It appears to be a Shanghai custom at such events for guests, as soon as dessert has been served – even before they have had time properly to eat it – to abandon the original seating plan and mingle freely. No doubt then, it was in my mind that once this point came along, I might go over and exchange a few words with Sarah. However, when dessert finally appeared, I was unable to get away from the woman seated beside me, who wished to explain in some detail the political position in Indo-China. Then no sooner had I extricated myself from her than our host stood up to announce that the time had come for ‘the turns’. He proceeded to introduce the first performer – a willowy lady who, emerging from a table behind me, went to the front and began to recite an amusing poem, evidently composed by herself.
She was followed by a man who sang unaccompanied a few verses of Gilbert and Sullivan, and I surmised that the majority of those around me had come ready to perform. Guests went up one after another, sometimes in twos and threes; there were madrigals, comic routines. The tone inevitably frivolous, sometimes even bawdy.
Then a large red-faced man – a director of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, I learnt later – made his way to the front wearing a kind of tunic over his dinner jacket, and began to read from a scroll a monologue satirising various aspects of Shanghai life. Almost all the references – to individuals, to the bathroom arrangements at particular clubs, to incidents that had occurred on recent paper chases – were entirely lost on me, but very quickly every section of the room became filled with laughter. At this point I looked around for Sarah, and saw her sitting over in a corner amidst a group of ladies, laughing as heartily as any of them. The woman beside her, who clearly had had a fair amount of drink, was roaring with almost indecent abandon.


註釈:

It appears to be a Shanghai custom at such events for guests, as soon as dessert has been served – even before they have had time properly to eat it – to abandon the original seating plan and mingle freely.
「abandon the original seating plan and mingle freely」は「元の座席計画を放棄し、自由に混じり合う」。

No doubt then, it was in my mind that once this point came along, I might go over and exchange a few words with Sarah.
「might」はここでは「once this point came alongがif-節の役目を果たし、・・・であろうに⇒行ってサラと一言二言言葉を交わそう」

However, when dessert finally appeared, I was unable to get away from the woman seated beside me, who wished to explain in some detail the political position in Indo-China.
「Indo-China」は「インドシナ半島」。

Then no sooner had I extricated myself from her than our host stood up to announce that the time had come for ‘the turns’.
「extricate oneself from …」は「・・・から逃れる」。「turn」は英表現で「出し物」。

He proceeded to introduce the first performer – a willowy lady who, emerging from a table behind me, went to the front and began to recite an amusing poem, evidently composed by herself.
「willowy」はここでは「すらっとした」。「evidently」はここでは「見たところ・・・らしい」。

She was followed by a man who sang unaccompanied a few verses of Gilbert and Sullivan, and I surmised that the majority of those around me had come ready to perform.
「unaccompanied」はここでは「同伴者(伴奏も含む)なしの」(「別便の」の意もあります。昔、日本では鉄道の切符を購入すればこの制度が利用でき「アナカンで送る」と言っていました)。「Gilbert and Sullivan」⇒このコンビで多くのオペレッタを書いた。「surmise」は「だと推測する」。

Guests went up one after another, sometimes in twos and threes; there were madrigals, comic routines.
「one after another」は「次々に」。「madrigal」は「マドリガル(イメージとしては「歌曲」)」。「routine」はここでは「決まった出し物」。

The tone inevitably frivolous, sometimes even bawdy.
「inevitably」は「必然的に」。「frivolous」は「軽薄な」。「bawdy」は「みだらな」。

Then a large red-faced man – a director of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, I learnt later – made his way to the front wearing a kind of tunic over his dinner jacket, and began to read from a scroll a monologue satirising various aspects of Shanghai life.
「director」はここでは「重役、取締役」。「tunic」は「チューニック(古代ギリシャ・ローマ人が着ていたそでがなくひざまで届く上着)」。「scroll」は「巻物」。「monologue」はここでは「独白形式の作品」。「satirise」は「を風刺する」。

Almost all the references – to individuals, to the bathroom arrangements at particular clubs, to incidents that had occurred on recent paper chases – were entirely lost on me, but very quickly every section of the room became filled with laughter.
「lost」はここでは「理解されていない」。このような風刺物はその土地に住みつかないと理解できないことは著者もアメリカで経験しました。

At this point I looked around for Sarah, and saw her sitting over in a corner amidst a group of ladies, laughing as heartily as any of them.
「heartily」はここでは「心から」。

The woman beside her, who clearly had had a fair amount of drink, was roaring with almost indecent abandon.
「fair」はここでは「かなりの、相当の」。「roar」はここでは「大笑いする」。「indecent」「無作法な」。「abandon」はここでは「放縦、気まま」。酒を飲んで自制心を失い周りを気にせず大笑いしていたということです。


『今日のイデイオム』

「extricate oneself from …」
「・・・から逃れる」

「one after another」
「次々に」