At this point, Haraguchi turned toward the dark portrait behind him. Nonomiya, all the while, was gazing blankly at this same work.
"What do you think of our Velázquez? Of course, it's a reproduction. And not a very good one, at that," he explained.
"Who did it?" asked Mineko.
"Mitsui. Mitsui's actually a talented painter. This isn't one of his better efforts." Haraguchi took several steps back and surveyed the work further. "The original was by a true master, at the peak of his art. Hard to imitate."
Haraguchi tilted his head. Sanshirō took note of his gesture.
"Have you seen the whole collection?" he asked Mineko. All of Haraguchi's words were directed toward Mineko.
"What are your plans? How about breaking off and coming with us? I'll treat you to tea at Seiyōken. I have to stop there anyway to tend to some business. -- It's about a gathering. I need to consult with the manager, who's a friend of mine. -- Now would be the right time for tea. If we delay, then it'll be too late for tea and too early for dinner. How about it? Will you join us?"
Mineko looked at Sanshirō. Sanshirō seemed indifferent either way. Nonomiya remained where he was and expressed no interest.
"Since we're here, I think we should see the rest of the exhibition. Don't you think so?"