"In that case, at about what time would you say the theft occurred?" The officer poses a problematic question. If they'd known what time they'd been robbed, then they needn't have been robbed in the first place. The master and his wife, failing to grasp as much, work to formulate a response.
"About what time was it?"
"I wonder." The wife ponders the question. She seems to imagine she can somehow reason it out.
"When did you go to bed last night?"
"Yes, I was in bed before you were."
"When was it we woke?"
"It must have been around seven thirty."
"Then about what time would the burglar have made his entry?"
"It must have been during the night."
"Of course it was during the night. The question is what time."
"We'll need to think on it further before we can give you an answer." The wife is still working at it. The officer, who'd only asked as a matter of protocol, couldn't care less about the time of the theft. He'd gladly accept any arbitrary response, even a fabrication. The couple's rambling discourse is beginning to try his patience.
"Shall we just say then that the hour of the theft is uncertain?"
"That seems the case," the master replies in his characteristic manner.
"Well then, you'll need to file a formal written complaint, to the effect that on this thirty-eighth year of Meiji, such-and-such day of such-and-such month, after locking up and going to bed, a certain storm door was removed and entry gained through a certain entrance, with so many of such-and-such articles being taken from the premises. Label it a complaint, not a report. Address it against no one in particular," the officer instructed matter-of-factly.
"Do we need to list out each article taken?"
"Yes, in tabular format. For example, each article of clothing, along with its respective value. -- No, I don't need to survey the scene. What's gone is gone." The officer makes his exit with an air of indifference.