They finally settled things. Sanshirō asked what it was all about. They explained that Yoshiko, since they were in the area, had wanted to stop and pay her respects to a nurse at the hospital. Mineko had also thought to call on a nurse she'd grown close to this past summer when a relative was hospitalized, but this was of lesser importance.
Yoshiko, in her candid and lighthearted manner, called out that she'd return shortly and descended the hill at a quick pace. There was no reason to stop her, and there was no necessity to follow, so the other two remained behind as a matter of course. Given the passive disposition of both, they were rather left behind than chose to remain.
Sanshirō sat back down on the boulder. Mineko remained standing. The autumn sun reflected off the muddy surface of the pond. In the middle of the water was a small island with two trees. Branches of green pine and faded maple intertwined artfully, just as in a manicured box garden. Beyond the island, where the water touched the far shore, dense foliage reflected darkly. From the hilltop, Mineko pointed to the dark shadows under the branches.
"Do you know that tree?" she asked.
"That's a chinquapin oak."
She laughed. "I see you remembered."
"The nurse from that day is the one you thought to call on?"
"Then she's not Yoshiko's nurse."
"No, she's the chinquapin oak nurse."
This time Sanshirō laughed.
"It was over there, wasn't it, where you stood with the nurse and held up your fan?"