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COUNTESS LISE AGNETE

MOLTKES MEMOIRS
As told to Sofie Andersen and translated by Jytte Holst Bowers

In the garden of remembering, its always summer.


Mary Queen of England

Lise Agnete Moltkes Memoirs

The first step I took was on Strandboulevarden in Copenhagen. I walked in a harness


made especially for small children when they learn how to walk. At that time we lived in
Bechgaardsgade, where I was born, not too far from where I learned to take my first steps.
My childhood was wonderful, and I remember many things from long, long ago. My
grandparents were very nice, my mothers parents as well as my fathers. Every Sunday we took
turns paying them a visit. We always had such a lovely time.
I especially remember my stay at Strandhuset [The Beachhouse] where my fathers father
owned a big bindingsvrk villa [half-timbered house]. My grandparents lived there all summer
long, and my mother and I visited. I just loved to hear the wind blowing around the corner.
The sheep were grazing in the meadows, and there was a buck who once gave me a big
push on my behind. The animals belonged to a neighbor. I loved my grandparents. Every
morning when the baker came, I went out with them to meet him. It was a rule that I got a large
sugar pretzel.
My father came when he was off duty; it was lovely. Once I said, Today my father is
coming.
No, he wont come today, the grownups said. I was insistentand my father came.
He always brought a large bunch of bananas.
My fathers parents lived in Fredensborg, in the vicarage of Asminderd. I remember to
this very day the beautiful garden belonging to the vicarage. My grandfather loved flowers. He

was the minister of the church belonging to Fredensborg Castle. I loved the area. I remember
my swing at the end of the alley, surrounded by hazelnut bushes. At that time I could sit in the
swing and look out all over the surroundings.
I must not have been much more than two years old when I remember my grandfather
was giving the Christmas sermon in the church belonging to Fredensborg Castle. I drove with
my mother and grandmother in a horse drawn carriage. To this very day I remember the smell of
the horses. My grandmother was nervous, since the horses were acting up.
Grandma, I said. Dont be afraid. Nothing is going to happen.
At the church I was very still, like a little mouse. Everything was so quiet and beautiful.
The singing, the musiceverything. There was a childrens choir, and I was sure it was the
angels of God who were singing. After the sermon my grandfather placed himself in front of the
altar and I, dressed in a long, white velvet coat, ran as fast as I could up to him.
When my grandfather lived in Asminderd, he owned a collie named Rollo. He was very
much loved, but the dog did not like the sexton because he had once chased him away before a
funeral. Once, during my grandfathers sermon, the dog entered the church. It walked up to the
last row, put its front legs on the back of the pew and turned its head from one side to the other.
It was difficult for my grandfather to keep from laughing. It was even more difficult for him to
continue the sermon.
When my grandfather retired, my grandparents moved to Landsebakken in Holte, about
twenty kilometers from Copenhagen, with Rude Skov [a small forest] close by. My grandparents
lived there for several years. The big yard abutted a large lake, and we were forbidden to go
down there. In the afternoon tea and juices were served. They rang a big bell so we could come
in and get cleaned up a little before we were to be served.

On one occasion I thought I would hide and found a big box which had been used for
apples. I crept in and pulled another box on top. I sat there quite a while and heard them calling.
Finally, I pushed the box aside and there, oh there, stood my dad. He looked very angry.
Everyone had been afraid that I had drowned in the lake. I got a big smack on my bottom, was
put to bed, and told to think about its not being a very clever trick. I had thought they would
have been so happy to have found me.
My grandmother had a big pantry which always smelled of delicious homemade jams and
juices. I often took her hand. Lets go into the pantry, Grandma, but only we alone. Mother
cant come along.
Grandma embroidered a large wall hanging for my sister and me, and at Christmas she
knitted mittens with a traditional peasant pattern. Rete [my sister] used to wear them when she
went to bed. In wintertime we went with our grandmother on walks in our back garden.
My grandmother did not become very old. She was only sixty-three when she died of
heart failure. At that time not so much research had been done in that area.
I was fifteen years old when my grandfather passed away.

He had been at my

confirmation. He came in the morning and stayed for lunch, but his strength was not good.
However, we managed to celebrate his eightieth birthday in Holte.
A funny thing happened with my grandfathers sister, Aunt Rose, who used a hearing
horn. My grandfather came into the room. Ladies and gentlemen, he said, I just want to
announce that Her Royal Highness Queen Alexandrine has arrived.
Aunt Rose piped up. Who is pretending to be a Queen here? My grandfather hushed
her up as the Queen entered the room. She was very sweet, and Rete and I got to talk to her.
Worst of all, she had brought along her two small fox terriers, and Grandpas Rottweiler tried to

make a meal of them. The Queen thought it was very nice that Rete and I were Girl Scouts.
After a while she took her leave. The door had hardly closed behind her when Aunt Rose piped
up. Well, can we now relax? Our uncle had to calm her down.
My grandfather died not long after the celebration. His heart was not strong, but he had
managed to visit us in the Pyrenees when we lived there. His doctor had told him that he should
not try to climb any heights over a thousand meters. And what did my grandpa do? He sent a
postcard to his doctor and told him he was spending a most delightful vacation at a height of
1600 meters.
He could tell stories, and there were so many of them. One day, on his walk, he met Lars
Peter, one of the members of his church. My grandfather, who had christened, confirmed,
married and buried so many of the people belonging to the church, said, Hi, Lars Peter, how are
things going?
Not so good, said Lars Peter. I cant manage my wife.
Come on, Lars Peter, said grandpa. Just go home and show her who is the man in the
house.
A while later they met again, and my grandfather asked if things were better.
I have to say so, Herr Pastor. When I went home, I put her over my knee and gave her a
good many smacks on her bottom, and since then I have had had no trouble.
It wasnt exactly what my grandpa had meant him to do.
The first call my grandfather had was to a church in Sdr. Jernlse (the name originally
meant a southern town with no iron in the earth.) My father was born in the rectory. He loved
his childhood and his adventures in the fields and woodlands. In springtime the stork returned to
its nest, and my father was an eager watcher.

Once he thought it would be fun to exchange the eggs with those of the hens. Afterward
he felt sorry and crawled up again with the storks eggs. He was not so lucky. He rolled down
the roof into the sheeps bin. He was fortunate not to have hurt himself.
My father and his sisters had a lovely woman who cared for them. Her name was Maren.
She had quite a personality and she was very persistent. She loved the four children in her care
and they likewise.
Once my grandfather came up to the childrens room. But Maren, he said, It is
awfully hot up here.
Maren, never lost for words, said, How can I help it if the Count has to go mess around
in the loft. Down there, where I work, the air seems fresh enough.
My grandfather laughedand oh, that Maren was so loved.
When he left Sdr. Jernlve, he got a call to Sborg, in Gilleleje County. It was a beautiful
church, and a portrait of my grandfather hangs in the sacristy. My grandfather planned the area
in which he planted many of the two hundred ferns from Adam Georg Ernst Henriks trips
around the world. It is called Moltkes Garden.
I have my great great grandfathers picture hanging on my wall. His name was Carl Emil
Moltke. He was the son of Adam Gotlob Moltke from his second marriage. Adam was the
architect who drew the plans for Christian VIIs palace, one of the palaces which constitute
Amalienborg Castle, the residence of the royal family of Denmark. Adam had twenty-three
children from his two marriages. The eldest of the two brothers from Adams second marriage
married a Huitfelt, thus establishing the family of Moltke-Huitfelt in Glorup. Carl Emil took
over Nragerm Konradislyst and grd. He first moved into grd, and later on he took over
the other two manor houses.

He was a very clever and capable man, well-traveled, and he was also gesandt [posted],
as it was called at that time. [He was a diplomat.] When he returned to Denmark he received the
Grand Cross of Dannebrog. One day, when he was leaving home, he said to his coachman, Tell
you what. Dont call me Count any more. From now on I am His Excellence. The next time
he was driving out, the coachman said, All is ready, Your Pestilence.
Carl Emils wife, whose painting is hanging next to his on my wall, was called Asta
Tusnelda. She was very beautiful. Her mothers name was Amalie, and she was no less
beautiful. She was married von Meinhfel; her maiden name was von Ompteda. Amalie was
married to a count from Holland who was older by some years and who died. They had only one
child, Asta Tusnelda. The French Count dAngiviller came to the estate in Southern Jutland
where they lived. He fell in love with Amalie.
Nevertheless, he travelled back to France where he tutored the Sun Kings [Ludvig 14 th]
son. He was the manager of Versailles and was very interested in art. Then came the French
Revolution, and he had to flee with whatever he could take with him. So he came back to
Southern Jutland. He was still much in love with Amelie. He presented her with some paintings.
One was called The Death of Socrates; another was Vestalinden [a type of butterfly]. And then
there was a large painting of himself. I have seen it at Aunt Elses brother, Uncle Ernst, when I
went to a Christmas dinner there. I have had several Christmas dinners there. It now hangs in
the Danish Museum of Art. Uncle Ernst bequeathed it to the museum. Earlier it was at
Nranger.
The French count also traveled with some very large books about art and other subjects.
Once when I was visiting Aunt Else, I had a look at them. They were so large they could
scarcely fit on my coffee table. He had brought these books from France and had given them to

Amelie. We were allowed to choose a picture, and I chose one that is now hanging on my wall
here in my room.
Asta Tusnelda came to Denmark because she had been chosen to be a lady-in-waiting in
the Danish court. It was there Carl Emil became acquainted with her. He fell head over heels in
love with her and proposed to her. Amelie also became a lady-in-waiting. Neither of them were
well to do, Amelia and Asta Tusnelda. It was rather sad, for Amalie apparently had a bout with
depression. That was apparently characteristic in her family. In the end she committed suicide.
My grandfather was born at Nranger.
I have inherited the art work from my father,
since it is always passed down to the oldest
child in the family. When I die, the art will go
to my nephews Peter and Christian. My great
grandfather, Carl Emils son, hangs between
the other two pictures. His name was Adam
Nranger Castle

Georg Ernst Henrik, the same as my father. He

took over Nrager from Carl Emil and married, incidentally, into the Moltke family from Espe,
Countess Bertha Marie Louise. His oldest son, my grandfathers oldest brother, Otto, took over
the estate after my great grandfather died. There were, however, none of his children who chose
to inherit the estate. One of them became the president of a bank, another became a physician in
charge of a hospital unit; then there was a forester and also Aunt Else. It is so very expensive to
care for such an estate. It was sold to a Frode Hansen. For a time it was a home for the elderly.
Once I went down to see it with ge, Conxita and Irma. We were taken on a tour. There
were still many things from the olden times. Even though the estate was sold, the titles count

and countess remain in the family, although that is not something one uses to show off. My
father was also a count.
As indicated earlier, such an estate is always inherited by the oldest. But then of course
there can be something that comes up. Adam Gottlieb Moltke, for example, had to find out who
should inherit Bregentved. It was really Ditlev Moltke who should inherit it, but the old count
found out that he had tendencies and supported the French Revolution and that he was friends
with Baggesen [a famous Danish poet]. That was a little too much. He was a wonderful man; no
one questioned that. He was called to Bregentved where the old count asked him whether or not
what he had heard was true. Ditlev was an honest man and admitted everything; so there was
nothing more to be said about that. It was Adam Godske Moltke who took over the estate. His
picture also hangs on the wall in my living room.
Unfortunately, not everything goes well with these ancient mansions. For example,
everything turned out so badly for lholm. The young man who took over the estate was an art
historian. He and his wife did everything possible to keep the old castle in good order, but they
couldnt. They simply did not have the money. In the end they emigrated to England. I felt so
sorry for them.
My father became a pupil at Stenhus, a private residential school. He was not happy
there. Later on he became educated in agriculture and was a farmhand on a large farm in Jutland
as well as the island of Fyn.
My mother and my fathers sister, Marie Louise, were both pupils at the housekeeping
school, the Suhrske Husmoderskole. My father came there to visit his sister. After World War I
my father leased a farm in Northern France. It was a difficult place to be down there. Times
were hard, and there were huge holes in the ground made by grenades. They had Polish girls to

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work the fields, who gave birth to their children in the trenches. My mother and my fathers
youngest sister decided they wanted to further their housekeeping skills down there, and it was
there that my father and mother fell in love and got engaged. Every day my mother rode out into
the fields on a small horse called Galopmren [the gallop bitch] with meals for the field hands.
The horse had been in the war and had been shot through the ear. When it ran, it galloped.
Nothing could stand in the way. My father and mother were both good riders and became
engaged on the back of horses in the midst of a thunderstorm. Father had three hunting dogs
who followed him wherever he went. My mother said one always knew where father was
because the hunting dogs sat outside. But it was difficult times for farmers; so father came
home. He became the manager of several large farms, including one near Tirsbk in Jutland,
where my mother worked as a servant. It was a terrible place where they were treated very
badly. Then it became such a difficult time for farmers that my father gave up farming. It took a
lot of money to buy a farm, which father simply did not have. So he became a policeman and
held that job for many years. The last years he became a member of the police force in the main
railway station [in Copenhagen] because he was so proficient in languages. He was a good
worker, pleasant in dealing with travelers and efficient in keeping things running smoothly. He
was so relaxed with a good sense of humor.
After my mother and father got married, my mother stopped working. Earlier she had
worked as a maid. I was born, and three years after that came Rete. When I was five or six years
old, we moved from sterbro [the eastern part of Copenhagen] to gade [the street by the side of
the creek]. At that time it was a very peaceful place. I could gather chamomile flowers in the
ditches to put in my doll carriage, and we could play there. There wasnt much traffic at that time
quite the opposite. While we were living on gade, I returned to school in what at that time

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was called Femmers seminarium [Femmers high school]. Today it is called Metropolitanskolen
[the Metropolitan School]. It was a wonderful school.
After we had lived there for some years, we moved to Brnshj. We lived on the lowest
floor of a large villa, where a very sweet family lived above us. We had a large garden, which
was really nice. There we lived for a number of years. I especially remember a large plum tree
with the most beautiful flowers. While we were living there, I was confirmed in Brnshj
church. After my grandfather died we moved to a house close to Utterslev Mose [a small lake in
the town of Utterslev] on the outskirts of Copenhagen. At the time I was preparing for my
realeksamen [final exam, but not the one required for entering the university], and my father
suggested that we go for a bike ride to get some fresh air. We rode around for a while, and then
we caught sight of a house that was being built. It looked wonderful, with gardens and fruit trees
and everything else.

The result was that my father and mother bought the house on

Lvetandsvej, almost down by the lake, and that was really delightful. At that time the lake was
still surrounded by wildlife; so we played and took walks down there.
We had a very good friend, Adam Wodschow, who came to visit often, and we collected
wild flowers together. They were exciting times. His father was a naval officer who was
connected to the Germans during the war. That was terrible. Later on Adam also became a naval
officer. It was kind of funnyI happened to take care of his wife when I was a nurse. I stood
reading her medical record and saw the name Wodschow and that her husbands name was
Adam. And suddenly Adam stood in the doorway. We had a long talk together. I went out to
visit them later in their home. That was a funny coincidence.
My mothers family lived in a little apartment on Vodroffsvej, on the third floor, right
beside what was then called Kinopalet [a well-known movie theater]. My mothers father was

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very proud of me, and the best thing that could happen to me was to go into the military
compound with him. He had an office there, because he was a colonel, a staff officer, as it was
called at that time. From his sister I had gotten a kind of little cape basket in which in those days
one carried her cape. My grandfather thought I looked so sweet in that little embroidered coat,
and I had to have its basket with me when we went to the military compound. My grandfather
kept saying, No, you know what, I think you should leave that at home.
No, Grandpa, I said, thats something Putte will have with her. (I called myself Putte
[an affectionate nickname for children].)
My mother and grandmother didnt want to get involved, for they were curious to see
who would win out. I did, of course. They almost died of laughter. When we became a little
older, Rete and I got sailor jackets to wear. We could never go out with Grandpa before he had
adjusted his pleated pants, as he called them. It was the crease in the back of the pants he was
concerned about. After all, he was an old officer. Both of my grandparents were very loveable.
When I was two years old, my grandfather took me with him to a place on Versterbro,
where there was exhibition going on. It looked like a huge barn with hay on the floor. On the
floor sat some Negroesso-called plate Negroes. They had stretched their lower lips so that
they grew outward. There they sat on the floor, ten or so, and people paid money to come in and
look at them. Today I shudder to think that we could ever do something like that.
My mothers mother lived until she was seventy-eight years old. She passed away while
I was in training to become a nurse. My mothers father was past ninety. He was unbelievable.
One has to remember this was before elevators were in use; so he walked up and down the stairs.
He took his daily walk from Vodroffsvejen through Bredgade [streets in central Copenhagen]
over to Langelinie [where the statue of the Little Mermaid stands] and back home again. He was

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very popular, especially among his fellow police officers.

There were many who were

unbelievably dedicated to my grandfather, who never forgot him.


For example, he spoke about a young officer who was becoming an alcoholic, which was
apparent to everyone. One evening my grandfather was in uniform walking the streets of
Helsingr when this young officer came straggling along. When he met my grandfather, he
thought that was the end of his career. Grandfather took him by the arm and said, You know
what? Im going to take you home to your wife. When they reached his home, he said to the
wife, This time Im returning your husband to you, but this must not happen again. When
Grandfather celebrated his sixtieth birthday and was still living on Vodroffsvej, the young officer
came to his party and said he had never forgotten that episode. He hadnt touched alcohol since
that day in Helsingr.
Grandfather was a stern man, very stern.

During the war there was a particular

occurrence. At that time it was very difficult to get meat. My grandmother had a maid to help
with the cooking and housekeeping. She did her shopping on Vernedamsvej, buying her meat
from a very well-known butcher by the name of Johansen. Suddenly one day, while Grandfather
was at his office, the doorbell rang, and there stood the butchers boy with half a pig. That was a
lot of meat. Grandmother was so happy, and the young maid took the pig into the kitchen. Then
Grandfather came home, went into the kitchen, and said, What in the world is this?
Yes, can you imagine it? Butcher Johansen sent us this as a present.
We cant accept it, grandfather said. To accept such a giftwe simply cant do it.
Other people cant get something like that. Grandma and the maid had to telephone the butcher
Johansen and tell him the Lieutenant Colonel knew his intentions were well meant, but he did
not think it proper to receive such a gift.

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After my grandmother died, my grandfather had a very sweet housemaid who prepared
meals for him. We visited him many times, and he came regularly to our home. I always
accompanied him home when he visited us. One night Grandpa said Good night to his
housekeeper and she watched him go into his bedroom. But he must have lost something and
was looking for it. He went back into his study, sat down at his desk, and opened one of the
drawers. When the housekeeper came in the next day, he was still sitting there, dead. Thats the
way it goes. He was over ninety years old and had celebrated a lovely 90th birthday.
I remember the minister gave a wonderful sermon during his funeral in Garnisons
Church. He said grandfather was a man who knew no deceit. He was always methodical;
everything should be orderly.
I began school when I was six years old. I still remember my first day; it was so exciting.
We lined up in rows, walked in an orderly fashion into the classroom and sat down. Miss
Hvidebk looked at us and asked for our names. Miss Hvidebk might have been very nice, but
I did not feel at ease. There was something about her that was not quite right. And there was an
unfortunate incident when the girl behind me, Annelise, leaned over to me and said, Dont you
think Miss Hvidebks shoes are old-fashioned?
Miss Hvidebk said, Lise, will you kindly stand up and repeat what Annelise said?
I rose up, my cheeks blood red. I thought I had to be honest; so I repeated what Annelise
had said. The classroom became completely silent.
We had various subjects. I particularly liked to make clay models. History was also a
favorite topic. I was quite good in Danish, and my handwriting was also nice. Miss Hvidbk
also taught us how to sew and embroider. I cant say I was very good at handcrafts, for I became
nervous and dropped those darned stitches. My knitting became a kind of small tangled knot.

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On Parents Day my mother sat next to me. The knitting was going well because my mother was
very supportive. Then Miss Hvidbk came by and said, But Lise, how well you are knitting
today. How can that be?
My mother was clever enough to say, Miss Hvidbk, I can tell you whybecause she is
so afraid of you. That gave Miss Hvidbk something to think about.
I enjoyed history in first grade. Miss Rambus made everything come to life, and I hung
on every word. She told us about Olav Tryggvason, who tried to Christianize Norway. That was
something the Queen of Norway would not tolerate. Olav Tryggvason smacked her face with his
glove and cried out, You wrinkled old heathen witch.
In the evening, while we were lying in our beds, I told Rete what I had heard in school.
We happened to be in Holte visiting my fathers parents. During the dinner Rete sat beside
Grandma and stared intensely at her. She said, while carefully stroking her cheek, Grandma,
are you one of those they call an old wrinkled heathen witch? At first there was complete
silence, then mirth and laughter. It was said with such innocence, but I wanted to crawl under
the table.
When I reached third grade, we moved to Brnshj, and I enrolled in Brnshj School.
That was a large school, with at least 1200 pupils. At that time things were different from today.
There was the boys playground and the girls playground, as well as classes strictly for boys as
well as for girls. In the yard there was huge flagpole surrounded by large boulders and beds of
flowers and evergreens which divided the boys from the girls. It was crazy. The result was that
it became a big deal, when the playground supervisor, as we called him, was at one end of the
yard while we were at the other. Then notes flew back and forth over the barrier, and then we

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met together after school. Of course we had boy friends at home; so it was a mad idea to keep us
separated during school hours.
I had a very sweet teacher in third grade by the name of Miss Vemmentorp. She was a
cousin of my uncle. I was very happy with school at that time.
Because he was fluent in French, my father was sent to the International Commission in
the Pyrenees under the command of Colonel Lunn. Father lived there from 1936 to 1938.
Mother, Rete and I traveled down there during the winter of 1937-1938 and lived there until the
following winter.
Colonel Lund knew my fathers parents. In the commission there were two officers from
the Danish police as well as others from all over Europe. They had been sent to help stop the
smuggling of weapons to the Spanish during the Spanish Civil War. My father was down by the
border near Cerbre and later on near Biarritz Bayonne. My grandfather and my mother went
down to visit him the first year. There was no indication father would come home anytime soon.
Father wrote that he thought we should come down to live there. My mother packed all our
things and our apartment was rented out to someone in our family. So mother, Rete and I left for
Spain in January. Rete was seven years old; I was ten. At that time it was not so common to fly
as it is today. We took the express train to Esbjerg [on the west coast of Jutland facing the North
Sea]. The bridge over the channel between Sjland and the island of Fyn had just been built; so
that was something we had to see. But we were so tired we fell asleep and managed only to see
it from a distance. We boarded the ship in the midst of a rain storm. I can remember we wore
some green raincoats and southwesters to cover our heads. The weather was just awful. We
stood up on the deck of the boat. I was hoping the boat would really be tossed up and down,

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unaware of what the English Channel is like in a storm. The name of the ship was A. P.
Bernstorff. It was a wonderful ship, and we had a very nice suite for ourselves.
We sailed from Esbjerg in the evening during a terrific storm. My grandfather was
sending telegraphs to the boat all night long, he was so nervous about us. The waiter had given
us a wonderful meal, and had said we could take as much fruit as we wanted. I took a large
banana and Rete an orange. The waiter said, If you become seasick, you need only to throw it
all up again. Seasick? Rete didnt become seasick. She pulled the curtain concealing her berth
and slept through the night. She wasnt a bit bothered. But I got so seasick. The maid came in
and helped to clean me up. The next morning as we got close to the entrance to Antwerp, the sea
was as calm as could be. I stood there pale as a corpse, but I had to see us sailing into the harbor.
It was so exciting for small girls. The local pilot came to the ship on a tug, and guided us into
Antwerp harbor. We took the train to Paris, and from there to Toulouse where our father was to
meet us. Rete and I were asleep in mothers arms when father met us at the Toulouse train
station. We were so happy to see him. We got some tea and croissant while the train traveled
down to Lourdes in the High Pyrenees, where we were going to live. My father had found us a
little apartment at Number 5, Avenue de la Gare.
The next day my parents had to go and talk to the landlady who owned the apartment.
Father said Rete and I should stay put while they were gone. Then of course Rete had to use the
chamber pot, and I said, You cant do that in here, Rete. Itll stink up the place. I was so
angry with the poor child. When my parents returned, there were tears and gnashing of teeth, but
the tears were soon wiped away. Then we all thought we needed some fresh air and went for a
nice walk to the large grotto where there were statues of Bernadette and the Virgin Mary, and
where the crutches of all those who had been healed hung on the walls. From here we walked on

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a long path up the mountain called Golgotha. All along the way were large bronze statues, very
life-like, depicting Jesuss disciples and His crucifixion. At the very top was Jesus on the cross
with the two thieves on each side. It all made a huge impression.
There was a large cathedral in the center of the city to which patients were driven by
scouts and nurses. They lay around the plaza on stretchers. Those who could move by using
their crutches did so. The bishops and cardinals in their colorful vestments arrived to bless them.
The most beautiful music streamed from the church. It was all very beautiful. It was impossible
not to be moved by it all. During the pilgrimage of the summer months, in the evening the
pilgrims walked by in large numbers and, bowing down with torches in hand, sang Ave Maria.
In back of the church down by the river was the grotto with the statue of the Virgin Mary. There
was also a spring and a pool into which the sick were lowered. A hospital was nearby.
The reason this place was chosen for pilgrimage was that a little girls who tended sheep,
Bernadette, had climbed up a mountain nearby and there was given a vision. It was Mary, the
mother of God, who revealed herself and said that close by was a pool which could bring
healing. On the side of the mountain was a real life figure of Bernadette with her stuffed sheep.
Rete burst out, Tell me, father, is Bernadette also stuffed? Once my father was talking with a
doctor there who said it was quite strange, but in the hospital records was proof that many had
been healed.
We walked in the mountains every day. In the mornings we did our school work, for we
had brought our school books with us, but then we went on some wonderful hikes. It was simply
like a fairy tale. We packed some sandwiches, and then out we went to scout the surrounding
naturelots of fresh air, lots of beautiful scenery. There was a large river, called Gave de Pau,
which begins high up in the mountains and flows through the Pyrenees, ending up in Spain.

19

There was a huge cavern called the Betharam cave, 200 meters underground. With light from
small lamps attached to the walls and flashlights, we could climb down to an underground river
and then sail the rest of the way. It was unbelievable. There were ferns growing by the light
from the lamps, and we could also hear waterfalls.
Something scary happened on one of those trips into the mountains. We were running
around, and suddenly Rete took off down the hillside. My parents could see that there was a
deep hole in the ground in front of her. They called out, Rete, stop! Stop! Father reached her
in the nick of time. It was a deep, deep, deep natural well without any fence around it. When
you threw a stone into it, it was a long time before you could hear a plop. It was an underground
river. We would never have been able to get her up again if she had fallen into the hole. We
never ventured into that area again.
We took many other nature walks. It was such a healthy life. We were at Bibestone,
where there was a ski lift. There was also Pic du Jer with a funicular. Up there was a large
cross which we could see from our windows at home. It was lighted up at nightvery beautiful.
While we lived in 5 Avenue de la Gare, we became very good friends with a mover who
transported large loads in a donkey cart. He carried the luggage from the train station for
travelers. On the donkeys back there was always a dog riding along. Rete and I loved animals
and would always go out and give the donkey something to eat. If we werent there, it would
stick its head through the window in our house and bray, He haa.. He haa. We loved those two
animals.
We brought home another lost dog. It was a small, grey sheepdog, so we called it Toto.
Because we were so kind to it, it was always at our doorstep, and it came along during our walks
in the mountains. We were planning to take him home with us to Denmark, but one day it was

20

killed by a car. They werent very nice with animals down there. They didnt have the same
love for animals as we did, so they werent well cared for. In the market place the hens lay tied
together in the hot sun.
After our first dog we got another one which we called Rita. It was a little, short-legged
hunting dog, and it also lay in front of our door the whole time. We took Rita in so it could be
inside during the night. It was a female, so when it came into heat, there was a period when
father and Mother were woken up during the night because there were some ten dogs outside our
door howling. Father finally said, Enough is enough, and Rita was put outside.
We were living in the Alps during the Christmas season. By that time we had moved to
Avenue de la Helios. It was a huge boarding house with a public restaurant downstairs and an
apartment with a balcony on top which we rented. Further up the street there was a large
Baskervilla, [a genus of flowering plants from the orchid family Orchid cease] where the
Bodard family lived, with whom we became good friends. The children were Christiane,
Monique, Genevieve, Sabine, Jean and Jos, who was still in a baby carriage. We went on skiing
trips up in the mountains with the family. It was their two aunts who owned the boarding house
in which we lived. We are still in contact with the Bodards.
From our apartment we could see far over the mountain range. We could see the Spanish
mountains with their snow-dressed tops and another mountain 2000 meters high called
Hautagam. It was snow-clad, and we could see there were also trees on top. From our home we
could see one particular tree which we wanted to have for Christmas. First, we made a trip up
Hautagam to see what trail we could use. When December came, we worked our way up the
trail on skis. Father had a backpack with food and a flashlight and cognac if something should
go wrong. We left at 7:00 a.m. First we had to go through Lourdes and a little village on the

21

mountainside. About 4:00 p.m. we came up to where there was deep snow and Edelweiss
peeping through. It was difficult to make headway for such little girls, until we finally reached
the forest. It was so quiet, one dared scarcely utter a word, even as children. The tree trunks
were so large that that four of us could scarcely hold hands around them. There were lichen and
moss hanging down from the trees, as if no human had been there during the last thousand years.
It was so beautiful.
Rete spoke up, Tell me, Father, what kind of tree shall we take with us? That was a
good question. Father climbed up one of the large trees and sawed the top off for our Christmas
tree. We left it there while we made our way to the top of the mountain. In the meantime I had
to stop for a time to get my breath and a little cognac. Then I was okay again. On the mountain
top we watched the sun begin to set. The sky was filled with the most beautiful colors, I can
hardly describe the sight. We looked over the endless Pyrenees and felt so small.
But we had to be careful, for the dusk suddenly fell on us. We had a particular path we
had to follow down so we wouldnt get lost. We began our descent and reached the bottom at
9:00 p.m. with Christmas tree in hand. The people in town were beginning to get nervous about
us. They thought it was perhaps too long a trip to make in one day When, after my nurses
training, Jytte and Betty came down with me to see Haute-Pyrnes [ the High Pyrenees], they
couldnt believe that we had made that trip. I said to father, Will you be so kind as to tell this
lady. . . . That silenced Jytte.
Quite often we made the delightful trip to Gave de Pau. During the summer it was after
all quite hot, up to 40 degrees Celsius [104F]. At one place where the water was shallow, we
walked over to a little island in the middle of the river, where there was a lovely pool of cold
water we could swim in. We played, built dams, landed in the water. One day Rete came upon a

22

big, beautiful stone, but father realized that there was a poisonous snake under the rock. Rete did
not notice anything and threw the stone away. But father killed the snake and then realized that
there were even more out in the pool. He wrote to Dr. Lieberkind, who replied that it was not at
all unusual to find snakes there.
One day we took a trip to Gavarnie on the border with Spain, where the Spanish refugees
had come through a pass when they were fleeing from the civil war. There was a waterfall there
three times the height of the City Hall of Copenhagen. From there we rode on donkeys up to Loc
de Gaub. Mother joined us on a mule.
Once in a while Rete and I were allowed to attend the bountiful luncheons of the police
commission in Pau. We were the only children who attended when Colonel and Mrs. Lunn had
their get-togethers. We had been well brought up and knew what was to be expected. My
parents had trained us well. We learned to be polite and sit properly at the table, say Thank you
for the food, and curtsy.
The lunches with the police commissioners were very impressive and lavish. I can
remember one time I sat next to Captain Snerding. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the
Royal Guard at Amalienborg Castle [the Kings residence in Copenhagen] and one of fathers
colleagues. On August 29, 1943 he was shot by the Germans when they took over Amalienborg.
The lunches lasted a long time, but I found it exciting to listen to what the grownups had
to say. Colonel Lunns wife would say that now the two girls may leave the table. My mother
would give us a signal. We knew we should go up to the colonel and his wife, curtsy, and thank
them for the food. After that we could run into the park and look at the peacocks.
Once we got a chance to ride in a green racing car with one of fathers colleagues, a Mr.
Glad. He drove us all around Pau in that open sports car. It was really exciting.

23

We met many nice people. I especially remember Major Layne, an Irishman, a good
friend of my father. He had been in the Foreign Legion and spoke fluent Chinese. He presented
us with a splendid pocket knife. But I cut myself on my thigh on one of our mountain hikes. I
didnt say anything because I was afraid Mother would take the knife away. We sat by a
waterfall while our parents sat a little further down the hill. I washed the blood away in the
running water. Mother said suddenly, Look at that! I think the water is turning red. Then she
realized that I had a deep gash. I still have the scar to prove it. Mother thought that the knife
was too dangerous and it should be taken away, but Father said, That wont do any good. If
they havent learned how to use a knife today, they never will.
After we had lived in the Pyrenees for a year, the situation in Europe began to become
little by little more worrisome. One day a colleague of my father, Masanik, a Czechoslovakian
officer, ran up to father and mother with tears running down his cheeks.
Its awful. I have to go back home now. The Germans have occupied Czechoslovakia.
That scared usnot something you want to hear. We remained for a little while, but then
the civil war ended, and other things began to happen around us, so the police commissioners
had to return to Denmark.
We were so unhappy. Our life in the Pyrenees had been one fairy tale after another, and
we had had so many experiences.
We were told our return to Denmark should be by way of England, since the situation in
Germany did not look good. That did not take place. We had to travel through Germany. We
left Toulouse for Paris. My father thought we had to see Paris; so we stayed there for three days
and saw all the sights: the Arch of Triumph, the Church of the Invalids, the Louvreyes,
everything we could pack into three days. It was very exciting. We took the train from Paris to

24

Cologne and stayed at a grand hotel, Klnerhof. We also saw the cathedral. In the morning the
waiter brought us a basket of breakfast rolls. Unfortunately, he managed to drop them all on the
floor. He gathered them together into the basket and left. Mother said, Aah, were getting those
same rolls anyway. But they did taste very delicious. We remained one day in Cologne and
traveled further up through Germany. It was a strange experience. Posters with Hitlers picture
were all over the place, as well as swastikasrather depressing. We arrived in Hamburg, where
we spent the night and met up with one of fathers colleagues and his wife. At the restaurant
where we all ate together, I remember we got sauerkraut, which was more than my stomach
could take after all that French cuisine.
Finally, we arrived in Denmark. It was most depressing: bad weather, with snow and
slush. The fairy tale could no longer continue; so we returned to our daily chores. We went back
to school, Brnshj School. They had been so sweet as to write to us while we were gone. I got
Miss Vemmetoft as my fourth grade teacher.
From the third to the fifth grades I was happy with school. In middle school I was also
glad, but I would not say I was much of a student. After nine years of schooling I was fed up
with studying and took the exam for those not planning to go on to the university. At that time
there were not so many who continued on to become students. It was Rete who was more
studious. She was the one who went on to the university.
There were, of course, some teachers we thought were rather useless. Now we already
had a pretty good knowledge of French. Our French teacher, Mrs. Baltzer, told us middle school
girls that she had been some time in Paris, playing on her harp with her long hair wafting in the
windrather hilarious. We older girls had trouble taking her seriously. Then she said something

25

about French men, You know, they have these long loaves of bread, baguettes, which they use
as walking sticks.
I sat there, thinking to myself, Ive never seen anything like that. So I piped up and said,
Thats strange. I never saw anything like that. Ive only seen them walking with the bread
under their arms.
The teacher was rather furious, and my grades went down. My father said, What in the
world? Didnt you get a better grade in French than that? Whys that? I told him the story.
But when I took the exam, my grade went up again, and that was good enough.
While I was in ninth grade, my fathers cousin wanted me to go along on a trip to
Finland, but then the Finnish-Russian war broke out, so our plans came to naught. I was of
course very disappointed.
Instead I went to something called a ternelejr [a camp where young Danish girls helped
out on the farms]. There were girls from the high school who volunteered to go to Jrgerspris.
We stayed in the Calvary Wing, two or three girls in each room. My friend Ediths classmate
also came along. We had a lot of fun together.
We went by bike every morning to the farm where we were expected to lend a hand with
any job that needed to be done and stayed there until 1:00 p.m.

We helped with odd jobs:

picking ripe berries, weeding, and such things. My first job was to lead a large flock of geese to
the pond. I managed. At other times we helped with baking or other types of cooking. The day
was filled with all kinds of work. The farmers had two children, two girls, who were of course in
school during the day. They were wonderfully sweet girls.
One day we were expected to dig up the turnips. I could see that the farmers were
anxious to see what my reaction would be, especially since it was a very hot day. But there was

26

no question in my mind that the job had to be done. In fact we dug up turnips from 8:00 a.m.
until noon. I kept up with the others, for I was determined not to fall behind. When we came
back to the farm, they said, You certainly managed that very well, my girl. One day they
picked me up in a two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage and drove me around the area to see the
nature and other things worth seeing.
In the afternoons we went into Jgerspris, to the beach where we could go swimming and
get a taste of Jgerspris ice cream.
In the evenings there were lectures by Signe Prytz, who lived in Jgerspris Castle. Her
brother was an officer, and he also gave lectures on the history of the castle. Those three weeks
passed by far too fast. It was a lovely time, which I was very glad to have experienced.
I was finished with my schooling. I was after all very young when I began in first grade,
so I was not very old. I wanted to become a nurse, but we thought it might be better if I started
out caring for children by getting a training in child care which would last one year. I began my
education at Dosseringens Vuggestue [a child care center] out by boulevarden, where I learned
a lot. I had to be there a year and a half because I was so young. There were newborn babies,
babies just learning to walk, and some even older.
There was a good deal of anxiety during the German occupation, and suddenly one day
they arrested all of the Danish policemen. It was September 19, 1944. All of the parents
suddenly rushed into the child care center to retrieve their children. I wasnt aware of what was
going on until I heard them saying, The Germans have arrested the police force. The Germans
have arrested the police force. I left for home right away. Mother was of course very nervous.
Father was at that time teaching at the Amager Academy which trained the Danish police corps,
and the Germans had taken over the barracks next door. Every day they had been marching past

27

the school, but on that day they stopped and completely surrounded the building; so the Danes
could do nothing. There was no possibility of escape. Father had often said, If the Germans
want to arrest us, they know where to find us.
We had no idea what had happened to Father. It was two months before we discovered
that he had been sent to Germany. Mother went to the office of the Red Cross every day to read
the list [of those sent to the concentration camps]. It was a difficult time.
After he had come home again, he told us that they had sailed out of Copenhagens
harbor on one of .K.s large ships. They were packed together like sardines in the hold of the
ship, standing, unable to sit down. After the ship had sailed a little bit, it stopped. Through the
portholes they could see Mns Klint [a Danish chalk cliff not far from Copenhagens harbor]
some distance away. There they remained for some time. Suddenly they continued their journey
down to Hamburg. Later on father found out that the Danish captain had been given orders to
sink mice and men at that spot. The captain had replied, That I will not do!
Then youll be shot when you come to Hamburg, was the reply.
I wont do it, said the captain.
The captain was shot when they came to Hamburg, and the policemen were sent to a
concentration camp. Father was in the concentration camp for half a year. We got a letter from
him now and then. The prisoners were not allowed to write more than once a month. Mother
started to work for the Red Cross under Police Commissioner Hvid in order to have something to
do during that time.
On one occasion a letter came from Father, and Mother said to me, Lise, come here and
take a look. Do you think Father has written this letter? I remember that I was rather skeptical,
but I said I thought so, and that it could be just that Father was so tired. I didnt want Mother to

28

become too afraid. It became clear later that it was one of his colleagues who had written the
letter for him.

Father had been so sick, so ill.

The prisoners lay in barracks and were

commanded to march out every morning in the cold weather. He had thought that it would be a
shame if we did not get a letter from him; so a colleague tried to copy Fathers handwriting. Yes,
it was a very hard time.
Half a year went by when suddenly we got a message that the white busses, under the
supervision of Prince Bernadotte [from Sweden, which like Switzerland was neutral during the
war] had rescued the police officers and driven them to Frslev [a Danish town on the border
with Germany]. Mother, together with the wife of Captain Marten, took the train down there to
visit their husbands. There was a revolting Nazi, Opel was his name, who sat at one end of the
table where Father and Mother were sitting, tapping his fingers on the table the whole time.
After fifteen minutes he declared the visit finished. Father had to stand up with his back to
Mother while she had to leave. Captain Martens wife became so angry that she was thrown out
the door. Mother said to her, Its our husbands who will suffer. Theyll be sent back again.
Mother came home and told us anyone could see that Father had had a bad time. Then it
so happened that the public prosecutors family tried to get their son sent home. He was also in
Frslev, and had the same name as my father, Adam Moltke. The Germans had messed up their
files. Every prisoner had a number, and the numbers were placed on a watchtower. If they were
on one side of the tower, the person would be sent home. If on the other side, he would be sent
back to Germany. Captain Martens was sent back to a concentration camp in Germany where he
died.
Father saw his number on the right side, took off in the clothes he had on and boarded the
ferry across Storeblt. On the ferry there sat a man at the table who called Father to come over.

29

It was Axel Schitz [a famous Danish singer best known for the way he sang Danish hymns and
songs]. Father went over to him and the man said, Oh yes, I can easily tell where you are
coming from. Father sat down, and they had a long discussion with one another.
In the evening Father came home to Lvetandsvej and rang the doorbell. Rete was
sleeping in the bedroom next to Mothers. I was in the guest room. I heard mother take our
Rottweiler Jill by the collar and go out to open the door. Is it really you! she said in a voice
full of wonder.
As I lay in bed, I thought it might be one of our uncles. They were involved in a lot of
illegal activities against the Germans and perhaps they had to flee or get away from home one
way or another. The first I heard was our dog, barking madly. Then there was a howl as he ran
around in circles outside, wild with joy. I looked out, and there was Father! I sprang out of bed
and jumped up on Fathers lap, sitting there, crying out, Father, Father, Father. I can still feel
the excitement when I think about it. My mother was very quiet, almost in shock. Then Rete got
out of bedshe always takes things much more calmlybut of course she was also very happy.
Finally Mother said, Dont you think we should go into the living room?
The next day the daughter of the public prosecutor came by.

She thought we should

know what had happened [to her father]. We should therefore be very careful; otherwise, my
father might be taken to prison once more. That was so sweet of her. To be safe we packed our
sleeping bags and cycled out to sleep in one place or another. It was awful to think that the
Germans might suddenly stand at our door. We did that for a long time, until the Germans
finally capitulated.
When the war ended, we could all breathe more easily. There was jubilation, shouting,
and celebration.

30

The time my father was in Germany and in Frslev was an ugly time, a really ugly time.
My Uncle Gustav and Cousin Ole were imprisoned for a time in Shell House [earlier used by the
Shell Oil Company]. Uncle Kaj, my fathers youngest brother, sat in prison in Russia and was
very sick when he came home. He got better, but was never really healthy again. My father was
not as well as we might wish. He couldnt talk about it when he first came home, which is quite
understandable. One can hardly imagine how they could have survived, but Father was a strong
man to begin with, and some of Fathers colleagues told Mother that Father had been fantastic
when it came to keeping his colleagues spirits up. It was worse for the young men. Father said,
We will never give in to the Germans. Father also had his faith to sustain him. How Father
managed to get over it all is unbelievable.

It must have been really hardinhuman,

incomprehensible evil.
During the war I had finished my training at the Dossering Child Care Center. I was
there from when I was sixteen years old until 1944, when I was seventeen and a half. When I
was finished, there was a real examination. We had learned some nursing skills and had had
some Samaritan courses and so forth. I passed my exams with flying colors, but I was still too
young to apply for training to become a nurse. I tried to get in at Bispebjerg Hospital. My
fathers cousin, Otto Moltke, who was the chief physician at Elisabeth Hospital, had said, She
needs to go to Bispebjerg because that is a good place to learn nursing skills.
In the meantime, of course, I had to do something. My friend, Jytte, was working at a
large agricultural school run by her uncletraining in cultivating roses and much moreout by
Rdovre [a town just outside Copenhagen]. The school no longer exists, but it was called
Hastrup Nursery. Jytte said, I can ask my uncle if you can come and help out here and there.
So I came out there and was there quite a long time, at least six months, and helped with one

31

thing or another. There were fields filled with rose bushes, and we could pick as many roses as
we wanted and take them home. I went right to work and dug up tuja [a coniferous tree].
I remember one of my teachers of biology, a subject I liked very much, came out to the
nursery one day and said, Well, Lise, what in the world are you doing here? That was
something he just could not understand. I had, as a matter of fact, been out at the nursery before,
during a fall vacation just after I was finished with school. I had been invited to a ball, and
Father had said, I cant give you a new pair of shoes. Youll have to do something yourself.
So I earned the money for my shoes at the nursery.
Before I started at the nursing school in September 1947, I spent a year and a half on a
large farm by the name of Billesborg. For hundreds of years it had been cared for by a family
named Boserup. There were five children: twins nine years old, a six-year-old boy, a girl two,
and then one that was born while I was there. I had such a good time at Billesborg. There was
plenty of work to do; so I was very busy. But the children were wonderful and the family treated
me as if I was one of theirs. I was asked to be the godmother for the newborn child and went
with them everywhere.
I remember one evening we could not find six-year-old Ivan. He was supposed to take a
bath and go to bed. I asked the owner of the property if he could think of any place the boy
could hide. We had already looked in many places. So we went around together and searched,
and would you believe it, we found him stretched out on top of the farmers bull. You better
believe he got a spanking for that.
Mrs. Stjrnswrd, a member of parliament, owned the property, and one morning she
came in her little Morris, one of those square cars. It gave off such a sound that the bull went

32

wild and began to run after the auto in the field. That was a sight for sore eyes. But fortunately
nothing happened.
After I finished working at Billesborg, it was time to begin my training as a nurse at
Bispebjerg Hospital. I think we were altogether twenty-eight students from all over Denmark.
At that time one began with a two-month introductory course. We wore a blue salt-and-pepper
dress with short sleeves and a little collar, as well as the lower part of a white apron. During that
time we had our classes in a classroom and were given demonstrations and wrote papers. We
had to have some academic knowledge, such as anatomy. There were three who dropped out
during that course. They simply could not understand the material. Otherwise, we had a lot of
fun and good camaraderie.
After we had been in the classroom for two months, we began to work in the wards for
four months. We were spread out into different wards of the hospital, and we got to wear the top
of the apron as well, which we celebrated with a party. Nevertheless, we were not allowed to
wear a cap yet. There were a couple more who dropped out during that time. We were taught
practical matters and how we were supposed to act in the wards. That was very exciting.
I had a very nice roommate. We were together in the surgical department of the mens
floor. I was trained by Professor Frodes assistant, who was very knowledgeable. There were a
six-man room, a single room and one with three patients. The three patients were in very bad
shape, some with cancer. They lay with intravenous injections and catheters. I was rather
scared, afraid that I might do something wrong. I must admit I began to wonder, Is this what
you really want? There was still enough time to drop out of my nursing program.
Then one of the patients died. I cant say that it bothered me that much, but then Miss
Hansen came, with her black hair tied back tightly, a very particular lady, who said, Miss

33

Moltke, will you be so kind as to do this and this and that? We had learned what to do in the
classroom, but at the moment I couldnt remember a thing. The only thing I thought was, What
do I do now? There are two things I can do: either go to my supervisor and tell her this is too
hard, its too much for me, more than I can bear. Or I can go to Miss Hansen and ask her to help
me. The first choice was the easy way out; so I went to Miss Hansen with a drawn face and
said, Miss Hansen, would you be so kind as to help me and repeat once again what I must do?
I dont know what happened, but she suddenly looked at me and said, This is not so
easy. Lets do it together. From that day Miss Hansen taught me. She was very nice, and I
ended up having a wonderful year on the surgical ward.
The first four months we attended classes for two hours of our shift. Often we were very
tired. After those four months, those who were still in the program were allowed to wear a
different uniform, a blue-and-white-striped smock, and we were also permitted to wear a nurses
cap. So we had a celebration. It wasnt something to be taken lightly. When we arrived on the
ward the next day, the men were so touching. We got flowers, we got chocolateswe came
home like packhorses. It was all very wonderful.
After a year on the same ward, it was time to move to another. I was on the medical ward
for nine months. For me it was diametrically the opposite to be on the female medical ward. The
nurse in charge was dressed in white from top to toe. Even her face appeared white. You could
not tell from her facial expression whether she was laughing or crying.

Her face was

emotionless. She was strange. It was a hard time for me. At the end of my time on the ward I
remember that in the evening of St. Hans Evening.* I was on duty together with a very nice
nurse by the name of Kidmose who had completed her nurses training. So I said to Kidmose
that I thought we should do something to liven things up. I dressed up as a witch with a pair of

34

long underpants worn by the male patients, a nightgown and a scarf and rode around all the
rooms. The patients thought it was delightful. During the morning report, I thought I could
discern just the slightest smile on the face of the head nurse.

*St. Hans Evening, the 24th of June, is celebrated by the Danes by having a large bonfire on which they burn a witch
made of old clothes. She rides on a broom, and is thought to be heading to Bloksberg in Germany. It is the way the
Scandinavians get rid of all mean thoughts and habits.

Then came the time when our head nurse asked if any of us had had the mumps. I said I
thought I had had it, but [too late I realized] it turned out to be swollen glands. I was sent over to
the department where there was an outbreak of mumps. Three weeks laterthe twenty-one days
of incubationI was sitting on the edge of my bed and my roommate said, How pale you are.
I

felt very ill and went down to my ward to speak with the nurse in charge. I had a high

fever and was put to bed. During the night I got up, but twice became unconscious and fell
down. I created quite a mess: chairs and tables overturned, so a doctor came from the ward for
premature babies and carried me back to bed. The next day Dr. Flensborg came and said I must
have had a concussion. I was driven to Bispebjerg Hospital where I lay until the next day. I had
such a terrible headache; so I was sent further to Blegdammen Hospital, to the epidemic ward.
There I lay a long time, but they could not understand why I was so sick, so sick. Finally an xray was taken of my skull, and it showed a long crack in the back. That resulted in my losing a
half year of my nurses training. I could hardly get out of bed and simply had to learn how to
walk again.
During my illness I had a strange dream. It was apparently during the most critical
period of my illness, and at first I could not speak about it at all. Finally, I did relate it to my
father a long time after I came home again. I had received an injection meant to stimulate my
35

heart and gone to sleep. I dreamed that my grandfather [Fathers father] stood up on a very, very
high hill in his ministerial robe. I went up to him. There arose a kind of hurricane, but I stood
holding his hand. Then my father came up and took my other hand. My grandfather said, No,
you must not come up to me yet. You must take your fathers hand and go home with him. It
was so strange, so vivid. I woke up the next morning, and while I had previously been quite
anxious, now I was completely relaxed. It was such an intense dream.
Fortunately, I got well again and passed my final exams. Our graduation was in the City
Hall of Copenhagen at that time. It was quite a festival, with the Royal Chamber Orchestra and
speeches. We got up one by one and received our diploma and nurses pin. Everything was quite
impressive. They played To the Spring by Grieg, and it was very beautiful. They dont do that
anymore. After the ceremony we were all invited to a reception in the splendid rooms in the City
Hall, where the famous City Hall Pancakes were served, along with much more.
After my final exams in 1951, I still had not fulfilled a supplementary training in
psychiatry, and fulfilled that requirement at Bispebjerg Hospital.
In the month of July, when my training as a nurse was about to come to an end, Inge
Ehrenskjld, the leader of my Girl Scout division, gave my mother a telephone call at home. She
had heard from Sibylle Bruun, who was lady-in-waiting to Queen Ingrid of Denmark, that the
Duke and Duchess of Gloucester would like to find a Danish governess for their two sons, Prince
Richard and Prince William of Gloucester. The Duke of Gloucester was the brother of the
former king of England [King Edward] and therefore the uncle of the present-day Queen
Elizabeth. I arrived home from the hospital, and my mother said, You know what? You must
telephone at once to Ingse. Ingse thought that I was just the person for the job. I was very
interested. Since I was about to be finished with my supplemental training at the hospital, I

36

wanted to get away, try to get some air under my wings, to see new things and enjoy new
experiences.
To begin with, Sybille Bruun wanted to speak with me personally. I was to visit her in
her home on Strandvejen. She was married to a lawyer, Jonas Bruun, and one of the dearest
persons I had ever metso beautiful and very intelligent. By the way, she was also involved in
the Girl Scouts. We drank tea and had a chat; she was so sweet. She asked me why I was
interested in going to England, and I replied that I wanted to see the country and to improve my
English. She could certainly understand that. Sybille Bruun wrote to me later when I was in
England, and praised my work.
I got to know from Sibylle Bruun that Princess Margaretha would also like to speak with
me.

She lived out by Bernstorffparken [an exclusive settlement in Gentofte outside of

Copenhagen] and was married to Prince Axel. She was a personal friend of the Duchess of
Gloucester. I went to see her. She was very sweet and down to earth. I felt secure and relaxed.
I told her I was not a bit nervous about going to England, and that I was very fond of children. I
think I spent a good hour and a half with Princess Margaretha.
I had an eight-day vacation during which my sister Rete and I cycled down to our uncle
[Mothers brother]. Then the British royal family wanted to have a picture of me so they could
see what I looked like. We had to go to a photographer to have pictures takenthe shop was
called Stella Nova at that timeso they could be sent over to the Lord Chamberlain. I received
a very nice letter in which they said that they were so glad that I could come.
Because I had to take my last nursing exam in July 1951, it was not possible to travel
abroad until August 1st.

I was to be met at Liverpool Street Station by Police Inspector

Gripsholm. I traveled by the express train from Copenhagen, and my whole family was there to

37

see me off. My parents had all the time supported me in my plan of going to England. When the
train took off, the Danish flag I held in my hand escaped and flew high in the air before landing.
I took the boat to Harwich, having already sent my baggage ahead. My mother had bought me a
new suit. I thought myself quite presentable. From Harwich I took the train reserved for boat
passengers to Liverpool Street Station. I had a small Danish flag in the buttonhole of my jacket
and was supposed to wait. There I stood, looking down the platform. At that time there were not
many travelers. Then a gentleman approached me, and I thought, That must be him. He wore
pin-striped trousers and jacket with a bowler hat and umbrella in handobviously a police
inspector. He came up and said, It must be Lise Moltke. How do you do? I had to drive with
him to get some paperwork doneresidence permit and such like. While driving, the police
inspector looked me over, but I took everything quietly and calmly. Many of my friends at home
had said, How do you dare? How do you dare? But I said, I can only do my best.
We drove to St. James Palace, one of the familys residences, and it so happened that the
Duchess was in the palace with her lady-in-waiting, and Prince William had just come home
from Wellesley House, his boarding school in the southern part of England. I was served tea and
had the opportunity to meet the Duchess and Prince William. They were very nice. The Prince
was eight years old at the time. We were supposed to drive in one carof course it was driven
by a chauffeurand I was supposed to ride with them to their manor house, Barnwell Manor, up
in Northamptonshire. It took at least two hours. I sat in the back of the car while Prince William
sat in front with the Duchess and the chauffeur. Miss Elliot, the lady-in-waiting, sat beside me
and chatted. William kept looking back at me, trying to see what I looked like. He was such a
handsome little boy, so sweet to look at.

38

When we finally arrived in Barnwell, I was shown up


to the nursery. The governess was there, that is to say,
the tutor. The Duke came up, along with the Duchess,
while Prince Richard sat on his bed. He was just about
Barnwell Manor

five years old. He looked me up and down, and said,

Do you look like that? I thought youd be quite fat, when you came from Denmark! And I
thought, This certainly is not going to be a boring job. I was beside myself with joy and couldnt
help but pat him on the cheek and say, Yes, I look like that. He had to be put to bed. I greeted
Miss Woodburn and was shown a splendid room right beside Prince Richards with a view of the
grounds. It was up in the atrium, where there was also a huge classroom, behind which there
was a room for the governess. That was our domain.
So began my life in England. Barnwell Manor was very, very beautiful. There was an
old ruin, with a tennis court in the middle and old fruit trees, which went all the way back to
Henry VIII. It was an exciting place. The family also had a summer residence where they lived
for two months during the summer. So little more than a week after my arrival there were
suitcases all over the place. We were about to drive up to Scotland, to the House of Farr in the
vicinity of Inverness. The staff had gone ahead of us with all that was needed, while I was to
accompany the Duke and Duchess, along with the Dukes chamberlain and Miss Elliot. We drove
in two cars, for we could not be altogether in one car. For me that trip was a great adventure. I
looked and looked and looked. The Duchess sat beside me and explained what we were driving
past. We drove up through Northern England and came almost to the Scottish border. But before
reaching the border, we stopped off for a day at a castle named Ealdon, where the Duchess
brother and wife, Lord and Lady William Scott, lived. They had five children. The area was just

39

so beautiful, I was about to pinch my arm to be sure this was really happening. On one side was
a large mountain, and on the other a park with a river flowing through it. The family made sure
that I saw the entire castle. Prince Richard and I shared a bedroom, which was very beautiful. In
the morningPrince Richard was still sleepingI saw hunters dressed in red jackets and white
riding pants on their way up the mountainside. I ate breakfast with the children, served by the
footman. Otherwise, I wandered all around the park, for I was told simply to make myself at
home.
The next day we drove on, further north through Edinburgh and on until we came to the
House of Farr in the evening. It was a small estate with a huge park. Of course, there was also a
large nursery. Our governess didnt come along. She stayed behind in Edinburgh to enjoy a
vacation there. There I was, alone with the luggage and children, and everything was new. I just
had to find out for myself how to manage things, and I did. I just had to be practical about it.
The children had to go to bed; so I gave them a bath, and they got their supper which the waiter
had brought. Afterwards I went down and ate my own supper, and then they showed me around.
When we drove home from Scotland again, we spent a night at Drumlanrig with the Earl
of Dalkeith, the Duchess other brother. It was a faintly rose castle in beautiful surroundings,
something like a fairy tale castle. Both summers we took the same route up to Scotland and back
again.
While we were in Scotland, I hiked with the boys in the mountains, and the dogs were
with us as well. I got to know all the servants, who were, every one, so kind.
One day when we had been there about fourteen days, I was up in the nursery putting the
boys clothes in order when the Duchess came up to me and said, Lisa, we are going to
Balmoral Castle. (In England, and other foreign countries, I have always been called Lisa).

40

Thats where the whole royal family lived: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess
Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Queen Mary. The Duchess of Kent also lived there. We were
going over there to spend a little time. Princess Elizabeth was already married to the Duke of
Edinburgh, Prince Philip, at that time. They were married in 1947. She was already heir to the
throne. When Edward, many years ago, abdicated, it was his brother George VI who became
king, and with his crowning Elizabeth became heir to the throne.
We drove to Balmoral in the limousine. It was like a huge air ship. We sat in the back
while the Duke and Duchess rode in front with the chauffeur. The windows were curtained and
could be rolled up or down. As we came around a sharp turn, I suddenly saw the towers. I
thought, What am I going to do when we get there? Therefore, I asked the Duchess, Your Royal
Highness, where am I supposed to go when we arrive? And she replied, You come with us.
When we went in, I was presented as Lisa from Denmark. I greeted them all with a curtsy,
Balmoral Castle

which I had practiced at home. They were


unbelievably kind.

I was to share a bedroom with Prince Richard. It was so beautiful, one could hardly
believe ita large, beautiful room with elegant beds and wallpaper with Queen Victorias
signature.
We changed our clothes and went down to dinner. In the meantime I had set my shoes
outside the door, and when I came back,
they were gone. I asked Richard, Do you
know where my shoes are? He didnt
know, but he said, But, Lisa, here is
service for everything.

Thats right.

41

When you set your shoes outside the door, they are polished. Never before had I had such
shining shoes. Everything was done. The beds were made. All that was expected from me was
that I take care of the children. I felt as if I were living in a fairy tale.
Charles and Anne were still small. He was four years old, she two. They brought their
own baby sitter, Mabel, along, and the children played together.
Quite often, in the evening movies were shown in the Ballroom. So we came along and
sat down, and the royal family sat right in front with Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth.
Once Princess Elizabeth turned around and asked, Can you see for me, Lisa? They were also
good films that were shown.
Once I met the Queen Mother in one of the long corridors, and she said, Lisa, you must
just feel at home and do as you like. Look at the flowers, because they have such a lovely colour
here. She spoke as if I were a member of her family.
Dinner was served at 8:30 p.m. It was elegant to see the pipers coming down all the
corridors playing on their bagpipes toward the dining hall and back again. When the last notes
were played, the doors opened up for the royal family. I popped in for a moment to see the table
before they went in. It was so beautifully set with porcelain and glassware. Many paintings
decorated the walls.

We stayed at Balmoral for fourteen days. What I remember best was the kindness they
all showed. By the time we had to leave, the King was already ill. We had all become quiet
because we could see that his illness was serious. He had to be driven to London that afternoon
for an operation.

42

We returned to the House of Farr and from there home to Barnwell. The kings operation
went quite well, and shortly after the operation Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were
scheduled to go to Kenya on an official visit. They had been provided a lodge to live in. They
were traveling by air, and the King was at the airport to see them off. It was easy to see that the
King was not doing well.
At Christmas 1952 we were all together at Sandringham. The King was there, and he
was so happy. Queen Mary was there also, and everything seemed to be wonderful. She gave
me a Christmas gift and a little Christmas card. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were still in
Kenya, but otherwise the whole family was together. When we had been there for eight days, we
returned together with the King and Queen to Barnwell. We arrived a little before lunchtime. I
was up in the nursery, and the Duchess came up to me and said, Lisa, I must tell you that I am
Sandringham Castle

going to tell Richard that the King has died. We had

just said goodbye to him that morning. It was unbelievable, but that was how it happened.
A message was sent down to Kenya, and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip came home
to England. They landed at Heathrow, where Churchill and the Duke of Gloucester were there
to meet them. Elizabeth was charming, dressed in black, for she was now the Queen. She took it
well, but it was hard.
I was present at the memorial service for the
King. It was beautiful. In Westminster Abbey where
the King lay in state, I was impressed by the soldiers
who stood around the casket like stone statues. There
was a procession all the way through London, past St.
James Palace.

43

Prince William walked behind the

casket together with the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Windsor and the young Duke of
Kent. After the burial a dinner was served in St. James Palace for the family. The Danish King
and Queen were also at the funeral. When it was about eleven oclock in the evening, the
steward came up, knocked on the door, and said, Lisa, the Danish King and Queen want to see
you.
I had gone to bed after a long day, but now I had to spring out of my down-covered bed,
put on a pretty dress, a little powder on my nose and try to look a little nice. Then I went down
to the drawing room and was shown in to the King and Queen standing in their formal attire.
King Frederik shook my handa very firm handshakeand asked, Are you Lisa?
Yes, that was my name.
He asked, Are you teaching the princes some Danish?
I replied, I have tried, but they think it is a very funny language to listen to.
But you really have to try, said the King. Then Queen Ingrid greeted me. She was
beautiful and easy to talk to. She asked if I was pleased to be there, and I told her I was so very
happy with my stay in England. Queen Ingrid said that the Duke and Duchess were very pleased
with my work and said, Thank you for representing Denmark in such a fine and dignified way.
That, of course, made me very happy. I curtsied, said good night and returned to my room, so
full of vivid impressions that it was difficult to fall asleep.
It was so strange that King George was suddenly no longer there, and Princess Elizabeth
became the Queen. Her coronation took place later, after I had returned to Denmark. The
Duchess sent me a book with pictures of the ceremony in Westminster Abbey, and inside were
greetings from the entire family.

44

The following year we went to Balmoral again to celebrate Prince Richards birthday. I
came along, and the whole royal family was there. It was a wonderful experience, and the
mother to the Queen was so attentive. A layered cake with eight candles was placed in the
middle of the table. Queen Elizabeth, as she had become after the Kings death, sat directly
across from me, and she said, Oh, Lisa, you light the candles on the birthday cake. From one
of the footmen I got a box of matches. I thought, you must be able to do this all right, and I
managed to light all the candles. Prince Richard was expected to go round and serve everyone,
so he took the cake and came over to serve me first, which was very touching. But thank God I
had the presence of mind to say to him, Prince Richard, you must go to Her Majesty first. I
was glad that I had been able to think fast enough.
We had a wonderful time at Balmoral that year as well. From time to time there were
elegant balls at the castle, as well as dances at the country manors in the surrounding area where
they danced the Scottish Reel. At that time I wasnt familiar enough with the reel, but I was just
taken onto the dance floor and twirled around, and had a lot of fun. After having returned to
Denmark, I became a member of St. Andrews Society, where we went dancing once a week and
learned the very beautiful dances. We also went to balls with bagpipers, which was very festive.
Again we took walks in the mountains and drove out in
the afternoons to have picnics with the dukes after their
hunting sprees. We experienced an awful lot.
On the way home we again spent the night at
Drumlanrig. The castle belonged to the Dukes other
brother, the Duke of Buccleuch. The Duchess showed me around the entire castle and the
accompanying grounds. It was like a fairy tale for me, and there was nothing more for me to do

45

than to take care of the princes, make sure they were dressed in good time, and put them to bed
Drumlanrig Castle

in the evenings. It was a tremendous experience.

I returned home to Denmark only once during my time in England. After the first year I
got a two-week vacation in July, before we should travel up to Scotland the second time. It was
nice to come home again to see everyone and to tell them the whole story. Im very attached to
my home, but I was never homesick in England. There was something going on the whole time,
so I had no time to miss anything at all. I simply felt at home.
The Duke and Duchess had for the last six months taken care of the Duchess nephew,
that is to say the princes cousin in their home. He was educated together with Prince Richard.
His name was Johnny Warr, whose father was Major Warr, recently divorced from his wife. He
was a sweet boy, so it was really nice that Richard had a playmate at home.
The Duchess was also from a large, noble family. She was born Lady Alice Scott. Her
father had a huge castle by the side of the river ThamesMontagu House, White Hallwhich
later became an office for a political ministry. The Duchess was about thirty years old when she
married Prince Henry, a marriage which pleased the royal family very much. The Duchess was
an adventurer, with family in Africa, and had been down there on a safari. She was also artistic
and painted some wonderful watercolors. She was always painting during our picnics. As a
world traveler she had had many interesting experiences. She gave birth to her children rather
late in life.
Prince William was three years old and Prince Richard had just been born when the Duke
was appointed governor general in Australia in 1944 and spent several years there. The whole
family sailed down, but it was a frightful trip, since it was during World War II. They were
protected by a fleet of mine sweepers, but at one point they discovered that they had sailed into a

46

mine field. Suddenly there was a thud and a big bang which shook the whole ship. The leader of
the convoy came and explained what had happened. They had dropped a depth bomb because
there was a submarine nearby which had tried to torpedo them. The trip was not without danger,
but they managed to reach Australia in good shape.
After their time in Australia the family came back to England and bought Barnwell
Manor. It was from Australia that they brought back some small Australian terriers: Old Sailor,
Blue Piper, Jean and Goblin, and then there was little Digger which I later took home with me to
Denmark. It was a splendid dog which was a present to my parents. Digger was always up to
something and was the leader of the gang of terriers out to do mischief, especially catching
rabbits. He could not be held back. There was one evening while we were in Scotland that the
boys were very upset because Digger had not come home. I bathed the boys and put them to
bed, promising to wake them up if Digger was found. I was as sad as the boys, because I was
really quite fond of that little dog. That evening the Duchess went out with the gardener into the
grounds to search for him. It turned out that he was a real hound dog. The Duchess suddenly
said to the gardener, I think I hear something squealing. Try digging here. He dug down under
a large tree root. I think it was a meter down, and there was Digger who had wormed his way
into a rabbit hole under the trees root; so he was trapped and could not go forward or back out.
It was dug out, and the Duchess came back to me up in the nursery with a little, muddy dog. I
put Digger into the bathtub, washed and dried it off, and gave it a good meal. I had to wake up
the boys and tell them that Digger was home again. They were very happy.
I was the one, by the way, who gave the dogs their baths every evening. It was such fun.
After the boys were put to bed, I put the four Australians in the bathtub, washed and dried them
and gave them their food. The family was very pleased, since they were also so fond of animals.

47

Therefore, I got Digger as a present when I returned home to Denmark. Prince William and
Prince Richard said, We think Lise should have Digger. I was very happy.
During my stay in England I also attended a family wedding. The Earl of Dalkeith was
the son of the Duke of Buccleuch, who lived at Drumlanrig Castle, where we spent the night
when we drove home from Scotland. He was getting married, and it was a huge affair. Prince
Richard was a page, and I was to follow him. The wedding was held in St. Jills Cathedral. We
traveled by the night train to Edinburgh and stayed the first night in the Hotel Exclusive. I can
remember that when one ate breakfast, there was a waiter right behind our chair, and I thought, if
only he would move away. I was so hungry.
First of all, we went to the dress rehearsal for the wedding, and that went very well. The
next day was the wedding, and I should accompany Prince William to St. Jills Cathedral. So I
found out what it is like to be in the limelight, for there were so many journalists when we
arrived at the church with the chauffeur.
We sat in the church and witnessed everything. It was very beautiful and very solemn.
Present were Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, the Duke
and Duchess, and all the other guests. There were hymns and beautiful music, and the bride was
lovely, for they were a very beautiful pair. As Richard and I came out of the church, I asked the
Duchess, Your Royal Highness, where am I supposed to go now?
There was to be a reception. She answered, You go with me, the Duke and Prince
Richard. In the first automobile were the bride and groom, in the next were Queen Elizabeth
and Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. In the thirda huge Rolls Royce
were the Duke and Duchess, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and Lise. So I sat there and
could see all the heads looking in and wondering, Who can that be? It was amusing suddenly

48

to view everything from another point of view. We arrived at the reception, and it was very
festive.
When it was all over, and the bride and groom had left for their honeymoon, the Duke
and Duchess, Prince Richard and I drove to Bow Hill. That was the large country estate owned
by the Duke of Buccleuchs which lay a little outside of Edinburgh. The Duchess of Buccleuch
took me around and showed me the entire castle. How beautiful it was. We spent the night
there. Since it was just a short time before I was to return home, the Duke and Duchess and
Prince Richard took me to Edinburgh Castle and the large museum and showed me everything.
It was so thoughtful.
We went back to Barnwell. There was a Danish landowner, Mr. Vestergaard, and his wife
who had a large country manor about three quarters of an hour away by bicycle from Barnwell
Manor. The Duke was very interested in Danish breeding practices and had some Danish pigs
which he had gotten from Mr. Verstergaard. They had great pleasure in comparing experiences.
Every week I had half a day off, and many times Mr. and Mrs. Vestergaard invited me
over for a visit. We had a cozy time chatting. One day Mrs. Vestergaard and I were drinking tea
in the living room when Mr. Vestergaard and his son came into the room. They had been out at
the bee hives and apparently one of the bees had followed them in. That crazy bee flew in under
my dress, up through the sleeve, and down to my stomach. I jumped up, and the bee ended up
stinging me. Mr. Vestergaard laughed his head off. It must have been quite a sight seeing me
dancing around.
The next evening the Duke came up to the nursery, looked at me, and asked, Lisa, do
you like bees? And we laughed together. He had already heard about my bee sting. The Duke
and Mr. Vestergaard were like two little boys when they were together.

49

Before I returned home, I went along on a hunt at Mr. Vestergaards place, and they
presented me with two golden pheasants, plucked and preserved in a freezer until I traveled
home. My mother prepared them at home and they tasted splendidly.
It was difficult to say goodbye to the family and to Prince William and Prince Richard.
They would now be going to a boarding school. But there was nothing else to do. Thats the
way it goes. We cleaned up the nursery and closed it down. The governess had left some time
ago.
Before my departure I was informed that Queen Mary wanted to see me. She was living
at Marlborough House. Of course, I arrived dressed in my best outfit and was shown into Queen
Mary. She was a beautiful old lady in her eighties. I curtsied and in the most appropriate
manner sat down. She asked me which of the two boys I liked the best. I answered that I liked
both of them. They were very different from one another, but I was really very fond of both. I
also realized that they were fond of me. She liked Prince Richard the best.
We sat and talked a bit, then Queen Mary said, I have also stayed at Amalienborg [Castle
in Denmark] with my husband King George V. We were on a visit, and were walking on
Langelinie. Believe it or not, we got lost; so we had to take a taxi back to Amalienborg. She
laughed so heartily, and suddenly said, And I can say Jeg elsker dig [I love you] in Danish. I
was really very impressed. But I dont say that anymore, she said.
Before I left she said, Lisa, you promise me one thing. You will never forget me, will
you?
I answered, No, Your Majesty, I will never forget you. I could have given her a big
hug, she was so loving. But of course that was not the proper thing to do. I also received
Christmas gifts from her. The first Christmas I go two bottles of eau de cologne and a little card.

50

The second Christmas I got a small embroidery kit and a little card with her signature, Mary
Queen Rex, and a sweet quotation: In the garden of remembering, its always summer. It was
so lovely.
When I had to return to Denmark, the Duke and Duchess drove me back to St. James
Palace. On the way we had a good talk. They were so sweetand so sad. The Duchess was on
the verge of tears, and so was I. The Duchess had been like a mother to me. I got a little gold
pin with their first names, Henry and Alice, and a little crown above them. I still have it. I
promised to come back for a visit; I was welcome to come at any time.
I came home from England in the spring of 1953. My time in England had been so
unbelievably wonderful. I was so happy there, more than at any other place Ive ever been. I felt
at home with the family, as they did with me. I promised to write to them and to visit them
during my summer vacations, which I did.
I went over to visit Prince William at the boarding school. He was so sweet and showed
me around the school, and later when Prince Richard was there, I visited him at the boarding
school.
After I returned home from England, in 1954-55 I lived with Ole and Birgit at
Fuglebakken. I had been on the evening shift and was not yet awake when Birgit came up and
woke me up. Now your mother will no longer be home alone, for Queen Ingrid has just
telephoned her. It was eight-thirty in the morning. Prince William is over here to go to a ball
at Amalienborg and he wants to say hello to you. You must go home and call Queen Ingrid to
arrange where and when to meet him

51

I hurried up to get dressed and get a little something to eat. Then I cycled home to
Lvetandsvej, and when I arrived home, telephoned Amalienborg and got to speak with Queen
Ingrid.
If you are on evening duty, then you must get together at 3:30 p.m. Either come here to
Amalienborg, or Prince William can come out to your place. William wants so very much to
come out and visit with you. The arrangements were made.
The chauffeur came with Prince William. We got tea and a chance to talk. He was so
sweet. He thought it was such fun to visit Amalienborg and meet everyone there. He was very
taken by Princess Anne-Marie [the Danish Kings youngest daughter.] That was before Princess
Anne-Maries engagement [to the future King of Greece], but the engagement was soon to be
announced. Prince William was sixteen or seventeen years old; so the two of them were about
the same age. We sat and talked about England. It was a really, really cozy time, just great to
see him.
Then it so happened some years later that I received a letter from the Duchess of
Gloucester. She wrote that Prince Richard and his friend Simon were on a European trip. They
were studying to become architects and were going around Europe to see a lot of different kinds
of architecture and gather materials. Richard was at that time in the beginning of his twenties.
Among other things they had planned to see Prince George of Hannover down in Sydslesvig [the
southernmost part of Denmark, at one time a part of Germany]. They were going to overnight
there and would give us a call from there. They wanted so much to pay a visit.
Before I wrote back, I asked Mother what she thought of that. We couldnt be at my
place, for I had only a small apartment. Well, if they can make do with our houseit is by no
means a castlethen of course they are very, very welcome.

52

Princess Alice was very thankful that they had a good place to stay.
When the two young men had been traveling about two weeks, they telephoned from
Sydslesvig. They said they would arrive in the afternoon at the English Embassy. At that time
the embassy was on Kongens Nytorv [The Kings New Market]. (Today it is the French
Embassy.) So I should come in and pick them up there. My mother reminded me that I should
now curtsy to the prince.
I greeted the ambassador, and we were offered a little drink before we took off. Prince
Richard and Simon drove in their own little MG. So we drove out to Lvetandsvej.
My father and mother opened the door. Father had opened a bottle of wine and Mother
had prepared a really good dinner. We had a very cozy evening and talked into the late hours.
My mother told me later that when she first saw Prince Richard and Simon, she thought,
Dear Lord, these are just two big boys. They are so sweet and are just two ordinary boys. They
were happy to be with us and were so sweet. Prince Richard got up every morning to help Father
raise the flag. The flag had to be waving every day while they were there.
The head nurse of my ward was very accommodating. She gave me three or four days
off so I could show them around.
They wanted to see as much as possible, and had already contacted the Danish
Architectural Association in Bredgade, which we visited. They brought me along wherever they
went. That was that.
One thing they had promised their teacher: they could not leave Denmark without seeing
Utzons houses out by Klampenborg. We made a trip up to Frederiksborg Castle, and were so
fortunate as to arrive in the castle church just as the organist sat down and played the old organ.

53

It was as if it were planned out. The music was so beautiful, so beautiful. For the most part they
were very impressed by the whole castle.
After a light lunch, we drove from there through North Sjlland and past Klampenborg
and looked at the houses. Otherwise, he would kill us! said Prince Richard regarding their
teacher. At home Mother prepared a wonderful dinner.
Even though it had been a long day, the two boys thought it a good idea to go to Tivoli.
We changed clothes and took off for Tivoli. First we heard a wonderful concert of music by
Beethoven. Afterward we should just have fun, and you better believe they knew how to have
fun. They thought everything was such a blast. There was nothing they didnt try out: the roller
coaster, the hall of mirrors, everything. We were home quite late, for we stayed until the
fireworks were over [at 11:00 p.m.].
The next day my mother suggested we might want to visit the farm owned by Boserup
down by Billesborg where I had been working. Prince Richard came from Barnwell Manor,
which was also a large farm with both cattle and horses. I telephoned down to Mrs. Boserup, and
we were most welcome.
So we took off and saw the whole place. They were very interested in it, for it was a very
large farm. From there we drove around the whole of South Sjland. Boserups nephew owned
Faxe Brewery, so we also saw that operation. We drove down to see Stevns Cliff and Mns
Cliff, Gisselfeld and Lystrup, and several of the estates there. When we came back to Billesborg,
they had prepared a wonderful dinner for us.
Simon had to return back to England, but Prince Richard was on his way to Athens, to
Princess Anne Maries wedding. The Duchess wrote to me if I would be so kind as to buy a nice
pair of pants for Richard. He should come properly dressed to Greece. He couldnt arrive in

54

those pants he had worn on his trip all around Europe. So Prince Richard and I went to townto
Illum, I think it wasto look for a very fine pair of gabardine trousers. He was very pleased
with them.
There was one day when I could not accompany the two young people, and they traveled
alone to Sweden. They returned from Sweden late in the evening, the evening before they were
to leave. They had been sitting on the grass, and Prince Richards new pants were streaked with
grass on his rear end. He came out into the kitchen with the pants and said, What do you think
we can do about that? I cant come to the Greek royalty with those trousers! So Mother and I
got busy cleaning his pants, which were green from the grass. We were fortunate enough to get
them clean, for which Prince Richard was very grateful.
When they had to leavePrince Richard to Athens and Simon to Englandthey drove
over the island of Fyn. Richard thought it such fun that they went past Glorup [the Moltke
family manor house] with the Moltke coat of arms outside, so I had to write to him and explain
the connection.
After the young mens visit, I continued to visit the Duke and Duchess, Prince Richard
and his family in England practically every
summer. They were so nice when I came to
Glorup Manor

Barnwell Manor, and arranged everything


for me. On one occasion, after I had visited
my friend Betty, the chauffeur and one of the
ladies-in-waiting

picked

me

up

in

Peterborough. They were just so thoughtful.

55

Once the Duchess came up to my room to ask if everything was in proper order in my room. The
maid came into my room in the morning with the tea tray.
There were many, many years that I visited them. One year I accompanied them to an
agricultural show. They had written beforehand that I could go along with them. It was amusing
to see the sheepherders working their dogs. It was just my thing and fun to see. I spent my
vacations there a good seven or eight times.
The last time I saw them was after Prince Richard had been married and had several
small children. I met the whole family, and all the children as well, at Barnwell Manor. Every
Christmas I got a letter with a picture enclosed of the princes and their Australian terriers, and
they always wrote, Do come and see us again. The princes always answered my letters and
thanked me for having written to them. They were well brought up. It is unbelievable how
faithful they all have been. I still have the letters, thank you notes and lots of pictures of my time
over there.
I must say a word about one of my visit. The Duke was no longer in the best of health,
and he had got himself a little jeep. After we, that is to say the Duke, Duchess and Richard
(Prince William was on a trip), had eaten lunch, Richard said, Lisa, would you like to go rabbit
hunting with me?
The Duchess said, Oh, Lisa, you are brave if you dare to! The lady-in-waiting shook
her head in despair. But I had no idea what I was getting into. It appears we were to drive in that
little jeep. Prince Richard sat there with his gun, then took off so fast that one can scarcely
imagine it, up and down over the hills. It was totally wild. Of course nothing happened, but was
I glad when I got out of that jeep again. Well, now I had tried that.

56

When I had to go home again and was being driven to the airport in Heathrow, I told the
chauffer that I had been hunting rabbits with Prince Richard. He was in shock. How could he
do that!
They were always easy going and lived like a very cozy family. Barnwell Manor was
soldit was too expensive to keep upso now the family lives in Kensington Palace, but that
was hard on Princess Alice, for she so loved Barnwell Manor and its gardens.
Prince William never married. There was some talk about a divorced young woman in
some foreign country, a sweet girl, very sporty, who shared his interests. He was very fond of
her, and they got along very well, even though she was older than he. Prince William told his
parents about her, and she was invited to Barnwell. She was well received and they were very
nice to her, but it was quite clearas she said herself later, There wasnt room for me in the
royal family. It just didnt work out, and she left. And then that terrible thing happened that
Prince William, at the age of thirty-one, crashed in his airplane.
It occurred in an air show in 1972. He was flying together with a young lieutenant whose
wife was watching. They came too close to a large tree, and the plane went into a tailspin.
When the accident occurred, the police came to Barnwell. They asked to speak in private to
Prince Richard, while the Duchess was out on the grounds taking care of the flowers. So it was
Richard who told her the bad news. She fainted, and was completely devastated. She never got
over it.
There is a very beautiful bronze plaque memorial in Barnwell Church, a very old church
which lies close to the town.
I had just visited a short time earlier, at which time he showed me his airplane.

57

Just before the Duchess was about to become


one hundred years old (she lived to be one hundred
and two), I had been over there for a time, both at
Barnwell Manor and at Kensington Palace. The last
time I saw Princess Alice, I had been invited to lunch
Kensington Palace

at Kensington Palace. After Princess Alice died, I

received a very kind letter from Prince Richard. He wrote that if I wanted to attend the memorial
service in January, I was most welcome. I should simply write to Buckingham Palace and say
that I would like to come. I thought it was a bit too much to travel back and forth for so short a
visit. I have so many wonderful memories of Princess Alice, and I shall never forget her, even
though I did not attend the memorial service. I wrote a nice letter to the Prince Richard, saying
that I missed both his mother and his father, and I thanked him for all the wonderful experiences
which I shall never forget. In that way we reached closure on good terms. It was a good time,
with one experience piled upon another. How wonderfully sweet they all were toward me.
Aside from my visits to the Duke and Duchess, I have, together with Betty, visited
England many times all over the place. I have been in England every other summer. Betty lived
splendidly in South Devon on the coast with its bathing beaches. We have been in Cornwall, at
Exmore, in Wales, in the Lakeland district, and even on a skiing trip in Aviemore south of
Inverness.
On that occasion I flew over there; otherwise, I dont care much for flying. First of all, I
had to fly to Edinburgh, and there I sat beside an English doctor who was working in Oslo.
When we were about to take off, I held fast to the armrests, and so he said to me in a friendly
tone, Are you frightened? Do you know what youre going to have? Youre going to have a

58

whiskey! So I got a whiskey, and we had a very cozy trip. The flying didnt bother me a bit,
even when I flew on to Iverness. I arrived there just before midnight and had to take the train
south to Aviemore, where Betty was to meet me. It was about a two hour train trip and I was half
asleep. There was no one else in the compartment but myself; so I took a little nap. Suddenly I
had the feeling that someone was looking at me. There stood three Scottish soldiers with kilts
and slanted caps. They asked, Are you quite alone?
Yes.
Where do you come from?
From Denmark.
They asked if I might come in and chat with them rather than sit alone. So I joined them
in their compartment where there were four more soldiers. We had such fun, and they told me
about a tattoo [an entertainment consisting of music, marching and the performance of displays
and exercises by military personnel] they had been to. In Aviemore two of them sprang gallantly
out of the compartment with my luggage. Betty, she stared for a moment, and burst out, What
is going on?
We visited Bettys parents before I left for home again. Do you know what she said? She
wasnt without a sense of humor. Daddy, I have to tell you something. When Lisa arrived on
the train from Iverness in the middle of the night, do you know who she came out of the train
with? Scottish soldiers!
Send her home, said Mr. Beaton. He was Scottish himself, and was such fun.
I visited Betty many times, and several times she picked me up at Barnwell Manor. Once
when Betty was to come and get me, I was sitting at the lunch table at about 12:30 p.m. I could
see that an extra place had been set at the table, and I thought God knows, who is that for? No

59

one had come. The Duchess was in London, so there were only Prince Richard and Princess
Birgitta at the table. When we had sat down, the steward came in and said to Birgitta, Your
royal highness, Lisas friend is at the front door.
So Princess Birgitta got up and said, Ill go out and talk with her. She went out and
said to Betty, Do come in and have lunch with us. Im the young Duchess of Gloucester,
Princess Birgitta. It was very thoughtful, and Betty felt very welcome. They were simply kind
and thoughtful.
When I finally returned home from England, I had a two-week vacation before going to
our principal and saying that I was ready to begin again. I began as an extra hand. I had not
taken the course in dermatology. That took place at Rudolph Bergs Hospital at that time. So I
started there, not because I intended to stay there, but until I could figure out what I wanted to
do. I was at Rudolph Bergs for four months, but it was quite clear to me that dermatology was
something I was not at all interested in.
So I thought, The surgical ward, that I havent been in before. That might be something
to sniff at, since Ive not found what I really want to do. I came to Department A of the surgical
ward at Bispebjerg Hospital. That was exciting, but it was also a bit too difficult. When we were
on the acute care watch, we were busy from three-thirty in the afternoon very often until eight
oclock the next morning without time for more than a glass of englevand [water with sugar and
salt in it]. Suddenly the place might swarm with cases of appendicitis or more serious illnesses
when Assistant Chief Physician Kyster had to come in. That was just too hard. I was there for
half a year and suddenly had to leave.
In England I had ridden horses. The Princes rode, and I also was allowed to do so. Back
home I thought it would be fun to continue; so I rode out at the School for Sports Riding. One of

60

my comrades (one of Retes classmates, Birthe Wulff) came to me after an acute watch and asked
if I would ride with her in the forest. It was beautiful weather. I was rather tired, but I thought
so what. We rode out to Dyrehaven. It was wonderful. There we could gallop. I was tired, and
apparently the horse was as well, for it stepped into a hole with its front legs. I sailed over the
horses head without any helmet onthey werent used much at that timeand landed on my
head. I rode the horse home, but I was talking a lot of nonsense. Gundersen, our riding
companion, was worried.
Birthe took me home by taxi to my parents, and I was put in bed. A doctor came and said
that I probably had a concussion. My mother could hear that I was speaking nonsense, and she
was very concerned.

So she telephoned the surgical ward. Our head nurse, Miss Hedegaard,

immediately sent an ambulance to get me. I was driven to Bispebjerg Hospital and put to bed in
Department A. I lay there for a time, and then became unconscious for three days. Every time
they came in to talk with me and ask me something, the only thing I said was, Did anything
happen to the horse? They heard nothing else from me. Did anything happen to the horse?
Finally the doctor said, It is all right. It is up in the surgical ward.
Oh, thats good. Then I fell asleep. I lay there some time, and was finally sent home.
Everything was O.K., but I was given strict orders:
You must never try to ride a horse again. Considering the crack in my skull earlier, it
was dumb of me to have tried to ride when I was so tired. But dont we all do stupid things
when we are young?
As I said earlier, before I returned home from England, the family presented me with
their one-year-old Australian terrier by the name of Kurseal Digger. On my return I sailed from
Harwich [a port in England] to Esbjerg [a port in Denmark], and Digger came along. When we

61

arrived in Esbjerg, the dog had to be examined by a veterinarian. Not only did I have Digger in
my arms, but also two large, wonderful pheasants from the freezer on the ship from farmer
Vestergaard. When the veterinarian looked into my bag, he said, Tell me. Do you have
anything else? One dog and two pheasants. But we came through customs without any
problem. There was animal control in the central train station as well, but everything was in
order.
So we came home. Before leaving, I had written home that I had a dog given to me. My
mother had been frantic and telephoned Rete to say, This is terrible. Its terrible. Shes coming
home with a dog. Rete thought it was lots of fun.
When we arrived home, our Rottweiler Jill looked at Digger with some astonishment, but
it wasnt long before they became good friends. Digger was a male dog, Jill a female. One of
the first things Digger did was to go over to a silver creamer which stood on a tray and lick it
clean. I said to Mother, We better give him some water.
My father and mother were very happy with Digger. They could see that he was a dog
who enjoyed nature and they were very impressed by his characteristics. My godfather, the
husband of my fathers oldest sister, Uncle Gustav, asked why I did not enter Digger in a dog
show. At first I said, A dog show? I was just happy to have that little dog. Why should I do
that? However, my uncle kept pressuring me; so we entered him in the Terrier Club show. The
judge was an Englishman, Mr. Edwards. The show dogs walked around in a ring, and finally I
was the only one left. Digger was the best show terrier. At that time I didnt know much about
dog shows. There were a number of people observing the dogs, among them two ladies who said
to each other, Oh, they say that the judge is so fond of tall women. Mr. Edwards came over
and said to me, That dog is so good, it is good enough to win in England. It might be

62

interesting to see his breed introduced into Denmark. If you are interested, just write to me, and
I shall help you find a good bitch to breed with.
I talked it over with my family. I couldnt manage everything since I was working at
Bispebjerg Hospital the whole day. My father and mother also thought the idea was exciting.
We wrote to Mr. Edwards, who found for us a bitch called Blue Tango. And so it arrived. She
came from a good kennel. The only thing my mother did not like was the name. I wont stand
and call Blue Tango, Blue Tango when I have to get hold of her. She had to have another
name; so we called her Fly, and began our breeding. We kept the first litter. There were four
puppies, but one of them died. The rest we kept for half a year, and then took them to a dog
show.
There were articles written in magazines, in Tidens Kvinder and Berlingske Aftenavis,
about these fine little dogs. My fathers cousin, Benedikte Larsen, was a very capable journalist
at Berlingske Aftenavis. She interviewed me about the Australian terriers. She had also earlier
covered Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeths wedding, and thought it quite interesting that I
had taken care of the two princes. She said, They are a lively pair. Prince William, who was
one of the brides pages, had stood in his kilt and curtsied.
I said, Oh, yes, they were never boring.
The Australian terriers got a lot of publicity, so that people began to express interest in
them. The three small puppies were sold at the dog show. They went to good homes, which we
insisted on. When we came home, my mother was about to burst into tears. Where are the
puppies?
But Mother, I replied, we simply cant keep all of them. But it was hard.

63

After a while we began to work together with other breeders, and had a fantastic working
relationship. I spoke with the director of the kennel club, who said, You know what, Lise, I
think it is just great to see how you work together and help one another. It can be difficult to
observe how people compete with dogs, even of the same breed. They wont loan their good
male dogs to one person or another, because they are afraid that they will get better puppies.
That is so narrow-minded. I replied that I could not understand that. It was a matter of getting
the breed well known, of breeding good terriers. We held meetings where we discussed and
planned the future of the dogs.
The Duke and Duchess were also interested in what we were doing. I was asked to write
an article about the Australian terriers in Denmark, which I did, and the article was published in a
book, which I of course presented to the Duke and Duchess. I also got a book from the Duchess
about Australian terriers.
It was such a remarkable time. I had found a hobby beside my career as a nurse. There
were many exhibitions round about, also sometimes in Jutland. We drove together with some
who had a car. When I came home from work, we packed everything that was needed and took
off with one or two dogs. The next day we would be at the exhibition the whole day from 8:00
a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We walked around the circle, and the judges gave their opinions. That was
Saturday and Sunday, and they closed on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Then we drove home from Jutland
and arrived about midnight, walked the dogs and put them to bed. At 7:00 the next morning, I
was back at work. At that time I had the energy, and it was such fun. We had a cozy time. It
was interesting to meet all of the breeders in Jutland, for they were such wonderful people. Mr.
Frydenlund was a true Jutlander with a great sense of humor. He said, Lise, come here. You

64

must go over and look at the dogs in that booth. In the booth there sat an enormous fat woman;
so I had to be careful not to burst into laughter, and hurried away.
Laterit must have been some time in the middle of the eighties, after we had stopped
breeding terriersI got to attend the 25th anniversary of the Australian terriers. The Australian
ambassador was there, as were my uncle and aunt who now were breeding the dogs. It was huge
and festive gathering. I gave a speech and received a gold pin with a little Australian terrier on
it.
I also owe my parents many thanks for the help they gave me in raising the Australian
terriers. They got caught up in it the same as myself, with heart and soul.
I remember when Peter [Retes son] was born. At the time I was on a vacation in
England visiting Bettys parents in South Devon. They also had a little Australian terrier. It
came into my bedroom with a letter in its mouth. I said to Betty, Oh my dear, it is Father who
has written this letter. Something must have happened. I read the letter and cried out with joy.
Whats the matter? Whats the matter? asked Betty. The family also came running.
Rete has got a boy, I replied. We immediately sent a telegram with congratulations.
When I came home to Denmark, I can remember Father saying, Finally we have another
man in the family. He loved Retes two sons very much.
Father died seven years before Mother, of leukemia, which older people tend to get. He
lay in the municipal hospital, as it was at that time, and was later transferred to Hvidovre
Hospital. I drove out there every day. Mother was of course also there every day. One of the
last days I was out there to see Father, he gave me a hand-written letter in a little envelope.
Outside was written, To Lise, when you have plenty of time. I still have it; it lies in my Bible.

65

My father was very special. Oh, how he could tell stories. Not long ago my nephew
Rasmus found a small black notebook and asked me what it was. I told him it was a story about
a hunter who found a small lamb in the forest, alone and forlorn, because a hunter had shot its
mother. It was a story my father had made up. I had asked him at one time to write it down
because I loved it so much.
The Christmas after my fathers death was difficult. Every year Father and Mother had
gone out to get a Christmas tree together. My friend Jytte told her she could get her tree from
Danstrup Hegn. Every year, while my mother was still alive, Jytte and I went out into the forest
and found a beautiful tree. I brought it home, first by bus from Danstrup to Hillerd, from there
by train to sterport and then by train to Bagsvrd. Mother was very thankful.
My mother became ninety years old. She was unbelievably active right up to the last
days, although the last Sunday I was with her I could see that she was tired. That was the first
time Mother did not want to go out for a little walk. She died on Tuesday. I telephoned her
every day in the morning and afternoon. I called Tuesday morning and said I would call later in
the afternoon when she came home from her book-binding course and I from my English course.
But in the evening she didnt answer. I telephoned Rete and said I couldnt understand, since
Mother always told us if she was going to do something. Rete drove up to Mothers home.
Then the doorbell rang in my apartment. It was the police, who said something awful
had happened. They told me what it was [the details of what happened are never given], and I
called Erling and then Rete, who was in Mothers house. The police drove me to Rigshospitalet
[the largest hospital in central Copenhagen], to the emergency room where my mother had been
brought.

Rete joined me there.

They were unbelievably sympathetic.

Everything was

beautifully arranged [in the viewing room], with two large candelabra. Mother lay so peacefully

66

that no one would believe what had happened. I remember saying to Rete, I think Mother is
sleeping.
The Chief Physician Efferse said to me later, Do you know what? I think your mother
suddenly lost consciousness when she got off the bus.
I think he was probably right, because otherwise she would not have looked the way she
didso peaceful. The next morning I thought it must have been a bad dream, but it wasnt.
My parents had both been much loved. Their siblings on both sides had maintained
contact with one another. Rete and I loved them very much and were often with them during our
summer vacations. We have always been very close to our cousins. My friends often came to
see my parents as adults, also to Mother after Fathers death. They loved them.
As I mentioned before, I was in the surgical ward, Department A, but I began to realize
that it wasnt for me, not because I was unhappy. It was simply too impersonal. It was
interesting trying to provide the right surgical instruments to the doctor, and they were
wonderfully sweet toward us up there. But there was too little personal contact.
I went to speak to our head nurse, Miss Funding. She was a wonderful person. She said,
You know what? You are so happy with children. What about Childrens Psychiatry?
I thought, Oh, no, isnt that where the children break the windows and are impossible to
control? Then I said, Oh, well, I suppose I can try it.
We stopped breeding Australian terriers when I came to work at the Childrens
Psychiatric Ward. Both my chief physician and her son got an Australian terrier. Many of my
friends got them also.
I began to work at the ward on the floor with the older children, that is to say, from about
six to twelve years old, some rather large girls and boys. Some were rather rough, but I have to

67

admit I relished the challenge, and the children apparently liked me. I liked them as well. They
were difficult, but it was exciting work. They had had such a terrible childhood before they were
admitted to the hospital. We were given a rsum before the children came on the ward; so for
the most part we had the information needed to know how to deal with the situation. We also
knew what we should not talk about.
Gudrun Bruun was the physician in charge.

She was a wonderful person, really

delightful and intelligent. Miss Lorentzen was the head nurse. She was firm, but also a good
nurse in charge.
We wore our uniforms, but not our caps. My cap lay in a box in the dining room. At that
time when one went to the dining room, she wore her cap. That was part of the uniform.
I stayed on that ward quite a while. Now and then we had evening duty, which is to say,
we started our shift at 3:30 in the afternoon, and gave the children their baths. They were given a
little candy after their baths, then they had to brush their teeth and were read a little story, which
the children loved. They sat and cuddled up to the adults, which I am certain was something
they never did at home in the terrible circumstances they came from.
After that, they were supposed to go to sleep. It was not always easy to get them to sleep.
There were so many thoughts running around in their heads. There were six children in each
room. I dont know what it was, but I was very good at controlling them; so everything went
well. I can remember one nurse on the ward who always had a terrible time with the children
when she was on night duty. She could hear the children from a distaance when she arrived at
midnight. That nurse on night duty said to me, I know when I come in the evening that you
have been on duty, because I cant hear the children. Theyre sleeping.

68

Another nurse said to me, I cant understand why the children are sleeping so well when
you are here. Personally, I think it is the calmness one radiates.
There was a boy, a rather large boy. He said he couldnt sleep at night. His problem was
discussed in conference. Then I was on evening duty the first time he was there. He said,
Moltke, you know what? (They called me Moltke because there was another Lise up on the
second floor) I cant sleep. Theres nothing that can be done about it. I simply cant.
Very calmly I said, You know what? I know that you can. Now listen to me. I will fluff
up your pillow, and then tuck you in with the blankets wrapped tightly around you like a sleeping
bag. Then youll close your eyes and dream and think about something really nice. And then
youll sleep. He looked at me a little, but then went to sleep. I remember at the conference
there was one who said she could never get him to sleep.
One of our doctors said, So, do what Moltke does. Ask her how she does it.
After a time, I came up on the second floor to the smaller children, and later returned to
the first floor again. The personnel were not so kind to Ellen [the head nurse] up on the second
floor. She was perhaps a little difficult, a bit snooty, rather overactive, but I liked Ellen. She was
taking an intensive course, which can be good or bad, a course where one learns how to behave
toward other personnel. There are some who are in charge who are good, some not so good. She
had a breakdown and had to leave. That was a shame for Ellen. I was asked to take over her
position as head nurse.
But everything turned out well for Ellen.

She met her husband at Montebello in

Helsingr. He was a manager, and they were married. We were all out to visit them, and she
was so happy. She lived in a large villa in Dragr. So everything ended happily.

69

All in all, it was a nice group of children we had in the ward, but there were some tough
little boys among them. Some of them ran off; so we had to call the police to go after them.
The last years especially I was very thankful for the parents assistance. The parents
themselves came from harsh circumstances. Many had been in prison and were naturally
vulnerable and skeptical about the world around them. But when they saw they could trust you,
it was good to see that they could soften up and begin to have confidence in you. I came to know
a lot of things. A very difficult mother said to me, You are the first person to speak to me as if I
were a normal person.
Oftenbefore the parents knew youthey could be very mad and at times aggressive.
But if you calmly stood fast, they would settle down.
Our chief physician, Gudrun Bruun, and her husband lived in lsgrde [north of
Copenhagen] in a large villa. Her husband was chief physician at a laboratory in Gentofte
Hospital. One summer day they invited the staff to their home. We drove in different cars and
remained the whole day. We had a meal together and had a wonderful time out in the fresh air
with a view of Sofiero. They were very hospitable and invited us up there every year. It became
a tradition.
I was on the second floor quite a few years, although I dont remember precisely how
many. Nevertheless, I spent all in all forty years as a nurse.
In the SeventiesI think it was 1974we had a head nurse by the name of Mrs. Tuesen.
She thought I should have time off to do some traveling again. I went to Scotland and was at the
Childrens Hospital in Glasgow.

It was the Childrens Psychiatric Ward, the same as in

Denmark. The personnel were unbelievably kind, as were the doctors, social workers, etc. I was
there for two years as an assistant. They drove me around and showed me different treatment

70

centers. They were also unbelievably kind toward me on the weekends. There was never a
weekend without something going on. I never felt they thought it tiresome to do something for
this nurse from Denmark. They simply said, Now listen here. We have decided to do such and
such. I went round and visited different people. They drove me around and showed me one
thing after another. The Scots are very kind people.
One of the nurses on the ward, Elsa, was also unbelievably kind. She had a little son and
was divorced. She had told me her husband was not such a good man. He was a drunkard. So
she divorced him.
She invited me one weekend, a Saturday. I could come in the afternoon and have a cozy
time, and have dinner in the evening. Her boy, Mark, was six years old, a nice boy. I came at the
appointed time, but Elsa appeared a bit reticent. I asked her if it was a bad time to come, for she
could simply say so. But I came in, and there sat a gentleman with sunglasses on. It seemed a
bit peculiar, but he nevertheless remained. He acted rather strangely, began to flirt with me. But
there was of course nothing I could do about it, just remain completely cool.
In the evening we ate our meal. He acted up in the oddest way, also toward Elsa. He was
strange with her. Then it was Marks bedtime, and I asked, You know what, Elsa, dont you
think its about time for me to leave so you can put Mark to bed?
She looked me in the eye and said, Lisa, wouldnt you like to stay? It was a plea on her
part, and of course I would.
Of course I would, I said. Oh well, I can put Mark to bedgo in and wash him and
help him, read him a little story. That was fine. I went with Mark into another room and put
him to bed. Then I sat on the edge of the bed and read him a little story. By this time it was

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eight or half past. I could easily hear there was a racket on the other side of the wall. It sounded
quite violent. Mark said, Im afraid, Lisa, because I know my father has hit Mother before.
I must admit that I sat and thought, What can I do? Theres no telephone. I dont know
anyone here. The only thing I can do is stay with Mark and try to keep him calm.
Dont go from me. Dont leave me, he said.
I said, No, of course not. I stay by you.
When I had finished reading the story, I said, Try now to lie down and close your eyes. I
promise you Ill remain here. I wont go anywhere. Ill sit with you, very quietly.
You promise? he asked.
Yes, I promise. And thats what I did. I could easily hear the loud voices, very loud
voices. I thought, Cant he get hold of himself? I wanted to go in and put my foot down. I must
admit there were many thoughts racing through my mind. I was a bit afraid, for I had no means
for protection. If he should do something, he might decide to do something to me or Mark. I
thought, now you must calm down. You sit every day in your own hospital ward so reasonable
reading about these things. Now you are in the midst of it. Take this as a lesson.
Suddenly everything was quiet, and Elsa came in and said, Its all right, Lisa. I went
into the living room and sat a little while; then he left. Elsa thanked me and said how glad she
was that I had stayed. When it was ten or half past, I said to Elsa, Now I think I should go
home so you can have a little peace and quiet. I gave her a little hug and said, You dont need
to worry about anything. This is between you and me. I wont say a word; so you dont need to
worry about that. The tears were running down her cheeks.
So I went home. I must admit it was some time before I could fall asleep. The next day,
thank God, I had no obligations. So I went out to see something really beautiful in the vicinity. I

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needed that after such an evening. I went down to the bus stop, where a bus driver was standing
in front of his bus. I told him I wanted to see something really beautiful, something not too far
from here. He said, I can tell you. You just jump on my bus and I will take you. We came to a
manor house which had become public. There was the most beautiful park with rhododendron in
bloom. The whole park was a wonder of nature. There were small streams and luxuriant ferns. I
thought, This is Paradise. And then, God, how you have been good to me today.
There was a stable which had been made into a little restaurant. Finally, I went in to get a
cup of tea and sit and relax. There was a gentleman standing in front of the counter. I thought,
Thats funny. He has a tweed jacket just like my fathers. I sat and drank my tea, and at the table
next to me was a very beautiful lady. She asked me, Are you quite alone?
Yes, Im alone, I answered. She asked where I came from, and I answered, I come
from Denmark and told her about my job.
But do come over and sit here and have your tea with us. She happened to be married
to the gentleman in the tweed jacket. They were very busy helping foreigners when they came to
Glasgow. They showed them around if they were alone, and helped them to discover what they
could see and experience. I said that usually I was in very good hands, but today I wanted to get
out and see something beautiful, and this place was really wonderful. When we had drunk our
tea, they said, You know, we would like to take you in our car and drive you around, so that you
can see some other things, too. So they drove me around, I think two hours, and showed me
various places, then drove me back to the hospital. They gave me a little business card, if there
should come others to Scotland after me. I kept it until the day I left and then gave it to Elsa. It
was a wonderful day, far different from the previous day.

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I was on the ward the next day, and Elsa came up to talk with tears running down her
cheeks. I said, Elsa, dont think about it. Its all right. Its between you and me. I know it
wasnt nice for you.
I was in Glasgow for two months. At the end of my stay I gave a lecture in the
auditorium about our Childrens Psychiatric Ward at Bispebjerg Hospital. It was lots of fun,
especially since I was invited to a wonderful party in the evening where the doctors were also
there. They were unbelievably kind.
I must not forget there was a nurse and a male social worker who took me to a place
called Black Hill. The conditions were so awful it was difficult to believe such a slum could
exist. It was just outside Glasgow. It was so bad my friends told me we should not even get out
of the car. People stood on the street corners and scowled at us, for they could see we were not
locals. It was an awful place. It was really ghastly, very, very harsh, very miserable. They were
wretched. A little boy came up to us with an empty bottle, crying. None of the adults did
anything. It was so terrible. The schools were closedfenced off. I got a glimpse of that also.
The day came when I should travel home. I needed to pay for my stay in my little
apartment, a room with a little kitchen in the nurses quarters. I went to the head mistress who
was responsible for housing and said I had been very happy for my stay and that they had all
been so kind and helpful. I had been glad to see so much. I said I had a little bill to settle
regarding my two months use of the apartment. But the head mistress said, You are not going
to pay anything, Lisa, because youve been such a great help. I think it had something to do
with Elsa. I dont know what other reason there might be; it seemed to me I wasnt that much of
a help.

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When I left Scotland, I took the train from Glasgow down through Yorkshire. It was such
a splendid trip through the hills and mountains of Northern England. Oh, how beautiful it was. I
had been invited to spend the weekend with the Duke and Duchess at Barnwell Manor. The
chauffeur picked me up in Peterborough and drove me to the manor. There they all stood with
open arms. The Duchess took me around the grounds and wanted to hear how everything was
going. She was very interested.
I was there for three days, then Betty came to get me, and we drove down to Devon,
Brixham, and from there I sailed home. When I came home, I had to write a report on
everything I had experienced.
In the middle of the Seventies, when Gudrun Bruun and our head nurse Miss Lorentzen
both retired, Dr. Efferse became the physician-in-chief up until the time I retired. We worked
well together in the Childrens Psychiatric Ward, and the personnel who were until I retired were
all very clever persons. There were both nurses and educators, a real team. We had conferences
and if there were problems, we brought them to the table. It seems to me the system worked
well.
We had a good spirit on the ward and spoke proper Danish, which many of the children
picked up quite quickly. They were not allowed to cry out or scream. We explained that one
spoke calmly to one another. When new staff came, whether they were nurses or educators, I
said to them, It happens that we all make mistakes. But there is one thing we must all
remember, and that is that we shall never be afraid to admit those mistakes to the children. If we
say, Thats not true. I didnt do that, then they lose all respect for us. They must be able to trust
us.

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On one occasion I began my evening duty and could already see when I came on the
ward that everyone was restless. It might have been because it was a Monday, and some of the
children were allowed to go home on weekends. Before bedtime we sat around a table and they
got a little of their candy before they should brush their teeth. There were some six or seven
boys, but they were completely impossible. They pushed one another and quarreled. Usually I
take things easy, but finally I banged on the table and said, Ill be damned if Im going to put up
with this.
It became so quiet one could hear a pin drop. The ruffians stared at me. The worst of
them looked up at me and said, Moltke, you must never swear.
I answered, You know what, Leon, youre quite right. That I must not do. And I wont
do it again. But will you please calm down? I wont say another word. So they all became
quiet.
There was a little thug, a sweet little ladone couldnt help but love themwho learned
that he must not swear. One day his father came, a large, hefty fellow with tattoos here and
there, who smelled from some distance away as if he had been in some bar. At one point the
father said something in which he swore. So the little boy said, You know what, dad, I have to
tell you something. Moltke says you cant swear here. And I said that was right, that we
preferred that we spoke properly to one another. And he didnt swear again.
Once in a while we had visitors. We had a father who had struck his wife and children.
He came with a large stick in his hand. Everyone was afraid of him. He struck them in the
social security office. There was a picture of him on the back of Extra Bladet [a newspaper],
because he had been quarreling with the police and had broken his arm, which had to be set in a
cast. I had certainly heard about him.

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One day the doorbell rang. I opened the door and was not for a moment in doubt that it
was NN who was standing there. I said, Please come in. I told him my name and asked him to
come in and sit down. Ill come in with a cup of coffee and something to eat. Wouldnt you
like that? Yes, of course he would. We used to serve the parents coffee and cheese. We began
to talk, and he was calm. Everyone in the ward was afraid of him. If you held out your hand to
shake hands, he would strike your fingers. He would not talk to the doctors unless I came with
him.
On one occasion he was being pursued by the police and he came into our office,
weeping. I said, Whats wrong?
Its awful. I happened to beat up my wife, and now the police are in the street after me,
so I hurried here.
Take it easy, I said, and he got a piece of Danish pastry. He became very calm. The
social worker was very worried because I sat with him in a sound proof room
At Christmas time the boy was allowed to return home. Then NN came all dressed up
with a large package. I came with a Christmas cake, with Christmas candles and napkins, and sat
with him. My girl, he said, this is for you, and you must open it now to see if it pleases you.
I did so. It was a copy of an Egyptian vase.
I said, How happy I am for it. How beautiful it is. And then I gave him a big hug. Our
psychologist, Hasvoll, was standing in the door watching us.
Thats good, he said. I was so afraid you wouldnt like it, for when my wife saw it,
she said she would like to have one too. After all, he was nothing more than a little boy. My
father said that such persons could emit a wondrous scent from some distance if they were
treated well.

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I said, You know what, Father? I think this vase is the best Christmas gift of this year,
because it was given straight from the heart. It was so touching.
Of course a lot of things happened during the time I worked in the Childrens Psychiatric
Ward. While Gudrun Bruun was there, a chief physician came by the name of Mogens Lund.
He was modern. There was also a Norwegian physician, Halsen. They wanted to change
things. Why should we be in uniforms? We could just wear a smock. And we shouldnt say
De [the formal you in Danishseldom used today] to one another. We should just say du
[the informal you]. It was so difficult to know how to address Gudrun Bruun: De-du-du-De
It was our upbringing at home to say De.
Mogens Lund wanted to join us on evening duty to see how everything went. So he came
into the room just as we were putting the children to bed. Finally I had to say, You know what,
Mogens, now you must get out of here; otherwise Ill never get these children to sleep.
He could not control them. He said, O.K., I guess Ill have to. Finally I got them to
quiet down.
He was funny, Mogens Lund. Head Nurse Miss Lorentzen was from Jutland and had a
good sense of humor. Once, after we had got rid of our uniforms, we were standing in the ward
and looking out on the large playground when Miss Lorentzen suddenly said, Whats that?
Look here, Moltke. Mogens Lund has put on a smock. There must be something wrong. Try to
stick you head out and find out why.
So I went down to the playground and asked, What in the world, Mogens Lund, you
have a smock on. Why is that?
He answered, My damned trousers are torn. So he was forgiven.

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I was sixty-two when I retired. While I was on the ward, we reached our fiftieth
anniversary. Chief Physician Gudrun Bruun was there also, and we had a big party. I invited the
head nurses and the personnel from the ward to my home for lunch. At the same time I was
celebrating my twenty-fifth year on the ward. Dr. Efferses husband was also a chief physician,
and they lived on Svanevnget in a beautiful row house. She invited us to their house and had a
mid-day party for me. I got such a beautiful flower vase from all of them.
Betty and I traveled a great deal together, to many places in Europe. That was while I
was still working, and when I retired as a nurse we took longer trips, to Africa. Betty had family
members in Zimbabwe, in what was then called Southern Rodesia. Bettys older sister and her
husband had a farm down there. They had five children, but unfortunately it was very unsettled
at that time. They slept with a revolver under their pillow. At last they could no longer take the
chance of remaining down there and returned to England. The children are now married and
spread all over the world: Australia, New Zealand. One is even an admiral.
Bettys niece, Elizabeth, whom we had met in England, was married and moved to
Zimbabwe. So when Jytte, Betty and I were in South Africa, we flew to Johannesburg, and from
there to Harare in Zimbabwe. There we were met by Elizabeth and her husband, Ron, and were
driven on a beautiful trip to their house. They lived in something like a large palace with a huge
park around it. One pushed a button, and a boy came to open the gate. We drove in, and the
gate was closed behind us. Thats the way it was. There were servants for everything.
We stayed there three days and had a wonderful time. They drove us around to see the
scenery. Unfortunately, I had some difficulties with my digestion. It happened while we were
sitting and drinking teadifficulties both ways. I had to stay in bed and eat yoghurt. We were
supposed to fly the next day from Harara to Bulawayo, where Betty had some other

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acquaintances. Elizabeths husband said that if I couldnt fly the next morning, I shouldnt worry
about it. He had his own plane, and could easily fly me to Bulawayo. But we managed to travel
the next day as planned.
In South Africa we visited first of all Jyttes cousin, Ebba Fry, on her farm. Ebbas home
was a four-hour drive from Johannesburg near the town of Nelspruit and was called Dombeya
Farm. We stayed here for fourteen wonderful days. It was like [the life of] Karen Blixen [a
famous Danish author.] We went to an evening entertainment with all of the natives, where they
danced and sang for us. There were huge watchdogs who protected us. We werent allowed to
do anything, neither making our beds nor washing our clothes, for there was a little laundry. It
was luxurious. We needed only to walk around and look beautiful. In the evening we sat on the
terrace and listened to the cicadas and wild animals. Down there it becomes very dark at night,
and we sat with small candles and a glass of red wine. Ive never seen the sky so full of stars.
We didnt have the heart to say anything, but Betty couldnt keep her mouth shut. And Ebba
asked Jytte, Isnt there a button we can push.
We took some wonderful trips, among other things to Krger Park, and on the way back a
beautiful tour. We had to change cars, and Betty and I had to sit in the baggage compartment of
Ebbas land rover while Jytte and Ebba sat in front. We drove for two hours up a mountain, over
small cliffs and through rivers. We saw huge butterflies. We drove, and drove, and drove. The
nature became wilder and wilder, almost like a jungle. Finally we could drive no further, and
here was a villa built into the cliff where one of Ebbas friends lived with her husband who was a
Swiss doctor. Ive never seen anything so beautiful. She was a nature lover who loved plants
and had made a nature park with exotic plants, high, high clivias. There was a cliff with a
waterfall and a basinit was a shower. In the house the back wall was a cliff, upon which wild

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flowers were growing, and there was a large, splendid stove. Copper cooking utensils hung on
the walls. Then we came into her living room with a large window. There one could sit and look
out over the beautiful nature. It was both primitive and beautiful. It simply cant be described; it
has to be seen. We still talk about it.
From Ebbass farm we drove to Durban on the Indian Ocean. It was Bettys sisters
oldest daughter who lived there. There was only one particular place where one could go
swimming. At other places there were large jellyfish. There were watchtowers where men
maintained vigilance. But it was beautiful. In Durban we returned the car which we had rented
in

Clivia

three

Johannesburg and flew to Cape Town. We were gone for


weeks. It was my first trip to Africa.

Two years later Jytte and I were down to Bettys farm again. It was also a wonderful trip.
Betty was not with us, for Ebbe couldnt take all that womans talk. In Africa they dont say
anything when they see something beautiful.
Jytte had been in Gambia many times, together with her friend Jan, his brother and his
sister-in-law, where they had stayed at Bungalow Beach. After her brothers death and her friend
was also gone, Jytte thought it a good idea to go down and visit the boy whom they had
supported through a charity organization. She asked if I might want to come along, and of
course I did.
Jytte had found a wonderful place on Bungalow Beach, down by the water. We had a
large room, a terrace and a nice bathroom. The refrigerator was full of
all kinds of delicacies. It was really crme de la crme; it couldnt be
any better. The first morning we went down to go swimming. The
water was a little cold, but nice. It was still early. After breakfast there was an informative

81

meeting. Even though we had decided that this was going to be a simply restful vacation, we
thought we should hear if there was anything interesting going on. We walked down the path,
and at the edge of the grass was a ditch. I dont know how it happened, but suddenly I was down
on the ground. I got up again, but my left handwell, I dont know what it looked like. The
natives and the guide came running up to help me. I went to the little hospital nearby. I can
remember there were snakes crawling on the walls. The doctor examined me and said there was
a fracture. He bandaged it, but said that I should have an operation so the bones could be set.
I was admitted to a little room. Everything was nice and cleannothing to complain
about. I was well taken care of. As I lay there, a tall, handsome male nurse came in. He shook
my hand, a wonderfully cool hand in the heat of the day. He took my blood pressure and
temperature and told me he was my nurse who would take care of me. He was sweet and
friendly. His name was Ansu, Ansu Jarju.
The next day Ansu came in and sat on my bed. He looked at me and said, I love you.
I was rather surprised and said, But Ansu, you dont know me, and Im older than you.
He answered, But love has no age. We had a comfortable talk with one another. He
was simply sweet and respectful. He told me, among other things, that he had been in Sweden,
at the Karolinska Sjukhuset [Hospital] during his training.
The following day I was taken to the orthopedic surgeon. He was, by the way, an
Egyptian, and he was the one who was going to do the operation. He took the bandage off,
looked at my hand, and gave Ansu the order to drive me down to the S.O.S. [a large oil
corporation] towns [in Cape Town]. There they had x-ray machines, which they did not have at
this hospital.

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Another day, and then I was off in an ambulance with a nurse. It was, of course, an
ambulance one could no longer use in Denmark and was therefore sent down there. The chair I
sat in I had to hold in place. The stretcher on the floor rolled from one side to another. The roof
was open. The driver forgot to close one of the side doors when we drove off; so there was red
dust all over the place. When we met one of the drivers friends, he came along. But why not?
The distances are long, and the people have no cars. I decided to make that trip an adventure. I
sat and looked out at the flowers and palm trees and natives. Finally we reached the S.O.S.
towns. I was shown into a very poorly furnished office where I waited. The x-ray was taken by
a very sweet native doctor. The nurse got my papers, and we were driven back again.
The following day I was examined by an anesthetist, and the next day was the operation.
I was anesthetized, for I had complete faith that the anesthetist was capable, and Ansu was also
assisting. It was a fine narcotic; so I had no discomfort when I woke up. I got a huge cast,
which was heavy. After a couple of hours Jytte came, and I was allowed to return to the hotel.
I felt pretty well, and thought nothing of my knee, which had also been scratched during
my fall. It hurt a little, and I limped a little, but not enough that we couldnt go down and eat a
good lunch.
We had five days left of our vacation. Of course, I could not go swimming, but I could
pull my slacks up and walk along the edge of the water. And I could also enjoy the sun. The
natives who worked at the hotel were also kind enough to help me.
When the day arrived that we should leave for home, we were driven by bus to the
airport. They had been so kind as to order a wheelchair for me, so that I could be wheeled out to
the airplane. In the plane I was given a place by a window where I could rest with my arm in a
cast. My leg was not doing so well also. Jytte sat at my side, where there was also a Danish

83

doctor sitting. We had a cozy time, and everything went well. We touched down in the Grand
Canaries, where I had to leave the plane while it was taking on fuel. At 4:00 a.m. we arrived in
Denmark. Thats the time you arrive when you come from Gambia. We took a taxi to my home
from the airport. Jytte was kind enough to come in and help me to make my bed.
The next day I took a taxi out to Gentofte Hospital. I had to have my knee looked at.
Out there they said it would be a waiting time of at least four hours, which I didnt want to do; so
I went home again. Then Efferse was so helpful as to say, Im coming, and well drive to your
doctor. An x-ray was taken which showed that my knee cap was broken. You must go directly
out to Gentofte. This time they took me in right away, and I had a lighter cast put on my arm.
The cast I had got in Africa was very heavy. But they said that the break in my arm was lined up
very well. They had done a very good job. They gave me a Don Joy [a knee brace] on my leg
and said I could just as well go home.
The next morning a doctor called and said I should come in to the hospital. They had
examined my x-ray and thought I should have an operation. So I was admitted to Gentofte and
operated on. After the operation I was in physical training for about three weeks.
One thing, however, was rather funny. When I spoke to the chief physician, he said,
Well, you have been rather unfortunate in Gambia. Where were you staying?
Bungalow Beach, I answered. It appears that he had been in the same hotel the week
before we came and had stayed in the apartment right beside ours.
When, just before my 75th birthday, I came home from the hospital, I found a letter from
Ansu waiting for me. We have written letters back and forth since then, and I have been down
there to visit him four times. I have met his family: his mother, his brother, his sister-in-law and
his nephewa young man 16 years oldand some of his friends. They are very kind and also

84

interested in our land and culture. They all speak English, for Gambia was earlier an English
colony. Sometimes they speak their own language among themselves. It sounds so delightful.
In March of 2010 I was again visiting Gambia and staying, as usual, in the compound
with Ansu. This time I was invited to a Gambian wedding. Ansus sisters daughter was getting
married. In the evening we drove though some poverty-stricken villages and arrived as it was
getting dark, about 7:00 p.m. The whole family, as well as friends from near and far, were
gathered together, many hundreds of them.
We got a delightful dinner indoors: large plates with rice and fish. Everything tasted
wonderful with all kinds of spices. We ate from the large platters, but Ansu and I got spoons
with which to eat.
Outside everything was lighted up with colored lights. The most wonderful African
music was played. It was difficult not to jump up and dancesuch a rhythm. Everyone was
dressed to the hilt, children and adults, in the most colorful and beautiful dresses and suits. We
sat in the darkness under the fantastically beautiful stars, and about 11:00 p.m. the bride and
groom appeared. The bride was in a white dress with a little crown on her head, the groom in a
beautiful long shirt, very impressive.
The minister gave a sermon, songs were sung, music was played. There was dancing. It
was so moving, such a warm and joyful people. After the bridal pair left, about half past
midnight, we drove home in the dark, African night. It was an unforgettable experience.
From April to November is the rainy season in Gambia. There are intense storms, so that
all the roads become rivers. No one travels before November. But I hope to return again next
year. Ive already been invited to do so.

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Time passes so quickly. Now I am 83. I think I have much to be thankful for: a
wonderful childhood, so many experiences, and not the least of all, my wonderful family and
friends.

Lise Agnete Moltke


16 May 1959

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