In Ñspel: MARRIAGE À LA MODE, by Katherine Mansfield

MARIJ À LA MODE

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

On hiz we t ɖ steśn Wiłm rmembrd wɖ a freś pañ v dis’pôntmnt ɖt h wz tecñ nʈñ dǎn t ɖ cidiz. Pur litl ćaps! It wz hard lînz on ɖm. Ɖer frst wrdz olwz wr az ɖe ran t grīt him, “Ẃt hv y got fr m, dadi?” n h hd nʈñ. H wd hv t bai ɖm sm swīts at ɖ steśn. Bt ɖt wz ẃt h hd dn fr ɖ past for Saṭdez; ɖer fesz hd fōḷn last tîm ẃn ɖe sw ɖ sem old boxz pṛdyst agn.

N Padi hd sd, “I hd red ribñ on mîn bfr!”

N Joni hd sd, “It’s olwz pnc on mîn. I het pnc.”

Bt ẃt wz Wiłm t d? Ɖ afer wz’nt so īẓli setld. In ɖ old dez, v cors, h wd hv tecn a taxi of t a dīsnt tôśop n ćozn ɖm smʈñ in fîv minits. Bt nawdez ɖe hd Ruśn tôz, Frenć tôz, Srbịn tôz—tôz fṛm God nz ẃr. It wz ovr a yir sins Iẓbél hd scrapt ɖ old donciz n enjinz n so on bcz ɖe wr so “dredf̣li snṭmntl” n “so apōlñli bad fr ɖ bebiz’ sns v form.”

“It’s so importnt,” ɖ ny Iẓbél hd xplend, “ɖt ɖe śd lîc ɖ rît ʈñz fṛm ɖ vri bginñ. It sevz so mć tîm lêtr on. Riyli, f ɖ pur pets hv t spend ɖer inf̣nt yirz stẹrñ at ɖz horrz, wn cn imajin ɖm growñ p n ascñ t b tecn t ɖ Royl Acaḍmi.”

N ś spouc az ɖo a vizit t ɖ Royl Acaḍmi wz srtn imīɉt deʈ t enwn…

“Wel, I d’nt nǒ,” sd Wiłm slǒli. “Ẃn I wz ɖer ej I yst t g t bed hugñ an old tǎl wɖ a nót in it.”

Ɖ ny Iẓbél lct at him, hr îz naroud, hr lips apart.

“Dir Wiłm! I’m śr y dd!” Ś laft in ɖ ny we.

Swīts it wd hv t b, hvr, ʈt Wiłm glūṃli, fiśñ in hiz pocit fr ćenj fr ɖ taximan. N h sw ɖ cidiz handñ ɖ boxz rnd—ɖe wr ōf̣li jenṛs litl ćaps—ẃl Iẓbél’z preśs frendz dd’nt heẓtet t hlp ɖmslvz…

Ẃt abt frūt? Wiłm hovrd bfr a stōl jst insd ɖ steśn. Ẃt abt a meḷn ć? Wd ɖe hv t śer ɖt, tù? Or a pînapl, fr Pad, n a meḷn fr Joni? Iẓbél’z frendz cd hardli g snīcñ p t ɖ nrṣri at ɖ ćildṛn’z mīltîmz. Ol ɖ sem, az h bòt ɖ meḷn Wiłm hd a hoṛbl viźn v wn v Iẓbél’z yuñ powts lapñ p a slîs, fr sm rīzn, bhnd ɖ nrṣridor.

Wɖ hiz tū vri ōcẉd parslz h stroud of t hiz tren. Ɖ platform wz crǎdd, ɖ tren wz in. Dorz bañd opn n śut. Ɖr cem sć a lǎd hisñ fṛm ɖ enjin ɖt ppl lct dezd az ɖe scurid t n fro. Wiłm md stret fr a frst-clas smocr, stoud awe hiz sūtces n parslz, n tecñ a hyj wod v peprz ǎt v hiz inr pocit, h fluñ dǎn in ɖ cornr n bgan t rīd.

“Ǎr claynt morovr z poẓtiv… W r inclînd t rīcnsidr… in ɖ ivnt v—” Ā, ɖt wz betr. Wiłm prest bac hiz flatnd her n strećt hiz legz acrs ɖ carij flor. Ɖ fmiłr dul nw̃ in hiz brest qaytnd dǎn. “Wɖ rgard t ǎr dsiźn—” H tc ǎt a blu pensl n scord a paṛgraf slǒli.

Tū men cem in, stept acrs him, n md fr ɖ farɖr cornr. A yuñ felo swuñ hiz golfclubz intu ɖ rac n sat dǎn oṗzit. Ɖ tren gev a jntl lrć, ɖe wr of. Wiłm glanst p n sw ɖ hot, brît steśn slipñ awe. A red-fest grl rêst alñ bî ɖ caṛjz, ɖr wz smʈñ strend n olmst despṛt in ɖ we ś wevd n cōld. “Histericl!” ʈt Wiłm duļi. Ɖen a grīsi, blac-fest wrcmn at ɖ end v ɖ platform grind at ɖ pasñ tren. N Wiłm ʈt, “A filʈi lîf!” n wnt bac t hiz peprz.

Ẃn h lct p agn ɖr wr fīldz, n bīsts standñ fr śltr undr ɖ darc triz. A wîd rivr, wɖ necid ćildṛn splaśñ in ɖ śaloz, glîdd intu sît n wz gn agn. Ɖ scî śon pel, n wn brd driftd hî lîc a darc flec in a juwl.

“W hv xamind ǎr claynt’s corispondnsfîlz…” Ɖ last sntns h hd réd ecoud in hiz mînd. “W hv xamind…” Wiłm huñ on t ɖt sntns, bt it wz no gd; it snapt in ɖ midl, n ɖ fīldz, ɖ scî, ɖ sêlñ brd, ɖ wōtr, ol sd, “Iẓbél.” Ɖ sem ʈñ hapnd evri Saṭde afṭnun. Ẃn h wz on hiz we t mīt Iẓbél ɖr bgan ɖoz cǎntlis imajinri mītñz. Ś wz at ɖ steśn, standñ jst a litl apart fṛm evrbdi els; ś wz sitñ in ɖ opn taxi ǎtsd; ś wz at ɖ gardnget; wōcñ acrs ɖ parćt gras; at ɖ dor, or jst insd ɖ hōl.

N hr clir, lît vôs sd, “It’s Wiłm,” or “Hlo, Wiłm!” or “So Wiłm hz cm!” H tućt hr cūl hand, hr cūl ćīc.

Ɖ xqizit freśnis v Iẓbél! Ẃn h hd bn a litl bô, it wz hiz dlît t run intu ɖ gardn aftr a śǎr v ren n śec ɖ rôz-bś ovr him. Iẓbél wz ɖt rôz-bś, petl-soft, sparc̣lñ n cūl. N h wz stl ɖt litl bô. Bt ɖr wz no runñ intu ɖ gardn nǎ, no lafñ n śecñ. Ɖ dul, psistnt nw̃ in hiz brest startd agn. H drù p hiz legz, tóst ɖ peprz asd, n śut hiz îz.

“Ẃt z it, Iẓbél? Ẃt z it?” h sd tndrli. Ɖe wr in ɖer bedrūm in ɖ ny hǎs. Iẓbél sat on a pentd stūl bfr ɖ dresñtebl ɖt wz strùn wɖ litl blac n grīn boxz.

“Ẃt z ẃt, Wiłm?” N ś bnt fwd, n hr fîn lît her fél ovr hr ćīcs.

“Ā, y nǒ!” H std in ɖ midl v ɖ rūm n h flt a strenjr. At ɖt Iẓbél ẃīld rnd qcli n fest him.

“Ǒ, Wiłm!” ś craid implorñli, n ś hld p ɖ herbruś: “Plīz! Plīz d’nt b so dredf̣li stufi n—trajic. Y’r olwz seyñ or lcñ or hintñ ɖt I’v ćenjd. Jst bcz I’v got t nǒ riyli cnjīńl ppl, n g abt mor, n am frîtf̣li cīn on—on evrʈñ, y bhev az ɖo I’d—” Iẓbél tóst bac hr her n laft—“cild ǎr luv or smʈñ. It’s so ōf̣li absrd”—ś bit hr lip—“n it’s so maḍnñ, Wiłm. Īvn ɖs ny hǎs n ɖ srvnts y gruj m.”

“Iẓbél!”

“Yes, yes, it’s tru in a we,” sd Iẓbél qcli. “Y ʈnc ɖe r anɖr bad sîn. Ǒ, I nǒ y d. I fīl it,” ś sd softli, “evri tîm y cm p ɖ sterz. Bt w cd’nt hv gn on livñ in ɖt uɖr pǒci litl houl, Wiłm. B practicl, at līst! Ẃ, ɖr wz’nt inuf rūm fr ɖ bebiz īvn.”

No, it wz tru. Evri mornñ ẃn h cem bac fṛm ćembrz it wz t fînd ɖ bebiz wɖ Iẓbél in ɖ bac drw̃rūm. Ɖe wr hvñ rîdz on ɖ leṗdscin ʈroun ovr ɖ sof̣bac, or ɖe wr pleyñ śops wɖ Iẓbél’z dsc fr a cǎntr, or Pad wz sitñ on ɖ harʈrug rowñ awe fr dir lîf wɖ a litl bras fîrśuvl, ẃl Joni śot at pîṛts wɖ ɖ toñz. Evri īvnñ ɖe ć hd a pic̣bac p ɖ naro sterz t ɖer fat old Nani.

Yes, h s’pozd it wz a pǒci litl hǎs. A litl ẃît hǎs wɖ blu crtnz n a windobox v ptyńaz. Wiłm met ɖer frendz at ɖ dor wɖ “Sìn ǎr ptyńaz? Priti t’rific fr Lundn, d’nt y ʈnc?”

Bt ɖ imḅsil ʈñ, ɖ abṣlutli xtrordnri ʈñ wz ɖt h hd’nt ɖ slîtist îdīa ɖt Iẓbél wz’nt az hapi az h. God, ẃt blîndnis! H hd’nt ɖ rmotist nośn in ɖoz dez ɖt ś riyli hetd ɖt incnvińnt litl hǎs, ɖt ś ʈt ɖ fat Nani wz ruinñ ɖ bebiz, ɖt ś wz despṛtli lonli, pînñ fr ny ppl n ny ḿzic n picćrz n so on. F ɖe hd’nt gn t ɖt stydioparti at Môra Morisn’z—f Môra Morisn hd’nt sd az ɖe wr līvñ, “I’m gwñ t rescy yr wîf, slfiś man. Ś’z lîc an xqizit litl Tteńa”—f Iẓbél hd’nt gn wɖ Môra t Paris—f—f…

Ɖ tren stopt at anɖr steśn. Betñfd. Gd hevnz! Ɖ’d b ɖr in ten minits. Wiłm stuft ɖ peprz bac intu hiz pocits; ɖ yuñ man oṗzit hd loñ sins dis’pird. Nǎ ɖ uɖr tū got ǎt. Ɖ lêt afṭnun sún śon on wimin in cotn frocs n litl súnbrnt, bérfŭt ćildṛn. It blezd on a silci yelo flǎr wɖ cōrs līvz ẃć sprōld ovr a banc v roc. Ɖ er ruf̣lñ ʈru ɖ windo smeld v ɖ sì. Hd Iẓbél ɖ sem crǎd wɖ hr ɖs wīc-end, wundrd Wiłm?

N h rmembrd ɖ hoḷdez ɖe yst t hv, ɖ for v ɖm, wɖ a litl farmgrl, Rôz, t lc aftr ɖ bebiz. Iẓbél wòr a jrzi n hr her in a pleit; ś lct abt fortīn. Lord! hǎ hiz nǒz yst t pīl! N ɖ amǎnt ɖe ét, n ɖ amǎnt ɖe slept in ɖt imns feɖrbed wɖ ɖer fīt loct tgɖr… Wiłm cd’nt hlp a grim smîl az h ʈt v Iẓbél’z horr f ś ń ɖ fl xtnt v hiz sntimntaḷti.

“Hlo, Wiłm!” Ś wz at ɖ steśn aftr ol, standñ jst az h hd imajind, apart fṛm ɖ uɖrz, n—Wiłm’z hart lept—ś wz alon.

“Hlo, Iẓbél!” Wiłm stérd. H ʈt ś lct so bytifl ɖt h hd t se smʈñ, “Y lc vri cūl.”

“D I?” sd Iẓbél. “I d’nt fīl vri cūl. Cm alñ, yr horid old tren z lêt. Ɖ taxi’z ǎtsd.” Ś pt hr hand lîtli on hiz arm az ɖe pást ɖ ticitc̣lectr. “W’v ol cm t mīt y,” ś sd. “Bt w’v left Bobi Cên at ɖ swīt śop, t b cōld fr.”

“Ǒ!” sd Wiłm. It wz ol h cd se fr ɖ momnt.

Ɖr in ɖ gler wêtd ɖ taxi, wɖ Bil Hunt n Denis Grīn sprōlñ on wn sîd, ɖer hats tiltd ovr ɖer fesz, ẃl on ɖ uɖr, Môra Morisn, in a bonit lîc a hyj strwḅri, jumt p n dǎn.

“No îs! No îs! No îs!” ś śǎtd gêli.

N Denis ćîmd in fṛm undr hiz hat. “Onli t b hd fṛm ɖ fiśmungr’z.”

N Bil Hunt, imrjñ, add, “Wɖ hol fiś in it.”

“Ǒ, ẃt a bòr!” weild Iẓbél. N ś xplend t Wiłm hǎ ɖe hd bn ćesñ rnd ɖ tǎn fr îs ẃl ś wêtd fr him. “Simpli evrʈñ z runñ dǎn ɖ stīp clifs intu ɖ sì, bginñ wɖ ɖ butr.”

“W śl hv t anônt ǎrslvz wɖ butr,” sd Denis. “Me ɖî hed, Wiłm, lac nt ôntmnt.”

“Lc hir,” sd Wiłm, “hǎ r w gwñ t sit? I’d betr gt p bî ɖ drîvr.”

“No, Bobi Cên’z bî ɖ drîvr,” sd Iẓbél. “Y’r t sit btwn Môra n m.” Ɖ taxi startd. “Ẃt hv y got in ɖoz mstirịs parslz?”

“Di-cap-it-etd-hedz!” sd Bil Hunt, śuḍrñ bnʈ hiz hat.

“Ǒ, frūt!” Iẓbél sǎndd vri plizd. “Wîz Wiłm! A meḷn n a pînapl. Hǎ tù nîs!”

“No, wêt a bit,” sd Wiłm, smîlñ. Bt h riyli wz añśs. “I bròt ɖm dǎn fr ɖ cidiz.”

“Ǒ, mî dir!” Iẓbél laft, n slipt hr hand ʈru hiz arm. “Ɖ’d b rolñ in aġniz f ɖe wr t īt ɖm. No”—ś patd hiz hand—“y mst brñ ɖm smʈñ nxt tîm. I rfyz t part wɖ mî pînapl.”

“Cruwl Iẓbél! D let m smel it!” sd Môra. Ś fluñ hr armz acrs Wiłm apilñli. “Ǒ!” Ɖ strwḅri bonit fél fwd: ś sǎndd qt fent.

“A Ledi in Luv wɖ a Pînapl,” sd Denis, az ɖ taxi drù p bfr a litl śop wɖ a strîpt blînd. Ǎt cem Bobi Cên, hiz armz fl v litl pacits.

“I d hop ɖ’l b gd. I’v ćozn ɖm bcz v ɖ culrz. Ɖr r sm rǎnd ʈñz ẃć riyli lc tù dvîn. N jst lc at ɖs nūgā,” h craid xtaticli, “jst lc at it! It’s a prfict litl bale.”

Bt at ɖt momnt ɖ śopmn apird. “Ǒ, I fgot. Ɖ’r nn v ɖm peid fr,” sd Bobi, lcñ frîtnd. Iẓbél gev ɖ śopmn a not, n Bobi wz redịnt agn. “Hlo, Wiłm! I’m sitñ bî ɖ drîvr.” N bér-hedd, ol in ẃît, wɖ hiz slīvz rold p t ɖ śoldrz, h lept intu hiz ples. “Avanti!” h craid…

Aftr ti ɖ uɖrz wnt of t beɖ, ẃl Wiłm steid n md hiz pīs wɖ ɖ cidiz. Bt Joni n Padi wr aslip, ɖ rôz-red glo hd peld, bats wr flayñ, n stl ɖ beɖrz hd nt rtrnd. Az Wiłm wondrd dǎnsterz, ɖ meid crost ɖ hōl cariyñ a lamp. H foloud hr intu ɖ sitñrūm. It wz a loñ rūm, culrd yelo. On ɖ wōl oṗzit Wiłm smwn hd pentd a yuñ man, ovr lîf-sîz, wɖ vri wobli legz, of̣rñ a wîd-aid deizi t a yuñ wmn hu hd wn vri śort arm n wn vri loñ, ʈin wn. Ovr ɖ ćerz n sofa ɖr huñ strips v blac mtirịl, cuvrd wɖ big splaśz lîc brocn egz, n evrẃr wn lct ɖr sīmd t b an aśtre fl v siġrét-endz. Wiłm sat dǎn in wn v ɖ armćerz. Nawdez, ẃn wn flt wɖ wn hand dǎn ɖ sîdz, it wz’nt t cm upn a śīp wɖ ʈri legz or a cǎ ɖt hd lost wn horn, or a vri fat duv ǎt v ɖ Noa’z Arc. Wn fiśt p yt anɖr litl pepr-cuvrd bc v smujd-lcñ powmz… H ʈt v ɖ wod v peprz in hiz pocit, bt h wz tù hungri n tîrd t rīd. Ɖ dor wz opn; sǎndz cem fṛm ɖ cićn. Ɖ srvnts wr tōcñ az f ɖe wr alon in ɖ hǎs. Sudnli ɖr cem a lǎd scrīć v laftr n an īqli lǎd “Ś!” Ɖe hd rmembrd him. Wiłm got p n wnt ʈru ɖ Frenć windoz intu ɖ gardn, n az h std ɖr in ɖ śado h hŕd ɖ beɖrz cmñ p ɖ sandi rod; ɖer vôsz rañ ʈru ɖ qayt.

“I ʈnc it’s p t Môra t yz hr litl arts n wîlz.”

A trajic mon fṛm Môra.

“W òt t hv a graṃfon fr ɖ wīc-endz ɖt pleid ‘Ɖ Meid v ɖ Mǎntnz.’”

“Ǒ no! Ǒ no!” craid Iẓbél’z vôs. “Ɖt’s nt fer t Wiłm. B nîs t him, mî ćildṛn! H’z onli steyñ untl tmoroīvnñ.”

“Līv him t m,” craid Bobi Cên. “I’m ōf̣li gd at lcñ aftr ppl.”

Ɖ get swuñ opn n śut. Wiłm muvd on ɖ teris; ɖe hd sìn him. “Hlo, Wiłm!” N Bobi Cên, flapñ hiz tǎl, bgan t līp n piruét on ɖ parćt lōn. “Piti y dd’nt cm, Wiłm. Ɖ wōtr wz dvîn. N w ol wnt t a litl pub aftwdz n hd slou jin.”

Ɖ uɖrz hd rīćt ɖ hǎs. “I se, Iẓbél,” cōld Bobi, “wd y lîc m t wer mî Njinsci dres tnît?”

“No,” sd Iẓbél, “nbdi’z gwñ t dres. W’r ol starvñ. Wiłm’z starvñ, tù. Cm alñ, mes amis, let’s bgin wɖ sardīnz.”

“I’v faund ɖ sardīnz,” sd Môra, n ś ran intu ɖ hōl, holdñ a box hî in ɖ er.

“A Ledi wɖ a Box v Sardīnz,” sd Denis grevli.

“Wel, Wiłm, n hǎ’z Lundn?” asct Bil Hunt, drw̃ ɖ corc ǎt v a botl v ẃisci.

“Ǒ, Lundn’z nt mć ćenjd,” ansrd Wiłm.

“Gd old Lundn,” sd Bobi, vri harti, spirñ a sardīn.

Bt a momnt lêtr Wiłm wz fgotn. Môra Morisn bgan wunḍrñ ẃt culr wn’z legz riyli wr undr wōtr.

“Mîn r ɖ pelist, pelist muśrumculr.”

Bil n Denis ét inorṃsli. N Iẓbél fild glasz, n ćenjd plets, n faund maćz, smîlñ blisf̣li. At wn momnt, ś sd, “I d wś, Bil, y’d pent it.”

“Pent ẃt?” sd Bil lǎdli, stufñ hiz mǎʈ wɖ bred.

“S,” sd Iẓbél, “rnd ɖ tebl. It wd b so faṣnetñ in twenti yirz’ tîm.”

Bil scrùd p hiz îz n ćùd. “Lît’s roñ,” h sd rūdli, “far tù mć yelo”; n wnt on ītñ. N ɖt sīmd t ćarm Iẓbél, tù.

Bt aftr supr ɖe wr ol so tîrd ɖe cd d nʈñ bt yōn untl it wz lêt inuf t g t bed…

It wz nt untl Wiłm wz wêtñ fr hiz taxi ɖ nxt afṭnun ɖt h faund himslf alon wɖ Iẓbél. Ẃn h bròt hiz sūtces dǎn intu ɖ hōl, Iẓbél left ɖ uɖrz n wnt ovr t him. Ś stūpt dǎn n pict p ɖ sūtces. “Ẃt a weit!” ś sd, n ś gev a litl ōcẉd laf. “Let m cari it! T ɖ get.”

“No, ẃ śd y?” sd Wiłm. “V cors, nt. Gv it t m.”

“Ǒ, plīz, d let m,” sd Iẓbél. “I wont t, riyli.” Ɖe wōct tgɖr sîḷntli. Wiłm flt ɖr wz nʈñ t se nǎ.

“Ɖr,” sd Iẓbél trîumfntli, setñ ɖ sūtces dǎn, n ś lct añśsli alñ ɖ sandi rod. “I hardli sīm t hv sìn y ɖs tîm,” ś sd breʈlisli. “It’s so śort, z’nt it? I fīl y’v onli jst cm. Nxt tîm—” Ɖ taxi cem intu sît. “I hop ɖe lc aftr y proprli in Lundn. I’m so sori ɖ bebiz hv bn ǎt ol de, bt Mis Nìl hd arenjd it. Ɖ’l het misñ y. Pur Wiłm, gwñ bac t Lundn.” Ɖ taxi trnd. “Gdbî!” Ś gev him a litl hurid cis; ś wz gn.

Fīldz, triz, hejz strīmd bî. Ɖe śc ʈru ɖ emti, blînd-lcñ litl tǎn, grǎnd p ɖ stīp pl t ɖ steśn.

Ɖ tren wz in. Wiłm md stret fr a frst-clas smocr, fluñ bac intu ɖ cornr, bt ɖs tîm h let ɖ peprz alon. H foldd hiz armz agnst ɖ dul, psistnt nw̃, n bgan in hiz mînd t rait a letr t Iẓbél.

Ɖ  post wz lêt az yźl. Ɖe sat ǎtsd ɖ hǎs in loñ ćerz undr culrd paṛsolz. Onli Bobi Cên le on ɖ trf at Iẓbél’z fīt. It wz dul, stîf̣lñ; ɖ de drūpt lîc a flag.

“D y ʈnc ɖr wl b Mundez in Hevn?” asct Bobi ćîldiśli.

N Denis mrmrd, “Hevn wl b wn loñ Munde.”

Bt Iẓbél cd’nt hlp wunḍrñ ẃt hd hapnd t ɖ samn ɖe hd fr supr last nît. Ś hd mnt t hv fiś meynez fr lunć n nǎ…

Môra wz aslip. Slīpñ wz hr lêtist dscuṿri. “It’s so wundrfl. Wn simpli śuts wn’z îz, ɖt’s ol. It’s so dliśs.”

Ẃn ɖ old rudi postmn cem bìtñ alñ ɖ sandi rod on hiz trîsicl wn flt ɖ handlbarz òt t hv bn òrz.

Bil Hunt pt dǎn hiz bc. “Letrz,” h sd cmplesntli, n ɖe ol wêtd. Bt, hartlis postmn—O mlignnt wrld! Ɖr wz onli wn, a fat wn fr Iẓbél. Nt īvn a pepr.

“N mîn’z onli fṛm Wiłm,” sd Iẓbél mōrnf̣li.

“Fṛm Wiłm—olrdi?”

“H’z sndñ y bac yr marij lînz az a jntl rmîndr.”

“Dz evrbdi hv marij lînz? I ʈt ɖe wr onli fr srvnts.”

“Pejz n pejz! Lc at hr! A Ledi rīdñ a Letr,” sd Denis.

“Mî darlñ, preśs Iẓbél.” Pejz n pejz ɖr wr. Az Iẓbél réd on hr fīlñ v astoniśmnt ćenjd t a stîfld fīlñ. Ẃt on rʈ hd indyst Wiłm…? Hǎ xtrordnri it wz… Ẃt cd hv md him…? Ś flt cnfyzd, mor n mor xîtd, īvn frîtnd. It wz jst lîc Wiłm. Wz it? It wz absrd, v cors, it mst b absrd, r’dikḷs. “Ha, ha, ha! Ǒ dir!” Ẃt wz ś t d? Iẓbél fluñ bac in hr ćer n laft tl ś cd’nt stop lafñ.

“D, d tel s,” sd ɖ uɖrz. “Y mst tel s.”

“I’m loññ t,” grgld Iẓbél. Ś sat p, gaɖrd ɖ letr, n wevd it at ɖm. “Gaɖr rnd,” ś sd. “Lisn, it’s tù marvḷs. A luvletr!”

“A luvletr! Bt hǎ dvîn!” “Darlñ, preśs Iẓbél.” Bt ś hd hardli bgun bfr ɖer laftr inṭruptd hr.

“G on, Iẓbél, it’s prfict.”

“It’s ɖ most marvḷs fînd.”

“Ǒ, d g on, Iẓbél!”

“God fbid, mî darlñ, ɖt I śd b a drag on yr hapinis.”

“Ǒ! ǒ! ǒ!”

“Śś! Śś! Śś!”

N Iẓbél wnt on. Ẃn ś rīćt ɖ end ɖe wr histericl: Bobi rold on ɖ trf n olmst sobd.

“Y mst let m hv it jst az it z, intîr, fr mî ny bc,” sd Denis frmli. “I śl gv it a hol ćaptr.”

“Ǒ, Iẓbél,” mond Môra, “ɖt wundrfl bit abt holdñ y in hiz armz!”

“I olwz ʈt ɖoz letrz in dvorscesz wr md p. Bt ɖe pel bfr ɖs.”

“Let m hold it. Let m rīd it, mîn ǒn slf,” sd Bobi Cên.

Bt, t ɖer s’prîz, Iẓbél cruśt ɖ letr in hr hand. Ś wz lafñ no longr. Ś glanst qcli at ɖm ol; ś lct xōstd. “No, nt jst nǎ. Nt jst nǎ,” ś stamrd.

N bfr ɖe cd rcuvr ś hd run intu ɖ hǎs, ʈru ɖ hōl, p ɖ sterz intu hr bedrūm. Dǎn ś sat on ɖ sîd v ɖ bed. “Hǎ vîl, odịs, abomiṇbl, vulgr,” mutrd Iẓbél. Ś prest hr îz wɖ hr nuclz n roct t n fro. N agn ś sw ɖm, bt nt for, mor lîc forti, lafñ, snirñ, jirñ, strećñ ǎt ɖer handz ẃl ś réd ɖm Wiłm’z letr. Ǒ, ẃt a loɖsm ʈñ t hv dn. Hǎ cd ś hv dn it! “God fbid, mî darlñ, ɖt I śd b a drag on yr hapinis.” Wiłm! Iẓbél prest hr fes intu ɖ pilo. Bt ś flt ɖt īvn ɖ grev bedrūm ń hr fr ẃt ś wz, śalo, tnc̣lñ, ven…

Prezntli fṛm ɖ gardn b’lo ɖr cem vôsz.

“Iẓbél, w’r ol gwñ fr a beɖ. D cm!”

“Cm, ɖǎ wîf v Wiłm!”

“Cōl hr wns bfr y g, cōl wns yt!”

Iẓbél sat p. Nǎ wz ɖ momnt, nǎ ś mst dsîd. Wd ś g wɖ ɖm, or ste hir n rait t Wiłm. Ẃć, ẃć śd it b? “I mst mc p mî mînd.” Ǒ, bt hǎ cd ɖr b eni qsćn? V cors ś wd ste hir n rait.

“Tteńa!” pîpt Môra.

“Iza-bel?”

No, it wz tù dificlt. “I’l—I’l g wɖ ɖm, n rait t Wiłm lêtr. Sm uɖr tîm. Lêtr. Nt nǎ. Bt I śl srtnli rait,” ʈt Iẓbél huridli.

N, lafñ, in ɖ ny we, ś ran dǎn ɖ sterz.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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