At the age of 23, Lars Olsson worked in the Old Town of Stockholm. This is where he spotted the 17-year-old Marie-Louise Collin, and he could not take his eyes off her. To get to know her, Lars approached her stepfather. “I’m almost a millionaire,” he told Marie-Louise when they had been introduced. “I believe it when I see it,” was her reply.
At the time, Marie-Louise was in fact in love with somebody else. But she also knew that her stepfather, a dentist who had Queen Desideria as one of his patients, was on the brink of ruin. She left her teenage love and married Lars to save her father’s skin. When Lars ended up paying for the entire wedding himself, he understood the dire state of the family finances.
The newly-weds were happy for a few years. Marie-Louise got everything she asked for, including a bouquet of fresh roses delivered from Copenhagen every day.
In 1862 they had their first son and gave him the name Carl Gustaf. Otto followed in 1864, then Lucie in 1865 and finally Marie Louise in 1868.
The first few years, the family lived at Skeppsbron 32 in the Old Town. Later, Smith acquired a summer house in Svartvik (now Traneberg).