Saki: Tobermory (in Ñspel, with audio)

It wz a ćil, ren-wośt aftnn v a lêt Ōgst de, ɖt indefiṇt sīzn ẃn partrijz r stl in skṛti or cold stōrij, n ɖr z nʈñ t hunt—unls wn z bândd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, in ẃć ces wn me lwfli gaḷp aftr fat red stagz. Ledi Blemli’z hâsparti wz nt bândd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, hns ɖr wz a fl gaɖrñ v hr gsts rnd ɖ ti tebl on ɖs ptiklr aftnn. N, in spît v ɖ blancnis v ɖ sīzn n ɖ trîtnis v ɖ oceźn, ɖr wz no tres in ɖ cumṗni v ɖt ftigd restlisnis ẃć mīnz a dred v ɖ pịnola n a sbdyd hancrñ fr ōẋnbrij. Ɖ undisgîzd opn-mâɖd atnśn v ɖ intîr parti wz fixt on ɖ homli, negtv prsnaḷti v Mr Cornīłs Apin. V ol hr gsts, h wz ɖ wn hu hd cm t Ledi Blemli wɖ ɖ vegist repyteśn. Smwn hd sd h wz “clevr,” n h hd got hiz inviteśn in ɖ modṛt xpecteśn, on ɖ part v hiz hostis, ɖt sm porśn at līst v hiz clevrnis wd b cntribytd t ɖ jenṛl enttenmnt. Untl ti tîm ɖt de ś hd bn unebl t dscuvr in ẃt drẋn, f eni, hiz clevrnis le. H wz nɖr a wit nr a crôcećampịn, a hipnotc fors nr a bgetr v aṃtr ʈiatriclz. Nɖr dd hiz xtirịr sjst ɖ sort v man in hūm wimin r wilñ t pardn a jenṛs meźr v mntl dfiśnsi. H hd sbsîdd intu mir Mr Apin, n ɖ Cornīłs sīmd a pìs v trnspaṛnt baptizml bluf. N nâ h wz clemñ t hv lōnćt on ɖ wrld a dscuvri bsd ẃć ɖ invnśn v gunpâdr, v ɖ printñpres, n v stīmloc̣mośn wr incnsidṛbl trîflz. Sayns hd md bwildrñ strîdz in mni drẋnz jrñ rīsnt decedz, bt ɖs ʈñ sīmd t ḅloñ t ɖ dmen v miricl rɖr ɖn t sayntific aćivmnt.

“N d y riyli asc s t bliv,” Sr Wilfrid wz seyñ, “ɖt y hv dscuvrd a mīnz fr instructñ animlz in ɖ art v hymn spīć, n ɖt dir old Toḅmōri hz pruvd yr frst ṣxesfl pypl?”

“It z a probḷm at ẃć I hv wrct fr ɖ last sevntīn yirz,” sd Mr Apin, “bt onli jrñ ɖ last êt or nîn munʈs hv I bn rwordd wɖ glimrñz v ṣxes. V cors I hv xperimntd wɖ ʈâzndz v animlz, bt latrli onli wɖ cats, ɖoz wundrfl crīćrz ẃć hv asimiletd ɖmslvz so marvḷsli wɖ âr sivilîześn ẃl rtenñ ol ɖer hîli dveḷpt feṛl instñts. Hir n ɖr amñ cats wn cmz acrs an âtstandñ ṣpirịr intilect, jst az wn dz amñ ɖ ruc v hymn biyñz, n ẃn I md ɖ aqentns v Toḅmōri a wīc ago I sw at wns ɖt I wz in contact wɖ a ‘Bynd-cat’ v xtrordnri intelijns. I hd gn far alñ ɖ rod t ṣxes in rīsnt xperimnts; wɖ Toḅmōri, az y cōl hm, I hv rīćt ɖ gol.”

Mr Apin cncludd hiz rmarcbl stetmnt in a výs ẃć h strov t dvst v a trîumfnt inflẋn. No wn sd “Rats,” ɖo Clovis’z lips muvd in a moṇsilabc cntorśn ẃć prbbli invoct ɖoz rodnts v disblif.

“N d y mīn t se,” asct Mis Rescr, aftr a slît pōz, “ɖt y hv tòt Toḅmōri t se n undstand īzi sntnsz v wn siḷbl?”

“Mî dir Mis Rescr,” sd ɖ wundrwrcr peśntli, “wn tīćz ltl ćildṛn n savijz n bacẉd adults in ɖt pìsmīl faśn; ẃn wn hz wns solvd ɖ probḷm v mcñ a bginñ wɖ an animl v hîli dveḷpt intelijns wn hz no nīd fr ɖoz hōltñ meʈdz. Toḅmōri cn spīc âr lanĝj wɖ prfict c̣rctnis.”

Ɖs tîm Clovis vri dstñtli sd, “Bynd rats!” Sr Wilfrid wz mr ṗlît, bt īqli sceptcl.

“Hd’nt w btr hv ɖ cat in n juj fr ârslvz?” sjstd Ledi Blemli.

Sr Wilfrid wnt in srć v ɖ animl, n ɖ cumṗni setld ɖmslvz dân t ɖ lanḡd xpecteśn v witnisñ sm mr or ls adrýt drw̃rum ventriḷqizm.

In a minit Sr Wilfrid wz bac in ɖ rūm, hiz fes ẃît bnʈ its tan n hiz îz dletd wɖ xîtmnt.

“Bî Gad, it’s tru!”

Hiz ajiteśn wz unmistecbli jenyin, n hiz hirrz startd fwd in a ʈril v awecnd intrest.

C̣lapsñ intu an armćer h cntinyd breʈlisli: “I faund hm dozñ in ɖ smocñrum, n cōld ât t hm t cm fr hiz ti. H blinct at m in hiz yźl we, n I sd, ‘Cm on, Tôbi; d’nt cīp s wetñ;’ n, bî Gad! h drōld ât in a most hoṛbli naćṛl výs ɖt h’d cm ẃn h daśt wel plizd! I nirli jumt ât v mî scin!”

Apin hd prīćt t abṣlutli increjḷs hirrz; Sr Wilfrid’z stetmnt carid instnt cnviẋn. A Bebl-lîc coṛs v startld xcḷmeśn arouz, amd ẃć ɖ sayntist sat mytli injoyñ ɖ frst frūt v hiz stypnḍs dscuvri.

In ɖ mdst v ɖ clamr Toḅmōri entrd ɖ rūm n md hiz we wɖ velvit tred n studid uncnsrn acrs t ɖ grūp sītd rnd ɖ ti tebl.

A sudn huś v ōcẉdnis n cnstrent fel on ɖ cumṗni. Smhâ ɖr sīmd an elimnt v imbaṛsmnt in adresñ on īql trmz a dmstc cat v acnolijd mntl abiḷti.

“Wl y hv sm milc, Toḅmōri?” asct Ledi Blemli in a rɖr strend výs.

“I d’nt mînd f I d,” wz ɖ rspons, câćt in a ton v īvn indifṛns. A śivr v ṣprest xîtmnt wnt ʈru ɖ lisnrz, n Ledi Blemli mt b xkzd fr porñ ât ɖ sōsrfl v milc rɖr unstedili.

“I’m afred I’v spilt a gd dīl v it,” ś sd apoḷjetcli.

“Aftr ol, it’s nt mî Axminstr,” wz Toḅmōri’z rjýndr.

Anɖr sîḷns fel on ɖ grūp, n ɖen Mis Rescr, in hr bst district-vizitr manr, asct f ɖ hymn lanḡj hd bn dificlt t lrn. Toḅmōri lct sqerli at hr fr a momnt n ɖen fixt hiz gêz srinli on ɖ midl distns. It wz obvịs ɖt borñ qsćnz le âtsd hiz scīm v lîf.

“Ẃt d y ʈnc v hymn intelijns?” asct Mevis Pelñtn lemli.

“V huz intelijns in ptiklr?” asct Toḅmōri coldli.

“Oh, wel, mîn fr instns,” sd Mevis, wɖ a fībl laf.

“Y pt m in an imbaṛsñ pziśn,” sd Toḅmōri, huz ton n atityd srtnli dd nt sjst a śred v imbaṛsmnt. “Ẃn yr incluźn in ɖs hâsparti wz sjstd Sr Wilfrid pṛtsted ɖt y wr ɖ most brenlis wmn v hiz aqentns, n ɖt ɖr wz a wîd dstñśn btwn hospitaḷti n ɖ cer v ɖ fībl-mîndd. Ledi Blemli rplaid ɖt yr lac v brenpâr wz ɖ prisîs qoḷti ẃć hd ŕnd y yr inviteśn, az y wr ɖ onli prsn ś cd ʈnc v hu mt b idiotc inuf t bai ɖer old car. Y nô, ɖ wn ɖe cōl ‘Ɖ Envi v Sisif̣s,’ bcz it gz qt nîsli p-hil f y pś it.”

Ledi Blemli’z protesteśnz wd hv hd grtr ifct f ś hd nt caźli sjstd t Mevis onli ɖt mornñ ɖt ɖ car in qsćn wd b jst ɖ ʈñ fr hr dân at hr Devnśr hom.

Mejr Barfīld plunjd in hevili t ifct a dvrśn.

“Hâ abt yr cariyñz-on wɖ ɖ torṭs-śel ps p at ɖ steblz, ê?”

Ɖ momnt h hd sd it evrwn riylîzd ɖ blundr.

“Wn dz nt yźli dscus ɖz matrz in public,” sd Toḅmōri frijidli. “Fṛm a slît obzveśn v yr wez sins y’v bn in ɖs hâs I śd imajin y’d fînd it incnvińnt f I wr t śift ɖ convseśn on t yr ôn ltl aferz.”

Ɖ panic ẃć insyd wz nt cnfînd t ɖ Mejr.

“Wd y lîc t g n si f cc hz got yr dinr redi?” sjstd Ledi Blemli huridli, afctñ t ignor ɖ fact ɖt it wontd at līst tu aurz t Toḅmōri’z dinrtîm.

“Ʈancs,” sd Toḅmōri, “nt qt so sn aftr mî ti. I d’nt wont t dî v indijsćn.”

“Cats hv nîn lîvz, y nô,” sd Sr Wilfrid hartili.

“Posbli,” ansrd Toḅmōri; “bt onli wn livr.”

“Adiled!” sd Msz Cornit, “d y mīn t incurij ɖt cat t g ât n gosip abt s in ɖ srvnts’ hōl?”

Ɖ panic hd indd bcm jenṛl. A naro orṇmntl baḷstred ran in frunt v most v ɖ bedrum windoz at ɖ Târz, n it wz rcōld wɖ dsme ɖt ɖs hd formd a fevrit promined fr Toḅmōri at ol aurz, ẃns h cd woć ɖ pijnz—n hevn ń ẃt els bsdz. F h intndd t bcm reminisnt in hiz preznt âtspocn stren ɖ ifct wd b smʈñ mr ɖn discnsrtñ. Msz Cornit, hu spent mć tîm at hr týḷt tebl, n huz cmplẋn wz rpytd t b v a nmadc ɖo puñćl disṗziśn, lct az il at īz az ɖ Mejr. Mis Scrōn, hu rout firsli senśụs powtri n led a blemlis lîf, mirli dspleid iriteśn; f y r mʈodcl n vrćs in prîvt y d’nt nessṛli wont evrwn t nô it. Brti van Tān, hu wz so dprevd at sevntīn ɖt h hd loñ ago gvn p trayñ t b eni wrs, trnd a dul śed v gardīńa-ẃît, bt h dd nt cmit ɖ err v daśñ ât v ɖ rūm lîc Odo Finzbri, a yuñ jentlmn hu wz undstd t b rīdñ fr ɖ Ćrć n hu wz posbli dstrbd at ɖ ʈt v scandlz h mt hír cnsrnñ uɖr ppl. Clovis hd ɖ prezns v mînd t mnten a cmpozd xtirịr; prîvtli h wz calkletñ hâ loñ it wd tec t pṛkr a box v fansi mîs ʈru ɖ ejnsi v ɖ XĆENJ N MART az a spīśīz v huś-muni.

Īvn in a delic̣t sićueśn lîc ɖ preznt, Agnis Rescr cd nt indyr t rmen tù loñ in ɖ bacgrând.

“Ẃ dd I evr cm dân hir?” ś asct dṛmatcli.

Toḅmōri imījtli axptd ɖ opnñ.

“Jujñ bî ẃt y sd t Msz Cornit on ɖ crôcelōn ystde, y wr ât fr fūd. Y dscrîbd ɖ Blemliz az ɖ dulist ppl t ste wɖ ɖt y ń, bt sd ɖe wr clevr inuf t implý a frst-ret cc; uɖrwz ɖe’d fînd it dificlt t gt enwn t cm dân a secnd tîm.”

“Ɖr’z nt a wrd v truʈ in it! I apil t Msz Cornit—” xclemd ɖ dscumfitd Agnis.

“Msz Cornit rpitd yr rmarc aftwdz t Brti van Tān,” cntinyd Toḅmōri, “n sd, ‘Ɖt wmn z a reğlr Hungrmarćr; ś’d g enẃr fr for sqr mīlz a de,’ n Brti van Tān sd—”

At ɖs pýnt ɖ cronicl mrsifli sīst. Toḅmōri hd còt a glimps v ɖ bg yelo Tom fṛm ɖ Rectri wrcñ hiz we ʈru ɖ śruḅri twdz ɖ steblwñ. In a flaś h hd vaniśt ʈru ɖ opn Frenć windo.

Wɖ ɖ dis’piṛns v hiz tù briłnt pypl, Cornīłs Apin faund hmslf bset bî a huricen v bitr upbredñ, añśs inqîri, n frîtnd intriti. Ɖ rsponsbilti fr ɖ sićueśn le wɖ hm, n h mst privnt matrz fṛm bcmñ wrs. Cd Toḅmōri impart hiz denjṛs gift t uɖr cats? wz ɖ frst qsćn h hd t ansr. It wz posbl, h rplaid, ɖt h mt hv iniśietd hiz intiṃt frend ɖ stebl ps intu hiz ny acumpliśmnt, bt it wz unlîcli ɖt hiz tīćñ cd hv tecn a wîdr renj az yt.

“Ɖen,” sd Msz Cornit, “Toḅmōri me b a valybl cat n a grt pet; bt I’m śr y’l agri, Adiled, ɖt bʈ h n ɖ steblcat mst b dn awe wɖ wɖt dle.”

“Y d’nt ṣpoz I’v injýd ɖ last qortr v an aur, d y?” sd Ledi Blemli bitrli. “Mî huzbnd n I r vri fond v Toḅmōri—at līst, w wr bfr ɖs hoṛbl acumpliśmnt wz infyzd intu hm; bt nâ, v cors, ɖ onli ʈñ z t hv hm dstroid az sn az posbl.”

“W cn pt sm stricnīn in ɖ scraps h olwz gts at dinrtîm,” sd Sr Wilfrid, “n I wl g n drân ɖ steblcat mslf. Ɖ coćmn wl b vri sor at luzñ hiz pet, bt I’l se a vri caćñ form v menj hz brocn ât in bʈ cats n w’r afred v it spredñ t ɖ cenlz.”

“Bt mî grt dscuvri!” xpostyletd Mr Apin; “aftr ol mî yirz v rsrć n xperimnt—”

“Y cn g n xperimnt on ɖ śorthornz at ɖ farm, hu r undr propr cntrol,” sd Mrs Cornit, “or ɖ elifnts at ɖ Zụlojcl Gardnz. Ɖe’r sd t b hîli intelijnt, n ɖe hv ɖs rec̣mendeśn, ɖt ɖe d’nt cm crīpñ abt âr bedrumz n undr ćerz, n so fʈ.”

An arcenjl xtatcli pṛclemñ ɖ Mileńm, n ɖen fîndñ ɖt it claśt unpardnbli wɖ Henli n wd hv t b indefiṇtli pspond, cd hardli hv felt mr crestfōḷn ɖn Cornīłs Apin at ɖ rspśn v hiz wundrfl aćivmnt. Public opińn, hvr, wz agnst hm—in fact, hd ɖ jenṛl výs bn cnsultd on ɖ subjict it z probbl ɖt a stroñ mnoṛti vot wd hv bn in fevr v includñ hm in ɖ stricnīndayt.

Dfctv tren arenjmnts n a nrvs dzîr t si matrz bròt t a finiś privntd an imījt dsprsl v ɖ parti, bt dinr ɖt īvnñ wz nt a sośl ṣxes. Sr Wilfrid hd hd rɖr a trayñ tîm wɖ ɖ steblcat n subsiqntli wɖ ɖ coćmn. Agnis Rescr ostnteśsli limitd hr ripast t a morsl v drî tôst, ẃć ś bit az ɖo it wr a prsnl enimi; ẃl Mevis Pelñtn mntend a vindictv sîḷns ʈrt ɖ mīl. Ledi Blemli cept p a flo v ẃt ś hopt wz convseśn, bt hr atnśn wz fixt on ɖ dorwe. A pletfl v cerfli dost fiśscraps wz in redinis on ɖ sîdbord, bt swīts n sevri n dzrt wnt ɖer we, n no Toḅmōri apird îɖr in ɖ dînñrum or cićn.

Ɖ ṣpulcṛl dinr wz ćirfl cmperd wɖ ɖ subsiqnt vijil in ɖ smocñrum. Ītñ n drincñ hd at līst ṣplaid a dstraẋn n clôc t ɖ privelñ imbaṛsmnt. Brij wz ât v ɖ qsćn in ɖ jenṛl tnśn v nrvz n tmprz, n aftr Odo Finzbri hd gvn a lgūbrịs rendrñ v “Melisãd in ɖ Wŭd” t a frijid ōdịns, myzc wz tasitli avýdd. At ilevn ɖ srvnts wnt t bed, anânsñ ɖt ɖ sml windo in ɖ pantri hd bn left opn az yźl fr Toḅmōri’z prîvt ys. Ɖ gsts réd stedili ʈru ɖ cuṛnt bać v maġzīnz, n fel bac, grajli, on ɖ “Badmintn Lîbrri” n bând volymz v PUNĆ. Ledi Blemli md piriodc vizits t ɖ pantri, rtrnñ each tîm wɖ an xpreśn v listlis dpreśn ẃć fōrstōld qsćnñ.

At tu o’cloc Clovis brouc ɖ dominetñ sîḷns.

“H w’nt trn p tnît. H’z probbli in ɖ locl nyzpepr ofis at ɖ preznt momnt, dictetñ ɖ frst instōlmnt v hiz reminisnsz. Ledi Ẃt’s-hr-nem’z bc w’nt b in it. It wl b ɖ ivnt v ɖ de.”

Hvñ md ɖs contribyśn t ɖ jenṛl ćirflnis, Clovis wnt t bed. At loñ intvlz ɖ verịs membrz v ɖ hâsparti foloud hiz xampl.

Ɖ srvnts tecñ rnd ɖ rli ti md a yniform anânsmnt in rplî t a yniform qsćn. Toḅmōri hd nt rtrnd.

Brecfst wz, f enʈñ, a mr unpleznt funẋn ɖn dinr hd bn, bt bfr its cncluźn ɖ sićueśn wz rlivd. Toḅmōri’z corps wz bròt in fṛm ɖ śrubri, ẃr a gardnr hd jst dscuvrd it. Fṛm ɖ bîts on hiz ʈrot n ɖ yelo fŕ ẃć cotd hiz clwz it wz evidnt ɖt h hd fōln in unīql combat wɖ ɖ bg Tom fṛm ɖ Rectri.

Bî miḑe most v ɖ gsts hd qitd ɖ Târz, n aftr lunć Ledi Blemli hd sfiśntli rcuvrd hr spirits t rait an xtrimli nasti letr t ɖ Rectri abt ɖ los v hr valybl pet.

Toḅmōri hd bn Apin’z wn ṣxesfl pypl, n h wz destind t hv no ṣxesr. A fy wīcs lêtr an elifnt in ɖ Drezdn Zụlojcl Gardn, ẃć hd śoun no prīvịs sînz v iritbiḷti, brouc lūs n cild an Ñgliśmn hu hd apaṛntli bn tizñ it. Ɖ victim’z nem wz verịsli rportd in ɖ peprz az Opin n Eṗlin, bt hiz fruntnem wz feʈfli rendrd Cornīłs.

“F h wz trayñ Jrṃn ireğlr vrbz on ɖ pur bīst,” sd Clovis, “h dzrvd ol h got.”

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