In Ñspel: THE SINGING LESSON, by Katherine Mansfield

Ɖ SÑÑLÉSN

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

Wɖ dsper—cold, śarp dsper—berid dīp in hr hart lîc a wicid nîf, Mis Medoz, in cap n gǎn n cariyñ a litl batn, trod ɖ cold coṛdorz ɖt léd t ɖ ḿzichōl. Grlz v ol ejz, rozi fṛm ɖ er, n buḅlñ ovr wɖ ɖt glīfl xîtmnt ɖt cmz fṛm runñ t scūl on a fîn ōtm̦ornñ, hurid, scipt, flutrd bî; fṛm ɖ holo clasrūmz cem a qc drumñ v vôsz; a bel rañ; a vôs lîc a brd craid, “Muriel.” N ɖen ɖr cem fṛm ɖ sterces a tṛmnḍs noc-noc-nocñ. Smwn hd dropt hr dumbelz.

Ɖ Saynsmistris stopt Mis Medoz.

“Gd mor-nñ,” ś craid, in hr swīt, afctd drōl. “Z’nt it cold? It mt b win-tr.”

Mis Medoz, hugñ ɖ nîf, stérd in hetrid at ɖ Saynsmistris. Evrʈñ abt hr wz swīt, pel, lîc huni. Y wd nt hv bn s’prîzd t si a bì còt in ɖ tanglz v ɖt yelo her.

“It z rɖr śarp,” sd Mis Medoz, grimli.

Ɖ uɖr smîld hr śŭġri smîl.

“Y lc fro-zen,” sd ś. Hr blu îz opnd wîd; ɖr cem a mocñ lît in ɖm. (Hd ś notist enʈñ?)

“Ǒ, nt qt az bad az ɖt,” sd Mis Medoz, n ś gev ɖ Saynsmistris, in xćenj fr hr smîl, a qc grimis n pást on…

Formz For, Fîv, n Six wr asmbld in ɖ ḿzichōl. Ɖ nôz wz def̣nñ. On ɖ platform, bî ɖ piano, std Mẹri Bīzli, Mis Medoz’ feṿrit, hu pleid acumṗnimnts. Ś wz trnñ ɖ ḿzic stūl. Ẃn ś sw Mis Medoz ś gev a lǎd, wornñ “Ś-ś! grlz!” n Mis Medoz, hr handz ʈrust in hr slīvz, ɖ batn undr hr arm, stroud dǎn ɖ sntr ail, mǎntd ɖ steps, trnd śarpli, sizd ɖ bras ḿzicstand, plantd it in frunt v hr, n gev tū śarp taps wɖ hr batn fr sîḷns.

“Sîḷns, plīz! Imīɉtli!” n, lcñ at nbdi, hr glans swept ovr ɖt sì v culrd flanl blǎzz, wɖ bobñ pnc fesz n handz, qiṿrñ buṭflî herboz, n ḿzic-bcs ǎtspred. Ś ń prf̣cli wel ẃt ɖe wr ʈncñ. “Mīdi z in a wax.” Wel, let ɖm ʈnc it! Hr îlidz qivrd; ś tóst hr hed, dfayñ ɖm. Ẃt cd ɖ ʈts v ɖoz crīćrz matr t smwn hu std ɖr blīdñ t deʈ, pirst t ɖ hart, t ɖ hart, bî sć a letr—

… “I fīl mor n mor stroñli ɖt ǎr marij wd b a mstec. Nt ɖt I d nt luv y. I luv y az mć az it z poṣbl fr m t luv eni wmn, bt, truʈ t tel, I hv cm t ɖ cncluźn ɖt I am nt a mariyñ man, n ɖ îdīa v seṭlñ dǎn filz m wɖ nʈñ bt—” n ɖ wrd “dsgust” wz scraćt ǎt lîtli n “rgret” ritn ovr ɖ top.

Bazil! Mis Medoz stōct ovr t ɖ piano. N Mẹri Bīzli, hu wz wêtñ fr ɖs momnt, bnt fwd; hr crlz fél ovr hr ćīcs ẃl ś briɖd, “Gd mornñ, Mis Medoz,” n ś mośnd twdz rɖr ɖn handd t hr mistris a bytifl yelo cṛsanʈmm. Ɖs litl rićl v ɖ flǎr hd bn gn ʈru fr ejz n ejz, qt a trm n a haf. It wz az mć part v ɖ lésn az oṗnñ ɖ piano. Bt ɖs mornñ, instd v tecñ it p, instd v tucñ it intu hr blt ẃl ś lent ovr Mẹri n sd, “Ʈanc y, Mẹri. Hǎ vri nîs! Trn t pej ʈrti-tū,” ẃt wz Mẹri’z horr ẃn Mis Medoz toṭli ignord ɖ cṛsanʈmm, md no rplî t hr grītñ, bt sd in a vôs v îs, “Pej fortīn, plīz, n marc ɖ axnts wel.”

Staġrñ momnt! Mẹri bluśt untl ɖ tirz std in hr îz, bt Mis Medoz wz gn bac t ɖ ḿzic stand; hr vôs rañ ʈru ɖ ḿzichōl.

“Pej fortīn. W wl bgin wɖ pej fortīn. ‘A L’mnt.’ Nǎ, grlz, y òt t nǒ it bî ɖs tîm. W śl tec it ol tgɖr; nt in parts, ol tgɖr. N wɖt xpreśn. Sñ it, ɖo, qt simpli, bìtñ tîm wɖ ɖ left hand.”

Ś rezd ɖ batn; ś tapt ɖ ḿzic stand twîs. Dǎn cem Mẹri on ɖ oṗnñ cōrd; dǎn cem ol ɖoz left handz, bìtñ ɖ er, n in ćîmd ɖoz yuñ, mōrnfl vôsz:—

     “Fast!  Ā, tù Fast Fed ɖ Ro-o-zz v Pleźr;

        Sn Ōtm yīldz untu Wi-i-ntr Drir.

      Flītli!  Ā, Flītli Ḿ-ḿ-zic’s Ge Meźr

        Pasz awe fṛm ɖ Liṣnñ Ir.”

Gd Hevnz, ẃt cd b mor trajic ɖn ɖt l’mnt! Evri not wz a sai, a sob, a gron v ōfl mōrnflnis. Mis Medoz liftd hr armz in ɖ wîd gǎn n bgan cnductñ wɖ bʈ handz. “… I fīl mor n mor stroñli ɖt ǎr marij wd b a mstec… “ ś bìt. N ɖ vôsz craid: “Flītli! Ā, Flītli.” Ẃt cd hv pzest him t rait sć a letr! Ẃt cd hv léd p t it! It cem ǎt v nʈñ. Hiz last letr hd bn ol abt a fymd-oc bc̦es h hd bòt fr “ǎr” bcs, n a “nati litl hōlstand” h hd sìn, “a vri nīt afer wɖ a carvd ǎl on a bracit, holdñ ʈri hatbruśz in its clwz.” Hǎ ś hd smîld at ɖt! So lîc a man t ʈnc wn nīdd ʈri hat-bruśz! “Fṛm ɖ Liṣnñ Ir,” sañ ɖ vôsz.

“Wns agn,” sd Mis Medoz. “Bt ɖs tîm in parts. Stl wɖt xpreśn.” “Fast! Ā, tù Fast.” Wɖ ɖ glūm v ɖ cntraltoz add, wn cd scersli hlp śuḍrñ. “Fed ɖ Rozz v Pleźr.” Last tîm h hd cm t si hr, Bazil hd wòrn a rôz in hiz butnhoul. Hǎ hansm h hd lct in ɖt brît blu sūt, wɖ ɖt darc red rôz! N h ń it, tù. H cd’nt hlp nwñ it. Frst h stroct hiz her, ɖen hiz mstaś; hiz tīʈ glīmd ẃn h smîld.

“Ɖ hedmastr’z wîf cīps on ascñ m t dinr. It’s a prfict ńsns. I nvr gt an īvnñ t mslf in ɖt ples.”

“Bt c’nt y rfyz?”

“Ǒ, wel, it dz’nt d fr a man in mî pziśn t b unpopylr.”

“Ḿzic’s Ge Meźr,” weild ɖ vôsz. Ɖ wilo triz, ǎtsd ɖ hî, naro windoz, wevd in ɖ wind. Ɖe hd lost haf ɖer līvz. Ɖ tîni wnz ɖt cluñ rigld lîc fiśz còt on a lîn. “… I am nt a mariyñ man… “ Ɖ vôsz wr sîḷnt; ɖ piano wêtd.

“Qt gd,” sd Mis Medoz, bt stl in sć a strenj, stoni ton ɖt ɖ yungr grlz bgan t fīl poztivli frîtnd. “Bt nǎ ɖt w nǒ it, w śl tec it wɖ xpreśn. Az mć xpreśn az y cn pt intu it. Ʈnc v ɖ wrdz, grlz. Yz yr imaɉneśnz. ‘Fast! Ā, tù Fast,’” craid Mis Medoz. “Ɖt òt t brec ǎt—a lǎd, stroñ forte—a l’mnt. N ɖen in ɖ secnd lîn, ‘Wintr Drir,’ mc ɖt ‘Drir’ sǎnd az f a cold wind wr blowñ ʈru it. ‘Dri-ir!’” sd ś so ōf̣li ɖt Mẹri Bīzli, on ɖ ḿzic stūl, rigld hr spîn. “Ɖ ʈrd lîn śd b wn cṛśendo. ‘Flītli! Ā, Flītli Ḿzic’s Ge Meźr.’ Brecñ on ɖ frst wrd v ɖ last lîn, Pasz.’ N ɖen on ɖ wrd, ‘Awe,’ y mst bgin t dî… t fed… untl ‘Ɖ Liṣnñ Ir’ z nʈñ mor ɖn a fent ẃispr… Y cn slo dǎn az mć az y lîc olmst on ɖ last lîn. Nǎ, plīz.”

Agn ɖ tū lît taps; ś liftd hr armz agn. ‘Fast! Ā, tù Fast.’ “… n ɖ îdīa v seṭlñ dǎn filz m wɖ nʈñ bt dsgust—” Dsgust wz ẃt h hd ritn. Ɖt wz az gd az t se ɖer ingejmnt wz defiṇtli brocn of. Brocn of! Ɖer ingejmnt! Ppl hd bn s’prîzd inuf ɖt ś hd got ingejd. Ɖ Saynsmistris wd nt b’liv it at frst. Bt nbdi hd bn az s’prîzd az ś. Ś wz ʈrti. Bazil wz twenti-fîv. It hd bn a miṛcl, simpli a miṛcl, t hír him se, az ɖe wōct hom fṛm ćrć ɖt vri darc nît, “Y nǒ, smhǎ or uɖr, I’v got fond v y.” N h hd tecn hold v ɖ end v hr ostrićfeɖr boa. “Pasz awe fṛm ɖ Liṣnñ Ir.”

“Rpit! Rpit!” sd Mis Medoz. “Mor xpreśn, grlz! Wns mor!”

“Fast! Ā, tù Fast.” Ɖ oldr grlz wr crimzn; sm v ɖ yungr wnz bgan t crî. Big spots v ren blù agnst ɖ windoz, n wn cd hír ɖ wiloz ẃisṗrñ, “… nt ɖt I d nt luv y… ”

“Bt, mî darlñ, f y luv m,” ʈt Mis Medoz, “I d’nt mînd hǎ mć it z. Luv m az litl az y lîc.” Bt ś ń h dd’nt luv hr. Nt t hv cerd inuf t scrać ǎt ɖt wrd “dsgust,” so ɖt ś cd’nt rīd it! “Sn Ōtm yīldz untu Wintr Drir.” Ś wd hv t līv ɖ scūl, tù. Ś cd nvr fes ɖ Saynsmistris or ɖ grlz aftr it got noun. Ś wd hv t dis’pir smẃr. “Pasz awe.” Ɖ vôsz bgan t dî, t fed, t ẃispr… t vaniś…

Sudnli ɖ dor opnd. A litl grl in blu wōct fuṣli p ɖ ail, haññ hr hed, bîtñ hr lips, n twistñ ɖ silvr bangl on hr red litl rist. Ś cem p ɖ steps n std bfr Mis Medoz.

“Wel, Monica, ẃt z it?”

“Ǒ, f y plīz, Mis Medoz,” sd ɖ litl grl, gaspñ, “Mis Wayt wonts t si y in ɖ mistris’z rūm.”

“Vri wel,” sd Mis Medoz. N ś cōld t ɖ grlz, “I śl pt y on yr onr t tōc qaytli ẃl I am awe.” Bt ɖe wr tù sbdyd t d enʈñ els. Most v ɖm wr blowñ ɖer nozz.

Ɖ coṛdorz wr sîḷnt n cold; ɖe ecoud t Mis Medoz’ steps. Ɖ hed mistris sat at hr dsc. Fr a momnt ś dd nt lc p. Ś wz az yźl disintanglñ hr îglasz, ẃć hd got còt in hr lês tî. “Sit dǎn, Mis Medoz,” ś sd vri cîndli. N ɖen ś pict p a pnc enṿlop fṛm ɖ blotñpad. “I snt fr y jst nǎ bcz ɖs teḷgram hz cm fr y.”

“A teḷgram fr m, Mis Wayt?”

Bazil! H hd cmitd suisîd, dsîdd Mis Medoz. Hr hand flù ǎt, bt Mis Wayt hld ɖ teḷgram bac a momnt. “I hop it’s nt bad nyz,” ś sd, so mor ɖn cîndli. N Mis Medoz tòr it opn.

“Pe no atnśn t letr, mst hv bn mad, bòt hatstand tde—Bazil,” ś réd. Ś cd’nt tec hr îz of ɖ teḷgram.

“I d hop it’s nʈñ vri sirịs,” sd Mis Wayt, līnñ fwd.

“Ǒ, no, ʈanc y, Mis Wayt,” bluśt Mis Medoz. “It’s nʈñ bad at ol. It’s”—n ś gev an apoḷjetic litl laf—“it’s fṛm mî fianse seyñ ɖt… seyñ ɖt—” Ɖr wz a pōz. “I si,” sd Mis Wayt. N anɖr pōz. Ɖen—“Y’v fiftīn minits mor v yr clas, Mis Medoz, hv’nt y?”

“Yes, Mis Wayt.” Ś got p. Ś haf ran twdz ɖ dor.

“Ǒ, jst wn minit, Mis Medoz,” sd Mis Wayt. “I mst se I d’nt apruv v mî tīćrz hvñ teḷgramz snt t ɖm in scūl-aurz, unls in ces v vri bad nyz, sć az deʈ,” xplend Mis Wayt, “or a vri sirịs axidnt, or smʈñ t ɖt ifct. Gd nyz, Mis Medoz, wl olwz cīp, y nǒ.”

On ɖ wñz v hop, v luv, v jô, Mis Medoz sped bac t ɖ ḿzichōl, p ɖ ail, p ɖ steps, ovr t ɖ piano.

“Pej ʈrti-tū, Mẹri,” ś sd, “pej ʈrti-tū,” n, picñ p ɖ yelo cṛsanʈmm, ś hld it t hr lips t hîd hr smîl. Ɖen ś trnd t ɖ grlz, rapt wɖ hr batn: “Pej ʈrti-tū, grlz. Pej ʈrti-tū.”

     “W cm hir Tde wɖ Flǎrz ’rlêdn,

      Wɖ Bascits v Frūt n Ribnz t būt,

      Tu-u Cngrać̣let…

“Stop! Stop!” craid Mis Medoz. “Ɖs z ōfl. Ɖs z dredfl.” N ś bīmd at hr grlz. “Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ y ol? Ʈnc, grlz, ʈnc v ẃt y’r sññ. Yz yr imaɉneśnz. ‘Wɖ Flǎrz ’rlêdn. Bascits v Frūt n Ribnz t būt.’ N ‘Cngrać̣let.’” Mis Medoz brouc of. “D’nt lc so dǒlfl, grlz. It òt t sǎnd worm, jôfl, īgr. ‘Cngrać̣let.’ Wns mor. Qcli. Ol tgɖr. Nǎ ɖen!”

N ɖs tîm Mis Medoz’ vôs sǎndd ovr ol ɖ uɖr vôsz—fl, dīp, glowñ wɖ xpreśn.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

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