Even from a distance, towers, high walls and bulwarks made it evident that the city, once a mighty member of the Hanseatic League, had seen its great days of defensive fighting. The deep moat was still extant, although now devoted to trees and vegetables. His vehicle, after it had passed under the dark Gothic gate, moved along somewhat heavily on the rough stone pavement, and finally drew up in front of a comfortable-looking house, on the threshold of which the Pastor was standing ready to receive him. He entered a cheerful and cosy household, which was animated by a sprightly, pretty wife and a couple of lively boys whom she had presented to her husband.
After breakfast they went for a walk through the city. In the course of it the Hunter told his friend about his adventure in the woods.
“To judge by your description,” said the latter, “it was the blond Lisbeth whom you saw. The dear child wanders around the country getting money for her old foster-father. She was at my home a few days ago, but would not tarry with us. The girl is a most charming Cinderella, and I only hope that she may find the Prince who will fall in love with her little shoe.”
THE HUNTER SHOOTS AND HITS THE MARK
After a sojourn of several days in the city the Hunter returned to the Oberhof, and found the Justice repairing a barn door. The Hunter informed him that he was going to depart soon, and the old man replied:
“I am rather glad of it; the little woman who had the room before you sent word to me that she would be back today or tomorrow; you would have to give way to her and I couldn’t make you comfortable anywhere else.”
The entire estate was swimming in the red light of evening. A pure summer warmth pervaded the air, which was uncharged with any exhalations. It was quite deserted around the buildings; all the men and maids must have been still busy in the fields. Even in the house he saw nobody when he went to his room. There he picked up and arranged what he had from time to time written down during his stay, packed up his few belongings, and then looked around for his gun. After a short search he discovered it behind a large cabinet where the peasant had concealed it. He loaded it, and in two steps he was out of the house and headed for the “Open Tribunal,” bent on shooting the restlessly heaving visions out of his soul. By the time he was traversing the fragrant, golden oak grove he had recovered his high spirits.
When he reached the Freemen’s Tribunal up on the hill he felt quite cheerful. The ears of grain, heavy and plentiful, were nodding and rustling, the large red disk of the full moon was rising over the eastern horizon, and the reflection of the sun, which had already sunk in the west, was still lighting up the sky. The atmosphere was so clear that this reflected light shone a yellowish green.