By 1841, the association realized that only the wealthy had taken up silk production and then, only as an interesting hobby. Still, they concluded, that for the working class to take up silk production, the gentlemen must first cultivate mulberry trees and produce silk before the working class could profit from this new industry.I am around 5 years old and we are celebrating midsummer at Rockelstad Castle in Helgesta parish. I only remember two things: my parents dancing in a crowded place, and the old countess, who lived in the castle, giving me a large, shiny coin, maybe a 2-crown or 5-crown coin as a prize in a game organized for the kids. I curtsy politely as expected of me. It feels like a fairy tale, getting a shiny coin from an old countess who lives in a real castle.“The day after our arrival, we waded through quarter-deep dirt to our friends on Kungsholmen, where we were warmly received, had a pleasant evening and reminisced about our winter evenings at Krusenhof.So, was the silkworm an upper-class, exotic pet in the 1830s? And were there any mulberry trees in Stockholm so Lotten and Edla had something to feed them?
The association was to encourage silk production in Sweden by the planting of mulberry trees, to publish information on silkworm care and, depending on its means, provided those interested in silk production with plants and/or mulberry seeds. By 1841, the association had distributed over 50,000 seedlings.“I had been asked to speak, but I instead persuaded little Fock to do it and he succeeded much better than I should have done.” (Fritz von Dardel describing a visit by industrialists and artists to thank Crown Prince Oscar for his support).
Aunt and Nanna have a small sunny and nice home, in the middle of a garden that extends all the way down to the lake shore. In the summer, this little place must be a real paradise where you have flowers and light, fresh air and Lake Mälaren’s blue surface and verdant islets to rest your eyes on, as well as the most magnificent views of Riddarholmen and Söder and, over all, the steamships that from different directions rush to their common goal – Riddarholmsbron.”
If it hadn’t been for a 190-year-old diary by a girl who described the delight in getting some silkworms, I would never have known about the forest of white mulberry trees at Bellevue in Stockholm. And if I was in Stockholm, I would make an outing to the park and look for any little mulberry tree. Maybe some stump or roots survived and sprouted new trees. From my experience, mulberry trees are almost impossible to get rid of – they really grow like weeds. Axelina died on October 9, 1888, in Stockholm. That should probably be the end of this blog entry – one about a young, happy girl who wrote a lovely poem to her friend and gave her a lock of her hair. She gathered a few strands of her long, straight, brown hair and then, with her embroidery scissors, made the cut. She twisted the lock into two circles, like a pretzel, and tied it with a strand of red embroidery floss.
Father told us last Monday when he was here, that the kind pastor, Mr. Lindström, who my sister and I have recently been acquainted with, had visited father at the palace that same day in order to ask if he could give us some silkworms that he couldn’t keep as he will spend the summer in Uppsala. Father had been kind to answer and thank him on our behalf, whereupon Mr. Lindstrom had promised to send them to us in a few days. Imagine our joy in owning these insects and being able to study their interesting transformations. May God preserve them for us because cultivating them requires special care of which none of us have any knowledge. (Lotten Ulrich’s diary, Stockholm, 31 May 1833, my translation)
“You probably already know that Axeline Fries is engaged to a Baron Fock, but they will not marry yet. He is awfully much smaller than her, it does not look very nice. When she takes his arm, he disappears right under her red coat.” (Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta, March 6, 1848) Mary’s younger sister Carin married nazi-leader Hermann Göring in 1922. He was working as a commercial pilot in Stockholm after World War I and knew Eric von Rosen (also a pilot). Carin was visiting her sister Mary when she met Göring at Rockelstad. The couple moved to Germany in 1922 and became high-profile members of the nazi party. Carin died before World War II in 1931, at the age of 42, from a heart attack. Hermann Göring’s war crimes are well documented. It was well known that Baron Alfred Henrik Edvard Fock was unusually short in stature. A friend of Alfred Fock, Fritz von Dardel, referred to him as “little Fock”.