Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, September 29, 2017

A Swedish Romance: Part Three

Part one is here.
Part Two here.

Found among Grandma Breg's effects.
Translated by her son with help from Swedish friends and relatives.

July 18, 1918
Alskade Ellen,
A sincere thanks for your letter. Swedish letters are extremely welcome, but yours most of all. Oh, if you only knew how sincerely I love you, not with a romantic, superficial love, but with a deliberate, composed, mature and true love. A love that will not fade.
Oh, Ellen, don't you know that I am not like other young men. There are only a few of all that I have met who are suitable for marriage. Most of them are too self-centered to make a woman happy. A woman needs sympathy, not during the first few months, but for all her life. To come there was very useful to me. Here, women are held in higher respect. So here you learn to appreciate women as they should be appreciated. I could easily have married a long time ago if I had not been as careful as I was. Not less that three girls and one young widow have been quite persistent. They all disappeared when I told them we could only be friends.
Oh, do you know how much happier I would have been if you had said in your letter that you were willing to come here? Then it wouldn't have been long before you had a ticket. You could easily board a Swedish or Norwegian steamship. They come direct and I could meet you at the destination. We wouldn't have to stay here more than a few years or until after the war. It should soon be over, shouldn't it? The Germans will soon find out that they have made a big mistake.
You know it is almost impossible for me to get home. Well, it isn't impossible but then I would have to sell everything I have and would be allowed to take only $2.50--which is the same as nothing. And then when I get home I will have to do my military training for a couple of years. I have no desire to do that because I was a member of a gun club since I was a child. So, if I came home, you would have to come back with me, if you wanted me. Then I would have to buy back what I have sold, and the cost might be too great. But if I could keep my horses and my cattle another few years, I could double my money. I have four colts which would increase a lot in value in the next year. I have been quite lucky as I have gained experience and now can count on making as much in the next couple of years as I made in the past four.
...
Well, it seems that I am preaching in this letter, but you must excuse me. I couldn't help telling you how things are. I am wondering if you believe in inevitable fate. I don't. Man creates his own destiny. The more you plan the better the fate you create. Or do you believe that a person that has fallen into bad habits was to be that way? I don't think so. For sure they were meant for something better. I am saying this because of your expression that if we are meant to meet again, it is sure to happen. But this is not at all sure. It depends on how much we are working in that direction, because man has been given understanding in order to learn what is best for him.
So you say you have given me your heart, that's probably why I had a feeling that I have two. Then it's best that you get mine in exchange. Otherwise, my darling, I don't know how you will manage.
...
You wondered  if it is warm here? It is about the same temperature as I remember in Sweden. If I have relative here? Yes I have relatives and friends, but I don't keep track of them. How are my parents? They say that so far they have been healthy. If you are welcome here? Yes, I am sure you are.
I will tell you that I had a hard time to get my parents' consent for my trip here. I would have been given 3000kr during five years if I stayed at home, and I would still get my inheritance if there was any. But at last, I got my father to write a letter of consent. I was not of age, so without it I would not have been allowed to go. Now I am happy I came.
...
My mother is so odd. She has always wanted me to be so very noble. So if she were to choose for me, I would of course marry none less than a princess. Well parents have their own ideas and desires, but they are loving parents so they can be forgiven. I will show them that the one I marry will be much better than a princess. I don't wish for a fairy tale marriage but a happy one, and I pray to God that this will be so.
You ask about my brothers, they are Verner, 12, Sigvard, 10 and Henrick, 8, so they will have changed a lot when I get home.
I will see how I can arrange things. 1000kr doesn't mean much when I have a chance to meet you. Now I have been chatting about this and that. I hope you are not tired before you reach the end. I wish you are keeping well and that our love will soon be fulfilled.

Teknar din innerligt alskade, Petrus

5 comments:

  1. Wow, such a long letter from a young man, but then that's how people communicated then. Now I'm lucky to get 3 words in a text.
    And do much maturity in his thoughts. A great way to really get to know someone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do believe he was mature beyond his years, and as well he laid out a very convincing argument for your grandma to move . . . and she must have come around to his way of thinking eventually

    What wonderful letters you are sharing here - thank you, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, he laid it all out for her (maybe too much). What a wonderful letter to have.

    ReplyDelete

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