Translated from the Danish by Hanna Astrup Larsen.
they were no longer illumined by hope. Moreover, she had learned that they were only dreams--distant, illusive dreams, which no longing in the world could ever draw down to her earth. When she abandoned herself to them now, it was with a sense of weariness, while an accusing inner voice told her that she was like the drunkard who knows that his passion is destroying him, that every debauch means strength taken from his weakness and added to the power of his desire. But the voice sounded in vain, for a life soberly lived, without the fair vice of dreams, was no life at all--life had exactly the value that dreams gave it and no more.
So widely different, then, were Niels Lyhne's father and mother, the two friendly powers that struggled unconsciously for mastery over his young soul from the moment the first gleam of intelligence in him gave them something to work on. As the child grew older, the struggle became more intense and was waged with a greater variety of weapons.
The faculty in the boy thr