My sincerely beloved

Loddby, 31 August 1852

My sincerely beloved:

Painting by William Henry Hunt

You, my doubting Thomas, who constantly doubt my love – do you know the price of our last separation? Shall I be careless in telling you that while you were probably sitting all tranquil, smoking a cigar, and letting your thoughts travel – maybe even as far as to the distant times when Socrates and Plato walked the earth – I was curled up in the sofa, thinking of you, only of you, while one betraying tear chased another.

Shall I – against the famous philosopher Schopenhauer’s views – be foolish enough to admit how ineffably dear you are to me – how empty and deserted I feel, both externally and internally, since you left. But no: Men, in general, have enough regard for themselves and each of them admire themselves – like the blessed Narcissus – to their last breath. We women, thus, do the wrong thing by repeating how beloved and indispensable they are to us and I, my dear, shall take care not to continue in that way.

Since I have the exquisite fortune to write to one of those bright stars of knowledge – which you are – and since I have the honor of corresponding with a Philosopher, I should take the opportunity to seek answers to some deep philosophical questions – questions I ask myself in inconsolable moments and of which I still have no answers. I should turn to The Philosopher to at least get an idea about the meaning of life here on earth, the one that I have to admit often seems totally without purpose.


Augusta met her future husband, the philosopher Adolf Nordvall, at a family wedding in 1850. The following year, she described Adolf as the most intelligent, interesting, and agreeable person one could meet. In 1852, they are in love, but  they live far from each other. Augusta lives at home, Loddby, outside Norrköping. Adolf is studying philosophy at the University of Uppsala. They write letters to each other, but the mail is slow and they wonder when they will be able to meet again.


Uppsala, September 1852

Ineffably beloved Augusta!

If you think that today you will receive but one sensible word from me, then you are deceived. I should, with the same reasons you gave in your last letter, say that I am in an outstanding mood because I have now gotten used to my sorrow and longings; these two companions are now my true friends.

Oh, if only I knew how your life is, then my own would be of little interest to me. But I do not care to guess. I read and reread your letter and I still don’t know how you are now!


But I don’t complain, because even if all is cloudy and dark, you shine like a light and simply the memory of you, cools my burning forehead. I have of course seen you,  I have of course beheld the one my soul seeks. I have held you to my heart. I have heard love’s slow, intoxicating whispers. I have felt so deeply, so sincerely, so ineffably happy. Oh! I am satisfied and happy! Everything is so nice and peaceful. Light spirit – you float for a moment over my heart’s stormy ocean and it becomes calm again. The fog lifts with the dawn of hope.

What else do I wish for?

That you don’t forget,

Your grateful Adolf.


And she didn’t forget him. They managed to meet a few times and then married in 1853.

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