NORƮANGR ABI │ ĆAPTR 21

A momnt’s glans wz inuf t saṭsfî Caʈrin ɖt hr apartmnt wz vri unlîc ɖ wn ẃć Henri hd indevrd t alarm hr bî ɖ dscripśn v. It wz bî no mīnz unrīzṇbli larj, n cntend nɖr taṗstri nr velvit. Ɖ wōlz wr peprd, ɖ flor wz carṗtd; ɖ windoz wr nɖr les prfict nr mor dim ɖn ɖoz v ɖ drw̃rūm b’lo; ɖ frnićr, ɖo nt v ɖ lêtist faśn, wz hansm n cumftbl, n ɖ er v ɖ rūm oltgɖr far fṛm unćirfl. Hr hart instnteńsli at īz on ɖs pônt, ś rzolvd t lūz no tîm in ptiklr xaṃneśn v enʈñ, az ś gretli dredd dis’blîjñ ɖ jenṛl bî eni dle. Hr habit ɖrfr wz ʈroun of wɖ ol poṣbl hest, n ś wz pripẹrñ t unpin ɖ linn pacij, ẃć ɖ śezsīt hd cnveid fr hr imījt acoṃdeśn, ẃn hr î sudnli fél on a larj hî ćst, standñ bac in a dīp rses on wn sîd v ɖ fîrples. Ɖ sît v it md hr start; n, fgetñ evrʈñ els, ś std gezñ on it in mośnlis wundr, ẃl ɖz ʈts crost hr:

“Ɖs z strenj indd! I dd nt xpct sć a sît az ɖs! An imns hevi ćst! Ẃt cn it hold? Ẃ śd it b plest hir? Pśt bac tù, az f mnt t b ǎt v sît! I wl lc intu it—cost m ẃt it me, I wl lc intu it—n d’recli tù—bî dêlît. F I ste tl īvnñ mî candl me g ǎt.” Ś advanst n xamind it closli: it wz v sīdr, krịsli inleid wɖ sm darcr wŭd, n rezd, abt a ft fṛm ɖ grǎnd, on a carvd stand v ɖ sem. Ɖ loc wz silvr, ɖo tarniśt fṛm ej; at ć end wr ɖ imprfict rmenz v handlz olso v silvr, brocn phps preṃćrli bî sm strenj vayḷns; n, on ɖ sntr v ɖ lid, wz a mstirịs sîfr, in ɖ sem metl. Caʈrin bnt ovr it intntli, bt wɖǎt biyñ ebl t dstnḡś enʈñ wɖ srtnti. Ś cd nt, in ẃtvr d’rex́n ś tc it, b’liv ɖ last letr t b a T; n yt ɖt it śd b enʈñ els in ɖt hǎs wz a srcmstans t rêz no comn dgri v astoniśmnt. F nt orijnli ɖerz, bî ẃt strenj ivnts cd it hv fōḷn intu ɖ Tilni faṃli?

Hr firfl krioṣti wz evri momnt growñ gretr; n sizñ, wɖ tremḅlñ handz, ɖ hasp v ɖ loc, ś rzolvd at ol haẓdz t saṭsfî hrslf at līst az t its contents. Wɖ dificlti, fr smʈñ sīmd t rzist hr ef̣ts, ś rezd ɖ lid a fy inćz; bt at ɖt momnt a sudn nocñ at ɖ dor v ɖ rūm md hr, startñ, qit hr hold, n ɖ lid clozd wɖ alarmñ vayḷns. Ɖs il-tîmd intrudr wz Mis Tilni’z meid, snt bî hr mistris t b v ys t Mis Morḷnd; n ɖo Caʈrin imījtli dsmist hr, it rcōld hr t ɖ sns v ẃt ś òt t b dwñ, n forst hr, in spît v hr añśs dzîr t peṇtret ɖs misṭri, t pṛsid in hr dresñ wɖǎt frɖr dle. Hr progres wz nt qc, fr hr ʈts n hr îz wr stl bnt on ɖ objict so wel calkletd t inṭrest n alarm; n ɖo ś derd nt west a momnt upn a secnd atmt, ś cd nt rmen mni pesz fṛm ɖ ćst. At leñʈ, hvr, hvñ slipt wn arm intu hr gǎn, hr twālét sīmd so nirli finiśt ɖt ɖ impeśns v hr krioṣti mt sefli b induljd. Wn momnt śrli mt b sperd; n, so despṛt śd b ɖ xrśn v hr streñʈ, ɖt, unls s’krd bî sūṗnaćṛl mīnz, ɖ lid in wn momnt śd b ʈroun bac. Wɖ ɖs spirit ś sprañ fwd, n hr confidns dd nt dsiv hr. Hr reẓlut ef̣t ʈrù bac ɖ lid, n gev t hr astoniśt îz ɖ vy v a ẃît cotn cǎnṭpein, proprli foldd, rpozñ at wn end v ɖ ćst in undispytd pześn!

Ś wz gezñ on it wɖ ɖ frst bluś v s’prîz ẃn Mis Tilni, añśs fr hr frend’z biyñ redi, entrd ɖ rūm, n t ɖ rîzñ śem v hvñ harbrd fr sm minits an absrd xpcteśn, wz ɖen add ɖ śem v biyñ còt in so îdl a srć. “Ɖt z a krịs old ćst, z nt it?” sd Mis Tilni, az Caʈrin hesṭli clozd it n trnd awe t ɖ glas. “It z imposbl t se hǎ mni jeṇreśnz it hz bn hir. Hǎ it cem t b frst pt in ɖs rūm I nǒ nt, bt I hv nt hd it muvd, bcz I ʈt it mt smtmz b v ys in holdñ hats n bonits. Ɖ wrst v it z ɖt its weit mcs it dificlt t opn. In ɖt cornr, hvr, it z at līst ǎt v ɖ we.”

Caʈrin hd no leźr fr spīć, biyñ at wns bluśñ, tayñ hr gǎn, n formñ wîz reẓluśnz wɖ ɖ most vayḷnt dspać. Mis Tilni jntli hintd hr fir v biyñ lêt; n in haf a minit ɖe ran dǎnsterz tgɖr, in an alarm nt hoļi unfǎndd, fr Jenṛl Tilni wz pesñ ɖ drw̃rūm, hiz woć in hiz hand, n hvñ, on ɖ vri instnt v ɖer enṭrñ, pld ɖ bel wɖ vayḷns, ordrd “Dinr t b on tebl d’recli!”

Caʈrin trembld at ɖ emf̣sis wɖ ẃć h spouc, n sat pel n breʈlis, in a most humbl mūd, cnsrnd fr hiz ćildṛn, n dtstñ old ćests; n ɖ jenṛl, rcuvrñ hiz p’lîtnis az h lct at hr, spent ɖ rest v hiz tîm in scoldñ hiz dōtr fr so fūliśli huriyñ hr fer frend, hu wz abṣlutli ǎt v breʈ fṛm hest, ẃn ɖr wz nt ɖ līst oceźn fr huri in ɖ wrld: bt Caʈrin cd nt at ol gt ovr ɖ dubl dstres v hvñ involvd hr frend in a lecćr n bn a gret simpltn hrslf, tl ɖe wr haṗli sītd at ɖ dinrtebl, ẃn ɖ jenṛl’z cmplesnt smîlz, n a gd aṗtît v hr ǒn, rstord hr t pīs. Ɖ dînñparlr wz a nobl rūm, sūṭbl in its dmnśnz t a mć larjr drw̃rūm ɖn ɖ wn in comn ys, n fitd p in a stîl v lux̣́ri n xpns ẃć wz olmst lost on ɖ unpractist î v Caʈrin, hu sw litl mor ɖn its speśsnis n ɖ numbr v ɖer atndnts. V ɖ formr, ś spouc alǎd hr adṃreśn; n ɖ jenṛl, wɖ a vri greśs cǎntinns, acnolijd ɖt it wz bî no mīnz an il-sîzd rūm, n frɖr cnfest ɖt, ɖo az cerlis on sć subjicts az most ppl, h dd lc upn a tolṛbli larj ītñrūm az wn v ɖ nessriz v lîf; h s’pozd, hvr, “ɖt ś mst hv bn yst t mć betr-sîzd apartmnts at Mr Aḷn’z?”

“No, indd,” wz Caʈrin’z onist aśuṛns; “Mr Aḷn’z dînñparlr wz nt mor ɖn haf az larj,” n ś hd nvr sìn so larj a rūm az ɖs in hr lîf. Ɖ jenṛl’z gd hymr incrist. Ẃ, az h hd sć rūmz, h ʈt it wd b simpl nt t mc ys v ɖm; bt, upn hiz onr, h b’livd ɖr mt b mor cumf̣t in rūmz v onli haf ɖer sîz. Mr Aḷn’z hǎs, h wz śr, mst b xacli v ɖ tru sîz fr raṣ́nl hapinis.

Ɖ īvnñ pást wɖǎt eni frɖr dstrbns, n, in ɖ oceźnl absns v Jenṛl Tilni, wɖ mć poẓtiv ćirflnis. It wz onli in hiz prezns ɖt Caʈrin flt ɖ smōlist ftīg fṛm hr jrni; n īvn ɖen, īvn in momnts v langr or rstrent, a sns v jenṛl hapinis priponḍretd, n ś cd ʈnc v hr frendz in Baʈ wɖǎt wn wś v biyñ wɖ ɖm.

Ɖ nît wz stormi; ɖ wind hd bn rîzñ at inṭvlz ɖ hol afṭnun; n bî ɖ tîm ɖ parti brouc p, it blù n rênd vayḷntli. Caʈrin, az ś crost ɖ hōl, lisnd t ɖ tempist wɖ snseśnz v ō; n, ẃn ś hŕd it rej rnd a cornr v ɖ enćnt bildñ n cloz wɖ sudn fyri a distnt dor, flt fr ɖ frst tîm ɖt ś wz riyli in an abi. Yes, ɖz wr caṛcṭristic sǎndz; ɖe bròt t hr rec̣lex́n a cǎntlis vrayti v dredfl sićueśnz n horid sīnz, ẃć sć bildñz hd witnist, n sć stormz uśrd in; n most harṭli dd ś rjôs in ɖ hapịr srcmstansz atndñ hr entṛns wɖn wōlz so soḷm! Ś hd nʈñ t dred fṛm midnît’sasinz or druncn gaḷnts. Henri hd srtnli bn onli in jest in ẃt h hd tld hr ɖt mornñ. In a hǎs so frniśt, n so gardd, ś cd hv nʈñ t xplor or t sufr, n mt g t hr bedrūm az s’krli az f it hd bn hr ǒn ćembr at Fŭḷtn. Ɖus wîzli forṭfayñ hr mînd, az ś pṛsidd upsterz, ś wz inebld, ispeśli on psivñ ɖt Mis Tilni slept onli tū dorz fṛm hr, t entr hr rūm wɖ a tolṛbli stǎt hart; n hr spirits wr imījtli asistd bî ɖ ćirfl blêz v a wŭd fîr. “Hǎ mć betr z ɖs,” sd ś, az ś wōct t ɖ fndr—“hǎ mć betr t fînd a fîr redi lit, ɖn t hv t wêt śiṿrñ in ɖ cold tl ol ɖ faṃli r in bed, az so mni pur grlz hv bn oblîjd t d, n ɖen t hv a feʈfl old srvnt frîṭnñ wn bî cmñ in wɖ a faġt! Hǎ glad I am ɖt Norʈangr z ẃt it z! F it hd bn lîc sm uɖr plesz, I d nt nǒ ɖt, in sć a nît az ɖs, I cd hv ansrd fr mî curij: bt nǎ, t b śr, ɖr z nʈñ t alarm wn.”

Ś lct rnd ɖ rūm. Ɖ windo crtnz sīmd in mośn. It cd b nʈñ bt ɖ vayḷns v ɖ wind peṇtretñ ʈru ɖ dviźnz v ɖ śutrz; n ś stept boldli fwd, cerlisli humñ a tyn, t aśur hrslf v its biyñ so, pīpt c’rejsli bhnd ć crtn, sw nʈñ on îɖr lo windosīt t scer hr, n on plesñ a hand agnst ɖ śutr, flt ɖ strongist cnvix́n v ɖ wind’z fors. A glans at ɖ old ćst, az ś trnd awe fṛm ɖs xaṃneśn, wz nt wɖǎt its ys; ś scornd ɖ cōzlis firz v an îdl fansi, n bgan wɖ a most hapi indifṛns t priper hrslf fr bed. “Ś śd tec hr tîm; ś śd nt huri hrslf; ś dd nt cer f ś wr ɖ last prsn p in ɖ hǎs. Bt ś wd nt mc p hr fîr; ɖt wd sīm cawdli, az f ś wśt fr ɖ pṛtx́n v lît aftr ś wr in bed.” Ɖ fîr ɖrfr daid awe, n Caʈrin, hvñ spent ɖ bst part v an aur in hr arenjmnts, wz bginñ t ʈnc v stepñ intu bed, ẃn, on gvñ a partñ glans rnd ɖ rūm, ś wz struc bî ɖ apiṛns v a hî, old-faśnd blac cabiṇt, ẃć, ɖo in a sićueśn cnspiks inuf, hd nvr còt hr notis bfr. Henri’z wrdz, hiz dscripśn v ɖ eḅni cabiṇt ẃć wz t iscep hr obzveśn at frst, imījtli ruśt acrs hr; n ɖo ɖr cd b nʈñ riyli in it, ɖr wz smʈñ ẃimzicl, it wz srtnli a vri rmarcbl cǒinsdns! Ś tc hr candl n lct closli at ɖ cabiṇt. It wz nt abṣlutli eḅni n gold; bt it wz Jpan, blac n yelo Jpan v ɖ hanṣmist cnd; n az ś hld hr candl, ɖ yelo hd vri mć ɖ ifct v gold. Ɖ ci wz in ɖ dor, n ś hd a strenj fansi t lc intu it; nt, hvr, wɖ ɖ smōlist xpcteśn v fîndñ enʈñ, bt it wz so vri od, aftr ẃt Henri hd sd. In śort, ś cd nt slīp tl ś hd xamind it. So, plesñ ɖ candl wɖ gret cōśn on a ćer, ś sizd ɖ ci wɖ a vri treḿḷs hand n traid t trn it; bt it rzistd hr utmost streñʈ. Alarmd, bt nt dscurijd, ś traid it anɖr we; a bolt flù, n ś b’livd hrslf s’xesfl; bt hǎ strenjli mstirịs! Ɖ dor wz stl imuṿbl. Ś pōzd a momnt in breʈlis wundr. Ɖ wind rord dǎn ɖ ćimni, ɖ ren bìt in toṛnts agnst ɖ windoz, n evrʈñ sīmd t spīc ɖ ōflnis v hr sićueśn. T rtîr t bed, hvr, unsaṭsfaid on sć a pônt, wd b ven, sins slīp mst b imposbl wɖ ɖ conśsnis v a cabiṇt so mstirịsli clozd in hr imījt vsiṇti. Agn, ɖrfr, ś aplaid hrslf t ɖ ci, n aftr muvñ it in evri poṣbl we fr sm instnts wɖ ɖ dtrmind s’leṛti v hop’s last ef̣t, ɖ dor sudnli yīldd t hr hand: hr hart lept wɖ xlteśn at sć a vicṭri, n hvñ ʈroun opn ć foldñ dor, ɖ secnd biyñ s’krd onli bî bolts v les wundrfl cnstrux́n ɖn ɖ loc, ɖo in ɖt hr î cd nt dsrn enʈñ unyźl, a dubl renj v smōl drorz apird in vy, wɖ sm larjr drorz abv n b’lo ɖm; n in ɖ sntr, a smōl dor, clozd olso wɖ a loc n ci, s’krd in ol probbiḷti a cavti v importns.

Caʈrin’z hart bìt qc, bt hr curij dd nt fel hr. Wɖ a ćīc fluśt bî hop, n an î strenñ wɖ krioṣti, hr fngrz graspt ɖ handl v a dror n drù it fʈ. It wz intîrli emti. Wɖ les alarm n gretr īgrnis ś sizd a secnd, a ʈrd, a forʈ; ć wz īqli emti. Nt wn wz left unsrćt, n in nt wn wz enʈñ faund. Wel réd in ɖ art v cnsilñ a treźr, ɖ posbiḷti v fōls lînñz t ɖ drorz dd nt iscep hr, n ś flt rnd ć wɖ añśs aktnis in ven. Ɖ ples in ɖ midl alon rmend nǎ unxplord; n ɖo ś hd “nvr fṛm ɖ frst hd ɖ smōlist îdīa v fîndñ enʈñ in eni part v ɖ cabiṇt, n wz nt in ɖ līst dis’pôntd at hr il s’xes ɖus far, it wd b fūliś nt t xamin it ʈuṛli ẃl ś wz abt it.” It wz sm tîm hvr bfr ś cd unfasn ɖ dor, ɖ sem dificlti ocŕñ in ɖ manijmnt v ɖs inr loc az v ɖ ǎtr; bt at leñʈ it dd opn; n nt ven, az hiɖrtu, wz hr srć; hr qc îz d’recli fél on a rol v pepr pśt bac intu ɖ frɖr part v ɖ cavti, apaṛntli fr cnsilmnt, n hr fīlñz at ɖt momnt wr indiscrîbbl. Hr hart flutrd, hr niz trembld, n hr ćīcs grù pel. Ś sizd, wɖ an unstedi hand, ɖ preśs mańscript, fr haf a glans s’fîst t aṣten ritn caṛctrz; n ẃl ś acnolijd wɖ ōfl snseśnz ɖs strîcñ xmplif̣ceśn v ẃt Henri hd fōrtold, rzolvd instntli t p’rūz evri lîn bfr ś atmtd t rest.

Ɖ dimnis v ɖ lît hr candl imitd md hr trn t it wɖ alarm; bt ɖr wz no denjr v its sudn xtñśn; it hd yt sm aurz t brn; n ɖt ś mt nt hv eni gretr dificlti in dstnḡśñ ɖ raitñ ɖn ẃt its enćnt det mt oceźn, ś hesṭli snuft it. Alas! It wz snuft n xtnḡśt in wn. A lamp cd nt hv xpîrd wɖ mor ōfl ifct. Caʈrin, fr a fy momnts, wz mośnlis wɖ horr. It wz dn cmplitli; nt a remnnt v lît in ɖ wic cd gv hop t ɖ rīcinḍlñ breʈ. Darcnis impeṇtṛbl n imuṿbl fild ɖ rūm. A vayḷnt gust v wind, rîzñ wɖ sudn fyri, add freś horr t ɖ momnt. Caʈrin trembld fṛm hed t ft. In ɖ pōz ẃć s’xidd, a sǎnd lîc rsidñ ftsteps n ɖ clozñ v a distnt dor struc on hr afrîtd ir. Hymn nećr cd s’port no mor. A cold swet std on hr fōrhed, ɖ mańscript fél fṛm hr hand, n gropñ hr we t ɖ bed, ś jumt hesṭli in, n sòt sm sspnśn v aġni bî crīpñ far undnʈ ɖ cloɖz. T cloz hr îz in slīp ɖt nît, ś flt mst b intîrli ǎt v ɖ qsćn. Wɖ a krioṣti so justli awecnd, n fīlñz in evri we so ajtetd, rpoz mst b abṣlutli imposbl. Ɖ storm tù abrōd so dredfl! Ś hd nt bn yst t fīl alarm fṛm wind, bt nǎ evri blast sīmd frōt wɖ ōfl intelijns. Ɖ mańscript so wundrf̣li faund, so wundrf̣li acumpḷśñ ɖ mornñ’z pridix́n, hǎ wz it t b acǎntd fr? Ẃt cd it cnten? T hūm cd it rlet? Bî ẃt mīnz cd it hv bn so loñ cnsild? N hǎ snğlrli strenj ɖt it śd fōl t hr lot t dscuvr it! Tl ś hd md hrslf mistris v its contents, hvr, ś cd hv nɖr rpoz nr cumf̣t; n wɖ ɖ sún’z frst rez ś wz dtrmind t p’rūz it. Bt mni wr ɖ tīdịs aurz ẃć mst yt inṭvīn. Ś śudrd, tóst abt in hr bed, n envid evri qayt slīpr. Ɖ storm stl rejd, n verịs wr ɖ nôzz, mor t’rific īvn ɖn ɖ wind, ẃć struc at inṭvlz on hr startld ir. Ɖ vri crtnz v hr bed sīmd at wn momnt in mośn, n at anɖr ɖ loc v hr dor wz ajtetd, az f bî ɖ atmt v smbdi t entr. Holo mrmrz sīmd t crīp alñ ɖ gaḷri, n mor ɖn wns hr blud wz ćild bî ɖ sǎnd v distnt monz. Aur aftr aur pást awe, n ɖ wirid Caʈrin hd hŕd ʈri pṛclemd bî ol ɖ clocs in ɖ hǎs bfr ɖ tempist sbsîdd or ś uņowñli fél fast aslip.

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