Kneeling down in the open corridor, I called toward the inside of the shōji screen, uneven in color because of the patched repairs which had been made here and there,
"Professor, may I come in?"
A cloudy, ambiguous sound which might have been yes or no came from inside, and I heard the dull sound of the nightcover sliding to the side as he changed position while lying down. Since I expected this response, I opened the shōji quietly and entered the room in my overcoat.
Just as I had imagined, Professor Nunokawa was searching for the revised edition of the textbook, thin and large format, which was lying at the side of the bedding, slightly raising his head with dishevelled white hair from the soiled pillow. Each time I came here to do copying for him, the nappy, soiled sheets and white calico collars of the nightcovers bothered me, but Mineko, the maid who took care of the professor, showed no intention of changing them. The dirty bed of a sick person even if he is a young man makes one feel wretched enough, but in the case of an old man it is all the worse. My feeling of sorrow or pity had long since changed into disgust at the wretchedness displayed. Although the moldy smell of the sick man's room heightened my feeling of disgust, I asked after his condition gently as I opened the notebook for copying on the old, completely lusterless rosewood desk drawn up close to the bed, probably by____________________