"I heard you weren't feeling well. Are you better?"
"Yes, much better."
Sanshirō untied his bundle and spread its contents between the two men. "I bought some persimmons."
Professor Hirota went to the study and returned with his penknife. Sanshirō got a carving knife from the kitchen. The three of them started in. As they ate, the professor and his visitor spoke in earnest on provincial middle school issues. How meager salaries and back stabbing made it impossible to stay put for long. How one taught jujutsu in addition to one's academic subject. How a certain instructor had re-used old straps on new sandal platforms to make ends meet. How having once resigned, there was little prospect of finding another position. How the visitor had had to send his wife back to the country for the time being. -- There seemed no end to it.
Sanshirō spit out persimmon seeds and observed the visitor's face. It was all so bleak. This man, he felt, in comparison to his present self, was hardly of the same species. As he spoke, the man expressed nostalgia for his student days. He mentioned repeatedly how carefree he'd felt. Listening to him talk, Sanshirō mused that this life he knew would end in a few short years. Unlike his soba outings with Yojirō, there was no cheer in this encounter.
Professor Hirota rose again and went to his study. He returned with a book in his hand. Its cover was reddish brown, and the edges of the pages were caked in dust. "This is Hydriotaphia, the one I mentioned the other day. Give it a read to pass the time."
Sanshirō took the book and thanked him.