So, before showing you the fate of the Enlightenment generation of Ringstetten children, what about showing you a letter to Katinka I once wrote?
(The original was in Swedish, so I have translated it into English)
I hope the ties of marriage have not deprived you of masculine independence and activity. And I hope Gustav Adolf and you stay in love with each other in spite of all odds, for love is an incredibly fragile flower.
I also hope that you have adapted to Swedish culture. I am sure that you don't feel like an outsider, a stranger, or a foreigner. Your spouse has taught you to speak and write in Swedish, and presumably in German as well.
To cut a long story short, I hope that you two live happily ever after. Because you two are worth it.
But I have to explain that this should not have been the way things turned out if I had written your story and his a year and a half earlier: Gustav Adolf would have been left amidst the fallen, bereft of life, on the fields of Poltava, his breast pierced by countless bullets and blades. While you would never have left the prisoner camp you called home as a child, married to one of its garrison's officers, and regret that your dreams of romance never would come true.
I was tired of tragedies, and I decided to somewhat change my style. So, I replaced my über-clichéd formulas with one from fairy land. You may have not heard of Gretel or Gerda, but my intention was to recreate a story like theirs: an active, dynamic, and independent heroine, who rescues her male love interest again and again.
I made you like the Creator made the first humans in the Bible: after my own image. And you were the only daughter of a dowager to fit your clever and determined personality: a character seen as the false heroine in traditional fairy lore, transformed into a Messianic heroine.
Conveniently born at a decadent imperial court, then raised within the walls of Doubting Castle, you were meant to gallop free over the vast plains and through the tangled woods, heading always towards the setting sun, until you reached the place where your sweetheart had been born and raised, where Gustav Adolf was being mourned, after his disappearance, for nearly two years. If your home was Doubting Castle, his was the Palace Beautiful; if you were an only child, he was the youngest of three siblings; if you came from the barren steppes of Russia, he was raised in the lush, lovely Swedish heartland.
But, as soon as your perilous journey out west had come to an end, you had to face the most difficult of all trials that awaited you two: Gustav Adolf had ceased to love you! The waters of an enchanted spring having passed the lieutenant's lips, his heart and eyes were hastily cooled, and he rejected you.
In spite of his disdain, you did not give up that easily: you were determined to start anew, as a poor farm girl thought by her employer to be German. If Gustav Adolf had been first to get used to struggle for survival during his imprisonment, the turn had finally come to you (remember that, despite this fact, both of you are and were aristocrats). But your patience, like everybody else's, has got a limit.
It wasn't until you were ready to give up, to open your veins in a fit of despair, that the spell on your beloved lieutenant broke, and he recognized you as the one who had given him back his home and freedom. The next day, merry wedding bells echoed over rooftops and treetops on the shore of Lake Vänern. You two were finally married!
Converting to another religion means, to such a curious and experienced soul, nothing more than a not losing social standing. And that decision of yours of trading the Madonna for money should be praised for the same reason: you are aware of the social changes brought by modernity.
Let's close this letter with the wishes that I gave you:
I wish you health, I wish you wealth, I wish you gold in store.
I wish you peace, and love, and hope, and not a hardship more.
The author of your story, who will always love you and those close to you,