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Characters in Depth:
Berthold von Puttkamer

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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The 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.

When 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.

Friedrich 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 other suitor.  He 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.

Not 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.

Berthold 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.

Incensed 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.

Berthold 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.  However, the 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.

Dividing the inheritance, in a King Solomon type of solution to the problem, was never accepted as just or right or bearable by Berthold.

When Hildegard's mother, Clothild, died fourteen years after Friedrich, the Will that was read was one Clothild had made during the Revolutions of 1848.  The Revolution 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.

In 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.

Of 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.

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