若草物語の時代背景は、アメリカでthe Civil War(南北戦争)をしていた時代です。1861年から1865年。奴隷制度をめぐって、南(農業)と北(工業)でドンパチやっていました。そのころ日本はというと、幕末真っ最中。尊皇攘夷とか何とかで、刀を振り回していましたとさ。

今回の新しい単語 (11個)


若草物語チャプター1.1 | 英語で読む若草物語 | 若草物語チャプター1.3

Jo immediately sat up, put her hands in her pockets, and began to whistle.

“Don’t, Jo. It’s so boyish!”
“That’s why I do it.”
“I detest rude, unladylike girls!”
“I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits!”
“Birds in their little nests agree,” sang Beth, the peacemaker, with such a funny face that both sharp voices softened to a laugh, and the “pecking” ended for that time.

“Really, girls, you are both to be blamed,” said Meg, beginning to lecture in her elder-sisterly fashion. “You are old enough to leave off boyish tricks, and to behave better, Josephine. It didn’t matter so much when you were a little girl, but now you are so tall, and turn up your hair, you should remember that you are a young lady.”

niminy-piminy : 気取った
chit : こども、メモ


“I’m not! And if turning up my hair makes me one, I’ll wear it in two tails till I’m twenty,” cried Jo, pulling off her net, and shaking down a chestnut mane. “I hate to think I’ve got to grow up, and be Miss March, and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China Aster! It’s bad enough to be a girl, anyway, when I like boy’s games and work and manners! I can’t get over my disappointment in not being a boy. And it’s worse than ever now, for I’m dying to go and fight with Papa. And I can only stay home and knit, like a poky old woman!”

And Jo shook the blue army sock till the needles rattled like castanets, and her ball bounded across the room.

chestnut : 栗色
mane : 長くてふさふさした髪
poky : 遅い、のろい


“Poor Jo! It’s too bad, but it can’t be helped. So you must try to be contented with making your name boyish, and playing brother to us girls,” said Beth, stroking the rough head with a hand that all the dish washing and dusting in the world could not make ungentle in its touch.

“As for you, Amy,” continued Meg, “you are altogether too particular and prim. Your airs are funny now, but you’ll grow up an affected little goose, if you don’t take care. I like your nice manners and refined ways of speaking, when you don’t try to be elegant. But your absurd words are as bad as Jo’s slang.”

「かわいそうなジョウねえさん、まあ名前でも男の子らしくして、あたしたちのにいさんになって、がまんしておくんだわねえ。」 ベスがなぐさめるようにいいました。メグは、またお説教をつづけました。それから、エミイは、気むずかし屋で、かたくるしいわ。今はかわいいけど、気をつけないと大人になったら、がちょうみたいに気どり屋さんになるわ。上品ぶらないときは、しとやかなのも、いい言葉も好きだけど、あんたのませた言葉は、ジョウの下品な言葉とおなじように、よくないわ。

“If Jo is a tomboy and Amy a goose, what am I, please?” asked Beth, ready to share the lecture.

“You’re a dear, and nothing else,” answered Meg warmly, and no one contradicted her, for the ‘Mouse’ was the pet of the family.

As young readers like to know ‘how people look’, we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.

tomboy : 男の子のような女の子
recess : 収納部分、休み
chrysanthemum : 菊

「ジョウがおてんばで、エミイが気どり屋さんなら、ねえさん、あたしはなあに?」と、ベスはじぶんもお説教されたがって口をはさみました。「あなたは、かわいい子、ただそれだけよ。」 メグは、やさしくそういいましたが、これには、だれも反対しませんでした。 ところで、みなさんは、この四人の姉妹がどんな人がらか、知りたいでしょう。おもてには十二月の雪がふり、家のなかには、たのしそうにストーブの火のもえている夕暮のうすやみのなかで、編物をしている四人姉妹をスケッチしてみましょう。その前に、部屋のようすをいえば、敷物の色はさめ家具類は質素ですが、壁にはりっぱな絵が一つ二つかけられ、本棚にはぎっしりと本がならび、出窓には菊やばらが咲いています。古い部屋ですが、平和な家庭のなごやかさが、隅々にまで充ちわたっていました。

Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain. Fifteen- year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny, or thoughtful. Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way. Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn’t like it. Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth- haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed. Her father called her ‘Little Miss Tranquility’, and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom she trusted and loved. Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least. A regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners. What the characters of the four sisters were we will leave to be found out.

plump : 丸みを帯びた、ふっくらしている
colt : 子馬


The clock struck six and, having swept up the hearth, Beth put a pair of slippers down to warm. Somehow the sight of the old shoes had a good effect upon the girls, for Mother was coming, and everyone brightened to welcome her. Meg stopped lecturing, and lighted the lamp, Amy got out of the easy chair without being asked, and Jo forgot how tired she was as she sat up to hold the slippers nearer to the blaze.

“They are quite worn out. Marmee must have a new pair.”

“I thought I’d get her some with my dollar,” said Beth.

“No, I shall!” cried Amy.

“I’m the oldest,” began Meg, but Jo cut in with a decided, “I’m the man of the family now Papa is away, and I shall provide the slippers, for he told me to take special care of Mother while he was gone.”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” said Beth, “let’s each get her something for Christmas, and not get anything for ourselves.”

hearth : 暖炉の前

時計が六時をうちました。ベスはストーブのまわりを掃いて、スリッパをならべてあたためました。やがて、おかあさんのお帰りです。四人の顔によろこびがかがやき、メグはお説教をやめてランプをともしました。 すると、その古いスリッパが問題になりました。みんなが、じぶんが買っておかあさんにあげるといいはり、また、一もめ、もめそうでしたが、ベスが、「みんなで、おかあさんにクリスマスのプレゼントをあげましょうよ。じぶんのものは、買わないで。」と、言いました。

若草物語チャプター1.1 | 英語で読む若草物語 | 若草物語チャプター1.3

Little Women (Unabridged Classics)
Little Women (Unabridged Classics)

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