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.
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 him.
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.
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.
wondered what would become of Kirsten. She deserved a
better life than the usual lot of an illegitimate child raised
in an orphange. 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.
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.
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.
the beginning Kirsten was deferential to Luise as the heiress,
but in a little while she came to stand up for herself with
Luise. Otto wanted Luise to have real companionship,
such as she would have with a brother or sister, so he
encouraged Kirsten to stand up for herself, thinking it would
be a good thing for the girls to squabble like sisters, and
for Luise to learn how to cope with people of her own age who
were not deferential to her the way the servants were.
got rid of Frau Blücher and Frau Klemperer and hired someone
he considered more suitable, Amalie Braun. Amalie
followed Otto’s preference of allowing Kirsten to stand up
to Luise. Under Amalie’s care Kirsten blossomed into a
gentle and loving companion for Luise, a good influence on
her, and a valued member of the population of Schönwald.
only did Otto notice her family resemblance, but he formed an
affection for her and came to look on her as more one of his
dependents than just a servant. As they lived together,
the girls became more alike, until Luise also noticed
the resemblance. The girls looked enough alike that
Amalie began to wonder, as well, and asked Otto about it.
That starting Otto worrying about what he should do about
Kirsten when the girls grew up.
alone remained unaware that she had a any resemblance to the
family she grew to love. She was very appreciative of
being at Schönwald, being fully aware of what her future
could have been.