After reading Kiyo's letter it was past my usual bathing time. However, I'd made it my routine to visit the baths and would not feel right if I missed even a single day. I decided to take the train and headed for the station, dangling my signature red towel. A train had departed just prior to my arrival, so I would have to wait a bit. As I sat on the bench and smoked, Uranari happened to arrive. Since I'd learned his story, he now appeared even more pitiable than before. The way he carried himself so meekly, like a sheepish interloper between heaven and earth, always evoked a sense of misery, but tonight the word 'misery' seemed grossly inadequate. I was wishing I could double his salary, have him marry the young Tōyama lady tomorrow, and send them off to Tōkyō for a month. "Headed for the baths? Have a seat." I called to him gallantly and made room for him on my bench. He seemed uncomfortable, asked me not to trouble myself on his account, and out of deference or for whatever reason, remained standing. "The train will be a while. No need to tire yourself standing." I repeated my offer for him to sit beside me. To tell the truth, I felt so bad about his situation that I desperately wanted him to sit with me. He finally relented, and excusing the intrusion, accepted my offer.
In this world there are insolent fellows like Noda who always show up when least wanted. There are fellows like Yama Arashi who see themselves as indispensable champions of justice and carry their faces like badges of honor. Then there are types like Red Shirt, a self-appointed wholesaler of style and charm. There are also fellows like Tanuki, who fancies himself the spirit of education incarnate in a frock coat. Each and every one makes his importance known in some manner. But I'd never before met a man like Uranari, utterly self-effacing and passive as a puppet held hostage. His face may be swollen, but I can't fathom how this Madonna could be so fickle as to discard such a fine man in favor of Red Shirt. Even among dozens of Red Shirts, could she possibly find a better choice for a husband?