As I rested on the master's lap, thinking these thoughts, the maidservant came in with a second picture postcard. Printed on it were four or five foreign cats, lined up in a row, studying with pen in hand or open book. One cat was out of his seat and up by the corner of the desk, dancing "Neko ja, Neko ja" to a Western tune. Above the print was penned "I am a Cat" in Japanese black ink. On the right side a haiku had even been added. "Reading a book, or dancing a dance, cats on a New Year's day." The card was from one of the master's former pupils, so anyone at a glance would know to whom it referred, but my inattentive master, twisting his head in a puzzled stupor, wondered to himself if this wasn't the year of the cat. He was still, it seemed, oblivious to my celebrity.
The maidservant arrived with a third card. This one wasn't a picture card. "Happy New Year!" was written on it, and then next to the greeting was, "If I may so impose, I entreat you to pass along my warmest regards to said cat." Even my scatterbrained master, with things now set so plainly before him, appeared to finally catch on. With a "humpf" he turned to regard me. I sensed in his eyes a hint of respect that had heretofore been absent. Suddenly, for the first time, he'd managed to make an impression on the outside world. And given that this was all owing to me, a little respect was certainly due.
Just then, a ringing sounded from the latticework door. Most likely a caller, whom it would be the maidservant's task to receive. The only caller I greet is the fish vendor Umekō, so without concerning myself I remained seated on the master's lap. The master, however, turned an anxious gaze toward the entryway, as if a loanshark or some such were poised to intrude. He seemed, at any rate, quite averse to receiving a New Year's guest and sharing a cup of saké. Given his depth of perversity, though, he has no real grounds for objection. He could just as well have been bold and left home before callers arrived. He's only exposing his oyster-like essence. Shortly, the maidservant came in to announce the arrival of Kangetsu.