0h! Everything is difficult, everything changes.
Loddby, 2 September 1850
This week we have been at Krusenhof and said goodbye to Eric. Our trips to this, my second childhood home, have begun again ever since my friends at Krusenhof [the family Hjort] have once more gathered in their home. How the road is dear to me and how well I know every single rock and every bush; they are all my acquaintances and each could tell me of events from the golden days. The large poplars by the gate still nod a friendly welcome just as they did 14 years ago when they, for the first time, greeted my 9-year-old self.
Even now, I receive the same friendly welcome at my entrance into the great hall with the old clock in the back and I am still met with the same heartfelt welcome. Nothing has changed, except that the former children have now grown up; that one or another frosty night has touched the roses that – 14 years ago – were mere buds on the path of life – some of them have withered and fallen off; and that the shimmer of light that surrounded those present and those forthcoming, for each year has faded and disappeared. But as a whole, all is still familiar. Every year, the large cherry tree still offers us its abundance of cherries. The small benches on the hill still offer us shade, cool, and rest. The small sofa in study, where we in the dim light spent so many an autumn evening in talk and laughter, still invites more of the same pleasures. My God! How long may it remain so!
Loddby, 9 September 1850
Yesterday was a melancholic day, one of those gray, cold, autumn days that so greatly affects one’s spirits. A day when one would like to have wings to fly far, far away, not knowing where to, but to escape the memory of all the bitter and sad moments in one’s life that during such moments feels overwhelming and which, one at a time, march past the eye of the soul.
One of those days when one thinks that the curtain concealing the future is more impenetrable than usual, when it hangs so dark, so heavy, and so cold, in front of events that one envisions as even gloomier and darker, and when one feels cheated of one’s illusions, cheated of the dream of one’s life. And all these gloomy reflections, they arose yesterday from the notification that the scene of my childhood games, the dear old Krusenhof, was sold.
And the friends?
They bid farewell to the old Qvillinge parish, where we together have had so many experiences – both happy and sad moments. Forever they bid farewell to the places that have seen us grow up. No more Sundays will I travel the old, familiar road; never will I expectantly gaze up at Smältgrind and there notice the old, familiar carriage that for 14 years, every other Sunday, turned by Aspdungen and, with its dear content, stopped at Loddby. There is no one left to entrust one’s sorrows and joy to, no one to communicate with. Here will be so empty, so lonely that I don’t even want to think about it, because then I might be ungrateful enough to complain about Providence which, nevertheless, certainly prevails for the sake of good.
Loddby, 20 December 1850
The family Hjort has left. Krusenhof stands empty, and I felt empty, very empty, when I bade the dear friends my farewell. It is as if death has robbed me of a loved one, and the very memory of the 15 happy years we have lived here together is painful, as it only serves to increase my bitter regret. It is so strange to think that yonder, in my second home where I dreamed so many happy childhood dreams, now other indifferent and unknown people will live and think, treading the “happy fields, where I walked so many times,” and suffer and rejoice in the same places that so often saw our tears and laughter. It is so empty and strange to not be able to travel there and hear some kind words from dear, familiar lips.
Oh! Everything is difficult, everything changes on the earth where we live. Both joy and sorrow accompany us through life and are alternately our guests but, perhaps, the latter is the most faithful, the least erratic, the one we know best, and the one that most often visit us; that is likely how it has to be.