×

We use cookies to help make LingQ better. By visiting the site, you agree to our cookie policy.


image

E-Books (english-e-reader), The Landlady (2)

The Landlady (2)

'It's Weaver,' Billy said. 'W-E-A-V-E-R.'

'Oh, of course it is!' she cried, sitting down on the sofa. 'How silly of me. I do apologize.'

'Do you know something that's extraordinary about all this? Both those names, Mulholland and Temple, I not only seem to remember each one separately but they appear to be connected as well. As if they were both famous for the same sort of thing, if you see what I mean.'

'Well, come over here now, dear, and sit down beside me on the sofa and I'll give you a nice cup of tea and a biscuit before you go to bed.'

Billy watched her as she busied herself with the cups and saucers. He noticed that she had small, white, quickly moving hands, and red fingernails.

'I'm almost positive I saw them in the newspapers,' Billy said. 'I'll think of them in a second. I'm sure I will.'

There is nothing more annoying than a thing like this which remains just outside one's memory. He hated to give up.

'Now wait a minute,' he said. 'Wait just a minute. Mulholland... Christopher Mulholland... wasn't that the name of the schoolboy who was on a walking tour through the West Country, and then suddenly...'

'Milk?' she said. 'And sugar?'

'Yes, please. And then suddenly...?'

'Schoolboy?' she said. 'Oh no, my dear, that can't possibly be right because my Mr Mulholland was certainly not a schoolboy when he came to me. He was a university student. Come over here now and sit next to me and warm yourself in front of this lovely fire. Come on. Your tea's all ready for you.'

He crossed the room slowly, and sat down on the edge of the sofa. She placed his teacup on the table in front of him.

'There we are,' she said. 'How nice and comfortable this is, isn't it?'

Billy started drinking his tea. She did the same. For half a minute, neither of them spoke but Billy knew that she was looking at him. Her body was half-turned towards him and he could feel her eyes resting on his face, watching him from over her teacup. Now and again he caught a peculiar smell that seemed to come from her direction. It wasn't unpleasant, and it reminded him - well, he wasn't quite sure what it was. New leather? Or was it the corridors of a hospital?

'Mr Mulholland loved his tea,' she finally said. 'I've never seen anyone in my life drink as much tea as dear, sweet Mr Mulholland.'

'I suppose he left fairly recently,' Billy said.

'Left?' she said. 'But my dear boy, he never left. He's still here. Mr Temple is also here. They're on the third floor, both of them together.'

Billy put down his cup slowly on the table, and stared at his landlady. She smiled back at him and then put out one of her white hands and patted him comfortingly on the knee.

'How old are you, my dear?' she asked.

'Seventeen.'

'Seventeen!' she cried. 'Oh, it's the perfect age! Mr Mulholland was also seventeen. But I think he was a little shorter than you are - in fact I'm sure he was. And his teeth weren't quite so white. You have the most beautiful teeth, Mr Weaver. Mr Temple was a little older. He was actually twenty-eight. I wouldn't have guessed it, though, if he hadn't told me. There wasn't a mark on his body.'

'A what?' Billy said.

'His skin was just like a baby's.'

There was a pause. Billy picked up his teacup, drank some more and then put it down again in its saucer. He waited for her to say something else but she seemed to have fallen into another of her silences. He sat there, looking ahead, biting his lower lip.

'That parrot,' he said at last. 'You know something? It completely fooled me when I looked through the window from the street. I thought it was alive.'

'Sadly, no longer.'

'It's very clever the way it's been stuffed,' he said. 'It doesn't look at all dead. Who did it?'

'I did.'

'You did?'

'Of course,' she said. 'And have you met my little Basil as well?' She nodded towards the dog curled up so comfortably in front of the fire. Billy looked at it. Suddenly he realized that this animal had all the time been as silent and motionless as the parrot. He touched it gently on the top of its back. It was hard and cold but perfectly preserved.

'Good heavens,' he said. 'How very interesting. It must be awfully difficult to do a thing like that.'

'Not at all,' she said. 'I stuff all my little pets myself when they die. Will you have another cup of tea?'

'No, thank you,' Billy said. The tea tasted faintly bitter and he didn't really like it.

'You did sign the book, didn't you?'

'Oh, yes.'

'That's good. Because later, if I forget what you were called, then I can always look it up. I still do that every day with Mr Mulholland and Mr... Mr...'

'Temple,' Billy said. 'Gregory Temple. Excuse me for asking, but haven't there been any other guests here except them in the last two or three years?'

Holding her teacup high in one hand, moving her head slightly to the left, she looked at him out of the corners of her eyes and gave him another gentle little smile.

'No, my dear,' she said. 'Only you.'

- THE END -


The Landlady (2)

'It's Weaver,' Billy said. 'W-E-A-V-E-R.'

'Oh, of course it is!' she cried, sitting down on the sofa. 'How silly of me. I do apologize.'

'Do you know something that's extraordinary about all this? 「あなたはこれらすべてについて並外れた何かを知っていますか? Both those names, Mulholland and Temple, I not only seem to remember each one separately but they appear to be connected as well. マルホランドとテンプルの両方の名前は、それぞれを別々に覚えているだけでなく、つながっているようにも見えます。 As if they were both famous for the same sort of thing, if you see what I mean.' まるで彼らが同じようなことで有名であるかのように、あなたが私が何を意味するかを見れば。

'Well, come over here now, dear, and sit down beside me on the sofa and I'll give you a nice cup of tea and a biscuit before you go to bed.' 「さて、今ここに来て、親愛なる、そしてソファの上で私のそばに座ってください、そしてあなたが寝る前に私はあなたに素敵なお茶とビスケットを差し上げます。」

Billy watched her as she busied herself with the cups and saucers. ビリーは、カップとソーサーで忙しくしている彼女を見ました。 He noticed that she had small, white, quickly moving hands, and red fingernails. 彼は彼女が小さくて白い、速く動く手と赤い指の爪を持っていることに気づきました。

'I'm almost positive I saw them in the newspapers,' Billy said. 「私は新聞でそれらを見たのはほぼポジティブだ」とビリーは言った。 'I'll think of them in a second. 「すぐにそれらについて考えます。 I'm sure I will.' きっとそうするでしょう。」

There is nothing more annoying than a thing like this which remains just outside one's memory. 記憶のすぐ外に残っているこのようなものほど迷惑なものはありません。 He hated to give up. 彼はあきらめるのが嫌だった。

'Now wait a minute,' he said. 'Wait just a minute. Mulholland... Christopher Mulholland... wasn't that the name of the schoolboy who was on a walking tour through the West Country, and then suddenly...' マルホランド...クリストファー・マルホランド...ウェストカントリーをウォーキングツアーしていた男子生徒の名前ではなく、突然...」

'Milk?' she said. 'And sugar?'

'Yes, please. And then suddenly...?' そして突然...?」

'Schoolboy?' '男子生徒?' she said. 'Oh no, my dear, that can't possibly be right because my Mr Mulholland was certainly not a schoolboy when he came to me. 「ああ、私の愛する人、それはおそらく正しいことではありません。なぜなら、私のマルホランド氏が私に来たとき、確かに男子生徒ではなかったからです。 He was a university student. Come over here now and sit next to me and warm yourself in front of this lovely fire. 今ここに来て、私の隣に座って、この素敵な火の前で体を温めてください。 Come on. Your tea's all ready for you.'

He crossed the room slowly, and sat down on the edge of the sofa. She placed his teacup on the table in front of him.

'There we are,' she said. 'How nice and comfortable this is, isn't it?' 「これはどれほど素晴らしくて快適ですよね?」

Billy started drinking his tea. She did the same. 彼女は同じことをしました。 For half a minute, neither of them spoke but Billy knew that she was looking at him. 30分の間、彼らはどちらも話しませんでしたが、ビリーは彼女が彼を見ていることを知っていました。 Her body was half-turned towards him and he could feel her eyes resting on his face, watching him from over her teacup. 彼女の体は彼の方に半分回転していて、彼は彼女の目が彼の顔に寄りかかっているのを感じ、彼女の茶碗の上から彼を見ていました。 Now and again he caught a peculiar smell that seemed to come from her direction. 時々、彼は彼女の方向から来ているように見える独特の匂いを捕らえました。 It wasn't unpleasant, and it reminded him - well, he wasn't quite sure what it was. それは不快ではなかった、そしてそれは彼に思い出させた-まあ、彼はそれが何であるかよくわからなかった。 New leather? 新しい革? Or was it the corridors of a hospital?

'Mr Mulholland loved his tea,' she finally said. 'I've never seen anyone in my life drink as much tea as dear, sweet Mr Mulholland.' 「私の人生で、愛する甘いマルホランド氏ほど多くのお茶を飲む人を見たことがありません。」

'I suppose he left fairly recently,' Billy said. 「彼はかなり最近去ったと思う」とビリーは言った。

'Left?' she said. 'But my dear boy, he never left. He's still here. Mr Temple is also here. They're on the third floor, both of them together.' 彼らは3階にあり、両方とも一緒です。」

Billy put down his cup slowly on the table, and stared at his landlady. ビリーはゆっくりとカップをテーブルに置き、女将を見つめました。 She smiled back at him and then put out one of her white hands and patted him comfortingly on the knee. 彼女は彼に微笑んだ後、白い手を出し、膝を心地よく撫でた。

'How old are you, my dear?' she asked.

'Seventeen.'

'Seventeen!' she cried. 'Oh, it's the perfect age! Mr Mulholland was also seventeen. But I think he was a little shorter than you are - in fact I'm sure he was. しかし、彼はあなたより少し短かったと思います-実際、彼は確かにそうでした。 And his teeth weren't quite so white. そして彼の歯はそれほど白くはありませんでした。 You have the most beautiful teeth, Mr Weaver. Mr Temple was a little older. He was actually twenty-eight. I wouldn't have guessed it, though, if he hadn't told me. もし彼が私に言わなかったら、私はそれを推測していなかっただろう。 There wasn't a mark on his body.' 彼の体には跡がありませんでした。」

'A what?' '何?' Billy said.

'His skin was just like a baby's.' 「彼の肌はまるで赤ちゃんのようでした。」

There was a pause. Billy picked up his teacup, drank some more and then put it down again in its saucer. ビリーはティーカップを手に取り、もう少し飲んだ後、再び受け皿に置きました。 He waited for her to say something else but she seemed to have fallen into another of her silences. 彼は彼女が何か他のことを言うのを待ったが、彼女は別の沈黙に陥ったようだった。 He sat there, looking ahead, biting his lower lip. 彼はそこに座って、前を見て、下唇を噛みました。

'That parrot,' he said at last. 'You know something? 'あなたは何かを知っている? It completely fooled me when I looked through the window from the street. 通りから窓越しに見たとき、それは私を完全にだましました。 I thought it was alive.' 生きていると思った」

'Sadly, no longer.' 「悲しいことに、もうありません。」

'It's very clever the way it's been stuffed,' he said. 「それはそれが詰められた方法で非常に賢いです」と彼は言いました。 'It doesn't look at all dead. 「それはすべての死者を見ていません。 Who did it?' 誰がやったの?」

'I did.' 'やった。'

'You did?'

'Of course,' she said. 'And have you met my little Basil as well?' 「そして、私の小さなバジルにも会ったことがありますか?」 She nodded towards the dog curled up so comfortably in front of the fire. 彼女は火の前でとても快適に丸まった犬に向かってうなずいた。 Billy looked at it. ビリーはそれを見ました。 Suddenly he realized that this animal had all the time been as silent and motionless as the parrot. 突然、彼はこの動物がオウムと同じくらい静かで動かないことに気づきました。 He touched it gently on the top of its back. 彼は背中の上部をそっと触った。 It was hard and cold but perfectly preserved.

'Good heavens,' he said. 「良い天国」と彼は言った。 'How very interesting. 「なんて面白い。 It must be awfully difficult to do a thing like that.' そのようなことをするのは非常に難しいに違いありません。」

'Not at all,' she said. 「まったく違います」と彼女は言った。 'I stuff all my little pets myself when they die. 「私はすべての小さなペットが死んだときに自分で詰め込みます。 Will you have another cup of tea?'

'No, thank you,' Billy said. The tea tasted faintly bitter and he didn't really like it. お茶はかすかに苦味があり、彼はそれが本当に好きではありませんでした。

'You did sign the book, didn't you?' 「あなたは本に署名しましたね?」

'Oh, yes.'

'That's good. Because later, if I forget what you were called, then I can always look it up. 後で、あなたが呼ばれたことを忘れた場合、私はいつでもそれを調べることができるからです。 I still do that every day with Mr Mulholland and Mr... Mr...' 私は今でもマルホランド氏と...氏と毎日それをしています...」

'Temple,' Billy said. 'Gregory Temple. Excuse me for asking, but haven't there been any other guests here except them in the last two or three years?' すみませんが、ここ2、3年の間に、他にゲストはいないのですか?」

Holding her teacup high in one hand, moving her head slightly to the left, she looked at him out of the corners of her eyes and gave him another gentle little smile. 片手で茶碗を高く持ち、頭を少し左に動かして、彼女は目の隅から彼を見て、彼に別の穏やかな小さな笑顔を与えました。

'No, my dear,' she said. 'Only you.'

- THE END -