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E-Books (english-e-reader), Andrina (2)

Andrina (2)

After that the story became still more cruel and still more sad. The girl followed him across the Atlantic a month or so later, but discovered that he had already gone from that place. He had taken work as a seaman on a ship sailing to the other side of the world. So she was told, and she was more lost and lonely than ever.

For the next fifty years, that was his life: making salt circles around the world, with no home anywhere. True, he studied, became a ship's officer, and finally a captain. But the empty years became too long, too heavy. There is a time, when white hairs come, to turn your back on your life's work. That is what the seaman did, and he came home to his island, hoping that fifty winters would be enough to bury the past in forgetfulness.

And so it was, or seemed to be. One or two people half - remembered him. The name of a woman who had been young fifty years before was not spoken, neither by him nor by other people. Her parents' croft was gone, was now just a pile of stones on the side of the hill. He climbed up to it one day and looked at it coldly. No sweet ghost stood waiting at the end of the house, waiting for the evening call - 'Sigrid...'

I collected my pension, and a basket full of food, in the village shop. Tina Stewart the postmistress knew everybody and everything; the complete family history of everybody in the island. I tried different ways of getting information from her. What was new or strange in the island? Had anyone been taken suddenly ill? Had anybody - a young woman, for example - had to leave the island suddenly, for whatever reason?

The sharp eyes of Miss Stewart stared at me long and hard. No, said she, she had never known the island quieter. Nobody had come or gone.

'Only yourself, Captain Torvald, you have been ill in bed, I hear. You should take good care of yourself, you all alone up there. There's still a greyness in your face...'

I said I was sorry to take up her time. Somebody had spoken a name to me - Andrina. It was not important, but could Miss Stewart tell me which farm or croft this Andrina came from?

Tina Stewart looked at me a long while, then shook her head. There was nobody of that name - woman or girl or child - in the island; and there never had been, she was sure of it.

I paid for my shopping, with shaking fingers, and left.

I felt the need of a drink. In the pub Isaac Irving stood behind the bar. There were two fishermen at the far end, next to the fire, drinking their beer.

I said, after the third whisky, 'Look, Isaac, I suppose everyone in the island knows that Andrina - that girl - has been coming all winter up to my place, to do a bit of cleaning and washing and cooking for me. She hasn't been for a week now and more. Do you know if there's anything the matter with her?' (I was afraid that Andrina had suddenly fallen in love, and that love now filled her life, leaving no time for small kindnesses.)

Isaac stared at me. He seemed to think I was mad. 'A young woman,' said he. 'A young woman up at your house? A home help, is she? I didn't know you had a home help. How many whiskies did you have before you came here, Captain, eh?' And he turned to smile at the two fishermen over by the fire.

I drank down my fourth whisky and prepared to go. 'Sorry, Captain,' Isaac Irving called after me. 'I think you imagined that girl, when the fever was on you. Sometimes that happens. I never have fever dreams like that. You're lucky, Captain - a sweet thing like Andrina!'

I could not begin to understand. Isaac Irving knows the island and its people even better than Tina Stewart. And he is a kindly man. Why would he make fun of me?

Going home, March winds were moving over the island. The sky was taller and bluer. Flowers among the rocks spoke silently of the coming of spring. A young lamb danced, all four feet in the air at once.

I found, lying on the table, unopened, the letter that had arrived three mornings ago. It had come from Australia, posted last October.

I followed you half round the world when you ran from Selskay fifty years ago. But I stopped at last in Tasmania, knowing it was useless for me to continue following you. I have kept a silence too, because of my great love for you. I did not want you to feel the pain that I had felt, in many ways, over the years. We are both old, maybe this letter will never find you; perhaps you never returned to Selskay, perhaps you have died and are now only dust in the earth or salt in the sea.

I think, if you are still alive and (it may be) lonely, that my news will bring you happiness, although the end of it is sadness, like so much of life. Of your child - our child - I do not say anything, because you did not wish to accept her. But that child had, in her turn, a daughter, and I do not think that I have seen so sweet a girl in all my days. I thank you for giving me (although you did not choose to) that light and goodness in my last years. She wanted to be a lamp in your winter, too, because I often spoke about you and the long-gone summer that we had together, which was, to me at least, so wonderful. I told her nothing of the end of that time, that you and some others thought to be shameful. I told her only things that came sweetly from my mouth.

And she used to say, often, 'I wish I knew that grandfather of mine. Gran, do you think he's lonely? I wish I could make him a pot of tea and see to his fire. Someday I'm going to Scotland and I'm going to knock on his door, and I'll do things for him. Did you love him very much, Gran? He must be a good person, that old sailor, because you loved him. I will see him. I'll hear the old stories from his own mouth. Most of all, of course, the love story - because you. Gran, tell me nothing about that...'

I am writing this letter, Bill, to tell you that this can now never be. Our granddaughter Andrina died last week, suddenly, in the first days of spring...

Later, over the fire, I thought of the brightness and the cheer that visitor had brought to my latest winter, night after night, and of how she had always come with the first shadows and the first star; but there, where she was dust, a new time was brightening earth and sea.

- THE END -


Andrina (2)

After that the story became still more cruel and still more sad. The girl followed him across the Atlantic a month or so later, but discovered that he had already gone from that place. He had taken work as a seaman on a ship sailing to the other side of the world. 彼は世界の反対側に航海する船の船員として仕事をしていました。 So she was told, and she was more lost and lonely than ever. それで彼女は言われました、そして彼女はこれまで以上に失われ、孤独になりました。

For the next fifty years, that was his life: making salt circles around the world, with no home anywhere. 次の50年間、それが彼の人生でした。世界中に塩の輪を作り、家はどこにもありませんでした。 True, he studied, became a ship's officer, and finally a captain. 確かに、彼は勉強し、船の将校になり、ついに船長になりました。 But the empty years became too long, too heavy. There is a time, when white hairs come, to turn your back on your life's work. 白髪が来るとき、あなたの人生の仕事に背を向ける時があります。 That is what the seaman did, and he came home to his island, hoping that fifty winters would be enough to bury the past in forgetfulness.

And so it was, or seemed to be. そして、そうであったか、そうであるように見えました。 One or two people half - remembered him. 1人か2人の半分-彼を思い出した。 The name of a woman who had been young fifty years before was not spoken, neither by him nor by other people. 50年前に若かった女性の名前は、彼も他の人々も話しませんでした。 Her parents' croft was gone, was now just a pile of stones on the side of the hill. He climbed up to it one day and looked at it coldly. 彼はある日そこに登り、冷たく見ました。 No sweet ghost stood waiting at the end of the house, waiting for the evening call - 'Sigrid...' 家の端で夜の呼びかけを待っている甘い幽霊は立っていませんでした-「シグリッド...」

I collected my pension, and a basket full of food, in the village shop. Tina Stewart the postmistress knew everybody and everything; the complete family history of everybody in the island. I tried different ways of getting information from her. 私は彼女から情報を得るさまざまな方法を試しました。 What was new or strange in the island? Had anyone been taken suddenly ill? 誰かが突然病気になったことがありますか? Had anybody - a young woman, for example - had to leave the island suddenly, for whatever reason? なんらかの理由で、誰か(たとえば若い女性)が突然島を離れなければならなかったのでしょうか。

The sharp eyes of Miss Stewart stared at me long and hard. ミス・スチュワートの鋭い目は私をじっと見つめていました。 No, said she, she had never known the island quieter. いいえ、彼女は言った、彼女は島がもっと静かであることを知らなかった。 Nobody had come or gone.

'Only yourself, Captain Torvald, you have been ill in bed, I hear. 「あなただけ、キャプテン・トーヴァルド、あなたはベッドで病気になっていると聞きました。 You should take good care of yourself, you all alone up there. あなたは自分自身の世話をする必要があります、あなたはそこに一人でいます。 There's still a greyness in your face...'

I said I was sorry to take up her time. 彼女の時間を割いてごめんなさいと言った。 Somebody had spoken a name to me - Andrina. 誰かが私に名前を話しました-アンドリーナ。 It was not important, but could Miss Stewart tell me which farm or croft this Andrina came from? それは重要ではありませんでしたが、ミス・スチュワートはこのアンドリーナがどの農場または小作地から来たのか教えてくれますか?

Tina Stewart looked at me a long while, then shook her head. There was nobody of that name - woman or girl or child - in the island; and there never had been, she was sure of it. 島にはその名前の人は誰もいなかった-女性か女の子か子供か-。彼女はそれを確信していました。

I paid for my shopping, with shaking fingers, and left.

I felt the need of a drink. In the pub Isaac Irving stood behind the bar. There were two fishermen at the far end, next to the fire, drinking their beer.

I said, after the third whisky, 'Look, Isaac, I suppose everyone in the island knows that Andrina - that girl - has been coming all winter up to my place, to do a bit of cleaning and washing and cooking for me. She hasn't been for a week now and more. Do you know if there's anything the matter with her?' 彼女に何か問題があるかどうか知っていますか?」 (I was afraid that Andrina had suddenly fallen in love, and that love now filled her life, leaving no time for small kindnesses.)

Isaac stared at me. He seemed to think I was mad. 彼は私が怒っていると思っていたようだった。 'A young woman,' said he. 'A young woman up at your house? 「あなたの家にいる若い女性? A home help, is she? I didn't know you had a home help. あなたが在宅介護をしているとは知りませんでした。 How many whiskies did you have before you came here, Captain, eh?' キャプテン、ここに来る前にウイスキーを何本持っていましたか?」 And he turned to smile at the two fishermen over by the fire. そして彼は火のそばで二人の漁師に微笑みかけた。

I drank down my fourth whisky and prepared to go. 私は4番目のウイスキーを飲み、行く準備をしました。 'Sorry, Captain,' Isaac Irving called after me. 「ごめんなさい、キャプテン」アイザック・アーヴィングが私を呼んだ。 'I think you imagined that girl, when the fever was on you. 「熱が出たとき、あなたはその女の子を想像したと思います。 Sometimes that happens. 時々それが起こります。 I never have fever dreams like that. そんな熱の夢はありません。 You're lucky, Captain - a sweet thing like Andrina!' あなたは幸運です、キャプテン-アンドリーナのような甘いもの!」

I could not begin to understand. 私は理解し始めることができませんでした。 Isaac Irving knows the island and its people even better than Tina Stewart. アイザック・アーヴィングは、ティナ・スチュワートよりも島とその人々をよく知っています。 And he is a kindly man. Why would he make fun of me? なぜ彼は私をからかうのでしょうか?

Going home, March winds were moving over the island. 家に帰ると、3月の風が島の上を移動していました。 The sky was taller and bluer. 空は高くて青い。 Flowers among the rocks spoke silently of the coming of spring. A young lamb danced, all four feet in the air at once. 若い子羊が4フィートすべてを一度に空中で踊りました。

I found, lying on the table, unopened, the letter that had arrived three mornings ago. It had come from Australia, posted last October. 昨年10月に投稿されたオーストラリアからのものでした。

I followed you half round the world when you ran from Selskay fifty years ago. あなたが50年前にセルスカイから逃げたとき、私はあなたを半世界で追いかけました。 But I stopped at last in Tasmania, knowing it was useless for me to continue following you. I have kept a silence too, because of my great love for you. あなたへの大きな愛のおかげで、私も沈黙を守ってきました。 I did not want you to feel the pain that I had felt, in many ways, over the years. 何年にもわたって私が感じた痛みを色々と感じてほしくありませんでした。 We are both old, maybe this letter will never find you; perhaps you never returned to Selskay, perhaps you have died and are now only dust in the earth or salt in the sea.

I think, if you are still alive and (it may be) lonely, that my news will bring you happiness, although the end of it is sadness, like so much of life. Of your child - our child - I do not say anything, because you did not wish to accept her. あなたの子供-私たちの子供-あなたが彼女を受け入れたくなかったので、私は何も言いません。 But that child had, in her turn, a daughter, and I do not think that I have seen so sweet a girl in all my days. しかし、その子供には今度は娘がいて、私はずっと甘い女の子を見たことがないと思います。 I thank you for giving me (although you did not choose to) that light and goodness in my last years. 私の最後の年にその光と良さを私に与えてくれてありがとう(あなたはそうすることを選択しませんでしたが)。 She wanted to be a lamp in your winter, too, because I often spoke about you and the long-gone summer that we had together, which was, to me at least, so wonderful. I told her nothing of the end of that time, that you and some others thought to be shameful. 私は彼女にその時の終わりについて何も言わなかった、あなたと他の何人かは恥ずべきことだと思った。 I told her only things that came sweetly from my mouth. 私は彼女に私の口から甘く出てきたものだけを話しました。

And she used to say, often, 'I wish I knew that grandfather of mine. そして、彼女はよく、「私の祖父を知っていたらいいのに」と言っていました。 Gran, do you think he's lonely? グラン、あなたは彼が孤独だと思いますか? I wish I could make him a pot of tea and see to his fire. Someday I'm going to Scotland and I'm going to knock on his door, and I'll do things for him. Did you love him very much, Gran? He must be a good person, that old sailor, because you loved him. I will see him. I'll hear the old stories from his own mouth. 彼自身の口から昔の話を聞くでしょう。 Most of all, of course, the love story - because you. Gran, tell me nothing about that...'

I am writing this letter, Bill, to tell you that this can now never be. 私はこの手紙を書いています、ビル、これは今では決してあり得ないことをあなたに伝えます。 Our granddaughter Andrina died last week, suddenly, in the first days of spring...

Later, over the fire, I thought of the brightness and the cheer that visitor had brought to my latest winter, night after night, and of how she had always come with the first shadows and the first star; but there, where she was dust, a new time was brightening earth and sea.

- THE END -