I didn't know of my uncle's comings and goings during my absence, but on my return his entire family was gathered under my roof. I expect that his school-aged children spent most of their time in town, but they were on holiday too now and enjoying time in the country.
All were happy to see me. I was glad to see the house so full of activity, much livelier now than in my parents' days. My uncle displaced his eldest son, who had taken over my room, and put him elsewhere. There were plenty of rooms, so I offered to lodge in another, but my uncle wouldn't hear of it, reminding me that it was my house.
Other than an occasional reflection on my parents, I passed a carefree summer with my uncle's family and returned to Tōkyō. However, there was one thing that summer that cast a slight pall over my stay. Both my uncle and his wife, despite the fact that I'd just started high school, advised that I marry. They brought this up repeatedly. The first time, it was completely out of the blue and caught me off guard. The second time, I clearly declined. The third time, I was compelled to ask why they persisted. Their thought process was simple. I should take a bride and return home to assume my father's place as master of the house. In my mind, coming home for holidays was enough. On the other hand, what they said was not unreasonable. My father's place was mine to take, and to do so I'd need a bride. Versed as I was in the ways of the country, I could understand this. I don't believe I was dead set against it. However, I'd just begun my studies in Tōkyō, and such notions seemed far away, as though viewed via scope from a remote vantage. I left home again, with my uncle's wish unanswered.