I found myself wondering if she'd started life much as I had. It made no difference that she was a mean old woman and I was just a struggling little girl. Couldn't the wrong sort of living turn anyone mean? I remembered very well that one day back in Yoroido, a boy pushed me into a thorn bush near the pond. By the time I clawed my way out I was mad enough to bite through wood. If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even stone can be worn down with enough rain.
Before going in, she gave me a stern warning not to distract Hatsumomo in any way, or do anything that might make her angry. I didn't understand it at the time, but now I know perfectly well why she was so concerned. Because, you see when a geisha wakes up in the morning she is just like any other woman. Her face may be greasy from sleep, and her breath unpleasant. It may be true that she wears a startling hairstyle even as she struggles to open her eyes; but in every other respect she's a woman like any other, and not a geisha at all. Only when she sits before her mirror to apply her makeup with care does she become a geisha. And I don't mean that this is when she begins to look like one. This is when she begins to think like one too.