"I can't imagine what he hopes to invoke with those sounds. Before the Restoration, even the footman or squire was versed in proper etiquette. No one ever washed their face like that in the residences." "That's the truth indeed."
The maidservant is terribly worked up now and dutifully doling out "indeeds."
"With a master like that, that cat is no doubt a stray. Next time he shows, swat him away." "I'll swat him but good. Miké's illness is his doing entirely. I'm sure of it. He has one coming."
I'd been unjustly accused and condemned. Realizing I was unwelcome, I made my way home without seeing Mikeko.
When I arrived home, the master was in his study, ruminating with brush in hand. Had I told him what I'd heard cross the way, at the koto teacher's place, he would surely have been quite irate. Ignorance is bliss, though, and he held himself like a divine poet, intoning words as he wrote.
At this point Meitei, who was "terribly busy" and had deliberately set down his New Year's greetings on paper in lieu of a visit, dropped by. "Is that modern poetry you're working at? Let's see it if you've got something good," he remarked. "I came across some excellent prose, so I'm trying my hand at translation," the master paused to reply. "Prose? Whose then?" "I don't know." "Anonymous then? Many great works are anonymous. One mustn't dismiss on grounds of anonymity. Where on earth did you find it?" he asked. "The Second Year Reader," the master calmly replied. "The Second Year Reader? What of the Second Year Reader." "That's where I found it, this prose that I'm translating." "You're pulling my leg! This is payback, I presume, for the peacock tongue." "Unlike your words, mine carry weight." The master twists his mustache, fully composed. "Long ago, it's told, a disciple asked Sanyō if any recent writings were noteworthy. 'For starters, this is recent and noteworthy,' Sanyō replied, pointing to a dunning letter from a packhorse driver. Maybe you do, after all, possess the discerning eye. Give it a read and I'll let you know." Meitei, in his own mind, was the maven of discernment. The master, like a Zen monk reciting the last admonition of Daitō Kokushi, started in in a solemn voice. "Giant Gravitation" "What's that mean, Giant Gravitation?" "Giant Gravitation's the title." "An odd title. I don't know what to make of it." "It's intended to mean a giant whose name is Gravitation." "Intent is hardly effect, but fine, it's just a title. Let's get on to the main text. You read so well - I can't wait." "None of your ribbing, now," the master cautioned Meitei up front and proceeded to read.