Part 2 out of 2
countenance changed, his eye brightened, and the nostril dilated.
"You heard that, also, your Excellency!" he said. "Well, then, I need
not scruple to tell you the truth. Yes, I have labored night and day,
and I hope to obtain the reward of all this self-sacrifice; and now I
draw near the goal my blood is excited--I am fevered by my hopes. Look
here, sir," and forgeting all his fears and etiquettes, he took the
Count by the arm and led him to a curtain which was drawn across a
corner of the room where the model-clock was placed. "Here is the
work; it approaches completion; is it not worthy of the prize?"
Even to the most unpracticed eye this model of a great work appeared
to be of admirable skill. So complicated was the machinery, that the
marvel seemed to be how it was possible so nicely to have arranged
its various parts, that they could find sufficient space for working.
Massive weights were regulated by springs of such fine texture, that
it was surprising how they could possibly have been made by a man's
rude hand. The movement was perfectly noiseless, so beautifully were
the balances arranged around the principal works of the clock itself:
the heavenly bodies were moving in harmony and regularity; the face
of the clock had not yet been affixed, so the whole of the interior
operations of the machinery were apparent. The Count gazed astonished
at the result of long perseverance and indomitable energy. Dumiger
stood beside him holding the massive curtain aside, and delighting in
the Count's amazement. At length he allowed it to fall, exclaiming,
with pardonable self-love, "Surely this must succeed!"
The Count resumed his seat, and, for some time, was unable to regain
the composure which he had lost by the sight which he had seen.
Dumiger sat buried in thought.
"And when you have succeeded, Dumiger," said the Count, in a voice
which he intended to be very kind, but whose inflection manifested
a bitter disappointment,--"and when you have succeeded, will you be
happier? Do you think, Dumiger, that greatness adds to happiness? Ah,
you know little of the world if you believe this. Besides, remember,
you may fail, and then how bitter your disappointment will be!"
Dumiger was seated with his arms folded, and scarcely paying any
attention to the Count's observations: his mind was wandering amid the
"Look, Dumiger, you are attached to Marguerite."
At the name of Marguerite, Dumiger raised his head and concentrated
all his attention.
"You love her better than all the world?"
"Far better," said Dumiger.
"For her, like a man of heart, you would sacrifice everything!"
continued the wily Count.
Dumiger nodded his head in assent.
"Even the clock?"
A glow mantled over Dumiger's cheek; he was about to answer in the
affirmative, when he remembered that the clock had been his companion
for five years past. He had lived with it, breathed his own life
into its movements,--should he renounce the clock? It, as well as
Marguerite, had become a part of himself; it had long stood him in
the place of family, of love, of all those enjoyments which youth so
wantonly and earnestly clings to. The results of success, ambition,
honors, wealth,--all this he would give up for Marguerite; but his
The Count repeated the question.
At that moment a sweet voice might be heard caroling one of those
simple national airs which are dear to all nations and all times.
Marguerite had a soft, winning voice, well adapted to the song she was
singing. The Count, as well as Dumiger, paused in his conversation;
the color rose again to Dumiger's face as he thought how nearly he was
on the point of sacrificing his faith, and loving the work of his own
hands more than the admirable work of Nature which had been bestowed
upon him, and, as he listened, he lowered his voice and said,--
"For her I would sacrifice even the clock!"
"You shall," exclaimed the Count.
"I shall!" said Dumiger, starting from his seat. "Now in what way do
you mean, my Lord Count?"
"You know," said the Count, "the value of the prize which is offered
by the town. It is worth little in money. The honor is considered
sufficient. Then you are to be given high place amongst the good
citizens, a laurel crown, to ride a white horse, and sundry other
The Count looked at Dumiger while he applied the word trumperies to
those results which the latter had so impatiently striven for,--for
which he had been laboring night and day. These outward signs of the
results of great ambition,--these to be called trumperies! Dumiger
looked at the Count with astonishment.
"And yet," said he, "it is for such trumperies men sacrifice their
lives, sometimes their characters."
The old Count colored slightly as he gave a glance at the riband and
star which he wore. Men did sometimes say that the Grand Master had
not obtained all his honors without sundry sacrifices of one kind and
another. Dumiger had not intended any allusion to these rumors, and
he was surprised at the Count's change of color, for which, at the
moment, he was unable to assign a reason.
"Well," said the Count hesitatingly, "as you say you prefer
Marguerite's love even to your ambition, let us suppose, that in
one moment you were able to attain certain wealth, to place her in a
position worthy of her high qualities, to be at once on an equality
with those of her fellow-citizens, who have hitherto--pardon me
the word--treated her as an inferior; let us suppose that by some
extraordinary powers all this could be immediately realized;--then let
me ask you, would you sacrifice your clock?"
Dumiger marveled as he listened. He pictured Marguerite adorned with
all those incidents which lend a new charm even to beauty like hers.
He thought, with that vanity which clings to all men,--he thought if
she were so much admired in her rustic dress, what would she be if she
could rival in luxury and grace the chief ladies of Dantzic? He looked
round the room; and instead of the rudely-carved, worn-out chairs, he
pictured the most graceful and luxurious sofas; instead of two small,
and, in spite of all Marguerite's taste and exertion, rather dusty and
ungraceful-looking rooms, a suite of magnificent apartments, where
he could gratify every taste and find people willing to come and
applaud it. All this passed through his mind, and he did not perceive
how curiously the Count was regarding him; but at last Dumiger was
recalled to himself, and he thought how little occasion there was for
him to draw such pictures, as they could never be realized; and why
should he annoy himself by considering this proposition, which could
only be made to him in joke.
"But why," he said to the count, "do you make me such a suggestion,
when I can never hope to obtain this?"
The Count paused a moment, as though to examine Dumiger's countenance
still more attentively, and then said,--
"You shall obtain this wealth, and much more."
"I!" exclaimed Dumiger, with astonishment.
"Yes," said the Count; "at a great price, I know; at a price, however,
which I think you will still be willing to pay for it--for your
"My clock worth that!" said Dumiger, "who will give it to me?"
It was the first time that Dumiger had tested, by the opinion of
another, the value of the great work which he had achieved, and it
gratified him to hear the magnificent offer.
"I," said the Count, "I will give you all that I have said; nay, more,
I will use all my influence to have you placed high on the great book
of the citizens. You shall have everything to make life happy. Give me
the clock; sign me a paper, making over this clock to me; declaring,
at the same time, that it is your free act and deed, and that you
never completed it, and I will immediately settle that fortune upon
"And yet my clock," thought Dumiger; "all the honors I have
anticipated, the gratification of my ambition, that greatness I have
dreamed of; can I forget all this?"
He was about to reply, when the door opened and Marguerite entered.
The length of time that the conversation lasted had made her
impatient; besides, she mistrusted the Count.
He looked annoyed at her appearance, for he imagined that Dumiger was
on the point of acceding to his terms.
"Marguerite, I am so rejoiced you have come!" exclaimed Dumiger, as
though a sudden light had burst upon him. "The Lord Count has offered
to buy my clock, and to make us rich beyond all expectation; to have
us placed high among the first class of the citizens; in fact to
enable us at once to secure all that men pass their lifetimes in
striving to attain, if I will give up my clock and declare that I
failed in its execution. What do you say, Marguerite?"
"What do I say!" she exclaimed, and as she spoke she drew herself
up to her full height, her brow contracted, the color glowed in her
cheek. "And did you hesitate what reply to make?"
"I thought of you, Marguerite."
"Of me!" she replied. "Oh, do not think of me; or rather if you do so,
think that I would sooner live in the most abject poverty, and suffer
any amount of privation, than part with the work, the consummation
of which will be the glory of your life. Part with your clock! no, I
would sooner sell this hair which you so prize, part with all those
qualities which render me dear to you; nay more, I think I would even
be content to sacrifice your love rather than see all the results of
your patient industry wasted, your noble ambition sacrificed. Think
of me, dear Dumiger, but think of me only as a part of yourself, as
one who would give up every hope and every future to secure your
happiness, that is, your fame."
Dumiger rose from his seat, unmindful in whose presence he stood,
he pressed Marguerite in his arms; again the nobility of his mind
brightened in his eye and beamed over his countenance. It was another
instance amid the thousand which, unknown to them, were passing around
them of a man won to noble thoughts by a woman's influence, proving
that she is the animating power to save him in all his difficulties;
that she invokes and renews all those noble thoughts which are
concealed in the recesses of his mind. Hers is the light to dispel
the mists which the chill atmosphere of the world hangs around the
brightest portions of the mind: great at all times, greatest of all
when, in a moment of difficulty, she is called upon to decide between
the good and the evil, the just and the unjust, the generous and
the mean, the ingenuous and the sophistical; and Marguerite, in one
glance, saw all that Dumiger had failed to discover in the Count's
appearance and manner,--the dark design, the selfish calculation; her
simplicity of mind perceived indications of low, mean purposes, which
he failed to discern. Thus it is ever that the first impressions, and,
above all other first impressions, the impressions of innocence and
youth, are the truest and most to be depended on.
For wherein is it that men--so often men of the shrewdest intelligence
and keenest intellect--deceive themselves by their own egregious
vanity.--by that vanity which makes them prefer to depend on the
refinements and subtle processes of their own intelligence, rather
than on the first impressions of the mind which Heaven has bestowed
upon them? They are not satisfied with perceiving that a thing is
good, but they must learn why it is so. They are not satisfied with
knowing that the world is beautiful, that the harmony of this globe
and its planets is admirable, but they must know the origin of
this beauty, and the cause of the harmony which strikes them with
wonder. It is not enough for them to be told they are "fearfully
and wonderfully made," but they must attend schools to learn why
they live, move, and have their being. Such is man, blinded by his
self-conceit; blasted not by the excess, but by the partial light
which bursts upon him: whereas woman moves clear in her apprehension,
because she believes that "whatever is, is right;" and great in her
intelligence, because she knows she is ignorant.
The count saw that all further appeals to Dumiger's interest would now
be thrown away, but he was not on that account to be baffled.
"Very well, sir," he said, in an angry voice; "I make you the greatest
offer that was ever made to any workman in this city, and you reject
it with contempt. The day will come when you shall repent it. I would
have saved you for that woman's sake, from the distress and ruin which
are impending over you, but you will not be free. Look to it, sir, for
there is danger even now. Your success is not so certain. I have it in
my power to crush you, and your pride shall be broken."
So saying he took up the rouleau of gold he had given to Marguerite
and departed. Dumiger and Marguerite stood side by side, alarmed, but
still unbending; and yet the man who spoke to them was of great power.
To recite his titles once more:--Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights,
President of the City Council; magnificent in his promise, fierce
in his resentments, unscrupulous in his means. For a moment Dumiger
looked at Marguerite as though he were disposed to yield to the
tyranny of that great man, but a glance from her reassured him; and
it was with a low but formal reverence that he opened the door to
the illustrious visitor, while Marguerite stood proud, haughty, and
"Did we do wisely?" said Dumiger, when the door closed upon them.
"Wisely!" exclaimed Marguerite; "oh, Dumiger, can you doubt it? I feel
myself worthier of you now that I was able to influence you in your
moment of uncertainty. I say moment, for I will not believe that, upon
reflection, you could have hesitated in your decision. Better risk
all and lose all than sacrifice the glorious object which you have in
view. Who would not prefer the greatness which must be yours, if you
succeed? and the count has at least taught us one thing, that success
is almost certain,--who would not prefer this to that wealth of which
he is so proud, and that eminence which it makes him giddy to stand
on? No, Dumiger, you were in the right; and come what may, you will
feel proud of your decision and self-denial."
"It was you who decided for me," replied Dumiger, as he pressed her
lips fondly to his own.
He toiled throughout the day, and the dusk was settling over the town
when the last wheel was finished and the clock was completed.
It was late in the evening of the same day. Marguerite and Dumiger
were sitting by the fire together. The fire burnt so brightly that
it was not necessary to light the candles. Marguerite, with her eyes
closed and half reposing in Dumiger's arms, was enjoying all the
happiness which the sense of returning affection gives. The night was
somewhat changed since they first sat there. The rain beat against the
casement, and the wind whistled down the chimney. The more it rained
and blew, the closer crept Marguerite to Dumiger's side. It was
a picture of comfort; of that comfort which, alas! is so easily
destroyed by the breath of tyranny. It was a type of the many hearths
which are covered with ruins when the trumpet sounds through the city
and the tocsin rings to arms; when war or rebellion sweeps like a
pestilence, not alone over the ruins of palaces and of senate-houses,
but over the abodes of the humble, where every room can tell a tale of
affection and toil.
There was a knock at Dumiger's door, which made Marguerite start and
called all the color into her cheeks.
There was something ominous in the knock. It was a short, quick,
clear, and decisive knock. It was the knock of a man in authority; of
one who felt that although standing on the outside of the door, he had
a right to be within. Marguerite and Dumiger both looked at the fire,
as though they could read in its confused shapes the reason of this
interruption; but the result could not have been very satisfactory,
for neither spoke, while reluctantly Dumiger rose to open the dour,
and Marguerite followed his movements with intense anxiety.
The truth is that people are never thoroughly comfortable and happy
without a sense of the uncertainty of human happiness stealing over
them. We speak of those whose lives are not a succession of parties
of pleasure, of soft dreams and golden fulfillments--to such favored
ones all sense of happiness is deadened by satiety--but they who toil
through long, long days, and are blest with a few moments of repose,
value them so highly that they scarcely believe such happiness can
Dumiger opened the door, and uttered a faint cry. Marguerite was in a
moment by his side.
He had, indeed, some cause for alarm. An officer of the Grande Court
de Justice stood there. There was no mistaking his character, for the
uniform of the myrmidons of that court was too well known to all the
inhabitants of Dantzic, and more especially to the poorer classes, who
gazed on them with awe, for they were in general stern, hard-featured,
and hard-hearted men, who did their duty without gentleness, and
rarely deserted a man when once they had him in their clutches.
Dumiger had made acquaintance with them of old on one or two
occasions, and the recollection was anything but agreeable.
The man entered the room very quickly, took his seat in Dumiger's
chair, and drew his missive from his pocket. It was Dumiger's bill to
Hoffman for a very large sum, which had been purchased by the Count.
"What is this?" gasped forth Dumiger; for, at the moment, the debt had
entirely escaped his recollection. "Ach Gott!" exclaimed Dumiger, "is
it possible?" but observing Marguerite standing by, pale, tearful, and
trembling, he restrained his impetuosity.
Dumiger rose and went to a drawer. He counted over, with the eagerness
of a miser, all the dollars which were kept there,--the few which had
remained after the expenses of the last fortnight. For some time past
he had devoted all his energies so entirely to the construction of the
clock, that the smallest receipts of his craft had been despised.
A cold perspiration stood on his forehead as he gazed upon his small
store. He knew too well, that by the laws of Dantzic the debtor was
either dragged to the common prison or all his goods were seized.
Either alternative was terrible. He looked round the room. On one side
stood the clock, the child of his mind and industry, on the other was
Marguerite, beautiful in her grief.
The man had lit a pipe, and was carelessly smoking.
"Come," said the officer at last, as shaking out the ashes of his pipe
and drawing himself to his full stature, so as to give weight to his
authority--"come, we have no time to lose, Herr Dumiger. The money or
the furniture, or to prison. Consult the pretty jungfrau there: but
you must come to a conclusion directly, for time presses and I have
several other little bits of business to perform to-night: so I will
light another pipe while you make up your minds."
It was no easy matter for Marguerite to bring her mind to a decision.
She thought on the one hand of the lonely nights she might have to
pass; on the other, of the irreparable loss the clock would be to
Dumiger. Dumiger clasped her hands in his own, and as his lips clung
to hers he exclaimed, "Perish all things but love." He rose--he was
on the point of desiring the man to take away the clock in payment
of the debt, in the hope that he might redeem it on the morrow, when
the sudden thought struck him that the Count was the instigator of
this act. He caught hold of the man by one arm, which was hanging
listlessly over the back of the chair, and exclaimed--
"Tell me who sent you on this mission."
The man only looked round with an expression of astonishment at his
presumption, and without deigning any reply, he resumed his pipe.
"Was it the Grand Master?" asked Dumiger.
"Obey my orders and ask no questions," said the man. "You had better
follow my example. I have told you already that there is no time to
spare. Tell me what course you intend to take. Give up some articles
in this room--there is that clock, which will do more than pay the
bill--or follow me immediately. There is no other alternative."
The whole conversation with the Grand Master occurred to Dumiger.
There could be no doubt that the clock would go into his possession;
that it was a deep-laid scheme to spoil him of the result of all his
labor. Better, far better, that Marguerite should bear the pain of
separation, than that the clock should be endangered, and by such a
"Marguerite," said Dumiger, in a low voice, after a long pause, "it is
fixed. We must part for a short time. I will write from my prison to
some of my friends; they will not desert me in this necessity. A few
short hours, and I shall return to you, my own Marguerite."
But Marguerite had fainted, and the lips which touched his cheek were
cold and pale.
Slowly she opened those large blue eyes, and although her lips
faltered, the look and the voice were both earnest as she bade him go.
"Yes, Dumiger, you are right: ambition such as yours is a less selfish
passion than love like mine. Leave me for a time. I know the interval
will be short. It is another step toward the greatness to which you
The man looked at them with a vague and vacant look. He had been
witness to this description of scene so frequently, that he began
to believe it to be a part of the debtor's craft. As some people can
regard the most beautiful varying tints of heaven, the lights and
shadows which flit across the face of nature, and see nothing more in
them than a part of that vast and complicated machinery that governs
the world--so he, in these lights and shadows of life, only beheld the
natural workings of the human mind.
With a pale cheek but a firm step Dumiger departed. The last sound
that fell upon his ear as he left his door, was the blessing murmured
by his bride. Again he felt disposed to turn back and sacrifice all
for his affection; but already one of the city guard stood behind him,
and the rattle of arms on the pavement told him that his arrest had
not been lightly planned or carelessly conducted.
The castle toward which Dumiger and his guards directed their steps
was the Grimshaus, formerly a citadel and an important point of
defense for the town of Dantzic, though now converted into a prison
for political offenders and debtors. The reader may be aware that
the laws against debtors in the great free commercial cities were
intolerably severe. Some men were permitted to groan away their whole
lives in hopeless misery. The creditor was in general without pity,
and the debtor unpitied. He was entirely at the mercy of the jailer,
who had it in his power to load him with chains, and even on the
slightest pretext of insubordination to execute summary justice
upon him. These laws, however, had as yet little affected Dumiger;
though threatened with arrest on one or two previous occasions his
difficulties had always been arranged. But the present debt was more
serious than any which had as yet been pressed for, and he could not
but feel that friends might be less willing to become surety.
They arrived at the square in which the Grimshaus was situated. It
was a wild, unhealthy, stern, fantastic pile, which stood, in point
of fact, upon an island, for a wide, wet ditch surrounded it, except
where a drawbridge connected it with the square. The towers and
ramparts had in some places mouldered away, and huge bars of iron
were introduced in different parts of the wall to give strength to the
building by binding the yawning mason-work together.
The square was deserted. The cry of the sentinel at the most distant
of the landward posts sounded ominous, like that of a lost bird
at night. Although the moon shone brightly, it was difficult to
distinguish the whole outline of the building, on account of the
pestiferous vapors which arose from the moat, and hung like a pall
over the recently flooded plain. Through these mists the city chimes
sounded muffled and melancholy. It was solitude--of all solitude the
most fearful--a prison solitude in the neighborhood of a great town.
The very escort appeared to feel the influence of their melancholy
and lonely scene, for the jests stopped as the foot of the vanguard
clanged on the drawbridge. This was merely the effect of discipline;
but to Dumiger it appeared a part of the drama, and it added to his
sense of fear.
They were detained some time upon the drawbridge while the sergeant
was holding some conversation with the officer of the watch.
"By the Holy Mary!" exclaimed the functionary who had arrested
Dumiger, "there must be something more than a mere debt in all this.
I never saw such a fuss made about the receipt of the body of a debtor
in all my life. And then, it was rather strange my being ordered to
take a file of my guard instead of honest Jean, who would have held
him just as firm in his grasp, and not kept my poor fellows shivering
out all night in this unhealthy atmosphere. No, no, there is something
more than a debt due: it is a case of political crime. Is it not so,
my lad?" he exclaimed, giving Dumiger a thump on his back which made
the chain-bridge rattle.
"Is it not what?" said Dumiger, who was quite taken by surprise. He
had been gazing on the water, and the purest drops in it were the
two tears which had fallen from his eyes. "I have heard nothing," he
replied. "What does all this mean, and why am I kept here?"
"Ah, that's just what I wish to know!" answered the man, "and no one
can tell us better than yourself. It is not merely for a case of debt
that I was sent to your house to-night. No, no, I am wiser than that.
Come now, tell us the real truth. What conspiracy have you entered
into, what political offense have you committed, to entitle you to be
escorted with such honor, and be made the subject of so many forms?
There is no use denying it," he continued, for Dumiger's astonished
countenance was quite a sufficient protestation against any such
inference. "Look here; the lieutenant of the tower has been called up,
and the guard is reinforced."
It was quite true. Had Dumiger been a state prisoner of the highest
rank, he could not have been received with more ceremony. The guard
turned out, and the rattle of the muskets was heard as the massive
gates rolled ponderously upon their axes. The one light in the
entrance gave an awful but not unpicturesque appearance to the scene,
for it was reflected on the glittering steel. It cast its wild gleams
on the bronzed cheeks of the guards, while the length and height of
the hall were lost in the gloom.
"Forward!" was the word, and tramp, tramp, tramp, mingled with the
rattle of the chains of the bridge. Dumiger was now placed in the
center of the guard.
The soldiers presented arms to the burghers: the burghers carried
theirs as they passed. The single drum beat, and its echo vibrated
through the building. The gates closed behind them--bolt after bolt
was drawn, and Dumiger was separated from the world.
His heart sank within him, and well it might; for as the moon shone
into the courtyard beyond the hall where he was standing, he could see
that the windows which looked into it were all trebly barred. Besides,
the building looked throughout so miserably damp and wretched; and
there was an entire absence of care for the comfort of its inmates,
which chilled his blood.
The lieutenant of the tower, after the conference with Dumiger's
officer had lasted some time, approached him. He took him gently by
the arm, and brought him to the broken, rotten, creaking stairs,
which led to the upper rooms, or rather cells, from which they were
separated by two large, massive iron doors.
The lieutenant himself opened the locks, while two soldiers, standing
on either side with flambeaux, gave Dumiger a full view of the
desolate stair which he had to ascend. The passage to which it led had
been taken out of the thickness of the walls, so massive were they.
They passed through a large hall where a huge fire was blazing, about
which some soldiers slept, with their cloaks drawn tightly round them
to ward off the draughts which came in strong gusts beneath the doors
and even through the shutters; one or two with handkerchiefs tied
round their heads, to serve the purpose of night-caps, were sitting
by the fire smoking. They took the pipes from their lips to salute the
lieutenant as he passed, but beyond this notice paid no attention
to the object of his visit. It was evidently an event of no uncommon
occurrence. More passages, more bars, more doors battered by age and
mended by slabs of iron, and at last Dumiger arrived at the room, or
rather the cell, which had been prepared for him. The preparations,
it must however be admitted, were of the very simplest character.
A palliasse thrown down in the corner, a rickety chair, and the
strangest apology for a table, were the whole furniture of the place.
Without one word of explanation the lieutenant motioned him into his
new abode. In vain Dumiger stormed and raved, and desired to know
whether this was the way in which free citizens were treated in the
free city of Dantzic. The lieutenant only shrugged his shoulders,
gave orders to the soldiers to withdraw, and Dumiger was left to his
A heavy weight, such as magnetic influence affects the brain with,
oppressed his forehead; he threw himself on the palliasse, and
endeavored to recall the events of the last few hours: but so rapid
and intense had they been, that they already seemed to be numbered
amongst the visions of the past. When the heart is oppressed with
suffering, and above all, with the most painful of all suffering,
anxiety, solitude and sleep are the only consolations. But then the
sleep is not the light, happy, joyous slumber, from which we awake
refreshed and strengthened; it is a leaden, sullen, sodden trance,
from which we awake with the sensation that the whole weight of the
atmosphere has been concentrated on our brows. This was the case with
Dumiger: the flickering, dreary light of the lamp kept waving before
his eyes as he lay there. He felt like a man whose limbs have been
paralyzed by some grievous accident. At last be breathed heavily, and
the load of oppression fell from his eyelids. Such was the sleep we
When he awoke in the morning the light had gone out; but a few
pale, melancholy gleams of morning pierced the prison-bars, which
were so far above him that it was not possible for him to reach
them. He strove to remember where he was; his eyes fell on the
grotesquely-painted figures which covered the walls, and which
had escaped his observation on the preceding night. These were the
handicraft of some man who had evidently endeavored to wile away his
time in prison by caricaturing his persecutors; and certainly he
had succeeded in the attempt. Nothing more absurd than some of these
pictures could be imagined; every possible deformity was ascribed to
the originals, and the sketches were surrounded by pasquinades and
quaint devices. Here and there might be found expressions of deeper
and more fearful import, if indeed anything could be more fearful than
the contrast between the ridiculous and such a dungeon. "_Non omnis
moriar_," wrote one man in a yellow liquid, which too evidently
was discolored blood. "_Justum et tenacem recti virum_," scrawled
another, immediately followed by a portrait of the "_vultis instantis
tyranni_," who had, if we may judge by the chain suspended from his
neck, once been a famous Grand Master. On one part of the wall might
be deciphered a whole romance scrawled with an old nail, in which the
prisoner had arrived at such excellence, that the letters were like
the most admirable type. It was a long, and doubtless melancholy tale;
so much so, that the kind guardians of the place had scratched it with
their knives to prevent its being easily deciphered. In fact, that
little cell had evidently contained an Iliad of romances; and if the
walls could have spoken, or even the scrawls been deciphered, some
strange tales, and perhaps many mysterious events, would have come to
light. Dumiger gazed on these sad records of prior existences with a
melancholy interest. In vain he endeavored to explain to himself the
cause of his being treated with such unparalleled severity. He could
not recall any crime such as might excuse his incarceration in such
an abominable place. He buried his face in his hands. He thought of
Marguerite and the clock, and then, happily for him, he wept, as the
young alone can weep when they are in sorrow, and when their sorrow is
He was roused by an unbolting of bars, the turning of huge, unwieldy
keys, and the lieutenant of the castle stood before him.
Dumiger was in that state of mind when whatever of pride belongs
to the consciousness of innocence loses its strength. Though there
was little to invite confidence in the outward demeanor of the
functionary, he ran toward him, seized him by both hands, and
exclaimed, "Have pity upon me, sir; tell me why I am here!"
"Pooh, pooh," replied the bronzed old Cerberus: "be a man."
"Be a man!" shrieked Dumiger, "I am a man: and it is because I am
a man, a free man of Dantzic, that I appeal against this monstrous
treatment. Be a man! why, I appeal to you, sir, to be a man, and
to give up that situation, if it can only be retained by cruelty to
others. I say again, be you a man, and cease to torture me."
The lieutenant continued looking at him with the most perfect
indifference. He whistled a tune, took the only two turns in the cell
which its extent permitted, and then, as if a sudden recollection had
struck him, put two letters into Dumiger's hands.
"Come, you are not very ill treated, young man, when you are allowed
Dumiger felt a glow of delight thrill through his frame. Everything
is by comparison, and after the pain be had endured, the sight of two
letters, the one in the handwriting of Marguerite, the other of Carl,
made his heart leap with joy. They seemed to him to be the guarantees
of immediate safety.
The lieutenant still remained near him. Dumiger would not open the
letters in his presence. At last the officer, after some minutes'
delay, and having sung sundry snatches of martial airs, gave Dumiger
a contemptuous, indignant glance, and stalked out of the cell, taking
care to rattle the bolts and bars as a punishment to Dumiger for not
gratifying his curiosity. Poor devil, it was his only amusement to pry
into the prisoners' secrets.
"How is the lad?" asked the second in command when his commander
"Better than he will be when he knows the charges for which he is shut
up. At present he is under the impression it is only for debt; but
when he learns it is for treason, he will whimper and whine even more
than he has been doing."
"What, so young and a traitor!" exclaimed the subaltern, who was
evidently the kinder spirit of the two. "It is almost incredible."
"It may be," continued the lieutenant. "I have directions from the
Grand Master and Council to keep a strict watch over him. They say
that he is a most dangerous character. But I never trouble myself much
about these kind of fellows. I do my duty quietly. Meanwhile, I have
given him letters which won't add to his happiness much when he reads
them, if I am to believe what the inspector told me, who of course
read them and sealed them again."
The moment the lieutenant had left the cell, Dumiger eagerly tore open
Marguerite's letter, without remarking that it had been opened ere
it reached him. He read it through with that rapidity of glance and
mental discernment which fear and love combined can alone give. It
was with a groan of horror that he allowed the letter to drop from his
hands, for the full extent of the difficulties of his situation now
broke upon him. She told him that the same evening, the moment his
arrest was known in the neighborhood, bills had poured in from all
quarters; that she had seen his friends Carl and Krantz, who called
early on that morning, and who found it impossible to obtain one-tenth
of the sum now required for his release. All they could do, therefore,
was to take charge of the wonderful model, and carry it to the
Court-house, where it would have to remain until the decision of the
Council should be proclaimed. The second letter, which was from Carl,
was still more appalling, for he told Dumiger how essential it was
for him to make any sacrifice in order to put the whole machinery
in order, so that his work might appear to the judges in the most
favorable point of view. He undertook, however, to engage the best
mechanist in Dantzic, in the event of Dumiger not being able to obtain
his release before the appointed day.
What was to be done? Dumiger felt himself driven almost to frenzy. He
thought of Marguerite, of his clock, of his friends; he then began to
think that be had acted very foolishly in refusing the offer of the
Grand Master, who, he felt assured, although the lieutenant would
not admit it to him, was the cause of all his misery. The more he
reflected on the past, the more desperate he became; he rolled on the
ground in agony; the whole day passed in efforts to reach the window,
whence at least he might perceive the situation of his house, or to
shake the bars of the strongly-ironed door. Toward evening a soldier
brought him some refreshment, but preserved an obstinate silence.
Dumiger allowed the refreshment to remain untasted on the ground; he
could not touch it. The evening grew on apace, the merry chimes from
the Dom of the city came across the water; it struck him that they
had never chimed so musically before, or with so much meaning. Another
long, long night of agony was to be passed, and where and how was
suspense to end?
Time swept on, but this night they brought him no lamp, so that he had
no means of measuring its progress; he could only judge how heavily
the hours rolled by the tramp of the guards as they marched over the
drawbridge to the several reliefs. At ten o'clock he heard the bugles
sounding the retreat, and then when he pictured to himself his gentle
young bride, so sweet, so lovely--when he remembered how greatly he
had neglected her for his ambition--he loathed himself for what he
used to consider laudable, but now felt to have been mere selfishness.
It was still very early, for the gray cold streaks of morning had
not pierced the prison-bars, when Dumiger was roused from his uneasy
slumber by the rattling of the lock of his door. He looked up and saw
with surprise a man who was not dressed in uniform.
"Who are you? What do you want?" exclaimed Dumiger, "for there is such
a thing as intrusion even in a prison."
The man whom he addressed only replied by taking possession of the
single chair which stood by the bedside; he then very quietly and
coolly took a tinder-box from his pocket, struck a light in the
most deliberate manner, and lit the small lamp which had remained
unreplenished from the preceding evening. Dumiger had then an
opportunity of examining his visitor.
He was a little, jesuitical, sly, crafty, leering person, with a
quick, intelligent, practical eye--a man who was evidently conversant
with the world; and to judge from the sensual expression of his mouth
and the protuberance at the nape of the neck, whose world was of the
worst description--a phrenologist or physiognomist would have hung him
at once. It is fortunate for some men that these sciences are not more
extensively understood, or a great many persons would suffer for their
natural and cerebral conformation.
"You will soon be free, my son."
"Free! thank God!" exclaimed Dumiger, throwing himself back on his
pillow and clasping his hands in gratitude.
"You are too quick, young man," continued the stranger. "I said you
would soon be free, if--you see there is an _if_. It is for you to
"If--if what? I will do anything you tell me," almost shrieked
Dumiger, so terrified was he at the possibility of his hopes deserting
"Well," continued the little man, putting on his spectacles and
examining the roll of his papers, "I will commence by telling you that
I am a native of Hamburgh and like yourself, a great mechanist. I was
sent for by the Council last evening, to examine all the models which
have been received. I do not hesitate to say to you that yours is by
far the best."
"God be praised, Marguerite, Marguerite!" ejaculated Dumiger.
"Yes," quickly remarked the mysterious visitor, "yours is by far
superior to all the rest, but it will not win the prize."
"Not win the prize!" said Dumiger; for now all his ambition had
returned to him.
"Certainly not," was the reply; "you know as well as I do that the
machinery requires some directing power. No one knows how to apply it:
no one knows the secret."
"Yes, there is a secret," said the youth, his face brightening even
through the cold, clammy prison atmosphere.
"And you cannot get out to tell it, or to arrange your own work,
for here I have a schedule of the judgments for debt which have been
lodged against you;" and he held out a list some twelve inches in
Dumiger groaned. "And are there no means of paying this?"
"You can answer that question as well as myself," replied the man. "I
will tell you that there are none for the present; but there is one
way in which the clock may still be the admiration of Dantzic, and
yourself free with a great independence in three days."
"What way? what way? tell me quickly!" cried Dumiger, gasping with
"Be still, young man, be still; we have plenty of time: let's proceed
quietly," said the stranger.
"Well, well, but be quick," continued Dumiger, in anything but a quiet
tone of voice.
"I have told you," said the man, quietly readjusting his spectacles,
which Dumiger had slightly disturbed by the violence with which he
seized his arm, "I have told you that I am a native of Hambro', a
mechanician; that I have seen your clock, admired it, and taken the
trouble to obtain a list of your liabilities,--here it is again."
Dumiger gave another groan.
"Your position," continued the stranger, "appears to me to be
this--that without my assistance your clock will be worth nothing,
while you will remain quietly in prison here, charged besides, as
far as I can understand the matter, with some political offense; that
Marguerite will either pine away or atone for your loss by amusing
herself with some of your friends--Carl and Krantz for instance. You
see I am _au fait_ with all your domestic matters."
Oh, jealousy! oh, cowardice of the heart! At the name of Carl the
blood flew to Dumiger's temples. It just occurred to him that it was
strange that Marguerite should have gone to him for assistance without
any direction from himself to do so. Root out the feeling, Dumiger;
root it out, or you are lost.
The stranger smiled sarcastically, but affected not to notice his
flushed cheek and faltering voice.
"Now there is but one means to relieve yourself from all these risks
and this load of misery."
"Again I inquire, what is it?" said Dumiger.
"Sell me your clock: I have come to purchase it on the part of the
free city of Hamburgh," was the calm, deliberate reply.
"Sell my clock!" echoed Dumiger.
"The city of Hamburgh," continued the stranger, without appearing to
remark Dumiger's exclamation, "authorizes me to offer for the clock of
best workmanship, the freedom of her walls, an income of four thousand
dollars, a place in the chief council with due precedence, and many
other minor advantages. If you accept these terms a large installment
of money will be paid within three days,--that is, within the time
for the return of post. You will naturally inquire, Why the city of
Hambro' should make so extravagant an offer? I will recall to you
the extreme jealousy which has always existed between these two
great commercial cities. You will remember that this rivalry is
unceasing--that it comprehends all things, the smallest as well as the
greatest. They attempted to vie with each other in the construction of
their doms: Dantzic gained the advantage. The fame and the prize given
for excellence in these clocks, and of the unrivaled workmanship which
may be expected, has spread throughout Germany. The inhabitants
of Hambro' are inferior in science. They wish to obtain a piece of
workmanship which shall be unrivaled, in the easiest manner, and I
was sent here to negotiate the purchase. Well, I was selected by the
Council here as one of the judges. It is an act of treachery--granted:
that cannot affect you. All that there is for you to decide on are the
terms I have offered you."
"Oh! Marguerite!" exclaimed Dumiger, "if you were here, what would you
"What would she counsel," said the stranger, "except to accept this
offer? Remember, if you refuse it you remain here for days, if not
weeks. You cannot hope to obtain the preference unless you are enabled
to inform any one of the secret of setting the works in motion, and
then it would require a hand as steady and experienced as my own to
carry out your directions; and I should not undertake to do it except
on the conditions which I have named."
"Show me the conditions drawn out," said Dumiger.
The man rolled out slowly one of the long strips of parchment which he
held in his hand; he gave it to Dumiger, who drew the lamp near him,
and for a few minutes reveled in the ideas of freedom and wealth. He
had but to say the word, and he enjoyed all that he had been laboring
for through life; but then, at what price? at that which it pained him
to contemplate--the citizenship of his native town, where his family
had dwelt respected for centuries. No doubt he was selling his
birthright; he was parting with all that a man should cling to in
adversity as in prosperity--that which is not to be purchased with
gold--all his old ties, his affections, his faith. Once signed, the
deed was irrevocable; and yet if he did not sign, what had he to hope
He leaned his head on his hands, in one of those stern struggles which
age a man in a few minutes, as breaths of frost wither the freshest
leaves. He invoked the Spirit of Love--he called forth Marguerite, and
she stood beside him. He saw her with her cheek paler than when he had
parted from her; he saw her bosom heaving with sighs instead of love;
he heard her soft whisper in his ear, and he thought that whisper
expressed assent--that for him, she too was willing to relinquish the
home and the friends of her childhood. Ay, is it not ever so? Invoke
whom we may in hours of trial, does not the oracle take its tone from
our own wishes? Fond and futile pretense to invoke the Spirit of Love
to decide where love is interested! As Marguerite seemed to stand
beside Dumiger he lost sight of ambition, and all its pomp and
circumstance; all he asked was to be free.
"Give me the paper," he said in a firm voice: "the clock is yours, and
the principle of the movement is to be found engraved on a small plate
under the mainspring."
If he had seen the smile of triumph which passed over that man's
countenance, he would have hesitated.
The deed was done: the man put his materials and his paper into his
"Now," he said, rising to go, "the third day's post will find you
free; and take my advice, leave Dantzic soon. The people will be
irritated at being deprived of their master-piece. I would not have
you trust to their render mercies; for that matter, it is well for
you that you are safe in prison. Remember this advice, for I know the
Dantzickers as well as you do."
"Stay, stay one moment," cried Dumiger, as the stranger was about to
leave the cell, "who told you so much about me? How did you obtain
this list of debts? How came you to hear of Marguerite, and Carl, and
Krantz? Surely," and he passed his hand across his brow like a man who
is pained by the intensity of a ray of light after having been long in
darkness--"tell me before you go, what does this mean?" And he caught
a firm hold of the man's cloak.
"There is no reason why I should not tell you the truth now," said
he, buttoning his coat tightly over the papers. "I was sent for by the
Grand Master, who engaged me to obtain the sale of your clock at any
price. And he gave me good inducements to undertake the job."
The whole scheme broke on Dumiger's mind.
"And with what object?" he gasped forth; "tell me that."
"To get rid of your competition," said the man quietly. "After yours
there is no doubt that his son's is the best; and, therefore, when
yours is sold to Hambro', his will be prized in Dantzic. As for me,
I shall get rewarded for my exertions, both by the Grand Master your
noble count, and my own city. Here is the truth of the matter," said
he; "now let me go."
"Let you go, miscreant!" exclaimed Dumiger, "never, until you return
me that paper. Let you go! I will follow you to death rather. You
betrayed me into this act; it was not my own free will. I am the
victim of the basest conspiracy. I have been induced to sell my
birthright--I prefer to remain in prison--I love my townspeople--I
will not be free on these conditions! Give me back my bond!"
"Never!" said the man, putting himself into an attitude of defense.
And he did wisely, for there was desperation in Dumiger's eye. He
waited a moment, and then with a maniac's strength he flew at the man,
but he found a powerful and vigorous antagonist. The stranger, who had
appeared half decrepit and aged, rose up in all the strength of youth.
In a moment he had grasped Dumiger's arms, very coolly taken out a
handkerchief, and in spite of all Dumiger's efforts bound his hands
together. After he had performed this operation he drew the document
again from his pocket, so as to be well assured that it was correctly
signed, and smiled as he said to Dumiger--
"You know that signature?"
"Scoundrel! miscreant!" were the only words to which Dumiger could
"And now, fellow-citizen," said the man, "I bid you farewell. Keep
your temper; these sober arts should have taught you this kind of
self-command. You will soon be free. As for your arms, I dare not
untie them now, but I will send the guard to you. Now, holloa, guard
without there!" and he left the cell.
What did all this mean? A mystery seemed to be encircling Dumiger
which he could not penetrate. He knew there was danger near him, but
was unable to define its extent. Only one thing was now certain--he
had sold that clock on which years of toil had been bestowed, and not
in vain. He had but a few days since contemplated certain success, now
how far it was from him! And Hamburgh--to be great and ennobled there,
what did that signify to him? How long would it not take for him,
the inhabitant of the great rival city, to be admitted into this new
society? No, he had made an error which could never be recalled;
he had broken the ties which were once so dear to him. Dumiger now
learned the great truth, that it is only the opinion of the few with
whom we are most intimate that we care for. It is nothing to be
great amongst those with whom we have no sympathies, no affections
in common. The kind word from one lip which we love is far more to
be prized than the loudest acclamations of thousands to whom we are
The day at last arrived for the triennial exhibition of the
productions of Dantzic art, on which day the council had agreed that
the prize for the clock was to be adjudged. It was a great _fete_ for
the town. At an early hour of the morning the inhabitants began to
decorate their houses with tapestry, and to hang garlands over the
door-posts. All classes prepared their dresses of brightest colors,
and their gayest, happiest smiles. And none was happier than
Marguerite, for Dumiger had written to tell her that on the next day
he was certain to be free; but he had not ventured to inform her that
the clock was sold to Hamburgh. Still, although the deed of sale was
irrevocable, his feelings would not permit him to believe that the
excellence of his work would remain unknown to his towns-people; he
felt convinced that the strangers vanity would induce him to make
use of the secret confided to him, so he wrote to Marguerite that
all would go right. Carl and Krantz arrived early in the morning to
accompany her to the great hall. She had within her a secret which she
would not have disclosed to the universe,--the secret of her husband's
success, of his fame and future happiness. So far Dumiger had informed
her that there was an intrigue against him, in which the Grand Master
was the principal: he explained to her that the object the Grand
Master had in view was to obtain the prize and its accompanying honors
for his own son. Carl and Krantz undertook to protect her through
the crowd, and it was with an abundant feeling of confidence that she
dressed for the ceremonial.
She wore her hair braided round her head; a bodice, which showed the
beauty and shape of her form, of scarlet cloth, attached by threads
of gold across the shirt, which was of the softest and most delicate
material; the short blue petticoat, which reached some way below the
knee, but did not descend so far as to conceal the ankle, the symmetry
of which was well-defined by the silk stocking. The shoe might have
stirred the envy of any _grisette_ in Paris--a class which was, even
in those days, supposed to enjoy a monopoly of taste and refinement.
There was a modesty combined with refinement and strength of character
in the appearance of Marguerite which would have distinguished her in
any crowd. She was a being for love and sunshine; but one who, at
the same time, would have dared much for him she loved. The kind and
generous are ever gallant, and rarely are the beautiful unworthy.
Carl and Krantz were also dressed out in their gayest costumes. It
would have been hard to have decided which was the predominant color
in the dresses of these two worthy citizens; they would have rivaled
any tulip bed in a Dutch garden, and perfectly dazzled Marguerite when
they entered the room.
At length the last touch was given to the toilette, and they sallied
forth. Already the streets were so crowded that it was difficult to
move through them; but Carl and Krantz were determined, energetic
fellows, and what with their elbows and Marguerite's bright smiles,
after incurring a few risks of some jokes on Carl's extravagant
appearance, they reached the great hall.
The street in front of the Courthouse was lined with the burgher
guard, stationed there to keep back the crowd; but Marguerite had
an order for admittance at a private entrance, so, escorted by her
cavalier, she ascended the staircase.
When she entered the hall she was struck with awe and astonishment.
The whole of that enormous space, with the exception of the portion
railed off for the competitors and the dais where the council were
sitting, was crowded by a dense mass of people: along the sides of the
vast edifice, and up to the very roof, were arranged all the various
productions of national art. Nothing can be pictured more beautiful
than the combination of rich and varied colors, or more curious than
the forms which art and genius had given them: here were dyes which
might have rivaled those of Tyre, and fabrics of finer texture than a
Penelope could have woven. At one end, toward which Marguerite's eyes
were most anxiously turned, the models of the clocks were arranged.
Dumiger's was placed in the center, for it was at the same time
the largest model, and contained the most elaborate and complicated
machinery; but, alas! the works remained still, while all the others
were in motion, and showed in the smallest space the movements of the
heavenly bodies, and the progress of time. If Dumiger's meant anything
more than a confused mass of machinery, it could not for a moment be
doubted that it was the work of highest genius exhibited, but in its
quiescent state it contrasted disadvantageously with the admirable
systems revolving round it. Marguerite held her breath while she
gazed; neither did she perceive how much attention she herself had
awakened--the moment for vanity had passed, her present interests lay
far deeper. Immediately above her the Grand Council, with the Grand
Master, were sitting, dressed in their robes of state. The Count
Albrecht wore his cordon of the Fleece, and looked every inch a grand
master; the anxiety for his son's success was apparent in the nervous
glances which he cast around him. Behind, and amid the retainers,
stood the dark, designing-looking stranger, who held in his hand the
fate of Dumiger.
The heralds proclaimed silence, and then the Grand Master rose to read
the decision of the council. It commenced with reciting the list of
the competitors, and when it mentioned Dumiger's name, it said, "the
work is imperfect, and therefore must be withdrawn."
"It is not imperfect," cried two stentorian voices from the farther
end of the hall.
The voices proceeded from Carl and Krantz, whose excitement could no
longer be retained.
"No! it is not imperfect," said the gentler voice of Marguerite.
All eyes were turned toward the spot whence that voice proceeded.
Marguerite nearly fainted to find herself the object of so much
"Keep your courage," whispered Carl. "Tell them that Dumiger will soon
be free, and the works put in motion. I will tell them for you," he
exclaimed, and he began to speak, when the mysterious stranger stepped
"Stay," he said, "let me touch the works of this clock--the secret is
He forced his way through the crowd, looked carefully over the
machinery, opened a secret spring, arranged two small wheels, on which
the accurate movement of the whole machinery depended, and immediately
it was all in motion.
The proceeding was watched with intense interest by all. The
stranger's eye gleamed with delight, for he was anxious, with the true
spirit of Hamburg jealousy, that the people of Dantzic should feel the
value of what they were about to lose.
It was indeed a marvelous piece of workmanship: the planets all
revolved in their regular order, figures of exquisite workmanship
appeared and disappeared to mark the seconds, and the dial plate
was of elaborate beauty. The people for some time stood entranced in
wonder. At last they exclaimed, as with one voice--
"It is a work worthy of Dantzic--and Dumiger has won! Dumiger
If Marguerite had nearly fainted from fear, she was now pale with
"Dumiger, Dumiger forever!" again shouted the crowd; "where is the
laurel? where is the triumph? Greatest amongst his citizens, Dumiger
But at that moment the stranger came forward with a paper in his hand.
The Count's face, which had been overspread with anger and shame at
these shouts, was again lit up with hope, for after Dumiger's his
son's was evidently the best.
"You mistake, my friends," said this man: "Dumiger is not a citizen of
Dantzic, but of Hamburg, and the clock belongs to that noblest of free
"Madman! fool!" burst from the astonished crowd; "we all know Dumiger,
his family are eminent in the list of our freemen--you are mad! Grand
Master, proclaim that Dumiger has won the prize, that Dumiger is
Joy thrilled through Marguerite's frame.
The Grand Master rose, and his voice trembled with anxiety and secret
pleasure as he spoke.
"It is too true," he said; "the clock is sold to Hamburg, and Dumiger
has lost his rights of citizenship here by becoming a freeman of that
town. The prize, therefore, in accordance with the decision of the
council, is adjudged to the second--to my son."
Then the anger of the people rose, wild and savage; in one moment,
like the bursting of a thunder-cloud, the whole aspect of the place
"Show us the deed!" they exclaimed.
The stranger took it and held it up. There was no mistaking it; it
was headed by the arms of Hamburg, and signed by Dumiger. The storm of
indignation had subsided for a moment, but only as it seemed to gain
"Tear him in pieces--he shall not have the clock. Down with
Dumiger--crucify the man who could prefer the freedom of Hamburg to
the honors of Dantzic. Down with him!"
And the people tore up the benches, drove back the burgher guard;
some of the boldest dashed on the platform; the Grand Council had to
escape, carrying the stranger with them. The mob tore out of the hall,
and told their friends outside--anger led to anger, the passions rose
like the waves at the equinox. Nothing could stop the mob, from so
apparently trifling a cause a tumult was created; the jealousy of the
townsmen now appeared--that jealousy, smothered and subdued for so
many years, burst forth in this madness.
Poor Marguerite had fainted. Carl and Krantz, by herculean exertions,
dragged her through the mob; she was taken to a small room over the
great hall, and laid there until the storm should be appeased.
It did not seem likely to be so. Unfortunately, one of the guards had
in the tumult struck a burgher; in some of the smaller streets they
were even now fighting; but the crowd in the great square seemed
to have a firmer purpose, there was a gradual calm. At last one man
climbed up the statue in the Center of the square.
"Where is Dumiger?" he asked.
And another voice answered, "He is in the debtor's prison."
"We will go and lead him to his triumph," was the dark and threatening
reply of the people, who now moved forward in columns.
The two days which elapsed since the interview with the stranger had
been passed by Dumiger in great misery. He blamed himself deeply for
having been so easily entrapped into what he feared would prove a
snare, and very foolishly, as we have seen, he wrote to Marguerite
that she had everything to hope, as he still retained the desire of
being honored by his fellow-townsmen, although they were not to enjoy
the fruit of his labors.
On the eventful morning which has been described, Dumiger arose full
of hope, his triumph was to be secured; and in the evening he even
entertained a secret impression and belief that the people would not
permit the clock to be removed, and that the error he had made might
be retrieved by their energetic wills. He heard the bands of music
playing in the distance. The merry chimes floated over the water, and
bade him good speed. He thought that he could even discern the buzz of
enjoyment, and the shout of anticipated triumph. He took out the last
letter which Marguerite had written to him, and pressed it to his
heart; that day, he thought, was to see them united never to be parted
What sound was that?--Was it the wind? No, the murmur of many voices,
the tramp of a thousand feet, shook the drawbridge. He heard his
own name called out. Yes, it is! it surely cannot be an error; it
is Dumiger they are invoking. Now there can be no mistake, the crowd
unite in one loud cry,--
"Where is Dumiger?"
"I am here, I am here," he shrieks out; "Open the gates."
What could it mean? the guards were resisting. There is a shot
fired--is this the way in which a triumph is conducted? There is a
"We want the man Dumiger, the prisoner," exclaims one.
"Good, you shall have him. Let but a few enter," says the lieutenant
of the tower, "and the guard shall withdraw."
Immediately there is a loud rush on the stair, not the tramp, tramp,
of regular troops.
"Here, here!" exclaims Dumiger; "here am I, my friends! Welcome,
welcome!" and he rushes to embrace the first who enters.
"Back, traitor!" answers the man.
Dumiger tumbles against the wall in terror and astonishment.
"Yes, you are the traitor," continued he who acted the part of leader
of the motley crowd; "you have sold your birthright--you have betrayed
our interests. What punishment is fit for such a usurer?"
"Down, down with him," cried the mob.
The leaders consulted together for one moment.
"My good people," continued the same man, "we have taken counsel, and
you shall redress. We will not take this man's life. This is what we
decide,--We will keep the clock to be the glory of our town, but he
shall never see it, neither shall he have it any more in his power to
make another equal to it or better, for we will put out his eyes."
"Yes, yes," vociferated the mob, "it is excellent. Put out his eyes at
Before Dumiger could collect his scattered senses two strong, stalwart
men had seized him. In spite of his shrieks and entreaties they threw
him down on the straw; one more savage than the rest drew forth a
small knife--agony on agony! horror on horror! in one moment to the
living man there was Cimmerian darkness. The deed was done, and they
who had done it looked on with horror and fear at their own crime.
There were no shrieks to break the fearful silence: a few inarticulate
sobs of heart wrung from his misery were all that was heard, and the
mob withdrew silent and repentant.
Carl had followed at a distance. He had made frantic, but ineffectual
efforts to enter the cell; when the crowd dispersed he went up the
stairs without impediment, and there he found his friend extended. He
raised him, he bore him home with those sightless, bleeding orbs. He
comes, Marguerite; hasten forth to meet your husband: let the light of
your love bless him, for the light of Heaven has departed forever.
There is great excitement in Dantzic, for the noble clock, which
has been for ten years the marvel of Germany,--the clock which was
made by the cunningest artificers who followed Dumiger's model, has
stopped. No one can arrange it; the model was broken up as a jealous
precaution. There is but one who understands it--who can regulate the
wondrous movement; that is he who constructed it.
Yes. the Council will go to Dumiger. They seek his house; they repent
of the fearful crime they committed.
"Dumiger, come forth!" they exclaim. "Forgive us our offense. Greatest
of citizens, all honors and rewards shall be heaped upon you. Regulate
this great work, prized above all others in this city, for which
we contended for five years with Hamburg. Stand forth in glory and
And a man, young in years, but decrepit in suffering, appears,
supported by two friends. The partner of his hopes and fears is long
since dead. The streets ring with applause as he appears, and many
kneel to kiss his hand--ay, some his feet. But all he asks is to be
led first to Marguerite's grave. There, in the presence of thousands,
he prays for strength; and then he desires them to conduct him to the
When he appears outside, the air is rent with shouts. "Dumiger,
Dumiger, the first of the citizens!" Oh, popular feeling, at once base
He seems to see the works again; he climbs up and touches every part
of the wonderful construction--his hand has found the secret of the
movement, again it is in order, and the pride of Dantzic is saved.
He stands still for some minutes. A god could not have been more
worshiped, or a prophet looked grander. Again his hand is on the
movement--crash, crash,--the slight spring on which the whole
machinery depended is rent asunder by his own hand; the clock falls
to pieces, never to be repaired. At the same moment there is a fall, a
fearful groan, and Dumiger lies on the pavement a bleeding corpse. The
clock and its maker have ceased to exist.
Such is the legend, and from that day there has been no clock in the
Dom of Dantzic.
* * * * *
THE SHIP "EXTRAVAGANCE."
Oh, Extravagance saileth in climes bright and warm.
She is built for the sunlight and not for the storm;
Her anchor is gold, and her mainmast is pride--
Every sheet in the wind doth she dashingly ride!
But _Content_ is a vessel not built for display,
Though she's ready and steady--come storm when it may.
So give us Content as life's channel we steer.
If our Pilot be Caution, we've little to fear!
Oh! Extravagance saileth 'mid glitter and show,
As if fortune's rich tide never ebbed in its flow;
But see her at night when her gold-light is spent,
When her anchor is lost, and her silken sails rent;
When the wave of destruction her shatter'd side drinks,
And the billows--ha! ha!--laugh and shout as she sinks.
No! give us _Content_, as life's channel we steer.
While our Pilot is _Caution_, there's little to fear.
* * * * *
LAUGHING IN THE SLEEVE.--A writer in _Notes and Queries_ gives an
instance of Curry's wit, introduced after a defeat in a conversational
contest with Lady Morgan. "It was the fashion then for ladies to
wear very short sleeves; and Lady Morgan, albeit not a young woman,
with true provincial exaggeration, wore none--a mere strap over her
shoulders. Curry was walking away from her little coterie, when she
called out, 'Ah! come back, Mr. Curry, and acknowledge that you are
fairly beaten.' 'At any rate,' said he, turning round, 'I have this
consolation, you can't laugh at me in your sleeve!"
* * * * *
An antiquarian discovery has just been made in Kremusch, near
Treplitz, in Bohemia. Some twelve feet below the surface of the earth,
a tomb, with six bodies in it, was found. It contained, besides, a
gold chain about a yard and a half long, three gold ear-rings, two
gold balls of the size of a walnut, a gold medallion with a cameo
representing a Roman Emperor, and an iron plate, thickly silvered,
on each side of which is engraved a reindeer, with a hawk on its hind
quarters. The workmanship of the different objects, which evidently
belong to the ante-Christian era, is remarkable for its neatness.
* * * * *
"Death is a road our dearest friends have gone;
Why, with such leaders, fear to say 'Lead on?'
Its gate repels, lest it too soon be tried;
But turns in balm on the immortal side.
Mothers have pass'd it; fathers; children: men,
Whose like we look not to behold again;
Women, that smiled away their loving breath.--
Soft is the traveling on the road of Death.
But guilt has passed it? Men not fit to die?
Oh, hush--for He that made us all, is by.
Human were all; all men; all born of mothers;
All our own selves, in the worn-out shape of others;
Our _used_, and oh! be sure, not to be _ill_-used brothers."
* * * * *
So perfect were the Egyptians in the manufacture of perfumes that
some of their ancient ointment, preserved in an alabaster vase, in the
museum of Alnwick, still retains a powerful odor, though it must be
within 2,000 and 3,000 years old.