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Characters in Depth:
Kirsten

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

Favourites Writers
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Lorraine Stanton
Vicki Wootton
Shalanna Collins
 

Kirsten 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.

Baby 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.

The 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.

Since 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.

Johann 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.

When 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.

When 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. 

In 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.

Otto 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.

Not 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.

Kirsten 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.

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