In Ñspel: THE ABSENCE OF MR GLASS, by G K Chesterton

Ɖ ABSNS OV MR. GLAS

G. C. Ćsttn

Ɖ ­ cnsultñrūmz v Dr. Orayn Hŭd, ɖ eminnt criṃnoḷjist n speṣ́list in srtn moṛl dsordrz, le alñ ɖ sìfrunt at Scarḅra, in a siriz v vri larj n wel-lîtd Frenć windoz, ẃć śoud ɖ Norʈ Sì lîc wn endlis ǎtr wōl v blu-grīn marbl. In sć a ples ɖ sì hd smʈñ v ɖ mnoṭni v a blu-grīn dedo: fr ɖ ćembrz ɖmslvz wr rūld ʈrt bî a teṛbl tîdinis nt unlîc ɖ teṛbl tîdinis v ɖ sì. It mst nt b s’pozd ɖt Dr. Hŭd’z apartmnts xcludd lux̣́ri, or īvn powtri. Ɖz ʈñz wr ɖr, in ɖer ples; bt wn flt ɖt ɖe wr nvr alaud ǎt v ɖer ples. Lux̣́ri wz ɖr: ɖr std upn a speśl tebl et or ten boxz v ɖ bst sgarz; bt ɖe wr bilt upn a plan so ɖt ɖ strongist wr olwz nirist ɖ wōl n ɖ mîldist nirist ɖ windo. A tanṭḷs cntenñ ʈri cndz v spirit, ol v a licŕ x’ḷns, std olwz on ɖs tebl v lux̣́ri; bt ɖ fansifl hv asrtd ɖt ɖ ẃisci, brandi, n rum sīmd olwz t stand at ɖ sem levl. Powtri wz ɖr: ɖ left-hand cornr v ɖ rūm wz lînd wɖ az cmplit a set v Ñgliś clasics az ɖ rît-hand cd śo v Ñgliś n foṛn fizioḷjists. Bt f wn tc a volym v Ćōsr or Śeli fṛm ɖt ranc, its absns iṛtetd ɖ mînd lîc a gap in a man’z frunt tīʈ. Wn cd nt se ɖ bcs wr nvr réd; probbli ɖe wr, bt ɖr wz a sns v ɖer biyñ ćend t ɖer plesz, lîc ɖ Bîblz in ɖ old ćrćz. Dr. Hŭd trītd hiz prîṿt bc-ślf az f it wr a public lîbrri. N f ɖs strict sạ̣ntific intanɉbiḷti stīpt īvn ɖ ślvz lêdn wɖ lirics n baḷdz n ɖ teblz lêdn wɖ drinc n tbaco, it gz wɖt seyñ ɖt yt mor v sć hīɖn holinis pṛtctd ɖ uɖr ślvz ɖt hld ɖ speṣ́list’s lîbrri, n ɖ uɖr teblz ɖt sstend ɖ frel n īvn fẹrilîc instṛmnts v ceṃstri or mcanics.

Dr. Hŭd pêst ɖ leñʈ v hiz strñ v apartmnts, bǎndd – az ɖ bôz’ jiogṛfiz se – on ɖ īst bî ɖ Norʈ Sì n on ɖ wst bî ɖ serid rancs v hiz soṣ́lojicl n criṃnoḷjist lîbrri. H wz clad in an artist’s velvit, bt wɖ nn v an artist’s neglijns; hiz her wz heṿli śot wɖ gre, bt growñ ʈic n hlʈi; hiz fes wz līn, bt sanḡn n xpctnt. Evrʈñ abt him n hiz rūm indcetd smʈñ at wns rijid n restlis, lîc ɖt gret norɖn sì bî ẃć (on pyr prínsiplz v hîjīn) h hd bilt hiz hom.

Fet, biyñ in a funi mūd, pśt ɖ dor opn n intṛdyst intu ɖoz loñ, strict, sì-flanct apartmnts wn hu wz phps ɖ most starṭlñ oṗzit v ɖm n ɖer mastr. In ansr t a crt bt sivl sumnz, ɖ dor opnd inẉdz n ɖr śambld intu ɖ rūm a śeplis litl figr, ẃć sīmd t fînd its ǒn hat n umbrela az unmaniɉbl az a mas v lugij. Ɖ umbrela wz a blac n pṛzêic bundl loñ past rper; ɖ hat wz a brōd-crvd blac hat, clericl bt nt comn in Ñgḷnd; ɖ man wz ɖ vri imbodimnt v ol ɖt z homli n hlplis.

Ɖ doctr rgardd ɖ ny-cmr wɖ a rstrend astoniśmnt, nt unlîc ɖt h wd hv śoun f sm hyj bt obvịsli harmlis sìbīst hd crōld intu hiz rūm. Ɖ ny-cmr rgardd ɖ doctr wɖ ɖt bīmñ bt breʈlis jīniaḷti ẃć caṛcṭrîzz a corpyḷnt ćarwmn hu hz jst manijd t stuf hrslf intu an omnibus. It z a rić cnfyźn v sośl slf-cngrać̣leśn n boḍli dis’re. Hiz hat tumbld t ɖ carpit, hiz hevi umbrela slipt btwn hiz niz wɖ a ʈud; h rīćt aftr ɖ wn n dúct aftr ɖ uɖr, bt wɖ an unimperd smîl on hiz rǎnd fes spouc simlteńsli az foloz:

“Mî nem z Brǎn. Pre xkz m. I’v cm abt ɖt biznis v ɖ McNabz. I hv hŕd y ofn hlp ppl ǎt v sć trublz. Pre xkz m f I am roñ.”

Bî ɖs tîm h hd sprōlñli rcuvrd ɖ hat, n md an od litl bobñ bǎ ovr it, az f setñ evrʈñ qt rît.

“I hardli unḍstand y,” rplaid ɖ sayntist, wɖ a cold intnṣti v manr. “I fir y hv mstecn ɖ ćembrz. I am Dr. Hŭd, n mî wrc z olmst intîrli litrri n edyceśnl. It z tru ɖt I hv smtmz bn cnsultd bî ɖ p’līs in cesz v pkłr dificlti n importns, bt – ”

“Ǒ, ɖs z v ɖ gretist importns,” brouc in ɖ litl man cōld Brǎn. “Ẃ, hr muɖr w’nt let ɖm gt ingejd.” N h līnd bac in hiz ćer in redịnt raṣ́naḷti.

Ɖ brǎz v Dr. Hŭd wr drwn dǎn darcli, bt ɖ îz undr ɖm wr brît wɖ smʈñ ɖt mt b angr or mt b aḿzmnt. “N stl,” h sd, “I d nt qt unḍstand.”

“Y si, ɖe wont t gt marid,” sd ɖ man wɖ ɖ clericl hat. “Magi McNab n yuñ Tódhuntr wont t gt marid. Nǎ, ẃt cn b mor importnt ɖn ɖt?”

Ɖ gret Orayn Hŭd’z sạ̣ntific trîumfs hd dprîvd him v mni ʈñz – sm sd v hiz hlʈ, uɖrz v hiz God; bt ɖe hd nt hoļi dspôld him v hiz sns v ɖ absrd. At ɖ last pli v ɖ injenẏs prīst a ćucl brouc ǎt v him fṛm insd, n h ʈrù himslf intu an armćer in an îronicl attyd v ɖ cnsultñfziśn.

“Mr. Brǎn,” h sd grevli, “it z qt fortīn n a haf yirz sins I wz prsṇli asct t tst a prsnl probḷm: ɖen it wz ɖ ces v an atmt t pôzn ɖ Frenć Prezidnt at a Lord Mẹr’z Banqit. It z nǎ, I unḍstand, a qsćn v ẃɖr sm frend v yrz cōld Magi z a sūṭbl fiãsé fr sm frend v hrz cōld Tódhuntr. Wel, Mr. Brǎn, I am a sportsmn. I wl tec it on. I wl gv ɖ McNab faṃli mî bst advîs, az gd az I gev ɖ Frenć Rpublic n ɖ Cñ v Ñgḷnd – no, betr: fortīn yirz betr. I hv nʈñ els t d ɖs afṭnun. Tel m yr stori.”

Ɖ litl clrjimn cōld Brǎn ʈanct him wɖ unqsćṇbl wormʈ, bt stl wɖ a qir cnd v simpliṣti. It wz rɖr az f h wr ʈancñ a strenjr in a smocñrūm fr sm trubl in pasñ ɖ maćz, ɖn az f h wr (az h wz) practicli ʈancñ ɖ Kretr v Cỳ Gardnz fr cmñ wɖ him intu a fīld t fînd a for-līft clovr. Wɖ scersli a semi-colon aftr hiz harti ʈancs, ɖ litl man bgan hiz rsîtl:

“I tld y mî nem wz Brǎn; wel, ɖt’s ɖ fact, n I’m ɖ prīst v ɖ litl Caʈ̇lic Ćrć I der se y’v sìn bynd ɖoz stragli strīts, ẃr ɖ tǎn endz twdz ɖ norʈ. In ɖ last n stragliist v ɖoz strīts ẃć runz alñ ɖ sì lîc a sìwōl ɖr z a vri onist bt rɖr śarp-tmprd membr v mî floc, a wido cōld McNab. Ś hz wn dōtr, n ś lets lojñz, n btwn hr n ɖ dōtr, n btwn hr n ɖ lojrz – wel, I der se ɖr z a gret dīl t b sd on bʈ sîdz. At preznt ś hz onli wn lojr, ɖ yuñ man cōld Tódhuntr; bt h hz gvn mor trubl ɖn ol ɖ rest, fr h wonts t mari ɖ yuñ wmn v ɖ hǎs.”

“N ɖ yuñ wmn v ɖ hǎs,” asct Dr. Hŭd, wɖ hyj n sîḷnt aḿzmnt, “ẃt dz ś wont?”

“Ẃ, ś wonts t mari him,” craid Faɖr Brǎn, sitñ p īgrli. “Ɖt z jst ɖ ōfl compḷceśn.”

“It z indd a hidịs inigma,” sd Dr. Hŭd.

“Ɖs yuñ Jemz Tódhuntr,” cntinyd ɖ cleric, “z a vri dīsnt man so far az I nǒ; bt ɖen nbdi nz vri mć. H z a brît, brǎniś litl felo, ajîl lîc a munci, clīn-śevn lîc an actr, n oblîjñ lîc a born cortịr. H sīmz t hv qt a pocitfl v muni, bt nbdi nz ẃt hiz tred z. Msz McNab, ɖrfr (biyñ v a peṣmistic trn), z qt śr it z smʈñ dredfl, n probbli cnctd wɖ dîṇmît. Ɖ dîṇmît mst b v a śî n nôzlis sort, fr ɖ pur felo onli śuts himslf p fr sevṛl aurz v ɖ de n studiz smʈñ bhnd a loct dor. H dclerz hiz priṿsi z tmprri n jusṭfaid, n proṃsz t xplen bfr ɖ wedñ. Ɖt z ol ɖt enwn nz fr srtn, bt Msz McNab wl tel y a gret dīl mor ɖn īvn ś z srtn v. Y nǒ hǎ ɖ têlz gro lîc gras on sć a pać v ignṛns az ɖt. Ɖr r têlz v tū vôsz hŕd tōcñ in ɖ rūm; ɖo, ẃn ɖ dor z opnd, Tódhuntr z olwz faund alon. Ɖr r têlz v a mstirịs tōl man in a silc hat, hu wns cem ǎt v ɖ sìmists n apaṛntli ǎt v ɖ sì, stepñ softli acrs ɖ sandi fīldz n ʈru ɖ smōl bacgardn at twîlît, tl h wz hŕd tōcñ t ɖ lojr at hiz opn windo. Ɖ coḷqi sīmd t end in a qoṛl. Tódhuntr daśt dǎn hiz windo wɖ vayḷns, n ɖ man in ɖ hî hat mltd intu ɖ sìfog agn. Ɖs stori z tld bî ɖ faṃli wɖ ɖ firsist mistif̣ceśn; bt I riyli ʈnc Msz McNab prifŕz hr ǒn orijinl têl: ɖt ɖ Uɖr Man (or ẃtvr it z) crōlz ǎt evri nît fṛm ɖ big box in ɖ cornr, ẃć z cept loct ol de. Y si, ɖrfr, hǎ ɖs sìld dor v Tódhuntr’z z trītd az ɖ get v ol ɖ fansiz n mnstroṣtiz v ɖ ‘Ʈǎznd n Wn Nîts’. N yt ɖr z ɖ litl felo in hiz rspctbl blac jacit, az puñćl n iṇsnt az a parlrcloc. H pez hiz rent t ɖ tic; h z practicli a tītotḷr; h z tîrlisli cînd wɖ ɖ yungr ćildṛn, n cn cīp ɖm aḿzd fr a de on end; n, last n most rjnt v ol, h hz md himslf īqli popylr wɖ ɖ eldist dōtr, hu z redi t g t ćrć wɖ him tmoro.”

A man wormli cnsrnd wɖ eni larj ʈiriz hz olwz a reliś fr aplayñ ɖm t eni triviaḷti. Ɖ gret speṣ́list hvñ condisndd t ɖ prīst’s simpliṣti, condisndd xpansivli. H setld himslf wɖ cumf̣t in hiz armćer n bgan t tōc in ɖ ton v a smẃt absnt-mîndd lecćrr:

“Īvn in a mînyt instns, it z bst t lc frst t ɖ mn tndnsiz v Nećr. A ptiklr flǎr me nt b ded in rli wintr, bt ɖ flǎrz r dayñ; a ptiklr pebl me nvr b wetd wɖ ɖ tîd, bt ɖ tîd z cmñ in. T ɖ sạ̣ntific î ol hymn hisṭri z a siriz v c’lectiv muvmnts, dstrux́nz or mîgreśnz, lîc ɖ maṣcr v flîz in wintr or ɖ rtrn v brdz in sprñ. Nǎ ɖ rūtfact in ol hisṭri z Res. Res pṛdysz rlijn; Res pṛdysz līgl n eʈicl worz. Ɖr z no strongr ces ɖn ɖt v ɖ wîld, unwrldli n peṛśñ stoc ẃć w comnli cōl ɖ Celts, v hūm yr frendz ɖ McNabz r spesimnz. Smōl, sworɖi, n v ɖs drīmi n driftñ blud, ɖe axpt īẓli ɖ sūṗstiśs xpḷneśn v eni insidnts, jst az ɖe stl axpt (y wl xkz m fr seyñ) ɖt sūṗstiśs xpḷneśn v ol insidnts ẃć y n yr Ćrć repriznt. It z nt rmarcbl ɖt sć ppl, wɖ ɖ sì monñ bhnd ɖm n ɖ Ćrć (xkz m agn) dronñ in frunt v ɖm, śd pt fntastic fīćrz intu ẃt r probbli plen ivnts. Y, wɖ yr smōl p’rocịl rsponsbiḷtiz, si onli ɖs ptiklr Msz McNab, teṛfaid wɖ ɖs ptiklr têl v tū vôsz n a tōl man ǎt v ɖ sì. Bt ɖ man wɖ ɖ sạ̣ntific imaɉneśn siz, az it wr, ɖ hol clanz v McNab scatrd ovr ɖ hol wrld, in its ultiṃt aṿrij az yṇform az a trîb v brdz. H siz ʈǎzndz v Msz McNabz, in ʈǎzndz v hǎzz, dropñ ɖer litl drop v morbidti in ɖ tīcups v ɖer frendz; h siz – ”

Bfr ɖ sayntist cd cnclud hiz sntns, anɖr n mor impeśnt sumnz sǎndd fṛm wɖt; smwn wɖ swiśñ scrts wz marśld huridli dǎn ɖ coṛdor, n ɖ dor opnd on a yuñ grl, dīsntli drest bt dsordrd n red-hot wɖ hest. Ś hd sì-bloun blond her, n wd hv bn intîrli bytifl f hr ćīcbonz hd nt bn, in ɖ Scoć manr, a litl hî in rlif az wel az in culr. Hr apoḷji wz olmst az abrupt az a cmand.

“I’m sori t inṭrupt y, sr,” ś sd, “bt I hd t folo Faɖr Brǎn at wns; it’s nʈñ les ɖn lîf or deʈ.”

Faɖr Brǎn bgan t gt t hiz fīt in sm dsordr. “Ẃ, ẃt hz hapnd, Magi?” h sd.

“Jemz hz bn mrdrd, fr ol I cn mc ǎt,” ansrd ɖ grl, stl briɖñ hard fṛm hr ruś. “Ɖt man Glas hz bn wɖ him agn; I hŕd ɖm tōcñ ʈru ɖ dor qt plen. Tū sepṛt vôsz: fr Jemz spīcs lo, wɖ a br, n ɖ uɖr vôs wz hî n qeṿri.”

“Ɖt man Glas?” rpitd ɖ prīst in sm pplex̣ti.

“I nǒ hiz nem z Glas,” ansrd ɖ grl, in gret impeśns. “I hŕd it ʈru ɖ dor. Ɖe wr qoṛlñ – abt muni, I ʈnc – fr I hŕd Jemz se agn n agn, ‘Ɖt’s rît, Mr. Glas,’ or ‘No, Mr. Glas,’ n ɖen, ‘Tū or ʈri, Mr. Glas.’ Bt w’r tōcñ tù mć; y mst cm at wns, n ɖr me b tîm yt.”

“Bt tîm fr ẃt?” asct Dr. Hŭd, hu hd bn studiyñ ɖ yuñ ledi wɖ marct inṭrest. “Ẃt z ɖr abt Mr. Glas n hiz munitrublz ɖt śd impel sć rjnsi?”

“I traid t brec dǎn ɖ dor n cd’nt,” ansrd ɖ grl śortli, “Ɖen I ran t ɖ bacyard, n manijd t clîm on t ɖ windosil ɖt lcs intu ɖ rūm. It wz ol dim, n sīmd t b emti, bt I swer I sw Jemz layñ hudld p in a cornr, az f h wr drugd or strangld.”

“Ɖs z vri sirịs,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, gaɖ̇rñ hiz eṛnt hat n umbrela n standñ p; “in pônt v fact I wz jst ptñ yr ces bfr ɖs jntlmn, n hiz vy – ”

“Hz bn larjli oltrd,” sd ɖ sayntist grevli. “I d nt ʈnc ɖs yuñ ledi z so Cltic az I hd s’pozd. Az I hv nʈñ els t d, I wl pt on mî hat n strol dǎn tǎn wɖ y.”

In a fy minits ol ʈri wr aproćñ ɖ driri teil v ɖ McNabz’ strīt: ɖ grl wɖ ɖ strn n breʈlis strîd v ɖ mǎnṭnir, ɖ criṃnoḷjist wɖ a lǎnjñ gres (ẃć wz nt wɖt a srtn leṗdlîc swiftnis), n ɖ prīst at an eṇjetic trot intîrli dvôd v dstñśn. Ɖ aspect v ɖs éj v ɖ tǎn wz nt intîrli wɖt justif̣ceśn fr ɖ doctr’z hints abt dezḷt mūdz n invîrnmnts. Ɖ scatrd hǎzz std farɖr n farɖr apart in a brocn strñ alñ ɖ sìśor; ɖ afṭnun wz clozñ wɖ a preṃtyr n partli lŭrid twîlît; ɖ sì wz v an ñci prpl n mrṃrñ omiṇsli. In ɖ scrapi bacgardn v ɖ McNabz ẃć ran dǎn twdz ɖ sand, tū blac, baṛn-lcñ triz std p lîc dīmnhandz hld p in astoniśmnt, n az Msz McNab ran dǎn ɖ strīt t mīt ɖm wɖ līn handz similrli spred, n hr firs fes in śado, ś wz a litl lîc a dīmn hrslf. Ɖ doctr n ɖ prīst md scant rplî t hr śril riiṭreśnz v hr dōtr’z stori, wɖ mor dstrbñ dītelz v hr ǒn, t ɖ dvîdd vǎz v vnjns agnst Mr. Glas fr mrḍrñ, n agnst Mr. Tódhuntr fr biyñ mrdrd, or agnst ɖ latr fr hvñ derd t wont t mari hr dōtr, n fr nt hvñ livd t d it. Ɖe pást ʈru ɖ naro pasij in ɖ frunt v ɖ hǎs untl ɖe cem t ɖ lojr’z dor at ɖ bac, n ɖr Dr. Hŭd, wɖ ɖ tric v an old dtctiv, pt hiz śoldr śarpli t ɖ panl n brst in ɖ dor.

It opnd on a sīn v sîḷnt ctastṛfi. Nwn siyñ it, īvn fr a flaś, cd dǎt ɖt ɖ rūm hd bn ɖ ʈiytr v sm ʈrilñ c’liźn btwn tū, or phps mor, prsnz. Pleyñcardz le litrd acrs ɖ tebl or flutrd abt ɖ flor az f a gem hd bn inṭruptd. Tū wînglasz std redi fr wîn on a sîdtebl, bt a ʈrd le smaśt in a star v cristl upn ɖ carpit. A fy fīt fṛm it le ẃt lct lîc a loñ nîf or śort sord, stret, bt wɖ an orṇmntl n picćrd handl, its dul bled jst còt a gre glint fṛm ɖ driri windo bhnd, ẃć śoud ɖ blac triz agnst ɖ ledn levl v ɖ sì. Twdz ɖ oṗzit cornr v ɖ rūm wz rold a jntlmn’z silc top hat, az f it hd jst bn noct of hiz hed; so mć so, indd, ɖt wn olmst lct t si it stl rolñ. N in ɖ cornr bhnd it, ʈroun lîc a sác v ptetoz, bt cordd lîc a relwe trunc, le Mr. Jemz Tódhuntr, wɖ a scarf acrs hiz mǎʈ, n six or sevn rops nótd rnd hiz elboz n anclz. Hiz brǎn îz wr alîv n śiftd alrtli.

Dr. Orayn Hŭd pōzd fr wn instnt on ɖ dormat n dranc in ɖ hol sīn v vôslis vayḷns. Ɖen h stept swiftli acrs ɖ carpit, pict p ɖ tōl silc hat, n grevli pt it upn ɖ hed v ɖ yt pińnd Tódhuntr. It wz so mć tù larj fr him ɖt it olmst slipt dǎn on t hiz śoldrz.

“Mr. Glas’z hat,” sd ɖ doctr, rtrnñ wɖ it n pirñ intu ɖ insîd wɖ a pocit-lnz. “Hǎ t xplen ɖ absns v Mr. Glas n ɖ prezns v Mr. Glas’z hat? Fr Mr. Glas z nt a cerlis man wɖ hiz cloɖz. Ɖt hat z v a stîliś śep n sistmaticli bruśt n brniśt, ɖo nt vri ny. An old dandi, I śd ʈnc.”

“Bt, gd hevnz!” cōld ǎt Mis McNab, “r’nt y gwñ t untî ɖ man frst?”

“I se ‘old’ wɖ intnśn, ɖo nt wɖ srtnti” cntinyd ɖ xpozitr; “mî rīzn fr it mt sīm a litl far-fećt. Ɖ her v hymn biyñz fōlz ǎt in vri vẹriyñ dgriz, bt olmst olwz fōlz ǎt slîtli, n wɖ ɖ lnz I śd si ɖ tîni herz in a hat rīsntli wòrn. It hz nn, ẃć līdz m t ges ɖt Mr. Glas z bàld. Nǎ ẃn ɖs z tecn wɖ ɖ hî-pićt n qeryḷs vôs ẃć Mis McNab dscrîbd so vividli (peśns, mî dir ledi, peśns), ẃn w tec ɖ herlis hed tgɖr wɖ ɖ ton comn in sīnîl angr, I śd ʈnc w me ddys sm advans in yirz. Nvɖles, h wz probbli vigṛs, n h wz olmst srtnli tōl. I mt rlî in sm dgri on ɖ stori v hiz prīvịs apiṛns at ɖ windo, az a tōl man in a silc hat, bt I ʈnc I hv mor xact indceśn. Ɖs wînglas hz bn smaśt ol ovr ɖ ples, bt wn v its splintrz lîz on ɖ hî bracit bsd ɖ mantlpìs. No sć fragmnt cd hv fōḷn ɖr f ɖ vesl hd bn smaśt in ɖ hand v a cmpaṛtivli śort man lîc Mr. Tódhuntr.”

“Bî ɖ we,” sd Faɖr Brǎn, “mt it nt b az wel t untî Mr. Tódhuntr?”

“Ǎr lésn fṛm ɖ drincñveslz dz nt end hir,” pṛsidd ɖ speṣ́list. “I me se at wns ɖt it z poṣbl ɖt ɖ man Glas wz bàld or nrṿs ʈru diṣpeśn rɖr ɖn ej. Mr. Tódhuntr, az hz bn rmarct, z a qayt ʈrifti jntlmn, isnṣ́li an abstenr. Ɖz cardz n wîncups r no part v hiz norml habit; ɖe hv bn pṛdyst fr a ptiklr cmpańn. Bt, az it hapnz, w me g farɖr. Mr. Tódhuntr me or me nt pzes ɖs wînsrvis, bt ɖr z no apiṛns v hiz pzesñ eni wîn. Ẃt, ɖen, wr ɖz veslz t cnten? I wd at wns sjst sm brandi or ẃisci, phps v a l’x́urịs sort, fṛm a flasc in ɖ pocit v Mr. Glas. W hv ɖus smʈñ lîc a picćr v ɖ man, or at līst v ɖ tîp: tōl, eldrli, faśṇbl, bt smẃt freid, srtnli fond v ple n stroñ wōtrz, phps rɖr tù fond v ɖm. Mr. Glas z a jntlmn nt uņoun on ɖ frinjz v ssayti.”

“Lc hir,” craid ɖ yuñ wmn, “f y d’nt let m pas t untî him I’l run ǎtsd n scrīm fr ɖ p’līs.”

“I śd nt advîz y, Mis McNab,” sd Dr. Hŭd grevli, “t b in eni huri t feć ɖ p’līs. Faɖr Brǎn, I sirịsli asc y t cmpoz yr floc, fr ɖer secs, nt fr mîn. Wel, w hv sìn smʈñ v ɖ figr n qoḷti v Mr. Glas; ẃt r ɖ ćīf facts noun v Mr. Tódhuntr? Ɖe r sbstanṣ́li ʈri: ɖt h z ic̣nomicl, ɖt h z mor or les wlʈi, n ɖt h hz a sīcrit. Nǎ, śrli it z obvịs ɖt ɖr r ɖ ʈri ćīf marcs v ɖ cnd v man hu z blacmeild. N śrli it z īqli obvịs ɖt ɖ fedd fîṇri, ɖ profliġt habits, n ɖ śril iṛteśn v Mr. Glas r ɖ unmistecbl marcs v ɖ cnd v man hu blacmeilz him. W hv ɖ tū tipicl figrz v a traɉdi v huśmuni: on ɖ wn hand, ɖ rspctbl man wɖ a misṭri; on ɖ uɖr, ɖ Wst-end vulćr wɖ a sént fr a misṭri. Ɖz tū men hv met hir tde n hv qoṛld, yzñ bloz n a bér wepn.”

“R y gwñ t tec ɖoz rops of?” asct ɖ grl stubnli.

Dr. Hŭd rplest ɖ silc hat cerf̣li on ɖ sîdtebl, n wnt acrs t ɖ captiv. H studid him intntli, īvn muvñ him a litl n haf-trnñ him rnd bî ɖ śoldrz, bt h onli ansrd:

“No; I ʈnc ɖz rops wl d vri wel tl yr frendz ɖ p’līs brñ ɖ hancufs.”

Faɖr Brǎn, hu hd bn lcñ duļi at ɖ carpit, liftd hiz rǎnd fes n sd: “Ẃt d y mīn?”

Ɖ man v sayns hd pict p ɖ pkłr dagrsord fṛm ɖ carpit n wz xaṃnñ it intntli az h ansrd:

“Bcz y fînd Mr. Tódhuntr taid p,” h sd, “y ol jump t ɖ cncluźn ɖt Mr. Glas hd taid him p; n ɖen, I s’poz, iscept. Ɖr r for objx́nz t ɖs: Frst, ẃ śd a jntlmn so dresi az ǎr frend Glas līv hiz hat bhnd him, f h left v hiz ǒn fri wl? Secnd,” h cntinyd, muvñ twdz ɖ windo, “ɖs z ɖ onli xit, n it z loct on ɖ insîd. Ʈrd, ɖs bled hir hz a tîni tuć v blud at ɖ pônt, bt ɖr z no wūnd on Mr. Tódhuntr. Mr. Glas tc ɖt wūnd awe wɖ him, ded or alîv. Ad t ol ɖs prîṃri probbiḷti. It z mć mor lîcli ɖt ɖ blacmeild prsn wd trî t cil hiz inkbs, rɖr ɖn ɖt ɖ blacmeilr wd trî t cil ɖ gūs ɖt lez hiz goldn eg. Ɖr, I ʈnc, w hv a priti cmplit stori.”

“Bt ɖ rops?” inqîrd ɖ prīst, huz îz hd rmend opn wɖ a rɖr vecnt adṃreśn.

“Ā, ɖ rops,” sd ɖ xprt wɖ a snğlr inṭneśn. “Mis McNab vri mć wontd t nǒ ẃ I dd nt set Mr. Tódhuntr fri fṛm hiz rops. Wel, I wl tel hr. I dd nt d it bcz Mr. Tódhuntr cn set himslf fri fṛm ɖm at eni minit h ćuzz.”

“Ẃt?” craid ɖ ōdịns on qt difṛnt nots v astoniśmnt.

“I hv lct at ol ɖ nóts on Mr. Tódhuntr,” riiṭretd Hŭd qaytli. “I hapn t nǒ smʈñ abt nóts; ɖe r qt a branć v criminl sayns. Evrwn v ɖoz nóts h hz md himslf n cd lūsn himslf; nt wn v ɖm wd hv bn md bî an eṇmi riyli trayñ t pińn him. Ɖ hol v ɖs afer v ɖ rops z a clevr fec, t mc s ʈnc him ɖ victim v ɖ strugl instd v ɖ rećid Glas, huz corps me b hidn in ɖ gardn or stuft p ɖ ćimni.”

Ɖr wz a rɖr dprest sîḷns; ɖ rūm wz darc̣nñ, ɖ sì-blîtd bauz v ɖ gardn triz lct līnr n blacr ɖn evr, yt ɖe sīmd t hv cm nirr t ɖ windo. Wn cd olmst fansi ɖe wr sìmonstrz lîc crecnz or cutlfiś, rîɖñ polipi hu hd crōld p fṛm ɖ sì t si ɖ end v ɖs traɉdi, īvn az h, ɖ viḷn n victim v it, ɖ teṛbl man in ɖ tōl hat, hd wns crōld p fṛm ɖ sì. Fr ɖ hol er wz dns wɖ ɖ morbidti v blacmeil, ẃć z ɖ most morbid v hymn ʈñz, bcz it z a crîm cnsilñ a crîm; a blac plastr on a blacr wūnd.

Ɖ fes v ɖ litl Caʈ̇lic prīst, ẃć wz comnli cmplesnt n īvn comic, hd sudnli bcm nótd wɖ a krịs frǎn. It wz nt ɖ blanc krioṣti v hiz frst iṇsns. It wz rɖr ɖt crietiv krioṣti ẃć cmz ẃn a man hz ɖ bginñz v an îdīa. “Se it agn, plīz,” h sd in a simpl, boɖrd manr; “d y mīn ɖt Tódhuntr cn tî himslf p ol alon n untî himslf ol alon?”

“Ɖt z ẃt I mīn,” sd ɖ doctr.

“Jrūsḷm!” ijakletd Brǎn sudnli, “I wundr f it cd poṣbli b ɖt!”

H scutld acrs ɖ rūm rɖr lîc a rabit, n pīrd wɖ qt a ny impulsivnis intu ɖ parṣ́li-cuvrd fes v ɖ captiv. Ɖen h trnd hiz ǒn rɖr faćs fes t ɖ cumṗni. “Yes, ɖt’s it!” h craid in a srtn xîtmnt. “C’nt y si it in ɖ man’z fes? Ẃ, lc at hiz îz!”

Bʈ ɖ Pṛfesr n ɖ grl foloud ɖ d’rex́n v hiz glans. N ɖo ɖ brōd blac scarf cmplitli masct ɖ lowr haf v Tódhuntr’z vizij, ɖe dd gro conśs v smʈñ struġlñ n intns abt ɖ upr part v it.

“Hiz îz d lc qir,” craid ɖ yuñ wmn, stroñli muvd. “Y brūts; I b’liv it’s hrtñ him!”

“Nt ɖt, I ʈnc,” sd Dr. Hŭd; “ɖ îz hv srtnli a snğlr xpreśn. Bt I śd intrprit ɖoz tranzvrs rinclz az xpresñ rɖr sć slît sîc̣lojicl abnormaḷti – ”

“Ǒ, boś!” craid Faɖr Brǎn: “c’nt y si h’z lafñ?”

“Lafñ!” rpitd ɖ doctr, wɖ a start; “bt ẃt on rʈ cn h b lafñ at?”

“Wel,” rplaid ɖ Revṛnd Brǎn apoḷjeticli, “nt t pt tù fîn a pônt on it, I ʈnc h z lafñ at y. N indd, I’m a litl inclînd t laf at mslf, nǎ I nǒ abt it.”

“Nǎ y nǒ abt ẃt?” asct Hŭd, in sm xasṗreśn.

“Nǎ I nǒ,” rplaid ɖ prīst, “ɖ pṛfeśn v Mr. Tódhuntr.”

H śufld abt ɖ rūm, lcñ at wn objict aftr anɖr wɖ ẃt sīmd t b a vecnt stér, n ɖen inverịbli brstñ intu an īqli vecnt laf, a hîli iṛtetñ proses fr ɖoz hu hd t woć it. H laft vri mć ovr ɖ hat, stl mor uprorịsli ovr ɖ brocn glas, bt ɖ blud on ɖ sordpônt snt him intu mortl cnvulśnz v aḿzmnt. Ɖen h trnd t ɖ fymñ speṣ́list.

“Dr. Hŭd,” h craid inʈyziasticli, “y r a gret powt! Y hv cōld an uncrietd biyñ ǎt v ɖ vôd. Hǎ mć mor godlîc ɖt z ɖn f y hd onli feṛtd ǎt ɖ mir facts! Indd, ɖ mir facts r rɖr comnples n comic bî cmparisn.”

“I hv no nośn ẃt y r tōcñ abt,” sd Dr. Hŭd rɖr hōṭli; “mî facts r ol inevitbl, ɖo nesseṛli incmplit. A ples me b pmitd t intyiśn, phps (or powtri f y prifŕ ɖ trm), bt onli bcz ɖ corispondñ dītelz canot az yt b aṣtend. In ɖ absns v Mr. Glas – ”

“Ɖt’s it, ɖt’s it,” sd ɖ litl prīst, nodñ qt īgrli, “ɖt’s ɖ frst îdīa t gt fixt; ɖ absns v Mr. Glas. H z so xtrimli absnt. I s’poz,” h add rflectivli, “ɖt ɖr wz nvr enbdi so absnt az Mr. Glas.”

“D y mīn h z absnt fṛm ɖ tǎn?” dmandd ɖ doctr.

“I mīn h z absnt fṛm evrẃr,” ansrd Faɖr Brǎn; “h z absnt fṛm ɖ Nećr v Ʈñz, so t spīc.”

“D y sirịsli mīn,” sd ɖ speṣ́list wɖ a smîl, “ɖt ɖr z no sć prsn?”

Ɖ prīst md a sîn v asnt. “It dz sīm a piti,” h sd.

Orayn Hŭd brouc intu a cntmćs laf. “Wel,” h sd, “bfr w g on t ɖ hundṛd n wn uɖr evidnsz, let s tec ɖ frst prūf w faund; ɖ frst fact w fél ovr ẃn w fél intu ɖs rūm. F ɖr z no Mr. Glas, huz hat z ɖs?”

“It z Mr. Tódhuntr’z,” rplaid Faɖr Brǎn.

“Bt it dz’nt fit him,” craid Hŭd impeśntli. “H cd’nt poṣbli wer it!”

Faɖr Brǎn śc hiz hed wɖ inef̣bl mîldnis. “I nvr sd h cd wer it,” h ansrd. “I sd it wz hiz hat. Or, f y insist on a śêd v difṛns, a hat ɖt z hiz.”

“N ẃt z ɖ śêd v difṛns?” asct ɖ criṃnoḷjist wɖ a slît snir.

“Mî gd sr,” craid ɖ mîld litl man, wɖ hiz frst muvmnt acin t impeśns, “f y wl wōc dǎn ɖ strīt t ɖ nirist hatr’z śop, y wl si ɖt ɖr z, in comn spīć, a difṛns btwn a man’z hat n ɖ hats ɖt r hiz.”

“Bt a hatr,” pṛtstd Hŭd, “cn gt muni ǎt v hiz stoc v ny hats. Ẃt cd Tódhuntr gt ǎt v ɖs wn old hat?”

“Rabits,” rplaid Faɖr Brǎn promtli.

“Ẃt?” craid Dr. Hŭd.

“Rabits, ribnz, swītmìts, goldfiś, rolz v culrd pepr,” sd ɖ revṛnd jntlmn wɖ r’pidti. “Dd’nt y si it ol ẃn y faund ǎt ɖ fect rops? It’s jst ɖ sem wɖ ɖ sord. Mr. Tódhuntr hz’nt got a scrać on him, az y se; bt h’z got a scrać in him, f y folo m.”

“D y mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr’z cloɖz?” inqîrd Msz McNab strnli.

“I d nt mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr’z cloɖz,” sd Faɖr Brǎn. “I mīn insd Mr. Tódhuntr.”

“Wel, ẃt in ɖ nem v Bedḷm d y mīn?”

“Mr. Tódhuntr,” xplend Faɖr Brǎn plasidli, “z lrnñ t b a pṛfeśnl cunjrr, az wel az juglr, ventriḷqist, n xprt in ɖ roptric. Ɖ cunɉrñ xplenz ɖ hat. It z wɖt tresz v her, nt bcz it z wòrn bî ɖ preṃtyrli bàld Mr. Glas, bt bcz it hz nvr bn wòrn bî enbdi. Ɖ juġlñ xplenz ɖ ʈri glasz, ẃć Tódhuntr wz tīćñ himslf t ʈro p n cać in r’teśn. Bt, biyñ onli at ɖ stej v practis, h smaśt wn glas agnst ɖ sīlñ. N ɖ juġlñ olso xplenz ɖ sord, ẃć it wz Mr. Tódhuntr’z pṛfeśnl prîd n dyti t swolo. Bt, agn, biyñ at ɖ stej v practis, h vri slîtli grezd ɖ insîd v hiz ʈrot wɖ ɖ wepn. Hns h hz a wūnd insd him, ẃć I am śr (fṛm ɖ xpreśn on hiz fes) z nt a sirịs wn. H wz olso pracṭsñ ɖ tric v a rlis fṛm rops, lîc ɖ Davnport Bruɖrz, n h wz jst abt t fri himslf ẃn w ol brst intu ɖ rūm. Ɖ cardz, v cors, r fr card trics, n ɖe r scatrd on ɖ flor bcz h hd jst bn pracṭsñ wn v ɖoz dojz v sndñ ɖm flayñ ʈru ɖ er. H mirli cept hiz tred sīcrit, bcz h hd t cīp hiz trics sīcrit, lîc eni uɖr cunjrr. Bt ɖ mir fact v an îdlr in a top hat hvñ wns lct in at hiz bacwindo, n bn drivn awe bî him wɖ gret inḍgneśn, wz inuf t set s ol on a roñ trac v romans, n mc s imajin hiz hol lîf oṿśadoud bî ɖ silc-hatd spectr v Mr. Glas.”

“Bt ẃt abt ɖ tū vôsz?” asct Magi, stẹrñ.

“Hv y nvr hŕd a ventriḷqist?” asct Faɖr Brǎn. “D’nt y nǒ ɖe spīc frst in ɖer naćṛl vôs, n ɖen ansr ɖmslvz in jst ɖt śril, sqīci, uņaćṛl vôs ɖt y hŕd?”

Ɖr wz a loñ sîḷns, n Dr. Hŭd rgardd ɖ litl man hu hd spocn wɖ a darc n atntiv smîl. “Y r srtnli a vri injīńs prsn,” h sd; “it cd nt hv bn dn betr in a bc. Bt ɖr z jst wn part v Mr. Glas y hv nt s’xidd in xplenñ awe, n ɖt z hiz nem. Mis McNab dstñtli hŕd him so adrest bî Mr. Tódhuntr.”

Ɖ Rév. Mr. Brǎn brouc intu a rɖr ćîldiś gigl. “Wel, ɖt,” h sd, “ɖt’s ɖ siliist part v ɖ hol sili stori. Ẃn ǎr juġlñ frend hir ʈrù p ɖ ʈri glasz in trn, h cǎntd ɖm alǎd az h còt ɖm, n olso comntd alǎd ẃn h feld t cać ɖm. Ẃt h riyli sd wz: ‘Wn, tū n ʈri – míst a glas wn, tū – míst a glas.’ N so on.”

Ɖr wz a secnd v stilnis in ɖ rūm, n ɖen evrwn wɖ wn acord brst ǎt lafñ. Az ɖe dd so ɖ figr in ɖ cornr cmplesntli uncôld ol ɖ rops n let ɖm fōl wɖ a fluriś. Ɖen, advansñ intu ɖ midl v ɖ rūm wɖ a bǎ, h pṛdyst fṛm hiz pocit a big bil printd in blu n red, ẃć anǎnst ɖt Z’LADIN, ɖ Wrld’z Gretist Cunjrr, Cntorśnist, Ventriḷqist n Hymn Canġru wd b redi wɖ an intîrli ny siriz v Trics at ɖ Empîr Pviłn, Scarḅra, on Munde nxt at et o’cloc prisîsli.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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