This is from an engaging Hungarian novel spanning the lives of a fictional Hungarian aristocratic dynasty, from the Congress of Vienna to the eve of the First World War – a great sweep of European history.
The Esterhazys were one of the major Hungarian aristocratic families in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Here, Paul Esterhazy expresses surprise at the paltry scale of a Scottish Duke’s holdings. Whether or not the real Esterhazy ever said this, it seems he would have been in a position to.
‘And once, when a Scottish Duke boastfully told him: “I have 30,000 sheep,” Esterhazy had said: “Really? I have 30,000 shepherds.” And he told the truth.’
Source: Lajos Zilahy, Century in Scarlet (London: Prion, 2001), p. 230
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