夫 が死んで8年。Francescaは67歳の誕生日を迎えました。昔からのド田舎の家に今も1人で住んでいます。子供たち2人は今年も母の誕生日に帰ってきませんでした。誕生日をお祝いするために来てくれた友達たちも帰って行きました。

Francesca (3)

She wore ribbons in her black hair and clung to her dreams. But no handsome sailors disembarked looking for her, no voices came up to her window from the streets below. The hard press of reality brought her to the recognition that her choices were constrained. Richard offered a reasonable alternative kindness and the sweet promise of America.
She had studied him in his soldier’s uniform as they sat in a cafe in the Mediterranean sunlight, saw him looking earnestly at her in his Midwestern way, and came to Iowa with him. Came to have his children, to watch Michael play football on cold October nights, to take Carolyn to Des Moines for her prom dresses. She exchanged letters with his sister in Naples several times each year and had returned there twice, when each of her parents had died. But Madison County was home now, and she had no longing to go back again.
The rain stopped in midafternoon, then resumed its ways just before evening. In the twilight, Francesca poured a small glass of brandy and opened the bottom drawer of Richard’s rolltop desk, the walnut piece that had passed down through three generations of his family. She took out a manila envelop and brushed her hand across it slowly, as she did each year on this day.
The postmark read “Seattle, WA, Sep 12 ’65.” She always looked at the postmark first. That was part of the ritual. Then to the address written in longhand: “Francesca Johnson, RR 2, Winterset, Iowa.” Next the return address, carelessly scrabbled in the upper left: “Box 642, Bellingham, Washington.” She sat in a chair by the window, looked at the address, and concentrated, for contained in them was the movement of his hands, and she wanted to bring back the feel of those hands on her twenty-two years ago.


解説:

She wore ribbons in her black hair and clung(しがみつく) to her dreams.
■She wore ribbons:「いつもリボンをつけていた」。一時的ならば「was wearing」。
■in her black hair:hairと単数で使っているのは「髪全体」をイメージしているから。「髪の毛1本」なら「a hair」。

But no handsome sailors disembarked(上陸する) looking for her, no voices came up to her window from the streets below. The hard press of reality brought her to the recognition(認知) that her choices were constrained(制約する).

Richard offered a reasonable alternative kindness and the sweet promise of America.
■alternative:「彼女の夢に取って代る」というニュアンス。

She had studied him in his soldier’s uniform as they sat in a cafe in the Mediterranean(地中海) sunlight, saw him looking earnestly(真剣に) at her in his Midwestern(中西部の) way, and came to Iowa with him.
■Midwestern(中西部の) way:文脈から典型的なイタリア人像の反対がイメージされます。次はネットに掲載されていたアメリカの地域分析から(著者もウイスコンシン州に暫く滞在したことがありますが、下記の分析には納得)。
アメリカの中西部と呼ばれるこの地域は、アメリカのなかでもカントリーサイド(田舎町)という印象が強く、穏やかで友好的な人が多い地域とされています。その背景には農業を中心に栄えたことや、ドイツ系アメリカ人が多く、そもそも実直な人柄の人が多いことが挙げられます。
キリスト教が多いアメリカですが、東北中部はカトリックが多い傾向があり、古くから宗教観を大切にする人が多いとされています。非常に真面目な人が多く、政治にも経済にも慎重な地域と言われています。
中西部は「文化の交差点」と呼ばれてきた歴史があります。ニューイングランド地区から土地を求めてやってきた人たちと、東海岸を避けて五大湖やミシシッピ川を通じてドイツ、スウェーデン、ノルウェーなどヨーロッパからの移民がちょうど合流したのがいまの中西部とされているためです。
そのため、アメリカのなかでもヨーロッパの文化も根強いエリアとされており、いまでもペンシルベニアドイツ語を話す人もいるほどです。寒い国からやってきた人たちの子孫が多いため、穏やかで我慢強い人が多いと言われているようです。

Came to have his children, to watch Michael play football on cold October nights, to take Carolyn to Des Moines for her prom(卒業記念大ダンスパーテイ) dresses.
■Des Moines:デモインは、アイオワ州中央部に位置する都市。同州の州都、かつ州内最大の人口を抱える都市。

She exchanged letters with his sister in Naples several times each year and had returned there twice, when each of her parents had died. But Madison County was home now, and she had no longing(願望) to go back again.

The rain stopped in midafternoon(午後の中ごろ), then resumed(再び始める) its ways just before evening.
■then resumed(再び始める) its ways just before evening:著者はこの地の秋の雨の降り方を知りませんが、想像するに、一旦降りやんでも又降り出すということだと思います。

In the twilight(たそがれ時に), Francesca poured a small glass of brandy and opened the bottom drawer of Richard’s rolltop desk(蛇腹巻上げ式といわれるロールが付いている机のこと), the walnut(クルミ) piece(製品) that had passed down(お下がりする) through three generations of his family.

She took out a manila envelop(マニラ紙製の封筒) and brushed her hand across it slowly, as she did each year on this day.
The postmark(消印) read “Seattle, WA, Sep 12 ’65.” She always looked at the postmark first.
■“Seattle, WA, Sep 12 ’65.”:Robert Kincaid が旅に出たのが1965年8月6日でしたので、約1カ月後にはワシントン州ニ戻っていたことになります。

That was part of the ritual(儀式). Then to the address written in longhand(手書きで): “Francesca Johnson, RR 2, Winterset, Iowa.”

Next the return address, carelessly scrabbled(なぐり書きする) in the upper left: “Box 642, Bellingham, Washington.”
■Box 642, Bellingham, Washington:Box 642私書箱の番号。家を空けることが多かったので利用したものと思います。

She sat in a chair by the window, looked at the address, and concentrated, for contained in them was the movement of his hands, and she wanted to bring back the feel of those hands on her twenty-two years ago.
■for contained in them was the movement of his hands: for the movement of his hands was contained in them の倒置法。「for」 はここでは接続詞(「というのは・・・」の意)。