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、戻ってきてブランデイとコーヒーを飲みますが、午後9時52分になり彼がホテルに帰る時間。

Ancient Evenings, Distant Music (8)

He had known, just as she thought. But she wasn’t offended by his words. He was talking about romance, and he meant it in the best possible way. She could tell by the softness of his language, the way he said the words. What she didn’t know was that he wanted to shout at the kitchen walls, bas-reliefing his words in the plaster: “For Christ’s sake, Richard Johnson, are you as big a fool as I think you must be?”
She followed him out to his truck and stood by while he put his gear into it. The collie came across the yard, sniffing around the truck. “Jack, come here,” she whispered sharply, and the dog moved to sit by her, panting.
“Good-bye. Take care,” he said, stopping by the truck door to look at her for a moment, straight at her. Then, in one motion, he was behind the wheel and shutting the door after him. He turned the old engine over, stomped at the accelerator, and it rattled into a start. He leaned out the window, grinning, “Tune-up required, I think.”
He clutched it, backed up, shifted again, and headed across the yard under the light. Just before he reached the darkness of the lane, his left hand came out of the window and waved back at her. She waved, too, even though she knew he couldn’t see it.
As the truck moved down the lane, she jogged over and stood in shadow, watching the red lights rising and falling with the bumps. Robert Kincaid turned left on the main road toward Winterset, while heat lightning cut the summer sky and Jack slumbered toward the back porch.


解説:

He had known, just as she thought. But she wasn’t offended(の感情を害する) by his words. He was talking about romance(ロマンチックな気分), and he meant it in the best possible way. She could tell by the softness of his language, the way he said the words. What she didn’t know was that he wanted to shout at the kitchen walls, bas-reliefing(浅浮き彫りする) his words in the plaster(壁土):

“For Christ’s sake, Richard Johnson, are you as big a fool as I think you must be?”
■For Christ’s sake:疑問文では「いらだち」の気持ちを表します。「いったい全体」。
■are you as big a fool as I think you must be:文字通りの意味は「あなたは、私があなたがそうであるに違いないと思うのと同じくらい大きな馬鹿もの(⇒大ばか者)ですか?」。

She followed him out to his truck and stood by while he put his gear(持ち物) into it.
■stand by:その場にいた

The collie came across the yard, sniffing(くんくんかぐ) around the truck. “Jack, come here,” she whispered sharply, and the dog moved to sit by her, panting(ハアハアいう).

“Good-bye. Take care,” he said, stopping by the truck door to look at her for a moment, straight at her.
■Take care:分かれる時の挨拶。「じゃあ、お大事に」

Then, in one motion, he was behind the wheel(ハンドル) and shutting the door after him.
■after him:ここでの「after」は「順序」を表し「・・・した後で」の意。「彼がハンドルの後ろに座った後で」の意。

He turned the old engine over, stomped(踏みつける) at the accelerator, and it rattled(ガタガタ音を立てる) into a start.
■turned the old engine over:古いエンジンを始動させた

He leaned out the window, grinning(にこっと笑う), “Tune-up(調整) required, I think.”

He clutched it, backed up(後退する), shifted(ギアを入れ替える) again, and headed across the yard(敷地) under the light.
■He clutched it:「clutch」は動詞では「をぐいと握る」、名詞では「ぐいとつかみこと」「クラッチ、クラッチペダル・クラッチレバー」の意。しかし、ここでは文脈から「クラッチを入れた」の意(クラッチを入れないと動力が伝わらないので車は動かない)。

Just before he reached the darkness of the lane, his left hand came out of the window and waved back at her. She waved, too, even though she knew he couldn’t see it.

As the truck moved down the lane, she jogged(ゆっくり走る) over and stood in shadow, watching the red lights rising and falling with the bumps(隆起).
■she jogged(ゆっくり走る) over and stood in shadow:副詞としての「over」は色々な日本語が対応しますが「少し距離がある」イメージがあります。覚えておられると思いますが、Francesca は隣人の目にとまるのを恐れて Robert Kincaid に車を家の裏側に駐車させました。家の裏側からゆっくり走って彼の車が見えるところに(即ち家の正面の方に)きたということです。ですが用心をして隣人が通ったとしても見えないように暗闇に立っていたのです。

Robert Kincaid turned left on the main road toward Winterset, while heat lightning(稲光) cut the summer sky and Jack slumbered(うとうとする) toward the back porch.
■toward the back porch:裏玄関の方を向いて。家の中に入れてもらおうとして待っている間にうとうととしたのでしょう。