On our way back down the gently sloping hill, we approached the house again. Out on the veranda, which had been deserted on our way in, was the lady of the house with her daughter, a girl of fifteen or sixteen, who was helping her spool thread. From beside the gold fish basin we called out our thanks for their hospitality. The lady called back that we needn't mention it, and she thanked us as well for the nickel coin given to the boy.
When we'd made our way out the gate and walked for a while, I turned to Sensei and spoke. "Tell me, when you said earlier that any man, in the moment of truth, may emerge as a villain, what did you mean by it?"
"There's nothing profound there. -- It's simply a fact. It's not a product of theory or reason."
"Granted it may be a fact, what I want to know is what you meant by moment of truth. To what sort of moment were you referring?"
Sensei laughed. It seemed that now, when the passion had left him, he had little interest in expounding. "I was referring to money. At the sight of money, the noblest of gentlemen unmasks his inner villain."
Sensei's answer left me dissatisfied. I sensed he was brushing me off, and I felt diminished. Feigning indifference, I set off walking at a quick pace. Sensei, in due course, began to fall behind. He called to me to wait.
"Look at that now."
"Your demeanor. Did I not just affect it with a single response?" I had stopped and turned to wait for him. He looked at my face as he said this.