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Characters in Depth:
Herr Augustin

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
 

Maximilian Augustin was Otto von Goff’s solicitor.  He was hired originally by Otto’s father-in-law, Friedrich von Puttkamer, to draw up the prenuptial agreement between Otto and Friedrich.  He also oversaw the signing over of all of Otto’s fiancée, Hildegard’s inheritance to Otto, so that when Friedrich died Otto inherited everything “as my legitimately born son” instead of being the caretaker of Hildegard’s property as her husband.  He was then required to produce Wills for Otto, Hildegard, Friedrich, and Friedrich’s wife, Clothild, on the occasion of Otto and Hildegard’s marriage.

When Friedrich died in the epidemic that swept through Prussia while Otto and Hildegard were on their honeymoon, Herr Augustin read out Friedrich’s new Will.  In the resulting furor from Friedrich’s relatives, Herr Augustin was the defensive solicitor for Otto and Hildegard.  The solicitor prepared the paperwork, the barrister appeared at the bar in front of the magistrate to present Otto’s defense.  When the case went on to the land dispute tribunal, the barrister spoke, using the documents prepared by Herr Augustin.

Herr Augustin had considered that Friedrich was a wily old fox who had tricked the very young and inexperienced Otto into marrying his hopeless daughter, because no alert man with his wits about him would have accepted Hildegard, not even to get her inheritance.  Herr Augustin could see that Otto was smitten with Hildegard, and she with him, but he could also see that Hildegard was a neurotic mess and nowhere near strong and healthy enough to be a good wife and mother, much less to take on the demanding role of Guttsherrin, Lady of the Manor.  It was not his place to warn Otto, his opinion was never asked, and by the time he was hired to draw up the documents, they were for a done deal.  However, Herr Augustin felt badly for Otto, who he considered to be Friedrich’s hapless patsy.

Herr Augustin had considered the challenge to Friedrich’s Will to be a spurious case.  The estate was not entailed away from the female line, so there was no reason Hildegard couldn’t inherit it, even if she was utterly unsuited to the responsibilities and obligations that would bring to her.  Although he could see that the relatives had a point that the inheritance had been taken from Hildegard and handed on outside the family to Otto without the family’s consent, it would still be inherited by Hildegard’s children, which it would have anyway.  The only place he could see that they had a point of law was that if Hildegard had no children the inheritance would not revert to the von Puttkamer family because of Friedrich’s wording that Otto held it “as if he were my legitimately born son.”  If that point were changed, Herr Augustin felt the von Puttkamers would have no further claim.

Confident that the case would be decided that the heiress would inherit her father’s estate whether her distant cousins liked it or not, Herr Augustin didn’t even attend the final days of the hearings, being busy on another case.  He was stunned and chagrined to find that the land disputes tribunal had been unable to come to a decisive verdict and had instead opted for a King Solomon type of decision of dividing the baby in half, so that the heiress maintained the family seat, but all of the secondary pieces of property  went to the cousins.

For years Herr Augustin wondered what had happened to young Otto.  He believed it was most likely that he had ended up as one of the impoverished gentry, living on a piece of land that didn’t support itself, slaving away just to keep a leaky roof over his head. 

Over the years Herr Augustin’s hearing faded to the point where he couldn’t do his work any more because he couldn’t hear what clients or barristers were telling him.  His paperwork, knowledge of law, and skills didn’t diminish, but without being able to hear what the clients told him, or to discuss cases with the barristers he worked with, he could no longer function as a solicitor and had to retire.

Frau Augustin cosetted and fussed over her husband, afraid that loss of hearing signaled the coming of the end.  She didn’t want anything to cause him any strain or upset, doing everything she could to prevent the end from coming.  His misery at feeling useless after the loss of his life’s work was ascerbated by his wife’s doting and pampering.  When Otto walked back into his life, it was as if he’d been reborn.  Here was his chance to prove to the world that he was still alive.

Herr Augustin was delighted to see that Otto had done well, was not in poverty, and was taking Berthold von Puttkamer on again.  He began to think again, to laugh again, to plan, to get out of the house, and to have a chance for a rematch on a case that had bothered him for years.  That he was able to mentor a young barrister was an added fillip, making him feel like a vital member of society again.  He thoroughly enjoyed Otto’s company, and always thought of him as a “dear boy” even though Otto was no longer a green youth.

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