Sanshirō, as though overwhelmed, held silent all the while.
The professor spoke further. "We'll let bygones be bygones. Yojirō apologized profusely last night. He's probably back to his usual self by now, flitting about in high spirits. Even as we rue his indiscretion, he's out peddling tickets or such, oblivious to our censure. Let's talk of something more interesting."
"Earlier, while napping, I had a remarkable dream. In it was a girl whom I'd only seen once before in my life. I suddenly met her again. It sounds like the plot from some novel, but you might enjoy hearing it. It's better than those newspaper stories."
"By all means. What kind of girl?"
"A pretty girl of twelve or thirteen, with a mole on her face."
On hearing her age, Sanshirō's hopes were somewhat dashed. "When had you first seen her?"
"A good twenty years prior."
Sanshirō was surprised again. "It's a wonder you would know her."
"It's a dream. That's why I knew her. In a dream, one indulges the wondrous. At any rate, I was walking through a deep forest. I was wearing those faded summer clothes, with that worn hat on my head. -- Ah yes, I was thinking hard thoughts. Every law that governs the universe is immutable, yet everything in the universe, subject to its laws, is transient. That implies, then, that laws exist apart from physical form. -- It all sounds tedious now, but in my dream I was lost in such thoughts as I moved through the woods. Suddenly, I met the girl. We didn't meet in passing. She stood motionless. I looked at her, and saw that she hadn't changed. Her outfit was that of long ago. Her hair was that of long ago. Her mole, of course, was still there. She was not, in fact, changed in the least from the girl of twenty years prior. I told her she hadn't changed, and she answered back that I'd aged a great deal. Next, I asked how time hadn't touched her. It was, she said, because her face of that year, her outfit of that month, and her hair of that day were most to her liking. When I asked what year, month, and day she meant, she said it was twenty years prior, that moment I'd seen her. I wondered to myself then why I had aged so. She told me it was because, from that prior moment, I'd hungered for ever more beauty. 'You're a painting,' I said to the girl. 'You're a poem,' she replied."