TU Đ LÎTHǍS │ VJIŃA WŬLF

PARTS: I – Ɖ WINDO; II – TÎM PASZ; III – Ɖ LÎTHǍS

Ćaptrz in Part I: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Ɖ WINDO


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1

“Yes, v cors, f it’s fîn tmro,” sd Msz Ramzi. “Bt y’l hv t b p wɖ ɖ larc,” ś add.

T hr sun ɖz wrdz cnveid an xtrordnri jô, az f it wr setld, ɖ xpdiśn wr baund t tec ples, n ɖ wundr t ẃć h hd lct fwd, fr yirz n yirz it sīmd, wz, aftr a nît’s darcnis n a de’z sêl, wɖn tuć. Sins h b’loñd, īvn at ɖ ej v six, t ɖt gret clan ẃć canot cīp ɖs fīlñ sepṛt fṛm ɖt, bt mst let fyćr prospects, wɖ ɖer jôz n soroz, clǎd ẃt z acćli at hand, sins t sć ppl īvn in rliist ćîldhd eni trn in ɖ ẃīl v snseśn hz ɖ pǎr t crisṭlîz n trnsfix ɖ momnt upn ẃć its glūm or redịns rests, Jemz Ramzi, sitñ on ɖ flor cutñ ǎt picćrz fṛm ɖ iḷstretd caṭlog v ɖ Armi n Nevi storz, indaud ɖ picćr v a rfriɉretr, az hiz muɖr spouc, wɖ hevnli blis. It wz frinjd wɖ jô. Ɖ ẃīlbaro, ɖ lōnmowr, ɖ sǎnd v popḷrtrīz, līvz ẃîṭnñ bfr ren, rŭcs cw̃, brūmz nocñ, dresz ruṣlñ—ol ɖz wr so culrd n dstnḡśt in hiz mînd ɖt h hd olrdi hiz prîṿt cod, hiz sīcrit lanḡj, ɖo h apird ɖ imij v starc n uncompṛmîzñ sveṛti, wɖ hiz hî fōrhed n hiz firs blu îz, impecbli candid n pyr, frǎnñ slîtli at ɖ sît v hymn frelti, so ɖt hiz muɖr, woćñ him gîd hiz sizrz nītli rnd ɖ rfriɉretr, imajnd him ol red n ŕmin on ɖ Benć or d’rectñ a strn n m’mnṭs enṭprîz in sm crîsis v public aferz.

“Bt,” sd hiz faɖr, stopñ in frunt v ɖ drw̃rūm windo, “it w’nt b fîn.”

Hd ɖr bn an ax handi, a pǒcr, or eni wepn ɖt wd hv gaśt a houl in hiz faɖr’z brest n cild him, ɖr n ɖen, Jemz wd hv sizd it. Sć wr ɖ xtrīmz v imośn ɖt Mr Ramzi xîtd in hiz ćildṛn’z brests bî hiz mir prezns; standñ, az nǎ, līn az a nîf, naro az ɖ bled v wn, grinñ sarcasticli, nt onli wɖ ɖ pleźr v disiluźnñ hiz sun n castñ riḍkl upn hiz wîf, hu wz ten ʈǎznd tîmz betr in evri we ɖn h wz (Jemz ʈt), bt olso wɖ sm sīcrit cnsit at hiz ǒn akṛsi v jujmnt. Ẃt h sd wz tru. It wz olwz tru. H wz inceṗbl v untruʈ; nvr tamprd wɖ a fact; nvr oltrd a dis’griybl wrd t sūt ɖ pleźr or cnvīńns v eni mortl biyñ, līst v ol v hiz ǒn ćildṛn, hu, spruñ fṛm hiz lônz, śd b awer fṛm ćîldhd ɖt lîf z dificlt; facts uncompṛmîzñ; n ɖ pasij t ɖt febld land ẃr ǎr brîtist hops r xtnḡśt, ǎr frel barcs fǎndr in darcnis (hir Mr Ramzi wd stretn hiz bac n naro hiz litl blu îz upn ɖ hrîzn), wn ɖt nīdz, abv ol, curij, truʈ, n ɖ pǎr t indyr.

“Bt it me b fîn—I xpct it wl b fîn,” sd Msz Ramzi, mcñ sm litl twist v ɖ rediś brǎn stocñ ś wz nitñ, impeśntli. F ś finiśt it tnît, f ɖe dd g t ɖ Lîthǎs aftr ol, it wz t b gvn t ɖ Lîthǎs cīpr fr hiz litl bô, hu wz ʈretnd wɖ a tybrkḷs hip; tgɖr wɖ a pîl v old maġzīnz, n sm tbaco, indd, ẃtvr ś cd fînd layñ abt, nt riyli wontd, bt onli liṭrñ ɖ rūm, t gv ɖoz pur feloz, hu mst b bord t deʈ sitñ ol de wɖ nʈñ t d bt poliś ɖ lamp n trim ɖ wic n rêc abt on ɖer scrap v gardn, smʈñ t aḿz ɖm. Fr hǎ wd y lîc t b śut p fr a hol munʈ at a tîm, n poṣbli mor in stormi weɖr, upn a roc ɖ sîz v a tenislōn? ś wd asc; n t hv no letrz or nyzpeprz, n t si nbdi; f y wr marid, nt t si yr wîf, nt t nǒ hǎ yr ćildṛn wr,—f ɖe wr il, f ɖe hd fōḷn dǎn n brocn ɖer legz or armz; t si ɖ sem driri wevz brecñ wīc aftr wīc, n ɖen a dredfl storm cmñ, n ɖ windoz cuvrd wɖ spre, n brdz daśt agnst ɖ lamp, n ɖ hol ples rocñ, n nt b ebl t pt yr nǒz ǎt v dorz fr fir v biyñ swept intu ɖ sì? Hǎ wd y lîc ɖt? ś asct, adresñ hrslf ptiklrli t hr dōtrz. So ś add, rɖr difṛntli, wn mst tec ɖm ẃtvr cumf̣ts wn cn.

“It’s dy wst,” sd ɖ eʈiist Tanzli, holdñ hiz boni fngrz spred so ɖt ɖ wind blù ʈru ɖm, fr h wz śẹrñ Mr Ramzi’z īvnñ wōc p n dǎn, p n dǎn ɖ teris. Ɖt z t se, ɖ wind blù fṛm ɖ wrst poṣbl drex́n fr landñ at ɖ Lîthǎs. Yes, h dd se dis’griybl ʈñz, Msz Ramzi admitd; it wz odịs v him t rub ɖs in, n mc Jemz stl mor dis’pôntd; bt at ɖ sem tîm, ś wd nt let ɖm laf at him. “Ɖ eʈiist,” ɖe cōld him; “ɖ litl eʈiist.” Rǒz moct him; Pru moct him; Andru, Jaspr, Rojr moct him; īvn old Bajr wɖt a tuʈ in hiz hed hd bit him, fr biyñ (az Nansi pt it) ɖ hundṛd n tenʈ yuñ man t ćes ɖm ol ɖ we p t ɖ Hebṛdīz ẃn it wz evr so mć nîsr t b alon.

“Nonsns,” sd Msz Ramzi, wɖ gret sveṛti. Apart fṛm ɖ habit v xaɉreśn ẃć ɖe hd fṛm hr, n fṛm ɖ impḷceśn (ẃć wz tru) ɖt ś asct tù mni ppl t ste, n hd t loj sm in ɖ tǎn, ś cd nt ber inṣviḷti t hr gests, t yuñ men in ptiklr, hu wr pur az ćrćmîs, “xpśṇli ebl,” hr huzbnd sd, hiz gret admîrrz, n cm ɖr fr a hoḷde. Indd, ś hd ɖ hol v ɖ uɖr sx undr hr pṛtx́n; fr rīznz ś cd nt xplen, fr ɖer śivlri n valr, fr ɖ fact ɖt ɖe ngośietd trītiz, rūld India, cntrold fnans; fîṇli fr an attyd twdz hrslf ẃć no wmn cd fel t fīl or t fînd agriybl, smʈñ trustfl, ćîldlîc, reṿrenśl; ẃć an old wmn cd tec fṛm a yuñ man wɖt los v digṇti, n wo btîd ɖ grl—pre Hevn it wz nn v hr dōtrz!—hu dd nt fīl ɖ wrʈ v it, n ol ɖt it implaid, t ɖ maro v hr bonz!

Ś trnd wɖ sveṛti upn Nansi. H hd nt ćest ɖm, ś sd. H hd bn asct.

Ɖe mst fînd a we ǎt v it ol. Ɖr mt b sm simplr we, sm les l’borịs we, ś said. Ẃn ś lct in ɖ glas n sw hr her gre, hr ćīc sunc, at fifti, ś ʈt, poṣbli ś mt hv manijd ʈñz betr—hr huzbnd; muni; hiz bcs. Bt fr hr ǒn part ś wd nvr fr a sngl secnd rgret hr dsiźn, ived dificltiz, or slr ovr dytiz. Ś wz nǎ formiḍbl t bhold, n it wz onli in sîḷns, lcñ p fṛm ɖer plets, aftr ś hd spocn so svirli abt Ćarlz Tanzli, ɖt hr dōtrz, Pru, Nansi, Rǒz—cd sport wɖ inf̣dl îdīaz ẃć ɖe hd brùd fr ɖmslvz v a lîf difṛnt fṛm hrz; in Paris, phps; a wîldr lîf; nt olwz tecñ cer v sm man or uɖr; fr ɖr wz in ol ɖer mîndz a ḿt qsćnñ v defṛns n śivlri, v ɖ Banc v Ñgḷnd n ɖ Indịn Empîr, v rñd fngrz n lês, ɖo t ɖm ol ɖr wz smʈñ in ɖs v ɖ esns v byti, ẃć cōld ǎt ɖ manlinis in ɖer grliś hārts, n md ɖm, az ɖe sat at tebl bnʈ ɖer muɖr’z îz, onr hr strenj sveṛti, hr xtrim crṭsi, lîc a qīn’z rezñ fṛm ɖ mud t woś a begr’z drti ft, ẃn ś admoniśt ɖm so vri svirli abt ɖt rećid eʈiist hu hd ćest ɖm—or, spīcñ akṛtli, bn invîtd t ste wɖ ɖm—in ɖ Îl v Scai.

“Ɖr’l b no landñ at ɖ Lîthǎs tmro,” sd Ćarlz Tanzli, clapñ hiz handz tgɖr az h std at ɖ windo wɖ hr huzbnd. Śrli, h hd sd inuf. Ś wśt ɖe wd bʈ līv hr n Jemz alon n g on tōcñ. Ś lct at him. H wz sć a mizṛbl spesimn, ɖ ćildṛn sd, ol humps n holoz. H cd’nt ple cricit; h pǒct; h śufld. H wz a sarcastic brūt, Andru sd. Ɖe ń ẃt h lîct bst—t b fr evr wōcñ p n dǎn, p n dǎn, wɖ Mr Ramzi, n seyñ hu hd wún ɖs, hu hd wún ɖt, hu wz a “frst-ret man” at Latin vrsz, hu wz “briłnt bt I ʈnc funḍmnṭli unsǎnd,” hu wz undǎtdli ɖ “eblist felo in Bełl,” hu hd berid hiz lît temprṛli at Bristl or Bedfd, bt wz baund t b hŕd v lêtr ẃn hiz Proḷgoṃna, v ẃć Mr Tanzli hd ɖ frst pejz in prūf wɖ him f Mr Ramzi wd lîc t si ɖm, t sm branć v maʈ̇matics or f’loṣfi sw ɖ lît v de. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖe tōct abt.

Ś cd nt hlp lafñ hrslf smtmz. Ś sd, ɖ uɖr de, smʈñ abt “wevz mǎntinz hî.” Yes, sd Ćarlz Tanzli, it wz a litl ruf. “R’nt y drenćt t ɖ scin?” ś hd sd. “Damp, nt wet ʈru,” sd Mr Tanzli, pinćñ hiz slīv, fīlñ hiz socs.

Bt it wz nt ɖt ɖe mîndd, ɖ ćildṛn sd. It wz nt hiz fes; it wz nt hiz manrz. It wz him—hiz pônt v vy. Ẃn ɖe tōct abt smʈñ inṭrestñ, ppl, ḿzic, hisṭri, enʈñ, īvn sd it wz a fîn īvnñ so ẃ nt sit ǎt v dorz, ɖen ẃt ɖe cmplend v abt Ćarlz Tanzli wz ɖt untl h hd trnd ɖ hol ʈñ rnd n md it smhǎ rflect himslf n dsparij ɖm—h wz nt saṭsfaid. N h wd g t picćrgaḷriz ɖe sd, n h wd asc wn, dd wn lîc hiz tî? God nz, sd Rǒz, wn dd nt.

Dis’pirñ az stelʈ̇li az stagz fṛm ɖ dinrtebl d’recli ɖ mīl wz ovr, ɖ et sunz n dōtrz v Mr n Msz Ramzi sòt ɖer bedrūmz, ɖer fastnis in a hǎs ẃr ɖr wz no uɖr priṿsi t dbet enʈñ, evrʈñ; Tanzli’z tî; ɖ pasñ v ɖ Rform Bil; sìbrdz n buṭflîz; ppl; ẃl ɖ sún pord intu ɖoz atics, ẃć a planc alon seṗretd fṛm ć uɖr so ɖt evri ftstep cd b plenli hŕd n ɖ Swis grl sobñ fr hr faɖr hu wz dayñ v cansr in a vali v ɖ Grisõ, n lit p bats, flanlz, strw hats, ñcpots, pentpots, bītlz, n ɖ sculz v smōl brdz, ẃl it drù fṛm ɖ loñ frild strips v sìwīd pind t ɖ wōl a smel v sōlt n wīdz, ẃć wz in ɖ tǎlz tù, griti wɖ sand fṛm beɖñ.

Strîf, dviźnz, difṛns v opińn, preɉdisz twistd intu ɖ vri fîbr v biyñ, ǒ, ɖt ɖe śd bgin so rli, Msz Ramzi dplord. Ɖe wr so criticl, hr ćildṛn. Ɖe tōct sć nonsns. Ś wnt fṛm ɖ dînñrūm, holdñ Jemz bî ɖ hand, sins h wd nt g wɖ ɖ uɖrz. It sīmd t hr sć nonsns—invntñ difṛnsz, ẃn ppl, hevn nz, wr difṛnt inuf wɖt ɖt. Ɖ riyl difṛnsz, ś ʈt, standñ bî ɖ drw̃rūm-windo, r inuf, qt inuf. Ś hd in mînd at ɖ momnt, rić n pur, hî n lo; ɖ gret in brʈ rsivñ fṛm hr, haf grujñ, sm rspct, fr hd ś nt in hr veinz ɖ blud v ɖt vri nobl, f slîtli miʈicl, Itałn hǎs, huz dōtrz, scatrd abt Ñgliś drw̃rūmz in ɖ nîntīnʈ snćri, hd lispt so ćarmñli, hd stormd so wîldli, n ol hr wit n hr bẹrñ n hr tmpr cem fṛm ɖm, n nt fṛm ɖ slugiś Ñgliś, or ɖ cold Scoć; bt mor pṛfǎndli, ś rūṃnetd ɖ uɖr probḷm, v rić n pur, n ɖ ʈñz ś sw wɖ hr ǒn îz, wīcli, dêli, hir or in Lundn, ẃn ś viẓtd ɖs wido, or ɖt struġlñ wîf in prsn wɖ a bag on hr arm, n a not-bc n pensl wɖ ẃć ś rout dǎn in coḷmz cerf̣li rūld fr ɖ prṗs wejz n spendñz, implômnt n unimplômnt, in ɖ hop ɖt ɖus ś wd sīs t b a prîṿt wmn huz ćaṛti wz haf a sóp t hr ǒn indigneśn, haf a rlif t hr ǒn krioṣti, n bcm ẃt wɖ hr untrênd mînd ś gretli admîrd, an invstgetr, ilūṣdetñ ɖ sośl probḷm.

Insołbl qsćnz ɖe wr, it sīmd t hr, standñ ɖr, holdñ Jemz bî ɖ hand. H hd foloud hr intu ɖ drw̃rūm, ɖt yuñ man ɖe laft at; h wz standñ bî ɖ tebl, fiɉtñ wɖ smʈñ, ōcẉdli, fīlñ himslf ǎt v ʈñz, az ś ń wɖt lcñ rnd. Ɖe hd ol gn—ɖ ćildṛn; Minta Dôl n Pōl Rêli; Ōgusṭs Carmîcl; hr huzbnd—ɖe hd ol gn. So ś trnd wɖ a sai n sd, “Wd it bōr y t cm wɖ m, Mr Tanzli?”

Ś hd a dul eṛnd in ɖ tǎn; ś hd a letr or tū t rait; ś wd b ten minits phps; ś wd pt on hr hat. N, wɖ hr bascit n hr paṛsol, ɖr ś wz agn, ten minits lêtr, gvñ ǎt a sns v biyñ redi, v biyñ iqipt fr a jōnt, ẃć, hvr, ś mst inṭrupt fr a momnt, az ɖe pást ɖ tenislōn, t asc Mr Carmîcl, hu wz bascñ wɖ hiz yelo cat’s îz ajar, so ɖt lîc a cat’s ɖe sīmd t rflect ɖ branćz muvñ or ɖ clǎdz pasñ, bt t gv no ñclñ v eni inr ʈts or imośn ẃtsvr, f h wontd enʈñ.

Fr ɖe wr mcñ ɖ gret xpdiśn, ś sd, lafñ. Ɖe wr gwñ t ɖ tǎn. “Stamps, raitñpepr, tbaco?” ś sjstd, stopñ bî hiz sîd. Bt no, h wontd nʈñ. Hiz handz claspt ɖmslvz ovr hiz cpeśs pōnć, hiz îz blinct, az f h wd hv lîct t rplî cîndli t ɖz blandiśmnts (ś wz sductiv bt a litl nrṿs) bt cd nt, sunc az h wz in a gre-grīn somṇḷns ẃć imbrest ɖm ol, wɖt nīd v wrdz, in a vast n bnevlnt leʈ̇ji v wel-wśñ; ol ɖ hǎs; ol ɖ wrld; ol ɖ ppl in it, fr h hd slipt intu hiz glas at lunć a fy drops v smʈñ, ẃć acǎntd, ɖ ćildṛn ʈt, fr ɖ vivid strīc v c’nẹri-yelo in mstaś n bird ɖt wr uɖwz milc-ẃît. No, nʈñ, h mrmrd.

H śd hv bn a gret f’loṣfr, sd Msz Ramzi, az ɖe wnt dǎn ɖ rod t ɖ fiśñvilij, bt h hd md an unforćṇt marij. Holdñ hr blac paṛsol vri irect, n muvñ wɖ an indiscrîbbl er v xpcteśn, az f ś wr gwñ t mīt smwn rnd ɖ cornr, ś tld ɖ stori; an afer at Oxfd wɖ sm grl; an rli marij; poṿti; gwñ t India; trnzletñ a litl powtri “vri bytif̣li, I b’liv,” biyñ wilñ t tīć ɖ bôz Prśn or Hindūstāni, bt ẃt riyli wz ɖ ys v ɖt?—n ɖen layñ, az ɖe sw him, on ɖ lōn.

It flatrd him; snubd az h hd bn, it suɖd him ɖt Msz Ramzi śd tel him ɖs. Ćarlz Tanzli rvîvd. Insińuetñ, tù, az ś dd, ɖ gretnis v man’z inṭlect, īvn in its dce, ɖ sbjx́n v ol wîvz—nt ɖt ś blemd ɖ grl, n ɖ marij hd bn hapi inuf, ś b’livd—t ɖer huzbnd’z lebrz, ś md him fīl betr plizd wɖ himslf ɖn h hd dn yt, n h wd hv lîct, hd ɖe tecn a cab, fr xampl, t hv peid ɖ fér. Az fr hr litl bag, mt h nt cari ɖt? No, no, ś sd, ś olwz carid ƉT hrslf. Ś dd tù. Yes, h flt ɖt in hr. H flt mni ʈñz, smʈñ in ptiklr ɖt xîtd him n dstrbd him fr rīznz ẃć h cd nt gv. H wd lîc hr t si him, gǎnd n hŭdd, wōcñ in a pṛseśn. A felośp, a pṛfesrśp, h flt ceṗbl v enʈñ n sw himslf—bt ẃt wz ś lcñ at? At a man pestñ a bil. Ɖ vast flapñ śīt flatnd itslf ǎt, n ć śuv v ɖ bruś rvild freś legz, hūps, horsz, gliṣnñ redz n bluz, bytifli smuɖ, untl haf ɖ wōl wz cuvrd wɖ ɖ advrtismnt v a src̣s; a hundṛd horsṃn, twenti pformñsīlz, laynz, tîgrz… Crenñ fwdz, fr ś wz śort-sîtd, ś réd it ǎt… “wl vizit ɖs tǎn,” ś réd. It wz teṛbli denjṛs wrc fr a wn-armd man, ś xclemd, t stand on top v a ladr lîc ɖt—hiz left arm hd bn cut of in a rīpñmśīn tū yirz ago.

“Let s ol g!” ś craid, muvñ on, az f ol ɖoz rîdrz n horsz hd fild hr wɖ ćîldlîc xlteśn n md hr fget hr piti.

“Let’s g,” h sd, rpitñ hr wrdz, clicñ ɖm ǎt, hvr, wɖ a slf-conśsnis ɖt md hr wins. “Let s ol g t ɖ src̣s.” No. H cd nt se it rît. H cd nt fīl it rît. Bt ẃ nt? ś wundrd. Ẃt wz roñ wɖ him ɖen? Ś lîct him wormli, at ɖ momnt. Hd ɖe nt bn tecn, ś asct, t src̣sz ẃn ɖe wr ćildṛn? Nvr, h ansrd, az f ś asct ɖ vri ʈñ h wontd; hd bn loññ ol ɖz dez t se, hǎ ɖe dd nt g t src̣sz. It wz a larj faṃli, nîn bruɖrz n sistrz, n hiz faɖr wz a wrcñman. “Mî faɖr z a cemist, Msz Ramzi. H cīps a śop.” H himslf hd peid hiz ǒn we sins h wz ʈrtīn. Ofn h wnt wɖt a gretcot in wintr. H cd nvr “rtrn hosṗtaḷti” (ɖoz wr hiz parćt stif wrdz) at colij. H hd t mc ʈñz last twîs ɖ tîm uɖr ppl dd; h smoct ɖ ćīpist tbaco; śag; ɖ sem ɖ old men dd in ɖ cìz. H wrct hard—sevn aurz a de; hiz subjict wz nǎ ɖ inflụns v smʈñ upn smbdi—ɖe wr wōcñ on n Msz Ramzi dd nt qt cać ɖ mīnñ, onli ɖ wrdz, hir n ɖr… diṣteśn… felośp… rīdrśp… lecćrśp. Ś cd nt folo ɖ ugli acdemic jargn, ɖt ratld itslf of so glibli, bt sd t hrslf ɖt ś sw nǎ ẃ gwñ t ɖ src̣s hd noct him of hiz prć, pur litl man, n ẃ h cem ǎt, instntli, wɖ ol ɖt abt hiz faɖr n muɖr n bruɖrz n sistrz, n ś wd si t it ɖt ɖe dd’nt laf at him eni mor; ś wd tel Pru abt it. Ẃt h wd hv lîct, ś s’pozd, wd hv bn t se hǎ h hd gn nt t ɖ src̣s bt t Ibsn wɖ ɖ Ramziz. H wz an ōfl prig—ǒ yes, an insufṛbl bōr. Fr, ɖo ɖe hd rīćt ɖ tǎn nǎ n wr in ɖ mn strīt, wɖ carts grîndñ past on ɖ coblz, stl h wnt on tōcñ, abt setlmnts, n tīćñ, n wrcñmen, n hlpñ ǎr ǒn clas, n lecćrz, tl ś gaɖrd ɖt h hd got bac intîr slf-confidns, hd rcuvrd fṛm ɖ src̣s, n wz abt (n nǎ agn ś lîct him wormli) t tel hr—bt hir, ɖ hǎzz fōlñ awe on bʈ sîdz, ɖe cem ǎt on ɖ cì, n ɖ hol be spred bfr ɖm n Msz Ramzi cd nt hlp xclemñ, “Ǒ, hǎ bytifl!” Fr ɖ gret plêtfl v blu wōtr wz bfr hr; ɖ hōri Lîthǎs, distnt, ostir, in ɖ mdst; n on ɖ rît, az far az ɖ î cd si, fedñ n fōlñ, in soft lo plīts, ɖ grīn sandynz wɖ ɖ wîld flowñ grasz on ɖm, ẃć olwz sīmd t b runñ awe intu sm mūncuntri, uninhaḅtd v men.

Ɖt wz ɖ vy, ś sd, stopñ, growñ greyr-aid, ɖt hr huzbnd luvd.

Ś pōzd a momnt. Bt nǎ, ś sd, artists hd cm hir. Ɖr indd, onli a fy pesz of, std wn v ɖm, in Paṇma hat n yelo būts, sirịsli, softli, abzorḅdli, fr ol ɖt h wz woćt bî ten litl bôz, wɖ an er v pṛfǎnd cntntmnt on hiz rǎnd red fes gezñ, n ɖen, ẃn h hd gezd, dipñ; imbywñ ɖ tip v hiz bruś in sm soft mǎnd v grīn or pnc. Sins Mr Pōnfort hd bn ɖr, ʈri yirz bfr, ol ɖ picćrz wr lîc ɖt, ś sd, grīn n gre, wɖ lemn-culrd sêlñbots, n pnc wimin on ɖ bīć.

Bt hr granmuɖr’z frendz, ś sd, glansñ dscritli az ɖe pást, tc ɖ gretist penz; frst ɖe mixt ɖer ǒn culrz, n ɖen ɖe graund ɖm, n ɖen ɖe pt damp cloʈs t cīp ɖm môst.

So Mr Tanzli s’pozd ś mnt him t si ɖt ɖt man’z picćr wz scimpi, wz ɖt ẃt wn sd? Ɖ culrz wr’nt solid? Wz ɖt ẃt wn sd? Undr ɖ inflụns v ɖt xtrordnri imośn ẃć hd bn growñ ol ɖ wōc, hd bgun in ɖ gardn ẃn h hd wontd t tec hr bag, hd incrist in ɖ tǎn ẃn h hd wontd t tel hr evrʈñ abt himslf, h wz cmñ t si himslf, n evrʈñ h hd evr noun gn crŭcid a litl. It wz ōf̣li strenj.

Ɖr h std in ɖ parlr v ɖ pǒci litl hǎs ẃr ś hd tecn him, wêtñ fr hr, ẃl ś wnt upsterz a momnt t si a wmn. H hŕd hr qc step abv; hŕd hr vôs ćirfl, ɖen lo; lct at ɖ mats, tīcadiz, glas śêdz; wêtd qt impeśntli; lct fwd īgrli t ɖ wōc hom; dtrmind t cari hr bag; ɖen hŕd hr cm ǎt; śut a dor; se ɖe mst cīp ɖ windoz opn n ɖ dorz śut, asc at ɖ hǎs fr enʈñ ɖe wontd (ś mst b tōcñ t a ćîld) ẃn, sudnli, in ś cem, std fr a momnt sîḷnt (az f ś hd bn pritndñ p ɖr, n fr a momnt let hrslf b nǎ), std qt mośnlis fr a momnt agnst a picćr v Qīn Victoria wẹrñ ɖ blu ribn v ɖ Gartr; ẃn ol at wns h riylîzd ɖt it wz ɖs: it wz ɖs:—ś wz ɖ most bytifl prsn h hd evr sìn.

Wɖ starz in hr îz n veilz in hr her, wɖ sicḷmn n wîld vaylits—ẃt nonsns wz h ʈncñ? Ś wz fifti at līst; ś hd et ćildṛn. Stepñ ʈru fīldz v flǎrz n tecñ t hr brest budz ɖt hd brocn n lamz ɖt hd fōḷn; wɖ ɖ starz in hr îz n ɖ wind in hr her—H hd hold v hr bag.

“Gdbî, Elsi,” ś sd, n ɖe wōct p ɖ strīt, ś holdñ hr paṛsol irect n wōcñ az f ś xpctd t mīt smwn rnd ɖ cornr, ẃl fr ɖ frst tîm in hiz lîf Ćarlz Tanzli flt an xtrordnri prîd; a man digñ in a dren stopt digñ n lct at hr, let hiz arm fōl dǎn n lct at hr; fr ɖ frst tîm in hiz lîf Ćarlz Tanzli flt an xtrordnri prîd; flt ɖ wind n ɖ sicḷmn n ɖ vaylits fr h wz wōcñ wɖ a bytifl wmn. H hd hold v hr bag.


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2

“No gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs, Jemz,” h sd, az trayñ in defṛns t Msz Ramzi t sofn hiz vôs intu sm sembḷns v jīniaḷti at līst.

Odịs litl man, ʈt Msz Ramzi, ẃ g on seyñ ɖt?


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3

“Phps y wl wec p n fînd ɖ sún śînñ n ɖ brdz sññ,” ś sd cmpaśṇtli, smuɖñ ɖ litl bô’z her, fr hr huzbnd, wɖ hiz cōstic seyñ ɖt it wd nt b fîn, hd daśt hiz spirits ś cd si. Ɖs gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs wz a paśn v hiz, ś sw, n ɖen, az f hr huzbnd hd nt sd inuf, wɖ hiz cōstic seyñ ɖt it wd nt b fîn tmro, ɖs odịs litl man wnt n rubd it in ol ovr agn.

“Phps it wl b fîn tmro,” ś sd, smuɖñ hiz her.

Ol ś cd d nǎ wz t admîr ɖ rfriɉretr, n trn ɖ pejz v ɖ Storz list in ɖ hop ɖt ś mt cm upn smʈñ lîc a rêc, or a mowñṃśīn, ẃć, wɖ its proñz n its handlz, wd nīd ɖ gretist scil n cer in cutñ ǎt. Ol ɖz yuñ men paṛdid hr huzbnd, ś rflectd; h sd it wd ren; ɖe sd it wd b a poẓtiv tornedo.

Bt hir, az ś trnd ɖ pej, sudnli hr srć fr ɖ picćr v a rêc or a mowñṃśīn wz inṭruptd. Ɖ gruf mrmr, ireğlrli brocn bî ɖ tecñ ǎt v pîps n ɖ ptñ in v pîps ẃć hd cept on aśurñ hr, ɖo ś cd nt hír ẃt wz sd (az ś sat in ɖ windo ẃć opnd on ɖ teris), ɖt ɖ men wr haṗli tōcñ; ɖs sǎnd, ẃć hd lastd nǎ haf an aur n hd tecn its ples suɖñli in ɖ scel v sǎndz presñ on top v hr, sć az ɖ tap v bōlz upn bats, ɖ śarp, sudn barc nǎ n ɖen, “Hǎ’z ɖt? Hǎ’z ɖt?” v ɖ ćildṛn pleyñ cricit, hd sīst; so ɖt ɖ mnotṇs fōl v ɖ wevz on ɖ bīć, ẃć fr ɖ most part bìt a meźrd n suɖñ ttu t hr ʈts n sīmd cnsolñli t rpit ovr n ovr agn az ś sat wɖ ɖ ćildṛn ɖ wrdz v sm old credlsoñ, mrmrd bî nećr, “I am gardñ y—I am yr s’port,” bt at uɖr tîmz sudnli n unxpctdli, ispeśli ẃn hr mînd rezd itslf slîtli fṛm ɖ tasc acćli in hand, hd no sć cîndli mīnñ, bt lîc a gostli rol v drumz rmorslisli bìt ɖ meźr v lîf, md wn ʈnc v ɖ dstrux́n v ɖ îḷnd n its ingulfmnt in ɖ sì, n wornd hr huz de hd slipt past in wn qc dwñ aftr anɖr ɖt it wz ol ifīmṛl az a renbǒ—ɖs sǎnd ẃć hd bn obskrd n cnsild undr ɖ uɖr sǎndz sudnli ʈundrd holo in hr irz n md hr lc p wɖ an impuls v terr.

Ɖe hd sīst t tōc; ɖt wz ɖ xpḷneśn. Fōlñ in wn secnd fṛm ɖ tnśn ẃć hd gript hr t ɖ uɖr xtrim ẃć, az f t rīcūp hr fr hr uņesṣri xpns v imośn, wz cūl, aḿzd, n īvn fentli mliśs, ś cncludd ɖt pur Ćarlz Tanzli hd bn śed. Ɖt wz v litl acǎnt t hr. F hr huzbnd rqîrd sacṛfîsz (n indd h dd) ś ćirf̣li ofrd p t him Ćarlz Tanzli, hu hd snubd hr litl bô.

Wn momnt mor, wɖ hr hed rezd, ś lisnd, az f ś wêtd fr sm hbićl sǎnd, sm reğlr mcanicl sǎnd; n ɖen, hírñ smʈñ riɖmicl, haf sd, haf ćantd, bginñ in ɖ gardn, az hr huzbnd bìt p n dǎn ɖ teris, smʈñ btwn a crǒc n a soñ, ś wz suɖd wns mor, aśurd agn ɖt ol wz wel, n lcñ dǎn at ɖ bc on hr ni faund ɖ picćr v a pocitnîf wɖ six bledz ẃć cd onli b cut ǎt f Jemz wz vri cerfl.

Sudnli a lǎd crî, az v a slīpwōcr, haf-rǎzd, smʈñ abt

Stormd at wɖ śot n śel

suñ ǎt wɖ ɖ utmost intnṣti in hr ir, md hr trn aprihnsivli t si f enwn hd hŕd him. Onli Lili Brisco, ś wz glad t fînd; n ɖt dd nt matr. Bt ɖ sît v ɖ grl standñ on ɖ éj v ɖ lōn pentñ rmîndd hr; ś wz s’pozd t b cīpñ hr hed az mć in ɖ sem pziśn az poṣbl fr Lili’z picćr. Lili’z picćr! Msz Ramzi smîld. Wɖ hr litl Ćînīz îz n hr pucrd-up fes, ś wd nvr mari; wn cd nt tec hr pentñ vri sirịsli; ś wz an indipndnt litl crīćr, n Msz Ramzi lîct hr fr it; so, rmembrñ hr promis, ś bnt hr hed.


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4

Indd, h olmst noct hr īzl ovr, cmñ dǎn upn hr wɖ hiz handz wevñ śǎtñ ǎt, “Boldli w roud n wel,” bt, mrsif̣li, h trnd śarp, n roud of, t dî glorịsli ś s’pozd upn ɖ hîts v Baḷclāva. Nvr wz enbdi at wns so r’dikyḷs n so alarmñ. Bt so loñ az h cept lîc ɖt, wevñ, śǎtñ, ś wz sef; h wd nt stand stl n lc at hr picćr. N ɖt wz ẃt Lili Brisco cd nt hv indyrd. Īvn ẃl ś lct at ɖ mas, at ɖ lîn, at ɖ culr, at Msz Ramzi sitñ in ɖ windo wɖ Jemz, ś cept a fīlr on hr srǎndñz lest smwn śd crīp p, n sudnli ś śd fînd hr picćr lct at. Bt nǎ, wɖ ol hr snsz qcnd az ɖe wr, lcñ, strenñ, tl ɖ culr v ɖ wōl n ɖ jacmana bynd brnt intu hr îz, ś wz awer v smwn cmñ ǎt v ɖ hǎs, cmñ twdz hr; bt smhǎ dvînd, fṛm ɖ ftfōl, Wiłm Báncs, so ɖt ɖo hr bruś qivrd, ś dd nt, az ś wd hv dn hd it bn Mr Tanzli, Pōl Rêli, Minta Dôl, or practicli enbdi els, trn hr canvs upn ɖ gras, bt let it stand. Wiłm Báncs std bsd hr.

Ɖe hd rūmz in ɖ vilij, n so, wōcñ in, wōcñ ǎt, partñ lêt on dormats, hd sd litl ʈñz abt ɖ sūp, abt ɖ ćildṛn, abt wn ʈñ n anɖr ẃć md ɖm alîz; so ɖt ẃn h std bsd hr nǎ in hiz jdiśl we (h wz old inuf t b hr faɖr tù, a boṭnist, a widowr, smelñ v sóp, vri scrūpyḷs n clīn) ś jst std ɖr. H jst std ɖr. Hr śuz wr xḷnt, h obzrvd. Ɖe alaud ɖ toz ɖer naćṛl xpanśn. Lojñ in ɖ sem hǎs wɖ hr, h hd notist tù, hǎ ordrli ś wz, p bfr brecfst n of t pent, h b’livd, alon: pur, prizyṃbli, n wɖt ɖ cmplex́n or ɖ alurmnt v Mis Dôl srtnli, bt wɖ a gd sns ẃć md hr in hiz îz s’pirịr t ɖt yuñ ledi. Nǎ, fr instns, ẃn Ramzi bōr dǎn on ɖm, śǎtñ, jestikletñ, Mis Brisco, h flt srtn, unḍstd.

Smwn hd blundrd.

Mr Ramzi glerd at ɖm. H glerd at ɖm wɖt sīmñ t si ɖm. Ɖt dd mc ɖm bʈ vegli uncumftbl. Tgɖr ɖe hd sìn a ʈñ ɖe hd nt bn mnt t si. Ɖe hd incroćt upn a privsi. So, Lili ʈt, it wz probbli an xks v hiz fr muvñ, fr gtñ ǎt v irśot, ɖt md Mr Báncs olmst imījtli se smʈñ abt its biyñ ćili n sjstd tecñ a strol. Ś wd cm, yes. Bt it wz wɖ dificlti ɖt ś tc hr îz of hr picćr.

Ɖ jacmana wz brît vayḷt; ɖ wōl stẹrñ ẃît. Ś wd nt hv cnsidrd it onist t tampr wɖ ɖ brît vayḷt n ɖ stẹrñ ẃît, sins ś sw ɖm lîc ɖt, faśṇbl ɖo it wz, sins Mr Pōnfort’s vizit, t si evrʈñ pel, elignt, semitranspaṛnt. Ɖen bnʈ ɖ culr ɖr wz ɖ śep. Ś cd si it ol so clirli, so c’mandñli, ẃn ś lct: it wz ẃn ś tc hr bruś in hand ɖt ɖ hol ʈñ ćenjd. It wz in ɖt momnt’s flît btwn ɖ picćr n hr canvs ɖt ɖ dīṃnz set on hr hu ofn bròt hr t ɖ vrj v tirz n md ɖs pasij fṛm cnspśn t wrc az dredfl az eni dǎn a darc pasij fr a ćîld. Sć ś ofn flt hrslf—struġlñ agnst t’rific odz t mnten hr curij; t se: “Bt ɖs z ẃt I si; ɖs z ẃt I si,” n so t clasp sm mizṛbl remnnt v hr viźn t hr brest, ẃć a ʈǎznd forsz dd ɖer bst t pluc fṛm hr. N it wz ɖen tù, in ɖt ćil n windi we, az ś bgan t pent, ɖt ɖr forst ɖmslvz upn hr uɖr ʈñz, hr ǒn inadiqsi, hr inṣgnificns, cīpñ hǎs fr hr faɖr of ɖ Bromtn Rod, n hd mć adu t cntrol hr impuls t flñ hrslf (ʈanc Hevn ś hd olwz rzistd so far) at Msz Ramzi’z ni n se t hr—bt ẃt cd wn se t hr? “I’m in luv wɖ y?” No, ɖt wz nt tru. “I’m in luv wɖ ɖs ol,” wevñ hr hand at ɖ hej, at ɖ hǎs, at ɖ ćildṛn. It wz absrd, it wz impoṣbl. So nǎ ś leid hr bruśz nītli in ɖ box, sîd bî sîd, n sd t Wiłm Báncs:

“It sudnli gts cold. Ɖ sún sīmz t gv les hīt,” ś sd, lcñ abt hr, fr it wz brît inuf, ɖ gras stl a soft dīp grīn, ɖ hǎs stard in its grīṇri wɖ prpl paśnflǎrz, n rŭcs dropñ cūl crîz fṛm ɖ hî blu. Bt smʈñ muvd, flaśt, trnd a silvr wñ in ɖ er. It wz Sptmbr aftr ol, ɖ midl v Sptmbr, n past six in ɖ īvnñ. So of ɖe strold dǎn ɖ gardn in ɖ yźl drex́n, past ɖ tenislōn, past ɖ pamṗsgras, t ɖt brec in ɖ ʈic hej, gardd bî red-hot pocrz lîc brezịrz v clir brnñ col, btwn ẃć ɖ blu wōtrz v ɖ be lct bluwr ɖn evr.

Ɖe cem ɖr reğlrli evri īvnñ drwn bî sm nīd. It wz az f ɖ wōtr flotd of n set sêlñ ʈts ẃć hd groun stagnnt on drî land, n gev t ɖer bodiz īvn sm sort v fizicl rlif. Frst, ɖ puls v culr fludd ɖ be wɖ blu, n ɖ hart xpandd wɖ it n ɖ bodi swam, onli ɖ nxt instnt t b ćect n ćild bî ɖ pricli blacnis on ɖ rufld wevz. Ɖen, p bhnd ɖ gret blac roc, olmst evri īvnñ sprtd ireğlrli, so ɖt wn hd t woć fr it n it wz a dlît ẃn it cem, a fǎntn v ẃît wōtr; n ɖen, ẃl wn wêtd fr ɖt, wn woćt, on ɖ pel semisrklr bīć, wev aftr wev śedñ agn n agn smuɖli, a film v muɖr v prl.

Ɖe bʈ smîld, standñ ɖr. Ɖe bʈ flt a comn hilaṛti, xîtd bî ɖ muvñ wevz; n ɖen bî ɖ swift cutñ rês v a sêlñbot, ẃć, hvñ slîst a crv in ɖ be, stopt; śivrd; let its sêlz drop dǎn; n ɖen, wɖ a naćṛl instñt t cmplit ɖ picćr, aftr ɖs swift muvmnt, bʈ v ɖm lct at ɖ dynz far awe, n instd v merimnt flt cm ovr ɖm sm sadnis—bcz ɖ ʈñ wz cmplitd partli, n partli bcz distnt vyz sīm t ǎtlast bî a miłn yirz (Lili ʈt) ɖ gezr n t b cḿnñ olrdi wɖ a scî ẃć bholdz an rʈ intîrli at rest.

Lcñ at ɖ far sandhilz, Wiłm Báncs ʈt v Ramzi: ʈt v a rod in Wstṃḷnd, ʈt v Ramzi strîdñ alñ a rod bî himslf huñ rnd wɖ ɖt soḷtyd ẃć sīmd t b hiz naćṛl er. Bt ɖs wz sudnli inṭruptd, Wiłm Báncs rmembrd (n ɖs mst rfŕ t sm acćl insidnt), bî a hen, stradlñ hr wñz ǎt in pṛtx́n v a cuvi v litl ćics, upn ẃć Ramzi, stopñ, pôntd hiz stic n sd “Priti—priti,” an od iluṃneśn intu hiz hart, Báncs hd ʈt it, ẃć śoud hiz simpliṣti, hiz simṗʈi wɖ humbl ʈñz; bt it sīmd t him az f ɖer frendśp hd sīst, ɖr, on ɖt streć v rod. Aftr ɖt, Ramzi hd marid. Aftr ɖt, ẃt wɖ wn ʈñ n anɖr, ɖ pulp hd gn ǎt v ɖer frendśp. Huz fōlt it wz h cd nt se, onli, aftr a tîm, reṗtiśn hd tecn ɖ ples v nynis. It wz t rpit ɖt ɖe met. Bt in ɖs dum coḷqi wɖ ɖ sand dynz h mntend ɖt hiz afx́n fr Ramzi hd in no we dminiśt; bt ɖr, lîc ɖ bodi v a yuñ man leid p in pīt fr a snćri, wɖ ɖ red freś on hiz lips, wz hiz frendśp, in its aktnis n riaḷti, leid p acrs ɖ be amñ ɖ sandhilz.

H wz añśs fr ɖ sec v ɖs frendśp n phps tù in ordr t clir himslf in hiz ǒn mînd fṛm ɖ impyteśn v hvñ draid n śrunc—fr Ramzi livd in a wltr v ćildṛn, ẃr-az Báncs wz ćîldlis n a widowr—h wz añśs ɖt Lili Brisco śd nt dsparij Ramzi (a gret man in hiz ǒn we) yt śd unḍstand hǎ ʈñz std btwn ɖm. Bgun loñ yirz ago, ɖer frendśp hd pītrd ǎt on a Wstṃḷnd rod, ẃr ɖ hen spred hr wñz bfr hr ćics; aftr ẃć Ramzi hd marid, n ɖer paɖz layñ difṛnt wez, ɖr hd bn, srtnli fr nwn’z fōlt, sm tndnsi, ẃn ɖe met, t rpit.

Yes. Ɖt wz it. H finiśt. H trnd fṛm ɖ vy. N, trnñ t wōc bac ɖ uɖr we, p ɖ drîv, Mr Báncs wz alîv t ʈñz ẃć wd nt hv struc him hd nt ɖoz sandhilz rvild t him ɖ bodi v hiz frendśp layñ wɖ ɖ red on its lips leid p in pīt—fr instns, Cam, ɖ litl grl, Ramzi’z yungist dōtr. Ś wz picñ Swīt Alis on ɖ banc. Ś wz wîld n firs. Ś wd nt “gv a flǎr t ɖ jntlmn” az ɖ nrsmeid tld hr. No! no! no! ś wd nt! Ś clenćt hr fist. Ś stamt. N Mr Báncs flt ejd n sadnd n smhǎ pt intu ɖ roñ bî hr abt hiz frendśp. H mst hv draid n śrunc.

Ɖ Ramziz wr nt rić, n it wz a wundr hǎ ɖe manijd t cntrîv it ol. Et ćildṛn! T fīd et ćildṛn on f’loṣfi! Hir wz anɖr v ɖm, Jaspr ɖs tîm, strolñ past, t hv a śot at a brd, h sd, nonśḷntli, swññ Lili’z hand lîc a pumphandl az h pást, ẃć cōzd Mr Báncs t se, bitrli, hǎ Ś wz a fevrit. Ɖr wz edyceśn nǎ t b cnsidrd (tru, Msz Ramzi hd smʈñ v hr ǒn phps) let alon ɖ dêli wer n ter v śuz n stocñz ẃć ɖoz “gret feloz,” ol wel groun, anğlr, ruʈlis yuñstrz, mst rqîr. Az fr biyñ śr ẃć wz ẃć, or in ẃt ordr ɖe cem, ɖt wz bynd him. H cōld ɖm prîvtli aftr ɖ Cñz n Qīnz v Ñgḷnd; Cam ɖ Wicid, Jemz ɖ Ruʈlis, Andru ɖ Just, Pru ɖ Fer—fr Pru wd hv byti, h ʈt, hǎ cd ś hlp it?—n Andru brenz. Ẃl h wōct p ɖ drîv n Lili Brisco sd yes n no n capt hiz comnts (fr ś wz in luv wɖ ɖm ol, in luv wɖ ɖs wrld) h weid Ramzi’z ces, cmiẓretd him, envid him, az f h hd sìn him dvst himslf v ol ɖoz gloriz v îṣleśn n osteṛti ẃć crǎnd him in yʈ t cumbr himslf defiṇtli wɖ fluṭrñ wñz n clucñ dmestiṣtiz. Ɖe gev him smʈñ—Wiłm Báncs acnolijd ɖt; it wd hv bn pleznt f Cam hd stuc a flǎr in hiz cot or clambrd ovr hiz śoldr, az ovr hr faɖr’z, t lc at a picćr v Vsūvịs in irupśn; bt ɖe hd olso, hiz old frendz cd nt bt fīl, dstroid smʈñ. Ẃt wd a strenjr ʈnc nǎ? Ẃt dd ɖs Lili Brisco ʈnc? Cd wn hlp noṭsñ ɖt habits grù on him? xntriṣtiz, wìcnisz phps? It wz astoṇśñ ɖt a man v hiz inṭlect cd stūp so lo az h dd—bt ɖt wz tù harś a frêz—cd dpnd so mć az h dd upn ppl’z prêz.

“Ǒ, bt,” sd Lili, “ʈnc v hiz wrc!”

Ẃnvr ś “ʈt v hiz wrc” ś olwz sw clirli bfr hr a larj cićntebl. It wz Andru’z dwñ. Ś asct him ẃt hiz faɖr’z bcs wr abt. “Subjict n objict n ɖ nećr v riaḷti,” Andru hd sd. N ẃn ś sd Hevnz, ś hd no nośn ẃt ɖt mnt. “Ʈnc v a cićntebl ɖen,” h tld hr, “ẃn y’r nt ɖr.”

So nǎ ś olwz sw, ẃn ś ʈt v Mr Ramzi’z wrc, a scrubd cićntebl. It lojd nǎ in ɖ forc v a pértrī, fr ɖe hd rīćt ɖ orćd. N wɖ a penfl ef̣t v consntreśn, ś foc̣st hr mînd, nt upn ɖ silvr-bost barc v ɖ tri, or upn its fiś-śept līvz, bt upn a fantm cićntebl, wn v ɖoz scrubd-bord teblz, grend n nótd, huz vrću sīmz t hv bn leid bér bî yirz v musklr integṛti, ẃć stuc ɖr, its for legz in er. Naćṛli, f wn’z dez wr pást in ɖs siyñ v anğlr esnsz, ɖs rdysñ v luvli īvnñz, wɖ ol ɖer flamngo clǎdz n blu n silvr t a ẃît dīl for-legid tebl (n it wz a marc v ɖ fînist mîndz t d so), naćṛli wn cd nt b jujd lîc an ordnri prsn.

Mr Báncs lîct hr fr bidñ him “ʈnc v hiz wrc.” H hd ʈt v it, ofn n ofn. Tîmz wɖt numbr, h hd sd, “Ramzi z wn v ɖoz men hu d ɖer bst wrc bfr ɖe r forti.” H hd md a defiṇt contṛbyśn t f’loṣfi in wn litl bc ẃn h wz onli fîv n twenti; ẃt cem aftr wz mor or les amplif̣ceśn, reṗtiśn. Bt ɖ numbr v men hu mc a defiṇt contṛbyśn t enʈñ ẃtsvr z vri smōl, h sd, pōzñ bî ɖ pértrī, wel bruśt, scrūpyḷsli xact, xqiztli jdiśl. Sudnli, az f ɖ muvmnt v hiz hand hd rlist it, ɖ lod v hr akḿletd impreśnz v him tiltd p, n dǎn pord in a pondṛs aṿlanć ol ś flt abt him. Ɖt wz wn snseśn. Ɖen p rouz in a fym ɖ esns v hiz biyñ. Ɖt wz anɖr. Ś flt hrslf trnsfixt bî ɖ intnṣti v hr pspśn; it wz hiz sveṛti; hiz gdnis. I rspct y (ś adrest sîḷntli him in prsn) in evri atm; y r nt ven; y r intîrli imprsnl; y r fînr ɖn Mr Ramzi; y r ɖ fînist hymn biyñ ɖt I nǒ; y hv nɖr wîf nr ćîld (wɖt eni sx́l fīlñ, ś loñd t ćeriś ɖt lonlinis), y liv fr sayns (invoḷntṛli, sx́nz v ptetoz rouz bfr hr îz); prêz wd b an insult t y; jenṛs, pyr-hartd, hrǒic man! Bt simlteńsli, ś rmembrd hǎ h hd bròt a vel ol ɖ we p hir; objctd t dogz on ćerz; wd prǒz fr aurz (untl Mr Ramzi slamd ǎt v ɖ rūm) abt sōlt in vejtblz n ɖ iniqti v Ñgliś ccs.

Hǎ ɖen dd it wrc ǎt, ol ɖs? Hǎ dd wn juj ppl, ʈnc v ɖm? Hǎ dd wn ad p ɖs n ɖt n cnclud ɖt it wz lîcñ wn flt or dslîcñ? N t ɖoz wrdz, ẃt mīnñ ataćt, aftr ol? Standñ nǎ, apaṛntli trnsfixt, bî ɖ pértrī, impreśnz pord in upn hr v ɖoz tū men, n t folo hr ʈt wz lîc folowñ a vôs ẃć spīcs tù qcli t b tecn dǎn bî wn’z pensl, n ɖ vôs wz hr ǒn vôs seyñ wɖt promtñ undinaybl, eṿlastñ, contṛdictri ʈñz, so ɖt īvn ɖ fiśrz n humps on ɖ barc v ɖ pértrī wr irevcbli fixt ɖr fr itrṇti. Y hv gretnis, ś cntinyd, bt Mr Ramzi hz nn v it. H z peti, slfiś, ven, īgtistic; h z spôlt; h z a tîṛnt; h werz Msz Ramzi t deʈ; bt h hz ẃt y (ś adrest Mr Báncs) hv nt; a fîri unwrldlinis; h nz nʈñ abt trîflz; h luvz dogz n hiz ćildṛn. H hz et. Mr Báncs hz nn. Dd h nt cm dǎn in tū cots ɖ uɖr nît n let Msz Ramzi trim hiz her intu a pŭdñbesn? Ol v ɖs danst p n dǎn, lîc a cumṗni v nats, ć sepṛt bt ol marvḷsli cntrold in an inviẓbl ilastic net—danst p n dǎn in Lili’z mînd, in n abt ɖ branćz v ɖ pértrī, ẃr stl huñ in efji ɖ scrubd cićntebl, simbl v hr pṛfǎnd rspct fr Mr Ramzi’z mînd, untl hr ʈt ẃć hd spun qcr n qcr xplodd v its ǒn intnṣti; ś flt rlist; a śot wnt of clos at hand, n ɖr cem, flayñ fṛm its fragmnts, frîtnd, ifysiv, tymulćs, a floc v starlñz.

“Jaspr!” sd Mr Báncs. Ɖe trnd ɖ we ɖ starlñz flù, ovr ɖ teris. Folowñ ɖ scatr v swift-flayñ brdz in ɖ scî ɖe stept ʈru ɖ gap in ɖ hî hej stret intu Mr Ramzi, hu būmd trajicli at ɖm, “Smwn hd blundrd!”

Hiz îz, glezd wɖ imośn, dfaynt wɖ trajic intnṣti, met ɖerz fr a secnd, n trembld on ɖ vrj v recgniśn; bt ɖen, rezñ hiz hand, haf-we t hiz fes az f t avrt, t bruś of, in an aġni v pīviś śem, ɖer norml gêz, az f h begd ɖm t wɖhold fr a momnt ẃt h ń t b inevitbl, az f h imprest upn ɖm hiz ǒn ćîldlîc rzntmnt v inṭrupśn, yt īvn in ɖ momnt v dscuṿri wz nt t b rǎtd utrli, bt wz dtrmind t hold fast t smʈñ v ɖs dliśs imośn, ɖs impyr rapṣdi v ẃć h wz aśemd, bt in ẃć h revld—h trnd abrupli, slamd hiz prîvt dor on ɖm; n, Lili Brisco n Mr Báncs, lcñ unīẓli p intu ɖ scî, obzrvd ɖt ɖ floc v starlñz ẃć Jaspr hd rǎtd wɖ hiz gun hd setld on ɖ tops v ɖ elmtrīz.


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5

“N īvn f it z’nt fîn tmro,” sd Msz Ramzi, rezñ hr îz t glans at Wiłm Báncs n Lili Brisco az ɖe pást, “it wl b anɖr de. N nǎ,” ś sd, ʈncñ ɖt Lili’z ćarm wz hr Ćînīz îz, aslant in hr ẃît, pucrd litl fes, bt it wd tec a clevr man t si it, “n nǎ stand p, n let m meźr yr leg,” fr ɖe mt g t ɖ Lîthǎs aftr ol, n ś mst si f ɖ stocñ dd nt nīd t b an inć or tū longr in ɖ leg.

Smîlñ, fr it wz an admṛbl îdīa, ɖt hd flaśt upn hr ɖs vri secnd—Wiłm n Lili śd mari—ś tc ɖ heɖr-mixćr stocñ, wɖ its cris-cros v stīl nīdlz at ɖ mǎʈ v it, n meźrd it agnst Jemz’z leg.

“Mî dir, stand stl,” ś sd, fr in hiz jeḷsi, nt lîcñ t srv az meźrñ bloc fr ɖ Lîthǎs cīpr’z litl bô, Jemz fiɉtd prṗsli; n f h dd ɖt, hǎ cd ś si, wz it tù loñ, wz it tù śort? ś asct.

Ś lct p—ẃt dīmn pzest him, hr yungist, hr ćeriśt?—n sw ɖ rūm, sw ɖ ćerz, ʈt ɖm firf̣li śabi. Ɖer entrelz, az Andru sd ɖ uɖr de, wr ol ovr ɖ flor; bt ɖen ẃt wz ɖ pônt, ś asct, v bayñ gd ćerz t let ɖm spôl p hir ol ʈru ɖ wintr ẃn ɖ hǎs, wɖ onli wn old wmn t si t it, poztivli dript wɖ wet? Nvr mînd, ɖ rent wz prisîsli tupns hêpni; ɖ ćildṛn luvd it; it dd hr huzbnd gd t b ʈri ʈǎznd, or f ś mst b akṛt, ʈri hundṛd mîlz fṛm hiz lîbrriz n hiz lecćrz n hiz dsîplz; n ɖr wz rūm fr vizitrz. Mats, campbedz, crezi gosts v ćerz n teblz huz Lundn lîf v srvis wz dn—ɖe dd wel inuf hir; n a foṭgraf or tū, n bcs. Bcs, ś ʈt, grù v ɖmslvz. Ś nvr hd tîm t rīd ɖm. Alas! īvn ɖ bcs ɖt hd bn gvn hr n inscrîbd bî ɖ hand v ɖ powt himslf: “Fr hr huz wśz mst b obeid”… “Ɖ hapịr Heḷn v ǎr dez”…dsgresfl t se, ś hd nvr réd ɖm. N Crūm on ɖ Mînd n Bêts on ɖ Savij Custmz v Poḷnīźa (“Mî dir, stand stl,” ś sd)—nɖr v ɖoz cd wn snd t ɖ Lîthǎs. At a srtn momnt, ś s’pozd, ɖ hǎs wd bcm so śabi ɖt smʈñ mst b dn. F ɖe cd b tòt t wîp ɖer fīt n nt brñ ɖ bīć in wɖ ɖm—ɖt wd b smʈñ. Crabz, ś hd t alǎ, f Andru riyli wśt t dsct ɖm, or f Jaspr b’livd ɖt wn cd mc sūp fṛm sìwīd, wn cd nt privnt it; or Rôz’z objicts—ślz, rìdz, stonz; fr ɖe wr giftd, hr ćildṛn, bt ol in qt difṛnt wez. N ɖ rzult v it wz, ś said, tecñ in ɖ hol rūm fṛm flor t sīlñ, az ś hld ɖ stocñ agnst Jemz’z leg, ɖt ʈñz got śabịr n got śabịr sumr aftr sumr. Ɖ mat wz fedñ; ɖ wōlpepr wz flapñ. Y cd’nt tel eni mor ɖt ɖoz wr rozz on it. Stl, f evri dor in a hǎs z left ppćli opn, n no loc-mcr in ɖ hol v Scotḷnd cn mnd a bolt, ʈñz mst spôl. Ẃt wz ɖ ys v flññ a grīn Caśmir śōl ovr ɖ éj v a picćrfrem? In tū wīcs it wd b ɖ culr v pīsūp. Bt it wz ɖ dorz ɖt anoid hr; evri dor wz left opn. Ś lisnd. Ɖ drw̃rūm dor wz opn; ɖ hōldor wz opn; it sǎndd az f ɖ bedrūm dorz wr opn; n srtnli ɖ windo on ɖ landñ wz opn, fr ɖt ś hd opnd hrslf. Ɖt windoz śd b opn, n dorz śut—simpl az it wz, cd nn v ɖm rmembr it? Ś wd g intu ɖ meidz’ bedrūmz at nît n fînd ɖm sìld lîc uvnz, xpt fr Mri’z, ɖ Swis grl, hu wd rɖr g wɖt a baʈ ɖn wɖt freś er, bt ɖen at hom, ś hd sd, “ɖ mǎntinz r so bytifl.” Ś hd sd ɖt last nît lcñ ǎt v ɖ windo wɖ tirz in hr îz. “Ɖ mǎntinz r so bytifl.” Hr faɖr wz dayñ ɖr, Msz Ramzi ń. H wz līvñ ɖm faɖrlis. Scoldñ n demnstretñ (hǎ t mc a bed, hǎ t opn a windo, wɖ handz ɖt śut n spred lîc a Frenćwŭmn’z) ol hd foldd itslf qaytli abt hr, ẃn ɖ grl spouc, az, aftr a flît ʈru ɖ sunśîn ɖ wñz v a brd fold ɖmslvz qaytli n ɖ blu v its plūmij ćenjz fṛm brît stīl t soft prpl. Ś hd std ɖr sîḷnt fr ɖr wz nʈñ t b sd. H hd cansr v ɖ ʈrot. At ɖ rec̣lex́n—hǎ ś hd std ɖr, hǎ ɖ grl hd sd, “At hom ɖ mǎntinz r so bytifl,” n ɖr wz no hop, no hop ẃtvr, ś hd a spazm v iṛteśn, n spīcñ śarpli, sd t Jemz:

“Stand stl. D’nt b tîrsm,” so ɖt h ń instntli ɖt hr sveṛti wz riyl, n stretnd hiz leg n ś meźrd it.

Ɖ stocñ wz tù śort bî haf an inć at līst, mcñ alawns fr ɖ fact ɖt Sōrli’z litl bô wd b les wel groun ɖn Jemz.

“It’s tù śort,” ś sd, “evr so mć tù śort.”

Nvr dd enbdi lc so sad. Bitr n blac, haf-we dǎn, in ɖ darcnis, in ɖ śaft ẃć ran fṛm ɖ súnlît t ɖ depʈs, phps a tir formd; a tir fél; ɖ wōtrz sweid ɖs we n ɖt, rsivd it, n wr at rest. Nvr dd enbdi lc so sad.

Bt wz it nʈñ bt lcs, ppl sd? Ẃt wz ɖr bhnd it—hr byti n splendr? Hd h bloun hiz brenz ǎt, ɖe asct, hd h daid ɖ wīc bfr ɖe wr marid—sm uɖr, rlịr luvr, v hūm rūmrz rīćt wn? Or wz ɖr nʈñ? nʈñ bt an incmpaṛbl byti ẃć ś livd bhnd, n cd d nʈñ t dstrb? Fr īẓli ɖo ś mt hv sd at sm momnt v intiṃsi ẃn storiz v gret paśn, v luv fôld, v ambiśn ʈwortd cem hr we hǎ ś tù hd noun or flt or bn ʈru it hrslf, ś nvr spouc. Ś wz sîḷnt olwz. Ś ń ɖen—ś ń wɖt hvñ lrnt. Hr simpliṣti faɖmd ẃt clevr ppl fōlṣfaid. Hr snglnis v mînd md hr drop plúm lîc a ston, alît xact az a brd, gev hr, naćṛli, ɖs swūp n fōl v ɖ spirit upn truʈ ẃć dlîtd, īzd, sstend—fōlsli phps.

(“Nećr hz bt litl cle,” sd Mr Báncs wns, mć muvd bî hr vôs on ɖ teḷfon, ɖo ś wz onli telñ him a fact abt a tren, “lîc ɖt v ẃć ś moldd y.” H sw hr at ɖ end v ɖ lîn, Grīc, blu-aid, stret-nozd. Hǎ incongrụs it sīmd t b teḷfonñ t a wmn lîc ɖt. Ɖ Gresz asmblñ sīmd t hv jônd handz in medoz v asf̣dél t cmpoz ɖt fes. Yes, h wd cać ɖ 10:30 at Ystn.

“Bt ś’z no mor awer v hr byti ɖn a ćîld,” sd Mr Báncs, rplesñ ɖ rsivr n crosñ ɖ rūm t si ẃt progres ɖ wrcṃn wr mcñ wɖ an hotel ẃć ɖe wr bildñ at ɖ bac v hiz hǎs. N h ʈt v Msz Ramzi az h lct at ɖt str amñ ɖ unfiniśt wōlz. Fr olwz, h ʈt, ɖr wz smʈñ incongrụs t b wrct intu ɖ harṃni v hr fes. Ś clapt a dír-stōcr’z hat on hr hed; ś ran acrs ɖ lōn in ġlośz t snać a ćîld fṛm misćif. So ɖt f it wz hr byti mirli ɖt wn ʈt v, wn mst rmembr ɖ qiṿrñ ʈñ, ɖ livñ ʈñ (ɖe wr cariyñ brics p a litl planc az h woćt ɖm), n wrc it intu ɖ picćr; or f wn ʈt v hr simpli az a wmn, wn mst indǎ hr wɖ sm frīc v idịsncṛsi—ś dd nt lîc adṃreśn—or s’poz sm letnt dzîr t dof hr roylti v form az f hr byti bord hr n ol ɖt men se v byti, n ś wontd onli t b lîc uɖr ppl, insignificnt. H dd nt nǒ. H dd nt nǒ. H mst g t hiz wrc.)

Nitñ hr rediś-brǎn hẹri stocñ, wɖ hr hed ǎtlînd absrdli bî ɖ gílt frem, ɖ grīn śōl ẃć ś hd tóst ovr ɖ éj v ɖ frem, n ɖ oʈenṭcetd mastrpìs bî Mîcl Anɉlo, Msz Ramzi smuɖd ǎt ẃt hd bn harś in hr manr a momnt bfr, rezd hiz hed, n cist hr litl bô on ɖ fōrhed. “Let s fînd anɖr picćr t cut ǎt,” ś sd.


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6

Bt ẃt hd hapnd?

Smwn hd blundrd.

Startñ fṛm hr ḿzñ ś gev mīnñ t wrdz ẃć ś hd hld mīnñlis in hr mînd fr a loñ streć v tîm. “Smwn hd blundrd”—Fixñ hr śort-sîtd îz upn hr huzbnd, hu wz nǎ bẹrñ dǎn upn hr, ś gezd steḍli untl hiz closnis rvild t hr (ɖ jngl metd itslf in hr hed) ɖt smʈñ hd hapnd, smwn hd blundrd. Bt ś cd nt fr ɖ lîf v hr ʈnc ẃt.

H śivrd; h qivrd. Ol hiz vaṇti, ol hiz saṭsfax́n in hiz ǒn splendr, rîdñ fél az a ʈundrbolt, firs az a hōc at ɖ hed v hiz men ʈru ɖ vali v deʈ, hd bn śatrd, dstroid. Stormd at bî śot n śel, boldli w roud n wel, flaśt ʈru ɖ vali v deʈ, volid n ʈundrd—stret intu Lili Brisco n Wiłm Báncs. H qivrd; h śivrd.

Nt fr ɖ wrld wd ś hv spocn t him, riylîzñ, fṛm ɖ fmiłr sînz, hiz îz avrtd, n sm krịs gaɖ̇rñ tgɖr v hiz prsn, az f h rápt himslf abt n nīdd privsi intu ẃć t rgen hiz eqlibrịm, ɖt h wz ǎtrejd n anḡśt. Ś stroct Jemz’z hed; ś trnsfŕd t him ẃt ś flt fr hr huzbnd, n, az ś woćt him ćōc yelo ɖ ẃît dresśrt v a jntlmn in ɖ Armi n Nevi Storz caṭlog, ʈt ẃt a dlît it wd b t hr śd h trn ǎt a gret artist; n ẃ śd h nt? H hd a splendid fōrhed. Ɖen, lcñ p, az hr huzbnd pást hr wns mor, ś wz rlivd t fînd ɖt ɖ ruin wz veild; domestiṣti trîumft; custm crūnd its suɖñ riɖm, so ɖt ẃn stopñ dlibṛtli, az hiz trn cem rnd agn, at ɖ windo h bnt qizicli n ẃimzicli t ticl Jemz’z bér cāf wɖ a sprig v smʈñ, ś twitd him fr hvñ dspaćt “ɖt pur yuñ man,” Ćarlz Tanzli. Tanzli hd hd t g in n rait hiz diṣteśn, h sd.

“Jemz wl hv t rait HIZ diṣteśn wn v ɖz dez,” h add îronicli, flicñ hiz sprig.

Hetñ hiz faɖr, Jemz bruśt awe ɖ ticlñ spre wɖ ẃć in a manr pkłr t him, compǎnd v sveṛti n hymr, h tizd hiz yungist sun’z bér leg.

Ś wz trayñ t gt ɖz tîrsm stocñz finiśt t snd t Sōrli’z litl bô tmro, sd Msz Ramzi.

Ɖr wz’nt ɖ slîtist poṣbl ćans ɖt ɖe cd g t ɖ Lîthǎs tmro, Mr Ramzi snapt ǎt irasbli.

Hǎ dd h nǒ? ś asct. Ɖ wind ofn ćenjd.

Ɖ xtrordnri iraṣ́naḷti v hr rmarc, ɖ foli v wimin’z mîndz inrejd him. H hd ridn ʈru ɖ vali v deʈ, bn śatrd n śivrd; n nǎ, ś flù in ɖ fes v facts, md hiz ćildṛn hop ẃt wz utrli ǎt v ɖ qsćn, in ifct, tld lîz. H stamt hiz ft on ɖ ston step. “Dám y,” h sd. Bt ẃt hd ś sd? Simpli ɖt it mt b fîn tmro. So it mt.

Nt wɖ ɖ b’romitr fōlñ n ɖ wind dy wst.

T psy truʈ wɖ sć astoṇśñ lac v cnsiḍreśn fr uɖr ppl’z fīlñz, t rend ɖ ʈin veilz v siṿlîześn so wontnli, so brūṭli, wz t hr so hoṛbl an ǎtrej v hymn dīsnsi ɖt, wɖt rplayñ, dezd n blîndd, ś bnt hr hed az f t let ɖ plt v jagid hêl, ɖ drenć v drti wōtr, b’spatr hr unribyct. Ɖr wz nʈñ t b sd.

H std bî hr in sîḷns. Vri humbli, at leñʈ, h sd ɖt h wd step ovr n asc ɖ Cǒstgardz f ś lîct.

Ɖr wz nbdi hūm ś revṛnst az ś revṛnst him.

Ś wz qt redi t tec hiz wrd fr it, ś sd. Onli ɖen ɖe nīd nt cut sanẉjz—ɖt wz ol. Ɖe cem t hr, naćṛli, sins ś wz a wmn, ol de loñ wɖ ɖs n ɖt; wn wontñ ɖs, anɖr ɖt; ɖ ćildṛn wr growñ p; ś ofn flt ś wz nʈñ bt a spunj sopt fl v hymn imośnz. Ɖen h sd, Dám y. H sd, It mst ren. H sd, It w’nt ren; n instntli a Hevn v s’kṛti opnd bfr hr. Ɖr wz nbdi ś revṛnst mor. Ś wz nt gd inuf t tî hiz śūstrñz, ś flt.

Olrdi aśemd v ɖt peć̣ḷns, v ɖt jestikleśn v ɖ handz ẃn ćarjñ at ɖ hed v hiz trūps, Mr Ramzi rɖr śīpiśli prodd hiz sun’z bér legz wns mor, n ɖen, az f h hd hr līv fr it, wɖ a muvmnt ẃć odli rmîndd hiz wîf v ɖ gret sìlayn at ɖ Zu tumḅlñ bcwdz aftr swolowñ hiz fiś n waḷpñ of so ɖt ɖ wōtr in ɖ tanc wośz fṛm sîd t sîd, h dîvd intu ɖ īvnñ er ẃć, olrdi ʈinr, wz tecñ ɖ substns fṛm līvz n hejz bt, az f in rtrn, rstorñ t rozz n pncs a lustr ẃć ɖe hd nt hd bî de.

“Smwn hd blundrd,” h sd agn, strîdñ of, p n dǎn ɖ teris.

Bt hǎ xtrordnṛli hiz not hd ćenjd! It wz lîc ɖ ccu; “in Jūn h gts ǎt v tyn”; az f h wr trayñ ovr, tnttivli sīcñ, sm frêz fr a ny mūd, n hvñ onli ɖs at hand, yzd it, cract ɖo it wz. Bt it sǎndd r’dikyḷs—”Smwn hd blundrd”—sd lîc ɖt, olmst az a qsćn, wɖt eni cnvix́n, mlodịsli. Msz Ramzi cd nt hlp smîlñ, n sn, śr inuf, wōcñ p n dǎn, h humd it, dropt it, fél sîḷnt.

H wz sef, h wz rstord t hiz privsi. H stopt t lît hiz pîp, lct wns at hiz wîf n sun in ɖ windo, n az wn raises wn’z îz fṛm a pej in an xpres tren n siz a farm, a tri, a clustr v cotjz az an iḷstreśn, a confmeśn v smʈñ on ɖ printd pej t ẃć wn rtrnz, forṭfaid, n saṭsfaid, so wɖt hiz dstnḡśñ îɖr hiz sun or hiz wîf, ɖ sît v ɖm forṭfaid him n saṭsfaid him n conṣcretd hiz ef̣t t arîv at a prf̣cli clir unḍstandñ v ɖ probḷm ẃć nǎ ingejd ɖ eṇjiz v hiz splendid mînd.

It wz a splendid mînd. Fr f ʈt z lîc ɖ cībord v a piano, dvîdd intu so mni nots, or lîc ɖ alf̣bét z renjd in twenti-six letrz ol in ordr, ɖen hiz splendid mînd hd no sort v dificlti in runñ ovr ɖoz letrz wn bî wn, frmli n akṛtli, untl it hd rīćt, se, ɖ letr Q. H rīćt Q. Vri fy ppl in ɖ hol v Ñgḷnd evr rīć Q. Hir, stopñ fr wn momnt bî ɖ ston ŕn ẃć hld ɖ jrenịmz, h sw, bt nǎ far, far awe, lîc ćildṛn picñ p ślz, dvînli iṇsnt n okpaid wɖ litl trîflz at ɖer fīt n smhǎ intîrli dfnslis agnst a dūm ẃć h psivd, hiz wîf n sun, tgɖr, in ɖ windo. Ɖe nīdd hiz pṛtx́n; h gev it ɖm. Bt aftr Q? Ẃt cmz nxt? Aftr Q ɖr r a numbr v letrz ɖ last v ẃć z scersli viẓbl t mortl îz, bt glimrz red in ɖ distns. Z z onli rīćt wns bî wn man in a jeṇreśn. Stl, f h cd rīć R it wd b smʈñ. Hir at līst wz Q. H dug hiz hìlz in at Q. Q h wz śr v. Q h cd demnstret. F Q ɖen z Q—R—. Hir h noct hiz pîp ǎt, wɖ tū or ʈri reẓnnt taps on ɖ handl v ɖ ŕn, n pṛsidd. “Ɖen R… “ H brêst himslf. H clenćt himslf.

Qoḷtz ɖt wd hv sevd a śip’s cumṗni xpozd on a brôlñ sì wɖ six biscits n a flasc v wōtr—indyṛns n justis, fōrsît, dvośn, scil, cem t hiz hlp. R z ɖen—ẃt z R?

A śutr, lîc ɖ leɖn îlid v a liẓd, flicrd ovr ɖ intnṣti v hiz gêz n obskrd ɖ letr R. In ɖt flaś v darcnis h hŕd ppl seyñ—h wz a fełr—ɖt R wz bynd him. H wd nvr rīć R. On t R, wns mor. R—

Qoḷtz ɖt in a dezḷt xpdiśn acrs ɖ îsi soḷtydz v ɖ Polr rījn wd hv md him ɖ līdr, ɖ gîd, ɖ cǎnslr, huz tmpr, nɖr sanḡn nr dspondnt, srvez wɖ eqniṃti ẃt z t b n fesz it, cem t hiz hlp agn. R—

Ɖ liẓd’z î flicrd wns mor. Ɖ veinz on hiz fōrhed buljd. Ɖ jreńm in ɖ ŕn bcem startlñli viẓbl n, dspleid amñ its līvz, h cd si, wɖt wśñ it, ɖt old, ɖt obvịs dstñśn btwn ɖ tū clasz v men; on ɖ wn hand ɖ stedi gwrz v sūṗhymn streñʈ hu, plodñ n prṣvirñ, rpit ɖ hol alf̣bét in ordr, twenti-six letrz in ol, fṛm start t finiś; on ɖ uɖr ɖ giftd, ɖ inspîrd hu, mrakḷsli, lump ol ɖ letrz tgɖr in wn flaś—ɖ we v jīńs. H hd nt jīńs; h leid no clem t ɖt: bt h hd, or mt hv hd, ɖ pǎr t rpit evri letr v ɖ alf̣bét fṛm A t Z akṛtli in ordr. Mnẃl, h stuc at Q. On, ɖen, on t R.

Fīlñz ɖt wd nt hv dsgrest a līdr hu, nǎ ɖt ɖ sno hz bgun t fōl n ɖ mǎntintop z cuvrd in mist, nz ɖt h mst le himslf dǎn n dî bfr mornñ cmz, stoul upn him, pelñ ɖ culr v hiz îz, gvñ him, īvn in ɖ tū minits v hiz trn on ɖ teris, ɖ blīćt lc v wiɖrd old ej. Yt h wd nt dî layñ dǎn; h wd fînd sm crag v roc, n ɖr, hiz îz fixt on ɖ storm, trayñ t ɖ end t pirs ɖ darcnis, h wd dî standñ. H wd nvr rīć R.

H std stoc-stil, bî ɖ ŕn, wɖ ɖ jreńm flowñ ovr it. Hǎ mni men in a ʈǎznd miłn, h asct himslf, rīć Z aftr ol? Śrli ɖ līdr v a f’lorn hop me asc himslf ɖt, n ansr, wɖt treć̣ri t ɖ xpdiśn bhnd him, “Wn phps.” Wn in a jeṇreśn. Z h t b blemd ɖen f h z nt ɖt wn? pṛvîdd h hz tôld oṇstli, gvn t ɖ bst v hiz pǎr, n tl h hz no mor left t gv? N hiz fem lasts hǎ loñ? It z pmisbl īvn fr a dayñ hiro t ʈnc bfr h dîz hǎ men wl spīc v him hiraftr. Hiz fem lasts phps tū ʈǎznd yirz. N ẃt r tū ʈǎznd yirz? (asct Mr Ramzi îronicli, stẹrñ at ɖ hej). Ẃt, indd, f y lc fṛm a mǎntintop dǎn ɖ loñ wests v ɖ ejz? Ɖ vri ston wn cics wɖ wn’z būt wl ǎtlast Śecspir. Hiz ǒn litl lît wd śîn, nt vri brîtli, fr a yir or tū, n wd ɖen b mrjd in sm bigr lît, n ɖt in a bigr stl. (H lct intu ɖ hej, intu ɖ intric̣si v ɖ twigz.) Hu ɖen cd blem ɖ līdr v ɖt f’lorn parti ẃć aftr ol hz clîmd hî inuf t si ɖ west v ɖ yirz n ɖ peṛśñ v ɖ starz, f bfr deʈ stifnz hiz limz bynd ɖ pǎr v muvmnt h dz a litl conśsli rêz hiz numd fngrz t hiz brǎ, n sqer hiz śoldrz, so ɖt ẃn ɖ srćparti cmz ɖe wl fînd him ded at hiz post, ɖ fîn figr v a soljr? Mr Ramzi sqerd hiz śoldrz n std vri uprît bî ɖ ŕn.

Hu śl blem him, f, so standñ fr a momnt h dwelz upn fem, upn srćpartiz, upn cernz rezd bî gretfl folowrz ovr hiz bonz? Fîṇli, hu śl blem ɖ līdr v ɖ dūmd xpdiśn, f, hvñ advnćrd t ɖ utrmost, n yzd hiz streñʈ hoļi t ɖ last ǎns n fōḷn aslip nt mć cẹrñ f h wecs or nt, h nǎ psivz bî sm pricñ in hiz toz ɖt h livz, n dz nt on ɖ hol objct t liv, bt rqîrz simṗʈi, n ẃisci, n smwn t tel ɖ stori v hiz suf̣rñ t at wns? Hu śl blem him? Hu wl nt sīcṛtli rjôs ẃn ɖ hiro pts hiz armr of, n hōlts bî ɖ windo n gezz at hiz wîf n sun, hu, vri distnt at frst, graɉli cm closr n closr, tl lips n bc n hed r clirli bfr him, ɖo stl luvli n unfmiłr fṛm ɖ intnṣti v hiz îṣleśn n ɖ west v ejz n ɖ peṛśñ v ɖ starz, n fîṇli ptñ hiz pîp in hiz pocit n bndñ hiz magnifisnt hed bfr hr—hu wl blem him f h dz homij t ɖ byti v ɖ wrld?


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7

Bt hiz sun hetd him. H hetd him fr cmñ p t ɖm, fr stopñ n lcñ dǎn on ɖm; h hetd him fr inṭruptñ ɖm; h hetd him fr ɖ xlteśn n sbliṃti v hiz jsćrz; fr ɖ magnifisns v hiz hed; fr hiz xactñnis n īgtizm (fr ɖr h std, cmandñ ɖm t atnd t him) bt most v ol h hetd ɖ twañ n twitr v hiz faɖr’z imośn ẃć, vîbretñ rnd ɖm, dstrbd ɖ prfict simpliṣti n gd sns v hiz rleśnz wɖ hiz muɖr. Bî lcñ fixidli at ɖ pej, h hopt t mc him muv on; bî pôntñ hiz fngr at a wrd, h hopt t rcōl hiz muɖr’z atnśn, ẃć, h ń angṛli, wevrd instntli hiz faɖr stopt. Bt, no. Nʈñ wd mc Mr Ramzi muv on. Ɖr h std, dmandñ simṗʈi.

Msz Ramzi, hu hd bn sitñ lūsli, foldñ hr sun in hr arm, brêst hrslf, n, haf trnñ, sīmd t rêz hrslf wɖ an ef̣t, n at wns t por irect intu ɖ er a ren v eṇji, a coḷm v spre, lcñ at ɖ sem tîm aṇmetd n alîv az f ol hr eṇjiz wr biyñ fyzd intu fors, brnñ n iluṃnetñ (qaytli ɖo ś sat, tecñ p hr stocñ agn), n intu ɖs dliśs fcundti, ɖs fǎntn n spre v lîf, ɖ fetl sṭriḷti v ɖ mel plunjd itslf, lîc a bīc v bras, baṛn n bér. H wontd simṗʈi. H wz a fełr, h sd. Msz Ramzi flaśt hr nīdlz. Mr Ramzi rpitd, nvr tecñ hiz îz fṛm hr fes, ɖt h wz a fełr. Ś blù ɖ wrdz bac at him. “Ćarlz Tanzli… “ ś sd. Bt h mst hv mor ɖn ɖt. It wz simṗʈi h wontd, t b aśurd v hiz jīńs, frst v ol, n ɖen t b tecn wɖn ɖ srcl v lîf, wormd n suɖd, t hv hiz snsz rstord t him, hiz baṛnis md frtîl, n ol ɖ rūmz v ɖ hǎs md fl v lîf—ɖ drw̃rūm; bhnd ɖ drw̃rūm ɖ cićn; abv ɖ cićn ɖ bedrūmz; n bynd ɖm ɖ nrṣriz; ɖe mst b frniśt, ɖe mst b fild wɖ lîf.

Ćarlz Tanzli ʈt him ɖ gretist meṭfziśn v ɖ tîm, ś sd. Bt h mst hv mor ɖn ɖt. H mst hv simṗʈi. H mst b aśurd ɖt h tù livd in ɖ hart v lîf; wz nīdd; nt onli hir, bt ol ovr ɖ wrld. Flaśñ hr nīdlz, confidnt, uprît, ś crietd drw̃rūm n cićn, set ɖm ol aglo; bád him tec hiz īz ɖr, g in n ǎt, injô himslf. Ś laft, ś nitd. Standñ btwn hr niz, vri stif, Jemz flt ol hr streñʈ flẹrñ p t b drunc n qnćt bî ɖ bīc v bras, ɖ arid siṃtar v ɖ mel, ẃć smout mrsilisli, agn n agn, dmandñ simṗʈi.

H wz a fełr, h rpitd. Wel, lc ɖen, fīl ɖen. Flaśñ hr nīdlz, glansñ rnd abt hr, ǎt v ɖ windo, intu ɖ rūm, at Jemz himslf, ś aśurd him, bynd a śado v a dǎt, bî hr laf, hr pôz, hr compitns (az a nrs cariyñ a lît acrs a darc rūm aśurz a frax́s ćîld), ɖt it wz riyl; ɖ hǎs wz fl; ɖ gardn blowñ. F h pt implisit feʈ in hr, nʈñ śd hrt him; hvr dīp h berid himslf or clîmd hî, nt fr a secnd śd h fînd himslf wɖt hr. So bostñ v hr c’paṣti t srǎnd n pṛtct, ɖr wz scersli a śel v hrslf left fr hr t nǒ hrslf bî; ol wz so laviśt n spent; n Jemz, az h std stif btwn hr niz, flt hr rîz in a rozi-flǎrd frūțrī leid wɖ līvz n dansñ bǎz intu ẃć ɖ bīc v bras, ɖ arid siṃtar v hiz faɖr, ɖ īgtistic man, plunjd n smout, dmandñ simṗʈi.

Fild wɖ hr wrdz, lîc a ćîld hu drops of saṭsfaid, h sd, at last, lcñ at hr wɖ humbl grattyd, rstord, rnyd, ɖt h wd tec a trn; h wd woć ɖ ćildṛn pleyñ cricit. H wnt.

Imījtli, Msz Ramzi sīmd t fold hrslf tgɖr, wn petl clozd in anɖr, n ɖ hol fabric fél in xōsćn upn itslf, so ɖt ś hd onli streñʈ inuf t muv hr fngr, in xqizit abandnmnt t xōsćn, acrs ɖ pej v Grím’z fẹri stori, ẃl ɖr ʈrobd ʈru hr, lîc a puls in a sprñ ẃć hz xpandd t its fl widʈ n nǎ jntli sīsz t bìt, ɖ rapćr v s’xesfl crieśn.

Evri ʈrob v ɖs puls sīmd, az h wōct awe, t incloz hr n hr huzbnd, n t gv t ć ɖt solis ẃć tū difṛnt nots, wn hî, wn lo, struc tgɖr, sīm t gv ć uɖr az ɖe cmbîn. Yt az ɖ reẓnns daid, n ś trnd t ɖ Fẹritêl agn, Msz Ramzi flt nt onli xōstd in bodi (aftwdz, nt at ɖ tîm, ś olwz flt ɖs) bt olso ɖr tinjd hr fizicl ftīg sm fentli dis’griybl snseśn wɖ anɖr oṛjin. Nt ɖt, az ś réd alǎd ɖ stori v ɖ Fiśrmn’z Wîf, ś ń prisîsli ẃt it cem fṛm; nr dd ś let hrslf pt intu wrdz hr dșaṭsfax́n ẃn ś riylîzd, at ɖ trn v ɖ pej ẃn ś stopt n hŕd duļi, omiṇsli, a wev fōl, hǎ it cem fṛm ɖs: ś dd nt lîc, īvn fr a secnd, t fīl fînr ɖn hr huzbnd; n frɖr, cd nt ber nt biyñ intîrli śr, ẃn ś spouc t him, v ɖ truʈ v ẃt ś sd. Yṇvrṣtiz n ppl wontñ him, lecćrz n bcs n ɖer biyñ v ɖ hîist importns—ol ɖt ś dd nt dǎt fr a momnt; bt it wz ɖer rleśn, n hiz cmñ t hr lîc ɖt, opnli, so ɖt enwn cd si, ɖt discmpozd hr; fr ɖen ppl sd h dpndd on hr, ẃn ɖe mst nǒ ɖt v ɖ tū h wz infiṇtli ɖ mor importnt, n ẃt ś gev ɖ wrld, in cmpaṛsn wɖ ẃt h gev, negliɉbl. Bt ɖen agn, it wz ɖ uɖr ʈñ tù—nt biyñ ebl t tel him ɖ truʈ, biyñ afred, fr instns, abt ɖ grīnhǎs rūf n ɖ xpns it wd b, fifti pǎndz phps t mnd it; n ɖen abt hiz bcs, t b afred ɖt h mt ges, ẃt ś a litl sspctd, ɖt hiz last bc wz nt qt hiz bst bc (ś gaɖrd ɖt fṛm Wiłm Báncs); n ɖen t hîd smōl dêli ʈñz, n ɖ ćildṛn siyñ it, n ɖ brdn it leid on ɖm—ol ɖs dminiśt ɖ intîr jô, ɖ pyr jô, v ɖ tū nots sǎndñ tgɖr, n let ɖ sǎnd dî on hr ir nǎ wɖ a dizṃl flatnis.

A śado wz on ɖ pej; ś lct p. It wz Ōgusṭs Carmîcl śuf̣lñ past, prisîsli nǎ, at ɖ vri momnt ẃn it wz penfl t b rmîndd v ɖ inadiqsi v hymn rleśnśps, ɖt ɖ most prfict wz flwd, n cd nt ber ɖ xaṃneśn ẃć, luvñ hr huzbnd, wɖ hr instñt fr truʈ, ś trnd upn it; ẃn it wz penfl t fīl hrslf cnvictd v unwrɖinis, n impidd in hr propr fuñśn bî ɖz lîz, ɖz xaɉreśnz,—it wz at ɖs momnt ẃn ś wz fretd ɖus ignobli in ɖ wec v hr xlteśn, ɖt Mr Carmîcl śufld past, in hiz yelo sliprz, n sm dīmn in hr md it nesṣri fr hr t cōl ǎt, az h pást,

“Gwñ indorz Mr Carmîcl?”


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8

H sd nʈñ. H tc opịm. Ɖ ćildṛn sd h hd stend hiz bird yelo wɖ it. Phps. Ẃt wz obvịs t hr wz ɖt ɖ pur man wz unhapi, cem t ɖm evri yir az an iscep; n yt evri yir ś flt ɖ sem ʈñ; h dd nt trust hr. Ś sd, “I am gwñ t ɖ tǎn. Śl I gt y stamps, pepr, tbaco?” n ś flt him wins. H dd nt trust hr. It wz hiz wîf’s dwñ. Ś rmembrd ɖt iniqti v hiz wîf’s twdz him, ẃć hd md hr trn t stīl n aḍmnt ɖr, in ɖ hoṛbl litl rūm in St Jon’z Wŭd, ẃn wɖ hr ǒn îz ś hd sìn ɖt odịs wmn trn him ǎt v ɖ hǎs. H wz uncmt; h dropt ʈñz on hiz cot; h hd ɖ tîrṣmnis v an old man wɖ nʈñ in ɖ wrld t d; n ś trnd him ǎt v ɖ rūm. Ś sd, in hr odịs we, “Nǎ, Msz Ramzi n I wont t hv a litl tōc tgɖr,” n Msz Ramzi cd si, az f bfr hr îz, ɖ ińmṛbl miẓriz v hiz lîf. Hd h muni inuf t bai tbaco? Dd h hv t asc hr fr it? haf a crǎn? etīn pns? Ǒ, ś cd nt ber t ʈnc v ɖ litl indigṇtiz ś md him sufr. N olwz nǎ (ẃ, ś cd nt ges, xpt ɖt it cem probbli fṛm ɖt wmn smhǎ) h śranc fṛm hr. H nvr tld hr enʈñ. Bt ẃt mor cd ś hv dn? Ɖr wz a súni rūm gvn p t him. Ɖ ćildṛn wr gd t him. Nvr dd ś śo a sîn v nt wontñ him. Ś wnt ǎt v hr we indd t b frendli. D y wont stamps, d y wont tbaco? Hir’z a bc y mt lîc n so on. N aftr ol—aftr ol (hir insnsbli ś drù hrslf tgɖr, fizicli, ɖ sns v hr ǒn byti bcmñ, az it dd so sldm, preznt t hr) aftr ol, ś hd nt jenṛli eni dificlti in mcñ ppl lîc hr; fr instns, Jorj Manñ; Mr Wolis; feṃs az ɖe wr, ɖe wd cm t hr v an īvnñ, qaytli, n tōc alon ovr hr fîr. Ś bòr abt wɖ hr, ś cd nt hlp nwñ it, ɖ torć v hr byti; ś carid it irect intu eni rūm ɖt ś entrd; n aftr ol, veil it az ś mt, n śrinc fṛm ɖ mnoṭni v bẹrñ ɖt it impozd on hr, hr byti wz apaṛnt. Ś hd bn admîrd. Ś hd bn luvd. Ś hd entrd rūmz ẃr mōrnrz sat. Tirz hd floun in hr prezns. Men, n wimin tù, letñ g t ɖ mulṭpliṣti v ʈñz, hd alaud ɖmslvz wɖ hr ɖ rlif v simpliṣti. It injrd hr ɖt h śd śrinc. It hrt hr. N yt nt clīnli, nt rîtli. Ɖt wz ẃt ś mîndd, cmñ az it dd on top v hr discntnt wɖ hr huzbnd; ɖ sns ś hd nǎ ẃn Mr Carmîcl śufld past, jst nodñ t hr qsćn, wɖ a bc bnʈ hiz arm, in hiz yelo sliprz, ɖt ś wz sspctd; n ɖt ol ɖs dzîr v hrz t gv, t hlp, wz vaṇti. Fr hr ǒn slf-saṭsfax́n wz it ɖt ś wśt so instñtivli t hlp, t gv, ɖt ppl mt se v hr, “O Msz Ramzi! dir Msz Ramzi… Msz Ramzi, v cors!” n nīd hr n snd fr hr n admîr hr? Wz it nt sīcṛtli ɖs ɖt ś wontd, n ɖrfr ẃn Mr Carmîcl śranc awe fṛm hr, az h dd at ɖs momnt, mcñ of t sm cornr ẃr h dd acrostics endlisli, ś dd nt fīl mirli snubd bac in hr instñt, bt md awer v ɖ petinis v sm part v hr, n v hymn rleśnz, hǎ flwd ɖe r, hǎ dspicbl, hǎ slf-sīcñ, at ɖer bst. Śabi n wòrn ǎt, n nt prizyṃbli (hr ćīcs wr holo, hr her wz ẃît) eni longr a sît ɖt fild ɖ îz wɖ jô, ś hd betr dvot hr mînd t ɖ stori v ɖ Fiśrmn n hiz Wîf n so paṣfî ɖt bundl v snṣtvnis (nn v hr ćildṛn wz az snṣtiv az h wz), hr sun Jemz.

“Ɖ man’z hart grù hevi,” ś réd alǎd, “n h wd nt g. H sd t himslf, ‘It z nt rît,’ n yt h wnt. N ẃn h cem t ɖ sì ɖ wōtr wz qt prpl n darc blu, n gre n ʈic, n no longr so grīn n yelo, bt it wz stl qayt. N h std ɖr n sd—”

Msz Ramzi cd hv wśt ɖt hr huzbnd hd nt ćozn ɖt momnt t stop. Ẃ hd h nt gn az h sd t woć ɖ ćildṛn pleyñ cricit? Bt h dd nt spīc; h lct; h nodd; h apruvd; h wnt on. H slipt, siyñ bfr him ɖt hej ẃć hd ovr n ovr agn rǎndd sm pōz, sigṇfaid sm cncluźn, siyñ hiz wîf n ćîld, siyñ agn ɖ ŕnz wɖ ɖ trelñ v red jrenịmz ẃć hd so ofn dec̣retd prosesz v ʈt, n bōr, ritn p amñ ɖer līvz, az f ɖe wr scraps v pepr on ẃć wn scriblz nots in ɖ ruś v rīdñ—h slipt, siyñ ol ɖs, smuɖli intu spekleśn sjstd bî an articl in Ɖ TÎMZ abt ɖ numbr v Americnz hu vizit Śecspir’z hǎs evri yir. F Śecspir hd nvr xistd, h asct, wd ɖ wrld hv difrd mć fṛm ẃt it z tde? Dz ɖ progres v siṿlîześn dpnd upn gret men? Z ɖ lot v ɖ aṿrij hymn biyñ betr nǎ ɖn in ɖ tîm v ɖ Fẹroz? Z ɖ lot v ɖ aṿrij hymn biyñ, hvr, h asct himslf, ɖ crîtirịn bî ẃć w juj ɖ meźr v siṿlîześn? Poṣbli nt. Poṣbli ɖ gretist gd rqîrz ɖ xistns v a slev clas. Ɖ liftmn in ɖ Tyb z an itrnl nseṣti. Ɖ ʈt wz dstestfl t him. H tóst hiz hed. T avôd it, h wd fînd sm we v snubñ ɖ pridominns v ɖ arts. H wd argy ɖt ɖ wrld xists fr ɖ aṿrij hymn biyñ; ɖt ɖ arts r mirli a dec̣reśn impozd on ɖ top v hymn lîf; ɖe d nt xpres it. Nr z Śecspir nesṣri t it. Nt nwñ prisîsli ẃ it wz ɖt h wontd t dsparij Śecspir n cm t ɖ rescy v ɖ man hu standz itrṇli in ɖ dor v ɖ lift, h pict a līf śarpli fṛm ɖ hej. Ol ɖs wd hv t b diśt p fr ɖ yuñ men at Cardif nxt munʈ, h ʈt; hir, on hiz teris, h wz mirli foṛjñ n picnicñ (h ʈrù awe ɖ līf ɖt h hd pict so pīviśli) lîc a man hu rīćz fṛm hiz hors t pic a bunć v rozz, or stufs hiz pocits wɖ nuts az h amblz at hiz īz ʈru ɖ lenz n fīldz v a cuntri noun t him fṛm bôhd. It wz ol fmiłr; ɖs trnñ, ɖt stail, ɖt cut acrs ɖ fīldz. Aurz h wd spend ɖus, wɖ hiz pîp, v an īvnñ, ʈncñ p n dǎn n in n ǎt v ɖ old fmiłr lenz n comnz, ẃć wr ol stuc abt wɖ ɖ hisṭri v ɖt campen ɖr, ɖ lîf v ɖs stetsmn hir, wɖ powmz n wɖ aṇcdots, wɖ figrz tù, ɖs ʈncr, ɖt soljr; ol vri brisc n clir; bt at leñʈ ɖ len, ɖ fīld, ɖ comn, ɖ frūtfl nuțrī n ɖ flǎrñ hej léd him on t ɖt frɖr trn v ɖ rod ẃr h dsmǎntd olwz, taid hiz hors t a tri, n pṛsidd on ft alon. H rīćt ɖ éj v ɖ lōn n lct ǎt on ɖ be bnʈ.

It wz hiz fet, hiz pkliaṛti, ẃɖr h wśt it or nt, t cm ǎt ɖus on a spit v land ẃć ɖ sì z slǒli ītñ awe, n ɖr t stand, lîc a dezḷt sìbrd, alon. It wz hiz pǎr, hiz gift, sudnli t śed ol sūṗfluwtis, t śrinc n dminiś so ɖt h lct bérr n flt sperr, īvn fizicli, yt lost nn v hiz intnṣti v mînd, n so t stand on hiz litl lej fesñ ɖ darc v hymn ignṛns, hǎ w nǒ nʈñ n ɖ sì īts awe ɖ grǎnd w stand on—ɖt wz hiz fet, hiz gift. Bt hvñ ʈroun awe, ẃn h dsmǎntd, ol jsćrz n friṗriz, ol trofiz v nuts n rozz, n śrunc so ɖt nt onli fem bt īvn hiz ǒn nem wz fgotn bî him, cept īvn in ɖt deẓleśn a vijiḷns ẃć sperd no fantm n l’x́urietd in no viźn, n it wz in ɖs gîz ɖt h inspîrd in Wiłm Báncs (inṭmitntli) n in Ćarlz Tanzli (obsīqịsli) n in hiz wîf nǎ, ẃn ś lct p n sw him standñ at ɖ éj v ɖ lōn, pṛfǎndli, revṛns, n piti, n grattyd tù, az a stec drivn intu ɖ bed v a ćanl upn ẃć ɖ gulz prć n ɖ wevz bìt inspîrz in meri botlodz a fīlñ v grattyd fr ɖ dyti it z tecñ upn itslf v marcñ ɖ ćanl ǎt ɖr in ɖ fludz alon.

“Bt ɖ faɖr v et ćildṛn hz no ćôs.” Muṭrñ haf alǎd, so h brouc of, trnd, said, rezd hiz îz, sòt ɖ figr v hiz wîf rīdñ storiz t hiz litl bô, fild hiz pîp. H trnd fṛm ɖ sît v hymn ignṛns n hymn fet n ɖ sì ītñ ɖ grǎnd w stand on, ẃć, hd h bn ebl t contmplet it fixidli mt hv léd t smʈñ; n faund conṣleśn in trîflz so slît cmperd wɖ ɖ ōgust ʈīm jst nǎ bfr him ɖt h wz dspozd t slr ɖt cumf̣t ovr, t depṛcet it, az f t b còt hapi in a wrld v miẓri wz fr an onist man ɖ most dspicbl v crîmz. It wz tru; h wz fr ɖ most part hapi; h hd hiz wîf; h hd hiz ćildṛn; h hd promist in six wīcs’ tîm t tōc “sm nonsns” t ɖ yuñ men v Cardif abt Lóc, Hym, Brcli, n ɖ cōzz v ɖ Frenć Reṿluśn. Bt ɖs n hiz pleźr in it, hiz glori in ɖ frezz h md, in ɖ ardr v yʈ, in hiz wîf’s byti, in ɖ tribyts ɖt rīćt him fṛm Swonzi, Cardif, Xitr, Sǎʈamtn, Ciḍminstr, Oxfd, Cembrij—ol hd t b depṛcetd n cnsild undr ɖ frêz “tōcñ nonsns,” bcz, in ifct, h hd nt dn ɖ ʈñ h mt hv dn. It wz a dsgîz; it wz ɖ refyj v a man afred t ǒn hiz ǒn fīlñz, hu cd nt se, Ɖs z ẃt I lîc—ɖs z ẃt I am; n rɖr pitịbl n dstestfl t Wiłm Báncs n Lili Brisco, hu wundrd ẃ sć cnsilmnts śd b nesṣri; ẃ h nīdd olwz prêz; ẃ so brev a man in ʈt śd b so timid in lîf; hǎ strenjli h wz venṛbl n laf̣bl at wn n ɖ sem tîm.

Tīćñ n prīćñ z bynd hymn pǎr, Lili sspctd. (Ś wz ptñ awe hr ʈñz.) F y r xōltd y mst smhǎ cm a cropr. Msz Ramzi gev him ẃt h asct tù īẓli. Ɖen ɖ ćenj mst b so upsetñ, Lili sd. H cmz in fṛm hiz bcs n fîndz s ol pleyñ gemz n tōcñ nonsns. Imajn ẃt a ćenj fṛm ɖ ʈñz h ʈncs abt, ś sd.

H wz bẹrñ dǎn upn ɖm. Nǎ h stopt ded n std lcñ in sîḷns at ɖ sì. Nǎ h hd trnd awe agn.


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Yes, Mr Báncs sd, woćñ him g. It wz a ʈǎznd pitiz. (Lili hd sd smʈñ abt hiz frîṭnñ hr—h ćenjd fṛm wn mūd t anɖr so sudnli.) Yes, sd Mr Báncs, it wz a ʈǎznd pitiz ɖt Ramzi cd nt bhev a litl mor lîc uɖr ppl. (Fr h lîct Lili Brisco; h cd dscus Ramzi wɖ hr qt opnli.) It wz fr ɖt rīzn, h sd, ɖt ɖ yuñ d’nt rīd Cārlîl. A crusti old grumblr hu lost hiz tmpr f ɖ porij wz cold, ẃ śd h prīć t s? wz ẃt Mr Báncs unḍstd ɖt yuñ ppl sd nawdez. It wz a ʈǎznd pitiz f y ʈt, az h dd, ɖt Cārlîl wz wn v ɖ gret tīćrz v man-cnd. Lili wz aśemd t se ɖt ś hd nt réd Cārlîl sins ś wz at scūl. Bt in hr opińn wn lîct Mr Ramzi ol ɖ betr fr ʈncñ ɖt f hiz litl fngr ect ɖ hol wrld mst cm t an end. It wz nt ƉT ś mîndd. Fr hu cd b dsivd bî him? H asct y qt opnli t flatr him, t admîr him, hiz litl dojz dsivd nbdi. Ẃt ś dslîct wz hiz naronis, hiz blîndnis, ś sd, lcñ aftr him.

“A bit v a hiṗcrit?” Mr Báncs sjstd, lcñ tù at Mr Ramzi’z bac, fr wz h nt ʈncñ v hiz frendśp, n v Cam rfyzñ t gv him a flǎr, n v ol ɖoz bôz n grlz, n hiz ǒn hǎs, fl v cumf̣t, bt, sins hiz wîf’s deʈ, qayt rɖr? V cors, h hd hiz wrc… Ol ɖ sem, h rɖr wśt Lili t agri ɖt Ramzi wz, az h sd, “a bit v a hiṗcrit.”

Lili Brisco wnt on ptñ awe hr bruśz, lcñ p, lcñ dǎn. Lcñ p, ɖr h wz—Mr Ramzi—advansñ twdz ɖm, swññ, cerlis, oblivịs, rmot. A bit v a hiṗcrit? ś rpitd. Ǒ, no—ɖ most s’nsir v men, ɖ truist (hir h wz), ɖ bst; bt, lcñ dǎn, ś ʈt, h z abzorbd in himslf, h z tiranicl, h z unjust; n cept lcñ dǎn, prṗsli, fr onli so cd ś cīp stedi, steyñ wɖ ɖ Ramziz. D’recli wn lct p n sw ɖm, ẃt ś cōld “biyñ in luv” fludd ɖm. Ɖe bcem part v ɖt unriyl bt peṇtretñ n xîtñ ynivrs ẃć z ɖ wrld sìn ʈru ɖ îz v luv. Ɖ scî stuc t ɖm; ɖ brdz sañ ʈru ɖm. N, ẃt wz īvn mor xîtñ, ś flt, tù, az ś sw Mr Ramzi bẹrñ dǎn n rtritñ, n Msz Ramzi sitñ wɖ Jemz in ɖ windo n ɖ clǎd muvñ n ɖ tri bndñ, hǎ lîf, fṛm biyñ md p v litl sepṛt insidnts ẃć wn livd wn bî wn, bcem crld n hol lîc a wev ẃć bōr wn p n ʈrù wn dǎn wɖ it, ɖr, wɖ a daś on ɖ bīć.

Mr Báncs xpctd hr t ansr. N ś wz abt t se smʈñ criṭsîzñ Msz Ramzi, hǎ ś wz alarmñ, tù, in hr we, hî-handd, or wrdz t ɖt ifct, ẃn Mr Báncs md it intîrli uņesṣri fr hr t spīc bî hiz rapćr. Fr sć it wz cnsidrñ hiz ej, trnd sixti, n hiz clenlinis n hiz imprṣnaḷti, n ɖ ẃît sạntific cot ẃć sīmd t cloɖ him. Fr him t gêz az Lili sw him gezñ at Msz Ramzi wz a rapćr, iqivḷnt, Lili flt, t ɖ luvz v duznz v yuñ men (n phps Msz Ramzi hd nvr xîtd ɖ luvz v duznz v yuñ men). It wz luv, ś ʈt, pritndñ t muv hr canvs, dstild n filtrd; luv ɖt nvr atmtd t cluć its objict; bt, lîc ɖ luv ẃć maʈṃtiśnz ber ɖer simblz, or powts ɖer frezz, wz mnt t b spred ovr ɖ wrld n bcm part v ɖ hymn gen. So it wz indd. Ɖ wrld bî ol mīnz śd hv śerd it, cd Mr Báncs hv sd ẃ ɖt wmn plizd him so; ẃ ɖ sît v hr rīdñ a fẹritêl t hr bô hd upn him prisîsli ɖ sem ifct az ɖ s’lūśn v a sạntific probḷm, so ɖt h restd in contmpleśn v it, n flt, az h flt ẃn h hd pruvd smʈñ abṣlut abt ɖ djstiv sistm v plants, ɖt barbaṛti wz temd, ɖ rên v ceos sbdyd.

Sć a rapćr—fr bî ẃt uɖr nem cd wn cōl it?—md Lili Brisco fget intîrli ẃt ś hd bn abt t se. It wz nʈñ v importns; smʈñ abt Msz Ramzi. It peld bsd ɖs “rapćr,” ɖs sîḷnt stér, fr ẃć ś flt intns grattyd; fr nʈñ so solist hr, īzd hr v ɖ pplex̣ti v lîf, n mrakḷsli rezd its brdnz, az ɖs sblîm pǎr, ɖs hevnli gift, n wn wd no mor dstrb it, ẃl it lastd, ɖn brec p ɖ śaft v súnlît, layñ levl acrs ɖ flor.

Ɖt ppl śd luv lîc ɖs, ɖt Mr Báncs śd fīl ɖs fr Msz Ramzi (ś glanst at him ḿzñ) wz hlpfl, wz xōltñ. Ś wîpt wn bruś aftr anɖr upn a pìs v old rag, mīńli, on prṗs. Ś tc śltr fṛm ɖ revṛns ẃć cuvrd ol wimin; ś flt hrslf prezd. Let him gêz; ś wd stìl a lc at hr picćr.

Ś cd hv wept. It wz bad, it wz bad, it wz infiṇtli bad! Ś cd hv dn it difṛntli v cors; ɖ culr cd hv bn ʈind n fedd; ɖ śeps iʈirịlîzd; ɖt wz hǎ Pōnfort wd hv sìn it. Bt ɖen ś dd nt si it lîc ɖt. Ś sw ɖ culr brnñ on a fremwrc v stīl; ɖ lît v a buṭflî’z wñ layñ upn ɖ arćz v a cʈīdṛl. V ol ɖt onli a fy randm marcs scrōld upn ɖ canvs rmend. N it wd nvr b sìn; nvr b huñ īvn, n ɖr wz Mr Tanzli ẃisṗrñ in hr ir, “Wimin c’nt pent, wimin c’nt rait… “

Ś nǎ rmembrd ẃt ś hd bn gwñ t se abt Msz Ramzi. Ś dd nt nǒ hǎ ś wd hv pt it; bt it wd hv bn smʈñ criticl. Ś hd bn anoid ɖ uɖr nît bî sm hî-handidnis. Lcñ alñ ɖ levl v Mr Báncs’z glans at hr, ś ʈt ɖt no wmn cd wrśp anɖr wmn in ɖ we h wrśipt; ɖe cd onli sīc śltr undr ɖ śêd ẃć Mr Báncs xtndd ovr ɖm bʈ. Lcñ alñ hiz bīm ś add t it hr difṛnt re, ʈncñ ɖt ś wz unqsćṇbli ɖ luvliist v ppl (baud ovr hr bc); ɖ bst phps; bt olso, difṛnt tù fṛm ɖ prfict śep ẃć wn sw ɖr. Bt ẃ difṛnt, n hǎ difṛnt? ś asct hrslf, screpñ hr pálit v ol ɖoz mǎndz v blu n grīn ẃć sīmd t hr lîc clodz wɖ no lîf in ɖm nǎ, yt ś vaud, ś wd inspîr ɖm, fors ɖm t muv, flo, d hr bidñ tmro. Hǎ dd ś difr? Ẃt wz ɖ spirit in hr, ɖ isnśl ʈñ, bî ẃć, hd y faund a crumpld gluv in ɖ cornr v a sofa, y wd hv noun it, fṛm its twistd fngr, hrz indispytbli? Ś wz lîc a brd fr spīd, an aro fr d’rectnis. Ś wz wilfl; ś wz cmandñ (v cors, Lili rmîndd hrslf, I am ʈncñ v hr rleśnz wɖ wimin, n I am mć yungr, an inṣgnificnt prsn, livñ of ɖ Bromtn Rod). Ś opnd bedrūm windoz. Ś śut dorz. (So ś traid t start ɖ tyn v Msz Ramzi in hr hed.) Arîvñ lêt at nît, wɖ a lît tap on wn’z bedrūm dor, rápt in an old fŕ cot (fr ɖ setñ v hr byti wz olwz ɖt—hesti, bt apt), ś wd inact agn ẃtvr it mt b—Ćarlz Tanzli luzñ hiz umbrela; Mr Carmîcl snuf̣lñ n snifñ; Mr Báncs seyñ, “Ɖ vejtblsōlts r lost.” Ol ɖs ś wd adrôtli śep; īvn mliśsli twist; n, muvñ ovr t ɖ windo, in pritns ɖt ś mst g,—it wz dōn, ś cd si ɖ sún rîzñ,—haf trn bac, mor intiṃtli, bt stl olwz lafñ, insist ɖt ś mst, Minta mst, ɖe ol mst mari, sins in ɖ hol wrld ẃtvr loṛlz mt b tóst t hr (bt Msz Ramzi cerd nt a fig fr hr pentñ), or trîumfs wún bî hr (probbli Msz Ramzi hd hd hr śer v ɖoz), n hir ś sadnd, darcnd, n cem bac t hr ćer, ɖr cd b no dspytñ ɖs: an unmarid wmn (ś lîtli tc hr hand fr a momnt), an unmarid wmn hz míst ɖ bst v lîf. Ɖ hǎs sīmd fl v ćildṛn slīpñ n Msz Ramzi liṣnñ; śêdd lîts n reğlr briɖñ.

Ǒ, bt, Lili wd se, ɖr wz hr faɖr; hr hom; īvn, hd ś derd t se it, hr pentñ. Bt ol ɖs sīmd so litl, so vrjinl, agnst ɖ uɖr. Yt, az ɖ nît wòr on, n ẃît lîts partd ɖ crtnz, n īvn nǎ n ɖen sm brd ćrpt in ɖ gardn, gaɖ̇rñ a despṛt curij ś wd rj hr ǒn xmśn fṛm ɖ yṇvrsl lw; plīd fr it; ś lîct t b alon; ś lîct t b hrslf; ś wz nt md fr ɖt; n so hv t mīt a sirịs stér fṛm îz v unpaṛleld depʈ, n cnfrunt Msz Ramzi’z simpl srtnti (n ś wz ćîldlîc nǎ) ɖt hr dir Lili, hr litl Brisc, wz a fūl. Ɖen, ś rmembrd, ś hd leid hr hed on Msz Ramzi’z lap n laft n laft n laft, laft olmst histericli at ɖ ʈt v Msz Ramzi prizîdñ wɖ iḿṭbl cām ovr desṭniz ẃć ś cmplitli feld t unḍstand. Ɖr ś sat, simpl, sirịs. Ś hd rcuvrd hr sns v hr nǎ—ɖs wz ɖ gluv’z twistd fngr. Bt intu ẃt sañćri hd wn peṇtretd? Lili Brisco hd lct p at last, n ɖr wz Msz Ramzi, unwitñ intîrli ẃt hd cōzd hr laftr, stl prizîdñ, bt nǎ wɖ evri tres v wilflnis aboliśt, n in its sted, smʈñ clir az ɖ spes ẃć ɖ clǎdz at last uncuvr—ɖ litl spes v scî ẃć slīps bsd ɖ mūn.

Wz it wizdm? Wz it nolij? Wz it, wns mor, ɖ dsptivnis v byti, so ɖt ol wn’z pspśnz, haf we t truʈ, wr tangld in a goldn meś? or dd ś loc p wɖn hr sm sīcrit ẃć srtnli Lili Brisco b’livd ppl mst hv fr ɖ wrld t g on at ol? Evrwn cd nt b az heltr-sceltr, hand t mǎʈ az ś wz. Bt f ɖe ń, cd ɖe tel wn ẃt ɖe ń? Sitñ on ɖ flor wɖ hr armz rnd Msz Ramzi’z niz, clos az ś cd gt, smîlñ t ʈnc ɖt Msz Ramzi wd nvr nǒ ɖ rīzn v ɖt preśr, ś imajnd hǎ in ɖ ćembrz v ɖ mînd n hart v ɖ wmn hu wz, fizicli, tućñ hr, wr std, lîc ɖ treźrz in ɖ tūmz v cñz, tablits bẹrñ secrid inscripśnz, ẃć f wn cd spel ɖm ǎt, wd tīć wn evrʈñ, bt ɖe wd nvr b ofrd opnli, nvr md public. Ẃt art wz ɖr, noun t luv or cunñ, bî ẃć wn prest ʈru intu ɖoz sīcrit ćembrz? Ẃt dvîs fr bcmñ, lîc wōtrz pord intu wn jar, inxtricbli ɖ sem, wn wɖ ɖ objict wn adord? Cd ɖ bodi aćiv, or ɖ mînd, sutli mnġlñ in ɖ intric̣t pasjz v ɖ bren? or ɖ hart? Cd luvñ, az ppl cōld it, mc hr n Msz Ramzi wn? fr it wz nt nolij bt yṇti ɖt ś dzîrd, nt inscripśnz on tablits, nʈñ ɖt cd b ritn in eni lanḡj noun t men, bt intiṃsi itslf, ẃć z nolij, ś hd ʈt, līnñ hr hed on Msz Ramzi’z ni.

Nʈñ hapnd. Nʈñ! Nʈñ! az ś lent hr hed agnst Msz Ramzi’z ni. N yt, ś ń nolij n wizdm wr stord p in Msz Ramzi’z hart. Hǎ, ɖen, ś hd asct hrslf, dd wn nǒ wn ʈñ or anɖr ʈñ abt ppl, sìld az ɖe wr? Onli lîc a bì, drwn bî sm swītnis or śarpnis in ɖ er intanɉbl t tuć or test, wn hōntd ɖ dom-śept hîv, renjd ɖ wests v ɖ er ovr ɖ cuntriz v ɖ wrld alon, n ɖen hōntd ɖ hîvz wɖ ɖer mrmrz n ɖer stŕñz; ɖ hîvz, ẃć wr ppl. Msz Ramzi rouz. Lili rouz. Msz Ramzi wnt. Fr dez ɖr huñ abt hr, az aftr a drīm sm sutl ćenj z flt in ɖ prsn wn hz dremt v, mor vividli ɖn enʈñ ś sd, ɖ sǎnd v mrṃrñ n, az ś sat in ɖ wicr armćer in ɖ drw̃rūm windo ś wòr, t Lili’z îz, an ōgust śep; ɖ śep v a dom.

Ɖs re pást levl wɖ Mr Báncs’z re stret t Msz Ramzi sitñ rīdñ ɖr wɖ Jemz at hr ni. Bt nǎ ẃl ś stl lct, Mr Báncs hd dn. H hd pt on hiz spectclz. H hd stept bac. H hd rezd hiz hand. H hd slîtli naroud hiz clir blu îz, ẃn Lili, rǎzñ hrslf, sw ẃt h wz at, n winst lîc a dog hu siz a hand rezd t strîc it. Ś wd hv snaćt hr picćr of ɖ īzl, bt ś sd t hrslf, Wn mst. Ś brêst hrslf t stand ɖ ōfl trîl v smwn lcñ at hr picćr. Wn mst, ś sd, wn mst. N f it mst b sìn, Mr Báncs wz les alarmñ ɖn anɖr. Bt ɖt eni uɖr îz śd si ɖ reẓdy v hr ʈrti-ʈri yirz, ɖ dpozit v ć de’z livñ mixt wɖ smʈñ mor sīcrit ɖn ś hd evr spocn or śoun in ɖ cors v ol ɖoz dez wz an aġni. At ɖ sem tîm it wz imnsli xîtñ.

Nʈñ cd b cūlr n qaytr. Tecñ ǎt a péņîf, Mr Báncs tapt ɖ canvs wɖ ɖ bon handl. Ẃt dd ś wś t indicet bî ɖ trîanğlr prpl śep, “jst ɖr”? h asct.

It wz Msz Ramzi rīdñ t Jemz, ś sd. Ś ń hiz objx́n— ɖt nwn cd tel it fr a hymn śep. Bt ś hd md no atmt at lîcnis, ś sd. Fr ẃt rīzn hd ś intṛdyst ɖm ɖen? h asct. Ẃ indd?—xpt ɖt f ɖr, in ɖt cornr, it wz brît, hir, in ɖs, ś flt ɖ nīd v darcnis. Simpl, obvịs, comnples, az it wz, Mr Báncs wz inṭrestd. Muɖr n ćîld ɖen—objicts v yṇvrsl veṇreśn, n in ɖs ces ɖ muɖr wz feṃs fr hr byti—mt b rdyst, h pondrd, t a prpl śado wɖt irevṛns.

Bt ɖ picćr wz nt v ɖm, ś sd. Or, nt in hiz sns. Ɖr wr uɖr snsz tù in ẃć wn mt revṛns ɖm. Bî a śado hir n a lît ɖr, fr instns. Hr tribyt tc ɖt form f, az ś vegli s’pozd, a picćr mst b a tribyt. A muɖr n ćîld mt b rdyst t a śado wɖt irevṛns. A lît hir rqîrd a śado ɖr. H cnsidrd. H wz inṭrestd. H tc it sạntificli in cmplit gd feʈ. Ɖ truʈ wz ɖt ol hiz preɉdisz wr on ɖ uɖr sîd, h xplend. Ɖ larjist picćr in hiz drw̃rūm, ẃć pentrz hd prezd, n valyd at a hayr prîs ɖn h hd gvn fr it, wz v ɖ ćeritrīs in blosm on ɖ bancs v ɖ Cenit. H hd spent hiz hunimūn on ɖ bancs v ɖ Cenit, h sd. Lili mst cm n si ɖt picćr, h sd. Bt nǎ—h trnd, wɖ hiz glasz rezd t ɖ sạntific xaṃneśn v hr canvs. Ɖ qsćn biyñ wn v ɖ rleśnz v masz, v lîts n śadoz, ẃć, t b onist, h hd nvr cnsidrd bfr, h wd lîc t hv it xplend—ẃt ɖen dd ś wś t mc v it? N h indicetd ɖ sīn bfr ɖm. Ś lct. Ś cd nt śo him ẃt ś wśt t mc v it, cd nt si it īvn hrslf, wɖt a bruś in hr hand. Ś tc p wns mor hr old pentñ pziśn wɖ ɖ dim îz n ɖ absnt-mîndd manr, sbdywñ ol hr impreśnz az a wmn t smʈñ mć mor jenṛl; bcmñ wns mor undr ɖ pǎr v ɖt viźn ẃć ś hd sìn clirli wns n mst nǎ grop fr amñ hejz n hǎzz n muɖrz n ćildṛn—hr picćr. It wz a qsćn, ś rmembrd, hǎ t cnct ɖs mas on ɖ rît hand wɖ ɖt on ɖ left. Ś mt d it bî brññ ɖ lîn v ɖ branć acrs so; or brec ɖ vecnsi in ɖ fōrgrǎnd bî an objict (Jemz phps) so. Bt ɖ denjr wz ɖt bî dwñ ɖt ɖ yṇti v ɖ hol mt b brocn. Ś stopt; ś dd nt wont t bōr him; ś tc ɖ canvs lîtli of ɖ īzl.

Bt it hd bn sìn; it hd bn tecn fṛm hr. Ɖs man hd śerd wɖ hr smʈñ pṛfǎndli intiṃt. N, ʈancñ Mr Ramzi fr it n Msz Ramzi fr it n ɖ aur n ɖ ples, creḍtñ ɖ wrld wɖ a pǎr ẃć ś hd nt sspctd—ɖt wn cd wōc awe dǎn ɖt loñ gaḷri nt alon eni mor bt arm in arm wɖ smbdi—ɖ strenjist fīlñ in ɖ wrld, n ɖ most xiḷretñ—ś nict ɖ cać v hr pentbox t, mor frmli ɖn wz nesṣri, n ɖ nic sīmd t srǎnd in a srcl fr evr ɖ pentbox, ɖ lōn, Mr Báncs, n ɖt wîld viḷn, Cam, daśñ past.


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10

Fr Cam grezd ɖ īzl bî an inć; ś wd nt stop fr Mr Báncs n Lili Brisco; ɖo Mr Báncs, hu wd hv lîct a dōtr v hiz ǒn, hld ǎt hiz hand; ś wd nt stop fr hr faɖr, hūm ś grezd olso bî an inć; nr fr hr muɖr, hu cōld “Cam! I wont y a momnt!” az ś daśt past. Ś wz of lîc a brd, bŭlit, or aro, impeld bî ẃt dzîr, śot bî hūm, at ẃt drectd, hu cd se? Ẃt, ẃt? Msz Ramzi pondrd, woćñ hr. It mt b a viźn—v a śel, v a ẃīlbaro, v a fẹricñdm on ɖ far sîd v ɖ hej; or it mt b ɖ glori v spīd; nwn ń. Bt ẃn Msz Ramzi cōld “Cam!” a secnd tîm, ɖ pṛjctîl dropt in mid c’rir, n Cam cem lagñ bac, pŭlñ a līf bî ɖ we, t hr muɖr.

Ẃt wz ś drīmñ abt, Msz Ramzi wundrd, siyñ hr ingrost, az ś std ɖr, wɖ sm ʈt v hr ǒn, so ɖt ś hd t rpit ɖ mesij twîs—asc Mildrid f Andru, Mis Dôl, n Mr Rêli hv cm bac?—Ɖ wrdz sīmd t b dropt intu a wel, ẃr, f ɖ wōtrz wr clir, ɖe wr olso so xtrordnṛli dstortñ ɖt, īvn az ɖe dsndd, wn sw ɖm twistñ abt t mc Hevn nz ẃt patn on ɖ flor v ɖ ćîld’z mînd. Ẃt mesij wd Cam gv ɖ cc? Msz Ramzi wundrd. N indd it wz onli bî wêtñ peśntli, n hírñ ɖt ɖr wz an old wmn in ɖ cićn wɖ vri red ćīcs, drincñ sūp ǎt v a besn, ɖt Msz Ramzi at last promtd ɖt paṛtlîc instñt ẃć hd pict p Mildrid’z wrdz qt akṛtli n cd nǎ pṛdys ɖm, f wn wêtd, in a culrlis sñ-soñ. Śiftñ fṛm ft t ft, Cam rpitd ɖ wrdz, “No, ɖe hv’nt, n I’v tld Eḷn t clir awe ti.”

Minta Dôl n Pōl Rêli hd nt cm bac ɖen. Ɖt cd onli mīn, Msz Ramzi ʈt, wn ʈñ. Ś mst axpt him, or ś mst rfyz him. Ɖs gwñ of aftr lunćn fr a wōc, īvn ɖo Andru wz wɖ ɖm—ẃt cd it mīn? xpt ɖt ś hd dsîdd, rîtli, Msz Ramzi ʈt (n ś wz vri, vri fond v Minta), t axpt ɖt gd felo, hu mt nt b briłnt, bt ɖen, ʈt Msz Ramzi, riylîzñ ɖt Jemz wz tugñ at hr, t mc hr g on rīdñ alǎd ɖ Fiśrmn n hiz Wîf, ś dd in hr ǒn hart infiṇtli prifŕ būbiz t clevr men hu rout diṣteśnz; Ćarlz Tanzli, fr instns. Enhǎ it mst hv hapnd, wn we or ɖ uɖr, bî nǎ.

Bt ś réd, “Nxt mornñ ɖ wîf awoc frst, n it wz jst dêbrec, n fṛm hr bed ś sw ɖ bytifl cuntri layñ bfr hr. Hr huzbnd wz stl strećñ himslf… “

Bt hǎ cd Minta se nǎ ɖt ś wd nt hv him? Nt f ś agrìd t spend hol afṭnunz trepsñ abt ɖ cuntri alon—fr Andru wd b of aftr hiz crabz—bt poṣbli Nansi wz wɖ ɖm. Ś traid t rcōl ɖ sît v ɖm standñ at ɖ hōldor aftr lunć. Ɖr ɖe std, lcñ at ɖ scî, wunḍrñ abt ɖ weɖr, n ś hd sd, ʈncñ partli t cuvr ɖer śînis, partli t incurij ɖm t b of (fr hr simṗʈiz wr wɖ Pōl),

“Ɖr z’nt a clǎd enẃr wɖn mîlz,” at ẃć ś cd fīl litl Ćarlz Tanzli, hu hd foloud ɖm ǎt, snigr. Bt ś dd it on prṗs. Ẃɖr Nansi wz ɖr or nt, ś cd nt b srtn, lcñ fṛm wn t ɖ uɖr in hr mînd’z î.

Ś réd on: “Ā, wîf,” sd ɖ man, “ẃ śd w b Cñ? I d nt wont t b Cñ.” “Wel,” sd ɖ wîf, “f y w’nt b Cñ, I wl; g t ɖ Flǎndr, fr I wl b Cñ.”

“Cm in or g ǎt, Cam,” ś sd, nwñ ɖt Cam wz atractd onli bî ɖ wrd “Flǎndr” n ɖt in a momnt ś wd fijit n fît wɖ Jemz az yźl. Cam śot of. Msz Ramzi wnt on rīdñ, rlivd, fr ś n Jemz śerd ɖ sem tests n wr cumftbl tgɖr.

“N ẃn h cem t ɖ sì, it wz qt darc gre, n ɖ wōtr hīvd p fṛm b’lo, n smelt pytrid. Ɖen h wnt n std bî it n sd,

‘Flǎndr, flǎndr, in ɖ sì,

Cm, I pre ɖi, hir t m;

Fr mî wîf, gd Ilṣbil,

Wilz nt az I’d hv hr wl.’

‘Wel, ẃt dz ś wont ɖen?’ sd ɖ Flǎndr.” N ẃr wr ɖe nǎ? Msz Ramzi wundrd, rīdñ n ʈncñ, qt īẓli, bʈ at ɖ sem tîm; fr ɖ stori v ɖ Fiśrmn n hiz Wîf wz lîc ɖ beis jntli acumṗniyñ a tyn, ẃć nǎ n ɖen ran p unxpctdli intu ɖ meḷdi. N ẃn śd ś b tld? F nʈñ hapnd, ś wd hv t spīc sirịsli t Minta. Fr ś cd nt g trepsñ abt ol ovr ɖ cuntri, īvn f Nansi wr wɖ ɖm (ś traid agn, unsxesf̣li, t viź̦lîz ɖer bacs gwñ dǎn ɖ paʈ, n t cǎnt ɖm). Ś wz rsponsbl t Minta’z peṛnts—ɖ Ǎl n ɖ Pǒcr. Hr nicnemz fr ɖm śot intu hr mînd az ś réd. Ɖ Ǎl n ɖ Pǒcr—yes, ɖe wd b anoid f ɖe hŕd—n ɖe wr srtn t hír—ɖt Minta, steyñ wɖ ɖ Ramziz, hd bn sìn etseṭra, etseṭra, etseṭra. “H wòr a wig in ɖ Hǎs v Comnz n ś ebli asistd him at ɖ hed v ɖ sterz,” ś rpitd, fiśñ ɖm p ǎt v hr mînd bî a frêz ẃć, cmñ bac fṛm sm parti, ś hd md t aḿz hr huzbnd. Dir, dir, Msz Ramzi sd t hrslf, hǎ dd ɖe pṛdys ɖs incongrụs dōtr? ɖs tombô Minta, wɖ a houl in hr stocñ? Hǎ dd ś xist in ɖt portnṭs atṃsfir ẃr ɖ meid wz olwz rmuvñ in a duspan ɖ sand ɖt ɖ paṛt hd scatrd, n convseśn wz olmst intîrli rdyst t ɖ xplôts—inṭrestñ phps, bt liṃtd aftr ol—v ɖt brd? Naćṛli, wn hd asct hr t lunć, ti, dinr, fîṇli t ste wɖ ɖm p at Finle, ẃć hd rzultd in sm frix́n wɖ ɖ Ǎl, hr muɖr, n mor cōlñ, n mor convseśn, n mor sand, n riyli at ɖ end v it, ś hd tld inuf lîz abt paṛts t last hr a lîftîm (so ś hd sd t hr huzbnd ɖt nît, cmñ bac fṛm ɖ parti). Hvr, Minta cem… Yes, ś cem, Msz Ramzi ʈt, sspctñ sm ʈorn in ɖ tangl v ɖs ʈt; n disingejñ it faund it t b ɖs: a wmn hd wns akzd hr v “robñ hr v hr dōtr’z afx́nz”; smʈñ Msz Dôl hd sd md hr rmembr ɖt ćarj agn. Wśñ t doṃnet, wśñ t inṭfir, mcñ ppl d ẃt ś wśt—ɖt wz ɖ ćarj agnst hr, n ś ʈt it most unjust. Hǎ cd ś hlp biyñ “lîc ɖt” t lc at? Nwn cd akz hr v tecñ penz t impres. Ś wz ofn aśemd v hr ǒn śabinis. Nr wz ś doṃnirñ, nr wz ś tiranicl. It wz mor tru abt hospitlz n drenz n ɖ dẹri. Abt ʈñz lîc ɖt ś dd fīl paśṇtli, n wd, f ś hd ɖ ćans, hv lîct t tec ppl bî ɖ scruf v ɖer necs n mc ɖm si. No hospitl on ɖ hol îḷnd. It wz a dsgres. Milc dlivrd at yr dor in Lundn poztivli brǎn wɖ drt. It śd b md ilīgl. A modl dẹri n a hospitl p hir—ɖoz tū ʈñz ś wd hv lîct t d, hrslf. Bt hǎ? Wɖ ol ɖz ćildṛn? Ẃn ɖe wr oldr, ɖen phps ś wd hv tîm; ẃn ɖe wr ol at scūl.

Ǒ, bt ś nvr wontd Jemz t gro a de oldr! or Cam îɖr. Ɖz tū ś wd hv lîct t cīp fr evr jst az ɖe wr, dīṃnz v wicidnis, enjlz v dlît, nvr t si ɖm gro p intu loñ-legid monstrz. Nʈñ md p fr ɖ los. Ẃn ś réd jst nǎ t Jemz, “n ɖr wr numbrz v soljrz wɖ cetldrumz n trumpits,” n hiz îz darcnd, ś ʈt, ẃ śd ɖe gro p n lūz ol ɖt? H wz ɖ most giftd, ɖ most snṣtiv v hr ćildṛn. Bt ol, ś ʈt, wr fl v promis. Pru, a prfict enjl wɖ ɖ uɖrz, n smtmz nǎ, at nît ispeśli, ś tc wn’z breʈ awe wɖ hr byti. Andru—īvn hr huzbnd admitd ɖt hiz gift fr maʈ̇matcs wz xtrordnri. N Nansi n Rojr, ɖe wr bʈ wîld crīćrz nǎ, scamṗrñ abt ovr ɖ cuntri ol de loñ. Az fr Rôz, hr mǎʈ wz tù big, bt ś hd a wundrfl gift wɖ hr handz. F ɖe hd ś’redz, Rôz md ɖ dresz; md evrʈñ; lîct bst arenjñ teblz, flǎrz, enʈñ. Ś dd nt lîc it ɖt Jaspr śd śūt brdz; bt it wz onli a stej; ɖe ol wnt ʈru stejz. Ẃ, ś asct, presñ hr ćin on Jemz’z hed, śd ɖe gro p so fast? Ẃ śd ɖe g t scūl? Ś wd hv lîct olwz t hv hd a bebi. Ś wz hapiist cariyñ wn in hr armz. Ɖen ppl mt se ś wz tiranicl, doṃnirñ, mastrfl, f ɖe ćouz; ś dd nt mînd. N, tućñ hiz her wɖ hr lips, ś ʈt, h wl nvr b so hapi agn, bt stopt hrslf, rmembrñ hǎ it angrd hr huzbnd ɖt ś śd se ɖt. Stl, it wz tru. Ɖe wr hapịr nǎ ɖn ɖe wd evr b agn. A tenṗni tīset md Cam hapi fr dez. Ś hŕd ɖm stampñ n crowñ on ɖ flor abv hr hed ɖ momnt ɖe awoc. Ɖe cem buṣlñ alñ ɖ pasij. Ɖen ɖ dor sprañ opn n in ɖe cem, freś az rozz, stẹrñ, wîd awec, az f ɖs cmñ intu ɖ dînñrūm aftr brecfst, ẃć ɖe dd evri de v ɖer livz, wz a poẓtiv ivnt t ɖm, n so on, wɖ wn ʈñ aftr anɖr, ol de loñ, untl ś wnt p t se gdnît t ɖm, n faund ɖm netd in ɖer cots lîc brdz amñ ćeriz n razbriz, stl mcñ p storiz abt sm litl bit v rubiś—smʈñ ɖe hd hŕd, smʈñ ɖe hd pict p in ɖ gardn. Ɖe ol hd ɖer litl treźrz… N so ś wnt dǎn n sd t hr huzbnd, Ẃ mst ɖe gro p n lūz it ol? Nvr wl ɖe b so hapi agn. N h wz angri. Ẃ tec sć a glūmi vy v lîf? h sd. It z nt snṣbl. Fr it wz od; n ś b’livd it t b tru; ɖt wɖ ol hiz glūm n desṗreśn h wz hapịr, mor hopfl on ɖ hol, ɖn ś wz. Les xpozd t hymn wuriz—phps ɖt wz it. H hd olwz hiz wrc t fōl bac on. Nt ɖt ś hrslf wz “peṣmistic,” az h akzd hr v biyñ. Onli ś ʈt lîf—n a litl strip v tîm prizntd itslf t hr îz—hr fifti yirz. Ɖr it wz bfr hr—lîf. Lîf, ś ʈt—bt ś dd nt finiś hr ʈt. Ś tc a lc at lîf, fr ś hd a clir sns v it ɖr, smʈñ riyl, smʈñ prîvt, ẃć ś śerd nɖr wɖ hr ćildṛn nr wɖ hr huzbnd. A sort v trnzax́n wnt on btwn ɖm, in ẃć ś wz on wn sîd, n lîf wz on anɖr, n ś wz olwz trayñ t gt ɖ betr v it, az it wz v hr; n smtmz ɖe parlid (ẃn ś sat alon); ɖr wr, ś rmembrd, gret recnsilieśnsīnz; bt fr ɖ most part, odli inuf, ś mst admit ɖt ś flt ɖs ʈñ ɖt ś cōld lîf teṛbl, hostîl, n qc t pǎns on y f y gev it a ćans. Ɖr wr itrnl probḷmz: suf̣rñ; deʈ; ɖ pur. Ɖr wz olwz a wmn dayñ v cansr īvn hir. N yt ś hd sd t ol ɖz ćildṛn, Y śl g ʈru it ol. T et ppl ś hd sd rlentlisli ɖt (n ɖ bil fr ɖ grīnhǎs wd b fifti pǎndz). Fr ɖt rīzn, nwñ ẃt wz bfr ɖm—luv n ambiśn n biyñ rećid alon in driri plesz—ś hd ofn ɖ fīlñ, Ẃ mst ɖe gro p n lūz it ol? N ɖen ś sd t hrslf, branḍśñ hr sord at lîf, Nonsns. Ɖe wl b prf̣cli hapi. N hir ś wz, ś rflectd, fīlñ lîf rɖr sinistr agn, mcñ Minta mari Pōl Rêli; bcz ẃtvr ś mt fīl abt hr ǒn trnzax́n, ś hd hd xpirịnsz ẃć nīd nt hapn t evrwn (ś dd nt nem ɖm t hrslf); ś wz drivn on, tù qcli ś ń, olmst az f it wr an iscep fr hr tù, t se ɖt ppl mst mari; ppl mst hv ćildṛn.

Wz ś roñ in ɖs, ś asct hrslf, rvywñ hr cnduct fr ɖ past wīc or tū, n wunḍrñ f ś hd indd pt eni preśr upn Minta, hu wz onli twenti-for, t mc p hr mînd. Ś wz unīzi. Hd ś nt laft abt it? Wz ś nt fgetñ agn hǎ stroñli ś inflụnst ppl? Marij nīdd—ǒ, ol sorts v qoḷtz (ɖ bil fr ɖ grīnhǎs wd b fifti pǎndz); wn—ś nīd nt nem it—ɖt wz isnśl; ɖ ʈñ ś hd wɖ hr huzbnd. Hd ɖe ɖt?

“Ɖen h pt on hiz trǎzrz n ran awe lîc a madmn,” ś réd. “Bt ǎtsd a gret storm wz rejñ n blowñ so hard ɖt h cd scersli cīp hiz fīt; hǎzz n triz topld ovr, ɖ mǎntinz trembld, rocs rold intu ɖ sì, ɖ scî wz pić blac, n it ʈundrd n lîtnd, n ɖ sì cem in wɖ blac wevz az hî az ćrćtǎrz n mǎntinz, n ol wɖ ẃît fom at ɖ top.”

Ś trnd ɖ pej; ɖr wr onli a fy lînz mor, so ɖt ś wd finiś ɖ stori, ɖo it wz past bedtîm. It wz gtñ lêt. Ɖ lît in ɖ gardn tld hr ɖt; n ɖ ẃîṭnñ v ɖ flǎrz n smʈñ gre in ɖ līvz cnspîrd tgɖr, t rǎz in hr a fīlñ v añzayti. Ẃt it wz abt ś cd nt ʈnc at frst. Ɖen ś rmembrd; Pōl n Minta n Andru hd nt cm bac. Ś sumnd bfr hr agn ɖ litl grūp on ɖ teris in frunt v ɖ hōldor, standñ lcñ p intu ɖ scî. Andru hd hiz net n bascit. Ɖt mnt h wz gwñ t cać crabz n ʈñz. Ɖt mnt h wd clîm ǎt on t a roc; h wd b cut of. Or cmñ bac sngl fîl on wn v ɖoz litl paɖz abv ɖ clif wn v ɖm mt slip. H wd rol n ɖen craś. It wz growñ qt darc.

Bt ś dd nt let hr vôs ćenj in ɖ līst az ś finiśt ɖ stori, n add, śutñ ɖ bc, n spīcñ ɖ last wrdz az f ś hd md ɖm p hrslf, lcñ intu Jemz’z îz: “N ɖr ɖe r livñ stl at ɖs vri tîm.”

“N ɖt’s ɖ end,” ś sd, n ś sw in hiz îz, az ɖ inṭrest v ɖ stori daid awe in ɖm, smʈñ els tec its ples; smʈñ wunḍrñ, pel, lîc ɖ rflex́n v a lît, ẃć at wns md him gêz n marvl. Trnñ, ś lct acrs ɖ be, n ɖr, śr inuf, cmñ reğlrli acrs ɖ wevz frst tū qc strocs n ɖen wn loñ stedi stroc, wz ɖ lît v ɖ Lîthǎs. It hd bn lit.

In a momnt h wd asc hr, “R w gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs?” N ś wd hv t se, “No: nt tmro; yr faɖr sz nt.” Haṗli, Mildrid cem in t feć ɖm, n ɖ busl dstractd ɖm. Bt h cept lcñ bac ovr hiz śoldr az Mildrid carid him ǎt, n ś wz srtn ɖt h wz ʈncñ, w r nt gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs tmro; n ś ʈt, h wl rmembr ɖt ol hiz lîf.


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11

No, ś ʈt, ptñ tgɖr sm v ɖ picćrz h hd cut ǎt— a rfriɉretr, a mowñṃśīn, a jntlmn in īvnñdres— ćildṛn nvr fget. Fr ɖs rīzn, it wz so importnt ẃt wn sd, n ẃt wn dd, n it wz a rlif ẃn ɖe wnt t bed. Fr nǎ ś nīd nt ʈnc abt enbdi. Ś cd b hrslf, bî hrslf. N ɖt wz ẃt nǎ ś ofn flt ɖ nīd v—t ʈnc; wel, nt īvn t ʈnc. T b sîḷnt; t b alon. Ol ɖ biyñ n ɖ dwñ, xpansiv, gliṭrñ, vocl, ivaṗretd; n wn śrunc, wɖ a sns v s’lemṇti, t biyñ wnslf, a wéj-śept cor v darcnis, smʈñ inviẓbl t uɖrz. Olɖo ś cntinyd t nit, n sat uprît, it wz ɖus ɖt ś flt hrslf; n ɖs slf hvñ śed its ataćmnts wz fri fr ɖ strenjist advnćrz. Ẃn lîf sanc dǎn fr a momnt, ɖ renj v xpirịns sīmd liṃtlis. N t evrbdi ɖr wz olwz ɖs sns v unliṃtd rzorsz, ś s’pozd; wn aftr anɖr, ś, Lili, Ōgusṭs Carmîcl, mst fīl, ǎr aṗriśnz, ɖ ʈñz y nǒ s bî, r simpli ćîldiś. Bnʈ it z ol darc, it z ol spredñ, it z unfaɖṃbli dīp; bt nǎ n agn w rîz t ɖ srfis n ɖt z ẃt y si s bî. Hr hrîzn sīmd t hr liṃtlis. Ɖr wr ol ɖ plesz ś hd nt sìn; ɖ Indịn plenz; ś flt hrslf pśñ asd ɖ ʈic leɖr crtn v a ćrć in Rǒm. Ɖs cor v darcnis cd g enẃr, fr nwn sw it. Ɖe cd nt stop it, ś ʈt, xultñ. Ɖr wz frīdm, ɖr wz pīs, ɖr wz, most welcm v ol, a suṃnñ tgɖr, a restñ on a platform v stbiḷti. Nt az wnslf dd wn fînd rest evr, in hr xpirịns (ś acumpliśt hir smʈñ dxtṛs wɖ hr nīdlz) bt az a wéj v darcnis. Luzñ prṣnaḷti, wn lost ɖ fret, ɖ huri, ɖ str; n ɖr rouz t hr lips olwz sm xcḷmeśn v trîumf ovr lîf ẃn ʈñz cem tgɖr in ɖs pīs, ɖs rest, ɖs itrṇti; n pōzñ ɖr ś lct ǎt t mīt ɖt stroc v ɖ Lîthǎs, ɖ loñ stedi stroc, ɖ last v ɖ ʈri, ẃć wz hr stroc, fr woćñ ɖm in ɖs mūd olwz at ɖs aur wn cd nt hlp ataćñ wnslf t wn ʈñ ispeśli v ɖ ʈñz wn sw; n ɖs ʈñ, ɖ loñ stedi stroc, wz hr stroc. Ofn ś faund hrslf sitñ n lcñ, sitñ n lcñ, wɖ hr wrc in hr handz untl ś bcem ɖ ʈñ ś lct at—ɖt lît, fr xampl. N it wd lift p on it sm litl frêz or uɖr ẃć hd bn layñ in hr mînd lîc ɖt—”Ćildṛn d’nt fget, ćildṛn d’nt fget”—ẃć ś wd rpit n bgin adñ t it, It wl end, it wl end, ś sd. It wl cm, it wl cm, ẃn sudnli ś add, W r in ɖ handz v ɖ Lord.

Bt instntli ś wz anoid wɖ hrslf fr seyñ ɖt. Hu hd sd it? Nt ś; ś hd bn trapt intu seyñ smʈñ ś dd nt mīn. Ś lct p ovr hr nitñ n met ɖ ʈrd stroc n it sīmd t hr lîc hr ǒn îz mītñ hr ǒn îz, srćñ az ś alon cd srć intu hr mînd n hr hart, pyṛfayñ ǎt v xistns ɖt lai, eni lai. Ś prezd hrslf in prezñ ɖ lît, wɖt vaṇti, fr ś wz strn, ś wz srćñ, ś wz bytifl lîc ɖt lît. It wz od, ś ʈt, hǎ f wn wz alon, wn lent t inaniṃt ʈñz; triz, strīmz, flǎrz; flt ɖe xprest wn; flt ɖe bcem wn; flt ɖe ń wn, in a sns wr wn; flt an iraśnl tndrnis ɖus (ś lct at ɖt loñ stedi lît) az fr wnslf. Ɖr rouz, n ś lct n lct wɖ hr nīdlz sspndd, ɖr crld p of ɖ flor v ɖ mînd, rouz fṛm ɖ lec v wn’z biyñ, a mist, a brîd t mīt hr luvr.

Ẃt bròt hr t se ɖt: “W r in ɖ handz v ɖ Lord?” ś wundrd. Ɖ inṣnseṛti slipñ in amñ ɖ truɖz rǎzd hr, anoid hr. Ś rtrnd t hr nitñ agn. Hǎ cd eni Lord hv md ɖs wrld? ś asct. Wɖ hr mînd ś hd olwz sizd ɖ fact ɖt ɖr z no rīzn, ordr, justis: bt suf̣rñ, deʈ, ɖ pur. Ɖr wz no treć̣ri tù bes fr ɖ wrld t cmit; ś ń ɖt. No hapinis lastd; ś ń ɖt. Ś nitd wɖ frm cmpoźr, slîtli prsñ hr lips n, wɖt biyñ awer v it, so stifnd n cmpozd ɖ lînz v hr fes in a habit v strņis ɖt ẃn hr huzbnd pást, ɖo h wz ćuc̣lñ at ɖ ʈt ɖt Hym, ɖ f’loṣfr, groun inorṃsli fat, hd stuc in a bog, h cd nt hlp notñ, az h pást, ɖ strņis at ɖ hart v hr byti. It sadnd him, n hr rmotnis pend him, n h flt, az h pást, ɖt h cd nt pṛtct hr, n, ẃn h rīćt ɖ hej, h wz sad. H cd d nʈñ t hlp hr. H mst stand bî n woć hr. Indd, ɖ infrṇl truʈ wz, h md ʈñz wrs fr hr. H wz iritbl—h wz tući. H hd lost hiz tmpr ovr ɖ Lîthǎs. H lct intu ɖ hej, intu its intric̣si, its darcnis.

Olwz, Msz Ramzi flt, wn hlpt wnslf ǎt v soḷtyd rluctntli bî leyñ hold v sm litl od or end, sm sǎnd, sm sît. Ś lisnd, bt it wz ol vri stl; cricit wz ovr; ɖ ćildṛn wr in ɖer baɖz; ɖr wz onli ɖ sǎnd v ɖ sì. Ś stopt nitñ; ś hld ɖ loñ rediś-brǎn stocñ danġlñ in hr handz a momnt. Ś sw ɖ lît agn. Wɖ sm îṛni in hr inteṛgeśn, fr ẃn wn wouc at ol, wn’z rleśnz ćenjd, ś lct at ɖ stedi lît, ɖ pitilis, ɖ rmorslis, ẃć wz so mć hr, yt so litl hr, ẃć hd hr at its béc n cōl (ś wouc in ɖ nît n sw it bnt acrs ɖer bed, strocñ ɖ flor), bt fr ol ɖt ś ʈt, woćñ it wɖ faṣneśn, hipṇtîzd, az f it wr strocñ wɖ its silvr fngrz sm sìld vesl in hr bren huz brstñ wd flud hr wɖ dlît, ś hd noun hapinis, xqizit hapinis, intns hapinis, n it silvrd ɖ ruf wevz a litl mor brîtli, az dêlît fedd, n ɖ blu wnt ǎt v ɖ sì n it rold in wevz v pyr lemn ẃć crvd n sweld n brouc upn ɖ bīć n ɖ xṭsi brst in hr îz n wevz v pyr dlît rêst ovr ɖ flor v hr mînd n ś flt, It z inuf! It z inuf!

H trnd n sw hr. Ā! Ś wz luvli, luvlịr nǎ ɖn evr h ʈt. Bt h cd nt spīc t hr. H cd nt inṭrupt hr. H wontd rjntli t spīc t hr nǎ ɖt Jemz wz gn n ś wz alon at last. Bt h rzolvd, no; h wd nt inṭrupt hr. Ś wz alūf fṛm him nǎ in hr byti, in hr sadnis. H wd let hr b, n h pást hr wɖt a wrd, ɖo it hrt him ɖt ś śd lc so distnt, n h cd nt rīć hr, h cd d nʈñ t hlp hr. N agn h wd hv pást hr wɖt a wrd hd ś nt, at ɖt vri momnt, gvn him v hr ǒn fri wil ẃt ś ń h wd nvr asc, n cōld t him n tecn ɖ grīn śōl of ɖ picćrfrem, n gn t him. Fr h wśt, ś ń, t pṛtct hr.


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Ś foldd ɖ grīn śōl abt hr śoldrz. Ś tc hiz arm. Hiz byti wz so gret, ś sd, bginñ t spīc v Ceṇdi ɖ gardnr, at wns h wz so ōf̣li hansm, ɖt ś cd’nt dsmis him. Ɖr wz a ladr agnst ɖ grīnhǎs, n litl lumps v puti stuc abt, fr ɖe wr bginñ t mnd ɖ grīnhǎs. Yes, bt az ś strold alñ wɖ hr huzbnd, ś flt ɖt ɖt ptiklr sors v wuri hd bn plest. Ś hd it on ɖ tip v hr tuñ t se, az ɖe strold, “It’l cost fifti pǎndz,” bt instd, fr hr hart feld hr abt muni, ś tōct abt Jaspr śūtñ brdz, n h sd, at wns, suɖñ hr instntli, ɖt it wz naćṛl in a bô, n h trustd h wd fînd betr wez v aḿzñ himslf bfr loñ. Hr huzbnd wz so snṣbl, so jst. N so ś sd, “Yes; ol ćildṛn g ʈru stejz,” n bgan cnsidrñ ɖ deliaz in ɖ big bed, n wunḍrñ ẃt abt nxt yir’z flǎrz, n hd h hŕd ɖ ćildṛn’z nicnem fr Ćarlz Tanzli, ś asct. Ɖ eʈiist, ɖe cōld him, ɖ litl eʈiist. “H’z nt a poliśt spesimn,” sd Mr Ramzi. “Far fṛm it,” sd Msz Ramzi.

Ś s’pozd it wz ol rît līvñ him t hiz ǒn dvîsz, Msz Ramzi sd, wunḍrñ ẃɖr it wz eni ys sndñ dǎn bulbz; dd ɖe plant ɖm? “Ǒ, h hz hiz diṣteśn t rait,” sd Mr Ramzi. Ś ń ol abt ƉT, sd Msz Ramzi. H tōct v nʈñ els. It wz abt ɖ inflụns v smbdi upn smʈñ. “Wel, it’s ol h hz t cǎnt on,” sd Mr Ramzi. “Pre Hevn h w’nt fōl in luv wɖ Pru,” sd Msz Ramzi. H’d disinherit hr f ś marid him, sd Mr Ramzi. H dd nt lc at ɖ flǎrz, ẃć hiz wîf wz cnsidrñ, bt at a spot abt a ft or so abv ɖm. Ɖr wz no harm in him, h add, n wz jst abt t se ɖt enhǎ h wz ɖ onli yuñ man in Ñgḷnd hu admîrd hiz—ẃn h ćoct it bac. H wd nt boɖr hr agn abt hiz bcs. Ɖz flǎrz sīmd creditbl, Mr Ramzi sd, lowrñ hiz gêz n noṭsñ smʈñ red, smʈñ brǎn. Yes, bt ɖen ɖz ś hd pt in wɖ hr ǒn handz, sd Msz Ramzi. Ɖ qsćn wz, ẃt hapnd f ś snt bulbz dǎn; dd Ceṇdi plant ɖm? It wz hiz inkṛbl lezinis; ś add, muvñ on. F ś std ovr him ol de loñ wɖ a sped in hr hand, h dd smtmz d a stroc v wrc. So ɖe strold alñ, twdz ɖ red-hot pocrz. “Y’r tīćñ yr dōtrz t xaɉret,” sd Mr Ramzi, rpruvñ hr. Hr Ānt Cmila wz far wrs ɖn ś wz, Msz Ramzi rmarct. “Nbdi evr hld p yr Ānt Cmila az a modl v vrću ɖt I’m awer v,” sd Mr Ramzi. “Ś wz ɖ most bytifl wmn I evr sw,” sd Msz Ramzi. “Smbdi els wz ɖt,” sd Mr Ramzi. Pru wz gwñ t b far mor bytifl ɖn ś wz, sd Msz Ramzi. H sw no tres v it, sd Mr Ramzi. “Wel, ɖen, lc tnît,” sd Msz Ramzi. Ɖe pōzd. H wśt Andru cd b indyst t wrc hardr. H wd lūz evri ćans v a scolrśp f h dd’nt. “Ǒ, scolrśps!” ś sd. Mr Ramzi ʈt hr fūliś fr seyñ ɖt, abt a sirịs ʈñ, lîc a scolrśp. H śd b vri prǎd v Andru f h got a scolrśp, h sd. Ś wd b jst az prǎd v him f h dd’nt, ś ansrd. Ɖe dis’grìd olwz abt ɖs, bt it dd nt matr. Ś lîct him t b’liv in scolrśps, n h lîct hr t b prǎd v Andru ẃtvr h dd. Sudnli ś rmembrd ɖoz litl paɖz on ɖ éj v ɖ clifs.

Wz’nt it lêt? ś asct. Ɖe hd’nt cm hom yt. H flict hiz woć cerlisli opn. Bt it wz onli jst past sevn. H hld hiz woć opn fr a momnt, dsîdñ ɖt h wd tel hr ẃt h hd flt on ɖ teris. T bgin wɖ, it wz nt rīzṇbl t b so nrṿs. Andru cd lc aftr himslf. Ɖen, h wontd t tel hr ɖt ẃn h wz wōcñ on ɖ teris jst nǎ—hir h bcem uncumftbl, az f h wr brecñ intu ɖt soḷtyd, ɖt alūfnis, ɖt rmotnis v hrz. Bt ś prest him. Ẃt hd h wontd t tel hr, ś asct, ʈncñ it wz abt gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs; ɖt h wz sori h hd sd “Dám y.” Bt no. H dd nt lîc t si hr lc so sad, h sd. Onli wŭlgaɖ̇rñ, ś pṛtstd, fluśñ a litl. Ɖe bʈ flt uncumftbl, az f ɖe dd nt nǒ ẃɖr t g on or g bac. Ś hd bn rīdñ fẹritêlz t Jemz, ś sd. No, ɖe cd nt śer ɖt; ɖe cd nt se ɖt.

Ɖe hd rīćt ɖ gap btwn ɖ tū clumps v red-hot pocrz, n ɖr wz ɖ Lîthǎs agn, bt ś wd nt let hrslf lc at it. Hd ś noun ɖt h wz lcñ at hr, ś ʈt, ś wd nt hv let hrslf sit ɖr, ʈncñ. Ś dslîct enʈñ ɖt rmîndd hr ɖt ś hd bn sìn sitñ ʈncñ. So ś lct ovr hr śoldr, at ɖ tǎn. Ɖ lîts wr riplñ n runñ az f ɖe wr drops v silvr wōtr hld frm in a wind. N ol ɖ poṿti, ol ɖ suf̣rñ hd trnd t ɖt, Msz Ramzi ʈt. Ɖ lîts v ɖ tǎn n v ɖ harbr n v ɖ bots sīmd lîc a fanṭmnet flotñ ɖr t marc smʈñ ẃć hd sunc. Wel, f h cd nt śer hr ʈts, Mr Ramzi sd t himslf, h wd b of, ɖen, on hiz ǒn. H wontd t g on ʈncñ, telñ himslf ɖ stori hǎ Hym wz stuc in a bog; h wontd t laf. Bt frst it wz nonsns t b añśs abt Andru. Ẃn h wz Andru’z ej h yst t wōc abt ɖ cuntri ol de loñ, wɖ nʈñ bt a biscit in hiz pocit n nbdi boɖrd abt him, or ʈt ɖt h hd fōḷn ovr a clif. H sd alǎd h ʈt h wd b of fr a de’z wōc f ɖ weɖr hld. H hd hd abt inuf v Báncs n v Carmîcl. H wd lîc a litl soḷtyd. Yes, ś sd. It anoid him ɖt ś dd nt pṛtst. Ś ń ɖt h wd nvr d it. H wz tù old nǎ t wōc ol de loñ wɖ a biscit in hiz pocit. Ś wurid abt ɖ bôz, bt nt abt him. Yirz ago, bfr h hd marid, h ʈt, lcñ acrs ɖ be, az ɖe std btwn ɖ clumps v red-hot pocrz, h hd wōct ol de. H hd md a mīl of bred n ćīz in a public hǎs. H hd wrct ten aurz at a streć; an old wmn jst popt hr hed in nǎ n agn n sw t ɖ fîr. Ɖt wz ɖ cuntri h lîct bst, ovr ɖr; ɖoz sandhilz dwindlñ awe intu darcnis. Wn cd wōc ol de wɖt mītñ a soul. Ɖr wz nt a hǎs scersli, nt a sngl vilij fr mîlz on end. Wn cd wuri ʈñz ǎt alon. Ɖr wr litl sandi bīćz ẃr nwn hd bn sins ɖ bginñ v tîm. Ɖ sīlz sat p n lct at y. It smtmz sīmd t him ɖt in a litl hǎs ǎt ɖr, alon—h brouc of, sayñ. H hd no rît. Ɖ faɖr v et ćildṛn—h rmîndd himslf. N h wd hv bn a bīst n a cr t wś a sngl ʈñ oltrd. Andru wd b a betr man ɖn h hd bn. Pru wd b a byti, hr muɖr sd. Ɖe wd stem ɖ flud a bit. Ɖt wz a gd bit v wrc on ɖ hol—hiz et ćildṛn. Ɖe śoud h dd nt dám ɖ pur litl ynivrs intîrli, fr on an īvnñ lîc ɖs, h ʈt, lcñ at ɖ land dwindlñ awe, ɖ litl îḷnd sīmd pʈeticli smōl, haf swoloud p in ɖ sì.

“Pur litl ples,” h mrmrd wɖ a sai.

Ś hŕd him. H sd ɖ most meḷncli ʈñz, bt ś notist ɖt d’recli h hd sd ɖm h olwz sīmd mor ćirfl ɖn yźl. Ol ɖs frêz-mcñ wz a gem, ś ʈt, fr f ś hd sd haf ẃt h sd, ś wd hv bloun hr brenz ǎt bî nǎ.

It anoid hr, ɖs frêz-mcñ, n ś sd t him, in a matr-v-fact we, ɖt it wz a prf̣cli luvli īvnñ. N ẃt wz h gronñ abt, ś asct, haf lafñ, haf cmplenñ, fr ś gést ẃt h wz ʈncñ—h wd hv ritn betr bcs f h hd nt marid.

H wz nt cmplenñ, h sd. Ś ń ɖt h dd nt cmplen. Ś ń ɖt h hd nʈñ ẃtvr t cmplen v. N h sizd hr hand n rezd it t hiz lips n cist it wɖ an intnṣti ɖt bròt ɖ tirz t hr îz, n qcli h dropt it.

Ɖe trnd awe fṛm ɖ vy n bgan t wōc p ɖ paʈ ẃr ɖ silvr-grīn spirlîc plants grù, arm in arm. Hiz arm wz olmst lîc a yuñ man’z arm, Msz Ramzi ʈt, ʈin n hard, n ś ʈt wɖ dlît hǎ stroñ h stl wz, ɖo h wz ovr sixti, n hǎ untemd n opṭmistic, n hǎ strenj it wz ɖt biyñ cnvinst, az h wz, v ol sorts v horrz, sīmd nt t dpres him, bt t ćir him. Wz it nt od, ś rflectd? Indd h sīmd t hr smtmz md difṛntli fṛm uɖr ppl, born blînd, def, n dum, t ɖ ordnri ʈñz, bt t ɖ xtrordnri ʈñz, wɖ an î lîc an īgl’z. Hiz unḍstandñ ofn astoniśt hr. Bt dd h notis ɖ flǎrz? No. Dd h notis ɖ vy? No. Dd h īvn notis hiz ǒn dōtr’z byti, or ẃɖr ɖr wz pŭdñ on hiz plet or rost bīf? H wd sit at tebl wɖ ɖm lîc a prsn in a drīm. N hiz habit v tōcñ alǎd, or seyñ powtri alǎd, wz growñ on him, ś wz afred; fr smtmz it wz ōcẉd—

Bst n brîtist cm awe!

pur Mis Gidñz, ẃn h śǎtd ɖt at hr, olmst jumt ǎt v hr scin. Bt ɖen, Msz Ramzi, ɖo instntli tecñ hiz sîd agnst ol ɖ sili Gidñzz in ɖ wrld, ɖen, ś ʈt, inṭmetñ bî a litl preśr on hiz arm ɖt h wōct p hil tù fast fr hr, n ś mst stop fr a momnt t si ẃɖr ɖoz wr freś molhilz on ɖ banc, ɖen, ś ʈt, stūpñ dǎn t lc, a gret mînd lîc hiz mst b difṛnt in evri we fṛm ǎrz. Ol ɖ gret men ś hd evr noun, ś ʈt, dsîdñ ɖt a rabit mst hv got in, wr lîc ɖt, n it wz gd fr yuñ men (ɖo ɖ atṃsfir v lecćŗūmz wz stufi n dpresñ t hr bynd indyṛns olmst) simpli t hír him, simpli t lc at him. Bt wɖt śūtñ rabits, hǎ wz wn t cīp ɖm dǎn? ś wundrd. It mt b a rabit; it mt b a mol. Sm crīćr enhǎ wz ruinñ hr Īvnñ Primrozz. N lcñ p, ś sw abv ɖ ʈin triz ɖ frst puls v ɖ fl-ʈrobñ star, n wontd t mc hr huzbnd lc at it; fr ɖ sît gev hr sć cīn pleźr. Bt ś stopt hrslf. H nvr lct at ʈñz. F h dd, ol h wd se wd b, Pur litl wrld, wɖ wn v hiz saiz.

At ɖt momnt, h sd, “Vri fîn,” t plīz hr, n pritndd t admîr ɖ flǎrz. Bt ś ń qt wel ɖt h dd nt admîr ɖm, or īvn riylîz ɖt ɖe wr ɖr. It wz onli t plīz hr. Ā, bt wz ɖt nt Lili Brisco strolñ alñ wɖ Wiłm Báncs? Ś foc̣st hr śort-sîtd îz upn ɖ bacs v a rtritñ cupl. Yes, indd it wz. Dd ɖt nt mīn ɖt ɖe wd mari? Yes, it mst! Ẃt an admṛbl îdīa! Ɖe mst mari!


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H hd bn t Amstdam, Mr Báncs wz seyñ az h strold acrs ɖ lōn wɖ Lili Brisco. H hd sìn ɖ Rembrants. H hd bn t Mdrid. Unforćṇtli, it wz Gd Frîde n ɖ Prādo wz śut. H hd bn t Rǒm. Hd Mis Brisco nvr bn t Rǒm? Ǒ, ś śd—It wd b a wundrfl xpirịns fr hr—ɖ Sistīn Ćapl; Mîcl Anɉlo; n Pajua, wɖ its Jiotoz. Hiz wîf hd bn in bad hlʈ fr mni yirz, so ɖt ɖer sîtsiyñ hd bn on a modist scel.

Ś hd bn t Bruslz; ś hd bn t Paris bt onli fr a flayñ vizit t si an ānt hu wz il. Ś hd bn t Drezdn; ɖr wr masz v picćrz ś hd nt sìn; hvr, Lili Brisco rflectd, phps it wz betr nt t si picćrz: ɖe onli md wn hoplisli discntntd wɖ wn’z ǒn wrc. Mr Báncs ʈt wn cd cari ɖt pônt v vy tù far. W c’nt ol b Tiśnz n w c’nt ol b Darwinz, h sd; at ɖ sem tîm h dǎtd ẃɖr y cd hv yr Darwin n yr Tiśn f it wr’nt fr humbl ppl lîc ǎrslvz. Lili wd hv lîct t pe him a complimnt; y’r nt humbl, Mr Báncs, ś wd hv lîct t hv sd. Bt h dd nt wont complimnts (most men d, ś ʈt), n ś wz a litl aśemd v hr impuls n sd nʈñ ẃl h rmarct ɖt phps ẃt h wz seyñ dd nt aplî t picćrz. Enhǎ, sd Lili, tosñ of hr litl inṣnseṛti, ś wd olwz g on pentñ, bcz it inṭrestd hr. Yes, sd Mr Báncs, h wz śr ś wd, n, az ɖe rīćt ɖ end v ɖ lōn h wz ascñ hr ẃɖr ś hd dificlti in fîndñ subjicts in Lundn ẃn ɖe trnd n sw ɖ Ramziz. So ɖt z marij, Lili ʈt, a man n a wmn lcñ at a grl ʈrowñ a bōl. Ɖt z ẃt Msz Ramzi traid t tel m ɖ uɖr nît, ś ʈt. Fr ś wz wẹrñ a grīn śōl, n ɖe wr standñ clos tgɖr woćñ Pru n Jaspr ʈrowñ caćz. N sudnli ɖ mīnñ ẃć, fr no rīzn at ol, az phps ɖe r stepñ ǎt v ɖ Tyb or rññ a dorbel, dsndz on ppl, mcñ ɖm simbolicl, mcñ ɖm repriznttiv, cem upn ɖm, n md ɖm in ɖ dusc standñ, lcñ, ɖ simblz v marij, huzbnd n wîf. Ɖen, aftr an instnt, ɖ simbolicl ǎtlîn ẃć trnsndd ɖ riyl figrz sanc dǎn agn, n ɖe bcem, az ɖe met ɖm, Mr n Msz Ramzi woćñ ɖ ćildṛn ʈrowñ caćz. Bt stl fr a momnt, ɖo Msz Ramzi grītd ɖm wɖ hr yźl smîl (ǒ, ś’z ʈncñ w’r gwñ t gt marid, Lili ʈt) n sd, “I hv trîumft tnît,” mīnñ ɖt fr wns Mr Báncs hd agrìd t dîn wɖ ɖm n nt run of t hiz ǒn lojñ ẃr hiz man cct vejtblz proprli; stl, fr wn momnt, ɖr wz a sns v ʈñz hvñ bn bloun apart, v spes, v irisponsbiḷti az ɖ bōl sōrd hî, n ɖe foloud it n lost it n sw ɖ wn star n ɖ drept branćz. In ɖ felñ lît ɖe ol lct śarp-éjd n iʈirịl n dvîdd bî gret distnsz. Ɖen, dartñ bcwdz ovr ɖ vast spes (fr it sīmd az f s’lidti hd vaniśt oltgɖr), Pru ran fl tilt intu ɖm n còt ɖ bōl briłntli hî p in hr left hand, n hr muɖr sd, “Hv’nt ɖe cm bac yt?” ẃr’pn ɖ spel wz brocn. Mr Ramzi flt fri nǎ t laf ǎt lǎd at ɖ ʈt ɖt Hym hd stuc in a bog n an old wmn rescyd him on cndiśn h sd ɖ Lord’z Prer, n ćuc̣lñ t himslf h strold of t hiz studi. Msz Ramzi, brññ Pru bac intu ʈrowñ caćz agn, fṛm ẃć ś hd iscept, asct,

“Dd Nansi g wɖ ɖm?”


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(Srtnli, Nansi hd gn wɖ ɖm, sins Minta Dôl hd asct it wɖ hr dum lc, holdñ ǎt hr hand, az Nansi md of, aftr lunć, t hr atic, t iscep ɖ horr v faṃli lîf. Ś s’pozd ś mst g ɖen. Ś dd nt wont t g. Ś dd nt wont t b drwn intu it ol. Fr az ɖe wōct alñ ɖ rod t ɖ clif Minta cept on tecñ hr hand. Ɖen ś wd let it g. Ɖen ś wd tec it agn. Ẃt wz it ś wontd? Nansi asct hrslf. Ɖr wz smʈñ, v cors, ɖt ppl wontd; fr ẃn Minta tc hr hand n hld it, Nansi, rluctntli, sw ɖ hol wrld spred ǎt bnʈ hr, az f it wr Constanṭnopl sìn ʈru a mist, n ɖen, hvr hevi-aid wn mt b, wn mst nīdz asc, “Z ɖt Santa Sfīa?” “Z ɖt ɖ Goldn Horn?” So Nansi asct, ẃn Minta tc hr hand. “Ẃt z it ɖt ś wonts? Z it ɖt?” N ẃt wz ɖt? Hir n ɖr imrjd fṛm ɖ mist (az Nansi lct dǎn upn lîf spred bnʈ hr) a piṇcl, a dom; prominnt ʈñz, wɖt nemz. Bt ẃn Minta dropt hr hand, az ś dd ẃn ɖe ran dǎn ɖ hilsîd, ol ɖt, ɖ dom, ɖ piṇcl, ẃtvr it wz ɖt hd pṛtrudd ʈru ɖ mist, sanc dǎn intu it n dis’pird. Minta, Andru obzrvd, wz rɖr a gd wōcr. Ś wòr mor snṣbl cloɖz ɖn most wimin. Ś wòr vri śort scrts n blac nicrbocrz. Ś wd jump stret intu a strīm n flǎndr acrs. H lîct hr raśnis, bt h sw ɖt it wd nt d—ś wd cil hrslf in sm idiotic we wn v ɖz dez. Ś sīmd t b afred v nʈñ—xpt blz. At ɖ mir sît v a bl in a fīld ś wd ʈro p hr armz n flî scrīmñ, ẃć wz ɖ vri ʈñ t inrej a bl v cors. Bt ś dd nt mînd ǒnñ p t it in ɖ līst; wn mst admit ɖt. Ś ń ś wz an ōfl cawd abt blz, ś sd. Ś ʈt ś mst hv bn tóst in hr p’rambyletr ẃn ś wz a bebi. Ś dd’nt sīm t mînd ẃt ś sd or dd. Sudnli nǎ ś pićt dǎn on ɖ éj v ɖ clif n bgan t sñ sm soñ abt

Dám yr îz, dám yr îz.

Ɖe ol hd t jôn in n sñ ɖ cōṛs, n śǎt ǎt tgɖr:

Dám yr îz, dám yr îz,

bt it wd b fetl t let ɖ tîd cm in n cuvr p ol ɖ gd huntñgrǎndz bfr ɖe got on t ɖ bīć.

“Fetl,” Pōl agrìd, sprññ p, n az ɖe wnt sliɖ̇rñ dǎn, h cept qotñ ɖ gîd-bc abt “ɖz îḷndz biyñ justli seḷbretd fr ɖer parclîc prospects n ɖ xtnt n vrayti v ɖer mrin krioṣtiz.” Bt it wd nt d oltgɖr, ɖs śǎtñ n dámñ yr îz, Andru flt, picñ hiz we dǎn ɖ clif, ɖs clapñ him on ɖ bac, n cōlñ him “old felo” n ol ɖt; it wd nt oltgɖr d. It wz ɖ wrst v tecñ wimin on wōcs. Wns on ɖ bīć ɖe seṗretd, h gwñ ǎt on t ɖ Pǒp’s Nǒz, tecñ hiz śuz of, n rolñ hiz socs in ɖm n letñ ɖt cupl lc aftr ɖmslvz; Nansi wêdd ǎt t hr ǒn rocs n srćt hr ǒn pūlz n let ɖt cupl lc aftr ɖmslvz. Ś crǎćt lo dǎn n tućt ɖ smuɖ rubrlîc sì’neṃniz, hu wr stuc lîc lumps v jeli t ɖ sîd v ɖ roc. Brūdñ, ś ćenjd ɖ pūl intu ɖ sì, n md ɖ minoz intu śarcs n ẃelz, n cast vast clǎdz ovr ɖs tîni wrld bî holdñ hr hand agnst ɖ sún, n so bròt darcnis n deẓleśn, lîc God himslf, t miłnz v ignṛnt n iṇsnt crīćrz, n ɖen tc hr hand awe sudnli n let ɖ sún strīm dǎn. Ǎt on ɖ pel cris-crost sand, hî-stepñ, frinjd, gōntḷtd, stōct sm fntastic l’vayʈn (ś wz stl inlarjñ ɖ pūl), n slipt intu ɖ vast fiśrz v ɖ mǎntinsîd. N ɖen, letñ hr îz slîd imṗsptbli abv ɖ pūl n rest on ɖt weṿrñ lîn v sì n scî, on ɖ trītruncs ẃć ɖ smoc v stīmrz md wevr on ɖ hrîzn, ś bcem wɖ ol ɖt pǎr swīpñ saṿjli in n inevitbli wɖdrw̃, hipṇtîzd, n ɖ tū snsz v ɖt vastnis n ɖs tîninis (ɖ pūl hd dminiśt agn) flǎrñ wɖn it md hr fīl ɖt ś wz baund hand n ft n unebl t muv bî ɖ intnṣti v fīlñz ẃć rdyst hr ǒn bodi, hr ǒn lîf, n ɖ lîvz v ol ɖ ppl in ɖ wrld, fr evr, t nʈñnis. So liṣnñ t ɖ wevz, crǎćñ ovr ɖ pūl, ś brūdd.

N Andru śǎtd ɖt ɖ sì wz cmñ in, so ś lept splaśñ ʈru ɖ śalo wevz on t ɖ śor n ran p ɖ bīć n wz carid bî hr ǒn impećuoṣti n hr dzîr fr rapid muvmnt rît bhnd a roc n ɖr—ǒ, hevnz! in ć uɖr’z armz, wr Pōl n Minta cisñ probbli. Ś wz ǎtrejd, indignnt. Ś n Andru pt on ɖer śuz n stocñz in ded sîḷns wɖt seyñ a ʈñ abt it. Indd ɖe wr rɖr śarp wɖ ć uɖr. Ś mt hv cōld him ẃn ś sw ɖ crêfiś or ẃtvr it wz, Andru grumbld. Hvr, ɖe bʈ flt, it’s nt ǎr fōlt. Ɖe hd nt wontd ɖs horid ńsns t hapn. Ol ɖ sem it iṛtetd Andru ɖt Nansi śd b a wmn, n Nansi ɖt Andru śd b a man, n ɖe taid ɖer śuz vri nītli n drù ɖ boz rɖr tît.

It wz nt untl ɖe hd clîmd rît p on t ɖ top v ɖ clif agn ɖt Minta craid ǎt ɖt ś hd lost hr granmuɖr’z broć— hr granmuɖr’z broć, ɖ sol orṇmnt ś pzest—a wīpñwilo, it wz (ɖe mst rmembr it) set in prlz. Ɖe mst hv sìn it, ś sd, wɖ ɖ tirz runñ dǎn hr ćīcs, ɖ broć ẃć hr granmuɖr hd fasnd hr cap wɖ tl ɖ last de v hr lîf. Nǎ ś hd lost it. Ś wd rɖr hv lost enʈñ ɖn ɖt! Ś wd g bac n lc fr it. Ɖe ol wnt bac. Ɖe pǒct n pīrd n lct. Ɖe cept ɖer hedz vri lo, n sd ʈñz śortli n grufli. Pōl Rêli srćt lîc a madmn ol abt ɖ roc ẃr ɖe hd bn sitñ. Ol ɖs poɖr abt a broć riyli dd’nt d at ol, Andru ʈt, az Pōl tld him t mc a “ʈura srć btwn ɖs pônt n ɖt.” Ɖ tîd wz cmñ in fast. Ɖ sì wd cuvr ɖ ples ẃr ɖe hd sat in a minit. Ɖr wz nt a gost v a ćans v ɖer fîndñ it nǎ. “W śl b cut of!” Minta śrīct, sudnli teṛfaid. Az f ɖr wr eni denjr v ɖt! It wz ɖ sem az ɖ blz ol ovr agn—ś hd no cntrol ovr hr imośnz, Andru ʈt. Wimin hd’nt. Ɖ rećid Pōl hd t paṣfî hr. Ɖ men (Andru n Pōl at wns bcem manli, n difṛnt fṛm yźl) tc cǎnsl brīfli n dsîdd ɖt ɖe wd plant Rêli’z stic ẃr ɖe hd sat n cm bac at lo tîd agn. Ɖr wz nʈñ mor ɖt cd b dn nǎ. F ɖ broć wz ɖr, it wd stl b ɖr in ɖ mornñ, ɖe aśurd hr, bt Minta stl sobd, ol ɖ we p t ɖ top v ɖ clif. It wz hr granmuɖr’z broć; ś wd rɖr hv lost enʈñ bt ɖt, n yt Nansi flt, it mt b tru ɖt ś mîndd luzñ hr broć, bt ś wz’nt crayñ onli fr ɖt. Ś wz crayñ fr smʈñ els. W mt ol sit dǎn n crî, ś flt. Bt ś dd nt nǒ ẃt fr.

Ɖe drù ahd tgɖr, Pōl n Minta, n h cumf̣td hr, n sd hǎ feṃs h wz fr fîndñ ʈñz. Wns ẃn h wz a litl bô h hd faund a gold woć. H wd gt p at dêbrec n h wz poẓtiv h wd fînd it. It sīmd t him ɖt it wd b olmst darc, n h wd b alon on ɖ bīć, n smhǎ it wd b rɖr denjṛs. H bgan telñ hr, hvr, ɖt h wd srtnli fînd it, n ś sd ɖt ś wd nt hír v hiz gtñ p at dōn: it wz lost: ś ń ɖt: ś hd hd a prizntimnt ẃn ś pt it on ɖt afṭnun. N sīcṛtli h rzolvd ɖt h wd nt tel hr, bt h wd slip ǎt v ɖ hǎs at dōn ẃn ɖe wr ol aslip n f h cd nt fînd it h wd g t Ednbra n bai hr anɖr, jst lîc it bt mor bytifl. H wd pruv ẃt h cd d. N az ɖe cem ǎt on ɖ hil n sw ɖ lîts v ɖ tǎn bnʈ ɖm, ɖ lîts cmñ ǎt sudnli wn bî wn sīmd lîc ʈñz ɖt wr gwñ t hapn t him—hiz marij, hiz ćildṛn, hiz hǎs; n agn h ʈt, az ɖe cem ǎt on t ɖ hî rod, ẃć wz śêdd wɖ hî bśz, hǎ ɖe wd rtrit intu soḷtyd tgɖr, n wōc on n on, h olwz līdñ hr, n ś presñ clos t hiz sîd (az ś dd nǎ). Az ɖe trnd bî ɖ crosrodz h ʈt ẃt an apōlñ xpirịns h hd bn ʈru, n h mst tel smwn—Msz Ramzi v cors, fr it tc hiz breʈ awe t ʈnc ẃt h hd bn n dn. It hd bn far n awe ɖ wrst momnt v hiz lîf ẃn h asct Minta t mari him. H wd g stret t Msz Ramzi, bcz h flt smhǎ ɖt ś wz ɖ prsn hu hd md him d it. Ś hd md him ʈnc h cd d enʈñ. Nbdi els tc him sirịsli. Bt ś md him b’liv ɖt h cd d ẃtvr h wontd. H hd flt hr îz on him ol de tde, folowñ him abt (ɖo ś nvr sd a wrd) az f ś wr seyñ, “Yes, y cn d it. I b’liv in y. I xpct it v y.” Ś hd md him fīl ol ɖt, n d’recli ɖe got bac (h lct fr ɖ lîts v ɖ hǎs abv ɖ be) h wd g t hr n se, “I’v dn it, Msz Ramzi; ʈancs t y.” N so trnñ intu ɖ len ɖt léd t ɖ hǎs h cd si lîts muvñ abt in ɖ upr windoz. Ɖe mst b ōf̣li lêt ɖen. Ppl wr gtñ redi fr dinr. Ɖ hǎs wz ol lit p, n ɖ lîts aftr ɖ darcnis md hiz îz fīl fl, n h sd t himslf, ćîldiśli, az h wōct p ɖ drîv, Lîts, lîts, lîts, n rpitd in a dezd we, Lîts, lîts, lîts, az ɖe cem intu ɖ hǎs stẹrñ abt him wɖ hiz fes qt stif. Bt, gd hevnz, h sd t himslf, ptñ hiz hand t hiz tî, I mst nt mc a fūl v mslf.)


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“Yes,” sd Pru, in hr cnsidrñ we, anṣrñ hr muɖr’z qsćn, “I ʈnc Nansi dd g wɖ ɖm.”


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Wel ɖen, Nansi hd gn wɖ ɖm, Msz Ramzi s’pozd, wunḍrñ, az ś pt dǎn a bruś, tc p a com, n sd “Cm in” t a tap at ɖ dor (Jaspr n Rôz cem in), ẃɖr ɖ fact ɖt Nansi wz wɖ ɖm md it les lîcli or mor lîcli ɖt enʈñ wd hapn; it md it les lîcli, smhǎ, Msz Ramzi flt, vri iraśṇli, xpt ɖt aftr ol hoḷcōst on sć a scel wz nt probbl. Ɖe cd nt ol b drǎnd. N agn ś flt alon in ɖ prezns v hr old antaġnist, lîf.

Jaspr n Rôz sd ɖt Mildrid wontd t nǒ ẃɖr ś śd wêt dinr.

“Nt fr ɖ Qīn v Ñgḷnd,” sd Msz Ramzi imfaticli.

“Nt fr ɖ Empris v Mx̣co,” ś add, lafñ at Jaspr; fr h śerd hiz muɖr’z vîs: h, tù, xaɉretd.

N f Rôz lîct, ś sd, ẃl Jaspr tc ɖ mesij, ś mt ćūz ẃć juwlz ś wz t wer. Ẃn ɖr r fiftīn ppl sitñ dǎn t dinr, wn canot cīp ʈñz wêtñ fr evr. Ś wz nǎ bginñ t fīl anoid wɖ ɖm fr biyñ so lêt; it wz incnsidṛt v ɖm, n it anoid hr on top v hr añzayti abt ɖm, ɖt ɖe śd ćūz ɖs vri nît t b ǎt lêt, ẃn, in fact, ś wśt ɖ dinr t b ptiklrli nîs, sins Wiłm Báncs hd at last cnsntd t dîn wɖ ɖm; n ɖe wr hvñ Mildrid’z mastrpìs—BOEUF EN DAUBE. Evrʈñ dpndd upn ʈñz biyñ srvd p t ɖ prisîs momnt ɖe wr redi. Ɖ bīf, ɖ bêlīf, n ɖ wîn—ol mst b dn t a trn. T cīp it wêtñ wz ǎt v ɖ qsćn. Yt v cors tnît, v ol nîts, ǎt ɖe wnt, n ɖe cem in lêt, n ʈñz hd t b snt ǎt, ʈñz hd t b cept hot; ɖ BOEUF EN DAUBE wd b intîrli spôlt.

Jaspr ofrd hr an opl necḷs; Rôz a gold necḷs. Ẃć lct bst agnst hr blac dres? Ẃć dd indd, sd Msz Ramzi absnt-mîndidli, lcñ at hr nec n śoldrz (bt avôdñ hr fes) in ɖ glas. N ɖen, ẃl ɖ ćildṛn rumijd amñ hr ʈñz, ś lct ǎt v ɖ windo at a sît ẃć olwz aḿzd hr—ɖ rŭcs trayñ t dsîd ẃć tri t setl on. Evri tîm, ɖe sīmd t ćenj ɖer mîndz n rouz p intu ɖ er agn, bcz, ś ʈt, ɖ old rŭc, ɖ faɖr rŭc, old Jozif wz hr nem fr him, wz a brd v a vri trayñ n dificlt disṗziśn. H wz a dsrepytbl old brd, wɖ haf hiz wñ feɖrz misñ. H wz lîc sm sīdi old jntlmn in a top hat ś hd sìn pleyñ ɖ horn in frunt v a public hǎs.

“Lc!” ś sd, lafñ. Ɖe wr acćli fîtñ. Jozif n Mẹri wr fîtñ. Enhǎ ɖe ol wnt p agn, n ɖ er wz śuvd asd bî ɖer blac wñz n cut intu xqizit siṃtar śeps. Ɖ muvmnts v ɖ wñz bìtñ ǎt, ǎt, ǎt—ś cd nvr dscrîb it akṛtli inuf t plīz hrslf—wz wn v ɖ luvliist v ol t hr. Lc at ɖt, ś sd t Rôz, hopñ ɖt Rôz wd si it mor clirli ɖn ś cd. Fr wn’z ćildṛn so ofn gev wn’z ǒn pspśnz a litl ʈrust fwdz.

Bt ẃć wz it t b? Ɖe hd ol ɖ trez v hr juwlces opn. Ɖ gold necḷs, ẃć wz Itałn, or ɖ opl necḷs, ẃć Uncl Jemz hd bròt hr fṛm India; or śd ś wer hr aṃʈists?

“Ćūz, dirists, ćūz,” ś sd, hopñ ɖt ɖe wd mc hest.

Bt ś let ɖm tec ɖer tîm t ćūz: ś let Rôz, ptiklrli, tec p ɖs n ɖen ɖt, n hold hr juwlz agnst ɖ blac dres, fr ɖs litl seriṃni v ćuzñ juwlz, ẃć wz gn ʈru evri nît, wz ẃt Rôz lîct bst, ś ń. Ś hd sm hidn rīzn v hr ǒn fr ataćñ gret importns t ɖs ćuzñ ẃt hr muɖr wz t wer. Ẃt wz ɖ rīzn, Msz Ramzi wundrd, standñ stl t let hr clasp ɖ necḷs ś hd ćozn, dvînñ, ʈru hr ǒn past, sm dīp, sm berid, sm qt spīćlis fīlñ ɖt wn hd fr wn’z muɖr at Rôz’z ej. Lîc ol fīlñz flt fr wnslf, Msz Ramzi ʈt, it md wn sad. It wz so inadiqt, ẃt wn cd gv in rtrn; n ẃt Rôz flt wz qt ǎt v pṛporśn t enʈñ ś acćli wz. N Rôz wd gro p; n Rôz wd sufr, ś s’pozd, wɖ ɖz dīp fīlñz, n ś sd ś wz redi nǎ, n ɖe wd g dǎn, n Jaspr, bcz h wz ɖ jntlmn, śd gv hr hiz arm, n Rôz, az ś wz ɖ ledi, śd cari hr hanc̣ćif (ś gev hr ɖ hanc̣ćif), n ẃt els? ǒ, yes, it mt b cold: a śōl. Ćūz m a śōl, ś sd, fr ɖt wd plīz Rôz, hu wz baund t sufr so. “Ɖr,” ś sd, stopñ bî ɖ windo on ɖ landñ, “ɖr ɖe r agn.” Jozif hd setld on anɖr trītop. “D’nt y ʈnc ɖe mînd,” ś sd t Jaspr, “hvñ ɖer wñz brocn?” Ẃ dd h wont t śūt pur old Jozif n Mẹri? H śufld a litl on ɖ sterz, n flt rbyct, bt nt sirịsli, fr ś dd nt unḍstand ɖ fun v śūtñ brdz; n ɖe dd nt fīl; n biyñ hiz muɖr ś livd awe in anɖr dviźn v ɖ wrld, bt h rɖr lîct hr storiz abt Mẹri n Jozif. Ś md him laf. Bt hǎ dd ś nǒ ɖt ɖoz wr Mẹri n Jozif? Dd ś ʈnc ɖ sem brdz cem t ɖ sem triz evri nît? h asct. Bt hir, sudnli, lîc ol groun-up ppl, ś sīst t pe him ɖ līst atnśn. Ś wz liṣnñ t a clatr in ɖ hōl.

“Ɖ’v cm bac!” ś xclemd, n at wns ś flt mć mor anoid wɖ ɖm ɖn rlivd. Ɖen ś wundrd, hd it hapnd? Ś wd g dǎn n ɖe wd tel hr—bt no. Ɖe cd nt tel hr enʈñ, wɖ ol ɖz ppl abt. So ś mst g dǎn n bgin dinr n wêt. N, lîc sm qīn hu, fîndñ hr ppl gaɖrd in ɖ hōl, lcs dǎn upn ɖm, n dsndz amñ ɖm, n acnoḷjz ɖer tribyts sîḷntli, n axpts ɖer dvośn n ɖer pṛstreśn bfr hr (Pōl dd nt muv a musl bt lct stret bfr him az ś pást) ś wnt dǎn, n crost ɖ hōl n baud hr hed vri slîtli, az f ś axptd ẃt ɖe cd nt se: ɖer tribyt t hr byti.

Bt ś stopt. Ɖr wz a smel v brnñ. Cd ɖe hv let ɖ BOEUF EN DAUBE oṿbôl? ś wundrd, pre hevn nt! ẃn ɖ gret clangr v ɖ goñ anǎnst soḷmli, oʈorittivli, ɖt ol ɖoz scatrd abt, in atics, in bedrūmz, on litl prćz v ɖer ǒn, rīdñ, raitñ, ptñ ɖ last smuɖ t ɖer her, or faṣnñ dresz, mst līv ol ɖt, n ɖ litl odz n endz on ɖer wośñteblz n dresñtebls, n ɖ novlz on ɖ bedteblz, n ɖ dayriz ẃć wr so prîvt, n asmbl in ɖ dînñrūm fr dinr.


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Bt ẃt hv I dn wɖ mî lîf? ʈt Msz Ramzi, tecñ hr ples at ɖ hed v ɖ tebl, n lcñ at ol ɖ plets mcñ ẃît srclz on it. “Wiłm, sit bî m,” ś sd. “Lili,” ś sd, wiṛli, “ovr ɖr.” Ɖe hd ɖt—Pōl Rêli n Minta Dôl—ś, onli ɖs—an infiṇtli loñ tebl n plets n nîvz. At ɖ far end wz hr huzbnd, sitñ dǎn, ol in a hīp, frǎnñ. Ẃt at? Ś dd nt nǒ. Ś dd nt mînd. Ś cd nt unḍstand hǎ ś hd evr flt eni imośn or afx́n fr him. Ś hd a sns v biyñ past evrʈñ, ʈru evrʈñ, ǎt v evrʈñ, az ś hlpt ɖ sūp, az f ɖr wz an edi—ɖr— n wn cd b in it, or wn cd b ǎt v it, n ś wz ǎt v it. It’s ol cm t an end, ś ʈt, ẃl ɖe cem in wn aftr anɖr, Ćarlz Tanzli—”Sit ɖr, plīz,” ś sd—Ōgusṭs Carmîcl—n sat dǎn. N mnẃl ś wêtd, pasivli, fr smwn t ansr hr, fr smʈñ t hapn. Bt ɖs z nt a ʈñ, ś ʈt, leḍlñ ǎt sūp, ɖt wn sz.

Rezñ hr îbrǎz at ɖ dscrepnsi—ɖt wz ẃt ś wz ʈncñ, ɖs wz ẃt ś wz dwñ—leḍlñ ǎt sūp—ś flt, mor n mor stroñli, ǎtsd ɖt edi; or az f a śêd hd fōḷn, n, robd v culr, ś sw ʈñz trūli. Ɖ rūm (ś lct rnd it) wz vri śabi. Ɖr wz no byti enẃr. Ś fōrbòr t lc at Mr Tanzli. Nʈñ sīmd t hv mrjd. Ɖe ol sat sepṛt. N ɖ hol v ɖ ef̣t v mrjñ n flowñ n crietñ restd on hr. Agn ś flt, az a fact wɖt hostiḷti, ɖ sṭriḷti v men, fr f ś dd nt d it nbdi wd d it, n so, gvñ hrslf a litl śec ɖt wn gvz a woć ɖt hz stopt, ɖ old fmiłr puls bgan bìtñ, az ɖ woć bginz ticñ—wn, tū, ʈri, wn, tū, ʈri. N so on n so on, ś rpitd, liṣnñ t it, ślṭrñ n fosṭrñ ɖ stl fībl puls az wn mt gard a wìc flem wɖ a nyzpepr. N so ɖen, ś cncludd, adresñ hrslf bî bndñ sîḷntli in hiz drex́n t Wiłm Báncs—pur man! hu hd no wîf, n no ćildṛn n dînd alon in lojñz xpt fr tnît; n in piti fr him, lîf biyñ nǎ stroñ inuf t ber hr on agn, ś bgan ol ɖs biznis, az a sêlr nt wɖt wirinis siz ɖ wind fil hiz sêl n yt hardli wonts t b of agn n ʈncs hǎ, hd ɖ śip sunc, h wd hv ẃrld rnd n rnd n faund rest on ɖ flor v ɖ sì.

“Dd y fînd yr letrz? I tld ɖm t pt ɖm in ɖ hōl fr y,” ś sd t Wiłm Báncs.

Lili Brisco woćt hr driftñ intu ɖt strenj no-man’z land ẃr t folo ppl z impoṣbl n yt ɖer gwñ inflicts sć a ćil on ɖoz hu woć ɖm ɖt ɖe olwz trî at līst t folo ɖm wɖ ɖer îz az wn foloz a fedñ śip untl ɖ sêlz hv sunc bnʈ ɖ hrîzn.

Hǎ old ś lcs, hǎ wòrn ś lcs, Lili ʈt, n hǎ rmot. Ɖen ẃn ś trnd t Wiłm Báncs, smîlñ, it wz az f ɖ śip hd trnd n ɖ sún hd struc its sêlz agn, n Lili ʈt wɖ sm aḿzmnt bcz ś wz rlivd, Ẃ dz ś piti him? Fr ɖt wz ɖ impreśn ś gev, ẃn ś tld him ɖt hiz letrz wr in ɖ hōl. Pur Wiłm Báncs, ś sīmd t b seyñ, az f hr ǒn wirinis hd bn partli pitiyñ ppl, n ɖ lîf in hr, hr rzolv t liv agn, hd bn strd bî piti. N it wz nt tru, Lili ʈt; it wz wn v ɖoz msjujmnts v hrz ɖt sīmd t b instñtiv n t arîz fṛm sm nīd v hr ǒn rɖr ɖn v uɖr ppl’z. H z nt in ɖ līst pitịbl. H hz hiz wrc, Lili sd t hrslf. Ś rmembrd, ol v a sudn az f ś hd faund a treźr, ɖt ś hd hr wrc. In a flaś ś sw hr picćr, n ʈt, Yes, I śl pt ɖ tri frɖr in ɖ midl; ɖen I śl avôd ɖt ōcẉd spes. Ɖt’s ẃt I śl d. Ɖt’s ẃt hz bn puẓlñ m. Ś tc p ɖ sōltsélr n pt it dǎn agn on a flǎrpatn in ɖ teblcloʈ, so az t rmînd hrslf t muv ɖ tri.

“It’s od ɖt wn scersli gts enʈñ wrʈ hvñ bî post, yt wn olwz wonts wn’z letrz,” sd Mr Báncs.

Ẃt dámd rot ɖe tōc, ʈt Ćarlz Tanzli, leyñ dǎn hiz spūn prisîsli in ɖ midl v hiz plet, ẃć h hd swept clīn, az f, Lili ʈt (h sat oṗzit t hr wɖ hiz bac t ɖ windo prisîsli in ɖ midl v vy), h wr dtrmind t mc śr v hiz mīlz. Evrʈñ abt him hd ɖt mīgr fix̣ti, ɖt bér unluvlinis. Bt nvɖles, ɖ fact rmend, it wz imposbl t dslîc enwn f wn lct at ɖm. Ś lîct hiz îz; ɖe wr blu, dīp set, frîṭnñ.

“D y rait mni letrz, Mr Tanzli?” asct Msz Ramzi, pitiyñ him tù, Lili s’pozd; fr ɖt wz tru v Msz Ramzi—ś pitid men olwz az f ɖe lact smʈñ—wimin nvr, az f ɖe hd smʈñ. H rout t hiz muɖr; uɖwz h dd nt s’poz h rout wn letr a munʈ, sd Mr Tanzli, śortli.

Fr h wz nt gwñ t tōc ɖ sort v rot condisndd t bî ɖz sili wimin. H hd bn rīdñ in hiz rūm, n nǎ h cem dǎn n it ol sīmd t him sili, sūṗfiśl, flimzi. Ẃ dd ɖe dres? H hd cm dǎn in hiz ordnri cloɖz. H hd nt got eni drescloɖz. “Wn nvr gts enʈñ wrʈ hvñ bî post”—ɖt wz ɖ sort v ʈñ ɖe wr olwz seyñ. Ɖe md men se ɖt sort v ʈñ. Yes, it wz priti wel tru, h ʈt. Ɖe nvr got enʈñ wrʈ hvñ fṛm wn yir’z end t anɖr. Ɖe dd nʈñ bt tōc, tōc, tōc, īt, īt, īt. It wz ɖ wimin’z fōlt. Wimin md siṿlîześn impoṣbl wɖ ol ɖer “ćarm,” ol ɖer silinis.

“No gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs tmro, Msz Ramzi,” h sd, asrtñ himslf. H lîct hr; h admîrd hr; h stl ʈt v ɖ man in ɖ drenpîp lcñ p at hr; bt h flt it nesṣri t asrt himslf.

H wz riyli, Lili Brisco ʈt, in spît v hiz îz, bt ɖen lc at hiz nǒz, lc at hiz handz, ɖ most unćarmñ hymn biyñ ś hd evr met. Ɖen ẃ dd ś mînd ẃt h sd? Wimin c’nt rait, wimin c’nt pent—ẃt dd ɖt matr cmñ fṛm him, sins clirli it wz nt tru t him bt fr sm rīzn hlpfl t him, n ɖt wz ẃ h sd it? Ẃ dd hr hol biyñ bǎ, lîc corn undr a wind, n irect itslf agn fṛm ɖs abesmnt onli wɖ a gret n rɖr penfl ef̣t? Ś mst mc it wns mor. Ɖr’z ɖ sprig on ɖ teblcloʈ; ɖr’z mî pentñ; I mst muv ɖ tri t ɖ midl; ɖt matrz—nʈñ els. Cd ś nt hold fast t ɖt, ś asct hrslf, n nt lūz hr tmpr, n nt argy; n f ś wontd rvnj tec it bî lafñ at him?

“Ǒ, Mr Tanzli,” ś sd, “d tec m t ɖ Lîthǎs wɖ y. I śd so luv it.”

Ś wz telñ lîz h cd si. Ś wz seyñ ẃt ś dd nt mīn t anô him, fr sm rīzn. Ś wz lafñ at him. H wz in hiz old flanl trǎzrz. H hd no uɖrz. H flt vri ruf n îṣletd n lonli. H ń ɖt ś wz trayñ t tīz him fr sm rīzn; ś dd’nt wont t g t ɖ Lîthǎs wɖ him; ś dspîzd him: so dd Pru Ramzi; so dd ɖe ol. Bt h wz nt gwñ t b md a fūl v bî wimin, so h trnd dlibṛtli in hiz ćer n lct ǎt v ɖ windo n sd, ol in a jrc, vri rūdli, it wd b tù ruf fr hr tmro. Ś wd b sic.

It anoid him ɖt ś śd hv md him spīc lîc ɖt, wɖ Msz Ramzi liṣnñ. F onli h cd b alon in hiz rūm wrcñ, h ʈt, amñ hiz bcs. Ɖt wz ẃr h flt at hiz īz. N h hd nvr run a peni intu dét; h hd nvr cost hiz faɖr a peni sins h wz fiftīn; h hd hlpt ɖm at hom ǎt v hiz sevñz; h wz edycetñ hiz sistr. Stl, h wśt h hd noun hǎ t ansr Mis Brisco proprli; h wśt it hd nt cm ǎt ol in a jrc lîc ɖt. “Y’d b sic.” H wśt h cd ʈnc v smʈñ t se t Msz Ramzi, smʈñ ẃć wd śo hr ɖt h wz nt jst a drî prig. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖe ol ʈt him. H trnd t hr. Bt Msz Ramzi wz tōcñ abt ppl h hd nvr hŕd v t Wiłm Báncs.

“Yes, tec it awe,” ś sd brīfli, inṭruptñ ẃt ś wz seyñ t Wiłm Báncs t spīc t ɖ meid. “It mst hv bn fiftīn— no, twenti yirz ago—ɖt I last sw hr,” ś wz seyñ, trnñ bac t him agn az f ś cd nt lūz a momnt v ɖer tōc, fr ś wz abzorbd bî ẃt ɖe wr seyñ. So h hd acćli hŕd fṛm hr ɖs īvnñ! N wz Cári stl livñ at Marlo, n wz evrʈñ stl ɖ sem? Ǒ, ś cd rmembr it az f it wr yesṭde—on ɖ rivr, fīlñ it az f it wr yesṭde—gwñ on ɖ rivr, fīlñ vri cold. Bt f ɖ Manñz md a plan ɖe stuc t it. Nvr śd ś fget Hrbt cilñ a wosp wɖ a tīspūn on ɖ banc! N it wz stl gwñ on, Msz Ramzi ḿzd, glîdñ lîc a gost amñ ɖ ćerz n teblz v ɖt drw̃rūm on ɖ bancs v ɖ Tmz ẃr ś hd bn so vri, vri cold twenti yirz ago; bt nǎ ś wnt amñ ɖm lîc a gost; n it faṣnetd hr, az f, ẃl ś hd ćenjd, ɖt ptiklr de, nǎ bcm vri stl n bytifl, hd rmend ɖr, ol ɖz yirz. Hd Cári ritn t him hrslf? ś asct.

“Yes. Ś sz ɖ’r bildñ a ny biłdrūm,” h sd. No! No! Ɖt wz ǎt v ɖ qsćn! Bildñ a ny biłdrūm! It sīmd t hr impoṣbl.

Mr Báncs cd nt si ɖt ɖr wz enʈñ vri od abt it. Ɖe wr vri wel of nǎ. Śd h gv hr luv t Cári?

“Ǒ,” sd Msz Ramzi wɖ a litl start, “No,” ś add, rflectñ ɖt ś dd nt nǒ ɖs Cári hu bilt a ny biłrd rūm. Bt hǎ strenj, ś rpitd, t Mr Báncs’z aḿzmnt, ɖt ɖe śd b gwñ on ɖr stl. Fr it wz xtrordnri t ʈnc ɖt ɖe hd bn ceṗbl v gwñ on livñ ol ɖz yirz ẃn ś hd nt ʈt v ɖm mor ɖn wns ol ɖt tîm. Hǎ ivntfl hr ǒn lîf hd bn, jrñ ɖoz sem yirz. Yt phps Cári Manñ hd nt ʈt abt hr, îɖr. Ɖ ʈt wz strenj n dstestfl.

“Ppl sn drift apart,” sd Mr Báncs, fīlñ, hvr, sm saṭsfax́n ẃn h ʈt ɖt aftr ol h ń bʈ ɖ Manñz n ɖ Ramziz. H hd nt driftd apart h ʈt, leyñ dǎn hiz spūn n wîpñ hiz clīn-śevn lips puñtiłsli. Bt phps h wz rɖr unyźl, h ʈt, in ɖs; h nvr let himslf gt intu a grūv. H hd frendz in ol srclz… Msz Ramzi hd t brec of hir t tel ɖ meid smʈñ abt cīpñ fūd hot. Ɖt wz ẃ h prifŕd dînñ alon. Ol ɖoz inṭrupśnz anoid him. Wel, ʈt Wiłm Báncs, prizrvñ a dmīnr v xqizit crṭsi n mirli spredñ ɖ fngrz v hiz left hand on ɖ teblcloʈ az a mcanic xaminz a tūl bytif̣li poliśt n redi fr ys in an inṭvl v leźr, sć r ɖ sacṛfîsz wn’z frendz asc v wn. It wd hv hrt hr f h hd rfyzd t cm. Bt it wz nt wrʈ it fr him. Lcñ at hiz hand h ʈt ɖt f h hd bn alon dinr wd hv bn olmst ovr nǎ; h wd hv bn fri t wrc. Yes, h ʈt, it z a teṛbl west v tîm. Ɖ ćildṛn wr dropñ in stl. “I wś wn v y wd run p t Rojr’z rūm,” Msz Ramzi wz seyñ. Hǎ trîf̣lñ it ol z, hǎ borñ it ol z, h ʈt, cmperd wɖ ɖ uɖr ʈñ— wrc. Hir h sat drumñ hiz fngrz on ɖ teblcloʈ ẃn h mt hv bn—h tc a flaśñ brd’z-î vy v hiz wrc. Ẃt a west v tîm it ol wz t b śr! Yt, h ʈt, ś z wn v mî oldist frendz. I am bî we v biyñ dvotd t hr. Yt nǎ, at ɖs momnt hr prezns mnt abṣlutli nʈñ t him: hr byti mnt nʈñ t him; hr sitñ wɖ hr litl bô at ɖ windo— nʈñ, nʈñ. H wśt onli t b alon n t tec p ɖt bc. H flt uncumftbl; h flt trećṛs, ɖt h cd sit bî hr sîd n fīl nʈñ fr hr. Ɖ truʈ wz ɖt h dd nt injô faṃlilîf. It wz in ɖs sort v stet ɖt wn asct wnslf, Ẃt dz wn liv fr? Ẃ, wn asct wnslf, dz wn tec ol ɖz penz fr ɖ hymn res t g on? Z it so vri dzîṛbl? R w atractiv az a spīśīz? Nt so vri, h ʈt, lcñ at ɖoz rɖr untîdi bôz. Hiz fevrit, Cam, wz in bed, h s’pozd. Fūliś qsćnz, ven qsćnz, qsćnz wn nvr asct f wn wz okpaid. Z hymn lîf ɖs? Z hymn lîf ɖt? Wn nvr hd tîm t ʈnc abt it. Bt hir h wz ascñ himslf ɖt sort v qsćn, bcz Msz Ramzi wz gvñ ordrz t srvnts, n olso bcz it hd struc him, ʈncñ hǎ s’prîzd Msz Ramzi wz ɖt Cári Manñ śd stl xist, ɖt frendśps, īvn ɖ bst v ɖm, r frel ʈñz. Wn drifts apart. H rproćt himslf agn. H wz sitñ bsd Msz Ramzi n h hd nʈñ in ɖ wrld t se t hr.

“I’m so sori,” sd Msz Ramsy, trnñ t him at last. H flt rijid n baṛn, lîc a per v būts ɖt hv bn sǒct n gn drî so ɖt y cn hardli fors yr fīt intu ɖm. Yt h mst fors hiz fīt intu ɖm. H mst mc himslf tōc. Unls h wr vri cerfl, ś wd fînd ǎt ɖs treć̣ri v hiz; ɖt h dd nt cer a strw fr hr, n ɖt wd nt b at ol pleznt, h ʈt. So h bnt hiz hed crtịsli in hr drex́n.

“Hǎ y mst dtst dînñ in ɖs bergardn,” ś sd, mcñ ys, az ś dd ẃn ś wz dstractd, v hr sośl manr. So, ẃn ɖr z a strîf v tuñz, at sm mītñ, ɖ ćermn, t obten yṇti, sjsts ɖt evrwn śl spīc in Frenć. Phps it z bad Frenć; Frenć me nt cnten ɖ wrdz ɖt xpres ɖ spīcr’z ʈts; nvɖles spīcñ Frenć impozz sm ordr, sm yṇforṃti. Rplayñ t hr in ɖ sem lanḡj, Mr Báncs sd, “No, nt at ol,” n Mr Tanzli, hu hd no nolij v ɖs lanḡj, īvn spouc ɖus in wrdz v wn siḷbl, at wns sspctd its inṣnseṛti. Ɖe dd tōc nonsns, h ʈt, ɖ Ramziz; n h pǎnst on ɖs freś instns wɖ jô, mcñ a not ẃć, wn v ɖz dez, h wd rīd alǎd, t wn or tū frendz. Ɖr, in a ssayti ẃr wn cd se ẃt wn lîct h wd sarcasticli dscrîb “steyñ wɖ ɖ Ramziz” n ẃt nonsns ɖe tōct. It wz wrʈ ẃl dwñ it wns, h wd se; bt nt agn. Ɖ wimin bòrd wn so, h wd se. V cors Ramzi hd diśt himslf bî mariyñ a bytifl wmn n hvñ et ćildṛn. It wd śep itslf smʈñ lîc ɖt, bt nǎ, at ɖs momnt, sitñ stuc ɖr wɖ an emti sīt bsd him, nʈñ hd śept itslf at ol. It wz ol in scraps n fragmnts. H flt xtrimli, īvn fizicli, uncumftbl. H wontd smbdi t gv him a ćans v asrtñ himslf. H wontd it so rjntli ɖt h fiɉtd in hiz ćer, lct at ɖs prsn, ɖen at ɖt prsn, traid t brec intu ɖer tōc, opnd hiz mǎʈ n śut it agn. Ɖe wr tōcñ abt ɖ fiśñinḍstri. Ẃ dd nwn asc him hiz opińn? Ẃt dd ɖe nǒ abt ɖ fiśñinḍstri?

Lili Brisco ń ol ɖt. Sitñ oṗzit him, cd ś nt si, az in an X-re foṭgraf, ɖ ribz n ʈî bonz v ɖ yuñ man’z dzîr t impres himslf, layñ darc in ɖ mist v hiz fleś—ɖt ʈin mist ẃć cnvnśn hd leid ovr hiz brnñ dzîr t brec intu ɖ convseśn? Bt, ś ʈt, scruwñ p hr Ćînīz îz, n rmembrñ hǎ h snird at wimin, “c’nt pent, c’nt rait,” ẃ śd I hlp him t rliv himslf?

Ɖr z a cod v bhevyr, ś ń, huz sevnʈ articl (it me b) sz ɖt on oceźnz v ɖs sort it bhovz ɖ wmn, ẃtvr hr ǒn okpeśn mt b, t g t ɖ hlp v ɖ yuñ man oṗzit so ɖt h me xpoz n rliv ɖ ʈî bonz, ɖ ribz, v hiz vaṇti, v hiz rjnt dzîr t asrt himslf; az indd it z ɖer dyti, ś rflectd, in hr old meidnli fernis, t hlp s, s’poz ɖ Tyb wr t brst intu flemz. Ɖen, ś ʈt, I śd srtnli xpct Mr Tanzli t gt m ǎt. Bt hǎ wd it b, ś ʈt, f nɖr v s dd îɖr v ɖz ʈñz? So ś sat ɖr smîlñ.

“Y’r nt planñ t g t ɖ Lîthǎs, r y, Lili,” sd Msz Ramzi. “Rmembr pur Mr Lañli; h hd bn rnd ɖ wrld duznz v tîmz, bt h tld m h nvr sufrd az h dd ẃn mî huzbnd tc him ɖr. R y a gd sêlr, Mr Tanzli?” ś asct.

Mr Tanzli rezd a hamr: swuñ it hî in er; bt riylîzñ, az it dsndd, ɖt h cd nt smît ɖt buṭflî wɖ sć an instṛmnt az ɖs, sd onli ɖt h hd nvr bn sic in hiz lîf. Bt in ɖt wn sntns le compact, lîc gunpǎdr, ɖt hiz granfaɖr wz a fiśrmn; hiz faɖr a cemist; ɖt h hd wrct hiz we p intîrli himslf; ɖt h wz prǎd v it; ɖt h wz Ćarlz Tanzli—a fact ɖt nbdi ɖr sīmd t riylîz; bt wn v ɖz dez evri sngl prsn wd nǒ it. H scǎld ahd v him. H cd olmst piti ɖz mîld cultvetd ppl, hu wd b bloun scî hî, lîc bêlz v wŭl n baṛlz v aplz, wn v ɖz dez bî ɖ gunpǎdr ɖt wz in him.

“Wl y tec m, Mr Tanzli?” sd Lili, qcli, cîndli, fr, v cors, f Msz Ramzi sd t hr, az in ifct ś dd, “I am drǎnñ, mî dir, in sìz v fîr. Unls y aplî sm bām t ɖ anḡś v ɖs aur n se smʈñ nîs t ɖt yuñ man ɖr, lîf wl run upn ɖ rocs—indd I hír ɖ greitñ n ɖ grǎlñ at ɖs minit. Mî nrvz r tōt az fidlstrñz. Anɖr tuć n ɖe wl snap”—ẃn Msz Ramzi sd ol ɖs, az ɖ glans in hr îz sd it, v cors fr ɖ hundṛd n fiftịʈ tîm Lili Brisco hd t rnǎns ɖ xperimnt—ẃt hapnz f wn z nt nîs t ɖt yuñ man ɖr—n b nîs.

Jujñ ɖ trn in hr mūd c’recli—ɖt ś wz frendli t him nǎ—h wz rlivd v hiz īgtizm, n tld hr hǎ h hd bn ʈroun ǎt v a bot ẃn h wz a bebi; hǎ hiz faɖr yst t fiś him ǎt wɖ a bot-hc; ɖt wz hǎ h hd lrnt t swim. Wn v hiz unclz cept ɖ lît on sm roc or uɖr of ɖ Scotiś cǒst, h sd. H hd bn ɖr wɖ him in a storm. Ɖs wz sd lǎdli in a pōz. Ɖe hd t lisn t him ẃn h sd ɖt h hd bn wɖ hiz uncl in a lîthǎs in a storm. Ā, ʈt Lili Brisco, az ɖ convseśn tc ɖs ōspiśs trn, n ś flt Msz Ramzi’z grattyd (fr Msz Ramzi wz fri nǎ t tōc fr a momnt hrslf), ā, ś ʈt, bt ẃt hv’nt I peid t gt it fr y? Ś hd nt bn s’nsir.

Ś hd dn ɖ yźl tric—bn nîs. Ś wd nvr nǒ him. H wd nvr nǒ hr. Hymn rleśnz wr ol lîc ɖt, ś ʈt, n ɖ wrst (f it hd nt bn fr Mr Báncs) wr btwn men n wimin. Inevitbli ɖz wr xtrimli inṣnsir ś ʈt. Ɖen hr î còt ɖ sōltsélr, ẃć ś hd plest ɖr t rmînd hr, n ś rmembrd ɖt nxt mornñ ś wd muv ɖ tri frɖr twdz ɖ midl, n hr spirits rouz so hî at ɖ ʈt v pentñ tmro ɖt ś laft ǎt lǎd at ẃt Mr Tanzli wz seyñ. Let him tōc ol nît f h lîct it.

“Bt hǎ loñ d ɖe līv men on a Lîthǎs?” ś asct. H tld hr. H wz amezñli wel informd. N az h wz gretfl, n az h lîct hr, n az h wz bginñ t injô himslf, so nǎ, Msz Ramzi ʈt, ś cd rtrn t ɖt drīmland, ɖt unriyl bt faṣnetñ ples, ɖ Manñz’ drw̃rūm at Marlo twenti yirz ago; ẃr wn muvd abt wɖt hest or añzayti, fr ɖr wz no fyćr t wuri abt. Ś ń ẃt hd hapnd t ɖm, ẃt t hr. It wz lîc rīdñ a gd bc agn, fr ś ń ɖ end v ɖt stori, sins it hd hapnd twenti yirz ago, n lîf, ẃć śot dǎn īvn fṛm ɖs dînñrūm tebl in cascedz, hevn nz ẃr, wz sìld p ɖr, n le, lîc a lec, plasidli btwn its bancs. H sd ɖe hd bilt a biłrdrūm—wz it poṣbl? Wd Wiłm g on tōcñ abt ɖ Manñz? Ś wontd him t. Bt, no—fr sm rīzn h wz no longr in ɖ mūd. Ś traid. H dd nt rspond. Ś cd nt fors him. Ś wz dis’pôntd.

“Ɖ ćildṛn r dsgresfl,” ś sd, sayñ. H sd smʈñ abt puñćuaḷti biyñ wn v ɖ mînr virćuz ẃć w d nt aqîr untl lêtr in lîf.

“F at ol,” sd Msz Ramzi mirli t fil p spes, ʈncñ ẃt an old meid Wiłm wz bcmñ. Conśs v hiz treć̣ri, conśs v hr wś t tōc abt smʈñ mor intiṃt, yt ǎt v mūd fr it at preznt, h flt cm ovr him ɖ diṣgriyblnis v lîf, sitñ ɖr, wêtñ. Phps ɖ uɖrz wr seyñ smʈñ inṭrestñ? Ẃt wr ɖe seyñ?

Ɖt ɖ fiśñsīzn wz bad; ɖt ɖ men wr eṃgretñ. Ɖe wr tōcñ abt wejz n unimplômnt. Ɖ yuñ man wz abyzñ ɖ guvnmnt. Wiłm Báncs, ʈncñ ẃt a rlif it wz t cać on t smʈñ v ɖs sort ẃn prîvt lîf wz dis’griybl, hŕd him se smʈñ abt “wn v ɖ most scandḷs acts v ɖ preznt guvnmnt.” Lili wz liṣnñ; Msz Ramzi wz liṣnñ; ɖe wr ol liṣnñ. Bt olrdi bòrd, Lili flt ɖt smʈñ wz lacñ; Mr Báncs flt ɖt smʈñ wz lacñ. Pŭlñ hr śōl rnd hr Msz Ramzi flt ɖt smʈñ wz lacñ. Ol v ɖm bndñ ɖmslvz t lisn ʈt, “Pre hevn ɖt ɖ insd v mî mînd me nt b xpozd,” fr ć ʈt, “Ɖ uɖrz r fīlñ ɖs. Ɖe r ǎtrejd n indignnt wɖ ɖ guvnmnt abt ɖ fiśrṃn. Ẃr-az, I fīl nʈñ at ol.” Bt phps, ʈt Mr Báncs, az h lct at Mr Tanzli, hir z ɖ man. Wn wz olwz wêtñ fr ɖ man. Ɖr wz olwz a ćans. At eni momnt ɖ līdr mt arîz; ɖ man v jīńs, in poḷtics az in enʈñ els. Probbli h wl b xtrimli dis’griybl t s old fǒgiz, ʈt Mr Báncs, dwñ hiz bst t mc alawnsz, fr h ń bî sm krịs fizicl snseśn, az v nrvz irect in hiz spîn, ɖt h wz jeḷs, fr himslf partli, partli mor probbli fr hiz wrc, fr hiz pônt v vy, fr hiz sayns; n ɖrfr h wz nt intîrli opn-mîndd or oltgɖr fer, fr Mr Tanzli sīmd t b seyñ, Y hv westd yr lîvz. Y r ol v y roñ. Pur old fǒgiz, y’r hoplisli bhnd ɖ tîmz. H sīmd t b rɖr cocśur, ɖs yuñ man; n hiz manrz wr bad. Bt Mr Báncs bád himslf obzrv, h hd curij; h hd abiḷti; h wz xtrimli wel p in ɖ facts. Probbli, Mr Báncs ʈt, az Tanzli abyzd ɖ guvnmnt, ɖr z a gd dīl in ẃt h sz.

“Tel m nǎ… “ h sd. So ɖe arğd abt poḷtics, n Lili lct at ɖ līf on ɖ teblcloʈ; n Msz Ramzi, līvñ ɖ arğmnt intîrli in ɖ handz v ɖ tū men, wundrd ẃ ś wz so bòrd bî ɖs tōc, n wśt, lcñ at hr huzbnd at ɖ uɖr end v ɖ tebl, ɖt h wd se smʈñ. Wn wrd, ś sd t hrslf. Fr f h sd a ʈñ, it wd mc ol ɖ difṛns. H wnt t ɖ hart v ʈñz. H cerd abt fiśrṃn n ɖer wejz. H cd nt slīp fr ʈncñ v ɖm. It wz oltgɖr difṛnt ẃn h spouc; wn dd nt fīl ɖen, pre hevn y d’nt si hǎ litl I cer, bcz wn dd cer. Ɖen, riylîzñ ɖt it wz bcz ś admîrd him so mć ɖt ś wz wêtñ fr him t spīc, ś flt az f smbdi hd bn prezñ hr huzbnd t hr n ɖer marij, n ś gloud ol ovr wɖt riylîzñ ɖt it wz ś hrslf hu hd prezd him. Ś lct at him ʈncñ t fînd ɖs in hiz fes; h wd b lcñ magnifisnt… Bt nt in ɖ līst! H wz scruwñ hiz fes p, h wz scǎlñ n frǎnñ, n fluśñ wɖ angr. Ẃt on rʈ wz it abt? ś wundrd. Ẃt cd b ɖ matr? Onli ɖt pur old Ōgusṭs hd asct fr anɖr plet v sūp—ɖt wz ol. It wz unʈnc̣bl, it wz dtstbl (so h signld t hr acrs ɖ tebl) ɖt Ōgusṭs śd b bginñ hiz sūp ovr agn. H loɖd ppl ītñ ẃn h hd finiśt. Ś sw hiz angr flî lîc a pac v hǎndz intu hiz îz, hiz brǎ, n ś ń ɖt in a momnt smʈñ vayḷnt wd xplod, n ɖen—ʈanc gdnis! ś sw him cluć himslf n clap a breic on ɖ ẃīl, n ɖ hol v hiz bodi sīmd t imit sparcs bt nt wrdz. H sat ɖr scǎlñ. H hd sd nʈñ, h wd hv hr obzrv. Let hr gv him ɖ credit fr ɖt! Bt ẃ aftr ol śd pur Ōgusṭs nt asc fr anɖr plet v sūp? H hd mirli tućt Eḷn’z arm n sd:

“Eḷn, plīz, anɖr plet v sūp,” n ɖen Mr Ramzi scǎld lîc ɖt.

N ẃ nt? Msz Ramzi dmandd. Śrli ɖe cd let Ōgusṭs hv hiz sūp f h wontd it. H hetd ppl wolowñ in fūd, Mr Ramzi frǎnd at hr. H hetd evrʈñ dragñ on fr aurz lîc ɖs. Bt h hd cntrold himslf, Mr Ramzi wd hv hr obzrv, dsgustñ ɖo ɖ sît wz. Bt ẃ śo it so plenli, Msz Ramzi dmandd (ɖe lct at ć uɖr dǎn ɖ loñ tebl sndñ ɖz qsćnz n ansrz acrs, ć nwñ xacli ẃt ɖ uɖr flt). Evrbdi cd si, Msz Ramzi ʈt. Ɖr wz Rôz gezñ at hr faɖr, ɖr wz Rojr gezñ at hiz faɖr; bʈ wd b of in spazmz v laftr in anɖr secnd, ś ń, n so ś sd promtli (indd it wz tîm):

“Lît ɖ candlz,” n ɖe jumt p instntli n wnt n fumbld at ɖ sîdbord.

Ẃ cd h nvr cnsil hiz fīlñz? Msz Ramzi wundrd, n ś wundrd f Ōgusṭs Carmîcl hd notist. Phps h hd; phps h hd nt. Ś cd nt hlp rspctñ ɖ cmpoźr wɖ ẃć h sat ɖr, drincñ hiz sūp. F h wontd sūp, h asct fr sūp. Ẃɖr ppl laft at him or wr angri wɖ him h wz ɖ sem. H dd nt lîc hr, ś ń ɖt; bt partli fr ɖt vri rīzn ś rspctd him, n lcñ at him, drincñ sūp, vri larj n cām in ɖ felñ lît, n mońmntl, n cntmpḷtiv, ś wundrd ẃt h dd fīl ɖen, n ẃ h wz olwz cntnt n digṇfaid; n ś ʈt hǎ dvotd h wz t Andru, n wd cōl him intu hiz rūm, n Andru sd, “śo him ʈñz.” N ɖr h wd lî ol de loñ on ɖ lōn brūdñ prizyṃbli ovr hiz powtri, tl h rmîndd wn v a cat woćñ brdz, n ɖen h clapt hiz pwz tgɖr ẃn h hd faund ɖ wrd, n hr huzbnd sd, “Pur old Ōgusṭs—h’z a tru powt,” ẃć wz hî prêz fṛm hr huzbnd.

Nǎ et candlz wr std dǎn ɖ tebl, n aftr ɖ frst stūp ɖ flemz std uprît n drù wɖ ɖm intu viẓbiḷti ɖ loñ tebl intîr, n in ɖ midl a yelo n prpl diś v frūt. Ẃt hd ś dn wɖ it, Msz Ramzi wundrd, fr Rôz’z arenjmnt v ɖ greps n pérz, v ɖ horni pnc-lînd śel, v ɖ bnanaz, md hr ʈnc v a trofi fećt fṛm ɖ botm v ɖ sì, v Neptyn’z banqit, v ɖ bunć ɖt hañz wɖ vînlīvz ovr ɖ śoldr v Bac̣s (in sm picćr), amñ ɖ leṗdscinz n ɖ torćz loḷpñ red n gold… Ɖus bròt p sudnli intu ɖ lît it sīmd pzest v gret sîz n depʈ, wz lîc a wrld in ẃć wn cd tec wn’z staf n clîm hilz, ś ʈt, n g dǎn intu valiz, n t hr pleźr (fr it bròt ɖm intu simṗʈi momntṛli) ś sw ɖt Ōgusṭs tù fīstd hiz îz on ɖ sem plet v frūt, plunjd in, brouc of a blūm ɖr, a tasl hir, n rtrnd, aftr fīstñ, t hiz hîv. Ɖt wz hiz we v lcñ, difṛnt fṛm hrz. Bt lcñ tgɖr ynîtd ɖm.

Nǎ ol ɖ candlz wr lit p, n ɖ fesz on bʈ sîdz v ɖ tebl wr bròt nirr bî ɖ candļît, n cmpozd, az ɖe hd nt bn in ɖ twîlît, intu a parti rnd a tebl, fr ɖ nît wz nǎ śut of bî peinz v glas, ẃć, far fṛm gvñ eni akṛt vy v ɖ ǎtsd wrld, ripld it so strenjli ɖt hir, insd ɖ rūm, sīmd t b ordr n drî land; ɖr, ǎtsd, a rflex́n in ẃć ʈñz wevd n vaniśt, wōtṛli.

Sm ćenj at wns wnt ʈru ɖm ol, az f ɖs hd riyli hapnd, n ɖe wr ol conśs v mcñ a parti tgɖr in a holo, on an îḷnd; hd ɖer comn cōz agnst ɖt fluidti ǎt ɖr. Msz Ramzi, hu hd bn unīzi, wêtñ fr Pōl n Minta t cm in, n unebl, ś flt, t setl t ʈñz, nǎ flt hr unīzinis ćenjd t xpcteśn. Fr nǎ ɖe mst cm, n Lili Brisco, trayñ t aṇlîz ɖ cōz v ɖ sudn xiḷreśn, cmperd it wɖ ɖt momnt on ɖ tenislōn, ẃn s’lidti sudnli vaniśt, n sć vast spesz le btwn ɖm; n nǎ ɖ sem ifct wz got bî ɖ mni candlz in ɖ sperli frniśt rūm, n ɖ uncrtnd windoz, n ɖ brît masclîc lc v fesz sìn bî candļît. Sm weit wz tecn of ɖm; enʈñ mt hapn, ś flt. Ɖe mst cm nǎ, Msz Ramzi ʈt, lcñ at ɖ dor, n at ɖt instnt, Minta Dôl, Pōl Rêli, n a meid cariyñ a gret diś in hr handz cem in tgɖr. Ɖe wr ōf̣li lêt; ɖe wr hoṛbli lêt, Minta sd, az ɖe faund ɖer we t difṛnt endz v ɖ tebl.

“I lost mî broć—mî granmuɖr’z broć,” sd Minta wɖ a sǎnd v lamnteśn in hr vôs, n a s’fyźn in hr larj brǎn îz, lcñ dǎn, lcñ p, az ś sat bî Mr Ramzi, ẃć rǎzd hiz śivlri so ɖt h bantrd hr.

Hǎ cd ś b sć a gūs, h asct, az t scrambl abt ɖ rocs in juwlz?

Ś wz bî we v biyñ teṛfaid v him—h wz so firf̣li clevr, n ɖ frst nît ẃn ś hd sat bî him, n h tōct abt Jorj Ełt, ś hd bn riyli frîtnd, fr ś hd left ɖ ʈrd volym v MIDLMARĆ in ɖ tren n ś nvr ń ẃt hapnd in ɖ end; bt aftwdz ś got on prf̣cli, n md hrslf ǎt īvn mor ignṛnt ɖn ś wz, bcz h lîct telñ hr ś wz a fūl. N so tnît, d’recli h laft at hr, ś wz nt frîtnd. Bsdz, ś ń, d’recli ś cem intu ɖ rūm ɖt ɖ miṛcl hd hapnd; ś wòr hr goldn hêz. Smtmz ś hd it; smtmz nt. Ś nvr ń ẃ it cem or ẃ it wnt, or f ś hd it untl ś cem intu ɖ rūm n ɖen ś ń instntli bî ɖ we sm man lct at hr. Yes, tnît ś hd it, tṛmndsli; ś ń ɖt bî ɖ we Mr Ramzi tld hr nt t b a fūl. Ś sat bsd him, smîlñ.

It mst hv hapnd ɖen, ʈt Msz Ramzi; ɖe r ingejd. N fr a momnt ś flt ẃt ś hd nvr xpctd t fīl agn— jeḷsi. Fr h, hr huzbnd, flt it tù—Minta’z glo; h lîct ɖz grlz, ɖz goldn-rediś grlz, wɖ smʈñ flayñ, smʈñ a litl wîld n heṛm-sceṛm abt ɖm, hu dd’nt “screp ɖer her of,” wr’nt, az h sd abt pur Lili Brisco, “scimpi”. Ɖr wz sm qoḷti ẃć ś hrslf hd nt, sm lustr, sm rićnis, ẃć atractd him, aḿzd him, léd him t mc feṿrits v grlz lîc Minta. Ɖe mt cut hiz her fṛm him, pleit him woć̦enz, or inṭrupt him at hiz wrc, hêlñ him (ś hŕd ɖm), “Cm alñ, Mr Ramzi; it’s ǎr trn t bìt ɖm nǎ,” n ǎt h cem t ple tenis.

Bt indd ś wz nt jeḷs, onli, nǎ n ɖen, ẃn ś md hrslf lc in hr glas, a litl rzntfl ɖt ś hd groun old, phps, bî hr ǒn fōlt. (Ɖ bil fr ɖ grīnhǎs n ol ɖ rest v it.) Ś wz gretfl t ɖm fr lafñ at him. (“Hǎ mni pîps hv y smoct tde, Mr Ramzi?” n so on), tl h sīmd a yuñ man; a man vri atractiv t wimin, nt brdnd, nt weid dǎn wɖ ɖ gretnis v hiz lebrz n ɖ soroz v ɖ wrld n hiz fem or hiz fełr, bt agn az ś hd frst noun him, gōnt bt gaḷnt; hlpñ hr ǎt v a bot, ś rmembrd; wɖ dlîtfl wez, lîc ɖt (ś lct at him, n h lct astoṇśñli yuñ, tizñ Minta). Fr hrslf—“Pt it dǎn ɖr,” ś sd, hlpñ ɖ Swis grl t ples jntli bfr hr ɖ hyj brǎn pot in ẃć wz ɖ BOEUF EN DAUBE—fr hr ǒn part, ś lîct hr būbiz. Pōl mst sit bî hr. Ś hd cept a ples fr him. Riyli, ś smtmz ʈt ś lîct ɖ būbiz bst. Ɖe dd nt boɖr wn wɖ ɖer diṣteśn. Hǎ mć ɖe míst, aftr ol, ɖz vri clevr men! Hǎ draid p ɖe dd bcm, t b śr. Ɖr wz smʈñ, ś ʈt az h sat dǎn, vri ćarmñ abt Pōl. Hiz manrz wr dlîtfl t hr, n hiz śarp cut nǒz n hiz brît blu îz. H wz so cnsidṛt. Wd h tel hr—nǎ ɖt ɖe wr ol tōcñ agn—ẃt hd hapnd?

“W wnt bac t lc fr Minta’z broć,” h sd, sitñ dǎn bî hr. “W”—ɖt wz inuf. Ś ń fṛm ɖ ef̣t, ɖ rîz in hiz vôs t s’mǎnt a dificlt wrd ɖt it wz ɖ frst tîm h hd sd “w.” “W dd ɖs, w dd ɖt.” Ɖ’l se ɖt ol ɖer livz, ś ʈt, n an xqizit sént v olivz n ôl n jūs rouz fṛm ɖ gret brǎn diś az Marta, wɖ a litl fluriś, tc ɖ cuvr of. Ɖ cc hd spent ʈri dez ovr ɖt diś. N ś mst tec gret cer, Msz Ramzi ʈt, dîvñ intu ɖ soft mas, t ćūz a speṣ́li tndr pìs fr Wiłm Báncs. N ś pīrd intu ɖ diś, wɖ its śîni wōlz n its cnfyźn v sêvri brǎn n yelo mìts n its be līvz n its wîn, n ʈt, Ɖs wl seḷbret ɖ oceźn—a krịs sns rîzñ in hr, at wns frīciś n tndr, v seḷbretñ a fstivl, az f tū imośnz wr cōld p in hr, wn pṛfǎnd—fr ẃt cd b mor sirịs ɖn ɖ luv v man fr wmn, ẃt mor cmandñ, mor impresiv, bẹrñ in its bŭzm ɖ sīdz v deʈ; at ɖ sem tîm ɖz luvrz, ɖz ppl enṭrñ intu iluźn gliṭrñ aid, mst b danst rnd wɖ moc̣ri, dec̣retd wɖ garḷndz.

“It z a trîumf,” sd Mr Báncs, leyñ hiz nîf dǎn fr a momnt. H hd ītn atntivli. It wz rić; it wz tndr. It wz prf̣cli cct. Hǎ dd ś manij ɖz ʈñz in ɖ depʈs v ɖ cuntri? h asct hr. Ś wz a wundrfl wmn. Ol hiz luv, ol hiz revṛns, hd rtrnd; n ś ń it.

“It z a Frenć reṣpi v mî granmuɖr’z,” sd Msz Ramzi, spīcñ wɖ a rñ v gret pleźr in hr vôs. V cors it wz Frenć. Ẃt pasz fr cc̣ri in Ñgḷnd z an aboṃneśn (ɖe agrìd). It z ptñ caḅjz in wōtr. It z rostñ mìt tl it z lîc leɖr. It z cutñ of ɖ dliśs scinz v vejtblz. “In ẃć,” sd Mr Báncs, “ol ɖ vrću v ɖ vejtbl z cntend.” N ɖ west, sd Msz Ramzi. A hol Frenć faṃli cd liv on ẃt an Ñgliś cc ʈroz awe. Sprd on bî hr sns ɖt Wiłm’z afx́n hd cm bac t hr, n ɖt evrʈñ wz ol rît agn, n ɖt hr sspns wz ovr, n ɖt nǎ ś wz fri bʈ t trîumf n t moc, ś laft, ś jestikletd, tl Lili ʈt, Hǎ ćîldlîc, hǎ absrd ś wz, sitñ p ɖr wɖ ol hr byti opnd agn in hr, tōcñ abt ɖ scinz v vejtblz. Ɖr wz smʈñ frîṭnñ abt hr. Ś wz irizistbl. Olwz ś got hr ǒn we in ɖ end, Lili ʈt. Nǎ ś hd bròt ɖs of—Pōl n Minta, wn mt s’poz, wr ingejd. Mr Báncs wz dînñ hir. Ś pt a spel on ɖm ol, bî wśñ, so simpli, so d’recli, n Lili cntrastd ɖt abundns wɖ hr ǒn poṿti v spirit, n s’pozd ɖt it wz partli ɖt b’lif (fr hr fes wz ol lit p—wɖt lcñ yuñ, ś lct redịnt) in ɖs strenj, ɖs teṛfayñ ʈñ, ẃć md Pōl Rêli, sitñ at hr sîd, ol v a tremr, yt abstract, abzorbd, sîḷnt. Msz Ramzi, Lili flt, az ś tōct abt ɖ scinz v vejtblz, xōltd ɖt, wrśipt ɖt; hld hr handz ovr it t worm ɖm, t pṛtct it, n yt, hvñ bròt it ol abt, smhǎ laft, léd hr victimz, Lili flt, t ɖ ōltr. It cem ovr hr tù nǎ—ɖ imośn, ɖ vîbreśn, v luv. Hǎ incnspiks ś flt hrslf bî Pōl’z sîd! H, glowñ, brnñ; ś, alūf, s’tiricl; h, baund fr advnćr; ś, murd t ɖ śor; h, lōnćt, incōśs; ś solitri, left ǎt—n, redi t implor a śer, f it wr a dzastr, in hiz dzastr, ś sd śîli:

“Ẃn dd Minta lūz hr broć?”

H smîld ɖ most xqizit smîl, veild bî meṃri, tinjd bî drīmz. H śc hiz hed. “On ɖ bīć,” h sd.

“I’m gwñ t fînd it,” h sd, “I’m gtñ p rli.” Ɖs biyñ cept sīcrit fṛm Minta, h lowrd hiz vôs, n trnd hiz îz t ẃr ś sat, lafñ, bsd Mr Ramzi.

Lili wontd t pṛtst vayḷntli n ǎtrejsli hr dzîr t hlp him, inviẓjñ hǎ in ɖ dōn on ɖ bīć ś wd b ɖ wn t pǎns on ɖ broć haf-hidn bî sm ston, n ɖus hrslf b includd amñ ɖ sêlrz n advnćrrz. Bt ẃt dd h rplî t hr ofr? Ś acćli sd wɖ an imośn ɖt ś sldm let apir, “Let m cm wɖ y,” n h laft. H mnt yes or no— îɖr phps. Bt it wz nt hiz mīnñ—it wz ɖ od ćucl h gev, az f h hd sd, Ʈro yrslf ovr ɖ clif f y lîc, I d’nt cer. H trnd on hr ćīc ɖ hīt v luv, its horr, its cruwlti, its unscrūpyloṣti. It scorćt hr, n Lili, lcñ at Minta, biyñ ćarmñ t Mr Ramzi at ɖ uɖr end v ɖ tebl, flinćt fr hr xpozd t ɖz fañz, n wz ʈancfl. Fr at eni ret, ś sd t hrslf, caćñ sît v ɖ sōltsélr on ɖ patn, ś nīd nt mari, ʈanc Hevn: ś nīd nt unḍgo ɖt degṛdeśn. Ś wz sevd fṛm ɖt dlūźn. Ś wd muv ɖ tri rɖr mor t ɖ midl.

Sć wz ɖ cmplex̣ti v ʈñz. Fr ẃt hapnd t hr, ispeśli steyñ wɖ ɖ Ramziz, wz t b md t fīl vayḷntli tū oṗzit ʈñz at ɖ sem tîm; ɖt’s ẃt y fīl, wz wn; ɖt’s ẃt I fīl, wz ɖ uɖr, n ɖen ɖe fòt tgɖr in hr mînd, az nǎ. It z so bytifl, so xîtñ, ɖs luv, ɖt I trembl on ɖ vrj v it, n ofr, qt ǎt v mî ǒn habit, t lc fr a broć on a bīć; olso it z ɖ styṗdist, ɖ most barbaric v hymn paśnz, n trnz a nîs yuñ man wɖ a profîl lîc a jem’z (Pōl’z wz xqizit) intu a bŭli wɖ a crǒbar (h wz swaġrñ, h wz insḷnt) in ɖ Mîl End Rod. Yt, ś sd t hrslf, fṛm ɖ dōn v tîm ǒdz hv bn suñ t luv; rīɖz hīpt n rozz; n f y asct nîn ppl ǎt v ten ɖe wd se ɖe wontd nʈñ bt ɖs—luv; ẃl ɖ wimin, jujñ fṛm hr ǒn xpirịns, wd ol ɖ tîm b fīlñ, Ɖs z nt ẃt w wont; ɖr z nʈñ mor tīdịs, pyrîl, n inhymen ɖn ɖs; yt it z olso bytifl n nesṣri. Wel ɖen, wel ɖen? ś asct, smhǎ xpctñ ɖ uɖrz t g on wɖ ɖ arğmnt, az f in an arğmnt lîc ɖs wn ʈrù wn’z ǒn litl bolt ẃć fél śort obvịsli n left ɖ uɖrz t cari it on. So ś lisnd agn t ẃt ɖe wr seyñ in ces ɖe śd ʈro eni lît upn ɖ qsćn v luv.

“Ɖen,” sd Mr Báncs, “ɖr z ɖt liqid ɖ Ñgliś cōl cofi.”

“Ǒ, cofi!” sd Msz Ramzi. Bt it wz mć rɖr a qsćn (ś wz ʈuṛli rǎzd, Lili cd si, n tōct vri imfaticli) v riyl butr n clīn milc. Spīcñ wɖ wormʈ n eḷqns, ś dscrîbd ɖ iniqti v ɖ Ñgliś dẹrisistm, n in ẃt stet milc wz dlivrd at ɖ dor, n wz abt t pruv hr ćarjz, fr ś hd gn intu ɖ matr, ẃn ol rnd ɖ tebl, bginñ wɖ Andru in ɖ midl, lîc a fîr līpñ fṛm tuft t tuft v frz, hr ćildṛn laft; hr huzbnd laft; ś wz laft at, fîr-insrcld, n forst t veil hr crest, dsmǎnt hr baṭriz, n onli rtaliet bî dspleyñ ɖ reḷri n riḍkl v ɖ tebl t Mr Báncs az an xampl v ẃt wn sufrd f wn atact ɖ preɉdisz v ɖ Britiś Public.

Prṗsli, hvr, fr ś hd it on hr mînd ɖt Lili, hu hd hlpt hr wɖ Mr Tanzli, wz ǎt v ʈñz, ś xmtd hr fṛm ɖ rest; sd “Lili enhǎ agriz wɖ m,” n so drù hr in, a litl flutrd, a litl startld. (Fr ś wz ʈncñ abt luv.) Ɖe wr bʈ ǎt v ʈñz, Msz Ramzi hd bn ʈncñ, bʈ Lili n Ćarlz Tanzli. Bʈ sufrd fṛm ɖ glo v ɖ uɖr tū. H, it wz clir, flt himslf utrli in ɖ cold; no wmn wd lc at him wɖ Pōl Rêli in ɖ rūm. Pur felo! Stl, h hd hiz diṣteśn, ɖ inflụns v smbdi upn smʈñ: h cd tec cer v himslf. Wɖ Lili it wz difṛnt. Ś fedd, undr Minta’z glo; bcem mor incnspiks ɖn evr, in hr litl gre dres wɖ hr litl pucrd fes n hr litl Ćînīz îz. Evrʈñ abt hr wz so smōl. Yt, ʈt Msz Ramzi, cmperñ hr wɖ Minta, az ś clemd hr hlp (fr Lili śd ber hr ǎt ś tōct no mor abt hr dẹriz ɖn hr huzbnd dd abt hiz būts—h wd tōc bî ɖ aur abt hiz būts) v ɖ tū, Lili at forti wl b ɖ betr. Ɖr wz in Lili a ʈred v smʈñ; a fler v smʈñ; smʈñ v hr ǒn ẃć Msz Ramzi lîct vri mć indd, bt no man wd, ś fird. Obvịsli, nt, unls it wr a mć oldr man, lîc Wiłm Báncs. Bt ɖen h cerd, wel, Msz Ramzi smtmz ʈt ɖt h cerd, sins hiz wîf’s deʈ, phps fr hr. H wz nt “in luv” v cors; it wz wn v ɖoz unclaṣfaid afx́nz v ẃć ɖr r so mni. Ǒ, bt nonsns, ś ʈt; Wiłm mst mari Lili. Ɖe hv so mni ʈñz in comn. Lili z so fond v flǎrz. Ɖe r bʈ cold n alūf n rɖr slf-s’fîsñ. Ś mst arenj fr ɖm t tec a loñ wōc tgɖr.

Fūliśli, ś hd set ɖm oṗzit ć uɖr. Ɖt cd b reṃdid tmro. F it wr fîn, ɖe śd g fr a picnic. Evrʈñ sīmd poṣbl. Evrʈñ sīmd rît. Jst nǎ (bt ɖs canot last, ś ʈt, dsośietñ hrslf fṛm ɖ momnt ẃl ɖe wr ol tōcñ abt būts) jst nǎ ś hd rīćt s’kṛti; ś hovrd lîc a hōc sspndd; lîc a flag flotd in an elimnt v jô ẃć fild evri nrv v hr bodi fŭli n swītli, nt nôẓli, soḷmli rɖr, fr it arouz, ś ʈt, lcñ at ɖm ol ītñ ɖr, fṛm huzbnd n ćildṛn n frendz; ol v ẃć rîzñ in ɖs pṛfǎnd stilnis (ś wz hlpñ Wiłm Báncs t wn vri smōl pìs mor, n pīrd intu ɖ depʈs v ɖ rʈnwér pot) sīmd nǎ fr no speśl rīzn t ste ɖr lîc a smoc, lîc a fym rîzñ upwdz, holdñ ɖm sef tgɖr. Nʈñ nīd b sd; nʈñ cd b sd. Ɖr it wz, ol rnd ɖm. It ptŭc, ś flt, cerf̣li hlpñ Mr Báncs t a speṣ́li tndr pìs, v itrṇti; az ś hd olrdi flt abt smʈñ difṛnt wns bfr ɖt afṭnun; ɖr z a chiṛns in ʈñz, a stbiḷti; smʈñ, ś mnt, z iḿn fṛm ćenj, n śînz ǎt (ś glanst at ɖ windo wɖ its ripl v rflectd lîts) in ɖ fes v ɖ flowñ, ɖ flītñ, ɖ spectṛl, lîc a rūbi; so ɖt agn tnît ś hd ɖ fīlñ ś hd hd wns tde, olrdi, v pīs, v rest. V sć momnts, ś ʈt, ɖ ʈñ z md ɖt indyrz.

“Yes,” ś aśurd Wiłm Báncs, “ɖr z plenti fr evrbdi.”

“Andru,” ś sd, “hold yr plet lowr, or I śl spil it.” (Ɖ BOEUF EN DAUBE wz a prfict trîumf.) Hir, ś flt, ptñ ɖ spūn dǎn, ẃr wn cd muv or rest; cd wêt nǎ (ɖe wr ol hlpt) liṣnñ; cd ɖen, lîc a hōc ẃć lapsz sudnli fṛm its hî steśn, flōnt n snc on laftr īẓli, restñ hr hol weit upn ẃt at ɖ uɖr end v ɖ tebl hr huzbnd wz seyñ abt ɖ sqer rūt v wn ʈǎznd tū hundṛd n fifti-ʈri. Ɖt wz ɖ numbr, it sīmd, on hiz woć.

Ẃt dd it ol mīn? T ɖs de ś hd no nośn. A sqer rūt? Ẃt wz ɖt? Hr sunz ń. Ś lent on ɖm; on kbz n sqer rūts; ɖt wz ẃt ɖe wr tōcñ abt nǎ; on Volter n Mdam d’Stêl; on ɖ caṛctr v Npołn; on ɖ Frenć sistm v landteńr; on Lord Rozbri; on Crīvi’z Memwarz: ś let it uphold hr n ssten hr, ɖs admṛbl fabric v ɖ masklin intelijns, ẃć ran p n dǎn, crost ɖs we n ɖt, lîc ayn grdrz spanñ ɖ sweyñ fabric, upholdñ ɖ wrld, so ɖt ś cd trust hrslf t it utrli, īvn śut hr îz, or flicr ɖm fr a momnt, az a ćîld stẹrñ p fṛm its pilo wincs at ɖ mirịd leyrz v ɖ līvz v a tri. Ɖen ś wouc p. It wz stl biyñ fabṛcetd. Wiłm Báncs wz prezñ ɖ Weṿli novlz.

H réd wn v ɖm evri six munʈs, h sd. N ẃ śd ɖt mc Ćarlz Tanzli angri? H ruśt in (ol, ʈt Msz Ramzi, bcz Pru wl nt b nîs t him) n dnǎnst ɖ Weṿli novlz ẃn h ń nʈñ abt it, nʈñ abt it ẃtsvr, Msz Ramzi ʈt, obzrvñ him rɖr ɖn liṣnñ t ẃt h sd. Ś cd si hǎ it wz fṛm hiz manr—h wontd t asrt himslf, n so it wd olwz b wɖ him tl h got hiz Pṛfesrśp or marid hiz wîf, n so nīd nt b olwz seyñ, “I—I—I.” Fr ɖt wz ẃt hiz criṭsizm v pur Sr Wōltr, or phps it wz Jen Ostn, amǎntd t. “I—I—I.” H wz ʈncñ v himslf n ɖ impreśn h wz mcñ, az ś cd tel bî ɖ sǎnd v hiz vôs, n hiz emf̣sis n hiz unīzinis. S’xes wd b gd fr him. At eni ret ɖe wr of agn. Nǎ ś nīd nt lisn. It cd nt last, ś ń, bt at ɖ momnt hr îz wr so clir ɖt ɖe sīmd t g rnd ɖ tebl unveilñ ć v ɖz ppl, n ɖer ʈts n ɖer fīlñz, wɖt ef̣t lîc a lît stìlñ undr wōtr so ɖt its riplz n ɖ rìdz in it n ɖ minoz baḷnsñ ɖmslvz, n ɖ sudn sîḷnt trǎt r ol lit p haññ, tremḅlñ. So ś sw ɖm; ś hŕd ɖm; bt ẃtvr ɖe sd hd olso ɖs qoḷti, az f ẃt ɖe sd wz lîc ɖ muvmnt v a trǎt ẃn, at ɖ sem tîm, wn cn si ɖ ripl n ɖ gravl, smʈñ t ɖ rît, smʈñ t ɖ left; n ɖ hol z hld tgɖr; fr ẃr-az in activ lîf ś wd b netñ n seṗretñ wn ʈñ fṛm anɖr; ś wd b seyñ ś lîct ɖ Weṿli novlz or hd nt réd ɖm; ś wd b rjñ hrslf fwd; nǎ ś sd nʈñ. Fr ɖ momnt, ś huñ sspndd.

“Ā, bt hǎ loñ d y ʈnc it’l last?” sd smbdi. It wz az f ś hd antenī tremḅlñ ǎt fṛm hr, ẃć, inṭsptñ srtn sntnsz, forst ɖm upn hr atnśn. Ɖs wz wn v ɖm. Ś séntd denjr fr hr huzbnd. A qsćn lîc ɖt wd līd, olmst srtnli, t smʈñ biyñ sd ẃć rmîndd him v hiz ǒn fełr. Hǎ loñ wd h b réd—h wd ʈnc at wns. Wiłm Báncs (hu wz intîrli fri fṛm ol sć vaṇti) laft, n sd h ataćt no importns t ćenjz in faśn. Hu cd tel ẃt wz gwñ t last—in litṛćr or indd in enʈñ els?

“Let s injô ẃt w d injô,” h sd. Hiz integṛti sīmd t Msz Ramzi qt admṛbl. H nvr sīmd fr a momnt t ʈnc, Bt hǎ dz ɖs afct m? Bt ɖen f y hd ɖ uɖr tmpṛmnt, ẃć mst hv prêz, ẃć mst hv incurijmnt, naćṛli y bgan (n ś ń ɖt Mr Ramzi wz bginñ) t b unīzi; t wont smbdi t se, Ǒ, bt yr wrc wl last, Mr Ramzi, or smʈñ lîc ɖt. H śoud hiz unīzinis qt clirli nǎ bî seyñ, wɖ sm iṛteśn, ɖt, enhǎ, Scot (or wz it Śecspir ?) wd last him hiz lîftîm. H sd it iritbli. Evrbdi, ś ʈt, flt a litl uncumftbl, wɖt nwñ ẃ. Ɖen Minta Dôl, huz instñt wz fîn, sd blufli, absrdli, ɖt ś dd nt b’liv ɖt enwn riyli injoid rīdñ Śecspir. Mr Ramzi sd grimli (bt hiz mînd wz trnd awe agn) ɖt vri fy ppl lîct it az mć az ɖe sd ɖe dd. Bt, h add, ɖr z cnsidṛbl merit in sm v ɖ plez nvɖles, n Msz Ramzi sw ɖt it wd b ol rît fr ɖ momnt enhǎ; h wd laf at Minta, n ś, Msz Ramzi sw, riylîzñ hiz xtrim añzayti abt himslf, wd, in hr ǒn we, si ɖt h wz tecn cer v, n prêz him, smhǎ or uɖr. Bt ś wśt it wz nt nesṣri: phps it wz hr fōlt ɖt it wz nesṣri. Enhǎ, ś wz fri nǎ t lisn t ẃt Pōl Rêli wz trayñ t se abt bcs wn hd réd az a bô. Ɖe lastd, h sd. H hd réd sm v Tolstô at scūl. Ɖr wz wn h olwz rmembrd, bt h hd fgotn ɖ nem. Ruśn nemz wr impoṣbl, sd Msz Ramzi. “Vronsci,” sd Pōl. H rmembrd ɖt bcz h olwz ʈt it sć a gd nem fr a viḷn. “Vronsci,” sd Msz Ramzi; “Ǒ, ANA C’REŃINA,” bt ɖt dd nt tec ɖm vri far; bcs wr nt in ɖer lîn. No, Ćarlz Tanzli wd pt ɖm bʈ rît in a secnd abt bcs, bt it wz ol so mixt p wɖ, Am I seyñ ɖ rît ʈñ? Am I mcñ a gd impreśn? ɖt, aftr ol, wn ń mor abt him ɖn abt Tolstô, ẃr-az, ẃt Pōl sd wz abt ɖ ʈñ, simpli, nt himslf, nʈñ els. Lîc ol stypid ppl, h hd a cnd v moḍsti tù, a cnsiḍreśn fr ẃt y wr fīlñ, ẃć, wns in a we at līst, ś faund atractiv. Nǎ h wz ʈncñ, nt abt himslf, or abt Tolstô, bt ẃɖr ś wz cold, ẃɖr ś flt a dráft, ẃɖr ś wd lîc a pér.

No, ś sd, ś dd nt wont a pér. Indd ś hd bn cīpñ gard ovr ɖ diś v frūt (wɖt riylîzñ it) jeḷsli, hopñ ɖt nbdi wd tuć it. Hr îz hd bn gwñ in n ǎt amñ ɖ crvz n śadoz v ɖ frūt, amñ ɖ rić prplz v ɖ lǒḷnd greps, ɖen ovr ɖ horni rij v ɖ śel, ptñ a yelo agnst a prpl, a crvd śep agnst a rǎnd śep, wɖt nwñ ẃ ś dd it, or ẃ, evri tîm ś dd it, ś flt mor n mor srīn; untl, ǒ, ẃt a piti ɖt ɖe śd d it—a hand rīćt ǎt, tc a pér, n spôlt ɖ hol ʈñ. In simṗʈi ś lct at Rôz. Ś lct at Rôz sitñ btwn Jaspr n Pru. Hǎ od ɖt wn’z ćîld śd d ɖt!

Hǎ od t si ɖm sitñ ɖr, in a ro, hr ćildṛn, Jaspr, Rôz, Pru, Andru, olmst sîḷnt, bt wɖ sm joc v ɖer ǒn gwñ on, ś gést, fṛm ɖ twićñ at ɖer lips. It wz smʈñ qt apart fṛm evrʈñ els, smʈñ ɖe wr hōrdñ p t laf ovr in ɖer ǒn rūm. It wz nt abt ɖer faɖr, ś hopt. No, ś ʈt nt. Ẃt wz it, ś wundrd, sadli rɖr, fr it sīmd t hr ɖt ɖe wd laf ẃn ś wz nt ɖr. Ɖr wz ol ɖt hōrdd bhnd ɖoz rɖr set, stl, masclîc fesz, fr ɖe dd nt jôn in īẓli; ɖe wr lîc woćrz, sveyrz, a litl rezd or set apart fṛm ɖ groun-up ppl. Bt ẃn ś lct at Pru tnît, ś sw ɖt ɖs wz nt nǎ qt tru v hr. Ś wz jst bginñ, jst muvñ, jst dsndñ. Ɖ fentist lît wz on hr fes, az f ɖ glo v Minta oṗzit, sm xîtmnt, sm antiṣpeśn v hapinis wz rflectd in hr, az f ɖ sún v ɖ luv v men n wimin rouz ovr ɖ rim v ɖ teblcloʈ, n wɖt nwñ ẃt it wz ś bnt twdz it n grītd it. Ś cept lcñ at Minta, śîli, yt krịsli, so ɖt Msz Ramzi lct fṛm wn t ɖ uɖr n sd, spīcñ t Pru in hr ǒn mînd, Y wl b az hapi az ś z wn v ɖz dez. Y wl b mć hapịr, ś add, bcz y r mî dōtr, ś mnt; hr ǒn dōtr mst b hapịr ɖn uɖr ppl’z dōtrz. Bt dinr wz ovr. It wz tîm t g. Ɖe wr onli pleyñ wɖ ʈñz on ɖer plets. Ś wd wêt untl ɖe hd dn lafñ at sm stori hr huzbnd wz telñ. H wz hvñ a joc wɖ Minta abt a bet. Ɖen ś wd gt p.

Ś lîct Ćarlz Tanzli, ś ʈt, sudnli; ś lîct hiz laf. Ś lîct him fr biyñ so angri wɖ Pōl n Minta. Ś lîct hiz ōcẉdnis. Ɖr wz a lot in ɖt yuñ man aftr ol. N Lili, ś ʈt, ptñ hr napcin bsd hr plet, ś olwz hz sm joc v hr ǒn. Wn nīd nvr boɖr abt Lili. Ś wêtd. Ś tuct hr napcin undr ɖ éj v hr plet. Wel, wr ɖe dn nǎ? No. Ɖt stori hd léd t anɖr stori. Hr huzbnd wz in gret spirits tnît, n wśñ, ś s’pozd, t mc it ol rît wɖ old Ōgusṭs aftr ɖt sīn abt ɖ sūp, hd drwn him in— ɖe wr telñ storiz abt smwn ɖe hd bʈ noun at colij. Ś lct at ɖ windo in ẃć ɖ candl flemz brnt brîtr nǎ ɖt ɖ peinz wr blac, n lcñ at ɖt ǎtsd ɖ vôsz cem t hr vri strenjli, az f ɖe wr vôsz at a srvis in a cʈīdṛl, fr ś dd nt lisn t ɖ wrdz. Ɖ sudn brsts v laftr n ɖen wn vôs (Minta’z) spīcñ alon, rmîndd hr v men n bôz crayñ ǎt ɖ Latin wrdz v a srvis in sm Romn Caʈlic cʈīdṛl. Ś wêtd. Hr huzbnd spouc. H wz rpitñ smʈñ, n ś ń it wz powtri fṛm ɖ riɖm n ɖ rñ v xlteśn, n meḷncli in hiz vôs:

Cm ǎt n clîm ɖ gardnpaʈ, Lriana Luṛli. Ɖ Ćîna rouz z ol ablum n búzñ wɖ ɖ yelo bì.

Ɖ wrdz (ś wz lcñ at ɖ windo) sǎndd az f ɖe wr flotñ lîc flǎrz on wōtr ǎt ɖr, cut of fṛm ɖm ol, az f nwn hd sd ɖm, bt ɖe hd cm intu xistns v ɖmslvz.

N ol ɖ lîvz w evr livd n ol ɖ lîvz t b
R fl v triz n ćenjñ līvz.

Ś dd nt nǒ ẃt ɖe mnt, bt, lîc ḿzic, ɖ wrdz sīmd t b spocn bî hr ǒn vôs, ǎtsd hrslf, seyñ qt īẓli n naćṛli ẃt hd bn in hr mînd ɖ hol īvnñ ẃl ś sd difṛnt ʈñz. Ś ń, wɖt lcñ rnd, ɖt evrwn at ɖ tebl wz liṣnñ t ɖ vôs seyñ:

I wundr f it sīmz t y, Lriana, Luṛli

wɖ ɖ sem sort v rlif n pleźr ɖt ś hd, az f ɖs wr, at last, ɖ naćṛl ʈñ t se, ɖs wr ɖer ǒn vôs spīcñ.

Bt ɖ vôs hd stopt. Ś lct rnd. Ś md hrslf gt p. Ōgusṭs Carmîcl hd rizn n, holdñ hiz teblnapcin so ɖt it lct lîc a loñ ẃît rǒb h std ćantñ:

T si ɖ Cñz g rîdñ bî Ovr lōn n dezilī Wɖ ɖer pāmlīvz n sīdr Lriana, Luṛli,

n az ś pást him, h trnd slîtli twdz hr rpitñ ɖ last wrdz:

Lriana, Luṛli

n baud t hr az f h dd hr homij. Wɖt nwñ ẃ, ś flt ɖt h lîct hr betr ɖn h evr hd dn bfr; n wɖ a fīlñ v rlif n grattyd ś rtrnd hiz bǎ n pást ʈru ɖ dor ẃć h hld opn fr hr.

It wz nesṣri nǎ t cari evrʈñ a step frɖr. Wɖ hr ft on ɖ ʈreśhold ś wêtd a momnt longr in a sīn ẃć wz vaṇśñ īvn az ś lct, n ɖen, az ś muvd n tc Minta’z arm n left ɖ rūm, it ćenjd, it śept itslf difṛntli; it hd bcm, ś ń, gvñ wn last lc at it ovr hr śoldr, olrdi ɖ past.


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18

Az yźl, Lili ʈt. Ɖr wz olwz smʈñ ɖt hd t b dn at ɖt prisîs momnt, smʈñ ɖt Msz Ramzi hd dsîdd fr rīznz v hr ǒn t d instntli, it mt b wɖ evrwn standñ abt mcñ jocs, az nǎ, nt biyñ ebl t dsîd ẃɖr ɖe wr gwñ intu ɖ smocñrūm, intu ɖ drw̃rūm, p t ɖ atics. Ɖen wn sw Msz Ramzi in ɖ mdst v ɖs hubub standñ ɖr wɖ Minta’z arm in hrz, b’ʈnc hr, “Yes, it z tîm fr ɖt nǎ,” n so mc of at wns wɖ an er v sīcṛsi t d smʈñ alon. N d’recli ś wnt a sort v disintgreśn set in; ɖe wevrd abt, wnt difṛnt wez, Mr Báncs tc Ćarlz Tanzli bî ɖ arm n wnt of t finiś on ɖ teris ɖ dscuśn ɖe hd bgun at dinr abt poḷtics, ɖus gvñ a trn t ɖ hol pôz v ɖ īvnñ, mcñ ɖ weit fōl in a difṛnt drex́n, az f, Lili ʈt, siyñ ɖm g, n hírñ a wrd or tū abt ɖ poḷsi v ɖ Lebr Parti, ɖe hd gn p on t ɖ brij v ɖ śip n wr tecñ ɖer bẹrñz; ɖ ćenj fṛm powtri t poḷtics struc hr lîc ɖt; so Mr Báncs n Ćarlz Tanzli wnt of ẃl ɖ uɖrz std lcñ at Msz Ramzi gwñ upsterz in ɖ lamplît alon. Ẃr, Lili wundrd, wz ś gwñ so qcli?

Nt ɖt ś dd in fact run or huri; ś wnt indd rɖr slǒli. Ś flt rɖr inclînd jst fr a momnt t stand stl aftr ol ɖt ćatr, n pic ǎt wn ptiklr ʈñ; ɖ ʈñ ɖt matrd; t dtać it; sepṛt it of; clīn it v ol ɖ imośnz n odz n endz v ʈñz, n so hold it bfr hr, n brñ it t ɖ trîbynl ẃr, renjd abt in conclev, sat ɖ jujz ś hd set p t dsîd ɖz ʈñz. Z it gd, z it bad, z it rît or roñ? Ẃr r w ol gwñ t? n so on. So ś rîtd hrslf aftr ɖ śoc v ɖ ivnt, n qt unconśsli n incongrụsli, yzd ɖ branćz v ɖ elmtrīs ǎtsd t hlp hr t steḅlîz hr pziśn. Hr wrld wz ćenjñ: ɖe wr stil. Ɖ ivnt hd gvn hr a sns v muvmnt. Ol mst b in ordr. Ś mst gt ɖt rît n ɖt rît, ś ʈt, insnsbli apruvñ v ɖ digṇti v ɖ triz’ stilnis, n nǎ agn v ɖ sūprb upwd rîz (lîc ɖ bīc v a śip p a wev) v ɖ elm branćz az ɖ wind rezd ɖm. Fr it wz windi (ś std a momnt t lc ǎt). It wz windi, so ɖt ɖ līvz nǎ n ɖen bruśt opn a star, n ɖ starz ɖmslvz sīmd t b śecñ n dartñ lît n trayñ t flaś ǎt btwn ɖ éjz v ɖ līvz. Yes, ɖt wz dn ɖen, acumpliśt; n az wɖ ol ʈñz dn, bcem soḷm. Nǎ wn ʈt v it, clird v ćatr n imośn, it sīmd olwz t hv bn, onli wz śoun nǎ n so biyñ śoun, struc evrʈñ intu stbiḷti. Ɖe wd, ś ʈt, gwñ on agn, hvr loñ ɖe livd, cm bac t ɖs nît; ɖs mūn; ɖs wind; ɖs hǎs: n t hr tù. It flatrd hr, ẃr ś wz most ssptbl v flaṭri, t ʈnc hǎ, waund abt in ɖer hārts, hvr loñ ɖe livd ś wd b wovn; n ɖs, n ɖs, n ɖs, ś ʈt, gwñ upsterz, lafñ, bt afx́ṇtli, at ɖ sofa on ɖ landñ (hr muɖr’z); at ɖ rocñćer (hr faɖr’z); at ɖ map v ɖ Hebṛdīz. Ol ɖt wd b rvîvd agn in ɖ livz v Pōl n Minta; “ɖ Rêliz”—ś traid ɖ ny nem ovr; n ś flt, wɖ hr hand on ɖ nrṣridor, ɖt cḿṇti v fīlñ wɖ uɖr ppl ẃć imośn gvz az f ɖ wōlz v partiśn hd bcm so ʈin ɖt practicli (ɖ fīlñ wz wn v rlif n hapinis) it wz ol wn strīm, n ćerz, teblz, maps, wr hrz, wr ɖerz, it dd nt matr huz, n Pōl n Minta wd cari it on ẃn ś wz ded.

Ś trnd ɖ handl, frmli, lest it śd sqīc, n wnt in, prsñ hr lips slîtli, az f t rmînd hrslf ɖt ś mst nt spīc alǎd. Bt d’recli ś cem in ś sw, wɖ anoyns, ɖt ɖ pricōśn wz nt nīdd. Ɖ ćildṛn wr nt aslip. It wz most anoyñ. Mildrid śd b mor cerfl. Ɖr wz Jemz wîd awec n Cam sitñ bolt uprît, n Mildrid ǎt v bed in hr bér fīt, n it wz olmst ilevn n ɖe wr ol tōcñ. Ẃt wz ɖ matr? It wz ɖt horid scul agn. Ś hd tld Mildrid t muv it, bt Mildrid, v cors, hd fgotn, n nǎ ɖr wz Cam wîd awec, n Jemz wîd awec qoṛlñ ẃn ɖe òt t hv bn aslip aurz ago. Ẃt hd pzest Edẉd t snd ɖm ɖs horid scul? Ś hd bn so fūliś az t let ɖm nêl it p ɖr. It wz nêld fast, Mildrid sd, n Cam cd’nt g t slīp wɖ it in ɖ rūm, n Jemz scrīmd f ś tućt it.

Ɖen Cam mst g t slīp (it hd gret hornz sd Cam)—mst g t slīp n drīm v luvli paḷsz, sd Msz Ramzi, sitñ dǎn on ɖ bed bî hr sîd. Ś cd si ɖ hornz, Cam sd, ol ovr ɖ rūm. It wz tru. Ẃrvr ɖe pt ɖ lît (n Jemz cd nt slīp wɖt a lît) ɖr wz olwz a śado smẃr.

“Bt ʈnc, Cam, it’s onli an old pig,” sd Msz Ramzi, “a nîs blac pig lîc ɖ pigz at ɖ farm.” Bt Cam ʈt it wz a horid ʈñ, branćñ at hr ol ovr ɖ rūm.

“Wel ɖen,” sd Msz Ramzi, “w wl cuvr it p,” n ɖe ol woćt hr g t ɖ ćst v drorz, n opn ɖ litl drorz qcli wn aftr anɖr, n nt siyñ enʈñ ɖt wd d, ś qcli tc hr ǒn śōl of n waund it rnd ɖ scul, rnd n rnd n rnd, n ɖen ś cem bac t Cam n leid hr hed olmst flat on ɖ pilo bsd Cam’z n sd hǎ luvli it lct nǎ; hǎ ɖ fẹriz wd luv it; it wz lîc a brd’z nst; it wz lîc a bytifl mǎntin sć az ś hd sìn abrōd, wɖ valiz n flǎrz n belz rññ n brdz sññ n litl gots n anṭlops n… Ś cd si ɖ wrdz ecowñ az ś spouc ɖm riɖmicli in Cam’z mînd, n Cam wz rpitñ aftr hr hǎ it wz lîc a mǎntin, a brd’z nst, a gardn, n ɖr wr litl anṭlops, n hr îz wr oṗnñ n śutñ, n Msz Ramzi wnt on spīcñ stl mor mnoṭṇsli, n mor riɖmicli n mor nonsnsicli, hǎ ś mst śut hr îz n g t slīp n drīm v mǎntinz n valiz n starz fōlñ n paṛts n anṭlops n gardnz, n evrʈñ luvli, ś sd, rezñ hr hed vri slǒli n spīcñ mor n mor mcanicli, untl ś sat uprît n sw ɖt Cam wz aslip.

Nǎ, ś ẃisprd, crosñ ovr t hiz bed, Jemz mst g t slīp tù, fr si, ś sd, ɖ bōr’z scul wz stl ɖr; ɖe hd nt tućt it; ɖe hd dn jst ẃt h wontd; it wz ɖr qt unhrt. H md śr ɖt ɖ scul wz stl ɖr undr ɖ śōl. Bt h wontd t asc hr smʈñ mor. Wd ɖe g t ɖ Lîthǎs tmro?

No, nt tmro, ś sd, bt sn, ś promist him; ɖ nxt fîn de. H wz vri gd. H le dǎn. Ś cuvrd him p. Bt h wd nvr fget, ś ń, n ś flt angri wɖ Ćarlz Tanzli, wɖ hr huzbnd, n wɖ hrslf, fr ś hd rezd hiz hops. Ɖen fīlñ fr hr śōl n rmembrñ ɖt ś hd rápt it rnd ɖ bor’z scul, ś got p, n pld ɖ windo dǎn anɖr inć or tū, n hŕd ɖ wind, n got a breʈ v ɖ prf̣cli indifṛnt ćil nîter n mrmrd gd nît t Mildrid n left ɖ rūm n let ɖ tuñ v ɖ dor slǒli leñʈn in ɖ loc n wnt ǎt.

Ś hopt h wd nt bañ hiz bcs on ɖ flor abv ɖer hedz, ś ʈt, stl ʈncñ hǎ anoyñ Ćarlz Tanzli wz. Fr nɖr v ɖm slept wel; ɖe wr xîṭbl ćildṛn, n sins h sd ʈñz lîc ɖt abt ɖ Lîthǎs, it sīmd t hr lîcli ɖt h wd noc a pîl v bcs ovr, jst az ɖe wr gwñ t slīp, clumẓli swīpñ ɖm of ɖ tebl wɖ hiz elbo. Fr ś s’pozd ɖt h hd gn upsterz t wrc. Yt h lct so dezḷt; yt ś wd fīl rlivd ẃn h wnt; yt ś wd si ɖt h wz betr trītd tmro; yt h wz admṛbl wɖ hr huzbnd; yt hiz manrz srtnli wontd impruvñ; yt ś lîct hiz laf—ʈncñ ɖs, az ś cem dǎnsterz, ś notist ɖt ś cd nǎ si ɖ mūn itslf ʈru ɖ sterces windo—ɖ yelo harvistmūn— n trnd, n ɖe sw hr, standñ abv ɖm on ɖ sterz.

“Ɖt’s mî muɖr,” ʈt Pru. Yes; Minta śd lc at hr; Pōl Rêli śd lc at hr. Ɖt z ɖ ʈñ itslf, ś flt, az f ɖr wr onli wn prsn lîc ɖt in ɖ wrld; hr muɖr. N, fṛm hvñ bn qt groun p, a momnt bfr, tōcñ wɖ ɖ uɖrz, ś bcem a ćîld agn, n ẃt ɖe hd bn dwñ wz a gem, n wd hr muɖr sañśn ɖer gem, or cndem it, ś wundrd. N ʈncñ ẃt a ćans it wz fr Minta n Pōl n Lili t si hr, n fīlñ ẃt an xtrordnri stroc v fortyn it wz fr hr, t hv hr, n hǎ ś wd nvr gro p n nvr līv hom, ś sd, lîc a ćîld, “W ʈt v gwñ dǎn t ɖ bīć t woć ɖ wevz.”

Instntli, fr no rīzn at ol, Msz Ramzi bcem lîc a grl v twenti, fl v geyti. A mūd v revlri sudnli tc pześn v hr. V cors ɖe mst g; v cors ɖe mst g, ś craid, lafñ; n runñ dǎn ɖ last ʈri or for steps qcli, ś bgan trnñ fṛm wn t ɖ uɖr n lafñ n drw̃ Minta’z ráp rnd hr n seyñ ś onli wśt ś cd cm tù, n wd ɖe b vri lêt, n hd eni v ɖm got a woć?

“Yes, Pōl hz,” sd Minta. Pōl slipt a bytifl gold woć ǎt v a litl woś-leɖr ces t śo hr. N az h hld it in ɖ pām v hiz hand bfr hr, h flt, “Ś nz ol abt it. I nīd nt se enʈñ.” H wz seyñ t hr az h śoud hr ɖ woć, “I’v dn it, Msz Ramzi. I o it ol t y.” N siyñ ɖ gold woć layñ in hiz hand, Msz Ramzi flt, Hǎ xtrordnṛli luci Minta z! Ś z mariyñ a man hu hz a gold woć in a woś-leɖr bag!

“Hǎ I wś I cd cm wɖ y!” ś craid. Bt ś wz wɖheld bî smʈñ so stroñ ɖt ś nvr īvn ʈt v ascñ hrslf ẃt it wz. V cors it wz impoṣbl fr hr t g wɖ ɖm. Bt ś wd hv lîct t g, hd it nt bn fr ɖ uɖr ʈñ, n ticld bî ɖ absrdti v hr ʈt (hǎ luci t mari a man wɖ a woś-leɖr bag fr hiz woć) ś wnt wɖ a smîl on hr lips intu ɖ uɖr rūm, ẃr hr huzbnd sat rīdñ.


___

19

V cors, ś sd t hrslf, cmñ intu ɖ rūm, ś hd t cm hir t gt smʈñ ś wontd. Frst ś wontd t sit dǎn in a ptiklr ćer undr a ptiklr lamp. Bt ś wontd smʈñ mor, ɖo ś dd nt nǒ, cd nt ʈnc ẃt it wz ɖt ś wontd. Ś lct at hr huzbnd (tecñ p hr stocñ n bginñ t nit), n sw ɖt h dd nt wont t b inṭruptd— ɖt wz clir. H wz rīdñ smʈñ ɖt muvd him vri mć. H wz haf smîlñ n ɖen ś ń h wz cntrolñ hiz imośn. H wz tosñ ɖ pejz ovr. H wz actñ it—phps h wz ʈncñ himslf ɖ prsn in ɖ bc. Ś wundrd ẃt bc it wz. Ǒ, it wz wn v old Sr Wōltr’z ś sw, ajustñ ɖ śêd v hr lamp so ɖt ɖ lît fél on hr nitñ. Fr Ćarlz Tanzli hd bn seyñ (ś lct p az f ś xpctd t hír ɖ craś v bcs on ɖ flor abv), hd bn seyñ ɖt ppl d’nt rīd Scot eni mor. Ɖen hr huzbnd ʈt, “Ɖt’s ẃt ɖ’l se v m;” so h wnt n got wn v ɖoz bcs. N f h cem t ɖ cncluźn “Ɖt’s tru” ẃt Ćarlz Tanzli sd, h wd axpt it abt Scot. (Ś cd si ɖt h wz weyñ, cnsidrñ, ptñ ɖs wɖ ɖt az h réd.) Bt nt abt himslf. H wz olwz unīzi abt himslf. Ɖt trubld hr. H wd olwz b wuriyñ abt hiz ǒn bcs—wl ɖe b réd, r ɖe gd, ẃ r’nt ɖe betr, ẃt d ppl ʈnc v m? Nt lîcñ t ʈnc v him so, n wunḍrñ f ɖe hd gést at dinr ẃ h sudnli bcem iritbl ẃn ɖe tōct abt fem n bcs lastñ, wunḍrñ f ɖ ćildṛn wr lafñ at ɖt, ś twićt ɖ stocñz ǎt, n ol ɖ fîn grevñz cem drwn wɖ stīl instṛmnts abt hr lips n fōrhed, n ś grù stil lîc a tri ẃć hz bn tosñ n qiṿrñ n nǎ, ẃn ɖ brīz fōlz, setlz, līf bî līf, intu qayt.

It dd’nt matr, eni v it, ś ʈt. A gret man, a gret bc, fem—hu cd tel? Ś ń nʈñ abt it. Bt it wz hiz we wɖ him, hiz truʈflnis—fr instns at dinr ś hd bn ʈncñ qt instñtivli, F onli h wd spīc! Ś hd cmplit trust in him. N dsmisñ ol ɖs, az wn pasz in dîvñ nǎ a wīd, nǎ a strw, nǎ a bubl, ś flt agn, sncñ dīpr, az ś hd flt in ɖ hōl ẃn ɖ uɖrz wr tōcñ, Ɖr z smʈñ I wont—smʈñ I hv cm t gt, n ś fél dīpr n dīpr wɖt nwñ qt ẃt it wz, wɖ hr îz clozd. N ś wêtd a litl, nitñ, wunḍrñ, n slǒli rouz ɖoz wrdz ɖe hd sd at dinr, “ɖ Ćîna rouz z ol ablum n búzñ wɖ ɖ hunibì,” bgan wośñ fṛm sîd t sîd v hr mînd riɖmicli, n az ɖe wośt, wrdz, lîc litl śêdd lîts, wn red, wn blu, wn yelo, lit p in ɖ darc v hr mînd, n sīmd līvñ ɖer prćz p ɖr t flî acrs n acrs, or t crî ǎt n t b ecoud; so ś trnd n flt on ɖ tebl bsd hr fr a bc.

N ol ɖ lîvz w evr livd 

N ol ɖ lîvz t b,

R fl v triz n ćenjñ līvz,

ś mrmrd, sticñ hr nīdlz intu ɖ stocñ. N ś opnd ɖ bc n bgan rīdñ hir n ɖr at randm, n az ś dd so, ś flt ɖt ś wz clîmñ bcwdz, upwdz, śuvñ hr we p undr petlz ɖt crvd ovr hr, so ɖt ś onli ń ɖs z ẃît, or ɖs z red. Ś dd nt nǒ at frst ẃt ɖ wrdz mnt at ol.

Stir, hiɖr stir yr wñid pînz, ol bìtn Marinrz

ś réd n trnd ɖ pej, swññ hrslf, zigzagñ ɖs we n ɖt, fṛm wn lîn t anɖr az fṛm wn branć t anɖr, fṛm wn red n ẃît flǎr t anɖr, untl a litl sǎnd rǎzd hr—hr huzbnd slapñ hiz ʈîz. Ɖer îz met fr a secnd; bt ɖe dd nt wont t spīc t ć uɖr. Ɖe hd nʈñ t se, bt smʈñ sīmd, nvɖles, t g fṛm him t hr. It wz ɖ lîf, it wz ɖ pǎr v it, it wz ɖ tṛmnds hymr, ś ń, ɖt md him slap hiz ʈîz. D’nt inṭrupt m, h sīmd t b seyñ, d’nt se enʈñ; jst sit ɖr. N h wnt on rīdñ. Hiz lips twićt. It fild him. It forṭfaid him. H clīn fgot ol ɖ litl rubz n digz v ɖ īvnñ, n hǎ it bòrd him unutṛbli t sit stil ẃl ppl ét n dranc intrmiṇbli, n hiz biyñ so iritbl wɖ hiz wîf n so tući n mîndñ ẃn ɖe pást hiz bcs ovr az f ɖe dd’nt xist at ol. Bt nǎ, h flt, it dd’nt matr a dám hu rīćt Z (f ʈt ran lîc an alf̣bét fṛm A t Z). Smbdi wd rīć it—f nt h, ɖen anɖr. Ɖs man’z streñʈ n saṇti, hiz fīlñ fr stret fwd simpl ʈñz, ɖz fiśrṃn, ɖ pur old crezd crīćr in Muclbacit’s cotij md him fīl so vigṛs, so rlivd v smʈñ ɖt h flt rǎzd n trîumfnt n cd nt ćoc bac hiz tirz. Rezñ ɖ bc a litl t hîd hiz fes, h let ɖm fōl n śc hiz hed fṛm sîd t sîd n fgot himslf cmplitli (bt nt wn or tū rflex́nz abt mraḷti n Frenć novlz n Ñgliś novlz n Scot’s handz biyñ taid bt hiz vy phps biyñ az tru az ɖ uɖr vy), fgot hiz ǒn boɖrz n fełrz cmplitli in pur Stīni’z drǎnñ n Muclbacit’s soro (ɖt wz Scot at hiz bst) n ɖ astoṇśñ dlît n fīlñ v vigr ɖt it gev him.

Wel, let ɖm impruv upn ɖt, h ʈt az h finiśt ɖ ćaptr. H flt ɖt h hd bn arğwñ wɖ smbdi, n hd got ɖ betr v him. Ɖe cd nt impruv upn ɖt, ẃtvr ɖe mt se; n hiz ǒn pziśn bcem mor s’kr. Ɖ luvrz wr fidlstics, h ʈt, c’lectñ it ol in hiz mînd agn. Ɖt’s fidlstics, ɖt’s frst-ret, h ʈt, ptñ wn ʈñ bsd anɖr. Bt h mst rīd it agn. H cd nt rmembr ɖ hol śep v ɖ ʈñ. H hd t cīp hiz jujmnt in sspns. So h rtrnd t ɖ uɖr ʈt—f yuñ men dd nt cer fr ɖs, naćṛli ɖe dd nt cer fr him îɖr. Wn òt nt t cmplen, ʈt Mr Ramzi, trayñ t stîfl hiz dzîr t cmplen t hiz wîf ɖt yuñ men dd nt admîr him. Bt h wz dtrmind; h wd nt boɖr hr agn. Hir h lct at hr rīdñ. Ś lct vri pīsfl, rīdñ. H lîct t ʈnc ɖt evrwn hd tecn ɖmslvz of n ɖt h n ś wr alon. Ɖ hol v lîf dd nt cnsist in gwñ t bed wɖ a wmn, h ʈt, rtrnñ t Scot n Balzac, t ɖ Ñgliś novl n ɖ Frenć novl.

Msz Ramzi rezd hr hed n lîc a prsn in a lît slīp sīmd t se ɖt f h wontd hr t wec ś wd, ś riyli wd, bt uɖwz, mt ś g on slīpñ, jst a litl longr, jst a litl longr? Ś wz clîmñ p ɖoz branćz, ɖs we n ɖt, leyñ handz on wn flǎr n ɖen anɖr.

Nr prêz ɖ dīp vmiłn in ɖ rouz,

ś réd, n so rīdñ ś wz asndñ, ś flt, on t ɖ top, on t ɖ sumit. Hǎ saṭsfayñ! Hǎ restfl! Ol ɖ odz n endz v ɖ de stuc t ɖs magnit; hr mînd flt swept, flt clīn. N ɖen ɖr it wz, sudnli intîr; ś hld it in hr handz, bytifl n rīzṇbl, clir n cmplit, hir—ɖ sonit.

Bt ś wz bcmñ conśs v hr huzbnd lcñ at hr. H wz smîlñ at hr, qizicli, az f h wr ridklñ hr jntli fr biyñ aslip in brōd dêlît, bt at ɖ sem tîm h wz ʈncñ, G on rīdñ. Y d’nt lc sad nǎ, h ʈt. N h wundrd ẃt ś wz rīdñ, n xaɉretd hr ignṛns, hr simpliṣti, fr h lîct t ʈnc ɖt ś wz nt clevr, nt bc-lrnt at ol. H wundrd f ś unḍstd ẃt ś wz rīdñ. Probbli nt, h ʈt. Ś wz astoṇśñli bytifl. Hr byti sīmd t him, f ɖt wr poṣbl, t incris

Yt sīm’d it wintr stl, n, y awe,

Az wɖ yr śado I wɖ ɖz dd ple,

ś finiśt.

“Wel?” ś sd, ecowñ hiz smîl drīṃli, lcñ p fṛm hr bc.

Az wɖ yr śado I wɖ ɖz dd ple,

ś mrmrd, ptñ ɖ bc on ɖ tebl.

Ẃt hd hapnd, ś wundrd, az ś tc p hr nitñ, sins ś hd sìn him alon? Ś rmembrd dresñ, n siyñ ɖ mūn; Andru holdñ hiz plet tù hî at dinr; biyñ dprest bî smʈñ Wiłm hd sd; ɖ brdz in ɖ triz; ɖ sofa on ɖ landñ; ɖ ćildṛn biyñ awec; Ćarlz Tanzli wecñ ɖm wɖ hiz bcs fōlñ—ǒ, no, ɖt ś hd invntd; n Pōl hvñ a woś-leɖr ces fr hiz woć. Ẃć śd ś tel him abt?

“Ɖ’r ingejd,” ś sd, bginñ t nit, “Pōl n Minta.”

“So I gést,” h sd. Ɖr wz nʈñ vri mć t b sd abt it. Hr mînd wz stl gwñ p n dǎn, p n dǎn wɖ ɖ powtri; h wz stl fīlñ vri vigṛs, vri forʈrît, aftr rīdñ abt Stīni’z fynṛl. So ɖe sat sîḷnt. Ɖen ś bcem awer ɖt ś wontd him t se smʈñ.

Enʈñ, enʈñ, ś ʈt, gwñ on wɖ hr nitñ. Enʈñ wl d.

“Hǎ nîs it wd b t mari a man wɖ a woś-leɖr bag fr hiz woć,” ś sd, fr ɖt wz ɖ sort v joc ɖe hd tgɖr.

H snortd. H flt abt ɖs ingejmnt az h olwz flt abt eni ingejmnt; ɖ grl z mć tù gd fr ɖt yuñ man. Slǒli it cem intu hr hed, ẃ z it ɖen ɖt wn wonts ppl t mari? Ẃt wz ɖ valy, ɖ mīnñ v ʈñz? (Evri wrd ɖe sd nǎ wd b tru.) D se smʈñ, ś ʈt, wśñ onli t hír hiz vôs. Fr ɖ śado, ɖ ʈñ foldñ ɖm in wz bginñ, ś flt, t cloz rnd hr agn. Se enʈñ, ś begd, lcñ at him, az f fr hlp.

H wz sîḷnt, swññ ɖ cumṗs on hiz woć̦en t n fro, n ʈncñ v Scot’s novlz n Balzac’s novlz. Bt ʈru ɖ cṛpusklr wōlz v ɖer intiṃsi, fr ɖe wr drw̃ tgɖr, invoḷntṛli, cmñ sîd bî sîd, qt clos, ś cd fīl hiz mînd lîc a rezd hand śadowñ hr mînd; n h wz bginñ, nǎ ɖt hr ʈts tc a trn h dslîct—twdz ɖs “peṣmizm” az h cōld it—t fijit, ɖo h sd nʈñ, rezñ hiz hand t hiz fōrhed, twistñ a loc v her, letñ it fōl agn.

“Y w’nt finiś ɖt stocñ tnît,” h sd, pôntñ t hr stocñ. Ɖt wz ẃt ś wontd—ɖ aspeṛti in hiz vôs rpruvñ hr. F h sz it’s roñ t b peṣmistic probbli it z roñ, ś ʈt; ɖ marij wl trn ǎt ol rît.

“No,” ś sd, flaṭnñ ɖ stocñ ǎt upn hr ni, “I ś’nt finiś it.”

N ẃt ɖen? Fr ś flt ɖt h wz stl lcñ at hr, bt ɖt hiz lc hd ćenjd. H wontd smʈñ—wontd ɖ ʈñ ś olwz faund it so dificlt t gv him; wontd hr t tel him ɖt ś luvd him. N ɖt, no, ś cd nt d. H faund tōcñ so mć īzịr ɖn ś dd. H cd se ʈñz—ś nvr cd. So naćṛli it wz olwz h ɖt sd ɖ ʈñz, n ɖen fr sm rīzn h wd mînd ɖs sudnli, n wd rproć hr. A hartlis wmn h cōld hr; ś nvr tld him ɖt ś luvd him. Bt it wz nt so—it wz nt so. It wz onli ɖt ś nvr cd se ẃt ś flt. Wz ɖr no crum on hiz cot? Nʈñ ś cd d fr him? Gtñ p, ś std at ɖ windo wɖ ɖ rediś-brǎn stocñ in hr handz, partli t trn awe fṛm him, partli bcz ś rmembrd hǎ bytifl it ofn z—ɖ sì at nît. Bt ś ń ɖt h hd trnd hiz hed az ś trnd; h wz woćñ hr. Ś ń ɖt h wz ʈncñ, Y r mor bytifl ɖn evr. N ś flt hrslf vri bytifl. Wl y nt tel m jst fr wns ɖt y luv m? H wz ʈncñ ɖt, fr h wz rǎzd, ẃt wɖ Minta n hiz bc, n its biyñ ɖ end v ɖ de n ɖer hvñ qoṛld abt gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs. Bt ś cd nt d it; ś cd nt se it. Ɖen, nwñ ɖt h wz woćñ hr, instd v seyñ enʈñ ś trnd, holdñ hr stocñ, n lct at him. N az ś lct at him ś bgan t smîl, fr ɖo ś hd nt sd a wrd, h ń, v cors h ń, ɖt ś luvd him. H cd nt dnî it. N smîlñ ś lct ǎt v ɖ windo n sd (ʈncñ t hrslf, Nʈñ on rʈ cn īql ɖs hapinis)—

“Yes, y wr rît. It’s gwñ t b wet tmro. Y w’nt b ebl t g.” N ś lct at him smîlñ. Fr ś hd trîumft agn. Ś hd nt sd it: yt h ń.

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