NORƮANGR ABI │ ĆAPTR 15

Rli ɖ nxt de, a not fṛm Iẓbela, spīcñ pīs n tndrnis in evri lîn, n intritñ ɖ imījt prezns v hr frend on a matr v ɖ utmost importns, hesnd Caʈrin, in ɖ hapiist stet v confidns n krioṣti, t Edgr’z Bildñz. Ɖ tū yungist Mis Ʈorps wr bî ɖmslvz in ɖ parlr; n, on Án’z qitñ it t cōl hr sistr, Caʈrin tc ɖ oṗtyṇti v ascñ ɖ uɖr fr sm ptiklrz v ɖer yesṭde’z parti. Mrīa dzîrd no gretr pleźr ɖn t spīc v it; n Caʈrin imījtli lrnt ɖt it hd bn oltgɖr ɖ most dlîtfl scīm in ɖ wrld, ɖt nbdi cd imajn hǎ ćarmñ it hd bn, n ɖt it hd bn mor dlîtfl ɖn enbdi cd cnsiv. Sć wz ɖ inf̣meśn v ɖ frst fîv minits; ɖ secnd unfolded ɖus mć in dītel—ɖt ɖe hd drivn d’recli t ɖ Yorc Hotel, ét sm sūp, n bspoc an rli dinr, wōct dǎn t ɖ pumprūm, testd ɖ wōtr, n leid ǎt sm śilñz in prsz n sparz; ɖns ajrnd t īt îs at a pestri-cc’s, n huriyñ bac t ɖ hotel, swoloud ɖer dinr in hest, t privnt biyñ in ɖ darc; n ɖen hd a dlîtfl drîv bac, onli ɖ mūn wz nt p, n it rênd a litl, n Mr Morḷnd’z hors wz so tîrd h cd hardli gt it alñ.

Caʈrin lisnd wɖ hart-flt saṭsfax́n. It apird ɖt Bleiz Casl hd nvr bn ʈt v; n, az fr ol ɖ rest, ɖr wz nʈñ t rgret fr haf an instnt. Mrīa’z intelijns cncludd wɖ a tndr ifyźn v piti fr hr sistr Án, hūm ś reprizntd az inṣportbli cros, fṛm biyñ xcludd ɖ parti.

“Ś wl nvr fgiv m, I am śr; bt, y nǒ, hǎ cd I hlp it? Jon wd hv m g, fr h vaud h wd nt drîv hr, bcz ś hd sć ʈic anclz. I der se ś wl nt b in gd hymr agn ɖs munʈ; bt I am dtrmind I wl nt b cros; it z nt a litl matr ɖt pts m ǎt v tmpr.”

Iẓbela nǎ entrd ɖ rūm wɖ so īgr a step, n a lc v sć hapi importns, az ingejd ol hr frend’z notis. Mrīa wz wɖǎt seriṃni snt awe, n Iẓbela, imbresñ Caʈrin, ɖus bgan: “Yes, mî dir Caʈrin, it z so indd; yr peṇtreśn hz nt dsivd y. Ǒ! Ɖt arć î v yrz! It siz ʈru evrʈñ.”

Caʈrin rplaid onli bî a lc v wunḍrñ ignṛns.

“Nê, mî b’luvid, swītist frend,” cntinyd ɖ uɖr, “cmpoz yrslf. I am amezñli ajtetd, az y psiv. Let s sit dǎn n tōc in cumf̣t. Wel, n so y gést it ɖ momnt y hd mî not? Slî crīćr! Ǒ! Mî dir Caʈrin, y alon, hu nǒ mî hart, cn juj v mî preznt hapinis. Yr bruɖr z ɖ most ćarmñ v men. I onli wś I wr mor wrɖi v him. Bt ẃt wl yr xḷnt faɖr n muɖr se? Ǒ! Hevnz! Ẃn I ʈnc v ɖm I am so ajtetd!”

Caʈrin’z unḍstandñ bgan t awec: an îdīa v ɖ truʈ sudnli dartd intu hr mînd; n, wɖ ɖ naćṛl bluś v so ny an imośn, ś craid ǎt, “Gd hevn! Mî dir Iẓbela, ẃt d y mīn? Cn y—cn y riyli b in luv wɖ Jemz?”

Ɖs bold s’mîz, hvr, ś sn lrnt comprihndd bt haf ɖ fact. Ɖ añśs afx́n, ẃć ś wz akzd v hvñ cntińli woćt in Iẓbela’z evri lc n ax́n, hd, in ɖ cors v ɖer yesṭde’z parti, rsivd ɖ dlîtfl cnfeśn v an īql luv. Hr hart n feʈ wr alîc ingejd t Jemz. Nvr hd Caʈrin lisnd t enʈñ so fl v inṭrest, wundr, n jô. Hr bruɖr n hr frend ingejd! Ny t sć srcmstansz, ɖ importns v it apird unspīcbli gret, n ś contmpletd it az wn v ɖoz grand ivnts, v ẃć ɖ ordnri cors v lîf cn hardli aford a rtrn. Ɖ streñʈ v hr fīlñz ś cd nt xpres; ɖ nećr v ɖm, hvr, cntntd hr frend. Ɖ hapinis v hvñ sć a sistr wz ɖer frst ifyźn, n ɖ fer lediz mngld in imbresz n tirz v jô.

Dlîtñ, hvr, az Caʈrin s’nsirli dd in ɖ prospect v ɖ cnx́n, it mst b acnolijd ɖt Iẓbela far s’pást hr in tndr antiṣpeśnz. “Y wl b so infiṇtli dirr t m, mî Caʈrin, ɖn îɖr Án or Mrīa: I fīl ɖt I śl b so mć mor ataćt t mî dir Morḷnd’z faṃli ɖn t mî ǒn.”

Ɖs wz a pić v frendśp bynd Caʈrin.

“Y r so lîc yr dir bruɖr,” cntinyd Iẓbela, “ɖt I qt dǒtd on y ɖ frst momnt I sw y. Bt so it olwz z wɖ m; ɖ frst momnt setlz evrʈñ. Ɖ vri frst de ɖt Morḷnd cem t s last Crisṃs—ɖ vri frst momnt I bheld him—mî hart wz iricuvṛbli gn. I rmembr I wòr mî yelo gǎn, wɖ mî her dn p in brêdz; n ẃn I cem intu ɖ drw̃rūm, n Jon intṛdyst him, I ʈt I nvr sw enbdi so hansm bfr.”

Hir Caʈrin sīcṛtli acnolijd ɖ pǎr v luv; fr, ɖo xidñli fond v hr bruɖr, n parśl t ol hiz indǎmnts, ś hd nvr in hr lîf ʈt him hansm.

“I rmembr tù, Mis Andruz dranc ti wɖ s ɖt īvnñ, n wòr hr pys-culrd sarṣnét; n ś lct so hevnli ɖt I ʈt yr bruɖr mst srtnli fōl in luv wɖ hr; I cd nt slīp a wnc ol nît fr ʈncñ v it. Ǒ! Caʈrin, ɖ mni slīplis nîts I hv hd on yr bruɖr’z acǎnt! I wd nt hv y sufr haf ẃt I hv dn! I am groun rećidli ʈin, I nǒ; bt I wl nt pen y bî dscrîbñ mî añzayti; y hv sìn inuf v it. I fīl ɖt I hv btreid mslf ppćli—so ungardd in spīcñ v mî parśiaḷti fr ɖ ćrć! Bt mî sīcrit I wz olwz śr wd b sef wɖ y.”

Caʈrin flt ɖt nʈñ cd hv bn sefr; bt aśemd v an ignṛns litl xpctd, ś derd no longr cntst ɖ pônt, nr rfyz t hv bn az fl v arć peṇtreśn n afx́ṇt simṗʈi az Iẓbela ćouz t cnsidr hr. Hr bruɖr, ś faund, wz pripẹrñ t set of wɖ ol spīd t Fŭḷtn, t mc noun hiz sićueśn n asc cnsnt; n hir wz a sors v sm riyl ajteśn t ɖ mînd v Iẓbela. Caʈrin indevrd t pswed hr, az ś wz hrslf pswedd, ɖt hr faɖr n muɖr wd nvr opoz ɖer sun’z wśz. “It z imposbl,” sd ś, “fr peṛnts t b mor cînd, or mor dzîṛs v ɖer ćildṛn’z hapinis; I hv no dǎt v ɖer cnsntñ imījtli.”

“Morḷnd sz xacli ɖ sem,” rplaid Iẓbela; “n yt I der nt xpct it; mî fortyn wl b so smōl; ɖe nvr cn cnsnt t it. Yr bruɖr, hu mt mari enbdi!”

Hir Caʈrin agn dsrnd ɖ fors v luv.

“Indd, Iẓbela, y r tù humbl. Ɖ difṛns v fortyn cn b nʈñ t sigṇfî.”

“Ǒ! Mî swīt Caʈrin, in yr jenṛs hart I nǒ it wd sigṇfî nʈñ; bt w mst nt xpct sć disinṭrestidnis in mni. Az fr mslf, I am śr I onli wś ǎr sićueśnz wr rvrst. Hd I ɖ cmand v miłnz, wr I mistris v ɖ hol wrld, yr bruɖr wd b mî onli ćôs.”

Ɖs ćarmñ sntimnt, recmndd az mć bî sns az novlti, gev Caʈrin a most plizñ rmembṛns v ol ɖ herǒinz v hr aqentns; n ś ʈt hr frend nvr lct mor luvli ɖn in uṭrñ ɖ grand îdīa. “I am śr ɖe wl cnsnt,” wz hr frīqnt decḷreśn; “I am śr ɖe wl b dlîtd wɖ y.”

“Fr mî ǒn part,” sd Iẓbela, “mî wśz r so modṛt ɖt ɖ smōlist incm in nećr wd b inuf fr m. Ẃr ppl r riyli ataćt, poṿti itslf z wlʈ; granjr I dtst: I wd nt setl in Lundn fr ɖ ynivrs. A cotij in sm rtîrd vilij wd b xṭsi. Ɖr r sm ćarmñ litl vilaz abt Rićmnd.”

“Rićmnd!” craid Caʈrin. “Y mst setl nir Fŭḷtn. Y mst b nir s.”

“I am śr I śl b mizṛbl f w d nt. F I cn bt b nir y, I śl b saṭsfaid. Bt ɖs z îdl tōcñ! I wl nt alǎ mslf t ʈnc v sć ʈñz, tl w hv yr faɖr’z ansr. Morḷnd sz ɖt bî sndñ it tnît t Sōlzḅri, w me hv it tmro. Tmro? I nǒ I śl nvr hv curij t opn ɖ letr. I nǒ it wl b ɖ deʈ v m.”

A reṿri s’xidd ɖs cnvix́n—n ẃn Iẓbela spouc agn, it wz t rzolv on ɖ qoḷti v hr wedñgǎn.

Ɖer confṛns wz pt an end t bî ɖ añśs yuñ luvr himslf, hu cem t briɖ hiz partñ sai bfr h set v fr Wiltśr. Caʈrin wśt t cngraćlet him, bt ń nt ẃt t se, n hr eḷqns wz onli in hr îz. Fṛm ɖm, hvr, ɖ et parts v spīć śon ǎt most xpresvli, n Jemz cd cmbîn ɖm wɖ īz. Impeśnt fr ɖ riylîześn v ol ɖt h hopt at hom, hiz adyz wr nt loñ; n ɖe wd hv bn yt śortr, hd h nt bn frīqntli dtend bî ɖ rjnt intritiz v hiz fer wn ɖt h wd g. Twîs wz h cōld olmst fṛm ɖ dor bî hr īgrnis t hv him gn. “Indd, Morḷnd, I mst drîv y awe. Cnsidr hǎ far y hv t rîd. I canot ber t si y lingr so. Fr hevn’z sec, west no mor tîm. Ɖr, g, g—I insist on it.”

Ɖ tū frendz, wɖ harts nǎ mor ynîtd ɖn evr, wr insepṛbl fr ɖ de; n in scīmz v sistrli hapinis ɖ aurz flù alñ. Msz Ʈorp n hr sun, hu wr aqentd wɖ evrʈñ, n hu sīmd onli t wont Mr Morḷnd’z cnsnt, t cnsidr Iẓbela’z ingejmnt az ɖ most forćṇt srcmstans imajṇbl fr ɖer faṃli, wr alaud t jôn ɖer cǎnslz, n ad ɖer qota v sgnificnt lcs n mstirịs xpreśnz t fil p ɖ meźr v krioṣti t b rezd in ɖ unpriṿlijd yungr sistrz. T Caʈrin’z simpl fīlñz, ɖs od sort v rzrv sīmd nɖr cîndli mnt, nr cnsistntli s’portd; n its uncîndnis ś wd hardli hv forbòrn pôntñ ǎt, hd its incnsistnsi bn les ɖer frend; bt Án n Mrīa sn set hr hart at īz bî ɖ sgaṣti v ɖer “I nǒ ẃt”; n ɖ īvnñ wz spent in a sort v wor v wit, a dsple v faṃli inɉńuwti, on wn sîd in ɖ misṭri v an afctd sīcrit, on ɖ uɖr v undifînd dscuṿri, ol īqli akt.

Caʈrin wz wɖ hr frend agn ɖ nxt de, indevrñ t s’port hr spirits n ẃl awe ɖ mni tīdịs aurz bfr ɖ dlivri v ɖ letrz; a nīdfl xrśn, fr az ɖ tîm v rīzṇbl xpcteśn drù nir, Iẓbela bcem mor n mor dspondñ, n bfr ɖ letr arîvd, hd wrct hrslf intu a stet v riyl dstres. Bt ẃn it dd cm, ẃr cd dstres b faund? “I hv hd no dificlti in genñ ɖ cnsnt v mî cînd peṛnts, n am promist ɖt evrʈñ in ɖer pǎr śl b dn t fwd mî hapinis,” wr ɖ frst ʈri lînz, n in wn momnt ol wz jôfl s’kṛti. Ɖ brîtist glo wz instntli spred ovr Iẓbela’z fīćrz, ol cer n añzayti sīmd rmuvd, hr spirits bcem olmst tù hî fr cntrol, n ś cōld hrslf wɖǎt scrūpl ɖ hapiist v mortlz.

Msz Ʈorp, wɖ tirz v jô, imbrest hr dōtr, hr sun, hr vizitr, n cd hv imbrest haf ɖ inhabitnts v Baʈ wɖ saṭsfax́n. Hr hart wz oṿflowñ wɖ tndrnis. It wz “dir Jon” n “dir Caʈrin” at evri wrd; “dir Án n dir Mrīa” mst imījtli b md śerrz in ɖer f’liṣti; n tū “dirz” at wns bfr ɖ nem v Iẓbela wr nt mor ɖn ɖt b’luvid ćîld hd nǎ wel ŕnd. Jon himslf wz no sculcr in jô. H nt onli bstod on Mr Morḷnd ɖ hî comndeśn v biyñ wn v ɖ fînist feloz in ɖ wrld, bt swòr of mni sntnsz in hiz prêz.

Ɖ letr, ẃns sprañ ol ɖs f’liṣti, wz śort, cntenñ litl mor ɖn ɖs aśuṛns v s’xes; n evri ptiklr wz dfŕd tl Jemz cd rait agn. Bt fr ptiklrz Iẓbela cd wel aford t wêt. Ɖ nīdfl wz cmprîzd in Mr Morḷnd’z promis; hiz onr wz plejd t mc evrʈñ īzi; n bî ẃt mīnz ɖer incm wz t b formd, ẃɖr landd proṗti wr t b rzînd, or fundd muni md ovr, wz a matr in ẃć hr disinṭrestd spirit tc no cnsrn. Ś ń inuf t fīl s’kr v an onṛbl n spīdi istabliśmnt, n hr imaɉneśn tc a rapid flît ovr its atndnt f’liṣtiz. Ś sw hrslf at ɖ end v a fy wīcs, ɖ gêz n adṃreśn v evri ny aqentns at Fŭḷtn, ɖ envi v evri valyd old frend in Putni, wɖ a carij at hr cmand, a ny nem on hr ticits, n a briłnt xbiśn v hūprñz on hr fngr.

Ẃn ɖ contents v ɖ letr wr aṣtend, Jon Ʈorp, hu hd onli wêtd its arîvl t bgin hiz jrni t Lundn, priperd t set of. “Wel, Mis Morḷnd,” sd h, on fîndñ hr alon in ɖ parlr, “I am cm t bid y gdbî.” Caʈrin wśt him a gd jrni. Wɖǎt apirñ t hír hr, h wōct t ɖ windo, fijtd abt, humd a tyn, n sīmd hoļi slf-okpaid.

“Śl nt y b lêt at Dvîzz?” sd Caʈrin. H md no ansr; bt aftr a minit’s sîḷns brst ǎt wɖ, “A feṃs gd ʈñ ɖs mariyñ scīm, upn mî soul! A clevr fansi v Morḷnd’z n Bél’z. Ẃt d y ʈnc v it, Mis Morḷnd? I se it z no bad nośn.”

“I am śr I ʈnc it a vri gd wn.”

“D y? Ɖt’s onist, bî hevnz! I am glad y r no eṇmi t matriṃni, hvr. Dd y evr hír ɖ old soñ ‘Gwñ t Wn Wedñ Brñz on Anɖr?’ I se, y wl cm t Bél’z wedñ, I hop.”

“Yes; I hv promist yr sistr t b wɖ hr, f poṣbl.”

“N ɖen y nǒ”—twistñ himslf abt n forsñ a fūliś laf—“I se, ɖen y nǒ, w me trî ɖ truʈ v ɖs sem old soñ.”

“Me w? Bt I nvr sñ. Wel, I wś y a gd jrni. I dîn wɖ Mis Tilni tde, n mst nǎ b gwñ hom.”

“Nê, bt ɖr z no sć cnfǎndd huri. Hu nz ẃn w me b tgɖr agn? Nt bt ɖt I śl b dǎn agn bî ɖ end v a fortnît, n a deṿliś loñ fortnît it wl apir t m.”

“Ɖen ẃ d y ste awe so loñ?” rplaid Caʈrin—fîndñ ɖt h wêtd fr an ansr.

“Ɖt z cînd v y, hvr—cînd n gd-nećrd. I śl nt fget it in a huri. Bt y hv mor gd nećr n ol ɖt, ɖn enbdi livñ, I b’liv. A monstṛs dīl v gd nećr, n it z nt onli gd nećr, bt y hv so mć, so mć v evrʈñ; n ɖen y hv sć—upn mî soul, I d nt nǒ enbdi lîc y.”

“Ǒ! dir, ɖr r a gret mni ppl lîc m, I der se, onli a gret dīl betr. Gd mornñ t y.”

“Bt I se, Mis Morḷnd, I śl cm n pe mî rspcts at Fŭḷtn bfr it z loñ, f nt dis’griybl.”

“Pre d. Mî faɖr n muɖr wl b vri glad t si y.”

“N I hop—I hop, Mis Morḷnd, y wl nt b sori t si m.”

“Ǒ! dir, nt at ol. Ɖr r vri fy ppl I am sori t si. Cumṗni z olwz ćirfl.”

“Ɖt z jst mî we v ʈncñ. Gv m bt a litl ćirfl cumṗni, let m onli hv ɖ cumṗni v ɖ ppl I luv, let m onli b ẃr I lîc n wɖ hūm I lîc, n ɖ devl tec ɖ rest, se I. N I am harṭli glad t hír y se ɖ sem. Bt I hv a nośn, Mis Morḷnd, y n I ʈnc priti mć alîc upn most matrz.”

“Phps w me; bt it z mor ɖn I evr ʈt v. N az t most matrz, t se ɖ truʈ, ɖr r nt mni ɖt I nǒ mî ǒn mînd abt.”

“Bî Jov, no mor d I. It z nt mî we t boɖr mî brenz wɖ ẃt dz nt cnsrn m. Mî nośn v ʈñz z simpl inuf. Let m onli hv ɖ grl I lîc, se I, wɖ a cumftbl hǎs ovr mî hed, n ẃt cer I fr ol ɖ rest? Fortyn z nʈñ. I am śr v a gd incm v mî ǒn; n f ś hd nt a peni, ẃ, so mć ɖ betr.”

“Vri tru. I ʈnc lîc y ɖr. F ɖr z a gd fortyn on wn sîd, ɖr cn b no oceźn fr eni on ɖ uɖr. No matr ẃć hz it, so ɖt ɖr z inuf. I het ɖ îdīa v wn gret fortyn lcñ ǎt fr anɖr. N t mari fr muni I ʈnc ɖ wic̣dist ʈñ in xistns. Gd de. W śl b vri glad t si y at Fŭḷtn, ẃnvr it z cnvińnt.” N awe ś wnt. It wz nt in ɖ pǎr v ol hiz gaḷntri t dten hr longr. Wɖ sć nyz t cḿṇcet, n sć a vizit t priper fr, hr dparćr wz nt t b dled bî enʈñ in hiz nećr t rj; n ś hurid awe, līvñ him t ɖ undivîdd conśsnis v hiz ǒn hapi adres, n hr xplisit incurijmnt.

Ɖ ajteśn ẃć ś hd hrslf xpirịnst on frst lrnñ hr bruɖr’z ingejmnt md hr xpct t rêz no incnsidṛbl imośn in Mr n Msz Aḷn, bî ɖ cḿṇceśn v ɖ wundrfl ivnt. Hǎ gret wz hr dis’pôntmnt! Ɖ importnt afer, ẃć mni wrdz v preṗreśn uśrd in, hd bn fsin bî ɖm bʈ evr sins hr bruɖr’z arîvl; n ol ɖt ɖe flt on ɖ oceźn wz comprihndd in a wś fr ɖ yuñ ppl’z hapinis, wɖ a rmarc, on ɖ jntlmn’z sîd, in fevr v Iẓbela’z byti, n on ɖ ledi’z, v hr gret gd luc. It wz t Caʈrin ɖ most s’prîzñ insnṣbiḷti. Ɖ dscloźr, hvr, v ɖ gret sīcrit v Jemz’z gwñ t Fŭḷtn ɖ de bfr, dd rêz sm imośn in Msz Aḷn. Ś cd nt lisn t ɖt wɖ prfict cāmnis, bt rpitidli rgretd ɖ nseṣti v its cnsilmnt, wśt ś cd hv noun hiz intnśn, wśt ś cd hv sìn him bfr h wnt, az ś śd srtnli hv trubld him wɖ hr bst rgardz t hiz faɖr n muɖr, n hr cînd complimnts t ol ɖ Scinrz.

ĆAPTRZ: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31