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.

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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.

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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 mǎntnhît.

“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 mǎntn, 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

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