By Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen)
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Additional resources for Babette's Feast
I have, before now, fought a duel for the sake of a fair lady. ’ The neighbor, who had been listening to the description of a miracle, looked at him absent-mindedly, then nodded his head and answered: ‘Yes, Yes, certainly. ’ From the Master’s miracles the talk round the table had turned to the smaller miracles of kindliness and helpfulness daily performed by his daughters. ’ The guests smiled – what nabobs would not the poor, simple maidens become in the next world! General Loewenhielm no longer wondered at anything.
But what goods, Babette? the ladies asked. Why, Mesdames, Babette replied, the ingredients for the birthday dinner. Praise be to God, they had all arrived in good condition from Paris. By this time Babette, like the bottled demon of the fairy tale, had swelled and grown to such dimensions that her mistresses felt small before her. They now saw the French dinner coming upon them, a thing of incalculable nature and range. But they had never in their life broken a promise; they gave themselves into their cook’s hands.
No, Madame. ’ Martine had never suspected that wines could have names to them, and was put to silence. Late in the evening she opened the door to a ring, and was once more faced with the wheelbarrow, this time with a red-haired sailor-boy behind it, as if the old man had by this time been worn out. The youth grinned at her as he lifted a big, undefinable object from the barrow. In the light of the lamp it looked like some greenish-black stone, but when set down on the kitchen floor it suddenly shot out a snake-like head and moved it slightly from side to side.