NORƮANGR ABI │ ĆAPTR 24

Ɖ nxt de afordd no oṗtyṇti fr ɖ pṛpozd xaṃneśn v ɖ mstirịs apartmnts. It wz Súnde, n ɖ hol tîm btwn mornñ n afṭnun srvis wz rqîrd bî ɖ jenṛl in x’sîz abrōd or ītñ cold mìt at hom; n gret az wz Caʈrin’z krioṣti, hr curij wz nt īql t a wś v xplorñ ɖm aftr dinr, îɖr bî ɖ fedñ lît v ɖ scî btwn six n sevn o’cloc, or bî ɖ yt mor parśl ɖo strongr iluṃneśn v a trećṛs lamp. Ɖ de wz unmarct ɖrfr bî enʈñ t inṭrest hr imaɉneśn bynd ɖ sît v a vri elignt mońmnt t ɖ meṃri v Msz Tilni, ẃć imījtli fruntd ɖ faṃli py. Bî ɖt hr î wz instntli còt n loñ rtend; n ɖ p’ruzl v ɖ hîli strend epitaf, in ẃć evri vrću wz ascrîbd t hr bî ɖ incnsoḷbl huzbnd, hu mst hv bn in sm we or uɖr hr dstroyr, afctd hr īvn t tirz.

Ɖt ɖ jenṛl, hvñ irectd sć a mońmnt, śd b ebl t fes it, wz nt phps vri strenj, n yt ɖt h cd sit so boldli c’lectd wɖn its vy, mnten so eḷvetd an er, lc so firlisli arnd, nê, ɖt h śd īvn entr ɖ ćrć, sīmd wundrfl t Caʈrin. Nt, hvr, ɖt mni instnsz v biyñz īqli hardnd in gilt mt nt b pṛdyst. Ś cd rmembr duznz hu hd prṣvird in evri poṣbl vîs, gwñ on fṛm crîm t crîm, mrḍrñ hūmsoevr ɖe ćouz, wɖǎt eni fīlñ v hymaṇti or rmors; tl a vayḷnt deʈ or a rlijs rtîrmnt clozd ɖer blac c’rir. Ɖ irex́n v ɖ mońmnt itslf cd nt in ɖ smōlist dgri afct hr dǎts v Msz Tilni’z acćl dsis. Wr ś īvn t dsnd intu ɖ faṃli vōlt ẃr hr aśz wr s’pozd t slumbr, wr ś t bhold ɖ cofin in ẃć ɖe wr sd t b inclozd—ẃt cd it avel in sć a ces? Caʈrin hd réd tù mć nt t b prf̣cli awer v ɖ īz wɖ ẃć a waxn figr mt b intṛdyst, n a s’poẓtiśs fynṛl carid on.

Ɖ s’xidñ mornñ promist smʈñ betr. Ɖ jenṛl’z rli wōc, il-tîmd az it wz in evri uɖr vy, wz fevṛbl hir; n ẃn ś ń him t b ǎt v ɖ hǎs, ś d’recli pṛpozd t Mis Tilni ɖ acumpliśmnt v hr promis. Eḷnr wz redi t oblîj hr; n Caʈrin rmîndñ hr az ɖe wnt v anɖr promis, ɖer frst vizit in consiqns wz t ɖ portrit in hr bedćembr. It reprizntd a vri luvli wmn, wɖ a mîld n pensiv cǎntinns, jusṭfayñ, so far, ɖ xpcteśnz v its ny obzrvr; bt ɖe wr nt in evri rspct ansrd, fr Caʈrin hd dpndd upn mītñ wɖ fīćrz, her, cmplex́n, ɖt śd b ɖ vri cǎnṭpart, ɖ vri imij, f nt v Henri’z, v Eḷnr’z—ɖ onli portrits v ẃć ś hd bn in ɖ habit v ʈncñ, bẹrñ olwz an īql rzmbḷns v muɖr n ćîld. A fes wns tecn wz tecn fr jeṇreśnz. Bt hir ś wz oblîjd t lc n cnsidr n studi fr a lîcnis. Ś contmpletd it, hvr, in spît v ɖs drwbac, wɖ mć imośn, n, bt fr a yt strongr inṭrest, wd hv left it unwilñli.

Hr ajteśn az ɖe entrd ɖ gret gaḷri wz tù mć fr eni indevr at discors; ś cd onli lc at hr cmpańn. Eḷnr’z cǎntinns wz djctd, yt sdet; n its cmpoźr spouc hr ińrd t ol ɖ glūmi objicts t ẃć ɖe wr advansñ. Agn ś pást ʈru ɖ foldñ dorz, agn hr hand wz upn ɖ importnt loc, n Caʈrin, hardli ebl t briɖ, wz trnñ t cloz ɖ formr wɖ firfl cōśn, ẃn ɖ figr, ɖ dredd figr v ɖ jenṛl himslf at ɖ frɖr end v ɖ gaḷri, std bfr hr! Ɖ nem v “Eḷnr” at ɖ sem momnt, in hiz lǎdist ton, rzǎndd ʈru ɖ bildñ, gvñ t hiz dōtr ɖ frst inṭmeśn v hiz prezns, n t Caʈrin terr upn terr. An atmt at cnsilmnt hd bn hr frst instñtiv muvmnt on psivñ him, yt ś cd scersli hop t hv iscept hiz î; n ẃn hr frend, hu wɖ an apoḷjîzñ lc dartd hesṭli bî hr, hd jônd n dis’pird wɖ him, ś ran fr sefti t hr ǒn rūm, n, locñ hrslf in, b’livd ɖt ś śd nvr hv curij t g dǎn agn. Ś rmend ɖr at līst an aur, in ɖ gretist ajteśn, dīpli cmiẓretñ ɖ stet v hr pur frend, n xpctñ a sumnz hrslf fṛm ɖ angri jenṛl t atnd him in hiz ǒn apartmnt. No sumnz, hvr, arîvd; n at last, on siyñ a carij drîv p t ɖ abi, ś wz imboldnd t dsnd n mīt him undr ɖ pṛtx́n v vizitrz. Ɖ brecfstrūm wz ge wɖ cumṗni; n ś wz nemd t ɖm bî ɖ jenṛl az ɖ frend v hiz dōtr, in a compḷmnṭri stîl, ẃć so wel cnsild hiz rzntfl îr, az t mc hr fīl s’kr at līst v lîf fr ɖ preznt. N Eḷnr, wɖ a cmand v cǎntinns ẃć dd onr t hr cnsrn fr hiz caṛctr, tecñ an rli oceźn v seyñ t hr, “Mî faɖr onli wontd m t ansr a not,” ś bgan t hop ɖt ś hd îɖr bn unsìn bî ɖ jenṛl, or ɖt fṛm sm cnsiḍreśn v poḷsi ś śd b alaud t s’poz hrslf so. Upn ɖs trust ś derd stl t rmen in hiz prezns, aftr ɖ cumṗni left ɖm, n nʈñ ocŕd t dstrb it.

In ɖ cors v ɖs mornñ’z rflex́nz, ś cem t a reẓluśn v mcñ hr nxt atmt on ɖ fbidn dor alon. It wd b mć betr in evri rspct ɖt Eḷnr śd nǒ nʈñ v ɖ matr. T involv hr in ɖ denjr v a secnd dtx́n, t cort hr intu an apartmnt ẃć mst riñ hr hart, cd nt b ɖ ofis v a frend. Ɖ jenṛl’z utmost angr cd nt b t hrslf ẃt it mt b t a dōtr; n, bsdz, ś ʈt ɖ xaṃneśn itslf wd b mor saṭsfacṭri f md wɖǎt eni cmpańn. It wd b imposbl t xplen t Eḷnr ɖ sspiśnz, fṛm ẃć ɖ uɖr hd, in ol lîclihd, bn hiɖrtu haṗli xmt; nr cd ś ɖrfr, in hr prezns, srć fr ɖoz prūfs v ɖ jenṛl’z cruwlti, ẃć hvr ɖe mt yt hv iscept dscuṿri, ś flt confidnt v smẃr drw̃ fʈ, in ɖ śep v sm fragmntd jrnl, cntinyd t ɖ last gasp. V ɖ we t ɖ apartmnt ś wz nǎ prf̣cli mistris; n az ś wśt t gt it ovr bfr Henri’z rtrn, hu wz xpctd on ɖ moro, ɖr wz no tîm t b lost. Ɖ de wz brît, hr curij hî; at for o’cloc, ɖ sún wz nǎ tū aurz abv ɖ hrîzn, n it wd b onli hr rtîrñ t dres haf an aur rlịr ɖn yźl.

It wz dn; n Caʈrin faund hrslf alon in ɖ gaḷri bfr ɖ clocs hd sīst t strîc. It wz no tîm fr ʈt; ś hurid on, slipt wɖ ɖ līst poṣbl nôz ʈru ɖ foldñdorz, n wɖǎt stopñ t lc or briɖ, ruśt fwd t ɖ wn in qsćn. Ɖ loc yīldd t hr hand, n, luc̣li, wɖ no suḷn sǎnd ɖt cd alarm a hymn biyñ. On tipto ś entrd; ɖ rūm wz bfr hr; bt it wz sm minits bfr ś cd advans anɖr step. Ś bheld ẃt fixt hr t ɖ spot n ajtetd evri fīćr. Ś sw a larj, wel-pṛporśnd apartmnt, an hansm diṃti bed, arenjd az unokpaid wɖ an hǎsmeid’z cer, a brît Baʈ stov, mhoġni wordrǒbz, n nītli pentd ćerz, on ẃć ɖ worm bīmz v a wstn sún gêli pord ʈru tū saświndoz! Caʈrin hd xpctd t hv hr fīlñz wrct, n wrct ɖe wr. Astoniśmnt n dǎt frst sizd ɖm; n a śortli s’xidñ re v comn-sns add sm bitr imośnz v śem. Ś cd nt b mstecn az t ɖ rūm; bt hǎ grǒsli mstecn in evrʈñ els!—in Mis Tilni’z mīnñ, in hr ǒn calkleśn! Ɖs apartmnt, t ẃć ś hd gvn a det so enćnt, a pziśn so ōfl, pruvd t b wn end v ẃt ɖ jenṛl’z faɖr hd bilt. Ɖr wr tū uɖr dorz in ɖ ćembr, līdñ probbli intu dresñclozits; bt ś hd no incḷneśn t opn îɖr. Wd ɖ veil in ẃć Msz Tilni hd last wōct, or ɖ volym in ẃć ś hd last réd, rmen t tel ẃt nʈñ els wz alaud t ẃispr? No: ẃtvr mt hv bn ɖ jenṛl’z crîmz, h hd srtnli tù mć wit t let ɖm su fr dtx́n. Ś wz sic v xplorñ, n dzîrd bt t b sef in hr ǒn rūm, wɖ hr ǒn hart onli privi t its foli; n ś wz on ɖ pônt v rtritñ az softli az ś hd entrd, ẃn ɖ sǎnd v ftsteps, ś cd hardli tel ẃr, md hr pōz n trembl. T b faund ɖr, īvn bî a srvnt, wd b unpleznt; bt bî ɖ jenṛl (n h sīmd olwz at hand ẃn līst wontd), mć wrs! Ś lisnd—ɖ sǎnd hd sīst; n rzolvñ nt t lūz a momnt, ś pást ʈru n clozd ɖ dor. At ɖt instnt a dor undnʈ wz hesṭli opnd; smwn sīmd wɖ swift steps t asnd ɖ sterz, bî ɖ hed v ẃć ś hd yt t pas bfr ś cd gen ɖ gaḷri. Ś hd no pǎr t muv. Wɖ a fīlñ v terr nt vri dfîṇbl, ś fixt hr îz on ɖ sterces, n in a fy momnts it gev Henri t hr vy. “Mr Tilni!” ś xclemd in a vôs v mor ɖn comn astoniśmnt. H lct astoniśt tù. “Gd God!” ś cntinyd, nt atndñ t hiz adres. “Hǎ cem y hir? Hǎ cem y p ɖt sterces?”

“Hǎ cem I p ɖt sterces!” h rplaid, gretli s’prîzd. “Bcz it z mî nirist we fṛm ɖ steblyard t mî ǒn ćembr; n ẃ śd I nt cm p it?”

Caʈrin rec̣lectd hrslf, bluśt dīpli, n cd se no mor. H sīmd t b lcñ in hr cǎntinns fr ɖt xpḷneśn ẃć hr lips dd nt aford. Ś muvd on twdz ɖ gaḷri. “N me I nt, in mî trn,” sd h, az h pśt bac ɖ foldñdorz, “asc hǎ y cem hir? Ɖs pasij z at līst az xtrordnri a rod fṛm ɖ brecfstparlr t yr apartmnt, az ɖt sterces cn b fṛm ɖ steblz t mîn.”

“I hv bn,” sd Caʈrin, lcñ dǎn, “t si yr muɖr’z rūm.”

“Mî muɖr’z rūm! Z ɖr enʈñ xtrordnri t b sìn ɖr?”

“No, nʈñ at ol. I ʈt y dd nt mīn t cm bac tl tmro.”

“I dd nt xpct t b ebl t rtrn snr, ẃn I wnt awe; bt ʈri aurz ago I hd ɖ pleźr v fîndñ nʈñ t dten m. Y lc pel. I am afred I alarmd y bî runñ so fast p ɖoz sterz. Phps y dd nt nǒ—y wr nt awer v ɖer līdñ fṛm ɖ of̣sz in comn ys?”

“No, I wz nt. Y hv hd a vri fîn de fr yr rîd.”

“Vri; n dz Eḷnr līv y t fînd yr we intu ol ɖ rūmz in ɖ hǎs bî yrslf?”

“Ǒ! No; ś śoud m ovr ɖ gretist part on Saṭde—n w wr cmñ hir t ɖz rūmz—bt onli”—dropñ hr vôs—“yr faɖr wz wɖ s.”

“N ɖt privntd y,” sd Henri, ŕṇstli rgardñ hr. “Hv y lct intu ol ɖ rūmz in ɖt pasij?”

“No, I onli wontd t si—Z nt it vri lêt? I mst g n dres.”

“It z onli a qortr past for” śowñ hiz woć—“n y r nt nǎ in Baʈ. No ʈiytr, no rūmz t priper fr. Haf an aur at Norʈangr mst b inuf.”

Ś cd nt contṛdict it, n ɖrfr sufrd hrslf t b dtend, ɖo hr dred v frɖr qsćnz md hr, fr ɖ frst tîm in ɖer aqentns, wś t līv him. Ɖe wōct slǒli p ɖ gaḷri. “Hv y hd eni letr fṛm Baʈ sins I sw y?”

“No, n I am vri mć s’prîzd. Iẓbela promist so feʈf̣li t rait d’recli.”

“Promist so feʈf̣li! A feʈfl promis! Ɖt puzlz m. I hv hŕd v a feʈfl pformns. Bt a feʈfl promis—ɖ fideḷti v proṃsñ! It z a pǎr litl wrʈ nwñ, hvr, sins it cn dsiv n pen y. Mî muɖr’z rūm z vri cmodịs, z it nt? Larj n ćirfl-lcñ, n ɖ dresñclozits so wel dspozd! It olwz strîcs m az ɖ most cumftbl apartmnt in ɖ hǎs, n I rɖr wundr ɖt Eḷnr śd nt tec it fr hr ǒn. Ś snt y t lc at it, I s’poz?”

“No.”

“It hz bn yr ǒn dwñ intîrli?” Caʈrin sd nʈñ. Aftr a śort sîḷns, jrñ ẃć h hd closli obzrvd hr, h add, “Az ɖr z nʈñ in ɖ rūm in itslf t rêz krioṣti, ɖs mst hv pṛsidd fṛm a sntimnt v rspct fr mî muɖr’z caṛctr, az dscrîbd bî Eḷnr, ẃć dz onr t hr meṃri. Ɖ wrld, I b’liv, nvr sw a betr wmn. Bt it z nt ofn ɖt vrću cn bost an inṭrest sć az ɖs. Ɖ d’mestic, unpritndñ merits v a prsn nvr noun d nt ofn criet ɖt cnd v frvnt, veṇretñ tndrnis ẃć wd promt a vizit lîc yrz. Eḷnr, I s’poz, hz tōct v hr a gret dīl?”

“Yes, a gret dīl. Ɖt z—no, nt mć, bt ẃt ś dd se wz vri inṭrestñ. Hr dayñ so sudnli” (slǒli, n wɖ hezteśn it wz spocn), “n y—nn v y biyñ at hom—n yr faɖr, I ʈt—phps hd nt bn vri fond v hr.”

“N fṛm ɖz srcmstansz,” h rplaid (hiz qc î fixt on hrz), “y infŕ phps ɖ probbiḷti v sm neglijns—sm”—(invoḷntṛli ś śc hr hed)—“or it me b—v smʈñ stl les pardṇbl.” Ś rezd hr îz twdz him mor fŭli ɖn ś hd evr dn bfr. “Mî muɖr’z ilnis,” h cntinyd, “ɖ siźr ẃć endd in hr deʈ, wz sudn. Ɖ maḷdi itslf, wn fṛm ẃć ś hd ofn sufrd, a biłs fīvr—its cōz ɖrfr consttyśnl. On ɖ ʈrd de, in śort, az sn az ś cd b priveld on, a fziśn atndd hr, a vri rspctbl man, n wn in hūm ś hd olwz plest gret confidns. Upn hiz opińn v hr denjr, tū uɖrz wr cōld in ɖ nxt de, n rmend in olmst constnt atndns fr for n twenti aurz. On ɖ fifʈ de ś daid. Jrñ ɖ progres v hr dsordr, Fredric n I (w wr bʈ at hom) sw hr rpitidli; n fṛm ǎr ǒn obzveśn cn ber witnis t hr hvñ rsivd evri poṣbl atnśn ẃć cd sprñ fṛm ɖ afx́n v ɖoz abt hr, or ẃć hr sićueśn in lîf cd cmand. Pur Eḷnr wz absnt, n at sć a distns az t rtrn onli t si hr muɖr in hr cofin.”

“Bt yr faɖr,” sd Caʈrin, “wz h aflictd?”

“Fr a tîm, gretli so. Y hv ŕd in s’pozñ him nt ataćt t hr. H luvd hr, I am pswedd, az wel az it wz poṣbl fr him t—w hv nt ol, y nǒ, ɖ sem tndrnis v disṗziśn—n I wl nt pritnd t se ɖt ẃl ś livd, ś mt nt ofn hv hd mć t ber, bt ɖo hiz tmpr injrd hr, hiz jujmnt nvr dd. Hiz valy v hr wz sinsir; n, f nt prmnntli, h wz trūli aflictd bî hr deʈ.”

“I am vri glad v it,” sd Caʈrin; “it wd hv bn vri śocñ!”

“F I unḍstand y rîtli, y hd formd a s’mîz v sć horr az I hv hardli wrdz t—Dir Mis Morḷnd, cnsidr ɖ dredfl nećr v ɖ sspiśnz y hv enttend. Ẃt hv y bn jujñ fṛm? Rmembr ɖ cuntri n ɖ ej in ẃć w liv. Rmembr ɖt w r Ñgliś, ɖt w r Crisćnz. Cnsult yr ǒn unḍstandñ, yr ǒn sns v ɖ probbl, yr ǒn obzveśn v ẃt z pasñ arnd y. Dz ǎr edyceśn priper s fr sć atroṣtiz? D ǎr lwz cnîv at ɖm? Cd ɖe b prṗtretd wɖǎt biyñ noun, in a cuntri lîc ɖs, ẃr sośl n litrri inṭcors z on sć a ftñ, ẃr evri man z srǎndd bî a nebrhd v voḷntri spîz, n ẃr rodz n nyzpeprz le evrʈñ opn? Dirist Mis Morḷnd, ẃt îdiyz hv y bn admitñ?”

Ɖe hd rīćt ɖ end v ɖ gaḷri, n wɖ tirz v śem ś ran of t hr ǒn rūm.

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