From that evening I became a boarder at the Hagino residence. To my astonishment, Noda took over the room I had vacated at the Ikagin place from the very next day, doing so in a carefree manner as though we'd coordinated our movements. This was over the top even for Noda. Maybe this world is teeming with crooks who work endlessly to out-cheat each other. I felt despondent.
If this is how the world works, then I'll have to jump into the fray and compete fiercely to survive. But if one really can't manage three meals a day without squeezing money from a pickpocket, then one has to question the value of living. That said, hanging oneself in the prime of youth would be unforgivable before one's ancestors, as well as a disgrace in the public eye. In retrospect, I should have used my 600 yen as capital to start a milk delivery business, rather than entering physics school and learning a useless skill such as mathematics. Then Kiyo could have remained with me, and I wouldn't have to worry about her from afar. I didn't realize it when we were together, but after my time in the country I recognized her great virtue. One could search all through Japan and find few women of such gentle disposition. She had had a mild cold on the day of my departure, and I didn't know how she was faring now. I expected she must have been happy to receive my letter. Her reply should arrive at any time now. These thoughts occupied me for a number of days.