The next day, fortuitously, two instructors were absent, and afternoon classes were canceled. To save the trip to his lodgings, Sanshirō headed directly to Mineko's house, stopping for a bite on the way. He'd been by her house many times, but never inside. There was a gate with a tiled roof, and on one of its pillars a nameplate reading Kyōsuke Satomi. Whenever he'd passed this house, he'd wondered what kind of person this Kyōsuke was. They still hadn't met. The main gate was latched, so he ducked through the side gate. The distance to the entry hall was less than he'd expected. The path was paved with granite stepping stones, rectangular in shape. The front entry door, of fine latticework construction, was closed. Sanshirō rang the bell. A maidservant came to answer, and Sanshirō asked if Mineko was at home. As he did so, he couldn't help feeling self-conscious. It was the first time he'd approached a house to inquire after a young lady. He felt reluctant even to ask. The maidservant, for her part, responded matter-of-factly. Her manner was respectful as well. She withdrew once, then reappeared, bowing politely. She invited him in and directed him to the parlor. It was a Western-style room, dimmed by heavy curtains.
Asking him to make himself comfortable, the maidservant withdrew again. Sanshirō took a seat in the middle of the quiet room. Before him was a small fireplace, recessed into the wall. A long mirror hung horizontally above it, and two candle holders stood before the mirror. Sanshirō looked at his face reflected in the mirror, framed by a candle holder on either side, then sat back down.