In Ñspel: THE LADY’S MAID, by Katherine Mansfield

Ɖ LEDI’Z MEID

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

Ilevn o’cloc. A noc at ɖ dor… I hop I hv’nt dstrbd y, madm. Y wr’nt aslip—wr y? Bt I’v jst gvn mî ledi hr ti, n ɖr wz sć a nîs cup ovr, I ʈt, phps…

… Nt at ol, madm. I olwz mc a cup v ti last ʈñ. Ś drincs it in bed aftr hr prerz t worm hr p. I pt ɖ cetl on ẃn ś nīlz dǎn n I se t it, “Nǎ y nīd’nt b in tù mć v a huri t se yr prerz.” Bt it’s olwz bôlñ bfr mî ledi z haf ʈru. Y si, madm, w nǒ sć a lot v ppl, n ɖ’v ol got t b preid fr—evrwn. Mî ledi cīps a list v ɖ nemz in a litl red bc. Ǒ dir! ẃnvr smwn ny hz bn t si s n mî ledi sz aftwdz, “Eḷn, gv m mî litl red bc,” I fīl qt wîld, I d. “Ɖr’z anɖr,” I ʈnc, “cīpñ hr ǎt v hr bed in ol weɖrz.” N ś w’nt hv a cŭśn, y nǒ, madm; ś nīlz on ɖ hard carpit. It fijits m smʈñ dredfl t si hr, nwñ hr az I d. I’v traid t ćīt hr; I’v spred ǎt ɖ îdrdǎn. Bt ɖ frst tîm I dd it—ǒ, ś gev m sć a lc—holi it wz, madm. “Dd ǎr Lord hv an îdrdǎn, Eḷn?” ś sd. Bt—I wz yungr at ɖ tîm—I flt inclînd t se, “No, bt ǎr Lord wz’nt yr ej, n h dd’nt nǒ ẃt it wz t hv yr lumbego.” Wicid—wz’nt it? Bt ś’z tù gd, y nǒ, madm. Ẃn I tuct hr p jst nǎ n sìn—sw hr layñ bac, hr handz ǎtsd n hr hed on ɖ pilo—so priti—I cd’nt hlp ʈncñ, “Nǎ y lc jst lîc yr dir muɖr ẃn I leid hr ǎt!”

… Yes, madm, it wz ol left t m. Ǒ, ś dd lc swīt. I dd hr her, softlîc, rnd hr fōrhed, ol in denti crlz, n jst t wn sîd v hr nec I pt a bunć v most bytifl prpl panziz. Ɖoz panziz md a picćr v hr, madm! I śl nvr fget ɖm. I ʈt tnît, ẃn I lct at mî ledi, “Nǎ, f onli ɖ panziz wz ɖr nwn cd tel ɖ difṛns.”

… Onli ɖ last yir, madm. Onli aftr ś’d got a litl—wel—fībl az y mt se. V cors, ś wz nvr denjṛs; ś wz ɖ swītist old ledi. Bt hǎ it tc hr wz—ś ʈt ś’d lost smʈñ. Ś cd’nt cīp stil, ś cd’nt setl. Ol de loñ ś’d b p n dǎn, p n dǎn; y’d mīt hr evrẃr,—on ɖ sterz, in ɖ porć, mcñ fr ɖ cićn. N ś’d lc p at y, n ś’d se—jst lîc a ćîld, “I’v lost it, I’v lost it.” “Cm alñ,” I’d se, “cm alñ, n I’l le ǎt yr peśns fr y.” Bt ś’d cać m bî ɖ hand—I wz a feṿrit v hrz—n ẃispr, “Fînd it fr m, Eḷn. Fînd it fr m.” Sad, wz’nt it?

… No, ś nvr rcuvrd, madm. Ś hd a stroc at ɖ end. Last wrdz ś evr sd wz—vri slo, “Lc in—ɖ—Lc—in—” N ɖen ś wz gn.

… No, madm, I c’nt se I notist it. Phps sm grlz. Bt y si, it’s lîc ɖs, I’v got nbdi bt mî ledi. Mî muɖr daid v cnsumśn ẃn I wz for, n I livd wɖ mî granfaɖr, hu cept a herdresr’z śop. I yst t spend ol mî tîm in ɖ śop undr a tebl dresñ mî dol’z her—copiyñ ɖ asistnts, I s’poz. Ɖe wr evr so cînd t m. Yst t mc m litl wigz, ol culrz, ɖ lêtist faśnz n ol. N ɖr I’d sit ol de, qayt az qayt—ɖ custmrz nvr ń. Onli nǎ n agn I’d tec mî pīp fṛm undr ɖ teblcloʈ.

… Bt wn de I manijd t gt a per v sizrz n—wd y b’liv it, madm? I cut of ol mî her; snipt it of ol in bits, lîc ɖ litl munci I wz. Granfaɖr wz fyrịs! H còt hold v ɖ toñz—I śl nvr fget it—grabd m bî ɖ hand n śut mî fngrz in ɖm. “Ɖt’l tīć y!” h sd. It wz a firfl brn. I’v got ɖ marc v it tde.

… Wel, y si, madm, h’d tecn sć prîd in mî her. H yst t sit m p on ɖ cǎntr, bfr ɖ custmrz cem, n d it smʈñ bytifl—big, soft crlz n wevd ovr ɖ top. I rmembr ɖ asistnts standñ rnd, n m evr so soḷm wɖ ɖ peni granfaɖr gev m t hold ẃl it wz biyñ dn… Bt h olwz tc ɖ peni bac aftwdz. Pur granfaɖr! Wîld, h wz, at ɖ frît I’d md v mslf. Bt h frîtnd m ɖt tîm. D y nǒ ẃt I dd, madm? I ran awe. Yes, I dd, rnd ɖ cornrz, in n ǎt, I d’nt nǒ hǎ far I dd’nt run. Ǒ, dir, I mst hv lct a sît, wɖ mî hand rold p in mî pini n mî her sticñ ǎt. Ppl mst hv laft ẃn ɖe sw m…

… No, madm, granfaɖr nvr got ovr it. H cd’nt ber ɖ sît v m aftr. Cd’nt īt hiz dinr, īvn, f I wz ɖr. So mî ānt tc m. Ś wz a cripl, an upholstris. Tîni! Ś hd t stand on ɖ sofaz ẃn ś wontd t cut ǎt ɖ bacs. N it wz hlpñ hr I met mî ledi…

… Nt so vri, madm. I wz ʈrtīn, trnd. N I d’nt rmembr evr fīlñ—wel—a ćîld, az y mt se. Y si ɖr wz mî yṇform, n wn ʈñ n anɖr. Mî ledi pt m intu coḷrz n cufs fṛm ɖ frst. Ǒ yes—wns I dd! Ɖt wz—funi! It wz lîc ɖs. Mî ledi hd hr tū litl nīsz steyñ wɖ hr—w wr at Śeldn at ɖ tîm—n ɖr wz a fer on ɖ comn.

“Nǎ, Eḷn,” ś sd, “I wont y t tec ɖ tū yuñ lediz fr a rîd on ɖ donciz.” Of w wnt; soḷm litl luvz ɖe wr; ć hd a hand. Bt ẃn w cem t ɖ donciz ɖe wr tù śî t g on. So w std n woćt instd. Bytifl ɖoz donciz wr! Ɖe wr ɖ frst I’d sìn ǎt v a cart—fr pleźr az y mt se. Ɖe wr a luvli silvr-gre, wɖ litl red sadlz n blu braidlz n belz jñ-a-jnġlñ on ɖer irz. N qt big grlz—oldr ɖn m, īvn—wr rîdñ ɖm, evr so ge. Nt at ol comn, I d’nt mīn, madm, jst injoyñ ɖmslvz. N I d’nt nǒ ẃt it wz, bt ɖ we ɖ litl fīt wnt, n ɖ îz—so jntl—n ɖ soft irz—md m wont t g on a donci mor ɖn enʈñ in ɖ wrld!

… V cors, I cd’nt. I hd mî yuñ lediz. N ẃt wd I hv lct lîc prćt p ɖr in mî yṇform? Bt ol ɖ rest v ɖ de it wz donciz—donciz on ɖ bren wɖ m. I flt I śd hv brst f I dd’nt tel smwn; n hu wz ɖr t tel? Bt ẃn I wnt t bed—I wz slīpñ in Msz. Jemz’z bedrūm, ǎr cc ɖt wz, at ɖ tîm—az sn az ɖ lîts wz ǎt, ɖr ɖe wr, mî donciz, jnġlñ alñ, wɖ ɖer nīt litl fīt n sad îz… Wel, madm, wd y b’liv it, I wêtd fr a loñ tîm n pritndd t b aslip, n ɖen sudnli I sat p n cōld ǎt az lǎd az I cd, “I d wont t g on a donci. I d wont a doncirîd!” Y si, I hd t se it, n I ʈt ɖe wd’nt laf at m f ɖe ń I wz onli drīmñ. Artfl—wz’nt it? Jst ẃt a sili ćîld wd ʈnc…

… No, madm, nvr nǎ. V cors, I dd ʈnc v it at wn tîm. Bt it wz’nt t b. H hd a litl flǎrśop jst dǎn ɖ rod n acrs fṛm ẃr w wz livñ. Funi—wz’nt it? N m sć a wn fr flǎrz. W wr hvñ a lot v cumṗni at ɖ tîm, n I wz in n ǎt v ɖ śop mor ofn ɖn nt, az ɖ seyñ z. N Hari n I (hiz nem wz Hari) got t qoṛlñ abt hǎ ʈñz òt t b arenjd—n ɖt bgan it. Flǎrz! y wd’nt b’liv it, madm, ɖ flǎrz h yst t brñ m. H’d stop at nʈñ. It wz liliz-v-ɖ-vali mor ɖn wns, n I’m nt xaɉretñ! Wel, v cors, w wr gwñ t b marid n liv ovr ɖ śop, n it wz ol gwñ t b jst so, n I wz t hv ɖ windo t arenj… Ǒ, hǎ I’v dn ɖt windo v a Saṭde! Nt riyli, v cors, madm, jst drīmñ, az y mt se. I’v dn it fr Crisṃs—moto in hóli, n ol—n I’v hd mî Īstr liliz wɖ a gorjs star ol daf̣dilz in ɖ midl. I’v huñ—wel, ɖt’s inuf v ɖt. Ɖ de cem h wz t cōl fr m t ćūz ɖ frnićr. Śl I evr fget it? It wz a Tyzde. Mî ledi wz’nt qt hrslf ɖt afṭnun. Nt ɖt ś’d sd enʈñ, v cors; ś nvr dz or wl. Bt I ń bî ɖ we ɖt ś cept rápñ hrslf p n ascñ m f it wz cold—n hr litl nǒz lct… pinćt. I dd’nt lîc līvñ hr; I ń I’d b wuriyñ ol ɖ tîm. At last I asct hr f ś’d rɖr I pt it of. “Ǒ no, Eḷn,” ś sd, “y ms’nt mînd abt m. Y ms’nt dis’pônt yr yuñ man.” N so ćirfl, y nǒ, madm, nvr ʈncñ abt hrslf. It md m fīl wrs ɖn evr. I bgan t wundr… ɖen ś dropt hr hanc̣ćif n bgan t stūp dǎn t pic it p hrslf—a ʈñ ś nvr dd. “Ẃtvr r y dwñ!” I craid, runñ t stop hr. “Wel,” ś sd, smîlñ, y nǒ, madm, “I śl hv t bgin t practis.” Ǒ, it wz ol I cd d nt t brst ǎt crayñ. I wnt ovr t ɖ dresñtebl n md b’liv t rub p ɖ silvr, n I cd’nt cīp mslf in, n I asct hr f ś’d rɖr I… dd’nt gt marid. “No, Eḷn,” ś sd—ɖt wz hr vôs, madm, lîc I’m gvñ y—“No, Eḷn, nt fr ɖ wîd wrld!” Bt ẃl ś sd it, madm—I wz lcñ in hr glas; v cors, ś dd’nt nǒ I cd si hr—ś pt hr litl hand on hr hart jst lîc hr dir muɖr yst t, n liftd hr îz… Ǒ, madm!

Ẃn Hari cem I hd hiz letrz ol redi, n ɖ rñ n a duci litl broć h’d gvn m—a silvr brd it wz, wɖ a ćen in its bīc, n on ɖ end v ɖ ćen a hart wɖ a dagr. Qt ɖ ʈñ! I opnd ɖ dor t him. I nvr gev him tîm fr a wrd. “Ɖr y r,” I sd. “Tec ɖm ol bac,” I sd, “it’s ol ovr. I’m nt gwñ t mari y,” I sd, “I c’nt līv mî ledi.” Ẃît! h trnd az ẃît az a wmn. I hd t slam ɖ dor, n ɖr I std, ol v a trembl, tl I ń h hd gn. Ẃn I opnd ɖ dor—b’liv m or nt, madm—ɖt man wz gn! I ran ǎt intu ɖ rod jst az I wz, in mî epṛn n mî hǎsśuz, n ɖr I steid in ɖ midl v ɖ rod… stẹrñ. Ppl mst hv laft f ɖe sw m…

… Gdnis greśs!—Ẃt’s ɖt? It’s ɖ cloc strîcñ! N hir I’v bn cīpñ y awec. Ǒ, madm, y òt t hv stopt m… Cn I tuc in yr fīt? I olwz tuc in mî ledi’z fīt, evri nît, jst ɖ sem. N ś sz, “Gd nît, Eḷn. Slīp sǎnd n wec rli!” I d’nt nǒ ẃt I śd d f ś dd’nt se ɖt, nǎ.

… Ǒ dir, I smtmz ʈnc… ẃtvr śd I d f enʈñ wr t… Bt, ɖr, ʈncñ’z no gd t enwn—z it, madm? Ʈncñ w’nt hlp. Nt ɖt I d it ofn. N f evr I d I pl mslf p śarp, “Nǎ, ɖen, Eḷn. At it agn—y sili grl! F y c’nt fînd enʈñ betr t d ɖn t start ʈncñ!… ”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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