In Ñspel: LIFE OF MA PARKER, by Katherine Mansfield

LÎF OV MA PARCR

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

Ẃn ɖ litrri jntlmn, huz flat old Ma Parcr clīnd evri Tyzde, opnd ɖ dor t hr ɖt mornñ, h asct aftr hr gransun. Ma Parcr std on ɖ dormat insd ɖ darc litl hōl, n ś strećt ǎt hr hand t hlp hr jntlmn śut ɖ dor bfr ś rplaid. “W berid ’im yesṭde, sr,” ś sd qaytli.

“Ǒ, dir m! I’m sori t hír ɖt,” sd ɖ litrri jntlmn in a śoct ton. H wz in ɖ midl v hiz brecfst. H wòr a vri śabi dresñgǎn n carid a crumpld nyzpepr in wn hand. Bt h flt ōcẉd. H cd hardli g bac t ɖ worm sitñrūm wɖt seyñ smʈñ—smʈñ mor. Ɖen bcz ɖz ppl set sć stor bî fynṛlz h sd cîndli, “I hop ɖ fynṛl wnt of ol rît.”

“Beg pardñ, sr?” sd old Ma Parcr husc̣li.

Pur old brd! Ś dd lc daśt. “I hop ɖ fynṛl wz a—a—s’xes,” sd h. Ma Parcr gev no ansr. Ś bnt hr hed n hobld of t ɖ cićn, claspñ ɖ old fiśbag ɖt hld hr clīnñʈñz n an epṛn n a per v flt śuz. Ɖ litrri jntlmn rezd hiz îbrǎz n wnt bac t hiz brecfst.

“Oṿcm, I s’poz,” h sd alǎd, hlpñ himslf t ɖ marṃled.

Ma Parcr drù ɖ tū jetispirz ǎt v hr tǒc n huñ it bhnd ɖ dor. Ś unhct hr wòrn jacit n huñ ɖt p tù. Ɖen ś taid hr epṛn n sat dǎn t tec of hr būts. T tec of hr būts or t pt ɖm on wz an aġni t hr, bt it hd bn an aġni fr yirz. In fact, ś wz so acustmd t ɖ pen ɖt hr fes wz drwn n scrùd p redi fr ɖ twinj bfr ś’d so mć az untaid ɖ lêsz. Ɖt ovr, ś sat bac wɖ a sai n softli rubd hr niz…

“Gran! Gran!” Hr litl gransun std on hr lap in hiz butnbūts. H’d jst cm in fṛm pleyñ in ɖ strīt.

“Lc ẃt a stet y’v md yr gran’z scrt intu—y wicid bô!”

Bt h pt hiz armz rnd hr nec n rubd hiz ćīc agnst hrz.

“Gran, gi’s a peni!” h cǒxt.

“B of wɖ y; Gran e’nt got no peniz.”

“Yes, y ’av.”

“No, I e’nt.”

“Yes, y ’av. Gi’s wn!”

Olrdi ś wz fīlñ fr ɖ old, sqośt, blac leɖr prs.

“Wel, ẃt’l y gv yr gran?”

H gev a śî litl laf n prest closr. Ś flt hiz îlid qiṿrñ agnst hr ćīc. “I e’nt got nʈñ,” h mrmrd…

Ɖ old wmn sprañ p, sizd ɖ ayn cetl of ɖ gaștov n tc it ovr t ɖ snc. Ɖ nôz v ɖ wōtr drumñ in ɖ cetl dednd hr pen, it sīmd. Ś fild ɖ peil, tù, n ɖ wośñ-up bol.

It wd tec a hol bc t dscrîb ɖ stet v ɖt cićn. Jrñ ɖ wīc ɖ litrri jntlmn “dd” fr himslf. Ɖt z t se, h emtid ɖ tīlīvz nǎ n agn intu a jamjar set asd fr ɖt prṗs, n f h ran ǎt v clīn forcs h wîpt ovr wn or tū on ɖ rolr tǎl. Uɖ̇wz, az h xplend t hiz frendz, hiz “sistm” wz qt simpl, n h cd’nt unḍstand ẃ ppl md ol ɖs fus abt hǎscīpñ.

“Y simpli drti evrʈñ y’v got, gt a hag in wns a wīc t clīn p, n ɖ ʈñ’z dn.”

Ɖ rzult lct lîc a jîgantic dusbin. Īvn ɖ flor wz litrd wɖ tostcrusts, enṿlops, siġrét- endz. Bt Ma Parcr bòr him no gruj. Ś pitid ɖ pur yuñ jntlmn fr hvñ nwn t lc aftr him. Ǎt v ɖ smuji litl windo y cd si an imns xpans v sad-lcñ scî, n ẃnvr ɖr wr clǎdz ɖe lct vri wòrn, old clǎdz, freid at ɖ éjz, wɖ houlz in ɖm, or darc stenz lîc ti.

Ẃl ɖ wōtr wz hītñ, Ma Parcr bgan swīpñ ɖ flor. “Yes,” ś ʈt, az ɖ brūm noct, “ẃt wɖ wn ʈñ n anɖr I’v hd mî śer. I’v hd a hard lîf.”

Īvn ɖ nebrz sd ɖt v hr. Mni a tîm, hoḅlñ hom wɖ hr fiśbag ś hŕd ɖm, wêtñ at ɖ cornr, or līnñ ovr ɖ erịrelñz, se amñ ɖmslvz, “Ś’z hd a hard lîf, hz Ma Parcr.” N it wz so tru ś wz’nt in ɖ līst prǎd v it. It wz jst az f y wr t se ś livd in ɖ besmntbac at Numbr 27. A hard lîf!…

At sixtīn ś’d left Stratf̣d n cm p t Lundn az cićnmeid. Yes, ś wz born in Stratf̣d-on-Êvn. Śecspir, sr? No, ppl wr olwz ascñ hr abt him. Bt ś’d nvr hŕd hiz nem untl ś sw it on ɖ ʈiytrz.

Nʈñ rmend v Stratf̣d xpt ɖt “sitñ in ɖ fîrples v a īvnñ y cd si ɖ starz ʈru ɖ ćimli,” n “Muɖr olwz ’ad ’r sîd v bêcn, ’aññ fṛm ɖ sīlñ.” N ɖr wz smʈñ—a bś, ɖr wz—at ɖ frunt dor, ɖt smelt evr so nîs. Bt ɖ bś wz vri veg. Ś’d onli rmembrd it wns or twîs in ɖ hospitl, ẃn ś’d bn tecn bad.

Ɖt wz a dredfl ples—hr frst ples. Ś wz nvr alaud ǎt. Ś nvr wnt upsterz xpt fr prerz mornñ n īvnñ. It wz a fer sélr. N ɖ cc wz a cruwl wmn. Ś yst t snać awe hr letrz fṛm hom bfr ś’d réd ɖm, n ʈro ɖm in ɖ renj bcz ɖe md hr drīmi… N ɖ bīdlz! Wd y b’liv it?—untl ś cem t Lundn ś’d nvr sìn a blac bīdl. Hir Ma olwz gev a litl laf, az ɖo—nt t hv sìn a blac bīdl! Wel! It wz az f t se y’d nvr sìn yr ǒn fīt.

Ẃn ɖt faṃli wz sold p ś wnt az “hlp” t a doctr’z hǎs, n aftr tū yirz ɖr, on ɖ run fṛm mornñ tl nît, ś marid hr huzbnd. H wz a becr.

“A becr, Msz. Parcr!” ɖ litrri jntlmn wd se. Fr oceźṇli h leid asd hiz tǒmz n lent an ir, at līst, t ɖs product cōld Lîf. “It mst b rɖr nîs t b marid t a becr!”

Msz. Parcr dd’nt lc so śr.

“Sć a clīn tred,” sd ɖ jntlmn.

Msz. Parcr dd’nt lc cnvinst.

“N dd’nt y lîc handñ ɖ ny lovz t ɖ custmrz?”

“Wel, sr,” sd Msz. Parcr, “I wz’nt in ɖ śop abv a gret dīl. W hd ʈrtīn litl wnz n berid sevn v ɖm. F it wz’nt ɖ ’ospitl it wz ɖ infrṃri, y mt se!”

“Y mt, indd, Msz. Parcr!” sd ɖ jntlmn, śuḍrñ, n tecñ p hiz pén agn.

Yes, sevn hd gn, n ẃl ɖ six wr stl smōl hr huzbnd wz tecn il wɖ cnsumśn. It wz flaur on ɖ luñz, ɖ doctr tld hr at ɖ tîm… Hr huzbnd sat p in bed wɖ hiz śrt pld ovr hiz hed, n ɖ doctr’z fngr drù a srcl on hiz bac.

“Nǎ, f w wr t cut him opn hir, Msz. Parcr,” sd ɖ doctr, “y’d fînd hiz luñz ćóc-a-bloc wɖ ẃît pǎdr. Briɖ, mî gd felo!” N Msz. Parcr nvr ń fr srtn ẃɖr ś sw or ẃɖr ś fansid ś sw a gret fan v ẃît dust cm ǎt v hr pur ded huzbnd’z lips…

Bt ɖ strugl ś’d hd t brñ p ɖoz six litl ćildṛn n cīp hrslf t hrslf. Teṛbl it hd bn! Ɖen, jst ẃn ɖe wr old inuf t g t scūl hr huzbnd’z sistr cem t stop wɖ ɖm t hlp ʈñz alñ, n ś hd’nt bn ɖr mor ɖn tū munʈs ẃn ś fél dǎn a flît v steps n hrt hr spîn. N fr fîv yirz Ma Parcr hd anɖr bebi—n sć a wn fr crayñ!—t lc aftr. Ɖen yuñ Mōdi wnt roñ n tc hr sistr Alis wɖ hr; ɖ tū bôz eṃgretd, n yuñ Jim wnt t India wɖ ɖ armi, n Eʈl, ɖ yungist, marid a gd-fr-nʈñ litl wêtr hu daid v ulsrz ɖ yir litl Leni wz born. N nǎ litl Leni—mî gransun…

Ɖ pîlz v drti cups, drti diśz, wr wośt n draid. Ɖ ñc-blac nîvz wr clīnd wɖ a pìs v pteto n finiśt of wɖ a pìs v corc. Ɖ tebl wz scrubd, n ɖ dresr n ɖ snc ɖt hd sardīnteilz swimñ in it…

H’d nvr bn a stroñ ćîld—nvr fṛm ɖ frst. H’d bn wn v ɖoz fer bebiz ɖt evrbdi tc fr a grl. Silṿri fer crlz h hd, blu îz, n a litl frecl lîc a dîmnd on wn sîd v hiz nǒz. Ɖ trubl ś n Eʈl hd hd t rir ɖt ćîld! Ɖ ʈñz ǎt v ɖ nyzpeprz ɖe traid him wɖ! Evri Súnde mornñ Eʈl wd rīd alǎd ẃl Ma Parcr dd hr wośñ.

“Dir Sr,—Jst a lîn t let y nǒ mî litl Mrtl wz leid ǎt fr ded… Aftr for botlz… gend 8 pǎndz in 9 wīcs, n z stl ptñ it on.”

N ɖen ɖ egcup v ñc wd cm of ɖ dresr n ɖ letr wd b ritn, n Ma wd bai a postl ordr on hr we t wrc nxt mornñ. Bt it wz no ys. Nʈñ md litl Leni pt it on. Tecñ him t ɖ seṃtri, īvn, nvr gev him a culr; a nîs śec-up in ɖ bus nvr impruvd hiz aṗtît.

Bt h wz gran’z bô fṛm ɖ frst…

“Huz bô r y?” sd old Ma Parcr, streṭnñ p fṛm ɖ stov n gwñ ovr t ɖ smuji windo. N a litl vôs, so worm, so clos, it haf stîfld hr—it sīmd t b in hr brest undr hr hart—laft ǎt, n sd, “I’m gran’z bô!”

At ɖt momnt ɖr wz a sǎnd v steps, n ɖ litrri jntlmn apird, drest fr wōcñ.

“Ǒ, Msz. Parcr, I’m gwñ ǎt.”

“Vri gd, sr.”

“N y’l fînd yr haf-crǎn in ɖ tre v ɖ ñcstand.”

“Ʈanc y, sr.”

“Ǒ, bî ɖ we, Msz. Parcr,” sd ɖ litrri jntlmn qcli, “y dd’nt ʈro awe eni coco last tîm y wr hir—dd y?”

“No, sr.” “Vri strenj. I cd hv sworn I left a tīspūnfl v coco in ɖ tin.” H brouc of. H sd softli n frmli, “Y’l olwz tel m ẃn y ʈro ʈñz awe—w’nt y, Msz. Parcr?” N h wōct of vri wel plizd wɖ himslf, cnvinst, in fact, h’d śoun Msz. Parcr ɖt undr hiz apaṛnt cerlisnis h wz az vijiḷnt az a wmn.

Ɖ dor bañd. Ś tc hr bruśz n cloʈs intu ɖ bedrūm. Bt ẃn ś bgan t mc ɖ bed, smuɖñ, tucñ, patñ, ɖ ʈt v litl Leni wz unbeṛbl. Ẃ dd h hv t sufr so? Ɖt’s ẃt ś cd’nt unḍstand. Ẃ śd a litl enjlćîld hv t asc fr hiz breʈ n fît fr it? Ɖr wz no sns in mcñ a ćîld sufr lîc ɖt.

… Fṛm Leni’z litl box v a ćst ɖr cem a sǎnd az ɖo smʈñ wz bôlñ. Ɖr wz a gret lump v smʈñ buḅlñ in hiz ćst ɖt h cd’nt gt rid v. Ẃn h coft ɖ swet sprañ ǎt on hiz hed; hiz îz buljd, hiz handz wevd, n ɖ gret lump bubld az a pteto nocs in a sōspn. Bt ẃt wz mor ōfl ɖn ol wz ẃn h dd’nt cof h sat agnst ɖ pilo n nvr spouc or ansrd, or īvn md az f h hŕd. Onli h lct ofndd.

“It’s nt yr pur old gran’z dwñ it, mî luvi,” sd old Ma Parcr, patñ bac ɖ damp her fṛm hiz litl scarlit irz. Bt Leni muvd hiz hed n éjd awe. Dredf̣li ofndd wɖ hr h lct—n soḷm. H bnt hiz hed n lct at hr sîdwez az ɖo h cd’nt hv b’livd it v hiz gran.

Bt at ɖ last… Ma Parcr ʈrù ɖ cǎnṭpein ovr ɖ bed. No, ś simpli cd’nt ʈnc abt it. It wz tù mć—ś’d hd tù mć in hr lîf t ber. Ś’d bòrn it p tl nǎ, ś’d cept hrslf t hrslf, n nvr wns hd ś bn sìn t crî. Nvr bî a livñ soul. Nt īvn hr ǒn ćildṛn hd sìn Ma brec dǎn. Ś’d cept a prǎd fes olwz. Bt nǎ! Leni gn—ẃt hd ś? Ś hd nʈñ. H wz ol ś’d got fṛm lîf, n nǎ h wz tc tù. Ẃ mst it ol hv hapnd t m? ś wundrd. “Ẃt hv I dn?” sd old Ma Parcr. “Ẃt hv I dn?”

Az ś sd ɖoz wrdz ś sudnli let fōl hr bruś. Ś faund hrslf in ɖ cićn. Hr miẓri wz so teṛbl ɖt ś pind on hr hat, pt on hr jacit n wōct ǎt v ɖ flat lîc a prsn in a drīm. Ś dd nt nǒ ẃt ś wz dwñ. Ś wz lîc a prsn so dezd bî ɖ horr v ẃt hz hapnd ɖt h wōcs awe—enẃr, az ɖo bî wōcñ awe h cd iscep…

It wz cold in ɖ strīt. Ɖr wz a wind lîc îs. Ppl wnt flitñ bî, vri fast; ɖ men wōct lîc sizrz; ɖ wimin trod lîc cats. N nbdi ń—nbdi cerd. Īvn f ś brouc dǎn, f at last, aftr ol ɖz yirz, ś wr t crî, ś’d fînd hrslf in ɖ loc-up az lîc az nt.

Bt at ɖ ʈt v crayñ it wz az ɖo litl Leni lept in hiz gran’z armz. Ā, ɖt’s ẃt ś wonts t d, mî duv. Gran wonts t crî. F ś cd onli crî nǎ, crî fr a loñ tîm, ovr evrʈñ, bginñ wɖ hr frst ples n ɖ cruwl cc, gwñ on t ɖ doctr’z, n ɖen ɖ sevn litl wnz, deʈ v hr huzbnd, ɖ ćildṛn’z līvñ hr, n ol ɖ yirz v miẓri ɖt léd p t Leni. Bt t hv a propr crî ovr ol ɖz ʈñz wd tec a loñ tîm. Ol ɖ sem, ɖ tîm fr it hd cm. Ś mst d it. Ś cd’nt pt it of eni longr; ś cd’nt wêt eni mor… Ẃr cd ś g?

“Ś’z hd a hard lîf, hz Ma Parcr.” Yes, a hard lîf, indd! Hr ćin bgan t trembl; ɖr wz no tîm t lūz. Bt ẃr? Ẃr?

Ś cd’nt g hom; Eʈl wz ɖr. It wd frîtn Eʈl ǎt v hr lîf. Ś cd’nt sit on a bnć enẃr; ppl wd cm ascñ hr qsćnz. Ś cd’nt poṣbli g bac t ɖ jntlmn’z flat; ś hd no rît t crî in strenjrz’ hǎzz. F ś sat on sm steps a p’līsmn wd spīc t hr.

Ǒ, wz’nt ɖr enẃr ẃr ś cd hîd n cīp hrslf t hrslf n ste az loñ az ś lîct, nt dstrbñ enbdi, n nbdi wuriyñ hr? Wz’nt ɖr enẃr in ɖ wrld ẃr ś cd hv hr crî ǎt—at last?

Ma Parcr std, lcñ p n dǎn. Ɖ îsi wind blù ǎt hr epṛn intu a b’lūn. N nǎ it bgan t ren. Ɖr wz nẃr.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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