‘My grandson believes me to be an old-fashioned Chinese,’ Mr Lin said, coming closer to me, the smile never leaving his face. ‘But the truth is, I am born and bred in Shanghai, here in the International Settlement. My parents were obliged to flee the Empress Dowager’s forces, and take sanctuary here, in the foreigner’s city, and I have grown up a Shanghailander through and through. My grandson here has no idea what life is like in the real China. He considers me old-fashioned! Ignore him, my dear sir. There is no need to worry about protocol in this house. If you do not wish to eat, then never mind. I will certainly not bully you.’
‘But you’re all so kind,’ I said, perhaps a little distractedly, for in truth I was still trying to work out how the building had been altered.
Then suddenly the old lady said something in Mandarin. The young man who had addressed me before, then said:
‘My grandmother says she thought you would never come. It was such a long wait. But now she’s seen you, she’s very happy you are here.’
Even before he had finished translating, the old lady was talking again. This time, when she finished, the young man remained silent for a moment. He looked at his grandfather as though for guidance, then appeared to come to a decision.
‘You must excuse Grandmother,’ he said. ‘She is sometimes a little eccentric.’
The old lady, perhaps understanding the English, gestured impatiently for a translation. Finally the young man sighed and said:
‘Grandmother says that until you came in this evening, she resented you. That is to say, she was angry that you are to take our home from us.’
I looked at the young man, quite baffled, but now the old lady was talking again.
‘She says that for a long time,’ her grandson translated, ‘she hoped you would stay away. She believed this home belonged to our family now. But tonight, seeing you in person, seeing the emotion in your eyes, she is able to understand. She now feels in her heart that the agreement is correct.’
‘The agreement? But surely …’
I allowed the words to fade in my mouth. For puzzled as I was, while the young man had been translating his grandson’s words, I had started to locate some vague recollection concerning some such agreement regarding the old house and my eventual return to it. But as I say, my memory of it was only a very hazy one, and I sensed that by opening a discussion on the matter I would only embarrass myself. In any case, just at that moment Mr Lin said:
‘I fear we are all being most inconsiderate to Mr Banks. Here we are, making him chatter to us, when in fact he must be longing to look about this house once more.’ Then turning to me with a kindly smile, he said: ‘Come with me, good sir. There will be time enough to talk to everyone later. Come this way and I will show you the house.’


註釈:

‘My grandson believes me to be an old-fashioned Chinese,’ Mr Lin said, coming closer to me, the smile never leaving his face.

‘But the truth is, I am born and bred in Shanghai, here in the International Settlement.
「I am born and bred in Shanghai」は「私は生まれも育ちも上海です」の意。文法的には「I was born and bred in Shanghai」が正しいが、ここでは年取った中国人の発話ですので中国人がよく間違える言い方にしたものと推察します。

My parents were obliged to flee the Empress Dowager’s forces, and take sanctuary here, in the foreigner’s city, and I have grown up a Shanghailander through and through.
「be obliged to …」は「・・・せざるを得ない」。「flee」は「逃げる」。「Empress Dowager」は「皇太后」。ここでは西太后(せいたいこう、1835〜1908年)のこと。彼女は清の第9代皇帝・咸豊帝(かんぽうてい)の妃で、第10代皇帝・同治帝(どうちてい)の母。咸豊帝が亡くなり息子の同治帝が即位した後は、皇帝の背後から政治を操り、74歳で亡くなるまで事実上の皇帝として中国全土を支配した。ちなみに「西太后」とは、咸豊帝の正室であった「東太后」と対になる名称で、同治帝が即位したときに皇太后となったことで「西太后」と呼ばれるようになったのだそうです。「forces」は「軍隊、部隊」。「sanctuary」は「聖域」。「Shanghailander」は「上海人」。「through and through」は「徹頭徹尾」。

My grandson here has no idea what life is like in the real China. He considers me old-fashioned! Ignore him, my dear sir.

There is no need to worry about protocol in this house.
「protocol」は「外交儀礼」。

If you do not wish to eat, then never mind. I will certainly not bully you.’
「bully」は「をいじめる」。

‘But you’re all so kind,’ I said, perhaps a little distractedly, for in truth I was still trying to work out how the building had been altered.
「distractedly」はここでは「取り乱したように」。「alter」はここでは「を改造する」。

Then suddenly the old lady said something in Mandarin.
「Mandarin」は「北京官話(標準中国語)」。

The young man who had addressed me before, then said:
「address」はここでは「に話しかける」。

‘My grandmother says she thought you would never come. It was such a long wait. But now she’s seen you, she’s very happy you are here.’
Even before he had finished translating, the old lady was talking again. This time, when she finished, the young man remained silent for a moment. He looked at his grandfather as though for guidance, then appeared to come to a decision.
‘You must excuse Grandmother,’ he said. ‘She is sometimes a little eccentric.’
The old lady, perhaps understanding the English, gestured impatiently for a translation. Finally the young man sighed and said:

‘Grandmother says that until you came in this evening, she resented you.
「resent」は「に憤慨する」。

That is to say, she was angry that you are to take our home from us.’
「that is to say」は「換言すれば」。

I looked at the young man, quite baffled, but now the old lady was talking again.
「baffle」は「を当惑させる」

‘She says that for a long time,’ her grandson translated, ‘she hoped you would stay away.
「stay away」はここでは「寄りつかない」。

She believed this home belonged to our family now. But tonight, seeing you in person, seeing the emotion in your eyes, she is able to understand. She now feels in her heart that the agreement is correct.’
‘The agreement? But surely …’

I allowed the words to fade in my mouth.

For puzzled as I was, while the young man had been translating his grandson’s words, I had started to locate some vague recollection concerning some such agreement regarding the old house and my eventual return to it.
「For puzzled as I was」は「というのは、私が困惑していた時」。「recollection」はここでは「記憶」。「eventual」はここでは「いつかは生じる」。

But as I say, my memory of it was only a very hazy one, and I sensed that by opening a discussion on the matter I would only embarrass myself.
「as I say」は「先ほども言ったように」。「hazy」は「ぼんやりとした」。

In any case, just at that moment Mr Lin said:

‘I fear we are all being most inconsiderate to Mr Banks.
「inconsiderate」は「配慮のない」

Here we are, making him chatter to us, when in fact he must be longing to look about this house once more.’
「chatter」は「ぺちゃくちゃしゃべる」。

Then turning to me with a kindly smile, he said: ‘Come with me, good sir. There will be time enough to talk to everyone later. Come this way and I will show you the house.’


『今日のイデイオム』
「be obliged to …」
「・・・せざるを得ない」

「through and through」
「徹頭徹尾」

「that is to say」
「換言すれば」。

「stay away」
「寄りつかない」

「as I say」
「先ほども言ったように」