Tag Archives: New Zealand

In Ñspel: THE GARDEN-PARTY AND OTHER STORIES, by K Mansfield

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Contents

 

At ɖ BeƉ GardnpartiƉ Dōtrz ov ɖ Lêt CrnlMr. n Msz. DuvƉ Yuñ GrlLîf ov Ma ParcrMarij à la ModeƉ VôijMis BrillHr Frst BōlƉ Sññ LésnƉ StrenjrBanchoḷdeAn Îdiyl FaṃliƉ Ledi’z Meid

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Ɖ Gardnparti

N  aftr ol ɖ weɖr wz îdiyl. Ɖe cd nt hv hd a mor prfict de fr a gardnparti f ɖe hd ordrd it. Windlis, worm, ɖ scî wɖt a clǎd. Onli ɖ blu wz veild wɖ a hêz v lît gold, az it z smtmz in rli sumr. Ɖ gardnr hd bn p sins dōn, mowñ ɖ lōnz n swīpñ ɖm, untl ɖ gras n ɖ darc flat r’zéts ẃr ɖ deiziplants hd bn sīmd t śîn. Az fr ɖ rozz, y cd nt hlp fīlñ ɖe unḍstd ɖt rozz r ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt impres ppl at gardnpartiz; ɖ onli flǎrz ɖt evrbdi z srtn v nwñ. Hundṛdz, yes, litṛli hundṛdz, hd cm ǎt in a sngl nît; ɖ grīn bśz baud dǎn az ɖo ɖe hd bn viẓtd bî arcenjlz.

Brecfst wz nt yt ovr bfr ɖ men cem t pt p ɖ marcī.

“Ẃr d y wont ɖ marcī pt, muɖr?”

“Mî dir ćîld, it’s no ys ascñ m. I’m dtrmind t līv evrʈñ t y ćildṛn ɖs yir. Fget I am yr muɖr. Trīt m az an onrd gest.”

Bt Meg cd nt poṣbli g n sūṗvîz ɖ men. Ś hd wośt hr her bfr brecfst, n ś sat drincñ hr cofi in a grīn trbn, wɖ a darc wet crl stamt on ć ćīc. Jozi, ɖ buṭflî, olwz cem dǎn in a silc peticot n a cimonojacit.

“Y’l hv t g, Lora; y’r ɖ artistic wn.”

Awe Lora flù, stl holdñ hr pìs v bred-n-butr. It’s so dliśs t hv an xks fr ītñ ǎt v dorz, n bsdz, ś luvd hvñ t arenj ʈñz; ś olwz flt ś cd d it so mć betr ɖn enbdi els.

For men in ɖer śrtslīvz std grūpt tgɖr on ɖ gardnpaʈ. Ɖe Carid stevz cuvrd wɖ rolz v canvs, n ɖe hd big tūlbagz sluñ on ɖer bacs. Ɖe lct impresiv. Lora wśt nǎ ɖt ś hd nt got ɖ bred-n-butr, bt ɖr wz nẃr t pt it, n ś cd’nt poṣbli ʈro it awe. Ś bluśt n traid t lc svir n īvn a litl bit śort-sîtd az ś cem p t ɖm.

“Gd mornñ,” ś sd, copiyñ hr muɖr’z vôs. Bt ɖt sǎndd so firf̣li afctd ɖt ś wz aśemd, n stamrd lîc a litl grl, “Ǒ—’r—hv y cm—z it abt ɖ marcī?”

“Ɖt’s rît, mis,” sd ɖ tōlist v ɖ men, a lanci, frecld felo, n h śiftd hiz tūlbag, noct bac hiz strw hat n smîld dǎn at hr. “Ɖt’s abt it.”

Hiz smîl wz so īzi, so frendli ɖt Lora rcuvrd. Ẃt nîs îz h hd, smōl, bt sć a darc blu! N nǎ ś lct at ɖ uɖrz, ɖe wr smîlñ tù. “Ćir p, w w’nt bît,” ɖer smîl sīmd t se. Hǎ vri nîs wrcṃn wr! N ẃt a bytifl mornñ! Ś ms’nt mnśn ɖ mornñ; ś mst b biznislîc. Ɖ marcī.

“Wel, ẃt abt ɖ lililōn? Wd ɖt d?”

N ś pôntd t ɖ lililōn wɖ ɖ hand ɖt dd’nt hold ɖ bred-n-butr. Ɖe trnd, ɖe stérd in ɖ d’rex́n. A litl fat ćap ʈrust ǎt hiz unḍlip, n ɖ tōl felo frǎnd.

“I d’nt fansi it,” sd h. “Nt cnspiks inuf. Y si, wɖ a ʈñ lîc a marcī,” n h trnd t Lora in hiz īzi we, “y wont t pt it smẃr ẃr it’l gv y a bañ slap in ɖ î, f y folo m.”

Lora’z upbrññ md hr wundr fr a momnt ẃɖr it wz qt rspctfl v a wrcmn t tōc t hr v bañz slap in ɖ î. Bt ś dd qt folo him.

“A cornr v ɖ teniscort,” ś sjstd. “Bt ɖ band’z gwñ t b in wn cornr.”

“H’m, gwñ t hv a band, r y?” sd anɖr v ɖ wrcṃn. H wz pel. H hd a haġd lc az hiz darc îz scand ɖ teniscort. Ẃt wz h ʈncñ?

“Onli a vri smōl band,” sd Lora jntli. Phps h wd’nt mînd so mć f ɖ band wz qt smōl. Bt ɖ tōl felo inṭruptd.

“Lc hir, mis, ɖt’s ɖ ples. Agnst ɖoz triz. Ovr ɖr. Ɖt’l d fîn.”

Agnst ɖ c’racaz. Ɖen ɖ c’rac̣trīz wd b hidn. N ɖe wr so luvli, wɖ ɖer brōd, glīmñ līvz, n ɖer clustrz v yelo frūt. Ɖe wr lîc triz y imajind growñ on a deẓt îḷnd, prǎd, solitri, liftñ ɖer līvz n frūts t ɖ sún in a cnd v sîḷnt splendr. Mst ɖe b hidn bî a marcī?

Ɖe mst. Olrdi ɖ men hd śoldrd ɖer stevz n wr mcñ fr ɖ ples. Onli ɖ tōl felo wz left. H bnt dǎn, pinćt a sprig v lavndr, pt hiz ʈum n fōrfngr t hiz nǒz n snuft p ɖ smel. Ẃn Lora sw ɖt jsćr ś fgot ol abt ɖ c’racaz in hr wundr at him cẹrñ fr ʈñz lîc ɖt—cẹrñ fr ɖ smel v lavndr. Hǎ mni men ɖt ś ń wd hv dn sć a ʈñ? Ǒ, hǎ xtrordnṛli nîs wrcṃn wr, ś ʈt. Ẃ cd’nt ś hv wrcṃn fr hr frendz rɖr ɖn ɖ sili bôz ś danst wɖ n hu cem t Súnde nît supr? Ś wd gt on mć betr wɖ men lîc ɖz.

It’s ol ɖ fōlt, ś dsîdd, az ɖ tōl felo drù smʈñ on ɖ bac v an enṿlop, smʈñ ɖt wz t b lūpt p or left t hañ, v ɖz absrd clas-dstñśnz. Wel, fr hr part, ś dd’nt fīl ɖm. Nt a bit, nt an atm… N nǎ ɖr cem ɖ ćóc-ćóc v wŭdn hamrz. Smwn ẃisld, smwn sañ ǎt, “R y rît ɖr, mêti?” “Mêti!” Ɖ frendlinis v it, ɖ—ɖ—Jst t pruv hǎ hapi ś wz, jst t śo ɖ tōl felo hǎ at hom ś flt, n hǎ ś dspîzd stypid cnvnśnz, Lora tc a big bît v hr bred-n-butr az ś stérd at ɖ litl drw̃. Ś flt jst lîc a wrcgrl.

“Lora, Lora, ẃr r y? Teḷfon, Lora!” a vôs craid fṛm ɖ hǎs.

“Cmñ!” Awe ś scimd, ovr ɖ lōn, p ɖ paʈ, p ɖ steps, acrs ɖ vranda, n intu ɖ porć. In ɖ hōl hr faɖr n Lóri wr bruśñ ɖer hats redi t g t ɖ ofis.

“I se, Lora,” sd Lóri vri fast, “y mt jst gv a squiz at mî cot bfr ɖs afṭnun. Si f it wonts presñ.”

“I wl,” sd ś. Sudnli ś cd’nt stop hrslf. Ś ran at Lóri n gev him a smōl, qc sqīz. “Ǒ, I d luv partiz, d’nt y?” gaspt Lora.

“Rɖr,” sd Lóri’z worm, bôiś vôs, n h sqizd hiz sistr tù, n gev hr a jntl pś. “Daś of t ɖ teḷfon, old grl.”

Ɖ teḷfon. “Yes, yes; ǒ yes. Citi? Gd mornñ, dir. Cm t lunć? D, dir. Dlîtd v cors. It wl onli b a vri scraćmīl—jst ɖ sanwijcrusts n brocn mrañ-ślz n ẃt’s left ovr. Yes, z’nt it a prfict mornñ? Yr ẃît? Ǒ, I srtnli śd. Wn momnt—hold ɖ lîn. Muɖr’z cōlñ.” N Lora sat bac. “Ẃt, muɖr? C’nt hír.”

Msz. Śeridn’z vôs flotd dǎn ɖ sterz. “Tel hr t wer ɖt swīt hat ś hd on last Súnde.”

“Muɖr sz y’r t wer ɖt swīt hat y hd on last Súnde. Gd. Wn o’cloc. Bái-bái.”

Lora pt bac ɖ rsivr, fluñ hr armz ovr hr hed, tc a dīp breʈ, strećt n let ɖm fōl. “Hú,” ś said, n ɖ momnt aftr ɖ sai ś sat p qcli. Ś wz stil, liṣnñ. Ol ɖ dorz in ɖ hǎs sīmd t b opn. Ɖ hǎs wz alîv wɖ soft, qc steps n runñ vôsz. Ɖ grīn bêz dor ɖt léd t ɖ cićnrījnz swuñ opn n śut wɖ a mufld ʈud. N nǎ ɖr cem a loñ, ćuc̣lñ absrd sǎnd. It wz ɖ hevi piano biyñ muvd on its stif cástrz. Bt ɖ er! F y stopt t notis, wz ɖ er olwz lîc ɖs? Litl fent windz wr pleyñ ćes, in at ɖ tops v ɖ windoz, ǎt at ɖ dorz. N ɖr wr tū tîni spots v sún, wn on ɖ ñcpot, wn on a silvr foṭgraf̦rem, pleyñ tù. Darlñ litl spots. Ispeṣ́li ɖ wn on ɖ ñcpot lid. It wz qt worm. A worm litl silvr star. Ś cd hv cist it.

Ɖ frunt dor bel pìld, n ɖr sǎndd ɖ rusl v Sêdi’z printscrt on ɖ sterz. A man’z vôs mrmrd; Sêdi ansrd, cerlis, “I’m śr I d’nt nǒ. Wêt. I’l asc Msz. Śeridn.”

“Ẃt z it, Sêdi?” Lora cem intu ɖ hōl.

“It’s ɖ florist, Mis. Lora.”

It wz, indd. Ɖr, jst insd ɖ dor, std a wîd, śalo tre fl v pots v pnc liliz. No uɖr cnd. Nʈñ bt liliz—caṇliliz, big pnc flǎrz, wîd opn, redịnt, olmst frîtnñli alîv on brît crimzn stemz.

“Ǒ-ǒ, Sêdi!” sd Lora, n ɖ sǎnd wz lîc a litl mon. Ś crǎćt dǎn az f t worm hrslf at ɖt blêz v liliz; ś flt ɖe wr in hr fngrz, on hr lips, growñ in hr brest.

“It’s sm mstec,” ś sd fentli. “Nbdi evr ordrd so mni. Sêdi, g n fînd muɖr.”

Bt at ɖt momnt Msz. Śeridn jônd ɖm.

“It’s qt rît,” ś sd cāmli. “Yes, I ordrd ɖm. R’nt ɖe luvli?” Ś prest Lora’z arm. “I wz pasñ ɖ śop yesṭde, n I sw ɖm in ɖ windo. N I sudnli ʈt fr wns in mî lîf I śl hv inuf caṇliliz. Ɖ gardnparti wl b a gd xks.”

“Bt I ʈt y sd y dd’nt mīn t inṭfir,” sd Lora. Sêdi hd gn. Ɖ florist’s man wz stl ǎtsd at hiz van. Ś pt hr arm rnd hr muɖr’z nec n jntli, vri jntli, ś bit hr muɖr’z ir.

“Mî darlñ ćîld, y wd’nt lîc a lojicl muɖr, wd y? D’nt d ɖt. Hir’z ɖ man.”

H carid mor liliz stl, anɖr hol tre.

“Banc ɖm p, jst insd ɖ dor, on bʈ sîdz v ɖ porć, plīz,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “D’nt y agri, Lora?”

“Ǒ, I d, muɖr.”

In ɖ drw̃rūm Meg, Jozi n gd litl Hanz hd at last s’xidd in muvñ ɖ piano.

“Nǎ, f w pt ɖs Ćesṭfīld agnst ɖ wōl n muv evrʈñ ǎt v ɖ rūm xpt ɖ ćerz, d’nt y ʈnc?”

“Qt.”

“Hanz, muv ɖz teblz intu ɖ smocñrūm, n brñ a swīpr t tec ɖz marcs of ɖ carpit n—wn momnt, Hanz—” Jozi luvd gvñ ordrz t ɖ srvnts, n ɖe luvd obeyñ hr. Ś olwz md ɖm fīl ɖe wr tecñ part in sm drama. “Tel muɖr n Mis. Lora t cm hir at wns.”

“Vri gd, Mis. Jozi.”

Ś trnd t Meg. “I wont t hír ẃt ɖ piano sǎndz lîc, jst in ces I’m asct t sñ ɖs afṭnun. Let’s trî ovr ‘Ɖs lîf z Wiri’.”

Pom! Ta-ta-ta -ta! Ɖ piano brst ǎt so paśṇtli ɖt Jozi’z fes ćenjd. Ś claspt hr handz. Ś lct mōrnf̣li n eṇgmaticli at hr muɖr n Lora az ɖe cem in.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

A Tir—a Sai.

A Luv ɖt Ćen-jiz,

N ɖen… Gdbî!

Bt at ɖ wrd “Gdbî,” n olɖo ɖ piano sǎndd mor despṛt ɖn evr, hr fes brouc intu a briłnt, dredf̣li unsimṗʈetic smîl.

“R’nt I in gd vôs, mumi?” ś bīmd.

Ɖs Lîf z -’ri,

Hop cmz t Dî.

A Drīm—a We-c̣nñ.

Bt nǎ Sêdi inṭruptd ɖm. “Ẃt z it, Sêdi?”

“F y plīz, m’m, cc sz hv y got ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz?”

“Ɖ flagz fr ɖ sanẉjz, Sêdi?” ecoud Msz. Śeridn drīṃli. N ɖ ćildṛn ń bî hr fes ɖt ś hd’nt got ɖm. “Let m si.” N ś sd t Sêdi frmli, “Tel cc I’l let hr hv ɖm in ten minits.”

Sêdi wnt.

“Nǎ, Lora,” sd hr muɖr qcli, “cm wɖ m intu ɖ smocñrūm. I’v got ɖ nemz smẃr on ɖ bac v an enṿlop. Y’l hv t rait ɖm ǎt fr m. Meg, g upsterz ɖs minit n tec ɖt wet ʈñ of yr hed. Jozi, run n finiś dresñ ɖs instnt. D y hír m, ćildṛn, or śl I hv t tel yr faɖr ẃn h cmz hom tnît? N—n, Jozi, paṣfî cc f y d g intu ɖ cićn, wl y? I’m teṛfaid v hr ɖs mornñ.”

Ɖ enṿlop wz faund at last bhnd ɖ dînñrūm cloc, ɖo hǎ it hd got ɖr Msz. Śeridn cd nt imajin.

“Wn v y ćildṛn mst hv stoḷn it ǎt v mî bag, bcz I rmembr vividli—crīmćīz n lemncrd. Hv y dn ɖt?”

“Yes.”

“Eg n—” Msz. Śeridn hld ɖ enṿlop awe fṛm hr. “It lcs lîc mîs. It c’nt b mîs, cn it?”

“Oliv, pet,” sd Lora, lcñ ovr hr śoldr.

“Yes, v cors, oliv. Ẃt a hoṛbl combneśn it sǎndz. Eg n oliv.”

Ɖe wr finiśt at last, n Lora tc ɖm of t ɖ cićn. Ś faund Jozi ɖr paṣfayñ ɖ cc, hu dd nt lc at ol teṛfayñ.

“I hv nvr sìn sć xqizit sanẉjz,” sd Jozi’z rapćṛs vôs. “Hǎ mni cndz dd y se ɖr wr, cc? Fiftīn?”

“Fiftīn, Mis. Jozi.”

“Wel, cc, I cngrać̣let y.”

Cc swept p crusts wɖ ɖ loñ sanwijnîf, n smîld brōdli.

“Godbr’z hz cm,” anǎnst Sêdi, iśuwñ ǎt v ɖ pantri. Ś hd sìn ɖ man pas ɖ windo.

Ɖt mnt ɖ crīm pufs hd cm. Godbr’z wr feṃs fr ɖer crīm pufs. Nbdi evr ʈt v mcñ ɖm at hom.

“Brñ ɖm in n pt ɖm on ɖ tebl, mî grl,” ordrd cc.

Sêdi bròt ɖm in n wnt bac t ɖ dor. V cors Lora n Jozi wr far tù groun-up t riyli cer abt sć ʈñz. Ol ɖ sem, ɖe cd’nt hlp agriyñ ɖt ɖ pufs lct vri atractiv. Vri. Cc bgan arenjñ ɖm, śecñ of ɖ xtra îsñśŭgr.

“D’nt ɖe cari wn bac t ol wn’z partiz?” sd Lora.

“I s’poz ɖe d,” sd practicl Jozi, hu nvr lîct t b carid bac. “Ɖe lc bytifli lît n feɖ̇ri, I mst se.”

“Hv wn ć, mî dirz,” sd cc in hr cumftbl vôs. “Y’ ma w’nt nǒ.”

Ǒ, imposbl. Fansi crīm pufs so sn aftr brecfst. Ɖ vri îdīa md wn śudr. Ol ɖ sem, tū minits lêtr Jozi n Lora wr licñ ɖer fngrz wɖ ɖt abzorbd inwd lc ɖt onli cmz fṛm ẃipt crīm.

“Let’s g intu ɖ gardn, ǎt bî ɖ bac we,” sjstd Lora. “I wont t si hǎ ɖ men r gtñ on wɖ ɖ marcī. Ɖ’r sć ōf̣li nîs men.”

Bt ɖ bac dor wz bloct bî cc, Sêdi, Godbr’z man n Hanz.

Smʈñ hd hapnd.

“Tc-tc-tc,” cluct cc lîc an ajtetd hen. Sêdi hd hr hand clapt t hr ćīc az ɖo ś hd tuʈ-ec. Hanz’z fes wz scrùd p in ɖ ef̣t t unḍstand. Onli Godbr’z man sīmd t b injoyñ himslf; it wz hiz stori.

“Ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s hapnd?”

“Ɖr’z bn a hoṛbl axidnt,” sd Cc. “A man cild.”

“A man cild! Ẃr? Hǎ? Ẃn?”

Bt Godbr’z man wz’nt gwñ t hv hiz stori snaćt fṛm undr hiz vri nǒz.

“Nǒ ɖoz litl coṭjz jst b’lo hir, Mis.?” Nǒ ɖm? V cors, ś ń ɖm. “Wel, ɖr’z a yuñ ćap livñ ɖr, nem v Scot, a cartr. Hiz hors śaid at a trax́n-enjin, cornr v Hòc Strīt ɖs mornñ, n h wz ʈroun ǎt on ɖ bac v hiz hed. Cild.”

“Ded!” Lora stérd at Godbr’z man.

“Ded ẃn ɖe pict him p,” sd Godbr’z man wɖ reliś. “Ɖe wr tecñ ɖ bodi hom az I cm p hir.” N h sd t ɖ cc, “H’z left a wîf n fîv litl wnz.”

“Jozi, cm hir.” Lora còt hold v hr sistr’z slīv n dragd hr ʈru ɖ cićn t ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ grīn bêz dor. Ɖr ś pōzd n līnd agnst it. “Jozi!” ś sd, hoṛfaid, “hvr r w gwñ t stop evrʈñ?”

“Stop evrʈñ, Lora!” craid Jozi in astoniśmnt. “Ẃt d y mīn?”

“Stop ɖ gardnparti, v cors.” Ẃ dd Jozi pritnd?

Bt Jozi wz stl mor amezd. “Stop ɖ gardnparti? Mî dir Lora, d’nt b so absrd. V cors w c’nt d enʈñ v ɖ cnd. Nbdi xpcts s t. D’nt b so xtraṿgnt.”

“Bt w c’nt poṣbli hv a gardnparti wɖ a man ded jst ǎtsd ɖ frunt get.”

Ɖt riyli wz xtraṿgnt, fr ɖ litl coṭjz wr in a len t ɖmslvz at ɖ vri botm v a stīp rîz ɖt léd p t ɖ hǎs. A brōd rod ran btwn. Tru, ɖe wr far tù nir. Ɖe wr ɖ gretist poṣbl îsor, n ɖe hd no rît t b in ɖt nebrhd at ol. Ɖe wr litl mīn dwelñz pentd a ćocḷt brǎn. In ɖ gardnpaćz ɖr wz nʈñ bt cabijstōcz, sic hnz n tmātocanz. Ɖ vri smoc cmñ ǎt v ɖer ćimniz wz poṿti-stricn. Litl ragz n średz v smoc, so unlîc ɖ gret silṿri plūmz ɖt uncrld fṛm ɖ Śeridnz’ ćimniz. Wośrwimin livd in ɖ len n swīps n a coblr, n a man huz hǎsfrunt wz studd ol ovr wɖ mînyt brdcejz. Ćildṛn swormd. Ẃn ɖ Śeridnz wr litl ɖe wr fbidn t set ft ɖr bcz v ɖ rvoltñ lanḡj n v ẃt ɖe mt cać. Bt sins ɖe wr groun p, Lora n Lóri on ɖer prǎlz smtmz wōct ʈru. It wz dsgustñ n sordid. Ɖe cem ǎt wɖ a śudr. Bt stl wn mst g evrẃr; wn mst si evrʈñ. So ʈru ɖe wnt.

“N jst ʈnc v ẃt ɖ band wd sǎnd lîc t ɖt pur wmn,” sd Lora.

“Ǒ, Lora!” Jozi bgan t b sirịsli anoid. “F y’r gwñ t stop a band pleyñ evri tîm smwn hz an axidnt, y’l līd a vri strenẏs lîf. I’m evri bit az sori abt it az y. I fīl jst az simṗʈetic.” Hr îz hardnd. Ś lct at hr sistr jst az ś yst t ẃn ɖe wr litl n fîtñ tgɖr. “Y w’nt brñ a druncn wrcmn bac t lîf bî biyñ snṭmntl,” ś sd softli.

“Drunc! Hu sd h wz drunc?” Lora trnd fyrịsli on Jozi. Ś sd, jst az ɖe hd yst t se on ɖoz oceẓ́nz, “I’m gwñ stret p t tel muɖr.”

“D, dir,” cùd Jozi.

“Muɖr, cn I cm intu yr rūm?” Lora trnd ɖ big glas dornob.

“V cors, ćîld. Ẃ, ẃt’s ɖ matr? Ẃt’s gvn y sć a culr?” N Msz. Śeridn trnd rnd fṛm hr dresñtebl. Ś wz trayñ on a ny hat.

“Muɖr, a man’z bn cild,” bgan Lora.

Nt in ɖ gardn?” inṭruptd hr muɖr.

“No, no!”

“Ǒ, ẃt a frît y gev m!” Msz. Śeridn said wɖ rlif, n tc of ɖ big hat n hld it on hr niz.

“Bt lisn, muɖr,” sd Lora. Breʈlis, haf-ćocñ, ś tld ɖ dredfl stori. “V cors, w c’nt hv ǎr parti, cn w?” ś plīdd. “Ɖ band n evrbdi arîvñ. Ɖ’d hír s, muɖr; ɖ’r nirli nebrz!”

T Lora’z astoniśmnt hr muɖr bhevd jst lîc Jozi; it wz hardr t ber bcz ś sīmd aḿzd. Ś rfyzd t tec Lora sirịsli.

“Bt, mî dir ćîld, yz yr comn-sns. It’s onli bî axidnt w’v hŕd v it. F smwn hd daid ɖr norṃli—n I c’nt unḍstand hǎ ɖe cīp alîv in ɖoz pǒci litl houlz—w śd stl b hvñ ǎr parti, śd’nt w?”

Lora hd t se “yes” t ɖt, bt ś flt it wz ol roñ. Ś sat dǎn on hr muɖr’z sofa n pinćt ɖ cŭśnfril.

“Muɖr, z’nt it teṛbli hartlis v s?” ś asct.

“Darlñ!” Msz. Śeridn got p n cem ovr t hr, cariyñ ɖ hat. Bfr Lora cd stop hr ś hd popt it on. “Mî ćîld!” sd hr muɖr, “ɖ hat z yrz. It’s md fr y. It’s mć tù yuñ fr m. I hv nvr sìn y lc sć a picćr. Lc at yrslf!” N ś hld p hr handmirr.

“Bt, muɖr,” Lora bgan agn. Ś cd’nt lc at hrslf; ś trnd asd.

Ɖs tîm Msz. Śeridn lost peśns jst az Jozi hd dn.

“Y r biyñ vri absrd, Lora,” ś sd coldli. “Ppl lîc ɖt d’nt xpct sacṛfîsz fṛm s. N it’s nt vri simṗʈetic t spôl evrbdi’z injômnt az y’r dwñ nǎ.”

“I d’nt unḍstand,” sd Lora, n ś wōct qcli ǎt v ɖ rūm intu hr ǒn bedrūm. Ɖr, qt bî ćans, ɖ frst ʈñ ś sw wz ɖs ćarmñ grl in ɖ mirr, in hr blac hat trimd wɖ gold deiziz, n a loñ blac velvit ribn. Nvr hd ś imajind ś cd lc lîc ɖt. Z muɖr rît? ś ʈt. N nǎ ś hopt hr muɖr wz rît. Am I biyñ xtraṿgnt? Phps it wz xtraṿgnt. Jst fr a momnt ś hd anɖr glims v ɖt pur wmn n ɖoz litl ćildṛn, n ɖ bodi biyñ carid intu ɖ hǎs. Bt it ol sīmd blŕd, unriyl, lîc a picćr in ɖ nyzpepr. I’l rmembr it agn aftr ɖ parti’z ovr, ś dsîdd. N smhǎ ɖt sīmd qt ɖ bst plan…

Lunć wz ovr bî haf-past wn. Bî haf-past tū ɖe wr ol redi fr ɖ fre. Ɖ grīn-cotd band hd arîvd n wz istabliśt in a cornr v ɖ teniscort.

“Mî dir!” trild Citi Mêtḷnd, “r’nt ɖe tù lîc frogz fr wrdz? Y òt t hv arenjd ɖm rnd ɖ pond wɖ ɖ cnductr in ɖ midl on a līf.”

Lóri arîvd n hêld ɖm on hiz we t dres. At ɖ sît v him Lora rmembrd ɖ axidnt agn. Ś wontd t tel him. F Lóri agrìd wɖ ɖ uɖrz, ɖen it wz baund t b ol rît. N ś foloud him intu ɖ hōl.

“Lóri!”

“Hlo!” H wz hafwe upsterz, bt ẃn h trnd rnd n sw Lora h sudnli puft ǎt hiz ćīcs n gogld hiz îz at hr. “Mî wrd, Lora! Y d lc stunñ,” sd Lóri. “Ẃt an abṣlutli topñ hat!”

Lora sd fentli “Z it?” n smîld p at Lóri, n dd’nt tel him aftr ol.

Sn aftr ɖt ppl bgan cmñ in strīmz. Ɖ band struc p; ɖ hîrd wêtrz ran fṛm ɖ hǎs t ɖ marcī. Ẃrvr y lct ɖr wr cuplz strolñ, bndñ t ɖ flǎrz, grītñ, muvñ on ovr ɖ lōn. Ɖe wr lîc brît brdz ɖt hd alîtd in ɖ Śeridnz’ gardn fr ɖs wn afṭnun, on ɖer we t—ẃr? Ā, ẃt hapinis it z t b wɖ ppl hu ol r hapi, t pres handz, pres ćīcs, smîl intu îz.

“Darlñ Lora, hǎ wel y lc!”

“Ẃt a bcmñ hat, ćîld!”

“Lora, y lc qt Spaniś. I’v nvr sìn y lc so strîcñ.”

N Lora, glowñ, ansrd softli, “Hv y hd ti? W’nt y hv an îs? Ɖ paśnfrūt îsz riyli r rɖr speśl.” Ś ran t hr faɖr n begd him. “Dadi darlñ, c’nt ɖ band hv smʈñ t drinc?”

N ɖ prfict afṭnun slǒli rîpnd, slǒli fedd, slǒli its petlz clozd.

“Nvr a mor dlîtfl gardnparti…” “Ɖ gretist s’xes…” “Qt ɖ most…”

Lora hlpt hr muɖr wɖ ɖ gdbîs. Ɖe std sîd bî sîd in ɖ porć tl it wz ol ovr.

“Ol ovr, ol ovr, ʈanc hevn,” sd Msz. Śeridn. “Rnd p ɖ uɖrz, Lora. Let’s g n hv sm freś cofi. I’m xōstd. Yes, it’s bn vri s’xesfl. Bt ǒ, ɖz partiz, ɖz partiz! Ẃ wl y ćildṛn insist on gvñ partiz!” N ɖe ol v ɖm sat dǎn in ɖ dzrtd marcī.

“Hv a sanwij, dadi dir. I rout ɖ flag.”

“Ʈancs.” Mr. Śeridn tc a bît n ɖ sanwij wz gn. H tc anɖr. “I s’poz y dd’nt hír v a bīstli axidnt ɖt hapnd tde?” h sd.

“Mî dir,” sd Msz. Śeridn, holdñ p hr hand, “w dd. It nirli ruind ɖ parti. Lora insistd w śd pt it of.”

“Ǒ, muɖr!” Lora dd’nt wont t b tizd abt it.

“It wz a hoṛbl afer ol ɖ sem,” sd Mr. Śeridn. “Ɖ ćap wz marid tù. Livd jst b’lo in ɖ len, n līvz a wîf n haf a duzn cidiz, so ɖe se.”

An ōcẉd litl sîḷns fél. Msz. Śeridn fiɉtd wɖ hr cup. Riyli, it wz vri tactlis v faɖr…

Sudnli ś lct p. Ɖr on ɖ tebl wr ol ɖoz sanẉjz, cecs, pufs, ol unītn, ol gwñ t b westd. Ś hd wn v hr briłnt îdīaz.

“I nǒ,” ś sd. “Let’s mc p a bascit. Let’s snd ɖt pur crīćr sm v ɖs prf̣cli gd fūd. At eni ret, it wl b ɖ gretist trīt fr ɖ ćildṛn. D’nt y agri? N ś’z śr t hv nebrz cōlñ in n so on. Ẃt a pônt t hv it ol redi priperd. Lora!” Ś jumt p. “Gt m ɖ big bascit ǎt v ɖ sterz cuḅd.”

“Bt, muɖr, d y riyli ʈnc it’s a gd îdīa?” sd Lora.

Agn, hǎ krịs, ś sīmd t b difṛnt fṛm ɖm ol. T tec scraps fṛm ɖer parti. Wd ɖ pur wmn riyli lîc ɖt?

“V cors! Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ y tde? An aur or tū ago y wr insistñ on s biyñ simṗʈetic, n nǎ—”

Ǒ wel! Lora ran fr ɖ bascit. It wz fild, it wz hīpt bî hr muɖr.

“Tec it yrslf, darlñ,” sd ś. “Run dǎn jst az y r. No, wêt, tec ɖ aṛmliliz tù. Ppl v ɖt clas r so imprest bî aṛmliliz.”

“Ɖ stemz wl ruin hr lês froc,” sd practicl Jozi.

So ɖe wd. Jst in tîm. “Onli ɖ bascit, ɖen. N, Lora!”—hr muɖr foloud hr ǎt v ɖ marcī—“d’nt on eni acǎnt—”

“Ẃt muɖr?”

No, betr nt pt sć îdīaz intu ɖ ćîld’z hed! “Nʈñ! Run alñ.”

It wz jst growñ dusci az Lora śut ɖer gardngets. A big dog ran bî lîc a śado. Ɖ rod glīmd ẃît, n dǎn b’lo in ɖ holo ɖ litl coṭjz wr in dīp śêd. Hǎ qayt it sīmd aftr ɖ afṭnun. Hir ś wz gwñ dǎn ɖ hil t smẃr ẃr a man le ded, n ś cd’nt riylîz it. Ẃ cd’nt ś? Ś stopt a minit. N it sīmd t hr ɖt cisz, vôsz, tnc̣lñ spūnz, laftr, ɖ smel v cruśt gras wr smhǎ insd hr. Ś hd no rūm fr enʈñ els. Hǎ strenj! Ś lct p at ɖ pel scî, n ol ś ʈt wz, “Yes, it wz ɖ most s’xesfl parti.”

Nǎ ɖ brōd rod wz crost. Ɖ len bgan, smoci n darc. Wimin in śōlz n men’z twīd caps hurid bî. Men huñ ovr ɖ pêlñz; ɖ ćildṛn pleid in ɖ dorwez. A lo hum cem fṛm ɖ mīn litl coṭjz. In sm v ɖm ɖr wz a flicr v lît, n a śado, crablîc, muvd acrs ɖ windo. Lora bnt hr hed n hurid on. Ś wśt nǎ ś hd pt on a cot. Hǎ hr froc śon! N ɖ big hat wɖ ɖ velvit strīmr—f onli it wz anɖr hat! Wr ɖ ppl lcñ at hr? Ɖe mst b. It wz a mstec t hv cm; ś ń ol alñ it wz a mstec. Śd ś g bac īvn nǎ?

No, tù lêt. Ɖs wz ɖ hǎs. It mst b. A darc nót v ppl std ǎtsd. Bsd ɖ get an old, old wmn wɖ a cruć sat in a ćer, woćñ. Ś hd hr fīt on a nyzpepr. Ɖ vôsz stopt az Lora drù nir. Ɖ grūp partd. It wz az ɖo ś wz xpctd, az ɖo ɖe hd noun ś wz cmñ hir.

Lora wz teṛbli nrṿs. Tosñ ɖ velvit ribn ovr hr śoldr, ś sd t a wmn standñ bî, “Z ɖs Msz. Scot’s hǎs?” n ɖ wmn, smîlñ qirli, sd, “It z, mî las.”

Ǒ, t b awe fṛm ɖs! Ś acć̣̣li sd, “Hlp m, God,” az ś wōct p ɖ tîni paʈ n noct. T b awe fṛm ɖoz stẹrñ îz, or t b cuvrd p in enʈñ, wn v ɖoz wimin’z śōlz īvn. I’l jst līv ɖ bascit n g, ś dsîdd. I ś’nt īvn wêt fr it t b emtid.

Ɖen ɖ dor opnd. A litl wmn in blac śoud in ɖ glūm.

Lora sd, “R y Msz. Scot?” Bt t hr horr ɖ wmn ansrd, “Wōc in plīz, Mis,” n ś wz śut in ɖ pasij.

“No,” sd Lora, “I d’nt wont t cm in. I onli wont t līv ɖs bascit. Muɖr snt—”

Ɖ litl wmn in ɖ glūmi pasij sīmd nt t hv hŕd hr. “Step ɖs we, plīz, Mis,” ś sd in an ôli vôs, n Lora foloud hr.

Ś faund hrslf in a rećid litl lo cićn, lîtd bî a smoci lamp. Ɖr wz a wmn sitñ bfr ɖ fîr.

“Em,” sd ɖ litl crīćr hu hd let hr in. “Em! It’s a yuñ ledi.” Ś trnd t Lora. Ś sd mīnñli, “I’m ’r sistr, Mis. Y’l xkz ’r, w’nt y?”

“Ǒ, bt v cors!” sd Lora. “Plīz, plīz d’nt dstrb hr. I—I onli wont t līv—”

Bt at ɖt momnt ɖ wmn at ɖ fîr trnd rnd. Hr fes, puft p, red, wɖ swoḷn îz n swoḷn lips, lct teṛbl. Ś sīmd az ɖo ś cd’nt unḍstand ẃ Lora wz ɖr. Ẃt dd it mīn? Ẃ wz ɖs strenjr standñ in ɖ cićn wɖ a bascit? Ẃt wz it ol abt? N ɖ pur fes pucrd p agn.

“Ol rît, mî dir,” sd ɖ uɖr. “I’l ʈenc ɖ yuñ ledi.”

N agn ś bgan, “Y’l xkz hr, Mis, I’m śr,” n hr fes, swoḷn tù, traid an ôli smîl.

Lora onli wontd t gt ǎt, t gt awe. Ś wz bac in ɖ pasij. Ɖ dor opnd. Ś wōct stret ʈru intu ɖ bedrūm, ẃr ɖ ded man wz layñ.

“Y’d lîc a lc at ’im, wd’nt y?” sd Em’z sistr, n ś bruśt past Lora ovr t ɖ bed. “D’nt b afreid, mî las,”—n nǎ hr vôs sǎndd fond n slî, n fondli ś drù dǎn ɖ śīt—“’i lcs a picćr. Ɖr’z nʈñ t śo. Cm alñ, mî dir.”

Lora cem.

Ɖr le a yuñ man, fast aslip—slīpñ so sǎndli, so dīpli, ɖt h wz far, far awe fṛm ɖm bʈ. Ǒ, so rmot, so pīsfl. H wz drīmñ. Nvr wec him p agn. Hiz hed wz sunc in ɖ pilo, hiz îz wr clozd; ɖe wr blînd undr ɖ clozd îlidz. H wz gvn p t hiz drīm. Ẃt dd gardnpartiz n bascits n lês frocs matr t him? H wz far fṛm ol ɖoz ʈñz. H wz wundrfl, bytifl. Ẃl ɖe wr lafñ n ẃl ɖ band wz pleyñ, ɖs marvl hd cm t ɖ len. Hapi… hapi… Ol z wel, sd ɖt slīpñ fes. Ɖs z jst az it śd b. I am cntnt.

Bt ol ɖ sem y hd t crî, n ś cd’nt g ǎt v ɖ rūm wɖt seyñ smʈñ t him. Lora gev a lǎd ćîldiś sob.

“Fgiv mî hat,” ś sd.

N ɖs tîm ś dd’nt wêt fr Em’z sistr. Ś faund hr we ǎt v ɖ dor, dǎn ɖ paʈ, past ol ɖoz darc ppl. At ɖ cornr v ɖ len ś met Lóri.

H stept ǎt v ɖ śado. “Z ɖt y, Lora?”

“Yes.”

“Muɖr wz gtñ añśs. Wz it ol rît?”

“Yes, qt. Ǒ, Lóri!” Ś tc hiz arm, ś prest p agnst him.

“I se, y’r nt crayñ, r y?” asct hr bruɖr.

Lora śc hr hed. Ś wz.

Lóri pt hiz arm rnd hr śoldr. “D’nt crî,” h sd in hiz worm, luvñ vôs. “Wz it ōfl?”

“No,” sobd Lora. “It wz simpli marvḷs. Bt Lóri—” Ś stopt, ś lct at hr bruɖr. “Z’nt lîf,” ś stamrd, “z’nt lîf—” Bt ẃt lîf wz ś cd’nt xplen. No matr. H qt unḍstd.

Z’nt it, darlñ?” sd Lóri.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

In Ñspel: THE DAUGHTERS OF THE LATE COLONEL, by K Mansfield

ĆAPTRZ

IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII

Đ DŌTRZ OV Đ LÊT CRNL

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

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I

Ɖ  wīc aftr wz wn v ɖ biziist wīcs v ɖer livz. Īvn ẃn ɖe wnt t bed it wz onli ɖer bodiz ɖt le dǎn n restd; ɖer mîndz wnt on, ʈncñ ʈñz ǎt, tōcñ ʈñz ovr, wunḍrñ, dsîdñ, trayñ t rmembr ẃr…

Cnstanśa le lîc a staću, hr handz bî hr sîdz, hr fīt jst oṿlapñ ć uɖr, ɖ śīt p t hr ćin. Ś stérd at ɖ sīlñ.

“D y ʈnc faɖr wd mînd f w gev hiz tophat t ɖ portr?”

“Ɖ portr?” snapt Joẓfīn. “Ẃ evr ɖ portr? Ẃt a vri xtrordnri îdīa!”

“Bcz,” sd Cnstanśa slǒli, “h mst ofn hv t g t fynṛlz. N I notist at—at ɖ seṃtri ɖt h onli hd a bolr.” Ś pōzd. “I ʈt ɖen hǎ vri mć h’d aprīśiet a tophat. W òt t gv him a preznt, tù. H wz olwz vri nîs t faɖr.”

“Bt,” craid Joẓfīn, flǎnsñ on hr pilo n stẹrñ acrs ɖ darc atCnstanśa, “faɖr’z hed!” N sudnli, fr wn ōfl momnt, ś nirli gigld. Nt, v cors, ɖt ś flt in ɖ līst lîc giġlñ. It mst hv bn habit. Yirz ago, ẃn ɖe hd steid awec at nît tōcñ, ɖer bedz hd simpli hīvd. N nǎ ɖ portr’z hed, dis’pirñ, popt ǎt, lîc a candl, undr faɖr’z hat… Ɖ gigl mǎntd, mǎntd; ś clenćt hr handz; ś fòt it dǎn; ś frǎnd firsli at ɖ darc n sd “Rmembr” teṛbli strnli.

“W cn dsîd tmoro,” ś sd.

Cnstanśa hd notist nʈñ; ś said.

“D y ʈnc w òt t hv ǎr dresñgǎns dáid az wel?”

“Blac?” olmst śrīct Joẓfīn.

“Wel, ẃt els?” sd Cnstanśa. “I wz ʈncñ—it dz’nt sīm qt snsir, in a we, t wer blac ǎt v dorz n ẃn w’r fŭli drest, n ɖen ẃn w’r at hom—”

“Bt nbdi siz s,” sd Joẓfīn. Ś gev ɖ bedcloɖz sć a twić ɖt bʈ hr fīt bcem uncuvrd, n ś hd t crīp p ɖ piloz t gt ɖm wel undr agn.

“Cet dz,” sd Cnstanśa. “N ɖ postmn vri wel mt.”

Joẓfīn ʈt v hr darc-red slipprz, ẃć maćt hr dresñgǎn, n vCnstanśa’z feṿrit indefiṇt grīn wnz ẃć wnt wɖ hrz. Blac! Tū blac dresñgǎns n tū perz v blac wŭli slipprz, crīpñ of t ɖ baʈrūm lîc blac cats.

“I d’nt ʈnc it’s abṣlutli nesṣri,” sd ś.

Sîḷns. Ɖen Cnstanśa sd, “W śl hv t post ɖ peprz wɖ ɖ notis in ɖm tmoro t cać ɖ S’lón meil… Hǎ mni letrz hv w hd p tl nǎ?”

“Twenti-ʈri.”

Joẓfīn hd rplaid t ɖm ol, n twenti-ʈri tîmz ẃn ś cem t “W mis ǎr dir faɖr so mć” ś hd brocn dǎn n hd t yz hr hanc̣ćif, n on sm v ɖm īvn t sǒc p a vri lît-blu tir wɖ an éj v blotñpepr. Strenj! Ś cd’nt hv pt it on—bt twenti-ʈri tîmz. Īvn nǎ, ɖo, ẃn ś sd ovr t hrslf sadli “W mis ǎr dir faɖr so mć,” ś cd hv craid f ś’d wontd t.

“Hv y got inuf stamps?” cem fṛm Cnstanśa.

“Ǒ, hǎ cn I tel?” sd Joẓfīn crosli. “Ẃt’s ɖ gd v ascñ m ɖt nǎ?”

“I wz jst wunḍrñ,” sd Cnstanśa mîldli.

Sîḷns agn. Ɖr cem a litl rusl, a scuri, a hóp.

“A mǎs,” sd Cnstanśa.

“It c’nt b a mǎs bcz ɖr r’nt eni crumz,” sd Joẓfīn.

“Bt it dz’nt nǒ ɖr r’nt,” sd Cnstanśa.

A spazm v piti sqizd hr hart. Pur litl ʈñ! Ś wśt ś’d left a tîni pìs v biscit on ɖ dresñtebl. It wz ōfl t ʈnc v it nt fîndñ enʈñ. Ẃt wd it d?

“I c’nt ʈnc hǎ ɖe manij t liv at ol,” ś sd slǒli.

“Hu?” dmandd Joẓfīn.

N Cnstanśa sd mor lǎdli ɖn ś mnt t, “Mîs.”

Joẓfīn wz fyrịs. “Ǒ, ẃt nonsns, Cón!” ś sd. “Ẃt hv mîs got t d wɖ it? Y’r aslip.”

“I d’nt ʈnc I am,” sd Cnstanśa. Ś śut hr îz t mc śr. Ś wz.

Joẓfīn arćt hr spîn, pld p hr niz, foldd hr armz so ɖt hr fists cem undr hr irz, n prest hr ćīc hard agnst ɖ pilo.

___

II

Anɖr ʈñ ẃć compḷcetd matrz wz ɖe hd Nrs Andruz steyñ on wɖ ɖm ɖt wīc. It wz ɖer ǒn fōlt; ɖe hd asct hr. It wz Joẓfīn’z îdīa. On ɖ mornñ—wel, on ɖ last mornñ, ẃn ɖ doctr hd gn, Joẓfīn hd sd t Cnstanśa, “D’nt y ʈnc it wd b rɖr nîs f w asct Nrs Andruz t ste on fr a wīc az ǎr gest?”

“Vri nîs,” sd Cnstanśa.

“I ʈt,” wnt on Joẓfīn qcli, “I śd jst se ɖs afṭnun, aftr I’v peid hr, ‘Mî sistr n I wd b vri plizd, aftr ol y’v dn fr s, Nrs Andruz, f y wd ste on fr a wīc az ǎr gest.’ I’d hv t pt ɖt in abt biyñ ǎr gest in ces—”

“Ǒ, bt ś cd hardli xpct t b peid!” craid Cnstanśa.

“Wn nvr nz,” sd Joẓfīn sejli.

Nrs Andruz hd, v cors, jumt at ɖ îdīa. Bt it wz a boɖr. It mnt ɖe hd t hv reğlr sit-dǎn mīlz at ɖ propr tîmz, ẃr-az f ɖ’d bn alon ɖe cd jst hv asct Cet f ś wd’nt hv mîndd brññ ɖm a tre ẃrvr ɖe wr. N mīltîmz nǎ ɖt ɖ stren wz ovr wr rɖr a trîl.

Nrs Andruz wz simpli firfl abt butr. Riyli ɖe cd’nt hlp fīlñ ɖt abt butr, at līst, ś tc advantij v ɖer cîndnis. N ś hd ɖt maḍnñ habit v ascñ fr jst an inć mor v bred t finiś ẃt ś hd on hr plet, n ɖen, at ɖ last mǎʈfl, absnt-mîndidli—v cors it wz’nt absnt-mîndidli—tecñ anɖr hlpñ. Joẓfīn got vri red ẃn ɖs hapnd, n ś fasnd hr smōl, bīdlîc îz on ɖ teblcloʈ az f ś sw a mînyt strenj insect crīpñ ʈru ɖ web v it. Bt Cnstanśa’z loñ, pel fes leñʈnd n set, n ś gezd awe—awe—far ovr ɖ deẓt, t ẃr ɖt lîn v camlz unwaund lîc a ʈred v wŭl…

“Ẃn I wz wɖ Ledi Tycs,” sd Nrs Andruz, “ś hd sć a denti litl cntrevns fr ɖ butā. It wz a silvā Kpid baḷnst on ɖ—on ɖ bordā v a glas diś, holdñ a têni forc. N ẃn y wontd sm butā y simpli prest hiz ft n h bnt dǎn n spird y a pìs. It wz qt a gem.”

Joẓfīn cd hardli ber ɖt. Bt “I ʈnc ɖoz ʈñz r vri xtraṿgnt” wz ol ś sd.

“Bt ẃe?” asct Nrs Andruz, bīmñ ʈru hr îglasz. “Nwn, śrli, wd tec mor butā ɖn wn wontd—wd wn?”

“Rñ, Cón,” craid Joẓfīn. Ś cd’nt trust hrslf t rplî.

N prǎd yuñ Cet, ɖ inćantd prinses, cem in t si ẃt ɖ old tabiz wontd nǎ. Ś snaćt awe ɖer plets v moc smʈñ or uɖr n slapt dǎn a ẃît, teṛfaid bḷmonź.

“Jam, plīz, Cet,” sd Joẓfīn cîndli.

Cet nlt n brst opn ɖ sîdbōrd, liftd ɖ lid v ɖ jampot, sw it wz emti, pt it on ɖ tebl, n stōct of.

“I’m afreid,” sd Nrs Andruz a momnt lêtr, “ɖr z’nt eni.”

“Ǒ, ẃt a boɖr!” sd Joẓfīn. Ś bit hr lip. “Ẃt hd w betr d?”

Cnstanśa lct dybịs. “W c’nt dstrb Cet agn,” ś sd softli.

Nrs Andruz wêtd, smîlñ at ɖm bʈ. Hr îz wondrd, spayñ at evrʈñ bhnd hr îglasz. Cnstanśa in dsper wnt bac t hr camlz. Joẓfīn frǎnd heṿli—consntretd. F it hd’nt bn fr ɖs idiotic wmn ś n Cón wd, v cors, hv ītn ɖer bḷmonẓ́ wɖt. Sudnli ɖ îdīa cem.

“I nǒ,” ś sd. “Marṃled. Ɖr’z sm marṃled in ɖ sîdbōrd. Gt it, Cón.”

“I hop,” laft Nrs Andruz—n hr laf wz lîc a spūn tnc̣lñ agnst a meḍsinglas—“I hop it’s nt vri bitā marṃled.”

___

III

Bt, aftr ol, it wz nt loñ nǎ, n ɖen ś’d b gn fr gd. N ɖr wz no gtñ ovr ɖ fact ɖt ś hd bn vri cnd t faɖr. Ś hd nrst him de n nît at ɖ end. Indd, bʈ Cnstanśa n Joẓfīn flt prîṿtli ś hd rɖr oṿdn ɖ nt līvñ him at ɖ vri last. Fr ẃn ɖe hd gn in t se gdbî Nrs Andruz hd sat bsd hiz bed ɖ hol tîm, holdñ hiz rist n pritndñ t lc at hr woć. It cd’nt hv bn nesṣri. It wz so tactlis, tù. S’pozñ faɖr hd wontd t se smʈñ—smʈñ prîṿt t ɖm. Nt ɖt h hd. Ǒ, far fṛm it! H le ɖr, prpl, a darc, angri prpl in ɖ fes, n nvr īvn lct at ɖm ẃn ɖe cem in. Ɖen, az ɖe wr standñ ɖr, wunḍrñ ẃt t d, h hd sudnli opnd wn î. Ǒ, ẃt a difṛns it wd hv md, ẃt a difṛns t ɖer meṃri v him, hǎ mć īzịr t tel ppl abt it, f h hd onli opnd bʈ! Bt no—wn î onli. It glerd at ɖm a momnt n ɖen… wnt ǎt.

___

IV

It hd md it vri ōcẉd fr ɖm ẃn Mr. Farolz, v St. Jon’z, cōld ɖ sem afṭnun.

“Ɖ end wz qt pīsfl, I trust?” wr ɖ frst wrdz h sd az h glîdd twdz ɖm ʈru ɖ darc drw̃rūm.

“Qt,” sd Joẓfīn fentli. Ɖe bʈ huñ ɖer hedz. Bʈ v ɖm flt srtn ɖt î wz’nt at ol a pīsfl î.

“W’nt y sit dǎn?” sd Joẓfīn.

“Ʈanc y, Mis Pinr,” sd Mr. Farolz gretf̣li. H foldd hiz coțeilz n bgan t lowr himslf intu faɖr’z armćer, bt jst az h tućt it h olmst sprañ p n slid intu ɖ nxt ćer instd.

H coft. Joẓfīn claspt hr handz; Cnstanśa lct veg.

“I wont y t fīl, Mis Pinr,” sd Mr. Farolz, “n y, Mis Cnstanśa, ɖt I’m trayñ t b hlpfl. I wont t b hlpfl t y bʈ, f y wl let m. Ɖz r ɖ tîmz,” sd Mr. Farolz, vri simpli n rṇstli, “ẃn God mīnz s t b hlpfl t wn anɖr.”

“Ʈanc y vri mć, Mr. Farolz,” sd Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa.

“Nt at ol,” sd Mr. Farolz jntli. H drù hiz cid gluvz ʈru hiz fngrz n līnd fwd. “N f îɖr v y wd lîc a litl Cḿńn, îɖr or bʈ v y, hir n nǎ, y hv onli t tel m. A litl Cḿńn z ofn vri hlp—a gret cumf̣t,” h add tndrli.

Bt ɖ îdīa v a litl Cḿńn teṛfaid ɖm. Ẃt! In ɖ drw̃rūm bî ɖmslvz—wɖ no—no ōltr or enʈñ! Ɖ piano wd b mć tù hî, ʈt Cnstanśa, n Mr. Farolz cd nt poṣbli līn ovr it wɖ ɖ ćalis. N Cet wd b śr t cm brstñ in n inṭrupt ɖm, ʈt Joẓfīn. N s’pozñ ɖ bel rañ in ɖ midl? It mt b smbdi importnt—abt ɖer mōrnñ. Wd ɖe gt p revṛntli n g ǎt, or wd ɖe hv t wêt… in torćr?

“Phps y wl snd rnd a not bî yr gd Cet f y wd cer fr it lêtr,” sd Mr. Farolz.

“Ǒ yes, ʈanc y vri mć!” ɖe bʈ sd.

Mr. Farolz got p n tc hiz blac strw hat fṛm ɖ rǎnd tebl.

“N abt ɖ fynṛl,” h sd softli. “I me arenj ɖt—az yr dir faɖr’z old frend n yrz, Mis Pinr—n Mis Cnstanśa?”

Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa got p tù.

“I śd lîc it t b qt simpl,” sd Joẓfīn frmli, “n nt tù xpnsiv. At ɖ sem tîm, I śd lîc—”

“A gd wn ɖt wl last,” ʈt drīmi Cnstanśa, az f Joẓfīn wr bayñ a nîtgǎn. Bt, v cors, Joẓfīn dd’nt se ɖt. “Wn sūṭbl t ǎr faɖr’z pziśn.” Ś wz vri nrṿs.

“I’l run rnd t ǎr gd frend Mr. Nait,” sd Mr. Farolz suɖñli. “I wl asc him t cm n si y. I am śr y wl fînd him vri hlpfl indd.”

___

V

Wel, at eni ret, ol ɖt part v it wz ovr, ɖo nɖr v ɖm cd poṣbli b’liv ɖt faɖr wz nvr cmñ bac. Joẓfīn hd hd a momnt v abṣlut terr at ɖ seṃtri, ẃl ɖ cofin wz lowrd, t ʈnc ɖt ś n Cnstanśa hd dn ɖs ʈñ wɖt ascñ hiz pmiśn. Ẃt wd faɖr se ẃn h faund ǎt? Fr h wz baund t fînd ǎt snr or lêtr. H olwz dd. “Berid. Y tū grlz hd m berid!” Ś hŕd hiz stic ʈumpñ. Ǒ, ẃt wd ɖe se? Ẃt poṣbl xks cd ɖe mc? It sǎndd sć an apōlñli hartlis ʈñ t d. Sć a wicid advantij t tec v a prsn bcz h hapnd t b hlplis at ɖ momnt. Ɖ uɖr ppl sīmd t trīt it ol az a matr v cors. Ɖe wr strenjrz; ɖe cd’nt b xpctd t unḍstand ɖt faɖr wz ɖ vri last prsn fr sć a ʈñ t hapn t. No, ɖ intîr blem fr it ol wd fōl on hr n Cnstanśa. N ɖ xpns, ś ʈt, stepñ intu ɖ tît-butnd cab. Ẃn ś hd t śo him ɖ bílz. Ẃt wd h se ɖen?

Ś hŕd him abṣlutli rorñ. “N d y xpct m t pe fr ɖs jimcrac xcrśn v yrz?”

“Ǒ,” grond pur Joẓfīn alǎd, “w śd’nt hv dn it, Cón!”

N Cnstanśa, pel az a lemn in ol ɖt blacnis, sd in a frîtnd ẃispr, “Dn ẃt, Jug?”

“Let ɖm b-beri faɖr lîc ɖt,” sd Joẓfīn, brecñ dǎn n crayñ intu hr ny, qir-smelñ mōrnñhanc̣ćif.

“Bt ẃt els cd w hv dn?” asct Cnstanśa wundrñli. “W cd’nt hv cept him, Jug—w cd’nt hv cept him unberid. At eni ret, nt in a flat ɖt sîz.”

Joẓfīn blù hr nǒz; ɖ cab wz dredf̣li stufi.

“I d’nt nǒ,” ś sd f’lornli. “It z ol so dredfl. I fīl w òt t hv traid t, jst fr a tîm at līst. T mc prf̣cli śr. Wn ʈñ’z srtn”—n hr tirz sprañ ǎt agn—“faɖr wl nvr fgiv s fr ɖs—nvr!”

___

VI

Faɖr wd nvr fgiv ɖm. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖe flt mor ɖn evr ẃn, tū mornñz lêtr, ɖe wnt intu hiz rūm t g ʈru hiz ʈñz. Ɖe hd dscust it qt cāmli. It wz īvn dǎn on Joẓfīn’z list v ʈñz t b dn. “G ʈru faɖr’z ʈñz n setl abt ɖm.” Bt ɖt wz a vri difṛnt matr fṛm seyñ aftr brecfst:

“Wel, r y redi, Cón?”

“Yes, Jug—ẃn y r.”

“Ɖen I ʈnc w’d betr gt it ovr.”

It wz darc in ɖ hōl. It hd bn a rūl fr yirz nvr t dstrb faɖr in ɖ mornñ, ẃtvr hapnd. N nǎ ɖe wr gwñ t opn ɖ dor wɖt nocñ īvn… Cnstanśa’z îz wr inorṃs at ɖ îdīa; Joẓfīn flt wìc in ɖ niz.

“Y—y g frst,” ś gaspt, pśñ Cnstanśa.

Bt Cnstanśa sd, az ś olwz hd sd on ɖoz oceẓ́nz, “No, Jug, ɖt’s nt fer. Y’r ɖ eldist.”

Joẓfīn wz jst gwñ t se—ẃt at uɖr tîmz ś wd’nt hv ǒnd t fr ɖ wrld—ẃt ś cept fr hr vri last wepn, “Bt y’r ɖ tōlist,” ẃn ɖe notist ɖt ɖ cićndor wz opn, n ɖr std Cet…

“Vri stif,” sd Joẓfīn, graspñ ɖ dorhandl n dwñ hr bst t trn it. Az f enʈñ evr dsivd Cet!

It cd’nt b hlpt. Ɖt grl wz… Ɖen ɖ dor wz śut bhnd ɖm, bt—bt ɖe wr’nt in faɖr’z rūm at ol. Ɖe mt hv sudnli wōct ʈru ɖ wōl bî mstec intu a difṛnt flat oltgɖr. Wz ɖ dor jst bhnd ɖm? Ɖe wr tù frîtnd t lc. Joẓfīn ń ɖt f it wz it wz holdñ itslf tît śut; Cnstanśa flt ɖt, lîc ɖ dorz in drīmz, it hd’nt eni handl at ol. It wz ɖ coldnis ẃć md it so ōfl. Or ɖ ẃîtnis—ẃć? Evrʈñ wz cuvrd. Ɖ blîndz wr dǎn, a cloʈ huñ ovr ɖ mirr, a śīt hid ɖ bed; a hyj fan v ẃît pepr fild ɖ fîrples. Cnstanśa timidli pt ǎt hr hand; ś olmst xpctd a snǒflec t fōl. Joẓfīn flt a qir tnġlñ in hr nǒz, az f hr nǒz wz frizñ. Ɖen a cab clop-clopt ovr ɖ coblz b’lo, n ɖ qayt sīmd t śec intu litl pìsz.

“I hd betr pl p a blînd,” sd Joẓfīn brevli.

“Yes, it mt b a gd îdīa,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa.

Ɖe onli gev ɖ blînd a tuć, bt it flù p n ɖ cord flù aftr, rolñ rnd ɖ blîndstic, n ɖ litl tasl tapt az f trayñ t gt fri. Ɖt wz tù mć fr Cnstanśa.

“D’nt y ʈnc—d’nt y ʈnc w mt pt it of fr anɖr de?” ś ẃisprd.

“Ẃ?” snapt Joẓfīn, fīlñ, az yẓ́l, mć betr nǎ ɖt ś ń fr srtn ɖt Cnstanśa wz teṛfaid. “It’s got t b dn. Bt I d wś y wd’nt ẃispr, Cón.”

“I dd’nt nǒ I wz ẃisṗrñ,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa.

“N ẃ d y cīp stẹrñ at ɖ bed?” sd Joẓfīn, rezñ hr vôs olmst dfayntli. “Ɖr’z nʈñ on ɖ bed.”

“Ǒ, Jug, d’nt se so!” sd pur Cóni. “At eni ret, nt so lǎdli.”

Joẓfīn flt hrslf ɖt ś hd gn tù far. Ś tc a wîd swrv ovr t ɖ ćst v drorz, pt ǎt hr hand, bt qcli drù it bac agn.

“Cóni!” ś gaspt, n ś ẃīld rnd n līnd wɖ hr bac agnst ɖ ćst v drorz.

“Ǒ, Jug—ẃt?”

Joẓfīn cd onli gler. Ś hd ɖ most xtrordnri fīlñ ɖt ś hd jst iscept smʈñ simpli ōfl. Bt hǎ cd ś xplen t Cnstanśa ɖt faɖr wz in ɖ ćst v drorz? H wz in ɖ top dror wɖ hiz hanc̣ćīfs n nectîz, or in ɖ nxt wɖ hiz śrts n pjamaz, or in ɖ lǒist v ol wɖ hiz sūts. H wz woćñ ɖr, hidn awe—jst bhnd ɖ dorhandl—redi t sprñ.

Ś pld a funi old-faśnd fes at Cnstanśa, jst az ś yst t in ɖ old dez ẃn ś wz gwñ t crî.

“I c’nt opn,” ś nirli weild.

“No, d’nt, Jug,” ẃisprd Cnstanśa rṇstli. “It’s mć betr nt t. D’nt let’s opn enʈñ. At eni ret, nt fr a loñ tîm.”

“Bt—bt it sīmz so wìc,” sd Joẓfīn, brecñ dǎn.

“Bt ẃ nt b wìc fr wns, Jug?” argyd Cnstanśa, ẃisṗrñ qt firsli. “F it z wìc.” N hr pel stér flù fṛm ɖ loct raitñtebl—so sef—t ɖ hyj gliṭrñ wordrob, n ś bgan t briɖ in a qir, pantñ we. “Ẃ śd’nt w b wìc fr wns in ǎr lîvz, Jug? It’s qt xkẓbl. Let’s b wìc—b wìc, Jug. It’s mć nîsr t b wìc ɖn t b stroñ.”

N ɖen ś dd wn v ɖoz amezñli bold ʈñz ɖt ś’d dn abt twîs bfr in ɖer lîvz: ś marćt ovr t ɖ wordrob, trnd ɖ ci, n tc it ǎt v ɖ loc. Tc it ǎt v ɖ loc n hld it p t Joẓfīn, śowñ Joẓfīn bî hr xtrordnri smîl ɖt ś ń ẃt ś’d dn—ś’d risct dlibṛtli faɖr biyñ in ɖr amñ hiz oṿcots.

F ɖ hyj wordrob hd lrćt fwd, hd craśt dǎn on Cnstanśa, Joẓfīn wd’nt hv bn s’prîzd. On ɖ contrri, ś wd hv ʈt it ɖ onli sūṭbl ʈñ t hapn. Bt nʈñ hapnd. Onli ɖ rūm sīmd qaytr ɖn evr, n ɖ bigr flecs v cold er fél on Joẓfīn’z śoldrz n niz. Ś bgan t śivr.

“Cm, Jug,” sd Cnstanśa, stl wɖ ɖt ōfl caḷs smîl, n Joẓfīn foloud jst az ś hd ɖt last tîm, ẃn Cnstanśa hd pśt Beni intu ɖ rǎnd pond.

___

VII

Bt ɖ stren tld on ɖm ẃn ɖe wr bac in ɖ dînñrūm. Ɖe sat dǎn, vri śeci, n lct at ć uɖr.

“I d’nt fīl I cn setl t enʈñ,” sd Joẓfīn, “untl I’v hd smʈñ. D y ʈnc w cd asc Cet fr tū cups v hot wōtr?”

“I riyli d’nt si ẃ w śd’nt,” sd Cnstanśa cerf̣li. Ś wz qt norml agn. “I w’nt rñ. I’l g t ɖ cićndor n asc hr.”

“Yes, d,” sd Joẓfīn, sncñ dǎn intu a ćer. “Tel hr, jst tū cups, Cón, nʈñ els—on a tre.”

“Ś nīd’nt īvn pt ɖ jug on, nīd ś?” sd Cnstanśa, az ɖo Cet mt vri wel cmplen f ɖ jug hd bn ɖr.

“Ǒ no, srtnli nt! Ɖ jug’z nt at ol nesṣri. Ś cn por it d’rect ǎt v ɖ cetl,” craid Joẓfīn, fīlñ ɖt wd b a lebr-sevñ indd.

Ɖer cold lips qivrd at ɖ grīniś brimz. Joẓfīn crvd hr smōl red handz rnd ɖ cup; Cnstanśa sat p n blù on ɖ wevi stīm, mcñ it flutr fṛm wn sîd t ɖ uɖr.

“Spīcñ v Beni,” sd Joẓfīn.

N ɖo Beni hd’nt bn mnśnd Cnstanśa imīɉtli lct az ɖo h hd.

“H’l xpct s t snd him smʈñ v faɖr’z, v cors. Bt it’s so dificlt t nǒ ẃt t snd t S’lón.”

“Y mīn ʈñz gt unstuc so on ɖ vôij,” mrmrd Cnstanśa.

“No, lost,” sd Joẓfīn śarpli. “Y nǒ ɖr’z no post. Onli runrz.”

Bʈ pōzd t woć a blac man in ẃît linn drorz runñ ʈru ɖ pel fīldz fr dir lîf, wɖ a larj brǎn-pepr parsl in hiz handz. Joẓfīn’z blac man wz tîni; h scurid alñ gliṣnñ lîc an ant. Bt ɖr wz smʈñ blînd n tîrlis abt Cnstanśa’z tōl, ʈin felo, ẃć md him, ś dsîdd, a vri unpleznt prsn indd… On ɖ vranda, drest ol in ẃît n wẹrñ a corc helmit, std Beni. Hiz rît hand śc p n dǎn, az faɖr’z dd ẃn h wz impeśnt. N bhnd him, nt in ɖ līst inṭrestd, sat Hilda, ɖ uņoun sistr-in-lw. Ś swuñ in a cen rocr n flict ovr ɖ līvz v ɖ Tatlr.

“I ʈnc hiz woć wd b ɖ most sūṭbl preznt,” sd Joẓfīn.

Cnstanśa lct p; ś sīmd s’prîzd.

“Ǒ, wd y trust a gold woć t a netiv?”

“Bt v cors, I’d dsgîz it,” sd Joẓfīn. “Nwn wd nǒ it wz a woć.” Ś lîct ɖ îdīa v hvñ t mc a parsl sć a krịs śep ɖt nwn cd poṣbli ges ẃt it wz. Ś īvn ʈt fr a momnt v hîdñ ɖ woć in a naro cardbōrd corsitbox ɖt ś’d cept bî hr fr a loñ tîm, wêtñ fr it t cm in fr smʈñ. It wz sć bytifl, frm cardbōrd. Bt, no, it wd’nt b aproprịt fr ɖs oceẓ́n. It hd leṭrñ on it: Mīdịm Wimin’z 28. Xtra Frm Buscs. It wd b olmst tù mć v a s’prîz fr Beni t opn ɖt n fînd faɖr’z woć insd.

“N v cors it z’nt az ɖo it wd b gwñ—ticñ, I mīn,” sd Cnstanśa, hu wz stl ʈncñ v ɖ netiv luv v juwlri. “At līst,” ś add, “it wd b vri strenj f aftr ol ɖt tîm it wz.”

___

VIII

Joẓfīn md no rplî. Ś hd floun of on wn v hr tanjnts. Ś hd sudnli ʈt v Siril. Wz’nt it mor yẓ́l fr ɖ onli gransun t hv ɖ woć? N ɖen dir Siril wz so aprīṣ́tiv, n a gold woć mnt so mć t a yuñ man. Beni, in ol probbiḷti, hd qt got ǎt v ɖ habit v woćz; men so sldm wòr weistcots in ɖoz hot clîṃts. Ẃr-az Siril in Lundn wòr ɖm fṛm yir’z end t yir’z end. N it wd b so nîs fr hr n Cnstanśa, ẃn h cem t ti, t nǒ it wz ɖr. “I si y’v got on granfaɖr’z woć, Siril.” It wd b smhǎ so saṭsfactri.

Dir bô! Ẃt a blo hiz swīt, simṗʈetic litl not hd bn! V cors ɖe qt unḍstd; bt it wz most unforćṇt.

“It wd hv bn sć a pônt, hvñ him,” sd Joẓfīn.

“N h wd hv injoid it so,” sd Cnstanśa, nt ʈncñ ẃt ś wz seyñ.

Hvr, az sn az h got bac h wz cmñ t ti wɖ hiz āntiz. Siril t ti wz wn v ɖer rer trīts.

“Nǎ, Siril, y ms’nt b frîtnd v ǎr cecs. Yr Ānti Cón n I bòt ɖm at Buẓd’z ɖs mornñ. W nǒ ẃt a man’z aṗtît z. So d’nt b aśemd v mcñ a gd ti.”

Joẓfīn cut reclisli intu ɖ rić darc cec ɖt std fr hr wintrgluvz or ɖ soling n hìlñ v Cnstanśa’z onli rspctbl śuz. Bt Siril wz most unmanlîc in aṗtît.

“I se, Ānt Joẓfīn, I simpli c’nt. I’v onli jst hd lunć, y nǒ.”

“Ǒ, Siril, ɖt c’nt b tru! It’s aftr for,” craid Joẓfīn. Cnstanśa sat wɖ hr nîf pôzd ovr ɖ ćocḷtrol.

“It z, ol ɖ sem,” sd Siril. “I hd t mīt a man at Victoria, n h cept m haññ abt tl… ɖr wz onli tîm t gt lunć n t cm on hir. N h gev m—fȳ”—Siril pt hiz hand t hiz fōrhed—“a t’rific blo-ǎt,” h sd.

It wz dis’pôntñ—tde v ol dez. Bt stl h cd’nt b xpctd t nǒ.

“Bt y’l hv a mrañ, w’nt y, Siril?” sd Ānt Joẓfīn. “Ɖz mrañz wr bòt speśli fr y. Yr dir faɖr wz so fond v ɖm. W wr śr y r, tù.”

“I am, Ānt Joẓfīn,” craid Siril ardntli. “D y mînd f I tec haf t bgin wɖ?”

“Nt at ol, dir bô; bt w ms’nt let y of wɖ ɖt.”

“Z yr dir faɖr stl so fond v mrañz?” asct Ānti Cón jntli. Ś winst fentli az ś brouc ʈru ɖ śel v hrz.

“Wel, I d’nt qt nǒ, Ānti Cón,” sd Siril brīẓli.

At ɖt ɖe bʈ lct p.

“D’nt nǒ?” olmst snapt Joẓfīn. “D’nt nǒ a ʈñ lîc ɖt abt yr ǒn faɖr, Siril?”

“Śrli,” sd Ānti Cón softli.

Siril traid t laf it of. “Ǒ, wel,” h sd, “it’s sć a loñ tîm sins—” H fōltrd. H stopt. Ɖer fesz wr tù mć fr him.

“Īvn so,” sd Joẓfīn.

N Ānti Cón lct.

Siril pt dǎn hiz tīcup. “Wêt a bit,” h craid. “Wêt a bit, Ānt Joẓfīn. Ẃt am I ʈncñ v?”

H lct p. Ɖe wr bginñ t brîtn. Siril slapt hiz ni.

“V cors,” h sd, “it wz mrañz. Hǎ cd I hv fgotn? Yes, Ānt Joẓfīn, y’r prf̣cli rît. Faɖr’z most frîtf̣li cīn on mrañz.”

Ɖe dd’nt onli bīm. Ānt Joẓfīn wnt scarlit wɖ pleẓ́r; Ānti Cón gev a dīp, dīp sai.

“N nǎ, Siril, y mst cm n si faɖr,” sd Joẓfīn. “H nz y wr cmñ tde.”

“Rît,” sd Siril, vri frmli n harṭli. H got p fṛm hiz ćer; sudnli h glanst at ɖ cloc.

“I se, Ānti Cón, z’nt yr cloc a bit slo? I’v got t mīt a man at—at Padñtn jst aftr fîv. I’m afreid I ś’nt b ebl t ste vri loñ wɖ granfaɖr.”

“Ǒ, h w’nt xpct y t ste vri loñ!” sd Ānt Joẓfīn.

Cnstanśa wz stl gezñ at ɖ cloc. Ś cd’nt mc p hr mînd f it wz fast or slo. It wz wn or ɖ uɖr, ś flt olmst srtn v ɖt. At eni ret, it hd bn.

Siril stl lingrd. “R’nt y cmñ alñ, Ānti Cón?”

“V cors,” sd Joẓfīn, “w śl ol g. Cm on, Cón.”

___

IX

Ɖe noct at ɖ dor, n Siril foloud hiz ānts intu granfaɖr’z hot, swītiś rūm.

“Cm on,” sd Granfaɖr Pinr. “D’nt hañ abt. Ẃt z it? Ẃt’v y bn p t?”

H wz sitñ in frunt v a rorñ fîr, claspñ hiz stic. H hd a ʈic rug ovr hiz niz. On hiz lap ɖr le a bytifl pel yelo silc hanc̣ćif.

“It’s Siril, faɖr,” sd Joẓfīn śîli. N ś tc Siril’z hand n léd him fwd.

“Gd afṭnun, granfaɖr,” sd Siril, trayñ t tec hiz hand ǎt v Ānt Joẓfīn’z. Granfaɖr Pinr śot hiz îz at Siril in ɖ we h wz feṃs fr. Ẃr wz Ānti Cón? Ś std on ɖ uɖr sîd v Ānt Joẓfīn; hr loñ armz huñ dǎn in frunt v hr; hr handz wr claspt. Ś nvr tc hr îz of granfaɖr.

“Wel,” sd Granfaɖr Pinr, bginñ t ʈump, “ẃt hv y got t tel m?”

Ẃt hd h, ẃt hd h got t tel him? Siril flt himslf smîlñ lîc a prfict imḅsil. Ɖ rūm wz stîf̣lñ, tù.

Bt Ānt Joẓfīn cem t hiz rescy. Ś craid brîtli, “Siril sz hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz, faɖr dir.”

“Ê?” sd Granfaɖr Pinr, crvñ hiz hand lîc a prpl mrañśel ovr wn ir.

Joẓfīn rpitd, “Siril sz hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

“C’nt hír,” sd old Crnl Pinr. N h wevd Joẓfīn awe wɖ hiz stic, ɖen pôntd wɖ hiz stic t Siril. “Tel m ẃt Ś’z trayñ t se,” h sd.

(Mî God!) “Mst I?” sd Siril, bluśñ n stẹrñ at Ānt Joẓfīn.

“D, dir,” ś smîld. “It wl plīz him so mć.”

“Cm on, ǎt wɖ it!” craid Crnl Pinr tsṭli, bginñ t ʈump agn.

N Siril līnd fwd n yeld, “Faɖr’z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

At ɖt Granfaɖr Pinr jumt az ɖo h hd bn śot.

“D’nt śǎt!” h craid. “Ẃt’s ɖ matr wɖ ɖ bô? Mrañz! Ẃt abt ’m?”

“Ǒ, Ānt Joẓfīn, mst w g on?” grond Siril despṛtli.

“It’s qt ol rît, dir bô,” sd Ānt Joẓfīn, az ɖo h n ś wr at ɖ dntist’s tgɖr. “H’l unḍstand in a minit.” N ś ẃisprd t Siril, “H’z gtñ a bit def, y nǒ.” Ɖen ś līnd fwd n riyli bȍld at Granfaɖr Pinr, “Siril onli wontd t tel y, faɖr dir, ɖt hiz faɖr z stl vri fond v mrañz.”

Crnl Pinr hŕd ɖt tîm, hŕd n brūdd, lcñ Siril p n dǎn.

“Ẃt an estrordnri ʈñ!” sd old Granfaɖr Pinr. “Ẃt an estrordnri ʈñ t cm ol ɖs we hir t tel m!”

N Siril flt it wz.

“Yes, I śl snd Siril ɖ woć,” sd Joẓfīn.

“Ɖt wd b vri nîs,” sd Cnstanśa. “I sīm t rmembr last tîm h cem ɖr wz sm litl trubl abt ɖ tîm.”

___

X

Ɖe wr inṭruptd bî Cet brstñ ʈru ɖ dor in hr yẓ́l faśn, az ɖo ś hd dscuvrd sm sīcrit panl in ɖ wōl.

“Fraid or bôld?” asct ɖ bold vôs.

Fraid or bôld? Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa wr qt bwildrd fr ɖ momnt. Ɖe cd hardli tec it in.

“Fraid or bôld ẃt, Cet?” asct Joẓfīn, trayñ t bgin t consntret.

Cet gev a lǎd snif. “Fiś.”

“Wel, ẃ dd’nt y se so imīɉtli?” Joẓfīn rproćt hr jntli. “Hǎ cd y xpct s t unḍstand, Cet? Ɖr r a gret mni ʈñz in ɖs wrld y nǒ, ẃć r fraid or bôld.” N aftr sć a dsple v curij ś sd qt brîtli t Cnstanśa, “Ẃć d y prifŕ, Cón?”

“I ʈnc it mt b nîs t hv it fraid,” sd Cnstanśa. “On ɖ uɖr hand, v cors, bôld fiś z vri nîs. I ʈnc I prifŕ bʈ īqli wel… Unls y… In ɖt ces—”

“I śl frî it,” sd Cet, n ś bǎnst bac, līvñ ɖer dor opn n slamñ ɖ dor v hr cićn.

Joẓfīn gezd at Cnstanśa; ś rezd hr pel îbrǎz untl ɖe ripld awe intu hr pel her. Ś got p. Ś sd in a vri lofti, impozñ we, “D y mînd folowñ m intu ɖ drw̃rūm, Cnstanśa? I’v got smʈñ v gret importns t dscus wɖ y.”

Fr it wz olwz t ɖ drw̃rūm ɖe rtîrd ẃn ɖe wontd t tōc ovr Cet.

Joẓfīn clozd ɖ dor mīnñli. “Sit dǎn, Cnstanśa,” ś sd, stl vri grand. Ś mt hv bn rsivñ Cnstanśa fr ɖ frst tîm. N Cón lct rnd vegli fr a ćer, az ɖo ś flt indd qt a strenjr.

“Nǎ ɖ qsćn z,” sd Joẓfīn, bndñ fwd, “ẃɖr w śl cīp hr or nt.”

“Ɖt z ɖ qsćn,” agrìd Cnstanśa.

“N ɖs tîm,” sd Joẓfīn frmli, “w mst cm t a defiṇt dsiẓ́n.”

Cnstanśa lct fr a momnt az ɖo ś mt bgin gwñ ovr ol ɖ uɖr tîmz, bt ś pld hrslf tgɖr n sd, “Yes, Jug.”

“Y si, Cón,” xplend Joẓfīn, “evrʈñ z so ćenjd nǎ.” Cnstanśa lct p qcli. “I mīn,” wnt on Joẓfīn, “w’r nt dpndnt on Cet az w wr.” N ś bluśt fentli. “Ɖr’z nt faɖr t cc fr.”

“Ɖt z prf̣cli tru,” agrìd Cnstanśa. “Faɖr srtnli dz’nt wont eni ccñ nǎ, ẃtvr els—”

Joẓfīn brouc in śarpli, “Y’r nt slīpi, r y, Cón?”

“Slīpi, Jug?” Cnstanśa wz wîd-aid.

“Wel, consntret mor,” sd Joẓfīn śarpli, n ś rtrnd t ɖ subjict. “Ẃt it cmz t z, f w dd”—n ɖs ś bérli briɖd, glansñ at ɖ dor—“gv Cet notis”—ś rezd hr vôs agn—“w cd manij ǎr ǒn fūd.”

“Ẃ nt?” craid Cnstanśa. Ś cd’nt hlp smîlñ. Ɖ îdīa wz so xîtñ. Ś claspt hr handz. “Ẃt śd w liv on, Jug?”

“Ǒ, egz in verịs formz!” sd Jug, lofti agn. “N, bsdz, ɖr r ol ɖ cct fūdz.”

“Bt I’v olwz hŕd,” sd Cnstanśa, “ɖe r cnsidrd so vri xpnsiv.”

“Nt f wn baiz ɖm in moḍreśn,” sd Joẓfīn. Bt ś tòr hrslf awe fṛm ɖs faṣnetñ bîpaʈ n dragd Cnstanśa aftr hr.

“Ẃt w’v got t dsîd nǎ, hvr, z ẃɖr w riyli d trust Cet or nt.”

Cnstanśa līnd bac. Hr flat litl laf flù fṛm hr lips.

“Z’nt it krịs, Jug,” sd ś, “ɖt jst on ɖs wn subjict I’v nvr bn ebl t qt mc p mî mînd?”

___

XI

Ś  nvr hd. Ɖ hol dificlti wz t pruv enʈñ. Hǎ dd wn pruv ʈñz, hǎ cd wn? S’poz Cet hd std in frunt v hr n dlibṛtli md a fes. Mt’nt ś vri wel hv bn in pen? Wz’nt it imposbl, at eni ret, t asc Cet f ś wz mcñ a fes at hr? F Cet ansrd “No”—n, v cors, ś wd se “No”—ẃt a pziśn! Hǎ undigṇfaid! Ɖen agn Cnstanśa sspctd, ś wz olmst srtn ɖt Cet wnt t hr ćst v drorz ẃn ś n Joẓfīn wr ǎt, nt t tec ʈñz bt t spî. Mni tîmz ś hd cm bac t fînd hr aṃʈist cros in ɖ most unlîcli plesz, undr hr lês tîz or on top v hr īvnñ Brʈa. Mor ɖn wns ś hd leid a trap fr Cet. Ś hd arenjd ʈñz in a speśl ordr n ɖen cōld Joẓfīn t witnis.

“Y si, Jug?”

“Qt, Cón.”

“Nǎ w śl b ebl t tel.”

Bt, ǒ dir, ẃn ś dd g t lc, ś wz az far of fṛm a prūf az evr! F enʈñ wz dsplest, it mt so vri wel hv hapnd az ś clozd ɖ dror; a jolt mt hv dn it so īẓli.

“Y cm, Jug, n dsîd. I riyli c’nt. It’s tù dificlt.”

Bt aftr a pōz n a loñ gler Joẓfīn wd sai, “Nǎ y’v pt ɖ dǎt intu mî mînd, Cón, I’m śr I c’nt tel mslf.”

“Wel, w c’nt pspon it agn,” sd Joẓfīn. “F w pspon it ɖs tîm—”

___

XII

Bt at ɖt momnt in ɖ strīt b’lo a baṛl-orgn struc p. Joẓfīn n Cnstanśa sprañ t ɖer fīt tgɖr.

“Run, Cón,” sd Joẓfīn. “Run qcli. Ɖr’z sixpns on ɖ—”

Ɖen ɖe rmembrd. It dd’nt matr. Ɖe wd nvr hv t stop ɖ orgngrîndr agn. Nvr agn wd ś n Cnstanśa b tld t mc ɖt munci tec hiz nôz smẃr els. Nvr wd sǎnd ɖt lǎd, strenj belo ẃn faɖr ʈt ɖe wr nt huriyñ inuf. Ɖ orgngrîndr mt ple ɖr ol de n ɖ stic wd nt ʈump.

It nvr wl ʈump agn,

It nvr wl ʈump agn,

pleid ɖ baṛl-orgn.

Ẃt wz Cnstanśa ʈncñ? Ś hd sć a strenj smîl; ś lct difṛnt. Ś cd’nt b gwñ t crî.

“Jug, Jug,” sd Cnstanśa softli, presñ hr handz tgɖr. “D y nǒ ẃt de it z? It’s Saṭde. It’s a wīc tde, a hol wīc.”

A wīc sins faɖr daid,

A wīc sins faɖr daid,

craid ɖ baṛl-orgn. N Joẓfīn, tù, fgot t b practicl n snṣbl; ś smîld fentli, strenjli. On ɖ Indịn carpit ɖr fél a sqer v súnlît, pel red; it cem n wnt n cem—n steid, dīpnd—untl it śon olmst goldn.

“Ɖ sún’z ǎt,” sd Joẓfīn, az ɖo it riyli matrd.

A prfict fǎntn v buḅlñ nots śc fṛm ɖ baṛl-orgn, rǎnd, brît nots, cerlisli scatrd.

Cnstanśa liftd hr big, cold handz az f t cać ɖm, n ɖen hr handz fél agn. Ś wōct ovr t ɖ mantlpìs t hr feṿrit Bda. N ɖ ston n gílt imij, huz smîl olwz gev hr sć a qir fīlñ, olmst a pen n yt a pleznt pen, sīmd tde t b mor ɖn smîlñ. H ń smʈñ; h hd a sīcrit. “I nǒ smʈñ ɖt y d’nt nǒ,” sd hr Bda. Ǒ, ẃt wz it, ẃt cd it b? N yt ś hd olwz flt ɖr wz… smʈñ.

Ɖ súnlît prest ʈru ɖ windoz, ʈīvd its we in, flaśt its lît ovr ɖ frnićr n ɖ foṭgrafs. Joẓfīn woćt it. Ẃn it cem t muɖr’z foṭgraf, ɖ inlarjmnt ovr ɖ piano, it lingrd az ɖo puzld t fînd so litl rmend v muɖr, xpt ɖ irñz śept lîc tîni pgodaz n a blac feɖr boa. Ẃ dd ɖ foṭgrafs v ded ppl olwz fed so? wundrd Joẓfīn. Az sn az a prsn wz ded ɖer foṭgraf daid tù. Bt, v cors, ɖs wn v muɖr wz vri old. It wz ʈrti-fîv yirz old. Joẓfīn rmembrd standñ on a ćer n pôntñ ǎt ɖt feɖr boa t Cnstanśa n telñ hr ɖt it wz a snec ɖt hd cild ɖer muɖr in S’lón… Wd evrʈñ hv bn difṛnt f muɖr hd’nt daid? Ś dd’nt si ẃ. Ānt Floṛns hd livd wɖ ɖm untl ɖe hd left scūl, n ɖe hd muvd ʈri tîmz n hd ɖer yirli hoḷde n… n ɖr’d bn ćenjz v srvnts, v cors.

Sm litl sparoz, yuñ sparoz ɖe sǎndd, ćrpt on ɖ windolej. Yīp—iyīp—yīp. Bt Joẓfīn flt ɖe wr nt sparoz, nt on ɖ windolej. It wz insd hr, ɖt qir litl crayñ nôz. Yīp—iyīp—yīp. Ā, ẃt wz it crayñ, so wìc n f’lorn?

F muɖr hd livd, mt ɖe hv marid? Bt ɖr hd bn nbdi fr ɖm t mari. Ɖr hd bn faɖr’z Anglo-Indịn frendz bfr h qoṛld wɖ ɖm. Bt aftr ɖt ś n Cnstanśa nvr met a sngl man xpt clrjiṃn. Hǎ dd wn mīt men? Or īvn f ɖ’d met ɖm, hǎ cd ɖe hv got t nǒ men wel inuf t b mor ɖn strenjrz? Wn réd v ppl hvñ advnćrz, biyñ foloud, n so on. Bt nbdi hd evr foloud Cnstanśa n hr. Ǒ yes, ɖr hd bn wn yir at Īstbōrn a mstirịs man at ɖer bōrdñhǎs hu hd pt a not on ɖ jug v hot wōtr ǎtsd ɖer bedrūm dor! Bt bî ɖ tîm Cóni hd faund it ɖ stīm hd md ɖ raitñ tù fent t rīd; ɖe cd’nt īvn mc ǎt t ẃć v ɖm it wz adrest. N h hd left nxt de. N ɖt wz ol. Ɖ rest hd bn lcñ aftr faɖr, n at ɖ sem tîm cīpñ ǎt v faɖr’z we. Bt nǎ? Bt nǎ? Ɖ ʈīvñ sún tućt Joẓfīn jntli. Ś liftd hr fes. Ś wz drwn ovr t ɖ windo bî jntl bīmz…

Untl ɖ baṛl-orgn stopt pleyñ Cnstanśa steid bfr ɖ Bda, wunḍrñ, bt nt az yẓ́l, nt vegli. Ɖs tîm hr wundr wz lîc loññ. Ś rmembrd ɖ tîmz ś hd cm in hir, crept ǎt v bed in hr nîtgǎn ẃn ɖ mūn wz fl, n lein on ɖ flor wɖ hr armz ǎtstrećt, az ɖo ś wz crūṣfaid. Ẃ? Ɖ big, pel mūn hd md hr d it. Ɖ hoṛbl dansñ figrz on ɖ carvd scrīn hd lird at hr n ś hd’nt mîndd. Ś rmembrd tù hǎ, ẃnvr ɖe wr at ɖ sìsîd, ś hd gn of bî hrslf n got az clos t ɖ sì az ś cd, n suñ smʈñ, smʈñ ś hd md p, ẃl ś gezd ol ovr ɖt restlis wōtr. Ɖr hd bn ɖs uɖr lîf, runñ ǎt, brññ ʈñz hom in bagz, gtñ ʈñz on apruvl, dscusñ ɖm wɖ Jug, n tecñ ɖm bac t gt mor ʈñz on apruvl, n arenjñ faɖr’z trez n trayñ nt t anô faɖr. Bt it ol sīmd t hv hapnd in a cnd v tunl. It wz’nt riyl. It wz onli ẃn ś cem ǎt v ɖ tunl intu ɖ mūnlît or bî ɖ sì or intu a ʈundrstorm ɖt ś riyli flt hrslf. Ẃt dd it mīn? Ẃt wz it ś wz olwz wontñ? Ẃt dd it ol līd t? Nǎ? Nǎ?

Ś trnd awe fṛm ɖ Bda wɖ wn v hr veg jsćrz. Ś wnt ovr t ẃr Joẓfīn wz standñ. Ś wontd t se smʈñ t Joẓfīn, smʈñ frîtf̣li importnt, abt—abt ɖ fyćr n ẃt…

“D’nt y ʈnc phps—” ś bgan.

Bt Joẓfīn inṭruptd hr. “I wz wunḍrñ f nǎ—” ś mrmrd. Ɖe stopt; ɖe wêtd fr ć uɖr.

“G on, Cón,” sd Joẓfīn.

“No, no, Jug; aftr y,” sd Cnstanśa.

“No, se ẃt y wr gwñ t se. Y bgan,” sd Joẓfīn.

“I… I’d rɖr hír ẃt y wr gwñ t se frst,” sd Cnstanśa.

“D’nt b absrd, Cón.”

“Riyli, Jug.”

“Cóni!”

“Ǒ, Jug!”

A pōz. Ɖen Cnstanśa sd fentli, “I c’nt se ẃt I wz gwñ t se, Jug, bcz I’v fgotn ẃt it wz… ɖt I wz gwñ t se.”

Joẓfīn wz sîḷnt fr a momnt. Ś stérd at a big clǎd ẃr ɖ sún hd bn. Ɖen ś rplaid śortli, “I’v fgotn tù.”

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL

In Ñspel: AT THE BAY, by Katherine Mansfield

ĆAPTRZ

IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII

AT Ɖ BE

Caʈ̇rīn Mansfīld

___

I

Vri rli mornñ. Ɖ sún wz nt yt rizn, n ɖ hol v Cresnt Be wz hidn undr a ẃît sìmist. Ɖ big bś-cuvrd hilz at ɖ bac wr smuɖrd. Y cd nt si ẃr ɖe endd n ɖ paḍcs n bunġloz bgan. Ɖ sandi rod wz gn n ɖ paḍcs n bunġloz ɖ uɖr sîd v it; ɖr wr no ẃît dynz cuvrd wɖ rediś gras bynd ɖm; ɖr wz nʈñ t marc ẃć wz bīć n ẃr wz ɖ sì. A hevi dȳ hd fōḷn. Ɖ gras wz blu. Big drops huñ on ɖ bśz n jst dd nt fōl; ɖ silṿri, flufi toi-toi wz limp on its loñ stōcz, n ol ɖ maṛgoldz n ɖ pncs in ɖ bunġlogardnz wr baud t ɖ rʈ wɖ wetnis. Drenćt wr ɖ cold fyśaz, rǎnd prlz v dȳ le on ɖ flat nstrśmlīvz. It lct az ɖo ɖ sì hd bìtn p softli in ɖ darcnis, az ɖo wn imns wev hd cm riplñ, riplñ—hǎ far? Phps f y hd wect p in ɖ midl v ɖ nît y mt hv sìn a big fiś flicñ in at ɖ windo n gn agn…

Ā-ā! sǎndd ɖ slīpi sì. N fṛm ɖ bś ɖr cem ɖ sǎnd v litl strīmz flowñ, qcli, lîtli, slipñ btwn ɖ smuɖ stonz, guśñ intu frni besnz n ǎt agn; n ɖr wz ɖ splaśñ v big drops on larj līvz, n smʈñ els—ẃt wz it?—a fent stŕñ n śecñ, ɖ snapñ v a twig n ɖen sć sîḷns ɖt it sīmd smwn wz liṣnñ.

Rnd ɖ cornr v Cresnt Be, btwn ɖ pîld-up masz v brocn roc, a floc v śīp cem paṭrñ. Ɖe wr hudld tgɖr, a smōl, tosñ, wŭli mas, n ɖer ʈin, sticlîc legz trotd alñ qcli az f ɖ cold n ɖ qayt hd frîtnd ɖm. Bhnd ɖm an old śīpdog, hiz sǒcñ pwz cuvrd wɖ sand, ran alñ wɖ hiz nǒz t ɖ grǎnd, bt cerlisli, az f ʈncñ v smʈñ els. N ɖen in ɖ roci getwe ɖ śeṗd himslf apird. H wz a līn, uprît old man, in a frìz cot ɖt wz cuvrd wɖ a web v tîni drops, velvit trǎzrz taid undr ɖ ni, n a wîd-awec wɖ a foldd blu hanc̣ćif rnd ɖ brim. Wn hand wz cramd intu hiz blt, ɖ uɖr graspt a bytifli smuɖ yelo stic. N az h wōct, tecñ hiz tîm, h cept p a vri soft lît ẃiṣlñ, an e’ri, far-awe flūtñ ɖt sǎndd mōrnfl n tndr. Ɖ old dog cut an enćnt cepr or tū n ɖen drù p śarp, aśemd v hiz leṿti, n wōct a fy digṇfaid pesz bî hiz mastr’z sîd. Ɖ śīp ran fwd in litl paṭrñ ruśz; ɖe bgan t blīt, n gostli flocs n hŕdz ansrd ɖm fṛm undr ɖ sì. “Ba! Baaa!” Fr a tîm ɖe sīmd t b olwz on ɖ sem pìs v grǎnd. Ɖr ahd wz strećt ɖ sandi rod wɖ śalo pudlz; ɖ sem sǒcñ bśz śoud on îɖr sîd n ɖ sem śadǒi pêlñz. Ɖen smʈñ imns cem intu vy; an inorṃs śoc-herd jaynt wɖ hiz armz strećt ǎt. It wz ɖ big gumtrī ǎtsd Msz. Stubz’ śop, n az ɖe pást bî ɖr wz a stroñ ẃif v yc̣lipṭs. N nǎ big spots v lît glīmd in ɖ mist. Ɖ śeṗd stopt ẃiṣlñ; h rubd hiz red nǒz n wet bird on hiz wet slīv n, scruwñ p hiz îz, glanst in ɖ d’rex́n v ɖ sì. Ɖ sún wz rîzñ. It wz marvḷs hǎ qcli ɖ mist ʈind, sped awe, dzolvd fṛm ɖ śalo plen, rold p fṛm ɖ bś n wz gn az f in a huri t iscep; big twists n crlz josld n śoldrd ć uɖr az ɖ silṿri bīmz brōdnd. Ɖ far-awe scî—a brît, pyr blu—wz rflectd in ɖ pudlz, n ɖ drops, swimñ alñ ɖ teḷgrafpolz, flaśt intu pônts v lît. Nǎ ɖ līpñ, gliṭrñ sì wz so brît it md wn’z îz ec t lc at it. Ɖ śeṗd drù a pîp, ɖ bol az smōl az an ecorn, ǎt v hiz brestpocit, fumbld fr a ćunc v specld tbaco, perd of a fy śevñz n stuft ɖ bol. H wz a grev, fîn-lcñ old man. Az h lit p n ɖ blu smoc rīɖd hiz hed, ɖ dog, woćñ, lct prǎd v him.

“Ba! Baaa!” Ɖ śīp spred ǎt intu a fan. Ɖe wr jst clir v ɖ sumrcoḷni bfr ɖ frst slīpr trnd ovr n liftd a drǎzi hed; ɖer crî sǎndd in ɖ drīmz v litl ćildṛn… hu liftd ɖer armz t drag dǎn, t cudl ɖ darlñ litl wŭli lamz v slīp. Ɖen ɖ frst inhabitnt apird; it wz ɖ Brnélz’ cat Flori, sitñ on ɖ getpost, far tù rli az yẓ́l, lcñ fr ɖer milcgrl. Ẃn ś sw ɖ old śīpdog ś sprañ p qcli, arćt hr bac, drù in hr tabi hed, n sīmd t gv a litl fstidịs śivr. “Ug! Ẃt a cōrs, rvoltñ crīćr!” sd Flori. Bt ɖ old śīpdog, nt lcñ p, wagld past, flññ ǎt hiz legz fṛm sîd t sîd. Onli wn v hiz irz twićt t pruv ɖt h sw, n ʈt hr a sili yuñ fīmel.

Ɖ brīz v mornñ liftd in ɖ bś n ɖ smel v līvz n wet blac rʈ mngld wɖ ɖ śarp smel v ɖ sì. Miriadz v brdz wr sññ. A goldfinć flù ovr ɖ śeṗd’z hed n, prćñ on ɖ tiptop v a spre, it trnd t ɖ sún, ruf̣lñ its smōl brestfeɖrz. N nǎ ɖe hd pást ɖ fiśrmn’z hut, pást ɖ ćard-lcñ litl ẃori ẃr Lela ɖ milcgrl livd wɖ hr old Gran. Ɖ śīp streid ovr a yelo swomp n Wag, ɖ śīpdog, padd aftr, rǎndd ɖm p n hedd ɖm fr ɖ stīpr, narowr roci pas ɖt léd ǎt v Cresnt Be n twdz Dêlît Cov. “Ba! Ba!” Fent ɖ crî cem az ɖe roct alñ ɖ fast-drayñ rod. Ɖ śeṗd pt awe hiz pîp, dropñ it intu hiz brestpocit so ɖt ɖ litl bol huñ ovr. N stretwe ɖ soft e’ri ẃiṣlñ bgan agn. Wag ran ǎt alñ a lej v roc aftr smʈñ ɖt smeld, n ran bac agn dsgustd. Ɖen pśñ, nujñ, huriyñ, ɖ śīp rǎndd ɖ bnd n ɖ śeṗd foloud aftr ǎt v sît.

___

II

A  fy momnts lêtr ɖ bac dor v wn v ɖ bunġloz opnd, n a figr in a brōd-strîpt beɖñsūt fluñ dǎn ɖ paḍc, clird ɖ stail, ruśt ʈru ɖ tuṣcgras intu ɖ holo, stagrd p ɖ sandi hiḷc, n rêst fr dir lîf ovr ɖ big pōṛs stonz, ovr ɖ cold, wet peblz, on t ɖ hard sand ɖt glīmd lîc ôl. Spliś-sploś! Spliś-sploś! Ɖ wōtr bubld rnd hiz legz az Stanli Brnél wêdd ǎt xultñ. Frst man in az yẓ́l! H’d bìtn ɖm ol agn. N h swūpt dǎn t sǎs hiz hed n nec.

“Hêl, bruɖr! Ol hêl, Ɖǎ Mîti Wn!” A vlṿti beis vôs cem būmñ ovr ɖ wōtr.

Gret Scot! Damneśn tec it! Stanli liftd p t si a darc hed bobñ far ǎt n an arm liftd. It wz Joṇʈn Trǎt—ɖr bfr him! “Glorịs mornñ!” sañ ɖ vôs.

“Yes, vri fîn!” sd Stanli brīfli. Ẃ ɖ Dicinz dd’nt ɖ felo stic t hiz part v ɖ sì? Ẃ śd h cm barjñ ovr t ɖs xact spot? Stanli gev a cic, a lunj n struc ǎt, swimñ oṿarm. Bt Joṇʈn wz a mać fr him. P h cem, hiz blac her slīc on hiz fōrhed, hiz śort bird slīc.

“I hd an xtrordnri drīm last nît!” h śǎtd.

Ẃt wz ɖ matr wɖ ɖ man? Ɖs meńa fr convseśn iṛtetd Stanli bynd wrdz. N it wz olwz ɖ sem—olwz sm pifl abt a drīm h’d hd, or sm cranci îdīa h’d got hold v, or sm rot h’d bn rīdñ. Stanli trnd ovr on hiz bac n cict wɖ hiz legz tl h wz a livñ wōtrspǎt. Bt īvn ɖen… “I drīmd I wz haññ ovr a t’rificli hî clif, śǎtñ t smwn b’lo.” Y wd b! ʈt Stanli. H cd stic no mor v it. H stopt splaśñ. “Lc hir, Trǎt,” h sd, “I’m in rɖr a huri ɖs mornñ.”

“Y’r ẂT?” Joṇʈn wz so s’prîzd—or pritndd t b—ɖt h sanc undr ɖ wōtr, ɖen ri’pird agn blowñ.

“Ol I mīn z,” sd Stanli, “I’v no tîm t—t—t fūl abt. I wont t gt ɖs ovr. I’m in a huri. I’v wrc t d ɖs mornñ—si?”

Joṇʈn wz gn bfr Stanli hd finiśt. “Pas, frend!” sd ɖ beis vôs jntli, n h slid awe ʈru ɖ wōtr wɖ scersli a ripl… Bt crs ɖ felo! H’d ruind Stanli’z beɖ. Ẃt an unpracticl idịt ɖ man wz! Stanli struc ǎt t sì agn, n ɖen az qcli swam in agn, n awe h ruśt p ɖ bīć. H flt ćītd.

Joṇʈn steid a litl longr in ɖ wōtr. H flotd, jntli muvñ hiz handz lîc finz, n letñ ɖ sì roc hiz loñ, scini bodi. It wz krịs, bt in spît v evrʈñ h wz fond v Stanli Brnél. Tru, h hd a fīndiś dzîr t tīz him smtmz, t pǒc fun at him, bt at botm h wz sori fr ɖ felo. Ɖr wz smʈñ pʈetic in hiz dtrṃneśn t mc a job v evrʈñ. Y cd’nt hlp fīlñ h’d b còt ǎt wn de, n ɖen ẃt an olmîti cropr h’d cm! At ɖt momnt an imns wev liftd Joṇʈn, roud past him, n brouc alñ ɖ bīć wɖ a jôfl sǎnd. Ẃt a byti! N nǎ ɖr cem anɖr. Ɖt wz ɖ we t liv—cerlisli, reclisli, spendñ wnslf. H got on t hiz fīt n bgan t wêd twdz ɖ śor, presñ hiz toz intu ɖ frm, rincld sand. T tec ʈñz īzi, nt t fît agnst ɖ eb n flo v lîf, bt t gv we t it—ɖt wz ẃt wz nīdd. It wz ɖs tnśn ɖt wz ol roñ. T liv—t liv! N ɖ prfict mornñ, so freś n fer, bascñ in ɖ lît, az ɖo lafñ at its ǒn byti, sīmd t ẃispr, “Ẃ nt?”

Bt nǎ h wz ǎt v ɖ wōtr Joṇʈn trnd blu wɖ cold. H ect ol ovr; it wz az ɖo smwn wz riññ ɖ blud ǎt v him. N stōcñ p ɖ bīć, śiṿrñ, ol hiz muslz tît, h tù flt hiz beɖ wz spôlt. H’d steid in tù loñ.

___

III

Beṛl wz alon in ɖ livñrūm ẃn Stanli apird, wẹrñ a blu srj sūt, a stif colr n a spotd tî. H lct olmst uncaṇli clīn n bruśt; h wz gwñ t tǎn fr ɖ de. Dropñ intu hiz ćer, h pld ǎt hiz woć n pt it bsd hiz plet.

“I’v jst got twenti-fîv minits,” h sd. “Y mt g n si f ɖ porij z redi, Beṛl?”

“Muɖr’z jst gn fr it,” sd Beṛl. Ś sat dǎn at ɖ tebl n pord ǎt hiz ti.

“Ʈancs!” Stanli tc a sip. “Hlo!” h sd in an astoniśt vôs, “y’v fgotn ɖ śŭgr.”

“Ǒ, sori!” Bt īvn ɖen Beṛl dd’nt hlp him; ś pśt ɖ besn acrs. Ẃt dd ɖs mīn? Az Stanli hlpt himslf hiz blu îz wîdnd; ɖe sīmd t qivr. H śot a qc glans at hiz sistr-in-lw n līnd bac.

“Nʈñ roñ, z ɖr?” h asct cerlisli, fnġrñ hiz colr.

Beṛl’z hed wz bnt; ś trnd hr plet in hr fngrz.

“Nʈñ,” sd hr lît vôs. Ɖen ś tù lct p, n smîld at Stanli. “Ẃ śd ɖr b?”

“Ǒ-ǒ! No rīzn at ol az far az I nǒ. I ʈt y sīmd rɖr—”

At ɖt momnt ɖ dor opnd n ɖ ʈri litl grlz apird, ć cariyñ a porijplet. Ɖe wr drest alîc in blu jrziz n nicrz; ɖer brǎn legz wr bér, n ć hd hr her pleitd n pind p in ẃt wz cōld a hors’z teil. Bhnd ɖm cem Msz. Ferfīld wɖ ɖ tre.

“Cerf̣li, ćildṛn,” ś wornd. Bt ɖe wr tecñ ɖ vri gretist cer. Ɖe luvd biyñ alaud t cari ʈñz. “Hv y sd gd mornñ t yr faɖr?”

“Yes, granmā.” Ɖe setld ɖmslvz on ɖ bnć oṗzit Stanli n Beṛl.

“Gd mornñ, Stanli!” Old Msz. Ferfīld gev him hiz plet.

“Mornñ, muɖr! Hǎ’z ɖ bô?”

“Splendid! H onli wouc p wns last nît. Ẃt a prfict mornñ!” Ɖ old wmn pōzd, hr hand on ɖ lof v bred, t gêz ǎt v ɖ opn dor intu ɖ gardn. Ɖ sì sǎndd. Ʈru ɖ wîd-opn windo strīmd ɖ sún on t ɖ yelo varniśt wōlz n bér flor. Evrʈñ on ɖ tebl flaśt n glitrd. In ɖ midl ɖr wz an old saḷdbol fild wɖ yelo n red nstrśmz. Ś smîld, n a lc v dīp cntnt śon in hr îz.

“Y mt cut m a slîs v ɖt bred, muɖr,” sd Stanli. “I’v onli twelv n a haf minits bfr ɖ coć pasz. Hz enwn gvn mî śuz t ɖ srvntgrl?”

“Yes, ɖ’r redi fr y.” Msz. Ferfīld wz qt unrufld.

“Ǒ, Cezia! Ẃ r y sć a mesi ćîld!” craid Beṛl dspẹrñli.

M, Ānt Beṛl?” Cezia stérd at hr. Ẃt hd ś dn nǎ? Ś hd onli dug a rivr dǎn ɖ midl v hr porij, fild it, n wz ītñ ɖ bancs awe. Bt ś dd ɖt evri sngl mornñ, n nwn hd sd a wrd p tl nǎ.

“Ẃ c’nt y īt yr fūd proprli lîc Iẓbél n Loti?” Hǎ unfer groun-ups r!

“Bt Loti olwz mcs a flotñ îḷnd, d’nt y, Loti?”

“I d’nt,” sd Iẓbél smartli. “I jst sprincl mîn wɖ śŭgr n pt on ɖ milc n finiś it. Onli bebiz ple wɖ ɖer fūd.”

Stanli pśt bac hiz ćer n got p.

“Wd y gt m ɖoz śuz, muɖr? N, Beṛl, f y’v finiśt, I wś y’d cut dǎn t ɖ get n stop ɖ coć. Run in t yr muɖr, Iẓbél, n asc hr ẃr mî bolrhat’s bn pt. Wêt a minit—hv y ćildṛn bn pleyñ wɖ mî stic?”

“No, faɖr!”

“Bt I pt it hir.” Stanli bgan t blustr. “I rmembr dstñtli ptñ it in ɖs cornr. Nǎ, hu’z hd it? Ɖr’z no tîm t lūz. Lc śarp! Ɖ stic’s got t b faund.”

Īvn Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, wz drwn intu ɖ ćes. “Y hv’nt bn yzñ it t pǒc ɖ cićn fîr wɖ bî eni ćans?”

Stanli daśt intu ɖ bedrūm ẃr Linda wz layñ. “Most xtrordnri ʈñ. I c’nt cīp a sngl pześn t mslf. Ɖ’v md awe wɖ mî stic, nǎ!”

“Stic, dir? Ẃt stic?” Linda’z vegnis on ɖz oceźnz cd nt b riyl, Stanli dsîdd. Wd nbdi simṗʈîz wɖ him?

“Coć! Coć, Stanli!” Beṛl’z vôs craid fṛm ɖ get.

Stanli wevd hiz arm t Linda. “No tîm t se gdbî!” h craid. N h mnt ɖt az a puniśmnt t hr.

H snaćt hiz bolrhat, daśt ǎt v ɖ hǎs, n swuñ dǎn ɖ gardnpaʈ. Yes, ɖ coć wz ɖr wêtñ, n Beṛl, līnñ ovr ɖ opn get, wz lafñ p at smbdi or uɖr jst az f nʈñ hd hapnd. Ɖ hartlisnis v wimin! Ɖ we ɖe tc it fr grantd it wz yr job t slev awe fr ɖm ẃl ɖe dd’nt īvn tec ɖ trubl t si ɖt yr wōcñstic wz’nt lost. Celi treld hiz ẃip acrs ɖ horsz.

“Gdbî, Stanli,” cōld Beṛl, swītli n gêli. It wz īzi inuf t se gdbî! N ɖr ś std, îdl, śêdñ hr îz wɖ hr hand. Ɖ wrst v it wz Stanli hd t śǎt gdbî tù, fr ɖ sec v apiṛnsz. Ɖen h sw hr trn, gv a litl scip n run bac t ɖ hǎs. Ś wz glad t b rid v him!

Yes, ś wz ʈancfl. Intu ɖ livñrūm ś ran n cōld “H’z gn!” Linda craid fṛm hr rūm: “Beṛl! Hz Stanli gn?” Old Msz. Ferfīld apird, cariyñ ɖ bô in hiz litl flanl cotī.

“Gn?”

“Gn!”

Ǒ, ɖ rlif, ɖ difṛns it md t hv ɖ man ǎt v ɖ hǎs. Ɖer vri vôsz wr ćenjd az ɖe cōld t wn anɖr; ɖe sǎndd worm n luvñ n az f ɖe śerd a sīcrit. Beṛl wnt ovr t ɖ tebl. “Hv anɖr cup v ti, muɖr. It’s stl hot.” Ś wontd, smhǎ, t seḷbret ɖ fact ɖt ɖe cd d ẃt ɖe lîct nǎ. Ɖr wz no man t dstrb ɖm; ɖ hol prfict de wz ɖerz.

“No, ʈanc y, ćîld,” sd old Msz. Ferfīld, bt ɖ we at ɖt momnt ś tóst ɖ bô p n sd “a-gūs-a-gūs-a-ga!” t him mnt ɖt ś flt ɖ sem. Ɖ litl grlz ran intu ɖ paḍc lîc ćicinz let ǎt v a cūp.

Īvn Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, wośñ p ɖ diśz in ɖ cićn, còt ɖ infx́n n yzd ɖ preśs tancwōtr in a prfictli reclis faśn.

“Ǒ, ɖz men!” sd ś, n ś plunjd ɖ tīpot intu ɖ bol n hld it undr ɖ wōtr īvn aftr it hd stopt buḅlñ, az f it tù wz a man n drǎnñ wz tù gd fr ɖm.

___

IV

“Wêt fr m, Iza-bel! Cezia, wêt fr m!”

Ɖr wz pur litl Loti, left bhnd agn, bcz ś faund it so firf̣li hard t gt ovr ɖ stail bî hrslf. Ẃn ś std on ɖ frst step hr niz bgan t wobl; ś graspt ɖ post. Ɖen y hd t pt wn leg ovr. Bt ẃć leg? Ś nvr cd dsîd. N ẃn ś dd fîṇli pt wn leg ovr wɖ a sort v stamp v dsper—ɖen ɖ fīlñ wz ōfl. Ś wz haf in ɖ paḍc stl n haf in ɖ tuṣcgras. Ś clućt ɖ post despṛtli n liftd p hr vôs. “Wêt fr m!”

“No, d’nt y wêt fr hr, Cezia!” sd Iẓbél. “Ś’z sć a litl sili. Ś’z olwz mcñ a fus. Cm on!” N ś tugd Cezia’z jrzi. “Y cn yz mî bucit f y cm wɖ m,” ś sd cîndli. “It’s bigr ɖn yrz.” Bt Cezia cd’nt līv Loti ol bî hrslf. Ś ran bac t hr. Bî ɖs tîm Loti wz vri red in ɖ fes n briɖñ heṿli.

“Hir, pt yr uɖr ft ovr,” sd Cezia.

“Ẃr?”

Loti lct dǎn at Cezia az f fṛm a mǎntnhît.

“Hir ẃr mî hand z.” Cezia patd ɖ ples.

“Ǒ, ɖr d y mīn!” Loti gev a dīp sai n pt ɖ secnd ft ovr.

“Nǎ—sort v trn rnd n sit dǎn n slîd,” sd Cezia.

“Bt ɖr’z nʈñ t sit dǎn on, Cezia,” sd Loti.

Ś manijd it at last, n wns it wz ovr ś śc hrslf n bgan t bīm.

“I’m gtñ betr at clîmñ ovr stailz, r’nt I, Cezia?”

Loti’z wz a vri hopfl nećr.

Ɖ pnc n ɖ blu súnbonit foloud Iẓbél’z brît red súnbonit p ɖt slîdñ, slipñ hil. At ɖ top ɖe pōzd t dsîd ẃr t g n t hv a gd stér at hu wz ɖr olrdi. Sìn fṛm bhnd, standñ agnst ɖ scîlîn, jstikletñ larjli wɖ ɖer spedz, ɖe lct lîc mînyt puzld xplorrz.

Ɖ hol faṃli v Saḿl Jozifs wz ɖr olrdi wɖ ɖer ledi-hlp, hu sat on a campstūl n cept ordr wɖ a ẃisl ɖt ś wòr taid rnd hr nec, n a smōl cen wɖ ẃć ś d’rectd oṗreśnz. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs nvr pleid bî ɖmslvz or manijd ɖer ǒn gem. F ɖe dd, it endd in ɖ bôz porñ wōtr dǎn ɖ grlz’ necs or ɖ grlz trayñ t pt litl blac crabz intu ɖ bôz’ pocits. So Msz. S. J. n ɖ pur ledi-hlp drù p ẃt ś cōld a “brogram” evri mornñ t cīp ɖm “abyzd n ǎt v bisćif.” It wz ol comṗtiśnz or rêsz or rǎndgemz. Evrʈñ bgan wɖ a pirsñ blast v ɖ ledi-hlp’s ẃisl n endd wɖ anɖr. Ɖr wr īvn prîzz—larj, rɖr drti pepr parslz ẃć ɖ ledi-hlp wɖ a sǎr litl smîl drù ǎt v a buljñ strñ cit. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs fòt firf̣li fr ɖ prîzz n ćītd n pinćt wn anɖr’z armz—ɖe wr ol exprt pinćrz. Ɖ onli tîm ɖ Brnél ćildṛn evr pleid wɖ ɖm Cezia hd got a prîz, n ẃn ś undid ʈri bits v pepr ś faund a vri smōl rusti butn-hc. Ś cd’nt unḍstand ẃ ɖe md sć a fus…

Bt ɖe nvr pleid wɖ ɖ Saḿl Jozifs nǎ or īvn wnt t ɖer partiz. Ɖ Saḿl Jozifs wr olwz gvñ ćildṛn’z partiz at ɖ Be n ɖr wz olwz ɖ sem fūd. A big wośhand besn v vri brǎn frūt saḷd, bunz cut intu for n a wośhand jug fl v smʈñ ɖ ledi-hlp cōld “Liṃnedr.” N y wnt awe in ɖ īvnñ wɖ haf ɖ fril torn of yr froc or smʈñ spild ol dǎn ɖ frunt v yr opn-wrc piṇfor, līvñ ɖ Saḿl Jozifs līpñ lîc saṿjz on ɖer lōn. No! Ɖe wr tù ōfl.

On ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ bīć, clos dǎn t ɖ wōtr, tū litl bôz, ɖer nicrz rold p, twncld lîc spîdrz. Wn wz digñ, ɖ uɖr patrd in n ǎt v ɖ wōtr, filñ a smōl bucit. Ɖe wr ɖ Trǎt bôz, Pip n Ragz. Bt Pip wz so bizi digñ n Ragz wz so bizi hlpñ ɖt ɖe dd’nt si ɖer litl cuznz untl ɖe wr qt clos.

“Lc!” sd Pip. “Lc ẃt I’v dscuvrd.” N h śoud ɖm an old wet, sqośt-lcñ būt. Ɖ ʈri litl grlz stérd.

“Ẃtvr r y gwñ t d wɖ it?” asct Cezia.

“Cīp it, v cors!” Pip wz vri scornfl. “It’s a fînd—si?”

Yes, Cezia sw ɖt. Ol ɖ sem…

“Ɖr’z lots v ʈñz berid in ɖ sand,” xplend Pip. “Ɖe gt ćuct p fṛm recs. Treẓ́r. Ẃ—y mt fînd—”

“Bt ẃ dz Ragz hv t cīp on porñ wōtr in?” asct Loti.

“Ǒ, ɖt’s t môsn it,” sd Pip, “t mc ɖ wrc a bit īzịr. Cīp it p, Ragz.”

N gd litl Ragz ran p n dǎn, porñ in ɖ wōtr ɖt trnd brǎn lîc coco.

“Hir, śl I śo y ẃt I faund yesṭde?” sd Pip mstirịsli, n h stuc hiz sped intu ɖ sand. “Promis nt t tel.”

Ɖe promist.

“Se, cros mî hart stret dncm.”

Ɖ litl grlz sd it.

Pip tc smʈñ ǎt v hiz pocit, rubd it a loñ tîm on ɖ frunt v hiz jrzi, ɖen briɖd on it n rubd it agn.

“Nǎ trn rnd!” h ordrd.

Ɖe trnd rnd.

“Ol lc ɖ sem we! Cīp stl! Nǎ!”

N hiz hand opnd; h hld p t ɖ lît smʈñ ɖt flaśt, ɖt wnct, ɖt wz a most luvli grīn.

“It’s a nemṛl,” sd Pip soḷmli.

“Z it riyli, Pip?” Īvn Iẓbél wz imprest.

Ɖ luvli grīn ʈñ sīmd t dans in Pip’s fngrz. Ānt Beṛl hd a nemṛl in a rñ, bt it wz a vri smōl wn. Ɖs wn wz az big az a star n far mor bytifl.

___

V

Az ɖ mornñ leñʈnd hol partiz apird ovr ɖ sandhilz n cem dǎn on ɖ bīć t beɖ. It wz unḍstd ɖt at ilevn o’cloc ɖ wimin n ćildṛn v ɖ sumrcoḷni hd ɖ sì t ɖmslvz. Frst ɖ wimin undrest, pld on ɖer beɖñdresz n cuvrd ɖer hedz in hidịs caps lîc spunjbagz; ɖen ɖ ćildṛn wr unbutnd. Ɖ bīć wz strùn wɖ litl hīps v cloɖz n śuz; ɖ big sumrhats, wɖ stonz on ɖm t cīp ɖm fṛm blowñ awe, lct lîc imns ślz. It wz strenj ɖt īvn ɖ sì sīmd t sǎnd difṛntli ẃn ol ɖoz līpñ, lafñ figrz ran intu ɖ wevz. Old Msz. Ferfīld, in a lîlac cotn dres n a blac hat taid undr ɖ ćin, gaɖrd hr litl brūd n got ɖm redi. Ɖ litl Trǎt bôz ẃipt ɖer śrts ovr ɖer hedz, n awe ɖ fîv sped, ẃl ɖer granmā sat wɖ wn hand in hr nitñbag redi t drw ǎt ɖ bōl v wŭl ẃn ś wz saṭsfaid ɖe wr sefli in.

Ɖ frm compact litl grlz wr nt haf so brev az ɖ tndr, delic̣t-lcñ litl bôz. Pip n Ragz, śiṿrñ, crǎćñ dǎn, slapñ ɖ wōtr, nvr heztetd. Bt Iẓbél, hu cd swim twelv strocs, n Cezia, hu cd nirli swim et, onli foloud on ɖ strict unḍstandñ ɖe wr nt t b splaśt. Az fr Loti, ś dd’nt folo at ol. Ś lîct t b left t g in hr ǒn we, plīz. N ɖt we wz t sit dǎn at ɖ éj v ɖ wōtr, hr legz stret, hr niz prest tgɖr, n t mc veg mośnz wɖ hr armz az f ś xpctd t b woftd ǎt t sì. Bt ẃn a bigr wev ɖn yẓ́l, an old ẃisc̣ri wn, cem loḷpñ alñ in hr d’rex́n, ś scrambld t hr fīt wɖ a fes v horr n flù p ɖ bīć agn.

“Hir, muɖr, cīp ɖoz fr m, wl y?”

Tū rñz n a ʈin gold ćen wr dropt intu Msz Ferfīld’z lap.

“Yes, dir. Bt r’nt y gwñ t beɖ hir?”

“No-o,” Beṛl drōld. Ś sǎndd veg. “I’m undresñ farɖr alñ. I’m gwñ t beɖ wɖ Msz. Hari Cmbr.”

“Vri wel.” Bt Msz. Ferfīld’z lips set. Ś dis’pruvd v Msz Hari Cmbr. Beṛl ń it.

Pur old muɖr, ś smîld, az ś scimd ovr ɖ stonz. Pur old muɖr! Old! Ǒ, ẃt jô, ẃt blis it wz t b yuñ…

“Y lc vri plizd,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. Ś sat hunćt p on ɖ stonz, hr armz rnd hr niz, smocñ.

“It’s sć a luvli de,” sd Beṛl, smîlñ dǎn at hr.

“Ǒ mî dir!” Msz. Hari Cmbr’z vôs sǎndd az ɖo ś ń betr ɖn ɖt. Bt ɖen hr vôs olwz sǎndd az ɖo ś ń smʈñ betr abt y ɖn y dd yrslf. Ś wz a loñ, strenj-lcñ wmn wɖ naro handz n fīt. Hr fes, tù, wz loñ n naro n xōstd-lcñ; īvn hr fer crld frinj lct brnt ǎt n wiɖrd. Ś wz ɖ onli wmn at ɖ Be hu smoct, n ś smoct insesntli, cīpñ ɖ siġrét btwn hr lips ẃl ś tōct, n onli tecñ it ǎt ẃn ɖ aś wz so loñ y cd nt unḍstand ẃ it dd nt fōl. Ẃn ś wz nt pleyñ brij—ś pleid brij evri de v hr lîf—ś spent hr tîm layñ in ɖ fl gler v ɖ sún. Ś cd stand eni amǎnt v it; ś nvr hd inuf. Ol ɖ sem, it dd nt sīm t worm hr. Parćt, wiɖrd, cold, ś le strećt on ɖ stonz lîc a pìs v tóst-up driftwŭd. Ɖ wimin at ɖ Be ʈt ś wz vri, vri fast. Hr lac v vaṇti, hr slañ, ɖ we ś trītd men az ɖo ś wz wn v ɖm, n ɖ fact ɖt ś dd’nt cer tupns abt hr hǎs n cōld ɖ srvnt Gladis “Glad-îz,” wz dsgresfl. Standñ on ɖ vranḍsteps Msz. Cmbr wd cōl in hr indifṛnt, tîrd vôs, “I se, Glad-îz, y mt hīv m a hanc̣ćif f I’v got wn, wl y?” N Glad-îz, a red bo in hr her instd v a cap, n ẃît śuz, cem runñ wɖ an impydnt smîl. It wz an abṣlut scandl! Tru, ś hd no ćildṛn, n hr huzbnd… Hir ɖ vôsz wr olwz rezd; ɖe bcem frvnt. Hǎ cn h hv marid hr? Hǎ cn h, hǎ cn h? It mst hv bn muni, v cors, bt īvn ɖen!

Msz. Cmbr’z huzbnd wz at līst ten yirz yungr ɖn ś wz, n so increḍbli hansm ɖt h lct lîc a masc or a most prfict iḷstreśn in an Americn novl rɖr ɖn a man. Blac her, darc blu îz, red lips, a slo slīpi smîl, a fîn tenispleyr, a prfict dansr, n wɖ it ol a misṭri. Hari Cmbr wz lîc a man wōcñ in hiz slīp. Men cd’nt stand him, ɖe cd’nt gt a wrd ǎt v ɖ ćap; h ignord hiz wîf jst az ś ignord him. Hǎ dd h liv? V cors ɖr wr storiz, bt sć storiz! Ɖe simpli cd’nt b tld. Ɖ wimin h’d bn sìn wɖ, ɖ plesz h’d bn sìn in… bt nʈñ wz evr srtn, nʈñ defiṇt. Sm v ɖ wimin at ɖ Be prîṿtli ʈt h’d cmit a mrdr wn de. Yes, īvn ẃl ɖe tōct t Msz. Cmbr n tc in ɖ ōfl cncox́n ś wz wẹrñ, ɖe sw hr, strećt az ś le on ɖ bīć; bt cold, bludi, n stl wɖ a siġrét stuc in ɖ cornr v hr mǎʈ.

Msz. Cmbr rouz, yōnd, unsnapt hr blt-bucl, n tugd at ɖ tep v hr blǎz. N Beṛl stept ǎt v hr scrt n śed hr jrzi, n std p in hr śort ẃît peticot, n hr caṃsol wɖ ribn boz on ɖ śoldrz.

“Mrsi on s,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr, “ẃt a litl byti y r!”

“D’nt!” sd Beṛl softli; bt, drw̃ of wn stocñ n ɖen ɖ uɖr, ś flt a litl byti.

“Mî dir—ẃ nt?” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr, stampñ on hr ǒn peticot. Riyli—hr unḍcloɖz! A per v blu cotn nicrz n a linn bodis ɖt rmîndd wn smhǎ v a piloces… “N y d’nt wer stez, d y?” Ś tućt Beṛl’z weist, n Beṛl sprañ awe wɖ a smōl afctd crî. Ɖen “Nvr!” ś sd frmli.

“Luci litl crīćr,” said Msz. Cmbr, unfaṣnñ hr ǒn.

Beṛl trnd hr bac n bgan ɖ compḷcetd muvmnts v smwn hu z trayñ t tec of hr cloɖz n t pl on hr beɖñdres ol at wn n ɖ sem tîm.

“Ǒ, mî dir—d’nt mînd m,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. “Ẃ b śî? I ś’nt īt y. I ś’nt b śoct lîc ɖoz uɖr niniz.” N ś gev hr strenj neyñ laf n griṃst at ɖ uɖr wimin.

Bt Beṛl wz śî. Ś nvr undrest in frunt v enbdi. Wz ɖt sili? Msz. Hari Cmbr md hr fīl it wz sili, īvn smʈñ t b aśemd v. Ẃ b śî indd! Ś glanst qcli at hr frend standñ so boldli in hr torn śemīz n lîtñ a freś siġrét; n a qc, bold, īvl fīlñ startd p in hr brest. Lafñ reclisli, ś drù on ɖ limp, sandi-fīlñ beɖñdres ɖt wz nt qt drî n fasnd ɖ twistd butnz.

“Ɖt’s betr,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. Ɖe bgan t g dǎn ɖ bīć tgɖr. “Riyli, it’s a sin fr y t wer cloɖz, mî dir. Smbdi’z got t tel y sm de.”

Ɖ wōtr wz qt worm. It wz ɖt marvḷs trnspaṛnt blu, fléct wɖ silvr, bt ɖ sand at ɖ botm lct gold; ẃn y cict wɖ yr toz ɖr rouz a litl puf v golḑust. Nǎ ɖ wevz jst rīćt hr brest. Beṛl std, hr armz ǎtstrećt, gezñ ǎt, n az ć wev cem ś gev ɖ slîtist litl jump, so ɖt it sīmd it wz ɖ wev ẃć liftd hr so jntli.

“I b’liv in priti grlz hvñ a gd tîm,” sd Msz. Hari Cmbr. “Ẃ nt? D’nt y mc a mstec, mî dir. Injô yrslf.” N sudnli ś trnd trtl, dis’pird, n swam awe qcli, qcli, lîc a rat. Ɖen ś flict rnd n bgan swimñ bac. Ś wz gwñ t se smʈñ els. Beṛl flt ɖt ś wz biyñ pôznd bî ɖs cold wmn, bt ś loñd t hír. Bt ǒ, hǎ strenj, hǎ hoṛbl! Az Msz. Hari Cmbr cem p clos ś lct, in hr blac wōtr-prūf beɖñcap, wɖ hr slīpi fes liftd abv ɖ wōtr, jst hr ćin tućñ, lîc a hoṛbl caric̣ćr v hr huzbnd.

___

VI

In a stīmrćer, undr a mnūc̣trī ɖt grù in ɖ midl v ɖ frunt graspać, Linda Brnél drīmd ɖ mornñ awe. Ś dd nʈñ. Ś lct p at ɖ darc, clos, drî līvz v ɖ mnūca, at ɖ ćincs v blu btwn, n nǎ n agn a tîni yelǒiś flǎr dropt on hr. Priti—yes, f y hld wn v ɖoz flǎrz on ɖ pām v yr hand n lct at it closli, it wz an xqizit smōl ʈñ. Ć pel yelo petl śon az f ć wz ɖ cerfl wrc v a luvñ hand. Ɖ tîni tuñ in ɖ sntr gev it ɖ śep v a bel. N ẃn y trnd it ovr ɖ ǎtsd wz a dīp bronz culr. Bt az sn az ɖe flǎrd, ɖe fél n wr scatrd. Y bruśt ɖm of yr froc az y tōct; ɖ horid litl ʈñz got còt in wn’z her. Ẃ, ɖen, flǎr at ol? Hu tecs ɖ trubl—or ɖ jô—t mc ol ɖz ʈñz ɖt r westd, westd… It wz uncani.

On ɖ gras bsd hr, layñ btwn tū piloz, wz ɖ bô. Sǎnd aslip h le, hiz hed trnd awe fṛm hiz muɖr. Hiz fîn darc her lct mor lîc a śado ɖn lîc riyl her, bt hiz ir wz a brît, dīp coṛl. Linda claspt hr handz abv hr hed n crost hr fīt. It wz vri pleznt t nǒ ɖt ol ɖz bunġloz wr emti, ɖt evrbdi wz dǎn on ɖ bīć, ǎt v sît, ǎt v hírñ. Ś hd ɖ gardn t hrslf; ś wz alon.

Daẓlñ ẃît ɖ pic̣tīz śon; ɖ goldn-aid maṛgold glitrd; ɖ nstrśnz rīɖd ɖ vranḍpolz in grīn n gold flem. F onli wn hd tîm t lc at ɖz flǎrz loñ inuf, tîm t gt ovr ɖ sns v novlti n strenjnis, tîm t nǒ ɖm! Bt az sn az wn pōzd t part ɖ petlz, t dscuvr ɖ unḍsîd v ɖ līf, alñ cem Lîf n wn wz swept awe. N, layñ in hr cen ćer, Linda flt so lît; ś flt lîc a līf. Alñ cem Lîf lîc a wind n ś wz sizd n śecn; ś hd t g. Ǒ dir, wd it olwz b so? Wz ɖr no iscep?

… Nǎ ś sat on ɖ vranda v ɖer Tazmeńn hom, līnñ agnst hr faɖr’z ni. N h promist, “Az sn az y n I r old inuf, Lini, w’l cut of smẃr, w’l iscep. Tū bôz tgɖr. I hv a fansi I’d lîc t sêl p a rivr in Ćîna.” Linda sw ɖt rivr, vri wîd, cuvrd wɖ litl rafts n bots. Ś sw ɖ yelo hats v ɖ botṃn n ś hŕd ɖer hî, ʈin vôsz az ɖe cōld…

“Yes, ppā.”

Bt jst ɖen a vri brōd yuñ man wɖ brît jinjr her wōct slǒli past ɖer hǎs, n slǒli, soḷmli īvn, uncuvrd. Linda’z faɖr pld hr ir tizñli, in ɖ we h hd.

“Lini’z bou,” h ẃisprd.

“Ǒ, ppā, fansi biyñ marid t Stanli Brnél!”

Wel, ś wz marid t him. N ẃt wz mor ś luvd him. Nt ɖ Stanli hūm evrwn sw, nt ɖ evride wn; bt a timid, snṣtiv, iṇsnt Stanli hu nlt dǎn evri nît t se hiz prerz, n hu loñd t b gd. Stanli wz simpl. F h b’livd in ppl—az h b’livd in hr, fr instns—it wz wɖ hiz hol hart. H cd nt b dsloyl; h cd nt tel a lî. N hǎ teṛbli h sufrd f h ʈt enwn—ś—wz nt biyñ ded stret, ded snsir wɖ him! “Ɖs z tù sutl fr m!” H fluñ ǎt ɖ wrdz, bt hiz opn, qiṿrñ, dstrōt lc wz lîc ɖ lc v a trapt bīst.

Bt ɖ trubl wz—hir Linda flt olmst inclînd t laf, ɖo Hevn nz it wz no lafñmatr—ś sw hr Stanli so sldm. Ɖr wr glimsz, momnts, briɖñspesz v cām, bt ol ɖ rest v ɖ tîm it wz lîc livñ in a hǎs ɖt cd’nt b krd v ɖ habit v caćñ on fîr, or a śip ɖt got rect evri de. N it wz olwz Stanli hu wz in ɖ ʈic v ɖ denjr. Hr hol tîm wz spent in rescywñ him, n rstorñ him, n cāmñ him dǎn, n liṣnñ t hiz stori. N ẃt wz left v hr tîm wz spent in ɖ dred v hvñ ćildṛn.

Linda frǎnd; ś sat p qcli in hr stīmrćer n claspt hr anclz. Yes, ɖt wz hr riyl gruj agnst lîf; ɖt wz ẃt ś cd nt unḍstand. Ɖt wz ɖ qsćn ś asct n asct, n lisnd in ven fr ɖ ansr. It wz ol vri wel t se it wz ɖ comn lot v wimin t ber ćildṛn. It wz’nt tru. Ś, fr wn, cd pruv ɖt roñ. Ś wz brocn, md wìc, hr curij wz gn, ʈru ćîldberñ. N ẃt md it dubli hard t ber wz, ś dd nt luv hr ćildṛn. It wz yslis pritndñ. Īvn f ś hd hd ɖ streñʈ ś nvr wd hv nrst n pleid wɖ ɖ litl grlz. No, it wz az ɖo a cold breʈ hd ćild hr ʈru n ʈru on ć v ɖoz ōfl jrniz; ś hd no wormʈ left t gv ɖm. Az t ɖ bô—wel, ʈanc Hevn, muɖr hd tecn him; h wz muɖr’z, or Beṛl’z, or enbdi’z hu wontd him. Ś hd hardli hld him in hr armz. Ś wz so indifṛnt abt him ɖt az h le ɖr… Linda glanst dǎn.

Ɖ bô hd trnd ovr. H le fesñ hr, n h wz no longr aslip. Hiz darc-blu, bebiîz wr opn; h lct az ɖo h wz pīpñ at hiz muɖr. N sudnli hiz fes dimpld; it brouc intu a wîd, tuʈlis smîl, a prfict bīm, no les.

“I’m hir!” ɖt hapi smîl sīmd t se. “Ẃ d’nt y lîc m?”

Ɖr wz smʈñ so qent, so unixpctd abt ɖt smîl ɖt Linda smîld hrslf. Bt ś ćect hrslf n sd t ɖ bô coldli, “I d’nt lîc bebiz.”

“D’nt lîc bebiz?” Ɖ bô cd’nt b’liv hr. “D’nt lîc m?” H wevd hiz armz fūliśli at hiz muɖr.

Linda dropt of hr ćer on t ɖ gras.

“Ẃ d y cīp on smîlñ?” ś sd svirli. “F y ń ẃt I wz ʈncñ abt, y wd’nt.”

Bt h onli sqizd p hiz îz, slîli, n rold hiz hed on ɖ pilo. H dd’nt b’liv a wrd ś sd.

“W nǒ ol abt ɖt!” smîld ɖ bô.

Linda wz so astoniśt at ɖ confidns v ɖs litl crīćr… Ā no, b snsir. Ɖt wz nt ẃt ś flt; it wz smʈñ far difṛnt, it wz smʈñ so ny, so… Ɖ tirz danst in hr îz; ś briɖd in a smōl ẃispr t ɖ bô, “Hlo, mî funi!”

Bt bî nǎ ɖ bô hd fgotn hiz muɖr. H wz sirịs agn. Smʈñ pnc, smʈñ soft wevd in frunt v him. H md a grab at it n it imīɉtli dis’pird. Bt ẃn h le bac, anɖr, lîc ɖ frst, apird. Ɖs tîm h dtrmind t cać it. H md a tṛmnḍs ef̣t n rold rît ovr.

___

VII

Ɖ  tîd wz ǎt; ɖ bīć wz dzrtd; leẓli flopt ɖ worm sì. Ɖ sún bìt dǎn, bìt dǎn hot n fîri on ɖ fîn sand, becñ ɖ gre n blu n blac n ẃît-veind peblz. It suct p ɖ litl drop v wōtr ɖt le in ɖ holo v ɖ crvd ślz; it blīćt ɖ pnc cnvolvyḷs ɖt ʈredd ʈru n ʈru ɖ sandhilz. Nʈñ sīmd t muv bt ɖ smōl sandhóprs. Pit-pit-pit! Ɖe wr nvr stl.

Ovr ɖr on ɖ wīd-huñ rocs ɖt lct at lo tîd lîc śagi bīsts cm dǎn t ɖ wōtr t drinc, ɖ súnlît sīmd t spin lîc a silvr côn dropt intu ć v ɖ smōl rocpūlz. Ɖe danst, ɖe qivrd, n mînyt riplz levd ɖ pōṛs śorz. Lcñ dǎn, bndñ ovr, ć pūl wz lîc a lec wɖ pnc n blu hǎzz clustrd on ɖ śorz; n ǒ! ɖ vast mǎntṇs cuntri bhnd ɖoz hǎzz—ɖ r’vīnz, ɖ pasz, ɖ denjṛs crìcs n firfl tracs ɖt léd t ɖ wōtr’z éj. Undnʈ wevd ɖ sìforist—pnc ʈred-lîc triz, velvit aneṃniz, n orinj-béri-spotd wīdz. Nǎ a ston on ɖ botm muvd, roct, n ɖr wz a glims v a blac fīlr; nǎ a ʈred-lîc crīćr wevrd bî n wz lost. Smʈñ wz haṗnñ t ɖ pnc, wevñ triz; ɖe wr ćenjñ t a cold mūnlît blu. N nǎ ɖr sǎndd ɖ fentist “plop.” Hu md ɖt sǎnd? Ẃt wz gwñ on dǎn ɖr? N hǎ stroñ, hǎ damp ɖ sìwīd smelt in ɖ hot sún…

Ɖ grīn blîndz wr drwn in ɖ bunġloz v ɖ sumrcoḷni. Ovr ɖ vrandaz, pron on ɖ paḍc, fluñ ovr ɖ fnsz, ɖr wr xōstd-lcñ beɖñdresz n ruf strîpt tǎlz. Ć bac windo sīmd t hv a per v sandśuz on ɖ sil n sm lumps v roc or a bucit or a c’lex́n v pawa-ślz. Ɖ bś qivrd in a hêz v hīt; ɖ sandi rod wz emti xpt fr ɖ Trǎts’ dog Snūcr, hu le strećt in ɖ vri midl v it. Hiz blu î wz trnd p, hiz legz stuc ǎt stifli, n h gev an oceẓ́nl despṛt-sǎndñ puf, az mć az t se h hd dsîdd t mc an end v it n wz onli wêtñ fr sm cnd cart t cm alñ.

“Ẃt r y lcñ at, mî granmā? Ẃ d y cīp stopñ n sort v stẹrñ at ɖ wōl?”

Cezia n hr granmuɖr wr tecñ ɖer siesta tgɖr. Ɖ litl grl, wẹrñ onli hr śort drorz n hr unḍbodis, hr armz n legz bér, le on wn v ɖ puft-up piloz v hr granmā’z bed, n ɖ old wmn, in a ẃît rufld dresñgǎn, sat in a rocr at ɖ windo, wɖ a loñ pìs v pnc nitñ in hr lap. Ɖs rūm ɖt ɖe śerd, lîc ɖ uɖr rūmz v ɖ bunġlo, wz v lît varniśt wŭd n ɖ flor wz bér. Ɖ frnićr wz v ɖ śabiist, ɖ simplist. Ɖ dresñtebl, fr instns, wz a pacñces in a sprigd muzlin peticot, n ɖ mirr abv wz vri strenj; it wz az ɖo a litl pìs v forct lîtnñ wz impriznd in it. On ɖ tebl ɖr std a jar v sì-pncs, prest so tîtli tgɖr ɖe lct mor lîc a velvit pincŭśn, n a speśl śel ẃć Cezia hd gvn hr granmā fr a pintre, n anɖr īvn mor speśl ẃć ś hd ʈt wd mc a vri nîs ples fr a woć t crl p in.

“Tel m, granmā,” sd Cezia.

Ɖ old wmn said, ẃipt ɖ wŭl twîs rnd hr ʈum, n drù ɖ bon nīdl ʈru. Ś wz castñ on.

“I wz ʈncñ v yr Uncl Wiłm, darlñ,” ś sd qaytli.

“Mî Ostrełn Uncl Wiłm?” sd Cezia. Ś hd anɖr.

“Yes, v cors.”

“Ɖ wn I nvr sw?”

“Ɖt wz ɖ wn.”

“Wel, ẃt hapnd t him?” Cezia ń prf̣cli wel, bt ś wontd t b tld agn.

“H wnt t ɖ mînz, n h got a súnstroc ɖr n daid,” sd old Msz. Ferfīld.

Cezia blinct n cnsidrd ɖ picćr agn… A litl man fōḷn ovr lîc a tin soljr bî ɖ sîd v a big blac houl.

“Dz it mc y sad t ʈnc abt him, granmā?” Ś hetd hr granmā t b sad.

It wz ɖ old wmn’z trn t cnsidr. Dd it mc hr sad? T lc bac, bac. T stér dǎn ɖ yirz, az Cezia hd sìn hr dwñ. T lc aftr ɖm az a wmn dz, loñ aftr ɖe wr ǎt v sît. Dd it mc hr sad? No, lîf wz lîc ɖt.

“No, Cezia.”

“Bt ẃ?” asct Cezia. Ś liftd wn bér arm n bgan t drw ʈñz in ɖ er. “Ẃ dd Uncl Wiłm hv t dî? H wz’nt old.”

Msz. Ferfīld bgan cǎntñ ɖ stićz in ʈriz. “It jst hapnd,” ś sd in an abzorbd vôs.

“Dz evrbdi hv t dî?” asct Cezia.

“Evrbdi!”

M?” Cezia sǎndd firf̣li increɉḷs.

“Sm de, mî darlñ.”

“Bt, granmā.” Cezia wevd hr left leg n wagld ɖ toz. Ɖe flt sandi. “Ẃt f I jst w’nt?”

Ɖ old wmn said agn n drù a loñ ʈred fṛm ɖ bōl.

“W’r nt asct, Cezia,” ś sd sadli. “It hapnz t ol v s snr or lêtr.”

Cezia le stil ʈncñ ɖs ovr. Ś dd’nt wont t dî. It mnt ś wd hv t līv hir, līv evrẃr, fr evr, līv—līv hr granmā. Ś rold ovr qcli.

“Granmā,” ś sd in a startld vôs.

“Ẃt, mî pet!”

Y’r nt t dî.” Cezia wz vri dsîdd.

“Ā, Cezia”—hr granmā lct p n smîld n śc hr hed—“d’nt let’s tōc abt it.”

“Bt y’r nt t. Y cd’nt līv m. Y cd’nt nt b ɖr.” Ɖs wz ōfl. “Promis m y w’nt evr d it, granmā,” plīdd Cezia.

Ɖ old wmn wnt on nitñ.

“Promis m! Se nvr!”

Bt stl hr granmā wz sîḷnt.

Cezia rold of hr bed; ś cd’nt ber it eni longr, n lîtli ś lept on t hr granmā’z niz, claspt hr handz rnd ɖ old wmn’z ʈrot n bgan cisñ hr, undr ɖ ćin, bhnd ɖ ir, n blowñ dǎn hr nec.

“Se nvr… se nvr… se nvr—” Ś gaspt btwn ɖ cisz. N ɖen ś bgan, vri softli n lîtli, t ticl hr granmā.

“Cezia!” Ɖ old wmn dropt hr nitñ. Ś swuñ bac in ɖ rocr. Ś bgan t ticl Cezia. “Se nvr, se nvr, se nvr,” grgld Cezia, ẃl ɖe le ɖr lafñ in ć uɖr’z armz. “Cm, ɖt’s inuf, mî sqiṛl! Ɖt’s inuf, mî wîld poni!” sd old Msz. Ferfīld, setñ hr cap stret. “Pic p mî nitñ.”

Bʈ v ɖm hd fgotn ẃt ɖ “nvr” wz abt.

___

VIII

Ɖ  sún wz stl fl on ɖ gardn ẃn ɖ bac dor v ɖ Brnélz’ śut wɖ a bañ, n a vri ge figr wōct dǎn ɖ paʈ t ɖ get. It wz Alis, ɖ srvntgrl, drest fr hr afṭnun ǎt. Ś wòr a ẃît cotn dres wɖ sć larj red spots on it n so mni ɖt ɖe md y śudr, ẃît śuz n a leghorn trnd p undr ɖ brim wɖ popiz. V cors ś wòr gluvz, ẃît wnz, stend at ɖ faṣnñz wɖ aynmold, n in wn hand ś carid a vri daśt-lcñ súnśêd ẃć ś rfŕd t az hr “peṛhōl.”

Beṛl, sitñ in ɖ windo, fanñ hr freśli-wośt her, ʈt ś hd nvr sìn sć a gai. F Alis hd onli blact hr fes wɖ a pìs v corc bfr ś startd ǎt, ɖ picćr wd hv bn cmplit. N ẃr dd a grl lîc ɖt g t in a ples lîc ɖs? Ɖ hart-śept Fijiyn fan bìt scornf̣li at ɖt luvli brît mein. Ś s’pozd Alis hd pict p sm hoṛbl comn laṛcin n ɖ’d g of intu ɖ bś tgɖr. Piti t hv md hrslf so cnspiks; ɖ’d hv hard wrc t hîd wɖ Alis in ɖt rig-ǎt.

Bt no, Beṛl wz unfer. Alis wz gwñ t ti wɖ Msz Stubz, hu’d snt hr an “invît” bî ɖ litl bô hu cōld fr ordrz. Ś hd tecn evr sć a lîcñ t Msz. Stubz evr sins ɖ frst tîm ś wnt t ɖ śop t gt smʈñ fr hr mscītoz.

“Dir hart!” Msz. Stubz hd clapt hr hand t hr sîd. “I nvr sìn enwn so ītn. Y mt hv bn atact bî canñbōlz.”

Alis dd wś ɖr’d bn a bit v lîf on ɖ rod ɖo. Md hr fīl so qir, hvñ nbdi bhnd hr. Md hr fīl ol wìc in ɖ spîn. Ś cd’nt b’liv ɖt smwn wz’nt woćñ hr. N yt it wz sili t trn rnd; it gev y awe. Ś pld p hr gluvz, humd t hrslf n sd t ɖ distnt gumtrī, “Ś’nt b loñ nǎ.” Bt ɖt wz hardli cumṗni.

Msz. Stubz’z śop wz prćt on a litl hiḷc jst of ɖ rod. It hd tū big windoz fr îz, a brōd vranda fr a hat, n ɖ sîn on ɖ rūf, scrōld MSZ. STUBZ’Z, wz lîc a litl card stuc rêciśli in ɖ hat crǎn.

On ɖ vranda ɖr huñ a loñ strñ v beɖñdresz, clññ tgɖr az ɖo ɖ’d jst bn rescyd fṛm ɖ sì rɖr ɖn wêtñ t g in, n bsd ɖm ɖr huñ a clustr v sandśūz so xtrordnṛli mixt ɖt t gt at wn per y hd t ter apart n forṣbli sepṛt at līst fifti. Īvn ɖen it wz ɖ rẹrist ʈñ t fînd ɖ left ɖt b’loñd t ɖ rît. So mni ppl hd lost peśns n gn of wɖ wn śu ɖt fitd n wn ɖt wz a litl tù big… Msz. Stubz prîdd hrslf on cīpñ smʈñ v evrʈñ. Ɖ tū windoz, arenjd in ɖ form v pricerịs piṛmidz, wr cramd so tît, pîld so hî, ɖt it sīmd onli a cunjrr cd privnt ɖm fṛm toṗlñ ovr. In ɖ left-hand cornr v wn windo, glùd t ɖ pein bî for jeḷtīn loznjz, ɖr wz—n ɖr hd bn fṛm tîm immorịl—a notis.

LOST! HANSM GOL BROĆ

SOLID GOLD

ON OR NIR BĪĆ

RWORD OFRD

Alis prest opn ɖ dor. Ɖ bel jangld, ɖ red srj crtnz partd, n Msz. Stubz apird. Wɖ hr brōd smîl n ɖ loñ bêcņîf in hr hand, ś lct lîc a frendli brignd. Alis wz welcmd so wormli ɖt ś faund it qt dificlt t cīp p hr “manrz.” Ɖe cnsistd v psistent litl cofs n hmz, plz at hr gluvz, twīcs at hr scrt, n a krịs dificlti in siyñ ẃt wz set bfr hr or unḍstandñ ẃt wz sd.

Ti wz léd on ɖ parlr tebl—ham, sardīnz, a hol pǎnd v butr, n sć a larj Joni cec ɖt it lct lîc an advrtismnt fr smbdi’z becñpǎdr. Bt ɖ Prîṃs stov rord so lǎdli ɖt it wz yslis t trî t tōc abv it. Alis sat dǎn on ɖ éj v a bascitćer ẃl Msz. Stubz pumt ɖ stov stl hayr. Sudnli Msz. Stubz ẃipt ɖ cŭśn of a ćer n dsclozd a larj brǎn-pepr parsl.

“I’v jst hd sm ny fotrz tecn, mî dir,” ś śǎtd ćirf̣li t Alis. “Tel m ẃt y ʈnc v ɖm.”

In a vri denti, rfînd we Alis wet hr fngr n pt ɖ tiśu bac fṛm ɖ frst wn. Lîf! Hǎ mni ɖr wr! Ɖr wr ʈri dozñ at līst. N ś hld it p t ɖ lît.

Msz. Stubz sat in an armćer, līnñ vri mć t wn sîd. Ɖr wz a lc v mîld astoniśmnt on hr larj fes, n wel ɖr mt b. Fr ɖo ɖ armćer std on a carpit, t ɖ left v it, mrakḷsli scrtñ ɖ carpitbordr, ɖr wz a daśñ wōtrfōl. On hr rît std a Grìśn pilr wɖ a jaynt frntrī on îɖr sîd v it, n in ɖ bacgrǎnd tǎrd a gōnt mǎntn, pel wɖ sno.

“It z a nîs stîl, z’nt it?” śǎtd Msz. Stubz; n Alis hd jst scrīmd “Swītli” ẃn ɖ rorñ v ɖ Prîṃs stov daid dǎn, fízld ǎt, sīst, n ś sd “Priti” in a sîḷns ɖt wz frîṭnñ.

“Drw p yr ćer, mî dir,” sd Msz. Stubz, bginñ t por ǎt. “Yes,” ś sd ʈtf̣li, az ś handd ɖ ti, “bt I d’nt cer abt ɖ sîz. I’m hvñ an inlarjmint. Ol vri wel fr Crisṃs cardz, bt I nvr wz ɖ wn fr smōl fotrz mslf. Y gt no cumf̣t ǎt v ɖm. T se ɖ truʈ, I fînd ɖm dsarṭnñ.”

Alis qt sw ẃt ś mnt.

“Sîz,” sd Msz. Stubz. “Gv m sîz. Ɖt wz ẃt mî pur dir huzbnd wz olwz seyñ. H cd’nt stand enʈñ smōl. Gev him ɖ crīps. N, strenj az it me sīm, mî dir”—hir Msz. Stubz crīct n sīmd t xpand hrslf at ɖ meṃri—“it wz dropsi ɖt Carid him of at ɖ larst. Mni’z ɖ tîm ɖe drwn wn n a haf pînts fṛm im at ɖ ospitl… It sīmd lîc a judgmint.”

Alis brnd t nǒ xacli ẃt it wz ɖt wz drwn fṛm him. Ś vnćrd, “I s’poz it wz wōtr.”

Bt Msz. Stubz fixt Alis wɖ hr îz n rplaid mīnñli, “It wz liqid, mî dir.”

Liqid! Alis jumt awe fṛm ɖ wrd lîc a cat n cem bac t it, nozñ n wẹri.

“Ɖt’s im!” sd Msz. Stubz, n ś pôntd dṛmaticli t ɖ lîf-sîz hed n śoldrz v a brli man wɖ a ded ẃît rǒz in ɖ butnhoul v hiz cot ɖt md y ʈnc v a crl v cold mutñfat. Jst b’lo, in silvr letrz on a red cardbōrd grǎnd, wr ɖ wrdz, “B nt afreid, it z I.”

“It’s evr sć a fîn fes,” sd Alis fentli.

Ɖ pel-blu bo on ɖ top v Msz. Stubz’z fer frizi her qivrd. Ś arćt hr plump nec. Ẃt a nec ś hd! It wz brît pnc ẃr it bgan n ɖen it ćenjd t worm epṛcót, n ɖt fedd t ɖ culr v a brǎn eg n ɖen t a dīp crīmi.

“Ol ɖ sem, mî dir,” ś sd s’prîzñli, “frīdm’z bst!” Hr soft, fat ćucl sǎndd lîc a pr. “Frīdm’z bst,” sd Msz. Stubz agn.

Frīdm! Alis gev a lǎd, sili litl titr. Ś flt ōcẉd. Hr mînd flù bac t hr ǒn cićñ. Evr so qir! Ś wontd t b bac in it agn.

___

IX

A  strenj cumṗni asmbld in ɖ Brnélz’ wośhǎs aftr ti. Rnd ɖ tebl ɖr sat a bl, a rūstr, a donci ɖt cept fgetñ it wz a donci, a śīp n a bì. Ɖ wośhǎs wz ɖ prfict ples fr sć a mītñ bcz ɖe cd mc az mć nôz az ɖe lîct, n nbdi evr inṭruptd. It wz a smōl tin śed standñ apart fṛm ɖ bunġlo. Agnst ɖ wōl ɖr wz a dīp trof n in ɖ cornr a copr wɖ a bascit v cloɖzpegz on top v it. Ɖ litl windo, spun ovr wɖ cobwebz, hd a pìs v candl n a mǎstrap on ɖ dusti sil. Ɖr wr cloɖzlînz cris-crost oṿhed n, haññ fṛm a peg on ɖ wōl, a vri big, a hyj, rusti horsśu. Ɖ tebl wz in ɖ midl wɖ a form at îɖr sîd.

“Y c’nt b a bì, Cezia. A bì’z nt an animl. It’s a ninsec.”

“Ǒ, bt I d wont t b a bì frîtf̣li,” weild Cezia… A tîni bì, ol yelo-fŕi, wɖ strîpt legz. Ś drù hr legz p undr hr n līnd ovr ɖ tebl. Ś flt ś wz a bì.

“A ninsec mst b an animl,” ś sd stǎtli. “It mcs a nôz. It’s nt lîc a fiś.”

“I’m a bl, I’m a bl!” craid Pip. N h gev sć a tṛmnḍs belo—hǎ dd h mc ɖt nôz?—ɖt Loti lct qt alarmd.

“I’l b a śīp,” sd litl Ragz. “A hol lot v śīp wnt past ɖs mornñ.”

“Hǎ d y nǒ?”

“Dad hŕd ɖm. Ba!” H sǎndd lîc ɖ litl lam ɖt trots bhnd n sīmz t wêt t b carid.

“Coc-a-dūdl-du!” śrild Iẓbél. Wɖ hr red ćīcs n brît îz ś lct lîc a rūstr.

“Ẃt’l I b?” Loti asct evrbdi, n ś sat ɖr smîlñ, wêtñ fr ɖm t dsîd fr hr. It hd t b an īzi wn.

“B a donci, Loti.” It wz Cezia’z sjsćn. “Hī-hw! Y c’nt fget ɖt.”

“Hī-hw!” sd Loti soḷmli. “Ẃn d I hv t se it?”

“I’l xplen, I’l xplen,” sd ɖ bl. It wz h hu hd ɖ cardz. H wevd ɖm rnd hiz hed. “Ol b qayt! Ol lisn!” N h wêtd fr ɖm. “Lc hir, Loti.” H trnd p a card. “It’s got tū spots on it—si? Nǎ, f y pt ɖt card in ɖ midl n smbdi els hz wn wɖ tū spots az wel, y se ‘Hī-hw,’ n ɖ card’z yrz.”

“Mîn?” Loti wz rǎnd-aid. “T cīp?”

“No, sili. Jst fr ɖ gem, si? Jst ẃl w’r pleyñ.” Ɖ bl wz vri cros wɖ hr.

“Ǒ, Loti, y r a litl sili,” sd ɖ prǎd rūstr.

Loti lct at bʈ v ɖm. Ɖen ś huñ hr hed; hr lip qivrd. “I d’nt wont t ple,” ś ẃisprd. Ɖ uɖrz glanst at wn anɖr lîc cnspiṛtrz. Ol v ɖm ń ẃt ɖt mnt. Ś wd g awe n b dscuvrd smẃr standñ wɖ hr pini ʈroun ovr hr hed, in a cornr, or agnst a wōl, or īvn bhnd a ćer.

“Yes, y d, Loti. It’s qt īzi,” sd Cezia.

N Iẓbél, rpntnt, sd xacli lîc a groun-up, “Woć m, Loti, n y’l sn lrn.”

“Ćir p, Lot,” sd Pip. “Ɖr, I nǒ ẃt I’l d. I’l gv y ɖ frst wn. It’s mîn, riyli, bt I’l gv it t y. Hir y r.” N h slamd ɖ card dǎn in frunt v Loti.

Loti rvîvd at ɖt. Bt nǎ ś wz in anɖr dificlti. “I hv’nt got a hanci,” ś sd; “I wont wn badli, tù.”

“Hir, Loti, y cn yz mîn.” Ragz dipt intu hiz sêlrblǎz n bròt p a vri wet-lcñ wn, nótd tgɖr. “B vri cerfl,” h wornd hr. “Onli yz ɖt cornr. D’nt undu it. I’v got a litl starfiś insd I’m gwñ t trî n tem.”

“Ǒ, cm on, y grlz,” sd ɖ bl. “N mînd—y’r nt t lc at yr cardz. Y’v got t cīp yr handz undr ɖ tebl tl I se ‘G.’”

Smac wnt ɖ cardz rnd ɖ tebl. Ɖe traid wɖ ol ɖer mt t si, bt Pip wz tù qc fr ɖm. It wz vri xîtñ, sitñ ɖr in ɖ wośhǎs; it wz ol ɖe cd d nt t brst intu a litl cōṛs v animlz bfr Pip hd finiśt dīlñ.

“Nǎ, Loti, y bgin.”

Timidli Loti strećt ǎt a hand, tc ɖ top card of hr pac, hd a gd lc at it—it wz plen ś wz cǎntñ ɖ spots—n pt it dǎn.

“No, Loti, y c’nt d ɖt. Y ms’nt lc frst. Y mst trn it ɖ uɖr we ovr.”

“Bt ɖen evrbdi wl si it ɖ sem tîm az m,” sd Loti.

Ɖ gem pṛsidd. Moo-oo-’r! Ɖ bl wz teṛbl. H ćarjd ovr ɖ tebl n sīmd t īt ɖ cardz p.

Bzz-zz! sd ɖ bì.

Coc-a-dūdl-du! Iẓbél std p in hr xîtmnt n muvd hr elboz lîc wñz.

Ba! Litl Ragz pt dǎn ɖ Cñ v Dîmndz n Loti pt dǎn ɖ wn ɖe cōld ɖ Cñ v Spen. Ś hd hardli eni cardz left.

“Ẃ d’nt y cōl ǎt, Loti?”

“I’v fgotn ẃt I am,” sd ɖ donci wǒf̣li.

“Wel, ćenj! B a dog instd! Bǎ-wǎ!”

“Ǒ yes. Ɖt’s īzịr.” Loti smîld agn. Bt ẃn ś n Cezia bʈ hd a wn Cezia wêtd on prṗs. Ɖ uɖrz md sînz t Loti n pôntd. Loti trnd vri red; ś lct bwildrd, n at last ś sd, “Hī-hw! Cé-zia.”

“Śś! Wêt a minit!” Ɖe wr in ɖ vri ʈic v it ẃn ɖ bl stopt ɖm, holdñ p hiz hand. “Ẃt’s ɖt? Ẃt’s ɖt nôz?”

“Ẃt nôz? Ẃt d y mīn?” asct ɖ rūstr.

“Śś! Śut p! Lisn!” Ɖe wr mǎs-stil. “I ʈt I hŕd a—a sort v nocñ,” sd ɖ bl.

“Ẃt wz it lîc?” asct ɖ śīp fentli.

No ansr.

Ɖ bì gev a śudr. “Ẃtvr dd w śut ɖ dor fr?” ś sd softli. Ǒ, ẃ, ẃ hd ɖe śut ɖ dor?

Ẃl ɖe wr pleyñ, ɖ de hd fedd; ɖ gorjs súnset hd blezd n daid. N nǎ ɖ qc darc cem rêsñ ovr ɖ sì, ovr ɖ sandhilz, p ɖ paḍc. Y wr frîtnd t lc in ɖ cornrz v ɖ wośhǎs, n yt y hd t lc wɖ ol yr mt. N smẃr, far awe, granmā wz lîtñ a lamp. Ɖ blîndz wr biyñ pld dǎn; ɖ cićnfîr lept in ɖ tinz on ɖ mantlpìs.

“It wd b ōfl nǎ,” sd ɖ bl, “f a spîdr wz t fōl fṛm ɖ sīlñ on t ɖ tebl, wd’nt it?”

“Spîdrz d’nt fōl fṛm sīlñz.”

“Yes, ɖe d. Ǎr Min tld s ś’d sìn a spîdr az big az a sōspn, wɖ loñ herz on it lîc a gūzḅri.”

Qcli ol ɖ litl hedz wr jrct p; ol ɖ litl bodiz drù tgɖr, prest tgɖr.

“Ẃ dz’nt smbdi cm n cōl s?” craid ɖ rūstr.

Ǒ, ɖoz groun-ups, lafñ n snug, sitñ in ɖ lamplît, drincñ ǎt v cups! Ɖ’d fgotn abt ɖm. No, nt riyli fgotn. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖer smîl mnt. Ɖe hd dsîdd t līv ɖm ɖr ol bî ɖmslvz.

Sudnli Loti gev sć a pirsñ scrīm ɖt ol v ɖm jumt of ɖ formz, ol v ɖm scrīmd tù. “A fes—a fes lcñ!” śrīct Loti.

It wz tru, it wz riyl. Prest agnst ɖ windo wz a pel fes, blac îz, a blac bird.

“Granmā! Muɖr! Smbdi!”

Bt ɖe hd nt got t ɖ dor, tumḅlñ ovr wn anɖr, bfr it opnd fr Uncl Joṇʈn. H hd cm t tec ɖ litl bôz hom.

___

X

H  hd mnt t b ɖr bfr, bt in ɖ frunt gardn h hd cm upn Linda wōcñ p n dǎn ɖ gras, stopñ t pic of a ded pnc or gv a top-hevi carneśn smʈñ t līn agnst, or t tec a dīp breʈ v smʈñ, n ɖen wōcñ on agn, wɖ hr litl er v rmotnis. Ovr hr ẃît froc ś wòr a yelo, pnc-frinjd śōl fṛm ɖ Ćîṇmn’z śop.

“Hlo, Joṇʈn!” cōld Linda. N Joṇʈn ẃipt of hiz śabi Paṇmā, prest it agnst hiz brest, dropt on wn ni, n cist Linda’z hand.

“Grītñ, mî Fer Wn! Grītñ, mî S’lesćl Pīćblosm!” būmd ɖ beis vôs jntli. “Ẃr r ɖ uɖr nobl demz?”

“Beṛl’z ǎt pleyñ brij n muɖr’z gvñ ɖ bô hiz baʈ… Hv y cm t boro smʈñ?”

Ɖ Trǎts wr fr evr runñ ǎt v ʈñz n sndñ acrs t ɖ Brnélz’ at ɖ last momnt.

Bt Joṇʈn onli ansrd, “A litl luv, a litl cîndnis;” n h wōct bî hiz sistr-in-lw’z sîd.

Linda dropt intu Beṛl’z haṃc undr ɖ mnūc̣trī, n Joṇʈn strećt himslf on ɖ gras bsd hr, pld a loñ stōc n bgan ćuwñ it. Ɖe ń ć uɖr wel. Ɖ vôsz v ćildṛn craid fṛm ɖ uɖr gardnz. A fiśrmn’z lît cart śc alñ ɖ sandi rod, n fṛm far awe ɖe hŕd a dog barcñ; it wz mufld az ɖo ɖ dog hd its hed in a sác. F y lisnd y cd jst hír ɖ soft swiś v ɖ sì at fl tîd swīpñ ɖ peblz. Ɖ sún wz sncñ.

“N so y g bac t ɖ ofis on Munde, d y, Joṇʈn?” asct Linda.

“On Munde ɖ cejdor opnz n clañz t upn ɖ victim fr anɖr ilevn munʈs n a wīc,” ansrd Joṇʈn.

Linda swuñ a litl. “It mst b ōfl,” ś sd slǒli.

“Wd yi hv m laf, mî fer sistr? Wd yi hv m wīp?”

Linda wz so acustmd t Joṇʈn’z we v tōcñ ɖt ś ped no atnśn t it.

“I s’poz,” ś sd vegli, “wn gts yst t it. Wn gts yst t enʈñ.”

“Dz wn? Hum!” Ɖ “Hum” wz so dīp it sīmd t būm fṛm undnʈ ɖ grǎnd. “I wundr hǎ it’s dn,” brūdd Joṇʈn; “I’v nvr manijd it.”

Lcñ at him az h le ɖr, Linda ʈt agn hǎ atractiv h wz. It wz strenj t ʈnc ɖt h wz onli an ordnri clarc, ɖt Stanli ŕnd twîs az mć muni az h. Ẃt wz ɖ matr wɖ Joṇʈn? H hd no ambiśn; ś s’pozd ɖt wz it. N yt wn flt h wz giftd, xpśnl. H wz paśṇtli fond v ḿzic; evri sper peni h hd wnt on bcs. H wz olwz fl v ny îdīaz, scīmz, planz. Bt nʈñ cem v it ol. Ɖ ny fîr blezd in Joṇʈn; y olmst hŕd it rorñ softli az h xplend, dscrîbd n dletd on ɖ ny ʈñ; bt a momnt lêtr it hd fōḷn in n ɖr wz nʈñ bt aśz, n Joṇʈn wnt abt wɖ a lc lîc hungr in hiz blac îz. At ɖz tîmz h xaɉretd hiz absrd manr v spīcñ, n h sañ in ćrć—h wz ɖ līdr v ɖ qîr—wɖ sć firfl dṛmatic intnṣti ɖt ɖ mīnist hím pt on an unholi splendr.

“It sīmz t m jst az imḅsil, jst az infrṇl, t hv t g t ɖ ofis on Munde,” sd Joṇʈn, “az it olwz hz dn n olwz wl d. T spend ol ɖ bst yirz v wn’z lîf sitñ on a stūl fṛm nîn t fîv, scraćñ in smbdi’z lejr! It’s a qir ys t mc v wn’z… wn n onli lîf, z’nt it? Or d I fondli drīm?” H rold ovr on ɖ gras n lct p at Linda. “Tel m, ẃt z ɖ difṛns btwn mî lîf n ɖt v an ordnri priznr. Ɖ onli difṛns I cn si z ɖt I pt mslf in jel n nbdi’z evr gwñ t let m ǎt. Ɖt’s a mor intolṛbl sićueśn ɖn ɖ uɖr. Fr f I’d bn—pśt in, agnst mî wil—cicñ, īvn—wns ɖ dor wz loct, or at eni ret in fîv yirz or so, I mt hv axptd ɖ fact n bgun t tec an inṭrest in ɖ flît v flîz or cǎntñ ɖ wordr’z steps alñ ɖ pasij wɖ ptiklr atnśn t verieśnz v tréd n so on. Bt az it z, I’m lîc an insect ɖt’s floun intu a rūm v its ǒn acord. I daś agnst ɖ wōlz, daś agnst ɖ windoz, flop agnst ɖ sīlñ, d evrʈñ on God’z rʈ, in fact, xpt flî ǎt agn. N ol ɖ ẃl I’m ʈncñ, lîc ɖt moʈ, or ɖt buṭflî, or ẃtvr it z, ‘Ɖ śortnis v lîf! Ɖ śortnis v lîf!’ I’v onli wn nît or wn de, n ɖr’z ɖs vast denjṛs gardn, wêtñ ǎt ɖr, undiscuvrd, unixplord.”

“Bt, f y fīl lîc ɖt, ẃ—” bgan Linda qcli.

Ā!” craid Joṇʈn. N ɖt “ā!” wz smhǎ olmst xultnt. “Ɖr y hv m. Ẃ? Ẃ indd? Ɖr’z ɖ maḍnñ, mstirịs qsćn. Ẃ d’nt I flî ǎt agn? Ɖr’z ɖ windo or ɖ dor or ẃtvr it wz I cem in bî. It’s nt hoplisli śut—z it? Ẃ d’nt I fînd it n b of? Ansr m ɖt, litl sistr.” Bt h gev hr no tîm t ansr.

“I’m xacli lîc ɖt insect agn. Fr sm rīzn”—Joṇʈn pōzd btwn ɖ wrdz—“it’s nt alaud, it’s fbidn, it’s agnst ɖ insectlw, t stop baññ n flopñ n crōlñ p ɖ pein īvn fr an instnt. Ẃ d’nt I līv ɖ ofis? Ẃ d’nt I sirịsli cnsidr, ɖs momnt, fr instns, ẃt it z ɖt privnts m līvñ? It’s nt az ɖo I’m tṛmndsli taid. I’v tū bôz t pṛvîd fr, bt, aftr ol, ɖ’r bôz. I cd cut of t sì, or gt a job up-cuntri, or—” Sudnli h smîld at Linda n sd in a ćenjd vôs, az f h wr cnfîdñ a sīcrit, “Wìc… wìc. No stamina. No ancr. No gîdñ prínsipl, let s cōl it.” Bt ɖen ɖ darc vlṿti vôs rold ǎt:

Wd yi hír ɖ stori

Hǎ it unfoldz itslf…

n ɖe wr sîḷnt.

Ɖ sún hd set. In ɖ wstn scî ɖr wr gret masz v cruśt-up rǒz-culrd clǎdz. Brōd bīmz v lît śon ʈru ɖ clǎdz n bynd ɖm az f ɖe wd cuvr ɖ hol scî. Oṿhed ɖ blu fedd; it trnd a pel gold, n ɖ bś ǎtlînd agnst it glīmd darc n briłnt lîc metl. Smtmz ẃn ɖoz bīmz v lît śo in ɖ scî ɖe r vri ōfl. Ɖe rmînd y ɖt p ɖr sits Jhova, ɖ jeḷs God, ɖ Olmîti, Huz î z upn y, evr woćfl, nvr wiri. Y rmembr ɖt at Hiz cmñ ɖ hol rʈ wl śec intu wn ruind grevyard; ɖ cold, brît enjlz wl drîv y ɖs we n ɖt, n ɖr wl b no tîm t xplen ẃt cd b xplend so simpli… Bt tnît it sīmd t Linda ɖr wz smʈñ infiṇtli jôfl n luvñ in ɖoz silvr bīmz. N nǎ no sǎnd cem fṛm ɖ sì. It briɖd softli az f it wd drw ɖt tndr, jôfl byti intu its ǒn bŭzm.

“It’s ol roñ, it’s ol roñ,” cem ɖ śadǒi vôs v Joṇʈn. “It’s nt ɖ sīn, it’s nt ɖ setñ fr… ʈri stūlz, ʈri dscs, ʈri ñcpots n a wîr blînd.”

Linda ń ɖt h wd nvr ćenj, bt ś sd, “Z it tù lêt, īvn nǎ?”

“I’m old—I’m old,” intond Joṇʈn. H bnt twdz hr, h pást hiz hand ovr hiz hed. “Lc!” Hiz blac her wz specld ol ovr wɖ silvr, lîc ɖ brestplūmij v a blac faul.

Linda wz s’prîzd. Ś hd no îdīa ɖt h wz gre. N yt, az h std p bsd hr n said n strećt, ś sw him, fr ɖ frst tîm, nt reẓlut, nt gaḷnt, nt cerlis, bt tućt olrdi wɖ ej. H lct vri tōl on ɖ darc̣nñ gras, n ɖ ʈt crost hr mînd, “H z lîc a wīd.”

Joṇʈn stūpt agn n cist hr fngrz.

“Hevn rword ɖî swīt peśns, ledi mîn,” h mrmrd. “I mst g sīc ɖoz érz t mî fem n fortyn…” H wz gn.

___

XI

Lît śon in ɖ windoz v ɖ bunġlo. Tū sqer paćz v gold fél upn ɖ pncs n ɖ pīct maṛgoldz. Flori, ɖ cat, cem ǎt on t ɖ vranda, n sat on ɖ top step, hr ẃît pwz clos tgɖr, hr teil crld rnd. Ś lct cntnt, az ɖo ś hd bn wêtñ fr ɖs momnt ol de.

“Ʈanc gdnis, it’s gtñ lêt,” sd Flori. “Ʈanc gdnis, ɖ loñ de z ovr.” Hr grīngej îz opnd.

Prezntli ɖr sǎndd ɖ rumbl v ɖ coć, ɖ crac v Celi’z ẃip. It cem nir inuf fr wn t hír ɖ vôsz v ɖ men fṛm tǎn, tōcñ lǎdli tgɖr. It stopt at ɖ Brnélz’ get.

Stanli wz hafwe p ɖ paʈ bfr h sw Linda. “Z ɖt y, darlñ?”

“Yes, Stanli.”

H lept acrs ɖ flǎrbed n sizd hr in hiz armz. Ś wz infoldd in ɖt fmiłr, īgr, stroñ imbres.

“Fgiv m, darlñ, fgiv m,” stamrd Stanli, n h pt hiz hand undr hr ćin n liftd hr fes t him.

“Fgiv y?” smîld Linda. “Bt ẃtvr fr?”

“Gd God! Y c’nt hv fgotn,” craid Stanli Brnél. “I’v ʈt v nʈñ els ol de. I’v hd ɖ hel v a de. I md p mî mînd t daś ǎt n teḷgraf, n ɖen I ʈt ɖ wîr mt’nt rīć y bfr I dd. I’v bn in torćrz, Linda.”

“Bt, Stanli,” sd Linda, “ẃt mst I fgiv y fr?”

“Linda!”—Stanli wz vri hrt—“dd’nt y riylîz—y mst hv riylîzd—I wnt awe wɖt seyñ gdbî t y ɖs mornñ? I c’nt imajin hǎ I cn hv dn sć a ʈñ. Mî cnfǎndd tmpr, v cors. Bt—wel”—n h said n tc hr in hiz armz agn—“I’v sufrd fr it inuf tde.”

“Ẃt’s ɖt y’v got in yr hand?” asct Linda. “Ny gluvz? Let m si.”

“Ǒ, jst a ćīp per v wośleɖr wnz,” sd Stanli humbli. “I notist Bel wz wẹrñ sm in ɖ coć ɖs mornñ, so, az I wz pasñ ɖ śop, I daśt in n got mslf a per. Ẃt r y smîlñ at? Y d’nt ʈnc it wz roñ v m, d y?”

“On ɖ contrri, darlñ,” sd Linda, “I ʈnc it wz most snṣbl.”

Ś pld wn v ɖ larj, pel gluvz on hr ǒn fngrz n lct at hr hand, trnñ it ɖs we n ɖt. Ś wz stl smîlñ.

Stanli wontd t se, “I wz ʈncñ v y ɖ hol tîm I bòt ɖm.” It wz tru, bt fr sm rīzn h cd’nt se it. “Let’s g in,” sd h.

___

XII

Ẃ  dz wn fīl so difṛnt at nît? Ẃ z it so xîtñ t b awec ẃn evrbdi els z aslip? Lêt—it z vri lêt! N yt evri momnt y fīl mor n mor wecfl, az ɖo y wr slǒli, olmst wɖ evri breʈ, wecñ p intu a ny, wundrfl, far mor ʈrilñ n xîtñ wrld ɖn ɖ dêlît wn. N ẃt z ɖs qir snseśn ɖt y’r a cnspiṛtr? Lîtli, stelʈ̇li y muv abt yr rūm. Y tec smʈñ of ɖ dresñtebl n pt it dǎn agn wɖt a sǎnd. N evrʈñ, īvn ɖ bedpost, nz y, rspondz, śerz yr sīcrit…

Y’r nt vri fond v yr rūm bî de. Y nvr ʈnc abt it. Y’r in n ǎt, ɖ dor opnz n slamz, ɖ cuḅd crīcs. Y sit dǎn on ɖ sîd v yr bed, ćenj yr śuz n daś ǎt agn. A dîv dǎn t ɖ glas, tū pinz in yr her, pǎdr yr nǒz n of agn. Bt nǎ—it’s sudnli dir t y. It’s a darlñ litl funi rūm. It’s yrz. Ǒ, ẃt a jô it z t ǒn ʈñz! Mîn—mî ǒn!

“Mî vri ǒn fr evr?”

“Yes.” Ɖer lips met.

No, v cors, ɖt hd nʈñ t d wɖ it. Ɖt wz ol nonsns n rubiś. Bt, in spît v hrslf, Beṛl sw so plenli tū ppl standñ in ɖ midl v hr rūm. Hr armz wr rnd hiz nec; h hld hr. N nǎ h ẃisprd, “Mî byti, mî litl byti!” Ś jumt of hr bed, ran ovr t ɖ windo n nīld on ɖ windosīt, wɖ hr elboz on ɖ sil. Bt ɖ bytifl nît, ɖ gardn, evri bś, evri līf, īvn ɖ ẃît pêlñz, īvn ɖ starz, wr cnspiṛtrz tù. So brît wz ɖ mūn ɖt ɖ flǎrz wr brît az bî de; ɖ śado v ɖ nstrśnz, xqizit lili-lîc līvz n wîd-opn flǎrz, le acrs ɖ silṿri vranda. Ɖ mnūc̣trī, bnt bî ɖ suɖrli windz, wz lîc a brd on wn leg strećñ ǎt a wñ.

Bt ẃn Beṛl lct at ɖ bś, it sīmd t hr ɖ bś wz sad.

“W r dum triz, rīćñ p in ɖ nît, implorñ w nǒ nt ẃt,” sd ɖ soṛfl bś.

It z tru ẃn y r bî yrslf n y ʈnc abt lîf, it z olwz sad. Ol ɖt xîtmnt n so on hz a we v sudnli līvñ y, n it’s az ɖo, in ɖ sîḷns, smbdi cōld yr nem, n y hŕd yr nem fr ɖ frst tîm. “Beṛl!”

“Yes, I’m hir. I’m Beṛl. Hu wonts m?”

“Beṛl!”

“Let m cm.”

It z lonli livñ bî wnslf. V cors, ɖr r rleśnz, frendz, hīps v ɖm; bt ɖt’s nt ẃt ś mīnz. Ś wonts smwn hu wl fînd ɖ Beṛl ɖe nn v ɖm nǒ, hu wl xpct hr t b ɖt Beṛl olwz. Ś wonts a luvr.

“Tec m awe fṛm ol ɖz uɖr ppl, mî luv. Let s g far awe. Let s liv ǎr lîf, ol ny, ol ǎrz, fṛm ɖ vri bginñ. Let s mc ǎr fîr. Let s sit dǎn t īt tgɖr. Let s hv loñ tōcs at nît.”

N ɖ ʈt wz olmst, “Sev m, mî luv. Sev m!”

…“Ǒ, g on! D’nt b a prūd, mî dir. Y injô yrslf ẃl y’r yuñ. Ɖt’s mî advîs.” N a hî ruś v sili laftr jônd Msz. Hari Cmbr’z lǎd, indifṛnt ne.

Y si, it’s so frîtf̣li dificlt ẃn y’v nbdi. Y’r so at ɖ mrsi v ʈñz. Y c’nt jst b rūd. N y’v olwz ɖs horr v sīmñ inixpirịnst n stufi lîc ɖ uɖr niniz at ɖ Be. N—n it’s faṣnetñ t nǒ y’v pǎr ovr ppl. Yes, ɖt z faṣnetñ…

Ǒ ẃ, ǒ ẃ dz’nt “h” cm sn?

F I g on livñ hir, ʈt Beṛl, enʈñ me hapn t m.

“Bt hǎ d y nǒ h z cmñ at ol?” moct a smōl vôs wɖn hr.

Bt Beṛl dsmist it. Ś cd’nt b left. Uɖr ppl, phps, bt nt ś. It wz’nt poṣbl t ʈnc ɖt Beṛl Ferfīld nvr marid, ɖt luvli faṣnetñ grl.

“D y rmembr Beṛl Ferfīld?”

“Rmembr hr! Az f I cd fget hr! It wz wn sumr at ɖ Be ɖt I sw hr. Ś wz standñ on ɖ bīć in a blu”—no, pnc—“muzlin froc, holdñ on a big crīm”—no, blac—“strw hat. Bt it’s yirz ago nǎ.”

“Ś’z az luvli az evr, mor so f enʈñ.”

Beṛl smîld, bit hr lip, n gezd ovr ɖ gardn. Az ś gezd, ś sw smbdi, a man, līv ɖ rod, step alñ ɖ paḍc bsd ɖer pêlñz az f h wz cmñ stret twdz hr. Hr hart bìt. Hu wz it? Hu cd it b? It cd’nt b a brglr, srtnli nt a brglr, fr h wz smocñ n h strold lîtli. Beṛl’z hart lept; it sīmd t trn rît ovr, n ɖen t stop. Ś rec̣gnîzd him.

“Gd īvnñ, Mis Beṛl,” sd ɖ vôs softli.

“Gd īvnñ.”

“W’nt y cm fr a litl wōc?” it drōld.

Cm fr a wōc—at ɖt tîm v nît! “I cd’nt. Evrbdi’z in bed. Evrbdi’z aslip.”

“Ǒ,” sd ɖ vôs lîtli, n a ẃif v swīt smoc rīćt hr. “Ẃt dz evrbdi matr? D cm! It’s sć a fîn nît. Ɖr’z nt a soul abt.”

Beṛl śc hr hed. Bt olrdi smʈñ strd in hr, smʈñ rird its hed.

Ɖ vôs sd, “Frîtnd?” It moct, “Pur litl grl!”

“Nt in ɖ līst,” sd ś. Az ś spouc ɖt wìc ʈñ wɖn hr sīmd t uncôl, t gro sudnli tṛmndsli stroñ; ś loñd t g!

N jst az f ɖs wz qt unḍstd bî ɖ uɖr, ɖ vôs sd, jntli n softli, bt fîṇli, “Cm alñ!”

Beṛl stept ovr hr lo windo, crost ɖ vranda, ran dǎn ɖ gras t ɖ get. H wz ɖr bfr hr.

“Ɖt’s rît,” briɖd ɖ vôs, n it tizd, “Y’r nt frîtnd, r y? Y’r nt frîtnd?”

Ś wz; nǎ ś wz hir ś wz teṛfaid, n it sīmd t hr evrʈñ wz difṛnt. Ɖ mūnlît stérd n glitrd; ɖ śadoz wr lîc barz v ayn. Hr hand wz tecn.

“Nt in ɖ līst,” ś sd lîtli. “Ẃ śd I b?”

Hr hand wz pld jntli, tugd. Ś hld bac.

“No, I’m nt cmñ eni farɖr,” sd Beṛl.

“Ǒ, rot!” Hari Cmbr dd’nt b’liv hr. “Cm alñ! W’l jst g az far az ɖt fyśa-bś. Cm alñ!”

Ɖ fyśa-bś wz tōl. It fél ovr ɖ fns in a śǎr. Ɖr wz a litl pit v darcnis bnʈ.

“No, riyli, I d’nt wont t,” sd Beṛl.

Fr a momnt Hari Cmbr dd’nt ansr. Ɖen h cem clos t hr, trnd t hr, smîld n sd qcli, “D’nt b sili! D’nt b sili!”

Hiz smîl wz smʈñ sh’d nvr sìn bfr. Wz h drunc? Ɖt brît, blînd, teṛfayñ smîl froz hr wɖ horr. Ẃt wz ś dwñ? Hǎ hd ś got hir? ɖ strn gardn asct hr az ɖ get pśt opn, n qc az a cat Hari Cmbr cem ʈru n snaćt hr t him.

“Cold litl devl! Cold litl devl!” sd ɖ hetfl vôs.

Bt Beṛl wz stroñ. Ś slipt, dúct, renćt fri.

“Y r vîl, vîl,” sd ś.

“Ɖen ẃ in God’z nem dd y cm?” stamrd Hari Cmbr.

Nbdi ansrd him.

A clǎd, smōl, srīn, flotd acrs ɖ mūn. In ɖt momnt v darcnis ɖ sì sǎndd dīp, trubld. Ɖen ɖ clǎd sêld awe, n ɖ sǎnd v ɖ sì wz a veg mrmr, az ɖo it wect ǎt v a darc drīm. Ol wz stil.

CLASICS IN ÑSPEL