Etikettarkiv: adele

Cecilia’s Album: Adèlaide Peijron (Sparre) – A Poem about Friendship

Today’s card in Cecilia Koch’s memory album is from Adèlaide Peijron. I wrote about Adèlaide in 2018 when I was searching for the girls who, like Augusta, lived with the Edgren family in Stockholm. Soon after writing the blog post, I received an exciting email from Adèlaide’s great-great-granddaughter (and our new friend), Kathinka Lindhe. At that time, she was working on a book about Adèlaide’s son. More about that down below.

Tomt och ödsligt blir Ditt lif
Om ej någon vän du äger
Wänskapen Ditt hjerta gif
Den allt annat öfverväger
Den är fast som klippans stål
Och ur denna verld dess mål

My translation (I am no expert on translating poetry and this time I took some liberties to improve on a simple literal translation)

Empty and desolate your life will be,
if not a friend you have.

A heartfelt friendship, do bestow,
a gift that beats all else.

Friendship – solid as a rock,
aim for it in life.

Who was Adèlaide?

Adèle’s full name was Adèlaide Virginia Peijron and she was born on 13 June 1831 in Stockholm. She was almost 13 years old when she wrote the loving poem to Cecilia.

Adèlaide’s mother was Adèlaide Elisabet Schön (1808-1837) and her father was the officer Edouard August Peyron (1796-1858) who had been introduced into the House of Nobility in 1837 with the new name, Peijron. In 1844, when Adèlaide wrote the poem to Cecilia, her father was a chamberlain (kabinettskammarherre) to King Oscar I.

Adèlaide’s mother died when Adèlaide was only 6 years old. It is understandable that the father could not take care of his young daughter. In 1840, at the age of 9, Adèlaide was therefore boarding with the Edgren family. She lived with the Edgrens until they left Stockholm in May of 1844. She then moved in with Mademoiselle Andriette Frigell who continued the school.

”My own Augusta!

Thank you, thank you, for your latest and, for so long, an anticipated letter which was dearly received.

… Yesterday, I was visiting Mademoiselle Frigel and she always asks about you and she sent you her warmest regards. Adèle Peyron also sent you lots of greetings. Erica Degermann and I are invited to Mademoiselle Frigell on a graduation ball on Tuesday…” (Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta, 16 April 1846)

In September 1846, Adèlaide’s father married Anna Maria Bagge (1810-1858) and Adèlaide now had a stepmother. This upcoming wedding was already news in Mademoiselle Frigell’s school in the spring of 1846:

“Speaking of Mademoiselle F., Adèle Peyron’s father will remarry, with Mrs. Bagge, born Groen. So Adèle gets a stepmother. She went with her on May 1st but Adèle did not look happy at all, said Erica Degerman who saw her. Poor Adèle, I do not think it should be fun to have a new mother when you are that old.” (Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta, 6 May 1846)

In 1853, Adèle married chamberlain Gabriel Gerhard Sigge Sparre af Rossvik and they had 2 sons and 2 daughters. One of the sons was Sixten Sparre.

Adele with her two daughters in 1860.

Sixten Sparre

Sixten Sparre was married and had two children when he became infatuated with a beautiful circus performer, Elvira Madigan. He left his family and convinced Elvira to leave the circus and join him. They traveled to Denmark but had no means to support themselves. Their ”honeymoon” ended in tragedy. Their bodies were found in a forest, Elvira presumably shot by Sixten who then shot himself. Their short story was the perfect fodder for the press – a romantic love story of a lieutenant and a beautiful circus artist who in desperation jointly committed suicide. Did they?

For the surviving family, it was something else – the tragedy, the shame, the history that should be forgotten and not mentioned. Kathinka Lindhe writes about this in her book Vacker var han, utav börd: Sixten Sparre, mannen som mördade Elvira Madigan (Transl. He was beautiful, of noble birth: Sixten Sparre, the man who murdered Elvira Madigan), published in 2020. It is a fascinating narrative about Sixten Sparre. She also writes about Adèle’s life after her son’s murder/suicide.

Adèle had had her own marital problems. Her husband had squandered all the wealth she had brought into the marriage. He had been forced to declare bankruptcy, and when he died in 1897, there was no inheritance for Adèle to live on. She had to manage on a pension but fortunately, she later received a substantial inheritance from a relative. She died in Stockholm in 1909, at the age of 78.


Augusta’s friend: Adèle Peyron

The view of Klara Church from the location of Mrs Edgren’s school
Adele with her two daughters in 1860. Adele is 29 years old in the picture.

It’s already August, but what a fun summer Kerstin and I have had. First, we visited places where our great-great-grandmother, Augusta Söderholm, had played as a kid or visited as a young woman, then we spent a night on a steam-engine ship, and then we traveled by both steam ships and steam trains. Back in Stockholm, we visited the city archives to find out more about Augusta’s school in Stockholm. Finally, one of the highlights of the summer was our participation in the activities at Torekällberget, a living-history museum in Södertälje. We now have lots of materials for future blogs!

But right now, I am on a mission to find Augusta’s school friends. I have slowly been going through the correspondence between Augusta and her best friend, Lotten Westman, and trying to put faces to the names mentioned.

”Stockholm 16 April 1846

My own Augusta!

Thank you, thank you, for your latest and, for so long, an anticipated letter which was dearly received.

… Yesterday, I was visiting Mademoiselle Frigel and she always asks about you and she sent you her warmest regards. Adèle Peyron also sent you lots of greetings. Erica Degermann and I are invited to Mademoiselle Frigel on a graduation ball on Tuesday…”

Adèle Peyron

So, who was her friend, Adèle Peyron (or Peijron)?

Census record in 1843. Girls boarding with Mrs Edgren, including Augusta and Adele.

Her full name was Adèlaide Virginia Peyron and she was born 13 June 1831 in Stockholm – so she was 4 years younger than Augusta. Adèle, Augusta, and 3 other girls all boarded with their teacher, Mrs. Edgren, and her husband in their house on Stora Wattugränd 12 in Stockholm. Kerstin and I visited the place where their house once stood, just behind Klara Church. Now it is an office building clad in steel.

Did the girls share beds? It was very common in the 1800s. It was also a way to keep warm in the winter. I assume they would have become very close, just like sisters.

So what happened to Adèle?

She married chamberlain Gabriel Gerhard Sigge Sparre af Rossvik in 1853 and had 2 sons and 2 daughters. But her life was marred by a tragedy.

”Sad Things Still Happen”

That is the title and the first words of a ballad we sang in Sweden as kids. It tells the sad love story of the nobleman and lieutenant, Sixten Sparre (who was already married and had 2 children), and a famous Danish circus artist, Elvira Madigan. Desperately in love, they decided to run away to Denmark. Having no means to support themselves and no one coming to their rescue, they then planned to commit suicide – a romantic last picnic before Sixten shot Elvira and then himself.

Movie poster for the film Elvira Madigan, 1967.

The news were all over the papers in the summer of 1889. And the ballad about Elvira Madigan became famous throughout Sweden through “Skilling Prints” – inexpensive prints of song texts. And 100 years later, the ballad is still famous. Not to mention an award-winning movie made in 1967.

Adèle Peyron and Sixten Sparre

Augusta’s friend, Adèle, was Sixten’s mother.

In 1844, when Adèle and Augusta were both listed as living in the Edgren household, Adèle was only 12 years old. They were learning German and French together, doing their embroideries, and going to children’s balls. She could never have imagined the events that were going to affect her family, nor the shock and sorrow she would experience on receiving the news about her son.

While searching for Adèle, I landed on another blog. The blog is written by Adèle’s great-great-granddaughter, Kathinka Lindhe. She writes about Adèle and about a book she has published. And there is a picture of Adèle! I find it fascinating that we are both blogging about our great-great-grandmothers – who were best friends!