I left the study and followed Sensei's wife to the hearth room, where an iron kettle whistled on a handsome brazier. I was served tea there and treated to sweets. Sensei's wife did not take any tea. She said it would keep her from sleeping.
"Does Sensei sometimes participate in such gatherings then?"
"Very rarely. Lately he seems less and less fond of company."
Sensei's wife, as she said this, gave no indication of being particularly troubled by it. Feeling emboldened, I pursued the subject further. "Then you're his one exception, I suppose."
"No, I'm no different from the rest."
"That can't be the case," I replied. "And I expect you know it's not the case."
"Why is that?"
"Because, as I see it, it's his fondness for you that lets him forget the world."
"Like all good scholars, you're practiced in eloquence, but your logic rings hollow. Couldn't you as well have argued that in spurning the world he must spurn me as well? The logic is equally sound."
"I could have argued either way, but the argument I chose, in this case, is the correct one."
"I don't want to debate. Men love to argue for argument's sake. It never ceases to amaze me, how they amuse themselves exchanging empty cups."
Her words were somewhat harsh, but they weren't delivered with full force. Sensei's wife was not so modern as to wield her intellect for personal conquest. She seemed intent, rather, on dispensing with the superficial to focus on deeper truths.