The old woman withdrew quietly. The old man was chanting his Noh lines in a leisurely voice. Noh is the art of taking words that make sense on paper and purposely rendering them incomprehensible through complicated phrasing. It's amazing he never tires of groaning these things out night after night. But now was not the time for me to fuss over Noh chants. Red shirt had said he would raise my pay, and figuring if the school had money to spare then why not, I'd accepted, even though I wasn't really after more money. But how could I, in good conscience, profit from a man being forced to transfer against his will? And what's the idea in sending a man down to Nobeoka when he'd prefer to stay where he is? Even Dazai Gonnosotsu was only exiled as far as Hakata. And Kawai Matagorō went no further than Sagara. At any rate, I had to go back to Red Shirt and decline his offer.
I put on my duck cloth pants and set out again. As I stood in Red Shirt's grand entryway and announced myself, the aforementioned younger brother came to the door. He looked at me with a 'you again?' expression. If I have business to settle, then I'll come back twice or even three times. I'll wake them up in the middle of the night if need be. Does he mistake me for the type who calls on a head teacher to flatter him with niceties? On the contrary, I was here to turn down a pay raise. The younger brother told me Red Shirt had company. I said I needed to see him for a bit, even if just here in the entryway, and he withdrew into the house. Down by my feet I saw a pair of low clogs with flimsy, matted material and of a forward-sloping design. A celebratory voice could be heard from the inner room. I realized the 'company' was Noda. No one but Noda could have such a sissy voice and wear such outlandishly artsy clogs.