PEARL

MICHAEL KOHLHAAS Part Five

The incident, as hardly as the horse dealer could be blamed for it, nevertheless aroused in the country, even among the more moderate and well-intentioned folk, a sentiment that was highly detrimental to the outcome of his lawsuit. The relation of this fellow to the state was felt to be quite insufferable, and behind closed doors as well as in public squares the opinion gained ground that it would be better to do him an outright injustice and again quash the whole affair than to accord him justice in such a trivial matter merely to satisfy his raging obstinacy, and justice that would only reward his acts of violence. To the utter undoing of poor Kohlhaas, the grand chancellor himself, with an excessive zeal for probity, which stirred in him a hatred for the von Tronka family, contributed to hardening and spreading this public mood. It was highly unlikely that the horses now looked after by the knacker of Dresden would ever be restored to the condition in which they had left the stable at Kohlhaasenbrück. But supposing that it were possible to achieve as much through skill and sustained care, the disgrace that under the present circumstances such a course would bring upon the squire's family was, given their civic standing as one of the first and noblest in the land, so great that it seemed far less expensive and more expedient to offer a monetary compensation for the horses. A few days later, the president of the state chancellery, Count Kallheim, wrote suggesting this proposition to the grand chancellor on behalf of the chamberlain, who was himself ill-disposed. Thereupon, the grand chancellor issued a letter to Kohlhaas cautioning him not to dismiss such an offer out of hand if it were made. But in a brief and not very civil reply to the president, he requested to be spared all private commissions in this matter, and urged the chamberlain to take this matter up directly with the horse dealer, whom he described as a very fair and modest man. The horse dealer, whose will indeed had been broken by the incident which took place in the market square, heeded the advice of the grand chancellor and merely waited for an overture on the part of the squire or his relatives; he was prepared to meet them with open willingness and forgiveness for all that had happened. But even this overture offended the sensitivity of the proud knights. They were extremely enraged by the answer they had received from the grand chancellor,

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