Category Archives: Short stories

Clasics in Ñspel: NUMBER 13, by M R James

NUMBR 13

M R JEMZ

Amñ ɖ tǎnz v Jutḷnd, Vîborg justli holdz a hî ples. It z ɖ sīt v a biṣ́pric; it hz a hansm bt olmst intîrli ny cʈīdṛl, a ćarmñ gardn, a lec v gret byti, n mni storcs. Nir it z Hald, acǎntd wn v ɖ pritiist ʈñz in Denmarc; n hard bî z Finderup, ẃr Marsk Stig mrdrd Cñ Eric Glipñ on St Ssīła’z De, in ɖ yir 1286. Fifti-six bloz v sqer-hedd ayn mesz wr trest on Eric’s scul ẃn hiz tūm wz opnd in ɖ sevntīnʈ snćri. Bt I am nt raitñ a gîd-bc.

Ɖr r gd hotelz in Vîborg—Preisler’z n ɖ Fīnix r ol ɖt cn b dzîrd. Bt mî cuzn, huz xpirịnsz I hv t tel y nǎ, wnt t ɖ Goldn Layn ɖ frst tîm ɖt h viẓtd Vîborg. H hz nt bn ɖr sins, n ɖ folowñ pejz wl, phps, xplen ɖ rīzn v hiz abstnśn.

Ɖ Goldn Layn z wn v ɖ vri fy hǎzz in ɖ tǎn ɖt wr nt dstroid in ɖ gret fîr v 1726, ẃć practicli dmoliśt ɖ cʈīdṛl, ɖ Sognekirke, ɖ Raadhuus, n so mć els ɖt wz old n inṭrestñ. It z a gret red-bric hǎs—ɖt z, ɖ frunt z v bric, wɖ corbisteps on ɖ geblz n a txt ovr ɖ dor; bt ɖ cortyard intu ẃć ɖ omnibus drîvz z v blac n ẃît wŭd n plastr.

Ɖ sún wz dclînñ in ɖ hevnz ẃn mî cuzn wōct p t ɖ dor, n ɖ lît smout fl upn ɖ impozñ fsād v ɖ hǎs. H wz dlîtd wɖ ɖ old-faśnd aspect v ɖ ples, n promist himslf a ʈuṛli saṭsfactri n aḿzñ ste in an ín so tipicl v old Jutḷnd.

It wz nt biznis in ɖ ordnri sns v ɖ wrd ɖt hd bròt Mr Anḍsn t Vîborg. H wz ingejd upn sm rsrćz intu ɖ Ćrć hisṭri v Denmarc, n it hd cm t hiz nolij ɖt in ɖ Rigsarkiv v Vîborg ɖr wr peprz, sevd fṛm ɖ fîr, rletñ t ɖ last dez v Romn Cʈoḷsizm in ɖ cuntri. H pṛpozd, ɖrfr, t spend a cnsidṛbl tîm—phps az mć az a fortnît or ʈri wīcs—in xaṃnñ n copiyñ ɖz, n h hopt ɖt ɖ Goldn Layn wd b ebl t gv him a rūm v sfiśnt sîz t srv alîc az a bedrūm n a studi. Hiz wśz wr xplend t ɖ landlord, n, aftr a srtn amǎnt v ʈt, ɖ latr sjstd ɖt phps it mt b ɖ bst we fr ɖ jntlmn t lc at wn or tū v ɖ larjr rūmz n pic wn fr himslf. It sīmd a gd îdīa.

Ɖ top flor wz sn rjctd az inteilñ tù mć gtñ upsterz aftr ɖ de’z wrc; ɖ secnd flor cntend no rūm v xacli ɖ dmnśnz rqîrd; bt on ɖ frst flor ɖr wz a ćôs v tū or ʈri rūmz ẃć wd, so far az sîz wnt, sūt admṛbli.

Ɖ landlord wz stroñli in fevr v Numbr 17, bt Mr Anḍsn pôntd ǎt ɖt its windoz cmandd onli ɖ blanc wōl v ɖ nxt hǎs, n ɖt it wd b vri darc in ɖ afṭnun. Îɖr Numbr 12 or Numbr 14 wd b betr, fr bʈ v ɖm lct on ɖ strīt, n ɖ brît īvnñ lît n ɖ priti vy wd mor ɖn compnset him fr ɖ adiśnl amǎnt v nôz.

Ivnć̣li Numbr 12 wz s’lectd. Lîc its nebrz, it hd ʈri windoz, ol on wn sîd v ɖ rūm; it wz ferli hî n unyẓ́li loñ. Ɖr wz, v cors, no fîrples, bt ɖ stov wz hansm n rɖr old—a cást-ayn irex́n, on ɖ sîd v ẃć wz a repriznteśn v Ebṛham sacṛfîsñ Îzac, n ɖ inscripśn, ‘I Bog Mose, Cap. 22,’ abv. Nʈñ els in ɖ rūm wz rmarcbl; ɖ onli inṭrestñ picćr wz an old culrd print v ɖ tǎn, det abt 1820.

Suprtîm wz aproćñ, bt ẃn Anḍsn, rfreśt bî ɖ ordnri ablūśnz, dsndd ɖ sterces, ɖr wr stl a fy minits bfr ɖ bel rañ. H dvotd ɖm t xaṃnñ ɖ list v hiz felolojrz. Az z yźl in Denmarc, ɖer nemz wr dspleid on a larj blacbōrd, dvîdd intu coḷmz n lînz, ɖ numbrz v ɖ rūmz biyñ pentd in at ɖ bginñ v ć lîn. Ɖ list wz nt xîtñ. Ɖr wz an advc̣t, or Sagförer, a Jrmn, n sm bagmen fṛm Copnhagn. Ɖ wn n onli pônt ẃć sjstd eni fūd fr ʈt wz ɖ absns v eni Numbr 13 fṛm ɖ têl v ɖ rūmz, n īvn ɖs wz a ʈñ ẃć Anḍsn hd olrdi notist haf a duzn tîmz in hiz xpirịns v Deniś hotelz. H cd nt hlp wunḍrñ ẃɖr ɖ objx́n t ɖt ptiklr numbr, comn az it z, wz so wîdspred n so stroñ az t mc it dificlt t let a rūm so tic̣td, n h rzolvd t asc ɖ landlord f h n hiz colīgz in ɖ pṛfeśn hd acć̣li met wɖ mni claynts hu rfyzd t b acoṃdetd in ɖ ʈrtīnʈ rūm.

H hd nʈñ t tel m (I am gvñ ɖ stori az I hŕd it fṛm him) abt ẃt pást at supr, n ɖ īvnñ, ẃć wz spent in unpacñ n arenjñ hiz cloɖz, bcs, n peprz, wz nt mor ivntfl. Twdz ilevn o’cloc h rzolvd t g t bed, bt wɖ him, az wɖ a gd mni uɖr ppl nawdez, an olmst nesṣri priliminri t bed, f h mnt t slīp, wz ɖ rīdñ v a fy pejz v print, n h nǎ rmembrd ɖt ɖ ptiklr bc ẃć h hd bn rīdñ in ɖ tren, n ẃć alon wd saṭsfî him at ɖt preznt momnt, wz in ɖ pocit v hiz gretcot, ɖen haññ on a peg ǎtsd ɖ dînñrūm.

T run dǎn n s’kr it wz ɖ wrc v a momnt, n, az ɖ paṣjz wr bî no mīnz darc, it wz nt dificlt fr him t fînd hiz we bac t hiz ǒn dor. So, at līst, h ʈt; bt ẃn h arîvd ɖr, n trnd ɖ handl, ɖ dor intîrli rfyzd t opn, n h còt ɖ sǎnd v a hesti muvmnt twdz it fṛm wɖn. H hd traid ɖ roñ dor, v cors. Wz hiz ǒn rūm t ɖ rît or t ɖ left? H glanst at ɖ numbr: it wz 13. Hiz rūm wd b on ɖ left; n so it wz. N nt bfr h hd bn in bed fr sm minits, hd réd hiz wóntd ʈri or for pejz v hiz bc, bloun ǎt hiz lît, n trnd ovr t g t slīp, dd it ocŕ t him ɖt, ẃr-az on ɖ blacbōrd v ɖ hotel ɖr hd bn no Numbr 13, ɖr wz undǎtidli a rūm numbrd 13 in ɖ hotel. H flt rɖr sori h hd nt ćozn it fr hiz ǒn. Phps h mt hv dn ɖ landlord a litl srvis bî okpayñ it, n gvn him ɖ ćans v seyñ ɖt a wel-born Ñgliś jntlmn hd livd in it fr ʈri wīcs n lîct it vri mć. Bt probbli it wz yzd az a srvnt’s rūm or smʈñ v ɖ cnd. Aftr ol, it wz most lîcli nt so larj or gd a rūm az hiz ǒn. N h lct drǎẓli abt ɖ rūm, ẃć wz ferli psptbl in ɖ haf-lît fṛm ɖ strīt-lamp. It wz a krịs ifct, h ʈt. Rūmz yẓ́li lc larjr in a dim lît ɖn a fl wn, bt ɖs sīmd t hv cntractd in leñʈ n groun pṛporśṇtli hayr. Wel, wel! slīp wz mor importnt ɖn ɖz veg rūṃneśnz—n t slīp h wnt.

On ɖ de aftr hiz arîvl Anḍsn atact ɖ Rigsarkiv v Vîborg. H wz, az wn mt xpct in Denmarc, cîndli rsivd, n axes t ol ɖt h wśt t si wz md az īzi fr him az poṣbl. Ɖ dokmnts leid bfr him wr far mor ńmṛs n inṭrestñ ɖn h hd at ol antiṣpetd. Bsdz ofiśl peprz, ɖr wz a larj bundl v corispondns rletñ t Biṣ́p Jörgen Friis, ɖ last Romn Caʈ̇lic hu hld ɖ si, n in ɖz ɖr cropt p mni aḿzñ n ẃt r cōld ‘intiṃt’ dītelz v prîṿt lîf n indivijl caṛctr. Ɖr wz mć tōc v a hǎs ǒnd bî ɖ Biṣ́p, bt nt inhaḅtd bî him, in ɖ tǎn. Its tennt wz apaṛntli smẃt v a scandl n a stumḅlñbloc t ɖ rformñparti. H wz a dsgres, ɖe rout, t ɖ siti; h practist sīcrit n wicid arts, n hd sold hiz soul t ɖ eṇmi. It wz v a pìs wɖ ɖ gros c’rupśn n sūṗstiśn v ɖ Baḅloniś Ćrć ɖt sć a vîpr n blud-sucñ Troldmand śd b patṛnîzd n harbrd bî ɖ Biṣ́p. Ɖ Biṣ́p met ɖz rproćz boldli; h pṛtstd hiz ǒn abhoṛns v ol sć ʈñz az sīcrit arts, n rqîrd hiz antaġnists t brñ ɖ matr bfr ɖ propr cort—v cors, ɖ spirićl cort—n sift it t ɖ botm. Nwn cd b mor redi n wilñ ɖn himslf t cndem Mag. Nicolas Francken f ɖ evidns śoud him t hv bn gilti v eni v ɖ crîmz inforṃli alejd agnst him.

Anḍsn hd nt tîm t d mor ɖn glans at ɖ nxt letr v ɖ Protistnt līdr, Rasmus Nielsen, bfr ɖ record ofis wz clozd fr ɖ de, bt h gaɖrd its jenṛl tenr, ẃć wz t ɖ ifct ɖt Crisćn men wr nǎ no longr baund bî ɖ dsiźnz v Biṣ́ps v Rom, n ɖt ɖ Biṣ́p’s Cort wz nt, n cd nt b, a fit or compitnt trîbynl t juj so grev n weiti a cōz.

On līvñ ɖ ofis, Mr Anḍsn wz acumṗnid bî ɖ old jntlmn hu prizîdd ovr it, n, az ɖe wōct, ɖ convseśn vri naćṛli trnd t ɖ peprz v ẃć I hv jst bn spīcñ.

Herr Scavenius, ɖ Arc̣vist v Vîborg, ɖo vri wel informd az t ɖ jenṛl run v ɖ dokmnts undr hiz ćarj, wz nt a speṣ́list in ɖoz v ɖ Ref̣meśn pirịd. H wz mć inṭrestd in ẃt Anḍsn hd t tel him abt ɖm. H lct fwd wɖ gret pleźr, h sd, t siyñ ɖ pubḷceśn in ẃć Mr Anḍsn spouc v imbodiyñ ɖer contents. ‘Ɖs hǎs v ɖ Biṣ́p Friis,’ h add, ‘it z a gret puzl t m ẃr it cn hv std. I hv studid cerf̣li ɖ tpogṛfi v old Vîborg, bt it z most unluci—v ɖ old térịr v ɖ Biṣ́p’s proṗti ẃć wz md in 1560, n v ẃć w hv ɖ gretr part in ɖ Arkiv—jst ɖ pìs ẃć hd ɖ list v ɖ tǎn proṗti z misñ. Nvr mînd. Phps I śl sm de s’xid t fînd him.’

Aftr tecñ sm x’sîz—I fget xacli hǎ or ẃr—Anḍsn wnt bac t ɖ Goldn Layn, hiz supr, hiz gem v peśns, n hiz bed. On ɖ we t hiz rūm it ocŕd t him ɖt h hd fgotn t tōc t ɖ landlord abt ɖ omiśn v Numbr 13 fṛm ɖ hotel bōrd, n olso ɖt h mt az wel mc śr ɖt Numbr 13 dd acć̣li xist bfr h md eni refṛns t ɖ matr.

Ɖ dsiźn wz nt dificlt t arîv at. Ɖr wz ɖ dor wɖ its numbr az plen az cd b, n wrc v sm cnd wz evidntli gwñ on insd it, fr az h nird ɖ dor h cd hír ftsteps n vôsz, or a vôs, wɖn. Jrñ ɖ fy secndz in ẃć h hōltd t mc śr v ɖ numbr, ɖ ftsteps sīst, sīmñli vri nir ɖ dor, n h wz a litl startld at hírñ a qc hisñ briɖñ az v a prsn in stroñ xîtmnt. H wnt on t hiz ǒn rūm, n agn h wz s’prîzd t fînd hǎ mć smōlr it sīmd nǎ ɖn it hd ẃn h s’lectd it. It wz a slît dis’pôntmnt, bt onli slît. F h faund it riyli nt larj inuf, h cd vri īẓli śift t anɖr. In ɖ mntm h wontd smʈñ—az far az I rmembr it wz a pocithanc̣ćīf—ǎt v hiz portmanto, ẃć hd bn plest bî ɖ portr on a vri inadiqt tresl or stūl agnst ɖ wōl at ɖ farɖist end v ɖ rūm fṛm hiz bed. Hir wz a vri krịs ʈñ: ɖ portmanto wz nt t b sìn. It hd bn muvd bî ofiśs srvnts; dǎtlis ɖ contents hd bn pt in ɖ wordrob. No, nn v ɖm wr ɖr. Ɖs wz vxeśs. Ɖ îdīa v a ʈeft h dsmist at wns. Sć ʈñz rerli hapn in Denmarc, bt sm pìs v stypidti hd srtnli bn pformd (ẃć z nt so uncomn), n ɖ stuepige mst b svirli spocn t. Ẃtvr it wz ɖt h wontd, it wz nt so nesṣri t hiz cumf̣t ɖt h cd nt wêt tl ɖ mornñ fr it, n h ɖrfr setld nt t rñ ɖ bel n dstrb ɖ srvnts. H wnt t ɖ windo—ɖ rît-hand windo it wz—n lct ǎt on ɖ qayt strīt. Ɖr wz a tōl bildñ oṗzit, wɖ larj spesz v ded wōl; no pasrz-bî; a darc nît; n vri litl t b sìn v eni cnd.

Ɖ lît wz bhnd him, n h cd si hiz ǒn śado clirli cast on ɖ wōl oṗzit. Olso ɖ śado v ɖ birdd man in Numbr 11 on ɖ left, hu pást t n fro in śrtslīvz wns or twîs, n wz sìn frst bruśñ hiz her, n lêtr on in a nîtgǎn. Olso ɖ śado v ɖ okpnt v Numbr 13 on ɖ rît. Ɖs mt b mor inṭrestñ. Numbr 13 wz, lîc himslf, līnñ on hiz elboz on ɖ windosil lcñ ǎt intu ɖ strīt. H sīmd t b a tōl ʈin man—or wz it bî eni ćans a wmn?—at līst, it wz smwn hu cuvrd hiz or hr hed wɖ sm cnd v dreṗri bfr gwñ t bed, n, h ʈt, mst b pzest v a red lampśêd—n ɖ lamp mst b flic̣rñ vri mć. Ɖr wz a dstñt pleyñ p n dǎn v a dul red lît on ɖ oṗzit wōl. H crend ǎt a litl t si f h cd mc eni mor v ɖ figr, bt bynd a fold v sm lît, phps ẃît, mtirịl on ɖ windosil h cd si nʈñ.

Nǎ cem a distnt step in ɖ strīt, n its aproć sīmd t rcōl Numbr 13 t a sns v hiz xpozd pziśn, fr vri swiftli n sudnli h swept asd fṛm ɖ windo, n hiz red lît wnt ǎt. Anḍsn, hu hd bn smocñ a siġrét, leid ɖ end v it on ɖ windosil n wnt t bed.

Nxt mornñ h wz wocn bî ɖ stuepige wɖ hot wōtr, ets. H rǎzd himslf, n aftr ʈncñ ǎt ɖ c’rect Deniś wrdz, sd az dstñtli az h cd:

‘Y mst nt muv mî portmanto. Ẃr z it?’

Az z nt uncomn, ɖ meid laft, n wnt awe wɖt mcñ eni dstñt ansr.

Anḍsn, rɖr iṛtetd, sat p in bed, intndñ t cōl hr bac, bt h rmend sitñ p, stẹrñ stret in frunt v him. Ɖr wz hiz portmanto on its tresl, xacli ẃr h hd sìn ɖ portr pt it ẃn h frst arîvd. Ɖs wz a rūd śoc fr a man hu prîdd himslf on hiz akṛsi v obẓveśn. Hǎ it cd poṣbli hv iscept him ɖ nît bfr h dd nt pritnd t unḍstand; at eni ret, ɖr it wz nǎ.

Ɖ dêlît śoud mor ɖn ɖ portmanto; it let ɖ tru pṛporśnz v ɖ rūm wɖ its ʈri windoz apir, n saṭsfaid its tennt ɖt hiz ćôs aftr ol hd nt bn a bad wn. Ẃn h wz olmst drest h wōct t ɖ midl wn v ɖ ʈri windoz t lc ǎt at ɖ weɖr. Anɖr śoc awêtd him. Strenjli un’bzrvnt h mst hv bn last nît. H cd hv sworn ten tîmz ovr ɖt h hd bn smocñ at ɖ rît-hand windo ɖ last ʈñ bfr h wnt t bed, n hir wz hiz siġrét-end on ɖ sil v ɖ midl windo.

H startd t g dǎn t brecfst. Rɖr lêt, bt Numbr 13 wz lêtr: hir wr hiz būts stl ǎtsd hiz dor—a jntlmn’z būts. So ɖen Numbr 13 wz a man, nt a wmn. Jst ɖen h còt sît v ɖ numbr on ɖ dor. It wz 14. H ʈt h mst hv pást Numbr 13 wɖt noṭsñ it. Ʈri stypid mstecs in twelv aurz wr tù mć fr a mʈodicl, akṛt-mîndd man, so h trnd bac t mc śr. Ɖ nxt numbr t 14 wz numbr 12, hiz ǒn rūm. Ɖr wz no Numbr 13 at ol.

Aftr sm minits dvotd t a cerfl cnsiḍreśn v evrʈñ h hd hd t īt n drinc jrñ ɖ last twenti-for aurz, Anḍsn dsîdd t gv ɖ qsćn p. F hiz îz or hiz bren wr gvñ we h wd hv plenti v oṗtyṇtiz fr aṣtenñ ɖt fact; f nt, ɖen h wz evidntli biyñ trītd t a vri inṭrestñ xpirịns. In îɖr ces ɖ dveḷpmnt v ivnts wd srtnli b wrʈ woćñ.

Jrñ ɖ de h cntinyd hiz xaṃneśn v ɖ ipisc̣pl corispondns ẃć I hv olrdi súṃrîzd. T hiz dis’pôntmnt, it wz incmplit. Onli wn uɖr letr cd b faund ẃć rfŕd t ɖ afer v Mag. Nicolas Francken. It wz fṛm ɖ Biṣ́p Jörgen Friis t Rasmus Nielsen. H sd:

‘Olɖo w r nt in ɖ līst dgri inclînd t asnt t yr jujmnt cnsrnñ ǎr cort, n śl b priperd f nīd b t wɖstand y t ɖ utrmost in ɖt bhaf, yt fr-az-mć az ǎr trusti n wel-ḅluvid Mag. Nicolas Francken, agnst hūm y hv derd t alej srtn fōls n mliśs ćarjz, hʈ bn sudnli rmuvd fṛm amñ s, it z apaṛnt ɖt ɖ qsćn fr ɖs tîm fōlz. Bt fr-az-mć az y frɖr alej ɖt ɖ Aposl n Ivanjlist St Jon in hiz hevnli Apoc̣lips dscrîbz ɖ Holi Romn Ćrć undr ɖ gîz n simbl v ɖ Scarlit Wmn, b it noun t y,’ ets.

Srć az h mt, Anḍsn cd fînd no sīql t ɖs letr nr eni clu t ɖ cōz or manr v ɖ ‘rmuvl’ v ɖ casus belli. H cd onli s’poz ɖt Francken hd daid sudnli; n az ɖr wr onli tū dez btwn ɖ det v Nielsen’z last letr—ẃn Francken wz evidntli stl in biyñ—n ɖt v ɖ Biṣ́p’s letr, ɖ deʈ mst hv bn cmplitli unixpctd.

In ɖ afṭnun h peid a śort vizit t Hald, n tc hiz ti at Baekkelund; nr cd h notis, ɖo h wz in a smẃt nrṿs frem v mînd, ɖt ɖr wz eni indceśn v sć a fełr v î or bren az hiz xpirịnsz v ɖ mornñ hd léd him t fir.

At supr h faund himslf nxt t ɖ landlord.

‘Ẃt,’ h asct him, aftr sm indifṛnt convseśn, ‘z ɖ rīzn ẃ in most v ɖ hotelz wn vizits in ɖs cuntri ɖ numbr ʈrtīn z left ǎt v ɖ list v rūmz? I si y hv nn hir.’

Ɖ landlord sīmd aḿzd.

‘T ʈnc ɖt y śd hv notist a ʈñ lîc ɖt! I’v ʈt abt it wns or twîs mslf, t tel ɖ truʈ. An edycetd man, I’v sd, hz no biznis wɖ ɖz sūṗstiśs nośnz. I wz bròt p mslf hir in ɖ hî scūl v Vîborg, n ǎr old mastr wz olwz a man t set hiz fes agnst enʈñ v ɖt cnd. H’z bn ded nǎ ɖs mni yirz—a fîn upstandñ man h wz, n redi wɖ hiz handz az wel az hiz hed. I rec̣lect s bôz, wn snǒi de—’

Hir h plunjd intu reṃnisns.

‘Ɖen y d’nt ʈnc ɖr z eni ptiklr objx́n t hvñ a Numbr 13?’ sd Anḍsn.

‘Ā! t b śr. Wel, y unḍstand, I wz bròt p t ɖ biznis bî mî pur old faɖr. H cept a hotel in Aarhuus frst, n ɖen, ẃn w wr born, h muvd t Vîborg hir, ẃć wz hiz netiv ples, n hd ɖ Fīnix hir untl h daid. Ɖt wz in 1876. Ɖen I startd biznis in Silkeborg, n onli ɖ yir bfr last I muvd intu ɖs hǎs.’

Ɖen foloud mor dītelz az t ɖ stet v ɖ hǎs n biznis ẃn frst tecn ovr.

‘N ẃn y cem hir, wz ɖr a Numbr 13?’

‘No, no. I wz gwñ t tel y abt ɖt. Y si, in a ples lîc ɖs, ɖ cmrśl clas—ɖ travlrz—r ẃt w hv t pṛvîd fr in jenṛl. N pt ɖm in Numbr 13? Ẃ, ɖ’d az sn slīp in ɖ strīt, or snr. Az far az I’m cnsrnd mslf, it wd’nt mc a peni difṛns t m ẃt ɖ numbr v mî rūm wz, n so I’v ofn sd t ɖm; bt ɖe stic t it ɖt it brñz ɖm bad luc. Qonttiz v storiz ɖe hv amñ ɖm v men ɖt hv slept in a Numbr 13 n nvr bn ɖ sem agn, or lost ɖer bst custmrz, or—wn ʈñ n anɖr,’ sd ɖ landlord, aftr srćñ fr a mor grafic frêz.

‘Ɖen ẃt d y yz yr Numbr 13 fr?’ sd Anḍsn, conśs az h sd ɖ wrdz v a krịs añzayti qt dispṛporśṇt t ɖ importns v ɖ qsćn.

‘Mî Numbr 13? Ẃ, d’nt I tel y ɖt ɖr z’nt sć a ʈñ in ɖ hǎs? I ʈt y mt hv notist ɖt. F ɖr wz it wd b nxt dor t yr ǒn rūm.’

‘Wel, yes; onli I hapnd t ʈnc—ɖt z, I fansid last nît ɖt I hd sìn a dor numbrd ʈrtīn in ɖt pasij; n, riyli, I am olmst srtn I mst hv bn rît, fr I sw it ɖ nît bfr az wel.’

V cors, Herr Kristensen laft ɖs nośn t scorn, az Anḍsn hd xpctd, n emf̣sîzd wɖ mć iṭreśn ɖ fact ɖt no Numbr 13 xistd or hd xistd bfr him in ɖt hotel.

Anḍsn wz in sm wez rlivd bî hiz srtnti, bt stl puzld, n h bgan t ʈnc ɖt ɖ bst we t mc śr ẃɖr h hd indd bn subjict t an iluźn or nt wz t invît ɖ landlord t hiz rūm t smoc a sgar lêtr on in ɖ īvnñ. Sm foṭgrafs v Ñgliś tǎnz ẃć h hd wɖ him formd a sfiśntli gd xks.

Herr Kristensen wz flatrd bî ɖ invteśn, n most wilñli axptd it. At abt ten o’cloc h wz t mc hiz apiṛns, bt bfr ɖt Anḍsn hd sm letrz t rait, n rtîrd fr ɖ prṗs v raitñ ɖm. H olmst bluśt t himslf at cnfesñ it, bt h cd nt dnî ɖt it wz ɖ fact ɖt h wz bcmñ qt nrṿs abt ɖ qsćn v ɖ xistns v Numbr 13; so mć so ɖt h aproćt hiz rūm bî we v Numbr 11, in ordr ɖt h mt nt b oblîjd t pas ɖ dor, or ɖ ples ẃr ɖ dor òt t b. H lct qcli n sspiśsli abt ɖ rūm ẃn h entrd it, bt ɖr wz nʈñ, bynd ɖt indfîṇbl er v biyñ smōlr ɖn yźl, t woṛnt eni msgvñz. Ɖr wz no qsćn v ɖ prezns or absns v hiz portmanto tnît. H hd himslf emtid it v its contents n lojd it undr hiz bed. Wɖ a srtn ef̣t h dsmist ɖ ʈt v Numbr 13 fṛm hiz mînd, n sat dǎn t hiz raitñ.

Hiz nebrz wr qayt inuf. Oceźṇli a dor opnd in ɖ pasij n a per v būts wz ʈroun ǎt, or a bagman wōct past humñ t himslf, n ǎtsd, fṛm tîm t tîm, a cart ʈundrd ovr ɖ atrośs coblstonz, or a qc step hurid alñ ɖ flagz.

Anḍsn finiśt hiz letrz, ordrd in ẃisci n soda, n ɖen wnt t ɖ windo n studid ɖ ded wōl oṗzit n ɖ śadoz upn it.

Az far az h cd rmembr, Numbr 14 hd bn okpaid bî ɖ loyr, a stêd man, hu sd litl at mīlz, biyñ jenṛli ingejd in studiyñ a smōl bundl v peprz bsd hiz plet. Apaṛntli, hvr, h wz in ɖ habit v gvñ vnt t hiz animl spirits ẃn alon. Ẃ els śd h b dansñ? Ɖ śado fṛm ɖ nxt rūm evidntli śoud ɖt h wz. Agn n agn hiz ʈin form crost ɖ windo, hiz armz wevd, n a gōnt leg wz cict p wɖ s’prîzñ ajiḷti. H sīmd t b bér-fŭtd, n ɖ flor mst b wel leid, fr no sǎnd btreid hiz muvmnts. Sagförer Herr Anders Jensen, dansñ at ten o’cloc at nît in a hotel bedrūm, sīmd a fitñ subjict fr a historicl pentñ in ɖ grand stîl; n Anḍsn’z ʈts, lîc ɖoz v Eṃli in ɖ ‘Misṭriz v Ūdolfo’, bgan t ‘arenj ɖmslvz in ɖ folowñ lînz’:

Ẃn I rtrn t mî hotel,

At ten o’cloc p.m.,

Ɖ wêtrz ʈnc I am unwel;

I d nt cer fr ɖm.

Bt ẃn I’v loct mî ćembr dor,

N pt mî būts ǎtsd,

I dans ol nît upn ɖ flor.

N īvn f mî nebrz swòr,

I’d g on dansñ ol ɖ mor,

Fr I’m aqentd wɖ ɖ lw,

N in dspt v ol ɖer jw,

Ɖer protests I d’rîd.

Hd nt ɖ landlord at ɖs momnt noct at ɖ dor, it z probbl ɖt qt a loñ powm mt hv bn leid bfr ɖ rīdr. T juj fṛm hiz lc v s’prîz ẃn h faund himslf in ɖ rūm, Herr Kristensen wz struc, az Anḍsn hd bn, bî smʈñ unyźl in its aspect. Bt h md no rmarc. Anḍsn’z foṭgrafs inṭrestd him mîṭli, n formd ɖ txt v mni ōṭbạgraficl dscorsz. Nr z it qt clir hǎ ɖ convseśn cd hv bn dvrtd intu ɖ dzîrd ćanl v Numbr 13, hd nt ɖ loyr at ɖs momnt bgun t sñ, n t sñ in a manr ẃć cd līv no dǎt in enwn’z mînd ɖt h wz îɖr xidñli drunc or revñ mad. It wz a hî, ʈin vôs ɖt ɖe hŕd, n it sīmd drî, az f fṛm loñ dsys. V wrdz or tyn ɖr wz no qsćn. It wnt sêlñ p t a s’prîzñ hît, n wz carid dǎn wɖ a dsperñ mon az v a wintrwind in a holo ćimni, or an orgn huz wind felz sudnli. It wz a riyli hoṛbl sǎnd, n Anḍsn flt ɖt f h hd bn alon h mst hv fled fr refyj n ssayti t sm nebr bagman’z rūm.

Ɖ landlord sat opn-mǎɖd.

‘I d’nt unḍstand it,’ h sd at last, wîpñ hiz fōrhed. ‘It z dredfl. I hv hŕd it wns bfr, bt I md śr it wz a cat.’

‘Z h mad?’ sd Anḍsn.

‘H mst b; n ẃt a sad ʈñ! Sć a gd custmr, tù, n so s’xesfl in hiz biznis, bî ẃt I hír, n a yuñ faṃli t brñ p.’

Jst ɖen cem an impeśnt noc at ɖ dor, n ɖ nocr entrd, wɖt wêtñ t b asct. It wz ɖ loyr, in déshabillé n vri ruf-herd; n vri angri h lct.

‘I beg pardn, sr,’ h sd, ‘bt I śd b mć oblîjd f y wd cîndli dzist—’

Hir h stopt, fr it wz evidnt ɖt nɖr v ɖ prsnz bfr him wz rsponsbl fr ɖ dstrbns; n aftr a momnt’s lul it sweld fʈ agn mor wîldli ɖn bfr.

‘Bt ẃt in ɖ nem v Hevn dz it mīn?’ brouc ǎt ɖ loyr. ‘Ẃr z it? Hu z it? Am I gwñ ǎt v mî mînd?’

‘Śrli, Herr Jensen, it cmz fṛm yr rūm nxt dor? Z’nt ɖr a cat or smʈñ stuc in ɖ ćimni?’

Ɖs wz ɖ bst ɖt ocŕd t Anḍsn t se n h riylîzd its fytiḷti az h spouc; bt enʈñ wz betr ɖn t stand n lisn t ɖt hoṛbl vôs, n lc at ɖ brōd, ẃît fes v ɖ landlord, ol pspîrñ n qiṿrñ az h clućt ɖ armz v hiz ćer.

‘Imposbl,’ sd ɖ loyr, ‘imposbl. Ɖr z no ćimni. I cem hir bcz I wz cnvinst ɖ nôz wz gwñ on hir. It wz srtnli in ɖ nxt rūm t mîn.’

‘Wz ɖr no dor btwn yrz n mîn?’ sd Anḍsn īgrli.

‘No, sr,’ sd Herr Jensen, rɖr śarpli. ‘At līst, nt ɖs mornñ.’

‘Ā!’ sd Anḍsn. ‘Nr tnît?’

‘I am nt śr,’ sd ɖ loyr wɖ sm hezteśn.

Sudnli ɖ crayñ or sññ vôs in ɖ nxt rūm daid awe, n ɖ sñr wz hŕd sīmñli t laf t himslf in a crūnñ manr. Ɖ ʈri men acć̣li śivrd at ɖ sǎnd. Ɖen ɖr wz a sîḷns.

‘Cm,’ sd ɖ loyr, ‘ẃt hv y t se, Herr Kristensen? Ẃt dz ɖs mīn?’

‘Gd Hevn!’ sd Kristensen. ‘Hǎ śd I tel! I nǒ no mor ɖn y, jntlṃn. I pre I me nvr hír sć a nôz agn.’

‘So d I,’ sd Herr Jensen, n h add smʈñ undr hiz breʈ. Anḍsn ʈt it sǎndd lîc ɖ last wrdz v ɖ Sōltr, ‘omnis spiritus laudet Dominum,’ bt h cd nt b śr.

‘Bt w mst d smʈñ,’ sd Anḍsn—‘ɖ ʈri v s. Śl w g n invstget in ɖ nxt rūm?’

‘Bt ɖt z Herr Jensen’z rūm,’ weild ɖ landlord. ‘It z no ys; h hz cm fṛm ɖr himslf.’

‘I am nt so śr,’ sd Jensen. ‘I ʈnc ɖs jntlmn z rît: w mst g n si.’

Ɖ onli wepnz v dfns ɖt cd b mustrd on ɖ spot wr a stic n umbrela. Ɖ xpdiśn wnt ǎt intu ɖ pasij, nt wɖt qecñz. Ɖr wz a dedli qayt ǎtsd, bt a lît śon fṛm undr ɖ nxt dor. Anḍsn n Jensen aproćt it. Ɖ latr trnd ɖ handl, n gev a sudn vigṛs pś. No ys. Ɖ dor std fast.

‘Herr Kristensen,’ sd Jensen, ‘wl y g n feć ɖ strongist srvnt y hv in ɖ ples? W mst si ɖs ʈru.’

Ɖ landlord nodd, n hurid of, glad t b awe fṛm ɖ sīn v ax́n. Jensen n Anḍsn rmend ǎtsd lcñ at ɖ dor.

‘It z Numbr 13, y si,’ sd ɖ latr.

‘Yes; ɖr z yr dor, n ɖr z mîn,’ sd Jensen.

‘Mî rūm hz ʈri windoz in ɖ dêtîm,’ sd Anḍsn wɖ dificlti, s’presñ a nrṿs laf.

‘Bî Jorj, so hz mîn!’ sd ɖ loyr, trnñ n lcñ at Anḍsn. Hiz bac wz nǎ t ɖ dor. In ɖt momnt ɖ dor opnd, n an arm cem ǎt n clwd at hiz śoldr. It wz clad in ragid, yelǒiś linn, n ɖ bér scin, ẃr it cd b sìn, hd loñ gre her upn it.

Anḍsn wz jst in tîm t pl Jensen ǎt v its rīć wɖ a crî v dsgust n frît, ẃn ɖ dor śut agn, n a lo laf wz hŕd.

Jensen hd sìn nʈñ, bt ẃn Anḍsn huridli tld him ẃt a risc h hd run, h fél intu a gret stet v ajteśn, n sjstd ɖt ɖe śd rtîr fṛm ɖ enṭprîz n loc ɖmslvz p in wn or uɖr v ɖer rūmz.

Hvr, ẃl h wz dveḷpñ ɖs plan, ɖ landlord n tū ebl-bodid men arîvd on ɖ sīn, ol lcñ rɖr sirịs n alarmd. Jensen met ɖm wɖ a toṛnt v dscripśn n xpḷneśn, ẃć dd nt at ol tnd t incurij ɖm fr ɖ fre.

Ɖ men dropt ɖ crobarz ɖe hd bròt, n sd flatli ɖt ɖe wr nt gwñ t risc ɖer ʈrots in ɖt devl’z den. Ɖ landlord wz mizṛbli nrṿs n undisîdd, conśs ɖt f ɖ denjr wr nt fest hiz hotel wz ruind, n vri loʈ t fes it himslf. Luc̣li Anḍsn hit upn a we v raliyñ ɖ dmoṛlîzd fors.

‘Z ɖs,’ h sd, ‘ɖ Deniś curij I hv hŕd so mć v? It z’nt a Jrmn in ɖr, n f it wz, w r fîv t wn.’

Ɖ tū srvnts n Jensen wr stuñ intu ax́n bî ɖs, n md a daś at ɖ dor.

‘Stop!’ sd Anḍsn. ‘D’nt lūz yr hedz. Y ste ǎt hir wɖ ɖ lît, landlord, n wn v y tū men brec in ɖ dor, n d’nt g in ẃn it gvz we.’

Ɖ men nodd, n ɖ yungr stept fwd, rezd hiz crobar, n dlt a tṛmnḍs blo on ɖ upr panl. Ɖ rzult wz nt in ɖ līst ẃt eni v ɖm antiṣpetd. Ɖr wz no cracñ or rendñ v wŭd—onli a dul sǎnd, az f ɖ solid wōl hd bn struc. Ɖ man dropt hiz tūl wɖ a śǎt, n bgan rubñ hiz elbo. Hiz crî drù ɖer îz upn him fr a momnt; ɖen Anḍsn lct at ɖ dor agn. It wz gn; ɖ plastr wōl v ɖ pasij stérd him in ɖ fes, wɖ a cnsidṛbl gaś in it ẃr ɖ crobar hd struc it. Numbr 13 hd pást ǎt v xistns.

Fr a brīf spes ɖe std prf̣cli stl, gezñ at ɖ blanc wōl. An rli coc in ɖ yard bnʈ wz hŕd t cro; n az Anḍsn glanst in ɖ d’rex́n v ɖ sǎnd, h sw ʈru ɖ windo at ɖ end v ɖ loñ pasij ɖt ɖ īstn scî wz pelñ t ɖ dōn.

‘Phps,’ sd ɖ landlord, wɖ hezteśn, ‘y jntlṃn wd lîc anɖr rūm fr tnît—a dubl-bedd wn?’

Nɖr Jensen nr Anḍsn wz avrs t ɖ sjsćn. Ɖe flt inclînd t hunt in cuplz aftr ɖer lêt xpirịns. It wz faund cnvińnt, ẃn ć v ɖm wnt t hiz rūm t c’lect ɖ articlz h wontd fr ɖ nît, ɖt ɖ uɖr śd g wɖ him n hold ɖ candl. Ɖe notist ɖt bʈ Numbr 12 n Numbr 14 hd ʈri windoz.

* * * * *

Nxt mornñ ɖ sem parti ri’smbld in Numbr 12. Ɖ landlord wz naćṛli añśs t avôd ingejñ ǎtsd hlp, n yt it wz impeṛtiv ɖt ɖ misṭri ataćñ t ɖt part v ɖ hǎs śd b clird p. Acordñli ɖ tū srvnts hd bn indyst t tec upn ɖm ɖ fuñśn v carpntrz. Ɖ frnićr wz clird awe, n, at ɖ cost v a gd mni iritriṿbli damijd plancs, ɖt porśn v ɖ flor wz tecn p ẃć le nirist t Numbr 14.

Y wl naćṛli s’poz ɖt a scelitn—se ɖt v Mag. Nicolas Francken—wz dscuvrd. Ɖt wz nt so. Ẃt ɖe dd fînd layñ btwn ɖ bīmz ẃć s’portd ɖ florñ wz a smōl copr box. In it wz a nītli-foldd veḷm dokmnt, wɖ abt twenti lînz v raitñ. Bʈ Anḍsn n Jensen (hu pruvd t b smʈñ v a paliogṛfr) wr mć xîtd bî ɖs dscuṿri, ẃć promist t aford ɖ ci t ɖz xtrordnri fnomina.

* * * * *

I pzes a copi v an astṛlojicl wrc ẃć I hv nvr réd. It hz, bî we v frunṭspìs, a wŭdcut bî Hanz Sebald Beham, reprizntñ a numbr v sejz sītd rnd a tebl. Ɖs dītel me inebl coṇsŕz t îdnṭfî ɖ bc. I canot mslf rec̣lect its tîtl, n it z nt at ɖs momnt wɖn rīć; bt ɖ flîlīvz v it r cuvrd wɖ raitñ, n, jrñ ɖ ten yirz in ẃć I hv ǒnd ɖ volym, I hv nt bn ebl t dtrmin ẃć we p ɖs raitñ òt t b réd, mć les in ẃt lanḡj it z. Nt dsimilr wz ɖ pziśn v Anḍsn n Jensen aftr ɖ pṛtractd xaṃneśn t ẃć ɖe sbmitd ɖ dokmnt in ɖ copr box.

Aftr tū dez’ contmpleśn v it, Jensen, hu wz ɖ boldr spirit v ɖ tū, haẓdd ɖ cnjcćr ɖt ɖ lanḡj wz îɖr Latin or Old Deniś.

Anḍsn vnćrd upn no s’mîzz, n wz vri wilñ t srendr ɖ box n ɖ parćmnt t ɖ Historicl Ssayti v Vîborg t b plest in ɖer ḿziym.

I hd ɖ hol stori fṛm him a fy munʈs lêtr, az w sat in a wŭd nir Upsala, aftr a vizit t ɖ lîbrri ɖr, ẃr w—or, rɖr, I—hd laft ovr ɖ contract bî ẃć Daniel Salthenius (in lêtr lîf Pṛfesr v Hībru at Königsberg) sold himslf t Setn. Anḍsn wz nt riyli aḿzd.

‘Yuñ idịt!’ h sd, mīnñ Salthenius, hu wz onli an unḍgrajụt ẃn h cmitd ɖt indiscreśn, ‘hǎ dd h nǒ ẃt cumṗni h wz cortñ?’

N ẃn I sjstd ɖ yźl cnsiḍreśnz h onli gruntd. Ɖt sem afṭnun h tld m ẃt y hv réd; bt h rfyzd t drw eni infṛnsz fṛm it, n t asnt t eni ɖt I drù fr him.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE ASH TREE by M R James

Ɖ AŚTRĪ

M R JEMZ

Evrwn hu hz travld ovr Īstn Ñgḷnd nz ɖ smōlr cuntrihǎzz wɖ ẃć it z studd—ɖ rɖr danc litl bildñz, yẓ́li in ɖ Itałn stîl, srǎndd wɖ parcs v sm eti t a hundṛd ecrz. Fr m ɖe hv olwz hd a vri stroñ atrax́n, wɖ ɖ gre pelñ v split oc, ɖ nobl triz, ɖ mírz wɖ ɖer rìdbedz, n ɖ lîn v distnt wŭdz. Ɖen, I lîc ɖ pilrd portico—phps stuc on t a red-bric Qīn Án hǎs ẃć hz bn fest wɖ stuco t brñ it intu lîn wɖ ɖ ‘Grìśn’ test v ɖ end v ɖ etīnʈ snćri; ɖ hōl insd, gwñ p t ɖ rūf, ẃć hōl òt olwz t b pṛvîdd wɖ a gaḷri n a smōl orgn. I lîc ɖ lîbrri, tù, ẃr y me fînd enʈñ fṛm a Sōltr v ɖ ʈrtīnʈ snćri t a Śecspir qorto. I lîc ɖ picćrz, v cors; n phps most v ol I lîc fansiyñ ẃt lîf in sć a hǎs wz ẃn it wz frst bilt, n in ɖ pîpñ tîmz v landlordz’ pṛspeṛti, n nt līst nǎ, ẃn, f muni z nt so plentifl, test z mor vẹrid n lîf qt az inṭrestñ. I wś t hv wn v ɖz hǎzz, n inuf muni t cīp it tgɖr n entten mî frendz in it moḍstli.

Bt ɖs z a dgreśn. I hv t tel y v a krịs siriz v ivnts ẃć hapnd in sć a hǎs az I hv traid t dscrîb. It z Castrñm Hōl in Suf̣c. I ʈnc a gd dīl hz bn dn t ɖ bildñ sins ɖ pirịd v mî stori, bt ɖ isnśl fīćrz I hv scećt r stl ɖr—Itałn portico, sqer bloc v ẃît hǎs, oldr insd ɖn ǎt, parc wɖ frinj v wŭdz, n mír. Ɖ wn fīćr ɖt marct ǎt ɖ hǎs fṛm a scor v uɖrz z gn. Az y lct at it fṛm ɖ parc, y sw on ɖ rît a gret old aśtrī growñ wɖn haf a duzn yardz v ɖ wōl, n olmst or qt tućñ ɖ bildñ wɖ its branćz. I s’poz it hd std ɖr evr sins Castrñm sīst t b a forṭfaid ples, n sins ɖ mot wz fild in n ɖ Iliẓbīʈn dwelñhǎs bilt. At eni ret, it hd wel-nî atend its fl dmnśnz in ɖ yir 1690.

In ɖt yir ɖ district in ẃć ɖ Hōl z sićuetd wz ɖ sīn v a numbr v wićtrîlz. It wl b loñ, I ʈnc, bfr w arîv at a just esṭmet v ɖ amǎnt v solid rīzn—f ɖr wz eni—ẃć le at ɖ rūt v ɖ yṇvrsl fir v wićz in old tîmz. Ẃɖr ɖ prsnz akzd v ɖs ofns riyli dd imajin ɖt ɖe wr pzest v unyźl pǎr v eni cnd; or ẃɖr ɖe hd ɖ wil at līst, f nt ɖ pǎr, v dwñ misćif t ɖer nebrz; or ẃɖr ol ɖ cnfeśnz, v ẃć ɖr r so mni, wr xtortd bî ɖ cruwlti v ɖ wićfîndrz—ɖz r qsćnz ẃć r nt, I fansi, yt solvd. N ɖ preznt naṛtiv gvz m pōz. I canot oltgɖr swīp it awe az mir invnśn. Ɖ rīdr mst juj fr himslf.

Castrñm cntribytd a victim t ɖ auto-da-fé. Msz Muɖ̇sǒl wz hr nem, n ś difrd fṛm ɖ ordnri run v vilijwićz onli in biyñ rɖr betr of n in a mor influenśl pziśn. Ef̣ts wr md t sev hr bî sevṛl repytbl farmrz v ɖ pariś. Ɖe dd ɖer bst t tsṭfî t hr caṛctr, n śoud cnsidṛbl añzayti az t ɖ vrdict v ɖ jri.

Bt ẃt sīmz t hv bn fetl t ɖ wmn wz ɖ evidns v ɖ ɖen pṛpraytr v Castrñm Hōl—Sr Máʈy Fél. H dpozd t hvñ woćt hr on ʈri difṛnt oceźnz fṛm hiz windo, at ɖ fl v ɖ mūn, gaɖ̇rñ sprigz ‘fṛm ɖ aśtrī nir mî hǎs’. Ś hd clîmd intu ɖ branćz, clad onli in hr śift, n wz cutñ of smōl twigz wɖ a pkłrli crvd nîf, n az ś dd so ś sīmd t b tōcñ t hrslf. On ć oceźn Sr Máʈy hd dn hiz bst t capćr ɖ wmn, bt ś hd olwz tecn alarm at sm axdntl nôz h hd md, n ol h cd si ẃn h got dǎn t ɖ gardn wz a hér runñ acrs ɖ paʈ in ɖ d’rex́n v ɖ vilij.

On ɖ ʈrd nît h hd bn at ɖ penz t folo at hiz bst spīd, n hd gn stret t Msz Muɖ̇sǒl’z hǎs; bt h hd hd t wêt a qortr v an aur baṭrñ at hr dor, n ɖen ś hd cm ǎt vri cros, n apaṛntli vri slīpi, az f jst ǎt v bed; n h hd no gd xpḷneśn t ofr v hiz vizit.

Mnli on ɖs evidns, ɖo ɖr wz mć mor v a les strîcñ n unyźl cnd fṛm uɖr p’riṣ́nrz, Msz Muɖ̇sǒl wz faund gilti n cndemd t dî. Ś wz hañd a wīc aftr ɖ trîl, wɖ fîv or six mor unhapi crīćrz, at Beri St Edṃndz.

Sr Máʈy Fél, ɖen Depytiśerif, wz preznt at ɖ x’kśn. It wz a damp, drizli Marć mornñ ẃn ɖ cart md its we p ɖ ruf grashil ǎtsd Norʈget, ẃr ɖ galoz std. Ɖ uɖr victimz wr aṗʈetic or brocn dǎn wɖ miẓri; bt Msz Muɖ̇sǒl wz, az in lîf so in deʈ, v a vri difṛnt tmpr. Hr ‘pôzṇs Rej’, az a rportr v ɖ tîm pts it, ‘dd so wrc upn ɖ Bîstandrz—ye, īvn upn ɖ Hañmn—ɖt it wz constntli afrmd v ol ɖt sw hr ɖt ś prizntd ɖ livñ Aspect v a mad Divl. Yt ś ofrd no Rzistns t ɖ Ofisrz v ɖ Lw; onli ś lct upn ɖoz ɖt leid Handz upn hr wɖ so dîrfl n veṇṃs an Aspect ɖt—az wn v ɖm aftwdz aśurd m—ɖ mir Ʈt v it préid inẉdli upn hiz Mînd fr six Munʈs aftr.’

Hvr, ol ɖt ś z rportd t hv sd wr ɖ sīmñli mīnñlis wrdz: ‘Ɖr wl b gsts at ɖ Hōl.’ Ẃć ś rpitd mor ɖn wns in an unḍton.

Sr Máʈy Fél wz nt unimprest bî ɖ bẹrñ v ɖ wmn. H hd sm tōc upn ɖ matr wɖ ɖ Vicr v hiz pariś, wɖ hūm h travld hom aftr ɖ asîzbiznis wz ovr. Hiz evidns at ɖ trîl hd nt bn vri wilñli gvn; h wz nt speṣ́li infctd wɖ ɖ wić-fîndñ meńa, bt h dclerd, ɖen n aftwdz, ɖt h cd nt gv eni uɖr acǎnt v ɖ matr ɖn ɖt h hd gvn, n ɖt h cd nt poṣbli hv bn mstecn az t ẃt h sw. Ɖ hol trnzax́n hd bn rpugnnt t him, fr h wz a man hu lîct t b on pleznt trmz wɖ ɖoz abt him; bt h sw a dyti t b dn in ɖs biznis, n h hd dn it. Ɖt sīmz t hv bn ɖ jist v hiz sntimnts, n ɖ Vicr aplōdd it, az eni rīzṇbl man mst hv dn.

A fy wīcs aftr, ẃn ɖ mūn v Me wz at ɖ fl, Vicr n Sqîr met agn in ɖ parc, n wōct t ɖ Hōl tgɖr. Ledi Fél wz wɖ hr muɖr, hu wz denjṛsli il, n Sr Máʈy wz alon at hom; so ɖ Vicr, Mr Crǒm, wz īẓli pswedd t tec a lêt supr at ɖ Hōl.

Sr Máʈy wz nt vri gd cumṗni ɖs īvnñ. Ɖ tōc ran ćīfli on faṃli n pariś matrz, n, az luc wd hv it, Sr Máʈy md a meṃrandm in raitñ v srtn wśz or intnśnz v hiz rgardñ hiz istets, ẃć aftwdz pruvd xidñli ysfl.

Ẃn Mr Crǒm ʈt v startñ fr hom, abt haf past nîn o’cloc, Sr Máʈy n h tc a priliminri trn on ɖ gravld wōc at ɖ bac v ɖ hǎs. Ɖ onli insidnt ɖt struc Mr Crǒm wz ɖs: ɖe wr in sît v ɖ aśtrī ẃć I dscrîbd az growñ nir ɖ windoz v ɖ bildñ, ẃn Sr Máʈy stopt n sd:

‘Ẃt z ɖt ɖt runz p n dǎn ɖ stem v ɖ aś? It z nvr a sqiṛl? Ɖe wl ol b in ɖer nsts bî nǎ.’

Ɖ Vicr lct n sw ɖ muvñ crīćr, bt h cd mc nʈñ v its culr in ɖ mūnlît. Ɖ śarp ǎtlîn, hvr, sìn fr an instnt, wz imprintd on hiz bren, n h cd hv sworn, h sd, ɖo it sǎndd fūliś, ɖt, sqiṛl or nt, it hd mor ɖn for legz.

Stl, nt mć wz t b md v ɖ momntri viźn, n ɖ tū men partd. Ɖe me hv met sins ɖen, bt it wz nt fr a scor v yirz.

Nxt de Sr Máʈy Fél wz nt dǎnsterz at six in ɖ mornñ, az wz hiz custm, nr at sevn, nr yt at et. Hiṛpon ɖ srvnts wnt n noct at hiz ćembrdor. I nīd nt pṛloñ ɖ dscripśn v ɖer añśs liṣnñz n rnyd baṭrñz on ɖ panlz. Ɖ dor wz opnd at last fṛm ɖ ǎtsd, n ɖe faund ɖer mastr ded n blac. So mć y hv gest. Ɖt ɖr wr eni marcs v vayḷns dd nt at ɖ momnt apir; bt ɖ windo wz opn.

Wn v ɖ men wnt t feć ɖ parsn, n ɖen bî hiz d’rex́nz roud on t gv notis t ɖ coṛnr. Mr Crǒm himslf wnt az qc az h mt t ɖ Hōl, n wz śoun t ɖ rūm ẃr ɖ ded man le. H hz left sm nots amñ hiz peprz ẃć śo hǎ jenyin a rspct n soro wz flt fr Sr Máʈy, n ɖr z olso ɖs pasij, ẃć I trnscrîb fr ɖ sec v ɖ lît it ʈroz upn ɖ cors v ivnts, n olso upn ɖ comn b’lifs v ɖ tîm:

‘Ɖr wz nt eni ɖ līst Tres v an Entṛns hvñ bn forst t ɖ Ćembr: bt ɖ Cesmnt std opn, az mî pur Frend wd olwz hv it in ɖs Sīzn. H hd hiz Īvnñdrinc v smōl El in a silvr vesl v abt a pîntmeźr, n tnît hd nt drunc it ǎt. Ɖs Drinc wz xamind bî ɖ Fziśn fṛm Beri, a Mr Hojcinz, hu cd nt, hvr, az h aftwdz declerd upn hiz Oʈ, bfr ɖ Coṛnr’z qst, dscuvr ɖt eni matr v a veṇṃs cnd wz preznt in it. Fr, az wz naćṛl, in ɖ gret Swelñ n Blacnis v ɖ Corps, ɖr wz tōc md amñ ɖ Nebrz v Pôzn. Ɖ Bodi wz vri mć Dsordrd az it leid in ɖ Bed, biyñ twistd aftr so xtrim a sort az gev tù probbl Cnjcćr ɖt mî wrɖi Frend n Petṛn hd expîrd in gret Pen n Aġni. N ẃt z az yt unixplend, n t mslf ɖ Arğmnt v sm Horid n Artfl Dzîn in ɖ Prṗtretrz v ɖs Barbṛs Mrɖr, wz ɖs, ɖt ɖ Wimin ẃć wr intrustd wɖ ɖ leyñ-ǎt v ɖ Corps n wośñ it, biyñ bʈ sad Prsnz n vri wel Rspctd in ɖer Mōrnfl Pṛfeśn, cem t m in a gret Pen n Dstres bʈ v Mînd n Bodi, seyñ, ẃt wz indd cnfrmd upn ɖ frst Vy, ɖt ɖe hd no snr tućt ɖ Brest v ɖ Corps wɖ ɖer necid Handz ɖn ɖe wr snṣbl v a mor ɖn ordnri vayḷnt Smart n Ecñ in ɖer Pāmz, ẃć, wɖ ɖer hol Fōrarmz, in no loñ tîm sweld so imodṛtli, ɖ Pen stl cntinywñ, ɖt, az aftwdz pruvd, jrñ mni wīcs ɖe wr forst t le bî ɖ x’sîz v ɖer Cōlñ; n yt no marc sìn on ɖ Scin.

‘Upn hírñ ɖs, I snt fr ɖ Fziśn, hu wz stl in ɖ Hǎs, n w md az cerfl a Prūf az w wr ebl bî ɖ Hlp v a smōl Magṇfayñ Lénz v Cristl v ɖ cndiśn v ɖ Scin on ɖs Part v ɖ Bodi: bt cd nt dtct wɖ ɖ Instṛmnt w hd eni Matr v Importns bynd a cupl v smōl Puñćrz or Prics, ẃć w ɖen cncludd wr ɖ Spots bî ẃć ɖ Pôzn mt b intṛdyst, rmemḅrñ ɖt Rñ v Pǒp Borgia, wɖ uɖr noun Spesimnz v ɖ Horid Art v ɖ Itałn Pôznrz v ɖ last ej.

‘So mć z t b sd v ɖ Simtmz sìn on ɖ Corps. Az t ẃt I am t ad, it z mirli mî ǒn Xperimnt, n t b left t Psteṛti t juj ẃɖr ɖr b enʈñ v Valy ɖr-in. Ɖr wz on ɖ Tebl bî ɖ Bedsîd a Bîbl v ɖ smōl sîz, in ẃć mî Frend—puñćl az in Matrz v les Momnt, so in ɖs mor weiti wn—yst nîtli, n upn hiz Frst Rîzñ, t rīd a sét Porśn. N I tecñ it p—nt wɖt a Tir dyli peid t him ẃć fṛm ɖ Studi v ɖs purr Admbreśn wz nǎ pást t ɖ contmpleśn v its gret Orijinl—it cem intu mî Ʈts, az at sć momnts v Hlplisnis w r pron t cać at eni ɖ līst Glimr ɖt mcs promis v Lît, t mc trîl v ɖt old n bî mni acǎntd Sūṗstiśs Practis v drw̃ ɖ Sortes; v ẃć a Prinsipl Instns, in ɖ ces v hiz lêt Secrid Maɉsti ɖ Blesid Martr Cñ Ćarlz n mî Lord Fōcḷnd, wz nǎ mć tōct v. I mst nīdz admit ɖt bî mî Trîl nt mć Asistns wz afordd m: yt, az ɖ Cōz n Oṛjin v ɖz Dredfl Ivnts me hiraftr b srćt ǎt, I set dǎn ɖ Rzults, in ɖ ces it me b faund ɖt ɖe pôntd ɖ tru Qortr v ɖ Misćif t a qcr Intelijns ɖn mî ǒn.

‘I md, ɖen, ʈri trîlz, oṗnñ ɖ Bc n plesñ mî Fngr upn srtn Wrdz: ẃć gev in ɖ frst ɖz wrdz, fṛm Lūc xiii. 7, Cut it dǎn; in ɖ secnd, Îzaia xiii. 20, It śl nvr b inhaḅtd; n upn ɖ ʈrd Xperimnt, Job xxxiv. 30, Hr yuñ wnz olso suc p blud.’

Ɖs z ol ɖt nīd b qotd fṛm Mr Crǒm’z peprz. Sr Máʈy Fél wz dyli cofind n leid intu ɖ rʈ, n hiz fynṛl srmn, prīćt bî Mr Crǒm on ɖ folowñ Súnde, hz bn printd undr ɖ tîtl v ‘Ɖ Unsrćbl We; or, Ñgḷnd’z Denjr n ɖ Mliśs Dīlñz v Anticrîst’, it biyñ ɖ Vicr’z vy, az wel az ɖt most comnli hld in ɖ nebrhd, ɖt ɖ Sqîr wz ɖ victim v a rīcrudesns v ɖ Pǒpiś Plot.

Hiz sun, Sr Máʈy ɖ secnd, s’xidd t ɖ tîtl n istets. N so endz ɖ frst act v ɖ Castrñm traɉdi. It z t b mnśnd, ɖo ɖ fact z nt s’prîzñ, ɖt ɖ ny Baṛnét dd nt okpî ɖ rūm in ẃć hiz faɖr hd daid. Nr, indd, wz it slept in bî enwn bt an oceźnl vizitr jrñ ɖ hol v hiz okpeśn. H daid in 1735, n I d nt fînd ɖt enʈñ ptiklr marct hiz rên, sev a krịsli constnt mortaḷti amñ hiz catl n lîvstoc in jenṛl, ẃć śoud a tndnsi t incris slîtli az tîm wnt on.

Ɖoz hu r inṭrestd in ɖ dītelz wl fînd a sttisticl acǎnt in a letr t ɖ Jntlmn’z Maġzīn v 1772, ẃć drwz ɖ facts fṛm ɖ Baṛnét’s ǒn peprz. H pt an end t it at last bî a vri simpl xpīdịnt, ɖt v śutñ p ol hiz bīsts in śedz at nît, n cīpñ no śīp in hiz parc. Fr h hd notist ɖt nʈñ wz evr atact ɖt spent ɖ nît indorz. Aftr ɖt ɖ dsordr cnfînd itslf t wîld brdz, n bīsts v ćes. Bt az w hv no gd acǎnt v ɖ simtmz, n az ol-nît woćñ wz qt unpṛductiv v eni clu, I d nt dwel on ẃt ɖ Suf̣c farmrz cōld ɖ ‘Castrñm sicnis.’

Ɖ secnd Sr Máʈy daid in 1735, az I sd, n wz dyli s’xidd bî hiz sun, Sr Rićd. It wz in hiz tîm ɖt ɖ gret faṃli py wz bilt ǎt on ɖ norʈ sîd v ɖ pariśćrć. So larj wr ɖ Sqîr’z îdīaz ɖt sevṛl v ɖ grevz on ɖt unhaloud sîd v ɖ bildñ hd t b dstrbd t saṭsfî hiz rqîrmnts. Amñ ɖm wz ɖt v Msz Muɖ̇sǒl, ɖ pziśn v ẃć wz akṛtli noun, ʈancs t a not on a plan v ɖ ćrć n yard, bʈ md bî Mr Crǒm.

A srtn amǎnt v inṭrest wz xîtd in ɖ vilij ẃn it wz noun ɖt ɖ feṃs wić, hu wz stl rmembrd bî a fy, wz t b xymd. N ɖ fīlñ v s’prîz, n indd dsqayt, wz vri stroñ ẃn it wz faund ɖt, ɖo hr cofin wz ferli sǎnd n unbrocn, ɖr wz no tres ẃtvr insd it v bodi, bonz, or dust. Indd, it z a krịs fnominn, fr at ɖ tîm v hr beriyñ no sć ʈñz wr dremt v az reẓrex́nmen, n it z dificlt t cnsiv eni raṣ́nl motiv fr stìlñ a bodi uɖ̇wz ɖn fr ɖ ysz v ɖ dsctñrūm.

Ɖ insidnt rvîvd fr a tîm ol ɖ storiz v wićtrîlz n v ɖ xplôts v ɖ wićz, dormnt fr forti yirz, n Sr Rićd’z ordrz ɖt ɖ cofin śd b brnt wr ʈt bî a gd mni t b rɖr fūlhardi, ɖo ɖe wr dyli carid ǎt.

Sr Rićd wz a pstiḷnt iṇvetr, it z srtn. Bfr hiz tîm ɖ Hōl hd bn a fîn bloc v ɖ melǒist red bric; bt Sr Rićd hd travld in Iṭli n bcm infctd wɖ ɖ Itałn test, n, hvñ mor muni ɖn hiz prīdisesrz, h dtrmind t līv an Itałn palis ẃr h hd faund an Ñgliś hǎs. So stuco n aślr masct ɖ bric; sm indifṛnt Romn marblz wr plantd abt in ɖ entṛnshōl n gardnz; a rīpṛdux́n v ɖ Sibl’z tmpl at Tiṿli wz irectd on ɖ oṗzit banc v ɖ mír; n Castrñm tc on an intîrli ny, n, I mst se, a les ingejñ, aspect. Bt it wz mć admîrd, n srvd az a modl t a gd mni v ɖ neḅrñ jntri in afṭyirz.

* * * * *

Wn mornñ (it wz in 1754) Sr Rićd wouc aftr a nît v dscumf̣t. It hd bn windi, n hiz ćimni hd smoct psistntli, n yt it wz so cold ɖt h mst cīp p a fîr. Olso smʈñ hd so ratld abt ɖ windo ɖt no man cd gt a momnt’s pīs. Frɖr, ɖr wz ɖ prospect v sevṛl gsts v pziśn arîvñ in ɖ cors v ɖ de, hu wd xpct sport v sm cnd, n ɖ inrodz v ɖ dstmpr (ẃć cntinyd amñ hiz gem) hd bn lêtli so sirịs ɖt h wz afreid fr hiz repyteśn az a gemprizrvr. Bt ẃt riyli tućt him most nirli wz ɖ uɖr matr v hiz slīplis nît. H cd srtnli nt slīp in ɖt rūm agn.

Ɖt wz ɖ ćīf subjict v hiz medteśnz at brecfst, n aftr it h bgan a sisṭmatic xaṃneśn v ɖ rūmz t si ẃć wd sūt hiz nośnz bst. It wz loñ bfr h faund wn. Ɖs hd a windo wɖ an īstn aspect n ɖt wɖ a norɖn; ɖs dor ɖ srvnts wd b olwz pasñ, n h dd nt lîc ɖ bedsted in ɖt. No, h mst hv a rūm wɖ a wstn lc-ǎt, so ɖt ɖ sún cd nt wec him rli, n it mst b ǎt v ɖ we v ɖ biznis v ɖ hǎs. Ɖ hǎscīpr wz at ɖ end v hr rzorsz.

‘Wel, Sr Rićd,’ ś sd, ‘y nǒ ɖt ɖr z bt ɖ wn rūm lîc ɖt in ɖ hǎs.’

‘Ẃć me ɖt b?’ sd Sr Rićd.

‘N ɖt z Sr Máʈy’z—ɖ Wst Ćembr.’

‘Wel, pt m in ɖr, fr ɖr I’l lî tnît,’ sd hr mastr. ‘Ẃć we z it? Hir, t b śr’; n h hurid of.

‘Ǒ, Sr Rićd, bt nwn hz slept ɖr ɖz forti yirz. Ɖ er hz hardli bn ćenjd sins Sr Máʈy daid ɖr.’

Ɖus ś spouc, n rusld aftr him.

‘Cm, opn ɖ dor, Msz Ćiḍc. I’l si ɖ ćembr, at līst.’

So it wz opnd, n, indd, ɖ smel wz vri clos n rʈi. Sr Rićd crost t ɖ windo, n, impeśntli, az wz hiz wǒnt, ʈrù ɖ śutrz bac, n fluñ opn ɖ cesmnt. Fr ɖs end v ɖ hǎs wz wn ẃć ɖ olṭreśnz hd bérli tućt, groun p az it wz wɖ ɖ gret aśtrī, n biyñ uɖ̇wz cnsild fṛm vy.

‘Er it, Msz Ćiḍc, ol tde, n muv mî bedfrnićr in in ɖ afṭnun. Pt ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor in mî old rūm.’

‘Pre, Sr Rićd,’ sd a ny vôs, brecñ in on ɖs spīć, ‘mt I hv ɖ fevr v a momnt’s inṭvy?’

Sr Rićd trnd rnd n sw a man in blac in ɖ dorwe, hu baud.

‘I mst asc yr induljns fr ɖs intruźn, Sr Rićd. Y wl, phps, hardli rmembr m. Mî nem z Wiłm Crǒm, n mî granfaɖr wz Vicr in yr granfaɖr’z tîm.’

‘Wel, sr,’ sd Sr Rićd, ‘ɖ nem v Crǒm z olwz a pasport t Castrñm. I am glad t rny a frendśp v tū jeṇreśnz’ standñ. In ẃt cn I srv y? fr yr aur v cōlñ—n, f I d nt mstec y, yr bẹrñ—śoz y t b in sm hest.’

‘Ɖt z no mor ɖn ɖ truʈ, sr. I am rîdñ fṛm Norij t Beri St Edṃndz wɖ ẃt hest I cn mc, n I hv cōld in on mî we t līv wɖ y sm peprz ẃć w hv bt jst cm upn in lcñ ovr ẃt mî granfaɖr left at hiz deʈ. It z ʈt y me fînd sm matrz v faṃli inṭrest in ɖm.’

‘Y r mîti oblîjñ, Mr Crǒm, n, f y wl b so gd az t folo m t ɖ parlr, n drinc a glas v wîn, w wl tec a frst lc at ɖz sem peprz tgɖr. N y, Msz Ćiḍc, az I sd, b abt e’rñ ɖs ćembr… Yes, it z hir mî granfaɖr daid… Yes, ɖ tri, phps, dz mc ɖ ples a litl dampiś… No; I d nt wś t lisn t eni mor. Mc no dificltiz, I beg. Y hv yr ordrz—g. Wl y folo m, sr?’

Ɖe wnt t ɖ studi. Ɖ pacit ẃć yuñ Mr Crǒm hd bròt—h wz ɖen jst bcm a Felo v Cler Hōl in Cembrij, I me se, n subsiqntli bròt ǎt a rspctbl idiśn v Polieṇs—cntend amñ uɖr ʈñz ɖ nots ẃć ɖ old Vicr hd md upn ɖ oceźn v Sr Máʈy Fél’z deʈ. N fr ɖ frst tîm Sr Rićd wz cnfruntd wɖ ɖ eṇgmaticl Sortes Biblicae ẃć y hv hŕd. Ɖe aḿzd him a gd dīl.

‘Wel,’ h sd, ‘mî granfaɖr’z Bîbl gev wn prūdnt pìs v advîs—Cut it dǎn. F ɖt standz fr ɖ aśtrī, h me rest aśurd I śl nt nglect it. Sć a nst v ctarz n êgz wz nvr sìn.’

Ɖ parlr cntend ɖ faṃli bcs, ẃć, pndñ ɖ arîvl v a c’lex́n ẃć Sr Rićd hd md in Iṭli, n ɖ bildñ v a propr rūm t rsiv ɖm, wr nt mni in numbr.

Sr Rićd lct p fṛm ɖ pepr t ɖ bc̦es.

‘I wundr,’ sz h, ‘ẃɖr ɖ old prófit z ɖr yt? I fansi I si him.’

Crosñ ɖ rūm, h tc ǎt a dumpi Bîbl, ẃć, śr inuf, bòr on ɖ flîlīf ɖ inscripśn: ‘T Máʈy Fél, fṛm hiz Luvñ Godmuɖr, Án Ōlḍs, 2nd Sptmbr 1659.’

‘It wd b no bad plan t tst him agn, Mr Crǒm. I wl wejr w gt a cupl v nemz in ɖ Croniclz. H’m! ẃt hv w hir? “Ɖǎ ślt sīc m in ɖ mornñ, n I śl nt b.” Wel, wel! Yr granfaɖr wd hv md a fîn omn v ɖt, hé? No mor prófits fr m! Ɖe r ol in a têl. N nǎ, Mr Crǒm, I am infiṇtli oblîjd t y fr yr pacit. Y wl, I fir, b impeśnt t gt on. Pre alǎ m—anɖr glas.’

So wɖ ofrz v hosṗtaḷti, ẃć wr jenyinli mnt (fr Sr Rićd ʈt wel v ɖ yuñ man’z adres n manr), ɖe partd.

In ɖ afṭnun cem ɖ gsts—ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor, Ledi Mẹri Hrvi, Sr Wiłm Cntfīld, ets. Dinr at fîv, wîn, cardz, supr, n dsprsl t bed.

Nxt mornñ Sr Rićd z disinclînd t tec hiz gun wɖ ɖ rest. H tōcs wɖ ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor. Ɖs preḷt, unlîc a gd mni v ɖ Îriś Biṣ́ps v hiz de, hd viẓtd hiz si, n, indd, rzîdd ɖr, fr sm cnsidṛbl tîm. Ɖs mornñ, az ɖ tū wr wōcñ alñ ɖ teris n tōcñ ovr ɖ olṭreśnz n impruvmnts in ɖ hǎs, ɖ Biṣ́p sd, pôntñ t ɖ windo v ɖ Wst Rūm:

‘Y cd nvr gt wn v mî Îriś floc t okpî ɖt rūm, Sr Rićd.’

‘Ẃ z ɖt, mî lord? It z, in fact, mî ǒn.’

‘Wel, ǎr Îriś pezntri wl olwz hv it ɖt it brñz ɖ wrst v luc t slīp nir an aśtrī, n y hv a fîn groʈ v aś nt tū yardz fṛm yr ćembrwindo. Phps,’ ɖ Biṣ́p wnt on, wɖ a smîl, ‘it hz gvn y a tuć v its qoḷti olrdi, fr y d nt sīm, f I me se it, so mć ɖ freśr fr yr nît’s rest az yr frendz wd lîc t si y.’

‘Ɖt, or smʈñ els, it z tru, cost m mî slīp fṛm twelv t for, mî lord. Bt ɖ tri z t cm dǎn tmoro, so I śl nt hír mć mor fṛm it.’

‘I aplōd yr dtrṃneśn. It cn hardli b holsm t hv ɖ er y briɖ strend, az it wr, ʈru ol ɖt līfij.’

‘Yr lordśp z rît ɖr, I ʈnc. Bt I hd nt mî windo opn last nît. It wz rɖr ɖ nôz ɖt wnt on—no dǎt fṛm ɖ twigz swīpñ ɖ glas—ɖt cept m opn-aid.’

‘I ʈnc ɖt cn hardli b, Sr Rićd. Hir—y si it fṛm ɖs pônt. Nn v ɖz nirist branćz īvn cn tuć yr cesmnt unls ɖr wr a gel, n ɖr wz nn v ɖt last nît. Ɖe mis ɖ peinz bî a ft.’

‘No, sr, tru. Ẃt, ɖen, wl it b, I wundr, ɖt scraćt n rusld so—ai, n cuvrd ɖ dust on mî sil wɖ lînz n marcs?’

At last ɖe agrìd ɖt ɖ rats mst hv cm p ʈru ɖ îvi. Ɖt wz ɖ Biṣ́p’s îdīa, n Sr Rićd jumt at it.

So ɖ de pást qaytli, n nît cem, n ɖ parti dsprst t ɖer rūmz, n wśt Sr Rićd a betr nît.

N nǎ w r in hiz bedrūm, wɖ ɖ lît ǎt n ɖ Sqîr in bed. Ɖ rūm z ovr ɖ cićn, n ɖ nît ǎtsd stil n worm, so ɖ windo standz opn.

Ɖr z vri litl lît abt ɖ bedsted, bt ɖr z a strenj muvmnt ɖr; it sīmz az f Sr Rićd wr muvñ hiz hed rapidli t n fro wɖ onli ɖ slîtist poṣbl sǎnd. N nǎ y wd ges, so dsptiv z ɖ haf-darcnis, ɖt h hd sevṛl hedz, rǎnd n brǎniś, ẃć muv bac n fwd, īvn az lo az hiz ćst. It z a hoṛbl iluźn. Z it nʈñ mor? Ɖr! smʈñ drops of ɖ bed wɖ a soft plump, lîc a citn, n z ǎt v ɖ windo in a flaś; anɖr—for—n aftr ɖt ɖr z qayt agn.

Ɖǎ śl sīc m in ɖ mornñ, n I śl nt b.

Az wɖ Sr Máʈy, so wɖ Sr Rićd—ded n blac in hiz bed!

A pel n sîḷnt parti v gsts n srvnts gaɖrd undr ɖ windo ẃn ɖ nyz wz noun. Itałn pôẓnrz, Pǒpiś emiṣriz, infctd er—ol ɖz n mor gesz wr haẓdd, n ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor lct at ɖ tri, in ɖ forc v huz lowr bauz a ẃît tomcat wz crǎćñ, lcñ dǎn ɖ holo ẃć yirz hd nwd in ɖ trunc. It wz woćñ smʈñ insd ɖ tri wɖ gret inṭrest.

Sudnli it got p n crend ovr ɖ houl. Ɖen a bit v ɖ éj on ẃć it std gev we, n it wnt sliɖ̇rñ in. Evrwn lct p at ɖ nôz v ɖ fōl.

It z noun t most v s ɖt a cat cn crî; bt fy v s hv hŕd, I hop, sć a yel az cem ǎt v ɖ trunc v ɖ gret aś. Tū or ʈri scrīmz ɖr wr—ɖ witṇsz r nt śr ẃć—n ɖen a slît n mufld nôz v sm cmośn or struġlñ wz ol ɖt cem. Bt Ledi Mẹri Hrvi fentd ǎtrît, n ɖ hǎscīpr stopt hr irz n fled tl ś fél on ɖ teris.

Ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor n Sr Wiłm Cntfīld steid. Yt īvn ɖe wr dōntd, ɖo it wz onli at ɖ crî v a cat; n Sr Wiłm swoloud wns or twîs bfr h cd se:

‘Ɖr z smʈñ mor ɖn w nǒ v in ɖt tri, mî lord. I am fr an instnt srć.’

N ɖs wz agrìd upn. A ladr wz bròt, n wn v ɖ gardnrz wnt p, n, lcñ dǎn ɖ holo, cd dtct nʈñ bt a fy dim indceśnz v smʈñ muvñ. Ɖe got a lantn, n let it dǎn bî a rop.

‘W mst gt at ɖ botm v ɖs. Mî lîf upn it, mî lord, bt ɖ sīcrit v ɖz teṛbl deʈs z ɖr.’

P wnt ɖ gardnr agn wɖ ɖ lantn, n let it dǎn ɖ houl cōśsli. Ɖe sw ɖ yelo lît upn hiz fes az h bnt ovr, n sw hiz fes struc wɖ an increjḷs terr n loɖñ bfr h craid ǎt in a dredfl vôs n fél bac fṛm ɖ ladr—ẃr, haṗli, h wz còt bî tū v ɖ men—letñ ɖ lantn fōl insd ɖ tri.

H wz in a ded fent, n it wz sm tîm bfr eni wrd cd b got fṛm him.

Bî ɖen ɖe hd smʈñ els t lc at. Ɖ lantn mst hv brocn at ɖ botm, n ɖ lît in it còt upn drî līvz n rubiś ɖt le ɖr fr in a fy minits a dns smoc bgan t cm p, n ɖen flem; n, t b śort, ɖ tri wz in a blêz.

Ɖ bîstandrz md a rñ at sm yardz’ distns, n Sr Wiłm n ɖ Biṣ́p snt men t gt ẃt wepnz n tūlz ɖe cd; fr, clirli, ẃtvr mt b yzñ ɖ tri az its ler wd b forst ǎt bî ɖ fîr.

So it wz. Frst, at ɖ forc, ɖe sw a rǎnd bodi cuvrd wɖ fîr—ɖ sîz v a man’z hed—apir vri sudnli, ɖen sīm t c’laps n fōl bac. Ɖs, fîv or six tîmz; ɖen a similr bōl lept intu ɖ er n fél on ɖ gras, ẃr aftr a momnt it le stl. Ɖ Biṣ́p wnt az nir az h derd t it, n sw—ẃt bt ɖ rmenz v an inorṃs spîdr, veṇs n sird! N, az ɖ fîr brnd lowr dǎn, mor teṛbl bodiz lîc ɖs bgan t brec ǎt fṛm ɖ trunc, n it wz sìn ɖt ɖz wr cuvrd wɖ grêiś her.

Ol ɖt de ɖ aś brnd, n untl it fél t pìsz ɖ men std abt it, n fṛm tîm t tîm cild ɖ brūts az ɖe dartd ǎt. At last ɖr wz a loñ inṭvl ẃn nn apird, n ɖe cōśsli clozd in n xamind ɖ rūts v ɖ tri.

‘Ɖe faund,’ sz ɖ Biṣ́p v Cilmor, ‘b’lo it a rǎndd holo ples in ɖ rʈ, ẃr-in wr tū or ʈri bodiz v ɖz crīćrz ɖt hd plenli bn smuɖrd bî ɖ smoc; n, ẃt z t m mor krịs, at ɖ sîd v ɖs den, agnst ɖ wōl, wz crǎćñ ɖ anaṭmi or scelitn v a hymn biyñ, wɖ ɖ scin draid upn ɖ bonz, hvñ sm rmenz v blac her, ẃć wz pṛnǎnst bî ɖoz ɖt xamind it t b undǎtidli ɖ bodi v a wmn, n clirli ded fr a pirịd v fifti yirz.’

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: “Oh, whistle and I’ll come to you, my lad,” by M R James

‘Ǒ, ẂISL, N I’L CM T Y, MÎ LAD’

M R JEMZ

‘I  s’poz y wl b gtñ awe priti sn, nǎ Fl Trm z ovr, Pṛfesr,’ sd a prsn nt in ɖ stori t ɖ Pṛfesr v Ontography, sn aftr ɖe hd sat dǎn nxt t ć uɖr at a fīst in ɖ h’spitbl hōl v St Jemz’z Colij.

Ɖ Pṛfesr wz yuñ, nīt, n prisîs in spīć.

‘Yes,’ h sd; ‘mî frendz hv bn mcñ m tec p golf ɖs trm, n I mīn t g t ɖ Īst Cǒst—in pônt v fact t Brnsto—(I der se y nǒ it) fr a wīc or ten dez, t impruv mî gem. I hop t gt of tmoro.’

‘Ǒ, Parcinz,’ sd hiz nebr on ɖ uɖr sîd, ‘f y r gwñ t Brnsto, I wś y wd lc at ɖ sait v ɖ Tmplrz’ prīsepṭri, n let m nǒ f y ʈnc it wd b eni gd t hv a dig ɖr in ɖ suMr’

It wz, az y mt s’poz, a prsn v anṭqerịn psyts hu sd ɖs, bt, sins h mirli apirz in ɖs prolog, ɖr z no nīd t gv hiz intîtlmnts.

‘Srtnli,’ sd Parcinz, ɖ Pṛfesr: ‘f y wl dscrîb t m ẃr’bts ɖ sait z, I wl d mî bst t gv y an îdīa v ɖ lî v ɖ land ẃn I gt bac; or I cd rait t y abt it, f y wd tel m ẃr y r lîcli t b.’

‘D’nt trubl t d ɖt, ʈancs. It’s onli ɖt I’m ʈncñ v tecñ mî faṃli in ɖt d’rex́n in ɖ Loñ, n it ocŕd t m ɖt, az vri fy v ɖ Ñgliś prīsepṭriz hv evr bn proprli pland, I mt hv an oṗtyṇti v dwñ smʈñ ysfl on of-dez.’

Ɖ Pṛfesr rɖr snift at ɖ îdīa ɖt planñ ǎt a prīsepṭri cd b dscrîbd az ysfl. Hiz nebr cntinyd:

‘Ɖ sait—I dǎt f ɖr z enʈñ śowñ abv grǎnd—mst b dǎn qt clos t ɖ bīć nǎ. Ɖ sì hz incroćt tṛmndsli, az y nǒ, ol alñ ɖt bit v cǒst. I śd ʈnc, fṛm ɖ map, ɖt it mst b abt ʈri-qortrz v a mîl fṛm ɖ Glob Ín, at ɖ norʈ end v ɖ tǎn. Ẃr r y gwñ t ste?’

‘Wel, at ɖ Glob Ín, az a matr v fact,’ sd Parcinz; ‘I hv ingejd a rūm ɖr. I cd’nt gt in enẃr els; most v ɖ lojñhǎzz r śut p in wintr, it sīmz; n, az it z, ɖe tel m ɖt ɖ onli rūm v eni sîz I cn hv z riyli a dubl-bedd wn, n ɖt ɖe hv’nt a cornr in ẃć t stor ɖ uɖr bed, n so on. Bt I mst hv a ferli larj rūm, fr I am tecñ sm bcs dǎn, n mīn t d a bit v wrc; n ɖo I d’nt qt fansi hvñ an emti bed—nt t spīc v tū—in ẃt I me cōl fr ɖ tîm biyñ mî studi, I s’poz I cn manij t ruf it fr ɖ śort tîm I śl b ɖr.’

‘D y cōl hvñ an xtra bed in yr rūm rufñ it, Parcinz?’ sd a bluf prsn oṗzit. ‘Lc hir, I śl cm dǎn n okpî it fr a bit; it’l b cumṗni fr y.’

Ɖ Pṛfesr qivrd, bt manijd t laf in a crtịs manr.

‘Bî ol mīnz, Rojrz; ɖr’z nʈñ I śd lîc betr. Bt I’m afreid y wd fînd it rɖr dul; y d’nt ple golf, d y?’

‘No, ʈanc Hevn!’ sd rūd Mr Rojrz.

‘Wel, y si, ẃn I’m nt raitñ I śl most lîcli b ǎt on ɖ lincs, n ɖt, az I se, wd b rɖr dul fr y, I’m afreid.’

‘Ǒ, I d’nt nǒ! Ɖr’z srtn t b smbdi I nǒ in ɖ ples; bt, v cors, f y d’nt wont m, spīc ɖ wrd, Parcinz; I ś’nt b ofndd. Truʈ, az y olwz tel s, z nvr ofnsiv.’

Parcinz wz, indd, scrūpyḷsli p’lît n stricli truʈfl. It z t b fird ɖt Mr Rojrz smtmz practist upn hiz nolij v ɖz caṛcṭristics. In Parcinz’z brest ɖr wz a conflict nǎ rejñ, ẃć fr a momnt or tū dd nt alǎ him t ansr. Ɖt inṭvl biyñ ovr, h sd:

‘Wel, f y wont ɖ xact truʈ, Rojrz, I wz cnsiḍrñ ẃɖr ɖ rūm I spīc v wd riyli b larj inuf t acoṃdet s bʈ cumftbli; n olso ẃɖr (mînd, I śd’nt hv sd ɖs f y hd’nt prest m) y wd nt consttyt smʈñ in ɖ nećr v a hindṛns t mî wrc.’

Rojrz laft lǎdli.

‘Wel dn, Parcinz!’ h sd. ‘It’s ol rît. I promis nt t inṭrupt yr wrc; d’nt y dstrb yrslf abt ɖt. No, I w’nt cm f y d’nt wont m; bt I ʈt I śd d so nîsli t cīp ɖ gosts of.’ Hir h mt hv bn sìn t wnc n t nuj hiz nxt nebr. Parcinz mt olso hv bn sìn t bcm pnc. ‘I beg pardn, Parcinz,’ Rojrz cntinyd; ‘I òt’nt t hv sd ɖt. I fgot y dd’nt lîc leṿti on ɖz topics.’

‘Wel,’ Parcinz sd, ‘az y hv mnśnd ɖ matr, I frīli ǒn ɖt I d nt lîc cerlis tōc abt ẃt y cōl gosts. A man in mî pziśn,’ h wnt on, rezñ hiz vôs a litl, ‘canot, I fînd, b tù cerfl abt apirñ t sañśn ɖ cuṛnt b’lifs on sć subjicts. Az y nǒ, Rojrz, or az y òt t nǒ; fr I ʈnc I hv nvr cnsild mî vyz—’

‘No, y srtnli hv nt, old man,’ pt in Rojrz sotto voce.

‘—I hold ɖt eni smbḷns, eni apiṛns v cnseśn t ɖ vy ɖt sć ʈñz mt xist z iqivḷnt t a rnunsieśn v ol ɖt I hold most secrid. Bt I’m afreid I hv nt s’xidd in s’krñ yr atnśn.’

‘Yr undivîdd atnśn, wz ẃt Dr. Blimbr acć̣li sd,’ Rojrz inṭruptd, wɖ evri apiṛns v an rnist dzîr fr akṛsi. [Mr Rojrz wz roñ, vide “Dombi & Sun,” Ćaptr XII.] ‘Bt I beg yr pardn, Parcinz: I’m stopñ y.’

‘No, nt at ol,’ sd Parcinz. ‘I d’nt rmembr Blimbr; phps h wz bfr mî tîm. Bt I nīd’nt g on. I’m śr y nǒ ẃt I mīn.’

‘Yes, yes,’ sd Rojrz, rɖr hesṭli—‘jst so. W’l g intu it fŭli at Brnsto, or smẃr.’

In rpitñ ɖ abv daylog I hv traid t gv ɖ impreśn ẃć it md on m, ɖt Parcinz wz smʈñ v an old wmn—rɖr henlîc, phps, in hiz litl wez; toṭli desttyt, alas! v ɖ sns v hymr, bt at ɖ sem tîm dōntlis n snsir in hiz cnvix́nz, n a man dzrvñ v ɖ gretist rspct. Ẃɖr or nt ɖ rīdr hz gaɖrd so mć, ɖt wz ɖ caṛctr ẃć Parcinz hd.

* * * * *

On ɖ folowñ de Parcinz dd, az h hd hopt, s’xid in gtñ awe fṛm hiz colij, n in arîvñ at Brnsto. H wz md welcm at ɖ Glob Ín, wz sefli instōld in ɖ larj dubl-bedd rūm v ẃć w hv hŕd, n wz ebl bfr rtîrñ t rest t arenj hiz mtirịlz fr wrc in apl-pî ordr upn a cmodịs tebl ẃć okpaid ɖ ǎtr end v ɖ rūm, n wz srǎndd on ʈri sîdz bî windoz lcñ ǎt sìẉd; ɖt z t se, ɖ sntṛl windo lct stret ǎt t sì, n ɖoz on ɖ left n rît cmandd prospects alñ ɖ śor t ɖ norʈ n sǎʈ rspctivli. On ɖ sǎʈ y sw ɖ vilij v Brnsto. On ɖ norʈ no hǎzz wr t b sìn, bt onli ɖ bīć n ɖ lo clif bacñ it. Imīɉtli in frunt wz a strip—nt cnsidṛbl—v ruf gras, dotd wɖ old ancrz, capstnz, n so fʈ; ɖen a brōd paʈ; ɖen ɖ bīć. Ẃtvr me hv bn ɖ orijinl distns btwn ɖ Glob Ín n ɖ sì, nt mor ɖn sixti yardz nǎ seṗretd ɖm.

Ɖ rest v ɖ popyleśn v ɖ ín wz, v cors, a golfñ wn, n includd fy elimnts ɖt cōl fr a speśl dscripśn. Ɖ most cnspiks figr wz, phps, ɖt v an ancien militaire, secṛtri v a Lundn club, n pzest v a vôs v increḍbl streñʈ, n v vyz v a pṛnǎnsidli Protistnt tîp. Ɖz wr apt t fînd utṛns aftr hiz atndns upn ɖ miṇstreśnz v ɖ Vicr, an estiṃbl man wɖ incḷneśnz twdz a picćresc rićl, ẃć h gaḷntli cept dǎn az far az h cd ǎt v defṛns t Īst Angłn tṛdiśn.

Pṛfesr Parcinz, wn v huz prinsipl caṛcṭristics wz pluc, spent ɖ gretr part v ɖ de folowñ hiz arîvl at Brnsto in ẃt h hd cōld impruvñ hiz gem, in cumṗni wɖ ɖs Crnl Wilsn: n jrñ ɖ afṭnun—ẃɖr ɖ proses v impruvmnt wr t blem or nt, I am nt śr—ɖ Crnl’z dmīnr asymd a cuḷrñ so lŭrid ɖt īvn Parcinz jibd at ɖ ʈt v wōcñ hom wɖ him fṛm ɖ lincs. H dtrmind, aftr a śort n frtiv lc at ɖt briṣlñ mstaś n ɖoz incarṇdînd fīćrz, ɖt it wd b wîzr t alǎ ɖ inflụnsz v ti n tbaco t d ẃt ɖe cd wɖ ɖ Crnl bfr ɖ dinr aur śd rendr a mītñ inevitbl.

‘I mt wōc hom tnît alñ ɖ bīć,’ h rflectd—‘yes, n tec a lc—ɖr wl b lît inuf fr ɖt—at ɖ ruinz v ẃć Dizni wz tōcñ. I d’nt xacli nǒ ẃr ɖe r, bî ɖ we; bt I xpct I cn hardli hlp stumḅlñ on ɖm.’

Ɖs h acumpliśt, I me se, in ɖ most litṛl sns, fr in picñ hiz we fṛm ɖ lincs t ɖ śnglbīć hiz ft còt, partli in a gorsrūt n partli in a bgiś ston, n ovr h wnt. Ẃn h got p n sveid hiz srǎndñz, h faund himslf in a pać v smẃt brocn grǎnd cuvrd wɖ smōl dpreśnz n mǎndz. Ɖz latr, ẃn h cem t xamin ɖm, pruvd t b simpli masz v flints imbedd in mortr n groun ovr wɖ trf. H mst, h qt rîtli cncludd, b on ɖ sait v ɖ prīsepṭri h hd promist t lc at. It sīmd nt unlîcli t rword ɖ sped v ɖ xplorr; inuf v ɖ fǎndeśnz wz probbli left at no gret depʈ t ʈro a gd dīl v lît on ɖ jenṛl plan. H rmembrd vegli ɖt ɖ Tmplrz, t hūm ɖs sait hd b’loñd, wr in ɖ habit v bildñ rǎnd ćrćz, n h ʈt a ptiklr siriz v ɖ humps or mǎndz nir him dd apir t b arenjd in smʈñ v a srklr form. Fy ppl cn rzist ɖ tmteśn t trî a litl aṃćr rsrć in a dpartmnt qt ǎtsd ɖer ǒn, f onli fr ɖ saṭsfax́n v śowñ hǎ s’xesfl ɖe wd hv bn hd ɖe onli tecn it p sirịsli. Ǎr Pṛfesr, hvr, f h flt smʈñ v ɖs mīn dzîr, wz olso trūli añśs t oblîj Mr Dizni. So h pêst wɖ cer ɖ srklr eria h hd notist, n rout dǎn its ruf dmnśnz in hiz pocit-bc. Ɖen h pṛsidd t xamin an obloñ eminns ẃć le īst v ɖ sntr v ɖ srcl, n sīmd t hiz ʈncñ lîcli t b ɖ bes v a platform or ōltr. At wn end v it, ɖ norɖn, a pać v ɖ trf wz gn—rmuvd bî sm bô or uɖr crīćr ferae naturae. It mt, h ʈt, b az wel t prob ɖ sôl hir fr evidnsz v mesnri, n h tc ǎt hiz nîf n bgan screpñ awe ɖ rʈ. N nǎ foloud anɖr litl dscuṿri: a porśn v sôl fél inwd az h scrept, n dsclozd a smōl caṿti. H lîtd wn mać aftr anɖr t hlp him t si v ẃt nećr ɖ houl wz, bt ɖ wind wz tù stroñ fr ɖm ol. Bî tapñ n scraćñ ɖ sîdz wɖ hiz nîf, hvr, h wz ebl t mc ǎt ɖt it mst b an arṭfiśl houl in mesnri. It wz rectanğlr, n ɖ sîdz, top, n botm, f nt acć̣li plastrd, wr smuɖ n reğlr. V cors it wz emti. No! Az h wɖdru ɖ nîf h hŕd a mtalic clinc, n ẃn h intṛdyst hiz hand it met wɖ a s’lindricl objict layñ on ɖ flor v ɖ houl. Naćṛli inuf, h pict it p, n ẃn h bròt it intu ɖ lît, nǎ fast fedñ, h cd si ɖt it, tù, wz v man’z mcñ—a metl tyb abt for inćz loñ, n evidntli v sm cnsidṛbl ej.

Bî ɖ tîm Parcinz hd md śr ɖt ɖr wz nʈñ els in ɖs od rspticl, it wz tù lêt n tù darc fr him t ʈnc v unḍtecñ eni frɖr srć. Ẃt h hd dn hd pruvd so unixpctidli inṭrestñ ɖt h dtrmind t sacṛfîs a litl mor v ɖ dêlît on ɖ moro t arcioḷji. Ɖ objict ẃć h nǎ hd sef in hiz pocit wz baund t b v sm slît valy at līst, h flt śr.

Blīc n soḷm wz ɖ vy on ẃć h tc a last lc bfr startñ homẉd. A fent yelo lît in ɖ wst śoud ɖ lincs, on ẃć a fy figrz muvñ twdz ɖ clubhǎs wr stl viẓbl, ɖ sqot martelo tǎr, ɖ lîts v Ōldzi vilij, ɖ pel ribn v sandz inṭsctd at inṭvlz bî blac wŭdn grônñz, ɖ dim n mrṃrñ sì. Ɖ wind wz bitr fṛm ɖ norʈ, bt wz at hiz bac ẃn h set ǎt fr ɖ Glob. H qcli ratld n claśt ʈru ɖ śngl n gend ɖ sand, upn ẃć, bt fr ɖ grônñz ẃć hd t b got ovr evri fy yardz, ɖ gwñ wz bʈ gd n qayt. Wn last lc bhnd, t meźr ɖ distns h hd md sins līvñ ɖ ruind Tmplrz’ ćrć, śoud him a prospect v cumṗni on hiz wōc, in ɖ śep v a rɖr indistñt prṣnij, hu sīmd t b mcñ gret ef̣ts t cać p wɖ him, bt md litl, f eni, progres. I mīn ɖt ɖr wz an apiṛns v runñ abt hiz muvmnts, bt ɖt ɖ distns btwn him n Parcinz dd nt sīm mtirịli t lesn. So, at līst, Parcinz ʈt, n dsîdd ɖt h olmst srtnli dd nt nǒ him, n ɖt it wd b absrd t wêt untl h cem p. Fr ol ɖt, cumṗni, h bgan t ʈnc, wd riyli b vri welcm on ɖt lonli śor, f onli y cd ćūz yr cmpańn. In hiz uninlîtnd dez h hd réd v mītñz in sć plesz ẃć īvn nǎ wd hardli ber ʈncñ v. H wnt on ʈncñ v ɖm, hvr, untl h rīćt hom, n ptiklrli v wn ẃć caćz most ppl’z fansi at sm tîm v ɖer ćîldhd. ‘Nǎ I sw in mî drīm ɖt Crisćn hd gn bt a vri litl we ẃn h sw a fǎl fīnd cmñ ovr ɖ fīld t mīt him.’ ‘Ẃt śd I d nǎ,’ h ʈt, ‘f I lct bac n còt sît v a blac figr śarpli dfînd agnst ɖ yelo scî, n sw ɖt it hd hornz n wñz? I wundr ẃɖr I śd stand or run fr it. Luc̣li, ɖ jntlmn bhnd z nt v ɖt cnd, n h sīmz t b abt az far of nǎ az ẃn I sw him frst. Wel, at ɖs ret, h w’nt gt hiz dinr az sn az I śl; n, dir m! it’s wɖn a qortr v an aur v ɖ tîm nǎ. I mst run!’

Parcinz hd, in fact, vri litl tîm fr dresñ. Ẃn h met ɖ Crnl at dinr, Pīs—or az mć v hr az ɖt jntlmn cd manij—rênd wns mor in ɖ militri bŭzm; nr wz ś pt t flît in ɖ aurz v brij ɖt foloud dinr, fr Parcinz wz a mor ɖn rspctbl pleyr. Ẃn, ɖrfr, h rtîrd twdz twelv o’cloc, h flt ɖt h hd spent hiz īvnñ in qt a saṭsfactri we, n ɖt, īvn fr so loñ az a fortnît or ʈri wīcs, lîf at ɖ Glob wd b s’portbl undr similr cndiśnz—’ispeṣ́li,’ ʈt h, ‘f I g on impruvñ mî gem.’

Az h wnt alñ ɖ paṣjz h met ɖ būts v ɖ Glob, hu stopt n sd:

‘Beg yr pardn, sr, bt az I wz abruśñ yr cot jst nǎ ɖr wz smʈñ fél ǎt v ɖ pocit. I pt it on yr ćst v drorz, sr, in yr rūm, sr—a pìs v a pîp or sumʈnc v ɖt, sr. Ʈanc y, sr. Y’l fînd it on yr ćst v drorz, sr—yes, sr. Gd nît, sr.’

Ɖ spīć srvd t rmînd Parcinz v hiz litl dscuṿri v ɖt afṭnun. It wz wɖ sm cnsidṛbl krioṣti ɖt h trnd it ovr bî ɖ lît v hiz candlz. It wz v bronz, h nǎ sw, n wz śept vri mć aftr ɖ manr v ɖ modn dogẃisl; in fact it wz—yes, srtnli it wz—acć̣li no mor nr les ɖn a ẃisl. H pt it t hiz lips, bt it wz qt fl v a fîn, cect-up sand or rʈ, ẃć wd nt yīld t nocñ, bt mst b lūsnd wɖ a nîf. Tîdi az evr in hiz habits, Parcinz clird ǎt ɖ rʈ on t a pìs v pepr, n tc ɖ latr t ɖ windo t emti it ǎt. Ɖ nît wz clir n brît, az h sw ẃn h hd opnd ɖ cesmnt, n h stopt fr an instnt t lc at ɖ sì n not a b’letd wondrr steśnd on ɖ śor in frunt v ɖ ín. Ɖen h śut ɖ windo, a litl s’prîzd at ɖ lêt aurz ppl cept at Brnsto, n tc hiz ẃisl t ɖ lît agn. Ẃ, śrli ɖr wr marcs on it, n nt mirli marcs, bt letrz! A vri litl rubñ rendrd ɖ dīpli-cut inscripśn qt leɉbl, bt ɖ Pṛfesr hd t cnfes, aftr sm rnist ʈt, ɖt ɖ mīnñ v it wz az obskr t him az ɖ raitñ on ɖ wōl t Belśazr. Ɖr wr lejndz bʈ on ɖ frunt n on ɖ bac v ɖ ẃisl. Ɖ wn réd ɖus:

FLA

FUR BIS

FLE

Ɖ uɖr:

QUIS EST ISTE QUI UENIT

‘I òt t b ebl t mc it ǎt,’ h ʈt; ‘bt I s’poz I am a litl rusti in mî Latin. Ẃn I cm t ʈnc v it, I d’nt b’liv I īvn nǒ ɖ wrd fr a ẃisl. Ɖ loñ wn dz sīm simpl inuf. It òt t mīn: “Hu z ɖs hu z cmñ?” Wel, ɖ bst we t fînd ǎt z evidntli t ẃisl fr him.’

H blù tnttivli n stopt sudnli, startld n yt plizd at ɖ not h hd iliṣtd. It hd a qoḷti v infiṇt distns in it, n, soft az it wz, h smhǎ flt it mst b ōḍbl fr mîlz rnd. It wz a sǎnd, tù, ɖt sīmd t hv ɖ pǎr (ẃć mni sénts pzes) v formñ picćrz in ɖ bren. H sw qt clirli fr a momnt a viźn v a wîd, darc xpans at nît, wɖ a freś wind blowñ, n in ɖ mdst a lonli figr—hǎ imploid, h cd nt tel. Phps h wd hv sìn mor hd nt ɖ picćr bn brocn bî ɖ sudn srj v a gust v wind agnst hiz cesmnt, so sudn ɖt it md him lc p, jst in tîm t si ɖ ẃît glint v a sìbrd’z wñ smẃr ǎtsd ɖ darc peinz.

Ɖ sǎnd v ɖ ẃisl hd so faṣnetd him ɖt h cd nt hlp trayñ it wns mor, ɖs tîm mor boldli. Ɖ not wz litl, f at ol, lǎdr ɖn bfr, n reṗtiśn brouc ɖ iluźn—no picćr foloud, az h hd haf hopt it mt. “Bt ẃt z ɖs? Gdnis! ẃt fors ɖ wind cn gt p in a fy minits! Ẃt a tṛmnḍs gust! Ɖr! I ń ɖt windofaṣnñ wz no ys! Ā! I ʈt so—bʈ candlz ǎt. It z inuf t ter ɖ rūm t pìsz.”

Ɖ frst ʈñ wz t gt ɖ windo śut. Ẃl y mt cǎnt twenti, Parcinz wz struġlñ wɖ ɖ smōl cesmnt, n flt olmst az f h wr pśñ bac a strdi brglr, so stroñ wz ɖ preśr. It slacnd ol at wns, n ɖ windo bañd t n laćt itslf. Nǎ t rīlît ɖ candlz n si ẃt damij, f eni, hd bn dn. No, nʈñ sīmd amis; no glas īvn wz brocn in ɖ cesmnt. Bt ɖ nôz hd evidntli rǎzd at līst wn membr v ɖ hǎshold: ɖ Crnl wz t b hŕd stumpñ in hiz stocñd fīt on ɖ flor abv, n grǎlñ. Qcli az it hd rizn, ɖ wind dd nt fōl at wns. On it wnt, monñ n ruśñ past ɖ hǎs, at tîmz rîzñ t a crî so dezḷt ɖt, az Parcinz disinṭrestidli sd, it mt hv md fansifl ppl fīl qt uncumftbl; īvn ɖ unimajiṇtiv, h ʈt aftr a qortr v an aur, mt b hapịr wɖt it.

Ẃɖr it wz ɖ wind, or ɖ xîtmnt v golf, or v ɖ rsrćz in ɖ prīsepṭri ɖt cept Parcinz awec, h wz nt śr. Awec h rmend, in eni ces, loñ inuf t fansi (az I am afreid I ofn d mslf undr sć cndiśnz) ɖt h wz ɖ victim v ol manr v fetl dsordrz: h wd lî cǎntñ ɖ bìts v hiz hart, cnvinst ɖt it wz gwñ t stop wrc evri momnt, n wd entten grev sspiśnz v hiz luñz, bren, livr, ets.—sspiśnz ẃć h wz śr wd b dspeld bî ɖ rtrn v dêlît, bt ẃć untl ɖen rfyzd t b pt asd. H faund a litl vcerịs cumf̣t in ɖ îdīa ɖt smwn els wz in ɖ sem bot. A nir nebr (in ɖ darcnis it wz nt īzi t tel hiz d’rex́n) wz tosñ n ruṣlñ in hiz bed, tù.

Ɖ nxt stej wz ɖt Parcinz śut hiz îz n dtrmind t gv slīp evri ćans. Hir agn oṿixîtmnt asrtd itslf in anɖr form—ɖt v mcñ picćrz. Experto crede, picćrz d cm t ɖ clozd îz v wn trayñ t slīp, n r ofn so litl t hiz test ɖt h mst opn hiz îz n dsprs ɖm.

Parcinz’z xpirịns on ɖs oceźn wz a vri dstresñ wn. H faund ɖt ɖ picćr ẃć prizntd itslf t him wz cntinẏs. Ẃn h opnd hiz îz, v cors, it wnt; bt ẃn h śut ɖm wns mor it fremd itslf afreś, n actd itslf ǎt agn, nɖr qcr nr slowr ɖn bfr. Ẃt h sw wz ɖs:

A loñ streć v śor—śngl éjd bî sand, n inṭsctd at śort inṭvlz wɖ blac grônz runñ dǎn t ɖ wōtr—a sīn, in fact, so lîc ɖt v hiz afṭnun’z wōc ɖt, in ɖ absns v eni landmarc, it cd nt b dstnḡśt ɖr-fṛm. Ɖ lît wz obskr, cnveyñ an impreśn v gaɖ̇rñ storm, lêt wintr īvnñ, n slît cold ren. On ɖs blīc stej at frst no actr wz viẓbl. Ɖen, in ɖ distns, a bobñ blac objict apird; a momnt mor, n it wz a man runñ, jumpñ, clamḅrñ ovr ɖ grônz, n evri fy secndz lcñ īgrli bac. Ɖ nirr h cem ɖ mor obvịs it wz ɖt h wz nt onli añśs, bt īvn teṛbli frîtnd, ɖo hiz fes wz nt t b dstnḡśt. H wz, morovr, olmst at ɖ end v hiz streñʈ. On h cem; ć s’xesiv obsṭcl sīmd t cōz him mor dificlti ɖn ɖ last. ‘Wl h gt ovr ɖs nxt wn?’ ʈt Parcinz; ‘it sīmz a litl hayr ɖn ɖ uɖrz.’ Yes; haf clîmñ, haf ʈrowñ himslf, h dd gt ovr, n fél ol in a hīp on ɖ uɖr sîd (ɖ sîd nirist t ɖ spectetr). Ɖr, az f riyli unebl t gt p agn, h rmend crǎćñ undr ɖ grôn, lcñ p in an attyd v penfl añzayti.

So far no cōz ẃtvr fr ɖ fir v ɖ runr hd bn śoun; bt nǎ ɖr bgan t b sìn, far p ɖ śor, a litl flicr v smʈñ lît-culrd muvñ t n fro wɖ gret swiftnis n ireğlaṛti. Rapidli growñ larjr, it, tù, dclerd itslf az a figr in pel, fluṭrñ dreṗriz, il-dfînd. Ɖr wz smʈñ abt its mośn ẃć md Parcinz vri unwilñ t si it at clos qortrz. It wd stop, rêz armz, bǎ itslf twdz ɖ sand, ɖen run stūpñ acrs ɖ bīć t ɖ wōtr éj n bac agn; n ɖen, rîzñ uprît, wns mor cntiny its cors fwd at a spīd ɖt wz starṭlñ n teṛfayñ. Ɖ momnt cem ẃn ɖ psywr wz hoṿrñ abt fṛm left t rît onli a fy yardz bynd ɖ grôn ẃr ɖ runr le in hîdñ. Aftr tū or ʈri inifcćl castñz hiɖr n ɖiɖr it cem t a stop, std uprît, wɖ armz rezd hî, n ɖen dartd stret fwd twdz ɖ grôn.

It wz at ɖs pônt ɖt Parcinz olwz feld in hiz reẓluśn t cīp hiz îz śut. Wɖ mni msgvñz az t insipịnt fełr v îsît, oṿwrct bren, xesiv smocñ, n so on, h fîṇli rzînd himslf t lît hiz candl, gt ǎt a bc, n pas ɖ nît wecñ, rɖr ɖn b tormntd bî ɖs psistnt paṇrama, ẃć h sw clirli inuf cd onli b a morbid rflex́n v hiz wōc n hiz ʈts on ɖt vri de.

Ɖ screpñ v mać on box n ɖ gler v lît mst hv startld sm crīćrz v ɖ nît—rats or ẃt nt—ẃć h hŕd scuri acrs ɖ flor fṛm ɖ sîd v hiz bed wɖ mć ruṣlñ. Dir, dir! ɖ mać z ǎt! Fūl ɖt it z! Bt ɖ secnd wn brnt betr, n a candl n bc wr dyli pṛkrd, ovr ẃć Parcinz pord tl slīp v a holsm cnd cem upn him, n ɖt in no loñ spes. Fr abt ɖ frst tîm in hiz ordrli n prūdnt lîf h fgot t blo ǎt ɖ candl, n ẃn h wz cōld nxt mornñ at et ɖr wz stl a flicr in ɖ socit n a sad mes v gutrd grīs on ɖ top v ɖ litl tebl.

Aftr brecfst h wz in hiz rūm, ptñ ɖ fiṇśñtućz t hiz golfñcostym—fortyn hd agn alotd ɖ Crnl t him fr a partnr—ẃn wn v ɖ meidz cem in.

‘Ǒ, f y plīz,’ ś sd, ‘wd y lîc eni xtra blancits on yr bed, sr?’

‘Ā! ʈanc y,’ sd Parcinz. ‘Yes, I ʈnc I śd lîc wn. It sīmz lîcli t trn rɖr coldr.’

In a vri śort tîm ɖ meid wz bac wɖ ɖ blancit.

‘Ẃć bed śd I pt it on, sr?’ ś asct.

‘Ẃt? Ẃ, ɖt wn—ɖ wn I slept in last nît,’ h sd, pôntñ t it.

‘Ǒ yes! I beg yr pardn, sr, bt y sīmd t hv traid bʈ v ’m; lìstwez, w hd t mc ’m bʈ p ɖs mornñ.’

‘Riyli? Hǎ vri absrd!’ sd Parcinz. ‘I srtnli nvr tućt ɖ uɖr, xpt t le sm ʈñz on it. Dd it acć̣li sīm t hv bn slept in?’

‘Ǒ yes, sr!’ sd ɖ meid. ‘Ẃ, ol ɖ ʈñz wz crumpld n ʈroud abt ol wez, f y’l xkz m, sr—qt az f enwn ’adn’t pást bt a vri pur nît, sr.’

‘Dir m,’ sd Parcinz. ‘Wel, I me hv dsordrd it mor ɖn I ʈt ẃn I unpáct mî ʈñz. I’m vri sori t hv gvn y ɖ xtra trubl, I’m śr. I xpct a frend v mîn sn, bî ɖ we—a jntlmn fṛm Cembrij—t cm n okpî it fr a nît or tū. Ɖt wl b ol rît, I s’poz, w’nt it?’

‘Ǒ yes, t b śr, sr. Ʈanc y, sr. It’s no trubl, I’m śr,’ sd ɖ meid, n dpartd t gigl wɖ hr colīgz.

Parcinz set fʈ, wɖ a strn dtrṃneśn t impruv hiz gem.

I am glad t b ebl t rport ɖt h s’xidd so far in ɖs enṭprîz ɖt ɖ Crnl, hu hd bn rɖr rpînñ at ɖ prospect v a secnd de’z ple in hiz cumṗni, bcem qt ćati az ɖ mornñ advanst; n hiz vôs būmd ǎt ovr ɖ flats, az srtn olso v ǎr ǒn mînr powts hv sd, ‘lîc sm gret bordn in a minstrtǎr’.

‘Xtrordnri wind, ɖt, w hd last nît,’ h sd. ‘In mî old hom w śd hv sd smwn hd bn ẃiṣlñ fr it.’

‘Śd y, indd!’ sd Parcinz. ‘Z ɖr a sūṗstiśn v ɖt cnd stl cuṛnt in yr part v ɖ cuntri?’

‘I d’nt nǒ abt sūṗstiśn,’ sd ɖ Crnl. ‘Ɖe b’liv in it ol ovr Denmarc n Norwe, az wel az on ɖ Yorx́r cǒst; n mî xpirịns z, mînd y, ɖt ɖr’z jenṛli smʈñ at ɖ botm v ẃt ɖz cuntrifoc hold t, n hv hld t fr jeṇreśnz. Bt it’s yr drîv’ (or ẃtvr it mt hv bn: ɖ golfñrīdr wl hv t imajin aproprịt dgreśnz at ɖ propr inṭvlz).

Ẃn convseśn wz rzymd, Parcinz sd, wɖ a slît heztnsi:

‘A propos v ẃt y wr seyñ jst nǎ, Crnl, I ʈnc I òt t tel y ɖt mî ǒn vyz on sć subjicts r vri stroñ. I am, in fact, a cnvinst disḅlivr in ẃt z cōld ɖ “sūṗnaćṛl”.’

‘Ẃt!’ sd ɖ Crnl, ‘d y mīn t tel m y d’nt b’liv in secnd-sît, or gosts, or enʈñ v ɖt cnd?’

‘In nʈñ ẃtvr v ɖt cnd,’ rtrnd Parcinz frmli.

‘Wel,’ sd ɖ Crnl, ‘bt it apirz t m at ɖt ret, sr, ɖt y mst b litl betr ɖn a Sadysi.’

Parcinz wz on ɖ pônt v anṣrñ ɖt, in hiz opińn, ɖ Sadysiz wr ɖ most snṣbl prsnz h hd evr réd v in ɖ Old Tsṭmnt; bt fīlñ sm dǎt az t ẃɖr mć mnśn v ɖm wz t b faund in ɖt wrc, h prifŕd t laf ɖ akześn of.

‘Phps I am,’ h sd; ‘bt—Hir, gv m mî clīc, bô!—Xkz m wn momnt, Crnl.’ A śort inṭvl. ‘Nǎ, az t ẃiṣlñ fr ɖ wind, let m gv y mî ʈiyri abt it. Ɖ lwz ẃć guvn windz r riyli nt at ol prf̣cli noun—t fiśrfoc n sć, v cors, nt noun at ol. A man or wmn v xntric habits, phps, or a strenjr, z sìn rpitidli on ɖ bīć at sm unyźl aur, n z hŕd ẃiṣlñ. Sn aftwdz a vayḷnt wind rîzz; a man hu cd rīd ɖ scî prf̣cli or hu pzest a b’romitr cd hv fōrtold ɖt it wd. Ɖ simpl ppl v a fiśñvilij hv no b’romitrz, n onli a fy ruf rūlz fr prof̣sayñ weɖr. Ẃt mor naćṛl ɖn ɖt ɖ xntric prṣnij I posć̣letd śd b rgardd az hvñ rezd ɖ wind, or ɖt h or ś śd cluć īgrli at ɖ repyteśn v biyñ ebl t d so? Nǎ, tec last nît’s wind: az it hapnz, I mslf wz ẃiṣlñ. I blù a ẃisl twîs, n ɖ wind sīmd t cm abṣlutli in ansr t mî cōl. F enwn hd sìn m—’

Ɖ ōdịns hd bn a litl restiv undr ɖs hrañ, n Parcinz hd, I fir, fōḷn smẃt intu ɖ ton v a lecćrr; bt at ɖ last sntns ɖ Crnl stopt.

‘Ẃiṣlñ, wr y?’ h sd. ‘N ẃt sort v ẃisl dd y yz?

Ple ɖs stroc frst.’ Inṭvl.

‘Abt ɖt ẃisl y wr ascñ, Crnl. It’s rɖr a krịs wn. I hv it in mî—No; I si I’v left it in mî rūm. Az a matr v fact, I faund it yesṭde.’

N ɖen Parcinz nretd ɖ manr v hiz dscuṿri v ɖ ẃisl, upn hírñ ẃć ɖ Crnl gruntd, n opînd ɖt, in Parcinz’z ples, h śd himslf b cerfl abt yzñ a ʈñ ɖt hd b’loñd t a set v Pepists, v hūm, spīcñ jenṛli, it mt b afrmd ɖt y nvr ń ẃt ɖe mt nt hv bn p t. Fṛm ɖs topic h dvrjd t ɖ inorṃtiz v ɖ Vicr, hu hd gvn notis on ɖ prīvịs Súnde ɖt Frîde wd b ɖ Fīst v St Toṃs ɖ Aposl, n ɖt ɖr wd b srvis at ilevn o’cloc in ɖ ćrć. Ɖs n uɖr similr pṛsidñz consttytd in ɖ Crnl’z vy a stroñ prizumśn ɖt ɖ Vicr wz a cnsild Pepist, f nt a Jeźuit; n Parcinz, hu cd nt vri reḍli folo ɖ Crnl in ɖs rījn, dd nt dis’gri wɖ him. In fact, ɖe got on so wel tgɖr in ɖ mornñ ɖt ɖr wz nt tōc on îɖr sîd v ɖer seṗretñ aftr lunć.

Bʈ cntinyd t ple wel jrñ ɖ afṭnun, or at līst, wel inuf t mc ɖm fget evrʈñ els untl ɖ lît bgan t fel ɖm. Nt untl ɖen dd Parcinz rmembr ɖt h hd mnt t d sm mor invstgetñ at ɖ prīsepṭri; bt it wz v no gret importns, h rflectd. Wn de wz az gd az anɖr; h mt az wel g hom wɖ ɖ Crnl.

Az ɖe trnd ɖ cornr v ɖ hǎs, ɖ Crnl wz olmst noct dǎn bî a bô hu ruśt intu him at ɖ vri top v hiz spīd, n ɖen, instd v runñ awe, rmend haññ on t him n pantñ. Ɖ frst wrdz v ɖ worịr wr naćṛli ɖoz v rprūf n obɉgeśn, bt h vri qcli dsrnd ɖt ɖ bô wz olmst spīćlis wɖ frît. Inqîriz wr yslis at frst. Ẃn ɖ bô got hiz breʈ h bgan t hǎl, n stl cluñ t ɖ Crnl’z legz. H wz at last dtaćt, bt cntinyd t hǎl.

‘Ẃt in ɖ wrld z ɖ matr wɖ y? Ẃt hv y bn p t? Ẃt hv y sìn?’ sd ɖ tū men.

‘Ǎ, I sìn it wîv at m ǎt v ɖ winda,’ weild ɖ bô, ‘n I d’nt lîc it.’

‘Ẃt windo?’ sd ɖ iṛtetd Crnl. ‘Cm pl yrslf tgɖr, mî bô.’

‘Ɖ frunt winda it wz, at ɖ ’otel,’ sd ɖ bô.

At ɖs pônt Parcinz wz in fevr v sndñ ɖ bô hom, bt ɖ Crnl rfyzd; h wontd t gt t ɖ botm v it, h sd; it wz most denjṛs t gv a bô sć a frît az ɖs wn hd hd, n f it trnd ǎt ɖt ppl hd bn pleyñ jocs, ɖe śd sufr fr it in sm we. N bî a siriz v qsćnz h md ǎt ɖs stori: Ɖ bô hd bn pleyñ abt on ɖ gras in frunt v ɖ Glob wɖ sm uɖrz; ɖen ɖe hd gn hom t ɖer tiz, n h wz jst gwñ, ẃn h hapnd t lc p at ɖ frunt winda n si it awîvñ at him. It sīmd t b a figr v sm sort, in ẃît az far az h ń—cd’nt si its fes; bt it wîvd at him, n it wor’nt a rît ʈñ—nt t se nt a rît prsn. Wz ɖr a lît in ɖ rūm? No, h dd’nt ʈnc t lc f ɖr wz a lît. Ẃć wz ɖ windo? Wz it ɖ top wn or ɖ secnd wn? Ɖ secind wn it wz—ɖ big winda ẃt got tū litl ’nz at ɖ sîdz.

‘Vri wel, mî bô,’ sd ɖ Crnl, aftr a fy mor qsćnz. ‘Y run awe hom nǎ. I xpct it wz sm prsn trayñ t gv y a start. Anɖr tîm, lîc a brev Ñgliś bô, y jst ʈro a ston—wel, no, nt ɖt xacli, bt y g n spīc t ɖ wêtr, or t Mr Simpsn, ɖ landlord, n—yes—n se ɖt I advîzd y t d so.’

Ɖ bô’z fes xprest sm v ɖ dǎt h flt az t ɖ lîclihd v Mr Simpsn’z lendñ a fevṛbl ir t hiz cmplent, bt ɖ Crnl dd nt apir t psiv ɖs, n wnt on:

‘N hir’z a sixpns—no, I si it’s a śilñ—n y b of hom, n d’nt ʈnc eni mor abt it.’

Ɖ yʈ hurid of wɖ ajtetd ʈancs, n ɖ Crnl n Parcinz wnt rnd t ɖ frunt v ɖ Glob n rec̣nôtrd. Ɖr wz onli wn windo anṣrñ t ɖ dscripśn ɖe hd bn hírñ.

‘Wel, ɖt’s krịs,’ sd Parcinz; ‘it’s evidntli mî windo ɖ lad wz tōcñ abt. Wl y cm p fr a momnt, Crnl Wilsn? W òt t b ebl t si f enwn hz bn tecñ liḅtiz in mî rūm.’

Ɖe wr sn in ɖ pasij, n Parcinz md az f t opn ɖ dor.

Ɖen h stopt n flt in hiz pocits.

‘Ɖs z mor sirịs ɖn I ʈt,’ wz hiz nxt rmarc. ‘I rmembr nǎ ɖt bfr I startd ɖs mornñ I loct ɖ dor. It z loct nǎ, n, ẃt z mor, hir z ɖ ci.’ N h hld it p. ‘Nǎ,’ h wnt on, ‘f ɖ srvnts r in ɖ habit v gwñ intu wn’z rūm jrñ ɖ de ẃn wn z awe, I cn onli se ɖt—wel, ɖt I d’nt apruv v it at ol.’ Conśs v a smẃt wìc clîmax, h bizid himslf in oṗnñ ɖ dor (ẃć wz indd loct) n in lîtñ candlz. ‘No,’ h sd, ‘nʈñ sīmz dstrbd.’

‘Xpt yr bed,’ pt in ɖ Crnl.

‘Xkz m, ɖt z’nt mî bed,’ sd Parcinz. ‘I d’nt yz ɖt wn. Bt it dz lc az f smwn hd bn pleyñ trics wɖ it.’

It srtnli dd: ɖ cloɖz wr bundld p n twistd tgɖr in a most torćs cnfyźn. Parcinz pondrd.

‘Ɖt mst b it,’ h sd at last. ‘I dsordrd ɖ cloɖz last nît in unpacñ, n ɖe hv’nt md it sins. Phps ɖe cem in t mc it, n ɖt bô sw ɖm ʈru ɖ windo; n ɖen ɖe wr cōld awe n loct ɖ dor aftr ɖm. Yes, I ʈnc ɖt mst b it.’

‘Wel, rñ n asc,’ sd ɖ Crnl, n ɖs apild t Parcinz az practicl.

Ɖ meid apird, n, t mc a loñ stori śort, dpozd ɖt ś hd md ɖ bed in ɖ mornñ ẃn ɖ jntlmn wz in ɖ rūm, n hd’nt bn ɖr sins. No, ś hd’nt no uɖr ci. Mr Simpsn, h cep’ ɖ ciz; h’d b ebl t tel ɖ jntlmn f enwn hd bn p.

Ɖs wz a puzl. Invstgeśn śoud ɖt nʈñ v valy hd bn tecn, n Parcinz rmembrd ɖ dispziśn v ɖ smōl objicts on teblz n so fʈ wel inuf t b priti śr ɖt no prancs hd bn pleid wɖ ɖm. Mr n Msz Simpsn frɖrmr agrìd ɖt nɖr v ɖm hd gvn ɖ dyplic̣t ci v ɖ rūm t eni prsn ẃtvr jrñ ɖ de. Nr cd Parcinz, fer-mîndd man az h wz, dtct enʈñ in ɖ dmīnr v mastr, mistris, or meid ɖt indcetd gilt. H wz mć mor inclînd t ʈnc ɖt ɖ bô hd bn impozñ on ɖ Crnl.

Ɖ latr wz unwontidli sîḷnt n pnsiv at dinr n ʈrt ɖ īvnñ. Ẃn h bád gdnît t Parcinz, h mrmrd in a gruf unḍton:

‘Y nǒ ẃr I am f y wont m jrñ ɖ nît.’

‘Ẃ, yes, ʈanc y, Crnl Wilsn, I ʈnc I d; bt ɖr z’nt mć prospect v mî dstrbñ y, I hop. Bî ɖ we,’ h add, ‘dd I śo y ɖt old ẃisl I spouc v? I ʈnc nt. Wel, hir it z.’

Ɖ Crnl trnd it ovr jinjrli in ɖ lît v ɖ candl.

‘Cn y mc enʈñ v ɖ inscripśn?’ asct Parcinz, az h tc it bac.

‘No, nt in ɖs lît. Ẃt d y mīn t d wɖ it?’

‘Ǒ, wel, ẃn I gt bac t Cembrij I śl sbmit it t sm v ɖ arcioḷjists ɖr, n si ẃt ɖe ʈnc v it; n vri lîcli, f ɖe cnsidr it wrʈ hvñ, I me priznt it t wn v ɖ ḿziymz.’

‘’m!’ sd ɖ Crnl. ‘Wel, y me b rît. Ol I nǒ z ɖt, f it wr mîn, I śd ćuc it stret intu ɖ sì. It’s no ys tōcñ, I’m wel awer, bt I xpct ɖt wɖ y it’s a ces v liv n lrn. I hop so, I’m śr, n I wś y a gd nît.’

H trnd awe, līvñ Parcinz in act t spīc at ɖ botm v ɖ ster, n sn ć wz in hiz ǒn bedrūm.

Bî sm unforćṇt axidnt, ɖr wr nɖr blîndz nr crtnz t ɖ windoz v ɖ Pṛfesr’z rūm. Ɖ prīvịs nît h hd ʈt litl v ɖs, bt tnît ɖr sīmd evri prospect v a brît mūn rîzñ t śîn d’recli on hiz bed, n probbli wec him lêtr on. Ẃn h notist ɖs h wz a gd dīl anoid, bt, wɖ an inɉnywti ẃć I cn onli envi, h s’xidd in rigñ p, wɖ ɖ hlp v a relwe rug, sm seftipinz, n a stic n umbrela, a scrīn ẃć, f it onli hld tgɖr, wd cmplitli cīp ɖ mūnlît of hiz bed. N śortli aftwdz h wz cumftbli in ɖt bed. Ẃn h hd réd a smẃt solid wrc loñ inuf t pṛdys a dsîdd wś t slīp, h cast a drǎzi glans rnd ɖ rūm, blù ǎt ɖ candl, n fél bac upn ɖ pilo.

H mst hv slept sǎndli fr an aur or mor, ẃn a sudn clatr śc him p in a most unwelcm manr. In a momnt h riylîzd ẃt hd hapnd: hiz cerf̣li-cnstructd scrīn hd gvn we, n a vri brît frosti mūn wz śînñ d’recli on hiz fes. Ɖs wz hîli anoyñ. Cd h poṣbli gt p n rīcnstruct ɖ scrīn? or cd h manij t slīp f h dd nt?

Fr sm minits h le n pondrd ovr ol ɖ posbiḷtiz; ɖen h trnd ovr śarpli, n wɖ hiz îz opn le breʈlisli liṣnñ. Ɖr hd bn a muvmnt, h wz śr, in ɖ emti bed on ɖ oṗzit sîd v ɖ rūm. Tmoro h wd hv it muvd, fr ɖr mst b rats or smʈñ pleyñ abt in it. It wz qayt nǎ. No! ɖ cmośn bgan agn. Ɖr wz a ruṣlñ n śecñ: śrli mor ɖn eni rat cd cōz.

I cn figr t mslf smʈñ v ɖ Pṛfesr’z bwildrmnt n horr, fr I hv in a drīm ʈrti yirz bac sìn ɖ sem ʈñ hapn; bt ɖ rīdr wl hardli, phps, imajin hǎ dredfl it wz t him t si a figr sudnli sit p in ẃt h hd noun wz an emti bed. H wz ǎt v hiz ǒn bed in wn bǎnd, n md a daś twdz ɖ windo, ẃr le hiz onli wepn, ɖ stic wɖ ẃć h hd propt hiz scrīn. Ɖs wz, az it trnd ǎt, ɖ wrst ʈñ h cd hv dn, bcz ɖ prṣnij in ɖ emti bed, wɖ a sudn smuɖ mośn, slipt fṛm ɖ bed n tc p a pziśn, wɖ ǎtspred armz, btwn ɖ tū bedz, n in frunt v ɖ dor. Parcinz woćt it in a horid pplex̣ti. Smhǎ, ɖ îdīa v gtñ past it n iscepñ ʈru ɖ dor wz intolṛbl t him; h cd nt hv bòrn—h dd’nt nǒ ẃ—t tuć it; n az fr its tućñ him, h wd snr daś himslf ʈru ɖ windo ɖn hv ɖt hapn. It std fr ɖ momnt in a band v darc śado, n h hd nt sìn ẃt its fes wz lîc. Nǎ it bgan t muv, in a stūpñ posćr, n ol at wns ɖ spectetr riylîzd, wɖ sm horr n sm rlif, ɖt it mst b blînd, fr it sīmd t fīl abt it wɖ its mufld armz in a gropñ n randm faśn. Trnñ haf awe fṛm him, it bcem sudnli conśs v ɖ bed h hd jst left, n dartd twdz it, n bnt n flt ovr ɖ piloz in a we ẃć md Parcinz śudr az h hd nvr in hiz lîf ʈt it poṣbl. In a vri fy momnts it sīmd t nǒ ɖt ɖ bed wz emti, n ɖen, muvñ fwd intu ɖ eria v lît n fesñ ɖ windo, it śoud fr ɖ frst tîm ẃt manr v ʈñ it wz.

Parcinz, hu vri mć dslîcs biyñ qsćnd abt it, dd wns dscrîb smʈñ v it in mî hírñ, n I gaɖrd ɖt ẃt h ćīfli rmembrz abt it z a hoṛbl, an intnsli hoṛbl, fes v crumpld linn. Ẃt xpreśn h réd upn it h cd nt or wd nt tel, bt ɖt ɖ fir v it wnt nî t maḍnñ him z srtn.

Bt h wz nt at leźr t woć it fr loñ. Wɖ formiḍbl qcnis it muvd intu ɖ midl v ɖ rūm, n, az it gropt n wevd, wn cornr v its dreṗriz swept acrs Parcinz’z fes. H cd nt, ɖo h ń hǎ periḷs a sǎnd wz—h cd nt cīp bac a crî v dsgust, n ɖs gev ɖ srćr an instnt clu. It lept twdz him upn ɖ instnt, n ɖ nxt momnt h wz hafwe ʈru ɖ windo bcwdz, uṭrñ crî upn crî at ɖ utmost pić v hiz vôs, n ɖ linn fes wz ʈrust clos intu hiz ǒn. At ɖs, olmst ɖ last poṣbl secnd, dlivṛns cem, az y wl hv gest: ɖ Crnl brst ɖ dor opn, n wz jst in tîm t si ɖ dredfl grūp at ɖ windo. Ẃn h rīćt ɖ figrz onli wn wz left. Parcinz sanc fwd intu ɖ rūm in a fent, n bfr him on ɖ flor le a tumbld hīp v bedcloɖz.

Crnl Wilsn asct no qsćnz, bt bizid himslf in cīpñ evrwn els ǎt v ɖ rūm n in gtñ Parcinz bac t hiz bed; n himslf, rápt in a rug, okpaid ɖ uɖr bed, fr ɖ rest v ɖ nît. Rli on ɖ nxt de Rojrz arîvd, mor welcm ɖn h wd hv bn a de bfr, n ɖ ʈri v ɖm hld a vri loñ conslteśn in ɖ Pṛfesr’z rūm. At ɖ end v it ɖ Crnl left ɖ hoteldor cariyñ a smōl objict btwn hiz fngr n ʈum, ẃć h cast az far intu ɖ sì az a vri brōni arm cd snd it. Lêtr on ɖ smoc v a brnñ asndd fṛm ɖ bac preṃsz v ɖ Glob.

Xacli ẃt xpḷneśn wz paćt p fr ɖ staf n vizitrz at ɖ hotel I mst cnfes I d nt rec̣lect. Ɖ Pṛfesr wz smhǎ clird v ɖ redi sspiśn v delirium tremens, n ɖ hotel v ɖ repyteśn v a trubld hǎs.

Ɖr z nt mć qsćn az t ẃt wd hv hapnd t Parcinz f ɖ Crnl hd nt inṭvind ẃn h dd. H wd îɖr hv fōḷn ǎt v ɖ windo or els lost hiz wits. Bt it z nt so evidnt ẃt mor ɖ crīćr ɖt cem in ansr t ɖ ẃisl cd hv dn ɖn frîtn. Ɖr sīmd t b abṣlutli nʈñ mtirịl abt it sev ɖ bedcloɖz v ẃć it hd md itslf a bodi. Ɖ Crnl, hu rmembrd a nt vri dsimilr ocuṛns in India, wz v ɖ opińn ɖt f Parcinz hd clozd wɖ it it cd riyli hv dn vri litl, n ɖt its wn pǎr wz ɖt v frîṭnñ. Ɖ hol ʈñ, h sd, srvd t cnfrm hiz opińn v ɖ Ćrć v Rom.

Ɖr z riyli nʈñ mor t tel, bt, az y me imajin, ɖ Pṛfesr’z vyz on srtn pônts r les clir cut ɖn ɖe yst t b. Hiz nrvz, tù, hv sufrd: h canot īvn nǎ si a srplis haññ on a dor qt unmuvd, n ɖ specṭcl v a scercro in a fīld lêt on a wintr afṭnun hz cost him mor ɖn wn slīplis nît.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE MEZZOTINT by M R James

Ɖ METSOTINT

M R JEMZ

Sm tîm ago I b’liv I hd ɖ pleźr v telñ y ɖ stori v an advnćr ẃć hapnd t a frend v mîn bî ɖ nem v Denistn, jrñ hiz psyt v objicts v art fr ɖ ḿziym at Cembrij.

H dd nt publiś hiz xpirịnsz vri wîdli upn hiz rtrn t Ñgḷnd; bt ɖe cd nt fel t bcm noun t a gd mni v hiz frendz, n amñ uɖrz t ɖ jntlmn hu at ɖt tîm prizîdd ovr an artḿziym at anɖr Yṇvrṣti. It wz t b xpctd ɖt ɖ stori śd mc a cnsidṛbl impreśn on ɖ mînd v a man huz voceśn le in lînz similr t Denistn’z, n ɖt h śd b īgr t cać at eni xpḷneśn v ɖ matr ẃć tndd t mc it sīm improbbl ɖt h śd evr b cōld upn t dīl wɖ so ajtetñ an imrjnsi. It wz, indd, smẃt cnsolñ t him t rflect ɖt h wz nt xpctd t aqîr enćnt mańscripts fr hiz insttyśn; ɖt wz ɖ biznis v ɖ Ślbrnịn Lîbrri. Ɖ oʈoṛtiz v ɖt insttyśn mt, f ɖe plizd, ransac obskr cornrz v ɖ Continnt fr sć matrz. H wz glad t b oblîjd at ɖ momnt t cnfîn hiz atnśn t inlarjñ ɖ olrdi unṣpást c’lex́n v Ñgliś topgraficl drw̃z n ingrevñz pzest bî hiz ḿziym. Yt, az it trnd ǎt, īvn a dpartmnt so homli n fmiłr az ɖs me hv its darc cornrz, n t wn v ɖz Mr. Wiłmz wz unixpctidli intṛdyst.

Ɖoz hu hv tecn īvn ɖ most liṃtd inṭrest in ɖ aqziśn v topgraficl picćrz r awer ɖt ɖr z wn Lundn dīlr huz ed z indispnsbl t ɖer rsrćz. Mr. J. W. Britnl publiśz at śort inṭvlz vri admṛbl caṭlogz v a larj n constntli ćenjñ stoc v ingrevñz, planz, n old scećz v manśnz, ćrćz, n tǎnz in Ñgḷnd n Wêlz. Ɖz caṭlogz wr, v cors, ɖ ABC v hiz subjict t Mr. Wiłmz: bt az hiz ḿziym olrdi cntend an inorṃs akḿleśn v topgraficl picćrz, h wz a reğlr, rɖr ɖn a copịs, bayr; n h rɖr lct t Mr. Britnl t fil p gaps in ɖ ranc n fîl v hiz c’lex́n ɖn t s’plî him wɖ reṛtiz.

Nǎ, in Febrri v last yir ɖr apird upn Mr. Wiłmz’z dsc at ɖ ḿziym a caṭlog fṛm Mr. Britnl’z emporịm, n acumṗniyñ it wz a tîpritn cḿṇceśn fṛm ɖ dīlr himslf. Ɖs latr ran az foloz:

Dir Sr,

W beg t cōl yr atnśn t Nu. 978 in ǎr acumṗniyñ caṭlog, ẃć w śl b glad t snd on apruvl.

Yrz feʈf̣li,

J. W. Britnl.

T trn t Nu. 978 in ɖ acumṗniyñ caṭlog wz wɖ Mr. Wiłmz (az h obzrvd t himslf) ɖ wrc v a momnt, n in ɖ ples indcetd h faund ɖ folowñ entri:

978.—Uņoun. Inṭrestñ metsotint: Vy v a mánrhǎs, rli part v ɖ snćri. 15 bî 10 inćz; blac frem. £2 2ś.

It wz nt speṣ́li xîtñ, n ɖ prîs sīmd hî. Hvr, az Mr. Britnl, hu ń hiz biznis n hiz custmr, sīmd t set stor bî it, Mr. Wiłmz rout a postcard ascñ fr ɖ articl t b snt on apruvl, alñ wɖ sm uɖr ingrevñz n scećz ẃć apird in ɖ sem caṭlog. N so h pást wɖt mć xîtmnt v antiṣpeśn t ɖ ordnri lebrz v ɖ de.

A parsl v eni cnd olwz arîvz a de lêtr ɖn y xpct it, n ɖt v Mr. Britnl pruvd, az I b’liv ɖ rît frêz gz, no xpśn t ɖ rūl. It wz dlivrd at ɖ ḿziym bî ɖ afṭnunpost v Saṭde, aftr Mr. Wiłmz hd left hiz wrc, n it wz acordñli bròt rnd t hiz rūmz in colij bî ɖ atndnt, in ordr ɖt h mt nt hv t wêt ovr Súnde bfr lcñ ʈru it n rtrnñ sć v ɖ contents az h dd nt pṛpoz t cīp. N hir h faund it ẃn h cem in t ti, wɖ a frend.

Ɖ onli îtm wɖ ẃć I am cnsrnd wz ɖ rɖr larj, blac-fremd metsotint v ẃć I hv olrdi qotd ɖ śort dscripśn gvn in Mr. Britnl’z caṭlog. Sm mor dītelz v it wl hv t b gvn, ɖo I canot hop t pt bfr y ɖ lc v ɖ picćr az clirli az it z preznt t mî ǒn î. Vri nirli ɖ xact dyplic̣t v it me b sìn in a gd mni old ínparlrz, or in ɖ paṣjz v undistrbd cuntrimanśnz at ɖ preznt momnt. It wz a rɖr indifṛnt metsotint, n an indifṛnt metsotint z, phps, ɖ wrst form v ingrevñ noun. It prizntd a fl-fes vy v a nt vri larj mánrhǎs v ɖ last snćri, wɖ ʈri roz v plen saśt windoz wɖ rusṭcetd mesnri abt ɖm, a paṛpit wɖ bōlz or vāzz at ɖ anglz, n a smōl portico in ɖ sntr. On îɖr sîd wr triz, n in frunt a cnsidṛbl xpans v lōn. Ɖ lejnd A. W. F. sculpsit wz ingrevd on ɖ naro marjin; n ɖr wz no frɖr inscripśn. Ɖ hol ʈñ gev ɖ impreśn ɖt it wz ɖ wrc v an aṃćr. Ẃt in ɖ wrld Mr. Britnl cd mīn bî afixñ ɖ prîs v £2 2ś. t sć an objict wz mor ɖn Mr. Wiłmz cd imajin. H trnd it ovr wɖ a gd dīl v cntmt; upn ɖ bac wz a pepr lebl, ɖ left-hand haf v ẃć hd bn torn of. Ol ɖt rmend wr ɖ endz v tū lînz v raitñ; ɖ frst hd ɖ letrz—ñli Hōl; ɖ secnd,—six.

It wd, phps, b jst wrʈẃl t îdnṭfî ɖ ples reprizntd, ẃć h cd īẓli d wɖ ɖ hlp v a gaẓtir, n ɖen h wd snd it bac t Mr. Britnl, wɖ sm rmarcs rflectñ upn ɖ jujmnt v ɖt jntlmn.

H lîtd ɖ candlz, fr it wz nǎ darc, md ɖ ti, n s’plaid ɖ frend wɖ hūm h hd bn pleyñ golf (fr I b’liv ɖ oʈoṛtiz v ɖ Yṇvrṣti I rait v indulj in ɖt psyt bî we v rīlaxeśn); n ti wz tecn t ɖ acumṗnimnt v a dscuśn ẃć golfñprsnz cn imajin fr ɖmslvz, bt ẃć ɖ conśienśs raitr hz no rît t inflict upn eni non-golfñprsnz.

Ɖ cncluźn arîvd at wz ɖt srtn strocs mt hv bn betr, n ɖt in srtn imrjnsiz nɖr pleyr hd xpirịnst ɖt amǎnt v luc ẃć a hymn biyñ hz a rît t xpct. It wz nǎ ɖt ɖ frend—let s cōl him Pṛfesr Bncs—tc p ɖ fremd ingrevñ n sd:

‘Ẃt’s ɖs ples, Wiłmz?’

‘Jst ẃt I am gwñ t trî t fînd ǎt,’ sd Wiłmz, gwñ t ɖ ślf fr a gaẓtir. ‘Lc at ɖ bac. Smʈñli Hōl, îɖr in Susix or Esix. Haf ɖ nem’z gn, y si. Y d’nt hapn t nǒ it, I s’poz?’

‘It’s fṛm ɖt man Britnl, I s’poz, z’nt it?’ sd Bncs. ‘Z it fr ɖ ḿziym?’

‘Wel, I ʈnc I śd bai it f ɖ prîs wz fîv śilñz,’ sd Wiłmz; ‘bt fr sm unrʈli rīzn h wonts tū giniz fr it. I c’nt cnsiv ẃ. It’s a rećid ingrevñ, n ɖr r’nt īvn eni figrz t gv it lîf.’

‘It’s nt wrʈ tū giniz, I śd ʈnc,’ sd Bncs; ‘bt I d’nt ʈnc it’s so badli dn. Ɖ mūnlît sīmz rɖr gd t m; n I śd hv ʈt ɖr wr figrz, or at līst a figr, jst on ɖ éj in frunt.’

‘Let’s lc,’ sd Wiłmz. ‘Wel, it’s tru ɖ lît z rɖr clevrli gvn. Ẃr’z yr figr? Ǒ, yes! Jst ɖ hed, in ɖ vri frunt v ɖ picćr.’

N indd ɖr wz—hardli mor ɖn a blac blot on ɖ xtrim éj v ɖ ingrevñ—ɖ hed v a man or wmn, a gd dīl mufld p, ɖ bac trnd t ɖ spectetr, n lcñ twdz ɖ hǎs.

Wiłmz hd nt notist it bfr.

‘Stl,’ h sd, ‘ɖo it’s a clevrr ʈñ ɖn I ʈt, I c’nt spend tū giniz v ḿziym̦uni on a picćr v a ples I d’nt nǒ.’

Pṛfesr Bncs hd hiz wrc t d, n sn wnt; n vri nirli p t Hōl tîm Wiłmz wz ingejd in a ven atmt t îdnṭfî ɖ subjict v hiz picćr. ‘F ɖ vǎl bfr ɖ ñ hd onli bn left, it wd hv bn īzi inuf,’ h ʈt; ‘bt az it z, ɖ nem me b enʈñ fṛm Gstñli t Lañli, n ɖr r mni mor nemz endñ lîc ɖs ɖn I ʈt; n ɖs rotn bc hz no indx v trṃneśnz.’

Hōl in Mr. Wiłmz’z colij wz at sevn. It nīd nt b dwelt upn; ɖ les so az h met ɖr colīgz hu hd bn pleyñ golf jrñ ɖ afṭnun, n wrdz wɖ ẃć w hv no cnsrn wr frīli bandid acrs ɖ tebl—mirli golfñ wrdz, I wd hesn t xplen.

I s’poz an aur or mor t hv bn spent in ẃt z cōld comn-rūm aftr dinr. Lêtr in ɖ īvnñ sm fy rtîrd t Wiłmz’z rūmz, n I hv litl dǎt ɖt ẃist wz pleid n tbaco smoct. Jrñ a lul in ɖz oṗreśnz Wiłmz pict p ɖ metsotint fṛm ɖ tebl wɖt lcñ at it, n handd it t a prsn mîldli inṭrestd in art, telñ him ẃr it hd cm fṛm, n ɖ uɖr ptiklrz ẃć w olrdi nǒ.

Ɖ jntlmn tc it cerlisli, lct at it, ɖen sd, in a ton v sm inṭrest:

‘It’s riyli a vri gd pìs v wrc, Wiłmz; it hz qt a fīlñ v ɖ r’mantic pirịd. Ɖ lît z admṛbli manijd, it sīmz t m, n ɖ figr, ɖo it’s rɖr tù gṛtesc, z smhǎ vri impresiv.’

‘Yes, z’nt it?’ sd Wiłmz, hu wz jst ɖen bizi gvñ ẃisci n soda t uɖrz v ɖ cumṗni, n wz unebl t cm acrs ɖ rūm t lc at ɖ vy agn.

It wz bî ɖs tîm rɖr lêt in ɖ īvnñ, n ɖ vizitrz wr on ɖ muv. Aftr ɖe wnt Wiłmz wz oblîjd t rait a letr or tū n clir p sm od bits v wrc. At last, sm tîm past midnît, h wz dspozd t trn in, n h pt ǎt hiz lamp aftr lîtñ hiz bedrūm candl. Ɖ picćr le fes upwdz on ɖ tebl ẃr ɖ last man hu lct at it hd pt it, n it còt hiz î az h trnd ɖ lamp dǎn. Ẃt h sw md him vri nirli drop ɖ candl on ɖ flor, n h dclerz nǎ f h hd bn left in ɖ darc at ɖt momnt h wd hv hd a fit. Bt, az ɖt dd nt hapn, h wz ebl t pt dǎn ɖ lît on ɖ tebl n tec a gd lc at ɖ picćr. It wz indybitbl—rancli imposbl, no dǎt, bt abṣlutli srtn. In ɖ midl v ɖ lōn in frunt v ɖ uņoun hǎs ɖr wz a figr ẃr no figr hd bn at fîv o’cloc ɖt afṭnun. It wz crōlñ on ol forz twdz ɖ hǎs, n it wz mufld in a strenj blac garmnt wɖ a ẃît cros on ɖ bac.

I d nt nǒ ẃt z ɖ îdiyl cors t psy in a sićueśn v ɖs cnd, I cn onli tel y ẃt Mr. Wiłmz dd. H tc ɖ picćr bî wn cornr n carid it acrs ɖ pasij t a secnd set v rūmz ẃć h pzest. Ɖr h loct it p in a dror, sportd ɖ dorz v bʈ sets v rūmz, n rtîrd t bed; bt frst h rout ǎt n sînd an acǎnt v ɖ xtrordnri ćenj ẃć ɖ picćr hd unḍgn sins it hd cm intu hiz pześn.

Slīp viẓtd him rɖr lêt; bt it wz cnsolñ t rflect ɖt ɖ bhevyr v ɖ picćr dd nt dpnd upn hiz ǒn uns’portd tstiṃni. Evidntli ɖ man hu hd lct at it ɖ nît bfr hd sìn smʈñ v ɖ sem cnd az h hd, uɖ̇wz h mt hv bn tmtd t ʈnc ɖt smʈñ grevli roñ wz haṗnñ îɖr t hiz îz or hiz mînd. Ɖs posbiḷti biyñ forćṇtli pricludd, tū matrz awêtd him on ɖ moro. H mst tec stoc v ɖ picćr vri cerf̣li, n cōl in a witnis fr ɖ prṗs, n h mst mc a dtrmind ef̣t t aṣten ẃt hǎs it wz ɖt wz reprizntd. H wd ɖrfr asc hiz nebr Nizbit t brecfst wɖ him, n h wd subsiqntli spend a mornñ ovr ɖ gaẓtir.

Nizbit wz disingejd, n arîvd abt 9.20. Hiz host wz nt qt drest, I am sori t se, īvn at ɖs lêt aur. Jrñ brecfst nʈñ wz sd abt ɖ metsotint bî Wiłmz, sev ɖt h hd a picćr on ẃć h wśt fr Nizbit’s opińn. Bt ɖoz hu r fmiłr wɖ yṇvrṣtilîf cn picćr fr ɖmslvz ɖ wîd n dlîtfl renj v subjicts ovr ẃć ɖ convseśn v tū Feloz v Canṭbri Colij z lîcli t xtnd jrñ a Súnde mornñ brecfst. Hardli a topic wz left unćalinjd, fṛm golf t lōntenis. Yt I am baund t se ɖt Wiłmz wz rɖr dstrōt; fr hiz inṭrest naćṛli sntrd in ɖt vri strenj picćr ẃć wz nǎ rpozñ, fes dǎnwdz, in ɖ dror in ɖ rūm oṗzit.

Ɖ mornñpîp wz at last lîtd, n ɖ momnt hd arîvd fr ẃć h lct. Wɖ vri cnsidṛbl—olmst treḿḷs—xîtmnt h ran acrs, unloct ɖ dror, n, xtractñ ɖ picćr—stl fes dǎnwdz—ran bac, n pt it intu Nizbit’s handz.

‘Nǎ,’ h sd, ‘Nizbit, I wont y t tel m xacli ẃt y si in ɖt picćr. Dscrîb it, f y d’nt mînd, rɖr mînytli. I’l tel y ẃ aftwdz.’

‘Wel,’ sd Nizbit, ‘I hv hir a vy v a cuntrihǎs—Ñgliś, I prizym—bî mūnlît.’

‘Mūnlît? Y’r śr v ɖt?’

‘Srtnli. Ɖ mūn apirz t b on ɖ wen, f y wś fr dītelz, n ɖr r clǎdz in ɖ scî.’

‘Ol rît. G on. I’l swer,’ add Wiłmz in an asd, ‘ɖr wz no mūn ẃn I sw it frst.’

‘Wel, ɖr’z nt mć mor t b sd,’ Nizbit cntinyd. ‘Ɖ hǎs hz wn—tū—ʈri roz v windoz, fîv in ć ro, xpt at ɖ botm, ẃr ɖr’z a porć instd v ɖ midl wn, n—’

‘Bt ẃt abt figrz?’ sd Wiłmz, wɖ marct inṭrest.

‘Ɖr r’nt eni,’ sd Nizbit; ‘bt—’

‘Ẃt! No figr on ɖ gras in frunt?’

‘Nt a ʈñ.’

‘Y’l swer t ɖt?’

‘Srtnli I wl. Bt ɖr’z jst wn uɖr ʈñ.’

‘Ẃt?’

‘Ẃ, wn v ɖ windoz on ɖ grǎndflor—left v ɖ dor—z opn.’

‘Z it riyli so? Mî gdnis! h mst hv got in,’ sd Wiłmz, wɖ gret xîtmnt; n h hurid t ɖ bac v ɖ sofa on ẃć Nizbit wz sitñ, n, caćñ ɖ picćr fṛm him, veṛfaid ɖ matr fr himslf.

It wz qt tru. Ɖr wz no figr, n ɖr wz ɖ opn windo. Wiłmz, aftr a momnt v spīćlis s’prîz, wnt t ɖ raitñtebl n scribld fr a śort tîm. Ɖen h bròt tū peprz t Nizbit, n asct him frst t sîn wn—it wz hiz ǒn dscripśn v ɖ picćr, ẃć y hv jst hŕd—n ɖen t rīd ɖ uɖr ẃć wz Wiłmz’z stetmnt ritn ɖ nît bfr.

‘Ẃt cn it ol mīn?’ sd Nizbit.

‘Xacli,’ sd Wiłmz. ‘Wel, wn ʈñ I mst d—or ʈri ʈñz, nǎ I ʈnc v it. I mst fînd ǎt fṛm Garwŭd’—ɖs wz hiz last nît’s vizitr—‘ẃt h sw, n ɖen I mst gt ɖ ʈñ foṭgraft bfr it gz frɖr, n ɖen I mst fînd ǎt ẃt ɖ ples z.’

‘I cn d ɖ foṭgrafñ mslf,’ sd Nizbit, ‘n I wl. Bt, y nǒ, it lcs vri mć az f w wr asistñ at ɖ wrcñ ǎt v a traɉdi smẃr. Ɖ qsćn z, hz it hapnd olrdi, or z it gwñ t cm of? Y mst fînd ǎt ẃt ɖ ples z. Yes,’ h sd, lcñ at ɖ picćr agn, ‘I xpct y’r rît: h hz got in. N f I d’nt mstec, ɖr’l b ɖ devl t pe in wn v ɖ rūmz upsterz.’

‘I’l tel y ẃt,’ sd Wiłmz: ‘I’l tec ɖ picćr acrs t old Grīn’ (ɖs wz ɖ sīńr Felo v ɖ Colij, hu hd bn Brsr fr mni yirz). ‘It’s qt lîcli h’l nǒ it. W hv proṗti in Esix n Susix, n h mst hv bn ovr ɖ tū cǎntiz a lot in hiz tîm.’

‘Qt lîcli h wl,’ sd Nizbit; ‘bt jst let m tec mî foṭgraf frst. Bt lc hir, I rɖr ʈnc Grīn z’nt p tde. H wz’nt in Hōl last nît, n I ʈnc I hŕd him se h wz gwñ dǎn fr ɖ Súnde.’

‘Ɖt’s tru, tù,’ sd Wiłmz; ‘I nǒ h’z gn t Braitn. Wel, f y’l foṭgraf it nǎ, I’l g acrs t Garwŭd n gt hiz stetmnt, n y cīp an î on it ẃl I’m gn. I’m bginñ t ʈnc tū giniz z nt a vri xorbtnt prîs fr it nǎ.’

In a śort tîm h hd rtrnd, n bròt Mr. Garwŭd wɖ him. Garwŭd’z stetmnt wz t ɖ ifct ɖt ɖ figr, ẃn h hd sìn it, wz clir v ɖ éj v ɖ picćr, bt hd nt got far acrs ɖ lōn. H rmembrd a ẃît marc on ɖ bac v its dreṗri, bt cd nt hv bn śr it wz a cros. A dokmnt t ɖs ifct wz ɖen drwn p n sînd, n Nizbit pṛsidd t foṭgraf ɖ picćr.

‘Nǎ ẃt d y mīn t d?’ h sd. ‘R y gwñ t sit n woć it ol de?’

‘Wel, no, I ʈnc nt,’ sd Wiłmz. ‘I rɖr imajin w’r mnt t si ɖ hol ʈñ. Y si, btwn ɖ tîm I sw it last nît n ɖs mornñ ɖr wz tîm fr lots v ʈñz t hapn, bt ɖ crīćr onli got intu ɖ hǎs. It cd īẓli hv got ʈru its biznis in ɖ tîm n gn t its ǒn ples agn; bt ɖ fact v ɖ windo biyñ opn, I ʈnc, mst mīn ɖt it’s in ɖr nǎ. So I fīl qt īzi abt līvñ it. N bsdz, I hv a cnd v îdīa ɖt it wd’nt ćenj mć, f at ol, in ɖ dêtîm. W mt g ǎt fr a wōc ɖs afṭnun, n cm in t ti, or ẃnvr it gts darc. I śl līv it ǎt on ɖ tebl hir, n sport ɖ dor. Mî scip cn gt in, bt nwn els.’

Ɖ ʈri agrìd ɖt ɖs wd b a gd plan; n, frɖr, ɖt f ɖe spent ɖ afṭnun tgɖr ɖe wd b les lîcli t tōc abt ɖ biznis t uɖr ppl; fr eni rūmr v sć a trnzax́n az wz gwñ on wd brñ ɖ hol v ɖ Fasmaṭlojicl Ssayti abt ɖer irz.

W me gv ɖm a respît untl fîv o’cloc.

At or nir ɖt aur ɖ ʈri wr enṭrñ Wiłmz’z sterces. Ɖe wr at frst slîtli anoid t si ɖt ɖ dor v hiz rūmz wz unsportd; bt in a momnt it wz rmembrd ɖt on Súnde ɖ scips cem fr ordrz an aur or so rlịr ɖn on wīcdez. Hvr, a s’prîz wz awêtñ ɖm. Ɖ frst ʈñ ɖe sw wz ɖ picćr līnñ p agnst a pîl v bcs on ɖ tebl, az it hd bn left, n ɖ nxt ʈñ wz Wiłmz’z scip, sītd on a ćer oṗzit, gezñ at it wɖ undisgîzd horr. Hǎ wz ɖs? Mr. Filćr (ɖ nem z nt mî ǒn invnśn) wz a srvnt v cnsidṛbl standñ, n set ɖ standd v eticét t ol hiz ǒn colij n t sevṛl neḅrñ wnz, n nʈñ cd b mor ełn t hiz practis ɖn t b faund sitñ on hiz mastr’z ćer, or apirñ t tec eni ptiklr notis v hiz mastr’z frnićr or picćrz. Indd, h sīmd t fīl ɖs himslf. H startd vayḷntli ẃn ɖ ʈri men wr in ɖ rūm, n got p wɖ a marct ef̣t. Ɖen h sd:

‘I asc yr pardn, sr, fr tecñ sć a frīdm az t set dǎn.’

‘Nt at ol, Roḅt,’ inṭpozd Mr. Wiłmz. ‘I wz mīnñ t asc y sm tîm ẃt y ʈt v ɖt picćr.’

‘Wel, sr, v cors I d’nt set p mî opińn agnst yrz, bt it e’nt ɖ pictur I śd ’añ ẃr mî litl grl cd si it, sr.’

‘Wd’nt y, Roḅt? Ẃ nt?’

‘No, sr. Ẃ, ɖ pōr ćîld, I rec̣lect wns ś si a Dor Bîbl, wɖ picćrz nt ’af ẃt ɖt z, n w ’ad t set p wɖ hr ʈri or for nîts aftwdz, f y’l b’liv m; n f ś wz t ceć a sît v ɖs scelintn hir, or ẃtvr it z, cariyñ of ɖ pōr bebi, ś wd b in a tecñ. Y nǒ ’ǎ it z wɖ ćildṛn; ’ǎ nrviś ɖe git wɖ a litl ʈñ n ol. Bt ẃt I śd se, it d’nt sīm a rît pictr t b leyñ abt, sr, nt ẃr enwn ɖt’s laybl t b startld cd cm on it. Śd y b wontñ enʈñ ɖs īvnñ, sr? Ʈanc y, sr.’

Wɖ ɖz wrdz ɖ xḷnt man wnt t cntiny ɖ rǎnd v hiz mastrz, n y me b śr ɖ jntlṃn hūm h left lost no tîm in gaɖ̇rñ rnd ɖ ingrevñ. Ɖr wz ɖ hǎs, az bfr undr ɖ wenñ mūn n ɖ driftñ clǎdz. Ɖ windo ɖt hd bn opn wz śut, n ɖ figr wz wns mor on ɖ lōn: bt nt ɖs tîm crōlñ cōśsli on handz n niz. Nǎ it wz irect n stepñ swiftli, wɖ loñ strîdz, twdz ɖ frunt v ɖ picćr. Ɖ mūn wz bhnd it, n ɖ blac dreṗri huñ dǎn ovr its fes so ɖt onli hints v ɖt cd b sìn, n ẃt wz viẓbl md ɖ spectetrz pṛfǎndli ʈancfl ɖt ɖe cd si no mor ɖn a ẃît domlîc fōrhed n a fy straġlñ herz. Ɖ hed wz bnt dǎn, n ɖ armz wr tîtli claspt ovr an objict ẃć cd b dimli sìn n îdnṭfaid az a ćîld, ẃɖr ded or livñ it wz nt poṣbl t se. Ɖ legz v ɖ apiṛns alon cd b plenli dsrnd, n ɖe wr hoṛbli ʈin.

Fṛm fîv t sevn ɖ ʈri cmpańnz sat n woćt ɖ picćr bî trnz. Bt it nvr ćenjd. Ɖe agrìd at last ɖt it wd b sef t līv it, n ɖt ɖe wd rtrn aftr Hōl n awêt frɖr dveḷpmnts.

Ẃn ɖe asmbld agn, at ɖ rliist poṣbl momnt, ɖ ingrevñ wz ɖr, bt ɖ figr wz gn, n ɖ hǎs wz qayt undr ɖ mūnbīmz. Ɖr wz nʈñ fr it bt t spend ɖ īvnñ ovr gaẓtirz n gîd-bcs. Wiłmz wz ɖ luci wn at last, n phps h dzrvd it. At 11.30 p.m. h réd fṛm Muri’z Gîd t Esix ɖ folowñ lînz:

16½ mîlz, Anñli. Ɖ ćrć hz bn an inṭrestñ bildñ v Normn det, bt wz xtnsivli classîzd in ɖ last snćri. It cntenz ɖ tūm v ɖ faṃli v Fransis, huz manśn, Anñli Hōl, a solid Qīn Án hǎs, standz imīɉtli bynd ɖ ćrćyard in a parc v abt 80 ecrz. Ɖ faṃli z nǎ xtñt, ɖ last ér hvñ dis’pird mstirịsli in inf̣nsi in ɖ yir 1802. Ɖ faɖr, Mr. Arʈr Fransis, wz loc̣li noun az a talntd aṃćr ingrevr in metsotint. Aftr hiz sun’z dis’piṛns h livd in cmplit rtîrmnt at ɖ Hōl, n wz faund ded in hiz stydio on ɖ ʈrd aṇvrsri v ɖ dzastr, hvñ jst cmplitd an ingrevñ v ɖ hǎs, impreśnz v ẃć r v cnsidṛbl reṛti.

Ɖs lct lîc biznis, n, indd, Mr. Grīn on hiz rtrn at wns îdnṭfaid ɖ hǎs az Anñli Hōl.

‘Z ɖr eni cnd v xpḷneśn v ɖ figr, Grīn?’ wz ɖ qsćn ẃć Wiłmz naćṛli asct.

‘I d’nt nǒ, I’m śr, Wiłmz. Ẃt yst t b sd in ɖ ples ẃn I frst ń it, ẃć wz bfr I cem p hir, wz jst ɖs: old Fransis wz olwz vri mć dǎn on ɖz poćñfeloz, n ẃnvr h got a ćans h yst t gt a man hūm h sspctd v it trnd of ɖ istet, n bî dgriz h got rid v ɖm ol bt wn. Sqîrz cd d a lot v ʈñz ɖen ɖt ɖe der’nt ʈnc v nǎ. Wel, ɖs man ɖt wz left wz ẃt y fînd priti ofn in ɖt cuntri—ɖ last rmenz v a vri old faṃli. I b’liv ɖe wr Lordz v ɖ Mánr at wn tîm. I rec̣lect jst ɖ sem ʈñ in mî ǒn pariś.’

‘Ẃt, lîc ɖ man in Tés o’ ɖ Drḅvilz?’ Wiłmz pt in.

‘Yes, I der se; it’s nt a bc I cd evr rīd mslf. Bt ɖs felo cd śo a ro v tūmz in ɖ ćrć ɖr ɖt b’loñd t hiz ansestrz, n ol ɖt wnt t sǎr him a bit; bt Fransis, ɖe sd, cd nvr gt at him—h olwz cept jst on ɖ rît sîd v ɖ lw—untl wn nît ɖ cīprz faund him at it in a wŭd rît at ɖ end v ɖ istet. I cd śo y ɖ ples nǎ; it marćz wɖ sm land ɖt yst t b’loñ t an uncl v mîn. N y cn imajin ɖr wz a rǎ; n ɖs man Gōdi (ɖt wz ɖ nem, t b śr—Gōdi; I ʈt I śd gt it—Gōdi), h wz unluci inuf, pur ćap! t śūt a cīpr. Wel, ɖt wz ẃt Fransis wontd, n grand jriz—y nǒ ẃt ɖe wd hv bn ɖen—n pur Gōdi wz struñ p in dubl-qc tîm; n I’v bn śoun ɖ ples h wz berid in, on ɖ norʈ sîd v ɖ ćrć—y nǒ ɖ we in ɖt part v ɖ wrld: enwn ɖt’s bn hañd or md awe wɖ ɖmslvz, ɖe beri ɖm ɖt sîd. N ɖ îdīa wz ɖt sm frend v Gōdi’z—nt a rleśn, bcz h hd nn, pur devl! h wz ɖ last v hiz lîn: cnd v spes ultima gentis—mst hv pland t gt hold v Fransis’z bô n pt an end t hiz lîn, tù. I d’nt nǒ—it’s rɖr an ǎt-v-ɖ-we ʈñ fr an Esix poćr t ʈnc v—bt, y nǒ, I śd se nǎ it lcs mor az f old Gōdi hd manijd ɖ job himslf. Bu! I het t ʈnc v it! hv sm ẃisci, Wiłmz!’

Ɖ facts wr cḿṇcetd bî Wiłmz t Denistn, n bî him t a mixt cumṗni, v ẃć I wz wn, n ɖ Sadysiyn Pṛfesr v Ofioḷji anɖr. I am sori t se ɖt ɖ latr ẃn, asct ẃt h ʈt v it, onli rmarct: ‘Ǒ, ɖoz Brijf̣d ppl wl se enʈñ’—a sntimnt ẃć met wɖ ɖ rspśn it dzrvd.

I hv onli t ad ɖt ɖ picćr z nǎ in ɖ Aślịn Ḿziym; ɖt it hz bn trītd wɖ a vy t dscuṿrñ ẃɖr simṗʈetic ñc hz bn yzd in it, bt wɖt ifct; ɖt Mr. Britnl ń nʈñ v it sev ɖt h wz śr it wz uncomn; n ɖt, ɖo cerf̣li woćt, it hz nvr bn noun t ćenj agn.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

ÑSPEL

From Czech: GOOD LUCK by Karel Čapek

(My translation of Karel Čapek’s short story Případy pana Janíka, which was published in Povídky z jedné kapsy in 1929)

PDF

The Mr Janík I’m talking about isn’t Dr Janík from the ministry, or the Janík who shot dead Jirsa the landowner, nor the Janík who’s reputed to have performed 326 consecutive cannons at billiards, but rather the Janík who was the boss of Janík & Holeček’s, paper and cellulose wholesalers – the polite little man who, after unsuccessfully wooing Miss Severa, resolved never to marry. So, to put it in a nutshell and for the avoidance of doubt, that Janík. The paper merchant.

Well, this particular Mr Janík became a paper merchant by sheer chance. It was when he was spending his summer holiday by the River Sázava, just at the time when they were searching for the body of Růžena Regnerová, who was murdered by her fiancé Jindřich Bašta, who poured petrol over her body, set it alight and buried it in the woods. Although Bašta was found guilty of her murder, they weren’t able to find her body. The police combed the woods for nine days, with Bašta telling them it was here or it was there, but they never found anything. It was clear that, at his wits’ end, he was either trying to confuse them or to gain time, or both.

Jindřich Bašta was a young man from a respectable and wealthy family but, when he was born, the doctor probably squeezed the forceps around his head too much, because something about him wasn’t quite right; that’s to say, there was something perverse and strange about him. So, as white as a ghost, and with his nystagmic eyes flitting nervously here and there – a sorry sight –, he led the police hither and thither through the woods for nine days. The police trudged alongside him through bilberry undergrowth and through mud, becoming more and more furious and more and more determined to wear the beast out so much that sooner or later he’d lead them to the right place. Bašta became so exhausted that he could scarcely stand on his feet, and he kept sinking to the ground and croaking, “Here! I buried her here!”

At which point one of the policemen would bellow, “On your feet, Bašta! It’s not here! Get going!” And Bašta would obediently haul himself up and stagger on for a bit, before collapsing once more with exhaustion. So it was quite a procession: four policemen, two detectives, a few gamekeepers, and some old men with hoes; not to mention that wreck of a man, Jindřich Bašta.

Mr Janík had got to know the policemen in the pub. As a result, he too was allowed to accompany that tragic procession, without anyone demanding to know what the hell he was doing there. And it should be noted that he carried with him some boxes containing sardines, salami, a bottle of cognac and similar things, which the other searchers had no objection to partaking of. But the ninth day was so dire that Mr Janík had decided he wouldn’t return on the morrow. The policemen kept shouting in anger, the gamekeepers declared they’d had enough and had better things to do, the old men with the hoes grumbled that twenty crowns a day was a pittance for such drudgery, and Jindřich Bašta lay collapsed on the ground, trembling uncontrollably and no longer even attempting to respond to the yelling and abuse from the policemen.

But at that very moment – that desperate and desolate moment –, Mr Janík did something that wasn’t exactly in the script: he knelt down beside the young man, shoved a cheese roll into his hand and said sympathetically, “Look, Mr Bašta… Come now, Mr Bašta… Can you hear me, Mr Bašta?”

Mr Bašta howled, before bursting into tears. “I’ll find it…,” he sobbed, “I’ll find it, sir.” He tried to stand up, and one of the detectives came and helped him, almost gently.

“Just lean on me, Mr Bašta. Mr Janík will help you on the other side. That’s it! So, Mr Bašta, you’ll show Mr Janík where she’s buried now, won’t you?”

An hour later, Jindřich Bašta was standing, smoking a cigarette, above a shallow grave, out of which a thigh bone was sticking.

“Is that the body of Růžena Regnerová?” asked PC Trnka between gritted teeth.

“It is,” replied Jindřich Bašta calmly, as he tapped the ash from his cigarette into the hole. “Do you need anything else?”

***

“You know,” said PC Trnka to Mr Janík in the pub that evening, “you’re quite a psychologist, I’ve got to give you that. Your good health! The fellow softened up as soon as you said, “Mr Bašta.” All he wanted was a bit of respect, the miserable so-and-so! And to think of the trouble we’d gone to with him… How did you know politeness would do the trick?”

The hero of the hour blushed slightly. “Well, it’s like this, you know. I… that’s how I speak to everyone, you know. The thing is, I felt sorry for him, for Mr Bašta, so I wanted to give him that cheese roll…”

“Instinct!” declared PC Trnka. “That’s what I call sixth sense and psychology. Your very good health, Mr Janík! You’re wasted! You should have been a detective…”

***

Some time later, Mr Janík was travelling in the night train to Bratislava, where the annual general meeting of shareholders in a Slovak papermill was going to take place, and because he had some shares in it himself, he was anxious to be there.

“Please wake me before we get to Bratislava,” he asked the conductor. “I don’t want to miss my stop.” Whereupon he headed for his comparment in the sleeping car and crawled into the bottom bunk. As he was alone, he made himself as comfortable as he could, thought for a while about various business matters, and fell asleep.

He had no idea what the time was when the conductor opened the door for another man, who immediately got undressed and climbed up to the top bunk. As he did so, Mr Janík caught a glimpse of a pair of trousers and a pair of unusually hairy legs. Then he heard grunting as the man snuggled beneath the blanket, and then the man turned the light off, leaving darkness again and the rattling and clanking of the train.

Mr Janík dreamt about this and that, but mainly that he was being pursued by a pair of hairy legs. Then he woke up because it was unusually quiet all of a sudden and someone was shouting, “See you in Žilina!” Mr Janík scrambled hurriedly out from his bunk, looked out of the window, and saw that the train was already standing at Bratislava station. The conductor had forgotten to wake him up! He didn’t even have time to swear; instead he got dressed, feverishly, over his pyjamas, stuffed his belongings into his pockets and managed to jump down on to the platform just as the station master was raising his hand for the train to leave.

“Damn you!” he shouted, shaking his fist at the departing train.

Then he went to the gents’ toilets to get dressed properly. And it was when he’d just started to sort out the items in his pockets that he froze: instead of one wallet in his breast pocket, there were two; in the bulkier one, which wasn’t his, there were sixty new Czechoslovak 500-crown banknotes. The wallet clearly belonged to his nocturnal fellow-traveller; but the still sleepy Mr Janík couldn’t begin to think how it had got into his pocket.

It goes without saying that the first thing he did was to find a policeman so that he could give him the stranger’s wallet. And the policeman left Mr Janík dying with hunger while he telephoned Galanta for them to inform the passenger in Couch 14 that his wallet with his money in it was at the police station in Bratislava. Whereupon, after providing his personal details, Mr Janík went to have breakfast. But then someone from the police station came looking for him and asked whether it wasn’t some sort of mistake: the man in Couch 14 said he hadn’t lost his wallet. So Mr Janík had to go to the police station again and explain once more how he came by it. Meanwhile two men in civies took the sixty banknotes somewhere, leaving him to wait for half an hour. When they came back, they took him to some higher-up policeman.

“Sir,” said the higher-up policeman, “we’re just sending a telegraph to Parkány-Nána to ask them to arrest the passenger in Couch 14. Can you give me a precise description of him?” But Mr Janík could only say that the passenger in question had remarkably hairy legs. Which wasn’t a satisfactory answer as far as the higher-up policeman was concerned. “The thing is,” he said all of a sudden, “those banknotes are counterfeit. You’ll have to wait here until we can bring you face to face with your fellow-passenger.”

In his head, Mr Janík cursed the conductor who hadn’t woken him up on time and hence has caused him, in his haste, to put that wretched wallet into his pocket. It wasn’t until about an hour later that a message came back from Parkány-Nána that the passenger in Couch 14 had got out at Nové Zámky and, at the moment, no one knew where he’d gone from there.

“Mr Janík,” the higher-up policeman announced eventually, “we won’t detain you any longer for the time being. We’ll refer the matter to Inspector Hruška in Prague – he deals with counterfeiting. But I can tell you this is serious. Return to Prague as soon as possible and they’ll give you a call. In the meantime, please accept my thanks for so successfully getting hold of these fakes. It won’t be a coincidence, believe you me.”

***

Mr Janík had hardly got back to Prague before they called him to the police headquarters. There he was greeted by an extraordinarily large man – who everyone called Mr President – and a sinewy, yellowish fellow, who turned out to be the aforementioned Inspector Hruška.

“Have a seat, Mr Janík,” said the large man, as he opened the seal on a small packet. “Is this the wallet that you… erm, that you found in your pocket at Bratislava station?”

“It is,” answered Mr Janík, wearily.

The large man took the banknotes out of the wallet and counted them. “Sixty,” he said. “They all have the serial number 27451. The office in Cheb asked us to look out for that number.”

The sinewy man took hold of one of the notes, closed his eyes and rubbed it between his fingers. Then he sniffed it.

“These are from Štýrský Hradec. The ones from Geneva aren’t so sticky.”

“Štýrský Hradec,” mused the large man. “That’s where they make these things for Pešť, isn’t it?”

The sinewy man only blinked. “I’d need to go to Vienna,” he said. “But the police there won’t hand him over.”

“Hm,” said the large man. “So try to get him here somehow. If that’s not possible, tell them we’ll give them Leberhardt in exchange. Good day, Hruška. And you, sir” – turning to Mr Janík – “I can’t thank you enough. You’re the one who found Jindřich Bašta’s fiancée, aren’t you?”

“It was purely a coincidence,” said Mr Janík emphatically. “I really… I didn’t have any intention…”

“You have the gift of luck,” said the large man, nodding his head. “It’s a gift from God, Mr Janík. One person doesn’t come across anything during his whole life; another stumbles upon the best cases as if by chance. You should join us, Mr Janík.”

“That’s not possible,” said Mr Janík. “I… that’s to say, I have my own business… a successful business that I inherited from my grandfather…”

The large man sighed. “As you wish, but you’d be sorely missed. It’s not everyday you come across someone as damned lucky as you. We’ll meet again, Mr Janík.”

***

About a month later, Mr Janík was dining with a business friend from Leipzig. Of course, these business lunches are quite something. The cognac, in particular, was of the best. In short, Mr Janík definitely did not wish to go home on foot, so he signalled to the wine waiter: “A taxi, please!”

When he left the hotel, he saw the taxi already waiting at the entrance. He climbed in, shut the door and – rather the worse for wear – forgot to tell the driver his address. Nevertheless, the taxi set off and, comfortably ensconced in the corner, Mr Janík fell asleep.

He had no idea how long they’d been driving, but he woke up when the car stopped and the driver opened the door for him.

“We’re here, sir. You need to go upstairs, sir.”

Mr Janík had no idea where he was, but because the cognac had dulled any concern he might otherwise have had, he went up the stairs and opened a door behind which loud conversation could be heard. There were about twenty people there, who all turned impatiently towards the door. Suddenly there was a strange silence. One of the men stook up and approached Mr Janík.

“What do you want here, sir? Who are you?”

“Mr Janík looked around in amazement. He recognised five or six of the men – rich people who were said to have some sort of special interest in politics. But Mr Janík kept out of politics.

“Goodness gracious!” he said in a friendly tone. “There’s Mr Koubek, and there’s Mr Heller. Hello, chaps! I wouldn’t say No to a drink, lads.”

“Where’s this fellow come from?” one of the men shouted angrily. “He’s not one of us, is he?”

Two of them pushed Mr Janík back out to the landing.

“How did you get here?” asked one of them. “Who invited you?”

All this rough treatment brought Mr Janík to his senses.

“Where am I?” he demanded. “Where the devil have I been taken?”

One of the men ran down the stairs and button-holed the driver.

“Where did you pick up this man, you idiot?”

“In front of the hotel, of course,” said the driver. “They told me in the evening to wait for a gentleman in front of the hotel at ten o’clock and bring him here. That gentleman got into the taxi at ten o’clock without saying anything. So I brought him here…”

“Christ Almighty!” shouted the other. “It’s somebody else! You’ve dropped us right in it!”

Mr Janík sat down resignedly on the top step.

“Ah,” he said, sounding rather amused. “It’s some sort of secret meeting, isn’t it? Now you’ll have to strangle me and bury my body somewhere. A glass of water, please!”

“No,” said the one who’d stayed with him at the top of the stairs. “You’re wrong. Neither Mr Koubek nor Mr Heller are inside there, do you understand? It’s a mistake. We’ll get you taken back to Prague. You’ll have to forgive us. It was a misunderstanding.”

“It’s no problem,” said Mr Janík graciously. “I know that, on the way, the driver will shoot me and bury my body in a wood somewhere. It doesn’t matter. My fault for forgetting to give him my address. What a fool I am!”

“You’re drunk, aren’t you?” said the man, sounding rather relieved.

“Slightly,” agreed Mr Janík, remaining seated on the top step. “The thing is, I was at dinner with Meyer, from Dresden. My name’s Janík, by the way – wholesale paper and cellulose. A well-established company. Founded by my grandfather. Pleased to meet you.”

“Go and sleep it off,” said the other. “Once you’ve had a good sleep, you won’t even remember that… hm, that we treated you so badly.”

“Quite right,” said Mr Janík in a dignified manner. “Go to bed, sir. Where is my bed?”

“At home,” said the other. “The driver will take you home. Allow me to help you to your feet.”

“No need,” said Mr Janík. “I’m not as drunk as you. Go to bed. Driver!”

The car set off back, and Mr Janík made a point of observing where they were going.

***

The next morning he telephoned the police headquarters to inform them of his night-time adventure. The voice from the other end came after a few moments of silence.

“That’s remarkably interesting, Mr Janík. We’d be most grateful if you’d come over immediately.”

***

When Mr Janík arrived, four men, including the large, corpulent fellow, were waiting for him. Mr Janík had to repeat what had happened and who he’d seen.

“The car had registration number N XX 705,” said the large man when Mr Janík had finished speaking. “A private car. I don’t know three of the six men Mr Janík recognised. Gentlemen, I’ll leave you now. Mr Janík, come with me, please.”

Mr Janík soon found himself sitting in complete silence in the office of the large man, who was walking up and down, deep in thought.

“Mr Janík,” he said eventually. “I really need to ask you not to say a word about this to anyone. Reasons of state – you understand?”

Mr Janík nodded silently. Jesus Christ! he thought. What have I got myself into now?

But the large man was speaking again.

“Mr Janík. I’m not exaggerating when I say we need you. You’re incredibly lucky. They can talk all they like about methodology, but a detective who doesn’t have plain, down-to-earth luck is of no use. We need people who are lucky. It’s not that we’re not intelligent, but you can’t buy good luck. Join us!”

“But what about my business?” whispered Mr Janík, not looking at all happy.

“Your partner will look after it. You and your extraordinary gift are wasted on it. What do you say?”

“I… I’ll need to think about it,” stuttered Mr Janík. “I’ll come back in a week, but if there’s no avoiding it… and if I’ve got the capability… I don’t know. I’ll come back and tell you.”

“Good,” said the large man, offering his large hand. “You needn’t have any doubts about yourself. I’ll see you next week.”

***

A whole week had not gone by before Mr Janík returned, looking decidedly happier.

“I’m back,” he announced breezily.

“And you’ve made up your mind?” asked the large man.

“Yes, thank goodness! I’ve come to tell you I’m not the person you’re looking for.”

“Really? Why not?”

“Just imagine!” said Mr Janík. “My chief clerk’s been embezzling from my business for five years, and I’ve only just found out. What an idiot I am! So, you tell me, sir, what good I’d be as a detective. God in heaven! I’ve been working with that joker for five years, and I didn’t know anything! So you can see how useless I am! And it was making me sick with worry! Mary, Mother of God! I’m so glad nothing will come of it. I’m off the hook now, aren’t I? Thanks anyway!”

Clasics in Ñspel: THE IDYLL OF MISS SARAH BROWN, by Damon Runyon

The Guardian, 2020: "I wish more people would read ... Damon Runyon's short stories." Photo: Granger Historical Picture Archive/Alamy.

Ɖ IDIL OV MIS SẸRA BRǍN

Demn Ruńn

PDF

V  ol ɖ hî pleyrz ɖs cuntri evr siz, ɖr z no dǎt bt ɖt ɖ gai ɖe cōl Ɖ Scî z ɖ hîist. In fact, ɖ rīzn h z cōld Ɖ Scî z bcz h gz so hî ẃn it cmz t betñ on eni propziśn ẃtvr. H wl bet ol h hz, n nbdi cn bet eni mor ɖn ɖs.

Hiz rît nem z Oḅdaia Masṭsn, n h z orijiṇli ǎt v a litl tǎn in suɖn Coḷrado ẃr h lrnz t śūt craps, n ple cardz, n wn ʈñ n anɖr, n ẃr hiz old man z a vri wel-noun sitizn, n smʈñ v a sport himslf. In fact, Ɖ Scî tlz m ɖt ẃn h fîṇli clīnz p ol ɖ lūs scrać arnd hiz homtǎn n dsîdz h nīdz mor rūm, hiz old man hz a litl prîṿt tōc wɖ him n sz t him lîc ɖs:

“Sun,” ɖ old gai sz, “y r nǎ gwñ ǎt intu ɖ wîd, wîd wrld t mc yr ǒn we, n it z a vri gd ʈñ t d, az ɖr r no mor oṗtyṇtiz fr y in ɖs brg. I am onli sori,” h sz, “ɖt I am nt ebl t bancrol y t a vri larj start, bt,” h sz, “nt hvñ eni ptetoz t gv y, I am nǎ gwñ t stec y t sm vri vałbl advîs, ẃć I prsṇli c’lect in mî yirz v xpirịns arnd n abt, n I hop n trust y wl olwz ber ɖs advîs in mînd.

“Sun,” ɖ old gai sz, “no matr hǎ far y travl, or hǎ smart y gt, olwz rmembr ɖs: sm de, smẃr,” h sz, “a gai z gwñ t cm t y n śo y a nîs brand-ny dec v cardz on ẃć ɖ sìl z nvr brocn, n ɖs gai z gwñ t ofr t bet y ɖt ɖ jac v spedz wl jump ǎt v ɖs dec n sqrt sîdr in yr ir. Bt, sun,” ɖ old gai sz, “d nt bet him, fr az śr az y d y r gwñ t gt an ir fl v sîdr.”

Wel, Ɖ Scî rmembrz ẃt hiz old man sz, n h z olwz vri cōśs abt betñ on sć proṗziśnz az ɖ jac v spedz jumpñ ǎt v a sìld dec v cardz n sqrtñ sîdr in hiz ir, n so h mcs fy mstecs az h gz alñ. In fact, ɖ onli riyl mstec Ɖ Scî mcs z ẃn h hits St Lui aftr līvñ hiz old homtǎn, n luzz ol hiz ptetoz betñ a gai St Lui z ɖ bigist tǎn in ɖ wrld.

Nǎ v cors ɖs z bfr Ɖ Scî evr siz eni bigr tǎnz, n h z nvr mć v a hand fr rīdñ p on matrz sć az ɖs. In fact, ɖ onli rīdñ Ɖ Scî evr dz az h gz alñ ʈru lîf z in ɖz Gidịn Bîblz sć az h fîndz in ɖ hotelrūmz ẃr h livz, fr Ɖ Scî nvr livz enẃr els bt in hotelrūmz fr yirz.

H tlz m ɖt h rīdz mni îtmz v gret inṭrest in ɖz Gidịn Bîblz, n frɖrmr Ɖ Scî sz ɖt sevṛl tîmz ɖz Gidịn Bîblz cīp him fṛm gtñ ǎt v lîn, sć az ɖ tîm h fîndz himslf priti mć frozn-in ovr in Sinṣnati, ẃt wɖ owñ evrbdi in tǎn xpt mbi ɖ mẹr fṛm pleyñ gemz v ćans v wn cnd n anɖr.

Wel, Ɖ Scî sz h siz no we v mītñ ɖz obḷgeśnz n h z fiğrñ ɖ onli ʈñ h cn d z t tec a run-ǎt pǎdr, ẃn h hapnz t réd in wn v ɖz Gidịn Bîblz ẃr it sz lîc ɖs:

“Betr z it,” ɖ Gidịn Bîbl sz, “ɖt ɖǎ śdst nt vǎ, ɖn ɖt ɖǎ śdst vǎ n nt pe.”

Wel, Ɖ Scî sz h cn si ɖt ɖr z no dǎt ẃtvr bt ɖt ɖs mīnz a gai śl nt wlś, so h rmenz in Sinṣnati untl h maṇjz t wigl himslf ǎt v ɖ sićueśn, n fṛm ɖt de t ɖs, Ɖ Scî nvr ʈncs v wlśñ.

H z mbi ʈrti yirz old, n z a tōl gai wɖ a rǎnd cisr, n big blu îz, n h olwz lcs az iṇsnt az a litl bebi. Bt Ɖ Scî z bî no mīnz az iṇsnt az h lcs. In fact, Ɖ Scî z smartr ɖn ʈri Fiḷdelfia loyrz, ẃć mcs him vri smart, indd, n h z wel istabliśt az a hî pleyr in Ny Orliynz, n Ścago, n Los Anɉlīz, n ẃrvr els ɖr z eni ax́n in ɖ we v cardpleyñ, or crapśūtñ, or horsrêsñ, or betñ on ɖ besbōl gemz, fr Ɖ Scî z olwz muvñ arnd ɖ cuntri folowñ ɖ ax́n.

Bt ẃl Ɖ Scî wl bet on enʈñ ẃtvr, h z mor v a śort-card pleyr n a crapśūtr ɖn enʈñ els, n frɖrmr h z a gret hand fr proṗziśnz, sć az r olwz cmñ p amñ sitiznz hu folo gemz v ćans fr a livñ. Mni sitiznz prifŕ betñ on proṗziśnz t enʈñ y cn ʈnc v, bcz ɖe fiğr a propziśn gvz ɖm a ćans t ǎtsmart smbdi, n in fact I nǒ sitiznz hu wl sit p ol nît mcñ p proṗziśnz t ofr uɖr sitiznz ɖ nxt de.

A propziśn me b onli a probḷm in cardz, sć az ẃt z ɖ prîs agnst a gai gtñ esz bac-t-bac, or hǎ ofn a per v dysz wl win a hand in stud, n ɖen agn it me b sm vri dafi propziśn, indd, olɖo ɖ dafịr eni propziśn sīmz t b, ɖ mor sm sitiznz lîc it. N nwn evr siz Ɖ Scî ẃn h dz nt hv sm propziśn v hiz ǒn.

Ɖ frst tîm h evr śoz p arnd ɖs tǎn, h gz t a besbōl gem at ɖ Pologrǎndz wɖ sevṛl prominnt sitiznz, n ẃl h z at ɖ bōlgem, h baiz himslf a sác v Hari Stīvnz’ pīnuts, ẃć h dumps in a sîdpocit v hiz cot. H z ītñ ɖz pīnuts ol ʈru ɖ gem, n aftr ɖ gem z ovr n h z wōcñ acrs ɖ fīld wɖ ɖ sitiznz, h sz t ɖm lîc ɖs:

“Ẃt prîs,” Ɖ Scî sz, “I canot ʈro a pīnut fṛm secnd bes t ɖ homplet?”

Wel, evrbdi nz ɖt a pīnut z tù lît fr enbdi t ʈro it ɖs far, so Big Nig, ɖ crapśūtr, hu olwz lîcs t hv a litl ɖ bst v it runñ fr him, spīcs az foloz:

“Y cn hv 3 t 1 fṛm m, strenjr,” Big Nig sz.

“Tū C’z agnst six,” Ɖ Scî sz, n ɖen h standz on secnd bes, n tecs a pīnut ǎt v hiz pocit, n nt onli ẃips it t ɖ homplet, bt on intu ɖ lap v a fat gai hu z stl sitñ in ɖ grandstand ptñ ɖ zñ on Bil Teri fr nt tecñ Wōcr ǎt v ɖ box ẃn Wōcr z gtñ a pestñ fṛm ɖ uɖr club.

Wel, naćṛli, ɖs z a most astoṇśñ ʈro, indd, bt aftwdz it cmz ǎt ɖt Ɖ Scî ʈroz a pīnut lodd wɖ led, n v cors it z nt wn v Hari Stīvnz’ pīnuts, îɖr, az Hari z nt selñ pīnuts fl v led at a dîm a bag, wɖ ɖ prîs v led ẃt it z.

It z onli a fy nîts aftr ɖs ɖt Ɖ Scî stets anɖr most unyźl propziśn t a grūp v sitiznz sitñ in Mindi’z resṭront ẃn h ofrz t bet a C not ɖt h cn g dǎn intu Mindi’z sélr n cać a liv rat wɖ hiz bér handz n evrbdi z gretli astoniśt ẃn Mindi himslf steps p n tecs ɖ bet, fr orḍneṛli Mindi wl nt bet y a nicl h z alîv.

Bt it sīmz ɖt Mindi nz ɖt Ɖ Scî plants a tem rat in ɖ sélr, n ɖs rat nz Ɖ Scî n luvz him dirli, n wl let him cać it eni tîm h wśz, n it olso sīmz ɖt Mindi nz ɖt wn v hiz diśwośrz hapnz upn ɖs rat, n nt nwñ it z tem, nocs it flatr ɖn a pancec. So ẃn Ɖ Scî gz dǎn intu ɖ sélr n starts trayñ t cać a rat wɖ hiz bér handz h z gretli s’prîzd hǎ inh’spitbl ɖ rat trnz ǎt t b, bcz it z wn v Mindi’z prsnl rats, n Mindi z arnd aftwdz seyñ h wl le plenti v 7 t 5 agnst īvn Stranglr Luis biyñ ebl t cać wn v hiz rats wɖ hiz bér handz, or wɖ boxñgluvz on.

I am onli telñ y ol ɖs t śo y ẃt a smart gai Ɖ Scî z, n I am onli sori I d nt hv tîm t tel y abt mni uɖr vri rmarcbl proṗziśnz ɖt h ʈncs p ǎtsd v hiz reğlr biznis.

It z wel-noun t wn n ol ɖt h z vri onist in evri rspct, n ɖt h hets n dspîzz ćītrz at cardz, or dîs, n frɖrmr Ɖ Scî nvr wśz t ple wɖ eni ɖ bst v it himslf, or enwe nt mć. H wl nvr tec ɖ insîd v eni sićueśn, az mni gamblrz luv t d, sć az ǒnñ a gamḅlñhǎs, n hvñ ɖ psntij run fr him instd v agnst him, fr olwz Ɖ Scî z stricli a pleyr, bcz h sz h wl nvr cer t setl dǎn in wn spot loñ inuf t bcm ɖ ǒnr v enʈñ.

In fact, in ol ɖ yirz Ɖ Scî z driftñ arnd ɖ cuntri, nbdi evr nz him t ǒn enʈñ xpt mbi a bancrol, n ẃn h cmz t Brōdwe ɖ last tîm, ẃć z ɖ tîm I am nǎ spīcñ v, h hz a hundṛd G’z in caśmuni, n an xtra sūt v cloɖz, n ɖs z ol h hz in ɖ wrld. H nvr ǒnz sć a ʈñ az a hǎs, or an ōtṃbil, or a pìs v juwlri. H nvr ǒnz a woć, bcz Ɖ Scî sz tîm mīnz nʈñ t him.

V cors sm gaiz wl fiğr a hundṛd G’z cmz undr ɖ hed v ǒnñ smʈñ, bt az far az Ɖ Scî z cnsrnd, muni z nʈñ bt jst smʈñ fr him t ple wɖ n ɖ dolrz me az wel b donuts az far az valy gz wɖ him. Ɖ onli tîm Ɖ Scî evr ʈncs v muni az muni z ẃn h z brouc, n ɖ onli we h cn tel h z brouc z ẃn h rīćz intu hiz pocit n fîndz nʈñ ɖr bt hiz fngrz.

Ɖen it z nesṣri fr Ɖ Scî t g ǎt n dig p sm freś scrać smẃr, n ẃn it cmz t digñ p scrać, Ɖ Scî z practicli sūṗnaćṛl. H cn gt mor ptetoz on ɖ streñʈ v a teḷgram t sm ples or uɖr ɖn Jon D. Roc̣félr cn gt on c’latṛl, fr evrbdi nz Ɖ Scî’z wrd z az gd az ẃīt in ɖ bin.

Nǎ wn Súnde īvnñ Ɖ Scî z wōcñ alñ Brōdwe, n at ɖ cornr v forti-nînʈ Strīt h cmz upn a litl bunć v miśnwrcrz hu r holdñ a rlijs mītñ, sć az miśnwrcrz luv t d v a Súnde īvnñ, ɖ îdīa biyñ ɖt ɖe me rǎnd p a fy sinrz hir n ɖr, olɖo prsṇli I olwz clem ɖ miśnwrcrz cm ǎt tù rli t cać eni sinrz on ɖs part v Brōdwe. At sć an aur ɖ sinrz r stl in bed restñ p fṛm ɖer sinñ v ɖ nît bfr, so ɖe wl b in gd śep fr mor sinñ a litl lêtr on.

Ɖr r onli for v ɖz miśnwrcrz, n tū v ɖm r old gaiz, n wn z an old dol, ẃl ɖ uɖr z a yuñ dol hu z tūṭlñ on a cornit. N aftr a cupl v gandrz at ɖs yuñ dol, Ɖ Scî z a gonr, fr ɖs z wn v ɖ most bytifl yuñ dolz enbdi evr siz on Brōdwe, n ispeṣ́li az a miśnwrcr. Hr nem z Mis Sẹra Brǎn.

Ś z tōl, n ʈin, n hz a frst-clas śep, n hr her z a lît brǎn, gwñ on blond, n hr îz r lîc I d nt nǒ ẃt, xpt ɖt ɖe r wn-hundṛd-p’-snt îz in evri rspct. Frɖrmr, ś z nt a bad cornitpleyr, f y lîc cornitpleyrz, olɖo at ɖs spot on Brōdwe ś hz t ple agnst a scatband in a ćopsui jônt nir bî, n ɖs z tuf comṗtiśn, olɖo at ɖt mni sitiznz b’liv Mis Sẹra Brǎn wl win bî a larj scor f ś onli gts a litl mor s’port fṛm wn v ɖ old gaiz wɖ hr hu hz a big beis drum, bt dz nt pǎnd it harti inuf.

Wel, Ɖ Scî standz ɖr liṣnñ t Mis Sẹra Brǎn tūṭlñ on ɖ cornit fr qt a spel, n ɖen h hírz hr mc a spīć in ẃć ś pts ɖ blast on sin vri gd, n būsts rlijn qt sm, n sz f ɖr r eni soulz arnd ɖt nīd sevñ ɖ ǒnrz v sem me step fwd at wns. Bt nwn steps fwd, so Ɖ Scî cmz ovr t Mindi’z resṭront ẃr mni sitiznz r congṛgetd, n starts telñ s abt Mis Sẹra Brǎn. Bt v cors w olrdi nǒ abt Mis Sẹra Brǎn, bcz ś z so bytifl, n so gd.

Frɖrmr, evrbdi fīlz smẃt sori fr Mis Sẹra Brǎn, fr ẃl ś z olwz tūṭlñ ɖ cornit, n mcñ spīćz, n lcñ t sev eni soulz ɖt nīd sevñ, ś nvr sīmz t fînd eni soulz t sev, or at līst hr bunć v miśnwrcrz nvr gts eni bigr. In fact, it gts smōlr, az ś starts ǎt wɖ a gai hu plez a vri fer sort v trombon, bt ɖs gai tecs it on ɖ lam wn nît wɖ ɖ trombon, ẃć wn n ol cnsidr a drti tric.

Nǎ fṛm ɖs tîm on, Ɖ Scî dz nt tec eni inṭrest in enʈñ bt Mis Sẹra Brǎn, n eni nît ś z ǎt on ɖ cornr wɖ ɖ uɖr miśnwrcrz, y wl si Ɖ Scî standñ arnd lcñ at hr, n naćṛli aftr a fy wīcs v ɖs, Mis Sẹra Brǎn mst nǒ Ɖ Scî z lcñ at hr, or ś z dumr ɖn sīmz poṣbl. N nbdi evr fiğrz Mis Sẹra Brǎn dum, az ś z olwz on hr toz, n sīmz plenti ebl t tec cer v hrslf, īvn on Brōdwe.

Smtmz aftr ɖ strītmītñ z ovr, Ɖ Scî foloz ɖ miśnwrcrz t ɖer hedqortrz in an old stoŗūm arnd in Forti-etʈ Strīt ẃr ɖe jenṛli hold an indorseśn, n I hír Ɖ Scî drops mni a larj cōrs not in ɖ c’lex́nbox ẃl lcñ at Mis Sẹra Brǎn, n ɖr z no dǎt ɖz nots cm in handi arnd ɖ miśn, az I hír biznis z bî no mīnz so gd ɖr.

It z cōld ɖ Sev-a-Soul Miśn, n it z run mnli bî Mis Sẹra Brǎn’z granfaɖr, an old gai wɖ ẃiscrz, bî ɖ nem v Arvīd Aḅnaʈi, bt Mis Sẹra Brǎn sīmz t d most v ɖ wrc, includñ tūṭlñ ɖ cornit, n viẓtñ ɖ pur ppl arnd n abt, n ol ɖs n ɖt, n mni sitiznz clem it z a gret śem ɖt sć a bytifl dol z westñ hr tîm biyñ gd.

Hǎ Ɖ Scî evr bcmz aqentd wɖ Mis Sẹra Brǎn z a vri gret misṭri, bt ɖ nxt ʈñ enbdi nz, h z seyñ hlo t hr, n ś z smîlñ at him ǎt v hr wn-hundṛd-p’-snt îz, n wn īvnñ ẃn I hapn t b wɖ Ɖ Scî w run intu hr wōcñ alñ Forti-nînʈ Strīt, n Ɖ Scî hōlz of n stops hr, n sz it z a nîs īvnñ, ẃć it z, at ɖt. Ɖen Ɖ Scî sz t Mis Sẹra Brǎn lîc ɖs:

“Wel,” Ɖ Scî sz, “hǎ z ɖ miśn doj gwñ ɖz dez? R y sevñ eni soulz?” h sz.

Wel, it sīmz fṛm ẃt Mis Sẹra Brǎn sz ɖ soul-sevñ z vri slo, indd, ɖz dez.

“In fact,” Mis Sẹra Brǎn sz, “I wuri gretli abt hǎ fy soulz w sīm t sev. Smtmz I wundr f w r lacñ in gres.”

Ś gz on p ɖ strīt, n Ɖ Scî standz lcñ aftr hr, n h sz t m lîc ɖs:

“I wś I cn ʈnc v sm we t hlp ɖs litl dol,” h sz, “ispeṣ́li,” h sz, “in sevñ a fy soulz t bild p hr mob at ɖ miśn. I mst spīc t hr agn, n si f I cn fiğr smʈñ ǎt.”

Bt Ɖ Scî dz nt gt t spīc t Mis Sẹra Brǎn agn, bcz smbdi weiz in ɖ sacs on him bî telñ hr h z nʈñ bt a pṛfeśnl gamblr, n ɖt h z a vri undizîṛbl caṛctr, n ɖt hiz onli inṭrest in haññ arnd ɖ miśn z bcz ś z a gd-lcñ dol. So ol v a sudn Mis Sẹra Brǎn plez a plenti v ćil fr Ɖ Scî. Frɖrmr, ś sndz him wrd ɖt ś dz nt cer t axpt eni mor v hiz ptetoz in ɖ c’lex́nbox, bcz hiz ptetoz r nʈñ bt il-gotn genz.

Wel, naćṛli, ɖs hrts Ɖ Scî’z fīlñz no litl, so h qits standñ arnd lcñ at Mis Sẹra Brǎn, n gwñ t ɖ miśn, n tecs t mnġlñ agn wɖ ɖ sitiznz in Mindi’z, n śowñ sm inṭrest in ɖ aferz v ɖ cḿṇti, ispeṣ́li ɖ crapgemz.

V cors ɖ crapgemz ɖt r gwñ on at ɖs tîm r nʈñ mć, bcz practicli evrbdi in ɖ wrld z brouc, bt ɖr z a hed-n-hed gem run bî Neʈn Dtrôt ovr a garij in Fifti-secnd Strīt ẃr ɖr z oceźṇli sm ax́n, n hu śoz p at ɖs crapgem rli wn īvnñ bt Ɖ Scî, olɖo it sīmz h śoz p ɖr mor t fînd cumṗni ɖn enʈñ els.

In fact, h onli standz arnd woćñ ɖ ple, n tōcñ wɖ uɖr gaiz hu r olso standñ arnd n woćñ, n mni v ɖz gaiz r vri hî śots jrñ ɖ goldruś, olɖo most v ɖm r nǎ az clīn az a jêbrd, n mbi clīnr. Wn v ɖz gaiz z a gai bî ɖ nem v Brandibotl Bêts, hu z noun fṛm cǒst t cǒst az a hî pleyr ẃn h hz enʈñ t ple wɖ, n hu z cōld Brandibotl Bêts bcz it sīmz ɖt yirz ago h z a gret hand fr bltñ a brandibotl arnd.

Ɖs Brandibotl Bêts z a big, blac-lcñ gai, wɖ a larj bīzr, n a hed śept lîc a pér, n h z cnsidrd a vri imoṛl n wicid caṛctr, bt h z a priti slic gamblr, n a fast man wɖ a dolr ẃn h z in ɖ muni.

Wel, fîṇli Ɖ Scî ascs Brandibotl ẃ h z nt pleyñ n Brandi lafs, n stets az foloz:

“Ẃ,” h sz, “in ɖ frst ples I hv no ptetoz, n in ɖ secnd ples I dǎt f it wl d m mć gd f I d hv eni ptetoz ɖ we I am gwñ ɖ past yir. Ẃ,” Brandibotl sz, “I canot win a bet t sev mî soul.”

Nǎ ɖs crac sīmz t gv Ɖ Scî an îdīa, az h standz lcñ at Brandibotl vri strenjli, n ẃl h z lcñ, Big Nig, ɖ crapśūtr, pics p ɖ dîs n hits ʈri tîmz handrunñ, bñ, bñ, bñ. Ɖen Big Nig cmz ǎt on a six n Brandibotl Bêts spīcs az foloz:

“Y si hǎ mî luc z,” h sz. “Hir z Big Nig hotr ɖn a stov, n hir I am wɖt a bob t folo him wɖ, ispeṣ́li,” Brandi sz, “ẃn h z lcñ fr nʈñ bt a six. Ẃ,” h sz, “Nig cn mc sixz ol nît ẃn h z hot. F h dz nt mc ɖs six, ɖ we h z, I wl b wilñ t trn sqer n qit gamḅlñ fr evr.”

“Wel, Brandi,” Ɖ Scî sz, “I wl mc y a propziśn. I wl le y a G not Big Nig dz nt gt hiz six. I wl le y a G not agnst nʈñ bt yr soul,” h sz. “I mīn f Big Nig dz nt gt hiz six, y r t trn sqer n jôn Mis Sẹra Brǎn’z miśn fr six munʈs.”

“Bet!” Brandibotl Bêts sz rît awe, mīnñ ɖ propziśn z on, olɖo ɖ ćansz r h dz nt qt unḍstand ɖ propziśn. Ol Brandi unḍstandz z Ɖ Scî wśz t wejr ɖt Big Nig dz nt mc hiz six, n Brandibotl Bêts wl b wilñ t bet hiz soul a cupl v tîmz ovr on Big Nig mcñ hiz six, n fiğr h z gtñ ɖ bst v it, at ɖt, az Brandi hz gret confidns in Nig.

Wel, śr inuf, Big Nig mcs ɖ six, so Ɖ Scî wīdz Brandibotl Bêts a G not, olɖo evrbdi arnd z seyñ Ɖ Scî mcs a teṛbl oṿle v ɖ naćṛl prîs in gvñ Brandibotl a G agnst hiz soul. Frɖrmr, evrbdi arnd fiğrz ɖ ćansz r Ɖ Scî onli wśz t gv Brandi an oṗtyṇti t gt in ax́n, n nbdi fiğrz Ɖ Scî z on ɖ levl abt trayñ t win Brandibotl Bêts’ soul, ispeṣ́li az Ɖ Scî dz nt sīm t wś t g eni frɖr aftr peyñ ɖ bet.

H onli standz ɖr lcñ on n sīmñ smẃt dprest az Brandibotl gz intu ax́n on hiz ǒn acǎnt wɖ ɖ G not, fedñ uɖr gaiz arnd ɖ tebl wɖ caśmuni. Bt Brandibotl Bêts sīmz t fiğr ẃt z in Ɖ Scî’z mînd priti wel, bcz Brandibotl z a crafti old gai.

It fîṇli cmz hiz trn t handl ɖ dîs, n h hits a cupl v tîmz, n ɖen h cmz ǎt on a for, n enbdi wl tel y ɖt a for z a vri tuf pônt t mc, īvn wɖ a led pnsl. Ɖen Brandibotl trnz t Ɖ Scî n spīcs t him az foloz:

“Wel, Scî,” h sz, “I wl tec ɖ odz of y on ɖs wn. I nǒ y d nt wont mî dou,” h sz. “I nǒ y onli wont mî soul fr Mis Sẹra Brǎn, n,” h sz, “wɖt wśñ t b freś abt it, I nǒ ẃ y wont it fr hr. I am yuñ wns mslf,” Brandibotl sz. “N y nǒ f I lūz t y, I wl b ovr ɖr in Forti-etʈ Strīt in an aur pǎndñ on ɖ dor, fr Brandi olwz setlz.

“Bt, Scî,” h sz, “nǎ I am in ɖ muni, n mî prîs gz p. Wl y le m ten G’z agnst mî soul I d nt mc ɖs for?”

“Bet!” Ɖ Scî sz, n rît awe Brandibotl mcs hiz for.

Wel, ẃn wrd gz arnd ɖt Ɖ Scî z p at Neʈn Dtrôt’s crapgem trayñ t win Brandibotl Bêts’ soul fr Mis Sẹra Brǎn, ɖ xîtmnt z practicli intns. Smbdi teḷfonz Mindi’z, ẃr a larj numbr v sitiznz r sitñ arnd argywñ abt ɖs n ɖt, n telñ wn anɖr hǎ mć ɖe wl bet in s’port v ɖer arğmnts, f onli ɖe hv smʈñ t bet, n Mindi himslf z olmst cild in ɖ ruś fr ɖ dor.

Wn v ɖ frst gaiz ǎt v Mindi’z n p t ɖ crapgem z Rgret, ɖ horspleyr, n az h cmz in Brandibotl z lcñ fr a nîn, n Ɖ Scî z leyñ him twelv G’z agnst hiz soul ɖt h dz nt mc ɖs nîn, fr it sīmz Brandibotl’z soul cīps gtñ mor n mor xpnsiv.

Wel, Rgret wśz t bet hiz soul agnst a G ɖt Brandibotl gts hiz nîn, n z gretli insultd ẃn Ɖ Scî canot fiğr hiz prîs eni betr ɖn a dubl sw, bt fîṇli Rgret axpts ɖs prîs, n Brandibotl hits agn.

Nǎ mni uɖr sitiznz rqst a litl ax́n fṛm Ɖ Scî, n f ɖr z wn ʈñ Ɖ Scî canot dnî a sitizn it z ax́n, so h sz h wl le ɖm acordñ t hǎ h fiğrz ɖer wrd t jôn Mis Sẹra Brǎn’z miśn f Brandibotl misz ǎt, bt abt ɖs tîm Ɖ Scî fîndz h hz no mor ptetoz on him, biyñ nǎ arnd ʈrti-fîv G’z luzr, n h wśz t gv marcrz.

Bt Brandibotl sz ɖt ẃl orḍneṛli h wl b plizd t xtnd Ɖ Scî ɖs acoṃdeśn, h dz nt cer t axpt marcrz agnst hiz soul, so ɖen Ɖ Scî hz t līv ɖ jônt n g ovr t hiz hotel tū or ʈri blocs awe, n gt ɖ nîtclarc t opn hiz dampr so Ɖ Scî cn gt ɖ rest v hiz bancrol. In ɖ mntm ɖ crapgem cntinyz at Neʈn Dtrôt’s amñ ɖ smōl oṗretrz, ẃl ɖ uɖr sitiznz stand arnd n se ɖt ẃl ɖe hír v mni a dafi propziśn in ɖer tîm, ɖs z ɖ dafiist ɖt evr cmz t ɖer atnśn, olɖo Big Nig clemz h hírz v a dafịr wn, bt canot ʈnc ẃt it z.

Big Nig clemz ɖt ol gamblrz r dafi enwe, n in fact h sz f ɖe r nt dafi ɖe wl nt b gamblrz, n ẃl h z argywñ ɖs matr bac cmz Ɖ Scî wɖ freś scrać, n Brandibotl Bêts tecs p ẃr h līvz of, olɖo Brandi sz h z axptñ ɖ wrst v it, az ɖ dîs hv a ćans t cūl of.

Nǎ ɖ upśot v ɖ hol biznis z ɖt Brandibotl hits ʈrtīn lics in a ro, n ɖ last lic h mcs z on a ten, n it z fr twenti G’z agnst hiz soul, wɖ abt a duzn uɖr sitiznz gtñ enẃr fṛm wn t fîv C’s agnst ɖer soulz, n cmplenñ bitrli v ɖ prîs.

N az Brandibotl mcs hiz ten, I hapn t lc at Ɖ Scî n I si him woćñ Brandi wɖ a vri pkłr xpreśn on hiz fes, n frɖrmr I si Ɖ Scî’z rît hand crīpñ insd hiz cot ẃr I nǒ h olwz pacs a Betsi in a śoldrholstr, so I cn si smʈñ z roñ smẃr.

Bt bfr I cn fiğr ǎt ẃt it z, ɖr z qt a fus at ɖ dor, n lǎd tōcñ, n a dol’z vôs, n ol v a sudn in bobz nbdi els bt Mis Sẹra Brǎn. It z plen t b sìn ɖt ś z ol stīmd p abt smʈñ.

Ś marćz rît p t ɖ craptebl ẃr Brandibotl Bêts n Ɖ Scî n ɖ uɖr sitiznz r standñ, n wn n ol r fīlñ sori fr Dóbr, ɖ dormn, ʈncñ v ẃt Neʈn Dtrôt z bǎnd t se t him fr letñ hr in. Ɖ dîs r stl layñ on ɖ tebl śowñ Brandibotlz Bêts’ last ʈro, ẃć clīnz Ɖ Scî n gvz mni sitiznz ɖ frst mīnz ɖe injô in sevṛl munʈs.

Wel, Mis Sẹra Brǎn lcs at Ɖ Scî, n Ɖ Scî lcs at Mis Sẹra Brǎn, n Mis Sẹra Brǎn lcs at ɖ sitiznz arnd n abt, n wn n ol r smẃt dumfǎndd, n nbdi sīmz t b ebl t ʈnc v mć t se, olɖo Ɖ Scî fîṇli spīcs p az foloz:

“Gd īvnñ,” Ɖ Scî sz. “It z a nîs īvnñ,” h sz. “I am trayñ t win a fy soulz fr y arnd hir, bt,” h sz, “I sīm t b abt haf ǎt v luc.”

“Wel,” Mis Sẹra Brǎn sz, lcñ at Ɖ Scî most svirli ǎt v hr hundṛd-p’-snt îz, “y r tecñ tù mć upn yrslf. I cn win eni soulz I nīd mslf. Y betr b ʈncñ v yr ǒn soul. Bî ɖ we,” ś sz, “r y riscñ yr ǒn soul, or jst yr muni?”

Wel, v cors p t ɖs tîm Ɖ Scî z nt riscñ enʈñ bt hiz ptetoz, so h onli śecs hiz hed t Mis Sẹra Brǎn’z qsćn, n lcs smẃt dsorġnîzd.

“I nǒ smʈñ abt gamḅlñ,” Mis Sẹra Brǎn sz, “ispeṣ́li abt crapgemz. I òt t,” ś sz. “It ruinz mî pur ppā n mî bruɖr Jo. F y wś t gambl fr soulz, Mistr Scî, gambl fr yr ǒn soul.”

Nǎ Mis Sẹra Brǎn opnz a smōl blac leɖr pocit-bc ś z cariyñ in wn hand, n plz ǎt a tū-dolr bil, n it z sć a tū-dolr bil az sīmz t hv sìn mć srvis in its tîm, n holdñ p ɖs dys, Mis Sẹra Brǎn spīcs az foloz:

“I wl gambl wɖ y, Mistr Scî,” ś sz. “I wl gambl wɖ y,” ś sz, “on ɖ sem trmz y gambl wɖ ɖz partiz hir. Ɖs tū dolrz agnst yr soul, Mistr Scî. It z ol I hv, bt,” ś sz, “it z mor ɖn yr soul z wrʈ.”

Wel, v cors enbdi cn si ɖt Mis Sẹra Brǎn z dwñ ɖs bcz ś z vri angri, n wśz t mc Ɖ Scî lc smōl, bt rît awe Ɖ Scî’z dyc cmz fṛm insd hiz cot, n h pics p ɖ dîs n handz ɖm t hr n spīcs az foloz:

“Rol ɖm,” Ɖ Scî sz, n Mis Sẹra Brǎn snaćz ɖ dîs ǎt v hiz hand n gvz ɖm a qc slñ on ɖ tebl in sć a we ɖt enbdi cn si ś z nt a pṛfeśnl crapśūtr, n nt īvn an aṃćr crapśūtr, fr ol aṃćr crapśūtrz frst briɖ on ɖ dîs, n ratl ɖm gd, n mc rmarcs t ɖm, sć az “Cm on, bebi!”

In fact, ɖr z sm criṭsizm v Mis Sẹra Brǎn aftwdz on acǎnt v hr hest, az mni sitiznz r īgr t strñ wɖ hr t hit, ẃl uɖrz r jst az añśs t bet ś misz, n ś dz nt gv ɖm a ćans t gt dǎn.

Wel, Scrantn Slim z ɖ sticgai, n h tecs a gandr at ɖ dîs az ɖe hit p agnst ɖ sîd v ɖ tebl n bǎns bac, n ɖen Slim holrz, “Winr, winr, winr,” az sticgaiz luv t d, n ẃt z śowñ on ɖ dîs az big az lîf, bt a six n a fîv, ẃć mcs ilevn, no matr hǎ y fiğr, so Ɖ Scî’z soul b’loñz t Mis Sẹra Brǎn.

Ś trnz at wns n pśz ʈru ɖ sitiznz arnd ɖ tebl wɖt īvn wêtñ t pic p ɖ dys ś lez dǎn ẃn ś grabz ɖ dîs. Aftwdz a most obnox́s caṛctr bî ɖ nem v Red Nǒz Regn trîz t clem ɖ dys az a slīpr n gts ɖ hīv-o fṛm Neʈn Dtrôt, hu bcmz vri indignnt abt ɖs, stetñ ɖt Red Nǒz z trayñ t gv hiz jônt a roñ rap.

Naćṛli, Ɖ Scî foloz Mis Brǎn, n Dóbr, ɖ dormn, tlz m ɖt az ɖe r wêtñ fr him t unloc ɖ dor n let ɖm ǎt, Mis Sẹra Brǎn trnz on Ɖ Scî n spīcs t him az foloz:

“Y r a fūl,” Mis Sẹra Brǎn sz.

Wel, at ɖs Dóbr fiğrz Ɖ Scî z baund t let wn g, az ɖs sīmz t b most insultñ lanḡj, bt instd v letñ wn g, Ɖ Scî onli smîlz at Mis Sẹra Brǎn n sz t hr lîc ɖs:

“Ẃ,” Ɖ Scî sz, “Pōl sz ‘F eni man amñ y sīmiʈ t b wîz in ɖs wrld, let him bcm a fūl, ɖt h me b wîz.’ I luv y, Mis Sẹra Brǎn,” Ɖ Scî sz.

Wel, nǎ, Dóbr hz a priti fer sort v meṃri, n h sz ɖt Mis Sẹra Brǎn tlz Ɖ Scî ɖt sins h sīmz t nǒ so mć abt ɖ Bîbl, mbi h rmembrz ɖ secnd vrs v ɖ Soñ v Soḷmn, bt ɖ ćansz r Dóbr mufs ɖ numbr v ɖ vrs, bcz I lc ɖ matr p in wn v ɖz Gidịn Bîblz, n ɖ vrs sīmz a litl tù mć fr Mis Sẹra Brǎn, olɖo v cors y nvr cn tel.

Enwe, ɖs z abt ol ɖr z t ɖ stori, xpt ɖt Brandibotl Bêts slîdz ǎt jrñ ɖ cnfyźn so qaytli īvn Dóbr scersli rmembrz letñ him ǎt, n h tecs most v Ɖ Scî’z ptetoz wɖ him, bt h sn gts batd in agnst ɖ faro banc ǎt in Ścago, n ɖ last enbdi hírz v him h gts rlijn ol ovr agn, n z prīćñ ǎt in San Źose, so Ɖ Scî olwz clemz h bìts Brandi fr hiz soul, at ɖt.

I si Ɖ Scî ɖ uɖr nît at Forti-nînʈ Strīt n Brōdwe, n h z wɖ qt a raft v miśnwrcrz, includñ Msz Scî, fr it sīmz ɖt ɖ soul-sevñ biznis pics p wundrf̣li, n Ɖ Scî z gvñ a big beis drum sć a frst-clas ẃacñ ɖt ɖ scatband in ɖ ćopsui jônt cn scersli b hŕd. Frɖrmr, Ɖ Scî z hoḷrñ btwn ẃacs, n I nvr si a gai lc hapịr, ispeṣ́li ẃn Msz Scî smîlz at him ǎt v hr hundṛd-p’-snt îz. Bt I d nt lingr loñ, bcz Ɖ Scî gts a gandr at m, n rît awe h bginz hoḷrñ:

“I si bfr m a sinr v dīpist dai,” h holrz. “Ǒ, sinr, rpnt bfr it z tù lêt. Jôn wɖ s, sinr,” h holrz, “n let s sev yr soul.”

Naćṛli, ɖs crac abt m biyñ a sinr imbaṛsz m no litl, az it z bî no mīnz tru, n it z a gd ʈñ fr Ɖ Scî ɖr z no copr in m, or I wl g t Msz Scî, hu z olwz bragñ abt hǎ ś winz Ɖ Scî’z soul bî ǎtpleyñ him at hiz ǒn gem, n tel hr ɖ truʈ.

N ɖ truʈ z ɖt ɖ dîs wɖ ẃć ś winz Ɖ Scî’z soul, n ẃć r ɖ sem dîs wɖ ẃć Brandibotl Bêts winz ol hiz ptetoz, r stricli foni, n ɖt ś gts intu Neʈn Dtrôt’s jst in tîm t cīp Ɖ Scî fṛm cilñ old Brandibotl.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Ñspel logo

Clasics in Ñspel: THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS, by Ray Bradbury

The Ray Bradbury website

ƉR WL CM SOFT RENZ

Re Bradḅri

PDF

In ɖ livñrūm ɖ vôscloc sañ, Tíc-toc, sevn o’cloc, tîm t gt p, tîm t gt p, sevn o’cloc! az f it wr afreid nbdi wd. Ɖ mornñhǎs le emti. Ɖ cloc tict on, rpitñ n rpitñ its sǎndz intu ɖ emtinis. Sevn-nîn, brecfsțîm, sevn-nîn!

In ɖ cićn ɖ brecfststov gev a hisñ sai n ijctd fṛm its worm intirịr et pìsz v prf̣cli brǎnd tost, et egz súnisîd-up, sixtīn slîsz v bêcn, tū cofiz, n tū cūl glasz v milc. “Tde z Ōġst 4, 2026,” sd a secnd vôs fṛm ɖ cićnsīlñ, “in ɖ siti v Aḷndel, Caḷforńa.” It rpitd ɖ det ʈri tîmz fr meṃri’z sec. “Tde z Mr. Feɖ̇ston’z brʈde. Tde z ɖ aṇvrsri v Tilita’z marij. Inśuṛns z peybl, az r ɖ wōtr, gas, n lît bílz.”

Smẃr in ɖ wōlz, rīlez clict, meṃriteps glîdd undr ilectric îz.

Et-wn, tíc-toc, et-wn o’cloc, of t scūl, of t wrc, run, run, et-wn! Bt no dorz slamd, no carpits tc ɖ soft tréd v rubr hìlz. It wz renñ ǎtsd. Ɖ weɖrbox on ɖ fruntdor sañ qaytli: “Ren, ren, g awe; rubrz, rencots fr tde…” N ɖ ren tapt on ɖ emti hǎs, ecowñ.

Ǎtsd, ɖ garij ćîmd n liftd its dor t rvil ɖ wêtñ car. Aftr a loñ wêt ɖ dor swuñ dǎn agn.

At et-ʈrti ɖ egz wr śrivld n ɖ tost wz lîc ston. An aḷmińm wéj scrept ɖm dǎn a metl ʈrot ẃć djstd n fluśt ɖm awe t ɖ distnt sì. Ɖ drti diśz wr dropt intu a hot wośr n imrjd twnc̣lñ drî.

Nîn-fiftīn, sañ ɖ cloc, tîm t clīn. Ǎt v woṛnz in ɖ wōl, tîni robótmîs dartd. Ɖ rūmz wr acrōl wɖ ɖ smōl clīnñ animlz, ol rubr n metl. Ɖe ʈudd agnst ćerz, ẃrlñ ɖer mstaśt runrz, nȉdñ ɖ rugnap, sucñ jntli at hidn dust. Ɖen, lîc mstirịs invedrz, ɖe popt intu ɖer buroz. Ɖer pnc ilectric îz fedd. Ɖ hǎs wz clīn.

Ten o’cloc. Ɖ sún cem ǎt fṛm bhnd ɖ ren. Ɖ hǎs std alon in a siti v rubl n aśz. Ɖs wz ɖ wn hǎs left standñ. At nît ɖ ruind siti gev of a redioactiv glo ẃć cd b sìn fr mîlz.

Ten-fiftīn. Ɖ gardnsprinclrz ẃrld p in goldn fǎnts, filñ ɖ soft mornñ er wɖ scaṭrñz v brîtnis. Ɖ wōtr pltd windopeinz, runñ dǎn ɖ ćard wst sîd ẃr ɖ hǎs hd bn brnd īvnli fri v its ẃît pent. Ɖ intîr wst fes v ɖ hǎs wz blac, sev fr fîv plesz. Hir ɖ siluét in pent v a man mowñ a lōn. Hir, az in a foṭgraf, a wmn bnt t pic flǎrz. Stl farɖr ovr, ɖer iṃjz brnd on wŭd in wn tîtanic instnt, a smōl bô, handz fluñ intu ɖ er; hayr p, ɖ imij v a ʈroun bōl, n oṗzit him a grl, handz rezd t cać a bōl ẃć nvr cem dǎn. Ɖ fîv spots v pent – ɖ man, ɖ wmn, ɖ ćildṛn, ɖ bōl – rmend. Ɖ rest wz a ʈin ćarcold leyr. Ɖ jntl sprinclŗen fild ɖ gardn wɖ fōlñ lît.

Untl ɖs de, hǎ wel ɖ hǎs hd cept its pīs. Hǎ cerf̣li it hd inqîrd, ‘Hu gz ɖr? Ẃt’s ɖ paswrd?” n, gtñ no ansr fṛm lonli foxz n ẃînñ cats, it hd śut p its windoz n drwn śêdz in an old-meidnli priokpeśn wɖ slf-pṛtx́n ẃć bordrd on a mcanicl paṛnoia.

It qivrd at ć sǎnd, ɖ hǎs dd. F a sparo bruśt a windo, ɖ śêd snapt p. Ɖ brd, startld, flù of! No, nt īvn a brd mst tuć ɖ hǎs!

Ɖ hǎs wz an ōltr wɖ ten ʈǎznd atndnts, big, smōl, srvisñ, atndñ, in qîrz. Bt ɖ godz hd gn awe, n ɖ rićl v ɖ rlijn cntinyd snslisli, yslisli.

Twelv nūn.

A dog ẃînd, śiṿrñ, on ɖ fruntporć.

Ɖ fruntdor rec̣gnîzd ɖ dog vôs n opnd. Ɖ dog, wns larj n fleśi, bt nǎ gn t bon n cuvrd wɖ sorz, muvd in n ʈru ɖ hǎs, tracñ mud. Bhnd it ẃrd angri mîs, angri at hvñ t pic p mud, angri at incnvińns.

Fr nt a līf fragmnt blù undr ɖ dor bt ẃt ɖ wōlpanlz flipt opn n ɖ copr-scrap rats flaśt swiftli ǎt. Ɖ ofndñ dust, her, or pepr, sizd in minićr stīl jwz, wz rêst bac t ɖ buroz. Ɖr, dǎn tybz ẃć féd intu ɖ sélr, it wz dropt intu ɖ sayñ vnt v an insiṇretr, ẃć sat lîc īvl Bāl in a darc cornr.

Ɖ dog ran upsterz, histericli yelpñ t ć dor, at last riylîzñ, az ɖ hǎs riylîzd, ɖt onli sîḷns wz hir. It snift ɖ er n scraćt ɖ cićndor. Bhnd ɖ dor, ɖ stov wz mcñ pancecs ẃć fild ɖ hǎs wɖ a rić ǒdr n ɖ sént v mepl siṛp. Ɖ dog froʈt at ɖ mǎʈ, layñ at ɖ dor, snifñ, its îz trnd t fîr. It ran wîldli in srclz, bîtñ at its teil, spun in a frenzi, n daid. It le in ɖ parlr fr an aur.

Tū ’cloc, sañ a vôs.

Delic̣tli snsñ dce at last, ɖ rejimnts v mîs humd ǎt az softli az bloun gre līvz in an ilectricl wind.

Tū-fiftīn.

Ɖ dog wz gn.

In ɖ sélr, ɖ insiṇretr gloud sudnli n a ẃrl v sparcs lept p ɖ ćimni.

Tū ʈrti-fîv.

Brijteblz sprǎt fṛm patiowōlz. Pleyñcardz flutrd ontu padz in a śǎr v pips. Martīniz maṇfstd on an ocn bnć wɖ eg saḷd sanẉjz. Ḿzic pleid.

Bt ɖ teblz wr sîḷnt n ɖ cardz untućt.

At for o’cloc ɖ teblz foldd lîc gret buṭflîz bac ʈru ɖ panld wōlz.

For-ʈrti.

Ɖ nrṣriwōlz gloud.

Animlz tc śep: yelo jrafs, blu laynz, pnc anṭlops, lîlac panʈrz cvortñ in cristl substns. Ɖ wōlz wr glas. Ɖe lct ǎt upn culr n fanṭsi. Hidn filmz cloct ʈru ɖ wel-ôld sprocits, n ɖ wōlz livd. Ɖ nrṣriflor wz wovn t rzmbl a crisp síṛl medo. Ovr ɖs ran aḷmińm roćz n ayn cricits, n in ɖ hot stil er buṭflîz v delic̣t red tiśu wevrd amñ ɖ śarp aroma v animlsporz! Ɖr wz ɖ sǎnd lîc a gret matd yelo hîv v bìz wɖn a darc beloz, ɖ lezi bumbl v a pŕñ layn. N ɖr wz ɖ patr v ocāpi fīt n ɖ mrmr v a freś junglren, lîc uɖr hūfs fōlñ upn ɖ sumr-starćt gras. Nǎ ɖ wōlz dzolvd intu distnsz v parćt wīd, mîl on mîl, n worm endlis scî. Ɖ animlz drù awe intu ʈornbreics n wōtrhoulz. It wz ɖ ćildṛn’z aur.

Fîv o’cloc. Ɖ baʈ fild wɖ clir hot wōtr.

Six, sevn, et o’cloc. Ɖ dinrdiśz mnipyletd lîc majic trics, n in ɖ studi a clic. In ɖ metl stand oṗzit ɖ harʈ ẃr a fîr nǎ blezd p wormli, a sgar popt ǎt, haf an inć v soft gre aś on it, smocñ, wêtñ.

Nîn o’cloc. Ɖ bedz wormd ɖer hidn srcits, fr nîts wr cūl hir.

Nîn-fîv. A vôs spouc fṛm ɖ studisīlñ: “Msz. MCleḷn, ẃć powm wd y lîc ɖs īvnñ?”

Ɖ hǎs wz sîḷnt.

Ɖ vôs sd at last, “Sins y xpres no prefṛns, I śl s’lect a powm at randm.” Qayt ḿzic rouz t bac ɖ vôs. “Sẹra Tīzdel. Az I rcōl, yr fevrit…

Ɖr wl cm soft renz n ɖ smel v ɖ grǎnd
N swoloz src̣lñ wɖ ɖer śiṃrñ sǎnd

 

N frogz in ɖ pūlz sññ at nît

N wîld plumtrīz in treḿḷs ẃît.

Robinz wl wer ɖer feɖ̇ri fîr,

Ẃiṣlñ ɖer ẃimz on a lo fns-wîr,

N nt wn wl nǒ v ɖ wor, nt wn

Wl cer at last ẃn it z dn.

Nt wn wd mînd, nɖr brd nr tri,

F mancînd periśt utrli

N Sprñ hrslf, ẃn ś wouc at dōn,

Wd scersli nǒ ɖt w wr gn.”

Ɖ fîr brnd on ɖ ston harʈ n ɖ sgar fél awe intu a mǎnd v qayt aś on its tre. Ɖ emti ćerz fest ć uɖr btwn ɖ sîḷnt wōlz, n ɖ ḿzic pleid.

At ten o’cloc ɖ hǎs bgan t dî. Ɖ wind blù. A fōlñ trībau craśt ʈru ɖ cićnwindo. Clīnñsolvnt, botld, śatrd ovr ɖ stov. Ɖ rūm wz ablez in an instnt! “Fîr!” scrīmd a vôs. Ɖ hǎs lîts flaśt, wōtrpumps śot wōtr fṛm ɖ sīlñz. Bt ɖ solvnt spred on ɖ l’nołm, licñ, ītñ, undr ɖ cićndor, ẃl ɖ vôsz tc it p in cōṛs: “Fîr, fîr, fîr!”

Ɖ hǎs traid t sev itslf. Dorz sprañ tîtli śut, bt ɖ windoz wr brocn bî ɖ hīt, n ɖ wind blù n suct upn ɖ fîr.

Ɖ hǎs gev grǎnd az ɖ fîr in ten biłn angri sparcs muvd wɖ flemñ īz fṛm rūm t rūm n ɖen p ɖ sterz. Ẃl scuriyñ wōtŗats sqīct fṛm ɖ wōlz, pistld ɖer wōtr, n ran fr mor. N ɖ wōlsprez let dǎn śǎrz v mcanicl ren.

Bt tù lêt. Smẃr, sayñ, a pump śrugd t a stop. Ɖ qnćñ ren sīst. Ɖ rzrv wōtrs’plî ẃć fild ɖ baɖz n wośt ɖ diśz fr mni qayt dez wz gn.

Ɖ fîr cracld p ɖ sterz. It féd upn Pcasoz n Matīsz in ɖ upr hōlz, lîc delic̣siz, becñ of ɖ ôli fleś, tndrli crispñ ɖ canvsz intu blac śevñz.

Nǎ ɖ fîr le in bedz, std in windoz, ćenjd ɖ culrz v dreps!

N ɖen, riinforsmnts.

Fṛm atic trapdorz, blînd robótfesz pīrd dǎn wɖ fōsit mǎɖz guśñ grīn cemicl.

Ɖ fîr bact of, az īvn an elifnt mst at ɖ sît v a ded snec. Nǎ ɖr wr twenti snecs ẃipñ ovr ɖ flor, cilñ ɖ fîr wɖ a clir cold venm v grīn froʈ.

Bt ɖ fîr wz clevr. It hd snt flemz ǎtsd ɖ hǎs, p ʈru ɖ atic t ɖ pumps ɖr. An xploźn! Ɖ aticbren ẃć d’rectd ɖ pumps wz śatrd intu bronz śrapnl on ɖ bīmz.

Ɖ fîr ruśt bac intu evri clozit n flt v ɖ cloɖz ɖt huñ ɖr.

Ɖ hǎs śudrd, oc bon on bon, its bérd scelitn crinjñ fṛm ɖ hīt, its wîr, its nrvz rvild az f a srjn hd torn ɖ scin of t let ɖ red veinz n cpiḷriz qivr in ɖ scōldd er. Hlp, hlp! Fîr! Run, run! Hīt snapt mirrz lîc ɖ frst britl wintr îs. N ɖ vôsz weild Fîr, fîr, run, run, lîc a trajic nrṣrirîm, a duzn vôsz, hî, lo, lîc ćildṛn dayñ in a forist, alon, alon. N ɖ vôsz fedñ az ɖ wîrz popt ɖer śīɖñz lîc hot ćesnuts. Wn, tū, ʈri, for, fîv vôsz daid.

In ɖ nrṣri ɖ jungl brnd. Blu laynz rord, prpl jrafs bǎndd of. Ɖ panʈrz ran in srclz, ćenjñ culr, n ten miłn animlz, runñ bfr ɖ fîr, vaniśt of twd a distnt stīmñ rivr…

Ten mor vôsz daid. In ɖ last instnt undr ɖ fîr aṿlanć, uɖr coṛsz, oblivịs, cd b hŕd anǎnsñ ɖ tîm, pleyñ ḿzic, cutñ ɖ lōn bî rmot-cntrol mowr, or setñ an umbrela franticli ǎt, n in ɖ slamñ n oṗnñ fruntdor a ʈǎznd ʈñz haṗnñ, lîc a clocśop ẃn ć cloc strîcs ɖ aur insenli bfr or aftr ɖ uɖr, a sīn v meniac cnfyźn, yt yṇti; sññ, scrīmñ, a fy last clīnñ mîs dartñ brevli ǎt t cari ɖ horid aśz awe! N wn vôs, wɖ sblîm disrigard fr ɖ sićueśn, rīdñ powtri alǎd ol in ɖ fîri studi, untl ol ɖ filmspūlz brnd, untl ol ɖ wîrz wiɖrd n ɖ srcits cract.

Ɖ fîr brst ɖ hǎs n let it slam flat dǎn, pufñ ǎt scrts v sparc n smoc.

In ɖ cićn, an instnt bfr ɖ ren v fîr n timbr, ɖ stov cd b sìn mcñ brecfsts at a sîc̣paʈic ret, ten duzn egz, six lovz v tost, twenti duzn bêcn strips, ẃć, ītn bî fîr, startd ɖ stov wrcñ agn, histericli hisñ!

Ɖ craś. Ɖ atic smaśñ intu ɖ cićn n parlr. Ɖ parlr intu sélr, sélr intu subsélr. Dīpfrīz, armćer, filmteps, srcits, bedz, n ol lîc scelitnz ʈroun in a clutrd mǎnd dīp undr.

Smoc n sîḷns. A gret qontti v smoc.

Dōn śoud fentli in ɖ īst. Amñ ɖ ruinz, wn wōl std alon. Wɖn ɖ wōl, a last vôs sd, ovr n ovr agn n agn, īvn az ɖ sún rouz t śîn upn ɖ hīp v rubl n stīm:

“Tde z Ōġst 5, 2026, tde z Ōġst 5, 2026, tde z…”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Ñspel logo

From Czech: THE POET by Karel Čapek

(My translation of Karel Čapek’s short story Básník, which was published in Povídky z jedné kapsy in 1929)

PDF

It was an entirely routine case: at four in the morning a car had run over a drunk old woman in Žitná Street and had sped off. And now the young Trainee Detective Inspector Mejzlík was tasked with finding out which car it was. A trainee inspector takes something like that seriously.

“Hm,” said Detective Inspector Mejzlík to Police Constable 141, “so you saw, from a distance of three hundred yards, the car speeding away and a body lying in the road. What did you do first of all?”

“First of all, I ran to provide first aid to the lady who’d been run over, sir.”

“First of all, you should have observed the car and only then have taken care of the old granny. But perhaps” – Inspector Mejzlík scratched his head – “perhaps I’d have done the same. So you didn’t get the number of the car. But did you get anything else about it?”

Constable 141 hesitated. “I think it was a sort of dark colour. sir. Maybe blue or red. It wasn’t easy to see, because of the smoke from the exhaust.”

Inspector Mejzlík frowned. “Jesus Christ! How am I supposed to locate the car? Am I meant to run up to every driver and ask, ‘Did you run over an old granny by any chance?’ Well, what would you do?”

Constable 141 shrugged his shoulders in lower-rank helplessness. “Well, one witness appeared, sir, but he doesn’t know anything either. He’s waiting over there, sir.”

Inspector Mejzlik was feeling more and more annoyed. “Well, bring him over.”

When the witness came over, the inspector looked at his crib sheet and, without even looking at him, asked mechanically, “Name and address?”

The answer came loud and clear. “Jan Králík, mechanical engineering student.”

“So you were present at four o’clock this morning when an unidentified car ran over Božena Macháčková.”

“Yes, and I can confirm that the driver was culpable. You see, Inspector, there was no other traffic on the road. If the driver had slowed down at the crossroads…”

How far away were you standing?”

“About ten yards. I was accompanying my friend from… from a café, and when we got to Žitná Street…”

“What’s your friend’s name? I haven’t got a note of that.”

“Jaroslav Nerad, the poet,” the witness replied, with a note of pride. “But he wouldn’t be able to tell you anything.”

Inspector Mejzlík realised he was clutching at straws. “Why not?”

“Because he… he’s a poet. When the accident happened, he burst into tears and ran off home like a little child. The thing is, we were in Žitná Street when, all of a sudden, a car came speeding up behind us…”

“What was its number?”

“Sorry, Inspector. I didn’t notice. I was just watching as it sped towards us, and I was just saying to myself that…”

“What make of car was it?”

 “A four-stroke combustion engine, but I don’t know anything about makes of cars.”

“And what colour was it? Who was in it? Was it open-top or not?”

The witness looked confused. “I don’t know. I think it was black, but I didn’t really notice because, when the accident happened, I was saying to Nerad, ‘Look! Those scoundrels have run someone over, and they’re not going to stop.”

Inspector Mejzlík wasn’t happy. “Hm… That’s certainly an understandable and ethically correct reaction, but I’d have been happier if you’d noticed the car number. It’s amazing, sir, how inattentive people are. Of course you know the driver is guilty, and you know those people are scoundrels, but you don’t think to look at the number plate. Everyone can judge, but to observe things really closely… Thank you, Mr Králík. I won’t detain you any longer.”

An hour later, Constable 141 rang the doorbell at the house of Jaroslav Nerad’s landlady. Yes, the poet was at home, but he was sleeping.

A few moments later his little, anxious eyes were peeping round the door at the constable. Somehow he couldn’t remember exactly what had happened, but he did understand, eventually, why he needed to go to the police station. But he wasn’t keen on the idea. “Do I have to? The thing is, I can’t remember anything. Last night I was a bit…”

“Pissed?” suggested Constable 141 sympathetically. “I understand, sir. I’ve known a lot of poets. So, get yourself dressed, please. Shall I wait for you?”

This led to a discussion between the poet and the constable about the best places to go at night, about life in general, about unusual phenomena in the skies, and many things besides. Politics was the only subject neither of them was interested in. So their journey to the police station was accompanied by a friendly and informative conversation.

Inspector Mejzlík was waiting for him. “You are Mr Jaroslav Nerad, poet. And you witnessed an unidentified car running over Božena Macháčková.”

The poet took a deep breath. “Yes.”

“Could you tell me what the car looked like? Was it open-top or closed? What colour was it? Who was inside it? What was its registration number?”

The poet racked his brains for a few moments. “I don’t know. I didn’t notice.”

But the inspector was insistent. “Don’t you remember any details at all?”

“None at all. I never pay any attention to details.”

The inspector assumed an ironic tone. “So if you didn’t observe the details, would you care to say what you did observe?”

“The general mood. You know, the empty street… the beginnings of daybreak… the woman lying there…”

And then it struck him. “I’ve just remembered I wrote something about it when I got home!” He rummaged in his pockets and pulled out a quantity of envelopes, bills and suchlike. “No, that’s not it,” he muttered. “Nor this… Hold on, maybe this.” He was staring at the back of an envelope.

“Would you be so good as to show me that?” asked Inspector Mejzlík.

“It’s nothing,” said the poet. “But if you like, I’ll read it to you.” At which point his eyes bulged and, drawing out the long syllables in a sing-song voice, he recited the following:

Dark houses march left right halt

dawn plays its mandolin

girl why do you blush

let’s go 120 horse-power

to the end of the world

or Singapore

Stop stop the car flies

our great love bites the dust

trampled girl flower

swan’s neck breasts

the drum sticks drum

why do I cry so

“That’s it.”

“Would you mind awfully,” said the inspector, “to tell me what that’s supposed to mean?”

The poet looked surprised. “Well, of course it’s that terrible accident. Don’t you understand it?”

The inspector frowned. “I think not. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t manage to recognise in it that, on Žitná Street at 4 a.m. on the 15th of July,  a car with registration number such and such ran over a sixty-year-old beggar called Božena Macháčková; and that she was taken to the General Hospital, where she is in a critical condition. As far as I am aware, sir, your poem makes no allusion to those facts. So, no, I didn’t understand it.”

The poet rubbed his nose. “The details you’ve just mentioned are just the raw, outward reality, Inspector. But a poem is the inner reality. A poem contains free, surreal ideas that evoke reality in the mind of the poet. Do you see? Visual and aural associations, for instance. If the reader surrenders to them, he’ll understand.”

A note of admonishment had crept into Jaroslav Nerad’s voice.

“What nonsense, Mr Nerad! Let me have your masterpiece for a moment, would you? Thank you. Right, here we have, hm… ‘Dark houses, march left right halt.’ Kindly tell me what that’s meant to mean.”

“Well, that’s Žitná Street,” explained the poet calmly. “Two rows of houses, you know?”

“And why couldn’t it be the Národní Avenue just as well? … Eh?”

The answer was immediate. “Because that’s not so straight.”

“Well, continuing… ‘Dawn plays its mandolin’… That’s fair enough. ‘Girl, why do you blush’… Where did she come from?”

“The blush of dawn,” said the poet laconically.

“Ah! Sorry… ‘Let’s go 120 horse-power to the end of the world’… What about that, eh?”

“The car must have been coming.”

“And was it 120 HP?”

“That I can’t say, but it means it was going fast. As if the driver wanted to fly to the end of the world.”

“Ah, like that. ‘Or to Singapore’… Why on earth to Singapore exactly?”

This was met with a shrug. “I don’t know. Maybe because Malaysians live there.”

“And what did that car have to do with Malaysians? What, I ask you?”

For a while, the poet knitted his brow and shifted about uncomfortably as if that one had really got him cornered. But eventually he said, “Maybe the car was brown. Something was definitely brown. Why would I have said Singapore otherwise?”

“So there you have it,” said the inspector. “The car was red, blue or black. What am I meant to make of it all?”

“Choose brown,” said the poet. “It’s a pleasant colour.”

Inspector Mejzlík read on: “Our great love bites the dust. Trampled girl flower.” That’s the drunken beggar woman, is it?”

The poet became annoyed. “I’m not going to say ‘drunken beggar woman,’ am I? She was simply a woman. Don’t you understand?”

“Oh! Right! … And what about ‘swan’s neck breast, the drum sticks drum’? Is that what you call ‘free association’?

Here the poet felt really confused himself. “Let me see it again.” He gazed at the piece of paper. ‘Swan’s neck breast, the drum sticks drum.’ What’s that meant to mean?”

“That’s exactly what I’m asking,” muttered the inspector rather contemptuously.

“Hold on.” The poet frowned again. “There must have been something there that reminded me of… Listen! Doesn’t the number two remind you of a swan’s neck?” He pulled a pencil out of his pocket and wrote a 2.

“Ah!” Now it was Inspector Mejzlík’s turn to frown. “And what about ‘breasts’?”

“That’s easy, isn’t it? Number 3 – two semicircles.”

“And then you’ve got ‘The drum sticks drum’.” A note of excitement was entering the inspector’s voice.

The poet thought again for a moment. “A drum and drum sticks… A drum and drum sticks… That could be number 5, couldn’t it? Look!” and he drew a number 5. “The belly is like a drum, and above it are the drum sticks…”

“Wait!” said Inspector Mejzlík. He wrote down 235. “Are you sure the car’s number was 235?”

“I didn’t notice the number at all,” said Jaroslav Nerad. “But there must be something in it. Where else could it have come from?” He gazed at the poem again. “And, you know what? That’s the best part of the whole poem.”

Two days later, Inspector Mejzlík paid a visit to the poet. The poet wasn’t asleep this time. He had a young woman with him, and his efforts to find a free chair for the inspector proved fruitless.

“Don’t worry!” said the inspector. “I only popped in to say that the car really did have registration number 235.”

The poet looked non-plussed. “Which car?”

“Swan’s neck breasts, the drum sticks drum,” said the inspector, without stopping for breath. “And Singapore as well!”

“Ah! I wondered what you were talking about for a moment,” said the poet. “So you see – inner meaning. Would you like me to read you some other poems, now that you’ll be able to understand them?”

“Not just now,” said Inspector Mejzlík hurriedly. “When I’ve got another knotty case.”

TRANSLATIONS FROM CZECH

 

From Czech: THE THEFT OF DOCUMENT 139/VII(C) by Karel Čapek

(My translation of Karel Čapek’s short story Ukradený spis 139/VII, odd. C, which was published in Povídky z jedné kapsy in 1929)

PDF

At 3 a.m. the telephone rang at garrison headquarters.

“Col. Hampl here, from the general staff. Send me two military policemen immediately. And tell Lt. Col. Vrzal… Yes, yes, from Intelligence… to get over here right away. Yes, now, in the middle of the night! Yes, by car! Yes, now, damn it!”

And that was that.

Lt. Col. Vrzal arrived an hour later at the house, which was out in one of the posher suburbs. He was greeted by an elderly and terribly anxious man in civies, i.e. in shirt and trousers.

“Lt. Col., the most god-awful thing has happened… Sit down, sit down… A bloody wretched stupid stupid thing! A right ruddy bastard of a thing! Can you imagine? The day before yesterday the chief of general staff gave me a document and said, ‘Work on this at home, Hampl. The fewer people who know about it, the better! Don’t say a word in the office. So, off you go! I’m giving you leave to work on it at home. But be bloody careful! Bloody careful.’”

“What sort of document was it?” asked Lt. Col. Vrzal.

Col. Hampl hesitated for a moment.

“Well, I suppose you better know. It was from Section C.”

“Ah!” Lt. Col. Vrzal began to look extremely concerned. “And…?”

“Well, it’s like this… I was working on it all day yesterday. But what the ruddy hell am I meant to do with it at night? Stick it in a drawer? That would never do… I don’t have a safe. And if someone knew I’d got the document, I dread to think what’d happen. So, for the first night, I hid it under the mattress. And it got pretty well scrunched up, believe me!”

“I expect so,” said Lt. Col. Vrzal.

“No surprise there,” sighed the colonel. “My wife’s even heavier than me… So the next night she suggested putting it in an empty macaroni tin and keeping it in the pantry. Because she locks the pantry at night and keeps the key with her. You see, we have a terribly overweight maid, who’ll eat anything she can lay her hands on. My wife said nobody would ever think of looking for it there. Well, I thought that was a good idea…”

Lt. Col. Vrzal interrupted: “Has your pantry got a secondary window on the inside?”

“Blast it!” groaned the colonel. “That never occurred to me! No, just the outside. I was so busy thinking about the Sázava case and other stupid things like that, that I completely forgot about the window! Damn the bloody thing!”

“And so…?” asked the lieutenant colonel.

“Well, what do you expect? At two in the morning, my wife hears the maid shouting her head off downstairs. So she goes down, and there’s Mára bawling, ‘There’s a thief in the pantry!’ So my wife runs for the key and wakes me up. I grab my handgun, run downstairs and unlock the pantry and… Bloody hell! The window’s been prised open and the macaroni tin’s gone. And so has the thief.” The colonel heaved a sigh. “End of story.”

Lieutenant Colonel Vrzal drummed his fingers on the table. “Did anyone know you had that document at home, Colonel?”

A picture of woe, the colonel shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, my friend. The ruddy spies aren’t so thick as you might think.”

But then he remembered he wasn’t speaking to a mere private. “I mean to say, Lieutenant Colonel, they’re very clever people. But I didn’t tell anyone, without a word of a lie. And in any case, how could they know it was in the macaroni tin?”

“Where were you when you put the document into it?” asked the lieutenant colonel.

“Here, at this table.”

“And where was the tin?”

“Hold on a minute… I was sitting here and I had the tin in front of me.”

The lieutenant colonel leant against the table and stared at the window opposite. In the dewy dawn he could make out a red-roofed and grey-walled house. Deep in thought, he asked, “Who lives there?”

The colonel thumped the table. “Ruddy hell! That never occurred to me! I think he’s a Jew, the man who lives there. He’s a bank manager or something. God damn it! I can see it now! Vrzal, I think we’re on to something!”

“May I take a look at the pantry?” the lieutenant asked warily.

“Certainly. Come with me. This way.” And the colonel eagerly led the way.

“Here it is. The tin was on the top shelf over there… Mára, this is none of your business! Be off with you to the attic or the cellar!”

The lieutenant colonel put on a pair of gloves, clambered up to the window and had a good look at it. “Prised open with a chisel. The frame is soft wood, Colonel. A boy could have done it easily.”

“Damn it!” hissed the colonel. “Can’t we even make a half-decent window in this country?”

There were two figures on the other side of the grill.

“Are they the military police?” asked Lt. Col. Vrzal. “Good. I’ll take a look from outside. But I must request that you don’t leave the house without permission, Colonel.”

“OK,” said the colonel. “But why?”

“So that you’re here in case… The two soldiers will remain where they are, of course.”

The colonel took a deep breath and swollowed with difficulty. “I understand… Would you like some coffee? I could get my wife to make some.”

“There’s no time for that now,” said the lieutenant colonel rather sharply. “Of course, don’t say a word about the stolen document to anyone. Unless… unless you get a phone call. And something else: tell the maid the thief only stole some tins.”

“But listen,” begged the colonel. “You will find that document, won’t you?”

“I shall certainly look for it,” replied the lieutenant colonel, clicking his heels.

The colonel spent the rest of that morning slumped in an armchair like a broken man. When he wasn’t expecting the two military policemen to come and arrest him at any moment, he was trying to think what Lt. Col. Vrzal was doing in order to bring the huge, clandestine machinery of the secret service to bear on the problem. But then, imagining the hoo-ha that must have broken out at headquarters, he groaned.

“Karel,” said his wife for about the twentieth time – she’d made sure to hide his gun in the maid’s wardrobe – “wouldn’t you like something to eat?”

“Leave me in peace, for Christ’s sake!” he growled. “I think the Jew next door must have seen it.”

Sighing, his wife returned to the kitchen in tears.

The doorbell rang. The colonel stood up and straightened himself, so as to submit to his imminent arrest with appropriate military dignity. And he wondered which officers they’d sent.

But instead of officers, it was a little red-haired fellow who entered the room, with a bowler hat in his hands. He had squirrel-like teeth.

“How do you do, sir? My name is Pištora. I’m from police headquarters.”

“What do you want?” the colonel blurted out, trying to shift his stance, at the same time, from Attention to At ease.

Detective Constable Pištora grinned, in rather too familiar a way for the colonel’s liking. “I believe your pantry’s been burgled. And here I am!”

“And what’s it got to do with you?” snapped the colonel.

“Well,” replied Detective Constable Pištora, still grinning, “this is our patch. Your maid, she mentioned to the baker this morning that your pantry had been burgled, and so I says to the superintendent, ‘How about if I hop over there and take a look?’”

The colonel was already shaking his head. “It’s not worth it. They only took… they only took a tin of macaroni. You can forget about it.”

“That’s strange,” said Detective Constable Pištora, “that they didn’t snaffle anything else.”

“It is strange, Detective Constable Pištora, but it’s none of your business.”

But the detective constable merely smiled beatifically as a thought occurred to him. “I bet someone disturbed them!”

“Yes, no doubt. And now I bid you good day, Detective Constable.”

“Ah! But!” said the detective constable, smiling and frowning at the same time. “I think I need to take a look at your pantry before I take my leave, don’t you?”

The colonel was about to explode, but instead he just sighed. “Come on then.” And he led the little man to the pantry.

The detective constable’s eyes darted about the narrow room. “Well, well, well! Window prised open with a chisel. Must’ve been Pepek or Andrlík.”

“What on earth are you talking about?” asked the colonel.

“It was either Pepek or Andrlík who done it. But I think Pepek’s in the clink at the moment. If it had been just the glass that was taken out, that would’ve been Dundr, Lojza, Novák, Hosička or Kliment. But this job’s down to Andrlík.”

“I sincerely hope you’re right, Detective Constable.”

But the detective constable was frowning again. “Or… or perhaps there’s another pantry specialist in the district. But surely not? That’s to say, Mertl also does windows with a chisel, but he never goes for pantries, sir, never.” Detective Constable Pištora grinned. “I think I’ll go and have a feel of Andrlík’s collar.”

“And give him my regards while you’re at it,” growled the colonel.

It’s unbelievable, he thought when he was left once more to his own gloomy ruminations, it’s unbelievable how incompetent our police are! If only they’d look for finger prints or footprints! A specialist approach. But to go about it in such an airy-fairy way! … They’d be no match for one of those foreign spies! … I wish I knew what Vrzal’s up to.

Unable to resist, he reached for the phone. After half an hour of huffing and puffing, he finally got through. “Hello, Lieutenant Colonel,” he said in a mellifluous voice. “Hampl here. I was wondering… how far… I know you can’t say anything, but I only… I know, but if you’d just kindly tell me if it’s already… Ruddy hell, still nothing? … Yes, yes, I know it’s a difficult case, but… Just a moment, please, Vrzal. A thought just occurred to me. What about if I offer ten thousand to whoever catches the thief. I don’t have more, but you know, for a job like that… Yes I know that wouldn’t be possible, it would be a private matter. I couldn’t do it in my official capacity… Or what about making the offer to the police detectives, eh? … No, of course you wouldn’t know about that. But if you somehow hinted to them that Colonel Hampl has promised ten thousand… OK, so leave it with your station manager. Yes, please, my friend! … Forgive me for interrupting you… Thank you.”

Colonel Hampl felt much relieved after this generous decision on his part. He felt that at least now he was himself involved in some way in the hunt for that damned, thieving spy. He lay down on the sofa, because all the alarums and excursions had tired him out, and he was soon dreaming of a hundred, nay! two hundred, nay! three hundred men – all of them red-haired and squirrel-toothed like Detective Constable Pištora – searching trains, stopping cars speeding to the borders, waiting for their prey behind street corners and suddenly stepping out with the words, “I arrest you in the name of the law. Come with me and keep your mouth shut.” And then he dreamt that he was doing a balistics exam at the military academy.

Groaning, he awoke and found himself bathed in sweat.

Somebody rang the doorbell. The colonel jumped to his feet and tried to arrange his thoughts. But the squirrel-toothed detective constable was already entering the room.

“It’s me again!” he said. “It was him, sir, just as I said.”

“Who?” asked the colonel, still struggling to reorganise his thoughts.

“Who?” Detective Constable Pištora was so taken aback by the question that he even stopped grinning. “Who else? I told you Pepek’s in Pankrác jail.”

“Why on earth do you keep going on about that Andrlík fellow, Detective Constable?”

The detective constable’s eyes were almost popping out of their sockets in disbelief. “Because it was him who stole the macaroni from the pantry of course! We’ve got him down the police station already. So that’s that, but I just wanted to ask… He – Andrlík – says there wasn’t any macaroni in the tin, it was just some bumf. So, is that right?”

“My good man,” exlaimed the colonel hurriedly, “where is that… erm… bumf?”

Detective Constable Pištora grinned. “In my pocket… Now where have I…?” He started searching his pockets. “Aha! Is this it?”

With tears of relief in his eyes, the colonel snatched the precious, crumpled Document 139/VII(C) from the constable’s hand. “My dear man,” he sighed, “I can’t thank you enough…” He turned and called his wife. “Come here, my dear. It’s Sergeant… Inspector… erm…”

“Constable Pištora,” said the little fellow, giving a full-on squirrel smile.

“He’s found the stolen document,” the colonel continued shouting to his wife. “Do come here, and bring the cognac and some glasses… Constable Pištora, I’d… you’ve no idea… that’s to say, so that you know… Have a drink, Constable Pištora.”

The constable grinned. “But it was nothing! … Just some bumf, sir! And I almost forgot: the tin’s at the police station, Madam.”

“Blow the tin!” said the colonel, now with a big smile on his face himself. “But my dear Constable Pištora, how did you manage to find the document so quickly? Your good health!”

“Cheers!” said the constable. “But, heaven help us! It was really nothing. When it’s theft from a pantry, we go after Andrlík or Pepek. But Pepek’s doing two months at Pankrác. If it’s an attic, we go for Písecký, Tondera the Cripple, Kaner, Zima or Houska…”

“But… but… but… Constable. Listen, what about if it’s a case of espionage? Prosit, Constable!”

“Thank you kindly… Well, espionage, we don’t cover that. But brass keys, that would be Čeněk or Pinkus, copper wire we’ve only got one, Toušek, at the moment, and if it’s beer pipes, that would have to be Hanousek, Buchta or Šlesinger. We’re on to it straight away, sir. And safe-breakers… we get them from all over the republic. So many of them! Twenty-seven at the last count, but six of them are in the slammer.”

“Serves them right,” said the colonel bloodthirstily. “Drink up, Constable!”

“Thank you very much,” said Constable Pištora, “but I don’t drink a lot, me. Thank you, cheers! … All these… these crooks and criminals, they’re not too bright, sir. Each of them’s only got his only little trade, and he plies it until we catch him. Like this Andrlík. Ah! he thinks, as soon as he clocks me approaching. That’ll be Constable Pištora about that pantry. ‘Constable, it weren’t nothing, all I got was some bumf in a tin. And I had to scarper before I could do anything else.’ ‘Doesn’t matter,’ I say to him, ‘you’ll get a year at least all the same, you twit.’”

“A year’s prison?” asked Colonel Hampl, sympathetically. “Isn’t that a bit much?”

“But it’s burglary,” said the constable, displaying his teeth once more. “So, my regards, sir. I’ve still got a shop-window to do. That’ll be Kleček or Rudl… If you should need anything else, just ask at the station. All you have to do is say Constable Pištora.”

“Please, Constable Pištora. I wonder if you would… erm… for your help… That’s to say, those papers are… nothing special certainly, but all the same… I wouldn’t want to lose them, you know. So, perhaps you’d accept this for your help,” and he pressed a fifty-crown note into the constable’s hand.

Surprise and gratitude caused Constable Pištora to put on a serious face. “But there’s really no need,” he said, as he hurriedly pocketed the banknote. “It wasn’t anything… Thank you very much, sir. And if you ever need anything else…”

“I gave him fifty crowns,” the Colonel told his wife in the warm after-glow of his benevolence. “Twenty would have been enough for a PC Plod like him, but…” – waving his hand magnanimously – “the main thing is, the ruddy document’s been found.”

TRANSLATIONS FROM CZECH

Clasics in Ñspel: THE PARADISE OF THIEVES, by G K Chesterton

Ɖ PAṚDÎS OV ƮĪVZ

G. C. Ćsttn

Ɖ  gret Mscari, most orijinl v ɖ yuñ Tuscn powts, wōct swiftli intu hiz feṿrit resṭront, ẃć oṿlct ɖ Mediṭreńn, wz cuvrd bî an ōnñ n fnst bî litl lemn n orinjtrīz. Wêtrz in ẃît epṛnz wr olrdi leyñ ǎt on ẃît teblz ɖ insignia v an rli n elignt lunć; n ɖs sīmd t incris a saṭsfax́n ɖt olrdi tućt ɖ top v swagr. Mscari hd an īglnǒz lîc Dante; hiz her n nec̣ćīf wr darc n flowñ; h carid a blac clǒc, n mt olmst hv carid a blac masc, so mć dd h ber wɖ him a sort v Vnīśn meḷdrama. H actd az f a trūḅdor hd stl a defiṇt sośl ofis, lîc a biṣ́p. H wnt az nir az hiz snćri pmitd t wōcñ ɖ wrld litṛli lîc Don Juwn, wɖ repịr n gitar.

Fr h nvr travld wɖt a ces v sordz, wɖ ẃć h hd fòt mni briłnt dȳlz, or wɖt a corispondñ ces fr hiz manḍlin, wɖ ẃć h hd acć̣li seṛnedd Mis Eʈl Haṛget, ɖ hîli cnvnśnl dōtr v a Yorx́r bancr on a hoḷde. Yt h wz nɖr a śarḷtn nr a ćîld; bt a hot, lojicl Latin hu lîct a srtn ʈñ n wz it. Hiz powtri wz az stretfwd az enwn els’z prǒz. H dzîrd fem or wîn or ɖ byti v wimin wɖ a torid d’rectnis incnsiṿbl amñ ɖ clǎdi îdiylz or clǎdi compṛmîzz v ɖ norʈ; t vegr resz hiz intnṣti smelt v denjr or īvn crîm. Lîc fîr or ɖ sì, h wz tù simpl t b trustd.

Ɖ bancr n hiz bytifl Ñgliś dōtr wr steyñ at ɖ hotel ataćt t Mscari’z resṭront; ɖt wz ẃ it wz hiz feṿrit resṭront. A glans flaśt arnd ɖ rūm tld him at wns, hvr, ɖt ɖ Ñgliś parti hd nt dsndd. Ɖ resṭront wz gliṭrñ, bt stl cmpaṛtivli emti. Tū prīsts wr tōcñ at a tebl in a cornr, bt Mscari (an ardnt Caʈ̇lic) tc no mor notis v ɖm ɖn v a cupl v croz. Bt fṛm a yt farɖr sīt, partli cnsild bhnd a dworf tri goldn wɖ oṛnjz, ɖr rouz n advanst twdz ɖ powt a prsn huz costym wz ɖ most agresivli oṗzit t hiz ǒn.

Ɖs figr wz clad in twīdz v a pîbàld ćec, wɖ a pnc tî, a śarp colr n pṛtybṛnt yelo būts. H cntrîvd, in ɖ tru tṛdiśn v ‘Ari at Marget, t lc at wns starṭlñ n comnples. Bt az ɖ Cocni aṗriśn drù nirr, Mscari wz astǎndd t obzrv ɖt ɖ hed wz dstñtli difṛnt fṛm ɖ bodi. It wz an Itałn hed: fuzi, sworɖi n vri viveśs, ɖt rouz abrupli ǎt v ɖ standñ colr lîc cardbōrd n ɖ comic pnc tî. In fact it wz a hed h ń. H rec̣gnîzd it, abv ol ɖ dîr irex́n v Ñgliś hoḷde are, az ɖ fes v an old bt fgotn frend nemd Etsa. Ɖs yʈ hd bn a proḍji at colij, n Yṛpiyn fem wz promist him ẃn h wz bérli fiftīn; bt ẃn h apird in ɖ wrld h feld, frst pubḷcli az a draṃtist n a deṃgog, n ɖen prîṿtli fr yirz on end az an actr, a travlr, a cmiśn-ejnt or a jrṇlist. Mscari hd noun him last bhnd ɖ ftlîts; h wz bt tù wel atynd t ɖ xîtmnts v ɖt pṛfeśn, n it wz b’livd ɖt sm moṛl c’laṃti hd swoloud him p.

“Etsa!” craid ɖ powt, rîzñ n śecñ handz in a pleznt astoniśmnt. “Wel, I’v sìn y in mni costymz in ɖ grīn rūm; bt I nvr xpctd t si y drest p az an Ñgliśmn.”

“Ɖs,” ansrd Etsa grevli, “z nt ɖ costym v an Ñgliśmn, bt v ɖ Itałn v ɖ fyćr.”

“In ɖt ces,” rmarct Mscari, “I cnfes I prifŕ ɖ Itałn v ɖ past.”

“Ɖt z yr old mstec, Mscari,” sd ɖ man in twīdz, śecñ hiz hed; “n ɖ mstec v Iṭli. In ɖ sixtīnʈ snćri w Tuscnz md ɖ mornñ: w hd ɖ nyist stīl, ɖ nyist carvñ, ɖ nyist ceṃstri. Ẃ śd w nt nǎ hv ɖ nyist facṭriz, ɖ nyist motrz, ɖ nyist fnans – ɖ nyist cloɖz?”

“Bcz ɖe r nt wrʈ hvñ,” ansrd Mscari. “Y canot mc Itałnz riyli pṛgresiv; ɖe r tù intelijnt. Men hu si ɖ śort cut t gd livñ wl nvr g bî ɖ ny ilabṛt rodz.”

“Wel, t m Marconi, or D’Anŭnzio, z ɖ star v Iṭli” sd ɖ uɖr. “Ɖt z ẃ I hv bcm a Fyć̣rist – n a curịr.”

“A curịr!” craid Mscari, lafñ. “Z ɖt ɖ last v yr list v tredz? N hūm r y cnductñ?”

“Ǒ, a man v ɖ nem v Haṛget, n hiz faṃli, I b’liv.”

“Nt ɖ bancr in ɖs hotel?” inqîrd ɖ powt, wɖ sm īgrnis.

“Ɖt’s ɖ man,” ansrd ɖ curịr.

“Dz it pe wel?” asct ɖ trūḅdor iṇsntli.

“It wl pe m,” sd Etsa, wɖ a vri eṇgmatic smîl. “Bt I am a rɖr krịs sort v curịr.” Ɖen, az f ćenjñ ɖ subjict, h sd abrupli: “H hz a dōtr – n a sun.”

“Ɖ dōtr z dvîn,” afrmd Mscari, “ɖ faɖr n sun r, I s’poz, hymn. Bt grantd hiz harmlis qoḷtz dz’nt ɖt bancr strîc y az a splendid instns v mî arğmnt? Haṛget hz miłnz in hiz sefs, n I hv – ɖ houl in mî pocit. Bt y der’nt se – y c’nt se – ɖt h’z clevrr ɖn I, or boldr ɖn I, or īvn mor eṇjetic. H’z nt clevr, h’z got îz lîc blu butnz; h’z nt eṇjetic, h muvz fṛm ćer t ćer lîc a paṛlitic. H’z a conśienśs, cîndli old bloched; bt h’z got muni simpli bcz h c’lects muni, az a bô c’lects stamps. Y’r tù stroñ-mîndd fr biznis, Etsa. Y w’nt gt on. T b clevr inuf t gt ol ɖt muni, wn mst b stypid inuf t wont it.”

“I’m stypid inuf fr ɖt,” sd Etsa glūṃli. “Bt I śd sjst a sspnśn v yr cṛtīc v ɖ bancr, fr hir h cmz.”

Mr. Haṛget, ɖ gret finansịr, dd indd entr ɖ rūm, bt nbdi lct at him. H wz a masiv eldrli man wɖ a bôld blu î n fedd gre-sandi mstaśz; bt fr hiz hevi stūp h mt hv bn a crnl. H carid sevṛl unopnd letrz in hiz hand. Hiz sun Franc wz a riyli fîn lad, crli-herd, sún-brnt n strenẏs; bt nbdi lct at him îɖr. Ol îz, az yźl, wr riṿtd, fr ɖ momnt at līst, upn Eʈl Haṛget, huz goldn Grīc hed n culr v ɖ dōn sīmd set prṗsli abv ɖt safîr sì, lîc a godes’z. Ɖ powt Mscari drù a dīp breʈ az f h wr drincñ smʈñ, az indd h wz. H wz drincñ ɖ Clasic; ẃć hiz faɖrz md. Etsa studid hr wɖ a gêz īqli intns n far mor baf̣lñ.

Mis Haṛget wz speṣ́li redịnt n redi fr convseśn on ɖs oceźn; n hr faṃli hd fōḷn intu ɖ īzịr Conṭnentl habit, alawñ ɖ strenjr Mscari n īvn ɖ curịr Etsa t śer ɖer tebl n ɖer tōc. In Eʈl Haṛget cnvnṣ́naḷti crǎnd itslf wɖ a pfx́n n splendr v its ǒn. Prǎd v hr faɖr’z pṛspeṛti, fond v faśṇbl pleźrz, a fond dōtr bt an aṛnt flrt, ś wz ol ɖz ʈñz wɖ a sort v goldn gd-nećr ɖt md hr vri prîd plizñ n hr wrldli rspctbiḷti a freś n harti ʈñ.

Ɖe wr in an edi v xîtmnt abt sm alejd peṛl in ɖ mǎntinpaʈ ɖe wr t atmt ɖt wīc. Ɖ denjr wz nt fṛm roc n aṿlanć, bt fṛm smʈñ yt mor r’mantic. Eʈl hd bn rṇstli aśurd ɖt brigndz, ɖ tru cutʈrots v ɖ modn lejnd, stl hōntd ɖt rij n hld ɖt pas v ɖ Aṗnînz.

“Ɖe se,” ś craid, wɖ ɖ ōfl reliś v a scūlgrl, “ɖt ol ɖt cuntri z’nt rūld bî ɖ Cñ v Iṭli, bt bî ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz. Hu z ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz?”

“A gret man,” rplaid Mscari, “wrɖi t ranc wɖ yr ǒn Robin Hŭd, sińrīna. Mntano, ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz, wz frst hŕd v in ɖ mǎnitnz sm ten yirz ago, ẃn ppl sd brigndz wr xtñt. Bt hiz wîld oʈoṛti spred wɖ ɖ swiftnis v a sîḷnt reṿluśn. Men faund hiz firs procḷmeśnz nêld in evri mǎntinvilij; hiz sntinlz, gun in hand, in evri mǎntin r’vīn. Six tîmz ɖ Itałn Guvnmnt traid t dsloj him, n wz dfitd in six pićt batlz az f bî Npołn.”

“Nǎ ɖt sort v ʈñ,” obzrvd ɖ bancr weiṭli, “wd nvr b alaud in Ñgḷnd; phps, aftr ol, w hd betr ćūz anɖr rùt. Bt ɖ curịr ʈt it prf̣cli sef.”

“It z prf̣cli sef,” sd ɖ curịr cntmćsli. “I hv bn ovr it twenti tîmz. Ɖr me hv bn sm old jelbrd cōld a Cñ in ɖ tîm v ǎr granmuɖrz; bt h b’loñz t hisṭri f nt t febl. Briġndij z utrli stamt ǎt.”

“It cn nvr b utrli stamt ǎt,” Mscari ansrd; “bcz armd rvolt z a recrieśn naćṛl t suɖ̇nrz. Ǎr peznts r lîc ɖer mǎntinz, rić in gres n grīn geyti, bt wɖ ɖ fîrz bnʈ. Ɖr z a pônt v hymn dsper ẃr ɖ norɖn pur tec t drinc – n ǎr ǒn pur tec t dagrz.”

“A powt z priṿlijd,” rplaid Etsa, wɖ a snir. “F Sińor Mscari wr Ñgliś h wd stl b lcñ fr hîweṃn in Wonzẉʈ. B’liv m, ɖr z no mor denjr v biyñ capćrd in Iṭli ɖn v biyñ scalpt in Bostn.”

“Ɖen y pṛpoz t atmt it?” asct Mr. Haṛget, frǎnñ.

“Ǒ, it sǎndz rɖr dredfl,” craid ɖ grl, trnñ hr glorịs îz on Mscari. “D y riyli ʈnc ɖ pas z denjṛs?”

Mscari ʈrù bac hiz blac mein. “I nǒ it z denjṛs:” h sd. “I am crosñ it tmoro.”

Ɖ yuñ Haṛget wz left bhnd fr a momnt emtiyñ a glas v ẃît wîn n lîtñ a siġrét, az ɖ byti rtîrd wɖ ɖ bancr, ɖ curịr n ɖ powt, dstribytñ pìlz v silṿri satîr. At abt ɖ sem instnt ɖ tū prīsts in ɖ cornr rouz; ɖ tōlr, a ẃît-herd Itałn, tecñ hiz līv. Ɖ śortr prīst trnd n wōct twdz ɖ bancr’z sun, n ɖ latr wz astoniśt t riylîz ɖt ɖo a Romn prīst ɖ man wz an Ñgliśmn. H vegli rmembrd mītñ him at ɖ sośl cruśz v sm v hiz Caʈ̇lic frendz. Bt ɖ man spouc bfr hiz meṃriz cd c’lect ɖmslvz.

“Mr. Franc Haṛget, I ʈnc,” h sd. “I hv hd an intṛdux́n, bt I d nt mīn t prizym on it. Ɖ od ʈñ I hv t se wl cm far betr fṛm a strenjr. Mr. Haṛget, I se wn wrd n g: tec cer v yr sistr in hr gret soro.”

Īvn fr Franc’s trūli fṛtrnl indifṛns ɖ redịns n d’riźn v hiz sistr stl sīmd t sparcl n rñ; h cd hír hr laftr stl fṛm ɖ gardn v ɖ hotel, n h stérd at hiz sombr advîzr in puzldm.

“D y mīn ɖ brigndz?” h asct; n ɖen, rmemḅrñ a veg fir v hiz ǒn, “or cn y b ʈncñ v Mscari?”

“Wn z nvr ʈncñ v ɖ riyl soro,” sd ɖ strenj prīst. “Wn cn onli b cînd ẃn it cmz.”

N h pást promtli fṛm ɖ rūm, līvñ ɖ uɖr olmst wɖ hiz mǎʈ opn.

A de or tū aftwdz a coć cntenñ ɖ cumṗni wz riyli crōlñ n staġrñ p ɖ sprz v ɖ meṇsñ mǎntinrenj. Btwn Etsa’z ćiri dnayl v ɖ denjr n Mscari’z bôstṛs dfayns v it, ɖ fnanśl faṃli wr frm in ɖer orijinl prṗs; n Mscari md hiz mǎntinjrni cǒinsîd wɖ ɖerz. A mor s’prîzñ fīćr wz ɖ apiṛns at ɖ cǒsțǎn steśn v ɖ litl prīst v ɖ resṭront; h alejd mirli ɖt biznis léd him olso t cros ɖ mǎntinz v ɖ midḷnd. Bt yuñ Haṛget cd nt bt cnct hiz prezns wɖ ɖ misticl firz n wornñz v yesṭde.

Ɖ coć wz a cnd v cmodịs waġnét, invntd bî ɖ moḍnist taḷnt v ɖ curịr, hu doṃnetd ɖ xpdiśn wɖ hiz sạ̣ntific activti n brīzi wit. Ɖ ʈiyri v denjr fṛm ʈīvz wz baniśt fṛm ʈt n spīć; ɖo so far cnsidd in forml act ɖt sm slît pṛtx́n wz imploid. Ɖ curịr n ɖ yuñ bancr carid lodd rvolvrz, n Mscari (wɖ mć bôiś gratif̣ceśn) bucld on a cnd v cutḷs undr hiz blac clǒc.

H hd plantd hiz prsn at a flayñ līp nxt t ɖ luvli Ñgliśwŭmn; on ɖ uɖr sîd v hr sat ɖ prīst, huz nem wz Brǎn n hu wz forćṇtli a sîḷnt indivijl; ɖ curịr n ɖ faɖr n sun wr on ɖ banc bhnd. Mscari wz in tǎrñ spirits, sirịsli b’livñ in ɖ peṛl, n hiz tōc t Eʈl mt wel hv md hr ʈnc him a meńac. Bt ɖr wz smʈñ in ɖ crezi n gorjs asent, amd cragz lîc pīcs lodd wɖ wŭdz lîc orć̣dz, ɖt dragd hr spirit p alñ wɖ hiz intu prpl pripostṛs hevnz wɖ ẃīlñ súnz. Ɖ ẃît rod clîmd lîc a ẃît cat; it spand súnlis cazmz lîc a tîtrop; it wz fluñ rnd far-of hedḷndz lîc a l’su.

N yt, hvr hî ɖe wnt, ɖ deẓt stl blosmd lîc ɖ rouz. Ɖ fīldz wr brniśt in sún n wind wɖ ɖ culr v cñfiśr n paṛt n humñbrd, ɖ hyz v a hundṛd flǎrñ flǎrz. Ɖr r no luvlịr medoz n wŭdḷndz ɖn ɖ Ñgliś, no noblr crests or cazmz ɖn ɖoz v Snǒdn n Glenco. Bt Eʈl Haṛget hd nvr bfr sìn ɖ suɖn parcs tiltd on ɖ splintrd norɖn pīcs; ɖ gorj v Glenco lêdn wɖ ɖ frūts v Cnt. Ɖr wz nʈñ hir v ɖt ćil n deẓleśn ɖt in Britn wn asośiets wɖ hî n wîld sìṇri. It wz rɖr lîc a mzêicpalis, rent wɖ rʈqecs; or lîc a Duć tylip gardn bloun t ɖ starz wɖ dîṇmît.

“It’s lîc Cỳ Gardnz on Bīći Hed,” sd Eʈl.

“It z ǎr sīcrit,” ansrd h, “ɖ sīcrit v ɖ vlceno; ɖt z olso ɖ sīcrit v ɖ reṿluśn – ɖt a ʈñ cn b vayḷnt n yt frūtfl.”

“Y r rɖr vayḷnt yrslf,” n ś smîld at him.

“N yt rɖr frūtlis,” h admitd; “f I dî tnît I dî unmarid n a fūl.”

“It z nt mî fōlt f y hv cm,” ś sd aftr a dificlt sîḷns.

“It z nvr yr fōlt,” ansrd Mscari; “it wz nt yr fōlt ɖt Trô fél.”

Az ɖe spouc ɖe cem undr oṿẃlmñ clifs ɖt spred olmst lîc wñz abv a cornr v pkłr peṛl. Śoct bî ɖ big śado on ɖ naro lej, ɖ horsz strd dǎtf̣li. Ɖ drîvr lept t ɖ rʈ t hold ɖer hedz, n ɖe bcem unguvṇbl. Wn hors rird p t hiz fl hît – ɖ tîtanic n teṛfayñ hît v a hors ẃn h bcmz a bîped. It wz jst inuf t oltr ɖ eqlibrịm; ɖ hol coć hìld ovr lîc a śip n craśt ʈru ɖ frinj v bśz ovr ɖ clif. Mscari ʈrù an arm rnd Eʈl, hu cluñ t him, n śǎtd alǎd. It wz fr sć momnts ɖt h livd.

At ɖ momnt ẃn ɖ gorjs mǎntinwōlz wnt rnd ɖ powt’s hed lîc a prpl windmil a ʈñ hapnd ẃć wz sūṗfiṣ́li īvn mor starṭlñ. Ɖ eldrli n l’ʈarjic bancr sprañ irect in ɖ coć n lept ovr ɖ preṣpis bfr ɖ tiltd viycl cd tec him ɖr. In ɖ frst flaś it lct az wîld az suisîd; bt in ɖ secnd it wz az snṣbl az a sef invstmnt. Ɖ Yorcśrmn hd evidntli mor promttyd, az wel az mor sgaṣti, ɖn Mscari hd gvn him credit fr; fr h landd in a lap v land ẃć mt hv bn speṣ́li padd wɖ trf n clovr t rsiv him. Az it hapnd, indd, ɖ hol cumṗni wr īqli luci, f les digṇfaid in ɖer form v ijx́n. Imīɉtli undr ɖs abrupt trn v ɖ rod wz a grasi n flǎri holo lîc a suncn medo; a sort v grīn velvit pocit in ɖ loñ, grīn, trelñ garmnts v ɖ hilz. Intu ɖs ɖe wr ol tipt or tumbld wɖ litl damij, sev ɖt ɖer smōlist bagij n īvn ɖ contents v ɖer pocits wr scatrd in ɖ gras arnd ɖm. Ɖ rect coć stl huñ abv, intangld in ɖ tuf hej, n ɖ horsz plunjd penf̣li dǎn ɖ slǒp. Ɖ frst t sit p wz ɖ litl prīst, hu scraćt hiz hed wɖ a fes v fūliś wundr. Franc Haṛget hŕd him se t himslf: “Nǎ ẃ on rʈ hv w fōḷn jst hir?”

H blinct at ɖ litr arnd him, n rcuvrd hiz ǒn vri clumzi umbrela. Bynd it le ɖ brōd sombrero fōḷn fṛm ɖ hed v Mscari, n bsd it a sìld biznisletr ẃć, aftr a glans at ɖ adres, h rtrnd t ɖ eldr Haṛget. On ɖ uɖr sîd v him ɖ gras partli hid Mis Eʈl’z súnśêd, n jst bynd it le a krịs litl glas botl hardli tū inćz loñ. Ɖ prīst pict it p; in a qc, un’btrusiv manr h uncorct n snift it, n hiz hevi fes trnd ɖ culr v cle.

“Hevn dlivr s!” h mutrd; “it c’nt b hrz! Hz hr soro cm on hr olrdi?” H slipt it intu hiz ǒn weistcot pocit. “I ʈnc I’m jusṭfaid,” h sd, “tl I nǒ a litl mor.”

H gezd penf̣li at ɖ grl, at ɖt momnt biyñ rezd ǎt v ɖ flǎrz bî Mscari, hu wz seyñ: “W hv fōḷn intu hevn; it z a sîn. Mortlz clîm p n ɖe fōl dǎn; bt it z onli godz n godesz hu cn fōl upwdz.”

N indd ś rouz ǎt v ɖ sì v culrz so bytifl n hapi a viźn ɖt ɖ prīst flt hiz sspiśn śecn n śiftd. “Aftr ol,” h ʈt, “phps ɖ pôzn z’nt hrz; phps it’s wn v Mscari’z meḷdṛmatic trics.”

Mscari set ɖ ledi lîtli on hr fīt, md hr an absrdli ʈiatricl bǎ, n ɖen, drw̃ hiz cutḷs, hact hard at ɖ tōt reinz v ɖ horsz, so ɖt ɖe scrambld t ɖer fīt n std in ɖ gras tremḅlñ. Ẃn h hd dn so, a most rmarcbl ʈñ ocŕd. A vri qayt man, vri purli drest n xtrimli súnbrnt, cem ǎt v ɖ bśz n tc hold v ɖ horsz’ hedz. H hd a qir-śept nîf, vri brōd n crŭcid, bucld on hiz blt; ɖr wz nʈñ els rmarcbl abt him, xpt hiz sudn n sîḷnt apiṛns. Ɖ powt asct him hu h wz, n h dd nt ansr.

Lcñ arnd him at ɖ cnfyzd n startld grūp in ɖ holo, Mscari ɖen psivd ɖt anɖr tand n tatrd man, wɖ a śort gun undr hiz arm, wz lcñ at ɖm fṛm ɖ lej jst b’lo, līnñ hiz elboz on ɖ éj v ɖ trf. Ɖen h lct p at ɖ rod fṛm ẃć ɖe hd fōḷn n sw, lcñ dǎn on ɖm, ɖ muzlz v for uɖr carbînz n for uɖr brǎn fesz wɖ brît bt qt mośnlis îz.

“Ɖ brigndz!” craid Mscari, wɖ a cnd v monstṛs geyti. “Ɖs wz a trap. Etsa, f y wl oblîj m bî śūtñ ɖ coćmn frst, w cn cut ǎr we ǎt yt. Ɖr r onli six v ɖm.”

“Ɖ coćmn,” sd Etsa, hu wz standñ grimli wɖ hiz handz in hiz pocits, “hapnz t b a srvnt v Mr. Haṛget’z.”

“Ɖen śūt him ol ɖ mor,” craid ɖ powt impeśntli; “h wz brîbd t upset hiz mastr. Ɖen pt ɖ ledi in ɖ midl, n w wl brec ɖ lîn p ɖr – wɖ a ruś.”

N, wêdñ in wîld gras n flǎrz, h advanst firlisli on ɖ for carbînz; bt fîndñ ɖt nwn foloud xpt yuñ Haṛget, h trnd, branḍśñ hiz cutḷs t wev ɖ uɖrz on. H bheld ɖ curịr stl standñ slîtli astrîd in ɖ sntr v ɖ grasi rñ, hiz handz in hiz pocits; n hiz līn, îronicl Itałn fes sīmd t gro longr n longr in ɖ īvnñ lît.

“Y ʈt, Mscari, I wz ɖ fełr amñ ǎr scūlfeloz,” h sd, “n y ʈt y wr ɖ s’xes. Bt I hv s’xidd mor ɖn y n fil a bigr ples in hisṭri. I hv bn actñ epics ẃl y hv bn raitñ ɖm.”

“Cm on, I tel y!” ʈundrd Mscari fṛm abv. “Wl y stand ɖr tōcñ nonsns abt yrslf wɖ a wmn t sev n ʈri stroñ men t hlp y? Ẃt d y cōl yrslf?”

“I cōl mslf Mntano,” craid ɖ strenj curịr in a vôs īqli lǎd n fl. “I am ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz, n I welcm y ol t mî sumrpalis.”

N īvn az h spouc fîv mor sîḷnt men wɖ wepnz redi cem ǎt v ɖ bśz, n lct twdz him fr ɖer ordrz. Wn v ɖm hld a larj pepr in hiz hand.

“Ɖs priti litl nst ẃr w r ol picnicñ,” wnt on ɖ curịrbrignd, wɖ ɖ sem īzi yt sinistr smîl, “z, tgɖr wɖ sm cevz undnʈ it, noun bî ɖ nem v ɖ Paṛdîs v Ʈīvz. It z mî prinsipl stroñhold on ɖz hilz; fr (az y hv dǎtlis notist) ɖ îri z inviẓbl bʈ fṛm ɖ rod abv n fṛm ɖ vali b’lo. It z smʈñ betr ɖn impregṇbl; it z uņotisbl. Hir I mostli liv, n hir I śl srtnli dî, f ɖ gendarmes evr trac m hir. I am nt ɖ cnd v criminl ɖt ‘rzrvz hiz dfns,’ bt ɖ betr cnd ɖt rzrvz hiz last bŭlit.”

Ol wr stẹrñ at him ʈundrstruc n stil, xpt Faɖr Brǎn, hu hīvd a hyj sai az v rlif n fngrd ɖ litl fail in hiz pocit. “Ʈanc God!” h mutrd; “ɖt’s mć mor probbl. Ɖ pôzn b’loñz t ɖs robrćīf, v cors. H cariz it so ɖt h me nvr b capćrd, lîc Ceto.”

Ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz wz, hvr, cntinywñ hiz adres wɖ ɖ sem cnd v denjṛs p’lîtnis. “It onli rmenz fr m,” h sd, “t xplen t mî gests ɖ sośl cndiśnz upn ẃć I hv ɖ pleźr v enttenñ ɖm. I nīd nt xpǎnd ɖ qent old rićl v ransm, ẃć it z incumbnt upn m t cīp p; n īvn ɖs onli aplîz t a part v ɖ cumṗni. Ɖ Revṛnd Faɖr Brǎn n ɖ seḷbretd Sińor Mscari I śl rlis tmoro at dōn n escort t mî ǎtposts. Powts n prīsts, f y wl pardn mî simpliṣti v spīć, nvr hv eni muni. N so (sins it z imposbl t gt enʈñ ǎt v ɖm), let s sīz ɖ oṗtyṇti t śo ǎr adṃreśn fr clasic litṛćr n ǎr revṛns fr Holi Ćrć.”

H pōzd wɖ an unplizñ smîl; n Faɖr Brǎn blinct rpitidli at him, n sīmd sudnli t b liṣnñ wɖ gret atnśn. Ɖ brigndcaptin tc ɖ larj pepr fṛm ɖ atndntbrignd n, glansñ ovr it, cntinyd: “Mî uɖr intnśnz r clirli set frth in ɖs public dokmnt, ẃć I wl hand rnd in a momnt; n ẃć aftr ɖt wl b postd on a tri bî evri vilij in ɖ vali, n evri crosrod in ɖ hilz. I wl nt wiri y wɖ ɖ vrḅlizm, sins y wl b ebl t ćec it; ɖ substns v mî procḷmeśn z ɖs: I anǎns frst ɖt I hv capćrd ɖ Ñgliś miłner, ɖ c’loss v fnans, Mr. Saḿl Haṛget. I nxt anǎns ɖt I hv faund on hiz prsn nots n bondz fr tū ʈǎznd pǎndz, ẃć h hz gvn p t m. Nǎ sins it wd b riyli imoṛl t anǎns sć a ʈñ t a creɉḷs public f it hd nt ocŕd, I sjst it śd ocŕ wɖt frɖr dle. I sjst ɖt Mr. Haṛget sīńr śd nǎ gv m ɖ tū ʈǎznd pǎndz in hiz pocit.”

Ɖ bancr lct at him undr lowrñ brǎz, red-fest n sulci, bt sīmñli caud. Ɖt līp fṛm ɖ felñ carij sīmd t hv yzd p hiz last vriḷti. H hd hld bac in a hañdog stîl ẃn hiz sun n Mscari hd md a bold muvmnt t brec ǎt v ɖ brigndtrap. N nǎ hiz red n tremḅlñ hand wnt rluctntli t hiz brestpocit, n pást a bundl v peprz n enṿlops t ɖ brignd.

“Xḷnt!” craid ɖt ǎtlw gêli; “so far w r ol cozi. I rzym ɖ pônts v mî procḷmeśn, so sn t b publiśt t ol Iṭli. Ɖ ʈrd îtm z ɖt v ransm. I am ascñ fṛm ɖ frendz v ɖ Haṛget faṃli a ransm v ʈri ʈǎznd pǎndz, ẃć I am śr z olmst insultñ t ɖt faṃli in its modṛt estiṃt v ɖer importns. Hu wd nt pe tripl ɖs sum fr anɖr de’z asośieśn wɖ sć a dmestic srcl? I wl nt cnsil fṛm y ɖt ɖ dokmnt endz wɖ srtn līgl frezz abt ɖ unpleznt ʈñz ɖt me hapn f ɖ muni z nt peid; bt mnẃl, lediz n jntlṃn, let m aśur y ɖt I am cumfṭbli of hir fr acoṃdeśn, wîn n sgarz, n bid y fr ɖ preznt a sportsmnlîc welcm t ɖ lux̣́riz v ɖ Paṛdîs v Ʈīvz.”

Ol ɖ tîm ɖt h hd bn spīcñ, ɖ dybịs-lcñ men wɖ carbînz n drti slǎćhats hd bn gaɖ̇rñ sîḷntli in sć priponḍretñ numbrz ɖt īvn Mscari wz cmpeld t rec̣gnîz hiz sali wɖ ɖ sord az hoplis. H glanst arnd him; bt ɖ grl hd olrdi gn ovr t suɖ n cumf̣t hr faɖr, fr hr naćṛl afx́n fr hiz prsn wz az stroñ or strongr ɖn hr smẃt snobiś prîd in hiz s’xes. Mscari, wɖ ɖ ilojcaḷti v a luvr, admîrd ɖs filịl dvośn, n yt wz iṛtetd bî it. H slapt hiz sord bac in ɖ scaḅd n wnt n fluñ himslf smẃt sulc̣li on wn v ɖ grīn bancs. Ɖ prīst sat dǎn wɖn a yard or tū, n Mscari trnd hiz aqlîn nǒz on him in an instnteńs iṛteśn.

“Wel,” sd ɖ powt tartli, “d ppl stl ʈnc m tù r’mantic? R ɖr, I wundr, eni brigndz left in ɖ mǎntinz?”

“Ɖr me b,” sd Faɖr Brǎn agnosticli.

“Ẃt d y mīn?” asct ɖ uɖr śarpli.

“I mīn I am puzld,” rplaid ɖ prīst. “I am puzld abt Etsa or Mntano, or ẃtvr hiz nem z. H sīmz t m mć mor inixplicbl az a brignd īvn ɖn h wz az a curịr.”

“Bt in ẃt w?” psistd hiz cmpańn. “Santa Mrīa! I śd hv ʈt ɖ brignd wz plen inuf.”

“I fînd ʈri krịs dificltiz,” sd ɖ prīst in a qayt vôs. “I śd lîc t hv yr opińn on ɖm. Frst v ol I mst tel y I wz lunćñ in ɖt resṭront at ɖ sìsîd. Az for v y left ɖ rūm, y n Mis Haṛget wnt ahd, tōcñ n lafñ; ɖ bancr n ɖ curịr cem bhnd, spīcñ sperli n rɖr lo. Bt I cd nt hlp hírñ Etsa se ɖz wrdz – ‘Wel, let hr hv a litl fun; y nǒ ɖ blo me smaś hr eni minit.’ Mr. Haṛget ansrd nʈñ; so ɖ wrdz mst hv hd sm mīnñ. On ɖ impuls v ɖ momnt I wornd hr bruɖr ɖt ś mt b in peṛl; I sd nʈñ v its nećr, fr I dd nt nǒ. Bt f it mnt ɖs capćr in ɖ hilz, ɖ ʈñ z nonsns. Ẃ śd ɖ brigndcurịr worn hiz petṛn, īvn bî a hint, ẃn it wz hiz hol prṗs t lur him intu ɖ mǎntin mǎstrap? It cd nt hv mnt ɖt. Bt f nt, ẃt z ɖs dzastr, noun bʈ t curịr n bancr, ẃć hañz ovr Mis Haṛget’z hed?”

“Dzastr t Mis Haṛget!” ijakletd ɖ powt, sitñ p wɖ sm f’roṣti. “Xplen yrslf; g on.”

“Ol mî ridlz, hvr, rvolv rnd ǎr banditćīf,” rzymd ɖ prīst rflectivli. “N hir z ɖ secnd v ɖm. Ẃ dd h pt so prominntli in hiz dmand fr ransm ɖ fact ɖt h hd tecn tū ʈǎznd pǎndz fṛm hiz victim on ɖ spot? It hd no fentist tndnsi t ivoc ɖ ransm. Qt ɖ uɖr we, in fact. Haṛget’z frendz wd b far lîclịr t fir fr hiz fet f ɖe ʈt ɖ ʈīvz wr pur n despṛt. Yt ɖ spolieśn on ɖ spot wz emf̣sîzd n īvn pt frst in ɖ dmand. Ẃ śd Etsa Mntano wont so speṣ́li t tel ol Yṛp ɖt h hd pict ɖ pocit bfr h levid ɖ blacmeil?”

“I canot imajin,” sd Mscari, rubñ p hiz blac her fr wns wɖ an un’fctd jsćr. “Y me ʈnc y inlîtn m, bt y r līdñ m dīpr in ɖ darc. Ẃt me b ɖ ʈrd objx́n t ɖ Cñ v ɖ Ʈīvz?” “Ɖ ʈrd objx́n,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, stl in medteśn, “z ɖs banc w r sitñ on. Ẃ dz ǎr brigndcurịr cōl ɖs hiz ćīf fortris n ɖ Paṛdîs v Ʈīvz? It z srtnli a soft spot t fōl on n a swīt spot t lc at. It z olso qt tru, az h sz, ɖt it z inviẓbl fṛm vali n pīc, n z ɖrfr a hîdñples. Bt it z nt a fortris. It nvr cd b a fortris. I ʈnc it wd b ɖ wrst fortris in ɖ wrld. Fr it z acć̣li cmandd fṛm abv bî ɖ comn hîrod acrs ɖ mǎntinz – ɖ vri ples ẃr ɖ p’līs wd most probbli pas. Ẃ, fîv śabi śort gunz hld s hlplis hir abt haf an aur ago. Ɖ qortr v a cumṗni v eni cnd v soljrz cd hv bloun s ovr ɖ preṣpis. Ẃtvr z ɖ mīnñ v ɖs od litl nc v gras n flǎrz, it z nt an intrenćt pziśn. It z smʈñ els; it hz sm uɖr strenj sort v importns; sm valy ɖt I d nt unḍstand. It z mor lîc an axdntl ʈiytr or a naćṛl grīnrūm; it z lîc ɖ sīn fr sm r’mantic coṃdi; it z lîc….”

Az ɖ litl prīst’s wrdz leñʈnd n lost ɖmslvz in a dul n drīmi snseṛti, Mscari, huz animl snsz wr alrt n impeśnt, hŕd a ny nôz in ɖ mǎntinz. Īvn fr him ɖ sǎnd wz az yt vri smōl n fent; bt h cd hv sworn ɖ īvnñbrīz bòr wɖ it smʈñ lîc ɖ pulseśn v horsz’ hūfs n a distnt hluwñ.

At ɖ sem momnt, n loñ bfr ɖ vîbreśn hd tućt ɖ les-xpirịnst Ñgliś irz, Mntano ɖ brignd ran p ɖ banc abv ɖm n std in ɖ brocn hej, stediyñ himslf agnst a tri n pirñ dǎn ɖ rod. H wz a strenj figr az h std ɖr, fr h hd asymd a flapt fntastic hat n swññ baldric n cutḷs in hiz cpaṣti v bandit-cñ, bt ɖ brît pṛzêic twīd v ɖ curịr śoud ʈru in paćz ol ovr him.

Ɖ nxt momnt h trnd hiz oliv, snirñ fes n md a muvmnt wɖ hiz hand. Ɖ brigndz scatrd at ɖ signl, nt in cnfyźn, bt in ẃt wz evidntli a cnd v g’ríḷdiṣplin. Instd v okpayñ ɖ rod alñ ɖ rij, ɖe sprincld ɖmslvz alñ ɖ sîd v it bhnd ɖ triz n ɖ hej, az f woćñ unsìn fr an eṇmi. Ɖ nôz bynd grù strongr, bginñ t śec ɖ mǎntinrod, n a vôs cd b clirli hŕd cōlñ ǎt ordrz. Ɖ brigndz sweid n hudld, crsñ n ẃisṗrñ, n ɖ īvnñ-er wz fl v litl mtalic nôzz az ɖe coct ɖer pistlz, or lūsnd ɖer nîvz, or treld ɖer scaḅdz ovr ɖ stonz. Ɖen ɖ nôzz fṛm bʈ qortrz sīmd t mīt on ɖ rod abv; branćz brouc, horsz neid, men craid ǎt.

“A resk!” craid Mscari, sprññ t hiz fīt n wevñ hiz hat; “ɖ gendarmes r on ɖm! Nǎ fr frīdm n a blo fr it! Nǎ t b reblz agnst robrz! Cm, d’nt let s līv evrʈñ t ɖ p’līs; ɖt z so dredf̣li modn. Fōl on ɖ rir v ɖz rufịnz. Ɖ gendarmes r resk wñ s; cm, frendz, let s resk ɖ gendarmes!”

N ʈrowñ hiz hat ovr ɖ triz, h drù hiz cutḷs wns mor n bgan t esc̣led ɖ slǒp p t ɖ rod. Franc Haṛget jumt p n ran acrs t hlp him, rvolvr in hand, bt wz astǎndd t hír himslf impeṛtivli rcōld bî ɖ rōc̣s vôs v hiz faɖr, hu sīmd t b in gret ajteśn.

“I w’nt hv it,” sd ɖ bancr in a ćocñ vôs; “I cmand y nt t inṭfir.”

“Bt, faɖr,” sd Franc vri wormli, “an Itałn jntlmn hz léd ɖ we. Y wd’nt hv it sd ɖt ɖ Ñgliś huñ bac.”

“It z yslis,” sd ɖ oldr man, hu wz tremḅlñ vayḷntli, “it z yslis. W mst sbmit t ǎr lot.”

Faɖr Brǎn lct at ɖ bancr; ɖen h pt hiz hand instñtivli az f on hiz hart, bt riyli on ɖ litl botl v pôzn; n a gret lît cem intu hiz fes lîc ɖ lît v ɖ reṿleśn v deʈ.

Mscari mnẃl, wɖt wêtñ fr s’port, hd crestd ɖ banc p t ɖ rod, n struc ɖ brignd-cñ heṿli on ɖ śoldr, cōzñ him t stagr n swñ rnd. Mntano olso hd hiz cutḷs unśīɖd, n Mscari, wɖt frɖr spīć, snt a slaś at hiz hed ẃć h wz cmpeld t cać n pari. Bt īvn az ɖ tū śort bledz crost n claśt ɖ Cñ v Ʈīvz dlibṛtli dropt hiz pônt n laft.

“Ẃt’s ɖ gd, old man?” h sd in spiṛtd Itałn slañ; “ɖs dámd fars wl sn b ovr.”

“Ẃt d y mīn, y śuflr?” pantd ɖ fîr-ītñ powt. “Z yr curij a śam az wel az yr oṇsti?”

“Evrʈñ abt m z a śam,” rspondd ɖ xcurịr in cmplit gd hymr. “I am an actr; n f I evr hd a prîṿt caṛctr, I hv fgotn it. I am no mor a jenyin brignd ɖn I am a jenyin curịr. I am onli a bundl v mascs, n y c’nt fît a dȳl wɖ ɖt.” N h laft wɖ bôiś pleźr n fél intu hiz old stradlñ attyd, wɖ hiz bac t ɖ scrmiś p ɖ rod.

Darcnis wz dīṗnñ undr ɖ mǎntinwōlz, n it wz nt īzi t dsrn mć v ɖ progres v ɖ strugl, sev ɖt tōl men wr pśñ ɖer horsz’ muzlz ʈru a clññ crǎd v brigndz, hu sīmd mor inclînd t haṛs n husl ɖ invedrz ɖn t cil ɖm. It wz mor lîc a tǎncrǎd privntñ ɖ pasij v ɖ p’līs ɖn enʈñ ɖ powt hd evr picćrd az ɖ last stand v dūmd n ǎtlwd men v blud. Jst az h wz rolñ hiz îz in bwildrmnt h flt a tuć on hiz elbo, n faund ɖ od litl prīst standñ ɖr lîc a smōl Noa wɖ a larj hat, n rqstñ ɖ fevr v a wrd or tū.

“Sińor Mscari,” sd ɖ cleric, “in ɖs qir crîsis prṣnaḷtiz me b pardnd. I me tel y wɖt ofns v a we in ẃć y wl d mor gd ɖn bî hlpñ ɖ gendarmes, hu r baund t brec ʈru in eni ces. Y wl pmit m ɖ imprtinnt intiṃsi, bt d y cer abt ɖt grl? Cer inuf t mari hr n mc hr a gd huzbnd, I mīn?”

“Yes,” sd ɖ powt qt simpli.

“Dz ś cer abt y?”

“I ʈnc so,” wz ɖ īqli grev rplî.

“Ɖen g ovr ɖr n ofr yrslf,” sd ɖ prīst: “ofr hr evrʈñ y cn; ofr hr hevn n rʈ f y’v got ɖm. Ɖ tîm z śort.”

“Ẃ?” asct ɖ astoniśt man v letrz.

“Bcz,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, “hr Dūm z cmñ p ɖ rod.”

“Nʈñ z cmñ p ɖ rod,” argyd Mscari, “xpt ɖ resk.”

“Wel, y g ovr ɖr,” sd hiz advîzr, “n b redi t resk hr fṛm ɖ resk.”

Olmst az h spouc ɖ hejz wr brocn ol alñ ɖ rij bî a ruś v ɖ iscepñ brigndz. Ɖe dîvd intu bśz n ʈic gras lîc dfitd men psyd; n ɖ gret coct hats v ɖ mǎntd gendarmerie wr sìn pasñ alñ abv ɖ brocn hej. Anɖr ordr wz gvn; ɖr wz a nôz v dsmǎntñ, n a tōl ofisr wɖ coct hat, a gre impirịl, n a pepr in hiz hand apird in ɖ gap ɖt wz ɖ get v ɖ Paṛdîs v Ʈīvz. Ɖr wz a momntri sîḷns, brocn in an xtrordnri we bî ɖ bancr, hu craid ǎt in a hōrs n strangld vôs: “Robd! I’v bn robd!”

“Ẃ, ɖt wz aurz ago,” craid hiz sun in astoniśmnt: “ẃn y wr robd v tū ʈǎznd pǎndz.”

“Nt v tū ʈǎznd pǎndz,” sd ɖ fnansịr, wɖ an abrupt n teṛbl cmpoźr, “onli v a smōl botl.”

Ɖ p’līsmn wɖ ɖ gre impirịl wz strîdñ acrs ɖ grīn holo. Incǎnṭrñ ɖ Cñ v ɖ Ʈīvz in hiz paʈ, h clapt him on ɖ śoldr wɖ smʈñ btwn a c’res n a bufit n gev him a pś ɖt snt him staġrñ awe. “Y’l gt intu trubl, tù,” h sd, “f y ple ɖz trics.”

Agn t Mscari’z artistic î it sīmd scersli lîc ɖ capćr v a gret ǎtlw at be. Pasñ on, ɖ p’līsmn hōltd bfr ɖ Haṛget grūp n sd: “Saḿl Haṛget, I arest y in ɖ nem v ɖ lw fr imbezlmnt v ɖ fundz v ɖ Hul n Huḍsfīld Banc.”

Ɖ gret bancr nodd wɖ an od er v biznis-asnt, sīmd t rflect a momnt, n bfr ɖe cd inṭpoz tc a haf trn n a step ɖt bròt him t ɖ éj v ɖ ǎtr mǎntinwōl. Ɖen, flññ p hiz handz, h lept xacli az h lept ǎt v ɖ coć. Bt ɖs tîm h dd nt fōl intu a litl medo jst bnʈ; h fél a ʈǎznd fīt b’lo, t bcm a rec v bonz in ɖ vali.

Ɖ angr v ɖ Itałn p’līsmn, ẃć h xprest vołbli t Faɖr Brǎn, wz larjli mixt wɖ adṃreśn. “It wz lîc him t iscep s at last,” h sd. “H wz a gret brignd f y lîc. Ɖs last tric v hiz I b’liv t b abṣlutli unpresdntd. H fled wɖ ɖ cumṗni’z muni t Iṭli, n acć̣li got himslf capćrd bî śam brigndz in hiz ǒn pe, so az t xplen bʈ ɖ dis’piṛns v ɖ muni n ɖ dis’piṛns v himslf. Ɖt dmand fr ransm wz riyli tecn sirịsli bî most v ɖ p’līs. Bt fr yirz h’z bn dwñ ʈñz az gd az ɖt, qt az gd az ɖt. H wl b a sirịs los t hiz faṃli.”

Mscari wz līdñ awe ɖ unhapi dōtr, hu hld hard t him, az ś dd fr mni a yir aftr. Bt īvn in ɖt trajic rec h cd nt hlp hvñ a smîl n a hand v haf-mocñ frendśp fr ɖ indfnsbl Etsa Mntano. “N ẃr r y gwñ nxt?” h asct him ovr hiz śoldr.

“Brmñm,” ansrd ɖ actr, pufñ a siġrét. “Dd’nt I tel y I wz a Fyć̣rist? I riyli d b’liv in ɖoz ʈñz f I b’liv in enʈñ. Ćenj, busl n ny ʈñz evri mornñ. I am gwñ t Manćestr, Liṿpul, Lìdz, Hul, Huḍsfīld, Glazgo, Ścago – in śort, t inlîtnd, eṇjetic, siṿlîzd ssayti!”

“In śort,” sd Mscari, “t ɖ riyl Paṛdîs v Ʈīvz.”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE ABSENCE OF MR GLASS, by G K Chesterton

Ɖ ABSNS OV MR. GLAS

G. C. Ćsttn

Ɖ ­ cnsultñrūmz v Dr. Orayn Hŭd, ɖ eminnt criṃnoḷjist n speṣ́list in srtn moṛl dsordrz, le alñ ɖ sìfrunt at Scarḅra, in a siriz v vri larj n wel-lîtd Frenć windoz, ẃć śoud ɖ Norʈ Sì lîc wn endlis ǎtr wōl v blu-grīn marbl. In sć a ples ɖ sì hd smʈñ v ɖ mnoṭni v a blu-grīn dedo: fr ɖ ćembrz ɖmslvz wr rūld ʈrt bî a teṛbl tîdinis nt unlîc ɖ teṛbl tîdinis v ɖ sì. It mst nt b s’pozd ɖt Dr. Hŭd’z apartmnts xcludd lux̣́ri, or īvn powtri. Ɖz ʈñz wr ɖr, in ɖer ples; bt wn flt ɖt ɖe wr nvr alaud ǎt v ɖer ples. Lux̣́ri wz ɖr: ɖr std upn a speśl tebl et or ten boxz v ɖ bst sgarz; bt ɖe wr bilt upn a plan so ɖt ɖ strongist wr olwz nirist ɖ wōl n ɖ mîldist nirist ɖ windo. A tanṭḷs cntenñ ʈri cndz v spirit, ol v a licŕ x’ḷns, std olwz on ɖs tebl v lux̣́ri; bt ɖ fansifl hv asrtd ɖt ɖ ẃisci, brandi, n rum sīmd olwz t stand at ɖ sem levl. Powtri wz ɖr: ɖ left-hand cornr v ɖ rūm wz lînd wɖ az cmplit a set v Ñgliś clasics az ɖ rît-hand cd śo v Ñgliś n foṛn fizioḷjists. Bt f wn tc a volym v Ćōsr or Śeli fṛm ɖt ranc, its absns iṛtetd ɖ mînd lîc a gap in a man’z frunt tīʈ. Wn cd nt se ɖ bcs wr nvr réd; probbli ɖe wr, bt ɖr wz a sns v ɖer biyñ ćend t ɖer plesz, lîc ɖ Bîblz in ɖ old ćrćz. Dr. Hŭd trītd hiz prîṿt bc-ślf az f it wr a public lîbrri. N f ɖs strict sạ̣ntific intanɉbiḷti stīpt īvn ɖ ślvz lêdn wɖ lirics n baḷdz n ɖ teblz lêdn wɖ drinc n tbaco, it gz wɖt seyñ ɖt yt mor v sć hīɖn holinis pṛtctd ɖ uɖr ślvz ɖt hld ɖ speṣ́list’s lîbrri, n ɖ uɖr teblz ɖt sstend ɖ frel n īvn fẹrilîc instṛmnts v ceṃstri or mcanics.

Dr. Hŭd pêst ɖ leñʈ v hiz strñ v apartmnts, bǎndd – az ɖ bôz’ jiogṛfiz se – on ɖ īst bî ɖ Norʈ Sì n on ɖ wst bî ɖ serid rancs v hiz soṣ́lojicl n criṃnoḷjist lîbrri. H wz clad in an artist’s velvit, bt wɖ nn v an artist’s neglijns; hiz her wz heṿli śot wɖ gre, bt growñ ʈic n hlʈi; hiz fes wz līn, bt sanḡn n xpctnt. Evrʈñ abt him n hiz rūm indcetd smʈñ at wns rijid n restlis, lîc ɖt gret norɖn sì bî ẃć (on pyr prínsiplz v hîjīn) h hd bilt hiz hom.

Fet, biyñ in a funi mūd, pśt ɖ dor opn n intṛdyst intu ɖoz loñ, strict, sì-flanct apartmnts wn hu wz phps ɖ most starṭlñ oṗzit v ɖm n ɖer mastr. In ansr t a crt bt sivl sumnz, ɖ dor opnd inẉdz n ɖr śambld intu ɖ rūm a śeplis litl figr, ẃć sīmd t fînd its ǒn hat n umbrela az unmaniɉbl az a mas v lugij. Ɖ umbrela wz a blac n pṛzêic bundl loñ past rper; ɖ hat wz a brōd-crvd blac hat, clericl bt nt comn in Ñgḷnd; ɖ man wz ɖ vri imbodimnt v ol ɖt z homli n hlplis.

Ɖ doctr rgardd ɖ ny-cmr wɖ a rstrend astoniśmnt, nt unlîc ɖt h wd hv śoun f sm hyj bt obvịsli harmlis sìbīst hd crōld intu hiz rūm. Ɖ ny-cmr rgardd ɖ doctr wɖ ɖt bīmñ bt breʈlis jīniaḷti ẃć caṛcṭrîzz a corpyḷnt ćarwmn hu hz jst manijd t stuf hrslf intu an omnibus. It z a rić cnfyźn v sośl slf-cngrać̣leśn n boḍli dis’re. Hiz hat tumbld t ɖ carpit, hiz hevi umbrela slipt btwn hiz niz wɖ a ʈud; h rīćt aftr ɖ wn n dúct aftr ɖ uɖr, bt wɖ an unimperd smîl on hiz rǎnd fes spouc simlteńsli az foloz:

“Mî nem z Brǎn. Pre xkz m. I’v cm abt ɖt biznis v ɖ McNabz. I hv hŕd y ofn hlp ppl ǎt v sć trublz. Pre xkz m f I am roñ.”

Bî ɖs tîm h hd sprōlñli rcuvrd ɖ hat, n md an od litl bobñ bǎ ovr it, az f setñ evrʈñ qt rît.

“I hardli unḍstand y,” rplaid ɖ sayntist, wɖ a cold intnṣti v manr. “I fir y hv mstecn ɖ ćembrz. I am Dr. Hŭd, n mî wrc z olmst intîrli litrri n edyceśnl. It z tru ɖt I hv smtmz bn cnsultd bî ɖ p’līs in cesz v pkłr dificlti n importns, bt – ”

“Ǒ, ɖs z v ɖ gretist importns,” brouc in ɖ litl man cōld Brǎn. “Ẃ, hr muɖr w’nt let ɖm gt ingejd.” N h līnd bac in hiz ćer in redịnt raṣ́naḷti.

Ɖ brǎz v Dr. Hŭd wr drwn dǎn darcli, bt ɖ îz undr ɖm wr brît wɖ smʈñ ɖt mt b angr or mt b aḿzmnt. “N stl,” h sd, “I d nt qt unḍstand.”

“Y si, ɖe wont t gt marid,” sd ɖ man wɖ ɖ clericl hat. “Magi McNab n yuñ Tódhuntr wont t gt marid. Nǎ, ẃt cn b mor importnt ɖn ɖt?”

Ɖ gret Orayn Hŭd’z sạ̣ntific trîumfs hd dprîvd him v mni ʈñz – sm sd v hiz hlʈ, uɖrz v hiz God; bt ɖe hd nt hoļi dspôld him v hiz sns v ɖ absrd. At ɖ last pli v ɖ injenẏs prīst a ćucl brouc ǎt v him fṛm insd, n h ʈrù himslf intu an armćer in an îronicl attyd v ɖ cnsultñfziśn.

“Mr. Brǎn,” h sd grevli, “it z qt fortīn n a haf yirz sins I wz prsṇli asct t tst a prsnl probḷm: ɖen it wz ɖ ces v an atmt t pôzn ɖ Frenć Prezidnt at a Lord Mẹr’z Banqit. It z nǎ, I unḍstand, a qsćn v ẃɖr sm frend v yrz cōld Magi z a sūṭbl fiãsé fr sm frend v hrz cōld Tódhuntr. Wel, Mr. Brǎn, I am a sportsmn. I wl tec it on. I wl gv ɖ McNab faṃli mî bst advîs, az gd az I gev ɖ Frenć Rpublic n ɖ Cñ v Ñgḷnd – no, betr: fortīn yirz betr. I hv nʈñ els t d ɖs afṭnun. Tel m yr stori.”

Ɖ litl clrjimn cōld Brǎn ʈanct him wɖ unqsćṇbl wormʈ, bt stl wɖ a qir cnd v simpliṣti. It wz rɖr az f h wr ʈancñ a strenjr in a smocñrūm fr sm trubl in pasñ ɖ maćz, ɖn az f h wr (az h wz) practicli ʈancñ ɖ Kretr v Cỳ Gardnz fr cmñ wɖ him intu a fīld t fînd a for-līft clovr. Wɖ scersli a semi-colon aftr hiz harti ʈancs, ɖ litl man bgan hiz rsîtl:

“I tld y mî nem wz Brǎn; wel, ɖt’s ɖ fact, n I’m ɖ prīst v ɖ litl Caʈ̇lic Ćrć I der se y’v sìn bynd ɖoz stragli strīts, ẃr ɖ tǎn endz twdz ɖ norʈ. In ɖ last n stragliist v ɖoz strīts ẃć runz alñ ɖ sì lîc a sìwōl ɖr z a vri onist bt rɖr śarp-tmprd membr v mî floc, a wido cōld McNab. Ś hz wn dōtr, n ś lets lojñz, n btwn hr n ɖ dōtr, n btwn hr n ɖ lojrz – wel, I der se ɖr z a gret dīl t b sd on bʈ sîdz. At preznt ś hz onli wn lojr, ɖ yuñ man cōld Tódhuntr; bt h hz gvn mor trubl ɖn ol ɖ rest, fr h wonts t mari ɖ yuñ wmn v ɖ hǎs.”

“N ɖ yuñ wmn v ɖ hǎs,” asct Dr. Hŭd, wɖ hyj n sîḷnt aḿzmnt, “ẃt dz ś wont?”

“Ẃ, ś wonts t mari him,” craid Faɖr Brǎn, sitñ p īgrli. “Ɖt z jst ɖ ōfl compḷceśn.”

“It z indd a hidịs inigma,” sd Dr. Hŭd.

“Ɖs yuñ Jemz Tódhuntr,” cntinyd ɖ cleric, “z a vri dīsnt man so far az I nǒ; bt ɖen nbdi nz vri mć. H z a brît, brǎniś litl felo, ajîl lîc a munci, clīn-śevn lîc an actr, n oblîjñ lîc a born cortịr. H sīmz t hv qt a pocitfl v muni, bt nbdi nz ẃt hiz tred z. Msz McNab, ɖrfr (biyñ v a peṣmistic trn), z qt śr it z smʈñ dredfl, n probbli cnctd wɖ dîṇmît. Ɖ dîṇmît mst b v a śî n nôzlis sort, fr ɖ pur felo onli śuts himslf p fr sevṛl aurz v ɖ de n studiz smʈñ bhnd a loct dor. H dclerz hiz priṿsi z tmprri n jusṭfaid, n proṃsz t xplen bfr ɖ wedñ. Ɖt z ol ɖt enwn nz fr srtn, bt Msz McNab wl tel y a gret dīl mor ɖn īvn ś z srtn v. Y nǒ hǎ ɖ têlz gro lîc gras on sć a pać v ignṛns az ɖt. Ɖr r têlz v tū vôsz hŕd tōcñ in ɖ rūm; ɖo, ẃn ɖ dor z opnd, Tódhuntr z olwz faund alon. Ɖr r têlz v a mstirịs tōl man in a silc hat, hu wns cem ǎt v ɖ sìmists n apaṛntli ǎt v ɖ sì, stepñ softli acrs ɖ sandi fīldz n ʈru ɖ smōl bacgardn at twîlît, tl h wz hŕd tōcñ t ɖ lojr at hiz opn windo. Ɖ coḷqi sīmd t end in a qoṛl. Tódhuntr daśt dǎn hiz windo wɖ vayḷns, n ɖ man in ɖ hî hat mltd intu ɖ sìfog agn. Ɖs stori z tld bî ɖ faṃli wɖ ɖ firsist mistif̣ceśn; bt I riyli ʈnc Msz McNab prifŕz hr ǒn orijinl têl: ɖt ɖ Uɖr Man (or ẃtvr it z) crōlz ǎt evri nît fṛm ɖ big box in ɖ cornr, ẃć z cept loct ol de. Y si, ɖrfr, hǎ ɖs sìld dor v Tódhuntr’z z trītd az ɖ get v ol ɖ fansiz n mnstroṣtiz v ɖ ‘Ʈǎznd n Wn Nîts’. N yt ɖr z ɖ litl felo in hiz rspctbl blac jacit, az puñćl n iṇsnt az a parlrcloc. H pez hiz rent t ɖ tic; h z practicli a tītotḷr; h z tîrlisli cînd wɖ ɖ yungr ćildṛn, n cn cīp ɖm aḿzd fr a de on end; n, last n most rjnt v ol, h hz md himslf īqli popylr wɖ ɖ eldist dōtr, hu z redi t g t ćrć wɖ him tmoro.”

A man wormli cnsrnd wɖ eni larj ʈiriz hz olwz a reliś fr aplayñ ɖm t eni triviaḷti. Ɖ gret speṣ́list hvñ condisndd t ɖ prīst’s simpliṣti, condisndd xpansivli. H setld himslf wɖ cumf̣t in hiz armćer n bgan t tōc in ɖ ton v a smẃt absnt-mîndd lecćrr:

“Īvn in a mînyt instns, it z bst t lc frst t ɖ mn tndnsiz v Nećr. A ptiklr flǎr me nt b ded in rli wintr, bt ɖ flǎrz r dayñ; a ptiklr pebl me nvr b wetd wɖ ɖ tîd, bt ɖ tîd z cmñ in. T ɖ sạ̣ntific î ol hymn hisṭri z a siriz v c’lectiv muvmnts, dstrux́nz or mîgreśnz, lîc ɖ maṣcr v flîz in wintr or ɖ rtrn v brdz in sprñ. Nǎ ɖ rūtfact in ol hisṭri z Res. Res pṛdysz rlijn; Res pṛdysz līgl n eʈicl worz. Ɖr z no strongr ces ɖn ɖt v ɖ wîld, unwrldli n peṛśñ stoc ẃć w comnli cōl ɖ Celts, v hūm yr frendz ɖ McNabz r spesimnz. Smōl, sworɖi, n v ɖs drīmi n driftñ blud, ɖe axpt īẓli ɖ sūṗstiśs xpḷneśn v eni insidnts, jst az ɖe stl axpt (y wl xkz m fr seyñ) ɖt sūṗstiśs xpḷneśn v ol insidnts ẃć y n yr Ćrć repriznt. It z nt rmarcbl ɖt sć ppl, wɖ ɖ sì monñ bhnd ɖm n ɖ Ćrć (xkz m agn) dronñ in frunt v ɖm, śd pt fntastic fīćrz intu ẃt r probbli plen ivnts. Y, wɖ yr smōl p’rocịl rsponsbiḷtiz, si onli ɖs ptiklr Msz McNab, teṛfaid wɖ ɖs ptiklr têl v tū vôsz n a tōl man ǎt v ɖ sì. Bt ɖ man wɖ ɖ sạ̣ntific imaɉneśn siz, az it wr, ɖ hol clanz v McNab scatrd ovr ɖ hol wrld, in its ultiṃt aṿrij az yṇform az a trîb v brdz. H siz ʈǎzndz v Msz McNabz, in ʈǎzndz v hǎzz, dropñ ɖer litl drop v morbidti in ɖ tīcups v ɖer frendz; h siz – ”

Bfr ɖ sayntist cd cnclud hiz sntns, anɖr n mor impeśnt sumnz sǎndd fṛm wɖt; smwn wɖ swiśñ scrts wz marśld huridli dǎn ɖ coṛdor, n ɖ dor opnd on a yuñ grl, dīsntli drest bt dsordrd n red-hot wɖ hest. Ś hd sì-bloun blond her, n wd hv bn intîrli bytifl f hr ćīcbonz hd nt bn, in ɖ Scoć manr, a litl hî in rlif az wel az in culr. Hr apoḷji wz olmst az abrupt az a cmand.

“I’m sori t inṭrupt y, sr,” ś sd, “bt I hd t folo Faɖr Brǎn at wns; it’s nʈñ les ɖn lîf or deʈ.”

Faɖr Brǎn bgan t gt t hiz fīt in sm dsordr. “Ẃ, ẃt hz hapnd, Magi?” h sd.

“Jemz hz bn mrdrd, fr ol I cn mc ǎt,” ansrd ɖ grl, stl briɖñ hard fṛm hr ruś. “Ɖt man Glas hz bn wɖ him agn; I hŕd ɖm tōcñ ʈru ɖ dor qt plen. Tū sepṛt vôsz: fr Jemz spīcs lo, wɖ a br, n ɖ uɖr vôs wz hî n qeṿri.”

“Ɖt man Glas?” rpitd ɖ prīst in sm pplex̣ti.

“I nǒ hiz nem z Glas,” ansrd ɖ grl, in gret impeśns. “I hŕd it ʈru ɖ dor. Ɖe wr qoṛlñ – abt muni, I ʈnc – fr I hŕd Jemz se agn n agn, ‘Ɖt’s rît, Mr. Glas,’ or ‘No, Mr. Glas,’ n ɖen, ‘Tū or ʈri, Mr. Glas.’ Bt w’r tōcñ tù mć; y mst cm at wns, n ɖr me b tîm yt.”

“Bt tîm fr ẃt?” asct Dr. Hŭd, hu hd bn studiyñ ɖ yuñ ledi wɖ marct inṭrest. “Ẃt z ɖr abt Mr. Glas n hiz munitrublz ɖt śd impel sć rjnsi?”

“I traid t brec dǎn ɖ dor n cd’nt,” ansrd ɖ grl śortli, “Ɖen I ran t ɖ bacyard, n manijd t clîm on t ɖ windosil ɖt lcs intu ɖ rūm. It wz ol dim, n sīmd t b emti, bt I swer I sw Jemz layñ hudld p in a cornr, az f h wr drugd or strangld.”

“Ɖs z vri sirịs,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, gaɖ̇rñ hiz eṛnt hat n umbrela n standñ p; “in pônt v fact I wz jst ptñ yr ces bfr ɖs jntlmn, n hiz vy – ”

“Hz bn larjli oltrd,” sd ɖ sayntist grevli. “I d nt ʈnc ɖs yuñ ledi z so Cltic az I hd s’pozd. Az I hv nʈñ els t d, I wl pt on mî hat n strol dǎn tǎn wɖ y.”

In a fy minits ol ʈri wr aproćñ ɖ driri teil v ɖ McNabz’ strīt: ɖ grl wɖ ɖ strn n breʈlis strîd v ɖ mǎnṭnir, ɖ criṃnoḷjist wɖ a lǎnjñ gres (ẃć wz nt wɖt a srtn leṗdlîc swiftnis), n ɖ prīst at an eṇjetic trot intîrli dvôd v dstñśn. Ɖ aspect v ɖs éj v ɖ tǎn wz nt intîrli wɖt justif̣ceśn fr ɖ doctr’z hints abt dezḷt mūdz n invîrnmnts. Ɖ scatrd hǎzz std farɖr n farɖr apart in a brocn strñ alñ ɖ sìśor; ɖ afṭnun wz clozñ wɖ a preṃtyr n partli lŭrid twîlît; ɖ sì wz v an ñci prpl n mrṃrñ omiṇsli. In ɖ scrapi bacgardn v ɖ McNabz ẃć ran dǎn twdz ɖ sand, tū blac, baṛn-lcñ triz std p lîc dīmnhandz hld p in astoniśmnt, n az Msz McNab ran dǎn ɖ strīt t mīt ɖm wɖ līn handz similrli spred, n hr firs fes in śado, ś wz a litl lîc a dīmn hrslf. Ɖ doctr n ɖ prīst md scant rplî t hr śril riiṭreśnz v hr dōtr’z stori, wɖ mor dstrbñ dītelz v hr ǒn, t ɖ dvîdd vǎz v vnjns agnst Mr. Glas fr mrḍrñ, n agnst Mr. Tódhuntr fr biyñ mrdrd, or agnst ɖ latr fr hvñ derd t wont t mari hr dōtr, n fr nt hvñ livd t d it. Ɖe pást ʈru ɖ naro pasij in ɖ frunt v ɖ hǎs untl ɖe cem t ɖ lojr’z dor at ɖ bac, n ɖr Dr. Hŭd, wɖ ɖ tric v an old dtctiv, pt hiz śoldr śarpli t ɖ panl n brst in ɖ dor.

It opnd on a sīn v sîḷnt ctastṛfi. Nwn siyñ it, īvn fr a flaś, cd dǎt ɖt ɖ rūm hd bn ɖ ʈiytr v sm ʈrilñ c’liźn btwn tū, or phps mor, prsnz. Pleyñcardz le litrd acrs ɖ tebl or flutrd abt ɖ flor az f a gem hd bn inṭruptd. Tū wînglasz std redi fr wîn on a sîdtebl, bt a ʈrd le smaśt in a star v cristl upn ɖ carpit. A fy fīt fṛm it le ẃt lct lîc a loñ nîf or śort sord, stret, bt wɖ an orṇmntl n picćrd handl, its dul bled jst còt a gre glint fṛm ɖ driri windo bhnd, ẃć śoud ɖ blac triz agnst ɖ ledn levl v ɖ sì. Twdz ɖ oṗzit cornr v ɖ rūm wz rold a jntlmn’z silc top hat, az f it hd jst bn noct of hiz hed; so mć so, indd, ɖt wn olmst lct t si it stl rolñ. N in ɖ cornr bhnd it, ʈroun lîc a sác v ptetoz, bt cordd lîc a relwe trunc, le Mr. Jemz Tódhuntr, wɖ a scarf acrs hiz mǎʈ, n six or sevn rops nótd rnd hiz elboz n anclz. Hiz brǎn îz wr alîv n śiftd alrtli.

Dr. Orayn Hŭd pōzd fr wn instnt on ɖ dormat n dranc in ɖ hol sīn v vôslis vayḷns. Ɖen h stept swiftli acrs ɖ carpit, pict p ɖ tōl silc hat, n grevli pt it upn ɖ hed v ɖ yt pińnd Tódhuntr. It wz so mć tù larj fr him ɖt it olmst slipt dǎn on t hiz śoldrz.

“Mr. Glas’z hat,” sd ɖ doctr, rtrnñ wɖ it n pirñ intu ɖ insîd wɖ a pocit-lnz. “Hǎ t xplen ɖ absns v Mr. Glas n ɖ prezns v Mr. Glas’z hat? Fr Mr. Glas z nt a cerlis man wɖ hiz cloɖz. Ɖt hat z v a stîliś śep n sistmaticli bruśt n brniśt, ɖo nt vri ny. An old dandi, I śd ʈnc.”

“Bt, gd hevnz!” cōld ǎt Mis McNab, “r’nt y gwñ t untî ɖ man frst?”

“I se ‘old’ wɖ intnśn, ɖo nt wɖ srtnti” cntinyd ɖ xpozitr; “mî rīzn fr it mt sīm a litl far-fećt. Ɖ her v hymn biyñz fōlz ǎt in vri vẹriyñ dgriz, bt olmst olwz fōlz ǎt slîtli, n wɖ ɖ lnz I śd si ɖ tîni herz in a hat rīsntli wòrn. It hz nn, ẃć līdz m t ges ɖt Mr. Glas z bàld. Nǎ ẃn ɖs z tecn wɖ ɖ hî-pićt n qeryḷs vôs ẃć Mis McNab dscrîbd so vividli (peśns, mî dir ledi, peśns), ẃn w tec ɖ herlis hed tgɖr wɖ ɖ ton comn in sīnîl angr, I śd ʈnc w me ddys sm advans in yirz. Nvɖles, h wz probbli vigṛs, n h wz olmst srtnli tōl. I mt rlî in sm dgri on ɖ stori v hiz prīvịs apiṛns at ɖ windo, az a tōl man in a silc hat, bt I ʈnc I hv mor xact indceśn. Ɖs wînglas hz bn smaśt ol ovr ɖ ples, bt wn v its splintrz lîz on ɖ hî bracit bsd ɖ mantlpìs. No sć fragmnt cd hv fōḷn ɖr f ɖ vesl hd bn smaśt in ɖ hand v a cmpaṛtivli śort man lîc Mr. Tódhuntr.”

“Bî ɖ we,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, “mt it nt b az wel t untî Mr. Tódhuntr?”

“Ǎr lésn fṛm ɖ drincñveslz dz nt end hir,” pṛsidd ɖ speṣ́list. “I me se at wns ɖt it z poṣbl ɖt ɖ man Glas wz bàld or nrṿs ʈru diṣpeśn rɖr ɖn ej. Mr. Tódhuntr, az hz bn rmarct, z a qayt ʈrifti jntlmn, isnṣ́li an abstenr. Ɖz cardz n wîncups r no part v hiz norml habit; ɖe hv bn pṛdyst fr a ptiklr cmpańn. Bt, az it hapnz, w me g farɖr. Mr. Tódhuntr me or me nt pzes ɖs wînsrvis, bt ɖr z no apiṛns v hiz pzesñ eni wîn. Ẃt, ɖen, wr ɖz veslz t cnten? I wd at wns sjst sm brandi or ẃisci, phps v a l’x́urịs sort, fṛm a flasc in ɖ pocit v Mr. Glas. W hv ɖus smʈñ lîc a picćr v ɖ man, or at līst v ɖ tîp: tōl, eldrli, faśṇbl, bt smẃt freid, srtnli fond v ple n stroñ wōtrz, phps rɖr tù fond v ɖm. Mr. Glas z a jntlmn nt uņoun on ɖ frinjz v ssayti.”

“Lc hir,” craid ɖ yuñ wmn, “f y d’nt let m pas t untî him I’l run ǎtsd n scrīm fr ɖ p’līs.”

“I śd nt advîz y, Mis McNab,” sd Dr. Hŭd grevli, “t b in eni huri t feć ɖ p’līs. Faɖr Brǎn, I sirịsli asc y t cmpoz yr floc, fr ɖer secs, nt fr mîn. Wel, w hv sìn smʈñ v ɖ figr n qoḷti v Mr. Glas; ẃt r ɖ ćīf facts noun v Mr. Tódhuntr? Ɖe r sbstanṣ́li ʈri: ɖt h z ic̣nomicl, ɖt h z mor or les wlʈi, n ɖt h hz a sīcrit. Nǎ, śrli it z obvịs ɖt ɖr r ɖ ʈri ćīf marcs v ɖ cnd v man hu z blacmeild. N śrli it z īqli obvịs ɖt ɖ fedd fîṇri, ɖ profliġt habits, n ɖ śril iṛteśn v Mr. Glas r ɖ unmistecbl marcs v ɖ cnd v man hu blacmeilz him. W hv ɖ tū tipicl figrz v a traɉdi v huśmuni: on ɖ wn hand, ɖ rspctbl man wɖ a misṭri; on ɖ uɖr, ɖ Wst-end vulćr wɖ a sént fr a misṭri. Ɖz tū men hv met hir tde n hv qoṛld, yzñ bloz n a bér wepn.”

“R y gwñ t tec ɖoz rops of?” asct ɖ grl stubnli.

Dr. Hŭd rplest ɖ silc hat cerf̣li on ɖ sîdtebl, n wnt acrs t ɖ captiv. H studid him intntli, īvn muvñ him a litl n haf-trnñ him rnd bî ɖ śoldrz, bt h onli ansrd:

“No; I ʈnc ɖz rops wl d vri wel tl yr frendz ɖ p’līs brñ ɖ hancufs.”

Faɖr Brǎn, hu hd bn lcñ duļi at ɖ carpit, liftd hiz rǎnd fes n sd: “Ẃt d y mīn?”

Ɖ man v sayns hd pict p ɖ pkłr dagrsord fṛm ɖ carpit n wz xaṃnñ it intntli az h ansrd:

“Bcz y fînd Mr. Tódhuntr taid p,” h sd, “y ol jump t ɖ cncluźn ɖt Mr. Glas hd taid him p; n ɖen, I s’poz, iscept. Ɖr r for objx́nz t ɖs: Frst, ẃ śd a jntlmn so dresi az ǎr frend Glas līv hiz hat bhnd him, f h left v hiz ǒn fri wl? Secnd,” h cntinyd, muvñ twdz ɖ windo, “ɖs z ɖ onli xit, n it z loct on ɖ insîd. Ʈrd, ɖs bled hir hz a tîni tuć v blud at ɖ pônt, bt ɖr z no wūnd on Mr. Tódhuntr. Mr. Glas tc ɖt wūnd awe wɖ him, ded or alîv. Ad t ol ɖs prîṃri probbiḷti. It z mć mor lîcli ɖt ɖ blacmeild prsn wd trî t cil hiz inkbs, rɖr ɖn ɖt ɖ blacmeilr wd trî t cil ɖ gūs ɖt lez hiz goldn eg. Ɖr, I ʈnc, w hv a priti cmplit stori.”

“Bt ɖ rops?” inqîrd ɖ prīst, huz îz hd rmend opn wɖ a rɖr vecnt adṃreśn.

“Ā, ɖ rops,” sd ɖ xprt wɖ a snğlr inṭneśn. “Mis McNab vri mć wontd t nǒ ẃ I dd nt set Mr. Tódhuntr fri fṛm hiz rops. Wel, I wl tel hr. I dd nt d it bcz Mr. Tódhuntr cn set himslf fri fṛm ɖm at eni minit h ćuzz.”

“Ẃt?” craid ɖ ōdịns on qt difṛnt nots v astoniśmnt.

“I hv lct at ol ɖ nóts on Mr. Tódhuntr,” riiṭretd Hŭd qaytli. “I hapn t nǒ smʈñ abt nóts; ɖe r qt a branć v criminl sayns. Evrwn v ɖoz nóts h hz md himslf n cd lūsn himslf; nt wn v ɖm wd hv bn md bî an eṇmi riyli trayñ t pińn him. Ɖ hol v ɖs afer v ɖ rops z a clevr fec, t mc s ʈnc him ɖ victim v ɖ strugl instd v ɖ rećid Glas, huz corps me b hidn in ɖ gardn or stuft p ɖ ćimni.”

Ɖr wz a rɖr dprest sîḷns; ɖ rūm wz darc̣nñ, ɖ sì-blîtd bauz v ɖ gardn triz lct līnr n blacr ɖn evr, yt ɖe sīmd t hv cm nirr t ɖ windo. Wn cd olmst fansi ɖe wr sìmonstrz lîc crecnz or cutlfiś, rîɖñ polipi hu hd crōld p fṛm ɖ sì t si ɖ end v ɖs traɉdi, īvn az h, ɖ viḷn n victim v it, ɖ teṛbl man in ɖ tōl hat, hd wns crōld p fṛm ɖ sì. Fr ɖ hol er wz dns wɖ ɖ morbidti v blacmeil, ẃć z ɖ most morbid v hymn ʈñz, bcz it z a crîm cnsilñ a crîm; a blac plastr on a blacr wūnd.

Ɖ fes v ɖ litl Caʈ̇lic prīst, ẃć wz comnli cmplesnt n īvn comic, hd sudnli bcm nótd wɖ a krịs frǎn. It wz nt ɖ blanc krioṣti v hiz frst iṇsns. It wz rɖr ɖt crietiv krioṣti ẃć cmz ẃn a man hz ɖ bginñz v an îdīa. “Se it agn, plīz,” h sd in a simpl, boɖrd manr; “d y mīn ɖt Tódhuntr cn tî himslf p ol alon n untî himslf ol alon?”

“Ɖt z ẃt I mīn,” sd ɖ doctr.

“Jrūsḷm!” ijakletd Brǎn sudnli, “I wundr f it cd poṣbli b ɖt!”

H scutld acrs ɖ rūm rɖr lîc a rabit, n pīrd wɖ qt a ny impulsivnis intu ɖ parṣ́li-cuvrd fes v ɖ captiv. Ɖen h trnd hiz ǒn rɖr faćs fes t ɖ cumṗni. “Yes, ɖt’s it!” h craid in a srtn xîtmnt. “C’nt y si it in ɖ man’z fes? Ẃ, lc at hiz îz!”

Bʈ ɖ Pṛfesr n ɖ grl foloud ɖ d’rex́n v hiz glans. N ɖo ɖ brōd blac scarf cmplitli masct ɖ lowr haf v Tódhuntr’z vizij, ɖe dd gro conśs v smʈñ struġlñ n intns abt ɖ upr part v it.

“Hiz îz d lc qir,” craid ɖ yuñ wmn, stroñli muvd. “Y brūts; I b’liv it’s hrtñ him!”

“Nt ɖt, I ʈnc,” sd Dr. Hŭd; “ɖ îz hv srtnli a snğlr xpreśn. Bt I śd intrprit ɖoz tranzvrs rinclz az xpresñ rɖr sć slît sîc̣lojicl abnormaḷti – ”

“Ǒ, boś!” craid Faɖr Brǎn: “c’nt y si h’z lafñ?”

“Lafñ!” rpitd ɖ doctr, wɖ a start; “bt ẃt on rʈ cn h b lafñ at?”

“Wel,” rplaid ɖ Revṛnd Brǎn apoḷjeticli, “nt t pt tù fîn a pônt on it, I ʈnc h z lafñ at y. N indd, I’m a litl inclînd t laf at mslf, nǎ I nǒ abt it.”

“Nǎ y nǒ abt ẃt?” asct Hŭd, in sm xasṗreśn.

“Nǎ I nǒ,” rplaid ɖ prīst, “ɖ pṛfeśn v Mr. Tódhuntr.”

H śufld abt ɖ rūm, lcñ at wn objict aftr anɖr wɖ ẃt sīmd t b a vecnt stér, n ɖen inverịbli brstñ intu an īqli vecnt laf, a hîli iṛtetñ proses fr ɖoz hu hd t woć it. H laft vri mć ovr ɖ hat, stl mor uprorịsli ovr ɖ brocn glas, bt ɖ blud on ɖ sordpônt snt him intu mortl cnvulśnz v aḿzmnt. Ɖen h trnd t ɖ fymñ speṣ́list.

“Dr. Hŭd,” h craid inʈyziasticli, “y r a gret powt! Y hv cōld an uncrietd biyñ ǎt v ɖ vôd. Hǎ mć mor godlîc ɖt z ɖn f y hd onli feṛtd ǎt ɖ mir facts! Indd, ɖ mir facts r rɖr comnples n comic bî cmparisn.”

“I hv no nośn ẃt y r tōcñ abt,” sd Dr. Hŭd rɖr hōṭli; “mî facts r ol inevitbl, ɖo nesseṛli incmplit. A ples me b pmitd t intyiśn, phps (or powtri f y prifŕ ɖ trm), bt onli bcz ɖ corispondñ dītelz canot az yt b aṣtend. In ɖ absns v Mr. Glas – ”

“Ɖt’s it, ɖt’s it,” sd ɖ litl prīst, nodñ qt īgrli, “ɖt’s ɖ frst îdīa t gt fixt; ɖ absns v Mr. Glas. H z so xtrimli absnt. I s’poz,” h add rflectivli, “ɖt ɖr wz nvr enbdi so absnt az Mr. Glas.”

“D y mīn h z absnt fṛm ɖ tǎn?” dmandd ɖ doctr.

“I mīn h z absnt fṛm evrẃr,” ansrd Faɖr Brǎn; “h z absnt fṛm ɖ Nećr v Ʈñz, so t spīc.”

“D y sirịsli mīn,” sd ɖ speṣ́list wɖ a smîl, “ɖt ɖr z no sć prsn?”

Ɖ prīst md a sîn v asnt. “It dz sīm a piti,” h sd.

Orayn Hŭd brouc intu a cntmćs laf. “Wel,” h sd, “bfr w g on t ɖ hundṛd n wn uɖr evidnsz, let s tec ɖ frst prūf w faund; ɖ frst fact w fél ovr ẃn w fél intu ɖs rūm. F ɖr z no Mr. Glas, huz hat z ɖs?”

“It z Mr. Tódhuntr’z,” rplaid Faɖr Brǎn.

“Bt it dz’nt fit him,” craid Hŭd impeśntli. “H cd’nt poṣbli wer it!”

Faɖr Brǎn śc hiz hed wɖ inef̣bl mîldnis. “I nvr sd h cd wer it,” h ansrd. “I sd it wz hiz hat. Or, f y insist on a śêd v difṛns, a hat ɖt z hiz.”

“N ẃt z ɖ śêd v difṛns?” asct ɖ criṃnoḷjist wɖ a slît snir.

“Mî gd sr,” craid ɖ mîld litl man, wɖ hiz frst muvmnt acin t impeśns, “f y wl wōc dǎn ɖ strīt t ɖ nirist hatr’z śop, y wl si ɖt ɖr z, in comn spīć, a difṛns btwn a man’z hat n ɖ hats ɖt r hiz.”

“Bt a hatr,” pṛtstd Hŭd, “cn gt muni ǎt v hiz stoc v ny hats. Ẃt cd Tódhuntr gt ǎt v ɖs wn old hat?”

“Rabits,” rplaid Faɖr Brǎn promtli.

“Ẃt?” craid Dr. Hŭd.

“Rabits, ribnz, swītmìts, goldfiś, rolz v culrd pepr,” sd ɖ revṛnd jntlmn wɖ r’pidti. “Dd’nt y si it ol ẃn y faund ǎt ɖ fect rops? It’s jst ɖ sem wɖ ɖ sord. Mr. Tódhuntr hz’nt got a scrać on him, az y se; bt h’z got a scrać in him, f y folo m.”

“D y mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr’z cloɖz?” inqîrd Msz McNab strnli.

“I d nt mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr’z cloɖz,” sd Faɖr Brǎn. “I mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr.”

“Wel, ẃt in ɖ nem v Bedḷm d y mīn?”

“Mr. Tódhuntr,” xplend Faɖr Brǎn plasidli, “z lrnñ t b a pṛfeśnl cunjrr, az wel az juglr, ventriḷqist, n xprt in ɖ roptric. Ɖ cunɉrñ xplenz ɖ hat. It z wɖt tresz v her, nt bcz it z wòrn bî ɖ preṃtyrli bàld Mr. Glas, bt bcz it hz nvr bn wòrn bî enbdi. Ɖ juġlñ xplenz ɖ ʈri glasz, ẃć Tódhuntr wz tīćñ himslf t ʈro p n cać in r’teśn. Bt, biyñ onli at ɖ stej v practis, h smaśt wn glas agnst ɖ sīlñ. N ɖ juġlñ olso xplenz ɖ sord, ẃć it wz Mr. Tódhuntr’z pṛfeśnl prîd n dyti t swolo. Bt, agn, biyñ at ɖ stej v practis, h vri slîtli grezd ɖ insîd v hiz ʈrot wɖ ɖ wepn. Hns h hz a wūnd insd him, ẃć I am śr (fṛm ɖ xpreśn on hiz fes) z nt a sirịs wn. H wz olso pracṭsñ ɖ tric v a rlis fṛm rops, lîc ɖ Davnport Bruɖrz, n h wz jst abt t fri himslf ẃn w ol brst intu ɖ rūm. Ɖ cardz, v cors, r fr card trics, n ɖe r scatrd on ɖ flor bcz h hd jst bn pracṭsñ wn v ɖoz dojz v sndñ ɖm flayñ ʈru ɖ er. H mirli cept hiz tred sīcrit, bcz h hd t cīp hiz trics sīcrit, lîc eni uɖr cunjrr. Bt ɖ mir fact v an îdlr in a top hat hvñ wns lct in at hiz bacwindo, n bn drivn awe bî him wɖ gret inḍgneśn, wz inuf t set s ol on a roñ trac v romans, n mc s imajin hiz hol lîf oṿśadoud bî ɖ silc-hatd spectr v Mr. Glas.”

“Bt ẃt abt ɖ tū vôsz?” asct Magi, stẹrñ.

“Hv y nvr hŕd a ventriḷqist?” asct Faɖr Brǎn. “D’nt y nǒ ɖe spīc frst in ɖer naćṛl vôs, n ɖen ansr ɖmslvz in jst ɖt śril, sqīci, uņaćṛl vôs ɖt y hŕd?”

Ɖr wz a loñ sîḷns, n Dr. Hŭd rgardd ɖ litl man hu hd spocn wɖ a darc n atntiv smîl. “Y r srtnli a vri injīńs prsn,” h sd; “it cd nt hv bn dn betr in a bc. Bt ɖr z jst wn part v Mr. Glas y hv nt s’xidd in xplenñ awe, n ɖt z hiz nem. Mis McNab dstñtli hŕd him so adrest bî Mr. Tódhuntr.”

Ɖ Rév. Mr. Brǎn brouc intu a rɖr ćîldiś gigl. “Wel, ɖt,” h sd, “ɖt’s ɖ siliist part v ɖ hol sili stori. Ẃn ǎr juġlñ frend hir ʈrù p ɖ ʈri glasz in trn, h cǎntd ɖm alǎd az h còt ɖm, n olso comntd alǎd ẃn h feld t cać ɖm. Ẃt h riyli sd wz: ‘Wn, tū n ʈri – míst a glas wn, tū – míst a glas.’ N so on.”

Ɖr wz a secnd v stilnis in ɖ rūm, n ɖen evrwn wɖ wn acord brst ǎt lafñ. Az ɖe dd so ɖ figr in ɖ cornr cmplesntli uncôld ol ɖ rops n let ɖm fōl wɖ a fluriś. Ɖen, advansñ intu ɖ midl v ɖ rūm wɖ a bǎ, h pṛdyst fṛm hiz pocit a big bil printd in blu n red, ẃć anǎnst ɖt Z’LADIN, ɖ Wrld’z Gretist Cunjrr, Cntorśnist, Ventriḷqist n Hymn Canġru wd b redi wɖ an intîrli ny siriz v Trics at ɖ Empîr Pviłn, Scarḅra, on Munde nxt at et o’cloc prisîsli.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL