NORƮANGR ABI │ ĆAPTR 2

In adiśn t ẃt hz bn olrdi sd v Caʈrin Morḷnd’z prsnl n mentl indǎmnts, ẃn abt t b lōnćt intu ol ɖ dificltiz n denjrz v a six wīcs’ rezidns in Baʈ, it me b stetd, fr ɖ rīdr’z mor srtn inf̣meśn, lest ɖ folowñ pejz śd uɖwz fel v gvñ eni îdīa v ẃt hr caṛctr z mnt t b, ɖt hr hart wz afx́ṇt; hr disṗziśn ćirfl n opn, wɖǎt cnsit or af̣cteśn v eni cnd—hr manrz jst rmuvd fṛm ɖ ōcẉdnis n śînis v a grl; hr prsn plizñ, n, ẃn in gd lcs, priti—n hr mînd abt az ignṛnt n uninformd az ɖ fīmel mînd at sevntīn yźli z.

Ẃn ɖ aur v dparćr drù nir, ɖ mtrnl añzayti v Msz Morḷnd wl b naćṛli s’pozd t b most svir. A ʈǎznd alarmñ prizntimnts v īvl t hr b’luvid Caʈrin fṛm ɖs t’rific seṗreśn mst opres hr hart wɖ sadnis, n drǎn hr in tirz fr ɖ last de or tū v ɖer biyñ tgɖr; n advîs v ɖ most importnt n aplicbl nećr mst v cors flo fṛm hr wîz lips in ɖer partñ confṛns in hr clozit. Cōśnz agnst ɖ vayḷns v sć noblṃn n baṛnéts az dlît in forsñ yuñ lediz awe t sm rmot farmhǎs, mst, at sć a momnt, rliv ɖ fŭlnis v hr hart. Hu wd nt ʈnc so? Bt Msz Morḷnd ń so litl v lordz n baṛnéts, ɖt ś enttend no nośn v ɖer jenṛl misćiṿsnis, n wz hoļi unsspiśs v denjr t hr dōtr fṛm ɖer maṣ́neśnz. Hr cōśnz wr cnfînd t ɖ folowñ pônts. “I beg, Caʈrin, y wl olwz ráp yrslf p vri worm abt ɖ ʈrot, ẃn y cm fṛm ɖ rūmz at nît; n I wś y wd trî t cīp sm acǎnt v ɖ muni y spend; I wl gv y ɖs litl bc on prṗs.”

Sali, or rɖr Sẹra (fr ẃt yuñ ledi v comn jntiḷti wl rīć ɖ ej v sixtīn wɖǎt olṭrñ hr nem az far az ś cn?), mst fṛm sićueśn b at ɖs tîm ɖ intiṃt frend n conf̣dant v hr sistr. It z rmarcbl, hvr, ɖt ś nɖr insistd on Caʈrin’z raitñ bî evri post, nr xactd hr promis v trnzmitñ ɖ caṛctr v evri ny aqentns, nr a dītel v evri inṭrestñ convseśn ɖt Baʈ mt pṛdys. Evrʈñ indd reḷtiv t ɖs importnt jrni wz dn, on ɖ part v ɖ Morḷndz, wɖ a dgri v moḍreśn n cmpoźr, ẃć sīmd rɖr cnsistnt wɖ ɖ comn fīlñz v comn lîf, ɖn wɖ ɖ rfînd ssptbiḷtiz, ɖ tndr imośnz ẃć ɖ frst seṗreśn v a herǒin fṛm hr faṃli òt olwz t xît. Hr faɖr, instd v gvñ hr an unliṃtd ordr on hiz bancr, or īvn ptñ an hundṛd pǎndz bancbil intu hr handz, gev hr onli ten giniz, n promist hr mor ẃn ś wontd it.

Undr ɖz unproṃsñ ōsṗsz, ɖ partñ tc ples, n ɖ jrni bgan. It wz pformd wɖ sūṭbl qaytnis n univntfl sefti. Nɖr robrz nr tmpists bfrendd ɖm, nr wn luci oṿtrn t intṛdys ɖm t ɖ hiro. Nʈñ mor alarmñ ocŕd ɖn a fir, on Msz Aḷn’z sîd, v hvñ wns left hr clogz bhnd hr at an ín, n ɖt forćṇtli pruvd t b grǎndlis.

Ɖe arîvd at Baʈ. Caʈrin wz ol īgr dlît—hr îz wr hir, ɖr, evrẃr, az ɖe aproćt its fîn n strîcñ invîṛnz, n aftwdz drouv ʈru ɖoz strīts ẃć cnductd ɖm t ɖ hotel. Ś wz cm t b hapi, n ś flt hapi olrdi.

Ɖe wr sn setld in cumftbl lojñz in Pŭltni Strīt.

It z nǎ xpīdịnt t gv sm dscripśn v Msz Aḷn, ɖt ɖ rīdr me b ebl t juj in ẃt manr hr ax́nz wl hiraftr tend t pṛmot ɖ jenṛl dstres v ɖ wrc, n hǎ ś wl, probbli, cntribyt t rdys pur Caʈrin t ol ɖ despṛt rećidnis v ẃć a last volym z ceṗbl—ẃɖr bî hr imprūdns, vlgaṛti, or jeḷsi—ẃɖr bî inṭsptñ hr letrz, ruinñ hr caṛctr, or trnñ hr ǎt v dorz.

Msz Aḷn wz wn v ɖt ńmṛs clas v fīmelz, huz ssayti cn rêz no uɖr imośn ɖn s’prîz at ɖr biyñ eni men in ɖ wrld hu cd lîc ɖm wel inuf t mari ɖm. Ś hd nɖr byti, jīńs, acumpliśmnt, nr manr. Ɖ er v a jntlwŭmn, a gret dīl v qayt, inactiv gd tmpr, n a trîf̣lñ trn v mînd wr ol ɖt cd acǎnt fr hr biyñ ɖ ćôs v a snṣbl, intelijnt man lîc Mr Aḷn. In wn rspct ś wz admṛbli fitd t intṛdys a yuñ ledi intu public, biyñ az fond v gwñ evrẃr n siyñ evrʈñ hrslf az eni yuñ ledi cd b. Dres wz hr paśn. Ś hd a most harmlis dlît in biyñ fîn; n ǎr herǒin’z ãtre intu lîf cd nt tec ples tl aftr ʈri or for dez hd bn spent in lrnñ ẃt wz mostli wòrn, n hr śaṗron wz pṛvîdd wɖ a dres v ɖ nyist faśn. Caʈrin tù md sm prć̣sz hrslf, n ẃn ol ɖz matrz wr arenjd, ɖ importnt īvnñ cem ẃć wz t uśr hr intu ɖ Upr Rūmz. Hr her wz cut n drest bî ɖ bst hand, hr cloɖz pt on wɖ cer, n bʈ Msz Aḷn n hr meid dclerd ś lct qt az ś śd d. Wɖ sć incurijmnt, Caʈrin hopt at līst t pas unsnśrd ʈru ɖ crǎd. Az fr adṃreśn, it wz olwz vri welcm ẃn it cem, bt ś dd nt dpnd on it.

Msz Aḷn wz so loñ in dresñ ɖt ɖe dd nt entr ɖ bōlrūm tl lêt. Ɖ sīzn wz fl, ɖ rūm crǎdd, n ɖ tū lediz sqizd in az wel az ɖe cd. Az fr Mr Aḷn, h rperd d’recli t ɖ cardrūm, n left ɖm t injô a mob bî ɖmslvz. Wɖ mor cer fr ɖ sefti v hr ny gǎn ɖn fr ɖ cumf̣t v hr proṭźe, Msz Aḷn md hr we ʈru ɖ ʈroñ v men bî ɖ dor, az swiftli az ɖ nesṣri cōśn wd alǎ; Caʈrin, hvr, cept clos at hr sîd, n linct hr arm tù frmli wɖn hr frend’z t b torn asundr bî eni comn ef̣t v a struġlñ asmbli. Bt t hr utr amezmnt ś faund ɖt t pṛsid alñ ɖ rūm wz bî no mīnz ɖ we t disingej ɖmslvz fṛm ɖ crǎd; it sīmd rɖr t incris az ɖe wnt on, ẃr-az ś hd imajnd ɖt ẃn wns ferli wɖn ɖ dor, ɖe śd īẓli fînd sīts n b ebl t woć ɖ dansz wɖ prfict cnvīńns. Bt ɖs wz far fṛm biyñ ɖ ces, n ɖo bî unwirid dilijns ɖe gend īvn ɖ top v ɖ rūm, ɖer sićueśn wz jst ɖ sem; ɖe sw nʈñ v ɖ dansrz bt ɖ hî feɖrz v sm v ɖ lediz. Stl ɖe muvd on—smʈñ betr wz yt in vy; n bî a cntinyd xrśn v streñʈ n inɉńuwti ɖe faund ɖmslvz at last in ɖ pasij bhnd ɖ hîist benć. Hir ɖr wz smʈñ les v crǎd ɖn b’lo; n hns Mis Morḷnd hd a comprihnsv vy v ol ɖ cumṗni bnʈ hr, n v ol ɖ denjrz v hr lêt pasij ʈru ɖm. It wz a splendid sît, n ś bgan, fr ɖ frst tîm ɖt īvnñ, t fīl hrslf at a bōl: ś loñd t dans, bt ś hd nt an aqentns in ɖ rūm. Msz Aḷn dd ol ɖt ś cd d in sć a ces bî seyñ vri plasidli, evri nǎ n ɖen, “I wś y cd dans, mî dir—I wś y cd gt a partnr.” Fr sm tîm hr yuñ frend flt oblîjd t hr fr ɖz wśz; bt ɖe wr rpitd so ofn, n pruvd so toṭli inifcćl, ɖt Caʈrin grù tîrd at last, n wd ʈanc hr no mor.

Ɖe wr nt loñ ebl, hvr, t injô ɖ rpoz v ɖ eminns ɖe hd so l’borịsli gend. Evrbdi wz śortli in mośn fr ti, n ɖe mst sqīz ǎt lîc ɖ rest. Caʈrin bgan t fīl smʈñ v dis’pôntmnt—ś wz tîrd v biyñ cntińli prest agnst bî ppl, ɖ jeṇraḷti v huz fesz pzest nʈñ t inṭrest, n wɖ ol v hūm ś wz so hoļi un’qentd ɖt ś cd nt rliv ɖ ŕcsmnis v impriznmnt bî ɖ xćenj v a siḷbl wɖ eni v hr felo captvz; n ẃn at last arîvd in ɖ tīrūm, ś flt yt mor ɖ ōcẉdnis v hvñ no parti t jôn, no aqentns t clem, no jntlmn t asist ɖm. Ɖe sw nʈñ v Mr Aḷn; n aftr lcñ abt ɖm in ven fr a mor elijibl sićueśn, wr oblîjd t sit dǎn at ɖ end v a tebl, at ẃć a larj parti wr olrdi plest, wɖǎt hvñ enʈñ t d ɖr, or enbdi t spīc t, xpt ć uɖr.

Msz Aḷn cngraćletd hrslf, az sn az ɖe wr sītd, on hvñ prizrvd hr gǎn fṛm injri. “It wd hv bn vri śocñ t hv it torn,” sd ś, “wd nt it? It z sć a delic̣t muzlin. Fr mî part I hv nt sìn enʈñ I lîc so wel in ɖ hol rūm, I aśur y.”

“Hǎ uncumftbl it z,” ẃisprd Caʈrin, “nt t hv a sngl aqentns hir!”

“Yes, mî dir,” rplaid Msz Aḷn, wɖ prfict sreṇti, “it z vri uncumftbl indd.”

“Ẃt śl w d? Ɖ jntlṃn n lediz at ɖs tebl lc az f ɖe wundrd ẃ w cem hir—w sīm forsñ ǎrslvz intu ɖer parti.”

“Ai, so w d. Ɖt z vri dis’griybl. I wś w hd a larj aqentns hir.”

“I wś w hd eni—it wd b smbdi t g t.”

“Vri tru, mî dir; n f w ń enbdi w wd jôn ɖm d’recli. Ɖ Scinrz wr hir last yir—I wś ɖe wr hir nǎ.”

“Hd nt w betr g awe az it z? Hir r no tīʈñz fr s, y si.”

“No mor ɖr r, indd. Hǎ vri pṛvocñ! Bt I ʈnc w hd betr sit stil, fr wn gts so tumbld in sć a crǎd! Hǎ z mî hed, mî dir? Smbdi gev m a pś ɖt hz hrt it, I am afreid.”

“No, indd, it lcs vri nîs. Bt, dir Msz Aḷn, r y śr ɖr z nbdi y nǒ in ol ɖs multtyd v ppl? I ʈnc y mst nǒ smbdi.”

“I d’nt, upn mî wrd—I wś I dd. I wś I hd a larj aqentns hir wɖ ol mî hart, n ɖen I śd gt y a partnr. I śd b so glad t hv y dans. Ɖr gz a strenj-lcñ wmn! Ẃt an od gǎn ś hz got on! Hǎ old-faśnd it z! Lc at ɖ bac.”

Aftr sm tîm ɖe rsivd an ofr v ti fṛm wn v ɖer nebrz; it wz ʈancf̣li axptd, n ɖs intṛdyst a lît convseśn wɖ ɖ jntlmn hu ofrd it, ẃć wz ɖ onli tîm ɖt enbdi spouc t ɖm jrñ ɖ īvnñ, tl ɖe wr dscuvrd n jônd bî Mr Aḷn ẃn ɖ dans wz ovr.

“Wel, Mis Morḷnd,” sd h, d’recli, “I hop y hv hd an agriybl bōl.”

“Vri agriybl indd,” ś rplaid, venli indevrñ t hîd a gret yōn.

“I wś ś hd bn ebl t dans,” sd hiz wîf; “I wś w cd hv got a partnr fr hr. I hv bn seyñ hǎ glad I śd b f ɖ Scinrz wr hir ɖs wintr instd v last; or f ɖ Pariz hd cm, az ɖe tōct v wns, ś mt hv danst wɖ Jorj Pari. I am so sori ś hz nt hd a partnr!”

“W śl d betr anɖr īvnñ I hop,” wz Mr Aḷn’z conṣleśn.

Ɖ cumṗni bgan t dsprs ẃn ɖ dansñ wz ovr—inuf t līv spes fr ɖ rmendr t wōc abt in sm cumf̣t; n nǎ wz ɖ tîm fr a herǒin, hu hd nt yt pleid a vri dstnḡśt part in ɖ ivnts v ɖ īvnñ, t b notist n admîrd. Evri fîv minits, bî rmuvñ sm v ɖ crǎd, gev gretr oṗnñz fr hr ćarmz. Ś wz nǎ sìn bî mni yuñ men hu hd nt bn nir hr bfr. Nt wn, hvr, startd wɖ rapćṛs wundr on bholdñ hr, no ẃispr v īgr inqîri ran rnd ɖ rūm, nr wz ś wns cōld a dviṇti bî enbdi. Yt Caʈrin wz in vri gd lcs, n hd ɖ cumṗni onli sìn hr ʈri yirz bfr, ɖe wd nǎ hv ʈt hr xidñli hansm.

Ś wz lct at, hvr, n wɖ sm adṃreśn; fr, in hr ǒn hírñ, tū jntlṃn pṛnǎnst hr t b a priti grl. Sć wrdz hd ɖer dy ifct; ś imījtli ʈt ɖ īvnñ plezntr ɖn ś hd faund it bfr—hr humbl vaṇti wz cntntd—ś flt mor oblîjd t ɖ tū yuñ men fr ɖs simpl prêz ɖn a tru-qoḷti herǒin wd hv bn fr fiftīn sonits in seḷbreśn v hr ćarmz, n wnt t hr ćer in gd hymr wɖ evrbdi, n prf̣cli saṭsfaid wɖ hr śer v public atnśn.

ĆAPTRZ
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31/08/2022