VIII: Tod’z Advnćrz

Ẃn Tod faund himslf iḿrd in a danc n nôsm dunjn, n ń ɖt ol ɖ grim darcnis v a mdiivl fortris le btwn him n ɖ ǎtr wrld v súnśîn n wel-metld hîrodz ẃr h hd lêtli bn so hapi, dsportñ himslf az f h hd bòt p evri rod in Ñgḷnd, h fluñ himslf at fl leñʈ on ɖ flor, n śed bitr tirz, n abandnd himslf t darc dsper. “Ɖs z ɖ end v evrʈñ” (h sd), “at līst it z ɖ end v ɖ c’rir v Tod, ẃć z ɖ sem ʈñ; ɖ popylr n hansm Tod, ɖ rić n hspitbl Tod, ɖ Tod so fri n cerlis n deḅner! Hǎ cn I hop t b evr set at larj agn” (h sd), “hu hv bn impriznd so justli fr stìlñ so hansm a motrcar in sć an ōdeśs manr, n fr sć lŭrid n imajiṇtiv ćīc, bstoud upn sć a numbr v fat, red-fest p’līsṃn!” (Hir hiz sobz ćoct him.) “Stypid animl ɖt I wz” (h sd), “nǎ I mst lanḡś in ɖs dunjn, tl ppl hu wr prǎd t se ɖe ń m, hv fgotn ɖ vri nem v Tod! Ǒ wîz old Bajr!” (h sd), “Ǒ clevr, intelijnt Rat n snṣbl Mol! Ẃt sǎnd jujmnts, ẃt a nolij v men n matrz y pzes! Ǒ unhapi n fōrsecn Tod!” Wɖ lamnteśnz sć az ɖz h pást hiz dez n nîts fr sevṛl wīcs, rfyzñ hiz mīlz or inṭmīdịt lît rfreśmnts, ɖo ɖ grim n enćnt jelr, nwñ ɖt Tod’z pocits wr wel lînd, frīqntli pôntd ǎt ɖt mni cumf̣ts, n indd lux̣́riz, cd bî arenjmnt b snt in – at a prîs – fṛm ǎtsd.

Nǎ ɖ jelr hd a dōtr, a pleznt wenć n gd-hartd, hu asistd hr faɖr in ɖ lîtr dytiz v hiz post. Ś wz ptiklrli fond v animlz, n, bsdz hr cnẹri, huz cej huñ on a nêl in ɖ masiv wōl v ɖ cīp bî de, t ɖ gret anoyns v priznrz hu reliśt an afṭdinr nap, n wz śrǎdd in an antimac̣sar on ɖ parlrtebl at nît, ś cept sevṛl pîbàld mîs n a restlis rvolvñ sqiṛl. Ɖs cînd-hartd grl, pitiyñ ɖ miẓri v Tod, sd t hr faɖr wn de, “Faɖr! I c’nt ber t si ɖt pur bīst so unhapi, n gtñ so ʈin! Y let m hv ɖ maṇjñ v him. Y nǒ hǎ fond v animlz I am. I’l mc him īt fṛm mî hand, n sit p, n d ol sorts v ʈñz.”

Hr faɖr rplaid ɖt ś cd d ẃt ś lîct wɖ him. H wz tîrd v Tod, n hiz sulcs n hiz erz n hiz mīņis. So ɖt de ś wnt on hr eṛnd v mrsi, n noct at ɖ dor v Tod’z sél.

“Nǎ, ćir p, Tod,” ś sd, cǒxñli, on enṭrñ, “n sit p n drî yr îz n b a snṣbl animl. N d trî n īt a bit v dinr. Si, I’v bròt y sm v mîn, hot fṛm ɖ uvn!”

It wz bubl-n-sqīc, btwn tū plets, n its fregṛns fild ɖ naro sél. Ɖ peṇtretñ smel v cabij rīćt ɖ nǒz v Tod az h le prostret in hiz miẓri on ɖ flor, n gev him ɖ îdīa fr a momnt ɖt phps lîf wz nt sć a blanc n despṛt ʈñ az h hd imajnd. Bt stl h weild, n cict wɖ hiz legz, n rfyzd t b cumf̣td. So ɖ wîz grl rtîrd fr ɖ tîm, bt, v cors, a gd dīl v ɖ smel v hot cabij rmend bhnd, az it wl d, n Tod, btwn hiz sobz, snift n rflectd, n graɉli bgan t ʈnc ny n inspîrñ ʈts: v śivlri, n powtri, n dīdz stl t b dn; v brōd medoz, n catl brǎzñ in ɖm, rêct bî sún n wind; v cićngardnz, n stret hrb̦ordrz, n worm snapdragn bset bî bìz; n v ɖ cumf̣tñ clinc v diśz set dǎn on ɖ tebl at Tod Hōl, n ɖ screp v ćerlegz on ɖ flor az evrwn pld himslf clos p t hiz wrc. Ɖ er v ɖ naro sél tc a rozi tinj; h bgan t ʈnc v hiz frendz, n hǎ ɖe wd śrli b ebl t d smʈñ; v loyrz, n hǎ ɖe wd hv injoid hiz ces, n ẃt an as h hd bn nt t gt in a fy; n lastli, h ʈt v hiz ǒn gret clevrnis n rzors, n ol ɖt h wz ceṗbl v f h onli gev hiz gret mînd t it; n ɖ kr wz olmst cmplit.

Ẃn ɖ grl rtrnd, sm aurz lêtr, ś carid a tre, wɖ a cup v fregṛnt ti stīmñ on it; n a plet pîld p wɖ vri hot butrd tost, cut ʈic, vri brǎn on bʈ sîdz, wɖ ɖ butr runñ ʈru ɖ houlz in it in gret goldn drops, lîc huni fṛm ɖ hunicom. Ɖ smel v ɖt butrd tost simpli tōct t Tod, n wɖ no unsrtn vôs; tōct v worm cićnz, v brecfsts on brît frosti mornñz, v cozi parlr fîrsîdz on wintr-īvnñz, ẃn wn’z rambl wz ovr n sliprd fīt wr propt on ɖ fndr; v ɖ pŕñ v cntntd cats, n ɖ twitr v slīpi cnẹriz. Tod sat p on end wns mor, draid hiz îz, sipt hiz ti n munćt hiz tost, n sn bgan tōcñ frīli abt himslf, n ɖ hǎs h livd in, n hiz dwñz ɖr, n hǎ importnt h wz, n ẃt a lot hiz frendz ʈt v him.

Ɖ jelr’z dōtr sw ɖt ɖ topic wz dwñ him az mć gd az ɖ ti, az indd it wz, n incurijd him t g on.

“Tel m abt Tod Hōl,” sd ś. “It sǎndz bytifl.”

“Tod Hōl,” sd ɖ Tod prǎdli, “z an eliɉbl slf-cntend jntlmn’z rezidns vri ynīc; detñ in part fṛm ɖ fortīnʈ snćri, bt rplit wɖ evri modn cnvīńns. Up-t-det saṇteśn. Fîv minits fṛm ćrć, post-ofis, n golflincs. Sūṭbl fr — ”

“Bles ɖ animl,” sd ɖ grl, lafñ, “I d’nt wont t TEC it. Tel m smʈñ RIYL abt it. Bt frst wêt tl I feć y sm mor ti n tost.”

Ś tript awe, n prezntli rtrnd wɖ a freś trêfl; n Tod, pićñ intu ɖ tost wɖ avidti, hiz spirits qt rstord t ɖer yźl levl, tld hr abt ɖ bothǎs, n ɖ fiśpond, n ɖ old wōld cićngardn; n abt ɖ pigstîz, n ɖ steblz, n ɖ pijnhǎs, n ɖ henhǎs; n abt ɖ dẹri, n ɖ wośhǎs, n ɖ ćîna-cuḅdz, n ɖ linnpresz (ś lîct ɖt bit ispeṣ́li); n abt ɖ banqtñhōl, n ɖ fun ɖe hd ɖr ẃn ɖ uɖr animlz wr gaɖrd rnd ɖ tebl n Tod wz at hiz bst, sññ soñz, telñ storiz, cariyñ on jenṛli. Ɖen ś wontd t nǒ abt hiz animlfrendz, n wz vri inṭrestd in ol h hd t tel hr abt ɖm n hǎ ɖe livd, n ẃt ɖe dd t pas ɖer tîm. V cors, ś dd nt se ś wz fond v animlz az PETS, bcz ś hd ɖ sns t si ɖt Tod wd b xtrimli ofndd. Ẃn ś sd gdnît, hvñ fild hiz wōtrjug n śecn p hiz strw fr him, Tod wz vri mć ɖ sem sanḡn, slf-saṭsfaid animl ɖt h hd bn v old. H sañ a litl soñ or tū, v ɖ sort h yst t sñ at hiz dinrpartiz, crld himslf p in ɖ strw, n hd an xḷnt nît’s rest n ɖ plezntist v drīmz.

Ɖe hd mni inṭrestñ tōcs tgɖr, aftr ɖt, az ɖ driri dez wnt on; n ɖ jelr’z dōtr grù vri sori fr Tod, n ʈt it a gret śem ɖt a pur litl animl śd b loct p in prizn fr ẃt sīmd t hr a vri trivịl ofns. Tod, v cors, in hiz vaṇti, ʈt ɖt hr inṭrest in him pṛsidd fṛm a growñ tndrnis; n h cd nt hlp haf-rgretñ ɖt ɖ sośl gulf btwn ɖm wz so vri wîd, fr ś wz a comli las, n evidntli admîrd him vri mć.

Wn mornñ ɖ grl wz vri ʈtfl, n ansrd at randm, n dd nt sīm t Tod t b peyñ propr atnśn t hiz witi seyñz n sparc̣lñ coments.

“Tod,” ś sd prezntli, “jst lisn, plīz. I hv an ānt hu z a wośr-wmn.”

“Ɖr, ɖr,” sd Tod, greśsli n af̣bli, “nvr mînd; ʈnc no mor abt it. I hv sevṛl ānts hu ÒT t b wośrwimin.”

“D b qayt a minit, Tod,” sd ɖ grl. “Y tōc tù mć, ɖt’s yr ćīf fōlt, n I’m trayñ t ʈnc, n y hrt mî hed. Az I sd, I hv an ānt hu z a wośr-wmn; ś dz ɖ wośñ fr ol ɖ priznrz in ɖs casl – w trî t cīp eni peyñ biznis v ɖt sort in ɖ faṃli, y unḍstand. Ś tecs ǎt ɖ wośñ on Munde mornñ, n brñz it in on Frîde īvnñ. Ɖs z a Ʈrzde. Nǎ, ɖs z ẃt ocŕz t m: y’r vri rić – at līst y’r olwz telñ m so – n ś’z vri pur. A fy pǎndz wd’nt mc eni difṛns t y, n it wd mīn a lot t hr. Nǎ, I ʈnc f ś wr proprli aproćt – sqerd, I b’liv z ɖ wrd y animlz yz – y cd cm t sm arenjmnt bî ẃć ś wd let y hv hr dres n bonit n so on, n y cd iscep fṛm ɖ casl az ɖ ofiśl wośr-wmn. Y’r vri alîc in mni rspcts – ptiklrli abt ɖ figr.”

“W’r NT,” sd ɖ Tod in a huf. “I hv a vri elignt figr – fr ẃt I am.”

“So hz mî ānt,” rplaid ɖ grl, “fr ẃt Ś z. Bt hv it yr ǒn we. Y horid, prǎd, ungretfl animl, ẃn I’m sori fr y, n trayñ t hlp y!”

“Yes, yes, ɖt’s ol rît; ʈanc y vri mć indd,” sd ɖ Tod huridli. “Bt lc hir! y wd’nt śrli hv Mr. Tod v Tod Hōl, gwñ abt ɖ cuntri dsgîzd az a wośr-wmn!”

“Ɖen y cn stop hir az a Tod,” rplaid ɖ grl wɖ mć spirit. “I s’poz y wont t g of in a coć-n-for!”

Onist Tod wz olwz redi t admit himslf in ɖ roñ. “Y r a gd, cînd, clevr grl,” h sd, “n I am indd a prǎd n a stypid tod. Intṛdys m t yr wrɖi ānt, f y wl b so cînd, n I hv no dǎt ɖt ɖ xḷnt ledi n I wl b ebl t arenj trmz saṭsfactri t bʈ partiz.”

Nxt īvnñ ɖ grl uśrd hr ānt intu Tod’z sél, bẹrñ hiz wīc’s wośñ pind p in a tǎl. Ɖ old ledi hd bn priperd bfrhnd fr ɖ inṭvy, n ɖ sît v srtn gold sovṛnz ɖt Tod hd ʈtf̣li plest on ɖ tebl in fl vy practicli cmplitd ɖ matr n left litl frɖr t dscus. In rtrn fr hiz caś, Tod rsivd a cotn print gǎn, an epṛn, a śōl, n a rusti blac bonit; ɖ onli stipyleśn ɖ old ledi md biyñ ɖt ś śd b gagd n baund n dumt dǎn in a cornr. Bî ɖs nt vri cnvinsñ arṭfis, ś xplend, edd bî picćresc fix́n ẃć ś cd s’plî hrslf, ś hopt t rten hr sićueśn, in spît v ɖ sspiśs apiṛns v ʈñz.

Tod wz dlîtd wɖ ɖ sjsćn. It wd inebl him t līv ɖ prizn in sm stîl, n wɖ hiz repyteśn fr biyñ a despṛt n denjṛs felo untarniśt; n h reḍli hlpt ɖ jelr’z dōtr t mc hr ānt apir az mć az poṣbl ɖ victim v srcmstansz ovr ẃć ś hd no cntrol.

“Nǎ it’s yr trn, Tod,” sd ɖ grl. “Tec of ɖt cot n weistcot v yrz; y’r fat inuf az it z.”

Śecñ wɖ laftr, ś pṛsidd t “hc-n-î’ him intu ɖ cotnprint gǎn, arenjd ɖ śōl wɖ a pṛfeśnl fold, n taid ɖ strñz v ɖ rusti bonit undr hiz ćin.

“Y’r ɖ vri imij v hr,” ś gigld, “onli I’m śr y nvr lct haf so rspctbl in ol yr lîf bfr. Nǎ, gdbî, Tod, n gd luc. G stret dǎn ɖ we y cem p; n f enwn sz enʈñ t y, az ɖe probbli wl, biyñ bt men, y cn ćaf bac a bit, v cors, bt rmembr y’r a wido-wmn, qt alon in ɖ wrld, wɖ a caṛctr t lūz.”

Wɖ a qecñ hart, bt az frm a ftstep az h cd cmand, Tod set fʈ cōśsli on ẃt sīmd t b a most hér-brend n haẓds unḍtecñ; bt h wz sn agriybli s’prîzd t fînd hǎ īzi evrʈñ wz md fr him, n a litl humbld at ɖ ʈt ɖt bʈ hiz popylaṛti, n ɖ sx ɖt sīmd t inspîr it, wr riyli anɖr’z. Ɖ wośr-wmn’z sqot figr in its fmiłr cotnprint sīmd a pasport fr evri bàrd dor n grim getwe; īvn ẃn h heztetd, unsrtn az t ɖ rît trnñ t tec, h faund himslf hlpt ǎt v hiz dificlti bî ɖ wordr at ɖ nxt get, añśs t b of t hiz ti, suṃnñ him t cm alñ śarp n nt cīp him wêtñ ɖr ol nît. Ɖ ćaf n ɖ hymṛs saliz t ẃć h wz sbjctd, n t ẃć, v cors, h hd t pṛvîd promt n ifctiv rplî, formd, indd, hiz ćīf denjr; fr Tod wz an animl wɖ a stroñ sns v hiz ǒn digṇti, n ɖ ćaf wz mostli (h ʈt) pur n clumzi, n ɖ hymr v ɖ saliz intîrli lacñ. Hvr, h cept hiz tmpr, ɖo wɖ gret dificlti, sūtd hiz rtorts t hiz cumṗni n hiz s’pozd caṛctr, n dd hiz bst nt t oṿstep ɖ limits v gd test.

It sīmd aurz bfr h crost ɖ last cortyard, rjctd ɖ presñ invteśnz fṛm ɖ last gardrūm, n dojd ɖ ǎtspred armz v ɖ last wordr, plīdñ wɖ siḿletd paśn fr jst wn férwel imbres. Bt at last h hŕd ɖ wicitget in ɖ gret ǎtr dor clic bhnd him, flt ɖ freś er v ɖ ǎtr wrld upn hiz añśs brǎ, n ń ɖt h wz fri!

Dizi wɖ ɖ īzi s’xes v hiz dẹrñ xplôt, h wōct qcli twdz ɖ lîts v ɖ tǎn, nt nwñ in ɖ līst ẃt h śd d nxt, onli qt srtn v wn ʈñ, ɖt h mst rmuv himslf az qcli az poṣbl fṛm ɖ nebrhd ẃr ɖ ledi h wz forst t repriznt wz so wel-noun n so popylr a caṛctr.

Az h wōct alñ, cnsiḍrñ, hiz atnśn wz còt bî sm red n grīn lîts a litl we of, t wn sîd v ɖ tǎn, n ɖ sǎnd v ɖ pufñ n snortñ v enjinz n ɖ baññ v śuntd trucs fél on hiz ir. “Ahā!” h ʈt, “ɖs z a pìs v luc! A relwe-steśn z ɖ ʈñ I wont most in ɖ hol wrld at ɖs momnt; n ẃt’s mor, I nīd’nt g ʈru ɖ tǎn t gt it, n ś’nt hv t s’port ɖs hymilietñ caṛctr bî repartīz ẃć, ɖo ʈuṛli ifctiv, d nt asist wn’z sns v slf-rspct.”

H md hiz we t ɖ steśn acordñli, cnsultd a tîmtebl, n faund ɖt a tren, baund mor or les in ɖ d’rex́n v hiz hom, wz dy t start in haf-an-aur. “Mor luc!” sd Tod, hiz spirits rîzñ rapidli, n wnt of t ɖ bcñ-ofis t bai hiz ticit.

H gev ɖ nem v ɖ steśn ɖt h ń t b nirist t ɖ vilij v ẃć Tod Hōl wz ɖ prinsipl fīćr, n mcanicli pt hiz fngrz, in srć v ɖ nesṣri muni, ẃr hiz weistcot pocit śd hv bn. Bt hir ɖ cotn gǎn, ẃć hd nobli std bî him so far, n ẃć h hd besli fgotn, inṭvind, n fṛstretd hiz ef̣ts. In a sort v nîtmer h strugld wɖ ɖ strenj uncani ʈñ ɖt sīmd t hold hiz handz, trn ol musklr strîvñz t wōtr, n laf at him ol ɖ tîm; ẃl uɖr travlrz, formñ p in a lîn bhnd, wêtd wɖ impeśns, mcñ sjsćnz v mor or les valy n coments v mor or les strinjnsi n pônt. At last – smhǎ – h nvr rîtli unḍstd hǎ – h brst ɖ barịrz, atend ɖ gol, arîvd at ẃr ol weistcot pocits r itrṇli sićuetd, n faund – nt onli no muni, bt no pocit t hold it, n no weistcot t hold ɖ pocit!

T hiz horr h rec̣lectd ɖt h hd left bʈ cot n weistcot bhnd him in hiz sél, n wɖ ɖm hiz pocit-bc, muni, ciz, woć, maćz, penslces – ol ɖt mcs lîf wrʈ livñ, ol ɖt dstnḡśz ɖ mni-poc̣td animl, ɖ lord v crieśn, fṛm ɖ infirịr wn-poc̣td or no-poc̣td pṛdux́nz ɖt hóp or trip abt pmisivli, uniqipt fr ɖ riyl contest.

In hiz miẓri h md wn despṛt ef̣t t cari ɖ ʈñ of, n, wɖ a rtrn t hiz fîn old manr – a blend v ɖ Sqîr n ɖ Colij Don – h sd, “Lc hir! I fînd I’v left mî prs bhnd. Jst gv m ɖt ticit, wl y, n I’l snd ɖ muni on tmoro? I’m wel-noun in ɖz parts.”

Ɖ clarc stérd at him n ɖ rusti blac bonit a momnt, n ɖen laft. “I śd ʈnc y wr priti wel noun in ɖz parts,” h sd, “f y’v traid ɖs gem on ofn. Hir, stand awe fṛm ɖ windo, plīz, madm; y’r obstructñ ɖ uɖr paṣnjrz!”

An old jntlmn hu hd bn prodñ him in ɖ bac fr sm momnts hir ʈrust him awe, n, ẃt wz wrs, adrest him az hiz gd wmn, ẃć angrd Tod mor ɖn enʈñ ɖt hd ocŕd ɖt īvnñ.

Bafld n fl v dsper, h wondrd blîndli dǎn ɖ platform ẃr ɖ tren wz standñ, n tirz tricld dǎn ć sîd v hiz nǒz. It wz hard, h ʈt, t b wɖn sît v sefti n olmst v hom, n t b bōct bî ɖ wont v a fy reć̣d śilñz n bî ɖ petifogñ mstrustflnis v peid ofiślz. Vri sn hiz iscep wd b dscuvrd, ɖ hunt wd b p, h wd b còt, rvîld, lodd wɖ ćenz, dragd bac agn t prizn n bred-n-wōtr n strw; hiz gardz n penltiz wd b dubld; n Ǒ, ẃt sarcastic rmarcs ɖ grl wd mc! Ẃt wz t b dn? H wz nt swift v ft; hiz figr wz unforćṇtli recgnîzbl. Cd h nt sqīz undr ɖ sīt v a carij? H hd sìn ɖs meʈ̇d adoptd bî scūlbôz, ẃn ɖ jrnimuni pṛvîdd bî ʈtfl peṛnts hd bn dvrtd t uɖr n betr endz. Az h pondrd, h faund himslf oṗzit ɖ enjin, ẃć wz biyñ ôld, wîpt, n jenṛli c’rest bî its afx́ṇt drîvr, a brli man wɖ an ôlcan in wn hand n a lump v cotn-west in ɖ uɖr.

“Hlo, muɖr!” sd ɖ enjindrîvr, “ẃt’s ɖ trubl? Y d’nt lc ptiklrli ćirfl.”

“Ǒ, sr!” sd Tod, crayñ afreś, “I am a pur unhapi wośr-wmn, n I’v lost ol mî muni, n c’nt pe fr a ticit, n I mst gt hom tnît smhǎ, n ẃtvr I am t d I d’nt nǒ. Ǒ dir, Ǒ dir!”

“Ɖt’s a bad biznis, indd,” sd ɖ enjindrîvr rflectivli. “Lost yr muni – n c’nt gt hom – n got sm cidz, tù, wêtñ fr y, I der se?”

“Eni amǎnt v ’m,” sobd Tod. “N ɖ’l b hungri – n pleyñ wɖ maćz – n upsetñ lamps, ɖ litl iṇsnts! – n qoṛlñ, n gwñ on jenṛli. Ǒ dir, Ǒ dir!”

“Wel, I’l tel y ẃt I’l d,” sd ɖ gd enjindrîvr. “Y’r a wośr-wmn t yr tred, sz y. Vri wel, ɖt’s ɖt. N I’m an enjindrîvr, az y wel me si, n ɖr’z no dnayñ it’s teṛbli drti wrc. Yzz p a pǎr v śrts, it dz, tl mî miss z fer tîrd v wośñ v ’m. F y’l woś a fy śrts fr m ẃn y gt hom, n snd ’m alñ, I’l gv y a rîd on mî enjin. It’s agnst ɖ Cumṗni’z reğleśnz, bt w’r nt so vri ptiklr in ɖz ǎt-v-ɖ-we parts.”

Ɖ Tod’z miẓri trnd intu rapćr az h īgrli scrambld p intu ɖ cab v ɖ enjin. V cors, h hd nvr wośt a śrt in hiz lîf, n cd’nt f h traid n, enhǎ, h wz’nt gwñ t bgin; bt h ʈt: “Ẃn I gt sefli hom t Tod Hōl, n hv muni agn, n pocits t pt it in, I wl snd ɖ enjindrîvr inuf t pe fr qt a qontti v wośñ, n ɖt wl b ɖ sem ʈñ, or betr.”

Ɖ gard wevd hiz welcm flag, ɖ enjindrîvr ẃisld in ćirfl rspons, n ɖ tren muvd ǎt v ɖ steśn. Az ɖ spīd incrist, n ɖ Tod cd si on îɖr sîd v him riyl fīldz, n triz, n hejz, n cǎz, n horsz, ol flayñ past him, n az h ʈt hǎ evri minit wz brññ him nirr t Tod Hōl, n simṗʈetic frendz, n muni t ćnc in hiz pocit, n a soft bed t slīp in, n gd ʈñz t īt, n prêz n adṃreśn at ɖ rsîtl v hiz advnćrz n hiz s’pasñ clevrnis, h bgan t scip p n dǎn n śǎt n sñ snaćz v soñ, t ɖ gret astoniśmnt v ɖ enjindrîvr, hu hd cm acrs wośrwimin bfr, at loñ inṭvlz, bt nvr wn at ol lîc ɖs.

Ɖe hd cuvrd mni n mni a mîl, n Tod wz olrdi cnsiḍrñ ẃt h wd hv fr supr az sn az h got hom, ẃn h notist ɖt ɖ enjindrîvr, wɖ a puzld xpreśn on hiz fes, wz līnñ ovr ɖ sîd v ɖ enjin n liṣnñ hard. Ɖen h sw him clîm on t ɖ colz n gêz ǎt ovr ɖ top v ɖ tren; ɖen h rtrnd n sd t Tod: “It’s vri strenj; w’r ɖ last tren runñ in ɖs d’rex́n tnît, yt I cd b sworn ɖt I hŕd anɖr folowñ s!”

Tod sīst hiz frivḷs antics at wns. H bcem grev n dprest, n a dul pen in ɖ lowr part v hiz spîn, cḿṇcetñ itslf t hiz legz, md him wont t sit dǎn n trî despṛtli nt t ʈnc v ol ɖ posbiḷtiz.

Bî ɖs tîm ɖ mūn wz śînñ brîtli, n ɖ enjindrîvr, stediyñ himslf on ɖ col, cd cmand a vy v ɖ lîn bhnd ɖm fr a loñ distns.

Prezntli h cōld ǎt, “I cn si it clirli nǎ! It z an enjin, on ǎr relz, cmñ alñ at a gret pes! It lcs az f w wr biyñ psyd!”

Ɖ mizṛbl Tod, crǎćñ in ɖ coldust, traid hard t ʈnc v smʈñ t d, wɖ dizṃl wont v s’xes.

“Ɖe r genñ on s fast!” craid ɖ enjindrîvr. N ɖ enjin z crǎdd wɖ ɖ qirist lot v ppl! Men lîc enćnt wordrz, wevñ halḅdz; p’līsṃn in ɖer helmits, wevñ trunćnz; n śaḅli drest men in pothats, obvịs n unmistecbl plen-cloɖz dtctivz īvn at ɖs distns, wevñ rvolvrz n wōcñstics; ol wevñ, n ol śǎtñ ɖ sem ʈñ – ‘Stop, stop, stop!’”

Ɖen Tod fél on hiz niz amñ ɖ colz n, rezñ hiz claspt pwz in supḷceśn, craid, “Sev m, onli sev m, dir cînd Mr. Enjindrîvr, n I wl cnfes evrʈñ! I am nt ɖ simpl wośr-wmn I sīm t b! I hv no ćildṛn wêtñ fr m, iṇsnt or uɖ̇wz! I am a tod – ɖ wel-noun n popylr Mr. Tod, a landd pṛpraytr; I hv jst iscept, bî mî gret dẹrñ n clevrnis, fṛm a loɖsm dunjn intu ẃć mî eṇmiz hd fluñ m; n f ɖoz feloz on ɖt enjin rīcapćr m, it wl b ćenz n bred-n-wōtr n strw n miẓri wns mor fr pur, unhapi, iṇsnt Tod!”

Ɖ enjindrîvr lct dǎn upn him vri strnli, n sd, “Nǎ tel ɖ truʈ; ẃt wr y pt in prizn fr?”

“It wz nʈñ vri mć,” sd pur Tod, cuḷrñ dīpli. “I onli boroud a motrcar ẃl ɖ ǒnrz wr at lunć; ɖe hd no nīd v it at ɖ tîm. I dd’nt mīn t stìl it, riyli; bt ppl – ispeṣ́li maɉstrets – tec sć harś vyz v ʈtlis n hî-spiṛtd ax́nz.”

Ɖ enjindrîvr lct vri grev n sd, “I fir ɖt y hv bn indd a wicid tod, n bî rîts I òt t gv y p t ofndd justis. Bt y r evidntli in sor trubl n dstres, so I wl nt dzrt y. I d’nt hold wɖ motrcarz, fr wn ʈñ; n I d’nt hold wɖ biyñ ordrd abt bî p’līsṃn ẃn I’m on mî ǒn enjin, fr anɖr. N ɖ sît v an animl in tirz olwz mcs m fīl qir n soft-hartd. So ćir p, Tod! I’l d mî bst, n w me bìt ɖm yt!”

Ɖe pîld on mor colz, śuṿlñ fyrịsli; ɖ frnis rord, ɖ sparcs flù, ɖ enjin lept n swuñ, bt stl ɖer psywrz slǒli gend. Ɖ enjindrîvr, wɖ a sai, wîpt hiz brǎ wɖ a hanfl v cotnwest, n sd, “I’m afred it’s no gd, Tod. Y si, ɖe r runñ lît, n ɖe hv ɖ betr enjin. Ɖr’z jst wn ʈñ left fr s t d, n it’s yr onli ćans, so atnd vri cerf̣li t ẃt I tel y. A śort we ahd v s z a loñ tunl, n on ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖt ɖ lîn pasz ʈru a ʈic wŭd. Nǎ, I wl pt on ol ɖ spīd I cn ẃl w r runñ ʈru ɖ tunl, bt ɖ uɖr feloz wl slo dǎn a bit, naćṛli, fr fir v an axidnt. Ẃn w r ʈru, I wl śut of stīm n pt on breics az hard az I cn, n ɖ momnt it’s sef t d so y mst jump n hîd in ɖ wŭd, bfr ɖe gt ʈru ɖ tunl n si y. Ɖen I wl g fl spīd ahd agn, n ɖe cn ćes m f ɖe lîc, fr az loñ az ɖe lîc, n az far az ɖe lîc. Nǎ mînd n b redi t jump ẃn I tel y!”

Ɖe pîld on mor colz, n ɖ tren śot intu ɖ tunl, n ɖ enjin ruśt n rord n ratld, tl at last ɖe śot ǎt at ɖ uɖr end intu freś er n ɖ pīsfl mūnlît, n sw ɖ wŭd layñ darc n hlpfl upn îɖr sîd v ɖ lîn. Ɖ drîvr śut of stīm n pt on breics, ɖ Tod got dǎn on ɖ step, n az ɖ tren sloud dǎn t olmst a wōcñ pes h hŕd ɖ drîvr cōl ǎt, “Nǎ, jump!”

Tod jumt, rold dǎn a śort imbancmnt, pict himslf p unhrt, scrambld intu ɖ wŭd n hid.

Pīpñ ǎt, h sw hiz tren gt p spīd agn n dis’pir at a gret pes. Ɖen ǎt v ɖ tunl brst ɖ psywñ enjin, rorñ n ẃiṣlñ, hr motli cru wevñ ɖer verịs wepnz n śǎtñ, “Stop! stop! stop!” Ẃn ɖe wr past, ɖ Tod hd a harti laf – fr ɖ frst tîm sins h wz ʈroun intu prizn.

Bt h sn stopt lafñ ẃn h cem t cnsidr ɖt it wz nǎ vri lêt n darc n cold, n h wz in an uņoun wŭd, wɖ no muni n no ćans v supr, n stl far fṛm frendz n hom; n ɖ ded sîḷns v evrʈñ, aftr ɖ ror n ratl v ɖ tren, wz smʈñ v a śoc. H derd nt līv ɖ śltr v ɖ triz, so h struc intu ɖ wŭd, wɖ ɖ îdīa v līvñ ɖ relwe az far az poṣbl bhnd him.

Aftr so mni wīcs wɖn wōlz, h faund ɖ wŭd strenj n unfrendli n inclînd, h ʈt, t mc fun v him. Nîtjarz, sǎndñ ɖer mcanicl ratl, md him ʈnc ɖt ɖ wŭd wz fl v srćñ wordrz, clozñ in on him. An ǎl, swūpñ nôzlisli twdz him, bruśt hiz śoldr wɖ its wñ, mcñ him jump wɖ ɖ horid srtnti ɖt it wz a hand; ɖen flitd of, moʈlîc, lafñ its lo hǒ! hǒ! hǒ; ẃć Tod ʈt in vri pur test. Wns h met a fox, hu stopt, lct him p n dǎn in a sarcastic sort v we, n sd, “Hlo, wośr-wmn! Haf a per v socs n a piloces śort ɖs wīc! Mînd it dz’nt ocŕ agn!” n swagrd of, sniġrñ. Tod lct abt fr a ston t ʈro at him, bt cd nt s’xid in fîndñ wn, ẃć vxt him mor ɖn enʈñ. At last, cold, hungri, n tîrd ǎt, h sòt ɖ śltr v a holo tri, ẃr wɖ branćz n ded līvz h md himslf az cumf̣tbl a bed az h cd, n slept sǎndli tl ɖ mornñ.