Circling round back and asking after Yojirō, the old woman answered in a quiet voice that he had not come home the previous evening. Sanshirō stood in the kitchen doorway, wondering what he should do. The old woman came to his aid by suggesting he come in anyway and see the professor, who was in his study. Even as she spoke, her hands were busily washing dishes. It Seemed they had just finished dinner.
Sanshirō passed through the hearth room and followed the corridor to the study. The door was open. "Come here," a voice called from within.
Sanshirō stepped over the threshold. The professor was at his desk. He was working on something, but the desktop was hidden by his curved back. Sanshirō sat down near the entrance and asked politely if he was engaged in his studies. The professor turned to look at him. His mustache was unkempt. It reminded Sanshirō of a portrait he'd seen in a photographic plate.
"Oh, it's you. Pardon me. I thought it was Yojirō." The professor rose from his chair. On his desk were brush and paper. He'd been writing. According to Yojirō, the professor would write sometimes, but his writings were abstruse to the point of meaninglessness. If, during his lifetime, he compiled it all into a grand treatise then that was fine. However, if he died first then his legacy would be nothing more than a stack of wastepaper. Yojirō had sighed in exasperation. Looking at the professor's desk now, Sanshirō recalled Yojirō's words.
"I don't mean to disturb your work. I'm not here on any particular business."
"Not at all. Please stay. This isn't anything urgent. It's not the sort of thing one does in an evening."
Sanshirō was unsure how to respond. Deep down, however, he was wishing he could approach his own studies with such an easy temperament. After a bit he said, "I came over to see Yojirō, but since he's not here ..."
"Yes, it seems he's been missing since yesterday. He drifts sometimes, just like a vagabond."
"Do you suppose some urgent business came up?"
"That fellow knows nothing of business. All he knows is busywork. He's a rare breed of fool."
"He's a carefree spirit." Sanshirō could think of nothing better to add.