Category Archives: Short stories

Clasics in Nspel: 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

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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

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

The Ray Bradbury website

ƉR WL CM SOFT RENZ

Re Bradḅri

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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

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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)

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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)

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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

Clasics in Ñspel: THE GARDEN-PARTY AND OTHER STORIES, by K Mansfield

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Contents

 

At ɖ BeƉ GardnpartiƉ Dōtrz ov ɖ Lêt CrnlMr. n Msz. DuvƉ Yuñ GrlLîf ov Ma ParcrMarij à la ModeƉ VôijMis BrillHr Frst BōlƉ Sññ LésnƉ StrenjrBanchoḷdeAn Îdiyl FaṃliƉ Ledi’z Meid

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Ɖ Gardnparti

N  aftr ol ɖ weɖr wz îdiyl. Ɖe cd nt hv hd a mor prfict de fr a gardnparti f ɖe hd ordrd it. Windlis, worm, ɖ scî wɖt a clǎd. Onli ɖ blu wz veild wɖ a hêz v lît gold, az it z smtmz in rli sumr. Ɖ gardnr hd bn p sins dōn, mowñ ɖ lōnz n swīpñ ɖm, untl ɖ gras n ɖ darc flat r’zéts ẃr ɖ deiziplants hd bn sīmd t śîn. Az fr ɖ rozz, y cd nt hlp fīlñ ɖe unḍstd ɖt rozz r ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt impres ppl at gardnpartiz; ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt evrbdi z srtn v nwñ. Hundṛdz, yes, litṛli hundṛdz, hd cm ǎt in a sngl nît; ɖ grīn bśz baud dǎn az ɖo ɖe hd bn viẓtd bî arcenjlz.

Brecfst wz nt yt ovr bfr ɖ men cem t pt p ɖ marcī.

“Ẃr d y wont ɖ marcī pt, muɖr?”

“Mî dir ćîld, it’s no ys ascñ m. I’m dtrmind t līv evrʈñ t y ćildṛn ɖs yir. Fget I am yr muɖr. Trīt m az an onrd gest.”

Bt Meg cd nt poṣbli g n sūṗvîz ɖ men. Ś hd wośt hr her bfr brecfst, n ś sat drincñ hr cofi in a grīn trbn, wɖ a darc wet crl stamt on ć ćīc. Jozi, ɖ buṭflî, olwz cem dǎn in a silc peticot n a cimonojacit.

“Y’l hv t g, Lora; y’r ɖ artistic wn.”

Awe Lora flù, stl holdñ hr pìs v bred-n-butr. It’s so dliśs t hv an xks fr ītñ ǎt v dorz, n bsdz, ś luvd hvñ t arenj ʈñz; ś olwz flt ś cd d it so mć betr ɖn enbdi els.

For men in ɖer śrtslīvz std grūpt tgɖr on ɖ gardnpaʈ. Ɖe Carid stevz cuvrd wɖ rolz v canvs, n ɖe hd big tūlbagz sluñ on ɖer bacs. Ɖe lct impresiv. Lora wśt nǎ ɖt ś hd nt got ɖ bred-n-butr, bt ɖr wz nẃr t pt it, n ś cd’nt poṣbli ʈro it awe. Ś bluśt n traid t lc svir n īvn a litl bit śort-sîtd az ś cem p t ɖm.

“Gd mornñ,” ś sd, copiyñ hr muɖr’z vôs. Bt ɖt sǎndd so firf̣li afctd ɖt ś wz aśemd, n stamrd lîc a litl grl, “Ǒ—’r—hv y cm—z it abt ɖ marcī?”

“Ɖt’s rît, mis,” sd ɖ tōlist v ɖ men, a lanci, frecld felo, n h śiftd hiz tūlbag, noct bac hiz strw hat n smîld dǎn at hr. “Ɖt’s abt it.”

Hiz smîl wz so īzi, so frendli ɖt Lora rcuvrd. Ẃt nîs îz h hd, smōl, bt sć a darc blu! N nǎ ś lct at ɖ uɖrz, ɖe wr smîlñ tù. “Ćir p, w w’nt bît,” ɖer smîl sīmd t se. Hǎ vri nîs wrcṃn wr! N ẃt a bytifl mornñ! Ś ms’nt mnśn ɖ mornñ; ś mst b biznislîc. Ɖ marcī.

“Wel, ẃt abt ɖ lililōn? Wd ɖt d?”

N ś pôntd t ɖ lililōn wɖ ɖ hand ɖt dd’nt hold ɖ bred-n-butr. Ɖe trnd, ɖe stérd in ɖ d’rex́n. A litl fat ćap ʈrust ǎt hiz unḍlip, n ɖ tōl felo frǎnd.

“I d’nt fansi it,” sd h. “Nt cnspiks inuf. Y si, wɖ a ʈñ lîc a marcī,” n h trnd t Lora in hiz īzi we, “y wont t pt it smẃr ẃr it’l gv y a bañ slap in ɖ î, f y folo m.”

Lora’z upbrññ md hr wundr fr a momnt ẃɖr it wz qt rspctfl v a wrcmn t tōc t hr v bañz slap in ɖ î. Bt ś dd qt folo him.

“A cornr v ɖ teniscort,” ś sjstd. “Bt ɖ band’z gwñ t b in wn cornr.”

“H’m, gwñ t hv a band, r y?” sd anɖr v ɖ wrcṃn. H wz pel. H hd a haġd lc az hiz darc îz scand ɖ teniscort. Ẃt wz h ʈncñ?

“Onli a vri smōl band,” sd Lora jntli. Phps h wd’nt mînd so mć f ɖ band wz qt smōl. Bt ɖ tōl felo inṭruptd.

“Lc hir, mis, ɖt’s ɖ ples. Agnst ɖoz triz. Ovr ɖr. Ɖt’l d fîn.”

Agnst ɖ c’racaz. Ɖen ɖ c’rac̣trīz wd b hidn. N ɖe wr so luvli, wɖ ɖer brōd, glīmñ līvz, n ɖer clustrz v yelo frūt. Ɖe wr lîc triz y imajind growñ on a deẓt îḷnd, prǎd, solitri, liftñ ɖer līvz n frūts t ɖ sún in a cnd v sîḷnt splendr. Mst ɖe b hidn bî a marcī?

Ɖe mst. Olrdi ɖ men hd śoldrd ɖer stevz n wr mcñ fr ɖ ples. Onli ɖ tōl felo wz left. H bnt dǎn, pinćt a sprig v lavndr, pt hiz ʈum n fōrfngr t hiz nǒz n snuft p ɖ smel. Ẃn Lora sw ɖt jsćr ś fgot ol abt ɖ c’racaz in hr wundr at him cẹrñ fr ʈñz lîc ɖt—cẹrñ fr ɖ smel v lavndr. Hǎ mni men ɖt ś ń wd hv dn sć a ʈñ? Ǒ, hǎ xtrordnṛli nîs wrcṃn wr, ś ʈt. Ẃ cd’nt ś hv wrcṃn fr hr frendz rɖr ɖn ɖ sili bôz ś danst wɖ n hu cem t Súnde nît supr? Ś wd gt on mć betr wɖ men lîc ɖz.

It’s ol ɖ fōlt, ś dsîdd, az ɖ tōl felo drù smʈñ on ɖ bac v an enṿlop, smʈñ ɖt wz t b lūpt p or left t hañ, v ɖz absrd clas-dstñśnz. Wel, fr hr part, ś dd’nt fīl ɖm. Nt a bit, nt an atm… N nǎ ɖr cem ɖ ćóc-ćóc v wŭdn hamrz. Smwn ẃisld, smwn sañ ǎt, “R y rît ɖr, mêti?” “Mêti!” Ɖ frendlinis v it, ɖ—ɖ—Jst t pruv hǎ hapi ś wz, jst t śo ɖ tōl felo hǎ at hom ś flt, n hǎ ś dspîzd stypid cnvnśnz, Lora tc a big bît v hr bred-n-butr az ś stérd at ɖ litl drw̃. Ś flt jst lîc a wrcgrl.

“Lora, Lora, ẃr r y? Teḷfon, Lora!” a vôs craid fṛm ɖ hǎs.

“Cmñ!” Awe ś scimd, ovr ɖ lōn, p ɖ paʈ, p ɖ steps, acrs ɖ vranda, n intu ɖ porć. In ɖ hōl hr faɖr n Lóri wr bruśñ ɖer hats redi t g t ɖ ofis.

“I se, Lora,” sd Lóri vri fast, “y mt jst gv a squiz at mî cot bfr ɖs afṭnun. Si f it wonts presñ.”

“I wl,” sd ś. Sudnli ś cd’nt stop hrslf. Ś ran at Lóri n gev him a smōl, qc sqīz. “Ǒ, I d luv partiz, d’nt y?” gaspt Lora.

“Rɖr,” sd Lóri’z worm, bôiś vôs, n h sqizd hiz sistr tù, n gev hr a jntl pś. “Daś of t ɖ teḷfon, old grl.”

Ɖ teḷfon. “Yes, yes; ǒ yes. Citi? Gd mornñ, dir. Cm t lunć? D, dir. Dlîtd v cors. It wl onli b a vri scraćmīl—jst ɖ sanwijcrusts n brocn mrañ-ślz n ẃt’s left ovr. Yes, z’nt it a prfict mornñ? Yr ẃît? Ǒ, I srtnli śd. Wn momnt—hold ɖ lîn. Muɖr’z cōlñ.” N Lora sat bac. “Ẃt, muɖr? C’nt hír.”

Msz. Śeridn’z vôs flotd dǎn ɖ sterz. “Tel hr t wer ɖt swīt hat ś hd on last Súnde.”

“Muɖr sz y’r t wer ɖt swīt hat y hd on last Súnde. Gd. Wn o’cloc. Bái-bái.”

Lora pt bac ɖ rsivr, fluñ hr armz ovr hr hed, tc a dīp breʈ, strećt n let ɖm fōl. “Hú,” ś said, n ɖ momnt aftr ɖ sai ś sat p qcli. Ś wz stil, liṣnñ. Ol ɖ dorz in ɖ hǎs sīmd t b opn. Ɖ hǎs wz alîv wɖ soft, qc steps n runñ vôsz. Ɖ grīn bêz dor ɖt léd t ɖ cićnrījnz swuñ opn n śut wɖ a mufld ʈud. N nǎ ɖr cem a loñ, ćuc̣lñ absrd sǎnd. It wz ɖ hevi piano biyñ muvd on its stif cástrz. Bt ɖ er! F y stopt t notis, wz ɖ er olwz lîc ɖs? Litl fent windz wr pleyñ ćes, in at ɖ tops v ɖ windoz, ǎt at ɖ dorz. N ɖr wr tū tîni spots v sún, wn on ɖ ñcpot, wn on a silvr foṭgraf̦rem, pleyñ tù. Darlñ litl spots. Ispeṣ́li ɖ wn on ɖ ñcpot lid. It wz qt worm. A worm litl silvr star. Ś cd hv cist it.

Ɖ frunt dor bel pìld, n ɖr sǎndd ɖ rusl v Sêdi’z printscrt on ɖ sterz. A man’z vôs mrmrd; Sêdi ansrd, cerlis, “I’m śr I d’nt nǒ. Wêt. I’l asc Msz. Śeridn.”

“Ẃt z it, Sêdi?” Lora cem intu ɖ hōl.

“It’s ɖ florist, Mis. Lora.”

It wz, indd. Ɖr, jst insd ɖ dor, std a wîd, śalo tre fl v pots v pnc liliz. No uɖr cnd. Nʈñ bt liliz—caṇliliz, big pnc flǎrz, wîd opn, redịnt, olmst frîtnñli alîv on brît crimzn stemz.

“Ǒ-ǒ, Sêdi!” sd Lora, n ɖ sǎnd wz lîc a litl mon. Ś crǎćt dǎn az f t worm hrslf at ɖt blêz v liliz; ś flt ɖe wr in hr fngrz, on hr lips, growñ in hr brest.

“It’s sm mstec,” ś sd fentli. “Nbdi evr ordrd so mni. Sêdi, g n fînd muɖr.”

Bt at ɖt momnt Msz. Śeridn jônd ɖm.

“It’s qt rît,” ś sd cāmli. “Yes, I ordrd ɖm. R’nt ɖe luvli?” Ś prest Lora’z arm. “I wz pasñ ɖ śop yesṭde, n I sw ɖm in ɖ windo. N I sudnli ʈt fr wns in mî lîf I śl hv inuf caṇliliz. Ɖ gardnparti wl b a gd xks.”

“Bt I ʈt y sd y dd’nt mīn t inṭfir,” sd Lora. Sêdi hd gn. Ɖ florist’s man wz stl ǎtsd at hiz van. Ś pt hr arm rnd hr muɖr’z nec n jntli, vri jntli, ś bit hr muɖr’z ir.

“Mî darlñ ćîld, y wd’nt lîc a lojicl muɖr, wd y? D’nt d ɖt. Hir’z ɖ man.”

H carid mor liliz stl, anɖr hol tre.

“Banc ɖm p, jst insd ɖ dor, on bʈ sîdz v ɖ porć, plīz,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “D’nt y agri, Lora?”

“Ǒ, I d, muɖr.”

In ɖ drw̃rūm Meg, Jozi n gd litl Hanz hd at last s’xidd in muvñ ɖ piano.

“Nǎ, f w pt ɖs Ćesṭfīld agnst ɖ wōl n muv evrʈñ ǎt v ɖ rūm xpt ɖ ćerz, d’nt y ʈnc?”

“Qt.”

“Hanz, muv ɖz teblz intu ɖ smocñrūm, n brñ a swīpr t tec ɖz marcs of ɖ carpit n—wn momnt, Hanz—” Jozi luvd gvñ ordrz t ɖ srvnts, n ɖe luvd obeyñ hr. Ś olwz md ɖm fīl ɖe wr tecñ part in sm drama. “Tel muɖr n Mis. Lora t cm hir at wns.”

“Vri gd, Mis. Jozi.”

Ś trnd t Meg. “I wont t hír ẃt ɖ piano sǎndz lîc, jst in ces I’m asct t sñ ɖs afṭnun. Let’s trî ovr ‘Ɖs lîf z Wiri’.”

Pom! Ta-ta-ta -ta! Ɖ piano brst ǎt so paśṇtli ɖt Jozi’z fes ćenjd. Ś claspt hr handz. Ś lct mōrnf̣li n eṇgmaticli at hr muɖr n Lora az ɖe cem in.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

N ɖen… Gdbî!

Bt at ɖ wrd “Gdbî,” n olɖo ɖ piano sǎndd mor despṛt ɖn evr, hr fes brouc intu a briłnt, dredf̣li unsimṗʈetic smîl.

“R’nt I in gd vôs, mumi?” ś bīmd.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

Hop cmz t Dî.

A Drīm—a We-c̣nñ.

Bt nǎ Sêdi inṭruptd ɖm. “Ẃt z it, Sêdi?”

“F y plīz, m’m, cc sz hv y got ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz?”

“Ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz, Sêdi?” ecoud Msz. Śeridn drīṃli. N ɖ ćildṛn ń bî hr fes ɖt ś hd’nt got ɖm. “Let m si.” N ś sd t Sêdi frmli, “Tel cc I’l let hr hv ɖm in ten minits.”

Sêdi wnt.

“Nǎ, Lora,” sd hr muɖr qcli, “cm wɖ m intu ɖ smocñrūm. I’v got ɖ nemz smẃr on ɖ bac v an enṿlop. Y’l hv t rait ɖm ǎt fr m. Meg, g upsterz ɖs minit n tec ɖt wet ʈñ of yr hed. Jozi, run n finiś dresñ ɖs instnt. D y hír m, ćildṛn, or śl I hv t tel yr faɖr ẃn h cmz hom tnît? N—n, Jozi, paṣfî cc f y d g intu ɖ cićn, wl y? I’m teṛfaid v hr ɖs mornñ.”

Ɖ enṿlop wz faund at last bhnd ɖ dînñrūm cloc, ɖo hǎ it hd got ɖr Msz. Śeridn cd nt imajin.

“Wn v y ćildṛn mst hv stoḷn it ǎt v mî bag, bcz I rmembr vividli—crīmćīz n lemncrd. Hv y dn ɖt?”

“Yes.”

“Eg n—” Msz. Śeridn hld ɖ enṿlop awe fṛm hr. “It lcs lîc mîs. It c’nt b mîs, cn it?”

“Oliv, pet,” sd Lora, lcñ ovr hr śoldr.

“Yes, v cors, oliv. Ẃt a hoṛbl combneśn it sǎndz. Eg n oliv.”

Ɖe wr finiśt at last, n Lora tc ɖm of t ɖ cićn. Ś faund Jozi ɖr paṣfayñ ɖ cc, hu dd nt lc at ol teṛfayñ.

“I hv nvr sìn sć xqizit sanẉjz,” sd Jozi’z rapćṛs vôs. “Hǎ mni cndz dd y se ɖr wr, cc? Fiftīn?”

“Fiftīn, Mis. Jozi.”

“Wel, cc, I cngrać̣let y.”

Cc swept p crusts wɖ ɖ loñ sanwijnîf, n smîld brōdli.

“Godbr’z hz cm,” anǎnst Sêdi, iśuwñ ǎt v ɖ pantri. Ś hd sìn ɖ man pas ɖ windo.

Ɖt mnt ɖ crīm pufs hd cm. Godbr’z wr feṃs fr ɖer crīm pufs. Nbdi evr ʈt v mcñ ɖm at hom.

“Brñ ɖm in n pt ɖm on ɖ tebl, mî grl,” ordrd cc.

Sêdi bròt ɖm in n wnt bac t ɖ dor. V cors Lora n Jozi wr far tù groun-up t riyli cer abt sć ʈñz. Ol ɖ sem, ɖe cd’nt hlp agriyñ ɖt ɖ pufs lct vri atractiv. Vri. Cc bgan arenjñ ɖm, śecñ of ɖ xtra îsñśŭgr.

“D’nt ɖe cari wn bac t ol wn’z partiz?” sd Lora.

“I s’poz ɖe d,” sd practicl Jozi, hu nvr lîct t b carid bac. “Ɖe lc bytifli lît n feɖ̇ri, I mst se.”

“Hv wn ć, mî dirz,” sd cc in hr cumftbl vôs. “Y’ ma w’nt nǒ.”

Ǒ, imposbl. Fansi crīm pufs so sn aftr brecfst. Ɖ vri îdīa md wn śudr. Ol ɖ sem, tū minits lêtr Jozi n Lora wr licñ ɖer fngrz wɖ ɖt abzorbd inwd lc ɖt onli cmz fṛm ẃipt crīm.

“Let’s g intu ɖ gardn, ǎt bî ɖ bac we,” sjstd Lora. “I wont t si hǎ ɖ men r gtñ on wɖ ɖ marcī. Ɖ’r sć ōf̣li nîs men.”

Bt ɖ bac dor wz bloct bî cc, Sêdi, Godbr’z man n Hanz.

Smʈñ hd hapnd.

“Tc-tc-tc,” cluct cc lîc an ajtetd hen. Sêdi hd hr hand clapt t hr ćīc az ɖo ś hd tuʈ-ec. Hanz’z fes wz scrùd p in ɖ ef̣t t unḍstand. Onli Godbr’z man sīmd t b injoyñ himslf; it wz hiz stori.

“Ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s hapnd?”

“Ɖr’z bn a hoṛbl axidnt,” sd Cc. “A man cild.”

“A man cild! Ẃr? Hǎ? Ẃn?”

Bt Godbr’z man wz’nt gwñ t hv hiz stori snaćt fṛm undr hiz vri nǒz.

“Nǒ ɖoz litl coṭjz jst b’lo hir, Mis.?” Nǒ ɖm? V cors, ś ń ɖm. “Wel, ɖr’z a yuñ ćap livñ ɖr, nem v Scot, a cartr. Hiz hors śaid at a trax́n-enjin, cornr v Hòc Strīt ɖs mornñ, n h wz ʈroun ǎt on ɖ bac v hiz hed. Cild.”

“Ded!” Lora stérd at Godbr’z man.

“Ded ẃn ɖe pict him p,” sd Godbr’z man wɖ reliś. “Ɖe wr tecñ ɖ bodi hom az I cm p hir.” N h sd t ɖ cc, “H’z left a wîf n fîv litl wnz.”

“Jozi, cm hir.” Lora còt hold v hr sistr’z slīv n dragd hr ʈru ɖ cićn t ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ grīn bêz dor. Ɖr ś pōzd n līnd agnst it. “Jozi!” ś sd, hoṛfaid, “hvr r w gwñ t stop evrʈñ?”

“Stop evrʈñ, Lora!” craid Jozi in astoniśmnt. “Ẃt d y mīn?”

“Stop ɖ gardnparti, v cors.” Ẃ dd Jozi pritnd?

Bt Jozi wz stl mor amezd. “Stop ɖ gardnparti? Mî dir Lora, d’nt b so absrd. V cors w c’nt d enʈñ v ɖ cnd. Nbdi xpcts s t. D’nt b so xtraṿgnt.”

“Bt w c’nt poṣbli hv a gardnparti wɖ a man ded jst ǎtsd ɖ frunt get.”

Ɖt riyli wz xtraṿgnt, fr ɖ litl coṭjz wr in a len t ɖmslvz at ɖ vri botm v a stīp rîz ɖt léd p t ɖ hǎs. A brōd rod ran btwn. Tru, ɖe wr far tù nir. Ɖe wr ɖ gretist poṣbl îsor, n ɖe hd no rît t b in ɖt nebrhd at ol. Ɖe wr litl mīn dwelñz pentd a ćocḷt brǎn. In ɖ gardnpaćz ɖr wz nʈñ bt cabijstōcz, sic hnz n tmātocanz. Ɖ vri smoc cmñ ǎt v ɖer ćimniz wz poṿti-stricn. Litl ragz n średz v smoc, so unlîc ɖ gret silṿri plūmz ɖt uncrld fṛm ɖ Śeridnz’ ćimniz. Wośrwimin livd in ɖ len n swīps n a coblr, n a man huz hǎsfrunt wz studd ol ovr wɖ mînyt brdcejz. Ćildṛn swormd. Ẃn ɖ Śeridnz wr litl ɖe wr fbidn t set ft ɖr bcz v ɖ rvoltñ lanḡj n v ẃt ɖe mt cać. Bt sins ɖe wr groun p, Lora n Lóri on ɖer prǎlz smtmz wōct ʈru. It wz dsgustñ n sordid. Ɖe cem ǎt wɖ a śudr. Bt stl wn mst g evrẃr; wn mst si evrʈñ. So ʈru ɖe wnt.

“N jst ʈnc v ẃt ɖ band wd sǎnd lîc t ɖt pur wmn,” sd Lora.

“Ǒ, Lora!” Jozi bgan t b sirịsli anoid. “F y’r gwñ t stop a band pleyñ evri tîm smwn hz an axidnt, y’l līd a vri strenẏs lîf. I’m evri bit az sori abt it az y. I fīl jst az simṗʈetic.” Hr îz hardnd. Ś lct at hr sistr jst az ś yst t ẃn ɖe wr litl n fîtñ tgɖr. “Y w’nt brñ a druncn wrcmn bac t lîf bî biyñ snṭmntl,” ś sd softli.

“Drunc! Hu sd h wz drunc?” Lora trnd fyrịsli on Jozi. Ś sd, jst az ɖe hd yst t se on ɖoz oceẓ́nz, “I’m gwñ stret p t tel muɖr.”

“D, dir,” cùd Jozi.

“Muɖr, cn I cm intu yr rūm?” Lora trnd ɖ big glas dornob.

“V cors, ćîld. Ẃ, ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s gvn y sć a culr?” N Msz. Śeridn trnd rnd fṛm hr dresñtebl. Ś wz trayñ on a ny hat.

“Muɖr, a man’z bn cild,” bgan Lora.

Nt in ɖ gardn?” inṭruptd hr muɖr.

“No, no!”

“Ǒ, ẃt a frît y gev m!” Msz. Śeridn said wɖ rlif, n tc of ɖ big hat n hld it on hr niz.

“Bt lisn, muɖr,” sd Lora. Breʈlis, haf-ćocñ, ś tld ɖ dredfl stori. “V cors, w c’nt hv ǎr parti, cn w?” ś plīdd. “Ɖ band n evrbdi arîvñ. Ɖ’d hír s, muɖr; ɖ’r nirli nebrz!”

T Lora’z astoniśmnt hr muɖr bhevd jst lîc Jozi; it wz hardr t ber bcz ś sīmd aḿzd. Ś rfyzd t tec Lora sirịsli.

“Bt, mî dir ćîld, yz yr comn-sns. It’s onli bî axidnt w’v hŕd v it. F smwn hd daid ɖr norṃli—n I c’nt unḍstand hǎ ɖe cīp alîv in ɖoz pǒci litl houlz—w śd stl b hvñ ǎr parti, śd’nt w?”

Lora hd t se “yes” t ɖt, bt ś flt it wz ol roñ. Ś sat dǎn on hr muɖr’z sofa n pinćt ɖ cŭśnfril.

“Muɖr, z’nt it teṛbli hartlis v s?” ś asct.

“Darlñ!” Msz. Śeridn got p n cem ovr t hr, cariyñ ɖ hat. Bfr Lora cd stop hr ś hd popt it on. “Mî ćîld!” sd hr muɖr, “ɖ hat z yrz. It’s md fr y. It’s mć tù yuñ fr m. I hv nvr sìn y lc sć a picćr. Lc at yrslf!” N ś hld p hr handmirr.

“Bt, muɖr,” Lora bgan agn. Ś cd’nt lc at hrslf; ś trnd asd.

Ɖs tîm Msz. Śeridn lost peśns jst az Jozi hd dn.

“Y r biyñ vri absrd, Lora,” ś sd coldli. “Ppl lîc ɖt d’nt xpct sacṛfîsz fṛm s. N it’s nt vri simṗʈetic t spôl evrbdi’z injômnt az y’r dwñ nǎ.”

“I d’nt unḍstand,” sd Lora, n ś wōct qcli ǎt v ɖ rūm intu hr ǒn bedrūm. Ɖr, qt bî ćans, ɖ frst ʈñ ś sw wz ɖs ćarmñ grl in ɖ mirr, in hr blac hat trimd wɖ gold deiziz, n a loñ blac velvit ribn. Nvr hd ś imajind ś cd lc lîc ɖt. Z muɖr rît? ś ʈt. N nǎ ś hopt hr muɖr wz rît. Am I biyñ xtraṿgnt? Phps it wz xtraṿgnt. Jst fr a momnt ś hd anɖr glims v ɖt pur wmn n ɖoz litl ćildṛn, n ɖ bodi biyñ carid intu ɖ hǎs. Bt it ol sīmd blŕd, unriyl, lîc a picćr in ɖ nyzpepr. I’l rmembr it agn aftr ɖ parti’z ovr, ś dsîdd. N smhǎ ɖt sīmd qt ɖ bst plan…

Lunć wz ovr bî haf-past wn. Bî haf-past tū ɖe wr ol redi fr ɖ fre. Ɖ grīn-cotd band hd arîvd n wz istabliśt in a cornr v ɖ teniscort.

“Mî dir!” trild Citi Mêtḷnd, “r’nt ɖe tù lîc frogz fr wrdz? Y òt t hv arenjd ɖm rnd ɖ pond wɖ ɖ cnductr in ɖ midl on a līf.”

Lóri arîvd n hêld ɖm on hiz we t dres. At ɖ sît v him Lora rmembrd ɖ axidnt agn. Ś wontd t tel him. F Lóri agrìd wɖ ɖ uɖrz, ɖen it wz baund t b ol rît. N ś foloud him intu ɖ hōl.

“Lóri!”

“Hlo!” H wz hafwe upsterz, bt ẃn h trnd rnd n sw Lora h sudnli puft ǎt hiz ćīcs n gogld hiz îz at hr. “Mî wrd, Lora! Y d lc stunñ,” sd Lóri. “Ẃt an abṣlutli topñ hat!”

Lora sd fentli “Z it?” n smîld p at Lóri, n dd’nt tel him aftr ol.

Sn aftr ɖt ppl bgan cmñ in strīmz. Ɖ band struc p; ɖ hîrd wêtrz ran fṛm ɖ hǎs t ɖ marcī. Ẃrvr y lct ɖr wr cuplz strolñ, bndñ t ɖ flǎrz, grītñ, muvñ on ovr ɖ lōn. Ɖe wr lîc brît brdz ɖt hd alîtd in ɖ Śeridnz’ gardn fr ɖs wn afṭnun, on ɖer we t—ẃr? Ā, ẃt hapinis it z t b wɖ ppl hu ol r hapi, t pres handz, pres ćīcs, smîl intu îz.

“Darlñ Lora, hǎ wel y lc!”

“Ẃt a bcmñ hat, ćîld!”

“Lora, y lc qt Spaniś. I’v nvr sìn y lc so strîcñ.”

N Lora, glowñ, ansrd softli, “Hv y hd ti? W’nt y hv an îs? Ɖ paśnfrūt îsz riyli r rɖr speśl.” Ś ran t hr faɖr n begd him. “Dadi darlñ, c’nt ɖ band hv smʈñ t drinc?”

N ɖ prfict afṭnun slǒli rîpnd, slǒli fedd, slǒli its petlz clozd.

“Nvr a mor dlîtfl gardnparti…” “Ɖ gretist s’xes…” “Qt ɖ most…”

Lora hlpt hr muɖr wɖ ɖ gdbîs. Ɖe std sîd bî sîd in ɖ porć tl it wz ol ovr.

“Ol ovr, ol ovr, ʈanc hevn,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “Rnd p ɖ uɖrz, Lora. Let’s g n hv sm freś cofi. I’m xōstd. Yes, it’s bn vri s’xesfl. Bt ǒ, ɖz partiz, ɖz partiz! Ẃ wl y ćildṛn insist on gvñ partiz!” N ɖe ol v ɖm sat dǎn in ɖ dzrtd marcī.

“Hv a sanwij, dadi dir. I rout ɖ flag.”

“Ʈancs.” Mr. Śeridn tc a bît n ɖ sanwij wz gn. H tc anɖr. “I s’poz y dd’nt hír v a bīstli axidnt ɖt hapnd tde?” h sd.

“Mî dir,” sd Msz. Śeridn, holdñ p hr hand, “w dd. It nirli ruind ɖ parti. Lora insistd w śd pt it of.”

“Ǒ, muɖr!” Lora dd’nt wont t b tizd abt it.

“It wz a hoṛbl afer ol ɖ sem,” sd Mr. Śeridn. “Ɖ ćap wz marid tù. Livd jst b’lo in ɖ len, n līvz a wîf n haf a duzn cidiz, so ɖe se.”

An ōcẉd litl sîḷns fél. Msz. Śeridn fiɉtd wɖ hr cup. Riyli, it wz vri tactlis v faɖr…

Sudnli ś lct p. Ɖr on ɖ tebl wr ol ɖoz sanẉjz, cecs, pufs, ol unītn, ol gwñ t b westd. Ś hd wn v hr briłnt îdīaz.

“I nǒ,” ś sd. “Let’s mc p a bascit. Let’s snd ɖt pur crīćr sm v ɖs prf̣cli gd fūd. At eni ret, it wl b ɖ gretist trīt fr ɖ ćildṛn. D’nt y agri? N ś’z śr t hv nebrz cōlñ in n so on. Ẃt a pônt t hv it ol redi priperd. Lora!” Ś jumt p. “Gt m ɖ big bascit ǎt v ɖ sterz cuḅd.”

“Bt, muɖr, d y riyli ʈnc it’s a gd îdīa?” sd Lora.

Agn, hǎ krịs, ś sīmd t b difṛnt fṛm ɖm ol. T tec scraps fṛm ɖer parti. Wd ɖ pur wmn riyli lîc ɖt?

“V cors! Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ y tde? An aur or tū ago y wr insistñ on s biyñ simṗʈetic, n nǎ—”

Ǒ wel! Lora ran fr ɖ bascit. It wz fild, it wz hīpt bî hr muɖr.

“Tec it yrslf, darlñ,” sd ś. “Run dǎn jst az y r. No, wêt, tec ɖ aṛmliliz tù. Ppl v ɖt clas r so imprest bî aṛmliliz.”

“Ɖ stemz wl ruin hr lês froc,” sd practicl Jozi.

So ɖe wd. Jst in tîm. “Onli ɖ bascit, ɖen. N, Lora!”—hr muɖr foloud hr ǎt v ɖ marcī—“d’nt on eni acǎnt—”

“Ẃt muɖr?”

No, betr nt pt sć îdīaz intu ɖ ćîld’z hed! “Nʈñ! Run alñ.”

It wz jst growñ dusci az Lora śut ɖer gardngets. A big dog ran bî lîc a śado. Ɖ rod glīmd ẃît, n dǎn b’lo in ɖ holo ɖ litl coṭjz wr in dīp śêd. Hǎ qayt it sīmd aftr ɖ afṭnun. Hir ś wz gwñ dǎn ɖ hil t smẃr ẃr a man le ded, n ś cd’nt riylîz it. Ẃ cd’nt ś? Ś stopt a minit. N it sīmd t hr ɖt cisz, vôsz, tnc̣lñ spūnz, laftr, ɖ smel v cruśt gras wr smhǎ insd hr. Ś hd no rūm fr enʈñ els. Hǎ strenj! Ś lct p at ɖ pel scî, n ol ś ʈt wz, “Yes, it wz ɖ most s’xesfl parti.”

Nǎ ɖ brōd rod wz crost. Ɖ len bgan, smoci n darc. Wimin in śōlz n men’z twīd caps hurid bî. Men huñ ovr ɖ pêlñz; ɖ ćildṛn pleid in ɖ dorwez. A lo hum cem fṛm ɖ mīn litl coṭjz. In sm v ɖm ɖr wz a flicr v lît, n a śado, crablîc, muvd acrs ɖ windo. Lora bnt hr hed n hurid on. Ś wśt nǎ ś hd pt on a cot. Hǎ hr froc śon! N ɖ big hat wɖ ɖ velvit strīmr—f onli it wz anɖr hat! Wr ɖ ppl lcñ at hr? Ɖe mst b. It wz a mstec t hv cm; ś ń ol alñ it wz a mstec. Śd ś g bac īvn nǎ?

No, tù lêt. Ɖs wz ɖ hǎs. It mst b. A darc nót v ppl std ǎtsd. Bsd ɖ get an old, old wmn wɖ a cruć sat in a ćer, woćñ. Ś hd hr fīt on a nyzpepr. Ɖ vôsz stopt az Lora drù nir. Ɖ grūp partd. It wz az ɖo ś wz xpctd, az ɖo ɖe hd noun ś wz cmñ hir.

Lora wz teṛbli nrṿs. Tosñ ɖ velvit ribn ovr hr śoldr, ś sd t a wmn standñ bî, “Z ɖs Msz. Scot’s hǎs?” n ɖ wmn, smîlñ qirli, sd, “It z, mî las.”

Ǒ, t b awe fṛm ɖs! Ś acć̣̣li sd, “Hlp m, God,” az ś wōct p ɖ tîni paʈ n noct. T b awe fṛm ɖoz stẹrñ îz, or t b cuvrd p in enʈñ, wn v ɖoz wimin’z śōlz īvn. I’l jst līv ɖ bascit n g, ś dsîdd. I ś’nt īvn wêt fr it t b emtid.

Ɖen ɖ dor opnd. A litl wmn in blac śoud in ɖ glūm.

Lora sd, “R y Msz. Scot?” Bt t hr horr ɖ wmn ansrd, “Wōc in plīz, Mis,” n ś wz śut in ɖ pasij.

“No,” sd Lora, “I d’nt wont t cm in. I onli wont t līv ɖs bascit. Muɖr snt—”

Ɖ litl wmn in ɖ glūmi pasij sīmd nt t hv hŕd hr. “Step ɖs we, plīz, Mis,” ś sd in an ôli vôs, n Lora foloud hr.

Ś faund hrslf in a rećid litl lo cićn, lîtd bî a smoci lamp. Ɖr wz a wmn sitñ bfr ɖ fîr.

“Em,” sd ɖ litl crīćr hu hd let hr in. “Em! It’s a yuñ ledi.” Ś trnd t Lora. Ś sd mīnñli, “I’m ’r sistr, Mis. Y’l xkz ’r, w’nt y?”

“Ǒ, bt v cors!” sd Lora. “Plīz, plīz d’nt dstrb hr. I—I onli wont t līv—”

Bt at ɖt momnt ɖ wmn at ɖ fîr trnd rnd. Hr fes, puft p, red, wɖ swoḷn îz n swoḷn lips, lct teṛbl. Ś sīmd az ɖo ś cd’nt unḍstand ẃ Lora wz ɖr. Ẃt dd it mīn? Ẃ wz ɖs strenjr standñ in ɖ cićn wɖ a bascit? Ẃt wz it ol abt? N ɖ pur fes pucrd p agn.

“Ol rît, mî dir,” sd ɖ uɖr. “I’l ʈenc ɖ yuñ ledi.”

N agn ś bgan, “Y’l xkz hr, Mis, I’m śr,” n hr fes, swoḷn tù, traid an ôli smîl.

Lora onli wontd t gt ǎt, t gt awe. Ś wz bac in ɖ pasij. Ɖ dor opnd. Ś wōct stret ʈru intu ɖ bedrūm, ẃr ɖ ded man wz layñ.

“Y’d lîc a lc at ’im, wd’nt y?” sd Em’z sistr, n ś bruśt past Lora ovr t ɖ bed. “D’nt b afreid, mî las,”—n nǎ hr vôs sǎndd fond n slî, n fondli ś drù dǎn ɖ śīt—“’i lcs a picćr. Ɖr’z nʈñ t śo. Cm alñ, mî dir.”

Lora cem.

Ɖr le a yuñ man, fast aslip—slīpñ so sǎndli, so dīpli, ɖt h wz far, far awe fṛm ɖm bʈ. Ǒ, so rmot, so pīsfl. H wz drīmñ. Nvr wec him p agn. Hiz hed wz sunc in ɖ pilo, hiz îz wr clozd; ɖe wr blînd undr ɖ clozd îlidz. H wz gvn p t hiz drīm. Ẃt dd gardnpartiz n bascits n lês frocs matr t him? H wz far fṛm ol ɖoz ʈñz. H wz wundrfl, bytifl. Ẃl ɖe wr lafñ n ẃl ɖ band wz pleyñ, ɖs marvl hd cm t ɖ len. Hapi… hapi… Ol z wel, sd ɖt slīpñ fes. Ɖs z jst az it śd b. I am cntnt.

Bt ol ɖ sem y hd t crî, n ś cd’nt g ǎt v ɖ rūm wɖt seyñ smʈñ t him. Lora gev a lǎd ćîldiś sob.

“Fgiv mî hat,” ś sd.

N ɖs tîm ś dd’nt wêt fr Em’z sistr. Ś faund hr we ǎt v ɖ dor, dǎn ɖ paʈ, past ol ɖoz darc ppl. At ɖ cornr v ɖ len ś met Lóri.

H stept ǎt v ɖ śado. “Z ɖt y, Lora?”

“Yes.”

“Muɖr wz gtñ añśs. Wz it ol rît?”

“Yes, qt. Ǒ, Lóri!” Ś tc hiz arm, ś prest p agnst him.

“I se, y’r nt crayñ, r y?” asct hr bruɖr.

Lora śc hr hed. Ś wz.

Lóri pt hiz arm rnd hr śoldr. “D’nt crî,” h sd in hiz worm, luvñ vôs. “Wz it ōfl?”

“No,” sobd Lora. “It wz simpli marvḷs. Bt Lóri—” Ś stopt, ś lct at hr bruɖr. “Z’nt lîf,” ś stamrd, “z’nt lîf—” Bt ẃt lîf wz ś cd’nt xplen. No matr. H qt unḍstd.

Z’nt it, darlñ?” sd Lóri.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE DAUGHTERS OF THE LATE COLONEL, by K Mansfield

ĆAPTRZ

IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII

Đ DŌTRZ OV Đ LÊT CRNL

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

___

I

Ɖ  wīc aftr wz wn v ɖ biziist wīcs v ɖer livz. Īvn ẃn ɖe wnt t bed it wz onli ɖer bodiz ɖt le dǎn n restd; ɖer mîndz wnt on, ʈncñ ʈñz ǎt, tōcñ ʈñz ovr, wunḍrñ, dsîdñ, trayñ t rmembr ẃr…

Cnstanśa le lîc a staću, hr handz bî hr sîdz, hr fīt jst oṿlapñ ć uɖr, ɖ śīt p t hr ćin. Ś stérd at ɖ sīlñ.

“D y ʈnc faɖr wd mînd f w gev hiz tophat t ɖ portr?”

“Ɖ portr?” snapt Joẓfīn. “Ẃ evr ɖ portr? Ẃt a vri xtrordnri îdīa!”

“Bcz,” sd Cnstanśa slǒli, “h mst ofn hv t g t fynṛlz. N I notist at—at ɖ seṃtri ɖt h onli hd a bolr.” Ś pōzd. “I ʈt ɖen hǎ vri mć h’d aprīśiet a tophat. W òt t gv him a preznt, tù. H wz olwz vri nîs t faɖr.”

“Bt,” craid Joẓfīn, flǎnsñ on hr pilo n stẹrñ acrs ɖ darc atCnstanśa, “faɖr’z hed!” N sudnli, fr wn ōfl momnt, ś nirli gigld. Nt, v cors, ɖt ś flt in ɖ līst lîc giġlñ. It mst hv bn habit. Yirz ago, ẃn ɖe hd steid awec at nît tōcñ, ɖer bedz hd simpli hīvd. N nǎ ɖ portr’z hed, dis’pirñ, popt ǎt, lîc a candl, undr faɖr’z hat… Ɖ gigl mǎntd, mǎntd; ś clenćt hr handz; ś fòt it dǎn; ś frǎnd firsli at ɖ darc n sd “Rmembr” teṛbli strnli.

“W cn dsîd tmoro,” ś sd.

Cnstanśa hd notist nʈñ; ś said.

“D y ʈnc w òt t hv ǎr dresñgǎns dáid az wel?”

“Blac?” olmst śrīct Joẓfīn.

“Wel, ẃt els?” sd Cnstanśa. “I wz ʈncñ—it dz’nt sīm qt snsir, in a we, t wer blac ǎt v dorz n ẃn w’r fŭli drest, n ɖen ẃn w’r at hom—”

“Bt nbdi siz s,” sd Joẓfīn. Ś gev ɖ bedcloɖz sć a twić ɖt bʈ hr fīt bcem uncuvrd, n ś hd t crīp p ɖ piloz t gt ɖm wel undr agn.

“Cet dz,” sd Cnstanśa. “N ɖ postmn vri wel mt.”

Joẓfīn ʈt v hr darc-red slipprz, ẃć maćt hr dresñgǎn, n vCnstanśa’z feṿrit indefiṇt grīn wnz ẃć wnt wɖ hrz. Blac! Tū blac dresñgǎns n tū perz v blac wŭli slipprz, crīpñ of t ɖ baʈrūm lîc blac cats.

“I d’nt ʈnc it’s abṣlutli nesṣri,” sd ś.

Sîḷns. Ɖen Cnstanśa sd, “W śl hv t post ɖ peprz wɖ ɖ notis in ɖm tmoro t cać ɖ S’lón meil… Hǎ mni letrz hv w hd p tl nǎ?”

“Twenti-ʈri.”

Joẓfīn hd rplaid t ɖm ol, n twenti-ʈri tîmz ẃn ś cem t “W mis ǎr dir faɖr so mć” ś hd brocn dǎn n hd t yz hr hanc̣ćif, n on sm v ɖm īvn t sǒc p a vri lît-blu tir wɖ an éj v blotñpepr. Strenj! Ś cd’nt hv pt it on—bt twenti-ʈri tîmz. Īvn nǎ, ɖo, ẃn ś sd ovr t hrslf sadli “W mis ǎr dir faɖr so mć,” ś cd hv craid f ś’d wontd t.

“Hv y got inuf stamps?” cem fṛm Cnstanśa.

“Ǒ, hǎ cn I tel?” sd Joẓfīn crosli. “Ẃt’s ɖ gd v ascñ m ɖt nǎ?”

“I wz jst wunḍrñ,” sd Cnstanśa mîldli.

Sîḷns agn. Ɖr cem a litl rusl, a scuri, a hóp.

“A mǎs,” sd Cnstanśa.

“It c’nt b a mǎs bcz ɖr r’nt eni crumz,” sd Joẓfīn.

“Bt it dz’nt nǒ ɖr r’nt,” sd Cnstanśa.

A spazm v piti sqizd hr hart. Pur litl ʈñ! Ś wśt ś’d left a tîni pìs v biscit on ɖ dresñtebl. It wz ōfl t ʈnc v it nt fîndñ enʈñ. Ẃt wd it d?

“I c’nt ʈnc hǎ ɖe manij t liv at ol,” ś sd slǒli.

“Hu?” dmandd Joẓfīn.

N Cnstanśa sd mor lǎdli ɖn ś mnt t, “Mîs.”

Joẓfīn wz fyrịs. “Ǒ, ẃt nonsns, Cón!” ś sd. “Ẃt hv mîs got t d wɖ it? Y’r aslip.”

“I d’nt ʈnc I am,” sd Cnstanśa. Ś śut hr îz t mc śr. Ś wz.

Joẓfīn arćt hr spîn, pld p hr niz, foldd hr armz so ɖt hr fists cem undr hr irz, n prest hr ćīc hard agnst ɖ pilo.

___

II

Anɖr ʈñ ẃć compḷcetd matrz wz ɖe hd Nrs Andruz steyñ on wɖ ɖm ɖt wīc. It wz ɖer ǒn fōlt; ɖe hd asct hr. It wz Joẓfīn’z îdīa. On ɖ mornñ—wel, on ɖ last mornñ, ẃn ɖ doctr hd gn, Joẓfīn hd sd t Cnstanśa, “D’nt y ʈnc it wd b rɖr nîs f w asct Nrs Andruz t ste on fr a wīc az ǎr gest?”

“Vri nîs,” sd Cnstanśa.

“I ʈt,” wnt on Joẓfīn qcli, “I śd jst se ɖs afṭnun, aftr I’v peid hr, ‘Mî sistr n I wd b vri plizd, aftr ol y’v dn fr s, Nrs Andruz, f y wd ste on fr a wīc az ǎr gest.’ I’d hv t pt ɖt in abt biyñ ǎr gest in ces—”

“Ǒ, bt ś cd hardli xpct t b peid!” craid Cnstanśa.

“Wn nvr nz,” sd Joẓfīn sejli.

Nrs Andruz hd, v cors, jumt at ɖ îdīa. Bt it wz a boɖr. It mnt ɖe hd t hv reğlr sit-dǎn mīlz at ɖ propr tîmz, ẃr-az f ɖ’d bn alon ɖe cd jst hv asct Cet f ś wd’nt hv mîndd brññ ɖm a tre ẃrvr ɖe wr. N mīltîmz nǎ ɖt ɖ stren wz ovr wr rɖr a trîl.

Nrs Andruz wz simpli firfl abt butr. Riyli ɖe cd’nt hlp fīlñ ɖt abt butr, at līst, ś tc advantij v ɖer cîndnis. N ś hd ɖt maḍnñ habit v ascñ fr jst an inć mor v bred t finiś ẃt ś hd on hr plet, n ɖen, at ɖ last mǎʈfl, absnt-mîndidli—v cors it wz’nt absnt-mîndidli—tecñ anɖr hlpñ. Joẓfīn got vri red ẃn ɖs hapnd, n ś fasnd hr smōl, bīdlîc îz on ɖ teblcloʈ az f ś sw a mînyt strenj insect crīpñ ʈru ɖ web v it. Bt Cnstanśa’z loñ, pel fes leñʈnd n set, n ś gezd awe—awe—far ovr ɖ deẓt, t ẃr ɖt lîn v camlz unwaund lîc a ʈred v wŭl…

“Ẃn I wz wɖ Ledi Tycs,” sd Nrs Andruz, “ś hd sć a denti litl cntrevns fr ɖ butā. It wz a silvā Kpid baḷnst on ɖ—on ɖ bordā v a glas diś, holdñ a têni forc. N ẃn y wontd sm butā y simpli prest hiz ft n h bnt dǎn n spird y a pìs. It wz qt a gem.”

Joẓfīn cd hardli ber ɖt. Bt “I ʈnc ɖoz ʈñz r vri xtraṿgnt” wz ol ś sd.

“Bt ẃe?” asct Nrs Andruz, bīmñ ʈru hr îglasz. “Nwn, śrli, wd tec mor butā ɖn wn wontd—wd wn?”

“Rñ, Cón,” craid Joẓfīn. Ś cd’nt trust hrslf t rplî.

N prǎd yuñ Cet, ɖ inćantd prinses, cem in t si ẃt ɖ old tabiz wontd nǎ. Ś snaćt awe ɖer plets v moc smʈñ or uɖr n slapt dǎn a ẃît, teṛfaid bḷmonź.

“Jam, plīz, Cet,” sd Joẓfīn cîndli.

Cet nlt n brst opn ɖ sîdbōrd, liftd ɖ lid v ɖ jampot, sw it wz emti, pt it on ɖ tebl, n stōct of.

“I’m afreid,” sd Nrs Andruz a momnt lêtr, “ɖr z’nt eni.”

“Ǒ, ẃt a boɖr!” sd Joẓfīn. Ś bit hr lip. “Ẃt hd w betr d?”

Cnstanśa lct dybịs. “W c’nt dstrb Cet agn,” ś sd softli.

Nrs Andruz wêtd, smîlñ at ɖm bʈ. Hr îz wondrd, spayñ at evrʈñ bhnd hr îglasz. Cnstanśa in dsper wnt bac t hr camlz. Joẓfīn frǎnd heṿli—consntretd. F it hd’nt bn fr ɖs idiotic wmn ś n Cón wd, v cors, hv ītn ɖer bḷmonẓ́ wɖt. Sudnli ɖ îdīa cem.

“I nǒ,” ś sd. “Marṃled. Ɖr’z sm marṃled in ɖ sîdbōrd. Gt it, Cón.”

“I hop,” laft Nrs Andruz—n hr laf wz lîc a spūn tnc̣lñ agnst a meḍsinglas—“I hop it’s nt vri bitā marṃled.”

___

III

Bt, aftr ol, it wz nt loñ nǎ, n ɖen ś’d b gn fr gd. N ɖr wz no gtñ ovr ɖ fact ɖt ś hd bn vri cnd t faɖr. Ś hd nrst him de n nît at ɖ end. Indd, bʈ Cnstanśa n Joẓfīn flt prîṿtli ś hd rɖr oṿdn ɖ nt līvñ him at ɖ vri last. Fr ẃn ɖe hd gn in t se gdbî Nrs Andruz hd sat bsd hiz bed ɖ hol tîm, holdñ hiz rist n pritndñ t lc at hr woć. It cd’nt hv bn nesṣri. It wz so tactlis, tù. S’pozñ faɖr hd wontd t se smʈñ—smʈñ prîṿt t ɖm. Nt ɖt h hd. Ǒ, far fṛm it! H le ɖr, prpl, a darc, angri prpl in ɖ fes, n nvr īvn lct at ɖm ẃn ɖe cem in. Ɖen, az ɖe wr standñ ɖr, wunḍrñ ẃt t d, h hd sudnli opnd wn î. Ǒ, ẃt a difṛns it wd hv md, ẃt a difṛns t ɖer meṃri v him, hǎ mć īzịr t tel ppl abt it, f h hd onli opnd bʈ! Bt no—wn î onli. It glerd at ɖm a momnt n ɖen… wnt ǎt.

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IV

It hd md it vri ōcẉd fr ɖm ẃn Mr. Farolz, v St. Jon’z, cōld ɖ sem afṭnun.

“Ɖ end wz qt pīsfl, I trust?” wr ɖ frst wrdz h sd az h glîdd twdz ɖm ʈru ɖ darc drw̃rūm.

“Qt,” sd Joẓfīn fentli. Ɖe bʈ huñ ɖer hedz. Bʈ v ɖm flt srtn ɖt î wz’nt at ol a pīsfl î.

“W’nt y sit dǎn?” sd Joẓfīn.

“Ʈanc y, Mis Pinr,” sd Mr. Farolz gretf̣li. H foldd hiz coțeilz n bgan t lowr himslf intu faɖr’z armćer, bt jst az h tućt it h olmst sprañ p n slid intu ɖ nxt ćer instd.

H coft. Joẓfīn claspt hr handz; Cnstanśa lct veg.

“I wont y t fīl, Mis Pinr,” sd Mr. Farolz, “n y, Mis Cnstanśa, ɖt I’m trayñ t b hlpfl. I wont t b hlpfl t y bʈ, f y wl let m. Ɖz r ɖ tîmz,” sd Mr. Farolz, vri simpli n rṇstli, “ẃn God mīnz s t b hlpfl t wn anɖr.”

“Ʈanc y vri mć, Mr. Farolz,” sd Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa.

“Nt at ol,” sd Mr. Farolz jntli. H drù hiz cid gluvz ʈru hiz fngrz n līnd fwd. “N f îɖr v y wd lîc a litl Cḿńn, îɖr or bʈ v y, hir n nǎ, y hv onli t tel m. A litl Cḿńn z ofn vri hlp—a gret cumf̣t,” h add tndrli.

Bt ɖ îdīa v a litl Cḿńn teṛfaid ɖm. Ẃt! In ɖ drw̃rūm bî ɖmslvz—wɖ no—no ōltr or enʈñ! Ɖ piano wd b mć tù hî, ʈt Cnstanśa, n Mr. Farolz cd nt poṣbli līn ovr it wɖ ɖ ćalis. N Cet wd b śr t cm brstñ in n inṭrupt ɖm, ʈt Joẓfīn. N s’pozñ ɖ bel rañ in ɖ midl? It mt b smbdi importnt—abt ɖer mōrnñ. Wd ɖe gt p revṛntli n g ǎt, or wd ɖe hv t wêt… in torćr?

“Phps y wl snd rnd a not bî yr gd Cet f y wd cer fr it lêtr,” sd Mr. Farolz.

“Ǒ yes, ʈanc y vri mć!” ɖe bʈ sd.

Mr. Farolz got p n tc hiz blac strw hat fṛm ɖ rǎnd tebl.

“N abt ɖ fynṛl,” h sd softli. “I me arenj ɖt—az yr dir faɖr’z old frend n yrz, Mis Pinr—n Mis Cnstanśa?”

Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa got p tù.

“I śd lîc it t b qt simpl,” sd Joẓfīn frmli, “n nt tù xpnsiv. At ɖ sem tîm, I śd lîc—”

“A gd wn ɖt wl last,” ʈt drīmi Cnstanśa, az f Joẓfīn wr bayñ a nîtgǎn. Bt, v cors, Joẓfīn dd’nt se ɖt. “Wn sūṭbl t ǎr faɖr’z pziśn.” Ś wz vri nrṿs.

“I’l run rnd t ǎr gd frend Mr. Nait,” sd Mr. Farolz suɖñli. “I wl asc him t cm n si y. I am śr y wl fînd him vri hlpfl indd.”

___

V

Wel, at eni ret, ol ɖt part v it wz ovr, ɖo nɖr v ɖm cd poṣbli b’liv ɖt faɖr wz nvr cmñ bac. Joẓfīn hd hd a momnt v abṣlut terr at ɖ seṃtri, ẃl ɖ cofin wz lowrd, t ʈnc ɖt ś n Cnstanśa hd dn ɖs ʈñ wɖt ascñ hiz pmiśn. Ẃt wd faɖr se ẃn h faund ǎt? Fr h wz baund t fînd ǎt snr or lêtr. H olwz dd. “Berid. Y tū grlz hd m berid!” Ś hŕd hiz stic ʈumpñ. Ǒ, ẃt wd ɖe se? Ẃt poṣbl xks cd ɖe mc? It sǎndd sć an apōlñli hartlis ʈñ t d. Sć a wicid advantij t tec v a prsn bcz h hapnd t b hlplis at ɖ momnt. Ɖ uɖr ppl sīmd t trīt it ol az a matr v cors. Ɖe wr strenjrz; ɖe cd’nt b xpctd t unḍstand ɖt faɖr wz ɖ vri last prsn fr sć a ʈñ t hapn t. No, ɖ intîr blem fr it ol wd fōl on hr n Cnstanśa. N ɖ xpns, ś ʈt, stepñ intu ɖ tît-butnd cab. Ẃn ś hd t śo him ɖ bílz. Ẃt wd h se ɖen?

Ś hŕd him abṣlutli rorñ. “N d y xpct m t pe fr ɖs jimcrac xcrśn v yrz?”

“Ǒ,” grond pur Joẓfīn alǎd, “w śd’nt hv dn it, Cón!”

N Cnstanśa, pel az a lemn in ol ɖt blacnis, sd in a frîtnd ẃispr, “Dn ẃt, Jug?”

“Let ɖm b-beri faɖr lîc ɖt,” sd Joẓfīn, brecñ dǎn n crayñ intu hr ny, qir-smelñ mōrnñhanc̣ćif.

“Bt ẃt els cd w hv dn?” asct Cnstanśa wundrñli. “W cd’nt hv cept him, Jug—w cd’nt hv cept him unberid. At eni ret, nt in a flat ɖt sîz.”

Joẓfīn blù hr nǒz; ɖ cab wz dredf̣li stufi.

“I d’nt nǒ,” ś sd f’lornli. “It z ol so dredfl. I fīl w òt t hv traid t, jst fr a tîm at līst. T mc prf̣cli śr. Wn ʈñ’z srtn”—n hr tirz sprañ ǎt agn—“faɖr wl nvr fgiv s fr ɖs—nvr!”

___

VI

Faɖr wd nvr fgiv ɖm. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖe flt mor ɖn evr ẃn, tū mornñz lêtr, ɖe wnt intu hiz rūm t g ʈru hiz ʈñz. Ɖe hd dscust it qt cāmli. It wz īvn dǎn on Joẓfīn’z list v ʈñz t b dn. “G ʈru faɖr’z ʈñz n setl abt ɖm.” Bt ɖt wz a vri difṛnt matr fṛm seyñ aftr brecfst:

“Wel, r y redi, Cón?”

“Yes, Jug—ẃn y r.”

“Ɖen I ʈnc w’d betr gt it ovr.”

It wz darc in ɖ hōl. It hd bn a rūl fr yirz nvr t dstrb faɖr in ɖ mornñ, ẃtvr hapnd. N nǎ ɖe wr gwñ t opn ɖ dor wɖt nocñ īvn… Cnstanśa’z îz wr inorṃs at ɖ îdīa; Joẓfīn flt wìc in ɖ niz.

“Y—y g frst,” ś gaspt, pśñ Cnstanśa.

Bt Cnstanśa sd, az ś olwz hd sd on ɖoz oceẓ́nz, “No, Jug, ɖt’s nt fer. Y’r ɖ eldist.”

Joẓfīn wz jst gwñ t se—ẃt at uɖr tîmz ś wd’nt hv ǒnd t fr ɖ wrld—ẃt ś cept fr hr vri last wepn, “Bt y’r ɖ tōlist,” ẃn ɖe notist ɖt ɖ cićndor wz opn, n ɖr std Cet…

“Vri stif,” sd Joẓfīn, graspñ ɖ dorhandl n dwñ hr bst t trn it. Az f enʈñ evr dsivd Cet!

It cd’nt b hlpt. Ɖt grl wz… Ɖen ɖ dor wz śut bhnd ɖm, bt—bt ɖe wr’nt in faɖr’z rūm at ol. Ɖe mt hv sudnli wōct ʈru ɖ wōl bî mstec intu a difṛnt flat oltgɖr. Wz ɖ dor jst bhnd ɖm? Ɖe wr tù frîtnd t lc. Joẓfīn ń ɖt f it wz it wz holdñ itslf tît śut; Cnstanśa flt ɖt, lîc ɖ dorz in drīmz, it hd’nt eni handl at ol. It wz ɖ coldnis ẃć md it so ōfl. Or ɖ ẃîtnis—ẃć? Evrʈñ wz cuvrd. Ɖ blîndz wr dǎn, a cloʈ huñ ovr ɖ mirr, a śīt hid ɖ bed; a hyj fan v ẃît pepr fild ɖ fîrples. Cnstanśa timidli pt ǎt hr hand; ś olmst xpctd a snǒflec t fōl. Joẓfīn flt a qir tnġlñ in hr nǒz, az f hr nǒz wz frizñ. Ɖen a cab clop-clopt ovr ɖ coblz b’lo, n ɖ qayt sīmd t śec intu litl pìsz.

“I hd betr pl p a blînd,” sd Joẓfīn brevli.

“Yes, it mt b a gd îdīa,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa.

Ɖe onli gev ɖ blînd a tuć, bt it flù p n ɖ cord flù aftr, rolñ rnd ɖ blîndstic, n ɖ litl tasl tapt az f trayñ t gt fri. Ɖt wz tù mć fr Cnstanśa.

“D’nt y ʈnc—d’nt y ʈnc w mt pt it of fr anɖr de?” ś ẃisprd.

“Ẃ?” snapt Joẓfīn, fīlñ, az yẓ́l, mć betr nǎ ɖt ś ń fr srtn ɖt Cnstanśa wz teṛfaid. “It’s got t b dn. Bt I d wś y wd’nt ẃispr, Cón.”

“I dd’nt nǒ I wz ẃisṗrñ,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa.

“N ẃ d y cīp stẹrñ at ɖ bed?” sd Joẓfīn, rezñ hr vôs olmst dfayntli. “Ɖr’z nʈñ on ɖ bed.”

“Ǒ, Jug, d’nt se so!” sd pur Cóni. “At eni ret, nt so lǎdli.”

Joẓfīn flt hrslf ɖt ś hd gn tù far. Ś tc a wîd swrv ovr t ɖ ćst v drorz, pt ǎt hr hand, bt qcli drù it bac agn.

“Cóni!” ś gaspt, n ś ẃīld rnd n līnd wɖ hr bac agnst ɖ ćst v drorz.

“Ǒ, Jug—ẃt?”

Joẓfīn cd onli gler. Ś hd ɖ most xtrordnri fīlñ ɖt ś hd jst iscept smʈñ simpli ōfl. Bt hǎ cd ś xplen t Cnstanśa ɖt faɖr wz in ɖ ćst v drorz? H wz in ɖ top dror wɖ hiz hanc̣ćīfs n nectîz, or in ɖ nxt wɖ hiz śrts n pjamaz, or in ɖ lǒist v ol wɖ hiz sūts. H wz woćñ ɖr, hidn awe—jst bhnd ɖ dorhandl—redi t sprñ.

Ś pld a funi old-faśnd fes at Cnstanśa, jst az ś yst t in ɖ old dez ẃn ś wz gwñ t crî.

“I c’nt opn,” ś nirli weild.

“No, d’nt, Jug,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa rṇstli. “It’s mć betr nt t. D’nt let’s opn enʈñ. At eni ret, nt fr a loñ tîm.”

“Bt—bt it sīmz so wìc,” sd Joẓfīn, brecñ dǎn.

“Bt ẃ nt b wìc fr wns, Jug?” argyd Cnstanśa, ẃisṗrñ qt firsli. “F it z wìc.” N hr pel stér flù fṛm ɖ loct raitñtebl—so sef—t ɖ hyj gliṭrñ wordrob, n ś bgan t briɖ in a qir, pantñ we. “Ẃ śd’nt w b wìc fr wns in ǎr lîvz, Jug? It’s qt xkẓbl. Let’s b wìc—b wìc, Jug. It’s mć nîsr t b wìc ɖn t b stroñ.”

N ɖen ś dd wn v ɖoz amezñli bold ʈñz ɖt ś’d dn abt twîs bfr in ɖer lîvz: ś marćt ovr t ɖ wordrob, trnd ɖ ci, n tc it ǎt v ɖ loc. Tc it ǎt v ɖ loc n hld it p t Joẓfīn, śowñ Joẓfīn bî hr xtrordnri smîl ɖt ś ń ẃt ś’d dn—ś’d risct dlibṛtli faɖr biyñ in ɖr amñ hiz oṿcots.

F ɖ hyj wordrob hd lrćt fwd, hd craśt dǎn on Cnstanśa, Joẓfīn wd’nt hv bn s’prîzd. On ɖ contrri, ś wd hv ʈt it ɖ onli sūṭbl ʈñ t hapn. Bt nʈñ hapnd. Onli ɖ rūm sīmd qaytr ɖn evr, n ɖ bigr flecs v cold er fél on Joẓfīn’z śoldrz n niz. Ś bgan t śivr.

“Cm, Jug,” sd Cnstanśa, stl wɖ ɖt ōfl caḷs smîl, n Joẓfīn foloud jst az ś hd ɖt last tîm, ẃn Cnstanśa hd pśt Beni intu ɖ rǎnd pond.

___

VII

Bt ɖ stren tld on ɖm ẃn ɖe wr bac in ɖ dînñrūm. Ɖe sat dǎn, vri śeci, n lct at ć uɖr.

“I d’nt fīl I cn setl t enʈñ,” sd Joẓfīn, “untl I’v hd smʈñ. D y ʈnc w cd asc Cet fr tū cups v hot wōtr?”

“I riyli d’nt si ẃ w śd’nt,” sd Cnstanśa cerf̣li. Ś wz qt norml agn. “I w’nt rñ. I’l g t ɖ cićndor n asc hr.”

“Yes, d,” sd Joẓfīn, sncñ dǎn intu a ćer. “Tel hr, jst tū cups, Cón, nʈñ els—on a tre.”

“Ś nīd’nt īvn pt ɖ jug on, nīd ś?” sd Cnstanśa, az ɖo Cet mt vri wel cmplen f ɖ jug hd bn ɖr.

“Ǒ no, srtnli nt! Ɖ jug’z nt at ol nesṣri. Ś cn por it d’rect ǎt v ɖ cetl,” craid Joẓfīn, fīlñ ɖt wd b a lebr-sevñ indd.

Ɖer cold lips qivrd at ɖ grīniś brimz. Joẓfīn crvd hr smōl red handz rnd ɖ cup; Cnstanśa sat p n blù on ɖ wevi stīm, mcñ it flutr fṛm wn sîd t ɖ uɖr.

“Spīcñ v Beni,” sd Joẓfīn.

N ɖo Beni hd’nt bn mnśnd Cnstanśa imīɉtli lct az ɖo h hd.

“H’l xpct s t snd him smʈñ v faɖr’z, v cors. Bt it’s so dificlt t nǒ ẃt t snd t S’lón.”

“Y mīn ʈñz gt unstuc so on ɖ vôij,” mrmrd Cnstanśa.

“No, lost,” sd Joẓfīn śarpli. “Y nǒ ɖr’z no post. Onli runrz.”

Bʈ pōzd t woć a blac man in ẃît linn drorz runñ ʈru ɖ pel fīldz fr dir lîf, wɖ a larj brǎn-pepr parsl in hiz handz. Joẓfīn’z blac man wz tîni; h scurid alñ gliṣnñ lîc an ant. Bt ɖr wz smʈñ blînd n tîrlis abt Cnstanśa’z tōl, ʈin felo, ẃć md him, ś dsîdd, a vri unpleznt prsn indd… On ɖ vranda, drest ol in ẃît n wẹrñ a corc helmit, std Beni. Hiz rît hand śc p n dǎn, az faɖr’z dd ẃn h wz impeśnt. N bhnd him, nt in ɖ līst inṭrestd, sat Hilda, ɖ uņoun sistr-in-lw. Ś swuñ in a cen rocr n flict ovr ɖ līvz v ɖ Tatlr.

“I ʈnc hiz woć wd b ɖ most sūṭbl preznt,” sd Joẓfīn.

Cnstanśa lct p; ś sīmd s’prîzd.

“Ǒ, wd y trust a gold woć t a netiv?”

“Bt v cors, I’d dsgîz it,” sd Joẓfīn. “Nwn wd nǒ it wz a woć.” Ś lîct ɖ îdīa v hvñ t mc a parsl sć a krịs śep ɖt nwn cd poṣbli ges ẃt it wz. Ś īvn ʈt fr a momnt v hîdñ ɖ woć in a naro cardbōrd corsitbox ɖt ś’d cept bî hr fr a loñ tîm, wêtñ fr it t cm in fr smʈñ. It wz sć bytifl, frm cardbōrd. Bt, no, it wd’nt b aproprịt fr ɖs oceẓ́n. It hd leṭrñ on it: Mīdịm Wimin’z 28. Xtra Frm Buscs. It wd b olmst tù mć v a s’prîz fr Beni t opn ɖt n fînd faɖr’z woć insd.

“N v cors it z’nt az ɖo it wd b gwñ—ticñ, I mīn,” sd Cnstanśa, hu wz stl ʈncñ v ɖ netiv luv v juwlri. “At līst,” ś add, “it wd b vri strenj f aftr ol ɖt tîm it wz.”

___

VIII

Joẓfīn md no rplî. Ś hd floun of on wn v hr tanjnts. Ś hd sudnli ʈt v Siril. Wz’nt it mor yẓ́l fr ɖ onli gransun t hv ɖ woć? N ɖen dir Siril wz so aprīṣ́tiv, n a gold woć mnt so mć t a yuñ man. Beni, in ol probbiḷti, hd qt got ǎt v ɖ habit v woćz; men so sldm wòr weistcots in ɖoz hot clîṃts. Ẃr-az Siril in Lundn wòr ɖm fṛm yir’z end t yir’z end. N it wd b so nîs fr hr n Cnstanśa, ẃn h cem t ti, t nǒ it wz ɖr. “I si y’v got on granfaɖr’z woć, Siril.” It wd b smhǎ so saṭsfactri.

Dir bô! Ẃt a blo hiz swīt, simṗʈetic litl not hd bn! V cors ɖe qt unḍstd; bt it wz most unforćṇt.

“It wd hv bn sć a pônt, hvñ him,” sd Joẓfīn.

“N h wd hv injoid it so,” sd Cnstanśa, nt ʈncñ ẃt ś wz seyñ.

Hvr, az sn az h got bac h wz cmñ t ti wɖ hiz āntiz. Siril t ti wz wn v ɖer rer trīts.

“Nǎ, Siril, y ms’nt b frîtnd v ǎr cecs. Yr Ānti Cón n I bòt ɖm at Buẓd’z ɖs mornñ. W nǒ ẃt a man’z aṗtît z. So d’nt b aśemd v mcñ a gd ti.”

Joẓfīn cut reclisli intu ɖ rić darc cec ɖt std fr hr wintrgluvz or ɖ soling n hìlñ v Cnstanśa’z onli rspctbl śuz. Bt Siril wz most unmanlîc in aṗtît.

“I se, Ānt Joẓfīn, I simpli c’nt. I’v onli jst hd lunć, y nǒ.”

“Ǒ, Siril, ɖt c’nt b tru! It’s aftr for,” craid Joẓfīn. Cnstanśa sat wɖ hr nîf pôzd ovr ɖ ćocḷtrol.

“It z, ol ɖ sem,” sd Siril. “I hd t mīt a man at Victoria, n h cept m haññ abt tl… ɖr wz onli tîm t gt lunć n t cm on hir. N h gev m—fȳ”—Siril pt hiz hand t hiz fōrhed—“a t’rific blo-ǎt,” h sd.

It wz dis’pôntñ—tde v ol dez. Bt stl h cd’nt b xpctd t nǒ.

“Bt y’l hv a mrañ, w’nt y, Siril?” sd Ānt Joẓfīn. “Ɖz mrañz wr bòt speśli fr y. Yr dir faɖr wz so fond v ɖm. W wr śr y r, tù.”

“I am, Ānt Joẓfīn,” craid Siril ardntli. “D y mînd f I tec haf t bgin wɖ?”

“Nt at ol, dir bô; bt w ms’nt let y of wɖ ɖt.”

“Z yr dir faɖr stl so fond v mrañz?” asct Ānti Cón jntli. Ś winst fentli az ś brouc ʈru ɖ śel v hrz.

“Wel, I d’nt qt nǒ, Ānti Cón,” sd Siril brīẓli.

At ɖt ɖe bʈ lct p.

“D’nt nǒ?” olmst snapt Joẓfīn. “D’nt nǒ a ʈñ lîc ɖt abt yr ǒn faɖr, Siril?”

“Śrli,” sd Ānti Cón softli.

Siril traid t laf it of. “Ǒ, wel,” h sd, “it’s sć a loñ tîm sins—” H fōltrd. H stopt. Ɖer fesz wr tù mć fr him.

“Īvn so,” sd Joẓfīn.

N Ānti Cón lct.

Siril pt dǎn hiz tīcup. “Wêt a bit,” h craid. “Wêt a bit, Ānt Joẓfīn. Ẃt am I ʈncñ v?”

H lct p. Ɖe wr bginñ t brîtn. Siril slapt hiz ni.

“V cors,” h sd, “it wz mrañz. Hǎ cd I hv fgotn? Yes, Ānt Joẓfīn, y’r prf̣cli rît. Faɖr’z most frîtf̣li cīn on mrañz.”

Ɖe dd’nt onli bīm. Ānt Joẓfīn wnt scarlit wɖ pleẓ́r; Ānti Cón gev a dīp, dīp sai.

“N nǎ, Siril, y mst cm n si faɖr,” sd Joẓfīn. “H nz y wr cmñ tde.”

“Rît,” sd Siril, vri frmli n harṭli. H got p fṛm hiz ćer; sudnli h glanst at ɖ cloc.

“I se, Ānti Cón, z’nt yr cloc a bit slo? I’v got t mīt a man at—at Padñtn jst aftr fîv. I’m afreid I ś’nt b ebl t ste vri loñ wɖ granfaɖr.”

“Ǒ, h w’nt xpct y t ste vri loñ!” sd Ānt Joẓfīn.

Cnstanśa wz stl gezñ at ɖ cloc. Ś cd’nt mc p hr mînd f it wz fast or slo. It wz wn or ɖ uɖr, ś flt olmst srtn v ɖt. At eni ret, it hd bn.

Siril stl lingrd. “R’nt y cmñ alñ, Ānti Cón?”

“V cors,” sd Joẓfīn, “w śl ol g. Cm on, Cón.”

___

IX

Ɖe noct at ɖ dor, n Siril foloud hiz ānts intu granfaɖr’z hot, swītiś rūm.

“Cm on,” sd Granfaɖr Pinr. “D’nt hañ abt. Ẃt z it? Ẃt’v y bn p t?”

H wz sitñ in frunt v a rorñ fîr, claspñ hiz stic. H hd a ʈic rug ovr hiz niz. On hiz lap ɖr le a bytifl pel yelo silc hanc̣ćif.

“It’s Siril, faɖr,” sd Joẓfīn śîli. N ś tc Siril’z hand n léd him fwd.

“Gd afṭnun, granfaɖr,” sd Siril, trayñ t tec hiz hand ǎt v Ānt Joẓfīn’z. Granfaɖr Pinr śot hiz îz at Siril in ɖ we h wz feṃs fr. Ẃr wz Ānti Cón? Ś std on ɖ uɖr sîd v Ānt Joẓfīn; hr loñ armz huñ dǎn in frunt v hr; hr handz wr claspt. Ś nvr tc hr îz of granfaɖr.

“Wel,” sd Granfaɖr Pinr, bginñ t ʈump, “ẃt hv y got t tel m?”

Ẃt hd h, ẃt hd h got t tel him? Siril flt himslf smîlñ lîc a prfict imḅsil. Ɖ rūm wz stîf̣lñ, tù.

Bt Ānt Joẓfīn cem t hiz resk. Ś craid brîtli, “Siril sz hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz, faɖr dir.”

“Ê?” sd Granfaɖr Pinr, crvñ hiz hand lîc a prpl mrañśel ovr wn ir.

Joẓfīn rpitd, “Siril sz hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

“C’nt hír,” sd old Crnl Pinr. N h wevd Joẓfīn awe wɖ hiz stic, ɖen pôntd wɖ hiz stic t Siril. “Tel m ẃt Ś’z trayñ t se,” h sd.

(Mî God!) “Mst I?” sd Siril, bluśñ n stẹrñ at Ānt Joẓfīn.

“D, dir,” ś smîld. “It wl plīz him so mć.”

“Cm on, ǎt wɖ it!” craid Crnl Pinr tsṭli, bginñ t ʈump agn.

N Siril līnd fwd n yeld, “Faɖr’z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

At ɖt Granfaɖr Pinr jumt az ɖo h hd bn śot.

“D’nt śǎt!” h craid. “Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ ɖ bô? Mrañz! Ẃt abt ’m?”

“Ǒ, Ānt Joẓfīn, mst w g on?” grond Siril despṛtli.

“It’s qt ol rît, dir bô,” sd Ānt Joẓfīn, az ɖo h n ś wr at ɖ dntist’s tgɖr. “H’l unḍstand in a minit.” N ś ẃisprd t Siril, “H’z gtñ a bit def, y nǒ.” Ɖen ś līnd fwd n riyli bȍld at Granfaɖr Pinr, “Siril onli wontd t tel y, faɖr dir, ɖt hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

Crnl Pinr hŕd ɖt tîm, hŕd n brūdd, lcñ Siril p n dǎn.

“Ẃt an estrordnri ʈñ!” sd old Granfaɖr Pinr. “Ẃt an estrordnri ʈñ t cm ol ɖs we hir t tel m!”

N Siril flt it wz.

“Yes, I śl snd Siril ɖ woć,” sd Joẓfīn.

“Ɖt wd b vri nîs,” sd Cnstanśa. “I sīm t rmembr last tîm h cem ɖr wz sm litl trubl abt ɖ tîm.”

___

X

Ɖe wr inṭruptd bî Cet brstñ ʈru ɖ dor in hr yẓ́l faśn, az ɖo ś hd dscuvrd sm sīcrit panl in ɖ wōl.

“Fraid or bôld?” asct ɖ bold vôs.

Fraid or bôld? Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa wr qt bwildrd fr ɖ momnt. Ɖe cd hardli tec it in.

“Fraid or bôld ẃt, Cet?” asct Joẓfīn, trayñ t bgin t consntret.

Cet gev a lǎd snif. “Fiś.”

“Wel, ẃ dd’nt y se so imīɉtli?” Joẓfīn rproćt hr jntli. “Hǎ cd y xpct s t unḍstand, Cet? Ɖr r a gret mni ʈñz in ɖs wrld y nǒ, ẃć r fraid or bôld.” N aftr sć a dsple v curij ś sd qt brîtli t Cnstanśa, “Ẃć d y prifŕ, Cón?”

“I ʈnc it mt b nîs t hv it fraid,” sd Cnstanśa. “On ɖ uɖr hand, v cors, bôld fiś z vri nîs. I ʈnc I prifŕ bʈ īqli wel… Unls y… In ɖt ces—”

“I śl frî it,” sd Cet, n ś bǎnst bac, līvñ ɖer dor opn n slamñ ɖ dor v hr cićn.

Joẓfīn gezd at Cnstanśa; ś rezd hr pel îbrǎz untl ɖe ripld awe intu hr pel her. Ś got p. Ś sd in a vri lofti, impozñ we, “D y mînd folowñ m intu ɖ drw̃rūm, Cnstanśa? I’v got smʈñ v gret importns t dscus wɖ y.”

Fr it wz olwz t ɖ drw̃rūm ɖe rtîrd ẃn ɖe wontd t tōc ovr Cet.

Joẓfīn clozd ɖ dor mīnñli. “Sit dǎn, Cnstanśa,” ś sd, stl vri grand. Ś mt hv bn rsivñ Cnstanśa fr ɖ frst tîm. N Cón lct rnd vegli fr a ćer, az ɖo ś flt indd qt a strenjr.

“Nǎ ɖ qsćn z,” sd Joẓfīn, bndñ fwd, “ẃɖr w śl cīp hr or nt.”

“Ɖt z ɖ qsćn,” agrìd Cnstanśa.

“N ɖs tîm,” sd Joẓfīn frmli, “w mst cm t a defiṇt dsiẓ́n.”

Cnstanśa lct fr a momnt az ɖo ś mt bgin gwñ ovr ol ɖ uɖr tîmz, bt ś pld hrslf tgɖr n sd, “Yes, Jug.”

“Y si, Cón,” xplend Joẓfīn, “evrʈñ z so ćenjd nǎ.” Cnstanśa lct p qcli. “I mīn,” wnt on Joẓfīn, “w’r nt dpndnt on Cet az w wr.” N ś bluśt fentli. “Ɖr’z nt faɖr t cc fr.”

“Ɖt z prf̣cli tru,” agrìd Cnstanśa. “Faɖr srtnli dz’nt wont eni ccñ nǎ, ẃtvr els—”

Joẓfīn brouc in śarpli, “Y’r nt slīpi, r y, Cón?”

“Slīpi, Jug?” Cnstanśa wz wîd-aid.

“Wel, consntret mor,” sd Joẓfīn śarpli, n ś rtrnd t ɖ subjict. “Ẃt it cmz t z, f w dd”—n ɖs ś bérli briɖd, glansñ at ɖ dor—“gv Cet notis”—ś rezd hr vôs agn—“w cd manij ǎr ǒn fūd.”

“Ẃ nt?” craid Cnstanśa. Ś cd’nt hlp smîlñ. Ɖ îdīa wz so xîtñ. Ś claspt hr handz. “Ẃt śd w liv on, Jug?”

“Ǒ, egz in verịs formz!” sd Jug, lofti agn. “N, bsdz, ɖr r ol ɖ cct fūdz.”

“Bt I’v olwz hŕd,” sd Cnstanśa, “ɖe r cnsidrd so vri xpnsiv.”

“Nt f wn baiz ɖm in moḍreśn,” sd Joẓfīn. Bt ś tòr hrslf awe fṛm ɖs faṣnetñ bîpaʈ n dragd Cnstanśa aftr hr.

“Ẃt w’v got t dsîd nǎ, hvr, z ẃɖr w riyli d trust Cet or nt.”

Cnstanśa līnd bac. Hr flat litl laf flù fṛm hr lips.

“Z’nt it krịs, Jug,” sd ś, “ɖt jst on ɖs wn subjict I’v nvr bn ebl t qt mc p mî mînd?”

___

XI

Ś  nvr hd. Ɖ hol dificlti wz t pruv enʈñ. Hǎ dd wn pruv ʈñz, hǎ cd wn? S’poz Cet hd std in frunt v hr n dlibṛtli md a fes. Mt’nt ś vri wel hv bn in pen? Wz’nt it imposbl, at eni ret, t asc Cet f ś wz mcñ a fes at hr? F Cet ansrd “No”—n, v cors, ś wd se “No”—ẃt a pziśn! Hǎ undigṇfaid! Ɖen agn Cnstanśa sspctd, ś wz olmst srtn ɖt Cet wnt t hr ćst v drorz ẃn ś n Joẓfīn wr ǎt, nt t tec ʈñz bt t spî. Mni tîmz ś hd cm bac t fînd hr aṃʈist cros in ɖ most unlîcli plesz, undr hr lês tîz or on top v hr īvnñ Brʈa. Mor ɖn wns ś hd leid a trap fr Cet. Ś hd arenjd ʈñz in a speśl ordr n ɖen cōld Joẓfīn t witnis.

“Y si, Jug?”

“Qt, Cón.”

“Nǎ w śl b ebl t tel.”

Bt, ǒ dir, ẃn ś dd g t lc, ś wz az far of fṛm a prūf az evr! F enʈñ wz dsplest, it mt so vri wel hv hapnd az ś clozd ɖ dror; a jolt mt hv dn it so īẓli.

“Y cm, Jug, n dsîd. I riyli c’nt. It’s tù dificlt.”

Bt aftr a pōz n a loñ gler Joẓfīn wd sai, “Nǎ y’v pt ɖ dǎt intu mî mînd, Cón, I’m śr I c’nt tel mslf.”

“Wel, w c’nt pspon it agn,” sd Joẓfīn. “F w pspon it ɖs tîm—”

___

XII

Bt at ɖt momnt in ɖ strīt b’lo a baṛl-orgn struc p. Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa sprañ t ɖer fīt tgɖr.

“Run, Cón,” sd Joẓfīn. “Run qcli. Ɖr’z sixpns on ɖ—”

Ɖen ɖe rmembrd. It dd’nt matr. Ɖe wd nvr hv t stop ɖ orgngrîndr agn. Nvr agn wd ś n Cnstanśa b tld t mc ɖt munci tec hiz nôz smẃr els. Nvr wd sǎnd ɖt lǎd, strenj belo ẃn faɖr ʈt ɖe wr nt huriyñ inuf. Ɖ orgngrîndr mt ple ɖr ol de n ɖ stic wd nt ʈump.

It nvr wl ʈump agn,

It nvr wl ʈump agn,

pleid ɖ baṛl-orgn.

Ẃt wz Cnstanśa ʈncñ? Ś hd sć a strenj smîl; ś lct difṛnt. Ś cd’nt b gwñ t crî.

“Jug, Jug,” sd Cnstanśa softli, presñ hr handz tgɖr. “D y nǒ ẃt de it z? It’s Saṭde. It’s a wīc tde, a hol wīc.”

A wīc sins faɖr daid,

A wīc sins faɖr daid,

craid ɖ baṛl-orgn. N Joẓfīn, tù, fgot t b practicl n snṣbl; ś smîld fentli, strenjli. On ɖ Indịn carpit ɖr fél a sqer v súnlît, pel red; it cem n wnt n cem—n steid, dīpnd—untl it śon olmst goldn.

“Ɖ sún’z ǎt,” sd Joẓfīn, az ɖo it riyli matrd.

A prfict fǎntn v buḅlñ nots śc fṛm ɖ baṛl-orgn, rǎnd, brît nots, cerlisli scatrd.

Cnstanśa liftd hr big, cold handz az f t cać ɖm, n ɖen hr handz fél agn. Ś wōct ovr t ɖ mantlpìs t hr feṿrit Bda. N ɖ ston n gílt imij, huz smîl olwz gev hr sć a qir fīlñ, olmst a pen n yt a pleznt pen, sīmd tde t b mor ɖn smîlñ. H ń smʈñ; h hd a sīcrit. “I nǒ smʈñ ɖt y d’nt nǒ,” sd hr Bda. Ǒ, ẃt wz it, ẃt cd it b? N yt ś hd olwz flt ɖr wz… smʈñ.

Ɖ súnlît prest ʈru ɖ windoz, ʈīvd its we in, flaśt its lît ovr ɖ frnićr n ɖ foṭgrafs. Joẓfīn woćt it. Ẃn it cem t muɖr’z foṭgraf, ɖ inlarjmnt ovr ɖ piano, it lingrd az ɖo puzld t fînd so litl rmend v muɖr, xpt ɖ irñz śept lîc tîni pgodaz n a blac feɖr boa. Ẃ dd ɖ foṭgrafs v ded ppl olwz fed so? wundrd Joẓfīn. Az sn az a prsn wz ded ɖer foṭgraf daid tù. Bt, v cors, ɖs wn v muɖr wz vri old. It wz ʈrti-fîv yirz old. Joẓfīn rmembrd standñ on a ćer n pôntñ ǎt ɖt feɖr boa t Cnstanśa n telñ hr ɖt it wz a snec ɖt hd cild ɖer muɖr in S’lón… Wd evrʈñ hv bn difṛnt f muɖr hd’nt daid? Ś dd’nt si ẃ. Ānt Floṛns hd livd wɖ ɖm untl ɖe hd left scūl, n ɖe hd muvd ʈri tîmz n hd ɖer yirli hoḷde n… n ɖr’d bn ćenjz v srvnts, v cors.

Sm litl sparoz, yuñ sparoz ɖe sǎndd, ćrpt on ɖ windolej. Yīp—iyīp—yīp. Bt Joẓfīn flt ɖe wr nt sparoz, nt on ɖ windolej. It wz insd hr, ɖt qir litl crayñ nôz. Yīp—iyīp—yīp. Ā, ẃt wz it crayñ, so wìc n f’lorn?

F muɖr hd livd, mt ɖe hv marid? Bt ɖr hd bn nbdi fr ɖm t mari. Ɖr hd bn faɖr’z Anglo-Indịn frendz bfr h qoṛld wɖ ɖm. Bt aftr ɖt ś n Cnstanśa nvr met a sngl man xpt clrjiṃn. Hǎ dd wn mīt men? Or īvn f ɖ’d met ɖm, hǎ cd ɖe hv got t nǒ men wel inuf t b mor ɖn strenjrz? Wn réd v ppl hvñ advnćrz, biyñ foloud, n so on. Bt nbdi hd evr foloud Cnstanśa n hr. Ǒ yes, ɖr hd bn wn yir at Īstbōrn a mstirịs man at ɖer bōrdñhǎs hu hd pt a not on ɖ jug v hot wōtr ǎtsd ɖer bedrūm dor! Bt bî ɖ tîm Cóni hd faund it ɖ stīm hd md ɖ raitñ tù fent t rīd; ɖe cd’nt īvn mc ǎt t ẃć v ɖm it wz adrest. N h hd left nxt de. N ɖt wz ol. Ɖ rest hd bn lcñ aftr faɖr, n at ɖ sem tîm cīpñ ǎt v faɖr’z we. Bt nǎ? Bt nǎ? Ɖ ʈīvñ sún tućt Joẓfīn jntli. Ś liftd hr fes. Ś wz drwn ovr t ɖ windo bî jntl bīmz…

Untl ɖ baṛl-orgn stopt pleyñ Cnstanśa steid bfr ɖ Bda, wunḍrñ, bt nt az yẓ́l, nt vegli. Ɖs tîm hr wundr wz lîc loññ. Ś rmembrd ɖ tîmz ś hd cm in hir, crept ǎt v bed in hr nîtgǎn ẃn ɖ mūn wz fl, n lein on ɖ flor wɖ hr armz ǎtstrećt, az ɖo ś wz crūṣfaid. Ẃ? Ɖ big, pel mūn hd md hr d it. Ɖ hoṛbl dansñ figrz on ɖ carvd scrīn hd lird at hr n ś hd’nt mîndd. Ś rmembrd tù hǎ, ẃnvr ɖe wr at ɖ sìsîd, ś hd gn of bî hrslf n got az clos t ɖ sì az ś cd, n suñ smʈñ, smʈñ ś hd md p, ẃl ś gezd ol ovr ɖt restlis wōtr. Ɖr hd bn ɖs uɖr lîf, runñ ǎt, brññ ʈñz hom in bagz, gtñ ʈñz on apruvl, dscusñ ɖm wɖ Jug, n tecñ ɖm bac t gt mor ʈñz on apruvl, n arenjñ faɖr’z trez n trayñ nt t anô faɖr. Bt it ol sīmd t hv hapnd in a cnd v tunl. It wz’nt riyl. It wz onli ẃn ś cem ǎt v ɖ tunl intu ɖ mūnlît or bî ɖ sì or intu a ʈundrstorm ɖt ś riyli flt hrslf. Ẃt dd it mīn? Ẃt wz it ś wz olwz wontñ? Ẃt dd it ol līd t? Nǎ? Nǎ?

Ś trnd awe fṛm ɖ Bda wɖ wn v hr veg jsćrz. Ś wnt ovr t ẃr Joẓfīn wz standñ. Ś wontd t se smʈñ t Joẓfīn, smʈñ frîtf̣li importnt, abt—abt ɖ fyćr n ẃt…

“D’nt y ʈnc phps—” ś bgan.

Bt Joẓfīn inṭruptd hr. “I wz wunḍrñ f nǎ—” ś mrmrd. Ɖe stopt; ɖe wêtd fr ć uɖr.

“G on, Cón,” sd Joẓfīn.

“No, no, Jug; aftr y,” sd Cnstanśa.

“No, se ẃt y wr gwñ t se. Y bgan,” sd Joẓfīn.

“I… I’d rɖr hír ẃt y wr gwñ t se frst,” sd Cnstanśa.

“D’nt b absrd, Cón.”

“Riyli, Jug.”

“Cóni!”

“Ǒ, Jug!”

A pōz. Ɖen Cnstanśa sd fentli, “I c’nt se ẃt I wz gwñ t se, Jug, bcz I’v fgotn ẃt it wz… ɖt I wz gwñ t se.”

Joẓfīn wz sîḷnt fr a momnt. Ś stérd at a big clǎd ẃr ɖ sún hd bn. Ɖen ś rplaid śortli, “I’v fgotn tù.”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH, by Charles Dickens

ĆRPS

IIIIII

PDF

ĆRP Ɖ FRST

Ɖ  cetl bgan it! D’nt tel m ẃt Msz. Pīribngl sd. I nǒ betr. Msz. Pīribngl me līv it on record t ɖ end v tîm ɖt ś cd’nt se ẃć v ɖm bgan it; bt I se ɖ cetl dd. I òt t nǒ, I hop? Ɖ cetl bgan it, fl fîv minits bî ɖ litl waxi-fest Duć cloc in ɖ cornr, bfr ɖ Cricit utrd a ćrp.

Az f ɖ cloc hd’nt finiśt strîcñ, n ɖ cnvulsiv litl He-mcr at ɖ top v it, jrcñ awe rît n left wɖ a sîɖ in frunt v a Mūriś Palis, hd’nt moud dǎn haf an ecr v imajinri gras bfr ɖ Cricit jônd in at ol!

Ẃ, I am nt naćṛli poẓtiv. Evrwn nz ɖt I wd’nt set mî ǒn opińn agnst ɖ opińn v Msz. Pīribngl, unls I wr qt śr, on eni acǎnt ẃtvr. Nʈñ śd indys m. Bt, ɖs z a qsćn v fact. N ɖ fact z, ɖt ɖ cetl bgan it at līst fîv minits bfr ɖ Cricit gev eni sîn v biyñ in xistns. Contṛdict m, n I’l se ten.

Let m nret xacli hǎ it hapnd. I śd hv pṛsidd t d so, in mî vri frst wrd, bt fr ɖs plen cnsiḍreśn—f I am t tel a stori I mst bgin at ɖ bginñ; n hǎ z it poṣbl t bgin at ɖ bginñ wɖt bginñ at ɖ cetl?

It apird az f ɖr wr a sort v mać, or trîl v scil, y mst unḍstand, btwn ɖ cetl n ɖ Cricit. N ɖs z ẃt léd t it, n hǎ it cem abt.

Msz. Pīribngl, gwñ ǎt intu ɖ rw twîlît, n clicñ ovr ɖ wet stonz in a per v pátnz ɖt wrct ińmṛbl ruf impreśnz v ɖ frst propziśn in Yclid ol abt ɖ yard—Msz. Pīribngl fild ɖ cetl at ɖ wōtrbut. Prezntli rtrnñ, les ɖ pátnz (n a gd dīl les, fr ɖe wr tōl, n Msz. Pīribngl wz bt śort), ś set ɖ cetl on ɖ fîr. In dwñ ẃć ś lost hr tmpr, or msleid it fr an instnt; fr, ɖ wōtr biyñ uncumftbli cold, n in ɖt slipi, sluśi, slīti sort v stet ẃr-in it sīmz t peṇtret ʈru evri cnd v substns, pátnrñz includd—hd leid hold v Msz. Pīribngl’z toz, n īvn splaśt hr legz. N ẃn w rɖr plūm ǎrslvz (wɖ rīzn tù) upn ǎr legz, n cīp ǎrslvz ptiklrli nīt in pônt v stocñz, w fînd ɖs, fr ɖ momnt, hard t ber.

Bsdz, ɖ cetl wz agṛvetñ n obstiṇt. It wd’nt alǎ itslf t b ajustd on ɖ top bar; it wd’nt hír v acoṃdetñ itslf cîndli t ɖ nóbz v col; it wd līn fwd wɖ a druncn er, n dribl, a vri Idịt v a cetl, on ɖ harʈ. It wz qoṛlsm, n hist n splutrd mrosli at ɖ fîr. T sum p ol, ɖ lid, rzistñ Msz. Pīribngl’z fngrz, frst v ol trnd topsi-trvi, n ɖen, wɖ an injīńs prṭnaṣti dzrvñ v a betr cōz, dîvd sîdwez in—dǎn t ɖ vri botm v ɖ cetl. N ɖ hul v ɖ Royl Jorj hz nvr md haf ɖ monstṛs rzistns t cmñ ǎt v ɖ wōtr ẃć ɖ lid v ɖt cetl imploid agnst Msz. Pīribngl bfr ś got it p agn.

It lct suḷn n pig-hedd inuf, īvn ɖen; cariyñ its handl wɖ an er v dfayns, n cocñ its spǎt prtli n mocñli at Msz. Pīribngl, az f it sd, “I w’nt bôl. Nʈñ śl indys m!”

Bt, Msz. Pīribngl, wɖ rstord gd-hymr, dustd hr ćubi litl handz agnst ć uɖr, n sat dǎn bfr ɖ cetl lafñ. Mntm, ɖ joli blêz uprouz n fél, flaśñ n glīmñ on ɖ litl He-mcr at ɖ top v ɖ Duć cloc, untl wn mt hv ʈt h std stoc-stil bfr ɖ Mūriś Palis, n nʈñ wz in mośn bt ɖ flem.

H wz on ɖ muv, hvr; n hd hiz spazmz, tū t ɖ secnd, ol rît n reğlr. Bt hiz suf̣rñz ẃn ɖ cloc wz gwñ t strîc wr frîtfl t bhold; n ẃn a Ccu lct ǎt v a trapdor in ɖ Palis, n gev not six tîmz, it śc him, ć tîm, lîc a spectṛl vôs—or lîc a smʈñ wîri plucñ at hiz legz.

It wz nt untl a vayḷnt cmośn n a ẃŕñ nôz amñ ɖ weits n rops b’lo him hd qt sbsîdd ɖt ɖs teṛfaid He-mcr bcem himslf agn. Nr wz h startld wɖt rīzn; fr ɖz raṭlñ, boni scelitnz v clocs r vri discnsrtñ in ɖer oṗreśn, n I wundr vri mć hǎ eni set v men, bt most v ol hǎ Dućṃn, cn hv hd a lîcñ t invnt ɖm. Ɖr z a popylr b’lif ɖt Dućṃn luv brōd cesz n mć cloɖñ fr ɖer ǒn lowr slvz; n ɖe mt nǒ betr ɖn t līv ɖer clocs so vri lanc n unpṛtctd, śrli.

Nǎ it wz, y obzrv, ɖt ɖ cetl bgan t spend ɖ īvnñ. Nǎ it wz ɖt ɖ cetl, growñ melo n ḿzicl, bgan t hv iripresbl grġlñz in its ʈrot, n t indulj in śort vocl snorts, ẃć it ćect in ɖ bud, az f it hd’nt qt md p its mînd yt t b gd cumṗni. Nǎ it wz ɖt aftr tū or ʈri sć ven atmts t stîfl its cnvivịl sntimnts, it ʈrù of ol mrosnis, ol rzrv, n brst intu a strīm v soñ so cozi n hlerịs az nvr mōdlin nîtngel yt formd ɖ līst îdīa v.

So plen, tù! Bles y, y mt hv unḍstd it lîc a bc—betr ɖn sm bcs y n I cd nem, phps. Wɖ its worm breʈ guśñ fʈ in a lît clǎd ẃć meṛli n gresf̣li asndd a fy fīt, ɖen huñ abt ɖ ćimnicornr az its ǒn dmestic Hevn, it trold its soñ wɖ ɖt stroñ eṇji v ćirflnis, ɖt its ayn bodi humd n strd upn ɖ fîr; n ɖ lid itslf, ɖ rīsntli rbełs lid—sć z ɖ inflụns v a brît xampl—pformd a sort v jig, n clatrd lîc a def n dum yuñ símbl ɖt hd nvr noun ɖ ys v its twin bruɖr.

Ɖt ɖs soñ v ɖ cetl’z wz a soñ v invteśn n welcm t smbdi ǎt v dorz: t smbdi at ɖt momnt cmñ on twdz ɖ snug smōl hom n ɖ crisp fîr: ɖr z no dǎt ẃtvr. Msz. Pīribngl ń it prf̣cli, az ś sat ḿzñ bfr ɖ harʈ. It’s a darc nît, sañ ɖ cetl, n ɖ rotn līvz r layñ bî ɖ we; n, abv, ol z mist n darcnis, n, b’lo, ol z mîr n cle; n ɖr’z onli wn rlif in ol ɖ sad n mrci er; n I d’nt nǒ ɖt it z wn, fr it’s nʈñ bt a gler; v dīp n angri crimzn, ẃr ɖ sún n wind tgɖr; set a brand upn ɖ clǎdz fr biyñ gilti v sć weɖr; n ɖ wîdist opn cuntri z a loñ dul strīc v blac; n ɖr’z hōrfrost on ɖ fngrpost, n ʈw upn ɖ trac; n ɖ îs it z’nt wōtr, n ɖ wōtr z’nt fri; n y cd’nt se ɖt enʈñ z ẃt it òt t b; bt h’z cmñ, cmñ, cmñ!—

N hir, f y lîc, ɖ Cricit DD ćîm in! wɖ a Ćiṛp, Ćiṛp, Ćiṛp v sć magṇtyd, bî we v cōṛs; wɖ a vôs so astǎndñli dispṛporśṇt t its sîz, az cmperd wɖ ɖ cetl; (sîz! y cd’nt si it!) ɖt, f it hd ɖen n ɖr brst itslf lîc an oṿćarjd gun, f it hd fōḷn a victim on ɖ spot, n ćiṛpt its litl bodi intu fifti pìsz, it wd hv sīmd a naćṛl n inevitbl consiqns, fr ẃć it hd xpresli lebrd.

Ɖ cetl hd hd ɖ last v its solo pformns. It prṣvird wɖ undiminiśt ardr; bt ɖ Cricit tc frst fidl, n cept it. Gd Hevn, hǎ it ćrpt! Its śril, śarp, pirsñ vôs rzǎndd ʈru ɖ hǎs, n sīmd t twncl in ɖ ǎtr darcnis lîc a star. Ɖr wz an indiscrîbbl litl tril n trembl in it at its lǎdist, ẃć sjstd its biyñ carid of its legz, n md t līp agn, bî its ǒn intns inʈyziazm. Yt ɖe wnt vri wel tgɖr, ɖ Cricit n ɖ cetl. Ɖ brdn v ɖ soñ wz stl ɖ sem; n lǎdr, lǎdr, lǎdr stl, ɖe sañ it in ɖer eḿleśn.

Ɖ fer litl lisnr—fr fer ś wz, n yuñ; ɖo smʈñ v ẃt z cōld ɖ dumplñ śep; bt I d’nt mslf objct t ɖt—lîtd a candl, glanst at ɖ He-mcr on ɖ top v ɖ cloc, hu wz gtñ in a priti aṿrij crop v minits; n lct ǎt v ɖ windo, ẃr ś sw nʈñ, owñ t ɖ darcnis, bt hr ǒn fes imijd in ɖ glas. N mî opińn z (n so wd yrz hv bn) ɖt ś mt hv lct a loñ we n sìn nʈñ haf so agriybl. Ẃn ś cem bac, n sat dǎn in hr formr sīt, ɖ Cricit n ɖ cetl wr stl cīpñ it p, wɖ a prfict fyri v comṗtiśn. Ɖ cetl’z wìc sîd clirli biyñ ɖt h dd’nt nǒ ẃn h wz bìt.

Ɖr wz ol ɖ xîtmnt v a rês abt it. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit a mîl ahd. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl mcñ ple in ɖ distns, lîc a gret top. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit rnd ɖ cornr. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl sticñ t him in hiz ǒn we; no îdīa v gvñ in. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit freśr ɖn evr. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl slo n stedi. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit gwñ in t finiś him. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl nt t b finiśt. Untl at last ɖe got so jumbld tgɖr, in ɖ huri-scuri, heltr-sceltr, v ɖ mać, ɖt ẃɖr ɖ cetl ćrpt n ɖ Cricit humd, or ɖ Cricit ćrpt n ɖ cetl humd, or ɖe bʈ ćrpt n bʈ humd, it wd hv tecn a clirr hed ɖn yrz or mîn t hv dsîdd wɖ enʈñ lîc srtnti. Bt v ɖs ɖr z no dǎt: ɖt, ɖ cetl n ɖ Cricit, at wn n ɖ sem momnt, n bî sm pǎr v amalġmeśn bst noun t ɖmslvz, snt, ć, hiz fîrsîd soñ v cumf̣t strīmñ intu a re v ɖ candl ɖt śon ǎt ʈru ɖ windo, n a loñ we dǎn ɖ len. N ɖs lît, brstñ on a srtn prsn hu, on ɖ instnt, aproćt twdz it ʈru ɖ glūm, xprest ɖ hol ʈñ t him, litṛli in a twnc̣lñ, n craid, “Welcm hom, old felo! Welcm hom, mî bô!”

Ɖs end atend, ɖ cetl, biyñ ded bìt, bôld ovr, n wz tecn of ɖ fîr. Msz. Pīribngl ɖen wnt runñ t ɖ dor, ẃr, ẃt wɖ ɖ ẃīlz v a cart, ɖ tramp v a hors, ɖ vôs v a man, ɖ tẹrñ in n ǎt v an xîtd dog, n ɖ s’prîzñ n mstirịs apiṛns v a bebi, ɖr wz sn ɖ vri Ẃt’s-hiz-nem t ple.

Ẃr ɖ bebi cem fṛm, or hǎ Msz. Pīribngl got hold v it in ɖt flaś v tîm, I d’nt nǒ. Bt a lîv bebi ɖr wz in Msz. Pīribngl’z armz; n a priti tolṛbl amǎnt v prîd ś sīmd t hv in it, ẃn ś wz drwn jntli t ɖ fîr, bî a strdi figr v a man, mć tōlr n mć oldr ɖn hrslf, hu hd t stūp a loñ we dǎn t cis hr. Bt ś wz wrʈ ɖ trubl. Six ft six, wɖ ɖ l’mbego, mt hv dn it.

“Ǒ gdnis, Jon!” sd Msz. P. “Ẃt a stet y’r in wɖ ɖ weɖr!”

H wz smʈñ ɖ wrs fr it undinaybli. Ɖ ʈic mist huñ in clots upn hiz îlaśz lîc candìd ʈw; n, btwn ɖ fog n fîr tgɖr, ɖr wr renboz in hiz vri ẃiscrz.

“Ẃ, y si, Dot,” Jon md ansr slǒli, az h unrold a śōl fṛm abt hiz ʈrot, n wormd hiz handz; “it—it an’t xacli sumrweɖr. So no wundr.”

“I wś y wd’nt cōl m Dot, Jon. I d’nt lîc it,” sd Msz. Pīribngl: pǎtñ in a we ɖt clirli śoud ś dd lîc it vri mć.

“Ẃ, ẃt els r y?” rtrnd Jon, lcñ dǎn upn hr wɖ a smîl, n gvñ hr weist az lît a sqīz az hiz hyj hand n arm cd gv. “A dot n”—hir h glanst at ɖ bebi—“a dot n cari—I w’nt se it, fr fir I śd spôl it; bt I wz vri nir a joc. I d’nt nǒ az evr I wz nirr.”

“A dot n cari—I w’nt se it, fr fir I śd spôl it; bt I wz vri nir a joc.”

H wz ofn nir t smʈñ or uɖr vri clevr, bî hiz ǒn acǎnt: ɖs lumḅrñ, slo, onist Jon; ɖs Jon so hevi, bt so lît v spirit; so ruf upn ɖ srfis, bt so jntl at ɖ cor; so dul wɖt, so qc wɖn; so stolid, bt so gd! Ǒ, Muɖr Nećr, gv ɖî ćildṛn ɖ tru powtri v hart ɖt hid itslf in ɖs pur Carịr’z brest—h wz bt a Carịr, bî ɖ we—n w cn ber t hv ɖm tōcñ prǒz, n līdñ livz v prǒz; n ber t bles ɖi fr ɖer cumṗni!

It wz pleznt t si Dot, wɖ hr litl figr n hr bebi in hr armz: a vri dol v a bebi: glansñ wɖ a ccétiś ʈtflnis at ɖ fîr, n inclînñ hr delic̣t litl hed jst inuf on wn sîd t let it rest in an od, haf-naćṛl, haf-afctd, hoļi neṣlñ n agriybl manr, on ɖ gret rugid figr v ɖ Carịr. It wz pleznt t si him, wɖ hiz tndr ōcẉdnis, indeṿrñ t adapt hiz rūd s’port t hr slît nīd, n mc hiz brli midl ej a līnñ-staf nt in’proprịt t hr blūmñ yʈ. It wz pleznt t obzrv hǎ Tili Slǒbô, wêtñ in ɖ bacgrǎnd fr ɖ bebi, tc speśl cogṇzns (ɖo in hr rliist tīnz) v ɖs grūpñ; n std wɖ hr mǎʈ n îz wîd opn, n hr hed ʈrust fwd, tecñ it in az f it wr er. Nr wz it les agriybl t obzrv hǎ Jon ɖ Carịr, refṛns biyñ md bî Dot t ɖ afōr-sd bebi, ćect hiz hand ẃn on ɖ pônt v tućñ ɖ inf̣nt, az f h ʈt h mt crac it; n, bndñ dǎn, sveid it fṛm a sef distns, wɖ a cnd v puzld prîd, sć az an emịbl mastif mt b s’pozd t śo f h faund himslf, wn de, ɖ faɖr v a yuñ cnẹri.

Tili Slǒbô

“An’t h bytifl, Jon? D’nt h lc preśs in hiz slīp?”

“Vri preśs,” sd Jon. “Vri mć so. H jenṛli z aslip, an’t h?”

“Lor, Jon! Gd greśs, no!”

“Ǒ!” sd Jon, ponḍrñ. “I ʈt hiz îz wz jenṛli śut. Hloa!”

“Gdnis, Jon, hǎ y startl wn!”

“It an’t rît fr him t trn ’m p in ɖt we,” sd ɖ astoniśt Carịr, “z it? Si hǎ h’z wncñ wɖ bʈ v ’m at wns! n lc at hiz mǎʈ! Ẃ, h’z gaspñ lîc a gold n silvr fiś!”

“Y d’nt dzrv t b a faɖr, y d’nt,” sd Dot, wɖ ol ɖ digṇti v an xpirịnst metṛn. “Bt hǎ śd y nǒ ẃt litl cmplents ćildṛn r trubld wɖ, Jon? Y wd’nt so mć az nǒ ɖer nemz, y stypid felo.” N ẃn ś hd trnd ɖ bebi ovr on hr left arm, n hd slapt its bac az a rstoṛtiv, ś pinćt hr huzbnd’z ir, lafñ.

“No,” sd Jon, pŭlñ of hiz ǎtr cot. “It’s vri tru, Dot. I d’nt nǒ mć abt it. I onli nǒ ɖt I’v bn fîtñ priti stifli wɖ ɖ wind tnît. It’s bn blowñ norʈ-īst, stret intu ɖ cart, ɖ hol we hom.”

“Pur old man, so it hz!” craid Msz. Pīribngl, instntli bcmñ vri activ. “Hir, tec ɖ preśs darlñ, Tili, ẃl I mc mslf v sm ys. Bles it, I cd smuɖr it wɖ cisñ it, I cd! Hái ɖen, gd dog! Hái, Boxr, bô! Onli let m mc ɖ ti frst, Jon; n ɖen I’l hlp y wɖ ɖ parslz, lîc a bizi bì. ‘Hǎ duʈ ɖ litl’—n ol ɖ rest v it, y nǒ, Jon. Dd y evr lrn ‘Hǎ duʈ ɖ litl,’ ẃn y wnt t scūl, Jon?”

“Nt t qt nǒ it,” Jon rtrnd. “I wz vri nir it wns. Bt I śd onli hv spôlt it, I der se.”

“Ha, ha!” laft Dot. Ś hd ɖ blîɖist litl laf y evr hŕd. “Ẃt a dir old darlñ v a duns y r, Jon, t b śr!”

Nt at ol dspytñ ɖs pziśn, Jon wnt ǎt t si ɖt ɖ bô wɖ ɖ lantn, ẃć hd bn dansñ t n fro bfr ɖ dor n windo, lîc a Wil v ɖ Wisp, tc dy cer v ɖ hors; hu wz fatr ɖn y wd qt b’liv, f I gev y hiz meźr, n so old ɖt hiz brʈde wz lost in ɖ mists v antiqti. Boxr, fīlñ ɖt hiz atnśnz wr dy t ɖ faṃli in jenṛl, n mst b imparṣ́li dstribytd, daśt in n ǎt wɖ bwilḍrñ inconstnsi; nǎ dscrîbñ a srcl v śort barcs rnd ɖ hors, ẃr h wz biyñ rubd dǎn at ɖ stebldor; nǎ fênñ t mc savij ruśz at hiz mistris, n fsīśsli brññ himslf t sudn stops; nǎ iliṣtñ a śrīc fṛm Tili Slǒbô, in ɖ lo nrsñćer nir ɖ fîr, bî ɖ unixpctd apḷceśn v hiz môst nǒz t hr cǎntinns; nǎ xibtñ an obtrūsiv inṭrest in ɖ bebi; nǎ gwñ rnd n rnd upn ɖ harʈ, n layñ dǎn az f h hd istabliśt himslf fr ɖ nît; nǎ gtñ p agn, n tecñ ɖt nʈñ v a fag-end v a teil v hiz ǎt intu ɖ weɖr, az f h hd jst rmembrd an apôntmnt, n wz of at a rǎnd trot, t cīp it.

Boxr, fīlñ ɖt hiz atnśnz wr dy t ɖ faṃli in jenṛl, n mst b imparṣ́li dstribytd, daśt in n ǎt wɖ bwilḍrñ inconstnsi.

“Ɖr! Ɖr’z ɖ tīpot, redi on ɖ hob!” sd Dot; az briscli bizi az a ćîld at ple at cīpñ hǎs. “N ɖr’z ɖ cold nucl v ham; n ɖr’z ɖ butr; n ɖr’z ɖ crusti lof, n ol! Hir’z a cloɖz bascit fr ɖ smōl parslz, Jon, f y’v got eni ɖr. Ẃr r y, Jon? D’nt let ɖ dir ćîld fōl undr ɖ greit, Tili, ẃtvr y d!”

It me b notd v Mis Slǒbô, in spît v hr rjctñ ɖ cōśn wɖ sm vivaṣti, ɖt ś hd a rer n s’prîzñ taḷnt fr gtñ ɖs bebi intu dificltiz: n hd sevṛl tîmz impeṛld its śort lîf in a qayt we pkłrli hr ǒn. Ś wz v a sper n stret śep, ɖs yuñ ledi, insmć ɖt hr garmnts apird t b in constnt denjr v slîdñ of ɖoz śarp pegz, hr śoldrz, on ẃć ɖe wr lūsli huñ. Hr costym wz rmarcbl fr ɖ parśl dveḷpmnt, on ol poṣbl oceźnz, v sm flanl vstmnt v a snğlr strucćr; olso fr afordñ glimsz, in ɖ rījn v ɖ bac, v a corsit, or a per v stez, in culr a ded grīn. Biyñ olwz in a stet v gepñ adṃreśn at evrʈñ, n abzorbd, bsdz, in ɖ ppćl contmpleśn v hr mistris’z pfx́nz n ɖ bebi’z, Mis Slǒbô, in hr litl errz v jujmnt, me b sd t hv dn īql onr t hr hed n t hr hart; n ɖo ɖz dd les onr t ɖ bebi’z hed, ẃć ɖe wr ɖ oceźnl mīnz v brññ intu contact wɖ dīl dorz, dresrz, steŗelz, bedposts, n uɖr foṛn substnsz, stl ɖe wr ɖ onist rzults v Tili Slǒbô’z constnt astoniśmnt at fîndñ hrslf so cîndli trītd, n instōld in sć a cumftbl hom. Fr ɖ mtrnl n ptrnl Slǒbô wr alîc uņoun t Fem, n Tili hd bn bréd bî public ćaṛti, a fǎndlñ; ẃć wrd, ɖo onli dif̣rñ fṛm fonḍlñ bî wn vǎl’z leñʈ, z vri difṛnt in mīnñ, n xpresz qt anɖr ʈñ.

T hv sìn litl Msz. Pīribngl cm bac wɖ hr huzbnd, tugñ at ɖ cloɖz bascit, n mcñ ɖ most strenẏs xrśnz t d nʈñ at ol (fr h carid it), wd hv aḿzd y olmst az mć az it aḿzd him. It me hv enttend ɖ Cricit, tù, fr enʈñ I nǒ; bt, srtnli, it nǎ bgan t ćrp agn viyṃntli.

“Hêde!” sd Jon in hiz slo we. “It’s merịr ɖn evr tnît, I ʈnc.”

“N it’s śr t brñ s gd fortyn, Jon! It olwz hz dn so. T hv a Cricit on ɖ Harʈ z ɖ luciist ʈñ in ol ɖ wrld!”

Jon lct at hr az f h hd vri nirli got ɖ ʈt intu hiz hed ɖt ś wz hiz Cricit in ćīf, n h qt agrìd wɖ hr. Bt it wz probbli wn v hiz naro isceps, fr h sd nʈñ.

“Ɖ frst tîm I hŕd its ćirfl litl not, Jon, wz on ɖt nît ẃn y bròt m hom—ẃn y bròt m t mî ny hom hir; its litl mistris. Nirli a yir ago. Y rec̣lect, Jon?”

“Ǒ, yes!” Jon rmembrd. “I śd ʈnc so!”

“Its ćrp wz sć a welcm t m! It sīmd so fl v promis n incurijmnt. It sīmd t se, y wd b cînd n jntl wɖ m, n wd nt xpct (I hd a fir v ɖt, Jon, ɖen) t fînd an old hed on ɖ śoldrz v yr fūliś litl wîf.”

Jon ʈtf̣li patd wn v ɖ śoldrz, n ɖen ɖ hed, az ɖo h wd hv sd No, no; h hd hd no sć xpcteśn; h hd bn qt cntnt t tec ɖm az ɖe wr. N riyli h hd rīzn. Ɖe wr vri comli.

“It spouc ɖ truʈ, Jon, ẃn it sīmd t se so: fr y hv evr bn, I am śr, ɖ bst, ɖ most cnsidṛt, ɖ most afx́ṇt v huzbndz t m. Ɖs hz bn a hapi hom, Jon; n I luv ɖ Cricit fr its sec!”

“Ẃ, so d I, ɖen,” sd ɖ Carịr. “So d I, Dot.”

“I luv it fr ɖ mni tîmz I hv hŕd it, n ɖ mni ʈts its harmlis ḿzic hz gvn m. Smtmz, in ɖ twîlît, ẃn I hv flt a litl solitri n dǎn-hartd, Jon—bfr bebi wz hir, t cīp m cumṗni n mc ɖ hǎs ge—ẃn I hv ʈt hǎ lonli y wd b f I śd dî; hǎ lonli I śd b, f I cd nǒ ɖt y hd lost m, dir; its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp upn ɖ harʈ hz sīmd t tel m v anɖr litl vôs, so swīt, so vri dir t m, bfr huz cmñ sǎnd mî trubl vaniśt lîc a drīm. N ẃn I yst t fir—I dd fir wns, Jon; I wz vri yuñ, y nǒ—ɖt ǎrz mt pruv t b an il-asortd marij, I biyñ sć a ćîld, n y mor lîc mî gardịn ɖn mî huzbnd; n ɖt y mt nt, hvr hard y traid, b ebl t lrn t luv m, az y hopt n preid y mt; its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp hz ćird m p agn, n fild m wɖ ny trust n confidns. I wz ʈncñ v ɖz ʈñz tnît, dir, ẃn I sat xpctñ y; n I luv ɖ Cricit fr ɖer sec!”

“N so d I,” rpitd Jon. “Bt, Dot! I hop n pre ɖt I mt lrn t luv y? Hǎ y tōc! I hd lrnt ɖt loñ bfr I bròt y hir, t b ɖ Cricit’s litl mistris, Dot!”

Ś leid hr hand, an instnt, on hiz arm, n lct p at him wɖ an ajtetd fes, az f ś wd hv tld him smʈñ. Nxt momnt, ś wz dǎn upn hr niz bfr ɖ bascit; spīcñ in a sprîtli vôs, n bizi wɖ ɖ parslz.

“Ɖr r nt mni v ɖm tnît, Jon, bt I sw sm gdz bhnd ɖ cart jst nǎ; n ɖo ɖe gv mor trubl, phps, stl ɖe pe az wel; so w hv no rīzn t grumbl, hv w? Bsdz, y hv bn dliṿrñ, I der se, az y cem alñ?”

“Ǒ, yes!” Jon sd. “A gd mni.”

“Ẃ, ẃt’s ɖs rǎnd box? Hart alîv, Jon, it’s a wedñcec!”

“Līv a wmn alon t fînd ǎt ɖt,” sd Jon admîrñli. “Nǎ, a man wd nvr hv ʈt v it! Ẃr-az, it’s mî b’lif ɖt f y wz t pac a wedñcec p in a ti-ćst, or a trn-up bedsted, or a picld-samn ceg, or eni unlîcli ʈñ, a wmn wd b śr t fînd it ǎt d’recli. Yes; I cōld fr it at ɖ pestri-cc’s.”

“N it weiz I d’nt nǒ ẃt—hol hundṛdweits!” craid Dot, mcñ a gret demnstreśn v trayñ t lift it. “Huz z it, Jon? Ẃr z it gwñ?”

“Rīd ɖ raitñ on ɖ uɖr sîd,” sd Jon.

“Ẃ, Jon! Mî Gdnis, Jon!”

“Ā! hu’d hv ʈt it?” Jon rtrnd.

“Y nvr mīn t se,” psyd Dot, sitñ on ɖ flor n śecñ hr hed at him, “ɖt it’s Gruf n Tacltn ɖ tô-mcr!”

Jon nodd.

Msz. Pīribngl nodd olso, fifti tîmz at līst. Nt in asnt—in dum n pitiyñ amezmnt; scruwñ p hr lips, ɖ ẃl, wɖ ol ɖer litl fors (ɖe wr nvr md fr scruwñ p; I am clir v ɖt), n lcñ ɖ gd Carịr ʈru n ʈru, in hr abstrax́n. Mis Slǒbô, in ɖ mntm, hu hd a mcanicl pǎr v rīpṛdysñ scraps v cuṛnt convseśn fr ɖ dilecteśn v ɖ bebi, wɖ ol ɖ sns struc ǎt v ɖm, n ol ɖ nǎnz ćenjd intu ɖ plŭṛl numbr, inqîrd alǎd v ɖt yuñ crīćr, Wz it Grufs n Tacltnz ɖ tô-mcrz ɖen, n Wd it cōl at Pestri-ccs fr wedñcecs, n Dd its muɖrz nǒ ɖ boxz ẃn its faɖrz bròt ɖm hom; n so on.

“N ɖt z riyli t cm abt!” sd Dot. “Ẃ, ś n I wr grlz at scūl tgɖr, Jon.”

H mt hv bn ʈncñ v hr, or nirli ʈncñ v hr, phps, az ś wz in ɖt sem scūltîm. H lct upn hr wɖ a ʈtfl pleźr, bt h md no ansr.

“N h’z az old! Az unlîc hr!—Ẃ, hǎ mni yirz oldr ɖn y z Gruf n Tacltn, Jon?”

“Hǎ mni mor cups v ti śl I drinc tnît, at wn sitñ, ɖn Gruf n Tacltn evr tc in for, I wundr?” rplaid Jon gd-hymrdly, az h drù a ćer t ɖ rǎnd tebl, n bgan at ɖ cold ham. “Az t ītñ, I īt bt litl; bt ɖt litl I injô, Dot.”

Īvn ɖs, hiz yźl sntimnt at mīl-tîmz, wn v hiz iṇsnt dluźnz (fr hiz aṗtît wz olwz obstiṇt, n flatli contṛdictd him), awouc no smîl in ɖ fes v hiz litl wîf, hu std amñ ɖ parslz, pśñ ɖ cecbox slǒli fṛm hr wɖ hr ft, n nvr wns lct, ɖo hr îz wr cast dǎn tù, upn ɖ denti śu ś jenṛli wz so mîndfl v. Abzorbd in ʈt, ś std ɖr, hīdlis alîc v ɖ ti n Jon (olɖo h cōld t hr n rapt ɖ tebl wɖ hiz nîf t startl hr), untl h rouz n tućt hr on ɖ arm; ẃn ś lct at him fr a momnt, n hurid t hr ples bhnd ɖ tībōrd, lafñ at hr neglijns. Bt nt az ś hd laft bfr. Ɖ manr n ɖ ḿzic wr qt ćenjd.

Ɖ Cricit, tù, hd stopt. Smhǎ, ɖ rūm wz nt so ćirfl az it hd bn. Nʈñ lîc it.

“So, ɖz r ol ɖ parslz, r ɖe, Jon?” ś sd, brecñ a loñ sîḷns, ẃć ɖ onist Carịr hd dvotd t ɖ practicl iḷstreśn v wn part v hiz feṿrit sntimnt—srtnli injoyñ ẃt h ét, f it cd’nt b admitd ɖt h ét bt litl. “So ɖz r ol ɖ parslz, r ɖe, Jon?”

“Ɖt’s ol,” sd Jon. “Ẃ—no—I”—leyñ dǎn hiz nîf n forc, n tecñ a loñ breʈ—“I dcler—I’v clīn fgotn ɖ old jntlmn!”

“Ɖ old jntlmn?”

“In ɖ cart,” sd Jon. “H wz aslip amñ ɖ strw, ɖ last tîm I sw him. I’v vri nirli rmembrd him, twîs, sins I cem in; bt h wnt ǎt v mî hed agn. Hloa! Y’hip ɖr! Rǎz p! Ɖt’s mî harti!”

Jon sd ɖz latr wrdz ǎtsd ɖ dor, ẃiɖr h hd hurid wɖ ɖ candl in hiz hand.

Mis Slǒbô, conśs v sm mstirịs refṛns t Ɖ Old Jntlmn, n cnctñ, in hr misṭfaid imaɉneśn, srtn asośieśnz v a rlijs nećr wɖ ɖ frêz, wz so dstrbd, ɖt hesṭli rîzñ fṛm ɖ lo ćer bî ɖ fîr t sīc pṛtx́n nir ɖ scrt v hr mistris, n cmñ intu contact, az ś crost ɖ dorwe, wɖ an enćnt Strenjr, ś instñtivli md a ćarj or but at him wɖ ɖ onli ofnsiv instṛmnt wɖn hr rīć. Ɖs instṛmnt haṗnñ t b ɖ bebi, gret cmośn n alarm insyd, ẃć ɖ sgaṣti v Boxr rɖr tndd t incris; fr ɖt gd dog, mor ʈtfl ɖn hiz mastr, hd, it sīmd, bn woćñ ɖ old jntlmn in hiz slīp, lest h śd wōc of wɖ a fy yuñ popḷrtriz ɖt wr taid p bhnd ɖ cart; n h stl atndd on him vri closli, wuriyñ hiz geitrz, in fact, n mcñ ded sets at ɖ butnz.

“Y’r sć an undinaybli gd slīpr, sr,” sd Jon, ẃn tranqiḷti wz rstord (in ɖ mntm ɖ old jntlmn hd std, bér-hedd n mośnlis, in ɖ sntr v ɖ rūm), “ɖt I hv haf a mînd t asc y ẃr ɖ uɖr six r—onli ɖt wd b a joc, n I nǒ I śd spôl it. Vri nir, ɖo,” mrmrd ɖ Carịr wɖ a ćucl; “vri nir!”

Ɖ Strenjr, hu hd loñ ẃît her, gd fīćrz, snğlrli bold n wel dfînd fr an old man, n darc, brît, peṇtretñ îz, lct rnd wɖ a smîl, n s’lūtd ɖ Carịr’z wîf bî grevli inclînñ hiz hed.

Hiz garb wz vri qent n od—a loñ, loñ we bhnd ɖ tîm. Its hy wz brǎn, ol ovr. In hiz hand h hld a gret brǎn club or wōcñstic; n, strîcñ ɖs upn ɖ flor, it fél asundr, n bcem a ćer. On ẃć h sat dǎn qt cmpozidli.

“Ɖr!” sd ɖ Carịr, trnñ t hiz wîf. “Ɖt’s ɖ we I faund him, sitñ bî ɖ rodsîd! Uprît az a mîlston. N olmst az def.”

“Ɖt’s ɖ we I faund him, sitñ bî ɖ rodsîd! Uprît az a mîlston. N olmst az def.”

“Sitñ in ɖ opn er, Jon?”

“In ɖ opn er,” rplaid ɖ Carịr, “jst at dusc. ‘Carij Peid,’ h sd; n gev m etīn-pns. Ɖen h got in. N ɖr h z.”

“H’z gwñ, Jon, I ʈnc!”

Nt at ol. H wz onli gwñ t spīc.

“F y plīz, I wz t b left tl cōld fr,” sd ɖ Strenjr mîldli. “D’nt mînd m.”

Wɖ ɖt h tc a per v specṭclz fṛm wn v hiz larj pocits, n a bc fṛm anɖr, n leźrli bgan t rīd. Mcñ no mor v Boxr ɖn f h hd bn a hǎslam!

Ɖ Carịr n hiz wîf xćenjd a lc v pplex̣ti. Ɖ Strenjr rezd hiz hed; n, glansñ fṛm ɖ latr t ɖ formr, sd:

“Yr dōtr, mî gd frend?”

“Wîf,” rtrnd Jon.

“Nīs?” sd ɖ Strenjr.

“Wîf!” rord Jon.

“Indd?” obzrvd ɖ Strenjr. “Śrli? Vri yuñ!”

H qaytli trnd ovr, n rzymd hiz rīdñ. Bt, bfr h cd hv réd tū lînz, h agn inṭruptd himslf t se:

“Bebi yrz?”

Jon gev him a jîgantic nod: iqivḷnt t an ansr in ɖ afrṃtiv, dlivrd ʈru a spīcñ trumpit.

“Grl?”

“Bô-ô-ô!” rord Jon.

“Olso vri yuñ, ê?”

Msz. Pīribngl instntli struc in. “Tū munʈs n ʈri dê-êz. Vax̣netd jst six wīcs ago-o! Tc vri fîn-li! Cnsidrd, bî ɖ doctr, a rmarcbli bytifl ćî-îld! Īql t ɖ jenṛl run v ćildṛn at fîv munʈs o-ld! Tecs notis in a we qt wundr-fl! Me sīm imposbl t y, bt fīlz hiz legz ol-redi!”

Hir, ɖ breʈlis litl muɖr, hu hd bn śrīcñ ɖz śort sntnsz intu ɖ old man’z ir, untl hr priti fes wz crimznd, hld p ɖ Bebi bfr him az a stubn n trîumfnt fact; ẃl Tili Slǒbô, wɖ a mlodịs crî v “Cećr, Cećr”—ẃć sǎndd lîc sm uņoun wrdz, adaptd t a popylr Snīz—pformd sm cǎ-lîc gámblz arnd ɖt ol unconśs Iṇsnt.

“Harc! H’z cōld fr, śr inuf,” sd Jon. “Ɖr’z smbdi at ɖ dor. Opn it, Tili.”

Bfr ś cd rīć it, hvr, it wz opnd fṛm wɖt; biyñ a priṃtiv sort v dor, wɖ a lać ɖt enwn cd lift f h ćouz—n a gd mni ppl dd ćūz, fr ol cndz v nebrz lîct t hv a ćirfl wrd or tū wɖ ɖ Carịr, ɖo h wz no gret tōcr himslf. Biyñ opnd, it gev admiśn t a litl, mīgr, ʈtfl, dinji-fest man, hu sīmd t hv md himslf a gretcot fṛm ɖ sac̦loʈ cuṿrñ v sm old box; fr, ẃn h trnd t śut ɖ dor n cīp ɖ weɖr ǎt, h dsclozd upn ɖ bac v ɖt garmnt ɖ inscripśn G & T in larj blac capitlz. Olso ɖ wrd GLAS in bold caṛctrz.

“Gd īvnñ, Jon!” sd ɖ litl man. “Gd īvnñ, mum! Gd īvnñ, Tili! Gd īvnñ, Unḅnoun! Hǎ’z Bebi, mum? Boxr’z priti wel I hop?”

“Ol ʈrîvñ, Cêleb,” rplaid Dot. “I am śr y nīd onli lc at ɖ dir ćîld, fr wn, t nǒ ɖt.”

“N I’m śr I nīd onli lc at y fr anɖr,” sd Cêleb.

H dd’nt lc at hr, ɖo; h hd a wonḍrñ n ʈtfl î, ẃć sīmd t b olwz pṛjctñ itslf intu sm uɖr tîm n ples, no matr ẃt h sd; a dscripśn ẃć wl īqli aplî t hiz vôs.

“Or at Jon fr anɖr,” sd Cêleb. “Or at Tili, az far az ɖt gz. Or srtnli at Boxr.”

“Bizi jst nǎ, Cêleb?” asct ɖ Carịr.

“Ẃ, priti wel, Jon,” h rtrnd, wɖ ɖ dstrōt er v a man hu wz castñ abt fr ɖ F’loṣfr’z ston, at līst. “Priti mć so. Ɖr’z rɖr a run on Noa’z Arcs at preznt. I cd hv wśt t impruv on ɖ Faṃli, bt I d’nt si hǎ it’s t b dn at ɖ prîs. It wd b a saṭsfax́n t wn’z mînd t mc it clirr ẃć wz Śemz n Hamz, n ẃć wz Wîvz. Flîz a’nt on ɖt scel, nɖr, az cmperd wɖ elifnts, y nǒ! Ā, wel! Hv y got enʈñ in ɖ parsļîn fr m, Jon?”

Ɖ Carịr pt hiz hand intu a pocit v ɖ cot h hd tecn of; n bròt ǎt, cerf̣li prizrvd in mos n pepr, a tîni flǎr-pot.

“Ɖr it z!” h sd, ajustñ it wɖ gret cer. “Nt so mć az a līf damijd. Fl v budz!”

Cêleb’z dul î brîtnd az h tc it, n ʈanct him.

“Dir, Cêleb,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Vri dir at ɖs sīzn.”

“Nvr mînd ɖt. It wd b ćīp t m, ẃtvr it cost,” rtrnd ɖ litl man. “Enʈñ els, Jon?”

“A smōl box,” rplaid ɖ Carịr. “Hir y r!”

“‘Fr Cêleb Plumr,’” sd ɖ litl man, spelñ ǎt ɖ d’rex́n. “‘Wɖ Caś.’ Wɖ Caś, Jon? I d’nt ʈnc it’s fr m.”

“Wɖ Cer,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, lcñ ovr hiz śoldr. “Ẃr d y mc ǎt caś?”

“Ǒ! T b śr!” sd Cêleb. “It’s ol rît. Wɖ cer! Yes, yes; ɖt’s mîn. It mt hv bn wɖ caś, indd, f mî dir Bô in ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz hd livd, Jon. Y luvd him lîc a sun; dd’nt y? Y nīd’nt se y dd. I nǒ, v cors. ‘Cêleb Plumr. Wɖ cer.’ Yes, yes, it’s ol rît. It’s a box v dolz’ îz fr mî dōtr’z wrc. I wś it wz hr ǒn sît in a box, Jon.”

“I wś it wz, or cd b!” craid ɖ Carịr.

“Ʈancī,” sd ɖ litl man. “Y spīc vri harti. T ʈnc ɖt ś śd nvr si ɖ Dolz—n ɖm a-stẹrñ at hr, so bold, ol de loñ! Ɖt’s ẃr it cuts. Ẃt’s ɖ damij, Jon?”

“I’l damij y,” sd Jon, “f y inqîr. Dot! Vri nir?”

“Wel! it’s lîc y t se so,” obzrvd ɖ litl man. “It’s yr cînd we. Let m si. I ʈnc ɖt’s ol.”

“I ʈnc nt,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Trî agn.”

“Smʈñ fr ǎr Guvnr, ê?” sd Cêleb aftr ponḍrñ a litl ẃl. “T b śr. Ɖt’s ẃt I cem fr; bt mî hed’z so runñ on ɖm Arcs n ʈñz! H hz’nt bn hir, hz h?”

“Nt h,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “H’z tù bizi, cortñ.”

“H’z cmñ rnd, ɖo,” sd Cêleb; “fr h tld m t cīp on ɖ nir sîd v ɖ rod gwñ hom, n it wz ten t wn h’d tec m p. I hd betr g, bî-ɖ-bái.—Y cd’nt hv ɖ gdnis t let m pinć Boxr’z teil, mum, fr haf a momnt, cd y?”

“Ẃ, Cêleb, ẃt a qsćn!”

“Ǒ, nvr mînd, mum!” sd ɖ litl man. “H mt’nt lîc it, phps. Ɖr’z a smōl ordr jst cm in fr barcñ dogz; n I śd wś t g az clos t Nećr az I cd fr sixpns. Ɖt’s ol. Nvr mînd, mum.”

It hapnd oṗtynli ɖt Boxr, wɖt rsivñ ɖ pṛpozd stiḿḷs, bgan t barc wɖ gret zīl. Bt, az ɖs implaid ɖ aproć v sm ny vizitr, Cêleb, psponñ hiz studi fṛm ɖ lîf t a mor cnvińnt sīzn, śoldrd ɖ rǎnd box, n tc a hurid līv. H mt hv sperd himslf ɖ trubl, fr h met ɖ vizitr upn ɖ ʈreśhold.

“Ǒ! Y r hir, r y? Wêt a bit. I’l tec y hom. Jon Pīribngl, mî srvis t y. Mor v mî srvis t yr priti wîf. Hanṣmr evri de! Betr tù, f poṣbl! N yungr,” ḿzd ɖ spīcr in a lo vôs, “ɖt’s ɖ devl v it!”

“I śd b astoniśt at yr peyñ complimnts, Mr. Tacltn,” sd Dot, nt wɖ ɖ bst gres in ɖ wrld, “bt fr yr cndiśn.”

“Y nǒ ol abt it, ɖen?”

“I hv got mslf t b’liv it smhǎ,” sd Dot.

“Aftr a hard strugl, I s’poz?”

“Vri.”

Tacltn ɖ Tômrćnt, priti jenṛli noun az Gruf n Tacltn—fr ɖt wz ɖ frm, ɖo Gruf hd bn bòt ǎt loñ ago; onli līvñ hiz nem, n, az sm sd, hiz nećr, acordñ t its Dix́nri mīnñ, in ɖ biznis—Tacltn ɖ Tômrćnt wz a man huz voceśn hd bn qt misunḍstd bî hiz Peṛnts n Gardịnz. F ɖe hd md him a Munilendr, or a śarp Atrni, or a Śerif’s Ofisr, or a Brocr, h mt hv sóun hiz discntntd ots in hiz yʈ, n, aftr hvñ hd ɖ fl run v himslf in il-nećrd trnzax́nz, mt hv trnd ǎt emịbl, at last, fr ɖ sec v a litl freśnis n novlti. Bt, cramt n ćefñ in ɖ pīṣbl psyt v tô-mcñ, h wz a dmestic Ogr, hu hd bn livñ on ćildṛn ol hiz lîf, n wz ɖer implacbl eṇmi. H dspîzd ol tôz; wd’nt hv bòt wn fr ɖ wrld; dlîtd, in hiz malis, t insińuet grim xpreśnz intu ɖ fesz v brǎn-pepr farmrz hu drouv pigz t marcit, belmen hu advtîzd lost loyrz’ conśnsz, muṿbl old lediz hu darnd stocñz or carvd pîz; n uɖr lîc samplz v hiz stoc-in-tred. In apōlñ mascs; hidịs, hẹri, red-aid Jacs in Boxz; Vampîrcîts; dīṃnaycl Tumblrz hu wd’nt lî dǎn, n wr ppć̣li flayñ fwd, t stér infnts ǎt v cǎntinns; hiz soul prf̣cli revld. Ɖe wr hiz onli rlif, n seftivalv. H wz gret in sć invnśnz. Enʈñ sjstiv v a Poni nîtmer wz dliśs t him. H hd īvn lost muni (n h tc t ɖt tô vri cîndli) bî gtñ p Goblinslîdz fr majic lantnz, ẃr-on ɖ Pǎrz v Darcnis wr dpictd az a sort v sūṗnaćṛl śelfiś, wɖ hymn fesz. In intnṣfayñ ɖ portrićr v Jaynts, h hd sunc qt a litl capitl; n, ɖo no pentr himslf, h cd inḍcet, fr ɖ instrux́n v hiz artists, wɖ a pìs v ćōc, a srtn frtiv lir fr ɖ cǎntinnsz v ɖoz monstrz, ẃć wz sef t dstrô ɖ pīs v mînd v eni yuñ jntlmn btwn ɖ ejz v six n ilevn, fr ɖ hol Crisṃs or Midsumr Vceśn.

Ẃt h wz in tôz, h wz (az most men r) in uɖr ʈñz. Y me īẓli s’poz, ɖrfr, ɖt wɖn ɖ gret grīn cep, ẃć rīćt dǎn t ɖ cavz v hiz legz, ɖr wz butnd p t ɖ ćin an uncomnli pleznt felo; n ɖt h wz abt az ćôs a spirit, n az agriybl a cmpańn, az evr std in a per v bl-hedd-lcñ būts wɖ mhoġni-culrd tops.

Stl, Tacltn, ɖ tômrćnt, wz gwñ t b marid. In spît v ol ɖs, h wz gwñ t b marid. N t a yuñ wîf tù, a bytifl yuñ wîf.

H dd’nt lc mć lîc a Brîdgrūm, az h std in ɖ Carịr’z cićn, wɖ a twist in hiz drî fes, n a scru in hiz bodi, n hiz hat jrct ovr ɖ brij v hiz nǒz, n hiz handz tuct dǎn intu ɖ botmz v hiz pocits, n hiz hol sarcastic, il-cndiśnd slf pirñ ǎt v wn litl cornr v wn litl î, lîc ɖ consntretd esns v eni numbr v revnz. Bt a Brîdgrūm h dzînd t b.

“In ʈri dez’ tîm. Nxt Ʈrzde. Ɖ last de v ɖ frst munʈ in ɖ yir. Ɖt’s mî wedñde,” sd Tacltn.

Dd I mnśn ɖt h hd olwz wn î wîd opn, n wn î nirli śut; n ɖt ɖ wn î nirli śut wz olwz ɖ xpresiv î? I d’nt ʈnc I dd.

“Ɖt’s mî wedñde!” sd Tacltn, raṭlñ hiz muni.

“Ẃ, it’s ǎr wedñde tù,” xclemd ɖ Carịr.

“Ha, ha!” laft Tacltn. “Od! Y’r jst sć anɖr cupl. Jst!”

Ɖ inḍgneśn v Dot at ɖs prizumćs asrśn z nt t b dscrîbd. Ẃt nxt? Hiz imaɉneśn wd cumṗs ɖ posbiḷti v jst sć anɖr Bebi, phps. Ɖ man wz mad.

“I se! A wrd wɖ y,” mrmrd Tacltn, nujñ ɖ Carịr wɖ hiz elbo, n tecñ him a litl apart. “Y’l cm t ɖ wedñ? W’r in ɖ sem bot, y nǒ.”

“Hǎ in ɖ sem bot?” inqîrd ɖ Carịr.

“A litl dspaṛti, y nǒ,” sd Tacltn wɖ anɖr nuj. “Cm n spend an īvnñ wɖ s bfrhnd.”

“Ẃ?” dmandd Jon, astoniśt at ɖs presñ hosṗtaḷti.

“Ẃ?” rtrnd ɖ uɖr. “Ɖt’s a ny we v rsivñ an invteśn. Ẃ, fr pleźr—sośbiḷti, y nǒ, n ol ɖt.”

“I ʈt y wr nvr soṣ́bl,” sd Jon in hiz plen we.

“Tća! It’s v no ys t b enʈñ bt fri wɖ y, I si,” sd Tacltn. “Ẃ, ɖen, ɖ truʈ z, y hv a—ẃt tīdrincñ ppl cōl a sort v a cumftbl apiṛns tgɖr, y n yr wîf. W nǒ betr, y nǒ, bt—”

“No, w d’nt nǒ betr,” inṭpozd Jon. “Ẃt r y tōcñ abt?”

“Wel! W d’nt nǒ betr, ɖen,” sd Tacltn. “W’l agri ɖt w d’nt. Az y lîc; ẃt dz it matr? I wz gwñ t se, az y hv ɖt sort v apiṛns, yr cumṗni wl pṛdys a fevṛbl ifct on Msz. Tacltn ɖt wl b. N, ɖo I d’nt ʈnc yr gd ledi’z vri frendli t m in ɖs matr, stl ś c’nt hlp hrslf fṛm fōlñ intu mî vyz, fr ɖr’z a cmpactnis n cozinis v apiṛns abt hr ɖt olwz tlz, īvn in an indifṛnt ces. Y’l se y’l cm?”

“W hv arenjd t cīp ǎr Wedñde (az far az ɖt gz) at hom,” sd Jon. “W hv md ɖ promis t ǎrslvz ɖz six munʈs. W ʈnc, y si, ɖt hom—”

“Ba! ẃt’s hom?” craid Tacltn. “For wōlz n a sīlñ! (Ẃ d’nt y cil ɖt Cricit? I wd! I olwz d. I het ɖer nôz.) Ɖr r for wōlz n a sīlñ at mî hǎs. Cm t m!”

“Y cil yr Cricits, ê?” sd Jon.

“Scrunć ’m, sr,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr, setñ hiz hìl heṿli on ɖ flor. “Y’l se y’l cm? It’s az mć yr inṭrest az mîn, y nǒ, ɖt ɖ wimin śd pswed ć uɖr ɖt ɖ’r qayt n cntntd, n cd’nt b betr of. I nǒ ɖer we. Ẃtvr wn wmn sz, anɖr wmn z dtrmind t clinć olwz. Ɖr’z ɖt spirit v eḿleśn amñ ’m, sr, ɖt f yr wîf sz t mî wîf, ‘I’m ɖ hapiist wmn in ɖ wrld, n mîn’z ɖ bst huzbnd in ɖ wrld, n I dǒt on him,’ mî wîf wl se ɖ sem t yrz, or mor, n haf b’liv it.”

“D y mīn t se ś d’nt, ɖen?” asct ɖ Carịr.

“D’nt!” craid Tacltn wɖ a śort, śarp laf. “D’nt ẃt?”

Ɖ Carịr hd sm fent îdīa v adñ, “dǒt upn y.” Bt, haṗnñ t mīt ɖ haf-clozd î, az it twncld upn him ovr ɖ trnd-up colr v ɖ cep, ẃć wz wɖn an es v pǒcñ it ǎt, h flt it sć an unlîcli part n parsl v enʈñ t b dǒtd on, ɖt h substtytd, “ɖt ś d’nt b’liv it?”

“Ā, y dog! Y’r jocñ,” sd Tacltn.

Bt ɖ Carịr, ɖo slo t unḍstand ɖ fl drift v hiz mīnñ, aid him in sć a sirịs manr, ɖt h wz oblîjd t b a litl mor xplaṇtri.

“I hv ɖ hymr,” sd Tacltn: holdñ p ɖ fngrz v hiz left hand, n tapñ ɖ fōrfngr, t implî, “Ɖr I am, Tacltn t wit”: “I hv ɖ hymr, sr, t mari a yuñ wîf, n a priti wîf”: hir h rapt hiz litl fngr, t xpres ɖ Brîd; nt spẹrñli, bt śarpli; wɖ a sns v pǎr. “I’m ebl t graṭfî ɖt hymr, n I d. It’s mî ẃim. Bt—nǎ lc ɖr!”

H pôntd t ẃr Dot wz sitñ, ʈtf̣li bfr ɖ fîr: līnñ hr dimpld ćin upn hr hand, n woćñ ɖ brît blêz. Ɖ Carịr lct at hr, n ɖen at him, n ɖen at hr, n ɖen at him agn.

“Ś onrz n obez, no dǎt, y nǒ,” sd Tacltn; “n ɖt, az I am nt a man v sntimnt, z qt inuf fr m. Bt d y ʈnc ɖr’z enʈñ mor in it?”

“I ʈnc,” obzrvd ɖ Carịr, “ɖt I śd ćuc eni man ǎt v windo hu sd ɖr wz’nt.”

“Xacli so,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr wɖ an unyźl alacṛti v asnt. “T b śr! Dǎtlis y wd. V cors. I’m srtn v it. Gd nît. Pleznt drīmz!”

Ɖ Carịr wz puzld, n md uncumftbl n unsrtn, in spît v himslf. H cd’nt hlp śowñ it in hiz manr.

“Gd nît, mî dir frend!” sd Tacltn cmpaśṇtli. “I’m of. W’r xacli alîc in riaḷti, I si. Y w’nt gv s tmoro īvnñ? Wel! Nxt de y g ǎt viẓtñ, I nǒ. I’l mīt y ɖr, n brñ mî wîf ɖt z t b. It’l d hr gd. Y’r agriybl? Ʈancī. Ẃt’s ɖt?”

It wz a lǎd crî fṛm ɖ Carịr’z wîf: a lǎd, śarp, sudn crî, ɖt md ɖ rūm rñ lîc a glas vesl. Ś hd rizn fṛm hr sīt, n std lîc wn trnsfixt bî terr n s’prîz. Ɖ Strenjr hd advanst twdz ɖ fîr t worm himslf, n std wɖn a śort strîd v hr ćer. Bt qt stil.

“Dot!” craid ɖ Carịr. “Mẹri! Darlñ! Ẃt’s ɖ matr?”

Ɖe wr ol abt hr in a momnt. Cêleb, hu hd bn dozñ on ɖ cecbox, in ɖ frst imprfict rcuṿri v hiz sspndd prezns v mînd, sizd Mis Slǒbô bî ɖ her v hr hed, bt imīɉtli apoḷjîzd.

“Mẹri!” xclemd ɖ Carịr, s’portñ hr in hiz armz. “R y il? Ẃt z it? Tel m dir!”

Ś onli ansrd bî bìtñ hr handz tgɖr, n fōlñ intu a wîld fit v laftr. Ɖen, sncñ fṛm hiz grasp upn ɖ grǎnd, ś cuvrd hr fes wɖ hr epṛn, n wept bitrli. N ɖen, ś laft agn, n ɖen ś craid agn, n ɖen ś sd hǎ cold ś wz, n sufrd him t līd hr t ɖ fîr, ẃr ś sat dǎn az bfr. Ɖ old man standñ, az bfr, qt stil.

“I’m betr, Jon,” ś sd. “I’m qt wel nǎ—I—”

“Jon!” Bt Jon wz on ɖ uɖr sîd v hr. Ẃ trn hr fes twdz ɖ strenj old jntlmn, az f adresñ him. Wz hr bren wonḍrñ?

“Onli a fansi, Jon dir—a cnd v śoc—a smʈñ cmñ sudnli bfr mî îz—I d’nt nǒ ẃt it wz. It’s qt gn, qt gn.”

“I’m glad it’s gn,” mutrd Tacltn, trnñ ɖ xpresiv î ol rnd ɖ rūm. “I wundr ẃr it’s gn, n ẃt it wz. Humf! Cêleb, cm hir! Hu’z ɖt wɖ ɖ gre her?”

“I d’nt nǒ, sr,” rtrnd Cêleb in a ẃispr. “Nvr si him bfr in ol mî lîf. A bytifl figr fr a nutcracr; qt a ny modl. Wɖ a scrūjw oṗnñ dǎn intu hiz weistcot, h’d b luvli.”

“Nt ugli inuf,” sd Tacltn.

“Or fr a fîrbox îɖr,” obzrvd Cêleb in dīp contmpleśn, “ẃt a modl! Unscru hiz hed t pt ɖ maćz in; trn him hìlz up’dz fr ɖ lît; n ẃt a fîrbox fr a jntlmn’z mantl-ślf, jst az h standz!”

“Nt haf ugli inuf,” sd Tacltn. “Nʈñ in him at ol. Cm! Brñ ɖt box! Ol rît nǎ, I hop?”

“Ǒ, qt gn! Qt gn!” sd ɖ litl wmn, wevñ him huridli awe. “Gd nît!”

“Gd nît!” sd Tacltn. “Gd nît, Jon Pīribngl! Tec cer hǎ y cari ɖt box, Cêleb. Let it fōl, n I’l mrdr y! Darc az pić, n weɖr wrs ɖn evr, ê? Gd nît!”

So, wɖ anɖr śarp lc rnd ɖ rūm, h wnt ǎt at ɖ dor; foloud bî Cêleb wɖ ɖ wedñcec on hiz hed.

Ɖ Carịr hd bn so mć astǎndd bî hiz litl wîf, n so biẓli ingejd in suɖñ n tndñ hr, ɖt h hd scersli bn conśs v ɖ Strenjr’z prezns untl nǎ, ẃn h agn std ɖr, ɖer onli gest.

“H d’nt b’loñ t ɖm, y si,” sd Jon. “I mst gv him a hint t g.”

“I beg yr pardn, frend,” sd ɖ old jntlmn, advansñ t him; “ɖ mor so az I fir yr wîf hz nt bn wel; bt ɖ Atndnt hūm mî infrṃti,” h tućt hiz irz, n śc hiz hed, “rendrz olmst indispnsbl, nt hvñ arîvd, I fir ɖr mst b sm mstec. Ɖ bad nît ẃć md ɖ śltr v yr cumftbl cart (me I nvr hv a wrs!) so axptbl, z stl az bad az evr. Wd y, in yr cîndnis, sufr m t rent a bed hir?”

“Yes, yes,” craid Dot. “Yes! Srtnli!”

“Ǒ!” sd ɖ Carịr, s’prîzd bî ɖ r’pidti v ɖs cnsnt. “Wel! I d’nt objct; bt stl I’m nt qt śr ɖt—”

“Huś!” ś inṭruptd. “Dir Jon!”

“Ẃ, h’z ston def,” rjd Jon.

“I nǒ h z, bt——Yes, sr, srtnli. Yes, srtnli! I’l mc him p a bed d’recli, Jon.”

Az ś hurid of t d it, ɖ flutr v hr spirits, n ɖ ajteśn v hr manr, wr so strenj, ɖt ɖ Carịr std lcñ aftr hr, qt cnfǎndd.

“Dd its muɖrz mc it p a Bedz, ɖen!” craid Mis Slǒbô t ɖ Bebi; “n dd its her gro brǎn n crli ẃn its caps wz liftd of, n frîtn it, a preśs Pets, a-sitñ bî ɖ fîrz!”

Wɖ ɖt un’cǎntbl atrax́n v ɖ mînd t trîflz, ẃć z ofn inṣdntl t a stet v dǎt n cnfyźn, ɖ Carịr, az h wōct slǒli t n fro, faund himslf mnṭli rpitñ īvn ɖz absrd wrdz, mni tîmz. So mni tîmz, ɖt h got ɖm bî hart, n wz stl conñ ɖm ovr n ovr, lîc a lésn, ẃn Tili, aftr adminisṭrñ az mć frix́n t ɖ litl bàld hed wɖ hr hand az ś ʈt holsm (acordñ t ɖ practis v nrsz), hd wns mor taid ɖ Bebi’z cap on.

“N frîtn it, a preśs Pets, a-sitñ bî ɖ fîrz. Ẃt frîtnd Dot, I wundr?” ḿzd ɖ Carịr, pesñ t n fro.

H scǎtd, fṛm hiz hart, ɖ insińueśnz v ɖ tômrćnt, n yt ɖe fild him wɖ a veg, indefiṇt unīzinis. Fr Tacltn wz qc n slî; n h hd ɖt penfl sns, himslf, v biyñ a man v slo pspśn, ɖt a brocn hint wz olwz wuriyñ t him. H srtnli hd no intnśn in hiz mînd v lincñ enʈñ ɖt Tacltn hd sd wɖ ɖ unyźl conduct v hiz wîf, bt ɖ tū subjicts v rflex́n cem intu hiz mînd tgɖr, n h cd nt cīp ɖm asundr.

Ɖ bed wz sn md redi; n ɖ vizitr, dclînñ ol rfreśmnt bt a cup v ti, rtîrd. Ɖen, Dot—qt wel agn, ś sd, qt wel agn—arenjd ɖ gret ćer in ɖ ćimnicornr fr hr huzbnd; fild hiz pîp n gev it him; n tc hr yźl litl stūl bsd him on ɖ harʈ.

Ś olwz wd sit on ɖt litl stūl. I ʈnc ś mst hv hd a cnd v nośn ɖt it wz a cǒxñ, ẃīḍlñ litl stūl.

Ś wz, ǎt n ǎt, ɖ vri bst filr v a pîp, I śd se, in ɖ for qortrz v ɖ glob. T si hr pt ɖt ćubi litl fngr in ɖ bol, n ɖen blo dǎn ɖ pîp t clir ɖ tyb, n, ẃn ś hd dn so, afct t ʈnc ɖt ɖr wz riyli smʈñ in ɖ tyb, n blo a duzn tîmz, n hold it t hr î lîc a teḷscop, wɖ a most pṛvocñ twist in hr capitl litl fes, az ś lct dǎn it, wz qt a briłnt ʈñ. Az t ɖ tbaco, ś wz prfict mistris v ɖ subjict; n hr lîtñ v ɖ pîp, wɖ a wisp v pepr, ẃn ɖ Carịr hd it in hiz mǎʈ—gwñ so vri nir hiz nǒz, n yt nt scorćñ it—wz Art, hî Art.

N ɖ Cricit n ɖ Cetl, trnñ p agn, acnolijd it! Ɖ brît fîr, blezñ p agn, acnolijd it! Ɖ litl Mowr on ɖ cloc, in hiz unhīdd wrc, acnolijd it! Ɖ Carịr, in hiz smuɖñ fōrhed n xpandñ fes, acnolijd it, ɖ rediist v ol.

N ɖ Cricit n ɖ Cetl, trnñ p agn, acnolijd it!

N az h sobrli n ʈtf̣li puft at hiz old pîp, n az ɖ Duć cloc tict, n az ɖ red fîr glīmd, n az ɖ Cricit ćrpt, ɖt Jīńs v hiz Harʈ n Hom (fr sć ɖ Cricit wz) cem ǎt, in fẹri śep, intu ɖ rūm, n sumnd mni formz v Hom abt him. Dots v ol ejz n ol sîzz fild ɖ ćembr. Dots hu wr meri ćildṛn, runñ on bfr him, gaɖ̇rñ flǎrz in ɖ fīldz; cô Dots, haf śrincñ fṛm, haf yīldñ t, ɖ plīdñ v hiz ǒn ruf imij; nyli-marid Dots, alîtñ at ɖ dor, n tecñ wunḍrñ pześn v ɖ hǎshold ciz; muɖrli litl Dots, atndd bî fictiśs Slǒbôz, bẹrñ bebiz t b crisnd; metṛnli Dots, stl yuñ n blūmñ, woćñ Dots v dōtrz, az ɖe danst at rustic bōlz; fat Dots, insrcld n bset bî trūps v rozi granćildṛn; wiɖrd Dots, hu līnd on stics, n totrd az ɖe crept alñ. Old Carịrz, tù, apird wɖ blînd old Boxrz layñ at ɖer fīt; n nywr carts wɖ yungr drîvrz (“Pīribngl Bruɖrz” on ɖ tilt); n sic old Carịrz, tndd bî ɖ jntlist handz; n grevz v ded n gn old Carịrz, grīn in ɖ ćrćyard. N az ɖ Cricit śoud him ol ɖz ʈñz—h sw ɖm plenli, ɖo hiz îz wr fixt upn ɖ fîr—ɖ Carịr’z hart grù lît n hapi, n h ʈanct hiz Hǎshold Godz wɖ ol hiz mt, n cerd no mor fr Gruf n Tacltn ɖn y d.

Bt ẃt wz ɖt yuñ figr v a man, ẃć ɖ sem Fẹri Cricit set so nir Hr stūl, n ẃć rmend ɖr, sngli n alon? Ẃ dd it lingr stl, so nir hr, wɖ its arm upn ɖ ćimnipìs, evr rpitñ “Marid! n nt t m!”

Ǒ, Dot! Ǒ, felñ Dot! Ɖr z no ples fr it in ol yr huzbnd’z viźnz. Ẃ hz its śado fōḷn on hiz harʈ?

ĆRP Ɖ SECND

Cêleb Plumr n hiz Blînd Dōtr livd ol alon bî ɖmslvz, az ɖ Stori Bcs se—n mî blesñ, wɖ yrz, t bac it I hop, on ɖ Stori Bcs, fr seyñ enʈñ in ɖs wrc-a-de wrld!—Cêleb Plumr n hiz Blînd Dōtr livd ol alon bî ɖmslvz, in a litl cract nutśel v a wŭdn hǎs, ẃć wz, in truʈ, no betr ɖn a pimpl on ɖ prominnt red-bric nǒz v Gruf n Tacltn. Ɖ preṃsz v Gruf n Tacltn wr ɖ gret fīćr v ɖ strīt; bt y mt hv noct dǎn Cêleb Plumr’z dwelñ wɖ a hamr or tū, n carid of ɖ pìsz in a cart.

F enwn hd dn ɖ dwelñhǎs v Cêleb Plumr ɖ onr t mis it aftr sć an inrod, it wd hv bn, no dǎt, t cmnd its deṃliśn az a vast impruvmnt. It stuc t ɖ preṃsz v Gruf n Tacltn lîc a barṇcl t a śip’s cīl, or a snel t a dor, or a litl bunć v tǒdstūlz t ɖ stem v a tri. Bt it wz ɖ jrm fṛm ẃć ɖ fl-groun trunc v Gruf n Tacltn hd spruñ; n, undr its crezi rūf, ɖ Gruf bfr last hd, in a smōl we, md tôz fr a jeṇreśn v old bôz n grlz, hu hd pleid wɖ ɖm, n faund ɖm ǎt, n brocn ɖm, n gn t slīp.

I hv sd ɖt Cêleb n hiz pur Blînd Dōtr livd hir. I śd hv sd ɖt Cêleb livd hir, n hiz pur Blînd Dōtr smẃr els—in an inćantd hom v Cêleb’z frṇśñ, ẃr scerṣti n śabinis wr nt, n trubl nvr entrd. Cêleb wz no sorsrr; bt in ɖ onli majic art ɖt stl rmenz t s, ɖ majic v dvotd, deʈlis luv, Nećr hd bn ɖ mistris v hiz studi; n, fṛm hr tīćñ, ol ɖ wundr cem.

Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt sīlñz wr dsculrd, wōlz bloćt n bér v plastr hir n ɖr, hî creṿsz unstopt n wîḍnñ evri de, bīmz molḍrñ n tndñ dǎnẉd. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt ayn wz rustñ, wŭd rotñ, pepr pīlñ of; ɖ sîz, n śep, n tru pṛporśn v ɖ dwelñ, wiɖ̇rñ awe. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt ugli śeps v delf n rʈnwér wr on ɖ bōrd; ɖt soro n fent-hartidnis wr in ɖ hǎs; ɖt Cêleb’z scanti herz wr trnñ greyr n mor gre bfr hr sîtlis fes. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖe hd a mastr, cold, xactñ, n uninṭrestd—nvr ń ɖt Tacltn wz Tacltn, in śort; bt livd in ɖ b’lif v an xntric hyṃrist, hu luvd t hv hiz jest wɖ ɖm, n hu, ẃl h wz ɖ Gardịnenjl v ɖer lîvz, dsdend t hír wn wrd v ʈancflnis.

N ol wz Cêleb’z dwñ; ol ɖ dwñ v hr simpl faɖr! Bt h, tù, hd a Cricit on hiz Harʈ; n liṣnñ sadli t its ḿzic ẃn ɖ muɖrlis Blînd Ćîld wz vri yuñ ɖt Spirit hd inspîrd him wɖ ɖ ʈt ɖt īvn hr gret depṛveśn mt b olmst ćenjd intu a blesñ, n ɖ grl md hapi bî ɖz litl mīnz. Fr ol ɖ Cricit trîb r potnt Spirits, īvn ɖo ɖ ppl hu hold cnvrs wɖ ɖm d nt nǒ it (ẃć z frīqntli ɖ ces), n ɖr r nt in ɖ unsìn wrld vôsz mor jntl n mor tru, ɖt me b so impliṣtli rlaid on, or ɖt r so srtn t gv nn bt tenḍrist cǎnsl, az ɖ Vôsz in ẃć ɖ Spirits v ɖ Fîrsîd n ɖ Harʈ adres ɖmslvz t hymn-cnd.

Cêleb n hiz dōtr wr at wrc tgɖr in ɖer yźl wrcñrūm, ẃć srvd ɖm fr ɖer ordnri livñrūm az wel; n a strenj ples it wz. Ɖr wr hǎzz in it, finiśt n unfiniśt, fr Dolz v ol steśnz in lîf. Sbrbn teṇmnts fr Dolz v modṛt mīnz; cićnz n sngl apartmnts fr Dolz v ɖ lowr clasz; capitl tǎn rezidnsz fr Dolz v hî istet. Sm v ɖz istabliśmnts wr olrdi frniśt acordñ t estiṃt, wɖ a vy t ɖ cnvińns v Dolz v liṃtd incm; uɖrz cd b fitd on ɖ most xpnsiv scel, at a momnt’s notis, fṛm hol ślvz v ćerz n teblz, sofaz, bedstedz, n upholstri. Ɖ nbiḷti n jntri n public in jenṛl, fr huz acoṃdeśn ɖz teṇmnts wr dzînd, le hir n ɖr, in bascits, stẹrñ stret p at ɖ sīlñ; bt in dnotñ ɖer dgriz in ssayti, n cnfînñ ɖm t ɖer rspctiv steśnz (ẃć xpirịns śoz t b l’mntbli dificlt in riyl lîf), ɖ mcrz v ɖz Dolz hd far impruvd on Nećr, hu z ofn frowd n pvrs; fr ɖe, nt restñ on sć arbitrri marcs az satin, cotn print, n bits v rag, hd sūṗadd strîcñ prsnl difṛnsz ẃć alaud v no mstec. Ɖus, ɖ Doļedi v dstñśn hd wax limz v prfict siṃtri; bt onli ś n hr compirz. Ɖ nxt gred in ɖ sośl scel biyñ md v leɖr, n ɖ nxt v cōrs linn stuf. Az t ɖ comn ppl, ɖe hd jst so mni maćz ǎt v tindrboxz fr ɖer armz n legz, n ɖr ɖe wr—istabliśt in ɖer sfir at wns, bynd ɖ posbiḷti v gtñ ǎt v it.

Ɖr wr verịs uɖr samplz v hiz handicraft bsdz Dolz in Cêleb Plumr’z rūm. Ɖr wr Noa’z arcs, in ẃć ɖ Brdz n Bīsts wr an uncomnli tît fit, I aśur y; ɖo ɖe cd b cramd in, enhǎ, at ɖ rūf, n ratld n śecn intu ɖ smōlist cumṗs. Bî a bold p’eticl lîsns, most v ɖz Noa’z arcs hd nocrz on ɖ dorz; incnsistnt apnḍjz, phps, az sjstiv v mornñcōlrz n a Postmn, yt a pleznt finiś t ɖ ǎtsd v ɖ bildñ. Ɖr wr scorz v meḷnc̣li litl carts, ẃć, ẃn ɖ ẃīlz wnt rnd, pformd most dǒlfl ḿzic. Mni smōl fidlz, drumz, n uɖr instṛmnts v torćr; no end v cánn, śīldz, sordz, spirz, n gunz. Ɖr wr litl tumblrz in red brìćz, insesntli swormñ p hî obsṭclz v red tep, n cmñ dǎn, hed frst, on ɖ uɖr sîd; n ɖr wr ińmṛbl old jntlṃn v rspctbl, nt t se venṛbl apiṛns, insenli flayñ ovr hoṛzontl pegz, insrtd, fr ɖ prṗs, in ɖer ǒn strītdorz. Ɖr wr bīsts v ol sorts; horsz, in ptiklr, v evri brīd, fṛm ɖ spotd baṛl on for pegz wɖ a smōl tipit fr a mein, t ɖ ʈura-bréd rocr on hiz hîist métl. Az it wd hv bn hard t cǎnt ɖ duznz upn duznz v gṛtesc figrz ɖt wr evr redi t cmit ol sorts v absrdtiz on ɖ trnñ v a handl, so it wd hv bn no īzi tasc t mnśn eni hymn foli, vîs, or wìcnis ɖt hd nt its tîp, imīɉt or rmot, in Cêleb Plumr’z rūm. N nt in an xaɉretd form, fr vri litl handlz wl muv men n wimin t az strenj pformnsz az eni Tô wz evr md t unḍtec.

In ɖ mdst v ol ɖz objicts, Cêleb n hiz dōtr sat at wrc. Ɖ Blînd Grl bizi az a Dol’z dres-mcr; Cêleb pentñ n glezñ ɖ for-per frunt v a dzîṛbl faṃlimanśn.

In ɖ mdst v ol ɖz objicts, Cêleb n hiz dōtr sat at wrc.

Ɖ cer imprintd in ɖ lînz v Cêleb’z fes, n hiz abzorbd n drīmi manr, ẃć wd hv sat wel on sm alc̣mist or abstrūs stydnt, wr at frst sît an od contrast t hiz okpeśn n ɖ triviaḷtiz abt him. Bt trivịl ʈñz, invntd n psyd fr bred, bcm vri sirịs matrz v fact: n, apart fṛm ɖs cnsiḍreśn, I am nt at ol priperd t se, mslf, ɖt f Cêleb hd bn a Lord Ćembrlin, or a Membr v Parḷmnt, or a loyr, or īvn a gret spekletr, h wd hv dlt in tôz wn ẃit les ẃimzicl, ẃl I hv a vri gret dǎt ẃɖr ɖe wd hv bn az harmlis.

“So y wr ǎt in ɖ ren last nît, faɖr, in yr bytifl ny gretcot,” sd Cêleb’z dōtr.

“In mî bytifl ny gretcot,” ansrd Cêleb, glansñ twdz a cloɖzlîn in ɖ rūm, on ẃć ɖ sac̦loʈ garmnt prīvịsli dscrîbd wz cerf̣li huñ p t drî.

“Hǎ glad I am y bòt it, faɖr!”

“N v sć a teilr tù,” sd Cêleb. “Qt a faśṇbl teilr. It’s tù gd fr m.”

Ɖ Blînd Grl restd fṛm hr wrc, n laft wɖ dlît. “Tù gd, faɖr! Ẃt cn b tù gd fr y?”

“I’m haf aśemd t wer it, ɖo,” sd Cêleb, woćñ ɖ ifct v ẃt h sd upn hr brîṭnñ fes, “upn mî wrd! Ẃn I hír ɖ bôz n ppl se bhnd m, ‘Hloa! Hir’z a swel!’ I d’nt nǒ ẃć we t lc. N ẃn ɖ begr wd’nt g awe last nît; n, ẃn I sd I wz a vri comn man, sd, ‘No, yr Onr! Bles yr Onr, d’nt se ɖt!’ I wz qt aśemd. I riyli flt az f I hd’nt a rît t wer it.”

Hapi Blînd Grl! Hǎ meri ś wz in hr xlteśn!

“I si y, faɖr,” ś sd, claspñ hr handz, “az plenli az f I hd ɖ îz I nvr wont ẃn y r wɖ m. A blu cot—”

“Brît blu,” sd Cêleb.

“Yes, yes! Brît blu!” xclemd ɖ grl, trnñ p hr redịnt fes; “ɖ culr I cn jst rmembr in ɖ blesid scî! Y tld m it wz blu bfr! A brît blu cot—”

“Md lūs t ɖ figr,” sjstd Cêleb.

“Yes! lūs t ɖ figr!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, lafñ harṭli; “n in it, y, dir faɖr, wɖ yr meri î, yr smîlñ fes, yr fri step, n yr darc her—lcñ so yuñ n hansm!”

“Hloa! Hloa!” sd Cêleb. “I śl b ven prezntli!”

I ʈnc y r olrdi,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, pôntñ at him in hr gli. “I nǒ y, faɖr! Ha, ha, ha! I’v faund y ǎt, y si!”

Hǎ difṛnt ɖ picćr in hr mînd, fṛm Cêleb, az h sat obzrvñ hr! Ś hd spocn v hiz fri step. Ś wz rît in ɖt. Fr yirz n yirz h hd nvr wns crost ɖt ʈreśhold at hiz ǒn slo pes, bt wɖ a ftfōl cǎnṭfitd fr hr ir; n nvr hd h, ẃn hiz hart wz heviist, fgotn ɖ lît tréd ɖt wz t rendr hrz so ćirfl n c’rejs!

Hevn nz! Bt I ʈnc Cêleb’z veg bwildrmnt v manr me hv haf oriɉnetd in hiz hvñ cnfyzd himslf abt himslf n evrʈñ arnd him, fr ɖ luv v hiz Blînd Dōtr. Hǎ cd ɖ litl man b uɖ̇wz ɖn bwildrd, aftr leḅrñ fr so mni yirz t dstrô hiz ǒn îdntti, n ɖt v ol ɖ objicts ɖt hd eni bẹrñ on it?

“Ɖr w r,” sd Cêleb, fōlñ bac a pes or tū t form ɖ betr jujmnt v hiz wrc; “az nir ɖ riyl ʈñ az sixṗnrʈ v hepns z t sixpns. Ẃt a piti ɖt ɖ hol frunt v ɖ hǎs opnz at wns! F ɖr wz onli a sterces in it nǎ, n reğlr dorz t ɖ rūmz t g in at! Bt ɖt’s ɖ wrst v mî cōlñ, I’m olwz dludñ mslf, n swinḍlñ mslf.”

“Y r spīcñ qt softli. Y r nt tîrd, faɖr?”

“Tîrd!” ecoud Cêleb wɖ a gret brst v aṇmeśn. “Ẃt śd tîr m, Brʈa? I wz nvr tîrd. Ẃt dz it mīn?”

T gv ɖ gretr fors t hiz wrdz, h ćect himslf in an invoḷntri iṃteśn v tū haf-leñʈ strećñ n yōnñ figrz on ɖ mantl-ślf, hu wr reprizntd az in wn itrnl stet v wirinis fṛm ɖ weist upwdz; n humd a fragmnt v a soñ. It wz a Bac̣nełn soñ, smʈñ abt a Sparc̣lñ Bol. H sañ it wɖ an asumśn v a Devl-me-cer vôs, ɖt md hiz fes a ʈǎznd tîmz mor mīgr n mor ʈtfl ɖn evr.

“Ẃt! Y’r sññ, r y?” sd Tacltn, ptñ hiz hed in at ɖ dor. “G it! I c’nt sñ.”

Nbdi wd hv sspctd him v it. H hd’nt ẃt z jenṛli trmd a sññ fes, bî eni mīnz.

“I c’nt aford t sñ,” sd Tacltn. “I’m glad y cn. I hop y cn aford t wrc tù. Hardli tîm fr bʈ, I śd ʈnc?”

“F y cd onli si him, Brʈa, hǎ h’z wncñ at m!” ẃisprd Cêleb. “Sć a man t joc! Y’d ʈnc, f y dd’nt nǒ him, h wz in rnist—wd’nt y nǎ?”

Ɖ Blînd Grl smîld n nodd.

“Ɖ brd ɖt cn sñ n w’nt sñ mst b md t sñ, ɖe se,” grumbld Tacltn. “Ẃt abt ɖ ǎl ɖt c’nt sñ, n òt’nt t sñ, n wl sñ; z ɖr enʈñ ɖt h śd b md t d?”

“Ɖ xtnt t ẃć h’z wncñ at ɖs momnt!” ẃisprd Cêleb t hiz dōtr. “Ǒ, mî greśs!”

“Olwz meri n lît-hartd wɖ s!” craid ɖ smîlñ Brʈa.

“Ǒ! y’r ɖr, r y?” ansrd Tacltn. “Pur Idịt!”

H riyli dd b’liv ś wz an Idịt; n h fǎndd ɖ b’lif, I c’nt se ẃɖr conśsli or nt, upn hr biyñ fond v him.

“Wel! n biyñ ɖr,—hǎ r y?” sd Tacltn in hiz grujñ we.

“Ǒ! wel; qt wel! N az hapi az īvn y cn wś m t b. Az hapi az y wd mc ɖ hol wrld, f y cd!”

“Pur Idịt!” mutrd Tacltn. “No glīm v rīzn. Nt a glīm!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl tc hiz hand n cist it; hld it fr a momnt in hr ǒn tū handz; n leid hr ćīc agnst it tndrli bfr rlisñ it. Ɖr wz sć unspīcbl afx́n n sć frvnt grattyd in ɖ act, ɖt Tacltn himslf wz muvd t se, in a mîldr grǎl ɖn yźl:

“Ẃt’s ɖ matr nǎ?”

“I std it clos bsd mî pilo ẃn I wnt t slīp last nît, n rmembrd it in mî drīmz. N ẃn ɖ de brouc, n ɖ glorịs red sún—ɖ red sún, faɖr?”

“Red in ɖ mornñz n ɖ īvnñz, Brʈa,” sd pur Cêleb wɖ a wǒfl glans at hiz imployr.

“Ẃn it rouz, n ɖ brît lît I olmst fir t strîc mslf agnst in wōcñ, cem intu ɖ rūm, I trnd ɖ litl tri twdz it, n blest Hevn fr mcñ ʈñz so preśs, n blest y fr sndñ ɖm t ćir m!”

“Bedḷm brouc lūs!” sd Tacltn undr hiz breʈ. “W śl arîv at ɖ streitweistcot n muflrz sn. W’r gtñ on!”

Cêleb, wɖ hiz handz hct lūsli in ć uɖr, stérd vecntli bfr him ẃl hiz dōtr spouc, az f h riyli wr unsrtn (I b’liv h wz) ẃɖr Tacltn hd dn enʈñ t dzrv hr ʈancs or nt. F h cd hv bn a prf̣cli fri ejnt at ɖt momnt, rqîrd, on pen v deʈ, t cic ɖ tômrćnt, or fōl at hiz fīt, acordñ t hiz merits, I b’liv it wd hv bn an īvn ćans ẃć cors h wd hv tecn. Yt Cêleb ń ɖt wɖ hiz ǒn handz h hd bròt ɖ litl rǒztrī hom fr hr so cerf̣li, n ɖt wɖ hiz ǒn lips h hd forjd ɖ iṇsnt dspśn ẃć śd hlp t cīp hr fṛm sspctñ hǎ mć, hǎ vri mć, h evri de dnaid himslf, ɖt ś mt b hapịr.

“Brʈa!” sd Tacltn, asymñ, fr ɖ nons, a litl cordiaḷti. “Cm hir.”

“Ǒ, I cn cm stret t y! Y nīd’nt gîd m!” ś rjônd.

“Śl I tel y a sīcrit, Brʈa?”

“F y wl!” ś ansrd īgrli.

Hǎ brît ɖ darcnd fes! Hǎ adornd wɖ lît ɖ liṣnñ hed!

“Ɖs z ɖ de on ẃć litl ẃt’s-hr-nem, ɖ spôlt ćîld, Pīribngl’z wîf, pez hr reğlr vizit t y—mcs hr fntastic Picnic hir, an’t it?” sd Tacltn wɖ a stroñ xpreśn v dstest fr ɖ hol cnsrn.

“Yes,” rplaid Brʈa. “Ɖs z ɖ de.”

“I ʈt so,” sd Tacltn. “I śd lîc t jôn ɖ parti.”

“D y hír ɖt, faɖr?” craid ɖ Blînd Grl in an xṭsi.

“Yes, yes, I hír it,” mrmrd Cêleb wɖ ɖ fixt lc v a slīpwōcr; “bt I d’nt b’liv it. It’s wn v mî lîz, I’v no dǎt.”

“Y si I—I wont t brñ ɖ Pīribnglz a litl mor intu cumṗni wɖ Me Fīldñ,” sd Tacltn. “I’m gwñ t b marid t Me.”

“Marid!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, startñ fṛm him.

“Ś’z sć a cnfǎndd idịt,” mutrd Tacltn, “ɖt I wz afred ś’d nvr comprihnd m. Ā, Brʈa! Marid! Ćrć, parsn, clarc, bīdl, glas coć, belz, brecfst, brîdcec, fevrz, marobonz, clīvrz, n ol ɖ rest v ɖ tomfūḷri. A wedñ, y nǒ; a wedñ. D’nt y nǒ ẃt a wedñ z?”

“I nǒ,” rplaid ɖ Blînd Grl in a jntl ton. “I unḍstand!”

“D y?” mutrd Tacltn. “It’s mor ɖn I xpctd. Wel! On ɖt acǎnt I wont t jôn ɖ parti, n t brñ Me n hr muɖr. I’l snd in a litl smʈñ or uɖr, bfr ɖ afṭnun. A cold leg v mutn, or sm cumftbl trîfl v ɖt sort. Y’l xpct m?”

“Yes,” ś ansrd.

Ś hd drūpt hr hed, n trnd awe; n so std, wɖ hr handz crost, ḿzñ.

“I d’nt ʈnc y wl,” mutrd Tacltn, lcñ at hr; “fr y sīm t hv fgotn ol abt it olrdi. Cêleb!”

“I me vnćr t se I’m hir, I s’poz,” ʈt Cêleb. “Sr!”

“Tec cer ś d’nt fget ẃt I’v bn seyñ t hr.”

Ś nvr fgets,” rtrnd Cêleb. “It’s wn v ɖ fy ʈñz ś an’t clevr in.”

“Evri man ʈncs hiz ǒn gīs swonz,” obzrvd ɖ tômrćnt wɖ a śrug. “Pur devl!”

Hvñ dlivrd himslf v ẃć rmarc wɖ infiṇt cntmt, old Gruf n Tacltn wɖdru.

Brʈa rmend ẃr h hd left hr, lost in medteśn. Ɖ geyti hd vaniśt fṛm hr dǎncast fes, n it wz vri sad. Ʈri or for tîmz ś śc hr hed, az f bweilñ sm rmembṛns or sm los; bt hr soṛfl rflex́nz faund no vnt in wrdz.

It wz nt untl Cêleb hd bn okpaid sm tîm in yocñ a tīm v horsz t a wagn bî ɖ súṃri proses v nêlñ ɖ harnis t ɖ vîtl parts v ɖer bodiz, ɖt ś drù nir t hiz wrcñstūl, n, sitñ dǎn bsd him, sd:

“Faɖr, I am lonli in ɖ darc. I wont mî îz, mî peśnt, wilñ îz.”

“Faɖr, I am lonli in ɖ darc. I wont mî îz, mî peśnt, wilñ îz.”

“Hir ɖe r,” sd Cêleb. “Olwz redi. Ɖe r mor yrz ɖn mîn, Brʈa, eni aur in ɖ for-n-twenti. Ẃt śl yr îz d fr y, dir?”

“Lc rnd ɖ rūm, faɖr.”

“Ol rît,” sd Cêleb. “No snr sd ɖn dn, Brʈa.”

“Tel m abt it.”

“It’s mć ɖ sem az yźl,” sd Cêleb. “Homli, bt vri snug. Ɖ ge culrz on ɖ wōlz; ɖ brît flǎrz on ɖ plets n diśz; ɖ śînñ wŭd, ẃr ɖr r bīmz or panlz; ɖ jenṛl ćirflnis n nītnis v ɖ bildñ,—mc it vri priti.”

Ćirfl n nīt it wz, ẃrvr Brʈa’z handz cd bizi ɖmslvz. Bt nẃr els wr ćirflnis n nītnis poṣbl in ɖ old crezi śed ẃć Cêleb’z fansi so trnsformd.

“Y hv yr wrcñdres on, n r nt so gaḷnt az ẃn y wer ɖ hansm cot?” sd Brʈa, tućñ him.

“Nt qt so gaḷnt,” ansrd Cêleb. “Priti brisc, ɖo.”

“Faɖr,” sd ɖ Blînd Grl, drw̃ clos t hiz sîd, n stìlñ wn arm rnd hiz nec, “tel m smʈñ abt Me. Ś z vri fer?”

“Ś z indd,” sd Cêleb. N ś wz indd. It wz qt a rer ʈñ t Cêleb nt t hv t drw on hiz invnśn.

“Hr her z darc,” sd Brʈa pnsivli, “darcr ɖn mîn. Hr vôs z swīt n ḿzicl, I nǒ. I hv ofn luvd t hír it. Hr śep—”

“Ɖr’z nt a Dol’z in ol ɖ rūm t īql it,” sd Cêleb. “N hr îz!—”

H stopt; fr Brʈa hd drwn closr rnd hiz nec, n, fṛm ɖ arm ɖt cluñ abt him, cem a wornñ preśr ẃć h unḍstd tù wel.

H coft a momnt, hamrd fr a momnt, n ɖen fél bac upn ɖ soñ abt ɖ sparc̣lñ bol, hiz infaḷbl rzors in ol sć dificltiz.

“Ǎr frend, faɖr, ǎr beṇfactr. I am nvr tîrd, y nǒ, v hírñ abt him.—Nǎ, wz I evr?” ś sd hesṭli.

“V cors nt,” ansrd Cêleb, “n wɖ rīzn.”

“Ā! Wɖ hǎ mć rīzn!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. Wɖ sć frvnsi, ɖt Cêleb, ɖo hiz motivz wr so pyr, cd nt indyr t mīt hr fes; bt dropt hiz îz, az f ś cd hv réd in ɖm hiz iṇsnt dsit.

“Ɖen tel m agn abt him, dir faɖr,” sd Brʈa. “Mni tîmz agn! Hiz fes z bnevlnt, cînd, n tndr. Onist n tru, I am śr it z. Ɖ manli hart ɖt trîz t clǒc ol fevrz wɖ a śo v rufnis n unwilñnis, bìts in its evri lc n glans.”

“N mcs it nobl,” add Cêleb in hiz qayt desṗreśn.

“N mcs it nobl,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. “H z oldr ɖn Me, faɖr.”

“Yi-es,” sd Cêleb rluctntli. “H’z a litl oldr ɖn Me. Bt ɖt d’nt sigṇfî.”

“Ǒ, faɖr, yes! T b hiz peśnt cmpańn in infrṃti n ej; t b hiz jntl nrs in sicnis, n hiz constnt frend in suf̣rñ n soro; t nǒ no wirinis in wrcñ fr hiz sec; t woć him, tnd him, sit bsd hiz bed n tōc t him awec, n pre fr him aslip; ẃt priṿlijz ɖz wd b! Ẃt oṗtyṇtiz fr pruvñ ol hr truʈ n hr dvośn t him! Wd ś d ol ɖs, dir faɖr?”

“No dǎt v it,” sd Cêleb.

“I luv hr, faɖr; I cn luv hr fṛm mî soul!” xclemd ɖ Blînd Grl. N, seyñ so, ś leid hr pur blînd fes on Cêleb’z śoldr, n so wept n wept, ɖt h wz olmst sori t hv bròt ɖt tirfl hapinis upn hr.

In ɖ mntm ɖr hd bn a priti śarp cmośn at Jon Pīribngl’z, fr litl Msz. Pīribngl naćṛli cd’nt ʈnc v gwñ enẃr wɖt ɖ Bebi; n t gt ɖ Bebi undr we tc tîm. Nt ɖt ɖr wz mć v ɖ Bebi, spīcñ v it az a ʈñ v weit n meźr, bt ɖr wz a vast dīl t d abt n abt it, n it ol hd t b dn bî īzi stejz. Fr instns, ẃn ɖ Bebi wz got, bî hc n bî crŭc, t a srtn pônt v dresñ, n y mt hv raśṇli s’pozd ɖt anɖr tuć or tū wd finiś him of, n trn him ǎt a tiptop Bebi ćaḷnjñ ɖ wrld, h wz unixpctidli xtnḡśt in a flanl cap, n husld of t bed; ẃr h simrd (so t spīc) btwn tū blancits fr ɖ bst part v an aur. Fṛm ɖs stet v inax́n h wz ɖen rcōld, śînñ vri mć n rorñ vayḷntli, t ptec v—wel? I wd rɖr se, f y’l pmit m t spīc jenṛli—v a slît rpast. Aftr ẃć h wnt t slīp agn. Msz. Pīribngl tc advantij v ɖs inṭvl, t mc hrslf az smart in a smōl we az evr y sw enbdi in ol yr lîf; n, jrñ ɖ sem śort trūs, Mis Slǒbô insińuetd hrslf intu a Spensr v a faśn so s’prîzñ n injīńs, ɖt it hd no cnx́n wɖ hrslf, or enʈñ els in ɖ yṇvrs, bt wz a śruncn, dog’z-ird, indipndnt fact, psywñ its lonli cors wɖt ɖ līst rgard t enbdi. Bî ɖs tîm, ɖ Bebi, biyñ ol alîv agn, wz invstd, bî ɖ ynîtd ef̣ts v Msz. Pīribngl n Mis Slǒbô, wɖ a crīm-culrd mantl fr its bodi, n a sort v Nancīn rezd pî fr its hed; n so, in cors v tîm, ɖe ol ʈri got dǎn t ɖ dor, ẃr ɖ old hors hd olrdi tecn mor ɖn ɖ fl valy v hiz de’z tol ǎt v ɖ Trnpîc Trust, bî tẹrñ p ɖ rod wɖ hiz impeśnt ōṭgrafs; n ẃns Boxr mt b dimli sìn in ɖ rmot pspctiv, standñ lcñ bac, n tmtñ him t cm on wɖt ordrz.

Az t a ćer, or enʈñ v ɖt cnd fr hlpñ Msz. Pīribngl intu ɖ cart, y nǒ vri litl v Jon, f y ʈnc ɖt wz nesṣri. Bfr y cd hv sìn him lift hr fṛm ɖ grǎnd, ɖr ś wz in hr ples, freś n rozi, seyñ, “Jon! Hǎ cn y? Ʈnc v Tili!”

F I mt b alaud t mnśn a yuñ ledi’z legz on eni trmz, I wd obzrv v Mis Slǒbô’z ɖt ɖr wz a ftaḷti abt ɖm ẃć rendrd ɖm snğlrli laybl t b grezd; n ɖt ś nvr ifctd ɖ smōlist asent or dsent wɖt rcordñ ɖ srcmstans upn ɖm wɖ a noć, az Robinsn Crūzo marct ɖ dez upn hiz wŭdn caḷndr. Bt, az ɖs mt b cnsidrd unjntīl, I’l ʈnc v it.

“Jon! Y’v got ɖ bascit wɖ ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir?” sd Dot. “F y hv’nt y mst trn rnd agn ɖs vri minit.”

“Y’r a nîs litl articl,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, “t b tōcñ abt trnñ rnd, aftr cīpñ m a fl qortr v an aur bhnd mî tîm.”

“I am sori fr it, Jon,” sd Dot in a gret busl, “bt I riyli cd nt ʈnc v gwñ t Brʈa’z—I wd nt d it, Jon, on eni acǎnt—wɖt ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir. We!”

Ɖs moṇsiḷbl wz adrest t ɖ hors, hu dd’nt mînd it at ol.

“Ǒ, d we, Jon!” sd Msz. Pīribngl. “Plīz!”

“It’l b tîm inuf t d ɖt,” rtrnd Jon, “ẃn I bgin t līv ʈñz bhnd m. Ɖ bascit’s sef inuf.”

“Ẃt a hard-hartd monstr y mst b, Jon, nt t hv sd so at wns, n sev m sć a trn! I dcler I wd’nt g t Brʈa’z wɖt ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir, fr eni muni. Reğlrli wns a fortnît evr sins w hv bn marid, Jon, hv w md ǎr litl Picnic ɖr. F enʈñ wz t g roñ wɖ it, I śd olmst ʈnc w wr nvr t b luci agn.”

“It wz a cînd ʈt in ɖ frst instns,” sd ɖ Carịr; “n I onr y fr it, litl wmn.”

“Mî dir Jon!” rplaid Dot, trnñ vri red. “D’nt tōc abt oṇrñ m. Gd greśs!”

“Bî-ɖ-bái”—obzrvd ɖ Carịr—“ɖt old jntlmn—”

Agn so viẓbli n instntli imbaṛst!

“H’z an od fiś,” sd ɖ Carịr, lcñ stret alñ ɖ rod bfr ɖm. “I c’nt mc him ǎt. I d’nt b’liv ɖr’z eni harm in him.”

“Nn at ol. I’m—I’m śr ɖr’z nn at ol.”

“Yes,” sd ɖ Carịr, wɖ hiz îz atractd t hr fes bî ɖ gret rṇstnis v hr manr. “I am glad y fīl so srtn v it, bcz it’s a conf̣meśn t m. It’s krịs ɖt h śd hv tecn it intu hiz hed t asc līv t g on lojñ wɖ s; an’t it? Ʈñz cm abt so strenjli.”

“So vri strenjli,” ś rjônd in a lo vôs, scersli ōḍbl.

“Hvr, h’z a gd-nećrd old jntlmn,” sd Jon, “n pez az a jntlmn, n I ʈnc hiz wrd z t b rlaid upn, lîc a jntlmn’z. I hd qt a loñ tōc wɖ him ɖs mornñ: h cn hír m betr olrdi, h sz, az h gts mor yst t mî vôs. H tld m a gret dīl abt himslf, n I tld him a gd dīl abt mslf, n a rer lot v qsćnz h asct m. I gev him inf̣meśn abt mî hvñ tū bìts, y nǒ, in mî biznis; wn de t ɖ rît fṛm ǎr hǎs n bac agn; anɖr de t ɖ left fṛm ǎr hǎs n bac agn (fr h’z a strenjr, n d’nt nǒ ɖ nemz v plesz abt hir); n h sīmd qt plizd. ‘Ẃ, ɖen I śl b rtrnñ hom tnît yr we,’ h sz, ‘ẃn I ʈt y’d b cmñ in an xacli oṗzit d’rex́n. Ɖt’s capitl! I me trubl y fr anɖr lift, phps, bt I’l ingej nt t fōl so sǎnd aslip agn.’ H wz sǎnd aslip, śrly!—Dot! ẃt r y ʈncñ v?”

“Ʈncñ v, Jon? I—I wz liṣnñ t y.”

“Ǒ! Ɖt’s ol rît!” sd ɖ onist Carịr. “I wz afred, fṛm ɖ lc v yr fes, ɖt I hd gn ramḅlñ on so loñ az t set y ʈncñ abt smʈñ els. I wz vri nir it, I’l b baund.”

Dot mcñ no rplî, ɖe jogd on, fr sm litl tîm, in sîḷns. Bt, it wz nt īzi t rmen sîḷnt vri loñ in Jon Pīribngl’z cart, fr evrbdi on ɖ rod hd smʈñ t se. Ɖo it mt onli b “Hǎ r y?” n, indd, it wz vri ofn nʈñ els, stl, t gv ɖt bac agn in ɖ rît spirit v cordiaḷti, rqîrd, nt mirli a nod n a smîl, bt az holsm an ax́n v ɖ luñz wɖōl az a loñ-windd Parḷmntri spīć. Smtmz, pasinjrz on ft, or horsbac, plodd on a litl we bsd ɖ cart, fr ɖ xpres prṗs v hvñ a ćat; n ɖen ɖr wz a gret dīl t b sd on bʈ sîdz.

Ɖen, Boxr gev oceźn t mor gd-nećrd recgniśnz v, n bî, ɖ Carịr, ɖn haf-a-duzn Crisćnz cd hv dn! Evrbdi ń him ol alñ ɖ rod—ispeṣ́li ɖ faulz n pigz, hu, ẃn ɖe sw him aproćñ, wɖ hiz bodi ol on wn sîd, n hiz irz prict p inqiztivli, n ɖt nob v a teil mcñ ɖ most v itslf in ɖ er, imīɉtli wɖdru intu rmot bacsetlmnts, wɖt wêtñ fr ɖ onr v a nirr aqentns. H hd biznis elsẃr; gwñ dǎn ol ɖ trnñz, lcñ intu ol ɖ wlz, boltñ in n ǎt v ol ɖ coṭjz, daśñ intu ɖ mdst v ol ɖ Dem Scūlz, fluṭrñ ol ɖ pijinz, magṇfayñ ɖ teilz v ol ɖ cats, n trotñ intu ɖ publichǎzz lîc a reğlr custmr. Ẃrvr h wnt, smbdi or uɖr mt hv bn hŕd t crî, “Hloa! hir’z Boxr!” n ǎt cem ɖt smbdi fʈwʈ, acumṗnid bî at līst tū or ʈri uɖr smbdiz, t gv Jon Pīribngl n hiz priti wîf Gd de.

Ɖ pac̣jz n parslz fr ɖ eṛnd cart wr ńmṛs; n ɖr wr mni stoṗjz t tec ɖm in n gv ɖm ǎt, ẃć wr nt bî eni mīnz ɖ wrst parts v ɖ jrni. Sm ppl wr so fl v xpcteśn abt ɖer parslz, n uɖr ppl wr so fl v wundr abt ɖer parslz, n uɖr ppl wr so fl v inixōstbl d’rex́nz abt ɖer parslz, n Jon hd sć a lîvli inṭrest in ol ɖ parslz, ɖt it wz az gd az a ple. Lîcwz, ɖr wr articlz t cari, ẃć rqîrd t b cnsidrd n dscust, n in refṛns t ɖ ajustmnt n dispziśn v ẃć caunslz hd t b holdn bî ɖ Carịr n ɖ sndrz: at ẃć Boxr yẓ́li asistd, in śort fits v ɖ closist atnśn, n loñ fits v tẹrñ rnd n rnd ɖ asmbld sejz, n barcñ himslf hōrs. V ol ɖz litl insidnts, Dot wz ɖ aḿzd n opn-aid spectetris fṛm hr ćer in ɖ cart; n az ś sat ɖr, lcñ on—a ćarmñ litl portrit fremd t adṃreśn bî ɖ tilt—ɖr wz no lac v nujñz n glansñz n ẃisṗrñz n enviyñz amñ ɖ yungr men. N ɖs dlîtd Jon ɖ Carịr bynd meźr; fr h wz prǎd t hv hiz litl wîf admîrd, nwñ ɖt ś dd’nt mînd it—ɖt, f enʈñ, ś rɖr lîct it phps.

Ɖ trip wz a litl fogi, t b śr, in ɖ Jańri weɖr; n wz rw n cold. Bt hu cerd fr sć trîflz? Nt Dot, dsîdidli. Nt Tili Slǒbô, fr ś dīmd sitñ in a cart, on eni trmz, t b ɖ hîist pônt v hymn jôz; ɖ crǎnñ srcmstans v rʈli hop. Nt ɖ Bebi, I’l b sworn; fr it’s nt in Bebi nećr t b wormr or mor sǎnd aslip, ɖo its cpaṣti z gret in bʈ rspcts, ɖn ɖt blest yuñ Pīribngl wz, ol ɖ we.

Y cd’nt si vri far in ɖ fog, v cors; bt y cd si a gret dīl! It’s astoṇśñ hǎ mć y me si in a ʈicr fog ɖn ɖt, f y wl onli tec ɖ trubl t lc fr it. Ẃ, īvn t sit woćñ fr ɖ Fẹrirñz in ɖ fīldz, n fr ɖ paćz v hōrfrost stl linġrñ in ɖ śêd, nir hejz n bî triz, wz a pleznt okpeśn, t mc no mnśn v ɖ unixpctd śeps in ẃć ɖ triz ɖmslvz cem startñ ǎt v ɖ mist, n glîdd intu it agn. Ɖ hejz wr tangld n bér, n wevd a multtyd v blîtd garḷndz in ɖ wind; bt ɖr wz no dscuṛjmnt in ɖs. It wz agriybl t contmplet; fr it md ɖ fîrsîd wormr in pześn, n ɖ sumr grīnr in xpctnsi. Ɖ rivr lct ćili; bt it wz in mośn, n muvñ at a gd pes—ẃć wz a gret pônt. Ɖ cnal wz rɖr slo n torpid; ɖt mst b admitd. Nvr mînd. It wd frīz ɖ snr ẃn ɖ frost set ferli in, n ɖen ɖr wd b scetñ n slîdñ; n ɖ hevi old barjz, frozn p smẃr nir a ẃorf, wd smoc ɖer rusti ayn ćimnipîps ol de, n hv a lezi tîm v it.

In wn ples ɖr wz a gret mǎnd v wīdz or stubl brnñ; n ɖe woćt ɖ fîr, so ẃît in ɖ dêtîm, flẹrñ ʈru ɖ fog, wɖ onli hir n ɖr a daś v red in it, untl, in consiqns, az ś obzrvd, v ɖ smoc “gtñ p hr nǒz,” Mis Slǒbô ćoct—ś cd d enʈñ v ɖt sort, on ɖ smōlist provceśn—n wouc ɖ Bebi, hu wd’nt g t slīp agn. Bt Boxr, hu wz in advans sm qortr v a mîl or so, hd olrdi pást ɖ ǎtposts v ɖ tǎn, n gend ɖ cornr v ɖ strīt ẃr Cêleb n hiz dōtr livd; n, loñ bfr ɖe hd rīćt ɖ dor, h n ɖ Blînd Grl wr on ɖ pevmnt wêtñ t rsiv ɖm.

Boxr, bî ɖ we, md srtn delic̣t dstñśnz v hiz ǒn, in hiz cḿṇceśn wɖ Brʈa, ẃć pswed m fŭli ɖt h ń hr t b blînd. H nvr sòt t atract hr atnśn bî lcñ at hr, az h ofn dd wɖ uɖr ppl, bt tućt hr inverịbli. Ẃt xpirịns h cd evr hv hd v blînd ppl or blînd dogz I d’nt nǒ. H hd nvr livd wɖ a blînd mastr; nr hd Mr. Boxr ɖ eldr, nr Msz. Boxr, nr eni v hiz rspctbl faṃli on îɖr sîd, evr bn viẓtd wɖ blîndnis, ɖt I am awer v. H me hv faund it ǎt fr himslf, phps, bt h hd got hold v it smhǎ; n ɖrfr h hd hold v Brʈa tù, bî ɖ scrt, n cept hold, untl Msz. Pīribngl n ɖ Bebi, n Mis Slǒbô n ɖ bascit, wr ol got sefli wɖn dorz.

Me Fīldñ wz olrdi cm; n so wz hr muɖr—a litl qeryḷs ćip v an old ledi wɖ a pīviś fes, hu, in rît v hvñ prizrvd a weist lîc a bedpost, wz s’pozd t b a most trnsndnt figr; n hu, in consiqns v hvñ wns bn betr of, or v leḅrñ undr an impreśn ɖt ś mt hv bn, f smʈñ hd hapnd ẃć nvr dd hapn, n sīmd t hv nvr bn ptiklrli lîcli t cm t pas—bt it’s ol ɖ sem—wz vri jntīl n patṛnîzñ indd. Gruf n Tacltn wz olso ɖr, dwñ ɖ agriybl, wɖ ɖ evidnt snseśn v biyñ az prf̣cli at hom, n az unqsćṇbli in hiz ǒn elimnt, az a freś yuñ samn on ɖ top v ɖ Gret Piṛmid.

“Me! Mî dir old frend!” craid Dot, runñ p t mīt hr. “Ẃt a hapinis t si y!”

Hr old frend wz, t ɖ fl, az harti n az glad az ś; n it riyli wz, f y’l b’liv m, qt a pleznt sît t si ɖm imbres. Tacltn wz a man v test, bynd ol qsćn. Me wz vri priti.

Y nǒ smtmz, ẃn y r yst t a priti fes, hǎ, ẃn it cmz intu contact n cmparisn wɖ anɖr priti fes, it sīmz fr ɖ momnt t b homli n fedd, n hardli t dzrv ɖ hî opińn y hv hd v it. Nǎ, ɖs wz nt at ol ɖ ces, îɖr wɖ Dot or Me; fr Me’z fes set of Dot’s, n Dot’s fes set of Me’z, so naćṛli n agriybli, ɖt, az Jon Pīribngl wz vri nir seyñ ẃn h cem intu ɖ rūm, ɖe òt t hv bn born sistrz—ẃć wz ɖ onli impruvmnt y cd hv sjstd.

Tacltn hd bròt hiz leg v mutn, n, wundrfl t rlet, a tart bsdz—bt w d’nt mînd a litl diṣpeśn ẃn ǎr brîdz r in ɖ ces; w d’nt gt marid evri de—n, in adiśn t ɖz dentiz, ɖr wr ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî, n “ʈñz,” az Msz. Pīribngl cōld ɖm; ẃć wr ćīfli nuts n oṛnjz, n cecs, n sć smōl dír. Ẃn ɖ rpast wz set fʈ on ɖ bōrd, flanct bî Cêleb’z contṛbyśn, ẃć wz a gret wŭdn bol v smocñ ptetoz (h wz pṛhibtd, bî soḷm compact, fṛm pṛdysñ eni uɖr vayndz), Tacltn léd hiz intndd muɖr-in-lw t ɖ post v onr. Fr ɖ betr gresñ v ɖs ples at ɖ hî fstivl, ɖ mjestic old soul hd adornd hrslf wɖ a cap, calkletd t inspîr ɖ ʈtlis wɖ sntimnts v ō. Ś olso wòr hr gluvz. Bt let s b jntīl, or dî!

Cêleb sat nxt hiz dōtr; Dot n hr old scūlfelo wr sîd bî sîd; ɖ gd Carịr tc cer v ɖ botm v ɖ tebl. Mis Slǒbô wz îṣletd, fr ɖ tîm biyñ, fṛm evri articl v frnićr bt ɖ ćer ś sat on, ɖt ś mt hv nʈñ els t noc ɖ Bebi’z hed agnst.

Az Tili stérd abt hr at ɖ dolz n tôz, ɖe stérd at hr n at ɖ cumṗni. Ɖ venṛbl old jntlṃn at ɖ strītdorz (hu wr ol in fl ax́n) śoud ispeśl inṭrest in ɖ parti, pōzñ oceźṇli bfr līpñ, az f ɖe wr liṣnñ t ɖ convseśn, n ɖen plunjñ wîldli ovr n ovr, a gret mni tîmz, wɖt hōltñ fr breʈ—az in a frantic stet v dlît wɖ ɖ hol pṛsidñz.

Srtnli, f ɖz old jntlṃn wr inclînd t hv a fīndiś jô in ɖ contmpleśn v Tacltn’z dscumfićr, ɖe hd gd rīzn t b saṭsfaid. Tacltn cd’nt gt on at ol; n ɖ mor ćirfl hiz intndd brîd bcem in Dot’s ssayti, ɖ les h lîct it, ɖo h hd bròt ɖm tgɖr fr ɖt prṗs. Fr h wz a reğlr dog in ɖ menjr, wz Tacltn; n, ẃn ɖe laft n h cd’nt, h tc it intu hiz hed, imīɉtli, ɖt ɖe mst b lafñ at him.

“Ā, Me!” sd Dot. “Dir, dir, ẃt ćenjz! T tōc v ɖoz meri scūl dez mcs wn yuñ agn.”

“Ẃ, y an’t ptiklrli old at eni tîm, r y?” sd Tacltn.

“Lc at mî sobr, plodñ huzbnd ɖr,” rtrnd Dot. “H adz twenti yirz t mî ej at līst. D’nt y, Jon?”

“Forti,” Jon rplaid.

“Hǎ mni y’l ad t Mẹri’z, I am śr I d’nt nǒ,” sd Dot, lafñ. “Bt ś c’nt b mć les ɖn a hundṛd yirz v ej on hr nxt brʈde.”

“Ha, ha!” laft Tacltn. Holo az a drum ɖt laf, ɖo. N h lct az f h cd hv twistd Dot’s nec cumftbli.

“Dir, dir!” sd Dot. “Onli t rmembr hǎ w yst t tōc, at scūl, abt ɖ huzbndz w wd ćūz. I d’nt nǒ hǎ yuñ, n hǎ hansm, n hǎ ge, n hǎ lîvli mîn wz nt t b! N az t Me’z!—Ā dir! I d’nt nǒ ẃɖr t laf or crî, ẃn I ʈnc ẃt sili grlz w wr.”

Me sīmd t nǒ ẃć t d; fr ɖ culr flaśt intu hr fes, n tirz std in hr îz.

“Īvn ɖ vri prsnz ɖmslvz—riyl lîv yuñ men—w fixt on smtmz,” sd Dot. “W litl ʈt hǎ ʈñz wd cm abt. I nvr fixt on Jon, I’m śr; I nvr so mć az ʈt v him. N, f I hd tld y y wr evr t b marid t Mr. Tacltn, ẃ, y’d hv slapt m. Wd’nt y, Me?”

Ɖo Me dd’nt se yes, ś srtnli dd’nt se no, or xpres no, bî eni mīnz.

Tacltn laft—qt śǎtd, h laft so lǎd. Jon Pīribngl laft tù, in hiz ordnri gd-nećrd n cntntd manr; bt hiz wz a mir ẃispr v a laf t Tacltn’z.

“Y cd’nt hlp yrslvz, fr ol ɖt. Y cd’nt rzist s, y si,” sd Tacltn. “Hir w r! Hir w r! Ẃr r yr ge yuñ brîdgrūmz nǎ?”

“Sm v ɖm r ded,” sd Dot; “n sm v ɖm fgotn. Sm v ɖm, f ɖe cd stand amñ s at ɖs momnt, wd nt b’liv w wr ɖ sem crīćrz; wd nt b’liv ɖt ẃt ɖe sw n hŕd wz riyl, n w cd fget ɖm so. No! ɖe wd nt b’liv wn wrd v it!”

“Ẃ, Dot!” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “Litl wmn!”

Ś hd spocn wɖ sć rṇstnis n fîr, ɖt ś std in nīd v sm rcōlñ t hrslf, wɖt dǎt. Hr huzbnd’z ćec wz vri jntl, fr h mirli inṭfird, az h s’pozd, t śīld old Tacltn; bt it pruvd ifcćl, fr ś stopt, n sd no mor. Ɖr wz an uncomn ajteśn, īvn in hr sîḷns, ẃć ɖ wẹri Tacltn, hu hd bròt hiz haf-śut î t ber upn hr, notd closli, n rmembrd t sm prṗs tù.

Me utrd no wrd, gd or bad, bt sat qt stl, wɖ hr îz cast dǎn, n md no sîn v inṭrest in ẃt hd pást. Ɖ gd ledi hr muɖr nǎ inṭpozd, obzrvñ, in ɖ frst instns, ɖt grlz wr grlz, n bîgonz bîgonz, n ɖt, so loñ az yuñ ppl wr yuñ n ʈtlis, ɖe wd probbli conduct ɖmslvz lîc yuñ n ʈtlis prsnz: wɖ tū or ʈri uɖr pziśnz v a no les sǎnd n incontṛvrtbl caṛctr. Ś ɖen rmarct, in a dvǎt spirit, ɖt ś ʈanct Hevn ś hd olwz faund in hr dōtr Me a dytifl n obījnt ćîld: fr ẃć ś tc no credit t hrslf, ɖo ś hd evri rīzn t b’liv it wz intîrli owñ t hrslf. Wɖ rgard t Mr. Tacltn, ś sd, Ɖt h wz in a moṛl pônt v vy an undinaybl indivijl, n Ɖt h wz in an eliɉbl pônt v vy a sun-in-lw t b dzîrd, nwn in ɖer snsz cd dǎt. (Ś wz vri imfatic hir.) Wɖ rgard t ɖ faṃli intu ẃć h wz so sn abt, aftr sm s’liṣteśn, t b admitd, ś b’livd Mr. Tacltn ń ɖt, olɖo rdyst in prs, it hd sm pritnśnz t jntiḷti; n ɖt f srtn srcmstansz, nt hoļi uncnctd, ś wd g so far az t se, wɖ ɖ Inḍgo Tred, bt t ẃć ś wd nt mor ptiklrli rfŕ, hd hapnd difṛntli, it mt phps hv bn in pześn v wlʈ. Ś ɖen rmarct ɖt ś wd nt alud t ɖ past, n wd nt mnśn ɖt hr dōtr hd fr sm tîm rjctd ɖ sūt v Mr. Tacltn; n ɖt ś wd nt se a gret mni uɖr ʈñz ẃć ś dd se at gret leñʈ. Fîṇli, ś dlivrd it az ɖ jenṛl rzult v hr obẓveśn n xpirịns, ɖt ɖoz maṛjz in ẃć ɖr wz līst v ẃt wz r’manticli n silili cōld luv, wr olwz ɖ hapiist; n ɖt ś antiṣpetd ɖ gretist poṣbl amǎnt v blis—nt rapćṛs blis; bt ɖ solid, stedi-gwñ articl—fṛm ɖ aproćñ nupślz. Ś cncludd bî informñ ɖ cumṗni ɖt tmoro wz ɖ de ś hd livd fr xpresli; n ɖt, ẃn it wz ovr, ś wd dzîr nʈñ betr ɖn t b pact p n dspozd v in eni jntīl ples v berịl.

Az ɖz rmarcs wr qt unansṛbl—ẃć z ɖ hapi proṗti v ol rmarcs ɖt r sfiśntli wîd v ɖ prṗs—ɖe ćenjd ɖ cuṛnt v ɖ convseśn, n dvrtd ɖ jenṛl atnśn t ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî, ɖ cold mutn, ɖ ptetoz, n ɖ tart. In ordr ɖt ɖ botld bir mt nt b slîtd, Jon Pīribngl pṛpozd Tmoro: ɖ Wedñde; n cōld upn ɖm t drinc a bumpr t it, bfr h pṛsidd on hiz jrni.

Fr y òt t nǒ ɖt h onli restd ɖr, n gev ɖ old hors a beit. H hd t g sm for or fîv mîlz farɖr on; n, ẃn h rtrnd in ɖ īvnñ, h cōld fr Dot, n tc anɖr rest on hiz we hom. Ɖs wz ɖ ordr v ɖ de on ol ɖ Picnic oceźnz, n hd bn evr sins ɖer insttyśn.

Ɖr wr tū prsnz preznt, bsdz ɖ brîd n brîdgrūm ilect, hu dd bt indifṛnt onr t ɖ tost. Wn v ɖz wz Dot, tù fluśt n discmpozd t adapt hrslf t eni smōl ocuṛns v ɖ momnt; ɖ uɖr, Brʈa, hu rouz p huridli bfr ɖ rest, n left ɖ tebl.

“Gdbî!” sd stǎt Jon Pīribngl, pŭlñ on hiz drednòt cot. “I śl b bac at ɖ old tîm. Gdbî ol!”

“Gdbî, Jon,” rtrnd Cêleb.

H sīmd t se it bî rǒt, n t wev hiz hand in ɖ sem unconśs manr; fr h std obzrvñ Brʈa wɖ an añśs wunḍrñ fes, ɖt nvr oltrd its xpreśn.

“Gdbî, yuñ śevr!” sd ɖ joli Carịr, bndñ dǎn t cis ɖ ćîld; ẃć Tili Slǒbô, nǎ intnt upn hr nîf n forc, hd dpoztd aslip (n, strenj t se, wɖt damij) in a litl cót v Brʈa’z frṇśñ; “gdbî! Tîm wl cm, I s’poz, ẃn y’l trn ǎt intu ɖ cold, mî litl frend, n līv yr old faɖr t injô hiz pîp n hiz rūmatics in ɖ ćimnicornr; ê? Ẃr’z Dot?”

“I’m hir, Jon!” ś sd, startñ.

“Cm, cm!” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, clapñ hiz sǎndñ handz. “Ẃr’z ɖ pîp?”

“I qt fgot ɖ pîp, Jon.”

Fgot ɖ pîp! Wz sć a wundr evr hŕd v? Ś! Fgot ɖ pîp!

“I’l—I’l fil it d’recli. It’s sn dn.”

Bt it wz nt so sn dn, îɖr. It le in ɖ yźl ples—ɖ Carịr’z drednòt pocit—wɖ ɖ litl pǎć, hr ǒn wrc, fṛm ẃć ś wz yst t fil it; bt hr hand śc so, ɖt ś intangld it (n yt hr hand wz smōl inuf t hv cm ǎt īẓli, I am śr), n bungld teṛbli. Ɖ filñ v ɖ pîp n lîtñ it, ɖoz litl of̣sz in ẃć I hv cmndd hr dscreśn, wr vîļi dn fṛm frst t last. Jrñ ɖ hol proses, Tacltn std lcñ on mliśsli wɖ ɖ haf-clozd î; ẃć, ẃnvr it met hrz—or còt it, fr it cn hardli b sd t hv evr met anɖr î: rɖr biyñ a cnd v trap t snać it p—ōgmntd hr cnfyźn in a most rmarcbl dgri.

“Ẃ, ẃt a clumzi Dot y r ɖs afṭnun!” sd Jon. “I cd hv dn it betr mslf, I veṛli b’liv!”

Wɖ ɖz gd-nećrd wrdz, h stroud awe, n prezntli wz hŕd, in cumṗni wɖ Boxr, n ɖ old hors, n ɖ cart, mcñ lîvli ḿzic dǎn ɖ rod. Ẃt tîm ɖ drīmi Cêleb stl std, woćñ hiz blînd dōtr, wɖ ɖ sem xpreśn on hiz fes.

“Brʈa!” sd Cêleb, softli. “Ẃt hz hapnd? Hǎ ćenjd y r, mî darlñ, in a fy aurz—sins ɖs mornñ! Y sîḷnt n dul ol de! Ẃt z it? Tel m!”

“Ǒ, faɖr, faɖr!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, brstñ intu tirz. “Ǒ, mî hard, hard fet!”

Cêleb drù hiz hand acrs hiz îz bfr h ansrd hr.

“Bt ʈnc hǎ ćirfl n hǎ hapi y hv bn, Brʈa! Hǎ gd, n hǎ mć luvd, bî mni ppl.”

“Ɖt strîcs m t ɖ hart, dir faɖr! Olwz so mîndfl v m! Olwz so cînd t m!”

Cêleb wz vri mć pplext t unḍstand hr.

“T b—t b blînd, Brʈa, mî pur dir,” h fōltrd, “z a gret aflix́n; bt—”

“I hv nvr flt it!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. “I hv nvr flt it in its flnis. Nvr! I hv smtmz wśt ɖt I cd si y, or cd si him—onli wns, dir faɖr, onli fr wn litl minit—ɖt I mt nǒ ẃt it z I treźr p,” ś leid hr handz upn hr brest, “n hold hir! Ɖt I mt b śr I hv it rît! N smtmz (bt ɖen I wz a ćîld) I hv wept in mî prerz at nît, t ʈnc ɖt, ẃn yr iṃjz asndd fṛm mî hart t Hevn, ɖe mt nt b ɖ tru rzmbḷns v yrslvz. Bt I hv nvr hd ɖz fīlñz loñ. Ɖe hv pást awe, n left m tranqil n cntntd.”

“N ɖe wl agn,” sd Cêleb.

“Bt, faɖr! Ǒ, mî gd jntl faɖr, ber wɖ m, f I am wicid!” sd ɖ Blînd Grl. “Ɖs z nt ɖ soro ɖt so weiz m dǎn!”

Hr faɖr cd nt ćūz bt let hiz môst îz oṿflo; ś wz so rnist n pʈetic. Bt h dd nt unḍstand hr yt.

“Brñ hr t m,” sd Brʈa. “I canot hold it clozd n śut wɖn mslf. Brñ hr t m, faɖr!”

Ś ń h heztetd, n sd, “Me. Brñ Me!”

Me hŕd ɖ mnśn v hr nem, n, cmñ qaytli twdz hr, tućt hr on ɖ arm. Ɖ Blînd Grl trnd imīɉtli, n hld hr bî bʈ handz.

“Lc intu mî fes, Dir hart, Swīt hart!” sd Brʈa. “Rīd it wɖ yr bytifl îz, n tel m f ɖ truʈ z ritn on it.”

“Dir Brʈa, yes!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl, stl uptrnñ ɖ blanc sîtlis fes, dǎn ẃć ɖ tirz wr corsñ fast, adrest hr in ɖz wrdz:

“Ɖr z nt, in mî soul, a wś or ʈt ɖt z nt fr yr gd, brît Me! Ɖr z nt, in mî soul, a gretfl rec̣lex́n strongr ɖn ɖ dīp rmembṛns ẃć z stord ɖr v ɖ mni mni tîmz ẃn, in ɖ fl prîd v sît n byti, y hv hd cnsiḍreśn fr Blînd Brʈa, īvn ẃn w tū wr ćildṛn, or ẃn Brʈa wz az mć a ćîld az evr blîndnis cn b! Evri blesñ on yr hed! Lît upn yr hapi cors! Nt ɖ les, mî dir Me,”—n ś drù twdz hr in a closr grasp,—“nt ɖ les, mî brd, bcz, tde, ɖ nolij ɖt y r t b Hiz wîf hz rúñ mî hart olmst t brecñ! Faɖr, Me, Mẹri! Ǒ, fgiv m ɖt it z so, fr ɖ sec v ol h hz dn t rliv ɖ wirinis v mî darc lîf: n fr ɖ sec v ɖ b’lif y hv in m, ẃn I cōl Hevn t witnis ɖt I cd nt wś him marid t a wîf mor wrɖi v hiz gdnis!”

Ẃl spīcñ, ś hd rlist Me Fīldñ’z handz, n claspt hr garmnts in an attyd v mngld supḷceśn n luv. Sncñ lowr n lowr dǎn, az ś pṛsidd in hr strenj cnfeśn, ś dropt at last at ɖ fīt v hr frend, n hid hr blînd fes in ɖ foldz v hr dres.

“Gret Pǎr!” xclemd hr faɖr, smitn at wn blo wɖ ɖ truʈ, “hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart at last?”

It wz wel fr ol v ɖm ɖt Dot, ɖt bīmñ, ysfl, bizi litl Dot—fr sć ś wz, ẃtvr fōlts ś hd, n hvr y me lrn t het hr, in gd tîm—it wz wel fr ol v ɖm, I se, ɖt ś wz ɖr, or ẃr ɖs wd hv endd, it wr hard t tel. Bt Dot, rcuṿrñ hr slf-pześn, inṭpozd, bfr Me cd rplî, or Cêleb se anɖr wrd.

“Cm, cm, dir Brʈa! cm awe wɖ m! Gv hr yr arm, Me! So. Hǎ cmpozd ś z, y si, olrdi; n hǎ gd it z v hr t mînd s,” sd ɖ ćiri litl wmn, cisñ hr upn ɖ fōrhed. “Cm awe, dir Brʈa! Cm! n hir’z hr gd faɖr wl cm wɖ hr, w’nt y, Cêleb? T—b—śr!”

Wel, wel! ś wz a nobl litl Dot in sć ʈñz, n it mst hv bn an objṛt nećr ɖt cd hv wɖstd hr inflụns. Ẃn ś hd got pur Cêleb n hiz Brʈa awe, ɖt ɖe mt cumf̣t n cnsol ć uɖr, az ś ń ɖe onli cd, ś prezntli cem bǎnsñ bac,—ɖ seyñ z, az freś az eni deizi; I se freśr—t mǎnt gard ovr ɖt braiḍlñ litl pìs v consiqns in ɖ cap n gluvz, n privnt ɖ dir old crīćr fṛm mcñ dscuṿriz.

“So brñ m ɖ preśs Bebi, Tili,” sd ś, drw̃ a ćer t ɖ fîr; “n ẃl I hv it in mî lap, hir’z Msz. Fīldñ, Tili, wl tel m ol abt ɖ manijmnt v Bebiz, n pt m rît in twenti pônts ẃr I’m az roñ az cn b. W’nt y, Msz. Fīldñ?”

“So brñ m ɖ preśs Bebi, Tili,” sd ś, drw̃ a ćer t ɖ fîr; “n ẃl I hv it in mî lap, hir’z Msz. Fīldñ, Tili, wl tel m ol abt ɖ manijmnt v Bebiz, n pt m rît in twenti pônts ẃr I’m az roñ az cn b. W’nt y, Msz. Fīldñ?”

Nt īvn ɖ Wlś Jaynt, hu, acordñ t ɖ popylr xpreśn, wz so “slo” az t pform a fetl srjicl oṗreśn upn himslf, in eḿleśn v a juġlñ tric aćivd bî hiz arć eṇmi at brecfsțîm; nt īvn h fél haf so reḍli intu ɖ sner priperd fr him az ɖ old ledi intu ɖs artfl pitfōl. Ɖ fact v Tacltn hvñ wōct ǎt; n frɖrmr, v tū or ʈri ppl hvñ bn tōcñ tgɖr at a distns, fr tū minits, līvñ hr t hr ǒn rzorsz; wz qt inuf t hv pt hr on hr digṇti, n ɖ bweilmnt v ɖt mstirịs cnvulśn in ɖ Inḍgo Tred, fr for-n-twenti aurz. Bt ɖs bcmñ defṛns t hr xpirịns, on ɖ part v ɖ yuñ muɖr, wz so irizistbl, ɖt aftr a śort afcteśn v hymiḷti, ś bgan t inlîtn hr wɖ ɖ bst gres in ɖ wrld; n, sitñ bolt uprît bfr ɖ wicid Dot, ś dd, in haf an aur, dlivr mor infaḷbl dmestic reṣpiz n prīsepts ɖn wd (f actd on) hv utrli dstroid n dn p ɖt Yuñ Pīribngl, ɖo h hd bn an Inf̣nt Samsn.

T ćenj ɖ ʈīm, Dot dd a litl nīdlwrc—ś carid ɖ contents v a hol wrcbox in hr pocit; hvr ś cntrîvd it, I d’nt nǒ—ɖen dd a litl nrsñ; ɖen a litl mor nīdlwrc; ɖen hd a litl ẃisṗrñ ćat wɖ Me, ẃl ɖ old ledi dozd; n so in litl bits v busl, ẃć wz qt hr manr olwz, faund it a vri śort afṭnun. Ɖen, az it grù darc, n az it wz a soḷm part v ɖs Insttyśn v ɖ Picnic ɖt ś śd pform ol Brʈa’z hǎshold tascs, ś trimd ɖ fîr, n swept ɖ harʈ, n set ɖ tībōrd ǎt, n drù ɖ crtn, n lîtd a candl. Ɖen ś pleid an er or tū on a rūd cnd v harp, ẃć Cêleb hd cntrîvd fr Brʈa, n pleid ɖm vri wel; fr Nećr hd md hr delic̣t litl ir az ćôs a wn fr ḿzic az it wd hv bn fr juwlz, f ś hd hd eni t wer. Bî ɖs tîm it wz ɖ istabliśt aur fr hvñ ti; n Tacltn cem bac agn t śer ɖ mīl, n spend ɖ īvnñ.

Cêleb n Brʈa hd rtrnd sm tîm bfr, n Cêleb hd sat dǎn t hiz afṭnun’z wrc. Bt h cd’nt setl t it, pur felo, biyñ añśs n rmorsfl fr hiz dōtr. It wz tućñ t si him sitñ îdl on hiz wrcñstūl, rgardñ hr so wistf̣li, n olwz seyñ in hiz fes, “Hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart?”

Ẃn it wz nît, n ti wz dn, n Dot hd nʈñ mor t d in wośñ p ɖ cups n sōsrz; in a wrd—fr I mst cm t it, n ɖr z no ys in ptñ it of—ẃn ɖ tîm drù nî fr xpctñ ɖ Carịr’z rtrn in evri sǎnd v distnt ẃīlz, hr manr ćenjd agn, hr culr cem n wnt, n ś wz vri restlis. Nt az gd wîvz r ẃn liṣnñ fr ɖer huzbndz. No, no, no. It wz anɖr sort v restlisnis fṛm ɖt.

Ẃīlz hŕd. A hors’z fīt. Ɖ barcñ v a dog. Ɖ grajl aproć v ol ɖ sǎndz. Ɖ scraćñ pw v Boxr at ɖ dor!

“Huz step z ɖt?” craid Brʈa, startñ p.

“Huz step?” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, standñ in ɖ portl, wɖ hiz brǎn fes rudi az a wintrbéri fṛm ɖ cīn nîter. “Ẃ, mîn.”

“Ɖ uɖr step,” sd Brʈa. “Ɖ man’z tréd bhnd y!”

“Ś z nt t b dsivd,” obzrvd ɖ Carịr, lafñ. “Cm alñ, sr. Y’l b welcm, nvr fir!”

H spouc in a lǎd ton; n, az h spouc, ɖ def old jntlmn entrd.

“H’z nt so mć a strenjr ɖt y hv’nt sìn him wns, Cêleb,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Y’l gv him hǎsrūm tl w g?”

“Ǒ, śrli, Jon, n tec it az an onr!”

“H’z ɖ bst cumṗni on rʈ t tōc sīcrits in,” sd Jon. “I hv rīzṇbl gd luñz, bt h trîz ’m, I cn tel y. Sit dǎn, sr. Ol frendz hir, n glad t si y!”

Ẃn h hd impartd ɖs aśuṛns, in a vôs ɖt ampli c’roḅretd ẃt h hd sd abt hiz luñz, h add in hiz naćṛl ton, “A ćer in ɖ ćimnicornr, n līv t sit qt sîḷnt n lc plezntli abt him, z ol h cerz fr. H’z īẓli plizd.”

Brʈa hd bn liṣnñ intntli. Ś cōld Cêleb t hr sîd, ẃn h hd set ɖ ćer, n asct him, in a lo vôs, t dscrîb ɖer vizitr. Ẃn h hd dn so (trūli nǎ, wɖ scrūpyḷs fideḷti), ś muvd, fr ɖ frst tîm sins h hd cm in, n said, n sīmd t hv no frɖr inṭrest cnsrnñ him.

Ɖ Carịr wz in hî spirits, gd felo ɖt h wz, n fondr v hiz litl wîf ɖn evr.

“A clumzi Dot ś wz, ɖs afṭnun!” h sd, insrc̣lñ hr wɖ hiz ruf arm, az ś std, rmuvd fṛm ɖ rest; “n yt I lîc hr smhǎ. Si yondr, Dot!”

H pôntd t ɖ old man. Ś lct dǎn. I ʈnc ś trembld.

“H’z—ha, ha, ha!—h’z fl v adṃreśn fr y!” sd ɖ Carịr. “Tōct v nʈñ els ɖ hol we hir. Ẃ, h’z a brev old bô! I lîc him fr it!”

“I wś h hd a betr subjict, Jon,” ś sd wɖ an unīzi glans abt ɖ rūm. At Tacltn ispeṣ́li.

“A betr subjict!” craid ɖ jovịl Jon. “Ɖr’z no sć ʈñ. Cm! of wɖ ɖ gretcot, of wɖ ɖ ʈic śōl, of wɖ ɖ hevi ráprz! n a cozi haf-aur bî ɖ fîr. Mî humbl srvis, mistris. A gem at cribij, y n I? Ɖt’s harti. Ɖ cardz n bōrd, Dot. N a glas v bir hir, f ɖr’z eni left, smōl wîf!”

Hiz ćalinj wz adrest t ɖ old ledi, hu, axptñ it wɖ greśs redinis, ɖe wr sn ingejd upn ɖ gem. At frst, ɖ Carịr lct abt him smtmz wɖ a smîl, or nǎ n ɖen cōld Dot t pīp ovr hiz śoldr at hiz hand, n advîz him on sm nóti pônt. Bt hiz advrṣri biyñ a rijid diṣplinerịn, n subjict t an oceźnl wìcnis in rspct v pegñ mor ɖn ś wz intîtld t, rqîrd sć vijiḷns on hiz part, az left him nɖr îz nr irz t sper. Ɖus, hiz hol atnśn graɉli bcem abzorbd upn ɖ cardz; n h ʈt v nʈñ els, untl a hand upn hiz śoldr rstord him t a conśsnis v Tacltn.

“I am sori t dstrb y—bt a wrd d’recli.”

“I’m gwñ t dīl,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “It’s a crîsis.”

“It z,” sd Tacltn. “Cm hir, man!”

Ɖr wz ɖt in hiz pel fes ẃć md ɖ uɖr rîz imīɉtli, n asc him, in a huri, ẃt ɖ matr wz.

“Huś! Jon Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn, “I am sori fr ɖs. I am indd. I hv bn afred v it. I hv sspctd it fṛm ɖ frst.”

“Ẃt z it?” asct ɖ Carịr wɖ a frîtnd aspect.

“Huś! I’l śo y, f y’l cm wɖ m.”

Ɖ Carịr acumṗnid him wɖt anɖr wrd. Ɖe wnt acrs a yard, ẃr ɖ starz wr śînñ, n bî a litl sîddor, intu Tacltn’z ǒn cǎntñhǎs, ẃr ɖr wz a glas windo, cmandñ ɖ wéŗūm, ẃć wz clozd fr ɖ nît. Ɖr wz no lît in ɖ cǎntñhǎs itslf, bt ɖr wr lamps in ɖ loñ naro wéŗūm; n consiqntli ɖ windo wz brît.

“A momnt!” sd Tacltn. “Cn y ber t lc ʈru ɖt windo, d y ʈnc?”

“Ẃ nt?” rtrnd ɖ Carịr.

“A momnt mor,” sd Tacltn. “D’nt cmit eni vayḷns. It’s v no ys. It’s denjṛs tù. Y’r a stroñ-md man; n y mt d mrdr bfr y nǒ it.”

Ɖ Carịr lct him in ɖ fes, n rcôld a step az f h hd bn struc. In wn strîd h wz at ɖ windo, n h sw——

Ǒ, Śado on ɖ Harʈ! Ǒ, truʈfl Cricit! Ǒ, pfidịs wîf!

H sw hr wɖ ɖ old man—old no longr, bt irect n gaḷnt—bẹrñ in hiz hand ɖ fōls ẃît her ɖt hd wún hiz we intu ɖer dezḷt n mizṛbl hom. H sw hr liṣnñ t him, az h bnt hiz hed t ẃispr in hr ir; n suf̣rñ him t clasp hr rnd ɖ weist, az ɖe muvd slǒli dǎn ɖ dim wŭdn gaḷri twdz ɖ dor bî ẃć ɖe hd entrd it. H sw ɖm stop, n sw hr trn—t hv ɖ fes, ɖ fes h luvd so, so prizntd t hiz vy!—n sw hr, wɖ hr ǒn handz, ajust ɖ lî upn hiz hed, lafñ, az ś dd it, at hiz unsspiśs nećr!

H clenćt hiz stroñ rît hand at frst, az f it wd hv bìtn dǎn a layn. Bt, oṗnñ it imīɉtli agn, h spred it ǎt bfr ɖ îz v Tacltn (fr h wz tndr v hr īvn ɖen), n so, az ɖe pást ǎt, fél dǎn upn a dsc, n wz az wìc az eni inf̣nt.

H wz rápt p t ɖ ćin, n bizi wɖ hiz hors n parslz, ẃn ś cem intu ɖ rūm, priperd fr gwñ hom.

“Nǎ, Jon dir! Gd nît, Me! Gd nît, Brʈa!”

Cd ś cis ɖm? Cd ś b blîɖ n ćirfl in hr partñ? Cd ś vnćr t rvil hr fes t ɖm wɖt a bluś? Yes. Tacltn obzrvd hr closli, n ś dd ol ɖs.

Tili wz huśñ ɖ bebi, n ś crost n rīcrost Tacltn a duzn tîmz, rpitñ drǎẓli:

“Dd ɖ nolij ɖt it wz t b its wîvz, ɖen, riñ its hārts olmst t brecñ; n dd its faɖrz dsiv it fṛm its credlz bt t brec its hārts at last!”

“Nǎ, Tili, gv m ɖ Bebi! Gd nît, Mr. Tacltn. Ẃr’z Jon, fr gdnis’ sec?”

“H’z gwñ t wōc bsd ɖ hors’z hed,” sd Tacltn; hu hlpt hr t hr sīt.

“Mî dir Jon! Wōc? Tnît?”

Ɖ mufld figr v hr huzbnd md a hesti sîn in ɖ afrṃtiv; n, ɖ fōls strenjr n ɖ litl nrs biyñ in ɖer plesz, ɖ old hors muvd of. Boxr, ɖ unconśs Boxr, runñ on bfr, runñ bac, runñ rnd n rnd ɖ cart, n barcñ az trîumfntli n meṛli az evr.

Ẃn Tacltn hd gn of lîcwz, iscortñ Me n hr muɖr hom, pur Cêleb sat dǎn bî ɖ fîr bsd hiz dōtr; añśs n rmorsfl at ɖ cor; n stl seyñ, in hiz wistfl contmpleśn v hr, “Hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart at last?”

Ɖ tôz ɖt hd bn set in mośn fr ɖ Bebi hd ol stopt n run dǎn loñ ago. In ɖ fent lît n sîḷns, ɖ imṗtrbbli cām dolz, ɖ ajtetd rocñhorsz wɖ dstndd îz n nostṛlz, ɖ old jntlṃn at ɖ strītdorz, standñ haf dubld p upn ɖer felñ niz n anclz, ɖ rai-fest nutcracrz, ɖ vri Bīsts upn ɖer we intu ɖ Arc, in tūz, lîc a Bordñscūl ǎt wōcñ, mt hv bn imajind t b stricn mośnlis wɖ fntastic wundr at Dot biyñ fōls, or Tacltn b’luvid, undr eni combneśn v srcmstansz.

ĆRP Ɖ ƮRD

Ɖ  Duć cloc in ɖ cornr struc Ten ẃn ɖ Carịr sat dǎn bî hiz fîrsîd. So trubld n grīf-wòrn ɖt h sīmd t scer ɖ Ccu, hu, hvñ cut hiz ten mlodịs anǎnsmnts az śort az poṣbl, plunjd bac intu ɖ Mūriś Palis agn, n clapt hiz litl dor bhnd him, az f ɖ unwontd specṭcl wr tù mć fr hiz fīlñz.

F ɖ litl He-mcr hd bn armd wɖ ɖ śarpist v sîɖz, n hd cut at evri stroc intu ɖ Carịr’z hart, h nvr cd hv gaśt n wūndd it az Dot hd dn.

It wz a hart so fl v luv fr hr; so baund p n hld tgɖr bî ińmṛbl ʈredz v winñ rmembṛns, spun fṛm ɖ dêli wrcñ v hr mni qoḷtz v indirmnt; it wz a hart in ẃć ś hd inśrînd hrslf so jntli n so closli; a hart so sngl n so rnist in its Truʈ, so stroñ in rît, so wìc in roñ,—ɖt it cd ćeriś nɖr paśn nr rvnj at frst, n hd onli rūm t hold ɖ brocn imij v its Aidl.

Bt, slǒli, slǒli, az ɖ Carịr sat brūdñ on hiz harʈ, nǎ cold n darc, uɖr n firsr ʈts bgan t rîz wɖn him, az an angri wind cmz rîzñ in ɖ nît. Ɖ Strenjr wz bnʈ hiz ǎtrejd rūf. Ʈri steps wd tec him t hiz ćembrdor. Wn blo wd bìt it in. “Y mt d mrdr bfr y nǒ it,” Tacltn hd sd. Hǎ cd it b mrdr, f h gev ɖ viḷn tîm t grapl wɖ him hand t hand? H wz ɖ yungr man.

It wz an il-tîmd ʈt, bad fr ɖ darc mūd v hiz mînd. It wz an angri ʈt, gǒdñ him t sm avnjñ act, ɖt śd ćenj ɖ ćirfl hǎs intu a hōntd ples ẃć lonli travlrz wd dred t pas bî nît; n ẃr ɖ timid wd si śadoz struġlñ in ɖ ruind windoz ẃn ɖ mūn wz dim, n hír wîld nôzz in ɖ stormi weɖr.

H wz ɖ yungr man! Yes, yes; sm luvr hu hd wún ɖ hart ɖt h hd nvr tućt. Sm luvr v hr rli ćôs, v hūm ś hd ʈt n drīmd, fr hūm ś hd pînd n pînd, ẃn h hd fansid hr so hapi bî hiz sîd. Ǒ, aġni t ʈnc v it!

Ś hd bn abv-sterz wɖ ɖ Bebi; gtñ it t bed. Az h sat brūdñ on ɖ harʈ, ś cem clos bsd him, wɖt hiz nolij—in ɖ trnñ v ɖ rac v hiz gret miẓri, h lost ol uɖr sǎndz—n pt hr litl stūl at hiz fīt. H onli ń it ẃn h flt hr hand upn hiz ǒn, n sw hr lcñ p intu hiz fes.

Wɖ wundr? No. It wz hiz frst impreśn, n h wz fein t lc at hr agn, t set it rît. No, nt wɖ wundr. Wɖ an īgr n inqîrñ lc; bt nt wɖ wundr. At frst it wz alarmd n sirịs; ɖen, it ćenjd intu a strenj, wîld, dredfl smîl v recgniśn v hiz ʈts; ɖen, ɖr wz nʈñ bt hr claspt handz on hr brǎ, n hr bnt hed, n fōlñ her.

Ɖo ɖ pǎr v Omniṗtns hd bn hiz t wīld at ɖt momnt, h hd tù mć v its dvînr proṗti v Mrsi in hiz brest, t hv trnd wn feɖr’z weit v it agnst hr. Bt h cd nt ber t si hr crǎćñ dǎn upn ɖ litl sīt ẃr h hd ofn lct on hr, wɖ luv n prîd, so iṇsnt n ge; n, ẃn ś rouz n left him, sobñ az ś wnt, h flt it a rlif t hv ɖ vecnt ples bsd him rɖr ɖn hr so loñ-ćeriśt prezns. Ɖs in itslf wz anḡś cīnr ɖn ol, rmîndñ him hǎ dezḷt h wz bcm, n hǎ ɖ gret bond v hiz lîf wz rént asundr.

Ɖ mor h flt ɖs, n ɖ mor h ń h cd hv betr bòrn t si hr layñ preṃtyrli ded bfr him wɖ hr litl ćîld upn hr brest, ɖ hayr n ɖ strongr rouz hiz roʈ agnst hiz eṇmi. H lct abt him fr a wepn.

Ɖr wz a gun haññ on ɖ wōl. H tc it dǎn, n muvd a pes or tū twdz ɖ dor v ɖ pfidịs Strenjr’z rūm. H ń ɖ gun wz lodd. Sm śadǒi îdīa ɖt it wz just t śūt ɖs man lîc a wîld bīst sizd him, n dletd in hiz mînd untl it grù intu a monstṛs dīmn in cmplit pześn v him, castñ ǎt ol mîldr ʈts, n setñ p its undivîdd empîr.

Ɖt frêz z roñ. Nt castñ ǎt hiz mîldr ʈts, bt artf̣li trnsformñ ɖm. Ćenjñ ɖm intu scrjz t drîv him on. Trnñ wōtr intu blud, luv intu het, jntlnis intu blînd f’roṣti. Hr imij, sorowñ, humbld, bt stl plīdñ t hiz tndrnis n mrsi wɖ rzistlis pǎr, nvr left hiz mînd; bt, steyñ ɖr, it rjd him t ɖ dor; rezd ɖ wepn t hiz śoldr; fitd n nrvd hiz fngrz t ɖ trigr; n craid “Cil him! In hiz bed!”

H rvrst ɖ gun t bìt ɖ stoc upn ɖ dor; h olrdi hld it liftd in ɖ er; sm indistñt dzîn wz in hiz ʈts v cōlñ ǎt t him t flî, fr God’z sec, bî ɖ windo——

Ẃn sudnli, ɖ struġlñ fîr iluṃnetd ɖ hol ćimni wɖ a glo v lît; n ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ bgan t Ćrp!

Ẃn sudnli, ɖ struġlñ fîr iluṃnetd ɖ hol ćimni wɖ a glo v lît; n ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ bgan t Ćrp!

No sǎnd h cd hv hŕd, no hymn vôs, nt īvn hrz, cd so hv muvd n sofnd him. Ɖ artlis wrdz in ẃć ś hd tld him v hr luv fr ɖs sem Cricit wr wns mor freśli spocn; hr tremḅlñ, rnist manr at ɖ momnt wz agn bfr him; hr pleznt vôs—ǒ, ẃt a vôs it wz fr mcñ hǎsholdḿzic at ɖ fîrsîd v an onist man!—ʈrild ʈru n ʈru hiz betr nećr, n awouc it intu lîf n ax́n.

H rcôld fṛm ɖ dor, lîc a man wōcñ in hiz slīp, awecnd fṛm a frîtfl drīm; n pt ɖ gun asd. Claspñ hiz handz bfr hiz fes, h ɖen sat dǎn agn bsd ɖ fîr, n faund rlif in tirz.

Claspñ hiz handz bfr hiz fes, h ɖen sat dǎn agn bsd ɖ fîr, n faund rlif in tirz.

Ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ cem ǎt intu ɖ rūm, n std in Fẹri śep bfr him.

“‘I luv it,’” sd ɖ Fẹri Vôs, rpitñ ẃt h wel rmembrd, “‘fr ɖ mni tîmz I hv hŕd it, n ɖ mni ʈts its harmlis ḿzic hz gvn m.’”

“Ś sd so!” craid ɖ Carịr. “Tru!”

“‘Ɖs hz bn a hapi hom, Jon! n I luv ɖ Cricit fr its sec!’”

“It hz bn, Hevn nz,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “Ś md it hapi, olwz,—untl nǎ.”

“So gresf̣li swīt-tmprd; so dmestic, jôfl, bizi, n lît-hartd!” sd ɖ Vôs.

“Uɖ̇wz I nvr cd hv luvd hr az I dd,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr.

Ɖ Vôs, c’rectñ him, sd “d.”

Ɖ Carịr rpitd “az I dd.” Bt nt frmli. Hiz fōlṭrñ tuñ rzistd hiz cntrol, n wd spīc in its ǒn we fr itslf n him.

Ɖ Figr, in an attyd v invceśn, rezd its hand n sd:

“Upn yr ǒn harʈ—”

“Ɖ harʈ ś hz blîtd,” inṭpozd ɖ Carịr.

“Ɖ harʈ ś hz—hǎ ofn!—blest n brîtnd,” sd ɖ Cricit; “ɖ harʈ ẃć, bt fr hr, wr onli a fy stonz n brics n rusti barz, bt ẃć hz bn, ʈru hr, ɖ Ōltr v yr Hom; on ẃć y hv nîtli sacṛfîst sm peti paśn, slfiśnis, or cer, n ofrd p ɖ homij v a tranqil mînd, a trustñ nećr, n an oṿflowñ hart; so ɖt ɖ smoc fṛm ɖs pur ćimni hz gn upwd wɖ a betr fregṛns ɖn ɖ rićist insns ɖt z brnt bfr ɖ rićist śrînz in ol ɖ gōdi templz v ɖs wrld!—Upn yr ǒn harʈ; in its qayt sañćri; srǎndd bî its jntl inflụnsz n asośieśnz; hír hr! Hír m! Hír evrʈñ ɖt spīcs ɖ lanḡj v yr harʈ n hom!”

“N plīdz fr hr?” inqîrd ɖ Carịr.

“Ol ʈñz ɖt spīc ɖ lanḡj v yr harʈ n hom mst plīd fr hr!” rtrnd ɖ Cricit. “Fr ɖe spīc ɖ truʈ.”

N ẃl ɖ Carịr, wɖ hiz hed upn hiz handz, cntinyd t sit medtetñ in hiz ćer, ɖ Prezns std bsd him, sjstñ hiz rflex́nz bî its pǎr, n prizntñ ɖm bfr him, az in a glas or picćr. It wz nt a solitri Prezns. Fṛm ɖ harʈston, fṛm ɖ ćimni, fṛm ɖ cloc, ɖ pîp, ɖ cetl, n ɖ credl; fṛm ɖ flor, ɖ wōlz, ɖ sīlñ, n ɖ sterz; fṛm ɖ cart wɖt, n ɖ cuḅd wɖn, n ɖ hǎsholdimplimnts; fṛm evrʈñ n evri ples wɖ ẃć ś hd evr bn fmiłr, n wɖ ẃć ś hd evr intwînd wn rec̣lex́n v hrslf in hr unhapi huzbnd’z mînd,—Fẹriz cem trūpñ fʈ. Nt t stand bsd him az ɖ Cricit dd, bt t bizi n bstŕ ɖmslvz. T d ol onr t hr imij. T pl him bî ɖ scrts, n pônt t it ẃn it apird. T clustr rnd it, n imbres it, n stru flǎrz fr it t tréd on. T trî t crǎn its fer hed wɖ ɖer tîni handz. T śo ɖt ɖe wr fond v it, n luvd it; n ɖt ɖr wz nt wn ugli, wicid, or akzetri crīćr t clem nolij v it—nn bt ɖer plêfl n apruvñ slvz.

Hiz ʈts wr constnt t hr imij. It wz olwz ɖr.

Ś sat playñ hr nīdl, bfr ɖ fîr, n sññ t hrslf. Sć a blîɖ, ʈrîvñ, stedi litl Dot! Ɖ Fẹri figrz trnd upn him ol at wns, bî wn cnsnt, wɖ wn pṛdijs consntretd stér, n sīmd t se, “Z ɖs ɖ lît wîf y r mōrnñ fr?”

Ɖr wr sǎndz v geyti ǎtsd, ḿzicl instṛmnts, n nôzi tuñz, n laftr. A crǎd v yuñ meri-mcrz cem porñ in, amñ hūm wr Me Fīldñ n a scor v priti grlz. Dot wz ɖ fẹrist v ɖm ol; az yuñ az eni v ɖm tù. Ɖe cem t sumn hr t jôn ɖer parti. It wz a dans. F evr litl ft wr md fr dansñ, hrz wz, śrli. Bt ś laft, n śc hr hed, n pôntd t hr cc̣ri on ɖ fîr, n hr tebl redi spred; wɖ an xultñ dfayns ɖt rendrd hr mor ćarmñ ɖn ś wz bfr. N so ś meṛli dsmist ɖm, nodñ t hr wd-bi partnrz, wn bî wn, az ɖe pást ǎt, wɖ a comicl indifṛns, inuf t mc ɖm g n drǎn ɖmslvz imīɉtli f ɖe wr hr admîrrz—n ɖe mst hv bn so, mor or les; ɖe cd’nt hlp it. N yt indifṛns wz nt hr caṛctr. Ǒ no! Fr prezntli ɖr cem a srtn Carịr t ɖ dor; n, bles hr, ẃt a welcm ś bstoud upn him!

Agn ɖ stẹrñ figrz trnd upn him ol at wns, n sīmd t se, “Z ɖs ɖ wîf hu hz fōrsecn y?”

A śado fél upn ɖ mirr or ɖ picćr: cōl it ẃt y wl. A gret śado v ɖ Strenjr, az h frst std undnʈ ɖer rūf; cuṿrñ its srfis, n blotñ ǎt ol uɖr objicts. Bt, ɖ nimbl Fẹriz wrct lîc bìz t clir it of agn. N Dot agn wz ɖr. Stl brît n bytifl.

Rocñ hr litl Bebi in its credl, sññ t it softli, n restñ hr hed upn a śoldr ẃć hd its cǎnṭpart in ɖ ḿzñ figr bî ẃć ɖ Fẹri Cricit std.

Ɖ nît—I mīn ɖ riyl nît: nt gwñ bî Fẹri clocs—wz wẹrñ nǎ; n, in ɖs stej v ɖ Carịr’z ʈts, ɖ mūn brst ǎt, n śon brîtli in ɖ scî. Phps sm cām n qayt lît hd rizn olso in hiz mînd; n h cd ʈnc mor sobrli v ẃt hd hapnd.

Olɖo ɖ śado v ɖ Strenjr fél at inṭvlz upn ɖ glas—olwz dstñt, n big, n ʈuṛli dfînd—it nvr fél so darcli az at frst. Ẃnvr it apird, ɖ Fẹriz utrd a jenṛl crî v consṭneśn, n plaid ɖer litl armz n legz wɖ incnsiṿbl activti t rub it ǎt. N ẃnvr ɖe got at Dot agn, n śoud hr t him wns mor, brît n bytifl, ɖe ćird in ɖ most inspîrñ manr.

Ɖe nvr śoud hr uɖ̇wz ɖn bytifl n brît, fr ɖe wr Hǎshold Spirits t hūm fōlshd z an anạleśn; n biyñ so, ẃt Dot wz ɖr fr ɖm, bt ɖ wn activ, bīmñ, pleznt litl crīćr hu hd bn ɖ lît n sún v ɖ Carịr’z Hom?

Ɖ Fẹriz wr pṛdiɉsli xîtd ẃn ɖe śoud hr, wɖ ɖ Bebi, goṣpñ amñ a nót v sej old metṛnz, n afctñ t b wundṛs old n metṛnli hrslf, n līnñ in a stêd dḿr old we upn hr huzbnd’z arm, atmtñ—ś! sć a bud v a litl wmn—t cnve ɖ îdīa v hvñ abjurd ɖ vaṇtiz v ɖ wrld in jenṛl, n v biyñ ɖ sort v prsn t hūm it wz no novlti at ol t b a muɖr; yt, in ɖ sem breʈ, ɖe śoud hr lafñ at ɖ Carịr fr biyñ ōcẉd, n pŭlñ p hiz śrt colr t mc him smart, n minsñ meṛli abt ɖt vri rūm t tīć him hǎ t dans!

Ɖe trnd, n stérd imnsli at him ẃn ɖe śoud hr wɖ ɖ Blînd Grl; fr, ɖo ś carid ćirflnis n aṇmeśn wɖ hr ẃr-so-evr ś wnt, ś bòr ɖoz inflụnsz intu Cêleb Plumr’z hom, hīpt p n runñ ovr. Ɖ Blînd Grl’z luv fr hr, n trust in hr, n grattyd t hr; hr ǒn gd bizi we v setñ Brʈa’z ʈancs asd; hr dxtṛs litl arts fr filñ p ć momnt v ɖ vizit in dwñ smʈñ ysfl t ɖ hǎs, n riyli wrcñ hard ẃl fênñ t mc hoḷde; hr bǎntifl pṛviźn v ɖoz standñ delic̣siz, ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ɖ botlz v Bir; hr redịnt litl fes arîvñ at ɖ dor, n tecñ līv; ɖ wundrfl xpreśn in hr hol slf, fṛm hr nīt ft t ɖ crǎn v hr hed, v biyñ a part v ɖ istabliśmnt—a smʈñ nesṣri t it, ẃć it cd’nt b wɖt,—ol ɖs ɖ Fẹriz revld in, n luvd hr fr. N wns agn ɖe lct upn him ol at wns, apilñli, n sīmd t se, ẃl sm amñ ɖm nesld in hr dres n fondld hr, “Z ɖs ɖ wîf hu hz btreid yr confidns?”

Mor ɖn wns, or twîs, or ʈrîs, in ɖ loñ ʈtfl nît, ɖe śoud hr t him sitñ on hr feṿrit sīt, wɖ hr bnt hed, hr handz claspt on hr brǎ, hr fōlñ her. Az h hd sìn hr last. N ẃn ɖe faund hr ɖus, ɖe nɖr trnd nr lct upn him, bt gaɖrd clos rnd hr, n cumf̣td n cist hr, n prest on wn anɖr, t śo simṗʈi n cîndnis t hr, n fgot him oltgɖr.

Ɖus ɖ nît pást. Ɖ mūn wnt dǎn; ɖ starz grù pel; ɖ cold de brouc; ɖ sún rouz. Ɖ Carịr stl sat, ḿzñ, in ɖ ćimnicornr. H hd sat ɖr, wɖ hiz hed upn hiz handz, ol nît. Ol nît ɖ feʈfl Cricit hd bn Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrpñ on ɖ Harʈ. Ol nît h hd lisnd t its vôs. Ol nît ɖ Hǎshold Fẹriz hd bn bizi wɖ him. Ol nît ś hd bn emịbl n blemlis in ɖ glas, xpt ẃn ɖt wn śado fél upn it.

H rouz p ẃn it wz brōd de, n wośt n drest himslf. H cd’nt g abt hiz custmri ćirfl aṿceśnz—h wontd spirit fr ɖm—bt it matrd ɖ les ɖt it wz Tacltn’z wedñde, n h hd arenjd t mc hiz rǎndz bî proxi. H hd ʈt t hv gn meṛli t ćrć wɖ Dot. Bt sć planz wr at an end. It wz ɖer ǒn wedñde tù. Ā! hǎ litl h hd lct fr sć a cloz t sć a yir!

Ɖ Carịr xpctd ɖt Tacltn wd pe him an rli vizit; n h wz rît. H hd nt wōct t n fro bfr hiz ǒn dor mni minits, ẃn h sw ɖ tômrćnt cmñ in hiz śêz alñ ɖ rod. Az ɖ śêz drù nirr, h psivd ɖt Tacltn wz drest ǎt sprūsli fr hiz marij, n ɖt h hd dec̣retd hiz hors’z hed wɖ flǎrz n fevrz.

Ɖ hors lct mć mor lîc a brîdgrūm ɖn Tacltn, huz haf-clozd î wz mor dis’griybli xpresiv ɖn evr. Bt ɖ Carịr tc litl hīd v ɖs. Hiz ʈts hd uɖr okpeśn.

“Jon Pīribngl!” sd Tacltn wɖ an er v cndoḷns. “Mî gd felo, hǎ d y fînd yrslf ɖs mornñ?”

“I hv hd bt a pur nît, Mastr Tacltn,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, śecñ hiz hed: “fr I hv bn a gd dīl dstrbd in mî mînd. Bt it’s ovr nǎ! Cn y sper m haf an aur or so, fr sm prîṿt tōc?”

“I cem on prṗs,” rtrnd Tacltn, alîtñ. “Nvr mînd ɖ hors. H’l stand qayt inuf, wɖ ɖ reinz ovr ɖs post, f y’l gv him a mǎʈfl v he.”

Ɖ Carịr hvñ bròt it fṛm hiz stebl n set it bfr him, ɖe trnd intu ɖ hǎs.

“Y r nt marid bfr nūn,” h sd, “I ʈnc?”

“No,” ansrd Tacltn. “Plenti v tîm. Plenti v tîm.”

Ẃn ɖe entrd ɖ cićn, Tili Slǒbô wz rapñ at ɖ Strenjr’z dor; ẃć wz onli rmuvd fṛm it bî a fy steps. Wn v hr vri red îz (fr Tili hd bn crayñ ol nît loñ, bcz hr mistris craid) wz at ɖ cīhol; n ś wz nocñ vri lǎd, n sīmd frîtnd.

“F y plīz I c’nt mc nbdi hír,” sd Tili, lcñ rnd. “I hop nbdi an’t gn n bn n daid f y plīz!”

Ɖs fiḷnʈropic wś Mis Slǒbô emf̣sîzd wɖ verịs ny raps n cics at ɖ dor, ẃć léd t no rzult ẃtvr.

“Śl I g?” sd Tacltn. “It’s krịs.”

Ɖ Carịr, hu hd trnd hiz fes fṛm ɖ dor, sînd him t g f h wd.

So Tacltn wnt t Tili Slǒbô’z rlif; n h tù cict n noct; n h tù feld t gt ɖ līst rplî. Bt h ʈt v trayñ ɖ handl v ɖ dor; n, az it opnd īẓli, h pīpt in, lct in, wnt in, n sn cem runñ ǎt agn.

“Jon Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn in hiz ir, “I hop ɖr hz bn nʈñ—nʈñ raś in ɖ nît?”

Ɖ Carịr trnd upn him qcli.

“Bcz h’z gn!” sd Tacltn; “n ɖ windo’z opn. I d’nt si eni marcs—t b śr, it’s olmst on a levl wɖ ɖ gardn: bt I wz afred ɖr mt hv bn sm—sm scufl. Ê?”

H nirli śut p ɖ xpresiv î oltgɖr; h lct at him so hard. N h gev hiz î, n hiz fes, n hiz hol prsn, a śarp twist. Az f h wd hv scrùd ɖ truʈ ǎt v him.

“Mc yrslf īzi,” sd ɖ Carịr. “H wnt intu ɖt rūm last nît, wɖt harm in wrd or dīd fṛm m, n nwn hz entrd it sins. H z awe v hiz ǒn fri wil. I’d g ǎt gladli at ɖt dor, n beg mî bred fṛm hǎs t hǎs, fr lîf, f I cd so ćenj ɖ past ɖt h hd nvr cm. Bt h hz cm n gn. N I hv dn wɖ him!”

“Ǒ!—Wel, I ʈnc h hz got of priti īzi,” sd Tacltn, tecñ a ćer.

Ɖ snir wz lost upn ɖ Carịr, hu sat dǎn tù, n śêdd hiz fes wɖ hiz hand, fr sm litl tîm, bfr pṛsidñ.

“Y śoud m last nît,” h sd at leñʈ, “mî wîf—mî wîf ɖt I luv—sīcṛtli—”

“N tndrli,” insińuetd Tacltn.

“—Cnîvñ at ɖt man’z dsgîz, n gvñ him oṗtyṇtiz v mītñ hr alon. I ʈnc ɖr’z no sît I wd’nt hv rɖr sìn ɖn ɖt. I ʈnc ɖr’z no man in ɖ wrld I wd’nt hv rɖr hd t śo it m.”

“I cnfes t hvñ hd mî sspiśnz olwz,” sd Tacltn. “N ɖt hz md m objx́ṇbl hir, I nǒ.”

“Bt, az y dd śo it m,” psyd ɖ Carịr, nt mîndñ him; “n az y sw hr, mî wîf, mî wîf ɖt I luv”—hiz vôs, n î, n hand grù stedịr n frmr az h rpitd ɖz wrdz: evidntli in psywns v a stedfst prṗs—“az y sw hr at ɖs dis’dvantij, it z rît n just ɖt y śd olso si wɖ mî îz, n lc intu mî brest, n nǒ ẃt mî mînd z upn ɖ subjict. Fr it’s setld,” sd ɖ Carịr, rgardñ him atntivli. “N nʈñ cn śec it nǎ.”

Tacltn mutrd a fy jenṛl wrdz v asnt abt its biyñ nesṣri t vinḍcet smʈñ or uɖr; bt h wz oṿōd bî ɖ manr v hiz cmpańn. Plen n unpoliśt az it wz, it hd a smʈñ digṇfaid n nobl in it, ẃć nʈñ bt ɖ soul v jenṛs onr dwelñ in ɖ man cd hv impartd.

“I am a plen, ruf man,” psyd ɖ Carịr “wɖ vri litl t rec̣mnd m. I am nt a clevr man, az y vri wel nǒ. I am nt a yuñ man. I luvd mî litl Dot, bcz I hd sìn hr gro p, fṛm a ćîld, in hr faɖr’z hǎs; bcz I ń hǎ preśs ś wz; bcz ś hd bn mî lîf fr yirz n yirz. Ɖr’z mni men I c’nt cmper wɖ, hu nvr cd hv luvd mî litl Dot lîc m, I ʈnc!”

H pōzd, n softli bìt ɖ grǎnd a śort tîm wɖ hiz ft, bfr rzymñ:

“I ofn ʈt ɖt ɖo I wz’nt gd inuf fr hr, I śd mc hr a cînd huzbnd, n phps nǒ hr valy betr ɖn anɖr; n in ɖs we I recnsîld it t mslf, n cem t ʈnc it mt b poṣbl ɖt w śd b marid. N, in ɖ end, it cem abt, n w wr marid!”

“Ha!” sd Tacltn wɖ a sgnificnt śec v hiz hed.

“I hd studid mslf; I hd hd xpirịns v mslf; I ń hǎ mć I luvd hr, n hǎ hapi I śd b,” psyd ɖ Carịr. “Bt I hd nt—I fīl it nǎ—sfiśntli cnsidrd hr.”

“T b śr,” sd Tacltn. “Gidinis, frivoḷti, ficlnis, luv v adṃreśn! Nt cnsidrd! Ol left ǎt v sît! Ha!”

“Y hd bst nt inṭrupt m,” sd ɖ Carịr wɖ sm strņis, “tl y unḍstand m; n y’r wîd v dwñ so. F, yesṭde, I’d hv struc ɖt man dǎn at a blo, hu derd t briɖ a wrd agnst hr, tde I’d set mî ft upn hiz fes, f h wz mî bruɖr!”

Ɖ tômrćnt gezd at him in astoniśmnt. H wnt on in a softr ton:

“Dd I cnsidr,” sd ɖ Carịr, “ɖt I tc hr—at hr ej, n wɖ hr byti—fṛm hr yuñ cmpańnz, n ɖ mni sīnz v ẃć ś wz ɖ orṇmnt; in ẃć ś wz ɖ brîtist litl star ɖt evr śon, t śut hr p fṛm de t de in mî dul hǎs, n cīp mî tīdịs cumṗni? Dd I cnsidr hǎ litl sūtd I wz t hr sprîtli hymr, n hǎ wirism a plodñ man lîc m mst b t wn v hr qc spirit? Dd I cnsidr ɖt it wz no merit in m, or clem in m, ɖt I luvd hr, ẃn evrbdi mst hu ń hr? Nvr. I tc advantij v hr hopfl nećr n hr ćirfl dispziśn; n I marid hr. I wś I nvr hd! Fr hr sec; nt fr mîn!”

Ɖ tômrćnt gezd at him wɖt wncñ. Īvn ɖ haf-śut î wz opn nǎ.

“Hevn bles hr!” sd ɖ Carịr, “fr ɖ ćirfl constnsi wɖ ẃć ś hz traid t cīp ɖ nolij v ɖs fṛm m! N Hevn hlp m, ɖt, in mî slo mînd, I hv nt faund it ǎt bfr! Pur ćîld! Pur Dot! I nt t fînd it ǎt, hu hv sìn hr îz fil wɖ tirz ẃn sć a marij az ǎr ǒn wz spocn v! I, hu hv sìn ɖ sīcrit tremḅlñ on hr lips a hundṛd tîmz, n nvr sspctd it, tl last nît! Pur grl! Ɖt I cd evr hop ś wd b fond v m! Ɖt I cd evr b’liv ś wz!”

“Ś md a śo v it,” sd Tacltn. “Ś md sć a śo v it, ɖt, t tel y ɖ truʈ, it wz ɖ oṛjin v mî msgvñz.”

N hir h asrtd ɖ s’pirioṛti v Me Fīldñ, hu srtnli md no sort v śo v biyñ fond v him.

“Ś hz traid,” sd ɖ pur Carịr wɖ gretr imośn ɖn h hd xibtd yt; “I onli nǎ bgin t nǒ hǎ hard ś hz traid, t b mî dytifl n zeḷs wîf. Hǎ gd ś hz bn; hǎ mć ś hz dn; hǎ brev n stroñ a hart ś hz; let ɖ hapinis I hv noun undr ɖs rūf ber witnis! It wl b sm hlp n cumf̣t t m ẃn I am hir alon.”

“Hir alon?” sd Tacltn. “Ǒ! Ɖen y d mīn t tec sm notis v ɖs?”

“I mīn,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, “t d hr ɖ gretist cîndnis, n mc hr ɖ bst reṗreśn, in mî pǎr. I cn rlis hr fṛm ɖ dêli pen v an unīql marij, n ɖ strugl t cnsil it. Ś śl b az fri az I cn rendr hr.”

“Mc hr reṗreśn!” xclemd Tacltn, twistñ n trnñ hiz gret irz wɖ hiz handz. “Ɖr mst b smʈñ roñ hir. Y dd’nt se ɖt, v cors.”

Ɖ Carịr set hiz grip upn ɖ colr v ɖ tômrćnt, n śc him lîc a rìd.

“Lisn t m!” h sd. “N tec cer ɖt y hír m rît. Lisn t m. D I spīc plenli?”

“Vri plenli indd,” ansrd Tacltn.

“Az f I mnt it?”

“Vri mć az f y mnt it.”

“I sat upn ɖt harʈ, last nît, ol nît,” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “On ɖ spot ẃr ś hz ofn sat bsd m, wɖ hr swīt fes lcñ intu mîn. I cōld p hr hol lîf de bî de. I hd hr dir slf, in its evri pasij, in rvy bfr m. N, upn mî soul, ś z iṇsnt, f ɖr z Wn t juj ɖ iṇsnt n gilti!”

Stōnś Cricit on ɖ Harʈ! Loyl Hǎshold Fẹriz!

“Paśn n dstrust hv left m!” sd ɖ Carịr; “n nʈñ bt mî grīf rmenz. In an unhapi momnt sm old luvr, betr sūtd t hr tests n yirz ɖn I, fōrsecn, phps, fr m, agnst hr wil, rtrnd. In an unhapi momnt, tecn bî s’prîz, n wontñ tîm t ʈnc v ẃt ś dd, ś md hrslf a parti t hiz treć̣ri bî cnsilñ it. Last nît ś sw him, in ɖ inṭvy w witnist. It wz roñ. Bt, uɖ̇wz ɖn ɖs, ś z iṇsnt, f ɖr z truʈ on rʈ!”

“F ɖt z yr opińn—” Tacltn bgan.

“So, let hr g!” psyd ɖ Carịr. “G, wɖ mî blesñ fr ɖ mni hapi aurz ś hz gvn m, n mî fgivnis fr eni pañ ś hz cōzd m. Let hr g, n hv ɖ pīs v mînd I wś hr! Ś’l nvr het m. Ś’l lrn t lîc m betr ẃn I’m nt a drag upn hr, n ś werz ɖ ćen I hv riṿtd mor lîtli. Ɖs z ɖ de on ẃć I tc hr, wɖ so litl ʈt fr hr injômnt, fṛm hr hom. Tde ś śl rtrn t it, n I wl trubl hr no mor. Hr faɖr n muɖr wl b hir tde—w hd md a litl plan fr cīpñ it tgɖr—n ɖe śl tec hr hom. I cn trust hr ɖr, or enẃr. Ś līvz m wɖt blem, n ś wl liv so I am śr. F I śd dî—I me phps ẃl ś z stl yuñ; I hv lost sm curij in a fy aurz—ś’l fînd ɖt I rmembrd hr, n luvd hr t ɖ last! Ɖs z ɖ end v ẃt y śoud m. Nǎ, it’s ovr!”

“Ǒ no, Jon, nt ovr! D nt se it’s ovr yt! Nt qt yt. I hv hŕd yr nobl wrdz. I cd nt stìl awe, pritndñ t b ignṛnt v ẃt hz afctd m wɖ sć dīp grattyd. D nt se it’s ovr tl ɖ cloc hz struc agn!”

Ś hd entrd śortli aftr Tacltn, n hd rmend ɖr. Ś nvr lct at Tacltn, bt fixt hr îz upn hr huzbnd. Bt ś cept awe fṛm him, setñ az wîd a spes az poṣbl btwn ɖm; n, ɖo ś spouc wɖ most impaśnd rṇstnis, ś wnt no nirr t him īvn ɖen. Hǎ difṛnt in ɖs fṛm hr old slf!

“No hand cn mc ɖ cloc ẃć wl strîc agn fr m ɖ aurz ɖt r gn,” rplaid ɖ Carịr wɖ a fent smîl. “Bt let it b so, f y wl, mî dir. It wl strîc sn. It’s v litl matr ẃt w se. I’d trî t plīz y in a hardr ces ɖn ɖt.”

“Wel!” mutrd Tacltn. “I mst b of, fr, ẃn ɖ cloc strîcs agn, it’l b nesṣri fr m t b upn mî we t ćrć. Gd mornñ, Jon Pīribngl. I’m sori t b dprîvd v ɖ pleźr v yr cumṗni. Sori fr ɖ los, n ɖ oceźn v it tù!”

“I hv spocn plenli?” sd ɖ Carịr, acumṗniyñ him t ɖ dor.

“Ǒ, qt!”

“N y’l rmembr ẃt I hv sd?”

“Ẃ, f y cmpel m t mc ɖ obẓveśn,” sd Tacltn, prīvịsli tecñ ɖ pricōśn v gtñ intu hiz śêz, “I mst se ɖt it wz so vri unixpctd, ɖt I’m far fṛm biyñ lîcli t fget it.”

“Ɖ betr fr s bʈ,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “Gdbî. I gv y jô!”

“I wś I cd gv it t y,” sd Tacltn. “Az I c’nt, ʈancī. Btwn ǎrslvz (az I tld y bfr, ê?) I d’nt mć ʈnc I śl hv ɖ les jô in mî marid lîf bcz Me hz’nt bn tù ofiśs abt m, n tù dmonstṛtiv. Gdbî! Tec cer v yrslf.”

Ɖ Carịr std lcñ aftr him untl h wz smōlr in ɖ distns ɖn hiz hors’z flǎrz n fevrz nir at hand; n ɖen, wɖ a dīp sai, wnt strolñ lîc a restlis, brocn man, amñ sm neḅrñ elmz; unwilñ t rtrn untl ɖ cloc wz on ɖ īv v strîcñ.

Hiz litl wîf, biyñ left alon, sobd pitịsli; bt ofn draid hr îz n ćect hrslf, t se hǎ gd h wz, hǎ xḷnt h wz! n wns or twîs ś laft; so harṭli, trîumfntli, n inc̣hiṛntli (stl crayñ ol ɖ tîm), ɖt Tili wz qt hoṛfaid.

“Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt!” sd Tili. “It’s inuf t ded n beri ɖ Bebi, so it z f y plīz.”

“Wl y brñ him smtmz t si hiz faɖr, Tili,” inqîrd hr mistris, drayñ hr îz,—“ẃn I c’nt liv hir, n hv gn t mî old hom?”

“Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt!” craid Tili, ʈrowñ bac hr hed, n brstñ ǎt intu a hǎl—ś lct at ɖ momnt uncomnli lîc Boxr. “Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt! Ǎ, ẃt hz evrbdi gn n bn n dn wɖ evrbdi, mcñ evrbdi els so rećid? Ǎ-ǎ-ǎ-ǎ!”

Ɖ soft-hartd Slǒbô teild of at ɖs juñćr intu sć a dploṛbl hǎl, ɖ mor tṛmnḍs fṛm its loñ s’preśn, ɖt ś mst infaḷbli hv awecnd ɖ Bebi, n frîtnd him intu smʈñ sirịs (probbli cnvulśnz), f hr îz hd nt incǎntrd Cêleb Plumr līdñ in hiz dōtr. Ɖs specṭcl rstorñ hr t a sns v ɖ pṛpraytiz, ś std fr sm fy momnts sîḷnt, wɖ hr mǎʈ wîd opn; n ɖen, postñ of t ɖ bed on ẃć ɖ Bebi le aslip, danst in a wird, St. Vîṭs manr on ɖ flor, n at ɖ sem tîm rumijd wɖ hr fes n hed amñ ɖ bedcloɖz, apaṛntli d’rîvñ mć rlif fṛm ɖoz xtrordnri oṗreśnz.

“Mẹri!” sd Brʈa. “Nt at ɖ marij!”

“I tld hr y wd nt b ɖr, mum,” ẃisprd Cêleb. “I hŕd az mć last nît. Bt bles y,” sd ɖ litl man, tecñ hr tndrli bî bʈ handz, “I d’nt cer fr ẃt ɖe se. I d’nt b’liv ɖm. Ɖr an’t mć v m, bt ɖt litl śd b torn t pìsz snr ɖn I’d trust a wrd agnst y!”

H pt hiz armz abt hr nec n hugd hr, az a ćîld mt hv hugd wn v hiz ǒn dolz.

“Brʈa cd’nt ste at hom ɖs mornñ,” sd Cêleb. “Ś wz afred, I nǒ, t hír ɖ belz rñ, n cd’nt trust hrslf t b so nir ɖm on ɖer wedñde. So w startd in gd tîm, n cem hir. I hv bn ʈncñ v ẃt I hv dn,” sd Cêleb aftr a momnt’s pōz; “I hv bn blemñ mslf tl I hardli ń ẃt t d, or ẃr t trn, fr ɖ dstres v mînd I hv cōzd hr; n I’v cm t ɖ cncluźn ɖt I’d betr, f y’l ste wɖ m, mum, ɖ ẃl, tel hr ɖ truʈ. Y’l ste wɖ m ɖ ẃl?” h inqîrd, tremḅlñ fṛm hed t ft. “I d’nt nǒ ẃt ifct it me hv upn hr; I d’nt nǒ ẃt ś’l ʈnc v m; I d’nt nǒ ɖt ś’l evr cer fr hr pur faɖr aftwdz. Bt it’s bst fr hr ɖt ś śd b undisivd, n I mst ber ɖ consiqnsz az I dzrv!”

“Mẹri,” sd Brʈa, “ẃr z yr hand? Ā! Hir it z; hir it z!” presñ it t hr lips wɖ a smîl, n drw̃ it ʈru hr arm. “I hŕd ɖm spīcñ softli amñ ɖmslvz last nît v sm blem agnst y. Ɖe wr roñ.”

Ɖ Carịr’z wîf wz sîḷnt. Cêleb ansrd fr hr.

“Ɖe wr roñ,” h sd.

“I ń it!” craid Brʈa, prǎdli. “I tld ɖm so. I scornd t hír a wrd! Blem hr wɖ justis!” ś prest ɖ hand btwn hr ǒn, n ɖ soft ćīc agnst hr fes. “No, I am nt so blînd az ɖt.”

Hr faɖr wnt on wn sîd v hr, ẃl Dot rmend upn ɖ uɖr, holdñ hr hand.

“I nǒ y ol,” sd Brʈa, “betr ɖn y ʈnc. Bt nn so wel az hr. Nt īvn y, faɖr. Ɖr z nʈñ haf so riyl n so tru abt m az ś z. F I cd b rstord t sît ɖs instnt, n nt a wrd wr spocn, I cd ćūz hr fṛm a crǎd! Mî sistr!”

“Brʈa, mî dir!” sd Cêleb. “I hv smʈñ on mî mînd I wont t tel y ẃl w ʈri r alon. Hír m cîndli! I hv a cnfeśn t mc t y, mî darlñ!”

“A cnfeśn, faɖr?”

“I hv wondrd fṛm ɖ truʈ, n lost mslf, mî ćîld,” sd Cêleb wɖ a pitịbl xpreśn in hiz bwildrd fes. “I hv wondrd fṛm ɖ truʈ, intndñ t b cînd t y; n hv bn cruwl.”

Ś trnd hr wundr-stricn fes twdz him, n rpitd “Cruwl!”

“H akzz himslf tù stroñli, Brʈa,” sd Dot. “Y’l se so prezntli. Y’l b ɖ frst t tel him so.”

“H cruwl t m!” craid Brʈa wɖ a smîl v incṛdyḷti.

“Nt mīnñ it, mî ćîld,” sd Cêleb. “Bt I hv bn: ɖo I nvr sspctd it tl yesṭde. Mî dir blînd dōtr, hír m n fgiv m. Ɖ wrld y liv in, hart v mîn, dz’nt xist az I hv reprizntd it. Ɖ îz y hv trustd in hv bn fōls t y.”

Ś trnd hr wundr-stricn fes twdz him stl; bt drù bac, n cluñ closr t hr frend.

“Yr rod in lîf wz ruf, mî pur wn,” sd Cêleb, “n I mnt t smuɖ it fr y. I hv oltrd objicts, ćenjd ɖ caṛctrz v ppl, invntd mni ʈñz ɖt nvr hv bn, t mc y hapịr. I hv hd cnsilmnts fṛm y, pt dspśnz on y, God fgiv m! n srǎndd y wɖ fansiz.”

“Bt livñ ppl r nt fansiz?” ś sd huridli, n trnñ vri pel, n stl rtîrñ fṛm him. “Y c’nt ćenj ɖm.”

“I hv dn so, Brʈa,” plīdd Cêleb. “Ɖr z wn prsn ɖt y nǒ, mî duv—”

“Ǒ, faɖr! ẃ d y se, I nǒ?” ś ansrd in a trm v cīn rproć. “Ẃt n hūm d I nǒ? I hu hv no līdr! I so mizṛbli blînd!”

In ɖ anḡś v hr hart, ś strećt ǎt hr handz, az f ś wr gropñ hr we; ɖen spred ɖm, in a manr most f’lorn n sad, upn hr fes.

“Ɖ marij ɖt tecs ples tde,” sd Cêleb, “z wɖ a strn, sordid, grîndñ man. A hard mastr t y n m, mî dir, fr mni yirz. Ugli in hiz lcs, n in hiz nećr. Cold n caḷs olwz. Unlîc ẃt I hv pentd him t y in evrʈñ, mî ćîld. In evrʈñ.”

“Ǒ, ẃ,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, torćrd, az it sīmd, olmst bynd indyṛns, “ẃ dd y evr d ɖs? Ẃ dd y evr fil mî hart so fl, n ɖen cm in lîc Deʈ, n ter awe ɖ objicts v mî luv? O Hevn, hǎ blînd I am! Hǎ hlplis n alon!”

Hr aflictd faɖr huñ hiz hed, n ofrd no rplî bt in hiz penitns n soro.

Ś hd bn bt a śort tîm in ɖs paśn v rgret ẃn ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ, unhŕd bî ol bt hr, bgan t ćrp. Nt meṛli, bt in a lo, fent, sorowñ we. It wz so mōrnfl, ɖt hr tirz bgan t flo; n, ẃn ɖ Prezns ẃć hd bn bsd ɖ Carịr ol nît, apird bhnd hr, pôntñ t hr faɖr, ɖe fél dǎn lîc ren.

Ś hŕd ɖ cricitvôs mor plenli sn, n wz conśs, ʈru hr blîndnis, v ɖ Prezns hoṿrñ abt hr faɖr.

“Mẹri,” sd ɖ Blînd Grl, “tel m ẃt mî hom z. Ẃt it trūli z.”

“It z a pur ples, Brʈa; vri pur n bér indd. Ɖ hǎs wl scersli cīp ǎt wind n ren anɖr wintr. It z az rufli śīldd fṛm ɖ weɖr, Brʈa,” Dot cntinyd in a lo, clir vôs, “az yr pur faɖr in hiz sac̦loʈ cot.”

Ɖ Blînd Grl, gretli ajtetd, rouz, n léd ɖ Carịr’z litl wîf asd.

“Ɖoz preznts ɖt I tc sć cer v; ɖt cem olmst at mî wś, n wr so dirli welcm t m,” ś sd, tremḅlñ; “ẃr dd ɖe cm fṛm? Dd y snd ɖm?”

“No.”

“Hu, ɖen?”

Dot sw ś ń olrdi, n wz sîḷnt. Ɖ Blînd Grl spred hr handz bfr hr fes agn. Bt in qt anɖr manr nǎ.

“Dir Mẹri, a momnt. Wn momnt. Mor ɖs we. Spīc softli t m. Y r tru I nǒ. Y’d nt dsiv m nǎ; wd y?”

“No, Brʈa, indd!”

“No, I am śr y wd nt. Y hv tù mć piti fr m. Mẹri, lc acrs ɖ rūm t ẃr w wr jst nǎ—t ẃr mî faɖr z—mî faɖr, so cmpaśṇt n luvñ t m—n tel m ẃt y si.”

“I si,” sd Dot, hu unḍstd hr wel, “an old man sitñ in a ćer, n līnñ sorofl on ɖ bac, wɖ hiz fes restñ on hiz hand. Az f hiz ćîld śd cumf̣t him, Brʈa.”

“Yes, yes. Ś wl. G on.”

“H z an old man, wòrn wɖ cer n wrc. H z a sper, djctd, ʈtfl, gre-herd man. I si him nǎ, dspondnt n baud dǎn, n strîvñ agnst nʈñ. Bt, Brʈa, I hv sìn him mni tîmz bfr, n strîvñ hard in mni wez, fr wn gret secrid objict. N I onr hiz gre hed, n bles him!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl brouc awe fṛm hr; n, ʈrowñ hrslf upn hr niz bfr him, tc ɖ gre hed t hr brest.

“It z mî sît rstord. It z mî sît!” ś craid. “I hv bn blînd, n nǎ mî îz r opn. I nvr ń him! T ʈnc I mt hv daid, n nvr trūli sìn ɖ faɖr hu hz bn so luvñ t m!”

Ɖr wr no wrdz fr Cêleb’z imośn.

“Ɖr z nt a gaḷnt figr on ɖs rʈ,” xclemd ɖ Blînd Grl, holdñ him in hr imbres, “ɖt I wd luv so dirli, n wd ćeriś so dvotidli, az ɖs! Ɖ greyr, n mor wòrn, ɖ dirr, faɖr! Nvr let ɖm se I am blînd agn. Ɖr’z nt a furo in hiz fes, ɖr’z nt a her upn hiz hed, ɖt śl b fgotn in mî prerz n ʈancs t Hevn!”

Cêleb manijd t artikḷt, “Mî Brʈa!”

“N in mî blîndnis I b’livd him,” sd ɖ grl, c’resñ him wɖ tirz v xqizit afx́n, “t b so difṛnt. N hvñ him bsd m de bî de, so mîndfl v m olwz, nvr drīmd v ɖs!”

“Ɖ freś smart faɖr in ɖ blu cot, Brʈa,” sd pur Cêleb. “H’z gn!”

“Nʈñ z gn,” ś ansrd. “Dirist faɖr, no! Evrʈñ z hir—in y. Ɖ faɖr ɖt I luvd so wel; ɖ faɖr ɖt I nvr luvd inuf, n nvr ń; ɖ beṇfactr hūm I frst bgan t revṛns n luv, bcz h hd sć simṗʈi fr m,—ol r hir in y. Nʈñ z ded t m. Ɖ soul v ol ɖt wz most dir t m z hir—hir, wɖ ɖ wòrn fes, n ɖ gre hed. N I am nt blînd, faɖr, eni longr!”

Dot’s hol atnśn hd bn consntretd, jrñ ɖs discors, upn ɖ faɖr n dōtr; bt lcñ, nǎ, twdz ɖ litl He-mcr in ɖ Mūriś medo, ś sw ɖt ɖ cloc wz wɖn a fy minits v strîcñ, n fél, imīɉtli, intu a nrṿs n xîtd stet.

“Faɖr!” sd Brʈa, heztetñ. “Mẹri!”

“Yes, mî dir,” rtrnd Cêleb. “Hir ś z.”

“Ɖr z no ćenj in hr. Y nvr tld m enʈñ v hr ɖt wz nt tru?”

“I śd hv dn it, mî dir, I’m afred,” rtrnd Cêleb, “f I cd hv md hr betr ɖn ś wz. Bt I mst hv ćenjd hr fr ɖ wrs, f I hd ćenjd hr at ol. Nʈñ cd impruv hr, Brʈa.”

Confidnt az ɖ Blînd Grl hd bn ẃn ś asct ɖ qsćn, hr dlît n prîd in ɖ rplî, n hr rnyd imbres v Dot, wr ćarmñ t bhold.

“Mor ćenjz ɖn y ʈnc fr me hapn, ɖo, mî dir,” sd Dot. “Ćenjz fr ɖ betr, I mīn; ćenjz fr gret jô t sm v s. Y ms’nt let ɖm startl y tù mć, f eni sć śd evr hapn, n afct y. R ɖoz ẃīlz upn ɖ rod? Y’v a qc ir, Brʈa. R ɖe ẃīlz?”

“Yes. Cmñ vri fast.”

“I—I—I nǒ y hv a qc ir,” sd Dot, plesñ hr hand upn hr hart, n evidntli tōcñ on az fast az ś cd, t hîd its palṗtetñ stet, “bcz I hv notist it ofn, n bcz y wr so qc t fînd ǎt ɖt strenj step last nît. Ɖo ẃ y śd hv sd, az I vri wel rec̣lect y dd se, Brʈa, ‘Huz step z ɖt?’ n ẃ y śd hv tecn eni gretr obẓveśn v it ɖn v eni uɖr step, I d’nt nǒ. Ɖo, az I sd jst nǎ, ɖr r gret ćenjz in ɖ wrld: gret ćenjz: n w c’nt d betr ɖn priper ǎrslvz t b s’prîzd at hardli enʈñ.”

Cêleb wundrd ẃt ɖs mnt; psivñ ɖt ś spouc t him, no les ɖn t hiz dōtr. H sw hr, wɖ astoniśmnt, so flutrd n dstrest ɖt ś cd scersli briɖ; n holdñ t a ćer, t sev hrslf fṛm fōlñ.

“Ɖe r ẃīlz indd!” ś pantd. “Cmñ nirr! Nirr! Vri clos! N nǎ y hír ɖm stopñ at ɖ gardn-get! N nǎ y hír a step ǎtsd ɖ dor—ɖ sem step, Brʈa, z it nt?—n nǎ——!”

Ś utrd a wîld crî v uncntroḷbl dlît; n runñ p t Cêleb, pt hr handz upn hiz îz, az a yuñ man ruśt intu ɖ rūm, n, flññ awe hiz hat intu ɖ er, cem swīpñ dǎn upn ɖm.

“Z it ovr?” craid Dot.

“Yes!”

“Haṗli ovr?”

“Yes!”

“D y rec̣lect ɖ vôs, dir Cêleb? Dd y evr hír ɖ lîc v it bfr?” craid Dot.

“F mî bô in ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz wz alîv——!” sd Cêleb, tremḅlñ.

“H z alîv!” śrīct Dot, rmuvñ hr handz fṛm hiz îz, n clapñ ɖm in xṭsi. “Lc at him! Si ẃr h standz bfr y, hlʈi n stroñ! Yr ǒn dir sun. Yr ǒn dir livñ, luvñ bruɖr, Brʈa!”

Ol onr t ɖ litl crīćr fr hr transports! Ol onr t hr tirz n laftr, ẃn ɖ ʈri wr loct in wn anɖr’z armz! Ol onr t ɖ hartinis wɖ ẃć ś met ɖ súnbrnt sêlrfelo, wɖ hiz darc strīmñ her, hafwe, n nvr trnd hr rozi litl mǎʈ asd, bt sufrd him t cis it frīli, n t pres hr t hiz bǎndñ hart!

N onr t ɖ Ccu tù—ẃ nt?—fr brstñ ǎt v ɖ trapdor in ɖ Mūriś Palis lîc a hǎsbrecr, n hicupñ twelv tîmz on ɖ asmbld cumṗni, az f h hd got drunc fr jô!

Ɖ Carịr, enṭrñ, startd bac. N wel h mt, t fînd himslf in sć gd cumṗni.

“Lc, Jon!” sd Cêleb, xultñli, “lc hir! Mî ǒn bô fṛm ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz! Mî ǒn sun! Him ɖt y fitd ǎt, n snt awe yrslf! Him ɖt y wr olwz sć a frend t!”

Ɖ Carịr advanst t sīz him bî ɖ hand; bt, rcôlñ, az sm fīćr in hiz fes awecnd a rmembṛns v ɖ Def Man in ɖ Cart, sd:

“Edẉd! Wz it y?”

“Nǎ tel him ol!” craid Dot. “Tel him ol, Edẉd; n d’nt sper m, fr nʈñ śl mc m sper mslf in hiz îz, evr agn.”

“I wz ɖ man,” sd Edẉd.

“N cd y stìl, dsgîzd, intu ɖ hǎs v yr old frend?” rjônd ɖ Carịr. “Ɖr wz a franc bô wns—hǎ mni yirz z it, Cêleb, sins w hŕd ɖt h wz ded, n hd it pruvd, w ʈt?—hu nvr wd hv dn ɖt.”

“Ɖr wz a jenṛs frend v mîn wns; mor a faɖr t m ɖn a frend,” sd Edẉd; “hu nvr wd hv jujd m, or eni uɖr man, unhŕd. Y wr h. So I am srtn y wl hír m nǎ.”

Ɖ Carịr, wɖ a trubld glans at Dot, hu stl cept far awe fṛm him, rplaid, “Wel! ɖt’s bt fer. I wl.”

“Y mst nǒ ɖt ẃn I left hir a bô,” sd Edẉd, “I wz in luv, n mî luv wz rtrnd. Ś wz a vri yuñ grl, hu phps (y me tel m) dd’nt nǒ hr ǒn mînd. Bt I ń mîn, n I hd a paśn fr hr.”

“Y hd!” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “Y!”

“Indd I hd,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr. “N ś rtrnd it. I hv evr sins b’livd ś dd, n nǎ I am śr ś dd.”

“Hevn hlp m!” sd ɖ Carịr. “Ɖs z wrs ɖn ol.”

“Constnt t hr,” sd Edẉd, “n rtrnñ, fl v hop, aftr mni hardśps n perilz, t rdim mî part v ǎr old contract, I hŕd, twenti mîlz awe, ɖt ś wz fōls t m; ɖt ś hd fgotn m; n hd bstoud hrslf upn anɖr n a rićr man. I hd no mînd t rproć hr; bt I wśt t si hr, n t pruv bynd dspyt ɖt ɖs wz tru. I hopt ś mt hv bn forst intu it agnst hr ǒn dzîr n rec̣lex́n. It wd b smōl cumf̣t, bt it wd b sm, I ʈt, n on I cem. Ɖt I mt hv ɖ truʈ, ɖ riyl truʈ, obzrvñ frīli fr mslf, n jujñ fr mslf, wɖt obstrux́n on ɖ wn hand, or prizntñ mî ǒn inflụns (f I hd eni) bfr hr, on ɖ uɖr, I drest mslf unlîc mslf—y nǒ hǎ; n wêtd on ɖ rod—y nǒ ẃr. Y hd no sspiśn v m; nɖr hd—hd ś,” pôntñ t Dot, “untl I ẃisprd in hr ir at ɖt fîrsîd, n ś so nirli btreid m.”

“Bt ẃn ś ń ɖt Edẉd wz alîv, n hd cm bac,” sobd Dot, nǎ spīcñ fr hrslf, az ś hd brnd t d, ol ʈru ɖs naṛtiv; “n ẃn ś ń hiz prṗs, ś advîzd him bî ol mīnz t cīp hiz sīcrit clos; fr hiz old frend Jon Pīribngl wz mć tù opn in hiz nećr, n tù clumzi in ol arṭfis—biyñ a clumzi man in jenṛl,” sd Dot, haf lafñ n haf crayñ—“t cīp it fr him. N ẃn ś—ɖt’s m, Jon,” sobd ɖ litl wmn—“tld him ol, n hǎ hiz swīthart hd b’livd him t b ded; n hǎ ś hd at last bn oṿpswedd bî hr muɖr intu a marij ẃć ɖ sili, dir old ʈñ cōld advntejs; n ẃn ś—ɖt’s m agn, Jon—tld him ɖe wr nt yt marid (ɖo clos upn it), n ɖt it wd b nʈñ bt a sacṛfîs f it wnt on, fr ɖr wz no luv on hr sîd; n ẃn h wnt nirli mad wɖ jô t hír it,—ɖen ś—ɖt’s m agn—sd ś wd g btwn ɖm, az ś hd ofn dn bfr in old tîmz, Jon, n wd sǎnd hiz swīthart, n b śr ɖt ẃt ś—m agn, Jon—sd n ʈt wz rît. N it WZ rît, Jon! N ɖe wr bròt tgɖr, Jon! N ɖe wr marid, Jon, an aur ago! N hir’z ɖ Brîd! N Gruf n Tacltn me dî a bać̣lr! N I’m a hapi litl wmn, Me, God bles y!”

Ś wz an irizistbl litl wmn, f ɖt b enʈñ t ɖ prṗs; n nvr so cmplitli irizistbl az in hr preznt transports. Ɖr nvr wr cngrać̣leśnz so indirñ n dliśs az ɖoz ś laviśt on hrslf n on ɖ Brîd.

Amd ɖ tymult v imośnz in hiz brest, ɖ onist Carịr hd std cnfǎndd. Flayñ, nǎ, twdz hr, Dot strećt ǎt hr hand t stop him, n rtritd az bfr.

“No, Jon, no! Hír ol! D’nt luv m eni mor, Jon, tl y’v hŕd evri wrd I hv t se. It wz roñ t hv a sīcrit fṛm y, Jon. I’m vri sori. I dd’nt ʈnc it eni harm, tl I cem n sat dǎn bî y on ɖ litl stūl last nît. Bt ẃn I ń, bî ẃt wz ritn in yr fes, ɖt y hd sìn m wōcñ in ɖ gaḷri wɖ Edẉd, n ẃn I ń ẃt y ʈt, I flt hǎ gidi n hǎ roñ it wz. Bt ǒ, dir Jon, hǎ cd y, cd y ʈnc so?”

Litl wmn, hǎ ś sobd agn! Jon Pīribngl wd hv còt hr in hiz armz. Bt no; ś wd’nt let him.

“D’nt luv m yt, plīz, Jon! Nt fr a loñ tîm yt! Ẃn I wz sad abt ɖs intndd marij, dir, it wz bcz I rmembrd Me n Edẉd sć yuñ luvrz; n ń ɖt hr hart wz far awe fṛm Tacltn. Y b’liv ɖt, nǎ, d’nt y, Jon?”

Jon wz gwñ t mc anɖr ruś at ɖs apil; bt ś stopt him agn.

“No; cīp ɖr, plīz, Jon! Ẃn I laf at y, az I smtmz d, Jon, n cōl y clumzi n a dir old gūs, n nemz v ɖt sort, it’s bcz I luv y, Jon, so wel, n tec sć pleźr in yr wez, n wd’nt si y oltrd in ɖ līst rspct t hv y md a cñ tmoro.”

“Hūror!” sd Cêleb wɖ unyźl vigr. “Mî opińn!”

“N ẃn I spīc v ppl biyñ midl-ejd n stedi, Jon, n pritnd ɖt w r a humdrum cupl, gwñ on in a jogtrot sort v we, it’s onli bcz I’m sć a sili litl ʈñ, Jon, ɖt I lîc, smtmz, t act az a cnd v Ple wɖ Bebi, n ol ɖt: n mc b’liv.”

Ś sw ɖt h wz cmñ; n stopt him agn. Bt ś wz vri nirli tù lêt.

“No, d’nt luv m fr anɖr minit or tū, f y plīz, Jon! Ẃt I wont most t tel y, I hv cept t ɖ last. Mî dir, gd, jenṛs Jon, ẃn w wr tōcñ ɖ uɖr nît abt ɖ Cricit, I hd it on mî lips t se, ɖt at frst I dd nt luv y qt so dirli az I d nǎ; ẃn I frst cem hom hir, I wz haf afred ɖt I mt’nt lrn t luv y evri bit az wel az I hopt n preid I mt—biyñ so vri yuñ, Jon! Bt, dir Jon, evri de n aur I luvd y mor n mor. N f I cd hv luvd y betr ɖn I d, ɖ nobl wrdz I hŕd y se ɖs mornñ wd hv md m. Bt I c’nt. Ol ɖ afx́n ɖt I hd (it wz a gret dīl, Jon) I gev y, az y wel dzrv, loñ, loñ ago, n I hv no mor left t gv. Nǎ, mî dir huzbnd, tec m t yr hart agn! Ɖt’s mî hom, Jon; n nvr, nvr ʈnc v sndñ m t eni uɖr!”

Y nvr wl d’rîv so mć dlît fṛm siyñ a glorịs litl wmn in ɖ armz v a ʈrd parti az y wd hv flt f y hd sìn Dot run intu ɖ Carịr’z imbres. It wz ɖ most cmplit, unmiṭgetd, soul-frōt litl pìs v rṇstnis ɖt evr y bheld in ol yr dez.

Y me b śr ɖ Carịr wz in a stet v prfict rapćr; n y me b śr Dot wz lîcwz; n y me b śr ɖe ol wr, inclūsiv v Mis Slǒbô, hu wept copịsli fr jô, n, wśñ t includ hr yuñ ćarj in ɖ jenṛl inṭćenj v cngrać̣leśnz, handd rnd ɖ Bebi t evrbdi in s’xeśn, az f it wr smʈñ t drinc.

Bt, nǎ, ɖ sǎnd v ẃīlz wz hŕd agn ǎtsd ɖ dor; n smbdi xclemd ɖt Gruf n Tacltn wz cmñ bac. Spīḍli ɖt wrɖi jntlmn apird, lcñ worm n flustrd.

“Ẃ, ẃt ɖ Devl’z ɖs, Jon Pīribngl?” sd Tacltn. “Ɖr’z sm mstec. I apôntd Msz. Tacltn t mīt m at ɖ ćrć, n I’l swer I pást hr on ɖ rod, on hr we hir. Ǒ! hir ś z! I beg yr pardn, sr; I hv’nt ɖ pleźr v nwñ y; bt, f y cn d m ɖ fevr t sper ɖs yuñ ledi, ś hz rɖr a ptiklr ingejmnt ɖs mornñ.”

“Bt I c’nt sper hr,” rtrnd Edẉd. “I cd’nt ʈnc v it.”

“Ẃt d y mīn, y vaġbond?” sd Tacltn.

“I mīn ɖt, az I cn mc alawns fr yr biyñ vxt,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr wɖ a smîl, “I am az def t harś discors ɖs mornñ az I wz t ol discors last nît.”

Ɖ lc ɖt Tacltn bstoud upn him, n ɖ start h gev!

“I am sori, sr,” sd Edẉd, holdñ ǎt Me’z left hand, n ispeṣ́li ɖ ʈrd fngr, “ɖt ɖ yuñ ledi c’nt acumṗni y t ćrć; bt, az ś hz bn ɖr wns ɖs mornñ, phps y’l xkz hr.”

Tacltn lct hard at ɖ ʈrd fngr, n tc a litl pìs v silvr pepr, apaṛntli cntenñ a rñ, fṛm hiz weistcot pocit.

“Mis Slǒbô,” sd Tacltn, “wl y hv ɖ cîndnis t ʈro ɖt in ɖ fîr? Ʈancī.”

“It wz a prīvịs ingejmnt, qt an old ingejmnt, ɖt privntd mî wîf fṛm cīpñ hr apôntmnt wɖ y, I aśur y,” sd Edẉd.

“Mr. Tacltn wl d m ɖ justis t acnolij ɖt I rvild it t him feʈf̣li; n ɖt I tld him, mni tîmz, I nvr cd fget it,” sd Me, bluśñ.

“Ǒ, srtnli!” sd Tacltn. “Ǒ, t b śr! Ǒ, it’s ol rît, it’s qt c’rect! Msz. Edẉd Plumr, I infŕ?”

“Ɖt’s ɖ nem,” rtrnd ɖ brîdgrūm.

“Ā! I śd’nt hv noun y, sr,” sd Tacltn, scrūṭnîzñ hiz fes naroli, n mcñ a lo bǎ. “I gv y jô, sr!”

“Ʈancī.”

“Msz. Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn, trnñ sudnli t ẃr ś std wɖ hr huzbnd; “I’m sori. Y hv’nt dn m a vri gret cîndnis, bt, upn mî lîf, I am sori. Y r betr ɖn I ʈt y. Jon Pīribngl, I am sori. Y unḍstand m; ɖt’s inuf. It’s qt c’rect, lediz n jntlṃn ol, n prf̣cli saṭsfactri. Gd mornñ!”

Wɖ ɖz wrdz h carid it of, n carid himslf of tù: mirli stopñ at ɖ dor t tec ɖ flǎrz n fevrz fṛm hiz hors’z hed, n t cic ɖt animl wns in ɖ ribz, az a mīnz v informñ him ɖt ɖr wz a scru lūs in hiz arenjmnts.

V cors, it bcem a sirịs dyti nǎ t mc sć a de v it az śd marc ɖz ivnts fr a hî Fīst n Fstivl in ɖ Pīribngl Caḷndr fr eṿmor. Acordñli, Dot wnt t wrc t pṛdys sć an enttenmnt az śd rflect undayñ onr on ɖ hǎs n on evrwn cnsrnd; n, in a vri śort spes v tîm, ś wz p t hr dimpld elboz in flaur, n ẃîṭnñ ɖ Carịr’z cot, evri tîm h cem nir hr, bî stopñ him t gv him a cis. Ɖt gd felo wośt ɖ grīnz, n pīld ɖ trnips, n brouc ɖ plets, n upset ayn pots fl v cold wōtr on ɖ fîr, n md himslf ysfl in ol sorts v wez: ẃl a cupl v pṛfeśnl asistnts, hesṭli cōld in fṛm smẃr in ɖ nebrhd, az on a pônt v lîf or deʈ, ran agnst ć uɖr in ol ɖ dorwez n rnd ol ɖ cornrz, n evrbdi tumbld ovr Tili Slǒbô n ɖ Bebi, evrẃr. Tili nvr cem ǎt in sć fors bfr. Hr ybiqti wz ɖ ʈīm v jenṛl adṃreśn. Ś wz a stumḅlñbloc in ɖ pasij at fîv-n-twenti minits past tū; a mantrap in ɖ cićn at haf-past tū prisîsli; n a pitfōl in ɖ garit at fîv-n-twenti minits t ʈri. Ɖ Bebi’z hed wz, az it wr, a tst n tućston fr evri dscripśn v matr, animl, vejtbl, n minṛl. Nʈñ wz in ys ɖt de ɖt dd’nt cm, at sm tîm or uɖr, intu clos aqentns wɖ it.

Ɖen ɖr wz a gret Xpdiśn set on ft t g n fînd ǎt Msz. Fīldñ; n t b dizṃli penitnt t ɖt xḷnt jntlwmn; n t brñ hr bac, bî fors, f nīdfl, t b hapi n fgivñ. N ẃn ɖ Xpdiśn frst dscuvrd hr, ś wd lisn t no trmz at ol, bt sd, an unspīcbl numbr v tîmz, ɖt evr ś śd hv livd t si ɖ de! n cd’nt b got t se enʈñ els, xpt “Nǎ cari m t ɖ grev”: ẃć sīmd absrd, on acǎnt v hr nt biyñ ded, or enʈñ at ol lîc it. Aftr a tîm ś lapst intu a stet v dredfl cāmnis, n obzrvd ɖt, ẃn ɖt unforćṇt tren v srcmstansz hd ocŕd in ɖ Inḍgo Tred, ś hd fsin ɖt ś wd b xpozd, jrñ hr hol lîf, t evri spīśīz v insult n contyṃli; n ɖt ś wz glad t fînd it wz ɖ ces; n begd ɖe wd’nt trubl ɖmslvz abt hr,—fr ẃt wz ś?—ǒ dir! a nbdi!—bt wd fget ɖt sć a biyñ livd, n wd tec ɖer cors in lîf wɖt hr. Fṛm ɖs bitrli sarcastic mūd ś pást intu an angri wn, in ẃć ś gev vnt t ɖ rmarcbl xpreśn ɖt ɖ wrm wd trn f trodn on; n, aftr ɖt, ś yīldd t a soft rgret, n sd, f ɖe hd onli gvn hr ɖer confidns, ẃt mt ś nt hv hd it in hr pǎr t sjst! Tecñ advantij v ɖs crîsis in hr fīlñz, ɖ Xpdiśn imbrest hr; n ś vri sn hd hr gluvz on, n wz on hr we t Jon Pīribngl’z in a stet v unimpīćbl jntiḷti; wɖ a pepr parsl at hr sîd cntenñ a cap v stet, olmst az tōl, n qt az stif, az a mîtr.

Ɖen, ɖr wr Dot’s faɖr n muɖr t cm in anɖr litl śêz; n ɖe wr bhnd ɖer tîm; n firz wr enttend; n ɖr wz mć lcñ ǎt fr ɖm dǎn ɖ rod; n Msz. Fīldñ olwz wd lc in ɖ roñ n moṛli imposbl d’rex́n; n, biyñ aprîzd ɖr-ov, hopt ś mt tec ɖ liḅti v lcñ ẃr ś plizd. At last ɖe cem; a ćubi litl cupl, jogñ alñ in a snug n cumftbl litl we ɖt qt b’loñd t ɖ Dot faṃli; n Dot n hr muɖr, sîd bî sîd, wr wundrfl t si. Ɖe wr so lîc ć uɖr.

Ɖen Dot’s muɖr hd t rny hr aqentns wɖ Me’z muɖr; n Me’z muɖr olwz std on hr jntiḷti; n Dot’s muɖr nvr std on enʈñ bt hr activ litl fīt. N old Dot—so t cōl Dot’s faɖr, I fgot it wz’nt hiz rît nem, bt nvr mînd—tc liḅtiz, n śc handz at frst sît, n sīmd t ʈnc a cap bt so mć starć n muzlin, n dd’nt dfŕ himslf at ol t ɖ Inḍgo Tred, bt sd ɖr wz no hlp fr it nǎ; n, in Msz. Fīldñ’z sumñ-up, wz a gd-nećrd cnd v man—bt cōrs, mî dir.

I wd’nt hv míst Dot, dwñ ɖ onrz in hr wedñgǎn, mî benisn on hr brît fes! fr eni muni. No! nr ɖ gd Carịr, so jovịl n so rudi, at ɖ botm v ɖ tebl. Nr ɖ brǎn, freś sêlrfelo, n hiz hansm wîf. Nr enwn amñ ɖm. T hv míst ɖ dinr wd hv bn t mis az joli n az stǎt a mīl az man nīd īt; n t hv míst ɖ oṿflowñ cups in ẃć ɖe dranc Ɖ Wedñde wd hv bn ɖ gretist mis v ol.

Aftr dinr Cêleb sañ ɖ soñ abt ɖ Sparc̣lñ Bol. Az I’m a livñ man, hopñ t cīp so fr a yir or tū, h sañ it ʈru.

N, bî-ɖ-bái, a most unlct-fr insidnt ocŕd, jst az h finiśt ɖ last vrs.

Ɖr wz a tap at ɖ dor; n a man cem staġrñ in, wɖt seyñ wɖ yr līv, or bî yr līv, wɖ smʈñ hevi on hiz hed. Setñ ɖs dǎn in ɖ midl v ɖ tebl, s’metricli in ɖ sntr v ɖ nuts n aplz, h sd:

“Mr. Tacltn’z complimnts, n, az h hz’nt got no ys fr ɖ cec himslf, p’raps y’l īt it.”

N, wɖ ɖoz wrdz, h wōct of.

Ɖr wz sm s’prîz amñ ɖ cumṗni, az y me imajin. Msz. Fīldñ, biyñ a ledi v infiṇt dsrnmnt, sjstd ɖt ɖ cec wz pôznd, n rletd a naṛtiv v a cec ẃć, wɖn hr nolij, hd trnd a seminri fr yuñ lediz blu. Bt ś wz ovŗūld bî acḷmeśn; n ɖ cec wz cut bî Me wɖ mć seriṃni n rjôsñ.

I d’nt ʈnc enwn hd testd it, ẃn ɖr cem anɖr tap at ɖ dor, n ɖ sem man apird agn, hvñ undr hiz arm a vast brǎn-pepr parsl.

“Mr. Tacltn’z complimnts, n h’z snt a fy tôz fr ɖ Babi. Ɖe e’nt ugli.”

Aftr ɖ dlivri v ẃć xpreśnz, h rtîrd agn.

Ɖ hol parti wd hv xpirịnst gret dificlti in fîndñ wrdz fr ɖer astoniśmnt, īvn f ɖe hd hd ampl tîm t sīc ɖm. Bt ɖe hd nn at ol; fr ɖ mesinjr hd scersli śut ɖ dor bhnd him, ẃn ɖr cem anɖr tap, n Tacltn himslf wōct in.

“Msz. Pīribngl!” sd ɖ tômrćnt, hat in hand, “I’m sori. I’m mor sori ɖn I wz ɖs mornñ. I hv hd tîm t ʈnc v it. Jon Pīribngl! I am sǎr bî dispziśn; bt I c’nt hlp biyñ swītnd, mor or les, bî cmñ fes t fes wɖ sć a man az y. Cêleb! Ɖs unconśs litl nrs gev m a brocn hint last nît, v ẃć I hv faund ɖ ʈred. I bluś t ʈnc hǎ īẓli I mt hv baund y n yr dōtr t m, n ẃt a mizṛbl idịt I wz ẃn I tc hr fr wn! Frendz, wn n ol, mî hǎs z vri lonli tnît. I hv nt so mć az a Cricit on mî Harʈ. I hv scerd ɖm ol awe. B greśs t m: let m jôn ɖs hapi parti!”

H wz at hom in fîv minits. Y nvr sw sć a felo. Ẃt hd h bn dwñ wɖ himslf ol hiz lîf, nvr t hv noun bfr hiz gret cpaṣti v biyñ jovịl? Or ẃt hd ɖ Fẹriz bn dwñ wɖ him, t hv ifctd sć a ćenj?

“Jon! y w’nt snd m hom ɖs īvnñ, wl y?” ẃisprd Dot.

H hd bn vri nir it, ɖo.

Ɖr wontd bt wn livñ crīćr t mc ɖ parti cmplit; n, in ɖ twnc̣lñ v an î, ɖr h wz, vri ʈrsti wɖ hard runñ, n ingejd in hoplis indevrz t sqīz hiz hed intu a naro pićr. H hd gn wɖ ɖ cart t its jrni’z end, vri mć dsgustd wɖ ɖ absns v hiz mastr, n stypndsli rbełs t ɖ Depyti. Aftr linġrñ abt ɖ stebl fr sm litl tîm, venli atmtñ t insait ɖ old hors t ɖ ḿtiṇs act v rtrnñ on hiz ǒn acǎnt, h hd wōct intu ɖ taprūm, n leid himslf dǎn bfr ɖ fîr. Bt, sudnli yīldñ t ɖ cnvix́n ɖt ɖ Depyti wz a humbug, n mst b abandnd, h hd got p agn, trnd teil, n cm hom.

Ɖr wz a dans in ɖ īvnñ. Wɖ ẃć jenṛl mnśn v ɖt recrieśn, I śd hv left it alon, f I hd nt sm rīzn t s’poz ɖt it wz qt an orijinl dans, n wn v a most uncomn figr. It wz formd in an od we; in ɖs we.

Edẉd, ɖt sêlrfelo—a gd fri daśñ sort v felo h wz—hd bn telñ ɖm verịs marvlz cnsrnñ paṛts, n mînz, n Mxicnz, n golḑust, ẃn ol at wns h tc it in hiz hed t jump p fṛm hiz sīt n pṛpoz a dans; fr Brʈa’z harp wz ɖr, n ś sć a hand upn it az y sldm hír. Dot (slî litl pìs v afcteśn ẃn ś ćouz) sd hr dansñdez wr ovr; I ʈnc bcz ɖ Carịr wz smocñ hiz pîp, n ś lîct sitñ bî him bst. Msz. Fīldñ hd no ćôs, v cors, bt t se hr dansñdez wr ovr, aftr ɖt; n evrbdi sd ɖ sem, xpt Me; Me wz redi.

So, Me n Edẉd gt p, amd gret aplōz, t dans alon; n Brʈa plez hr lîvliist tyn.

Wel! f y’l b’liv m, ɖe hd nt bn dansñ fîv minits, ẃn sudnli ɖ Carịr flñz hiz pîp awe, tecs Dot rnd ɖ weist, daśz ǎt intu ɖ rūm, n starts of wɖ hr, to n hìl, qt wundrf̣li. Tacltn no snr siz ɖs ɖn h scimz acrs t Msz. Fīldñ, tecs hr rnd ɖ weist, n foloz sūt. Old Dot no snr siz ɖs ɖn p h z, ol alîv, ẃiscs of Msz. Dot intu ɖ midl v ɖ dans, n z fōrmost ɖr. Cêleb no snr siz ɖs ɖn h clućz Tili Slǒbô bî bʈ handz, n gz of at scor; Mis Slǒbô, frm in ɖ b’lif ɖt dîvñ hotli in amñ ɖ uɖr cuplz, n ifctñ eni numbr v cncuśnz wɖ ɖm, z yr onli prínsipl v ftñ it.

Harc! hǎ ɖ Cricit jônz ɖ ḿzic wɖ its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp; n hǎ ɖ cetl humz!

Bt ẃt z ɖs? Īvn az I lisn t ɖm blîɖli, n trn twdz Dot, fr wn last glims v a litl figr vri pleznt t m, ś n ɖ rest hv vaniśt intu er, n I am left alon. A Cricit sñz upn ɖ Harʈ; a brocn ćîld’z tô lîz upn ɖ grǎnd: n nʈñ els rmenz.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: AT THE BAY, by Katherine Mansfield

ĆAPTRZ

IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII

AT Ɖ BE

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

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I

Vri rli mornñ. Ɖ sún wz nt yt rizn, n ɖ hol v Cresnt Be wz hidn undr a ẃît sìmist. Ɖ big bś-cuvrd hilz at ɖ bac wr smuɖrd. Y cd nt si ẃr ɖe endd n ɖ paḍcs n bunġloz bgan. Ɖ sandi rod wz gn n ɖ paḍcs n bunġloz ɖ uɖr sîd v it; ɖr wr no ẃît dynz cuvrd wɖ rediś gras bynd ɖm; ɖr wz nʈñ t marc ẃć wz bīć n ẃr wz ɖ sì. A hevi dȳ hd fōḷn. Ɖ gras wz blu. Big drops huñ on ɖ bśz n jst dd nt fōl; ɖ silṿri, flufi toi-toi wz limp on its loñ stōcz, n ol ɖ maṛgoldz n ɖ pncs in ɖ bunġlogardnz wr baud t ɖ rʈ wɖ wetnis. Drenćt wr ɖ cold fyśaz, rǎnd prlz v dȳ le on ɖ flat nstrśmlīvz. It lct az ɖo ɖ sì hd bìtn p softli in ɖ darcnis, az ɖo wn imns wev hd cm riplñ, riplñ—hǎ far? Phps f y hd wect p in ɖ midl v ɖ nît y mt hv sìn a big fiś flicñ in at ɖ windo n gn agn…

Ā-ā! sǎndd ɖ slīpi sì. N fṛm ɖ bś ɖr cem ɖ sǎnd v litl strīmz flowñ, qcli, lîtli, slipñ btwn ɖ smuɖ stonz, guśñ intu frni besnz n ǎt agn; n ɖr wz ɖ splaśñ v big drops on larj līvz, n smʈñ els—ẃt wz it?—a fent stŕñ n śecñ, ɖ snapñ v a twig n ɖen sć sîḷns ɖt it sīmd smwn wz liṣnñ.

Rnd ɖ cornr v Cresnt Be, btwn ɖ pîld-up masz v brocn roc, a floc v śīp cem paṭrñ. Ɖe wr hudld tgɖr, a smōl, tosñ, wŭli mas, n ɖer ʈin, sticlîc legz trotd alñ qcli az f ɖ cold n ɖ qayt hd frîtnd ɖm. Bhnd ɖm an old śīpdog, hiz sǒcñ pwz cuvrd wɖ sand, ran alñ wɖ hiz nǒz t ɖ grǎnd, bt cerlisli, az f ʈncñ v smʈñ els. N ɖen in ɖ roci getwe ɖ śeṗd himslf apird. H wz a līn, uprît old man, in a frìz cot ɖt wz cuvrd wɖ a web v tîni drops, velvit trǎzrz taid undr ɖ ni, n a wîd-awec wɖ a foldd blu hanc̣ćif rnd ɖ brim. Wn hand wz cramd intu hiz blt, ɖ uɖr graspt a bytifli smuɖ yelo stic. N az h wōct, tecñ hiz tîm, h cept p a vri soft lît ẃiṣlñ, an e’ri, far-awe flūtñ ɖt sǎndd mōrnfl n tndr. Ɖ old dog cut an enćnt cepr or tū n ɖen drù p śarp, aśemd v hiz leṿti, n wōct a fy digṇfaid pesz bî hiz mastr’z sîd. Ɖ śīp ran fwd in litl paṭrñ ruśz; ɖe bgan t blīt, n gostli flocs n hŕdz ansrd ɖm fṛm undr ɖ sì. “Ba! Baaa!” Fr a tîm ɖe sīmd t b olwz on ɖ sem pìs v grǎnd. Ɖr ahd wz strećt ɖ sandi rod wɖ śalo pudlz; ɖ sem sǒcñ bśz śoud on îɖr sîd n ɖ sem śadǒi pêlñz. Ɖen smʈñ imns cem intu vy; an inorṃs śoc-herd jaynt wɖ hiz armz strećt ǎt. It wz ɖ big gumtrī ǎtsd Msz. Stubz’ śop, n az ɖe pást bî ɖr wz a stroñ ẃif v yc̣lipṭs. N nǎ big spots v lît glīmd in ɖ mist. Ɖ śeṗd stopt ẃiṣlñ; h rubd hiz red nǒz n wet bird on hiz wet slīv n, scruwñ p hiz îz, glanst in ɖ d’rex́n v ɖ sì. Ɖ sún wz rîzñ. It wz marvḷs hǎ qcli ɖ mist ʈind, sped awe, dzolvd fṛm ɖ śalo plen, rold p fṛm ɖ bś n wz gn az f in a huri t iscep; big twists n crlz josld n śoldrd ć uɖr az ɖ silṿri bīmz brōdnd. Ɖ far-awe scî—a brît, pyr blu—wz rflectd in ɖ pudlz, n ɖ drops, swimñ alñ ɖ teḷgrafpolz, flaśt intu pônts v lît. Nǎ ɖ līpñ, gliṭrñ sì wz so brît it md wn’z îz ec t lc at it. Ɖ śeṗd drù a pîp, ɖ bol az smōl az an ecorn, ǎt v hiz brestpocit, fumbld fr a ćunc v specld tbaco, perd of a fy śevñz n stuft ɖ bol. H wz a grev, fîn-lcñ old man. Az h lit p n ɖ blu smoc rīɖd hiz hed, ɖ dog, woćñ, lct prǎd v him.

“Ba! Baaa!” Ɖ śīp spred ǎt intu a fan. Ɖe wr jst clir v ɖ sumrcoḷni bfr ɖ frst slīpr trnd ovr n liftd a drǎzi hed; ɖer crî sǎndd in ɖ drīmz v litl ćildṛn… hu liftd ɖer armz t drag dǎn, t cudl ɖ darlñ litl wŭli lamz v slīp. Ɖen ɖ frst inhabitnt apird; it wz ɖ Brnélz’ cat Flori, sitñ on ɖ getpost, far tù rli az yẓ́l, lcñ fr ɖer milcgrl. Ẃn ś sw ɖ old śīpdog ś sprañ p qcli, arćt hr bac, drù in hr tabi hed, n sīmd t gv a litl fstidịs śivr. “Ug! Ẃt a cōrs, rvoltñ crīćr!” sd Flori. Bt ɖ old śīpdog, nt lcñ p, wagld past, flññ ǎt hiz legz fṛm sîd t sîd. Onli wn v hiz irz twićt t pruv ɖt h sw, n ʈt hr a sili yuñ fīmel.

Ɖ brīz v mornñ liftd in ɖ bś n ɖ smel v līvz n wet blac rʈ mngld wɖ ɖ śarp smel v ɖ sì. Miriadz v brdz wr sññ. A goldfinć flù ovr ɖ śeṗd’z hed n, prćñ on ɖ tiptop v a spre, it trnd t ɖ sún, ruf̣lñ its smōl brestfeɖrz. N nǎ ɖe hd pást ɖ fiśrmn’z hut, pást ɖ ćard-lcñ litl ẃori ẃr Lela ɖ milcgrl livd wɖ hr old Gran. Ɖ śīp streid ovr a yelo swomp n Wag, ɖ śīpdog, padd aftr, rǎndd ɖm p n hedd ɖm fr ɖ stīpr, narowr roci pas ɖt léd ǎt v Cresnt Be n twdz Dêlît Cov. “Ba! Ba!” Fent ɖ crî cem az ɖe roct alñ ɖ fast-drayñ rod. Ɖ śeṗd pt awe hiz pîp, dropñ it intu hiz brestpocit so ɖt ɖ litl bol huñ ovr. N stretwe ɖ soft e’ri ẃiṣlñ bgan agn. Wag ran ǎt alñ a lej v roc aftr smʈñ ɖt smeld, n ran bac agn dsgustd. Ɖen pśñ, nujñ, huriyñ, ɖ śīp rǎndd ɖ bnd n ɖ śeṗd foloud aftr ǎt v sît.

___

II

A  fy momnts lêtr ɖ bac dor v wn v ɖ bunġloz opnd, n a figr in a brōd-strîpt beɖñsūt fluñ dǎn ɖ paḍc, clird ɖ stail, ruśt ʈru ɖ tuṣcgras intu ɖ holo, stagrd p ɖ sandi hiḷc, n rêst fr dir lîf ovr ɖ big pōṛs stonz, ovr ɖ cold, wet peblz, on t ɖ hard sand ɖt glīmd lîc ôl. Spliś-sploś! Spliś-sploś! Ɖ wōtr bubld rnd hiz legz az Stanli Brnél wêdd ǎt xultñ. Frst man in az yẓ́l! H’d bìtn ɖm ol agn. N h swūpt dǎn t sǎs hiz hed n nec.

“Hêl, bruɖr! Ol hêl, Ɖǎ Mîti Wn!” A vlṿti beis vôs cem būmñ ovr ɖ wōtr.

Gret Scot! Damneśn tec it! Stanli liftd p t si a darc hed bobñ far ǎt n an arm liftd. It wz Joṇʈn Trǎt—ɖr bfr him! “Glorịs mornñ!” sañ ɖ vôs.

“Yes, vri fîn!” sd Stanli brīfli. Ẃ ɖ Dicinz dd’nt ɖ felo stic t hiz part v ɖ sì? Ẃ śd h cm barjñ ovr t ɖs xact spot? Stanli gev a cic, a lunj n struc ǎt, swimñ oṿarm. Bt Joṇʈn wz a mać fr him. P h cem, hiz blac her slīc on hiz fōrhed, hiz śort bird slīc.

“I hd an xtrordnri drīm last nît!” h śǎtd.

Ẃt wz ɖ matr wɖ ɖ man? Ɖs meńa fr convseśn iṛtetd Stanli bynd wrdz. N it wz olwz ɖ sem—olwz sm pifl abt a drīm h’d hd, or sm cranci îdīa h’d got hold v, or sm rot h’d bn rīdñ. Stanli trnd ovr on hiz bac n cict wɖ hiz legz tl h wz a livñ wōtrspǎt. Bt īvn ɖen… “I drīmd I wz haññ ovr a t’rificli hî clif, śǎtñ t smwn b’lo.” Y wd b! ʈt Stanli. H cd stic no mor v it. H stopt splaśñ. “Lc hir, Trǎt,” h sd, “I’m in rɖr a huri ɖs mornñ.”

“Y’r ẂT?” Joṇʈn wz so s’prîzd—or pritndd t b—ɖt h sanc undr ɖ wōtr, ɖen ri’pird agn blowñ.

“Ol I mīn z,” sd Stanli, “I’v no tîm t—t—t fūl abt. I wont t gt ɖs ovr. I’m in a huri. I’v wrc t d ɖs mornñ—si?”

Joṇʈn wz gn bfr Stanli hd finiśt. “Pas, frend!” sd ɖ beis vôs jntli, n h slid awe ʈru ɖ wōtr wɖ scersli a ripl… Bt crs ɖ felo! H’d ruind Stanli’z beɖ. Ẃt an unpracticl idịt ɖ man wz! Stanli struc ǎt t sì agn, n ɖen az qcli swam in agn, n awe h ruśt p ɖ bīć. H flt ćītd.

Joṇʈn steid a litl longr in ɖ wōtr. H flotd, jntli muvñ hiz handz lîc finz, n letñ ɖ sì roc hiz loñ, scini bodi. It wz krịs, bt in spît v evrʈñ h wz fond v Stanli Brnél. Tru, h hd a fīndiś dzîr t tīz him smtmz, t pǒc fun at him, bt at botm h wz sori fr ɖ felo. Ɖr wz smʈñ pʈetic in hiz dtrṃneśn t mc a job v evrʈñ. Y cd’nt hlp fīlñ h’d b còt ǎt wn de, n ɖen ẃt an olmîti cropr h’d cm! At ɖt momnt an imns wev liftd Joṇʈn, roud past him, n brouc alñ ɖ bīć wɖ a jôfl sǎnd. Ẃt a byti! N nǎ ɖr cem anɖr. Ɖt wz ɖ we t liv—cerlisli, reclisli, spendñ wnslf. H got on t hiz fīt n bgan t wêd twdz ɖ śor, presñ hiz toz intu ɖ frm, rincld sand. T tec ʈñz īzi, nt t fît agnst ɖ eb n flo v lîf, bt t gv we t it—ɖt wz ẃt wz nīdd. It wz ɖs tnśn ɖt wz ol roñ. T liv—t liv! N ɖ prfict mornñ, so freś n fer, bascñ in ɖ lît, az ɖo lafñ at its ǒn byti, sīmd t ẃispr, “Ẃ nt?”

Bt nǎ h wz ǎt v ɖ wōtr Joṇʈn trnd blu wɖ cold. H ect ol ovr; it wz az ɖo smwn wz riññ ɖ blud ǎt v him. N stōcñ p ɖ bīć, śiṿrñ, ol hiz muslz tît, h tù flt hiz beɖ wz spôlt. H’d steid in tù loñ.

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III

Beṛl wz alon in ɖ livñrūm ẃn Stanli apird, wẹrñ a blu srj sūt, a stif colr n a spotd tî. H lct olmst uncaṇli clīn n bruśt; h wz gwñ t tǎn fr ɖ de. Dropñ intu hiz ćer, h pld ǎt hiz woć n pt it bsd hiz plet.

“I’v jst got twenti-fîv minits,” h sd. “Y mt g n si f ɖ porij z redi, Beṛl?”

“Muɖr’z jst gn fr it,” sd Beṛl. Ś sat dǎn at ɖ tebl n pord ǎt hiz ti.

“Ʈancs!” Stanli tc a sip. “Hlo!” h sd in an astoniśt vôs, “y’v fgotn ɖ śŭgr.”

“Ǒ, sori!” Bt īvn ɖen Beṛl dd’nt hlp him; ś pśt ɖ besn acrs. Ẃt dd ɖs mīn? Az Stanli hlpt himslf hiz blu îz wîdnd; ɖe sīmd t qivr. H śot a qc glans at hiz sistr-in-lw n līnd bac.

“Nʈñ roñ, z ɖr?” h asct cerlisli, fnġrñ hiz colr.

Beṛl’z hed wz bnt; ś trnd hr plet in hr fngrz.

“Nʈñ,” sd hr lît vôs. Ɖen ś tù lct p, n smîld at Stanli. “Ẃ śd ɖr b?”

“Ǒ-ǒ! No rīzn at ol az far az I nǒ. I ʈt y sīmd rɖr—”

At ɖt momnt ɖ dor opnd n ɖ ʈri litl grlz apird, ć cariyñ a porijplet. Ɖe wr drest alîc in blu jrziz n nicrz; ɖer brǎn legz wr bér, n ć hd hr her pleitd n pind p in ẃt wz cōld a hors’z teil. Bhnd ɖm cem Msz. Ferfīld wɖ ɖ tre.

“Cerf̣li, ćildṛn,” ś wornd. Bt ɖe wr tecñ ɖ vri gretist cer. Ɖe luvd biyñ alaud t cari ʈñz. “Hv y sd gd mornñ t yr faɖr?”

“Yes, granmā.” Ɖe setld ɖmslvz on ɖ bnć oṗzit Stanli n Beṛl.

“Gd mornñ, Stanli!” Old Msz. Ferfīld gev him hiz plet.

“Mornñ, muɖr! Hǎ’z ɖ bô?”

“Splendid! H onli wouc p wns last nît. Ẃt a prfict mornñ!” Ɖ old wmn pōzd, hr hand on ɖ lof v bred, t gêz ǎt v ɖ opn dor intu ɖ gardn. Ɖ sì sǎndd. Ʈru ɖ wîd-opn windo strīmd ɖ sún on t ɖ yelo varniśt wōlz n bér flor. Evrʈñ on ɖ tebl flaśt n glitrd. In ɖ midl ɖr wz an old saḷdbol fild wɖ yelo n red nstrśmz. Ś smîld, n a lc v dīp cntnt śon in hr îz.

“Y mt cut m a slîs v ɖt bred, muɖr,” sd Stanli. “I’v onli twelv n a haf minits bfr ɖ coć pasz. Hz enwn gvn mî śuz t ɖ srvntgrl?”

“Yes, ɖ’r redi fr y.” Msz. Ferfīld wz qt unrufld.

“Ǒ, Cezia! Ẃ r y sć a mesi ćîld!” craid Beṛl dspẹrñli.

M, Ānt Beṛl?” Cezia stérd at hr. Ẃt hd ś dn nǎ? Ś hd onli dug a rivr dǎn ɖ midl v hr porij, fild it, n wz ītñ ɖ bancs awe. Bt ś dd ɖt evri sngl mornñ, n nwn hd sd a wrd p tl nǎ.

“Ẃ c’nt y īt yr fūd proprli lîc Iẓbél n Loti?” Hǎ unfer groun-ups r!

“Bt Loti olwz mcs a flotñ îḷnd, d’nt y, Loti?”

“I d’nt,” sd Iẓbél smartli. “I jst sprincl mîn wɖ śŭgr n pt on ɖ milc n finiś it. Onli bebiz ple wɖ ɖer fūd.”

Stanli pśt bac hiz ćer n got p.

“Wd y gt m ɖoz śuz, muɖr? N, Beṛl, f y’v finiśt, I wś y’d cut dǎn t ɖ get n stop ɖ coć. Run in t yr muɖr, Iẓbél, n asc hr ẃr mî bolrhat’s bn pt. Wêt a minit—hv y ćildṛn bn pleyñ wɖ mî stic?”

“No, faɖr!”

“Bt I pt it hir.” Stanli bgan t blustr. “I rmembr dstñtli ptñ it in ɖs cornr. Nǎ, hu’z hd it? Ɖr’z no tîm t lūz. Lc śarp! Ɖ stic’s got t b faund.”

Īvn Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, wz drwn intu ɖ ćes. “Y hv’nt bn yzñ it t pǒc ɖ cićn fîr wɖ bî eni ćans?”

Stanli daśt intu ɖ bedrūm ẃr Linda wz layñ. “Most xtrordnri ʈñ. I c’nt cīp a sngl pześn t mslf. Ɖ’v md awe wɖ mî stic, nǎ!”

“Stic, dir? Ẃt stic?” Linda’z vegnis on ɖz oceźnz cd nt b riyl, Stanli dsîdd. Wd nbdi simṗʈîz wɖ him?

“Coć! Coć, Stanli!” Beṛl’z vôs craid fṛm ɖ get.

Stanli wevd hiz arm t Linda. “No tîm t se gdbî!” h craid. N h mnt ɖt az a puniśmnt t hr.

H snaćt hiz bolrhat, daśt ǎt v ɖ hǎs, n swuñ dǎn ɖ gardnpaʈ. Yes, ɖ coć wz ɖr wêtñ, n Beṛl, līnñ ovr ɖ opn get, wz lafñ p at smbdi or uɖr jst az f nʈñ hd hapnd. Ɖ hartlisnis v wimin! Ɖ we ɖe tc it fr grantd it wz yr job t slev awe fr ɖm ẃl ɖe dd’nt īvn tec ɖ trubl t si ɖt yr wōcñstic wz’nt lost. Celi treld hiz ẃip acrs ɖ horsz.

“Gdbî, Stanli,” cōld Beṛl, swītli n gêli. It wz īzi inuf t se gdbî! N ɖr ś std, îdl, śêdñ hr îz wɖ hr hand. Ɖ wrst v it wz Stanli hd t śǎt gdbî tù, fr ɖ sec v apiṛnsz. Ɖen h sw hr trn, gv a litl scip n run bac t ɖ hǎs. Ś wz glad t b rid v him!

Yes, ś wz ʈancfl. Intu ɖ livñrūm ś ran n cōld “H’z gn!” Linda craid fṛm hr rūm: “Beṛl! Hz Stanli gn?” Old Msz. Ferfīld apird, cariyñ ɖ bô in hiz litl flanl cotī.

“Gn?”

“Gn!”

Ǒ, ɖ rlif, ɖ difṛns it md t hv ɖ man ǎt v ɖ hǎs. Ɖer vri vôsz wr ćenjd az ɖe cōld t wn anɖr; ɖe sǎndd worm n luvñ n az f ɖe śerd a sīcrit. Beṛl wnt ovr t ɖ tebl. “Hv anɖr cup v ti, muɖr. It’s stl hot.” Ś wontd, smhǎ, t seḷbret ɖ fact ɖt ɖe cd d ẃt ɖe lîct nǎ. Ɖr wz no man t dstrb ɖm; ɖ hol prfict de wz ɖerz.

“No, ʈanc y, ćîld,” sd old Msz. Ferfīld, bt ɖ we at ɖt momnt ś tóst ɖ bô p n sd “a-gūs-a-gūs-a-ga!” t him mnt ɖt ś flt ɖ sem. Ɖ litl grlz ran intu ɖ paḍc lîc ćicinz let ǎt v a cūp.

Īvn Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, wośñ p ɖ diśz in ɖ cićn, còt ɖ infx́n n yzd ɖ preśs tancwōtr in a prfictli reclis faśn.

“Ǒ, ɖz men!” sd ś, n ś plunjd ɖ tīpot intu ɖ bol n hld it undr ɖ wōtr īvn aftr it hd stopt buḅlñ, az f it tù wz a man n drǎnñ wz tù gd fr ɖm.

___

IV

“Wêt fr m, Iza-bel! Cezia, wêt fr m!”

Ɖr wz pur litl Loti, left bhnd agn, bcz ś faund it so firf̣li hard t gt ovr ɖ stail bî hrslf. Ẃn ś std on ɖ frst step hr niz bgan t wobl; ś graspt ɖ post. Ɖen y hd t pt wn leg ovr. Bt ẃć leg? Ś nvr cd dsîd. N ẃn ś dd fîṇli pt wn leg ovr wɖ a sort v stamp v dsper—ɖen ɖ fīlñ wz ōfl. Ś wz haf in ɖ paḍc stl n haf in ɖ tuṣcgras. Ś clućt ɖ post despṛtli n liftd p hr vôs. “Wêt fr m!”

“No, d’nt y wêt fr hr, Cezia!” sd Iẓbél. “Ś’z sć a litl sili. Ś’z olwz mcñ a fus. Cm on!” N ś tugd Cezia’z jrzi. “Y cn yz mî bucit f y cm wɖ m,” ś sd cîndli. “It’s bigr ɖn yrz.” Bt Cezia cd’nt līv Loti ol bî hrslf. Ś ran bac t hr. Bî ɖs tîm Loti wz vri red in ɖ fes n briɖñ heṿli.

“Hir, pt yr uɖr ft ovr,” sd Cezia.

“Ẃr?”

Loti lct dǎn at Cezia az f fṛm a mǎntinhît.

“Hir ẃr mî hand z.” Cezia patd ɖ ples.

“Ǒ, ɖr d y mīn!” Loti gev a dīp sai n pt ɖ secnd ft ovr.

“Nǎ—sort v trn rnd n sit dǎn n slîd,” sd Cezia.

“Bt ɖr’z nʈñ t sit dǎn on, Cezia,” sd Loti.

Ś manijd it at last, n wns it wz ovr ś śc hrslf n bgan t bīm.

“I’m gtñ betr at clîmñ ovr stailz, r’nt I, Cezia?”

Loti’z wz a vri hopfl nećr.

Ɖ pnc n ɖ blu súnbonit foloud Iẓbél’z brît red súnbonit p ɖt slîdñ, slipñ hil. At ɖ top ɖe pōzd t dsîd ẃr t g n t hv a gd stér at hu wz ɖr olrdi. Sìn fṛm bhnd, standñ agnst ɖ scîlîn, jstikletñ larjli wɖ ɖer spedz, ɖe lct lîc mînyt puzld xplorrz.

Ɖ hol faṃli v Saḿl Jozifs wz ɖr olrdi wɖ ɖer ledi-hlp, hu sat on a campstūl n cept ordr wɖ a ẃisl ɖt ś wòr taid rnd hr nec, n a smōl cen wɖ ẃć ś d’rectd oṗreśnz. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs nvr pleid bî ɖmslvz or manijd ɖer ǒn gem. F ɖe dd, it endd in ɖ bôz porñ wōtr dǎn ɖ grlz’ necs or ɖ grlz trayñ t pt litl blac crabz intu ɖ bôz’ pocits. So Msz. S. J. n ɖ pur ledi-hlp drù p ẃt ś cōld a “brogram” evri mornñ t cīp ɖm “abyzd n ǎt v bisćif.” It wz ol comṗtiśnz or rêsz or rǎndgemz. Evrʈñ bgan wɖ a pirsñ blast v ɖ ledi-hlp’s ẃisl n endd wɖ anɖr. Ɖr wr īvn prîzz—larj, rɖr drti pepr parslz ẃć ɖ ledi-hlp wɖ a sǎr litl smîl drù ǎt v a buljñ strñ cit. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs fòt firf̣li fr ɖ prîzz n ćītd n pinćt wn anɖr’z armz—ɖe wr ol exprt pinćrz. Ɖ onli tîm ɖ Brnél ćildṛn evr pleid wɖ ɖm Cezia hd got a prîz, n ẃn ś undid ʈri bits v pepr ś faund a vri smōl rusti butn-hc. Ś cd’nt unḍstand ẃ ɖe md sć a fus…

Bt ɖe nvr pleid wɖ ɖ Saḿl Jozifs nǎ or īvn wnt t ɖer partiz. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs wr olwz gvñ ćildṛn’z partiz at ɖ Be n ɖr wz olwz ɖ sem fūd. A big wośhand besn v vri brǎn frūt saḷd, bunz cut intu for n a wośhand jug fl v smʈñ ɖ ledi-hlp cōld “Liṃnedr.” N y wnt awe in ɖ īvnñ wɖ haf ɖ fril torn of yr froc or smʈñ spild ol dǎn ɖ frunt v yr opn-wrc piṇfor, līvñ ɖ Saḿl Jozifs līpñ lîc saṿjz on ɖer lōn. No! Ɖe wr tù ōfl.

On ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ bīć, clos dǎn t ɖ wōtr, tū litl bôz, ɖer nicrz rold p, twncld lîc spîdrz. Wn wz digñ, ɖ uɖr patrd in n ǎt v ɖ wōtr, filñ a smōl bucit. Ɖe wr ɖ Trǎt bôz, Pip n Ragz. Bt Pip wz so bizi digñ n Ragz wz so bizi hlpñ ɖt ɖe dd’nt si ɖer litl cuznz untl ɖe wr qt clos.

“Lc!” sd Pip. “Lc ẃt I’v dscuvrd.” N h śoud ɖm an old wet, sqośt-lcñ būt. Ɖ ʈri litl grlz stérd.

“Ẃtvr r y gwñ t d wɖ it?” asct Cezia.

“Cīp it, v cors!” Pip wz vri scornfl. “It’s a fînd—si?”

Yes, Cezia sw ɖt. Ol ɖ sem…

“Ɖr’z lots v ʈñz berid in ɖ sand,” xplend Pip. “Ɖe gt ćuct p fṛm recs. Treẓ́r. Ẃ—y mt fînd—”

“Bt ẃ dz Ragz hv t cīp on porñ wōtr in?” asct Loti.

“Ǒ, ɖt’s t môsn it,” sd Pip, “t mc ɖ wrc a bit īzịr. Cīp it p, Ragz.”

N gd litl Ragz ran p n dǎn, porñ in ɖ wōtr ɖt trnd brǎn lîc coco.

“Hir, śl I śo y ẃt I faund yesṭde?” sd Pip mstirịsli, n h stuc hiz sped intu ɖ sand. “Promis nt t tel.”

Ɖe promist.

“Se, cros mî hart stret dncm.”

Ɖ litl grlz sd it.

Pip tc smʈñ ǎt v hiz pocit, rubd it a loñ tîm on ɖ frunt v hiz jrzi, ɖen briɖd on it n rubd it agn.

“Nǎ trn rnd!” h ordrd.

Ɖe trnd rnd.

“Ol lc ɖ sem we! Cīp stl! Nǎ!”

N hiz hand opnd; h hld p t ɖ lît smʈñ ɖt flaśt, ɖt wnct, ɖt wz a most luvli grīn.

“It’s a nemṛl,” sd Pip soḷmli.

“Z it riyli, Pip?” Īvn Iẓbél wz imprest.

Ɖ luvli grīn ʈñ sīmd t dans in Pip’s fngrz. Ānt Beṛl hd a nemṛl in a rñ, bt it wz a vri smōl wn. Ɖs wn wz az big az a star n far mor bytifl.

___

V

Az ɖ mornñ leñʈnd hol partiz apird ovr ɖ sandhilz n cem dǎn on ɖ bīć t beɖ. It wz unḍstd ɖt at ilevn o’cloc ɖ wimin n ćildṛn v ɖ sumrcoḷni hd ɖ sì t ɖmslvz. Frst ɖ wimin undrest, pld on ɖer beɖñdresz n cuvrd ɖer hedz in hidịs caps lîc spunjbagz; ɖen ɖ ćildṛn wr unbutnd. Ɖ bīć wz strùn wɖ litl hīps v cloɖz n śuz; ɖ big sumrhats, wɖ stonz on ɖm t cīp ɖm fṛm blowñ awe, lct lîc imns ślz. It wz strenj ɖt īvn ɖ sì sīmd t sǎnd difṛntli ẃn ol ɖoz līpñ, lafñ figrz ran intu ɖ wevz. Old Msz. Ferfīld, in a lîlac cotn dres n a blac hat taid undr ɖ ćin, gaɖrd hr litl brūd n got ɖm redi. Ɖ litl Trǎt bôz ẃipt ɖer śrts ovr ɖer hedz, n awe ɖ fîv sped, ẃl ɖer granmā sat wɖ wn hand in hr nitñbag redi t drw ǎt ɖ bōl v wŭl ẃn ś wz saṭsfaid ɖe wr sefli in.

Ɖ frm compact litl grlz wr nt haf so brev az ɖ tndr, delic̣t-lcñ litl bôz. Pip n Ragz, śiṿrñ, crǎćñ dǎn, slapñ ɖ wōtr, nvr heztetd. Bt Iẓbél, hu cd swim twelv strocs, n Cezia, hu cd nirli swim et, onli foloud on ɖ strict unḍstandñ ɖe wr nt t b splaśt. Az fr Loti, ś dd’nt folo at ol. Ś lîct t b left t g in hr ǒn we, plīz. N ɖt we wz t sit dǎn at ɖ éj v ɖ wōtr, hr legz stret, hr niz prest tgɖr, n t mc veg mośnz wɖ hr armz az f ś xpctd t b woftd ǎt t sì. Bt ẃn a bigr wev ɖn yẓ́l, an old ẃisc̣ri wn, cem loḷpñ alñ in hr d’rex́n, ś scrambld t hr fīt wɖ a fes v horr n flù p ɖ bīć agn.

“Hir, muɖr, cīp ɖoz fr m, wl y?”

Tū rñz n a ʈin gold ćen wr dropt intu Msz Ferfīld’z lap.

“Yes, dir. Bt r’nt y gwñ t beɖ hir?”

“No-o,” Beṛl drōld. Ś sǎndd veg. “I’m undresñ farɖr alñ. I’m gwñ t beɖ wɖ Msz. Hari Cmbr.”

“Vri wel.” Bt Msz. Ferfīld’z lips set. Ś dis’pruvd v Msz Hari Cmbr. Beṛl ń it.

Pur old muɖr, ś smîld, az ś scimd ovr ɖ stonz. Pur old muɖr! Old! Ǒ, ẃt jô, ẃt blis it wz t b yuñ…

“Y lc vri plizd,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. Ś sat hunćt p on ɖ stonz, hr armz rnd hr niz, smocñ.

“It’s sć a luvli de,” sd Beṛl, smîlñ dǎn at hr.

“Ǒ mî dir!” Msz. Hari Cmbr’z vôs sǎndd az ɖo ś ń betr ɖn ɖt. Bt ɖen hr vôs olwz sǎndd az ɖo ś ń smʈñ betr abt y ɖn y dd yrslf. Ś wz a loñ, strenj-lcñ wmn wɖ naro handz n fīt. Hr fes, tù, wz loñ n naro n xōstd-lcñ; īvn hr fer crld frinj lct brnt ǎt n wiɖrd. Ś wz ɖ onli wmn at ɖ Be hu smoct, n ś smoct insesntli, cīpñ ɖ siġrét btwn hr lips ẃl ś tōct, n onli tecñ it ǎt ẃn ɖ aś wz so loñ y cd nt unḍstand ẃ it dd nt fōl. Ẃn ś wz nt pleyñ brij—ś pleid brij evri de v hr lîf—ś spent hr tîm layñ in ɖ fl gler v ɖ sún. Ś cd stand eni amǎnt v it; ś nvr hd inuf. Ol ɖ sem, it dd nt sīm t worm hr. Parćt, wiɖrd, cold, ś le strećt on ɖ stonz lîc a pìs v tóst-up driftwŭd. Ɖ wimin at ɖ Be ʈt ś wz vri, vri fast. Hr lac v vaṇti, hr slañ, ɖ we ś trītd men az ɖo ś wz wn v ɖm, n ɖ fact ɖt ś dd’nt cer tupns abt hr hǎs n cōld ɖ srvnt Gladis “Glad-îz,” wz dsgresfl. Standñ on ɖ vranḍsteps Msz. Cmbr wd cōl in hr indifṛnt, tîrd vôs, “I se, Glad-îz, y mt hīv m a hanc̣ćif f I’v got wn, wl y?” N Glad-îz, a red bo in hr her instd v a cap, n ẃît śuz, cem runñ wɖ an impydnt smîl. It wz an abṣlut scandl! Tru, ś hd no ćildṛn, n hr huzbnd… Hir ɖ vôsz wr olwz rezd; ɖe bcem frvnt. Hǎ cn h hv marid hr? Hǎ cn h, hǎ cn h? It mst hv bn muni, v cors, bt īvn ɖen!

Msz. Cmbr’z huzbnd wz at līst ten yirz yungr ɖn ś wz, n so increḍbli hansm ɖt h lct lîc a masc or a most prfict iḷstreśn in an Americn novl rɖr ɖn a man. Blac her, darc blu îz, red lips, a slo slīpi smîl, a fîn tenispleyr, a prfict dansr, n wɖ it ol a misṭri. Hari Cmbr wz lîc a man wōcñ in hiz slīp. Men cd’nt stand him, ɖe cd’nt gt a wrd ǎt v ɖ ćap; h ignord hiz wîf jst az ś ignord him. Hǎ dd h liv? V cors ɖr wr storiz, bt sć storiz! Ɖe simpli cd’nt b tld. Ɖ wimin h’d bn sìn wɖ, ɖ plesz h’d bn sìn in… bt nʈñ wz evr srtn, nʈñ defiṇt. Sm v ɖ wimin at ɖ Be prîṿtli ʈt h’d cmit a mrdr wn de. Yes, īvn ẃl ɖe tōct t Msz. Cmbr n tc in ɖ ōfl cncox́n ś wz wẹrñ, ɖe sw hr, strećt az ś le on ɖ bīć; bt cold, bludi, n stl wɖ a siġrét stuc in ɖ cornr v hr mǎʈ.

Msz. Cmbr rouz, yōnd, unsnapt hr blt-bucl, n tugd at ɖ tep v hr blǎz. N Beṛl stept ǎt v hr scrt n śed hr jrzi, n std p in hr śort ẃît peticot, n hr caṃsol wɖ ribn boz on ɖ śoldrz.

“Mrsi on s,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr, “ẃt a litl byti y r!”

“D’nt!” sd Beṛl softli; bt, drw̃ of wn stocñ n ɖen ɖ uɖr, ś flt a litl byti.

“Mî dir—ẃ nt?” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr, stampñ on hr ǒn peticot. Riyli—hr unḍcloɖz! A per v blu cotn nicrz n a linn bodis ɖt rmîndd wn smhǎ v a piloces… “N y d’nt wer stez, d y?” Ś tućt Beṛl’z weist, n Beṛl sprañ awe wɖ a smōl afctd crî. Ɖen “Nvr!” ś sd frmli.

“Luci litl crīćr,” said Msz. Cmbr, unfaṣnñ hr ǒn.

Beṛl trnd hr bac n bgan ɖ compḷcetd muvmnts v smwn hu z trayñ t tec of hr cloɖz n t pl on hr beɖñdres ol at wn n ɖ sem tîm.

“Ǒ, mî dir—d’nt mînd m,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. “Ẃ b śî? I ś’nt īt y. I ś’nt b śoct lîc ɖoz uɖr niniz.” N ś gev hr strenj neyñ laf n griṃst at ɖ uɖr wimin.

Bt Beṛl wz śî. Ś nvr undrest in frunt v enbdi. Wz ɖt sili? Msz. Hari Cmbr md hr fīl it wz sili, īvn smʈñ t b aśemd v. Ẃ b śî indd! Ś glanst qcli at hr frend standñ so boldli in hr torn śemīz n lîtñ a freś siġrét; n a qc, bold, īvl fīlñ startd p in hr brest. Lafñ reclisli, ś drù on ɖ limp, sandi-fīlñ beɖñdres ɖt wz nt qt drî n fasnd ɖ twistd butnz.

“Ɖt’s betr,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. Ɖe bgan t g dǎn ɖ bīć tgɖr. “Riyli, it’s a sin fr y t wer cloɖz, mî dir. Smbdi’z got t tel y sm de.”

Ɖ wōtr wz qt worm. It wz ɖt marvḷs trnspaṛnt blu, fléct wɖ silvr, bt ɖ sand at ɖ botm lct gold; ẃn y cict wɖ yr toz ɖr rouz a litl puf v golḑust. Nǎ ɖ wevz jst rīćt hr brest. Beṛl std, hr armz ǎtstrećt, gezñ ǎt, n az ć wev cem ś gev ɖ slîtist litl jump, so ɖt it sīmd it wz ɖ wev ẃć liftd hr so jntli.

“I b’liv in priti grlz hvñ a gd tîm,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. “Ẃ nt? D’nt y mc a mstec, mî dir. Injô yrslf.” N sudnli ś trnd trtl, dis’pird, n swam awe qcli, qcli, lîc a rat. Ɖen ś flict rnd n bgan swimñ bac. Ś wz gwñ t se smʈñ els. Beṛl flt ɖt ś wz biyñ pôznd bî ɖs cold wmn, bt ś loñd t hír. Bt ǒ, hǎ strenj, hǎ hoṛbl! Az Msz. Hari Cmbr cem p clos ś lct, in hr blac wōtr-prūf beɖñcap, wɖ hr slīpi fes liftd abv ɖ wōtr, jst hr ćin tućñ, lîc a hoṛbl caric̣ćr v hr huzbnd.

___

VI

In a stīmrćer, undr a mnūc̣trī ɖt grù in ɖ midl v ɖ frunt graspać, Linda Brnél drīmd ɖ mornñ awe. Ś dd nʈñ. Ś lct p at ɖ darc, clos, drî līvz v ɖ mnūca, at ɖ ćincs v blu btwn, n nǎ n agn a tîni yelǒiś flǎr dropt on hr. Priti—yes, f y hld wn v ɖoz flǎrz on ɖ pām v yr hand n lct at it closli, it wz an xqizit smōl ʈñ. Ć pel yelo petl śon az f ć wz ɖ cerfl wrc v a luvñ hand. Ɖ tîni tuñ in ɖ sntr gev it ɖ śep v a bel. N ẃn y trnd it ovr ɖ ǎtsd wz a dīp bronz culr. Bt az sn az ɖe flǎrd, ɖe fél n wr scatrd. Y bruśt ɖm of yr froc az y tōct; ɖ horid litl ʈñz got còt in wn’z her. Ẃ, ɖen, flǎr at ol? Hu tecs ɖ trubl—or ɖ jô—t mc ol ɖz ʈñz ɖt r westd, westd… It wz uncani.

On ɖ gras bsd hr, layñ btwn tū piloz, wz ɖ bô. Sǎnd aslip h le, hiz hed trnd awe fṛm hiz muɖr. Hiz fîn darc her lct mor lîc a śado ɖn lîc riyl her, bt hiz ir wz a brît, dīp coṛl. Linda claspt hr handz abv hr hed n crost hr fīt. It wz vri pleznt t nǒ ɖt ol ɖz bunġloz wr emti, ɖt evrbdi wz dǎn on ɖ bīć, ǎt v sît, ǎt v hírñ. Ś hd ɖ gardn t hrslf; ś wz alon.

Daẓlñ ẃît ɖ pic̣tīz śon; ɖ goldn-aid maṛgold glitrd; ɖ nstrśnz rīɖd ɖ vranḍpolz in grīn n gold flem. F onli wn hd tîm t lc at ɖz flǎrz loñ inuf, tîm t gt ovr ɖ sns v novlti n strenjnis, tîm t nǒ ɖm! Bt az sn az wn pōzd t part ɖ petlz, t dscuvr ɖ unḍsîd v ɖ līf, alñ cem Lîf n wn wz swept awe. N, layñ in hr cen ćer, Linda flt so lît; ś flt lîc a līf. Alñ cem Lîf lîc a wind n ś wz sizd n śecn; ś hd t g. Ǒ dir, wd it olwz b so? Wz ɖr no iscep?

… Nǎ ś sat on ɖ vranda v ɖer Tazmeńn hom, līnñ agnst hr faɖr’z ni. N h promist, “Az sn az y n I r old inuf, Lini, w’l cut of smẃr, w’l iscep. Tū bôz tgɖr. I hv a fansi I’d lîc t sêl p a rivr in Ćîna.” Linda sw ɖt rivr, vri wîd, cuvrd wɖ litl rafts n bots. Ś sw ɖ yelo hats v ɖ botṃn n ś hŕd ɖer hî, ʈin vôsz az ɖe cōld…

“Yes, ppā.”

Bt jst ɖen a vri brōd yuñ man wɖ brît jinjr her wōct slǒli past ɖer hǎs, n slǒli, soḷmli īvn, uncuvrd. Linda’z faɖr pld hr ir tizñli, in ɖ we h hd.

“Lini’z bou,” h ẃisprd.

“Ǒ, ppā, fansi biyñ marid t Stanli Brnél!”

Wel, ś wz marid t him. N ẃt wz mor ś luvd him. Nt ɖ Stanli hūm evrwn sw, nt ɖ evride wn; bt a timid, snṣtiv, iṇsnt Stanli hu nlt dǎn evri nît t se hiz prerz, n hu loñd t b gd. Stanli wz simpl. F h b’livd in ppl—az h b’livd in hr, fr instns—it wz wɖ hiz hol hart. H cd nt b dsloyl; h cd nt tel a lî. N hǎ teṛbli h sufrd f h ʈt enwn—ś—wz nt biyñ ded stret, ded snsir wɖ him! “Ɖs z tù sutl fr m!” H fluñ ǎt ɖ wrdz, bt hiz opn, qiṿrñ, dstrōt lc wz lîc ɖ lc v a trapt bīst.

Bt ɖ trubl wz—hir Linda flt olmst inclînd t laf, ɖo Hevn nz it wz no lafñmatr—ś sw hr Stanli so sldm. Ɖr wr glimsz, momnts, briɖñspesz v cām, bt ol ɖ rest v ɖ tîm it wz lîc livñ in a hǎs ɖt cd’nt b krd v ɖ habit v caćñ on fîr, or a śip ɖt got rect evri de. N it wz olwz Stanli hu wz in ɖ ʈic v ɖ denjr. Hr hol tîm wz spent in rescywñ him, n rstorñ him, n cāmñ him dǎn, n liṣnñ t hiz stori. N ẃt wz left v hr tîm wz spent in ɖ dred v hvñ ćildṛn.

Linda frǎnd; ś sat p qcli in hr stīmrćer n claspt hr anclz. Yes, ɖt wz hr riyl gruj agnst lîf; ɖt wz ẃt ś cd nt unḍstand. Ɖt wz ɖ qsćn ś asct n asct, n lisnd in ven fr ɖ ansr. It wz ol vri wel t se it wz ɖ comn lot v wimin t ber ćildṛn. It wz’nt tru. Ś, fr wn, cd pruv ɖt roñ. Ś wz brocn, md wìc, hr curij wz gn, ʈru ćîldberñ. N ẃt md it dubli hard t ber wz, ś dd nt luv hr ćildṛn. It wz yslis pritndñ. Īvn f ś hd hd ɖ streñʈ ś nvr wd hv nrst n pleid wɖ ɖ litl grlz. No, it wz az ɖo a cold breʈ hd ćild hr ʈru n ʈru on ć v ɖoz ōfl jrniz; ś hd no wormʈ left t gv ɖm. Az t ɖ bô—wel, ʈanc Hevn, muɖr hd tecn him; h wz muɖr’z, or Beṛl’z, or enbdi’z hu wontd him. Ś hd hardli hld him in hr armz. Ś wz so indifṛnt abt him ɖt az h le ɖr… Linda glanst dǎn.

Ɖ bô hd trnd ovr. H le fesñ hr, n h wz no longr aslip. Hiz darc-blu, bebiîz wr opn; h lct az ɖo h wz pīpñ at hiz muɖr. N sudnli hiz fes dimpld; it brouc intu a wîd, tuʈlis smîl, a prfict bīm, no les.

“I’m hir!” ɖt hapi smîl sīmd t se. “Ẃ d’nt y lîc m?”

Ɖr wz smʈñ so qent, so unixpctd abt ɖt smîl ɖt Linda smîld hrslf. Bt ś ćect hrslf n sd t ɖ bô coldli, “I d’nt lîc bebiz.”

“D’nt lîc bebiz?” Ɖ bô cd’nt b’liv hr. “D’nt lîc m?” H wevd hiz armz fūliśli at hiz muɖr.

Linda dropt of hr ćer on t ɖ gras.

“Ẃ d y cīp on smîlñ?” ś sd svirli. “F y ń ẃt I wz ʈncñ abt, y wd’nt.”

Bt h onli sqizd p hiz îz, slîli, n rold hiz hed on ɖ pilo. H dd’nt b’liv a wrd ś sd.

“W nǒ ol abt ɖt!” smîld ɖ bô.

Linda wz so astoniśt at ɖ confidns v ɖs litl crīćr… Ā no, b snsir. Ɖt wz nt ẃt ś flt; it wz smʈñ far difṛnt, it wz smʈñ so ny, so… Ɖ tirz danst in hr îz; ś briɖd in a smōl ẃispr t ɖ bô, “Hlo, mî funi!”

Bt bî nǎ ɖ bô hd fgotn hiz muɖr. H wz sirịs agn. Smʈñ pnc, smʈñ soft wevd in frunt v him. H md a grab at it n it imīɉtli dis’pird. Bt ẃn h le bac, anɖr, lîc ɖ frst, apird. Ɖs tîm h dtrmind t cać it. H md a tṛmnḍs ef̣t n rold rît ovr.

___

VII

Ɖ  tîd wz ǎt; ɖ bīć wz dzrtd; leẓli flopt ɖ worm sì. Ɖ sún bìt dǎn, bìt dǎn hot n fîri on ɖ fîn sand, becñ ɖ gre n blu n blac n ẃît-veind peblz. It suct p ɖ litl drop v wōtr ɖt le in ɖ holo v ɖ crvd ślz; it blīćt ɖ pnc cnvolvyḷs ɖt ʈredd ʈru n ʈru ɖ sandhilz. Nʈñ sīmd t muv bt ɖ smōl sandhóprs. Pit-pit-pit! Ɖe wr nvr stl.

Ovr ɖr on ɖ wīd-huñ rocs ɖt lct at lo tîd lîc śagi bīsts cm dǎn t ɖ wōtr t drinc, ɖ súnlît sīmd t spin lîc a silvr côn dropt intu ć v ɖ smōl rocpūlz. Ɖe danst, ɖe qivrd, n mînyt riplz levd ɖ pōṛs śorz. Lcñ dǎn, bndñ ovr, ć pūl wz lîc a lec wɖ pnc n blu hǎzz clustrd on ɖ śorz; n ǒ! ɖ vast mǎntṇs cuntri bhnd ɖoz hǎzz—ɖ r’vīnz, ɖ pasz, ɖ denjṛs crìcs n firfl tracs ɖt léd t ɖ wōtr’z éj. Undnʈ wevd ɖ sìforist—pnc ʈred-lîc triz, velvit aneṃniz, n orinj-béri-spotd wīdz. Nǎ a ston on ɖ botm muvd, roct, n ɖr wz a glims v a blac fīlr; nǎ a ʈred-lîc crīćr wevrd bî n wz lost. Smʈñ wz haṗnñ t ɖ pnc, wevñ triz; ɖe wr ćenjñ t a cold mūnlît blu. N nǎ ɖr sǎndd ɖ fentist “plop.” Hu md ɖt sǎnd? Ẃt wz gwñ on dǎn ɖr? N hǎ stroñ, hǎ damp ɖ sìwīd smelt in ɖ hot sún…

Ɖ grīn blîndz wr drwn in ɖ bunġloz v ɖ sumrcoḷni. Ovr ɖ vrandaz, pron on ɖ paḍc, fluñ ovr ɖ fnsz, ɖr wr xōstd-lcñ beɖñdresz n ruf strîpt tǎlz. Ć bac windo sīmd t hv a per v sandśuz on ɖ sil n sm lumps v roc or a bucit or a c’lex́n v pawa-ślz. Ɖ bś qivrd in a hêz v hīt; ɖ sandi rod wz emti xpt fr ɖ Trǎts’ dog Snūcr, hu le strećt in ɖ vri midl v it. Hiz blu î wz trnd p, hiz legz stuc ǎt stifli, n h gev an oceẓ́nl despṛt-sǎndñ puf, az mć az t se h hd dsîdd t mc an end v it n wz onli wêtñ fr sm cnd cart t cm alñ.

“Ẃt r y lcñ at, mî granmā? Ẃ d y cīp stopñ n sort v stẹrñ at ɖ wōl?”

Cezia n hr granmuɖr wr tecñ ɖer siesta tgɖr. Ɖ litl grl, wẹrñ onli hr śort drorz n hr unḍbodis, hr armz n legz bér, le on wn v ɖ puft-up piloz v hr granmā’z bed, n ɖ old wmn, in a ẃît rufld dresñgǎn, sat in a rocr at ɖ windo, wɖ a loñ pìs v pnc nitñ in hr lap. Ɖs rūm ɖt ɖe śerd, lîc ɖ uɖr rūmz v ɖ bunġlo, wz v lît varniśt wŭd n ɖ flor wz bér. Ɖ frnićr wz v ɖ śabiist, ɖ simplist. Ɖ dresñtebl, fr instns, wz a pacñces in a sprigd muzlin peticot, n ɖ mirr abv wz vri strenj; it wz az ɖo a litl pìs v forct lîtnñ wz impriznd in it. On ɖ tebl ɖr std a jar v sì-pncs, prest so tîtli tgɖr ɖe lct mor lîc a velvit pincŭśn, n a speśl śel ẃć Cezia hd gvn hr granmā fr a pintre, n anɖr īvn mor speśl ẃć ś hd ʈt wd mc a vri nîs ples fr a woć t crl p in.

“Tel m, granmā,” sd Cezia.

Ɖ old wmn said, ẃipt ɖ wŭl twîs rnd hr ʈum, n drù ɖ bon nīdl ʈru. Ś wz castñ on.

“I wz ʈncñ v yr Uncl Wiłm, darlñ,” ś sd qaytli.

“Mî Ostrełn Uncl Wiłm?” sd Cezia. Ś hd anɖr.

“Yes, v cors.”

“Ɖ wn I nvr sw?”

“Ɖt wz ɖ wn.”

“Wel, ẃt hapnd t him?” Cezia ń prf̣cli wel, bt ś wontd t b tld agn.

“H wnt t ɖ mînz, n h got a súnstroc ɖr n daid,” sd old Msz. Ferfīld.

Cezia blinct n cnsidrd ɖ picćr agn… A litl man fōḷn ovr lîc a tin soljr bî ɖ sîd v a big blac houl.

“Dz it mc y sad t ʈnc abt him, granmā?” Ś hetd hr granmā t b sad.

It wz ɖ old wmn’z trn t cnsidr. Dd it mc hr sad? T lc bac, bac. T stér dǎn ɖ yirz, az Cezia hd sìn hr dwñ. T lc aftr ɖm az a wmn dz, loñ aftr ɖe wr ǎt v sît. Dd it mc hr sad? No, lîf wz lîc ɖt.

“No, Cezia.”

“Bt ẃ?” asct Cezia. Ś liftd wn bér arm n bgan t drw ʈñz in ɖ er. “Ẃ dd Uncl Wiłm hv t dî? H wz’nt old.”

Msz. Ferfīld bgan cǎntñ ɖ stićz in ʈriz. “It jst hapnd,” ś sd in an abzorbd vôs.

“Dz evrbdi hv t dî?” asct Cezia.

“Evrbdi!”

M?” Cezia sǎndd firf̣li increɉḷs.

“Sm de, mî darlñ.”

“Bt, granmā.” Cezia wevd hr left leg n wagld ɖ toz. Ɖe flt sandi. “Ẃt f I jst w’nt?”

Ɖ old wmn said agn n drù a loñ ʈred fṛm ɖ bōl.

“W’r nt asct, Cezia,” ś sd sadli. “It hapnz t ol v s snr or lêtr.”

Cezia le stil ʈncñ ɖs ovr. Ś dd’nt wont t dî. It mnt ś wd hv t līv hir, līv evrẃr, fr evr, līv—līv hr granmā. Ś rold ovr qcli.

“Granmā,” ś sd in a startld vôs.

“Ẃt, mî pet!”

Y’r nt t dî.” Cezia wz vri dsîdd.

“Ā, Cezia”—hr granmā lct p n smîld n śc hr hed—“d’nt let’s tōc abt it.”

“Bt y’r nt t. Y cd’nt līv m. Y cd’nt nt b ɖr.” Ɖs wz ōfl. “Promis m y w’nt evr d it, granmā,” plīdd Cezia.

Ɖ old wmn wnt on nitñ.

“Promis m! Se nvr!”

Bt stl hr granmā wz sîḷnt.

Cezia rold of hr bed; ś cd’nt ber it eni longr, n lîtli ś lept on t hr granmā’z niz, claspt hr handz rnd ɖ old wmn’z ʈrot n bgan cisñ hr, undr ɖ ćin, bhnd ɖ ir, n blowñ dǎn hr nec.

“Se nvr… se nvr… se nvr—” Ś gaspt btwn ɖ cisz. N ɖen ś bgan, vri softli n lîtli, t ticl hr granmā.

“Cezia!” Ɖ old wmn dropt hr nitñ. Ś swuñ bac in ɖ rocr. Ś bgan t ticl Cezia. “Se nvr, se nvr, se nvr,” grgld Cezia, ẃl ɖe le ɖr lafñ in ć uɖr’z armz. “Cm, ɖt’s inuf, mî sqiṛl! Ɖt’s inuf, mî wîld poni!” sd old Msz. Ferfīld, setñ hr cap stret. “Pic p mî nitñ.”

Bʈ v ɖm hd fgotn ẃt ɖ “nvr” wz abt.

___

VIII

Ɖ  sún wz stl fl on ɖ gardn ẃn ɖ bac dor v ɖ Brnélz’ śut wɖ a bañ, n a vri ge figr wōct dǎn ɖ paʈ t ɖ get. It wz Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, drest fr hr afṭnun ǎt. Ś wòr a ẃît cotn dres wɖ sć larj red spots on it n so mni ɖt ɖe md y śudr, ẃît śuz n a leghorn trnd p undr ɖ brim wɖ popiz. V cors ś wòr gluvz, ẃît wnz, stend at ɖ faṣnñz wɖ aynmold, n in wn hand ś carid a vri daśt-lcñ súnśêd ẃć ś rfŕd t az hr “peṛhōl.”

Beṛl, sitñ in ɖ windo, fanñ hr freśli-wośt her, ʈt ś hd nvr sìn sć a gai. F Alis hd onli blact hr fes wɖ a pìs v corc bfr ś startd ǎt, ɖ picćr wd hv bn cmplit. N ẃr dd a grl lîc ɖt g t in a ples lîc ɖs? Ɖ hart-śept Fijiyn fan bìt scornf̣li at ɖt luvli brît mein. Ś s’pozd Alis hd pict p sm hoṛbl comn laṛcin n ɖ’d g of intu ɖ bś tgɖr. Piti t hv md hrslf so cnspiks; ɖ’d hv hard wrc t hîd wɖ Alis in ɖt rig-ǎt.

Bt no, Beṛl wz unfer. Alis wz gwñ t ti wɖ Msz Stubz, hu’d snt hr an “invît” bî ɖ litl bô hu cōld fr ordrz. Ś hd tecn evr sć a lîcñ t Msz. Stubz evr sins ɖ frst tîm ś wnt t ɖ śop t gt smʈñ fr hr mscītoz.

“Dir hart!” Msz. Stubz hd clapt hr hand t hr sîd. “I nvr sìn enwn so ītn. Y mt hv bn atact bî canñbōlz.”

Alis dd wś ɖr’d bn a bit v lîf on ɖ rod ɖo. Md hr fīl so qir, hvñ nbdi bhnd hr. Md hr fīl ol wìc in ɖ spîn. Ś cd’nt b’liv ɖt smwn wz’nt woćñ hr. N yt it wz sili t trn rnd; it gev y awe. Ś pld p hr gluvz, humd t hrslf n sd t ɖ distnt gumtrī, “Ś’nt b loñ nǎ.” Bt ɖt wz hardli cumṗni.

Msz. Stubz’z śop wz prćt on a litl hiḷc jst of ɖ rod. It hd tū big windoz fr îz, a brōd vranda fr a hat, n ɖ sîn on ɖ rūf, scrōld MSZ. STUBZ’Z, wz lîc a litl card stuc rêciśli in ɖ hat crǎn.

On ɖ vranda ɖr huñ a loñ strñ v beɖñdresz, clññ tgɖr az ɖo ɖ’d jst bn rescyd fṛm ɖ sì rɖr ɖn wêtñ t g in, n bsd ɖm ɖr huñ a clustr v sandśūz so xtrordnṛli mixt ɖt t gt at wn per y hd t ter apart n forṣbli sepṛt at līst fifti. Īvn ɖen it wz ɖ rẹrist ʈñ t fînd ɖ left ɖt b’loñd t ɖ rît. So mni ppl hd lost peśns n gn of wɖ wn śu ɖt fitd n wn ɖt wz a litl tù big… Msz. Stubz prîdd hrslf on cīpñ smʈñ v evrʈñ. Ɖ tū windoz, arenjd in ɖ form v pricerịs piṛmidz, wr cramd so tît, pîld so hî, ɖt it sīmd onli a cunjrr cd privnt ɖm fṛm toṗlñ ovr. In ɖ left-hand cornr v wn windo, glùd t ɖ pein bî for jeḷtīn loznjz, ɖr wz—n ɖr hd bn fṛm tîm immorịl—a notis.

LOST! HANSM GOL BROĆ

SOLID GOLD

ON OR NIR BĪĆ

RWORD OFRD

Alis prest opn ɖ dor. Ɖ bel jangld, ɖ red srj crtnz partd, n Msz. Stubz apird. Wɖ hr brōd smîl n ɖ loñ bêcņîf in hr hand, ś lct lîc a frendli brignd. Alis wz welcmd so wormli ɖt ś faund it qt dificlt t cīp p hr “manrz.” Ɖe cnsistd v psistent litl cofs n hmz, plz at hr gluvz, twīcs at hr scrt, n a krịs dificlti in siyñ ẃt wz set bfr hr or unḍstandñ ẃt wz sd.

Ti wz léd on ɖ parlr tebl—ham, sardīnz, a hol pǎnd v butr, n sć a larj Joni cec ɖt it lct lîc an advrtismnt fr smbdi’z becñpǎdr. Bt ɖ Prîṃs stov rord so lǎdli ɖt it wz yslis t trî t tōc abv it. Alis sat dǎn on ɖ éj v a bascitćer ẃl Msz. Stubz pumt ɖ stov stl hayr. Sudnli Msz. Stubz ẃipt ɖ cŭśn of a ćer n dsclozd a larj brǎn-pepr parsl.

“I’v jst hd sm ny fotrz tecn, mî dir,” ś śǎtd ćirf̣li t Alis. “Tel m ẃt y ʈnc v ɖm.”

In a vri denti, rfînd we Alis wet hr fngr n pt ɖ tiśu bac fṛm ɖ frst wn. Lîf! Hǎ mni ɖr wr! Ɖr wr ʈri dozñ at līst. N ś hld it p t ɖ lît.

Msz. Stubz sat in an armćer, līnñ vri mć t wn sîd. Ɖr wz a lc v mîld astoniśmnt on hr larj fes, n wel ɖr mt b. Fr ɖo ɖ armćer std on a carpit, t ɖ left v it, mrakḷsli scrtñ ɖ carpitbordr, ɖr wz a daśñ wōtrfōl. On hr rît std a Grìśn pilr wɖ a jaynt frntrī on îɖr sîd v it, n in ɖ bacgrǎnd tǎrd a gōnt mǎntin, pel wɖ sno.

“It z a nîs stîl, z’nt it?” śǎtd Msz. Stubz; n Alis hd jst scrīmd “Swītli” ẃn ɖ rorñ v ɖ Prîṃs stov daid dǎn, fízld ǎt, sīst, n ś sd “Priti” in a sîḷns ɖt wz frîṭnñ.

“Drw p yr ćer, mî dir,” sd Msz. Stubz, bginñ t por ǎt. “Yes,” ś sd ʈtf̣li, az ś handd ɖ ti, “bt I d’nt cer abt ɖ sîz. I’m hvñ an inlarjmint. Ol vri wel fr Crisṃs cardz, bt I nvr wz ɖ wn fr smōl fotrz mslf. Y gt no cumf̣t ǎt v ɖm. T se ɖ truʈ, I fînd ɖm dsarṭnñ.”

Alis qt sw ẃt ś mnt.

“Sîz,” sd Msz. Stubz. “Gv m sîz. Ɖt wz ẃt mî pur dir huzbnd wz olwz seyñ. H cd’nt stand enʈñ smōl. Gev him ɖ crīps. N, strenj az it me sīm, mî dir”—hir Msz. Stubz crīct n sīmd t xpand hrslf at ɖ meṃri—“it wz dropsi ɖt Carid him of at ɖ larst. Mni’z ɖ tîm ɖe drwn wn n a haf pînts fṛm im at ɖ ospitl… It sīmd lîc a judgmint.”

Alis brnd t nǒ xacli ẃt it wz ɖt wz drwn fṛm him. Ś vnćrd, “I s’poz it wz wōtr.”

Bt Msz. Stubz fixt Alis wɖ hr îz n rplaid mīnñli, “It wz liqid, mî dir.”

Liqid! Alis jumt awe fṛm ɖ wrd lîc a cat n cem bac t it, nozñ n wẹri.

“Ɖt’s im!” sd Msz. Stubz, n ś pôntd dṛmaticli t ɖ lîf-sîz hed n śoldrz v a brli man wɖ a ded ẃît rǒz in ɖ butnhoul v hiz cot ɖt md y ʈnc v a crl v cold mutñfat. Jst b’lo, in silvr letrz on a red cardbōrd grǎnd, wr ɖ wrdz, “B nt afreid, it z I.”

“It’s evr sć a fîn fes,” sd Alis fentli.

Ɖ pel-blu bo on ɖ top v Msz. Stubz’z fer frizi her qivrd. Ś arćt hr plump nec. Ẃt a nec ś hd! It wz brît pnc ẃr it bgan n ɖen it ćenjd t worm epṛcót, n ɖt fedd t ɖ culr v a brǎn eg n ɖen t a dīp crīmi.

“Ol ɖ sem, mî dir,” ś sd s’prîzñli, “frīdm’z bst!” Hr soft, fat ćucl sǎndd lîc a pr. “Frīdm’z bst,” sd Msz. Stubz agn.

Frīdm! Alis gev a lǎd, sili litl titr. Ś flt ōcẉd. Hr mînd flù bac t hr ǒn cićñ. Evr so qir! Ś wontd t b bac in it agn.

___

IX

A  strenj cumṗni asmbld in ɖ Brnélz’ wośhǎs aftr ti. Rnd ɖ tebl ɖr sat a bl, a rūstr, a donci ɖt cept fgetñ it wz a donci, a śīp n a bì. Ɖ wośhǎs wz ɖ prfict ples fr sć a mītñ bcz ɖe cd mc az mć nôz az ɖe lîct, n nbdi evr inṭruptd. It wz a smōl tin śed standñ apart fṛm ɖ bunġlo. Agnst ɖ wōl ɖr wz a dīp trof n in ɖ cornr a copr wɖ a bascit v cloɖzpegz on top v it. Ɖ litl windo, spun ovr wɖ cobwebz, hd a pìs v candl n a mǎstrap on ɖ dusti sil. Ɖr wr cloɖzlînz cris-crost oṿhed n, haññ fṛm a peg on ɖ wōl, a vri big, a hyj, rusti horsśu. Ɖ tebl wz in ɖ midl wɖ a form at îɖr sîd.

“Y c’nt b a bì, Cezia. A bì’z nt an animl. It’s a ninsec.”

“Ǒ, bt I d wont t b a bì frîtf̣li,” weild Cezia… A tîni bì, ol yelo-fŕi, wɖ strîpt legz. Ś drù hr legz p undr hr n līnd ovr ɖ tebl. Ś flt ś wz a bì.

“A ninsec mst b an animl,” ś sd stǎtli. “It mcs a nôz. It’s nt lîc a fiś.”

“I’m a bl, I’m a bl!” craid Pip. N h gev sć a tṛmnḍs belo—hǎ dd h mc ɖt nôz?—ɖt Loti lct qt alarmd.

“I’l b a śīp,” sd litl Ragz. “A hol lot v śīp wnt past ɖs mornñ.”

“Hǎ d y nǒ?”

“Dad hŕd ɖm. Ba!” H sǎndd lîc ɖ litl lam ɖt trots bhnd n sīmz t wêt t b carid.

“Coc-a-dūdl-du!” śrild Iẓbél. Wɖ hr red ćīcs n brît îz ś lct lîc a rūstr.

“Ẃt’l I b?” Loti asct evrbdi, n ś sat ɖr smîlñ, wêtñ fr ɖm t dsîd fr hr. It hd t b an īzi wn.

“B a donci, Loti.” It wz Cezia’z sjsćn. “Hī-hw! Y c’nt fget ɖt.”

“Hī-hw!” sd Loti soḷmli. “Ẃn d I hv t se it?”

“I’l xplen, I’l xplen,” sd ɖ bl. It wz h hu hd ɖ cardz. H wevd ɖm rnd hiz hed. “Ol b qayt! Ol lisn!” N h wêtd fr ɖm. “Lc hir, Loti.” H trnd p a card. “It’s got tū spots on it—si? Nǎ, f y pt ɖt card in ɖ midl n smbdi els hz wn wɖ tū spots az wel, y se ‘Hī-hw,’ n ɖ card’z yrz.”

“Mîn?” Loti wz rǎnd-aid. “T cīp?”

“No, sili. Jst fr ɖ gem, si? Jst ẃl w’r pleyñ.” Ɖ bl wz vri cros wɖ hr.

“Ǒ, Loti, y r a litl sili,” sd ɖ prǎd rūstr.

Loti lct at bʈ v ɖm. Ɖen ś huñ hr hed; hr lip qivrd. “I d’nt wont t ple,” ś ẃisprd. Ɖ uɖrz glanst at wn anɖr lîc cnspiṛtrz. Ol v ɖm ń ẃt ɖt mnt. Ś wd g awe n b dscuvrd smẃr standñ wɖ hr pini ʈroun ovr hr hed, in a cornr, or agnst a wōl, or īvn bhnd a ćer.

“Yes, y d, Loti. It’s qt īzi,” sd Cezia.

N Iẓbél, rpntnt, sd xacli lîc a groun-up, “Woć m, Loti, n y’l sn lrn.”

“Ćir p, Lot,” sd Pip. “Ɖr, I nǒ ẃt I’l d. I’l gv y ɖ frst wn. It’s mîn, riyli, bt I’l gv it t y. Hir y r.” N h slamd ɖ card dǎn in frunt v Loti.

Loti rvîvd at ɖt. Bt nǎ ś wz in anɖr dificlti. “I hv’nt got a hanci,” ś sd; “I wont wn badli, tù.”

“Hir, Loti, y cn yz mîn.” Ragz dipt intu hiz sêlrblǎz n bròt p a vri wet-lcñ wn, nótd tgɖr. “B vri cerfl,” h wornd hr. “Onli yz ɖt cornr. D’nt undu it. I’v got a litl starfiś insd I’m gwñ t trî n tem.”

“Ǒ, cm on, y grlz,” sd ɖ bl. “N mînd—y’r nt t lc at yr cardz. Y’v got t cīp yr handz undr ɖ tebl tl I se ‘G.’”

Smac wnt ɖ cardz rnd ɖ tebl. Ɖe traid wɖ ol ɖer mt t si, bt Pip wz tù qc fr ɖm. It wz vri xîtñ, sitñ ɖr in ɖ wośhǎs; it wz ol ɖe cd d nt t brst intu a litl cōṛs v animlz bfr Pip hd finiśt dīlñ.

“Nǎ, Loti, y bgin.”

Timidli Loti strećt ǎt a hand, tc ɖ top card of hr pac, hd a gd lc at it—it wz plen ś wz cǎntñ ɖ spots—n pt it dǎn.

“No, Loti, y c’nt d ɖt. Y ms’nt lc frst. Y mst trn it ɖ uɖr we ovr.”

“Bt ɖen evrbdi wl si it ɖ sem tîm az m,” sd Loti.

Ɖ gem pṛsidd. Moo-oo-’r! Ɖ bl wz teṛbl. H ćarjd ovr ɖ tebl n sīmd t īt ɖ cardz p.

Bzz-zz! sd ɖ bì.

Coc-a-dūdl-du! Iẓbél std p in hr xîtmnt n muvd hr elboz lîc wñz.

Ba! Litl Ragz pt dǎn ɖ Cñ v Dîmndz n Loti pt dǎn ɖ wn ɖe cōld ɖ Cñ v Spen. Ś hd hardli eni cardz left.

“Ẃ d’nt y cōl ǎt, Loti?”

“I’v fgotn ẃt I am,” sd ɖ donci wǒf̣li.

“Wel, ćenj! B a dog instd! Bǎ-wǎ!”

“Ǒ yes. Ɖt’s īzịr.” Loti smîld agn. Bt ẃn ś n Cezia bʈ hd a wn Cezia wêtd on prṗs. Ɖ uɖrz md sînz t Loti n pôntd. Loti trnd vri red; ś lct bwildrd, n at last ś sd, “Hī-hw! Cé-zia.”

“Śś! Wêt a minit!” Ɖe wr in ɖ vri ʈic v it ẃn ɖ bl stopt ɖm, holdñ p hiz hand. “Ẃt’s ɖt? Ẃt’s ɖt nôz?”

“Ẃt nôz? Ẃt d y mīn?” asct ɖ rūstr.

“Śś! Śut p! Lisn!” Ɖe wr mǎs-stil. “I ʈt I hŕd a—a sort v nocñ,” sd ɖ bl.

“Ẃt wz it lîc?” asct ɖ śīp fentli.

No ansr.

Ɖ bì gev a śudr. “Ẃtvr dd w śut ɖ dor fr?” ś sd softli. Ǒ, ẃ, ẃ hd ɖe śut ɖ dor?

Ẃl ɖe wr pleyñ, ɖ de hd fedd; ɖ gorjs súnset hd blezd n daid. N nǎ ɖ qc darc cem rêsñ ovr ɖ sì, ovr ɖ sandhilz, p ɖ paḍc. Y wr frîtnd t lc in ɖ cornrz v ɖ wośhǎs, n yt y hd t lc wɖ ol yr mt. N smẃr, far awe, granmā wz lîtñ a lamp. Ɖ blîndz wr biyñ pld dǎn; ɖ cićnfîr lept in ɖ tinz on ɖ mantlpìs.

“It wd b ōfl nǎ,” sd ɖ bl, “f a spîdr wz t fōl fṛm ɖ sīlñ on t ɖ tebl, wd’nt it?”

“Spîdrz d’nt fōl fṛm sīlñz.”

“Yes, ɖe d. Ǎr Min tld s ś’d sìn a spîdr az big az a sōspn, wɖ loñ herz on it lîc a gūzḅri.”

Qcli ol ɖ litl hedz wr jrct p; ol ɖ litl bodiz drù tgɖr, prest tgɖr.

“Ẃ dz’nt smbdi cm n cōl s?” craid ɖ rūstr.

Ǒ, ɖoz groun-ups, lafñ n snug, sitñ in ɖ lamplît, drincñ ǎt v cups! Ɖ’d fgotn abt ɖm. No, nt riyli fgotn. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖer smîl mnt. Ɖe hd dsîdd t līv ɖm ɖr ol bî ɖmslvz.

Sudnli Loti gev sć a pirsñ scrīm ɖt ol v ɖm jumt of ɖ formz, ol v ɖm scrīmd tù. “A fes—a fes lcñ!” śrīct Loti.

It wz tru, it wz riyl. Prest agnst ɖ windo wz a pel fes, blac îz, a blac bird.

“Granmā! Muɖr! Smbdi!”

Bt ɖe hd nt got t ɖ dor, tumḅlñ ovr wn anɖr, bfr it opnd fr Uncl Joṇʈn. H hd cm t tec ɖ litl bôz hom.

___

X

H  hd mnt t b ɖr bfr, bt in ɖ frunt gardn h hd cm upn Linda wōcñ p n dǎn ɖ gras, stopñ t pic of a ded pnc or gv a top-hevi carneśn smʈñ t līn agnst, or t tec a dīp breʈ v smʈñ, n ɖen wōcñ on agn, wɖ hr litl er v rmotnis. Ovr hr ẃît froc ś wòr a yelo, pnc-frinjd śōl fṛm ɖ Ćîṇmn’z śop.

“Hlo, Joṇʈn!” cōld Linda. N Joṇʈn ẃipt of hiz śabi Paṇmā, prest it agnst hiz brest, dropt on wn ni, n cist Linda’z hand.

“Grītñ, mî Fer Wn! Grītñ, mî S’lesćl Pīćblosm!” būmd ɖ beis vôs jntli. “Ẃr r ɖ uɖr nobl demz?”

“Beṛl’z ǎt pleyñ brij n muɖr’z gvñ ɖ bô hiz baʈ… Hv y cm t boro smʈñ?”

Ɖ Trǎts wr fr evr runñ ǎt v ʈñz n sndñ acrs t ɖ Brnélz’ at ɖ last momnt.

Bt Joṇʈn onli ansrd, “A litl luv, a litl cîndnis;” n h wōct bî hiz sistr-in-lw’z sîd.

Linda dropt intu Beṛl’z haṃc undr ɖ mnūc̣trī, n Joṇʈn strećt himslf on ɖ gras bsd hr, pld a loñ stōc n bgan ćuwñ it. Ɖe ń ć uɖr wel. Ɖ vôsz v ćildṛn craid fṛm ɖ uɖr gardnz. A fiśrmn’z lît cart śc alñ ɖ sandi rod, n fṛm far awe ɖe hŕd a dog barcñ; it wz mufld az ɖo ɖ dog hd its hed in a sác. F y lisnd y cd jst hír ɖ soft swiś v ɖ sì at fl tîd swīpñ ɖ peblz. Ɖ sún wz sncñ.

“N so y g bac t ɖ ofis on Munde, d y, Joṇʈn?” asct Linda.

“On Munde ɖ cejdor opnz n clañz t upn ɖ victim fr anɖr ilevn munʈs n a wīc,” ansrd Joṇʈn.

Linda swuñ a litl. “It mst b ōfl,” ś sd slǒli.

“Wd yi hv m laf, mî fer sistr? Wd yi hv m wīp?”

Linda wz so acustmd t Joṇʈn’z we v tōcñ ɖt ś ped no atnśn t it.

“I s’poz,” ś sd vegli, “wn gts yst t it. Wn gts yst t enʈñ.”

“Dz wn? Hum!” Ɖ “Hum” wz so dīp it sīmd t būm fṛm undnʈ ɖ grǎnd. “I wundr hǎ it’s dn,” brūdd Joṇʈn; “I’v nvr manijd it.”

Lcñ at him az h le ɖr, Linda ʈt agn hǎ atractiv h wz. It wz strenj t ʈnc ɖt h wz onli an ordnri clarc, ɖt Stanli ŕnd twîs az mć muni az h. Ẃt wz ɖ matr wɖ Joṇʈn? H hd no ambiśn; ś s’pozd ɖt wz it. N yt wn flt h wz giftd, xpśnl. H wz paśṇtli fond v ḿzic; evri sper peni h hd wnt on bcs. H wz olwz fl v ny îdīaz, scīmz, planz. Bt nʈñ cem v it ol. Ɖ ny fîr blezd in Joṇʈn; y olmst hŕd it rorñ softli az h xplend, dscrîbd n dletd on ɖ ny ʈñ; bt a momnt lêtr it hd fōḷn in n ɖr wz nʈñ bt aśz, n Joṇʈn wnt abt wɖ a lc lîc hungr in hiz blac îz. At ɖz tîmz h xaɉretd hiz absrd manr v spīcñ, n h sañ in ćrć—h wz ɖ līdr v ɖ qîr—wɖ sć firfl dṛmatic intnṣti ɖt ɖ mīnist hím pt on an unholi splendr.

“It sīmz t m jst az imḅsil, jst az infrṇl, t hv t g t ɖ ofis on Munde,” sd Joṇʈn, “az it olwz hz dn n olwz wl d. T spend ol ɖ bst yirz v wn’z lîf sitñ on a stūl fṛm nîn t fîv, scraćñ in smbdi’z lejr! It’s a qir ys t mc v wn’z… wn n onli lîf, z’nt it? Or d I fondli drīm?” H rold ovr on ɖ gras n lct p at Linda. “Tel m, ẃt z ɖ difṛns btwn mî lîf n ɖt v an ordnri priznr. Ɖ onli difṛns I cn si z ɖt I pt mslf in jel n nbdi’z evr gwñ t let m ǎt. Ɖt’s a mor intolṛbl sićueśn ɖn ɖ uɖr. Fr f I’d bn—pśt in, agnst mî wil—cicñ, īvn—wns ɖ dor wz loct, or at eni ret in fîv yirz or so, I mt hv axptd ɖ fact n bgun t tec an inṭrest in ɖ flît v flîz or cǎntñ ɖ wordr’z steps alñ ɖ pasij wɖ ptiklr atnśn t verieśnz v tréd n so on. Bt az it z, I’m lîc an insect ɖt’s floun intu a rūm v its ǒn acord. I daś agnst ɖ wōlz, daś agnst ɖ windoz, flop agnst ɖ sīlñ, d evrʈñ on God’z rʈ, in fact, xpt flî ǎt agn. N ol ɖ ẃl I’m ʈncñ, lîc ɖt moʈ, or ɖt buṭflî, or ẃtvr it z, ‘Ɖ śortnis v lîf! Ɖ śortnis v lîf!’ I’v onli wn nît or wn de, n ɖr’z ɖs vast denjṛs gardn, wêtñ ǎt ɖr, undiscuvrd, unixplord.”

“Bt, f y fīl lîc ɖt, ẃ—” bgan Linda qcli.

Ā!” craid Joṇʈn. N ɖt “ā!” wz smhǎ olmst xultnt. “Ɖr y hv m. Ẃ? Ẃ indd? Ɖr’z ɖ maḍnñ, mstirịs qsćn. Ẃ d’nt I flî ǎt agn? Ɖr’z ɖ windo or ɖ dor or ẃtvr it wz I cem in bî. It’s nt hoplisli śut—z it? Ẃ d’nt I fînd it n b of? Ansr m ɖt, litl sistr.” Bt h gev hr no tîm t ansr.

“I’m xacli lîc ɖt insect agn. Fr sm rīzn”—Joṇʈn pōzd btwn ɖ wrdz—“it’s nt alaud, it’s fbidn, it’s agnst ɖ insectlw, t stop baññ n flopñ n crōlñ p ɖ pein īvn fr an instnt. Ẃ d’nt I līv ɖ ofis? Ẃ d’nt I sirịsli cnsidr, ɖs momnt, fr instns, ẃt it z ɖt privnts m līvñ? It’s nt az ɖo I’m tṛmndsli taid. I’v tū bôz t pṛvîd fr, bt, aftr ol, ɖ’r bôz. I cd cut of t sì, or gt a job up-cuntri, or—” Sudnli h smîld at Linda n sd in a ćenjd vôs, az f h wr cnfîdñ a sīcrit, “Wìc… wìc. No stamina. No ancr. No gîdñ prínsipl, let s cōl it.” Bt ɖen ɖ darc vlṿti vôs rold ǎt:

Wd yi hír ɖ stori

Hǎ it unfoldz itslf…

n ɖe wr sîḷnt.

Ɖ sún hd set. In ɖ wstn scî ɖr wr gret masz v cruśt-up rǒz-culrd clǎdz. Brōd bīmz v lît śon ʈru ɖ clǎdz n bynd ɖm az f ɖe wd cuvr ɖ hol scî. Oṿhed ɖ blu fedd; it trnd a pel gold, n ɖ bś ǎtlînd agnst it glīmd darc n briłnt lîc metl. Smtmz ẃn ɖoz bīmz v lît śo in ɖ scî ɖe r vri ōfl. Ɖe rmînd y ɖt p ɖr sits Jhova, ɖ jeḷs God, ɖ Olmîti, Huz î z upn y, evr woćfl, nvr wiri. Y rmembr ɖt at Hiz cmñ ɖ hol rʈ wl śec intu wn ruind grevyard; ɖ cold, brît enjlz wl drîv y ɖs we n ɖt, n ɖr wl b no tîm t xplen ẃt cd b xplend so simpli… Bt tnît it sīmd t Linda ɖr wz smʈñ infiṇtli jôfl n luvñ in ɖoz silvr bīmz. N nǎ no sǎnd cem fṛm ɖ sì. It briɖd softli az f it wd drw ɖt tndr, jôfl byti intu its ǒn bŭzm.

“It’s ol roñ, it’s ol roñ,” cem ɖ śadǒi vôs v Joṇʈn. “It’s nt ɖ sīn, it’s nt ɖ setñ fr… ʈri stūlz, ʈri dscs, ʈri ñcpots n a wîr blînd.”

Linda ń ɖt h wd nvr ćenj, bt ś sd, “Z it tù lêt, īvn nǎ?”

“I’m old—I’m old,” intond Joṇʈn. H bnt twdz hr, h pást hiz hand ovr hiz hed. “Lc!” Hiz blac her wz specld ol ovr wɖ silvr, lîc ɖ brestplūmij v a blac faul.

Linda wz s’prîzd. Ś hd no îdīa ɖt h wz gre. N yt, az h std p bsd hr n said n strećt, ś sw him, fr ɖ frst tîm, nt reẓlut, nt gaḷnt, nt cerlis, bt tućt olrdi wɖ ej. H lct vri tōl on ɖ darc̣nñ gras, n ɖ ʈt crost hr mînd, “H z lîc a wīd.”

Joṇʈn stūpt agn n cist hr fngrz.

“Hevn rword ɖî swīt peśns, ledi mîn,” h mrmrd. “I mst g sīc ɖoz érz t mî fem n fortyn…” H wz gn.

___

XI

Lît śon in ɖ windoz v ɖ bunġlo. Tū sqer paćz v gold fél upn ɖ pncs n ɖ pīct maṛgoldz. Flori, ɖ cat, cem ǎt on t ɖ vranda, n sat on ɖ top step, hr ẃît pwz clos tgɖr, hr teil crld rnd. Ś lct cntnt, az ɖo ś hd bn wêtñ fr ɖs momnt ol de.

“Ʈanc gdnis, it’s gtñ lêt,” sd Flori. “Ʈanc gdnis, ɖ loñ de z ovr.” Hr grīngej îz opnd.

Prezntli ɖr sǎndd ɖ rumbl v ɖ coć, ɖ crac v Celi’z ẃip. It cem nir inuf fr wn t hír ɖ vôsz v ɖ men fṛm tǎn, tōcñ lǎdli tgɖr. It stopt at ɖ Brnélz’ get.

Stanli wz hafwe p ɖ paʈ bfr h sw Linda. “Z ɖt y, darlñ?”

“Yes, Stanli.”

H lept acrs ɖ flǎrbed n sizd hr in hiz armz. Ś wz infoldd in ɖt fmiłr, īgr, stroñ imbres.

“Fgiv m, darlñ, fgiv m,” stamrd Stanli, n h pt hiz hand undr hr ćin n liftd hr fes t him.

“Fgiv y?” smîld Linda. “Bt ẃtvr fr?”

“Gd God! Y c’nt hv fgotn,” craid Stanli Brnél. “I’v ʈt v nʈñ els ol de. I’v hd ɖ hel v a de. I md p mî mînd t daś ǎt n teḷgraf, n ɖen I ʈt ɖ wîr mt’nt rīć y bfr I dd. I’v bn in torćrz, Linda.”

“Bt, Stanli,” sd Linda, “ẃt mst I fgiv y fr?”

“Linda!”—Stanli wz vri hrt—“dd’nt y riylîz—y mst hv riylîzd—I wnt awe wɖt seyñ gdbî t y ɖs mornñ? I c’nt imajin hǎ I cn hv dn sć a ʈñ. Mî cnfǎndd tmpr, v cors. Bt—wel”—n h said n tc hr in hiz armz agn—“I’v sufrd fr it inuf tde.”

“Ẃt’s ɖt y’v got in yr hand?” asct Linda. “Ny gluvz? Let m si.”

“Ǒ, jst a ćīp per v wośleɖr wnz,” sd Stanli humbli. “I notist Bel wz wẹrñ sm in ɖ coć ɖs mornñ, so, az I wz pasñ ɖ śop, I daśt in n got mslf a per. Ẃt r y smîlñ at? Y d’nt ʈnc it wz roñ v m, d y?”

“On ɖ contrri, darlñ,” sd Linda, “I ʈnc it wz most snṣbl.”

Ś pld wn v ɖ larj, pel gluvz on hr ǒn fngrz n lct at hr hand, trnñ it ɖs we n ɖt. Ś wz stl smîlñ.

Stanli wontd t se, “I wz ʈncñ v y ɖ hol tîm I bòt ɖm.” It wz tru, bt fr sm rīzn h cd’nt se it. “Let’s g in,” sd h.

___

XII

Ẃ  dz wn fīl so difṛnt at nît? Ẃ z it so xîtñ t b awec ẃn evrbdi els z aslip? Lêt—it z vri lêt! N yt evri momnt y fīl mor n mor wecfl, az ɖo y wr slǒli, olmst wɖ evri breʈ, wecñ p intu a ny, wundrfl, far mor ʈrilñ n xîtñ wrld ɖn ɖ dêlît wn. N ẃt z ɖs qir snseśn ɖt y’r a cnspiṛtr? Lîtli, stelʈ̇li y muv abt yr rūm. Y tec smʈñ of ɖ dresñtebl n pt it dǎn agn wɖt a sǎnd. N evrʈñ, īvn ɖ bedpost, nz y, rspondz, śerz yr sīcrit…

Y’r nt vri fond v yr rūm bî de. Y nvr ʈnc abt it. Y’r in n ǎt, ɖ dor opnz n slamz, ɖ cuḅd crīcs. Y sit dǎn on ɖ sîd v yr bed, ćenj yr śuz n daś ǎt agn. A dîv dǎn t ɖ glas, tū pinz in yr her, pǎdr yr nǒz n of agn. Bt nǎ—it’s sudnli dir t y. It’s a darlñ litl funi rūm. It’s yrz. Ǒ, ẃt a jô it z t ǒn ʈñz! Mîn—mî ǒn!

“Mî vri ǒn fr evr?”

“Yes.” Ɖer lips met.

No, v cors, ɖt hd nʈñ t d wɖ it. Ɖt wz ol nonsns n rubiś. Bt, in spît v hrslf, Beṛl sw so plenli tū ppl standñ in ɖ midl v hr rūm. Hr armz wr rnd hiz nec; h hld hr. N nǎ h ẃisprd, “Mî byti, mî litl byti!” Ś jumt of hr bed, ran ovr t ɖ windo n nīld on ɖ windosīt, wɖ hr elboz on ɖ sil. Bt ɖ bytifl nît, ɖ gardn, evri bś, evri līf, īvn ɖ ẃît pêlñz, īvn ɖ starz, wr cnspiṛtrz tù. So brît wz ɖ mūn ɖt ɖ flǎrz wr brît az bî de; ɖ śado v ɖ nstrśnz, xqizit lili-lîc līvz n wîd-opn flǎrz, le acrs ɖ silṿri vranda. Ɖ mnūc̣trī, bnt bî ɖ suɖrli windz, wz lîc a brd on wn leg strećñ ǎt a wñ.

Bt ẃn Beṛl lct at ɖ bś, it sīmd t hr ɖ bś wz sad.

“W r dum triz, rīćñ p in ɖ nît, implorñ w nǒ nt ẃt,” sd ɖ soṛfl bś.

It z tru ẃn y r bî yrslf n y ʈnc abt lîf, it z olwz sad. Ol ɖt xîtmnt n so on hz a we v sudnli līvñ y, n it’s az ɖo, in ɖ sîḷns, smbdi cōld yr nem, n y hŕd yr nem fr ɖ frst tîm. “Beṛl!”

“Yes, I’m hir. I’m Beṛl. Hu wonts m?”

“Beṛl!”

“Let m cm.”

It z lonli livñ bî wnslf. V cors, ɖr r rleśnz, frendz, hīps v ɖm; bt ɖt’s nt ẃt ś mīnz. Ś wonts smwn hu wl fînd ɖ Beṛl ɖe nn v ɖm nǒ, hu wl xpct hr t b ɖt Beṛl olwz. Ś wonts a luvr.

“Tec m awe fṛm ol ɖz uɖr ppl, mî luv. Let s g far awe. Let s liv ǎr lîf, ol ny, ol ǎrz, fṛm ɖ vri bginñ. Let s mc ǎr fîr. Let s sit dǎn t īt tgɖr. Let s hv loñ tōcs at nît.”

N ɖ ʈt wz olmst, “Sev m, mî luv. Sev m!”

…“Ǒ, g on! D’nt b a prūd, mî dir. Y injô yrslf ẃl y’r yuñ. Ɖt’s mî advîs.” N a hî ruś v sili laftr jônd Msz. Hari Cmbr’z lǎd, indifṛnt ne.

Y si, it’s so frîtf̣li dificlt ẃn y’v nbdi. Y’r so at ɖ mrsi v ʈñz. Y c’nt jst b rūd. N y’v olwz ɖs horr v sīmñ inixpirịnst n stufi lîc ɖ uɖr niniz at ɖ Be. N—n it’s faṣnetñ t nǒ y’v pǎr ovr ppl. Yes, ɖt z faṣnetñ…

Ǒ ẃ, ǒ ẃ dz’nt “h” cm sn?

F I g on livñ hir, ʈt Beṛl, enʈñ me hapn t m.

“Bt hǎ d y nǒ h z cmñ at ol?” moct a smōl vôs wɖn hr.

Bt Beṛl dsmist it. Ś cd’nt b left. Uɖr ppl, phps, bt nt ś. It wz’nt poṣbl t ʈnc ɖt Beṛl Ferfīld nvr marid, ɖt luvli faṣnetñ grl.

“D y rmembr Beṛl Ferfīld?”

“Rmembr hr! Az f I cd fget hr! It wz wn sumr at ɖ Be ɖt I sw hr. Ś wz standñ on ɖ bīć in a blu”—no, pnc—“muzlin froc, holdñ on a big crīm”—no, blac—“strw hat. Bt it’s yirz ago nǎ.”

“Ś’z az luvli az evr, mor so f enʈñ.”

Beṛl smîld, bit hr lip, n gezd ovr ɖ gardn. Az ś gezd, ś sw smbdi, a man, līv ɖ rod, step alñ ɖ paḍc bsd ɖer pêlñz az f h wz cmñ stret twdz hr. Hr hart bìt. Hu wz it? Hu cd it b? It cd’nt b a brglr, srtnli nt a brglr, fr h wz smocñ n h strold lîtli. Beṛl’z hart lept; it sīmd t trn rît ovr, n ɖen t stop. Ś rec̣gnîzd him.

“Gd īvnñ, Mis Beṛl,” sd ɖ vôs softli.

“Gd īvnñ.”

“W’nt y cm fr a litl wōc?” it drōld.

Cm fr a wōc—at ɖt tîm v nît! “I cd’nt. Evrbdi’z in bed. Evrbdi’z aslip.”

“Ǒ,” sd ɖ vôs lîtli, n a ẃif v swīt smoc rīćt hr. “Ẃt dz evrbdi matr? D cm! It’s sć a fîn nît. Ɖr’z nt a soul abt.”

Beṛl śc hr hed. Bt olrdi smʈñ strd in hr, smʈñ rird its hed.

Ɖ vôs sd, “Frîtnd?” It moct, “Pur litl grl!”

“Nt in ɖ līst,” sd ś. Az ś spouc ɖt wìc ʈñ wɖn hr sīmd t uncôl, t gro sudnli tṛmndsli stroñ; ś loñd t g!

N jst az f ɖs wz qt unḍstd bî ɖ uɖr, ɖ vôs sd, jntli n softli, bt fîṇli, “Cm alñ!”

Beṛl stept ovr hr lo windo, crost ɖ vranda, ran dǎn ɖ gras t ɖ get. H wz ɖr bfr hr.

“Ɖt’s rît,” briɖd ɖ vôs, n it tizd, “Y’r nt frîtnd, r y? Y’r nt frîtnd?”

Ś wz; nǎ ś wz hir ś wz teṛfaid, n it sīmd t hr evrʈñ wz difṛnt. Ɖ mūnlît stérd n glitrd; ɖ śadoz wr lîc barz v ayn. Hr hand wz tecn.

“Nt in ɖ līst,” ś sd lîtli. “Ẃ śd I b?”

Hr hand wz pld jntli, tugd. Ś hld bac.

“No, I’m nt cmñ eni farɖr,” sd Beṛl.

“Ǒ, rot!” Hari Cmbr dd’nt b’liv hr. “Cm alñ! W’l jst g az far az ɖt fyśa-bś. Cm alñ!”

Ɖ fyśa-bś wz tōl. It fél ovr ɖ fns in a śǎr. Ɖr wz a litl pit v darcnis bnʈ.

“No, riyli, I d’nt wont t,” sd Beṛl.

Fr a momnt Hari Cmbr dd’nt ansr. Ɖen h cem clos t hr, trnd t hr, smîld n sd qcli, “D’nt b sili! D’nt b sili!”

Hiz smîl wz smʈñ sh’d nvr sìn bfr. Wz h drunc? Ɖt brît, blînd, teṛfayñ smîl froz hr wɖ horr. Ẃt wz ś dwñ? Hǎ hd ś got hir? ɖ strn gardn asct hr az ɖ get pśt opn, n qc az a cat Hari Cmbr cem ʈru n snaćt hr t him.

“Cold litl devl! Cold litl devl!” sd ɖ hetfl vôs.

Bt Beṛl wz stroñ. Ś slipt, dúct, renćt fri.

“Y r vîl, vîl,” sd ś.

“Ɖen ẃ in God’z nem dd y cm?” stamrd Hari Cmbr.

Nbdi ansrd him.

A clǎd, smōl, srīn, flotd acrs ɖ mūn. In ɖt momnt v darcnis ɖ sì sǎndd dīp, trubld. Ɖen ɖ clǎd sêld awe, n ɖ sǎnd v ɖ sì wz a veg mrmr, az ɖo it wect ǎt v a darc drīm. Ol wz stil.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

Clasics in Ñspel: THE LADY’S MAID, by Katherine Mansfield

Ɖ LEDI’Z MEID

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

Ilevn o’cloc. A noc at ɖ dor… I hop I hv’nt dstrbd y, madm. Y wr’nt aslip—wr y? Bt I’v jst gvn mî ledi hr ti, n ɖr wz sć a nîs cup ovr, I ʈt, phps…

… Nt at ol, madm. I olwz mc a cup v ti last ʈñ. Ś drincs it in bed aftr hr prerz t worm hr p. I pt ɖ cetl on ẃn ś nīlz dǎn n I se t it, “Nǎ y nīd’nt b in tù mć v a huri t se yr prerz.” Bt it’s olwz bôlñ bfr mî ledi z haf ʈru. Y si, madm, w nǒ sć a lot v ppl, n ɖ’v ol got t b preid fr—evrwn. Mî ledi cīps a list v ɖ nemz in a litl red bc. Ǒ dir! ẃnvr smwn ny hz bn t si s n mî ledi sz aftwdz, “Eḷn, gv m mî litl red bc,” I fīl qt wîld, I d. “Ɖr’z anɖr,” I ʈnc, “cīpñ hr ǎt v hr bed in ol weɖrz.” N ś w’nt hv a cŭśn, y nǒ, madm; ś nīlz on ɖ hard carpit. It fijits m smʈñ dredfl t si hr, nwñ hr az I d. I’v traid t ćīt hr; I’v spred ǎt ɖ îdrdǎn. Bt ɖ frst tîm I dd it—ǒ, ś gev m sć a lc—holi it wz, madm. “Dd ǎr Lord hv an îdrdǎn, Eḷn?” ś sd. Bt—I wz yungr at ɖ tîm—I flt inclînd t se, “No, bt ǎr Lord wz’nt yr ej, n h dd’nt nǒ ẃt it wz t hv yr lumbego.” Wicid—wz’nt it? Bt ś’z tù gd, y nǒ, madm. Ẃn I tuct hr p jst nǎ n sìn—sw hr layñ bac, hr handz ǎtsd n hr hed on ɖ pilo—so priti—I cd’nt hlp ʈncñ, “Nǎ y lc jst lîc yr dir muɖr ẃn I leid hr ǎt!”

… Yes, madm, it wz ol left t m. Ǒ, ś dd lc swīt. I dd hr her, softlîc, rnd hr fōrhed, ol in denti crlz, n jst t wn sîd v hr nec I pt a bunć v most bytifl prpl panziz. Ɖoz panziz md a picćr v hr, madm! I śl nvr fget ɖm. I ʈt tnît, ẃn I lct at mî ledi, “Nǎ, f onli ɖ panziz wz ɖr nwn cd tel ɖ difṛns.”

… Onli ɖ last yir, madm. Onli aftr ś’d got a litl—wel—fībl az y mt se. V cors, ś wz nvr denjṛs; ś wz ɖ swītist old ledi. Bt hǎ it tc hr wz—ś ʈt ś’d lost smʈñ. Ś cd’nt cīp stil, ś cd’nt setl. Ol de loñ ś’d b p n dǎn, p n dǎn; y’d mīt hr evrẃr,—on ɖ sterz, in ɖ porć, mcñ fr ɖ cićn. N ś’d lc p at y, n ś’d se—jst lîc a ćîld, “I’v lost it, I’v lost it.” “Cm alñ,” I’d se, “cm alñ, n I’l le ǎt yr peśns fr y.” Bt ś’d cać m bî ɖ hand—I wz a feṿrit v hrz—n ẃispr, “Fînd it fr m, Eḷn. Fînd it fr m.” Sad, wz’nt it?

… No, ś nvr rcuvrd, madm. Ś hd a stroc at ɖ end. Last wrdz ś evr sd wz—vri slo, “Lc in—ɖ—Lc—in—” N ɖen ś wz gn.

… No, madm, I c’nt se I notist it. Phps sm grlz. Bt y si, it’s lîc ɖs, I’v got nbdi bt mî ledi. Mî muɖr daid v cnsumśn ẃn I wz for, n I livd wɖ mî granfaɖr, hu cept a herdresr’z śop. I yst t spend ol mî tîm in ɖ śop undr a tebl dresñ mî dol’z her—copiyñ ɖ asistnts, I s’poz. Ɖe wr evr so cînd t m. Yst t mc m litl wigz, ol culrz, ɖ lêtist faśnz n ol. N ɖr I’d sit ol de, qayt az qayt—ɖ custmrz nvr ń. Onli nǎ n agn I’d tec mî pīp fṛm undr ɖ teblcloʈ.

… Bt wn de I manijd t gt a per v sizrz n—wd y b’liv it, madm? I cut of ol mî her; snipt it of ol in bits, lîc ɖ litl munci I wz. Granfaɖr wz fyrịs! H còt hold v ɖ toñz—I śl nvr fget it—grabd m bî ɖ hand n śut mî fngrz in ɖm. “Ɖt’l tīć y!” h sd. It wz a firfl brn. I’v got ɖ marc v it tde.

… Wel, y si, madm, h’d tecn sć prîd in mî her. H yst t sit m p on ɖ cǎntr, bfr ɖ custmrz cem, n d it smʈñ bytifl—big, soft crlz n wevd ovr ɖ top. I rmembr ɖ asistnts standñ rnd, n m evr so soḷm wɖ ɖ peni granfaɖr gev m t hold ẃl it wz biyñ dn… Bt h olwz tc ɖ peni bac aftwdz. Pur granfaɖr! Wîld, h wz, at ɖ frît I’d md v mslf. Bt h frîtnd m ɖt tîm. D y nǒ ẃt I dd, madm? I ran awe. Yes, I dd, rnd ɖ cornrz, in n ǎt, I d’nt nǒ hǎ far I dd’nt run. Ǒ, dir, I mst hv lct a sît, wɖ mî hand rold p in mî pini n mî her sticñ ǎt. Ppl mst hv laft ẃn ɖe sw m…

… No, madm, granfaɖr nvr got ovr it. H cd’nt ber ɖ sît v m aftr. Cd’nt īt hiz dinr, īvn, f I wz ɖr. So mî ānt tc m. Ś wz a cripl, an upholstris. Tîni! Ś hd t stand on ɖ sofaz ẃn ś wontd t cut ǎt ɖ bacs. N it wz hlpñ hr I met mî ledi…

… Nt so vri, madm. I wz ʈrtīn, trnd. N I d’nt rmembr evr fīlñ—wel—a ćîld, az y mt se. Y si ɖr wz mî yṇform, n wn ʈñ n anɖr. Mî ledi pt m intu coḷrz n cufs fṛm ɖ frst. Ǒ yes—wns I dd! Ɖt wz—funi! It wz lîc ɖs. Mî ledi hd hr tū litl nīsz steyñ wɖ hr—w wr at Śeldn at ɖ tîm—n ɖr wz a fer on ɖ comn.

“Nǎ, Eḷn,” ś sd, “I wont y t tec ɖ tū yuñ lediz fr a rîd on ɖ donciz.” Of w wnt; soḷm litl luvz ɖe wr; ć hd a hand. Bt ẃn w cem t ɖ donciz ɖe wr tù śî t g on. So w std n woćt instd. Bytifl ɖoz donciz wr! Ɖe wr ɖ frst I’d sìn ǎt v a cart—fr pleźr az y mt se. Ɖe wr a luvli silvr-gre, wɖ litl red sadlz n blu braidlz n belz jñ-a-jnġlñ on ɖer irz. N qt big grlz—oldr ɖn m, īvn—wr rîdñ ɖm, evr so ge. Nt at ol comn, I d’nt mīn, madm, jst injoyñ ɖmslvz. N I d’nt nǒ ẃt it wz, bt ɖ we ɖ litl fīt wnt, n ɖ îz—so jntl—n ɖ soft irz—md m wont t g on a donci mor ɖn enʈñ in ɖ wrld!

… V cors, I cd’nt. I hd mî yuñ lediz. N ẃt wd I hv lct lîc prćt p ɖr in mî yṇform? Bt ol ɖ rest v ɖ de it wz donciz—donciz on ɖ bren wɖ m. I flt I śd hv brst f I dd’nt tel smwn; n hu wz ɖr t tel? Bt ẃn I wnt t bed—I wz slīpñ in Msz. Jemz’z bedrūm, ǎr cc ɖt wz, at ɖ tîm—az sn az ɖ lîts wz ǎt, ɖr ɖe wr, mî donciz, jnġlñ alñ, wɖ ɖer nīt litl fīt n sad îz… Wel, madm, wd y b’liv it, I wêtd fr a loñ tîm n pritndd t b aslip, n ɖen sudnli I sat p n cōld ǎt az lǎd az I cd, “I d wont t g on a donci. I d wont a doncirîd!” Y si, I hd t se it, n I ʈt ɖe wd’nt laf at m f ɖe ń I wz onli drīmñ. Artfl—wz’nt it? Jst ẃt a sili ćîld wd ʈnc…

… No, madm, nvr nǎ. V cors, I dd ʈnc v it at wn tîm. Bt it wz’nt t b. H hd a litl flǎrśop jst dǎn ɖ rod n acrs fṛm ẃr w wz livñ. Funi—wz’nt it? N m sć a wn fr flǎrz. W wr hvñ a lot v cumṗni at ɖ tîm, n I wz in n ǎt v ɖ śop mor ofn ɖn nt, az ɖ seyñ z. N Hari n I (hiz nem wz Hari) got t qoṛlñ abt hǎ ʈñz òt t b arenjd—n ɖt bgan it. Flǎrz! y wd’nt b’liv it, madm, ɖ flǎrz h yst t brñ m. H’d stop at nʈñ. It wz liliz-v-ɖ-vali mor ɖn wns, n I’m nt xaɉretñ! Wel, v cors, w wr gwñ t b marid n liv ovr ɖ śop, n it wz ol gwñ t b jst so, n I wz t hv ɖ windo t arenj… Ǒ, hǎ I’v dn ɖt windo v a Saṭde! Nt riyli, v cors, madm, jst drīmñ, az y mt se. I’v dn it fr Crisṃs—moto in hóli, n ol—n I’v hd mî Īstr liliz wɖ a gorjs star ol daf̣dilz in ɖ midl. I’v huñ—wel, ɖt’s inuf v ɖt. Ɖ de cem h wz t cōl fr m t ćūz ɖ frnićr. Śl I evr fget it? It wz a Tyzde. Mî ledi wz’nt qt hrslf ɖt afṭnun. Nt ɖt ś’d sd enʈñ, v cors; ś nvr dz or wl. Bt I ń bî ɖ we ɖt ś cept rápñ hrslf p n ascñ m f it wz cold—n hr litl nǒz lct… pinćt. I dd’nt lîc līvñ hr; I ń I’d b wuriyñ ol ɖ tîm. At last I asct hr f ś’d rɖr I pt it of. “Ǒ no, Eḷn,” ś sd, “y ms’nt mînd abt m. Y ms’nt dis’pônt yr yuñ man.” N so ćirfl, y nǒ, madm, nvr ʈncñ abt hrslf. It md m fīl wrs ɖn evr. I bgan t wundr… ɖen ś dropt hr hanc̣ćif n bgan t stūp dǎn t pic it p hrslf—a ʈñ ś nvr dd. “Ẃtvr r y dwñ!” I craid, runñ t stop hr. “Wel,” ś sd, smîlñ, y nǒ, madm, “I śl hv t bgin t practis.” Ǒ, it wz ol I cd d nt t brst ǎt crayñ. I wnt ovr t ɖ dresñtebl n md b’liv t rub p ɖ silvr, n I cd’nt cīp mslf in, n I asct hr f ś’d rɖr I… dd’nt gt marid. “No, Eḷn,” ś sd—ɖt wz hr vôs, madm, lîc I’m gvñ y—“No, Eḷn, nt fr ɖ wîd wrld!” Bt ẃl ś sd it, madm—I wz lcñ in hr glas; v cors, ś dd’nt nǒ I cd si hr—ś pt hr litl hand on hr hart jst lîc hr dir muɖr yst t, n liftd hr îz… Ǒ, madm!

Ẃn Hari cem I hd hiz letrz ol redi, n ɖ rñ n a duci litl broć h’d gvn m—a silvr brd it wz, wɖ a ćen in its bīc, n on ɖ end v ɖ ćen a hart wɖ a dagr. Qt ɖ ʈñ! I opnd ɖ dor t him. I nvr gev him tîm fr a wrd. “Ɖr y r,” I sd. “Tec ɖm ol bac,” I sd, “it’s ol ovr. I’m nt gwñ t mari y,” I sd, “I c’nt līv mî ledi.” Ẃît! h trnd az ẃît az a wmn. I hd t slam ɖ dor, n ɖr I std, ol v a trembl, tl I ń h hd gn. Ẃn I opnd ɖ dor—b’liv m or nt, madm—ɖt man wz gn! I ran ǎt intu ɖ rod jst az I wz, in mî epṛn n mî hǎsśuz, n ɖr I steid in ɖ midl v ɖ rod… stẹrñ. Ppl mst hv laft f ɖe sw m…

… Gdnis greśs!—Ẃt’s ɖt? It’s ɖ cloc strîcñ! N hir I’v bn cīpñ y awec. Ǒ, madm, y òt t hv stopt m… Cn I tuc in yr fīt? I olwz tuc in mî ledi’z fīt, evri nît, jst ɖ sem. N ś sz, “Gd nît, Eḷn. Slīp sǎnd n wec rli!” I d’nt nǒ ẃt I śd d f ś dd’nt se ɖt, nǎ.

… Ǒ dir, I smtmz ʈnc… ẃtvr śd I d f enʈñ wr t… Bt, ɖr, ʈncñ’z no gd t enwn—z it, madm? Ʈncñ w’nt hlp. Nt ɖt I d it ofn. N f evr I d I pl mslf p śarp, “Nǎ, ɖen, Eḷn. At it agn—y sili grl! F y c’nt fînd enʈñ betr t d ɖn t start ʈncñ!… ”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL