Meanwhile the real investigations into my father’s disappearance were continuing. I knew this from the visits we received from the men who held their hats in their hands and talked solemnly to my mother; from the hushed exchanges between my mother and Mei Li when my mother came in, tight-lipped, at the end of an afternoon; and in particular, there was that conversation I had with her at the foot of the staircase.
I have no real memory of what either of us had been doing prior to that moment. I had started to run up the stairs, eager to fetch something from the playroom, when I realized my mother had appeared at the top and was making her way down. She must have been about to go out, for she had on her special dress, the one that gave off a peculiar smell like mouldering leaves. I suppose I must have sensed something in her manner, for I stopped where I was on the third or fourth step and waited for her. As she came towards me, she smiled and reached out a hand. She did this while still a number of steps above me, so that I thought for a moment she was wishing me to assist her down the rest of the stairs, the way my father sometimes did when he waited for her at the foot of the staircase. But as it turned out, she simply put her arm around my shoulder and we descended the last steps together. Then she let go of me and walked over towards the hat-stand on the other side of the hall. It was as she did so that she said:
‘Puffin, I know how difficult these few days have been for you. It must seem as though the whole world’s caving in. Well, it’s been difficult for me too. But you must do as I have. You must keep praying to God and remain hopeful. I hope you are remembering your prayers, aren’t you, Puffin?’
‘Yes, I am,’ I replied, rather off-handedly.
‘It’s a sad fact,’ she went on, ‘that in a city like this, from time to time, people do get kidnapped. In fact it happens rather often, and a lot of time, I’d go so far as to say most of the time, the people come back perfectly safely. So we have to be patient. Puffin, are you listening to me?’


註釈:
Meanwhile the real investigations into my father’s disappearance were continuing.
「meanwhile」はここでは「一方では」の意。「ボトル返却事件の一方では」のイメージです。

I knew this from the visits we received from the men who held their hats in their hands and talked solemnly to my mother; from the hushed exchanges between my mother and Mei Li when my mother came in, tight-lipped, at the end of an afternoon; and in particular, there was that conversation I had with her at the foot of the staircase.
「solemnly」は「厳粛に」。[n]は発音されない。「hushed」はここでは「小声の」。「tight-lipped」は「口を堅く閉じた」。「in particular」は「特に」。

I have no real memory of what either of us had been doing prior to that moment. I had started to run up the stairs, eager to fetch something from the playroom, when I realized my mother had appeared at the top and was making her way down.
「fetch」は「(行って)を取って来る」。「make one’s way」は「進む(go)」。

She must have been about to go out, for she had on her special dress, the one that gave off a peculiar smell like mouldering leaves.
「be about to …」は「(正に)・・・しようとしている」。「moulder」は「(徐々に)朽ちる」。

I suppose I must have sensed something in her manner, for I stopped where I was on the third or fourth step and waited for her. As she came towards me, she smiled and reached out a hand. She did this while still a number of steps above me, so that I thought for a moment she was wishing me to assist her down the rest of the stairs, the way my father sometimes did when he waited for her at the foot of the staircase.

But as it turned out, she simply put her arm around my shoulder and we descended the last steps together.
「as it turned out」は何回も出て来ましたが「結局のところ」。

Then she let go of me and walked over towards the hat-stand on the other side of the hall.
「let go of …」で「・・・から手を離す」。「hat-stand」は「帽子掛け」。「hall」はここでは「玄関の広間」。

It was as she did so that she said:
「彼女が(次の様に)言ったのは、彼女が私から手を離して、彼女の居たところから反対側にある玄関の広間の帽子掛けの方に向かって歩いていた丁度その時だった」。

‘Puffin, I know how difficult these few days have been for you.

It must seem as though the whole world’s caving in.
「cave in」は「崩れ落ちる」。

Well, it’s been difficult for me too. But you must do as I have. You must keep praying to God and remain hopeful. I hope you are remembering your prayers, aren’t you, Puffin?’

‘Yes, I am,’ I replied, rather off-handedly.
「off-handedly」は「即座に」。

‘It’s a sad fact,’ she went on, ‘that in a city like this, from time to time, people do get kidnapped.
「go on」はここでは「話し続ける」。

In fact it happens rather often, and a lot of time, I’d go so far as to say most of the time, the people come back perfectly safely.
「go so far as to say …」で「極言すると・・・」。

So we have to be patient. Puffin, are you listening to me?’


『今日のイデイオム』

「in particular」
「特に」

「make one’s way」
「進む(go)」

「be about to …」
「(正に)・・・しようとしている」

「as it turned out」
「結局のところ」

「let go of …」
「・・・から手を離す」

「cave in」
「崩れ落ちる」

「go on」
「話し続ける」

「go so far as to say …」
「極言すると」