An Incǎntr, bî Jemz Jôs

It wz Jo Diḷn hu intṛdyst ɖ Wîld Wst t s. H hd a litl lîbrri md p v old numbrz v Ɖ Yńn JacPluc n Ɖ Heṗni Marvl. Evri īvnñ aftr scūl w met in hiz bac gardn n arenjd Indịn batlz. H n hiz fat yuñ bruɖr Lio, ɖ îdlr, hld ɖ loft v ɖ stebl ẃl w traid t cari it bî storm; or w fòt a pićt batl on ɖ gras. Bt, hvr wel w fòt, w nvr wún sīj or batl n ol ǎr bǎts endd wɖ Jo Diḷn’z wordans v vicṭri. Hiz peṛnts wnt t et-o’cloc mas evri mornñ in Gardinr Strīt n ɖ pīsfl ǒdr v Msz Diḷn wz prevḷnt in ɖ hōl v ɖ hǎs. Bt h pleid tù firsli fr s hu wr yungr n mor timid. H lct lîc sm cnd v an Indịn ẃn h ceprd rnd ɖ gardn, an old ti-cozi on hiz hed, bìtñ a tin wɖ hiz fist n yelñ:

“Ya! yaca, yaca, yaca!”

Evrwn wz increɉḷs ẃn it wz rportd ɖt h hd a voceśn fr ɖ prīsthd. Nvɖles it wz tru.

A spirit v unrūlinis dfyzd itslf amñ s n, undr its inflụns, difṛnsz v culćr n consttyśn wr weivd. W bandd ǎrslvz tgɖr, sm boldli, sm in jest n sm olmst in fir: n v ɖ numbr v ɖz latr, ɖ rluctnt Indịnz hu wr afred t sīm stydịs or lacñ in r’bustnis, I wz wn. Ɖ advnćrz rletd in ɖ litṛćr v ɖ Wîld Wst wr rmot fṛm mî nećr bt, at līst, ɖe opnd dorz v iscep. I lîct betr sm Americn dtctiv storiz ẃć wr tṛvrst fṛm tîm t tîm bî uncmt firs n bytifl grlz. Ɖo ɖr wz nʈñ roñ in ɖz storiz n ɖo ɖer intnśn wz smtmz litrri ɖe wr srkletd sīcṛtli at scūl. Wn de ẃn Faɖr Butlr wz hírñ ɖ for pejz v Romn Hisṭri clumzi Lio Diḷn wz dscuvrd wɖ a copi v Ɖ Heṗni Marvl.

“Ɖs pej or ɖs pej? Ɖs pej? Nǎ, Diḷn, p! ‘Hardli hd ɖ de’… G on! Ẃt de? ‘Hardli hd ɖ de dōnd’… Hv y studid it? Ẃt hv y ɖr in yr pocit?”

Evrwn’z hart palṗtetd az Lio Diḷn handd p ɖ pepr n evrwn asymd an iṇsnt fes. Faɖr Butlr trnd ovr ɖ pejz, frǎnñ.

“Ẃt z ɖs rubiś?” h sd. “Ɖ Apaśi Ćīf! Z ɖs ẃt y réd instd v studiyñ yr Romn Hisṭri? Let m nt fînd eni mor v ɖs rećid stuf in ɖs colij. Ɖ man hu rout it, I s’poz, wz sm rećid felo hu raits ɖz ʈñz fr a drinc. I’m s’prîzd at bôz lîc y, edycetd, rīdñ sć stuf. I cd unḍstand it f y wr … Naṣ́nl Scūl bôz. Nǎ, Diḷn, I advîz y stroñli, gt at yr wrc or…”

Ɖs rbyc jrñ ɖ sobr aurz v scūl peld mć v ɖ glori v ɖ Wîld Wst fr m n ɖ cnfyzd pufi fes v Lio Diḷn awecnd wn v mî conśnsz. Bt ẃn ɖ rstrenñ inflụns v ɖ scūl wz at a distns I bgan t hungr agn fr wîld snseśnz, fr ɖ iscep ẃć ɖoz croniclz v dsordr alon sīmd t ofr m. Ɖ mimic worfér v ɖ īvnñ bcem at last az wirism t m az ɖ rūtīn v scūl in ɖ mornñ bcz I wontd riyl advnćrz t hapn t mslf. Bt riyl advnćrz, I rflectd, d nt hapn t ppl hu rmen at hom: ɖe mst b sòt abrōd.

Ɖ sumrhoḷdes wr nir at hand ẃn I md p mî mînd t brec ǎt v ɖ wirinis v scūļîf fr wn de at līst. Wɖ Lio Diḷn n a bô nemd Mhoni I pland a de’z mićñ. Ć v s sevd p sixpns. W wr t mīt at ten in ɖ mornñ on ɖ Cnal Brij. Mhoni’z big sistr wz t rait an xks fr him n Lio Diḷn wz t tel hiz bruɖr t se h wz sic. W arenjd t g alñ ɖ Ẃorf Rod untl w cem t ɖ śips, ɖen t cros in ɖ feribot n wōc ǎt t si ɖ Pijn Hǎs. Lio Diḷn wz afred w mt mīt Faɖr Butlr or smwn ǎt v ɖ colij; bt Mhoni asct, vri snṣbli, ẃt wd Faɖr Butlr b dwñ ǎt at ɖ Pijn Hǎs. W wr ri’śurd: n I bròt ɖ frst stej v ɖ plot t an end bî c’lectñ sixpns fṛm ɖ uɖr tū, at ɖ sem tîm śowñ ɖm mî ǒn sixpns. Ẃn w wr mcñ ɖ last arenjmnts on ɖ īv w wr ol vegli xîtd. W śc handz, lafñ, n Mhoni sd:

“Tl tmro, mêts!”

Ɖt nît I slept badli. In ɖ mornñ I wz frst-cmr t ɖ brij az I livd nirist. I hid mî bcs in ɖ loñ gras nir ɖ aśpit at ɖ end v ɖ gardn ẃr nbdi evr cem n hurid alñ ɖ cnalbanc. It wz a mîld súni mornñ in ɖ frst wīc v Jūn. I sat p on ɖ cǒpñ v ɖ brij admîrñ mî frel canvs śuz ẃć I hd dilijntli pîpcleid oṿnît n woćñ ɖ dosîl horsz pŭlñ a tramlod v biznis-ppl p ɖ hil. Ol ɖ branćz v ɖ tōl triz ẃć lînd ɖ mal wr ge wɖ litl lît grīn līvz n ɖ súnlît slantd ʈru ɖm on t ɖ wōtr. Ɖ granit ston v ɖ brij wz bginñ t b worm n I bgan t pat it wɖ mî handz in tîm t an er in mî hed. I wz vri hapi.

Ẃn I hd bn sitñ ɖr fr fîv or ten minits I sw Mhoni’z gre sūt aproćñ. H cem p ɖ hil, smîlñ, n clambrd p bsd m on ɖ brij. Ẃl w wr wêtñ h bròt ǎt ɖ caṭpult ẃć buljd fṛm hiz inr pocit n xplend sm impruvmnts ẃć h hd md in it. I asct him ẃ h hd bròt it n h tld m h hd bròt it t hv sm gas wɖ ɖ brdz. Mhoni yzd slañ frīli, n spouc v Faɖr Butlr az Old Bunsr. W wêtd on fr a qortr v an aur mor bt stl ɖr wz no sîn v Lio Diḷn. Mhoni, at last, jumt dǎn n sd:

“Cm alñ. I ń Fati’d func it.”

“N hiz sixpns…?” I sd.

“Ɖt’s forfit,” sd Mhoni. “N so mć ɖ betr fr s—a bob n a tanr instd v a bob.”

W wōct alñ ɖ Norʈ Strand Rod tl w cem t ɖ Vitrịl Wrcs n ɖen trnd t ɖ rît alñ ɖ Ẃorf Rod. Mhoni bgan t ple ɖ Indịn az sn az w wr ǎt v public sît. H ćest a crǎd v ragid grlz, branḍśñ hiz unlodd caṭpult n, ẃn tū ragid bôz bgan, ǎt v śivlri, t flñ stonz at s, h pṛpozd ɖt w śd ćarj ɖm. I objctd ɖt ɖ bôz wr tù smōl n so w wōct on, ɖ ragid trūp scrīmñ aftr s: “Swodlrz! Swodlrz!” ʈncñ ɖt w wr Protistnts bcz Mhoni, hu wz darc-cmplex́nd, wòr ɖ silvr baj v a cricit club in hiz cap. Ẃn w cem t ɖ Smuɖñ Ayn w arenjd a sīj; bt it wz a fełr bcz y mst hv at līst ʈri. W rvnjd ǎrslvz on Lio Diḷn bî seyñ ẃt a func h wz n gesñ hǎ mni h wd gt at ʈri o’cloc fṛm Mr. Rayn.

W cem ɖen nir ɖ rivr. W spent a loñ tîm wōcñ abt ɖ nôzi strīts flanct bî hî ston wōlz, woćñ ɖ wrcñ v crenz n enjinz n ofn biyñ śǎtd at fr ǎr iṃbiḷti bî ɖ drîvrz v gronñ carts. It wz nūn ẃn w rīćt ɖ cìz n, az ol ɖ lebrrz sīmd t b ītñ ɖer lunćz, w bòt tū big cúṛnt bunz n sat dǎn t īt ɖm on sm metl pîpñ bsd ɖ rivr. W plizd ǎrslvz wɖ ɖ specṭcl v Dublin’z comrs—ɖ barjz signld fṛm far awe bî ɖer crlz v wŭli smoc, ɖ brǎn fiśñflīt bynd Rñzend, ɖ big ẃît sêlñvesl ẃć wz biyñ dsćarjd on ɖ oṗzit cì. Mhoni sd it wd b rît scit t run awe t sì on wn v ɖoz big śips n īvn I, lcñ at ɖ hî māsts, sw, or imajnd, ɖ jiogṛfi ẃć hd bn scanṭli dost t m at scūl graɉli tecñ substns undr mî îz. Scūl n hom sīmd t rsid fṛm s n ɖer inflụnsz upn s sīmd t wen.

W crost ɖ Lifi in ɖ feribot, peyñ ǎr tol t b trnsportd in ɖ cumṗni v tū lebrrz n a litl Ju wɖ a bag. W wr sirịs t ɖ pônt v s’lemṇti, bt wns jrñ ɖ śort vôij ǎr îz met n w laft. Ẃn w landd w woćt ɖ dsćarjñ v ɖ gresfl ʈrīmastr ẃć w hd obzrvd fṛm ɖ uɖr cì. Sm bîstandr sd ɖt ś wz a Norwījn vesl. I wnt t ɖ strn n traid t dsîfr ɖ lejnd upn it bt, felñ t d so, I cem bac n xamind ɖ foṛn sêlrz t si hd eni v ɖm grīn îz fr I hd sm cnfyzd nośn… Ɖ sêlrz’ îz wr blu n gre n īvn blac. Ɖ onli sêlr huz îz cd hv bn cōld grīn wz a tōl man hu aḿzd ɖ crǎd on ɖ cì bî cōlñ ǎt ćirf̣li evri tîm ɖ plancs fél:

“Ol rît! Ol rît!”

Ẃn w wr tîrd v ɖs sît w wondrd slǒli intu Rñzend. Ɖ de hd groun sultri, n in ɖ windoz v ɖ grosrz’ śops musti biscits le blīćñ. W bòt sm biscits n ćocḷt ẃć w ét sedyḷsli az w wondrd ʈru ɖ sqolid strīts ẃr ɖ faṃliz v ɖ fiśrṃn liv. W cd fînd no dẹri n so w wnt intu a hucstr’z śop n bòt a botl v razḅri leṃned ć. Rfreśt bî ɖs, Mhoni ćest a cat dǎn a len, bt ɖ cat iscept intu a wîd fīld. W bʈ flt rɖr tîrd n ẃn w rīćt ɖ fīld w md at wns fr a slǒpñ banc ovr ɖ rij v ẃć w cd si ɖ Dodr.

It wz tù lêt n w wr tù tîrd t cari ǎt ǎr project v viẓtñ ɖ Pijn Hǎs. W hd t b hom bfr for o’cloc lest ǎr advnćr śd b dscuvrd. Mhoni lct rgretf̣li at hiz caṭpult n I hd t sjst gwñ hom bî tren bfr h rgend eni ćirflnis. Ɖ sún wnt in bhnd sm clǎdz n left s t ǎr jedd ʈts n ɖ crumz v ǎr pṛviźnz.

Ɖr wz nbdi bt ǎrslvz in ɖ fīld. Ẃn w hd lein on ɖ banc fr sm tîm wɖt spīcñ I sw a man aproćñ fṛm ɖ far end v ɖ fīld. I woćt him leẓli az I ćùd wn v ɖoz grīn stemz on ẃć grlz tel fortynz. H cem alñ bî ɖ banc slǒli. H wōct wɖ wn hand upn hiz hip n in ɖ uɖr hand h hld a stic wɖ ẃć h tapt ɖ trf lîtli. H wz śaḅli drest in a sūt v grīniś-blac n wòr ẃt w yst t cōl a Jeri hat wɖ a hî crǎn. H sīmd t b ferli old fr hiz mstaś wz aśn-gre. Ẃn h pást at ǎr fīt h glanst p at s qcli n ɖen cntinyd hiz we. W foloud him wɖ ǎr îz n sw ɖt ẃn h hd gn on fr phps fifti pesz h trnd abt n bgan t rītres hiz steps. H wōct twdz s vri slǒli, olwz tapñ ɖ grǎnd wɖ hiz stic, so slǒli ɖt I ʈt h wz lcñ fr smʈñ in ɖ gras.

H stopt ẃn h cem levl wɖ s n bád s gḑe. W ansrd him n h sat dǎn bsd s on ɖ slǒp slǒli n wɖ gret cer. H bgan t tōc v ɖ weɖr, seyñ ɖt it wd b a vri hot sumr n adñ ɖt ɖ sīznz hd ćenjd gretli sins h wz a bô—a loñ tîm ago. H sd ɖt ɖ hapiist tîm v wn’z lîf wz undǎtidli wn’z scūlbô dez n ɖt h wd gv enʈñ t b yuñ agn. Ẃl h xprest ɖz sntimnts ẃć bord s a litl w cept sîḷnt. Ɖen h bgan t tōc v scūl n v bcs. H asct s ẃɖr w hd réd ɖ powtri v Toṃs Mōr or ɖ wrcs v Sr Wōltr Scot n Lord Litn. I pritndd ɖt I hd réd evri bc h mnśnd so ɖt in ɖ end h sd:

“Ā, I cn si y r a bcwrm lîc mslf. Nǎ,” h add, pôntñ t Mhoni hu wz rgardñ s wɖ opn îz, “h z difṛnt; h gz in fr gemz.”

H sd h hd ol Sr Wōltr Scot’s wrcs n ol Lord Litn’z wrcs at hom n nvr tîrd v rīdñ ɖm. “V cors,” h sd, “ɖr wr sm v Lord Litn’z wrcs ẃć bôz cd’nt rīd.” Mhoni asct ẃ cd’nt bôz rīd ɖm—a qsćn ẃć ajtetd n pend m bcz I wz afred ɖ man wd ʈnc I wz az stypid az Mhoni. Ɖ man, hvr, onli smîld. I sw ɖt h hd gret gaps in hiz mǎʈ btwn hiz yelo tīʈ. Ɖen h asct s ẃć v s hd ɖ most swītharts. Mhoni mnśnd lîtli ɖt h hd ʈri totiz. Ɖ man asct m hǎ mni hd I. I ansrd ɖt I hd nn. H dd nt b’liv m n sd h wz śr I mst hv wn. I wz sîḷnt.

“Tel s,” sd Mhoni prtli t ɖ man, “hǎ mni hv y yrslf?”

Ɖ man smîld az bfr n sd ɖt ẃn h wz ǎr ej h hd lots v swītharts.

“Evri bô,” h sd, “hz a litl swīthart.”

Hiz attyd on ɖs pônt struc m az strenjli libṛl in a man v hiz ej. In mî hart I ʈt ɖt ẃt h sd abt bôz n swītharts wz rīzṇbl. Bt I dslîct ɖ wrdz in hiz mǎʈ n I wundrd ẃ h śivrd wns or twîs az f h fird smʈñ or flt a sudn ćil. Az h pṛsidd I notist ɖt hiz axnt wz gd. H bgan t spīc t s abt grlz, seyñ ẃt nîs soft her ɖe hd n hǎ soft ɖer handz wr n hǎ ol grlz wr nt so gd az ɖe sīmd t b f wn onli ń. Ɖr wz nʈñ h lîct, h sd, so mć az lcñ at a nîs yuñ grl, at hr nîs ẃît handz n hr bytifl soft her. H gev m ɖ impreśn ɖt h wz rpitñ smʈñ ẃć h hd lrnt bî hart or ɖt, magṇtîzd bî sm wrdz v hiz ǒn spīć, hiz mînd wz slǒli src̣lñ rnd n rnd in ɖ sem orbit. At tîmz h spouc az f h wr simpli aludñ t sm fact ɖt evrbdi ń, n at tîmz h lowrd hiz vôs n spouc m’stirịsli az f h wr telñ s smʈñ sīcrit ẃć h dd nt wś uɖrz t oṿhír. H rpitd hiz frezz ovr n ovr agn, vẹriyñ ɖm n srǎndñ ɖm wɖ hiz mnotṇs vôs. I cntinyd t gêz twdz ɖ ft v ɖ slǒp, liṣnñ t him.

Aftr a loñ ẃl hiz moṇlog pōzd. H std p slǒli, seyñ ɖt h hd t līv s fr a minit or so, a fy minits, n, wɖt ćenjñ ɖ d’rex́n v mî gêz, I sw him wōcñ slǒli awe fṛm s twdz ɖ nir end v ɖ fīld. W rmend sîḷnt ẃn h hd gn. Aftr a sîḷns v a fy minits I hŕd Mhoni xclem:

“I se! Lc ẃt h’z dwñ!”

Az I nɖr ansrd nr rezd mî îz Mhoni xclemd agn:

“I se… H’z a qir old josr!”

“In ces h ascs s fr ǎr nemz,” I sd, “let y b Mrfi n I’l b Smiʈ.”

W sd nʈñ frɖr t ć uɖr. I wz stl cnsiḍrñ ẃɖr I wd g awe or nt ẃn ɖ man cem bac n sat dǎn bsd s agn. Hardli hd h sat dǎn ẃn Mhoni, caćñ sît v ɖ cat ẃć hd iscept him, sprañ p n psyd hr acrs ɖ fīld. Ɖ man n I woćt ɖ ćes. Ɖ cat iscept wns mor n Mhoni bgan t ʈro stonz at ɖ wōl ś hd esc̣ledd. Dzistñ fṛm ɖs, h bgan t wondr abt ɖ far end v ɖ fīld, emlisli.

Aftr an inṭvl ɖ man spouc t m. H sd ɖt mî frend wz a vri ruf bô n asct dd h gt ẃipt ofn at scūl. I wz gwñ t rplî indignntli ɖt w wr nt Naṣ́nl Scūl bôz t b ẃipt, az h cōld it; bt I rmend sîḷnt. H bgan t spīc on ɖ subjict v ćastîzñ bôz. Hiz mînd, az f magṇtîzd agn bî hiz spīć, sīmd t srcl slǒli rnd n rnd its ny sntr. H sd ɖt ẃn bôz wr ɖt cnd ɖe òt t b ẃipt n wel ẃipt. Ẃn a bô wz ruf n unrūli ɖr wz nʈñ wd d him eni gd bt a gd sǎnd ẃipñ. A slap on ɖ hand or a box on ɖ ir wz no gd: ẃt h wontd wz t gt a nîs worm ẃipñ. I wz s’prîzd at ɖs sntimnt n invoḷntṛli glanst p at hiz fes. Az I dd so I met ɖ gêz v a per v botl-grīn îz pirñ at m fṛm undr a twićñ fōrhed. I trnd mî îz awe agn.

Ɖ man cntinyd hiz moṇlog. H sīmd t hv fgotn hiz rīsnt libṛlizm. H sd ɖt f evr h faund a bô tōcñ t grlz or hvñ a grl fr a swīthart h wd ẃip him n ẃip him; n ɖt wd tīć him nt t b tōcñ t grlz. N f a bô hd a grl fr a swīthart n tld lîz abt it ɖen h wd gv him sć a ẃipñ az no bô evr got in ɖs wrld. H sd ɖt ɖr wz nʈñ in ɖs wrld h wd lîc so wel az ɖt. H dscrîbd t m hǎ h wd ẃip sć a bô az f h wr unfoldñ sm ilabṛt misṭri. H wd luv ɖt, h sd, betr ɖn enʈñ in ɖs wrld; n hiz vôs, az h léd m mnoṭṇsli ʈru ɖ misṭri, grù olmst afx́ṇt n sīmd t plīd wɖ m ɖt I śd unḍstand him.

I wêtd tl hiz moṇlog pōzd agn. Ɖen I std p abrupli. Lest I śd btre mî ajteśn I dleid a fy momnts pritndñ t fix mî śu proprli n ɖen, seyñ ɖt I wz oblîjd t g, I bád him gḑe. I wnt p ɖ slǒp cāmli bt mî hart wz bìtñ qcli wɖ fir ɖt h wd sīz m bî ɖ anclz. Ẃn I rīćt ɖ top v ɖ slǒp I trnd rnd n, wɖt lcñ at him, cōld lǎdli acrs ɖ fīld:

“Mrfi!”

Mî vôs hd an axnt v forst breṿri in it n I wz aśemd v mî pōltri stratjm. I hd t cōl ɖ nem agn bfr Mhoni sw m n hlùd in ansr. Hǎ mî hart bìt az h cem runñ acrs ɖ fīld t m! H ran az f t brñ m ed. N I wz penitnt; fr in mî hart I hd olwz dspîzd him a litl.

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