In Ñspel: THE STRANGER, by Katherine Mansfield

Ɖ STRENJR

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

It sīmd t ɖ litl crǎd on ɖ ẃorf ɖt ś wz nvr gwñ t muv agn. Ɖr ś le, imns, mośnlis on ɖ gre crincld wōtr, a lūp v smoc abv hr, an imns floc v gulz scrīmñ n dîvñ aftr ɖ galidropñz at ɖ strn. Y cd jst si litl cuplz p’redñ—litl flîz wōcñ p n dǎn ɖ diś on ɖ gre crincld teblcloʈ. Uɖr flîz clustrd n swormd at ɖ éj. Nǎ ɖr wz a glīm v ẃît on ɖ lowr dec—ɖ cc’s epṛn or ɖ stywdes phps. Nǎ a tîni blac spîdr rêst p ɖ ladr on t ɖ brij.

In ɖ frunt v ɖ crǎd a stroñ-lcñ, midl-ejd man, drest vri wel, vri snugli in a gre oṿcot, gre silc scarf, ʈic gluvz n darc flt hat, marćt p n dǎn, twrlñ hiz foldd umbrela. H sīmd t b ɖ līdr v ɖ litl crǎd on ɖ ẃorf n at ɖ sem tîm t cīp ɖm tgɖr. H wz smʈñ btwn ɖ śīpdog n ɖ śeṗd.

Bt ẃt a fūl—ẃt a fūl h hd bn nt t brñ eni glasz! Ɖr wz’nt a per v glasz btwn ɖ hol lot v ɖm.

“Krịs ʈñ, Mr. Scot, ɖt nn v s ʈt v glasz. W mt hv bn ebl t str ’m p a bit. W mt hv manijd a litl sigṇlñ. ‘D’nt heẓtet t land. Netivz harmlis.’ Or: ‘A welcm awêts y. Ol z fgivn.’ Ẃt? Ê?”

Mr. Hamnd’z qc, īgr glans, so nrṿs n yt so frendli n cnfîdñ, tc in evrbdi on ɖ ẃorf, ropt in īvn ɖoz old ćaps lǎnjñ agnst ɖ gañwez. Ɖe ń, evri manjac v ɖm, ɖt Msz. Hamnd wz on ɖt bot, n ɖt h wz so tṛmndsli xîtd it nvr entrd hiz hed nt t b’liv ɖt ɖs marvḷs fact mnt smʈñ t ɖm tù. It wormd hiz hart twdz ɖm. Ɖe wr, h dsîdd, az dīsnt a crǎd v ppl—Ɖoz old ćaps ovr bî ɖ gañwez, tù—fîn, solid old ćaps. Ẃt ćests—bî Jov! N h sqerd hiz ǒn, plunjd hiz ʈic-gluvd handz intu hiz pocits, roct fṛm hìl t to.

“Yes, mî wîf’s bn in Yṛp fr ɖ last ten munʈs. On a vizit t ǎr eldist grl, hu wz marid last yir. I bròt hr p hir, az far az Sōlzḅri, mslf. So I ʈt I’d betr cm n feć hr bac. Yes, yes, yes.” Ɖ śrūd gre îz naroud agn n srćt añśsli, qcli, ɖ mośnlis lînr. Agn hiz oṿcot wz unbutnd. Ǎt cem ɖ ʈin, butr-yelo woć agn, n fr ɖ twentịʈ—fiftịʈ—hundṛdʈ tîm h md ɖ calkleśn.

“Let m si nǎ. It wz tū fiftīn ẃn ɖ doctr’z lōnć wnt of. Tū fiftīn. It z nǎ xacli twenti-et minits past for. Ɖt z t se, ɖ doctr’z bn gn tū aurz n ʈrtīn minits. Tū aurz n ʈrtīn minits! Ẃi-ū!” H gev a qir litl haf-ẃisl n snapt hiz woć t agn. “Bt I ʈnc w śd hv bn tld f ɖr wz enʈñ p—d’nt y, Mr. Gavn?”

“Ǒ, yes, Mr. Hamnd! I d’nt ʈnc ɖr’z enʈñ t—enʈñ t wuri abt,” sd Mr. Gavn, nocñ ǎt hiz pîp agnst ɖ hìl v hiz śu. “At ɖ sem tîm—”

“Qt so! Qt so!” craid Mr. Hamnd. “Daśt anoyñ!” H pêst qcli p n dǎn n cem bac agn t hiz stand btwn Mr. n Msz. Scot n Mr. Gavn. “It’s gtñ qt darc, tù,” n h wevd hiz foldd umbrela az ɖo ɖ dusc at līst mt hv hd ɖ dīsnsi t cīp of fr a bit. Bt ɖ dusc cem slǒli, spredñ lîc a slo sten ovr ɖ wōtr. Litl Jīn Scot dragd at hr muɖr’z hand.

“I won’ mî ti, mami!” ś weild.

“I xpct y d,” sd Mr. Hamnd. “I xpct ol ɖz lediz wont ɖer ti.” N hiz cînd, fluśt, olmst pitifl glans ropt ɖm ol in agn. H wundrd ẃɖr Jêni wz hvñ a fînl cup v ti in ɖ s’lūn ǎt ɖr. H hopt so; h ʈt nt. It wd b jst lîc hr nt t līv ɖ dec. In ɖt ces phps ɖ dec stywd wd brñ hr p a cup. F h’d bn ɖr h’d hv got it fr hr—smhǎ. N fr a momnt h wz on dec, standñ ovr hr, woćñ hr litl hand fold rnd ɖ cup in ɖ we ś hd, ẃl ś dranc ɖ onli cup v ti t b got on bōrd… Bt nǎ h wz bac hir, n ɖ Lord onli ń ẃn ɖt crst Captin wd stop haññ abt in ɖ strīm. H tc anɖr trn, p n dǎn, p n dǎn. H wōct az far az ɖ cabstand t mc śr hiz drîvr hd’nt dis’pird; bac h swrvd agn t ɖ litl floc hudld in ɖ śltr v ɖ bnanacrets. Litl Jīn Scot wz stl wontñ hr ti. Pur litl begr! H wśt h hd a bit v ćocḷt on him.

“Hir, Jīn!” h sd. “Lîc a lift p?” N īẓli, jntli, h swuñ ɖ litl grl on t a hayr baṛl. Ɖ muvmnt v holdñ hr, stediyñ hr, rlivd him wundrf̣li, lîtnd hiz hart.

“Hold on,” h sd, cīpñ an arm rnd hr.

“Ǒ, d’nt wuri abt Jīn, Mr. Hamnd!” sd Msz. Scot.

“Ɖt’s ol rît, Msz. Scot. No trubl. It’s a pleźr. Jīn’z a litl pal v mîn, r’nt y, Jīn?”

“Yes, Mr. Hamnd,” sd Jīn, n ś ran hr fngr dǎn ɖ dnt v hiz flt hat.

Bt sudnli ś còt him bî ɖ ir n gev a lǎd scrīm. “Lŭ-ŭc, Mr. Hamnd! Ś’z muvñ! Lc, ś’z cmñ in!”

Bî Jov! So ś wz. At last! Ś wz slǒli, slǒli trnñ rnd. A bel sǎndd far ovr ɖ wōtr n a gret spǎt v stīm guśt intu ɖ er. Ɖ gulz rouz; ɖe flutrd awe lîc bits v ẃît pepr. N ẃɖr ɖt dīp ʈrobñ wz hr enjinz or hiz hart Mr. Hamnd cd’nt se. H hd t nrv himslf t ber it, ẃtvr it wz. At ɖt momnt old Captin Jonsn, ɖ harbrmastr, cem strîdñ dǎn ɖ ẃorf, a leɖr portfolio undr hiz arm.

“Jīn’l b ol rît,” sd Mr. Scot. “I’l hold hr.” H wz jst in tîm. Mr. Hamnd hd fgotn abt Jīn. H sprañ awe t grīt old Captin Jonsn.

“Wel, Captin,” ɖ īgr, nrṿs vôs rañ ǎt agn, “y’v tecn piti on s at last.”

“It’s no gd blemñ m, Mr. Hamnd,” ẃizd old Captin Jonsn, stẹrñ at ɖ lînr. ‘Y got Msz. Hamnd on bōrd, e’nt y’?”

“Yes, yes!” sd Hamnd, n h cept bî ɖ harbrmastr’z sîd. “Msz. Hamnd’z ɖr. Hul-lo! W ś’nt b loñ nǎ!”

Wɖ hr teḷfon rñ-rññ, ɖ ʈrum v hr scru filñ ɖ er, ɖ big lînr bòr dǎn on ɖm, cutñ śarp ʈru ɖ darc wōtr so ɖt big ẃît śevñzz crld t îɖr sîd. Hamnd n ɖ harbrmastr cept in frunt v ɖ rest. Hamnd tc of hiz hat; h rêct ɖ decs—ɖe wr cramd wɖ pasinjrz; h wevd hiz hat n bȍld a lǎd, strenj “Hul-lo!” acrs ɖ wōtr; n ɖen trnd rnd n brst ǎt lafñ n sd smʈñ—nʈñ—t old Captin Jonsn.

“Sìn hr?” asct ɖ harbrmastr.

“No, nt yt. Stedi—wêt a bit!” N sudnli, btwn tū gret clumzi idịts—“Gt ǎt v ɖ we ɖr!” h sînd wɖ hiz umbrela—h sw a hand rezd—a ẃît gluv śecñ a hanc̣ćif. Anɖr momnt, n—ʈanc God, ʈanc God!—ɖr ś wz. Ɖr wz Jêni. Ɖr wz Msz. Hamnd, yes, yes, yes—standñ bî ɖ rel n smîlñ n nodñ n wevñ hr hanc̣ćif.

“Wel ɖt’s frst clas—frst clas! Wel, wel, wel!” H poztivli stamt. Lîc lîtnñ h drù ǎt hiz sgarces n ofrd it t old Captin Jonsn. “Hv a sgar, Captin! Ɖ’r priti gd. Hv a cupl! Hir”—n h prest ol ɖ sgarz in ɖ ces on ɖ harbrmastr—“I’v a cupl v boxz p at ɖ hotel.”

“Ʈencs, Mr. Hamnd!” ẃizd old Captin Jonsn.

Hamnd stuft ɖ sgarces bac. Hiz handz wr śecñ, bt h’d got hold v himslf agn. H wz ebl t fes Jêni. Ɖr ś wz, līnñ on ɖ rel, tōcñ t sm wmn n at ɖ sem tîm woćñ him, redi fr him. It struc him, az ɖ gulf v wōtr clozd, hǎ smōl ś lct on ɖt hyj śip. Hiz hart wz rúñ wɖ sć a spazm ɖt h cd hv craid ǎt. Hǎ litl ś lct t hv cm ol ɖt loñ we n bac bî hrslf! Jst lîc hr, ɖo. Jst lîc Jêni. Ś hd ɖ curij v a—N nǎ ɖ cru hd cm fwd n partd ɖ pasinjrz; ɖe hd lowrd ɖ relz fr ɖ gañwez.

Ɖ vôsz on śor n ɖ vôsz on bōrd flù t grīt ć uɖr.

“Ol wel?”

“Ol wel.”

“Hǎ’z muɖr?”

“Mć betr.”

“Hlo, Jīn!”

“Hilo, Ān’ Eṃli!”

“Hd a gd vôij?”

“Splendid!”

“Ś’nt b loñ nǎ!”

“Nt loñ nǎ.”

Ɖ enjinz stopt. Slǒli ś éjd t ɖ ẃorfsîd.

“Mc we ɖr—mc we—mc we!” N ɖ ẃorfhandz bròt ɖ hevi gañwez alñ at a swīpñ run. Hamnd sînd t Jêni t ste ẃr ś wz. Ɖ old harbrmastr stept fwd; h foloud. Az t “lediz frst,” or eni rot lîc ɖt, it nvr entrd hiz hed.

“Aftr y, Captin!” h craid jīńli. N, trédñ on ɖ old man’z hìlz, h stroud p ɖ gañwe on t ɖ dec in a bìlîn t Jêni, n Jêni wz claspt in hiz armz.

“Wel, wel, wel! Yes, yes! Hir w r at last!” h stamrd. It wz ol h cd se. N Jêni imrjd, n hr cūl litl vôs—ɖ onli vôs in ɖ wrld fr him—sd,

“Wel, darlñ! Hv y bn wêtñ loñ?”

No; nt loñ. Or, at eni ret, it dd’nt matr. It wz ovr nǎ. Bt ɖ pônt wz, h hd a cab wêtñ at ɖ end v ɖ ẃorf. Wz ś redi t g of. Wz hr lugij redi? In ɖt ces ɖe cd cut of śarp wɖ hr cabinlugij n let ɖ rest g hañ untl tmoro. H bnt ovr hr n ś lct p wɖ hr fmiłr haf-smîl. Ś wz jst ɖ sem. Nt a de ćenjd. Jst az h’d olwz noun hr. Ś leid hr smōl hand on hiz slīv.

“Hǎ r ɖ ćildṛn, Jon?” ś asct.

(Hañ ɖ ćildṛn!) “Prf̣cli wel. Nvr betr in ɖer livz.”

“Hv’nt ɖe snt m letrz?”

“Yes, yes—v cors! I’v left ɖm at ɖ hotel fr y t djst lêtr on.”

“W c’nt g qt so fast,” sd ś. “I’v got ppl t se gdbî t—n ɖen ɖr’z ɖ Captin.” Az hiz fes fél ś gev hiz arm a smōl unḍstandñ sqīz. “F ɖ Captin cmz of ɖ brij I wont y t ʈanc him fr hvñ lct aftr yr wîf so bytifli.” Wel, h’d got hr. F ś wontd anɖr ten minits—Az h gev we ś wz srǎndd. Ɖ hol frst-clas sīmd t wont t se gdbî t Jêni.

“Gdbî, dir Msz. Hamnd! N nxt tîm y’r in Sidni I’l xpct y.”

“Darlñ Msz. Hamnd! Y w’nt fget t rait t m, wl y?”

“Wel, Msz. Hamnd, ẃt ɖs bot wd hv bn wɖt y!”

It wz az plen az a pîcstaf ɖt ś wz bî far ɖ most popylr wmn on bōrd. N ś tc it ol—jst az yźl. Abṣlutli cmpozd. Jst hr litl slf—jst Jêni ol ovr; standñ ɖr wɖ hr veil ʈroun bac. Hamnd nvr notist ẃt hiz wîf hd on. It wz ol ɖ sem t him ẃtvr ś wòr. Bt tde h dd notis ɖt ś wòr a blac “costym”—dd’nt ɖe cōl it?—wɖ ẃît frilz, trimñz h s’pozd ɖe wr, at ɖ nec n slīvz. Ol ɖs ẃl Jêni handd him rnd.

“Jon, dir!” N ɖen: “I wont t intṛdys y t—”

Fîṇli ɖe dd iscep, n ś léd ɖ we t hr stetrūm. T folo Jêni dǎn ɖ pasij ɖt ś ń so wel—ɖt wz so strenj t him; t part ɖ grīn crtnz aftr hr n t step intu ɖ cabin ɖt hd bn hrz gev him xqizit hapinis. Bt—cnfǎnd it!—ɖ stywdes wz ɖr on ɖ flor, strapñ p ɖ rugz.

“Ɖt’s ɖ last, Msz. Hamnd,” sd ɖ stywdes, rîzñ n pŭlñ dǎn hr cufs.

H wz intṛdyst agn, n ɖen Jêni n ɖ stywdes dis’pird intu ɖ pasij. H hŕd ẃisṗrñz. Ś wz gtñ ɖ tipñbiznis ovr, h s’pozd. H sat dǎn on ɖ strîpt sofa n tc hiz hat of. Ɖr wr ɖ rugz ś hd tecn wɖ hr; ɖe lct gd az ny. Ol hr lugij lct freś, prfict. Ɖ leblz wr ritn in hr bytifl litl clir hand—“Msz. Jon Hamnd.”

“Msz. Jon Hamnd!” H gev a loñ sai v cntnt n līnd bac, crosñ hiz armz. Ɖ stren wz ovr. H flt h cd hv sat ɖr fr evr sayñ hiz rlif—ɖ rlif at biyñ rid v ɖt hoṛbl tug, pl, grip on hiz hart. Ɖ denjr wz ovr. Ɖt wz ɖ fīlñ. Ɖe wr on drî land agn.

Bt at ɖt momnt Jêni’z hed cem rnd ɖ cornr.

“Darlñ—d y mînd? I jst wont t g n se gdbî t ɖ doctr.”

Hamnd startd p. “I’l cm wɖ y.”

“No, no!” ś sd. “D’nt boɖr. I’d rɖr nt. I’l nt b a minit.”

N bfr h cd ansr ś wz gn. H hd haf a mînd t run aftr hr; bt instd h sat dǎn agn.

Wd ś riyli nt b loñ? Ẃt wz ɖ tîm nǎ? Ǎt cem ɖ woć; h stérd at nʈñ. Ɖt wz rɖr qir v Jêni, wz’nt it? Ẃ cd’nt ś hv tld ɖ stywdes t se gdbî fr hr? Ẃ dd ś hv t g ćesñ aftr ɖ śip’s doctr? Ś cd hv snt a not fṛm ɖ hotel īvn f ɖ afer hd bn rjnt. Rjnt? Dd it—cd it mīn ɖt ś hd bn il on ɖ vôij—ś wz cīpñ smʈñ fṛm him? Ɖt wz it! H sizd hiz hat. H wz gwñ of t fînd ɖt felo n t riñ ɖ truʈ ǎt v him at ol costs. H ʈt h’d notist jst smʈñ. Ś wz jst a tuć tù cām—tù stedi. Fṛm ɖ vri frst momnt—

Ɖ crtnz rañ. Jêni wz bac. H jumt t hiz fīt.

“Jêni, hv y bn il on ɖs vôij? Y hv!”

“Il?” Hr e’ri litl vôs moct him. Ś stept ovr ɖ rugz, n cem p clos, tućt hiz brest, n lct p at him.

“Darlñ,” ś sd, “d’nt frîtn m. V cors I hv’nt! Ẃtvr mcs y ʈnc I hv? D I lc il?”

Bt Hamnd dd’nt si hr. H onli flt ɖt ś wz lcñ at him n ɖt ɖr wz no nīd t wuri abt enʈñ. Ś wz hir t lc aftr ʈñz. It wz ol rît. Evrʈñ wz.

Ɖ jntl preśr v hr hand wz so cāmñ ɖt h pt hiz ovr hrz t hold it ɖr. N ś sd:

“Stand stil. I wont t lc at y. I hv’nt sìn y yt. Y’v hd yr bird bytifli trimd, n y lc—yungr, I ʈnc, n dsîdidli ʈinr! Bać̣lrlîf agriz wɖ y.”

“Agriz wɖ m!” H grond fr luv n còt hr clos agn. N agn, az olwz, h hd ɖ fīlñ ɖt h wz holdñ smʈñ ɖt nvr wz qt hiz—hiz. Smʈñ tù delic̣t, tù preśs, ɖt wd flî awe wns h let g.

“Fr God’z sec let’s gt of t ɖ hotel so ɖt w cn b bî ǎrslvz!” N h rañ ɖ bel hard fr smwn t lc śarp wɖ ɖ lugij.

Wōcñ dǎn ɖ ẃorf tgɖr ś tc hiz arm. H hd hr on hiz arm agn. N ɖ difṛns it md t gt intu ɖ cab aftr Jêni—t ʈro ɖ red-n-yelo strîpt blancit rnd ɖm bʈ—t tel ɖ drîvr t huri bcz nɖr v ɖm hd hd eni ti. No mor gwñ wɖt hiz ti or porñ ǎt hiz ǒn. Ś wz bac. H trnd t hr, sqizd hr hand, n sd jntli, tizñli, in ɖ “speśl” vôs h hd fr hr: “Glad t b hom agn, diri?” Ś smîld; ś dd’nt īvn boɖr t ansr, bt jntli ś drù hiz hand awe az ɖe cem t ɖ brîtr strīts.

“W’v got ɖ bst rūm in ɖ hotel,” h sd. “I wd’nt b pt of wɖ anɖr. N I asct ɖ ćembrmeid t pt in a bit v a fîr in ces y flt ćili. Ś’z a nîs, atntiv grl. N I ʈt nǎ w wr hir w wd’nt boɖr t g hom tmoro, bt spend ɖ de lcñ rnd n līv ɖ mornñ aftr. Dz ɖt sūt y? Ɖr’z no huri, z ɖr? Ɖ ćildṛn wl hv y sn inuf… I ʈt a de’z sîtsiyñ mt mc a nîs brec in yr jrni—ê, Jêni?”

“Hv y tecn ɖ ticits fr ɖ de aftr?” ś asct.

“I śd ʈnc I hv!” H unbutnd hiz oṿcot n tc ǎt hiz buljñ pocit-bc. “Hir w r! I rzrvd a frst-clas carij t Cctǎn. Ɖr it z—‘Mr. n Msz. Jon Hamnd.’ I ʈt w mt az wel d ǎrslvz cumftbli, n w d’nt wont uɖr ppl butñ in, d w? Bt f y’d lîc t stop hir a bit longr—?”

“Ǒ, no!” sd Jêni qcli. “Nt fr ɖ wrld! Ɖ de aftr tmoro, ɖen. N ɖ ćildṛn—”

Bt ɖe hd rīćt ɖ hotel. Ɖ manijr wz standñ in ɖ brōd, briłntli-lîtd porć. H cem dǎn t grīt ɖm. A portr ran fṛm ɖ hōl fr ɖer boxz.

“Wel, Mr. Arnld, hir’z Msz. Hamnd at last!”

Ɖ manijr léd ɖm ʈru ɖ hōl himslf n prest ɖ eḷvetrbel. Hamnd ń ɖr wr biznispalz v hiz sitñ at ɖ litl hōlteblz hvñ a drinc bfr dinr. Bt h wz’nt gwñ t risc inṭrupśn; h lct nɖr t ɖ rît nr ɖ left. Ɖe cd ʈnc ẃt ɖe plizd. F ɖe dd’nt unḍstand, ɖ mor fūlz ɖe—n h stept ǎt v ɖ lift, unloct ɖ dor v ɖer rūm, n śeṗdd Jêni in. Ɖ dor śut. Nǎ, at last, ɖe wr alon tgɖr. H trnd p ɖ lît. Ɖ crtnz wr drwn; ɖ fîr blezd. H fluñ hiz hat on t ɖ hyj bed n wnt twdz hr.

Bt—wd y b’liv it!—agn ɖe wr inṭruptd. Ɖs tîm it wz ɖ portr wɖ ɖ lugij. H md tū jrniz v it, līvñ ɖ dor opn in btwn, tecñ hiz tîm, ẃiṣlñ ʈru hiz tīʈ in ɖ coṛdor. Hamnd pêst p n dǎn ɖ rūm, tẹrñ of hiz gluvz, tẹrñ of hiz scarf. Fîṇli h fluñ hiz oṿcot on t ɖ bedsîd.

At last ɖ fūl wz gn. Ɖ dor clict. Nǎ ɖe wr alon. Sd Hamnd: “I fīl I’l nvr hv y t mslf agn. Ɖz crst ppl! Jêni”—n h bnt hiz fluśt, īgr gêz upn hr—“let’s hv dinr p hir. F w g dǎn t ɖ resṭront w’l b inṭruptd, n ɖen ɖr’z ɖ cnfǎndd ḿzic” (ɖ ḿzic h’d prezd so hîli, aplōdd so lǎdli last nît!). “W ś’nt b ebl t hír ć uɖr spīc. Let’s hv smʈñ p hir in frunt v ɖ fîr. It’s tù lêt fr ti. I’l ordr a litl supr, śl I? Hǎ dz ɖt îdīa strîc y?”

“D, darlñ!” sd Jêni. “N ẃl y’r awe—ɖ ćildṛn’z letrz—”

“Ǒ, lêtr on wl d!” sd Hamnd.

“Bt ɖen w’d gt it ovr,” sd Jêni. “N I’d frst hv tîm t—”

“Ǒ, I nīd’nt g dǎn!” xplend Hamnd. “I’l jst rñ n gv ɖ ordr… y d’nt wont t snd m awe, d y?”

Jêni śc hr hed n smîld.

“Bt y’r ʈncñ v smʈñ els. Y’r wuriyñ abt smʈñ,” sd Hamnd. “Ẃt z it? Cm n sit hir—cm n sit on mî ni bfr ɖ fîr.”

“I’l jst unpin mî hat,” sd Jêni, n ś wnt ovr t ɖ dresñtebl. “Ā-ā!” Ś gev a litl crî.

“Ẃt z it?”

“Nʈñ, darlñ. I’v jst faund ɖ ćildṛn’z letrz. Ɖt’s ol rît! Ɖe wl cīp. No huri nǎ!” Ś trnd t him, claspñ ɖm. Ś tuct ɖm intu hr frild blǎz. Ś craid qcli, gêli: “Ǒ, hǎ tipicl ɖs dresñtebl z v y!”

“Ẃ? Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ it?” sd Hamnd.

“F it wr flotñ in itrṇti I śd se ‘Jon!’” laft Jêni, stẹrñ at ɖ big botl v hertonic, ɖ wicrbotl v eau-de-Cologne, ɖ tū herbruśz, n a duzn ny coḷrz taid wɖ pnc tep. “Z ɖs ol yr lugij?”

“Hañ mî lugij!” sd Hamnd; bt ol ɖ sem h lîct biyñ laft at bî Jêni. “Let’s tōc. Let’s gt dǎn t ʈñz. Tel m”—n az Jêni prćt on hiz niz h līnd bac n drù hr intu ɖ dīp, ugli ćer—“tel m y’r riyli glad t b bac, Jêni.”

“Yes, darlñ, I am glad,” ś sd.

Bt jst az ẃn h imbrest hr h flt ś wd flî awe, so Hamnd nvr ń—nvr ń fr ded srtn ɖt ś wz az glad az h wz. Hǎ cd h nǒ? Wd h evr nǒ? Wd h olwz hv ɖs crevñ—ɖs pañ lîc hungr, smhǎ, t mc Jêni so mć part v him ɖt ɖr wz’nt eni v hr t iscep? H wontd t blot ǎt evrbdi, evrʈñ. H wśt nǎ h’d trnd of ɖ lît. Ɖt mt hv bròt hr nirr. N nǎ ɖoz letrz fṛm ɖ ćildṛn rusld in hr blǎz. H cd hv ćuct ɖm intu ɖ fîr.

“Jêni,” h ẃisprd.

“Yes, dir?” Ś le on hiz brest, bt so lîtli, so rmotli. Ɖer briɖñ rouz n fél tgɖr.

“Jêni!”

“Ẃt z it?”

“Trn t m,” h ẃisprd. A slo, dīp fluś floud intu hiz fōrhed. “Cis m, Jêni! Y cis m!”

It sīmd t him ɖr wz a tîni pōz—bt loñ inuf fr him t sufr torćr—bfr hr lips tućt hiz, frmli, lîtli—cisñ ɖm az ś olwz cist him, az ɖo ɖ cis—hǎ cd h dscrîb it?—cnfrmd ẃt ɖe wr seyñ, sînd ɖ contract. Bt ɖt wz’nt ẃt h wontd; ɖt wz’nt at ol ẃt h ʈrstd fr. H flt sudnli, hoṛbl tîrd.

“F y ń,” h sd, oṗnñ hiz îz, “ẃt it’s bn lîc—wêtñ tde. I ʈt ɖ bot nvr wd cm in. Ɖr w wr, haññ abt. Ẃt cept y so loñ?”

Ś md no ansr. Ś wz lcñ awe fṛm him at ɖ fîr. Ɖ flemz hurid—hurid ovr ɖ colz, flicrd, fél.

“Nt aslip, r y?” sd Hamnd, n h jumt hr p n dǎn.

“No,” ś sd. N ɖen: “D’nt d ɖt, dir. No, I wz ʈncñ. Az a matr v fact,” ś sd, “wn v ɖ pasinjrz daid last nît—a man. Ɖt’s ẃt hld s p. W bròt him in—I mīn, h wz’nt berid at sì. So, v cors, ɖ śip’s doctr n ɖ śordoctr—”

“Ẃt wz it?” asct Hamnd unīẓli. H hetd t hír v deʈ. H hetd ɖs t hv hapnd. It wz, in sm qir we, az ɖo h n Jêni hd met a fynṛl on ɖer we t ɖ hotel.

“Ǒ, it wz’nt enʈñ in ɖ līst infx́s!” sd Jêni. Ś wz spīcñ scersli abv hr breʈ. “It wz hart.” A pōz. “Pur felo!” ś sd. “Qt yuñ.” N ś woćt ɖ fîr flicr n fōl. “H daid in mî armz,” sd Jêni.

Ɖ blo wz so sudn ɖt Hamnd ʈt h wd fent. H cd’nt muv; h cd’nt briɖ. H flt ol hiz streñʈ flowñ—flowñ intu ɖ big darc ćer, n ɖ big darc ćer hld him fast, gript him, forst him t ber it.

“Ẃt?” h sd duļi. “Ẃt’s ɖt y se?”

“Ɖ end wz qt pīsfl,” sd ɖ smōl vôs. “H jst”—n Hamnd sw hr lift hr jntl hand—“briɖd hiz lîf awe at ɖ end.” N hr hand fél.

“Hu—els wz ɖr?” Hamnd manijd t asc.

“Nbdi. I wz alon wɖ him.”

Ā, mî God, ẃt wz ś seyñ! Ẃt wz ś dwñ t him! Ɖs wd cil him! N ol ɖ ẃl ś spouc:

“I sw ɖ ćenj cmñ n I snt ɖ stywd fr ɖ doctr, bt ɖ doctr wz tù lêt. H cd’nt hv dn enʈñ, enwe.”

“Bt—ẃ y, ẃ y?” mond Hamnd.

At ɖt Jêni trnd qcli, qcli srćt hiz fes.

“Y d’nt mînd, Jon, d y?” ś asct. “Y d’nt—It’s nʈñ t d wɖ y n m.”

Smhǎ or uɖr h manijd t śec sm sort v smîl at hr. Smhǎ or uɖr h stamrd: “No—g—on, g on! I wont y t tel m.”

“Bt, Jon darlñ—”

“Tel m, Jêni!”

“Ɖr’z nʈñ t tel,” ś sd, wunḍrñ. “H wz wn v ɖ frst-clas pasinjrz. I sw h wz vri il ẃn h cem on bōrd… Bt h sīmd t b so mć betr untl yesṭde. H hd a svir atac in ɖ afṭnun—xîtmnt—nrṿsnis, I ʈnc, abt arîvñ. N aftr ɖt h nvr rcuvrd.”

“Bt ẃ dd’nt ɖ stywdes—”

“Ǒ, mî dir—ɖ stywdes!” sd Jêni. “Ẃt wd h hv flt? N bsdz… h mt hv wontd t līv a mesij… t—”

“Dd’nt h?” mutrd Hamnd. “Dd’nt h se enʈñ?”

“No, darlñ, nt a wrd!” Ś śc hr hed softli. “Ol ɖ tîm I wz wɖ him h wz tù wìc… h wz tù wìc īvn t muv a fngr… ”

Jêni wz sîḷnt. Bt hr wrdz, so lît, so soft, so ćil, sīmd t hovr in ɖ er, t ren intu hiz brest lîc sno.

Ɖ fîr hd gn red. Nǎ it fél in wɖ a śarp sǎnd n ɖ rūm wz coldr. Cold crept p hiz armz. Ɖ rūm wz hyj, imns, gliṭrñ. It fild hiz hol wrld. Ɖr wz ɖ gret blînd bed, wɖ hiz cot fluñ acrs it lîc sm hedlis man seyñ hiz prerz. Ɖr wz ɖ lugij, redi t b carid awe agn, enẃr, tóst intu trenz, cartd on t bots.

… “H wz tù wìc. H wz tù wìc t muv a fngr.” N yt h daid in Jêni’z armz. Ś—hu’d nvr—nvr wns in ol ɖz yirz—nvr on wn sngl solitri oceźn—

No; h ms’nt ʈnc v it. Madnis le in ʈncñ v it. No, h wd’nt fes it. H cd’nt stand it. It wz tù mć t ber!

N nǎ Jêni tućt hiz tî wɖ hr fngrz. Ś pinćt ɖ éjz v ɖ tî tgɖr.

“Y’r nt—sori I tld y, Jon darlñ? It hz’nt md y sad? It hz’nt spôlt ǎr īvnñ—ǎr biyñ alon tgɖr?”

Bt at ɖt h hd t hîd hiz fes. H pt hiz fes intu hr bŭzm n hiz armz infoldd hr.

Spôlt ɖer īvnñ! Spôlt ɖer biyñ alon tgɖr! Ɖe wd nvr b alon tgɖr agn.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

 

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