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 indifferent.
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.