Kirsten Marie Morgan was found on the steps of the monastery in
Stettin where Johann Goff was a monk. Although the Father
Confessor of the monastery wanted to name the foundling
“Miseracordia Adulterina” as a warning of the wages of sin to
all young girls who would meet her in her life, Johann named the
baby Kirsten because he thought it was a pretty name, meaning
“of Christ,” Marie after the mother of Christ, and Morgan
because she was found in the morning. The baby was not a
new-born, so the monks only had a guess at her age, which they
estimated to be between nine months and a year old. She was well
fed and healthy, so someone had loved her well and nursed her
for her first few months. She was, however, wrapped only in a
blanket, so there was no clue to be found from her clothing.
Baby Kirsten was raised with the other foundlings and orphans in
the monastery orphanage, growing to have a dimpled smile, a
cheerful friendly nature, and thick honey coloured blonde hair.
She was unassuming and gentle, hardworking and loyal. Johann
couldn’t help but give her special attention. On the one hand
he’d always felt protective of her, since he was the one who had
found her and named her, secondly her personality was such that
most of the caregivers and children warmed to her, and lastly
because there was something about her that struck a cord with
The first time Johann had looked at the baby’s face he had been
reminded of his youngest sister, Monika, who had been born when
he was 11. The feeling that she came from somewhere in his own
family persisted, and he tried to figure out who she might have
come from. There was a definite family resemblance, she had the
same eyes as himself, Otto, and their father. The shape of her
face was not like theirs. It was the hair colour that was the
greatest clue, since no-one in their family had hair the colour
of clover honey in a glass jar in the sunshine.
Since Kirsten was placed on the monastery doorstep in 1848,
whoever gave birth to her would have become pregnant in 1846.
That meant it could have been any of the four brothers, or even
their father. Walther had died in the epidemic of 1846, but if
Kirsten was closer to a year old than 9 months old when she was
found, there was time for him to have been the father. The
oldest son, Werner, was around the family seat of Goffhausen
then, though his sons were too young to be considered. The
second son, Sigismund, was also at Goffhausen with his young
wife, since he didn’t leave to run the secondary estate near
Danzig until after Walther’s death. 1846 was before Johann had
taken his vow of celibacy and joined the Lutheran monks, so he
could consider himself in the mystery, though he did not
remember anyone with honey coloured hair. He questioned Otto,
but he, too, had no memory of anyone with hair that colour.
Johann wondered what would become of Kirsten. She deserved a
better life than the usual lot of an illegitimate child raised
in an orphanage. Many ended up as street walkers, unable to get
better work. Others worked at the lowest of menial jobs, living
in abject poverty all of their short lives. Johann couldn’t see
how to provide Kirsten with a better lot.
When Otto’s mother-in-law died in the New Year of 1860, and Otto
worried to Johann about how lost Luise was without her
grandmother, Johann saw an opportunity for Kirsten. He convinced
Otto to give Kirsten a chance at being a companion/maid to
Luise. He didn’t tell Otto about his suspicion that Kirsten
might be the offspring of one of them.
When she is first at Schönwald, Kirsten was bullied and
mistreated by the nanny, Frau Blücher, the governess Frau
Klemperer, and by the mistress, Hildegard. Luise was used to
their mistreatment of herself, but she stoutly defended Kirsten.
The two girls became close friends and companions.