A Valentine

When I was growing up in the Netherlands Valentine's day wasn't celebrated and it only became popular in the last twenty years or so according to a post on My Heritage Blog https://blog.myheritage.com/2009/02/valentine-in-the-netherlands-1/.

What then? The closest to a Valentine I can think of is the "poésie" or poetry album (like an autograph book) that belonged to my great grandmother,  Julie Wilhelmina Scherius. So, for the 52 Ancestors week 7 prompt "Valentine" this will be my inspiration.
Julie Scherius' Poesie Album

This is the rather battered looking "poésie" album, indicating lots of active duty. You can still see how ornate it was, gold embossed lettering and decoration and the pages were edged in gold as well. Quite splendid.

Julie Wilhelmina Scherius, 
about 18 years 

Here she is aged eighteen years.  Julie was born 13 October 1860, in Probolinggo, Java, Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), where her father was the "resident" (like a governor). Her mother was Caroline Charlotte Nagel, who was herself only eighteen when she married Reinier Scherius who was forty five years old, on 17 December 1855.

They had nine children and Julie was their fourth child. Six years after she was born, her father retired and the family moved back to the Netherlands.

There are many entries, mostly one to a page, dating from 1874 to 1879 but most are from 1877, when she was seventeen years old. It could be just a few words, usually a verse, or verses, expressing affection, friendship and words of wisdom, or lengthy poems, going for pages.

A pencil drawing from the album, signed bottom right
AFR 1878
Some entries are illustrated with a little pencil drawing. There are full page drawings as well, depicting quite sombre landscapes of rivers and water falls. Even a scene of a cemetery!

Inscription by Jan Hendrik Peelen in Julie's Poésie Album
Jan Hendrik Peelen possibly 
aged 15 or 16 years
Leafing through the album I find the entry by J H Peelen, Jan Hendrik Peelen, who was to marry Julie in 1885. Was this the beginning of their romance, I wonder?

He quoted a french poem, but I don't recognise the name of the author and neither does Google. I tried Auguste Ouveran, Auguste Claveran, Auguste Cluveran, but no matches.  So, it will remain a mystery.

However, the sentiment is clear, Jan Hendrik was expressing his loyal friendship for Julie. The last line read:
"L'amitie dans mon coeur vous gardera toujours" - "the friendship in my heart will keep you always".

It is not dated, but the page next to the entry by Frans Wurfbain, who signed as "uw friendje" which translates as your little boyfriend, is dated 28 January 1877 so possibly Jan Hendrik Peelen's entry was around that time too.

In another post relating to Julie Scherius (Letters from the dead) I mentioned the little poem about their later courtship, which was probably written for the occasion of their wedding on 15 July 1885.  This tells of them meeting at a dance party in The Hague, hosted by a cousin.

Entry by Rudolf Scherius.
To finish this post the message from her little brother Rudolf, decorated with a drawing of a bird (not bad for a 9 year old, but maybe some one helped him) and two lines:
"When you hear this bird's song, our friendship will be gone. Your loving little brother Rudolf, 9 years old. "


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