I am a Cat (Chapter 9 a) Section 280 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

まだかんがえているのか下手へたかんがえたとえもあるのにとうしからのぞんでと、つくえうえでいやにぴかぴかとひかったものがある。吾輩わがはいおもわずつづさま二三度にさんどまばたきをしたが、こいつはへんだとまぶしいのを我慢がまんしてじっと光るものを見つめてやった。するとこのひかは机の上でうごいているかがみからものだと云うことわかった。しかし主人しゅじんなんのために書斎しょさいで鏡などをわしているのであろう。鏡と云えば風呂場ふろばにあるまっているげん吾輩は今朝けさ風呂場でこの鏡を見たのだ。この鏡ととくに云うのは主人のうちにはこれよりほかに鏡はないからである。主人が毎朝まいあさかおあらったあとでかみけるときにもこの鏡をもちいる。――主人のようなおとこが髪を分けるのかとひともあるかもれぬが、実際じっさいかれほか事に無精ぶしょうなるだけそれだけあたま叮嚀ていねいにする。吾輩が当家とうけまいってからいまいたるまで主人はいかなる炎熱えんねつといえども五分刈ごぶがりんだ事はない。かなら二寸にすんくらいのながにして、それを御大ごたいそうにひだりほうで分けるのみか、みぎはじをちょっとかえしてすましている。これも精神病せいしんびょう徴候ちょうこうかも知れない。こんな気取きどったかたはこの机と一向いっこう調和ちょうわしないと思うが、あえて他人たにんがいおよぼすほどの事でないから、だれ何とも云わない。本人ほんにん得意とくいである。分け方のハイカラなのはさておいて、なぜあんなに髪を長くするのかと思ったらじつこう云うわけである。彼のあばたはたん彼のかお侵蝕しんしょくせるのみならず、とくのむかしに脳天のうてんまでんでいるのだそうだ。だからもし普通ふつう人のように五分刈や三分刈さんぶがりにすると、みじかい根本ねもとから何十なんじゅうとなくあばたがあらわれてくる。いくらでても、さすってもぽつぽつがとれない。枯野かれのほたるはなったようなもので風流ふうりゅうかも知れないが、細君さいくん御意ぎょいらんのは勿論もちろんことである。髪さえ長くしておけば露見ろけんしないですむところを、このんで自己じこあばにもあたらぬ訳だ。なろう事なら顔まで毛をやして、こっちのあばたも内済ないさいにしたいくらいなところだから、ただで生える毛をぜにして刈り込ませて、わたくし頭蓋骨ずがいこつの上まで天然痘てんねんとうにやられましたよと吹聴ふいちょうする必要ひつようはあるまい。――これが主人の髪を長くする理由りゆうで、髪を長くするのが、彼の髪をわける原因げんいんで、その原因が鏡を見る訳で、その鏡が風呂場にある所以ゆえんで、しこうしてその鏡がひとしかないと云う事実じじつである。

Rough translation

Is he still sunk in thought? There's a maxim I can't but recall. A thinker of poor thoughts, they say, might just as well be dreaming. At any rate, as I steal a glance from behind, something on the desk flashes bright light over my eyes. Reflexively, I blink several times in succession. Curiousity gets the better of me in the end, and despite the brightness, I force my eyes to focus on its source. The flashes, I see now, are coming from a mirror being moved about on the desktop. Why on earth has the master brought the mirror to his study, and why is he tipping it this way and that? This mirror belongs to the bathing room. In fact, I saw it there this very morning. It has to be the same mirror, as in the master's home there's only but one. The master, after washing his face each morning, uses this mirror while parting his hair. -- Some may find it surprising that a man like the master should bother to part his hair. However, while he may neglect much else, he takes great care in tending his hair. In all the time I've been here, I've never seen him cut it short, even at the heights of summer heat. It's always a good five centimeters or more in length. Not only does he part it on the left in grand fashion, but he imparts a prim upward kick to the ends that fall to the right. This could well be an outward sign of psychosis. I struggle to reconcile this pretentious parting of his hair with his oddball desk, but at the end of the day he's harming no one, so no one objects. And he takes due pride in his grooming. Setting aside the high-brow parting of his hair, let's return to the question of why he keeps it so long. There is, in fact, a very sound reason. His pockmarks, as I understand it, didn't just encroach on his face, but advanced from day one to the very crown of his head. Should he shear down his hair in the typical manner, to five or even three centimeters, some tens of pockmarks would show themselves from his lightly covered scalp. Pat, rub, or oil as he might, the pocks would still show. However much they might embellish the scene, like fireflies floating here and there in a cut field, it goes without saying that the wife would disapprove. By keeping his hair cut long, he refrains from deliberately exposing what need not be exposed. If he could, he'd grow long hair over all his face, letting his pockmarks be only his own. Where hair does grow, and grow freely, he sees no need to pay the barber to shear it short and advertise the subjugation of his skull by smallpox. -- This is why the master's hair is long, which is why he parts it, which is why he has need of the mirror. And this mirror, of which there's only one in the whole house, resides in the bathing room.

Vocabulary

かんがえて consider; think下手へたかんがえ poor thinking (i.e. poor thinking is no better than slumber; 下手へたかんがやすむにたり)う saying ...; stating ...たとえ proverb; maximうしろ backside; behindのぞんでる look in on; take a peekつくえ deskうえ top; surfaceひかった shone; sparkled; glittered吾輩わがはい I; me; myselfおもわず instinctively; reflexivelyつづさまに in succession二三度にさんど two or three times; several timesまばたき blinkへん odd; strange我慢がまんして endure; tolerateひかり lightうごいて moveかがみ mirrorる issue; originate; come (from)こと situation; caseわかった understood; realized主人しゅじん masterなんのために for what reason; to what end書斎しょさい study; den; reading roomわして wave about; wield風呂場ふろば bathing room; washroomまっている it's a given that ...げんに actually; in fact今朝けさ this morning毎朝まいあさ each morning; every morningかお faceあらったあとで after washingかみ hairける part (one's hair)もちいる use; make use ofおとこ man; fellowく ask; enquireひと people; folk; personsかもれぬ it may be that ...実際じっさい in actually; in factかれ he; himほかの other無精ぶしょうなる (is) indolent; lazyあたま head; hair叮嚀ていねいにする treat with care当家とうけ this house; this familyまいって came (to); arrived (at)いま now; the presentいたるまで up until炎熱えんねつ sweltering heat day五分刈ごぶがり close-cropped hair (五分ごぶ = 15 mm or 0.6 in)んだ cut; clippedかならず invariably; without fail二寸にすん 2 sun (about 6 cm; about 2.5 in)ながさ length御大ごたいそうに in grand fashion; extravagantlyひだり left (side)ほう direction; sideみぎ right (side)はじ ends; tipsかえして kick upすまして look prim; put on airs精神病せいしんびょう mental illness; psychosis徴候ちょうこう sign; indication気取きどった affected; pompous; pretentiousかた manner of parting一向いっこう (not) at all; (not) in the least調和ちょうわしない not match; be discordant with; be incongruous他人たにん other people; othersがい harm; detrimentおよぼす bring about; impose onだれも (no) one本人ほんにん the person in question; the person himself得意とくいである takes pride; finds satisfactionハイカラ stylish; smart; fashionableじつは actually; in factわけ situation; circumstanceたんに simply; merelyかお face侵蝕しんしょくせる encroach upon; take overとくのむかしに long ago; going far back脳天のうてん top of the head; crown of the headんで advance into; penetrate普通ふつうの ordinary; common; usual; average三分刈さんぶがり close-cropped hair (三分さんぶ = 9 mm or 0.4 in)みじかい short hair根本ねもと base; roots何十なんじゅうとなく some tens of ...でて pat; rub; smooth downさすって stroke; massage枯野かれの cut fieldほたる firefliesはなった let go; released風流ふうりゅう elegant touch; refinement細君さいくん the wife御意ぎょいらん not find favor; disapprove勿論もちろんこと is a given; goes without saying露見ろけんしない not be exposedこのんで deliberately; intentionally自己じこの one's own fault; flawあばく disclose; divulgeにもあたらぬ it won't be the case that ...やして grow内済ないさいにしたい would like to settle privatelyぜに moneyして put forth; shell outわたくし I; me頭蓋骨ずがいこつ skull; cranium天然痘てんねんとう smallpox吹聴ふいちょうする talk up; proclaim; advertise必要ひつよう necessity; need理由りゆう reason原因げんいん cause所以ゆえん reason; groundsひとつ one (thing)事実じじつ reality; actuality