Toḅmori, bî Saci

It wz a ćil, ren-wośt afṭnun v a lêt Ōġst de, ɖt indefiṇt sīzn ẃn partṛjz r stl in s’kṛti or cold storij, n ɖr z nʈñ t hunt—unls wn z bǎndd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, in ẃć ces wn me lwf̣li gaḷp aftr fat red stagz. Ledi Blemli’z hǎsparti wz nt bǎndd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, hns ɖr wz a fl gaɖ̇rñ v hr gests rnd ɖ tītebl on ɖs ptiklr afṭnun. N, in spît v ɖ blancnis v ɖ sīzn n ɖ trîtnis v ɖ oceźn, ɖr wz no tres in ɖ cumṗni v ɖt ftīgd restlisnis ẃć mīnz a dred v ɖ pịnola n a sbdyd hanc̣rñ fr ōx́nbrij. Ɖ undisgîzd opn-mǎɖd atnśn v ɖ intîr parti wz fixt on ɖ homli neġtiv prṣnaḷti v Mr Cornīłs Apin. V ol hr gests, h wz ɖ wn hu hd cm t Ledi Blemli wɖ ɖ vegist repyteśn. Smwn hd sd h wz “clevr,” n h hd got hiz invteśn in ɖ modṛt xpcteśn, on ɖ part v hiz hostes, ɖt sm porśn at līst v hiz clevrnis wd b cntribytd t ɖ jenṛl enttenmnt. Untl tītîm ɖt de ś hd bn unebl t dscuvr in ẃt d’rex́n, f eni, hiz clevrnis le. H wz nɖr a wit nr a crocećampịn, a hipnotic fors nr a bgetr v aṃćr ʈiatriclz. Nɖr dd hiz xtirịr sjst ɖ sort v man in hūm wimin r wilñ t pardn a jenṛs meźr v mntl dfiśnsi. H hd sbsîdd intu mir Mr Apin, n ɖ Cornīłs sīmd a pìs v trnspaṛnt baptizml bluf. N nǎ h wz clemñ t hv lōnćt on ɖ wrld a dscuṿri bsd ẃć ɖ invnśn v gunpǎdr, v ɖ printñpres, n v stīmloc̣mośn wr incnsidṛbl trîflz. Sayns hd md bwildrñ strîdz in mni d’rex́nz jrñ rīsnt decedz, bt ɖs ʈñ sīmd t b’loñ t ɖ dmen v miṛcl rɖr ɖn t sạntific aćivmnt.

“N d y riyli asc s t b’liv,” Sr Wilfrid wz seyñ, “ɖt y hv dscuvrd a mīnz fr instructñ animlz in ɖ art v hymn spīć, n ɖt dir old Toḅmori hz pruvd yr frst s’xesfl pypl?”

“It z a probḷm at ẃć I hv wrct fr ɖ last sevntīn yirz,” sd Mr Apin, “bt onli jrñ ɖ last et or nîn munʈs hv I bn rwordd wɖ gliṃrñz v s’xes. V cors I hv xpeṛmntd wɖ ʈǎzndz v animlz, bt latrli onli wɖ cats, ɖoz wundrfl crīćrz ẃć hv asiṃletd ɖmslvz so marvḷsli wɖ ǎr siṿlîześn ẃl rtenñ ol ɖer hîli dveḷpt feṛl instñts. Hir n ɖr amñ cats wn cmz acrs an ǎtstandñ s’pirịr inṭlect, jst az wn dz amñ ɖ ruc v hymn biyñz, n ẃn I md ɖ aqentns v Toḅmori a wīc ago I sw at wns ɖt I wz in contact wɖ a ‘Bynd-cat’ v xtrordnri intelijns. I hd gn far alñ ɖ rod t s’xes in rīsnt xpeṛments; wɖ Toḅmori, az y cōl him, I hv rīćt ɖ gol.”

Mr Apin cncludd hiz rmarcbl stetmnt in a vôs ẃć h strov t dvst v a trîumfnt inflex́n. Nwn sd “Rats,” ɖo Clovis’z lips muvd in a moṇsilabic cntorśn ẃć probbli invoct ɖoz rodnts v disḅlif.

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

“Mî dir Mis Rescr,” sd ɖ wundrwrcr peśntli, “wn tīćz litl ćildṛn n saṿjz n bcwd adults in ɖt pìsmīl faśn; ẃn wn hz wns solvd ɖ probḷm v mcñ a bginñ wɖ an animl v hîli dveḷpt intelijns wn hz no nīd fr ɖoz hōltñ meʈ̇dz. Toḅmori cn spīc ǎr lanḡj wɖ prfict c’rectnis.”

Ɖs tîm Clovis vri dstñtli sd, “Bynd-rats!” Sr Wilfrid wz mor p’lît, bt īqli scepticl.

“Hd’nt w betr hv ɖ cat in n juj fr ǎrslvz?” sjstd Ledi Blemli.

Sr Wilfrid wnt in srć v ɖ animl, n ɖ cumṗni setld ɖmslvz dǎn t ɖ lanḡd xpcteśn v witṇsñ sm mor or les adrôt drw̃rūm ventriḷqizm.

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

“Bî Gad, it’s tru!”

Hiz ajteśn wz unmistecbli jenyin, n hiz hírrz startd fwd in a ʈril v awecnd inṭrest.

C’lapsñ intu an armćer h cntinyd breʈlisli: “I faund him dozñ in ɖ smocñrūm, n cōld ǎt t him t cm fr hiz ti. H blinct at m in hiz yźl we, n I sd, ‘Cm on, Tobi; d’nt cīp s wêtñ;’ n, bî Gad! h drōld ǎt in a most hoṛbli naćṛl vôs ɖt h’d cm ẃn h daśt wel plizd! I nirli jumt ǎt v mî scin!”

Apin hd prīćt t abṣlutli increɉḷs hírrz; Sr Wilfrid’z stetmnt carid instnt cnvix́n. A Bebļîc cōṛs v startld xcḷmeśn arouz, amd ẃć ɖ sayntist sat ḿtli injoyñ ɖ frst frūt v hiz stypnds dscuṿri.

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

A sudn huś v ōcẉdnis n cnstrent fél on ɖ cumṗni. Smhǎ ɖr sīmd an elimnt v imbaṛsmnt in adresñ on īql trmz a dmestic cat v acnolijd dntl abiḷti.

“Wl y hv sm milc, Toḅmori?” asct Ledi Blemli in a rɖr strend vôs.

“I d’nt mînd f I d,” wz ɖ rspons, cǎćt in a ton v īvn indifṛns. A śivr v s’prest xîtmnt wnt ʈru ɖ lisnrz, n Ledi Blemli mt b xkzd fr porñ ǎt ɖ sōsrfl v milc rɖr unsteḍli.

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

“Aftr ol, it’s nt mî Axminstr,” wz Toḅmori’z rjôndr.

Anɖr sîḷns fél on ɖ grūp, n ɖen Mis Rescr, in hr bst districtvizitr manr, asct f ɖ hymn lanḡj hd bn dificlt t lrn. Toḅmori lct sqerli at hr fr a momnt n ɖen fixt hiz gêz s’rīnli on ɖ midl distns. It wz obvịs ɖt borñ qsćnz le ǎtsd hiz scīm v lîf.

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

“V huz intelijns in ptiklr?” asct Toḅmori coldli.

“Ǒ, wel, mîn fr instns,” sd Mevis, wɖ a fībl laf.

“Y pt m in an imbaṛsñ pziśn,” sd Toḅmori, huz ton n attyd srtnli dd nt sjst a śred v imbaṛsmnt. “Ẃn yr incluźn in ɖs hǎsparti wz sjstd Sr Wilfrid pṛtstd ɖt y wr ɖ most brenlis wmn v hiz aqentns, n ɖt ɖr wz a wîd dstñśn btwn hosṗtaḷti n ɖ cer v ɖ fībl-mîndd. Ledi Blemli rplaid ɖt yr lac v brenpǎr wz ɖ prisîs qoḷti ẃć hd ŕnd y yr invteśn, az y wr ɖ onli prsn ś cd ʈnc v hu mt b idiotic inuf t bai ɖer old car. Y nǒ, ɖ wn ɖe cōl ‘Ɖ Envi v Sisif̣s,’ bcz it gz qt nîsli up-hil f y pś it.”

Ledi Blemli’z proṭsteśnz wd hv hd gretr ifct f ś hd nt caẓ́li sjstd t Mevis onli ɖt mornñ ɖt ɖ car in qsćn wd b jst ɖ ʈñ fr hr dǎn at hr Devnśr hom.

Mejr Barfīld plunjd in heṿli t ifct a dvrśn.

“Hǎ abt yr cariyñz-on wɖ ɖ torṭsśel ps p at ɖ steblz, ê?”

Ɖ momnt h hd sd it evrwn riylîzd ɖ blundr.

“Wn dz nt yẓ́li dscus ɖz matrz in public,” sd Toḅmori frijidli. “Fṛm a slît obẓveśn v yr wez sins y’v bn in ɖs hǎs I śd imajin y’d fînd it incnvińnt f I wr t śift ɖ convseśn on t yr ǒn litl aferz.”

Ɖ panic ẃć insyd wz nt cnfînd t ɖ Mejr.

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

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

“Cats hv nîn lîvz, y nǒ,” sd Sr Wilfrid harṭli.

“Poṣbli,” ansrd Toḅmori; “bt onli wn livr.”

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

Ɖ panic hd indd bcm jenṛl. A naro orṇmntl baḷstred ran in frunt v most v ɖ bedrūm windoz at ɖ Tǎrz, n it wz rcōld wɖ dsme ɖt ɖs hd formd a feṿrit proṃned fr Toḅmori at ol aurz, ẃns h cd woć ɖ pijinz—n hevn ń ẃt els bsdz. F h intndd t bcm reṃnisnt in hiz preznt ǎtspocn stren ɖ ifct wd b smʈñ mor ɖn discnsrtñ. Msz Cornét, hu spent mć tîm at hr tôḷțebl, n huz cmplex́n wz rpytd t b v a nmadic ɖo puñćl disṗziśn, lct az il at īz az ɖ Mejr. Mis Scrōn, hu rout firsli snśụs powtri n léd a blemlis lîf, mirli dspleid iṛteśn; f y r mʈodicl n vrćs in prîṿt y d’nt nesseṛli wont evrwn t nǒ it. Brti van Tān, hu wz so dprevd at sevntīn ɖt h hd loñ ago gvn p trayñ t b eni wrs, trnd a dul śêd v gardīńa ẃît, bt h dd nt cmit ɖ err v daśñ ǎt v ɖ rūm lîc Odo Finzḅri, a yuñ jntlmn hu wz unḍstd t b rīdñ fr ɖ Ćrć n hu wz poṣbli dstrbd at ɖ ʈt v scandlz h mt hír cnsrnñ uɖr ppl. Clovis hd ɖ prezns v mînd t mnten a cmpozd xtirịr; prîṿtli h wz calkletñ hǎ loñ it wd tec t pṛkr a box v fansi mîs ʈru ɖ ejnsi v ɖ XĆENJ & MART az a spīśīz v huśmuni.

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

“Ẃ dd I evr cm dǎn hir?” ś asct dṛmaticli.

Toḅmori imīɉtli axptd ɖ oṗnñ.

“Jujñ bî ẃt y sd t Msz Cornét on ɖ crocelōn yesṭde, y wr ǎt fr fūd. Y dscrîbd ɖ Blemliz az ɖ dulist ppl t ste wɖ ɖt y ń, bt sd ɖe wr clevr inuf t implô a frst-ret cc; uɖ̇wz ɖ’d fînd it dificlt t gt enwn t cm dǎn a secnd tîm.”

“Ɖr’z nt a wrd v truʈ in it! I apil t Msz Cornét—” xclemd ɖ dscumf̣td Agnis.

“Msz Cornét rpitd yr rmarc aftwdz t Brti van Tān,” cntinyd Toḅmori, “n sd, ‘Ɖt wmn z a reğlr Hungr Marćr; ś’d g enẃr fr for sqer mīlz a de,’ n Brti van Tān sd—”

At ɖs pônt ɖ cronicl mrsifli sīst. Toḅmori hd còt a glims v ɖ big yelo Tom fṛm ɖ Recṭri wrcñ hiz we ʈru ɖ śruḅri twdz ɖ steblwñ. In a flaś h hd vaniśt ʈru ɖ opn Frenć windo.

Wɖ ɖ dis’piṛns v hiz tù briłnt pypl Cornīłs Apin faund himslf bset bî a huṛcen v bitr upbrêdñ, añśs inqîri, n frîtnd intriti. Ɖ rsponsbiḷti fr ɖ sićueśn le wɖ him, n h mst privnt matrz fṛm bcmñ wrs. Cd Toḅmori impart hiz denjṛs gift t uɖr cats? wz ɖ frst qsćn h hd t ansr. It wz poṣbl, h rplaid, ɖt h mt hv iniśietd hiz intiṃt frend ɖ stebl-ps intu hiz ny acumpliśmnt, bt it wz unlîcli ɖt hiz tīćñ cd hv tecn a wîdr renj az yt.

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

“Y d’nt s’poz I’v injoid ɖ last qortr v an aur, d y?” sd Ledi Blemli bitrli. “Mî huzbnd n I r vri fond v Toḅmori—at līst, w wr bfr ɖs hoṛbl acumpliśmnt wz infyzd intu him; bt nǎ, v cors, ɖ onli ʈñ z t hv him dstroid az sn az poṣbl.”

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

“Bt mî gret dscuṿri!” xposć̣letd Mr Apin; “aftr ol mî yirz v rsrć n xperimnt—”

“Y cn g n xperimnt on ɖ śorthornz at ɖ farm, hu r undr propr cntrol,” sd Msz Cornét, “or ɖ elifnts at ɖ Zụlojicl Gardnz. Ɖ’r sd t b hîli intelijnt, n ɖe hv ɖs rec̣mndeśn, ɖt ɖe d’nt cm crīpñ abt ǎr bedrūmz n undr ćerz, n so fʈ.”

An arcenjl xtaticli pṛclemñ ɖ Mileńm, n ɖen fîndñ ɖt it claśt unpardṇbli wɖ Henli n wd hv t b indefiṇtli pspond, cd hardli hv flt mor crestfōḷn ɖn Cornīłs Apin at ɖ rspśn v hiz wundrfl aćivmnt. Public opińn, hvr, wz agnst him—in fact, hd ɖ jenṛl vôs bn cnsultd on ɖ subjict it z probbl ɖt a stroñ mnoṛtivot wd hv bn in fevr v includñ him in ɖ stricnīndayt.

Dfctiv tren’renjmnts n a nrṿs dzîr t si matrz bròt t a finiś privntd an imīɉt dsprsl v ɖ parti, bt dinr ɖt īvnñ wz nt a sośl s’xes. Sr Wilfrid hd hd rɖr a trayñ tîm wɖ ɖ steblcat n subsiqntli wɖ ɖ coćmn. Agnis Rescr ostnteśsli liṃtd hr rpast t a morsl v drî tost, ẃć ś bit az ɖo it wr a prsnl eṇmi; ẃl Mevis Pelñtn mntend a vndictiv sîḷns ʈrt ɖ mīl. Ledi Blemli cept p a flo v ẃt ś hopt wz convseśn, bt hr atnśn wz fixt on ɖ dorwe. A pletfl v cerf̣li dost fiśscraps wz in redinis on ɖ sîdbōrd, bt swīts n sêṿri n dzrt wnt ɖer we, n no Toḅmori apird îɖr in ɖ dînñrūm or cićn.

Ɖ seplcṛl dinr wz ćirfl cmperd wɖ ɖ subsiqnt vijil in ɖ smocñrūm. Ītñ n drincñ hd at līst s’plaid a dstrax́n n clǒc t ɖ privelñ imbaṛsmnt. Brij wz ǎt v ɖ qsćn in ɖ jenṛl tnśn v nrvz n tmprz, n aftr Odo Finzḅri hd gvn a l’gūbrịs renḍrñ v “Melisãd in ɖ Wŭd” t a frijid ōdịns, ḿzic wz taṣtli avôdd. At ilevn ɖ srvnts wnt t bed, anǎnsñ ɖt ɖ smōl windo in ɖ pantri hd bn left opn az yźl fr Toḅmori’z prîṿt ys. Ɖ gests réd steḍli ʈru ɖ cuṛnt bać v maġzīnz, n fél bac graɉli, on ɖ “Badmintn Lîbrri” n baund volymz v PUNĆ. Ledi Blemli md piriodic vizits t ɖ pantri, rtrnñ ć tîm wɖ an xpreśn v listlis dpreśn ẃć fōrstōld qsć̣nñ.

At tū o’cloc Clovis brouc ɖ doṃnetñ sîḷns.

“H w’nt trn p tnît. H’z probbli in ɖ locl nyzpepr ofis at ɖ preznt momnt, dictetñ ɖ frst instōlmnt v hiz reṃnisnsz. Ledi Ẃt’s-hr-nem’z bc w’nt b in it. It wl b ɖ ivnt v ɖ de.”

Hvñ md ɖs contṛbyśn t ɖ jenṛl ćirflnis, Clovis wnt t bed. At loñ inṭvlz ɖ verịs membrz v ɖ hǎsparti foloud hiz xampl.

Ɖ srvnts tecñ rnd ɖ rli ti md a yṇform anǎnsmnt in rplî t a yṇform qsćn. Toḅmori hd nt rtrnd.

Brecfst wz, f enʈñ, a mor unpleznt fuñśn ɖn dinr hd bn, bt bfr its cncluźn ɖ sićueśn wz rlivd. Toḅmori’z corps wz bròt in fṛm ɖ śruḅri, ẃr a gardnr hd jst dscuvrd it. Fṛm ɖ bîts on hiz ʈrot n ɖ yelo fŕ ẃć cǒtd hiz clwz it wz evidnt ɖt h hd fōḷn in unīql combat wɖ ɖ big Tom fṛm ɖ Recṭri.

Bî miḑe most v ɖ gests hd qitd ɖ Tǎrz, n aftr lunć Ledi Blemli hd sfiśntli rcuvrd hr spirits t rait an xtrimli nasti letr t ɖ Recṭri abt ɖ los v hr vałbl pet.

Toḅmori hd bn Apin’z wn s’xesfl pypl, n h wz destind t hv no s’xesr. A fy wīcs lêtr an elifnt in ɖ Drezdn Zụlojicl Gardn, ẃć hd śoun no prīvịs sînz v iritbiḷti, brouc lūs n cild an Ñgliśmn hu hd apaṛntli bn tizñ it. Ɖ victim’z nem wz verịsli rportd in ɖ peprz az Opin n Eṗlin, bt hiz frunt nem wz feʈf̣li rendrd Cornīłs.

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

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