Is he still sunk in thought? There's a maxim I can't but recall. A thinker of poor thoughts, they say, might just as well be dreaming. At any rate, as I steal a glance from behind, something on the desk flashes bright light over my eyes. Reflexively, I blink several times in succession. Curiousity gets the better of me in the end, and despite the brightness, I force my eyes to focus on its source. The flashes, I see now, are coming from a mirror being moved about on the desktop. Why on earth has the master brought the mirror to his study, and why is he tipping it this way and that? This mirror belongs to the bathing room. In fact, I saw it there this very morning. It has to be the same mirror, as in the master's home there's only but one. The master, after washing his face each morning, uses this mirror while parting his hair. -- Some may find it surprising that a man like the master should bother to part his hair. However, while he may neglect much else, he takes great care in tending his hair. In all the time I've been here, I've never seen him cut it short, even at the heights of summer heat. It's always a good five centimeters or more in length. Not only does he part it on the left in grand fashion, but he imparts a prim upward kick to the ends that fall to the right. This could well be an outward sign of psychosis. I struggle to reconcile this pretentious parting of his hair with his oddball desk, but at the end of the day he's harming no one, so no one objects. And he takes due pride in his grooming. Setting aside the high-brow parting of his hair, let's return to the question of why he keeps it so long. There is, in fact, a very sound reason. His pockmarks, as I understand it, didn't just encroach on his face, but advanced from day one to the very crown of his head. Should he shear down his hair in the typical manner, to five or even three centimeters, some tens of pockmarks would show themselves from his lightly covered scalp. Pat, rub, or oil as he might, the pocks would still show. However much they might embellish the scene, like fireflies floating here and there in a cut field, it goes without saying that the wife would disapprove. By keeping his hair cut long, he refrains from deliberately exposing what need not be exposed. If he could, he'd grow long hair over all his face, letting his pockmarks be only his own. Where hair does grow, and grow freely, he sees no need to pay the barber to shear it short and advertise the subjugation of his skull by smallpox. -- This is why the master's hair is long, which is why he parts it, which is why he has need of the mirror. And this mirror, of which there's only one in the whole house, resides in the bathing room.