No one intended to leave Martha alone that afternoon, but it happened that everyone was called away, for one reason or another. Mrs. McFarland was attending the weekly card party held by the Women's Anti-Gambling League. Sister Nell's young man had called quite unexpectedly to take her for a long drive. Papa was at the office, as usual. It was Mary Ann's day out. As for Emeline, she certainly should have stayed in the house and looked after the little girl; but Emeline had a restless nature.
Martha：マーサ（人名／名字）。called away：出払う。McFarland：マクファーランド（人名／名字）。card party：トランプ（遊び）会。Women's Anti-Gambling League：女性の賭博防止連盟。Nell's：ネル（人名／名前、Eleanor／エレノアやEllen／エレンやHelen／ヘレンの愛称）の。young man：恋人（古い表現）。Mary Ann's：メアリー・アン（人名）の。day out：外出日（日帰りで出かける小旅行日、イギリス英語）。as for：～に関して。Emeline：エメリン（人名／名前）。restless nature：落ち着きのない性分。
"Would you mind, miss, if I just crossed the alley to speak a word to Mrs. Carleton's girl?" she asked Martha.
crossed the alley：路地を渡った。speak a word：少し話す（一言をいう）。Carleton's girl：カールトン（人名／名字）の娘。
"'Course not," replied the child. "You'd better lock the back door, though, and take the key, for I shall be upstairs."
"Oh, I'll do that, of course, miss," said the delighted maid, and ran away to spend the afternoon with her friend, leaving Martha quite alone in the big house, and locked in, into the bargain.
maid：お手伝い。locked in：閉じ込められて。into the bargain：おまけに（その上）。
The little girl read a few pages in her new book, sewed a few stitches in her embroidery and started to "play visiting" with her four favorite dolls. Then she remembered that in the attic was a doll's playhouse that hadn't been used for months, so she decided she would dust it and put it in order.
sewed a few stitches：数針を縫った。embroidery：刺繍。play visiting：訪問ごっこ（遊び）をする。attic：屋根裏。playhouse：（子供が遊べる）玩具の家。dust：埃を落とす。put it in order：それを整理する。
Filled with this idea, the girl climbed the winding stairs to the big room under the roof. It was well lighted by three dormer windows and was warm and pleasant. Around the walls were rows of boxes and trunks, piles of old carpeting, pieces of damaged furniture, bundles of discarded clothing and other odds and ends of more or less value. Every well-regulated house has an attic of this sort, so I need not describe it.
winding stairs：螺旋階段。dormer：屋根窓（外に張り出した明かり取り用のもの）。rows of：～の並び。trunks：（旅行用）大きな鞄。piles of：～の積み重ね。carpeting：敷物類。pieces of：～の部分。bundles of：～の束。discarded：処分された。odds and ends：半端物。more or less：多少。well-regulated：良く設えられた。
The doll's house had been moved, but after a search Martha found it away over in a corner near the big chimney.
She drew it out and noticed that behind it was a black wooden chest which Uncle Walter had sent over from Italy years and years ago—before Martha was born, in fact. Mamma had told her about it one day; how there was no key to it, because Uncle Walter wished it to remain unopened until he returned home; and how this wandering uncle, who was a mighty hunter, had gone into Africa to hunt elephants and had never been heard from afterwards.
The little girl looked at the chest curiously, now that it had by accident attracted her attention.
curiously：物珍しく。now that：今や～なので。by accident：偶然に。attracted her attention：彼女の注意を引いた。
It was quite big—bigger even than mamma's traveling trunk—and was studded all over with tarnished brassheaded nails. It was heavy, too, for when Martha tried to lift one end of it she found she could not stir it a bit. But there was a place in the side of the cover for a key. She stooped to examine the lock, and saw that it would take a rather big key to open it.
studded：（飾り鋲が）打たれる。tarnished：変色した。brassheaded：真鍮頭の。nails：鋲。stir：動かす。stooped：屈んだ。lock：錠前。rather big key：可成の大きな鍵。
Then, as you may suspect, the little girl longed to open Uncle Walter's big box and see what was in it. For we are all curious, and little girls are just as curious as the rest of us.
suspect：（～ではないかと）思う。curious：好奇心を抱いた。rest of us：（私たちの）他の人たち。
"I don't b'lieve Uncle Walter'll ever come back," she thought. "Papa said once that some elephant must have killed him. If I only had a key—" She stopped and clapped her little hands together gayly as she remembered a big basket of keys on the shelf in the linen closet. They were of all sorts and sizes; perhaps one of them would unlock the mysterious chest!
She flew down the stairs, found the basket and returned with it to the attic. Then she sat down before the brass-studded box and began trying one key after another in the curious old lock. Some were too large, but most were too small. One would go into the lock but would not turn; another stuck so fast that she feared for a time that she would never get it out again. But at last, when the basket was almost empty, an oddly-shaped, ancient brass key slipped easily into the lock. With a cry of joy Martha turned the key with both hands; then she heard a sharp "click," and the next moment the heavy lid flew up of its own accord!
brass-studded：真鍮の鋲打ちの。one key after another：鍵を次々と（一つの鍵から又一つへと）。curious old lock：物珍しい古い錠前。stuck：刺さった。for a time：一時（の間）。oddly-shaped：おかしな形をした。click：カチッ（擬音）。lid：蓋。of its own accord：独りでに。
The little girl leaned over the edge of the chest an instant, and the sight that met her eyes caused her to start back in amazement.
leaned over：～に凭れかかった。an instant：一瞬。met her eyes：彼女に見えた。start back：後退りする。in amazement：驚異で。
Slowly and carefully a man unpacked himself from the chest, stepped out upon the floor, stretched his limbs and then took off his hat and bowed politely to the astonished child.
He was tall and thin and his face seemed badly tanned or sunburnt.
Then another man emerged from the chest, yawning and rubbing his eyes like a sleepy schoolboy. He was of middle size and his skin seemed as badly tanned as that of the first.
While Martha stared open-mouthed at the remarkable sight a third man crawled from the chest. He had the same complexion as his fellows, but was short and fat.
stared：見詰めた。remarkable sight：驚くべき光景。crawled from：～から這い出した。complexion：顔色。fellows：仲間たち。
All three were dressed in a curious manner. They wore short jackets of red velvet braided with gold, and knee breeches of sky-blue satin with silver buttons. Over their stockings were laced wide ribbons of red and yellow and blue, while their hats had broad brims with high, peaked crowns, from which fluttered yards of bright-colored ribbons.
velvet：天鵞絨（毛足の長いパイル織物の一種）。braided：モール（組み紐）で飾った。knee breeches：膝丈ズボン。satin：繻子（一方向の糸が長く浮いた滑らかな織物）。laced：飾られる。brims：鍔。peaked crowns：尖った（帽子の）山。fluttered：はためいた。yards：何ヤード（長さ）も。
They had big gold rings in their ears and rows of knives and pistols in their belts. Their eyes were black and glittering and they wore long, fierce mustaches, curling at the ends like a pig's tail.
"My! but you were heavy," exclaimed the fat one, when he had pulled down his velvet jacket and brushed the dust from his sky-blue breeches. "And you squeezed me all out of shape."
my：やあ。exclaimed：叫んだ。(had) brushed (from)：～から払った。squeezed：押し込む。out of shape：ぐちゃっと（型崩れして）。
"It was unavoidable, Luigi," responded the thin man, lightly; "the lid of the chest pressed me down upon you. Yet I tender you my regrets."
unavoidable：已むを得ない。Luigi：ルイージ（人名／名前）。responded：応えた。tender you my regrets：（私が）貴方に謝罪する（私の後悔の言葉を差し出す）。
"As for me," said the middle-sized man, carelessly rolling a cigarette and lighting it, "you must acknowledge I have been your nearest friend for years; so do not be disagreeable."
carelessly：無造作に。rolling a cigarette：煙草を巻く（巻き煙草を作る）。acknowledge：（事実を）認める。nearest friend：大親友、disagreeable：嫌がる。
"You mustn't smoke in the attic," said Martha, recovering herself at sight of the cigarette. "You might set the house on fire."
recovering herself：（彼女が）立ち直った。at sight of：～を目にして。
The middle-sized man, who had not noticed her before, at this speech turned to the girl and bowed.
"Since a lady requests it," said he, "I shall abandon my cigarette," and he threw it on the floor and extinguished it with his foot.
"Who are you?" asked Martha, who until now had been too astonished to be frightened.
"Permit us to introduce ourselves," said the thin man, flourishing his hat gracefully. "This is Lugui," the fat man nodded; "and this is Beni," the middle-sized man bowed; "and I am Victor. We are three bandits—Italian bandits."
"Bandits!" cried Martha, with a look of horror.
a look of：～の表情。
"Exactly. Perhaps in all the world there are not three other bandits so terrible and fierce as ourselves," said Victor, proudly.
"'Tis so," said the fat man, nodding gravely.
"But it's wicked!" exclaimed Martha.
"Yes, indeed," replied Victor. "We are extremely and tremendously wicked. Perhaps in all the world you could not find three men more wicked than those who now stand before you."
"'Tis so," said the fat man, approvingly.
"But you shouldn't be so wicked," said the girl; "it's—it's—naughty!"
Victor cast down his eyes and blushed.
"Naughty!" gasped Beni, with a horrified look.
"'Tis a hard word," said Luigi, sadly, and buried his face in his hands.
"I little thought," murmured Victor, in a voice broken by emotion, "ever to be so reviled—and by a lady! Yet, perhaps you spoke thoughtlessly. You must consider, miss, that our wickedness has an excuse. For how are we to be bandits, let me ask, unless we are wicked?"
murmured：呟いた。broken by emotion：感情を乱された。reviled：罵られる。thoughtlessly：うっかり。wickedness：悪どさ。has an excuse：訳がある。
Martha was puzzled and shook her head, thoughtfully. Then she remembered something.
"You can't remain bandits any longer," said she, "because you are now in America."
"America!" cried the three, together.
"Certainly. You are on Prairie avenue, in Chicago. Uncle Walter sent you here from Italy in this chest."
The bandits seemed greatly bewildered by this announcement. Lugui sat down on an old chair with a broken rocker and wiped his forehead with a yellow silk handkerchief. Beni and Victor fell back upon the chest and looked at her with pale faces and staring eyes.
bewildered：狼狽えた。announcement：知らせ。rocker：揺り子（揺り椅子の下の湾曲部）。silk：絹。handkerchief：ハンカチ。fell back upon：退いて～を拠点とした（～を最後の頼みとした）。staring eyes：見詰める目。
When he had somewhat recovered himself Victor spoke.
somewhat：幾分か。(had) recovered himself：（彼が）立ち直った。
"Your Uncle Walter has greatly wronged us," he said, reproachfully. "He has taken us from our beloved Italy, where bandits are highly respected, and brought us to a strange country where we shall not know whom to rob or how much to ask for a ransom."
wronged：悪いことをした。reproachfully：非難がましく。beloved：最愛の。strange country：見知らぬ国。rob：強奪する。ask for a ransom：身代金を要求する。
"'Tis so!" said the fat man, slapping his leg sharply.
"And we had won such fine reputations in Italy!" said Beni, regretfully.
had won such fine reputations：実に優れた名声を博した。regretfully：残念そうに。
"Perhaps Uncle Walter wanted to reform you," suggested Martha.
"Are there, then, no bandits in Chicago?" asked Victor.
"Well," replied the girl, blushing in her turn, "we do not call them bandits."
in her turn：今度は（彼女が）。
"Then what shall we do for a living?" inquired Beni, despairingly.
do for a living：仕事をする（生活のために行う）。inquired：尋ねた。despairingly：絶望的に。
"A great deal can be done in a big American city," said the child. "My father is a lawyer" (the bandits shuddered), "and my mother's cousin is a police inspector."
a great deal：物凄く多い。American：アメリカの。shuddered：戦慄した。police inspector：警視正（アメリカ英語）。
"Ah," said Victor, "that is a good employment. The police need to be inspected, especially in Italy."
"Everywhere!" added Beni.
"Then you could do other things," continued Martha, encouragingly. "You could be motor men on trolley cars, or clerks in a department store. Some people even become aldermen to earn a living."
encouragingly：元気付けるように。motor men：電車の運転手。trolley cars：路面電車（アメリカ英語）。aldermen：市会議員（アメリカ英語）。earn a living：生計を立てる。
The bandits shook their heads sadly.
"We are not fitted for such work," said Victor. "Our business is to rob."
Martha tried to think.
"It is rather hard to get positions in the gas office," she said, "but you might become politicians."
get positions：就職する。gas office：ガス（会社の）事務所。politicians：政治家。
"No!" cried Beni, with sudden fierceness; "we must not abandon our high calling. Bandits we have always been, and bandits we must remain!"
"'Tis so!" agreed the fat man.
"Even in Chicago there must be people to rob," remarked Victor, with cheerfulness.
Martha was distressed.
"I think they have all been robbed," she objected.
"Then we can rob the robbers, for we have experience and talent beyond the ordinary," said Beni.
"Oh, dear; oh, dear!" moaned the girl; "why did Uncle Walter ever send you here in this chest?"
The bandits became interested.
"That is what we should like to know," declared Victor, eagerly.
"But no one will ever know, for Uncle Walter was lost while hunting elephants in Africa," she continued, with conviction.
"Then we must accept our fate and rob to the best of our ability," said Victor. "So long as we are faithful to our beloved profession we need not be ashamed."
fate：（悪い）運命。to the best of：～のかぎりで。ability：（生来か努力で得た）能力。faithful to：～に忠実な。profession：（教育と訓練を要する専門的な）職業。
"'Tis so!" cried the fat man.
"Brothers! we will begin now. Let us rob the house we are in."
"Good!" shouted the others and sprang to their feet.
Beni turned threateningly upon the child.
"Remain here!" he commanded. "If you stir one step your blood will be on your own head!" Then he added, in a gentler voice: "Don't be afraid; that's the way all bandits talk to their captives. But of course we wouldn't hurt a young lady under any circumstances."
"Of course not," said Victor.
The fat man drew a big knife from his belt and flourished it about his head.
"S'blood!" he ejaculated, fiercely.
"S'bananas!" cried Beni, in a terrible voice.
"Confusion to our foes!" hissed Victor.
confusion：混乱。to our foes：私たちの敵へ。hissed：（怒って）囁いた。
And then the three bent themselves nearly double and crept stealthily down the stairway with cocked pistols in their hands and glittering knives between their teeth, leaving Martha trembling with fear and too horrified to even cry for help.
bent themselves nearly double：（彼らが）殆どくの字（半分）になった。crept stealthily down：忍び足でこっそり下りた。stairway：階段。cocked：（銃の）引き金を起こした。trembling：震えて。
How long she remained alone in the attic she never knew, but finally she heard the catlike tread of the returning bandits and saw them coming up the stairs in single file.
catlike tread：猫みたいな足音。in single file：一列（縦隊）で。
All bore heavy loads of plunder in their arms, and Lugui was balancing a mince pie on the top of a pile of her mother's best evening dresses. Victor came next with an armful of bric-a-brac, a brass candelabra and the parlor clock. Beni had the family Bible, the basket of silverware from the sideboard, a copper kettle and papa's fur overcoat.
bore：抱えた。heavy loads of plunder：略奪品の重い荷物。mince pie：ミンスパイ（パイの一種）。evening dresses：イブニングドレス（裾が床まで届く婦人用夜会服）。an armful of：腕一杯の～。bric-a-brac：（古い）小物類（フランス語）。candelabra：枝付き燭台。parlor clock：客間の時計。family Bible：（冠婚葬祭が記録できる大型の）家庭用聖書。silverware：銀食器。sideboard：食器戸棚。copper kettle：銅のやかん。fur overcoat：毛皮のオーバーコート（最も外側に着る丈の長いコート）。
"Oh, joy!" said Victor, putting down his load; "it is pleasant to rob once more."
"Oh, ecstacy!" said Beni; but he let the kettle drop on his toe and immediately began dancing around in anguish, while he muttered queer words in the Italian language.
"We have much wealth," continued Victor, holding the mince pie while Lugui added his spoils to the heap; "and all from one house! This America must be a rich place."
have much wealth：大富豪だ。spoils：奪った物（戦利品）。heap：山（積み重ね）。
With a dagger he then cut himself a piece of the pie and handed the remainder to his comrades. Whereupon all three sat upon the floor and consumed the pie while Martha looked on sadly.
dagger：短剣。pin：パイ（料理の一種）。the remainder：残り。comrades：同胞。whereupon：そうすると。looked on：傍観した。
"We should have a cave," remarked Beni; "for we must store our plunder in a safe place. Can you tell us of a secret cave?" he asked Martha.
"There's a Mammoth cave," she answered, "but it's in Kentucky. You would be obliged to ride on the cars a long time to get there."
Mammoth cave：マンモスケーブ（アメリカのケンタッキー州の洞窟）。Kentucky：ケンタッキー（アメリカの州名）。obliged to：～せざるを得ない。cars：客車（鉄道車両）。
The three bandits looked thoughtful and munched their pie silently, but the next moment they were startled by the ringing of the electric doorbell, which was heard plainly even in the remote attic.
"What's that?" demanded Victor, in a hoarse voice, as the three scrambled to their feet with drawn daggers.
demanded：強く訊ねた。hoarse：掠れた。scrambled to their feet：（彼らが）急に立ち上がった。
Martha ran to the window and saw it was only the postman, who had dropped a letter in the box and gone away again. But the incident gave her an idea of how to get rid of her troublesome bandits, so she began wringing her hands as if in great distress and cried out:
postman：郵便配達夫（イギリス英語）。gone away：立ち去った。incident：出来事。get rid of：～を追い払う。troublesome：厄介な。wringing：（手を）固く握る。in great distress：大変に悩んでいる。
"It's the police!"
The robbers looked at one another with genuine alarm, and Lugui asked, tremblingly:
robbers：強盗たち。one another：互いに。with genuine alarm：本気で警戒して。
"Are there many of them?"
"A hundred and twelve!" exclaimed Martha, after pretending to count them.
"Then we are lost!" declared Beni; "for we could never fight so many and live."
"Are they armed?" inquired Victor, who was shivering as if cold.
"Oh, yes," said she. "They have guns and swords and pistols and axes and—and—"
"And what?" demanded Lugui.
The three wicked ones groaned aloud and Beni said, in a hollow voice:
groaned：呻いた。in a hollow voice：虚ろな声で。
"I hope they will kill us quickly and not put us to the torture. I have been told these Americans are painted Indians, who are bloodthirsty and terrible."
put us to the torture：私たちを責め苦に会わせる。Americans：アメリカ人。painted：化粧した。Indians：インディアン（アメリカ先住民）。bloodthirsty：殺気立った（血に飢えた）。
"'Tis so!" gasped the fat man, with a shudder.
Suddenly Martha turned from the window.
"You are my friends, are you not?" she asked.
"We are devoted!" answered Victor.
"We adore you!" cried Beni.
"We would die for you!" added Lugui, thinking he was about to die anyway.
"Then I will save you," said the girl.
"How?" asked the three, with one voice.
"Get back into the chest," she said. "I will then close the lid, so they will be unable to find you."
They looked around the room in a dazed and irresolute way, but she exclaimed:
"You must be quick! They will soon be here to arrest you."
Then Lugui sprang into the chest and lay fat upon the bottom. Beni tumbled in next and packed himself in the back side. Victor followed after pausing to kiss her hand to the girl in a graceful manner.
lay fat upon：～に贅肉（脂肪）を横たえた。tumbled in：転がり込んだ。packed himself：（彼が身を詰めて）入った。graceful：優雅な。
Then Martha ran up to press down the lid, but could not make it catch.
make it catch：それを上手く閉じる（掛ける）。
"You must squeeze down," she said to them.
"I am doing my best, miss," said Victor, who was nearest the top; "but although we fitted in very nicely before, the chest now seems rather small for us."
doing my best：最善を尽くす。
"'Tis so!" came the muffled voice of the fat man from the bottom.
"I know what takes up the room," said Beni.
takes up the room：場所を取る。
"What?" inquired Victor, anxiously.
"The pie," returned Beni.
"'Tis so!" came from the bottom, in faint accents.
in faint accents：微かな口調で。
Then Martha sat upon the lid and pressed it down with all her weight. To her great delight the lock caught, and, springing down, she exerted all her strength and turned the key.
This story should teach us not to interfere in matters that do not concern us. For had Martha refrained from opening Uncle Walter's mysterious chest she would not have been obliged to carry downstairs all the plunder the robbers had brought into the attic.
interfere in：～に干渉する。concern：関わる。refrained from：～を控えた。downstairs：階下へ。
原文の出典：THE BOX OF ROBBERS