Yukie, having fought back valiantly with her words, finally succumbs to emotion. She bursts out crying, dropping tears onto her purple hakama. The master, who seems to be pondering the underlying psychological workings that would lead to such an outburst, gazes in turn at the hakama and Yukie's downturned face with an air of observational detachment. At this point Osan's ruddy hands, heretofore at work in the kitchen, appear on the threshold. "A caller sir," she announces. "Who is it?" the master enquires. "A student from the school," Osan replies with a sideways glance at Yukie's tear-stained face. The master heads out to the parlor to receive his caller. In part to feed my curiosity, and in part to further my study of the human condition, I indiscreetly tail behind by way of the veranda. The human condition, I've found, only presents itself fully in times of distress. Ordinarily, the general populace is just that, a general population of nondescript folk, hardly worth noting. Put them under duress, however, and their calm veneers suddenly crumble, as if rent asunder by some mysterious and miraculous force. In these moments, billowing up in boundless measure, come all things novel, strange, curious, and unconventional. In short, we cats are thus blessed with myriad informative glimpses into the raw human condition. Yukie's feminine tears are an example of one such glimpse. The depths of her emotions, as she conversed with the wife, were so well hidden as to belie their very existence. Then the return of the master with his oil jar, like a firehose trained on a sleeping dragon, evoked in short order a plethora of the deepest and most profound deft, elegant, curious, and wonderful charms. What's more, such hidden charms are not unique to Yukie, but common to all of the gentler sex. Regrettably, though, they show themselves only reluctantly. Or better said, they're ever apparent, just not in such unbridled measure as to set them front and center. Fortuitously, owing to this crotchety oddball master of mine, who's like as not to stroke my fur in the wrong direction, I witness more than my share of open human folly. Just tail behind, wherever he goes, and sure enough the actors take the stage, strutting and fretting despite themselves. Blessed with this most eccentric of fellows as my master, I'm able to experience, even within my brief feline lifespan, a great many things. I can only count myself fortunate. What, I'm wondering, is this latest caller about.