TO THE LIGHTHOUSE │ PART III: THE LIGHTHOUSE

PARTS: I – Ɖ WINDO; II – TÎM PASZ; III – Ɖ LÎTHǍS

Ćaptrz in Part I: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Ɖ WINDO


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1

Ẃt dz it mīn ɖen, ẃt cn it ol mīn? Lili Brisco asct hrslf, wunḍrñ ẃɖr, sins ś hd bn left alon, it bhovd hr t g t ɖ cićn t feć anɖr cup v cofi or wêt hir. Ẃt dz it mīn?—a caćwrd ɖt wz, còt p fṛm sm bc, fitñ hr ʈt lūsli, fr ś cd nt, ɖs frst mornñ wɖ ɖ Ramziz, cntract hr fīlñz, cd onli mc a frêz rzǎnd t cuvr ɖ blancnis v hr mînd untl ɖz veprz hd śrunc. Fr riyli, ẃt dd ś fīl, cm bac aftr ol ɖz yirz n Msz Ramzi ded? Nʈñ, nʈñ—nʈñ ɖt ś cd xpres at ol.

Ś hd cm lêt last nît ẃn it wz ol mistirịs, darc. Nǎ ś wz awec, at hr old ples at ɖ brecfst tebl, bt alon. It wz vri rli tù, nt yt et. Ɖr wz ɖs xpdiśn—ɖe wr gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs, Mr Ramzi, Cam, n Jemz. Ɖe śd hv gn olrdi—ɖe hd t cać ɖ tîd or smʈñ. N Cam wz nt redi n Jemz wz nt redi n Nansi hd fgotn t ordr ɖ sanẉjz n Mr Ramzi hd lost hiz tmpr n bañd ǎt v ɖ rūm.

“Ẃt’s ɖ ys v gwñ nǎ?” h hd stormd.

Nansi hd vaniśt. Ɖr h wz, marćñ p n dǎn ɖ teris in a rej. Wn sīmd t hír dorz slamñ n vôsz cōlñ ol ovr ɖ hǎs. Nǎ Nansi brst in, n asct, lcñ rnd ɖ rūm, in a qir haf dezd, haf despṛt we, “Ẃt dz wn snd t ɖ Lîthǎs?” az f ś wr forsñ hrslf t d ẃt ś dsperd v evr biyñ ebl t d.

Ẃt dz wn snd t ɖ Lîthǎs indd! At eni uɖr tîm Lili cd hv sjstd rīzṇbli ti, tbaco, nyzpeprz. Bt ɖs mornñ evrʈñ sīmd so xtrordnṛli qir ɖt a qsćn lîc Nansi’z—Ẃt dz wn snd t ɖ Lîthǎs?—opnd dorz in wn’z mînd ɖt wnt baññ n swññ t n fro n md wn cīp ascñ, in a styṗfaid gep, Ẃt dz wn snd? Ẃt dz wn d? Ẃ z wn sitñ hir, aftr ol?

Sitñ alon (fr Nansi wnt ǎt agn) amñ ɖ clīn cups at ɖ loñ tebl, ś flt cut of fṛm uɖr ppl, n ebl onli t g on woćñ, ascñ, wunḍrñ. Ɖ hǎs, ɖ ples, ɖ mornñ, ol sīmd strenjrz t hr. Ś hd no ataćmnt hir, ś flt, no rleśnz wɖ it, enʈñ mt hapn, n ẃtvr dd hapn, a step ǎtsd, a vôs cōlñ (“It’s nt in ɖ cuḅd; it’s on ɖ landñ,” smwn craid), wz a qsćn, az f ɖ linc ɖt yźli baund ʈñz tgɖr hd bn cut, n ɖe flotd p hir, dǎn ɖr, of, enhǎ. Hǎ emlis it wz,, hǎ ceotic, hǎ unriyl it wz, ś ʈt, lcñ at hr emti coficup. Msz Ramzi ded; Andru cild; Pru ded tù—rpit it az ś mt, it rǎzd no fīlñ in hr. N w ol gt tgɖr in a hǎs lîc ɖs on a mornñ lîc ɖs, ś sd, lcñ ǎt v ɖ windo. It wz a bytifl stil de.


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2

Sudnli Mr Ramzi rezd hiz hed az h pást n lct stret at hr, wɖ hiz dstrōt wîld gêz ẃć wz yt so peṇtretñ, az f h sw y, fr wn secnd, fr ɖ frst tîm, fr evr; n ś pritndd t drinc ǎt v hr emti coficup so az t iscep him—t iscep hiz dmand on hr, t pt asd a momnt longr ɖt impirịs nīd. N h śc hiz hed at hr, n stroud on (“Alon” ś hŕd him se, “Periśt” ś hŕd him se) n lîc evrʈñ els ɖs strenj mornñ ɖ wrdz bcem simblz, rout ɖmslvz ol ovr ɖ gre-grīn wōlz. F onli ś cd pt ɖm tgɖr, ś flt, rait ɖm ǎt in sm sntns, ɖen ś wd hv got at ɖ truʈ v ʈñz. Old Mr Carmîcl cem padñ softli in, fećt hiz cofi, tc hiz cup n md of t sit in ɖ sún. Ɖ xtrordnri unriaḷti wz frîṭnñ; bt it wz olso xîtñ. Gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs. Bt ẃt dz wn snd t ɖ Lîthǎs? Periśt. Alon. Ɖ gre-grīn lît on ɖ wōl oṗzit. Ɖ emti plesz. Sć wr sm v ɖ parts, bt hǎ brñ ɖm tgɖr? ś asct. Az f eni inṭrupśn wd brec ɖ frel śep ś wz bildñ on ɖ tebl ś trnd hr bac t ɖ windo lest Mr Ramzi śd si hr. Ś mst iscep smẃr, b alon smẃr. Sudnli ś rmembrd. Ẃn ś hd sat ɖr last ten yirz ago ɖr hd bn a litl sprig or līf patn on ɖ teblcloʈ, ẃć ś hd lct at in a momnt v rvleśn. Ɖr hd bn a probḷm abt a fōrgrǎnd v a picćr. Muv ɖ tri t ɖ midl, ś hd sd. Ś hd nvr finiśt ɖt picćr. Ś wd pent ɖt picćr nǎ. It hd bn nocñ abt in hr mînd ol ɖz yirz. Ẃr wr hr pents, ś wundrd? Hr pents, yes. Ś hd left ɖm in ɖ hōl last nît. Ś wd start at wns. Ś got p qcli, bfr Mr Ramzi trnd.

Ś fećt hrslf a ćer. Ś pićt hr īzl wɖ hr prisîs old-meidiś muvmnts on ɖ éj v ɖ lōn, nt tù clos t Mr Carmîcl, bt clos inuf fr hiz pṛtx́n. Yes, it mst hv bn prisîsli hir ɖt ś hd std ten yirz ago. Ɖr wz ɖ wōl; ɖ hej; ɖ tri. Ɖ qsćn wz v sm rleśn btwn ɖoz masz. Ś hd bòrn it in hr mînd ol ɖz yirz. It sīmd az f ɖ s’lūśn hd cm t hr: ś ń nǎ ẃt ś wontd t d.

Bt wɖ Mr Ramzi bẹrñ dǎn on hr, ś cd d nʈñ. Evri tîm h aproćt—h wz wōcñ p n dǎn ɖ teris—ruin aproćt, ceos aproćt. Ś cd nt pent. Ś stūpt, ś trnd; ś tc p ɖs rag; ś sqizd ɖt tyb. Bt ol ś dd wz t word him of a momnt. H md it impoṣbl fr hr t d enʈñ. Fr f ś gev him ɖ līst ćans, f h sw hr disingejd a momnt, lcñ hiz we a momnt, h wd b on hr, seyñ, az h hd sd last nît, “Y fînd s mć ćenjd.” Last nît h hd got p n stopt bfr hr, n sd ɖt. Dum n stẹrñ ɖo ɖe hd ol sat, ɖ six ćildṛn hūm ɖe yst t cōl aftr ɖ Cñz n Qīnz v Ñgḷnd—ɖ Red, ɖ Fer, ɖ Wicid, ɖ Ruʈlis—ś flt hǎ ɖe rejd undr it. Cînd old Msz Becwiɖ sd smʈñ snṣbl. Bt it wz a hǎs fl v unriletd paśnz—ś hd flt ɖt ol ɖ īvnñ. N on top v ɖs ceos Mr Ramzi got p, prest hr hand, n sd: “Y wl fînd s mć ćenjd” n nn v ɖm hd muvd or hd spocn; bt hd sat ɖr az f ɖe wr forst t let him se it. Onli Jemz (srtnli ɖ Suḷn) scǎld at ɖ lamp; n Cam scrùd hr hanc̣ćif rnd hr fngr. Ɖen h rmîndd ɖm ɖt ɖe wr gwñ t ɖ Lîthǎs tmro. Ɖe mst b redi, in ɖ hōl, on ɖ stroc v haf-past sevn. Ɖen, wɖ hiz hand on ɖ dor, h stopt; h trnd upn ɖm. Dd ɖe nt wont t g? h dmandd. Hd ɖe derd se No (h hd sm rīzn fr wontñ it) h wd hv fluñ himslf trajicli bcwdz intu ɖ bitr wōtrz v dsper. Sć a gift h hd fr jsćr. H lct lîc a cñ in xîl. Dogidli Jemz sd yes. Cam stumbld mor rećidli. Yes, ǒ, yes, ɖ’d bʈ b redi, ɖe sd. N it struc hr, ɖs wz traɉdi—nt pōlz, dust, n ɖ śrǎd; bt ćildṛn coŕst, ɖer spirits sbdyd. Jemz wz sixtīn, Cam, sevntīn, phps. Ś hd lct rnd fr smwn hu wz nt ɖr, fr Msz Ramzi, prizyṃbli. Bt ɖr wz onli cînd Msz Becwiɖ trnñ ovr hr scećz undr ɖ lamp. Ɖen, biyñ tîrd, hr mînd stl rîzñ n fōlñ wɖ ɖ sì, ɖ test n smel ɖt plesz hv aftr loñ absns pzesñ hr, ɖ candlz weṿrñ in hr îz, ś hd lost hrslf n gn undr. It wz a wundrfl nît, star-lit; ɖ wevz sǎndd az ɖe wnt upsterz; ɖ mūn s’prîzd ɖm, inorṃs, pel, az ɖe pást ɖ sterces windo. Ś hd slept at wns.

Ś set hr clīn canvs frmli upn ɖ īzl, az a barịr, frel, bt ś hopt sfiśntli sbstanśl t word of Mr Ramzi n hiz xactñnis. Ś dd hr bst t lc, ẃn hiz bac wz trnd, at hr picćr; ɖt lîn ɖr, ɖt mas ɖr. Bt it wz ǎt v ɖ qsćn. Let him b fifti fīt awe, let him nt īvn spīc t y, let him nt īvn si y, h prmietd, h priveld, h impozd himslf. H ćenjd evrʈñ. Ś cd nt si ɖ culr; ś cd nt si ɖ lînz; īvn wɖ hiz bac trnd t hr, ś cd onli ʈnc, Bt h’l b dǎn on m in a momnt, dmandñ—smʈñ ś flt ś cd nt gv him. Ś rjctd wn bruś; ś ćouz anɖr. Ẃn wd ɖoz ćildṛn cm? Ẃn wd ɖe ol b of? ś fiɉtd. Ɖt man, ś ʈt, hr angr rîzñ in hr, nvr gev; ɖt man tc. Ś, on ɖ uɖr hand, wd b forst t gv. Msz Ramzi hd gvn. Gvñ, gvñ, gvñ, ś hd daid—n hd left ol ɖs. Riyli, ś wz angri wɖ Msz Ramzi. Wɖ ɖ bruś slîtli tremḅlñ in hr fngrz ś lct at ɖ hej, ɖ step, ɖ wōl. It wz ol Msz Ramzi’z dwñ. Ś wz ded. Hir wz Lili, at forti-for, westñ hr tîm, unebl t d a ʈñ, standñ ɖr, pleyñ at pentñ, pleyñ at ɖ wn ʈñ wn dd nt ple at, n it wz ol Msz Ramzi’z fōlt. Ś wz ded. Ɖ step ẃr ś yst t sit wz emti. Ś wz ded.

Bt ẃ rpit ɖs ovr n ovr agn? Ẃ b olwz trayñ t brñ p sm fīlñ ś hd nt got? Ɖr wz a cnd v blasfmi in it. It wz ol drî: ol wiɖrd: ol spent. Ɖe òt nt t hv asct hr; ś òt nt t hv cm. Wn c’nt west wn’z tîm at forti-for, ś ʈt. Ś hetd pleyñ at pentñ. A bruś, ɖ wn dpnḍbl ʈñ in a wrld v strîf, ruin, ceos—ɖt wn śd nt ple wɖ, nwñli īvn: ś dtstd it. Bt h md hr. Y ś’nt tuć yr canvs, h sīmd t se, bẹrñ dǎn on hr, tl y’v gvn m ẃt I wont v y. Hir h wz, clos upn hr agn, grīdi, dstrōt. Wel, ʈt Lili in dsper, letñ hr rît hand fōl at hr sîd, it wd b simplr ɖen t hv it ovr. Śrli, ś cd iṃtet fṛm rec̣lex́n ɖ glo, ɖ rapṣdi, ɖ slf-srendr, ś hd sìn on so mni wimin’z fesz (on Msz Ramzi’z, fr instns) ẃn on sm oceźn lîc ɖs ɖe blezd p—ś cd rmembr ɖ lc on Msz Ramzi’z fes—intu a rapćr v simṗʈi, v dlît in ɖ rword ɖe hd, ẃć, ɖo ɖ rīzn v it iscept hr, evidntli cnfŕd on ɖm ɖ most s’prim blis v ẃć hymn nećr wz ceṗbl. Hir h wz, stopt bî hr sîd. Ś wd gv him ẃt ś cd.


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3

Ś sīmd t hv śrivld slîtli, h ʈt. Ś lct a litl scimpi, wispi; bt nt un’tractiv. H lîct hr. Ɖr hd bn sm tōc v hr mariyñ Wiłm Báncs wns, bt nʈñ hd cm v it. Hiz wîf hd bn fond v hr. H hd bn a litl ǎt v tmpr tù at brecfst. N ɖen, n ɖen—ɖs wz wn v ɖoz momnts ẃn an inorṃs nīd rjd him, wɖt biyñ conśs ẃt it wz, t aproć eni wmn, t fors ɖm, h dd nt cer hǎ, hiz nīd wz so gret, t gv him ẃt h wontd: simṗʈi.

Wz enbdi lcñ aftr hr? h sd. Hd ś evrʈñ ś wontd?

“Ǒ, ʈancs, evrʈñ,” sd Lili Brisco nrṿsli. No; ś cd nt d it. Ś òt t hv flotd of instntli upn sm wev v simṗʈetic xpanśn: ɖ preśr on hr wz tṛmnds. Bt ś rmend stuc. Ɖr wz an ōfl pōz. Ɖe bʈ lct at ɖ sì. Ẃ, ʈt Mr Ramzi, śd ś lc at ɖ sì ẃn I am hir? Ś hopt it wd b cām inuf fr ɖm t land at ɖ Lîthǎs, ś sd. Ɖ Lîthǎs! Ɖ Lîthǎs! Ẃt’s ɖt got t d wɖ it? h ʈt impeśntli. Instntli, wɖ ɖ fors v sm prîmīvl gust (fr riyli h cd nt rstren himslf eni longr), ɖr iśud fṛm him sć a gron ɖt eni uɖr wmn in ɖ hol wrld wd hv dn smʈñ, sd smʈñ—ol xpt mslf, ʈt Lili, grdñ at hrslf bitrli, hu am nt a wmn, bt a pīviś, il-temprd, draid-up old meid, prizyṃbli.

[Mr Ramzi said t ɖ fl. H wêtd. Wz ś nt gwñ t se enʈñ? Dd ś nt si ẃt h wontd fṛm hr? Ɖen h sd h hd a ptiklr rīzn fr wontñ t g t ɖ Lîthǎs. Hiz wîf yst t snd ɖ men ʈñz. Ɖr wz a pur bô wɖ a tybrkḷs hip, ɖ lîtcīpr’z sun. H said pṛfǎndli. H said sgnificntli. Ol Lili wśt wz ɖt ɖs inorṃs flud v grīf, ɖs inseśbl hungr fr simṗʈi, ɖs dmand ɖt ś śd srendr hrslf p t him intîrli, n īvn so h hd soroz inuf t cīp hr s’plaid fr evr, śd līv hr, śd b dvrtd (ś cept lcñ at ɖ hǎs, hopñ fr an inṭrupśn) bfr it swept hr dǎn in its flo.

“Sć xṗdiśnz,” sd Mr Ramzi, screpñ ɖ grǎnd wɖ hiz to, “r vri penfl.” Stl Lili sd nʈñ. (Ś z a stoc, ś z a ston, h sd t himslf.) “Ɖe r vri xōstñ,” h sd, lcñ, wɖ a sicli lc ɖt nōzietd hr (h wz actñ, ś flt, ɖs gret man wz draṃtîzñ himslf), at hiz bytifl handz. It wz hoṛbl, it wz indīsnt. Wd ɖe nvr cm, ś asct, fr ś cd nt ssten ɖs inorṃs weit v soro, s’port ɖz hevi dreṗriz v grīf (h hd asymd a pǒz v xtrim dcreṗtyd; h īvn totrd a litl az h std ɖr) a momnt longr.

Stl ś cd se nʈñ; ɖ hol hrîzn sīmd swept bér v objicts t tōc abt; cd onli fīl, amezidli, az Mr Ramzi std ɖr, hǎ hiz gêz sīmd t fōl dǒlf̣li ovr ɖ súni gras n dsculr it, n cast ovr ɖ rūḅcnd, drǎzi, intîrli cntntd figr v Mr Carmîcl, rīdñ a Frenć novl on a decćer, a veil v crep, az f sć an xistns, flōntñ its pṛspeṛti in a wrld v wo, wr inuf t pṛvoc ɖ most dizṃl ʈts v ol. Lc at him, h sīmd t b seyñ, lc at m; n indd, ol ɖ tîm h wz fīlñ, Ʈnc v m, ʈnc v m. Ā, cd ɖt bulc onli b woftd alñsd v ɖm, Lili wśt; hd ś onli pićt hr īzl a yard or tū closr t him; a man, eni man, wd stōnś ɖs ifyźn, wd stop ɖz lamnteśnz. A wmn, ś hd pṛvoct ɖs horr; a wmn, ś śd hv noun hǎ t dīl wɖ it. It wz imnsli t hr dscredit, sx̣́li, t stand ɖr dum. Wn sd—ẃt dd wn se?—Ǒ, Mr Ramzi! Dir Mr Ramzi! Ɖt wz ẃt ɖt cînd old ledi hu scećt, Msz Becwiɖ, wd hv sd instntli, n rîtli. Bt, no. Ɖe std ɖr, îṣletd fṛm ɖ rest v ɖ wrld. Hiz imns slf-piti, hiz dmand fr simṗʈi pord n spred itslf in pūlz at ther fīt, n ol ś dd, mizṛbl sinr ɖt ś wz, wz t drw hr scrts a litl closr rnd hr anclz, lest ś śd gt wet. In cmplit sîḷns ś std ɖr, graspñ hr pentbruś.

Hevn cd nvr b sfiśntli prezd! Ś hŕd sǎndz in ɖ hǎs. Jemz n Cam mst b cmñ. Bt Mr Ramzi, az f h ń ɖt hiz tîm ran śort, xrtd upn hr solitri figr ɖ imns preśr v hiz consntretd wo; hiz ej; hiz frelti: hiz deẓleśn; ẃn sudnli, tosñ hiz hed impeśntli, in hiz anoyns—fr aftr ol, ẃt wmn cd rzist him?—h notist ɖt hiz būtlêsz wr untaid. Rmarcbl būts ɖe wr tù, Lili ʈt, lcñ dǎn at ɖm: sculpćrd; c’losl; lîc evrʈñ ɖt Mr Ramzi wòr, fṛm hiz freid tî t hiz haf-butnd weistcot, hiz ǒn indispytbli. Ś cd si ɖm wōcñ t hiz rūm v ɖer ǒn acord, xpresiv in hiz absns v peʈos, srlinis, il-tmpr, ćarm.

“Ẃt bytifl būts!” ś xclemd. Ś wz aśemd v hrslf. T prêz hiz būts ẃn h asct hr t solis hiz soul; ẃn h hd śoun hr hiz blīdñ handz, hiz laṣretd hart, n asct hr t piti ɖm, ɖen t se, ćirf̣li, “Ā, bt ẃt bytifl būts y wer!” dzrvd, ś ń, n ś lct p xpctñ t gt it in wn v hiz sudn rorz v il-tmpr cmplit anạleśn.

Instd, Mr Ramzi smîld. Hiz pōl, hiz dreṗriz, hiz infrṃtiz fél fṛm him. Ā, yes, h sd, holdñ hiz ft p fr hr t lc at, ɖe wr frst-ret būts. Ɖr wz onli wn man in Ñgḷnd hu cd mc būts lîc ɖt. Būts r amñ ɖ ćīf crsz v man-cnd, h sd. “Būt-mcrz mc it ɖer biznis,” h xclemd, “t cripl n torćr ɖ hymn ft.” Ɖe r olso ɖ most obstiṇt n pvrs v man-cnd. It hd tecn him ɖ bst part v hiz yʈ t gt būts md az ɖe śd b md. H wd hv hr obzrv (h liftd hiz rît ft n ɖen hiz left) ɖt ś hd nvr sìn būts md qt ɖt śep bfr. Ɖe wr md v ɖ fînist leɖr in ɖ wrld, olso. Most leɖr wz mir brǎn pepr n cardbord. H lct cmplesntli at hiz ft, stl hld in ɖ er. Ɖe hd rīćt, ś flt, a súni îḷnd ẃr pīs dwelt, saṇti rênd n ɖ sún fr evr śon, ɖ blest îḷnd v gd būts. Hr hart wormd t him. “Nǎ let m si f y cn tî a nót,” h sd. H pu-pùd hr fībl sistm. H śoud hr hiz ǒn invnśn. Wns y taid it, it nvr cem undun. Ʈri tîmz h nótd hr śu; ʈri tîmz h uņótd it.

Ẃ, at ɖs cmplitli in’proprịt momnt, ẃn h wz stūpñ ovr hr śu, śd ś b so tormntd wɖ simṗʈi fr him ɖt, az ś stūpt tù, ɖ blud ruśt t hr fes, n, ʈncñ v hr caḷsnis (ś hd cōld him a plêactr) ś flt hr îz swel n tngl wɖ tirz? Ɖus okpaid h sīmd t hr a figr v infṇt peʈos. H taid nóts. H bòt būts. Ɖr wz no hlpñ Mr Ramzi on ɖ jrni h wz gwñ. Bt nǎ jst az ś wśt t se smʈñ, cd hv sd smʈñ, phps, hir ɖe wr—Cam n Jemz. Ɖe apird on ɖ teris. Ɖe cem, lagñ, sîd bî sîd, a sirịs, meḷncli cupl.

Bt ẃ wz it lîc ƉT ɖt ɖe cem? Ś cd nt hlp fīlñ anoid wɖ ɖm; ɖe mt hv cm mor ćirf̣li; ɖe mt hv gvn him ẃt, nǎ ɖt ɖe wr of, ś wd nt hv ɖ ćans v gvñ him. Fr ś flt a sudn emtinis; a fṛstreśn. Hr fīlñ hd cm tù lêt; ɖr it wz redi; bt h no longr nīdd it. H hd bcm a vri dstnḡśt, eldrli man, hu hd no nīd v hr ẃtsvr. Ś flt snubd. H sluñ a napsac rnd hiz śoldrz. H śerd ǎt ɖ parslz—ɖr wr a numbr v ɖm, il-taid in brǎn pepr. H snt Cam fr a clǒc. H hd ol ɖ apiṛns v a līdr mcñ redi fr an xpdiśn. Ɖen, ẃīlñ abt, h léd ɖ we wɖ hiz frm miḷtri tréd, in ɖoz wundrfl būts, cariyñ brǎn peprparslz, dǎn ɖ paʈ, hiz ćildṛn folowñ him. Ɖe lct, ś ʈt, az f fet hd dvotd ɖm t sm strn enṭprîz, n ɖe wnt t it, stl yuñ inuf t b drwn aqiesnt in ɖer faɖr’z wec, obījntli, bt wɖ a palr in ɖer îz ẃć md hr fīl ɖt ɖe sufrd smʈñ bynd ɖer yirz in sîḷns. So ɖe pást ɖ éj v ɖ lōn, n it sīmd t Lili ɖt ś woćt a pṛseśn g, drwn on bî sm stres v comn fīlñ ẃć md it, fōlṭrñ n flagñ az it wz, a litl cumṗni baund tgɖr n strenjli impresiv t hr. P’lîtli, bt vri distntli, Mr Ramzi rezd hiz hand n s’lūtd hr az ɖe pást.

Bt ẃt a fes, ś ʈt, imījtli fîndñ ɖ simṗʈi ẃć ś hd nt bn asct t gv trublñ hr fr xpreśn. Ẃt hd md it lîc ɖt? Ʈncñ, nît aftr nît, ś s’pozd—abt ɖ riaḷti v cićnteblz, ś add, rmembrñ ɖ simbl ẃć in hr vegnis az t ẃt Mr Ramzi dd ʈnc abt Andru hd gvn hr. (H hd bn cild bî ɖ splintr v a śel instntli, ś bʈòt hr.) Ɖ cićntebl wz smʈñ viźnri, ostir; smʈñ bér, hard, nt orṇmntl. Ɖr wz no culr t it; it wz ol éjz n anglz; it wz uncompṛmîzñli plen. Bt Mr Ramzi cept olwz hiz îz fixt upn it, nvr alaud himslf t b dstractd or dludd, untl hiz fes bcem wòrn tù n asetic n ptŭc v ɖs unorṇmentd byti ẃć so dīpli imprest hr. Ɖen, ś rcōld (standñ ẃr h hd left hr, holdñ hr bruś), wuriz hd fretd it—nt so nobli. H mst hv hd hiz dǎts abt ɖt tebl, ś s’pozd; ẃɖr ɖ tebl wz a riyl tebl; ẃɖr it wz wrʈ ɖ tîm h gev t it; ẃɖr h wz ebl aftr ol t fînd it. H hd hd dǎts, ś flt, or h wd hv asct les v ppl. Ɖt wz ẃt ɖe tōct abt lêt at nît smtmz, ś sspctd; n ɖen nxt de Msz Ramzi lct tîrd, n Lili flù intu a rej wɖ him ovr sm absrd litl ʈñ. Bt nǎ h hd nbdi t tōc t abt ɖt tebl, or hiz būts, or hiz nóts; n h wz lîc a layn sīcñ hūm h cd dvǎr, n hiz fes hd ɖt tuć v desṗreśn, v xaɉreśn in it ẃć alarmd hr, n md hr pl hr scrts abt hr. N ɖen, ś rcōld, ɖr wz ɖt sudn rvivf̣ceśn, ɖt sudn fler (ẃn ś prezd hiz būts), ɖt sudn rcuvri v vîtaḷti n inṭrest in ordnri hymn ʈñz, ẃć tù pást n ćenjd (fr h wz olwz ćenjñ, n hid nʈñ) intu ɖt uɖr fînl fêz ẃć wz ny t hr n hd, ś ǒnd, md hrslf aśemd v hr ǒn iritbiḷti, ẃn it sīmd az f h hd śed wuriz n ambiśnz, n ɖ hop v simṗʈi n ɖ dzîr fr prêz, hd entrd sm uɖr rījn, wz drwn on, az f bî krioṣti, in dum coḷqi, ẃɖr wɖ himslf or anɖr, at ɖ hed v ɖt litl pṛseśn ǎt v wn’z renj. An xtrordnri fes! Ɖ get bañd.


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4

So ɖ’r gn, ś ʈt, sayñ wɖ rlif n dis’pôntmnt. Hr simṗʈi sīmd t b cast bac on hr, lîc a brambl spruñ acrs hr fes. Ś flt krịsli dvîdd, az f wn part v hr wr drwn ǎt ɖr—it wz a stil de, hezi; ɖ Lîthǎs lct ɖs mornñ at an imns distns; ɖ uɖr hd fixt itslf dogidli, solidli, hir on ɖ lōn. Ś sw hr canvs az f it hd flotd p n plest itslf ẃît n uncompṛmîzñ d’recli bfr hr. It sīmd t rbyc hr wɖ its cold stér fr ol ɖs huri n ajteśn; ɖs foli n west v imośn; it drasticli rcōld hr n spred ʈru hr mînd frst a pīs, az hr dsordrli snseśnz (h hd gn n ś hd bn so sori fr him n ś hd sd nʈñ) trūpt of ɖ fīld; n ɖen, emtinis. Ś lct blancli at ɖ canvs, wɖ its uncompṛmîzñ ẃît stér; fṛm ɖ canvs t ɖ gardn. Ɖr wz smʈñ (ś std scruwñ p hr litl Ćînīz îz in hr smōl pucrd fes), smʈñ ś rmembrd in ɖ rleśnz v ɖoz lînz cutñ acrs, slîsñ dǎn, n in ɖ mas v ɖ hej wɖ its grīn cev v bluz n brǎnz, ẃć hd steid in hr mînd; ẃć hd taid a nót in hr mînd so ɖt at odz n endz v tîm, invoḷntṛli, az ś wōct alñ ɖ Bromtn Rod, az ś bruśt hr her, ś faund hrslf pentñ ɖt picćr, pasñ hr î ovr it, n untayñ ɖ nót in imaɉneśn. Bt ɖr wz ol ɖ difṛns in ɖ wrld btwn ɖs planñ eṛli awe fṛm ɖ canvs n acćli tecñ hr bruś n mcñ ɖ frst marc.

Ś hd tecn ɖ roñ bruś in hr ajteśn at Mr Ramzi’z prezns, n hr īzl, ramd intu ɖ rʈ so nrṿsli, wz at ɖ roñ angl. N nǎ ɖt ś hd pt ɖt rît, n in so dwñ hd sbdyd ɖ imprtinnsz n ireḷvnsz ɖt pluct hr atnśn n md hr rmembr hǎ ś wz sć n sć a prsn, hd sć n sć rleśnz t ppl, ś tc hr hand n rezd hr bruś. Fr a momnt it steid tremḅlñ in a penfl bt xîtñ xṭsi in ɖ er. Ẃr t bgin?—ɖt wz ɖ qsćn at ẃt pônt t mc ɖ frst marc? Wn lîn plest on ɖ canvs cmitd hr t ińmṛbl riscs, t frīqnt n ireṿcbl dsiźnz. Ol ɖt in îdīa sīmd simpl bcem in practis imījtli complex; az ɖ wevz śep ɖmslvz sịmetricli fṛm ɖ clif top, bt t ɖ swimr amñ ɖm r dvîdd bî stīp gulfs, n fomñ crests. Stl ɖ risc mst b run; ɖ marc md.

Wɖ a krịs fizicl snseśn, az f ś wr rjd fwd n at ɖ sem tîm mst hold hrslf bac, ś md hr frst qc dsîsiv stroc. Ɖ bruś dsndd. It flicrd brǎn ovr ɖ ẃît canvs; it left a runñ marc. A secnd tîm ś dd it—a ʈrd tîm. N so pōzñ n so flic̣rñ, ś atend a dansñ riɖmcl muvmnt, az f ɖ pōzz wr wn part v ɖ riɖm n ɖ strocs anɖr, n ol wr rletd; n so, lîtli n swiftli pōzñ, strîcñ, ś scord hr canvs wɖ brǎn runñ nrṿs lînz ẃć hd no snr setld ɖr ɖn ɖe inclozd (ś flt it lūmñ ǎt at hr) a spes. Dǎn in ɖ holo v wn wev ś sw ɖ nxt wev tǎrñ hayr n hayr abv hr. Fr ẃt cd b mor formiḍbl ɖn ɖt spes? Hir ś wz agn, ś ʈt, stepñ bac t lc at it, drwn ǎt v gosip, ǎt v livñ, ǎt v cḿṇti wɖ ppl intu ɖ prezns v ɖs formiḍbl enćnt eṇmi v hrz—ɖs uɖr ʈñ, ɖs truʈ, ɖs riaḷti, ẃć sudnli leid handz on hr, imrjd starc at ɖ bac v apiṛnsz n cmandd hr atnśn. Ś wz haf unwilñ, haf rluctnt. Ẃ olwz b drwn ǎt n heild awe? Ẃ nt left in pīs, t tōc t Mr Carmîcl on ɖ lōn? It wz an xactñ form v inṭcors enhǎ. Uɖr wrśpfl objicts wr cntnt wɖ wrśp; men, wimin, God, ol let wn nīl prostret; bt ɖs form, wr it onli ɖ śep v a ẃît lampśêd lūmñ on a wicr tebl, rǎzd wn t ppećl combat, ćalinjd wn t a fît in ẃć wn wz baund t b wrstd. Olwz (it wz in hr nećr, or in hr sx, ś dd nt nǒ ẃć) bfr ś xćenjd ɖ fluidti v lîf fr ɖ consntreśn v pentñ ś hd a fy momnts v necidnis ẃn ś sīmd lîc an unborn soul, a soul reft v bodi, heztetñ on sm windi piṇcl n xpozd wɖt pṛtx́n t ol ɖ blasts v dǎt. Ẃ ɖen dd ś d it? Ś lct at ɖ canvs, lîtli scord wɖ runñ lînz. It wd b huñ in ɖ srvnts’ bedrūmz. It wd b rold p n stuft undr a sofa. Ẃt wz ɖ gd v dwñ it ɖen, n ś hŕd sm vôs seyñ ś cd’nt pent, seyñ ś cd’nt criet, az f ś wr còt p in wn v ɖoz hbićl cuṛnts in ẃć aftr a srtn tîm xpirịns formz in ɖ mînd, so ɖt wn rpits wrdz wɖt biyñ awer eni longr hu orijiṇli spouc ɖm.

C’nt pent, c’nt rait, ś mrmrd mnoṭṇsli, añśsli cnsidrñ ẃt hr plan v atac śd b. Fr ɖ mas lūmd bfr hr; it pṛtrudd; ś flt it presñ on hr îbōlz. Ɖen, az f sm jūs nesṣri fr ɖ lubṛceśn v hr facltiz wr sponteńsli sqrtd, ś bgan pricerịsli dipñ amñ ɖ bluz n umbrz, muvñ hr bruś hiɖr n ɖiɖr, bt it wz nǎ hevịr n wnt slowr, az f it hd fōḷn in wɖ sm riɖm ẃć wz dictetd t hr (ś cept lcñ at ɖ hej, at ɖ canvs) bî ẃt ś sw, so ɖt ẃl hr hand qivrd wɖ lîf, ɖs riɖm wz stroñ inuf t ber hr alñ wɖ it on its cuṛnt. Srtnli ś wz luzñ conśsnis v ǎtr ʈñz. N az ś lost conśsnis v ǎtr ʈñz, n hr nem n hr prṣnaḷti n hr apiṛns, n ẃɖr Mr Carmîcl wz ɖr or nt, hr mînd cept ʈrowñ p fṛm its depʈs, sīnz, n nemz, n seyñz, n meṃriz n îdīaz, lîc a fǎntn sprtñ ovr ɖt glẹrñ, hidịsli dificlt ẃît spes, ẃl ś modld it wɖ grīnz n bluz.

Ćarlz Tanzli yst t se ɖt, ś rmembrd, wimin c’nt pent, c’nt rait. Cmñ p bhnd hr, h hd std clos bsd hr, a ʈñ ś hetd, az ś pentd hr on ɖs vri spot. “Śagṭbaco,” h sd, “fîvpns an ǎns,” p’redñ hiz poṿti, hiz prínsiplz. (Bt ɖ wor hd drwn ɖ stñ v hr feṃniṇti. Pur devlz, wn ʈt, pur devlz, v bʈ sxz.) H wz olwz cariyñ a bc abt undr hiz arm—a prpl bc. H “wrct.” H sat, ś rmembrd, wrcñ in a blêz v sún. At dinr h wd sit rît in ɖ midl v ɖ vy. Bt aftr ol, ś rflectd, ɖr wz ɖ sīn on ɖ bīć. Wn mst rmembr ɖt. It wz a windi mornñ. Ɖe hd ol gn dǎn t ɖ bīć. Msz Ramzi sat dǎn n rout letrz bî a roc. Ś rout n rout. “Ǒ,” ś sd, lcñ p at smʈñ flotñ in ɖ sì, “z it a lobstrpot? Z it an uptrnd bot?” Ś wz so śort-sîtd ɖt ś cd nt si, n ɖen Ćarlz Tanzli bcem az nîs az h cd poṣbli b. H bgan pleyñ ducs n drecs. Ɖe ćouz litl flat blac stonz n snt ɖm scipñ ovr ɖ wevz. Evri nǎ n ɖen Msz Ramzi lct p ovr hr spectclz n laft at ɖm. Ẃt ɖe sd ś cd nt rmembr, bt onli ś n Ćarlz ʈrowñ stonz n gtñ on vri wel ol v a sudn n Msz Ramzi woćñ ɖm. Ś wz hîli conśs v ɖt. Msz Ramzi, ś ʈt, stepñ bac n scruwñ p hr îz. (It mst hv oltrd ɖ dzîn a gd dīl ẃn ś wz sitñ on ɖ step wɖ Jemz. Ɖr mst hv bn a śado.) Ẃn ś ʈt v hrslf n Ćarlz ʈrowñ ducs n drecs n v ɖ hol sīn on ɖ bīć, it sīmd t dpnd smhǎ upn Msz Ramzi sitñ undr ɖ roc, wɖ a pad on hr ni, raitñ letrz. (Ś rout ińmṛbl letrz, n smtmz ɖ wind tc ɖm n ś n Ćarlz jst sevd a pej fṛm ɖ sì.) Bt ẃt a pǎr wz in ɖ hymn soul! ś ʈt. Ɖt wmn sitñ ɖr raitñ undr ɖ roc rzolvd evrʈñ intu simpliṣti; md ɖz angrz, iṛteśnz fōl of lîc old ragz; ś bròt tgɖr ɖs n ɖt n ɖen ɖs, n so md ǎt v ɖt mizṛbl silinis n spît (ś n Ćarlz sqoḅlñ, sparñ, hd bn sili n spîtfl) smʈñ—ɖs sīn on ɖ bīć fr xampl, ɖs momnt v frendśp n lîcñ—ẃć svîvd, aftr ol ɖz yirz cmplit, so ɖt ś dipt intu it t rfaśn hr meṃri v him, n ɖr it steid in ɖ mînd afctñ wn olmst lîc a wrc v art.

“Lîc a wrc v art,” ś rpitd, lcñ fṛm hr canvs t ɖ drw̃rūm steps n bac agn. Ś mst rest fr a momnt. N, restñ, lcñ fṛm wn t ɖ uɖr vegli, ɖ old qsćn ẃć tṛvrst ɖ scî v ɖ soul ppćli, ɖ vast, ɖ jenṛl qsćn ẃć wz apt t ptikḷrîz itslf at sć momnts az ɖz, ẃn ś rlist facltiz ɖt hd bn on ɖ stren, std ovr hr, pōzd ovr hr, darcnd ovr hr. Ẃt z ɖ mīnñ v lîf? Ɖt wz ol—a simpl qsćn; wn ɖt tndd t cloz in on wn wɖ yirz. Ɖ gret rvleśn hd nvr cm. Ɖ gret rvleśn phps nvr dd cm. Instd ɖr wr litl dêli miṛclz, iluṃneśnz, maćz struc unxpctidli in ɖ darc; hir wz wn. Ɖs, ɖt, n ɖ uɖr; hrslf n Ćarlz Tanzli n ɖ brecñ wev; Msz Ramzi brññ ɖm tgɖr; Msz Ramzi seyñ, “Lîf stand stl hir”; Msz Ramzi mcñ v ɖ momnt smʈñ prmnnt (az in anɖr sfir Lili hrslf traid t mc v ɖ momnt smʈñ prmnnt)—ɖs wz v ɖ nećr v a rvleśn. In ɖ mdst v ceos ɖr wz śep; ɖs itrnl pasñ n flowñ (ś lct at ɖ clǎdz gwñ n ɖ līvz śecñ) wz struc intu stbiḷti. Lîf stand stl hir, Msz Ramzi sd. “Msz Ramzi! Msz Ramzi!” ś rpitd. Ś oud it ol t hr.

Ol wz sîḷns. Nbdi sīmd yt t b stŕñ in ɖ hǎs. Ś lct at it ɖr slīpñ in ɖ rli súnlît wɖ its windoz grīn n blu wɖ ɖ rflectd līvz. Ɖ fent ʈt ś wz ʈncñ v Msz Ramzi sīmd in conṣnns wɖ ɖs qayt hǎs; ɖs smoc; ɖs fîn rli mornñ er. Fent n unriyl, it wz amezñli pyr n xîtñ. Ś hopt nbdi wd opn ɖ windo or cm ǎt v ɖ hǎs, bt ɖt ś mt b left alon t g on ʈncñ, t g on pentñ. Ś trnd t hr canvs. Bt impeld bî sm krioṣti, drivn bî ɖ dscumf̣t v ɖ simṗʈi ẃć ś hld undisćarjd, ś wōct a pes or so t ɖ end v ɖ lōn t si ẃɖr, dǎn ɖr on ɖ bīć, ś cd si ɖt litl cumṗni setñ sêl. Dǎn ɖr amñ ɖ litl bots ẃć flotd, sm wɖ ɖer sêlz frld, sm slǒli, fr it wz vri cām muvñ awe, ɖr wz wn rɖr apart fṛm ɖ uɖrz. Ɖ sêl wz īvn nǎ biyñ hôstd. Ś dsîdd ɖt ɖr in ɖt vri distnt n intîrli sîḷnt litl bot Mr Ramzi wz sitñ wɖ Cam n Jemz. Nǎ ɖe hd got ɖ sêl p; nǎ aftr a litl flagñ n sîḷns, ś woćt ɖ bot tec its we wɖ dliḅreśn past ɖ uɖr bots ǎt t sì.


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5

Ɖ sêlz flapt ovr ɖer hedz. Ɖ wōtr ćucld n slapt ɖ sîdz v ɖ bot, ẃć drǎzd mośnlis in ɖ sún. Nǎ n ɖen ɖ sêlz ripld wɖ a litl brīz in ɖm, bt ɖ ripl ran ovr ɖm n sīst. Ɖ bot md no mośn at ol. Mr Ramzi sat in ɖ midl v ɖ bot. H wd b impeśnt in a momnt, Jemz ʈt, n Cam ʈt, lcñ at hr faɖr, hu sat in ɖ midl v ɖ bot btwn ɖm (Jemz stird; Cam sat alon in ɖ bǎ) wɖ hiz legz tîtli crld. H hetd haññ abt. Śr inuf, aftr fiɉtñ a secnd or tū, h sd smʈñ śarp t Mcalistr’z bô, hu got ǎt hiz òrz n bgan t ro. Bt ɖer faɖr, ɖe ń, wd nvr b cntnt untl ɖe wr flayñ alñ. H wd cīp lcñ fr a brīz, fiɉtñ, seyñ ʈñz undr hiz breʈ, ẃć Mcalistr n Mcalistr’z bô wd oṿhír, n ɖe wd bʈ b md hoṛbli uncumftbl. H hd md ɖm cm. H hd forst ɖm t cm. In ɖer angr ɖe hopt ɖt ɖ brīz wd nvr rîz, ɖt h mt b ʈwortd in evri poṣbl we, sins h hd forst ɖm t cm agnst ɖer wilz.

Ol ɖ we dǎn t ɖ bīć ɖe hd lagd bhnd tgɖr, ɖo h bád ɖm “Wōc p, wōc p,” wɖt spīcñ. Ɖer hedz wr bnt dǎn, ɖer hedz wr prest dǎn bî sm rmorslis gel. Spīc t him ɖe cd nt. Ɖe mst cm; ɖe mst folo. Ɖe mst wōc bhnd him cariyñ brǎn pepr parslz. Bt ɖe vaud, in sîḷns, az ɖe wōct, t stand bî ć uɖr n cari ǎt ɖ gret compact—t rzist tiṛni t ɖ deʈ. So ɖr ɖe wd sit, wn at wn end v ɖ bot, wn at ɖ uɖr, in sîḷns. Ɖe wd se nʈñ, onli lc at him nǎ n ɖen ẃr h sat wɖ hiz legz twistd, frǎnñ n fiɉtñ, n piśñ n pśw̃ n muṭrñ ʈñz t himslf, n wêtñ impeśntli fr a brīz. N ɖe hopt it wd b cām. Ɖe hopt h wd b ʈwortd. Ɖe hopt ɖ hol xpdiśn wd fel, n ɖe wd hv t pt bac, wɖ ɖer parslz, t ɖ bīć.

Bt nǎ, ẃn Mcalistr’z bô hd róud a litl we ǎt, ɖ sêlz slǒli swuñ rnd, ɖ bot qcnd itslf, flatnd itslf, n śot of. Instntli, az f sm gret stren hd bn rlivd, Mr Ramzi uncrld hiz legz, tc ǎt hiz tbacopǎć, handd it wɖ a litl grunt t Mcalistr, n flt, ɖe ń, fr ol ɖe sufrd, prf̣cli cntnt. Nǎ ɖe wd sêl on fr aurz lîc ɖs, n Mr Ramzi wd asc old Mcalistr a qsćn—abt ɖ gret storm last wintr probbli—n old Mcalistr wd ansr it, n ɖe wd puf ɖer pîps tgɖr, n Mcalistr wd tec a tari rop in hiz fngrz, tayñ or untayñ sm nót, n ɖ bô wd fiś, n nvr se a wrd t enwn. Jemz wd b forst t cīp hiz î ol ɖ tîm on ɖ sêl. Fr f h fgot, ɖen ɖ sêl pucrd n śivrd, n ɖ bot slacnd, n Mr Ramzi wd se śarpli, “Lc ǎt! Lc ǎt!” n old Mcalistr wd trn slǒli on hiz sīt. So ɖe hŕd Mr Ramzi ascñ sm qsćn abt ɖ gret storm at Crisṃs. “Ś cmz drîvñ rnd ɖ pônt,” old Mcalistr sd, dscrîbñ ɖ gret storm last Crisṃs, ẃn ten śips hd bn drivn intu ɖ be fr śltr, n h hd sìn “wn ɖr, wn ɖr, wn ɖr” (h pôntd slǒli rnd ɖ be. Mr Ramzi foloud him, trnñ hiz hed). H hd sìn for men clññ t ɖ māst. Ɖen ś wz gn. “N at last w śuvd hr of,” h wnt on (bt in ɖer angr n ɖer sîḷns ɖe onli còt a wrd hir n ɖr, sitñ at oṗzit endz v ɖ bot, ynîtd bî ɖer compact t fît tiṛni t ɖ deʈ). At last ɖe hd śuvd hr of, ɖe hd lōnćt ɖ lîfbot, n ɖe hd got hr ǎt past ɖ pônt—Mcalistr tld ɖ stori; n ɖo ɖe onli còt a wrd hir n ɖr, ɖe wr conśs ol ɖ tîm v ɖer faɖr—hǎ h lent fwd, hǎ h bròt hiz vôs intu tyn wɖ Mcalistr’z vôs; hǎ, pufñ at hiz pîp, n lcñ ɖr n ɖr ẃr Mcalistr pôntd, h reliśt ɖ ʈt v ɖ storm n ɖ darc nît n ɖ fiśrṃn strîvñ ɖr. H lîct ɖt men śd lebr n swet on ɖ windi bīć at nît; pitñ musl n bren agnst ɖ wevz n ɖ wind; h lîct men t wrc lîc ɖt, n wimin t cīp hǎs, n sit bsd slīpñ ćildṛn indorz, ẃl men wr drǎnd, ǎt ɖr in a storm. So Jemz cd tel, so Cam cd tel (ɖe lct at him, ɖe lct at ć uɖr), fṛm hiz tos n hiz vijiḷns n ɖ rñ in hiz vôs, n ɖ litl tinj v Scotiś axnt ẃć cem intu hiz vôs, mcñ him sīm lîc a peznt himslf, az h qsćnd Mcalistr abt ɖ ilevn śips ɖt hd bn drivn intu ɖ be in a storm. Ʈri hd sunc.

H lct prǎdli ẃr Mcalistr pôntd; n Cam ʈt, fīlñ prǎd v him wɖt nwñ qt ẃ, hd h bn ɖr h wd hv lōnćt ɖ lîfbot, h wd hv rīćt ɖ rec, Cam ʈt. H wz so brev, h wz so advnćṛs, Cam ʈt. Bt ś rmembrd. Ɖr wz ɖ compact; t rzist tiṛni t ɖ deʈ. Ɖer grīvns weid ɖm dǎn. Ɖe hd bn forst; ɖe hd bn bidn. H hd bòrn ɖm dǎn wns mor wɖ hiz glūm n hiz oʈoṛti, mcñ ɖm d hiz bidñ, on ɖs fîn mornñ, cm, bcz h wśt it, cariyñ ɖz parslz, t ɖ Lîthǎs; tec part in ɖz ráits h wnt ʈru fr hiz ǒn pleźr in meṃri v ded ppl, ẃć ɖe hetd, so ɖt ɖe lagd aftr him, ol ɖ pleźr v ɖ de wz spôlt.

Yes, ɖ brīz wz freṣ́nñ. Ɖ bot wz līnñ, ɖ wōtr wz slîst śarpli n fél awe in grīn cascedz, in bublz, in caṭracts. Cam lct dǎn intu ɖ fom, intu ɖ sì wɖ ol its treźr in it, n its spīd hipṇtîzd hr, n ɖ tî btwn hr n Jemz sagd a litl. It slacnd a litl. Ś bgan t ʈnc, Hǎ fast it gz. Ẃr r w gwñ? n ɖ muvmnt hipṇtîzd hr, ẃl Jemz, wɖ hiz î fixt on ɖ sêl n on ɖ hrîzn, stird grimli. Bt h bgan t ʈnc az h stird ɖt h mt iscep; h mt b qit v it ol. Ɖe mt land smẃr; n b fri ɖen. Bʈ v ɖm, lcñ at ć uɖr fr a momnt, hd a sns v iscep n xlteśn, ẃt wɖ ɖ spīd n ɖ ćenj. Bt ɖ brīz bréd in Mr Ramzi tù ɖ sem xîtmnt, n, az old Mcalistr trnd t flñ hiz lîn oṿbord, h craid ǎt alǎd,

“W periśt,” n ɖen agn, “ć alon.” N ɖen wɖ hiz yźl spazm v rpntns or śînis, pld himslf p, n wevd hiz hand twdz ɖ śor.

“Si ɖ litl hǎs,” h sd pôntñ, wśñ Cam t lc. Ś rezd hrslf rluctntli n lct. Bt ẃć wz it? Ś cd no longr mc ǎt, ɖr on ɖ hilsîd, ẃć wz ɖer hǎs. Ol lct distnt n pīsfl n strenj. Ɖ śor sīmd rfînd, far awe, unriyl. Olrdi ɖ litl distns ɖe hd sêld hd pt ɖm far fṛm it n gvn it ɖ ćenjd lc, ɖ cmpozd lc, v smʈñ rsidñ in ẃć wn hz no longr eni part. Ẃć wz ɖer hǎs? Ś cd nt si it.

“Bt I bnʈ a rufr sì,” Mr Ramzi mrmrd. H hd faund ɖ hǎs n so siyñ it, h hd olso sìn himslf ɖr; h hd sìn himslf wōcñ on ɖ teris, alon. H wz wōcñ p n dǎn btwn ɖ ŕnz; n h sīmd t himslf vri old n baud. Sitñ in ɖ bot, h baud, h crǎćt himslf, actñ instntli hiz part— ɖ part v a dezḷt man, widoud, b’reft; n so cōld p bfr him in hosts ppl simṗʈîzñ wɖ him; stejd fr himslf az h sat in ɖ bot, a litl drama; ẃć rqîrd v him dcreṗtyd n xōsćn n soro (h rezd hiz handz n lct at ɖ ʈiņis v ɖm, t cnfrm hiz drīm) n ɖen ɖr wz gvn him in abundns wimin’z simṗʈi, n h imajnd hǎ ɖe wd suɖ him n simṗʈîz wɖ him, n so gtñ in hiz drīm sm rflex́n v ɖ xqizit pleźr wimin’z simṗʈi wz t him, h said n sd jntli n mōrnf̣li:

Bt I bnʈ a rufr sì

Wz ẃlmd in dīpr gulfs ɖn h,

so ɖt ɖ mōrnfl wrdz wr hŕd qt clirli bî ɖm ol. Cam haf startd on hr sīt. It śoct hr—it ǎtrejd hr. Ɖ muvmnt rǎzd hr faɖr; n h śudrd, n brouc of, xclemñ: “Lc! Lc!” so rjntli ɖt Jemz olso trnd hiz hed t lc ovr hiz śoldr at ɖ îḷnd. Ɖe ol lct. Ɖe lct at ɖ îḷnd.

Bt Cam cd si nʈñ. Ś wz ʈncñ hǎ ol ɖoz paɖz n ɖ lōn, ʈic n nótd wɖ ɖ lîvz ɖe hd livd ɖr, wr gn: wr rubd ǎt; wr past; wr unriyl, n nǎ ɖs wz riyl; ɖ bot n ɖ sêl wɖ its pać; Mcalistr wɖ hiz irñz; ɖ nôz v ɖ wevz—ol ɖs wz riyl. Ʈncñ ɖs, ś wz mrṃrñ t hrslf, “W periśt, ć alon,” fr hr faɖr’z wrdz brouc n brouc agn in hr mînd, ẃn hr faɖr, siyñ hr gezñ so vegli, bgan t tīz hr. Dd’nt ś nǒ ɖ pônts v ɖ cumṗs? h asct. Dd’nt ś nǒ ɖ Norʈ fṛm ɖ Sǎʈ? Dd ś riyli ʈnc ɖe livd rît ǎt ɖr? N h pôntd agn, n śoud hr ẃr ɖer hǎs wz, ɖr, bî ɖoz triz. H wśt ś wd trî t b mor akṛt, h sd: “Tel m—ẃć z Īst, ẃć z Wst?” h sd, haf lafñ at hr, haf scoldñ hr, fr h cd nt unḍstand ɖ stet v mînd v enwn, nt abṣlutli imbsil, hu dd nt nǒ ɖ pônts v ɖ cumṗs. Yt ś dd nt nǒ. N siyñ hr gezñ, wɖ hr veg, nǎ rɖr frîtnd, îz fixt ẃr no hǎs wz Mr Ramzi fgot hiz drīm; hǎ h wōct p n dǎn btwn ɖ ŕnz on ɖ teris; hǎ ɖ armz wr strećt ǎt t him. H ʈt, wimin r olwz lîc ɖt; ɖ vegnis v ɖer mîndz z hoplis; it wz a ʈñ h hd nvr bn ebl t unḍstand; bt so it wz. It hd bn so wɖ hr—hiz wîf. Ɖe cd nt cīp enʈñ clirli fixt in ɖer mîndz. Bt h hd bn roñ t b angri wɖ hr; morovr, dd h nt rɖr lîc ɖs vegnis in wimin? It wz part v ɖer xtrordnri ćarm. I wl mc hr smîl at m, h ʈt. Ś lcs frîtnd. Ś wz so sîḷnt. H clućt hiz fngrz, n dtrmind ɖt hiz vôs n hiz fes n ol ɖ qc xpresiv jsćrz ẃć hd bn at hiz cmand mcñ ppl piti him n prêz him ol ɖz yirz śd sbdy ɖmslvz. H wd mc hr smîl at him. H wd fînd sm simpl īzi ʈñ t se t hr. Bt ẃt? Fr, rápt p in hiz wrc az h wz, h fgot ɖ sort v ʈñ wn sd. Ɖr wz a pupi. Ɖe hd a pupi. Hu wz lcñ aftr ɖ pupi tde? h asct. Yes, ʈt Jemz pitilisli, siyñ hiz sistr’z hed agnst ɖ sêl, nǎ ś wl gv we. I śl b left t fît ɖ tîṛnt alon. Ɖ compact wd b left t him t cari ǎt. Cam wd nvr rzist tiṛni t ɖ deʈ, h ʈt grimli, woćñ hr fes, sad, sulci, yīldñ. N az smtmz hapnz ẃn a clǎd fōlz on a grīn hilsîd n gravti dsndz n ɖr amñ ol ɖ srǎndñ hilz z glūm n soro, n it sīmz az f ɖ hilz ɖmslvz mst pondr ɖ fet v ɖ clǎdd, ɖ darcnd, îɖr in piti, or mliśsli rjôsñ in hr dsme: so Cam nǎ flt hrslf oṿcast, az ś sat ɖr amñ cām, reẓlut ppl n wundrd hǎ t ansr hr faɖr abt ɖ pupi; hǎ t rzist hiz intriti—fgiv m, cer fr m; ẃl Jemz ɖ lw-gvr, wɖ ɖ tablits v itrnl wizdm leid opn on hiz ni (hiz hand on ɖ tilr hd bcm simbolicl t hr), sd, Rzist him. Fît him. H sd so rîtli; justli. Fr ɖe mst fît tiṛni t ɖ deʈ, ś ʈt. V ol hymn qoḷtz ś revṛnst justis most. Hr bruɖr wz most godlîc, hr faɖr most suplịnt. N t ẃć dd ś yīld, ś ʈt, sitñ btwn ɖm, gezñ at ɖ śor huz pônts wr ol uņoun t hr, n ʈncñ hǎ ɖ lōn n ɖ teris n ɖ hǎs wr smuɖd awe nǎ n pīs dwelt ɖr.

“Jaspr,” ś sd suḷnli. H’d lc aftr ɖ pupi.

N ẃt wz ś gwñ t cōl him? hr faɖr psistd. H hd hd a dog ẃn h wz a litl bô, cōld Frisc. Ś’l gv we, Jemz ʈt, az h woćt a lc cm upn hr fes, a lc h rmembrd. Ɖe lc dǎn h ʈt, at ɖer nitñ or smʈñ. Ɖen sudnli ɖe lc p. Ɖr wz a flaś v blu, h rmembrd, n ɖen smbdi sitñ wɖ him laft, s’rendrd, n h wz vri angri. It mst hv bn hiz muɖr, h ʈt, sitñ on a lo ćer, wɖ hiz faɖr standñ ovr hr. H bgan t srć amñ ɖ infṇt siriz v impreśnz ẃć tîm hd leid dǎn, līf upn līf, fold upn fold softli, insesntli upn hiz bren; amñ sénts, sǎndz; vôsz, harś, holo, swīt; n lîts pasñ, n brūmz tapñ; n ɖ woś n huś v ɖ sì, hǎ a man hd marćt p n dǎn n stopt ded, uprît, ovr ɖm. Mnẃl, h notist, Cam dabld hr fngrz in ɖ wōtr, n stérd at ɖ śor n sd nʈñ. No, ś w’nt gv we, h ʈt; ś’z difṛnt, h ʈt. Wel, f Cam wd nt ansr him, h wd nt boɖr hr Mr Ramzi dsîdd, fīlñ in hiz pocit fr a bc. Bt ś wd ansr him; ś wśt, paśṇtli, t muv sm obsṭcl ɖt le upn hr tuñ n t se, Ǒ, yes, Frisc. I’l cōl him Frisc. Ś wontd īvn t se, Wz ɖt ɖ dog ɖt faund its we ovr ɖ mur alon? Bt trî az ś mt, ś cd ʈnc v nʈñ t se lîc ɖt, firs n loyl t ɖ compact, yt pasñ on t hr faɖr, unsspctd bî Jemz, a prîvt tocn v ɖ luv ś flt fr him. Fr ś ʈt, daḅlñ hr hand (n nǎ Mcalistr’z bô hd còt a macṛl, n it le cicñ on ɖ flor, wɖ blud on its gilz) fr ś ʈt, lcñ at Jemz hu cept hiz îz dspaśṇtli on ɖ sêl, or glanst nǎ n ɖen fr a secnd at ɖ hrîzn, y’r nt xpozd t it, t ɖs preśr n dviźn v fīlñ, ɖs xtrordnri tmteśn. Hr faɖr wz fīlñ in hiz pocits; in anɖr secnd, h wd hv faund hiz bc. Fr nwn atractd hr mor; hiz handz wr bytifl, n hiz fīt, n hiz vôs, n hiz wrdz, n hiz hest, n hiz tmpr, n hiz oḍti, n hiz paśn, n hiz seyñ stret ǎt bfr evrwn, w periś, ć alon, n hiz rmotnis. (H hd opnd hiz bc.) Bt ẃt rmend intolṛbl, ś ʈt, sitñ uprît, n woćñ Mcalistr’z bô tug ɖ hc ǎt v ɖ gilz v anɖr fiś, wz ɖt cras blîndnis n tiṛni v hiz ẃć hd pôznd hr ćîldhd n rezd bitr stormz, so ɖt īvn nǎ ś wouc in ɖ nît tremḅlñ wɖ rej n rmembrd sm cmand v hiz; sm insḷns: “D ɖs,” “D ɖt,” hiz dominns: hiz “Sbmit t m.”

So ś sd nʈñ, bt lct dogidli n sadli at ɖ śor, rápt in its mantl v pīs; az f ɖ ppl ɖr hd fōḷn aslip, ś ʈt; wr fri lîc smoc, wr fri t cm n g lîc gosts. Ɖe hv no suf̣rñ ɖr, ś ʈt.


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6

Yes, ɖt z ɖer bot, Lili Brisco dsîdd, standñ on ɖ éj v ɖ lōn. It wz ɖ bot wɖ grêiś-brǎn sêlz, ẃć ś sw nǎ flatn itslf upn ɖ wōtr n śūt of acrs ɖ be. Ɖr h sits, ś ʈt, n ɖ ćildṛn r qt sîḷnt stl. N ś cd nt rīć him îɖr. Ɖ simṗʈi ś hd nt gvn him weid hr dǎn. It md it dificlt fr hr t pent.

Ś hd olwz faund him dificlt. Ś nvr hd bn ebl t prêz him t hiz fes, ś rmembrd. N ɖt rdyst ɖer rleśnśp t smʈñ ńtṛl, wɖt ɖt elimnt v sx in it ẃć md hiz manr t Minta so gaḷnt, olmst ge. H wd pic a flǎr fr hr, lend hr hiz bcs. Bt cd h b’liv ɖt Minta réd ɖm? Ś dragd ɖm abt ɖ gardn, sticñ in līvz t marc ɖ ples.

“D’y rmembr, Mr Carmîcl?” ś wz inclînd t asc, lcñ at ɖ old man. Bt h hd pld hiz hat haf ovr hiz fōrhed; h wz aslip, or h wz drīmñ, or h wz layñ ɖr caćñ wrdz, ś s’pozd.

“D’y rmembr?” ś flt inclînd t asc him az ś pást him, ʈncñ agn v Msz Ramzi on ɖ bīć; ɖ casc bobñ p n dǎn; n ɖ pejz flayñ. Ẃ, aftr ol ɖz yirz hd ɖt svîvd, rñd rnd, lit p, viẓbl t ɖ last dītel, wɖ ol bfr it blanc n ol aftr it blanc, fr mîlz n mîlz?

“Z it a bot? Z it a corc?” ś wd se, Lili rpitd, trnñ bac, rluctntli agn, t hr canvs. Hevn b prezd fr it, ɖ probḷm v spes rmend, ś ʈt, tecñ p hr bruś agn. It glerd at hr. Ɖ hol mas v ɖ picćr wz pôzd upn ɖt weit. Bytifl n brît it śd b on ɖ srfis, feɖ̇ri n eṿnesnt, wn culr mltñ intu anɖr lîc ɖ culrz on a buṭflî’z wñ; bt bnʈ ɖ fabric mst b clamt tgɖr wɖ bolts v ayn. It wz t b a ʈñ y cd rufl wɖ yr breʈ; n a ʈñ y cd nt dsloj wɖ a tīm v horsz. N ś bgan t le on a red, a gre, n ś bgan t modl hr we intu ɖ holo ɖr. At ɖ sem tîm, ś sīmd t b sitñ bsd Msz Ramzi on ɖ bīć.

“Z it a bot? Z it a casc?” Msz Ramzi sd. N ś bgan huntñ rnd fr hr spectclz. N ś sat, hvñ faund ɖm, sîḷnt, lcñ ǎt t sì. N Lili, pentñ steḍli, flt az f a dor hd opnd, n wn wnt in n std gezñ sîḷntli abt in a hî cʈīdṛļîc ples, vri darc, vri soḷm. Śǎts cem fṛm a wrld far awe. Stīmrz vaniśt in stōcz v smoc on ɖ hrîzn. Ćarlz ʈrù stonz n snt ɖm scipñ.

Msz Ramzi sat sîḷnt. Ś wz glad, Lili ʈt, t rest in sîḷns, unc̣ḿnic̣tiv; t rest in ɖ xtrim obskṛti v hymn rleśnśps. Hu nz ẃt w r, ẃt w fīl? Hu nz īvn at ɖ momnt v intiṃsi, Ɖs z nolij? R’nt ʈñz spôlt ɖen, Msz Ramzi me hv asct (it sīmd t hv hapnd so ofn, ɖs sîḷns bî hr sîd) bî seyñ ɖm? R’nt w mor xpresiv ɖus? Ɖ momnt at līst sīmd xtrordnṛli frtîl. Ś ramd a litl houl in ɖ sand n cuvrd it p, bî we v beriyñ in it ɖ pfx́n v ɖ momnt. It wz lîc a drop v silvr in ẃć wn dipt n ilumind ɖ darcnis v ɖ past.

Lili stept bac t gt hr canvs—so—intu pspctiv. It wz an od rod t b wōcñ, ɖs v pentñ. Ǎt n ǎt wn wnt, frɖr, untl at last wn sīmd t b on a naro planc, prf̣cli alon, ovr ɖ sì. N az ś dipt intu ɖ blu pent, ś dipt tù intu ɖ past ɖr. Nǎ Msz Ramzi got p, ś rmembrd. It wz tîm t g bac t ɖ hǎs—tîm fr lunćn. N ɖe ol wōct p fṛm ɖ bīć tgɖr, ś wōcñ bhnd wɖ Wiłm Báncs, n ɖr wz Minta in frunt v ɖm wɖ a houl in hr stocñ. Hǎ ɖt litl rǎnd houl v pnc hìl sīmd t flōnt itslf bfr ɖm! Hǎ Wiłm Báncs dplord it, wɖt, so far az ś cd rmembr, seyñ enʈñ abt it! It mnt t him ɖ anạleśn v wmnhd, n drt n dsordr, n srvnts līvñ n bedz nt md at miḑe—ol ɖ ʈñz h most abhord. H hd a we v śuḍrñ n spredñ hiz fngrz ǎt az f t cuvr an unsîtli objict ẃć h dd nǎ—holdñ hiz hand in frunt v him. N Minta wōct on ahd, n prizyṃbli Pōl met hr n ś wnt of wɖ Pōl in ɖ gardn.

Ɖ Rêliz, ʈt Lili Brisco, sqizñ hr tyb v grīn pent. Ś c’lectd hr impreśnz v ɖ Rêliz. Ɖer lîvz apird t hr in a siriz v sīnz; wn, on ɖ sterces at dōn. Pōl hd cm in n gn t bed rli; Minta wz lêt. Ɖr wz Minta, rīɖd, tintd, gẹriś on ɖ sterz abt ʈri o’cloc in ɖ mornñ. Pōl cem ǎt in hiz pjamaz cariyñ a pǒcr in ces v brglrz. Minta wz ītñ a sanwij, standñ haf-we p bî a windo, in ɖ c’davṛs rli mornñ lît, n ɖ carpit hd a houl in it. Bt ẃt dd ɖe se? Lili asct hrslf, az f bî lcñ ś cd hír ɖm. Minta wnt on ītñ hr sanwij, anoyñli, ẃl h spouc smʈñ vayḷnt, abyzñ hr, in a mutr so az nt t wec ɖ ćildṛn, ɖ tū litl bôz. H wz wiɖrd, drwn; ś flamboynt, cerlis. Fr ʈñz hd wrct lūs aftr ɖ frst yir or so; ɖ marij hd trnd ǎt rɖr badli.

N ɖs, Lili ʈt, tecñ ɖ grīn pent on hr bruś, ɖs mcñ p sīnz abt ɖm, z ẃt w cōl “nwñ” ppl, “ʈncñ” v ɖm, “biyñ fond” v ɖm! Nt a wrd v it wz tru; ś hd md it p; bt it wz ẃt ś ń ɖm bî ol ɖ sem. Ś wnt on tuṇlñ hr we intu hr picćr, intu ɖ past.

Anɖr tîm, Pōl sd h “pleid ćés in cofihǎzz.” Ś hd bilt p a hol strucćr v imaɉneśn on ɖt seyñ tù. Ś rmembrd hǎ, az h sd it, ś ʈt hǎ h rañ p ɖ srvnt, n ś sd, “Msz Rêli’z ǎt, sr,” n h dsîdd ɖt h wd nt cm hom îɖr. Ś sw him sitñ in ɖ cornr v sm l’gūbrịs ples ẃr ɖ smoc ataćt itslf t ɖ red pluś sīts, n ɖ wêtṛsz got t nǒ y, n h pleid ćés wɖ a litl man hu wz in ɖ tītred n livd at Srbitn, bt ɖt wz ol Pōl ń abt him. N ɖen Minta wz ǎt ẃn h cem hom n ɖen ɖr wz ɖt sīn on ɖ sterz, ẃn h got ɖ pǒcr in ces v brglrz (no dǎt t frîtn hr tù) n spouc so bitrli, seyñ ś hd ruind hiz lîf. At eni ret ẃn ś wnt dǎn t si ɖm at a cotij nir Ricṃnzwrʈ, ʈñz wr hoṛbli strend. Pōl tc hr dǎn ɖ gardn t lc at ɖ Beljn hérz ẃć h bréd, n Minta foloud ɖm, sññ, n pt hr bér arm on hiz śoldr, lest h śd tel hr enʈñ.

Minta wz bord bî hérz, Lili ʈt. Bt Minta nvr gev hrslf awe. Ś nvr sd ʈñz lîc ɖt abt pleyñ ćés in cofihǎzz. Ś wz far tù conśs, far tù wẹri. Bt t g on wɖ ɖer stori—ɖe hd got ʈru ɖ denjṛs stej bî nǎ. Ś hd bn steyñ wɖ ɖm last sumr sm tîm n ɖ car brouc dǎn n Minta hd t hand him hiz tūlz. H sat on ɖ rod mndñ ɖ car, n it wz ɖ we ś gev him ɖ tūlz—biznislîc, stretfwd, frendli—ɖt pruvd it wz ol rît nǎ. Ɖe wr “in luv” no longr; no, h hd tecn p wɖ anɖr wmn, a sirịs wmn, wɖ hr her in a pleit n a ces in hr hand (Minta hd dscrîbd hr gretf̣li, olmst admîrñli), hu wnt t mītñz n śerd Pōl’z vyz (ɖe hd got mor n mor pṛnǎnst) abt ɖ taxeśn v landvalyz n a capitļevi. Far fṛm brecñ p ɖ marij, ɖt alayns hd rîtd it. Ɖe wr xḷnt frendz, obvịsli, az h sat on ɖ rod n ś handd him hiz tūlz.

So ɖt wz ɖ stori v ɖ Rêliz, Lili ʈt. Ś imajnd hrslf telñ it t Msz Ramzi, hu wd b fl v krioṣti t nǒ ẃt hd bcm v ɖ Rêliz. Ś wd fīl a litl trîumfnt, telñ Msz Ramzi ɖt ɖ marij hd nt bn a s’xes.

Bt ɖ ded, ʈt Lili, incǎnṭrñ sm obsṭcl in hr dzîn ẃć md hr pōz n pondr, stepñ bac a ft or so, ǒ, ɖ ded! ś mrmrd, wn pitid ɖm, wn bruśt ɖm asd, wn hd īvn a litl cntmt fr ɖm. Ɖe r at ǎr mrsi. Msz Ramzi hz fedd n gn, ś ʈt. W cn ovŗîd hr wśz, impruv awe hr liṃtd, old-faśnd îdīaz. Ś rsidz frɖr n frɖr fṛm s. Mocñli ś sīmd t si hr ɖr at ɖ end v ɖ coṛdor v yirz seyñ, v ol incongrụs ʈñz, “Mari, mari!” (sitñ vri uprît rli in ɖ mornñ wɖ ɖ brdz bginñ t ćìp in ɖ gardn ǎtsd). N wn wd hv t se t hr, It hz ol gn agnst yr wśz. Ɖ’r hapi lîc ɖt; I’m hapi lîc ɖs. Lîf hz ćenjd cmplitli. At ɖt ol hr biyñ, īvn hr byti, bcem fr a momnt, dusti n ǎt v det. Fr a momnt Lili, standñ ɖr, wɖ ɖ sún hot on hr bac, sumñ p ɖ Rêliz, trîumft ovr Msz Ramzi, hu wd nvr nǒ hǎ Pōl wnt t cofihǎzz n hd a mistris; hǎ h sat on ɖ grǎnd n Minta handd him hiz tūlz; hǎ ś std hir pentñ, hd nvr marid, nt īvn Wiłm Báncs.

Msz Ramzi hd pland it. Phps, hd ś livd, ś wd hv cmpeld it. Olrdi ɖt sumr h wz “ɖ cîndist v men.” H wz “ɖ frst sayntist v hiz ej, mî huzbnd sz.” H wz olso “pur Wiłm—it mcs m so unhapi, ẃn I g t si him, t fînd nʈñ nîs in hiz hǎs—nwn t arenj ɖ flǎrz.” So ɖe wr snt fr wōcs tgɖr, n ś wz tld, wɖ ɖt fent tuć v îṛni ɖt md Msz Ramzi slip ʈru wn’z fngrz, ɖt ś hd a sạntific mînd; ś lîct flǎrz; ś wz so xact. Ẃt wz ɖs meńa v hrz fr marij? Lili wundrd, stepñ t n fro fṛm hr īzl.

(Sudnli, az sudnli az a star slîdz in ɖ scî, a rediś lît sīmd t brn in hr mînd, cuṿrñ Pōl Rêli, iśuwñ fṛm him. It rouz lîc a fîr snt p in tocn v sm seḷbreśn bî saṿjz on a distnt bīć. Ś hŕd ɖ ror n ɖ cracl. Ɖ hol sì fr mîlz rnd ran red n gold. Sm wîni smel mixt wɖ it n intoxicetd hr, fr ś flt agn hr ǒn hedloñ dzîr t ʈro hrslf of ɖ clif n b drǎnd lcñ fr a prl broć on a bīć. N ɖ ror n ɖ cracl rpeld hr wɖ fir n dsgust, az f ẃl ś sw its splendr n pǎr ś sw tù hǎ it féd on ɖ treźr v ɖ hǎs, grīḍli, dsgustñli, n ś loɖd it. Bt fr a sît, fr a glori it s’pást evrʈñ in hr xpirịns, n brnt yir aftr yir lîc a signl fîr on a dezt îḷnd at ɖ éj v ɖ sì, n wn hd onli t se “in luv” n instntli, az hapnd nǎ, p rouz Pōl’z fîr agn. N it sanc n ś sd t hrslf, lafñ, “Ɖ Rêliz”; hǎ Pōl wnt t cofihǎzz n pleid ćés.)

Ś hd onli iscept bî ɖ scin v hr tīʈ ɖo, ś ʈt. Ś hd bn lcñ at ɖ teblcloʈ, n it hd flaśt upn hr ɖt ś wd muv ɖ tri t ɖ midl, n nīd nvr mari enbdi, n ś hd flt an inorṃs xlteśn. Ś hd flt, nǎ ś cd stand p t Msz Ramzi—a tribyt t ɖ astoṇśñ pǎr ɖt Msz Ramzi hd ovr wn. D ɖs, ś sd, n wn dd it. Īvn hr śado at ɖ windo wɖ Jemz wz fl v oʈoṛti. Ś rmembrd hǎ Wiłm Báncs hd bn śoct bî hr nglect v ɖ sgnificns v muɖr n sun. Dd ś nt admîr ɖer byti? h sd. Bt Wiłm, ś rmembrd, hd lisnd t hr wɖ hiz wîz ćîld’z îz ẃn ś xplend hǎ it wz nt irevṛns: hǎ a lît ɖr nīdd a śado ɖr n so on. Ś dd nt intnd t dsparij a subjict ẃć, ɖe agrìd, Rafel hd trītd dvînli. Ś wz nt sinicl. Qt ɖ contrri. Ʈancs t hiz sạntific mînd h unḍstd—a prūf v disinṭrestd intelijns ẃć hd plizd hr n cumf̣td hr inorṃsli. Wn cd tōc v pentñ ɖen sirịsli t a man. Indd, hiz frendśp hd bn wn v ɖ pleźrz v hr lîf. Ś luvd Wiłm Báncs.

Ɖe wnt t Hamtn Cort n h olwz left hr, lîc ɖ prfict jntlmn h wz, plenti v tîm t woś hr handz, ẃl h strold bî ɖ rivr. Ɖt wz tipicl v ɖer rleśnśp. Mni ʈñz wr left unséd. Ɖen ɖe strold ʈru ɖ cortyardz, n admîrd, sumr aftr sumr, ɖ pṛporśnz n ɖ flǎrz, n h wd tel hr ʈñz, abt pspctiv, abt arc̣tecćr, az ɖe wōct, n h wd stop t lc at a tri, or ɖ vy ovr ɖ lec, n admîr a ćîld—(it wz hiz gret grīf—h hd no dōtr) in ɖ veg alūf we ɖt wz naćṛl t a man hu spent so mć tîm in l’boṛtriz ɖt ɖ wrld ẃn h cem ǎt sīmd t dazl him, so ɖt h wōct slǒli, liftd hiz hand t scrīn hiz îz n pōzd, wɖ hiz hed ʈroun bac, mirli t briɖ ɖ er. Ɖen h wd tel hr hǎ hiz hǎscīpr wz on hr hoḷde; h mst bai a ny carpit fr ɖ sterces. Phps ś wd g wɖ him t bai a ny carpit fr ɖ sterces. N wns smʈñ léd him t tōc abt ɖ Ramziz n h hd sd hǎ ẃn h frst sw hr ś hd bn wẹrñ a gre hat; ś wz nt mor ɖn nîntīn or twenti. Ś wz astoṇśñli bytifl. Ɖr h std lcñ dǎn ɖ aṿny at Hamtn Cort az f h cd si hr ɖr amñ ɖ fǎntnz.

Ś lct nǎ at ɖ drw̃rūm step. Ś sw, ʈru Wiłm’z îz, ɖ śep v a wmn, pīsfl n sîḷnt, wɖ dǎncast îz. Ś sat ḿzñ, ponḍrñ (ś wz in gre ɖt de, Lili ʈt). Hr îz wr bnt. Ś wd nvr lift ɖm. Yes, ʈt Lili, lcñ intntli, I mst hv sìn hr lc lîc ɖt, bt nt in gre; nr so stil, nr so yuñ, nr so pīsfl. Ɖ figr cem reḍli inuf. Ś wz astoṇśñli bytifl, az Wiłm sd. Bt byti wz nt evrʈñ. Byti hd ɖs penlti—it cem tù reḍli, cem tù cmplitli. It stild lîf—froz it. Wn fgot ɖ litl ajteśnz; ɖ fluś, ɖ palr, sm qir dstorśn, sm lît or śado, ẃć md ɖ fes unrecgnîẓbl fr a momnt n yt add a qoḷti wn sw fr evr aftr. It wz simplr t smuɖ ɖt ol ǎt undr ɖ cuvr v byti. Bt ẃt wz ɖ lc ś hd, Lili wundrd, ẃn ś clapt hr dírstōcrz’ hat on hr hed, or ran acrs ɖ gras, or scoldd Ceṇdi, ɖ gardnr? Hu cd tel hr? Hu cd hlp hr?

Agnst hr wl ś hd cm t ɖ srfis, n faund hrslf haf ǎt v ɖ picćr, lcñ, litl dezidli, az f at unriyl ʈñz, at Mr Carmîcl. H le on hiz ćer wɖ hiz handz claspt abv hiz pōnć nt rīdñ, or slīpñ, bt bascñ lîc a crīćr gorjd wɖ xistns. Hiz bc hd fōḷn on t ɖ gras.

Ś wontd t g stret p t him n se, “Mr Carmîcl!” Ɖen h wd lc p bneṿlntli az olwz, fṛm hiz smoci veg grīn îz. Bt wn onli wouc ppl f wn ń ẃt wn wontd t se t ɖm. N ś wontd t se nt wn ʈñ, bt evrʈñ. Litl wrdz ɖt brouc p ɖ ʈt n dsmembrd it sd nʈñ. “Abt lîf, abt deʈ; abt Msz Ramzi”—no, ś ʈt, wn cd se nʈñ t nbdi. Ɖ rjnsi v ɖ momnt olwz míst its marc. Wrdz flutrd sîdwêz n struc ɖ objict inćz tù lo. Ɖen wn gev it p; ɖen ɖ îdīa sunc bac agn; ɖen wn bcem lîc most midl-ejd ppl, cōśs, frtiv, wɖ rinclz btwn ɖ îz n a lc v ppećl aprihnśn. Fr hǎ cd wn xpres in wrdz ɖz imośnz v ɖ bodi? xpres ɖt emtinis ɖr? (Ś wz lcñ at ɖ drw̃rūm steps; ɖe lct xtrordnṛli emti.) It wz wn’z bodi fīlñ, nt wn’z mînd. Ɖ fizicl snseśnz ɖt wnt wɖ ɖ bér lc v ɖ steps hd bcm sudnli xtrimli unpleznt. T wont n nt t hv, snt ol p hr bodi a hardnis, a holonis, a stren. N ɖen t wont n nt t hv—t wont n wont—hǎ ɖt rúñ ɖ hart, n rúñ it agn n agn! Ǒ, Msz Ramzi! ś cōld ǎt sîḷntli, t ɖt esns ẃć sat bî ɖ bot, ɖt abstract wn md v hr, ɖt wmn in gre, az f t abyz hr fr hvñ gn, n ɖen hvñ gn, cm bac agn. It hd sīmd so sef, ʈncñ v hr. Gost, er, nʈñnis, a ʈñ y cd ple wɖ īẓli n sefli at eni tîm v de or nît, ś hd bn ɖt, n ɖen sudnli ś pt hr hand ǎt n rúñ ɖ hart ɖus. Sudnli, ɖ emti drw̃rūm steps, ɖ fril v ɖ ćer insd, ɖ pupi tumḅlñ on ɖ teris, ɖ hol wev n ẃispr v ɖ gardn bcem lîc crvz n aṛbescs fluṛśñ rnd a sntr v cmplit emtinis.

“Ẃt dz it mīn? Hǎ d y xplen it ol?” ś wontd t se, trnñ t Mr Carmîcl agn. Fr ɖ hol wrld sīmd t hv dzolvd in ɖs rli mornñ aur intu a pūl v ʈt, a dīp besn v riaḷti, n wn cd olmst fansi ɖt hd Mr Carmîcl spocn, fr instns, a litl ter wd hv rént ɖ srfispūl. N ɖen? Smʈñ wd imrj. A hand wd b śuvd p, a bled wd b flaśt. It wz nonsns v cors.

A krịs nośn cem t hr ɖt h dd aftr ol hír ɖ ʈñz ś cd nt se. H wz an inscrūṭbl old man, wɖ ɖ yelo sten on hiz bird, n hiz powtri, n hiz puzlz, sêlñ s’rīnli ʈru a wrld ẃć saṭsfaid ol hiz wonts, so ɖt ś ʈt h hd onli t pt dǎn hiz hand ẃr h le on ɖ lōn t fiś p enʈñ h wontd. Ś lct at hr picćr. Ɖt wd hv bn hiz ansr, prizyṃbli—hǎ “y” n “I” n “ś” pas n vaniś; nʈñ stez; ol ćenjz; bt nt wrdz, nt pent. Yt it wd b huñ in ɖ atics, ś ʈt; it wd b rold p n fluñ undr a sofa; yt īvn so, īvn v a picćr lîc ɖt, it wz tru. Wn mt se, īvn v ɖs scrōl, nt v ɖt acćl picćr, phps, bt v ẃt it atmtd, ɖt it “rmend fr evr,” ś wz gwñ t se, or, fr ɖ wrdz spocn sǎndd īvn t hrslf, tù bostfl, t hint, wrdlisli; ẃn, lcñ at ɖ picćr, ś wz s’prîzd t fînd ɖt ś cd nt si it. Hr îz wr fl v a hot liqid (ś dd nt ʈnc v tirz at frst) ẃć, wɖt dstrbñ ɖ frmnis v hr lips, md ɖ er ʈic, rold dǎn hr ćīcs. Ś hd prfict cntrol v hrslf—Ǒ, yes!—in evri uɖr we. Wz ś crayñ ɖen fr Msz Ramzi, wɖt biyñ awer v eni unhapinis? Ś adrest old Mr Carmîcl agn. Ẃt wz it ɖen? Ẃt dd it mīn? Cd ʈñz ʈrust ɖer handz p n grip wn; cd ɖ bled cut; ɖ fist grasp? Wz ɖr no sefti? No lrnñ bî hart v ɖ wez v ɖ wrld? No gîd, no śltr, bt ol wz miṛcl, n līpñ fṛm ɖ piṇcl v a tǎr intu ɖ er? Cd it b, īvn fr eldrli ppl, ɖt ɖs wz lîf?—starṭlñ, unxpctd, uņoun? Fr wn momnt ś flt ɖt f ɖe bʈ got p, hir, nǎ on ɖ lōn, n dmandd an xpḷneśn, ẃ wz it so śort, ẃ wz it so inxplicbl, sd it wɖ vayḷns, az tū fŭli iqipt hymn biyñz fṛm hūm nʈñ śd b hid mt spīc, ɖen, byti wd rol itslf p; ɖ spes wd fil; ɖoz emti fluṛśz wd form intu śep; f ɖe śǎtd lǎd inuf Msz Ramzi wd rtrn. “Msz Ramzi!” ś sd alǎd, “Msz Ramzi!” Ɖ tirz ran dǎn hr fes.


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[Mcalistr’z bô tc wn v ɖ fiś n cut a sqer ǎt v its sîd t beit hiz hc wɖ. Ɖ ḿṭletd bodi (it wz alîv stl) wz ʈroun bac intu ɖ sì.]


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“Msz Ramzi!” Lili craid, “Msz Ramzi!” Bt nʈñ hapnd. Ɖ pen incrist. Ɖt anḡś cd rdys wn t sć a pić v imḅsiḷti, ś ʈt! Enhǎ ɖ old man hd nt hŕd hr. H rmend bnignnt, cām—f wn ćouz t ʈnc it, sblîm. Hevn b prezd, nwn hd hŕd hr crî ɖt igṇmińs crî, stop pen, stop! Ś hd nt obvịsli tecn līv v hr snsz. Nwn hd sìn hr step of hr strip v bord intu ɖ wōtrz v anạleśn. Ś rmend a scimpi old meid, holdñ a pentbruś.

N nǎ slǒli ɖ pen v ɖ wont, n ɖ bitr angr (t b cōld bac, jst az ś ʈt ś wd nvr fīl soro fr Msz Ramzi agn. Hd ś míst hr amñ ɖ coficups at brecfst? nt in ɖ līst) lesnd; n v ɖer anḡś left, az antidǒt, a rlif ɖt wz bām in itslf, n olso, bt mor mistirịsli, a sns v smwn ɖr, v Msz Ramzi, rlivd fr a momnt v ɖ weit ɖt ɖ wrld hd pt on hr, steyñ lîtli bî hr sîd n ɖen (fr ɖs wz Msz Ramzi in ol hr byti) rezñ t hr fōrhed a rīʈ v ẃît flǎrz wɖ ẃć ś wnt. Lili sqizd hr tybz agn. Ś atact ɖt probḷm v ɖ hej. It wz strenj hǎ clirli ś sw hr, stepñ wɖ hr yźl qcnis acrs fīldz amñ huz foldz, prpliś n soft, amñ huz flǎrz, haysinʈ or liliz, ś vaniśt. It wz sm tric v ɖ pentr’z î. Fr dez aftr ś hd hŕd v hr deʈ ś hd sìn hr ɖus, ptñ hr rīʈ t hr fōrhed n gwñ unqsćnñli wɖ hr cmpańn, a śêd acrs ɖ fīldz. Ɖ sît, ɖ frêz, hd its pǎr t consol. Ẃrvr ś hapnd t b, pentñ, hir, in ɖ cuntri or in Lundn, ɖ viźn wd cm t hr, n hr îz, haf clozñ, sòt smʈñ t bes hr viźn on. Ś lct dǎn ɖ relwê carij, ɖ omnibs; tc a lîn fṛm śoldr or ćīc; lct at ɖ windoz oṗzit; at Pic̣dili, lamp-struñ in ɖ īvnñ. Ol hd bn part v ɖ fīldz v deʈ. Bt olwz smʈñ—it mt b a fes, a vôs, a peprbô crayñ STANḌD, NYZ—ʈrust ʈru, snubd hr, wect hr, rqîrd n got in ɖ end an ef̣t v atnśn, so ɖt ɖ viźn mst b ppćli ri-md. Nǎ agn, muvd az ś wz bî sm instñtiv nīd v distns n blu, ś lct at ɖ be bnʈ hr, mcñ hiḷcs v ɖ blu barz v ɖ wevz, n stoni fīldz v ɖ prṗlr spesz, agn ś wz rǎzd az yźl bî smʈñ incongrụs. Ɖr wz a brǎn spot in ɖ midl v ɖ be. It wz a bot. Yes, ś riylîzd ɖt aftr a secnd. Bt huz bot? Mr Ramzi’z bot, ś rplaid. Mr Ramzi; ɖ man hu hd marćt past hr, wɖ hiz hand rezd, alūf, at ɖ hed v a pṛseśn, in hiz bytifl būts, ascñ hr fr simṗʈi, ẃć ś hd rfyzd. Ɖ bot wz nǎ haf we acrs ɖ be.

So fîn wz ɖ mornñ xpt fr a strīc v wind hir n ɖr ɖt ɖ sì n scî lct ol wn fabric, az f sêlz wr stuc hî p in ɖ scî, or ɖ clǎdz hd dropt dǎn intu ɖ sì. A stīmr far ǎt at sì hd drwn in ɖ er a gret scrol v smoc ẃć steid ɖr crvñ n src̣lñ decṛtivli, az f ɖ er wr a fîn gōz ẃć hld ʈñz n cept ɖm softli in its meś, onli jntli sweyñ ɖm ɖs we n ɖt. N az hapnz smtmz ẃn ɖ weɖr z vri fîn, ɖ clifs lct az f ɖe wr conśs v ɖ śips, n ɖ śips lct az f ɖe wr conśs v ɖ clifs, az f ɖe signld t ć uɖr sm mesij v ɖer ǒn. Fr smtmz qt clos t ɖ śor, ɖ Lîthǎs lct ɖs mornñ in ɖ hêz an inorṃs distns awe.

“Ẃr r ɖe nǎ?” Lili ʈt, lcñ ǎt t sì. Ẃr wz h, ɖt vri old man hu hd gn past hr sîḷntli, holdñ a brǎn pepr parsl undr hiz arm? Ɖ bot wz in ɖ midl v ɖ be.


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Ɖe d’nt fīl a ʈñ ɖr, Cam ʈt, lcñ at ɖ śor, ẃć, rîzñ n fōlñ, bcem steḍli mor distnt n mor pīsfl. Hr hand cut a trel in ɖ sì, az hr mînd md ɖ grīn swrlz n strīcs intu patnz n, numd n śrǎdd, wondrd in imaɉneśn in ɖt unḍwrld v wōtrz ẃr ɖ prlz stuc in clustrz t ẃît sprez, ẃr in ɖ grīn lît a ćenj cem ovr wn’z intîr mînd n wn’z bodi śon haf trnspaṛnt inveḷpt in a grīn clǒc.

Ɖen ɖ edi slacnd rnd hr hand. Ɖ ruś v ɖ wōtr sīst; ɖ wrld bcem fl v litl crīcñ n sqīcñ sǎndz. Wn hŕd ɖ wevz brecñ n flapñ agnst ɖ sîd v ɖ bot az f ɖe wr ancrd in harbr. Evrʈñ bcem vri clos t wn. Fr ɖ sêl, upn ẃć Jemz hd hiz îz fixt untl it hd bcm t him lîc a prsn hūm h ń, sagd intîrli; ɖr ɖe cem t a stop, flapñ abt wêtñ fr a brīz, in ɖ hot sún, mîlz fṛm śor, mîlz fṛm ɖ Lîthǎs. Evrʈñ in ɖ hol wrld sīmd t stand stl. Ɖ Lîthǎs bcem imuṿbl, n ɖ lîn v ɖ distnt śor bcem fixt. Ɖ sún grù hotr n evrbdi sīmd t cm vri clos tgɖr n t fīl ć uɖr’z prezns, ẃć ɖe hd olmst fgotn. Mcalistr’z fiśñ lîn wnt plúm dǎn intu ɖ sì. Bt Mr Ramzi wnt on rīdñ wɖ hiz legz crld undr him.

H wz rīdñ a litl śîni bc wɖ cuvrz motld lîc a plovr’z eg. Nǎ n agn, az ɖe huñ abt in ɖt horid cām, h trnd a pej. N Jemz flt ɖt ć pej wz trnd wɖ a pkłr jsćr emd at him; nǎ asrtivli, nǎ c’mandñli; nǎ wɖ ɖ intnśn v mcñ ppl piti him; n ol ɖ tîm, az hiz faɖr réd n trnd wn aftr anɖr v ɖoz litl pejz, Jemz cept dredñ ɖ momnt ẃn h wd lc p n spīc śarpli t him abt smʈñ or uɖr. Ẃ wr ɖe lagñ abt hir? h wd dmand, or smʈñ qt unrīzṇbl lîc ɖt. N f h dz, Jemz ʈt, ɖen I śl tec a nîf n strîc him t ɖ hart.

H hd olwz cept ɖs old simbl v tecñ a nîf n strîcñ hiz faɖr t ɖ hart. Onli nǎ, az h grù oldr, n sat stẹrñ at hiz faɖr in an imṗtnt rej, it wz nt him, ɖt old man rīdñ, hūm h wontd t cil, bt it wz ɖ ʈñ ɖt dsndd on him—wɖt hiz nwñ it phps: ɖt firs sudn blac-wñd harpi, wɖ its talnz n its bīc ol cold n hard, ɖt struc n struc at y (h cd fīl ɖ bīc on hiz bér legz, ẃr it hd struc ẃn h wz a ćîld) n ɖen md of, n ɖr h wz agn, an old man, vri sad, rīdñ hiz bc. Ɖt h wd cil, ɖt h wd strîc t ɖ hart. Ẃtvr h dd—(n h mt d enʈñ, h flt, lcñ at ɖ Lîthǎs n ɖ distnt śor) ẃɖr h wz in a biznis, in a banc, a baristr, a man at ɖ hed v sm enṭprîz, ɖt h wd fît, ɖt h wd trac dǎn n stamp ǎt—tiṛni, desṗtizm, h cōld it—mcñ ppl d ẃt ɖe dd nt wont t d, cutñ of ɖer rît t spīc. Hǎ cd eni v ɖm se, Bt I w’nt, ẃn h sd, Cm t ɖ Lîthǎs. D ɖs. Feć m ɖt. Ɖ blac wñz spred, n ɖ hard bīc tòr. N ɖen nxt momnt, ɖr h sat rīdñ hiz bc; n h mt lc p—wn nvr ń—qt rīzṇbli. H mt tōc t ɖ Mcalistrz. H mt b presñ a sovrin intu sm frozn old wmn’z hand in ɖ strīt, Jemz ʈt, n h mt b śǎtñ ǎt at sm fiśrmn’z sports; h mt b wevñ hiz armz in ɖ er wɖ xîtmnt. Or h mt sit at ɖ hed v ɖ tebl ded sîḷnt fṛm wn end v dinr t ɖ uɖr. Yes, ʈt Jemz, ẃl ɖ bot slapt n dōdld ɖr in ɖ hot sún; ɖr wz a west v sno n roc vri lonli n ostir; n ɖr h hd cm t fīl, qt ofn letli, ẃn hiz faɖr sd smʈñ or dd smʈñ ẃć s’prîzd ɖ uɖrz, ɖr wr tū perz v ftprints onli; hiz ǒn n hiz faɖr’z. Ɖe alon ń ć uɖr. Ẃt ɖen wz ɖs terr, ɖs hetrid? Trnñ bac amñ ɖ mni līvz ẃć ɖ past hd foldd in him, pirñ intu ɖ hart v ɖt forist ẃr lît n śêd so ćécr ć uɖr ɖt ol śep z dstortd, n wn blundrz, nǎ wɖ ɖ sún in wn’z îz, nǎ wɖ a darc śado, h sòt an imij t cūl n dtać n rǎnd of hiz fīlñ in a concrīt śep. S’poz ɖen ɖt az a ćîld sitñ hlplis in a p’rambyletr, or on smwn’z ni, h hd sìn a wagn cruś ignṛntli n iṇsntli, smwn’z ft? S’poz h hd sìn ɖ ft frst, in ɖ gras, smuɖ, n hol; ɖen ɖ ẃīl; n ɖ sem ft, prpl, cruśt. Bt ɖ ẃīl wz iṇsnt. So nǎ, ẃn hiz faɖr cem strîdñ dǎn ɖ pasij nocñ ɖm p rli in ɖ mornñ t g t ɖ Lîthǎs dǎn it cem ovr hiz ft, ovr Cam’z ft, ovr enbdi’z ft. Wn sat n woćt it.

Bt huz ft wz h ʈncñ v, n in ẃt gardn dd ol ɖs hapn? Fr wn hd setñz fr ɖz sīnz; triz ɖt grù ɖr; flǎrz; a srtn lît; a fy figrz. Evrʈñ tndd t set itslf in a gardn ẃr ɖr wz nn v ɖs glūm. Nn v ɖs ʈrowñ v handz abt; ppl spouc in an ordnri ton v vôs. Ɖe wnt in n ǎt ol de loñ. Ɖr wz an old wmn goṣpñ in ɖ cićn; n ɖ blîndz wr suct in n ǎt bî ɖ brīz; ol wz blowñ, ol wz growñ; n ovr ol ɖoz plets n bolz n tōl branḍśñ red n yelo flǎrz a vri ʈin yelo veil wd b drwn, lîc a vînlīf, at nît. Ʈñz bcem stilr n darcr at nît. Bt ɖ līflîc veil wz so fîn, ɖt lîts liftd it, vôsz crincld it; h cd si ʈru it a figr stūpñ, hír, cmñ clos, gwñ awe, sm dres ruṣlñ, sm ćen tnc̣lñ.

It wz in ɖs wrld ɖt ɖ ẃīl wnt ovr ɖ prsn’z ft. Smʈñ, h rmembrd, steid fluriśt p in ɖ er, smʈñ arid n śarp dsndd īvn ɖr, lîc a bled, a siṃtar, smîtñ ʈru ɖ līvz n flǎrz īvn v ɖt hapi wrld n mcñ it śrivl n fōl.

“It wl ren,” h rmembrd hiz faɖr seyñ. “Y w’nt b ebl t g t ɖ Lîthǎs.”

Ɖ Lîthǎs wz ɖen a silvri, misti-lcñ tǎr wɖ a yelo î, ɖt opnd sudnli, n softli in ɖ īvnñ. Nǎ—

Jemz lct at ɖ Lîthǎs. H cd si ɖ ẃît-wośt rocs; ɖ tǎr, starc n stret; h cd si ɖt it wz bàrd wɖ blac n ẃît; h cd si windoz in it; h cd īvn si wośñ spred on ɖ rocs t drî. So ɖt wz ɖ Lîthǎs, wz it?

No, ɖ uɖr wz olso ɖ Lîthǎs. Fr nʈñ wz simpli wn ʈñ. Ɖ uɖr Lîthǎs wz tru tù. It wz smtmz hardli t b sìn acrs ɖ be. In ɖ īvnñ wn lct p n sw ɖ î oṗnñ n śutñ n ɖ lît sīmd t rīć ɖm in ɖt e’ri súni gardn ẃr ɖe sat.

Bt h pld himslf p. Ẃnvr h sd “ɖe” or “a prsn,” n ɖen bgan hírñ ɖ rusl v smwn cmñ, ɖ tncl v smwn gwñ, h bcem xtrimli snṣtiv t ɖ prezns v huevr mt b in ɖ rūm. It wz hiz faɖr nǎ. Ɖ stren wz akt. Fr in wn momnt f ɖr wz no brīz, hiz faɖr wd slap ɖ cuvrz v hiz bc tgɖr, n se: “Ẃt’s haṗnñ nǎ? Ẃt r w dōḍlñ abt hir fr, ê?” az, wns bfr h hd bròt hiz bled dǎn amñ ɖm on ɖ teris n ś hd gn stif ol ovr, n f ɖr hd bn an ax handi, a nîf, or enʈñ wɖ a śarp pônt h wd hv sizd it n struc hiz faɖr ʈru ɖ hart. Ś hd gn stif ol ovr, n ɖen, hr arm slac̣nñ, so ɖt h flt ś lisnd t him no longr, ś hd rizn smhǎ n gn awe n left him ɖr, imṗtnt, r’dikyḷs, sitñ on ɖ flor graspñ a per v sizrz.

Nt a breʈ v wind blù. Ɖ wōtr ćucld n grgld in ɖ botm v ɖ bot ẃr ʈri or for macṛl bìt ɖer teilz p n dǎn in a pūl v wōtr nt dīp inuf t cuvr ɖm. At eni momnt Mr Ramzi (h scersli derd lc at him) mt rǎz himslf, śut hiz bc, n se smʈñ śarp; bt fr ɖ momnt h wz rīdñ, so ɖt Jemz stelʈ̇li, az f h wr stìlñ dǎnsterz on bér fīt, afred v wecñ a woćdog bî a crīcñ bord, wnt on ʈncñ ẃt wz ś lîc, ẃr dd ś g ɖt de? H bgan folowñ hr fṛm rūm t rūm n at last ɖe cem t a rūm ẃr in a blu lît, az f ɖ rflex́n cem fṛm mni ćîna diśz, ś tōct t smbdi; h lisnd t hr tōcñ. Ś tōct t a srvnt, seyñ simpli ẃtvr cem intu hr hed. Ś alon spouc ɖ truʈ; t hr alon cd h spīc it. Ɖt wz ɖ sors v hr eṿlastñ atrax́n fr him, phps; ś wz a prsn t hūm wn cd se ẃt cem intu wn’z hed. Bt ol ɖ tîm h ʈt v hr, h wz conśs v hiz faɖr folowñ hiz ʈt, sveyñ it, mcñ it śivr n fōltr. At last h sīst t ʈnc.

Ɖr h sat wɖ hiz hand on ɖ tilr in ɖ sún, stẹrñ at ɖ Lîthǎs, pǎrlis t muv, pǎrlis t flic of ɖz grenz v miẓri ẃć setld on hiz mînd wn aftr anɖr. A rop sīmd t bînd him ɖr, n hiz faɖr hd nótd it n h cd onli iscep bî tecñ a nîf n plunjñ it… Bt at ɖt momnt ɖ sêl swuñ slǒli rnd, fild slǒli ǎt, ɖ bot sīmd t śec hrslf, n ɖen t muv of haf conśs in hr slīp, n ɖen ś wouc n śot ʈru ɖ wevz. Ɖ rlif wz xtrordnri. Ɖe ol sīmd t fōl awe fṛm ć uɖr agn n t b at ɖer īz, n ɖ fiśñlînz slantd tōt acrs ɖ sîd v ɖ bot. Bt hiz faɖr dd nt rǎz himslf. H onli rezd hiz rît hand mistirịsli hî in ɖ er, n let it fōl upn hiz ni agn az f h wr cnductñ sm sīcrit simfni.


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[Ɖ sì wɖt a sten on it, ʈt Lili Brisco, stl standñ n lcñ ǎt ovr ɖ be. Ɖ sì strećt lîc silc acrs ɖ be. Distns hd an xtrordnri pǎr; ɖe hd bn swoloud p in it, ś flt, ɖe wr gn fr evr, ɖe hd bcm part v ɖ nećr v ʈñz. It wz so cām; it wz so qayt. Ɖ stīmr itslf hd vaniśt, bt ɖ gret scrol v smoc stl huñ in ɖ er n drūpt lîc a flag mōrnf̣li in vaḷdix́n.]


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It wz lîc ɖt ɖen, ɖ îḷnd, ʈt Cam, wns mor drw̃ hr fngrz ʈru ɖ wevz. Ś hd nvr sìn it fṛm ǎt at sì bfr. It le lîc ɖt on ɖ sì, dd it, wɖ a dnt in ɖ midl n tū śarp cragz, n ɖ sì swept in ɖr, n spred awe fr mîlz n mîlz on îɖr sîd v ɖ îḷnd. It wz vri smōl; śept smʈñ lîc a līf std on end. So w tc a litl bot, ś ʈt, bginñ t tel hrslf a stori v advnćr abt iscepñ fṛm a sncñ śip. Bt wɖ ɖ sì strīmñ ʈru hr fngrz, a spre v sìwīd vaṇśñ bhnd ɖm, ś dd nt wont t tel hrslf sirịsli a stori; it wz ɖ sns v advnćr n iscep ɖt ś wontd, fr ś wz ʈncñ, az ɖ bot sêld on, hǎ hr faɖr’z angr abt ɖ pônts v ɖ cumṗs, Jemz’z obstiṇsi abt ɖ compact, n hr ǒn anḡś, ol hd slipt, ol hd pást, ol hd strīmd awe. Ẃt ɖen cem nxt? Ẃr wr ɖe gwñ? Fṛm hr hand, îs cold, hld dīp in ɖ sì, ɖr sprtd p a fǎntn v jô at ɖ ćenj, at ɖ iscep, at ɖ advnćr (ɖt ś śd b alîv, ɖt ś śd b ɖr). N ɖ drops fōlñ fṛm ɖs sudn n unʈncñ fǎntn v jô fél hir n ɖr on ɖ darc, ɖ slumbṛs śeps in hr mînd; śeps v a wrld nt riylîzd bt trnñ in ɖer darcnis, caćñ hir n ɖr, a sparc v lît; Grīs, Rǒm, Constanṭnopl. Smōl az it wz, n śept smʈñ lîc a līf std on its end wɖ ɖ gold-sprincld wōtrz flowñ in n abt it, it hd, ś s’pozd, a ples in ɖ ynivrs—īvn ɖt litl îḷnd? Ɖ old jntlṃn in ɖ studi ś ʈt cd hv tld hr. Smtmz ś streid in fṛm ɖ gardn prṗsli t cać ɖm at it. Ɖr ɖe wr (it mt b Mr Carmîcl or Mr Báncs hu wz sitñ wɖ hr faɖr) sitñ oṗzit ć uɖr in ɖer lo armćerz. Ɖe wr crac̣lñ in frunt v ɖm ɖ pejz v Ɖ TÎMZ, ẃn ś cem in fṛm ɖ gardn, ol in a mudl, abt smʈñ smwn hd sd abt Crîst, or hírñ ɖt a maṃʈ hd bn dug p in a Lundn strīt, or wunḍrñ ẃt Npołn wz lîc. Ɖen ɖe tc ol ɖs wɖ ɖer clīn handz (ɖe wòr gre-culrd cloɖz; ɖe smelt v heɖr) n ɖe bruśt ɖ scraps tgɖr, trnñ ɖ pepr, crosñ ɖer niz, n sd smʈñ nǎ n ɖen vri brīf. Jst t plīz hrslf ś wd tec a bc fṛm ɖ ślf n stand ɖr, woćñ hr faɖr rait, so īqli, so nītli fṛm wn sîd v ɖ pej t anɖr, wɖ a litl cof nǎ n ɖen, or smʈñ sd brīfli t ɖ uɖr old jntlmn oṗzit. N ś ʈt, standñ ɖr wɖ hr bc opn, wn cd let ẃtvr wn ʈt xpand hir lîc a līf in wōtr; n f it dd wel hir, amñ ɖ old jntlṃn smocñ n Ɖ TÎMZ crac̣lñ ɖen it wz rît. N woćñ hr faɖr az h rout in hiz studi, ś ʈt (nǎ sitñ in ɖ bot) h wz nt ven, nr a tîṛnt n dd nt wś t mc y piti him. Indd, f h sw ś wz ɖr, rīdñ a bc, h wd asc hr, az jntli az enwn cd, Wz ɖr nʈñ h cd gv hr?

Lest ɖs śd b roñ, ś lct at him rīdñ ɖ litl bc wɖ ɖ śîni cuvr motld lîc a plovr’z eg. No; it wz rît. Lc at him nǎ, ś wontd t se alǎd t Jemz. (Bt Jemz hd hiz î on ɖ sêl.) H z a sarcastic brūt, Jemz wd se. H brñz ɖ tōc rnd t himslf n hiz bcs, Jemz wd se. H z intolṛbli īgtistic. Wrst v ol, h z a tîṛnt. Bt lc! ś sd, lcñ at him. Lc at him nǎ. Ś lct at him rīdñ ɖ litl bc wɖ hiz legz crld; ɖ litl bc huz yelǒiś pejz ś ń, wɖt nwñ ẃt wz ritn on ɖm. It wz smōl; it wz closli printd; on ɖ flîlīf, ś ń, h hd ritn ɖt h hd spent fiftīn francs on dinr; ɖ wîn hd bn so mć; h hd gvn so mć t ɖ wêtr; ol wz add p nītli at ɖ botm v ɖ pej. Bt ẃt mt b ritn in ɖ bc ẃć hd rǎndd its éjz of in hiz pocit, ś dd nt nǒ. Ẃt h ʈt ɖe nn v ɖm ń. Bt h wz abzorbd in it, so ɖt ẃn h lct p, az h dd nǎ fr an instnt, it wz nt t si enʈñ; it wz t pin dǎn sm ʈt mor xacli. Ɖt dn, hiz mînd flù bac agn n h plunjd intu hiz rīdñ. H réd, ś ʈt, az f h wr gîdñ smʈñ, or ẃīḍlñ a larj floc v śīp, or pśñ hiz we p n p a sngl naro paʈ; n smtmz h wnt fast n stret, n brouc hiz we ʈru ɖ brambl, n smtmz it sīmd a branć struc at him, a brambl blîndd him, bt h wz nt gwñ t let himslf b bìtn bî ɖt; on h wnt, tosñ ovr pej aftr pej. N ś wnt on telñ hrslf a stori abt iscepñ fṛm a sncñ śip, fr ś wz sef, ẃl h sat ɖr; sef, az ś flt hrslf ẃn ś crept in fṛm ɖ gardn, n tc a bc dǎn, n ɖ old jntlmn, lowrñ ɖ pepr sudnli, sd smʈñ vri brīf ovr ɖ top v it abt ɖ caṛctr v Npołn.

Ś gezd bac ovr ɖ sì, at ɖ îḷnd. Bt ɖ līf wz luzñ its śarpnis. It wz vri smōl; it wz vri distnt. Ɖ sì wz mor importnt nǎ ɖn ɖ śor. Wevz wr ol rnd ɖm, tosñ n sncñ, wɖ a log wolowñ dǎn wn wev; a gul rîdñ on anɖr. Abt hir, ś ʈt, daḅlñ hr fngrz in ɖ wōtr, a śip hd sunc, n ś mrmrd, drīṃli haf aslip, hǎ w periśt, ć alon.


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So mć dpndz ɖen, ʈt Lili Brisco, lcñ at ɖ sì ẃć hd scersli a sten on it, ẃć wz so soft ɖt ɖ sêlz n ɖ clǎdz sīmd set in its blu, so mć dpndz, ś ʈt, upn distns: ẃɖr ppl r nir s or far fṛm s; fr hr fīlñ fr Mr Ramzi ćenjd az h sêld frɖr n frɖr acrs ɖ be. It sīmd t b īlongetd, strećt ǎt; h sīmd t bcm mor n mor rmot. H n hiz ćildṛn sīmd t b swoloud p in ɖt blu, ɖt distns; bt hir, on ɖ lōn, clos at hand, Mr Carmîcl sudnli gruntd. Ś laft. H clwd hiz bc p fṛm ɖ gras. H setld intu hiz ćer agn pufñ n blowñ lîc sm sì monstr. Ɖt wz difṛnt oltgɖr, bcz h wz so nir. N nǎ agn ol wz qayt. Ɖe mst b ǎt v bed bî ɖs tîm, ś s’pozd, lcñ at ɖ hǎs, bt nʈñ apird ɖr. Bt ɖen, ś rmembrd, ɖe hd olwz md of d’recli a mīl wz ovr, on biznis v ɖer ǒn. It wz ol in cīpñ wɖ ɖs sîḷns, ɖs emtinis, n ɖ unriaḷti v ɖ rli mornñ aur. It wz a we ʈñz hd smtmz, ś ʈt, linġrñ fr a momnt n lcñ at ɖ loñ gliṭrñ windoz n ɖ plūm v blu smoc: ɖe bcem unriyl. So cmñ bac fṛm a jrni, or aftr an ilnis, bfr habits hd spun ɖmslvz acrs ɖ srfis, wn flt ɖt sem unriaḷti, ẃć wz so starṭlñ; flt smʈñ imrj. Lîf wz most vivid ɖen. Wn cd b at wn’z īz. Mrsif̣li wn nīd nt se, vri briscli, crosñ ɖ lōn t grīt old Msz Becwiɖ, hu wd b cmñ ǎt t fînd a cornr t sit in, “Ǒ, gd-mornñ, Msz Becwiɖ! Ẃt a luvli de! R y gwñ t b so bold az t sit in ɖ sún? Jaspr’z hidn ɖ ćerz. D let m fînd y wn!” n ol ɖ rest v ɖ yźl ćatr. Wn nīd nt spīc at ol. Wn glîdd, wn śc wn’z sêlz (ɖr wz a gd dīl v muvmnt in ɖ be, bots wr startñ of) btwn ʈñz, bynd ʈñz. Emti it wz nt, bt fl t ɖ brim. Ś sīmd t b standñ p t ɖ lips in sm substns, t muv n flot n snc in it, yes, fr ɖz wōtrz wr unfaɖṃbli dīp. Intu ɖm hd spild so mni lîvz. Ɖ Ramziz’; ɖ ćildṛn’z; n ol sorts v wefs n strez v ʈñz bsdz. A wośr-wmn wɖ hr bascit; a rŭc, a red-hot pǒcr; ɖ prplz n gre-grīnz v flǎrz: sm comn fīlñ ẃć hld ɖ hol tgɖr.

It wz sm sć fīlñ v cmplitnis phps ẃć, ten yirz ago, standñ olmst ẃr ś std nǎ, hd md hr se ɖt ś mst b in luv wɖ ɖ ples. Luv hd a ʈǎznd śeps. Ɖr mt b luvrz huz gift it wz t ćūz ǎt ɖ elimnts v ʈñz n ples ɖm tgɖr n so, gvñ ɖm a holnis nt ɖerz in lîf, mc v sm sīn, or mītñ v ppl (ol nǎ gn n sepṛt), wn v ɖoz globd cmpactd ʈñz ovr ẃć ʈt lingrz, n luv plez.

Hr îz restd on ɖ brǎn spec v Mr Ramzi’z sêlñbot. Ɖe wd b at ɖ Lîthǎs bî lunć tîm ś s’pozd. Bt ɖ wind hd freśnd, n, az ɖ scî ćenjd slîtli n ɖ sì ćenjd slîtli n ɖ bots oltrd ɖer pziśnz, ɖ vy, ẃć a momnt bfr hd sīmd mrakḷsli fixt, wz nǎ unsaṭsfactri. Ɖ wind hd bloun ɖ trel v smoc abt; ɖr wz smʈñ dsplizñ abt ɖ plesñ v ɖ śips.

Ɖ dispṛporśn ɖr sīmd t upset sm harṃni in hr ǒn mînd. Ś flt an obskr dstres. It wz cnfrmd ẃn ś trnd t hr picćr. Ś hd bn westñ hr mornñ. Fr ẃtvr rīzn ś cd nt aćiv ɖt reizr éj v baḷns btwn tū oṗzit forsz; Mr Ramzi n ɖ picćr; ẃć wz nesṣri. Ɖr wz smʈñ phps roñ wɖ ɖ dzîn? Wz it, ś wundrd, ɖt ɖ lîn v ɖ wōl wontd brecñ, wz it ɖt ɖ mas v ɖ triz wz tù hevi? Ś smîld îronicli; fr hd ś nt ʈt, ẃn ś bgan, ɖt ś hd solvd hr probḷm?

Ẃt wz ɖ probḷm ɖen? Ś mst trî t gt hold v smʈñ ɖt ivedd hr. It ivedd hr ẃn ś ʈt v Msz Ramzi; it ivedd hr nǎ ẃn ś ʈt v hr picćr. Frezz cem. Viźnz cem. Bytifl picćrz. Bytifl frezz. Bt ẃt ś wśt t gt hold v wz ɖt vri jar on ɖ nrvz, ɖ ʈñ itslf bfr it hz bn md enʈñ. Gt ɖt n start afreś; gt ɖt n start afreś; ś sd despṛtli, pićñ hrslf frmli agn bfr hr īzl. It wz a mizṛbl mśīn, an inifiśnt mśīn, ś ʈt, ɖ hymn aṗreṭs fr pentñ or fr fīlñ; it olwz brouc dǎn at ɖ criticl momnt; hrôicli, wn mst fors it on. Ś stérd, frǎnñ. Ɖr wz ɖ hej, śr inuf. Bt wn got nʈñ bî s’liṣtñ rjntli. Wn got onli a gler in ɖ î fṛm lcñ at ɖ lîn v ɖ wōl, or fṛm ʈncñ—ś wòr a gre hat. Ś wz astoṇśñli bytifl. Let it cm, ś ʈt, f it wl cm. Fr ɖr r momnts ẃn wn cn nɖr ʈnc nr fīl. N f wn cn nɖr ʈnc nr fīl, ś ʈt, ẃr z wn?

Hir on ɖ gras, on ɖ grǎnd, ś ʈt, sitñ dǎn, n xaṃnñ wɖ hr bruś a litl coḷni v plantenz. Fr ɖ lōn wz vri ruf. Hir sitñ on ɖ wrld, ś ʈt, fr ś cd nt śec hrslf fri fṛm ɖ sns ɖt evrʈñ ɖs mornñ wz haṗnñ fr ɖ frst tîm, phps fr ɖ last tîm, az a travlr, īvn ɖo h z haf aslip, nz, lcñ ǎt v ɖ trenwindo, ɖt h mst lc nǎ, fr h wl nvr si ɖt tǎn, or ɖt ḿlcart, or ɖt wmn at wrc in ɖ fīldz, agn. Ɖ lōn wz ɖ wrld; ɖe wr p hir tgɖr, on ɖs xōltd steśn, ś ʈt, lcñ at old Mr Carmîcl, hu sīmd (ɖo ɖe hd nt sd a wrd ol ɖs tîm) t śer hr ʈts. N ś wd nvr si him agn phps. H wz growñ old. Olso, ś rmembrd, smîlñ at ɖ slipr ɖt dangld fṛm hiz ft, h wz growñ feṃs. Ppl sd ɖt hiz powtri wz “so bytifl.” Ɖe wnt n publiśt ʈñz h hd ritn forti yirz ago. Ɖr wz a feṃs man nǎ cōld Carmîcl, ś smîld, ʈncñ hǎ mni śeps wn prsn mt wer, hǎ h wz ɖt in ɖ nyzpeprz, bt hir ɖ sem az h hd olwz bn. H lct ɖ sem—greyr, rɖr. Yes, h lct ɖ sem, bt smbdi hd sd, ś rcōld, ɖt ẃn h hd hŕd v Andru Ramzi’z deʈ (h wz cild in a secnd bî a śel; h śd hv bn a gret maʈṃtiśn) Mr Carmîcl hd “lost ol inṭrest in lîf.” Ẃt dd it mīn—ɖt? ś wundrd. Hd h marćt ʈru Tṛfalgr Sqer graspñ a big stic? Hd h trnd pejz ovr n ovr, wɖt rīdñ ɖm, sitñ in hiz rūm in St. Jon’z Wŭd alon? Ś dd nt nǒ ẃt h hd dn, ẃn h hŕd ɖt Andru wz cild, bt ś flt it in him ol ɖ sem. Ɖe onli mumbld at ć uɖr on stercesz; ɖe lct p at ɖ scî n sd it wl b fîn or it w’nt b fîn. Bt ɖs wz wn we v nwñ ppl, ś ʈt: t nǒ ɖ ǎtlîn, nt ɖ dītel, t sit in wn’z gardn n lc at ɖ slǒps v a hil runñ prpl dǎn intu ɖ distnt heɖr. Ś ń him in ɖt we. Ś ń ɖt h hd ćenjd smhǎ. Ś hd nvr réd a lîn v hiz powtri. Ś ʈt ɖt ś ń hǎ it wnt ɖo, slǒli n sonṛsli. It wz sīznd n melo. It wz abt ɖ dezt n ɖ caml. It wz abt ɖ pāmtrī n ɖ súnset. It wz xtrimli imprsnl; it sd smʈñ abt deʈ; it sd vri litl abt luv. Ɖr wz an imprṣnaḷti abt him. H wontd vri litl v uɖr ppl. Hd h nt olwz lrćt rɖr ōcẉdli past ɖ drw̃rūm windo wɖ sm nyzpepr undr hiz arm, trayñ t avôd Msz Ramzi hūm fr sm rīzn h dd nt mć lîc? On ɖt acǎnt, v cors, ś wd olwz trî t mc him stop. H wd bǎ t hr. H wd hōlt unwilñli n bǎ pṛfǎndli. Anoid ɖt h dd nt wont enʈñ v hr, Msz Ramzi wd asc him (Lili cd hír hr) wd’nt h lîc a cot, a rug, a nyzpepr? No, h wontd nʈñ. (Hir h baud.) Ɖr wz sm qoḷti in hr ẃć h dd nt mć lîc. It wz phps hr mastrflnis, hr poztivnis, smʈñ matr-v-fact in hr. Ś wz so d’rect.

(A nôz drù hr atnśn t ɖ drw̃rūm windo—ɖ sqīc v a hinj. Ɖ lît brīz wz toyñ wɖ ɖ windo.)

Ɖr mst hv bn ppl hu dslîct hr vri mć, Lili ʈt (Yes; ś riylîzd ɖt ɖ drw̃rūm step wz emti, bt it hd no ifct on hr ẃtvr. Ś dd nt wont Msz Ramzi nǎ.)—Ppl hu ʈt hr tù śr, tù drastic.

Olso, hr byti ofndd ppl probbli. Hǎ mnotṇs, ɖe wd se, n ɖ sem olwz! Ɖe prifŕd anɖr tîp—ɖ darc, ɖ viveśs. Ɖen ś wz wìc wɖ hr huzbnd. Ś let him mc ɖoz sīnz. Ɖen ś wz rzrvd. Nbdi ń xacli ẃt hd hapnd t hr. N (t g bac t Mr Carmîcl n hiz dslîc) wn cd nt imajn Msz Ramzi standñ pentñ, layñ rīdñ, a hol mornñ on ɖ lōn. It wz unʈnc̣bl. Wɖt seyñ a wrd, ɖ onli tocn v hr eṛnd a bascit on hr arm, ś wnt of t ɖ tǎn, t ɖ pur, t sit in sm stufi litl bedrūm. Ofn n ofn Lili hd sìn hr g sîḷntli in ɖ mdst v sm gem, sm dscuśn, wɖ hr bascit on hr arm, vri uprît. Ś hd notd hr rtrn. Ś hd ʈt, haf lafñ (ś wz so mʈodicl wɖ ɖ ti cups), haf muvd (hr byti tc wn’z breʈ awe), îz ɖt r clozñ in pen hv lct on y. Y hv bn wɖ ɖm ɖr.

N ɖen Msz Ramzi wd b anoid bcz smbdi wz lêt, or ɖ butr nt freś, or ɖ tīpot ćipt. N ol ɖ tîm ś wz seyñ ɖt ɖ butr wz nt freś wn wd b ʈncñ v Grīc templz, n hǎ byti hd bn wɖ ɖm ɖr in ɖt stufi litl rūm. Ś nvr tōct v it—ś wnt, puñćuaḷti, d’recli. It wz hr instñt t g, an instñt lîc ɖ swoloz fr ɖ sǎʈ, ɖ artićocs fr ɖ sún, trnñ hr infaḷbli t ɖ hymn res, mcñ hr nst in its hart. N ɖs, lîc ol instñts, wz a litl dstresñ t ppl hu dd nt śer it; t Mr Carmîcl phps, t hrslf srtnli. Sm nośn wz in bʈ v ɖm abt ɖ inifctivnis v ax́n, ɖ s’preṃsi v ʈt. Hr gwñ wz a rproć t ɖm, gev a difṛnt twist t ɖ wrld, so ɖt ɖe wr léd t pṛtst, siyñ ɖer ǒn prīpześnz dis’pir, n cluć at ɖm vaṇśñ. Ćarlz Tanzli dd ɖt tù: it wz part v ɖ rīzn ẃ wn dslîct him. H upset ɖ pṛporśnz v wn’z wrld. N ẃt hd hapnd t him, ś wundrd, îdli stŕñ ɖ plantenz wɖ hr bruś. H hd got hiz felośp. H hd marid; h livd at Golder’z Grīn.

Ś hd gn wn de intu a Hōl n hŕd him spīcñ jrñ ɖ wor. H wz dnǎnsñ smʈñ: h wz cndemñ smbdi. H wz prīćñ bruɖrli luv. N ol ś flt wz hǎ cd h luv hiz cnd hu dd nt nǒ wn picćr fṛm anɖr, hu hd std bhnd hr smocñ śag (“fîvpns an ǎns, Mis Brisco”) n mcñ it hiz biznis t tel hr wimin c’nt rait, wimin c’nt pent, nt so mć ɖt h b’livd it, az ɖt fr sm od rīzn h wśt it? Ɖr h wz līn n red n rōc̣s, prīćñ luv fṛm a platform (ɖr wr ants crōlñ abt amñ ɖ plantenz ẃć ś dstrbd wɖ hr bruś—red, eṇjetic, śîni ants, rɖr lîc Ćarlz Tanzli). Ś hd lct at him îronicli fṛm hr sīt in ɖ haf-emti hōl, pumpñ luv intu ɖt ćili spes, n sudnli, ɖr wz ɖ old casc or ẃtvr it wz bobñ p n dǎn amñ ɖ wevz n Msz Ramzi lcñ fr hr specticlces amñ ɖ peblz. “Ǒ, dir! Ẃt a ńsns! Lost agn. D’nt boɖr, Mr Tanzli. I lūz ʈǎzndz evri sumr,” at ẃć h prest hiz ćin bac agnst hiz colr, az f afred t sañśn sć xaɉreśn, bt cd stand it in hr hūm h lîct, n smîld vri ćarmñli. H mst hv cnfîdd in hr on wn v ɖoz loñ xṗdiśnz ẃn ppl got seṗretd n wōct bac alon. H wz edycetñ hiz litl sistr, Msz Ramzi hd tld hr. It wz imnsli t hiz credit. Hr ǒn îdīa v him wz gṛtesc, Lili ń wel, stŕñ ɖ plantenz wɖ hr bruś. Haf wn’z nośnz v uɖr ppl wr, aftr ol, gṛtesc. Ɖe srvd prîvt prṗsz v wn’z ǒn. H dd fr hr instd v a ẃipñbô. Ś faund hrslf flaɉletñ hiz līn flancs ẃn ś wz ǎt v tmpr. F ś wontd t b sirịs abt him ś hd t hlp hrslf t Msz Ramzi’z seyñz, t lc at him ʈru hr îz.

Ś rezd a litl mǎntin fr ɖ ants t clîm ovr. Ś rdyst ɖm t a frenzi v indisiźn bî ɖs inṭfiṛns in ɖer cozmoġni. Sm ran ɖs we, uɖrz ɖt.

Wn wontd fifti perz v îz t si wɖ, ś rflectd. Fifti perz v îz wr nt inuf t gt rnd ɖt wn wmn wɖ, ś ʈt. Amñ ɖm, mst b wn ɖt wz ston blînd t hr byti. Wn wontd most sm sīcrit sns, fîn az er, wɖ ẃć t stìl ʈru cīhoulz n srǎnd hr ẃr ś sat nitñ, tōcñ, sitñ sîḷnt in ɖ windo alon; ẃć tc t itslf n treźrd p lîc ɖ er ẃć hld ɖ smoc v ɖ stīmr, hr ʈts, hr imaɉneśnz, hr dzîrz. Ẃt dd ɖ hej mīn t hr, ẃt dd ɖ gardn mīn t hr, ẃt dd it mīn t hr ẃn a wev brouc? (Lili lct p, az ś hd sìn Msz Ramzi lc p; ś tù hŕd a wev fōlñ on ɖ bīć.) N ɖen ẃt strd n trembld in hr mînd ẃn ɖ ćildṛn craid, “Hǎ’z ɖt? Hǎ’z ɖt?” cric̣tñ? Ś wd stop nitñ fr a secnd. Ś wd lc intnt. Ɖen ś wd laps agn, n sudnli Mr Ramzi stopt ded in hiz pesñ in frunt v hr n sm krịs śoc pást ʈru hr n sīmd t roc hr in pṛfǎnd ajteśn on its brest ẃn stopñ ɖr h std ovr hr n lct dǎn at hr. Lili cd si him.

H strećt ǎt hiz hand n rezd hr fṛm hr ćer. It sīmd smhǎ az f h hd dn it bfr; az f h hd wns bnt in ɖ sem we n rezd hr fṛm a bot ẃć, layñ a fy inćz of sm îḷnd, hd rqîrd ɖt ɖ lediz śd ɖus b hlpt on śor bî ɖ jntlṃn. An old-faśnd sīn ɖt wz, ẃć rqîrd, vri nirli, criṇlīnz n pegtop trǎzrz. Letñ hrslf b hlpt bî him, Msz Ramzi hd ʈt (Lili s’pozd) ɖ tîm hz cm nǎ. Yes, ś wd se it nǎ. Yes, ś wd mari him. N ś stept slǒli, qaytli on śor. Probbli ś sd wn wrd onli, letñ hr hand rest stl in hiz. I wl mari y, ś mt hv sd, wɖ hr hand in hiz; bt no mor. Tîm aftr tîm ɖ sem ʈril hd pást btwn ɖm—obvịsli it hd, Lili ʈt, smuɖñ a we fr hr ants. Ś wz nt invntñ; ś wz onli trayñ t smuɖ ǎt smʈñ ś hd bn gvn yirz ago foldd p; smʈñ ś hd sìn. Fr in ɖ ruf n tumbl v dêli lîf, wɖ ol ɖoz ćildṛn abt, ol ɖoz vizitrz, wn hd constntli a sns v reṗtiśn—v wn ʈñ fōlñ ẃr anɖr hd fōḷn, n so setñ p an eco ẃć ćîmd in ɖ er n md it fl v vbreśnz.

Bt it wd b a mstec, ś ʈt, ʈncñ hǎ ɖe wōct of tgɖr, arm in arm, past ɖ grīnhǎs, t simpḷfî ɖer rleśnśp. It wz no mnoṭni v blis—ś wɖ hr impulsz n qcnisz; h wɖ hiz śudrz n glūmz. Ǒ, no. Ɖ bedrūm dor wd slam vayḷntli rli in ɖ mornñ. H wd start fṛm ɖ tebl in a tmpr. H wd ẃíz hiz plet ʈru ɖ windo. Ɖen ol ʈru ɖ hǎs ɖr wd b a sns v dorz slamñ n blîndz fluṭrñ, az f a gusti wind wr blowñ n ppl scudd abt trayñ in a hesti we t fasn haćz n mc ʈñz śip-śep. Ś hd met Pōl Rêli lîc ɖt wn de on ɖ sterz. Ɖe hd laft n laft, lîc a cupl v ćildṛn, ol bcz Mr Ramzi, fîndñ an irwig in hiz milc at brecfst hd snt ɖ hol ʈñ flayñ ʈru ɖ er on t ɖ teris ǎtsd. ‘An irwig, Pru mrmrd, ōstruc, ‘in hiz milc.’ Uɖr ppl mt fînd snṭpīdz. Bt h hd bilt rnd him sć a fns v sañtti, n okpaid ɖ spes wɖ sć a dminr v maɉsti ɖt an irwig in hiz milc wz a monstr.

Bt it tîrd Msz Ramzi, it caud hr a litl—ɖ plets ẃízñ n ɖ dorz slamñ. N ɖr wd fōl btwn ɖm smtmz loñ rijid sîḷnsz, ẃn, in a stet v mînd ẃć anoid Lili in hr, haf plentiv, haf rzntfl, ś sīmd unebl t s’mǎnt ɖ tempist cāmli, or t laf az ɖe laft, bt in hr wirinis phps cnsild smʈñ. Ś brūdd n sat sîḷnt. Aftr a tîm h wd hañ stelʈ̇li abt ɖ plesz ẃr ś wz—romñ undr ɖ windo ẃr ś sat raitñ letrz or tōcñ, fr ś wd tec cer t b bizi ẃn h pást, n ived him, n pritnd nt t si him. Ɖen h wd trn smuɖ az silc, af̣bl, ŕben, n trî t win hr so. Stl ś wd hold of, n nǎ ś wd asrt fr a brīf sīzn sm v ɖoz prîdz n erz ɖ dy v hr byti ẃć ś wz jenṛli utrli wɖt; wd trn hr hed; wd lc so, ovr hr śoldr, olwz wɖ sm Minta, Pōl, or Wiłm Báncs at hr sîd. At leñʈ, standñ ǎtsd ɖ grūp ɖ vri figr v a famiśt wlfhǎnd (Lili got p of ɖ gras n std lcñ at ɖ steps, at ɖ windo, ẃr ś hd sìn him), h wd se hr nem, wns onli, fr ol ɖ wrld lîc a wlf barcñ in ɖ sno, bt stl ś hld bac; n h wd se it wns mor, n ɖs tîm smʈñ in ɖ ton wd rǎz hr, n ś wd g t him, līvñ ɖm ol v a sudn, n ɖe wd wōc of tgɖr amñ ɖ pértrīs, ɖ caḅjz, n ɖ razḅribedz. Ɖe wd hv it ǎt tgɖr. Bt wɖ ẃt attydz n wɖ ẃt wrdz? Sć a digṇti wz ɖerz in ɖs rleśnśp ɖt, trnñ awe, ś n Pōl n Minta wd hîd ɖer krioṣti n ɖer dscumf̣t, n bgin picñ flǎrz, ʈrowñ bōlz, ćaṭrñ, untl it wz tîm fr dinr, n ɖr ɖe wr, h at wn end v ɖ tebl, ś at ɖ uɖr, az yźl.

“Ẃ d’nt sm v y tec p boṭni?.. Wɖ ol ɖoz legz n armz ẃ dz’nt wn v y…?” So ɖe wd tōc az yźl, lafñ, amñ ɖ ćildṛn. Ol wd b az yźl, sev onli fr sm qivr, az v a bled in ɖ er, ẃć cem n wnt btwn ɖm az f ɖ yźl sît v ɖ ćildṛn sitñ rnd ɖer sūp̓lets hd freśnd itslf in ɖer îz aftr ɖt aur amñ ɖ pérz n ɖ caḅjz. Ispeśli, Lili ʈt, Msz Ramzi wd glans at Pru. Ś sat in ɖ midl btwn bruɖrz n sistrz, olwz okpaid, it sīmd, siyñ ɖt nʈñ wnt roñ so ɖt ś scersli spouc hrslf. Hǎ Pru mst hv blemd hrslf fr ɖt irwig in ɖ milc! Hǎ ẃît ś hd gn ẃn Mr Ramzi ʈrù hiz plet ʈru ɖ windo! Hǎ ś drūpt undr ɖoz loñ sîḷnsz btwn ɖm! Enhǎ, hr muɖr nǎ wd sīm t b mcñ it p t hr; aśurñ hr ɖt evrʈñ wz wel; proṃsñ hr ɖt wn v ɖz dez ɖt sem hapinis wd b hrz. Ś hd injoid it fr les ɖn a yir, hvr.

Ś hd let ɖ flǎrz fōl fṛm hr bascit, Lili ʈt, scruwñ p hr îz n standñ bac az f t lc at hr picćr, ẃć ś wz nt tućñ, hvr, wɖ ol hr facltiz in a trans, frozn ovr sūṗfiṣ́li bt muvñ undnʈ wɖ xtrim spīd.

Ś let hr flǎrz fōl fṛm hr bascit, scatrd n tumbld ɖm on t ɖ gras n, rluctntli n heztetñli, bt wɖt qsćn or cmplent—hd ś nt ɖ faclti v obīdịns t pfx́n?—wnt tù. Dǎn fīldz, acrs valiz, ẃît, flǎr-strùn—ɖt wz hǎ ś wd hv pentd it. Ɖ hilz wr ostir. It wz roci; it wz stīp. Ɖ wevz sǎndd hōrs on ɖ stonz bnʈ. Ɖe wnt, ɖ ʈri v ɖm tgɖr, Msz Ramzi wōcñ rɖr fast in frunt, az f ś xpctd t mīt smwn rnd ɖ cornr.

Sudnli ɖ windo at ẃć ś wz lcñ wz ẃîtnd bî sm lît stuf bhnd it. At last ɖen smbdi hd cm intu ɖ drw̃rūm; smbdi wz sitñ in ɖ ćer. Fr Hevn’z sec, ś preid, let ɖm sit stil ɖr n nt cm flǎnḍrñ ǎt t tōc t hr. Mrsif̣li, huevr it wz steid stil insd; hd setld bî sm stroc v luc so az t ʈro an od-śept trîanğlr śado ovr ɖ step. It oltrd ɖ compziśn v ɖ picćr a litl. It wz inṭrestñ. It mt b ysfl. Hr mūd wz cmñ bac t hr. Wn mst cīp on lcñ wɖt fr a secnd rlaxñ ɖ intnṣti v imośn, ɖ dtrṃneśn nt t b pt of, nt t b bambuzld. Wn mst hold ɖ sīn—so—in a vîs n let nʈñ cm in n spôl it. Wn wontd, ś ʈt, dipñ hr bruś dlibṛtli, t b on a levl wɖ ordnri xpirịns, t fīl simpli ɖt’s a ćer, ɖt’s a tebl, n yt at ɖ sem tîm, It’s a miṛcl, it’s an xṭsi. Ɖ probḷm mt b solvd aftr ol. Ā, bt ẃt hd hapnd? Sm wev v ẃît wnt ovr ɖ windopein. Ɖ er mst hv strd sm flǎns in ɖ rūm. Hr hart lept at hr n sizd hr n torćrd hr.

“Msz Ramzi! Msz Ramzi!” ś craid, fīlñ ɖ old horr cm bac—t wont n wont n nt t hv. Cd ś inflict ɖt stl? N ɖen, qaytli, az f ś rfrend, ɖt tù bcem part v ordnri xpirịns, wz on a levl wɖ ɖ ćer, wɖ ɖ tebl. Msz Ramzi—it wz part v hr prfict gdnis—sat ɖr qt simpli, in ɖ ćer, flict hr nīdlz t n fro, nitd hr rediś-brǎn stocñ, cast hr śado on ɖ step. Ɖr ś sat.

N az f ś hd smʈñ ś mst śer, yt cd hardli līv hr īzl, so fl hr mînd wz v ẃt ś wz ʈncñ, v ẃt ś wz siyñ, Lili wnt past Mr Carmîcl holdñ hr bruś t ɖ éj v ɖ lōn. Ẃr wz ɖt bot nǎ? N Mr Ramzi? Ś wontd him.


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13

Mr Ramzi hd olmst dn rīdñ. Wn hand hovrd ovr ɖ pej az f t b in redinis t trn it ɖ vri instnt h hd finiśt it. H sat ɖr bér-hedd wɖ ɖ wind blowñ hiz her abt, xtrordnṛli xpozd t evrʈñ. H lct vri old. H lct, Jemz ʈt, gtñ hiz hed nǎ agnst ɖ Lîthǎs, nǎ agnst ɖ west v wōtrz runñ awe intu ɖ opn, lîc sm old ston layñ on ɖ sand; h lct az f h hd bcm fizicli ẃt wz olwz at ɖ bac v bʈ v ɖer mîndz—ɖt lonlinis ẃć wz fr bʈ v ɖm ɖ truʈ abt ʈñz.

H wz rīdñ vri qcli, az f h wr īgr t gt t ɖ end. Indd ɖe wr vri clos t ɖ Lîthǎs nǎ. Ɖr it lūmd p, starc n stret, glẹrñ ẃît n blac, n wn cd si ɖ wevz brecñ in ẃît splintrz lîc smaśt glas upn ɖ rocs. Wn cd si lînz n crīsz in ɖ rocs. Wn cd si ɖ windoz clirli; a dab v ẃît on wn v ɖm, n a litl tuft v grīn on ɖ roc. A man hd cm ǎt n lct at ɖm ʈru a glas n gn in agn. So it wz lîc ɖt, Jemz ʈt, ɖ Lîthǎs wn hd sìn acrs ɖ be ol ɖz yirz; it wz a starc tǎr on a bér roc. It saṭsfaid him. It cnfrmd sm obskr fīlñ v hiz abt hiz ǒn caṛctr. Ɖ old lediz, h ʈt, ʈncñ v ɖ gardn at hom, wnt dragñ ɖer ćerz abt on ɖ lōn. Old Msz Becwiɖ, fr xampl, wz olwz seyñ hǎ nîs it wz n hǎ swīt it wz n hǎ ɖe òt t b so prǎd n ɖe òt t b so hapi, bt az a matr v fact, Jemz ʈt, lcñ at ɖ Lîthǎs std ɖr on its roc, it’s lîc ɖt. H lct at hiz faɖr rīdñ firsli wɖ hiz legz crld tît. Ɖe śerd ɖt nolij. “W r drîvñ bfr a gel—w mst snc,” h bgan seyñ t himslf, haf alǎd, xacli az hiz faɖr sd it.

Nbdi sīmd t hv spocn fr an ej. Cam wz tîrd v lcñ at ɖ sì. Litl bits v blac corc hd flotd past; ɖ fiś wr ded in ɖ botm v ɖ bot. Stl hr faɖr réd, n Jemz lct at him n ś lct at him, n ɖe vaud ɖt ɖe wd fît tiṛni t ɖ deʈ, n h wnt on rīdñ qt unconśs v ẃt ɖe ʈt. It wz ɖus ɖt h iscept, ś ʈt. Yes, wɖ hiz gret fōrhed n hiz gret nǒz, holdñ hiz litl motld bc frmli in frunt v him, h iscept. Y mt trî t le handz on him, bt ɖen lîc a brd, h spred hiz wñz, h flotd of t setl ǎt v yr rīć smẃr far awe on sm dezḷt stump. Ś gezd at ɖ imns xpans v ɖ sì. Ɖ îḷnd hd groun so smōl ɖt it scersli lct lîc a līf eni longr. It lct lîc ɖ top v a roc ẃć sm wev bigr ɖn ɖ rest wd cuvr. Yt in its frelti wr ol ɖoz paɖz, ɖoz teṛsz, ɖoz bedrūmz— ol ɖoz ińmṛbl ʈñz. Bt az, jst bfr slīp, ʈñz simpḷfî ɖmslvz so ɖt onli wn v ol ɖ mirịd dītelz hz pǎr t asrt itslf, so, ś flt, lcñ drǎẓli at ɖ îḷnd, ol ɖoz paɖz n teṛsz n bedrūmz wr fedñ n dis’pirñ, n nʈñ wz left bt a pel blu sensr swññ riɖmicli ɖs we n ɖt acrs hr mînd. It wz a haññ gardn; it wz a vali, fl v brdz, n flǎrz, n anṭlops… Ś wz fōlñ aslip.

“Cm nǎ,” sd Mr Ramzi, sudnli śutñ hiz bc.

Cm ẃr? T ẃt xtrordnri advnćr? Ś wouc wɖ a start. T land smẃr, t clîm smẃr? Ẃr wz h līdñ ɖm? Fr aftr hiz imns sîḷns ɖ wrdz startld ɖm. Bt it wz absrd. H wz hungri, h sd. It wz tîm fr lunć. Bsdz, lc, h sd. “Ɖr’z ɖ Lîthǎs. W’r olmst ɖr.”

“H’z dwñ vri wel,” sd Mcalistr, prezñ Jemz. “H’z cīpñ hr vri stedi.”

Bt hiz faɖr nvr prezd him, Jemz ʈt grimli.

Mr Ramzi opnd ɖ parsl n śerd ǎt ɖ sanẉjz amñ ɖm. Nǎ h wz hapi, ītñ bred n ćīz wɖ ɖz fiśrṃn. H wd hv lîct t liv in a cotij n lǎnj abt in ɖ harbr spitñ wɖ ɖ uɖr old men, Jemz ʈt, woćñ him slîs hiz ćīz intu ʈin yelo śīts wɖ hiz péņîf.

Ɖs z rît, ɖs z it, Cam cept fīlñ, az ś pīld hr hard-bôld eg. Nǎ ś flt az ś dd in ɖ studi ẃn ɖ old men wr rīdñ Ɖ TÎMZ. Nǎ I cn g on ʈncñ ẃtvr I lîc, n I ś’nt fōl ovr a preṣpis or b drǎnd, fr ɖr h z, cīpñ hiz î on m, ś ʈt.

At ɖ sem tîm ɖe wr sêlñ so fast alñ bî ɖ rocs ɖt it wz vri xîtñ—it sīmd az f ɖe wr dwñ tū ʈñz at wns; ɖe wr ītñ ɖer lunć hir in ɖ sún n ɖe wr olso mcñ fr sefti in a gret storm aftr a śiprec. Wd ɖ wōtr last? Wd ɖ pṛviźnz last? ś asct hrslf, telñ hrslf a stori bt nwñ at ɖ sem tîm ẃt wz ɖ truʈ.

Ɖe wd sn b ǎt v it, Mr Ramzi wz seyñ t old Mcalistr; bt ɖer ćildṛn wd si sm strenj ʈñz. Mcalistr sd h wz sevnti-fîv last Marć; Mr Ramzi wz sevnti-wn. Mcalistr sd h hd nvr sìn a doctr; h hd nvr lost a tuʈ. N ɖt’s ɖ we I’d lîc mî ćildṛn t liv—Cam wz śr ɖt hr faɖr wz ʈncñ ɖt, fr h stopt hr ʈrowñ a sanwij intu ɖ sì n tld hr, az f h wr ʈncñ v ɖ fiśrṃn n hǎ ɖe livd, ɖt f ś dd nt wont it ś śd pt it bac in ɖ parsl. Ś śd nt west it. H sd it so wîzli, az f h ń so wel ol ɖ ʈñz ɖt hapnd in ɖ wrld ɖt ś pt it bac at wns, n ɖen h gev hr, fṛm hiz ǒn parsl, a jinjrbred nut, az f h wr a gret Spaniś jntlmn, ś ʈt, handñ a flǎr t a ledi at a windo (so crtịs hiz manr wz). H wz śabi, n simpl, ītñ bred n ćīz; n yt h wz līdñ ɖm on a gret xpdiśn ẃr, fr ol ś ń, ɖe wd b drǎnd.

“Ɖt wz ẃr ś sunc,” sd Mcalistr’z bô sudnli.

Ʈri men wr drǎnd ẃr w r nǎ, ɖ old man sd. H hd sìn ɖm clññ t ɖ māst himslf. N Mr Ramzi tecñ a lc at ɖ spot wz abt, Jemz n Cam wr afred, t brst ǎt:

Bt I bnʈ a rufr sì,

n f h dd, ɖe cd nt ber it; ɖe wd śrīc alǎd; ɖe cd nt indyr anɖr xploźn v ɖ paśn ɖt bôld in him; bt t ɖer s’prîz ol h sd wz “Ā” az f h ʈt t himslf. Bt ẃ mc a fus abt ɖt? Naćṛli men r drǎnd in a storm, bt it z a prf̣cli stretfwd afer, n ɖ depʈs v ɖ sì (h sprincld ɖ crumz fṛm hiz sanwijpepr ovr ɖm) r onli wōtr aftr ol. Ɖen hvñ lîtd hiz pîp h tc ǎt hiz woć. H lct at it atntivli; h md, phps, sm maʈ̇maticl calkleśn. At last h sd, trîumfntli:

“Wel dn!” Jemz hd stird ɖm lîc a born sêlr.

Ɖr! Cam ʈt, adresñ hrslf sîḷntli t Jemz. Y’v got it at last. Fr ś ń ɖt ɖs wz ẃt Jemz hd bn wontñ, n ś ń ɖt nǎ h hd got it h wz so plizd ɖt h wd nt lc at hr or at hiz faɖr or at enwn. Ɖr h sat wɖ hiz hand on ɖ tilr sitñ bolt uprît, lcñ rɖr sulci n frǎnñ slîtli. H wz so plizd ɖt h wz nt gwñ t let enbdi śer a gren v hiz pleźr. Hiz faɖr hd prezd him. Ɖe mst ʈnc ɖt h wz prf̣cli indifṛnt. Bt y’v got it nǎ, Cam ʈt.

Ɖe hd táct, n ɖe wr sêlñ swiftli, boyntli on loñ rocñ wevz ẃć handd ɖm on fṛm wn t anɖr wɖ an xtrordnri lilt n xiḷreśn bsd ɖ rīf. On ɖ left a ro v rocs śoud brǎn ʈru ɖ wōtr ẃć ʈind n bcem grīnr n on wn, a hayr roc, a wev insesntli brouc n sprtd a litl coḷm v drops ẃć fél dǎn in a śǎr. Wn cd hír ɖ slap v ɖ wōtr n ɖ patr v fōlñ drops n a cnd v huśñ n hisñ sǎnd fṛm ɖ wevz rolñ n gámḅlñ n slapñ ɖ rocs az f ɖe wr wîld crīćrz hu wr prf̣cli fri n tóst n tumbld n sportd lîc ɖs fr evr.

Nǎ ɖe cd si tū men on ɖ Lîthǎs, woćñ ɖm n mcñ redi t mīt ɖm.

Mr Ramzi butnd hiz cot, n trnd p hiz trǎzrz. H tc ɖ larj, badli páct, brǎn pepr parsl ẃć Nansi hd got redi n sat wɖ it on hiz ni. Ɖus in cmplit redinis t land h sat lcñ bac at ɖ îḷnd. Wɖ hiz loñ-sîtd îz phps h cd si ɖ dwindld līflîc śep standñ on end on a plet v gold qt clirli. Ẃt cd h si? Cam wundrd. It wz ol a blŕ t hr. Ẃt wz h ʈncñ nǎ? ś wundrd. Ẃt wz it h sòt, so fixidli, so intntli, so sîḷntli? Ɖe woćt him, bʈ v ɖm, sitñ bér-hedd wɖ hiz parsl on hiz ni stẹrñ n stẹrñ at ɖ frel blu śep ẃć sīmd lîc ɖ vepr v smʈñ ɖt hd brnt itslf awe. Ẃt d y wont? ɖe bʈ wontd t asc. Ɖe bʈ wontd t se, Asc s enʈñ n w wl gv it y. Bt h dd nt asc ɖm enʈñ. H sat n lct at ɖ îḷnd n h mt b ʈncñ, W periśt, ć alon, or h mt b ʈncñ, I hv rīćt it. I hv faund it; bt h sd nʈñ.

Ɖen h pt on hiz hat.

“Brñ ɖoz parslz,” h sd, nodñ hiz hed at ɖ ʈñz Nansi hd dn p fr ɖm t tec t ɖ Lîthǎs. “Ɖ parslz fr ɖ Lîthǎs men,” h sd. H rouz n std in ɖ bǎ v ɖ bot, vri stret n tōl, fr ol ɖ wrld, Jemz ʈt, az f h wr seyñ, “Ɖr z no God,” n Cam ʈt, az f h wr līpñ intu spes, n ɖe bʈ rouz t folo him az h sprañ, lîtli lîc a yuñ man, holdñ hiz parsl, on t ɖ roc.


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“H mst hv rīćt it,” sd Lili Brisco alǎd, fīlñ sudnli cmplitli tîrd ǎt. Fr ɖ Lîthǎs hd bcm olmst inviẓbl, hd mltd awe intu a blu hêz, n ɖ ef̣t v lcñ at it n ɖ ef̣t v ʈncñ v him landñ ɖr, ẃć bʈ sīmd t b wn n ɖ sem ef̣t, hd strećt hr bodi n mînd t ɖ utmost. Ā, bt ś wz rlivd. Ẃtvr ś hd wontd t gv him, ẃn h left hr ɖt mornñ, ś hd gvn him at last.

“H hz landd,” ś sd alǎd. “It z finiśt.” Ɖen, srjñ p, pufñ slîtli, old Mr Carmîcl std bsd hr, lcñ lîc an old pegn god, śagi, wɖ wīdz in hiz her n ɖ trîdnt (it wz onli a Frenć novl) in hiz hand. H std bî hr on ɖ éj v ɖ lōn, sweyñ a litl in hiz bulc n sd, śêdñ hiz îz wɖ hiz hand: “Ɖe wl hv landd,” n ś flt ɖt ś hd bn rît. Ɖe hd nt nīdd t spīc. Ɖe hd bn ʈncñ ɖ sem ʈñz n h hd ansrd hr wɖt hr ascñ him enʈñ. H std ɖr az f h wr spredñ hiz handz ovr ol ɖ wìcnis n suf̣rñ v man-cnd; ś ʈt h wz sveyñ, toḷṛntli n cmpaśṇtli, ɖer fînl dsṭni. Nǎ h hz crǎnd ɖ oceźn, ś ʈt, ẃn hiz hand slǒli fél, az f ś hd sìn him let fōl fṛm hiz gret hît a rīʈ v vaylits n asf̣délz ẃć, fluṭrñ slǒli, le at leñʈ upn ɖ rʈ.

Qcli, az f ś wr rcōld bî smʈñ ovr ɖr, ś trnd t hr canvs. Ɖr it wz—hr picćr. Yes, wɖ ol its grīnz n bluz, its lînz runñ p n acrs, its atmt at smʈñ. It wd b huñ in ɖ atics, ś ʈt; it wd b dstroid. Bt ẃt dd ɖt matr? ś asct hrslf, tecñ p hr bruś agn. Ś lct at ɖ steps; ɖe wr emti; ś lct at hr canvs; it wz blŕd. Wɖ a sudn intnṣti, az f ś sw it clir fr a secnd, ś drù a lîn ɖr, in ɖ sntr. It wz dn; it wz finiśt. Yes, ś ʈt, leyñ dǎn hr bruś in xtrim ftīg, I hv hd mî viźn.

Ɖ END


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