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Hidden in the Hedges: An epilogue to "The Count of Monte Cristo"

“Wake up, mother!” Said Eirmingaird on the hazy morning of April 19, 1854. “Baroness James is here and she wishes to see you. She has two more people with her, but I cannot tell you who they are because whoever they may be were getting out of the carriage as I answered the door. I presume they are her children.”
“Eirmingaird, have Trefios prepare a three-course breakfast, please, with all my favorites.” Replied Madame Morrel to her beautiful, blue-eyed daughter.
“Certainly. And your tea, I assume.”
“Yes.”
“My Lady Valentine?” said Fortarina, the humble maidservant, cautiously attempting to gain entrance to Madame Morrel’s private quarters.
“Yes, you may come in. Help me dress myself to meet Madame James.”
“Shall I grab your blue satin dress with the green trimmings?
“Of course! And would you bring me my white hat with the green and blue feathers?”
“Right away, Madame.”
As the Countess began to dress herself in one of her delightful dresses, Baroness sat downstairs in the living room with her children, Lord Beau and Lady Joli James, as they waited to hear from Eirmingaird or from a house servant.
Eirmingaird came down the stairs and was on her way to go through the living room on her way to tell Trefios her mother’s request for breakfast. As she was passing through the living room, she took notice of Lord Beau when he stood up to say hello.
She stopped and turned to the family, and Beau stood to greet the beauty and grace that is Eirmingaird Morrel.

“My mother will be down shortly.” Said Eirmingaird as she curtsied to Lady James and her children. “She has told me to go to our chef and order breakfast for us all. What should I tell Trefios to bring you to drink?”
“I’ll take a glass of your finest, thank you,” said Lady James.
“Orangeade! Orangeade! Orangeade!” said Joli with enthusiasm.
Beau, still standing and in secret awe at the vision of an angel standing in front of him, knelt, kissed Eirmingaird’s hand, and replied to her question as he said, “I’ll take whatever you are having, My Lady Eirmingaird.”
She giggled just as Baroness Morrel was coming down the stairs to meet her visitors.
“I’ll talk to Trefios about your requests.” Said Eirmingaird as she left the living room, walking toward the kitchen.
“Good morning, Lady James.” Said Lady Morrel.
“Good morning to you, Lady Morrel!” Replied Lady James.
“I was told you wanted to speak to me about something, Madame James. Is your family all well?”
“Oh, in such happy spirits, should you say so? No, thank you, everything is fine and my family, as far as I am aware, is in good health. We will discuss the other matter during breakfast what I have to talk about. Now, really dear, more about you! I haven’t seen you in a while!”
And as the Baronesses talked, Eirmingaird was in the kitchen discussing the meal with Trefios, her old friend, as she sat upon the counter and watched him slice the bacon.

“Baron James brought her children for breakfast today as well. Joli is only six, as you know, so she may not eat much, and her other child, Beau, is my age but even so he’s a boy so he may want to eat more than I usually do.” Eirmingaird said with a giggle. “I must say he’s not unattractive, but you know I can’t be with him.”
“Because of Calvin?” Said Trefios in his deep, Greek voice, with a smile that seemed to make his handlebar mustache curl even more than it already was.
“Well, yes. I know I always fantasize about him being the perfect man without really knowing him very well but as I get to know him more, I realize that we really do love each other.”
“As you know, I’d love to have you stay here and talk to me, but you have company waiting, and I must bring them their drinks. Go keep your guests company; I’ll be out in just a moment.”
“Alright, Trefios!”
Eirmingaird walked into the room where her mother was talking to Baroness James and stood in front of Beau.
“Would you like to visit the garden with me before we dine?” Asked Eirmingaird.
“That would be lovely, Miss Morrel. I’m sure your flowers are charming this time of year.” Replied Beau.
“Oh, yes. I do all my own gardening, you know. I learned everything I know about gardening from our chef, Trefios. He used to landscape for another family in Greece before he came to France looking for another line of work and a change of scenery. He is more of a close family friend than a servant to us.”
“Well then, I’m sure you are a wonderful gardener, Miss Morrel, since your chef seems to be such an upright man. Shall we go?”

As Beau started to move, it made Eirmingaird jump a little because, until this moment, she was staring deep into his chocolate brown eyes.
“Oh!” She started, “Of course! I got carried away there for a moment thinking about when Trefois is going to bring the drinks.”
And just then, the kindly chef brought in the tray with five drinks in glasses as clear as if they had just been carved out of the crystal from which they were derived.
“Afternoon, Lady James.” Trefios said leaning down to little Joli who was almost asleep on the floor. “I suppose this orangeade is yours then?”
Joli woke from the almost dead-like state of boredom and started once again - “Orangeade, orangeade, orangeade!”
He walked over to the couch where the Baronesses were exchanging the wildest news from about town.
“Here is your drink, Madame James. If you should need another glass, just alert the maid and she’ll come to me right away.” Said Trefios, handing the beautiful glass of grape juice to Madame James.
“Thank you, Trefios.”
“And here is your cup of tea, Madame Morrel. You, too, should do the same if you wish to have another.”
“Thank you, Trefios.”
Trefios walked over to Beau and Eirmingaird who were just about to go on their outing to the garden.

“Please, children.” Said the chef with a smirk and he was handing them their drinks. “Sit down on this couch! It is not art to look at, is it? I’m sure it is very comfortable.”
“Actually Trefios, Beau and I were just about to take a nice walk in the garden before lunch. I told him how you taught me to plant such a fine work of art.” Eirmingaird started.
“I’m sorry Miss Eirmingaird, but lunch will be out in just a moment, so if you will both kindly stay here until after lunch, which would be much appreciated. I wouldn’t want to have to have Fortarina hunt you two out now would I?”
“Alright, Trefios,” Said Eirmingaird with a laugh. “We will do as you wish and wait until after our early lunch. We will even bring Harriet with us, so that if you need us for any reason while we are gone, you may just ring the servant’s bell and she will bring us here immediately.”
“Thank you, Miss Morrel. Now I must ask you, Beau, how do you like your breakfast ham?”
“Lightly golden-brown, please. Thank you, Trefios.”
“Thank you, My Lord James.”
“Oh, please Trefios! No need for pleasantries. Please refer to me as Beau.” Said Beau, as he was beginning to see how close Trefios and Eirmingaird were, as he already knew of the plans his mother had to speak of to Madame Morrel.
“Thank you, Beau. And by the way, you and Eirmingaird, too, may receive a new cup if you ask for it. Just alert on of the maidservants and they will alert me as you have alerted them.”
“Thank you, Trefios.” Said Eirmingaird. “We will sit here and wait for our early lunch. I’m sure it will be delicious as usual.”
And with this, Trefios went back into the kitchen to make sure Garou was properly attending to the bacon and the breakfast ham.

“Trefios is a good friend of mine.” Said Eirmingaird as they sat down on the beautifully colored couch. “I have known him for most of my life. My mother told me that he was even my primary caretaker when my parents would go on trips to our other properties that were too far for me to go. I didn’t like long carriage trips when I was a little girl. They made me antsy and I always caused trouble.”
“Wow. I guessed you two were close friends, but I didn’t realize you were that close. The servants at my household come and go, as we have so many. They circulate around to each of our properties.”
“That is very sad. Do you have anybody you are close to?”
But just as Eirmingaird said this, Trefios came to tell them all that their luncheon was ready for them in the grande hall.
They all walked in and sat around the end of the table that had been set for them, with Madame Morrel sitting at the head. In front of them was a glorious display of delicious looking foods. There was enough for each to have their fill of bacon, breakfast ham, fried breakfast potato, breakfast cakes, fresh-cut apples and oranges, and freshly baked croissants.
“What a beautiful lunch this turned out to be, Trefios. Thank you very much!” exclaimed Madame James when she saw the bountiful spread upon the table.
“Thank you, Madame James, for being kind enough to eat the food I have prepared for you.”
“With no problem at all, I assure you! Everything looks delicious, but may I have another glass of juice?”
“Certainly, with no delay!”

Trefios bowed, turned, and walked toward the kitchen to ask Garou to produce another glass of the best grape juice in France. Madame James couldn’t stop going on and on about how beautiful the food on the table appeared and that she could wait to eat it, so they all sat down for their early lunch. Madame James and Joli sat to the left hand of Madame Morrel, and Eirmingaird and Beau sat to her right.
“Wow,” Eirmingaird said, “Trefios really did outdo himself this time. Our early lunches and breakfasts are always pretty beautiful, and with a large amount for each person, but this time, he has really gone above and beyond!”
“Yes, Eirmingaird,” replied Beau, “This spread really is quite extravagant. And I’m glad you’ve asked me to walk with you in the garden because I wish to talk with you also. You shall find out soon why my mother has come to speak to your family. Is your father going to join us?”
“No, regrettably, my father is on a relaxation holiday. With his banking business, it can become very stressful for him and he can feel very overworked whenever he has no time to unwind. Occasionally, he takes a trip to our house on the Isle of Monte Cristo and takes a short vacation. It’s just a brief trip to the coast of France.”
“Ah, I see. I must tell you that the news my mother has to tell you this morning I had no hand in. The only reason why I know about this and haven’t stopped it is because I learned of it through eavesdropping. You will know what I possibly speak of by the time I get back, but I daresay I hope not. You must excuse me for a moment. Excuse me Fortarina, where is the restroom?”
“The restroom is down the hall,” Fortarina said, pointing, as Eirmingaird sat back down at the table, “when you make a right, it will be the first room on your right.”

“Thank you very much. I will return shortly.” And Beau stood up from the table, pushed in his chair, and walked down the hall on the end of the dining room.

As he turned the corner, he started to talk to himself.
“I hope my mother doesn’t tell the news while I am gone because I really need Eirmingaird to understand. Maybe mother will tell Madame Morrel while Eirmingaird and I are taking our stroll in the garden. I just hope she doesn’t take Eirmingaird by complete surprise. My, that would be horrible.”
Just as he entered the restroom, his mother did exactly that. She began to tell both Eirmingaird and Madame Morrel the reason of her visit - a marriage for her son. Madame James had come to discuss a marriage between her son, Beau, and Eirmingaird as a bonding of the two families. Eirmingaird had been caught completely off guard by this new development, and because of her love for Calvin, she ran into the garden sobbing. Beau returned to the dining room and guessed what happened as soon as he saw that Eirmingaird was missing, and the look of awe on everybody’s face accept Joli, who had no idea what had just taken place and continued to be thoroughly absorbed with the sweet taste of her orangeade. Beau knew what he had to do, so he ran as fast as he could, past the servants and out the door to the garden.

As soon as he exited the house, he realized just how giant the garden was. He asked the nearest servant what the garden contained and they said that there were many trails and a lot of flower beds, but the best part of the garden was a hedge maze - one half on the Morrel side of the fence, and the other half on the side of the public park. Of course, for safety reasons, the Morrels had put up a fence in the middle of the hedge maze so that nobody could get across. The servant also said that he had seen Eirmingaird going in the direction of the maze whenever she left the house crying.
In a tremendous hurry to make things right, Beau ran towards the maze and got there in a matter of several minutes, even though it was all the way across the garden.
When he got there, he was presented with a challenge as he stood at the entrance of the hedge maze. The tall bushes seemed to stand over him with a threatening presence, but he continued on and entered the maze without any hint of where the maze would take him.
Beau ran on throughout the maze with a melody of lefts and rights and going in circles. After doing so for a long time, be came to a large stone in his path. He wanted to see where he was, and because of this, he stood on the rock. When Beau did stand on the rock, it wobbled and shifted under his weight and revealed a small, wooden door with a brass keyhole.

Beau stood in wonder at this new discovery he had made and almost completely forgot about Eirmingaird, his complicated surroundings, and everything that he had on his mind that day. He knelt down next to the door and reached for the handle. It was locked. Beau stood in exhaustive disappointment as the door held secure. But as he stood in this apparent impasse, he noticed a glimmer from the corner of his eye and he turned to see an unpretentious light coming from inside one of the hedges. Still held in a daze by the diminutive door, Beau got off his knees and ran toward the small sparkle coming from the bush. When he got to it, he recognized it as a key. He finally aroused from his haze of bewilderment at the small door and ran to it with the key held tight in his hand as if he would never let it go. He put it into the keyhole and started to twist it when he heard a gasp and saw Eirmingaird running in the opposite direction. He turned and followed her as fast as he could possibly do, but somehow she was faster. After a few seconds he was just quietly running and following the sound of her footsteps percussing against the ground. Then finally he stopped and heard them slowly fade away. After this he realized that he had not been paying attention and now was floored at the fact that he was now completely lost within the hedge maze and had no idea on how to even reach the entrance once again and he started to peregrinate aimlessly.
Beau was still on his saunter, he thought that he had seen where he was before because of the recent turns he had taken and the pattern they had made. His surmise was proved true when he fell upon something he knew he had seen before - the rock. He walked over to the bush in the location where the key had been and it was there. Everything was put back to the beginning, just as if he had never been there. He moved the rock, grabbed the key, and unlocked the door. Behind the door, there was light. A lit tunnel was underneath the door and he didn’t understand.
“Why is this here?” Beau thought to himself, “Who would have a passage way under a hedge maze?”
Even though he impugned the safety of this ominous tunnel that seemed to be premonitory of some unseen danger, he went ahead with no fear of what the door may be hiding or protecting.
As soon as he went through the small opening, the tunnel began to enlarge substantially to the point where you could stand up without his head hitting the ceiling. Beau grabbed one of the lanterns that were adhered to the wall and continued down the path, amazed, baffled, mystified, and slightly frightened all at the same time. As any boy of his age would, he continued down the tunnels looking for adventure when he thought he heard a voice.

After setting down his lantern, he still walked on with stealth and grace, careful not to kick a single rock or to hit a single metal lantern that was dangling from the wall. Continuing to travel on, the flickering light of the lanterns was his only friend. He discovered a turn in the tunnel up ahead that appeared to lead into an illuminated corridor of some kind, maybe even a conspiratorial chamber that was used as a secret meeting place for spies of some sort. Almost as soon as Beau thought of this, he denied this thought. He didn’t have an explanation for this room he seemed to be stalking, but he would never accuse Mr. Morrel of such a thing as conspiracy against the Royal family, for he was a kind and loving man to everybody and would never do anything to stir up trouble. Besides that fact, he only heard two voices that seemed to be familiar - one of a boy and one of a girl. He kept listening for a few minutes and could tell from the tone of the girl’s voice that she was obviously upset for some reason. It took Beau shear moments to realize the voice of the girl was Eirmingaird.
Realizing what he had discovered, he walked slowly into obvious view of the room, as not to startle anybody or cause any kind of commotion. As he stood in the entry way, what he saw explained completely what had happened. He saw Eirmingaird and a boy kissing on a bench within a room that had obviously been visited many times - forbidden love.
He realized that the reason Eirmingaird had been so upset had nothing, in fact, to do with him, but the fact that Eirmingaird already had somebody she wished to marry, Calvin Dantes. As they separated, Calvin spotted the intruder and quickly drew his sword and pointed it at Beau. Eirmingaird quickly came to her senses and realized what happened and got up before a duel was in order.
“Calvin,” she started to say, “This is Beau. None of this were his wishes. He had just followed his mother’s direction for something he had no hand in. Forgive this innocent man; he did nothing wrong.”

“But Eirmingaird,” Calvin replied, “This man tried to take you from me. Our relationship is as delicate as can be and we can’t add another person into the mix of problems.” He turned to Beau, “I apologize for the quick draw of my sword. You where an intruder in our passage and anybody who discovers our passage I assume to be hostile.”
“I quite forgive you,” Beau said, with a relieved tone after watching his life flash before his very eyes, “For it is I who should be apologizing. I had no right to intrude upon your passage and go somewhere that I don’t belong. I must also say that I do, indeed, know what your emotions are. For I, too, have somebody that my parents would forbid me to be with. I am in love with a girl named Julianna and she is very poor. The moment I saw her I just couldn’t help but fall in love with her. I must ask of you, and you can feel completely free to say no, may Julianna and I use your hideaway? I have not seen her in quite a long time and it gets increasingly harder to get to see her. I ask you again as a fellow in love, may I use your passage?”
With a long period of thought, Calvin and Eirmingaird both mutually agreed to let Beau and Julianna use their passage even though it had been just their little secret.
Eirmingaird and Beau departed for the house as Calvin departed the other way with a letter for a Miss Julianna Villefort. Eirmingaird, surprisingly, revealed that she was the one who had built the hedge maze just for the single purpose of the meeting room and that Calvin had helped her build the chambers underground. When they made it back to the house, they explained everything to their parents and the parents both agreed, amazingly, that their children should be able to marry whomever they wished to marry, presuming they waited three to four years to reach the proper age of marriage for the country of France. Though this is the end of a beautiful story, there is never an end to the story of forbidden love, the love hidden in the hedges.



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