“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 cities.”
“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 great.”
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 had changed.
“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 additional strength.
“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.