He tested the plank with his foot. "O-Toshi-san. I am coming over to you."
The moonlight was glorious. He remembered that Nishimura had said that the flat roof of the house was a fine place for tsuki-mi, viewing the moon, the favorite Japanese pastime which even the most prosaic seemed to appreciate. Why not take a look; the night was still young. He climbed up the narrow ladder-like staircase, pushed a sliding cover and climbed out on the roof. Loose planks had been placed to form a crude flooring. He squatted on them, and looked about, over the picturesque tiled roofs, the small platforms built on them for clothes drying and, more romantically, tsuki-mi.
"But I can't give it to you now, you know," she was smiling, with just a shade of seriousness. "But you shall have your reward, if you really want such a trifling thing as this, for I wish to have many more stories from you. You must see me often and tell me many just like Cinderella."
"Well, first of all, of course, you can't visit a geisha in her own house; at least, old man, it is not etiquette, it isn't done. You must meet them in the waiting-houses. If they didn't the waiting-houses would lose their commissions and would boycott the geisha. And the geisha guild would cause trouble. It is with that as with everything else in Japan, as in business where there must always be a half dozen middlemen between producer and consumer. Of course, you might take her on a picnic, if she consents, but I wouldn't, if I were you. Japan is changing. We are getting away from the days of Loti. Be discreet, anyway. And then it's expensive. You have to pay a tremendous fee[Pg 114] even for just the pleasure of helping her pick flowers, or sea shells, or whatever it might be, and she will have you buy a cartload of souvenirs for herself, and the mother, and the maid, and her friends, and the cat, for all I know. Anyway, remember the police commissioner. She would probably not dare."