I was anxious to hear from Kiyo, so I would occasionally ask the old woman of the house if a letter from Tōkyō had arrived. Each time I asked, she would reply with a sympathetic look that none had been received. The couple here, unlike in the Ikagin household, were of samurai descent and both of noble character. I had to put up with the old man's practice of chanting Noh passages every evening in a strange sort of voice, but at least he didn't filch my tea like Ikagin had. The old woman would sometimes come to engage me in conversation. She asked me why I hadn't brought my wife along to live with me here. I asked her if I looked like a married man and reminded her that I was only in my twenty fourth year. She replied that it was perfectly natural for a man of my age to be married, and she countered my objection with numerous examples. Such-and-such had taken a wife at twenty, and so-and-so had two children already at twenty two. I told her in that case I'd take a wife, and I asked her, in my best country accent, to find me one. She asked me, with a serious look, whether I meant it in earnest.
"I do indeed mean it. I'm desperate to have a wife."
"I would guess you are. Such are the yearnings of youth." I was impressed with this answer and could offer no reply.
"However, if I'm not mistaken, you've already chosen your bride. I can see through your guise."
"You must have a keen eye. How is it you've seen through me?"
"How? Aren't you anxiously awaiting, day after day, correspondence from Tōkyō?"
"I'm impressed. You really do have a keen eye."
"Am I right?"
"Well now, maybe you are."