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Transkripsjon
Oversettelse

Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Kramer, Per
1921-11
ubb-ms-1808-e-11, MARCUS – Spesialsamlingene ved Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen

20 sider

Transkripsjon

Kjære Kramer og frùe

Först tusend tak for pakken med aprikoserne, 

som har glædet Engel og börnene, og som ogsaa har 

gjort mig meget godt i min elendighet. – Ja jeg sidder

her og pùster og stönner natten lang og sover bare lidt

om dagene. Ja, saa maa jeg frembære en ùnd-

skyldning for mit forrige brev ("kortbrevet"); – jeg var

saa daarlig den dagen, at jeg först havde sendt brevet

paa posthùset ùden adresse, – siden, da det blev til-

bakesendt af Kristoffer, for at jeg skulde tilföie adres-

se, – saa glemte jeg selvfölgelig at se efter, om det

var rigtig frankeret, og först efter at det var gaaet

i posten, kom jeg efter, at der var jo forliden porto, –

saa dù fik betale dobbelt porto for det. Ja jeg er en 

sörgelig fyr; – ja det er saa aldeles rigtig, det dù siger,

at jeg er likegyldig for alt paa grùnd af asthmaen,

(og den dermed fölgende træthed). – I aar har ogsaa en 

stadig forkjölelse slaaet fölge med asthmaandfaldene, – saa at

lùngerne kjendes ud, som om de var hudlöse af all

hostingen og sprængningen ùnder kvælningsandfaldene, – jeg

kan næsten ikke bevæge mig. Saa er det skyld og gjælds-

krav, som ogsaa plager, – saa det er ikke let sak, at se

lyst paa tilværelsen, – her er nù ogsaa vist et dyrt

sted at bo, især for den, som skal kjöbe næsten 

alt. Har du faaet ordnet med Flùge om sau-væderen?

Ja nù skal du höre, hvordan det gik med min 

kjödforsyning for iaar; – jeg lovet at kjöbe Lovisas

saùer, – men saa kommer her to spekulanter, som 

kjöber op alt, som de kan opdrive af saùekjött, og 

de begyndte nede i bygden og kjöbte op fort væk

til 3,00 kr. pr kg. ja de gav endog 3,20 for fin fin vare. 

Lovisas far, sa til Lovisa, at nù maatte hùn enten 

faa vished paa, hvor langt jeg vilde töie mig i prisen –

eller sælge til disse opkjöberne, – (de samme op-

kjöber-spekùlanter skal have tabt over 2000 kr.) –

Ja jeg begyndte at blive ræd for, at det kunde gaa mig, som

et aar för, da her kom slige opkjöbere, – og jeg næsten

intet fik kjöbe, – dengang havde jeg lidt saùer selv, men

i aar vilde det blive værre, – da jeg ingen havde, – jeg skyndte 

mig derfor at byde 2,80; – jeg troede ikke Lovisa vilde taget 

mig paa budet, – men det gjorde hùn, – og straks efter gik 

smalekjödet ned i 2,00 – saa Lovisa havde en extra

fortjeneste af 80–90 kr. paa de 80 örene. Jeg fortalte Flùge

dette, og han sagde da i farten, at det var nöiagtig den pris, 

som bedste sort saùekjöd stod i, da han solgte nù vædder

II

til Kramer tidlig i höst, – ja dette var han ord, – som 

jeg straks tænkte, jeg skùlde lade dig vide; – ifald – det er

dig ùmùligt at faa greit regnskab fra ham, saa

har du altsaa hans ord her, og jeg bad Engel og svigermor

mærke sig det. Stakkars mand han er nok værre ned-

for en jeg endnù er, – i ökonomisk henseende; – lens-

manden var her en dag og pantede hos ham for 2 kredi-

torer. – Petra – datteren var rent utröstelig og kom graatende

til mig, om jeg ikke kunde hjælpe dem med 3–400 kr. saa

panting eller aùktion blev ùdsat, – det var tùngt for mig

at sige nei, – især da jeg er opnævnt til formynder eller

værge for hende, – men jeg havde ikke saa mange penge

heller, – jeg havde samme dag maattet laane svigermor 100 Kr. 

Fluge troede nok, han skùlde klaret braserne dennegang

ved en "transaktion", – eller hvad jeg skal kalde det, – han 

fik nemlig "alt sit" overfört paa Petras navn, saa han 

selv bare skulde være at regne som en kaarmand, der intet

eiede (det var i den anledning Petra maatte have værge), – men 

ak, – den gikk ikke den; – lendsmanden tok ikke papirerne

"for god fisk", – (der var igrunden en liden formell feil

ved dem, noget som jeg ogsaa havde sagt Fluge paa forhand, at

jeg var bange for; – men han maatte helt til Amerika til 

sin sön med papirerne, skulde han have faaet det rettet, og 

det var der ingen tid til, – han troede ogsaa sikkert at alt

skulde klare sig med papirerne, slig som det var.) –––

Ja dù nævner billedet ("rabarbrabilledet"), – ja dù synes

nok, – og med rette, – at jeg længst bùrde sendt dig det, –

og jeg har været paa vei at faa det afsted flere gange, men 

saa finder jeg altid noget, som jeg ikke liker og maa

rette paa, – og saa har jeg vistnok i höst havt en raptùs

i retning af at blive "gammel dags", som din frùe siger. – 

Ja jeg maa gratùlere hende med den storartede fremgang 

"paa kùnstens tornefulde sti" – som det vistnok hed i gamle

dage, – "paa kùnstens farefulde footballs plads bane" bùrde 

det vel hede i mere moderne sprog, – eller for damers

vedkommende faar man vel heller sige "tennisplads". – 

Ja, "spög frabedes" – altsaa i fùldt alvor: – jeg mente, hvad 

jeg sa til dig i sommer: at hùn var meget begavet

Ja hils hende fra mig, at hùn aldrig skal bekymre sig, om 

hùn er gammeldags eller ikke, – begyndere har lov at

være gammeldags eller moderne, efter som det passer dem, 

det gjælder bare at fölge "den indre stemme"; jeg har desværre

saa længe været ùlydig imod den, at den næsten er holdt

op at tale til mig. Naar vi er inde paa kapittelet

"gammeldags", saa begynder jeg næsten at blive ræd for, 

at din frùe kommer til at mislike Rabarbra billedet, – det er saa

rart med de "ùnge", som maler selv – de finder altid

saa meget ùnödigt ved det, de ældre gjör, – – jeg kjender

III Per Kramers håndskrift: Lærred

til det af egen erfaring, – da jeg selv var ùng, – det kommer

af, at man ser anderledes, naar man blir ældre, tror jeg. 

Nù först begynder jeg, at forstaa, hvorledes "rabarbrabilledet" skùlde 

været malt; – men da maatte jeg havt et dobbelt saa stort lær-

red. – Jaa naar talen kommer paa lærred, – saa kom jeg 

til at tænke paa en ting. – hvis din frùe har brug for

lærred nù (eller til sommer brùg), saa har jeg fortiden en 

ùdmærket præparatùr, – der er sammensat efter alle viden-

skabelige resùltaleter paa dette omraade, (og jeg har fulgt

grùndig med alle stùdier, som er gjort paa dette omraade)

Hvis din frùe altsaa vil sende noget lærred (linstrie) altsaa– saa

skal det være mig en fornöielse at præparere nogle lærreder

til hende, – hùn kan kjöbe lærred af den sort, som damerne

bruker til de saakaldte "linkjoler", – altsaa den graa ùblegede

linstrie, – den er mest fri for knùder, – (det er nemlig

slig, at der oftest kommer knùder frem ùnder præpare-

ringen; – det er knùder, som har ligget gjæmt i vævingen, –

eller er valsede eller pressende ind i töiet, saa de ikke vises) – men 

som sagt, dette lærred er mest knùdefrit, og de knùder, som frem-

kommer er let at skjære bort med en tynd skarp bordkniv – 

(mellem andet og tredje "strög" af præpareringen). Er der flere

sorter, saa kjöb det, som er mest "grissent". Jeg er i den 

senere tid kommet efter, at et lærred helst bör præpareres

paa begge sider, – det ùdvider og sammentrækker sig da gjevnere

ùnder tempereaturforandringer; – selve lærredet og traadene danner da

bare ligesom skelettet eller fibrene i et skind, – helst bùrde

lærredet ogsaa males paa begge sider, – franskmanden 

Vibert, som i aarevis havde fast gage af den franske stat 

for at stùdere lærredsteknik (saavel som farver og oljers

holdbarhed), – han raader til at stryge over baksiden

af lærredet med tyk politùr, – det samme gjör

nogle tyske authoriteter; – men jeg har ved experimenter

fùndet ud, at det er uheldigt, da der blir to forskjellige

stoffer paa hver side af lærredet, – hver med sin forskjel-

lige ùdvidelses evne, – og virkningerne er: tùsendvis af næsten 

politurer trænger ogsaa tvers gjennem og skader farven –

mikroskopiske smaasprækker – som i det fineste rùtenett. 

De gamle hollændere brugte og at præparere sine lærreder

paa begge sider, – og deres billeder har holdt sig godt (, hvor

de ikke har brugt "bitùme" eller "asfalt"– farve).

Naar jeg præparerer, gaar jeg ud fra, at det förste, det gjælder, er

at bevare skelettet eller lærredet med dets traade og fibre; –

disse ödelægges nemlig let af alle oljer, som gjör dem möre 

eller raatne, – samtidig gjælder det at hindre, at de enkelte

traade eller fibre faar anledning at "töie sig"– mere end andre. 

Til begge disse foremaal maa der brùges et sammenbindende 

middel; – lim, som brùkes af næsten alle fabrikker, – er

uheldigt at brùke, da det har en altforstor fölsomhed overfor

fugtighed og dets sterke sammentrækningsevne er meget

forskjelligt fra oljernes som helst utvider sig , og selv om dette kan ophæves en del, 

ved at fabrikkerne "kjærner" limen sammen med olje, saa er 

det dog galt, – desùden faar man jo da oljen direkte i lærredet, 

hvad man jùst vilde söke at undgaa med at præpareringen; – det gjælder 

jo at "kapsle" ind "skelettet" först; – dertil har jeg sögt at finde

et bindemiddel med næsten samme ùdvidelsesevne som lærredet

IIII

selv, – (nù har rigtignok de forskjellige fibre i traadene af forskjel-

lig udvidelsesevne, men en god præparatùr skal kùnne udgjevne

dette for en væsentlig del). Til dette brùg har jeg fùndet

ud at blanding af ostestof (renset caseïn) gelatin og æg

danner et lignende bindemiddel, som bindestoffet i skind – (det 

vanskeligste er at faa det rigtige forhold, – da stofferne ikke altid 

er sig selv like), – (at faa ostestoffet oplöst til en klar masse

er forresten ikke let). Med denne præparatùr bearbeider jeg lær-

redet paa begge sider, saa længe til hver eneste fiber er 

gjennemtrùkket af denne grunderingspræparatùr, – det blir 

da forelöbig et "skind", men et skind ùden porer, – dette er ikke

heldig, da det let kan blive en isolerende flate, som "skaller"

fra sig (det, som lægges paa dette igjen af præparation og farge); – jeg bruger derfor, – forin-

den dette förste strög er tört, – at gaa det over med samme slags

præparatùr tilsat med lidt kridt og zinkhvidt i; – dette danner

porer; hvori de næste strök af præparatùr samt malingen kan 

"slaa rötter" i. – I næste strök, brùker jeg samme præpara-

tùr men med mere tilsætning af kridt og zinkhvidt – samt lidt

olje og æg (æg har nemlig den mærkelige evne, naar det er "velpisket",

at det danner et forsonende bindeledd mellem vandholdige 

stoffer og oljer, som da lader sig blande uden atter at skille

sig fra hindanden) – (dette gjælder dog kùn en viss mængde; thi

hvis man tilförer formeget olje, skilles det sig en del olje ud

efter en tids henstaaen.) Hvilken olje, man skal brùge, 

har alle tider været det store spörgsmaal. Vibert prövede

alle mùlige oljer, linoljen som brùkes af fabrikkerne (fordi

den er billigst) er aldeles forkastelig af den grùnd, at den 

stadig udvider sig til evig tid – (iallefald i mindst 100 aar) – 

og en slig stadig udvidelse kan hverken lærred, præparatùr, eller

de mineralske farver og kridtet taale (særlig ikke gelatinstoffet

som arbeider haardnakket imod), og resultatet (sprækker) maa da være givet

linoljen mörkner ogsaa farven paa forhaand. Vibert blandede oljer og fernisser sammen, 

og det er mùlig, at hans olje var ùdmærket, men den er

helvedes dyr, og ingen andre end l`Franc`s farvefa-

brik i Paris kjender sammensætningen. Jeg har forsökt

at sætte sammen en olje af de oljer og stivnende harpixer,

som havde mindst "udvidelseslyst"; – jeg brùker dog lidt lin-

olje (men af den franske blegede) – for at modvirke et par

andre oljer og fernissers sammentrækkende evne, – ligeledes brù-

ker jeg kopaiva balsam af same grund og fordi den gjör oljen mykere – meir elastisk naar den er tor – men begge 

dele

i ringe mængder, – hovedbestandelen er den «venetianske ter-

pentin», som blir stenhaard, naar den törrer; – ved at blande denne

med parafin (schnowflake), kan den let renses, saa den blir helt

lys, og den blir da ogsaa tyndere, saa den let lader sig blande

med andre oljer, som valmùeolje, som har næsten samme egen-

skab (at blive haard), men den er dog mere elastisk, – disse

4 nævnte olje eller harpixagtige stoffer blander jeg vel og til-

sætter lidt mastix for törringens skyld – (denne er forresten af næsten

samme art, som den venetianske terpentin) (som den muligens

ogsaa er fremstillet af med lidt tilsætning af schellak) – paa

denne maade faar jeg en alsidig olje, der ikke udvider sig for

sterkt; – for at disse oljers celler skal komme i mest mùlig 

intim beröring, til sætter jeg lidt lavendelolje, som letter blandin-

gen, – saa det blir en ensartet olje af de forskjellige. –––

Hvis jeg ikke kan opdrive alle disse stoffe, brùker jeg bare

valmùolje, som er den "centrale" olje i denne blanding (– lærredet

V

törrer da vel langsomt mellem hvert strök, og jeg tilsætter 

derfor lidt mastix eller anden god fernis (dog aldrig <Packts> 

retoùcher fernis, som jeg i gamle dage ödelagte et par billeder

med). I den anden gangs præparering, brùker jeg dog ikke

meget olje, – men gnider denne præparatùr saa vel som 

mùligt ind i grùndingen for at faa "rötterne" godt

ind denne, – jeg gnider til lærredet er næsten tört; – 

tager det da mere præparatùr til sig, gnider jeg det atter ind i grùnd-

deringen og holder paa slig, til lærredet er "mætt" af denne

præparatùr, – naar det da er halvtört, tager jeg en pensel og

stryger det ret og slet over med van og lidt æg for at hindre, at

der skal danne sig et oljelag ytterst i lærredshinden. 

Naar dette er tört, skjærer jeg bort alle knùder; – dette burde 

kanske helst gjöres efter grùnderingen (og saa grùnderes lett

over igjen); thi man blottes jo lidt af "skelettet" ved at sjære

knùderne over, – men saa lader de sig ikke saa godt skjære

bare efter en gangs præparering eller grùndering, – dette er dog

forskjellig efter den forskjellige lærreders strùktùr. – Sidste gangs

præparing (den 3de, hvis jeg vil have lærredet til at "slaa lidt ind" og

den 4de gangs præparering, viss jeg ikke vil, at det skal "slaa ind") – 

altsaa sidste gangs præparering, tilsætter jeg præpararturen saa meget olje,

som ægmængden vil oplöse (samt kridt og zinkvidt o.s.v.

som i den foregaaende præparatur) – paa denne maade, faar jeg da

en "organisk" overgang fra skindstoffet til oljestoffet, som jo er

bindemiddelet i vore farver. Naar den sidste gangs præparatur er 

halvtör gaar jeg ogsaa den over med lidt vand og en "lùftpensel". Nù bùrde

man jo helst ogsaa bruke samme slags olje til at male med. –––

Ja nù har jeg plaget dig nok med kapittelet: "præparering"

Jeg skal dog kanske faa lov at tilföie, at blindrammen 

behöver din frùe ikke at sende; thi jeg har fùndet en 

flink og billig snedker i den herredstyre kasereren, som 

dere hùsker, – han har arbeidet mig blindrammen til 

Kr. 2,50 pr. stk. og lagt til materialerne, – og saa sætter

han "skraabrodder" paa til midlertidig stötte af rammerne

under præpareringen; – da röiner det nemlig saa hardt paa

rammen at "kjöperammen" som regel "springer" i hjörnerne, 

og det er en det forargeligste som findes, naar et vel opspændt

og vel præpareret lærred pludselig hænger som en vaskefille, 

fordi rammen er "sprùnget i stykker". – Saa maa din frùe opgive

omtrent, hvor store lærreder (og rammer) hùn vil have. –––

Ja saa var det reisen, – ja jeg kunde fortælle dig mange

historier om dette stipendiet, – om ùnge malere, som i 

kjærlighed til mig vil faa konsùl Mohr til at tvinge

mig af gaarde paa den maade, at jeg skal dele med disse, 

fordi de altsaa skal passe paa mig, – nù ja, jeg har

allerede sagt for meget – lad det endelig ikke komme

videre! – jeg er bleven saa ræd sladder i den senere tid, 

at jeg helst ikke taler med nogen om stipendiet eller

reisen; – man har taget fra mig et stipendium för – uden 

grùnd – bare for sladderens skyld – eller rettere ligefrem lögn.

Jeg har lyst at se, om man vover det en gang til. ––– Jeg var nù i den lykkelige tro, at de ùnge malere nù havde glemt, at jeg havde stipendiùm.

Saa er det ogsaa en anden ting, – jeg har lagt mærke til, – at hvis

man lægger en plan for en reise, og taler om den – bliver den aldrig af, eller

den blir helt mislykket; – naar jeg skal reise – vil jeg

helst intet sige derom til nogen ikke engang til Engel, – jeg

VI

bestemmer det kanskje et par dage forùd og siger det kanske

samme dag til Engel eller kanskje först et par timer för

jeg er færdig til reisen. Forresten er det for òieblikket

ùmùligt for mig at löpe fra mine forpligtelser her

hjemme. Men sa meget kan jeg sige, at det blir

engang i vinter, hvis jeg klarer at ordne den værste gjæld, –

og jeg vil da tage Engel, Eva og Kari med, – Kari kan 

da passe Eva lidt saa Engel faar lidt fri – ellers vilde

tùren være næsten spildt for hendes vedkommende. 

Hvad frù Breyholtz har sagt, om at jeg kom ind til Bergen 

för jùl er en misforstaaelse. –––

Jeg er ogsaa saa daarlig for tiden, at jeg ikke kan tænke klart. 

Her har forresten hændt noget i bygden, som har sat os alle

i en viss ùhyggestemning, – da det er saa mystisk og ufor-

klarligt: Dù har sikkerlig seet det af aviserne at 5

ùnge mennesker er druknet i Jölstervandet, da de skulde

hid til Sandal i fest. En baad rodde lige efter dem, 

og folkene i denne sidste baad, har hverken hört skrik 

eller seet noget, og det var blikstille veir med ùsedvanlig

sterke nordlys, der lyste næsten som maaneskin. Vi kjendte

jo godt disse ùnge mennesker, – den ene var her paa gaarden 

medens dere var her, – han var en dygtig svömmer, og det

gjör gaaden endnù mere uforstaaelig. Det var mors baad (jeg

eier foresten halvdelen i den), som blev brugt, og det er den stöeste

baad paa Jölstervandet (af færingsbaade) – den var egentlig bygget

til en liden sexæring og var derfor lidt tùng til færing at

være; jeg har rod og seilet med den i mange aar og brugte

större seil, end man pleier til færings baade, og den var

saa stö, at jeg skjelden brugte ballast, – jeg kùnde godt

staa paa en af riperne – om der hverken fandtes ballast

eller folk i baaten, – ja jeg vil paa staa, at 2 ikke alt-

for tùnge eller store – mænd kùnde staa paa samme

ripen, ùden at baaten gikk rùndt. Der var folk oppe

næsten hele natten paa den nordre siden af vandet, – da

der var fest der ogsaa, – men ingen har hört en lyd

(uden en jente, som var lagt, og som skùlde höre et flerstemmigt

skrik, – her betvivler man dog sandheden af hendes ord; thi

hùn var iallefald fjernere fra de druknedes baat, end

den baat, som rodde like efter). Hvilken magt det er, 

som har kunnet vælte denne baat, – det er det ubegripelige

Engel tror, at det er "ormen", som man fra gammelt

har troet holdt til paa bunden af vandet – (den skulde

engang været seet paa Skei), – ja man kunde fristes til at

tro noget lignende. Baaten fandt man dagen efter væltet og 

kùn en hùe og en aare laa ùnder den; – baaten maa altsaa være

væltet saa plùdselig, at alle er kommet ind ùnder den, ùden at

faa anledning at give et skrik fra sig. Her vrimler selvfölge-

lig af historier og gisninger, – ondsinde totalister har ogsaa

været ùde i aviser og talt om "rùsdrykk" mod bedre vidende;

thi N.O. Øvrebö, som alle stoler paa, erklærede straks, at han 

havde været i mange timer sammen med disse ùnge förend

de drog ùd, og talte med dem da de drog, – der var sikkert

VII

gaaet dagesvis, siden nogen af dem havde smagt alkohol,

kùn en af dem havde drukket et par glas öl dagen

forùd, men det var da over 12 timer forùd, og kùnde

det selvfölgelig ingen indflydelse have da. Den eneste

natùrlige forklaring, jeg kùnde tænke mig, var, at den, som 

roede, har mistet en aare; – under forsöket paa at naa

i denne, har han töiet sig for langt ud, og er gaaet over

bord, – de andre har da sklùllet gripe efter ham, og hvis

alle de andre fire da lagde sig ud over ripen, kunde de nok kanske

klare at vælte baaten, – men saa er der ting, som taler

mod dette, – han, som roede, var den samme, som var 

her i sommer: Nils Hægrenes, – han var som nævnt en dyg-

tig svömmer, og den eneste rigtig "baatvande" at dem alle, 

derfor blev det han, som roede, og han vilde da neppe

have mistet aaren, og om han det havde, vilde han dog neppe

töiet sig saa langt ùd, at han gik over bord; – han vilde straks

taget den anden aare og "fisket op" den, han misted; – og selv om 

han havde været saa uheldig at gaa overbord, vilde han svömmet

hen til baaten igjen og kommet sig ombord ùden vanskelighed ved

egen hjælp. De andre – 2 jenter og 2 gùtter var ogsaa saa ùvante

paa baat, at de var altfor rædde til at vove sig til at gripe

efter en aare eller en kamerat, som var gaaet overbord. –––

Det kan jo ogsaa tænkes at være foregaaet paa den maate, at en 

anden af personene har gaaet overbord, og Nils Hægrenes har skullet

berge; og i den glatte og isede baat, har de andre tabt fodfæstet, 

naar baaden blev lagt paa siden, – saa at alle har glidd ned

i samme baadbord og saaledes væltet baaten; – men jeg forstaar ikke, 

hva grùnd nogen af de andre skulde have til at gaa over

bord; – da de hverken kunde ro eller var vant i baat, maa 

man tro, at de holdt sig i ro paa sine pladse. –––

Her har været drevet "sökning" hver dag af en masse baater

men hidtil ùden resùltat. – Naar sligt hænder, viser

det sig at overtro og hedenskab endnù har sterk magt

i bygderne (heldigvis havde jeg nær sagt), – saaledes har

man nù med sig haner i baadene, som sokner, thi

ifölge gammel tro, er hanen nödt at gale, naar den 

föres over et lik. Flere gange har man havt noget 

paa soknene, men det har enten slitnet, eller det har

været noget rùsk; – en fik op noget mærkeligt, som 

lignede en hestehale – antagelig en algeart, som lever

paa det store dyp, – man har været ned på 120 favne. 

Engel vilde, at jeg skùlde skrive til dig, og bede dig gaa

ind til en spaakjærring og faa vide, hvor de ligger; – men jeg

troede ikke, der var saa dygtige spaakjærringer i byn, at det

var hjælp i det; – nogle skal forresten vistnok have hendvendt

sig til en slig, som er ude paa Moldöen. Jeg tror nù ikke

likene de er komne paa bùnden endnù; thi ùlykken foregik antagelig

midt paa vandet (ellers maatte Nils klaret sig ved svömning),

og paa saa stort dyp er der saa sterk "opdrivt", at likene blev

for lette til at synke. Ja nù har jeg atter plaget dig. Hils

din frùe og dine börn – fra alle her – Engel skriver kanske

nogle ord i morgen. Eders hengivne Astrùp

P.S Kjære ven: 

Just som jeg skùlde sende brevet kommer en liden smaapige

datter af "Flekken" (Johannes Stranden) og spörger efter

adressen til Kramer; – jeg forstod godt, at det gjaldt noget

"lùreri", – og lod som jeg overhörte det, – men hùn gav sig ikke

hùn skùlde hilse fra sin far og mor (de folkene som dere kjöpte

melk af i sommer og som tok 5 öre mere end meieriet pr. liter)

de vilde sende sin smaapike til byn, da doktoren hadde

sagt, at hùn maatte opereres i næsen, – og saa skùlde hùn 

besöke dere – og maatte altsaa vide hvor dere boede; – Jeg op-

gav da din adresse paa Mùralmenning, da det jo ikke er 

mening i, at alle folk som Dere kommer i beröring med her

skal finde paa at "lægge sig ind paa" dere, naar de er nödt

at reise til Bergen for en eller annen sykdom, – dù kunde

paa den maade blive nödt at indrede et helt hospital i 

dit hùs, – disse folk har god raad, men er gjærrige som bare

fanden; men de har naturligvis hört om din godhed mod

Flùge, og nù tror de, at de skal kunne nytte sit bekjendskab

med Eder paa samme made. – Jeg vilde bare varsle dig

om dette i tide. Nù forstaar jeg ogsaa, hvofor jeg havde den 

ære nettop at faa en visit af bygdeskùrken Olai Sægrov

han er en af "opkjöperne", og en bror af "Flekkens" kone (Syn-

neve Stranden) – , han skal natùrligvis til byen i den nærmeste

fremtid og jobbe med kjöd flesk og skind, som han har lùret fra folk, 

og saa skal han natùrligvis tage med sin lille sösterdatter og gaa op

til Eder, – og pröve at prakke hende paa Eders venlige hospital, –

kanske han ogsaa samtidig skal pröve at prakke ind paa dig en 

fleskeskinke, – jeg var nemlig uforsigtig nok til at nævne for ham, at jeg 

skùlde havt en skinke til Kramer, og om han vidste

prisen (vi gjör det nemlig ofte paa den maade her, – at vi 

spörger en af opkjöberne om prisen, – naar vi skal kjöbe et

et eller andet hos en mand, som aldrig kan blive enig med

sig selv om hvor meget han skal forlange, – vi nævner 

da samtidig til opkjöberen, at vi skal kjöbe noget hos

en mand, som ikke veed prisen; – opkjöberen blir da ræd

for, at vi kan sætte priserne op for ham ved at give for

meget, og han nævner da laveste pris – ogsaa i det stille

haab, at vi ikke skal faa kjöbe for den pris, – saa han 

har bedre chance for at faa kjöbe, naar han kommer til 

samme mand og kan byde lidt mere. Vi gaar da til den

mand vi skal kjöbe noget hos og siger: at opkjöber

den og den har sagt i dag, at prisen er slig og slig – 

af gammel erfaring byder jeg da altid lidt paa mere; thi 

ellers nægter man at sælge, og det har flere gange hændt,

at jeg paa den maade har givet akkùrat det samme, som opkjö-

peren, – idet han altsaa var tænkt at give höiere pris end den, 

han nævte til mig.) – Denne gang var imidlertid Olai Sægrov

meget forsigtig og betænksom, förend han opgav mig nogen pris, – han 

havde gjerne hört, at jeg havde spùrgt efter en skinker, – og nù troede

han der var forretning at gjöre, naar det var til dig, jeg altsaa vilde

kjöbe, – tilslut svarte han, at prisen antagelig var mindst 5 50, –

jeg var forbaùset over, at han nævnte saa höi pris og sa, at til den

pris var jeg bùden en skinke, og jeg skùlde nù skrive til Kramer

og spörge, om han vilde give den pris (og saa skùlde Olai faa beskjed

fra mig, naar jeg fik svar fra dig, saa kùnde han, ifald dù gav den

pris, skaffe dig en skinke ogsaa han). Jeg synes det maa være for 

stiv pris, – men kanske flesk er steget igjen, – jeg er dog sikker markert: Ø

Markert: Ø   

paa at flesk gaar meget ned til vaaren, – men for öieblik-

ket er der kanske mangel paa bygderne, – da folk har solgt,

hvad sælges kan, medens priserne endnù stod oppe. Hvis nù 

Olai Sægrov ùden videre kommer til dig med en skinke

(uden först at faa dit svar gjennem mig), saa bör dù iallefald

ikke give mer end 5,25 (jeg tror prisen bör være 5,00; – men 

de 25 öre kan han kanske trænge for transporten til Bergen, –

det vil blive mere om jeg skulde sende det herfra). –––

Dù forstaar af dette, at dit svar var önskeligt hùrtigst mùligt

sæt for exempel prisen til 5,00 kr. pr.kg. betalt paa stedet her og 

5,25 leveret i Bergen, – eller lavere om dù synes saa; 

men slig, at der blir dette forhold omtrent. –––

Jeg kom paa den tanke nù, – at dù kanske mente fleske-

skinke til vaaren eller sommeren, – altsaa af dette aars avl

– "ùspeket" altsaa; – det er endnù ikke slagtet og blir

heller ikke nogen steder slagtet for ùdgangen af denne maaned,

og hvis det var det dù mente skal jeg nok kùnne skaffe

dig det, tror jeg, – men man forlanger 3,00 kr. kg. ferskt endnù her

for det, som skal slagtes, – jeg har til mig selv spùrgt paa flesk til 

kommende aar, og man forlangte den pris. Da tror jeg det 

lönner sig bedre, at gjöre, som vi för har gjort og bare

tinge en eller 2 skinker (eller flere), og saa lade folk have

dem til vaaren eller sommeren og betale den pris, som bliver da, 

– det er jo den resiko dermed, at man "sælger fra en" eller

spiser det op selv, hvis det röiner. Flesk letner henimod sin halve

vægt fra december det ene aar til jùli – aùgùst det andet aar – senere

letner det jo ogsaa lidt, men det er ubetydeligt – derfor lönner

det sig som regel bedst her at kjöbe færdigspeket skinke. Men 

der er som nævnt det kjedelige ved den maaden, at folk 

ikke er at lite paa, hvis der blir bryllùp, barsel eller begravelse

paa gaarden eller hos naboen, vil ingen selv den hæderligste

tage i betænkning at brùke det flesk, som er tinget, – det

mener de er "nöd, som bryder alle love". En mand som mig, 

der ikke avler slige produkter selv (vi har gjort det för) er derfor

i en uheldig situation her paa landet, – da opkjöberne gjör at

man maa betale top-pris, og skal man vente paa nedgang 

blir man gjerne snydt for det, man skal ha, selv om det er 

"tinget". Skriv da en prislap (slig eller lignende

som nævnt) hvis det er "speket" – fjorgammelt flesk dù vil 

ha, og skriv den paa en særskilt lap, saa jeg har den at

vise frem – ellers tror folk gjerne, at jeg vil tjene extra

noget paa dig, og at jeg byder dem lavere end dit bùd, og

saa sætter de prisen op; – jeg böd en mand 5,00 kr. og han 

svarede da, at fik han ikke 6,00 saa spiste han heller skinken

op selv, – "ingen skulde tjene noget paa hans flesk"; – de er

saa vante til at snyde og tjene paa selv sine bedste venner, at 

de ikke kan tænke sig, at nogen kan sælge igjen eller

kjöpe op for andre ùden at tjene lidt paa det selv, –––

ja de mistænker mig endog for at være en slig, "mellem-

mand", naar jeg skal kjöpe noget til eget brùk ogsaa. –

Nei dette blev meget fleskeprat – jeg har nok sludret

en masse, – men jeg er ikke klar i hodet. – har brugt for 

meget adrenalin og saa hosten og forkjölelsen – jeg er rent ned-

for. Ja atter da en tak og den bedste hilsen fra os alle

Din Astrup

P.S. 

Ja dù nævnte noget om fleskeskinke, – jeg har 

forhört mig viden om, – men det er vanskelig paa denne

tid, – da folk enten har brùgt op eller solgt alt, som 

blev slagtet ifjor paa denne tid: – idag fik jeg under-

retning fra en mand, som har en skinke, men han for-

langer 5,50 pr. Kg., og det synes jeg er drygt meget, – vi 

fik dem jo for 5,00 Kr. pr. kg i sommer. Vil dù have 

den til den pris 5,50, maa du give mig meddelelse straks! – 

Jeg tror dog, det maa være mùligt at faa opdrevet en 

skinke til Kr. 5,00 pr. kg. nù ogsaa, – men folk er bleven 

forvænt med de gode priser og disse helvedes opkjöperne

skræmmer folk fra at sælge til os bygdefolk ved at

fortælle dem, at priserne gaar op, – det holder de paa med,

indtil det er beleiligt for dem at reise til byn, – og

da kommer de og fortæller, at prisen plùdselig er gaaet

ned, og nù gaar endnù mere ned, saa folk maa skynde

sig at sælge (til opkjöberne selv natùrligvis). –––

Det er jo saa, at dù (saavidt jeg har forstaaet) har op givet

projectet "Øiene" .o.s.v. – Havde ikke det været saa

havde jeg kjöbt et hùs nù, som blev solgt ved en auktion,

– jeg tænkte paa at telegrafere til dig og spörge, – det var

et hùs omtrent som Gamlestova, – det gik for 600 Kr. 

og det var ikke dyrt, da tömmeret var godt, – der var

kanske en forsömmelse af mig, at jeg ikke kjöbte det

til dig; men jeg fik först vide om det dagen forùd, og da

gik her ingen post, saa jeg kuùnde faaet et telegram 

afsted, – desùden var det vanskeligt, om jeg kùnde have

faaet noget svar tilbake i ret tid; – dù veed hvorledes det 

gaar med telegrammer her; – jeg var ogsa syk, saa jeg

ikke selv kunde gaa paa aùktionen, men jeg kùnde jo sendt

Zakris. Men det vilde være godt til en anden gang, 

om jeg skulde komme i en lignende ùvisshed, at vide, om 

dù fremdeles tænker paa et hùs her – og til hvilken

pris; – (dù maa regne med at grùndmùr og op igjen bygning

koster mindst lige meget, som selve hùset – der til transport)

Dette hùs laa paa Myklebùst, saa transporten vilde jo blevet

billig, hvis dù vilde bygget et steds i nærheden her; – ùd paa

paa Øiene vilde faaet det transporteret for omkring 40 Kr. hav-

de jeg regnet ùd, og grùndmùr vilde jo været forholdsvis billig

der, da sten var lige ved haanden, – saa der ingen transport 

blev paa den; – opförelsen af grùndmùren vilde dù kanske klaret 

for Kr. 350– (selvfölgelig ùden cementering af kjælderen) – ùden kjælder 

(bare med ùdgravning og to stenhöider) vilde du kanskje faaet en 

grùndmur for Kr. 100. –––

Ja jeg bùrde nok komme mig ùd, – jeg blir værre for dagen

den haardnakkede forkjölelse arbeider sammen med asth-

maen, saa jeg ofte er ræd det blir lùngebrand – jeg hoster saa

jeg vil sprænges. – Hils alle – Kari begynder paa brev stadig

og kommer ikke længer, – men jeg skal hilse fra hende og takke for alt. 

D. S

Oversettelse

Dear Kramer and Mrs.! 

First of all thank you for the package of apricots, 

which Engel and the children have enjoyed, and which have also 

done me good in my misery. – Well I sit

here breathing and groaning the whole night through and a little less

during the day. And then I must extend an apo-

logy for my last letter (“lettercard”); – I was

so ill that day that I had first sent the letter

to the postal station without an address, – then, when it was re-

turned by Kristoffer, so that I might add the ad-

dress, – I of course forgot to see if, it

had the correct postage, and it wasn’t until it was sent

in the mail, that I realised, that it had too little postage, –

so that you had to pay double postage for it. Well I am a 

pathetic man; – and it is absolutely true, what you say, 

that I am indifferent towards everything due to the asthma,

(and the fatigue). – This year a chronic 

cold has accompanied the asthma seizures, – so that

my lungs feel as though they were without skin from all

the coughing and pressure during the suffocation seizures, – I

can barely move. Then there is all the debt and debt-

claims, which also are a torment, – so it is not an easy matter, to see

things in a bright light, – here it is evidently also an expensive

place to live, especially for those, who have to buy nearly 

everything. Have you made an arrangement with Flùge about the ram?

Well I will tell you, how things went with my 

meat provisions this year; – I promised to purchase Lovisa’s

sheep, – but then two buyers arrived here, who 

bought up all the mutton, they could get hold of, and 

they began down in the village and quickly bought up everything

for 3.00 kr. per kg. well they even gave 3.20 for exclusive goods. 

Lovisa’s father, said to Lovisa, that she must either 

find out how far I might stretch my price –

or sell them to the buyers, – (these same buy-

ers-investors have supposedly lost more than 2000 kr.) –

Well I began to fear, that I would suffer the same fate, as

a year ago, when similar buyers arrived here, – and I was nearly

prevented from buying [meat], – at that time I had a few sheep myself, but

this year it would be worse, – as I had none, – I thus 

hurried to offer 2,80; – I didn’t think Lovisa would accept 

my offer, – but she did, – and immediately after the price 

of sheep’s meat sank to 2,00 – so Lovisa had and extra

profit of 80–90 kr. on the 80 öre. I told Flùge

about this, and he mentioned in passing, that it was the exact same price, 

as the best cut of mutton, when he sold ram’s meat

II

to Kramer early this autumn, – well these were his words, – which 

I immediately decided, I would let you know; – in case – it is

impossible for you to get a honest account from him, so

now you have his word here, and I asked Engel and my mother-in-law

take notice of it. Poor chap he is probably worse off

than I am, – in a financial sense; – the bail-

iff was here the other day and foreclosed on him for 2 credi-

tors. – Petra – his daughter was utterly inconsolable and came crying

to me, asking if I might help them with 3–400 kr. so

that the foreclosure or auctioning off might be postponed, – it was difficult for me

to say no, – especially since I was appointed as her guardian 

or custodian, – but I did not have such an amount

either, – I was forced the same day to borrow 100 kr. from my mother-in-law 

Fluge probably thought, that he would pull through this time

via a “transaction”, – or whatever I should call it, – he 

had actually had “everything he owned” transferred to Petra’s name, so that he 

could be considered merely as a retired farmer, who owned

nothing (it was because of this Petra had to have a guardian), – but 

alas, – it didn’t work; – the bailiff did not accept the papers

“as legitimate”, – (there was a little formal mistake

in them, something I had also told Fluge ahead of time, that

I was afraid of; – but he would have to travel all the way to America to 

his son, if he were to straighten out the mistake, and 

there was no time for that, – he probably also thought that the

papers would be fine, the way they were.) –––

Well you mention the picture (“the rhubarb picture”), – you probably

think, and rightly so, – that I should have sent it to you long ago, –

and I have been on the verge of sending it off several times, but 

then I always find something, that I don’t like and must

correct, – and then this autumn I seem to have experienced a spell of exaltation

in the sense of being “old-fashioned”, as your wife says. – 

I must congratulate her with her excellent progress 

“on the thorny path of art” – as it was evidently called in the old

days, – “on art’s perilous soccer grounds field” it 

should probably be called in a more modern lingo , – or in the case of 

ladies one might rather say “tennis court”. – 

Well, “joking aside” – in other words in complete seriousness: – I meant what 

I said to you this summer: that she is very gifted.

Well tell her from me, that she must never worry, whether

she is old-fashioned or not, – novices are permitted to

be old-fashioned or modern, as it pleases them, 

it is important to follow “one’s inner voice”; I have unfortunately

been disobedient to it for so long, that it has nearly stopped

talking to me. While we are on the subject of 

“old-fashioned”, I am beginning to fear, 

that your wife will come to dislike the Rhubarb picture, – it is so

strange with the “younger generation”, who paint – they always find

so much that is unnecessary about what the older generation does, – – I know

III Per Kramer's handwriting: Canvas

about it from my own experience, – when I was young myself, – it is

because one sees differently, as one ages, I think. 

It is first now, that I understand, how the “rhubarb picture” should

be painted; – but then I would need a canvas that is twice

as large. – Well speaking of canvas, – I came to think

of something, – if your wife is in need of

canvas now (or for use in the summer), I currently have an 

excellent primer, – it is mixed according to all the latest scien-

tific results in this field, (and I have followed

meticulously all of the studies that have been made in this field)

If your wife sends me some canvas (linen sackcloth) that is– it

would be a pleasure for me to prepare a few canvases 

for her, – she can purchase the type of canvas, which the ladies

use for so-called “linen dresses”, – in other words the grey unbleached

linen sackcloth, – it has the least knots, – (it hap-

pens, that knots appear during the prim-

ing process; – they are knots that lie hidden in the weave, –

or have been mangled or pressed into the fabric, so that they are not visible) – but 

as mentioned, this canvas has the least knots, and the knots that ap-

pear are easy to cut away with a thin sharp table knife – 

(between the second and third “coat” of primer). If there are several

types, then buy one that has the “loosest weave”. I have 

recently realised, that a canvas should preferably be primed

on both sides, – it then expands and shrinks more evenly

during temperature changes; – the canvas itself and the threads then become

like the structure or fibres in an animal skin, – the canvas should

also be painted on both sides, – the Frenchman 

Vibert, who for years received a regular wage from the French government 

to study canvas technique (as well as the durability

of paints and oils), – his advice is to coat the reverse side

of the canvas with a thick polish, – the same advice is given

by some German experts; – yet I have through experimentation

found out, that it is unfortunate, as this results in two different

[types of] fabric on either side of the canvas, – each with a dif-

ferent capacity for expanding, – and the effect is: thousands of 

the polishes also penetrate straight through and damage the paint –

microscopic small cracks – like the finest of grids. 

The Dutch masters also used to prime their canvases 

on both sides, – and their pictures have aged well (, where

they have not used “bitumen” or “asphalt”– paint).

When I prime [a canvas], I assume that what is of foremost importance, is

to preserve the structure or canvas with its threads and fibres; –

these are in fact easily destroyed by all types the oils, which cause them to soften 

or rot, – at the same time it is important to prevent the individual

thread or fibre from “stretching” – more than the others. 

For both of these purposes one must use a binding 

agent; – glue, which is used by nearly all the factories, – is

not advisable to use, as it is excessively sensitive to 

moisture and its strong contacting capacity is greatly 

different from that of the oils which normally expand , and even though this can be mitigated a bit, 

by the fabrics’ tendency to “churn” the glue together with the oil, it is 

nevertheless wrong, – furthermore the oil would then come into direct contact with the canvas, 

the thing one precisely would strive to avoid by to priming; – it is a question 

of “encapsulating” the “structure” first; – for that purpose I have tried to find

a binding agent with nearly the same expanding capacity as the canvas

IIII

itself, – (well admittedly the different fibres in the threads of have differ-

ent expanding capacities, but a good primer should be able to essentially

even this out). For this use I have discovered

a mixture of curd (purified casein) gelatine and egg that

creates a similar binding agent, like the binding agent in animal skin – (the 

difficult part is to get the right proportions, – as the substances do not always 

behave uniformly), – (to get the curd to dissolve into a clear mass

is not easy by the way). With this primer I work the can-

vas on both sides, until every fibre is 

saturated with this priming mixture, – at this stage it will 

function as a “skin”, but a skin without pores, – this is

unfortunate as it can easily become a isolating surface, which “rejects

(whatever is applied to it of primer and paint); – I therefore usually, – be-

fore this first coat has dried, – go over it with the same type

of primer with a little chalk and zinc white added to it; – this creates

pores; in which the next coats of primer and the paint can 

“take root”. – In the next coat, I use the same prim-

er but with additional chalk and zinc white – together with a little

oil and egg (egg has the strange ability, when it is “whipped”,

to create a reconciling link between water-soluble 

substances and oils, which are then able to mix without separating again

from each other) – (this it true of only a certain quantity however; because

if one adds too much oil, then some of the oil separates 

after a period of time.) The type of oil one should use, 

has been the great question of all time. Vibert tested

all kinds of oils, the linseed oil used by the factories (because

it is cheapest) is quite horrible for the simple reason, that it 

continues to expand for all eternity – (in any case for at least 100 years) – 

and such a continuous expansion cannot be withstood by either the canvas, the primer, or

the mineral paints and chalk (especially not the gelatine substance

which works stubbornly against it, and the result (cracks) can be expected

the linseed oil also darkens the paint from the start. Vibert mixed oils and varnishes together, 

and it is possible, that his oil was excellent, but it is 

bloody expensive, and no one aside from l`Franc`s paint fac-

tory in Paris knows the formula. I have tried

to compose an oil out of the oils and hardening resins,

that had the least “expanding capacity”; – I do use a little lin-

seed oil (but of the pale French type) – to counteract the contracting capacity

of a couple of other oils and varnishes, – I likewise use

cobaiva balsam for the same reason and because it makes the oil softer – more elastic when it dries – but both

in sparse quantities, – the main ingredient is the “Venetian ter-

pentine”, which becomes hard as rock, when it dries; – by mixing it 

with paraffin (snowflake), it can easily be purified, so that it becomes totally

light, and it also becomes thinner, so that can easily be mixed

with other oils, such as poppy oil, which has nearly the same attri-

bute (to become hard), although it is more elastic, – these

4 mentioned oils or resin-like substances I mix well and add

a little mastic to promote drying – (it is incidentally almost

the same type, as the Venetian terpentine) (which it may perhaps

also be made of with a little added shellac) – in

this way I obtain a versatile oil, which does not expand too

excessively; – in order that the cells in these oils shall come into the most 

intimate contact as possible, I add a little lavender oil, which lightens the mix-

ture, – so that a unified oil results for the different combined oils. –––

If I cannot get hold of all these substances, I simply use

poppy oil, which is the “central” oil in this mixture (– the canvas

V

must then dry slowly in between each coat, and I therefore  

add a little mastic or other good varnish (though never <Packts> 

retouching varnish, which in the past I destroyed a couple of pictures

with). In the second round of priming, I do not use a 

lot of oil, – but rub this primer as well as 

possible into the ground in order to help the “roots” become well

established, – I rub until the canvas is nearly dry; – 

if it is able to absorb more primer , I rub it some more into the ground

and continue like this, until the canvas is “sated” with this

primer, – then when it is semi-dry, I take a brush and

apply it with water and some egg in order to prevent

a layer of oil from developing on the outer coating of the canvas. 

When this is dry, I cut away all the knots; – this should  

perhaps be done after it is primed (and then apply another coat lightly

over it again); because one exposes the “structure” a little by cutting

the knots away, – but they are not so easy to cut

after only one round of priming or preparation, – however this

differs based on the structure of the different canvases. – The last round

of priming (the 3rd, if I want the canvas to “give a little” and

the 4th round of priming, if I do not wish for it to “give”) – 

in other words the last round of priming, I add as much oil to the ground,

as the quantity of egg will dissolve (together with chalk and zinc white, etc.

as in the previous ground) – in this way, I achieve 

an “organic” transition from the skin substance to the oil substance, which is

the binding agent in our paints. When the last round of primer is 

semi-dry I also go over it with a little water and a “spray brush”. One should

preferably use the same type of oil to paint with. –––

Well now I have bothered you enough with the chapter called: “grounding”

Perhaps I will nevertheless be permitted to add, that your wife

need not send stretchers; for I have found a 

talented and cheap carpenter in the cashier of the municipal council, whom

you remember, – he has fashioned frames for me for 

kr. 2.50 apiece and added the materials, – and then he has attached

“cross bars” to provide support for the frames

during the grounding; – in fact it puts such a strain on the

frame that “commercial frames” usually “split” in the corners, 

and that is the most infuriating thing, when a well-stretched

and well-primed canvas suddenly hangs like a washrag, 

because the frame has “split apart”. – And then your wife must specify

approximately, the size of the canvases (and stretchers) she would like. –––

Well and then there is the matter of the trip, – well I could tell you many

stories about this grant, – about young painters, who out of 

affection for me wish to have consul Mohr force

me to depart in such a way, that I must share it with them, 

because they will supposedly take care of me, – well, I have 

already said too much – do not pass this information on to 

anyone! – I have become so fearful of gossip lately, 

that I prefer not to speak to anyone about the grant or

the trip; – one has taken a grant away from me before – for no 

reason – just because of gossip – or rather outright lies.

I would like to see, if they dare to do it again. ––– I had the naive illusion, that the young painters had now forgotten, that I had a grant.

There is another thing, – that I have noticed, – if

one makes plans for a trip, and talks about it– then it never happens, or

it becomes totally spoiled; – when I am ready to make the trip – I will

not say anything about it to anyone not even to Engel, – I

VI

will perhaps decide a few days in advance and maybe tell

Engel on the same day or perhaps only a few hours before

I am ready to leave. Incidentally at the moment

it is impossible for me to run away from my responsibilities here

at home. But this much I can say, that it will be

some time this winter, if I manage to resolve the worst debts, –

and I will take Engel, Eva and Kari with me, – Kari can 

watch Eva a little so that Engel can have some time off – otherwise

the trip would practically be wasted for her. 

What Mrs. Breyholtz has said, about me coming in to Bergen 

before Christmas is a misunderstanding. –––

I have also been so ill lately, that I cannot think clearly. 

Incidentally there has been an incident here in the village, which has left us all

in a gloomy mood, – since it is so mysterious and unex-

plainable: You have surely seen in the newspapers that 5

youths have drowned in Jölstervandet, on their way

to a party here in Sandal. A boat rowed directly behind them, 

and the people in this last boat, did not hear screams 

or see anything, and the weather was calm with unusually

intense northern lights, which were nearly as bright as moonlight. We knew

these youths well, – one of them was here on the farm 

when you were here, – he was an excellent swimmer, and that

makes the mystery even more difficult to understand. It was mother’s boat (I

own half of it), that was used, and it is the most steady-going

boat on Jölstervandet (among the færing boats) – it was actually built

to be a little sexæring boat and therefore is a little heavy to be a 

færing; I have rowed and sailed with it for many years and used

larger sails, than one normally does on a færing, and it was

so steady, that I rarely used ballast, – I could easily 

stand on one of the gunwales – if there was neither ballast

nor people in the boat, – indeed I will claim, that 2 not 

too heavy or large – men could stand on the same

gunwale, without tipping the boat over. People were awake

nearly all night on the north end of the lake, – since

there was a party there as well, – but no one heard a sound

(other than a girl, who had gone to bed, and who had apparently heard a chorus

of screams, – one doubts the truth of her words though; because

she was farther away from the boat of the drowned, than

the boat, which rowed right behind it). What power might it be, 

that overturned this boat, – that is what is incomprehensible

Engel believes, that it is the “serpent”, which from times of old was 

believed to have lived at the bottom of the lake – (it was once supposed

to have been spotted at Skei), – well one might be tempted to

believe something of the kind. The boat was found the day after it capsized and 

with only one cap and one oar beneath it; – the boat must have therefore

capsized so suddenly, that everyone ended underneath it, without

the possibility of letting out a scream. The stories and 

speculations abound here of course, – and malicious teetotallers have even 

been in in the papers talking about “intoxicating drink” against better judgement;

because N.O. Øvrebö, whom everyone trusts, declared immediately, that he 

had been together with these youths for many hours before

they set off, and spoke with them when they left, – it was certain

VII

that days had passed, since any of them had tasted alcohol,

only one of them had had a couple of glasses of beer the day

before, but that was over 12 hours in advance, and could

obviously not have had any bearing. The only

natural explanation, I can imagine, is, that the one who 

was rowing, lost an oar; – in an attempt to grab

hold of it, he has leaned too far out, and fallen over-

board, – the others have then tried to grab hold of him, and if

the remaining four leaned over the gunwale, they may have

overturned the boat, – but there are indications, that argue

against this, – the boy, who was rowing, was the same one who was 

here this summer: Nils Hægrenes, – he was as mentioned a ex-

cellent swimmer, and the only real “boatman” among them, 

that is why it was he, who rowed, and he would hardly

have lost the oar, and if he had, he would hardly have

leaned so far out, that he fell overboard; – he would have immediately

taken the other oar and “fished up” the one, he had lost; – and even though 

he had been so unfortunate as to fall overboard, he would have swum

back to the boat and climbed back in without difficulty by

himself. The others – 2 girls and 2 boys were so unused

to boats, that they would be far too frightened to dare to grab hold 

of an oar or a comrade, who had fallen overboard. –––

It is also feasible that it happened another way, that one 

 of the others had fallen overboard, and Nils Hægrenes had to

rescue [them]; and in the slippery and icy boat, the others lost their footing, 

when the boat lay on its side, – so that everyone slid down

on the same port side and thus capsized the boat; – but I do not understand, 

what reason the others might have to fall over-

board; – when they could neither row nor were accustomed to boats, one 

would think, that they kept still in their places. –––

“Dredge searches” are being conducted every day here from a battery of boats 

but as of now without result. – When such things happen, it 

appears that superstition and paganism continue to have a strong hold

in the villages (fortunately I nearly said), – and thus one

now brings roosters along in the search boats, because

according to old beliefs, a rooster is forced to crow, when it is 

steered above a corpse. Several times they have caught something 

on the dredges, but it has either fallen off, or it was 

just some rubble; – one of them dredged up something strange, which 

resembled a horse’s tail – probably some type of algae, that grows

in the depths, – one has reached as deep as 120 fathoms. 

Engel wanted me, to write to you, and ask you to stop

by a fortune teller and find out, where they are; – but I

did not think, there were good enough fortune-tellers in the city, to

be of any help; – someone has evidently approached

someone of the kind, who lives out at Moldöen. I don’t think

the corpses they have reached the bottom yet; since the accident most likely occurred

in the middle of the lake (otherwise Nils would have survived by swimming),

and at such a depth there is such strong “updraft”, that the corpses

would be too light to sink. Well now I have bothered you again. Say hello to

your wife and your children – from everyone here – Engel will perhaps write

a few words tomorrow. Your devoted Astrùp 

P.S Dear friend: 

Just as I was about to send the letter a little girl arrives

daughter of “the Mole” (Johannes Stranden) and asks for 

Kramer’s address; – I understood very well, that it was some kind

of “trick”, – and pretended not to hear, – but she didn’t give up

she came with greetings from her father and mother (the people you bought

milk from this summer and who took 5 öre more than the dairy per litre)

they wished to send their little girl to the city, as the doctor had

said, that her nose needed to be operated on, – and then she would 

visit you – and needed to know where you lived; – I gave

her your address at Mùralmenning, since it makes no 

sense, that everyone You come in contact with here

should take it into their heads to “inflict themselves” on you, when they have

to come to Bergen due to some illness or other, – you might

in that case be obliged to turn your entire house into 

a hospital, – these people are well off, but are damned

stingy; but they have naturally heard about your kindness towards

Flùge, and now they believe, that they can take advantage of their acquaintanceship

with You in the same manner. – I only wished to warn you

about this in time. Now I also understand, why I had the 

privilege just now of a visit from the village scoundrel Olai Sægrov

he is one of the “buyers”, and a brother of “the Mole’s” wife (Syn-

neve Stranden) – , he is of course going to the city in the near 

future to sell meat pork and hides, which he has fleeced from folk, 

and then he will naturally take his little niece and come to 

You, – and try to impose her on Your kind hospital, –

Perhaps he will at the same time try to foist on you a 

smoked ham, – I was careless enough to mention to him, that I 

would like to have a ham for Kramer, and whether he knew

the price (we often do things that way here, – we 

ask one of the buyers about the price, – when we are going to buy

something or other from a man, who can never make up

his mind about how much he shall ask, – we mention 

to the buyer at the same time, that we are buying from 

a man, who does not know the price; – the buyer then becomes

frightened, that we can raise the prices for him by giving too

much, and he then mentions the lowest price – also in the quiet

hope, that we will not be able to buy for that price, – so he 

has a better chance of buying, when he comes to 

the same man and can offer a little more. Then we go to the

man we shall buy something from and say: the buyer

so and so has said today, that the price is such and such – 

from experience I always offer a little atop more; for 

otherwise he refuses to sell, and it has happened several times,

that in this way I have given exactly the same, as the buy-

er, – since he had thought of giving a higher price than the one, 

he mentioned to me.) – This time however Olai Sægrov

was very careful and hesitant, before mentioning any price to me, – he 

had probably heard, that I had inquired about a hams, – and now he

thought there was a deal to be made, when it was for you, that I wished

to buy, – in the end he replied, that the price was most likely at least 5.50 –

I was puzzled, that he mentioned such a high price and said, that I had been

offered a ham for that price, and I would now write to Kramer

and ask, whether he would pay that price (and then Olai would hear

from me, when I received a reply from you, then he might also, if you paid that

price, obtain a ham for you). I think it is too 

stiff a price, – but perhaps pork has risen in price again, – I am nonetheless certain inscribed: Ø

Inscribed: Ø

that pork will decrease in price by the spring, – but for the mo-

ment there is perhaps a shortage in the villages, – since people have sold,

whatever there was to sell, while the prices remained high. If 

Olai Sægrov comes to you directly with a ham

(without first having received your reply through me), then you should 

not give more than 5.25 (I think the price should be 5.00; – men 

the 25 öre he may perhaps require for the transport to Bergen, –

it would cost more if I were to send it from here). –––

You understand from this, that your reply is desired as soon as possible

Set the price for example at 5.00 kr. per kg. paid in person here and 

5.25 delivered in Bergen,or lower if you think so

but so that it is approximately this ratio. –––

It just came to me now, – that you perhaps meant smoked

ham in the spring or summer, – that is from this year’s brood

– “un-cured” in other words; – it has not been slaughtered yet and will

not be slaughtered anywhere before the end of this month,

and if that is what you meant I will surely be able to obtain

it for you, I think, – but one is still asking 3.00 kr. kg. fresh here

for what is going to be slaughtered, – I have asked about smoked for my- self for the 

coming year, and that is the asking price. Then I think it 

pays to do what we have done before and just

reserve one or 2 hams (or more), and then allow the people to keep

them until spring or summer and pay the price, that is current then, 

– there is a risk, that they might “sell it under one’s nose” or

consume it themselves, if times become difficult. Pork lightens to nearly half its

weight from December the previous year until July – August the next year – later

they also become a bit lighter, but that is insignificant – therefore it pays

as a rule to buy ham that has been cured. But

as mentioned it is a nuisance in the sense, that people 

are not to be trusted, if there is a wedding, birth or funeral

on the farm or a neighbour’s farm, no one not even the most honourable

would hesitate to use the pork, that is reserved, – they

believe that “emergency disregards all laws”. A man like myself, 

who does not raise such products (we have done it before) am therefore

in an unfortunate situation here in the countryside, – as the buyers make it

necessary for one to pay the top price, and if one waits for the price to sink 

one is often cheated of what one should have, even though it is 

reserved”. Write a price tag (like the one or similar

to the one mentioned) if it is last year’s – “cured” – pork you 

want, and write it on a separate slip of paper, so that I have it to

show – otherwise people will think, that I want to earn something

extra on you[r deal], and that I am offering them less than your offer, and

then they will raise the price; – I offered a man 5.00 kr. and he 

responded, that if he did not get 6.00 then he would rather eat the ham

himself, – “no one was going to profit from his pork”; – they are

so used to cheat and make money off even their best friends, that 

they cannot imagine, that anyone can sell further or

buy up for others without earning a little themselves, –––

well they suspect even me of being such a, “middle-

man”, when I am buying something for my own use. –

Well this has become a lot of talk about pork – I’m sure I have prattled

excessively, – but I am not clear-headed. – have spent too 

much adrenalin and then the coughing and cold – I am utterly de-

jected. Well again thank you and best wishes from all of us

Your Astrup

P.S. 

Well you mentioned something about a smoked ham, – I have 

made inquiries far and wide, – but it is difficult at this 

time, – when people have used up or sold everything, that 

was butchered around this time last year: – today I received no-

tice from a man, who has a ham, but he de-

mands 5.50 per kg., and I think that is exaggerated, – we 

got them for 5.00 kr. per kg. this summer. If you want 

to have it for that price 5.50, you must let me know immediately! – 

I nevertheless believe, it must be possible to get hold of a 

ham for kr. 5.00 pr. kg. now too, – but people have become 

spoiled by the good prices and these damned buyers

scare folk from selling to us villagers by 

telling them, that the prices are going up, – they continue in this manner,

until it is convenient for them to leave for the city, – and

then they come and say, that the price has suddenly gone

down, and is now declining even more, so people must hurry

and sell (to the buyers themselves naturally). –––

It is true, that you (as far as I have understood) have given up

the project “Øiene”, etc. – Had it not been so

I would have purchased a cabin, that was sold in an auction now,

– I thought of telegraphing you and asking, – it was

a cabin like Gamlestova, – it went for 600 Kr. 

and that was not expensive, as the timber was good, – it was

perhaps negligent of me, not to purchase it

for you; but I first heard about it the day before, and there

was no postman, so that I might send a telegram 

off, – furthermore it would be difficult, if I might have

gotten a reply back in time; – you know how it 

is with telegrams here; – I was also sick, so I 

could not go myself to the auction, but I could have sent

Zakris. But it would be good another time, 

if I were to become similarly unsure, to know, whether 

you are still thinking about a house here – and for what

price; – (you must be aware that a foundation and a reconstructed building

costs at least as much, as the house itself – [and] in addition the transport)

This house was situated in Myklebùst, so the transport would have been

cheap, if you wished to build somewhere near here; – out at

at Øiene you would have had it transported for around 40 kr. I 

had calculated, and the foundation would have been relatively cheap

there, as stones are right within reach, – so there would have been no need

for transporting them; – for building the foundation you would probably have managed 

for kr. 350– (obviously without cementing the cellar) – without a cellar 

(only digging and two rows of stones) you would perhaps obtain a 

foundation for kr. 100. –––

Well I should probably get outside, – I get worse each day

the stubborn cold works together with the asth-

ma, so that I often fear it will turn into pneumonia – I cough so

that I nearly burst. – Greetings to everyone – Kari has begun a letter repeatedly

but cannot get any further, – but she asked me to send her greetings and thanks for everything. 

D. S