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Marie, a 19 th Century Swedish Immigration to America Story- Marie and Her Sister in Sweden
I took a short course in Swedish History several years ago and my notes indicate the following.
Marie's family at that time were farmers which was the lowest class. There were four estates: nobles, clergy,burgers and landowning farmers.
Often, to earn a living men had a choice between going into the military, going to sea or going to America.
This is the second part of the story of Marie which is a story of my family and Swedish immigration to America.
Marie Talks To Her Sister Christina
“Look Christina. A letter from Viktor,” Marie held out the letter so her sister could see it.
“It’s such fun to get letters,” Christiana said. “I wish people would write more. What does he say?”
Marie didn’t hesitate to share her mail with Christina, her older and only sister. They didn’t get much mail since they knew almost everyone in the village of Nasaker where the family had been for four Centuries. Two of her older brothers had gone to America. Although nearly everyone in Sweden learned to read and write, her brothers seldom wrote letters. When they did, they were addressed to her mother or eldest brother Eric. Everyone shared the mail with the others.
Christina started to read the letter, then stopped and looked at Marie. She sat down on a bench by the window and motioned for Marie to sit beside her. “Marie. Viktor wants you to go to America and has sent money and tickets. Are you to be married?”
“What do you mean? Not exactly? Either you are or you are not going to get married.”
Marie turned and looked out the window. “Maybe you are right. I don’t know what to do. I was attracted to Viktor when I met him two years ago. We did not have time to really get to know each other before he decided he must go to America to make something of himself.” Marie looked into her sister’s face. “I have not made up my mind if I want to marry him. Do you think I’m wrong to go to Minnesota?”
Christian hesitated, then said, “I don’t know what’s right for you. But there is a lot of work to do on the farm and it will be hard on Mother to do it all herself. If you were to be married, I think people would understand better. And what kind of work would you do? “
“I don’t know. But I understand there is work in America for anyone willing to do it. I can always be a housekeeper.” Her voice trailed off and she sounded discouraged.
‘There is nothing wrong with that, but you can do that here for Mother or you could even work in your brother Peter’s store. You are still very young and many things lie ahead for you.”
“I don’t know what’s right.”
“Viktor must be serious about you in order to buy tickets and send you money besides.”
"Christiana, please understand. I think I love Viktor and he may love me but I won’t commit myself to marry until I am absolutely sure.” She placed her hand on her sister’s arm as she talked. “He must show that he loves me too.”
Christian took her sister’s hand. “The money must show something.”
“Money? Hah. I don’t fall in love for money. The money is just a loan. As soon as I find work I will pay it back.”
“You know your brother Peter will be upset when he hears you accepted money from a man you are not engaged to. Besides he never liked Viktor very well.”
Marie’s lips tightened. “And what business is it of Peter’s what I do? When did he become my boss?”
“Don’t get upset. Peter has always felt responsible for you since Father died.”
“I don’t remember Father. I was only two years old when he died, but I can look out for myself without Peter’s permission.”
“All our brothers’ mean well but they think it is their duty to take care of Mother and us.”
“Then let Peter and Eric take care of Mother and they can take care of you, if you wish but let me find my own life.”
“Marie. I know you can take care of yourself, but I also know how stubborn you can be. Just consider the consequences. Don’t make enemies of your brothers by doing something foolish.” Christina took Marie’s hands and looked gently into her face. “You will do what you will do. Peter can’t stop you and neither can I.”
Immigrants From Sweden
Link to part 3
- MARIE-an episode in immigration and family history-part 3
This series of hubs is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction in-as-much as it consists of letters left behind by my grandfathers sister and some scenes I wrote to give the story some continuity. The...
© 2009 Don A. Hoglund