EPILOGUE

Not many people know the story of the Underwoods and Highmounts. People do not care to pay attention to the dealings of a small town in northern England. But those same dealings were of great importance to the people of that town. For years, stories of the feud and the murder circulated the town. Soon, all remnant of the truth was gone, and people told the most outlandish stories of the Underwoods and the Highmounts. They did not even remember the name of the young murderess who had wreaked havoc on the town. But to those two families, the truth was never forgotten.

Tabitha Pratcher was the king of person who would do anything to get what she wanted, but she never realized how much she already had. She never realized how much her parents loved her, and how much they would have done for her. Some people in the town refused to have her be buried in the town cemetery for what she had done. Oddly enough, the first person who came to her defense was Lady Elizabeth Highmount, who demanded that she be buried like any other person. The law agreed. If you visit Barton now, you can still see her tombstone, one which it says: Tabitha Pratcher 1866-1884 A pastor's daughter. It says nothing about what she did, but in a way that might be fitting.

Lady Elizabeth continued to care for the Highmount property for twenty more years, until she died at the ripe old age of eighty-seven. No one ever argued that she was the best owner of Highmount. She was also buried at the very top of the town cemetery, next to the mother of Brendon Underwood. She was always a tough woman, but her one soft spot came in the form of her youngest great-niece.

Jack Gibbs died four years later in 1888 from a terrible case of pneumonia. But in that time, he helped Lady Elizabeth run the Highmounts. If anyone would have told you he wasn't a Highmount, you would never have believed him.

Clara Highmount never came back to Barton, saying it was bad for her health. She remained in London until her death in 1897. She died surrounded by her growing family, and she could not have been more happy.

Mr. and Mrs. Pratcher moved away from Barton soon after the burial of their daughter. They claimed that it was because they had too many bad memories in Barton, but it also might have had something to do with people looking down on them for being the parents of a murderer. They settled in Bath, and lived a quiet life there until their deaths.

Mark Highmount did not stay in Barton long, and returned to Africa that spring. There, he contracted a disease and died not three years later. On his deathbed, he wrote a note to Rebekah, saying that he never regretted his decision to send them to Barton. She wrote back that she never regretted going to Barton, and thanked him. Her words were the last words he read.

Sir Adrian and Lady Elizabeth put aside their differences and worked together for the first time. They still argued constantly, but no one would have thought them anything less than close friends. If fact, when Sir Adrian died in 1902, Lady Elizabeth was the person who seemed to grieve the most, even more than his own son.

As for the boys, most of them stayed in Barton. When a new pastor moved in with his attractive daughter, Greg fell instantly in love and they were married a year later. In their sixty-two year marriage, they had ten children. Max married, wait for it, six times. None of his marriages were happy, but he seemed happy enough through all of them. Sanders married the dressmaker's daughter and ended up running to dressmaker shop himself. Billy never married, probably because there was not a woman alive that would have him, and instead eventually became mayor of the town. Alex was the only one of the boys to leave Barton, deciding that the world was much too large to stay stuck in Barton. He traveled, and later married an eccentric French adventurer. Together, they traveled the world, having the most absurd adventures. Throughout their lives, all the boys kept in touch and will always be considered a band of brothers.

Heidi Highmount came often to visit Barton, saying it was more peaceful there than anywhere else in the world. In 1886, she finally agreed to marry Richard, after his begging her for two years. They were not a good couple, but they managed their marriage tolerably well, having three beautiful children and vacationing in Paris, Venice, and Nice. Some people considered her to be a pompous snob. But to her sister, she was the best sister anyone could ask for. Whenever they talked, their conversation would always go back to those few months they spent in Barton. Even Heidi considered it the best time of her life. When she became ill many years later, it was there that she traveled and it was there that she died at the age of 84 in 1950.

Richard was thrilled to marry Heidi, and he remained close to her entire family. He became a soldier in World War I and was seriously wounded on the battlefront. But he came home and, although he walked with a limp, he took care of his family until his death in 1942.

Now we come to our two leading stars. Rebekah did indeed convince Brendon to come to London the next season. He was not there two weeks when they stumbled upon another murder, and set out to solve it. They did. At the end of the season, Brendon asked Rebekah to marry him, to which she promptly replied, "It is about time you asked."

They were married in Barton that winter, surrounded by their family and friends. It might be said that there was never a happier couple in all of town. Rebekah moved into Underwood castle soon after their marriage, but she visited Highmount practically every day. She helped Lady Elizabeth run Highmount, while Brendon helped his father run Underwood. When their respective guardians passed away, they decided to join the two properties together, to the delight of the town. Soon, the Highmounts and Underwoods were no more, and they seemed to have been forgotten but to a special few.

Although they often left Barton to solve the occasional murder, Rebekah and Brendon stayed at Barton for the rest of their lives. When they were getting old, they decided to leave the property to their oldest daughter, a girl by the name of Marian. Then they traveled for nearly a decade, before settling in a little underground cottage under a very large tree in Hanger Forest. Brendon passed away in 1955, and Rebekah followed him soon after in 1961. They were buried side-by-side in the cemetery next to so many other Highmounts and Underwoods.

The town of Barton rebuilt the library, as well as a museum. When you first enter the museum, there will be a large case. Inside is a table with a velvet cushion on it. On the cushion is an object that seems to be quite old. The object appears to be a crest, cut into two pieces. On one side is the figure of a sparrow and on the other is the figure of a fox. They are the symbols of two houses, torn asunder so long ago. It took a prissy princess, a spoiled boy, and a foolish pastor's daughter to bring them back together.

Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who stuck with me through all the bad chapters and part where you go, "huh?" I hope you are pleased with the ending. It has been long journey, and I will miss writing this story. Oh, and lots of points if you got the part about Brendon and Rebekah's oldest daughter being named Marian. Next up, I plan to write the sequal to Once Upon a Midnight Dreary-check it out and leave a review if you haven't already. After I finish that short story, I might start another long one or I might rewrite this one. I got an offer to publish this book, so I might just stick with rewriting this one. I haven't decided yet. But thank you to everyone who has reviewed and subscribed. You are the reason I am finishing this book. See you all on the flip side!