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 s’kṛti or cold stōrij, n ɖr z nʈñ t hunt—unls wn z bǎndd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, in ẃć ces wn me lwfli gaḷp aftr fat red stagz. Ledi Blemli’z hǎsparti wz nt bǎndd on ɖ norʈ bî ɖ Bristl Ćanl, hns ɖr wz a fl gaɖrñ v hr gsts rnd ɖ tītebl 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 ftīgd restlisnis ẃć mīnz a dred v ɖ pịnola n a sbdyd hancrñ fr ōx́nbrij. Ɖ undisgîzd opn-mǎɖd atnśn v ɖ intîr parti wz fixt on ɖ homli, neġtiv prṣnaḷti 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 invteśn 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 tītîm ɖt de ś hd bn unebl t dscuvr in ẃt drx́n, f eni, hiz clevrnis le. H wz nɖr a wit nr a crǒcećampịn, a hipnotic 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 nǎ h wz clemñ t hv lōnćt on ɖ wrld a dscuṿri bsd ẃć ɖ invnśn v gunpǎdr, v ɖ printñpres, n v stīmloc̣mośn wr incnsidṛbl trîflz. Sayns hd md bwilḍrñ strîdz in mni drx́nz 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 s’xesfl pypl?”

“It z a probḷm at ẃć I hv wrct fr ɖ last sevntīn yirz,” sd Mr Apin, “bt onli jrñ ɖ last et or nîn munʈs hv I bn rwordd wɖ gliṃrñz v s’xes. V cors I hv xperimntd wɖ ʈǎzndz v animlz, bt latrli onli wɖ cats, ɖoz wundrfl crīćrz ẃć hv asiṃletd ɖmslvz so marvḷsli wɖ ǎr siṿlîześn ẃl rtenñ ol ɖer hîli dveḷpt feṛl instñts. Hir n ɖr amñ cats wn cmz acrs an ǎtstandñ s’pirịr inṭlect, 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 s’xes in rīsnt xperimnts; wɖ Toḅmōri, az y cōl hm, I hv rīćt ɖ gol.”

Mr Apin cncludd hiz rmarcbl stetmnt in a vôs ẃć h strov t dvst v a trîumfnt inflx́n. Nwn sd “Rats,” ɖo Clovis’z lips muvd in a moṇsilabic cntorśn ẃć probbli invoct ɖoz rodnts v disḅlif.

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

“Mî dir Mis Rescr,” sd ɖ wundrwrcr peśntli, “wn tīćz ltl ćildṛn n saṿjz 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 meʈ̇dz. Toḅmōri cn spīc ǎr lanḡj wɖ prfict c̣rctnis.”

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

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

Sr Wilfrid wnt in srć v ɖ animl, n ɖ cumṗni setld ɖmslvz dǎn t ɖ lanḡd xpecteśn v witnisñ sm mr or les adrýt drw̃rūm 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 ajteśn wz unmistecbli jenyin, n hiz hirrz startd fwd in a ʈril v awecnd inṭrest.

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

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

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 tītebl.

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

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

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

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

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

Anɖr sîḷns fel on ɖ grūp, n ɖen Mis Rescr, in hr bst districtvizitr manr, asct f ɖ hymn lanḡj hd bn dificlt t lrn. Toḅmōri lct sqerli at hr fr a momnt n ɖen fixt hiz gêz srīnli on ɖ midl distns. It wz obvịs ɖt borñ qsćnz le ǎtsd 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 attyd srtnli dd nt sjst a śred v imbaṛsmnt. “Ẃn yr incluźn in ɖs hǎsparti wz sjstd Sr Wilfrid pṛtstd ɖt y wr ɖ most brenlis wmn v hiz aqentns, n ɖt ɖr wz a wîd dstñśn btwn hosṗtaḷti n ɖ cer v ɖ fībl-mîndd. Ledi Blemli rplaid ɖt yr lac v brenpǎr wz ɖ prisîs qoḷti ẃć hd ŕnd y yr inṿteśn, az y wr ɖ onli prsn ś cd ʈnc v hu mt b idiotic inuf t bai ɖer old car. Y nǒ, ɖ wn ɖe cōl ‘Ɖ Envi v Sisif̣s,’ bcz it gz qt nîsli up-hil f y pś it.”

Ledi Blemli’z proṭsteśnz 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 dǎn at hr Devnśr hom.

Mejr Barfīld plunjd in hevili t ifct a dvrśn.

“Hǎ abt yr cariyñz-on wɖ ɖ torṭsśel 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 hǎs I śd imajin y’d fînd it incnvińnt f I wr t śift ɖ convseśn on t yr ǒn 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 nǒ,” sd Sr Wilfrid hartili.

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

“Aḍled!” sd Msz Cornit, “d y mīn t incurij ɖt cat t g ǎt 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 bedrūm windoz at ɖ Tǎrz, n it wz rcōld wɖ dsme ɖt ɖs hd formd a feṿrit proṃned fr Toḅmōri at ol aurz, ẃns h cd woć ɖ pijnz—n hevn ń ẃt els bsdz. F h intndd t bcm reṃnisnt in hiz preznt ǎtspocn stren ɖ ifct wd b smʈñ mr ɖn discnsrtñ. Msz Cornit, hu spent mć tîm at hr týḷțebl, n huz cmplex́n wz rpytd t b v a nmadic ɖo puñćl disṗziśn, lct az il at īz az ɖ Mejr. Mis Scrōn, hu rout firsli snśụs powtri n léd a blemlis lîf, mirli dspleid iṛteśn; f y r mʈodicl n vrćs in prîṿt y d’nt nessṛli wont evrwn t nǒ 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 ǎt v ɖ rūm lîc Odo Finzbri, a yuñ jentlmn hu wz unḍstd t b rīdñ fr ɖ Ćrć n hu wz poṣbli dstrbd at ɖ ʈt v scandlz h mt hír cnsrnñ uɖr ppl. Clovis hd ɖ prezns v mînd t mnten a cmpozd xtirịr; prîṿtli h wz calkletñ hǎ loñ it wd tec t pṛkr a box v fansi mîs ʈru ɖ ejnsi v ɖ XĆENJ AND MART az a spīśīz v huśmuni.

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

“Ẃ dd I evr cm dǎn hir?” ś asct dṛmaticli.

Toḅmōri imījtli axptd ɖ oṗnñ.

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

“Ɖr’z nt a wrd v truʈ in it! I apil t Msz Cornit—” xclemd ɖ dscumf̣td 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 glims v ɖ big yelo Tom fṛm ɖ Recṭri 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 huṛcen v bitr upbredñ, añśs inqîri, n frîtnd intriti. Ɖ rsponsbiḷti 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 poṣbl, 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, Aḍled, ɖt bʈ h n ɖ steblcat mst b dn awe wɖ wɖt dle.”

“Y d’nt ṣpoz I’v injoid 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 nǎ, v cors, ɖ onli ʈñ z t hv hm dstroid az sn az poṣbl.”

“W cn pt sm stricnīn in ɖ scraps h olwz gts at dinrtîm,” sd Sr Wilfrid, “n I wl g n drǎn 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 ǎt 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 Zụlojicl Gardnz. Ɖe’r sd t b hîli intelijnt, n ɖe hv ɖs rec̣mndeśn, ɖt ɖe d’nt cm crīpñ abt ǎr bedrūmz n undr ćerz, n so fʈ.”

An arcenjl xtaticli pṛclemñ ɖ Mileńm, n ɖen fîndñ ɖt it claśt unpardṇbli 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 vôs bn cnsultd on ɖ subjict it z probbl ɖt a stroñ mnoṛti vot wd hv bn in fevr v includñ hm in ɖ stricnīndayt.

Dfctiv tren’renjmnts n a nrṿs dzîr t si matrz bròt t a finiś privntd an imīɉt dsprsl v ɖ parti, bt dinr ɖt īvnñ wz nt a sośl s’xes. Sr Wilfrid hd hd rɖr a trayñ tîm wɖ ɖ steblcat n subsiqntli wɖ ɖ coćmn. Agnis Rescr ostnteśsli limitd hr rpast t a morsl v drî tǒst, ẃć ś bit az ɖo it wr a prsnl eṇmi; ẃl Mevis Pelñtn mntend a vndictiv 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 cerf̣li dost fiśscraps wz in redinis on ɖ sîdbord, bt swīts n seṿri n dzrt wnt ɖer we, n no Toḅmōri apird îɖr in ɖ dînñrūm or cićn.

Ɖ s’pulcṛl dinr wz ćirfl cmperd wɖ ɖ subsiqnt vijil in ɖ smocñrūm. Ītñ n drincñ hd at līst s’plaid a dstrax́n n clǒc t ɖ privelñ imbaṛsmnt. Brij wz ǎt v ɖ qsćn in ɖ jenṛl tnśn v nrvz n tmprz, n aftr Odo Finzbri hd gvn a l’gubrịs rendrñ v “Melisãd in ɖ Wŭd” t a frijid ōdịns, ḿzic wz taṣtli avôdd. At ilevn ɖ srvnts wnt t bed, anǎnsñ ɖt ɖ smōl windo in ɖ pantri hd bn left opn az yźl fr Toḅmōri’z prîṿt ys. Ɖ gsts réd steḍli ʈru ɖ cuṛnt bać v maġzīnz, n fél bac, graɉli, on ɖ “Badmintn Lîbrri” n baund volymz v PUNĆ. Ledi Blemli md piriodic vizits t ɖ pantri, rtrnñ ć tîm wɖ an xpreśn v listlis dpreśn ẃć fōrstōld qsćnñ.

At tu o’cloc Clovis brouc ɖ doṃnetñ 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 reṃnisnsz. Ledi Ẃt’s-hr-nem’z bc w’nt b in it. It wl b ɖ ivnt v ɖ de.”

Hvñ md ɖs contṛbyśn t ɖ jenṛl ćirflnis, Clovis wnt t bed. At loñ inṭvlz ɖ verịs membrz v ɖ hǎsparti foloud hiz xampl.

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

Brecfst wz, f enʈñ, a mr unpleznt funx́n ɖn dinr hd bn, bt bfr its cncluźn ɖ sićueśn wz rlivd. Toḅmōri’z corps wz bròt in fṛm ɖ śruḅri, 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 big Tom fṛm ɖ Recṭri.

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

Toḅmōri hd bn Apin’z wn s’xesfl pypl, n h wz destind t hv no s’xesr. A fy wīcs lêtr an elifnt in ɖ Drezdn Zụlojicl 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 feʈf̣li rendrd Cornīłs.

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

 

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