Throughout his life, the peddler had never known respect. He was always treated coldly by the world. For the first time in his life, he was honored and respected as if he were a captain. Even after the truth was exposed, the daughter continued to treat him in a similar way. The way he was treated encouraged him to behave in a like manner. He signed the letter as Captain von Stahle so as to underline the impact of Edla's goodness on him.