crowing, swallow がキーワードかと思う。語学力不足を露呈してしまうのだが、微妙なくすぐりが今一つ不明なため、土屋政雄氏はどのように訳出しているのかと昨晩、北安東の本屋に立ち寄ったのだが、別のイシグロ・カズオの本はあったが、求める本はなかった。
I was serving Mr Farraday morning coffee in the breakfast room when he had said to me:
‘I suppose it wasn’t you making that crowing noise this morning, Stevens? ‘
My employer was referring, I realized, to a pair of gypsies gathering unwanted iron who had by earlier making their customary calls. As it happened, I had that same morning been giving thought to the dilemma of whether or not I was expected to reciprocate my employer’s bantering, and had been seriously worried at how he might be viewing my repeated failure to respond to such openings. I therefore set about thinking of some witty reply; the event of my having misjudged the situation. After a moment or two, I said:
‘More like swallows than crows, I would have said, sir. From the migratory aspect. ‘ And I followed this with a suitably modest smile to indicate without ambiguity that I had made a witticism, since I did not wish Mr Farraday to restrain any spontaneous mirth he felt out of a misplaced respectfulness.
Mr Farraday, however, simply looked up at me and said:
‘I beg your pardon, Stevens?‘
Only then did it occur to me that, of course, my witticism would not be easily appreciated by someone who was not aware that it was gypsies who had passed by. I could not see, then, how I might press on with this bantering; in fact, I decided to it best to call a halt to the matter and, pretending to remember something I had urgently to attend to, excused myself, leaving my employer looking rather bemused.