seemed to contemplate his own illness. Every day he waited for the newspaper to arrive and was the firstto read it. " Here ! Read this," he would say. " The paper is again full of reports to-day about the Tenshi-sama. " My father always referred to the Emperor as Tenshi-sama (literally, Son of Heaven). " It is anirreverent thing to say, but the Tenshi-sama's illness is probably similar to mine, don't you think ? "My father's spirits gradually declined. And when the Emperor's demise was reported, he held thenewspaper in his hand and said: " Oh! Oh! The Tenshi-sama has at last left for another world. Myself, too.... " He did not finish the sentence.After that my father had frequent fainting spells. There was no hope for him. All our relatives weresummoned and kept vigil at his bedside. I had meanwhile written to Sensei every day, without fail,regarding my father's condition. And in order to set the members of my family at ease, I also wrote,asking him — though I knew this was an unreasonable request — to assist me in securing a position.Sensei's reply did not arrive for a long time. Finally a letter came,a thick, voluminous one. It containednothing in the nature of an answer to my request. It dealt with something far more important. I withdrewfor a brief interval from my father's room, where a crisis seemed to arrive at any moment, and was aboutto glance through the letter when of a sudden I turned to the last paragraph and received a great shock. Itsaid : " By the time this letter reaches you I shall no longer be of this world. I shall already be dead."My father, to me, was a father in the physical sense. But Sensei was my spiritual father. The spirit of thatlonely Sensei, though I could not fathom it, had challenged my mind ; had even penetrated deeply into myheart. And this was the man who had chosen to seek sudden death. The things he had said which I couldnot grasp and their seeming association with something dark in his own past, were, to me, entirelyirrelevant now. All that mattered, and concerning which I wanted to know, was his immediate welfare. Iran like mad to the railway station. I scribbled a note to my mother on a scrap of paper, against the wall of the station, and leaped upon a train bound for Tokyo, leaving my father who was nearing his end, and began once more, from the beginning, to read Sensei's letter. The contents were as follows:
IIISENSEI AND HIS TESTAMENT
Since you have declared that you wish, in all seriousness, to acquire knowledge that springs from lifeitself, I should like to relate to you my past. I am going to fling upon your head, in all frankness, the dark shadows of that life. But you must not be afraid. Concentrate upon the dark things and grasp somethingwhich might possibly serve as future guidance to you.I lost my parents before I reached the age of twenty. Both died of typhoid fever. My uncle undertook toarrange all the subsequent details, and I left for Tokyo, where I entered a higher school. When I returnedto my native province for the first time during a summer vacation, I found that my uncle and his wife hadmoved into my own dwelling house, which had been vacant since my parents passed away. They gave mea warm reception, and I spent a very happy summer there. The following summer was the same. At thattime my uncle suggested that I marry his daughter, who was my younger cousin. But since my cousin andI had been close chums since childhood days, I could not feel toward her, no matter how I tried toentertain the idea, as one should toward one's wife. I therefore went back to Tokyo without promising, atthe time, to marry her. The third time I visited my native province, which was the summer after that, Ifound that my uncle's attitude toward me had undergone a complete change. Not only he, but all themembers of his family assumed a front which, to me, seemed singularly queer.Alone I went to kneel before the graves of my father and mother. My private world underwent a strangemetamorphosis. My uncle now used artifice in making me marry his daughter and attempted, besides, toappropriate the fortune which my late parents had bequeathed to me. Inevitably I quarrelled with him.