The two-roomed house is built of round timber, slabs, and stringy bark, and floored with split slabs. A big bark kitchen standing at one end is larger than the house itself, verandah included.
round timber：丸太。slabs：平板。stringy bark：繊維質の樹皮。floored with：～で床を張られた。verandah：ヴェランダ。
Bush all round—bush with no horizon, for the country is flat. No ranges in the distance. The bush consists of stunted, rotten native apple trees. No undergrowth. Nothing to relieve the eye save the darker green of a few sheoaks which are sighing above the narrow, almost waterless creek. Nineteen miles to the nearest sign of civilisation—a shanty on the main road.
bush：低木。stunted：発育不良の。native apple trees：土着の林檎の木。undergrowth：下生え。save：～を除いて。sheoaks：モクマオウ（植物の一種）。shanty：掘っ立て小屋。
The drover, an ex-squatter, is away with sheep. His wife and children are left here alone.
Four ragged, dried-up-looking children are playing about the house. Suddenly one of them yells: 'Snake! Mother, here's a snake!'
The gaunt, sun-browned bushwoman dashes from the kitchen, snatches her baby from the ground, holds it on her left hip, and reaches for a stick.
'Where is it?'
'Here! gone into the wood-heap!' yells the eldest boy—a sharp-faced, excited urchin of eleven. 'Stop there, mother! I'll have him. Stand back! I'll have the beggar!'
'Tommy, come here, or you'll be bit. Come here at once when I tell you, you little wretch!'
The youngster comes reluctantly, carrying a stick bigger than himself. Then he yells, triumphantly:
'There it goes—under the house!' and darts away with club uplifted. At the same time the big, black, yellow-eyed dog-of-all-breeds, who has shown the wildest interest in the proceedings, breaks his chain and rushes after that snake. He is a moment late, however, and his nose reaches the crack in the slabs just as the end of its tail disappears. Almost at the same moment the boy's club comes down and skins the aforesaid nose. Alligator takes small notice of this, and proceeds to undermine the building; but he is subdued after a struggle and chained up. They cannot afford to lose him.
darts away：駆け去る。club：棍棒。uplifted：持ち上げた。dog-of-all-breeds：選り選りの犬。proceedings：成り行き。crack：裂け目。skins：擦り剥く。aforesaid：前述の。Alligator：アリゲーター（犬の名前：alligatorは鰐の一種）。takes small notice of：～に少し気付く。proceeds：～し始める。undermine：下を掘る。subdued：制圧された。after a struggle：一藻掻きの後。
The drover's wife makes the children stand together near the dog-house while she watches for the snake. She gets two small dishes of milk and sets them down near the wall to tempt it to come out; but an hour goes by and it does not show itself.
watch for：～を待つ（注意深く見守る）。goes by：（時間が）過ぎる。
It is near sunset, and a thunderstorm is coming. The children must be brought inside. She will not take them into the house, for she knows the snake is there, and may at any moment come up through the cracks in the rough slab floor; so she carries several armfuls of firewood into the kitchen, and then takes the children there. The kitchen has no floor—or, rather, an earthen one—called a 'ground floor' in this part of the bush. There is a large, roughly-made table in the centre of the place. She brings the children in, and makes them get on this table. They are two boys and two girls—mere babies. She gives them some supper, and then, before it gets dark, she goes into the house, and snatches up some pillows and bedclothes—expecting to see or lay her hand on the snake any minute. She makes a bed on the kitchen table for the children, and sits down beside it to watch all night.
at any moment：いつ何時。rough：粗雑な。armfuls of：腕一杯の～。firewood：薪。earthen：土製の。the bush：低木地帯。roughly-made：粗雑に作られた。expecting to：～するつもりで。lay her hand on：（彼女が）～を捕らえる。watch：見守る。
She has an eye on the corner, and a green sapling club laid in readiness on the dresser by her side; also her sewing basket and a copy of the Young Ladies' Journal. She has brought the dog into the room.
has an eye on：～に目を付ける。sapling：若木。in readiness：準備して。dresser：食器棚（イギリス英語）。Young Ladies' Journal：ヤングレディースジャーナル（雑誌名）。
Tommy turns in, under protest, but says he'll lie awake all night and smash that blinded snake.
His mother asks him how many times she has told him not to swear.
not to swear：悪態を吐かないように。
He has his club with him under the bedclothes, and Jacky protests:
'Mummy! Tommy's skinnin' me alive wif his club. Make him take it out.'
skinnin' me alive：私を酷く叱る（skinnin'はskinningの短縮形）。wif：～で（withの変形）。
Tommy: 'Shet up, you little———! D'yer want to be bit with the snake?'
shet up：黙れ（shut upの変形）。d'yer：君は～するか（youをyerに変形したdo yerの短縮形）。
Jacky shuts up.
'If yer bit,' says Tommy, after a pause, 'you'll swell up, an' smell, an' turn red an' green an' blue all over till yer bust. Won't he, mother?'
yer：君（youの変形）。swell up：腫れ上がる。an'：～と（andの短縮形）。all over：体中。bust：破滅する。
'Now then, don't frighten the child. Go to sleep,' she says.
The two younger children go to sleep, and now and then Jacky complains of being 'skeezed.' More room is made for him. Presently Tommy says: 'Mother! listen to them (adjective) little opossums. I'd like to screw their blanky necks.'
now and then：時々。skeezed：怖がらされる。presently：間もなく。adjective：形容詞（卑しい言葉を隠すために置かれるか）。adjective：形容詞（何かの卑猥な言葉を隠すために置かれるようだ）。opossums：オポッサム（動物の一種）。screw：（苛立って）くしゃくしゃに丸める。blanky：苛立たしい（オーストラリア英語）。
And Jacky protests drowsily.
'But they don't hurt us, the little blanks!'
Mother: 'There, I told you you'd teach Jacky to swear.' But the remark makes her smile. Jacky goes to sleep.
Presently Tommy asks:
'Mother! Do you think they'll ever extricate the (adjective) kangaroo?'
'Lord! How am I to know, child? Go to sleep.'
'Will you wake me if the snake comes out?'
'Yes. Go to sleep.'
Near midnight, The children are all asleep and she sits there still, sewing and reading by turns. From time to time she glances round the floor and wall-plate, and, whenever she hears a noise, she reaches for the stick. The thunderstorm comes on, and the wind, rushing through the cracks in the slab wall, threatens to blow out her candle. She places it on a sheltered part of the dresser and fixes up a newspaper to protect it. At every flash of lightning, the cracks between the slabs gleam like polished silver. The thunder rolls, and the rain comes down in torrents.
by turns：交互に。from time to time：時折。wall-plate：壁板。blow out：吹き消す。gleam：キラリと光った。rolls：（雷や太鼓が）ゴロゴロと鳴る。in torrents：土砂降りに。
Alligator lies at full length on the floor, with his eyes turned towards the partition. She knows by this that the snake is there. There are large cracks in that wall opening under the floor of the dwelling-house.
at full length：長々と（体を真っ直ぐに伸ばして）。partition：仕切り。dwelling-house：住居。
She is not a coward, but recent events have shaken her nerves. A little son of her brother-in-law was lately bitten by a snake, and died. Besides, she has not heard from her husband for six months, and is anxious about him.
have shaken her nerves：彼女を心細くさせた（彼女の神経を揺るがした）。has not heard from her husband：彼女の夫から音沙汰がなかった。
He was a drover and started squatting here when they were married. The drought of 18——ruined him. He had to sacrifice the remnant of his flock and go droving again. He intends to move his family into the nearest town when he comes back, and, in the meantime, his brother, who keeps a shanty on the main road, comes over about once a month with provisions. The wife has still a couple of cows, one horse, and a few sheep. The brother-in-law kills one of the latter occasionally, gives her what she needs of it, and takes the rest in return for other provisions.
squatting：大牧場主（squattingを大牧場主とするのはオーストラリア英語）。drought of 18：十八年毎の旱魃。sacrifice：捨て売りにする。flock：（羊や家鴨などの）群れ。go droving：家畜追いに行く。in the meantime：その間に。comes over：訪問する。with provisions：規定で。occasionally：偶に。in return：返礼に。for other provisions：別の規定のために。
She is used to being left alone. She once lived like this for eighteen months. As a girl she built the usual castles in the air; but all her girlish hopes and aspirations have long been dead. She finds all the excitement and recreation she needs in the Young Ladies' Journal, and, Heaven help her! takes a pleasure in the fashion-plates.
in the air：浮き立って（up in the airのupの省略）。hopes and aspirations：願望と念願の的。excitement and recreation：刺激と気晴らし。Heaven help her：彼女が可愛だ。fashion-plates：スタイル画（流行りの服飾を描いたもの）。
Her husband is an Australian, and so is she. He is careless, but a good enough husband. If he had the means he would take her to the city and keep her there like a princess. They are used to being apart, or at least she is. 'No use fretting,' she says. He may forget sometimes that he is married; but if he has a good cheque when he comes back he will give most of it to her. When he had money he took her to the city several times—hired a railway sleeping compartment, and put up at the best hotels. He also bought her a buggy, but they had to sacrifice that along with the rest.
Australian：オーストリア人。careless：無頓着。means：手段。no use fretting：苛立つのは無駄。cheque：小切手。hired：（短期的に）賃借りした。a railway sleeping compartment：寝台客車の鉄道。put up at：宿泊した。buggy：軽装二輪馬車（イギリス英語）。
The last two children were born in the bush—one while her husband was bringing a drunken doctor, by force, to attend to her. She was alone on this occasion, and very weak. She had been ill with a fever. She prayed to God to send her assistance. God sent Black Mary—the 'whitest' gin in all the land. Or, at least, God sent 'Jimmy' first, and he sent Black Mary. He put his black face round the door post, took in the situation at a glance, and said cheerfully: 'All right Missis—I bring my old woman, she down along a creek.'
by force：力ずくで。to attend to her：彼女を看るための。Black Mary：ブラック・メアリー（人名）。gin：ジン（アボリジニ／オーストラリア先住民の女性）。Jimmy：ジミー（人名／名前、James／ジェームズの愛称）。took in the situation at a glance：一目で状況を把握した。Missis：奥さん。
One of her children died while she was here alone. She rode nineteen miles for assistance, carrying the dead child.
* * * * *
It must be near one or two o'clock. The fire is burning low. Alligator lies with his head resting on his paws, and watches the wall. He is not a very beautiful dog to look at, and the light shows numerous old wounds where the hair will not grow. He is afraid of nothing on the face of the earth or under it. He will tackle a bullock as readily as he will tackle a flea. He hates all other dogs—except kangaroo-dogs—and has a marked dislike to friends or relations of the family. They seldom call, however. He sometimes makes friends with strangers. He hates snakes and has killed many, but he will be bitten some day and die; most snake-dogs end that way.
paws：（動物の爪のある）足。numerous：数え切れない。on the face of：～の表面に。tackle：組み付く。bullock：若い雄牛。readily：容易に。flea：蚤。kangaroo-dogs：カンガルードッグ（犬の一種）。marked：著しい。snake-dogs：蛇（取り）犬。
Now and then the bushwoman lays down her work and watches, and listens, and thinks. She thinks of things in her own life, for there is little else to think about.
The rain will make the grass grow, and this reminds her how she fought a bush fire once while her husband was away. The grass was long, and very dry, and the fire threatened to burn her out. She put on an old pair of her husband's trousers and beat out the flames with a green bough, till great drops of sooty perspiration stood out on her forehead and ran in streaks down her blackened arms. The sight of his mother in trousers greatly amused Tommy, who worked like a little hero by her side, but the terrified baby howled lustily for his 'mummy.' The fire would have mastered her but for four excited bushmen who arrived in the nick of time. It was a mixed up affair all round: when she went to take up the baby he screamed and struggled convulsively, thinking it was a 'black man;' and Alligator, trusting more to the child's sense than his own instinct, charged furiously, and (being old and slightly deaf) did not in his excitement at first recognise his mistress's voice, but continued to hang on to the moleskins until choked off by Tommy with a saddle-strap. The dog's sorrow for his blunder, and his anxiety to let it be known that it was all a mistake, was as evident as his ragged tail and a twelve-inch grin could make it. It was a glorious time for the boys; a day to look back to, and talk about, and laugh over for many years.
burn her out：彼女を焼き尽くす。beat out：叩き消す。bough：大枝。sooty：煤けた。perspiration：汗。stood out：浮き出した。in streaks：筋となって。blackened：黒くなった。howled：喚いた。lustily：力一杯。mastered：支配する。bushmen：ブッシュマン（オーストラリアやアフリカの低木の未開拓地に住む男性）たち。in the nick of time：間一髪。a mixed up affair：混乱した事情。all round：全体に（イギリス英語）。convulsively：発作的に。instinct：本能。furiously：激怒して。slightly：少し。deaf：耳が聞こえない。mistress's：（ペットの）女主人の。hang on to：食い下がった。moleskins：モールスキン（土竜の皮のような厚手の綿生地）の服。choked off：（首を押さえて）止めさせた。saddle-strap：鞍留め。blunder：大失敗。ragged tail：ボサボサの尻尾。grin：ニヤリ笑い。make it：上手くやる。laugh over：～を笑い返す。
She thinks how she fought a flood during her husband's absence. She stood for hours in the drenching downpour, and dug an overflow gutter to save the dam across the creek. But she could not save it. There are things that a bushwoman cannot do. Next morning the dam was broken, and her heart was nearly broken too, for she thought how her husband would feel when he came home and saw the result of years of labour swept away. She cried then.
flood：洪水。drenching downpour：水浸しの大雨。overflow gutter：排水口の溝。swept away：一掃された。
She also fought the pleuro-pneumonia—dosed and bled the few remaining cattle, and wept again when her two best cows died.
pleuro-pneumonia：胸膜肺炎。dosed and bled：薬を与えて血を取った。cattle：畜牛。cows：乳牛。
Again, she fought a mad bullock that besieged the house for a day. She made bullets and fired at him through cracks in the slabs with an old shot-gun. He was dead in the morning. She skinned him and got seven-and-sixpence for the hide.
She also fights the crows and eagles that have designs on her chickens. Her plan of campaign is very original. The children cry 'Crows, mother!' and she rushes out and aims a broomstick at the birds as though it were a gun, and says 'Bung!' The crows leave in a hurry; they are cunning, but a woman's cunning is greater.
crows：烏。eagles：鷲。have designs on：～に狙いを定める。campaign：作戦。broomstick：箒。bung：バン（擬音）。cunning：狡猾な。
Occasionally a bushman in the horrors, or a villainous-looking sundowner, comes and nearly scares the life out of her. She generally tells the suspicious-looking stranger that her husband and two sons are at work below the dam, or over at the yard, for he always cunningly enquires for the boss.
villainous-looking：酷く悪く見える。sundowner：サンダウナー（後出のスワッグマンの異名：日没に良く現れるため）。scares the life out of her：彼女を震え上がらせる。suspicious-looking：怪しく見える。enquires：尋ねる。
Only last week a gallows-faced swagman—having satisfied himself that there were no men on the place—threw his swag down on the verandah, and demanded tucker. She gave him something to eat; then he expressed his intention of staying for the night. It was sundown then. She got a batten from the sofa, loosened the dog, and confronted the stranger, holding the batten in one hand and the dog's collar with the other. 'Now you go!' she said. He looked at her and at the dog, said 'All right, mum.' in a cringing tone, and left. She was a determined-looking woman, and Alligator's yellow eyes glared unpleasantly also—besides the dog's chawing-up apparatus greatly resembled that of his namesake.
gallows-faced：悪党染みた顔の。swagman：スワッグマン（自分の所有物をswag／品袋に携えながら食料や宿泊のための仕事を求めて地方を巡回する労働者）。swag：品袋。tucker：食料（オーストラリア英語）。sundown：日没。batten：小角材。confronted：立ち向かった。dog's collar：犬の首輪。cringing：縋り付く。determined-looking：決然と見える。glared：ギラギラ光る。chawing-up apparatus：噛み止め器具。namesake：名前を貰った者。
She has few pleasures to think of as she sits here alone by the fire, on guard against a snake. All days are much the same to her; but on Sunday afternoon she dresses herself, tidies the children, smartens-up baby, and goes for a lonely walk along the bush-track, pushing an old perambulator in front of her. She does this every Sunday. She takes as much care to make herself and the children look smart as she would if she were going to do the block in the city. There is nothing to see, however, and not a soul to meet. You might walk for twenty miles along this track without being able to fix a point in your mind, unless you are a bushman. This is because of the everlasting, maddening sameness of the stunted trees—that monotony which makes a man long to break away and travel as far as trains can go, and sail as far as ships can sail—and further.
by the fire：（小さな）暖炉のそばに。dressed herself：（彼女が）身支度した。tidies：身形をきちんとする。smartens-up：お洒落にする。the bush-track：低木地帯の（足跡の）通り道。perambulator：乳母車。look smart：お洒落に見える。the block in the city：町の区画。a soul to meet：会う人。twenty miles：２０マイル（距離）。everlasting：永続する。maddening：気を狂わせる。sameness：同様さ。monotony：単調さ。long to break away：逃れたい。sail as far as ships can sail：船が帆走できるかぎりの船旅。
But this bushwoman is used to the loneliness of it. As a girl-wife she hated it, but now she would feel strange away from it.
She is glad when her husband returns, but she does not gush or make a fuss about it. She gets him something good to eat, and tidies up the children.
gush：喋り捲る。make a fuss：騒ぎ立てる。
She seems contented with her lot. She loves her children, but has no time to show it. She seems harsh to them. Her surroundings are not favourable to the development of the 'womanly' or sentimental side of nature.
her lot：彼女の巡り合わせ。harsh：手厳しい。surroundings：環境。favourable to：～に有利で（イギリス英語）。womanly：女らしい。sentimental side of nature：性格の感傷的な側面。
* * * * *
It must be near morning now; but the clock is in the dwelling-house. Her candle is nearly done; she forgot that she was out of candles. Some more wood must be got to keep the fire up, and so she shuts the dog inside and hurries round to the woodheap. The rain has cleared off. She seizes a stick, pulls it out, and—crash! the whole pile collapses.
her candle is nearly done：彼女の蝋燭は尽きそうだ。must be got to：～するはずに違いない。keep the fire up：火を保つ。woodheap：材木山。the rain has cleared off：雨は晴れ上がった。pile：積み重ね。collapse：崩れる。
Yesterday she bargained with a stray blackfellow to bring her some wood, and while he was at work she went in search of a missing cow. She was absent an hour or so, and the native black made good use of his time. On her return she was so astonished to see a good heap of wood by the chimney, that she gave him an extra fig of tobacco, and praised him for not being lazy. He thanked her, and left with head erect and chest well out. He was the last of his tribe and a King: but he had built that woodheap hollow.
bargained with：～と交渉した。stray：時偶の。blackfellow：アボリジニ（オーストラリア先住民／オーストラリア英語）。native black：原住民の黒人。fig：（煙草の）小片。with head erect and chest well out：頭を上げて胸を良く張って。tribe：部族。hollow：凹み。
She is hurt now, and tears spring to her eyes as she sits down again by the table. She takes up a handkerchief to wipe the tears away, but pokes her eyes with her bare fingers instead. The handkerchief is full of holes, and she finds that she has put her thumb through one, and her forefinger through another.
tears spring：涙が湧く。pokes：突く。bare fingers：裸の指。thumb：親指。forefinger：人差し指。
This makes her laugh, to the surprise of the dog. She has a keen, very keen, sense of the ridiculous; and some time or other she will amuse bushmen with the story.
keen：鋭い。sense of the ridiculous：滑稽者の感覚。some time or other：何れのか時。amuse：面白がらせる。
She has been amused before like that. One day she sat down 'to have a good cry,' as she said and the old cat rubbed against her dress and 'cried too.' Then she had to laugh.
* * * * *
It must be near daylight now. The room is very close and hot because of the fire. Alligator still watches the wall from time to time. Suddenly he becomes greatly interested; he draws himself a few inches nearer the partition, and a thrill runs through his body. The hair on the back of his neck begins to bristle, and the battle-light is in his yellow eyes. She knows what this means, and lays her hand on the stick. The lower end of one of the partition slabs has a large crack on both sides. An evil pair of small, bright, bead-like eyes glisten at one of these holes. The snake—a black one—comes slowly out, about a foot, and moves its head up and down. The dog lies still, and the woman sits as one fascinated. The snake comes out a foot further. She lifts her stick, and the reptile, as though suddenly aware of danger, sticks his head in through the crack on the other side of the slab, and hurries to get his tail round after him. Alligator springs, and his jaws come together with a snap. He misses this time, for his nose is large, and the snake's body close down in the angle formed by the slabs and the floor. He snaps again as the tail comes round. He has the snake now, and tugs it out eighteen inches. Thud, thud comes the woman's club on the ground. Alligator pulls again. Thud, thud. Alligator pulls some more. He has the snake out now—a black brute, five feet long. The head rises to dart about, but the dog has the enemy close to the neck. He is a big, heavy dog, but quick as a terrier. He shakes the snake as though he felt the original curse in common with mankind. The eldest boy wakes up, seizes his stick, and tries to get out of bed, but his mother forces him back with a grip of iron. Thud, thud—the snake's back is broken in several places. Thud, thud—its head is crushed, and Alligator's nose skinned again.
daylight：夜明け。thrill：振動。bristle：（毛が）逆立つ。battle-light：（軍艦の）赤色灯。evil：不吉な。bead-like：ビーズ（手芸などの小さな玉）みたいな。glisten：キラキラ輝く。about a foot：約１フット（長さ）。as one fascinated：（蛇に睨まれて）身動きが取れない者のように。reptile：爬虫類。sticks his head：彼の頭を突き出す。his jaws come together：彼の顎が纏めて来た。with a snap：ガブリ（擬音）と。snaps：ガブリと噛む。comes round：回って来る。tugs it out：それを引っ張り出す。eighteen inches：１８インチ（長さ）。thud：ドスン（擬音）。a black brute：黒い獣。five feet long：体長５フィート（長さ）。dart about：（目などが）キョロキョロと動く。terrier：テリア（犬の一種）。original curse：原初の呪い。in common with：～と共通に。mankind：人類。forces him back：彼を押し戻す。
She lifts the mangled reptile on the point of her stick, carries it to the fire, and throws it in; then piles on the wood and watches the snake burn. The boy and dog watch, too. She lays her hand on the dog's head, and all the fierce, angry light dies out of his yellow eyes. The younger children are quieted, and presently go to sleep. The dirty-legged boy stands for a moment in his shirt, watching the fire. Presently he looks up at her, sees the tears in her eyes, and, throwing his arms round her neck, exclaims:
mangled：切り苛まれた。on the point of：～の先で。piles：積み重ねる。fierce：凄まじい。dies out of：～から消え失せる。quieted：静まる。dirty-legged：汚れた足の。exclaims：声を上げた。
'Mother, I won't never go drovin'; blast me if I do!'
And she hugs him to her worn-out breast and kisses him; and they sit thus together while the sickly daylight breaks over the bush.