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。

彼との思い出:
彼を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。冷たいお茶を出し、お互いが何をしているのかを語り合い、FrancescaはRobert Kincaidに夕食を食べて行かないかと誘い、Robert Kincaidも同意します。そして、夕食も終わり、2人は散歩に出かけます。

Ancient Evenings, Distant Music (4)

Without any conscious plan, they had walked slowly into the pasture a few hundred yards, made a loop, and were headed back toward the house. Darkness came about them as they crossed the fence, with him pushing down the wire for her this time.
She remembered the brandy. “I have some brandy. Or would you like some coffee?”
“Is the possibility of both open?” His words came out of the darkness. She knew he was smiling.
As they came into the circle inscribed on grass and gravel by the yard light, she answered, “Of course,” hearing the sound of something in her voice that worried her. It was the sound of easy laughter in the cafes of Naples.
It was difficult finding two cups without some kind of chip on them. Though she was sure that chipped cups were part of his life, she wanted perfect ones this time. The brandy glasses, two of them back in the cupboard, turned upside down, had never been used, like the brandy. She had to stretch on her tiptoes to reach them and was aware of her wet sandals and the jeans stretched tight across her bottom.
He sat on the same chair he had used before and watched her. The old ways. The old ways coming into him again. He wondered how her hair would feel to his touch, how the curve of her back would fit his hand, how she would feel underneath him.
The old ways struggling against all that is learned, struggling against the propriety drummed in by centuries of culture, the hard rules of civilized man. He tried to think of something else, photography or the road or covered bridges. Anything but how she looked just now.


解説:

Without any conscious(意識的な) plan, they had walked slowly into the pasture(放牧地) a few hundred yards, made a loop(周回する), and were headed back toward the house.

Darkness came about them as they crossed the fence, with him pushing down the wire for her this time.
■about:ここでは前置詞。「・・・の周囲に」の意。
■as:同時性を表します。
■with him pushing down the wire:動名詞句。「him」は「pushing down the wire」の意味上の主語。He pushed down the wire. ということです。

She remembered(を思い出す) the brandy. “I have some brandy. Or would you like some coffee?”
“Is the possibility of both open(可能な)?” His words came out of the darkness. She knew he was smiling.
As they came into the circle inscribed(刻みつける) on grass and gravel by the yard light, she answered, “Of course,” hearing the sound of something in her voice that worried her. It was the sound of easy(くつろいだ) laughter(笑い) in the cafes of Naples.
It was difficult finding two cups without some kind of chip(欠けた箇所) on them.

Though she was sure that chipped cups were part of his life, she wanted perfect ones this time.
■his life:このhisは夫を受けています。夫が細かいことを氣にしない人であることが分かります。

The brandy glasses, two of them back in the cupboard, turned upside down, had never been used, like the brandy. She had to stretch on her tiptoes(つま先) to reach them and was aware of her wet sandals and the jeans stretched tight across her bottom(尻).
He sat on the same chair he had used before and watched her. The old ways. The old ways coming into him again. He wondered how her hair would feel to his touch, how the curve of her back would fit his hand, how she would feel underneath him.

The old ways struggling against all that is learned, struggling against the propriety(作法) drummed in by centuries of culture, the hard rules of civilized man.
■drum in:繰り返して教え込む

He tried to think of something else, photography or the road or covered bridges. Anything but how she looked just now.