The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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942
AUNTIE
drove to the theatre, and sat there with her feet in poultices. If she had died there, it would have delighted her. Thorwaldsen died in the theatre, and she called that a happy death '.
She certainly could not imagine a heavenly kingdom without a theatre. It certainly had not been promised to us, but it was to be supposed that the many celebrated actors and actresses, who had gone before, must have a continued sphere of activity.
Auntie had her electric wire from the theatre to her room ; the telegram came every Sunday to coffee. Her electric wire was Mr. Sivertson of the stage-machinery department, the man who gave the signals for the scenery and curtains to go up and down, in and out.
From him she got in advance a short and pithy review of the pieces. Shakespeare's 'Tempest', he called ' wretched stuff ! there is so much to set up, and then it begins with water up to the first side-scene ! ' that is to say, the rolling waves went so far forward. On the other hand, if one and the same room-decoration remained through all five acts, he said that it was a sensible and well-written, restful piece, which played itself without setting up.
In earlier times, as Auntie called the times some thirty and odd years ago, she and the above-named Mr. Sivertson were younger; he was already in the ' machinery', and, as she called him, her ' benefactor '. At that time, it was the custom at the evening performance, in the great and only theatre of the town, to admit spectators to the flies; every stage-carpenter had one or two places to dispose of. It was often chock-full, and that with very select company; it was said that the wives both of generals and aldermen had been there ; it was so interesting to look down behind the scenes, and know how the performers stood and moved when the curtain was down. Auntie had been there many times, both at tragedies and ballets, for the pieces with the greatest number of performers were the most interesting from the flies.
One sat pretty much in the dark up there, and most of the people brought supper with them. Once three apples and a slice of bread and butter, with sausage on it,