Saki: The open window (in Ñspel, with audio)

The Garden Window, by Thérèse Lessore. Islington Local History Centre and Museum. Oil on canvas, 49 x 60 cm.
The Garden Window, by Thérèse Lessore. Islington Local History Centre and Museum. Oil on canvas, 49 x 60 cm.

“Mî ānt wl b dân prezntli, Mr. Nutl,” sd a vri slf-pzest yuñ ledi v fiftīn; “in ɖ mntm y mst trî n pt p wɖ m.”

Framtn Nutl indevrd t se ɖ c̣rct smʈñ ẃć śd dyli flatr ɖ nīs v ɖ momnt wɖt undyli dscântñ ɖ ānt ɖt wz t cm. Prîvitli h dâtd mr ɖn evr ẃɖr ɖz forml vizits on a ṣxeśn v totl strenjrz wd d mć twdz hlpñ ɖ nrvkr ẃć h wz ṣpozd t b unḍgowñ.

“I nô hâ it wl b,” hiz sistr hd sd ẃn h wz pripẹrñ t mîgret t ɖs rṛl rtrit; “y wl beri yrslf dân ɖr n nt spīc t a livñ soul, n yr nrvz wl b wrs ɖn evr fṛm môpñ. I śl jst gv y letrz v intṛduẋn t ol ɖ ppl I nô ɖr. Sm v ɖm, az far az I cn rmmbr, wr qt nîs.”

Framtn wundrd ẃɖr Msz Sapltn, ɖ ledi t hūm h wz prizntñ wn v ɖ letrz v intṛduẋn, cem intu ɖ nîs dviźn.

“D y nô mni v ɖ ppl rnd hir?” asct ɖ nīs, ẃn ś jujd ɖt ɖe hd hd sfiśnt sîḷnt cmyńn.

“Hardli a soul,” sd Framtn. “Mî sistr wz steyñ hir, at ɖ rectri, y nô, sm for yirz ago, n ś gev m letrz v intṛduẋn t sm v ɖ ppl hir.”

H md ɖ last stetmnt in a ton v dstñt rgret.

“Ɖen y nô practcli nʈñ abt mî ānt?” psyd ɖ slf-pzest yuñ ledi.

“Onli hr nem n adres,” admitd ɖ cōlr. H wz wundrñ ẃɖr Msz Sapltn wz in ɖ marid or widoud stet. An undifîṇbl smʈñ abt ɖ rūm sīmd t sjst masklin habiteśn.

“Hr grt trajidi hapnd jst ʈri yirz ago,” sd ɖ ćîld; “ɖt wd b sins yr sistr’z tîm.”

“Hr trajdi?” asct Framtn; smhâ in ɖs restfl cuntri spot trajidiz sīmd ât v ples.

“Y me wundr ẃ w cīp ɖt windo wîd opn on an Octobr aftnn,” sd ɖ nīs, indicetñ a lj Frenć windo ɖt opnd on t a lōn.

“It z qt worm fr ɖ tîm v ɖ yir,” sd Framtn; “bt hz ɖt windo got enʈñ t d wɖ ɖ trajidi?”

“Ât ʈru ɖt windo, ʈri yirz ago t a de, hr huzbnd n hr tu yuñ bruɖrz wnt of fr ɖer de’z śūtñ. Ɖe nvr cem bac. In crosñ ɖ mur t ɖer fevrit snîpśūtñ grând ɖe wr ol ʈri ingulft in a trećṛs pìs v bog. It hd bn ɖt dredfl wét sumr, y nô, n plesz ɖt wr sef in uɖr yirz gev we sudnli wɖt wornñ. Ɖer bodiz wr nvr rcuvrd. Ɖt wz ɖ dredfl part v it.” Hir ɖ ćîld’z výs lost its slf-pzest not n bcem fōltrñli hymn. “Pur ānt olwz ʈncs ɖt ɖe wl cm bac sm de, ɖe n ɖ ltl brân spańl ɖt wz lost wɖ ɖm, n wōc in at ɖt windo jst az ɖe yst t d. Ɖt z ẃ ɖ windo z cept opn evri īvnñ tl it z qt dusc. Pur dir ānt, ś hz ofn tld m hâ ɖe wnt ât, hr huzbnd wɖ hiz ẃît wōtrpruf cot ovr hiz arm, n Roni, hr yungist bruɖr, sññ ‘Brti, ẃ d y bând?’ az h olwz dd t tīz hr, bcz ś sd it got on hr nrvz. D y nô, smtmz on stil, qayt īvnñz lîc ɖs, I olmst gt a crīpi fīlñ ɖt ɖe wl ol wōc in ʈru ɖt windo –”

Ś brouc of wɖ a ltl śudr. It wz a rlif t Framtn ẃn ɖ ānt busld intu ɖ rūm wɖ a ẃrl v apoḷjiz fr biyñ lêt in mcñ hr apiṛns.

“I hop Vira hz bn amyzñ y?” ś sd.

“Ś hz bn vri inṭrestñ,” sd Framtn.

“I hop y d’nt mînd ɖ opn windo,” sd Msz Sapltn briscli; “mî huzbnd n bruɖrz wl b hom drcli fṛm śūtñ, n ɖe olwz cm in ɖs we. Ɖ’v bn ât fr snîp in ɖ marśz tde, so ɖ’l mc a fîn mes ovr mî pur carpits. So lîc y menfoc, z’nt it?”

Ś ratld on ćirfli abt ɖ śūtñ n ɖ scerṣti v brdz, n ɖ prospects fr duc in ɖ wintr. T Framtn it wz ol pyrli hoṛbl. H md a despṛt bt onli parśli ṣxesfl ef̣t t trn ɖ tōc on t a ls gastli topic; h wz conśs ɖt hiz hostis wz gvñ him onli a fragmnt v hr atnśn, n hr îz wr constntli streyñ past him t ɖ opn windo n ɖ lōn bynd. It wz srtnli an unforćṇt côinsidns ɖt h śd hv peid hiz vizit on ɖs trajc anivrsri.

“Ɖ doctrz agri in ordrñ m cmplit rest, an absns v mntl xîtmnt, n avýdns v enʈñ in ɖ nećr v vayḷnt fizicl x̣sîz,” anânst Framtn, hu lebrd undr ɖ tolṛbli wîdspred dluźn ɖt totl strenjrz n ćans aqentnsz r hungri fr ɖ līst dītel v wn’z eilmnts n infrṃtiz, ɖer cōz n kr. “On ɖ matr v dayt ɖe r nt so mć in agrīmnt,” h cntinyd.

“No?” sd Msz Sapltn, in a výs ẃć onli rplest a yōn at ɖ last momnt. Ɖen ś sudnli brîtnd intu alrt atnśn – bt nt t ẃt Framtn wz seyñ.

“Hir ɖe r at last!” ś craid. “Jst in tîm fr ti, n d’nt ɖe lc az f ɖe wr mudi p t ɖ îz!”

Framtn śivrd slîtli n trnd twdz ɖ nīs wɖ a lc intndd t cnve simṗʈetc comprihnśn. Ɖ ćîld wz stẹrñ ât ʈru ɖ opn windo wɖ dezd horr in hr îz. In a ćil śoc v nemlis fir Framtn swuñ rnd in hiz sīt n lct in ɖ sem drẋn.

In ɖ dīpnñ twîlît ʈri figrz wr wōcñ acrs ɖ lōn twdz ɖ windo; ɖe ol carid gunz undr ɖer armz, n wn v ɖm wz adiśnli brdnd wɖ a ẃît cot huñ ovr hiz śoldrz. A tîrd brân spańl cept clos at ɖer hīlz. Nýzlisli ɖe nird ɖ hâs, n ɖen a hōrs yuñ výs ćantd ât v ɖ dusc: “I sd, Brti, ẃ d y bând?”

Framtn grabd wîldli at hiz stic n hat; ɖ hōldor, ɖ gravldrîv, n ɖ fruntget wr dimli notd stejz in hiz hedloñ rtrit. A sîclist cmñ alñ ɖ rod hd t run intu ɖ hej t avýd an iminnt c̣liźn.

“Hir w r, mî dir,” sd ɖ bẹrr v ɖ ẃît macintoś, cmñ in ʈru ɖ windo; “ferli mudi, bt most v it’s drî. Hu wz ɖt hu boltd ât az w cem p?”

“A most xtrordnri man, a Mr. Nutl,” sd Msz Sapltn; “cd onli tōc abt hiz ilnisz, n daśt of wɖt a wrd v gdbǐ or apoḷji ẃn y arîvd. Wn wd ʈnc h hd sìn a gost.”

“I xpct it wz ɖ spańl,” sd ɖ nīs cāmli; “h tld m h hd a horr v dogz. H wz wns huntd intu a semitri smẃr on ɖ bancs v ɖ Ganjīz bî a pac v ṗraia dogz, n hd t spend ɖ nît in a nyli dug grev wɖ ɖ crīćrz snarlñ n grinñ n fomñ jst abv him. Inuf t mc enwn lūz ɖer nrv.”

Rômans at śort notis wz hr speśiaḷti.


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