‘You say my mother knew? At that time?’
‘Yes. Not at first, mind you. Not for a good month or so. Your father covered his tracks rather well. Your mother only found out because he wrote to her. She and I were the only ones who ever knew the truth.’
‘But the detectives. How on earth did the detectives fail to discover what he’d done?’
‘The detectives?’ Uncle Philip let out a laugh. ‘Those underpaid, overworked flat feet? They wouldn’t have found an elephant gone missing in Nanking Road.’ Then when I remained silent, he said: ‘She would have told you eventually. But we wanted to protect you. That’s why we had you believe what you did.’
I had started to feel uncomfortable sitting so close to the desk lamp, but the upright chair did not allow me to sit back. Then after I had maintained my silence another few minutes, Uncle Philip said:
‘Let me be fair to your father. It was difficult for him. He always loved your mother, loved her intensely. I’m jolly sure he never stopped loving her right to the end. In some ways, Puffin, that was the trouble. He loved her too much, idealised her. And it was just too much for him, trying to come up to what he saw as her mark. He tried. Oh yes, he tried, and it nearly broke him. He might have just said: “Look here, I can only do so much and that’s it, I’m who I am.” But he adored her. Wanted desperately to make himself good enough for her, and when he found he didn’t have it in him, well, he went off. With someone who didn’t mind him as he was. It’s my belief he just wanted rest. He’d tried so hard for so many years, he just wanted rest. Don’t think so badly of him, Puffin. I don’t believe he ever stopped loving you or your mother.’
‘And my mother? What has become of her?’
Uncle Philip leant forward on his elbows and tilted back his head slightly. ‘How much do you know already about her?’ he asked.


註釈:

‘You say my mother knew? At that time?’

‘Yes. Not at first, mind you.
「mind you」はここでは「いいかい、言っておくが」。

Not for a good month or so.
「good」はここでは「十分な」。

Your father covered his tracks rather well.
「track」はここでは「足跡」。

Your mother only found out because he wrote to her. She and I were the only ones who ever knew the truth.’
‘But the detectives.

How on earth did the detectives fail to discover what he’d done?’
「on earth」はここでは「いったい(全体)」。

‘The detectives?’ Uncle Philip let out a laugh.
「let out」はここでは「(叫び声など)を出す」。

‘Those underpaid, overworked flat feet?
「underpaid」は「薄給の」。「overworked」は「こき使われる」。「flat feet」は「警官たち」。

They wouldn’t have found an elephant gone missing in Nanking Road.’
「wouldn’t have found …」は「見つけることはしなかったであろう」。

Then when I remained silent, he said:

‘She would have told you eventually.
「eventually」は「やがて」。

But we wanted to protect you. That’s why we had you believe what you did.’

I had started to feel uncomfortable sitting so close to the desk lamp, but the upright chair did not allow me to sit back.
「upright」はここでは「垂直な背もたれがついた」。

Then after I had maintained my silence another few minutes, Uncle Philip said:
‘Let me be fair to your father. It was difficult for him.

He always loved your mother, loved her intensely.
「intensely」は「激しく」。

I’m jolly sure he never stopped loving her right to the end.
「jolly」は「非常に、とても」。

In some ways, Puffin, that was the trouble. He loved her too much, idealised her.

And it was just too much for him, trying to come up to what he saw as her mark.
「mark」は「評点」。

He tried. Oh yes, he tried, and it nearly broke him. He might have just said: “Look here, I can only do so much and that’s it, I’m who I am.”

But he adored her.
「adore」は「を敬愛する」。

Wanted desperately to make himself good enough for her, and when he found he didn’t have it in him, well, he went off.
「desperately」は「必死になって」。「go off」はここでは「(誰にも言わず)立ち去る」。

With someone who didn’t mind him as he was. It’s my belief he just wanted rest. He’d tried so hard for so many years, he just wanted rest. Don’t think so badly of him, Puffin. I don’t believe he ever stopped loving you or your mother.’
‘And my mother?

What has become of her?’
「become」の語源は「起る、生じる」の意でしたが、ここではそれが顔を出して「What has happened to her?」の意。

Uncle Philip leant forward on his elbows and tilted back his head slightly. ‘How much do you know already about her?’ he asked.


『今日のイデイオム』

「mind you」
「いいかい、言っておくが」

「on earth」
「いったい(全体)」

「let out」
「(叫び声など)を出す」

「go off」
「(誰にも言わず)立ち去る」