The Gate Key
The Councilor has plenty of books; let her read them; there is enough reading here for her, and it could be hers gratis!"
"Lotte-Lene is a nice girl," said the Councilor, "a beautiful girl! She shall have books to read. But has she what one calls grit and spirit - aptitude - genius? And, what is equally important, has she luck with her?"
"She has twice won in the lottery," said the grocer from downstairs. "Once she won a clothes cabinet, and another time six pairs of bed sheets; that I call luck, and that she has!"
"I shall ask the key," said the Councilor. And he placed the key on his right forefinger, and on the grocer's right forefinger as well, and then the key swung and gave out letter after letter.
The key said, "Victory and luck!" And so Lotte-Lene's future was decided.
The Councilor at once gave her two books to read, Dyveke and Knigge's Social Intercourse.
That night marked the beginning of a closer acquaintance between Lotte-Lene and the Councilor and his wife. She would come upstairs to the couple, and the Councilor found her to be a sensible girl; she believed in him and the key. The Councilor's wife saw something childish and innocent in the frankness with which she would at every moment show her great ignorance. The couple was fond of her, he in his way and she in hers, and Lotte-Lene was fond of them.
"It smells so lovely upstairs," Lotte-Lene would say. There was an odor, a fragrance, an apple fragrance, in the hallway, where the Councilor's wife had put away a whole barrel of graystone apples. There was also an incense odor of roses and lavender throughout all the rooms. "There is something refined in that!" Lotte-Lene would say.
Then, too, her eyes were pleased by the many pretty flowers the Councilor's wife always had. Even in the middle of winter, lilacs and cherry-tree slips bloomed here. The leafless twigs were cut off and put into water and in the warm room soon bore leaves and flowers.
"One would have thought that all life was gone from these naked branches, but see how they rise from the dead.