“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 last.
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.