“You are right, father, there is nothing more unreasonable than the so-called hunting privileges,” said the Hunter, in order to pacify him. “For that reason I will take upon myself the sin of violating the game laws of the local nobility in the interest of your estate, although by so doing I shall really be—”
He was going to add something more, but suddenly broke off and passed over to other indifferent matters.
But any one who thinks that the conversation between this Westphalian justice and the Suabian hunter ran as smoothly as my pen has written it down, is mistaken. On the contrary, it was frequently necessary for them to repeat several times before a barely sufficient understanding came about between them. Now and then they were even compelled to resort to making signs with their fingers. For in all his life the Justice had never heard ch pronounced after s; furthermore he brought all his sounds up out of his gullet, or, if you will, out of his throat. In the Hunter, on the other hand, the divine gift which distinguishes us from beasts was located between his front teeth and his lips, whence the sounds broke forth in a wonderful sonorous gravity and fulness and a buzzing sibilancy. But through these strange husks the young man and the old one soon learned to like each other. Inasmuch as both were men of full-weight, sterling stuff they could not fail to understand each other’s inmost nature.
THE HUNTER WRITES TO HIS FRIEND
Now I may write about things that are pleasant. I cannot possibly tell you how happy I am here in the solitude of this hill-girt Westphalian plain, where I have been quartered for a week among people and cattle. Among people and cattle is indeed literally the case, for the cows do actually stand right in the house on both sides of the large entrance-hall. There is, however, absolutely nothing unpleasant or unclean about this; on the contrary it rather helps to increase the impression of patriarchal house-management. In front of my window stand rustling oak-trees, and beyond them I look out on long, long meadows and waving cornfields, between which I see here and there a grove of oaks and a lone farmstead. For here it is as it was in the time of Tacitus: “Colunt discreti ac diversi, ut fons, ut campus, ut nemus placuit.” Consequently even a single farm like this is a small State in itself, complete and rounded off, and the lord of it is just as much a king in his small domain as a real king on a throne.