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It is not much of a dream, considering the vast extent of the domains of dreamland, and their wonderful productions; it is only remarkable for being unusually restless and unusually real. He dreams of lying there, asleep, and yet counting his companion's footsteps as he walks to and fro. He dreams that the footsteps die away into distance of time and of space, and that something touches him, and that something falls from his hand. Then something clinks and gropes about, and he dreams that he is alone for so long a time, that the lanes of light take new directions as the moon advances in her course. From succeeding unconsciousness he passes into a dream of slow uneasiness from cold; and painfully awakes to a perception of the lanes of light - really changed, much as he had dreamed - and Jasper walking among them, beating his hands and feet.
'Holloa!' Durdles cries out, unmeaningly alarmed.
'Awake at last?' says Jasper, coming up to him. 'Do you know that your forties have stretched into thousands?'
'They have though.'
'What's the time?'
'Hark! The bells are going in the Tower!'
They strike four quarters, and then the great bell strikes.
'Two!' cries Durdles, scrambling up; 'why didn't you try to wake me, Mister Jarsper?'
'I did. I might as well have tried to wake the dead - your own family of dead, up in the corner there.'
'Did you touch me?'
'Touch you! Yes. Shook you.'
As Durdles recalls that touching something in his dream, he looks down on the pavement, and sees the key of the crypt door lying close to where he himself lay.
'I dropped you, did I?' he says, picking it up, and recalling that part of his dream. As he gathers himself up again into an upright position, or into a position as nearly upright as he ever maintains, he is again conscious of being watched by his companion.
'Well?' says Jasper, smiling, 'are you quite ready? Pray don't hurry.'
'Let me get my bundle right, Mister Jarsper, and I'm with you.' As he ties it afresh, he is once more conscious that he is very narrowly observed.
'What do you suspect me of, Mister Jarsper?' he asks, with drunken displeasure. 'Let them as has any suspicions of Durdles name 'em.'
'I've no suspicions of you, my good Mr. Durdles; but I have suspicions that my bottle was filled with something stiffer than either of us supposed. And I also have suspicions,' Jasper adds, taking it from the pavement and turning it bottom upwards, 'that it's empty.'
Durdles condescends to laugh at this. Continuing to chuckle when his laugh is over, as though remonstrant with himself on his drinking powers, he rolls to the door and unlocks it. They both pass out, and Durdles relocks it, and pockets his key.
'A thousand thanks for a curious and interesting night,' says Jasper, giving him his hand; 'you can make your own way home?'
'I should think so!' answers Durdles. 'If you was to offer Durdles the affront to show him his way home, he wouldn't go home.
Durdles wouldn't go home till morning; And THEN Durdles wouldn't go home,
Durdles wouldn't.' This with the utmost defiance.
'Good-night, Mister Jarsper.'
Each is turning his own way, when a sharp whistle rends the silence, and the jargon is yelped out:
Widdy widdy wen! I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - ten. Widdy widdy wy! Then - E - don't - go - then - I - shy - Widdy Widdy Wake-cock warning!'
Instantly afterwards, a rapid fire of stones rattles at the Cathedral wall, and the hideous small boy is beheld opposite, dancing in the moonlight.
'What! Is that baby-devil on the watch there!' cries Jasper in a fury: so quickly roused, and so violent, that he seems an older devil himself. 'I shall shed the blood of that impish wretch! I know I shall do it!' Regardless of the fire, though it hits him more than once, he rushes at Deputy, collars him, and tries to bring him across. But Deputy is not to be so easily brought across. With a diabolical insight into the strongest part of his position, he is no sooner taken by the throat than he curls up his legs, forces his assailant to hang him, as it were, and gurgles in his throat, and screws his body, and twists, as already undergoing the first agonies of strangulation. There is nothing for it but to drop him. He instantly gets himself together, backs over to Durdles, and cries to his assailant, gnashing the great gap in front of his mouth with rage and malice:
'I'll blind yer, s'elp me! I'll stone yer eyes out, s'elp me! If I don't have yer eyesight, bellows me!' At the same time dodging behind Durdles, and snarling at Jasper, now from this side of him, and now from that: prepared, if pounced upon, to dart away in all manner of curvilinear directions, and, if run down after all, to grovel in the dust, and cry: 'Now, hit me when I'm down! Do it!'
'Don't hurt the boy, Mister Jarsper,' urges Durdles, shielding him. 'Recollect yourself.'
'He followed us to-night, when we first came here!'
'Yer lie, I didn't!' replies Deputy, in his one form of polite contradiction.
'He has been prowling near us ever since!'
'Yer lie, I haven't,' returns Deputy. 'I'd only jist come out for my 'elth when I see you two a-coming out of the Kin-freederel. If
I - ket - ches - Im - out - ar - ter - ten!'
(with the usual rhythm and dance, though dodging behind Durdles), 'it ain't ANY fault, is it?'
'Take him home, then,' retorts Jasper, ferociously, though with a strong check upon himself, 'and let my eyes be rid of the sight of you!'
Deputy, with another sharp whistle, at once expressing his relief, and his commencement of a milder stoning of Mr. Durdles, begins stoning that respectable gentleman home, as if he were a reluctant ox. Mr. Jasper goes to his gatehouse, brooding. And thus, as everything comes to an end, the unaccountable expedition comes to an end - for the time.
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The Mystery of Edwin Drood -- by Charles Dickens