In Ñspel: THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH, by Charles Dickens

ĆRPS

IIIIII

ĆRP Ɖ FRST

Ɖ  cetl bgan it! D’nt tel m ẃt Msz. Pīribngl sd. I nǒ betr. Msz. Pīribngl me līv it on record t ɖ end v tîm ɖt ś cd’nt se ẃć v ɖm bgan it; bt I se ɖ cetl dd. I òt t nǒ, I hop? Ɖ cetl bgan it, fl fîv minits bî ɖ litl waxi-fest Duć cloc in ɖ cornr, bfr ɖ Cricit utrd a ćrp.

Az f ɖ cloc hd’nt finiśt strîcñ, n ɖ cnvulsiv litl Hei-mcr at ɖ top v it, jrcñ awe rît n left wɖ a sîɖ in frunt v a Mūriś Palis, hd’nt moud dǎn haf an ecr v imajinri gras bfr ɖ Cricit jônd in at ol!

Ẃ, I am nt naćṛli poẓtiv. Evrwn nz ɖt I wd’nt set mî ǒn opińn agnst ɖ opińn v Msz. Pīribngl, unls I wr qt śr, on eni acǎnt ẃtvr. Nʈñ śd indys m. Bt, ɖs z a qsćn v fact. N ɖ fact z, ɖt ɖ cetl bgan it at līst fîv minits bfr ɖ Cricit gev eni sîn v biyñ in xistns. Contṛdict m, n I’l se ten.

Let m nret xacli hǎ it hapnd. I śd hv pṛsidd t d so, in mî vri frst wrd, bt fr ɖs plen cnsiḍreśn—f I am t tel a stori I mst bgin at ɖ bginñ; n hǎ z it poṣbl t bgin at ɖ bginñ wɖt bginñ at ɖ cetl?

It apird az f ɖr wr a sort v mać, or trîl v scil, y mst unḍstand, btwn ɖ cetl n ɖ Cricit. N ɖs z ẃt léd t it, n hǎ it cem abt.

Msz. Pīribngl, gwñ ǎt intu ɖ rw twîlît, n clicñ ovr ɖ wet stonz in a per v pátnz ɖt wrct ińmṛbl ruf impreśnz v ɖ frst propziśn in Yclid ol abt ɖ yard—Msz. Pīribngl fild ɖ cetl at ɖ wōtrbut. Prezntli rtrnñ, les ɖ pátnz (n a gd dīl les, fr ɖe wr tōl, n Msz. Pīribngl wz bt śort), ś set ɖ cetl on ɖ fîr. In dwñ ẃć ś lost hr tmpr, or msleid it fr an instnt; fr, ɖ wōtr biyñ uncumftbli cold, n in ɖt slipi, sluśi, slīti sort v stet ẃr-in it sīmz t peṇtret ʈru evri cnd v substns, pátnrñz includd—hd leid hold v Msz. Pīribngl’z toz, n īvn splaśt hr legz. N ẃn w rɖr plūm ǎrslvz (wɖ rīzn tù) upn ǎr legz, n cīp ǎrslvz ptiklrli nīt in pônt v stocñz, w fînd ɖs, fr ɖ momnt, hard t ber.

Bsdz, ɖ cetl wz agṛvetñ n obstiṇt. It wd’nt alǎ itslf t b ajustd on ɖ top bar; it wd’nt hír v acoṃdetñ itslf cîndli t ɖ nóbz v col; it wd līn fwd wɖ a druncn er, n dribl, a vri Idịt v a cetl, on ɖ harʈ. It wz qoṛlsm, n hist n splutrd mrosli at ɖ fîr. T sum p ol, ɖ lid, rzistñ Msz. Pīribngl’z fngrz, frst v ol trnd topsi-trvi, n ɖen, wɖ an injīńs prṭnaṣti dzrvñ v a betr cōz, dîvd sîdwez in—dǎn t ɖ vri botm v ɖ cetl. N ɖ hul v ɖ Royl Jorj hz nvr md haf ɖ monstṛs rzistns t cmñ ǎt v ɖ wōtr ẃć ɖ lid v ɖt cetl imploid agnst Msz. Pīribngl bfr ś got it p agn.

It lct suḷn n pig-hedd inuf, īvn ɖen; cariyñ its handl wɖ an er v dfayns, n cocñ its spǎt prtli n mocñli at Msz. Pīribngl, az f it sd, “I w’nt bôl. Nʈñ śl indys m!”

Bt, Msz. Pīribngl, wɖ rstord gd-hymr, dustd hr ćubi litl handz agnst ć uɖr, n sat dǎn bfr ɖ cetl lafñ. Mntm, ɖ joli blêz uprouz n fél, flaśñ n glīmñ on ɖ litl Hei-mcr at ɖ top v ɖ Duć cloc, untl wn mt hv ʈt h std stoc-stil bfr ɖ Mūriś Palis, n nʈñ wz in mośn bt ɖ flem.

H wz on ɖ muv, hvr; n hd hiz spazmz, tū t ɖ secnd, ol rît n reğlr. Bt hiz suf̣rñz ẃn ɖ cloc wz gwñ t strîc wr frîtfl t bhold; n ẃn a Ccu lct ǎt v a trapdor in ɖ Palis, n gev not six tîmz, it śc him, ć tîm, lîc a spectṛl vôs—or lîc a smʈñ wîri plucñ at hiz legz.

It wz nt untl a vayḷnt cmośn n a ẃŕñ nôz amñ ɖ weits n rops b’lo him hd qt sbsîdd ɖt ɖs teṛfaid Hei-mcr bcem himslf agn. Nr wz h startld wɖt rīzn; fr ɖz raṭlñ, boni scelitnz v clocs r vri discnsrtñ in ɖer oṗreśn, n I wundr vri mć hǎ eni set v men, bt most v ol hǎ Dućṃn, cn hv hd a lîcñ t invnt ɖm. Ɖr z a popylr b’lif ɖt Dućṃn luv brōd cesz n mć cloɖñ fr ɖer ǒn lowr slvz; n ɖe mt nǒ betr ɖn t līv ɖer clocs so vri lanc n unpṛtctd, śrli.

Nǎ it wz, y obzrv, ɖt ɖ cetl bgan t spend ɖ īvnñ. Nǎ it wz ɖt ɖ cetl, growñ melo n ḿzicl, bgan t hv iripresbl grġlñz in its ʈrot, n t indulj in śort vocl snorts, ẃć it ćect in ɖ bud, az f it hd’nt qt md p its mînd yt t b gd cumṗni. Nǎ it wz ɖt aftr tū or ʈri sć ven atmts t stîfl its cnvivịl sntimnts, it ʈrù of ol mrosnis, ol rzrv, n brst intu a strīm v soñ so cozi n hlerịs az nvr mōdlin nîtngel yt formd ɖ līst îdīa v.

So plen, tù! Bles y, y mt hv unḍstd it lîc a bc—betr ɖn sm bcs y n I cd nem, phps. Wɖ its worm breʈ guśñ fʈ in a lît clǎd ẃć meṛli n gresf̣li asndd a fy fīt, ɖen huñ abt ɖ ćimnicornr az its ǒn dmestic Hevn, it trold its soñ wɖ ɖt stroñ eṇji v ćirflnis, ɖt its ayn bodi humd n strd upn ɖ fîr; n ɖ lid itslf, ɖ rīsntli rbełs lid—sć z ɖ inflụns v a brît xampl—pformd a sort v jig, n clatrd lîc a def n dum yuñ símbl ɖt hd nvr noun ɖ ys v its twin bruɖr.

Ɖt ɖs soñ v ɖ cetl’z wz a soñ v invteśn n welcm t smbdi ǎt v dorz: t smbdi at ɖt momnt cmñ on twdz ɖ snug smōl hom n ɖ crisp fîr: ɖr z no dǎt ẃtvr. Msz. Pīribngl ń it prf̣cli, az ś sat ḿzñ bfr ɖ harʈ. It’s a darc nît, sañ ɖ cetl, n ɖ rotn līvz r layñ bî ɖ we; n, abv, ol z mist n darcnis, n, b’lo, ol z mîr n cle; n ɖr’z onli wn rlif in ol ɖ sad n mrci er; n I d’nt nǒ ɖt it z wn, fr it’s nʈñ bt a gler; v dīp n angri crimzn, ẃr ɖ sún n wind tgɖr; set a brand upn ɖ clǎdz fr biyñ gilti v sć weɖr; n ɖ wîdist opn cuntri z a loñ dul strīc v blac; n ɖr’z hōrfrost on ɖ fngrpost, n ʈw upn ɖ trac; n ɖ îs it z’nt wōtr, n ɖ wōtr z’nt fri; n y cd’nt se ɖt enʈñ z ẃt it òt t b; bt h’z cmñ, cmñ, cmñ!—

N hir, f y lîc, ɖ Cricit DD ćîm in! wɖ a Ćiṛp, Ćiṛp, Ćiṛp v sć magṇtyd, bî we v cōṛs; wɖ a vôs so astǎndñli dispṛporśṇt t its sîz, az cmperd wɖ ɖ cetl; (sîz! y cd’nt si it!) ɖt, f it hd ɖen n ɖr brst itslf lîc an oṿćarjd gun, f it hd fōḷn a victim on ɖ spot, n ćiṛpt its litl bodi intu fifti pìsz, it wd hv sīmd a naćṛl n inevitbl consiqns, fr ẃć it hd xpresli lebrd.

Ɖ cetl hd hd ɖ last v its solo pformns. It prṣvird wɖ undiminiśt ardr; bt ɖ Cricit tc frst fidl, n cept it. Gd Hevn, hǎ it ćrpt! Its śril, śarp, pirsñ vôs rzǎndd ʈru ɖ hǎs, n sīmd t twncl in ɖ ǎtr darcnis lîc a star. Ɖr wz an indiscrîbbl litl tril n trembl in it at its lǎdist, ẃć sjstd its biyñ carid of its legz, n md t līp agn, bî its ǒn intns inʈyziazm. Yt ɖe wnt vri wel tgɖr, ɖ Cricit n ɖ cetl. Ɖ brdn v ɖ soñ wz stl ɖ sem; n lǎdr, lǎdr, lǎdr stl, ɖe sañ it in ɖer eḿleśn.

Ɖ fer litl lisnr—fr fer ś wz, n yuñ; ɖo smʈñ v ẃt z cōld ɖ dumplñ śep; bt I d’nt mslf objct t ɖt—lîtd a candl, glanst at ɖ Hei-mcr on ɖ top v ɖ cloc, hu wz gtñ in a priti aṿrij crop v minits; n lct ǎt v ɖ windo, ẃr ś sw nʈñ, owñ t ɖ darcnis, bt hr ǒn fes imijd in ɖ glas. N mî opińn z (n so wd yrz hv bn) ɖt ś mt hv lct a loñ we n sìn nʈñ haf so agriybl. Ẃn ś cem bac, n sat dǎn in hr formr sīt, ɖ Cricit n ɖ cetl wr stl cīpñ it p, wɖ a prfict fyri v comṗtiśn. Ɖ cetl’z wìc sîd clirli biyñ ɖt h dd’nt nǒ ẃn h wz bìt.

Ɖr wz ol ɖ xîtmnt v a rês abt it. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit a mîl ahd. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl mcñ ple in ɖ distns, lîc a gret top. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit rnd ɖ cornr. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl sticñ t him in hiz ǒn we; no îdīa v gvñ in. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit freśr ɖn evr. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl slo n stedi. Ćrp, ćrp, ćrp! Cricit gwñ in t finiś him. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! Cetl nt t b finiśt. Untl at last ɖe got so jumbld tgɖr, in ɖ huri-scuri, heltr-sceltr, v ɖ mać, ɖt ẃɖr ɖ cetl ćrpt n ɖ Cricit humd, or ɖ Cricit ćrpt n ɖ cetl humd, or ɖe bʈ ćrpt n bʈ humd, it wd hv tecn a clirr hed ɖn yrz or mîn t hv dsîdd wɖ enʈñ lîc srtnti. Bt v ɖs ɖr z no dǎt: ɖt, ɖ cetl n ɖ Cricit, at wn n ɖ sem momnt, n bî sm pǎr v amalġmeśn bst noun t ɖmslvz, snt, ć, hiz fîrsîd soñ v cumf̣t strīmñ intu a re v ɖ candl ɖt śon ǎt ʈru ɖ windo, n a loñ we dǎn ɖ len. N ɖs lît, brstñ on a srtn prsn hu, on ɖ instnt, aproćt twdz it ʈru ɖ glūm, xprest ɖ hol ʈñ t him, litṛli in a twnc̣lñ, n craid, “Welcm hom, old felo! Welcm hom, mî bô!”

Ɖs end atend, ɖ cetl, biyñ ded bìt, bôld ovr, n wz tecn of ɖ fîr. Msz. Pīribngl ɖen wnt runñ t ɖ dor, ẃr, ẃt wɖ ɖ ẃīlz v a cart, ɖ tramp v a hors, ɖ vôs v a man, ɖ tẹrñ in n ǎt v an xîtd dog, n ɖ s’prîzñ n mstirịs apiṛns v a bebi, ɖr wz sn ɖ vri Ẃt’s-hiz-nem t ple.

Ẃr ɖ bebi cem fṛm, or hǎ Msz. Pīribngl got hold v it in ɖt flaś v tîm, I d’nt nǒ. Bt a lîv bebi ɖr wz in Msz. Pīribngl’z armz; n a priti tolṛbl amǎnt v prîd ś sīmd t hv in it, ẃn ś wz drwn jntli t ɖ fîr, bî a strdi figr v a man, mć tōlr n mć oldr ɖn hrslf, hu hd t stūp a loñ we dǎn t cis hr. Bt ś wz wrʈ ɖ trubl. Six ft six, wɖ ɖ l’mbego, mt hv dn it.

“Ǒ gdnis, Jon!” sd Msz. P. “Ẃt a stet y’r in wɖ ɖ weɖr!”

H wz smʈñ ɖ wrs fr it undinaybli. Ɖ ʈic mist huñ in clots upn hiz îlaśz lîc candìd ʈw; n, btwn ɖ fog n fîr tgɖr, ɖr wr renboz in hiz vri ẃiscrz.

“Ẃ, y si, Dot,” Jon md ansr slǒli, az h unrold a śōl fṛm abt hiz ʈrot, n wormd hiz handz; “it—it an’t xacli sumrweɖr. So no wundr.”

“I wś y wd’nt cōl m Dot, Jon. I d’nt lîc it,” sd Msz. Pīribngl: pǎtñ in a we ɖt clirli śoud ś dd lîc it vri mć.

“Ẃ, ẃt els r y?” rtrnd Jon, lcñ dǎn upn hr wɖ a smîl, n gvñ hr weist az lît a sqīz az hiz hyj hand n arm cd gv. “A dot n”—hir h glanst at ɖ bebi—“a dot n cari—I w’nt se it, fr fir I śd spôl it; bt I wz vri nir a joc. I d’nt nǒ az evr I wz nirr.”

“A dot n cari—I w’nt se it, fr fir I śd spôl it; bt I wz vri nir a joc.”

H wz ofn nir t smʈñ or uɖr vri clevr, bî hiz ǒn acǎnt: ɖs lumḅrñ, slo, onist Jon; ɖs Jon so hevi, bt so lît v spirit; so ruf upn ɖ srfis, bt so jntl at ɖ cor; so dul wɖt, so qc wɖn; so stolid, bt so gd! Ǒ, Muɖr Nećr, gv ɖî ćildṛn ɖ tru powtri v hart ɖt hid itslf in ɖs pur Carịr’z brest—h wz bt a Carịr, bî ɖ we—n w cn ber t hv ɖm tōcñ prǒz, n līdñ livz v prǒz; n ber t bles ɖi fr ɖer cumṗni!

It wz pleznt t si Dot, wɖ hr litl figr n hr bebi in hr armz: a vri dol v a bebi: glansñ wɖ a ccétiś ʈtflnis at ɖ fîr, n inclînñ hr delic̣t litl hed jst inuf on wn sîd t let it rest in an od, haf-naćṛl, haf-afctd, hoļi neṣlñ n agriybl manr, on ɖ gret rugid figr v ɖ Carịr. It wz pleznt t si him, wɖ hiz tndr ōcẉdnis, indeṿrñ t adapt hiz rūd s’port t hr slît nīd, n mc hiz brli midl ej a līnñ-staf nt in’proprịt t hr blūmñ yʈ. It wz pleznt t obzrv hǎ Tili Slǒbô, wêtñ in ɖ bacgrǎnd fr ɖ bebi, tc speśl cogṇzns (ɖo in hr rliist tīnz) v ɖs grūpñ; n std wɖ hr mǎʈ n îz wîd opn, n hr hed ʈrust fwd, tecñ it in az f it wr er. Nr wz it les agriybl t obzrv hǎ Jon ɖ Carịr, refṛns biyñ md bî Dot t ɖ afōr-sd bebi, ćect hiz hand ẃn on ɖ pônt v tućñ ɖ inf̣nt, az f h ʈt h mt crac it; n, bndñ dǎn, sveid it fṛm a sef distns, wɖ a cnd v puzld prîd, sć az an emịbl mastif mt b s’pozd t śo f h faund himslf, wn de, ɖ faɖr v a yuñ cnẹri.

Tili Slǒbô

“An’t h bytifl, Jon? D’nt h lc preśs in hiz slīp?”

“Vri preśs,” sd Jon. “Vri mć so. H jenṛli z aslip, an’t h?”

“Lor, Jon! Gd greśs, no!”

“Ǒ!” sd Jon, ponḍrñ. “I ʈt hiz îz wz jenṛli śut. Hloa!”

“Gdnis, Jon, hǎ y startl wn!”

“It an’t rît fr him t trn ’m p in ɖt we,” sd ɖ astoniśt Carịr, “z it? Si hǎ h’z wncñ wɖ bʈ v ’m at wns! n lc at hiz mǎʈ! Ẃ, h’z gaspñ lîc a gold n silvr fiś!”

“Y d’nt dzrv t b a faɖr, y d’nt,” sd Dot, wɖ ol ɖ digṇti v an xpirịnst metṛn. “Bt hǎ śd y nǒ ẃt litl cmplents ćildṛn r trubld wɖ, Jon? Y wd’nt so mć az nǒ ɖer nemz, y stypid felo.” N ẃn ś hd trnd ɖ bebi ovr on hr left arm, n hd slapt its bac az a rstoṛtiv, ś pinćt hr huzbnd’z ir, lafñ.

“No,” sd Jon, pŭlñ of hiz ǎtr cot. “It’s vri tru, Dot. I d’nt nǒ mć abt it. I onli nǒ ɖt I’v bn fîtñ priti stifli wɖ ɖ wind tnît. It’s bn blowñ norʈ-īst, stret intu ɖ cart, ɖ hol we hom.”

“Pur old man, so it hz!” craid Msz. Pīribngl, instntli bcmñ vri activ. “Hir, tec ɖ preśs darlñ, Tili, ẃl I mc mslf v sm ys. Bles it, I cd smuɖr it wɖ cisñ it, I cd! Hái ɖen, gd dog! Hái, Boxr, bô! Onli let m mc ɖ ti frst, Jon; n ɖen I’l hlp y wɖ ɖ parslz, lîc a bizi bì. ‘Hǎ duʈ ɖ litl’—n ol ɖ rest v it, y nǒ, Jon. Dd y evr lrn ‘Hǎ duʈ ɖ litl,’ ẃn y wnt t scūl, Jon?”

“Nt t qt nǒ it,” Jon rtrnd. “I wz vri nir it wns. Bt I śd onli hv spôlt it, I der se.”

“Ha, ha!” laft Dot. Ś hd ɖ blîɖist litl laf y evr hŕd. “Ẃt a dir old darlñ v a duns y r, Jon, t b śr!”

Nt at ol dspytñ ɖs pziśn, Jon wnt ǎt t si ɖt ɖ bô wɖ ɖ lantn, ẃć hd bn dansñ t n fro bfr ɖ dor n windo, lîc a Wil v ɖ Wisp, tc dy cer v ɖ hors; hu wz fatr ɖn y wd qt b’liv, f I gev y hiz meźr, n so old ɖt hiz brʈde wz lost in ɖ mists v antiqti. Boxr, fīlñ ɖt hiz atnśnz wr dy t ɖ faṃli in jenṛl, n mst b imparṣ́li dstribytd, daśt in n ǎt wɖ bwilḍrñ inconstnsi; nǎ dscrîbñ a srcl v śort barcs rnd ɖ hors, ẃr h wz biyñ rubd dǎn at ɖ stebldor; nǎ fênñ t mc savij ruśz at hiz mistris, n fsīśsli brññ himslf t sudn stops; nǎ iliṣtñ a śrīc fṛm Tili Slǒbô, in ɖ lo nrsñćer nir ɖ fîr, bî ɖ unixpctd apḷceśn v hiz môst nǒz t hr cǎntinns; nǎ xibtñ an obtrūsiv inṭrest in ɖ bebi; nǎ gwñ rnd n rnd upn ɖ harʈ, n layñ dǎn az f h hd istabliśt himslf fr ɖ nît; nǎ gtñ p agn, n tecñ ɖt nʈñ v a fag-end v a teil v hiz ǎt intu ɖ weɖr, az f h hd jst rmembrd an apôntmnt, n wz of at a rǎnd trot, t cīp it.

Boxr, fīlñ ɖt hiz atnśnz wr dy t ɖ faṃli in jenṛl, n mst b imparṣ́li dstribytd, daśt in n ǎt wɖ bwilḍrñ inconstnsi.

“Ɖr! Ɖr’z ɖ tīpot, redi on ɖ hob!” sd Dot; az briscli bizi az a ćîld at ple at cīpñ hǎs. “N ɖr’z ɖ cold nucl v ham; n ɖr’z ɖ butr; n ɖr’z ɖ crusti lof, n ol! Hir’z a cloɖz bascit fr ɖ smōl parslz, Jon, f y’v got eni ɖr. Ẃr r y, Jon? D’nt let ɖ dir ćîld fōl undr ɖ greit, Tili, ẃtvr y d!”

It me b notd v Mis Slǒbô, in spît v hr rjctñ ɖ cōśn wɖ sm vivaṣti, ɖt ś hd a rer n s’prîzñ taḷnt fr gtñ ɖs bebi intu dificltiz: n hd sevṛl tîmz impeṛld its śort lîf in a qayt we pkłrli hr ǒn. Ś wz v a sper n stret śep, ɖs yuñ ledi, insmć ɖt hr garmnts apird t b in constnt denjr v slîdñ of ɖoz śarp pegz, hr śoldrz, on ẃć ɖe wr lūsli huñ. Hr costym wz rmarcbl fr ɖ parśl dveḷpmnt, on ol poṣbl oceźnz, v sm flanl vstmnt v a snğlr strucćr; olso fr afordñ glimsz, in ɖ rījn v ɖ bac, v a corsit, or a per v stez, in culr a ded grīn. Biyñ olwz in a stet v gepñ adṃreśn at evrʈñ, n abzorbd, bsdz, in ɖ ppćl contmpleśn v hr mistris’z pfx́nz n ɖ bebi’z, Mis Slǒbô, in hr litl errz v jujmnt, me b sd t hv dn īql onr t hr hed n t hr hart; n ɖo ɖz dd les onr t ɖ bebi’z hed, ẃć ɖe wr ɖ oceźnl mīnz v brññ intu contact wɖ dīl dorz, dresrz, steŗelz, bedposts, n uɖr foṛn substnsz, stl ɖe wr ɖ onist rzults v Tili Slǒbô’z constnt astoniśmnt at fîndñ hrslf so cîndli trītd, n instōld in sć a cumftbl hom. Fr ɖ mtrnl n ptrnl Slǒbô wr alîc uņoun t Fem, n Tili hd bn bréd bî public ćaṛti, a fǎndlñ; ẃć wrd, ɖo onli dif̣rñ fṛm fonḍlñ bî wn vǎl’z leñʈ, z vri difṛnt in mīnñ, n xpresz qt anɖr ʈñ.

T hv sìn litl Msz. Pīribngl cm bac wɖ hr huzbnd, tugñ at ɖ cloɖz bascit, n mcñ ɖ most strenẏs xrśnz t d nʈñ at ol (fr h carid it), wd hv aḿzd y olmst az mć az it aḿzd him. It me hv enttend ɖ Cricit, tù, fr enʈñ I nǒ; bt, srtnli, it nǎ bgan t ćrp agn viyṃntli.

“Hêde!” sd Jon in hiz slo we. “It’s merịr ɖn evr tnît, I ʈnc.”

“N it’s śr t brñ s gd fortyn, Jon! It olwz hz dn so. T hv a Cricit on ɖ Harʈ z ɖ luciist ʈñ in ol ɖ wrld!”

Jon lct at hr az f h hd vri nirli got ɖ ʈt intu hiz hed ɖt ś wz hiz Cricit in ćīf, n h qt agrìd wɖ hr. Bt it wz probbli wn v hiz naro isceps, fr h sd nʈñ.

“Ɖ frst tîm I hŕd its ćirfl litl not, Jon, wz on ɖt nît ẃn y bròt m hom—ẃn y bròt m t mî ny hom hir; its litl mistris. Nirli a yir ago. Y rec̣lect, Jon?”

“Ǒ, yes!” Jon rmembrd. “I śd ʈnc so!”

“Its ćrp wz sć a welcm t m! It sīmd so fl v promis n incurijmnt. It sīmd t se, y wd b cînd n jntl wɖ m, n wd nt xpct (I hd a fir v ɖt, Jon, ɖen) t fînd an old hed on ɖ śoldrz v yr fūliś litl wîf.”

Jon ʈtf̣li patd wn v ɖ śoldrz, n ɖen ɖ hed, az ɖo h wd hv sd No, no; h hd hd no sć xpcteśn; h hd bn qt cntnt t tec ɖm az ɖe wr. N riyli h hd rīzn. Ɖe wr vri comli.

“It spouc ɖ truʈ, Jon, ẃn it sīmd t se so: fr y hv evr bn, I am śr, ɖ bst, ɖ most cnsidṛt, ɖ most afx́ṇt v huzbndz t m. Ɖs hz bn a hapi hom, Jon; n I luv ɖ Cricit fr its sec!”

“Ẃ, so d I, ɖen,” sd ɖ Carịr. “So d I, Dot.”

“I luv it fr ɖ mni tîmz I hv hŕd it, n ɖ mni ʈts its harmlis ḿzic hz gvn m. Smtmz, in ɖ twîlît, ẃn I hv flt a litl solitri n dǎn-hartd, Jon—bfr bebi wz hir, t cīp m cumṗni n mc ɖ hǎs ge—ẃn I hv ʈt hǎ lonli y wd b f I śd dî; hǎ lonli I śd b, f I cd nǒ ɖt y hd lost m, dir; its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp upn ɖ harʈ hz sīmd t tel m v anɖr litl vôs, so swīt, so vri dir t m, bfr huz cmñ sǎnd mî trubl vaniśt lîc a drīm. N ẃn I yst t fir—I dd fir wns, Jon; I wz vri yuñ, y nǒ—ɖt ǎrz mt pruv t b an il-asortd marij, I biyñ sć a ćîld, n y mor lîc mî gardịn ɖn mî huzbnd; n ɖt y mt nt, hvr hard y traid, b ebl t lrn t luv m, az y hopt n preid y mt; its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp hz ćird m p agn, n fild m wɖ ny trust n confidns. I wz ʈncñ v ɖz ʈñz tnît, dir, ẃn I sat xpctñ y; n I luv ɖ Cricit fr ɖer sec!”

“N so d I,” rpitd Jon. “Bt, Dot! I hop n pre ɖt I mt lrn t luv y? Hǎ y tōc! I hd lrnt ɖt loñ bfr I bròt y hir, t b ɖ Cricit’s litl mistris, Dot!”

Ś leid hr hand, an instnt, on hiz arm, n lct p at him wɖ an ajtetd fes, az f ś wd hv tld him smʈñ. Nxt momnt, ś wz dǎn upn hr niz bfr ɖ bascit; spīcñ in a sprîtli vôs, n bizi wɖ ɖ parslz.

“Ɖr r nt mni v ɖm tnît, Jon, bt I sw sm gdz bhnd ɖ cart jst nǎ; n ɖo ɖe gv mor trubl, phps, stl ɖe pe az wel; so w hv no rīzn t grumbl, hv w? Bsdz, y hv bn dliṿrñ, I der se, az y cem alñ?”

“Ǒ, yes!” Jon sd. “A gd mni.”

“Ẃ, ẃt’s ɖs rǎnd box? Hart alîv, Jon, it’s a wedñcec!”

“Līv a wmn alon t fînd ǎt ɖt,” sd Jon admîrñli. “Nǎ, a man wd nvr hv ʈt v it! Ẃr-az, it’s mî b’lif ɖt f y wz t pac a wedñcec p in a ti-ćst, or a trn-up bedsted, or a picld-samn ceg, or eni unlîcli ʈñ, a wmn wd b śr t fînd it ǎt d’recli. Yes; I cōld fr it at ɖ pestri-cc’s.”

“N it weiz I d’nt nǒ ẃt—hol hundṛdweits!” craid Dot, mcñ a gret demnstreśn v trayñ t lift it. “Huz z it, Jon? Ẃr z it gwñ?”

“Rīd ɖ raitñ on ɖ uɖr sîd,” sd Jon.

“Ẃ, Jon! Mî Gdnis, Jon!”

“Ā! hu’d hv ʈt it?” Jon rtrnd.

“Y nvr mīn t se,” psyd Dot, sitñ on ɖ flor n śecñ hr hed at him, “ɖt it’s Gruf n Tacltn ɖ tô-mcr!”

Jon nodd.

Msz. Pīribngl nodd olso, fifti tîmz at līst. Nt in asnt—in dum n pitiyñ amezmnt; scruwñ p hr lips, ɖ ẃl, wɖ ol ɖer litl fors (ɖe wr nvr md fr scruwñ p; I am clir v ɖt), n lcñ ɖ gd Carịr ʈru n ʈru, in hr abstrax́n. Mis Slǒbô, in ɖ mntm, hu hd a mcanicl pǎr v rīpṛdysñ scraps v cuṛnt convseśn fr ɖ dilecteśn v ɖ bebi, wɖ ol ɖ sns struc ǎt v ɖm, n ol ɖ nǎnz ćenjd intu ɖ plŭṛl numbr, inqîrd alǎd v ɖt yuñ crīćr, Wz it Grufs n Tacltnz ɖ tô-mcrz ɖen, n Wd it cōl at Pestri-ccs fr wedñcecs, n Dd its muɖrz nǒ ɖ boxz ẃn its faɖrz bròt ɖm hom; n so on.

“N ɖt z riyli t cm abt!” sd Dot. “Ẃ, ś n I wr grlz at scūl tgɖr, Jon.”

H mt hv bn ʈncñ v hr, or nirli ʈncñ v hr, phps, az ś wz in ɖt sem scūltîm. H lct upn hr wɖ a ʈtfl pleźr, bt h md no ansr.

“N h’z az old! Az unlîc hr!—Ẃ, hǎ mni yirz oldr ɖn y z Gruf n Tacltn, Jon?”

“Hǎ mni mor cups v ti śl I drinc tnît, at wn sitñ, ɖn Gruf n Tacltn evr tc in for, I wundr?” rplaid Jon gd-hymrdly, az h drù a ćer t ɖ rǎnd tebl, n bgan at ɖ cold ham. “Az t ītñ, I īt bt litl; bt ɖt litl I injô, Dot.”

Īvn ɖs, hiz yźl sntimnt at mīl-tîmz, wn v hiz iṇsnt dluźnz (fr hiz aṗtît wz olwz obstiṇt, n flatli contṛdictd him), awouc no smîl in ɖ fes v hiz litl wîf, hu std amñ ɖ parslz, pśñ ɖ cecbox slǒli fṛm hr wɖ hr ft, n nvr wns lct, ɖo hr îz wr cast dǎn tù, upn ɖ denti śu ś jenṛli wz so mîndfl v. Abzorbd in ʈt, ś std ɖr, hīdlis alîc v ɖ ti n Jon (olɖo h cōld t hr n rapt ɖ tebl wɖ hiz nîf t startl hr), untl h rouz n tućt hr on ɖ arm; ẃn ś lct at him fr a momnt, n hurid t hr ples bhnd ɖ tībōrd, lafñ at hr neglijns. Bt nt az ś hd laft bfr. Ɖ manr n ɖ ḿzic wr qt ćenjd.

Ɖ Cricit, tù, hd stopt. Smhǎ, ɖ rūm wz nt so ćirfl az it hd bn. Nʈñ lîc it.

“So, ɖz r ol ɖ parslz, r ɖe, Jon?” ś sd, brecñ a loñ sîḷns, ẃć ɖ onist Carịr hd dvotd t ɖ practicl iḷstreśn v wn part v hiz feṿrit sntimnt—srtnli injoyñ ẃt h ét, f it cd’nt b admitd ɖt h ét bt litl. “So ɖz r ol ɖ parslz, r ɖe, Jon?”

“Ɖt’s ol,” sd Jon. “Ẃ—no—I”—leyñ dǎn hiz nîf n forc, n tecñ a loñ breʈ—“I dcler—I’v clīn fgotn ɖ old jntlmn!”

“Ɖ old jntlmn?”

“In ɖ cart,” sd Jon. “H wz aslip amñ ɖ strw, ɖ last tîm I sw him. I’v vri nirli rmembrd him, twîs, sins I cem in; bt h wnt ǎt v mî hed agn. Hloa! Y’hip ɖr! Rǎz p! Ɖt’s mî harti!”

Jon sd ɖz latr wrdz ǎtsd ɖ dor, ẃiɖr h hd hurid wɖ ɖ candl in hiz hand.

Mis Slǒbô, conśs v sm mstirịs refṛns t Ɖ Old Jntlmn, n cnctñ, in hr misṭfaid imaɉneśn, srtn asośieśnz v a rlijs nećr wɖ ɖ frêz, wz so dstrbd, ɖt hesṭli rîzñ fṛm ɖ lo ćer bî ɖ fîr t sīc pṛtx́n nir ɖ scrt v hr mistris, n cmñ intu contact, az ś crost ɖ dorwe, wɖ an enćnt Strenjr, ś instñtivli md a ćarj or but at him wɖ ɖ onli ofnsiv instṛmnt wɖn hr rīć. Ɖs instṛmnt haṗnñ t b ɖ bebi, gret cmośn n alarm insyd, ẃć ɖ sgaṣti v Boxr rɖr tndd t incris; fr ɖt gd dog, mor ʈtfl ɖn hiz mastr, hd, it sīmd, bn woćñ ɖ old jntlmn in hiz slīp, lest h śd wōc of wɖ a fy yuñ popḷrtriz ɖt wr taid p bhnd ɖ cart; n h stl atndd on him vri closli, wuriyñ hiz geitrz, in fact, n mcñ ded sets at ɖ butnz.

“Y’r sć an undinaybli gd slīpr, sr,” sd Jon, ẃn tranqiḷti wz rstord (in ɖ mntm ɖ old jntlmn hd std, bér-hedd n mośnlis, in ɖ sntr v ɖ rūm), “ɖt I hv haf a mînd t asc y ẃr ɖ uɖr six r—onli ɖt wd b a joc, n I nǒ I śd spôl it. Vri nir, ɖo,” mrmrd ɖ Carịr wɖ a ćucl; “vri nir!”

Ɖ Strenjr, hu hd loñ ẃît her, gd fīćrz, snğlrli bold n wel dfînd fr an old man, n darc, brît, peṇtretñ îz, lct rnd wɖ a smîl, n s’lūtd ɖ Carịr’z wîf bî grevli inclînñ hiz hed.

Hiz garb wz vri qent n od—a loñ, loñ we bhnd ɖ tîm. Its hy wz brǎn, ol ovr. In hiz hand h hld a gret brǎn club or wōcñstic; n, strîcñ ɖs upn ɖ flor, it fél asundr, n bcem a ćer. On ẃć h sat dǎn qt cmpozidli.

“Ɖr!” sd ɖ Carịr, trnñ t hiz wîf. “Ɖt’s ɖ we I faund him, sitñ bî ɖ rodsîd! Uprît az a mîlston. N olmst az def.”

“Ɖt’s ɖ we I faund him, sitñ bî ɖ rodsîd! Uprît az a mîlston. N olmst az def.”

“Sitñ in ɖ opn er, Jon?”

“In ɖ opn er,” rplaid ɖ Carịr, “jst at dusc. ‘Carij Peid,’ h sd; n gev m etīn-pns. Ɖen h got in. N ɖr h z.”

“H’z gwñ, Jon, I ʈnc!”

Nt at ol. H wz onli gwñ t spīc.

“F y plīz, I wz t b left tl cōld fr,” sd ɖ Strenjr mîldli. “D’nt mînd m.”

Wɖ ɖt h tc a per v specṭclz fṛm wn v hiz larj pocits, n a bc fṛm anɖr, n leźrli bgan t rīd. Mcñ no mor v Boxr ɖn f h hd bn a hǎslam!

Ɖ Carịr n hiz wîf xćenjd a lc v pplex̣ti. Ɖ Strenjr rezd hiz hed; n, glansñ fṛm ɖ latr t ɖ formr, sd:

“Yr dōtr, mî gd frend?”

“Wîf,” rtrnd Jon.

“Nīs?” sd ɖ Strenjr.

“Wîf!” rord Jon.

“Indd?” obzrvd ɖ Strenjr. “Śrli? Vri yuñ!”

H qaytli trnd ovr, n rzymd hiz rīdñ. Bt, bfr h cd hv réd tū lînz, h agn inṭruptd himslf t se:

“Bebi yrz?”

Jon gev him a jîgantic nod: iqivḷnt t an ansr in ɖ afrṃtiv, dlivrd ʈru a spīcñ trumpit.

“Grl?”

“Bô-ô-ô!” rord Jon.

“Olso vri yuñ, ê?”

Msz. Pīribngl instntli struc in. “Tū munʈs n ʈri dê-êz. Vax̣netd jst six wīcs ago-o! Tc vri fîn-li! Cnsidrd, bî ɖ doctr, a rmarcbli bytifl ćî-îld! Īql t ɖ jenṛl run v ćildṛn at fîv munʈs o-ld! Tecs notis in a we qt wundr-fl! Me sīm imposbl t y, bt fīlz hiz legz ol-redi!”

Hir, ɖ breʈlis litl muɖr, hu hd bn śrīcñ ɖz śort sntnsz intu ɖ old man’z ir, untl hr priti fes wz crimznd, hld p ɖ Bebi bfr him az a stubn n trîumfnt fact; ẃl Tili Slǒbô, wɖ a mlodịs crî v “Cećr, Cećr”—ẃć sǎndd lîc sm uņoun wrdz, adaptd t a popylr Snīz—pformd sm cǎ-lîc gámblz arnd ɖt ol unconśs Iṇsnt.

“Harc! H’z cōld fr, śr inuf,” sd Jon. “Ɖr’z smbdi at ɖ dor. Opn it, Tili.”

Bfr ś cd rīć it, hvr, it wz opnd fṛm wɖt; biyñ a priṃtiv sort v dor, wɖ a lać ɖt enwn cd lift f h ćouz—n a gd mni ppl dd ćūz, fr ol cndz v nebrz lîct t hv a ćirfl wrd or tū wɖ ɖ Carịr, ɖo h wz no gret tōcr himslf. Biyñ opnd, it gev admiśn t a litl, mīgr, ʈtfl, dinji-fest man, hu sīmd t hv md himslf a gretcot fṛm ɖ sac̦loʈ cuṿrñ v sm old box; fr, ẃn h trnd t śut ɖ dor n cīp ɖ weɖr ǎt, h dsclozd upn ɖ bac v ɖt garmnt ɖ inscripśn G & T in larj blac capitlz. Olso ɖ wrd GLAS in bold caṛctrz.

“Gd īvnñ, Jon!” sd ɖ litl man. “Gd īvnñ, mum! Gd īvnñ, Tili! Gd īvnñ, Unḅnoun! Hǎ’z Bebi, mum? Boxr’z priti wel I hop?”

“Ol ʈrîvñ, Cêleb,” rplaid Dot. “I am śr y nīd onli lc at ɖ dir ćîld, fr wn, t nǒ ɖt.”

“N I’m śr I nīd onli lc at y fr anɖr,” sd Cêleb.

H dd’nt lc at hr, ɖo; h hd a wonḍrñ n ʈtfl î, ẃć sīmd t b olwz pṛjctñ itslf intu sm uɖr tîm n ples, no matr ẃt h sd; a dscripśn ẃć wl īqli aplî t hiz vôs.

“Or at Jon fr anɖr,” sd Cêleb. “Or at Tili, az far az ɖt gz. Or srtnli at Boxr.”

“Bizi jst nǎ, Cêleb?” asct ɖ Carịr.

“Ẃ, priti wel, Jon,” h rtrnd, wɖ ɖ dstrōt er v a man hu wz castñ abt fr ɖ F’loṣfr’z ston, at līst. “Priti mć so. Ɖr’z rɖr a run on Noa’z Arcs at preznt. I cd hv wśt t impruv on ɖ Faṃli, bt I d’nt si hǎ it’s t b dn at ɖ prîs. It wd b a saṭsfax́n t wn’z mînd t mc it clirr ẃć wz Śemz n Hamz, n ẃć wz Wîvz. Flîz a’nt on ɖt scel, nɖr, az cmperd wɖ elifnts, y nǒ! Ā, wel! Hv y got enʈñ in ɖ parsļîn fr m, Jon?”

Ɖ Carịr pt hiz hand intu a pocit v ɖ cot h hd tecn of; n bròt ǎt, cerf̣li prizrvd in mos n pepr, a tîni flǎr-pot.

“Ɖr it z!” h sd, ajustñ it wɖ gret cer. “Nt so mć az a līf damijd. Fl v budz!”

Cêleb’z dul î brîtnd az h tc it, n ʈanct him.

“Dir, Cêleb,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Vri dir at ɖs sīzn.”

“Nvr mînd ɖt. It wd b ćīp t m, ẃtvr it cost,” rtrnd ɖ litl man. “Enʈñ els, Jon?”

“A smōl box,” rplaid ɖ Carịr. “Hir y r!”

“‘Fr Cêleb Plumr,’” sd ɖ litl man, spelñ ǎt ɖ d’rex́n. “‘Wɖ Caś.’ Wɖ Caś, Jon? I d’nt ʈnc it’s fr m.”

“Wɖ Cer,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, lcñ ovr hiz śoldr. “Ẃr d y mc ǎt caś?”

“Ǒ! T b śr!” sd Cêleb. “It’s ol rît. Wɖ cer! Yes, yes; ɖt’s mîn. It mt hv bn wɖ caś, indd, f mî dir Bô in ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz hd livd, Jon. Y luvd him lîc a sun; dd’nt y? Y nīd’nt se y dd. I nǒ, v cors. ‘Cêleb Plumr. Wɖ cer.’ Yes, yes, it’s ol rît. It’s a box v dolz’ îz fr mî dōtr’z wrc. I wś it wz hr ǒn sît in a box, Jon.”

“I wś it wz, or cd b!” craid ɖ Carịr.

“Ʈancī,” sd ɖ litl man. “Y spīc vri harti. T ʈnc ɖt ś śd nvr si ɖ Dolz—n ɖm a-stẹrñ at hr, so bold, ol de loñ! Ɖt’s ẃr it cuts. Ẃt’s ɖ damij, Jon?”

“I’l damij y,” sd Jon, “f y inqîr. Dot! Vri nir?”

“Wel! it’s lîc y t se so,” obzrvd ɖ litl man. “It’s yr cînd we. Let m si. I ʈnc ɖt’s ol.”

“I ʈnc nt,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Trî agn.”

“Smʈñ fr ǎr Guvnr, ê?” sd Cêleb aftr ponḍrñ a litl ẃl. “T b śr. Ɖt’s ẃt I cem fr; bt mî hed’z so runñ on ɖm Arcs n ʈñz! H hz’nt bn hir, hz h?”

“Nt h,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “H’z tù bizi, cortñ.”

“H’z cmñ rnd, ɖo,” sd Cêleb; “fr h tld m t cīp on ɖ nir sîd v ɖ rod gwñ hom, n it wz ten t wn h’d tec m p. I hd betr g, bî-ɖ-bái.—Y cd’nt hv ɖ gdnis t let m pinć Boxr’z teil, mum, fr haf a momnt, cd y?”

“Ẃ, Cêleb, ẃt a qsćn!”

“Ǒ, nvr mînd, mum!” sd ɖ litl man. “H mt’nt lîc it, phps. Ɖr’z a smōl ordr jst cm in fr barcñ dogz; n I śd wś t g az clos t Nećr az I cd fr sixpns. Ɖt’s ol. Nvr mînd, mum.”

It hapnd oṗtynli ɖt Boxr, wɖt rsivñ ɖ pṛpozd stiḿḷs, bgan t barc wɖ gret zīl. Bt, az ɖs implaid ɖ aproć v sm ny vizitr, Cêleb, psponñ hiz studi fṛm ɖ lîf t a mor cnvińnt sīzn, śoldrd ɖ rǎnd box, n tc a hurid līv. H mt hv sperd himslf ɖ trubl, fr h met ɖ vizitr upn ɖ ʈreśhold.

“Ǒ! Y r hir, r y? Wêt a bit. I’l tec y hom. Jon Pīribngl, mî srvis t y. Mor v mî srvis t yr priti wîf. Hanṣmr evri de! Betr tù, f poṣbl! N yungr,” ḿzd ɖ spīcr in a lo vôs, “ɖt’s ɖ devl v it!”

“I śd b astoniśt at yr peyñ complimnts, Mr. Tacltn,” sd Dot, nt wɖ ɖ bst gres in ɖ wrld, “bt fr yr cndiśn.”

“Y nǒ ol abt it, ɖen?”

“I hv got mslf t b’liv it smhǎ,” sd Dot.

“Aftr a hard strugl, I s’poz?”

“Vri.”

Tacltn ɖ Tômrćnt, priti jenṛli noun az Gruf n Tacltn—fr ɖt wz ɖ frm, ɖo Gruf hd bn bòt ǎt loñ ago; onli līvñ hiz nem, n, az sm sd, hiz nećr, acordñ t its Dix́nri mīnñ, in ɖ biznis—Tacltn ɖ Tômrćnt wz a man huz voceśn hd bn qt misunḍstd bî hiz Peṛnts n Gardịnz. F ɖe hd md him a Munilendr, or a śarp Atrni, or a Śerif’s Ofisr, or a Brocr, h mt hv sóun hiz discntntd ots in hiz yʈ, n, aftr hvñ hd ɖ fl run v himslf in il-nećrd trnzax́nz, mt hv trnd ǎt emịbl, at last, fr ɖ sec v a litl freśnis n novlti. Bt, cramt n ćefñ in ɖ pīṣbl psyt v tô-mcñ, h wz a dmestic Ogr, hu hd bn livñ on ćildṛn ol hiz lîf, n wz ɖer implacbl eṇmi. H dspîzd ol tôz; wd’nt hv bòt wn fr ɖ wrld; dlîtd, in hiz malis, t insińuet grim xpreśnz intu ɖ fesz v brǎn-pepr farmrz hu drouv pigz t marcit, belmen hu advtîzd lost loyrz’ conśnsz, muṿbl old lediz hu darnd stocñz or carvd pîz; n uɖr lîc samplz v hiz stoc-in-tred. In apōlñ mascs; hidịs, hẹri, red-aid Jacs in Boxz; Vampîrcîts; dīṃnaycl Tumblrz hu wd’nt lî dǎn, n wr ppć̣li flayñ fwd, t stér infnts ǎt v cǎntinns; hiz soul prf̣cli revld. Ɖe wr hiz onli rlif, n seftivalv. H wz gret in sć invnśnz. Enʈñ sjstiv v a Poni nîtmer wz dliśs t him. H hd īvn lost muni (n h tc t ɖt tô vri cîndli) bî gtñ p Goblinslîdz fr majic lantnz, ẃr-on ɖ Pǎrz v Darcnis wr dpictd az a sort v sūṗnaćṛl śelfiś, wɖ hymn fesz. In intnṣfayñ ɖ portrićr v Jaynts, h hd sunc qt a litl capitl; n, ɖo no pentr himslf, h cd inḍcet, fr ɖ instrux́n v hiz artists, wɖ a pìs v ćōc, a srtn frtiv lir fr ɖ cǎntinnsz v ɖoz monstrz, ẃć wz sef t dstrô ɖ pīs v mînd v eni yuñ jntlmn btwn ɖ ejz v six n ilevn, fr ɖ hol Crisṃs or Midsumr Vceśn.

Ẃt h wz in tôz, h wz (az most men r) in uɖr ʈñz. Y me īẓli s’poz, ɖrfr, ɖt wɖn ɖ gret grīn cep, ẃć rīćt dǎn t ɖ cavz v hiz legz, ɖr wz butnd p t ɖ ćin an uncomnli pleznt felo; n ɖt h wz abt az ćôs a spirit, n az agriybl a cmpańn, az evr std in a per v bl-hedd-lcñ būts wɖ mhoġni-culrd tops.

Stl, Tacltn, ɖ tômrćnt, wz gwñ t b marid. In spît v ol ɖs, h wz gwñ t b marid. N t a yuñ wîf tù, a bytifl yuñ wîf.

H dd’nt lc mć lîc a Brîdgrūm, az h std in ɖ Carịr’z cićn, wɖ a twist in hiz drî fes, n a scru in hiz bodi, n hiz hat jrct ovr ɖ brij v hiz nǒz, n hiz handz tuct dǎn intu ɖ botmz v hiz pocits, n hiz hol sarcastic, il-cndiśnd slf pirñ ǎt v wn litl cornr v wn litl î, lîc ɖ consntretd esns v eni numbr v revnz. Bt a Brîdgrūm h dzînd t b.

“In ʈri dez’ tîm. Nxt Ʈrzde. Ɖ last de v ɖ frst munʈ in ɖ yir. Ɖt’s mî wedñde,” sd Tacltn.

Dd I mnśn ɖt h hd olwz wn î wîd opn, n wn î nirli śut; n ɖt ɖ wn î nirli śut wz olwz ɖ xpresiv î? I d’nt ʈnc I dd.

“Ɖt’s mî wedñde!” sd Tacltn, raṭlñ hiz muni.

“Ẃ, it’s ǎr wedñde tù,” xclemd ɖ Carịr.

“Ha, ha!” laft Tacltn. “Od! Y’r jst sć anɖr cupl. Jst!”

Ɖ inḍgneśn v Dot at ɖs prizumćs asrśn z nt t b dscrîbd. Ẃt nxt? Hiz imaɉneśn wd cumṗs ɖ posbiḷti v jst sć anɖr Bebi, phps. Ɖ man wz mad.

“I se! A wrd wɖ y,” mrmrd Tacltn, nujñ ɖ Carịr wɖ hiz elbo, n tecñ him a litl apart. “Y’l cm t ɖ wedñ? W’r in ɖ sem bot, y nǒ.”

“Hǎ in ɖ sem bot?” inqîrd ɖ Carịr.

“A litl dspaṛti, y nǒ,” sd Tacltn wɖ anɖr nuj. “Cm n spend an īvnñ wɖ s bfrhnd.”

“Ẃ?” dmandd Jon, astoniśt at ɖs presñ hosṗtaḷti.

“Ẃ?” rtrnd ɖ uɖr. “Ɖt’s a ny we v rsivñ an invteśn. Ẃ, fr pleźr—sośbiḷti, y nǒ, n ol ɖt.”

“I ʈt y wr nvr soṣ́bl,” sd Jon in hiz plen we.

“Tća! It’s v no ys t b enʈñ bt fri wɖ y, I si,” sd Tacltn. “Ẃ, ɖen, ɖ truʈ z, y hv a—ẃt tīdrincñ ppl cōl a sort v a cumftbl apiṛns tgɖr, y n yr wîf. W nǒ betr, y nǒ, bt—”

“No, w d’nt nǒ betr,” inṭpozd Jon. “Ẃt r y tōcñ abt?”

“Wel! W d’nt nǒ betr, ɖen,” sd Tacltn. “W’l agri ɖt w d’nt. Az y lîc; ẃt dz it matr? I wz gwñ t se, az y hv ɖt sort v apiṛns, yr cumṗni wl pṛdys a fevṛbl ifct on Msz. Tacltn ɖt wl b. N, ɖo I d’nt ʈnc yr gd ledi’z vri frendli t m in ɖs matr, stl ś c’nt hlp hrslf fṛm fōlñ intu mî vyz, fr ɖr’z a cmpactnis n cozinis v apiṛns abt hr ɖt olwz tlz, īvn in an indifṛnt ces. Y’l se y’l cm?”

“W hv arenjd t cīp ǎr Wedñde (az far az ɖt gz) at hom,” sd Jon. “W hv md ɖ promis t ǎrslvz ɖz six munʈs. W ʈnc, y si, ɖt hom—”

“Ba! ẃt’s hom?” craid Tacltn. “For wōlz n a sīlñ! (Ẃ d’nt y cil ɖt Cricit? I wd! I olwz d. I het ɖer nôz.) Ɖr r for wōlz n a sīlñ at mî hǎs. Cm t m!”

“Y cil yr Cricits, ê?” sd Jon.

“Scrunć ’m, sr,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr, setñ hiz hìl heṿli on ɖ flor. “Y’l se y’l cm? It’s az mć yr inṭrest az mîn, y nǒ, ɖt ɖ wimin śd pswed ć uɖr ɖt ɖ’r qayt n cntntd, n cd’nt b betr of. I nǒ ɖer we. Ẃtvr wn wmn sz, anɖr wmn z dtrmind t clinć olwz. Ɖr’z ɖt spirit v eḿleśn amñ ’m, sr, ɖt f yr wîf sz t mî wîf, ‘I’m ɖ hapiist wmn in ɖ wrld, n mîn’z ɖ bst huzbnd in ɖ wrld, n I dǒt on him,’ mî wîf wl se ɖ sem t yrz, or mor, n haf b’liv it.”

“D y mīn t se ś d’nt, ɖen?” asct ɖ Carịr.

“D’nt!” craid Tacltn wɖ a śort, śarp laf. “D’nt ẃt?”

Ɖ Carịr hd sm fent îdīa v adñ, “dǒt upn y.” Bt, haṗnñ t mīt ɖ haf-clozd î, az it twncld upn him ovr ɖ trnd-up colr v ɖ cep, ẃć wz wɖn an es v pǒcñ it ǎt, h flt it sć an unlîcli part n parsl v enʈñ t b dǒtd on, ɖt h substtytd, “ɖt ś d’nt b’liv it?”

“Ā, y dog! Y’r jocñ,” sd Tacltn.

Bt ɖ Carịr, ɖo slo t unḍstand ɖ fl drift v hiz mīnñ, aid him in sć a sirịs manr, ɖt h wz oblîjd t b a litl mor xplaṇtri.

“I hv ɖ hymr,” sd Tacltn: holdñ p ɖ fngrz v hiz left hand, n tapñ ɖ fōrfngr, t implî, “Ɖr I am, Tacltn t wit”: “I hv ɖ hymr, sr, t mari a yuñ wîf, n a priti wîf”: hir h rapt hiz litl fngr, t xpres ɖ Brîd; nt spẹrñli, bt śarpli; wɖ a sns v pǎr. “I’m ebl t graṭfî ɖt hymr, n I d. It’s mî ẃim. Bt—nǎ lc ɖr!”

H pôntd t ẃr Dot wz sitñ, ʈtf̣li bfr ɖ fîr: līnñ hr dimpld ćin upn hr hand, n woćñ ɖ brît blêz. Ɖ Carịr lct at hr, n ɖen at him, n ɖen at hr, n ɖen at him agn.

“Ś onrz n obez, no dǎt, y nǒ,” sd Tacltn; “n ɖt, az I am nt a man v sntimnt, z qt inuf fr m. Bt d y ʈnc ɖr’z enʈñ mor in it?”

“I ʈnc,” obzrvd ɖ Carịr, “ɖt I śd ćuc eni man ǎt v windo hu sd ɖr wz’nt.”

“Xacli so,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr wɖ an unyźl alacṛti v asnt. “T b śr! Dǎtlis y wd. V cors. I’m srtn v it. Gd nît. Pleznt drīmz!”

Ɖ Carịr wz puzld, n md uncumftbl n unsrtn, in spît v himslf. H cd’nt hlp śowñ it in hiz manr.

“Gd nît, mî dir frend!” sd Tacltn cmpaśṇtli. “I’m of. W’r xacli alîc in riaḷti, I si. Y w’nt gv s tmoro īvnñ? Wel! Nxt de y g ǎt viẓtñ, I nǒ. I’l mīt y ɖr, n brñ mî wîf ɖt z t b. It’l d hr gd. Y’r agriybl? Ʈancī. Ẃt’s ɖt?”

It wz a lǎd crî fṛm ɖ Carịr’z wîf: a lǎd, śarp, sudn crî, ɖt md ɖ rūm rñ lîc a glas vesl. Ś hd rizn fṛm hr sīt, n std lîc wn trnsfixt bî terr n s’prîz. Ɖ Strenjr hd advanst twdz ɖ fîr t worm himslf, n std wɖn a śort strîd v hr ćer. Bt qt stil.

“Dot!” craid ɖ Carịr. “Mẹri! Darlñ! Ẃt’s ɖ matr?”

Ɖe wr ol abt hr in a momnt. Cêleb, hu hd bn dozñ on ɖ cecbox, in ɖ frst imprfict rcuṿri v hiz sspndd prezns v mînd, sizd Mis Slǒbô bî ɖ her v hr hed, bt imīɉtli apoḷjîzd.

“Mẹri!” xclemd ɖ Carịr, s’portñ hr in hiz armz. “R y il? Ẃt z it? Tel m dir!”

Ś onli ansrd bî bìtñ hr handz tgɖr, n fōlñ intu a wîld fit v laftr. Ɖen, sncñ fṛm hiz grasp upn ɖ grǎnd, ś cuvrd hr fes wɖ hr epṛn, n wept bitrli. N ɖen, ś laft agn, n ɖen ś craid agn, n ɖen ś sd hǎ cold ś wz, n sufrd him t līd hr t ɖ fîr, ẃr ś sat dǎn az bfr. Ɖ old man standñ, az bfr, qt stil.

“I’m betr, Jon,” ś sd. “I’m qt wel nǎ—I—”

“Jon!” Bt Jon wz on ɖ uɖr sîd v hr. Ẃ trn hr fes twdz ɖ strenj old jntlmn, az f adresñ him. Wz hr bren wonḍrñ?

“Onli a fansi, Jon dir—a cnd v śoc—a smʈñ cmñ sudnli bfr mî îz—I d’nt nǒ ẃt it wz. It’s qt gn, qt gn.”

“I’m glad it’s gn,” mutrd Tacltn, trnñ ɖ xpresiv î ol rnd ɖ rūm. “I wundr ẃr it’s gn, n ẃt it wz. Humf! Cêleb, cm hir! Hu’z ɖt wɖ ɖ gre her?”

“I d’nt nǒ, sr,” rtrnd Cêleb in a ẃispr. “Nvr si him bfr in ol mî lîf. A bytifl figr fr a nutcracr; qt a ny modl. Wɖ a scrūjw oṗnñ dǎn intu hiz weistcot, h’d b luvli.”

“Nt ugli inuf,” sd Tacltn.

“Or fr a fîrbox îɖr,” obzrvd Cêleb in dīp contmpleśn, “ẃt a modl! Unscru hiz hed t pt ɖ maćz in; trn him hìlz up’dz fr ɖ lît; n ẃt a fîrbox fr a jntlmn’z mantl-ślf, jst az h standz!”

“Nt haf ugli inuf,” sd Tacltn. “Nʈñ in him at ol. Cm! Brñ ɖt box! Ol rît nǎ, I hop?”

“Ǒ, qt gn! Qt gn!” sd ɖ litl wmn, wevñ him huridli awe. “Gd nît!”

“Gd nît!” sd Tacltn. “Gd nît, Jon Pīribngl! Tec cer hǎ y cari ɖt box, Cêleb. Let it fōl, n I’l mrdr y! Darc az pić, n weɖr wrs ɖn evr, ê? Gd nît!”

So, wɖ anɖr śarp lc rnd ɖ rūm, h wnt ǎt at ɖ dor; foloud bî Cêleb wɖ ɖ wedñcec on hiz hed.

Ɖ Carịr hd bn so mć astǎndd bî hiz litl wîf, n so biẓli ingejd in suɖñ n tndñ hr, ɖt h hd scersli bn conśs v ɖ Strenjr’z prezns untl nǎ, ẃn h agn std ɖr, ɖer onli gest.

“H d’nt b’loñ t ɖm, y si,” sd Jon. “I mst gv him a hint t g.”

“I beg yr pardn, frend,” sd ɖ old jntlmn, advansñ t him; “ɖ mor so az I fir yr wîf hz nt bn wel; bt ɖ Atndnt hūm mî infrṃti,” h tućt hiz irz, n śc hiz hed, “rendrz olmst indispnsbl, nt hvñ arîvd, I fir ɖr mst b sm mstec. Ɖ bad nît ẃć md ɖ śltr v yr cumftbl cart (me I nvr hv a wrs!) so axptbl, z stl az bad az evr. Wd y, in yr cîndnis, sufr m t rent a bed hir?”

“Yes, yes,” craid Dot. “Yes! Srtnli!”

“Ǒ!” sd ɖ Carịr, s’prîzd bî ɖ r’pidti v ɖs cnsnt. “Wel! I d’nt objct; bt stl I’m nt qt śr ɖt—”

“Huś!” ś inṭruptd. “Dir Jon!”

“Ẃ, h’z ston def,” rjd Jon.

“I nǒ h z, bt——Yes, sr, srtnli. Yes, srtnli! I’l mc him p a bed d’recli, Jon.”

Az ś hurid of t d it, ɖ flutr v hr spirits, n ɖ ajteśn v hr manr, wr so strenj, ɖt ɖ Carịr std lcñ aftr hr, qt cnfǎndd.

“Dd its muɖrz mc it p a Bedz, ɖen!” craid Mis Slǒbô t ɖ Bebi; “n dd its her gro brǎn n crli ẃn its caps wz liftd of, n frîtn it, a preśs Pets, a-sitñ bî ɖ fîrz!”

Wɖ ɖt un’cǎntbl atrax́n v ɖ mînd t trîflz, ẃć z ofn inṣdntl t a stet v dǎt n cnfyźn, ɖ Carịr, az h wōct slǒli t n fro, faund himslf mnṭli rpitñ īvn ɖz absrd wrdz, mni tîmz. So mni tîmz, ɖt h got ɖm bî hart, n wz stl conñ ɖm ovr n ovr, lîc a lésn, ẃn Tili, aftr adminisṭrñ az mć frix́n t ɖ litl bàld hed wɖ hr hand az ś ʈt holsm (acordñ t ɖ practis v nrsz), hd wns mor taid ɖ Bebi’z cap on.

“N frîtn it, a preśs Pets, a-sitñ bî ɖ fîrz. Ẃt frîtnd Dot, I wundr?” ḿzd ɖ Carịr, pesñ t n fro.

H scǎtd, fṛm hiz hart, ɖ insińueśnz v ɖ tômrćnt, n yt ɖe fild him wɖ a veg, indefiṇt unīzinis. Fr Tacltn wz qc n slî; n h hd ɖt penfl sns, himslf, v biyñ a man v slo pspśn, ɖt a brocn hint wz olwz wuriyñ t him. H srtnli hd no intnśn in hiz mînd v lincñ enʈñ ɖt Tacltn hd sd wɖ ɖ unyźl conduct v hiz wîf, bt ɖ tū subjicts v rflex́n cem intu hiz mînd tgɖr, n h cd nt cīp ɖm asundr.

Ɖ bed wz sn md redi; n ɖ vizitr, dclînñ ol rfreśmnt bt a cup v ti, rtîrd. Ɖen, Dot—qt wel agn, ś sd, qt wel agn—arenjd ɖ gret ćer in ɖ ćimnicornr fr hr huzbnd; fild hiz pîp n gev it him; n tc hr yźl litl stūl bsd him on ɖ harʈ.

Ś olwz wd sit on ɖt litl stūl. I ʈnc ś mst hv hd a cnd v nośn ɖt it wz a cǒxñ, ẃīḍlñ litl stūl.

Ś wz, ǎt n ǎt, ɖ vri bst filr v a pîp, I śd se, in ɖ for qortrz v ɖ glob. T si hr pt ɖt ćubi litl fngr in ɖ bol, n ɖen blo dǎn ɖ pîp t clir ɖ tyb, n, ẃn ś hd dn so, afct t ʈnc ɖt ɖr wz riyli smʈñ in ɖ tyb, n blo a duzn tîmz, n hold it t hr î lîc a teḷscop, wɖ a most pṛvocñ twist in hr capitl litl fes, az ś lct dǎn it, wz qt a briłnt ʈñ. Az t ɖ tbaco, ś wz prfict mistris v ɖ subjict; n hr lîtñ v ɖ pîp, wɖ a wisp v pepr, ẃn ɖ Carịr hd it in hiz mǎʈ—gwñ so vri nir hiz nǒz, n yt nt scorćñ it—wz Art, hî Art.

N ɖ Cricit n ɖ Cetl, trnñ p agn, acnolijd it! Ɖ brît fîr, blezñ p agn, acnolijd it! Ɖ litl Mowr on ɖ cloc, in hiz unhīdd wrc, acnolijd it! Ɖ Carịr, in hiz smuɖñ fōrhed n xpandñ fes, acnolijd it, ɖ rediist v ol.

N ɖ Cricit n ɖ Cetl, trnñ p agn, acnolijd it!

N az h sobrli n ʈtf̣li puft at hiz old pîp, n az ɖ Duć cloc tict, n az ɖ red fîr glīmd, n az ɖ Cricit ćrpt, ɖt Jīńs v hiz Harʈ n Hom (fr sć ɖ Cricit wz) cem ǎt, in fẹri śep, intu ɖ rūm, n sumnd mni formz v Hom abt him. Dots v ol ejz n ol sîzz fild ɖ ćembr. Dots hu wr meri ćildṛn, runñ on bfr him, gaɖ̇rñ flǎrz in ɖ fīldz; cô Dots, haf śrincñ fṛm, haf yīldñ t, ɖ plīdñ v hiz ǒn ruf imij; nyli-marid Dots, alîtñ at ɖ dor, n tecñ wunḍrñ pześn v ɖ hǎshold ciz; muɖrli litl Dots, atndd bî fictiśs Slǒbôz, bẹrñ bebiz t b crisnd; metṛnli Dots, stl yuñ n blūmñ, woćñ Dots v dōtrz, az ɖe danst at rustic bōlz; fat Dots, insrcld n bset bî trūps v rozi granćildṛn; wiɖrd Dots, hu līnd on stics, n totrd az ɖe crept alñ. Old Carịrz, tù, apird wɖ blînd old Boxrz layñ at ɖer fīt; n nywr carts wɖ yungr drîvrz (“Pīribngl Bruɖrz” on ɖ tilt); n sic old Carịrz, tndd bî ɖ jntlist handz; n grevz v ded n gn old Carịrz, grīn in ɖ ćrćyard. N az ɖ Cricit śoud him ol ɖz ʈñz—h sw ɖm plenli, ɖo hiz îz wr fixt upn ɖ fîr—ɖ Carịr’z hart grù lît n hapi, n h ʈanct hiz Hǎshold Godz wɖ ol hiz mt, n cerd no mor fr Gruf n Tacltn ɖn y d.

Bt ẃt wz ɖt yuñ figr v a man, ẃć ɖ sem Fẹri Cricit set so nir Hr stūl, n ẃć rmend ɖr, sngli n alon? Ẃ dd it lingr stl, so nir hr, wɖ its arm upn ɖ ćimnipìs, evr rpitñ “Marid! n nt t m!”

Ǒ, Dot! Ǒ, felñ Dot! Ɖr z no ples fr it in ol yr huzbnd’z viźnz. Ẃ hz its śado fōḷn on hiz harʈ?

ĆRP Ɖ SECND

Cêleb Plumr n hiz Blînd Dōtr livd ol alon bî ɖmslvz, az ɖ Stori Bcs se—n mî blesñ, wɖ yrz, t bac it I hop, on ɖ Stori Bcs, fr seyñ enʈñ in ɖs wrc-a-de wrld!—Cêleb Plumr n hiz Blînd Dōtr livd ol alon bî ɖmslvz, in a litl cract nutśel v a wŭdn hǎs, ẃć wz, in truʈ, no betr ɖn a pimpl on ɖ prominnt red-bric nǒz v Gruf n Tacltn. Ɖ preṃsz v Gruf n Tacltn wr ɖ gret fīćr v ɖ strīt; bt y mt hv noct dǎn Cêleb Plumr’z dwelñ wɖ a hamr or tū, n carid of ɖ pìsz in a cart.

F enwn hd dn ɖ dwelñhǎs v Cêleb Plumr ɖ onr t mis it aftr sć an inrod, it wd hv bn, no dǎt, t cmnd its deṃliśn az a vast impruvmnt. It stuc t ɖ preṃsz v Gruf n Tacltn lîc a barṇcl t a śip’s cīl, or a snel t a dor, or a litl bunć v tǒdstūlz t ɖ stem v a tri. Bt it wz ɖ jrm fṛm ẃć ɖ fl-groun trunc v Gruf n Tacltn hd spruñ; n, undr its crezi rūf, ɖ Gruf bfr last hd, in a smōl we, md tôz fr a jeṇreśn v old bôz n grlz, hu hd pleid wɖ ɖm, n faund ɖm ǎt, n brocn ɖm, n gn t slīp.

I hv sd ɖt Cêleb n hiz pur Blînd Dōtr livd hir. I śd hv sd ɖt Cêleb livd hir, n hiz pur Blînd Dōtr smẃr els—in an inćantd hom v Cêleb’z frṇśñ, ẃr scerṣti n śabinis wr nt, n trubl nvr entrd. Cêleb wz no sorsrr; bt in ɖ onli majic art ɖt stl rmenz t s, ɖ majic v dvotd, deʈlis luv, Nećr hd bn ɖ mistris v hiz studi; n, fṛm hr tīćñ, ol ɖ wundr cem.

Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt sīlñz wr dsculrd, wōlz bloćt n bér v plastr hir n ɖr, hî creṿsz unstopt n wîḍnñ evri de, bīmz molḍrñ n tndñ dǎnẉd. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt ayn wz rustñ, wŭd rotñ, pepr pīlñ of; ɖ sîz, n śep, n tru pṛporśn v ɖ dwelñ, wiɖ̇rñ awe. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖt ugli śeps v delf n rʈnwér wr on ɖ bōrd; ɖt soro n fent-hartidnis wr in ɖ hǎs; ɖt Cêleb’z scanti herz wr trnñ greyr n mor gre bfr hr sîtlis fes. Ɖ Blînd Grl nvr ń ɖe hd a mastr, cold, xactñ, n uninṭrestd—nvr ń ɖt Tacltn wz Tacltn, in śort; bt livd in ɖ b’lif v an xntric hyṃrist, hu luvd t hv hiz jest wɖ ɖm, n hu, ẃl h wz ɖ Gardịnenjl v ɖer lîvz, dsdend t hír wn wrd v ʈancflnis.

N ol wz Cêleb’z dwñ; ol ɖ dwñ v hr simpl faɖr! Bt h, tù, hd a Cricit on hiz Harʈ; n liṣnñ sadli t its ḿzic ẃn ɖ muɖrlis Blînd Ćîld wz vri yuñ ɖt Spirit hd inspîrd him wɖ ɖ ʈt ɖt īvn hr gret depṛveśn mt b olmst ćenjd intu a blesñ, n ɖ grl md hapi bî ɖz litl mīnz. Fr ol ɖ Cricit trîb r potnt Spirits, īvn ɖo ɖ ppl hu hold cnvrs wɖ ɖm d nt nǒ it (ẃć z frīqntli ɖ ces), n ɖr r nt in ɖ unsìn wrld vôsz mor jntl n mor tru, ɖt me b so impliṣtli rlaid on, or ɖt r so srtn t gv nn bt tenḍrist cǎnsl, az ɖ Vôsz in ẃć ɖ Spirits v ɖ Fîrsîd n ɖ Harʈ adres ɖmslvz t hymn-cnd.

Cêleb n hiz dōtr wr at wrc tgɖr in ɖer yźl wrcñrūm, ẃć srvd ɖm fr ɖer ordnri livñrūm az wel; n a strenj ples it wz. Ɖr wr hǎzz in it, finiśt n unfiniśt, fr Dolz v ol steśnz in lîf. Sbrbn teṇmnts fr Dolz v modṛt mīnz; cićnz n sngl apartmnts fr Dolz v ɖ lowr clasz; capitl tǎn rezidnsz fr Dolz v hî istet. Sm v ɖz istabliśmnts wr olrdi frniśt acordñ t estiṃt, wɖ a vy t ɖ cnvińns v Dolz v liṃtd incm; uɖrz cd b fitd on ɖ most xpnsiv scel, at a momnt’s notis, fṛm hol ślvz v ćerz n teblz, sofaz, bedstedz, n upholstri. Ɖ nbiḷti n jntri n public in jenṛl, fr huz acoṃdeśn ɖz teṇmnts wr dzînd, le hir n ɖr, in bascits, stẹrñ stret p at ɖ sīlñ; bt in dnotñ ɖer dgriz in ssayti, n cnfînñ ɖm t ɖer rspctiv steśnz (ẃć xpirịns śoz t b l’mntbli dificlt in riyl lîf), ɖ mcrz v ɖz Dolz hd far impruvd on Nećr, hu z ofn frowd n pvrs; fr ɖe, nt restñ on sć arbitrri marcs az satin, cotn print, n bits v rag, hd sūṗadd strîcñ prsnl difṛnsz ẃć alaud v no mstec. Ɖus, ɖ Doļedi v dstñśn hd wax limz v prfict siṃtri; bt onli ś n hr compirz. Ɖ nxt gred in ɖ sośl scel biyñ md v leɖr, n ɖ nxt v cōrs linn stuf. Az t ɖ comn ppl, ɖe hd jst so mni maćz ǎt v tindrboxz fr ɖer armz n legz, n ɖr ɖe wr—istabliśt in ɖer sfir at wns, bynd ɖ posbiḷti v gtñ ǎt v it.

Ɖr wr verịs uɖr samplz v hiz handicraft bsdz Dolz in Cêleb Plumr’z rūm. Ɖr wr Noa’z arcs, in ẃć ɖ Brdz n Bīsts wr an uncomnli tît fit, I aśur y; ɖo ɖe cd b cramd in, enhǎ, at ɖ rūf, n ratld n śecn intu ɖ smōlist cumṗs. Bî a bold p’eticl lîsns, most v ɖz Noa’z arcs hd nocrz on ɖ dorz; incnsistnt apnḍjz, phps, az sjstiv v mornñcōlrz n a Postmn, yt a pleznt finiś t ɖ ǎtsd v ɖ bildñ. Ɖr wr scorz v meḷnc̣li litl carts, ẃć, ẃn ɖ ẃīlz wnt rnd, pformd most dǒlfl ḿzic. Mni smōl fidlz, drumz, n uɖr instṛmnts v torćr; no end v cánn, śīldz, sordz, spirz, n gunz. Ɖr wr litl tumblrz in red brìćz, insesntli swormñ p hî obsṭclz v red tep, n cmñ dǎn, hed frst, on ɖ uɖr sîd; n ɖr wr ińmṛbl old jntlṃn v rspctbl, nt t se venṛbl apiṛns, insenli flayñ ovr hoṛzontl pegz, insrtd, fr ɖ prṗs, in ɖer ǒn strītdorz. Ɖr wr bīsts v ol sorts; horsz, in ptiklr, v evri brīd, fṛm ɖ spotd baṛl on for pegz wɖ a smōl tipit fr a mein, t ɖ ʈura-bréd rocr on hiz hîist métl. Az it wd hv bn hard t cǎnt ɖ duznz upn duznz v gṛtesc figrz ɖt wr evr redi t cmit ol sorts v absrdtiz on ɖ trnñ v a handl, so it wd hv bn no īzi tasc t mnśn eni hymn foli, vîs, or wìcnis ɖt hd nt its tîp, imīɉt or rmot, in Cêleb Plumr’z rūm. N nt in an xaɉretd form, fr vri litl handlz wl muv men n wimin t az strenj pformnsz az eni Tô wz evr md t unḍtec.

In ɖ mdst v ol ɖz objicts, Cêleb n hiz dōtr sat at wrc. Ɖ Blînd Grl bizi az a Dol’z dres-mcr; Cêleb pentñ n glezñ ɖ for-per frunt v a dzîṛbl faṃlimanśn.

In ɖ mdst v ol ɖz objicts, Cêleb n hiz dōtr sat at wrc.

Ɖ cer imprintd in ɖ lînz v Cêleb’z fes, n hiz abzorbd n drīmi manr, ẃć wd hv sat wel on sm alc̣mist or abstrūs stydnt, wr at frst sît an od contrast t hiz okpeśn n ɖ triviaḷtiz abt him. Bt trivịl ʈñz, invntd n psyd fr bred, bcm vri sirịs matrz v fact: n, apart fṛm ɖs cnsiḍreśn, I am nt at ol priperd t se, mslf, ɖt f Cêleb hd bn a Lord Ćembrlin, or a Membr v Parḷmnt, or a loyr, or īvn a gret spekletr, h wd hv dlt in tôz wn ẃit les ẃimzicl, ẃl I hv a vri gret dǎt ẃɖr ɖe wd hv bn az harmlis.

“So y wr ǎt in ɖ ren last nît, faɖr, in yr bytifl ny gretcot,” sd Cêleb’z dōtr.

“In mî bytifl ny gretcot,” ansrd Cêleb, glansñ twdz a cloɖzlîn in ɖ rūm, on ẃć ɖ sac̦loʈ garmnt prīvịsli dscrîbd wz cerf̣li huñ p t drî.

“Hǎ glad I am y bòt it, faɖr!”

“N v sć a teilr tù,” sd Cêleb. “Qt a faśṇbl teilr. It’s tù gd fr m.”

Ɖ Blînd Grl restd fṛm hr wrc, n laft wɖ dlît. “Tù gd, faɖr! Ẃt cn b tù gd fr y?”

“I’m haf aśemd t wer it, ɖo,” sd Cêleb, woćñ ɖ ifct v ẃt h sd upn hr brîṭnñ fes, “upn mî wrd! Ẃn I hír ɖ bôz n ppl se bhnd m, ‘Hloa! Hir’z a swel!’ I d’nt nǒ ẃć we t lc. N ẃn ɖ begr wd’nt g awe last nît; n, ẃn I sd I wz a vri comn man, sd, ‘No, yr Onr! Bles yr Onr, d’nt se ɖt!’ I wz qt aśemd. I riyli flt az f I hd’nt a rît t wer it.”

Hapi Blînd Grl! Hǎ meri ś wz in hr xlteśn!

“I si y, faɖr,” ś sd, claspñ hr handz, “az plenli az f I hd ɖ îz I nvr wont ẃn y r wɖ m. A blu cot—”

“Brît blu,” sd Cêleb.

“Yes, yes! Brît blu!” xclemd ɖ grl, trnñ p hr redịnt fes; “ɖ culr I cn jst rmembr in ɖ blesid scî! Y tld m it wz blu bfr! A brît blu cot—”

“Md lūs t ɖ figr,” sjstd Cêleb.

“Yes! lūs t ɖ figr!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, lafñ harṭli; “n in it, y, dir faɖr, wɖ yr meri î, yr smîlñ fes, yr fri step, n yr darc her—lcñ so yuñ n hansm!”

“Hloa! Hloa!” sd Cêleb. “I śl b ven prezntli!”

I ʈnc y r olrdi,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, pôntñ at him in hr gli. “I nǒ y, faɖr! Ha, ha, ha! I’v faund y ǎt, y si!”

Hǎ difṛnt ɖ picćr in hr mînd, fṛm Cêleb, az h sat obzrvñ hr! Ś hd spocn v hiz fri step. Ś wz rît in ɖt. Fr yirz n yirz h hd nvr wns crost ɖt ʈreśhold at hiz ǒn slo pes, bt wɖ a ftfōl cǎnṭfitd fr hr ir; n nvr hd h, ẃn hiz hart wz heviist, fgotn ɖ lît tréd ɖt wz t rendr hrz so ćirfl n c’rejs!

Hevn nz! Bt I ʈnc Cêleb’z veg bwildrmnt v manr me hv haf oriɉnetd in hiz hvñ cnfyzd himslf abt himslf n evrʈñ arnd him, fr ɖ luv v hiz Blînd Dōtr. Hǎ cd ɖ litl man b uɖ̇wz ɖn bwildrd, aftr leḅrñ fr so mni yirz t dstrô hiz ǒn îdntti, n ɖt v ol ɖ objicts ɖt hd eni bẹrñ on it?

“Ɖr w r,” sd Cêleb, fōlñ bac a pes or tū t form ɖ betr jujmnt v hiz wrc; “az nir ɖ riyl ʈñ az sixṗnrʈ v hepns z t sixpns. Ẃt a piti ɖt ɖ hol frunt v ɖ hǎs opnz at wns! F ɖr wz onli a sterces in it nǎ, n reğlr dorz t ɖ rūmz t g in at! Bt ɖt’s ɖ wrst v mî cōlñ, I’m olwz dludñ mslf, n swinḍlñ mslf.”

“Y r spīcñ qt softli. Y r nt tîrd, faɖr?”

“Tîrd!” ecoud Cêleb wɖ a gret brst v aṇmeśn. “Ẃt śd tîr m, Brʈa? I wz nvr tîrd. Ẃt dz it mīn?”

T gv ɖ gretr fors t hiz wrdz, h ćect himslf in an invoḷntri iṃteśn v tū haf-leñʈ strećñ n yōnñ figrz on ɖ mantl-ślf, hu wr reprizntd az in wn itrnl stet v wirinis fṛm ɖ weist upwdz; n humd a fragmnt v a soñ. It wz a Bac̣nełn soñ, smʈñ abt a Sparc̣lñ Bol. H sañ it wɖ an asumśn v a Devl-me-cer vôs, ɖt md hiz fes a ʈǎznd tîmz mor mīgr n mor ʈtfl ɖn evr.

“Ẃt! Y’r sññ, r y?” sd Tacltn, ptñ hiz hed in at ɖ dor. “G it! I c’nt sñ.”

Nbdi wd hv sspctd him v it. H hd’nt ẃt z jenṛli trmd a sññ fes, bî eni mīnz.

“I c’nt aford t sñ,” sd Tacltn. “I’m glad y cn. I hop y cn aford t wrc tù. Hardli tîm fr bʈ, I śd ʈnc?”

“F y cd onli si him, Brʈa, hǎ h’z wncñ at m!” ẃisprd Cêleb. “Sć a man t joc! Y’d ʈnc, f y dd’nt nǒ him, h wz in rnist—wd’nt y nǎ?”

Ɖ Blînd Grl smîld n nodd.

“Ɖ brd ɖt cn sñ n w’nt sñ mst b md t sñ, ɖe se,” grumbld Tacltn. “Ẃt abt ɖ ǎl ɖt c’nt sñ, n òt’nt t sñ, n wl sñ; z ɖr enʈñ ɖt h śd b md t d?”

“Ɖ xtnt t ẃć h’z wncñ at ɖs momnt!” ẃisprd Cêleb t hiz dōtr. “Ǒ, mî greśs!”

“Olwz meri n lît-hartd wɖ s!” craid ɖ smîlñ Brʈa.

“Ǒ! y’r ɖr, r y?” ansrd Tacltn. “Pur Idịt!”

H riyli dd b’liv ś wz an Idịt; n h fǎndd ɖ b’lif, I c’nt se ẃɖr conśsli or nt, upn hr biyñ fond v him.

“Wel! n biyñ ɖr,—hǎ r y?” sd Tacltn in hiz grujñ we.

“Ǒ! wel; qt wel! N az hapi az īvn y cn wś m t b. Az hapi az y wd mc ɖ hol wrld, f y cd!”

“Pur Idịt!” mutrd Tacltn. “No glīm v rīzn. Nt a glīm!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl tc hiz hand n cist it; hld it fr a momnt in hr ǒn tū handz; n leid hr ćīc agnst it tndrli bfr rlisñ it. Ɖr wz sć unspīcbl afx́n n sć frvnt grattyd in ɖ act, ɖt Tacltn himslf wz muvd t se, in a mîldr grǎl ɖn yźl:

“Ẃt’s ɖ matr nǎ?”

“I std it clos bsd mî pilo ẃn I wnt t slīp last nît, n rmembrd it in mî drīmz. N ẃn ɖ de brouc, n ɖ glorịs red sún—ɖ red sún, faɖr?”

“Red in ɖ mornñz n ɖ īvnñz, Brʈa,” sd pur Cêleb wɖ a wǒfl glans at hiz imployr.

“Ẃn it rouz, n ɖ brît lît I olmst fir t strîc mslf agnst in wōcñ, cem intu ɖ rūm, I trnd ɖ litl tri twdz it, n blest Hevn fr mcñ ʈñz so preśs, n blest y fr sndñ ɖm t ćir m!”

“Bedḷm brouc lūs!” sd Tacltn undr hiz breʈ. “W śl arîv at ɖ streitweistcot n muflrz sn. W’r gtñ on!”

Cêleb, wɖ hiz handz hct lūsli in ć uɖr, stérd vecntli bfr him ẃl hiz dōtr spouc, az f h riyli wr unsrtn (I b’liv h wz) ẃɖr Tacltn hd dn enʈñ t dzrv hr ʈancs or nt. F h cd hv bn a prf̣cli fri ejnt at ɖt momnt, rqîrd, on pen v deʈ, t cic ɖ tômrćnt, or fōl at hiz fīt, acordñ t hiz merits, I b’liv it wd hv bn an īvn ćans ẃć cors h wd hv tecn. Yt Cêleb ń ɖt wɖ hiz ǒn handz h hd bròt ɖ litl rǒztrī hom fr hr so cerf̣li, n ɖt wɖ hiz ǒn lips h hd forjd ɖ iṇsnt dspśn ẃć śd hlp t cīp hr fṛm sspctñ hǎ mć, hǎ vri mć, h evri de dnaid himslf, ɖt ś mt b hapịr.

“Brʈa!” sd Tacltn, asymñ, fr ɖ nons, a litl cordiaḷti. “Cm hir.”

“Ǒ, I cn cm stret t y! Y nīd’nt gîd m!” ś rjônd.

“Śl I tel y a sīcrit, Brʈa?”

“F y wl!” ś ansrd īgrli.

Hǎ brît ɖ darcnd fes! Hǎ adornd wɖ lît ɖ liṣnñ hed!

“Ɖs z ɖ de on ẃć litl ẃt’s-hr-nem, ɖ spôlt ćîld, Pīribngl’z wîf, pez hr reğlr vizit t y—mcs hr fntastic Picnic hir, an’t it?” sd Tacltn wɖ a stroñ xpreśn v dstest fr ɖ hol cnsrn.

“Yes,” rplaid Brʈa. “Ɖs z ɖ de.”

“I ʈt so,” sd Tacltn. “I śd lîc t jôn ɖ parti.”

“D y hír ɖt, faɖr?” craid ɖ Blînd Grl in an xṭsi.

“Yes, yes, I hír it,” mrmrd Cêleb wɖ ɖ fixt lc v a slīpwōcr; “bt I d’nt b’liv it. It’s wn v mî lîz, I’v no dǎt.”

“Y si I—I wont t brñ ɖ Pīribnglz a litl mor intu cumṗni wɖ Me Fīldñ,” sd Tacltn. “I’m gwñ t b marid t Me.”

“Marid!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, startñ fṛm him.

“Ś’z sć a cnfǎndd idịt,” mutrd Tacltn, “ɖt I wz afred ś’d nvr comprihnd m. Ā, Brʈa! Marid! Ćrć, parsn, clarc, bīdl, glas coć, belz, brecfst, brîdcec, fevrz, marobonz, clīvrz, n ol ɖ rest v ɖ tomfūḷri. A wedñ, y nǒ; a wedñ. D’nt y nǒ ẃt a wedñ z?”

“I nǒ,” rplaid ɖ Blînd Grl in a jntl ton. “I unḍstand!”

“D y?” mutrd Tacltn. “It’s mor ɖn I xpctd. Wel! On ɖt acǎnt I wont t jôn ɖ parti, n t brñ Me n hr muɖr. I’l snd in a litl smʈñ or uɖr, bfr ɖ afṭnun. A cold leg v mutn, or sm cumftbl trîfl v ɖt sort. Y’l xpct m?”

“Yes,” ś ansrd.

Ś hd drūpt hr hed, n trnd awe; n so std, wɖ hr handz crost, ḿzñ.

“I d’nt ʈnc y wl,” mutrd Tacltn, lcñ at hr; “fr y sīm t hv fgotn ol abt it olrdi. Cêleb!”

“I me vnćr t se I’m hir, I s’poz,” ʈt Cêleb. “Sr!”

“Tec cer ś d’nt fget ẃt I’v bn seyñ t hr.”

Ś nvr fgets,” rtrnd Cêleb. “It’s wn v ɖ fy ʈñz ś an’t clevr in.”

“Evri man ʈncs hiz ǒn gīs swonz,” obzrvd ɖ tômrćnt wɖ a śrug. “Pur devl!”

Hvñ dlivrd himslf v ẃć rmarc wɖ infiṇt cntmt, old Gruf n Tacltn wɖdru.

Brʈa rmend ẃr h hd left hr, lost in medteśn. Ɖ geyti hd vaniśt fṛm hr dǎncast fes, n it wz vri sad. Ʈri or for tîmz ś śc hr hed, az f bweilñ sm rmembṛns or sm los; bt hr soṛfl rflex́nz faund no vnt in wrdz.

It wz nt untl Cêleb hd bn okpaid sm tîm in yocñ a tīm v horsz t a wagn bî ɖ súṃri proses v nêlñ ɖ harnis t ɖ vîtl parts v ɖer bodiz, ɖt ś drù nir t hiz wrcñstūl, n, sitñ dǎn bsd him, sd:

“Faɖr, I am lonli in ɖ darc. I wont mî îz, mî peśnt, wilñ îz.”

“Faɖr, I am lonli in ɖ darc. I wont mî îz, mî peśnt, wilñ îz.”

“Hir ɖe r,” sd Cêleb. “Olwz redi. Ɖe r mor yrz ɖn mîn, Brʈa, eni aur in ɖ for-n-twenti. Ẃt śl yr îz d fr y, dir?”

“Lc rnd ɖ rūm, faɖr.”

“Ol rît,” sd Cêleb. “No snr sd ɖn dn, Brʈa.”

“Tel m abt it.”

“It’s mć ɖ sem az yźl,” sd Cêleb. “Homli, bt vri snug. Ɖ ge culrz on ɖ wōlz; ɖ brît flǎrz on ɖ plets n diśz; ɖ śînñ wŭd, ẃr ɖr r bīmz or panlz; ɖ jenṛl ćirflnis n nītnis v ɖ bildñ,—mc it vri priti.”

Ćirfl n nīt it wz, ẃrvr Brʈa’z handz cd bizi ɖmslvz. Bt nẃr els wr ćirflnis n nītnis poṣbl in ɖ old crezi śed ẃć Cêleb’z fansi so trnsformd.

“Y hv yr wrcñdres on, n r nt so gaḷnt az ẃn y wer ɖ hansm cot?” sd Brʈa, tućñ him.

“Nt qt so gaḷnt,” ansrd Cêleb. “Priti brisc, ɖo.”

“Faɖr,” sd ɖ Blînd Grl, drw̃ clos t hiz sîd, n stìlñ wn arm rnd hiz nec, “tel m smʈñ abt Me. Ś z vri fer?”

“Ś z indd,” sd Cêleb. N ś wz indd. It wz qt a rer ʈñ t Cêleb nt t hv t drw on hiz invnśn.

“Hr her z darc,” sd Brʈa pnsivli, “darcr ɖn mîn. Hr vôs z swīt n ḿzicl, I nǒ. I hv ofn luvd t hír it. Hr śep—”

“Ɖr’z nt a Dol’z in ol ɖ rūm t īql it,” sd Cêleb. “N hr îz!—”

H stopt; fr Brʈa hd drwn closr rnd hiz nec, n, fṛm ɖ arm ɖt cluñ abt him, cem a wornñ preśr ẃć h unḍstd tù wel.

H coft a momnt, hamrd fr a momnt, n ɖen fél bac upn ɖ soñ abt ɖ sparc̣lñ bol, hiz infaḷbl rzors in ol sć dificltiz.

“Ǎr frend, faɖr, ǎr beṇfactr. I am nvr tîrd, y nǒ, v hírñ abt him.—Nǎ, wz I evr?” ś sd hesṭli.

“V cors nt,” ansrd Cêleb, “n wɖ rīzn.”

“Ā! Wɖ hǎ mć rīzn!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. Wɖ sć frvnsi, ɖt Cêleb, ɖo hiz motivz wr so pyr, cd nt indyr t mīt hr fes; bt dropt hiz îz, az f ś cd hv réd in ɖm hiz iṇsnt dsit.

“Ɖen tel m agn abt him, dir faɖr,” sd Brʈa. “Mni tîmz agn! Hiz fes z bnevlnt, cînd, n tndr. Onist n tru, I am śr it z. Ɖ manli hart ɖt trîz t clǒc ol fevrz wɖ a śo v rufnis n unwilñnis, bìts in its evri lc n glans.”

“N mcs it nobl,” add Cêleb in hiz qayt desṗreśn.

“N mcs it nobl,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. “H z oldr ɖn Me, faɖr.”

“Yi-es,” sd Cêleb rluctntli. “H’z a litl oldr ɖn Me. Bt ɖt d’nt sigṇfî.”

“Ǒ, faɖr, yes! T b hiz peśnt cmpańn in infrṃti n ej; t b hiz jntl nrs in sicnis, n hiz constnt frend in suf̣rñ n soro; t nǒ no wirinis in wrcñ fr hiz sec; t woć him, tnd him, sit bsd hiz bed n tōc t him awec, n pre fr him aslip; ẃt priṿlijz ɖz wd b! Ẃt oṗtyṇtiz fr pruvñ ol hr truʈ n hr dvośn t him! Wd ś d ol ɖs, dir faɖr?”

“No dǎt v it,” sd Cêleb.

“I luv hr, faɖr; I cn luv hr fṛm mî soul!” xclemd ɖ Blînd Grl. N, seyñ so, ś leid hr pur blînd fes on Cêleb’z śoldr, n so wept n wept, ɖt h wz olmst sori t hv bròt ɖt tirfl hapinis upn hr.

In ɖ mntm ɖr hd bn a priti śarp cmośn at Jon Pīribngl’z, fr litl Msz. Pīribngl naćṛli cd’nt ʈnc v gwñ enẃr wɖt ɖ Bebi; n t gt ɖ Bebi undr we tc tîm. Nt ɖt ɖr wz mć v ɖ Bebi, spīcñ v it az a ʈñ v weit n meźr, bt ɖr wz a vast dīl t d abt n abt it, n it ol hd t b dn bî īzi stejz. Fr instns, ẃn ɖ Bebi wz got, bî hc n bî crŭc, t a srtn pônt v dresñ, n y mt hv raśṇli s’pozd ɖt anɖr tuć or tū wd finiś him of, n trn him ǎt a tiptop Bebi ćaḷnjñ ɖ wrld, h wz unixpctidli xtnḡśt in a flanl cap, n husld of t bed; ẃr h simrd (so t spīc) btwn tū blancits fr ɖ bst part v an aur. Fṛm ɖs stet v inax́n h wz ɖen rcōld, śînñ vri mć n rorñ vayḷntli, t ptec v—wel? I wd rɖr se, f y’l pmit m t spīc jenṛli—v a slît rpast. Aftr ẃć h wnt t slīp agn. Msz. Pīribngl tc advantij v ɖs inṭvl, t mc hrslf az smart in a smōl we az evr y sw enbdi in ol yr lîf; n, jrñ ɖ sem śort trūs, Mis Slǒbô insińuetd hrslf intu a Spensr v a faśn so s’prîzñ n injīńs, ɖt it hd no cnx́n wɖ hrslf, or enʈñ els in ɖ yṇvrs, bt wz a śruncn, dog’z-ird, indipndnt fact, psywñ its lonli cors wɖt ɖ līst rgard t enbdi. Bî ɖs tîm, ɖ Bebi, biyñ ol alîv agn, wz invstd, bî ɖ ynîtd ef̣ts v Msz. Pīribngl n Mis Slǒbô, wɖ a crīm-culrd mantl fr its bodi, n a sort v Nancīn rezd pî fr its hed; n so, in cors v tîm, ɖe ol ʈri got dǎn t ɖ dor, ẃr ɖ old hors hd olrdi tecn mor ɖn ɖ fl valy v hiz de’z tol ǎt v ɖ Trnpîc Trust, bî tẹrñ p ɖ rod wɖ hiz impeśnt ōṭgrafs; n ẃns Boxr mt b dimli sìn in ɖ rmot pspctiv, standñ lcñ bac, n tmtñ him t cm on wɖt ordrz.

Az t a ćer, or enʈñ v ɖt cnd fr hlpñ Msz. Pīribngl intu ɖ cart, y nǒ vri litl v Jon, f y ʈnc ɖt wz nesṣri. Bfr y cd hv sìn him lift hr fṛm ɖ grǎnd, ɖr ś wz in hr ples, freś n rozi, seyñ, “Jon! Hǎ cn y? Ʈnc v Tili!”

F I mt b alaud t mnśn a yuñ ledi’z legz on eni trmz, I wd obzrv v Mis Slǒbô’z ɖt ɖr wz a ftaḷti abt ɖm ẃć rendrd ɖm snğlrli laybl t b grezd; n ɖt ś nvr ifctd ɖ smōlist asent or dsent wɖt rcordñ ɖ srcmstans upn ɖm wɖ a noć, az Robinsn Crūzo marct ɖ dez upn hiz wŭdn caḷndr. Bt, az ɖs mt b cnsidrd unjntīl, I’l ʈnc v it.

“Jon! Y’v got ɖ bascit wɖ ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir?” sd Dot. “F y hv’nt y mst trn rnd agn ɖs vri minit.”

“Y’r a nîs litl articl,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, “t b tōcñ abt trnñ rnd, aftr cīpñ m a fl qortr v an aur bhnd mî tîm.”

“I am sori fr it, Jon,” sd Dot in a gret busl, “bt I riyli cd nt ʈnc v gwñ t Brʈa’z—I wd nt d it, Jon, on eni acǎnt—wɖt ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir. We!”

Ɖs moṇsiḷbl wz adrest t ɖ hors, hu dd’nt mînd it at ol.

“Ǒ, d we, Jon!” sd Msz. Pīribngl. “Plīz!”

“It’l b tîm inuf t d ɖt,” rtrnd Jon, “ẃn I bgin t līv ʈñz bhnd m. Ɖ bascit’s sef inuf.”

“Ẃt a hard-hartd monstr y mst b, Jon, nt t hv sd so at wns, n sev m sć a trn! I dcler I wd’nt g t Brʈa’z wɖt ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ʈñz, n ɖ botlz v Bir, fr eni muni. Reğlrli wns a fortnît evr sins w hv bn marid, Jon, hv w md ǎr litl Picnic ɖr. F enʈñ wz t g roñ wɖ it, I śd olmst ʈnc w wr nvr t b luci agn.”

“It wz a cînd ʈt in ɖ frst instns,” sd ɖ Carịr; “n I onr y fr it, litl wmn.”

“Mî dir Jon!” rplaid Dot, trnñ vri red. “D’nt tōc abt oṇrñ m. Gd greśs!”

“Bî-ɖ-bái”—obzrvd ɖ Carịr—“ɖt old jntlmn—”

Agn so viẓbli n instntli imbaṛst!

“H’z an od fiś,” sd ɖ Carịr, lcñ stret alñ ɖ rod bfr ɖm. “I c’nt mc him ǎt. I d’nt b’liv ɖr’z eni harm in him.”

“Nn at ol. I’m—I’m śr ɖr’z nn at ol.”

“Yes,” sd ɖ Carịr, wɖ hiz îz atractd t hr fes bî ɖ gret rṇstnis v hr manr. “I am glad y fīl so srtn v it, bcz it’s a conf̣meśn t m. It’s krịs ɖt h śd hv tecn it intu hiz hed t asc līv t g on lojñ wɖ s; an’t it? Ʈñz cm abt so strenjli.”

“So vri strenjli,” ś rjônd in a lo vôs, scersli ōḍbl.

“Hvr, h’z a gd-nećrd old jntlmn,” sd Jon, “n pez az a jntlmn, n I ʈnc hiz wrd z t b rlaid upn, lîc a jntlmn’z. I hd qt a loñ tōc wɖ him ɖs mornñ: h cn hír m betr olrdi, h sz, az h gts mor yst t mî vôs. H tld m a gret dīl abt himslf, n I tld him a gd dīl abt mslf, n a rer lot v qsćnz h asct m. I gev him inf̣meśn abt mî hvñ tū bìts, y nǒ, in mî biznis; wn de t ɖ rît fṛm ǎr hǎs n bac agn; anɖr de t ɖ left fṛm ǎr hǎs n bac agn (fr h’z a strenjr, n d’nt nǒ ɖ nemz v plesz abt hir); n h sīmd qt plizd. ‘Ẃ, ɖen I śl b rtrnñ hom tnît yr we,’ h sz, ‘ẃn I ʈt y’d b cmñ in an xacli oṗzit d’rex́n. Ɖt’s capitl! I me trubl y fr anɖr lift, phps, bt I’l ingej nt t fōl so sǎnd aslip agn.’ H wz sǎnd aslip, śrly!—Dot! ẃt r y ʈncñ v?”

“Ʈncñ v, Jon? I—I wz liṣnñ t y.”

“Ǒ! Ɖt’s ol rît!” sd ɖ onist Carịr. “I wz afred, fṛm ɖ lc v yr fes, ɖt I hd gn ramḅlñ on so loñ az t set y ʈncñ abt smʈñ els. I wz vri nir it, I’l b baund.”

Dot mcñ no rplî, ɖe jogd on, fr sm litl tîm, in sîḷns. Bt, it wz nt īzi t rmen sîḷnt vri loñ in Jon Pīribngl’z cart, fr evrbdi on ɖ rod hd smʈñ t se. Ɖo it mt onli b “Hǎ r y?” n, indd, it wz vri ofn nʈñ els, stl, t gv ɖt bac agn in ɖ rît spirit v cordiaḷti, rqîrd, nt mirli a nod n a smîl, bt az holsm an ax́n v ɖ luñz wɖōl az a loñ-windd Parḷmntri spīć. Smtmz, pasinjrz on ft, or horsbac, plodd on a litl we bsd ɖ cart, fr ɖ xpres prṗs v hvñ a ćat; n ɖen ɖr wz a gret dīl t b sd on bʈ sîdz.

Ɖen, Boxr gev oceźn t mor gd-nećrd recgniśnz v, n bî, ɖ Carịr, ɖn haf-a-duzn Crisćnz cd hv dn! Evrbdi ń him ol alñ ɖ rod—ispeṣ́li ɖ faulz n pigz, hu, ẃn ɖe sw him aproćñ, wɖ hiz bodi ol on wn sîd, n hiz irz prict p inqiztivli, n ɖt nob v a teil mcñ ɖ most v itslf in ɖ er, imīɉtli wɖdru intu rmot bacsetlmnts, wɖt wêtñ fr ɖ onr v a nirr aqentns. H hd biznis elsẃr; gwñ dǎn ol ɖ trnñz, lcñ intu ol ɖ wlz, boltñ in n ǎt v ol ɖ coṭjz, daśñ intu ɖ mdst v ol ɖ Dem Scūlz, fluṭrñ ol ɖ pijinz, magṇfayñ ɖ teilz v ol ɖ cats, n trotñ intu ɖ publichǎzz lîc a reğlr custmr. Ẃrvr h wnt, smbdi or uɖr mt hv bn hŕd t crî, “Hloa! hir’z Boxr!” n ǎt cem ɖt smbdi fʈwʈ, acumṗnid bî at līst tū or ʈri uɖr smbdiz, t gv Jon Pīribngl n hiz priti wîf Gd de.

Ɖ pac̣jz n parslz fr ɖ eṛnd cart wr ńmṛs; n ɖr wr mni stoṗjz t tec ɖm in n gv ɖm ǎt, ẃć wr nt bî eni mīnz ɖ wrst parts v ɖ jrni. Sm ppl wr so fl v xpcteśn abt ɖer parslz, n uɖr ppl wr so fl v wundr abt ɖer parslz, n uɖr ppl wr so fl v inixōstbl d’rex́nz abt ɖer parslz, n Jon hd sć a lîvli inṭrest in ol ɖ parslz, ɖt it wz az gd az a ple. Lîcwz, ɖr wr articlz t cari, ẃć rqîrd t b cnsidrd n dscust, n in refṛns t ɖ ajustmnt n dispziśn v ẃć caunslz hd t b holdn bî ɖ Carịr n ɖ sndrz: at ẃć Boxr yẓ́li asistd, in śort fits v ɖ closist atnśn, n loñ fits v tẹrñ rnd n rnd ɖ asmbld sejz, n barcñ himslf hōrs. V ol ɖz litl insidnts, Dot wz ɖ aḿzd n opn-aid spectetris fṛm hr ćer in ɖ cart; n az ś sat ɖr, lcñ on—a ćarmñ litl portrit fremd t adṃreśn bî ɖ tilt—ɖr wz no lac v nujñz n glansñz n ẃisṗrñz n enviyñz amñ ɖ yungr men. N ɖs dlîtd Jon ɖ Carịr bynd meźr; fr h wz prǎd t hv hiz litl wîf admîrd, nwñ ɖt ś dd’nt mînd it—ɖt, f enʈñ, ś rɖr lîct it phps.

Ɖ trip wz a litl fogi, t b śr, in ɖ Jańri weɖr; n wz rw n cold. Bt hu cerd fr sć trîflz? Nt Dot, dsîdidli. Nt Tili Slǒbô, fr ś dīmd sitñ in a cart, on eni trmz, t b ɖ hîist pônt v hymn jôz; ɖ crǎnñ srcmstans v rʈli hop. Nt ɖ Bebi, I’l b sworn; fr it’s nt in Bebi nećr t b wormr or mor sǎnd aslip, ɖo its cpaṣti z gret in bʈ rspcts, ɖn ɖt blest yuñ Pīribngl wz, ol ɖ we.

Y cd’nt si vri far in ɖ fog, v cors; bt y cd si a gret dīl! It’s astoṇśñ hǎ mć y me si in a ʈicr fog ɖn ɖt, f y wl onli tec ɖ trubl t lc fr it. Ẃ, īvn t sit woćñ fr ɖ Fẹrirñz in ɖ fīldz, n fr ɖ paćz v hōrfrost stl linġrñ in ɖ śêd, nir hejz n bî triz, wz a pleznt okpeśn, t mc no mnśn v ɖ unixpctd śeps in ẃć ɖ triz ɖmslvz cem startñ ǎt v ɖ mist, n glîdd intu it agn. Ɖ hejz wr tangld n bér, n wevd a multtyd v blîtd garḷndz in ɖ wind; bt ɖr wz no dscuṛjmnt in ɖs. It wz agriybl t contmplet; fr it md ɖ fîrsîd wormr in pześn, n ɖ sumr grīnr in xpctnsi. Ɖ rivr lct ćili; bt it wz in mośn, n muvñ at a gd pes—ẃć wz a gret pônt. Ɖ cnal wz rɖr slo n torpid; ɖt mst b admitd. Nvr mînd. It wd frīz ɖ snr ẃn ɖ frost set ferli in, n ɖen ɖr wd b scetñ n slîdñ; n ɖ hevi old barjz, frozn p smẃr nir a ẃorf, wd smoc ɖer rusti ayn ćimnipîps ol de, n hv a lezi tîm v it.

In wn ples ɖr wz a gret mǎnd v wīdz or stubl brnñ; n ɖe woćt ɖ fîr, so ẃît in ɖ dêtîm, flẹrñ ʈru ɖ fog, wɖ onli hir n ɖr a daś v red in it, untl, in consiqns, az ś obzrvd, v ɖ smoc “gtñ p hr nǒz,” Mis Slǒbô ćoct—ś cd d enʈñ v ɖt sort, on ɖ smōlist provceśn—n wouc ɖ Bebi, hu wd’nt g t slīp agn. Bt Boxr, hu wz in advans sm qortr v a mîl or so, hd olrdi pást ɖ ǎtposts v ɖ tǎn, n gend ɖ cornr v ɖ strīt ẃr Cêleb n hiz dōtr livd; n, loñ bfr ɖe hd rīćt ɖ dor, h n ɖ Blînd Grl wr on ɖ pevmnt wêtñ t rsiv ɖm.

Boxr, bî ɖ we, md srtn delic̣t dstñśnz v hiz ǒn, in hiz cḿṇceśn wɖ Brʈa, ẃć pswed m fŭli ɖt h ń hr t b blînd. H nvr sòt t atract hr atnśn bî lcñ at hr, az h ofn dd wɖ uɖr ppl, bt tućt hr inverịbli. Ẃt xpirịns h cd evr hv hd v blînd ppl or blînd dogz I d’nt nǒ. H hd nvr livd wɖ a blînd mastr; nr hd Mr. Boxr ɖ eldr, nr Msz. Boxr, nr eni v hiz rspctbl faṃli on îɖr sîd, evr bn viẓtd wɖ blîndnis, ɖt I am awer v. H me hv faund it ǎt fr himslf, phps, bt h hd got hold v it smhǎ; n ɖrfr h hd hold v Brʈa tù, bî ɖ scrt, n cept hold, untl Msz. Pīribngl n ɖ Bebi, n Mis Slǒbô n ɖ bascit, wr ol got sefli wɖn dorz.

Me Fīldñ wz olrdi cm; n so wz hr muɖr—a litl qeryḷs ćip v an old ledi wɖ a pīviś fes, hu, in rît v hvñ prizrvd a weist lîc a bedpost, wz s’pozd t b a most trnsndnt figr; n hu, in consiqns v hvñ wns bn betr of, or v leḅrñ undr an impreśn ɖt ś mt hv bn, f smʈñ hd hapnd ẃć nvr dd hapn, n sīmd t hv nvr bn ptiklrli lîcli t cm t pas—bt it’s ol ɖ sem—wz vri jntīl n patṛnîzñ indd. Gruf n Tacltn wz olso ɖr, dwñ ɖ agriybl, wɖ ɖ evidnt snseśn v biyñ az prf̣cli at hom, n az unqsćṇbli in hiz ǒn elimnt, az a freś yuñ samn on ɖ top v ɖ Gret Piṛmid.

“Me! Mî dir old frend!” craid Dot, runñ p t mīt hr. “Ẃt a hapinis t si y!”

Hr old frend wz, t ɖ fl, az harti n az glad az ś; n it riyli wz, f y’l b’liv m, qt a pleznt sît t si ɖm imbres. Tacltn wz a man v test, bynd ol qsćn. Me wz vri priti.

Y nǒ smtmz, ẃn y r yst t a priti fes, hǎ, ẃn it cmz intu contact n cmparisn wɖ anɖr priti fes, it sīmz fr ɖ momnt t b homli n fedd, n hardli t dzrv ɖ hî opińn y hv hd v it. Nǎ, ɖs wz nt at ol ɖ ces, îɖr wɖ Dot or Me; fr Me’z fes set of Dot’s, n Dot’s fes set of Me’z, so naćṛli n agriybli, ɖt, az Jon Pīribngl wz vri nir seyñ ẃn h cem intu ɖ rūm, ɖe òt t hv bn born sistrz—ẃć wz ɖ onli impruvmnt y cd hv sjstd.

Tacltn hd bròt hiz leg v mutn, n, wundrfl t rlet, a tart bsdz—bt w d’nt mînd a litl diṣpeśn ẃn ǎr brîdz r in ɖ ces; w d’nt gt marid evri de—n, in adiśn t ɖz dentiz, ɖr wr ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî, n “ʈñz,” az Msz. Pīribngl cōld ɖm; ẃć wr ćīfli nuts n oṛnjz, n cecs, n sć smōl dír. Ẃn ɖ rpast wz set fʈ on ɖ bōrd, flanct bî Cêleb’z contṛbyśn, ẃć wz a gret wŭdn bol v smocñ ptetoz (h wz pṛhibtd, bî soḷm compact, fṛm pṛdysñ eni uɖr vayndz), Tacltn léd hiz intndd muɖr-in-lw t ɖ post v onr. Fr ɖ betr gresñ v ɖs ples at ɖ hî fstivl, ɖ mjestic old soul hd adornd hrslf wɖ a cap, calkletd t inspîr ɖ ʈtlis wɖ sntimnts v ō. Ś olso wòr hr gluvz. Bt let s b jntīl, or dî!

Cêleb sat nxt hiz dōtr; Dot n hr old scūlfelo wr sîd bî sîd; ɖ gd Carịr tc cer v ɖ botm v ɖ tebl. Mis Slǒbô wz îṣletd, fr ɖ tîm biyñ, fṛm evri articl v frnićr bt ɖ ćer ś sat on, ɖt ś mt hv nʈñ els t noc ɖ Bebi’z hed agnst.

Az Tili stérd abt hr at ɖ dolz n tôz, ɖe stérd at hr n at ɖ cumṗni. Ɖ venṛbl old jntlṃn at ɖ strītdorz (hu wr ol in fl ax́n) śoud ispeśl inṭrest in ɖ parti, pōzñ oceźṇli bfr līpñ, az f ɖe wr liṣnñ t ɖ convseśn, n ɖen plunjñ wîldli ovr n ovr, a gret mni tîmz, wɖt hōltñ fr breʈ—az in a frantic stet v dlît wɖ ɖ hol pṛsidñz.

Srtnli, f ɖz old jntlṃn wr inclînd t hv a fīndiś jô in ɖ contmpleśn v Tacltn’z dscumfićr, ɖe hd gd rīzn t b saṭsfaid. Tacltn cd’nt gt on at ol; n ɖ mor ćirfl hiz intndd brîd bcem in Dot’s ssayti, ɖ les h lîct it, ɖo h hd bròt ɖm tgɖr fr ɖt prṗs. Fr h wz a reğlr dog in ɖ menjr, wz Tacltn; n, ẃn ɖe laft n h cd’nt, h tc it intu hiz hed, imīɉtli, ɖt ɖe mst b lafñ at him.

“Ā, Me!” sd Dot. “Dir, dir, ẃt ćenjz! T tōc v ɖoz meri scūl dez mcs wn yuñ agn.”

“Ẃ, y an’t ptiklrli old at eni tîm, r y?” sd Tacltn.

“Lc at mî sobr, plodñ huzbnd ɖr,” rtrnd Dot. “H adz twenti yirz t mî ej at līst. D’nt y, Jon?”

“Forti,” Jon rplaid.

“Hǎ mni y’l ad t Mẹri’z, I am śr I d’nt nǒ,” sd Dot, lafñ. “Bt ś c’nt b mć les ɖn a hundṛd yirz v ej on hr nxt brʈde.”

“Ha, ha!” laft Tacltn. Holo az a drum ɖt laf, ɖo. N h lct az f h cd hv twistd Dot’s nec cumftbli.

“Dir, dir!” sd Dot. “Onli t rmembr hǎ w yst t tōc, at scūl, abt ɖ huzbndz w wd ćūz. I d’nt nǒ hǎ yuñ, n hǎ hansm, n hǎ ge, n hǎ lîvli mîn wz nt t b! N az t Me’z!—Ā dir! I d’nt nǒ ẃɖr t laf or crî, ẃn I ʈnc ẃt sili grlz w wr.”

Me sīmd t nǒ ẃć t d; fr ɖ culr flaśt intu hr fes, n tirz std in hr îz.

“Īvn ɖ vri prsnz ɖmslvz—riyl lîv yuñ men—w fixt on smtmz,” sd Dot. “W litl ʈt hǎ ʈñz wd cm abt. I nvr fixt on Jon, I’m śr; I nvr so mć az ʈt v him. N, f I hd tld y y wr evr t b marid t Mr. Tacltn, ẃ, y’d hv slapt m. Wd’nt y, Me?”

Ɖo Me dd’nt se yes, ś srtnli dd’nt se no, or xpres no, bî eni mīnz.

Tacltn laft—qt śǎtd, h laft so lǎd. Jon Pīribngl laft tù, in hiz ordnri gd-nećrd n cntntd manr; bt hiz wz a mir ẃispr v a laf t Tacltn’z.

“Y cd’nt hlp yrslvz, fr ol ɖt. Y cd’nt rzist s, y si,” sd Tacltn. “Hir w r! Hir w r! Ẃr r yr ge yuñ brîdgrūmz nǎ?”

“Sm v ɖm r ded,” sd Dot; “n sm v ɖm fgotn. Sm v ɖm, f ɖe cd stand amñ s at ɖs momnt, wd nt b’liv w wr ɖ sem crīćrz; wd nt b’liv ɖt ẃt ɖe sw n hŕd wz riyl, n w cd fget ɖm so. No! ɖe wd nt b’liv wn wrd v it!”

“Ẃ, Dot!” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “Litl wmn!”

Ś hd spocn wɖ sć rṇstnis n fîr, ɖt ś std in nīd v sm rcōlñ t hrslf, wɖt dǎt. Hr huzbnd’z ćec wz vri jntl, fr h mirli inṭfird, az h s’pozd, t śīld old Tacltn; bt it pruvd ifcćl, fr ś stopt, n sd no mor. Ɖr wz an uncomn ajteśn, īvn in hr sîḷns, ẃć ɖ wẹri Tacltn, hu hd bròt hiz haf-śut î t ber upn hr, notd closli, n rmembrd t sm prṗs tù.

Me utrd no wrd, gd or bad, bt sat qt stl, wɖ hr îz cast dǎn, n md no sîn v inṭrest in ẃt hd pást. Ɖ gd ledi hr muɖr nǎ inṭpozd, obzrvñ, in ɖ frst instns, ɖt grlz wr grlz, n bîgonz bîgonz, n ɖt, so loñ az yuñ ppl wr yuñ n ʈtlis, ɖe wd probbli conduct ɖmslvz lîc yuñ n ʈtlis prsnz: wɖ tū or ʈri uɖr pziśnz v a no les sǎnd n incontṛvrtbl caṛctr. Ś ɖen rmarct, in a dvǎt spirit, ɖt ś ʈanct Hevn ś hd olwz faund in hr dōtr Me a dytifl n obījnt ćîld: fr ẃć ś tc no credit t hrslf, ɖo ś hd evri rīzn t b’liv it wz intîrli owñ t hrslf. Wɖ rgard t Mr. Tacltn, ś sd, Ɖt h wz in a moṛl pônt v vy an undinaybl indivijl, n Ɖt h wz in an eliɉbl pônt v vy a sun-in-lw t b dzîrd, nwn in ɖer snsz cd dǎt. (Ś wz vri imfatic hir.) Wɖ rgard t ɖ faṃli intu ẃć h wz so sn abt, aftr sm s’liṣteśn, t b admitd, ś b’livd Mr. Tacltn ń ɖt, olɖo rdyst in prs, it hd sm pritnśnz t jntiḷti; n ɖt f srtn srcmstansz, nt hoļi uncnctd, ś wd g so far az t se, wɖ ɖ Inḍgo Tred, bt t ẃć ś wd nt mor ptiklrli rfŕ, hd hapnd difṛntli, it mt phps hv bn in pześn v wlʈ. Ś ɖen rmarct ɖt ś wd nt alud t ɖ past, n wd nt mnśn ɖt hr dōtr hd fr sm tîm rjctd ɖ sūt v Mr. Tacltn; n ɖt ś wd nt se a gret mni uɖr ʈñz ẃć ś dd se at gret leñʈ. Fîṇli, ś dlivrd it az ɖ jenṛl rzult v hr obẓveśn n xpirịns, ɖt ɖoz maṛjz in ẃć ɖr wz līst v ẃt wz r’manticli n silili cōld luv, wr olwz ɖ hapiist; n ɖt ś antiṣpetd ɖ gretist poṣbl amǎnt v blis—nt rapćṛs blis; bt ɖ solid, stedi-gwñ articl—fṛm ɖ aproćñ nupślz. Ś cncludd bî informñ ɖ cumṗni ɖt tmoro wz ɖ de ś hd livd fr xpresli; n ɖt, ẃn it wz ovr, ś wd dzîr nʈñ betr ɖn t b pact p n dspozd v in eni jntīl ples v berịl.

Az ɖz rmarcs wr qt unansṛbl—ẃć z ɖ hapi proṗti v ol rmarcs ɖt r sfiśntli wîd v ɖ prṗs—ɖe ćenjd ɖ cuṛnt v ɖ convseśn, n dvrtd ɖ jenṛl atnśn t ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî, ɖ cold mutn, ɖ ptetoz, n ɖ tart. In ordr ɖt ɖ botld bir mt nt b slîtd, Jon Pīribngl pṛpozd Tmoro: ɖ Wedñde; n cōld upn ɖm t drinc a bumpr t it, bfr h pṛsidd on hiz jrni.

Fr y òt t nǒ ɖt h onli restd ɖr, n gev ɖ old hors a beit. H hd t g sm for or fîv mîlz farɖr on; n, ẃn h rtrnd in ɖ īvnñ, h cōld fr Dot, n tc anɖr rest on hiz we hom. Ɖs wz ɖ ordr v ɖ de on ol ɖ Picnic oceźnz, n hd bn evr sins ɖer insttyśn.

Ɖr wr tū prsnz preznt, bsdz ɖ brîd n brîdgrūm ilect, hu dd bt indifṛnt onr t ɖ tost. Wn v ɖz wz Dot, tù fluśt n discmpozd t adapt hrslf t eni smōl ocuṛns v ɖ momnt; ɖ uɖr, Brʈa, hu rouz p huridli bfr ɖ rest, n left ɖ tebl.

“Gdbî!” sd stǎt Jon Pīribngl, pŭlñ on hiz drednòt cot. “I śl b bac at ɖ old tîm. Gdbî ol!”

“Gdbî, Jon,” rtrnd Cêleb.

H sīmd t se it bî rǒt, n t wev hiz hand in ɖ sem unconśs manr; fr h std obzrvñ Brʈa wɖ an añśs wunḍrñ fes, ɖt nvr oltrd its xpreśn.

“Gdbî, yuñ śevr!” sd ɖ joli Carịr, bndñ dǎn t cis ɖ ćîld; ẃć Tili Slǒbô, nǎ intnt upn hr nîf n forc, hd dpoztd aslip (n, strenj t se, wɖt damij) in a litl cót v Brʈa’z frṇśñ; “gdbî! Tîm wl cm, I s’poz, ẃn y’l trn ǎt intu ɖ cold, mî litl frend, n līv yr old faɖr t injô hiz pîp n hiz rūmatics in ɖ ćimnicornr; ê? Ẃr’z Dot?”

“I’m hir, Jon!” ś sd, startñ.

“Cm, cm!” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, clapñ hiz sǎndñ handz. “Ẃr’z ɖ pîp?”

“I qt fgot ɖ pîp, Jon.”

Fgot ɖ pîp! Wz sć a wundr evr hŕd v? Ś! Fgot ɖ pîp!

“I’l—I’l fil it d’recli. It’s sn dn.”

Bt it wz nt so sn dn, îɖr. It le in ɖ yźl ples—ɖ Carịr’z drednòt pocit—wɖ ɖ litl pǎć, hr ǒn wrc, fṛm ẃć ś wz yst t fil it; bt hr hand śc so, ɖt ś intangld it (n yt hr hand wz smōl inuf t hv cm ǎt īẓli, I am śr), n bungld teṛbli. Ɖ filñ v ɖ pîp n lîtñ it, ɖoz litl of̣sz in ẃć I hv cmndd hr dscreśn, wr vîļi dn fṛm frst t last. Jrñ ɖ hol proses, Tacltn std lcñ on mliśsli wɖ ɖ haf-clozd î; ẃć, ẃnvr it met hrz—or còt it, fr it cn hardli b sd t hv evr met anɖr î: rɖr biyñ a cnd v trap t snać it p—ōgmntd hr cnfyźn in a most rmarcbl dgri.

“Ẃ, ẃt a clumzi Dot y r ɖs afṭnun!” sd Jon. “I cd hv dn it betr mslf, I veṛli b’liv!”

Wɖ ɖz gd-nećrd wrdz, h stroud awe, n prezntli wz hŕd, in cumṗni wɖ Boxr, n ɖ old hors, n ɖ cart, mcñ lîvli ḿzic dǎn ɖ rod. Ẃt tîm ɖ drīmi Cêleb stl std, woćñ hiz blînd dōtr, wɖ ɖ sem xpreśn on hiz fes.

“Brʈa!” sd Cêleb, softli. “Ẃt hz hapnd? Hǎ ćenjd y r, mî darlñ, in a fy aurz—sins ɖs mornñ! Y sîḷnt n dul ol de! Ẃt z it? Tel m!”

“Ǒ, faɖr, faɖr!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, brstñ intu tirz. “Ǒ, mî hard, hard fet!”

Cêleb drù hiz hand acrs hiz îz bfr h ansrd hr.

“Bt ʈnc hǎ ćirfl n hǎ hapi y hv bn, Brʈa! Hǎ gd, n hǎ mć luvd, bî mni ppl.”

“Ɖt strîcs m t ɖ hart, dir faɖr! Olwz so mîndfl v m! Olwz so cînd t m!”

Cêleb wz vri mć pplext t unḍstand hr.

“T b—t b blînd, Brʈa, mî pur dir,” h fōltrd, “z a gret aflix́n; bt—”

“I hv nvr flt it!” craid ɖ Blînd Grl. “I hv nvr flt it in its flnis. Nvr! I hv smtmz wśt ɖt I cd si y, or cd si him—onli wns, dir faɖr, onli fr wn litl minit—ɖt I mt nǒ ẃt it z I treźr p,” ś leid hr handz upn hr brest, “n hold hir! Ɖt I mt b śr I hv it rît! N smtmz (bt ɖen I wz a ćîld) I hv wept in mî prerz at nît, t ʈnc ɖt, ẃn yr iṃjz asndd fṛm mî hart t Hevn, ɖe mt nt b ɖ tru rzmbḷns v yrslvz. Bt I hv nvr hd ɖz fīlñz loñ. Ɖe hv pást awe, n left m tranqil n cntntd.”

“N ɖe wl agn,” sd Cêleb.

“Bt, faɖr! Ǒ, mî gd jntl faɖr, ber wɖ m, f I am wicid!” sd ɖ Blînd Grl. “Ɖs z nt ɖ soro ɖt so weiz m dǎn!”

Hr faɖr cd nt ćūz bt let hiz môst îz oṿflo; ś wz so rnist n pʈetic. Bt h dd nt unḍstand hr yt.

“Brñ hr t m,” sd Brʈa. “I canot hold it clozd n śut wɖn mslf. Brñ hr t m, faɖr!”

Ś ń h heztetd, n sd, “Me. Brñ Me!”

Me hŕd ɖ mnśn v hr nem, n, cmñ qaytli twdz hr, tućt hr on ɖ arm. Ɖ Blînd Grl trnd imīɉtli, n hld hr bî bʈ handz.

“Lc intu mî fes, Dir hart, Swīt hart!” sd Brʈa. “Rīd it wɖ yr bytifl îz, n tel m f ɖ truʈ z ritn on it.”

“Dir Brʈa, yes!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl, stl uptrnñ ɖ blanc sîtlis fes, dǎn ẃć ɖ tirz wr corsñ fast, adrest hr in ɖz wrdz:

“Ɖr z nt, in mî soul, a wś or ʈt ɖt z nt fr yr gd, brît Me! Ɖr z nt, in mî soul, a gretfl rec̣lex́n strongr ɖn ɖ dīp rmembṛns ẃć z stord ɖr v ɖ mni mni tîmz ẃn, in ɖ fl prîd v sît n byti, y hv hd cnsiḍreśn fr Blînd Brʈa, īvn ẃn w tū wr ćildṛn, or ẃn Brʈa wz az mć a ćîld az evr blîndnis cn b! Evri blesñ on yr hed! Lît upn yr hapi cors! Nt ɖ les, mî dir Me,”—n ś drù twdz hr in a closr grasp,—“nt ɖ les, mî brd, bcz, tde, ɖ nolij ɖt y r t b Hiz wîf hz rúñ mî hart olmst t brecñ! Faɖr, Me, Mẹri! Ǒ, fgiv m ɖt it z so, fr ɖ sec v ol h hz dn t rliv ɖ wirinis v mî darc lîf: n fr ɖ sec v ɖ b’lif y hv in m, ẃn I cōl Hevn t witnis ɖt I cd nt wś him marid t a wîf mor wrɖi v hiz gdnis!”

Ẃl spīcñ, ś hd rlist Me Fīldñ’z handz, n claspt hr garmnts in an attyd v mngld supḷceśn n luv. Sncñ lowr n lowr dǎn, az ś pṛsidd in hr strenj cnfeśn, ś dropt at last at ɖ fīt v hr frend, n hid hr blînd fes in ɖ foldz v hr dres.

“Gret Pǎr!” xclemd hr faɖr, smitn at wn blo wɖ ɖ truʈ, “hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart at last?”

It wz wel fr ol v ɖm ɖt Dot, ɖt bīmñ, ysfl, bizi litl Dot—fr sć ś wz, ẃtvr fōlts ś hd, n hvr y me lrn t het hr, in gd tîm—it wz wel fr ol v ɖm, I se, ɖt ś wz ɖr, or ẃr ɖs wd hv endd, it wr hard t tel. Bt Dot, rcuṿrñ hr slf-pześn, inṭpozd, bfr Me cd rplî, or Cêleb se anɖr wrd.

“Cm, cm, dir Brʈa! cm awe wɖ m! Gv hr yr arm, Me! So. Hǎ cmpozd ś z, y si, olrdi; n hǎ gd it z v hr t mînd s,” sd ɖ ćiri litl wmn, cisñ hr upn ɖ fōrhed. “Cm awe, dir Brʈa! Cm! n hir’z hr gd faɖr wl cm wɖ hr, w’nt y, Cêleb? T—b—śr!”

Wel, wel! ś wz a nobl litl Dot in sć ʈñz, n it mst hv bn an objṛt nećr ɖt cd hv wɖstd hr inflụns. Ẃn ś hd got pur Cêleb n hiz Brʈa awe, ɖt ɖe mt cumf̣t n cnsol ć uɖr, az ś ń ɖe onli cd, ś prezntli cem bǎnsñ bac,—ɖ seyñ z, az freś az eni deizi; I se freśr—t mǎnt gard ovr ɖt braiḍlñ litl pìs v consiqns in ɖ cap n gluvz, n privnt ɖ dir old crīćr fṛm mcñ dscuṿriz.

“So brñ m ɖ preśs Bebi, Tili,” sd ś, drw̃ a ćer t ɖ fîr; “n ẃl I hv it in mî lap, hir’z Msz. Fīldñ, Tili, wl tel m ol abt ɖ manijmnt v Bebiz, n pt m rît in twenti pônts ẃr I’m az roñ az cn b. W’nt y, Msz. Fīldñ?”

“So brñ m ɖ preśs Bebi, Tili,” sd ś, drw̃ a ćer t ɖ fîr; “n ẃl I hv it in mî lap, hir’z Msz. Fīldñ, Tili, wl tel m ol abt ɖ manijmnt v Bebiz, n pt m rît in twenti pônts ẃr I’m az roñ az cn b. W’nt y, Msz. Fīldñ?”

Nt īvn ɖ Wlś Jaynt, hu, acordñ t ɖ popylr xpreśn, wz so “slo” az t pform a fetl srjicl oṗreśn upn himslf, in eḿleśn v a juġlñ tric aćivd bî hiz arć eṇmi at brecfsțîm; nt īvn h fél haf so reḍli intu ɖ sner priperd fr him az ɖ old ledi intu ɖs artfl pitfōl. Ɖ fact v Tacltn hvñ wōct ǎt; n frɖrmr, v tū or ʈri ppl hvñ bn tōcñ tgɖr at a distns, fr tū minits, līvñ hr t hr ǒn rzorsz; wz qt inuf t hv pt hr on hr digṇti, n ɖ bweilmnt v ɖt mstirịs cnvulśn in ɖ Inḍgo Tred, fr for-n-twenti aurz. Bt ɖs bcmñ defṛns t hr xpirịns, on ɖ part v ɖ yuñ muɖr, wz so irizistbl, ɖt aftr a śort afcteśn v hymiḷti, ś bgan t inlîtn hr wɖ ɖ bst gres in ɖ wrld; n, sitñ bolt uprît bfr ɖ wicid Dot, ś dd, in haf an aur, dlivr mor infaḷbl dmestic reṣpiz n prīsepts ɖn wd (f actd on) hv utrli dstroid n dn p ɖt Yuñ Pīribngl, ɖo h hd bn an Inf̣nt Samsn.

T ćenj ɖ ʈīm, Dot dd a litl nīdlwrc—ś carid ɖ contents v a hol wrcbox in hr pocit; hvr ś cntrîvd it, I d’nt nǒ—ɖen dd a litl nrsñ; ɖen a litl mor nīdlwrc; ɖen hd a litl ẃisṗrñ ćat wɖ Me, ẃl ɖ old ledi dozd; n so in litl bits v busl, ẃć wz qt hr manr olwz, faund it a vri śort afṭnun. Ɖen, az it grù darc, n az it wz a soḷm part v ɖs Insttyśn v ɖ Picnic ɖt ś śd pform ol Brʈa’z hǎshold tascs, ś trimd ɖ fîr, n swept ɖ harʈ, n set ɖ tībōrd ǎt, n drù ɖ crtn, n lîtd a candl. Ɖen ś pleid an er or tū on a rūd cnd v harp, ẃć Cêleb hd cntrîvd fr Brʈa, n pleid ɖm vri wel; fr Nećr hd md hr delic̣t litl ir az ćôs a wn fr ḿzic az it wd hv bn fr juwlz, f ś hd hd eni t wer. Bî ɖs tîm it wz ɖ istabliśt aur fr hvñ ti; n Tacltn cem bac agn t śer ɖ mīl, n spend ɖ īvnñ.

Cêleb n Brʈa hd rtrnd sm tîm bfr, n Cêleb hd sat dǎn t hiz afṭnun’z wrc. Bt h cd’nt setl t it, pur felo, biyñ añśs n rmorsfl fr hiz dōtr. It wz tućñ t si him sitñ îdl on hiz wrcñstūl, rgardñ hr so wistf̣li, n olwz seyñ in hiz fes, “Hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart?”

Ẃn it wz nît, n ti wz dn, n Dot hd nʈñ mor t d in wośñ p ɖ cups n sōsrz; in a wrd—fr I mst cm t it, n ɖr z no ys in ptñ it of—ẃn ɖ tîm drù nî fr xpctñ ɖ Carịr’z rtrn in evri sǎnd v distnt ẃīlz, hr manr ćenjd agn, hr culr cem n wnt, n ś wz vri restlis. Nt az gd wîvz r ẃn liṣnñ fr ɖer huzbndz. No, no, no. It wz anɖr sort v restlisnis fṛm ɖt.

Ẃīlz hŕd. A hors’z fīt. Ɖ barcñ v a dog. Ɖ grajl aproć v ol ɖ sǎndz. Ɖ scraćñ pw v Boxr at ɖ dor!

“Huz step z ɖt?” craid Brʈa, startñ p.

“Huz step?” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, standñ in ɖ portl, wɖ hiz brǎn fes rudi az a wintrbéri fṛm ɖ cīn nîter. “Ẃ, mîn.”

“Ɖ uɖr step,” sd Brʈa. “Ɖ man’z tréd bhnd y!”

“Ś z nt t b dsivd,” obzrvd ɖ Carịr, lafñ. “Cm alñ, sr. Y’l b welcm, nvr fir!”

H spouc in a lǎd ton; n, az h spouc, ɖ def old jntlmn entrd.

“H’z nt so mć a strenjr ɖt y hv’nt sìn him wns, Cêleb,” sd ɖ Carịr. “Y’l gv him hǎsrūm tl w g?”

“Ǒ, śrli, Jon, n tec it az an onr!”

“H’z ɖ bst cumṗni on rʈ t tōc sīcrits in,” sd Jon. “I hv rīzṇbl gd luñz, bt h trîz ’m, I cn tel y. Sit dǎn, sr. Ol frendz hir, n glad t si y!”

Ẃn h hd impartd ɖs aśuṛns, in a vôs ɖt ampli c’roḅretd ẃt h hd sd abt hiz luñz, h add in hiz naćṛl ton, “A ćer in ɖ ćimnicornr, n līv t sit qt sîḷnt n lc plezntli abt him, z ol h cerz fr. H’z īẓli plizd.”

Brʈa hd bn liṣnñ intntli. Ś cōld Cêleb t hr sîd, ẃn h hd set ɖ ćer, n asct him, in a lo vôs, t dscrîb ɖer vizitr. Ẃn h hd dn so (trūli nǎ, wɖ scrūpyḷs fideḷti), ś muvd, fr ɖ frst tîm sins h hd cm in, n said, n sīmd t hv no frɖr inṭrest cnsrnñ him.

Ɖ Carịr wz in hî spirits, gd felo ɖt h wz, n fondr v hiz litl wîf ɖn evr.

“A clumzi Dot ś wz, ɖs afṭnun!” h sd, insrc̣lñ hr wɖ hiz ruf arm, az ś std, rmuvd fṛm ɖ rest; “n yt I lîc hr smhǎ. Si yondr, Dot!”

H pôntd t ɖ old man. Ś lct dǎn. I ʈnc ś trembld.

“H’z—ha, ha, ha!—h’z fl v adṃreśn fr y!” sd ɖ Carịr. “Tōct v nʈñ els ɖ hol we hir. Ẃ, h’z a brev old bô! I lîc him fr it!”

“I wś h hd a betr subjict, Jon,” ś sd wɖ an unīzi glans abt ɖ rūm. At Tacltn ispeṣ́li.

“A betr subjict!” craid ɖ jovịl Jon. “Ɖr’z no sć ʈñ. Cm! of wɖ ɖ gretcot, of wɖ ɖ ʈic śōl, of wɖ ɖ hevi ráprz! n a cozi haf-aur bî ɖ fîr. Mî humbl srvis, mistris. A gem at cribij, y n I? Ɖt’s harti. Ɖ cardz n bōrd, Dot. N a glas v bir hir, f ɖr’z eni left, smōl wîf!”

Hiz ćalinj wz adrest t ɖ old ledi, hu, axptñ it wɖ greśs redinis, ɖe wr sn ingejd upn ɖ gem. At frst, ɖ Carịr lct abt him smtmz wɖ a smîl, or nǎ n ɖen cōld Dot t pīp ovr hiz śoldr at hiz hand, n advîz him on sm nóti pônt. Bt hiz advrṣri biyñ a rijid diṣplinerịn, n subjict t an oceźnl wìcnis in rspct v pegñ mor ɖn ś wz intîtld t, rqîrd sć vijiḷns on hiz part, az left him nɖr îz nr irz t sper. Ɖus, hiz hol atnśn graɉli bcem abzorbd upn ɖ cardz; n h ʈt v nʈñ els, untl a hand upn hiz śoldr rstord him t a conśsnis v Tacltn.

“I am sori t dstrb y—bt a wrd d’recli.”

“I’m gwñ t dīl,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “It’s a crîsis.”

“It z,” sd Tacltn. “Cm hir, man!”

Ɖr wz ɖt in hiz pel fes ẃć md ɖ uɖr rîz imīɉtli, n asc him, in a huri, ẃt ɖ matr wz.

“Huś! Jon Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn, “I am sori fr ɖs. I am indd. I hv bn afred v it. I hv sspctd it fṛm ɖ frst.”

“Ẃt z it?” asct ɖ Carịr wɖ a frîtnd aspect.

“Huś! I’l śo y, f y’l cm wɖ m.”

Ɖ Carịr acumṗnid him wɖt anɖr wrd. Ɖe wnt acrs a yard, ẃr ɖ starz wr śînñ, n bî a litl sîddor, intu Tacltn’z ǒn cǎntñhǎs, ẃr ɖr wz a glas windo, cmandñ ɖ wéŗūm, ẃć wz clozd fr ɖ nît. Ɖr wz no lît in ɖ cǎntñhǎs itslf, bt ɖr wr lamps in ɖ loñ naro wéŗūm; n consiqntli ɖ windo wz brît.

“A momnt!” sd Tacltn. “Cn y ber t lc ʈru ɖt windo, d y ʈnc?”

“Ẃ nt?” rtrnd ɖ Carịr.

“A momnt mor,” sd Tacltn. “D’nt cmit eni vayḷns. It’s v no ys. It’s denjṛs tù. Y’r a stroñ-md man; n y mt d mrdr bfr y nǒ it.”

Ɖ Carịr lct him in ɖ fes, n rcôld a step az f h hd bn struc. In wn strîd h wz at ɖ windo, n h sw——

Ǒ, Śado on ɖ Harʈ! Ǒ, truʈfl Cricit! Ǒ, pfidịs wîf!

H sw hr wɖ ɖ old man—old no longr, bt irect n gaḷnt—bẹrñ in hiz hand ɖ fōls ẃît her ɖt hd wún hiz we intu ɖer dezḷt n mizṛbl hom. H sw hr liṣnñ t him, az h bnt hiz hed t ẃispr in hr ir; n suf̣rñ him t clasp hr rnd ɖ weist, az ɖe muvd slǒli dǎn ɖ dim wŭdn gaḷri twdz ɖ dor bî ẃć ɖe hd entrd it. H sw ɖm stop, n sw hr trn—t hv ɖ fes, ɖ fes h luvd so, so prizntd t hiz vy!—n sw hr, wɖ hr ǒn handz, ajust ɖ lî upn hiz hed, lafñ, az ś dd it, at hiz unsspiśs nećr!

H clenćt hiz stroñ rît hand at frst, az f it wd hv bìtn dǎn a layn. Bt, oṗnñ it imīɉtli agn, h spred it ǎt bfr ɖ îz v Tacltn (fr h wz tndr v hr īvn ɖen), n so, az ɖe pást ǎt, fél dǎn upn a dsc, n wz az wìc az eni inf̣nt.

H wz rápt p t ɖ ćin, n bizi wɖ hiz hors n parslz, ẃn ś cem intu ɖ rūm, priperd fr gwñ hom.

“Nǎ, Jon dir! Gd nît, Me! Gd nît, Brʈa!”

Cd ś cis ɖm? Cd ś b blîɖ n ćirfl in hr partñ? Cd ś vnćr t rvil hr fes t ɖm wɖt a bluś? Yes. Tacltn obzrvd hr closli, n ś dd ol ɖs.

Tili wz huśñ ɖ bebi, n ś crost n rīcrost Tacltn a duzn tîmz, rpitñ drǎẓli:

“Dd ɖ nolij ɖt it wz t b its wîvz, ɖen, riñ its hārts olmst t brecñ; n dd its faɖrz dsiv it fṛm its credlz bt t brec its hārts at last!”

“Nǎ, Tili, gv m ɖ Bebi! Gd nît, Mr. Tacltn. Ẃr’z Jon, fr gdnis’ sec?”

“H’z gwñ t wōc bsd ɖ hors’z hed,” sd Tacltn; hu hlpt hr t hr sīt.

“Mî dir Jon! Wōc? Tnît?”

Ɖ mufld figr v hr huzbnd md a hesti sîn in ɖ afrṃtiv; n, ɖ fōls strenjr n ɖ litl nrs biyñ in ɖer plesz, ɖ old hors muvd of. Boxr, ɖ unconśs Boxr, runñ on bfr, runñ bac, runñ rnd n rnd ɖ cart, n barcñ az trîumfntli n meṛli az evr.

Ẃn Tacltn hd gn of lîcwz, iscortñ Me n hr muɖr hom, pur Cêleb sat dǎn bî ɖ fîr bsd hiz dōtr; añśs n rmorsfl at ɖ cor; n stl seyñ, in hiz wistfl contmpleśn v hr, “Hv I dsivd hr fṛm hr credl, bt t brec hr hart at last?”

Ɖ tôz ɖt hd bn set in mośn fr ɖ Bebi hd ol stopt n run dǎn loñ ago. In ɖ fent lît n sîḷns, ɖ imṗtrbbli cām dolz, ɖ ajtetd rocñhorsz wɖ dstndd îz n nostṛlz, ɖ old jntlṃn at ɖ strītdorz, standñ haf dubld p upn ɖer felñ niz n anclz, ɖ rai-fest nutcracrz, ɖ vri Bīsts upn ɖer we intu ɖ Arc, in tūz, lîc a Bordñscūl ǎt wōcñ, mt hv bn imajind t b stricn mośnlis wɖ fntastic wundr at Dot biyñ fōls, or Tacltn b’luvid, undr eni combneśn v srcmstansz.

ĆRP Ɖ ƮRD

Ɖ  Duć cloc in ɖ cornr struc Ten ẃn ɖ Carịr sat dǎn bî hiz fîrsîd. So trubld n grīf-wòrn ɖt h sīmd t scer ɖ Ccu, hu, hvñ cut hiz ten mlodịs anǎnsmnts az śort az poṣbl, plunjd bac intu ɖ Mūriś Palis agn, n clapt hiz litl dor bhnd him, az f ɖ unwontd specṭcl wr tù mć fr hiz fīlñz.

F ɖ litl Hei-mcr hd bn armd wɖ ɖ śarpist v sîɖz, n hd cut at evri stroc intu ɖ Carịr’z hart, h nvr cd hv gaśt n wūndd it az Dot hd dn.

It wz a hart so fl v luv fr hr; so baund p n hld tgɖr bî ińmṛbl ʈredz v winñ rmembṛns, spun fṛm ɖ dêli wrcñ v hr mni qoḷtz v indirmnt; it wz a hart in ẃć ś hd inśrînd hrslf so jntli n so closli; a hart so sngl n so rnist in its Truʈ, so stroñ in rît, so wìc in roñ,—ɖt it cd ćeriś nɖr paśn nr rvnj at frst, n hd onli rūm t hold ɖ brocn imij v its Aidl.

Bt, slǒli, slǒli, az ɖ Carịr sat brūdñ on hiz harʈ, nǎ cold n darc, uɖr n firsr ʈts bgan t rîz wɖn him, az an angri wind cmz rîzñ in ɖ nît. Ɖ Strenjr wz bnʈ hiz ǎtrejd rūf. Ʈri steps wd tec him t hiz ćembrdor. Wn blo wd bìt it in. “Y mt d mrdr bfr y nǒ it,” Tacltn hd sd. Hǎ cd it b mrdr, f h gev ɖ viḷn tîm t grapl wɖ him hand t hand? H wz ɖ yungr man.

It wz an il-tîmd ʈt, bad fr ɖ darc mūd v hiz mînd. It wz an angri ʈt, gǒdñ him t sm avnjñ act, ɖt śd ćenj ɖ ćirfl hǎs intu a hōntd ples ẃć lonli travlrz wd dred t pas bî nît; n ẃr ɖ timid wd si śadoz struġlñ in ɖ ruind windoz ẃn ɖ mūn wz dim, n hír wîld nôzz in ɖ stormi weɖr.

H wz ɖ yungr man! Yes, yes; sm luvr hu hd wún ɖ hart ɖt h hd nvr tućt. Sm luvr v hr rli ćôs, v hūm ś hd ʈt n drīmd, fr hūm ś hd pînd n pînd, ẃn h hd fansid hr so hapi bî hiz sîd. Ǒ, aġni t ʈnc v it!

Ś hd bn abv-sterz wɖ ɖ Bebi; gtñ it t bed. Az h sat brūdñ on ɖ harʈ, ś cem clos bsd him, wɖt hiz nolij—in ɖ trnñ v ɖ rac v hiz gret miẓri, h lost ol uɖr sǎndz—n pt hr litl stūl at hiz fīt. H onli ń it ẃn h flt hr hand upn hiz ǒn, n sw hr lcñ p intu hiz fes.

Wɖ wundr? No. It wz hiz frst impreśn, n h wz fein t lc at hr agn, t set it rît. No, nt wɖ wundr. Wɖ an īgr n inqîrñ lc; bt nt wɖ wundr. At frst it wz alarmd n sirịs; ɖen, it ćenjd intu a strenj, wîld, dredfl smîl v recgniśn v hiz ʈts; ɖen, ɖr wz nʈñ bt hr claspt handz on hr brǎ, n hr bnt hed, n fōlñ her.

Ɖo ɖ pǎr v Omniṗtns hd bn hiz t wīld at ɖt momnt, h hd tù mć v its dvînr proṗti v Mrsi in hiz brest, t hv trnd wn feɖr’z weit v it agnst hr. Bt h cd nt ber t si hr crǎćñ dǎn upn ɖ litl sīt ẃr h hd ofn lct on hr, wɖ luv n prîd, so iṇsnt n ge; n, ẃn ś rouz n left him, sobñ az ś wnt, h flt it a rlif t hv ɖ vecnt ples bsd him rɖr ɖn hr so loñ-ćeriśt prezns. Ɖs in itslf wz anḡś cīnr ɖn ol, rmîndñ him hǎ dezḷt h wz bcm, n hǎ ɖ gret bond v hiz lîf wz rént asundr.

Ɖ mor h flt ɖs, n ɖ mor h ń h cd hv betr bòrn t si hr layñ preṃtyrli ded bfr him wɖ hr litl ćîld upn hr brest, ɖ hayr n ɖ strongr rouz hiz roʈ agnst hiz eṇmi. H lct abt him fr a wepn.

Ɖr wz a gun haññ on ɖ wōl. H tc it dǎn, n muvd a pes or tū twdz ɖ dor v ɖ pfidịs Strenjr’z rūm. H ń ɖ gun wz lodd. Sm śadǒi îdīa ɖt it wz just t śūt ɖs man lîc a wîld bīst sizd him, n dletd in hiz mînd untl it grù intu a monstṛs dīmn in cmplit pześn v him, castñ ǎt ol mîldr ʈts, n setñ p its undivîdd empîr.

Ɖt frêz z roñ. Nt castñ ǎt hiz mîldr ʈts, bt artf̣li trnsformñ ɖm. Ćenjñ ɖm intu scrjz t drîv him on. Trnñ wōtr intu blud, luv intu het, jntlnis intu blînd f’roṣti. Hr imij, sorowñ, humbld, bt stl plīdñ t hiz tndrnis n mrsi wɖ rzistlis pǎr, nvr left hiz mînd; bt, steyñ ɖr, it rjd him t ɖ dor; rezd ɖ wepn t hiz śoldr; fitd n nrvd hiz fngrz t ɖ trigr; n craid “Cil him! In hiz bed!”

H rvrst ɖ gun t bìt ɖ stoc upn ɖ dor; h olrdi hld it liftd in ɖ er; sm indistñt dzîn wz in hiz ʈts v cōlñ ǎt t him t flî, fr God’z sec, bî ɖ windo——

Ẃn sudnli, ɖ struġlñ fîr iluṃnetd ɖ hol ćimni wɖ a glo v lît; n ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ bgan t Ćrp!

Ẃn sudnli, ɖ struġlñ fîr iluṃnetd ɖ hol ćimni wɖ a glo v lît; n ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ bgan t Ćrp!

No sǎnd h cd hv hŕd, no hymn vôs, nt īvn hrz, cd so hv muvd n sofnd him. Ɖ artlis wrdz in ẃć ś hd tld him v hr luv fr ɖs sem Cricit wr wns mor freśli spocn; hr tremḅlñ, rnist manr at ɖ momnt wz agn bfr him; hr pleznt vôs—ǒ, ẃt a vôs it wz fr mcñ hǎsholdḿzic at ɖ fîrsîd v an onist man!—ʈrild ʈru n ʈru hiz betr nećr, n awouc it intu lîf n ax́n.

H rcôld fṛm ɖ dor, lîc a man wōcñ in hiz slīp, awecnd fṛm a frîtfl drīm; n pt ɖ gun asd. Claspñ hiz handz bfr hiz fes, h ɖen sat dǎn agn bsd ɖ fîr, n faund rlif in tirz.

Claspñ hiz handz bfr hiz fes, h ɖen sat dǎn agn bsd ɖ fîr, n faund rlif in tirz.

Ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ cem ǎt intu ɖ rūm, n std in Fẹri śep bfr him.

“‘I luv it,’” sd ɖ Fẹri Vôs, rpitñ ẃt h wel rmembrd, “‘fr ɖ mni tîmz I hv hŕd it, n ɖ mni ʈts its harmlis ḿzic hz gvn m.’”

“Ś sd so!” craid ɖ Carịr. “Tru!”

“‘Ɖs hz bn a hapi hom, Jon! n I luv ɖ Cricit fr its sec!’”

“It hz bn, Hevn nz,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “Ś md it hapi, olwz,—untl nǎ.”

“So gresf̣li swīt-tmprd; so dmestic, jôfl, bizi, n lît-hartd!” sd ɖ Vôs.

“Uɖ̇wz I nvr cd hv luvd hr az I dd,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr.

Ɖ Vôs, c’rectñ him, sd “d.”

Ɖ Carịr rpitd “az I dd.” Bt nt frmli. Hiz fōlṭrñ tuñ rzistd hiz cntrol, n wd spīc in its ǒn we fr itslf n him.

Ɖ Figr, in an attyd v invceśn, rezd its hand n sd:

“Upn yr ǒn harʈ—”

“Ɖ harʈ ś hz blîtd,” inṭpozd ɖ Carịr.

“Ɖ harʈ ś hz—hǎ ofn!—blest n brîtnd,” sd ɖ Cricit; “ɖ harʈ ẃć, bt fr hr, wr onli a fy stonz n brics n rusti barz, bt ẃć hz bn, ʈru hr, ɖ Ōltr v yr Hom; on ẃć y hv nîtli sacṛfîst sm peti paśn, slfiśnis, or cer, n ofrd p ɖ homij v a tranqil mînd, a trustñ nećr, n an oṿflowñ hart; so ɖt ɖ smoc fṛm ɖs pur ćimni hz gn upwd wɖ a betr fregṛns ɖn ɖ rićist insns ɖt z brnt bfr ɖ rićist śrînz in ol ɖ gōdi templz v ɖs wrld!—Upn yr ǒn harʈ; in its qayt sañćri; srǎndd bî its jntl inflụnsz n asośieśnz; hír hr! Hír m! Hír evrʈñ ɖt spīcs ɖ lanḡj v yr harʈ n hom!”

“N plīdz fr hr?” inqîrd ɖ Carịr.

“Ol ʈñz ɖt spīc ɖ lanḡj v yr harʈ n hom mst plīd fr hr!” rtrnd ɖ Cricit. “Fr ɖe spīc ɖ truʈ.”

N ẃl ɖ Carịr, wɖ hiz hed upn hiz handz, cntinyd t sit medtetñ in hiz ćer, ɖ Prezns std bsd him, sjstñ hiz rflex́nz bî its pǎr, n prizntñ ɖm bfr him, az in a glas or picćr. It wz nt a solitri Prezns. Fṛm ɖ harʈston, fṛm ɖ ćimni, fṛm ɖ cloc, ɖ pîp, ɖ cetl, n ɖ credl; fṛm ɖ flor, ɖ wōlz, ɖ sīlñ, n ɖ sterz; fṛm ɖ cart wɖt, n ɖ cuḅd wɖn, n ɖ hǎsholdimplimnts; fṛm evrʈñ n evri ples wɖ ẃć ś hd evr bn fmiłr, n wɖ ẃć ś hd evr intwînd wn rec̣lex́n v hrslf in hr unhapi huzbnd’z mînd,—Fẹriz cem trūpñ fʈ. Nt t stand bsd him az ɖ Cricit dd, bt t bizi n bstŕ ɖmslvz. T d ol onr t hr imij. T pl him bî ɖ scrts, n pônt t it ẃn it apird. T clustr rnd it, n imbres it, n stru flǎrz fr it t tréd on. T trî t crǎn its fer hed wɖ ɖer tîni handz. T śo ɖt ɖe wr fond v it, n luvd it; n ɖt ɖr wz nt wn ugli, wicid, or akzetri crīćr t clem nolij v it—nn bt ɖer plêfl n apruvñ slvz.

Hiz ʈts wr constnt t hr imij. It wz olwz ɖr.

Ś sat playñ hr nīdl, bfr ɖ fîr, n sññ t hrslf. Sć a blîɖ, ʈrîvñ, stedi litl Dot! Ɖ Fẹri figrz trnd upn him ol at wns, bî wn cnsnt, wɖ wn pṛdijs consntretd stér, n sīmd t se, “Z ɖs ɖ lît wîf y r mōrnñ fr?”

Ɖr wr sǎndz v geyti ǎtsd, ḿzicl instṛmnts, n nôzi tuñz, n laftr. A crǎd v yuñ meri-mcrz cem porñ in, amñ hūm wr Me Fīldñ n a scor v priti grlz. Dot wz ɖ fẹrist v ɖm ol; az yuñ az eni v ɖm tù. Ɖe cem t sumn hr t jôn ɖer parti. It wz a dans. F evr litl ft wr md fr dansñ, hrz wz, śrli. Bt ś laft, n śc hr hed, n pôntd t hr cc̣ri on ɖ fîr, n hr tebl redi spred; wɖ an xultñ dfayns ɖt rendrd hr mor ćarmñ ɖn ś wz bfr. N so ś meṛli dsmist ɖm, nodñ t hr wd-bi partnrz, wn bî wn, az ɖe pást ǎt, wɖ a comicl indifṛns, inuf t mc ɖm g n drǎn ɖmslvz imīɉtli f ɖe wr hr admîrrz—n ɖe mst hv bn so, mor or les; ɖe cd’nt hlp it. N yt indifṛns wz nt hr caṛctr. Ǒ no! Fr prezntli ɖr cem a srtn Carịr t ɖ dor; n, bles hr, ẃt a welcm ś bstoud upn him!

Agn ɖ stẹrñ figrz trnd upn him ol at wns, n sīmd t se, “Z ɖs ɖ wîf hu hz fōrsecn y?”

A śado fél upn ɖ mirr or ɖ picćr: cōl it ẃt y wl. A gret śado v ɖ Strenjr, az h frst std undnʈ ɖer rūf; cuṿrñ its srfis, n blotñ ǎt ol uɖr objicts. Bt, ɖ nimbl Fẹriz wrct lîc bìz t clir it of agn. N Dot agn wz ɖr. Stl brît n bytifl.

Rocñ hr litl Bebi in its credl, sññ t it softli, n restñ hr hed upn a śoldr ẃć hd its cǎnṭpart in ɖ ḿzñ figr bî ẃć ɖ Fẹri Cricit std.

Ɖ nît—I mīn ɖ riyl nît: nt gwñ bî Fẹri clocs—wz wẹrñ nǎ; n, in ɖs stej v ɖ Carịr’z ʈts, ɖ mūn brst ǎt, n śon brîtli in ɖ scî. Phps sm cām n qayt lît hd rizn olso in hiz mînd; n h cd ʈnc mor sobrli v ẃt hd hapnd.

Olɖo ɖ śado v ɖ Strenjr fél at inṭvlz upn ɖ glas—olwz dstñt, n big, n ʈuṛli dfînd—it nvr fél so darcli az at frst. Ẃnvr it apird, ɖ Fẹriz utrd a jenṛl crî v consṭneśn, n plaid ɖer litl armz n legz wɖ incnsiṿbl activti t rub it ǎt. N ẃnvr ɖe got at Dot agn, n śoud hr t him wns mor, brît n bytifl, ɖe ćird in ɖ most inspîrñ manr.

Ɖe nvr śoud hr uɖ̇wz ɖn bytifl n brît, fr ɖe wr Hǎshold Spirits t hūm fōlshd z an anạleśn; n biyñ so, ẃt Dot wz ɖr fr ɖm, bt ɖ wn activ, bīmñ, pleznt litl crīćr hu hd bn ɖ lît n sún v ɖ Carịr’z Hom?

Ɖ Fẹriz wr pṛdiɉsli xîtd ẃn ɖe śoud hr, wɖ ɖ Bebi, goṣpñ amñ a nót v sej old metṛnz, n afctñ t b wundṛs old n metṛnli hrslf, n līnñ in a stêd dḿr old we upn hr huzbnd’z arm, atmtñ—ś! sć a bud v a litl wmn—t cnve ɖ îdīa v hvñ abjurd ɖ vaṇtiz v ɖ wrld in jenṛl, n v biyñ ɖ sort v prsn t hūm it wz no novlti at ol t b a muɖr; yt, in ɖ sem breʈ, ɖe śoud hr lafñ at ɖ Carịr fr biyñ ōcẉd, n pŭlñ p hiz śrt colr t mc him smart, n minsñ meṛli abt ɖt vri rūm t tīć him hǎ t dans!

Ɖe trnd, n stérd imnsli at him ẃn ɖe śoud hr wɖ ɖ Blînd Grl; fr, ɖo ś carid ćirflnis n aṇmeśn wɖ hr ẃr-so-evr ś wnt, ś bòr ɖoz inflụnsz intu Cêleb Plumr’z hom, hīpt p n runñ ovr. Ɖ Blînd Grl’z luv fr hr, n trust in hr, n grattyd t hr; hr ǒn gd bizi we v setñ Brʈa’z ʈancs asd; hr dxtṛs litl arts fr filñ p ć momnt v ɖ vizit in dwñ smʈñ ysfl t ɖ hǎs, n riyli wrcñ hard ẃl fênñ t mc hoḷde; hr bǎntifl pṛviźn v ɖoz standñ delic̣siz, ɖ Vīl n Ham Pî n ɖ botlz v Bir; hr redịnt litl fes arîvñ at ɖ dor, n tecñ līv; ɖ wundrfl xpreśn in hr hol slf, fṛm hr nīt ft t ɖ crǎn v hr hed, v biyñ a part v ɖ istabliśmnt—a smʈñ nesṣri t it, ẃć it cd’nt b wɖt,—ol ɖs ɖ Fẹriz revld in, n luvd hr fr. N wns agn ɖe lct upn him ol at wns, apilñli, n sīmd t se, ẃl sm amñ ɖm nesld in hr dres n fondld hr, “Z ɖs ɖ wîf hu hz btreid yr confidns?”

Mor ɖn wns, or twîs, or ʈrîs, in ɖ loñ ʈtfl nît, ɖe śoud hr t him sitñ on hr feṿrit sīt, wɖ hr bnt hed, hr handz claspt on hr brǎ, hr fōlñ her. Az h hd sìn hr last. N ẃn ɖe faund hr ɖus, ɖe nɖr trnd nr lct upn him, bt gaɖrd clos rnd hr, n cumf̣td n cist hr, n prest on wn anɖr, t śo simṗʈi n cîndnis t hr, n fgot him oltgɖr.

Ɖus ɖ nît pást. Ɖ mūn wnt dǎn; ɖ starz grù pel; ɖ cold de brouc; ɖ sún rouz. Ɖ Carịr stl sat, ḿzñ, in ɖ ćimnicornr. H hd sat ɖr, wɖ hiz hed upn hiz handz, ol nît. Ol nît ɖ feʈfl Cricit hd bn Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrpñ on ɖ Harʈ. Ol nît h hd lisnd t its vôs. Ol nît ɖ Hǎshold Fẹriz hd bn bizi wɖ him. Ol nît ś hd bn emịbl n blemlis in ɖ glas, xpt ẃn ɖt wn śado fél upn it.

H rouz p ẃn it wz brōd de, n wośt n drest himslf. H cd’nt g abt hiz custmri ćirfl aṿceśnz—h wontd spirit fr ɖm—bt it matrd ɖ les ɖt it wz Tacltn’z wedñde, n h hd arenjd t mc hiz rǎndz bî proxi. H hd ʈt t hv gn meṛli t ćrć wɖ Dot. Bt sć planz wr at an end. It wz ɖer ǒn wedñde tù. Ā! hǎ litl h hd lct fr sć a cloz t sć a yir!

Ɖ Carịr xpctd ɖt Tacltn wd pe him an rli vizit; n h wz rît. H hd nt wōct t n fro bfr hiz ǒn dor mni minits, ẃn h sw ɖ tômrćnt cmñ in hiz śêz alñ ɖ rod. Az ɖ śêz drù nirr, h psivd ɖt Tacltn wz drest ǎt sprūsli fr hiz marij, n ɖt h hd dec̣retd hiz hors’z hed wɖ flǎrz n fevrz.

Ɖ hors lct mć mor lîc a brîdgrūm ɖn Tacltn, huz haf-clozd î wz mor dis’griybli xpresiv ɖn evr. Bt ɖ Carịr tc litl hīd v ɖs. Hiz ʈts hd uɖr okpeśn.

“Jon Pīribngl!” sd Tacltn wɖ an er v cndoḷns. “Mî gd felo, hǎ d y fînd yrslf ɖs mornñ?”

“I hv hd bt a pur nît, Mastr Tacltn,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, śecñ hiz hed: “fr I hv bn a gd dīl dstrbd in mî mînd. Bt it’s ovr nǎ! Cn y sper m haf an aur or so, fr sm prîṿt tōc?”

“I cem on prṗs,” rtrnd Tacltn, alîtñ. “Nvr mînd ɖ hors. H’l stand qayt inuf, wɖ ɖ reinz ovr ɖs post, f y’l gv him a mǎʈfl v hei.”

Ɖ Carịr hvñ bròt it fṛm hiz stebl n set it bfr him, ɖe trnd intu ɖ hǎs.

“Y r nt marid bfr nūn,” h sd, “I ʈnc?”

“No,” ansrd Tacltn. “Plenti v tîm. Plenti v tîm.”

Ẃn ɖe entrd ɖ cićn, Tili Slǒbô wz rapñ at ɖ Strenjr’z dor; ẃć wz onli rmuvd fṛm it bî a fy steps. Wn v hr vri red îz (fr Tili hd bn crayñ ol nît loñ, bcz hr mistris craid) wz at ɖ cīhol; n ś wz nocñ vri lǎd, n sīmd frîtnd.

“F y plīz I c’nt mc nbdi hír,” sd Tili, lcñ rnd. “I hop nbdi an’t gn n bn n daid f y plīz!”

Ɖs fiḷnʈropic wś Mis Slǒbô emf̣sîzd wɖ verịs ny raps n cics at ɖ dor, ẃć léd t no rzult ẃtvr.

“Śl I g?” sd Tacltn. “It’s krịs.”

Ɖ Carịr, hu hd trnd hiz fes fṛm ɖ dor, sînd him t g f h wd.

So Tacltn wnt t Tili Slǒbô’z rlif; n h tù cict n noct; n h tù feld t gt ɖ līst rplî. Bt h ʈt v trayñ ɖ handl v ɖ dor; n, az it opnd īẓli, h pīpt in, lct in, wnt in, n sn cem runñ ǎt agn.

“Jon Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn in hiz ir, “I hop ɖr hz bn nʈñ—nʈñ raś in ɖ nît?”

Ɖ Carịr trnd upn him qcli.

“Bcz h’z gn!” sd Tacltn; “n ɖ windo’z opn. I d’nt si eni marcs—t b śr, it’s olmst on a levl wɖ ɖ gardn: bt I wz afred ɖr mt hv bn sm—sm scufl. Ê?”

H nirli śut p ɖ xpresiv î oltgɖr; h lct at him so hard. N h gev hiz î, n hiz fes, n hiz hol prsn, a śarp twist. Az f h wd hv scrùd ɖ truʈ ǎt v him.

“Mc yrslf īzi,” sd ɖ Carịr. “H wnt intu ɖt rūm last nît, wɖt harm in wrd or dīd fṛm m, n nwn hz entrd it sins. H z awe v hiz ǒn fri wil. I’d g ǎt gladli at ɖt dor, n beg mî bred fṛm hǎs t hǎs, fr lîf, f I cd so ćenj ɖ past ɖt h hd nvr cm. Bt h hz cm n gn. N I hv dn wɖ him!”

“Ǒ!—Wel, I ʈnc h hz got of priti īzi,” sd Tacltn, tecñ a ćer.

Ɖ snir wz lost upn ɖ Carịr, hu sat dǎn tù, n śêdd hiz fes wɖ hiz hand, fr sm litl tîm, bfr pṛsidñ.

“Y śoud m last nît,” h sd at leñʈ, “mî wîf—mî wîf ɖt I luv—sīcṛtli—”

“N tndrli,” insińuetd Tacltn.

“—Cnîvñ at ɖt man’z dsgîz, n gvñ him oṗtyṇtiz v mītñ hr alon. I ʈnc ɖr’z no sît I wd’nt hv rɖr sìn ɖn ɖt. I ʈnc ɖr’z no man in ɖ wrld I wd’nt hv rɖr hd t śo it m.”

“I cnfes t hvñ hd mî sspiśnz olwz,” sd Tacltn. “N ɖt hz md m objx́ṇbl hir, I nǒ.”

“Bt, az y dd śo it m,” psyd ɖ Carịr, nt mîndñ him; “n az y sw hr, mî wîf, mî wîf ɖt I luv”—hiz vôs, n î, n hand grù stedịr n frmr az h rpitd ɖz wrdz: evidntli in psywns v a stedfst prṗs—“az y sw hr at ɖs dis’dvantij, it z rît n just ɖt y śd olso si wɖ mî îz, n lc intu mî brest, n nǒ ẃt mî mînd z upn ɖ subjict. Fr it’s setld,” sd ɖ Carịr, rgardñ him atntivli. “N nʈñ cn śec it nǎ.”

Tacltn mutrd a fy jenṛl wrdz v asnt abt its biyñ nesṣri t vinḍcet smʈñ or uɖr; bt h wz oṿōd bî ɖ manr v hiz cmpańn. Plen n unpoliśt az it wz, it hd a smʈñ digṇfaid n nobl in it, ẃć nʈñ bt ɖ soul v jenṛs onr dwelñ in ɖ man cd hv impartd.

“I am a plen, ruf man,” psyd ɖ Carịr “wɖ vri litl t rec̣mnd m. I am nt a clevr man, az y vri wel nǒ. I am nt a yuñ man. I luvd mî litl Dot, bcz I hd sìn hr gro p, fṛm a ćîld, in hr faɖr’z hǎs; bcz I ń hǎ preśs ś wz; bcz ś hd bn mî lîf fr yirz n yirz. Ɖr’z mni men I c’nt cmper wɖ, hu nvr cd hv luvd mî litl Dot lîc m, I ʈnc!”

H pōzd, n softli bìt ɖ grǎnd a śort tîm wɖ hiz ft, bfr rzymñ:

“I ofn ʈt ɖt ɖo I wz’nt gd inuf fr hr, I śd mc hr a cînd huzbnd, n phps nǒ hr valy betr ɖn anɖr; n in ɖs we I recnsîld it t mslf, n cem t ʈnc it mt b poṣbl ɖt w śd b marid. N, in ɖ end, it cem abt, n w wr marid!”

“Ha!” sd Tacltn wɖ a sgnificnt śec v hiz hed.

“I hd studid mslf; I hd hd xpirịns v mslf; I ń hǎ mć I luvd hr, n hǎ hapi I śd b,” psyd ɖ Carịr. “Bt I hd nt—I fīl it nǎ—sfiśntli cnsidrd hr.”

“T b śr,” sd Tacltn. “Gidinis, frivoḷti, ficlnis, luv v adṃreśn! Nt cnsidrd! Ol left ǎt v sît! Ha!”

“Y hd bst nt inṭrupt m,” sd ɖ Carịr wɖ sm strņis, “tl y unḍstand m; n y’r wîd v dwñ so. F, yesṭde, I’d hv struc ɖt man dǎn at a blo, hu derd t briɖ a wrd agnst hr, tde I’d set mî ft upn hiz fes, f h wz mî bruɖr!”

Ɖ tômrćnt gezd at him in astoniśmnt. H wnt on in a softr ton:

“Dd I cnsidr,” sd ɖ Carịr, “ɖt I tc hr—at hr ej, n wɖ hr byti—fṛm hr yuñ cmpańnz, n ɖ mni sīnz v ẃć ś wz ɖ orṇmnt; in ẃć ś wz ɖ brîtist litl star ɖt evr śon, t śut hr p fṛm de t de in mî dul hǎs, n cīp mî tīdịs cumṗni? Dd I cnsidr hǎ litl sūtd I wz t hr sprîtli hymr, n hǎ wirism a plodñ man lîc m mst b t wn v hr qc spirit? Dd I cnsidr ɖt it wz no merit in m, or clem in m, ɖt I luvd hr, ẃn evrbdi mst hu ń hr? Nvr. I tc advantij v hr hopfl nećr n hr ćirfl dispziśn; n I marid hr. I wś I nvr hd! Fr hr sec; nt fr mîn!”

Ɖ tômrćnt gezd at him wɖt wncñ. Īvn ɖ haf-śut î wz opn nǎ.

“Hevn bles hr!” sd ɖ Carịr, “fr ɖ ćirfl constnsi wɖ ẃć ś hz traid t cīp ɖ nolij v ɖs fṛm m! N Hevn hlp m, ɖt, in mî slo mînd, I hv nt faund it ǎt bfr! Pur ćîld! Pur Dot! I nt t fînd it ǎt, hu hv sìn hr îz fil wɖ tirz ẃn sć a marij az ǎr ǒn wz spocn v! I, hu hv sìn ɖ sīcrit tremḅlñ on hr lips a hundṛd tîmz, n nvr sspctd it, tl last nît! Pur grl! Ɖt I cd evr hop ś wd b fond v m! Ɖt I cd evr b’liv ś wz!”

“Ś md a śo v it,” sd Tacltn. “Ś md sć a śo v it, ɖt, t tel y ɖ truʈ, it wz ɖ oṛjin v mî msgvñz.”

N hir h asrtd ɖ s’pirioṛti v Me Fīldñ, hu srtnli md no sort v śo v biyñ fond v him.

“Ś hz traid,” sd ɖ pur Carịr wɖ gretr imośn ɖn h hd xibtd yt; “I onli nǎ bgin t nǒ hǎ hard ś hz traid, t b mî dytifl n zeḷs wîf. Hǎ gd ś hz bn; hǎ mć ś hz dn; hǎ brev n stroñ a hart ś hz; let ɖ hapinis I hv noun undr ɖs rūf ber witnis! It wl b sm hlp n cumf̣t t m ẃn I am hir alon.”

“Hir alon?” sd Tacltn. “Ǒ! Ɖen y d mīn t tec sm notis v ɖs?”

“I mīn,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr, “t d hr ɖ gretist cîndnis, n mc hr ɖ bst reṗreśn, in mî pǎr. I cn rlis hr fṛm ɖ dêli pen v an unīql marij, n ɖ strugl t cnsil it. Ś śl b az fri az I cn rendr hr.”

“Mc hr reṗreśn!” xclemd Tacltn, twistñ n trnñ hiz gret irz wɖ hiz handz. “Ɖr mst b smʈñ roñ hir. Y dd’nt se ɖt, v cors.”

Ɖ Carịr set hiz grip upn ɖ colr v ɖ tômrćnt, n śc him lîc a rìd.

“Lisn t m!” h sd. “N tec cer ɖt y hír m rît. Lisn t m. D I spīc plenli?”

“Vri plenli indd,” ansrd Tacltn.

“Az f I mnt it?”

“Vri mć az f y mnt it.”

“I sat upn ɖt harʈ, last nît, ol nît,” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “On ɖ spot ẃr ś hz ofn sat bsd m, wɖ hr swīt fes lcñ intu mîn. I cōld p hr hol lîf de bî de. I hd hr dir slf, in its evri pasij, in rvy bfr m. N, upn mî soul, ś z iṇsnt, f ɖr z Wn t juj ɖ iṇsnt n gilti!”

Stōnś Cricit on ɖ Harʈ! Loyl Hǎshold Fẹriz!

“Paśn n dstrust hv left m!” sd ɖ Carịr; “n nʈñ bt mî grīf rmenz. In an unhapi momnt sm old luvr, betr sūtd t hr tests n yirz ɖn I, fōrsecn, phps, fr m, agnst hr wil, rtrnd. In an unhapi momnt, tecn bî s’prîz, n wontñ tîm t ʈnc v ẃt ś dd, ś md hrslf a parti t hiz treć̣ri bî cnsilñ it. Last nît ś sw him, in ɖ inṭvy w witnist. It wz roñ. Bt, uɖ̇wz ɖn ɖs, ś z iṇsnt, f ɖr z truʈ on rʈ!”

“F ɖt z yr opińn—” Tacltn bgan.

“So, let hr g!” psyd ɖ Carịr. “G, wɖ mî blesñ fr ɖ mni hapi aurz ś hz gvn m, n mî fgivnis fr eni pañ ś hz cōzd m. Let hr g, n hv ɖ pīs v mînd I wś hr! Ś’l nvr het m. Ś’l lrn t lîc m betr ẃn I’m nt a drag upn hr, n ś werz ɖ ćen I hv riṿtd mor lîtli. Ɖs z ɖ de on ẃć I tc hr, wɖ so litl ʈt fr hr injômnt, fṛm hr hom. Tde ś śl rtrn t it, n I wl trubl hr no mor. Hr faɖr n muɖr wl b hir tde—w hd md a litl plan fr cīpñ it tgɖr—n ɖe śl tec hr hom. I cn trust hr ɖr, or enẃr. Ś līvz m wɖt blem, n ś wl liv so I am śr. F I śd dî—I me phps ẃl ś z stl yuñ; I hv lost sm curij in a fy aurz—ś’l fînd ɖt I rmembrd hr, n luvd hr t ɖ last! Ɖs z ɖ end v ẃt y śoud m. Nǎ, it’s ovr!”

“Ǒ no, Jon, nt ovr! D nt se it’s ovr yt! Nt qt yt. I hv hŕd yr nobl wrdz. I cd nt stìl awe, pritndñ t b ignṛnt v ẃt hz afctd m wɖ sć dīp grattyd. D nt se it’s ovr tl ɖ cloc hz struc agn!”

Ś hd entrd śortli aftr Tacltn, n hd rmend ɖr. Ś nvr lct at Tacltn, bt fixt hr îz upn hr huzbnd. Bt ś cept awe fṛm him, setñ az wîd a spes az poṣbl btwn ɖm; n, ɖo ś spouc wɖ most impaśnd rṇstnis, ś wnt no nirr t him īvn ɖen. Hǎ difṛnt in ɖs fṛm hr old slf!

“No hand cn mc ɖ cloc ẃć wl strîc agn fr m ɖ aurz ɖt r gn,” rplaid ɖ Carịr wɖ a fent smîl. “Bt let it b so, f y wl, mî dir. It wl strîc sn. It’s v litl matr ẃt w se. I’d trî t plīz y in a hardr ces ɖn ɖt.”

“Wel!” mutrd Tacltn. “I mst b of, fr, ẃn ɖ cloc strîcs agn, it’l b nesṣri fr m t b upn mî we t ćrć. Gd mornñ, Jon Pīribngl. I’m sori t b dprîvd v ɖ pleźr v yr cumṗni. Sori fr ɖ los, n ɖ oceźn v it tù!”

“I hv spocn plenli?” sd ɖ Carịr, acumṗniyñ him t ɖ dor.

“Ǒ, qt!”

“N y’l rmembr ẃt I hv sd?”

“Ẃ, f y cmpel m t mc ɖ obẓveśn,” sd Tacltn, prīvịsli tecñ ɖ pricōśn v gtñ intu hiz śêz, “I mst se ɖt it wz so vri unixpctd, ɖt I’m far fṛm biyñ lîcli t fget it.”

“Ɖ betr fr s bʈ,” rtrnd ɖ Carịr. “Gdbî. I gv y jô!”

“I wś I cd gv it t y,” sd Tacltn. “Az I c’nt, ʈancī. Btwn ǎrslvz (az I tld y bfr, ê?) I d’nt mć ʈnc I śl hv ɖ les jô in mî marid lîf bcz Me hz’nt bn tù ofiśs abt m, n tù dmonstṛtiv. Gdbî! Tec cer v yrslf.”

Ɖ Carịr std lcñ aftr him untl h wz smōlr in ɖ distns ɖn hiz hors’z flǎrz n fevrz nir at hand; n ɖen, wɖ a dīp sai, wnt strolñ lîc a restlis, brocn man, amñ sm neḅrñ elmz; unwilñ t rtrn untl ɖ cloc wz on ɖ īv v strîcñ.

Hiz litl wîf, biyñ left alon, sobd pitịsli; bt ofn draid hr îz n ćect hrslf, t se hǎ gd h wz, hǎ xḷnt h wz! n wns or twîs ś laft; so harṭli, trîumfntli, n inc̣hiṛntli (stl crayñ ol ɖ tîm), ɖt Tili wz qt hoṛfaid.

“Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt!” sd Tili. “It’s inuf t ded n beri ɖ Bebi, so it z f y plīz.”

“Wl y brñ him smtmz t si hiz faɖr, Tili,” inqîrd hr mistris, drayñ hr îz,—“ẃn I c’nt liv hir, n hv gn t mî old hom?”

“Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt!” craid Tili, ʈrowñ bac hr hed, n brstñ ǎt intu a hǎl—ś lct at ɖ momnt uncomnli lîc Boxr. “Ǎ, f y plīz, d’nt! Ǎ, ẃt hz evrbdi gn n bn n dn wɖ evrbdi, mcñ evrbdi els so rećid? Ǎ-ǎ-ǎ-ǎ!”

Ɖ soft-hartd Slǒbô teild of at ɖs juñćr intu sć a dploṛbl hǎl, ɖ mor tṛmnḍs fṛm its loñ s’preśn, ɖt ś mst infaḷbli hv awecnd ɖ Bebi, n frîtnd him intu smʈñ sirịs (probbli cnvulśnz), f hr îz hd nt incǎntrd Cêleb Plumr līdñ in hiz dōtr. Ɖs specṭcl rstorñ hr t a sns v ɖ pṛpraytiz, ś std fr sm fy momnts sîḷnt, wɖ hr mǎʈ wîd opn; n ɖen, postñ of t ɖ bed on ẃć ɖ Bebi le aslip, danst in a wird, St. Vîṭs manr on ɖ flor, n at ɖ sem tîm rumijd wɖ hr fes n hed amñ ɖ bedcloɖz, apaṛntli d’rîvñ mć rlif fṛm ɖoz xtrordnri oṗreśnz.

“Mẹri!” sd Brʈa. “Nt at ɖ marij!”

“I tld hr y wd nt b ɖr, mum,” ẃisprd Cêleb. “I hŕd az mć last nît. Bt bles y,” sd ɖ litl man, tecñ hr tndrli bî bʈ handz, “I d’nt cer fr ẃt ɖe se. I d’nt b’liv ɖm. Ɖr an’t mć v m, bt ɖt litl śd b torn t pìsz snr ɖn I’d trust a wrd agnst y!”

H pt hiz armz abt hr nec n hugd hr, az a ćîld mt hv hugd wn v hiz ǒn dolz.

“Brʈa cd’nt ste at hom ɖs mornñ,” sd Cêleb. “Ś wz afred, I nǒ, t hír ɖ belz rñ, n cd’nt trust hrslf t b so nir ɖm on ɖer wedñde. So w startd in gd tîm, n cem hir. I hv bn ʈncñ v ẃt I hv dn,” sd Cêleb aftr a momnt’s pōz; “I hv bn blemñ mslf tl I hardli ń ẃt t d, or ẃr t trn, fr ɖ dstres v mînd I hv cōzd hr; n I’v cm t ɖ cncluźn ɖt I’d betr, f y’l ste wɖ m, mum, ɖ ẃl, tel hr ɖ truʈ. Y’l ste wɖ m ɖ ẃl?” h inqîrd, tremḅlñ fṛm hed t ft. “I d’nt nǒ ẃt ifct it me hv upn hr; I d’nt nǒ ẃt ś’l ʈnc v m; I d’nt nǒ ɖt ś’l evr cer fr hr pur faɖr aftwdz. Bt it’s bst fr hr ɖt ś śd b undisivd, n I mst ber ɖ consiqnsz az I dzrv!”

“Mẹri,” sd Brʈa, “ẃr z yr hand? Ā! Hir it z; hir it z!” presñ it t hr lips wɖ a smîl, n drw̃ it ʈru hr arm. “I hŕd ɖm spīcñ softli amñ ɖmslvz last nît v sm blem agnst y. Ɖe wr roñ.”

Ɖ Carịr’z wîf wz sîḷnt. Cêleb ansrd fr hr.

“Ɖe wr roñ,” h sd.

“I ń it!” craid Brʈa, prǎdli. “I tld ɖm so. I scornd t hír a wrd! Blem hr wɖ justis!” ś prest ɖ hand btwn hr ǒn, n ɖ soft ćīc agnst hr fes. “No, I am nt so blînd az ɖt.”

Hr faɖr wnt on wn sîd v hr, ẃl Dot rmend upn ɖ uɖr, holdñ hr hand.

“I nǒ y ol,” sd Brʈa, “betr ɖn y ʈnc. Bt nn so wel az hr. Nt īvn y, faɖr. Ɖr z nʈñ haf so riyl n so tru abt m az ś z. F I cd b rstord t sît ɖs instnt, n nt a wrd wr spocn, I cd ćūz hr fṛm a crǎd! Mî sistr!”

“Brʈa, mî dir!” sd Cêleb. “I hv smʈñ on mî mînd I wont t tel y ẃl w ʈri r alon. Hír m cîndli! I hv a cnfeśn t mc t y, mî darlñ!”

“A cnfeśn, faɖr?”

“I hv wondrd fṛm ɖ truʈ, n lost mslf, mî ćîld,” sd Cêleb wɖ a pitịbl xpreśn in hiz bwildrd fes. “I hv wondrd fṛm ɖ truʈ, intndñ t b cînd t y; n hv bn cruwl.”

Ś trnd hr wundr-stricn fes twdz him, n rpitd “Cruwl!”

“H akzz himslf tù stroñli, Brʈa,” sd Dot. “Y’l se so prezntli. Y’l b ɖ frst t tel him so.”

“H cruwl t m!” craid Brʈa wɖ a smîl v incṛdyḷti.

“Nt mīnñ it, mî ćîld,” sd Cêleb. “Bt I hv bn: ɖo I nvr sspctd it tl yesṭde. Mî dir blînd dōtr, hír m n fgiv m. Ɖ wrld y liv in, hart v mîn, dz’nt xist az I hv reprizntd it. Ɖ îz y hv trustd in hv bn fōls t y.”

Ś trnd hr wundr-stricn fes twdz him stl; bt drù bac, n cluñ closr t hr frend.

“Yr rod in lîf wz ruf, mî pur wn,” sd Cêleb, “n I mnt t smuɖ it fr y. I hv oltrd objicts, ćenjd ɖ caṛctrz v ppl, invntd mni ʈñz ɖt nvr hv bn, t mc y hapịr. I hv hd cnsilmnts fṛm y, pt dspśnz on y, God fgiv m! n srǎndd y wɖ fansiz.”

“Bt livñ ppl r nt fansiz?” ś sd huridli, n trnñ vri pel, n stl rtîrñ fṛm him. “Y c’nt ćenj ɖm.”

“I hv dn so, Brʈa,” plīdd Cêleb. “Ɖr z wn prsn ɖt y nǒ, mî duv—”

“Ǒ, faɖr! ẃ d y se, I nǒ?” ś ansrd in a trm v cīn rproć. “Ẃt n hūm d I nǒ? I hu hv no līdr! I so mizṛbli blînd!”

In ɖ anḡś v hr hart, ś strećt ǎt hr handz, az f ś wr gropñ hr we; ɖen spred ɖm, in a manr most f’lorn n sad, upn hr fes.

“Ɖ marij ɖt tecs ples tde,” sd Cêleb, “z wɖ a strn, sordid, grîndñ man. A hard mastr t y n m, mî dir, fr mni yirz. Ugli in hiz lcs, n in hiz nećr. Cold n caḷs olwz. Unlîc ẃt I hv pentd him t y in evrʈñ, mî ćîld. In evrʈñ.”

“Ǒ, ẃ,” craid ɖ Blînd Grl, torćrd, az it sīmd, olmst bynd indyṛns, “ẃ dd y evr d ɖs? Ẃ dd y evr fil mî hart so fl, n ɖen cm in lîc Deʈ, n ter awe ɖ objicts v mî luv? O Hevn, hǎ blînd I am! Hǎ hlplis n alon!”

Hr aflictd faɖr huñ hiz hed, n ofrd no rplî bt in hiz penitns n soro.

Ś hd bn bt a śort tîm in ɖs paśn v rgret ẃn ɖ Cricit on ɖ Harʈ, unhŕd bî ol bt hr, bgan t ćrp. Nt meṛli, bt in a lo, fent, sorowñ we. It wz so mōrnfl, ɖt hr tirz bgan t flo; n, ẃn ɖ Prezns ẃć hd bn bsd ɖ Carịr ol nît, apird bhnd hr, pôntñ t hr faɖr, ɖe fél dǎn lîc ren.

Ś hŕd ɖ cricitvôs mor plenli sn, n wz conśs, ʈru hr blîndnis, v ɖ Prezns hoṿrñ abt hr faɖr.

“Mẹri,” sd ɖ Blînd Grl, “tel m ẃt mî hom z. Ẃt it trūli z.”

“It z a pur ples, Brʈa; vri pur n bér indd. Ɖ hǎs wl scersli cīp ǎt wind n ren anɖr wintr. It z az rufli śīldd fṛm ɖ weɖr, Brʈa,” Dot cntinyd in a lo, clir vôs, “az yr pur faɖr in hiz sac̦loʈ cot.”

Ɖ Blînd Grl, gretli ajtetd, rouz, n léd ɖ Carịr’z litl wîf asd.

“Ɖoz preznts ɖt I tc sć cer v; ɖt cem olmst at mî wś, n wr so dirli welcm t m,” ś sd, tremḅlñ; “ẃr dd ɖe cm fṛm? Dd y snd ɖm?”

“No.”

“Hu, ɖen?”

Dot sw ś ń olrdi, n wz sîḷnt. Ɖ Blînd Grl spred hr handz bfr hr fes agn. Bt in qt anɖr manr nǎ.

“Dir Mẹri, a momnt. Wn momnt. Mor ɖs we. Spīc softli t m. Y r tru I nǒ. Y’d nt dsiv m nǎ; wd y?”

“No, Brʈa, indd!”

“No, I am śr y wd nt. Y hv tù mć piti fr m. Mẹri, lc acrs ɖ rūm t ẃr w wr jst nǎ—t ẃr mî faɖr z—mî faɖr, so cmpaśṇt n luvñ t m—n tel m ẃt y si.”

“I si,” sd Dot, hu unḍstd hr wel, “an old man sitñ in a ćer, n līnñ sorofl on ɖ bac, wɖ hiz fes restñ on hiz hand. Az f hiz ćîld śd cumf̣t him, Brʈa.”

“Yes, yes. Ś wl. G on.”

“H z an old man, wòrn wɖ cer n wrc. H z a sper, djctd, ʈtfl, gre-herd man. I si him nǎ, dspondnt n baud dǎn, n strîvñ agnst nʈñ. Bt, Brʈa, I hv sìn him mni tîmz bfr, n strîvñ hard in mni wez, fr wn gret secrid objict. N I onr hiz gre hed, n bles him!”

Ɖ Blînd Grl brouc awe fṛm hr; n, ʈrowñ hrslf upn hr niz bfr him, tc ɖ gre hed t hr brest.

“It z mî sît rstord. It z mî sît!” ś craid. “I hv bn blînd, n nǎ mî îz r opn. I nvr ń him! T ʈnc I mt hv daid, n nvr trūli sìn ɖ faɖr hu hz bn so luvñ t m!”

Ɖr wr no wrdz fr Cêleb’z imośn.

“Ɖr z nt a gaḷnt figr on ɖs rʈ,” xclemd ɖ Blînd Grl, holdñ him in hr imbres, “ɖt I wd luv so dirli, n wd ćeriś so dvotidli, az ɖs! Ɖ greyr, n mor wòrn, ɖ dirr, faɖr! Nvr let ɖm se I am blînd agn. Ɖr’z nt a furo in hiz fes, ɖr’z nt a her upn hiz hed, ɖt śl b fgotn in mî prerz n ʈancs t Hevn!”

Cêleb manijd t artikḷt, “Mî Brʈa!”

“N in mî blîndnis I b’livd him,” sd ɖ grl, c’resñ him wɖ tirz v xqizit afx́n, “t b so difṛnt. N hvñ him bsd m de bî de, so mîndfl v m olwz, nvr drīmd v ɖs!”

“Ɖ freś smart faɖr in ɖ blu cot, Brʈa,” sd pur Cêleb. “H’z gn!”

“Nʈñ z gn,” ś ansrd. “Dirist faɖr, no! Evrʈñ z hir—in y. Ɖ faɖr ɖt I luvd so wel; ɖ faɖr ɖt I nvr luvd inuf, n nvr ń; ɖ beṇfactr hūm I frst bgan t revṛns n luv, bcz h hd sć simṗʈi fr m,—ol r hir in y. Nʈñ z ded t m. Ɖ soul v ol ɖt wz most dir t m z hir—hir, wɖ ɖ wòrn fes, n ɖ gre hed. N I am nt blînd, faɖr, eni longr!”

Dot’s hol atnśn hd bn consntretd, jrñ ɖs discors, upn ɖ faɖr n dōtr; bt lcñ, nǎ, twdz ɖ litl Hei-mcr in ɖ Mūriś medo, ś sw ɖt ɖ cloc wz wɖn a fy minits v strîcñ, n fél, imīɉtli, intu a nrṿs n xîtd stet.

“Faɖr!” sd Brʈa, heztetñ. “Mẹri!”

“Yes, mî dir,” rtrnd Cêleb. “Hir ś z.”

“Ɖr z no ćenj in hr. Y nvr tld m enʈñ v hr ɖt wz nt tru?”

“I śd hv dn it, mî dir, I’m afred,” rtrnd Cêleb, “f I cd hv md hr betr ɖn ś wz. Bt I mst hv ćenjd hr fr ɖ wrs, f I hd ćenjd hr at ol. Nʈñ cd impruv hr, Brʈa.”

Confidnt az ɖ Blînd Grl hd bn ẃn ś asct ɖ qsćn, hr dlît n prîd in ɖ rplî, n hr rnyd imbres v Dot, wr ćarmñ t bhold.

“Mor ćenjz ɖn y ʈnc fr me hapn, ɖo, mî dir,” sd Dot. “Ćenjz fr ɖ betr, I mīn; ćenjz fr gret jô t sm v s. Y ms’nt let ɖm startl y tù mć, f eni sć śd evr hapn, n afct y. R ɖoz ẃīlz upn ɖ rod? Y’v a qc ir, Brʈa. R ɖe ẃīlz?”

“Yes. Cmñ vri fast.”

“I—I—I nǒ y hv a qc ir,” sd Dot, plesñ hr hand upn hr hart, n evidntli tōcñ on az fast az ś cd, t hîd its palṗtetñ stet, “bcz I hv notist it ofn, n bcz y wr so qc t fînd ǎt ɖt strenj step last nît. Ɖo ẃ y śd hv sd, az I vri wel rec̣lect y dd se, Brʈa, ‘Huz step z ɖt?’ n ẃ y śd hv tecn eni gretr obẓveśn v it ɖn v eni uɖr step, I d’nt nǒ. Ɖo, az I sd jst nǎ, ɖr r gret ćenjz in ɖ wrld: gret ćenjz: n w c’nt d betr ɖn priper ǎrslvz t b s’prîzd at hardli enʈñ.”

Cêleb wundrd ẃt ɖs mnt; psivñ ɖt ś spouc t him, no les ɖn t hiz dōtr. H sw hr, wɖ astoniśmnt, so flutrd n dstrest ɖt ś cd scersli briɖ; n holdñ t a ćer, t sev hrslf fṛm fōlñ.

“Ɖe r ẃīlz indd!” ś pantd. “Cmñ nirr! Nirr! Vri clos! N nǎ y hír ɖm stopñ at ɖ gardn-get! N nǎ y hír a step ǎtsd ɖ dor—ɖ sem step, Brʈa, z it nt?—n nǎ——!”

Ś utrd a wîld crî v uncntroḷbl dlît; n runñ p t Cêleb, pt hr handz upn hiz îz, az a yuñ man ruśt intu ɖ rūm, n, flññ awe hiz hat intu ɖ er, cem swīpñ dǎn upn ɖm.

“Z it ovr?” craid Dot.

“Yes!”

“Haṗli ovr?”

“Yes!”

“D y rec̣lect ɖ vôs, dir Cêleb? Dd y evr hír ɖ lîc v it bfr?” craid Dot.

“F mî bô in ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz wz alîv——!” sd Cêleb, tremḅlñ.

“H z alîv!” śrīct Dot, rmuvñ hr handz fṛm hiz îz, n clapñ ɖm in xṭsi. “Lc at him! Si ẃr h standz bfr y, hlʈi n stroñ! Yr ǒn dir sun. Yr ǒn dir livñ, luvñ bruɖr, Brʈa!”

Ol onr t ɖ litl crīćr fr hr transports! Ol onr t hr tirz n laftr, ẃn ɖ ʈri wr loct in wn anɖr’z armz! Ol onr t ɖ hartinis wɖ ẃć ś met ɖ súnbrnt sêlrfelo, wɖ hiz darc strīmñ her, hafwe, n nvr trnd hr rozi litl mǎʈ asd, bt sufrd him t cis it frīli, n t pres hr t hiz bǎndñ hart!

N onr t ɖ Ccu tù—ẃ nt?—fr brstñ ǎt v ɖ trapdor in ɖ Mūriś Palis lîc a hǎsbrecr, n hicupñ twelv tîmz on ɖ asmbld cumṗni, az f h hd got drunc fr jô!

Ɖ Carịr, enṭrñ, startd bac. N wel h mt, t fînd himslf in sć gd cumṗni.

“Lc, Jon!” sd Cêleb, xultñli, “lc hir! Mî ǒn bô fṛm ɖ Goldn Sǎʈ Americaz! Mî ǒn sun! Him ɖt y fitd ǎt, n snt awe yrslf! Him ɖt y wr olwz sć a frend t!”

Ɖ Carịr advanst t sīz him bî ɖ hand; bt, rcôlñ, az sm fīćr in hiz fes awecnd a rmembṛns v ɖ Def Man in ɖ Cart, sd:

“Edẉd! Wz it y?”

“Nǎ tel him ol!” craid Dot. “Tel him ol, Edẉd; n d’nt sper m, fr nʈñ śl mc m sper mslf in hiz îz, evr agn.”

“I wz ɖ man,” sd Edẉd.

“N cd y stìl, dsgîzd, intu ɖ hǎs v yr old frend?” rjônd ɖ Carịr. “Ɖr wz a franc bô wns—hǎ mni yirz z it, Cêleb, sins w hŕd ɖt h wz ded, n hd it pruvd, w ʈt?—hu nvr wd hv dn ɖt.”

“Ɖr wz a jenṛs frend v mîn wns; mor a faɖr t m ɖn a frend,” sd Edẉd; “hu nvr wd hv jujd m, or eni uɖr man, unhŕd. Y wr h. So I am srtn y wl hír m nǎ.”

Ɖ Carịr, wɖ a trubld glans at Dot, hu stl cept far awe fṛm him, rplaid, “Wel! ɖt’s bt fer. I wl.”

“Y mst nǒ ɖt ẃn I left hir a bô,” sd Edẉd, “I wz in luv, n mî luv wz rtrnd. Ś wz a vri yuñ grl, hu phps (y me tel m) dd’nt nǒ hr ǒn mînd. Bt I ń mîn, n I hd a paśn fr hr.”

“Y hd!” xclemd ɖ Carịr. “Y!”

“Indd I hd,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr. “N ś rtrnd it. I hv evr sins b’livd ś dd, n nǎ I am śr ś dd.”

“Hevn hlp m!” sd ɖ Carịr. “Ɖs z wrs ɖn ol.”

“Constnt t hr,” sd Edẉd, “n rtrnñ, fl v hop, aftr mni hardśps n perilz, t rdim mî part v ǎr old contract, I hŕd, twenti mîlz awe, ɖt ś wz fōls t m; ɖt ś hd fgotn m; n hd bstoud hrslf upn anɖr n a rićr man. I hd no mînd t rproć hr; bt I wśt t si hr, n t pruv bynd dspyt ɖt ɖs wz tru. I hopt ś mt hv bn forst intu it agnst hr ǒn dzîr n rec̣lex́n. It wd b smōl cumf̣t, bt it wd b sm, I ʈt, n on I cem. Ɖt I mt hv ɖ truʈ, ɖ riyl truʈ, obzrvñ frīli fr mslf, n jujñ fr mslf, wɖt obstrux́n on ɖ wn hand, or prizntñ mî ǒn inflụns (f I hd eni) bfr hr, on ɖ uɖr, I drest mslf unlîc mslf—y nǒ hǎ; n wêtd on ɖ rod—y nǒ ẃr. Y hd no sspiśn v m; nɖr hd—hd ś,” pôntñ t Dot, “untl I ẃisprd in hr ir at ɖt fîrsîd, n ś so nirli btreid m.”

“Bt ẃn ś ń ɖt Edẉd wz alîv, n hd cm bac,” sobd Dot, nǎ spīcñ fr hrslf, az ś hd brnd t d, ol ʈru ɖs naṛtiv; “n ẃn ś ń hiz prṗs, ś advîzd him bî ol mīnz t cīp hiz sīcrit clos; fr hiz old frend Jon Pīribngl wz mć tù opn in hiz nećr, n tù clumzi in ol arṭfis—biyñ a clumzi man in jenṛl,” sd Dot, haf lafñ n haf crayñ—“t cīp it fr him. N ẃn ś—ɖt’s m, Jon,” sobd ɖ litl wmn—“tld him ol, n hǎ hiz swīthart hd b’livd him t b ded; n hǎ ś hd at last bn oṿpswedd bî hr muɖr intu a marij ẃć ɖ sili, dir old ʈñ cōld advntejs; n ẃn ś—ɖt’s m agn, Jon—tld him ɖe wr nt yt marid (ɖo clos upn it), n ɖt it wd b nʈñ bt a sacṛfîs f it wnt on, fr ɖr wz no luv on hr sîd; n ẃn h wnt nirli mad wɖ jô t hír it,—ɖen ś—ɖt’s m agn—sd ś wd g btwn ɖm, az ś hd ofn dn bfr in old tîmz, Jon, n wd sǎnd hiz swīthart, n b śr ɖt ẃt ś—m agn, Jon—sd n ʈt wz rît. N it WZ rît, Jon! N ɖe wr bròt tgɖr, Jon! N ɖe wr marid, Jon, an aur ago! N hir’z ɖ Brîd! N Gruf n Tacltn me dî a bać̣lr! N I’m a hapi litl wmn, Me, God bles y!”

Ś wz an irizistbl litl wmn, f ɖt b enʈñ t ɖ prṗs; n nvr so cmplitli irizistbl az in hr preznt transports. Ɖr nvr wr cngrać̣leśnz so indirñ n dliśs az ɖoz ś laviśt on hrslf n on ɖ Brîd.

Amd ɖ tymult v imośnz in hiz brest, ɖ onist Carịr hd std cnfǎndd. Flayñ, nǎ, twdz hr, Dot strećt ǎt hr hand t stop him, n rtritd az bfr.

“No, Jon, no! Hír ol! D’nt luv m eni mor, Jon, tl y’v hŕd evri wrd I hv t se. It wz roñ t hv a sīcrit fṛm y, Jon. I’m vri sori. I dd’nt ʈnc it eni harm, tl I cem n sat dǎn bî y on ɖ litl stūl last nît. Bt ẃn I ń, bî ẃt wz ritn in yr fes, ɖt y hd sìn m wōcñ in ɖ gaḷri wɖ Edẉd, n ẃn I ń ẃt y ʈt, I flt hǎ gidi n hǎ roñ it wz. Bt ǒ, dir Jon, hǎ cd y, cd y ʈnc so?”

Litl wmn, hǎ ś sobd agn! Jon Pīribngl wd hv còt hr in hiz armz. Bt no; ś wd’nt let him.

“D’nt luv m yt, plīz, Jon! Nt fr a loñ tîm yt! Ẃn I wz sad abt ɖs intndd marij, dir, it wz bcz I rmembrd Me n Edẉd sć yuñ luvrz; n ń ɖt hr hart wz far awe fṛm Tacltn. Y b’liv ɖt, nǎ, d’nt y, Jon?”

Jon wz gwñ t mc anɖr ruś at ɖs apil; bt ś stopt him agn.

“No; cīp ɖr, plīz, Jon! Ẃn I laf at y, az I smtmz d, Jon, n cōl y clumzi n a dir old gūs, n nemz v ɖt sort, it’s bcz I luv y, Jon, so wel, n tec sć pleźr in yr wez, n wd’nt si y oltrd in ɖ līst rspct t hv y md a cñ tmoro.”

“Hūror!” sd Cêleb wɖ unyźl vigr. “Mî opińn!”

“N ẃn I spīc v ppl biyñ midl-ejd n stedi, Jon, n pritnd ɖt w r a humdrum cupl, gwñ on in a jogtrot sort v we, it’s onli bcz I’m sć a sili litl ʈñ, Jon, ɖt I lîc, smtmz, t act az a cnd v Ple wɖ Bebi, n ol ɖt: n mc b’liv.”

Ś sw ɖt h wz cmñ; n stopt him agn. Bt ś wz vri nirli tù lêt.

“No, d’nt luv m fr anɖr minit or tū, f y plīz, Jon! Ẃt I wont most t tel y, I hv cept t ɖ last. Mî dir, gd, jenṛs Jon, ẃn w wr tōcñ ɖ uɖr nît abt ɖ Cricit, I hd it on mî lips t se, ɖt at frst I dd nt luv y qt so dirli az I d nǎ; ẃn I frst cem hom hir, I wz haf afred ɖt I mt’nt lrn t luv y evri bit az wel az I hopt n preid I mt—biyñ so vri yuñ, Jon! Bt, dir Jon, evri de n aur I luvd y mor n mor. N f I cd hv luvd y betr ɖn I d, ɖ nobl wrdz I hŕd y se ɖs mornñ wd hv md m. Bt I c’nt. Ol ɖ afx́n ɖt I hd (it wz a gret dīl, Jon) I gev y, az y wel dzrv, loñ, loñ ago, n I hv no mor left t gv. Nǎ, mî dir huzbnd, tec m t yr hart agn! Ɖt’s mî hom, Jon; n nvr, nvr ʈnc v sndñ m t eni uɖr!”

Y nvr wl d’rîv so mć dlît fṛm siyñ a glorịs litl wmn in ɖ armz v a ʈrd parti az y wd hv flt f y hd sìn Dot run intu ɖ Carịr’z imbres. It wz ɖ most cmplit, unmiṭgetd, soul-frōt litl pìs v rṇstnis ɖt evr y bheld in ol yr dez.

Y me b śr ɖ Carịr wz in a stet v prfict rapćr; n y me b śr Dot wz lîcwz; n y me b śr ɖe ol wr, inclūsiv v Mis Slǒbô, hu wept copịsli fr jô, n, wśñ t includ hr yuñ ćarj in ɖ jenṛl inṭćenj v cngrać̣leśnz, handd rnd ɖ Bebi t evrbdi in s’xeśn, az f it wr smʈñ t drinc.

Bt, nǎ, ɖ sǎnd v ẃīlz wz hŕd agn ǎtsd ɖ dor; n smbdi xclemd ɖt Gruf n Tacltn wz cmñ bac. Spīḍli ɖt wrɖi jntlmn apird, lcñ worm n flustrd.

“Ẃ, ẃt ɖ Devl’z ɖs, Jon Pīribngl?” sd Tacltn. “Ɖr’z sm mstec. I apôntd Msz. Tacltn t mīt m at ɖ ćrć, n I’l swer I pást hr on ɖ rod, on hr we hir. Ǒ! hir ś z! I beg yr pardn, sr; I hv’nt ɖ pleźr v nwñ y; bt, f y cn d m ɖ fevr t sper ɖs yuñ ledi, ś hz rɖr a ptiklr ingejmnt ɖs mornñ.”

“Bt I c’nt sper hr,” rtrnd Edẉd. “I cd’nt ʈnc v it.”

“Ẃt d y mīn, y vaġbond?” sd Tacltn.

“I mīn ɖt, az I cn mc alawns fr yr biyñ vxt,” rtrnd ɖ uɖr wɖ a smîl, “I am az def t harś discors ɖs mornñ az I wz t ol discors last nît.”

Ɖ lc ɖt Tacltn bstoud upn him, n ɖ start h gev!

“I am sori, sr,” sd Edẉd, holdñ ǎt Me’z left hand, n ispeṣ́li ɖ ʈrd fngr, “ɖt ɖ yuñ ledi c’nt acumṗni y t ćrć; bt, az ś hz bn ɖr wns ɖs mornñ, phps y’l xkz hr.”

Tacltn lct hard at ɖ ʈrd fngr, n tc a litl pìs v silvr pepr, apaṛntli cntenñ a rñ, fṛm hiz weistcot pocit.

“Mis Slǒbô,” sd Tacltn, “wl y hv ɖ cîndnis t ʈro ɖt in ɖ fîr? Ʈancī.”

“It wz a prīvịs ingejmnt, qt an old ingejmnt, ɖt privntd mî wîf fṛm cīpñ hr apôntmnt wɖ y, I aśur y,” sd Edẉd.

“Mr. Tacltn wl d m ɖ justis t acnolij ɖt I rvild it t him feʈf̣li; n ɖt I tld him, mni tîmz, I nvr cd fget it,” sd Me, bluśñ.

“Ǒ, srtnli!” sd Tacltn. “Ǒ, t b śr! Ǒ, it’s ol rît, it’s qt c’rect! Msz. Edẉd Plumr, I infŕ?”

“Ɖt’s ɖ nem,” rtrnd ɖ brîdgrūm.

“Ā! I śd’nt hv noun y, sr,” sd Tacltn, scrūṭnîzñ hiz fes naroli, n mcñ a lo bǎ. “I gv y jô, sr!”

“Ʈancī.”

“Msz. Pīribngl,” sd Tacltn, trnñ sudnli t ẃr ś std wɖ hr huzbnd; “I’m sori. Y hv’nt dn m a vri gret cîndnis, bt, upn mî lîf, I am sori. Y r betr ɖn I ʈt y. Jon Pīribngl, I am sori. Y unḍstand m; ɖt’s inuf. It’s qt c’rect, lediz n jntlṃn ol, n prf̣cli saṭsfactri. Gd mornñ!”

Wɖ ɖz wrdz h carid it of, n carid himslf of tù: mirli stopñ at ɖ dor t tec ɖ flǎrz n fevrz fṛm hiz hors’z hed, n t cic ɖt animl wns in ɖ ribz, az a mīnz v informñ him ɖt ɖr wz a scru lūs in hiz arenjmnts.

V cors, it bcem a sirịs dyti nǎ t mc sć a de v it az śd marc ɖz ivnts fr a hî Fīst n Fstivl in ɖ Pīribngl Caḷndr fr eṿmor. Acordñli, Dot wnt t wrc t pṛdys sć an enttenmnt az śd rflect undayñ onr on ɖ hǎs n on evrwn cnsrnd; n, in a vri śort spes v tîm, ś wz p t hr dimpld elboz in flaur, n ẃîṭnñ ɖ Carịr’z cot, evri tîm h cem nir hr, bî stopñ him t gv him a cis. Ɖt gd felo wośt ɖ grīnz, n pīld ɖ trnips, n brouc ɖ plets, n upset ayn pots fl v cold wōtr on ɖ fîr, n md himslf ysfl in ol sorts v wez: ẃl a cupl v pṛfeśnl asistnts, hesṭli cōld in fṛm smẃr in ɖ nebrhd, az on a pônt v lîf or deʈ, ran agnst ć uɖr in ol ɖ dorwez n rnd ol ɖ cornrz, n evrbdi tumbld ovr Tili Slǒbô n ɖ Bebi, evrẃr. Tili nvr cem ǎt in sć fors bfr. Hr ybiqti wz ɖ ʈīm v jenṛl adṃreśn. Ś wz a stumḅlñbloc in ɖ pasij at fîv-n-twenti minits past tū; a mantrap in ɖ cićn at haf-past tū prisîsli; n a pitfōl in ɖ garit at fîv-n-twenti minits t ʈri. Ɖ Bebi’z hed wz, az it wr, a tst n tućston fr evri dscripśn v matr, animl, vejtbl, n minṛl. Nʈñ wz in ys ɖt de ɖt dd’nt cm, at sm tîm or uɖr, intu clos aqentns wɖ it.

Ɖen ɖr wz a gret Xpdiśn set on ft t g n fînd ǎt Msz. Fīldñ; n t b dizṃli penitnt t ɖt xḷnt jntlwmn; n t brñ hr bac, bî fors, f nīdfl, t b hapi n fgivñ. N ẃn ɖ Xpdiśn frst dscuvrd hr, ś wd lisn t no trmz at ol, bt sd, an unspīcbl numbr v tîmz, ɖt evr ś śd hv livd t si ɖ de! n cd’nt b got t se enʈñ els, xpt “Nǎ cari m t ɖ grev”: ẃć sīmd absrd, on acǎnt v hr nt biyñ ded, or enʈñ at ol lîc it. Aftr a tîm ś lapst intu a stet v dredfl cāmnis, n obzrvd ɖt, ẃn ɖt unforćṇt tren v srcmstansz hd ocŕd in ɖ Inḍgo Tred, ś hd fsin ɖt ś wd b xpozd, jrñ hr hol lîf, t evri spīśīz v insult n contyṃli; n ɖt ś wz glad t fînd it wz ɖ ces; n begd ɖe wd’nt trubl ɖmslvz abt hr,—fr ẃt wz ś?—ǒ dir! a nbdi!—bt wd fget ɖt sć a biyñ livd, n wd tec ɖer cors in lîf wɖt hr. Fṛm ɖs bitrli sarcastic mūd ś pást intu an angri wn, in ẃć ś gev vnt t ɖ rmarcbl xpreśn ɖt ɖ wrm wd trn f trodn on; n, aftr ɖt, ś yīldd t a soft rgret, n sd, f ɖe hd onli gvn hr ɖer confidns, ẃt mt ś nt hv hd it in hr pǎr t sjst! Tecñ advantij v ɖs crîsis in hr fīlñz, ɖ Xpdiśn imbrest hr; n ś vri sn hd hr gluvz on, n wz on hr we t Jon Pīribngl’z in a stet v unimpīćbl jntiḷti; wɖ a pepr parsl at hr sîd cntenñ a cap v stet, olmst az tōl, n qt az stif, az a mîtr.

Ɖen, ɖr wr Dot’s faɖr n muɖr t cm in anɖr litl śêz; n ɖe wr bhnd ɖer tîm; n firz wr enttend; n ɖr wz mć lcñ ǎt fr ɖm dǎn ɖ rod; n Msz. Fīldñ olwz wd lc in ɖ roñ n moṛli imposbl d’rex́n; n, biyñ aprîzd ɖr-ov, hopt ś mt tec ɖ liḅti v lcñ ẃr ś plizd. At last ɖe cem; a ćubi litl cupl, jogñ alñ in a snug n cumftbl litl we ɖt qt b’loñd t ɖ Dot faṃli; n Dot n hr muɖr, sîd bî sîd, wr wundrfl t si. Ɖe wr so lîc ć uɖr.

Ɖen Dot’s muɖr hd t rny hr aqentns wɖ Me’z muɖr; n Me’z muɖr olwz std on hr jntiḷti; n Dot’s muɖr nvr std on enʈñ bt hr activ litl fīt. N old Dot—so t cōl Dot’s faɖr, I fgot it wz’nt hiz rît nem, bt nvr mînd—tc liḅtiz, n śc handz at frst sît, n sīmd t ʈnc a cap bt so mć starć n muzlin, n dd’nt dfŕ himslf at ol t ɖ Inḍgo Tred, bt sd ɖr wz no hlp fr it nǎ; n, in Msz. Fīldñ’z sumñ-up, wz a gd-nećrd cnd v man—bt cōrs, mî dir.

I wd’nt hv míst Dot, dwñ ɖ onrz in hr wedñgǎn, mî benisn on hr brît fes! fr eni muni. No! nr ɖ gd Carịr, so jovịl n so rudi, at ɖ botm v ɖ tebl. Nr ɖ brǎn, freś sêlrfelo, n hiz hansm wîf. Nr enwn amñ ɖm. T hv míst ɖ dinr wd hv bn t mis az joli n az stǎt a mīl az man nīd īt; n t hv míst ɖ oṿflowñ cups in ẃć ɖe dranc Ɖ Wedñde wd hv bn ɖ gretist mis v ol.

Aftr dinr Cêleb sañ ɖ soñ abt ɖ Sparc̣lñ Bol. Az I’m a livñ man, hopñ t cīp so fr a yir or tū, h sañ it ʈru.

N, bî-ɖ-bái, a most unlct-fr insidnt ocŕd, jst az h finiśt ɖ last vrs.

Ɖr wz a tap at ɖ dor; n a man cem staġrñ in, wɖt seyñ wɖ yr līv, or bî yr līv, wɖ smʈñ hevi on hiz hed. Setñ ɖs dǎn in ɖ midl v ɖ tebl, s’metricli in ɖ sntr v ɖ nuts n aplz, h sd:

“Mr. Tacltn’z complimnts, n, az h hz’nt got no ys fr ɖ cec himslf, p’raps y’l īt it.”

N, wɖ ɖoz wrdz, h wōct of.

Ɖr wz sm s’prîz amñ ɖ cumṗni, az y me imajin. Msz. Fīldñ, biyñ a ledi v infiṇt dsrnmnt, sjstd ɖt ɖ cec wz pôznd, n rletd a naṛtiv v a cec ẃć, wɖn hr nolij, hd trnd a seminri fr yuñ lediz blu. Bt ś wz ovŗūld bî acḷmeśn; n ɖ cec wz cut bî Me wɖ mć seriṃni n rjôsñ.

I d’nt ʈnc enwn hd testd it, ẃn ɖr cem anɖr tap at ɖ dor, n ɖ sem man apird agn, hvñ undr hiz arm a vast brǎn-pepr parsl.

“Mr. Tacltn’z complimnts, n h’z snt a fy tôz fr ɖ Babi. Ɖe e’nt ugli.”

Aftr ɖ dlivri v ẃć xpreśnz, h rtîrd agn.

Ɖ hol parti wd hv xpirịnst gret dificlti in fîndñ wrdz fr ɖer astoniśmnt, īvn f ɖe hd hd ampl tîm t sīc ɖm. Bt ɖe hd nn at ol; fr ɖ mesinjr hd scersli śut ɖ dor bhnd him, ẃn ɖr cem anɖr tap, n Tacltn himslf wōct in.

“Msz. Pīribngl!” sd ɖ tômrćnt, hat in hand, “I’m sori. I’m mor sori ɖn I wz ɖs mornñ. I hv hd tîm t ʈnc v it. Jon Pīribngl! I am sǎr bî dispziśn; bt I c’nt hlp biyñ swītnd, mor or les, bî cmñ fes t fes wɖ sć a man az y. Cêleb! Ɖs unconśs litl nrs gev m a brocn hint last nît, v ẃć I hv faund ɖ ʈred. I bluś t ʈnc hǎ īẓli I mt hv baund y n yr dōtr t m, n ẃt a mizṛbl idịt I wz ẃn I tc hr fr wn! Frendz, wn n ol, mî hǎs z vri lonli tnît. I hv nt so mć az a Cricit on mî Harʈ. I hv scerd ɖm ol awe. B greśs t m: let m jôn ɖs hapi parti!”

H wz at hom in fîv minits. Y nvr sw sć a felo. Ẃt hd h bn dwñ wɖ himslf ol hiz lîf, nvr t hv noun bfr hiz gret cpaṣti v biyñ jovịl? Or ẃt hd ɖ Fẹriz bn dwñ wɖ him, t hv ifctd sć a ćenj?

“Jon! y w’nt snd m hom ɖs īvnñ, wl y?” ẃisprd Dot.

H hd bn vri nir it, ɖo.

Ɖr wontd bt wn livñ crīćr t mc ɖ parti cmplit; n, in ɖ twnc̣lñ v an î, ɖr h wz, vri ʈrsti wɖ hard runñ, n ingejd in hoplis indevrz t sqīz hiz hed intu a naro pićr. H hd gn wɖ ɖ cart t its jrni’z end, vri mć dsgustd wɖ ɖ absns v hiz mastr, n stypndsli rbełs t ɖ Depyti. Aftr linġrñ abt ɖ stebl fr sm litl tîm, venli atmtñ t insait ɖ old hors t ɖ ḿtiṇs act v rtrnñ on hiz ǒn acǎnt, h hd wōct intu ɖ taprūm, n leid himslf dǎn bfr ɖ fîr. Bt, sudnli yīldñ t ɖ cnvix́n ɖt ɖ Depyti wz a humbug, n mst b abandnd, h hd got p agn, trnd teil, n cm hom.

Ɖr wz a dans in ɖ īvnñ. Wɖ ẃć jenṛl mnśn v ɖt recrieśn, I śd hv left it alon, f I hd nt sm rīzn t s’poz ɖt it wz qt an orijinl dans, n wn v a most uncomn figr. It wz formd in an od we; in ɖs we.

Edẉd, ɖt sêlrfelo—a gd fri daśñ sort v felo h wz—hd bn telñ ɖm verịs marvlz cnsrnñ paṛts, n mînz, n Mxicnz, n golḑust, ẃn ol at wns h tc it in hiz hed t jump p fṛm hiz sīt n pṛpoz a dans; fr Brʈa’z harp wz ɖr, n ś sć a hand upn it az y sldm hír. Dot (slî litl pìs v afcteśn ẃn ś ćouz) sd hr dansñdez wr ovr; I ʈnc bcz ɖ Carịr wz smocñ hiz pîp, n ś lîct sitñ bî him bst. Msz. Fīldñ hd no ćôs, v cors, bt t se hr dansñdez wr ovr, aftr ɖt; n evrbdi sd ɖ sem, xpt Me; Me wz redi.

So, Me n Edẉd gt p, amd gret aplōz, t dans alon; n Brʈa plez hr lîvliist tyn.

Wel! f y’l b’liv m, ɖe hd nt bn dansñ fîv minits, ẃn sudnli ɖ Carịr flñz hiz pîp awe, tecs Dot rnd ɖ weist, daśz ǎt intu ɖ rūm, n starts of wɖ hr, to n hìl, qt wundrf̣li. Tacltn no snr siz ɖs ɖn h scimz acrs t Msz. Fīldñ, tecs hr rnd ɖ weist, n foloz sūt. Old Dot no snr siz ɖs ɖn p h z, ol alîv, ẃiscs of Msz. Dot intu ɖ midl v ɖ dans, n z fōrmost ɖr. Cêleb no snr siz ɖs ɖn h clućz Tili Slǒbô bî bʈ handz, n gz of at scor; Mis Slǒbô, frm in ɖ b’lif ɖt dîvñ hotli in amñ ɖ uɖr cuplz, n ifctñ eni numbr v cncuśnz wɖ ɖm, z yr onli prínsipl v ftñ it.

Harc! hǎ ɖ Cricit jônz ɖ ḿzic wɖ its Ćrp, Ćrp, Ćrp; n hǎ ɖ cetl humz!

Bt ẃt z ɖs? Īvn az I lisn t ɖm blîɖli, n trn twdz Dot, fr wn last glims v a litl figr vri pleznt t m, ś n ɖ rest hv vaniśt intu er, n I am left alon. A Cricit sñz upn ɖ Harʈ; a brocn ćîld’z tô lîz upn ɖ grǎnd: n nʈñ els rmenz.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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