SAKI: TOBERMORY (in Ñspel, with audio)

It wz a ćil, rên-wośt aftnn v a lêt Ōgst de, ɖt indefiṇt sīzn ẃn partrijz r stl in skṛti or cold stōrij, n ɖr z nʈñ t hunt—unls wn z bândd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristlćanl, in ẃć cês wn me lwfli gaḷp aftr fat red stagz. Lêdi Blemli’z hâsparti wz nt bândd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristlćanl, hns ɖr wz a fl gaɖrñ v hr gests rnd ɖ tītebl on ɖs ptklr aftnn. N, in spît v ɖ blancṇs v ɖ sīzn n ɖ trîtṇs v ɖ oceźn, ɖr wz no três in ɖ cumṗni v ɖt ftigd restlsṇs ẃć mīnz a dred v ɖ pịnola n a sbdyd hancrñ fr ōẋnbrij. Ɖ undisgîzd ôpn-mâɖd atnśn v ɖ intîr parti wz fixt on ɖ homli, negtv prsnaḷti v Mr Cornīłs Apin. V ol hr gests, h wz ɖ wn hu hd cm t Lêdi Blemli wɖ ɖ vêgist repyteśn. Smwn hd sd h wz “clevr,” n h hd got hiz inviteśn in ɖ modṛt xpecteśn, on ɖ part v hiz hôstes, ɖt sm porśn at līst v hiz clevrṇs wd b cntribytd t ɖ jenṛl enttenmnt. Untl tītîm ɖt de ś hd bn unebl t dscuvr in ẃt drẋn, f eni, hiz clevrṇs le. H wz nɖr a wit nr a crôcećampịn, a hipnotc fors nr a bgetr v aṃtr ʈiatriclz. Nɖr dd hiz xtirịr sjst ɖ sort v man in hūm wimin r wilñ t pardn a jenṛs meźr v mentl dfiśnsi. H hd sbsîdd intu mir Mr Apin, n ɖ Cornīłs sīmd a pìs v trnspaṛnt baptizml bluf. N nâ h wz clemñ t hv lōnćt on ɖ wrld a dscuvri bsd ẃć ɖ invnśn v gunpâdr, v ɖ printñ-pres, n v stīmloc̣mośn wr incnsidṛbl trîflz. Sayns hd md bwildrñ strîdz in mni drẋnz jrñ rīsnt decedz, bt ɖs ʈñ sīmd t ḅloñ t ɖ dmen v miṛcl rɖr ɖn t sayntific aćivmnt.

“N d y riyli asc s t bliv,” Sr Wilfrid wz seyñ, “ɖt y hv dscuvrd a mīnz fr instructñ animlz in ɖ art v hymn spīć, n ɖt dir old Tôḅmōri hz pruvd yr frst sxesfl pypl?”

“It z a probḷm at ẃć I hv wrct fr ɖ last sevntīn yirz,” sd Mr Apin, “bt onli jrñ ɖ last êt or nîn munʈs hv I bn rwordd wɖ glimrñz v sxes. V cors I hv xperimentd wɖ ʈâzndz v animlz, bt latrli onli wɖ cats, ɖoz wundrfl crīćrz ẃć hv asimiletd ɖmslvz so marvḷsli wɖ âr sivlîześn ẃl rtenñ ol ɖer hîli dveḷpt feṛl instñts. Hir n ɖr amñ cats wn cmz acrs an âtstandñ ṣpirịr inṭlect, jst az wn dz amñ ɖ ruc v hymn biyñz, n ẃn I md ɖ aqentns v Tôḅmōri a wīc ago I sw at wns ɖt I wz in contact wɖ a ‘Bynd-cat’ v xtrordnri intelijns. I hd gn far alñ ɖ rôd t sxes in rīsnt xperimnts; wɖ Tôḅmōri, az y cōl hm, I hv rīćt ɖ gol.”

Mr Apin cncludd hiz rmarcbl stêtmnt in a výs ẃć h strov t dvst v a trîumfnt inflẋn. No wn sd “Rats,” ɖo Clôvis’z lips muvd in a moṇsilabc cntorśn ẃć prbbli invoct ɖoz rôdnts v disblif.

“N d y mīn t se,” asct Mis Rescr, aftr a slît pōz, “ɖt y hv tòt Tôḅmōri t se n undstand īzi sentnsz v wn siḷbl?”

“Mî dir Mis Rescr,” sd ɖ wundrwrcr peśntli, “wn tīćz ltl ćildṛn n savijz n bacẉd adults in ɖt pìsmīl faśn; ẃn wn hz wns solvd ɖ probḷm v mcñ a bginñ wɖ an animl v hîli dveḷpt intelijns wn hz no nīd fr ɖoz hōltñ meʈdz. Tôḅmōri cn spīc âr lanĝj wɖ prfct c̣rctṇs.”

Ɖs tîm Clôvis vri dstñtli sd, “Bynd-rats!” Sr Wilfrid wz mr ṗlît, bt īqli sceptcl.

“Hd’nt w btr hv ɖ cat in n juj fr ârslvz?” sjstd Lêdi Blemli.

Sr Wilfrid went in srć v ɖ animl, n ɖ cumṗni setld ɖmslvz dân t ɖ lanĝd xpecteśn v witṇsñ sm mr or les adrýt drw̃rum ventriḷqizm.

In a minit Sr Wilfrid wz bac in ɖ rūm, hiz fês ẃît bnʈ its tan n hiz îz dletd wɖ xîtmnt.

“Bî Gad, it’s tru!”

Hiz ajiteśn wz unmistecbli jenyin, n hiz hirrz startd fwd in a ʈril v awecnd intrest.

C̣lapsñ intu an armćer h cntinyd breʈlsli: “I faund hm dozñ in ɖ smôcñrum, n cōld ât t hm t cm fr hiz ti. H blinct at m in hiz yźl we, n I sd, ‘Cm on, Tôbi; d’nt cīp s wêtñ;’ n, bî Gad! h drōld ât in a most hoṛbli naćṛl výs ɖt h’d cm ẃn h daśt wel plizd! I nirli jumpt ât v mî scin!”

Apin hd prīćt t abṣlutli increjḷs hirrz; Sr Wilfrid’z stêtmnt carid instnt cnviẋn. A Bêbl-lîc cōṛs v startld xcḷmeśn arouz, amd ẃć ɖ sayntist sat mytli injýñ ɖ frst frūt v hiz stypnds dscuvri.

In ɖ mdst v ɖ clamr Tôḅmōri entrd ɖ rūm n md hiz we wɖ velvit tred n studid uncnsrn acrs t ɖ grūp sītd rnd ɖ tītebl.

A sudn huś v ōcẉdṇs n cnstrent fel on ɖ cumṗni. Smhâ ɖr sīmd an eḷmnt v imbaṛsmnt in adresñ on īql trmz a dmstc cat v acnolijd mentl abiḷti.

“Wl y hv sm milc, Tôḅmōri?” asct Lêdi Blemli in a rɖr strênd výs.

“I d’nt mînd f I d,” wz ɖ rspons, câćt in a tôn v īvn indifṛns. A śivr v ṣprest xîtmnt went ʈru ɖ lisnrz, n Lêdi Blemli mt b xkzd fr porñ ât ɖ sōsrfl v milc rɖr unstedili.

“I’m afred I’v spilt a gd dīl v it,” ś sd apoḷjetcli.

“Aftr ol, it’s nt mî Axminstr,” wz Tôḅmōri’s rjýndr.

Anɖr sîḷns fel on ɖ grūp, n ɖen Mis Rescr, in hr bst districtvizitr manr, asct f ɖ hymn lanĝj hd bn dificlt t lrn. Tôḅmōri lct sqerli at hr fr a momnt n ɖen fixt hiz gêz srinli on ɖ midl distns. It wz obvịs ɖt borñ qesćnz le âtsd hiz scīm v lîf.

“Ẃt d y ʈnc v hymn intelijns?” asct Mêvis Pelñtn lemli.

“V huz intelijns in ptklr?” asct Tôḅmōri coldli.

“Oh, wel, mîn fr instns,” sd Mêvis, wɖ a fībl laf.

“Y pt m in an imbaṛsñ pziśn,” sd Tôḅmōri, huz tôn n atityd srtnli dd nt sjst a śred v imbaṛsmnt. “Ẃn yr incluźn in ɖs hâsparti wz sjstd Sr Wilfrid pṛtsted ɖt y wr ɖ most brênls wmn v hiz aqentns, n ɖt ɖr wz a wîd dstñśn btwn hospitaḷti n ɖ cer v ɖ fībl-mîndd. Lêdi Blemli rplaid ɖt yr lac v brênpâr wz ɖ prisîs qoḷti ẃć hd ŕnd y yr inviteśn, az y wr ɖ onli prsn ś cd ʈnc v hu mt b idiotc inuf t bai ɖer old car. Y nô, ɖ wn ɖe cōl ‘Ɖ Envi v Sisif̣s,’ bcz it gz qt nîsli p-hil f y pś it.”

Lêdi Blemli’z protesteśnz wd hv hd grtr ifct f ś hd nt caźli sjstd t Mêvis onli ɖt mornñ ɖt ɖ car in qesćn wd b jst ɖ ʈñ fr hr dân at hr Devnśrhom.

Mêjr Barfīld plunjd in hevili t ifct a dvrśn.

“Hâ abt yr cariyñz-on wɖ ɖ torṭs-śel ps p at ɖ steblz, ê?”

Ɖ momnt h hd sd it evrwn riylîzd ɖ blundr.

“Wn dz nt yźli dscus ɖz matrz in public,” sd Tôḅmōri frijidli. “Fṛm a slît obzveśn v yr wez sns y’v bn in ɖs hâs I śd imajin y’d fînd it incnvīńnt f I wr t śift ɖ convseśn on t yr ôn ltl aferz.”

Ɖ panic ẃć insyd wz nt cnfînd t ɖ Mêjr.

“Wd y lîc t g n si f cc hz got yr dinr redi?” sjstd Lêdi Blemli huridli, afctñ t ignor ɖ fact ɖt it wntd at līst tu aurz t Tôḅmōri’z dinrtîm.

“Ʈancs,” sd Tôḅmōri, “nt qt so sn aftr mî ti. I d’nt wnt t dî v indijsćn.”

“Cats hv nîn lîvz, y nô,” sd Sr Wilfrid hartili.

“Posbli,” ansrd Tôḅmōri; “bt onli wn livr.”

“Aḍled!” sd Msz Cornit, “d y mīn t incurij ɖt cat t g ât n gosip abt s in ɖ srvnts’ hōl?”

Ɖ panic hd indd bcm jenṛl. A naro orṇmntl baḷstred ran in frunt v most v ɖ bedrum windoz at ɖ Târz, n it wz rcōld wɖ dsme ɖt ɖs hd formd a fevrit proṃnād fr Tôḅmōri at ol aurz, ẃns h cd woć ɖ pijnz—n hevn ń ẃt els bsdz. F h intndd t bcm reminisnt in hiz preznt âtspocn strên ɖ ifct wd b smʈñ mr ɖn discnsrtñ. Msz Cornit, hu spent mć tîm at hr týḷțebl, n huz cmplẋn wz rpytd t b v a nmadc ɖo puñćl disṗziśn, lct az il at īz az ɖ Mêjr. Mis Scrōn, hu rout firsli senśụs powtri n led a blemls lîf, mirli dspleid iriteśn; f y r mʈodicl n vrćụs in prîvt y d’nt nesserili wnt evrwn t nô it. Brti van Tān, hu wz so dprevd at sevntīn ɖt h hd loñ ago gvn p trayñ t b eni wrs, trnd a dul śêd v gardīńa-ẃît, bt h dd nt cmit ɖ err v daśñ ât v ɖ rūm lîc Ôdo Finzbri, a yuñ jentlmn hu wz undstd t b rīdñ fr ɖ Ćrć n hu wz posbli dstrbd at ɖ ʈt v scandlz h mt hír cnsrnñ uɖr ppl. Clôvis hd ɖ prezns v mînd t mnten a cmpozd xtirịr; prîvtli h wz calkletñ hâ loñ it wd têc t pṛkr a box v fansi mîs ʈru ɖ êjsni v ɖ XĆENJ N MART az a spīśīz v huś-muni.

Īvn in a delic̣t sićueśn lîc ɖ preznt, Agṇs Rescr cd nt indyr t rmen tù loñ in ɖ bacgrând.

“Ẃ dd I evr cm dân hir?” ś asct dṛmatcli.

Tôḅmōri imījtli axptd ɖ ôpnñ.

“Jujñ bî ẃt y sd t Msz Cornit on ɖ crôcelōn ystde, y wr ât fr fūd. Y dscrîbd ɖ Blemliz az ɖ dulist ppl t ste wɖ ɖt y ń, bt sd ɖe wr clevr inuf t implý a frst-rêt cc; uɖrwz ɖe’d fînd it dificlt t gt enwn t cm dân a secnd tîm.”

“Ɖr’s nt a wrd v truʈ in it! I apil t Msz Cornit—” xclemd ɖ dscumfitd Agṇs.

“Msz Cornit rpitd yr rmarc aftwdz t Brti van Tān,” cntinyd Tôḅmōri, “n sd, ‘Ɖt wmn z a reğlr Hungrmarćr; ś’d g enẃr fr for sqr mīlz a de,’ n Brti van Tān sd—”

At ɖs pýnt ɖ cronicl mrsifli sīst. Tôḅmōri hd còt a glimps v ɖ bg yelo Tom fṛm ɖ Rectri wrcñ hiz we ʈru ɖ śruḅri twdz ɖ steblwñ. In a flaś h hd vaniśt ʈru ɖ ôpn Frenćwindo.

Wɖ ɖ dis’piṛns v hiz tù briłnt pypl, Cornīłs Apin faund hmslf bset bî a huricen v bitr upbredñ, añśs inqîri, n frîtnd intriti. Ɖ rsponsbilti fr ɖ sićueśn le wɖ hm, n h mst privnt matrz fṛm bcmñ wrs. Cd Tôḅmōri impart hiz denjṛs gift t uɖr cats? wz ɖ frst qesćn h hd t ansr. It wz posbl, h rplaid, ɖt h mt hv iniśietd hiz intiṃt frend ɖ steblpŭs intu hiz ny acumpliśmnt, bt it wz unlîcli ɖt hiz tīćñ cd hv têcn a wîdr renj az yt.

“Ɖen,” sd Msz Cornit, “Tôḅmōri me b a valybl cat n a grt pet; bt I’m śr y’l agri, Aḍled, ɖt bʈ h n ɖ steblcat mst b dn awe wɖ wɖt dle.”

“Y d’nt ṣpoz I’v injýd ɖ last qortr v an aur, d y?” sd Lêdi Blemli bitrli. “Mî huzbnd n I r vri fond v Tôḅmōri—at līst, w wr bfr ɖs hoṛbl acumpliśmnt wz infyzd intu hm; bt nâ, v cors, ɖ onli ʈñ z t hv hm dstrýd az sn az posbl.”

“W cn pt sm stricnīn in ɖ scraps h olwz gts at dinrtîm,” sd Sr Wilfrid, “n I wl g n drân ɖ steblcat mslf. Ɖ côćmn wl b vri sor at luzñ hiz pet, bt I’l se a vri caćñ fwm v menj hz brôcn ât in bʈ cats n w’r afred v it spredñ t ɖ cenlz.”

“Bt mî grt dscuvri!” xpostyletd Mr Apin; “aftr ol mî yirz v rsrć n xperimnt—”

“Y cn g n xperiment on ɖ śorthornz at ɖ farm, hu r undr propr cntrol,” sd Mrs Cornit, “or ɖ eḷfnts at ɖ Zụlojcl Gardnz. Ɖe’r sd t b hîli intelijnt, n ɖe hv ɖs rec̣mendeśn, ɖt ɖe d’nt cm crīpñ abt âr bedrumz n undr ćerz, n so fʈ.”

An arcenjl xtatcli pṛclemñ ɖ Mileńm, n ɖen fîndñ ɖt it claśt unpardnbli wɖ Henli n wd hv t b indefiṇtli pspond, cd hardli hv felt mr crestfwḷn ɖn Cornīłs Apin at ɖ rspśn v hiz wundrfl aćivmnt. Public opińn, hvr, wz agnst hm—in fact, hd ɖ jenṛl výs bn cnsultd on ɖ subjct it z prbbl ɖt a stroñ mnoṛtīvot wd hv bn in fevr v includñ hm in ɖ stricnīndayt.

Dfctv trên’renjmnts n a nrvs dzîr t si matrz bròt t a finiś privntd an imījt dsprsl v ɖ parti, bt dinr ɖt īvnñ wz nt a sośl sxes. Sr Wilfrid hd hd rɖr a trayñ tîm wɖ ɖ steblcat n subsiqntli wɖ ɖ côćmn. Agṇs Rescr ostnteśsli limitd hr ripast t a morsl v drî tôst, ẃć ś bit az ɖo it wr a prsnl eṇmi; ẃl Mêvis Pelñtn mntend a vindictv sîḷns ʈrt ɖ mīl. Lêdi Blemli cept p a flo v ẃt ś hôpt wz convseśn, bt hr atnśn wz fixt on ɖ dorwe. A plêtfl v cerfli dôst fiśscraps wz in rediṇs on ɖ sîdbord, bt swīts n sevri n dzrt went ɖer we, n no Tôḅmōri apird îɖr in ɖ dînñrum or cićn.

Ɖ ṣpulcṛl dinr wz ćirfl cmperd wɖ ɖ subsiqnt vijil in ɖ smôcñrum. Ītñ n drincñ hd at līst ṣplaid a dstraẋn n clôc t ɖ privelñ imbaṛsmnt. Brij wz ât v ɖ qesćn in ɖ jenṛl tenśn v nrvz n temprz, n aftr Ôdo Finzbri hd gvn a lgūbrịs rendrñ v “Melisãd in ɖ Wŭd” t a frijid ōdịns, myzc wz tasitli avýdd. At ilevn ɖ srvnts went t bed, anânsñ ɖt ɖ sml windo in ɖ pantri hd bn left ôpn az yźl fr Tôḅmōri’z prîvt ys. Ɖ gests réd stedili ʈru ɖ cuṛnt bać v maġzīnz, n fel bac, grajli, on ɖ “Badmintn Lîbrri” n bând volymz v PUNĆ. Lêdi Blemli md piriodc vizits t ɖ pantri, rtrnñ each tîm wɖ an xpreśn v listls dpreśn ẃć fōrstōld qesćnñ.

At tu o’cloc Clôvis brôc ɖ dominetñ sîḷns.

“H w’nt trn p tnît. H’z probbli in ɖ lôcl nyzpêpr ofis at ɖ preznt mmnt, dictetñ ɖ frst instōlmnt v hiz reminisnsz. Lêdi Ẃt’s-hr-nem’z bc w’nt b in it. It wl b ɖ ivnt v ɖ de.”

Hvñ md ɖs contribyśn t ɖ jenṛl ćirflṇs, Clôvis went t bed. At loñ intvlz ɖ verịs membrz v ɖ hâsparti foloud hiz xampl.

Ɖ srvnts têcñ rnd ɖ ŕli ti md a yniform anânsmnt in rplî t a yniform qesćn. Tôḅmōri hd nt rtrnd.

Brecfst wz, f enʈñ, a mr unpleznt funẋn ɖn dinr hd bn, bt bfr its cncluźn ɖ sićueśn wz rlivd. Tôḅmōri’z corps wz bròt in fṛm ɖ śrubri, ẃr a gardnr hd jst dscuvrd it. Fṛm ɖ bîts on hiz ʈrôt n ɖ yelo fŕ ẃć côtd hiz clwz it wz evidnt ɖt h hd fōln in unīql combat wɖ ɖ bg Tom fṛm ɖ Rectri.

Bî miḑe most v ɖ gests hd qitd ɖ Târz, n aftr lunć Lêdi Blemli hd sfiśntli rcuvrd hr spirits t rait an xtrimli nasti letr t ɖ Rectri abt ɖ los v hr valybl pet.

Tôḅmōri hd bn Apin’z wn sxesfl pypl, n h wz destind t hv no sxesr. A fy wīcs lêtr an eḷfnt in ɖ Drezdn Zụlojcl Gardn, ẃć hd śoun no prīvịs sînz v iritbiḷti, brouc lūs n cild an Ñgliśmn hu hd apaṛntli bn tīzñ it. Ɖ victim’z nem wz verịsli rportd in ɖ pêprz az Opin n Epelin, bt hiz fruntnem wz fêʈfli rendrd Cornīłs.

“F h wz trayñ Jrṃn ireğlr vrbz on ɖ pur bīst,” sd Clôvis, “h dzrvd ol h got.”

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