It was the evening when the ship would enter the harbour in the morning after.
Somehow I cannot sleep the night before the ship arrived; that was my bad habit. It was also my hope to have a new appointment, but I felt anxious as well. Before proceeding to my new appointment, I investigated the director and my co-workers, and obtained prerequisite knowledge. And yet, I failed and have had some very bitter memories. I carried a deckchair to the end of the deck. When I placed my arm idly on the guardrail, the previously mentioned young lady and her father who took care of her slowly and quietly ascended upstairs to the deck together. They greeted me as they happened to pass by.
“Good evening. How awfully sultry, isn’t it?”
“Were you still awake?”
The pair halted.
“We went out to cool off a little.”
“The wind comes through here rather well.”
“But wouldn’t that be a nuisance, I wonder?”
The young lady hesitantly leaned against the guardrail, so I suggested her to take my chair at once. In addition, I brought two more chairs.
“Oh, thank you. I’m sorry for troubling you.”
After her father bowed his head many times to express gratitude for my good will, he held his daughter’s frail body in his arms and seated her there. Then he said as if it was an explanation in a way:
“Her body is very frail, so -. It worries me.”
It became pitiful to watch the pair’s circumstances. How dangerous it must have been to travel while caring for such an ill person. Even the father himself was troubled with nervous spasms, and his daughter on the other hand dealt with pains as if she were half-dying. I could no longer stay silent and watch, and was anxious to hear more.
“What is worrying you?”
“The physician told me that her heart and liver are in a bad condition, and various things like that, but in the end, he does not seem to understand very well what’s wrong with her. Well, even if we return to our native land and recuperate there for a while, I feel it would be for the best whether her disposition changes for good or not. However, she alone decides whether I am not ill. In other words, it’s well, her sensitivity, I suppose. I suspect it came from the nerves. Even so it’s a troublesome thing, I’m completely at my wit’s end.”
The young lady silently listened to her father’s talk while showing a lonely smile in her beautiful eyes which stirred my mind and intently gazed at me. I imagined myself shrinking.
“You must be troubled.”
When I said only this, she looked away so to escape my gaze at last. It seemed her eyes held such a strange magical power. I had the feeling I let myself be influenced somewhat, I suddenly thought. If I was being stared it intently with these eyes by this young lady, I might not decline her orders, no matter how dangerous and frightening they were. It felt somewhat terrifying to think about it.
“I believe it is inevitable, but this sensitivity is most troublesome.” Her father repeatedly talked about her sensitivity, but it was a strange story that the pair together were troubled by nerves. Above all, it seemed like there was some meaning to the alphabetic words the father wrote in the air when I saw him at that dining table, so I said:
“Isn’t it the doing of heredity? You seem sensitive as well.”
The father smiled and said:
“Me? I am very much a happy-go-lucky person. Rather, I might be close to insensitive.”
What is he saying, I laughed in my mind. Did he think I perceived it immediately, and corrected himself as if he suddenly remembered?
“Ah. What do you mean, I wonder? I made strange signs when I was about to take something. Were you talking about that? But those aren’t nerves. It turned out like that as a consequence of frightening passions.”
“Frightening passions? I wonder what kind?”
Out of curiosity, my eyes glittered spontaneously.
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