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Characters in Depth:
Hildegard von Goff

First Trilogy
All Manor of Yarns

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 I.

Prussian Yarns

II.

A Stitch in Time

III.

Tinctures & Tantrums

Second Trilogy
The Snow Queen and
The Caterpillar

IV.

There is a Season

V.

 Viennese Yarns

VI.

Orchids

Third Trilogy
Taffeta Tales

VII.

British Yarns

VIII.

Polish Yarns

IX.

Threads of Strife

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Lorraine Stanton
Vicki Wootton
Shalanna Collins
 
Hildegard von Goff is the lady of the manor, the Gutsherrin, but she does none of the work of a Gutsherrin. She suffers from a variety of ailments, including agoraphobia and anorexia, neither of which had been identified or named in her day.

As a young girl she had been completely dependent on her old nanny, Frau Blücher. As a grown woman, Hildegard was still unable to function without Frau Blücher. Without her there to tell Hildegard what to do, she felt frozen, unable to do anything. The knowledge that she is not doing what Frau Blücher would expect her to do only makes it worse, adding to her feelings of uselessness and helplessness.

Despairing, all Hildegard wants to do is remain in her rooms, and wipe the world away with her potions which give her blessed relief from a terrifying reality. She resists her husband's demands that she eat, get up, get dressed, leave her rooms, and open her drapes. She does not see them as the same requests that Frau Blücher would make of her. They are not understood as attempts to save her life, but as cruel and unreasonable.

By September 1860 Hildegard has lost in the space of nine months all of the mainstays of her life. Her mother died on New Year's Day, the governess, Frau Klemperer, was sent packing in March, the old housekeeper, Frau Hess, was taken to join Frau Klemperer in May, and Frau Blücher was fired in August.

Of the four, the loss of Frau Blücher has hit her the hardest. The loss of her mother has left her in the petrifying position of having to fulfil her own responsibilities, which was hard enough, but the loss of Frau Blücher left her utterly bereft.

Because she doesn’t eat she’s becoming literally starved, which adds to her desire to stay in her bed, which adds to her weakness.

She is afraid of having strange people in her rooms. She is not even all that happy with Katya, who is there to minister to Philomele, her servant, or with Marta who delivers her food. An inadvertent comment from Marta convinces Hildegard that there are bandits in the house, and she frantically tries to keep the house free of the bandits.

Hildegard does not know that Philomele is secretly writing to Frau Blücher, but when she secretly receives instructions from her to get up and dressed, to eat and to plan a garden party, she does so. The trouble is that the potions Frau Blücher sends to her are too strong and make her frantic.

The bat at the garden party undoes it all, and Hildegard falls back into herself, withdrawing from everything and everyone.

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