The Last Leaf

Sunshine English Course 3 (Showa 61) pg. 55-62

There were many artists living in one part of New York City. Sue was a young woman who was studying art there. In May she met another young woman whose name was Johnsy. She was also an artist.
They discovered that they both like the same kind of art and food, so they started to live and study together. They were like sisters.

In November there was a bad kind of flu in that part of the city. Many people caught it, and Johnsy did, too. She lay in bed all the time. She often looked out of the window at the wall of the house next door.
One morning the doctor said to Sue, "Johnsy has very little chance to get well again. She will get better only if she has a strong will to live."

The doctor left. Sue went into Johnsy's room and began drawing pictures. While Sue was drawing, Johnsy said something in a faint voice. Her eyes were wide open. She was looking out of the window and was counting something.
"Twelve," said Johnsy. "Eleven, . . . ten, . . . nine, . . . eight, . . . seven. They are falling faster now. Almost a hundred have fallen . . . . Only five are left now."
"Five what? Tell me, Johnsy."
"Five leaves," said Johnsy. "Another leaf fell just now. . . . The last one will fall before dark. . . . When the last leaf falls, I must go, too."

"Johnsy!" said Sue. "Try to sleep. I'll go and ask Behrman to come up and sit as a model here."
Behrman was a poor artist who was over sixty years old. He always wanted to paint a great masterpiece. Sue went down to his room and told him about Johnsy and the leaf.
"What!" shouted the old man. "Do people die because leaves fall from a vine? I've never heard of such a foolish thing. Let's go to her room."

Johnsy was sleeping when they went in. A cold rain mixed with snow was falling.
The next morning came. There was still one yellow leaf left.
"It's the last leaf," said Johnsy. "It will fall today, and I will go with it."
That night there was a rain storm.
The next morning came. Sue pulled up the blinds. The leaf was still there! Johnsy looked at it for a long time. She looked happier and stronger. She said to Sue, "I've learned from that leaf that it's bad to want to die. Now I want to get well and paint pictures again. Sue, can you bring me a cup of soup?"

When the doctor came in the afternoon, Sue asked him, "Does Johnsy still have any chance?"
"Yes she does. She'll get well before long, if you look after her well," said the doctor.
"Oh, I'm so glad to hear that," said Sue.
"Now I must see another patient I have downstairs. His name is Behrman," said the doctor.

The next afternoon Sue went to Johnsy's bed. She said to her, "Johnsy, there is something I must tell you about Behrman. . . . He died of pneumonia today. He was ill for only two days. When someone went into his room on the morning of the first day, Behrman was lying there with his shoes on. His shoes and clothes were all wet and as cold as ice."
"Look out of the window at the last leaf on the wall," said Sue. "It looks like a real leaf, doesn't it?"

"A real leaf?"
"It's Behrman's masterpiece. He painted it there on that stormy night after the last leaf fell."

New Horizon 3

Sue and Johnsy were painters who lived in an apartment in Greenwich Village. They first met at a restaurant. They liked the same kind of art, the same kind of food, and the same kind of clothes. So they decided to live together. Their apartment was at the top of a three-story building.
One winter, Johnsy became very ill with pneumonia. She spent all day in bed and looked through the window. Beyond the window was the wall of the next house.
One morning, the doctor spoke to Sue.
"Johnsy has a very small chance," he said. "She has a chance, if she wants to live. If people don't want to live, there's nothing a doctor can do."
After the doctor left, Sue walked into Johnsy’s room. Johnsy was in bed, very thin and very quiet. Johnsy’s face was turned toward the window.
She was looking out the window and counting.
"Twelve," she said, and a little later, "eleven," and then, "ten," and, "nine," and then, "eight," and, "seven," almost together.
Sue looked out the window. What was there to count? There was only the wall of the next house. An old ivy vine grew against the wall. Almost all its leaves were gone.
"What is it, dear?" asked Sue.
"Six," said Johnsy very softly. "They’re falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. Another one is falling. There are only five now."
"Five what, dear?"
"Leaves. On the vine. When the last one falls, I must go, too."

"Oh, don't be silly," said Sue. "The old leaves have nothing to do with your illness. You have a very good chance of getting well! The doctor told me so. Try to eat a little now."
"No, I don't want anything to eat," said Johnsy. "Another one is falling. Now there are only four. The last one will fall before it gets dark. I want to see it. Then I'll go, too."
"Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must see Mr. Behrman. I'll ask him to be a model for my drawing. I'll be back soon."
Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the first floor of their building. He was over sixty, but he was not a successful artist. He always talked about painting a masterpiece someday, but never actually started on it.
Sue found him in his dark room, and she told him about Johnsy and the leaves on the vine.
"What?" he cried. "Are there such fools? Do people die because leaves drop off a vine? I haven't heard of such a thing."
"She's very sick and weak," said Sue. "The fever has put these strange ideas into her mind."
Johnsy was sleeping when Sue went back up. Sue closed the curtains. A cold rain was falling, with a little snow in it, too.
Sue worked through the night.
In the morning, Sue went to Johnsy's bedside. Johnsy was looking toward the window. "I want to see," she told Sue.
Sue opened the curtains fearfully.
But, even after the beating rain and the wild wind, there was still one leaf against the wall. It was the last on the vine.
"It's the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it fell during the night. It will fall today and I will die at the same time."
The day slowly passed. As it grew dark, they could still see the leaf on the vine against the wall. And when night came, the north wind began to blow again. The rain still beat against the windows.

The next morning, Johnsy asked Sue again to open the curtains.
The leaf was still there.
Johnsy kept looking at it for a long time. And then she called to Sue. "I've been a bad girl, Sue," said Johnsy. "Something has kept that last leaf there, to show me how bad I was. It's wrong to want to die. I'll try to eat now."
The doctor came in the afternoon.
"The chances are good," said the doctor. "Give her good care, and she'll get well. And now I must see another sick person in this building. His name is Mr. Behrman. Pneumonia, too. He's old and weak. There's no hope for him."
The next day the doctor said to Sue, "Johnsy is out of danger. Good food and care now ─ that's all."
And that afternoon Sue came to Johnsy's bedside, and put one arm around her.
"I have something to tell you," Sue said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today. When they found him yesterday morning, his shoes and clothes were wet and as cold as ice. Everyone wondered why. And then outside, they found a lantern, and a ladder, and some brushes, and some green and yellow paint, and .... Look out the window, dear, at the last leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never moved in the wild wind? Oh, my dear, it's Mr. Behrman's masterpiece ─ he painted it there when the last leaf fell that night."

Official translation

Taken from the New Horizon's teachers manual.

最後の一葉
スーとジョンジーはグレニッチビレッジのアパートに住む画家でした。彼女たちは最初,あるレストランで出会いました。2人は,同じ種類の芸術,同じ種類の食べ物,同じ種類の服が好きでした。それでいっしょに住むことを決めました。2人のアパートは3階建ての最上階にありました。
ある冬,ジョンジーは肺炎で重病になりました。彼女は一日中ベッドで過ごし,窓の外を見ていました。窓の向こうには,となりの家の壁がありました。
ある朝,医者がスーに話しました。
「ジョンジーにはほんの少しの見こみしかありません。」と彼は言いました。「生きる意志があれば,見こみがある。本人に生きる気がなければ,医者にできることは何もありません。」
医者がかえったあと,スーはジョンジーの部屋へ入りました。ジョンジーはすっかりやせ細り,とても静かにベッドに横たわっていました。ジョンジーの顔は窓に向けられていました。
彼女は窓の外を見て数を数えていました。
12」と彼女は言いました。そしてしばらくして,「11」,そして次に「10」,「9」,そして次に「8」「7」と,ほとんどいっしょに言いました。
スーは窓の外を見ました。そこに何か数えるものがあったのでしょうか。あるのはとなりの家の壁だけでした。古いツタが壁にそって生えていました。葉はほとんどすべて落ちていました。
「ねえ,それは何なの。」とスーはたずねました。
「6」とジョンジーはとても静かに言いました。「もう前よりはやく落ちているわ。3日前は,100近くあったのに。ほらもう1つ落ちるわ。もう5つしかない。」
「5つって何のことなの。」
「葉っぱよ。ツタの。最後の葉が落ちたら,わたしも死ななければならないわ。」

「まあ,ばかなことを言わないで。」とスーは言いました。「古い葉っぱはあなたの病気と何の関係もないわ。あなたは回復する見こみが十分あるのよ! お医者さんがわたしにそう言ったわ。さあ,少しでも食べるのよ。」
「いえ,何も食べたくないわ。」とジョンジーは言いました。「また1枚落ちているわ。もう4枚だけね。暗くなる前に最後の葉が落ちるでしょう。それが見たいの。そしたら,わたしも死ぬのよ。」
「眠りなさい。」とスーは言いました。「ベアマンさんに会いに行かなくちゃ。絵のモデルをたのむつもりなの。すぐに戻ってくるわ。」
老人のベアマンは彼女たちの建物の1階に住んでいる画家でした。彼は60歳を過ぎていましたが,成功していませんでした。彼はいつか傑作を描いてみせるといつも口にしながら,実際にそれに取りかかることはなかったのでした。
スーは彼をうす暗い部屋で見つけ,ジョンジーとツタの葉について話しました。
「何だって?」と彼は叫びました。「そんなばかがいるのかい。ツタから葉っぱが落ちるから人間が死ぬって。そんなことは聞いたこともない。」
「彼女は重病で弱っているんです。」とスーは言いました。「熱のために,彼女はこんなおかしな考えを持ってしまったんですよ。」
スーが上へ戻ってきたとき,ジョンジーは眠っていました。スーはカーテンをしめました。冷たい雨が降り,少し雪もまじっていました。
一晩中,スーは仕事をしました。
朝になると,スーはジョンジーの枕元に行きました。ジョンジーは窓のほうを見ていました。「見たいわ。」と彼女はスーに言いました。
スーは恐る恐るカーテンをひきました。
しかし,降りしきる雨と激しい風のあとでも,壁ぞいに1枚の葉がまだあったのです。ツタの葉の最後の1枚でした。
「それが最後の1枚ね。」とジョンジーは言いました。「夜中に落ちてしまったと思ったわ。今日は落ちるでしょう。そしたら同時にわたしも死ぬんだわ。」
その日はゆっくりと過ぎました。暗くなっても,彼女たちは壁ぞいにのびた枝についている葉を,まだ見ることができました。そして,夜になると,北風がまた吹きはじめました。雨はなお窓を激しくたたきました。

翌朝,ジョンジーはまたスーに,カーテンをあけるようにたのみました。
葉はまだそこにありました。
ジョンジーは長い間その葉を眺めていました。そして彼女はスーを呼びました。
「わたしは悪い子だったわ,スー。」とジョンジーは言いました。「わたしがどんなに悪かったかを教えるために,何かが最後の一葉をそこに残したんだわ。死のうなんて思うのは悪いことね。食べてみるようにするわ。」
午後,医者がやってきました。
「見こみが出てきました。」と医者は言いました。「よく看病してあげなさい。そうすれば彼女はよくなりますよ。今度は,この建物にいるもう1人の病人をみなければね。彼の名前はベアマン。やはり,肺炎です。年老いて衰弱している。彼には見こみはないですね。」
翌日,医者がスーに言いました。「ジョンジーは危ない状態を脱しました。今はおいしい食べ物と看病,それで十分です。」
そして,その日の午後,スーがジョンジーの枕元にやってきて,片方の腕をまわしてジョンジーを抱きしめました。
「話さなければならないことがあるの。」とスーは言いました。「ベアマンさんが今日肺炎で亡くなったわ。昨日の朝,彼が見つかったとき,彼の靴と衣服はぬれて,氷のように冷たかった。みんな,どうしてかとふしぎに思ったの。それから外で,手さげランプとはしごと数本の絵筆,そして緑や黄色の絵の具が見つかったわ。それで…。窓の外を見て,あなた,壁の最後の一葉を。激しい風の中でも少しも動かないのが変だと思わなかった? ねえ,あなた,あれはベアマンさんの傑作なのよ。彼はそれをあの晩,最後の一葉が落ちたときにそこに描いたのよ。」

See also