningsanfald. Det hænder sig forresten ogsaa,

at jeg er forfulgt af mennesker, naar jeg

sover – saaledes var jeg en nat sovnet efter

flere nætters sovnlöshed og drömte ùnder

et kvælningsanfald en uhyggelig dröm

om lensmanden – jeg mödte min erke-

fiende paa Hægrenes – der var thing – og

lensmanden bad om at faa tale med mig:

jeg fulgte. Nù havde lensmanden nylig

været i en stor pengeknibe og for at faa

fat i penge havde han kjöbt ind en del

baloner med gas og havde faaet i stand

et lidet lysanlæg i sit hùs og gik nù om

og fik folk til at yde penge til at faa

udvidet lysanlægget, saa folk deromkring

skùlde faa billigt lys indlagt i sine hùse

med ledninger fra hans eget hùs. Jeg mod-

modarbeidede ham og sagde til folk, at han

bare vilde faa penge ùd af dem, han kùnde

ikke oprette noget gasverk o.s.v. Saa var det

jeg traf ham paa Hægrenes, og han bad mig fölge

sig i kjælderen og drikke et glas med ham

– "De veed, at naar der er thing pleier lens-

manden altid at have noget i kjælderen"

sa han – og jeg fùlgte ham ned i kjelderen,

hvor der var en mængde hvidlakerede kjedler

og rör – "Ja her ser De mine lysanlæg", syntes

jeg han sagde, og saa gik han bort til et sted,

hvor der laa et anker eller noget lignende

en tönde med en krane i, denne tog han

et tag i, og saa sagde han: "vent lidt, saa

skal De faa se noget" – saa gik han op

en trap og smeldte en dör i laas efter sig.

Da fik jeg ligesom en ùhyggelig mistanke,

men saa hörte jeg hans stemme igjennem

et rör – "kjender De god lugt"? Jo jeg kjendte

en frygtelig gaslùgt – "nei den er ikke egentlig

god" sagde jeg – "ja nù kan De faa kjende paa

den lùgten en times tid" sagde han. Gaslùgten

blev sterkere og sterkere, tilslùt kùnde

jeg næsten ikke pùste længere, jeg

sprang fortvivlet om i kjælderen og

ledte efter en ùdgang; men de to dörer

var stængte – det blev værre og værre, den

ùhyggelige angsten kom ogsaa til – nù

forstod jeg i et öieblik, hvor slù han havde

været, at han havde indrettet gaskranen

i en tönde, der blev jo engang stjaalet

öl fra ham i kjælderen, og jeg fik höre

et ymt om, at han vistnok mistænkte

mig – nù havde han benyttet sig af det

lögnagtige rygte han dengang havde sat

ùd om mig – nù vilde han give folk

grùnd til at tro, at jeg havde brùdt mig

ind i kjælderen og havde löst gaskranen

i tönden i den tro, at det var öl, og saa

havde jeg ikke kunnet faa kranen igjen

og var bleven kvalt af gassen. Tankerne

fòr rùndt i hovedet paa mig, medens

jeg holdt paa at kvæles, jeg hùskede fra

barneaarene dengang, der blev stjaalet öl i

lendsmandens kjælder, og lensmanden satte

vagt i en mörk krog af kjælderen om natten,

og ssaa kommer der en person smettende ind

gjennem en liden glugge og blev kneben

af vagten, straks han begyndte at tappe af

öltönden – det viste sig at være lensmandens

egen sön – nettop som denne erindring dùkkede

op for mig, kom jeg til at tænke paa den lille

glugge som sön af lensmanden var smùttet

igjennem, kanske den kùnde redde mig; nù

huskede jeg ogsaa, at jeg af og til havde seet en 

liden lysning et sted i kjælderen, en lysning,

som af og til forsvandt og blev mörk; jeg

gik bort til det sted og betragtede det nöie, da

saa jeg at det var hovedet af lensmanden som

saa ind gjennem glùggen og af og til flyttede

sig lidt, saa der slap lidt lys ind, da blev jeg

rasende og samlede mine sidste kræfter, trak

op revolveren og gik lige bort til gluggen og

fyrede paa lesmandens hoved, men da blev ogsaa

kvælningen saa sterk, at det sortnede for

öinene mine, og jeg faldt ned paa gùlvet

III

og jeg kjendte at jeg maatte dö. Da vaagned

jeg endelig ùnder et frygteligt kvælningsanfald,

men det var alligevel en lettelse at vaagne

fra drömmen. Dog varede det endnù en stùnd

förend jeg kùnde komme mig ùd af den tro,

at lensmanden var i nærheden og forfùlgte

mig – jeg maatte bort i vindùet og for at faa

pùste og – mærkelig nok der gik lensman-

den lige ùdenfor hùset og lùskede.

Kvelden i forveien havde folk ogsaa seet ham

gaa og lùske bag hùset, hvor han ingenting

havde at gjöre, en anden kveld gik hans

svigersön der ligeledes. Jeg tör ikke omgaaes

folk her fortiden – jeg tör ikke gaa ùd og male

alene, thi jeg har fiender alle steder, eller

kanske jeg bare indbilder mig det, – nei det

kan ikke være indbildning, at de skùler ondt

til mig bare jeg træffer nogen paa en vei –

iallefald kan det ikke være indbildning, naar

man overhægler min kone med skjældsord

og halvkvædede viser om mig, naar hùn gaar

ind paa bùtikken eller postkontoret, de tiltror

Opp ned tekst øverst: 

Jeg skal snart sende en del billeder, hvis I kan

vente saa længe kommer jeg ind til Bergen i slutten af oct.

mig forfatterskabet af en grov avis-artikkel

om et en klik her i bygden – artikkelen

er helt sandfærdig, og samme klik kan

ikke fri sig for de fremsatte beskyldnin-

ger – desto mere rasende er de paa den

anonyme forfatter, som de nù tror er 

mig – jeg har ikke vidst at der existerede

et blad af det avisens navn förend jeg hörte om

artikkelen, som stod i den, – jeg vilde

bare önske de vilde sige det lige ùd til

mig i vidners overvær, saa jeg kùnde faa

gjöre retslig ansvar gjældende overfor dem,

jeg maa natùrligvis skrive til avisen og

bede denne fritage mig for forfatterskabet.

Aldrig skal man have fred for sine med-

mennesker. Men det kommer vel kanske 

af, at jeg stadig gaar med en slags ner-

vösitet – noget der ligner ond samvittighed

jeg veed ikke, at jeg har gjort noget, saa

jeg behövede at have det, ùndertiden

indbilder jeg mig, at det er malingen, som

jeg ikke har gjort som jeg skùlde, at jeg

har bedraget mine medmennesker –

at jeg aldrig har gjort kùnst bare

har indbildt mig selv og andre det,

ja selv i öieblikket er jeg ikke sikker

paa det – da jeg fik Deres brev, hvori

De fortalte at Mùnch likte mine

billeder blev jeg saa glad; – thi Munch

er jo kjendt for at sige sin mening

hensynslöst om kùnst; – men saa

begjyndte jeg en nat at tænke paa

det: end om Mùnch sagde det ironisk

og morrede sig over, at jeg holdt

folk for nar, – men saa siger jeg

ofte til mig selv: hvofr har dù

strævet saa med dine ting, naar det

hele var hùmbùg – og jeg pröver at

tröste mig for at angesten og den

(som jeg synes) onde samvittighed skal

gaa bort. Nù vil jeg bede Dem 

Hr. Höst eller Deres frùe om at

gjöre mig en stor tjeneste. Vil I 

hvis det ikke er formeget forlangt

skrive til Mùnch og bede ham sige

mig oprigtig, hvad han mener om min

kùnst, eller kanske I kùnde bede ham

give mig en anbefaling – der er et lidet

dansk stipendiùm paa 125,00 kr. jeg vil

söge det – nordmænd kan ogsaa faa det –

det heder: "Det Hjelmstjerne Rosencroneske

legat". I kùnde sige, at jeg vilde have

hans anbefaling til dette eller et andet

stipendiùm. – Det vilde gjöre mig saa

godt at faa se en anbefaling af Mùnch

nù, naar jeg gaar indbilder mig at være

en hùmbùgsmager. Den ene dag har jeg

stormandsgalskab – den anden dag lider

jeg af den mest spyttende selvforagt.

Nei det er formeget forlangt at faa en

anbefaling af Mùnch. Jeg er bedre idag – en

snild apotheker i Förde smùgler ind medicin

til mig – den er forbùdt ved arkanaloven –

og den blir frygtelig dyr – men jeg maa være

glad, at jeg kan faa den – thi jeg har nù velsig-

net den i 2 dage, siden jeg fik den. Undskyld

min sövnighed og alle feil. Tak for alt Dere har

gjort for mig. Eders hengivne Astrup

Opp ned tekst øverst:

Jeg skylder mange penge men jeg har hidtil

sluppet at tigge – jeg har ikke taget en öre fra min far siden jeg var 19 aar. 

Oversettelse

    Dear Höst and Mrs.

Thank you for Your kind letter,

which I continue to be rude

enough not to answer straightaway.

But I have been so dreadfully ill

throughout the fall, that I haven’t had the

strength to do anything – and hence have

not managed to send You the

four "Spring Night Atmospheres" either. I had

planned to make a trip in to

Bergen and take the pictures along,

because it is too difficult to have

them sent without having crates

I might of course write to

Bergen to order crates, but then

that would constitute a considerable investment 

for me – as I was travelling there myself,

I could take the pictures

along

Upside down text at top of page: 

I send greetings from my wife, I have evidently forgotten

to do so before – she always asks me to do so. 

without their having to be in crates

I might also have crates made

here, but the people here don’t have

time until the outdoor work is finished.

As mentioned I have been very ill

– the choking seizures have increased 

in strength and rob me of any sleep

during the night – It is worst 

when after a week of insomnia

I become so exhausted, and I sleep

so deeply, that not even the strongest chok-

ing seizure is capable of awakening me;

because this unexplained anxiety, which

always accompanies the choking seizures,

is at its worst, when I am sleeping and am

incapable of waking – it then becomes

a horrible dream, in which I am

sinking down into a swamp and can no longer

hold my head above the mire

and it will fill my mouth and suffocate me

I can lie in torture like this for a few

hours before I finally awaken. At times

I dream, that I am being stalked by

people – at others I stumble down into a hole

in the ground, and the more I struggle to

climb up, the more the soil 

cascades down around me, so that in the end

I am totally covered and am forced to inhale

soil rather than air – then I try

to dig my way through the earth

but get caught in between 

the roots of some tree or other –

I strain and struggle, and when I am

well past one branch of a root, there are

a profusion of others left – which cross one another

and weave themselves into one another

in the most complicated manner, 

so that in the end I lie totally 

clamped between the mass of roots.

Sometimes I become entangled in a great

machinery with a multitude of

wheels, that are rotating, and I have 

to follow the movement of the wheel in order not

to be crushed into pieces, and when in an a-

dept manner I have escaped from one

wheel, then I immediately find myself in

another, and if I finally emerge out of

this one, to my horror I arrive straight

into a row of piston rods that

move back and forth past each other and 

squeeze me so that I lose my breath.

My heart has become overstrained – the doctor has

said that it could lead to heart fail-

ure. – Stabbing pain, fever and nervousness follow after

such attacks – but as I mentioned the unexplained 

anxiety is the worst, which includes suffocation

seizures both in a waking and especially in a sleeping

state. In a waking state the anxiety is 

often associated with my fellow human beings,

while I am being tormented by the suffocation – I hear

footsteps outside in the dark – that creep up along

the wall under the windows, I must extinguish

the lamp so they cannot see enough to shoot

me through the window – I load my

II

revolver in the dark and firmly

believe, that it is a matter of life and death and

drag myself despite being suffocated out into the hall

to barricade the door – it’s these advocates of 

New Norwegian – that get into my head,

when I am exhausted from insomnia and chok-

ing seizures. It also happens by the way,

that I am being pursued by people, when I

sleep – that happened one night I fell asleep after

several nights of insomnia and dreamt during

a choking seizure a hideous dream 

about the bailiff – I met my arch-

enemy at Hægrenes – there was a assembly – and

the bailiff asked to have a word with me:

I followed. Now the bailiff had recently

been in a financial predicament and to get

hold of some money he had purchased a number

of demijohns of gas and set up

a small lighting system in his house and went around

collecting money from people in order to 

expand the lighting system, so that people in the vicinity

could have cheap lighting installed in their houses

through chords running from his house. I opp-

opposed him and told people, that he

only wished to pump them for money, he could

not build a gasworks etc. So then

I met him in Hægrenes, and he asked me to follow

him into his cellar to have a glass [of beer] with him

– "You know, that when there is an assembly the bai-

liff always has a little something in the cellar"

he said – so I followed him down to the cellar,

where there were a multitude of white lacquered boilers

and pipes – "And here is my lighting system", I thought

I heard him say, and then he went over to a spot,

where there was an anchor or something that

looked like a barrel with a nozzle, this he took 

hold of, and then he said: "wait a moment, and

You will see something" – then he went up

a staircase and slammed a door and locked it behind him.

An ominous suspicion came over me then,

but then I heard his voice through 

a pipe – "can You smell a pleasant odour"? Well I smelled

a terrible odour of gas – "no it’s not actually

pleasant" I replied – "well now You can smell

that odour for an hour or so" he said. The smell of gas

became stronger and stronger, in the end I

could hardly breathe anymore, I 

dashed desperately around the cellar 

looking for a way out; but the two doors

were closed – it became increasingly unbearable, the

unbearable anxiety also made its appearance – abruptly 

in a flash I understood, how cunning he had

been, as to install the gas nozzle

in a barrel, someone had once stolen

beer from his cellar, and I heard it

hinted at, that he had evidently suspected

me – now he took advantage of the

false rumour he had once spread

about me – now he wished to give people

grounds to believe, that I had broken 

into the cellar and had opened the gaz nozzle

in the barrel believing it was beer, and when

I hadn’t been able to turn the nozzle off

I was asphyxiated by the gas. My thoughts

swirled around in my head, all the while 

I was being being asphyxiated, I remembered from

my childhood years, when some beer was stolen in the

bailiff’s cellar, and the bailiff kept

watch in a dark corner of the cellar at night

and then someone slipped in

through a little opening and was caught

by the watchman, the instant he began to tap

the barrel of beer – it turned out to be the bailiff’s

own son – just as this memory appeared

to me, I came to think of the little

opening that the bailiff’s son had slipped

through, maybe it could rescue me; then 

I also remembered, that I had now and again seen 

a small light somewhere in the cellar, a light,

that would occasionally vanish and become dark; I

went over to that spot and examined it carefully, I 

then saw that it was the head of the bailiff 

looking in through the opening now and then moving

a little, so that a bit of light slipped in, I became

enraged and gathering my last vestiges of strength, I took

up my revolver and walked directly over to the opening and

fired at the bailiff’s head, but at the same time became

so asphyxiated, that everything went 

black, and I fell to the floor

III

and I felt that I must surely die. I finally

awoke during a terrible choking fit,

but still it was a relief to awaken

from the dream. Although it lasted for a while longer

before I could shed the belief,

that the bailiff was nearby and was pursuing 

me – I had to go over to the window and in order to

breathe again – oddly enough there was the bail-

iff slinking around right outside the house.

The evening before people had also seen him

slinking around behind the house, where he had no

business being, another evening his 

son-in-law was likewise there. I don’t dare associate

with people of late – I don’t dare go out to paint

alone, for I have foes everywhere, or

perhaps I only imagine it, – no it

cannot be imagination, when they scowl 

ominously at me if I meet someone on the road –

it cannot be imagination, when

one assails my wife with abuse

and makes insinuations about me, when she goes

into the shop or post office, they attribute

Upside down text at top of page: 

I shall soon send a few pictures, if You can

wait so long[,] I am coming in to Bergen at the end of Oct.

to me the authorship of a coarse newspaper-article

about an a click here in the village – the article

is entirely truthful, and the said click can-

not disassociate themselves from the allegations put

forth – and are all the more furious at the

anonymous author, who they now believe is 

me – I did not know of the existence of

a paper with that the newspaper’s name until I heard of

the article, that was printed in it, – I only

wish they would just as well say it to

me in the presence of witnesses, so that I might

have them made legally responsible,

I must of course write to the newspaper and

ask them to clear me of the authorship.

One can never be left in peace from one’s fellow

human beings. But it may well be a result 

of the fact that I am constantly saddled by a nerv-

ousness – something that resembles a bad conscience

I don’t know, that I have done anything, that

would cause me to have it, sometimes

I imagine, that it is the painting, which 

I haven’t realized as I should, that I

have deceived my fellow human beings –

that I have never created art only

deceived myself and others into thinking so,

even in this instant I am not certain

of it – when I received Your letter, in which

You mentioned that Mùnch liked my

pictures I became very happy; – for Munch

is known for giving his opinion

about art ruthlessly; – but then

I began one night to ponder

it: what if Mùnch said it ironically

and was amused, that I was

deceiving folk, – but then I often

say to myself: why have you

struggled so with your work, if it

were all humbug – I try to

console myself so that the anxiety and 

(what I believe is) bad conscience shall

disappear. Now I wish to ask You 

Mr. Höst or Your Mrs. to do

me a great favour. Would You 

if it is not too much to ask

write to Mùnch and ask him to tell

me honestly, what he thinks of my

art, or perhaps You might ask him 

to give me a recommendation – there is a small

Danish stipend in the amount of 125,00 kroner I wish

to apply for – Norwegians can also get it –

it is called: "The Hjelmstjerne Rosencroneske

Endowment". You might say, that I would like to have

his recommendation for this or another

stipend. – It would do me no end of 

good to see a recommendation from Mùnch

now, while I go around thinking I am 

a creator of humbug. One day I am a

megalomaniac – the next day I 

suffer from the most bitter self-loathing.

No it is too much to ask to get a

recommendation from Mùnch. I am better today – a 

kind pharmacist in Förde smuggles in medicine

for me – it is forbidden by the Arkana law–

and it will be terribly costly – but I should be

happy to be so fortunate to have it – for I have now sung

its praises for two days, from the time I received it. Pardon

my drowsiness and all the mistakes. Thank you for all You have

done for me. Your devoted Astrup

Upside down text at top of page: 

I owe a lot of money but I have as yet

not been forced to beg – I have not taken one öre [centesimal subdivision for Norwegian krones] from my father since I was 19 years old.