The next day, the bunchō was back to its usual self, singing heartily. There followed some cold nights where I forgot to place it back in its box. One evening, as I toiled away in the study, absorbed in the sound of my pen, a sudden crash echoed from the veranda. I didn't get up, but kept on as I was, pouring forth words. If I broke my thoughts to go see, and it was nothing, I'd be quite put out. While not without some misgiving, I pretended ignorance, keeping my ears tuned for anything further. I didn't stop until after midnight. Returning from the toilet, I detoured onto the veranda for a final check to put any fears to rest. --
The cage had fallen from its box and lay toppled on the floor. Water bowl and food dish had both been upset. Millet was strewn across the veranda. The perch sticks had been knocked loose. The bunchō itself cowered in the cage, clinging to a crosspiece. I swore to myself, from the morrow, to secure the veranda from the cat.
The following day, the bunchō didn't sing. I heaped its bowl with millet and filled its water to the brim. For a long while, it remained still on its perch, resting on just one leg. After lunch, I decided to write Miekichi. Several lines in, I heard the bunchō cry "chi, chi." I put down my pen. The bunchō cried again. I checked and found the millet and water largely depleted. I quit with the letter, tearing up and discarding my draft.
The next day the bunchō was silent. It had dropped from its perch and propped its belly against the cage floor. Its fine down was ruffled in disarray, and its breast was slightly swollen. In early morning, a letter arrived from Miekichi, beckoning me to meet in a certain place to discuss a certain matter. He requested my presence by ten, so I left the bunchō to itself and departed. Miekichi's business was long and involved. We had lunch together, followed by dinner. We agreed to continue the following day. It was after nine when I returned home, and the bunchō was furthest from my mind. Worn out, I went straight to bed and dozed soundly.