Etikettarkiv: August

Would the maid have used #MeToo?

William Hogarth (English, 1697 - 1764) Before, 1730 - 1731, Oil on canvas 40 × 33.7 cm (15 3/4 × 13 1/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
William Hogarth (English, 1697 – 1764) Before, 1730 – 1731, Oil on canvas 40 × 33.7 cm (15 3/4 × 13 1/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

On October 16 this year, my Facebook feed started to fill up with #MeToo – friends acknowledging that they had at some time been sexually harassed or assaulted. A simple hashtag and suddenly the whole world was talking about how men mistreat women.

It made me think of Augusta and her time period. I can’t imagine that she and her friends, who all belonged to a privileged class, would have been harassed. The men in her social sphere were chivalrous and a few made their feelings known by proposing marriage. The closest to harassment that she experienced was not physical in nature: some men let her know that they were displeased with her voicing her opinion.

But of course sexual harassment and assault existed, just as today, where men had power over women – for example, being the employer. And often, if the harassment became known, the woman was blamed.


I just thought of the maid at Loddby. Was she really as evil as Augusta had described? And who was she?

I had to drop what I was doing in order to find out who this girl was. But first some background from the diary. Why did I think of her?

Loddby, 29 August 1851

”May God forgive both August and the malicious, hateful Eva all the unhappy moments they give us. He is a weak, of alcohol destroyed creature and, therefore, he follows the directions of a bad, vindictive maid’s gossip when his senses are obscured.”

Loddby, 1 November 1851

”Eva, the wretched creature, Loddby’s evil spirit, is finally gone. God be forever praised! And I hope that it now will be a little calmer at home. She was, at the last moment, as mean and rude and deserved a good flogging if anyone had wanted to dirty their hands. She now moves to Mrs Rosendahl and will surely become a common street girl.

The new cook has arrived and looks fairly plain, but I have a panicky fear that there will be new courting, new scenes, new sorrows and more of that nature, which will never end until our Lord delivers us from the source of all evil, and that will likely not happen soon. Thus, patience, life’s most useful characteristic, don’t leave me as you have done so far.”

August is Augusta’s older brother. He does not work, has tuberculosis, and drinks. Eva, the maid, is described as someone with power over August and someone with bad morals (… will surely become a common street girl). Isn’t it more likely that August, being privileged, had power over the house maid?

Anyway, who was she? Maids are just referred to by their first name. How would I find out who, besides the family, lived at Loddby at this time?

The Swedish Household Examination Register

Sweden has had some very unique laws. One was the Swedish Church Law of 1686 which stipulated that the parish vicar was obliged to conduct household examinations, making sure the parishioners knew the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism. The results, in addition to some other information regarding each household, was then recorded in a parish register. A consequence of this law was eradication of illiteracy as all children were taught to read in parish schools. A curious detail too, is the recording of smallpox vaccinations which were initiated in 1804. It became the vicar’s role to keep track of vaccinations.

The household examination register in Kvillinge Parish, to which Loddby belonged, would definitely have the records for all who lived at Loddby manor.

And it did! And it was available online.

 Household Examination Record for Loddby 1841-1844
Household Examination Record for Loddby 1841-1844


The time period I looked at was 1841-1844. The persons living at Loddby manor in 1844 were:

Gustaf Lejdenfrost (Augusta’s brother-in-law and owner of Loddby), born 1799
Anna Söderholm (Augusta’s mother), born 1788
August Söderholm (Augusta’s brother), born 1817
Augusta Söderholm, born 1827
Stina Malla Kullerstrand (maid), born 1815
Eva Sara Sandberg (maid), born 1818

I had found Eva!

In 1851, she was 33 years old and August was 34. Would she have used #MeToo about the drunk man who she had to serve on daily, or was she, as Augusta suggested, taking advantage of August. We will never know.

I guess my next task is to find out more about Eva’s life. There are more digitized records online …

Visiting Augusta’s Home – Loddby


From a distance, through the trees, you can discern the yellow mansion that is Loddby. Loddby was owned by Gustaf Leijedenfrost who was twice Augusta’s brother in law. After both her sisters and her father had died, Leijdenfrost became Augusta’s wealthy benefactor and Augusta and her mother made Loddby their home.

Kerstin and I are finally going to visit the home of Augusta, or at least walk around the house with Augusta as our guide.

 ”We have, God be praised, spring and the most wonderful, sunny days. Nature has awakened from its long winter slumber and, in its rich diversity, one sees once again evidence of the Creator’s greatness, power, and kindness. The lark sings so elaborately and happily from high among the clouds; the Cuckoo’s monotonous, but all so dear and longed for, ho ho, ho ho, can be heard from the forest; the butterfly flutters around with its mottled wings and gives the welcome kiss to the little blue and red flowers, just sprouted from the ground; the swallows, the little travelers from foreign countries, rebuild their nests under Swedish roofs and cheerfully soar towards the clear, blue heaven. It is really lovely in the country this time of the year; one breathes so easily and feels so happy and so grateful to the One who created the sun, the air, the flowers, the light, and the little winged creatures who give life to this wonderful painting. Worries cannot really get a foothold in our chests when the sun shines so kindly and clearly and everything around us is renewed and rejoices .” (Loddby, 25 May 1851)

Yes, that is how it feels today; the sky is blue, the trees have little bright green leaf buds, a single fly is buzzing around, and high up in the sky there are a few soaring birds. Of course, one can also hear the humming from traffic on E4 close by, but we ignore that.

We park the car behind the mansion and decide to first walk through the woods down to the shores of Bråviken. This is where Augusta’s family would arrive if they took boats for their travels. It was customary to announce the arrival of the boats by firing a cannon.


“… four cannon shots announced that Leijdenfrost was in the vicinity. Mr. Lindgren went out in the boat to pick him up and Mom and I welcomed him on the shore.” (Loddby, August 1850)

”August is home! These words are a goodbye to the joy; they are the Pandora’s Box from which all my pain and discomfort emanate. At 17 o’clock, the ship Göthen anchored and four sailors in red outfits rowed August to shore, but no happy physiognomies met him on his return home.” (Loddby, 23 april 1851)

The still surface of Bråviken reflects the birch trees and willows along the shore and we try to envision the commotion of anchoring ships and firing of cannons; sometimes bringing dear visitors and sometimes Augusta’s not-so-welcome brother.

Walking back up from the shore gives us a view of the back side of the mansion. In 1847, could you see the water from the second floor of the house? Was there a garden on this side?


”The rain has come down as if the sky was wide open and the storm is shaking the windowpanes; it is impossible to travel to Fullerstad. Nature has created a revolution and it is very depressing and sad to see how the garden is like a lake and our tall, beautiful maple trees are losing one branch after another.” (Loddby, 29 August 1851)

And looking at the house, there are two chimneys – how many tile stoves (Swedish: kakelugn) were used to heat the house? And which one did August destroy?

”Yesterday evening we once again had a scare by one of the shocking events that time after time happens at Loddby. Malla had put a bag of gun powder by a tiled stove in which August threw a lit letter. Suddenly everything exploded – the entire tiled stove collapsed, all windows broke, and August himself had his whole right side burned. Doctor Åberg has been here today; there is no danger although it is extremely painful.” (Loddby, 28 July 1851)

We walk around the house and view it from the front – it is quite small under the tall trees that seem to have been planted in rows, long after Augusta’s time.


The mansion has two matching wings that create a small courtyard. This is where the guests would have arrived in their carriages. And that was Augusta’s life at Loddby: Who came? Nobody came? How long did they stay?

”They left a while ago; everyone is now asleep. There is a deadly silence in the house, and I sit in my lonely chamber, writing down a few lines from my memory of a day that will never come again.” (Loddby, 25 August 1850)

And when nobody came, Augusta got consolation from her religion.

”Almost a whole sad month has passed since I last wrote a few words in my diary. I have nothing but gloomy days and sad events to write off. We have clothes, we have food, we have health (undoubtedly great gifts of God, who deserves all our gratitude) but there is a saying that when the beggar gets cheese, he also wants to have it fried and this unbelieving beggar is me. 0h! I would so much also have a little peace and joy. When our Lord takes away our calm and peace, he gives us hope as compensation and consolation, but hope finally fails us when we cannot see any end of our battles.” (Loddby, 26 September 1851)

There is another old road that leads from the house, passed an old, red, farm building –maybe a granary? This one could also be from Augusta’s time.


We follow the road, and it is possibly the old road that would lead to Krusenhof. The surroundings are beautiful – maybe this is one of the small fields where Augusta’s mother was growing peas?

The road
The road

When the sun goes behind a cloud in the sky, the March weather is still chilly, and I wonder how it was during the long winter. That is when visitors were scarcer and the loneliness probably felt more acute.

”The sun is now bidding farewell to our earth, engilding the sky and the tree tops with a blood-red shine. The north wind rages in the branches of the leafless trees and gusts around the corners of our house with a howling sound. It lifts the dry leaves with whirling speed up against the black, rainy clouds, chasing each other over our heads and then dies down to rest as to gather strength to start again with an increased rage. When during such a dark and stormy autumn night, one is in one’s own warm room in front of a nice fire, one values the good life – in contrast to when nature is calm.” (Loddby, 2 November 1850)

”Outside, the pleasant autumn is already in full color, and I have a fearful vision of the cold winter, when one is, in a way, frozen solid to Loddby.” (Loddby, 28 August 1850)

Kerstin and I turn back to the house and our parked car. A snake basking among the sunbaked rocks make us jump. Blue scilla and white anemones are already dotting the meadows. And Augusta’s words summarize our visit to Loddby:

”… the sun shines so kindly and clearly and everything around us is renewed and rejoices.”

Augusta’s voyage on the Göta Canal – ”one of the most beautiful and pleasant trips one can make”

In July 1850, Augusta made a memorable voyage on the Göta Canal. The reasons for Augusta’s voyage was to wave goodbye to her brother August, who was to sail from Gothenburg to Cape Town on the brig Mimer.

And of course, Augusta provides a colorful eyewitness account of her voyage.

On the outbound trip to Gothenburg, onboard the steamer Götheborg, she spends a lot of time with a Mr Cassel (possibly Knut Cassel):

“A couple of loud and gesticulating Frenchmen were entertaining a young, blond, unremarkable man in straw hat.”

“The next day, I became acquainted with all passengers and were then told that the young man in the straw hat was named Cassel and was from the Capital. Furthermore, I came to realize that he was not so unagreeable as I had first thought.”

 “The conversable Mr Cassel, who to me appeared to be a big nobody, although with a sharp mind and an incomparable talent to constantly keep his mouth moving, kept me entertained during the voyage.”

On the return trip, onboard the steamer Thomas Tellford, it is the captain who gets most of Augusta’s attention:

“Our captain’s name was Krüger, a very polite and charming young man who fulfilled all the duties of a host on his steamer. He entertained me quite agreeable during the trip, which is also one of the most beautiful and pleasant trips one can make. Before we parted in Söderköping, we agreed to dance the first waltz together at the Innocence Ball in January; let us see if that happens or not.”

But no, Augusta did not waltz with Captain Krüger in January. She didn’t travel to Stockholm until March of  that year.

And who was the charming young Captain who got Augusta to describe the Göta Canal voyage as one of the most beautiful and pleasant trip one can make?

Captain Carl Henrik Kreuger

Carl Henrik Kreuger was born 1822. He passed the marine officer examination in 1838 (only 16 years old) and sailed with foreign merchant fleets and the British fleet before becoming a lieutenant in 1846. As a young marine officer, he worked on Swedish ships during the summers: postal ships on the Baltic Sea and canal steamers on the Göta Canal. And that is how Augusta met him in the summer of 1850. He later had a stellar military career and retired in 1885 as a rear admiral.

What Augusta most likely did not find out was that Carl Henrik’s father had an interesting life story as well. Johan Henrik Kreuger was an admiral, author, and inventor. In 1822, the same year that Carl Henrik was born, Johan Henrik was asked by the Swedish government to restore Sweden’s relations with Morocco. Sweden owed Morocco 20,000 piasters for protection against pirates along the Moroccan coast. To resolve the conflict with Sultan Mulay Suleiman, Johan Henrik sailed with a squadron to Morocco. His negotiations with the Sultan were very successful; he returned to Sweden with a personal letter from the Sultan stating that the debt was forgiven.

Advertisement in the newspaper Tidningen för Wenersborgs Stad och Län, 17 juli 1850 (KB)

Top image: Gotha Canal Inauguration 1832 By Zg097qji (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


How boring it is to be ill … but Wilhelm von Braun writes humorous poems

In the summer of 1849, I was mostly at home except for a few weeks spent at Fullerstad and a few days at Krusenhof. August was very ill throughout the summer and the joy and well-being during that time were rare guests at Loddby. The last days of the year, I had a violent rush of blood to my lungs, and was sick for 3 weeks.  A thousand times I exclaimed with Braun:

How boring, so boring it is to be ill
woe it’s invention, nevertheless, still
time passes by, as time’s wont to do,
But slowly, damned slowly, time passes through.

(Attempt at translating Wilhelm von Braun’s poem Fantasi på sjuksängen).

This is the first diary entry where we learn that Augusta had tuberculosis, or consumption. Her brother August was also ill and we don’t know what he was afflicted with that summer. Fullerstad was the home of Augusta’s dear relatives, the Schuberts, and Krusenhof was the home of her best friends, the Hjorts.

But who was Wilhelm von Braun who wrote poetry that a 22-year-old girl would have memorized? Well, at that time he was one of Sweden’s most popular poets. And not all of his poems would have been suitable for young women :).

Wilhelm von Braun (1813-1860), like Paul Wahlfelt and other officer friends of Augusta, got his early education in the cadet school at Karlberg’s military academy in Stockholm. This was a boarding school for boys, usually from privileged families. Wilhelm followed the tradition of his father, and was enrolled at Karlberg at 15 years of age in 1828. After graduating in 1834, and for the next 7 years, he served as a lieutenant.

But his passion was poetry and prose. He published his first poetry in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in 1834. In 1849 he wrote a story called Napoleon, the Adventure of a Cadet, which was based on his experiences at Karlberg. In 1846, he resigned his commission as a lieutenant to be a full-time writer.

Von Braun is presently having a renaissance. There is now a Wilhelm von Braun Association who has published the book Wilhelm von Braun – The one that ladies never read (”Den där som damerna aldrig läst”). And while reading the book, one can enjoy a glass of Wilhelm von Braun’s Punsch, a traditional Swedish cordial, produced in honor of this national poet.

I am glad that Augusta still got to enjoy the poems suitable for women, and those that provided humor for young girls suffering with consumption.


Sources (in Swedish):…/ASU_207.pdf  (Kadettminnen av överste Claes Bratt)

Fantasi på Sjuksängen i Samlade Arbeten af Wilhelm v. Braun, Del 1 (pdf of book available free online) (Wilhelm von Brauns Punsch)

Featured image is part of an oil painting by Antonio Mancini (1852-1930), Resting, 1887.,+Antonio



The Family at Loddby

When discovering a diary, it is like stepping into someone’s home without knowing anything about the family. There are names mentioned, but it is not like a novel where the author will provide you with character descriptions. And at the time of Augusta’s diary, there were no photographs.

Fortunately, there is a lot of recorded genealogy; dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. And of some family members, there might be a painting or a drawing.

So what did Augusta’s family look like?

It consisted of only 4 persons: Augusta, her brother, her mother, and her brother-in-law.

When the diary starts in 1847, Augusta is almost 20 years old. Her older brother August is 31. What we glean from the diary is that Augusta and her mother would rather not have him around: “Poor August! He will never be free from a life that is a never-ending chain of pain, bitterness, and suffering, and we will never, ever stop crying over him.”

Augusta’s mother, Anna Catharina (Charlotta) Fagerström is 59 years old. She got married at 17, a widow at 47, and had 5 children of which only 2 are still alive in 1847. Augusta was born when her mother was 39 years old. From the diary one discerns that Augusta cares a lot about her mother.

And then there is Gustaf Fredrik Lejdenfrost. Lejdenfrost is a 49-year old, wealthy, textile-mill industrialist who owns the estate Loddby, just outside Norrköping. This is where the family lives. He is twice a brother-in-law to Augusta. He first married Augusta’s sister Amalia (b. 1808) who died in childbirth at age 25.  He then married Augusta’s oldest sister Charlotta (b. 1806) who died from influenza only two years after their wedding. One can only wonder how one could overcome being a widower at age 35 and again at age 39! As he is well connected and successful, he becomes Augusta’s benefactor which allows her to study and be part of the society in Stockholm.

There is also staff mentioned in the diary, especially the housekeeper Stina Maria (Malla) Kullerstrand (32 years old) and the bookkeeper C. Lindgren (18 years old).

That is the small family at Loddby.

But then there are so many relatives, friends, and suitors. The journey has only started!