I am a Cat (Chapter 7 b) Section 231 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

かえって天下てんか太平たいへいもので、主人しゅじん湯上ゆあがりかおをテラテラひからして晩餐ばんさんっている。吾輩わがはい椽側えんがわからがるのを見て、のんきなねこだなあ、今頃いまごろどこをあるいているんだろうとったぜんの上を見ると、ぜにのないくせ二三品にさんぴん御菜おかずをならべている。そのうちにさかないたのが一疋いっぴきある。これはなんしょうする肴からんが、なんでも昨日きのうあたり御台場おだいば近辺きんぺんでやられた相違そういない。肴は丈夫じょうぶものだと説明せつめいしておいたが、いくら丈夫でもこうかれたりられたりしてはたまらん。多病たびょうにして残喘ざんぜんたもほうがよほど結構けっこうだ。こうかんがえて膳のそばすわってすきがあったらなに頂戴ちょうだいしようと、見るごとく見ざるごとくよそおっていた。こんなよそおかたを知らないものはとうていうまい肴は食えないとあきらめなければいけない。主人は肴をちょっとっついたが、うまくないと云う顔付かおつきをしてはしいた正面しょうめんひかえたる妻君さいくんはこれまた無言むごんのまま箸の上下じょうげ運動うんどうする様子ようす、主人の両顎りょうがく離合りごう開闔かいこう具合ぐあい熱心ねっしん研究けんきゅうしている。

「おい、その猫のあたまをちょっとって見ろ」と主人は突然とつぜん細君に請求せいきゅうした

「撲てば、どうするんですか」

「どうしてもいいからちょっと撲って見ろ」

こうですかと細君は平手ひらてで吾輩の頭をちょっとたたいたくも何ともない。

かんじゃないか」

「ええ」

もう一返いっぺんやって見ろ」

何返なんべんやったっておなことじゃありませんか」と細君また平手でぽかとまい。やはり何ともないから、じっとしていた。しかしその何のためたるやは智慮ちりょぶか吾輩にはとん了解りょうかいがた。これが了解りょうかい出来できれば、どうかこうか方法ほうほうもあろうがただ撲って見ろだから、撲つ細君もこまし、撲たれる吾輩も困る。主人は二度にどまでおもどおにならんので、少々しょうしょう気味ぎみで「おい、ちょっと鳴くようにぶって見ろ」と云った。

Rough translation

When I arrive home, all is quiet and calm. The master, his face still sporting an afterglow from the baths, is eating his dinner. Seeing me emerge from the veranda, he comments on my leisurely ways and wonders aloud where I've been. I see that his dinner tray, despite his meager means, hosts an assortment of side dishes. In their center lies a grilled fish. What kind of fish it is, I can't say, but as recent as the day prior it was no doubt swimming off Odaiba or thereabouts. Fish are a hardy bunch, as I've said before, but not so hardy as to stand up to grilling or stewing. Better by far to live out one's days, even as health wanes. Thinking thus, I seat myself by the master's tray, looking on while feigning indifference, hoping a bite might come my way. This is how the game is played, and those who know it not know not the taste of choice fish. The master pokes and prods at his fish then lays down his chopsticks, seemingly dissatisfied. The wife, who's attending on him from the opposite side of the tray, watches in silence, carefully gaging the rise and fall of his chopsticks, the working of his jaws.

"Say, give that cat there a rap on the head." The master, out of the blue, enjoins the wife.

"A rap? Whatever for?"

"Nevermind what for, just give 'im a little rap."

The wife raps me on the head with the flat of her hand and looks to the master. There's no particular discomfort in this.

"He didn't mew."

"True."

"Do it once more."

"However many times, what's the difference?" The wife acquiesces and raps me again with the flat of her hand. Thinking nothing of it, I don't bother to react. At the same time, however, well-learned as I am, I can't fathom the master's intent. Could I fathom his intentions, I might manage to tailor a reaction, but with nothing to go by but "try giving a rap," both the wife who's rapping, and me, the recipient of her raps, are equally lost. The master too, having failed to solicit his intended response after two tries, shows a touch of irritation. "Rap him so he mews," he orders.

Vocabulary

かえって return (home)る see; look (around)天下てんか all the world太平たいへいな peaceful; tranquil主人しゅじん master湯上ゆあがり after taking a bath; having just come from bathingかお face; countenanceひからして let shine; let glow晩餐ばんさん dinnerって eat吾輩わがはい I; me; myself椽側えんがわ verandaがる come up (to enter a house)ねこ cat今頃いまごろ at this time; just nowった commented; remarkedぜん (dinner) trayぜに moneyくせに though; in spite of二三品にさんぴん two or three items; several items御菜おかず side dishesさかな fishいた broiled; grilled一疋いっぴき one (creature)なん whatしょうする refer to (as)らん don't know; can't sayなんでも anyhow; at any rate昨日きのう yesterday; the day prior御台場おだいば Odaiba (artificial island off of Shinagawa; built in 1850s for defensive purposes)近辺きんぺん area; vicinity相違そういない no doubt ...丈夫じょうぶな healthy; hardy; robust説明せつめいして explained; relatedかれたりられたりして be girlled or stewed多病たびょう sickly; of delicate constitution残喘ざんぜん the remainder of one's life; one's waning daysたもつ preserve; maintain; sustainほう alternative (of two choices)結構けっこう fine; well enough; preferredかんがえて think; considerそば near to; next toすわって sit; be seatedすき opening; chanceなにか something頂戴ちょうだいしよう receive; partake ofよそおっていた was feigning; was acting one's partよそおかた manner of feigningあきらめなければいけない have to resign oneself toっついた poked at; picked at顔付かおつき facial expressionはし chopsticksいた set down; set to rest正面しょうめん directly in front; across fromひかえたる be attending to; be waiting on妻君さいくん wife無言むごんのまま without speaking上下じょうげ up and down運動うんどうする move様子ようす situation; state of affairs両顎りょうがく upper and lower jaws離合りごう開闔かいこう parting and joining; opening and closing具合ぐあい condition; state熱心ねっしんに ardently; earnestly研究けんきゅうして study; scrutinize; watch あたま headって hit; strike突然とつぜん suddenly; out of the blue請求せいきゅうした directed; instructed; enjoined 平手ひらて palm; flat of the handたたく tap; pat; clapいたくも (not) painful; uncomfortable かん not cry; not mew もう一返いっぺん one more time; once more 何返なんべん however many timesおなじ the sameこと situation; case; outcomeまいる come; call; approach智慮ちりょぶかき sagacious; well-learnedとんと (not) at all; (not) in the least了解りょうかいがたい defies comprehension; makes no sense了解りょうかい出来できれば can comprehend; can make sense of方法ほうほう method; mannerこまる be at a loss; be stumped; be placed in an awkward position二度にど two times; twiceおもどおり as hoped; as anticipated少々しょうしょう a bit; to some degree気味ぎみ a touch of irritation