The man's glance somehow made Sanshirō self-conscious. He decided to read to distract himself. The towels from the previous night were stuffed into the top part of his bag, so he pushed them aside and fished out the first book from the bottom that his hand caught hold of. It was a collection of essays by Bacon that were entirely over his head. The volume was in paperback and bound so poorly that one felt bad for the author. It wasn't the kind of material one reads on a train, but he'd forgotten to pack it in his large trunk, so he'd thrown it into his carrying bag with a couple of other books. Now, by mis-luck of the draw, here it was in front of him. He opened it to page 23, but he was in no mood to study anything, much less Bacon. He gave page 23 a respectful perusal, but rather than grapple with Bacon's words, his mind was intent on rehashing the events of the previous evening.
What kind of woman was that? Were there more out there like her? Were all women so composed and confident by nature? Or was it ignorance, or daring, or simply innocence? He hadn't pushed the boundaries, so he couldn't know. He should have been decisive and taken things a little further, but he'd been terrified. And he was floored then when she stated in parting that he was no ladies' man. He felt as though she'd laid bare all the shortcomings of his twenty three years. Even his own parents had never hit the mark so squarely.
Sanshirō's thinking to this point had thoroughly dampened his spirits. He felt as though a stranger had approached him from out of the blue and drubbed him into submission. He was also feeling bad for Bacon page 23 and the disservice he was rendering it.
He shouldn't have let himself be flustered so. This wasn't about scholarship or gaining admission to the university, it was about character. He should have carried himself better. However, as an educated man, what else can one do when the other party comes at one like that? If there's no better prospect, then best to avoid women altogether. But that seemed cowardly. And it would restrict his activities, as though he were saddled with some kind of handicap. Then again ...