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分になり彼が帰って行きました。本章の最後となりました。

Ancient Evenings, Distant Music (9)

After he left, Francesca stood before the bureau mirror, naked. Her hips flared only a little from the children, her breasts were still nice and firm, not too large, not too small, belly slightly rounded. She couldn’t see her legs in the mirror, but she knew they were still good. She should shave more often, but there didn’t seem much point to it.
Richard was interested in sex occasionally, every couple of months, but it was over fast, rudimentary and unmoving, and he didn’t seem to care much about perfume or shaving or any of that. It was easy to get a little sloppy.
She was more of a business partner to him than anything else. Some of her appreciated that. But rustling yet within her was another person who wanted to bathe and perfume herself … and be taken, carried away, and peeled back by a force she could sense, but never articulate, even dimly within her mind.
She dressed again and sat at the kitchen table writing on half a sheet of plain paper. Jack followed her out to the Ford pickup and jumped in when she opened the door. He went to the passenger side and stuck his head out the window as she backed the truck out of the shed, looking over at her, then out of the window again as she drove down the lane and turned right onto the country road.
Roseman Bridge was dark. But Jack loped on ahead, checking things out while she carried s flashlight from the truck. She tacked the note on the left side of the entrance to the bridge and went home.


解説:

After he left, Francesca stood before the bureau mirror(鏡付きのドレッサー), naked.

Her hips flared(張りだす) only a little from the children, her breasts were still nice and firm, not too large, not too small, belly slightly rounded.
■from the children:2人の子供を産んだせいで

She couldn’t see her legs in the mirror, but she knew they were still good. She should shave more often, but there didn’t seem much point to it.
Richard was interested in sex occasionally, every couple of months, but it was over fast, rudimentary(原始的な) and unmoving(動きのない), and he didn’t seem to care much about perfume or shaving or any of that. It was easy to get a little sloppy(ずさんな).
She was more of a business partner to him than anything else. Some of her appreciated that. But rustling(サラサラと音を立てる) yet within her was another person who wanted to bathe and perfume herself … and be taken, carried away, and peeled back(ここでは「身につけているものを剥がす」の意) by a force she could sense, but never articulate(はっきりした), even dimly(かすかに) within her mind.
She dressed again and sat at the kitchen table writing on half a sheet of plain paper. Jack followed her out to the Ford pickup and jumped in when she opened the door.

He went to the passenger side and stuck his head out the window as she backed the truck out of the shed, looking over at her, then out of the window again as she drove down the lane and turned right onto the country road.
■stuck his head out the window:(体の一部である)頭を窓から外に突き出した

Roseman Bridge was dark. But Jack loped(大またでゆったりと歩く) on ahead, checking things out while she carried s flashlight from the truck. She tacked(をびょうで留める) the note(形式張らない短い手紙) on the left side of the entrance to the bridge and went home.