"Have a seat," the master offers while sliding a cushion cross the floor. The close-cropped young guest acknowledges the cushion but makes no move to employ it. It's an odd scene, this young fellow with his larger-than-life head squatting vacantly on the floor, while the frayed cotton cushion, come to rest directly under his nose, all but invites him to mount it. Seating cushions are for sitting. It was not to have callers stare at it blankly that the wife went all the way to the marketplace and procured said cushion. To shun a cushion by declining to mount it is to strip it of all honor, not to mention the slight to the master who offered it up. It's not that this shorn head, staring down the cusion, harbors any animosity toward cushions per say. It's rather that, with the exception of his grandfather's wake, he's never in his life been formally seated, and his feet, tucked up under his haunches, are already tingling with numbness. The cushion, having no other recourse, waits in vain for his response. The master's "have a seat" goes unheeded. A troublesome shorn-head lad. If inclined to exercise restraint, why not do so when gathered with his buddies? Why not do so at school? Why not do so in the boarding house? By refraining where he need not, and by failing to refrain when he should, he sows discord near and far. He's calamity incarnate.
At this point the fusuma in the rear of the room slides open and Yukie, with due ceremony, presents the visitor with a cup of tea. Under other circumstances, such act might well elicit jeers of "savage tea," but here one-on-one with the master, as a guest in his household, and in the presence of a young lady who extends the teacup with gracious gesture, the result of her recent schooling in Ogasawara-style etiquette, the young fellow seems fully beset by an awkward discomfort. Yukie, backing through the fusuma and sliding it shut, is sporting a wide grin. When it comes to peers of equal age, the female takes the day. Of these two youngsters, Yukie's far more composed. Her self-assured grin is all the more remarkable for following in the wake of her recent bout of feminine tears.