In Ñspel: THE GARDEN-PARTY AND OTHER STORIES, by K Mansfield

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Contents

 

At ɖ BeƉ GardnpartiƉ Dōtrz ov ɖ Lêt CrnlMr. n Msz. DuvƉ Yuñ GrlLîf ov Ma ParcrMarij à la ModeƉ VôijMis BrillHr Frst BōlƉ Sññ LésnƉ StrenjrBanchoḷdeAn Îdiyl FaṃliƉ Ledi’z Meid

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Ɖ Gardnparti

N  aftr ol ɖ weɖr wz îdiyl. Ɖe cd nt hv hd a mor prfict de fr a gardnparti f ɖe hd ordrd it. Windlis, worm, ɖ scî wɖt a clǎd. Onli ɖ blu wz veild wɖ a hêz v lît gold, az it z smtmz in rli sumr. Ɖ gardnr hd bn p sins dōn, mowñ ɖ lōnz n swīpñ ɖm, untl ɖ gras n ɖ darc flat r’zéts ẃr ɖ deiziplants hd bn sīmd t śîn. Az fr ɖ rozz, y cd nt hlp fīlñ ɖe unḍstd ɖt rozz r ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt impres ppl at gardnpartiz; ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt evrbdi z srtn v nwñ. Hundṛdz, yes, litṛli hundṛdz, hd cm ǎt in a sngl nît; ɖ grīn bśz baud dǎn az ɖo ɖe hd bn viẓtd bî arcenjlz.

Brecfst wz nt yt ovr bfr ɖ men cem t pt p ɖ marcī.

“Ẃr d y wont ɖ marcī pt, muɖr?”

“Mî dir ćîld, it’s no ys ascñ m. I’m dtrmind t līv evrʈñ t y ćildṛn ɖs yir. Fget I am yr muɖr. Trīt m az an onrd gest.”

Bt Meg cd nt poṣbli g n sūṗvîz ɖ men. Ś hd wośt hr her bfr brecfst, n ś sat drincñ hr cofi in a grīn trbn, wɖ a darc wet crl stamt on ć ćīc. Jozi, ɖ buṭflî, olwz cem dǎn in a silc peticot n a cimonojacit.

“Y’l hv t g, Lora; y’r ɖ artistic wn.”

Awe Lora flù, stl holdñ hr pìs v bred-n-butr. It’s so dliśs t hv an xks fr ītñ ǎt v dorz, n bsdz, ś luvd hvñ t arenj ʈñz; ś olwz flt ś cd d it so mć betr ɖn enbdi els.

For men in ɖer śrtslīvz std grūpt tgɖr on ɖ gardnpaʈ. Ɖe Carid stevz cuvrd wɖ rolz v canvs, n ɖe hd big tūlbagz sluñ on ɖer bacs. Ɖe lct impresiv. Lora wśt nǎ ɖt ś hd nt got ɖ bred-n-butr, bt ɖr wz nẃr t pt it, n ś cd’nt poṣbli ʈro it awe. Ś bluśt n traid t lc svir n īvn a litl bit śort-sîtd az ś cem p t ɖm.

“Gd mornñ,” ś sd, copiyñ hr muɖr’z vôs. Bt ɖt sǎndd so firf̣li afctd ɖt ś wz aśemd, n stamrd lîc a litl grl, “Ǒ—’r—hv y cm—z it abt ɖ marcī?”

“Ɖt’s rît, mis,” sd ɖ tōlist v ɖ men, a lanci, frecld felo, n h śiftd hiz tūlbag, noct bac hiz strw hat n smîld dǎn at hr. “Ɖt’s abt it.”

Hiz smîl wz so īzi, so frendli ɖt Lora rcuvrd. Ẃt nîs îz h hd, smōl, bt sć a darc blu! N nǎ ś lct at ɖ uɖrz, ɖe wr smîlñ tù. “Ćir p, w w’nt bît,” ɖer smîl sīmd t se. Hǎ vri nîs wrcṃn wr! N ẃt a bytifl mornñ! Ś ms’nt mnśn ɖ mornñ; ś mst b biznislîc. Ɖ marcī.

“Wel, ẃt abt ɖ lililōn? Wd ɖt d?”

N ś pôntd t ɖ lililōn wɖ ɖ hand ɖt dd’nt hold ɖ bred-n-butr. Ɖe trnd, ɖe stérd in ɖ d’rex́n. A litl fat ćap ʈrust ǎt hiz unḍlip, n ɖ tōl felo frǎnd.

“I d’nt fansi it,” sd h. “Nt cnspiks inuf. Y si, wɖ a ʈñ lîc a marcī,” n h trnd t Lora in hiz īzi we, “y wont t pt it smẃr ẃr it’l gv y a bañ slap in ɖ î, f y folo m.”

Lora’z upbrññ md hr wundr fr a momnt ẃɖr it wz qt rspctfl v a wrcmn t tōc t hr v bañz slap in ɖ î. Bt ś dd qt folo him.

“A cornr v ɖ teniscort,” ś sjstd. “Bt ɖ band’z gwñ t b in wn cornr.”

“H’m, gwñ t hv a band, r y?” sd anɖr v ɖ wrcṃn. H wz pel. H hd a haġd lc az hiz darc îz scand ɖ teniscort. Ẃt wz h ʈncñ?

“Onli a vri smōl band,” sd Lora jntli. Phps h wd’nt mînd so mć f ɖ band wz qt smōl. Bt ɖ tōl felo inṭruptd.

“Lc hir, mis, ɖt’s ɖ ples. Agnst ɖoz triz. Ovr ɖr. Ɖt’l d fîn.”

Agnst ɖ c’racaz. Ɖen ɖ c’rac̣trīz wd b hidn. N ɖe wr so luvli, wɖ ɖer brōd, glīmñ līvz, n ɖer clustrz v yelo frūt. Ɖe wr lîc triz y imajind growñ on a deẓt îḷnd, prǎd, solitri, liftñ ɖer līvz n frūts t ɖ sún in a cnd v sîḷnt splendr. Mst ɖe b hidn bî a marcī?

Ɖe mst. Olrdi ɖ men hd śoldrd ɖer stevz n wr mcñ fr ɖ ples. Onli ɖ tōl felo wz left. H bnt dǎn, pinćt a sprig v lavndr, pt hiz ʈum n fōrfngr t hiz nǒz n snuft p ɖ smel. Ẃn Lora sw ɖt jsćr ś fgot ol abt ɖ c’racaz in hr wundr at him cẹrñ fr ʈñz lîc ɖt—cẹrñ fr ɖ smel v lavndr. Hǎ mni men ɖt ś ń wd hv dn sć a ʈñ? Ǒ, hǎ xtrordnṛli nîs wrcṃn wr, ś ʈt. Ẃ cd’nt ś hv wrcṃn fr hr frendz rɖr ɖn ɖ sili bôz ś danst wɖ n hu cem t Súnde nît supr? Ś wd gt on mć betr wɖ men lîc ɖz.

It’s ol ɖ fōlt, ś dsîdd, az ɖ tōl felo drù smʈñ on ɖ bac v an enṿlop, smʈñ ɖt wz t b lūpt p or left t hañ, v ɖz absrd clas-dstñśnz. Wel, fr hr part, ś dd’nt fīl ɖm. Nt a bit, nt an atm… N nǎ ɖr cem ɖ ćóc-ćóc v wŭdn hamrz. Smwn ẃisld, smwn sañ ǎt, “R y rît ɖr, mêti?” “Mêti!” Ɖ frendlinis v it, ɖ—ɖ—Jst t pruv hǎ hapi ś wz, jst t śo ɖ tōl felo hǎ at hom ś flt, n hǎ ś dspîzd stypid cnvnśnz, Lora tc a big bît v hr bred-n-butr az ś stérd at ɖ litl drw̃. Ś flt jst lîc a wrcgrl.

“Lora, Lora, ẃr r y? Teḷfon, Lora!” a vôs craid fṛm ɖ hǎs.

“Cmñ!” Awe ś scimd, ovr ɖ lōn, p ɖ paʈ, p ɖ steps, acrs ɖ vranda, n intu ɖ porć. In ɖ hōl hr faɖr n Lóri wr bruśñ ɖer hats redi t g t ɖ ofis.

“I se, Lora,” sd Lóri vri fast, “y mt jst gv a squiz at mî cot bfr ɖs afṭnun. Si f it wonts presñ.”

“I wl,” sd ś. Sudnli ś cd’nt stop hrslf. Ś ran at Lóri n gev him a smōl, qc sqīz. “Ǒ, I d luv partiz, d’nt y?” gaspt Lora.

“Rɖr,” sd Lóri’z worm, bôiś vôs, n h sqizd hiz sistr tù, n gev hr a jntl pś. “Daś of t ɖ teḷfon, old grl.”

Ɖ teḷfon. “Yes, yes; ǒ yes. Citi? Gd mornñ, dir. Cm t lunć? D, dir. Dlîtd v cors. It wl onli b a vri scraćmīl—jst ɖ sanwijcrusts n brocn mrañ-ślz n ẃt’s left ovr. Yes, z’nt it a prfict mornñ? Yr ẃît? Ǒ, I srtnli śd. Wn momnt—hold ɖ lîn. Muɖr’z cōlñ.” N Lora sat bac. “Ẃt, muɖr? C’nt hír.”

Msz. Śeridn’z vôs flotd dǎn ɖ sterz. “Tel hr t wer ɖt swīt hat ś hd on last Súnde.”

“Muɖr sz y’r t wer ɖt swīt hat y hd on last Súnde. Gd. Wn o’cloc. Bái-bái.”

Lora pt bac ɖ rsivr, fluñ hr armz ovr hr hed, tc a dīp breʈ, strećt n let ɖm fōl. “Hú,” ś said, n ɖ momnt aftr ɖ sai ś sat p qcli. Ś wz stil, liṣnñ. Ol ɖ dorz in ɖ hǎs sīmd t b opn. Ɖ hǎs wz alîv wɖ soft, qc steps n runñ vôsz. Ɖ grīn bêz dor ɖt léd t ɖ cićnrījnz swuñ opn n śut wɖ a mufld ʈud. N nǎ ɖr cem a loñ, ćuc̣lñ absrd sǎnd. It wz ɖ hevi piano biyñ muvd on its stif cástrz. Bt ɖ er! F y stopt t notis, wz ɖ er olwz lîc ɖs? Litl fent windz wr pleyñ ćes, in at ɖ tops v ɖ windoz, ǎt at ɖ dorz. N ɖr wr tū tîni spots v sún, wn on ɖ ñcpot, wn on a silvr foṭgraf̦rem, pleyñ tù. Darlñ litl spots. Ispeṣ́li ɖ wn on ɖ ñcpot lid. It wz qt worm. A worm litl silvr star. Ś cd hv cist it.

Ɖ frunt dor bel pìld, n ɖr sǎndd ɖ rusl v Sêdi’z printscrt on ɖ sterz. A man’z vôs mrmrd; Sêdi ansrd, cerlis, “I’m śr I d’nt nǒ. Wêt. I’l asc Msz. Śeridn.”

“Ẃt z it, Sêdi?” Lora cem intu ɖ hōl.

“It’s ɖ florist, Mis. Lora.”

It wz, indd. Ɖr, jst insd ɖ dor, std a wîd, śalo tre fl v pots v pnc liliz. No uɖr cnd. Nʈñ bt liliz—caṇliliz, big pnc flǎrz, wîd opn, redịnt, olmst frîtnñli alîv on brît crimzn stemz.

“Ǒ-ǒ, Sêdi!” sd Lora, n ɖ sǎnd wz lîc a litl mon. Ś crǎćt dǎn az f t worm hrslf at ɖt blêz v liliz; ś flt ɖe wr in hr fngrz, on hr lips, growñ in hr brest.

“It’s sm mstec,” ś sd fentli. “Nbdi evr ordrd so mni. Sêdi, g n fînd muɖr.”

Bt at ɖt momnt Msz. Śeridn jônd ɖm.

“It’s qt rît,” ś sd cāmli. “Yes, I ordrd ɖm. R’nt ɖe luvli?” Ś prest Lora’z arm. “I wz pasñ ɖ śop yesṭde, n I sw ɖm in ɖ windo. N I sudnli ʈt fr wns in mî lîf I śl hv inuf caṇliliz. Ɖ gardnparti wl b a gd xks.”

“Bt I ʈt y sd y dd’nt mīn t inṭfir,” sd Lora. Sêdi hd gn. Ɖ florist’s man wz stl ǎtsd at hiz van. Ś pt hr arm rnd hr muɖr’z nec n jntli, vri jntli, ś bit hr muɖr’z ir.

“Mî darlñ ćîld, y wd’nt lîc a lojicl muɖr, wd y? D’nt d ɖt. Hir’z ɖ man.”

H carid mor liliz stl, anɖr hol tre.

“Banc ɖm p, jst insd ɖ dor, on bʈ sîdz v ɖ porć, plīz,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “D’nt y agri, Lora?”

“Ǒ, I d, muɖr.”

In ɖ drw̃rūm Meg, Jozi n gd litl Hanz hd at last s’xidd in muvñ ɖ piano.

“Nǎ, f w pt ɖs Ćesṭfīld agnst ɖ wōl n muv evrʈñ ǎt v ɖ rūm xpt ɖ ćerz, d’nt y ʈnc?”

“Qt.”

“Hanz, muv ɖz teblz intu ɖ smocñrūm, n brñ a swīpr t tec ɖz marcs of ɖ carpit n—wn momnt, Hanz—” Jozi luvd gvñ ordrz t ɖ srvnts, n ɖe luvd obeyñ hr. Ś olwz md ɖm fīl ɖe wr tecñ part in sm drama. “Tel muɖr n Mis. Lora t cm hir at wns.”

“Vri gd, Mis. Jozi.”

Ś trnd t Meg. “I wont t hír ẃt ɖ piano sǎndz lîc, jst in ces I’m asct t sñ ɖs afṭnun. Let’s trî ovr ‘Ɖs lîf z Wiri’.”

Pom! Ta-ta-ta -ta! Ɖ piano brst ǎt so paśṇtli ɖt Jozi’z fes ćenjd. Ś claspt hr handz. Ś lct mōrnf̣li n eṇgmaticli at hr muɖr n Lora az ɖe cem in.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

N ɖen… Gdbî!

Bt at ɖ wrd “Gdbî,” n olɖo ɖ piano sǎndd mor despṛt ɖn evr, hr fes brouc intu a briłnt, dredf̣li unsimṗʈetic smîl.

“R’nt I in gd vôs, mumi?” ś bīmd.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

Hop cmz t Dî.

A Drīm—a We-c̣nñ.

Bt nǎ Sêdi inṭruptd ɖm. “Ẃt z it, Sêdi?”

“F y plīz, m’m, cc sz hv y got ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz?”

“Ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz, Sêdi?” ecoud Msz. Śeridn drīṃli. N ɖ ćildṛn ń bî hr fes ɖt ś hd’nt got ɖm. “Let m si.” N ś sd t Sêdi frmli, “Tel cc I’l let hr hv ɖm in ten minits.”

Sêdi wnt.

“Nǎ, Lora,” sd hr muɖr qcli, “cm wɖ m intu ɖ smocñrūm. I’v got ɖ nemz smẃr on ɖ bac v an enṿlop. Y’l hv t rait ɖm ǎt fr m. Meg, g upsterz ɖs minit n tec ɖt wet ʈñ of yr hed. Jozi, run n finiś dresñ ɖs instnt. D y hír m, ćildṛn, or śl I hv t tel yr faɖr ẃn h cmz hom tnît? N—n, Jozi, paṣfî cc f y d g intu ɖ cićn, wl y? I’m teṛfaid v hr ɖs mornñ.”

Ɖ enṿlop wz faund at last bhnd ɖ dînñrūm cloc, ɖo hǎ it hd got ɖr Msz. Śeridn cd nt imajin.

“Wn v y ćildṛn mst hv stoḷn it ǎt v mî bag, bcz I rmembr vividli—crīmćīz n lemncrd. Hv y dn ɖt?”

“Yes.”

“Eg n—” Msz. Śeridn hld ɖ enṿlop awe fṛm hr. “It lcs lîc mîs. It c’nt b mîs, cn it?”

“Oliv, pet,” sd Lora, lcñ ovr hr śoldr.

“Yes, v cors, oliv. Ẃt a hoṛbl combneśn it sǎndz. Eg n oliv.”

Ɖe wr finiśt at last, n Lora tc ɖm of t ɖ cićn. Ś faund Jozi ɖr paṣfayñ ɖ cc, hu dd nt lc at ol teṛfayñ.

“I hv nvr sìn sć xqizit sanẉjz,” sd Jozi’z rapćṛs vôs. “Hǎ mni cndz dd y se ɖr wr, cc? Fiftīn?”

“Fiftīn, Mis. Jozi.”

“Wel, cc, I cngrać̣let y.”

Cc swept p crusts wɖ ɖ loñ sanwijnîf, n smîld brōdli.

“Godbr’z hz cm,” anǎnst Sêdi, iśuwñ ǎt v ɖ pantri. Ś hd sìn ɖ man pas ɖ windo.

Ɖt mnt ɖ crīm pufs hd cm. Godbr’z wr feṃs fr ɖer crīm pufs. Nbdi evr ʈt v mcñ ɖm at hom.

“Brñ ɖm in n pt ɖm on ɖ tebl, mî grl,” ordrd cc.

Sêdi bròt ɖm in n wnt bac t ɖ dor. V cors Lora n Jozi wr far tù groun-up t riyli cer abt sć ʈñz. Ol ɖ sem, ɖe cd’nt hlp agriyñ ɖt ɖ pufs lct vri atractiv. Vri. Cc bgan arenjñ ɖm, śecñ of ɖ xtra îsñśŭgr.

“D’nt ɖe cari wn bac t ol wn’z partiz?” sd Lora.

“I s’poz ɖe d,” sd practicl Jozi, hu nvr lîct t b carid bac. “Ɖe lc bytifli lît n feɖ̇ri, I mst se.”

“Hv wn ć, mî dirz,” sd cc in hr cumftbl vôs. “Y’ ma w’nt nǒ.”

Ǒ, imposbl. Fansi crīm pufs so sn aftr brecfst. Ɖ vri îdīa md wn śudr. Ol ɖ sem, tū minits lêtr Jozi n Lora wr licñ ɖer fngrz wɖ ɖt abzorbd inwd lc ɖt onli cmz fṛm ẃipt crīm.

“Let’s g intu ɖ gardn, ǎt bî ɖ bac we,” sjstd Lora. “I wont t si hǎ ɖ men r gtñ on wɖ ɖ marcī. Ɖ’r sć ōf̣li nîs men.”

Bt ɖ bac dor wz bloct bî cc, Sêdi, Godbr’z man n Hanz.

Smʈñ hd hapnd.

“Tc-tc-tc,” cluct cc lîc an ajtetd hen. Sêdi hd hr hand clapt t hr ćīc az ɖo ś hd tuʈ-ec. Hanz’z fes wz scrùd p in ɖ ef̣t t unḍstand. Onli Godbr’z man sīmd t b injoyñ himslf; it wz hiz stori.

“Ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s hapnd?”

“Ɖr’z bn a hoṛbl axidnt,” sd Cc. “A man cild.”

“A man cild! Ẃr? Hǎ? Ẃn?”

Bt Godbr’z man wz’nt gwñ t hv hiz stori snaćt fṛm undr hiz vri nǒz.

“Nǒ ɖoz litl coṭjz jst b’lo hir, Mis.?” Nǒ ɖm? V cors, ś ń ɖm. “Wel, ɖr’z a yuñ ćap livñ ɖr, nem v Scot, a cartr. Hiz hors śaid at a trax́n-enjin, cornr v Hòc Strīt ɖs mornñ, n h wz ʈroun ǎt on ɖ bac v hiz hed. Cild.”

“Ded!” Lora stérd at Godbr’z man.

“Ded ẃn ɖe pict him p,” sd Godbr’z man wɖ reliś. “Ɖe wr tecñ ɖ bodi hom az I cm p hir.” N h sd t ɖ cc, “H’z left a wîf n fîv litl wnz.”

“Jozi, cm hir.” Lora còt hold v hr sistr’z slīv n dragd hr ʈru ɖ cićn t ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ grīn bêz dor. Ɖr ś pōzd n līnd agnst it. “Jozi!” ś sd, hoṛfaid, “hvr r w gwñ t stop evrʈñ?”

“Stop evrʈñ, Lora!” craid Jozi in astoniśmnt. “Ẃt d y mīn?”

“Stop ɖ gardnparti, v cors.” Ẃ dd Jozi pritnd?

Bt Jozi wz stl mor amezd. “Stop ɖ gardnparti? Mî dir Lora, d’nt b so absrd. V cors w c’nt d enʈñ v ɖ cnd. Nbdi xpcts s t. D’nt b so xtraṿgnt.”

“Bt w c’nt poṣbli hv a gardnparti wɖ a man ded jst ǎtsd ɖ frunt get.”

Ɖt riyli wz xtraṿgnt, fr ɖ litl coṭjz wr in a len t ɖmslvz at ɖ vri botm v a stīp rîz ɖt léd p t ɖ hǎs. A brōd rod ran btwn. Tru, ɖe wr far tù nir. Ɖe wr ɖ gretist poṣbl îsor, n ɖe hd no rît t b in ɖt nebrhd at ol. Ɖe wr litl mīn dwelñz pentd a ćocḷt brǎn. In ɖ gardnpaćz ɖr wz nʈñ bt cabijstōcz, sic hnz n tmātocanz. Ɖ vri smoc cmñ ǎt v ɖer ćimniz wz poṿti-stricn. Litl ragz n średz v smoc, so unlîc ɖ gret silṿri plūmz ɖt uncrld fṛm ɖ Śeridnz’ ćimniz. Wośrwimin livd in ɖ len n swīps n a coblr, n a man huz hǎsfrunt wz studd ol ovr wɖ mînyt brdcejz. Ćildṛn swormd. Ẃn ɖ Śeridnz wr litl ɖe wr fbidn t set ft ɖr bcz v ɖ rvoltñ lanḡj n v ẃt ɖe mt cać. Bt sins ɖe wr groun p, Lora n Lóri on ɖer prǎlz smtmz wōct ʈru. It wz dsgustñ n sordid. Ɖe cem ǎt wɖ a śudr. Bt stl wn mst g evrẃr; wn mst si evrʈñ. So ʈru ɖe wnt.

“N jst ʈnc v ẃt ɖ band wd sǎnd lîc t ɖt pur wmn,” sd Lora.

“Ǒ, Lora!” Jozi bgan t b sirịsli anoid. “F y’r gwñ t stop a band pleyñ evri tîm smwn hz an axidnt, y’l līd a vri strenẏs lîf. I’m evri bit az sori abt it az y. I fīl jst az simṗʈetic.” Hr îz hardnd. Ś lct at hr sistr jst az ś yst t ẃn ɖe wr litl n fîtñ tgɖr. “Y w’nt brñ a druncn wrcmn bac t lîf bî biyñ snṭmntl,” ś sd softli.

“Drunc! Hu sd h wz drunc?” Lora trnd fyrịsli on Jozi. Ś sd, jst az ɖe hd yst t se on ɖoz oceẓ́nz, “I’m gwñ stret p t tel muɖr.”

“D, dir,” cùd Jozi.

“Muɖr, cn I cm intu yr rūm?” Lora trnd ɖ big glas dornob.

“V cors, ćîld. Ẃ, ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s gvn y sć a culr?” N Msz. Śeridn trnd rnd fṛm hr dresñtebl. Ś wz trayñ on a ny hat.

“Muɖr, a man’z bn cild,” bgan Lora.

Nt in ɖ gardn?” inṭruptd hr muɖr.

“No, no!”

“Ǒ, ẃt a frît y gev m!” Msz. Śeridn said wɖ rlif, n tc of ɖ big hat n hld it on hr niz.

“Bt lisn, muɖr,” sd Lora. Breʈlis, haf-ćocñ, ś tld ɖ dredfl stori. “V cors, w c’nt hv ǎr parti, cn w?” ś plīdd. “Ɖ band n evrbdi arîvñ. Ɖ’d hír s, muɖr; ɖ’r nirli nebrz!”

T Lora’z astoniśmnt hr muɖr bhevd jst lîc Jozi; it wz hardr t ber bcz ś sīmd aḿzd. Ś rfyzd t tec Lora sirịsli.

“Bt, mî dir ćîld, yz yr comn-sns. It’s onli bî axidnt w’v hŕd v it. F smwn hd daid ɖr norṃli—n I c’nt unḍstand hǎ ɖe cīp alîv in ɖoz pǒci litl houlz—w śd stl b hvñ ǎr parti, śd’nt w?”

Lora hd t se “yes” t ɖt, bt ś flt it wz ol roñ. Ś sat dǎn on hr muɖr’z sofa n pinćt ɖ cŭśnfril.

“Muɖr, z’nt it teṛbli hartlis v s?” ś asct.

“Darlñ!” Msz. Śeridn got p n cem ovr t hr, cariyñ ɖ hat. Bfr Lora cd stop hr ś hd popt it on. “Mî ćîld!” sd hr muɖr, “ɖ hat z yrz. It’s md fr y. It’s mć tù yuñ fr m. I hv nvr sìn y lc sć a picćr. Lc at yrslf!” N ś hld p hr handmirr.

“Bt, muɖr,” Lora bgan agn. Ś cd’nt lc at hrslf; ś trnd asd.

Ɖs tîm Msz. Śeridn lost peśns jst az Jozi hd dn.

“Y r biyñ vri absrd, Lora,” ś sd coldli. “Ppl lîc ɖt d’nt xpct sacṛfîsz fṛm s. N it’s nt vri simṗʈetic t spôl evrbdi’z injômnt az y’r dwñ nǎ.”

“I d’nt unḍstand,” sd Lora, n ś wōct qcli ǎt v ɖ rūm intu hr ǒn bedrūm. Ɖr, qt bî ćans, ɖ frst ʈñ ś sw wz ɖs ćarmñ grl in ɖ mirr, in hr blac hat trimd wɖ gold deiziz, n a loñ blac velvit ribn. Nvr hd ś imajind ś cd lc lîc ɖt. Z muɖr rît? ś ʈt. N nǎ ś hopt hr muɖr wz rît. Am I biyñ xtraṿgnt? Phps it wz xtraṿgnt. Jst fr a momnt ś hd anɖr glims v ɖt pur wmn n ɖoz litl ćildṛn, n ɖ bodi biyñ carid intu ɖ hǎs. Bt it ol sīmd blŕd, unriyl, lîc a picćr in ɖ nyzpepr. I’l rmembr it agn aftr ɖ parti’z ovr, ś dsîdd. N smhǎ ɖt sīmd qt ɖ bst plan…

Lunć wz ovr bî haf-past wn. Bî haf-past tū ɖe wr ol redi fr ɖ fre. Ɖ grīn-cotd band hd arîvd n wz istabliśt in a cornr v ɖ teniscort.

“Mî dir!” trild Citi Mêtḷnd, “r’nt ɖe tù lîc frogz fr wrdz? Y òt t hv arenjd ɖm rnd ɖ pond wɖ ɖ cnductr in ɖ midl on a līf.”

Lóri arîvd n hêld ɖm on hiz we t dres. At ɖ sît v him Lora rmembrd ɖ axidnt agn. Ś wontd t tel him. F Lóri agrìd wɖ ɖ uɖrz, ɖen it wz baund t b ol rît. N ś foloud him intu ɖ hōl.

“Lóri!”

“Hlo!” H wz hafwe upsterz, bt ẃn h trnd rnd n sw Lora h sudnli puft ǎt hiz ćīcs n gogld hiz îz at hr. “Mî wrd, Lora! Y d lc stunñ,” sd Lóri. “Ẃt an abṣlutli topñ hat!”

Lora sd fentli “Z it?” n smîld p at Lóri, n dd’nt tel him aftr ol.

Sn aftr ɖt ppl bgan cmñ in strīmz. Ɖ band struc p; ɖ hîrd wêtrz ran fṛm ɖ hǎs t ɖ marcī. Ẃrvr y lct ɖr wr cuplz strolñ, bndñ t ɖ flǎrz, grītñ, muvñ on ovr ɖ lōn. Ɖe wr lîc brît brdz ɖt hd alîtd in ɖ Śeridnz’ gardn fr ɖs wn afṭnun, on ɖer we t—ẃr? Ā, ẃt hapinis it z t b wɖ ppl hu ol r hapi, t pres handz, pres ćīcs, smîl intu îz.

“Darlñ Lora, hǎ wel y lc!”

“Ẃt a bcmñ hat, ćîld!”

“Lora, y lc qt Spaniś. I’v nvr sìn y lc so strîcñ.”

N Lora, glowñ, ansrd softli, “Hv y hd ti? W’nt y hv an îs? Ɖ paśnfrūt îsz riyli r rɖr speśl.” Ś ran t hr faɖr n begd him. “Dadi darlñ, c’nt ɖ band hv smʈñ t drinc?”

N ɖ prfict afṭnun slǒli rîpnd, slǒli fedd, slǒli its petlz clozd.

“Nvr a mor dlîtfl gardnparti…” “Ɖ gretist s’xes…” “Qt ɖ most…”

Lora hlpt hr muɖr wɖ ɖ gdbîs. Ɖe std sîd bî sîd in ɖ porć tl it wz ol ovr.

“Ol ovr, ol ovr, ʈanc hevn,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “Rnd p ɖ uɖrz, Lora. Let’s g n hv sm freś cofi. I’m xōstd. Yes, it’s bn vri s’xesfl. Bt ǒ, ɖz partiz, ɖz partiz! Ẃ wl y ćildṛn insist on gvñ partiz!” N ɖe ol v ɖm sat dǎn in ɖ dzrtd marcī.

“Hv a sanwij, dadi dir. I rout ɖ flag.”

“Ʈancs.” Mr. Śeridn tc a bît n ɖ sanwij wz gn. H tc anɖr. “I s’poz y dd’nt hír v a bīstli axidnt ɖt hapnd tde?” h sd.

“Mî dir,” sd Msz. Śeridn, holdñ p hr hand, “w dd. It nirli ruind ɖ parti. Lora insistd w śd pt it of.”

“Ǒ, muɖr!” Lora dd’nt wont t b tizd abt it.

“It wz a hoṛbl afer ol ɖ sem,” sd Mr. Śeridn. “Ɖ ćap wz marid tù. Livd jst b’lo in ɖ len, n līvz a wîf n haf a duzn cidiz, so ɖe se.”

An ōcẉd litl sîḷns fél. Msz. Śeridn fiɉtd wɖ hr cup. Riyli, it wz vri tactlis v faɖr…

Sudnli ś lct p. Ɖr on ɖ tebl wr ol ɖoz sanẉjz, cecs, pufs, ol unītn, ol gwñ t b westd. Ś hd wn v hr briłnt îdīaz.

“I nǒ,” ś sd. “Let’s mc p a bascit. Let’s snd ɖt pur crīćr sm v ɖs prf̣cli gd fūd. At eni ret, it wl b ɖ gretist trīt fr ɖ ćildṛn. D’nt y agri? N ś’z śr t hv nebrz cōlñ in n so on. Ẃt a pônt t hv it ol redi priperd. Lora!” Ś jumt p. “Gt m ɖ big bascit ǎt v ɖ sterz cuḅd.”

“Bt, muɖr, d y riyli ʈnc it’s a gd îdīa?” sd Lora.

Agn, hǎ krịs, ś sīmd t b difṛnt fṛm ɖm ol. T tec scraps fṛm ɖer parti. Wd ɖ pur wmn riyli lîc ɖt?

“V cors! Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ y tde? An aur or tū ago y wr insistñ on s biyñ simṗʈetic, n nǎ—”

Ǒ wel! Lora ran fr ɖ bascit. It wz fild, it wz hīpt bî hr muɖr.

“Tec it yrslf, darlñ,” sd ś. “Run dǎn jst az y r. No, wêt, tec ɖ aṛmliliz tù. Ppl v ɖt clas r so imprest bî aṛmliliz.”

“Ɖ stemz wl ruin hr lês froc,” sd practicl Jozi.

So ɖe wd. Jst in tîm. “Onli ɖ bascit, ɖen. N, Lora!”—hr muɖr foloud hr ǎt v ɖ marcī—“d’nt on eni acǎnt—”

“Ẃt muɖr?”

No, betr nt pt sć îdīaz intu ɖ ćîld’z hed! “Nʈñ! Run alñ.”

It wz jst growñ dusci az Lora śut ɖer gardngets. A big dog ran bî lîc a śado. Ɖ rod glīmd ẃît, n dǎn b’lo in ɖ holo ɖ litl coṭjz wr in dīp śêd. Hǎ qayt it sīmd aftr ɖ afṭnun. Hir ś wz gwñ dǎn ɖ hil t smẃr ẃr a man le ded, n ś cd’nt riylîz it. Ẃ cd’nt ś? Ś stopt a minit. N it sīmd t hr ɖt cisz, vôsz, tnc̣lñ spūnz, laftr, ɖ smel v cruśt gras wr smhǎ insd hr. Ś hd no rūm fr enʈñ els. Hǎ strenj! Ś lct p at ɖ pel scî, n ol ś ʈt wz, “Yes, it wz ɖ most s’xesfl parti.”

Nǎ ɖ brōd rod wz crost. Ɖ len bgan, smoci n darc. Wimin in śōlz n men’z twīd caps hurid bî. Men huñ ovr ɖ pêlñz; ɖ ćildṛn pleid in ɖ dorwez. A lo hum cem fṛm ɖ mīn litl coṭjz. In sm v ɖm ɖr wz a flicr v lît, n a śado, crablîc, muvd acrs ɖ windo. Lora bnt hr hed n hurid on. Ś wśt nǎ ś hd pt on a cot. Hǎ hr froc śon! N ɖ big hat wɖ ɖ velvit strīmr—f onli it wz anɖr hat! Wr ɖ ppl lcñ at hr? Ɖe mst b. It wz a mstec t hv cm; ś ń ol alñ it wz a mstec. Śd ś g bac īvn nǎ?

No, tù lêt. Ɖs wz ɖ hǎs. It mst b. A darc nót v ppl std ǎtsd. Bsd ɖ get an old, old wmn wɖ a cruć sat in a ćer, woćñ. Ś hd hr fīt on a nyzpepr. Ɖ vôsz stopt az Lora drù nir. Ɖ grūp partd. It wz az ɖo ś wz xpctd, az ɖo ɖe hd noun ś wz cmñ hir.

Lora wz teṛbli nrṿs. Tosñ ɖ velvit ribn ovr hr śoldr, ś sd t a wmn standñ bî, “Z ɖs Msz. Scot’s hǎs?” n ɖ wmn, smîlñ qirli, sd, “It z, mî las.”

Ǒ, t b awe fṛm ɖs! Ś acć̣̣li sd, “Hlp m, God,” az ś wōct p ɖ tîni paʈ n noct. T b awe fṛm ɖoz stẹrñ îz, or t b cuvrd p in enʈñ, wn v ɖoz wimin’z śōlz īvn. I’l jst līv ɖ bascit n g, ś dsîdd. I ś’nt īvn wêt fr it t b emtid.

Ɖen ɖ dor opnd. A litl wmn in blac śoud in ɖ glūm.

Lora sd, “R y Msz. Scot?” Bt t hr horr ɖ wmn ansrd, “Wōc in plīz, Mis,” n ś wz śut in ɖ pasij.

“No,” sd Lora, “I d’nt wont t cm in. I onli wont t līv ɖs bascit. Muɖr snt—”

Ɖ litl wmn in ɖ glūmi pasij sīmd nt t hv hŕd hr. “Step ɖs we, plīz, Mis,” ś sd in an ôli vôs, n Lora foloud hr.

Ś faund hrslf in a rećid litl lo cićn, lîtd bî a smoci lamp. Ɖr wz a wmn sitñ bfr ɖ fîr.

“Em,” sd ɖ litl crīćr hu hd let hr in. “Em! It’s a yuñ ledi.” Ś trnd t Lora. Ś sd mīnñli, “I’m ’r sistr, Mis. Y’l xkz ’r, w’nt y?”

“Ǒ, bt v cors!” sd Lora. “Plīz, plīz d’nt dstrb hr. I—I onli wont t līv—”

Bt at ɖt momnt ɖ wmn at ɖ fîr trnd rnd. Hr fes, puft p, red, wɖ swoḷn îz n swoḷn lips, lct teṛbl. Ś sīmd az ɖo ś cd’nt unḍstand ẃ Lora wz ɖr. Ẃt dd it mīn? Ẃ wz ɖs strenjr standñ in ɖ cićn wɖ a bascit? Ẃt wz it ol abt? N ɖ pur fes pucrd p agn.

“Ol rît, mî dir,” sd ɖ uɖr. “I’l ʈenc ɖ yuñ ledi.”

N agn ś bgan, “Y’l xkz hr, Mis, I’m śr,” n hr fes, swoḷn tù, traid an ôli smîl.

Lora onli wontd t gt ǎt, t gt awe. Ś wz bac in ɖ pasij. Ɖ dor opnd. Ś wōct stret ʈru intu ɖ bedrūm, ẃr ɖ ded man wz layñ.

“Y’d lîc a lc at ’im, wd’nt y?” sd Em’z sistr, n ś bruśt past Lora ovr t ɖ bed. “D’nt b afreid, mî las,”—n nǎ hr vôs sǎndd fond n slî, n fondli ś drù dǎn ɖ śīt—“’i lcs a picćr. Ɖr’z nʈñ t śo. Cm alñ, mî dir.”

Lora cem.

Ɖr le a yuñ man, fast aslip—slīpñ so sǎndli, so dīpli, ɖt h wz far, far awe fṛm ɖm bʈ. Ǒ, so rmot, so pīsfl. H wz drīmñ. Nvr wec him p agn. Hiz hed wz sunc in ɖ pilo, hiz îz wr clozd; ɖe wr blînd undr ɖ clozd îlidz. H wz gvn p t hiz drīm. Ẃt dd gardnpartiz n bascits n lês frocs matr t him? H wz far fṛm ol ɖoz ʈñz. H wz wundrfl, bytifl. Ẃl ɖe wr lafñ n ẃl ɖ band wz pleyñ, ɖs marvl hd cm t ɖ len. Hapi… hapi… Ol z wel, sd ɖt slīpñ fes. Ɖs z jst az it śd b. I am cntnt.

Bt ol ɖ sem y hd t crî, n ś cd’nt g ǎt v ɖ rūm wɖt seyñ smʈñ t him. Lora gev a lǎd ćîldiś sob.

“Fgiv mî hat,” ś sd.

N ɖs tîm ś dd’nt wêt fr Em’z sistr. Ś faund hr we ǎt v ɖ dor, dǎn ɖ paʈ, past ol ɖoz darc ppl. At ɖ cornr v ɖ len ś met Lóri.

H stept ǎt v ɖ śado. “Z ɖt y, Lora?”

“Yes.”

“Muɖr wz gtñ añśs. Wz it ol rît?”

“Yes, qt. Ǒ, Lóri!” Ś tc hiz arm, ś prest p agnst him.

“I se, y’r nt crayñ, r y?” asct hr bruɖr.

Lora śc hr hed. Ś wz.

Lóri pt hiz arm rnd hr śoldr. “D’nt crî,” h sd in hiz worm, luvñ vôs. “Wz it ōfl?”

“No,” sobd Lora. “It wz simpli marvḷs. Bt Lóri—” Ś stopt, ś lct at hr bruɖr. “Z’nt lîf,” ś stamrd, “z’nt lîf—” Bt ẃt lîf wz ś cd’nt xplen. No matr. H qt unḍstd.

Z’nt it, darlñ?” sd Lóri.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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