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The Interlopers

by Saki
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In "The Interlopers," who inadvertently ran into whom in the story?

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Ulrich is hoping to find Georg, so when the two encounter each other "man to man" and "face to face" in the forest, it is Georg who has inadvertently run into Ulrich.

Ulrich "jealously guarded" that "narrow strip" of land because it was historically the site of George Znaeym's poaching. On the night of the story, Ulrich and his men are especially on the watch for Georg's poaching because Ulrich sees that the animals of the forest are disturbed. Normally during a night storm, the animals sleep or take safety in sheltering in the protective areas of the forest. Yet on this windy, stormy night, the roebuck and other animals are "running like driven things" because of the disturbance of Georg's poachers, "a human enemy."

Ulrich had banded together his foresters to watch the dark forest, not in quest of four-footed quarry, but to keep a look-out for the prowling thieves whom he suspected of being afoot .... The roebuck, which usually kept in the sheltered hollows during a storm-wind, were running like driven things to-night, and there was movement and unrest among the creatures that were wont to sleep through the dark hours.

Ulrich walks away from his men, who are laying in "ambush" on the "crest" of a hill, and goes downhill into a steep "wild tangle of undergrowth" in secret hopes of encountering Georg, alone, "man to man," where, "with none to witness," he might make good use of his rifle and thus end the blood-feud between himself and Georg. As Ulrich thinks this, he rounds a beech tree and comes face-to-face with Georg, the "man he sought."

If only on this wild night, in this dark, lone spot, [Ulrich] might come across Georg Znaeym, man to man, with none to witness - that was the wish that was uppermost in his thoughts. And as he stepped round the trunk of a huge beech he came face to face with the man he sought.

Since Georg and his men are trying to secretly poach like "prowling thieves" the game of the forest, he is hoping not to encounter Ulrich, which may be the reason Georg takes the steep downhill route instead of going to the crest of the hill: hills are look-out spots for Ulrich's men; steep hide-a-ways are good for stealthy poachers. Therefore it is Georg who inadvertently encounters Ulrich--Ulrich, who is on the look-out to find Georg--in the disturbed forest on this "wild night, in this dark, lone spot." [Neither man shoots when they are face-to-face, but it is Georg who inadvertently encounters Ulrich, while it is Ulrich who consciously seeks Georg.]

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