"It seems he's just back in Tōkyō."
"Yes, he was down at a coal operation in Kyūshū, but got himself re-assigned to Tōkyō. He's an accomplished man, but also approachable. Talked to me like a friend. -- Tell me, how much do you reckon he earns?"
"I've no idea."
"His monthly pay is two hundred and fifty yen, but he also gets a hefty bonus twice a year, so he must average four to five hundred. He gets his fair share, while one such as yourself, specializing in English Readers for ten years on now, just barely scrapes by. It's absurd."
"Absurd indeed!" It seems the master, while purporting to shun convention, is no different than any other man when it comes to financial concerns. In fact, given his dire straits, his pining for wealth is likely more acute.
Tatara, having sufficiently touted the benefits of the business world, has nothing further to say on that matter and moves on to his next subject. Addressing the wife, he asks if one Mizushima Kangetsu ever calls.
"Yes, he's by here often."
"What kind of person is he?"
"They say he's quite the accomplished scholar."
"Is he a dashing man?"
"Ho ho ho ho. I should say he's as dashing as you are."
"Is that right. The same as me?" Tatara speaks in all earnestness.
"How do you know of Kangetsu?" the master asks.
"The other day, a certain person inquired. I wondered if he was even worth digging into." Tatara, before even asking, has already dismissed Kangetsu as a lesser man than himself.
"He's much more talented than you are."
"Is that so? More talented than I am?" In keeping with his character, Tatara's response is devoid of emotion.