PART FIVE

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai
29th September 1937

Chapter Fifteen


For the next several minutes, I followed Mr Lin all around the building. Despite his age, my host showed little sign of infirmity; he carried his bulk steadily, if slowly, hardly ever pausing for breath. I pursued his dark gown and whispering slippers up and down narrow stairs, and along back corridors lit often only by a single lantern. He led me through areas that were bare and cobwebbed, past numerous neatly stacked wooden crates of rice wine. Elsewhere the house became sumptuous; there were beautiful screens and wall hangings, clusters of porcelain displayed within alcoves. Every so often, he would open a door, then stand back to let me pass. I entered various kinds of room, but – for some time at least – saw nothing at all familiar to me.
Then finally I stepped through a door and felt something tugging at my memory. It took a few seconds more, but I then recognized with a wave of emotion our old ‘Library’. It had been greatly altered: the ceiling was much higher, a wall had been knocked through to make the space L-shaped; and where there had once been double doors through into our dining room, there was now a partition against which were stacked more crates of rice wine. But it was unmistakably the same room where as a child I had done much of my homework.
I drifted further into the room, looking all around me. After a while I became aware of Mr Lin regarding me and gave him a self-conscious smile. At which point, he said:
‘No doubt much has been changed. Please accept my apologies. But you must understand, over eighteen years, which is how long we have lived here, a few alterations have been inevitable to meet the needs of my household and of my business. And I understand the occupants before us, and those before them, carried extensive alterations. Most unfortunate, my good sir, but I suppose few could have foreseen that day you and your parents …’


註釈:

For the next several minutes, I followed Mr Lin all around the building. Despite his age, my host showed little sign of infirmity;
「infirmity」はここでは「虚弱」。

he carried his bulk steadily, if slowly, hardly ever pausing for breath.
「bulk」はここでは「巨体」。「if slowly」は「ゆっくりだとしても」。

I pursued his dark gown and whispering slippers up and down narrow stairs, and along back corridors lit often only by a single lantern.
「pursue」は「を追跡する」。「corridor」は「回廊」。

He led me through areas that were bare and cobwebbed, past numerous neatly stacked wooden crates of rice wine.
「bare」は「覆いがない」。「cobwebbed」は「クモの巣で覆われた」。「numerous」は「沢山の」。「neatly stacked」は「整然と積み上げられた」。「crate」は「木わく」。

Elsewhere the house became sumptuous; there were beautiful screens and wall hangings, clusters of porcelain displayed within alcoves.
「elsewhere」は「どこかほかの所で」⇒覆いがない場所以外では。「sumptuous」は「豪華な」。「cluster」は「かたまり」。「porcelain」は「磁器」。「alcove」は「部屋の壁の一部を引っ込ませて作った小空間」。

Every so often, he would open a door, then stand back to let me pass. I entered various kinds of room, but – for some time at least – saw nothing at all familiar to me.
「every so often」は「ときどき」。「would」はここでは「過去の習慣」を表します。

Then finally I stepped through a door and felt something tugging at my memory.
「tug at …」は「・・・を強く引く」。

It took a few seconds more, but I then recognized with a wave of emotion our old ‘Library’.
「our old ‘Library’」は「recognized」の目的語。

It had been greatly altered:
「alter」は「を変更する」。

the ceiling was much higher, a wall had been knocked through to make the space L-shaped;
「a wall had been knocked through」は「1つの壁が打ち壊されて続き部屋になった」。

and where there had once been double doors through into our dining room, there was now a partition against which were stacked more crates of rice wine.

But it was unmistakably the same room where as a child I had done much of my homework.
「as a child」は「子供のとき」。

I drifted further into the room, looking all around me.
「drift」は「ゆっくり動く」。

After a while I became aware of Mr Lin regarding me and gave him a self-conscious smile. At which point, he said:
「regarding」はここでは「を見る」。

‘No doubt much has been changed. Please accept my apologies.

But you must understand, over eighteen years, which is how long we have lived here, a few alterations have been inevitable to meet the needs of my household and of my business.
「alterations」はここでは「手直し」。「inevitable」は「避けられない」。「household」は「雇い人を含めて家中の者」。

And I understand the occupants before us, and those before them, carried extensive alterations.
「occupant」は「居住者」。「extensive」はここでは「大規模な」。

Most unfortunate, my good sir, but I suppose few could have foreseen that day you and your parents …’
「foresee」は「を予見する」。

『今日のイデイオム』はありません。