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。毎年の儀式になったRobert Kincaidから来た手紙を読み返したところです。そして彼とのことを思い出しています。この小説の舞台となった屋根付き橋に案内し到着し、家まで戻ってきました。

Francesca (17)

Up broken cement steps to the back porch door. He held the door for her, carrying his camera Knapsacks. “Awful hot to leave the equipment in the truck,” he said when he pulled them out.
A little cooler in the kitchen, but still hot. The collie snuffed around Kincaid’s boots, then went out on the back porch and flopped down while Francesca removed ice metal trays and poured sun tea from a half-gallon glass jug. She knew he was watching her as he sat at the kitchen table, long legs stretched in front of him, brushing his hair with both hands.
“Lemon?”
“Yes, please.”
“Sugar?”
“No, thanks.”
The lemon juice dribbled slowly down the side of a glass, and he saw, too. Robert Kincaid missed little.
Francesca set the glass before him. Put her own on the other side of the Formica-topped table and her bouquet in water, in an old jelly glass with renderings of Donald Duck on it. Leaning against the counter, she balanced on one leg, bent over, and took off a boot. Stood on her bare foot and reversed the process for the other boot.
He took a small drink of tea and watched her. She was about five feet six, fortyish or a little older, pretty face, and a fine, warm body. But there were pretty women everywhere he traveled. Such physical matters were nice, yet, to him, intelligence and passion born of living, the ability to move and be moved by subtleties of the mind and spirit, were really counted. That’s why he found most young women unattractive, regardless of their exterior beauty. They had not lived long enough or hard enough to possess those qualities that interested him.
But there was something in Francesca Johnson that did interest him. There was intelligence, he could sense that. And there was passion, though he couldn’t quite grasp what that passion was directed toward or if it was directed at all.


解説:

Francesca (17)

Up broken cement steps to the back porch door. He held the door for her, carrying his camera Knapsacks.

“Awful hot to leave the equipment in the truck,” he said when he pulled them out.
■equipment:常に単数形。when he pulled them outと複数で受けています。

A little cooler in the kitchen, but still hot.

The collie snuffed(くんくんかぐ) around Kincaid’s boots, then went out on the back porch and flopped down(ぱったり座りこむ) while Francesca removed ice metal trays and poured sun tea from a half-gallon glass jug(水入れ).
■The collie:定冠詞がつくことにより、その家で飼っているたった1匹のコリー犬であることを表しています。
■sun tea:水の中の茶の葉に太陽の直射光線を当てて露出させて作られるお茶

She knew he was watching her as he sat at the kitchen table, long legs stretched in front of him, brushing his hair with both hands.
■as:同時性を表します。「座って眺めていた」。

“Lemon?”
“Yes, please.”
“Sugar?”
“No, thanks.”
The lemon juice dribbled(したたる) slowly down the side of a glass, and he saw, too.

Robert Kincaid missed little.
■Francescaがやることをよく見ていたということです。

Francesca set the glass before him.

Put her own on the other side of the Formica-topped table and her bouquet in water, in an old jelly glass with renderings of Donald Duck on it.
■Formica:メーカー名ですが「耐熱性合成樹脂」の意で使われています。
■with renderings of Donald Duck on it:「rendering」は「表現」の意ですが、ここではDonald Duckの絵が描かれていた、ということです。

Leaning against the counter, she balanced on one leg, bent over(かがむ), and took off a boot. Stood on her bare foot and reversed the process for the other boot.
He took a small drink of tea and watched her.

She was about five feet six, fortyish(40くらいの) or a little older, pretty face, and a fine, warm body.
■five feet six:約167センチ

But there were pretty women everywhere he traveled.

Such physical matters were nice, yet, to him, intelligence and passion born of living, the ability to move and be moved by subtleties(洞察力) of the mind and spirit, were really counted(考慮する).
■passion born of living:生活から生じる情熱

That’s why he found most young women unattractive, regardless of their exterior(外観上の) beauty. They had not lived long enough or hard enough to possess those qualities that interested him.
But there was something in Francesca Johnson that did interest him. There was intelligence, he could sense that. And there was passion, though he couldn’t quite grasp what that passion was directed toward or if it was directed at all.