Etikettarkiv: adelaide peyron

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.


5. Elisabeth Schwan – The Belle of the Balls

At 7:30 in the evening, I set off in a carriage pulled by 2 white horses through illuminated streets and cheering crowds to the Bourgeoisie’s Ball on the occasion of the King’s anniversary. The ballroom was unbelievably beautiful and the whole party was, according to unanimous testimony, successful on all accounts. It was probably the most beautiful [ball] in the 25-years [of the King’s reign]. I danced with Miss Gurli [Kantzow], Miss Mathilda [Horn], and Mamsell Elisabeth Schwan, each the beauty of the ball in her own genre.  (Erik af Edholm’s diary, 6 Feb 1843)

Elisabeth Schwan was the belle of the balls. Erik af Edholm, who was the son of the King’s personal doctor, chronicled the social life in Stockholm in the 1840s. And he liked Elisabeth Schwan.

The weather this morning was wonderful, warm and sunny as at the end of April, and The Square* was full of people strolling around. The water trickled around the paving stones on the slightly dirty streets and in higher places, sun-dried paving stones provided a nice playground for children and pets.

In The Square, Elisabeth Schwan sashayed her young pleasures in a pink silk hat and a small, school coat. I confess that I abandoned my companions, the Poppiuses, and went straight to wish her a happy new year because I had not seen her since before Christmas, and then I accompanied her, her mother, and the Munthes for several turns around The Square. Being too elated, I even accompanied Mrs. Munthe all the way to her door at 69 Regeringsgatan. (Erik af Edholm’s diary, 29 Jan 1843).

*The Square (Swedish: Torget) was the nickname for Carl XIII’s Square, which is a part of the large central park, Kungsträdgården, in Stockholm.

Fritz von Dardel also liked Elisabeth, at least he liked to include her in his drawings of the social life in Stockholm.

The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Kunt Bergenstråhle is the young lieutenant in the middle.
The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Elisabeth is the girl in the yellow dress. Yes, our Augusta was there too!


At General Peyron's Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark haired girl in the lilac dress.
At General Peyron’s Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark-haired girl in the lilac dress.

Who was Elisabeth Schwan?

Elisabeth Mathilda Schwan was born on February 2, 1828. Her father, Johan Gustaf Schwan (b. 1802), was a wealthy merchant who had married his cousin, Augusta Eleonora Schön. She was the daughter of another important merchant in Stockholm – Johan Schön (b. 1781).

I was already familiar with the wealthy family Schön. The mother of one of Augusta’s friends, Adèlaide (Adèle) Peijron, was born Schön. And it turned out that the mothers of Elisabeth Schwan and Adèle Peijron were sisters. So Elisabeth and Adèle were cousins.

Elisabeth married Knut Cassel who had studied law and worked at the Department of Finance in Stockholm. In 1860, the family purchased Stjernsund Castle from the royal family. There they raised 5 sons.

Stjernsunds Castle in the 1850s
Stjernsunds Castle in the 1850s


Elisabeth Cassel, born Schwan, and her family around 1856-57.
Elisabeth Cassel, born Schwan, and her family around 1856-57.

A Visit to Stjernsund Castle in 2019

Using the language of Augusta’s time, Stjernsund is handsomely situated on a promontory above the still, blue waters of Lake Alsen. It is now a museum.

On a beautiful day in the summer of 2019, Kerstin and I visited Stjernsund Castle dressed in our finest summer dresses. We took a guided tour of the castle and saw a few things that had belonged to Elisabeth. It is well worth a visit!

Photo by Pernilla Gäverth

Sources and links:

af Edholm, Erik. Svunna Dagar. P. A. Norstedt & Söner, Stockholm 1944.

The girl in the yellow ball gown: Elisabeth Schwan

Elisabeth Schwan at Stjernsund