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 mǎntnpaʈ 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 mǎntnz 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 mǎntnvilij; hiz sntinlz, gun in hand, in evri mǎntn-rvin. 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 mǎntnz, 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 mǎntnrenj. 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 mǎntnjrni 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 mǎntnz 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 mǎntnwōlz 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 mǎntnz?”

“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 mǎntn-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 mǎntnz – 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 mǎntnz. 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 mǎntnrod, 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 mǎntnwōlz, 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 mǎntnwōl. 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

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