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Characters in Depth:
Kryzsztof Scharnhorst

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
 
Kryzsztof Scharnhorst had been the butler of Schönwald for many years.  His family had originated in Hanover, but for several generations they had lived and worked in the households of the von Puttkamers.

Kryzsztof was born in the easternmost von Puttkamer holding, in Byelorussia, but had travelled west to Schönwald as a youth, and had remained there, working his way up from page to footman, from footman to butler's assistant, and then became the butler himself on the death of his predecessor and mentor Herr Hess.

By the time Otto became the Gutsherr of Schönwald, Scharnhorst was in his sixties, an old man in the 19th century.  He was the one who knew more about the history of Schönwald than anyone else, the one everyone turned to for the "right thing" to do.  For Scharnhorst, the "right thing" was more than simply doing what had always been done, it also depended on what was ethically right, what was for the greater good for the future of Schönwald, the socially correct thing to do.  Propriety and etiquette were very important to him.

Scharnhorst had seen a lot of changes in his life time.  Prussian society itself had been altered by defeat at the hands of Napoleon's armies, and life under French occupation.  Scharnhorst gave no thought to such things. He neither yearned for the "old days" nor tried to keep up with the "latest thing."  He concentrated on what had to be done right at that moment, passing no judgement one way or another on things outside of his immediate responsibilities.

In his youth he had been competitive, passionate, and compassionate. His hard work, ambition, and attention to detail had stood him in good stead in his aim to rise through the ranks of the staff.  He had no ambition to leave Schönwald, however, being content to wait until he could step into the shoes of his old mentor, Herr Hess.

When Scharnhorst had arrived at Schönwald, Herr Hess and his wife had taken the honest and hard working youngster under their wing.  They were like surrogate parents to him, and he formed a life-long attachment to them both.

In time, Frau Hess became the housekeeper of Schönwald, and Scharnhorst learned as much from her about how a household ought to be run as he had learned from Herr Hess.  He became the butler of Schönwald some years after Herr Hess's death, but when he was still hardly more than a youth.  He was in love with Ludowine Hess, the only child of the Hesses, who had married late as people in service often did.

Because Ludowine was even younger than he was, Scharnhorst resolved to wait until she was grown up, and until he had established himself as butler before he made his feelings clear.  His dream was that they would be housekeeper and butler of Schönwald, working as a married team, as her parents had.

Much as Ludowine liked and admired Kryzsztof, and would have been willing to go along with his plan, she was more taken with the charming young man Scharnhorst had hired to be his assistant.  Ludowine was a good girl, but she was young and not immune to flattery.  Konrad Zimmermann seduced her.  They had to marry.

Scharnhorst's shock and grief were overwhelming that she had been taken in and had married someone else in haste.  Before he had a chance to come to terms with the loss of his dreams, he had lost her completely.  Ludowine Hess died in childbirth.

In the confusion after her death it wasn't noticed at first that Zimmermann was missing.  He was never seen again.  He hadn't even waited long enough to attend the funeral of his wife and child.  Word reached Schönwald some time later that he had gone to the New World.

Scharnhorst never fully recovered.  He blamed himself for not speaking up.  Perhaps if he'd made Ludowine an offer Zimmermann might not have been able to seduce her.  He blamed himself for not protecting her from him.  He blamed himself for not realising the character flaws in Zimmermann.  It had been his first attempt to hire staff, and it had had disastrous consequences.

From that time on Scharnhorst gave no thought to the future, or to the past.  He made no judgements about anything going on around him.  He took care to pay attention only to his work.  To honour the memory of Herr Hess and his family, Scharnhorst did the very best work that it was possible for him to do.  Everything in his world was the Will of God.

When God saw fit to leave Schönwald with only an heiress, Scharnhorst didn't question it, or think it was a shame, he did his best to see to it that his part of the estate ran as well as it ever had.

When having an heiress meant that the new Gutsherr of Schönwald was not a von Puttkamer, but Hildegard's husband, Otto von Goff, Scharnhorst gave him the same dedication as he had any of the von Puttkamers.

When Otto and Hildegard had only one child, which meant Schönwald was going to an heiress again, Scharnhorst did his best to see to it that anything he could do to assist in preparing Luise for her future as Gutsherrin of Schönwald was done to the best of his ability.

When factions arose at Schönwald, Scharnhorst paid no attention, managing to wend his way through the minefields of loyalty to one side or the other without joining any one of them, and without losing the respect of any of them, the only person who as able to achieve that.

When Hildegard proved unable to fulfil her duties and Otto actually found it necessary to meddle in women's work, Scharnhorst continued on as if that were the normal state of things, accepting such things as an illiterate Hungarian nomad as the Schönwald cook, and a miller's daughter, cousin of the stableman, as the new housekeeper without turning a hair.

When Frau Hess slid steadily towards senile dementia, being more and more unable to function as housekeeper, he did everything he could to assist her, never able to forgive himself for what he saw as his part in the loss of her daughter.

It was when the new housekeeper, Minna Müller, obtained the household accounts from Hildegard that Scharnhorst finally had to confront his memories.  He saw again the clear, precise handwriting of his long lost Ludowine.  He saw the last entry she had made before her death.  He saw the change in Frau Hess's hand from before Ludowine's death to after it.  And he saw something else, too: the lock on the wooden box was broken, and funds had gone missing between Ludowine's last entry and Frau Hess's resumption of her tasks.

Then he knew as surely as if he'd been there and seen it happen that what had gone on had been even worse than he'd known.  Either while his wife laboured, or about the time the wailing had started that the baby was lost and the midwife didn't think she could save Ludowine, Konrad Zimmermann had broken open the housekeeping box, taken the funds inside, and used them to purchase his fare to the New World.

It looked as if Frau Hess had replaced the funds with her life's savings and what had been left to her by her husband.  No one had been surprised that she had been forever afterwards wavering and unsure of herself after the death of her beautiful daughter and her grandchild, but not a single one of them had known the other burden of embarrassment and shame she had carried all alone.

Scharnhorst had never been involved with another woman.  His love for Ludowine and his guilt over her loss had caused him to put all of his time and attention into his work.  He never wanted to leave Schönwald, where Ludowine and her father were buried.  All he could do was send her mother, Frau Hess, what little comfort he could manage to where she lived in retirement up on the Baltic coast, and to continue to do his best to work in such a way that Herr Hess would have approved of the result of his teachings.

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