One´s upon a time in the far, far north…
In the realm where people lived according to their class they were born into. Everyone knew his/her position and would never dare to question it.
But sometimes things happened unexpectedly. Sometimes someone fell in love with someone from the wrong class…
But this would not happen in the family of Yvonne von Armborg, the lady of high breed and prestige. She was from one of the richest families in France and everybody respected her, her grandson, Mauritz and her granddaughter, Margareta. They had settled in mansion built in the beginning of the century, so it was still quite new and fashionable. Only a few decades old. And in the front of the manor they had a beautiful and huge garden. English, of course.
Naturally they had land and other property, including all the houses near their manor. Those houses were for their servants to live in. They had quite many servants, which of course was natural, considering their position.
In one of those houses lived a certain maid, Catherine…
Ever since Catherine had been starting to work at the manor, she was given a little house near the manor to live in, so that she would always be available if the children, she took care of, needed her.
One spring evening she was impatiently waiting inside there, in her house…
Waiting for the sun to go down…
Finally it had set, and everyone had gone to bed. Finally their anticipation has been awarded and they were free to meet. Catherine lighted a cantle, walked to the window of her room and gave him a signal, to which he immediately responded from his window in the manor house. Soon she would be in the arms of the man she loved; Mauritz. Yes, Mauritz, whose name was constantly on her mind, but only on her mind. She could not tell a soul about her love affair, because it was forbidden: Mauritz was a young count and she was only a daughter of a baker. Ever since she had arrived at the manor, she had known that one day she would never meet him again. They could never marry. But still she had given herself to him completely. It was madness from both of their side, because he seemed to be as much in love with her as she was in love with him.
That night she ran outside to meet him.
Because it was late spring, the air was still chilly, but that didn´t bother her. When she saw her Mauritz right outside the manor house she forgot about everything else. They greeted each other with a tender kiss and started to walk towards their favourite place by the pond in the middle of the vast garden. Little did they know that they were not alone: his grandmother Yvonne von Armborg was watching them from her window at the manor house. And her gaze was not a happy one. As soon as the young couple was out of the sight, Yvonne left her window and sat down on her chair, because she was tired. She looked at the clock on the wall: 12 o’clock…
Catherine and Mauritz had laid down on the grass next to each other. Just by the pond near a pavilion…
Mauritz looked into her beautiful blue eyes as he sang her a song. The song he had written specially for her. He touched gently on her blond hair…
“…Only you can make me feel this way…” he had very soft and loving voice “….It s like Heaven on Earth when I look into your eyes…” he continued. Never before had she felt so loved than at that moment. God, how she loved to watch him. He was rather handsome; his face was so perfect, his short light brown hair was curled like the fashion demanded and his green eyes shined with happiness. The way he looked at her made her blush.
…Not that she was ugly herself; she was very beautiful and lively. Somehow, it seemed that she had become livelier after meeting Mauritz. And she was; she was so happy.
When he had finished the song, he kissed her, and then put his head on her chest. “You..you” he started
” This close to you I want to be for the rest of my life”
”I´m so happy. Being in your arms like is. It´s so safe. So safe. This spring is ours”
”not only this spring, but the rest of our lives. The whole world is ours”
Yvonne woke up with a noise coming from outside, she looked at the clock; it was already two o’clock at night. As she walked to the window, she saw Mauritz and Catherine returning. She hated seen them together. Seen them like that. But she knew it would soon end.
Catherine and Mauritz said good night to each other and went their separate way; Mauritz into the manor house and Catherine into her cottage.
After Catherine stepped into her cottage, she realized she had a quest waiting for her. Elijah had come to see her. “Elijah, is that you?”
”yes, it´s me Catherine. I came to see you before going to morning fishing.”
He got up from the chair and shook her hand “…Were you forced to stay up with the children? I hardly see you these days. You´re so beautiful in those fancy clothes. So fancy that I´m afraid to touch you ”
”I heard you have been having a good fishing season.”
”that´s why I came here to tell you. I´ve been selling a lot of fish at the market in the town. And tomorrow there will be visitors from all to way from Paris to the manor, and they want to buy all of my fish”
”You´ll be rich”
”Soon I can build another chamber for the cottage, so that you can come to live with us. You´ve accustomed to these spacious room at the manor house. Catherine, I have been waiting for you for many years already. Remember that you cannot be depended on the manor house to provide you your living for the rest of your life.”
”yes, but I´m so grateful for them for learning so much here”
”You´re slipping further away from my world, Catherine. Can´t you decide now, please answer me?”
”please, don´t tease me, Elijah. Leave me…leave me just for awhile now. I need more time. You must go, Elijah. I have to get up early to be with the children.”
”may God be with you, Catherine” he said as he left.
She knew that Elijah was a good and honest man, who loved her. She knew it was the right thing to marry Elijah, but she didn´t love him. She loved Mauritz…
The next morning arrived…
Mauritz was in his room writing when he heard singing form outside; it was Catherine. She was entertaining the daughters of Mauritz´s older sister, lady Margerita. Her voice was so full of happiness…that was one of the reasons that Mauritz had falling in love with her, she was so happy. She got along with everyone, and the children adored her. She lighted up the room just by stepping inside.
He rushed towards his desk to write a note, and then walked to the window, from where he threw the note to Catherine. She winked at him as she caught the note.
Meanwhile, Mauritz´s grandmother was at her best; giving instructions to the servants in her room.
“this is a big day at the manor. My old, dear friend from Paris is going to pay her respect. She will bring her daughter, as well. I want that everything will go smoothly, do understand; smoothly?”
”yes, countess” the kitchen staff agreed and left. Only the maid and butler stayed behind for further instructions.
“the rooms must be cleaned; silvers polished and bring fresh flowers into the guest rooms”
They bowed and left the room. It was right at the same moment that Mauritz entered the room.
“Bonjour, grand-mere.” his grandmother was originally from Paris, and she loved when her grandchildren spoke French with her. She had married a Swedish count, and forced to move here, all the way to the north, far away from all the exciting cultural life.
“Good morning, Mauritz. “ she answered back with an annoyed voice.“Come closer. I have something I wish to talk to you.” She had used to give her grandchildren orders, as well.
“Sit down, my boy”
“You and Fredrik are going to the harbour to welcome our guests. Comprenez?
“have you already finished your morning coffee?”
”no, and it doesn´t matter. I slept late this morning.”
“Oh. Lately you´ve been sleeping late every morning”
Just right at that moment they were interrupted by singing from outside. Mauritz walked to the window.
“who is singing?”
“well, well. Have you heard anything so weird: daughter of a baker is singing aristocratic songs?”
”she can do a lot more than that: Madame Simone has taught her to write” he told her enthusiastically.
“Mauritz, do you know why I invited you here? I have been thinking about your future, Mauritz. I would like to know about your thoughts, so that I could start planning something for you.”
“what do you think about a military career?”
”No, grandmother. I don´t care much about the dashing uniforms or the arts of fencing.” He stopped for awhile before continuing ”besides, grandmother, why do you have so much trouble for me, when there is still the whole summer time?”
“Mauritz, do you think that I don´t know what´s deep inside you? “
”if you´re so wise, then why asking me?” he said with an angry voice.
“Mauritz, you have your dream. Don´t you wish to become a great musician?”
”you really do know me, grandmother”
“I do wish to become a musician. I want to learn to play so brilliantly that the whole world is on its knees in front of me. I want to study, develop and grow. Do you have something against it, grandmother?”
“What makes you say that? Of course I want to support you in your dreams. You must have the best teachers that Europe has to offer.”
”Thank you, grandmother!”
” Good morning, my dear. Did you sleep well?” he greeted his wife in the porch as they were ready to leave to pick up the quests.
“Yes, I did. Thank you.”
”The carriages are waiting. Now, where´s Mauritz?”
”I will get him.”
Soon they were all in the front of the manor waiting to get inside carriages.
”Mauritz, you´d better hurry. The carriages are waiting”
”Yes, yes, Margareta. Now I will do anything to please you” He told his sister.
” Mauritz, Mauritz. Remember to be polite to lady Sophia. She is the most beautiful girl in Paris.”
”and also the most stubborn.” He was in the good mood. And why wouldn´t he? He just found out that he was going to get his dream come true. And, of course, there was Catherine, his beloved Catherine. He quickly got into the carriages with Fredrik.
As the carriages started to leave, Mauritz waved goodbye to Catherine, who was standing at the corner of the manor house with the children.
“Oh, Mauritz” Catherine smiled and took the children to Margareta.
” children, leave Catherine alone. You have been teasing her since this morning.” she told them.
“Catherine, will you help me with my dresses.”
”Yes, Madame.” she answered and left with the children.
”Things are not quite right with Mauritz” Yvonne started as they were left alone.
”but he is still so young.”
”do you think, Margareta that I haven´t notice? She´s in love with him. She has sweetened his youth with her beauty. That I can understand, because young men have to have their toys to play with. But now she has done enough. She must now disappear.”