In returning home my surroundings changed, all of a sudden, from opulent halls to dingy hovel. It was as though I'd exchanged a sunny mountaintop for the dark depths of the earth. My thoughts while exploring had been occupied with other matters, and I hadn't noted the decor of the rooms or the condition of the fusuma and shōji. Now, however, as the crassness of my own abode hit me, I found myself drawn to what those here mocked as "mundanity." The industrialist, it seemed, was indeed above the teacher. Thinking it mustn't be so, I sought the counsel of my eminent tale. "Such is the case. Such is the case," came the divine answer. Much to my surprise as I re-entered the parlor, Meitei was still there. Myriad cigarette butts, smoked out and thrust into the ashes of the hibachi, formed a honeycomb pattern. Meitei himself, in a cross-legged slouch, was rambling on at length. Kangetsu was there too, having newly arrived on the scene. The master was reclining, head propped on his outstretched arm, scrutinizing the water stains on the ceiling. These men of quiet leisure, once more, were assembled.
"Kangetsu, that woman who spoke of you in delirium. You weren't at liberty to tell us her name before, but how about now?" Meitei is starting in on Kangetsu. "If it just concerned me I'd tell you, but there's the other party to consider." "So you still can't say?" "I gave my word to that wife of a certain scholar." "Promised to tell not a soul, is that it?" "Yes." Kangetsu, per habit, twists at the ties of his haori. The ties are purple, a color not found in the shops. "Those ties, judging by their color, must date from Tenpō Era," the master comments, still reclined. The Kaneda affair interests him not in the least. "I would say so too. Not from these days of Russian wars. Those ties belong with a hollyhock-crested battle garment. They say Oda Nobunaga tied back his hair on occasion of his marriage. Those are just the ties he might have used." Meitei's remarks are lengthy as always. "Actually, my grandfather wore these on the Chōshū expedition." Kangetsu replies in earnest.