It was around 4 in the afternoon. Only peasants were there who had come from the jury trial and had put their horses and wagons in the “Yellow Horse”.
There was a wild babble of voices. The people all had red faces, and the slow and sleepy among them were excited and talked a lot or at least grunted much more often and more intensely than usual. The much inner heat brought plenty of alcohol and the alcohol in turn brought about a lot of inner heat, and the shouts of orders the waitress and the cheers were the only thing that was said apart from the Raschdorf affair.
Some club passed by outside with music playing. But only a few women went to the window. Today the men were indifferent to the spectacle, which would otherwise have interested them beyond measure.
A farm boy came into the room and reported to his master that “the hand horse is so strange, it might get colic.” At any other time, such a report would have been an alarm signal for a general departure to the horse stable, where everyone could show his wisdom and experience; today the owner had trouble persuading his brother-in-law to see “on the right” with him.
As when a threshing machine hums, hisses, rumbles, rattles, rattles, smokes in a large courtyard – that’s it.
But there is a voice in the farm that drowns out even the noise of the threshing machine, that is when a right cock crows, and there was also a voice in this assembly that rose above all the wild scandal, that was that of the barber.
“The prosecutor who – he’s my husband! The defense attorney – uh, that’s a Jew. He does it for the money! But the public prosecutor gave it to him! Clap of thunder, the man has something gone! ”
It got a little quieter and the barber was able to go on: “Who was it supposed to be? Was there a single loiter in the village that day? What? Have you seen one? Me not! And one from the village? In our village there is no lighter, it would just be – ”
“You don’t say anything about the innkeeper Schräger,” warned one.
“Who’s talking about weird? At most the rescuer! And he’ll know why a sticks to Raschdorfen! ”
Then it got even quieter. Only a few laughed to themselves, and the Glasen tried to look ashamed.
The barber spoke again:
“I don’t treat anyone badly, but the Berger is fine. A’s got a big mouth. Back then, as the disgraceful poem made on me: “Assure you life, the Bader is coming!” – Yes, you are laughing again – as then – as then you are laughing, but who does the mountain man leave alone? Keenen! Don’t give up! A imagines that a is smarter than a farmer. So a Lumpenmann, so a Stromer! Now is the time to write poetry for three days! The public prosecutor doesn’t let himself be fooled. Now a can smack off the prison wall! ”
“The barber is a big guy!” Said one with appreciation.
“Well, I’ll tell you,” he said, flattered, “I shouldn’t have been a witness that it would have turned out differently, completely differently; I would have already said that I would have given the gentlemen a light. But when there are mohhorns like the Reichel Schaffer – ”
“The cattle talk about sixty-six games as if that belonged to it – the whole court laughed at how embarrassed he was. But Raschdorf needed such witnesses! ”
“Well, the Raschdorf didn’t look good as it was on the dock.”
»Yes, there’s going to be a bad thing! There used to be nothing nice enough. I wasn’t allowed to cut his hair and beard. “They cut stairs in a head for me,” says a, and then he drove into town and gave 20 pfennigs to cut my hair. Well, who has it to be thrown away so often! ”
“You had a great pride, that’s true,” said another; “If no one had just sat on the school desk with him, they wouldn’t be fraternized with them.”
“No, no, no!”
General conversation started again.
Then came weird. If the pastor had come into the room, it would not have been half as quiet as it is now.
The innkeeper looked around sourly and went to a table. “A cup of coffee and a couple of Viennese!” He ordered.
“Cheers, Herr Schräger!” Shouted the barber and approached the table.
The others watched intently.
“Cheers! Schräger replied briefly. At that moment the door opened and Heinrich Raschdorf stepped into the room behind a maid who came in hastily. Nobody looked at the maid and the boy; they all looked at the table at an oblique angle. Heinrich stopped at first, undecided, then sat down on a chair that was in a corner of the bar. When he became unwell, his mother had taken him to the inn; but he recovered quickly. Then someone came and said the father had been acquitted, and so the mother went to get the father. He himself had to stay behind and wait here for his parents.
“Well, Herr Schräger, you’re so quiet,” said the barber, “aren’t you angry, are you?”
“Don’t get angry with that! But I’m suing the Berger, I’m suing the guy! I won’t let that please me! ”
“Well, you can’t put up with that at all. We just talked about it. The Berger just has a reason why a sticks to the Raschdorfs – well, you know – and you stood there brilliantly, Herr Schräger. How the public prosecutor struck you off and a said you were completely unsuspecting. ”
“I mean that it wasn’t the one who spent a whole day in the room and added his money. Or does anyone even trust me? ”
More obliquely stood up and examined the circle challengingly. A lively protest broke out and a few farmers shook hands with the landlord.
“We already know who it was,” crowed the barber; “And if the court acquits him ten times, it was Raschdorf. The proud gang – ”
“Jeses, the boy!”
A woman shouted, and now everyone looked at the dark corner from which Heinrich Raschdorf emerged. He stood there with glowing eyes like an irritated predator; the white teeth flashed and gritted; his fists clenched – he bent down a little, jumped up, climbed up on the long bath, and struck his fist a couple of times on his mouth and nose so that the blood ran down the man’s face.
“I’ll kill you, Bader, I’ll kill you!”
The bather cursed, screamed, struggled and struggled to free himself. He wanted to pounce on the child, but his blood ran so profusely and his eyes watered so much that he had to go out to the court.
The others were rigid.
Heinrich Raschdorf stood in the middle of the room.
“Whoever says that again – that of my father, I’ll just hit you!”
A few people hummed or laughed softly.
“My father has been acquitted – he is innocent – the court said so, and you must believe it!”
Nobody moved. Heinrich shot water in the eyes.
“Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that my father is innocent?”
No sound in the room.
“But he belongs to you, you have to believe it!” He said that in a begging tone.
There was an opposing murmur. There was no friendly shout. Heinrich Raschdorf broke into bitter, angry tears:
“Then – then – you are all – all villains!”
And before the men got up heavily and cursed to punish the boy, Heinrich Raschdorf had disappeared.
A tired man came walking down a quiet street, and next to him was a coughing woman.
Heinrich met them.
He stopped in front of his father, but did not shake his hand. He looked shyly at his father with his child’s eyes.
“Father, tell me if it was you?”
Hermann Raschdorf felt the force of the moment.
“No, Heinrich, it wasn’t me!”
He said it calmly and firmly.
Then the boy took a deep breath, took his father’s hand and kissed it.
The three of them went as far as the town and waited for the conductor to come and take them into his vehicle.
Not a word was spoken on the long journey. It was early evening when they got home. The beech farmer threw a long, shy look at the devastated buildings. Then a cold gust of wind rushed over the rubble and hit the beech farmer in the face, like an icy judgment.
“Raschdorf has been acquitted,” said the barber on the way home. “But I’ll take revenge on him, and I’ll paint it for the boy, the Kanaille. If only my nose didn’t bleed so easily! I would have bullied! But I’ll bring the old man in, even if a pays ten Jews. I don’t rest until everything is out and until a is inside! ”
And if the evil whisker couldn’t fulfill his ridiculous threat, he was doing something worse. His business ran from house to house, and in every house he stole something from the Raschdorfs of the holy earth on which we alone can found our home – from the heartland of love and sympathy of the community members.
Those who do not have a yard or a foot’s breadth of their own land can still have a home, but whoever their fellow citizens deny a place in their hearts to ideal building sites is homeless.