antagonist of Prussian
Yarns, Berthold von Puttkamer, is the first cousin of
Hildegard's father, Friedrich von Puttkamer, and the son of
her grandfather, Luitpold's younger brother, Elard. As
was customary, when Luitpold and Elard's father died, Luitpold
as the heir ran the family seat, and Elard, as the second son,
ran the secondary estate. When Luitpold had no son
younger than Friedrich to take over the secondary estates, it
fell to Elard's son Berthold to take care of them.
he saw that Friedrich had no sons, Berthold suggested to
Friedrich that if his son married Friedrich's daughter, then
his eldest son would inherit the family seat of Schönwald,
and his second son would take care of the secondary estate
that Berthold had lived on all of his life.
gave Berthold no indication that he did not agree with this
proposal, but he also did not give his consent to it.
The problem was that
Friedrich did not like Berthold and therefore did not want his
daughter married to Berthold's son unless he could find her no
didn't want to refuse Berthold outright in case he couldn't
find a family to accept her.
The fact that she
was an only child could have gone against her even if she was
the von Puttkamer heiress.
being a subtle man, Berthold took Friedrich's lack of argument
to be consent.
It didn't occur to
him that Friedrich could have an opposing opinion.
He didn't consider
that Friedrich was capable of independent thought.
genuinely believed that there was an understanding between him
and Friedrich that if Friedrich didn’t have a son, then his
daughter would marry Berthold’s son, and to that end forbade
his son to marry until Friedrich’s daughter was old enough
to marry. However, Friedrich’s older daughter,
Gerlinde, ran off to join the convent just as she reached
marriageable age, then, before Hildegard, the younger
daughter, Came Out, she was married off to a complete
stranger, Otto von Goff.
To top it all off,
the marriage took place in unseemly haste, so that the first
thing Berthold knew about it, he was invited to a wedding that
was occurring so quickly that he didn’t even have time to get
there, much less to prevent it from taking place.
by what he saw as deception on Friedrich’s part, Berthold
considered that the stranger, Otto, must have tricked
Friedrich in some way in order to get his hands on Schönwald,
since Berthold did not believe that Friedrich would have been
underhanded of his own volition. When Friedrich died a
matter of weeks after the wedding, and Berthold found out that
Otto was referred to in Friedrich’s Will as being
Friedrich’s sole heir “as if he were my legitimately born
son” then Berthold was convinced that there had been undue
influence on Friedrich, and challenged the Will.
managed to convince the tribunal that he had been cheated out
of an inheritance that he had every reason to believe had been
promised to him, so the secondary lands that he had been
living on and caring for almost all of his life were declared
to be his, to be inherited by his son and grandson.
tribunal wasn’t convinced that Hildegard had no right to
inherit anything from her father.
The von Puttkamer
inheritance was not entailed away from the female line, so
they took the unusual step of dividing the inheritance so that
the family seat remained with Otto and Hildegard, while only
the secondary lands went to Berthold.
the inheritance, in a King Solomon type of solution to the
problem, was never accepted as just or right or bearable by
Hildegard's mother, Clothild, died fourteen years after
Friedrich, the Will that was read was one Clothild had made
during the Revolutions of 1848.
started in France, turning King Louis Philippe out and putting
Louis Napoleon in charge, before it spread to Prussia.
Clothild was deathly
afraid that the new Napoleon would turn out to be like his
uncle and invade Prussia, so she made out a Will that would
protect Hildegard in the event that Hildegard lost both her
mother and her husband.
the wording of that Will, Berthold saw his chance to re-open
his claim to Schönwald. His dream was to reunite the
von Puttkamer heritage under his name.
He truly believed
that he was the Head of the Family once Friedrich’s branch
of the male line had died out, and was convinced that what he
was doing was right and just.
advanced years and in declining health by 1860, it was
Berthold’s last wish as an elderly man to reunite the
inheritance of his forefathers for his descendants.