For the next half-hour or so, Morgan chattered on with hardly a break. He had come out to Hong Kong straight after Oxford, then moved to Shanghai eleven years ago after securing a position at Jardine Matheson. Then at one point he broke off his story to say:
‘You wouldn’t believe the God-awful trouble I’ve been having with chauffeurs since all this trouble started. Regular one got killed the first day the Japs started shelling. Found another man, turned out to be a bandit of some sort. Kept having to rush off to perform his gang duties, could never be found when you wanted to go somewhere. Picked me up once at the American Club with blood all over his shirt. Not his own, I soon gathered. Didn’t say a word in apology, typical Chinaman. That was the last straw for me. Then I had two others, couldn’t drive at all. One actually hit a rickshawman, hurt the poor fellow quite badly. Driver I’ve got now’s not much better, so let’s keep fingers crossed he gets us there all right.’
I had no idea what he meant by this last statement, since as far as I could recall we had not agreed to go anywhere else that night. But I did not feel like picking him up on it, and then he had quickly moved on to telling me about the shortages affecting the hotel. The lounge we were sitting in, he confided, was not always so dimly lit; the war had stopped the supply of light bulbs from the Chapei factories; in some other parts of the hotel, guests were having to wander about through darkness. He pointed out also that at least three members of the dance-band at the far end of the room were not playing their instruments.
‘That’s because they’re really porters. The real musicians have either fled Shanghai or been killed in the fighting. Still, they do a fair impersonation, don’t you think?’


註釈:

For the next half-hour or so, Morgan chattered on with hardly a break.
「hardly」は副詞で「ほとんど・・・ない」の意。ですから「hardly a break」は「ほとんど not a break」の意。副詞ですが「a break」という「冠詞+名詞」を修飾しています。副詞だからといって名詞を絶対に修飾できないという訳ではありません。

He had come out to Hong Kong straight after Oxford, then moved to Shanghai eleven years ago after securing a position at Jardine Matheson.
「secure」はここでは「を(苦労して)手に入れる」。「Jardine Matheson」は「香港にヘッドオフィスを置くイギリス系企業グループの持株会社」。

Then at one point he broke off his story to say:
「break off」はここでは「を中断する」。

‘You wouldn’t believe the God-awful trouble I’ve been having with chauffeurs since all this trouble started.

Regular one got killed the first day the Japs started shelling.
「regular」はここでは「一定の、決まった、不変の」の意。ここでは「お抱えの」位の意。「shelling」は「爆撃」。1937年(昭和12年)8月13日夜に勃発した第二次上海事変において、大日本帝国海軍が上海租界の海軍陸戦隊や第三艦隊、現地居留民を支援するために行った14日、15日、16日の長距離爆撃のことを言っていると思われます。

Found another man, turned out to be a bandit of some sort.
「turn out to be …」は「・・・であることが判明する」。「bandit」は「無法者」。

Kept having to rush off to perform his gang duties, could never be found when you wanted to go somewhere.
「rush off」は「急いで行く」。

Picked me up once at the American Club with blood all over his shirt.

Not his own, I soon gathered.
「gather」はここでは「・・・だと推測する」。「I soon gathered that it was not his own.」

Didn’t say a word in apology, typical Chinaman.

That was the last straw for me.
「the last straw」は「the last straw that breaks the camel’s back(重荷を積んだラクダの背骨を折る最後に載せた1本のわら)」⇒「これを最後にその運転手を首にした」ということです。

Then I had two others, couldn’t drive at all.

One actually hit a rickshawman, hurt the poor fellow quite badly.
「rickshawman」は「人力車を引く人」。

Driver I’ve got now’s not much better, so let’s keep fingers crossed he gets us there all right.’
「now’s」は「now is」の略。「keep fingers crossed」は「(人指し指の背中に中指の腹をからめて重ねて)幸運を祈る」の意。

I had no idea what he meant by this last statement, since as far as I could recall we had not agreed to go anywhere else that night.

But I did not feel like picking him up on it, and then he had quickly moved on to telling me about the shortages affecting the hotel.
「feel like …」は「・・・したい気がする」。「pick up」はここでは「を正す」の意。

The lounge we were sitting in, he confided, was not always so dimly lit; the war had stopped the supply of light bulbs from the Chapei factories; in some other parts of the hotel, guests were having to wander about through darkness.
「confide」はここでは伝達動詞で「と打ち明ける」。「Chapei」は「当時の上海の1地区」。

He pointed out also that at least three members of the dance-band at the far end of the room were not playing their instruments.
‘That’s because they’re really porters. The real musicians have either fled Shanghai or been killed in the fighting.

Still, they do a fair impersonation, don’t you think?’
「fair」はここでは「まあまあの」。「impersonation」は「真似」。


『今日のイデイオム』

「break off」
「を中断する」

「turn out to be …」
「・・・であることが判明する」
「rush off」
「急いで行く」

「the last straw」
重荷を積んだラクダの背骨を折る最後に載せた1本のわら

「keep fingers crossed」
「(人指し指の背中に中指の腹をからめて重ねて)幸運を祈る」

「feel like …」
「・・・したい気がする」

「pick up」
ここでは「を正す」