Vanessa Redgrave
Stane Sever


  Ernestina Jelovšek  
  Memories of Dr France Prešeren


Let me add a few of Prešeren's general thoughts on confession. He told them to my mother when she asked him whether he went to confession. But I have to emphasise that her question belongs to a later period in time. Prešeren said: "For a man, there is nothing more humiliating - almost disgraceful - as a confession. If somebody has done something wrong and realises it, he should try and amend it; it is a sin to harm another. But if I do not amend the wrong, no priest can give me absolution in the name of Almighty God."


Andrej Smole, whose years spent abroad completely destroyed his nervous system, suddenly died on 30th November 1840 from a nervous stroke (Nervenschlag).
It was his name-day and Smole invited a few friends for dinner - "to eat rabbit"; it goes without saying that Prešeren was invited. And just as Prešeren entered the room, Smole collapsed, due to a stroke. Prešeren caught him in his arms. They sent for a doctor and a priest, but Smole did not utter another word.
Prešeren, out of breath, crushed and astonished, came to tell my mother that he had lost his best friend. And my poor, childish mother, instead of commiserating with him in his painful loss, asked: "And who ate up the rabbit?"; deeply offended, he turned away.


Maybe somebody reading this book in years to come will welcome reading the contents of Prešeren's will. The document goes as follows:

"On 6th February 1849 Dr France Prešeren, witnessed by Matevž Mayer, Anton Ahčin and Valentin Čimžer, made his last will by mouth, which was recorded on 15th of February 1849, reference 9651 under ./. at the Imperial regional court in Kranj." The words recorded in his will were as follows:

"As a certain person keeps pestering me to make my will, I declare that: I have no property anyway, but should there be anything left, it should be given to the children I have with Ana Jelovšek in Ljubljana. The furniture and bedding I leave to my sister who lived with me, that is Katarina Prešeren, whilst my other siblings have no right to my legacy." He added: "And my gold pocket watch is also to become the property of the two Jelovšek children." When Dr Prešeren repeated that this was his last will, he added: "Should I think of anything else later, I shall send for you again."
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