"There's really only one woman in my world. Aside from my wife, the charms of no others entice me. My wife, for her part, treats me like I'm the only man in existence. We should be, by all accounts, the happiest of couples."
I've forgotten the circumstances that brought out this affirmation. I can't say clearly what transpired before or after. However, I do still remember that Sensei spoke in an earnest and somber tone. What struck me as odd at the time were Sensei's final words. "We should be, by all accounts, the happiest of couples." Why was Sensei unable to assert his happiness? Why did he qualify it with "should be?" This raised some doubt in my mind, especially with the emphasis he'd placed on these words. I wondered if Sensei was indeed happy, or if he meant that he should be happy but in fact was not. His words left me puzzled, but before long I set the problem aside and moved on.
I called once in Sensei's absence and had occasion to talk with his wife. Sensei had left for Shinbashi to see off a friend who was sailing from Yokohama that day on a steamer bound for foreign lands. It was customary at the time for anyone sailing from Yokohama to take the eight thirty train from Shinbashi station. I was in need of Sensei's help with a certain passage, and I arrived at nine as we'd arranged. Sensei's outing to Shinbashi had been decided the day before on short notice as courtesy to his friend, who had called on him to bid farewell. Saying that he would return soon, Sensei had left instructions to have me wait in his absence. I was led to the parlor, and while I waited I conversed with Sensei's wife.