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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THE DOOR-KEY                          1079
He would stand right under the window and nod up to her, but if an acquaintance came past, then he could not help it, he must say a word or two to him ; if another one came past while he talked with the first, he held the first one by the button-hole and seized the other one by the hand, whilst he shouted to another one who was passing.
It was a trial of patience for his wife. ' Chamberlain ! Chamberlain!' she shouted then. ' Yes, the man is born under the sign of the wheelbarrow, he cannot come away unless he is pushed ! '
He liked very much to go into the bookshops, to look at the books and papers. He gave the bookseller a little present, to be allowed to take the new books home to read— that is to say, to have leave to cut the books up the long way, but not along the top, because then they could not be sold as new. He was a living journal of etiquette, knew everything about engagements, weddings, literary talk and town gossip; he threw out mysterious allusions about knowing things which nobody knew. He got it from the door-key.
As young newly married people the chamberlain and his wife had lived on their own estate, and from that time they had the same door-key, but then they did not know its wonderful power—they only got to know that later on.
It was in the time of Frederick VI. Copenhagen at that time had no gas; it had oil lamps; it had no Tivoli or Casino, no tramways and no railways. There were not many amusements compared to what there are now. On Sunday people went out of the town on an excursion to the churchyard, read the inscriptions on the graves, sat in the grass and ate and drank, or they went to Frederic ks-berg, where the band played before the castle, and many people watched the royal family rowing about on the little, narrow canals where the old king steered the boat, and he and the queen bowed to all the people without making any distinctions. Prosperous families came out there from the town and drank their evening tea. They could get hot water at a peasant's little house, outside the garden, but they had to bring the other things with them.
The chamberlain's family went there one sunny Sunday afternoon ; the servant went on first with the tea-basket,